Monday, August 18, 2014

Week #76 - Life is to be Enjoyed; not Endured!

Hello one, hello all!!  

First off, the best news of the week - sunshine! Technically, we are actually in wintertime right now, but compared to the winter we went through last year (memories of frozen cups of water in the kitchen and blue fingers come to mind, haha) this year is a piece of cake. And as of Saturday, we`ve been back to beautiful sunshine, and all if happy and warm here :)  

Another awesome bit of news - Hna Pérez and Hna Alicea (her comp) are here for Pday with us!! Sorry I'm a super lameo and didn't take a picture of the 6 of us. However, we called and got permission from Pte Zanni to have them come here to pass the pday with us! So, then came down on Sunday night, and we have been together having a blast ever since :) I love the chance I have to see Hna Perez every time we can get together, and her companion Hna Alicea is a seriously champ. She has the same time in the mission as I do, and even though we never really got to serve in the same zone or anything, I have always loved talking to her and admire her a ton. So... they´re both super cool, and it's super cool that we can all be together this pday :) We`ve got a youth activity with all the youth of the stake today, and we`re going to head over there to play a few sports with the youth, and they asked me if I would give a short spiel on the mission for all the young women. Still don't have a clue what I'm going to say, but it`ll be fun :)  

This week has been a great one! We are working a ton, and getting the area all set up for success. It's always a bit of a process, but we have some investigators that are progressing, and were blessed to find a whole lot of good investigators this last week. I think we are going to change the limits again to give the other 2 hermanas of Alberdi a bit more of the area, because it's getting almost too big of a task to juggle everything once again. But all things considered, that's more of a miracle than a problem, so we´re happy :) Few miracles of the week? 

1) This last Sunday, a man named Miguel Chavez came to church. He has been married to Elena Chavez for about 20 years now, and she is currently the primary president. However, in all that time, he has received the missionaries, but never really wanted much to do with the church. However, this last week with a lot of help from the members and miracles from the Lord, he came to church for the first time!!! It was so beautiful to see the members sit by him, help him with the books, and walk him through the classes. We didn't even have to do anything, they all stepped in and did an awesome job :) The goal is to help him accept a baptismal date this week - pray that he does!!  

2) We also found an incredible family this last week. We are working with the Bishop to pass by all the names of the less actives on the ward list that nobody knows, who got baptized 20 years ago and no one remembers them. We have seen incredible miracles from this labor, and one such miracle was this last week when we managed to find Raul Talborda. The registro is actually from his parents who have since passed away, but he was living in the home where they were before. We got to know Raul, his wife Marta, and their 7 children - they got married about a year ago, believe in God, and don't believe in smoking, drinking or allowing their children to go clubbing. Basically, they are so prepared, I was amazed. We invited them to be baptized in the first lesson, and they accepted to do so, but wanted to pray together as a family to accept the baptismal date of September 28th. Pray that they receive their answer, and agree to make the goal as a family!!  

3) Reviewing the ward list, we also found a family who had recently moved into our area, and were praying for help to go back to the church. They have now attended 2 weeks in a row, and will give some much needed support to the ward with their family :)  

Basically, I LOVE being a missionary and seeing all the miracles that the Lord works here in Alberdi. I love this area, I love these members, I love being a missionary, and I love my Salvador Jesucristo. This last week, I was studying in the scriptures and came across the following: 

4 Verily, I say unto you that ye are chosen out of the world to declare my gospel with the sound of rejoicing, as with the voice of a trump.

 5 Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom.

 6 And, as it is written—Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith, being united in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive.

I truly know that if we live the preach the gospel as the Lord intends, we can obtain these verbs used - rejoicing, and to be glad. I love this gospel,  I know it is true, and I know that only through our Savior can we obtain true happiness. 
I love you all!! Stay strong in the gospel of Him, and remember - life is to be enjoyed, not endured:) 
Love! Hna Lake :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week #75 - The Lord Loves Us!

It's been a while since I've sent out a good email, hm? Sorry, things are always so rushed on Pdays!!  I do have some great stories, and a few fun facts from the week though :)  

1) this keyboard is awful. Seriously. Sorry for all the typos right off the bat!  

2) This past week, the Iglesia familia came to church! They are a less active family that we miraculously found, and they told us that they had been praying for help to come back to church. They have come these past two weeks, and are working towards having their baby daughter blessed in the church, and we are working with the Dad, Daniel to receive the priesthood so that he can bless her himself in a few months :) 

3) Do you remember Brian and Soledad, who were baptized a little while ago? He blessed the Sacrament this last Sunday, then stood up of his own accord and gave his testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. I cried, and Soledad too, haha :)  

4) Also giving her testimony was a woman who is from Argentina, but married with an American. They live in the states, but are here visiting for summer break, and have two little kids, both of whom are learning Spanish still. Anyway, the mom got up to bear her testimony, and brought her little daughter up with her. It was super hilarious because as the mom was bearing her testimony, the little daughter got a sneaky look on her face... snuck her face a little closer, and in the middle of her mom's tearful testimony, grabbed the microphone and yelled `CACA!!!`. Google translate it, and you`ll understand why all the little kids dissolved into giggles and the adults were all trying to keep a straight face. On the plus side, looks like she's learning Spanish :)  

5) Super cool story this week. Do you remember of Natalia, Luna and Laureano who all got baptized recently, from the Villareal family? The mom and her youngest daughter were the only members, and when Belen (the daughter) received her mission call, incredible stories started coming about in her family, including the baptisms of Natalia, Luna and Laureano. During the time when they were being taught, we also taught Alejando, the father, who never really wanted anything to do with the church, but started opening a bit more after Belen decided to go on a mission. Anyway, Hna Pacanchique and I recently started running in the morning for exercises, and got up this morning to do so. Normally, we get up at 6:15 to get dressed and all, so that we can leave at 6:30 and have 30 min to go running. However, on this particular day, for some reason, our alarm didn't go off at 6:15, and went off at 6:30 instead, leaving us less time to go running. However, we decided to go for a quick jog anyway, got dressed quickly, and headed out to do a loop. Since we had woken up later than usual, we just did a quick loop through the neighborhood, and as we rounded a corner, we noticed a man lying on the road in front of us, with another man crouched over him. Based upon the two motorcycles lying nearby, we realized that there had been an accident and headed over to see if we could help. As we got closer, I recognized Jonaton as the man crouched over, who is the brother of Belen Villareal. I then knelt down, and recognized the man on the ground as Alejandro Villareal, the father of the family. I knelt down next to him and said `Hey Alejando, whatcha doing here on the ground?` :) We learned that another motorcycle had hit him as they were heading to work, and we could help them out a little bit to clean up and head to the hospital. I really don't feel like we did that much, but at least he got up, and could walk after a while. The next day, I was talking to Ana Villareal, and asked her how Alejandro was doing. When I did, she started crying, and thanking me profoundly. I just hugged her and said `Ana, we really didn't do anything, I promise.` She then tearfully told me that that afternoon after Alejandro got back from the hospital, he told her what had happened. He told her that he was scared, mainly because he felt a great pain in his hip, and was scared because of the accident. It was cold, he was scared, and a little panicked. However, he said that in the middle of that, he suddenly heard someone greet him, looked up at the missionaries, and suddenly didn't feel any pain at all. As he was relating this story to Ana, he shook his head and said `Ana, I don't know what happened. I was hurting, then they arrived, and it changed everything` 

It was an incredible experience, mainly to see the miracles that our Savior can work for His children here on this earth. I love the parallels that we learn from Alejandros experience. So often, we are scared, alone, and don't know what we will do. Then, we see our Savior and it changes everything. Our Savior and Redeemer knows how to help us. He can help us, and will help us. Please allow Him. 

