October 21, 2014

Seminary teacher...fun times

So this week's been good...a little different, but good :) We had changes last week on Tue and got a brand new "greenie" (new missionary) out of the CCM, and 2 latinos, so the zone is back up to the full 10 missionaries!! :) Some stuff came up so we actually had to do a division spur of the moment, but it all worked out! :) I stayed in my area and the latino comp in the other companionship came here with me! :) It was an interesting experience having a latino comp for a little while and having to speak completely and entirely always in spanish. But, I learned and grew!! :) The joys of being the comp of a district leader, frequent divisions!! :) It's got its goods and bads...

Also this week I had my 6-Weeks Trainer-Trainee meeting with all the other missionaries I came here with and their trainers and the mission president!! It was amazing!!! I loved being able to learn from Pres Smith and his assistants! I actually participated in the meeting...my comp and I were asked to demonstrate how a companionship study practice of the commitment to read the Book of Mormon would be done. It was nerve racking to be up in front of everybody...but I did it and it was great! :)

So this week we found 2 really great investigators, so we're setting up for some awesome successes for November!! :)

A story left unsaid last week: So the story about the miracle of the boy getting baptized. We had been teaching both him and his older sister and had a baptismal date set with his older sister and then the week before her baptism we weren't able to find her at home until Thu at Youth Night. AT that time she was the only one with time to listen to a lesson so we decided to just focus on her baptism and help her brother the next week. So we taught the lesson and just as we were leaving for Youth Night, he came running out to go with us. Then after Youth Night we were showing the girl the baptismal font and her brother said under his breath...it would be cool to be baptised the same day...wait, WHAT?...I was just thinking it would be cool to be baptized the same day as my sister....FANTASTIC!!! So we taught him his last lesson, set up the baptismal interview for the next day, and the day after that he was baptized!! It was a truly amazing experience, and then to realize that this work really honestly has NOTHING to do with me and EVERYTHING to do with the relationship between God and His child that we are teaching!! :) Just a great experience I wanted to share :)

Also this transfer brought some changes for me...first my companion became the district leader, so now we've got those things to worry about in our companionship :) Then I became the seminary teacher, so I've got to start prepping lessons three times a week :) That should be fun!! :)

You asked about what I eat...Usually daily I eat: for breakfast, granola and a roll, lunch: a pbj sandwich, dinner: tortillas, soup, whatever else a member gives us (or if I'm home another pbj) :) (I sent a picture of my normal breakfast :)) I think the most specialty dinner I've had so far is when we had beef stew with tortillas de trigo :)

You mentioned about the temple prayers and my name being placed on the prayer roll and that is truly an invigorating thought--that I am literally prayed for in every LDS temple, every day, and now double in MN!! :) That's just and amazing and humbling thought...

Well, love you all!! Keep up all the great work!! Talk to you in a week!! :)

Elder Flake

PS This week I complete 3 MONTHS in the mission!!! AHHHHH!!! 12.5% done!!
PPS The zone had 2 more baptisms this past Sat!! :)
My typical breakfast:  granola, milk, and a roll
YUMMY fruit!

Pineapple for later
Beautiful view of my area
My area at night

October 15, 2014

New beginnings for 2 wonderful young people

Hola!  You asked what my typical p-day is like...hmmm....Well, get up like normal (6:30 a.m.) and then have studies (scripture and language study) until 10 a.m. Then meet up with the district-zone for the morning for some activity (i.e. Walmart, football, basketball, boardgames, etc). Then we go have lunch together. Today was chicken wings, but we've had Chinese, pizza, Wendys, and then eaten at comedors (like Guatemalan restaurants, that serve tortillas, rice, meat, and fresca) :) Then we usually have e-mail time :) Then its usually about 6 p.m., so p-day is over and we get back to work :)

So guys, sounds like it's time to start pulling out the yack skin coats and slippers in MN!! ;) And the temps here are just about normal as they've always been--about 60 degrees F :)

This week has had some ups and some downs...but it all has ended well :) It ended off on a super spiritual note!! I HAD MY FIRST CONVERT BAPTISM!!!! Woohoo!! I was able to baptize the daughter and my companion baptized the son. Their mom was baptized in April, so now their family is completed!! (Dad isn't present in the home and the youngest sibling is only 3...) :) It was amazing! And spiritual! And really a magnificent blessing!! That is one memory I will never forget! :) Now to help them get to the temple ;) :)

Can you believe it? I've already been in the field for a transfer (6 weeks) I start the second half of training tomorrow!!! Ahhhh!!! Its crazy!! :)

Well, I'll have to write more details later about the baptism or just share them from my journal when I get home.  :)

Love you guys lots, and pray for you every day!! :)
Tu misionero y hijo y hermano y amigo,
Elder Flake

AMEN to this that was sent to me...
"Some people think it is so wild and crazy to believe that Joseph Smith could possibly have seen God and Jesus Christ.  But yet, they believe that Moses parted the red sea; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn't get burned in the furnace; 2 animals of every kind got on Noah's ark; and Jesus performed miracles.  Why?  Because they have read the word, prayed, and felt a witness.  Which is exactly what one would need to do about the story of Joseph Smith--read the testimony of Joseph Smith; read the Book of Mormon; and pray with a sincere heart having faith that the truth will be made known to them.  Then it would not be so far-fetched when they allow the Spirit to touch their hearts."
Beautiful day in the lives of this family!!!!

