Friday, August 26, 2016

First E-Mail Received from Sister Lake - August 25, 2016

August 25, 2016 - Provo MTC
Hey Everyone!

I MADE IT!!!! Let me just start off by saying the MTC is amazing, my companion is so awesome, my district is the best group of people I have ever met, the food is AWFUL, and everything is 100 times funnier in the MTC then it should be. For the first week it was like I was walking down the halls of Eagle High School cause I literally saw everyone from Eagle all the time!

I have seriously loved every second of the MTC. My companion’s name is Sister Jewel and she is so awesome; we are like the same exact person. We get along so well and teach so well together. She has such an amazing testimony and has helped me strengthen mine so much. So grateful that she is going to my same mission! My district is hilarious! There are four sisters and eight elders, and we literally have so much fun with each other. Two other sisters and I are going to Alaska and the rest are going to California, Washington, and England. They are seriously the coolest kids though.  I'm pretty sure we will all have a group email our entire mission! My teachers are incredible, too. They have taught me so much since I have been here and have grown to love them! 

Being here has been one of the best, most amazing experiences but is also super hard at times. I am constantly tired, hungry because the foods stinks (So, special shout out to Stephanie Santiago for the quality package I picked up today, which included all of my favorite things! You are the best!), and it’s hard not to get super discouraged, but it is amazing how much prayer and the scriptures can help! We taught our first investigators this week and it is truly one of the coolest experiences. It’s so cool just to get to know people and share something that is so important in my life and see them learn and understand what we’re teaching them and eventually accepting it. We got two baptismal commitments from our "investigators" (We don't know if our investigators are members or actually investigators; I’m pretty convinced one of them is an actual investigator, though), and it was honestly the happiest day up to this point in my life. It’s amazing how much pure happiness can truly be brought through the Gospel. 

The devotionals here are AMAZING.  We meet in a room with 1,700 missionaries and every single time we start singing the spirit is so strong--it’s truly amazing. On Sunday we listened to the Nashville Tribute Band live and they were incredible and shared so many powerful testimonies about the restoration.  This was so cool to hear because, since I have been here, my testimony of Joseph smith and the restoration has grown so much. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that he restored the Gospel here on this earth today--no doubt in my mind. It’s one of my favorite things to teach because it truly amazes me at how strong and brave Joseph smith was. Tuesday night we got to listen to Juan A. Uceda of the Quorum of the Seventy, and he gave one of the most amazing talks I have heard on missionary work from an investigator’s point of view.  This was based on what he was thinking when he was 18 and being taught by the missionaries in Peru.  His experience changed my whole idea of missionary work and put it in a whole new perspective that is truly amazing.

Like I said before, everything is 100 times funnier here in the MTC, and so I just have to share a few things that happened. This first story is definitely more embarrassing then anything else, but whatever.  So, I introduced myself to the elders going to Alaska and one of the elder’s name sounds very similar to one of the worst words in the English language.  I tried saying his name, and instead of saying his name correctly, I said the really bad word and they all looked at me and just died! Every single time I see them now they just laugh at me, so that was pretty embarrassing to say the least. Another funny story is one of elders totally walked into the girls’ bathroom when we were all there, and he didn't realize he did for a second.  When he did realize where he was, he just sprinted out so embarrassed. It was so good; we haven't let him live that one down yet, Haha. Lastly one of the elders in our district, Elder Howard, is from England and has an awesome accent.  We also have an Elder, Elder Leone, who is GOING to England.  He asked elder Howard to teach him the accent, and let’s just say Elder Leone might possibly have the worst English accent I have ever heard. We have him say Harry Potter, but his pronunciation comes out more like "Harry Pewtur," I literally cry laughing every single time. Seriously, everything here is so funny and I love it!

This place is amazing. This Gospel is amazing.  Our Heavenly Father is amazing and so loving. I have felt so much love and comfort from Him this week, and I know that He truly loves us and knows us individually. I know that He answers our prayers and communicates with us through scriptures. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and is another testament of Christ’s pure love for us. I know that this church is true, and I am so excited to get to share that with the people of Alaska!

Love you so much!

So much Love, Sister Lake

Setting Apart as a Missionary and Saying Goodbye to Family - August 16, 2016

Sister Lake was officially set apart as a missionary by her Eagle Idaho Stake President, President Martin Stafford, the day before she was driven to Provo by her parents and entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center).  At the MTC she will receive instructions and training for three weeks on how to be an effective missionary before traveling to Alaska.  

Being Set Apart is the priesthood ordinance giving authority to members called to labor in specific responsibilities, which is performed by those having the proper priesthood authority and by the laying on of hands.  She was given a beautiful blessing and many promises were made if she would devote these next 18 months to the Lord and be obedient in all of her responsibilities.

 Sister Lake's parents and siblings (minus older brother, Jaden) were in attendance at her Setting Apart at the stake president's office.


After her Setting Apart, her family returned home to load up her luggage and begin the drive to Provo with her parents.  This part of going on a mission is perhaps one of the hardest--saying goodbye to siblings and parents because a sister missionary will not see her family or friends for 18 months (elders for 2 years).  They may only receive e-mails once a week from home and call home twice a year (on Christmas and Mother's Day). 

Sister Lake with her brother, Cole.

