Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Week #4 - Brought to my knees...


Ah, I love emailing everyone! It always makes my day to write all those who love me about how much I love the MTC! And if you don't really love me, then just pretend you do, so I can still feel good about emailing you :)  

This week has been NUTS! Ha - I sound like Sister Lake Senior :) I feel like Eden says that in every email she sends home ever, true? True! Also, I need to preface this bit o' news with a disclaimer - I know that you all know my personality, and know that I'm not boasting when I say this, so thank you for having that faith in me. As promised, I will always truthfully update you all on the news of my mission . That being said, this week has been especially nuts since Hma Goodrich and I were called as coordinating sisters last week. For those who may not know what that means, we learn that out God is a God of order - everything in His true church is organized and delegated so that all are taken care of and under the watchful care of someone else. For example, our Prophet Thomas S. Monson is at the head of the church, guiding through the will of God. Then, we have 12 apostles who are over the quorums of 70 (correct me if I'm wrong on any of this), who then delegate to Area Authorities (for example, there is someone over the area of Western Washington) who then delegates to Stake Presidents (Stakes are smaller quadrants of an area), and a stake consists of multiple wards. A ward is made up of a couple hundred people, who have a bishop over them. This example of leadership delegation clearly shows our Heavenly Father's will for order, and the assurance that all of his children have someone from whom they can seek help. This principle is no different in the mission field - multiple districts/branches (a branch is about 12 missionaries) make up a zone, and multiple zones make up a mission - the MTC mission. In this situation, there are district leaders to preside over those in their district, and  zone leader over the whole zone. However, since the White handbook ( a book of inspired instruction for missionaries) says to never counsel a missionary of the opposite gender, district and zone leaders cannot counsel with sister missionaries if they need it; this is where the coordinating sisters come in - we're over all the sisters in the zone.  

Phew. That was a long explanation - I hope you understood all that!! Anyway, it's a wonderful calling,and I love getting to know the sisters in our zone. Hermana Goodrich and I have noticed our companionship getting stronger already, and our growth increasing just in the few days since we were called. It's amazing to see what the Lord can do with us when we are willing! Anyway, it's a wonderful calling, though we're left with even less time than we had before - between physical therapy/doctor appointments and coordinating sisters responsibilities on top of regular classes and missionary work, life is super crazy. Planning our days has suddenly become a matter of life/near death! :) 

On that note Mom, Dr. Weenig finally figured out what was wrong with my knee - I have Femoral Patellar Pain Syndrome, which basically means I pulled my Patella tendon. Wahoo! It's been doing a lot better though - I was relatively pain free until I tried to be super cool and play with the girls in my zone at gym yesterday - you know, building relationships and all that jazz. Anyway, I've been on crazy horse pills of ibuprofen, wearing a knee strap, and doing PT, but doing good! It's hard to miss classes for therapy - it makes me feel really behind - But Hma G and I are doing what we can to stay caught up,and I'm loving it! It's a blessing to have such wonderful people taking care of me - they genuinely care, and want to help :)  

Also, couple fun facts of the week before I run out of time!!

1) We had a district snowball fight after gym the other day when it snowed in UT - Hma B hit Elder Hasleton right in the forehead, and he had a big ol' red mark for a few hours. It was pretty funny :)

2) I have the best oldest sister ever!! Sister Lake senior sent me a box of roses the other day as a pick-me-up. What a blessing you are to me Eden!! I love you so, and will write you back :) It made my day/week/life, so thank you :) (Though all my zone thought I had just gotten proposed to or something... that was a fun rumor to address :)

3) when I was going to a PT appt, our driver taught Hma G and I some phrases in Romanian (where he served) including a sentence that is ALL vowels (yia oa ea uu, o something like that) that translates to "that is her sheep"
4) I've almost actually used up a whole bar of soap! Has anyone actually done that by themselves before? I never have, and seriously wish soap companies would put a prize in the middle of that bar - or at least send you a certificate of achievement if you mange to use the whole bar without losing it

5) Riss, I get complimented on my CTR ring DAILY! I've had multiple people ask me where I got it from, and sometimes I answer back "from TBC" :) 

TIMES UP!! Love you all, miss you muchos, and I KNOW THIS GOSPEL IS TRUE!!!  I love being a missionary - I have never been closer to my God than when I am pushed the hardest, and dedicating my time to Him. How blessed I am! 


