January 11, 2016

Obedience: The Joy of Life

My area has a volcano!!

"God's commandments are not given to frustrate us or to become obstacles to our happiness. Just the opposite is true. He who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible. He has provided us with guidelines which, if we follow them, will see us safely through this often treacherous mortal journey. We remember the words of the familiar hymn: 'Keep the commandments! In this there is safety; in this there is peace.'" --Pres. Thomas S. Monson (Keep the Commandments)

Highlights for 11/1/16:

Highlight #1: Dia de Reyes. The 6th of January is celebrated here as the Day of Kings (or more specifically the Three Wise Men). So a member invited us over for a special lunch to celebrate. The tradition calls that the children in the family receive one more "Christmas" gift, as the babe Jesus received gifts from the wise men. So the kids love the opportunity to receive another gift. I, personally, enjoyed a wonderfully prepared lunch. We had Spicy Curry Chicken on lettuce garnishes and fresh lemonade. See, it WAS good ;) haha :)

Highlight #2: English. My comp's learning English!!!! WOOOOHOOO!! It took 10 weeks to crack his fear, shyness, and in-desire to learn English but I finally DID IT! :) WOOHOO! Every time we visit some of the members they had been trying to convince my comp to learn English and he always would say that he couldn't. So one day this last week I straight up asked him how he thought I learned Spanish...he responded that it was through the gift of tongues and God's help. I then asked if he thought that that was only a blessing and gift to gringos. To which he responded NO. "So...the gift of tongues you can have too?" "yes" "alright, so when are you going to act on your faith and rely on Him?" Our apartment is now covered in yellow sticky notes labeling EVERYTHING (food, doors, walls, tables, chairs, windows, EVERYTHING). And he now carries a little notebook to practice and write down new words during the day. And do you know what? In a week he now understands most of the conversation that happens when we talk in English, still can't respond, but he's understanding! THAT IS AWESOME!! THAT'S PROGRESS!

Highlight #3: Interviews. This week we had the opportunity to have interviews with President and Sister Smith. Great (as always)!! :) I learned a lot, felt the Spirit and progressed in my gospel knowledge and life preparations :) :) We talked about obedience, spiritual progression, applying God's servant's instructions to our lives, and more :) It was uplifting, encouraging, and gave me a breath of fresh air. I'm trying to make those things last as long as I can...

"My greatest strength through these past months has been my abiding testimony that this is the work of God and not of men. Jesus Christ is the head of this church. He leads it in word and deed. I am honored beyond expression to be called for a season to be an instrument in His hands to preside over His Church. But without the knowledge that Christ is the head of the Church, neither I nor any other man could bear the weight of the calling that has come.”
“In assuming this responsibility, I acknowledge God's miraculous hand in my life. He has repeatedly spared my life and restored my strength, has repeatedly brought me back from the edge of eternity, and has allowed me to continue in my mortal ministry for another season. I have wondered on occasion why my life has been spared. But now I have set that question aside and ask only for the faith and prayers of the members of the Church so we can work together, I laboring with you, to fulfill God's purposes in this season of our lives." --Testimony of Pres. Howard W. Hunter

This next week bring changes...we'll see what the Lord has in store. Next P-Day I can let you guys know what's happenin' for me :) Keep the prayers coming! :) I pray for you guys every day! Really! And in a very non-baggie way ;)

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake
Dinner with the Bishop and his family :)

Elders entertaining themselves...

New Year celebration fireworks

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