Saturday, December 21, 2013

Things I Was Surprised By At The MTC

1. It is not boot camp. Yes, there are a lot of rules, but no one is enforcing them. You do.

2.The teachers are so nice and funny, but they don;'t have planned lessons. They have topics and facilitate discussion. The scriptures and the spirit are the real teachers

3. The people are nice. I expected this, but perhaps not to this extent!

4. If I am walking to the door and an Elder see this. They wait (up to about a minute a few times) to open the door for us.

5. We have a lot of lag time between things, but we have so much to do. I feel like I have so much free time and I am so busy all at the same time!

6. We teach and we teach on day one! then we plan and study and teach again! I enjoy it.

7. I really really like it here!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Farewell and Thank You Whoever!

(Pre-note: The title is a musical reference. Not meant to undermine my farewells and thank yous)

Well. I was going to go though a list of people I said goodbye to and post pictures of these goodbyes, but I have ran out of time. But, I will miss (probably) miss everyone who misses me and then some! So goodbye! I wish I had more time to say goodbye to more people, but if I had a chance to talk to you or see you before I left--I am so glad that happened!

Funniest Goodbyes
  • McCall: Of course I'm gonna hug you goodbye, Loser!
  • (after trying to say goodbye for over an hour)
Marah: Well... PArty peeps!
Lauren: hahaha, Party peeps!
  • My little sister, Bailey starts to walk away from the security checkline and I blow her a kiss to which she gives me the "Katniss volunteers" sign and sends me a text saying "I volunteer as tribute!". 

And Now Some Thank Yous
I just wanted to thank everyone  who has supported me during this time and has helped me get where I am right now. Whether that is helping to pay for this adventure, telling me how excited you are for me, or just contributing to my life as a human being does by being my friend.

But Seriously, thank you!

Receiving the Call (Part Three): Now We Know!

Setting: Marah's House at 10pm. The room is semi-full of about twenty real people and about fifty people on the computers/devices--Legitamately. It was crazy.

Finally, it's time to open it up. I sit on the corner of a lamp-stand and everyone is making jokes about where it could be--Lansing Michigan, Provo Utah, Boise Idaho. Then.

Dear Sister Golding,
You are hereby called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Nevada Reno Mission!... Report: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 speaking English!

As soon as I said the words, I just started smiling and couldn't stop! For the first time in my life I knew exactly where God wanted me to be and when He wanted to be there*. I couldn't imagine ever thinking that I would be disappointed! I never would have guessed it in a million years, but once it was said I couldn't imagine going anywhere different.

People always tell me it will be great and I will be great, to which I will believe when I see it. However, I know that it  is the right thing for me to do and the right place to do it. It may be great; I hope it's great! But, most importantly, I know it is right.

I love the LDS church! Yes, there is the social aspect of it which is so great but a belief in a religious culture is never enough. It wouldn't be enough for me to leave my family and friends and school for 18  months. It wouldn't be enough for early members to get kicked out of every town they went to until they had to cross the plains and literally leave everything forever.

I do not intend of following the what man believes based off scripture. I intend on following and learning the truth from God and I have found truth in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are not a religion formed by man, but a religion re-established by Jesus Christ through a modern-day prophet. We don't intend on people just to believe that, but we ask people to question this origin and pray to know for themselves whether it is right or wrong.

I have learned that it is true. I can boldly declare it, because I know it. Truth is enough. Truth is enough to leave all I have for 18 months and teach people who may not really care to know about the things I hold most dear. But if I have the chance to touch one persons life for the better, I will go.Most importantly, God lives! He loves every single one of us and in His eyes we have great worth, no matter who we think we are, because we are his children.

*If you have questions about how a mission call gets assigned (or really any question about the missionary application), you can go to the bold heading "assigning your call" at
*If you have questions about how a mission call gets assigned (or really any question about the missionary application), you can go to the bold heading "assigning your call" at

*If you have any questions about our church, you can call up your local missionaries (they would LOVE it) or live chat on or email me :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Receiving the Call (Part 2): Being Sorted Into Hogwarts

Since I open my papers to work on applying for an LDS mission, I have had a theory that being assigned to an area is like being sorted into your Hogwarts House.

Truth is. We are all a little scared of where we will be put.

And while we are in the process of filling out the papers, we find that there are places to indicate whether you want stateside or foreign, do you know a language, do you want to speak a different language, talents, ancestry, where grandparents served, are there any considerations we should make in assigning the call, etc. So it turns out that, although we will go where are suppose to, we do have some say in the matter.

"Hmm, difficult. VERY difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There's talent, oh yes. And a thirst to prove yourself. But where to put you? "
"Not Slytherin. Not Slytherin. "

You have the ability to go multiple places and what you think you want may not always be the place to help you grow or where you are needed the most.
"Not Slytherin, eh? Are you sure? You could be great, you know. It's all here in your head. And Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, there's no doubt about that. No?"

