Saturday, December 31, 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas from McKenna!

Quick update! This week was so many highlights and so many funny stories.

Talking with my family yesterday was so fun...seriously, so good to see your wonderful faces!  We were able to go to the temple this week as a zone (such a tender mercy), and we had FOUR investigators show up to church yesterday!  It was seriously the greatest Christmas present I could have ever asked for!  It was such an amazing Christmas program and the spirit was just so strong.  We could feel it and our investigators could definitely feel it.  I could not have asked for anything more!

 Attending the temple with my zone!

After Sacrament Meeting we were able to go to our investigator's home, and they taught us how to make seafood was so AMAZING.  It was fun spending Christmas dinner with them.  I just love them so much!  

 Preparing Christmas dinner...

 Our awesome investigators and the final product!

It has been such an amazing week and such a special one being able to celebrate the birth of such an amazing man.  On my mission I have come to know my Savior more and more each and every day as I study the scriptures, and I have come to know how much He loves each and everyone of us.  I have come to realize how our Savior Jesus Christ is truly the greatest gift we could have ever been given, and I am so thankful for Him and His example that He is to me.  I know that our Savior Jesus Christ lives, and I know that He atoned for the sins of the world so that we can experience that happiness and joy and peace our Heavenly Father wants for us, AND so that we can learn and grow.  I am and will be forever grateful for that knowledge, and I am so very grateful for the opportunity I had to celebrate His birth here on my mission.  

Funny story for the week...I locked the keys and the phone in the car while it was -11 degrees outside.  We were in the middle of nowhere so we had to walk for about an hour until we found someone that was home.  Then, some awesome members had to drive all the way out to pick us up, and we had a cab driver break in the car (not super funny in the moment but hilarious now!)

Love you guys so much and am so thankful for each and everyone of you!  Have such a great week!

Love, Sister Lake

 P-day fun!!!


Friday, December 30, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016


Hello!  We had so many tender mercies this week, and they were all such a blessing!

1.  We had a heat wave.  It got up to 30 degrees.  It felt so warm I didn't even have to wear my coat!  Such a nice break from the negative temperatures!!

2.  It snowed a TON, and miraculously I didn't crash the car!!

3.  Only three more days until the shortest day of the year (4 hours of sunlight) and after that it gets a little bit lighter each and every day.

4.  We had SO much success tracting.  We have been able to talk with so many more people and have so many return appointments!

5.  We had another incredible lesson with our investigator, Bill, where the spirit was almost overwhelming.  He read 25 chapters of the Book of Mormon within a week and had so many amazing questions.  He is really praying and seeking for that answer, and I am so excited for him.  The spirit was extremely strong, and through the spirit we were able to discern his needs and really address the concerns he had without us even knowing them.  Such a testimony builder that there is really no other way to teach than by the spirit.  I sat in that lesson and was so overwhelmed with emotion about how our Heavenly Father's hand in this work led us to Bill and blessed us with the opportunity to teach him!

6.  We have had some great success with a lot of less-active, part-member families.  It has been really fun getting to know them and start teaching them.  I love this experience so much.

 My new BFF--Blackie the Bear

7.  I have had so many times this week where the spirit testified to me that this church is true, that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God, and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet.  My testimony of Joseph Smith has been strengthened so much as I really study everything he accomplished.  I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have been given to share such an incredible message of the restored Gospel.  Each week I seem to learn more and more, and each week my love for the Gospel increases more and more.  I know that this Gospel is what brings the most joy and happiness to our lives, and as we pray and read our scriptures daily we are able to have that hope and experience the happiness this Gospel brings.  

Favorite scripture from the week is 3 Nephi 17-9:  "And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him."

Jesus Christ healed everyone!!  He healed the lame, the blind, the afflicted.  No one was excluded.  I love this scripture so much because it is the same today.  He heals matter what you have done, the background you have had.  All he asks of us is that we come unto Him, and as we come unto Him through prayer He will heal us!!!  Our Savior, Jesus Christ, love us.  He is aware of us and knows us.  He atoned for the sins of the world so that we can be healed.  I am so thankful for this knowledge, and I am so grateful for the opportunity we have to celebrate the birth of such an incredible, selfless, loving man. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to come to know Christ more and more each day, and for the opportunity we have to celebrate Him this season.  

Merry Christmas!  Thank you for all the letters, packages and emails.  I love you all and hope you have a great Christmas.  

Love, Sister Lake 

 All the missionaries refer to us as the "Hippie Duo" because we were both vegetarians before our missions, so we thought this sign was perfect for us.  AND, yes, we did knock on the back door!!

Our beloved zone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016


Alright, so a quick update because I don't have much time...but this week was so incredible and full of so many miracles, tender mercies, and crazy adventures!

First off, Bobby D. Smith DID IT!!  HE QUIT SMOKING!!  Such a miracle and an answer to so many prayers.  He quit after smoking for 30 years.  He hated us at first and kept saying we were "torturing him," but by the end of the week he said that he doesn't know what happened but he has NO DESIRE to smoke.  It has just been so cool to see how his attitude and countenance have changed.  He is just so happy!  He is now taking steps to get to the temple, and it has been one of the greatest blessings to be a part of and such an amazing blessing to have known him.  He wrote a nice song for us to keep him busy that gave us a good laugh!

