Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Last Two Weeks!!

Hello,

Okay, I'm sorry I have been slacking with the emails!  I'll try my best to update you on the last few crazy weeks.  First off, our new mission president arrived, and oh my goodness they are such incredible people.  President and Sister Toone are such spiritual giants; it has been incredible learning from them.

The first week they were here we were able to have Zone Conference, interviews, MLC, and trainer trainee with them.  They are filled with so much knowledge and love and excitement for the work.  It has been really good!

  Zone Conference with new mission president and his wife and new missionaries


We were able to take Sister Toone with us to teach that very first night.  We taught Angie, our investigator, from the Bush Branch (over the phone obviously), but the spirit was really strong--very incredible!  It was good to have Sister Toone there and to hear her powerful testimony of the Gospel, and to see how much Angie needed that.  

It has also been fun because Pres. and Sister Toone know Great Grandpa Rigby so well.  Every time I see them they have something new to tell me about him, and have nothing but incredible things to say about him.  It was a crazy first week filled with lots of meetings that were truly incredible, and we also welcomed in so many new and incredible missionaries!

That week we also had such a huge miracle happen.  As a mission we have these Standards of Excellence.  Elder Ballard made a promise to us that if we talk to 10 people per day (outside of tracting and appointments, etc.) then we would find one new elect INVESTIGATOR a week.  This might sound easy, but in a lot of areas you're lucky if you see 1 or 2 people randomly outside.  Sooo, we made that a goal and we were killing it.  The nice weather definitely helped, but we were talking to anyone and everyone we saw.  

On Monday, we received a call and the caller said, "Hi, my name is Odi.  You stopped me about five weeks ago while I was walking my dog.  I have been thinking and decided that I wanted to hear more.  When could we meet?" STRAIGHT MIRACLE!!!  We hand out cards like candy and no one EVER calls us.  Such a miracle and blessing, and the realization that as you talk to those 10 people, a new investigator will come one way or the other.  We gave him a lesson and it went pretty good.  He had absolutely never heard anything about the Book of Mormon, so it was a lot for him to take in; however, he was excited to read it and has been reading it all week.  We are meeting with him in about one hour to teach him again.  So excited!!  I'll keep you updated.

Also, we have the sweetest NEW INVESTIGATOR named Annette.  She is so awesome and prepared.  It has been cool seeing how the Lord has prepared her to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ at this exact moment in her life, and all that has happened to her to reach this point.  We met with her a couple of times where we talked, read, and answered her questions, and then she was finally ready to hear the lessons.  We taught her about the Restoration last week, which was SO INCREDIBLE!  The Spirit was very strong, especially when we talked and testified of Joseph Smith.  My testimony was strengthened in that very moment.  I was reminded about how amazing and true this message is!  We met with her again on Saturday and had another amazing lesson!

On Saturday our investigator Angie, from the Bush Branch, was baptized.  And, oh my, was I just so happy.  I taught her one of my very first lessons in this area.  It has been incredible to see her testimony be strengthened and grow so much.  She has a pure love for this Gospel and such a strong desire to learn and continue to learn.  Her husband is a convert.  One day the Sister missionary finally asked her if she wanted to take the lessons.  She said, "Yes, why not?" and now she's here.  She is seriously the sweetest!  She flew down to Washington to get baptized because that is here she is from.  So, we weren't able to attend, but are so excited for her.  Hopefully we will finally be meeting her in person when they fly back through Anchorage.  She has been such a huge blessing in this area, and has been such an incredible example of faithfulness to me.

We are definitely being blessed and see the Lord's hand in this work.  We have seen many miracles, and it has been sweet to see.  This Gospel is incredible.  I have these moments where it just hits me like a brick wall how incredible this Gospel truly is, how much it has blessed my life, and how thankful I am for it.  

Just a quick little thought:  We have had some amazing Gospel Principle classes lately (the teacher is incredible).  Last week's lesson was on Priesthood Power, and I have never felt the Spirit stronger and understood more about the Priesthood than I did in that class.  I was sitting there and we were talking about the importance of the Priesthood, what it is, why we need it, and so forth.  We went through the different offices of the Priesthood, and he asked us how we have seen those offices bless our lives.  The discussion turned into this huge testimony meeting, and WOW, it was powerful!  

