December 28, 2015


Quetzaltenango, Guatemala temple
"I recognize that, on occasion, some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered. We wonder, 'Why?' I know that feeling! I know the fears and tears of such moments. But I also know that our prayers are never ignored. Our faith is never unappreciated. I know that an all-wise Heavenly Father's perspective is much broader than is ours. While we know of our mortal problems and pain, He knows of our immortal progress and potential. if we pray to know His will and submit ourselves to it with patience and courage, heavenly healing can take place in His own way and time." --Russell M. Nelson, "Jesus Christ--the Master Healer"

Highlights for 28/12/15:

Highlight #1: Christmas. Zone Activity. This week we had a wonderful zone activity to celebrate Christmas :) We had an awesome white elephant activity and had a lot of fun! Then we played some Christmas-related games! Afterwards we had a flash to the past moment and crushed a santa piñata...then like when we were younger we all rushed the fallen candy!!!! :) Then we had some Christmas-y cream-filled doughnuts. :)

Highlight #2: Christmas. Multi-Zone Conference. Then on Wed we had an awesome, festive Multi-Zone Conference. We got together with about half the mission (the other half was the day before) and had a very spiritually uplifting conference. We were able to watch the movie Ephraim's Rescue. It was VERY good, I would recommend it to EVERYONE! :) Then we had an amazing honeyed ham lunch!!! :) And THEN received a christmas present from Pres and his wife! :) It was a great way to begin Christmas :)

Highlight #3: Christmas. CHRISTMAS! But the highlight of them all this week was Navidad! I GOT TO CALL MY FAMILY. But you all already knew that...that's the problem writing only on Mondays and you all having FB accounts and seeing the pics already. Also we had some AMAZING members and investigators who invited us to participate with them in their Christmas activities :) GOT TO LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!! :)
Here's my little Christmas tree and decorations in my apartment! 

Were there enough Christmas highlights? Well....ONE MORE

Highlight #4: Christmas. Food. There's the food highlight that is required EVERY week! :) This week for the second time in my mission I had the privilege of eating a BUNCH of Guatemalan Christmas food! Examples? Paches. Tamales. Chuchitos. ETC. They are soooooo good! The hard thing now is finding the ingredients when I get home to prepare them!!! :) But hey! There's gotta be some Guatemalan food supply store in the states somewhere, right??

Well, I love you all and hope your week was FANTASTIC! I think about and pray for you all each individually every night and pray for your salud, proteccion, y felicidad. I am soo grateful to be on the Lord's errand! There isn't a better place I could be right now, even though it is hard, it is also very rewarding! :) Keep on praying! Keep up the scripture reading! And if you still have time, because there is always time, do a little bit of service for those around you! :) Keep on smiling! Laugh! And take in life, because it is truly amazing!

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake

December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

Note from mom: On Christmas Eve I received these pictures on Facebook from a member in the area Elder Flake is serving. She made a delicious Christmas feast for the elders and helped them celebrate this wonderful time of year. I thought I'd include some of the photos...

December 21, 2015

I'll Be Home for (Next) Christmas...

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" --2 Nephi 19:6

Highlights for 21/12/15:

Highlight #1: Miracles. This week has been a week of changes, amazing changes. Changes in me, changes in the work, changes definately for the better. As some may know I had been struggling some here in my area. But this week all that changed, maybe just an early little Christmas miracle. Me and my companion were able to have some great success this week. We found some really amazing families and had some great success. But all this led to my Highlight #2...

Highlight #2: More Miracles. "I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness. no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work--there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work." (Pres. Ezra Taft Benson) I CAN TESTIFY THAT THIS STATEMENT IS SPOT ON! As you can see with Highlight #1, the success has begun...but my "more miracles" was finding more happiness this week than I have felt in a while. I am happier, healthier, and more positive :) LOVE LIFE!

Highlight #3: Christmas Activity. This week we had our Ward Christmas Party, and it was SICK! The Ward here has an amazing tradition, they have a Ward Talent Show and for the admission people bring things to donate for the second half of the Ward Christmas Party. The second half is then the following Sunday in the afternoon they make Christmas Gift Baskets for families in need in the ward boundaries. I know that they may not be able to get to EVERYBODY that needs or deserves a visit. But it is a pretty wicked awesome! But another wicked awesome thing that happened was WE (THE 4 ELDERS) did an act in the Talent Show...all I have to say is that we had a LOT of fun with it! :) As elders we had to fill our call and teach something so we focused on the definition of "talent" as in an act that is cool and a Bible era piece of money. IT WAS A BLAST!!! :)

I would like to end with the invitation and testimony Pres. Uchtdorf ended his Christmas Devotional talk this year. He said, "May we, this Christmas season, remember our generous Heavenly Father and give profound and heartfelt thanks to our Almighty God, who has given all of His children wings to fly. This is my humble and sincere prayer and my heartfelt blessing to all at this Christmas time and always..." MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I love you all! :)

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake

December 14, 2015

Another First Week of Change

"And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name. And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day. And behold, there shall a new star arise, such as one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you."
--Helaman 14:2-3,5
Christmas Nativity at the Quetzaltenango Temple

Highlight #1: Fam Wundram. I got to meet someone who is in the Liahona and Ensign!!!!!!!!!!! WHOOHOOOO! There was an article about the Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple this year that featured a few families who's lives were changed by the temple open house. The family I got to know was one of these featured families!!! They are awesome! We were able to discuss their conversion, baptisms, and temple sealing extensively and it really fortified my testimony! They are the story about the father being a member but in-active when one of the people working on their house expressed that he was a member, re-igniting the flame in the father. They subsequently attended the temple open house and his youngest son requested a visit from the missionaries. A little bit later after many missionary visits the Hermano had the opportunity to baptize each member of his family!! HOW COOL IS THAT!!! :) I was pretty pumped :) Click here if you want to read the article.

