December 22, 2014

Christmas coming and a New Companion

December 22, 2014

I hope you are all doing fantastic and getting into the spirit of Christmas! :) This season is such an amazing time!  A time to be with family, a time to feel the special spirit of this time, a time of brotherhood, and a time to remember Christ. My best and well wishes to you guys at this special time :) Well, now for the "good stuff" ;)

Highlights for this Week:

Highlight #1: Well, first things first...I have a new comp!! :) He is also gringo. This change happened because my comp received his visa for Bolivia and will be leaving at a moment's notice (most likely this Fri). So due to this unknown and me needing to always have a companion, I am now in a tri-panionship. This change happened on Sat and we went to Xela to pick up our new comp. So the last couple days have been a wonderful adventure. As well, we are fitting 3 missionaries in our tiny room, but its only for this week :)

Highlight #2: On Thursday we had our Multi-Zone Conference with Elder Duncan of the Seventy (and Area President for Central America). It was fantastic! I took so many notes and learned soooo much from Elder Duncan, Pres. Smith, and Sister Smith. Also the song went super well! (but that will be the next highlight) We learned a lot of stats about the missionary work here in Central America and learned a lot about how we can do a better job as missionaries helping people come unto Christ. So pretty successful conference I felt :) So then we had the 2 hour ride home on a full bus. And when I say full bus I mean a Guatemalan full bus not an American full bus. So to give you the picture...take a typical school bus, place 8 missionaries in the bus, then start stuffing Guatemalans in both the front and back doors until there is no, literally NO, empty space, then add 15 more people.  Another elder and I were standing on one of the seats sharing the space of one person sitting for the entire ride through the windy road. IT WAS A PARTY! Very hot and crapped and my back hurt when we got off, but now I've got a story to tell, right?!? ;) :)

Highlight #3: So the song went great! :)  I had prayed and fasted that those in attendance would feel the Spirit and that our song would be a great start to the conference. It was all of that and more :) The song went off without any problems, even though the other 2 guys were sick and we weren't able to have our last practice. Then afterwards a couple of my friends from the CCM expressed their disbelief for what had come out of my mouth. Then macheted me for not sharing that talent more in the CCM ;) haha :) Then Elder Duncan personally thanked me for the song and encouraged me to use that talent I have been given to animate the youth here and in contacting, so started to do that this week :) Then Hna Smith came and thanked me for the wonderful spirit we brought into the meeting and expressed how much her husband had enjoyed the musical number. So, my prayer was answered. The Spirit was there, and I gained a testimony of the power of music in inviting the Spirit.

Highlight #4: This week was the Rama Christmas Party (Conbibio). It was absolutely fantastic!!! :) We had a special Navidad oven-baked chicken, a Guatemalan-type of stuffing but with veggies, tortillas (obviously, whats a Guate meal without them ;) haha), and this super, SUPER good pineapple punch I learned how to make (for when I get home) :) We also had a talent or act show...and as required the Elders performed. My comp and I decided to sing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer...but a little different. We both started out in our own native language, but halfway through we switched. Then when the song ended we had some funny commentary and sang again, this time starting in the other language and switching to our own halfway through. The members LOVED it :)

So it has been a very hectic week. Really only had 3 full days to work this week. 1 day for pday, 1 day for the multizone, and 1 day to go to Xela to pick up my new companion. But the work is progressing and continues to move forward. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers and well wishes. Feliz Navidad y tiene un prospero en la ano nuevo. This is such an amazing season, a time to remember Christ. I love you all and pray for each of you every day! Hopefully you feel those prayers and the ayuda de los angeles. Talk to you guys soon!! :)

With love and gratitude,
Elder Flake
(aka Elder Captain America or Elder Thor-the nicknames the members here have begun using.)

It was 5 months ago today that I climbed on that plane to start the experience of my life!

Our awesome Christmas tree from the mountain, cut down and delivered by a member of our rama.

Our tiny apartment room with 3 missionaries now!  Just for the week...

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