Monday, August 31, 2015

The Power of Prayer!

Hello my Golden Clan! I am so excited to be writing you all after this long week :) It has been a good one though.
Walking home at sunset!

Let me start with a neat experience.  My first week here we were tracting (as usual) and we talked with a sweet lady named Karen.  She and her husband were content with their church but she still asked us questions and was REALLY nice.  She gave us some granola bars and water and when we left we gave a closing prayer.  She had teared up and told me thank you but not much more than that.  WELL....last week we stopped by again and her husband let us right in and yelled for her to come downstairs.  They happily conversed with us, made sure we were okay, hydrated, full and content.  Karen goes, "Hunny I just wanted to tell you I was so impressed by your prayer last time.  After you left I called my husband and cried again.  I just couldn't believe how beautiful and expressive and genuine it was even though you didn't know me.  I actually called my kids and told them about you as well."  I was shocked! And flattered as well- but the spirit directs my prayers often times!  I just listen to what the person says, what the spirit directs, and speak.  But now I know why we have  prayers with our investigators and people we contact after sharing a is because prayers allow for truth to be felt.  And Karen felt it.  She let us in her home the next time because of it.  I am so grateful that I learned to pray as a little child and have had the opportunity to practice and kneel each day to talk with my Father in Heaven.  I encourage you to pray daily as well!

Another neat thing that happened this week was that a member of the 70 came to speak to our mission!  Elder Dube from Zimbabwe- he and his wife are great.  I commented on Sister Dube's dress and she wondered how I knew what lappa material was- I told her how my family lived in Africa for a time, and she and her husband loved that!  We formed a bond and they kept coming and talking to me throughout the day.

The conference was so great.  Sister Rause a returning member who hadn't been to church since she was baptized (40 years ago) took us and was so spiritually nourished.  Elder Dube is a fun, outgoing, and energetic man.  You could tell he is a man of God because of how the room felt when we walked in and shook his hand.  It was so neat to be able to hear from him what the Lord expects from his missionaries. He promised us that as we strive to work hard, listen to our mission president, and go home with honor, our lives will never be the same.  He told us we would be blessed for our sacrifices and our efforts.

These last few weeks we have been challenged to learn the Plan of Salvation and be able to teach it in 4 minutes.  I love it!  It allows us to teach more effectively to those who we meet on the street or at their door.   We had several opportunities to teach that message this week.  A few people told us they had recently had a baby, or death in the family, and we were able to testify that they will see their family again, and that God is just and loves us.  Then when we had dinner one night with a member, she invited her friend over to hear the Plan of Salvation lesson.  I love seeing blessings that come as we strive to be obedient to the Lord and to our Mission President's counsel.
Exchanges with Sister Maxfield
Sisters in the Raleigh area
 Even though planes fly over us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (we are by the airport) I smell curry everywhere I go, today was pouring rain, I KNOW that the Lord is aware of me. And I know that we will be blessed when we do what is right.
Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tracting, tracting and more tracting!!!

Hello my sweet family.  I hope you had a fabulous week and are getting excited for September to hit!  I can't believe school is already starting for y'all- that's crazy.  Going out to run this morning was a shock because there were a billion little kids at every corner staring at us as we passed- haha.  I would too if I could see myself in the morning ;)

This week we were able to find 2 new investigators.  And let me tell you- it was after LONG, hot, HARD days.  We had spent most of the last week walking around (we didn't have the car last week) knocking on doors and trying to contact our less actives.

