Monday, November 30, 2015

Post Thanksgiving!

HELLO!  This week was CRAZY.  Just with everything going on :) But it was good.
First of all, our thanksgiving was great!  We went to the Rivers house and helped them cook some stuff.  I made a southern favorite called Banana Pudding.  Although after making it and knowing what all was inside, I wasn't too inclined on eating any of it, ha!
After cooking we watched the Testaments with them and headed off to our next appointment with the Milot's for the grand dinner.  And oh my it was grand.  So much food!  I was so full!  I didn't want to think about eating ever again!  But we had a really fun time and got a bunch of left-overs.  We were told by our Zone leaders that President wanted us out and about (although not knocking on doors) so we went to Wal-Mart and Target to talk with and contact people.  Now let me tell you, that was my first experience with any kind of 'Black friday shopping' and I did NOT enjoy it at all!  It was so packed and crazy and I had to do all I could not to get ran over!  People had maps printed out and teams that were splitting up to go get things...I was in awe.  SO that night ended in quite a lively way haha.

Now, rewind.  We were able to go on exchanges with the Sisters in Cary on Wednesday after we had Zone Training.
I went to their area with Sister Buhler and got to meet and teach all of their cute investigators and some less actives.  Going to another area is always fun because I learn and pick up on what other missionaries are doing to help them be successful.  We had a really good time.  I felt so good that the next morning I did some abdominal work and squats (by permission of my Physical Therapist) and was SO sore the next day.  I forget that I haven't exercised in about 5 weeks now.  I am a bum.
While on exchanges we taught a girl named Lindsey who was actually living in Wilmington when I was there a year ago.  My follow up trainer Sister Jones had actually started teaching her, but Lindsey wasn't ready and was mean and stopped meeting with them.  Lindsey brought this up during our lesson and I told her I knew Sister Jones!  Lindsey said to not ever feel like I don't do anything in missionary work.  Sis. Jones probably felt like she didn't get anywhere with Lindsey.  But because they took the time to teach her, she always remembered the Sisters and found them when she moved to Cary.  NOW she is getting baptized. The work we do is never worth nothing.  It is always worth something.  That was a neat tender mercy of the Lord.
Earlier that day some crazy lady asked us for money, we ran into some not so safe individuals in a rough part of town, spent an hour talking to a woman who had a memory problem, and had dinner.  So it was a great exchange :) I love being a sister training leader so I can meet all these sweet Sisters in my area and learn from them.

Earlier in the week we had a lesson with one of our investigators, and I ended up leaving very frustrated because it didn't go well.  She was just confused and we were confused and we just didn't know what she expected.  I was feeling really down because many of our investigators don't have desires to progress. They just meet with us and get the 'feel-goods'.  But I want to fulfill my purpose and do my duty here as a missionary.  So when I had a meeting with the leaders in the mission and the theme was 'Covenanting' my interest was peaked.  President talked about how when we covenant with the Lord, set goals, achieve them, and repent daily we will be blessed with more people to teach than we can imagine.  He gave examples such as covenanting to teach 3 lessons per day and give out two books of Mormon.  Or tract the whole three hours from 6-9 and do so many things.  So I brought this back to my area and Sister Petersen and I were able to make some of our own covenants.  Guess what.  We found 7 new investigators this week.  We set a goal to find a family of 4 on Saturday, and the very last house we knocked on was a family of four who let us in.  The next night, Sunday, we tracted all the way up until the last possible minute, and what happened?  A family of 4 was behind the door and accepted us in.  I can tell you that covenanting works.  When we put our shoes to the pavement, diligently seek out the Lord's will, and work like there is no tomorrow, He WILL bless us.  This is a pattern I will follow for the rest of my life.  In school, in Marriage, in family, and all else.  I want the Lord to fill the cracks in my life that I cannot.

Friday night we had dinner with our Indian friend named Rina.  It was some yummy native food that she cooked for us and we were surprised when she had a friend she has known since college stop by to join us. He was Buddhist and was very intrigued about our missions and what we believe as a religion in general.  It is interesting who the Lord placed in our path so that we could reach our goal that day.  We talked a lot with Joey about our faith and he thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was a great night that turned from just a dinner appointment to a specific place for us and this man to meet so we could discuss our doctrine.
Then we decided to drive by our investigator’s house who told us she wasn't available to meet until January 7th and we found her at home getting ready to leave!  We had a short lesson with her, a prayer, and said goodbye.  We heard her saying, "Such sweet girls, bless you. "  As we walked away.  Just another moment to see God's hand in my life this week.

