Monday, February 23, 2015

Week #27 - Keys of the Kingdom


Man, I love you guys :) I was telling my companion, sister McGrath, a story about the kiddos right before I left and just got hit with this wall....Guess what, I love you guys! Weird, it's not like you guys are my best friends or something right?  

Something that I have started doing for my Heavenly Father is called a , "Just for the Record" prayer. Every day, I kneel down and just pour out my feelings. The hurts, the joys, the laughs and the cries. All I do is say, "Heavenly Father...." and then the flood gates open. Now, here is the marvelous part. After I've poured my heart out...the light falls into my heart and my mind. That's the moment when I feel the Lord teaching me and explaining to me his Atonement. His Love. The way He sees them. That is when success begins its journey. 

((Shout out to my sister Hillary, she gets all the credit for this ;))) 

This last week has been one of serious reflection. My letter the week before talked a lot about humility and how I needed to be better. Well, this's all about the keys to the kingdom!
Before I left for my mission, I was selfish. I was self centered. I was constantly turning inward instead of taking a moment to realize the world didn't revolve around me. For 6 months, I fought and changed and humbled myself. For 6 months my Heavenly Father placed me close enough to the fire to be remolded but no quite close enough to get burned. After 6 months. I can't even explain the joy that I have for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. After 6 months.....I'm ready to start my mission.  

When I came out, I wanted to be here so that I could have a new slate. It was about me. It's so different now! All I want is to save every single stinking person I run into. From the obnoxious drunks that hit on you as you knock doors to the crazy person that asks you to come teach them just so they can fight you. I can't help but love them so much! Charity is the best thing that has ever hit me square in the face. As I was reading in the BoM, I found a verse that it explains it clearly. These missionaries could not bear the thought that one soul would be lost. This is where I'm at. I can't walk past someone on the street and not try to give them a card, talk to them, brighten their day with a smile, ANYTHING to get them to open their hearts to the truth. I am FINALLY a missionary. And..."I'm on top of the world, HEY, I'm on top of the world HEY!" (Name that song?) If you wanna be on top of the world, trying being a missionary. It doesn't have to be huge. Just give the cashier at a store a card. Or give someone a Book of Momon for a bday gift. So small. BUT so FULFILLING. My calling tells me that I will experience joy greater than I have ever known as I serve with all my mind, heart and strength. I testify that is true and that each of you can have this experience.  

I love you all! Be safe. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week #26 - Funny thing about Humility...

Hello All! 

Here is the crazy thing I learned this week. You don't get to choose when you want to be humbled. It's just going to mow you over like a bulldozer. BUT. It's going to be the most worthwhile hit you've ever taken in your life.  

Here was my biggest revelation of the week:  I have no idea how to do missionary work. None at all. You could stick me in a room full of people without knowledge of the Gospel and all I could do was pray as any terrified missionary would. FERVENTLY, and then talk just like Moses had someone else. Without the spirit, I can say two words in Spanish. Hola and Adios. Without the Spirit, I can say a thousand words in English and have none of them mean anything to my investigator. Without the Spirit, I AM NOTHING. 

I'm not going to lie. At first, I resented that. I wanted to be able to do this missionary thing on my own and really make a difference....I wanted to be able to take life by the horns, tell Satan to take a hike and to reach my goals.... This baffles me. How on earth could I have grown up and seen the world with such backward lenses? I can't do anything without this sweet gift from God. This sweet gift that I've had since I was 8 years old, like so many others, but haven't actually used until almost 12 years later. How pathetic is that? I have the power of my Heavenly Father, the strength of an Almighty Being, the force of a God, the authority of an Immortal Being right in my grasp and for 12 years....I didn't utilize it as I otherwise could have. This is the moment where godly sorrow hits. This is the moment when I feel like my heart is truly broken, my soul is finally contrite. This is the moment where I look up from the chasm I dug for myself to grasp my Savior's ever-reaching hand. For the first time in almost 20 years.....I feel like I am worthy to be utilized by the Lord.  

