Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018

Hello!



First off, thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes!  I'm so very thankful for each of you.  You all made my whole day!!!

This week was such an amazing week.  We saw many miracles, and they came right in the time that we needed them the most.  It seemed like all of our lessons cancelled this week at the last minute, which meant lots more time to find our brothers and sister that are prepared and searching for the joy, hope, and peace the Restored Gospel brings!  


 District Tract Meeting

Here's just a few of the miracles:  
* We did a District Tract Wednesday night in our area.  It was 8 PM and so dark.  The temperature was in the teens (with the wind chill, it was in the negatives), AND part of our district didn't show up.  I will be honest, I was not in a good mood, and I had no clue why!  It was one of those days when nothing seemed to work out, and it was bitter cold!  We had prayed and felt like we needed to visit these roads, so we started knocking on doors, and, to say the least, we didn't have the nicest experiences.  After about the third door we knocked on, I just had a little vent session to Heavenly Father as we walked up to the fourth door. I  said a little prayer to give me the strength to keep going and just pleaded with Him to help me know why we are doing this.  We knocked on that door and the NICEST guy opened the door.  We talked for a little, shared the Book of Mormon, gave him a copy, and he said that he wanted to learn more and to come back next week when his kids weren't all asleep.  In that moment, I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who is so aware of us.  It is times like this, which may seem like such a small thing, but in that moment that was exactly what I needed.  That experience gave me a daily reminder that I need sometimes that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father.

We continued down that road and met some of the most amazing people I have ever met--kindest people, who have such an incredible love for our Savior and welcomed us right in.  How grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father who so kindly and patiently listens and answers my silent prayers/vent sessions over and over again, and continues as I strive each and every day to let my faith override my fears.  And, for the many moments like that night, that my fears become so much more apparent, loving me through it, and helping me learn once again that as we exercise faith and trust in him, all will work together for the good.

* Yesterday, church was cancelled because of icy road conditions, but we were able to still go out all day.  It was another day full of finding potentials, part-members, tracting, and everything in between.  I woke up with the worst head cold, and my voice was like five octaves lower, haha!  Luckily, I had been preparing a talk for Sacrament meeting yesterday on strength, and the strength we can receive as we rely on our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His atonement.  I said a prayer and pleaded for strength that I needed to work my very hardest that day.  As the morning went on, my head cold, cough, and throat got better and better.  

We had such an amazing day.  We were out trying to contact the people we had in our records when Sister Spencer turned to me and said, "We should try formers," so we immediately started trying formers.  We went to the closest former we had in our records, and the address took us to a street I had never seen before.  We knocked on their doors, and then as we were walking away, I turned to Sister Spencer and said that we should tract this road.  So, we did and met some awesome people.  On the very last home on the road, we walked in, knocked on the first door in the 4-plex, and we started talking to a guy.  Long story short, he is a member but hasn't been active since he moved a couple of years ago.  None of his family are members.  He gave us his number and said to come by this week when everyone's awake!  

We knocked on the next door and Ben opened the door.  He said he would love to hear our message.  We shared the message about the Restored Gospel and the Book of Mormon, gave him a copy, and set up another appointment with him next week.  He loved it!  He also said he is looking for a church!

We knocked on the next door and Davo answered.  He wanted to hear our message as well.  He shared with us how his friend just recently returned home from his mission, and Davo has been wanting to learn a little more.  We are meeting with him again next week, too.

Sadly, no one was home at the fourth door, but Sister Spencer and I called it the MIRACLE APARTMENTS!  So cool to witness so many people that are really searching for something more in their lives and to have a message that will fill their lives with that peace and happiness they are looking for.

I was talking with Sister Spencer last night, looking back on the day, and realized how happy this work makes me, how happy the Gospel makes me feel, and how happy I am being a missionary.  Even though I was sick, and we were knocking on doors all day, I was just SO HAPPY all day.  This is a gospel of happiness!!