Having to carry my lunch around!
Taking a quick break to rest our feet!
Everything we had fell through, no one was home, we had extra time at every turn, I got bit by hundreds of mosquitoes, I got sun burned (I did wear sunscreen on my face though) and it was just hard.  We were lucky to run into a few kind Indian people who gave us water and listened to us, but it never led to anything.  On Wednesday we set out to see 5 less actives in a certain part of town.  We had NO success.  No one ever seems to be home.  So we decided to do some contacting in that area.  We talked with a kind Buddhist lady who gave us water, an atheist high schooler who didn’t really understand what it completely meant, a guy who said he was actually about to go take care of his cat, a lady who listened to our message and said she had a church...and so on and so forth; you get the idea.  I was tired and pretty frustrated as you can imagine.  We decided to knock on one last set of doors- all empty, except the last door we come to a man in his 30's answered the door.  Me, being a grump, totally pre-judged him and braced myself to get the door closed on us again.  He started chatting with us and pretty soon he started telling us of some of the troubles he was facing in his life at that time.  He had lost his job, and was living with his cousin.  The more he talked the more I felt the spirit gently probing me to open the scriptures.  After some initial conversation and basic information was secured, I opened to Mosiah 24 and read verses 13 and 14.  He was staring intently at me when I finished and said, "Wow."  It is so true.  With his christian background he was able to relate the scripture directly to him and his situation.  We were able to testify that the gospel would help him and started explaining a little bit of what we do and what we teach.  He said we could come back sometime the following week and tell him more.  That was definitely a tender mercy in my day!

Another day went out and tracted around.  We were just getting told to go away or just given blank stares.  Many of the people we teach vary in their knowledge about Christianity- and the concept of 'proselyting' is very foreign to the Indian people.  So we have to see where the people are at during each new contact to make sure we aren't way over there heads, or completely boring them with the simple information.
So an older gentleman opened the door and explained to us that he was Hindu (as was expected).  We asked him about some of his beliefs and he was overjoyed to teach two little American girls about world religion.  He as well as all the others are generally very respectful and open to different religious backgrounds.  So after he explained the basic Hindu beliefs he started asking us question after question.  It was GREAT!  He was genuinely curious and was having a fun time learning more.  We got onto the subject of 'afterlife' and he told us he was living alone because his wife died.  I asked him if he believed he would ever see her again.  He firmly said, "No. There is nothing else after this life."  Then some tears came to his eyes.  I shared my testimony on the eternal family and that we are together forever.  Heaven wouldn't be heaven if we didn't have family there with us.  He didn't deny it but he couldn't accept it.  The conversation went for 40 minutes and was really refreshing.  It was nice to be able to actually talk to someone about the church for an extended period of time.  Another tender mercy.
We only get the car every other week!

Out tracting on our bikes
Sunday night we were out tracting...again... I love contacting and meeting new people. I really do!  I just get tired and worn out after 6 hours of it.  I am working on overcoming my negativity, haha.  We had a great dinner that night with a member which was much needed, but after that we weren’t able to get inside the homes of those we had set appointments up with.  That happens a lot in missionary life:)  It is teaching me a lot about planning back ups, A-Z, not being upset at the idea of being set-up (maybe good for my future dating life??) and following the Lord's promptings.  We found our way to an apartment complex and knocked on all of the doors on Floor 1.  No success.  We hit floor number 2.  No success- oh wait, there is one more door.  It is dark, late, and we are tired. But we go ahead and knock.  This sweet lady named Rita invited us into her home where we sat and talked with her and her 10 year old daughter.  She actually knew quite about about missionaries and the lives we lead because she had talked frequently with the Elders over the years.  We had a great conversation and heard about the tragedy of both her daughter and husband dying three years apart.  We shared a scripture in Isaiah and Alma that talked a lot about peace and comfort that the Lord can bring.  She loved it and we started finding a lot of similarities between the two churches we were a part of.  She told us that we could come back the next week- she said it was funny that we showed up.  She had not been to her church for a while because she was still going through some our coming was an answer to prayer.

I have learned that no matter what kind of day you are having, the Lord will provide a tender mercy or blessing to you.  If you look for it, and are willing to work for it, He will always come through.

Learning the area is still hard for me, I have bad directional skills, haha.  But I am praying that the Lord will let me know my purpose here.  And sometimes that takes a lot of prayers and sweaty hot days.

<3 Sister Golden

Monday, August 17, 2015

Little India ~ Morrisville!

Hey y'all!  So I have been transferred to INDIA!  Not really, but kind of.  I am in a small town called Morrisville, the 'heart of the triangle' is what it is known for.  There is a big area called 'Research Triangle Park' which is made up of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, I think.
But here in Morrisville the majority of the population is made up of Indian people.  They are great and really nice, but it is hard because they are all Hindu and Muslim and are not interested in Christianity.  We have tracted this whole week and had about 20 lessons with them, and none of them accepted what we had to say but thanked us anyways.  We had a few random Southern Baptists in the mix- but they are never too friendly to us.  What is so intimidating about a girl with a skirt on?  Haha.

