Monday, May 25, 2015

Week #40 - Humility, Diligence, and Cheerfulness: The Dynamic Trio!

Hello Family :)

"To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility" -President Thomas S. Monson

This week has been HARD! I'm not going to lie.. it is really frustrating to work and work with still no turn out. We fight DAILY to just help...to serve! I'm not asking for much, just that people here receive the blessings that God has waiting for His children....But so many people turn Him away! Gah! As I was reading in the Book of Mormon, I received some really good comfort and a really good smack upside the head.

 In Alma 31 it says:

5 And now, as the preaching‍ of the word‍ had a great tendency to lead‍ the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—...

I realized that I need to do better at using the Book of Mormon when I approached people; to testify more, and to read verses with people. ME preaching what I think is best will get me no where! God knows what is best and has PROMISED us that this will help lead people to do what is just. If I use this sacred volume of scripture that is inspired FOR THESE DAYS then I can help these precious souls remember who they are.

31 O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions‍ which shall come upon me, BECAUSE OF the iniquity of this people.

That brought comfort to me. Here I was thinking that I had been doing something terribly wrong; that my faith still wasn't enough; that mistakes were keeping me from success, but I now understand that the AGENCY of the people plays a big part. My prayers went from prayers of comfort to prayers like Alma: that I would have the patience and the diligence to do God's will.  It is so important that these people see how happy we are. It's something that they don't have....it's something that they want. They may not voice it but they do.  

34 O Lord, wilt thou grant unto‍ us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.

 35 Behold, O Lord, their souls‍ are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.

Then I received the smack upside the head....I realized that I had been knocking doors, talking with people, and teaching boldly only because of my own selfish desires. I didn't want to knock anymore doors. I didn't want to go to bed exhausted but not be able to sleep because my head is still spinning with, "How can I find them?". I didn't want to spend 4 hours in the hot, humid weather. I didn't want to be sticky with sweat anymore. Me, Me, Me, Me, ME.  I didn't get it. I hadn't understood what is missionary work. I FORGOT THE POINT! It isn't about me. It never will be about me. It's about them. I then recognized the THOUSANDS of seeds that I had planted. The THOUSANDS of people that I had put on the path to one day being baptized into the one true church of God. It's okay if they are taught by another pair of missionaries. It's okay if I don't get the baptismal statistics....it's not about that - it never was and it never will be. It's about bringing PRECIOUS souls to Christ and unless I do it with love...I will never succeed.

So often in our lives we get caught up in what we THINK is our purpose. But news flash. El UNICO proposito is to return and live with God again. We will not have that opportunity unless we share the gospel. So truly....our purpose in this life is to find the gospel, live the gospel, and then share the gospel WITH LOVE. The motive behind our actions should always be LOVE.

It won't be easy...I will never tell you that it's easy. But I will tell you that God has PROMISED He will make it worth it.

ONCE AGAIN:

"To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility" -President Thomas S. Monson

I love each of you. If you are struggling or just feel like the world is closing in on you....stop. Think about where your motivation is. Re-evaluate. Set out to serve with LOVE and I promise you that you will be surprised with the way the sun suddenly shines brighter and you have a spring in your step. I love you!!

Hermana Lake

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week #39 - The Steadiness of the Lord

Dear Family- 

Life is like a maze. We all walk day by day, down the pathway trying to find our way with each of us bumping into the other, debating and trying to manage our way with limited vision. We can't see the grand plan. We don't know the maze, its our first time here! We start trying to "find" ourselves in the ways of the world, asking what other participants think, leaning on their knowledge; however, their vision is just as limited and blind as is our own. It is like the blind leading the blind in the maze of life. 

Human nature seems toward everyone wanting to be different; we each want to be an individual. We want to be remembered for "us" and not lumped in with a statistic. Is that really wrong? Can we fault each other for wanting that? We shouldn't! However, an even greater desire is to belong. Each one of us wants to find that notch where only we can fill, that space that has been waiting for us since our birth. Each of us want to "arrive" and finally feel like, "Yes, this is who I am. It feels right. I am me!" But within it these two compelling desires lurks a danger greater than any of us can fathom. It's the danger of settling and the destructive power of pride.

At 16 years old I started going to the community college nearby to take my concurrent enrollment classes. I loved it! Everyone thought I was older than I was and I felt smart. I felt like those two greatest desires of individuality and belonging were met. Things got even better when I met this cute, 20 years old guy who was interested in me. Then I really felt cool - me, a 16 years old, going out with a 20 year old?? As we got to know each other, it came to light that I was a member of the church. He teased me about it. He called me a "Molly Mormon" and told me I was so cute and innocent. I HATED it. I didn't want to be labeled! I was an individual remember? I was so cool and mature, dating this 20 year old! Wrong. I was so wrong. He started testing me and I started "proving him wrong" therefore compromising my religion and my standards. I became miserable. I didn't feel like myself anymore. I had completely lost the Spirit. I felt like I was in a dark hole with all the sides pushing in....like I was constantly suffocated with this lie I had decided was the "true me". I no longer felt like my desires were met. Instead, I felt like I had been betrayed. The world had let me down! I was so much more lost than I had been to begin with. What went wrong? 