I love my mission, and I love my Savior!! He truly loves us, and it is such a privilege to be a member of His church, a member of His army. I know He lives!! 

Love, Hna Lake :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Week #73 - The Power of Prayer

Hey guys!!  

I'm letting you know that this email is going to be a doozy ya - I'm fighting with a terrible keyboard, and a super stubborn "A" key sooo...this`ll be fun :) 

It's been a great week! Well, they are always great weeks, and this one was no exception :) Perhaps to explain why, I need to give a bit of background story first.  

Remember about 3 weeks ago when all our investigators got baptized at the same time? It was a wonderful thing, but meant that we were going to be left with no investigators, which is a terrible feeling. As missionaries, we are called to teach, and you will always be at your happiest and most effective state when you are fulfilling that calling, and teaching those that need to hear the message we share. So, in anticipation for this moment, Hna Perez and I talked with Obispo Antuña, and started planning 3 weeks ago what we were going to do when we arrived at this moment. We prayed and worked together, and decided to go to the members list. In each ward in the church, there is a list of all the members who live in that area, many of whom have not come to church in years. We decided that we needed to find those families who were prepared to come back to church, and got to work passing by the homes of every  family and person who didn't know on the list - it totals about 200 people! However, with the now 4 Hermanas in Alberdi we are getting some good progress, and have seen incredible miracles!!  

1) Daniel and Reina Iglesia - we were actually searching for another family, and stopped Daniel to ask him if he recognized their names. Many times the home don't actually have addresses, so it's all a matter of mouth to track them down. He helped us with the family, and when we presented ourselves, said `oh, my wife is a Mormon.` We were a little surprised since we didn't have any members listed in that house, and he told us to wait a moment to go tell his wife we were there. A moment later, he came out, waved us in, and we came into the humble home to meet Reina, with a huge grin on her face. She sat us down, and told us that both she and her husband were members, and had been baptized in another area about 3 years ago, but went inactive when they moved to Alberdi. She told us that she had been aching to go back to church, but was too embarrassed to ask anyone. Many times she had seen the missionaries from far off, and debated going to ask them if they could come and help her come back to church, but  was too embarrassed. She even excitedly showed us her Book of Mormon and baptism picture, posted on her wall and on her night stand table. It was so precious. She is so excited, and already making plans to bless her new little baby girl in the church this month :) We called the bishop, tracked down their records, and have a FHE this night!  

2) Flia Maidana - It is a family of 6  - the single mom with 4 daughters and 1 little boy. We were actually a little hesitant to pass by at first, since all the members told us they didn't want anything to do with the church. But, we went all the same, and they received us wonderfully! the mom and youngest daughter are not members, and are excited to learn more :) 

3) Gladys and Alan - once again, we contacted them trying to track down another family. Gladys is the single mom of Alan (18 years old) both of whom are suffering because the Dad recently abandoned their family. So much grief and suffering. We left the with the Book of Mormon, a powerful book that contains the power to ease the pain of anyone's burden. Gladys began reading, and is excited to learn more :)  

4) Jorgelina and Nestor .- she is a less active, he is not a member. His brother recently passed away, and they are always facing much grief. However, we taught a little about the Plan of Salvation, the plan that our Heavenly Father has for us to understand why we are here on the earth, and how we can achieve an eternal family. Again, excited to learn more AND they gave us free alfajores - double bonus :) 

Basically, it's been an incredible week. The Lord has really helped us find many new investigators, and now we are in the process of helping the progress - reading in the BOM, praying, accepting a baptismal date, and coming to church. I love helping with that :) I LOVE seeing the way in which this gospel changes lives, for truly it does. Yesterday, I was reading in one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon - in the book of Enos. A simple man, who isn't one to truly elaborate or complicate words, but who is a huge example to us about the power of prayer in the process of repentance.  I would love to share a bit of the story with you:

Enos 1:  Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

 4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

 5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

 8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

 9 Now, it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren, the Nephites; wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto God for them.

 10 And while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind again, saying: I will visit thy brethren according to their diligence in keeping my commandments. I have given unto them this land, and it is a holy land; and I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy brethren according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads.

 11 And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites.

 12 And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith.

I love the example of Enos in this moment. When we are TRULY repent, when we are TRULY trying to use the atonement of our Savior, it will never be enough for us to repent and move on. We will feel the desire, the automatic and Christ-like desire, to share this process with others. When we are converted, we will never be satisfied with our own salvation - it is a natural and blessed result that as we draw closer to our savior, we will feel the need to act as he acted, and help one another :) 

I love this work! I love you all, and am so grateful for your prayers on my behalf! i feel their power, and I feel your love. And I love you right back!! :)

Love (told you so), Hna Lake 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week #68 - Father's Day and Birthday!

Hey guys!!  

Okay, sorry but this email will be a little short today. Not because I don't have time, but because I am wrestling with a very stiff, very broken keyboard. My fingers are already hurting from pounding on these things to get a word out, haha :) Hang in there with my bad grammar and typos - already trying to speak English, and throw a broken keyboard in there too? I'm toast, haha :)  

This week was... incredible. I thought the last week topped it, but Hna Perez and I are literally seeing miracles every day. I feel so very blessed to work in an area where my Heavenly Father is furthering the work so very much, and together with the members. 

1) Do you remember the Idan familia? The mom, Betina, is a less active, and her and her husband Guillermo had decided to let their daughter, Valentina, be baptized, and they all came to church yesterday, WITH the full leg cast that Betina has after her hip surgery. Anyway, this week, our zone leaders pulled us aside, and offered us a bit of inspiration they had had - to talk to Guillermo and invite him to be baptized first, receive the priesthood and baptize his own daughter the next week. I`ll admit, I wasn't really on board at first, but I talked about it with Hna Perez, and we decided to obey the counsel and trust our leaders. We went with a member, Walter Olmos a good friend of Guillermo, and talked about it with him. I was totally floored with Guillermo told us `yesterday, I was actually reading in gospel principles about the family responsibilities, and there it says that the father should be the head of the family. So yes, I want to be the one to baptize Valentina`. I was so floored to see the manner in which the Spirit of the Lord works to prepare and teach his children - this is truly His work!  

