Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Week #43 - Feliz Navidad!!!

First off, when I tried to write a smiley face at the end of the overly eager subject line, I accidentally hit the wrong parenthesis, and almost sent this off with a grumpy scrooge frowny face. I considered leaving it, mainly because I thought it was funny, but decided against it :)  

Merry Christmas to all! Ah, I hope it has been a beautiful year for all my loved ones :) Here in Argentina, it doesn't really feel much like Christmas since there is an obvious lack of snow, and an even more obvious presence of 100 degree weather. That combined with the fact that no one actually puts up Christmas decoration, feels more like 4th of July in my world :)  


The trees and parks of San Nicolas are beautiful!
Hillary played Papa Noel for the Hermanas of her apartment.  She is such a gem!

Either way, I have loved this Christmas! I really feel like this year I understand more than ever before the story of the NiƱo de Belen. Perhaps it is due to my calling as a representante de Jesucristo at this time, but I have felt my Savior's presence more during this Christmas than ever. What a gift :)  

One of the things that truly touched my heart during this time, is the firm testimony given by the prophet of God and the apostles who lead this divine church with Christ as the head. A part of their proclaimed testimony of the Christ, titled The Living Christ is as follows:

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary.  He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world. 

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—“built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

How dearly I love my Savior! How grateful I am to have the knowledge and testimony that I am a daughter of God and that He, the Omniscient Creator of all, knows me and wants for me to speak with Him. It is a such a privilege to be a missionary for Him, and to bring to the truth to a world that so desperately needs the guidance He gives.

May we always center our lives around Christ, for I know that He lives.  I love you all!! Enjoy the snow for me - I'm off to get a 2nd degrees sunburn, ha ha :)

Love, love, love, Hna Lake
P.S. I got bit by another dog this week :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week # 42 - Abril's Baptism

Hey all!! 

Basically, what I have no time to say in words, I made up for with a MILLION pictures of an awesome week :) Basically, we had the Christmas conference in Rosario with our southern half of the mission, along with a yummy lunch, slide show of pictures, and different acts from all the different zones. It was a total blast, and I loved seeing all my mission buddies :) (I can't believe I can say that - I feel like I've heard the phrase `mission buddies' from every RM ever, and feel weird saying it now, ha ha :)

We also had a fun week of exchanges, sleeping outside with the mosquitoes, and the baptism of Abril. Ah, its been a great - albeit CRAZY - week :) 

Baptisim of Abril this last week!! 
Baptisim of Abril this last week!! 
I love this gospel, and I LOVE the Lord! I  love this time of year, and challenge you all to try and focus on the Savior during this time. Also, because anything from my parents, for me, is basically scripture, I'm including something from my Mom that I loved in her email to me this week: 

I love the Nativity story and the reminder that we all take turns playing the roles found therein.  Sometimes we are the shepherds in the field tending flock, sometimes we are the angel sharing a divine message, sometimes we are the wise men seeking the Savior and following the star - but may we never be the innkeeper who had no room for Him.  I always hope to bring gifts, to seek Him, to love Him.  I do so love my Savior and feel such a reverence and love for Him and a gratitude for His presence in my life.  You have the privilege of sharing this message - you are such a joy to me! 

Sorry to mooch off your spiritual thought Mom - I really do love it, and love the peace that we can feel during this time of year! For those who feel they lack the peace or joy they would like in this life, we invite you, as does your Savior, to come and learn more of Him :) I know there is hope, I know there is peace :) - go there and learn more!  

Love you ALLLLLL! :) (so much love in missionary emails, ha ha :) 

Smile, and have a great week! Hna Lake

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week # 41 - Dancing in the Rain

Greetings one, greetings all.

A disclaimer - this keyboard is terrible, and please don't cringe at all my misspelled words. We`ll just blame it on the keyboard and time, and not on my English, deal? :) Not my fault - I have never actually had an American comp since TN, and I actually rather like it that way. I learn a ton about other cultures, and my Spanish is getting better everyday :)  

I love my Argentine Sky
On that note, off we go for some fun facts!! 

1) Did you know that literally EVERY SINGLE country in South America cooks rice differently? Hna Ruiz is from Colombia, and made some Colombian rice this last week when we didn't have lunch with a member. It`s dang good :) My favorites are the curry rice from Chile, Arroz con leche de Peru, and chicken and rice from Colombia :)  

2) Okay, this isn't actually my own language blunder, but I got such a kick out of it, its totally worth including. First, some definitions:  

Villano = villan

Villero = the name for a person who lives in the villa, or slums. 

Villano favorite = despicable me (no idea why the title is so different, but there you go) 

Scene - in the chapel, with Elder Smith and Valenzuela:

Elder Valenzuela - what movie should we watch this Pday? 

