Elder Joshua Flake

Elder Joshua Flake

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 10 - Miami, Arizona: Miracles happen once in a while...

yes the subject line is from Princess Diaries.

ANYWAYS If one thinks miracles ended when Christ left or thinks that miracles are just tales from the scriptures, he or she doesn't have their eyes open. Miracles aren't just something you see out of Mother Goose's 365 Poems for the year book. They are for real. 
Heavenly Father for sure provides for His children, and it's pretty funny that sometimes He does this through the very inept and largely incapable person I am. (At least I have great companions)
So first, James Mills, the man we just baptized, has been a stellar help in finding people to teach. We are now teaching 4 people because of him. 3 of them are boys our age that want to have a solid testimony of Christ and straighten up their lives by following Him. But one issue is that they all smoke, and God has commanded us not to, so we are helping them quit. We went to Walmart and bought some supplies that did NOT include Nicorette packets...actually this program we have been given is quite unique. It involves 3 unusual items...

1 grapefruit juice
2 cinnamon mouthwash
3 vitamin c supplements 

With these three we can help someone stop smoking in 1 week. It is so cool. So we went to the church late at night after Walmart and began to teach them the process of quitting when Manny, an ex-convict and now a new member of the Church showed up out of nowhere. He talked about all the terrible things he had done in the past and about his old addiction to cigarettes and it was exactly what these boys needed to hear. It was absolutely perfect timing!!!!
So another thing...I had the opportunity to give a priesthood blessing to somebody in the ER who was internally bleeding. For my non Mormon readers, a priesthood blessing is one thing that every worthy male member of the Gospel holding the priesthood power can do. The priesthood literally is the ability to utilize the power of God for the Salvation of His children. One of the things that one holding the priesthood can do is heal and administer to the sick.
So with that said, we were in a lesson with Loyce (who just got baptized this weekend) and Brother Brown, who was with us while we were teaching, got a call on his phone. We found out a lady in our congregation, and whom I had not met before, needed a blessing for the bleeding. So we went to the ER where she was. And obviously, out of the priesthood holding men that were there, I was the most inexperienced and incapable, yet when she was asked who she wanted to give her the blessing, she pointed at me...


I had only given a couple blessings before. I wasn't very confident....yet she asked me. 
So I placed my hands on her head and did as I was taught. I was so nervous but Heavenly Father told me exactly what I needed to say. With Him, I blessed her that the afflictions would be taken from her and she would have the ability to continue to bless the lives of her family. I said much more and ended the blessing. She was in tears as well as her daughter who is not a member of the Gospel. She went from being sad and afraid to being comforted and strong. I am confident that in this experience, through the Priesthood God has entrusted me with, I was able to call down the power of Heaven and help one of Heavenly Father's children. This woman is also out of the hospital and is doing a lot better. Heavenly Father is for sure on the lookout for all of us individually. 
It was also awesome to see Loyce get baptized. She is the sweetest woman and it was incredible getting to see her son be able to baptize her. I remember my first week here falling asleep while teaching her because I was so drained physically....quite embarrassing to say the least. 
It also has been raining a lot which is purty weird considering that I am in a desert. The rain kinda smells funky. I also have decided that everything in the desert is trying to kill me. There is a cactus that if you brush up against it, will fire it's needles at you. I lucked out and ALMOST figured out the hard way. But where I am at in the mountains is wonderful! It isn't too hot which is also great. 
We had a zone conference which is basically when a bunch of missionaries in a group of areas in the mission meet together and learn from the mission president. We learned a whole lot! I know that serving others in this mission doesn't exclude the members of the church too! 
To be honest, I love it here...and I will miss it when I leave. I know that I unexpectedly came here to Miami, but my lack of hesitation to come here proved itself. I know and have known that the Christ is continuing to shape me and mold me into the servant God wants me to be.
Speaking of shaping and such, I am making a whip....not easy...but today I have been making the handle...pictures of the finished product will come next week. I have actually learned a lot about woodwork. I guess I am trying to follow Christ's example a little too literally and am becoming a carpenter as well. KIDDING. But for real, I am loving it out here!
I know that our Savior lives, and while many miracles happen every day, the greatest miracle happened when Christ...out of perfect love for us...Died for us. I bear testimony and share my witness of His hand being outstretched to God's children.