Food for the MONTH!

Shopping day in Xela

October 08, 2014

Great Mormon Message: "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father"

Elder Flake asked me to share this awesome message on his blog.  It's one of his favorites.  Enjoy!

Xela Temple, kites, and more...

Alright...what a crazy, unusual week I had this week!!

So, I'm just going to write, maybe not in time order, but just experiences :)

First, happy birthday to Bryson!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can't believe he's already double digits!!! That's crazy!!! :) How tall is he (are you) now? :)

And yes, Colby, we do have banana peppers...along with more varieties of peppers in one place than ive ever seen in my life!! :) haha :) Lots of spicy food, yum!!

Conference was fantastic!! And I was able to watch all but the first session in Ingles!!!! (One miracle to me to add to my ever growing list for Month of Miracles.) :)

So just a slight comment on my visa....it went through, but I wouldn't say with out any trouble. I did have to miss an entire day of proselyting and missionary work, as well as the mission had to pay for a night of hotel and 2 expensive bus tickets....but I know what you meant ;) haha :)

Yes, this was my first time in the Xela (Quetzaltenango) Temple. And it is truly, downright, probably one of the most beautiful and uniquely decorative temples I have ever seen or been to. Think Mayan themed. From the paintings to the architecture to the fine details, it is just downright amazing!! One of the requisite stops when you all come visit in 2016.

Alright, so we are working with this part-member family...the mom was baptized last year, the boyfriend is a return missionary, the daughter is the one with a baptismal date, and then there is a younger brother and a younger sister :) So we went over to teach them and prep the daughter for her baptism that is THIS SUNDAY!!!! But she wasn't there so we decided to teach the younger brother :) Well he was busy with one of his friends working on a project in their garage...and we realized what he needed was some more friends, not just two gringos that always just taught when we visited...so we went out and started helping with the project :) They were making Guatemalan Kites from tissue paper and sticks and string. They actually turned out really well and are fairly cheap to make :) Something fun I can bring home with me ;) So we were there for a while just talking with him and flying kites 'till it got dark :) Hopefully this week we will be able to get a lesson in with him and have 2 baptisms this coming Sunday...we´ll see :)

Something I remembered this week...while in the CCM I saw a picture of all the Mission Presidents and their wives for Central America...and GUESS WHAT???!!!??? The Hintze´s from Centerville are currently serving as mission Pres and wife in El Salvador/Belize!  Just a fun fact :)

Also, last week I met the Elder from Viewmont whose blog I had followed before the mission :) haha, what a small world :)

Well, I've got to head out...until next week earthlings ;) I love you all and pray for you every day and night :)

Tu hijo, hermano, amigo, y misionero,
Elder Flake

PS Let me know how the movie, "Meet the Mormons" is. :)  Hopefully opening weekend is successful and they can keep the movie in the theaters longer.  Anyone else who would like to "meet the Mormons" or just see a truly inspirational movie go to meetthemormons.com.  Here you can view a trailer and find the showing nearest you.

Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple (aka Xela Temple)

View of Xela from the temple
My Zone (minus 2) at the Xela Temple
My zone has 6 gringos, one Elder from Mexico and one from Honduras

Chillin the apartment between Conference sessions

Celebrating Bryson's Birthday!

3 Utah schools represented in my district
(Jaedon, is this in order of coolness? Just wondering.  -Mom)

My comp after USU creamed BYU in Football last weekend!
baby birds outside the church
View outside my apartment
Outside my apartment
Outside the church/apartment
Outside my humble apartment :)
A peek into my apartment

October 01, 2014

3 Comps, 3 Areas, 1 Day...and a month of miracles

So I'm going to write a couple separate emails, each with a title and a focus. This one is 3 Comps, 3 Areas, 1 Day....so to begin:

In the mission there is this event called "Divisions." Basically, the leadership companionship splits up and another companionship splits up and one of the leaders comes here and one of us goes to the leaders' area.

All right, with that explained: Tuesday morning, beautiful day, wake up in my bed and get ready for my day--area #1, companion #1. Jump to noon, I'm on the bus with one of the Zone Leaders on the way to his area--area #2, companion #2. This is when things went crazy!! We were at the home of a less active member when he got a call for me from the Mission Office in Xela. I was informed that I was to get to the mission office by 7 pm to be taken to my hotel because I was going to Guatemala City the next day. To be able to make it to the office by 7 we literally had to stand up immediately, no lesson, didn't even really get to talk to the member, and catch the bus to Xela. (side note that is important: I had been told because it was divisions to take all my bedding and study materials and night things...so that came with me to all these areas) We got to Xela and I was taken to the hotel with the other missionary going with me, turns out to be one of my friends from the CCM--area #3, companion #3.....so yeah. 3 comps, 3 areas, 1 day....it was CRAZY!!

