Elder Joshua Flake

Elder Joshua Flake

Monday, July 3, 2017

7.3.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil

Wow how it has been so long since I sent a letter to everyone! These past couple of weeks have been quite crazy!!! I don't even know where to start! 

I have been filled with the nostalgia of the fruits of my mission. I was able to see Panta...a grand friend of mine who I was able to baptize when I served in São Lourenço. I went to his city to take money out of the bank and I snuck over to his house and when I clapped at his door, he looked at me and said NÃO ACREDITO. Which in other words is I DON'T BELIEVE IT! It was so great. He is doing so well and has a calling in the elders quorum. He will be a great leader in the church for sure!

Other than seeing him, I was also able to see some friends in my last area, Coqueiral. I miss that place so much and fell in love with the ward! 

Haha between that last paragraph and now the power went out. hahaha That defines my life lately. The power has been on and off lately!

I am happy though with my progress in the mission. I know that the Lord has a plan for each and every one of us. Sometimes we try to do things our own way and we find out that it doesn't get much better. I have learned that if we rely on the Lord, we will always have the best results! After all, the Savior said:

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

so what does this mean? He says that he gave us the Spirit known as the comfortor to guide us. He says that he left us with his peace but "not as the world giveth" To me, I know that the world does not provide the peace and happiness necessary in life. We also cannot provide this peace for ourselves. Some of you may be burdened with the hardships of life, some of you may have issues that nobody understands, but I know that the Lord knows and loves us to the point that he left us with the most simple yet powerful gift. Peace. It depends on us if we are going to accept it or not. I know Christ lives and loves us! I know this Church is His! I love yall and hope for the best for each and every one of you!

Elder Flake

6.5.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil

SO basically there has been so so so so much rain that many cities in our mission have been flooding. Our area as well flooded sooo much. I am glad that we are in a high building though. 

This last Wednesday, my zone leader and I were planning a special exchange in which we both would go to Jardim Coqueiral to help the pair in their work. It kept raining and raining and raining that we almost cancelled the exchange. But.....to be diligent, we decided to go. We are also pretty insane because this is the only area in the mission that all the roads (except one) are dirt.....MUD. 


Luckily the Elders that live their were given permission to use boots. I went there with shoes and slopped my way on over to many people's houses with Elder Menezes. It was a neat experience. We also found some miracle people to teach. I know that the Lord blesses us when we are diligent!! 

Other than that....this week has been pretty hard. Other than the rain, many investigators gave us the red light and some others gave us the yellow light. I can't help remembering the infant words of my older brother as he said that 

"Green means go....Red means stop.........and Yellow means go really really fast"

So with those that give us the yellow light and don't fulfill the things that Heavenly Father asks....like read and pray about the message, we push them a little harder. They can't waste their time and more importantly cannot waste the Lord's time. We tried to get Junior to church for example, but he was too drunk as a skunk to get up.....so be told him "Hey bud.....this is not what the Lord wants from you. This is the second time!!!" So we said goodbye sonny......we have more people to take to church!!!!

Other than that, we have some good solid investigators. I am hoping to update yall on them next week!!

Have a happy week my friends!!

Elder Flake

5.29.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil


These past couple weeks have been pretty hectic but HERE I AM!!!


We baptized Camila. She is a 22 year old student who works so much but it was great finding her. It was funny because we were sitting down after painting a house when she came and sat with us because she lost the key to her house. She asked us tons of questions and it was awesome! We have taught her and helped her learn all that she needed to learn about Christ to be baptized!!! The ward was pretty enthusiastic about her because she is a friend of many and she is super fantastically nice!

We also are trying our best to help a rather large family to come unto Christ! We baptized some of their children and we are working on baptizing many more in this awesome family Rudimar!

I love it here! These last couple weeks have been crazy....from my companion wheeling me to the hospital on the handbars of a bicycle to getting rejected by some solid investigators.......But remember folks that I will have lots of stories to tell hahaha!

I love yall!!!

Elder Flake

5.15.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil

It was such a great experience talking to my family yesterday! I love them so much! Only two times a year for skype is so little, but it was awesome! I think they took a good scare when I showed them some slang words in portuguese. OXENTE (which means OH GOODNESS) sounds like I am saying a bad word and the look on everyone's face was priceless. It was a great conversation and I loved getting to meet my mother's soon to be husband Steve!

This week was pretty awesome! We were teaching some elect youth that I mentioned last week when a girl, Beatriz walked up the stairs of the house into the living room where we were at saying "What do I need to do to get baptized into this church?" HAHA I thought it was so funny because we just heard her in the stairwell saying this and she hadn't even seen us yet! She will be baptized shortly! We taught her with her friends and she teared up in joy when we explained the Plan of Salvation in which none of God's children would be lost.

12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

(John 17:12 see also John 6:39) We explained how through the Savior, we would one day be together with our family again, as long as we hold fast to the truths of His Gospel. 

I know that this church is true and that through the teachings of Christ taught here, we can one day return to our father's prescence. We had some good strong investigators at church and I know that this Gospel blesses lives and is starting to bless their's. 

Learn more and have a happy mother's day!!!



Elder Flake

5.8.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil

So my companion Elder Coelho (Jackrabbit) and I had some crazy goals this week! We were pretty happy to take lots of investigators to church! 

