Elder Joshua Flake

Elder Joshua Flake

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week 2 - Provo MTC: HELLO PEOPLE

So I apologize in advance for how short this message may be as I am a very busy Elder. ANYWAYS. I have had the most eventful week ever. 

First off, my companion and I were appointed Zone Leaders which was humbling. We have only been here two weeks and we are serving hundreds that have been here weeks longer. 

Other then that I really experienced something incredible this week. Essentially, long story short, there is a member in our district that rooms with me that was having issues being here and also being around other people. I have never truly had an experience where it would be hard to love somebody and I have been on this earth for 19 years. I just remember how difficult and how much I did not want to do this....but I prayed for the ability to love and understand this person. And then thereafter I went and talked to this Elder until 12:30 am(which is very late considering we get up at 6:30! I really felt God's love for him, and now things are wonderful. I knew I could not be a zone leader if there was enmity between me and anybody I serve. Love is the most important part of this Gospel. "For God so Loved the World that He" DID WHAT? He gave his Son Jesus Christ so that we can live for ever....and living forever and for eternity constitutes us having to be perfect through Him. And how was He perfect? He loved everyone, and understood everyone....And he sees everyone so lovingly...we cant comprehend. All we can do is pray to feel that love for others to Become more like Him!

So why do we pray in the name of Jesus Christ? 

We pray in the name of Christ because when we talk to God our Heavenly Father; we are not just asking him for blessings.....We are praying as if through the eyes of Christ...making an attempt to see the world as He sees it. Prayer is more of an alignment with God rather then a request to him. What we want should be what Christ would want. 

Anyways, as far as spirituality goes, I will tame myself. I literally love everything about what I am doing and what Heavenly father is doing through me and all these missionaries throughout the world. I am so small compared to this Grand Work that He has given us to do!

I am still here at the Provo MTC awaiting my Visa haha! I guess God has a reason for everything and being called as a Zone Leader may have just been it! 

Hmmmm..... Well I have been very incredibly exhausted lately. If you are interested here is what my schedule looks like here at the MTC

6:30-7: Wake up and get ready for bfast

7-7:30: Eat

7:30-9:30: Study on your own and with Companion

9:30-12:30: Either class with Irma Sandholtz or teaching people in Portuguese. 

12:30-1: Eat

1-4:15: Class with Irmao Alvez (story about him coming later)

4:30-5:20: Gym time...BASKETBALL FER DAYS

6-7:30 Dinner and shower.

7:30-9:25: Class 

9:25 open letters because our Zone was challenged to wait til this time so as to not be distracted during the day!

9:30: Back in the residence

10:30: Beddy time

this is definitely a rough schedule because it changes around a lot, but as you can see it is a 16 hour day!

Also funny thing:

I sprained my ankle and was on crutches...But it is just purply blue now

Another thing:
Irmao Alvez is from Brazil studying English at BYU. He teaches here at the MTC and does a good job, mainly because his class is 100% portuguese. 

Anyways he stopped teaching his lesson yesterday just in middle of his lesson and took me into the hall. If I remember anything from Elementary school.....this is not a good thing. Instead of getting upset at me he just talked to me and said a bunch of uplifting yet weighty things. He just told me that I am a leader and that I have a ton of capabilities and that he knew it was random but that he just feels like I have heavy responsibility for the future...He said a lot of stuff but I was humbled. I feel so inadequate out here. Everything is just so incredibly humbling that you just feel like trash. Irmao Alvez had no idea that the Branch pres had talked to me just the day before about being a Zone Leader. 

So essentially, I need to gear up and step up. I can't be any laziness. Laziness never brought in the Holy Spirit..and I sorta need that to be able to bring people closer to Christ. 

So to close off this email that I said would be short and wasn't....I love yall so much! I miss Tennessee loads...I miss my family....my doggy Biggs....and all my friends......but regardless of any homesickness I may feel for these two years, I hope to return a better Man. And essentially I hope to come home knowing that I put 100% of my ability to spreading His words throughout the World. 

Last story holy smokes I can't believe I forgot this:

Anyways there is this lady Sharon that is legitimately struggling with her faith in Heavenly Father. She came here to the MTC because her friend said it might help her out. So she came to work here as an legitimate investigator of this Faith. Typically the people that come here to be practiced on by the missionaries are Mormon. So Sharon came here to be an English investigator and sadly all I am given is Portuguese investigators... So after meeting her my first night here, I kept having a desire to go and teach her. And my companion and I saw her last thursday in the cafeteria. So after talking with her for a while, I expressed the desire we had to teach her. So after three days of going of going to the English building and trying to find an open spot to talk to her (lots of missionaries teach her) we finally found a good time to do it. Hahaha my companion and the English people might possibly could have been annoyed at my persistence. (Glad Elder Crabtree is patient ha) 

So we went in the room and prayed and just talked with her. She has been abused for most of her life by husbands and fathers that essentially loved her not for who she was, but IF she would achieve their expectations. Her only son was killed when he was 3 months old. She believed in God, but psychologically she found a hard time trusting him because in her words, He was angry with her, and the last time she prayed to him, her son was taken from her the next hour. She had a hard time with all this, and really struggled. So With the Holy Spirit, I told her, "Sharon, do you think that because you have felt like you have been conditionally loved in the past, that Your Father in Heaven loves you conditionally as well." 

