August 31, 2015

The Fun in Guate

Well, I'm going to cut to the chase this week! (Like I don't every week ;) haha)...

Highlights for 31/8/15:

Highlight #1: Service=Success. This last week I learned a great lesson on the successes that come when one serves. We were on our way between appointments and passed a woman trying to carry two huge bags of wood as well as the usual load on her what did two able-bodied young men do? Yep, we stopped and did our part! :) Well, turns out the family of this woman had a pretty good experience with some missionaries about 5 years ago, and hadn't heard or seen any other elders since. They expressed that 5 years ago the elders had stopped by visiting different families that lived close to this family and they came at just the right moment. One of the sisters in this family had a skin disease or something wrong with her hand and the family asked the elders to give her a blessing to heal and recuperate. And she did, her hand is now completely functional and she hasn't had any trouble since. We didn't get much more detail than this...but how cool is that? So they expressed that they would love for us to come back and share the message we are here to share. And they were actually home for the appointment we had with them and it went AMAZINGLY! :) SERVE THOSE AROUND YOU, CHANGE THE WORLD!

Highlight #2: Zone Activity. Then today we had our zone activity for the change. We all got together in Toto and went to an ecological park. It was super fun! :) We played capture the flag and, of course, soccer. It was a lot of fun to be able to get together with the rest of the zone and have some fun! But due to this we got back a little late so our time on the internet is short...sorry! But at least a little is better than nothing, right? :) :)

I love my Savior Jesus Christ and am so grateful for this opportunity to represent Him here, now. I know that this is the work of Him and that He directs us every day. I know that this church is truly the church of Jesus Christ, that He personally established through modern prophets and apostles. And I KNOW that we still have prophets and apostles today, who under the direction of Christ himself guide and direct us, warn and protect us today. The most important prophet, so far as we are concerned, is the one who is living in our day and age. This is the prophet who has today’s instructions from God to us. God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Every generation has need of the ancient scripture, plus the current scripture from the living prophet. Therefore, the most crucial reading and pondering that you should do is of the latest inspired words from the Lord’s mouthpiece. That is why it is essential that you have access to and carefully read his words. And how cool that in just over a month at General Conference we all have the opportunity, young, old, members, and non-members to sit at the feet of our modern day prophet and apostles to learn and grow! What a blessing! :)

I love you all and pray for your safety, well-being, and happiness each night! Keep on smiling! Keep up the positivity! Keep on keepin on! :)

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

PS Sorry for the lack of pictures this week...I kept forgetting to charge my camera... :/
Our Zone activity at the Eco Park! Good times!!

August 24, 2015

Modern day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators

I am a giant in this Guate-sized chair!
Well, what a week I have had here in one of the best places in the world! So, to get to the highlights...

Highlights for 24/8/15:

Highlight #1: Divisions. Well, this last week I had my first tripanionship division (3 missionaries in each area). It was actually a lot of fun and I learned a lot :) And we did get a lot of work done as well :) I love divisions because I get to learn so much from my "new" comps! :)

Highlight #2: President Nelson. This week we had the wonderful opportunity to sit at the feet (kind of) of one of our modern day prophets, seers, and revelators now President Russell M Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. May I just say, God knows us each individually and our needs and desires! The plan was that Pres Nelson would be coming to Xela tomorrow and the missions of Quetzaltenango and Reu were going to combine for the devotional...(I was pumped not only to be able to shake hands with one of the special witnesses of Christ, but also to see Elder Pugmire!)...but then Thursday night we received the news that Pres. Nelson was not going to be able to come, but that we were going to be able to participate in a special broadcast from Honduras to all the missions in Central America. So we still were able to have the spiritual edification, but weren't able to shake hands with him (maybe someday...I still have enough time in the mission for it to happen). But, MAN WAS THAT STILL AN EXPERIENCE!! He talked a lot about the basics that will change everything for us in our missions! It was one of those moments I thought I was doing pretty well in the mission, but I now have a pretty good list of things to impliment and apply to my efforts to be even better. I took a nice list of notes and promises and blessings he left. He left us with one of the simplist and most profound apostalic blessings! Blessings for us to be sucessful, healthy, and devoted; blessings for our families and us to be safe and protected and our families to be healthy; blessing for us to return home safely after serving an honorable mission; and other blessings and promises.