Hma Hillary Lake

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Week #3 - Featuring thoughts on Alma 26

Dear All, 

Good morning!! Fun update on the MTC - although the sun may look shiny and beckon you to come study in its glorious warmth, don't be deceived!! It's been sunny/freezing here the past few days - y no me gusta :)  

Sometimes, I have strokes of brilliance and remember to actually keep note in my planner of all the things that I want to include in my email home; sometimes I don't and forget to bring my planner with me. Oops :) Hypothetically speaking, if I remembered anything, I'd be a genius.  

However, I do have my journal, and there are a few things in there that I feel would be good to share this week!!

This week's message is brought to you by Alma 26 - a wonderful chapter that reminds us all to keep perspective amongst trials. For background, the Book of Mormon is a record of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas - similar to how the Bible is a record of the ancient people in Jerusalem. Same as the prophets that the Lord called to lead his people in the Bible (Moses, Abraham, etc.), the Lord called prophets in the Americas to guide his people as well, since He loves all children equally. Although the Book of Mormon has many accounts and messages from such prophets, I want to focus on a man named Ammon. Ammon, though not called as a prophet, was a very righteous man who gained a strong witness that the only way to attain happiness in this life, is through abiding by the Lord's gospel and maintaining the covenants found within, and decided to serve a mission to share this message. However, Ammon was a Nephite, a group of people who was sorely hated by another group, the Lamanites. Ammon had such a desire to share the gospel message with his brethen the Lamanites, that he was willing to go into their lands to try and share this message, knowing that he would likely be hated and even killed on the spot. However, Ammon knew that with the Lord, he could do all things!! So, he was promised safety and left to go serve the Lamanites. For times sake, I cannot share all of the miracles and wonders that the Lord was able to work through Ammon, but he ended up bringing thousands to the Lord's true gospel, and helped them see that through Christ, their Savior, they can always change and feel His love. As he is recounting his experience to his brethen later on, we read in Alma 26

27) Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us and said; go amongst thy brethern the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give you success. 

This scripture alone is fascinating to me, for it is a reminder of a couple reasons.  

1- no matter how strong or faithful of a missionary you are, you will always have hard times - for truly, Ammon is arguably one of the best missionaries in this record, and even he had times when he felt down.

2- I love the order in this scripture - the Lord comforts Ammon, then quickly follows it up by saying "go amongst thy brethern, the Lamanites" - aka, "go preach to those who have hated your people for hundreds of years, and who will likely try to kill you on the spot". Sometimes, the Lord doesn't coddle us when we are feeling down - He challenges us! Difficulties aren't an excuse to back out of the fight or to forget our purpose - none showed this principle better than Christ himself, who even on the very day of atonement and crucifixion - the longest and darkest day of His life - He never backed down or acted in a way contrary to His divine purpose. He showed love and mercy, even up until His last moments on the cross.

3- The Lord doesn't promise lack of afflictions - rather, the opposite! He promises that you WILL have afflictions - but with that acknowledgement, He gently promises that if we bear such afflictions with patience, He will give you success. What a wonderful reminder!!  

If we continue reading, we learn that Ammon did indeed face great afflictions - they were "cast out, mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again" (Alma 26:29). However, amongst all these difficulties, Ammon's attitude mirrored that of our Savior - he never forgot his purpose or lost eternal perspective. 

30) And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.

Sometimes in life, we will have occasions when we might have every excuse to forget our purpose, mistreat another, or justify our poor actions with "I'm just having a really bad day". However, this statement cannot be said without offending the Spirit; for, in the Lord's darkest hour, the occasion when He would have had EVERY excuse to speak shortly with those that mocked His perfection or hated Him, He still suffered silently, and with love in His heart. Some of His last words before His miraculous resurrection was asking forgiveness on behalf of those who mistreated Him so. What a challenge to us, and what examples both Ammon and Christ are to us - in our daily lives, we will NEVER have an occasion when we can justify speaking shortly or treating another wrongly. Christ allowed no such exception for Himself, and He truly suffered more than any of us. I know that He suffered for all of us.  

