April 27, 2015

Another "Normal" week in Guate

Easter fun with the ward at the church!
Highlight #1: Food. First and for most my food highlight for the week. BROWNIES!!! Yes, I made delicious, rich, moist brownies this week for one of our investigators at a member's house. They were super duper good! The only problem was that the oven we used only heats from the bottom...so the bottom was burned for about half a cm and the top was cooked but still uncooked. Then the topping was going great, yes was, until 5 CUPS of milk not 5 TBSP of milk were added. Needless to say the "frosting" was pretty runny. So from my vast cooking knowledge I decided to put some flour in the mix and microwave it! It worked like a charm! The frosting hardened up and we were able top the brownies with some super rico frosting!! :) :) Utter failure averted!

Highlight #2: Baptism Update. We currently have 1 fecha, and the plan of at least 3 others this coming week. The month of Mayo should be a great month of baptisms.

Highlight #3: English. Well I have become the English tutor for a less active member :) So this past week we started visiting him and his son. So while I was practicing English with the dad (throwing in church references and words), my comp was teaching and talking with the son! :) It worked out pretty well :) :) We have another appt this week with them to do it again and they promised to make or order pizza for us for dinner while we are there :) :) Got to love when a doctor wants to give you dinner ;) Haha :)

Highlight #4: Service. Well we preformed more service this week clearing out a lot of land for a member. It was going super well! And then the member handed me the ax....and pointed at some very large trees. Got to love Guatemala! :) haha :) Needless to say, it's been a while since i used an ax and the tree was pretty hard, so I obtained blisters, yes blisterSS. Look at your left hand, now imagine 13 individual blisters...got to love manual labor! ;) But they are slowly healing and all is well :) :)
Watch out!

I love you all and hope all is well at home! Keep the smiles on your faces and always remember life is meant to be enjoyed (look in the scriptures if you dont agree...como "men are that they might have JOY"), so ENJOY IT! :) Hope you guys are as pumped as I am to talk in 2 weeks!!!!!!!! :) I should know the details next week :) LOVE YOU LOTS!!!! :)

With much love and many prayers,
Elder Flake

PS I completed 9 months this last week! Man the time is FLYING by!!

PPS My comp just got his flight itinerary for his trip home. It's gettin real!

Tradition: Ice Cream after Priesthood Session of Conference!
I got one for my dad, but because he wasn't here and it was melting,
I had to eat it for him!
Another snake! Ewwww!

Tropical location for your mission = Mangos in your bag! Yessss!

April 20, 2015

The week that flew by!

Well this week has gone by SUPER DUPER fast! I cant believe it's already Monday again!! Well, some fun highlights this week, so I'll cut to the chase...

Highlights for 20/4/15:

Highlight #1: First Blister of the Mission. Well, the day arrived this week that I got my first blister. I woke up like normal, got ready for the day (including putting on my shoes), and then studied. We then left for a service project we had scheduled. I've been using the same shoes for the past 9 months and have had no problems. No blisters, no rubbing, no problems, at all. Well, I got my first blister...Now I know what you are thinking, "How can that be that I could get a blister after so many months using my shoes?" Well, it's actually quite simple...the blister was on my hand! ;) haha :) I got a water blister from using the machete for so long! haha :) My shoes still have a clean record of no problems :) :)

Highlight #2: Divisions. We did divisions this last week. They were SWEET! I got to work with my District Leader, a Tongan from the states.  It was awesome to have a gringo companion for a little while! And we got work done!! We found a couple new investigators, contacted some super positive individuals, and had a blast! :)

Highlight #3: Food. Yep, food highlight :) :) So for the Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Guate they have special foods they only make and eat during that specific week. One of these foods is Garbanzos (don't know if i spelled that right...). It is slow cooked garbanzo beans in a syrup with cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar, and water. So I asked a member here if she would teach me how to make it if I bought the supplies. Well, this week I learned how to make it! It was super duper yummy. We ate it so fast that I forgot to take a picture...haha :) But I still took some food pictures of other things :) :) So, no worries ;)

Highlight #4: Misc. So two other things that happened this week. The tradition continues...my comp's backpack got peed on by a members dog while we were there doing some service. This is a tradition because it happened to my last companion too...haha :) Beware of being my comp...haha ;) The other was we talked to a young man (that turned out to know English, so that was fun) who had attended the Xela Temple Open House with his friends. We asked what his favorite part was and he responded one highlight was finding out that we have jacuzzis in our temples...Huh???...OH! the baptismal font! :) He told us that he made that comment to his guide in the temple and that they then explained that it was not in fact a jacuzzi but a baptismal font where saving ordinances are performed. But it made me laugh, just that thought that we would have jacuzzis in the temple. haha :)

Well, this week has been a lot better and we have had a lot more success. I am soo grateful for this opportunity to serve as one of the Lord's chosen and called servants to bring His gospel to my brother and sisters here in Guatemala. I am so grateful for this gospel and for the peace, comfort and direction it gives me. I promise if you will meet with the missionaries, no importa si tu es un member or not, they will be able to help you come closer to your Heavenly Father and experience these same feelings of peace, comfort and direction. This is truly the Lord's, Jesus Christ's, church. He is at the head and he knows you personally. Hope all is well at home and everyone is loving life! Keep up all the smiling and positivity! There is no substitute for those things in life.

With love, thoughts and prayers,
Elder Flake
Peruvian breakfast...taught to me by my Peruvian companion!

I love my food!  Vegetarian lunch!

Me and my Guate Buddies!

April 13, 2015

This is the work of the Lord

Kept the tradition of ice cream after Priesthood Session!
Yes, I ate the whole thing!
I am sooo soooooo SO happy right now to have some time to write to you all and talk about my week and share with you all. A lot of things happened this week, but I can share the play-by-play when I get home, for now some highlights :)

Highlights 4/13/15:

Highlight #1: Interviews. Well the time for interviews came again this week. Oh how I love being able to talk to Presidente and Hermana Smith, feel of their love, and learn A LOT from them. We didn't know until Wed that we were going to be having interviews on Fri, so that was a fun surprise from the Zone Meeting ;) Haha :) Like the other 2 times I've had interviews I come away KNOWING that Pres. Smith has been called of God to guide and lead this mission, to guide and lead ME. I can truly say that Pres. and Hermana Smith are two examples to me of living lives guided by the Lord through prayer, revelation, and action. But the part I'm most greatful for is they take their knowledge and share thoughts and ideas with me about how I can come closer to Christ and majorar (more or less meaning do better). Presidente Smith has been called and set apart to lead at this time and he has my prayers, confidence, and support.

Highlight #2: A Mission Call. So guess what happened this week...yep our Ward Mission Leader here in El Prado received his mission call, finally. So to go back to Nov...he sent in his application papers in Nov hoping to be able to leave the end of Dec or in Jan. Well, plans changed because his papers came back with the message that they were incomplete due to some medical information needed. So he fixed that and resubmitted his papers. Well, fate had it again and once again his papers came back with a message that he needed to have his wisdom teeth removed. So the second week I was here in this area he had is wisdom teeth removed and resubmitted his papers. Then in Sacrament Meeting Obispo (the Bishop) called him up front to present him with his call envelope. (I liked this idea, have the call letter go to the ward to present to the youth personally in front of the ward instead of just to their home.) So last night he opened his call, finally, and will be serving in and leaving on.....drum roll....El Salvador San Salvador East and enters the CCM in a month. Crazy huh? Haha :) I had to wait 4 months after I opened my call...but I'm glad I had that time to prepare and buy everything ;) :) haha :) So I had my determination rekindled as I felt some of the same emotions for him that I had felt when I opened my own call :) It helped a lot!! :)

Highlight #3: A Quote. "Thus illuminated by the light of faith, adversity becomes a vehicle for growth and death becomes a doorway from one phase of our eternal existance to another." --From Our Search for Happiness by Elder Ballard.

So this week I had some very rejuvinating 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 impliment a little nudge or a little encouragement to keep us going but still allow us to grow :) I am soo greatful 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 excersice 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 hard work and sharing the gospel! Love those missionaries in your ward, maybe someday they will return to visit ;) You never know ;) Haha :)

With love and thoughts from Guatemala,
Elder Flake
Guatemalan tostadas...YUM!

April 06, 2015

The mortician... ;)

Fun Ward Activity!!

FYI the church was organized 185 years ago today...just sayin' :)

Highlights for 4/6/15:

Highlight #1: New Comp. So I said farewell to my comp last Tue and he is now comfortable in his house in Peru (for all that I know). And because of the vacancy I received a new companion.  He's from Honduras, oldest of 4 kids, and YES I'm killing him (killing=the term for when a missionary is on their last change in the field before heading home; i.e. he's on his last change with me, so I'm "killing" him). So I guess I've become the mortician, or at least for last change and this change.
Goodbye to my (now former) comp!!!!
Highlight #2: General Conference. Can I just say WOOOOOOW?!!! That conference was the best conference I have ever listened to, I learned and grew from every single talk. I especially loved all the talks about marriage ;) :P So if you have not had a chance to see conference I challenge you to visit lds.org and watch it (and if you are in a rush of time to just watch 1 talk now, then go back and watch another talk until you've seen them all). I promise that if you will prayerfully and sincerely listen to and write down the promptings and impressions you receive and then take those notes and apply them in your life you will experience more joy, peace, and feelings of love in your life as well as witness the hand of God directing your life. I know it and I know that you can know it if you will accept the challenge.
Going to hear General Conference!
Highlight #3: Semana Santa. The Holy Week. Well, being in a prodominantly Catholic country there were a lot of new and unique traditions I was able to witness this week. One of these traditions that Xela is known for is their processions. What happens is all the catholics in an area go to their local church, hoist a giant and I mean GIANT parade float on their shoulders (this float includes different scenes from the last week of Christ's life), and then walk through the streets of the city "carrying christ's cross." It is a big deal here in Xela and there are many people that come to see and participate in these processions. To see what I mean just search on Google for "xela guatemala semana santa processions" and check out the pictures (Caution: Some of the pictures could be a little graphic, think Vatican City paintings graphic.) Some other traditions include the baking of special breads and the adorning of houses in purple. To say the least, this week has been an informative experience.

Well there you have it, my week in highlights. Hope you are all doing well and are super duper happy and loving life. I pray for you each every night and hope you feel those prayers and the blessings and protective hand of the Lord in your lives.

With much love,
Elder Flake
Views from my porch (above and below).  Beautiful!

Fresh Guate coconut...mmmm.

Just at a member's house goofing around with their drum set. :)