Monday, September 28, 2015
Monday, September 21, 2015
Thursday, September 10, 2015
I can't believe I have been here for a month! Time for sure flies by! Like I might have said before, the days are incredibly long but the weeks fly by!
It's funny that I am one of the veterans here at the MTC now. The English speaking missionaries only have to be here for 12 days as opposed to my 6 weeks....I knew learning a language would take some extra effort....
I have two more weeks until I am either in Brazil or possibly reassigned until I get my visa! I am so stoked for whatever may come!
Now it is such a trial and a blessing to be a zone leader. I mean it is so fun. This new district that came into our zone had 8 elders! 4 are going to capo verde, 3 to Mozambique, and 1 to Toronto Canada. haha they are so funny! Being a leader requires that you love those you lead...and these Elders are not hard to love. Three of them joined the church in the past 16 months and have such interesting testimonies of the restored gospel! When we were going to the gym, I had my shirt tucked in...and one of them said something and I looked back and all of them had their gym shirts tucked in....it was so funny. They crack me up.
I bruised my calf when playing basketball yesterday with some elders that were leaving...I will miss them! I actually bought an ankle brace too. I use up that 45 minutes a day that we get to exercise. I come out of that gym bruised and muito cansado and incredibly sweaty.
As far as the Portuguese goes...I have no idea how to gauge my progress but an elder came from brazil and is on our floor and he doesn't speak any english. I talked to him for like half an hour and it was great. Still a language barrier for sure but we find a way to communicate when we see eachother. I mostly can get by. If you know like 45 different verbs and somewhat how to conjugate them...you can get by. I try to study really hard and ask tons of annoying questions in class. There seriously is no better way to learn a language...because the way I am learning so fast is by finding words to say to teach people the Gospel!
I feel like the Lord makes the language hard enough to be a trial, but helps us enough to accomplish the plan He has for us.
Another thing that slapped my hiney this week:
Listening to President Holland...it was a recorded talk....but it doesn't matter. His words sunk deep and I won't ever forget them:
When Joseph Smith went in the woods to pray....what happened to him before his prayer was answered and he saw God the Father? His tongue was bound. The adversary "bound [his] tongue so that [he] could not speak." At that moment...the adversary, Satan, would have wanted more then anything at the time to end the life of Joseph Smith...for so he may have thought it would prevent the gospel from coming forth...But in Genesis it talks about Satan having power "to bruise thy heel" but we have power "to crush [his] head". So because Satan had no power to end a life, he did the second worst thing that one could do....bind the tongue.
If I refuse a prompting from the holy spirit to talk to someone and proclaim the Everlasting Gospel...then I have let the adversary win. I know that my job is to submit my all to God and He will lead me to those to teach. Nothing is worse then missed opportunities...and nothing is worse then your tongue being bound
Elder Madrigal, one of the new elders told me of a dark day he had (and he calls me All-american...not sure why but yeah). Anyways...he was on the streetside ready to commit suicide when two missionaries felt the prompting to go and talk to him. Long story short, he is here on a mission proclaiming the gospel....but think what would have happened if those missionaries refused the prompting of the Holy Spirit? Elder Madrigal wouldn't be here on a mission and probably wouldn't be alive.
Don't let your tongue be bound. Learn the truth. Proclaim the truth. Bless the lives of others
I have learned how important it is to lift others...Keep others in my prayers....actually pray every morning after I wake up, and every night before I go to bed. Gosh as a missionary that hasn't left the training center yet, I have probably used up my amount of prayers allowed....(Just kidding you can't do that, silly)
Prayer is so important...It is crazy to see how people don't take advantage of the blessings always!
Anyways I love yalls emails and I am glad I get some time to share about whats happenin here.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
To sum everything up:
The days are really long
but the weeks go by fast!
I can't believe I am already on my third week!
So it is looking like I am going to be here at the Provo MTC for another 3 weeks....BUT THAT IS TOTALLY COOL
The thing is, I know I am supposed to be here. Hard to gauge the blessings I have gotten, but if I was to place it on a scale from 1 to 10 I would give it a 10000 with a remainder of 2. Seriously I love missionary work!
