Monday, December 29, 2014

Week #19 - Sunburned in December?

Can we just all stop for a moment and talk about how hot it is outside in DECEMBER?! I got a sunburn the other day people. If this day could please get just a little weirder. Washingtonian for life! My companion and I were biking just the other day (because we are...*cough cough...out of miles. I promise that I'm still good at budgeting guys) and we came all the way home from the church. About 8 miles. As we are biking our skirts off we get sweaty. Surprise right? Anyways, we get home (hot and sweaty), walk in the door and are all the sudden FREEZING cold. It feels good for about 2 minutes and then we grab out sweatshirts, fuzzy socks and hot chocolate. Tender mercy of the Lord for a Washingtonian? Our apartment has such bad condensation everywhere that you can't hang things up with any sort of stickies. It just falls off. I come from the area of the world where humidity is talked of in fables and fairy tales.  

Never play chicken with a chain linked fence... while talking on the phone... scheduling appointments... you will lose!

We are those sisters you see biking the streets of Florida!
DAAAAANNNNGGG. Family, you guys are all looking just smoking hot. I loved getting to talk to you! Afterwards, I got the wonderful privilege of being told I look just like Hill bill. When I showed my friends the cute pictures of you all from email, they all said, "That is so definitely your family" :)

I have a quick little moment of pride for you Mom and Dad. I have been so very many times on my mission how polite and refined I am. Thank you for teaching me that potty jokes were bad, crass jokes are not to be said, and that I should always try to be kind. I'm still working on the always being kind thing....but hey, we should always be progressing right?
Christmas came twice this week guys! Normal Christmas was one and the other was Sunday. We had 8 NEW investigators. EIGHT! We had a miracle day. 

We had a new gator named Robert who was taught previously but had so much work that he couldn't come to church. Guess what? HE HAS SUNDAYS OFF NOW! He's getting baptized in a few weeks. Then we had 3 beautiful Hondurans come. They looked up the church, called the bishop and worked out everything so they could come to church. We have a lesson with them tonight, keep you posted :)

LIS HAS BEEN REDISCOVERED! Lis was a recent convert that disappeared off the face of the earth for a month. We honestly thought that she went back to Cuba. Jokes! She was just working. After a month of not answering doors, phone calls or texts we finally got a hold of her and she has basically already converted her aunt and uncle to the church. Yes true, she was totally smoking when we surprised her at her house but that is something we help her with :) Basically, we had a set appointment with them and they weren't there. We had prayed before coming out to the house because she wouldn't answer again and still felt like we should go. We ended up harvesting in the rain again around her home and finding no one. But then we felt like we should just check on the house one more time and BAM.... They came to church and loved it, started crying. I'm so pumped for this New Year! 

I have a new companion! Her name is Hna McGrath. And she is the best. I have become increasingly aware that my Father in Heaven knows exactly what I need when I need it. Hna McGrath has been a welcome change for me to see how I can become better, kinder and more obedient. As we have been trying so hard to be obedient this past week, miracles have EXPLODED.  

Our house is going to go a little crazy and we are going to go anti-unhealthy for the next 6 months. They have started coming to me for health advice. I LOVE IT! Makes me feel like my weird eating habits are really not that weird and useful. I've been told that I make vegetables taste good...maybe I can actually cook ;)  I have decided that I am going sugar free for one year. I don't really get to control everything I eat but sugar....sugar I can control.    
Elder Morgan, Elder Edwards, and Hermana Lake
All are missionaries from Spokane!
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!! Keep you posted on the rest of my awesome life. 

Hna Lago

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week # 17 - Love is a Circle!

Hello All!  

This week was fantastic. As I have been closing things off with Sis McAfee, she is transferring and I'm getting greenie broken, it was amazed me with how much I truly have come to just love her. She is such a different personality and has so much spunk and fire. It doesn't take much to get her going into "black mode" where she starts talking like some ghetto black person for Kearns, Utah (hometown) and this little 5'3 German girl starts seriously getting in your face with laughter and jokes about how she's gonna beat me's pretty comical. It always makes me laugh! She still treats me like her little girl and was straight up feeding me the other day at the Christmas mtg we had as a mission. Hahaha, she couldn't finish her food so she was shoving it down my throat! Oh the joys of being a greenie :)  I have never been more amazed with how much the Lord can open a person's eyes to see someone so amazing. She is strong, powerfully happy and has taught me so much. I've been trying hard to see why she was my trainer. Let's just say...she helped me to be so humble. Now the Lord can use me. I was told that pride would be the hardest thing for me to overcome on my mission and obviously...Heavenly Father is omnipotent. He knew. She also helped me to be happy. I took everything so seriously and was making it missionary WORK instead of missionary FUN. She helped me see past that. I'm now ready to take over the area and work my tail feathers off! 

Funny story #2: Sister Lake GOT FLEAS! We went over to our recent converts home to share a message with them and to hold their interview for their baptism. I was playing with their kitten when the daughter told me that she had fleas! Awesome. I had always played with the kitten whenever we went there and kept waking up with these little bites all over my body. Well SURPRISE! I had fleas. Awesome. We are getting everything worked out to de-flea me...I will never touch a cat again. I KNEW they were of the devil.

I have been studying a lot about Matt 22 in the Bible and in 3 Nephi, about how the 2 great commandments are to first love the Lord and then love your neighbor. My sister gave me this challenge to read it and discover why those are the first two great commandments. WOW. President! My eyes were completely opened. I realized that everything we do here on this earth should first guide us toward loving our Father in Heaven because through loving Him we will come to love ourselves. We will see ourselves how He sees us and be able to achieve our purpose on this earth , "to become perfect even as Christ!" We will then REALIZE our amazing potential and have no more desire to do evil. We will realize how debasing Satan is to us and what we can become. THEN we will have so many desires to reach out and to help another. The 2nd great commandment. We will want to help lift them and help them realize how to love the Lord as well so that they can receive all that we can. It's AMAZING! By our loving God and then loving our neighbor we will be able to love ourselves even more and become EVEN BETTER. IT'S A CIRCLE! Basically, Heavenly Father is a god of order. I like Him :)  

MIRACLE: Ashley and Angel got married and BAPTIZED! Everything went wrong on Sunday. EVERYTHING. They were almost an hour late. (No worries, been to church 6 + times) and were able to learn so much. Then the baptism happened and the room was PACKED. Our ward just loves them. They were both so emotional; now their other 2 kids wish to be baptized as well :)  



Thank you SO much for your sweet gift of the Holy Family. I love it. Truly. It sits on my desk and reminds me every single day the reason for why I'm out here on my mission. I may even have it out all year round :) It reminds me that my extended family is still real, it has become a little weird to talk about the family because I'm not there with you for Christmas. It's almost surreal! But your gift made Dec 25 a little bit more of Christmas for me, Thank you :) 


Hna Lake 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week #16 - Seeing Beyond the Mark

First of all, our investigators Ashley and Angel are GETTING MARRIED! They are getting their license today and then will be getting married on Saturday and then baptized right afterwards. Ashley often remarks that she is more excited for the baptism than the wedding! :) 

We also had a baptism this Sunday. Her name is Rosa. She is from Dominican Republic and was being taught there because her boyfriend, one of our members, referred her. She accepted the gospel with open arms. Her life has prepared her for this exact moment. We invited her to be baptized on the 24th in DR but she wanted to get baptized THIS Sunday. She truly has amazing spiritual gifts. She told me that she could read our hearts...and mine was tranquility. I have a peaceful heart. I needed it because we forgot to fill up the font! Let's just say that the Elders and members were filling up pitchers and coolers and dumping them in the font. It usually takes about 2 hours to fill....we finished in an hour. At the baptism, she was so excited. After the baptism she got up to bear her was so powerful. She just started crying. She mentioned how she was being prepared by her father in heaven for such a long time and how this has changed her life. I LOVE THIS MISSION!

