Monday, October 26, 2015

Week #62 - Driving on Autopilot!

Man! This week has been so crazy. Godly sorrow and recommitting are a strong couple.  I allowed my focus to slip a little - but the atonement is wonderful and repentance is an ever reaching gift.
Sister Evans is the BEST! She has true desires and has been writing herself little reminders and encouragements to keep her focus. She is awesome :) She has started leading companion study and also knocking sessions. She is diligent and faithful. Everyone can be baptized! She bears her testimony at every opportunity and is always willing to be corrected on her Spanish. I am amazed by how willing she is to change and to be led. I can't imagine a better teacher for me :)

Our area is doing well. We are going to be breaking out our bikes (Sister Evan's idea! :D) and finding all those prepared for us. We've become a LOT more committed to our goals and want to get 4 by Thursday and 7 by Sunday SO BAD. It's the Lord's standard that our mission president has given to us. We know that we can get it! There are people everywhere on the streets of Miami. I'm going to find them!

This week I've been trying to learn more about doing the Lord's will.
My scripture to ponderize is 3 Nephi 9:13-14:

13 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.

I've been frustrated because of all my imperfections. I get so sick of messing up or not being all here and getting tired. I just want to WORK! But reading this chapter has helped me to realize that when I choose to do something halfway or not do what God wants, I'm allowing Satan into my life and into my mind. I'm not choosing to follow Him and that was a big enough motivation for me to put up a greater fight. I don't need any of that! Jesus Christ has said He will heal us. We just need to accept His Arm of Mercy and turn towards Him. I'm trying to understand more about the atonement and the nature of God. Mercy seems to be a hard concept for me to understand. It's like, "You'll forgive me if I'm really penitent? Okaay, and what else do you want?" It just seems too good to be true, sometimes. But that's the thing. IT IS TRUE! The atonement really does change us and make us better. It works at our level and with our needs. It pushes us but doesn't overwhelm us. Jesus Christ really is our Savior and really does love us infinitely. Why else would He give his WHOLE LIFE to us? He is so merciful. No one is exempt.

We've tried to be more grateful in our finding sessions. Every time we find someone or we see a little miracle, we say a gratitude prayer. This lead us to Pilar! We OYMed her and she is so elect. She wants a strong family, to find the true church and to strengthen her relationship. We are so excited! :)
We are also teaching Manny. Our little humble seeker. (He is a grown 48 yr old. We love him :D) He is trying so hard to find truth. He came to church on Sunday and liked it. I think that our church is more different than we think. We are more reverent than most. It'll be a blast to have him come the 2nd week...we've broken him in already! :)
I love you all and know that this is our Savior's church. Sometimes you don't realize how much you know until you bear it. We were teaching Pilar this last week and after I bore my testimony and we finished the Restoration, she looked at me and said she could tell I knew it was true by my conviction and by the way I talked. I didn't realize it until she said it. I know this is TRUE! This has become so sacred to me. The gospel is my greatest companion and confidante. I Love it!

Hna Lake

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week #61 - Welcome to Miami!

That's right folks. I'm in the wonderful city of Miami. Drivers are terrible, everyone speaks Spanish and there are people to talk to every 2 feet. Needless to say, I'm in love. I never want to leave here!
I LOVE BEING A TRAINER! This is pushing me to be at my best 100% of the time and I love it. Sister Evans is adjusting well. She loves knocking doors and wants to get to know everyone that we meet. She definitely excels in the "Teach People, not Lessons" category. She oymed someone by herself yesterday and did a wonderful job. She is a SPONGE! Everything that we say and do, she absorbs. She is always asking questions and loves to improve. I love her to pieces :)  

Sister Evans is from Kaysville, Utah (surprise, la fabrica)  She is full of laughter, energy and is ALWAYS hungry. We have a constant supply of snacks because she can't make it an hour without eating ;) Makes sense, she is 6 ft and teeny tiny! She is my first companion that has been taller than me. When we knock on doors, people just see two tall blonde warriors ready to convert them on the spot! I love missionary work. I'm doing very well. Pinky promise! Training is more responsibility but I am thriving under the hustle and bustle and constant to-do list. This is the busiest I've been and I'm in love with it. It's been a blast to get to know a new area and meet thousands of Cubans!

