Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

Encouraging Weather Report!

Highlight of the week:  It is 15 degrees right now and rumor has it that it is going to get up to 40 by the end of the week!  Miracles!!  Sister Cox and I figured out that we have not been above freezing in almost 4-1/2 months, so we are pretty stoked.  We had interviews this last week and our president told us that since the Barrow area has been closed for two transfers now, we are the missionaries serving in the coldest area.  So, that is pretty cool (literally).  

Sister missionaries serving in the coldest mission area!

We also had Zone Conference this past weekend, and it is always so good to see our president and his wife.  They actually were able to attend our ward on Sunday.  We had a family that we had never met walk into the church out of the blue, and they weren't even members.  It was really cool to have them there and have the opportunity to teach them with our mission president and his wife in attendance.  Once again, miracles!

 Zone Conference

This week has been so crazy.  We spent a lot of time at the doctor's office for Sister Cox, and they were able to figure out what is going on.  This meant that we were able to be in Fairbanks a lot.  We were able to do a lot of service at the food bank, which is always my favorite.  The people that volunteer there are also my favorite!  None of them are members, and we always end up having such good discussions about the Church.  They all have a lot of respect for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

 The doctor has diagnosed Sister Cox's health problem

We also had an awesome lesson with the Garza family--literally one of my favorite families I have ever met.  While we were preparing for the lesson, I had this silly thought that came into my head that prompted me to get the 10-year-old boy a pinewood derby car for the Pinewood Derby the next day.  We made a bunch of calls and had some awesome members that helped us out a ton!  I seriously love this ward!!  That night at our lesson, which was seriously the funnest lesson ever, we surprised him with the car.  That kid was seriously so happy; I love that kid so much!  Anyway, they were able to come to the Pinewood Derby the next night and had such a good time.  I am looking so forward to their next lesson.  We taught them about the Restoration and gave them a Book of Mormon.  The kids were just so excited to start reading, and we answered so many questions.  

I had a lot of experiences this week where I felt the Spirit so strongly and truly taught by the Spirit, which were some of the coolest experiences.  Quickly, one that was really cool was last Monday.  Sister Cox and I went to one of our favorite less-active homes and had this lesson all planned.  We waked in, and the lady had had a really rough day and opened up to us.  As I was sitting there and listening, I had this strong impression to turn to Ether 12:27 and shared it with her.  

Ether 12:27:  And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. 

As the sister read it, she got emotional and said to me, "That was for me, from Heavenly Father, wasn't it?"  And, yes, it was.  The experience was sooo cool.  Heavenly Father knew what she needed to hear and used me, a missionary, to share it with her.  I felt so blessed to know that Heavenly Father is aware of each and every person, and that I was able to be used as an instrument in His work.  He really truly is aware of us all, and I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to see how much love He has for each person we meet with.  

Along with this experience, I have reflected a lot on my mission and the experiences I have had, the people I have met, the trials I have been faced with, and the moments that my testimony was strengthened!  Many times throughout the week I was so emotional and grateful for all of these experiences.  As I looked back, I realized how aware Heavenly Father is about each of us.  He knows exactly whose lives we need to touch, and who needs to touch our lives.  He knows the trials that we are faced with and blesses us with these trials so that we can get close to Him.  He gives us these experiences that will strengthen our testimony more and more each day.  I am so thankful for the experiences I have had, the people I have met that have left a lasting impression on my life, the trials that I have faced, and the help I have received from my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, to over come them, and the moments I have had that I will never forget where my testimony was strengthened more than I could have ever imagined.  Missions are incredible; if you get the chance to go, GO!  

 Senior missionary couple and sister missionaries in Zone

I love the Gospel; I know that it is true.  I know that we have a living, loving Heavenly Father that knows what we need and when we need it.  He has a plan for us.  In the moment the plan might not make sense, but as time goes by, we will realize He loves us and knows what we need.  Sorry for the long rant.  I have so much more I want to share but am out of time.  I love you all and hope you have such a good week!

