November 11, 2014

Birthday singing and big, hairy spiders...

So to explain a tradition in my area for birthdays...the morning of someone's birthday all the family (and the Elders, if invited) show up at the crack of dawn outside the person's house. We all then sing at the top of our lungs birthday songs to wake the birthday person up. When they answer the door we then sing another less crazy song. Then we all have breakfast together! Afterwards everyone goes home for a couple hours before returning to the birthday house for a super sweet lunch!! Its a blast! Instead of getting only one birthday meal, you get 2! AND you get to be woken up earlier than any other day of the year! Ain't that great!?!?! :) I know its still 8 months away, but I'm curious whats going to happen on my birthday...haha :)

Also this week I had some super good workouts...especially on Thursday! We were out in a neighboring town about 40 min down a valley, up the other side, and over the next mountain..haha...and the appointment went longer than a lot longer. We were going to be late to a another appointment we had AND found out that one of the mission secretaries was waiting at the church for us to give him some paperwork he needed for our branch (congregation). So we did the most logical thing...we ran, RAN! over the mountain, down into the valley, and to the church building! We made it back in about 20 min...record-setting speed!! That was one workout to make up for any time in the mission for the next 2 years that I miss working out for some reason...haha. It was brutal! :)

Then on Friday I had another division here with one of the coolest guys there is! :) We found a new investigator who is super interested in the gospel and had some really, really good questions for us about Mormonism :) YES!!! What makes it even cooler is we accidentally knocked on the wrong door looking for someone else and she answered...God has His hand in His work! I'm sure of it!! :) Then when we had to come in for the night we started into a great conversation about USU and after the mission! He's wanting to go to USU, and most likely will be, so we started talking about all the fun stuff we will be able to do after the mission and surprisingly it only pumped us up more for the mission (and afterwards) and didn't detract from the work or make us baggy...haha :) I LOVED IT!! :)

Last super awesome story from this week! We were able to do some service for an elderly sister in our congregation with some winter cleaning (like spring cleaning, but in the winter) of her house up the mountain. (I'm sending some pictures for you guys from this activity.) We were cutting back the invasive plants around her house so that they would stop deteriorating the mud bricks that make up her house. Well, it was one of the most fun adventures I've been on so far in the mission!! My companion is super not okay with spiders and this foliage and brick were full, and I mean FULL, of them! And not just the small ones! Think like 2.5-3 inch in diameter leg tip to leg tip and just hairy as can be! YUCK!! It made a nice mess when it got squished by my comp...haha :) Then we took some pictures with her and her 2 grandchildren that came with us. But there's a funny story with that, I don't know why, but Guatemalans never smile for pictures, ever. They can be joking and laughing, but as soon as the countdown for a picture is complete, they go straight-faced. Well, my companion and I were determined to get a picture with this hermana with her giving a thumbs up and smiling. What we eventually did is tell each other in Ingles to just keep smiling no matter where the countdown was and then the elder taking the picture would make her smile and then take the picture. The result: one of my favorite pictures ever!!! I love it! :)

Well, life is going great here in my tranquille area of Guatemala!! :) Hope all is well at home and that you guys feel my thoughts and prayers always!! I pray for you guys every night, each individually by name and specifically! Love you guys soo much and am so grateful for all your support here on the mission! Choosing to serve a mission is the best, craziest, most spiritually-significant decision I have ever made and I am so grateful every day (yep even the hard days) for my decision to give myself completely to the Lord for a meager 2 years of my life! Thank you guys for supporting me in that decision and for being so pilus all along the way!! YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!

Love your missionary, brother, son, and friend,
Elder Flake

Scripture for this week: Alma 26:12 "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I willnot boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (link to reference)  For my friends of other faiths, this scripture is found in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. If you would like to know more about the Book of Mormon or to request a free copy visit here

My FAVE picture from Guatemala so far!!!!!

Home in the mountains

It's soooo green here!  Love it!

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