Her little brother Garner

 Her sweet little sister, Brielle
And last, but not least, her youngest sibling, Channing

D-Day - Final Goodbyes and Entering the MTC - August 17, 2016

 After spending the night at her grandparents house in Centerville, Sister Lake said an early morning goodbye to Grandpa and Grandma Garner.
 A visit to the Provo Temple before being dropped off at the MTC and a goodbye hug from her mother
 And last, but not least, saying goodbye to her father!
And she is off!  She will be dearly missed; however, Sister Lake and her family realize that the next 18 months will be hard in many ways, but rewarding in more ways than she will ever be able to comprehend.  She will grow in faith in our Heavenly Father relying on Him that she will be watched over and protected, and learning firsthand how to serve!  Many prayers will be offered by her loved ones, and they will also grow by hearing of her many opportunities and experiences in sharing the Gospel with the people in Alaska!! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Speaking in Sacrament Meeting - July 17, 2016

Sister Lake spoke in her Eagle Ward Sacrament Meeting on July 17, 2016.  Her bishopric asked her to speak about Thomas S. Monson’s General Conference talk given in 2013 titled, “Obedience Brings Blessings.”  McKenna talked about how much she loved the following quote from Pres. Monson, “And Knowledge of truth and answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments God.”  Sister Lake shared with the congregation that keeping the commandments for her is a lot easier when she looks at the commandments as a positive thing instead of a negative thing.   Since this realization, she has appreciated the commandments, standards and guidelines that have been given because they really “help a lot.”  She is grateful for the example of obedience and the standards of her siblings and parents, along with Abraham and Isaac and Nephi.  “The Lord appreciates us when we are obedient, and He blesses us because He knows what is best for our each of our lives.” 

She was also asked to explain what helped her reach the point where she knew she was supposed to serve a mission.   She explained that she had always wanted to go on a mission, but when she needed to fill out her mission papers, she wanted to know for sure.  She related that she had been regularly attending church, praying, reading her scriptures, everything she knew she should be doing, but she didn’t receive a “for sure” answer.  When she was at the Provo City Temple dedication and heard the doubts and fears of Sister Dalton deciding whether or not she and her husband should serve a mission, Sister Dalton shared that she wasn’t attending the temple or fasting as often as she should.  So, the next week Sister Dalton did those two things and said, “It was a complete change.”  So, McKenna decided she was going to take Sister Dalton’s advice about attending the temple more often and fasting.  Following those additional commandments, Sister Lake received her answer!   

Sister Lake closed her talk by bearing her testimony on the importance of obedience, the power of the atonement and Christ’s sacrifice, the truth of the Book of Mormon, the blessing of temples, and how the Plan of Salvation can bring us back to our Heavenly Father to live with our families through the eternities.  

3 generations--McKenna with her mother and Grandma Garner
McKenna with her Grandmother Lake
McKenna's Aunt Jennifer, who takes all of the wonderful pictures in the family!
 Add one more aunt, Aunt Camille (in the red jacket), who feeds the whole family!
McKenna's high school friends and roommates at UVU.
The Lake family with the Adcock family, friendship that goes way back!!

Farewell Party - July 16, 2016

The night before Sister Lake's talk in Sacrament Meeting, her family threw her a Farewell Party in the family's backyard inviting family, friends, neighbors, and ward members!  


 Since McKenna will be serving in "cold" Alaska, the refreshments served were three flavors of delicious Gelato and cookies!!!

 Her nieces and nephews had fun swimming while the adults visited

 Aunt Heather and new baby Charlotte

 Two cute nephews, Liam and Hank
Roommates at UVU and friends from Provo
Lake Brothers from Eagle
 Special friends from Eagle Ward

The Heidemann Family
  The Shipp Family
  The Adcock Family
 Roommates at UVU
 McKenna and Morgan, high school besties and roommates at UVU.  Everyone thought they were twins!  Morgan will be serving a mission in Winnipeg, Canada.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Attending the Temple for the First Time - May 28, 2016

Sister Lake attended the Boise Idaho Temple on May 28, 2016.  She wanted this experience to be special with just her parents.  This will always be a day for her to remember.  She took many opportunities to attend the temples in Provo, and she will also be able to attend the temple while she is on her mission in Anchorage.

For a better understanding of why temples are so important in the lives of every individual, please click on the link below:

The Calling of a Missionary

 When a young man or woman decides to go on a mission, he/she must first be found spiritually, physically, and mentally worthy to do so.   
  The Savior taught, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19).  Church members consider it a privilege to show their love for other people and the Lord by sharing the gospel.

Missionaries generally begin serving when they are from 18 to 21 years old. Many retired seniors, men, women, and married couples also serve missions. Missionaries serve from 18 months to 2 years. Missions are voluntary, and missionaries are not paid for their service.  Missionaries come from around the world, and they serve wherever the Church calls them. While serving full-time, missionaries are official representatives of the Church.
As is done with every single perspective missionary, Sister Lake first had to fill out her paperwork stating her desire to serve with recommendations from her ecclesiastical leaders of her worthiness in order to serve a mission.  This paperwork was then sent to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The perspective missionary then waits for the special letter to come with the particulars of his/her "calling."  This calling and the place where the missionary will serve is done by revelation through the Lord's servants, the prophets. A member of the Quorum of the Twelve assigns prospective missionaries to one of more than three hundred missions of the Church throughout the world.

After Sister Lake opened the special letter on May 19, 2016, she was absolutely thrilled!  She would be serving in the Alaska Anchorage Mission for a period of 18 months, and would be preaching the gospel in English.  She was told that she would be reporting to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on August 17, 2016.

  There were many family and friends in attendance to hear the exciting news!  In addition to Sister Lake's immediate family, many grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends were tuned in through phones to hear where she would be serving the next 18 months of her life.