I thought back to the many times when the Priesthood has blessed my life, and was so overwhelmed by many gratitude for the Priesthood in my life, including the many father's blessings, the many blessings I received in college from my amazing Home Teachers, watching my brothers as they blessed and passed the Sacrament, hearing about how my brother Cole baptized my sweet sister Brielle as she made that important decision, to my Patriarchal Blessing.  As I thought about all of these times when the Priesthood has been such a huge blessing, I was just totally overwhelmed.  The Priesthood keys were restored to this earth.  There is no question in my mind, and am so thankful for that great gift we have.

 Sister Lake's sister, Brielle, and brother, Cole

I love you all!  Thank you for the love, support, and many prayers.  I can feel them and am so thankful for that.  This Church is true.  I love it!  And I love being a missionary!  I want to leave you with one of my favorite scriptures that I found this week, which is in Hebrews 12:2:  "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Our Savior, Jesus Christ, lives and loves us so much.

Also, one of the highlights of the week!  Pam and Gerome, some of my favorite people from North Pole came and visited me in Anchorage!!!  So god to see them!  And to hear that they are continuing to learn more!  


 Pam and Gerome from North Pole

We also were able to go on exchanges, which were so good!  Sister Johnson is such an awesome missionary!  


 Sister Johnson

AND, we were able to go to the temple!  It has been a long seven months not being able to attend...it was so, so good! Okay, LOVE YOU!!!

Love, Sister McKenna Lake
Anchorage Alaska Mission 

Sister missionaries in "Alaska" hats
 Mother Moose and her babies on the loose!



Friday, July 14, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hello!

I'm writing a little late because our p-day was moved so that we could attend the temple.  Being in the temple felt so good and was exactly what I needed!  It has been about six months since I had gone, and so it was much needed.


This week has been good.  It was weird, however, not having a p-day on Monday.  We had so many meetings but are finally done for two weeks; so, we have a good break.  President Toone is seriously incredible; meetings have been such a treat because he is such an incredible teacher.  It love it!  Also, he is like my long lost twin.  I had interviews with him, and we are like the same person.  I needed him and am so thankful for that.  

He also has the greatest things to say about Grandpa Rigby.  He just can't stop saying what an amazing men he is.  Whenever he sees me, he says, "Hey, it's my favorite family."  Haha
We are dropping Pres. and Sister Toone off at the airport tomorrow.  Seriously, just such incredible people!

So, life has been good...well, up until two days ago when I woke up at 2 AM puking and continued that for the next eight hours.  I had food poisoning, which was so awful and hurt so bad; however, I had an amazing experience.  After about the third time of throwing up, I knelt down and said a prayer.  I remember this comforting feeling come over me and hearing the words in my head, "It's okay, you're not alone."  The experience was really cool.

Yes, life is so good!  I only have a little time today, but I wanted to let you know that I love you and miss you all so much...and, that I'm still alive!

Love, Sister McKenna Lake
Anchorage Alaska Mission



 

 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Promised pictures of beautiful Juneau!

Hello!!!
This week was so good.  President and Sister Toone might possibly be the sweetest people I have ever met.  She just loves Ray Rigby [McKenna's grandfather.  Sister Toone's maiden  name was Rigby], and President Toone said, "Oh, wow, he is such an incredible man."  They have such respect for him.

We have seen them quite a lot the last few days, which is cool because not many other missionaries have had the opportunity to meet them, and they are the greatest!  

Sister Toone came teaching with us the night she arrived, and we just had the most incredible lesson ever.  The following day an investigator had an interview to be baptised with Pres. Toone, and she passed!!!  Pres. Toone said it was just such a spiritual experience.  Such sweet people.  I'm so excited, too, for Angie our investigator.  

We have a stressful week coming up.  We met with the APs this week, and they told us all that we have to do.  So, all four of us will be crazy busy, but it will be good.  My companion goes home in five weeks--so weird!  

The work is doing so good, and we are seeing many, many miracles!  We had the opportunity to teach another investigator this week, and it went extremely well.  I love and miss you all so much...think about you all the time!  

Love, Sister Lake
Anchorage Alaska Mission 

Pictures of Juneau
 Sister Lake with her companion, Sister Jackson

Downtown Juneau

Lush greenery
 Companion and Juneau sister missionaries with Mendenhall Glacier in background
The glacier is 13.6 miles long and 12 miles from Juneau

 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Another Stellar week!!