Here are some quotes that touched me this week!
"Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trials and testing of life.  Such choices are made with trust in things that are believed and when acted upon are confirmed."

"When He answers YES it is to give us confidence.  When He answers NO it is to prevent error.  When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in him, obedience to his commandments and a willingness to act on truth."
-Richard G. Scott.

Love, Sister Golden

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Week!

Hello my family!  Thanksgiving is upon us..again!  Are you going to do anything fun? I hope so:) We will be going to help the Rivers family cook that afternoon, then go to another family's house to eat din din and then another family hopefully for a party.  It was really cold today too- I hope it fades.
This week we were able to enjoy an Indian Feast prior to thanksgiving at a ladies house named Hitha.  She and her family are good friends with some members in our ward and invited a few people over for dinner.  THERE was so much food.  But it was so neat.  The few neighbors she invited  were really interested in talking to Sister Petersen and I.  I am thinking to myself all the while, "If this happened because we knocked on your door, you would have told us to go away!" Ha.  But these families asked all about missionary work, our church, and were very impressed with what we were here in NC doing.  One man and his family told us that we should stop by their house the next time we were in the area and chat with them.  YES! That is exactly what we were hoping would happen!

Sunday we had an Early thanksgiving dinner with the Strange family who is in the Morrisville ward.  It was a great time and it gave me a chance to reflect on what I am truly grateful for before we even sit down on the 26th and go around saying what we are thankful for.  I love my family, country, education, my Savior, the gospel, the sun and so many more things. Ha.

Another highlight was when we went grocery shopping with Cathy who isn't a member but has taken somewhat of a maternal role over us and wants to make sure we are okay:) We tracted into her and she has been someone we visit every so often.  But she was SO kind and bought all of our groceries for us.  IT was such a tender mercy! I just love the hospitality here.

Here are a few thoughts that I have had this week and wanted to share!
Belief and faith require our personal faith and action. We are all trying to run to the end of our missions, to sprint to the tape, and complete these years with honor.  "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run that ye may obtain." (1 Cor. 9:24)  The decision to believe is the most important choice we ever make.  It shapes all our other decisions.  Belief and testimony and faith are not passive principles, they are things we actively choose to believe.  On our journey as full time missionaries we are constantly working, or running, to receive the blessings, rewards and benefits that lie ahead of us.  Just because our peers and the elders and sisters around us are moving on in a forward direction doesn't mean we can sit back and expect the current to catch us and bring us along as well.  We need to make the choice to believe, act, and run so that we may receive our prize at the end of our lives; the prize of eternal life.  The finish tape isn't at the end of our missions, this is only the practice.  The finish is when we meet our maker.  I love the gospel and my Savior, and I know that through Him we will find strength to run.

Sorry it was rather short.  But I am looking forward to the up and coming week!
Lots of Love,
Sister Golden :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Sacrifices of Missionary Work!

Well hello my family!  I hope that this week was a good one for you all!  It has been cold, rainy, dark, then sunny here in little Morrisville.  I hope the warmth stays as long as it can...I really dislike the cold.  Ha!

So yesterday we were able to go and teach our former investigator about the Restoration of the gospel.  I had tracted into her in August but we hadn't been able to get up with her until last week and set a return appointment. She is a woman of strong faith and attends a non-denominational church and believes there isn't one true church here on the earth.  As we were teaching I only used Bible verses to reference to the prophets, the apostasy, Christ's ministry, the restoration, and so on.  This is the book that the Southerners are accustomed to, and know well.  Our mission President has challenged us to become more familiar with the Bible as we teach so that our investigators can understand and draw similarities more easily between us.  That is what I did!  You could tell that she was intrigued and very much aware of what we were saying.  She asked a few questions here and there and towards the end of the lesson she asked a question that stumped me.  She said, "So what you're saying is that the Church of Latter Day Saints is the only right church- and everyone else is wrong?"  I wasn't stumped because I didn't have an answer, but I was afraid to A. Make her mad, B. Offend her C. Make her think negatively of us.  I answered her and said that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Christ's church restored to the earth again.  That didn't appease I said "So yes, this church has the fullness of the gospel in it..."  She wasn't mad but she did sit back in her chair and say,"That is what I thought you meant."  As we continued speaking she let us know that she didn't agree- but she was cordial about it which I appreciated.  Our lesson ended REALLY well and she accepted our challenge to read 3 Nephi 27 before our next visit and said she would study some more. 
After we left I was really annoyed with myself.  WHY was I scared to profess my knowledge that: YES this is the TRUE church and she NEEDED to experience the happiness it brought because it would change her life?!  We are told over and over again to be bold as missionaries. To not fear man.  To bear our heartfelt testimony. I felt as though I had failed and didn't chalk up to my potential as a  missionary in that lesson.  There was more I could have said, done, and shared.  The sweet member who came with us, who is new to the gospel as well asked me, "Do you feel like you shared all that you believed?" I said I did, but should have done better.  She responded with, "Then you did all you were to do."  I am grateful to know that we have tomorrows, second chances, opportunities to try again.  Because without Christ's grace, the sacrifice he made, I would be in DEEP trouble.  I learned that as a missionary we still have fears and doubts and concerns.  But do we focus on that?  Or let the Atonement push us through and bring us to the next step of illumination.  Line upon line. Precept upon precept.