We were also able to have a second lesson with Bill who we tracted into last week, and the lesson went so well!  He has been prepared and is ready, and I think he knows that as well.  The spirit was there once again, and he had some amazing questions.  He realizes that to know whether or not the Church is true is all up to him.  He has that desire and knows what he needs to do.  This week he committed to pray about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  I am so excited for our next lesson with him this week!  He still just keeps saying, "I really don't know why I decided to let in the missionaries this time because I never have in the past, but clearly it means I'm reading and I need to take this seriously."  Once again...such a testimony building experience...that seeds planted by missionaries and members previously are so important, as well as that our Heavenly Father is preparing people this very second!

We were also able to meet with Sister Sharek twice this week and help her with some service.  We are going to have dinner and our next lesson with her on Wednesday.  I know she is ready; she just needs to realize that and take that leap of faith!  I am so excited for our lesson this week with her!

So, crazy story for the week--We had TWO MOOSE ENCOUNTERS!!  Now that the weather is a lot colder, we see moose on almost a daily basis because they come down from the mountains.  This week we had two pretty exciting/scary/awesome encounters.  I always thought moose were friendly and harmless animals, but boy, was I wrong...haha!  We pulled up to a house where we were invited to eat dinner and started getting out of our car.  The kids in the house were looking out the window at us and started waving their arms.  We were confused until we realized there was a moose right in front of the door.  It was dark so we couldn't see it, but we hopped right back in the car and had to sit there for 15 minutes until the moose finally left!


Later in the week we were tracting at dusk (3:30 p.m.).  We turned around after knocking on a door and 15-20 feet in front of us at the end of the driveway there was a mama moose and her two babies walking towards us.  We quickly had to hide and sit on the porch until they moved far enough away for us to sneak out through the backyard and through the woods to our car!  It was scary but also so funny.

Up until this week, I have only eaten salmon once; however, we have eaten so much fish this week!  I was on "Cloud 9" because I didn't have to eat any moose!!

Interesting experience:  We tracted a shamen and his wife, and they have "adopted us."  All I can say is that is fine with me!  

Shamanism among Alaska Natives

[Alaska Natives have a special connection to the land around them, and a kinship with the animals with whom they share that land. Before the introduction of western culture and the religions that are now practiced in Alaska, there was a common spiritual connection made with the people to the land they occupied. The most common name for this connection is shamanism.  Shamanism differs in every culture where it is practiced, in Alaska it is centered in the animals that are common in the area. Through the use of many myths, stories, and ceremonies these animals are personified and their spirits made tangible and in turn are deeply woven within the Native Alaskan people today. It was through the shaman that the spirit world was connected to the natural world. A shaman in Alaskan Native culture was a mediator, healer and the spirit worlds’ mouthpiece. Although shamanism is no longer popularly practiced, it was and continues, to be the heart of the Native Alaskan people.]

Anyway, this week was awesome!  I love you all and hope you are having a great holiday season.  Look out for those opportunities to serve others.  Thank you for all you do.

Love, Sister Lake

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy Holidays!

Crazy how fast time has gone!  This week was awesome as always!  I had to say goodbye to Sister Johnson, which was definitely hard but so exciting having Sister Richards become my new companion.  I have been like a crazy woman this week trying to take over the area (and drive in the snow--so scary!  Whoever thought it would be a good idea to let me drive-- I don't know!), and she has been so patient with me.  Sister Richards is such an incredible missionary and, if I didn't know any better, I would think she has been out for over a year and not just three months!  She is so awesome and such a hard worker, which I love.  

We have done a lot of "finding" this week, as well as taught some awesome lessons.  We were able to teach Marvie again and the lesson went so well!  The spirit was there.  He had some awesome questions that we were able to help answer.  We invited him to be baptized, and he has some concerns, but said he wants to keep meeting and is willing to talk over them and continue to learn more.  We have our next lesson with him when he returns home from the slope in two weeks.  He is so amazing and has such a strong testimony.  We asked him what he thought his purpose was here on this earth and he said, "To be a light to others, and to serve them, and to be like God and our Savior, Jesus Christ," and he does exactly all of that.   

While we were tracting this week, we met Bill.  He let us in and we started talking with him.  The spirit was there.  He opened up to us about some of his beliefs, and he knew a little bit about our church.  We showed him the "Light the World" video and talked with him some more about his religious background.  I then kinda just blurted out, "As missionaries, we teach people about our Gospel and help people to come closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Could we teach you?"  And he said, "YES!"  So, we went right in to teaching him about the Book of Mormon.  We invited him to read it and pray about it before our next appointment on Saturday, and he said he would.  As we were leaving, he said, "I know a lot of people in the Mormon Church, and I have had a lot of missionaries come to my door because of that.  Every time, I just kindly say that I'm not interested but to have a good day and then shut the door.  But, for some reason, this time it was different and I felt like I should let you in!  And, I'm glad you guys came in!"  It was just such a testimony builder that people are being prepared as we speak.  I am so excited to continue to meet with him.

(Click on the link above to watch the video explaining the "Light the World" Initiative Sister Lake is talking about.)

