Monday, January 27, 2014

Another Good Hard Week: Email from 1/27/13

This week was particularly hard. One thing I've learned about Wells is that if someone isn't home, no one is home.

This week was the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, High School Basketball, and sicknesses. So if they weren't doing something out of town, they had a horrible cough, Swine flu (that's going around), Normal Flu, or pink eye.

One day we knocked on 15 doors. they open up and they just look like death. since everyone is somehow connected with the school. EVERYONE is sick.

so, we haven't been able to re-see a lot of our investigators and members who were going to take us to contact referrals had to reschedule.

But regardless, we still have been able to see miracles

Shelda: she is a less active member who is trying really hard to turn her life around. She even came to church and she is just wonderful! She loves us and the feeling is very mutual. One day we got to take her on a field trip to the church and we just sang hymns. It was super fun and also inspiring.

Laundry Mat Lessons: We ALWAYS have a random laundry mat lesson whenever we are there. People see us and often just tell us their entire life stories.Today our new investigator (who also came to church and is just so excited to learn more) came in and started chatting us up. She told us, "it's kinda weird seeing you in normal clothes and that you are real people. I view you guys as little angles just going about doing good!". And it was like... yep! that's kinda what we do! Then she left and cam back as we were praying, finishing up our companion study and she got us afterwards and asked if we could pray for her. She opened up about some problems she was having recently in her family and about her past and it was just amazing as we pulled out things we have studied and things that we could knew from being in the church that directly applied to her. Then we prayed. She wanted to start the prayer and for us to finish it. I have never heard such a sincere prayer or the spirit so strongly. By the end we were all in tears and she was like "thank you so much! I have to run but I can't wait to see you again"

Although it was a slower week, it was really good. Love the mission life!

Something to potentially keep in your prayers though, they are REALLY suffering from the lack of moisture. I'm loving the warm weather, but the people in clover valley are literally running out of water. We were drinking from bottles and they asked us (very apologetically) not to use to much

water when we wash our hands. And they are scared that they won't have crops to feed their cows. So perhaps,  just keep that in your prayers. And perhaps, remember the small blessing in your life like water. 

also, Pictures!

This perfectly describes this town:

The sunsets here are just breathtakingly gorgeous. The colors weren't really captured, but one day Sister wood and I just had to pull over and take a picture on our way to Clover Valley (Don't look too close. I forgot my badge this day.. but it was on my jacket so I had one most of the time...oops.)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lost and Found: 1/20/14

We are perpetually lost, losing things, and meeting lost people.

Monday was the worst: I lost my wallet which had... just a lot of things in it. That is still lost. Coming to terms with that. Then we looked for a house for two hours on a road that just didn't exist. Well.. it did. but it was a dirt road on a rodeo ground. Then we lost heat in our apartment and we could not get hot water.

Tuesday: We learned about a girl and boy (11 and 9) whose dad just doesn't care about them and the mom just died of cancer. They walked to church two sundays in a row from across the tracks (which is far) just to feel that peace. Then we attended a funeral for this really really great woman. She died right before we got here, but we have heard so much about her just from members and nonmembers alike. We were able to talk to a lot of people that night and to comfort them with the truths we know.

Wednesday: we got lost in Clover valley, it was our first time out there. We got lost for about an hour. NO ONE HAS ADDRESSES! so we had to count houses and also house barn combos to find where we were. There are a lot of house that are white with a red barn though. We did finally find the house we were looking for, but they had just gotten back from kimo and were too weak to talk. But fun fact: they have a dog that is almost as big as me. It was like clifford! slash bear in the big blue house. HUGE dog. We went around telling people we got attacked by a bear.

Thursday:We got lost again. This time in Starr Valley. The directions were "Go 3 miles in from turning left at the community center dirt road, take a left at the fork in the road  and we will be the second house on the left" So we follow these directions.... we end up at a ranch with a different name on it (after following a dirt road for five miles). We call them and they so nicely say "oh! did I say left? I meant right".   #ourlife

By all means the week had been a good one. Our stats are off the chart (at least for this area). Thursday we even had an investigator say they wanted to be baptized! But he was going to do that no matter who taught him. And I just was feeling down and lost and frustrated. Missionary work just wasn't what I thought it was--which is probably good--but I just wasn't sure if what I was doing was worth all that I sacrificed and all my family sacrificed to be here.