Some good highlights from the week:

We taught a brother and sister, Jonatas and Rebeca. They are pretty awesome! We taught them about the restoration of the Gospel, where the Church of Christ that He established on Earth was taken away and fell into apostasy only to be restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. They then asked about what happens to all those people that are not baptized and all those that are not baptized properly (which is with the Priesthood of God). Do they go to heck? Do they get punished? We gave them a brief explanation on how Heavenly Father loves everyone, incuding those that have passed on. Jonatas was all ready to go to church....but Rebeca, although she wanted to go, had promised to go to her church.....but on sunday....SHE SHOWED UP WITH HER BROTHER. We took them to the family history consultant and showed them about familysearch.org where they could look up their family members and help their loved ones be baptized and enter into covenants with the Lord. 

We also found many others searching for the truth this week. We were headed to a service project at Sister Leêda´s house and unfortunately, the man that promised to help us didn't show up, and there exists a rule in which a man has to be present for us to be able to enter into a house of women. So what did we do? We clapped our hands at the gate of her neighbor and invited two guys to help us. They said "Simbora!" Which means colloquially Let's go! So we painted her house and killed two birds with one stone as we also explained how the Gospel of Christ functions. It was pretty awesome and they were pretty interested (one lots more than the other) As they were leaving, another woman that lives next door knocked on the front metal garage door thing and asked if she could wait with us....she had coincidentally lost her key to her house nextdoor and it was raining! So we took advantage of the moment and taught her as well. She loved the ideas that we presented such as how today we have a living prophet Thomas S. Monson that is just like Moses, who leads us and converses with Christ. She said that she doesn't like the fact that there are so many religions of Christ that teach in different formats and even convelute the teachings of Christ. She is already marked for baptism as well! We have 8 people marked for baptism! It is awesome! 

We also found some other great people to teach this week! We are pretty stoked! I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ. I know that this is how we can return to the prescence of our Heavenly Father! This week was full of countless experiences! Too many to put in words but I can say that God really loves His children. I wish that I could have expressed this love and this message much better to my friends from High School and the places that I have walked. I know that this message has the power to change lives and put them on the path to pure happiness.

Com todo amor no meu coração 

Élder Flake

5.2.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil

Sorry my friends! Yesterday was labor day here in Brazil. Everything was closed.....Even the place that sells bottled water.....So other than thirst, we had a p-day without being able to write yall!

But yes, I am very happy! This last week was going so strong until Friday, when everything fell through and I got sick!!! Everyone in our house is sick as funny as that sounds. I think there might be some virus going around! But we have been teaching some great people! 

This sunday was a stake conferance. Our mission president spoke as well as an seventy. We learned about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and how the moment that God withdrew from Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, he Christ also felt the painful feelings of God withdrawing from each and every one of us. It was an interesting thought!

I don't have much time but I just wanted to let yall know that I am super happy! I also got to have interviews with President Bigelow. I got pretty emotional talking to him about the importance of my mission. It was a very spiritual conversation!! I really do love my mission and all the people that I am serving here!!

4.17.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil

So we baptized Amarilho this week! It was great being able to help him enter the waters of repentance to be able to really follow Christ's example.

This week we had quite a bit of rain. A huge Caja tree fell and landed on the roof of a woman's house from the ward. We had a great time cleaning things up! Also Caja is a super delicious fruit that they have here in the northeastern part of Brazil. Also, there was no saw so we were all beating on the tree with a knife...seeing as there was no axe as well haha! It was great!

Other than that, there was quite a bit of flooding. We tried to have some good activities at the church! Luckily our integration night had tons of visitors! I got pied in the face hahaha! Our english class got cancelled unfortunately. 

But this sunday was great! My companion and I both gave talks in the meeting and lots of people gave us references of people to serve and visit! ZION IS GROWING FOLKS. 

I LOVE MY MISSION!! I am so grateful for the inspiration that I have been able to recieve as I serve those that I love. My capacity to empathize and love others has grown and I feel every day more like our Savior Jesus Christ. I will never replicate Him, but I can at least try to imitate Him. I love teaching about His sacrifice that makes us whole in heart and spirit. 

Elder Flake

4.10.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil

So....one thing that I am incredibly bad at is describing the progress of our investigators that will be baptized. Usually I send pictures of the baptism without describing the progress. 

BUT basically the saturday before last we were headed to General Conferance on foot to another city. It was a rather long walk. On our way there, we ran into an investigator from the past missionaries. He told us that he loved the church but he wasn't able to change some past habits. we walked with him and invited him to go to general conferance. He went and LOVED IT. We invited him to be baptized on our way back and he said yes. We would have baptized him next week, but he was already prepared, so we baptized him this saturday. It was great!

Also, there was a 17year old Marcelo that was going to church for like 6 months and never was baptized, so we did what we could and baptized him in the neighboring ward! It was great! 

So yeah....One thing that one could realize...and that I have realized in this missionary work is that no work goes unnoticed by the Lord. He will bless us in many ways....and usually not how we are expecting. It was great that moment that Max just walked up and basically asked to be baptized because we had been given the boot by many others. The Lord rejoices in obedience and diligence!!!! We are hoping to baptize a few more before the month ends!!!

We are having lots of success here in this ward. I feel like they are becoming more proactive in planning activities that bring more people into the church. I hope to see it grow even more!!! We will see!! We had a great missionary activity planned by the young women and a fun english class that had about 40 people again!!!! There were lots of non members!!!

I love this church. This is the church of Jesus Christ! I know it!! I love yall!! Have a great week! 

Elder Flake

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

4.3.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil

So it turns out that Portuguese has many forms of colloquial speech that remind me of our southern accent. I love trying to speak with the accent here and using their terminology.  OXENTE! VISSE?!