Everyone knows the scripture Mosiah 3:19 : For the natural man‍ is an enemy‍ to God, and has been from the fall‍ of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields‍ to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth‍ off the natural‍ man and becometh a saint‍ through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his Father. 

Those who are followers of Jesus Christ are called "Children of Christ". They are gathered into one singular group and are entitled to receive the same wonderful blessings of humility, patience, love, etc. One could argue they aren't "individuals" but instead they are just a bunch of brainwashed Mormons who are old-fashioned and na├»ve. That they don't fit in; they don't belong. I'm here to tell you that from the world's eyes, we don't belong. But if we remember our TRUE origin, who we really are? We are perfectly fine. 

The promises that we receive in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the other volumes of scripture are TIMELESS and ALL ENCOMPASSING.  

24 The disciple‍ is not above his‍ Master, nor the servant above his Lord.
25 It is enough for the disciple that he becomes‍ as his Master, and the servant as his Lord....
39 He‍ that findeth his life shall lose‍ it: and he that loseth‍ his life‍ for My sake shall find it.

The Lord humbles us, reminds us that we need Him to do this work and then explains why. Not for selfishness but because He truly wants us, as His servants, to become like Him. It IS enough. What more can I ask for? The sacrifice He asks of us to "lose" our lives is nothing compared to the rewards that we receive. How is it He ALWAYS gives us more than we can receive? He is ever-merciful and loving. He is our TRUE Savior!

Leaning on the people, instead of the Savior, as we navigate this maze of life with us will only bring to the same blind conclusions over and over. But if we lean on the One who has already finished the maze and waits for us above, viewing the maze from beginning to end, we will finally understand and be able to make it through. We will be confident and certain of ourselves, for we are His! We will be individual. We will be ourselves. Finally.  

I know this is true. I have seen it for myself. I am finally confident in who I am as a daughter of God because I trusted in my Savior, the only One who has already finished the maze. Each one of us can too! All the Lord asks is that we stop worrying about what the WORLD thinks, as blind and confused as we are, and ask Him. Consult him. Find out who we really are. He has promised us that we can find it. I know it is possible. Just try :)  
Gabriella's recent baptism
 
I love you all!

Hna Lake

 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week #38 - A Lifetime to Learn!

Hello Family!  

This week has been amazing. We are seeing so many miracles in our area as we are diligent and go that small extra mile.

Saturday we went out to go knock some doors and felt like we should go to a certain area. We were driving through the neighborhood and saw no Latins for us to teach. We jokingly started to play "Search and Find" and saw one Latin lady up on a balcony of an apartment. Both of us felt like we needed to talk to her. We knocked for about 45 mins at the apartment complex before we found lady on the balcony. The lady and her husband were both home and we OYMed them, invited them to church, and got to know them just a little bit. The next day, they didn't come to church. But, instead of just saying, "Well, that's the breaks!" We felt we needed to see them. We left immediately after church and found both of them, once again outside talking. We re-committed them to church and testified to them. They gave a firm YES to church and gave us their phone number so we could come over. This family is special! We could just feel it!

I've been learning a lot about faith. Faith is not having a perfect knowledge of things but it's also needs to be strong enough in order to bring about miracles. It is a principle of power but...it also isn't perfect.  

I was so confused. How was I supposed to have faith when I still was human and doubted? How was I supposed to bring about miracles, that I wanted SO BADLY, when I also was subject to the will of God? I couldn't understand. But as I read in the Book of Mormon I discovered something amazing. 

Faith is DILIGENT TRUST in the Lord. If we set out every day with the knowledge that God wants us to succeed and will help us, if we ask and if we have faith. Faith is more that just believing, it's also action. Faith is not perfect. But it can become perfect. Doubt will arise, we will be confused at times but as long as we ACT and TRUST in God's commandments, we will never be lost. Our Savior's atonement also covers faith. Regardless of whether or not we have one doubt or a thousand, if we trust in God and act (do the things He has already asked us) and give the rest to our Savior....we will succeed. We will receive answers. We can't just sit back and wait for a sign! Did Nephi? No! Did he receive success? Yes!  If we rely on our Savior, we can achieve what we think is impossible. We need to understand that we are essentially nothing without Him but that through Him we can become gods and goddesses.

Sister Lightheart is the coolest person ever. I seriously love her. In the past, I've had a really hard time with companions. I truly loved each and every one of them and would give my life for them....but with some, I felt alone. Our friendship is blossoming and we are both growing so much as missionaries. I enjoy every second with her! It just shows that when we have faith in God's purposes and we diligently do as we should...He blesses us! I have found two more amazing best friends that I can be myself around. It's awesome.

