Monday, June 29, 2015

Week #45 - Come Unto Me

Hello Family!!

Ether 12: 6
"And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith‍ is things which are hoped‍ for and not‍ seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness‍ until after the trial‍ of your faith."

Alma 7:24-24
" And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works."

God doesn't just let us get blessings without putting a little work in. That's like expecting the harvest without planting the seeds. God won't take away the mountains we climb, but He will help us climb them. That is one reason why He sent us our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our very own Prince of Peace. 

Elder Russell M. Nelson explains it best: 
"Focusing on the Lord and everlasting life can help us not only at Christmas, but through all the challenges of mortality. Imperfect people share planet earth with other imperfect people....Personal challenges may come. [However], as our great Exemplar, Jesus taught us how to live, to love, and to learn. He taught us how to pray, to forgive, and to endure to the end.

He taught us how to care about others more than we care about ourselves. He taught us about mercy and kindness—making real changes in our lives through His power. He taught us how to find peace of heart and mind. One day, we will stand before Him as our just Judge and merciful Master.

Brothers and sisters, peace can come to your soul as you build faith in the Prince of Peace.

Peace can come to all who earnestly seek the Prince of Peace. Peace can come to all who choose to walk in the ways of the Master. His invitation is expressed in three loving words: “Come, follow me.”

Patricia is our amazing baptism of this past week. She is....something very special. Patricia was REALLY struggling because she got into a fight with her father as he is Catholic and REALLY didn't want her to get baptized and her tender heart just couldn't handle it. We went over that night and shared the story of Peter walking on the water and explained that she needed to not look at the waves but to look earnestly at the Savior and if she does, she will fall; He would always catch her. Because of the inspiration to share that scripture on the part of my companion, she explained all the struggles she had been going through and decided to change her date to July 5. We were devastated. This was her chance to seek the Prince of Peace! Then, a member was speaking with her the following Wednesday and bore her testimony that her father would come around. Apparently, the father of this member disowned her for a year after being baptized...but not now! They are back to loving each other and he doesn't mind that she is a member. It's beautiful. Anyway, God works miracles and loves His children. He knew that Patricia needed that member. Patricia felt that comfort and assurance from God because she decided to get baptized this past Sunday. After her baptism, she couldn't stop crying and thanked us over and over for the joy and peace that she felt. She said that she felt so happy, filled, and elevated. She felt peace. God used us to be tools in her life. What better gift could He have given us?

Patricia's baptism

I love you all! I am making it more of my goal to stop looking at the waves around me and to focus upon my Savior. ONLY through this will I be able to make it to peace. My very own Prince of Peace.

Hna Lake

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week #44 - You'll Poke your Eye Out!

Hello Dear Family- 

I've been learning a lot about having my eye single to the glory of God.
3 Nephi 13:22- "The light‍ of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light."
Mormon 8:15- "For none can have power to bring it to light save it be given him of God; for God wills that it shall be done with an eye‍ single to His glory..."
When I think of the light, I think of a light bulb that goes off above someone's head when they UNDERSTAND. But the only way that we are going to understand God's will and ourselves is if our eyes are single to the glory of God.  

I read a quote that explained it well, "Food is not a bad thing. It is actually a very good thing. However, when we are fasting, even the tiniest drop of water is bad." Family, friends, relationships, the future, etc...these things are not bad. They are actually very good things. BUT WHEN WE ARE FASTING FOR 18 MONTHS, EVEN THE SLIGHTEST DISTRACTION IS  A BAD THING. This was an answer to prayer for me and helped me realize my purpose. 

The miracle I received happened yesterday. We were struggling numbers wise and we needed to make our goals. We decided that we would go out and visit certain people in order to make it work. Knowing that it was Father's Day and also a Sunday evening...we were a little worried people would turn us away or wouldn't open the door. But God opened those doors and gave us other opportunities that we hadn't previously seen which helped us meet our goals. He is totally rooting for us out here.  

I love each of you! But I'm out of time! 

Hermana Lake

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week #43 - Birthday Wishes and The White Handbook

Dear Family-

My wildest dream right now is that my mother will have the happiest birthday EVER! I love you SO MUCH! I sincerely hope that you are telling people it IS your birthday so that they can do stuff for you. You selfless woman, you.