Other than linquistics, Elder Coelho and I have been doing great here in Cajoeiro Seco! I love being able to work here in the Lord's kingdom! On Thursday I taught English again and this time 7 non-members came. It was awesome! We marked a few visits! On Wednesday we did a two-ward activity that my companion and another pair of missionaries planned. IT WAS AWESOME! Elder M. Costa started doing push-ups and for each push-up, we gave one treat to somebody. We ended up giving out over 80. After he almost died from the pain, we explained how the Savior paid the price for EACH ONE of our sins. He did this Individually. He did this Alone! He suffered so that we could be clean!

This weekend, we got to hear words from prophets and leaders of the church. I was able to learn so much about where I came from and how I can return to that glorious place whole, just as the Christ is whole!

I know with certainty that God, our Heavenly Father, really does answer prayers! We had various instances this week in which prayers were answered including help when we were trying to take investigators to church! We fortunately got it all taken care of! We will baptize Max and Emerson these coming weeks and there are more coming for sure!! I can't wait!

I love yall! Tell me about yourselves! I miss ya!

Elder Flake!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

3.27.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil

So let me tell you folks that this week was pretty epic. I have a really hard time in writing everything or being able to describe it all.

One question.....Why is the ocean blue? This morning one of the elders that lives in our house asked this and we spent our time as we got ready trying to debate why the ocean appears blue. It made me think about how yall all have Google at the touch of your fingertips and how we missionaries are left make strange conclusions about the majority of our conversations. I am serious....life is so different without Google!!!! But I think this has been great not being able to make a query in google since summer of 2015 hahaha! But because of this fasting from google, I have really been able to focus so much in the resources that I have as a missionary....

The Bible and Book of Mormon and PRAYER!!

I love being a missionary. I love answering people's questions about how our Heavenly Father works. He exists......and let me tell you a secret.....


I have never had so many life questions answered and with this wisdom that I have gained on my mission up to this point, I know that I will be a much better student, father, husband, and friend.

Other than bringing myself to the reality of internetless life, I have been able to work pretty hard this week with my companion.

This Thursday I taught English to a bunch of youth as an opportunity to serve in the community and also introduce the gospel to the youth. I get super crazy when I teach English. It is so much fun and the youth love it!!

We taught many people this week and found 9 new investigators that are pretty solid. We are gonna try and find 10 this next week through the members and BAPTIZE EVERYONE!!!

We have been working a lot with the organizations of the ward (congregation) and they are putting goals for baptism for every month! I can't wait to be able to teach a ton. I am not gonna end my mission without doing my part!

I have some secret stories to share with yall when I get back that I cannnnnnot share by email but just know that I love my mission!!!!

Atenciosamente (sincerely)

Elder Flake

3.20.17 - Cajoeiro Seco, Brazil

The subject of this email is the name of my new area! It has been such a roller coaster these past few days trying to open up an area with my new companion.

So as somewhat of a timeline of this week, after being sick and all, I went and slept in Recife....but that ended up being super fun because I hung out with my old companion Elder Frutuoso and some other buds from the mission. Elder Barbella, one of my besties slept his last night there in Recife as well. Man I will miss the dude!!!

The next day we went to President Bigelow's huge and fancy apartment and ate breakfast. I don't know how many of yall heard about my strawberry syrup that I invented but I made some special for our huge group of trainers. I just didn't eat much because I was still pretty sick. President gave us a very inspired training on how to help out the new missionaries in the adjustment process. It was awesome! After going through the Temple, in which I was able to recieve many inspired thoughts, we waited FOREVER for the newbies to get here. Finally I was able to get to meet Elder Coelho (Elder Rabbit in English). He his an enormous braziliian basketball player (brazil does not have lots of bball players.....just soccer) He is a rare breed....but it shall be awesome!!!!

Once we finally got back to our area together, the elders in the neighboring area showed us around. IT HAS BEEN SO HECTIC. We went around super lost trying to get to know the members. We have been pretty stressed trying to adjust to this place. It is so much easier when one of us has spent some time in the area but instead we are here getting lost every day hahaha. It has been great though. We have been challenging the members to talk with their friends about the church and to organize activities. I will be teaching English this Thursday. The members like us a lot. I think they are happy to have missionaries again.

Other than this super hectic stuff, we have had some miracles and some funny moments. We are living in a house of 4 elders. How crazy!! We have to time eachother at night because there is only one shower...We will baptize this week a girl that was previously taught. She told the elders before that she wanted to hold off her baptism but we came and told her how important it was. After a super powerful lesson with her she told us yesterday that she wants to be baptized. Her name is Vitoria

I love my mission. I wouldn't trade the moments that I have here for anything else. I have felt so close to the Savior and I really feel that as I study my scriptures and offer heartfelt prayers to him. We have been guided to teach many new people here that have been prepared for our coming. I know that this is the Lord's work!!

have a great week!!!

Elder Flake

3.13.17 - Coqueiral, Brazil

Forgive my all caps. There is no exclamation point on this keyboard so I will stuck here confusedly capitalizing my excitement.

I AM GONNA TRAIN. I have never trained a new missionary. I am gonna be a district leader again and I will open up a new area. It will be crazy not having a companion that knows the area. I will have to ask for tons of help from the man upstairs as well as the members.

Other than this exciting news....I also got pretty sick. I said my goodbyes to my last area. I got to meet a ton of great people in the Coqueiral Ward. I lived there in that city for  and a half months. Isn't that crazy??