Something neat that Sister Petersen and I were able to participate in this week was Young Women in Excellence.  The girls 12-18 in our ward had an evening to talk about their accomplishments and showcase things that they had done or were a part of for school, YW's, or other activities.  The head of the Young women's program asked us to come speak for a few minutes on "Light and being your own sunshine" amidst today's ever changing world.  We were HAPPY to do it and it made me reminisce my naive days as a young teen in Young Women's:) HA!  But it was so fun.  Three of the girls spoke from each class, then us Sister Missionaries, then the Bishop.  Seeing the strong youth being raised to stand up for what they believe in really humbles me and wants to make me be a better example.  I hope that when I have kids I can implement all the amazing things I have learned from church leaders, as I parent and raise them.

YW's President ~ Sister Bennett

Door contacting this week was very special!  We ran into a lot of interesting individuals who are STILL children of God and I am practicing my patience with ;)  Sometimes I wonder how I would react to two adorable girls with skirts on, who are smiling, friendly, complimented me, and had a unique name printed on a badge that they wore.  Unfortunately all people see is our Book of Mormon, and imagine horns, crazy beliefs and the last thing they notice is my smile and undeniably cute, frizzy, curly hair that blows in the wind on their doorstep.  HA.  I can only imagine.  There was a lady who had just gotten eye-lid surgery because her eyes were too baggy to open them, and was chatting with us enthusiastically.  We ran into a Pastor of another Non-denominational church and he gave us his card, we talked with a father who was fixated on a grasshopper on his door and said he didn't want it jumping inside so he had to go.  Another lady said she was very committed to and had a good relationship with her....CHURCH.  I was like, uh, shouldn't you have said you have a very committed good relationship with your SAVIOR?  All well.  Then everyone else was Indian and said they were Hindu.  BUT I know that we are here for a reason and we just need to be the instrument and the Lord will lead us to the right people.  I know that missionary work contains so much more depth and breadth than just tracting.  And we have been able to work with our new and less active members, strengthen our own testimonies and conversion and implement more with our members.

I do wish though that more people actually understood what a 'Mormon mission' entailed.  Some will say, "Now you have a relaxing weekend!" or "Go on home and enjoy yourself."  Or "Go see this movie, show, play etc."  Or they say they have a friend who went to ____ said place...and loved the mission they served.  If more people understood the sacrifice and the lengths of work we go to just to help other people gain happiness we may be received more readily.  But...Christ's ministry wasn't easy. He faced hardships.  He endured denial.  He went through tragedy.  So can I.  This is the Lord's work, and it will go forward no matter what.

I know that this is the Lord's church on the earth today.  If we truly seek out, really wanting to know if there is truth to be had in today's world, we will find it.  And it will be in HIS church.
Love ya!
Sister Golden

Monday, November 9, 2015

I'm on the Mend!

First off, I am doing much better this week! I am sleeping better and can basically do everything on my own. I washed my hair last night and just used my right arm if I needed to raise an arm over my head. Yay me!! Some members laugh at me because I am more bulk with my new and improved (pillow included) sling. I call it my bionic arm, or transformer, ha! When I do things it takes me 2 times as long and I look funny.
Sister Youd my surrogate mother
A great place for stashing things!
So my District was going to get together to play sand volleyball, of which I was so excited about, and was quickly shot down by my companion saying I couldn't play...
My companion Sister Petersen
 anyway, we woke up to rain, and now 5 hours later it is still raining. So our District leader cancelled it, ha...kind of funny! So it will be put off till next Monday. Maybe after a few PT appointments I can play?!
My friends from the MTC
This week we finally went out and did some work. Our numbers have been awful the last few weeks. We found a new investigator who is Chinese and her name is Min Ming. She is interested in religion as a whole and accepted a BOM. We will see if it goes anywhere. After almost a month of not meeting we finally saw the Ramos kids. I really hope one of them chooses to be baptized. While out tracting this week we had an Indian man (who has been here for 18 years and is very westernized) ask me if I was brain washed. He told us we are two young, unlearned girls wasting our time. And he belittled us. Oh my, was my blood boiling! But what I realized was the name badge on my chest carries Christ's name and prevents me from doing anything I may have done if it were just me. Who I represent (the Lord, the Church, my family) makes it so that I am 100% more aware of my actions and reactions. It made me think!