This email is already a novel, so I'll spare you having to read a ton more, but the day was truly incredible!  I wrote just a few of the many, many miracles we saw.  They may seem so small, but each time they reminded me of how important this work is, how much I truly love being a missionary, how aware the Lord is of everyone, how thankful I am for the spirit that will lead and guide us to those that are searching for something more, and how incredibly thankful I am for the Restored Gospel, and the happiness, hope, and eternal perspective it has brought me in my life.

A little update on Gerard--he is doing amazing!  We finalized his baptism program this week.  I think he is more excited than we are, and that's saying something cause we are SO excited for him.  We finished teaching the commandments this week, and I am truly amazed at how much faith he has.  Each commandment we have taught him he just listens and then immediately makes the necessary changes, or begins to live them right away.  Truly incredible.  He is living testimony of Mosiah 2:41, and every time in the scriptures where it says, "As we live the commandments, we are blessed/filled with happiness."  He told us yesterday that if he didn't receive an answer that this church was true, he would know either way because of how happy he has been since he started living the commandments and going to church.

Okay, and last thing--Like I said, I was preparing a talk for Sacrament meeting but then church was cancelled, so giving my talk never ended up happening.  Haha!  But, I want to share a couple of thoughts as I studied and pondered the word "strength" this week.  All throughout the Book of Mormon, it talks about how many different people prayed in times of trouble and affliction for the strength to overcome, or continue to push through, and they received the strength they needed.  Just like Nephi when his brothers bound him with cords (1 Nephi 7:17), or when Alma was praying for the strength to bear these afflictions which came because of the iniquity of his people (Alma 31:30-31), and so many more examples.  Just like these amazing prophets and examples, as we exercise faith, turn to prayer, and plead for strength to face the trials or things we are facing, we will receive the strength we need through Jesus Christ and His atonement.  I have felt that strength through Jesus Christ and His atonement.  I have felt that strength every single day of my mission, and I know without it I would not have been able to do the things that have been required.  

I love this Gospel and I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, so much.  He lives and loves us, and as we rely on His atonement, we will find the strength we need to do all that is asked.

Love you all!  Have such a good week.

Sister McKenna Lake 


Me with Sister Spencer, my companion

My former companion
 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Hello!  Quick Update!

Last Monday we were able to hike Thunderbird Falls with the sister missionaries, including my Day One MTC Companion, Sister Jewel!  So fun to see her again and catch up!  The Falls were so beautiful and just another reason why I love Alaska SO MUCH!  It's about the 1,752 reason why.  I'll make sure to send lots of pics!  We made it back without anyone falling in, miracle in and of itself!

 Hike to Thunderbird Falls






 Such a fun P-Day with the sister missionaries

Gerard is doing amazing!  We had two incredible lessons with him this past week on the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  It has been incredible to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action, in truly changing his life.  We have noticed the change, and more importantly he has recognized it.  He told us yesterday that he has just felt much happier, peaceful, and feels like he has a purpose in life now.  He showed up to church with a white shirt and tie yesterday, which made Sister Spencer and me just so happy!

We also met with one of our potentials, Jessica, and had dinner with them this week.  She has been coming to church for months with her returning LA boyfriend and is seriously my soul sister.  We clicked Day 1, mainly because she's vegetarian and we love all the same things, Haha.  Anyway, we had an amazing spiritual thought (the spirit was so strong) and we felt like we needed to invite her to take the lessons, and so we did, and she said, "YES!"  We will be meeting with her this week.

Kassandra and her family are doing awesome!  Sadly she got called into work a bunch this week and we weren't able to meet in person, but we talked a ton over the phone and she and her family are doing SO good!  We are meeting with them this week.

We also had Zone Conference this last week.  I know I have said this a thousand times, but, man, I surely do love President and Sister Toone.  They are truly some of my favorite people.  We had such an incredible Zone Conference, and it has been so cool as we receive more and more amazing tools to see how the Lord is truly hastening His work.  One of the things that our mission president invited us to do was to come to know the worth of our soul.  As we come to know the worth of our soul, we are able to understand and recognize the worth of everyone's souls.  It has been something I have been focusing on lately and trying to study, and come to know sincerely and truly.  

I want to share with you a quote that has kept coming to my mind by our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson.

"God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve it.  It is simply always there."  