Love, Sister Lake


Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Sun is SO BRIGHT!!


Okay, so another awesome week.  President Hinckley said, "Every day on the mission should be a good day," and it is so true; even the tough days always seem to be good.  We had a lot of really tough days this week that made it hard not to get discouraged.  But, we just ate an oatmeal cookie, said a prayer, got to work, and we saw so many miracles from just enduring and continuing to work.  Once again,  it has been so cool to see the work continue to progress.  

I don't have much time, but a few highlights from this week:

1.  We had four investigators show up to Sacrament Meeting yesterday, and it was the HAPPIEST thing ever watching them as they walked through the door.  Sacrament Meeting was interesting, and I'm just gonna leave it at that, but they all seemed to have a great time and really feel loved and welcome as well.  And, I know they felt the spirit.

 2.  The Lord definitely works in mysterious ways, like having appointments cancel just so you are available to meeting with other people.  We saw that so much this week!  Our appointments and lessons would cancel, which was discouraging after awhile, but each time they did we realized they needed to cancel otherwise we wouldn't have been able to be with the people we needed to be teaching.  So...many tender mercies!! 

3.  The SUN is so BRIGHT!!!  Yes, it is the first day of spring.  We have three feet of snow, and it is still -3 outside right now, but, whatever, because it is so light--almost all day long!!!

Something I have been really focusing on this week is prayer.  Prayer is truly so powerful.  SINCERE prayer is so powerful, and falling to your knees is really truly the best way to find courage to do anything and overcome anything.  This Church is so true, and the Book of Mormon...Oh, I just grow to love that book more and more each day.  

Anyway, sorry I have to go.  Have such a good week!

Sister McKenna Lake

 Even though people don't want the Gospel in their lives, we're still happy because the Book of Mormon is true, and we want everyone to know it!!



Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

Seven Miracles!!


Another amazing week!  Once again--a week full of tender mercies, so many blessings, amazing studies, and one of the best Sacrament Meetings I have ever attended! 

Sister Cox and I started the week off with three investigators and ended with seven MIRACLES.  We saw the Lord's hand in the work so much this week and just felt so blessed.  We received an awesome referral from one of our favorite families this past week.  We were able to visit with the lady, discuss the Book of Mormon, and answer so many of her questions.  We love her and are so excited to meet with her again this week.  We were able to answer some of her questions about Joseph Smith, and I was able to recite the first vision for the first time in a long time Wow! I have never felt the spirit so strong.  Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and he DID restore the Gospel to the earth.  

Earlier that day we were able to visit with the family that we creepily hopped out of the car and ran up to the window as they were backing out last weekWe had such an incredible visit.  The spirit led us there for a reason.  They are probably one of the greatest families I have ever met!  I love them!  AND, the father asked us to start teaching his kids.  Sister Cox and I walked out of that lesson with the biggest smiles EVER and a huge testimony that the Lord knows who is prepared to hear the Gospel.  

Then, we visited with our investigators, Heather and Airilynn, and had an incredible lesson with them.  We were told that Airlynn's brother would like to be taught as well.  Another miracle!   It felt so good being able to teach people the Gospel and see how the little knowledge that has been shared with them has already helped them tremendously.  I know I say it all the time, but this Gospel is so true!  I am very excited to continue to see what happens; the Lord has blessed us so much, and I am so thankful for that.

This week I also was able to have some time for incredible studying.   I was reading in Mormon 5:23 where it says, "Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God?  Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll?"  And, I was able to study in more detail, ... what "in the hands of God" really meant, and I want to share what I found:  Hands are one of the symbolically expressive parts of the body.  In Hebrew, "yad," the most common word for hand, is also used metaphorically to mean power, strength, and might (see William Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies [1978], 205).  Thus, hands signify power and strength. ... "To be in their hands of God would suggest that we are not only under His watchful care but also that we are guarded and protected by His wondrous power."

