Monday, July 27, 2015

Goals and success!

This week was a great one for us because we hit the pavement hard with goals in mind.  We had Zone Conference this week and President James really stressed Hard work+obedience+diligence = success.  I agree.  And you know what I like?  I can take that and apply it into my life even after my mission!  We had to perform, for him and his wife in front of every other missionary in the room,  what we had been the Restoration lesson in under 4 minutes with the two scriptures and memorized account from Joseph Smith.  Whooh!  Was I nervous!  But I pretended not to be and acted really excited so that Sister Burdette wouldn't freak out.  She is a total introvert- which is so great because she evens me out.  Her and I are having some fun times together:)
There was a senior missionary couple there who are both Psychologists and help missionaries with their emotional issues.  That day they instructed us on how to cope with a companion who is the opposite of us..or in other words how to deal with extroverts and introverts!  It was great.  I learned that I am a definite extrovert!  Haha.  Go figure.  I love being with other people, teaching, and knocking on doors. 
Knocking on doors!
Another thing that was emphasized was using our sweet members in teaching others about the gospel.  Not only is it more effective, but the members bring a special testimony and spirit there.  Plus they are more permanent than we are...
So Sister Burdette and I went out this week and found people to teach, brought members with us, and found new investigators. I wish missionary work was like this every day!  Haha.  But we have bad days to show us the Lord's tender mercies and to let us know that we really do need to rely on Him for everything. 

I was able to go to Sanford with Sister Richardson this week.  It was a SUPER great exchange and I learned a lot from her.  We were actually in the MTC together. 
Sister Richardson
We had a spiritual moment together before we headed back to meet our real companions.  We were going to go teach their investigator that is working towards baptism, but on the way there Sister R. said she felt like we shouldn't go see her.  So we both decided to go and see a potential investigator that they have been having a hard time hooking up with.  So we go to knock on her door and sadly she isn't home.  Why did Heavenly Father give us the impression to come here if it was just to knock on an empty house.  We saw a lady in the yard at the next house and I said that we should go and ask her if she had known the woman we were searching for.  I didn't want to really because it was an area I didn't know and I didn't want to bother her.  But onward I walked!  We ended up talking to her for a good 5 minutes and then she started asking us questions about what we do and what our church is like.  Over the next 20 minutes 4 kids trickled out one by one, followed by a husband.  We ended up teaching this whole family on the spot and had a prayer with them, all holding hands.  After I said Amen, I looked up and the mom was crying.  She was feeling the spirit and said to us, "I know that Jesus didn't send you here on accident."  This family accepted a return appointment from the sisters for the following week!  Isn't that great?!

Saturday we had a really fun dual-ward pioneer day activity and picnic out on a lake.  I was really sad I couldn't jump in and swim around but I will sacrifice!  Ha.  It was fun.  There was really good BBQ, kids found mini turtles in the water, some investigators came, (yay!) and later that night we got to go see Linda our new investigator. 

I have been studying a little bit about 'Desire' this week.  If we don't have any desire, then why would we want to move forward...or in any direction at all? I think desire is where it all starts.  Your desires determine your agency. And your agency determines who you become. Brother Ridd said, “Ultimately, the choice is yours. You have agency. Each choice takes you closer to or further from what you are meant to become. Always ask yourself, ‘Where will this choice lead?’ Develop the ability to see beyond the moment. Elder Oaks said, "Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming."

I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you.  Keep doing what is right, and know I am praying for you :)
<3 Mally Mal

Monday, July 20, 2015

HOT, HUMID, and Pouring RAIN!

So, some crazy stuff has happened this week!  You ready to hear about it? HA.  Last Monday we ate dinner with Sister M. who loves all the missionaries to pieces- sometimes she thinks she is a missionary herself.  Well after dinner she told us she was making a package for the Elder who just went back home from our District.  There were cute mementos, southern knick knacks, some random inside jokes, and then a hair board.  YES.  A board that she had glued a 'lock of hair' onto that belonged to each of her family members.  Now she was requesting US to give a lock of hair.  She said it was for a great cause!  She really loved this elder.  Well we don't really know him because Elder/Sister relationships are super strict in this mission.  But she worked her magic, ended up persuading me, and *BAM* cut a lock of hair right off my head!

Oh it was a nasty looking board, haha.  I wouldn't know what to do if I opened up a package and saw that inside.  HA!  But I guess it makes memories right?  She got all 4 companionships of missionaries to contribute and also got our hand prints on the back.  Very unique gift if I do say so myself.