Highlight #2: Investigators. We have been working with many great Guatemaltecas and in this the amazing Christmas season, the miracles that began one quiet night in Bethlehem have not ceased to change the world. We have many wonderful individuals I get to spend my time bringing to Christ. I am so grateful for God's blessing this Christmas season to be one of His representatives spreading the buenas nuevas of His restored gospel. A gospel that has existed since the creation of man, passed from prophet to prophet, from God to His representatives, to the babe in Bethlehem, and has been restored once again to the earth through a chosen servant of God! What better message could someone bring to you and your family at this special time of the year, a message of Love, Peace, Joy, Salvation? I am so grateful this Christmas season for my Father's gift to us all, the gift of His obedient Son, a little babe in Bethlehem, my Savior, your Savior, my Brother.

Highlight #3: Christmas!! :) No comment needed. Christmas is Christmas. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! :)

For some great Christmas stories check out this page Prophets and Apostles Share Christmas Memories: It contains Christmas stories from Pres Monson and some of the Twelve :) Enjoy!

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake
My Zone with Elder Ochoa and Pres.&Sis Smith

Celebrate the Days of Christmas

On under the "12 days of social" heading there are wonderful performances and stories that really bring the spirit of Christ into Christmas. Here's a few of them...

December 07, 2015

Faith...Belief in ACTION

What would life be like if Jesus Christ were never born?

This week in the life of your missionary...
Can you spy the tip of the temple??


One of our awesome investigators and friend

We are being taken care of :)

"Here then is a great truth. In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner's fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong." --James E Faust, "The Refiner's Fire"

Highlights for 7/12/15:

Highlight #1: Multi-Zone. This week we had a multi-zone conference with a Elder Ochoa of the First Quorum of the Seventy and counselor in our Area Presidency. I do not have enough time or space to write everything that I learned! But to give a quick overview. Think General Conference but even MORE specifically JUST FOR YOU. Now you are sitting listening to this talk for 7 hours (I know that's a lot, but I honestly didn't feel it). Now add to all that that then you talk one on one with them. And now you are pretty close to what I experienced on Friday. May I just say, that man has FAITH in all sense of the word. To explain one experience, briefly and not getting into some of the sacred and personal things...Pres. Smith was at the pulpit speaking, like middle of his time speaking, when Elder Ochoa stood up and walked out. Didn't think much of it. A little while later he came back in with a member from my ward and returned to his seat on the stand. When the time was turned over to him he took the stand and his next words changed, my, life. He explained that as he was sitting there listening to Pres Smith the spirit told him that there was somebody close he need to talk to. So what does he do? He got up immediately and walked out. Just outside the door he realized that he didn't know where he needed to he prayed and asked the Lord for guidance and a companion. Just then the hermano from my ward walked out of one of the rooms and Elder Ochoa asked if he would be willing to be his companion for a little bit. Then they left and knocked on the first door outside the church building...the family didn't have time. So they asked the family if one of their neighbors was as nice as them and received a reference. When they knocked on that door a woman answered who has been suffering from many health issues restricting her ability to walk and move. Elder Ochoa explained that Christ had sent them and offered her a blessing. After which the woman stood up, did some twisting, and walked around. There is more but I'll leave it there, you get the idea. Needless to say, IN TUNE WITH THE SPIRIT?!?!? I can now never again say that I have never seen miracles happen. Christ's called servants have His power, His direction, and perform His miracles TODAY! I know it! Sorry to be short about it, there is SOOO much more, but for another time :)

Highlight #2: Christmas Devotional. What a sweet devotional we had last night from the First Presidency!!!!!! May I just say I am NOW in the Christmas spirit. And even better, we had an investigator attend with us!!! If you missed the devotional, for whatever reason or didn't know it was happening, go to and watch it! Elder Bednar's talk was awesome. And how cool to have an apostle confirm the importance of what we have been doing every year as part of our family's Nativity Night....Samuel the Lamanite's prophecy!!! :) It was just fun for me to think about the last years and acting out the Nativity from the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible!!! :)

Well, once again another week of learning and growing has come and gone...and I'm writing yet another email home...I only have a very limited number of these left...AHH! I know that this is the work of the Lord. He directs and protects us in this His work. He is working right alongside us, each and every day! There is really nothing in this world that could replace the experiences and lessons that are had on a mission for the Lord. I love and pray for you each, I hope you can feel the love and the prayers :)

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake
Helping a member decorate for Christmas

Feliz Navidad!

November 30, 2015

So Thankful

"Therefore they did watch over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness." --Mosiah 23:18

Highlights for 30/11/15:

Highlight #1: Thanksgiving. Well, as you all know...this week was Thanksgiving. And may I just say...a Thanksgiving we did have! A member here in the ward about a month ago asked us each to ask our families for a family Thanksgiving recipe....and then she prepared them! WHAT AN AMAZING ACT OF SERVICE!!! We had everything! Turkey! Mashed Potatoes AND GRAVY! Stuffing! Punch! AND?? PUMPKIN PIE!!!! :) It was soooooooooooo good! Now, I have to just say Grandma's Thanksgivings still have first place....but this Hermana has the first place, top rate Thanksgiving Dinner in all of Guate!! I was very THANKFUL this Thanksgiving and had/have LOTS to be thankful for!!!! :) Hope your Thanksgivings went well too :) :)

Highlight #2: Missionary Activity. This week we had a super successful activity!!! :) Between the two companionships we have about 50, yes FIFTY, potentially (as in super close) progressing investigators...and they all live pretty close together. So we planned an activity at a members house in their neighborhood to get them all together, with some members, to make some friends and to start progressing :) :) For the activity we played the movie Meet the Mormons and had some pretty great refreshments!! (What's an LDS activity without some good refreshments? ;)) And it went off as a huge success! One of our investigators that hasn't been able to come to church, or hasn't felt the need, came to the activity and then yesterday called us in the morning to make sure they knew the correct hour for church!!!! Successful missionary feelings for sure in that moment!! :) :)
fun missionary activity watching Meet the Mormons together

