Monday, September 28, 2015

New Companion!

So this week was a blur!  On Monday we said most of our goodbyes, stayed up packing Sister Atkinson's things, and went to bed.
Tuesday was an early start because I had to be at the church to go through some training at 8:15.  We met our new missionaries/new companions, and then had lunch, went to the transfer meeting and saw all the departing missionaries who were going home.  It was sad, but you knew that they were returning with honor.  The older I get in the mission, the more people I know, and then the more I know, the more I have to say goodbye to!
Bye bye Sister Atkinson
That night we jumped right into missionary life.  We went and visited one of our investigators and taught her about the Book of Mormon.  We brought her a Hindi Book of Mormon because that is her native language, and she was SO excited.  She said she would start reading right away. 
After the lesson Sister Petersen goes,  "Whoa.  I really don't know what the heck I am doing here. I feel like I don't know anything.  You were so good in there.  I can't do that!"  That made me think back to when I was a new missionary last September as well.  I had forgotten how scary, humbling and eye opening it all was.  But I encouraged her, and on we went.  We did some contacting and I told her to just say, "Hi How are you doing today?" As soon as the person opened the door.  Door contacting is so scary at first and I want her to be confident.  NOT nervous.  WE had dinner with our Relief Society President, had a mini meeting then grabbed some quick groceries to hold my new missionary over till Monday and headed home.  We learned how to plan, then crashed.  She was exhausted!
Our new children! Me with Sister Petersen
The next morning the alarm clock doesn't go off, but my body wakes me up at 6:50.  I'm like, "SHOOT.  I am starting Day 1 already as an AWFUL trainer."  I wake her up and we exercise in our living room.  I have to remind myself to do everything a little bit slower and explain what we are doing because Sister Petersen isn't used to the daily grind yet.  But I have enjoyed really thinking and focusing on what we do.  It helps me understand our purpose on a little deeper of a level.
After studies we go to District Meeting, then to lunch with the Green Level Sisters.  It was nice because we were all able to give Sister P advice and sympathize with her about how she was feeling!  Oh man, I remember being in my first week on the mission.  She is a champ.

We then went to an apartment complex to contact some former investigators that we found in our area book.  Some of them had moved, some didn't answer, and some said they weren't interested.  It was good practice though just knocking on doors.  Although we didn't get a whole ton of answers, we were able to meet a nice man whose name is actually GUY.  He was impressed with what we are doing and asked us to come back the next week after we shared a scripture with him.

Thursday we commenced in our first ever Weekly Planning Session together.  It took a while, but that's okay.  That night we were fed dinner twice, haha.  Chili with the Erickson's and Mexican chili with the Ortiz's.  Man, was I full!  It was pouring that night as well- luckily we had the car!

Friday we sang the song Come Follow Me at a baptism for the Elders.  Everyone said that it was great and brought a special spirit to the room.  I love that music and hymns can do that :)

Saturday we were able to contact one of our potential investigators!  That sweet woman Karin who liked my prayer.  When we walked in she immediately said, "Honey!  Give me your number I want to be able to contact you!  I am so gald you came back.  Every time you are here there is just such a wonderful warm presence.  IT's like you carry something with you.  I just love that.  Could you come over for dinner one night?  I want to get to know you girls better."  After some more conversation she gave us homemade applesauce, jelly, and brownies that she had canned, or froze.  She is SO Sweet.  People are so kind when you just LOVE them for who they are.  She wants to keep in touch after my mission as well.  What a nicey lady.

Then on Sunday after dinner we went contacting, found 2 new investigators, and one lady was so excited that we had an extar Book of Mormon for her, that she went to her pantry and gave us her homemade canned Dill Pickles, Sweet pickles, and peppery pickles.  Haha so nice.  Southern Hospitality is a real thing.  I think we need that in the West Coast.  That night the family we ate with made HUGE steaks, baked potatoes, and peas for dinner because they knew we had been fasting all day.  Food is 2x better on Fast Sunday :) Haha.

That night we had a really great lesson with a family we have seen about 3 times now.  The three children are really like sponges, and as we teach they ask us questions.  They have also been reading in the Book of Mormon and want to watch Conference next weekend.

I know that this is the Lord's work.  Remember, if this wasn't the Lord's work, the adversary wouldn't pay any attention to us.
I love it, I live it I need it.
<3 Sister Golden

Monday, September 21, 2015

Asked to Train Again!

