Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas!!

It feels like I have been in Hampstead for MONTHS!  Rather than just over a week and a half.  But things are BOOMING!  It is so amazing to me to see how the Lord works in our behalf. 

We have been going down the ward roster trying to meet new people, contact referrals we have received, and tract to find new investigators that way as well.  Sister Macrum and I have a great teaching mechanism and we know when to pick up, stop, and come in.  It is fabulous. 
I want to tell you about three people we came across this week, and how the Lord was in the details. First, Danny.  We were actually referred by the Elders to go see his wife. So we park in the driveway, and bow our heads to say a prayer like we usually do.  When I open my eyes I see a BIG man looming outside my window and I jump- do a little girly, 'ah!' and he jumps and does a big manly, "AH!"  I get out of the car and say, 'You SCARED me!' and he laughs back and says that I scared him.  To give you a better idea of the scenario, he is about 300 pounds, 6 feet 2 inches, has a prosthetic leg with tattoos on his arms and hands.  We get to talking about Christmas and what he and his wife had done.  He told us he was preparing  a sermon for church the next day because they had asked him to speak.  Both Sister Macrum and I said we were ALSO asked to speak to our congregation the next day!  (Of which I had forgotten up to that point and was so kindly reminded.) HA! He said that he had always been a church goer and felt blessed this season especially because he had been searching for a job and was just hired.  We praised him and I felt prompted to share Ether 12:27 with him about being humbled and then being strengthened in the Lord.  And although the scripture doesn't really talk about enduring to the end...or holding to the iron rod, the phrase, "We need to hold fast!" came out of my mouth.  I was like..."What?" In my head...
The conversation continued and we found out that the woman we were originally looking for was his wife.  And she had just gotten knee surgery and was asleep inside.  But I definitely felt that it was HIM we needed to talk to.   As our chat came to a close we got his information, set a day to come back, and he says, "You girls be safe out there.  Don't forget"... *holds up his fists and tattooed across his fingers it says, "HOLD FAST".  Oh my gosh....I was prompted to say that because it had significance to him.  It was amazing.  I am excited to see where this goes with them.

Second, Tim.  We were looking for his wife and as we walked up to the garage he was tinkering around in he told us that she had left.  But not just left, ... she 'LEFT....left'.  Took their daughter and walked out.  My heart swells and hurts for him.  (That is what I love about the spirit and being a missionary.  You actually feel how the Savior would feel if he were talking to these people.)  Tim starts to cry and leans against the truck.  I didn't really know how to respond to a grown man crying to us- strangers.  So automatically I turn to the scriptures.  I flip open immediately to Mosiah 24:13 and 14.  He is listening intently and tells us that he is just hurting and what is worse, is that it was Christmas.  He asked us to pray to the Big Man upstairs because he couldn't for himself.  He hadn't been there for God, so why would God be there for him NOW?  He also relayed how he felt about his communication with God...that is wasn't the best and he didn't know how it could get better.  I LOVED this because this is EXACTLY what we address as missionaries.  We both testified of God's love for him, and that no matter what was going on, Christ was listening to him and could feel his pain.  We told him we would come back and address this more with him.  There are so many people out there who are hurting and don't know how to find God.

Third, Stephanie.  A middle aged widow who is actually BAPTIST.  But the nicest one you'll ever meet!  She let us in her home and was telling us about her constant search for God and the things she has studied and read to build her relationship with him.  She had several versions of the Bible, and said she had actually read about Mormons and knew a few.  She had no hard feelings and said she would be up for reading the Book of Mormon and seeing how she felt.  IT was great to feel so successful.

Then we were able to meet a part member family and start teaching a 14 year old girl named Ezzy.  She has come to church twice and ASKED if she could be baptized.  (Jaw dropped open on that one!)  We extended a baptismal date and she accepted.  So hopefully all will go well and we will have a baptism this January :)

Not so FUNNY things of the week. 
- Our apartment has a flea problem and I currently have 18 bites on my feet and shins. 
- We were driving in the pouring rain, got stuck in the mud, had to get pulled out, and felt SO dumb.  I don't have great luck with cars these days...