As I have thought about the worth of my soul, I have thought so much about who I am, and that I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father.  We were created in His image.  He loves me and each and everyone of us, no matter whether we feel we deserve His love or not.  He loves us unconditionally and truly the worth of our soul is great in His sight.

As I have been thinking and pondering about the worth of our souls, and our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, I am so very thankful for the knowledge of the Restored Gospel.  For the blessing of Latter-day prophets and continued revelation.  For Thomas S. Monson and the truly incredible life he lived and example he set.  The love he had for the Gospel, Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father.  The knowledge of the Plan of Salvation.  And, for the wonderful opportunity to have the Book of Mormon.  

I often think of the last talk President Thomas S. Monson gave on the power of the Book of Mormon, and I am just filled with so much gratitude for the Book of Mormon to lead and guide us in this day, was well as for the powerful testimony he bore.  This is the true church, and I know that God lives and loves us so very individually, and so does his son, Jesus Christ. 

 
Here's the link to Pres. Thomas Monson's talk in General Conference, April 2017: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/the-power-of-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng
 
Love you all!
Sister McKenna Lake
 
 

 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 was one for the books!

 Talking to the family on Christmas--the best!!!

Hello!
What an incredible blessing it has been to spend 2017 serving a full-time mission for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  As I have reflected on this last year, I have just been filled with so much gratitude and joy for the experiences and opportunities I have had, the people I have met and grown to love, and the opportunity I have had to grow even closer to my Savior.

Sister Spencer and I ended 2017 with a week FULL OF MIRACLES!!  It was truly such an incredible week and absolutely no better way to end this year.  As a mission, we have new standards of excellence:  One return appointment a day, one new elect investigator a week, one baptism a month, and one extra hour of finding on top of the finding you normally do.  We have prayed and prayed and feel like that one extra hour of finding has been needed to be tracting.  So, each morning as we are planning, we pray to know where the Lord needs us to find those that are searching for the Restored Gospel, and we have seen miracles upon miracles.  We have found some of the most amazing people that are truly searching for the blessing of the Restored Gospel, AND, they have all come during that extra hour!  I want to share a little about a few of them:

 Picking up Sister Spencer; I love her so much!!!
 
GERARD, such an amazing person:
We were tracting, and he was one of the last doors we knocked on.  He was super busy but asked if we could come back the following day at 4:00 p.m.  We did and had the most incredible lesson with him.  We extended the invitation for him to be baptized, and he said, "YES!"  He is preparing to be baptized on the 27th of January.  We have had a couple more lessons with him since then, including a lesson on the Word of Wisdom--such a humbling experience.  As we were teaching the Word of Wisdom, he mentioned a couple of things that he was struggling with.  We promised blessings would come to him if he followed the counsel and asked him what we could do to help.  He got up and headed into the kitchen, came back with everything he had that went against the Word of Wisdom counsel, gave it to us, and told us to take it and throw it away.  The faith he has is AMAZING!  As we were leaving, he picked up the cup of tea he had been drinking before we got there and said, "Oh, I guess I need to get rid of this, too."  He got up and dumped it right down the sink.  This was truly such a humbling experience watching him as he felt the Spirit testify of the truthfulness of the Gospel, exercised faith, and took those steps to help him prepare for baptism.  He was also able to attend a baptism last night.  I wish so badly that I could have recorded the happiness that overcame his face as he watched this sweet girl enter the waters of baptism, but it is definitely a certain moment that I will never forget.  He turned to us and said, "I am so excited for my baptism in a couple of weeks."

