Monday, April 6, 2015

Week #33 - The Why's of Missionary Work

Dearest Family, God is Near you, Watching o'er you day and night.
And delights to lift and bless you, If you strive to do what's right

Write those letters, WRITE those letters and He will bless you more and more ;)
Just kidding, you are all wonderful at sending me letters and love!
This week has been mildly hilarious, to the point of giddiness, and a little frustrating, to the point of humility. I've never been so grateful for trials. I'm learning so much and I feel like I'm finally getting over that hump called "ME". I don't believe there is any other experience in the whole world like serving a mission. Nothing really can ever compare! 

First some really nice funnies:

*We were out knocking doors and some blacks we walked past yelled out, "Hey Look! Two snow bunnies!" God sometimes gets funny with the pick me ups He delivers :)  

*We were at a dinner appointment earlier this week and had some rather hilarious mishaps. At one point we were all sitting down to eat when the father called on me to say the prayer. As I prepared to fold my arms, I noticed that this family held hands whilst praying. Mildly panicking, I realized....I WAS SITTING NEXT TO AN ELDER! I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to offend them but...I REAAAALLY didn't want to hold this Elder's hand. My companion grabbed one hand and he placed his hand on the table, waiting for me. Gingerly, I placed the very tips of my fingers on the uppermost part of his fingers and said the prayer as quickly as I could. Afterwards, we pulled apart both wiping our hands empathically on our clothing to get rid of the sensation. *shivers* But Wait, THERE IS MORE! As we were talking around the table we hear a strange noise coming from over by the couches. Their 4 year old daughter had climbed onto the couch and was balancing in between the two couches...and peeing. All over the tile floor. We all busted up laughing as it dispelled the awkwardness of before. Finally, things calmed down and the father began asking us about what we wanted to study following the mission. One Elder was talking about how he didn't know what he wanted to study and that he enjoyed learning about all topics in school. In my brain, I computed that the only job that really taught all subjects was an elementary school teacher. So, I asked, "Do you like kids?" The father roared with laughter and exclaimed, "Sister Lake, is that a proposal??" I DIED!! The Elder gracefully said that he had debated being a college professor as I turned beet red and protested against the accusation. This was literally the worst dinner appointment of my LIFE. 

Then, the next day....A ward member came up and was talking to us about her son that was currently serving a mission. We talked about missionary stuff and then she exclaimed, "He is really handsome!" I said, "Oh really?" just to be polite.  She then whips out her ipad and says,
"You don't believe me? I'll show you!" I was trapped. I couldn't say her son was ugly --  but I couldn't say he was handsome either. My heart is LOCKED. So I resorted to, "You are right, he is very nice." In HER brain, that means "Wow, sign me up for that one!" She then proceeds to create a plan that when her son gets home, she will introduce us and then following my mission we will get married. I protested saying, "He isn't tall enough! Only 6 ft! I like really tall guys." She completely ignored my protests and went into a long dialogue explaining all his virtues....Eagle Scout, already a law assistant, graduated high school, etc. She now calls me "daughter-in-law" whenever she sees me. Heaven help this poor sister who digs herself into hole after hole after STINKING HOLE! But the laughter summoned by my idiocy created many a laugh in our apartment...therefore, worth it :)  

This week I've been learning a lot about faith and the Lord's will in our lives. So often, I hear of people saying that faith is a principle of power and that if we have enough of it..God HAS to do as we ask. But they miss out on a key principle that had me also confused for a long time. Faith is defined, by Alma, as hope in true principles. I knew I had faith but for some reason, it just wasn't strong enough to make God do as I pleased. I prayed and worried and fretted and studied about why my faith was so lacking that God wouldn't grant me the desires of my heart. Little did I realized that faith also requires us to have hope in these principle SO completely that our will becomes one with the Father. In those moments when our faith is "strong enough" to have the Lord do as we please...God is actually doing as He pleases and we are just aligning our will with His. We develop a faith that God CAN do all things we ask but we learn to TRUST that God, if it is what is best for us, will allow it to come forth. When we have faith that God is involved in every aspect of our lives and that He loves us, faith becomes a "knowing" because we trust Him. We know He won't let us fall. We know He is aware of our needs and NOT just our wants. We know that those things we pray for are being listened to and taken into account. We. Know. He. Is. There. Faith cannot be applied to any other principle of the gospel until we have a strong and undoubting belief of our divine nature and ability. I can try to teach the Restoration to any investigator but until they understand the WHY of the Restoration...the WHY of  missionary work...they will not understand or become converted to the gospel of our Savior. They will not have faith.  

Why do we serve missions? Why do we give up 18 months to 2 years of our youthful lives to a gathering of people that we do not  yet remember? The reason is simple. Because GOD LOVES US.   

Faith is not believing that God will give us what we want if we believe enough. Neither is faith gaining a testimony that God has done it in the He can do it again. Faith is having the brightness of HOPE that God will take care of us. The hope that we aren't alone. The hope that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us more infinitely than we can truly imagine in our mortal bodies. God didn't send His son, Jesus Christ, only because Christ volunteered and had the faith that He could withstand all our temptations. No. God sent Jesus Christ because HE LOVES US.
Until we understand this simple, pure principle of the gospel....we will never have a true conversion. We may have a testimony....but are we converted? Are we changed? Do our sunsets become sunrises as our hope brightens the horizons of our hearts and minds? I have lived through the dark world where hope didn't exist and all that remained was the bitterness of a solitary heart. I've walked through that dark field Lehi describes in 1 Nephi 8, where you can't see before you and you wander lost. I was a member of the church and I knew it was true, but I didn't have the HOPE in the true principle that my Heavenly Father loves me. I was not converted. I was not changed. I merely lived an "autopilot" of a testimony that was growing on stony ground. It would've fallen. I already had more times than I can count....but the Lord of the Vineyard, my SAVIOR....My REDEEMER, Jesus Christ brought the sunrise to my darkened soul and made my heart sing with the song of REDEEMING LOVE. Now, I have that  hope...I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. My shield of faith is strong. I have put on the armor of righteousness....and I WILL NOT DENY THE CHRIST.

My invitation to you is simple: Pray. Ask your Heavenly Father FERVENTLY.....if He loves you. Then build off of the beautiful answer you will receive. I have extended that invitation to countless souls who are lost in the field of Lehi's vision. I don't know if all have accepted, but those of you who read this email know me. You know my heart. You read it here with each passing week of my mission. You know it is out of sincerity and out of a fortified testimony! Don't give up another day without the hope that comes with knowing your Heavenly Father loves you. I don't care if you think you already know. Ask again. Fortify your testimony. Remember that Mormon fortified all those many cities in the Book of Mormon EVEN though they were already strong. Don't take the chance that Satan COULD find a notch in your armor. 

I love you. Each of you. So completely. Don't ever forget that :)  

Hna Lake 

P.S. When you read this month's Ensign, pay attention to "The Principle of Faith". It's a beautiful talk on faith.

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