Then friday: We met Fred. And it was suddenly all worth it. It was EXACTLY why I came on a mission. Someone in so much pain, wanting so badly to change, and looking to us for relief and actually finding it!

Then saturday: We met Paul. Just a man who has had a hard life and wants to find peace and turning to us and excited to learn more. Then Fred again. Then we re-entered the house of the Hoots (who we found by accident being lost) and after everyone in town was shocked and warned us that they NEVER let anyone in there doors. She was SO mad we were there. But it ended in us hugging the woman and being invited back to perform service!

Then sunday: we met our Ruby Valley branch, we DIDN"T get lost, and eveyone we met was just telling us how they could tell that we weren't here to mess around, we have a great companionship and they could tell, and we were good teachers and teach well together. When we turned in our stats our zone leaders called us back to say how good they were and a text this morning to re-emphasize. I mean compliments aren't neccesary, but when they come so frequently so unsolicited it is nice to hear. It's nice to know all the hard work and effort we put into being obedient and loving and following our purpose do make a noticeable difference. We also met a man from Hawaii (hello connection!) who was interested in learning more and coming to church again and we met with one of our investigators who just opened up her soul to us.

It was a hard week, but it is worth it. It was a good week. I love the mission. I love this opportunity to touch so many lives--to serve both temporally and spiritually. I hope that I can keep it up. Thank goodness for P-day!

Love you all! Have a good week!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In the Mission Field: Email from 1/13/14

A Message in three parts:

Part One--The Airport: 

I think in the first few hours of being outside of the MTC I faced both the good and the bad of missionary life. 

The Good: We were sitting around in a group and I look at Sister Rogers (my temporary companion) and say we are going to help someone, she perks up and agrees to come along. Right as I say that I see this family--three kids, pregnant wife, a million tote bags, carrying a car seat--obviously rushing to their next stop--we are helping them. I start walking in pace and ask them if they need help. They pass us some of their stuff so they can pick up their younger kids and we run to the gate. We get there JUST in time before they closed the door. The family in a rush thanks us and gets on board. As we left them and the people who had witnessed what we did smiled at us I just was filled with this joy of knowing that what I did is what I would expect of someone who wears the name of christ on their chest.

In direct contrast: I got on the airplane (a small little commuter) and the lady who was sitting on the window side got in with a smile. We exchanged brief hellos and I start to take off my jacket, which reveled my name tag. When she sees it she blatantly scoffs, rolls her eyes, and opened her magazine and starting reading with a stern face. I just turn away and start talking to Sister Irwin across the isle. Then she says excuse me and moves to a different seat.

It wasn't that I was offended. I was just shocked. How could you hate someone so vehemently that you don't even know. But, like I was saying last week. "if the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you" (john 15:18)

Part two--Where Are You Now
When we first got to Reno, we went to the mission home and met President Hermansen! We got interviews and had a 5 hour long orientation. At the end, they announced where we would be going and who our companion would be. The AP's started announcing who was going where. Finally, "Sister Golding--Spring Creek, Sister Woods. You will meet your trainer tomorrow". Me, "what?". "You will be taking a transfer van heading east in the morning."

My first night I stayed with a temporary set of sisters. Honestly, they were great. Super cute, super fun. But... my experience with them could be described in one word: unimpressed. It just wasn't what I left my family, friends, and schooling for. I won't go into detail because I don't want to give them a bad rep. but needless to say, I was worried. I was worried that I would be unimpressed with my area.

Luckily the Lord knows me so Well(s). HAhaha. sorry that was stupid. I'm in Wells!

I meet my trainer (Love her!) and she is just like "umm.. we are kinda in a weird situation. Yeah, we are going to be re-opening an area in the mission. We are the only missionaries for an hour in all directions so I am the district leader and we are our district. Also, we are living in a motel...hahaha"

This is a strange occurrence and obviously only happen through divine intervention: President Hermansen had a hard time figuring out how to do transfers and just couldn't work it out. He extended giving the assignments a day. Last minute (usually happens on Saturday morning, but came Sunday night) he calls Sister Woods and asks her if she would be willing to open up an area in the mission with a sister from Salt Lake as district leader. Then, Tuesday afternoon (which would have been right after my interview with the president) she receives another phone call that would normally come Saturday. President says "there has been a slight change of plans. Will you train a new sister?"

