Monday, December 28, 2015

Week #71 - Gratitude is the Essence of Life!

This week was wonderful. It awesome to Skype with everyone at Christmas! I love you so much! 

I've been learning more about gratitude. My patriarchal blessing admonishes me a few times to be grateful and I struggle with that quality overall. SO, as I studied, I discovered that many of the things I am working on personally right now can be solved through gratitude. "Remembrance is the seed of gratitude which is the seed of generosity. Gratitude for the remission of sins is the seed of charity, the pure love of Christ." -Henry B. Eyring

I've been completely focused on the work here and be so committed to my purpose that nothing will prevent me from trying to achieve it. It is my #1 priority. Sister Alcazar is a wonderful example of that and has taught me much. One thing in particular that she taught me overall is that it's a choice to be committed. It's a choice to want something. It's a choice to be happy. If you don't believe me, choose to stick to that decision and see what happens ;)  

I've also learned that I can't be everywhere, do everything and be perfect this week. As STLs, We were on exchanges with a certain sister who I knew greatly admired me as a leader. I wanted to make sure that the exchange was helpful for her and I wanted to live up to her expectations. Yep. Nope. Didn't happen. EVERYTHING fell apart. We were late everywhere, members were so difficult, rain poured, doors slammed, investigators dropped us, we got locked out of our house, etc. I won't go on to save your eyes. IT WAS TERRIBLE!! When Sister Alcazar and I were together after the exchange, I confided in her all that had happened and how terrible I felt. I felt that I had failed. She then pointed out, in her faithful wisdom, that what God wanted to happen in that exchange, happened. He needed her to see that. As I sat there and analyzed all of the blessings that no doubt came to her because of what she saw....I was blown away by the Love of God for her and His understanding of her needs. It was really cool. 

At our Christmas Conference this last week, we watched the Nativity. Once again, I was touched by the Love of God. He does not leave us alone in times of trouble; He sends miracles to guide us, and to give us relief. He sends pillars of light to find Him, example: the star. The entire nativity story is filled with examples of Heavenly Father's love. Greatest of all being the gift of our Savior. I hope you all take a moment to try and recognize those small miracles in your life. I testify that they are there!

The area is doing well. I know that God truly does prepare people in His own time and pace. We are teaching a couple who are SUCH a miracle. They are the parents of a member and already read the Book of Mormon on their own and came to church last Sunday, without their daughter. God is working miracles in their lives. Members are able to come out, lessons happen, and investigators are found. I know that as we are dedicated to the Lord's work, involve him, and love the people, it all works out. 


 "President Spencer W. Kimball said “Those who keep a book of remembrance are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives. Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity.”

As you start to write, you could ask yourself, “How did God bless me today?” If you do that long enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings. And sometimes, you will have gifts brought to your mind which you failed to notice during the day, but which you will then know were a touch of God’s hand in your life."

I'm doing this. You should too :)

Hna Lake

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week #70 - Merry Christmas!!

Dear Family- 

I've been learning a lot about pride. Pride is the reason Satan fell. It's the reason we lose the Spirit as missionaries. I was reading 2 Nephi, when suddenly I decided that I didn't want to read it, that it wasn't important. Then Nephi threw down 2 Nephi 25 on me when he testified of the importance of the Isaiah chapters. I went back and read and was able to find some really cool tidbits that helped me in my understanding of the gospel and of myself. Yeah....that pride thing.... 

 “When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not." 2 Nephi 9:28  Ponderize this little guy... it will humble you!

I'm really grateful for my family. You guys have truly been a pillar of strength for me :) 

We had our ward Christmas party this last week and they asked us to talk about the life and purpose of Jesus Christ. Man, that was revelation for me. Truly, our Savior came to give us the gift of change. His entire legacy demonstrated to us the ability to be great and to achieve more than we may seem. Born in a humble stable, a simple carpenter changed the entire world of religion as we know it. He was a Son of God who listened to the will of the Father.  

Believe it or not, we are all children of God. We were born into different circumstances and yet each one of us is called upon to become something great, to be kind when no one else is kind, to smile when the sky is gray, to serve someone who doesn't wish you to serve them. Ultimately, we are called to do as our Heavenly Father would. We are called to listen to His will. If we truly hope to understand the purpose and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ, then we need to use it daily. We need to change, be better, sacrifice, and recognize the hand of the Savior in that change. I know that My Savior lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives. He lives. He lives who once was dead. Look for the Savior this Christmas. I promise, He has been waiting.

We went out to go see a potential after all our other plans fell through. We parked a little far away with the intention of knocking some doors on our way to her home. After the 2nd door, we found Orlando and Rosa. They were taught in Colombia by some Elders, had been to church many times and had read a little of the Book of Mormon. Even crazier, they had been talking the day before about the Elders and wondering where the Mormon church was in Florida! They've been committed to church, were so excited to get another Book of Mormon, and wanted for us to come back the next day! God sends us to where we are needed.

Love you all!

Hna Lake

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week #69 - Hogwash and Pollywog

I've been learning a lot out of the Proclamation to the World, my Patriarchal Blessing, and my purpose and blessings in this life. It has really opened my eyes to understand that God loves me so very much. Most of the responsibilities He gives to us are to help others receive the same blessings that we have. Truly, we are meant for the blessing and edification of others.

We had a full exchange with Coral Reef South sisters. As we knocked doors in their area, we felt to go down a certain direction. As we walked, we felt to knock a certain door. We met Jose. He said that he used to feel this closeness with God while he was serving in the Navy and now it was gone. He hadn't been able to find it again with any of the churches he has gone to and was searching to find it. He wanted it so badly. We said a prayer with him and he felt that amazing spirit. He came to church last Sunday with his wife and they are now set for the 26th of December. When you have that real intent to find people whilst knocking instead of just pounding on people's doors, God gives them to you!