2) We also have been working with Brian and Soledad. They are a referral from Luis, a man from another ward who works with Brian. Luis talks about the church a lot, and had invited Brian to come - so, he went 45 min on moto with Soledad and loved it. He came to church this last week, accepted a baptismal date - they are getting married on the 23, and baptized shortly after - and are progressing incredibly.  

Truly, this week was an amazing week that helped me realize the worth of the members in the missionary work. For example, with Guillermo, Walter was the one who taught and explained the priesthood and invited him to be baptized - we just backed him up. And with Brian and Soledad, Luis read with him 30 min every day in the Book of Mormon during their work break, and that is exactly why he is progressing so much. There are so many things that the missionaries cannot do, even though they are set apart especifically for this work. We, as the members, have the greatest work. To befriend, support and guide these investigators and converts in a way that the missionaries simply cannot do. So, if you don't know your missionaries, step up, call them up, and invite them for a FHE to teach you how to give away a Book of Mormon, or how to approach someone with the gospel.  

As was mentioned in the General Conference almost a year and a half ago now, ask the missionaries - they can help :) Pray in your family about what it is you need to learn, and call the missionaries this week to invite them for an FHE. Do it. You will see miracles :)  

Love you all!!   Hna Hillbill 

p.s. special hugs to dad for Fathers Day, and mom since today is her BIRTHDAY! Love you both!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week #67 - Miracles of Missionary Work

Hey everyone!! 

To start off, sorry that y´all were email-less last week. It was a crazy week since transfers came and went, and we got together as a zone in the church to have some last pizza and play Uno before everyone all went their different ways. After cooking, cleaning and playing, there wasn't much time left to write :) However, I´ll make it up by telling you some amazing stories that happened this week!! 

Like I said, another transfer has come and gone, and I am still with Hna Perez here in Alberdi! I will be honest, I am actually really grateful. I love my area here, and I love Hna Perez! Sometimes in the mission, I have the tendency to become so focused on the work that I forget to just relax and laugh - and boy, Hna Perez really helps me do that. That girl is completely ridiculous, and we have so much fun together :) I am thrilled that we have another transfer together!

We started off the transfer running, and boy, I think we have seen more miracles in this first week of our transfer than the previous 2 weeks together. I don't know if that borders on apostasy, trying to put miracles in a measureable amount, haha, but you know what I mean :) 

For starters, since it was Fast Sunday this last Sunday, we´ve been working a ton with all the recent converts to help them be prepared for Fast Sunday and fast offerings. All the running around like crazy paid off in a few precious moments of the weekend - when we went to visit Sanda Suarez, a woman who has baptized about 7 years ago, but went inactive almost immediately and has never really been too involved. The elders found her, and we have been working with her a lot. She was able to go to the temple 3 weeks ago, and came back a new woman. On Saturday when we dropped by her house, she came out BEAMING and proudly announced ´I already did what you taught me. I made milanesa, ate some soup, then kneeled down and said a prayer, and won't eat or drink ANYTHING until tomorrow!´ When we were teaching her about fasting, she said that she had wanted to fast before, but was embarrassed to ask, and already had decided for a purpose about a week before. On Sunday, she proudly marched up to the Bishop and handed him her envelope of fast offerings, and was beaming the whole day :)

Also, Natalia and Luna - who were baptized 2 weeks ago - received the Holy Ghost on Sunday, and also came prepared for the Fast Sunday. They both had similar experiences with fasting, and were so excited to see all the blessings that were going to come. When we dropped by on Friday, Natalia told us that she was so excited to go to church on Sunday, since she had messed up on some things during the week and wanted to take the Sacrament :) Her and Luna are such gems, and we love them so much! We are currently working with their whole family, since she has 11 brothers and sisters, and only her and her youngest sister (Belen, who left for the mission this Thursday) and her mom are members. As of right now, one of her nephews - Laureano - has a baptismal date for later in the month, and her Dad and some other siblings are now listening to us. I have gained such a testimony of seeing the blessings that come to the families of missionaries, just working with them. Since the day that Belen got her mission call, the whole family has begun listening to us more and more, and we have really seen miracles. Amazing things will happen with them during the next 18 months, I know :)

Also, remember how I mentioned that we moved last transfer? Well, the family who lives above us, the mom is actually a less active and recently had hip surgery. That has given us a lot of opportunities to serve and help them, which has led to her daughter preparing for baptism, and the whole family came to church this last week :) We have a FHE in the bishops home tonight, and we hope to invite the Dad to baptism as well! Incredible miracles with them as well :) 

That is really only a few, but I am out of time to say more! Honestly, I am blown away for all the blessings that the Lord is working here in Alberdi - the members are incredible, and I have never worked in a vineyard more dedicated to missionary work than here, and I love it :) It really helps me know how I can be a better missionary, and a better member after my mission. 

A few little thoughts - this last week, I also came upon a talk that many RMs will know - The Fourth Missionary. Anyone who has already read it, is already nodding in agreement, because you all know that it is incredible. And for anyone - members and preparing missionaries included - haven't read it, look it up. Anyway, few thoughts from that: ´´ There are those who give of their means, their time and talents, then there are those who give of themselves. Sacrifice, it seems to me is the first. Consecration is the second. In the end, your heart and your will is all that you have to give to the Lord that He does not already have. If you give your time - two years-  and your strength, then you give that which He grants you with each beat of your heart and each breath that you draw. If you dedicate your time and talents, you only return to Him that which He already has given you. If you pay tithing, you only return to Him a tenth of what He has already give you. Everything that you have to give to the Lord, has its origin in Him. Except one thing - your will. He does not have your heart, nor your mind, unless you give it to Him. It is the only gift you have to offer that He does not already have. So, when you give of yourself, you give everything to Him. 

Trust Him, that He will make of you immeasurably more than what you will ever, ever in all eternity make of yourself. He will create of you a masterpiece. You will create a smudge. You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God.´´ 

I love, and testify of my Savior! That is perhaps the best part of the mission - testifying of Him. I love this work, and I love you all!! Have a wonderful week, and may we all strive to depend a little more upon Him, for it is only through Him that we may accomplish all the incredible potential that we have as children of an omnipotent, living God. He knows and loves you :) 

Love, Hna Lake!! 

PS - this week is a week of events!! Happy birthday to Karis (last week, haha), Mason, and Mommy!! Happy Father's Day to Dad!! And happy ACT to Jameson, haha :) 

P.P.S. Eden, I forgot to tell you - I LOVED the exercise log that you made. Its AMAZING! you can tell that you put a lot of time into it - thanks so much! I love it, printed it out and am putting it into practice :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Week # 65 - I Love the Book of Mormon!