And just like that I end up opening an area for my first... area in a little (and I mean little) town called Wells with another sister who is training for the first time and has been out 6 months!

Honestly, I know the Lord knew we could handle this assignment and trusts us to do it well. We are both quite outgoing and have met a lot of people and have already seen miracles. The Lord knew  I didn't want to waste time and mess around and put me somewhere  with someone that had the same exact idea.

So here are some fun facts about Wells (which we both decided that with the worng attitude we know LOTS of people would complain or cry about and we just think it's funny):
-Our apartment is a... old, rundown, small, quaint...motel room (you should have seen us try to fit our bikes in there the first day). We love it.
-Our apartment/motel... the room they are re-furnishing for us. Yeah, we just found out last time it was used someone committed suicide in... BUT HEY! NEW STUFF!
-We have an Elf shower.. like Buddy in the north pole Elf shower. Luckily Sister woods is even shorter than me so it's a great size.
-We wash our dishes in the shower. Our sink is too small.
-Behind our motel are the two brothels (often refereed to as houses of questionable activity). HAhaha. We laughed so hard when we found that out.
-A train track run right by our motel. We are often awaken by train horns. And I mean literally. The tracks run Right behind out apartment.
-In the high school, middle school, and elementry combined. There is 300 kids. And that's three towns (ruby valley, clover valley, and wells).
-We have a grocery store, a family dollar, and a post office. That's it. Well, plus the truck stops and two brothels.
-it is Orangeville (where I lived in Utah). Just a nice, cute small town. Everyone here is just the nicest.
-Everyone knows everything about everyone.
-We get lost.. a lot. The directions they give often include trees and rocks and where people use to live. The numbering on the houses (if you are lucky enough to get a number) just make no sense. They go 203 208 213 1204 on one side yesterday (real occurance. not exaggerating)
-Because we get lost, we often knock at the wrong door. But we have yet to be turned away and are often invited back.
-We keep thinking we have new investigators and come to find out (within the next person we meet) that they are just less active.
-Everyone is just so excited we are here and want to come out with us or have us over. I guess in a town with nothing to do, we are the newest and most exciting thing .

Part three-- It was going to be miracles, but I'm running out of time.
Making this short.

Miracles: defined as things that by all means shouldn't happen but do.

I have been the recipient of many miracle throughout my life, but I wanted to share a few that happened in the past week.
My insomnia kicked in the day before we left, I got about maybe 15 minuites of sleep before I had to get ready to fly out. I remember thinking about the song How Firm a Foundation and the words "i'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand". I decided I would trust in that promise and it was as if I got a full nights worth of sleep. I stayed awake, more so than others, for the entire day.

But perhaps the greatest miracle is the Christ truely came to Earth and through Him we can all be saved and become better. The miracle is that through all the heartache and destruction and calamities in this world, we can face the future with hope and happiness. 

MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!! my mailing address

Sister Marah Golding
PO box 194
Wells, NV 89835

Here's a pic of my MTC district, me at the Laundry mat this morning, and me and my comp!

Email from 1/4/13

Time is short because I've been spending too much time responding to individualized emails. There is just NEVER enough time. But a few highlights of the week.

Saying goodbye to district 43a: Um.. well that explains it. It was so sad and strange because we could even hug the other elders good bye. It was weird being in the MTC without them. luckily we got a whole new batch of people though. this time there are 3 other sisters and it's been fun having them in the dorms with us!

new Years eve; sister irwin's family sent a party package of noise makers and candy and hats. AND when sister Irwin and I went to get drinks from the lower vending machines we caught sight of fireworks and we grabbed the other sisters and watch these go off through a window at 10:30! Then (because we decided to not entirely break curfew) we counted down to 11pm and went to bed. it was great.

in-feild orientation; I wish I could copy and paste my journal, but let's just say I learned a lot and made a fool out of myself a lot. my favorite activity was "Being Normal" in which we practiced going up to random people (aka other missionaries) and have NORMAL conversations. hahaha. I think the funniest part were the people that really just struggled with this. It was just a weird concept to some people. One sister that practiced on me was like trying to convert me after two second and she talked with REALLY big eyes super close to my face.