 Alright, so I am going to share a bit of news first before going on to the rest of my letter.  On Friday we got a phone call from President and was sort of freaking out.  We had just gotten back from our work out and I was all sweaty and short winded.  We answer and he asks to speak with me...he doesn't say anything for what feels like a minute.  I start to panic in my head and worry if it is bad news.  But then he goes on to say, "Will you train for us?" Blunt and to the point.  I say, "yes, President I will." And he goes, "I'm sorry."  I don't know how to respond and consider saying, "Thank you?" and "Why?" HA! He continues, "I am sorry that I only have a few people I entrust with the sacred calling of being a trainer.  And know that I can trust you completely to do this job. But I know you will be great."  I was glad to know that the Lord trusts me, and so does President James, but I was still nervous!  I feel like I don't know the area, BUT... I also know that the Lord compensates for what we cannot do, and we are endowed with power when we need it most.  So I am trying to just pray a lot and put my faith and trust in the Lord.
We love biking!
Someone gave me a basket:)
Anyways.  This week was a good one for teaching.  We started teaching three siblings, whose mother actually has been taking the discussions on and off since 2009.  We had one lesson with the kids last week and all of them plus their mom came to church yesterday.  That night we had another lesson with them and the SPIRIT was so STRONG!  They were all sincerely interested and asked to continue the lessons.  They said they would all study and seriously pray about baptism.  The mom said, "You know, now I can finally accept the Joseph Smith story.  I understand that these things can happen and that God speaks to people differently due to time period, personal reasons and what we need."  So I know that the Lord has plans for his children.  We needed to teach them at THIS time, because the children are old enough to understand, and that is helping their mom learn as well.  So neat :)

Another lesson we had this week was with a single mom and her three girls.  She has also been seeing the missionaries for years.  We had a heart to heart lesson and she opened up to us about her struggles as a single mom and we were able to share a scripture of comfort from both the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon.  She really appreciated that and said that it let her know that God will always talk to his people and never leave them abandoned.  This was a great leap because her religion doesn't really even read the Bible. 

Another lesson...with another single mother (I am beginning to see a pattern) was about the Strippling Warriors.  She said that she hated being a single mom and felt that she wasn't doing her kids any good by raising them alone.  I felt prompted to turn to Alma 56 and when we got to the part where the boys said, "for our mothers knew it..."  she teared up and said "I needed to hear that."  The scriptures continue to amaze me.  No matter what our life struggle may be, we can find hope, comfort, and solace when we open and read them.  Even if we don't get an answer in word form, the spirit that comes with reading can be an answer in and of itself.  I have found that to be true many times for me as well.  If it isn't a habit for you already, I would encourage you to try and read from the scriptures daily.  You will find more spiritual comfort as you do so. 

This week we had Zone training so we all got together at the Stake Center.  That is always a treat because we learn a lot...and we get to see the temple of course!
At the training we got a bunch of new information!  News that we can NOW do things with Elders!  Such as have a District or Zone Activity, and with permission drive to meetings together, and possibly being able to eat together after meetings.  It will be SUCH a weird change, but I believe that it will increase the unity of our mission and allow us to practice obedience on a higher level.  Just gotta' stay consecrated!  Ha.  Today we had our first Zone Activity and played football, kick-ball, and zombie ball.  That last one was interesting.  Haha.  We got a big zone picture which I will hopefully receive next week.  But it was great being able to mingle and create a better relationship rather than shaking hands and going in the opposite direction.

  Tuesday was our Deep Clean day last week.  And we went to TOWN!  We cleaned out our apartment SO good.  I felt very accomplished and actually miss being able to clean and organize.  Weird, I know.  But it is like a stress reliever for me!  I just turned the music on and we went straight for 4 hours!

So because of conference coming up we have been informing our investigators and less actives about the Sat. and Sun. sessions, as well as the Relief Society Broadcast.  We seem to be getting good feed back about people wanting to watch and attend.  I know how powerful conference can be; and for someone who is investigating or trying to return to church, this can be a crucial moment!  I love going into conference with specific questions I want answered.  1. It always works.  2. I feel more close to my heavenly father.  I want you to do the same! :)

So this cute little 80 year old man had been meeting with us on his door step for about two weeks.  He is the one who always calls us pet names, haha.  The last time we saw him he called us, "Sweet darling baby girls".  When we brought a couple with us to a lesson The Old Man said that he wasn't interested in learning anything further.  But we were SO charming and didn't know how such nice girls like us were in the world.  1. It made me feel good that we put a positive note on the 'Mormons' and 2. I now can say that an 80 year old man had a crush on me.  Ha! Too bad he broke up with us before it went any further. 

