Pinehurst is the name, and Golf is the game! Yep, go look it up:) I love it so far.
I am companions with Sister Ibarra who is a fellow Washingtonian, just down the road in Yakima.
She went to 2 years at BYU Idaho after graduating in 2012. So we are pretty alike already! She also grew up speaking Spanish! What do you know. She said she is going to teach me and we are going to become undercover Hermanas! Haha. Every morning we have a glorious run on the golf cart sidewalks snaking around the golf course. It is so relaxing and really pretty as well. I look forward to waking up in the mornings!
We live with the Winckley family in their home. They have 7 children total, 3 are hers and 4 are adopted. They are amazing and I have grown to love them! They have a little room for the sister missionaries to live in that consists of 3 beds, and a closet, and a bathroom. It suits all of our needs, so I am content :) We just work around each other.
Sister Ibarra and I (as well as the one set of Spanish Elders) are covering 2 wards in this area. So we go to church twice on Sunday, see twice the number of people during the week, and obviously will get twice the blessings ;) On Sunday I was called and asked to get up and share my testimony, I guess I did so well that the Bishop assigned me to speak next Sunday on Missionary work. At least I know a little bit about that topic.
My first day here was a little crazy! We had the transfer meeting (which I was called up to give the prayer for...I just have that face...) then had to stuff my bags plus ANOTHER sister’s bags into the cars we were riding back with. She was a last minute addition to our group because no one else was going her way. So we trek off to go drop her off in Cameron. When we get there low and behold I see my trainer, with Sister Skokos, who was Sister Jones' trainee! So we all knew each other. That was a blast. We headed into Pinehurst which is where I will be serving. We got to drop our bags off right away, say a quick Hi and Bye to the family we live with, then hurried to our dinner appointment with a less active older couple. That night was a blur of visiting a lot of people and having to drive since I am now the senior companion.
Sister Ibarra has only been out for 4 months, so I am her follow up trainer. I have to be a good example!
The following day we went and helped a lady pick up the pine cones in her yard. I laughed at first because this sounded funny to me, but then when we arrived I saw how big and how many pine cones there were! They have little stickers that snag on your skin if you aren't careful! Another day we went to the rehab center for old folks and visited two older women who are in there from church. It is neat to see how far reaching missionary work actually is. We uplift, administer and love EVERYONE. It is always so hard seeing those little old people in there, but I hope we can continue to do our part.
Another day we went and helped clean out a cellar for this woman who has befriended the sister missionaries. She is a non member, and has claimed that she will never be converted and is a 'Wicken'. But she is a funny and quirky lady and the missionaries love her. She has 27 cats and 5 dogs, dies her hair bright colors, and has a white car with a cat face on the hood. She is so good, I love talking with her. She takes the Sisters out to lunch on Mondays and then grocery shopping to help out with our miles, which is SO sweet of her.
This last week Sister Ibarra and I went tracting a LOT. We knocked on so many doors! Many of the people chatted with us superficially and then told us that they had their own church, others were nice and listened to our message and politely declined a second visit, then you had those who opened the door to only shut it right away. I think people are intimidated when they see two cute young girls on their porch smiling...kidding. It's totally the name tag and the book of Mormon that scares them. But those who had given their time to talk with us ended up saying they really enjoyed it and have a different view of the 'Mormons' now. Talking with strangers has become more of a fun thing for me. I have to think of ways to work the gospel into the conversation, I am getting more familiar with the scriptures because I have to flip to verses that apply to the people, and I am so comfortable with people being rude to us now! I have no fear of man any more. It is a great feeling to just go out and proclaim the gospel to anyone we cross paths with. We ran into two ladies who were on their way to yoga class and after our chat they asked us to come to hot yoga with them, but sadly we had to decline. Another lady was out looking for her lost husband (haha I laughed) and then tried getting us to listen to an online pastor she really likes in return for watching the 'He lives' video on mormon.org which was funny. A lady almost threw her chicken eggs at us through her kitchen door, and some people just lied and said they were getting ready to leave.
Up here where there are more trees, there is more pollen. Meaning EVERYTHING is caked with this thick yellow dust. And when it rains, if it doesn't wash it away, it just stays and gunks everything up! It is so weird. There are also HUGE bees. They look like dung beetles but can fly. It is so scary! And they tease! They fly fast at you then stop, then do it again. They chased us off someone's porch even, haha. I hate bees so much. They are gross.
So I had a pretty incredible experience this last Saturday...while I was kneeling by my bed saying my evening prayers, an overwhelming sense of gratitude washed over me. I had received what I had so long been begging for. Love for my mission. I had gotten over the initial struggle, homesickness, fear, doubt and everything else, but I still could feel ties towards home, and was just going through the motions as a missionary. In that moment, I could feel everything being lifted. I knew that at that time, I had placed everything on the altar of sacrifice. I could feel a desire to work hard, I felt a love for my life as a missionary, and I was so, so grateful for all that I had learned. I had been praying for this since day one, and it finally came. From here on out I know that whatever comes my way, I will face it with new found dedication and stamina.
I know that my mission is helping me set habits that I will use for the rest of my life. I am so grateful for the time that I have had to grow closer to my Savior. I love what I am doing, and I never thought I would say it. I am willing to be molded and shaped into who the Lord needs me to become.
I love you so much and hope you have a great week!
Sister Golden :)
PS- here is where I'm at now! Write me ;)
89 Stoney Kirk Dr.
Pinehurst Nc 28374