Hello!
We started out in Juneau on exchanges with Sister Richards and Sister Yeates.  Just let me tell ya, most beautiful place I have ever been, most amazing people I have ever met, and most dedicated and faithful sisters.  It was so fun to spend P-day there, and then go and see all the amazing work the sisters are doing in Juneau.  It was good and so fun to be back with Sister Richards again, even if it was only 48 hours.  It has been great going on exchanges with previous companions and seeing how much we have both changed, AND continue to learn from them!  So cool!  Juneau was amazing, and I'll send lots of beautiful pics!

I promise you we did work, but my mind is drawing a complete blank of what we did this week, sooo I'll give it my best shot.  We received transfer calls, and Sister Jackson and I are both staying in Anchorage!  We get the opportunity to pick up the new missionaries tomorrow, welcome them, and help them meet their trainers, which is so fun.  I feel like it was just yesterday that I was flying to Alaska, and then I realize that was almost one year ago!  Crazy how fast time is flying!  Our new mission president and his wife, President and Sister Toone, arrive here on Friday.  We get to take Sister Toone out with us the night they fly in to teach with us--only slightly nerve racking, but also so exciting!  So, we have a crazy, busy week ahead, and I am so excited!

This week, though, I had one of the coolest, most touching experiences.  I'm sure you could probably tell from my emails that serving in North Pole was hard.  I love that place and the people so much, but I felt like I didn't accomplish anything there.  I worked so hard, and I knew I did, but for some reason I couldn't help but think I didn't do anything.  It was hard leaving and has been hard ever since feeling like I didn't make a difference, and that there wasn't anyone that I really helped.  Silly I know, but it has been a struggle.

Just this week, however, I received a call from the North Pole sisters letting me know that this kid, Brandon, that we tracted and taught about the Book of Mormon, was getting baptized this Saturday!!  Then they proceeded to tell me that the Garza kids are getting baptized, as well as Heather, and that Ariylynn and Ray Den had also been baptized!!!  I just received this overwhelming feeling of happiness, joy, and peace of mind that I did what I needed to do.  I did exactly what Heavenly Father needed me to do.  I was filled with so much happiness and joy for all of those people that I grew to love so much, that are about to and have made the best decision they could ever make.  I am so excited for them and the sisters up there.  They are incredible missionaries.  It was just such huge testimony builder that everything you do as a missionary is worth it.  

EVERY seed you plant is so important, and that you might not see the fruits of your labors for a long time, or while you're there, but the work you do is important.  I have heard that stated my entire mission but never really truly believed it until this week.  I am so thankful for that experience and for that testimony that God is aware of his children and knows what they need at the time they need it the most.  So, that was very exciting!

We also made a goal this week to not carry our iPads with us, but instead to only carry our Book of Mormon with the hope that we will testify, teach, and share the Book of Mormon and not share a video or something else.  Boy, have we seen miracles!!  We have had the privilege of sharing and testifying of the Book of Mormon so much and have found new potential investigators.  Once again, this experience strengthens my testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon!

Okay, sorry if this was all a big ramble.  Just know that this Church is true.  Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of his children, and He knows what is best for them.  The Gospel is the best thing that has happened to me, and one of the most amazing things to see how its teachings change peoples' lives.  I am so blessed to be here in Alaska and serving in such an awesome place with some wonderful people!  I love and miss you all!

Love, Sister Lake
Anchorage Alaska Mission

 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hello!

Sister Jackson and I were able to fly into Juneau this morning for exchanges with the Juneau sisters.  My email will be a super quick one because I have only one p-day to explore the most beautiful place I have ever seen.  The flight was amazing, and I have never seen anything more beautiful.  We have a fun p-day planned and a whole day of missionary work tomorrow, which I am so excited about!  

 Flight to Juneau!

We had an awesome week!  We had an amazing sisters' meeting that Sister Jackson and I were in charge of.  Almost all of the sisters in the mission, so 20 of us, all came together and had lunch and then the meeting.  The other sisters Face Timed in!  It was so awesome, and the spirit was so strong!!  We then had trainer trainee meeting where we had the opportunity to train and that was so good!  Once again, I needed to hear those trainings.  

