Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Update on the last two weeks!

As I told you briefly in the last sentence of my short letter last Monday, Odi came to church last Sunday!!!   It was so cool!  We had had a lesson with Odi and invited him to church two Monday's ago, and he wasn't liking the idea.  So, later that week, we just sent him the address like we said we would and invited him to attend church one more time.  This time, he replied, "Great!  I'll see you tomorrow," and he SHOWED UP!!!  He stayed for Sacrament Meeting and Gospel Principles and participated so much in class!!!  It was very exciting.  We had another lesson with him this last week.  We talked about church and the similarities and differences in his church and ours, and more about the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith with a focus on praying to receive that was all good.  The spirit was very strong.  He has had a hard time believing in the Restoration, especially the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.  But, he seemed very willing this last week to sincerely seek to know for himself.  

We were able to go on exchanges with the Soldotna sisters, Sister Cox and Sister fun!!  First off, it's always a good time when I am able to see Sister Cox.  I seriously love that girl and miss being companions with her, but she is doing some incredible things in Soldotna and is such a great trainer!  My companion on the exchange was Sister Bowers.  It was fun and so beautiful, and the people there are incredible.  We had this awesome lesson with this less-active lady.  My, oh my, she was the sweetest person I have ever met, and it was so inspiring to go and meet her.  

Visiting Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula

Sisters Jackson, Mataele, Lake, and Kunz
Sisters Jackson and Lake--companions
 Visiting Girdwood, a resort town and ski area south of Anchorage
The valley, as viewed from Mount Alyeska
Tram ride
We even went tracting on the docks to all the fishermen.  That was so fun and exciting because half of them caught huge salmon in the middle of talking to us.  

I was able to see the Grieve Family!  I am so bummed that I totally forgot to take a picture with them, but it was seriously SO GOOD to see them.  I stood up in church yesterday, turned around, and there they were!  They are seriously the greatest, and it was really fun to see them!

Tracting, tracting, and more tracting-- 
I LOVE tracting, and we did a ton of it this week and saw some super cool miracles.  We met so many people and were able to teach a lot of them about the Book of Mormon and set up some return appointments.  One of the people we met was a girl named Nivea.  She wanted to hear our message.  We started by sharing with her the Book of Mormon and talking about our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We asked her if we could give her a copy and come back next week.  She said, "YES, I AM SO EXCITED TO LEARN MORE.  COULD YOU COME BACK ON FRIDAY?"  She just had the biggest smile and was genuinely excited!

Tender Mercies--
We saw so many little tender mercies this week with finding and with the members, and everything, and I was so thankful for that.  Heavenly Father is very aware of us, and His hand is in our lives all around us.  We just have to notice.

Thoughts for the week--
I have had so many thoughts but something that really stood out to me was thoughts from a talk by Elder Neil L. Andersen called, "You Know Enough."  The talk was so good.  Elder Andersen talked about visiting a mission in Europe on a day when when a brand new missionary to the mission field was ready to go home.  The missionary expressed that he didn't know anything and felt so inadequate to be there.  He even said, "I don't even know if Heavenly Father loves me.  Elder Andersen was inspired to say, "You do know that."  The boy thought about it for a second and said, "You're right, I do!"  Elder Anderson explained, "He didn't know everything, but he knew enough.  He knew God loved him.  That priceless piece of spiritual knowledge was sufficient for his doubt to be replaced with faith.  He found the strength to stay on his mission."  Elder Anderson goes on to talk about faith and says, "Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision" and, "He chose the road of faith and obedience.  He got on his knees.  His spiritual balance returned."

I have been thinking about this talk a lot lately and how at times in our life our testimony, our faith in the Savior, the Book of Mormon, the Gospel, etc., might be a lot stronger than at other times, but how, if we always remember that Heavenly Father love us, that is enough
I have had so many times on my mission when doubt and discouragement creep in and that strong faith I have had before seems to have diminished.  In those moments, the one thing that always keeps me going is the reminder that Heavenly Father loves me.  He is aware of me whether it is through a blessing, or the scriptures, or just getting on my knees and finding that spiritual balance again.  I have held onto that knowledge so much on my mission.  As I go out each day and sometimes get discouraged or doubt why I'm here, every time knowing that Heavenly Father loves me has saved me and helped me choose to have faith once again.  

I know that Heavenly Father loves and is aware of each and everyone of us.  I have felt of His love He has for so many people that I myself have come to love.  I love this Gospel and the peace and happiness it brings each and every day.  We may not know everything we hope to for a surety, but never forget the love our Heavenly Father has for us, and THAT IS ENOUGH.  I love you all!!

Sister McKenna Lake
Anchorage Alaska Mission

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