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!!