C and K--another tracting miracle:
It was about 8:30 at night.  We had tracted a total of 1 hour and 55 minutes, so we had 5 minutes left.  The weather was bitter cold and the wind was crazy, but we felt prompted to stop on this road and knock on a couple more doors.  We knocked on a few doors, and people were not too happy that we were knocking so late.  After a couple of people yelling at us, we decided we would knock on one more and then come back tomorrow.  We knocked on that one more door and the father let us right in.  We talked with him for about 30 minutes, shared with him the message of the Book of Mormon, and even taught part of the Restoration.  At the very end, he asked, "I have one question for you.  With all that is going on in the world, do you believe that modern revelation could come again?"  My companion and I looked at each other, smiled, and
were able to share with him about latter-day prophets and Thomas S. Monson.  The spirit was SO strong! We went back two days ago and sat and talked with his whole family.  He shared with us all that he had read in the Book of Mormon, and the family had the most amazing questions. As we shared with them our purpose and explained the lessons we teach, they all said, "We want to hear them all; can we begin right now?"  We began teaching about the Restoration, and the spirit, again, was SO strong.  The family soaked everything right in and asked question after question.  They have been so prepared.  We are going back again this week!

One more quickly, and then I have to run...I'll update you on everyone else next week:

K and her family:  
We had a lesson and dinner with her and her family this week.  Let me just say, "I LOVE THEM SO MUCH."  You have no idea...she is my long-lost best friend.  We met her tracting my very first hour in the area, and after not being able to contact her, we finally have been meeting with her here and there.  She has the sweetest family!  Her husband is awesome, but usually just jokes with us.  Whenever we start talking about the Gospel, he leaves or kinda messes with us in a kind way.  We were sitting there this week and were able to teach them about the Restoration.  The husband sat there right in front of us the entire time listening so intently and asking questions.  At the very end, he asked if he could have his own Book of Mormon.  We gave him one, and he spent the rest of the evening with the book in his hands flipping through the pages.  He had such a change of heart.  It was incredible.  We talked about baptism a lot.  Please keep them in your prayers that they accept the invitation to be baptized as a family!

I'm so sorry for the crazy, long email, but this doesn't even touch the surface of the miracles we saw this week.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a servant here in the wonderful state of Alaska, in helping bring the amazing message of the Restored Gospel to the people who are searching.  The Lord is aware of His children...so very aware.  I love this Gospel, and I know that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to this earth.

One of my favorite scriptures from Alma 29:

1 And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus:  My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?  

2 And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?

I am so thankful for the blessings all around.  I could have never imagined at the beginning of my mission, or this year, the blessings that laid ahead.  But, I have so much reason to rejoice, and so do so many others.

Hope you all have a great week and a happy new year!

Love, Sister Lake

 The other sister missionaries trying to get me to eat Rudolph (reindeer sausage), and I was not about doing that!

 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Monday, December 18, 2018

Hello!

Such a good week!  Sister Kimball was able to say some goodbyes.  I miss her, but also it is so fun that she's just down the road!  We headed into Anchorage Thursday morning and were able to go to breakfast with all of my favorite people, like Sister Cox, Oliver, Pike, Spender, and Mataele!  I miss that crew so much, but it was so fun to see them.  After that, they dropped me off at the church, and I was able to see all of my other favorite people including President and Sister Toone AND meet my NEW COMP, SISTER SPENCER!  She is seriously the greatest person ever!  She was the only sister that came out this transfer, and so we immediately knew who's comps were ours.  We had some awesome training lessons from President and the assistants, and then headed back to our areas.

 Greatest picture ever!  (the elders tried to copy our picture)
 The sisters!!! (after finishing cleaning an elders' apartment that the sisters were moving into--no comment!!!
 Sister Fa-nunu and the ginormous carrot!

It finally snowed and, as a result, our hour trip back to our area took about two hours.  We arrived there, had dinner, and then went out and knocked on some doors.  All I have to say is Sister Spencer is a champ!  She knocked on those doors and talked to those people like she's been doing it for months!  We met some awesome people who let us in--MIRACLES!  We made some return appointments, and she gave away her first Book of Mormon!  She has so much excitement and love for this work, and it's contagious!

 SISTER SPENCER (my new companion)!!

We continued to work super hard, knock on tons of doors, and met with our awesome investigators throughout the rest of the weekend.  We had some lessons that went well and some new people to start teaching, which we are so excited about!  We had a ward Christmas party Saturday and SIX of our investigators showed up!  It was SO amazing to see.  The ward just took them right in.

We had a lesson Sunday evening with one of our investigators where we taught the Restoration with a focus on Latter-day prophets.  We also shared Thomas S. Monson's talk called "The Power of the Book of Mormon," and it was so incredible.   I want to share a little part from his talk that was such a good reminder to me of the power and importance of the Book of Mormon.