What a reminder to me, and what a challenge to all of us! This week, and for our lives, may we resist the urge to justify our short comings with excuses of "he/she started it", "he/she treated me so badly", or even "I'm just having a bad day". We don't get "freebie bad days" - our Savior didn't, and nor do we :)  

I love you all! I love my Savior, and know that there is nothing of more worth in this life than the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and the saving covenants contained within! May we all accept the Lord's challenge for us to be better - for we are promise that if we "bear with patience [our] afflictions, the Lord will give [us] success".

Hermana Lake

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week #2 - The beginnings of Chivalry Days


Sometimes, im so happy and excited with life, that I dont know how else to express it besides in caps lock :) Also, this MTC keyboard is in Spanish, so if there are random nonsensical characters... not my fault :)  

PHEW! This week was SUCH A GOOD WEEK! For starters, it was my birthday on Monday, and it was the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! Thank you SO much to all those that took the time to send me a note or package - Mom, Justin Barnes, Allison Barnes, Elder Johnson, Sister Lake, Parissa Cettit, Jessie Gilley, Candice, Dad, Aunt Heather Demars, and Aunt Melinda specifically; thanks so much! I loved hearing from you all :) I promise I'll send response letters out sometimes soon - I'll probably be writing out letters so much this P-day, my fingers will be smokin' by the end of the day.  

Anyway, couple of fun facts about this week:

1) Hermana Goodrich and I started this tradition called "Chivalry Days". As many of you may know, the LDS mission structure is very inspired, and one component of the "system" is companionships. This means that two different missionaries (always of a same gender) are assigned to be each other's companion 24/7 for one transfer (around 6 weeks). The Lord spreads his word through the mouth of more than one witness! Anyway, since my companion and I are obviously both girls, we don't have any gentlemen around to help us out. SO, we decided to alternate "chivalry days" - when it's our chivalry day, we open the door for each other, give each other smashing compliments, and all sorts of goodies. It's super fun, and the Elder in our district thinks we're hilarious/super wierd. Both are probably accurate. 

Sister Elayne Johnson and I

2) Mom, I saw Sister Elayne Johnson! And Elder Doug Wadley, and Sister Quick
3) Mom, I just have to say - I LOVE YOUR PERFUME! For those that don't know (meaning, everyone except for my Mom and I probably :) the Sunday before I left, I was telling my Mom how much I loved her perfume - how it was so distinct to me, and how it reminded me of her so distinctly everytime I smelt it. Unbeknownst to me, she had gotten me a small bottle of her perfume and snuck it into my bag before I went to the MTC - as I was unpacking on my first day, I opened it up to find a sweet note from my Mom, and her smell bottled up in my hands. It was so wonderful, and I love wearing it! I only wear it every once in a while (since it kind of puts the Elders in our district in a daze when we smell too delicious :), but I feel like I'm getting a hug from my Mom every time I do. Best ever!

4) Also. This is just hilarious and totally worth mentioning. I feel like my friends and family really do know me so well, when I received multiple packages contain avocados for my birthday. Thanks guys - clearly, you all know me very well :) Plus, I feel super cool sneaking vegetable contraband into the cafeteria to put on my delicious salads! Life is good in the MTC, but even better when you have sneaky avocados!  

5) Yesterday was an awesome Sunday - Hma Goodrich and I are in the MTC choir here (Elder's Crump and Stewart - it really is as great as you said!) and got to sing in the Fireside yesterday. It was super fun, and really brought the Spririt. (that is, up until the high-strung/stressed out Sister next to me start bouncing her leg like no tomorrow and shaking the whole row of chairs - I'd probably be annoyed if I wasn't laughing so hard. Seriously! she seemed to think she was a racehorse in a skirt! She was just going to town next to me :)
6) THE MTC HAS ALMOND JOY ICE CREAM!! Gracious family, I almost love it as much as you. Almost. It's coconut flavored with almonds and chocolate, and makes me feel like I'm in heaven each time I eat it. Muy bueno :)  