For those who do not have access to a white hand book, page 41 states the following :

Never suggest that people emigrate to another country, even for work or schooling. You should not become involved in adoptions. Do not ask your family or people from your home area to sponsor or become involved in these activities.

Well, an adoption took place on a Wednesday, June 10, 2015. The Hermana's name is Sister Gailey, stands the height of 5'11, has German ancestry, and has been nicknamed Mt. Vesuvius for reasons I cannot disclose. She will remain with me until she no longer needs a parental guardian. The time allotted is 6 weeks. I did not have the forethought to remember this passage on Wednesday, June 10, and cannot reverse the adoption process; therefore, consequences are being administered. Such consequences include: Lack of sleep, increased appetite, weight gain, high levels of stress, sleep-talking, restlessness, feelings of inadequacy, and complete humility. However, the blessings are...UNIMAGINABLE AND INNUMBERABLE. In short, Sister Gailey is the COOLEST and I will finish training her this upcoming 6 weeks as her "adopted mother" in missionary language.

You know those GINORMOUS dogs that are lap dogs.
Well, my child is that in human form and enjoys sitting on me. Immensely.
"Nothing can prepare you for the truth." Simplified and Intensified. I had no idea how to be a trainer and I STILL have no idea today. Things with Sister Gailey are going but slowly. We've had many times to just stop and get to know each other or communicate. I look at training much differently; I'm not just helping her be a missionary, I am helping her reach her true potential just as each of my companions have done for me. It gives me a greater drive to be patient, forgiving, loving, and supportive. She is such a good missionary and that pushes me to really want to do well and to make a difference.

That being said, I received so much guidance in 3 Nephi 12 on how I can be a better trainer. I understood from verses 5, 7, and 9 that I need to be humble, forgiving, and a peacemaker. But my favorite verses are in 15 and 16:

15 Behold, do men light a candle‍ and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;
16 Therefore let your light‍ so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and GLORIFY YOUR FATHER who is in heaven.

I recognize that God had been preparing me for the past 6 transfers to be her companion. All that I have learned is put into practice now. God understood that this was going to be hard BUT He knew that Sister Lake would have the abilities, talents, and testimony needed to help her. I've never been more prayerful and humbled. With God's grace I know I will be the trainer that she needs! Just the other day we discussed and shared scriptures about how Charity could help her learn the language. That was something that I barely even understood! God spoke so powerfully through me and helped me answer some of her prayers whilst answering several of my own.

We had an miracle that was AMAZING! We went out knocking and found 3 FAMILIES that wanted to hear the gospel. 2 accepted baptism on the spot and were so very prepared. It was amazing. But one family in specific couldn't have been found if we didn't try to talk to everyone in our path. We walked by as Luis was walking back into his home. We asked him if we could give him a card and then proceeded to offer a prayer. After the prayer he was SO grateful saying that he had been super stressed with how he could provide for his family and after the prayer, he felt as though the worry, stress and sorrow he felt was lifted off of him and he had peace. He knew everything would be okay. HE IS SO COOL! Progressing to be baptized right now and LOVES the Book of Mormon. We read with him 2 verses in 3 Nephi 11 and he just kept right on reading almost the whole chapter out loud during the lesson. Turns out his wife is also a less active from Colombia!

Also, Patricia Mera (who is the sister of Robert and Gabriela Mera- both recently baptized) is getting baptized! She told us time and time again how much better her life is now that she has the gospel, that the Book of Mormon "is not just any book", and how much happier she is. She starts crying almost every lesson with the power of the Spirit. SHE IS AMAZING!

I love you all dearly!

Hna Lake

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week #42 - Faking it and the French Horn

Dear Family-

Thank you for all your sweet notes and kind reminder of LOVE! I had a very happy birthday.

My letter is best started with a story by Elder Robert D. Wells of the Seventy:

"Prior to joining the Navy at the close of World War II, I attended Brigham Young University. Because I played the trumpet, I was invited to join the symphony orchestra for a special concert under the guest direction of Dr. LeRoy Robertson, the greatest Church composer in that day. Many of the musicians were still in the service, and university enrollment was small. We were determined to have a full orchestra, however, so I was persuaded to perform on the French horn instead of the trumpet.

