Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010 Email Thanksgiving

Hello family :)
This week was pretty tough/discouraging, but life is hard so I better just put on a helmet. Tuesday was one of the saddest days of my mission. At the door, on 2 separate occasions, both Gonsalo and Renato told us that they couldn't be baptized. And both reasons pretty much came down to family opposition/pressure and the dreaded line "I'm Catholic". With Renato it was a real heartbreak. We have seen him progress so much... We are not giving up completely on them. Please keep them in your prayers. And Salvador & his family. We just found out this morning that his brother, who is a member, got deported.
But on the good side, Rosie is getting baptized this Sunday! She is the 19 year old daughter of a member. Ever since she started coming to church, she knew that this is what she wanted. Also, Angeles, a friend of a member who we started teaching a couple weeks ago is progressing very well. She is real smart and is just eating the Gospel up. She should be baptized in December as well.
Thanksgiving was great too. Back to back fantastic meals. A LOT of food. We also raked leaves that morning for some less actives and a few random people, one of which tried to give us a $10 which we didn't accept. So that was fun. So all is not lost. Tuesday was definitely a trial but the Lord has blessed me with so much that i can't complain.
Thank you so much Mom and Dad for your support! I'm learning so much out here and I'm trying hard not to waste any of the time the Lord has given me to serve Him. With lots of love, Elder Flake

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010 Email

Happy Thanksgiving from Hollister.
We just got back from San Jose where we went with an investigator- Salvador- to meet with an LDS lawyer who is going to help him out with his divorce issue so he can get baptized. He will be eligible to be baptized next week now:) Yea! Salvador is awesome and he is already one of the strongest members of the branch. Other good news is Renato has decided to get baptized! We were teaching him the Plan of Salvation and it just hit him that this is really what God wants him to do! He's come so far!
In other news, our last P'day trip to Pinnacles National Monument was a good time. I'm taking Andrew rock climbing there in a year. If any one else wants to come, let me know:) It was beautiful and there were plenty of things to climb on. I did sadly forget my camera, but hopefully I can get some pics from the other Elders. Things are good I'm excited that it's the Holidays:) And you should be too:) Love Elder Flake
Mom, thank you so much for the package! It was indeed a pleasant surprise. Did you make up all those rhymes? I rapped them all out loud to my companions:) Also, Sister Stott was a great woman- please send the Davies my regards. And that is crazy that Kaitlyn is getting hitched, although that doesn't surprise me. I really can't think of anything I need at the moment- Maybe just a couple non Christmas Cd's would be nice- oh, and I just put in my last pair of contacts, so if you could send more of those, that would be nice. I normally wear glasses, but it's nice to mix it up with contacts once a week or so.
Thanks much! Lots of Love! Elder Flake

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010 Email

Hello Mom:)
I'm glad you liked the letter. I'm jealous that ya'll had the chance to put lights up at the Temple. We had the pleasure of helping put up many different Nativity scenes in a downtown shop window earlier this week. It's a promotion the Hollister First Ward is doing to get the church some more exposure in Hollister during the Holidays.
This week we helped Renato quit drinking coffee after helping him quit smoking the week before. We bought him a bunch of hot chocolate as a substitute for his coffee. It's awesome to watch him progress. He called US to remind us to get him a ride to church yesterday. Just talking to him makes me happy. He's 34 but he acts inocent like a child. We've been invited to spend Thanksgiving with Pres. Rose' family up in Gilroy. So it looks like I'll be having a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner anyways. All I can think of right now for Christmas is a C.D or 2 of churchy music. The few C.D's I have now are getting old. As far as clothes and things go, I'm still good, thanks:)
We are finally going to Pinnacles today for P-day. So that should be fun. I can't believe you ate a live fish A-town! Did you just swallow it? Sounds like it was a really fun, and somewhat disgusting date;) Well we got to get going but thanks for your weekly letter Mom (it's nice to always get mail atleast once a week;) and for all you do for me while I'm out here. Have a great week! Love Elder Flake

Hey Lindz! Thanks for the e-mail. That's cool you have non member friends. i didn't have very many non member friends... I had one from Ukraine:) I'm not exactly sure of the contents of a Mexican Thanksgiving dinner or if they even celebrate it- I'll find out here real soon though:) Take Luck! Lots of Love- Elder Flake

Friday, November 12, 2010

Halloween in Hollister Letter to the Family

November 8, 2010

Hola Familia!

Just thought I’d send ya’ll something via snail mail to make mom happy because I haven’t in a while. It’s p-day and we’ve finally got email and shopping done and we still have not finished laundry. We use the English Elders machines because it’s free, but we can only do one load at a time so it’s a long process, especially since there are 3 of us these days. It’s pretty fun being in a threesome—rarely a dull moment.

And it’s also cool that I’m the least sporty of the 3 of us. Elder Simmons is all-state in Football, baseball and wrestling while Elder Quinn played football (QB) and ran track collegiately at BYU. It’s kind of weird cause he knows all of the players personally, but mostly it’s cool. So we all have a love for sports. The only time we get to play anything though is Saturday morning B-ball at the church. Usually 12 or so guys show up and it’s a blast @ 6:00 am. Most the guys who go are not members as well so that’s pretty cool. Elder Quinn is 6’3 and can dunk. Andrew is 6’3-can he dunk? So he’s still growing huh? Way to go bro! I’m super jealous. I’m still 5’11 ¾ and 157 lbs.