Hm. I should probably elaborate a bit more on birthday celebrations, since I don't really know what else to write about (unless you want to hear a more detailed description of racehorse girl - I could probably talk about that a little longer, but I'd start laughing in the computer lab, so we'll skip it :). Mi companera Hma Goodrich was super sweet for my birthday, and had a package delivered. She got me some fun stuff at the Bookstore here - a beautiful black scarf, an AMAZING journal with a picture of temple square on the front (Sister Lake Sr. would like it :), and a watch (actually, there's a funny story with that - when I was preparign for my mission, I was reading through the packet that was sent with my call, and reading through the "what not to bring". On the list was "alarm clocks". In my hurried reading rush, I just assumed this meant that the MTC would have a wake up alarm for us or somethign - when I got to the MTC, I was very confused when my obedient companion pulled out a giant pink alarm clock. I fount out rather quickly that we weren't supposed to bring alarm clocks that were radio accesible - since I missed that memo, I've been time-clueless since I've always used my phone for time. My companion finally took mercy on me and bought me a watch from the bookstore - it was super sweet, although she still teases me about it... sigh.)  Anyway, she put together this cute package for me, and gave it to me that morning. My hermanas in my district announecd my birthday everywhere we went, and everyone was super sweet about it. Actually, favorite conversation of the day right here: 

Elder Rich (zone leader): Hermana Lake, is it really your birthday!

Me: Yep! It is!

Rich: Well, Happy birthday! How old are you turning?

Me: 21

Elder Primm (nearby Elder): Oh... well, don't worry Sister, you don't look a day over 18!
Me:.... I don't know if i should be offended by that or not. 

It was super funny. To all the 18 yr olds here, they look at us 21 yr olds (don't I sound so dignified when I say that. I'm... 21. Yes.) like we're about to sprout white hair. It's pretty funny :)

This is the view from Hma Goodrich and I's favorite studying spot in the morning. We're on the fifth floor of on of the buildings here (Bldg 18, if that means anything to you), and there's all sorts of pros and cons with that. Pros - amazing view in the morning, and amazing calves from walking up 5 flights of stairs about 6 times a day. Sister Snailio would be covetous :) Cons - super sore calves from walking up 5 flights of stairs about 6 times a day. Anyway, Hma Goodrich and I always study by a giant window on the fifth floor in the mornings -it's beautiful!
My whole district!! From left to right - Elder Lindeman (district leader), Elder Summers (who brought a plastic unicorn that he keeps in his white shirt pocket to "protect his heart"), Elder Creer (who is actually from Richland and knows the Gills/is a super good basketball player), Elder Hasleton (who is slightly OCD), Hma Johnansen (art major from Snow college, SUPER artsy), Hma Bateman (who is HILAROIUS! She has the best stories I've ever heard:) , Hma Froerer (can french braid like a boss), Hma. Morris (Does a really good Golem interpretation), Me (on cloud nine because I have avocado contraband) and Hma Goodrich (who is, of course, wearing pastel colors, lace and high heels. She's super cool :)
I love you all! I suppose last thought I'd leave you all with is this - I learned a valuable lesson this past week. In our life, many of us have righteous desire to be completely obedient to the Lord and follow his principles and commandments excatly. However, it is easy to become so caught up in this desire, that you lose sight of what your purpose really is, and end up exhausting yourself. Hma. Goodrich and I learned this lesson the hard way, as we would get up earlier to work out before class, then try to study for every break, etc. However, we learned this - just the same as your obedient desires would never allow you to go any lower than the bar the Lord has set for you, so must you never go any HIGHER than His standard. If you do, you are still being disobedient, no matter if your working higher or lower than your expectations from the Lord. He loves us! So very much, and so very individually and dearly. I know this is true, for I have felt it SO strongly here! 

