April 25, 2016

Change 16

"The true Church of Jesus Christ has been restored and is on the earth today. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always been led by living prophets and apostles, who receive constant guidance from heaven.

That divine pattern was also true anciently. We learn in the Bible: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).

God has again spoken in our time, through the Prophet Joseph Smith. He revealed through the Prophet Joseph the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness. He restored His holy priesthood with its keys and all the rights, powers, and functions of the sacred power of the priesthood.

In our day, living prophets and apostles are authorized to speak, teach, and direct with authority from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Savior said to the Prophet, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).

In General Conference twice a year, we are blessed with the opportunity to hear the word of the Lord for us from His servants. That is a privilege beyond price. But the value of that opportunity depends on whether we receive the words under the influence of the same Spirit by which they were given to those servants (see D&C 50:19–22). Just as they receive guidance from heaven, so must we. And that requires of us the same spiritual effort." --Pres Henry B Eyring (Liahona April 2016)

Highlights for 25/4/16:

Highlight #1: Changes. Well, as you are all well aware...this past week we had changes and I have a new companion from Mexico...yep, another Mexican comp. He has been in Momos and Quiche so far in his mission, was trained by an elder from my group, has something like 8 months in the mission, and is here to work! That I found out from day one. We have been working super hard this week to get to know more members, start working with their friends and families, and baptize this change :) So I'm looking forward to that :) Now, there are always those things that just take some time getting used to or that have to be changed to be able to work in unity...but that comes with time, not too worried (yet) about it :)
Goodbye to an awesome companion!!



Highlight #2: Success. We have been able this week to see some fruits-ish of our efforts. We have been able to come in contact with some great families! Something that I've appreciated this week is the more frank people have been about if they really want us to come back (because they're interested) or not. For those who have served a mission like mine you know exactly what I'm talking about: You knock the door, they open, they tell you they don't have time right then, so you ask when you can come back to share your super special message, they tell you a date and time, you come back on that date at the exact time and watch them "run for cover" (HIDE) when you knock the door again...jaja. It is actually pretty funny, the first day and still now more than 600 days in...you can imagine ;) But this week people have been a lot more straight forward and sincere, and I like that :)

Highlight #3: Elder Roca. Well folks, the news is in...Elder Roca is once again in my zone AND district! :) The only downside...he ain't MY comp. But that's okay, we would have had WAY too much success ;) jaja! He is the District Leader's new comp. Do you know what that means? DIVISIONS! Woohoo! But that was a pretty good highlight for me, to have a super close friend near again! I'm excited!!! :) (don't know if you can tell) ;) jaja!

He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home

"...During the Savior’s ministry, the religious leaders of His day disapproved of Jesus spending time with people they had labeled “sinners.”

Perhaps to them it looked like He was tolerating or even condoning sinful behavior. Perhaps they believed that the best way to help sinners repent was by condemning, ridiculing, and shaming them.

When the Savior perceived what the Pharisees and scribes were thinking, He told a story:

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

“And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” (Luke 15:4-5)

Over the centuries, this parable has traditionally been interpreted as a call to action for us to bring back the lost sheep and to reach out to those who are lost. While this is certainly appropriate and good, I wonder if there is more to it.

Is it possible that Jesus’s purpose, first and foremost, was to teach about the work of the Good Shepherd?

Is it possible that He was testifying of God’s love for His wayward children?

Is it possible that the Savior’s message was that God is fully aware of those who are lost—and that He will find them, that He will reach out to them, and that He will rescue them?

If that is so, what must the sheep do to qualify for this divine help?

Does the sheep need to know how to use a complicated sextant to calculate its coordinates? Does it need to be able to use a GPS to define its position? Does it have to have the expertise to create an app that will call for help? Does the sheep need endorsements by a sponsor before the Good Shepherd will come to the rescue?

No. Certainly not! The sheep is worthy of divine rescue simply because it is loved by the Good Shepherd.

To me, the parable of the lost sheep is one of the most hopeful passages in all of scripture.

Our Savior, the Good Shepherd, knows and loves us. He knows and loves you.

He knows when you are lost, and He knows where you are. He knows your grief. Your silent pleadings. Your fears. Your tears.

It matters not how you became lost—whether because of your own poor choices or because of circumstances beyond your control.

What matters is that you are His child. And He loves you. He loves His children.