Another awesome lesson we had this week was with Bobby Smith.  He has some problems with the Word of Wisdom.  We want nothing more than to see that man go through the temple.  We decided we need to do something to help him quit smoking, and so we are starting a 15-step program that missionaries have to help him.  We started it last night and the spirit was so strong.  I know how hard it is for him to quit, but he has that desire because he knows that some day he wants to make it through the temple.  We're hoping that day will be very, very soon.  He is so awesome, and it was humbling to sit there and see him give up something that I know is so hard for him to do.  Bobby Smith has had such a huge impact on my life.  He is so humble and just so full of joy, even though his circumstances are far from ideal.  He amazes me each and every day, and so I feel so honored to help him quit his addiction and get to the place that will bring him so much happiness.  So, please pray for him this week as he starts this 7-day program.  I wish you all could just meet him!

We were also able to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional last night.  Wow! There were some powerful talks given!  I loved President Eyring's talk on peace and the three things that can bring us the peace that our Savior, Jesus Christ, promised us in John 14:27.  "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. "  I especially love the third point Pres. Eyring spoke about to give gifts of love and peace to others and serve those around you. 

We were able to go around and share the initiative with so many people, and have been able to see so many people serve others, as well as serve ourselves.  I can testify that I know service brings the most peace and joy.  I know that as we do service we are letting Christ's light shine through us.  I know that as we serve others we are becoming like our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know that Jesus loves us.  I am so thankful for His example and the opportunity we have to celebrate His birth this Christmas season.  I am thankful for His atoning sacrifice and for the opportunity we have to become closer to our Savior through the atonement.  I am very thankful for this Gospel, for Jesus Christ, and the opportunity we have to each and every day become more like Him.  Find those people that need that light in their life and be that light for them.   

I love you all so much!  Have such an amazing week and pray for those opportunities to serve.  I know as you do, you will find them.  Love you all!

Love, Sister Lake

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 14

It's getting real...the temperatures are getting down in the negatives

 -2 degrees Fahrenheit!


This week was awesome!  Sadly, we received our transfer calls and Sister Johnson is leaving me to be an STL in Anchorage.  Boy, am I going to miss her, but my new companion is Sister Richards.  She came out the same time I did and was trained by Sister Grieve, so I am so stoked!!

 We were tracting and ran into our favorite little girl who was ice skating, so we helped her!   This sweet girl, McKinley, prayed for us every night for about six weeks that we could have a baptism the same day as Brielle's!

We were able to have some awesome lessons this week with some of our investigators.  The first one was the Shareks, who I told you about in my letter last week when we helped the mother unload her tires when I was on exchanges with Sister Grieve, and the spirit was just so strong.  We were able to return and meet with her and her husband this past week, and, once again, the spirit was really strong.  We were able to find out some of the husband's concerns and hesitations with us coming back.  We invited him to read the Book of Mormon and take his concerns and questions to our Heavenly Father.  He just looked at the book and said, "You're right, I'll do it!"  His wife is so ready to join the Church it's crazy.  She was bearing her testimony to her husband.  They promised that they will read the Book of Mormon together and pray to know if it is true.  I am so excited to meet with them again this week and know that if they read that book they will receive their answer.  The Book of Mormon is so true, guys...There is no question about it!

We also tracted this amazing family from Russia.  They were just so welcoming to us.  We tracted them on Wednesday, and then they invited us back the following day for Thanksgiving.  Who does that?!  They are so awesome!  We were able to talk a lot about what we believe in and answer a lot of their questions, and are meeting with them again this week.  It really was so humbling to see how welcoming they were, even on Thanksgiving.  It was unbelievable to see them invite these two girls they have never met before over to their big Thanksgiving meal.  Everyone made us feel welcome on Thanksgiving and just took us in like we were their family.  It meant so much to us!  This area is so great.  My ward is amazing.  I love them so much.   

 One of my favorite families ever...the Whites!  (Their 16-year-old son reminds me exactly of Cole!)

I have been going around with Sister Johnson to say goodbye to everyone, and it made me realize how much I love this ward, how much they have done for us, and how hard it is going to be to say goodbye to them when it comes time for me to be transferred.  I am very thankful for the opportunity I have had to serve here and continue to serve in this area for the next six weeks.  I am also thankful for the opportunity I have had to meet the people that I have and for how much they have blessed my life.  I am also very thankful for the opportunity I have had to have sister Johnson as my trainer; I wouldn't have made it through these first couple of months without her.  Being in Wasilla, Alaska, has been such a blessing.

I am grateful for the knowledge I have of this Gospel and how much it has blessed my life.  I am thankful to be given the opportunity to go out and share with others my belief that the Gospel is true.  I know I say this all the time, but the longer I am out the more I realize what a blessing it is to be here, and what a blessing it is to have this Gospel.  The Church is true.  I love you guys!

Love, Sister Lake 

 Bobby D. Smith let us wear his World Championship cowboy hat!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 13

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving!

This past week was incredible, especially Wednesday!  On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to go on exchanges, and I this time I was able to be with Sister Grieve in my area.  First of all, it is always so fun to be with Sister Grieve, and second, we had such an amazing day!  We started out tracting; I had a whole different plan as to where we would go, but as I was driving there I felt like we needed to go to Grey Wolf, so we went.  Within one hour, we gave away SIX Book of Mormons, taught SIX lessons and acquired FIVE new investigators!!!  So cool!  We are meeting with each of them this week.  Sister Grieve is such an amazing missionary and is just so bold.  I seriously learned so much from her.  