Some quirks about my area:
We have a car every other week- don't worry, "I will survive!"  Or at least try to. I am pretty excited to try my sweet wheels out, though.  I haven't had the chance to my whole mission!  I just kind of freak out when I realize we don't have access to a car.  We share it with the Apex sisters who aren't too far away from us.
Second, I am having to get used to an apartment again!  There were so many perks to living with a member in my last area! But this will be good for me, I just hope I don't forget how to do my laundry. (Kidding!)

So as for my last few days in Pinehurst last week. That was HARD! I hate goodbyes! but I know they are not permanent.  I did dread all the packing I had to do ... I really don't know where half of my stuff came from...really!  Ha!
My sweet family the Winkley's
 So on Tuesday morning the DAY OF transfers the Spanish Elders text us at 6:15 in the morning and say, "Hey do you want to take an IQ test with us at 7:30?"  We were both like what the heck??  They clarified and said that Bishop Finch was bringing tests for us all to take and we should join.  So against my better judgement we went...sweaty, in work out clothes and all!  Good thing I totally don't care about how I look in front of boys anymore.  Bishop Finch is a Psychologist for the army and got us some professional IQ tests that would be legitimate and can go in our records.  I was super nervous because I feel like I don't know anything besides gospel stuff.  I just hope he doesn't judge me on my score if it is bad...that was fun though!
We hurried home and I finished packing and getting ready.  The Edwards' came to pick me up and the two elders in our district who were transferring as well, and Sister Burdette stayed behind and went to do missionary things with Sister Mizelle.  I felt so naked without a real companion that whole morning/afternoon!
Once at transfers (and saying hello to everyone) we got settled in. There were 20 new missionaries transferred in and 2 of them are from far, far away.  Korea, and Taiwan!  crazy.  I got called and stood, hearing president James say, "Morrisville with Sister Atkinson."  Sister A actually came with my last companion Sister Burdette who I trained.  So, I already knew her in a round about way which was nice.  I rode home with Sister Smith and her daughter with all my stuff...and eventually met my companion.
Sister Atkinson and Sister Smith
 The next few days were rather tough for me.  There weren't any set plans for me to follow- so we tracted a lot.  A lot- a lot.  We hit one white person out of all the hours and days we tracted.  It was crazy.  I feel like I am serving in a foreign mission.  But the Indian people are very cordial and listen to us.  They just aren't interested.  We have had a few people kindly offer us water, and a kind word for our efforts.  But past that we haven't had any success.  And that was hard for me to get my grips on.  In my last area we had SO much to do- granted it was 3x as big with an extra ward attached.  But I am having to re-focus and re-learn how to teach and approach people here.

It is interesting how the Lord takes us and refines us.  He knew that I was confident, strong, and obedient in my last area.  And here, I am in a new world.  I am having to follow up train again, and learn a new area.  I know that we need opposition to grow, but where is the breaking point.  When seekers of truth are hit with hard things, that is the time we fall to our knees.  The Lord lets us struggle at times because He knows we will come to Him in supplication and therefore the relationship we have with Him will grow.

I have learned that I have a very strong, “don't give up” mentality.  And in missionary work that can sometimes exhaust a person.  So what is the answer; where does the balance lie?  I feel like when I am the BEST missionary I have been, and now is the time I am at the peak of my learning and skills, I have been placed in an area where I know NOTHING nor WHERE to go.  I know that we are not given more than we can handle.  This may be a precious time where I will grow closer to my Savior,  or perhaps this will be a time where I am humbled and shown that it is all up to the Lord.  Whatever the reason is for me being here, I will work, I will fight, and I will pray because when we are on the Lord's errand, things always work out.
This I know.
 Love always,
Sister Golden

Monday, August 10, 2015

My Third Transfer!