On my mission I am acutely more aware of bearing Christ's name and leaving a positive impression of the church. Why did it take me serving a mission, wearing my Savior's name to act in a way that wouldn't disappoint or hurt the Lord and His Church? The covenant I made at baptism had already placed Christ's name upon me, now it's just more tangible being on a black piece of plastic. Going on a mission helped me to realize that I am always on the Lord's errand, and I am always representing the Savior and His gospel. I am grateful to be able to practice more fully my ability to reign in my human characteristics and exude Godly qualities. I want to carry this for the rest of my life. As we go about our daily lives, there are many people who watch us. I want to make sure that all I do is of "good report and praiseworthy." So, there is your spiritual tid-bit, or inside my head for the week.

We have been working with a lady who is a returning member in the ward. She was baptized at 21, fell away and found the church last April...40 years of inactivity. This last week she went to the temple for the first time and did baptisms for the dead with the youth. She was SO happy! Her joy was so full that I couldn't help but feel the same way. It helped remind me that this is why I am here, to help people make covenants, and enter the temple. Although this has been a challenging area, I know that the Lord looks out for His children and wants us to progress. God's whole purpose, His work and his glory is to enable each of us to enjoy all His blessings. I am so blessed to have you all for a family. Being sealed in the temple is that much more precious to me.

I love you all,
Love Mallory (Sister Golden)
A Sugar Glider from Australia

Monday, November 2, 2015

To Be Humbled!

So this week was UNIQUE!  And by unique I mean different than anything else I have ever done. Ha!  I have almost mastered living with one arm- I can do so much with only one hand!  The one thing I still can't do is my it is going to be frizzy and unruly for the next few weeks.  My companion is great and has really been looking out for me.  The Lord knows who to place in our lives at certain times!
I am no longer the designated driver and that is so weird for me!  I haven't been the passenger in a while and I saw everything in a new perspective..I call it the seat of shame. HA!
My new job...backing the car out!
So the day after I broke my clavicle it was deep clean day in our apartments.  I was a big contributor..NOT. But I did try to do what I could..and no I didn't over-do it so don't worry :) That night at our dinner appointment we got to carve pumpkins with the Rivers.  It was fun.  I was still exhausted after the last few days events so it was a good outlet.  I carved with one hand!  Go me.

Wednesday I was really tired, sore, and probably hurt a little bit more than I previously had. The Sisters we share the car with were SO sweet and Christ-like...they gave us the car until we get cleared to walk again- so probably after my surgery.  That night was the Trunk-or-Treat for our ward and it was so cute!  There was chili and costumes, and many friends.  Only a handful of people asked about the sling that I was wearing...the rest of the ward saw me with it on Sunday and said, "Oh I thought it was a part of your costume!" Haha.  Nope.  Hermoine Granger didn't wear a sling that I ever remember.  (PS that's who I was.  And I rocked the hair as well.)  WE gave out candy bags that had pass-along cards in them to the friends (of our members) who attended this event.  IT was a good time- although cut short by the rain.

The rest of the days we were able to see a few of our less actives, investigators and members.  But we didn't go full throttle because I want to be careful and let myself heal.  It is hard to reign in the 'missionary' within me!  That was a challenge and I had a constant battle with myself.  But I was wise, and CTR..chose the right.

Halloween was fun.  We did our normal missionary stuff during the day and then when the trick-or-treating started we went to a members house and mingled there.  They threw a party and had some non-member friends there. It was great.

Not being able to do much on my own has helped to increase my humility.  I know that the Savior suffered all, and I can turn to him.  Learning how to rely on others has been difficult, but if I can't let those who I am serving help me, how could I ever let the Lord help me?  I am doing well and will keep you updated on the coming week!
<3 Sister Golden
My Ice Machine!
I use it while I sleep!