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!