Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

"TURN DOWN FOR WHAT"

Hello!

A few awesome/hilarious stories this week:

* We have two new investigators. They are so awesome!  One of them is just so excited to learn and told us on Sunday she is excited for our next lesson this week.  She is truly ready and has the sweetest spirit.

* I had exchanges this week with Sister Treu, and we were able to volunteer at Project Homeless.  It was such a cool experience, and we were able to talk with so many people about what we believe in.  It was amazing just being able to open our mouths and bear our testimonies to many people about how the Gospel brings an incredible amount of happiness.

 Sister Lake on exchanges with Sister Treu

* The weather reached 13 degrees this week, which was SO nice!!!  We had the windows down and everything (that's what Alaska will do to you)...and then it snowed and we're back down to -20.  It was nice while it lasted!

 Tracking in -20 degrees results in frozen toes, which results in having to unthaw them!

* THE SUN IS COMING OUT!  This week we have been able to tell such a difference in how long the sun is out.  We are gaining about an hour of sunlight a week.  HALLELUJAH!!!

* We had a day full of miracles yesterday.  By Saturday of this week, Sister Cox and I were both getting pretty discouraged.  We have been praying and working so hard to feel loved and trusted by the Church members, and we just felt like our efforts were going to waste.  But, we had so many miracles, left and right, on Sunday.  We really felt loved by so many members.  We can just tell that they are starting to trust us, which is an answer to many prayers.

* Funny story for this week...We went to meet this less-active brother at his house, whose name is Gerome.  We knocked on his door and this black guy answers it, lets us in, and just yells, "TURN DOWN FOR WHAT! (For the older generation, this is a line from a very popular song.)"  It was seriously SO funny.  He is awesome, probably one of my new favorite people.  We just sat there and he told us his whole life story--about how he came in contact with the Church and all of the experiences he has had.  We just sat there and laughed half of the time, and the other half sat there amazed at everything he has been through.  There are truly incredible people out there.

* Another funny story...We were trying to contact other less-actives.  Sister Cox knocks on a door and two teenage boys answer, and she asks if this certain lady lives there.  The boys said, "No," and so Sister Cox said, "Okay, never mind," and instead of leaving just stares at them for an awkward 30 seconds.  So, I pipe in and ask if we could share a message with them and they shut the door, then open it back up and said, "No," and then did the same thing two more times.  It was very awkward SO, of course, I just started dying laughing right there on the front porch.  When I get the giggles I cannot stop.  It was so funny!

Sister Cox (my fav)

* I have also been reading the book, "The Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley," and have just fallen in love with that man.  He has the best advice, and I am really trying my hardest to apply his teachings in my own life.  What a world of difference!  Y'all should ready Chapter three of his book--so good!

I love you guys, and I love this Gospel.  It's true.  Thanks for all you do!

Love Sister Lake

Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

51 DEGREES BELOW ZERO!

HELLO!

Hope you all had a wonderful week.  I don't have much to share because we were stuck inside for a whole 48 hours because the temperature reached 51 degrees below zero...but life is good up here in the North Pole.  

I think the weirdest thing I have ever experienced is walking outside and having my eyeballs feel like they are going to freeze!  The weather is freezing, but so good!  The North Pole is one of the most interesting places I have ever seen.  All of the street lamp poles are painted to look like candy canes, and everything is just covered in snow.  It has been such an adventure, and I am loving it.



We have been doing a lot of finding, as well as trying to gain the ward members' trust.  In just this last week we have seen so many miracles from the work we have put in.  We have seen the Lord's hand in our work so much!  We have been tracting and boy, oh boy, has Heavenly Father blessed us for that.  

It has been so cool this week seeing how much our Heavenly Father loves us and is aware of what we are going through.  Every single day when Sister Cox and I arrive home, we wonder how we made it through the day and somehow we always do.  I know that I would not be able to go out to work and tract and talk to people in this freezing cold if the Lord was not with me every step of the way.  It has been such a testimony builder for me knowing that my Heavenly Father loves me and is aware of me.