Highlight #3: Speaking of/(in) Church. So this week my comp and I got a call from the ward secretary...which really isn't that abnormal, until he said "Bishop asked me to call you guys for a favor"...still not too abnormal...."will you and your comp be willing to speak this Sunday in church about missionary work?, Sure." So my companion and I had the privilege of speaking in church. It went well, and many of the members told me that they learned a lot from my to see if they APPLY my talk...we'll see ;) :) But speaking in church is NO PROBLEM any more...before yeah, butterflies and all...but now it's super normal and easy :) :) And I actually enjoyed it :)

Highlight #4: Food. OBVIOUSLY this week's food highlight is super american...Thanksgiving. But just to add something else, this week we had the opportunity to try tripas. If you have now looked it up you know, yes, tripas is intestines stuffed with meat. That actually weren't that bad...honest ;) Another food to add to the list of "fun" mission foods... ;) :) haha :)

I know that God is aware of me and my needs, as well as how far he can stretch me without breaking me but to shape me. I know that He is and has protected me. This week I am soo greatful to a loving Heavenly Father for SOOO MANY THINGS. For EVERYTHING. He has literally given me everything. This week was a bit tough, but I'm better for it :) I can't believe that it has already almost been 6 weeks since I left the men in skirts for the "big" city. But, changes are coming this week...guess we'll see what He's got in store for me :) I know that this is His work. I know that He called and calls prophets today and, through His prophet Joseph Smith, He restored His church. (That means placed His church once again on existed when He lived on earth, then was lost for a LONG time, and then He placed it once again on earth because He loves you...and me). I love you all and hope you guys are getting in the Christmas spirit! LOVE YA!

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

P.S. Watch A Savior is Born and discover why we need a Savior. I love Christmas!
"More than 2,000 years ago, God sent Jesus Christ to be our Savior. Jesus Christ was born to save us from our sins, born so we can be born again and return to live with God someday. Let us rejoice greatly this Christmas season, for unto all of us #ASaviorIsBorn."

November 23, 2015

A Hastened Work

"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God." --Moroni 10:32

To the Highlights!

Highlights for 23/11/15:

Highlight #1: Fecha. This week we were blessed to be able to put a baptismal date with one of our new investigators. The work is picking up! We were also able to visit with many of our investigators and many are now progressing. It was a good week on that front :) I'm just looking forward to another week and seeing more of my brothers and sisters (Guatemaltecans) come closer to their/our Heavenly Father. The work is moving forward.

Highlight #2: Food. Well, this week's food highlight was the day we ate Italian food with one of the members! But, OBVIOUSLY, the highlight about food for this week is too big to just be mentioned once (next week)--we will be having a THANKSGIVING DINNER IN GUATE!!!! It is going to be such a blast!!! :) SO! FELIZ DIA DE ACTION DE GRACIAS=HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

Highlight #3: Miracles. This week has been a week of chance coincidences or better said, a week of miracles. First, for the first time this change somebody accepted a baptismal date....and (for the missionaries that read this, because they will understand why that's a big deal) she accepted in the first lesson. Then also throughout the week other things occurred as well. These included being able to leave for visits with a recently returned missionary. Also yesterday, we had an appointment with a new investigator that fell through, but he just happens to live next door to one of our investigators we weren't able to visit this week because he was soo busy...but just as we were leaving this other investigator walked out of his house, saw us, and called us over. I have NO idea way he happened to poke is head out just as we were passing by, but needless to say...we were able to have a GREAT appointment with him and his family. And better yet, he should be coming to church next Sunday with his entire family!!! Woohoo! The Lord deserves our best, and when we give our best (diligently) the blessings flow...I've seen it happen this week!

These experiences as well as others have caused me to really realize and recognize the hand of the Lord in His work and my life specifically. He knows exactly what I need to become the man and son of God that He knows and needs me to be. I know that He has prepared experiences during my mission exactly intended for me. Prepared people, experiences, and events that He knew would help shape and better me. This work is soo amazing! :) I love my Savior and brother Jesus Christ and know that this is His work. I know that He has a hand in my life and the lives of those I interact with (including you guys'). I know that some day I will kneel at His feet and thank him for this experience and the love and mercy He shows me. This gospel is so amazing and perfect and I know that it is only through living by its teachings with sincere hearts and real intent, following the spirit and letter of the law, that we can and will become like God. I know that this is His church and that He is at its head guiding and directing. I love you all and more importantly He loves you, eternally. Have confidence and faith in Him, I know that life will not always be easy and sometimes bad things happen, but He knows what will make you celestial and like Him. Trust in Him, Have faith in Him.

WIth love and prayers,
Elder Flake

PS. 16 months ago left the frozen north for the land of eternal spring! Was it really that long ago?!?!? WOW!

November 17, 2015

The work continues...starting with me

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." --Ether 12:27

Highlights for 16/11/15:

Highlight #1: Regional Conference. This week we had the opportunity to have a special regional conference for all of Guatemala. Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve presided and spoke....AND IT WAS POWERFUL! Bishop Davies, Sister Marriott, and Elder Martino spoke as well. Elder Bednar spoke about what "truly hastening the work" means. It is not more retention, more convert baptisms, and more work in the temple. This is not where the hastening should be focused. This work is the Lord's work, He does the hastening. He then asked a set of questions that I would like each of us to consider: 1) Will we as individuals and as a church keep pace with the Lord? OR 2) Will we as individuals and as a church stay comfortable with "how it's always been"? Then he said, the hastening is more focused on making and keeping sacred priesthood covenants [than all the things I previously mentioned (ie retention, baptizing, temple for others)].

