March 28, 2016

Semana Santa 2016

Yo quiero Taco Bell :)
"I declare my personal witness that death has been conquered, victory over the tomb has been won. May the words made sacred by Him who fulfilled them become actual knowledge to all. Remember them. Cherish them. Honor them. He is risen.” --Pres. Thomas S Monson

Highlights for 28/3/16:

Highlight #1: Garbanzo. As you may all recall my hype from last year about my favorite new Semana Santa food, I LOVE GARBANZO EN DULCE! So I called up a member this week remembering that it was 'this week or never' that I could once again find garbanzo en dulce to eat. She informed me that nobody sells it prepared...then followed up with a "reprimend" for not remembering that I have a mother and a home in this area! Then said that she would be waiting for us Thurs afternoon to eat garbanzo en dulce! How great is that?!!!! :) This year's rendition was made with platano and garbanzo and was pretty great!!! :) I'm excited for you all to try it when you come...this sister told me that she makes it throughout the year and would be happy to make it when you guys come :) :)

Highlight #2: Guate vs USA. As you guys may or may not have known, on Sat Guatemala and the States soccer teams played here in Guatemala City. AND GUATEMALA WON! This is unheard of! Guate is known in C.A. as the country that has no chance to ever win against the world's soccer world powers. And then on Sat Guatemala won 2-0 against the states! From what the members explained to me, if Guatemala can win a game or tie their following games they will be in a great position to go to their FIRST EVER World Cup...AND if the states lose this week at home against Guatemala or lose another game in these roundrobin they will have a very hard time making it to the World Cup. So, either way I'm going to be happy ;) Guatemala OR USA! ;) :) jaja!

Highlight #3: This week I saw a great change in one of the women we have been working with. She has been really focused on all the rumors that she has heard about the church. But then we were able to find this week an AMAZING member friend that she just loves! I could be 5 min before the cita and we call her up to see if she is able to go over to this members house for a lesson and she will drop everything to go! AND she began progressing since we've begun working with this member. We have been working with many different members with her, but something different just clicked! :) So we are super thankful for the member and her help! :) There are always still difficulties that have to be overcome but at least now our investigator has a member friend that is willing to be there whenever she is needed and help however she can! :) The ward is picking up! :) :) In every ward the missionaries find the families that work, that want to be involved, the selfless! :) My challenge and invitation to you all, BE THAT FAMILY! Help the missionaries. Tell them that whenever they would like to have an appointment at the house with you all to just give you the heads up...or organize with them that "our FHE has the expectation that investigators or less-actives will be present." Then let the missionaries know that every Monday, or Sunday, or whatever day, they are expected to bring an investigator (if they have one that they would like to bring) to the FHE! I know that sounds a little weird or maybe a little hard, but you WILL see the blessings, peace, and happiness that comes from working in the Lord's work. And I can't think of an easier way to do missionary work than just inviting their investigators to be a part of our family life, FHE :) :) Just an invitation...but let me know what you think :) and/or how it goes :) THE MISSIONARIES WILL LOVE YOU! :) (not that they don't already, but they will love you more!) :)

I love the story Pres Monson shares here and wanted to share it with all y'alls :) Enjoy!

"Before I begin my remarks, may I take this opportunity to thank you for your kind expressions during this difficult time of the loss of my beloved wife, Frances. I have been strengthened and sustained as I have felt your love and your prayers in my behalf.

For Sister Monson and me, missionary work has always been a part of our hearts and our lives together. We were still newly married when I was called to serve as bishop of the old Sixth-Seventh Ward in Salt Lake City—a ward of one thousand and eighty members. There were a number in the ward who were less active, and Sister Monson was always supportive and encouraging as my counselors and I visited with these dear members and worked to bring them back into activity.

A few years later I was called to serve as president of the Canadian Mission. Less than a month after the call came, Sister Monson and I left our newly built home and, with our two small children and one on the way,traveled to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where missionary work became our lives for the following three years.

May I endorse all that has been said here today. I testify to you that you will be blessed as you follow the counsel you have received.

The holy scriptures contain no proclamation more relevant, no responsibility more binding, no instruction more direct than the injunction given by the resurrected Lord as He appeared in Galilee to the eleven disciples. Said He: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). The Prophet Joseph Smith declared: “After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel.” Some of you here today will yet remember the words of President David O. McKay, who phrased the familiar “Every member a missionary!” President Gordon B. Hinckley told us: “So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church.”

To their words I add my own. Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto 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.

During the time Sister Monson and I served in the Canadian Mission, we were witness to and strengthened by the deep faith of the Canadian Saints.This video clip sets forth the faith and the works of the members and missionaries in our mission who lived and labored in St. Thomas.

Another evidence of faith took place when I first visited the St. Thomas Branch of the mission, situated about 120 miles from Toronto. My wife and I had been invited to attend the branch sacrament meeting and to speak to the members there. As we drove along a fashionable street, we saw many church buildings and wondered which one was ours. None was. We located the address which had been provided and discovered it to be a decrepit lodge hall. Our branch met in the basement of the decrepit lodge hall and was comprised of perhaps 25 members, 12 of whom were in attendance. The same individuals conducted the meeting, blessed and passed the sacrament, offered the prayers, and sang the hymns.