So you're probably wondering why I had to go to Guatemala City...I had to head down to sign the paperwork for my visa...I'm officially legal!! :) It was an all day affair...woke up at 3:30 a.m. to be to the bus by 4 a.m., then a 4.5 hour bus ride to Guatemala City, sign a paper y take a picture, then 3.5 hour bus ride back to Xela, then an hour ride back to area #2 for the night...haha :)

2nd email:  Month of Miracles...
Back to my assigned area...My Zone/District set a goal to have 6 baptisms in the month of October. Last week, during divisions, one of the investigators here accepted to be baptized on October 12!! 2 Weeks!! :) And we are super close in having her brother prepared to be baptized the same day!! :) 2 baptisms within my first change in the mission field!!! And an interesting fact, in the last 3 years, yes YEARS, there have been 3 baptisms...So to have 2 on the same day or even year is amazing!!! :)

SPANISH CLICKED!!!!!!!!!!! It clicked about 3 days ago, and it was super subtle...one moment I was talking in English, the next I was having a conversation in Spanish (talking with a family who one of them speaks English and has served a mission, and the others only speak Spanish). I still have a ton to learn, but at least I can communicate!!!!! HA!!   Also I didn't even realize it had happened until my comp and I were leaving and he was like..."do you know what I just realized?...you were just speaking Spanish, like teaching and having a conversation...hmmm, cool" :) Then on Sunday, I taught all of priesthood meeting in Spanish :) I taught about sharing our testimonies with all with whom we come in contact with...

Another experience of a miracle...before I begin, a note of explanation for my friends who are not members of our faith:  on the first Sunday of each month we have "Fast Sunday," mean we fast from eating for 24 hours (usually Saturday dinner to Sunday dinner) and then donate the money we would've spent on food to the poor.  "General Conference" is held two weekends per year and the Prophets, apostles, and other general authorities of our church prepare talks for us based on revelation they have received from God. You can watch as well at: www.lds.org/general-conference.  There are 4 sessions, 2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday, one at 10 am till 12 and another 2 till 4 on both days!  It's very inspirational!)  :)

So, back to the miracle...I'll say up front it's not religious at all...alright you know I made brownies for Colby's birthday on Sunday. So Saturday night I realized I had the brownie mix and decided I would use it to celebrate his birthday. THEN I realized, I needed an egg!! It was 10:30 p.m. and none of the tiendas would be open and then next day was Sunday. So I decided I'd just have to make them Monday and be a day late for his birthday. But then the miracle happened....we had Fast Sunday because next week is General Conference (woohoo!). So, after church we visited a woman to talk with her :) While we were there her hired help, who is a member of the church, came up from the field carrying what looked, from the very little I could see, like a potato that had been nicked so you could see the flesh. She washed it off and asked me and my comp if we wanted what was in her hands that were cupped, completely covering whatever it was. My comp said no, and I was like ah, might as well try some exotic Guatemalan potato! And what to my surprise when into my hand plopped a warm egg!! Yeah, an EGG!!!! I was soo excited and happy and thankful and our friend was very confused.  HAHA :)

I know that the Lord is watching out for his servants and loves blessing them when they are worthy and looking for the blessing. I know that He is among us teaching and preaching and helping bring His children back home. It has been amazing to see the hand of the Lord in my life literally EVERY day! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!

Well, got to wrap up and get off, until next week :) I love you all!! Keep being happy and positive and ALWAYS be looking for opportunities to share your testimonies (even if its as simple as "I know that my family will be together forever!")

With love your brother, son, missionary, and friend,

Elder Flake

PS. We get to go to the temple this week! I'm so excited!!! :)
PPS  One thing I learned about Patriarchal Blessings: the things promised do come to pass and it's fabulous. Also that the words can be applicable more than once :)
PPPS  Yes, I got the recipe and directions for the Tomales de Lote...basically a Guatemalan cornbread, but different :) Tomales de Lote look like the thing in the included picture, but bigger and the one in the picture is a tomaleta not a Tomale de Lote...but who cares :) So about the picture, this is what I basically eat with EVERYTHING...sopa for dinner and tomaletas, chx for lunch AND tomaletas...if its not tomaletas then we have tortillas. But literally EVERY meal that we have with members :)
Tomaletas for every meal!!!

Colby's Birthday brownies

Colby's piece (thaT I helped him eat)

My comp celebrating Colby's birthday with me--
Wish you could come to the party Colby!
anyone for some maiz?

Gotta love Guatemala!
hotel in Xela before going to Guatemala City for my visa

crazy comp with my camera

Crazy day!