One thing that I have been learning and even desire to learn more is about our relationship to Jesus Christ. We teach lots of people and I, having sold internet already, could try to convince people of the message. But I know that I am not here to speak the words of a salesman...but of angels.

2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

I am able to really teach others by the spirit AS AN ANGEL. I am not super intelligent but I am pretty sure the piercing words of an angel are more powerful than a manipulative salesman. To be able to do this, as the scripture says, I feast myself on the words of Christ. I am able to cite scriptures and personal testimonies of the powerful effects of Christ's atoning sacrifice to others. What a privelage I have in doing so for two years.

I love yall. Prayers out that I will do well opening up this new area with a newbie.

Elder Flake

3.6.17 - Coqueiral, Brazil

Just to inform ya....

Being with Elder Ricart is great. I have only had good companions lately! SUPER GOOD! I have learned a lot with him! We have been working hard especially this last week. This photo is of some baptisms we were able to perform! I am so happy to play my part in this GRAND PLAN of our Heavenly Father. I know that HE really wants these people to be baptized. The thing is.....being baptized is not easy!! The enemy (SATAN) is crazily trying his hardest to make us sad and upset or he leads us down wrong paths.... After lots and lots of changing and much effort to fend off the adversary, Kimberrli, Nanni, and Samara were baptized!

I know that this is the plan of God. I can honestly say that the enemy does everything he can to make it so that we don't keep our promises with God. He ESPECIALLY does not want people to hear about what us missionaries have to say. He puts up obstacles like influencing our families or friends to anger or opposition to the church. He makes us feel confused about our righteous decisions...but in the end, if we perservere, our sins can be washed clean and we can be in such a state that will lead us to reside with our Father in Heaven.

This is my job.....take the message of salvation to everyone....but we cannot choose this for anybody. It is between them and Heavenly Father.....Sadly there would have been another person in this photo in white but it breaks my heart that she denied being baptized and moved without passing her address in anger. The adversary won, but luckily these people made the correct choice!!

I know that Christ lives and he knows each and every one of us personally. I know that through his atoning blood, we can be washed clean and enter into the house of our father. I know that this is his church which holds the power and authority of administering his baptism. This is the right path. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints is literally God´s kingdom here on earth. Don´t hesitate do discover why!!! Not only will you miss out on the blessings in this life on earth, but you will miss the opportunity to really get to know the savior and follow him.......and JUST WHERE DID HE LEAD US TO?

to heaven and back into the presence of our Eternal Father.

Have a great week. Discover more


Elder Flake

1.30.17 - Coqueiral, Brazil

I got another chance to stay another transfer which means I could stay in this area for over 7 months! That is a heck of a long time but I am stoked.

Everybody was sad that our dynamic duo got split. Elder Frutuoso and I were quite the pair. The members say that we are unforgettable as a companionship!

Funny experience this week. Remember that email where I was saying how much I had progressed? Forget what I said about the language. Kidding but I still make some pretty embarrasing mistakes.

The words bury and dig are pretty similar in portuguese. Desenterrar is dig and enterrar is bury. Basically there was an older man that we had done much service to remove his plants from his street drain thingy. We had to dig a ton to be able to help out. We passed by his house the other day and he started telling us how his wife was sick and was hopitalized for two days. With this sadness in the air I tried to say something comforting and I mixed up the bury and dig and said to him "Whenever you need, we can bury her."


Pretty hard to recover after that one!

I was trying to say "Whenever you need, we can dig her (her being the rest of the trench)"!

Super embarassing and I sure hope that poor old woman lives. (I think she'll be okay)

I love yall! Email me!

Elder Flake

1.16.17 - Coqueiral, Brazil

Chute is not the word you think it is. In fact chute in portuguese has nothing to do with chutes and ladders. A chute means a kick. A kick is a term that we use when we stop teaching an investigator. So basically we have kicked a lot of people this week.

We have been teaching many wonderful people, but unfortunately the nasty has to happen....We have to kick people. It is not a delightful conversation telling somebody that they are not progressing and that we won't teach them anymore. What is even worse is when they kick us!! We were teaching a couple (Risomar and Jandrus) that were interested and very intelligent and also a member reference, but the terrible kick took place haha! Other than them, we have kicked Igor, Danilo, Nayane, Aurelina, Dani, and Julianna.

Wow speaking of kicks, we kicked two people SO HARD! We were teaching these two women who are single moms and we were trying to find out why they didn't want to follow the path of Christ. They basically said that they wanted to choose the partying, the alcohol, and the other bad stuff over God. Well as we were concluding the message I felt this fire in my stomach (which was not only from the huge almoço (lunch) where I had eaten chicken feet). I looked straight in their eyes and spiritually reprehended them. It was probably the strongest I have ever spoke to someone in my life. I told them basically the consequences for their actions, how their choices are leading them to even more of broken families and ruined lives and also how there is no middle ground that we stand on. We are walking with Christ or we are turning our back on him. We can't serve two masters. I spoke how they could easily go off and spend an hour, two hours, a whole night doing these things but the same feeling would always come back to them: Emptiness. Wickedness was never happiness!

I can't describe it but yes in the end my companion was looking at me and also the member that was accompanying us as if I was on fire. But when we left they were pretty impressed because I had never done something like that. I don't regret anything I said. It was what these women needed to hear! We don't play patty cake with the gospel of christ. And if you conciously choose to ignore Him, as these two were very concious, you need to get toasted. Christ was the perfect example of love because he knew how to correct. I want to be able to correct shaprly when needed. I think I am too soft with people sometimes.