Sister Lake and Sister Grieve

After that, we went to teach the Ronne family.  We asked Nerrissa how church was on Sunday, and she just lit up.  She talked about how she had always heard her sister Kaylan talk about attending church and never understood why she loved it so much.  So, she decided to finally go this last Sunday and see why Kaylan loved going.  Nerissa said that she finally understood.  She said she just loved it and that she felt so good about it.  We started talking about the Holy Ghost and what He does, and by the end we asked her what she thinks that good feeling was that she felt.  She looked at us and said, "I wasn't quite sure at first, but now I know that I felt the Holy Ghost."  This made me so happy to hear that!  We invited her to pray about the Book of Mormon again, and now that she knows what the Holy Ghost feels like, to look for her answer.  It was so awesome.

Later that night we were able to try to visit one of our less-actives, Jacob Sharek.  We have been trying to get in touch with him for some time now, and we just haven't had much success.  As my companion and I were planning for the next day, we both felt prompted that we needed to visit him.  We knocked on his door and no one was home.  As we turned around to walk away, Jacob Sharek's wife, who is not a member, pulled up.  We started talking with her, and she seemed really stressed out.  We noticed that she had tires in her car, and so we asked if she needed help.  She said, "No," but Sister Grieve insisted, and we helped unload her tires.  She was so thankful.  

She invited us in, and we started talking with her and her mood instantly changed.  We showed her the He Lives video [you can view this video at:] and she just started crying.  The spirit was so strong, and before we knew it we were teaching her the first lesson, Sister Grieve was inviting her to be baptized, and she was saying yes!  We both walked out of there just amazed and couldn't remember anything we said.  It was such an amazing experience.  The spirit was so strong, and she was just so ready.  We have out second lesson and dinner with them tomorrow night, and we are so excited.  This was one of those experiences where you just felt Heavenly Father's hand in all that happened.  It was such a testimony builder that as we put our faith in our Heavenly Father and follow even the slightest promptings that we receive, we will be led to those people who are ready.  This is His work, and I am so glad that I can be an instrument in His hands.  

Overall, we had a good week and are so excited for the week to come.  Crazy to think that I am almost done with training.  Time really does fly by!  I love it here--I really do!  I love everything about a mission, even the freezing COLD weather!  I am so thankful for this opportunity that I have been given to serve a mission.  I am so thankful for the knowledge that I have of this restored Gospel and that I have a loving Heavenly Father.  I love you all and hope you have such a great Thanksgiving week!  

Love, Sister Lake 

 Alaska has the most random road names, and this is one of my favorites because whenever we say where we're going we always get so confused!  Haha

 All of my MTC homies on our three-month mark!

 My district


Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 12, November 14, 2016

From Alaska!

So, I do not have much time this week, but it was such an awesome week.  We had the baptism for Kaylan and it was such a sweet experience!  I don't even know how to put my feelings into words.  The spirit was just so strong, and she was just so happy.  She had this huge smile on her face that did not leave once.  She is such an amazing girl that I have grown to just love.  I sat there happier than I have ever been watching as she was baptized and knowing that Brielle was being baptized as well.  I just felt so much joy!  She was confirmed on Sunday and Wow, was that such a special moment.  The spirit was so strong once again as she received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the blessing that followed brought me to tears.  The promises that were made were so special and the overwhelming feeling of the spirit was indescribable.  

 McKenna and her companion with Kaylan and her sister, Nerrissa, at the baptism.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have been able to teach Kaylan and get to know her family.  I just love them all so much.  I am very thankful for their example that they have been to me, and their testimonies that have strengthened mine.  I am so excited to continue teaching her sister Nerrissa.  

 The missionaries with Hope Ronne and her daughters, Nerrissa and Kaylan.

I have come to learn more and more each week how much happiness the Gospel truly brings into our lives, how much joy we are able to feel, and how much love our Heavenly Father has for each and every person.  It just amazes me!  Being able to watch as people learn more and more about the Gospel and feel of our Heavenly Father's love for them and how that changes them is such a sweet experience.  

 McKenna's sister, Brielle, who was baptized on the same day as Kaylan, but in Eagle, Idaho.  This collage contains pictures of Brielle with her parents, brother Cole (who baptized her), her grandparents, AND four brothers.

I love this area.  I love the people.  I love the ward.  I love this mission.  It is still one of the hardest things, and there are days that are so difficult, but it is all worth it.  I know that this church is true.  I know that as we make Jesus Christ the center of our lives and strive to become like him, and USE the atonement, we will receive more happiness than we could ever imagine.  I know that He loves us and is aware of us. I love this Gospel, and I love that I have the opportunity to share it.  I love you all!  Have such a great week!

Love, Sister Lake

 "Hugs" candy packages*

*One of our members who is always making this deal about how he can't hug us because we're sisters "hugged" us!  It was super awkward and absolutely hilarious!


Monday, November 7, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 11, November 7, 2016

Sunday, Funday!!

The mission gets better and better each day...seriously love it out here!  This week was awesome.  We were able to have a lot of lessons with less-activities that we have been working with, and we saw the blessings on Sunday when SEVEN less-active members showed up to church for the first time in years.  