I am truly grateful for the gospel in my life.  There are many struggles that our investigators face- and others who refuse to listen to the message we have to share miss out on blessings that could help them through.  I want to quote a talk I was reading by President Monson.

"When the pathway of life takes a cruel turn, there is the temptation to think or speak the phrase, “Why me?” Self-incrimination is a common practice, even when we may have had no control over our difficulty. Socrates is quoted as saying: “If we were all to bring our misfortunes into a common store, so that each person should receive an equal share in the distribution, the majority would be glad to take up their own and depart.”
However, at times there appears to be no light at the tunnel’s end—no dawn to break the night’s darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes. We join in uttering the biblical plea, “Is there no balm in Gilead?”  We are inclined to view our own personal misfortunes through the distorted prism of pessimism. We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone.
To all who so despair, may I offer the assurance of the Psalmist’s words: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life’s fight, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome.
Job was a perfect and an upright man who “feared God, and eschewed evil.” Pious in his conduct, prosperous in his fortune, Job was to face a test which would tempt any man. Shorn of his possessions, scorned by his friends, afflicted by his suffering, even tempted by his wife, Job was to declare from the depths of his noble soul, “Behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.  I know that my redeemer liveth.”
As we each face different hurtles in life, let us see them as humbling blocks, not stumbling blocks.  I know that the Savior is in the details.  Although our mortal mind cannot comprehend the end of our challenge, our spirit knows that this life is just a place to learn and be tested.
"Yes, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is our Exemplar and our strength. He is the light that shineth in darkness. He is the Good Shepherd. Though engaged in His majestic ministry, He embraced the opportunity to lift burdens, provide hope, mend bodies, and restore life."
I leave that testimony with mine as well.
Have such a good week :)
<3 Sister Golden

Monday, September 14, 2015

One Year in the Field!

This week was a SUCCESSFUL one at the least. 

This week the Sisters in my Zone all got to take a Self Defense class at a Tae-kwon-doe place!  The lady who taught us is a 5th degree black belt and has won worlds.  She was intense and 5 foot flat.  We had SO much fun and now when we walk around in the dark I feel much more confident;)

Weird moment:
1.) I was watching the 12-step videos last week at the library and asked the lady next to me if she wanted to watch them.  She got all loud and said that she had been saved for 36 years and people with addictions needed to cast out the devil and remove the evil from within themselves!  Okay...
2.) We were walking in a neighborhood and this Chinese lady asked us if we were Christian.  I said YES! She says, "Not Jehovah's Witnesses?" We said no that we attended the Church of Jesus Christ...and upon looking at our name tags she threw her hands up, walked back up her drive way and said "No, no thank you - bye bye!" very strange.  I left an Articles of Faith card on her door with a note that said..."christian." Ha!

Spiritual Moment!
We were about to get into our car after visiting a less active in the ward when all of a sudden I felt like we needed to tract that street.  We hadn't in the past, so we decided to do so.  We talked with several people, but never got anywhere.  One door we came to proved to us that we were MEANT to be there at that time.  A lady opens and was a little leery at first, but warmed up as we got talking.  We always try and connect with the person before spewing off stuff about the Gospel.  (Don't be a weirdo basically.)  She told us of some of the challenges that she was currently facing and when I read a scripture to her about the Lord lifting our Burdens she asked if she could have a Book of Mormon.  I almost threw one at her out of excitement, but refrained and gave it to her casually saying she would receive a lot of revelation as she prayerfully read it.  During the conversation she had gone from "yes you can try and stop by again...but I won't promise I will be home."  To "Well I am usually home nights."  And THEN after the prayer we gave for her she said, "If you come back next Thursday at 7 I will be here."  The spirit works on the people we see- so I don't need to worry about what to say or how to say it.  Because the Lord takes care of that.

We were blessed to be able to find 7 new investigators this week.  I had been really wanting to find people to teach. I was frustrated with the complacency I was feeling.  I was starting to fall into a routine rather than following the spirit day by day.  NOT GOOD.  "Once we enter into covenants with God there is no going back.  Giving in, giving up and giving out are not options.  In the kingdom of God there is a standard of excellence for exaltation. It requires valiant discipleship. There is no room for average or complacent disciples.  Average is the enemy of excellence and average commitment will prevent you from enduring to the end."  I love this quote.  And it is so true.  I don't want to be average! That scares me.  These last 6 months I want to sprint and run to the tape. 