Hello!

I'm pretty sure that I put the same... what is that thing called? Title line? Subject? Something like that... every single week! Time limits on the computer don't allow for creativity :)  

This week has started getting cold! It's been a good one though, full of the surprises, miracles and trials that the disciples of Christ always face. Sounds like it was the same story on the state side. First off, congrats to Ashley!! Fa, it sounds like you got your call to KOREA?! That is SO NUTS! I am sure that an ample supply of jokes have already been dished out on how you will fit right in there with your towering stature and huge feet, right? :) (I`ll give you a hint, that was seriously sarcastic. I clarify because here, sarcastic isn't used that often, and Argentines don't pick up on it sometimes and actually think I'm serious. I think there was a guy in my old ward who literally thought I was from England the whole 6 months I was in San Nicolas because I jokingly told him so one time, and could never convince him otherwise afterwards, haha :) That is so great! Seems like your `ding how` insult might come into play after all :)  

Also, thanks to all who helped my family with the move this last week! My mom recently sent me pictures of how everything turned out, and it looks BEAUTIFUL! I am sure that there were many hands, and hours involved in the move, so thank you to all. I am so grateful to be a part of a church that so steadily encourages service from its members! As one who is not physically there to take part, it was an interesting role to be on the receiving side of things. I literally feel like you all did a service to me, even though I was never actually there. I understand a little better how our Heavenly Father feels when we serve one of His children now :) So, thanks.  

Couple funny moments of the week:

1) We organized a FHE/dinner with an investigator and a member couple in our ward. It seemed like a good plan at first, but the whole night was just a mixture of... crazy. Seriously, I am getting a headache just thinking about it again, haha :) We started off by going by the pick up Carmen (investigator) who stalled a good 20 minutes, so we got to the house late. By the time we arrived, Hna Bermuchi was seriously ticked because the rice was all overdone since we got there late, and by the time we calmed her down enough to sit down to eat, Carmen announced to the table that he hated rice, and had no intention of eating anything. Hna Perez and I just looked at each other, haha :) The night then proceeded to all sorts of strong character clashes, and ended with Carmen trying to convince Hno Bermuchi that she had the perfect concoction to cure him from his cancer - honey, aloe vera and a bit of every single alcoholic drink known to man, haha :) By the time we finally got everyone home and ran home ourselves, I had the biggest headache I`ve had in a while, haha.  

2) We did divisions with the Hna of Beltran this last week, and it went great! Hna Withers was telling me about their landlady, who also happens to by the mother of one of the biggest drug dealers in all of Argentina, haha :) She had a few good stories, and it was pretty hilarious to hear about it - I think their house was actually on the news a few weeks ago because the police have a license to search the house at any moment, haha.  

Okay, en fin, it was a great semana :) The highlight was... this morning I finished the Book of Mormon! I have seriously loved rereading that sacred book, and even more so in Spanish. It helps a lot to see things from another point of view.  If you have not read the Book of Mormon..... read it! 
No, really. I promise you that there is nothing that will strengthen your relationship more with your Heavenly Father than those sacred pages. I have learned and bettered myself more during my personal study than years of experience. I testify that the Book of Mormon is a book prepared to help us in these days. Allow the Lord to protect our homes and families by reading it together. 

If you want personal blessings, read the Book of Mormon personally.

If you need blessings in your marriage, read the Book of Mormon as a marriage.

If you want to help and protect your family, read the Book of Mormon as a family. 

It really does work :) I love you all!  

Love, Hna Lake

Monday, May 19, 2014

Week #64 - Footsies!

Hey crew!!

How are things on the northern side of the continent? I`ve gotten a few weather reports, and it sounds like things are warming up. I still remember when Brayden and Mason were on their missions in Brazil, and I was so confused when they told me the weather was opposite here in the southern continent. I`ll admit, knowing Brayden, I literally thought he was joking for the first month of when he reported cold weather. Then, I finally googled it, and thanks to that trusty search engine, finally figured it out :)
 
Anyway, the point of all that was to bring in the following news report - yes, it is starting to get a little cold. I can't remember if I have actually said this or not, but Hna Perez and I have already both decided that since the `Christmas` that already passed was pretty lame in our books, we`re going to hold a REAL Christmas when the weather gets a little colder. Something about your popsicle melting next to the Christmas tree just doesn't cut it. And Spain has cold weather during Christmas as well, so we`re thinking the same. Stay tuned on that one - Christmas is getting closer and closer, and hopefully it arrives before transfers do!  

Dang Dad, bummer to hear that you were finally released as Bishop. Kind of ironic since you have had so much time in that calling in the Mica Peak ward, and I have never actually seen you in that role, haha :) I was always at BYU or on my mission - still I am sure that Bishop Jensen will do an awesome job! 

Sounds like things are getting crazy with the move - hang in there! Whip out your tetris packing skills and don't break Jameson's ukulele. Fa, I have no clue how to spell that word. Also, be sure to leave a note for the new family advising them about the little pet graveyard in the garden. Speaking of which, whatever happened to the hamster, Justin cupcake anyway?  

Things are great here! There was a ward temple trip this last week with Barrio Alberdi and it was a miracle! There were so many who were able to go, including some of the recent converts and less active with whom we are working, hand in hand with the ward council. 3 recent converts and 2 less actives were able to go for the first time, along with a family that was sealed. It was beautiful - well, so I heard, since we`re not actually allowed to go since the temple is out of our mission limits. I love the temple so, and am grateful that we have so many in the states! Take advantage of it - we are so blessed there!  

Also, fun fact of the week - all the women in my ward here are nuts about one of my possessions. My little black footsie socks that we all buy at Wal-Mart for 5 dollars to wear with ballet slippers. You know the ones? well, they don't exist here, and literally almost every Sunday, another sister in the ward here asks me about them and jokes that they want to steal them from me. I tell them right back that I promise they don't want anything to do with my little socksies, since they are literally so wasted, they are only held together by prayers and a whole lot of dust, haha :)  

I have started reading again in some of the conference Ensigns that are here in our apartment. I love reading them so, because they help me feel the strength of the prophets. What an incredible time we live in! With the restored gospel, the Book of Mormon, living prophets, revelation, and the missionary work moving forward as never before. As Elder Holland teaches, THIS is the time that will never end in apostasy just as every other generation. THIS is the time that we have success, and WE will prepare the earth for the second coming of our Lord and Savior. I testify of Him, for I know He lives and that He will come again! I love the strength and peace that we find in his prophets, and in the Book of Mormon. Read that sacred book, and invite Him to help you. 

I love you all!!  

Hna Lake :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week # 63 - Mother's Day!!

Hey all!! 
 