 Sister Lake with companion Sister Jackson and past companion Sister Johnson

Later that day, we met our new investigator, Annette!!!!  She was a referral from the Beach Lake sisters, and she is so prepared.  It was cool to be able to see how Heavenly Father has prepared her, and the experiences that she has had, to get her to the point where she is ready for the Restored Gospel, AND so humbling to realize that Heavenly Father trusts us enough to teach her.  We had an awesome lesson with her, talked about building that foundation, and how we have a loving Heavenly Father.  She bore her testimony of Heavenly Father and the love that He has for her.  I have never heard a more powerful testimony.  She is amazing.  She has been reading the Book of Mormon and is already in II Nephi and just LOVES it.  It has been so cool to listen to the excitement she has and the desire to continue to learn more.  Heavenly Father is so good.  He knows each of His children and knows who is prepared.  

We also had a lot of less actives show up to church on Sunday, and it was just amazing to see them all show up!  My bishop in North Pole always used to say, "You're doing good things, and that means good things will come."  We are definitely seeing a lot of really good things coming, and it is sooo exciting!! 

My favorite scripture from this week is Alma 36:3:  "Trust in the Lord, and all things will work out."  That is a lesson I have had to learn over and over and over again on my mission, but a lesson that I will be forever grateful for.  He loves us.  Trust in him and His great plan, and all things work out.  I'll share so much more next week, along with some beautiful places of what we like to call the promised land, aka Juneau!  Love you and miss you!

Love, Sister McKenna Lake

 Meeting with President Nelson last week

 Exchanges with Sister True.  She leaves us in t minus 9 days!

 The Hensons...One of my favorite families in my first area!!
 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

President Russell M. Nelson's Visit

Hello,

There are so many things I want to share with you this week, so bear with me.  We had such an incredible week, which started out with MLC (Missionary Leadership Council).  It was such an amazing meeting and the spirit was so strong.  President Robinson asked Sister Jackson and me to train--most nerve-racking/awesome experience.  We talked about using our time wisely and how that goes hand-in-hand with the doctrine of Christ.  The training went well.  Then we heard training from the APs, three of the Zone Leaders, and President and Sister Robinson, and they were also good.  It was like a day full of new knowledge, and the spirit was just incredible.  

 Zone Conference

One part I want to share from the day was presented by one of the Zone Leaders.  We were reading in Matthew 14 when Peter walks on water and what he says:

28 And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And He said, Come.  And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  

So, something that seemed absolutely impossible for him happened because he had faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and answered His invitation to "come."  An INVITATION that is given to us multiple times in the scriptures, and in a sense we are given the same invitation to get out of the ship and walk on water.  Then, as you continue to read on it says:

30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.


This made me think of our everyday life.  Hard things happen, trials occur, and our faith is tested.  In missionary work, people cancel, we have no one to teach, we are working hard like crazy to find possible investigators and nobody is interested, which I know tests my faith a ton.  Sometimes those things that happen cause our faith to weaken and we begin to "sink" and cry out for help, just like Peter did.  The next verse says:

31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

And, this is my favorite part:  Our Savior, Jesus Christ, IMMEDIATELY stretched forth His hand and caught him.  He didn't wait a second, or think about it, or not help him because of his lack of faith, he immediately stretched forth His hand and lifted him up.  That is the same thing our Savior does for us.  The second we cry unto Him, He will stretch forth His hand and catch us and lift us up.  He loves us.  We do not need to face life's challenges and trials alone.  We can do the impossible just like Peter walking on water.  When we feel like we're about to sink, we can cry unto Him, and He will stretch forth His hand and walk with us the rest of the way.  

I have felt this pure love from my Savior so many times on my mission and am very thankful for that.  He has carried me through tough times and walked beside me when I was struggling.  I know that He will do the same for all that cry unto Him and allow Him to lift us up.

President and Sister Russell M. Nelson

We also had the amazing privilege to meet with President and Sister Russell M. Nelson this week--truly such an amazing opportunity to meet with one of the Twelve Apostles.  They are the sweetest, kindest, most Christlike, genuine funny people I have ever met.  They are just real people with the most powerful testimony of the Savior, and I am just thankful for the opportunity I had to feel of their love of the Gospel and their spirit.  There were so many things that I learned and loved, but will just share a few.  

Sister Nelson invited us to first take the Book of Mormon and kneel down and thank Heavenly Father for it.  Second, share with Him a question that has been on our heart and mind.  Third, ask Him to guide us and give us the answer we need.  Fourth, have the faith that He will.  Fifth, get up and read until you receive your answer.  Sixth, record your answer and where you found it.  She then invited us to do this for 30 days.  I have done it the last three days, and it is absolutely amazing.  I have found an answer to each question I have had.  The blessings she promised us were so sweet and truly amazing, too.  


