September 28, 2015

Members and Missionaries: A Call to Action


Highlights for 28/9/15: IT'S COLBY'S BIRTHDAY!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRO!!
Colby's Birthday Brownies!! I guess because Colby didn't show up for the party, we'll have to eat them!
Happy Birthday Bro! Thinking about you :)

Highlight #1: Weather. Well, needless to say the week that past and the week that is coming is explained best by one word, "TORMENTAS" with a few "TORMENTAS FUERTES" mixed in there! HAHA! :) I have now come to understand what the elders I talked to before my mission were talking about when they said they had to pick the least wet clothes to use every day....IT'S TRUE! HAHA! :)
This is NOON! Foggy, but at least it's not the moment :)

Highlight #2: Food. Higado! Well, before you look it up just let me say it really isnt that bad...except that I have taken Biology classes and know exactly what I'm eating...HAHA! Now you can look it up if you'd like. The flavor isn't that bad, and the texture isn't that different from any other part of the cow...but the thought that this thing that I'm eating was the part of the cow that was cleaning the blood of all the toxins and pathogens was a little disconcerting...haha! :) But hey! What do you do? They haven't died from eating it...yet...HAHA! :)

These are called roscas and are delicious!!

He uses a wood oven and a huge pole...
think Italian pizza oven, poles and all :)

Highlight #3: Baptism. This week I had the privilege to baptize a member who had her 8th birthday this week. Now I know, it's not normal for the missionaries to baptize members, usually the father, a priest, or another worthy priesthood holder performs the ordinance. But as God has given us, the baptismal candidate has the opportunity to decide who they would like baptize them. I have been able to work closely with a couple member families here in this ward, but especially and particularly one and it was their daughter who had her 8th birthday this past week. I knew it was her birthday and that she was going to be baptized soon. One day this week, I think it was Tuesday, we were passing this Hno and his daughter in the street when the dad stopped us and informed us that Fri was going to be the baptism of his daughter and that she would like me to baptize her. At first I thought that the dad just didn't think he could do it, so I pressured for him to perform the baptism and that we would be happy to attend. He then explained that he had presented himself, the branch president, all the priests, other members of the ward she knows, but that she didn't want any of them to baptize her; she wanted me to perform the ordinance. What a humbling experience, it showed me truly that I cannot measure the amplitude of my influence. What an amazing memory for me and special day for her.

What an honor to baptize this faithful girl

Highlight #4: Multi-Zone Conference. This week we had a Multi-Zone Conference that was FANTASTIC! Definitely a call to action and to be even better representatives of Christ. "The hour to plant the seeds has past, NOW is the time to harvest!" What a way to animate the heart of a true missionary, who's only desire is to do the will of my Father. We also talked about how truly important MEMBERS (YOU GUYS) are to the success of missionary work (basically success is A LOT slower, if at all possible, without the help of members). ("Put Your Trust in the Lord" by Elder Ballard): Read it, Watch it, Live it, Repeat. HAHA! But for real! What a call to action from Elder Ballard and that is after the call to action of Pres. Thomas S Monson even earlier that the time for members and missionaries to unite in this great work HAS COME. Then Pres. Smith used an amazing example: If a tsunami was coming, and coming in 1 HOUR., and you were the only ones who knew in advance it was coming...What would you do? Try to save all your family, friends, and neighbors? This tsunami IS coming, and SOON. These are the LAST DAYS, Christ's coming is SOON. "Now is not the time to walk, it's time to RUN!" It is the time to harvest, and harvest for the last time (Doctrine and Covenants 33:3), these are the last days of the last days. Now (I can't remember if this was from Presidente or in a conversation with my comp), we are just 2, MAYBE 4, individuals working full time....but it's not enough. How many people can we save alone? 10? 15? Families, maybe? Now, how many individuals can we warn, protect, and save if EVERY MEMBER is working along side the missionaries, among YOUR friends, YOUR neighbors? "Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord's vineyard to bring souls to Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work." (Members and Missionaries to Partner in Work of Salvation) There are SOOO many blessings in store for you, as well as your friends and families...but you must act, and act now.

I know that this is the work of God and that He is at its head. He is at the helm. He knows and loves His sheep. This is something that I heard and haven't forgotten. "Christ knows His sheep, [we as] members know their names." I know how much joy, peace, and blessings are waiting for each of you in this marvelous work. You do not have to be called as a full-time missionary to have success in missionary work. I know the effect a willing and able member can have on a missionary and the companionships in their wards and branches, it is immeasurable. I know you may not believe me but when we visit family, friends, and neighbors of members WITH these members, we as the missionaries (and members) receive a breath of fresh air, encouragement, joy, and stronger desires to work hard. I am soo grateful for the times members have taken time from their busy schedules to introduce us to THEIR investigators (friends, family, and neighbors). Interesting fact, in the last 24 months here in my area there has not been any, not one, baptism of a convert that a member was not a crucial and large part of the lessons, fellowshipping, and teaching. MEMBERS MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE! As I have already said earlier, "more happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children," your brothers and sisters (Preach My Gospel). Call the missionaries, yeah they may be a little surprised you called them but now is the time to change right?, and ask them who and when you can accompany them to visit. Or if you would like to surprise them even more, invite a friend or neighbor to have FHE with you or to dinner, then call and invite the missionaries to join you. Now is the time for a change, a change from missionaries taking members to visit the missionaries' investigators, to the members introducing the missionaries to THEIR (the members') investigators. Keep up the positivity! Keep up the hard work! Keep on following the Lord! NEVER, EVER, FORGET TO SMILE! :)

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

PS General Conference is once again happening this coming weekend. I invite all who read this, who want to know of God's love, and who want to know of God's will for you specifically to set aside the time, make the time, to participate in this conference. The sessions are Sat 10am-12pm MST and 2pm-4pm MST and Sun 10am-12pm MST and 2pm-4pm MST, with a session for all males 12 and older on Sat from 6pm-8pm MST. These sessions can be accessed online through, on BYUtv, or through contacting a local member. Watch it, Take Notes, IMPLIMENT and watch the blessings flow :)

September 21, 2015

And the rain (STILL) came tumbling down!

Yes, I am hitting my head on the crossbeam...and lots of other things too!! haha! Gringo probs in Guate :)

Well, another week has come and gone...that's a fact! So, HIGHLIGHTS? I think YES!

Highlights for 21/9/15:

Highlight #1: Rain. "The Rains [surely] came a-tumbling down this week (makes me sing wise man, foolish man). Well, I can now say that I have experienced a year of weather in a day! Woke up in the morning freezing cold, left the apartment sweating from the heat, mid-day hail fell, then rain, and MORE rain, and then a firetruck load of RAIN, then sun (but not too much), and in the evening being able to see our breath. GOTTA LOVE GUATEMALA!!! :) And the members here are telling me this is "only the beginning," I guess we'll see what that means...HAHA! :)
water, water, everywhere!

Highlight #2: Food. Well this week I had one of the food experiences of my life! FOR REAL! I have included a picture from google of what was sitting in my bowl...NOW to explain: This is called pansa (but if you google this name it will not show up, google mondongo (the mexican name) if you would like to see more of this). This is the stomach of a cow...apparently this is a delicacy here. Well, needless to say...I am now adding this to the list of foods I have tried and don't need to try again...haha ;)

Highlight #3: Families. Well, week one of this new change ended as a success :) We were able to find and teach algunas nuevos familias as well as continuing to work with the families we already were teaching. One family in particular I would like to introduce to you (at least a little): We were contacting and talked to a grandma and her grand-daughter. The grand-daughter invited us to come back when the rest of the family would be home. So we placed the appointment and left for the day. The appoinment arrived and we went to visit and wow, what a family :) It is a father, mother, and daughter. They have an evangelical background and have had many experiences in their lives that have led them to conclusions/beliefs that are part of the principles of the restored gospel (but they just don't realize it yet) :) I'm excited to continue working with them! :)