At the conclusion of the services, the branch president, Irving Wilson, asked if he could meet with me. At this meeting, he handed to me a copy of the Improvement Era, forerunner of today’s Ensign magazine. Pointing to a picture of one of our chapels in Australia, a new chapel, President Wilson declared, “This is the building we need here in St. Thomas.”

I smiled and responded, “When we have enough members here to justify and to pay for such a building, I am sure we will have one.” At that time, the local members were required to raise 30 percent of the cost of the site and the building, in addition to the payment of their tithing and other offerings.

President Wilson countered, “Our children are growing to maturity. We need this building, and we need it now!”

I provided encouragement for them to grow in numbers by their personal efforts to fellowship and to teach. The outcome, brothers and sisters, is a classic example of faith coupled with effort and crowned with testimony.

President Wilson requested six additional missionaries be assigned to the city of St. Thomas. When this was accomplished, he called the missionaries to a meeting in the back room of his small jewelry store, where they knelt in humble prayer. At the conclusion of the prayer, he then asked one elder to hand to him the yellow-page telephone directory, which was on a nearby table. President Wilson took the book in hand and observed,“If we are ever to have our dream building in St.Thomas, we will need a Latter-day Saint to design it. Since we do not have a member who is an architect, we will simply have to convert one.” With his finger moving down the column of listed architects, he paused at one name and said, “This is the one we will invite to my home to hear the message of the Restoration.”

President Wilson followed the same procedure with regard to plumbers, electricians, and craftsmen of every description. Nor did he neglect other professions,feeling a desire for a well-balanced branch. The individuals were invited to his home to meet the missionaries, the truth was taught, testimonies were borne, and conversion resulted. Those newly baptized then repeated the procedure themselves, inviting others to listen. Week after week and month after month the procedure continued.

The St. Thomas Branch experienced marvelous growth.Within two and one-half years, a site was obtained, a beautiful building was constructed, and an inspired dream became a reality. That branch is now a thriving ward in a stake of Zion.

When I reflect on the town of St. Thomas, I dwell not on the ward’s hundreds of members and many dozens of families; rather, in memory I return to that sparse sacrament meeting in the lodge-hall basement, 12 people, and the Lord’s promise, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).

Many years have passed since that video was recorded.The voice you heard was younger, but the principle of faith as it pertains to missionary work remains just as true today as it was half a century ago in the St. Thomas Branch.

I testify that when we act in faith the Lord will show us how to strengthen His Church in the wards and branches in which we live. He will be with us and will become an active partner in our missionary labors.

As the number of missionaries increases in wards and stakes around the world, I implore you to exercise your faith, as did President Wilson in St. Thomas, as you prayerfully consider which of your family, your friends,your neighbors, and your acquaintances you would like to invite to your home to meet with the missionaries,that they might hear the message of the Restoration. As the Lord did with the city of St. Thomas, He will sanctify your efforts, and you will gain a capacity beyond your own to lift and bless the lives of others.

May we ever increase our faith and faithfulness in fulfilling our sacred duty to rescue our Heavenly Father’s children—our brothers and sisters. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, amen." --Pres Thomas S Monson (Faith in the Work of Salvation)

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

PS REMEMBER THAT GENERAL CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEKEND!!! Sat 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm (General Session) and 6pm-8pm (Priesthood Session) AND Sun 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm. (Mountain Time) WATCH IT! Watch it here:

March 21, 2016

Divisions and Changes

During Easter, we give special attention to all that Jesus Christ has done to bless our lives. But what is it that He asks of us? The answer is a simple one—only three words—but it has the power to forever change our lives: "Come, follow me." (

Highlights for 21/3/16:

Highlight #1: Division 1. I started off the week with a normal division with the District Leader and my area. So I went to Centro to be with the DL's companion and had a blast!!! :) (See picture of pizza) To explain what a division is for those that don't know: A division is an invention to allow missionaries to have more than just their assigned companions and area, and learn and do much good. In a division an elder from each area leaves their area to trade spots with another elder for the day :) So, in this particular division, my comp stayed here with our DL and I headed to the DL's area with his companion :) But however it may have been, I enjoyed it! :) When I got back to my area I found out that the Asistentes to Pres had called and informed my DL that they were changing the district assignment and would no longer be in that district. So, NEW DISTRICT this week ;) :)

Highlight #2: Division 2. As you can see from the pictures...I GOT TO GO ON A DIVISION WITH MCVEY!!!! His companion has damaged his foot and has inflamed tendons. So the elders of the zone are taking turns going on divisions with them, one staying with the comp at home and one leaving with McVey. I LOVE THAT GUY!!!! It was so much fun and I learned SOOO much from him.