Because He loves you, He will find you. He will place you upon His shoulders, rejoicing. And when He brings you home, He will say to one and all, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” (Luke 15:6)

But, you might be thinking, what is the catch? Surely I have to do more than simply wait to be rescued..." --Pres Dieter F Uchtdorf (General Conference April 2016)

I challenge you all to look up this discourse by a living representative of Jesus Christ, one who receives revelation for us, for our day. I loved this talk and am one called to the Lord's service to help Him in His work.

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake

A HUGE shout out to my dad who got just a little older this week! Happy Birthday Dad!!

April 18, 2016

Ward Conference


"If we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice." --Pres. Thomas S Monson

Highlights for 18/4/16:

Highlight #1: Divisions. This week I went on divisions with the one and only Elder Call. He's from my group, and we had a great division. I learned a lot and it actually helped me to not be baggie-ish this week! :) We were able to find some great families for him and his new comp to teach, and taught some great lessons! :) And my comp and Elder Call's comp had some great lessons here...so now to keep them progressing, baptized, and to the temple! :)
Middle of Nowhere in my area :)

Highlight #2: Night of International Food. This week was Ward Conference Weekend, thus we had a plethora of activities. One of these activities was a Night of International Foods. Each organization was assigned a country (most assigned by where the president or leader of the group served their mission or was from). Thus, our ward mission leader got back about a month ago from Mexico, we were assigned Mexico. So what did we make? You guessed it! CHILE!!!!!! We made chile rellenos with jalapenos. I know, that may not sound like your cup of tea (but hey, we're Mormon, we don't drink tea) ;) jaja). But they were super good!!! Our ward mission leader made an even spicier Mexican dish for us to try called Torta de Vena. So to explain, vena is the vein of the chile (ie the part that is spicy). So to make chile rellenos that Guatemaltecans would eat we had to cut out the veins. Thus, the Mexicans can't leave out anything spicy (or they wouldn't be Mexican...but for real!). So they take a handful of veins and coat them in egg and fry it....making a torta de vena. And man were they good, but HOT!!!!!! But the activity went well! :) :)
My comp and I making chile rellenos...mmmm!




The spicy veins of the jalapenos for Torta de Vena...HOT, but good!
Night of International Food!



Highlight #3: Ward Conference. We had a fantastic ward conference!!! We learned in Sacrament Meeting about sticking to and exemplifying the basics (faith, repentance, baptism, etc). Then in Sunday School we learned about the characteristics of conversion and how to become more converted. If we look in the guide to the scriptures (fyi, this is only in the Spanish version of the triple, but I believe it will be in the index in the English version as well) under conversion we learn that conversion requires change. A change of life, thoughts, and feelings. Thus sometimes (if not always) this means that to fully come unto Christ we must make hard decisions and leave worldly things behind. Then in the third hour priesthood, relief society, ym, and yw were all combined. We learned about how to have an effective and correct Family Council. I learned a whole lot! The spirit was fantastic!!!!! :)

Highlight #4: Changes...Well, changes are here once again. And my comp has changes. So next week I'll let you know about my new comp :)
I'm gonna miss this guy
"The miracle of resurrection, the ultimate cure, is beyond the power of modern medicine. But it is not beyond the power of God." --Elder Paul V Johnson

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

PS FELIZ CUMPLEAƑOS PAPA!
A great lunch this week!

My comp really is a smiley, happy guy...

see ;)

April 11, 2016

Adrenaline

"May we choose to build up within ourselves a great and powerful faith which will be our most effective defense against the designs of the adversary—a real faith, the kind of faith which will sustain us and will bolster our desire to choose the right. Without such faith, we go nowhere. With it, we can accomplish our goals.

Although it is imperative that we choose wisely, there are times when we will make foolish choices. The gift of repentance, provided by our Savior, enables us to correct our course settings, that we might return to the path which will lead us to that celestial glory we seek.

May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus. May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.