 We had the coolest Harvest miracle too. We didn't have 8 by Wednesday which is a rule and so we were driving home and decided to stop at a trailer park down the street from us at 9:10 and get two more blessings. We got out, started knocking and FOUND! 2 in 15 minutes. That is basically unthinkable. Our Father in Heaven loves us!

We also had another cool miracle. One of our investigators that we had dropped a while ago because he was never home lived super close to a lady that had asked us to come pray with her that morning. We prayed beforehand to see if we were supposed to go because we weren't sure if she would even be there but felt that we should. We went on our way and passed by the house. SERVANDO WAS HOME but the lady was not. We went over to his house, he welcomed us in with a smile and we had a lesson that changed everything. He is going to get baptized before the end of the year. :) 

In the Book of Mormon this week I learned about the greatness of looking beyond the mark. In Jacob 4:14 it talks about all the things that happened to the people because they became blind and because they looked beyond Jesus Christ.  I have learned that when we do look beyond our Savior, all we see is unsuccessful days and really hard times. But when the Savior becomes a "filter" on our minds we are open to seeing all the miracles, blessings, and joy that the Lord is waiting for us and is truly putting in our lives. I love the talk by Neal A Maxwell  called Willing to Submit. It brings to light Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were cast into the fire right? While they are to be commended for trusting in the Lord, my favorite part is "But if not". So often we have plans for ourselves in our lives. But the Lord has a different plan. If we are looking beyond the mark, everything that we want for ourselves might seem to go wrong...but in's just "But if not" moment where the Lord is taking our lives onto the path that He wants for them, the BETTER path. It's the same way with our investigators. I just need to let the Lord guide them on the path He needs for them to be on and to stop being so beat up when they drop us. I take it REALLY hard when the investigators don't stick around but the Lord is showing us that sometimes...I need to let Him direct the decisions :)  

Miracle: My miracle this week is very individual. We were out Harvesting on Sunday and we met a lady named Desiree. She was telling us about her life and things that were going on that she wanted us to include in the prayer. I was struck with the realization that this woman...she was my "person". Everyone always says that there is someone waiting for you in your mission. I knew that this lady was one of mine. She was from Mexico, getting over an addiction, but wanted to be baptized. SHE IS AMAZING. In that moment, lines from a blessing I received came to mind. It says that I will bring hope to others and that will help them to see that this life isn't just made up with dark and hard times but there will always be sunshine. That despite my weaknesses, I will be able to help them overcome theirs. I had many doubt as to why I was here in this mission but now...I know I am supposed to be here! 

I love you all!! 

Hna Lake

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week #15 - Mucho Turkey!

Hello everyone!

We definitely did do something fun for Thanksgiving....if you are a sadist. We went and ate with three different families. Three different LATIN families. Needless to say, we ate until we were SO FULL and then went to another house and ate till we were SO FULL. I officially hate food - what a great predicament to have! I never want to see turkey again. BUT ugh. I said thank you many many times, no worries :)  

Spanish is going well actually. Many people have noticed improvements and commented upon it. I am getting to the point that when people learn that I have only been speaking for 3 months they go "WOW! Hermana, your Spanish is so good!" I am pretty hard on myself, so I only notice the fact that I still don't know a lot of vocab and that my verb tenses are often wrong but I am getting better, therefore....something I'm doing, I'm doing right. But to be honest, I rely so heavily on the Spirit. My trainer says that it is a mission rule that we do all Spanish days every other day....but that hasn't happened much since the 2nd day of the mission....because she forgets and I don't remind her....because I don't want to.....BUT I won't do that with my greenie breaker (2 more weeks of training!!) Hopefully I can start anew with a goal of speaking Spanish whenever I leave the house. I'm learning the names for the human body now and when we have a meal appointment with a certain family, the little girl there will give me a quick Spanish lesson. The little spit fire is awesome :)  Her name is Emil and she is awesome and I love her so much. She is very quick on her toes and every time I go to her house she picks on me :) It's hilarious. This last time we were talking about how tall I am. The conversation changed and I got the word wrong for "Liar". The mother started teasing me and telling me that my nose was going to start growing. I told her that instead of my nose growing, I get taller......then the Emily goes,  "Oh, then you must lie a lot, huh?" We all laughed :) Later I was playing with little kiddos (tender mercy-I was missing the cousins :D) and was getting quite the workout. I said as much and Emily goes, "Stop! You are too skinny as it is!" She has such a dry sense of humor and so sassy....reminds me of Ashley :) TENDER MERCIES EVERYWHERE! 

Miracles this week: Many of you might remember a girl named Carolina? So Carolina is the sister of Marco who was baptized about 1.5 months ago. She knew everything was true, went to church with us every week, shared the gospel with others, kept all the standards, CALLED the LDS church "her" church like she was a member, etc  but refused to get baptized saying that the baptism she had when she was 14 into another church with "proper authority", too. So frustrating. Anyway, we dropped her and started praying for her to be given trials to help humble her because she was being SUPER prideful. She told us that when she was supposed to be baptized God would give her a sign...she was expecting a vision or something! BUT the Lord always provides. We were weekly planning and Sis. McAfee felt super strongly that someone was to be baptized this week even though we had no one that was ready. We were talking to Marco, Carolina's brother, about what we could do to help her come to the church. The next day she texted us and just started to talking to us. We knew who was getting baptized that Sunday right then. We went over and she broke down. Apparently, she had been looking for a good guy that she could marry and settle down with but the world kept giving her men that only wanted to use her. She kept saying the world had nothing to give her! Then we talked about temple marriage, standards of the church etc. and she said she wanted that. She loves the church because she says that we are respectful and good people. We told her the only way she could have a temple marriage was if she was baptized. SHE ACCEPTED AND WAS BAPTIZED YESTERDAY!! YEHA!! 
Carolina's Baptism
BoM: Mormon 1:2. I can be me. I tend to be a little more quiet. A little more reserved. Not crazy and happy and loud. I can just have silent joy. Like Mary. She was silent but so joyful. I CAN BE ME! Sister McAfee is much more loud and crazy. I felt a little sad that everyone loved her so much but did not love me quite as I wished. I couldn't bring myself to act like that - I was like that in high school and it EXHAUSTED me. I couldn't do that. But I've been studying Mary and realized that I am similar in some ways. There is a poem that says, "I made you just a little different, a little more lonely, a little more quiet, a little more thoughtful so you could turn to me." That's definitely me. I have grown so much closer to my Savior and have relied on him. Now, the ward loves me, treats me the same and I am able to be myself. Amazing how the Lord works right?