Miracle: Yesterday we were out knocking doors in this certain area and when our time finished, we felt we should continue knocking more. It was about 8:15 and some people were a little angry but when we prayed for guidance, we felt we should be more careful about the doors we knock and to keep going! The last door we knocked was Tony. He has been Catholic for years and warmly accepted a prayer. Afterwards, we testified of the Book of Mormon, the Restoration and invited him to read it. When we called him this morning, he had read the chapter, prayed about it and felt wonderful! Sadly, he chooses to follow the tradition of his fathers BUT we planted a deep seed. When we told him he could keep the Book of Mormon, he was so excited so that he could continue reading. We will be following up in a few weeks to get him baptized! :)

 Moral of the story: Be Aware. Be Diligent. Don't allow Satan to dictate your choices.

We were walking down the street one day and suddenly an image popped into my mind of a tall, strong, seemingly determined warrior. I could see within her eyes the unwavering decision to fight. She emanated a powerful presence of confidence and strength. She seemed to say "Try me. I know what I want and why I am here!!!" Then the image was gone. At first I didn't understand where this came from or why I thought of it but it seemed so real and so tangible. Each one of us are powerful, strong children of our Heavenly Father. As we live worthily of the Spirit, we will become these amazing beings of confidence and strength. The Spirit is the great refiner. It can change hearts. Minds. Worlds. It is the greatest gift that God could have given us for our time here on earth.  

I know that the Spirit is the greatest and easiest pathway to change and to happiness. Live worthily of it and you will be at peace. There is no greater joy than that!

Hna Lake

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week #60 - My Baby's got a Blue Chainsaw

The title is a tribute to Sister Stewart.

So family! Your daughter is once again TRAINING! I'm transfer training. I'm stoked. I can't wait to find out where I'm going. They are opening a new YSA in my baby area so I'm praying that I get to be sent there with my baby. PLEASE!
This week has been amazing! We had interviews with President This last week. That interview was much needed. He gave me such a cool idea! We were talking about Captain Moroni and the reason behind his success as a leader and a son of God. He controls his thoughts! Satan cannot tempt what he does not have.

"All the evil in the world
The darkest kind of sin
Can never hurt you
Not one bit
Unless you let it in!"

President is a Harry Potter fan and attributed this thought cleanse to when Dumbledore puts his wand to Harry's temple and pulls out a "memory" and puts it in a flask.  I have already implemented the "Dumbledore Swish and Flick" for my thoughts and it works wonders. I'm throwing all sorts of stuff out! It has bothered Sister Estrada and I to realize how often Satan attacks our minds and how to be more like Moroni and push against those things. I love it! If you find negativity, sadness, doubt or anything you don't want coming into your mind, try the Swish and Flick. It's a physical action that brings about spiritual blessings!

We've seen so many miracles this week. On Sunday we heard about Tender Mercies in our Sacrament Meeting and then our investigator, Maleigha, received a priesthood blessing afterwards and we talked more about miracles. Miracles are daily things. They CAN be big things but most often, they are small and specialized to us. This last week I was emotionally exhausted. I silently prayed and asked for help to be loving and be a true disciple of Christ. That day....I'd never had so many nice people talk to us! Everyone was kind, we met multiple people who had previous contact with the church and many accepted a prayer. No one wanted to learn more about the gospel, which was saddening, but I felt like God gave me a small miracle that day. He watched out for me even though He put me here so these hard things would make me grow. I know Heavenly Father loves me.
We met this great lady knocking doors who is a devout Catholic. She mentioned that something was missing and that she wished to figure it out. Well. That's the priesthood. It is SO amazing. I sat in a room watching Maleigha receive a priesthood blessing and was so grateful for all the amazing priesthood holders in my life and their worthiness.