But yes that was basically my week! Other than these chutes, we also had some miracles! We taught a young couple with three other couples from the church. They are a member reference and we boldy testified of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. Hopefully they have spritual experiences and accept the true gospel! It was a very powerful moment in my mission. So I guess to sum it up, I was able to be bold in two ways this week!

I love yall!

E Flake

1.9.17 - Coqueiral, Brazil

This week blew by super quick! I think the fact that we are going to bed a tad earlier is what made time fly so quickly!

We have been teaching some great people lately! Fabiana, who we baptized last month, is progressing so rapidly! Other people we are teaching that are progressing are Paulo and Luciana! They came to church on sunday and are pretty excited! They plan on getting married in the church which will be super awesome! Sebastião is another we will baptize shortly! His life is literally changing for the better. He reminds me of the old man from UP. He even looks identical and has a very similar story! He is becoming a happier person in general knowing God's plan!

On Friday I interviewed somebody in the middle of a city super far away. Fanti was his name. He is italian and does not speak portuguese. I prayed before the interview to be able to understand him and it was amazing hearing his story and testimony. I UNDERSTOOD HIM! His wife normally translates for him but he had to do the interview one on one with me. Italian will be on my bucket list to actually learn!

But yes....this week I have been overloaded with many many meetings! None of which unproductive.

Mission counsel: Where all the leaders get together to receive revelation and discuss the progress of the mission

District Leader Training: My companion and I met with the district leaders in our zone to be able to discuss our new plans on baptisms for the month. I GET INSANE IN THESE MEETINGS BECAUSE I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

Ward missionary meeting: Members from the congrations get together with us missionaries and discuss their missionary efforts and go over their assignments. Our ward has tons of ward missionaries. I feel so supported!

Other than this, my companion and I hiked a small mountain thing this morning and I felt like an outdoorsman again (even though I am always outdoors)

But yes family and friends....I LOVE YALL

Elder Flake

1.2.17 - Coqueiral, Brazil

So yes it was a new year. Pretty fantastic being in Brazil during this time. I must say that I was not used to not having to wear thick coats and such! They celebrate the new year here with many MANY fireworks. And not always the normal pretty colored ones you may be used too. Many are homemade and I am pretty sure they were getting launched in all random directions and whatnot. I believe our house got hit by fireworks many times IT WAS INSANE. People were lighting them like bombs. What luck that the houses here are made out of cement because in the USA the police would be goin nuts at all the fire hazard and wooden houses.

We were also able to baptize on the first day of the year 2017. Elaine is truly special and she has such a bright personality that truly makes here a great follower of Jesus Christ.

I had some great reflection over the past year in respect to what I have become. I have had so many experiences in the year of 2016, but my reflection as I laid in my bed at 12:00 on the first of January listening to all the fireworks was more about the things I have gained this year.

-I have a new understanding of the Savior´s atonement

-I am more focused and I pay attention better

-I know how to communicate better to God´s children (EVERYBODY AM I RIGHT!?!)

-I learned Portuguese fluently

-I have gained many leadership abilities

-I am less egoistic and more empathetic....able to think less about me.

-MOST OF ALL. I have learned what motivates me to be the person I am. More explanation on my end is needed to explain this. One day I will get back and tell you all about it.

These are just a couple of things the Lord has blessed me with in 2016 and I have many goals this next year. This is the year that I return to the United States. I better increase my rate of growth so that I can be an instrument in God´s hands in my home country!!!!

What a blessing it is being a member of the Lord´s church and working on his errand. I could not ever file a complaint to my boss or have motivation to resign. This is His work and I do it His way. The book is blue and the church is true my friends! Happy new year!

Elder Flake

ps I get back August 22nd. I found out this week!

12.26.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

So wow has this week been a flood of emotions! Christmas in Brazil, I must say, is quite different! I am pretty used to it now this being my second one already! Boy how time flies!

SO we are working with some people and helping them towards baptism of course, but this week is somewhat difficult because many people are traveling or don't have time for Jesus, (which is kind of ironic am I RIGHT!) We have worked very persistently though. We knock many doors (or in other words clap our hands). We have many family activities with the members and those who are not yet members. It is great!

So there is a tradition here in which every Christmas eve, we eat a huge HUGE christmas dinner. But everyone eats like really late! Us having curfew were not able to eat with anybody so we kind of just walked home hungry and lost in our thoughts. But some members came by car and gave us an ENORMOUS dinner! It was crazy! I was so grateful and felt so loved. They also gave us a huge bag full of chocolates and some presents. They are so giving and loving here. I hope to take upon myself these attributes and be generous like them!

It was a great Christmas. Unlike the old Josh before the mission, I was not goofing off going nuts with my family and friends......I was working! I was so glad to have a few minutes to talk to my mom and my Dad with his new wife and children. What blessings are being poured upon my family!

12.5.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

So I actually just noticed like five minutes ago how strange it is the fact that people here to show affection also sniff you. I forgot that this is not a regular practice in the US of A. It is quite interesting I must say!

But yes...I am gonna tell yall right now that much is happening....and do you know how much of it I will share to you????? ALMOST NOTHING because it is very hard to fit it all in a short email!

The ward is taking in Fabiana and many other investigators really well! We are teaching extremely intelligent people. Everyone is like way smarter than me but I am happy we teach with the spirit to be able to respond their intellectual doubts! Our ward has started providing us with great references!

The rest of these great stories I have to tell.....will be told to my family at Christmas when I talk to them over skype hahaha! It is a good thing I am writing a journal because so much happens every day lol!