I am going to sound like a total missionary now (but I am, so I guess that's a good thing), but I want to invite each one of you to take that challenge.  I promise you that you will receive those answers and the guidance that you need.  The Book of Mormon is powerful and is the best guide for us in this life.  It just made me think back to our beloved prophet's talk this last General Conference, and the power and importance of the Book of Mormon.  I can testify that as you do that, you will receive answers.  

Okay, and President Nelson said so many awesome things.  I think one of my favorite things was when he read with us in D&C 31, and reiterated the promised blessing of missionary work with a focus on families.  It was just the sweetest experience and a good reminder of the the importance of serving a mission.  He said to us the best thing we can be doing for our family right now is to be away from them, doing exactly what we are doing.  It was just powerful!  

And then, one more thing, I don't know if you are all familiar with the challenge he gave a couple months ago, to read every scripture in the topical guide about Christ.  If you aren't doing this, it's awesome and I would definitely encourage you all to do it.  There are a total of 2,089 scriptures, and I have barely made a dent into the reading, but it has been one of the coolest experiences.  I feel like I have learned more about my Savior in the few scriptures I have read than I have my whole life.  Anyway, it is an awesome challenge!  He bore to us his testimony of the Savior and what he learned from doing that, which was the most powerful thing I have ever heard.  I will never forget that testimony because he is someone who truly knows the Savior, and everything about him and his testimony was one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard.  It was just so cool!!

Okay, so I am sorry for the long rant, but it was just such a good week filled with so many amazing things.  We have also seen so many little miracles this week with less actives, finding investigators, and working with part-member families; good things are coming and I am so stoked!!!

Mission life is so awesome.  It tests you so much, but Heavenly Father knows what you need and who you need to become, and knows how to make that happen.  It's hard but so awesome and amazing.

I ate my first piece of fresh salmon since I have been in Alaska!  The second counselor in the mission presidency cooked us salmon straight out of the river, and it was AMAZING! 

Fresh salmon right out of the river!

Also, I have the opportunity to see the temple pretty much every single day!  

Almost daily sightings of the temple

We only have three weeks left with President and Sister Robinson, which is so sad!  We had our last interviews with them, and they were so good.  They are just truly incredible and have the most solid, powerful testimony and love for the work.  I'm extremely grateful for them and the opportunity I had to get to know them so much better these last couple of weeks; they will be greatly missed. 



 President and Sister Robinson

I love you all and hope you have such a stellar week.

Sister McKenna Lake
Anchorage Alaska Mission 



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hello!
Okay, so I know I say this every week, but I am out of time, so I'm sorry if this makes no sense!  I love you guys!  

I learned three very valuable lessons this week.  The first one:  Sister Lake and no sleep is a bad combo and will result in falling asleep in the middle of companion prayers, making weird random comments, and having a permanent angry face!  The second:  Sister Lake + soda at 9:00 AM = serious sugar high which = 20 minutes of my uncontrollable laughter.  I guess no sleep and a sugar high is just a bad idea. 

Okay, so for some reason going to bed by 10:30 PM is a serious struggle because we have been so busy; however, we have been working on it and have done so much better the last two days.  But, as a result I have been SO tired.  On a side note:  it has been really cool because no matter how tired I am, my alarm goes off at 6:25 AM and I have no problem getting up.  Somehow, I always make it through the day, and I know that's because Heavenly Father is giving me the strength to do it.  I am so thankful for that help!  

Second, if you know me I very rarely drink soda, like very rarely.  So, we had to go to the church to fill up the font at 8 in the morning, and then our ward mission leader came and relieved us at 9.  We were driving back to our apartment and received a referral from a member.  All the member said was she works in the morning at the gas station.  So, we stopped by and for some reason I bought a Sprite (I have no clue why I chose a soda) just so we could talk with her.  About 45 minutes later as we were planning our training for trainer trainee meeting the next morning, I got this serious sugar high and could not stop laughing for 20 minutes.  My companion thinks I'm crazy, haha.  I learned never to drink soda and that the bedtime of 10:30 is inspired.  

 MTC Companion, Sister Jewel!

We started the week off with exchanges, and I had the opportunity to go with Sister Pike, my blonde-headed twin.  We are like the same exact person, except she's blonde and I'm brunette.  We even have the same first name!  It was such a good exchange!  I learned so much from her, and she is seriously such an incredible missionary!  I have loved having the opportunity to go on exchanges and to be able to work with some of the best sisters I have ever met.  We then had the opportunity to train at trainer trainee, which was so good.  I was very nervous, but the session went very well.  I learned a lot from all the training that was given, even though I wasn't being trained or a trainer.  The spirit was really strong.  