Highlight #3: Mission Call. Last night I had one of those eye opening realizations of my mission. A young man who was baptized last year received his mission call during sacrament meeting (that's how missionaries receive their calls here. The Stake Pres receives the call and then personally takes it to the sacrament meeting of the future missionary to give them their call. It's actually pretty cool! :)) I was privileged to participate when he was opening his call and couldn't help but think back almost 2 years to when I was in his situation, opening my call. It was a pretty surreal experience. A very special experience. And, in the end....HE'S HEADED TO CHILE!!!!! I'm pumped for him! :)

"Love is what you go through together." --James Therber (YSA Face2Face--Elder Holland)

I love this quote, I heard it this week and really find it true. I have come to love my companions not day one, but the day one of us has changes. And hope that you may all be able to apply it to your lives! I've seen the effect and truth that it preaches! :)

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake
Happy St Patrick's Day this week!
We found puppies ;)

March 14, 2016

What a Panoramic View

Saying "see you later" to some of my mission friends...

A text I got from Bishop de that guy and his family
Follow Him and Find New Life

Hallelujah—Hebrew for “Praise ye the Lord.” But what does it really mean? As we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ this Easter, discover how this ancient exclamation of joy, hope, and love is a fitting summary of Christ's incomparable mission—and His promise of new life for us all. ( (NOTE: at the bottom of the cited page you can change the language to watch the videos in your native tongue)

Highlights for 14/3/2016:

Highlight #1: New Area. Well, as you all know, I am in a new area. I was super nervous last week when I wrote last about where I'd be and WHO I'd be with. But all my worries have gone now :) Now that I know ;) jaja. I am still here in Xela, now even closer to the mission home. My area is shared with the mission secretaries. And I've got a really cool statue in my area...the statue of Tecun Uman (?Teancum?). We are definitely going to take a picture as a family at the monument :) The area is relatively small. But the ward is involved somewhat with the work, something that I am definitely going to try and improve by involving more members :) :)

Highlight #2: New Comp. My comp is a boss. Fun fact, about a month ago I was in a tri-panionship with him (if you guys remember that from a couple emails ago...) for the morning. He is awesome. He just finished his training, so now he's all grown up and we are working away! :) He is from HAWAII!!! He did paddling, kayaking, and SANG when he was home!!! I'm soo excited to sing with him!!!! This is going to be a fun change with lots of work done!!! :)

Highlight #3: No Vulture. So this week we set a companionship goal, I don't know if it meets all the SMART criteria but that doesn't matter ;) My companion was telling me that frequently he sees vultures circling in the air and that since we can't eat fish as missionaries that we should set a trap and CATCH A VULTURE! Cool, huh??? ;) :) Jaja. So just for the record...week 1: No Vulture, yet. We did catch a pigeon and then safely threw it into the air to watch it fly away! :) So, the adventures have begun!! :)

“Surely there must be someone in this vast international, global audience who wants to be free from sin. Who wants to be without blemish again. Who wants to be without spot and made holy. That’s what the gospel of Jesus Christ does. That’s what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does as the vehicle for the gospel of Christ.

“It is through the very grace of God—through the Atonement and the shedding of the only innocent person that ever lived on this planet—that we are redeemed and restored and given new life and new love and new hope and new happiness.
Surely there must be someone in this audience that needs to hear that.” --Elder Jeffery R. Holland (in YSA Face to Face)

I want to be free from sin, as I'm sure every single one of you who are reading this desire to be. It's simple. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can make us all whole, it can guide us, comfort us, and give us hope. Learn it, then LIVE IT! That is the only way! I testify that Christ stands at the head of this church. Only He knew what I needed with this change, and has given me exactly what I need to learn, to grow, to become. I am eternally grateful for Him, His life, His example, and His enabling atonement.

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake
Cleaning out the fridge in my new apt

March 07, 2016

The Week My Area was ALMOST closed

"God doesn't care nearly as much about where you have been as he does about where you are and with his help where you are willing to go." --Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Highlights for 7/3/16:

Highlight #1: Close My Area? I don't think so! Tuesday morning we received a call from the mission informing us that we were to pack our things for the coming change because they were going to close our area. So we began packing, saying goodbye to members and prepping the house for someone else to be able to rent. Then Friday morning, early, we received another phone call to inform us that Pres. had changed his mind and that our area was going to remain open. Man were the members happy :) As were we...then yesterday night we received another call. But I'll get to that in a second.

Highlight #2: The Spirit Guides. This week I had some amazing experiences with the Spirit guiding me in my studies to study, understand, and then apply in lessons the things I learned. It was amazing to see how exactly what I had studied that morning or in the last week answered the questions members, investigators, and even my companion had this week. It is amazing to see the Spirit work through me to the blessing of those around me. Now to look ahead to all that is still to come.

Highlight #3: Changes. The call...the call we received Sunday night was to inform me that I have been divinely selected to receive the blessing of changes. Yes it is a blessing, but I'm going to REALLY miss this area, the members, the investigators, my comp, everything. But, the Lord must need my talents and abilities more in a different area. So, here is to the adventures ahead (and trying to pack everything tonight...)!! :) Gotta love the mission!
Man, I will miss these guys!

He lives! I know it, they👆know it...and both testify concerning this knowledge. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had, and still have, to be a witness and specially called servant of Him. Here's to all that is to come!

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake