May 30, 2016

The Final Stretch, Let's Do This

La Patria A Tecun-Uman
"The Homeland of Teancum??"

"Challenges will come to you, but as you trust in God, they will strengthen your faith." -- Neil A Andersen

Highlights for 30/5/16:

Highlight #1: Cambios. Well, tomorrow are changes...once again. So last night the call came in to let us know that........neither of us have changes. A mexican is going to finish me off!! Then this morning we found out that we still have to go to may be asking why?? Well, because in the end we DO have changes. But I'm not going....and my comp isn't either....BUT we are going to be receiving a new companion. Yep, started my wonderful mission experience in a trio (the days with Elder Molina and Elder DeCamps) and going to end it in a trio....So wish me luck :) :) Here we come another 6 weeks here in Panorama! :)

Highlight #2: Family. So the family I talked about last week is PILUS! And the members have really rallied around us to help them...I think it just took a little push of faith to get this ward going :) We were able to have some very amazing experiences in lessons with them this week. And once again the sons came to church yesterday! :) If you could all keep this family in your prayers, that the mom will be able to find a stable job and that they will continue to progress, pray, read the Book of Mormon, and let the Lord work miracles in their lives...that would be very appreciated! :)

Highlight #3: Power. The power of General Conference. I have been having all sorts of crazy feelings this week (ending the mission, things in the area, things with my comp, etc). I was able to find help, not surprisingly, listening to the last General Conference. This week I would listen to a conference talk, then write in my journal, then get to bed. I found that the next day I felt better, woke up well, and had ganas to move forward in the area. I testify that the prophets' voices and messages aren't just given to be listened to once and YAH, we are to constantly be listening, reading, or watching the messages and instructions and applying them to our lives. If we will do these things we will see a change in our lives, more peace, calm, and security will accompany us.

I know that this is God's work, here on the earth, for the salvation of His children. I am soo glad to be able to be a part of it. The reality is setting in that these are my last, counted, days with a plaque and giving my all to this work. I hope to continue strong after the mission because I know that the Lord will continue to bless me and you to find, teach, and invite those around us to come unto Christ. I love y'all! Keep up the great work! :)

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

PS This last week I finished 22 months since leaving home....CRAZY!
I walked a little too close to a wall...oops!
Sending a missionary off to Chile!!

May 23, 2016

Work: The Remedy of all bagginess

"God rarely infringes on the agency of any of His children by intervening against some for the relief of others. But He does ease the burdens of our afflictions and strengthen us to bear them, as He did for Alma’s people in the land of Helam (see Mosiah 24:13–15). He does not prevent all disasters, but He does answer our prayers to turn them aside, as He did with the uniquely powerful cyclone that threatened to prevent the dedication of the temple in Fiji; or He does blunt their effects, as He did with the terrorist bombing that took so many lives in the Brussels airport but only injured our four missionaries.

Through all mortal opposition, we have God’s assurance that He will “consecrate [our] afflictions for [our] gain” (2 Nephi 2:2). We have also been taught to understand our mortal experiences and His commandments in the context of His great plan of salvation, which tells us the purpose of life and gives us the assurance of a Savior, in whose name I testify of the truth of these things. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." --Elder Dallin H Oaks (Opposition in All Things, GC April 2016)

Highlights for 23/5/16:

Highlight #1: Ward Activity. This week we had a ward missionary activity...gotta love when the ward plans an activity to help you :) We had a game, socializing, lunch activity :) We played soccer, team building games, and many of our investigators were fellowshipped :) A family friend of a member came to the activity and loved it...the next day the 15 year old son came to church with this member family. It was actually really cool, and showed the ward how truly easy and rewarding it is to work with your friends and neighbors. And also encouraged the ward to begin inviting people to get to know the church :) So get inviting :) The more people you invite, the more that have the oppotunity of eternity to accept your invitation. YOU can make all the difference :) :)
Ward missionary activity!!

Highlight #2: Divisions. This week we had divisions with Elder Call and Elder Roca again. Elder Call came here with me. It helped a bunch to have him here, to be able to talk to him about some things that have been happenin and get some help :) We also found some new families for me and my comp to teach, AND put a baptismal fecha once again with a great family we've been teaching!! :) WOOHOO! Little by little, baby steps, but progress for the better! :) Divisions are awesome!

Highlight #3: Families :) There is a member in our ward who has since her baptism worked tirelessly in the missionary cause, but got discouraged and stopped a couple years ago because she hadn't seen any results. We were able to visit her family and animate them to once again work with us, together, to have success! The following weekend we had an activity for the Semana de la Familia and they invited a neighbor friend (who honestly they had never spoken to until they invited her and her family to the activity) and the friend came! Then this week we had our missionary activity, so they invited this family to come and have some fun as a family! AND THEY CAME! The mom worked till 10:30am and had to go back at 1pm, but took her short break to come to the activity with her kids! :) It was her son that came to church yesterday, and loved it! So little bit of encouragement, and there is still hope :) :)

“I have often said that one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.” --Ezra Taft Benson

I testify that this principle is true! It has worked for me THIS WEEK! I had been gettin a bit know, ending the mission soon and not seeing much success in this area. But if one will forget about themselves (in my case, forget about MY lack of success) and focus on the Lord and His work, the miracles will flow and He will grant the success one searches. This principle reminded me of something that my parents (I think it was my parents, but not sure...that someone important told me) always said about tithing, "we will do more with 90% of our income than we could with the full 100%!" This is true with work. If we work in OUR way and doing it the way WE want it done, nothing will happen. BUT if we work in HIS way and doing it the way HE wants it done, MIRACLES will happen. Of this I testify.