I have many more miracles to share but just don't have time! I have been witnessed more times than I can count that the Lord loves me. He is aware of me. He wants me to be happy but won't let me live half a life. He gives me my "full potential" of trials! 

Love you all!

Hna Lake

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week #14 - Lis got Baptized!

Hello everyone!

This week I am eternally grateful for rain and for rejection. 
This week we got to watch Meet the Mormons as part of a specialized training. If you haven't watched it yet, you should. Its funny, touching and very spiritual. It's made by inspired people :) 

I sent out a picture this week that just funny of me teaching a lesson to our recent convert (She got baptized this last SUNDAY!). As you can tell, I was really into it :) When I feel the Spirit during a lesson, my voice gets more gentle, sincere and passionate and my hands start getting into the lesson. I look up to try to hear what the Spirit wants for me to say and I more often then not look up for moments to figure out what Spanish word to use :) Every time I speak Spanish, certain ladies in my ward just smile and coo at me saying, "Awwww, Que Linda" Which translates to "Awwwwww, How cute!" I AM NOT CUTE!!! I am a representative trying her hardest!! 

I've come to the realization that Christmas is better explained with those feelings you get when Investigators come to Sacrament Meeting. You wait with great anticipation, you look and look and look to see if there are "presents under the tree" and then you unwrap the gift as they walk in and sit down ON TIME! Joy, giddiness and laughter and you just can't contain your excitement. Or they don't come and it's like the times you get socks for Christmas...come on, we've all had that present before. Disappointment, sadness and a little regret enter your heart. But that's okay...Christmas comes once every week here! ;)  I know understand the feelings that children get on Christmas....I hope I never forget again :) 

Miracle: LIS GOT BAPTIZED! She came to church and everything but when we saw her she did NOT look good. She had a fever, super bad headache, etc. It was bad. She received a priesthood blessing which helped a little bit. She stayed for all three hours and that only helped a little bit as well. But then we got to her baptism and afterwards.....She explained it as though she was floating. She said she felt so liberated, so free, so much peace and that all the sicknesses she had before were GONE! Satan will try everything to keep people from making these covenants. Fight tooth and nail and peace comes :) After the baptism she was asking us if we would still come by her house and visit her. Then she adamantly said, "NO QUIERO CUALQUIER OTRAS HERMANAS. YO QUIERO ESTAS HERMANAS." For a 5'2 Cuban, She is FIERCE :) And I love her.
Lis's Baptism
I LOVE MY MISSION!!!!!!!! I love how hard it is and how I constantly feel out of place. No worries, all with time! I will grow and become :) 

Hna lake

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week #13 - I Love these People!


Funny: This week one of my investigators said that when we first began meeting with her that SHE was praying for the gift of tongues in order to understand me. Now, she remarks on how good I've become at Spanish and requires that I pray at every lesson, calling it my "Spanish Lesson" for the day. She's the best! Very Cuban!! The other day, someone asked her if she was pregnant and she adamantly stated "NO BABIES!!" multiple times while making air pregnant belly with her hands..... She doesn't speak English but she knew that :) 

I LOVE people of other ethnicities. They are always so warm and open. They love to talk, laugh, and have a good time. They are humble. They wear hilarious outfits. They treat their families like GOLD. They love the Lord. They are AMAZING! I joke around with a sweet Nigerian sister that I'm going to get a full body transplant to look, talk, and act like her because she is seriously the best! No worries everyone, I'm still tall, gawky, and blonde :D) 

Well, we got in a car accident! Whoo! It wasn't bad, really. We were stopped at a light and this guy came up behind us WAY too fast and rear ended us, then in turn ran into the lady in front of us. Both of us are more than just a little bit sore. 

Book of Mormon: I've been learning more about covenants and about how sanctification works. As I understand it - Christ was sanctified for us; however, if we don't know what sanctification m5. is it makes that difficult. So with a little more digging we find that Sanctification is when we align our will with the Father. Because Christ aligned His will with the Father's and provided that the only way we could return to God was through Christ....well, we have to align our will with God as well. We align our will with God and then are called by the name of Christ. Because we are converted to Him and have no more desire to do evil, we are worthy of this name. If we were called by the name but not truly sanctified then it would make God a liar and that isn't possible. So yeah. I learned that I want to be sanctified! More than anything I have fallen in LOVE with Book of Mormon and the Bible. Who needs marriage? I've got my life set up. I'm going to be a hermit. A Mormon hermit. I'm going to go to school, learn all that I can about the religious world and then retire to a life of backpacking and sending my knowledge to random colleges for their enlightenment. I'll be that crazy lady :) I tried to convince my mom that eloping would be a better way than all the trouble of receptions and weddings but she didn't I'm just not getting married.  :)  

Miracles: This week we were sitting in our car before going out to Harvest and prayed that we would be able to find someone that had been previously introduced to the Gospel because we knew that they would be one step closer to accepting it and had been prepared. We walked down the street and turned the corner when we saw a house and felt prompted to go there. As we walked up, this sweet older lady saw us and welcomed us in with no hesitation. As we sat talking with her at the table after our harvest prayer she all the sudden turns to us and goes, "Wait, what church are you?" We said the name of the church and her face just lights up and she says, "My son is a member in Panama! He wanted me to get in touch with missionaries since I've been in America!" We felt so humbled that the Lord knew He could answer our prayers so quickly.  

Yesterday we went to go teach a Guatamelan named Pascual. He is a Less Active and very shy. He wouldn't even look at me when I first met him. Perks of being tall... he really couldn't really see me unless he looked up :) Anyway, I for some reason felt very drawn to wanting to help him. I don't know why. I can't explain it. I had been rather blunt with him in lessons past because he wasn't doing anything to show he really had desires to come back to church but talked about wanting a temple marriage all the time. So dumb. Mom, I understand why it frustrated you so much when I didn't follow up with what I said I wanted. Anyway, I started to talking to him just like a friend and he REALLY opened up. He is talking with the bishop TODAY!! The best part is that I can never understand anything he says. Nothing. But right then...I could. The gift of tongues is real! 

More than anything I have felt like the Lord trusts me. He has placed so many amazing people in our path and allowed us the opportunity to teach them. All our investigators are insanely elect and so sweet. We should have a LOT of baptisms in the next few weeks. We need to get 21 by the end of the year to make our ward goal....needless to say, it'll be white Christmas here in sunny Florida after all!  I hope that continues! 

I love you all!

Hna Lake

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week #12 _ Me Llamo Hermana Lago

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, just a laugh. So here, no one can pronounce my companion's name (Hna McAfee) so they always call her really weird things. They have started calling her MacCafe or McAfea ( fea means ugly). Then they get to my name and all of a sudden "Lake" becomes impossible. SO I am hereafter known as Hermana Lago.  I'll take it - always :) 

This week was GREAT! I'm finally starting to feel like a missionary and to fit in to exactly what I need to do. This is the END of my first transfer but it's all good because I'm staying in the same area, with the same companion. Sadly my favorite STL ever is leaving, Sister Aisa, to return to Australia. I'm going to love every single Hna from now on....regardless of how hard it is.  