Great Service opportunity!
We went out shopping, put together stockings for three needy kids in the ward and dropped them off on Christmas eve.  The Family we were eating dinner with drove us and their kids did the 'ding-dong-ditching'.  It was so fun and fulfilling. The family who did it with us thanked us for letting their kids be a part of that neat experience on Christmas Eve :)

Then on Christmas Day we went to the Bishop's house and opened gifts, ate food, went to the BEACH because it was 77 degrees outside, and sunny!  Skyping the fam was definitely the highlight.
I am so thankful for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It allows me to repent, be with my family forever, and never question or doubt my relationship or personal revelation from God.

For New Years I am setting a few goals for myself: spiritual, and physical.  What are your resolutions to come closer to your Savior?

Lots of LOVE!
Sister Golden

Monday, December 21, 2015

A New Area And A New Companion!

My new companion Sister Macrum!
OKAY!  So I haven't even been in my new area for a week but it feels like it has been months!  I feel like I have known my companion before; she and I get along SO well.  She is such a blessing and I am so grateful we are here together. 
Last Tuesday at transfer meeting I had a feeling the WHOLE time that I would be going Hampstead.  When President asked me to stand and announced that I would be transferring to Hampstead to be a Sister Training Leader I just stood there...and said, "I knew it."  And sat down.  Everyone giggled because my reaction wasn't even one of surprise.  They announced my companion a little later and said we would be opening the area together.  Later on our almost 3 hour drive down to Hampstead she told me she had a feeling she would be companions with me and that she would be going to Hampstead as well.  Sounds like we were both pretty prepared!
Hampstead is on the coast

We had been told by our housing specialist that we actually DIDN"T even have an apartment yet- but could move in on Thursday.  As the assistants were shoving all of our belongings into our little fusion car, Sister Scott the housing missionary says, "So I got you some sleeping bags so you can sleep warm on the beach!"  She had forgotten how much I stress myself out so after saying that, I BURST into tears!  I knew she couldn't have been serious, but I was SO nervous to go open an area.  No apartment.  No one to teach.  No companion who knew the area..etc.  I was frightened.  She took us inside and tried to calm me down and told me that we were set to sleep at the Bishop's house for the next few nights and that they would help us move in on Thursday.  I said okay and tried to pull myself together.  The next few hours down to Hampstead were a blur. 
The Smith Girls
We arrived at 7:30 at the Bishops house and we all piled into the car to go have dinner with the Brown's (another family in the ward).  It was great- but I was exhausted and had a headache.  We got home and the Elders came over and gave us the area book and started going over everyone in it.  I felt even more overwhelmed.  Then the Bishops wife starts talking about all the people we can go see, and I am just like, OH MAN.  Can I do this?

We went upstairs to the guest bedroom and got ready for bed.  I was spent physically, emotionally, spiritually and all other “ally's”.....ha!  As I said my prayer that night I asked heavenly father why I had been sent here.  I felt so inadequate and so not up to the task that was being required.  I felt like I was underwater and couldn't re-surface.  As I was praying a thought came into my head.  It was "Why would I send you here if you couldn't do it?"  Then I remember what President James told us as he sent us off, "I stared at the wall for HOURS.  And chose who would go where on inspiration."  That WALL he referred to is a map of the mission with every single missionaries picture on it, so he knows where we all are and where he is sending us.  That comforted me a little bit. 

The next two days we spent with the Smith girls...going over the ward roster, going shopping, seeing the area etc.  On Thursday the assistants came to help us move in along with Elder & Sister Scott, the housing missionaries.  We were also helped by the Smith girls who helped us do all the knitty gritty stuff like hang clothes, clean and make beds.  We went out to dinner afterwards and got some last minute things for the apartment that we needed....oh, like a SHOWER ROD.  That was important.  It was like deja vu because all the things that were in my apartment in Morrisville came with me to my new apartment in Hampstead. WEIRD. 