Sunday was probably one of the most hectic, stressful days I have had on the mission, but also one of the best days.  So, we woke up on Sunday--both my companion and I feeling so stressed.  We had so many things we had to do today, and we were both overwhelmed.  We went to Ward Council at 8 AM and then came out of the building and our car had been broken into and our wallets were STOLEN--not what we needed in the moment whatsoever!!!  We went into Sacrament Meeting so stressed and not super happy, but as we were sitting there, we saw person after person that we have been working with walk in one right after another, as well as our investigator Marvie (upstairs neighbor) and his son.  We were able to sit on a row with all of them.  The second that Sacrament Meeting started, we sang the opening hymn, and I said a quick prayer and just had this overwhelming, peaceful feeling come over me, and all of my stress and concerns were suddenly gone.  The Spirit was so strong, and everyone there had such an amazing time.  

After Sacrament Meeting, we just had awesome experiences happen one right after the other, and we were able to see so many tender mercies from the Lord.  We saw His hand in the work so much yesterday, and it was such an amazing experience.  We had a family bring one of their non-member friends with them, and all I am going to say is that he is an elect investigator if I have ever seen one.  He is so ready.  We had FHE with him tonight and have the opportunity to start teaching him this week.  I have never been so excited!

Heavenly Father is aware of us.  We are given trials for a reason.  They make us stronger and definitely make us appreciate the good things that happen so much more.  I realized while sitting in Sacrament Meeting, as I was surrounded by these people that I have grown to love while teaching this principle, that I was so stressed out by losing my wallet and worldly things when what truly brings the most joy and happiness, and really the thing that should matter the most, is the Gospel.  Also, as I sat in Sacrament Meeting, I realized that I was surrounded by people who we have been able to help come closer to Jesus Christ, and have helped me in more ways than I can express, and that is worth far more than anything I could ever imagine.  

This church is true.  The Book of Mormon is true.  I have had so many opportunities to testify of it, and I am so thankful for it.  I remember when I first came on my mission, I was terrified to go up to people because I didn't know what to say, and I wasn't clever with my door approaches until I realized that we have the Book of Mormon as one of our tools.  The book is one of the most powerful tools, and as long as I testify of the Book of Mormon, the spirit will be there.  If those people I approach are ready, they will accept it, and if they are not ready, a seed has been planted.  Since I have realized this, tracting and talking to people are what I look forward to because I am sharing what is true and that is all that matters.

Heavenly Father is aware of us and every trial we are going through.  He is there with His arm reached out to us waiting for us to come to Him.  He will help us.  He loves each and every one of us.  I know that this church is true.  I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that he restored the Gospel to this earth.  I know that through the power of God he translated the Book of Mormon.  I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of our Savior Jesus Christ and His pure love for us.  This Gospel is true, and I am so thankful each and every day for the opportunity I have to share it.  Love you all so much!  So thankful for all that you do!  Have a great week!

 McKenna and her companion standing on a partially frozen lake!

Love, Sister Lake 

P.S.  A member in my ward served his mission with my dad.  He was able to find pictures of him back when he was on his mission, and he gave them to me.  I sent my favorite one!  Such a small world.  Good ole' pops throwing up the peace sign!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 10 - October 31, 2016

Week of Miracles!!

Alright, so this week was truly a week of miracles.  We had some really cool experiences and were able to talk to so many people about the Gospel.  On Wednesday, we met with the Ronne family, and before I tell you what happened I'm going to give you a little background story.  To be totally honest--the first two or three weeks out in the field were pretty rough...I was just so homesick.  So, my very first Monday in the field we had a FHE with one of my favorite families, the Hafens, and we talked about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.  After the lesson was done, Sister Hafen started asking me about my family, and it came up that I have a little sister that is almost eight.  They asked when she was going to be baptized, and I told them on November 12.  I think she could tell that I was a little sad.  She said, "You guys should set a goal to have a baptism on that same day!"  So, we started praying in every single one of our prayers to have a baptism on that date.  As the weeks went on, we slowly stopped because we weren't really teaching anyone, but within the last couple of weeks we started praying about having a baptism on Nov. 12 again.  

A little over a week ago, we invited Kaylynn to be baptized, asked her to pray about a date that she would like as her baptismal date, and to let us know at our next lesson.  She did what we asked and made her final decision for the date to be on NOVEMBER 12!!!  When she said that exact date, I just had this overwhelming feeling come over me.  I was trying so hard to hold back my tears.  This experience was such a testimony builder that our prayers do not go unheard!  Heavenly Father hears each and every one of our prayers, and He answers them on His own timetable.  This was such an amazing experience--I honestly still can't put into words how I felt.

Right after we left the Ronne's home, we received a text from our good friend, Marvin Lyon (our upstairs neighbor).  About three weeks ago he asked us when we were going to start teaching him.  We gave him a tabbed Book of Mormon and told him to read Moroni 10 and let us know when he wants us to start teaching him.  He left for two weeks to work on the slope, and two days after he returned home he sent us a text that said, "I have read all of the passages tabbed and want to be taught.  When are you available?"  The tears just started flowing at this point.  He not only read Moroni 10, but also read Alma 32, 3rd Nephi 11, the introduction, and the testimonies of the witnesses.  We were able to have our very first lesson with him the very next day, which went so well.  He accepted the lesson of the restoration really well and is seriously reading the Book of Mormon.  He is absolutely my favorite.  We have become BFFs with him, and I really cannot wait for our next lesson with him.  He is so ready!