As we contemplate the decisions we make in our lives each day—whether to make this choice or that choice—if we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice." --Pres. Thomas S Monson (April 2016 Gen Conference)

Highlights for 4/11/16:

Highlight #1: DOGS. We were standing outside an investigator's door waiting for him when a dog came flying out of the house. This dog, unlike most, had no fear. It came right up to us. A young kid came out out with a, no joke, 4 foot long metal rod and screamed at the dog...who then timidly went back into the house. Not a better way to get your heart pumping and an adrenaline spike at 7pm! ;) jaja :)

Highlight #2: Investigator. What an eventful week we have had with a dear sister! We have been working with her and trying to prepare her for her baptism that was supposed to be last Sat for about 3 weeks. She has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, Jose Smith, and Christ's true church on earth...the only thing she is struggling with is that she can't accept that her previous baptism is invalid. So after a heart to heart session at a members home with the members family and us talking about the authority, we decided we needed to let her know that we would no longer be able to visit her until there was more we could do for her (ie She receives her answer and chooses to be baptized). So that happened Monday. Tue...Wed...Thu passed and we just let her be. But then Friday the other elders had a baptismal service and we felt that we needed to invite her to attend. She gladly accepted and loved the baptism...but still assuring us that she "has a certificate verifying that she has been baptized." But then on the way walking her home she made a comment that gave us a glimmer of hope, "So, do I need to find my own white clothes or do you guys or who?" We explained that IF she had all white clothes that were hers so could use those, but if not we would gladly find some for her to use. So, little by little she's accepting the Lord's will for her, to be baptized in His church by His authority. We are just hoping this process happens sooner rather than later ;) :) jaja :)

Highlight #3: New Friend to Teach. So this week's miracle would have to be finding this new brother/investigator. We were contacting, like we seem to be doing EVERYDAY, and decided to stop by and visit a previous contact that never seems to be home. So we stopped by and knocked. Then waited. Then knocked again. Then waited. Then the door opened and a different gentleman's face was in the window. Before we could say anything or introduce ourselves he said, "Hey, I just got some free time just now and was getting ready to sit down and study Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Mormon, and the Bible." I was thinking this was a little too good to be true, so I asked if we could come in and read a little with him. And sure enough there was the triple, along with the Bible...WOW! He then explained that for about a year he has been searching topics in the Guide to the Scriptures (that the English version doesn't have, but he Spanish version does) to study about gospel topics using all 4 volumes of scripture. So we're pretty pumped to work with him! :) :) :) Pray that all will go well for us please :)

"You look into your father's eyes when he takes his hands off your head. He whispers that he's proud of you and he knows you'll do your best. You say you wonder if you can do it. That's when he says, It's not about you." --Its Not About You (2016 Youth Theme Album)

This isn't about me! This is about Him. This is His work, and for His glory. And it is passing WAY too fast! I love you all and hope this email finds you well and happy! :)

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake
Guess where my cereal was made? Good ol' Lakeville, MN!!
A little love from home :)

April 04, 2016

Super Bowl Weekend for Missionaries




Highlights for 4/4/16:

Highlight #1: Conferencia General. Did you miss it? Why would you do such a thing? Thankfully all hope is not lost :) Ain't that great?!?!?! :) General Conferences are the semiannual worldwide gatherings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Church members gather to receive guidance and encouragement from Church leaders about gospel living based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. To make up for the lost heavenly instruction that you missed or to go back and watch or listen again to glean more personal revelation and instruction go to gc.lds.org and watch the conference. You won't regret it! :) :) I loved the sessions and talks this week. There were so many messages I feel were prepared just for me! I don't want to say much more to allow you to make your own conclusions and find your love of our living prophet and apostles for yourselves.

Highlight #2: Divisions. This week I had another opportunity to be able to get to know another corner of this AMAZING country through a division :) I know you may feel like I've been on divisions every week, I guess that's what happens when you switch districts and a missionary needs some support :) I LOVE DIVISIONS WHEN I GET TO GO TO ANOTHER AREA :) :) This week I went to Olintepeque it was a lot of fun! :) As you can seen in the picture there was A LOT of large empty corn fields, but we were still able to find people to teach! :) Ain't that great! I learned a lot and had a lot of fun as well. My comp for the day is a great missionary!
Divisions in Olintepeque

Highlight #3: Ice Cream. Well, as tradition dictated (and not called for by Elder Holland ;) jaja) I had some ice cream for Priesthood Session of General Conference. I love this tradition and couldn't let it die now just because of a couple hundred mile difference from "home" ;) So before Priesthood Session I frantically found a place to buy some great ice cream for me and my comp. And thus the tradition continues! :) :)


Now it's weird for me to realize that the next Priesthood Session will be the first one of its kind with all male members of our family present!!! We're gunna have to do somethin' special ;)

Well, now to work hard and focus the next 3 months ;) :) Let's do this!
With love and prayers,
Elder Flake
My District friends