The following days were so strange...we just went around, aimlessly meeting people the Bishop had filled us in on.  A lot of part member families live in this area and less actives as well.  BUT I LOVE THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE MISSION.  Everyone here is SO much more accepting and kind.  The ward is amazing.  They are pretty old- but totally country.  Accents, good cookin' and all else that goes with it.
Putting addresses into the GPS
I hope to fulfill all that the Lord needs me to do here.  I don't want to miss anyone or anything he needs me to touch, help or change.  Including myself.  Remember, "Good timber doesn't grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees."  Although times may be hard, I know that the challenges make us stronger and more deeply 'rooted in the gospel soil'.

Lots of Love and have a Merry Christmas!
Sister Golden

Monday, December 14, 2015


OKAY.  So the Big news of the week-  both my trainee and I are getting transferred!  So we are
leaving Morrisville and they are closing down the area for sisters for a while.  I don't know how long; but that was definitely not expected.  We got the call Saturday night around 9:30.  I had been on edge all day with the phone on vibrate and at my waist wherever we went to make sure I wouldn't miss a
call from someone telling me that I was being transferred.  So you can picture me, back at the apartment that night, totally deflated because I had been expecting to leave.  I was mentally preparing for another transfer here when *ring-ring-ring* the phone goes off!  Our District Leader Elder Hardy goes, "sisters, drum roll please..."
Elder Hardy
Then says, "you are BOTH leaving...pack your bags!"  We were SHOCKED and spent the rest of the night trying to wrap our minds around it.  The next day at church was super dramatic and emotional when they called us sisters up and Elder Hardy as well to give our departing testimonies.  It has been quite humorous to have both Sister Petersen and I pack and not run into each other, do laundry and clean!  Talk about mission memories!  We had to give over our area book to the elders and update them on the things we have been doing.  I am confident that they will do a good job and the Lord will direct them.  What is meant to happen will happen- I am sure.  

The week prior was also very eventful!  We had Zone Training on Wednesday with the missionaries in our stake boundaries, and then Christmas Zone Conference the very next day with half of our mission.  For Zone Training the other District leaders, the Zone leaders and I decided on what we were going to do.  It was a little different than the average instructions, but we had a self reflection based training.  We broke into two groups and one group sat out by the temple, and the second group went to the RS room inside the stake center. 
We were given a piece of paper for each category of 'pre-mission, from the MTC till now, and from now until the end of your mission'.  There were questions for each section that were meant to make the missionaries reflect and ask themselves whether or not they were where they wanted to be.  It was GREAT and I think it served its purpose.  The next day for Conference President James and his wife, and one of his counselors addressed us as well as a boy named Michael who had Cerebral Palsy, and a lady from the area who all spoke on life's challenges and overcoming them.   It was amazing and the spirit was very strong.  Then President James opened up the rest of the meeting for testimonies.  It was a powerful way to end.  After lunch we had the Music portion of the meeting!  We were told we could perform, so up to the conference Sister Petersen and I practiced a song we wanted to sing.  We sang “We Seek After These Things” and it was good- the other performances were great as well!  That was a good day.
Then the day before all of THAT (Tuesday) was Deep clean day, for our apartments, and 2nd Transfer call-in for the New missionaries.  So Sister P. and I were a part of that.  We got on a conference call and President assigned each of us to talk about something from the 12 week training program.  Whoa it was a busy week.  On top of all of that we were able to find 2 new investigators and go on another exchange with the Asian sisters.  I went with Sister Richardson to her Mandarin class and left with my head hurting!  That is a hard language! Dang!

"A testimony is spiritual knowledge of truth obtained by the power of the Holy Ghost.  Continuing conversion is constant devotion to the revealed truth we have received- with a heart that is willing and for righteous reasons.  Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony.  Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion.  We should know the gospel is true and be true to the gospel."