Sister Burdette and I went to town and taught 5 people on our first contact with them, either knocking on doors, or on the street and giving them the message of the restoration in 4 minutes, and were able to give 4 of them Books of Mormon.  One of them accepted a baptismal date upon invitation, and another one wanted to come to church right away!  We also got return appointments with all of them.   I have made it a habit to set a specific goal the night before when I know we will be out tracting. 
Maps of the two areas we serve
So Sister Burdette and I decided to search for and find a single parent who could use the gospel.  One of the doors we knocked on was opened by a nice looking woman who invited us right in and gave us water (so nice of her!). Her poor 19 year old daughter was on the couch with an ice bag on her face...she had just gotten home from getting her wisdom teeth pulled!  We shared a little about our faith and she told us we could come back on her day off the next week.  Later that night I realized she was that single mom we had prayed about and searched for.  The spirit is so great- it truly guides us during the day.

Then at church we ended up having 5 of our less active families, that we have been consistently working with, all come to church.  It was an amazing week of success and blessings.  I feel like I have truly grown into the missionary I have been wanting to become in this area.

These are all the people I have grown to love and will miss dearly!

I have learned to rely on the Lord and the spirit and by doing so have overcome my fear of talking with everyone.  FOR example,  we had to stop at a gas station during our afternoon of tracting (because I drink a lot of water and always have to go to the bathroom).  My eye caught on the guy inside the Fed Ex truck parked just outside...when we came back out he was still there.  I looked at him again.  I sat in the drivers seat with the key in the ignition having an internal battle on whether or not to go and talk to him.  Well, I did.  I got out of the car with Sister Burdette trailing after me probably wondering what was wrong with me, haha.  I introduce myself and start talking with him about normal things- he was sitting there waiting to switch trucks with another guy.  Of course I slip in that I am a missionary and we start talking about religions.  We shared the 4-min restoration lesson with him and gave him a Book of Mormon to take home and read.  He said he sincerely would and would ask God if it was real.  It is such a good feeling when you know that you gave your all that day. 

We know that the Lord doesn't give us anything we can't handle, "for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them" (1 Nephi 3:7). 
I have true gratitude for being a representative of Jesus Christ.  This will not last forever.  I have learned the precious principle of time this week- why it came so late in my mission I don't know. But I am glad it did.  We only have so long to do ANYTHING.  And I have an even shorter time to proclaim what I know to be true and help others find this joy the gospel has to bring.  This Mallory has been refined, buoyed up, and changed by Christ.  And for that I will always profess.

That was probably why it was so devastating for me to get the news....YES, transfer news.  I am being transferred somewhere else tomorrow. 
I was really upset at first.  I felt like I was being taken from this area prematurely.  Things were going SO well- I was more confident in the Lord and my abilities he has helped me gain more than EVER; I loved the people, and the places.  But I know I am needed elsewhere, and I will Go and Do. 

<3 Sister Golden

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Gospel is True!

This one is going to be a little bit shorter.  But I will fill you in on what I have learned this week!  God is Good.  He loves us no matter what.  I am so grateful to be serving Him and coming closer to my Savior.

We are teaching 3 old women right now, a family, and 2 other people on and off.  I have noticed that when I have really good personal study in the morning and feel the spirit, I am a way better teacher.  We went to go see Linda with Sister Anderson and I felt prompted to talk about Family History...totally not what we had planned.  She loved that we had that to offer and when I extended the invitation to be baptized she accepted.  Linda is never quiet, so for her to sit and think and answer a question is huge.  Especially that question!

I was reading a talk by President Uchtdorf and in it he said, "Your personal testimony of light and truth will not only bless you and your posterity here in mortality, but it will also accompany you throughout all eternity."  How true is that?  In our short life we can learn so, so much.  And it will affect us greatly while on the earth and once we are gone.

God cares about you. He will listen, and He will answer your personal questions. The answers to your prayers will come in His own way and in His own time, and therefore, you need to learn to listen to His voice. God wants you to find your way back to Him, and the Savior is the way.   God wants you to learn of His Son, Jesus Christ, and experience the profound peace and joy that come from following the path of divine discipleship.

I love the Lord and I am so grateful for what he has blessed me with in this life.
Love you all!
Sister Golden