Saturday, December 31, 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas from McKenna!

Quick update! This week was so awesome...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 paella...it 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

HEAT WAVE!


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 everyone...no 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

MOOSE ENCOUNTERS X 2

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