He then spoke about 3 principles or concepts we must understand. They are Faith, Sacrifice, and Consecration. He then went into detail about each of these principles but I will only give some of the highlights or statements that stood out to me.
*Speaking about faith he said it is the prinicple of action in intelligent beings, a principle of action and power. Increased faith=increased spiritual POWER. He then shared a story from the bible about when Joshua was leading the Israelites and they were promised by the Lord when they came to the River Jordan that they would cross over on dry ground. Then Elder Bednar pointed out that the Israelites didn't wait for the water to part, but first entered the water (FAITH) and the soles of their feet were wet before the water parted (POWER)...the power comes after the excercise of faith.
*Then about sacrifice something he said intrigued me...he said Sacrifice pertains only to mortality. It doesn't exist in the eternities. (Mind Blown)
*Then with consecration he ended by saying (in regard to the piece of consecration being a willingness to give ourselves (not all material means, but literally us, our talents and abilities) and people saying "that's hard, to give everything." He said...) living the gospel and keeping sacred covenants is NOT hard, not living the gospel and not keeping sacred covenants IS hard! He then promised that as we develop and act on these principles we will have power to chase darkness from among us. Only our best is good enough for the Lord.

Highlight #2: Tamales. Well tamale season has begun!!!! And man am I EXCITED!! So this week to kick off the Guatemalan Christmas tamale season I had a nice potato and chicken tamale and then...I had a chocolate tamale. IT WAS SUPER GOOD! Think grandma's rice pudding with chocolate syrup and a piece of chicken in the middle! It is super duper good!!! I am definitely going to have to learn how to make them and then start THAT Christmas tradition when I get home :)

Highlight #3: District Activity. So first off, I don't know if I've let you guys know that, once again, me and Elder Roca are in the same district :) :) Fun there :) But this last week we had our district activity. We played a modified soccer game....basically everyone has a chair, you must protect your chair from the soccer ball, if the soccer ball touches your chair you're out. Goal: be the last one standing :) It was actually a lot of fun!!! :) Then we played Uno...and yes in Spanish you still say "uno" when you only have one card (ie you don't say "one" or "hun"-kiche) ;) haha :) But I love my district and I'm getting more and more used to my area each week :)

So this week I had some very rejuvenating experiences to help encourage me on! I know this is the work of God and that He knows exactly what I (and each of us) need and the correct timing to implement a little nudge or a little encouragement to keep us going but still allow us to grow :) I am soo grateful for this work and the trust and faith my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have in me. Have you ever thought about that? Heavenly Father and Christ exercise faith in us, that we will choose to use our agency to do good and follow them. God, the all-knowing and most powerful being in the universe, has faith in me and faith in each of you individually. How cool of a thought is that? Makes you want to do better and be better, right?! ;) haha :) I love you all and hope all is going well for each of you! I pray for you each every day!! Keep up all the hardwork and sharing the gospel! Love those missionaries in your ward, maybe someday they will then return to visit ;) You never know ;) Haha :)

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

Note from Mom: Elder Flake asked us if we had any questions for him, and these are some of the questions with the answers he gave...
Do you have a washer and dryer? I do not have washer or dryer...but a member that washes our laundry.
What kitchen appliances do you have? I have an electric stove top and a microwave and a fridge.
Who's your favorite sibling? Christ :)
How's the rain? It doesn't rain much here.
Are you teaching your comp English? I'm trying to teach him English. It's hard.
Do you ever get to sing or play a guitar? I sing in the shower, at night, at church, in lessons, whenever I can...and when I find a guitar I play it :)
Are you at an internet cafe? Yes, I'm at an internet cafe
What are the streets/neighborhoods like? Think an american neighborhood and I have about 3 of those in my area...this area is one of, if not the, most affluent areas in the mission. The streets are still cobblestone...but most everybody lives in stand alone houses, but some in apartments.

November 09, 2015

Life in "America"

"And now...I speak unto you: Thou art my first-born in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren. first-born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." --2 Nephi 2:1-2

Highlights for 9/11/15:

Highlight #1: Food. Do you all remember (one of) my favorite foods...chilicayote? Well, I guess that is the NAHUALANIAN way of making that what did I have THIS WEEK? YEP, I tried ayote, the XELA version of this dish! And man is it super good!!! :) AND, it is SUPER easy to make!!! :) A shout out to Grandpa Morgan, it is a vegetable dish with LOTS of sugar (ie regular white sugar AND brown sugar AND honey). So it's vegetables right, so you can eat it as a normal meal!! LOVE YA GRANDPA! :) HAHA

Highlight #2: Xela. Well, may I just say that I have gone from the mountains of Guatemala to the most American experience I will probably be able to find here in the mission. HONESTLY! EVERYONE HERE speaks Ingles, like literally EVERYBODY. Makes for some boring lessons for my companion because they ask me to teach in English because they understand English better than Spanish. But may I say, it takes a lot for me to teach in English. One because I need (not just want, but need) my companion to be able to teach effectively because he can testify of the things I explain. And then two, I literally feel like I am in my training once again because my English sentences are super basic and (not horrible but) jumbled. I guess that is what happens when you practice and teach these lessons and present the ideas in many of the same ways BUT IN SPANISH, and then try to translate my Spanish thoughts to English to teach. WEIRD. I am literally translating my SPANISH thoughts into my mother tongue of ENGLISH!!! What is happening?!?!?! Well, I guess I've got to start teaching and talking to my companion in English to remind me how...haha ;)

You asked me if I liked being in an area of greater affluence, and I LOVE being in an area that is more affluent...but it brings it's own of which is you have got to have ALL of your bases covered because the deep probing questions come right off the bat...but it makes it interesting and keeps you on your toes :) The ward? Well, we have a couple seventies, former mission pres, the temple missionaries, and the 2nd counselor in the mission a very pilus ward :) (honestly feels like a ward in the states)