I testify that Christ LIVES! He loves us, individually! He knows our struggles, strengths, and what experiences we will and need to have in our lives. I learned as well as felt truly how much each of the members of the twelve and first presidency love each of us, members, investigators, non-members, missionaries, truly everyone that has, is, or will live on this earth. I know my Savior loves and knows me, he knows my struggles, and he is working right alongside me to help me become all that I am destined to become. And this is true for each and every one of you. I have a testimony that we have, TODAY, a living prophet, Thomas S Monson, who talks with God face to face as we talk to a friend, and we have a quorum consisting of twelve servants and special representatives of Christ, The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with many local and regional leaders called and sustained to further the kingdom of God on earth. I know that Joseph Smith is the prophet of this dispensation, that through him Christ restored His church once again to the earth, never to be taken again until He shall come again to rule and reign. I am on the Lord's errand, I know that not everybody is going to accept me or the message I bring, but someday they will, and just maybe I will have been the one that planted the seed that later grows and blooms, or even just prepared the soil. I love this work!

Highlight #3: Cascada. Today for P-day a member from the ward took us to a "tourist" spot here in Nahuala. So he took us to some cascadas (waterfalls) that were a lot smaller than years past, but still a lot of fun! :) We took some fun pics, got a little wet from the mist, and enjoyed seeing a little bit of nature's beauty here in the wonderful pais of Guate! :) Gotta love it!
A little down time on p-day at the cascada :)

I know that I am about the Lord's work, and He will NOT let me fail! I know that only through making and keeping the covenants and promises officiated by those with the proper authority and authorization can we ever make it back to live in the presence of our Father! I love you all and pray for you each and every night! Keep on smiling! Keep on pressing forward! We have the Lord's promise that when we are doing what's right and being examples of the believers He will protect, guide, and direct us! Have confidence in this promise, the Lord ALWAYS keeps His promises! I love you all and hope you are all doing fantastic! Peace out, from Guate to YOU!

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake

Here's a few more pics from the trip we took to the waterfall...

August 17, 2015

How many Elders can fit in 1 tuc tuc?

Well, another semana has come and gone and the work has continued to progress here :) But to the highlights for the week...

Highlights for 17/8/15:

Highlight #1: So last week I forgot to include one of the best I am going to include it here :) The members of the congregation here had a luncheon with the couple (who got married and baptized on the same day) to celebrate their marriage. It was a lot of fun! :) We cooked spagetti, sauce, brocolli, and had horchata! :) OH, and OF COURSE cake! :) I have just got to say, they are some of the cutest (if not THE cutest) people!!!! :) It is so true! But yeah, that happened a couple weekends ago...sorry to forget...

Highlight #2: Conozca a los Mormones. Well, the brand new (kind of) movie from the church has now premiered here! We had a super fun activity on Thursday night! We showed the movie "Meet the Mormons," but with 3 weeks of planning and preparations :) :) We had given each member family 5 invitations for the movie to give to family, friends, neighbors, the guy they meet in the street, and everybody else... :) So, we combined the two wards that make up this area for the activity. It was a success!! :) The members, menos activos, and investigators that came really enjoyed the movie! SUCCESS! :) So that was a lot of fun, and we received some good references of families to visit and teach now! (Maybe the best news of it all ;) )

About the movie "Meet the Mormons"

Preview to the movie "Meet the Mormons"

Highlight #3: District Activity. Well, today we had our district activity for the change :) It was a blast! We met here to play some futbol, baloncesto, and unite our district :) Then we went to a super good restaurant here, that I am definitely putting on the list of possible places to eat when you guys come visit! :) Lots of fun experiences, one example...think canvas-covered golf, this is called a tuc tuc...there is a seat in back that usually seats 3 and then 1 or 2 can sit in front with the driver...well we were 6 elders and wanted to travel what did we do? We just all climbed in! ;) :) The driver told us that was the most people that has ever been in his tuc tuc at one time! It was a blast! :)
How many Elders can you cram in one tuc tuc?? :)

Well, shout out to all my friends and family who will be starting school end of this month! ENJOY! :) I'll be there next year ;) haha! :) But honestly, there is no better place that I could be right now than here in Guatemala in a white shirt, tie, and slacks with a plaque at this point in my life! I have changed, for the better, sooo much in the last 13 months and come to truly know my Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ better and more personally. I have seen the hand of God work miracles and have had the privilege of participating in the promises of the Lord when he said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." The field truly is white, already to harvest, but only those that thrust in their sickle with all their might can ever imagine to be a part of this the great work on earth! I love my Savior and Older Brother. I am truly in His service, but in reality He continues to serve me. I am so grateful for the many opportunities I have as a missionary to see the light of Christ awaken in others and see them completely change their lives to follow more perfectly their Savior and the plan of our Heavenly Father. I know that we are all brothers and sisters, and that because of this I can not and WILL NOT let any one of my brothers or sisters go without having the opportunity to follow Christ...and I feel, even if it is only a small, minuscule part, of the sadness our Heavenly Father feels when one of his children, one of my brothers or sisters, rejects him and the many blessings He has prepared for them if they will but seek Him. I know that Christ LIVES! I know that someday in the near future, but how near nobody knows, He will come again! What a marvelous and wonderful day that will be....if we are prepared! :) I love you all and hope you see and recognize the hand of God in YOUR life this week, and every week.