I am grateful for the conversion I have experienced.  What are you willing to do to become more converted to your Savior?
SISTER Mallory Golden

Monday, December 7, 2015

Follow up with my Doctor!

HELLO!  This week was a cold one for sure.  But today was nice and our zone got together to play some sports.  But they chose ultimate Frisbee and volleyball so that they wouldn't break me again they said, ha!
So on Tuesday a member and I drove to Duke for my follow up appointment, and Sister Petersen stayed in Morrisville with a girl who is getting ready to go on her mission.  At the orthopedic center Dr. Moorman told me that I was healing well and I didn't need my sling any longer, and I could resume normal activity and that I could move on with my life! 
Of course I still have some restrictions, but I have run a few times and it feels SO sore.  My PT guy, Jared, also told me I can start adding in resistance bands to my exercises and doesn't need to see me for 2 weeks because I am progressing fast enough.  I told him I could potentially be transferred the 15th and he said I would be just fine.  That was good news!  To think they told me I would need surgery...
Afterwards we had some left over time and Sister Youd who was with me took me on a little tour of Duke.  She snuck us into the gym where the basketball team was playing, we saw Duke Chapel, some dorms, statues, and walked the campus.  It was NEAT!  Definitely different than BYU-I.
Duke's Chapel
Basketball Practice
A tender mercy of the week was being able to see 3, part member, families.  The ladies are all members and we go visit them regularly.  It has taken months, but we have been able to build up a relationship with them and they actually took initiative and invited us back over; we were so excited.  It caused me to ponder over why there is such a great emphasis placed on COMING to CHURCH.

"How does the church accomplish the Lord's purposes?  It is important to recognize that God's ultimate purpose is our progress.  His desire is that we continue from grace to grace until we receive a fullness of all He can give.  That requires more that simply being nice or feeling spiritual...on cannot fully achieve this in isolation, so a major reason the Lord has a church is to create a community of saints that will sustain one another in the strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life."
(1 Cor. 12:22)
"We do not strive for conversion to the church but to Christ and his gospel, a conversion that is facilitated by the church.  The Book of Mormon expresses it best when it says the people "were converted unto the Lord and were united unto the church of Christ."  That is why I came out and stayed on my mission.  I wasn't converted to my mission, but to HIS gospel which fully involved service, and sacrifice for the well being of others.

On top of training Sister Petersen, I have been able to go on exchanges- but double time since I have to go with each member of the companionship.  I have a Zone Phone call each Friday, a meeting with the Zone Council the first Tuesday of the month, a mission wide leadership meeting every Friday following a transfer, I get to help plan the Zone Trainings we have once a month on Wednesdays, and then this Thursday we also have our Christmas Conference with President and his wife.  OF which I will be singing in!  YAY:)  But to say we are busy is an understatement!  I would rather that than not though.
Exchanges with Sister Huang from Taiwan
Asian Snacks!

My District
I have found it a unique challenge to try and feel the spirit influence my life as we have been more busy.  It has showed me HOW important my personal studies are and my prayers each and every day- that is my life line with my heavenly father.  And when I don't put as much effort into it...I really feel the distance.  It is interesting.  But I like being able to make a goal for myself and try to improve rather than being a stagnant missionary.

A lot of people have been asking me about going's like when you hit 12 weeks people get a vibe and start asking you non-stop, "Now, when do you go home?"  It hasn't been getting on my nerves, but I don't like it being brought up so often either.  I don't fear coming home, yet I don't have a desire to serve longer than my 18 month call.  I don't consider going back to Seattle 'going home.'  When I die, and meet my maker I will be home.  Going to Washington will be my next step in this life; a chance for me to apply all that I have learned and sacrificed for while on my mission in North Carolina.  So, when I return to Washington, I will still be a missionary, I will still love everyone and I will still prioritize my relationship with my Father and Savior.

I hope that you all are embracing the Season!  Enjoy your blessings and go bless others!

People love decorating with laser lights!

Love, Sister Golden.