Conference was DEFINITELY the highlight of my week. My companion Sister Jones and I made a paper chain to count down the days starting about ... 2 months ago. It has been a long time coming and I am so sad it is already over! But I received many answers and personal revelation from those sessions and speakers, and I hope you did as well. One of the talks that really struck me was that of President Eyring's about fasting and giving a fast offering. It hit home. I need to be a lot better about having a full and meaningful fast, as well as consistently paying a fast offering. I loved how he paralleled it to a way we can give service and help others who are in dire need. The story of the woman in Africa, who had nothing was very touching. She paid faithfully a tithe, fast offering and some to the missionary fund. Although she had little to no material items, she knew the Lord would bless not only HER by keeping this commandment, but she understood that whoever the money helped, they would be greatly affected. What a great example to follow and remember.
I thought it was interesting how the theme of conference in October followed a pattern of: sustaining the prophets. When we heard of those who stood up in the conference center Saturday and yelled 'opposed' it saddened me, but also made me reflect on all the talks that I heard last conference. These individuals who felt it necessary to bluntly speak out only fulfilled prophecy and made me that much more steadfast in my testimony of our Prophet and his Apostles. They are on the earth to lead and guide us, not hinder and frustrate us. Can you imagine a world without them? I don't want to.
We had a super fun breakfast with the cute M. family :) She is part Philippino and made some AWESOME food. We had some garlic rice with little potatoes and a fried egg over it. So yummy. Then we had some waffles and fruit alongside that. We watched conference with them and are really pleased at how much they have progressed and moved forward with them coming back to church. This family has really taken us in and made us feel like family. I am so grateful for the faithful saints who help the missionaries; I know that they will be blessed. And it teaches me more of how to be a good returned missionary one day and a member missionary.
For dinner we went to the B's house and they made all the festive Easter foods you could think of! They topped it off with a carrot cake which was quite humorous considering the Easter bunny :) They told us that their two boys have been really affected by our presence in their home. One of them had made a comment one night that he was excited to go on his mission one day. And the other is always asking when the missionaries are coming over. I know that being a missionary is a calling in which I am set apart. The light of Christ radiates through obedient and faithful missionaries, which blesses the lives of those they teach, but also the active members they serve. I feel more successful knowing that the members see me as a worthy representative of Jesus Christ; because that is my duty, my calling, and my privilege.
Many missionaries get caught up with statistics and think that if the numbers aren't high, then they aren't successful. I was feeling bad last night when we were reporting numbers because we had a really rough, and slow week. I didn't feel like I was furthering the work, and doing what the Lord wanted me to do. But after I said my prayers and laid down to go to bed, I was able to ponder and think more deeply about our last week. Then came the tender mercies, the blessings, the random acts of kindness, service and more that happened but couldn't be accounted for with numerical value. My companion and I had visited a young marine wife in her time of need. She was feeling so lonely and helpless, being pregnant and having a deployed husband. Us asking her to come with us to get frozen yogurt was inspired and helped her through a rough day. Sister Jones and I went on exchanges with the sisters in the second ward and I learned a valuable lesson on humility and how we are on the path back to our heavenly home. Each day we have focused on the ONE. Trying to retain or find the lost sheep. We received several tender mercies from people in the ward who had us over for conference, lunch and dinner. Making us feel like family, and loving us when we were sad to be away from home during Easter.
I am going to have a pretty busy day tomorrow with getting up to Raleigh, going to transfer meeting, getting a new companion, then going to a new area! I hope it all goes well, haha. That is a lot of change in a short amount of time. But I know that there is no growth in the comfort zone. And heavenly Father knows what I need to become more refined and the woman he needs me to be.
I love you so much and hope you are doing well! Know that you are in my prayers and thoughts! Have a great week :)
Sister Mallory Golden
Goodbye Jacksonville 3 Ward