Highlight #4: Stake Conference. Yesterday was my first stake conference in the mission.  And MAN WAS THAT AN EXPERIENCE! I was thinking about scanning in my notes from the conference and and just sending them to you guys and then you could just ask me questions about different comments....but then I realized my notes are in Spanish...HAHAHA...oh well :) So here's some highlights...the theme of the conference was The Family. (a sub theme was to enjoy and appreciate the amazing place God has given us to live here in Guatemala...there aren't a lot of places better than here) Elder Arredondo of the Seventy was the presiding authority and what a talk the stake received and some GREAT guidance! :) One of the things that he said that really has been impressed in my mind was something he told the parents present, something to the effect of "fathers, your God given responsibility is to teach your children, if you don't do it somebody else will and more specifically the world will. Do you want that?" Wow! That really brought home some things I know I've shared before, but would like to reiterate...I am so greatful for my family! I am SOO grateful for my amazing parents who taught me starting from my nacimiento the ways of Christ, to have confidence in God, and to be resilient and enjoy the journey! THANKS MOM AND DAD! :)

Well, there you have it...the highlights of a very full week in the service of God and I'D HAVE IT NO OTHER WAY! I love this work! Yeah it's work, but it's also training and preparation for the rest of my life! I am so grateful for my family, and yes, it is hard to be separated for this time, but I know that due to my consecrating this time to the Lord, others can be with their families FOREVER! WHAT A MESSAGE! FOREVER FAMILIES! I love you all and hope and pray for the Lord's blessings in your lives! Keep on smiling!

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake
In the middle of a cornfield looking for the address of someone who wanted us to teach them...gotta love Guate!
Thank you for the package familia!!!

September 14, 2015

Is it that time again?! CHANGES!

Well, as the title says....Changes are tomorrow. But I'll get to that in a second. First I just needed to write something here to have some type of "intro" but then couldn't think of anything to write so I am now just writing a really long run on sentence so that it at least looks like I am saying something cool or important as an intro. Well, to the Highlights?

Highlights for 14/9/15:

Highlight #1: Temple. This week we had the marvelous opportunity to attend the temple. A couple weeks ago we were scheduled to go, but due to some local problems we weren't able to go when scheduled. Then earlier this week we received a text that we would be going to the temple as a zone. It was AMAZING! I was able to soak in the peace, calm, and quiet that only the temple can bring to one's heart and mind. It is amazing the personal growth that can and does happen in the temple. I know that it is the House of the Lord, He truly resides there (that's why a temple recommend is required to enter). Suffice it to say, I was living WAY under my potential when I was still home and WILL NOT make that mistake again...I am going to attend the temple A LOT more frequently when I get home!

My Zone at the Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple! Isn't it beautiful?

Highlight #2: Getting soaked. Well, "the rains came tumbling down" this week! That's for SURE! So just a fun (kind of...haha) story that happened yesterday, to give you all an idea or taste of what life is like as a missionary in Guate (there are TONS more where this one comes from...). So yesterday we were out in an aldea and sweating like crazy all morning and afternoon (not a cloud in the sky), and then the clouds rolled in and it dropped from about 1000 degrees to 0 (but just clouds), then it started to rain, and rain, so we had an appointment and taught a good lesson, (still raining...harder), and went to another appointment (farther from home) and taught there, and still it's raining (even harder), so we started making our way back to center and were walking along the main (ie highway) street when....out of NO WHERE...a HUGE semi passed us with a canvas covering the bed. Well, when it took the curve that we were on guess who got the Winter Waterpark Experience of a Lifetime....YEP, ME! When the semi took the curve, the water decided it was time to bail off of the canvas. Needless to say, I went from dry to wet to (literally) the bone in about 2.35 seconds (Record time?). Yeah, I was using a waterproof jacket, and it wasn't raining too hard at the moment this happened so that was all I was using, but the water still made it through every article of clothing. And we still had a long walk home and many appointments in between...but everything's dry now (and ready for the next experience) ;)