My studying in the Book of Mormon has been insane. So, basically I started out studying names then went on a ride lead entirely by the Lord. Everything connects - which is crazy to me :) Names, callings, Urimm and Thummim, temples, kingdoms of Glory, purification and sanctification, circumcision, blindness, uncircumcised hearts, prayer, mind, revelation, understanding and submission. The Lord AMAZES me with everything that He knows and is willing to teach me. Basically, I learned this week about how the heart and mind work with each other. Our mind is kind of like a funnel to the things of the world. It receives temptations, senses, knowledge, etc. Everything goes into the mind and it processed there right? Then the heart filters out what is true and good from the bad. We filter our minds through our hearts, through the Holy Ghost. The reason we need the heart/HG is because our minds have the veil. Our memories are held back from us. BUT we will always remember feelings better than anything else. Essentially, our hearts do not have the veil. That is how others are able to have the Light of Christ without the Holy Ghost (before baptism). This light is actually the Holy Ghost helping us to recognize those things that we already previously knew but cannot remember due to the veil. However, the only way that we can achieve "understanding" is by being completely submissive to the Lord. When we understand more about the Lord and His purpose in our lives and therefore, our divine heritage, we UNDERSTAND everything more fully. It's like we are given a puzzle piece to the universe every time we give a piece of ourselves more fully to the Lord. If you want to read more about it, look at the talk by Neal A Maxwell called "Willing to Submit". It is the BEST! 

Miracles this week: Lis, one of our amazing soon to be baptized, got a really big miracle this week. So we had set up a FHE with a member in our ward and invited her but she can't view messages till she gets off at work at 6-6:30. So at around 6 we went over to her house because we felt like we needed to talk to her just a little bit to round her up for the FHE. We went over and she opened the door. (She told us later that at the exact moment we were knocking on the door, she was sending us a message saying she couldn't go.) We talked about what would happen, how fun it would be and how long it would be. That day had been terrible for her because her card (All her money) had been declined, work was difficult and she was overworked (happens a LOT with Latins. A lot of work with almost no pay) , she couldn't call her family and she had been having family problems at home with her kids. When kids are going off the path, the mothers really struggle. I've seen it myself :)  But anyway, we convinced her to come. She really enjoyed it and the members did amazing. Anyways, a few days later we were teaching her and she told us more about her experience. She had been feeling really alone and felt very depressed that week. We called her up and invited her and she did NOT want to go. But she felt like she should give it a chance when we showed up at her house. She came and then the rest of her week was WONDERFUL. She had so many tender mercies and blessings happen from just FHE! She was happier, she had hope for her family and she felt like the Lord was there for her. The Lord loves ALL his children :)  

SUPER FUN THING! So, we have two awesome people from our district going home, our STL and Zone Leader. Because they are going home, we got it approved to go "Sunrising". We drove down the pier in Lantana Florida and watched the sunrise. I was up and at 'em at 4 this morning! We drove all the way down there and took some of the most amazing pictures. Only sad part is that, weirdly enough, IT WAS RAINY! Huh, who da thunk in Florida right? Seriously, it feels like Seattle sometimes. It's even cold here! We had clouds everywhere and it was lightly drizzling. Lame. But that's okay because we still got some awesome pictures. The Lord created one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen here.  

Another miracle is Amado. So he is an older guy that we met while walking down the street. The stinker actually was kind of cat calling us and calling us "dolls" because we are blonde with blue eyes. All Latins say we look like Dolls or that Hna and I are sisters. *insert eye roll with a rueful grin. (I've really learned that my vocabulary has a lot of words that most people don't even know. Hna McAfee often needs me to explain the meaning of words I say. In English and Spanish!) Anyway, we gave him a card and walked away. Then a week or so later, we knocked on his door whilst harvesting. Interesting. Had a lesson but he just wasn't interested. Then he called the number for a Finding Faith DVD and when we came over he said that he had religious people come to his house all the time but that he only listens to us because we are the closest to the Catholic church. He then expressed interest in learning more. He had been so humbled over the past few weeks and was ready to accept the gospel. We meet with him tomorrow. Keep you posted :)  

Love you All!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week #11 - Angels!

Hello to my family and to all! 

We have been on BIKES! Our miles ran out because we had to go to Trainer/Trainee meeting this week and I got to see all my "family" again. AH! The joy of seeing my Elders and my MTC companion, Hna Simmons is indescribable! I love my current companion - don't get me wrong - but Hna Simmons is my Sister forever and always :)  

I also gained another family! They are Jamaican and their names are Bernice and Mike. We met them Harvesting one day and ended up talking with them for about 30 minutes. They were missionaries of sorts in Jamaica and talked a lot about how America limits you because you can't just go out and preach the same way they used to. As we talked, Bernice mentioned how she wanted to just stop doing physical work sometimes and only do spiritual work. She didn't know about the temple but I KNEW this woman needed the temple in her life. So wrote down their information and they are getting baptized NEXT WEEK! They love Joseph Smith and couldn't get enough of the gospel. They were English speaking investigators, so we had to pass them off to the English speaking missionaries; however, they told those sisters that they weren't welcome to come back to their home unless they brought us with them for a Jamaican dinner. I had Jamaican food! It was to DIE for. I love this place with all its different cultures! 

This week has been amazing. I love getting to know my companion better and understanding more about her as a person. I have been so blessed to be in this mission and to learn from her. I definitely have a long way to go before I am ready to "leave home" but when it comes, I know that the Lord will bless me. I have the strangest feeling that I will be leaving Hna McAfee at transfers and I really don't want to. She is an inspiration to me. She has been through a lot of really hard companions and is so patient. My district is also so very wonderful. Basically, I feel like I have been given all the blessings of the world right now -- Sorry to the rest of you for being a hog :) 

I learned a lot about blindness and about being "uncircumcised of heart" this week. It was prophesied that the Savior would heal the blind, but I know that it was referencing both physical and spiritual blindness. I also learned that spiritual blindness can be a choice. To be uncircumcised of heart is to not have our heart dedicated to our Savior. I don't ever want my desires and actions to show my Savior that I am blind, deaf, or close-minded. I am dedicated to Him in all things and I know that through this dedication, my life will continue in a blessed and strengthened way. MY REDEEMER LIVES!

My miracle this week comes from a very special place in my heart. I was getting frustrated because our investigators - those to whom I had given my heart and soul to - weren't keeping commitments and were denying themselves so much when I KNEW that they were elect.  My Spanish was halting to a stop and I was very frustrated. I was attempting to still love these people, but was getting impatient and a little angry with them. I finally understood how my mother would feel when she wished to take all my agency away as I didn't do what she already knew was best. She had to back up and let me make my choices even if they were wrong. It KILLED me. Then Sunday morning in ward correlation, my Ward Mission Leader stopped the meeting and looked at me. He said "Hna, I feel impressed to share something with you. The people are going to reject you, your Spanish won't be perfect, your investigators won't do as you wish they would, etc. (EVERY single thing that had been frustrating me), but don't get frustrated. Don't get upset. Be patient. I promise you that by the end of your mission you will speak Spanish perfectly." I felt so loved. I knew that my Savior was looking right at me and sending His words through Hno Bazano. I gained such a testimony of the way the Lord uses us if we are worthy and of the vital importance of recognizing promptings. 