And I love you all as well :)  

Love, love, love,

Hma Lake  

P.S. Best scripture of the week, right here! And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual. D&C 67:10 - the promises to those of the Lord's ordained are so powerful! That's the scripture I memorized this last week, and the goals I'm working toward. Wahoo!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thoughts on Charity: The Pure Love of Christ

A letter from Grandma and Grandpa Demars

Dear Family and friends:

It's been awhile since we've written.  We are still alive and love the gospel.  I am being put to shame by our wonderful grandchildren who are serving missions for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Our latest, dear Hillary, is in her second or third week in the Provo MTC.  How we love all our missionaries.  She is number 5.  By the time we get home, three will have returned home but barely.
We know what they are in for.  The most challenging, yet most rewarding experience of their lives to date.  What a blessing it is to serve the Lord and truly be an Ambassador for our Savior Jesus Christ.
Yesterday was a "red letter day" as mission days go.  The Lord opened up my mind and literally "poured" revelation into my mind.  It happened while we were attending a District meeting, which is where all the missionaries attend a weekly meeting and receive training.  We were reading in 3rd John about love when it seemed that my mind was opened and I realized for the first time what Mormon was talking about when he said concerning Charity, that we should pray unto the Father with "all the energy of heart" that we may be filled with this love, which he has bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son Jesus Christ.  I have read this passage many, many times and for the first time, I GOT IT.  When the Lord says "that if we have not Charity we are nothing".  I didn't fully appreciate the full meaning of those words.  John, who is referred to as "the Beloved" in the new testament describes God as "God is Love".  I've always wondered about that statement and then it came.  Love, or Charity which is "the pure love of Christ" is the most powerful force in the universe short of the Priesthood of God.  If we understand and apply love in our lives it will change us in everything we do or say. It will give us more power over the adversary than anything else we can pursue in this life.  When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, He answered, "That we must love God with all our heart, with all our minds and all our strength", and the second commandment was like unto it, "that we should love our neighbor like ourselves".  (If those aren't the exact words, please forgive me).  What Jesus was saying was that Love had the power to change our very natures.  If we truly love the Lord and love our neighbors, we would have no desire to do ill to anyone.  Gone would be the need to be critical or to "judge others", gone would be the taking of offense at what others might say.  You would have your minds so filled with love for others that it would be impossible to think that they might be saying harsh things about you.
I thought about Christ on the cross talking to John the Beloved and saying unto him, "behold thy mother", and to the grieving Mary, "behold thy Son".  And the scripture says that from that moment he took her with him unto his own home.  Have you ever wondered why Jesus would ask John to take care of his mother?  Remember, Jesus had other brothers, one of which became an apostle, James.  Why didn't Jesus remind James of his duties to his mother.  I feel it was because of the love that John had not only for Mary but for EVERYONE.  Jesus knew that John would "Love" his mother like no other mortal here on the earth and that's what he wanted. That's why he was called "the beloved" because of his tremendous capacity to love.  As you read through the book of John in the New Testament, and then through the books of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John (all written by the same author) you will see the word love is written there more than by any other author in the Bible.  Who was it that loved people so much that he wanted to be able to share the gospel with them until "Christ returned to the earth again".  John the Beloved.  I just can't imagine how hard that would be.
One of the exercises we performed yesterday at District meeting was "how to correct a companion who was being  less obedient" in keeping the mission rules.  We are told that "obedience brings blessings, EXACT obedience brings Miracles."  How to accomplish that without bringing contention into a relationship was addressed.  I felt inspired to suggest that instead of trying to "call that companion to repentance" that perhaps a better way was to "pray to love that companion with "all of our hearts".  I can speak from experience that this works better in a marriage or in any other relationship than trying to "change" your companion, or the other person.  The truth is that we can only "change ourselves" and by so doing your "change of spirit" will do wonders to set an example for others.  Once again the "power of love" can perform miracles.
Think of what they did to Christ as the scourge him, smite him and spit upon him and he suffereth it because of his " loving kindness and long-suffering for the children of men."  We are told that we must "cleave" unto Charity which is the "pure love of Christ", and if we should be possessed of it at the last day it will be well with us.
Frankly, I  feel so inadequate and unable to express  my feelings of that which was conveyed to me through the spirit. I would make this observation.  If we begin to be filled with this Charity of which Mormon speaks we will be unbelievably kind. We could never conceive in doing anything that might harm, hurt, downgrade, or offend another.  We could suffer all things and would be willing to, to avoid hurting the feelings of another person.  We would not seek for recognition, be impatience, gossip, or think evil of another person.  We would not seek for the praise of the world.
I know what I have just written it true.  I would urge us all pray about it, ponder the words of Mormon in Moroni chapter 7, and then follow his admonition that we will  "pray with all the energy of heart, that we might be filled with this love."
Mom and I love our mission.  We are continually reminded that the "mission is as much for the growth of the missionary as it is for the people you might serve.  We love you.  We pray for all of you.  Each of us has his or her individual challenges.  Charity will help you to overcome them.
Love, Grandma and Grandpa Demars - currently serving in the Laoag, Philippines Mission


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Week #1 - My journey begins!