 Sista Pike, my blonde-headed twin

Sister Jackson and I have also been working really hard trying to become acquainted with all the people on our ward list, and saw so many tiny miracles.  We were able to get in contact with many people and even meet with them.  It felt really good.  A couple of them even came to church on Sunday for the first time in forever, which was SO exciting.  We just saw many tender mercies each and every day, and I am thankful for that.  Also, the weather was so nice this week, like 70 degrees, with a nice breeze coming off the ocean, which meant EVERYONE was outside.  It was a missionary's dream come true.  We would just walk down the street and everybody would be out in their yards.  We had the opportunity to talk with many of them, which was awesome!  We are continuing to find people, and getting to know the ward.  Heavenly Father is definitely blessing us!!  

 My beautiful area!

Also, really cool--Elder Nelson is coming to Anchorage this weekend, and we as missionaries will be able to meet with him on Friday, which I am stoked about!  I was reading his talk from this last Conference, which was really good, but one part really stuck out to me, and it was when he talked about "The Living Christ."  Something I noticed in General Conference was how much "The Living Christ" was mentioned, and at that time I was working on memorizing it.  In his talk, Elder Nelson talked about coming to know our Savior, and as we do so we can draw Him into our lives.  As I have studied and read and re-read "The Living Christ," I can truly say I feel like I have come to know who my Savior is in a very real sense of the word, and I am so thankful for that.  He is our perfect example and truly love all those around him.  He lives and He loves us; I know that to be true.  If you get the chance, read that talk.  It surely is powerful.



I love you all and hope you have such a good start to summer.

Sister McKenna Lake
Anchorage Alaska Mission


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Weekly!

Hello!
We started the week off with exchanges with the Soldotna sisters!  They both came up to Anchorage, and I got to spend the day with Sister Cox.  It was so fun being back with her for a day.  It felt like we picked up right where we left off two months ago in North Pole, except it is a lot warmer now!  Haha  We saw a lot of little tender mercies and had the opportunity to talk to so many people.  Sister Cox has grown so much in the last two months, and it was so cool to see her progress.  


We had Zone Conference the following day, which is always good and makes me want to work much harder.  It was our last Zone Conference with President and Sister Robinson because their mission will be ending, which is really sad.  I'm surely going to miss them.  

We had a couple of awesome lessons later in the week, one with our investigator Troy.  It was a good lesson.  He can't quite wrap his head around the fact that he is a child of God, and that he has a Heavenly Father who loves him.  So, we told him that we're going to continue to work with him and try our best to help him understand his purpose here on this earth.  

After that lesson, I thought a lot about how the knowledge that I am a child of God has helped me, and it is the reason I am who I am.  This understanding has and continues to bring me so much peace and comfort in my life, especially during the hard times.  I realized how bad I want everyone to have that knowledge because of the peace and comfort it has brought into my own life.  

We then had an amazing lesson with probably one of the sassiest girls I have ever met--Kaeloni.  She lives in Chignick Bay (somewhere in the bush), and so it was over the phone.  I don't even know what she looks like, but I just love her so much.  She has so much sass and so much faith, it is incredible.  I look forward to our lessons with her every week.  She kind of reminds me of my little sister Brielle!  

Friday came and our area became like a ghost town; everyone and their dog left for Memorial Day weekend to go camping and fishing.  People here take every opportunity they can to go camping, so it went from this super busy town to literally what seemed like no one was home.  

We have been trying to go through the ward list and get to know everyone on it, and there have definitely seen so many tender mercies from that.  We're really focusing on getting to know the members and gaining their trust, as well as just finding people to have meaningful talks with.  I have so much faith that the Lord will put those people that are prepared in our path.  




Something that has been on my mind this week is the tender mercies we receive on a daily basis.  I want to share this experience I had when I first came on my mission  I had a really hard time at that time and was really struggling.  I remember talking to my mission president and just expressing some of my feelings and concerns, and what he said to me has changed my whole mission experience.  He invited me to, at the end of each day, look at the tender mercies that I had received along with the Lord's hand in my life, and record them.  He promised me that as I did I would know this was exactly where I needed to be and that the Lord was aware of me.  So, I did.  After the first few days my attitude changed so much!  I felt very happy.  