The next day we started looking through our area book and wrote down a bunch of names of people who had been investigators in the past, but discontinued for different reasons.  Later that day we went out and visited some of our less actives, and had a great lesson on the Restoration with a friend of one of our members.  Our new mission President has asked us to be able to teach the message of the Restoration in under 4 minutes, with two scriptures and a memorized portion and will be checking on that this Thursday at Zone Conference!  He is going to make us role-play it.  Man am I nervous!  But we have been practicing and I feel super good about it.  If I don't succeed with those requirements, at least I know that when I teach real investigators I will know exactly what I am doing.
Later that day we did our volunteer work at the Assisted Living Home and sadly Paula (the manager we work closely with) had her last day working there:(
 We were so sad!  But we took some pictures and gave her a small little gift we had gotten together the day before.  She loved it.

Wednesday was Great!  We went out with Sister D. and had a BLAST!  She is a true “Southern Bell” - born and raised in North Carolina.  We were laughing so hard the whole time with her because she is witty, and tons of fun.  She was also an amazing help during our lessons.  We contacted those people we had found in our area book the day before, and had good contacts with all of them.  The first lady we went to go see let us right in and said she remembered the Elders who had taught her a few years prior.  We got to know each other pretty quick and had a good time.  She is such a spiritual lady and has a very southern spin on all of her beliefs.  But that's okay! It's cultural.  She asked us to come back and visit her again because she really liked us.  Haha.  I like it when people actually enjoy our company...everyone else just doesn't know what they are missing out on. 

For dinner that night we went out with this cute little old lady in our ward, Sister P.  She is a family history missionary here and is loving it- she always shares stories with us when we go out to eat once a month.  This night we went to a place called Dickey's.  It was SUPER yummy BBQ, or maybe I was just really hungry. 
 We had Zone Training today (Yes...we have had to drive to Fayetteville NC for three weeks in a ROW!) and a sweet member drove us there and back to help with our miles.  She said she needed to go to Sam's Club for a food run anyways..but I know that her offering a ride was a DEFINITE answer to our prayers.  We had been praying that someone would be able to take us.  I want to respect the allotted amount of miles we are given each month since this mission is providing the car for us.  So I don't want to ever go over on our miles! Haha. 

Thursday morning we went over to a members home where her husband is currently deployed.  She has been feeling a little down and not on top of things, so we told her to expect us that morning from 9-12 and we helped her deep clean.  She was so appreciative and invited us over for dinner this upcoming week.  I love seeing how giving service orients trust towards us missionaries.  She even said that if we need to invite anyone, whether an investigator, less active, or recent convert as well, she would be totally okay with that.  So this is evidence that when you love someone without any ulterior motives, they will open up and trust you. I love that!

The next day we had another lesson with our investigator Linda whom we found in the area book.  We brought a young lady who is getting her mission papers in the mail soon so she could get some idea as to what to look forward to.  We taught the Restoration of the Church to her, and Sister Burdette and I totally rocked it!  After practicing and studying and more practicing we finally nailed down a great teaching pattern for this!  Thank you President James.
Later on that night we had dinner with Sister W. who has fed us every Friday for the last 3 weeks.  We are so grateful for her!  She has really touched my heart!  We have offered to do yard work with her and have found that each time we come over and do service for her, the more she opens up.  Now when we come over she totally chats with us about all her work stuff, family drama, exciting experiences, and asks us for our opinions on things.  Members who put their hearts into helping the missionaries will never TRULY understand how much they touch our lives.  Blessings will come to those who help the missionaries. 

But I did get 23 mosquito bites on my legs from the yard work.  And I was really sweaty.  And my hair got pretty big.  But that's okay!  I love serving and helping people.  I think my mission has taught me the definition of hard work.  I didn't know how to really work, like the nitty-gritty stuff, before.  I am grateful for that.

Although we had one investigator come to church (who really didn't pay attention at all) we DID have an inactive single sister come to church! We are always leaving sticky notes on her door letting her know we love her and miss her.  And then at church I scan the chapel and my eyes lock on her and I was like, "NO WAY!" Reverently ran/walked over to her and hugged her.  It was a great feeling. 
But after church we had a scare because the keys weren't in my purse.  So we spent half an hour frantically running around the church looking for the stupid things.  We even had some members helping us.  Know where they were? In My BAG.  DUMB. Haha.

I know that as you pray and strive to minister to the ONE, Heavenly Father will help them find a way back.

Lots of Love!
Sister Golden :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Enduring to the End!

