Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Week #49 - Man Down!


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being a missionary. Not just the missionary that works half way but the kind of missionary that you have encouraged me to become.  I feel so fulfilled, hopeful, and led by the Spirit. There have been many times this past week when we did something as a companionship entirely because we FELT we should do it but had no foreknowledge as to the why. It's amazing. I haven't liked writing in my journal because I felt as though I had nothing to say...but now, when I sit down at night, I think of all the AMAZING experiences I had when the Spirit testified to me. I just want to write and write. I've written everyday since transfers! 

Speaking of transfers, my new companion is Sister LeBaron. She is a gift straight from God. Truly. She is so helpful, involved, happy, and easygoing. She does the dishes without me asking! Seriously, I couldn't be more grateful to God for giving her to me now when I would appreciate her most. We have started strong and she has amazing endurance. Funnily enough, she was Sister Gailey (my last companion) MTC companion and they are basically best friends. It's hilarious - we share stories about how much we love Sister Gailey and laugh....all the time. I haven't laughed this much my whole mission and I LOVE IT!  I have such a testimony that happiness is a choice and laughter is side effect. So, if you remember to laugh, you will become super happy. True story. She also loves to quote movies so she is gotten me back into my rusty habits :) Long story short: I love and admire this girl. She is a rock star! 
D&C 121 is one of the best passages of scripture that can ever be applied to us. I learned so much from it this past study. I was studying a lot in this certain passage of scripture and trying to figure out the "why". D&C 121:34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? As I studied more and more, I recognized in verse 37 that each one of the reasons mentioned revolved around one single thing: ME. When we turn inwards instead of outwards we lose the Spirit and God cannot use us. We do not act because WE are afraid for OURSELVES or because WE do not think that WE can. COME ON! God said to LOSE yourself in the work but I didn't get that until now. The only way that we can lose ourselves is by loving those we serve. 

When we truly love people, we gain our fire and do not relent or back down. We are stubborn in our resolve to do what the Lord thinks is best for them. We do not allow them to live any less. For example, when Lehi and his family begin to murmur because of Nephi's broken bow, Nephi STILL acknowledged Lehi as his father and asked where he should go to obtain food. In this way, Nephi treated his father as he should and as a result Lehi was humbled and repented to once again lead the family.

I've had multiple times this week where someone yelled at us, was extremely close minded or just plain angry; however, instead of just giving up, I fought for their soul. I offered truth. I TESTIFIED!  Even Jesus Christ stood up for what He believed in when He cast everyone from the temple in righteous indignation. He knew what was right and stood for nothing less; I plan on doing the same! I have grown to love so many of these amazing people that I will treat them as they should and OUGTH to be. Yesterday we spoke to a man who said that he was fine and would not change. He said that he doesn't keep all the commandments but that he tries. I looked at him and said, "One of God's commandments is to keep the Sabbath day holy. That means going to church. So, if you didn't go to church today, how did you TRY to keep this commandment?" He laughed because he knew I was right and recognized his need to change.

If we truly love these people, we will invite them to repent. We will help them to make changes in their lives.

"[Repentance] is a positive experience that brings joy and peace. Be bold and loving in helping people understand what they must do to repent. By inviting people to make commitments, you can effectively raise a voice of both warning and hope."

If there is someone in your life who is struggling, your testimony and how you treat them can truly redirect their path. By the way you LOVE them and encourage them to higher heights, you will become a force for good that can change the course of their future. Bear your testimony and be firmly rooted in what God has commanded. We are not worthy to judge. That is up to our perfect Savior, BUT we are commanded in Hebrews 12:12, "... to lift up the hands which hang down, and to strengthen the feeble knees".

 "Our comrades are being wounded in the spiritual conflict around us. So are the people we are called to serve and protect from harm. Spiritual wounds are not easily visible, except with inspired eyes

You may have been the only one to sense by inspiration the warning cry. The others may feel, as you will be tempted to think, “Maybe the trouble I thought I saw is just my imagination. What right do I have to judge another? It’s not my responsibility. I’ll leave it alone until he asks for help.” -President Eyring, "Man Down" April 2009 

Don't just leave it alone. YOU can make a difference. There is no such thing as an accident!

I love you all and pray for you daily. The emails and letters I receive truly fill my heart and lighten my life. Thank you so much! Now, please, GO GIVE TO SOME ELSE!  

I love you all!

Hna Lake

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week #48 - I AM Young Skywalker!

F A M I L Y- 

This week we dug in, as a companionship, and did WORK. Our numbers were the highest that they have been all transfer and we have an awesome investigator progressing toward baptism for July 26th and another family of four who love the Book of Mormon and only need one more lesson to be eligible for a baptismal date. I love working!! I haven't felt this good in a long time and it feels good to just dig in and work. NO more excuses! 