"My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day.  As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven's help in our lives.  I so testify with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I have come to LOVE the Book of Mormon so much.  It has been such an amazing source of peace, guidance, and direction in my life and I am so thankful for that.  As we were talking with our investigator about the power of the Book of Mormon, the spirit was SO strong.  This is one of the last messages our prophet shared in Conference, and it was the message that our Heavenly Father needed/wanted us to hear, because of the power the Book of Mormon has in our lives and the promised blessing that we need each and every day to continue to stay faithful.  I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true, and is convincing evidence that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored once again on this earth through the prophet Joseph Smith.  These promised blessing that our beloved prophet shared are real.  I have felt each of them daily as I have studied and read the Book of Mormon!  

Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants nothing more than for us to return to live with him again, and has blessed us with so many tools to make that possible, and the Book of Mormon is one of them.  I love this Gospel!  And I love this wonderful time of year that we have to celebrate the incredible life of our Savior.  How thankful I am for the life He has, loves, the amazing example He has set, and the greatest gift He has given.  

Have a Merry Christmas!!!

Love, Sister Lake 

 Palmer, AK! Just on the side of the road as we were driving!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday, December 11, 2017

Weekly

Hello!  
It has been such an amazing week!  First off, we got transfer calls this week.  I will be staying here in just the Lazy Mountain Ward and will be training a new missionary.  I am SO BEYOND excited and just SO thankful for this amazing opportunity.  I pick her up on Thursday and seriously cannot wait!  It will be awesome to have that "greenie fire" around me 24/7!  Sister Kimball, my old companion, will be staying in the Cottonwood Ward (our other ward we were in this last transfer) and getting Sister Wilden as a companion.  They will be so close, thankfully.  It's about to be a stellar transfer.

We also had an amazing experience this last week with our new investigator Kassandra.  We had tracted into her my very first hour being in this area six weeks ago and hadn't been able to make super good contact with her; however, in these last six weeks the Lord has prepared her so much.  We were planning on visiting Wednesday morning but felt inspired to go and visit her later that evening.  We stopped by, she came to the door, and said, "I have been thinking about you girls all day, and I thought if I prayed hard enough that God would send you to me, and here you are!"  We visited with her for a couple of minutes, and then she set up an appointment for the following day at 11 o'clock.  We walked away feeling so thankful that the Lord guided us to her at that time on that day.  It just goes to show how aware He is of each of His children, and the things we need that very moment.

We went back the following day and had the most amazing visit with her.  She opened up a ton, and shared with us the things she has been struggling with.  We talked and testified that she was a child of God and that He hears and answers her prayers.  We shared with her the video called "Mountains to Climb" with President Eyring speaking; the spirit was SO incredibly strong.  We talked afterwards and she asked who the man was that was speaking.  We began to teach her about the Restoration and taught her that we have latter-day prophets and apostles today.  She said, "As he was speaking, I just had this feeling that I can't even explain come over over me."   It always makes me so happy to see when these people that I love so much, and just want them to have the Gospel in their lives so badly, recognize and understand the spirit.  It truly is one of the most joyful experiences.

The following day we went back because her kids had been sick, and for "Light the World" challenge, we were supposed to serve little children.  We brought them some dollar sundaes and had another incredible visit with them.  We taught them all about the Book of Mormon, and before we could even give her one, she said, "What can I do to get one of those books?"  She wanted one so badly; it was so cool to see.  We gave her the book and marked some of our favorite chapters, and chapters we felt she could use at this time.  We left her with Moroni's Promise and invited her to read and pray about it.  She said, "I most definitely will, but I have to say, with you showing up exactly when I needed it, and the amazing feeling I have as you teach and testify, I already know in my heart that this must be true, but I will still do it."  Something that I have learned and experienced so much on my mission is that the spirit testifies of truth, and for Kassandra to recognize the spirit testifying of the truthfulness of this Gospel has brought me so much joy.