And no matter where you are called. In the end, this is exactly your face.
And it is all over and you are now a sorted member of Hogwarts! You are a portion of a great community with a long and great past. You know where you will be living and the colors you will wear. You can picture yourself there.

However, people often neglect Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. They often thought of as lower houses, but after many years of Harry Potter Wiki and books and games, I've learned that they aren't.

But, that doesn't mean I didn't secretly hope to get assigned to Gryffindor every time I got sorted in a Harry Potter game. And if you told other kids on the play ground that you were a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, they would wonder what exactly you did in order not to get the cool houses of Gryffindor or Slytherin. And if a Hufflepuff tried to defend their house on said playground, let's face it, you would think they were bitter.

Cool Marah, you think about Harry Potter too much. Here's why I said all this (a continuation to the actual story): 

My mission call had arrived and people would show up at 10pm to watch the great unveiling, but I wanted to know and NEEDED to know now. It was right there. I had to competing thoughts in my head.
1. In the end, it doesn't matter when I open it. The only important part is that I am going to serve a mission.
2. I would feel ripped off if I drove up to be part of this big life event and it had already passed.

So I came up with a compromise: I would have my mom open it and I could ask three questions and she could answer three questions. Stateside or foreign? Stateside. Do I leave before the end of November? No, but you leave before New Years. What is the climate? Warmish.

Upon hearing the word "stateside" my heart sunk. Completely unexpected, my heart sunk. I had been telling everyone and I thought it was true that I didn't care if I went stateside or foreign. That it was the same work no matter where you go. So, why was I so disappointed?

Disclaimer: I was not disappointed I was serving stateside.

However, I was disappointed that no one would gasp when I opened my mission call. I was disappointed I couldn't put up a country's flag as my cover photo. I was disappointed I wouldn't be learning a new foreign culture or language. I was disappointed that people would be fake-excited when I told them where I was going. I was disappointed that people might think I'm fake-excited to go and that it might be true. I was disappointed that I got called to be a Hufflepuff.

Not because I was upset that I was a Hufflepuff, but I was worried what other people would think.

However, I have to admit... I've heard many people say about others, "I'm surprised that person got called stateside because they are so spiritual," or "You will get called somewhere crazy, because you are so good." And part of me started to wonder, does the Lord not trust me with a harder mission? Did I do something wrong? I knew it was crazy and dumb, but it happened.

These were legitimate feelings and I felt like I should not hide them, because I want to be honest and I am sure I am not the only one who had these thoughts. I had 6 hours, not knowing where I would go but knowing I was going stateside. 

After the original shock, I stopped caring and started wondering where I would go because (after all)

So, please stay tuned for part three where I open my call and go watch a Harry Potter movie :)

(especially you Lauren.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Receiving the Call (Part 1): Waiting for Santa

It started off like any normal Friday morning. I went to work at 6:30 am to get the boys I nanny off to school and then came home to nap and wait. But unlike every morning, I knew my mission call was in the mail and that it could come today!

Instead of napping, I lay in total anticipation. It was only nine and I was so tired and the mail doesn't come until two pm and I knew if I could fall asleep I could wake up and it could be there. Then I laughed, because this was a feeling I had not felt in YEARS. I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve, just waiting for the man with a large bag to drop off a package that may or may not hold everything that I had ever wanted. I was too excited to sleep because I was waiting for Santa.

I heard my Grandma call my name loudly a few hours later. My heart leaped from my chest! I didn't want to respond because what if it wasn't there? What if she was just calling me name to deliver bad news? I was mentally preparing for it not to be there, but I was hoping so hard that it would be there that I felt I would wish it to appear.

Then, a knock. A door slowly opens. My eyelids can no longer be forced shut.

A stack of letters, but no missionary package. My Grandma says, "Sorry. You package didn't come but you did get a letter from an Elder Baxter." I take my letter and almost open my grandma went to her room. But then, I realize it was a letter TO Alexander, not FROM him. I think, "Crap. I didn't get my package AND they left my letter."

I head downstairs to put my letter back in the mailbox and do some hard core disappointment eating. as I head back to my room and I see him, the man with the bag.


I gasped and hid from his view. I'm not sure why I hid, it's pretty ridiculous. But anyone in the house could hear me slam against the wall to get out of the mail mans sight.

He's just there because he saw he forgot my letter. I was sure. I mentally prepare: it isn't there, it isn't there.

I peak around the corner to watch our faithful mailman of four years or more leave our porch. Then, he's gone. 

I walk towards the door breathing heavily and open the door. 

In the mailbox is a larger white envelope.

I scream! I run around the house telling my grandparents! I call; I text! I laugh, because on the white envelope from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the address line contains the words "Sister Marah Dawn Golding"