Elder Flake
My buddies smoking their last cigarette! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 9 - Miami, Arizona: Hello!

So I don't have a whole lot of time so this will be immensely short!

There were two baptisms on Saturday night which was tremendous. It is truly amazing to see the progress of people and how they make steps to come closer to Christ! I am so amazed by all the progress people are making here! And my companions and I are just instruments in the Lord's mighty hand, but we know that he is guiding us to people that are ready to hear our message!

Other than that, I was able to see quite another hilarious thing. Anyone remember the picture of the guy I sent my first week here that was playing with a toy bus in the parking lot? Well I saw him again but this time he upgraded to a larger red truck...pictures will soon follow! It was one of the funniest experiences of my life!

We drove to Kerney and along the way, we saw Saguaro Cacti everywhere! I mean these things are huge and only in Arizona

Also, one of the people we have been working on asked me to baptize him which is a huge honor! I don't know if I will be here or in Brazil, but we'll see. I still have no idea about my visa!

I also get the opportunity to teach little children. I love kiddos! 

Also, I do a lot of pull-ups. I am doing this thing that every time I walk in and out of my study room, I do 5 pull ups...BOTH WAYS. My arms are getting tired and it is motivating me to not gain too much poundage.I am practicing for a mission-wide 5K coming up soon. 

The sunsets here are astounding and the people are great! Heavenly Father loves His Children and this is evidenced by this gospel we have! I mean, this is truly amazing! I love seeing how much people change. Jesus Christ is our perfect example!

I love you all! Keep Christ in your thoughts and study His words daily!

Love Elder Flake

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 8 - Miami, Arizona: Week 2 or 3 in Arizona....I AM NOT SURE

Well this has been yet another fantastic week. Saturday night, we got invited to go to the reservation (which is a ways away) to go see one of the little girls that we are baptizing do an Apache Sunrise Dance....it really was very interesting. We drove to the heart of the very dilapidated reservation and it was insane. The church there has like bulletproof windows. Everyone that lives there is getting paid by the government to live there, so nobody works...and they go a little crazy. We had to get special permission, but we drove there and there was an enormous fire and a lot of Indians doing some crazy chanting around the fire...Jalen, the girl we are baptizing, did so great. It was a lot of fun and the people were really nice and a little weirded out that white dudes in ties came and joined in on the ceremony. I got asked to dance by an Apache girl...but don't worry I refused. 

Other than that, it has been insanely busy. My trainer, Elder West says that there is an insane amount of work to do and he has been out for 21 months! We are baptizing two this Saturday...the Mills family. They really are great people. During our last lesson with James, a big burly Russian kinda guy, I expressed to him that I felt it necessary that he know that many people would eventually be taught the Gospel in his home...which wasn't my words! Then he later talked about a dream that he had before he heard of the Church in which people were coming in and out of his house being taught true words that he didn't know at the time....The Holy Spirit speaks mightily to Heavenly Father's children for sure! 

So we began teaching Brett, a younger guy, and then he brought two friends that were ready to hear the gospel as well. They are getting baptized November 21. It has been awesome! There are now 8 people in our area on date for Baptism and many more the Lord is preparing as well! 

General Conference was also a blessing. Hearing the words of prophets, especially on a mission, are life changing and call for much soul searching

SO as far as my feelings go for being a missionary:

-It's really difficult
-members help with the work and feed us great food
-I am slowly becoming more Christlike (not even close but worth working my hiney off for!)
-I have been pretty sick, but Heavenly Father provides a way to accomplish the things that are commanded to us, so the work has not slowed down a bit

I love you all! 

Love Elder Flake!