Elder Smith - Hm... my vote would be Villero Favorito 2

Elder Valenzuela- `cue the blank stare, then unable to actually say anything because we all started laughing so hard` 

Okay, maybe no one else thinks its that funny, but I got a good giggle :)  

3) Hna Ruiz cut my hair this last week! Looks way better than the time I cut my own hair with a pair of kindergarten scissors in my bathroom. Feels a lot shorter, but a heck of a lot cooler with the heat, so I'm happy :)  
This is called `dulce de membrillo`, and is suuuuper yummy. It's basically jam, but firm, and tastes exactly like fruit leather! I'm a fan, and eat it with crackers
4) Another thunderstorm this last week! Seriously, in the summers here, we literally have ROCKIN thunderstorms about every 3 days. Its always the same pattern - Ridiculous heat that literally saps every ounce of energy you have, huge thunderstorm in the night, and the next day, a cool front that feels amazing for about... 12 hours until the pattern repeats and ridiculous heat rolls back in. It's great :) 
 A huge thunderstorm rolled in and we all ran outside on the balcony to cool off in the rain, because it was HOT. Hna Condori - who is constantly giggling and dancing around - started dancing in the rain, and we started up a dance party. It was such a blast :)  I don't wear EFY t-shirts and wet skirts when I'm proselyting - it was a quick change from my PJs :) I love these girls and I love ARG!

Maria Sosa - she was companions with my MOM in Buenos Aires during her mission!!!!!
She is actually in the other ward, but my Mom told her that I was serving in San Nicolas, and she tracked me down :) I felt like I had a tiny bit of my Mom with me for a moment. 
5) I was at a lunch this last week, and on of the Hnas was showing me pictures of the time that she went to Mexico to serve the missionaries there. Her daughter is married to the mission president, so they went to visit for Christmas and help out. While I was looking through the pictures, I suddenly did a double take and said - that's my MTC TEACHER! And all of a sudden, there I was, at a small table in Argentina, looking at pictures of my MTC teacher standing next to my Primary president in my ward. It was a strange moment, but pretty funny :)  
I love you all! Thank you for your examples and lessons to me through my life -remember the quote that says that the Lord often answers our prayers through other people? One way that the Lord answers my prayers is by bringing to my remembrance things that you have said to me, or interactions that we have had. The other day, the Lord helped me remember the example of my parents in paying tithing to teach me the principle of example. I remember Eden's constant ability to think and notice the smallest of needs of other people, and unquestioningly act on those. I think of Carissa's reactions to stress, and her understanding of the importance to build ourselves before we can build others. Mason's ability during his mission to speak with the power of God, because of his unyielding obedience. Brayden's example of not allowing the personalities of others to knock down your own. You are such a part of my mission, and I am so grateful for your presence and example. Thank you for being my joys - I love you so!! 
I've been learning a lot lately, especially about how to help others, but not to the point that you sacrifice your own obedience. A huge goal that I have had lately has been the following - to learn to focus on the PEOPLE, and not on the TIME. That has really been a struggle for me during my mission -I am so motivated by obedience, that sometimes I get so wrapped up in being obedient, that the people get lost along the way. I have learned and progressed SO MUCH in this aspect this past transfer, and am very humbled and grateful for the chance to do so. 
Overall, its been a great week. Thank you for all your support and prayers! I love you all, and am so grateful for the chance to serve my God. I love my mission, and I especially love the Book of Mormon. Hna Condori and I are actually giving a lesson today in our zone meeting about the Book of Mormon, and I have loved the chance to study this sacred book more in detail. For those who haven't read the Book of Mormon lately, as they should - and you all know who you are - I encourage you to act upon the promptings that you have received, and that you are surely feeling even now as you read this. Take advantage of this book of revelation, meant exactly for our day. In all the history of the world, only select few have ever had the chance to read the writings and inspiration by these prophets. Thousands of years, millions of people, and this book was brought through it all specifically for our day, for our time. The Lord knows that the families will suffer, that it will be difficult to protect your children, that there will be great confusion. And for that, he started preparing to help us back before Christ even came. Take advantage of this book, and share it with the world. Only with daily exposure to the Book of Mormon and following its principles can we find joy in our marriages, peace in our homes, and satisfaction in this life. 

Really, I am loving my time here. There is so much that we learn in a mission that we can never learn otherwise. Its the best decision I have made thus far in my life, and I know that I will use the things I am learning here for the rest of my life.

I love you all :) Have a good day!  

Hna Lake


Monday, December 2, 2013

Week # 40 - Say Cheese!

Dear One and All, 

Well, I`ve been slightly distracted all through my emailing time, since I got the news that two of my favorite people in the whole world - Carissa Pettit and Mason Stewart - are TOTALLY ENGAGED! Ah, I`ve been grinning like a loon here in the ciber :) I am so amazed by all the blessings that come when you are serving a mission! I couldn't possibly think of better blessings for two of my dearest friends than to be sealed in the temple together. Ahem. However, Brayden and Karis, no pressure to run and get hitched, ha ha :) I think 2 weddings during my mission is enough. :) If I get news that anyone is pregnant, I`ll just deal with that when it comes :)  
Writing YOU ALL on Pday
after playing handball for about 3 hours, haha :) I was WASTED!!

Phew! Good week! Tiring week since its getting dang hot here (I seriously say the same thing every week, and I'm chugging water like a champ. Eden, even you and your water swigging self would be proud :)  

Best news of the week? Abril Campiotti has progressed enough, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized! She will get baptized on the 15th of December - we are THRILLED! It will be an incredible blessing to this ward, since there has not been a baptism in a whole lot of time, and I think many of the members were starting to disbelieve that it was possible. How incredible it is to see the reminder that NOTHING is impossible for the Lord when we allow him to work :)  

I am thrilled, and loving my mission :) What a happy week it has been! Thank you for all of your love and support - I hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and know that I am thankful for all of YOU!  

Love, Hna Lake :)