Highlight #3: Changes. Well, another 6 weeks have come and gone. And I know that you are all wondering if the (13 month) tradition continues, right??? Well, I am here to tell you....drum roll...THE TRADITION HAS BEEN BROKEN. I will be serving another 6 weeks here in this area! I guess I'm being given a little bit more time with the men in skirts! ;) :) And I'm glad to be staying with a good companion :) :)
Happy Birthday to my companion!!

Well, there you go! My wet, dry, and everything in-between week here in AMAZING, sunny, rainy, cloudy, perfect Guatemala! I love being here, and being here with such an amazing responsability. I know that the message is true that I and every missionary anywhere in the world are bringing to each and every one of your front porches, neighborhoods, and families. BUT, if we haven't made it to your house yet we would love to hear from YOU. You can request a visit from the missionaries at Go for it, we LOVE receiving the call to action to share this AMAZING message. Well, until next week...unless we knock on your door this week...take care, be happy, be thankful, and ENJOY THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR! :)

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake
Now for all my fun food experiences of the week...
elotes con chilicyote (pronounced chili-coyote) (IE Corn with a guate squash like veggie)
Eating some random herb a member had picked in the mountains and boiled
...maybe not the smartest, but trying to get our veggies in!

September 07, 2015

Election Week

Look what I found in the tienda today! Go USU!
P-Day today!

Well, first off I must complete the most important business....HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!! :) Hope it was great yesterday! :) Alright, the highlights! :)

Highlights for 7/9/15:

Highlight #1: Elections. Well, this week was the lead up to the elections here in Guate yesterday. And man to they take their political parties serious here! Starting months ago everybody here places a colored flag above their home of the party with whom they participate. Then starting Sat morning each party congregated in different places in the city and basically started a 28+ hour they made something like 100-25 kg bags of maiz for tortillas and anywhere from 8-12 cows were prepared for EVERY party...and here there are yeah, you can do the math...haha :) So they are all together Sat, Sun, and Mon till like 3 am. On Sunday they vote and then return to their groups and wait for the results....craziness! But what an experience :)

Highlight #2: Rain. Well, the rain has BEGUN...but according to the gente here the beginning of Oct it will stop until next year...CRAZY weather....haha!:) But man! You have NOT lived until you have survived a rainy week here (can't say rainy "season" yet, because not even I have done that yet...). Think soaked to the bone! Yes I use a rain coat, umbrella, boots, dry socks and the missionary garb of pants and shirt...but that is NOTHING for this rain! But worse than the rain is the cold that comes with it! The rain isn't that hard, it's just persistantly misting and sprinkling...but then it soaks in, and THEN the cold hits you...and there is NO WAY to heat up...haha :) But, what can ya do...there's work to be done! :)
Rain = Slippery Mud!
Highlight #3: We have begun teaching a newlywed couple (the husband was a less active member who is now activating and his wife is not a member). They are awesome! But does his wife have some AWESOME, pointed questions. It's an adventure each time we teach her :) Haha. But the work is porgressing here every day :)

Highlight #4: Other. Our other investigators are progressing well :) We were able to find a whole family that really is like 4 families that just live answer to prayers :) We'll see where this leads! :) I will be sure to let you guys know what happens :) Keep the prayers coming! :)

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 once again. 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 (most likely before I was born) an experience, the part of my mission here, in this area, specifically for me. He prepared people, experiences, and events that He knew would help shape and better me. This work is soo amazing and honestly a lot of fun and rewarding! :) 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. He has faith in YOU :)

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake
Love the Guatemalan people!