As I have gone through my mission and things start going good, I will sometimes stop recording those experiences, and then my mission starts getting hard again.  I realize that I have not been looking for the tender mercies each day, and I start back up again and the happiness and peace come into my life again.  Just this week I realized I had stopped and could feel the difference.  Once again, my testimony was solidified of the importance of recognizing the Lord's hand in our lives and the blessings we receive each day.  I know that as we do so we will know that we are not walking through this life alone.  

The Lord is there with us every step of the way and knows all that we are going through--the good and the bad.  He loves us and continues to bless us.  Sometimes the blessings may be small little things like the zone leaders giving us a watermelon this week on a day that I was really stressed; or it might be big miracles and blessings like the opportunity my mom had to attend one of the Alaskan members that I love get sealed to her husband in the Boise Temple.  Heavenly Father is aware of us, and He loves us more than we could ever imagine.

I love this Gospel and am thankful for the opportunity I have to be here.  This Church is so true!  We are all children of a living, loving Heavenly Father, and don't ever forget that!

Love, Sister McKenna Lake
Anchorage Alaska Mission

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

Back to Civilization!

Hello!
This has been probably one of the craziest weeks I have had in nine months, which started off with lots of really hard goodbyes.  Monday evening I went to some of my favorite people that I have had the opportunity to meet in North Pole and said my goodbyes.  It was so hard and made me realize how much I love the North Pole.  The people there are truly incredible.  I feel so thankful for the opportunity that I had to serve there.  I know I complained a lot about the weather and the cold, and, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would do that winter all over again just for the awesome people up there.

We woke up the next morning and left for the airport, and, miracle of the week:  I had been so sick with allergies and the flu all week.  I went to bed that night still so sick and just prayed more than I have ever prayed to get feeling better, and I woke up the next morning fine as can be.  Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers!!  It was such a good flight, and I even became homies with the people I sat next to.  We had an awesome talk about religion.  We also flew right over Mt. McKinley.  The sky was so clear and it was absolutely beautiful!
Anyway, we landed, and I met my new companion, Sister Jackson (who is seriously just awesome--I just love her so much), and my trainer, Sister Johnson (so good to see her again) who came and picked me up.  We picked up my luggage and then went straight back to welcome the new missionaries--so fun, and I totally felt like I was just arriving in Alaska to begin my mission.  I then realized it has been NINE MONTHS and got so scared because time is flying by so quickly.  We were able to eat a welcome lunch with the new missionaries and then had a day full of appointments.    
The next morning after Sister Jackson, Sister Johnson, and I ate breakfast, we had personal study, and then comp study with all the new missionaries and Assistants to the President, which was so fun.  We then headed over to the church for some training and to help the missionaries get trainers, which was seriously so fun!!  Sister Cox and Sister Richards are both going to be trainers and are going to be incredible.  I am so excited for them, and it was awesome to see both of them!  I was able to be with 4/5 of my former companions again for a whole day!  I loved it!!  
The week has been a crazy week but such a good week.  We cover the Ocean View Ward, as well as the Bush Branch, which consists of all of the members that live in the really small villages all over Alaska.  It is so cool.  We teach them over the phone--Sacrament Meeting, classes, and Ward Council.  Sounds crazy, right?  That's what I thought, but honestly, it is one of the coolest experiences.  The Spirit is so strong.  The phone meeting is so well organized and just so cool to see the faith of these members.  A lot of them are the only members around and don't have contact with anyone but through the phone.  We were talking with this less active member we were working with who is so awesome!  He said to us, "You guys are the closest thing I have to civilization!"  Crazy, right?!  

We are heading to a baptismal interview soon, which is so exciting!  Life is good!  Sister Johnson volunteered me to speak on Sunday before I even arrived here soooo I spoke yesterday in church.  My fear of public speaking is still there, but my talk went really well.  I spoke on spiritual self-reliance and focused on personal scripture study and prayers every day, and studied Thomas S. Monson's talk from this last General Conference.  Go back and read it and do exactly what Pres. Monson says--so good.  [Here's the web address:]

 https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/kindness-charity-and-love?lang=eng

The Book of Mormon is true--no doubt about it!  As we read the book, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive Heaven's help in our lives.  

Anyway, I LOVE my mission, and I am so out of time.  I'm sorry if this letter makes no sense; I'll update you more on the people we're teaching next week.  I love you all, and hope you enjoy the wonderful summer! 

