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