Also, you asked about how we (2 sets of Elders) share the same area...It is different to share an area, and we don't split it we just let each other know who are our investigators and we don't visit the investigators of the other elders :) And no, the 2 sets of missionaries do not live in the same apt. but our apt is AMAZING, the stores are WAY BETTER (ie walmart and other american companies)...but i am in the CITY now :)

Highlight #3: My comp. So the update on my companion for this week. We started talking about our families, so that we could understand each other a little more. And guess what we found....He is the oldest child, has 1 sister and 2 brothers...and he and each of his siblings are 1 year younger than our family. SO yeah, that was interesting to find out :) And then we have LOTS AND LOTS of working to find each of our strengths and USE THEM :)

I am soo greatful for this gospel and being able to participate in seeing how it changes lives, every day! The Lord truly is working right along side us in this His work! I love being able to see Him at work among his brothers and sisters, each and every one of us, every day! Keep up all the great work at home and in whatever place you may be in! :) I know He lives AND loves each and every one of us. If it weren't for His love, He wouldn't have organized His missionary work....but He does love all of us, so He sends those who have found parts or all of the light to teach and bring this light into the lives of others. I pray for you all each day and hope you can feel and see and recognize the hand of the Lord guiding, protecting, and helping each of you! :)

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

Here's some "goodbye" pictures with my friends in Nahuala:

November 02, 2015

There Ain't No Place Like "Home"

"But behold, I...will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." --1 Nephi 1:20

Highlights for 2/11/2015:

Highlight #1: Members. So in my new area this week I have seen and talked to a member from each of my previous areas....and they remember me. It felt great that they remembered my name (or were able to quickly check my tag without me seeing...don't think so...). I loved being able to quickly talk to each of them and find out how the area, their families, and the work are doing. It actually encouraged me a lot to keep working! I found out that I never knew the impression I left with some of the individuals when I left my areas. Families are doing well and progressing to be ready to go to the temple! :)

Well, I had a "YOU'VE BEEN IN THE MISSION A WHILE" moment this week when I found out (because I saw one of the family members from my first area) that there is an additional member in their family. When I was in my last months there, she told me and my companion that she had found out that she was pregnant....well, this month the newest member of her family is 3 months old!!!! Yeah, soo....yeah. But when I found that out I was soo happy for them...and that they remember when I was there A YEAR AGO....Just wanted to share  :) Haha :)

Highlight #2: Food. Yep, the weekly food highlight....and this week I actually have one! :) Woohoo! It is a dish called Fiambre...and it is DELICIOUS!!! Look it up on google! It is amazing! To explain where it comes from, as the story goes (I don't know if it's true or not...but, hey), there was a nunery (as in catholic nuns)...a high-ranking dignitary was scheduled to visit, so the nuns wanted to make a special dish for when he came....but there was a problem, they didn't have much of anything (a little veggies, a little meat, a little of this or that) what did they do? They took everything they had and put it TOGETHER. Well, for the fact that it contains "EVERYTHING" it is a bit expensive to make (and needless to say makes A in I was told that one recipe of it makes enough fiambre for the days 3 meals for 15 to 20 people). SO, due to the expense the chapins (ie Guatemaltecos/Guatemalans) found a holiday that only happens once a year and needed a special tradition. What holiday did they find? 1 de Nov, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead....they don't celebrate Halloween here, sorry, no candy when we were contacting... ;) haha) So as yesterday was 1 of Nov and Day of the Dead, we ate fiambre for lunch and dinner. I LOVED IT! My comp...not soo much. So really, to each their own :)

Highlight #3: Area. So, who wants to know where I'm at? Well, the wait continues. NOT REALLY...Some clues: I am now in Guatemala's second largest city. I have the Temple IN MY AREA. Yep, I'm back in Xela :) And I LOVE this area! My companion is from the Dominican Republic and has less than a year in the mission. In this area there are 2 companionships (so 4 elders), to say the least it is "interesting" to share an area :))

This week was definately a week of change! Not just a change of area, but due to the change of area the need to make many adjustments. Adjusting to a new area, a new companion, new members, new investigators, new challenges, and new leaders. But all in all, I'm doing well :) I guess that it was true when others have said that I take change well (usually) :) I am soo glad for that blessing! I know that this is the work of the Lord. I am truly one of his CHOSEN servants and He has (through revelation) assigned me to THIS mission, THIS area, and THIS companion in His wisdom. I hope and pray that I may be able to accomplish what He has placed me here to accomplish. I know that He lives! I know that He loves every singe one of us individually and knows us. I know that He has gone below all so that we don't have to AND so that He is able to comfort and support us in all of our challenges and difficulties in life. I am soo greatful for a loving older Brother who would do what He did FOR ME. I testify that He LIVES and that He is at the head of His church, and that through His chosen servants He is and will reveal His secrets (Amos 3:7) and instructions for us, specifically.