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

PS 22 MONTHS TODAY!!!! AHHH, where is the time going!!!!
views from my area...

I love to see the temple.

May 16, 2016

Semana de la Familia

"The purpose of the activity is to invite and to inform relatives , friends, neighbors , government institutions and opinion leaders, how programs and teachings of the gospel help preserve and care for the moral and spiritual values of families; live happily in harmony , unity, service and perpetuate family ties." --From the Church Website for Central America (explaining the Semana de la Familia, translated)

Program from Semana de la Familia

Highlights for 16/5/16:

Highlight #1: Multi-Zone Conference. The multi-zone conference this week was great! We learned about how to teach repentance, clean fruits and veggies, and prepare better plans. I learned a lot of techniques that will help me once I get home as well. I realized that I still have a lot to learn and not much time to learn and impliment it. That has been something that I have been thinking a lot about this week...that I've learned a lot in my mission, but still have much to learn and improve. Something that I have been focusing a lot on is trying to focus on the points outlined in PME about a "misionero de exito" and applying those points and seeing the success I've had :) But the time is getting is getting harder and harder to focus on the work with my plane tix getting closer...but I'm working at it :)

Highlight #2: Weekly Planning, Zone-style. We had a unique experience this week...we did our weekly planning as a zone! It was a lot of work, lots of getting over pride, and lots of letting the heart felt feelings flow. But in the end it helped a lot...or at least it seemed to. Something I'm working at here is looking past the faults of others and blaming unsuccessfulness on someone else and their faults. That is something I have been thinking about this week as well...the time I spent with 3 baggie missionaries about a year ago as they each were ending their missions. What did I like? What didn't I like? What am I doing? Am I doing those same things I didn't like, or am I doing the things that I liked as their companion? It has been a very deep auto-evaluation...but hopefully it has helped my comp. He seems to be getting tired of me, but I don't know why :) But I guess that is what happens when you put two humans together, 24/7...we're working at it :)

Highlight #3: Chocolate Factory. Today for the District Activity we went to a Guatemalan chocolate factory. According to them, evidence has shown that cocoa plants originated in Guatemala. They explained that the rest of the world learned about cocoa when Columbus and Cortez came to the Americas and took the fruit back to Spain. Then from there it has gone to the whole world. Supposedly cocoa has MANY great qualities for the health of us as humans...supposedly. Also, they explained that the ancient Mayans used cocoa as their their society cocoa had more value than gold. The mayas discovered these "healing" and "feel good" qualities of cocoa more or less 1,000 years before Christ (supposedly...Jaredites? ;) haha). Well, the Book of Mormon jokes just flowed with our group of missionaries...some examples: "was Nephi drinking his glass of choco milk as he wrote his book?" or "So THAT is how Moroni went 40 years alone, a glass of "feel good" hot chocolate every day..." So to say the least, we had a great time :)

"If today you are a little better than you were yesterday, than that's enough." --Elder David A Bednar

I know that this is the work of the Lord. And though I may not have much time left, I'm going to give it my all till the very end! I love this work...yeah, it's work...but it has its rewards. Some rewards are enjoyed now, others later, and other later in life or the eternities....but I have confidence that the blessings will come. Some may label me as baggie, but I know and the Lord knows the efforts I am giving every day. To be a little better, to do a little more, to have more faith, to have more patience..I love you all a lot. Hope that you are all doing well! :)

With Love and Prayers,
Elder Flake

PS Happy Birthday Ashley!!!! :) Enjoy your last days as a little kid! ;) Soon you'll be "all grown up"....haha! LOVE YA!

May 09, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

"God could send angels to teach these people, but he chooses me instead..." --Thought from the CCM
Another new day in Guate! :)
Highlights for 9/5/16:

Highlight #1: Mother's Day. Well, as you all know...yesterday was Mother's Day. Some may be saying, yeah, okay?? But Mother's Day is one of those special days in the life of a missionary and their families. It is one of the two approved calls home...and this one was even more special for me because it's my last. May I just say, communication with my family was something that I took for granted before my mission. And now have found the joy, peace, and encouragement that comes from talking to one's family. I LOVE MY FAMILY! We had a great conversation and even my companion noticed a difference after I talked to the fam. I was getting down and having a tough time coming to terms with some things going on in the mission. But now I'm doing great! :) :)

Got to Skype my family for Mother's Day!!!
Highlight #2: Divisions. This week I got to go on a division with Elder Roca. May I just say that it pumped me up as well. We had some great conversation, and great success. It felt great to be able to spend some time with one of my best friends. He helped me a lot, helped me to keep the vision lifted on the future, and work hard to the end! He's awesome! Great guy!