This week it became very obvious to me why missions are hard! If you do all of the things you are supposed to and your heart and soul is in the mission field, then you open up your heart to be stomped on, twisted, rejected, laughed at, and even ridiculed. You will feel the darkest of souls and lightest of hearts. You will recognize Satan in his works and God in His miracles. You will bear witness that there truly is opposition in ALL things. Missions aren't necessarily hard because you are working 24/7 or that you don't have the opportunity to do ANYTHING for yourself. No it's hard because these experiences push you closer to your Savior than ever before as you strive to become like Him and go through a lot of what He went through. You feel the rejection, pain, ridicule, and hardness of the people just as He did. You see the wheels in their heads turning on ways to trick you into leaving their home without offering your message. You see people coming to church with black eyes because their family doesn't like them being Mormon. I understand my Savior so much more than I could have ever thought possible because I am striving to live His life. I am in His shoes. I wake up and put on those worn out sandals that carried Him all over Jerusalem. I am not Hermana Lake, representative of the Church of Jesus Christ. No...I'm Hermana Lake, A REPRESENTATIVE OF JESUS CHRIST.  I love this church, I love my Redeemer. I love MY MISSION! We had another one of our super elect investigators (who rejected the gospel this week) ask us if we were angels. We had to tell him about 3 times that we weren't. But in all honesty....I'm lying a little bit. because as we bring salvation to people, we are doing His work. No wonder they think we are angels!
I love you all! 

Hna Lake

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week #10 - Let it Rain!!!

Hello guys!!

This week has been AWESOME. I have finally experienced Florida! We had a ginormous rainstorm  that soaked us within minutes. We were walking to the car, opened the door, and just froze! It was pouring, so we grabbed our umbrellas and booked it to the car. We hoped that it would stop raining before we arrived to our area to Harvest, but no. I had been reading in the Book of Mormon that day about Samuel the Lamanite. He was perfectly obedient to the Lord when asked to return back to the city to proselyte even though he had to get creative in order to teach; he climbed up a wall!! We needed to do an hour of Harvesting; so we got creative. No one would open their door to us, so we offered our umbrellas to people, and stopped them in the street or just walked in the rain proudly showing our nametags and smiling - that shouts the gospel message right there. When people see us walking around in crazy rain and SMILING (the streets were so flooded that cars were dying in the puddles and you couldn't see the street), then people will KNOW that we have a good reason. So worth it :) I've never had so much fun on my mission than I did in that single one hour - even though it was miserable!
My feet are getting thrashed!

 My Spanish is getting better. I've been able to understand the people 10 times better, but I still can't speak as well as I would like. In a recent prayer I thanked the Lord for the grapes (uvas) falling from the heavens instead of rain (llueve) and blessed someone with congratulations (felicitaciones) instead of happiness (felices). It's bad!! Not to mention my dreaming. That's has gotten WAY worse. Now, Hna McAfee and I straight up team-teach in our sleep. We will have conversations and teach people - we literally have language study in our sleep :) !! 

We have been teaching a lot of less-actives who require some extra effort. During one of our most recent teaching appointments, we were talking about the Word of Wisdom with Pascual. Behind us was a carful who were VERY drunk. Ironic!! Anyway, all of a sudden one stumbles out of his car and walks around towards us. We were a little wary....he just pulled down his pants and started peeing. In public. Yep!! I had earlier turned away and was missing the whole thing, so when our investigator got a little wide-eyed I turned to see what was the deal.  Hna McAfee pounced on me to cover my eyes and yelled, "Don't look mi hija (my daughter)!" Don't worry Mom, I've got a real good mother here in Florida, too :) 

I've been learning a lot in the Book of Mormon about names and the significance they hold. If this gospel isn't true, someone has just pulled off the greatest sham known to MAN! EVERYTHING connects to everything and the symbolism is through the roof!! Now instead of just reading a scripture, I scavenge through verses trying to more fully understand exactly how things connect. I am so sad that I have spent 19 years of my life merely skimming the surface of the scriptures. I see all of the things that I've been missing and just want to beat my old self because it is all so RICH! The Lord promises us that if we put in our effort, He will give us blessings like crazy. That's how I feel right now. I was also reading in 3 Nephi 3:2-10 and couldn't help but notice the similiarities between the evil guy in this passage and Satan. Satan was literally using him as a mouth piece because he is still all upset about not being the chosen Messiah. Read it!! You will understand what I mean. It'll blow your mind! Everything that Satan does is because he is still stuck in the PAST. He can't move past his failures or not getting things his way - which makes me realize that if we are doing that, we are following Satan. Move on. Don't dwell in the past. Allow the Atonement to change you!


Miracle this week: Andrea is our 15 yr old and has been prepared by our Heavenly Father for 2 YEARS! Her cousin has been asking her for 2 years if she will get baptized but she just hasn't felt ready. We met her when we were harvesting and immediately she felt differently. She took us as a sign that she was supposed to get baptized. We had planned to teach the lesson about the 10 commandments, but instead talked only about Moroni 10:3-5 for an hour. We talked about her fears about baptism, why she didn't feel ready, and how she could know if she was ready. We asked her to kneel and to ask her Father in Heaven if she was ready right then. When she finished praying we asked her how she felt. She said her chest felt all warm and full. We testified this was the Spirit and asked her if she would be baptized. SHE SAID YES! When we continued talking with her about her baptism, she started saying "I think I'm ready", but then stopped herself and said, "I KNOW I'm ready". They are so loved by the Lord and we ADORE our investigators. We have 4 people set up to be baptized within the next 3 weeks :) 

Carving pumpkins at a Zone Activity
Our pumpkin was the Tree of Life!
I love you all, see you next week!

Hna Lake

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week #9 - Eat a gator before it eats you!!!

Hola Familia!
Quote of Florida: Eat gator before it eats you. Yeah, .....awesome!! 

So lets just have a small freak out moment with Hermana Lake. Guys, today is my TWO MONTH MARK. I only have 16 months left!! Nooooo!! I love you all so much but my mission is "manna to my taste."
This week was one of focus. We worked so hard! I've also been able to realize how much the Lord knows us and how much I have to learn. Hna McAfee and I  had a heart-to-heart this week and I was blown away with the woman that she is. The Lord knows how to make us the best missionaries possible if we will only ask Him to show us how. I hadn't realized the ways the Lord was trying to make me a better person, a better missionary, and a better daughter of God. Hna McAfee helped open my eyes this week. I understand my weaknesses even more clearly but I also better understand how the Lord is going to turn them into strengths and how I must do my part. Hna M. was extremely profound this week and said "The Gospel makes Boys into Men". It is so TRUE! Through the gospel of Jesus Christ we BECOME men and women of our Heavenly Father and GROW! I love this church to stinkin' much!! 