We read of Alma the Younger in the end chapters of Mosiah and beginning of Alma. I remember growing up hearing this story and just marveling about the power of God. He struck Alma down so that he was dumb and entirely weak. But this was the part I missed. In the heading of Alma, we read "The account of Alma, who was the son of Alma, THE FIRST AND CHIEF JUDGE OVER THE PEOPLE OF NEPHI" How could I have skipped over the point of this story? The main thing that we should learn about this story is the power of the Atonement and the ability the Spirit has to change us. When you have called upon your Savior and listened to the words of the Sacrament with aching in your soul sufficient to cripple you....that is when you can look with a brightness of hope towards new beginnings; towards better days. 

I sat after reading this story and realized with a sinking heart of the reality of why I'm on a mission. It took the Lord EVERYTHING to get me to listen enough to come. I had to be "struck down" much like Alma in order to get me to send in those papers. My sweet Savior was so patient with me....How I lasted those few months I don't even know. But I do know that I'm on a mission today because my Savior needed me. He needed me. HE. NEEDED. ME. Not Sally or Joe or John or Jan. Alma the younger become the first and chief judge over the people of Nephi and his past was scarred and imperfect. His choices were much less than righteous. But he was humbled. He was changed by the Spirit. He. Was. Needed.
You are needed. Every single one of you. The Lord didn't call you 200 or 100 or 50 years ago. He called you now. Don't ever feel like you aren't making a difference. Don't ever debate whether or not the Lord can use you. He can. And I can testify that He WILL. Let the spirit be more in your life. Let it envelop you. Give up your beastly desire to fight for yourself and let the Lord fight for you. I promise He is just a little stronger ;) 

I love you all! Be safe. I testify with a heart FIRM in the faith.....this church is so true. So real. And so life changing.
Hna Lake

Monday, February 9, 2015

Weel #25 - Be the Sunrise for Someone's Soul


This week has been of the most interesting of natures. I have essentially realized that happiness comes through hard work and definitely not by just coincidence. Actually.....nothing comes just by coincidence. There is a life hack for ya.  

I've been having a little bit of a hard time this past few weeks with feeling like I could never be better. Sister McGrath, my wonderful inspired companion, told me to read a talk called "Souls, Symbols and Sacraments" by Elder Holland. READ. IT. Have your youth read it. Do not let any of your children go on a single date until they have read it. After reading that talk....I have never had so much joy EXPLODE within me. I can be FORGIVEN. Those moments when I knew what was right and chose wrong......they can be washed away. I can literally take ahold of the hand of my Savior and slowly rebuild my shattered soul. I thought for so many years that because of my choices...I could never be good. I could never be great. That I had forfeited blessings of God for eternity. But I realize now that all those scriptures and talks I read MEANT that I had given up amazing blessings in those moments. Doesn't mean that God will punish me for the rest of my life! I finally understand the scripture, "Thou their sins be as scarlet, they will be as white as snow." I cannot fully express the gratitude I have for my Heavenly Father and the ways He has changed me! Even though I ignored or disrespected my divine identity and the amazing sacrifice Christ made for me in the past...I don't need to feel like I'm permanently wrong or a sinner. GOD. HAS. FORGOTTEN. MY. SINS. So, obviously, I need to stop being such a cry baby and drowning myself in pity. Time to make some happiness. Let's do this.  

One of our Less Actives has made so much progress. He is SO shy and has been scared to death to come to church. Well. He CAME! He walked in about  6 weeks ago all by himself and has gone almost every Sunday since. This last Sunday....he was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. I have never been so happy. He told us nothing about it! All was a surprise and when they called his heart just LEAPED for joy. This man who had been telling us for weeks before that he wanted a good woman to marry and he wanted to good things but would NEVER act for it FINALLY started acting. He took a leap of faith and the blessings have started coming. I WAS ON AIR! Seriously people...I'm scared for after the mission because I'm just on a constant high here. I will not lie to you. At's hard. It's rough. It's scary. BUT happiness is made not just stumbled into. You want to be happy? Start smiling. Serving. Looking OUTSIDE of yourself. The rest just comes. Until we lose ourselves...we will not find ourselves. I love you All!

Hna Lake

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week #24 - I am so thankful for the The Book of Mormon. It can bless and change your life!

Hello Family!

This has been an awesome filled week with many a moments that have strengthened our faith and helped us to learn what humility really is. 