I soon learned the only similarity between the two instruments is that both are brass. I found the French horn much more difficult to play, especially in reaching for higher notes. With the trumpet I could accurately hit any note up to a high C, but with the French horn I never knew if my attack would be right.I was nervous when we began the first rehearsal under the renowned Dr. Robertson. I had never before even been in the audience to hear a full symphony orchestra, and now I was right in the middle of the most magnificent sounds I had ever heard. It seemed to me that we had at least 50 violins and all kinds of other instruments in numbers to match the violin section.

The 12 bass viols to the left made the floor and my rib cage vibrate in unison. Behind were the other brass instruments and the timpani. I was in the center of a new world of glorious sound. The difficult French horn passage came. Everyone around me knew when I bobbled it, ending a fifth or a third out of register. Dr. Robertson stopped the orchestra. “There is something wrong in the French horns. Let’s start over at the top of the page.”

Embarrassed, I began once more. I didn’t want to be singled out again as the offending musician. It seemed obvious to me that even with the violins singing, the brass trumpeting, the cellos warmly filling, the great bass viols zooming, and the other French horns boldly playing, Dr. Robertson might hear me if I made a mistake, but it would be impossible to know that I wasn’t really playing. I puffed my cheeks out and went through the fingering, but as we entered the hard part of the French horn quartet no air went through my lips. To my absolute horror and embarrassment, Dr. Robertson stopped the orchestra and announced to the world, “The fourth French horn is faking it. Let’s start again at the top of the page.”

It is easy in many of life’s situations to fake our way through and think that our lack of preparation, or lack of effort, will go unnoticed. It may be true that in a large group some of our weakness will be covered up by others, but we know if we are putting forth our best effort. We know if we are faking it. Besides that, the Lord knows, and more times than we want to admit, a great bishop or mission president or other Church leader also knows."

How many of us are faking it? How many of us hide in the crowds of the church and the world hoping that someone else will take care of it and that it isn't your problem? How many of us have said, "I just don't have TIME to.....[insert service, help, love, testimony, etc]"?

Well, let's make something PLAINLY obvious to ourselves. Each one of us needs to ask ourselves, "What is the purpose of this life?  Is [x activity] helping me achieve my purpose in this life?" Alma 34:32 states: "For behold, this life‍ is the time for men to prepare‍ to meet God; yea, behold the day of this‍ life is the day for men to perform their labors." If we start coming up with excuses when the answer is NO, stop them. We cannot afford to justify right now. If you know it's a "Yes!", AWESOME! Keep it up :) I give kudos to you!

The truth is that WE DO NOT HAVE TIME, TO NOT HAVE TIME. We don't have time to deny ourselves service opportunities, scripture study, church, time with the family, missionary work, etc. This time on earth is SO SHORT. Jacob 7:26 states: "... the time passed away with us, and also our lives‍ passed away like as it were unto us a dream..."

I was reading in Jesus the Christ this morning, I came across a chapter explaining "Counting the Cost of Discipleship." James E. Talmage explains that counting the cost of being a disciple of Christ not in terms of what we will lose but what we will GIVE UP. Losing is involuntary whereas giving something up is conscious sacrifice for something better. What are we willing to sacrifice in order to be consecrated Children of God and to focus upon the task at hand? " What does it mean to be a true disciple of Christ? What things must a man avoid and what must he do if he would truly follow the Son of God?  

In my next few personal studies, I plan on mapping out PRAYERFULLY what I need to give up, what I need to improve upon and what I need to sacrifice in order to be the 4th order to be a disciple, a consecrated disciple of Jesus Christ. I want to count the cost and figure out exactly what is ahead of me so that I will be prepared when the hard times come. "...that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm‍ shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of MISERY and endless wo, BECAUSE OF the rock upon which ye are built..." I want to plan out my "way to purification" so that I can be ready for Satan when he tries to pull me down with distress and discouragement. I want to put myself on the path of truth and discipleship. I know I am weak and that I have been living up to only half of my potential as a Daughter of God and as a missionary. But I want those blessing. I want eternal life. I want to be me. I WANT AN ETERNAL FAMILY! This is the only way to work towards it. 