One of our investigators asked us this week if we were angels. We were in the middle of a lesson and we were reiterating that we were representatives of Jesus Christ and he goes, "You could be angels right?"...we were both a little shocked and said, "No." However, later that week I was reading in Alma 13 and in verses 22-27 it talks about angels. These people think we are angels because they have the Light of Christ which allows them to recognize the principles that they understood in the pre-mortal life. In lessons we present the truth and their spirits recognize that our message is of God. They recognize our purpose and the spirit we carry is of God. Of course they would think we are angels! We are doing the work of angels! Check out the verses, they are pretty cool.

One of our Less Actives name is Pedro. He is pretty cool guy from Guatemala who only comes up to my shoulder....or smaller. Not sure. Anyways, he lives in a very run down area and where many occupants cannot afford to live alone or with only their family. When we held a lesson about the Restoration with Pedro (HIS UNCLE LISTENED TO THE WHOLE THING!! MIRACLE!), we asked him to call us when he finished reading the assigned scriptures to tell us what he learned. We got home and Pedro called. But after talking to him for about 2 minutes he all the sudden starts speaking very rapidly in Spanish and hangs up. Later he calls us back and tells us that someone had broken into their house and stole a phone and Pedro's wallet. Pedro starts telling us how he is scared because the guy had a pistol. We told him to just run if someone chased him and that he could run fast. He just said, "They don't give me time to run!" Hna McAfee told him to just ask really nicely next time. He calmed down as we joked with him and he ended up laughing. 

Carolina is still being very stubborn about the priesthood authority. We've explained it multiple times but she refuses to listen to the promptings the Lord is giving her. Guys, pride is the downfall of all men and women. We were straight up honest with her and explained that Satan is going to do everything he can to keep her from being baptized, testified to her, and read super spiritual scriptures. We left that lesson so pumped because of how strong the spirit was....but she just ignored it. We continue to work with her and pray for her but we'll see. 

One miracle that we saw this week had to do with Olga and her family. We invited them to a party our ward had like two weeks ago and she just barely had time to meet with us. We went over to teach her and they were hanging on our every word. They accepted baptism and when we tried to leave, they kept asking us questions. I NOW UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ELECT! This family didn't want us to leave without knowing that we would come over again. They cherish the words of God and are open to how the Lord can change their lives through our message. I also got to see my purpose a little more fully. I loved them so immediately that I just couldn't imagine not working my hardest to see this sweet family sealed forever. I viewed them how the Savior did, and loved them as He does.  

This work is real. The gospel of Jesus Christ is TRUE. Don't ever turn your back on the things it can teach to you. I've been studying a lot on the ways that Satan works against us and have had my eyes OPENED. He is a sneaky and dangerous man. In Hel 3:23 it talks about how the people didn't know about the Gadianton Robbers so they couldn't get rid of it. If you don't know about the can't get rid of him! I don't ever want to be ignorant to the workings of one as dangerous as him. Gird up your LOINS!!!! :) :)  

Have a great week! Love you all!!

Hna Lake


Monday, October 13, 2014


Hello 'Erebody! 



Hna McAfee and I have started blasting hymns in the car and singing at the top of our lungs to pump ourselves up right before Harvesting. Apparently this last time, we just got way to pumped up. We were out harvesting and passed a man who was working on his car outside. We started talking to him about the light of Christ and gave him a pass along card. Sister McAfee said that if he needed anything to call us and if he needed help with the car, we could come back in jeans and help. I'm not quite sure why or if I really was aware of what I was doing but I looked at him, put my arms up and flexed my muscles and said, "Grrrr!!" He just gave me a funny look of surprise and started laughing. I think I could remember the Spanish word for strong or strength so I was trying to explain to him the universal language of signs that we really could help him with his car. Regardless....I hope I brightened his day because I surely brightened Hna McAfee's! I STILL have not lived it down. 

Another random during a lesson with some Cubanos. If you have ever heard a "Fresh of the Boat Cuban", you will understand that I understand almost nothing. They drop everything after the first syllable when speaking. Yikes!! During a lesson, we were talking about lizard's for some reason and I didn't know the word for lizard. I tried to demonstrate by putting my arms up like lizard's arms when they run and then I stuck my tongue out - AT THE INVESTIGATOR!! WHYYYY?!?! Who knows? She didn't laugh.....but we got a return date! Maybe the gift of tongues just works through different people.....I also try to channel it through sign language... 

Apparently, I am so eager to share the gospel all the time that I even share it in my sleep. The other night I was teaching discussions in my sleep, in SPANISH, and would sit up and wave my arms around to elaborate. When I couldn't understand how to say something in Spanish, I would say it a couple times and then look over at Hna McAfee for her to confirm I was saying it right (Just like I do in lessons). One time I apparently tried to say something but couldn't...  so I just said,  "I don't know how to say this but ARE YOU FEELING THE SPIRIT??" Another time I apparently got mad because the investigator wasn't listening to me or something and said,  "Listen, this is really important!!" Basically, when I woke up the next morning, I felt as if I hadn't slept at all. When I woke up to exercise, Sister McAfee asked, "So how many investigators did you teach last night?" I was SO confused, so she explained it all to me. I figured I could make your lives a little brighter with this story :)

Another funny is more Spanish mix ups. I said "Sacred Blood' when I was trying to say "sweet blood" while explaining about the mosquitoes. I then forgot that NO is all languages. An recent convert was texting us and just sent me a "NO" but was confused because he doesn't speak English.  I was VERY confused. Yikes guys..... Also my height freaks out the Latinos. When they talk to us, they will not look directly at me. They look at Sister McAfee just fine and then eventually make some comment about my height; I then make a joke about it and they can talk to me. Apparently 5'10.5 is just too much for them? 

I learned in the Book of Mormon more about Satan and the way that he works against us. I was reading in Alma about Amalickiah and I decided to focus upon the tactics that he uses because - man oh man, he is EVIL!! The more I read, the more I understood that Satan works differently with each of us. One way he really works against Sisters is to shoot down their self confidence. If a sister is eating unhealthy and not exercising well....Satan attacks. I've seen it with multiple Sisters here in my Zone. It makes me want to cry. I have also tried to find out exactly how Satan works against me. He focuses on our little nooks and crannies. If you study about it, you will learn how better to protect yourself. That's what I do!

A miracle was with a man named Servando. I was frustrated because I wanted to badly to speak the language so I could actually teach and talk to these amazing investigators, but the barrier was still there. I just don't know enough of the language to be as effective as I wish to. When I explained this to Hna McAfee, she pointed out a scripture. As I read in Alma 9:21 I remembered that I was a set apart missionary that had been given special gifts but that these gifts would not be mine if I didn't claim them. I then remembered the scripture that says "take no thought what ye should say beforehand.." I knelt down and prayed to my Heavenly Father asking Him to help me. I was so scared of speaking because of my own insecurity and doubts but when I put those aside....I knew that the Lord could do all. I asked that He would help me to focus and to allow me to drop all of these things. During the lesson, my fears were gone! I could almost completely understand our investigator and when I spoke to him, he understood me! The lesson went well and I know it was because of the Lord. This experience gave me the boost to have courage when talking to random people and to just let the Lord use me. He will if we let him. He will do all IF WE LET HIM. 