I love each of you! Be safe! Watch for cars and don't eat your cereal too fast....it kills. Seriously though.

Hna Lake

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week #37 - Humility Opens Doors

Dear Family!!

I really love you guys. I hope you are all doing okay! I've been praying for your health Mom, be prepared for the tidal wave of missionary prayers...it'll get cha :)  
My New District
I got a new companion, Sister Lightheart and this is her last transfer. I am learning as much as possible from her. 18 months of missionary knowledge? Heck yeah I'll take it! I am doing very well. This past transfer meeting President Richardson pulled me aside and told me that I was not the missionary that had come in...that I had lost my fire, and that I needed to change.  I've been thinking a lot about what he said and realized that he was right. Yes, I had lost some of that fire and realize why; however, I wouldn't have if he hadn't said something. So, yes...it did hurt BUT I am grateful for what he said. 

 When I very first came into the mission, I didn't like who I was. I was prideful - I had a lot of anger, and hurt that I didn't want others to know about. I pushed others away, closed myself off, didn't allow myself to love or to have compassion; although, I tried half-heartedly to do the work. I thought how one day I would go home and my family would see me as a RM that had changed so much...I wanted to be THAT amazing missionary that trained after green-breaking and then straight to STL.  I wanted for everyone to believe that I was really amazing. However, over the past 9 months....my heart has healed, my pride has been demolished, and I love who I am. I don't like my weaknesses still, BUT I am not crippled by them and I never will be again. I have finally come to the point where I no longer "aspire to the honors of men"....instead, I just want God to be happy with me. I want him to be able to use me. I want to WORK! Before, I wanted to LOOK like a hardworking, amazing missionary but now I want to BE the hardworking, amazing missionary that God wants for me to be. I don't care how long it takes me because I trust in the Lord's timing and I wait for the moments when He knows that I am ready. I trust Him. I finally trust Him.  

I received blessing earlier in which God told me that He was proud of me and that He was proud of all the hard work, dedication and effort I put in and that He loved me. How could one priesthood leader, called of God, say that I had lost my fire while another said that God was proud of me? I really thought about it. I realized that if I truly believed that these men, who were called of God, were perfect.... then I needed to take a hike, because I was in the wrong religion. God glories in His son, Jesus Christ, because of the Atonement, and that is the foundation of our religion!! These men are CALLED of God, but they are not GOD. Instead of getting angry I tried to understand why I was given these two paths of anger or acceptance, pride or humility, faith or apostasy.  I realized that God was proud of me. He is still; however, He wants for me to get to work and to help His other children receive that same joy and peace that I have received ...I just needed a little kick in the skirt :)

I read the allegory of the Olive Tree in Jacob 5 this week and saw the way the Savior helped me apply it to myself. It mentions how an olive tree will never enter full, fruitful production without the careful cultivation and grafting of other branches. But it also states that if they get rid of all the natural branches it will die. Likewise, in vs 64-66, if one cuts out all the bad branches then the tree will likewise perish. In the end, one must strengthen the good branches until it can make up for the loss of the bad branches and then cut them away: vs  66 "For it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard; wherefore ye shall clear away the bad according as the good shall grow, that the root and the top may be equal in strength, until the good shall overcome the bad, and the bad be hewn down and cast into the fire, that they cumber not the ground of my vineyard; and thus will I sweep away the bad out of my vineyard. God is doing this with me. He knows I will not have full production until I am grafted and changed but He also knows that I need some of my natural branches -- the core of who I am -- so that He can strengthen those and allow the good to overcome the bad. I love the scriptures. I received a previous blessing that the scriptures would help me to make my mission a joy. It's true :) The priesthood is real and blesses lives; don't ever take it for granted! 

Hermana Lightheart and I are doing well. It was a little rough towards the beginning, I wonder if she believed she was getting another "greenie" that she would have the responsibility to mentor, etc. because she seemed rather frustrated but after a little bit, things have smoothed over and we are starting to understand each other. I've prayed harder than ever that God would help me to understand her and her needs so that when she leaves the mission field, she goes with a good last transfer that can set the tone for the rest of her life. She is amazing. I feel such immediate love for my companion. We are WORLDS different but I've already learned a lot from her AND she is actively obedient. I LOVE IT!

I guess my miracle is the miracle of "me". I can't ask God for more than to give me a 2nd chance. That is a miracle! Changing me. Helping me. Lifting me. I have a lot of work to do but I have the Atonement...I know I'm being taken care of. How can someone as terrible as I receive such light and joy? Because of my Savior. I love Him so much. So, so much! 

I love you all! You are amazing, your prayers are felt and your letters are received with smiles and joy. Thank you!

Hna Lake