I love you all so much! Bailee Fisher sent me a picture of my old speaker that had the Jesus sticker. How I miss all you crazy people that gave me so many great memories before the mission!!

11.29.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

I totally forgot that Thanksgiving happened! They don't celebrate it so much here so I knew nothin!!

This week was pretty much incredible! I had an interview with President Bigelow and basically that just means we conversed about my life and my state in the mission. It was fantastic! He is so helpful!

Also....our ward is going NUTS! I am serious! It is an organized chaos with these new ward missionaries. We have 15 new people that are serving (not full time like us) to be able to find new people to teach. We missionaries with the bishopbric organized training to help them . HUGE SHOUTOUT to Brother Davi. He is going blind because of diabetes yet he never ceases to help us in this cause. He served a mission long ago and knows how to work.

Fabiana will be baptized here on the 10th which will be amazing!!

I was concerned about not having so many results in this area but looking back on what Elder Frutuoso and I have been able to do together with the ward, God has worked his miracles. We have a group of people to teach that is based off of member references. Such a blessing!! Knocking doors has little result compared to what the members can do!

We are also teaching a couple that is super cool! Paulo and Luciana! They read the scriptures ever time we give them a passage to read and are pretty excited! Once they get married, they will be in the baptismal waters!!

I love my area!! I feel like for those of you that know me you would get a kick out of the way members talk about me. I didn't change as far as the strangeness goes. I do the unexplainable things here that I would do at home. I just am not using a tiny backpack or wearing hideous camueflage pants like the good old high school days....Looking back, I was a pretty unexplainable person in general that nobody knew what I would do from one day to the next. But there was one thing that everyone knew I would do....and that was serve a mission. I am so grateful for this opportunity. I look forward to the day I reunite with yall as a better and changed man!! ALSO SHOUTOUT TO MY NEW STEPFAMILY!!! Congratsss!!! I am looking forward to Christmas to talk to yall over email!

tchau! ate mais!


11.14.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

I entered the Lan house super early today! Sorry about those who didn't get the chance to write!

As an update to yall, I am having so many miracles happen! This Sunday we had some of the Lord's elect and chosen come to Church! I was super happy! We didn't even knock doors a whole lot this week....we just visited many references and we actually found 10 new investigators which is fantastic! The members of the church are helping share the Gospel with others and it is such a blessing!

Everyone asks me if I like my new american president and being a missionary I try to stay neutral about the politics but I can't help feeling like an idiot when people make fun of him! The general population here thinks he is clinically insane!

But other than politics, we have had some powerful lessons.

With Fabianna, who is the wife of a member, we have seen miracles. She has been to church 3 times already and is super close to getting baptized! She is amazing! She was crying this sunday because she felt the spirit so strong! She is a former member of the Assembly of God which is an enormous church here in Pernambuco.

We began teaching a woman named Ariel. She is fantastically intelligent! We taught her and her husband with another couple from the church and the first lesson was very powerful! Her husband was a member when he was young but moved and kinda fell away. Luckily his wife gained curiosity and now we are teaching them!

I won't lie....this has been a dramatic week. For 2 days straight everything went wrong that could go wrong!! Many investigators declined and gave us the boot....some of the most solid of them too! We walked like 5 miles in between our appointements on wednesday and every one was just neglecting the opportunity to change. Fabio went back to drinking as well! After being super extremely exhausted and mentally drowned....we trudged over to the house of a family that we had only taught the first lesson but that had showed a ton of interest! When we opened with prayer they formally told us that they would rather stick to the level they are at and not read or pray about the Book of Mormon. It was heartbreakin! Even though this happens a lot....this moment was the cherry on top of the challenges we have been facing. My companion and I are also under stress about the missionaries in our zone because we are not where we should be in terms of being a missionary. I was sleeping in the house of the Jaboatão elders and there ceiling broke open pouring water all over the bed of who???? ME hahaha! But the end of our week was much better as we found solace in new fresh people who really are looking for the light of the Gospel! Blessed are those that are humble!

I love my mission!!! This church is true!

Elder Flake

11.9.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

So today is actually my p-day because we are going to the temple with our entire zone! But Wow! I must say that this past week has been pretty eventful! There is a holiday here caled the day of the dead in which everyone goes to the cemitary to honor those fallen. Our stake (group of mormon congregations) and us leaders planned an activity to help spread the gospel and help others know God´s true plan of happiness. Most people here have a Christian background and have somewhat of a vague idea what the afterlife would be but here in the Church of Jesus Christ we have something very special known as the plan of salvation. It is God's plan for his children! We shared this with all those entering the large cemitary! There were missionaries and church members in many different cemitaries across the state! It was amazing! My group got put on the news here in Brazil! It was super incredible!

I went on splits which means my companion left the area for a day and I stayed with another missionary to help train in his leadership role. It was fantastic with Elder Pereira! We found some good solid people to teach and even scheduled a baptism of Sebastion on the 20th!

Another good note!!! We are teaching a man that is a less-active mormon who is married to Fabiana! We started teaching her and she didn't have too much interest but than she got curious and went to church and let us teach her and now is is set to be baptized! She was probably one of the (at least I thought) least likely that we were teaching that would make the decision! I am so happy!