Another miracle: We went to the temple with Marco. It was such a good experience. He felt the spirit and wanted to go inside. Well we told him we could help him with that. Just one year! :) We weren't sure it would work out, but a member made it ALL work out at the last minute. He called us purely on a prompting. The Spirit works through the members, too. I couldn't do what I am called to do without people in the ward.
 Guys, the temple truly is a House of the Lord. It is our sanctuary. I want to go in SO BADLY but I know I will have to wait for 18 months. SO... I'm going to pull a missionary and commit all who CAN to go to the temple this week. I want my mom to receive texts that you went and she will forward them on to me! I cannot go but YOU CAN. The temple is waiting and is open for you. Go, partake of the blessings!! We went to teach one of our less actives the other day, but when we showed up...he was drunk. He had just been talking about getting his temple recommend renewed two days before and Satan ATTACKED him. His family, his girlfriend, his desires all went crazy. He just fell apart. Living worthily and attending the temple often protects us! That is the power of the temple! THAT is the power that you can have - Satan wants you as far away from it as possible. We may feel that we are too busy or other things are more important; however, guess what!?!. One of Satan's tactics is distraction. DO NOT GET DISTRACTED. Read Alma 43-52 - it talks a lot about the ways in which Satan works.  

I love you all. Be safe. Remember your goals. STUDY YOUR SCRIPTURES AND ACTUALLY SAY YOUR PRAYERS. These two things will make or break your LIFE!! 

Hna Lake

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week #7 - I love Florida!

HELLLOOooo family!

SO, let's get the obvious out of the way. The humidity in Florida is nasty, but wonderful! I love it here! I already have a dandy tan line on my feet from my shoes and expect that it will only get MORE dandy!
Flying to Florida was even more exciting than actually being in Florida. On the plane I sat next to a wonderful gentleman, Gerard. He is a very strong Catholic but loves to talk about Jesus Christ. We talked for 3 HOURS about the gospel. It was my first real life gospel lesson as a missionary. I taught about the Restoration, the godhead, a little of the Plan of Salvation and a LOT about the Book of Mormon. As soon as I explained what the Book of Mormon was, how it is another Testament of Jesus Christ and did not replace the Bible....he wanted one. I located an English Book of Mormon and began explaining parts of it. When I told of the account where Christ appeared to the Nephites as well as to those in Jerusalem, he wanted to start reading immediately. I showed him the related chapters in 3 Nephi and wrote down all of his information. My first referral :) He is for SURE going to be baptized. I think about him all the time and wonder if he has accepted the gospel. A term in this mission is "elect". People who are baptized are either elect when we find them or become elect through our teaching. Different way of using the term but it is SO true. Gerard was one of the most elect I have met since being here, besides Marco and Carolina.
Speaking of baptism...I HAD MY FIRST ONE! His name is Marco and he is amazing. He is from Panama. He believed that my companion was an angel because of the amazing ways the gospel had changed his life for the better. His sister, Carolina, has a LOT of fire and spunk. She is has had a hard life. The more we teach her, the more the gospel and the atonement chips away at that brick wall.
My companion/trainer is Hna McAfee. She is from Kearns, Utah and says she isn't a true Utahan because "Although I was in Utah, I was not of Utah". She loves all the people here (Blacks, Latins, Polynesians, Panamanians, Cubans, Dominicans, Haitians, Jamaicans, etc....guys, I could easily speak/hear 4-5 different languages in a day.) She is very animated and gets very excited, has a TON of energy, and never really stops talking. She always has such a fire and enthusiasm for the work. Each time we go out, WE WORK HARD. I have no doubts that we will be able to live up to the President's expectations of us. Hna McAfee has had some REALLY hard companions. So when President assigned me to her, he said, "You are WELCOME, Hna McAfee; I expect big things of this companionship and for you to be the power couple of this mission!" Talk about PRESSURE?  I am so ready! I love this work and love these people!!
Our district - getting ready to head our separate ways!  Go forward with FAITH!
Our mission has a program called, Harvest Blessings.(kind of like tracting) We ask if you can pray with them and with permission, we their home and the people within. EVERYONE WANTS TO PRAY! I have been able to offer many Harvest Blessings in Spanish. I still don't understand ANY Cuban, but I can understand my companion and most others. Not bad for end of Week #1! Everyone says that my Spanish is surprisingly good but I know that it is only because I pray for the gift of tongues with every single prayer I can.

A very happy reunion!
Elder Morgan is my long-time friend from Spokane, who is also serving in Fort Lauderdale.   He asked for my trainer to take extra good care of me and to watch out for me.
He is a wonderful friend! What a gem!

One miracle that was WONDERFUL this week occurred last Thursday. I was exhausted from jet lag, change in area, and mostly just the stress of starting in a new place. I kept falling asleep during studies, zoning out when Hna M was speaking to me, and just being overall very distracted. I was trying very hard to be the joyful, focused missionary I wanted to be but...I just couldn't. My body would not let me. I was very frustrated and when we went out to go Harvest....I did NOT want to get out of that car. But I remembered that the times when we want the least to pray, that's when we need to the most. I turned to Hna McAfee and said, "Please pray that I will have the energy needed to speak with these people and that I can be joyful and able to share the true message of this gospel." We prayed before getting out of the car and I put all of my faith into those words. As we stepped out, it was like I had just gotten out of a refreshing shower. I was awake, alert, happy and EXCITED. I don't get excited super easily. We walked to the first door and I felt like with every step my feet were on top of my Savior's, every word I spoke was His. Each Harvest Blessing touched their hearts deeply; more importantly, it touched mine. I knew that the Lord was watching out for me and that I was not alone. The Savior is so real and He loves these people. I am recuperated...and ready to hit the ground SPRINTING.
Hna McAfee is gift from above. She is exactly what I needed in a trainer and we work extremely well together. She helps me overcome my fears regarding the language and pushes me to be better all the time. The Fort Lauderdale Mission has a saying. "If you aren't EXACTLY obedient, you are NOT a Fort Lauderdale missionary!" I am so excited guys. Exact obedience brings miracles; I will have many for you next week!!
Hna Lake

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week #6 - Me voy a Florida!


First of all, Happy Birthday to Mark Beck and Elder Gill. I love you guys and thought of you this week. Sorry I could not email you the day of!

I am only able to write you because I am going to be leaving for Ft Lauderdale at 2:30 AM tomorrow morning. SOOO just a few hours - I am over the moon excited!! I've learned so much and have had the Lord truly humble me. I love my mission!!

