Elder Joshua Flake

Elder Joshua Flake

Thursday, June 23, 2016

6.13.16 - São Lorenço, Brazil

So my friends this week has gone by lightning fast. We have many people sceduled to get baptized here soon!!

President Bigelow, who takes care of all the missionaries in this state Pernambuco, came last night with his wife for a ward activity. There were many many spiritual insights shared. Sister Bigelow talked about the rescuing of the lost sheep and it is so amazing to note that Christ is the one that left the 99 to save the one.

Yesterday was valentines day here and it was full of much open romance in the streets and many random fireworks.

I also accidentaly made the best strawberry syrup that has ever been made in the world. Just wait until I sell it one day hahaha!

I mentioned weeks ago about a family, the Cunhas, that we were helping return to church. Well yesterday I got to baptize their 9 year old daughter Julia and it was amazing having the chance to do so!! I love that family!!

Although this email is somewhat short, I cannot say that this week was uneventful!! There is always a million things to think about and do here and I am being so blessed by all of it. Also yesterday officially marks 10 months and boy does time go by super quick!!

Elder Flake

Saturday, June 11, 2016

6.6.16 - São Lorenço, Brazil

Sorry for the all caps but this email will  incredibly lackluster.

We have a lot of people to teach and lots of baptisms coming up! We are working hard here! I got to do a division in UR7, a city east, with Elder M Medeiros and it was awesome! I got to interview the people they prepared for baptism, Lucas. I felt the spirit so strong this week and have had some really powerful lessons with my wonderful companion. There was a mission fever going on with the members last month, then it kinda died down, but now it is blazing again and I am having the time of my life. I for sure cannot say that I don't miss home, because I do SO MUCH, including all of the people I used to associate with and all my friends and fam! The best way to beat homesickness is working still your shoes wear out hahaha!!

Elder Flake

Remember folks to read that Book of Mormon! I know the phrase is quite cliche but it'll change your life. What a good summer read AM I RIGHT!

5.30.16 - São Lorenço, Brazil

The work here is going great. We marked the baptism of a few people and also we were able to baptize Cliton yesterday!! I have talked much in the past emails about baptism and its significance, so I won't rexplain, but just know how much of a sacred and important decision it is to be baptized in the Lord's church!

I am also teaching an English class at the church on saturday nights. It is going really well and it is a great way to find more people to teach the gospel. We have been able to get two new people to teach so far and many more are to come. It is for sure fantastic!!!

I am also feeling a whole lot better. I had two swollen lymph nodes on my neck the other week but they are gone and I am one healthy guy!! I mean, I still get super tired sometimes as this work is not a walk in the park (it is a walk through many parks and streets and for 10 hours everyday) Yesterday I was so tired, that I fell asleep while we were walking to a member's home. It was pretty hysterical. Sometimes I fall asleep when I pray at night and wake up hours later with some pretty sore knees

As far as my studies and my testimony of this Gospel goes.....I am reading Jesus the Christ, and my understanding of my New Testament studies have been pretty enhanced.

I hope this memorial day goes well for everyone!!

Elder Flake
Made some pancakes. It has been like a year since I have eaten a pancake. I am borrowing this maple extract from another elder because they don't have any down here sadly

5.23.16 - São Lorenço, Brazil

So today marks the start of a new tranfer which is 6 weeks of missionary work. My companion Elder Brabo and I did not get tranferred which is awesome! We have a ton of work to do in São Lourenço!

This week, some miracles happenned! I talked last week about the Cunha family and Mauro's family.....and here is the result.....


I was so happy to see these families in church again. We were also blessed in other ways because we had 5 investigators (people that are learning about the Gospel) that also came! It was a very happy

**My companion just leaned over to me after he read our Mission News and said that we can now wear sunglasses and hats SO YES MY FRIENDS!!! NO MORE GETTING TOASTED FOR THIS AMERICAN!!

As far as other things go in respects to Brazil....I am absolutely loving it! I am still getting so much heavenly help to be able to speak this language as my fluency is still not at the level I want (I want to be a native speaker)

But anyways...it was nice because the 10 people we invited to Church....ALL CAME!

I am so blessed on this mission! Hard work brings blessings for sure!!