A man stopped us two days ago and asked if he could read the bible....so he subsequently took out his bible and started reading the scriptures and then all of the sudden.......he started saying shadadadhee shethied shadad daie! (You have to here me imitating it...its super funny) He would read a couple words from the bible and then keep saying these weird phrases and stuff. It was even wierder because he was a normal person and wasn't like drunk or something of the like......So I stopped him midsentance and said "Hey Man I don't even know what you are saying!" He stopped abrubtly and gave the most hurt look. We had this awkward silence hit us as I stared at him with a flat smile. There were no more words said and we just walked away from eachother. It was so funny. I think he was speaking in strange tongues.

But yes I love yall much! Much time has past since I have seen your faces but I hope all is well!!!

10.31.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

This week was pretty much awesome!!

I went to the Caveleiro area to be able to work with Elder Cezar who is the leader of other missionaries. We go on these "splits" to be able to make the work move better! It is always good to be able to work with other missionaries even if it just for a day! I learned a lot from him as I hope he did from me!

Other than that, we found 6 new investigators BUT solid investigators. We are teaching 4 couples! 5 if you include Marivaldo that we want to try and get him married legally.

We had a ward activity were we served popcorn and watched a film about John Tanner. The spirit was so strong as we watched the film and there were plenty of potential investigators there. The members are pretty pumped! They liked the activity a whole lot!

Other than that, we have been teaching some solid people! We are hoping to get these people baptized pretty soon! It has been almost 2 months since I last entered the water with somebody which has gotta change!! I am being so blessed here in this area though!

I love yall!

I have been studying quite a bit this week about the plan of salvation and how the second coming of Christ will happen! Study up on your scriptures and be the best person you can be so that you don't get burnt alive!

(that was a semi joke)

Love yall!

Elder Flake

10.17.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

Autumn, as it is called, is in fact non-existent. I repeat.....your joyful summer that leads into the infernal pit of the months of winter does not even occur in this part of town Brazil. SO I am enjoying 2 years of straight up summer in the face. I have gotten some cute pictures of people playin in the leaves and stuff and I must ask is cold even a thing still?

So yep, this past week, we taught A TON! It was a good week as far as the visits and the new people to teach! Our ward is getting stoked and I as well am prettty fired up! It has been a while since we have baptized here but THEY ARE COMING. I REPEAT, THE BAPTISMS ARE IN STORE.

I am so terrible at emailing these days. The days pass by and I sometimes have trouble remembering the interesting things that happen......All I know is that our house is almost out of water. There is a huge tank that holds the water from the street pipes because those flippen street pipes don't even have water at all times. There is a lack of water and so that means a lack of hygiene. Sorry Mother!

Also, Zeka, a recent convert pulled a dead monkey out of his water tank. It happens......

Well anywho, I love yall! Keep me posted!

Elder Flakey!

10.4.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

So yall, these past couple of weeks have been a blur with just so much work that we are able to perform. Luckily I have gotten into the habit of exercising REALLY hard in the morning so that the rest of the day I have energy.

Energy is exactly how I would define this last week in one word. I have a new companion Elder Frutuoso (Elder Fruity in english) We get along super well and are having miracles happen every day. We are sharing with the members our desire to serve them and encouraging them to talk to their friends.

It was funny because the same exact Book of Mormon that we handed out got returned 3 times. We gave it our best to teach these people and to encourage them that if they sincerely read the book, they would understand and come to know and be familiar with the purpose of Jesus Christ. Super sad that the simple invitation to read and to pray about the book to know if it is true is not always accepted and pride and fear get in the way. Satan does not want anyone near or reading this book because together with the Bible, we really come to understand his enemy, Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father who want us home again. We'll make it home, but we got to read the good books!

Read the book of mormon yall! I invite you because I know what it can do for people that are needing the Love of Christ. (Which is everybody!) My mission here in Brazil is centered around this concept. Just do it and I know the blessings will come!

Elder Flake

Thursday, March 9, 2017

9.26.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

It is so hard to say in such a short amount of time and space to be able to say what has been going on lately!

As an update...I am with a new companion in the same area as a zone leader. My old companion, Elder Omar, left to go home today! BACK TO SÃO PAULO!

But Elder Frutuoso is super excited and a very hard worker. I cannot express what a blessing that is.

On sunday we learned about how we can get the members involved in the work. This ward is really small but I believe that the Lord can capacitate these members to perform miracles and lead many to the waters of baptism!

I love it here!

E. Flake

9.12.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

To just give you a picture of the difficulty of writing today....I am using windows xp in a dusty lan-house with a poor internet connection.


Anyways to be brief but effective in communicating my week I will start out by saying the mission council was awesome! Basically mission council is when the the mission leaders group together and discuss the mission around a big table with the mission president. I am excited to be in the council and it is a very humbling experience being a leader (because I know nothing hahaha)

I have 2 minutes before my computer credit wears out so just know that I love yall and may God be involved in your life (hint...won't happen if you aren't sayin your prayers people)

Elder Flake

8.29.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

Yesterday we Baptized Hana! She is a 17 year old girl. I have loved seeing the progress she has made to come to Christ!

Other than Hana, we have been trying very hard to find new people to teach. We were asking a member to pass us some references and she said that she was scared to do so and then the other day we visited her again and she gave us 32 references


That is a lot of people to go visit and eventually baptize!!

As far as our ward goes, it is very small yet very strong. Plenty of wonderful people for me to describe to ya but it still wouldn't do

How are my companion Elder Omar and I passing the time? SERVING I can't tell you how tired we are here in this area. Unlike São Lourenço da Mata, (my past area) there is no KOMBI which was our primary source of transportation. Here, our legs are having to make due. I have never walked so much in my life I am pretty sure. I think that every area I move to, I have to walk more BUT HOW WONDERFUL IS IT BEING IN THE LORDS SERVICE

I am serious. There is so much opposition. To be frank, the Enemy is making is mark on these people. There is a growing "religion" called macumba which I won't go into much detail to describe because it is satanic. Many many many people are taking part in this gross form of worship and it makes things more difficult. This area that I am in has more than I have seen in any other part of brazil that I have served. But, I am glad to be on the winner's side AM I RIGHT?