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake

October 26, 2015

It's That Time Again

On a path we take every day. Here is a chilacayote. It is a squash, not a melon. Mmmm...
Time flies like an arrow...who made up that statement? Because what happens when the velocity of the arrow begins to slow? Time will slow? ;) Alright, enough rambling...TO THE HIGHLIGHTS! :)

Highlights for 26/10/15:

Highlight #1: Food. Well, my food highlight for the week ain't much of a highlight...but have to include my highlight about food to continue the tradition, or no? Well, this week I ate A LOT of chicken, beans, rice, and TORTILLAS. Oh, fun last Sunday (not yesterday, the one before) we were leaving a cita when a VERY drunk member started talking to us. So we talked to him, trying to get him to go home....Well to make a long story short, he did finally let us take him back to his house...well, while there he started talking about the States (like EVERY bolo (bolo=drunk person in Guate)) and telling us about how he knows how to cook really good chicken dishes. So we talked about that for a little bit (5 min) and then started for the door...and THIS is when he invited us to lunch this past week. So SWEET, we have a lunch cita with a bolo...HAHA. So the morning of the "cita" we called his wife to see if the invitation was still valid or not, and/or if her husband had told her that he had invited us to lunch. Long story short, we got lunch and had a great conversation with the wife and her sober husband :) So all ended well :)

Highlight #2: Families. Well, I will be leaving this area A LOT better than I found it :) So I'm glad that I can do that :) We have been working really hard with the members here the last couple weeks and have seen many miracles and blessings from our efforts. This week we were able to visit some AMAZING families and friends of members. NEVER, EVER underestimate the power of the guidance of the Spirit. Almost every single one of the members we visited at first kept telling us that none of their friends, family, or neighbors want visits from the missionaries...but after some explaning and encouragement they consented to accompany us to visit someone, and every single one of the people we visited this week let us in, listened, and accepted a return appointment. NEVER underestimate the power of YOUR testimony and NEVER underestimate the impressions of the spirit. If the spirit indicates you need to talk to someone about the church, or visit one of your friends to give support, or any other impression...FOLLOW IT! You won't regret it! :) It is amazing to see just how much more EFFECTIVE missionary work becomes when members and missionaries work together to move the Lord's work along. He is accelerating His work, are you keeping up or falling behind? We have all been blessed with talents and strengths, but we were not given them to just sit around and waste them, they have been given to us to use in His service, to lift, to encourage, to invite, and to progress.

Highlight #3: Cambios. Well, as the title indicated, IT'S THAT TIME ONCE AGAIN! Yep, CAMBIOS! And drum roll please.....I'VE GOT CHANGES!!! So early tomorrow morning with all my things I'm leaving this area for (who knows where...). Am I sad? A little. Am I excited? Yeah. Am I nervous? A little. But hey! I'm on the Lord's errand and He needs me somewhere else :) :) So to recap: Areas: 3, Companions: 9, Months in the Mission: 15....So here we go for area #4 and companion #10 (unless I am assigned with one of my previous companions...very rare, but possible :) Well, there ya have it! The life of a missionary, one day in one area, the next day to never return...but what a life! :) Think about it, what other time in my life is my housing, work, food, and friends going to be pre-organized for me? I can't think of ANY OTHER time! So I'd better enjoy it while I can, right? ;) :)
Two of my favorite people in the world! Goodbye for now...I will miss them!
(They make me look like a GIANT!! haha)

Well, once again another week of learning and growing has come and gone...and I'm writing yet another email home...I only have a very limited number of these left...AHH! I know that this is the work of the Lord. He directs and protects us in this His work. He is working right along side us each and every day! There is really nothing in this world that could replace the experiences and lessons that are had on a mission for the Lord. I love and pray for you each, I hope you can feel the love and the prayers :) Peace out till next week when I will write yet again from ????! Ain't it exciting?!?! ;) :)

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake
We were invited to eat with a marriage party at the church.
Here we are eating a typical plate of food here in Guate:
chicken, rice, a tomato sauce, and a fruit drink.

October 19, 2015

Testimony: Story of My Life

Wassup?!?!? Well, I gotta write fast (like every week) so I'll get to the highlights...

Highlights for 19/10/15:

Highlight #1: Mile Marker Reached. This week my companion completed 7 months in the mission. So what did we do? We made a cake :) :) It was delicious! I remember when he first got here he had less than 6 months in the, times flies! And now we are looking at changes next week!!!!! AHHHH! I will know next p-day where I'll be the next change....maybe here, maybe not....

Highlight #2: Noche de Hogar. We had a great FHE with a member family and one of their friend's family. It was awesome! :) We taught about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ...I am soo thankful for the knowledge we have as members of Christ's Latter-Day church. The confusion we avoid and the peace we find in the knowledge we have. But we cant stop there! We have the desires to share this fruit we have found, a fruit that fills our souls with exceedingly great joy (1 Nephi 8:11-18). But as you have read in this verse that doesn't mean that the person we invite will accept, everyone still has their agency, but we can be satisified that we have done our part and that they know where to find answers when they are looking for them. Because everyone at some point in their life will wonder about or search for truth. We are agents of light.

Highlight #3: Testimony. There is power that comes when members and missionaries unite to build the kingdom of God. Missionaries without members can teach lessons and maybe baptize someone, but this individual has the odds against them to remain active...Members without missionaries can teach lessons and baptize and retain recent converts and activate less active members, but it will take A LOT longer because you aren't dedicated and set apart to this work what is the solution? Members AND missionaries together can teach lessons, baptize, active, and retain EVERYBODY! This is what the Lord, His servants, and statistics show and have taught! SO, are you trying to find another path to success in the Lord's Kingdom (because that path doesn't exist) or are you living by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God, ie His servants (D&C 84:44). I have found that only through uniting in this work can it move forward. The Lord is hastening His work, it's a fact! Are you working with Him or against Him, or are you falling blindly behind? I invite all the evaluate your life and apply the instructions from the conference talk by Elder Larry R Lawrence and ask your Heavenly Father in prayer "what lack I yet?" and "how can I become more like thee and what part would thou have me play in your plan today?" I promise that when you apply these steps and in fervent prayer with real intent, He WILL answer, and the answer may not be what you thought it would be or it may be to leave your comfort zone a little, but I promise that He will always invite you to become better. So take these promptings you receive to show His confidence in YOU to become better :) We can all be a little better every day, and one day we will come face to face with our Heavenly Father and find that we have truly come to be like Him. I love you all and He loves you too (which is MORE important) but maybe even MORE importantly He loves your family members, friends and neighbors who are still looking for the truth. We have the call to become and be Saviors on Mount Zion. And this is to say nothing of the millions upon millions of our ancestors who are waiting on the other side of the veil for US to do for them what they cannot do for themselves, the physical ordinances of the temple...but that's a "discourse" for another time ;) haha :)