First off, it was so great to talk to you all on Mothers day! I`ll admit, I felt a little weird. First off, it's been so long without speaking English, I felt like I was getting flustered just talking. Its strange, because I think it was the first time that I noticed that maybe my personality is a little different in different languages - or maybe it's just my personality as a missionary and pre-missionary, haha :) Either way, my bipolarity doesn't stretch much farther than that :)  

And if I didn't say it enough, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY, MOM!!! I loved the yummy breakfast photo that you sent me - who made it? Very jealous :) And we`ll break out the red plate someday. It was so great to talk to you, even if it was just for a little bit. I am so very blessed to be your daughter, and love you soo!! 

Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY RISSAPANTS!!! Sorry that an email birthday wish is the best you get, haha :) Know that I was thinking of you, and hoping that Mason spoiled you rotten on that day What did you do for your birthday? Did Heidi make you a yummy dinner? It was great to see and talk to everyone!! 

Sorry I don't have much time to write today - we have a pday especial, and spent the day playing volleyball, tennis, and watching Rio! It was fun, and totally made me want to go to Brazil, especially since so much of my family has spent time there. Someday :)  

Anyway, I'm off to work!! Love you all! 

Love, Hna Lake :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Week #61 Cockroaches!

Hey all!!  

This week has been a crazy, yet wonderful one! I feel like I say that every week, and seem to remember Eden doing the same thing during her mission - maybe its just a missionary thing :) 

We moved apartments this last week! After so many time in our little, hot pink apartment with Betun the crazy dog in front, we changed to another apartment close by, but larger. That being so, we are living with 2 other hermanas now! La Florida se dividio, and now there are two areas in the one ward, and the Hnas are in La Florida B (speaking of which, Karis, are you sure your call wasn't for La Florida here in Argentina? Double check - we`ve got a Florida here too :)  

We are living with Hna Matias and Hna Diorio - they are great! I got a giggle when the new hnas arrived - after all my time here in Argentina, I have never ever had an American companion, or even lived with another American, haha. That being so, nobody can get on my case when I get home and can't speak English to save my life, deal? You`ll see what I mean on Mother's Day - I'm a wreck, and I totally acknowledge it, haha :) I was straining the other day for a good 10 minutes because Hna Perez asked me how to say trash can, and I couldn't remember for the life of me, haha :) The good news is, writing emails each week in English and writing in my diario en Ingles helps as well (even though it doesn't seem like it since I just slipped into Spanish even saying that, haha. I left the typo just for the sake of irony)

Anyway, couple fun moments of the week? And we`ll put some miracles in there too - because in the work of the Lord, there are always a ton of miracles :)

1) There are a ridiculous amount of cockroaches in our new apartment! The good news, I think the Lord sends the destroying angel from Moses' time through our apartment each night, because when we get up in the morning, there are always 4 or 5 of them laying dead in our apartment. So that's good :) 

2) This little fun fact is about Hna Perez :) So, since she is from Spain, her Spanish is different from the Spanish here, and as she will quickly assure you, the CORRECT version, haha :) In Spain, the c, s, and z are all different sounds - but here in South America, they are all the same. So, when Argentines are writing, they will frequently switch around the c,s and z in words, and it drives Hna Perez CRAZY! She is a Nazi for spelling, and I get a serious giggle out of it, haha :) Anyway, this last week, we were in a lunch with a member, and they got into discussing whether zebra in Spanish is with a z or c - it was pretty funny, and I still don't have a clue who actually won that one. The funny part? Once we left, Hna Perez got so worked up, she got the hiccups and was hiccupping so much that she could barely talk. It was pretty hilarious :)  

3) Miracle of the week? We were able to talk with Micaela! She had a baptism date before, but then decided she never wanted to see us again, and that was a slight roadblock to her salvation. So, we haven't actually talked to her in a while, but through a really long story involving another really ticked investigator and a lost bus, we happened to run into her as she was walking home from school :) So, we were able to talk with her, set up an appointment, and she came to church on Sunday! Keep her in your prayers :)  

Speaking of which, here's your prayer homework:

1) Ruben and Carmen that their hearts will be softened and they will receive us again (See above note about angry investigator - really long story involving a miscommunication and a thereby missed lunch appointment. Basically, test of their faith nada mas :) 

2) Micaela and Veronica that she will receive an answer to her prayers of whether the church is true

3) Miriam that she can find a job so that she has the money to find an apartment so that she isn't living on the streets, so she can get baptized

4) Soledad and Ezequiel, that we can receive inspiration for the needs of Soledad - she has suffered a lot, and she literally never says a word. We don't really know what she is thinking or what she needs - only heavenly help answers that one I think :) 

5) Sebastian, that he can quit smoking and receive the answer that he and Deboah should get married so they can get baptized (sad story on that one - he used to be a counselor in a bishopric in Santa Fe, but fell hard and now his pareja quiere bautizarse and cannot.

So, keep them in mind - I know that prayers really do have an effect, and that many times we simply need to pray with faith for a miracle in order to receive it :) And as Brian - my now brother in law - advised me before my mission, I always pray to feel the prayers of my family and friends, so thanks  :) 

I love you all! I am doing so great, and Hna Perez and I are trying to hard to work hard in our area and do our best!  

Love, Hna Lake :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week #60 The Power of Prayer

Hola Querido's!!!  

First off, Happy Easter to everyone!! I hope and pray that it was a beautiful, reverent Easter for all involved :) Sometimes, on holidays such as these, I have a hope that there will be a music number or choir involved since the music brings such a spirit to the hymns, but no such luck. Then again, that might be better off since there are very few people here in Argentina who have the ability to actually sing in key, haha :) At the beginning of my mission, I started giggling during Sacrament meeting many times because of the 200 part harmony going on, total accidental :) I`ve gotten a little better and now manage to hold the giggles to a minimum... Most of the time :) 

This past week was a wonderful one here on my side of the country! Couple fun facts? 

1) We were walking through a poorer area of Alberdi this last week, when I noticed a really strange, ugly looking animal on the side of the road. We got a little closer and I realized it was a huge, really dirty, slightly scary looking.. sheep. Haha :) I have no idea whose it is, but I asked a member, and they told me that one of their neighbors has it has a pet, and it just runs wild through the neighborhood. I thought about trying to take a picture to show you all, it was so hilarious to me, but decided it probably wouldn't be too good to bring a camera through that part of town. So, you`ll just have to use your imagination :) 

2) Hna Courtney Smith, this ones for you! this last week, I was in a lesson when a song came on in the other room - 'time to say goodbye`!! I had flashbacks of Winchester, smiled and thought of you :) 

3) We also ate with our neighbors this last week, the wife is from Brazil! for Brayden, Mason, Jacob and the other 20 friend of mine who have all served in Brazil (no, but seriously, that's the place to be) and Taylor who is there right now, you might recognize the food. We had fejuada con farina as well? Basically, a rice and black beans with a whole lot of (mystery) meat, and some farina on top - it looked like corn meal? It was pretty good, though I was a little wary of the meat, haha :)  

4) We are moving this week! Seems that even from USA, my family is contagious :) We will be moving to a bigger apartment so that we have room to live with the two new hermanas who will live with us, but work in a different area - La Florida  We are excited! Mainly because a new apartment means new things! And all I know, is that if I cook another day in this frying pan that we have, I`ll probably be eating more metal than food with all that flakes off while you are cooking, haha :) I`ll send fotos next week!  

I have been learning so much this last transfer about my Savior. Especially about the power of prayer! That is a byproduct of feeling the Spirit - we are touched by the presence of our Father, and something within us yearns to further that relationship. I have been studying much about prayer, and specifically thinking about the power of asking in prayer. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and others blessings that God is already willing to grant by that are made conditional upon our asking for it. (BD)  Many times, I think I use prayer as a laundry list of things that I would like to have, without really deeply preparing and realizing that I am talking with the same Being who created the world in which I reside and the body with which I am speaking. When we really begin to understand the nature of God, we begin to understand our own nature as His children. He wishes to grant us blessings and to help us, but many times, withholds these blessings simply because we do not ask for them, with the sincerity and faith necessary for them to be granted. There are numerous scriptures in which He commands us to ask Him, yet again showing His disposition to grant these blessings if we but ask. Even repentance and forgiveness is dependent upon our own asking for it. Matthew 7:7-8, Matt 7:11, James 1:5-6, Mosiah 4:10. All scriptures that speak of this principle of `prayer`. One of my favorites is 1 Ne 15:8-9,11, where we see the example and difference of a family conversation with 3 different brothers. Two of whom- Laman and Lemuel - lacked this faith, and didn't even have the belief to ask. This is paralleled with Nephi, and the bounteous blessings and revelations that he received simply because he asked.  

 8 And I said unto them: Have ye ainquired of the Lord?

 9 And they said unto me: aWe have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.

 11 Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and aask me in bfaith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments,surely these things shall be made known unto you.

Also, I am attaching a talk that I read this last week that really helped me learn and apply this principle - of how to better my communication with Him.

I love you all! I love hearing from you, even though I know you are all passing through difficult moments right now. We are all called to pass through difficulties, even though they may be different from one another. trials of faith, of obedience, of health? All things that I know each one of us are called to pass through in some moments. However, just as surely as I know that this gospel is true, I know that if we turn to Him, he will help us. He has promised his angels to lift us up, and He always keeps his word.  

I love you, I pray for you, and I know that through our earnest and sincere prayer, we can receive the help we need to move forward, and to move forward with increased faith :)

love, love love!  

Hna Hillbill :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week #59 The Gospel Message is God's Gift to the World!

Hey everyone!  

This week was good! (yet another reason sometimes I get sick of writing about my week - I feel like I say the same things every time, ha :) A little interesting. I cant remember if I have written much about this before, but Argentina is pretty rough on the economic side of things right now. The inflation on the peso is incredible, and if I remember right, I think its $1 for 12 pesos at the moment - incredible high. That being so, there are quite a few problems in Argentina with that - the prices of everything going up, but the salaries staying the same. I have seen many different strikes going down in Argentina during my mission, but the biggest one yet happened this last week, here and in Buenos Aires. From what I understand, various people were killed, but all in BA and nothing too bad here.  

I tell you all this not to make you worry, but to help paint the picture for the incredible experiences we had this last week. With all the troubles that are happening economically right now, there are so many families suffering. There is another very real problem with drugs and the law of chastity, and it is very common to see an 18 year old girl with 2 children along her side - in Parana, I met a girl who was 13 years old, and already pregnant. I literally felt my heart would break just looking at her. With the pregnancy rate so high, High School dropouts are very common, and few people have the education necessary to provide for their family. This past week, we passed various families searching through dumpsters, just trying to find something to feed their family. Perhaps the most heart wrenching was yesterday when we past a young teenage girl, searching for food while her little cried weakly in his stroller - it was the worst, because we literally had nothing to give her, other than a hug and a Book of Mormon.  

This was a little of our theme this last week. On Thursday, we were walking to a lunch with a member when we passed a mom and her daughter on the curb, all their belongings in a plastic wrapped shopping cart eating a packet of crackers. Hna Perez and I headed into a nearby store, and bought all we could - bread, ham and some crackers, but when we went back to where they were seated, they had already gone. We searched almost 5 blocks in every direction, but didn't find them anywhere. After our lunch, we were determined to try and find them, and began walking through the parks and streets, contacting any needy people we came across. We spoke with Susanna for quite some time, a woman who had a beautiful life before with a car, job and family, but lost everything because of abuse and hatred. now, she lives on the street with her family scattered through all Argentina, and doesn't know where her children are. we hugged her, gave her some food, and taught her to pray. She was thrilled by the relief she felt when she truly learned how to speak with someone who understood her. She said one of the most beautiful and simple prayers I have yet heard, and it makes me tear up just thinking about it :)

Next was another homeless man, who vehemently rejected our help, and yelled all sorts of stuff about us. No thrown mashed potatoes were involved, haha, but it was still an adventure :)

We then met Javier, an incredible, incredible man. He has lived on the streets, homeless since he was 18 years old - most than 15 years. His body has been wasted by cheap wine, but he has one of the most genuine smiles I have yet seen. We sat alongside him on the sidewalk and just talked for almost 45 minutes, and learned so much about this man who had - has- so much potential. He loves basketball, martial arts, and accounting... that amazed me. Who on earth loves accounting? haha :) But he never had someone who believed in him and the talents he has and here is where he ended up. We talked to him a lot about goals, about the blessings it is to have a father who will always believe in us, and invited him to church. He is such a good man, and I hope that he finds the faith to change.  

Overall, it was really an incredible week. Difficult at times, but only because I feel so effected by the suffering here - I love these people so, and wish they could recognize the light we bring them.  

Truly, I think the lesson I have learned the most during my mission is exactly this - that there is no wrong, no sacrifice in this life that cannot and will not be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know my Savior lives, and that he knows how to help us - we only need to let him :) 

I am so sorry! I realized going through and reading this that perhaps I sound a little weighed down or depressed - I promise that is not the case! I really am happy and doing well - how can we be anything but when we do the service of the Lord? :)  

Also, Owl city just came on through the cyber speakers, so I'm happy :) Haha. 

I love you all so! How grateful I am for your testimonies and efforts to live the gospel - the only thing that will ever make us happy in this life. Have the courage and love to always try to share that gift with others. How proud I am for all the examples of my family and friends who have served such worthy missions, and for your continuing efforts as members to lift the weary hands and strengthen feeble knees :) This gospel is the greatest message we have and the gift the world needs to hear!  