I know without a doubt this Gospel is true and this is the Lord's great work.  It is so very humbling to realize that Heavenly Father has given us this amazing opportunity to be a part of this great work when He could really do it all Himself.  I am so truly grateful.  I know I share a lot about how God is aware of us and that I know the Book of Mormon is true, but those are two things that I have come to know so clearly and specifically on my mission.  They are two things that have helped me day-in-and-day-out.  So, I know I repeat myself a lot, but I know without a doubt that we are children of God, and that He knows us so very individually.  He hears and answers our prayers.  And, I know that the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ and is the word of God.  I love that book so much!  And how thankful I am to have it to turn to for guidance and direction in my life.  This church is true, and what a wonderful season it is to celebrate our Savior Jesus Christ's birth.  What better way than going out and #lighttheworld by serving others.  I love you and am so thankful for each of you!  Have such an amazing week!

Love, Sister McKenna Lake

 Sister Burdick and I going back to our North Pole days!

PS:  The stake I'm serving in did an amazing Nativity display this week where they transformed the entire church into Bethlehem and had over 1000 nativities displayed from all over the world.  Such an amazing experience, and so powerful to watch as the entire community came together and celebrated Christ's birth!  

Nativities in the native room
  The international room
 Home Sweet Home room

PSS:  Alaska is playing a trick on us--instead of below-freezing temperatures, we have had this crazy warm, rainy weather, which then freezes at night resulting in the entire surface of Alaska being covered in a thick layer of ice skating rink.  Tracting is quite the experience to say the least.  Pray for us!!  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

Tim's Baptism

Hello! 

Another week!  Quick update!

Tuesday, we had Tim's baptism.  Such a sweet experience!  His friends that originally invited him and his family to church flew up from Utah just for his baptism.  It was such a special experience.  Everything went super smoothly.  At the very end of the service, we were able to sing the song, "Families Can Be Together Forever."  As we were singing, I looked at Tim's sweet family--his wife who was baptized just a couple months ago and his three adorable kids--and in that moment I was just so thankful for this wonderful Gospel and knowledge that we have of the Plan of Salvation that we can live with our families for eternity.   

 Baptism Day--Tim, his wife and three children!

We were able to teach the Plan of Salvation twice this week, and what an amazing plan that God has created.  I have been thinking a lot about the plan and the peace that it brings in knowing where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going.   As we were teaching this principle to some of our investigators, who have thought about these questions a lot before, it was so cool to see the peace that overcame them.  Hearing the plan just clicked with them!  It is such a wonderful plan that truly comes from a living, loving Heavenly Father who wants nothing more for us than to return to live with Him again. 

We have been doing a lot of finding, and it has been amazing to see the Lord's hand in it all.  Whether it is through tracting, former investigators, or part-member families, we have seen so many miracles.  There are some incredible people here that I surely do love, and they have made me very thankful that I have been called to serve in this area.  

 Birthday Bash for Sister Wilden!

I want to share one of my favorite scriptures from this week.  I have been reading in 2 Nephi 2:2 lately, which states:

Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.  

Leading up to this verse, and following this verse, Lehi is talking to his sons and basically giving them his last words before he dies.  Through it all, he shares his testimony with them.  I love this verse because as I have been reading the story of Lehi and his family this last time, I have been amazed at their faithfulness and obedience to the Lord.  They were not asked to do an easy thing whatsoever when they were told to leave Jerusalem.  That was a trial in and of itself, and they had no idea that trials would keep on coming, but through it all they continued to do what the Lord asked of them.  They were given trials, but Lehi saw these trials that we endure can be turned into our benefit.  He didn't see them as bad things, but I feel like he truly understood that those trials and afflictions they exprienced were the Lord's way of helping them learn, grow, and become stronger.  

Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said it best, and explained that God provides us with challenges that are designed to help us grow spiritually:  "Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously.  When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Proverbs 3:11-12).  He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit.  To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain."  

Heavenly Father is aware of us and exactly what we need.  He loves us, He knows our potential, and He will help us reach the potential that we have.  I have such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and know that its words contain the word of God.  This knowledge truly brings peace, direction, and healing into our lives, and I encourage all of us to take our beloved prophet Thomas S. Monson's invitation to read from the book daily. 

