So this week has been a good one for us. We have tracted, served, taught, and all those fun things missionaries do. Let me start at the beginning of the week, shall I?
Last monday I was a little 'chinese-ed' out. For lunch Kate took us to a really good sushi place. I got the cashew chicken and brown rice with one spring roll. Then we did our thing and shopped and wrote letters and did laundry and then meal prep since we have no other time to make any food for ourselves. So we just put lunches in tupperware and take one to go each day. It's been working quite nicely actually! Well that night we had dinner with some members and they ended up making us the same thing. Asian food with rice and egg rolls. Haha. I was grateful though- I love spending time with the members. They are so great :)
Tuesday was SO fun. You are going to love this. I am LEARNING SPANISH. Yes. Si. My companion is teaching english to a few hispanic women who have friends in our ward. This is a great opportunity for us to get to know them and for them to know us and the church. The church has a binder that is specifically made for missionaries who are teaching a language class. So we go to this ladies house (Patty) and her friend (Sylvia) is there with her. Sister Mizelle the woman in our ward who knows them came along. Her and I are the ones learning spanish while the rest learn english. I have officially learned how to introduce myself! I can tell someone what my first and last name are in spanish, that I am their neighbor, and that my house is next to theirs. It was quite fun and really interactive. After that lesson I made the decision that I want to go to Mexico and just immerse myself until I actually learn! Wouldn't that be neat?
Well the spanish didn't stop there. The elders referred us to a single woman who wanted to learn more, but the catch was that she only spoke spanish. So during this lesson I sat there smiling and nodding and saying Si whenever she looked at me :) We had a member with us who also spoke spanish so that helped. But this woman ended up calling me 'pretty eyes' instead of sister Golden. Haha. She was quite funny I came to find out once we were back in the car and Sister Ibarra translated the whole thing for me. Maybe the Lord is trying to tell me something ;)
Then later that day as usual we went and helped out at the nursing home. We did something new today! We sang hymns because I told them that I liked to sing. So the workers whipped out a Baptism hymn book and all started singing with the little old people chiming in. I just clapped and swayed and followed their lead. It was a good time :) after that we played the game 20 questions. Sister Ibarra and I asked them questions about themselves and they shared in a big circle. We asked Wilda (who just turned 100) "what is something that nobody knows about you?" She replied and said, 'I don't even know anything about me!' Then when we asked the question, "What is something you would want people to know about you?" Tom said 'that I'm rich and very giving.' That made us laugh. He is quite a character. I really enjoy going to that place now. I am developing love for these old people that I never had before. It's a good thing.
Something that I've never experienced in the church is the Welfare Program. I had the opportunity to help divvy out and organize peoples food orders for this ward. A woman had brought a few orders back to the church and we stuck it all in the fridge and freezer to be picked up later. She was telling me all about the process and how everything is done in an orderly manner and everyone gets everything they need in a very timely process! I was amazed that the church can provide so much help for its members and do so in a way that is so organized. My testimony really grew then about the church and its services- I loved being able to help with that. I have been able to see more of the organizational and business side of the church on my mission than ever before. I am so grateful to be a part of a church that gives spiritual, and physical help to its members and even those who aren't a part of our faith.
Wednesday we had District meeting and it was so funny. Our Zone leaders Elder Wolf and Elder Cluff (who were actually in my last Zone in Wilmington; so we know each other pretty well...and they were both on my team for the activity fun zone conference) came to our District Meeting.
We were all sitting there just pondering and taking notes before the meeting started when the elders from the other side of the room said, "Sister Golden, what is your ethnicity?"...then another one, "Yeah what is your race?" I laughed because I get that all the time but wasn't expecting it from them! I made them guess for a bit and they thought maybe I was Italian, Hispanic and then one said 'no you have to be part black.' Then from the African American Elder in the room I hear, "Yep. That's my guess." I died. I told them I was Caucasian and spent some time trying to convince them. I showed them a picture of our family and they finally accepted it:) Last week some lady also asked if sister Ibarra and I were related or really sisters because she thought we looked alike... Anyways it was fun.
Later that afternoon we decided to go and find the people on the ward roster that nobody knows. After knocking and realizing that it was an empty trailer, or they weren't home we did some proximity work. Gotta love the principle of proximity. We got a few interesting encounters doing this. One lady just yelled at us through her open door, “I am in a wheelchair. I am not interested in the Jehovah's Witnesses. Go away!” I told her, "Lucky for you ma'am we are the Mormons!" ...no answer... "We are hear to help you come closer to the Savior" ...silence... "I'm sorry, can you not hear me?" She told us to go away, haha. Oh well.
Another lady told us that she was hurting too much from her sickness that she couldn't focus on Jesus. And closed the door. This man said, “Sorry ladies, we aren't looking for what you're talking about.” People are tough sometimes! But low and behold, the last 3 doors we knocked on proved to be successful! One was a Hispanic woman and Sister Ibarra taught a quick lesson then set up a return appointment. The other two were women who also accepted a visit at a later time. The Lord knows who we need to see and where they are.
On Friday we were able to go out with Carina who got back from her mission in Boise in December. She is back from BYU during her time off and wanted to go out with us. We were able to see a few people but not very many because they turn us away or don't answer. But luckily she understood how that goes! It was nice. She said that she had gained so much more from her mission than she ever thought she would and is so grateful to have served. Even though it is probably the hardest thing I've ever done, I know how far I've come and how much better my life will be after learning all these things now.
We were able to have a really good lesson with a part member family this week as well. Sister Baker the seminary teacher came and brought her son who is the same age as this families son. They have 6 children and all but 1 can be baptized. We have had about 3 lessons with them and have slowly gotten them more involved in the ward. The lesson we taught just last night was such a good one- the spirit was there and the Bakers testimonies really helped. We listened to them, valued their opinions, taught the lesson at their pace and at the end my heart started beating really hard and really fast! I knew that I needed to extend a baptismal invitation. So I did. I asked the son if he would prepare himself to be baptized on a certain date and he accepted. I love when the spirit takes over and I'm not the one speaking. They then signed up to feed us on a night sometime next week. I truly believe that when we take the time to learn about people and let them know we love THEM, they open up and trust us. I hope they continue to progress.
That same day was also Fast and Testimony meeting. Two less active women in particular got up to bear their testimonies. Of all the people who got up, I felt prompted to write a short thank you for what they said on a sticky note and give it to them afterwards. After church they both came up to us and said that they appreciated our notes. Then the one ended up signing up on our meal calendar to feed us. That was another witness to me that when we follow the promptings of the spirit we are able to be instruments in the Lords hands.
I am so grateful for all that I have been able to experience. Both the good and the bad. I know that we will find JOY when we put Jesus first...Others second..and Yourself last. J-O-Y.
In a talk I read Elder Funk states, "The Lord instructs His servants to be humble because the process of being made whole spiritually begins with a broken heart. Think of the good that comes from broken things. Soil is broken to plant wheat. Wheat is broken to make bread. Bread is broken to become emblems of the sacrament. When one who is repentant partakes of the sacrament with a broken heart and contrite spirit, he or she becomes whole.
Love you so much and can't wait for MOTHERS DAY! <3