I love you alll!! 

Love, Hna Hillbill :) 

 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Week #57 Lamanite Territory!

Hey gang!!  

Another week and another slew of miracles and adventures. I feel like time will not do me justice to try and explain, haha :) however, I`ll do the best I can! 

We have had incredible progress here in our area. When we arrived as a whitewash, we were starting from 0, so our first week was a focus of finding investigators to teach! The Lord blessed our efforts incredibly, and between all the contacting and referrals from members, we are now in a the bind of having so many people to teach, that we are running around like crazy trying to fit it all in! I love being so busy in doing good :) this weeks focus was challenging to baptism - yet again, another huge week of miracles, and there were many who accepted the invitation to change their lives through covenants of the Lord. The challenge now will be to keep everyone moving forward, but that is a challenge that I like :)

Couple funny moments of the week:

1) There is a part of our area that is pretty much slums, but we would have never had anything happen, so don't worry :) However, Hna Perez and I pinned a nickname on that side of the railroad tracks - the Lamanite territory :) Every time we cross the railroad tracks, we give each other a dramatic look and say `entering Lamanite territory `. The really funny part is that we sometimes slip and refer to this area as such when we are with a member, and they just give us weird looks, haha :)

Okay, this last week, I started telling a few good stories about our new friend Daniel and never was able to do them justice! So, I'm going to slip in a few good ones right now. To explain, Daniel. Like I explained last week, The mom is a member, but all of her children are not. the only child still living at home is called Daniel, and he is a total RIOT. its a little sad, because he was so heavily involved with drugs - a huge, huge problem here - when he was younger, that it left him mentally handicapped. Although that is the sad part, it makes for hilarious lessons. Lets have a few highlights, shall we?  

2) In our first lesson, Hna Perez asked Daniel if he would read a scripture in the Book of Mormon. He just looked at her and said `no, I cant read`. His mom just looked at him and said `what? Yes you can - and after much persuasion, Hna Perez finally just told him to do the best her could. he sighed heavily, picked up the Book of Mormon and proceeded to read the verse perfectly, haha :)  The next lesson, when we asked him if he was reading in the Book of Mormon, he proudly told us `yes, because I know how to read you know `.

3) In one moment in the lesson, I was teaching something when Daniel interrupted me and said `what? I'm sorry, but I don't understand you. why are you speaking English?` thinking it was my accent, I just laughed and said `okay, maybe Hna Perez can take it from here`. Hna Perez picked up where I had left off, and started teaching. however a few seconds later, Daniel once again said `what? I dont undersatnd English. Why are you speaking to me in English There were a few moments of paused confusion and Hna Perez said `Daniel... I am speaking in Spanish..` He just looked surprised and said `really? Wow, you should meet my friend. He always speaks to me in Spanish too! ` Haha :) After we left the lesson, we busted up laughing and Hna Perez said `look at the gift of tongues! I could speak English all along and never knew!` 

4) When we arrived at their house the other to teach them, we clapped in front of the gate, and Daniel came out decked out in ski gear. He was sporting ski pants, a huge coat, winter hat, and complete with clear construction goggles. We were a little bewildered at first, but Hna Perez covered it up by complimenting him on his hat. Later on, she started giggling, and tried to cover it up by complimenting him on the hat again when he looked at her. When she mentioned the hat the second time, he seized the hat protectively and said `fa, me quiere robar el gorrito!` thinking she was trying to steal the hat.  

Stink. Basically, a mission is a huge adventure, haha :) 

Really, I feel so blessed! I love where I am, and especially love what I am doing! (horrible typos and all - sorry about that, haha :) This last week, I was reading in Alma, and came across this: 

 35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all apowerball wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a cmercifulBeing, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.

If there was ever a time, ever a people who have reason to rejoice, it is us, and us alone! The endowed and empowered latter day saints of the church of God. How much i LOVE this gospel, and how strongly I know that there is no other foundation given through which was can receive peace than through these eternal truths. Read the Book of Mormon - every day! It is the protection that God has given to us as Satan has stepped up his attacks in these latter days. Just as the adversary ups his attacks, so the Lord ups our defenses, and that is why we, and only we in all the history of this world, have the Book of Mormon.  

I love you all! Always remember to pray to depend upon our father in Heaven, and know that I love you all!  

Love, Hna Lake :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Week #54 - An Egg-cellent Birthday!!!

Hey family/friends/acquaintances!!  

The best part of that greeting? The fact that I took a good minute to try and figure out how to do these slashes on the Argentine, keyboard, haha :) 

Okay, first off, y´all are da besht!! Thanks for all the birthday wishes!! It seriously made my day to open my email and see all the love from the States. Its been a good birthday :) Want to hear the run down of how my day has been so far? 

To start off, I have to include the fact that yesterday, Hna Ruiz, one of the Hnas from Emelia finished her mission and headed to the mission home to prepare to fly back to Colombia today. Her companion - Hna Palma, aka Jim Carey, Mexican female style - has been in a trio with Hna Conodori and me for the past few days (no really. Not kidding about the Jim Carey remark - I'm fairly sure he is the only other human on this planet with ´play dough genetics´ or better said, the ability to literally make faces that should be otherwise physically impossible. It's a talent. At times, a slightly scary talent; but a talent all the same. I´ll send a picture someday :)  

Since the hermanas de Emelia slept in our apartment last night, we had a squished night with a whole lot of elbowing and rolling over on each other since we were bunking 4 in 2 mattresses, haha :) The best part? One mattress is a whole lot lower than the other, so we all ended up falling over on the lower mattress since the bed sloped that way, haha :) It was an interesting night. I love being a missionary, sore necks and all :) 
 
So, with that little background, you´ll understand why we have been running on basically 8 hours of sleep for the last two days combined. This morning when I woke up and after exercising, I got to work and made some yummy french toast! I have made this a few times, and Hna Condoir loves, but LOVES French toast. It was more for that reason that I made it, but hey, seeing the happy face of someone who likes my cooking is enough of a birthday breakfast for me :) We then got ready for the day, and did personal/companionship studies.  I peacefully finished my language study, and knelt to pray before we could leave. As I finished my prayer and started to get up, I felt a huge blow on the back of my head. It hurt a little, but mostly startled me. I was trying to figure out what was going on when I felt something wet and cold dripping on my back. I looked down, and my name tag was covered in something suspiciously yellow and wet.  

Yep. My companion had smashed a raw egg on my head.  


Egg Head
 Sigh. 

An Egg-cellent Birthday!!!