We have been in a drought with service lately because a lot of people here like to do everything on their own.  They are very independent and so nobody ever wants any help, but that changed this week.  We had so many service opportunities for the community, less actives, and part-member families.  It was so much fun and such an awesome experience.  As each week goes by, I grow to love the mission more and more, even the hard times.  If there weren't hard times, then those days like Wednesday would not mean so much.  The Gospel is true.  The Book of Mormon is true.  I feel so honored to be given the opportunity to go out and share this Gospel and testify of the Book of Mormon each and every day.

Last P-day we went on a hike.  We let the elders plan it.  We gathered together at  the starting point, began the hike, and THREE HOURS LATER reached the top!  There wasn't a trail.  The elders just decided to pick some random mountain and climb it in a foot of snow.  Honestly, so much fun!  We reached the top and realized we only had 45 minutes left of P-Day, and so we just slid down the mountain and got thrashed by the rocks.  It was probably one of the stupider things I have done, but so much fun!  

Alaska is beautiful!  It is covered in snow and freezing, but so beautiful.  People walk around in shorts and flip flops like it's the middle of summer when it is like 15 degrees and snowy outside--it's crazy!!

The mission is awesome--hard, but awesome!  I am starting to appreciate the hard days so much more because it means that something good is going to happen.  And, those good things are SO worth the hard times.  Love you so much!  Miss you all so much!  Have such a great week!

Love, Sister Lake

PS--I totally got food poisoning this week from my favorite food ever--sushi!  So, I'm never going to be able to eat that again, which is kind of a bummer.

 Sarah Palin's house


Monday, October 24, 2016

Week Nine - October 24, 2016

Week 9 - October 24, 2016

Snow Day!

Alright, so this week it decided to snow a solid six inches!!  CRAZY!  We woke up to everything just covered in snow, which I guess it means winter is finally here.  It was scary driving and even walking.  I biffed it so hard a good solid three times.  

Biffing it!!

Thank goodness for SKhoop skirts (basically snow pants that are skirts instead--the greatest things ever invented) for making the falls a little softer.  

 SKhoop skirt - Insulated Swedish skirts for wearing in cold climates

We were also able to do some service for a less active in the Elders Ward.  We show up, and guess who is his next door neighbor...Sarah Palin.  I thought everybody was kidding when they said, "Go convert Sarah Palin in Wasilla," but they were not!  So, that was cool that we may or may not have trespassed to get a look at her home.  I can promise you that she CANNOT see Russia from her backyard. 

 McKenna with her friend the bullrider

Besides that, our week was so awesome.  We were able to visit every single person on our ward roster, which sounds easy, but I promise you it was not considering most people do not have house numbers and have not been active in over 20 years.  It is like a guessing game.  We were able to finish that task and bring back a lot of information to the bishop, which has really helped us figure out who to focus on.  

We were also able to invite the Ronne children to be baptized--such an amazing experience.  I seriously walked in to their home so nervous.  We went about the lesson, and then it was my turn to speak about baptism and invite Kaylyn to be baptized.  I was honestly freaking out inside, but as I invited her, the question came out totally confident and calm.  For the first time on my mission I knew that the spirit was talking through me.  It was truly such a cool experience.  She said, "Yes," and is praying about a date that she feels will be best for her!  The spirit was just so strong; she is just so ready and excited.  Her other two siblings said that they want to be baptized, and they know the Book of Mormon is true, but they want to learn a little more.  I am so excited to continue teaching them!  They are just such an awesome family!

We have been doing a lot of "finding" this week, which I have come to find out is a serious test of faith.  We have been doing a lot of tracting and will go an hour or so where not a single person opens the door, or they see us and tell us to go away.  They don't even give us a chance, and so it definitely can get discouraging.  At times, we feel like it is a total waste, but this is what we feel we should do, and so FAITH is the key.  

I have learned that faith is essential in everything we do, not just on missions but in life.  There is this quote I heard this week that says, "The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss."  I have read this quote over and over again.  Every time someone shuts the door in our faces or yells at us, we realize that as long as we have faith in our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the promptings we receive, we know that He will compensate for our losses.  He will, on His own time, help us to realize why we were faced with certain trials and hardships, and why we needed to go through that challenge.  As we put our trust and faith in Him, I know that He will help us in everything we are going through and be there for us along the way.  

I'm going to be honest...A mission is HARD.  It really truly is.  It is one of the hardest things I have ever done.  It is emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausting, but somehow I am able to get up and make it through the day.  I know that it is because we are not alone in this.  We are not alone in life.  We have a loving Heavenly Father who is with us every step of the way.  We have the knowledge of this Gospel, which I know to be true.  We have the Book of Mormon, which gives us guidance and helps us to learn and grow.  We have the power of prayer--the ability to talk with our Heavenly Father and share with him what we are going through.  And, we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and hears those prayers and helps us in every possible way.  A mission is hard, but is also SO WORTH IT!  Every single second is worth it because our Heavenly Father loves us.  

I know how grateful I am for that knowledge and am so grateful for the opportunity I have to share that with others.  I have never experienced so much joy when watching someone finally accept and realize that they are a son or daughter of a living, loving Father in Heaven, and how much that knowledge changes their life.  I have been able to have that experience.  Those moments that were so hard, I would have over and over again to experience with someone whose life has been changed because of the Gospel.  

Share the Gospel every chance you get.  Pray as often as you can, and read your scriptures daily.  Never forget that your Heavenly Father loves you, and as you put your faith and trust in Him, He will bless you.  I love you all!  Miss you!  Thank you for all you do!

