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!
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.
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!
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