She then proceeded to pour flour all over me while I restrained my immediate urge to kick her in the shins, haha :) I´ll admit - I was a little ticked :) However, I took a deep breath, and just silently handed her my camera to take a picture, reflecting upon the time that my Mom walked to her bathroom to find my cousins in her bathtub, playing in the bubbles made from her brand new, expensive shampoo that they had just dumped out into the water. She took a deep breath, smiled, and just said - Take a picture, it´ll be funny later :)  And what do you know ... she was right! I had her take a picture, and looking back, it´s a whole lot funnier now than it was at the moment, haha :) I then proceeded to shower and get all ready for the day - again. As I was in the shower, the zone leaders called to tell Hna Condori that I had been transferred.  

Boo.  

After 6 months here in San Nicolas Centro, I am being transferred to a new area in Rosario - I think its called Alberdi? I'm not entirely sure because I was washing raw egg out of my hair when they called, but I think that's right. And my new companion is Hna Perez - I have actually met her before. She is  tall - we have the same height - Spaniard who talks with a rocking accent. So.. I'm  pretty excited for that one. 

I´ll admit, today has been all sorts of weird feelings. I am really not looking forward to leaving San Nicolas. I have been here for so long, and worked so hard, that  I have grown to love this area in a way that only selfless service can accomplish. I feel like this place is my home. I love these members so much, and it will be tough to leave now and miss the baptisms of Jose Luis, Antonio and Walter, all of whom have baptism dates in the next month. Phooey. However, I am moving forward with faith, and trusting that the Lord has another lesson for me to learn elsewhere. I really feel like I am leaving my area better than how I found it and that is perhaps the greatest feeling for me possible. It is incredible to see the power of the Lord, and how the pure, infinite power of the Atonement has the ability to literally change an entire city. I love my mission, and I love the people and members of San Nicolas so much.  Ah... and don't even get me started on leaving Hna Condori. We have been together for 4 months now and I will miss her a ton.  

Okay. I think this may have won the award for the longest email yet! Sorry!  

Know that I love you all, and although that is the case, I love where I am :) I love where I am, and I love who I am as Hna Lake :) 

Love, Love, Love, Hna Lake :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week #53 Greetings from the sick one!

I never know exactly what to put as a header for my emails. ¨Hey family´get a little old, right? So, we´ll just opt for the awkward option and not put a header at all :) 

This week was pretty crazy. I got sick on Monday, and literally did nothing for the whole WEEK besides sleep, blow my nose, throw up, and cough all over my companion :) However, after a few days of the humility treatment, I was back to moving. The best part was? I had the sick Jenna-voice. You know, the one? Where her voice drops two octaves and no one actually believes it is her? Yep, that one :) Now that I think about it, Mom's nickname ´Jo´ makes a lot more sense now :) When I had to talk to one of the zone leaders, he cracked up as soon as I said, "hello". Glad to know someone got a good laugh out of my dying misery :) It was really hard - knowing that we were starting to see miracles here in Centro with investigators who are progressing and being too ill to work. It was a little tough, and a huge dependence of faith for me - as is so often the case with the missionary work - I fall into the trap of trying to do it all myself - of depending too much upon my own sacrifices and work - and not depending enough on my Lord. The Lord taught me a lot of that this last week, and I was trusting and praying the whole 6 days that He would help provide. I'm excited to see who was prepared for us when we finally got out and got to work this week :)  

Couple fun facts of the week: 

1) Did I mention I was sick? Si? Oh, okay then.

2) Here, I finally tried a prickly pear! You know, from the cactus? I had no idea what it was, until I had a flash of inspiration - aka, I remember the movie Jungle Book when Baloo the bear is singing about a prickly pear - and remembered that such a fruit exists. Best part? The name in Spanish is ´tuna´. That one made me giggle :)  

And, that's it. Sorry, I'm boring this week.  

I hope that everyone made it back safely from Carissa and Masons wedding! I am thrilled to hear that so many of the Pettits, Demars, and Stewarts were together - that would have been a party :)  

Love you all! have a great week, and take some advice from the sicky - depend upon the Lord :)  

Love, Hna Lake

Monday, February 24, 2014

Week #52 A Week of Miracles

Hey gang!!  

First off - I'm really sorry, but this week is going to be a short email :) Basically for two reasons - a) I have used up all my time reading all the amazing miracle-emails I received this week from some of my very best of friends, and b) because I am an emotional wreck from reading all of these said emails and keep tearing up every 3 minutes, haha :)  

Seriously guys? This week was the biggest week of miracles I have seen in my whole life - both on my side of the continent and on yours :) I got emails telling me of the love and miracles that happened with my family - beautiful Valentines Days, the weddings of two of my bestest friends, along with beautiful emails from some of my family. Seriously!! I was floored by all of the miracles that are happening in my family - why the freak am I so blessed? I really don't even know :) 

Since you have all relayed to me about the beautiful miracles that happened yàlls week, I think it is my turn :) Let's put it this way - on Sunday, we had 2 different investigators in the chapel! Antonio - our sweet Señor , whom we are striving to help strengthen his faith to accept his baptismal date, and Jose Luis, a backpacker whom we contacted in a park here in Centro. He basically backpacks from place to place, and has never felt happy. We gave him a Book of Mormon, invited him to church, and found him a job through the wife of our bishop. On Sunday, he came to church 30 minutes early so that we could give him a tour of the chapel and explain the different meetings, etc. He had a great experience, and we have a lesson with him in the house of Bishop Arancibia this week. Pray for him! We are trying to get him more grounded here, so that we can invite him to be baptized. 

Another miracle of the week - one day, we were literally running to our next appointment when we ran across Alberto. He is an older gentlemen and an investigator of the previous Hnas. Hna Nunja and I took his name from the area book when we arrived. We had taught him a few times, but he never progressed due to work caring for his wife who had Parkinson's disease. This all went down about 5 months ago, and we haven't seen him since. On Friday, we ran into him in the street and he told us that he had been thinking of us because his wife had passed away in December, and he was in bad shape. He wanted us to come and visit him and he wanted to come to the church on Sunday. We went to visit him on Saturday night, and he told us that he was reading to change his life and turn himself over to the Lord. Hna Condori asked him how he intended to do that, and he answered `with a baptism`. We invited him to baptized right then and there and are working with him a ton :) Here is the stinking huge miracle: At the beginning of this transfer, Hna Condori and I decided that there was a reason that we were still together, and that there were miracles to be performed. So, we prayed together and put the goal to have a baptism this transfer. It was a huge goal since there hasn't been an investigator baptism in years in Centro, but we had the faith and obedience to ask God for a miracle. We made a sign that says "Our goal: one baptism!" and put it above our beds, and prayed every night for help to achieve this goal. The amazing thing? To be baptized, someone has to attend the church at least 2 times. That rule being so, Saturday night - the night that we invited Alberto to be baptized - is literally the last POSSIBLE day that we could have found someone to accomplish our goal. I was floored, and just started crying as we walked home. The Lord works SUCH miracles, no matter the people, or situation. I love this work, and I love you all!!! 

Love, Hna LAke :)