Just to add a bit o' Hermana Hillary spice to my email, I was tempted to start off with "Hola home skillets!", but then I realized the White handbook (the inspired book of LDS missionary guidelines, as set out by the Lord through his modern apostles on the earth today, for this who don't know) says to have "dignified speech" and avoid slang. So... I just snuck it nonchalantely into this sentence instead. Because that's so much better, right? :)

Guys. I'm at the MTC.

Seriously! It's the coolest place ever! All my life, I've seen LDS missionaries, heard the stories, and known all the "lingo". However, I never really imagined that I too woudl someday be a part of this sacred work, but through the Lord's guidance and hard core hints, I AM! It's a wonderful feeling :)  

I guess I'll rewind to day 1 and sum things up from there: as many of you know, I was dropped off on temple square to be a companion wtih my sister, Eden Marie Lake, last monday. Though it was just over a week ago, it feels like a whole other LIFE TIME has passed since then. To sum it up, temple square was an AMAZING experience, and I have already used much of the knowledge/examples I saw there (from my Sister and her companion, Sister Chung) in my life at the MTc already. For example, I pulled a trick out of Sister Lakes hat, and did a "name 5 good and 3 bad things we did in that discussion" with my companion after ever investigator discussion. It's worked wonders for us so far!! I also LOVED seeing my sister, for she is one of my greatest friends and examples, and I always miss her when she's not around-  not to mention I got to make ANOTHER amazing friend in Sister Chung, who is Sister Lake Sr. companion from Taiwain. She's wonderful :)

After that excitment, mom brought me to the MTC! I love it here - i've heard many a mixed review about emotions that occur in the MTC, but I have loved every uplifiting minute. My compaion is amazing, and definetly inspried to be the woman I need in my life right. Hermana Alyssa Ann Goodrich is her name, and she is just all sorts of wonderful. The first day I got here, my host (the missionary who was helping me get my stuff put away) brought me into my district's classroom. When I walked in, a girl by the door asked "are you Sister Lake?!" I said "yes! Are you Sister Goodrich?! I'm your companion!!" She then hugged/tackled me and started crying almost right away. She said "sister Lake, I have been waiting to meet you my entire life, and been praying for you since the day I turned in my mission papers. I'm so glad you're here!" There is no doubt we were meant to be compaions - we help each other and strengthen each other in so many ways, I love it :) Not to mention she's a super cool girl from Idaho who has a pink shotgun and wears lace and polka dots every day of her life - she's pretty grand :) 

As for the language, my spanish is getting along pretty well! For those taht don't know, I actually took 2 years of Spanish in HS, but forgot most of it after I graduated (since that's what happens with pretty much all info after HS, it feels like :) However, as missionaries of the Lord, we are entitled to ask for "the gift of tongues" as found int he Bible (sorry, I can't remember the reference - help me out Mom? haha, sorry to make you read my mind from 3 states away! :) My companion and I pray for the gift of tongues daily, and have been blessed tremendously! Personally, I have had much of the Spanish I learned in HS brought back to my rememberance, and I often will find myself speaking Spanish words before I can even remember what they mean - it's a gift indeed! As one who tried to learn Russian for 4 months and got absoulotely nowhere, it's amazing to see what more we can accomplish with the Lord on our side! Another thing, the MTC wastes to time at all in throwing you into the work! Hermana goodrich and I taught our first lesson to an investigator (don't worry, he's already a member, so we're not endangering someone exaltation with our awful spanish :) on our second full day here! That was exciting/awful. However, we quickly were able to learn through the Lord, and have improved drastically. In fact, we'll be teaching another lesson leater today, and we plan on using my mom's "Plan of Salvation"visuals that SHE made when SHE was on her mission in Argentina years ago!! (for those who may not know what "The Plan of Salvation" is, please visit, and there is a tab explaining this saving doctring that allows us to live with our families forever!) I love having a part of my mom on my mission with me - truly, she is one of the best examples in my life!! 