Highlight #5: IT IS SUPER COLD THIS WEEK, AND RAINY, SO EVEN COLDER!!! I know, if you look at our temperatures you will roll your eyes...but when you're used to sweating every day these temperatures are frigid! I know, I am going to have to acclaimate again to MN (IF I am going to visit during the winter ;)). But the rain is STILL coming...we have gone from "it will end at the end of Sept" to "It will end the 10th of Oct" to "...the end of Oct" to "MAYBE in Nov???" to ???? Haha :) But hey, that's life! :)

I love you all and am so greatful for the amazing things you are all doing through your examples and lives. Keep up the great work! The Lord has promised His presence along side His servants who are living worthy lives. I pray for your success and health and happiness! We live in the most anticipated era in the history of the world, we live in the Dispensation of the FULLNESS of Times! Live it, Love it, Share it! :)

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake

October 12, 2015

chickens, seafood, and testimony

Apparently here they paint baby chicks because at first I thought this was a Quetzal chick...and then was informed it is a chicken...but cool pic right :) OH, and I was able to show this family how to hypnotize their chickens...they were a little unsettled by my ability, until the chick jumped up and ran off, to which they laughed :)
Hay tres clases de personas: las que saben contar y las que no. Thought I'd start with a joke, then realized the only ones that came to mind were in oh well ;) :) But to get to the things most important (WOW, sorry, Spanish sentence structure. I am literally translating my Spanish thoughts into English to write them...haha)....the highlights!

Highlights for 12/10/15:

Highlight #1: Interview. This week we had our periodical interviews with Pres Smith. As always, MINE WAS GREAT!!! I always learn sooo much in my interviews and feel the spirit testify of the things that happen there. I have been thinking about many questions I had to ask and had them written to ask Pres Smith if there was time after the "normal" part of the interview. (ie Usually I have entered the interview and he has questions and things to discuss and then if there is time remaining he asks if we have anything else to discuss or ask...) But this time right as I entered he asked how I was doing, to which I replied "well." He then paused for a second and then asked that I explain "well." I then explained and then he asked about my spiritual progression in the mission. (This was one of the questions I had prepared to ask) So I responded that this was one of my questions I had brought if there was time at the end, or if then was a good time to ask. To which he indicated to go ahead and ask. Needless to say, 30 min later and with MANY notes and new insights and instructions received I left the interview feeling empowered to do and be better. I love having interviews with Pres Smith (a major reason for this tranquilidad is because I am obedient, so the interviews are uplifting instead of a time of reproof) :) I am soo grateful to have a mission president who truly understands his calling and responsibilities and has been prepared throughout his life to help me specifically at this time. I know that Pres Smith was called of God to preside and direct this mission under the direction of Christ through revelation.

Highlight #2: Division. This week I had the opportunity to go on a division to San Cristobal. It went really well, I learned a lot. And LOVED being in a different area for a day, just a change a scenery is refreshing every once in a while, right? :) One (of MANY) experiences I had while there really impressed itself in my mind and gave me courage and strength. We were teaching a gentleman about the Restoration: we explained about families, prophets, Christ's ministry, and the great apostasy, and explained how Christ called a modern prophet (Joseph Smith) and restored His church once again on the earth. The gentleman then stopped us and said, "I have one question: In the Bible we read that Christ gave power and authority to his Apostles and the Seventies and anyone else He sent to preach the gospel. Do you both have some type of this authority, or by what authority were you sent to preach?" WOW! Can I just say, the light of Christ truly can illuminate the mind and heart of anyone who will listen! This gentleman has studied, prayed, and received a particle of the light (or truth) of the gospel and this particle sparked a question. But the part that has impressed itself in me is that immediately my companion and I were able to say, without doubt or hesitation, "YES! We have been sent forth with power and authority from God...." and then explained how after Christ called Joseph Smith to be His representative on earth, Christ sent first John the Baptist (Priesthood of Aaron) and later Peter, James, and John (Melchizedek Priesthood) to restore the priesthood and priesthood keys to the earth. This experience truly was a testimony builder for me! :)

Highlight #3: Actividad de Distrito. Today we were able to have our District Activity. (A district is a group of areas and companionships, in my district there are 5 companionships....then a zone is a group of districts, in my zone there are 3 districts...then all the zones together make a mission. Basically from smallest to largest it goes: area (proselyting), district, zone, mission, area (geographical, in the case here we are part of the Central American Area), Church as a whole). We gathered here in Nahuala and played volleyball, futbol, and cooked lasagna. It was a lot of fun and the lasagna was super good :) :) It is always fun to get together with the district or zone and to have a little bit of time to better connect and relax together.
Missionaries in my Zone of the mission

Pizza Hut!!! :)

Highlight #4: Food. Well, for this week's food highlight I will have to go with the above mentioned lasagna :) Nothing really to explain, it was just a normal cheese, meat, pasta, tomatoe sauce, I am realizing that if you don't know what lasagna is 1) I feel sorry for what you have been missing out on in your life and 2) I will leave you to googling "lasagna" to find out what it looks like, at least, and maybe print off a recipe to begin enjoying your culinary options more fully in your life ;) :)
Lunch one day....DAD'S Favorite, Fish and Shrimp Soup! :) It was actually pretty good :)

I have also learned a lot this week and grown a lot in my testimony of Christ. I know that we knew Him personally before we came to earth. I know that He came to earth to lead a life of example and ultimately suffer and die for each and every one of us. But, I know that He has risen and that because of this we will all rise again some day. I know that He is there for each of us individually, in our times of trial and struggle as well as in times of plenty and tranquility. I know that only through Him we are able to repent, become better, and ultimately return to live with our Heavenly Father and families forever. I know that this is the Lord's work and that He personally is directing and participating in it every day. I know that there is power in prayer and fasting, personally and as families. There are few better ways to unite families than having family scripture study and family prayer every day (and Family Home Evening once a week). I promise that if we will each make the effort to study and pray individually and as families every day, we will see the windows of heaven open and bounteous blessings come into our lives and the lives of those we love. I love this work and the blessing of being a part of it at this time. I am soo grateful for all of you, your thoughts, prayers, letters, emails, and everything. Thank you. Keep up all the great work! Keep being the great examples of followers of Christ that I know (and you guys know) you are. Keep on smiling! Keep on spreading this wonderful gospel message, a message really everyone on earth already knows and has accepted, just have forgotten.