Sister Alcazar was knocking in our area and found an amazing miracle! They felt to knock on a certain door; Victor. He was cool, they said a prayer but he denied church because of work. However, these Sisters are PMG missionaries! They asked for referrals and Victor told them to come back and pray with his mom. We did and met Gladys. She said she had left another church because it stopped "filling her" and no longer felt that strong spirit she wanted. When we said the prayer we told her to pay attention to how she felt and she said she felt peace. She felt FILLED! She said she wanted to come to church that Sunday. When we went by Sunday morning, she said she couldn't decide if she was going... Satan, Satan, Satan. We testified that if this was true, Satan would try to keep her from it and testified that what she felt was from God. SHE CAME!!!! She loved it. She said she felt so good and that the speaker really touched her heart. She is coming next week, too!

Sister Alcazar and I have been working with Maritza. She is an amazing Cuban lady with some serious sass and she knows it. We love her :) We've been trying to set her with a date for about 2 weeks and she always rejects it. She loved church, loves reading the Book of Mormon, feels such enormous peace after she prays to know it is true but always says the same thing when we ask her how she will act on her answer, "I will continue learning!" But this last time was different. We left her 2 Nephi 31:1-13 to read and when we came back to round her up for church, she committed herself to be baptized the 2nd of January. We left it in God's hands and He worked a miracle! God works miracles through the Book of Mormon.

Sister Alcazar and I have been praying so hard to find a Venezuelan family of 3 and this week, we found them! We finished all that we had planned and then our back ups (you need back ups for your back ups in missionary work) and decided to go visit a member who was less active and stood out to us on the list. We shared a prayer and then asked for referrals and they sent us down the street. As we were walking, Sister A said we needed to knock this door. Dulce answered. She said she didn't have time, but we were persistent and she let us in. Turns out, she avoids churches but she felt something different during our prayer and accepted to come to church!  When we went back to teach her she said that when she opened the door she saw a blonde girl with clear blue eyes and that she seemed to almost glow. She could feel that we had something different and could see it in my eyes. That's why she let us in!! God works miracles!

I love you family. I hope all our miracles make you stop and look for them in your life. They are there! 

Hna Lake 


Monday, December 7, 2015

Week # 68 - I Love being a Missionary!

Dearest Family- 

I love everything about being a missionary. It's so much fun!! You get to save lives out here. That's what it means to be in the work of Salvation right? 

I've been studying more about the 4th missionary this week and trying to also become more converted to our mission focus of baptism and dates for baptism. As I was studying on page 11 of Preach my Gospel, it clicked for me why it is necessary for us to baptize others into this specific church with this authority. Our purpose and privilege on this earth is to change to become more like our Savior. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the pathway we have been given to make that possible. We must have faith, repent and be baptized with His priesthood authority so that the Holy Ghost can be our Sanctifying Companion. Until we help these people accept the message of the Restoration, their true purpose in this life will be closed to them. Of course, the Spirit can touch them AT TIMES but the sanctifying experience that we all need to receive in order to complete our purpose here will not be available until they are baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

I have never been so grateful for my mission. It saved my life. I'm not being dramatic, I really do believe that my mission has saved my life spiritually, temporally, and emotionally. It's been one of the dang hardest things I have ever done; however, through my mission, my eyes have been opened to an understanding of the gospel, myself, my potential, and my purpose here on earth. With gratitude, I am learning more about the importance of baptism and it has made me want to bring it to all people. I finally understand more of who I am. I understand more about my divine nature, the love of a Father in Heaven and my potential. I understand the purpose of my life, the gift of the Atonement, and the perfect plan of my Heavenly Father. I WANT EVERYONE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT I NOW DO! It makes it a whole lot easier to be committed to something when you know and understand who you should be. If you are struggling with your testimony of the gospel open up your scriptures, read the talks of men called by God to instruct you and stop trying to find God's answers from Satan's resources. I know that this is my Savior's church. I know it!
This past month at a Zone Conference, I had the opportunity to pretend to be the investigator of two sweet sisters (one of which was Sister Becky might know her?). They taught me the Restoration so simply and then asked me one simple question. "What would it mean to you if this young boy really did receive this vision?" One simple question. It completely dumbfounded me. I had to go deep within my heart to find the answer. I thought and then said, "It would mean this really is the church of my Savior!" Tears welled up in my eyes as the Spirit whispered to me that this was true. I knew without a doubt that what I had said was true. This is the best and only way to be happy, to find peace, to be relieved of guilt and shame and to progress in this life. It is the best and only way because it is our Heavenly Father's way.  

I received this answer slowly. Took me about a year. After studying extensively, both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and through lessons given me through apostles of God, I came to the conclusion (intellectually) that this was God's church. It made sense. Everything fit together. There were similarities between then and now. "Sure, why not!" I thought. But then I realized that my testimony needed to be gained by faith. I began to pray, and to continue praying daily, to receive my testimony that this is my Savior's church and to grow in my faith. It's worth it. It brings so much goodness and joy!!

 We received a referral from a recent convert in Virginia this last week for a man named Luis. What a miracle that man is. His life is less than wonderful right now and he started drinking heavily. One day, his friend from Virginia told him that he was sending missionaries to his home. Luis stopped drinking that day. He hasn't drank for 3 weeks! He has such a hard time reading but when we committed him to read the introduction of the Book of Mormon and to pray about it, he tried. He said that after he prayed, he felt such joy and happiness and wants to continue reading in the children's Book of Mormon. He is so humble and wonderful. WE LOVE HIM!


Hna Lake