 Sister Lake with her companion, Sister Cox

Because we had to be inside so much this last week, I also had a lot of time to read and study the Book of Mormon.  My testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith has been reaffirmed and strengthened.  I had the coolest experience this week.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.  I have grown to love the Book of Mormon so much!  Honestly, if you need a little pick-me-up, read the Book of Mormon!  It really truly does bring the most happiness and joy into our lives!  

I love this Gospel!  I love the NORTH POLE, and I am learning to love this FREEZING cold weather!  Thanks for all of the support and love I have been shown!  Hope you have a great week!

Love, Sister Lake

P.S. If any of you were wondering...Santa Claus is NOT interested in the hearing about the Gospel, but he's super cool.


 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

First Week in the North Pole!

[Dear Friends and Family, This is Michele, McKenna's mom.  She didn't have much time to write today, so I thought I would include a few of her words to me, to let you know how she is doing.  She sent me a picture, too.  Thank you all for writing her on her birthday and for all of the kindness and support you show her.  Love you all dearly, Michele]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello, hello, hello!!  

Oh, how I miss you!  I seriously feel so far away from home! 

Alright, so the NORTH POLE is crazy.  Honestly, it has been hard...it warmed up for a hot second to give us a nice blizzard because it can't snow when it's -20, and then it dropped right back down to -26 yesterday!  It's freezing here, Mom, absolutely freezing!  You have to wear face masks over your mouth and nose because breathing the extreme cold destroys your lungs.  There is so much snow and it is just painfully cold...and dark...really dark!!


The people up here are awesome; however, and I love my companion.  Seriously we get along so great!  It has been so much fun and such a blessing.  The work here is really slow, which has been hard coming from an area where we had so many investigators.  This just means we have to get to work like we did in our last area, and we will see success eventually.  

The members here are awesome!  They are so good to us and everyone is so nice!  We get to do service for Santa Claus and his reindeer every week.  I totally got head-butted by Dasher and it hurt so bad!  I'm trying my hardest to laugh every day and just enjoy this adventure as much as possible!  It has been hard, though, but I feel like I am adjusting.



Until next week...

Love, Sister Lake

Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

Here Comes Santa Claus...and Sister Lake!



First off...I just want to thank everyone for all of the birthday wishes!  It was the greatest gift opening up my email this morning and seeing so many peoples' names that I love pop up.  It has already been such a great day, and I am so excited/blessed to spend this next year on my mission.  Thank you and I love you all so much!

We got transfer calls this week, and sadly I'm leaving this area, which has been so much harder than I ever thought it would be.  I had to say most of my goodbyes yesterday.  I didn't realize how much I have grown to love these people.  

To be honest, when I first arrived here something I really struggled with, and for a long time, was loving the people.  I read multiple times that a successful missionary loves the people they serve, and I had a really hard time with that.  I wanted to love them.  I just didn't, and it was a challenge I struggled with!  I prayed each and every night to have that Christlike love for these people.  So, after having to say goodbye I realized my prayers had been answered.  I have grown to LOVE these people with all of my heart, and saying goodbye to them has been one of the hardest things.  

Each person I have met has blessed my life, has helped strengthen my testimony, and helped me get through the tough times.  I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve in this area and to meet each and every person that I have.  I can honestly say I LOVE these people in the Memory Lake area, and they will forever hold a special place in my heart.  

It has been such a testimony builder that Heavenly Father is aware of each of us, that he hears and answers our prayers in his own timing.  I was kind of hoping that one day I would just love these people (silly, I know), but as I have looked back I can pick those moments where my love grew for them little by little.  Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.  He loves us and is aware of our struggles, hopes, desires, trials, everything about us, and he WILL answer our prayers.

As hard as it has been to leave this area, the people, and my companion, I am so excited for the adventure I have ahead of me.  I have been transferred to the NORTH POLE!!!  I fly out tomorrow morning and am so excited.  It is going to be quite the adventure, and I am so excited to meet and serve the people there.  My new companion is Sister Cox--my MTC homie!  We were in the MTC together and got along so well!  Funny side story--When Sister Cox and I first arrived in Alaska, we were FREEZING!  We were walking around the mission home in our big coats and blankets.  The president jokingly said, "Haha!  Wait until I send you both to the North Pole.  This is nothing compared to there!"  LOL, apparently he wasn't joking.




