December 29, 2014

Primera Navidad--my first Christmas as a missionary

December 29, 2014

So first off, I told you guys most of what I was going to write about this week when I video chatted with you guys 4 days ago :) So I may write some of the same stuff and some new experiences :) So to cut to the chase...highlights.

Highlights of this week:

Highlight #1: I got to call you guys!!!! :) That was definately the #1 highlight for my week (and a lot more time than that....). I loved being able to see and talk to you guys for a little bit! Loved the questions, ideas, experiences, and everything you guys shared with me. Also, I loved the surprise of Grandma and Grandpa Flake being there!!! That was sure a suprise! Also thank you for allowing me (or at least the cardboard me) to sit in your living room all morning and watch the presents get opened ;) I love my clone! Especially because then I can have a lot more experiences (ie serve a mission but still be home for all the big happenings) :) So thank you!! :)

Highlight #2: Guatemalan Christmas!! Christmas (or Navidad) is a little bit different here. Think New Years Eve night, but for Christmas...Everyone stays up all night and when midnight comes everyone shoots of fireworks for 20 min straight. Just light up the sky! Also everyone makes special Navidad food called Tomales. They are SUPER SUPER good!!! :) Like super good! But, you can be assured I learned how to make them for when i get back!!!! :) Exciting!!!! :)

I know that God loves each and every one of His children. He knows our deepest needs, desires, and wants. He is literally our Father, our Eternal Father. I know, with all my heart, might, mind, and strength that He loves us eternally and perfectly. He has promised us everything, EVERYTHING He has....and that is A LOT and sufficiant compensation and motivation for me to live my life in the way He would like me to. Some may say we mormons just have a bunch of rules and regulations....yeah, maybe we do....BUT, I know that by following these "rules and regulations" of heaven we will be blessed. We have been promised this, by prophets, teachers, apostles, and Christ himself. So are we going to sit down to the marvelous banquet God has set before us, or turn away for other roads. I promise that if we will each individually chose to follow the path Christ has made for us, keep the commandments, and stay true to our covenants, we WILL receive our reward--A reward of unending happiness, unending joy, unending love, and unending life with our families and our Heavenly Father.

I love you all sooo much and am loving being one of Christ´s special servants for these short 2 years. I have grown soo much in faith and testimony since being here...even in the short 5 months that it has been. I have literally seen the hand of God reach down from heaven to bless His children. And I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that this church is Christ´s true church, the only church on earth that has all of the priesthood keys, covenants, and teachings of God. I know that through living the principles and teachings of this, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we will return to the presence of our Father and live with our families forever. Just think of what a glorious reunion that will be.

I pray for you each individually every night and hope that all is well and good with each of you at home. I loved being able to talk with each of you for Christmas, it was definately my favoriate Christmas gift this year. I love you all and hope that each of you can experience and see the hand of the Lord in your lives each day. I promise that if you pray to have and recognize those experiences and then live you life in such a way that you are worthy of those experiences, you WILL see and recognize the Hand of God guiding, directing, and helping your lives each and every day.

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

Christmas fireworks...

...and no, we weren't allowed to light them.

Christmas with some of my new Guatemalan friends was great!

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