Highlights for 16/11/15:
Highlight #1: Regional Conference. This week we had the opportunity to have a special regional conference for all of Guatemala. Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve presided and spoke....AND IT WAS POWERFUL! Bishop Davies, Sister Marriott, and Elder Martino spoke as well. Elder Bednar spoke about what "truly hastening the work" means. It is not more retention, more convert baptisms, and more work in the temple. This is not where the hastening should be focused. This work is the Lord's work, He does the hastening. He then asked a set of questions that I would like each of us to consider: 1) Will we as individuals and as a church keep pace with the Lord? OR 2) Will we as individuals and as a church stay comfortable with "how it's always been"? Then he said, the hastening is more focused on making and keeping sacred priesthood covenants [than all the things I previously mentioned (ie retention, baptizing, temple for others)].
He then spoke about 3 principles or concepts we must understand. They are Faith, Sacrifice, and Consecration. He then went into detail about each of these principles but I will only give some of the highlights or statements that stood out to me.
*Speaking about faith he said it is the prinicple of action in intelligent beings, a principle of action and power. Increased faith=increased spiritual POWER. He then shared a story from the bible about when Joshua was leading the Israelites and they were promised by the Lord when they came to the River Jordan that they would cross over on dry ground. Then Elder Bednar pointed out that the Israelites didn't wait for the water to part, but first entered the water (FAITH) and the soles of their feet were wet before the water parted (POWER)...the power comes after the excercise of faith.
*Then about sacrifice something he said intrigued me...he said Sacrifice pertains only to mortality. It doesn't exist in the eternities. (Mind Blown)
*Then with consecration he ended by saying (in regard to the piece of consecration being a willingness to give ourselves (not all material means, but literally us, our talents and abilities) and people saying "that's hard, to give everything." He said...) living the gospel and keeping sacred covenants is NOT hard, not living the gospel and not keeping sacred covenants IS hard! He then promised that as we develop and act on these principles we will have power to chase darkness from among us. Only our best is good enough for the Lord.
Highlight #2: Tamales. Well tamale season has begun!!!! And man am I EXCITED!! So this week to kick off the Guatemalan Christmas tamale season I had a nice potato and chicken tamale and then...I had a chocolate tamale. IT WAS SUPER GOOD! Think grandma's rice pudding with chocolate syrup and a piece of chicken in the middle! It is super duper good!!! I am definitely going to have to learn how to make them and then start THAT Christmas tradition when I get home :)
Highlight #3: District Activity. So first off, I don't know if I've let you guys know that, once again, me and Elder Roca are in the same district :) :) Fun there :) But this last week we had our district activity. We played a modified soccer game....basically everyone has a chair, you must protect your chair from the soccer ball, if the soccer ball touches your chair you're out. Goal: be the last one standing :) It was actually a lot of fun!!! :) Then we played Uno...and yes in Spanish you still say "uno" when you only have one card (ie you don't say "one" or "hun"-kiche) ;) haha :) But I love my district and I'm getting more and more used to my area each week :)
So this week I had some very rejuvenating 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 implement a little nudge or a little encouragement to keep us going but still allow us to grow :) I am soo grateful 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 exercise 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 hardwork and sharing the gospel! Love those missionaries in your ward, maybe someday they will then return to visit ;) You never know ;) Haha :)
With love and prayers,
Note from Mom: Elder Flake asked us if we had any questions for him, and these are some of the questions with the answers he gave...
Do you have a washer and dryer? I do not have washer or dryer...but a member that washes our laundry.
What kitchen appliances do you have? I have an electric stove top and a microwave and a fridge.
Who's your favorite sibling? Christ :)
How's the rain? It doesn't rain much here.
Are you teaching your comp English? I'm trying to teach him English. It's hard.
Do you ever get to sing or play a guitar? I sing in the shower, at night, at church, in lessons, whenever I can...and when I find a guitar I play it :)
Are you at an internet cafe? Yes, I'm at an internet cafe
What are the streets/neighborhoods like? Think an american neighborhood and I have about 3 of those in my area...this area is one of, if not the, most affluent areas in the mission. The streets are still cobblestone...but most everybody lives in stand alone houses, but some in apartments.