Language seems to be a common question for most, so I will say the gift of tongues that they speak of in the scriptures is a real thing. I am not exactly gifted with the ability to learn languages, but Heavenly Father is there to help me out for sure. The way we learn the language is so unorthodox but awesome! We are to teach about Christ every day almost to people and every time, I feel the spirit helping me with words that I may have only studied once or maybe heard somebody else say. I am able to sit with my companion and a random person and give about a half hour lesson in Portuguese if that gauges our level of learning for ya. Definitely not fluent or close to fluent, but with His help, I will first achieve fluency of teaching with the Spirit.....and then the language will come!
So four people out of our district of eight left to Brazil because they got their Visas....but I wasn't upset about having the chance to be here for three more weeks! Being a Zone Leader is such a blessing I EVEN GET A PHONE (that has restrictions but still)
Every day there are new challenges....New Elders and Sisters...new problems too....BUT IT IS SO GREAT!
Last night we spent a little time looking at the Mormon maps website (because that is an approved website) and we looked at the homes of all our district members. Once it was my turn, I showed them street views of fairview and of the natchez trace! Gosh I need to repent because that made me miss home a tad, but I am so appreciative of where I am from! My district fellers had no clue I came from the prettiest state! haha! (Yes the Texans were jealous). Regardless, I am very happy with where I am and where I am going...and two years may be quite a bit of time...but it is the right thing to do!
The highlight of my week was not what one would typically call their highlight of the week (because there are always fun crazy things that happen here)
But this was different.....I feel a lot different too! I listened to a recording from Jeffery R. Holland...one of the apostles of the Church. His Talk was titled, "Missionaries for Life." Hard to fathom how much it literally changed me, but he spoke about how important missions were. How important obedience was. He talked about a scripture is Mosiah 27 where the people were "astonished" by the words of the missionaries! I know I don't do justice to his words when I say this, but it is vital that we remain as close to the Spirit as possible. I am called to a position where I am inviting people to come unto Christ for the Salvation of their being. What job is more important? Whatever my aspirations are after my mission...they are not important. 50 years from now, I am positive there will not be a day that I dont think or talk about an experience from my mission.....and truthfully, my mission doesn't really end July of 2017....it continues through life! I am not here to "do my time" only to return home and be normal....I am going home with the knowledge and experiences from my mission to bring people unto Jesus Christ...to be baptized....and to not just know, but EXPERIENCE His atonement.
I know that we are all in this together. I have to answer....in Portuguese....questions such as, "Where do we come from?" "Why are we here?" "What is the significance of a Savior?" "What is the Gospel?" I know going to Brazil will make these things even more real for me! But I know for sure, through this Gospel, the answers to these questions. I am a missionary for life. Until I die, I will be working to "astonish" people here by bringing them the words from Heavenly Father. I might be in a suit and tie right now, but whatever uniform, person, or occupation I fulfill after my mission, I want to continue to spread the Words and Love from Christ. Like I said, I feel so differently about it all!
Isn't that great?!?! I have always had a love for the teachings of Christ, but my love has grown immensely more! I have learned that my goals and aspirations to do great in the Secular world don't matter in the way that they used to. Yes, I have big goals and big dreams, but they are now not geared at being successful for myself, but for my Heavenly Father. And I can use my talents to forward His kingdom!
Sorry I don't mean to rant....but I just had to share that. I don't mean to take away from my words,but if I was to compare my transformation to something, I would relate it to the episode in Avatar the Last Airbender where Prince Zuko was confused and then went into a coma, having a change of heart....only to come out a stellar person that helped save the world.
...........I guess I could have talked about Alma the Younger in the Scriptures that went into a 3 day coma that changed his entire being...But Avatar works too!
I just wanna share my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. I know that Christ Lives! I know that God gave Him to us unworthy people to suffer for our sins, and to be there when we fall short. I know that His Gospel is again on the earth today and has been restored to its fulness by a modern prophet. I know that this Gospel is true. I know Christ will return, and if we are worthy, and endure to the end in righteousness, Heavenly Father will extend his arms, and take us into the Celestial Kingdom.
Love Elder Flake