I am so excited, though.  All that I have heard so far is that the average temperature these next two months is about -40 degrees; the water is polluted from volcanic material, and so we can only drink bottled water; and, yes, Santa Claus lives there; the Northern Lights are AMAZING; and there's lots of bears.  What more could I ask for!?  I am very excited to meet the people and get to work!



This last week was incredible and we were able to teach so much!  The work in the area has increased a lot, and it has been fun to see.  There are many people here that are ready.  I am excited to see them continue to progress in the Gospel.  My companion has been such a blessing, and I am so sad to be leaving her but am excited for her to do amazing things after I leave.  

I love this mission.  I love this Gospel.  I love that I have had the opportunity to serve in the Wasilla area and for the opportunity to now serve in the North Pole.  I can honestly say I LOVE the people here, and I am so very thankful for that.  I know that God lives, that Jesus is our Savior.  I am so thankful for Him and his atoning sacrifice.  If you read your scriptures and say your prayers, I can promise you that as you do you will feel of our Heavenly Father's love he has for you.  Thank you all for all that you have done to help me get to this point!  I love you all!!

Love, Sister Lake

PS:  I will respond to all of your lovely emails next week!  I have to pack today, but thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the birthday wishes!



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This week was so awesome!  We had such a busy week and we were able to teach so many lessons.  I loved it!  I still get really nervous right before every lesson, but the second I step inside our investigators' homes it seems like all the nerves go away and I just get this calming feeling.  I walk out afterwards and realize just how much I love to teach people.  

We were able to meet with a lot of less-active families that we haven't had the opportunity to meet with, which was such a blessing in itself.  We had some awesome lessons with them and have been invited to come back.  We also had some amazing lessons with some of our investigators.  

 Sister companions

We met with Heather Sharek.  We were so scared because she promised us she would be at church on Christmas with her family...never showed up...never texted us...and we were honestly so sad!  We stopped by a couple days ago and were able to have a really good lesson with her and answer some questions that she had.  We are teaching her the Plan of Salvation this week!  She has started to read the Book of Mormon, and it is cool to see how true that book is.  Anybody that sincerely reads it and prays about it will receive that answer because the promise given in Mormon 10:3-5 is true.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and I am so excited for her to receive that same answer.

We also had an awesome lesson with the Ronne family.  They are such a stellar family.  I just love them so much.  Nerrissa came to church on Sunday and is just continuing to really seek to know for herself, and it has been so cool to watch as her testimony grows more and more each family.  That family is just awesome!

We have also had a lot of success tracting, which has been such a blessing.  We have been able to teach a lot of lessons from tracting which have been so fun!  We met this girl named Hannah this week and she just let us right in her home.  We showed her a video and started talking with her.  She said that lately she has been looking for a church, so we took that opportunity and taught her all about the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, and she loved it!  We are meeting again with her this Wednesday, and I am so excited.  Experiences like this are just proof that Heavenly Father is preparing people as we speak, and that through listening to the Holy Ghost and the promptings we receive, we will be led and guided to those people.

I have such a testimony that Heavenly Father is aware of each and everyone of us.  I know that he is looking out for us and this area of the world that I have been so fortunate to serve in.  He is aware of every individual here and loves them so much!  

I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father and His hand in this work!  I have this little jar where each day I deposit a small piece of paper where I have written how I saw God's hand in my life.  It truly is the most amazing thing to realize how much He loves us and how often He is there every step of the way. 

I love this area, and I love this mission!  I have come to realize how blessed I have been to have these experiences, along with the trials, because they have helped me become closer to my Savior Jesus Christ and helped me to know that I really truly am a child of God!

I love you all!  I know this church is true, and I am so thankful for this opportunity!  I'm so excited to see what this year has in store.  Love you so much!

Love, Sister Lake

video
 Up close video of mother moose and baby