Love, Sister Lake 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week Eight - October 17, 2016

Week 8 - October 17, 2016

So hard but worth it!!

I received my transfer call.....and.....I'm staying in Wasilla, which I am seriously excited about!!!  I honestly love this area so much.  It's weird to think, though, that I'm already done with my first transfer and that I have been out for two months!  Weird!

A couple of cool things happened this week.  First, we saw the Northern Lights again, but this time the lights were about 10 times more vibrant, and they were green, pink, purple, and just totally dancing across the sky--so cool!  

A picture of the Northern Lights taken off the internet

Our power went out all morning until our studying was completed, and since the sun doesn't rise here in Alaska until around 10 a.m. we studied by candlelight, which was interesting to say the least.  

Our entire zone drove into Anchorage to attend the temple, which was such a blessing. 

My Missionary District

My Zone outside the temple

Bobby Smith, the bull rider, gave each of us one of his shirts that he wore in the world championship bull riding event, and they are so cool (I'll send a picture.).  Lynn Clarke's sweet friend found me at stake conference and brought me a homemade loaf of baked bread, such a tender mercy which honestly made my day!  I only ate moose twice this week, another tender mercy right there!

I met this 17-year-old kid named Max.  We were walking up his driveway as he was coming out of his house, and he came straight over to us with a huge smile on his face.  We introduced ourselves, and I was able to ask him a few questions and talk about the Book of Mormon.  He was so eager to read the copy that I gave him, and told us to come back in a week.  I was honestly so nervous!  It seemed like I was talking a hundred miles an hour, but it was such a cool experience!  

The highlight of the week happened last night.  We have been teaching this family, the Ronne's, for the last four weeks.  The mom was baptized about six months ago after having attended church for the last four years.  About four weeks ago she called us and said that her daughters, who are 14 and 17, wanted to start taking the lessons, but that they didn't want to get pressured into baptism.  The mom wants her girls to make the decision 100 percent themselves, so she hasn't pressured them or talked to them about baptism.  So even she was surprised that the girls came to her and asked to be taught.  We started teaching them, and while we were teaching them, their 12-year-old brother started sitting in on the lessons and participating in the discussions.  So, we have been teaching all three the last couple of weeks, and last night we were able to talk with the mom about baptism.  We have been feeling like we need to invite them to take that next step, but have never wanted to step on the mom's toes because she asked us not to invite them to be baptized too quickly.  

We had an awesome conversation with the mom last night, and all three of us decided that they are ready.  We decided that we are going to extend the invitation this Wednesday!  I just got off the phone last night and had such a peaceful feeling about all of it.  It is so sweet to watch the mom sit there and watch her kids as they gain their own testimonies.  You can just tell that she has wanted them to become members ever since she was baptized.  They are golden kids, and it amazes me at how serious they are taking this.  It has been so, so cool to watch their testimonies grow over the last couple of weeks.  

I know that this Gospel is true.  I know that it is truly what brings the most happiness in the world, and through living this Gospel we are able to receive so many blessings.  I know that we are children of a living, loving Heavenly Father who knows us and understands what we are going through.  He hears and answers our prayers.  I know that the Book of Mormon contains the true word of God, and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and with the power of God he was able to translate the plates.  I know that we have a living prophet today.  All of this knowledge has brought so much happiness and peace in my life.  It makes me truly so happy to sit there and watch these kids learn these principles, accept these truths for themselves, and gain their own testimonies.  

This Gospel is true.  I know it!  I love this mission!  It really truly is one of the hardest things I have ever done, and there are definitely days where I'm not sure if I can make it through, but then we have experiences, like teaching the Ronne Family, and it makes those hard days all worth it.  I know that Heavenly Father is aware of each one of us and the things that we are going through; I have a strong testimony that we we go to Him in prayer He will comfort us.  I love you all and am so thankful for all that you have done for me!  Have a great week!

Love you all, Sister Lake 

P-Day Fun (salmon swimming)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week Seven - October 10, 2016

Week 7 - October 10, 2016

No Trespassing!!


This week was awesome!  We found and were able to speak to a lot of less actives that we have been trying to find for awhile, which, as a result, led us on some pretty crazy adventures (including getting chased by more dogs)!  After this mission I don't think I will ever want a dog, hah!!

Every single person I meet here has a crazy life story of their own, and it is cool just to sit there and listen to everything they have been through.  I love it!  I sometimes feel like I'm the guy that does "Humans of New York" who goes around meeting all of these people with amazing stories!

We started teaching the lessons to Bobby Smith (the bull rider) who is less active, and his neighbor, Peggy.  She is not a member but comes and sits in on the lessons with us so that we can go inside his home.  So, we had our first lesson this week, and Peggy started teaching him for us and bearing testimony of what she had read in the pamphlet we gave them about the restoration.  My companion and I were just blown away!!  It was just so cool to see her bear testimony on something she had just read, which shows how true and powerful this Gospel is.  She said that she will do the commitments that we ask Bobby to do, and she looks forward to the other lessons, which is awesome.  She even came to church yesterday!  I am so excited to continue teaching her and just seeing how much she progresses.  This is definitely one of the coolest experience of my mission so far!