I love you all!  Love, Sister McKenna Lake
Alaska Anchorage Mission

 Carrots anyone?  (P.S. Alaska's carrots truly are the best carrots ever--don't know why!)
 Alaska all wrapped up in one picture!
 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017

White Thanksgiving?

Hello!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

P-day was so fun.  We were able to go and spend time with the other two sets of sisters out in the valley and go up to Hatchet Pass, one of my favorite places when I was being trained.  We were also able to have our last lesson with our investigator before his baptism tomorrow!  We are so excited for him!

Having fun on P-day with two other sets of sisters traveling to Hatchet Pass 
 Beautiful Hatchet Pass

Sister Lake and her companion, Sister Kimball

The following day we had exchanges, and I was able to go with Sister Burdick.  It was so fun and we had some incredible experiences.  We had dinner with a less-active, part-member family, and it was AMAZING.  First off, we had a huge salad bar for dinner, so what more could I ask for, right?!  And then we started talking, and they are some of the most amazing people.  We shared a little spiritual thought, and they shared some of their thoughts.  The non-member then opened up so much and talked about the Holy Ghost in his life and how he has felt it so much recently.  This Gospel is truly incredible!

The following evening, we exchanged back and Sister Kimball and I were able to bring one of the Laurels with us and drop off some Thanksgiving baskets.  It was really fun.  I surely love the youth.  I love bringing them with us and just watching as they get so excited for missions because a mission truly has been one of the best decisions I have made, and I wouldn't trade it for anything!


 Visiting homes with the youth
 Serving food with cute hairnets 

We woke up the next morning to a white Thanksgiving, haha!  We had multiple dinner appointments, got filled with some amazing food, and stopped at houses to visit people throughout the day that didn't have anyone to celebrate with.  It was such a happy day!  I'm so thankful I will be on a mission during the holiday season; it is one of my favorite parts!



Sunday came and ended this week on such a good note!  We had the craziest/busiest Sunday ever, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  We went to Ward Council early that morning, and it was so good.  Then we headed to our first ward, and it was so good too.  We were able to visit all of the classrooms and share/introduce the new "Light the World" initiative with everyone.  Everybody got so pumped about the new program and about missionary work...Miracles are coming!  We went to our next ward that afternoon and the same thing happened.  We were asked by the Priesthood, Relief Society, Primary, and Young Men to share the "Light the World" initiative and explain what it is and how we can invite others to be involved, too.  We could just feel the excitement and love for the work, AND for this wonderful Gospel from the amazing members.  

Here is the link for the video and calendar: https://www.mormon.org/?cid=77107608
Seriously, watch it because it is so worth it.  

I remember so clearly last holiday season as we shared this with many different people of many different faiths, and how excited they got,  They loved the idea of all coming together and serving others.  This is such an amazing message and tool we have to bring the light of Christ into others' lives this holiday season.

The initiative goes right along with what I have been thinking a lot about/studying a ton about, and that is about Christ and His attributes.  One of my favorite scriptures is Moroni 7:45-47:

45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth.  Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

The Light the World initiative invites us all to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ by following his perfect example this Christmas season and showing charity to others through service to them.  Christ is our perfect example of charity and service to others, and my favorite part about this scripture is replacing the word "Charity" with "Christ":

45 And Christ suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not Christ, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth.  Wherefore, cleave unto Christ, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

I think it truly shows our Savior Jesus Christ and the amazing attributes He has.  The type of person He is, and how much He truly loves us.  "If ye have not Christ, ye are nothing, for Christ never faileth."  He will never fail us.  As we strive to become more like Him and make Him the center of our lives, we will find the power and strength to do whatsoever things we have been asked to do.  With Christ on our side, we can do anything.  It brings me so much peace and hope knowing that I have a savior who will never fail me, and what an amazing message we have to share with others.  I love this Gospel so much.  I love being a missionary, and I love the new "Light the World" initiative.  Everyone, go look at it and share it with anyone and everyone!

Have such an amazing week!
Love, Sister Lake
Anchorage Alaska Mission