I also am working on my meekness and humility.  I want to always be an instrument for the Lord, no matter what. 
"Meekness is the quality of those who are 'Godfearing, righteous, humble, teachable and patient under suffering. "Consistently following the Saviors example produces spiritual power and capacity.  Without the strengthening and enabling power of the Atonement it is impossible to stay on the path and endure." - Elder Pearson
When we strip away pride we are more easily accessible to the Savior, and we have greater access to the spirit.

Even though missionary work is hard, it is something that will always be fulfilling if you allow it to be. The Lord says "Praying always that they faint not; and inasmuch as they do this, I will be with them even unto the end" (D& 75:11)  I know that the Lord is there for me no matter what, and this is HIS work, and the Lord's work will go forward with or without my help.
The Edwards family from my last area sent me a care package!
Love, love, love,
Sister Golden :)

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Gospel is True!

Elder Bednar says, "A missionary is a follower of Jesus Christ who testifies of Him as the Redeemer and proclaims the truths of His gospel."  That is what we did this whole week.  And guess what?  We were led to two new investigators!  We received a phone call from a gentleman Thursday night asking us to go visit his non member daughter and her family- so the next day we did just that.  She let us right into her home and said that for all the years she has ever lived here not one set of missionaries has ever knocked on her door.  Then she says, "Can we feed you?  Would you like to come over for dinner next week?"  It was so cute.  She was so excited that the Sister Missionaries came to her home and made a point to let her family know that they were known and loved.  So special.  The second lady we found is a sweet old African American woman who has strong faith in her Savior.  After teaching her the Plan of Salvation she says, "Hunny, are you going to come see me again?  I love how I feel when you are here!"  I testify that when we live our lives in a way that is pleasing to the Savior, we will be blessed with the spirit.  And this is that same spirit in which people feel and are drawn to; please live in a way that allows you to have the spirit!  It could lead to so many missionary opportunities!

Something that has happened more frequently this week is having some of our investigators tell us, " I've had many people testify with as much conviction as you have about their religion.  So what makes yours any different?" And "Praying is always everyone's answer and everyone says that they were told by God that their church is right."  These stumped me at first.  I rely so heavily on my testimony and prayers to my Father in Heaven.  But yet, so do many others.  Well, I started studying the testimonies of some of our modern day apostles and sweet Prophet.  Those men are ASTOUNDING.  Having graduated from Ivy League Schools, being world renowned, taking part in governmental affairs, being in charge of National and International companies...these men ARE NOT DUMB.  They testify with conviction the same way I do.  In times of doubt or questioning I lean on them and their testimonies- because this church IS true.  I know it. 

Allan F. Packer says, "Change- if needed we must be willing to change.  Frequent small corrections are less painful and disruptive than large course corrections."  As I have been living my life as a missionary I have slowly made changes over the last 12 months I have been serving.  This is so that hopefully when I return from my mission I will be ready to face the world and makes new steps in a forward direction.  I had an interview with my mission President this week and he told me that there are ups and downs in our life.  We won't always be as close to the spirit, we won't always have success, but as long as we are working and living worthily the Lord will use us when he needs us.  I want to make sure that I am always in a state of being where the Savior can use me as an instrument.  It is my worst fear to not be one with the spirit; so I try and live the best I know how and allow for Christ to help me the rest of the way.
We visited the Raleigh Temple while we waited for our interviews with the Mission President!
Some fun things that happened this week:
1. At a lunch/lesson with an investigator I spilled dressing on my white shirt.  The sweet investigator gave me one of hers to wear and sprayed SHOUT on mine.  The shirt she gave me wasn't 100% missionary appropriate, so I was so sheepish as we walked out holding up my shirt in the wind..trying to dry it as fast as possible!

2. We biked this whole week which I  LOVE!  My skirt got caught in my brakes and pulled it all tight- luckily it was a longer skirt but I had to hold it all scrunched up because we were in an INTERSECTION! Haha
3. Yesterday being fast sunday was great!  But close to dinner time I started craving PB&J and Cereal (as usual.)  The sweet family we were visiting gave me a take home baggie of cereal so I could eat it later and fill that craving haha!
4. Sunday morning I took my hair out of a braid and it ACTUALLY LOOKED GOOD.  Well we had to walk to church that morning since we didn't have our car.  We get there, go to the bathroom and in the mirror I see my reflection!  I looked like a Dandelion Weed!  I was mad and put it in a bun for the rest of the day.  One day I will have nice hair again! Ha

I am so grateful for the challenges we go through.  Not because they are fun or easy, but because afterwards we come out more glorious and powerful than before. 
I love you and can't wait to hear from you! :)

Write letters ;)
1216 Holly Field Dr.
Morrisville NC 27560