This week we were told by our mission president that we could no longer knock on people's doors if there is a "No trespassing" sign, which before we always just ignored.  This pretty much eliminates about more than 2/3 of our area, but we have really been trying to find a new way to get in touch with people.  We have to get creative, and it has definitely been an interesting but cool experience.  Ever since I arrived here, we have really been trying to get members more involved, and just yesterday we had about 10 members come up to us saying they think they know someone who is ready.  I really think the "No Trespassing" sign was a blessing in disguise because we're getting the ward members involved.

This week we also ran into a lot of people that did not have anything positive to say about the Church, or what we are doing, and it's hard sometimes not to get too discouraged.  We found a scripture this week after one of our encounters with someone that had nothing good to say to us.  The scripture said, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." (John 15:18).  I just finally realized that as hard as it is going to be sometimes to have people tear you down for what you believe, and what you do for our Savior, Jesus Christ, He knows exactly how we feel because He was in our same position and those people hated Him first.  It is reassuring to know that our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, know us individually and by names.  He knows what I am going through because He went through it at a much higher extent.  He loves us, He knows us, and He is there for us.  This has changed the entire way my companion and I look at those situations now.  I am so thankful to know that someone who has been in our shoes loves us more than we will ever know.

I really truly know this Church is true.  I know that our Heavenly Father loves us.  I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, atoned for our sins so that we could return and live with Him again.  I know that Joseph Smith was a true and living prophet who restored this Gospel back to the earth.  I know that he translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God and is another testament of our Savior's love for us.  I know that we have a living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson.  I know that this Gospel is true, and I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to share it with other people.

Love you all so much!  Thanks for all you do!

Love, Sister Lake  

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week Six - October 3, 2016

Week Six - October 3, 2016


Hello everyone!

Before I start describing my week, I want to tell you about my testimony-building experience on obedience.  My companion and I are trying to be completely obedient, and part of being obedient is that we are supposed to exercise for 30 minutes every morning from 6:30-7:00 AM.   By the time we wake up, get ready, and say our prayers, we only have about 20 minutes to work out.  So, we started waking up at 6:15 so that we could be ready and out the door to go running at 6:30.  The very first morning we do this, we are out of our door by 6:30 to go running, turn the corner, and we look up and the NORTHERN LIGHTS ARE OUT! Okay, you have to understand, missionaries who have been here for almost a year haven't even seen them yet.  My companion hasn't seen them yet…!  Anyway, we saw the northern lights for about 10 whole minutes.  By the time we normally would have started our running time, the lights would have been gone!  Because we decided to be completely obedient, we feel we were rewarded with this tender mercy from the lord.  I have seen them twice since then--just the coolest sight to see!

  Our view every morning

In addition to that experience, this week was seriously amazing!  Conference was so cool to listen to! The speakers talked so much about missionary work, and I loved hearing about it! We received so many answers to questions we have about our area, and it was cool to just hear these inspired words. I also loved how much the speakers talked about the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement, which is the center of the Gospel.  It just really showed how important the Plan of Salvation and His Atonement really are, especially in these times.  I love and feel so grateful for the knowledge that we have of these principles.  His Atonement is truly one of the greatest acts of love, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to use the Atonement daily.   I am also so thankful for the opportunity we have to share such an amazing plan that really truly does bring the most happiness.  

I also loved Elder Uchtdorf’s talk about faith from the General Women's Conference.  I have read that talk over and over again this week, and I love it more and more every single time. I love when he said, “My beloved sisters in Christ, God is real.  He lives.  He loves you.  He knows you.  He understands you.  He knows the silent pleadings of your heart.  He has not abandoned you.  He will not forsake you."  These men are truly inspired, and I am so thankful for their inspired words and guidance that they gave this week.  I am so thankful for our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and I know that he is our living prophet today.

 All of the sister missionaries, except for a few!  So fun to finally get to see other sisters since my companion and I are the only ones in our area!

This week we had a really cool experience with our upstairs’ neighbor.  I finally got to meet him because he works on the slope (where the majority of the people work; they work for three weeks and then are off for three weeks), and so he was gone the first three weeks I was here.  He is seriously so cool!  If I were 40 years old, I would totally be a best friend with him.  Anyways, he just flat out asked us, “So, when are you going to start teaching me the lessons?”  This totally caught us off-guard.  So, we gave him a Book of Mormon and said, “Read this chapter, and let us know when we can start teaching you.”  Seriously, so cool!  We start teaching him this week! 

We also have been trying to get to know all of the less-actives, which are 2/3 of our ward, which has been interesting.  We have had some really cool experiences and also some really interesting ones.  Some people will pretend they aren't members of the church, which is actually kind of funny!   We're working really hard to meet with every less active, and I have loved it! 

Our view of the Pacific Ocean

The people in Alaska are so awesome! I seriously love them! They have some crazy stories.  It's fun getting to know so many new people and just hearing all their crazy stories! I love it here!  I love the people!  I love the area!  I love my ward!  And I love this Gospel!  I feel more and more blessed every week to be given this opportunity, and I am so excited for all that is to come.  Heavenly Father loves us, He knows us, and He is there for us every second of every day.  He has been my rock since I have been out here, and I am so grateful for that.  Thank you all for what everyone has done, and for the encouraging words and prayers that I have felt.  Love you all so much!

Love, Sister Lake!

 My welcome gift to Alaska--bear spray--given to me by one of my favorite families--the Fishes!  Hopefully I'll get to use it sometime soon!!