I love each of you. So much! I couldn't just keep this tidbit of life changing doctrine to myself :)  

Hermana Lake

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week #41 - Purely Lovin'!

Hello Family!!

I loved receiving each of your letter and sweet birthday wishes. I'm excited to work hard on my birthday tomorrow!
Now, here is the bad news: I love all of you dearly but if you do not have the Demars or Lake blood running in your veins....I'm going to have to say goodbye for 9 more months. I have finally allowed the realization that emailing friends is much too distracting for me and I need to say, "Hasta Luego!" If you are not family, please, do not send me any further emails or letters. It will be a little hard but I need to focus on the missionary work I have here and when I email you...I think about my loved ones a little too much during the week. Sorry, but this is the more important thing that I have been set apart to do :)  

Now, on to the good stuff!

I have realized that the work of the Lord is not about us; and yet, in a round about actually is. There are TWO circles that revolve repeatedly: the Charity Cycle companions with the Pride Cycle. We begin focusing upon other people; we serve with love and the Lord gives us success. Success can breed addiction, which can be both a good thing and bad thing. We come to a cross road - God sets us on the path where we have to decide if we will claim the glory for ourselves (Pride Cycle) or if we will choose to give the glory to Him and continue with love (Charity Cycle). This is the key to missionary work.

The Fourth Missionary talks about Charity:

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,‍ and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be‍ prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be‍ tongues, they shall cease; whether there be‍ knowledge, it shall vanish away.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

The BIGGEST difference between a 4th missionary and the other 3 is the difference their service makes in the heart of the missionary. Do we allow God to work in us in order to change our natures? To send us on the path that God wants for us? 

Verse 12 talks about the veil. When we have charity and we are serving with all the we have, we will quickly start to see WHO WE REALLY ARE. God asks us to come on missions to preach the gospel, this is true. But He also asks us to serve missions to save ourselves through the service of our fellow man. This never fails. It will always work. When we lose ourselves for others, that is WHEN WE COME TO KNOW OURSELVES.

That is the miracle that I saw this week. I was talking with my companion during a companion inventory and she mentioned a list of weakness and strengths that she had been writing down. Many of the things written down were compliments I had given her or observations I had made. I realized right then that when I was serving HER, when I was helping HER to see herself without the glass, darkly.....I was slowly taking that off my eyes as well. I was kinder, gentler and more patient. I became more of the Daughter of God that I know I am.  But I took some of that glory. I thought it was a talent I had instead of a gift that I had been given....and it was taken away. I started trying to continue in the path I had before, to help her to see herself and love herself but with no success. Once I realized I had lost my charity....I had lost my success. I had lost the Spirit. God doesn't ask us to baptize the whole world....He asked us to feed His sheep. He pleads with us to just worry about them, help them, be there for them. When we smile continually and love people...they can tell! They aren't stupid. Hopefully, when we present our message with love, they convert; however, when we present it with pride, they will revert. Always.

I'm not suggesting that you buy your impoverished neighbor a new home. I'm not asking you to save the whales. I am asking that you give 2 seconds of your time to LISTEN. Pay attention to your sweet children and what they are telling you. Worry less about the disaster in your house; you will find strength to take care of it when you pour your heart out in charity to another. "CHARITY NEVER FAILETH" If you have sincere charity, you cannot fail. As a mother. As a daughter. As a student. As a missionary. When we do what we do because we have pure love in our hearts....we will have success. It's promised us. CHARITY NEVER FAILETH. 

Decide today if you believe this scripture. If you truly believe what your Savior has promised you.  1 John 4:18 : There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear”  

In memory of our beloved apostle, L. Tom Perry, who passed away this past week, let us all read "Perfect Love Casteth out All Fear" A talk given by him in the October 2011 General Conference. It will change your hearts if you allow it, and you don't have to be a missionary :)

I love you all! Be safe friends, see you in 9 months.

Hermana Lake