Pretty much throughout the entire week, all I can think about--as I look around at myself and all the other 18-22 year old missionaries that are around me--is what was said to me the first day I was here, "if this church wasn't true, the missionaries would have screwed it up a long time ago."

I'm so glad that i do know it's true. I could never prove it to anyone, but I know it it like how I know when I am happy or sad. I know that the things I say when teaching are never my own words but come from a source that is much greater than I. I am still just so grateful to be here.

hey Marah, are you excited to get out in the field--you leave tuesday!?! Yes, and no. I'm not sure who i am going to be as a missionary in the real world. I know my inadequacies and fears. I'm scared, but I'm ready to leave and i know the Lord will sustain me through all of my fears. I've decided a long time ago to choose faith over fear. I know I am watched after and I am in good hands. i know people will choose to reject me, but I know that is because the Lord was rejected first and who am I to say I am greater than he? But I know that the Church of Jesus Christ is the restored church of  God, i know that the precepts taught by it can provide comfort to ANY situation, i know that living a christ centered life will bring happiness and light to a persons life.

love you all! Send mail! Tuesday morning I leave. the address I have until next week is the mission home address. its:

Sister Marah Golding
nevada reno mission
1146 prater way

sparks, nv 89431

Christmas in the MTC: Email from 12/28/13

So once again I cannot figure out the whole camera thing. However , My friend Erika from Michigan got a picture of us on Christmas and (even though it is horrible of me) I thought I'd include it. I was in the process of finishing a joke in this one, but it's so cute of her... it would be the one I would pick to share too if she was me. This is all horrible English. (note my awesome christmas light necklace. Also I totally was wearing a hideous Christmas sweater the whole day)

So much has happened this week and it has gone by so fast! So much happens in one day, I could write my mass email on one day and I still would never hit everything I would want to share.

I'll spend most my time talking about Christmas though, because it was so exciting and fun. So here it is, Highlight of Christmas:

As an extra special MTC christmas treat, we got to sleep in until 6:45 (this is not sarcasm, I loved that extra 45 minutes). After breakfast, we went to a MTC Christmas Spectacular, which was a mix between a variety show and a comedy show featuring singing, funny a Capella Yiddish bottle dancing, funny poems, talented instrumental moments played in unexpected ways, and even a little magic! The number I really want to share with you was a zone act and they chngeds the words to Silver Bells and it perfectly shows what we do with our days (in case you were wondering).

MTC (tune of silver bells)           <--------Well I'll write the first verse

MTC (mtc). Missionaries (Missionaries).
It's christmas time at the MTC
Stay up late (stay up late), Wake up early (Wake up early)
and now it is Christmas day!
First you study, then you study, then you study some more.
Then you take your tray to the table                                                        <----- In refference to meal time
Use the restroom, wash your hands
Then you walk back to class
Where you study and study some more

I don't know. I was dying from laughter. Because.. yep. that's what we do. so, marah why do you love it? Becuase I love what we are studying about and get to teach people how to use what we study to change their lives and help them in times of needs. to know how much God loves them and why! There is no way you can study that and not feel good and love it. If that is not what you are feeling. You are doing it wrong. You know?

Oh. super random tangent. Back to Christmas.

After that it was our "big Christmas meal" ....Nothing to write home about, but it was decently good. But It was so fun because the people from the Wext campus came up for the devotional and I got to see Haley Anderson (A good friend from Michigan who moved to Dubai so I haven't seen her for about three years) and Alek Jetsel (from my freshman ward)! And they were singing in the choir with us!

The choir sang at the devotional (which was the coolest part. If you aren't LDS you might not understand why this is so cool, but change the name to one of your favorite superstars or person from history. Elder David A. Bednar from the Quorum of the Twelve (one of the twelve apostles from our church) came and talked to us! When he walked in the room, when he spoke... it was crazy. You just knew he was a man of God. But he, himself, was so humble and caring. I just wanted him to keep talking forever. Usually, they just come with prepared talks and they are amazing, but when he got up to speak he announced that we would be doing something never done before. They passed out cell phone at all the 16 MTCs in the world and gave us a number to text his Ipad, when he went through and answered questions. I wish I had a recording of everything He said so I could memorize it. but here where some of my favorite moments.