Working on a Farm
My week wasn't that good.  In fact, it was probably a little harder than my average week goes.  We had appointments set up with members to go out on visits and some of them forgot or cancelled.  Investigators we went to go see either weren't home or said it actually wasn't a good time.  People cancelled right before we were supposed to see them.  3 people who said they would be at church were no shows.  One investigator who came said it was nice...but she would be returning to her church.  And on top of all of this it is hot, humid and my hair is unruly.
So I was pretty down as you can imagine.  I was reflecting in sacrament meeting as to why we have to go through these tough times even when we work so hard for a good outcome.  I had been praying so hard for this lesson with an investigator and she cold turkey discontinued our meetings. I had been studying so diligently for a lady who had a few questions on a certain topic and when we went to go teach her she said to come back later.  I was pretty frustrated!  But then I read a talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf and in it I found a gem of a quote.  Something I needed, "We acknowledge that your path will at times be difficult.  But I give you this promise in the name of the Lord: rise up and follow in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Savior, and one day you will look back and be filled with eternal gratitude that you chose to trust the Atonement and its power to lift you up and give you strength."  POWERFUL.

"Enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is essential to eternal life.  But when trials and challenges come our way, we are often told to simply 'hang in there'.  Let me be clear, to 'hang in there' is not a principle of the gospel.  Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him.  If enduring to the end is essential to eternal life, why do we struggle to be faithful? We struggle when we are caught between competing priorities.  Casual obedience and lukewarm commitment weaken faith.  Enduring to the end requires total commitments to the Savior and to our covenants."  (See 2 Nephi 31:20)  I loved this by Elder Pearson.  Just like Christ's original apostles, sacrifice, hard work, and dedication was required of them.  The disciples realized that their service to Christ was their all.  Whole soul.  And Christ knew that their faith could best be gauged by obedience and untiring service.  As a missionary, these two things apply to me as well.

One of the 'fruits of our labors' we have seen come to pass is building wonderful relationships with a few of our inactive and less-active families and sisters.  It has been GREAT!  The work we do also covers bringing back lost sheep, not just going out and finding new ones.  So one family of just a mom and two girls has learned to love us and is always so excited when we come over.  They have such a special place in my heart! I have so many quotes from that sister- she is so funny and SO southern.  One thing I am grateful for that has come from my mission is learning to love everyone.  I have made friends with so many people I wouldn't have back home because they weren't in my usual 'friend group' (so dumb but true).  The Savior really does have love for everyone...and when we learn to love him, we love others around us.  It is amazing.

Something I have noticed- the Lord speaks to me through Hymns.  When I pray I usually have a random line of a hymn run through my head.  It is so neat!!!
I was having a hard time with the change that is going on back home with friends, loved ones, etc, and was praying really hard for help to be okay with that.  Then suddenly the lyrics, "All is well, All is well..." start going through my brain.  I think I need to start studying hymns, because that is one way the Savior answers me!

I know that as we go through challenging times, we grow and learn.  The Savior never said it would be easy.  He only said it would be worth it.
And that is my testimony.
The Smiths

My little buddy that we're teaching

<3 Sister Golden :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy 4th of July!!!

Here is a summary of what we did for the 4th of July. The Winkley’s (the family we live with) have a breakfast every year and they invited us to come and join them. It was at the church this year so we rode with them and helped them set up and prepare everything. About 100 people showed up for the breakfast; it was a lot of fun! They are such a great family:) I really love them.
The Winkley's
After studying and teaching that afternoon, we were picked up by a lady in our ward, Sister M. She was so excited about getting us for the evening! She also picked up another lady in our ward who she visit teaches. Sister M went all out for us because she wanted the evening to be special. We walked into her home with soft music playing, christmas lights strung across the ceiling, and sheets draped over the windows. The table was set for a fancy candle-lit dinner, and at the foot of all the places on the couch was a white basin with pedicure stuff. Taped to the wall were posters she made with scripture references on them with the word “feet” in the reference. She then announced, “welcome to the spa!” It was so sweet!! Here she chose to serve us instead of relaxing while her children were all away.

She sat us down and said we deserved a break and that we needed to rest our feet. It felt so good to just sit and relax! We drank homemade watermelon lemonade and ate a really yummy dinner of chicken and peppers with mushrooms over brown rice and a side of stir fried vegetables. After dinner she gave us a foot massage and pedicures. It was the whole shabang! It felt so good. Afterwards we ate gelato and sat and visited.

On our way home we drove by Aberdeen lake so we could see the firework show. It made my night since the 4th is one of my favorite holidays; it was a great way to cap off the evening.

I hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July! I miss you...
Love, Sister Mallory Golden