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake
Super excited to celebrate my birthday with this package! Thank you grandma and grandpa!!!

August 10, 2015

Another Transfer ("Change")

Well, as you all's pday. And that means, usually ;), that you all will have an email from a very special someone in Guate in your inbox. I think that the only reason they make us do this is so that you all know we are still alive and so that we can have a little bit of tech time ;) Haha :) Just kidding! I LOVE WRITING HOME! :) Well, to the highlights?

Highlights for 10/8/15:

Highlight #1: Changes. Well, my awesome comp changed to a new area and we parted ways on Tuesday. We were both pretty sad to part ways and not be companions for this change...but maybe later on (we can hope at least). So as the changes work, they call on Sunday night and let everyone who has changes know they need to be in Xela for changes. But no other information. So we head to changes and everyone that has changes then found out who their new comps and areas are and off we go to our areas! I came back to my same area, but I have a new companion. He is from Yucatan, Mexico! It is super different being with a new comp...I don't know why this time it has felt so weird and different (because I have had a new comp every change except my training, and I actually like it a lot except when I have to say goodbye to a super awesome comp).

Highlight #2: So as you all know me and my awesome comp were covering 2 areas the past 6 weeks. Well, with the changes last week they put another set of elders here again to cover the 2nd area. I am super excited to have more elders back! But then....guess who has been assigned to the 2nd area?!?!?!? Yep, none other than my awesome, now "former" comp, and guatemalatecan brotha!! So we still get to see each other once or twice a week for different reunions!! :) Super excited!

Highlight #3: Realization. This week I have done a lot of thinking about something I read from about a new "My Plan" for return missionaries to help them for the rest of their lives. There is a quote in the article that goes something like, we need to change the focus of what a mission is, "a mission is the MTC for the rest of the missionary's life." WOW! I have really been thinking about that this week! What am I learning today, yesterday, and everyday for the last 13 months that has shaped and changed me...then thinking about how or what I need to do to not fall into old habits and keep these changes as part of me for the rest of my life. It has been pretty enlightening and very poignant, as well as soul searching, for me. And then I think about what is to come in the next 11 months that I just can't fathom now...I'm excited :) (I think) ;)

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 :)

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

August 03, 2015

Changes again!

My awesome Vibram-soled shoes are holding up well after a whole year...yessss!
(I took 2 pairs...the one on the left I've been wearing)
Well, no small talk today...straight to the highlights!! :)

Highlights for 3/8/15:

Highlight #1: Estudios. Well, have found some awesome role-models for the mission. There names are Ammon and Aaron. I just gotta say, I have always had role-models from the Book of Mormon and always learn from their writings. But this week I was studying the stories of Ammon and Aaron and man were they some missionaries to be like! Read for yourselves in Alma 18:24-40 and Alma 22:4-23...Anyone who is or has served a mission can truly appreciate fully what an amazing set of teachers these two were! LOVE IT!

Highlight (not) #2: Changes. Well, tomorrow is changes (once again), and? Guess who's got changes??? Yep, we do! My companion is being changed this week...we have no idea where he is going or who is going to be my new companion, but man are we running the spectrum feelings. I have soo loved this last change and being able to work with Elder Roca! He is one of the nicest, sincerest, humorous friends I have had. But the Lord obviously needs him somewere else, and/or there is something I need to learn from somebody else. But, that's the nature of a mission, right? ;) But man has it been such a fun, productive, and uplifting change the last month and half. I know that might sound a little cliche, or off...but it's not and it's the truth :)
My awesome companion packing to move :'(
Highlight #3: Traditional Guate. So this week we were visiting a member and her family and asked where her husband was, because we had seen him when we had come in but then he left. She told us he was in the next room weaving some we just had to go check it out! Man is that LONG and strenous work! Think about a thousand cords running through a manually-powered machine that creates fabric...and then put it in Guate...then add more man power...and a hot room...and now you are CLOSE to what it is...haha :) But the cloth was super cool! :)
Guate cloth he's making...

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 greatful 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
Cushy bus ride from District Meeting!
The Guate breakfast of champions!

I made cheesecake filling, but didn't have a crust, so I ate it out of a cup...yummm!