One of my fave friends :)
"Please don’t nag yourselves with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know how, and the Lord will accept your effort.”—President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Rise to the Stature of the Divine within You”

I love you all, keep workin' till the very end! I am so glad for this wonderful gospel and the joy and peace I get to see enter the lives of those that allow me (or one of the other 80,000 full-time missionaries around the world) to have a short conversation with them about our eternity-changing message. If you haven't talked to a missionary yet, visit and ask for some to come visit you. You wont regret it! :)

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

May 02, 2016 it really Mayo?!?!!

I guess you could say the rainy season has begun again!! :)
 “What an incredible opportunity it is for all of us to share our testimonies of the Restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter days.” —Elder Richard J. Maynes (CES Devotional from yesterday)

Highlights for 2/5/16:

Highlight #1: Contacts. Well, for those who have served missions this update may be WOW or it may be "really? you're excited about THAT??" It just depends where you served, but for me I'm pumped! :) As many of you know I love talking to people and getting to know them! So one of the bread and butter abilities of missionaries, and an event that occupies much of a missionaries day, is Contacting. Contacting is the act of a pair of missionaries talking to someone they did not know...this may be running you down on the street, knocking continuously on your door, or a surprise "activity" your member friend invited you to and just happened to invite us as well. In whichever of a long list of different activities we get to know you :) The instruction that has been given my entire mission is that we need to be contacting at least 10 people/day (70 people/week). This has been a constant goal that I've had...well this week went just a little over that goal. We contacted 105 people...yeah! More than 100! I was pretty excited! :) Last week we had contacted we worked extra hard this week to keep doing better than we've ever done before...and our result? More lessons, more contacts, and more success :) :)

Highlight #2: We began working with a pilus family this week! I love this family! The dad served a mission under Mission President Adrean Ochoa...yeah, THE Elder Ochoa, as in the member of the area seventy now. His wife is from Honduras, they have 4 daughters. One of the daughters leaves from her mission to Costa Rica in June. We began working in another part of our area this week. It's a part that always seemed so far away and that no one would come to church from over there because it's so far. But then we found how the "locals" travel and it really ain't that far :) So we have been focusing our efforts there this week. So the first thing we did was find the members that live over there to ask their help, receive reference, and let them know that we were in that part working for whatever need they may have :) And may I just say that we have found some GREAT families!!!! :) One of the youth that we contacted with this member family came to church yesterday!!! :) That was exciting! :) The work is picking up! :) I LOVE IT!

Highlight #3: We found a wonderful family a week ago. The hno attended the "mormon" church more than 20 years ago with his family before they left for the states. But he is back in Guate and married. They are reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and truly looking for God's church. I love them! It was miraculous how we had our first lesson. About a change ago my comp and I contacted the wife one morning and she told us that any day after 5pm we could go we went by...and went by...and went by...and the husband was never there. Last Monday night we were passing past this house and I felt we needed to talk to them no matter what, right then the wife walked out their door. So I took my opportunity and asked if her husband was home. He was! :) We had a great first lesson with them, they have a baptismal date that they are working towards, and this last week we had the second visit with them. They are super pilus, their questions are genuine and sincere and searching. I love it! And they are very straight forward, as in they told us that as soon as they get their answer they will for sure be baptized on the date we placed with them...but if they don't have the answer they will let us know that haven't received their answer. If only everyone was that sincere and straight forward, it would make my job a lot easier...but I guess it was never meant to be easy ;) jaja

“We should share this sacred event and the things we have learned from it with all those we love and care about...many of those searching for direction and purpose in life are represented by the age group participating in this devotional. They are your friends and your associates.” --Elder Richard J. Maynes (CES Devotional from yesterday)

I love sharing this sacred event with EVERYONE. One's testimony is one of the only things one can share with another that cannot be argued or denied by others. I love testifying of the knowledge I have. I know that Joseph Smith needed direction, so he went to a grove close to his home. There his sincere prayer was answered by one of, if not the, most eternally changing events in the history of the world (2nd to the Atonement). I know he saw our Heavenly Father, and that our Heavenly Father presented His son, Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith had the opportunity to converse face to face with the Son of God, and receive the knowledge and direction he was seeking. I testify that these events happened. I may not have been there watching it unfold, but I know it is true. And the miraculous part is that YOU can know with the same assurity. As James 1:5-6 instructs, we must ask in faith, NOT DOUBTING, that we will receive an answer to our prayers. I promise that He will answer! The answer will come through the Holy Ghost. Seek and ye shall find! And when you have found out for yourself please let me know :) I want to hear/read your testimonies and your experiences.

With love and prayers,
Elder Flake

PS Mayo is not short for's May in Spanish...just if you were wondering ;)

PPS The chips in the picture I actually did eat...the whole bag...and I just about died ;) jaja! Can't wait for you guys to try them when you come! :) :) WOOHOO!

Don't worry, I eat some "healthy" stuff too!