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