Couple fun facts about the MTC:

1) Did you know that the Laundry room is actually underground? You go into a door that's on sidewalk level, but it leads through a delicious smelling tunnel (mmm, laundry smell) that pops you out into an undergroudn laundry room. There's also a bar that goes the length of the room, so you can hang your clothes to air dry if you'd like. However, the MTC elders have magically turned this innocent bar into a challenge of manhood, and try to monkey bar across the entire room without letting your feet touch the ground. I've only known of one elder whos' actually done it, and he's built like popeye. soooo... that make sense.

2) I've heard many a horror story about not gaining weight in the MTC, and quickly realized why - it's buffet style, and I'm amazed at how people seem to interrpret the word "buffet" into "heck with keeping a 2 years supply for food storage - I'll just eat 2 years worth of food now, and then I won't have to organize the shelves of food storage!" No, but really. It's ridiculous. As for me and Hermana goodrich, we're regulars at the "wrap" side of the buffet - gracious, but they're good. Spinich (I had to retype that word about 5 times, becasue I kept accidentally writing "Spanish", hehe :) wraps with bacon and salsa? Amazing.

3) BEST FUN FACT OF THE MTC!! The elders have older closets in their room, which apparently have a secret cupboard on top. If you opent the cupboard, it apparently goes the lenght of the whole closet, and is big enough to hid all sorts of goodies in it! Thus, the Elders have affectionately nicknamed them "Narnia closests". Seriously, one elder was cleaning in a room, and found 10 bags of popcorn inside such a closet. Another found a mini christmas tree. It's pretty cool :)  

Phew. My fingers might just fall off pretty soon here, so I'll wrap up! Basically, just know this - I LOVE being an ambassador for the Lord, and have clearly seen his influence in my life. Although I had a strong knowledge of the gospel before my mission, never have I felt so guided and strengthened in my life - I mean, I've been here a WEEK, and already given 3 discussion in the Spanish langauge. If that doesn't testify of a loving and miraculous Heavenly Father, I don't know what would :) I love being a missionary - though it's often so surreal and I have to remind myself it's really happening, I have never felt so empowered or happy. I can't think of any other way to express the joy and happiness foudn in this gospel than through the words, HALLEJUAH! Hallejuah, and what a glorious Heavenly Father have I :)

I love you all!!
Hermana Hill
P.S. Thanks to all you made my day and sent me letters for my first week in the MTC! Shout out to Mom, Sister Lake Sr, Carissa, Dallin Hunt and Justin! Muchos gracias! :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sister Eden Lake and Hermana Hilary Lake

 February 24, 2013 

Saying good-bye to the family at the airport!
February 25, 2013

What a way to start your mission: Hermana Hillary Lake got the opportunity to serve for 2.5 days with her sister, Sister Eden Lake, on Temple Square! Per Eden's mission president's request, Mom drove Hermana Hillary over to Sister Eden's apartment (Ally followed in another car) for the long-awaited drop-off.  

A tearful reunion after 16 months apart!

The elder Sister Lake is a full-time missionary in the Utah Salt Lake City, Temple Square Mission and will complete her mission on May 1, 2013.
 They were in a trio with a DARLING sister missionary, Sister Chung, from Taiwan! 

 I LOVE these girls! 
February 27, 2013

After two days, Hillary is off to the MTC and her next adventure.  
A tearful departure for another 18 months - the time was too short!
Our "Last Supper" was at Zupa's - along with the rest of the missionary families who were seeing off their loved one that day (it was PACKED!)  Mattie, Carissa, Uncle Tyler, Aunt Jill, and smoochie baby, Asher, came along. Asher didn't eat much...

Hillary, Carissa, and Brett - treasured friends!

Hillary and Mattie - cousins, and sisters-of-the-heart! 
Hillary LOVES her Aunt Jill and Uncle Tyler... Asher is a treasured bonus!
Hillary and Carissa - best of friends - Carissa is FAMILY! 
Argentina will never be the same...  and neither will Hermana Lake!