Guys, I just need for you to know the importance of the temple... I remember an experience I had while at BYU and I walked to the temple to do baptisms. As I walking, I was thinking about everything else that I had to do, wondering if I should really go. I walked onto the temple grounds and this beautiful, little, older lady started beckoning to me and speaking in Spanish. I tried to understand what she was saying, didn't speak Spanish...YET!! Entonces, I finally understood that she wanted for me to take a picture of her in front of the temple with her Ipad. As I situated the camera, I didn't pay attention to her pose. I looked up expecting a customary smile and cute stance; instead I saw this beautiful Mexican woman standing with her hands held above her head as if in victory with tears streaming down her face she smiled and almost seemed to shout to her God "I MADE IT!!"  For those who watched the women's general conference, you will recall Linda K Burton's talk. In her address she quoted Russell M Nelson, saying,  "As temples are prepared for the people, the people need to prepare for the temple." Each of us must find out what that means for us individually, but for me....I want to be that woman. I want to stand triumphant in front of the temple each time I go and exclaim, "I MADE IT!!" I want to cherish what truly matters.

We also attended an all day meeting of in-field orientation, which included a workshop about goals. I volunteered for a certain lesson and was given three balloons. The instructor told me that we were going to reenact the opening of my mission call. All the other missionaries were my family and friends and he would be my grandfather. He sat in a chair and I read aloud "my call". Afterwards he pretended he was hard of hearing so I had to lean in to explain where I was going (He was Mexican and quite a bit shorter than I ....maybe to my shoulder?) He understood and said I would have a wonderful experience but that I just wouldn't baptize anyone. I just kind of looked at him when all of a sudden he leaped up like a little leprechaun and started popping my balloons!!! He got two of them but I reacted quickly enough to save the third. I held it above his head and away just watching him as he swatted at it. After a while he gave up because he knew there was no way he would jump THAT high. It was hilarious because the whole class watched this and just laughed. I eventually brought it down a lottle (yes a lottle) and let him pop it. Grandpa , thank you for never popping my balloons and for always encouraging me to be my best... You are one reason why I am on a mission! But the moral of the lesson was to not let anyone pop your expectations. "When you lower your expectations, you lower your effectiveness" Don't let anyone tell you who you are, don't let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. You hold that balloon so high they can't even see it!!

I have a pretty great spiritual experience for you guys. I was struggling with what kind of missionary I was - I didn't know what I was doing just plugging along because I hadn't felt that I had overcome anything or changed any part of myself or that I hadn't pushed myself. I felt empty as a missionary and kind of useless. I prayed to my Heavenly Father just asking who He wanted for me to be - He directed for me to be here, so what kind of missionary did He want or rather NEED for me to be? I got all of my answers!! I will be a JOYFUL missionary!! I will let go of fear and doubt; I will turn OUTWARD instead of INWARD. "When fear replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes" -Thomas S Monson.

Love you all, You get your next email from PARADISE!
Hna Lake



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week #5 - I Love to See the Temple!

Hello one and all!!
SO - I've almost lived through the ENTIRE MTC! One more week until I am out in that beautiful field that is already to harvest :) September 30 at 2:30 AM I will be driving out of these hallowed walls to a wonderful continuance of my adventures as Hermana Lake. 

Everyone asks about it the food....I don't get it since I'm pretty sure Mexican food exists in the US too...but nonetheless, the food is wonderful! We have Mexican food ALWAYS with American food once a week. GUYS, I ATE A HAMBURGER AND FRIES LAST WEEK. We were all VERY excited! The food does, however, cause issues with digestive systems.  Anyway, the new and improved solution is......Papaya. It works wonders!  Back to good things. Apparently, my habit of a little meat, a little beans, and a mountain of lettuce with a lime and salt for seasoning has become somewhat of a phenomenon....I get missionaries commenting all the time; saying "wow, such a good idea" or "Hermana, that is so weird." Who knew that I would be a trend-setter on the mission....A few elders salad now! Another trend? A few weeks ago, my companion, whom I adore, put two tight braids on the right side of my head and pushed all the rest of my hair to the left - punkie and cute! (Cant stop it Mom, sorry :D) Anyway, for the next few days, Hermanas all over the CCM were wearing cute cornrows in an assortment of ways. Gotta love it ;) 

We have been having LOTS of Mexican candy as well due to Independence Day on September 15 and one of them is called Mazapan de Cacahuate. Dad, IT'S THE POWDERED PEANUT BUTTER WITH A LITTLE SUGAR. I get it every time and think of you :) They also have mountains of coconut so I get to think of my Mom for two seconds, then I realize that I'm eating candy.....and the reminder leaves ;) I am forever grateful to my parents for having us eat healthy our entire lives. I LOVE YOU GUYS!
Also, the reign of Hermana Barbie begins again. My companions tell me that I could be Hermana Barbie more times than I can count. So, Hillary, looks like our similar...well....everything pays off.  

Our Zone has a tradition of doing sign every Monday and this last Monday was by far the best. District 12A, the favorite, has one Elder saying "I'm Batman" or "Where's Rachel" and another Elder says "I'm Rachel" or "I'm right here" in a Falsetto voice. The last Elder has the sign "SAFE" like for an umpire. They went around in circles saying "Where's Rachel" to "SAFE" to "I'm right here!". We were laughing so hard people were legitimately on the ground. I LOVE IT! 

This week has also been VERY spiritual. I had the opportunity to be an investigator in a Demonstration for my class. My teacher was the missionary and I was to think of someone I knew well who was either inactive or wasn't a member. I chose one of my friends and said the name was Ally. During this I prayed beforehand to be in tune with this person's true feelings and what exactly they would feel in these discussions. I have rarely before felt such peace, hope, and strength. It wasn't a BAM reaction but it was definitely a touching, powerful witness that this church is true, God loves this person and that He is waiting for them to return to Him. God doesn't give us anything in this life that we cannot handle. Our job is to decide if we want to live up to what the Lord believes we can do; become, and achieve.  We also teach each other within the District. We teach two Elders named Elder Jensen and Elder Reno. Both play someone in their life who is atheist because Jensen´s Dad died and God didn´t help and Elder Reno because he has had a very hard life. I started asking them about spiritual strength and if they believed they were spiritually strong. They each said, "no". I shard Alma 26:12 with them off the top of my head and explained to them that we couldn't tell them why Elder Jensen´s Dad died or why Elder Reno´s life was hard, but that God could. You just have to ask. After the lesson both Elders commented that I had done well and were impressed that I pulled scriptures out of nowhere that fit perfectly. I didn't know how to felt wrong to claim the glory as mine. As I sat there a voice reminded me of the scripture. Jesus Christ is our Savior, I am His mouthpiece. That wasn't me!! These weren't my talents, abilities, or memorization. That was ALL my Savior knowing that I had put in the work to be used as His servant and Him keeping His promise to use me to serve. I AM ONLY A REPRESENTATIVE IN ALL THINGS. 

Mexico City Templo

I got to go to the Mexico City temple and got very car sick on the way there AND back. Guys, Mexico has the worst streets; however, the temple was beyond amazing. It is the House of the Lord.

I love my mission! I love my Savior. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL and the Book of Mormon. I have started taking my B of M to meals with me just so I can read a few more verses. I find myself feasting on these words and LOVING it.  

Hermana Lake.