I also forgot to mention that I got sick this week and stayed inside for a couple days which was terrible....but after a couple IV's in the hospital and some med's, we hit the streets and got a lot done. I am still not quite sure what I had but I think it was some random virus because my neck swelled up.

On that note.....Tchau! Ate o próximo!

Elder Flake

5.16.16 - São Lorenço, Brazil

It is the final countdown here in São Lourenço da Mata! Basically, this tranfer (a period of 6 weeks) is about to end which means our goals that we have set need to be met! I am loving being able to work so hard, and like I have said many many many times....THIS MISSION IS NOT EASY! But the rewards are grand.....and not just the reward after when I come home and see how much I have changed. There are other rewards that I have been able to see on the mission.

Two miracles that have happened this week with two families that we have visited that had left the church. The first is the Cunha family. We got into their home, almost got malled by an enormous dog, and then, being extremely direct, shared a message about how we could help them face their challenges by returning to church and renewing their covenants. What does it mean to  renew covenants? When this family joined the Church of Jesus Christ through baptism, they made a covenant, or promise, to always remember Christ and to take upon them his name, becoming a lifelong disciple of Him. These covenants help us to live a life in which we are always improving and always serving others. When these covenants are broken or forgotten, our happiness is in jeaporady and also the choices we make are not always in correspondence with God's will. I, as a missionary, am trying to enter people into these covenants of Baptism by teaching people that have not accepted the Gospel yet. But my purpose is also to go after those sheep that had lost their way.

There are many lost sheep. But Christ, the perfect example, left the 99 to save that one. How great is the reward for the one who was lost and then rescued! And with the Cunha family and also Mauro's family, all we saw was a name on a list of people who have been lost. To many, it just seems like we invited a couple people to attend church regularly again, and it is exactly as it appears. But the very Church that we invited them to attend again is the very same church that Christ established here on the earth. Yes, that Church was contorted and conformed by the will of man, but the will of our Heavenly Father was greater. For this reason He, our Eternal Master, restored His church on the earth so that his children, all the world, could partake of the covenants made in His church. I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ that I represent. I am so grateful to have the chance to bring people unto the eternal light and happiness the Restored church offers. I am an instrument in the hands of The Lord of the Flock and am so grateful and humbled to have this calling.

Elder Flake

5.4.15 - São Lorenço, Brazil

So we are starting to do a new activity with the members of the Church here. It is called Whatssappador. That doesn't make sense to any of you so let me explain:

It is a mixture of two words. Whatssapp and pesquisador (investigator of religion). Everyone here talks on the cell phone with Whatssapp so we decided to work with the members in integrating the people that we are teaching by passing along whatssapp of the people we teach. The members of the ward have to say specific things to help strengthen our pesquisadores (investigators). I am super stoked as well as the ward!!!

This week was stressful but rewarding. One guy that I never thought would cry balled during a lesson. I love Francinaldo! We will make pancakes with him these coming weeks!

Anyways, here is a pretty random pic. When it gets dark here....it gets dark. This is not just darkness....this is advanced darkness (Spongebob reference)

I love my mission. I when I accepted the call to serve here I put everything on the table. EVERYTHING. I am trying hard everyday to be really focused. I can't have one foot in Tennessee and one in Brazil unfortunately. I am here right now so I will bust my hiney and work.

Love yall! Boa semana!

Elder Flake

Friday, June 10, 2016

4.25.15- São Lorenço, Brazil

So my companion is insane. Love this guy. We are tearing it up here in São Lorenço. We have gotten many referalls from the members to teach and baptize. It is such a blessing. I am so blessed with the members here that love us! We still have so much work to do, but I am trying to give my all to this area!!! We visit and teach the members of the ward as well. There is like a missionary work fever starting here in the ward. I am excited!!

We went without water in our house and we didn't have a reservior to get buckets this time....so we spent a day smelling terrible but teaching the gospel. Hopefully their hearts are more receptive than their noses if you know what I am saying.

I love yall!

Elder Flake
This one is a couple weeks old but we got to baptize Venicius on the last day of Elder Matus. It was awesome! We have some more baptisms lined up here in the next few weeks!!