"Throughout the scriptures, reference is made to the hand of the Lord.  His divine assistance is evidenced over and over again.  His powerful hands created worlds, and yet they were gentle enough to bless the little children. ... "Every one of us needs to know that we can go on in the strength of the Lord.  We can put our hand in His, and we will feel His sustaining presence lift us to heights unattainable alone. ...  "...How do we learn to extend our hand and connect to the comfort provided by the Lord? ... "Here are four keys:  Learn, Listen, Seek the Spirit, Pray Always.  "The Lord will provide sustenance and support if we are willing to open the door and receive His hand of divine assistance. ...  "Imagine the wounds in his hands.  His weathered hands, yes, even His hands of torn flesh and physical sacrifice, give our own hands greater power and direction.  "It is the wounded Christ who leads us through our moments of difficulty.  It is He who bears us up when we need more air to breathe or direction to follow or even more courage to continue.  "If we will keep the commandments of God and walk hand in hand with Him in His path, we will go forward with faith and never feel alone."

I have been studying a lot, and trying to become closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ; and, as I read this, I felt this immense love for my Savior, and an immense love that he has for me and each and everyone of us.  He loves us.  He atoned for our sins so that He can guide us through those moments of difficulty and pain, and He will know how to help us and give us that courage to continue to press forward, even if we don't think we can.

Our Sacrament Meetings this month have been focused on Jesus Christ, and yesterday was probably one of the best Sacrament Meetings I have ever attended.  The spirit was so strong!  The talks that were given were about Jesus Christ and very powerful.  I love this ward so much!  One of the speakers said, "We become more like our Savior Jesus Christ as we spend more time with Him."  That is something that I have thought about a lot, and am looking forward to coming closer to Him as I spend more time with Him.  

I know that as we put our faith in Him, study concerning Him, come to know Him on a more personal level, and try our hardest to become like Him, we will feel of His immense love and have the courage and strength that we need to keep moving forward.  This church is true, and I am so thankful for this opportunity that I have to be here on my mission.  Hope you all have a great week!

Love, Sister Lake

P.S.  A funny story for the week:  We lost the key to our apartment and then broke the garage.  In order to get in, we have to manually open the garage door each time, and with a huge dent in it you can imagine it is kind of hard.  Anyways, so we returned home, and the weather was -20 degrees.  We were trying to open the garage, I got into one of my uncontrollable laughs, and Sister Cox started laughing and peed her pants.  

 Tracting on Lake Dr....Everybody thought my last name was cool!

When Sister Cox falls so hard!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Monday, March 6, 2017

Trials Bring Blessings!!

This week I realized that sometimes being an adult kind of stinks....Where there is bad, there is good; trials bring blessings; having faith and listening to the spirit is key to success; Anthropology candles are the greatest things ever; heaters are a necessity to live here; we need to close our umbrellas and allow all the blessings from heaven to fall upon us; and lastly, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true!

This week started out on Monday evening when we finished with P-day.  We were heading out for the evening, and as we were heading out, we had NO clue what to do.  We had a couple of people to visit but it just didn't feel right.  It was about 7:00 p.m. and we knelt down and said a prayer for direction.  Afterwards I felt like there was someone else we needed to visit.  So, Sister Cox and I went to our board with everyone's name written on it.  After looking through it a couple of times, I received this super strong prompting that we needed to go visit the Garzas AGAIN.  

This is a less-active part-member family that we have tried a MILLION times to contact, and they are never home.  So, we hopped in the car and drove 20 minutes to their house.  Right as we were pulling up, they were pulling out.  Sister Cox and I said a quick prayer and hopped out of that car so quickly (Thank goodness people in Alaska have mile-long driveways!) and ran up to the car window.  The less-active rolled the window down, and we started talking with him (Creepy I know, but we had tried them so many times before and we finally saw them...we had to!), and it was so awesome!  Seriously he is so cool, and we have an appointment to meet with him this Thursday.  Such a miracle and blessing!  