When asked What is you favorite scripture and why? He answered that he didn't really have favorite scripture, but more of favorite themes. He took us to 3 Nephi 11: 14-17 (which I totally read in my sacrament meeting talk on sunday), when Christ appears after his Resurrection to the people in America and he invites ALL to feel the nail marks in his hand and his feet one by one. with the number told in the scriptures beforehand he told us it would take somewhere between 14 to 18 hours for this multitude to approach him one by one, but that is how the Savior and God work. This concept of One by one, this is not the only time it is mentiopned in the scriptures. It is a theme that shows how god works with us. They do not teach to us as a crowd or work with us as a crowd, but they work with us as individuals. With this being a defining characteristic of how God works, it is not that long of a stretch to assume that this was how he suffered in the Garden of Gethsemene. That when he went past this finite world and suffered infinite atonement, he saw each one of us and suffered for us one by one.

I loved all he said and will hold his answers dear to my heart, but I was surprised that it was not him who was the one to answer my prayers. I've been struggling at trying to find that balance between studying and preparing for the lessons we teach and letting the spirit guide us in what to say that can help an individual in the moment. It wasn't until later, the BYU Jazz  teacher's band came to play for us some jazzy christmas music show. He stopped in the middle and said that he was impressed to tell us something that he has learned. He said "In jazz, we improvize these modifed versions of the same medlody on the spot, but it is not that we just don't prepare. Instead, we have to prepare constantly, so that we can play anything that we feel is right on the spot beautifully based off of the concepts that we learn. This is a lot like missionary work, in that sense." and then it just hit me. Yes, the spirit will guide us in our teachings, but we cannot rely on that alone. We must prepare CONSTANTLY so that we can say anything with truth. And whatever our weaknesses are, God will make up the rest.

Well, love you all! make sure to write! I leave Jan07! so I'll be here for another week! Miss you!

Email 12/21/13

Hello everyone! So it looks like Saturday is my "preparation day" or day to get my personal life and stuff in order including emails!

How do I like the MTC: I absolutely love it. It is so great. I have only been here 2.5 days and I feel like I have learned so much! If I told you what we do it would sound maybe not like something you would enjoy but I love it. I think I will write my Blog on things I was surprised by here (if I have time) so stay tuned! One thing to know that's weird is I am here three weeks, not two.

I was just about to put up some pictures but I can't figure out how...

But. My first picture would be of my companion (the person I have to spend every waking hour with minus bathroom and meetings) Sister Irwin! I absolutely love her too! I was so worried I'd end up with a strict companion and teachers and they would be like "NO HAPPINESS!" but it has been so great. Me and sister Irwin are practically the same person. She's a little more shy (or so she told me) but I think being around me twenty four seven she's taken a little of my shamelessness in I do whatever where-ever. For example, we were in the bathroom by ourselves in the dorms and we started singing ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH as loud as we can! We sing at least twice a day randomly. I knew we would be good friends when we went to our first meeting. The MTC president told us to take out our Missionary Handbook (rule book) which was one of the three things we were told we would need. I look down and freak out because I had grabbed our Missionary Planner. So I lean over to look at hers and I realize that she has a shocked face to and is looking at my lap. Then we look at each other during this meeting with about 700 other new missionaries and start bust laughing because we had both grabbed the wrong thing. The companionship next to us loaned us their book, so it all worked out!

Our teachers are hilarious and all for fun too! I would say our district (of 4 sisters and 6 elders, our main class) in general is pretty quiet, but between me and sister Irwin and the teachers and a few Elders everyone has really just come out of their shell and we are all super comfortable with each other and have so much fun as well as have very in depth conversations of how we have come to be Missionaries and experiences we have had with the church and how we could be better.

Our other district(made up of 8 Elders) thats in our zone (made up of two districts) is funny too! We really enjoy eating meals with them and out one class a day with them. Elder Dial can get a hard boiled egg out off it's shell by blowing on it! It's so weird to watch. I was going to put a picture of it so you would understand.

I'll include funny stories next week because I don't have time! Ack!

K bye! Love you all!