I learned from the BoM this week that although God may bless His children with many things despite their wickedness (like He did the Israelites), the only way to truly know that God is happy with our work is through the peace we feel. God blessed them with water from a rock, manna from heaven and more; however, in 1 Nephi 20: 22 it says,  "And notwithstanding he hath done all this, and greater also, there is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked." If we strive with all our hearts to work our hardest and we still have no "success", if we feel within us a sense of peace...the we know that we've done it right.

Our companionship has had a rough road but I can honestly say that Sister Gailey and I love each other and will dearly miss each other after we transfer. When transfer notices came, it hit me how much I will miss her. We are kind of like an old couple. We agree on very little, love to mess with each other and sometimes fight...but we love each other fiercely. She is the best!

Miracle: This past week we got out of a lesson and we had not finished knocking for a full hour just yet so we set out to be obedient and knock for another 30 minutes. We likely only had time to knock one house, so we set out oh, so hopeful.  As we walked down the street we saw one house that we knew that we needed to knock. The family opened the door immediately and welcomed us in. As we sat down, they told us of the marriage problems they were having, the terrible experiences that they'd had in their old church, the trials they had gone through because of their efforts for righteousness, etc. We testified boldly of the Book of Mormon and testified of 2 Nephi 2:23 and 25. The spirit was SO strong and they committed to coming to church/reading the Book of Mormon. We had been fearlessly (and faithfully) praying to find our family of four for weeks and God answered our prayer. We haven't been able to see the family since due to work schedules but they take their Book of Mormon to work every day and read on their break, their kids now recognize us and love us and they have committed to be baptized! God works miracles. 

Another cool Miracle: Some background. We live on a base level apartment with a garage, front door and sliding glass door. The front door has a bolt lock that unless opened from the inside, will not be unlocked with a key. Now. Yesterday, we returned home and found that our garage door opener was completely out of battery and would not allow us to open the garage. We were stuck. We went to the front door and tried to open the door but because of the bolt lock, we were stuck. Awesome. We were going to be late getting inside the house and the office was closed. What were we going to do?? Then I remembered that this morning, as I came back inside from doing yoga on our patio, the sliding glass door "locked" but seemed a little unstable. I remember thinking, "Huh, last time it did this, we had locked the Sisters out and they were still able to get in...maybe I should fix it." But the thought came to leave it and go on with our day. So, as we were locked out...the thought came to try it. I walked around the side of the house and opened the door with one push. We were in. I immediately fell on my knees in gratitude to my Heavenly Father for thinking ahead and making sure that we were provided for. We were obedient, we were safe and we were able to complete the other things He had commanded for us to do that night. How great is His mercy!  

No matter the time or place, the significance or the hardness of the task...God provides for His children. ALWAYS. 1 Nephi 3:7- "for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." God is aware of our weakness and our faults. But He is not blinded by them and neither should we be. He will prepare a way for us to reach higher heights and perfection, we just need to be willing to listen.  

I love you ALL!

Hna Lake

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week # 47 - By Small and Simple Things...

Dear Family -

I know that through the Atonement of Christ, we are made perfect. We are spiritually and physically healed. Through the Savior and our Redeemer, we have tomorrows and can forget about the yesterdays. I know that when God says that He will make our sins as white as snow....He means it. I know that God loves each and everyone of His children and desires the MOST possible for them in this life. 

 I know that each and every prayer we offer is heard to Heavenly Father and that He is just ACHING to talk to us. He waits for us to come and will not force us. He is patient and long suffering. He doesn't make excuses for us and He won't ever give us an easy way out but HE WILL ALWAYS be our great cheerleader, support system, and mentor.  

I know that because God loves us, He gave us the scriptures. I've read those pages over and over and have then testified of those truths, over and OVER. I know that they are of God and that they are only for our benefit. I know that by reading the Book of Mormon, a man WILL come closer to God and find answers to the questions of his heart.

I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that because He gave up everything, that I am still unwilling to give, so that I may live again. I know that my Savior loves me. He wants for  me to overcome my weaknesses and He lifts me when I no longer have emotional, physical, or mental strength.  

I KNOW that the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints is Jesus Christ's church on the earth and that it was restored through a prophet, Joseph Smith. I know that Joseph Smith was only a man who had simple desires to know what church to join. He was not looking to start another religion nor to restore Jesus Christ's true gospel; rather he was humbled before God to receive direction for his life. He sought to know and thereby a way was made possible for all of us to know the infinite truths found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I know that we have the fullness of the gospel and that we can have the answers to all the questions. If it's not in the scripture or spoken from the words of inspired prophets, it is definitely possible to receive it through our own personal revelation. This is a church of revelation and it will never stop. Jesus Christ is the head of this church and leads us through prophets, just as in olden times.  