With faith, the Holy Ghost will lead you to those people and put you in their path at the exact moment you need to be!  Such a testimony builder that following the promptings from the Spirit, even the littlest ones, is such an important thing.  You never know what may happen from acting upon those promptings.

Then, on Tuesday, we broke our phone, and all of our plans seemed to fall through.  Sister Cox and I were already pretty stressed because we were asked to present a training session in Zone Meeting, AND when we returned home in the evening our heater was broken!  The temperature in our apartment was a solid 50 degrees!  We woke up the next morning, and the temp had dropped into the 40s.  So, we left for the day and had an awesome lesson with our investigator.  She is progressing and wants to be baptized so badly.  We are so excited for her.  We returned home later that evening and our heater was still broken--so cold that our bananas were half frozen, haha.  So we called the STLs and drove to Fairbanks to stay with them, which was a tender mercy.  As we were driving there, the NORTHERN LIGHTS came out and covered the ENTIRE sky.  I have never seen the Northern lights that clear and amazing!!

Northern lights

On Friday, Sister Cox and I gave our Zone Conference training regarding having faith to find investigators.  We talked about how we need to rely on the Lord as we go out and find those people that are being prepared, and reading, and waiting to hear the Gospel.  We need to include the Lord in every aspect of the work, which applies to missionary work, as well as in our everyday lives.  We also always need to remember to include the Lord in all that we do.  He will lead us and guide us on the pathways we need to go down.  He will not lead us astray.  This opportunity to study and share our thoughts was exactly what Sister cox and I needed.  We had so much fun planning our presentation.  We even threw in some of our favorite celebrities in our activities.

Sister Lake and Sister Cox
 Missionaries in Sister Lake's zone

Visual Aids for Zone Conference presentation

Okay, and last miracle!  So, since our phone broke, we had to return to Fairbanks on Saturday and have our information transferred to a new phone.  This guy, named Theodore, was helping us.  Long story short, by the time our information was transferred, we had taught him about the restored Gospel, gave him a Book of Mormon, and invited him to church.  This experience was so cool.  He told us that he had a friend who was a member and said he always wondered about his religion because he was always so happy, but never asked.  He had so many questions, and we were able to answer them.  Sadly, he is not in our area, but the other missionaries are going to be getting One Elect Investigator!!  Sometimes Heavenly Father gives you trials and things that happen just so you have to go out of your way to be placed in someone's path.  Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways!!

This letter is forever long.  If you have made it this far, thanks for being a true homie.  This Gospel is true.  Our Heavenly Father loves us.  He is aware of each and every single one of us.  He will work miracles though you, keep the faith, listen to the promptings of the holy Spirit and act upon them, and you will be led and guided to those people that need you.  The Book of Mormon is powerful, so powerful and so true.  The more opportunities I have to share the book with others, the more I realize how powerful and true the Book of Mormon really is!

Also, if you haven't already seen the video, "A Shower of Heavenly Blessings," watch it here:  


If you already have, watch it again.  Our Heavenly Father is constantly showering blessings upon us.  It's our choice whether or not we close our umbrella and accept those blessings.

Also, in 365 days from today, I will be on a plane heading home.  Kind of a sad thought...my mission is going by way too quick!!!  So, Sister Cox and I had to celebrate/emotionally eat our favorite bagels this morning.

 Celebrating by eating their favorite bagels!


Love, Sister Lake

P.S. Tune into the 2017 IDITAROD race on TV today and look out for a bunch of missionaries!!

Mushers from around the world gathered on Saturday, March 4, 2017, for the ceremonial start of the 45th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage.  They are traveling to Fairbanks for only the third time in the race's history because of better snow conditions.
About 2,000 dogs belonging to 72 mushers waited their turn to hit the trail this year. The race spans nearly 1,000 miles of Alaska wilderness, including the last stretch when the teams battle the frozen Bering Sea coast en route to the finish line in the community of Nome.

One of 72 teams of mushers with their dogs along the racing trail.
At our training to help with the Iditarod in Fairbanks!