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

**If you have had any questions about any of the things mentioned above, please do not hesitate to ask a local missionary or member to better explain....they would be THRILLED to help you understand these concepts and doctrines of the gospel.**

PS Life's good! Enjoy it! :)

PPS I have less than 9 months left...(no suprise extra siblings before i get home ;) jk haha)

My area at night...

October 05, 2015

Modern Scripture, Modern Prophets

Bryson's Guate b-day cake! Mmmm!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRYSON!!!!!! Just so you know, I made you cake! Yep, a CAKE! And ate it in your honor! :) (FYI: In Guatemala, Oct 1st is a National Holiday! It is the Day of the Child (Dia de Niño)!) So not only did I celebrate your birthday, but ALL OF GUATEMALA did too!!

Highlights for 5/10/15:

Highlight #1: Egg Fried Cauliflower. This week we made dinner with a member and her family here. About a month ago, my comp and I had eaten dinner with her and she had prepared Egg Fried Cauliflower for us, and we wanted to learn how to do it. (for the record, and in total humility, I knew how to do it and explained the process to my companion....but he didn't believe me...) So we asked this sister if she could teach us how to make it. So we placed an appointment with her for the day she was going to give us dinner, to go and learn this simple, SIMPLE, entree. I have included pictures of us preparing it. It was super good, and EASY! :)
Making Egg-Fried Cauliflower...yum!

Highlight #2: Food. This week we had the wonderful experience of eating with some members. They prepared the most typical guatemalan food that I can think of and something that I have had many a time. (honestly, I can even prepare it!) Do you want to know what this week's food highlight was? Huegos con Frijoles y Morcaf. Yep, Eggs and Beans with Morcaf. And I love it, even if we eat it for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Nothing extraño to report this week. But what did you think I was going to put here? ;) Pansa? Higalo? ;) HAHA!

Highlight #3: that is REALLY #1!!! Conferencia General. (You can check out what I'm about to talk about here) For those who are reading this who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or were members a while back, General Conference is a biannual global two-day broadcast of talks and instruction from the Prophet, members of the Quorum of the Twelve, and other General Authorities and Auxiliaries of the church. This past weekend, what an edifying experience we were given. I can testify that each of the individuals who spoke were guided by the spirit in preparing their individual talks. (They are not assigned their topics when they are assigned to speak) I know that I was surely edified by the spirit and received not only the words and instructions of the speakers but also of the Spirit. And honestly, the instructions from the spirit are a LOT more important. I would invite all who did not have the opportunity to watch all or some of this general conference to go to the above site and watch and learn at the feet of our modern apostles and honestly receive a form of modern day scripture. If you were able to see some of conference, I invite you to go to the above site and watch the rest...every talk offers unique instruction for you! Now, if you were able to watch every one of the sessions I invite you to go to the above site and pick one or two talks to review and study in depth...this will bring the spirit stronger in yours and your families lives, and allow you to come closer to your Heavenly Father. Do it! It's easy! May I suggest: Remember the story of the brass serpent in the wilderness that Moses raised up to save the Israelites that would "look and live"? Remember how some did not "look and live" because of the simplicity of the act? This, tal vez, is one of those brass serpents, but for modern times...the instruction, direction, guidance, and love of God is there. But is it too easy that we will not "look, [listen], and live"?

Comment 2 about general conference: as you all know (or may not know), since the past conference, 3 of the apostles passed on to the other side of the veil. This meant that this past conference 3 new apostles and special witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ were called and sustained by the church membership as a whole. I know that the three men who were called to fill the 3 vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve were and are called of God. He has been preparing them since before they were born for this call and responsibility. I sustain each of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators along with the members of the First Presidency. My love and prayers have gone in behalf of the newly called apostles and their families, that they may feel my sustaining of them (in what meager way I can). Just as Christ's church contained, when He organized it in the meridian of time, apostles and prophets who followed the guidance of Christ (Ephesians 2:20), we today (yes, today) have modern apostles and prophets who have been and are called by Christ to be His chosen representatives on the earth today (Amos 3:7), for you and for me.

I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ upon the earth. I know that in the pre-existance we, each and every one, chose the plan of God (if you don't believe me, talk to your nearest Mormon friend or the missionaries, they can help explain and show how and why YOU DID choose God's plan and why you don't remember doing so :)). I know that this is the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He called me personally to serve Him and to serve here specifically. I know that only by and through Him may we all return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father. I am soo greatful for the love, hope, and vision the Lord has given me and that I get to witness it enter the lives of those I teach. If you are now pondering if or when you should serve a mission, turn to the Lord. He knows who He needs when and where. He will guide your life specifically, but first we must ask and be living in such a way to invite that guidance. I love you all and pray for you each individually every night. I pray you feel and see the Lord´s hand in your lives every day, feel His protection and guidance, and feel the peace and joy of being a member of this marvelous church at this time in the world´s history (or begin learning about the peace and joy being a member of Christ's restored church will bring to your life).

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake
I am keeping up our "let's get ice cream for Priesthood Session" tradition!!

My General Conference squad :)