Love, Sister Lake
Anchorage Alaska Mission

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Adios, North Pole!

Hello!

First off, talking with the family on Mother's Day was the highlight of my week!!  I love and miss you all so much!  Second, I have made it my whole mission without getting too sick, up until this week, and the flu has gotten the best of me, so bear with me and my short email.  Also, packing is so stressful.  Who would have thought keeping our suitcases under 50 pounds would be so hard.  

Third, we received transfer calls this week, and I am heading to Anchorage to the Ocean View Ward.  I will also cover the Bush Branch.  The Bush Branch consists of the members all over Alaska that live in the little villages, and they call in for all their meetings.  I am so excited!  I fly out tomorrow morning, and get to spend a whole 24 hours with my mission mom (who was my trainer when I first arrived).  We get to pick up all the new missionaries coming in and do all that fun stuff.  AND, I get to see Sister Cox and Sister Richards again because they are going to be mothers!!!  I am so excited for them; their trainees are going to be the luckiest people ever!  The next few days will be exciting and crazy.  

[Just a little more explanation of what McKenna's new calling will be--She will be an STL (Sister Training Leader).] 

Fun panorama picture with the elders 

As excited as I am for this new adventure, I am so sad to be leaving the North Pole!  So sad!  It has been hard saying goodbye, especially to the ward.  I have grown to love this ward so much, and am very thankful for the opportunity I have had to serve here and meet the incredible people I have met.  I'm sorry the goodbye was a quick one.  I'll fill you in more next week.  


Saying goodbye to the wonderful ward members







 I love you all and I love this Gospel so much!  This Church is so true!! Have a great week.

Love, Sister Lake 

Sister Jimenez and Lake in disguise!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tender Mercies!!

Hello!  

We have been doing a lot of finding this week through less actives, members, and tracting and have seen a lot of tender mercies as a result.  We received a referral from a member this week and were able to give her a call and set up an appointment for this week.  She called us back and I was able to talk to her for 45 minutes.  She shared her whole life story with me and sincerely said, "I have the desire to repent and change."  She shared how her faith in Jesus Christ has guided her through her whole life.  It was a really cool, humbling experience, and I look forward to meeting with her this week.  We also found a lot of people by tracting that we were able to have great conversations with and set up return appointments.  We're hoping to see some people we can start teaching from that.

I have learned a lot serving here and definitely learned to appreciate the littlest of things, and definitely helped me notice the many tender mercies we receive on a daily basis, even if sometimes they are hard to pick out.  Our Heavenly Father is constantly blessing us.  We just need to choose to accept and notice them.

My favorite less-actives!

Sunday was such a cool experience!  We were so excited because our investigator committed to coming, and when she didn't walk through the door it was honestly really discouraging.  I sat there in the beginning so discouraged, and then the biggest tender mercy happened!  It was Fast and Testimony Meeting this past Sunday.  Our bishop got up to being testimony meeting by sharing his testimony, and I have never felt the Spirit so strongly.  Tears were literally streaming down my face, and that Spirit continued throughout the whole meeting.  

Our bishop talked about how sometimes we're called to do things and don't know why, don't feel like we're good enough, or don't feel like we are doing it right.  Sometimes it is hard and discouraging and those feelings of inadequacy come in full force.  He said we have all felt this way, but wanted us to know that we are called to do things for a specific reason.  He also said we are called to certain callings and certain areas for a reason.  Heavenly Father is there with us every step of the way; He will not leave our side.  Yes, it's not always going to be easy, and in my case, I'm not always going to see these huge miracles, but I am doing what I am supposed to, and He will make up the rest.  

His testimony really hit home and made me realize that this is where I need to be; that what I am doing is what I am supposed to be doing, that I am not alone in this, that Heavenly Father has a plan, and if that includes finding His children and planting seeds for months or years down the line, that is where I will go.  His words were exactly what I needed to hear after a long week.  

I know that God is there for us every step of the way; He will not leave us.  He will lead us and guide us on the path we need to be.  His plan isn't always going to be what we want, but it is going to be what we need.  Serving here has taught me so many things, and it's not always what I want, but it is what Heavenly Father knows I need.  Anyway, sorry for that long rant, but I know this Church is true, that our Savior lives, and our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us.  

I love you all, Sister Lake 

The beauty of the snow melt in Alaska