God does not change. He is a God of love and compassion. I know Him as my Heavenly Father. I know that He is a separate and powerful being from His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. I KNOW that the Bible is the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. I know that through reading the truths in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we can understand the nature and gospel of Christ.  

I know that it is only through our Savior that we can be saved. Through Him, we can be saved from our pains, infirmities, afflictions, unhappiness, anger, and grief. We are made WHOLE through our Savior and Redeemer.  

I know that I am imperfect. I know of my own nothingness and my own unworthiness; however, I KNOW that God forgives me, and He will continue to do so as I show Him my true desires.  

I want nothing more than to be the person God needs for me to be. I'm tired of living halfway and only having a half life. I want to be an instrument in His Loving Hands and am willing to do whatever He asks. I know that by doing so, I will receive more than I can ever imagine.

I know that God is involved in EVERY SINGLE ONE of our lives. That He has never once abandoned us, rather He has waited patiently until we WANT Him in our lives. There are tender mercies to be seen daily and angels waiting around every bend to enrich and to bless us. I know that angels, both mortal and celestial, are real. I know that nothing is an accident.  

I know that I am inexplicable. That mortals words could not, and cannot not, describe the person that I can be. I know that I am without definition and that I can change and repent each day. 

I know....that I am loved. No matter where I am, what trials I face or who tells me otherwise....I KNOW that I am LOVED.  And I love all of you :)  

This testimony I bear with a heart full of gratitude :)  

Hna Lake


Monday, July 6, 2015

Week #46 - Compassion

Familia de los cielos!  

This week was seriously, awesome and wish to share a spiritual experience straight from my heart. This has changed my life. 

Earlier in the week, I was really struggling with a distraction/worry that constantly seemed to linger at the back of my mind. I would push it out and forge on, trying my hardest to be diligent but it kept coming back in the quiet recesses of my mind. It just wouldn't go away! After struggling for a few weeks with this unrelenting nuisance, I broke down and told my companion about it. I explained all that I had been feeling and my confusion; she asked me one thing....."Have you prayed about it yet?"
Outside the Fort Lauderdale Temple
I immediately thought of my mother, who throughout my WHOLE LIFE, would ask the same thing. Whenever I thought about this issue...I immediately had doubts and fears was such a distraction! God has asked me to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength...but I couldn't! Why would I pray to Him about something when I felt that I was already doing something that He commanded me NOT to do? However, my companion insisted that I just put aside all of my worries and TRY. I decided to put my faith in a God and pray, even tough I still didn't fully understand. I knelt down and prayed rather tentatively. I still kept most of my feelings in my heart and didn't let them out. I wouldn't  acknowledge my weakness or struggle and just attempted to plead for help to push the distraction out. No dice. Nothing! I knew that I had to give more. I knelt once again and threw all caution to the wind. I explained my fears, my worries for the future, my frustration that this was something bothering me and my desires to be a consecrated missionary of the Lord. Then, the miracle happened. My prayer was answered.

Often we mistakenly believe that God is only a "just" God, who is rigid and unyielding when we struggle with His commandments . That is not true and I testify to each one of you that this thought is a LIE. He is most certainly a God of compassion who loves each of His children with an incomprehensible love that we cannot fully understand. 

The very first quality listed in Psalms 145:8 is compassion.  "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy." If we are ever to understand who God is and how He views our weakness, sins and insecurities, we need to understand compassion. If our desires are pure and if we truly want to do what is right, then we will feel sorrow when we mess up or are imperfect. It is as it should be and is called, "godly sorrow."  However, if we are penitent and desire to be better, then God will offer us something better.  BECAUSE OF HIS COMPASSION, God sent us someone to help. John 3:16 states,"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life"  Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the GREATEST example of compassion that we have. He literally  "...[suffered] pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith He will take upon Him the pains and the sicknesses of his people [and thereby know how to succor us individually]." (Alma 7:11)  He feels what we feel. He hurts when we hurt. He cries when we cry because of His compassion. He set aside His own wants and desires because of the love He has for each one of us and our well being. He gave up the only thing the Father could not claim - His life and agency - in order to bring about happiness and eternal life for each of us. Could there be a better example?  

When you fall short, don't you dare give in, give up, or give out. Don't you dare think, "Woe is me because I am imperfect and will never measure up." That is a flat out lie sent straight from the adversary. God knew we would be imperfect and that is WHY He sent Jesus Christ? You have a loving, compassionate Father who desires nothing more than His purpose for us. " are, that they might have joy." That we might have JOY. NOT guilt trips.  

My invitation to all is to go to the topical guide and to look up compassion. Study it. Learn it. Then create your own definition as to what it means to be compassionate and what is compassion. I did this... and it changed my life. I know my Heavenly Father LOVES me. Really, truly loves me. He wants the best for me and I know that it is no different for you.  

I love each of you!!

Hna Lake