First of all, 2 of the 3 Hondurans got baptized - Jenny and Nancy. We have worked our missionary buns off to help this blessing come to pass for them. The DAY before their baptism we went over to finish up teaching them and had just began with a prayer and a few sentences when Abigail (The 3rd Amiga) walks in with some friends. They sit down and we awkwardly just sit there making small talk until we took ahold of the conversation and started answering questions about our beliefs. They seemed very interested and continued asking more and more. Then the wrecking ball hit. The husband asked us our beliefs on the Trinity. We explained how we believe that we have our Heavenly Father (God) and that each of us are His spirit children. We then explained how Jesus Christ is the Son of God and therefore our brother. The Holy Ghost is a spirit who testifies of Jesus Christ and HF. Each is separate but the same in purpose, to help us return and live with God again. We know that in Corinthians it says that God will always have us testify of God by two or three witnesses. Jesus Christ and Holy Ghost will ALWAYS testify of the Father and try to achieve His purposes for us. Anyway, this set the husband off. He started disputing it and trying to debate it with us.  The spirit just left and the spirit of contention consumed the conversation. It was gone. My heart was pounding and I was starting to just get frantic. I could FEEL it gone and NEEDED it back immediately. It was awful. We firmly told him that we didn't want to fight and that he had his beliefs and we had ours. That was the end of it. He just looked at us and said, "I can't change you...but God can. I wasn't going to come in to the home but it's a good thing I did." Then Jenny, our investigator, started asking him questions and debating with him. He got up and started pacing around, shaking fingers and speaking loudly. Turns out, he was a pastor from another church. We were terrified. Our sweet girls whom we loved with all our hearts were listening to false doctrine IN THEIR HOME. Long story short, we went home terrified. Couldn't sleep. When we got to their home the next night they explained that they still wanted to be baptized and that this pastor was actually an answer to prayer. They knew that he was a false church and that ours was the restored truth. Jenny was debating with him because we wouldn't and she knew he was wrong! Their baptism was in the ocean and afterwards, they both exclaimed how wonderful it felt. I love these girls with all my heart and would gladly take bullets, physical or spiritual, for them any day. But God doesn't work that way. He loves us all so individually that He will test us in ways only we can truly use to overcome our weaknesses and find joy.  
Second of all, I owe every single on of you an apology. Through my studies in the Book of Mormon and words of the apostles....I have come to the glaring reality of my prideful nature. I have been so haughty and prideful these past few years and CANNOT bear to look back on those years with anything but shame; shame yet gratitude for the atonement of Christ. Through this I am able to let go of those regrets. But all who read this.....just know how sorry I am. How anguished I truly am to think of the people's lives who I have darkened through our association. I am so sorry!!  I have said words selfishly, acted in enmity, and told lies to bring so many others down. Please, forgive me? You are all wonderful and I am so grateful for the examples that the Lord blessed me with growing up. You are each so close to my heart :)  I have been studying more and more in the Book of Mormon and seeing my life just change. This Book is of God. Period. I have the firmest testimony that through reading this book....our lives can be changed. I have been reading with the question in mind of "Who Am I?" and have had the Lord open my eyes to things I didn't even know! I have so much more confidence in who I am now and I have the ability to love so much more fully. I learned in Jacob 5  A LOT about humility and the Lord's way. Did you know that it is impossible for an olive tree to reach full production WITHOUT the grafting in of other branches? It is just like us! As children of our Father in Heaven, we CANNOT reach our full potential or capacity without the grafting in of examples displayed by other people. As we choose to allow the Lord of the Vineyard to place people in our lives that we can learn from and then to accept the reality of our weakness....We will become strong. Ether 12:27. I look back at past friendships, relationships, and companionships and have my heart brought to the glaring reality of my weakness. How I needed those people in my life to save me from myself! Also, how many others I left by wayside, ignored, ridiculed, and maligned just because I felt inferior. I. CAN. NOT. EVER. DO.THAT. AGAIN. It is my firm testimony that we are ALL amazing. We are ALL marvelous. WHO CARES what Joe Schmoe has that you don't. WHO CARES if they are a leader and who aren't . You are the ONLY person that can do YOU the best. So stop wishing to be everyone else and understand that God MADE you; an almighty, all knowing, perfect, powerful Being of light and truth created YOU. That means....there are NO mistakes. So stop believing there is something wrong with you. You were created with everything you needed to be GLORIOUS! 
I love my companion!
Together for at least six more weeks!
I LOVE YOU!!! Have a good week!

Hna Lake