So other than this, my companion and I our fighting the urge to be lazy and not use our time (the Lord's time) unwisely. We have lots of other missionaries as well to take care of and our responsibility is quite weighty. But all is well! We are doing so great!

Elder Flake

8.22.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

Yep we are enhausted here in the new area Coqueiral! It is crazy how hard we are working! We are almost running to our appointments because we are just so excited! I love it here in my new area! It is a lot smaller but that does not mean we don't walk 5000 miles hahaha.

My new companion is going home in 6 weeks to São Paulo and he, Elder Omar, does not want to leave here without giving it his best shot! So we are working to the point that we are falling asleep in random places. I think one of the worst was when we were on the train and I fell asleep and leaned my head on the girl to my right but I woke up real quick super embarassed. I fell asleep reading a manual and the book fell on my face! I always get super tired when I move to a new area and have a new position. I am much much much more stressed being a zone leader. Their are tons of missionaries to attend to and lots of meetings and things to get done. We have mission counsel with the mission president next week. I am hoping to learn a lot and help a lot with the progress of the mission here in Pernambuco!!

With that said just know I am doing fantastic and miss the better majority of you slackers that I haven't heard from in decades hahaha.

Have a great week!

Elder Flake

8.15.16 - Coqueiral, Brazil

WHELP it is Elder Flake here and I am super excited to report that I am now here in the area Coqueral! I have also been assigned zone leader in Jardim São Paulo which makes me super SUPER nervous but mostly excited! I feel so young in the mission and I ask myself how on earth can I lead other missionaries but I know that my faith will help me grow and I will be just fine!!

We got to spend a saturday with President Bigelow and his family and it was such a fun experience! We arrived there and started a gospel discussion with him and the other missionaries that reached the Padrão de Excelência (Standard of excellence!) Super faith inspiring. I need to study more on how I can increase my faith because acting on faith is how we gain pure knowledge and testimony that the power of Christ can bless us! After that we all played some basketball and futbôl (soccer)! Not to mention that the place we played was incredibly fancy!

Also, for our last p-day as a district, we decided to go to a dam and an old catholic church that is at the edge of our area. Sadly, the original plans fell through because we couldn't find a way to get there. We do not have a car and there is no way to get there by bus.....it is just a dirt/clay road super super long that goes densely into the sugar cane fields and junglish area. SOO YEAH. That was when I stepped up with another elder that is going home this week. We left everyone in our house and we went hunting for somebody to take us there. After asking around the city we found a guy that was walking to his old kombi van and I told him, "We wanna do something crazy.." After telling him the conditions of the road I offered him an incredibly low amount of money (10 rais per person) and not expecting a great response he said, "BORA LÁ CARA" which is colloquial for LETS GET OUT THERE DUDE!

......so we went. To sum things up, it was flippen awesome and also we got to make tons of noise inside of that tiny van all together! It was SOOOO FUNN!! We found human bones in the old catholic church and the dam was insanely large! It all was in the middle of nowhere. It took forever to get there but we passed the time cracking jokes and just having fun listening to some Nashville Tribute Band hahaha! We got tons of dust in our eyes and we stopped many times along the way to suck on sugar cane and push the old volkswagon kombi.

But on a spiritual note (this time in Portuguese)

Estou tão feliz com o progresso que estou tendo aqui em Brasil. Estou aprendendo como realmente ser um servo do Senhor e como melhorar minha personalidade. Eu quero crescer pessoalmente para que eu possa ajudar outras pessoas fazer a melhor decisão possível....SER BATIZADO! Eu nunca vou deixar de fazer esse serviço!


Elder Flake

8.8.16 - São Lorenço, Brazil

So this country is goin wild with the olympics happening! Even though I am not too close to Rio, the country as a whole is going nuts! There are huge street fests and many people are partying and enjoying some competition!!

Other than all the craziness, things are swell being a missionary! I am so grateful to get to know many many people! Tranfers are this next week and I have been here for 6 months already so it is likely I head out but who knows!!

I can't describe the love that I have for the people we teach and the members we have been able to know! Our district of missionaries is baptizing like crazy! We beat our goal for july so today we are going to party it up here in São Lourenço da Mata!!

I am so grateful to be here in Brazil! But I also hope the US is whoopin it in the Olympics!

Elder Flake!

8.1.16 - São Lorenço, Brazil

I am officially not a teenager now. How crazy is that!

Thanks for the birthday wishes and I hope the better part of you are doing fantastic!! I don't have too much time to write today but here we go!!!

We had another baptism. His name is Antônio and he is very humble and a very focused and just man. Miguel Panta, who we baptised 9 days ago, shared his testimony very powerfully. He mentioned how he his not sure exactly why he he prepared himself the way he did to follow the "Mormons" but he said very firmly "I know that you just have to continue in this path."

My testimony of this church, the Church of Jesus Christ has grown so strong. I wish I had more of a chance to be more open about my beliefs before I decided to just pack up and leave for 2 years. I know that this is the way and I am a witness of the blessings that one recieves for following this path.

Have a good week people!!! My next birthday will be in Tennessee!!

Elder Flake