She looked a little struck but it was as if a light had turned on in her head and she said tearfully, "Yes, I think that could be it." 

My companion opened up to her as well and told about his mother's experience of having a stillborn....the spirit was so strong as we both testified of the unconditional love Heavenly Father has for us. 

I told her that he loves us so unconditionally that he sent Christ, His Only Begotten, to be sacrificed. We invited her to pray at the end of the lesson and she said she wanted to do it personally because she hasnt done it in 13 years...which we understood. 

So that was that. She told us that she felt something super strong in the air, almost like a "fierceness" from her own words. We explained to her that the feelings she was feeling was from The Comforter...Also known as the Holy Spirit that not only shows us comfort and love from God, but also testifies of truth.

Anyways fam....I love and miss yall to pieces!!

Love Elder Flake

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Week 1 - Provo MTC: Oi Meu Familia!

Hello! Well its Elder Flake here just chillin at the missionary training center with my 60 minutes of computer time! I also apologize for the typos because I will be writing fast and I am so used to typing in Portuguese! 

Anyways, I am still at the Provo MTC awaiting my visa to head down to Brazil! So basically for the next week, I will be chilling here with missionaries from all around the world! 

I must say this week has been splendid! ABSOLUTELY FLIPPEENG HARRD but bery satisfying! 

Primero numero: We have to wake up at 6:30 every morning which was a slap in the hiney! But that is nothing compared to the difficulty of study! 
Segundo numero: class is in almost all Portuguese, but I have the greatest teacher! Irmao Belchoir is his name! (Brother Belchoir en ingles) He is a stellar individual! He is very intelligent and he is also from Mozambique Africa!!! To build an adequate image of somebody, just imagine an african 5'6" that is a spiritual version of Akon. (According to himself) He is hilarious but also an amazing tutor and mentor! I spend 4 hours of study with him singing, speaking, and eating Portuguese forreal......minus the eating part kinda!

Other then that, it is a 16 hour day of prayer, study, eating, and more study. 

funny then spiritual then Funny story: 

So, I found out my first day wednesday that I would be teaching a man  Thiago in only Portuguese that Friday....That's two days to learn enough language to teach somebody about Christ and the Book of Mormon and also about the Atonement! I leaned heavily on prayer....My companion Elder Crabtree (a beast of a man) and I prepared notes to just read off and teach him. But before we went in the room, we felt like we shouldn't take our notes....so we submitted. We got in there and greeted him, and taught about 8 minutes about prayer and about the Church of Jesus Christ...It was wonderful coming out of there, but we knew it was still pretty rough...

SOO the next day, right after dinner, we came to our classroom and saw a note on the board from Irmao. It said, "Lesson 6:30 Thiago room 430" We didn't believe it. That was in 5 minutes, and the 6 other elders in my district were freaking out. I was not particularly tickled either......I thought it was a joke! I mean, I thought Irmao being a funny Akon kinda guy was playin a joke on us! WAS THERE EVEN A ROOM 430 IN OUR BUILDING? lo and behold, there was in fact a room 430 because our district went to scout it out and yes, Thiago was sitting in there and the 8 Elders (4 companionships) had to go in and teach him two by two. Elder Crabtree and I were last....

So we got in there and after Praying in portuguese and reading in the Book of Mormon in Moroni 10:4-5 where it says "e pelo poder do espirito santo, podeis saber a verdade, de todas as coisas." 

And by the power of the holy spirit, you can know the truth of all things.

Fam, after Thiago read that scripture I looked him in the eyes and bore testimony that the scriptures are ordained and true. There were given to us to not only live a good life, but to prepare us to meet our Maker again. I firmly told Thiago that the Book of Mormon is another witness that Christ is the Son of God and that reading and praying, one can know if he really felt the sins of the world and provide a way to return to heavenly father. It was wonderful. 

One thing I learned is that before I learn the Language of Portuguese, I need to know and learn the Language of the holy spirit, because once I understand how to open those channels, an outpouring of peace from the Comforter can bear witness of all truth from On High.............and that whilst my Portuguese is rougher then a dead animal haha I can feel the words enter my mouth.

Now in our third lesson with Thiago I realized afterward, while the lesson was decent, I made a grave mistake...


There are two verbs in Portuguese that are very close to each other. Poder which is to ask and podar which is something else. 

So at the end of the lesson I said to Thiago, "Poda orar?" (Using the podar verb and not poder)


..........................yeah, my bad

...........he kept his composure pretty well but I realized that his chuckling before the prayer was symbiotic with my asking of him to fart. 

So yes family times are good here. I have only been gone 6 days, yet it feels like forever. I have learned so much! 

The food is decent just don't drink the juice. It is probably the only ungodly thing here excuse my sacrilege. 

I study so much and I love it. I never thought that I could delve into the scriptures and another language so fast. I am so humbled by everything and also apologize for such a long email. There are thousands of people here so I feel like a tiny fish in a humongous lake. I am surrounded by great examples too. I learn a lot from other missionaries as well.

I am going to send some photos in my next email when my companion and I do our laundry because I forgot my card ha! I miss Tennessee and I talk about it til lights out at 10:30

I love yall!

Elder Flake