I've also been learning more about Faith. Before, I struggled understanding why every time I felt like I knocked doors with firm faith and determination.....we found no one. I learned that we need to have faith in Jesus Christ and to understand that His purposes are always for our good. We need to trust him. But we also need to HOPE! I've never fully understood that connection. But faith is belief in concrete things - like our Heavenly Father's love. Hope is a belief that because of that love, He will give us what we need, when we need it. I stand hopeful for the many miracles to come with my baby in my next area. I'm so stinkin excited!!! :) I hope I go Spanish again!!
I love you all :) 

Hna lake


Monday, October 5, 2015

Week #59 - Once there was a Snowman

 I'm doing OUTRAGEOUSLY well. I've picked up a new love for iced tea, thanks to our southern investigator, Maleigha. "But Sister Lake! TEA?!?" Don't worry. To help Maleigha overcome her addiction to tea, we put a spin on it and made Chamomile sweet tea. It is surprisingly delicious and has the potential to give you cavities within a week. Yum! Maleigha asked me how I can handle drinking any kind of tea without sugar or honey in it and I explained my childhood. She looked at me with horror in her eyes. "You poor dear! You only had dessert ONCE A WEEK?!?" I just died. Apparently, I was abused as a child because my mother kept me from thousands of cavities.
THANK YOU MOTHER! #lakefamilyprobs
Can we all just stop for a moment and realize how amazing are our mothers? It's true. They truly do bear so much for us.  

This conference taught me a lot about the Atonement: 

Are you sure??

Come on, there has to be another way?

You're playing with me aren't you?

But there is no way!!!

"Not my will but Thine be done"

OKAY! You're right, you're right. 

How often have we had this conversation when we try to make God change His answer for us, "ARE YOU SUUUUUURE??" comes His loving reply.  I can remember SOOOOO many times my mother saying, "My answer isn't going to change no matter how much you wish it!"

God gave me an answer this last week that was really hard to handle. It was big, scary and I knew it was going to push me more than anything else. I think I asked these questions, time after time after time. Finally, He just stopped answering. The silent treatment is as good as, "It's not going to change! I already told you the answer!"   

As I watched those selfless men and bear testimony to eternal truths, I felt my heart stir in remembrance of my Savior and all that He, too, gave for me. When our dear prophet, Thomas S. Monson, looked as though he would collapse right at the pulpit, my heart split in two. It was so striking to realize that this man gave EVERYTHING for us. He looked determined that he would not fall, he would not go down and that he would share this message from his heart to the world. When he did that, I envisioned my Savior bent over in the garden, pleading that there be another way and yet doing the Father's will.  It helped me to understand the Atonement better. 

"If ye love me, keep my commandments" That is my scripture to ponderize. It reminds me, "Do I really love my Savior enough to do X thing? " "Am I really committed to follow Him?". "Can I follow through with the covenant I have made?" We made promises that we must now break. When fear smacks ya in the noggin, remember this: If we truly love the Savior, we will do as He has asked. No sacrifice is too much for the Savior; yet, He will help us make that sacrifice!

 Finally, I accepted it. I'm listening now. I'm sorry for being stubborn. I still don't get it. I'm still a little scared. But, I'm trusting you. I will listen. 

1 Nephi 3:7- I will prepare a way for you to do all things that I have commanded. Stop worrying!

I love you. 

I love you too.  

God calls those who are weak and simple. It's scary. It's a little daunting. But it's possible. Just let Him in. "LET THE EARTH RECEIVE HER KING" So, when are you going to do it? Do what you may ask? RECEIVE. God is waiting. Receive His will and let It change your life.  

Miracle: Ronald is amazing! He came to conference, LOVED it and took a page and a half of notes. When the session finished, he asked one question about the structure of the church and that's it. THAT's IT?! His mother shows doubts and Ronald stood up for a church he has known for a week! He testified to his mother of truths. He knows this is true!! He can't wait to be baptized on the 18th and the ward has really stepped up to help him. Wow. I'm stunned and inspired by this 18 year old. He has such a good head on his shoulders. I wish you all could meet him!

I love you!

Hna Lake