So Dad-You’re 50 something years old and you still got the desire to go out and play some ball. Way to be! I should start using you as an example of the blessings from obedience to the Word of Wisdom. J

So we had stake conference this past Sunday as well. Elder Whiting, from Hawaii, the presiding area 70 seemed really cool. He opened his talk with a warm A-lo-ha! Brought back some good memories of the islands…One thing he said reminded me of a blessing in disguise that we had as a family growing up. He said that when he was a newly called Bishop, he found out that upon his child’s Sunbeam instructor’s question of “What does your father do?” his child replied, “He sits on the couch and watches sports.” This caused Elder Whiting some years ago, to cancel his cable subscription. I’m very grateful for the environment that you and mom tried to create in our home. Instead of Monday Night Football-we had family night.

Also making things like: family scripture and prayer, eating dinner as a family and working together to stay unified--all priorities showed us kids the way families can be most happy/protected and also as a missionary, I can easily testify of any of these things we did as a family because you and mom lead the way. J

Well, thanks again for all you’ve done for me Dad and I hope that you can continue to have work in these difficult times and stay in shape for another decade or so; so we can have some more fun when I get back. J

Mom: Thank you also for making such a good team with Dad in following the prophet’s counsel of making our home a sure foundation. It sounds like you got a lot out of both general conference as well as stake conference. Thank you for being an example of a ‘feaster’ of the words of Christ. The primary song ‘Follow the Prophet, don’t go astray’ is so simple, but so true. I just finished the Book of Mormon along with the rest of the mission (making all ‘revelations’ in blue—a lot of my BOM is blue J and it is such a clear cut example of how when the people reject the prophets because they ‘forget’ the liberation from captivity of their fathers. I’m very excited to get the conference issue Ensign and go through all the talks again. I’ve kept the last conference addition because I went through and marked it all up and now it’s special to me.

So how’s school mom? I hope you are still enjoying helping all those kids of yours getting a better perspective on what this life is really all about. Thanks for your great example that you’ve been to me throughout my life. So many children have been blessed because of a mother’s righteous example; because they knew the way and their children followed (Alma 56: 47,48). I am blessed with one of those, like the 2,000 stripling warriors of old. Thanks mom, I love you. J

A-Town: You’re growin up in a scary world bro. Our generation is very confused. Maybe not so much back in Utah, but you can defiantly see out here in Cali that people don’t know that they are the sons and daughters of God

We are so blessed to be born in the gospel. To have the knowledge of what we have and the peace that comes with this knowledge. And we get to share it. J You are going to be a great missionary bro. Just keep doing the little things that make a big difference, like reading the scriptures and praying-every day.

Also, on a lighter note, have fun! Live it up! Not the way the world perceives fun, but true joy fun. It sounds like you are doing a lot of biking and climbing and that is awesome. One thing I regret not doing enough is going on group dates. Dad was right! :0 I was a little too scared of girls I think, and probably if I would have hung out less with the guys, and a little more doing group games with guys and girls, I would have had more fun and done less stupid stuff. Just a thought. J

So how do you like school? What’s your favorite class? Teacher? What do you do for lunch break? What’s a typical day after school for you? Who do you hang out with after school? How’s it being in the Priest Quorum? What is your favorite color? Still blue? Pues, I love you! Keep being awesome. J

So fam, I’m doing good. J I’m learning every day—I still got a long ways to go, but I’m learning. I know that God loves us so much that he allowed his son to suffer the pains of all the earth so that we can return and live with him as Eternal families. It was and is the only way. Thanks again so much for your love, prayers, and support.

Love, Elder Flake

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010 Email

Hello from Hollister!

First of all, transfers came and went, and nothings changed- so we'll just stay here in our threesome until Elder Quinn gets his visa and is shipped off to Mexico. This will be most likely my last transfer (third) with Elder Simmons, so we decided we need to make some things happen. We want to definitely continue to help the branch get more of a solid foundation, but we also want to baptize this transfer. We're getting off to a good start; we found a member who lives in San Jose who is a lawyer and is going to help Salvador take care of his divorce issue so he can finally get baptized. He's been having the missionaries at his place for over 6 months now, but hopefully things will go smoothly with the divorce and he could be baptized as early as this upcoming weekend. He's already living like a member and we all love him; he's hilarious.

Then there is Rosie, the daughter/granddaughter of two recent converts. She is in a very similar situation to which Cristian (from my last area) was in being that she is young (19) and has a baby. She has been coming to church with her mother and grandmother for a while now, but didn't seem very interested until we found out this week that she wants to be baptized. We have a date for her on December 5th. She came to Stake Conference (which was really good- an area 70, Elder Whiting, presided) and seemed to enjoy that. She seems nice and is very quiet. Also we are teaching these kids of an awesome family that have us over for dinner every Monday, the Swains. The grandparents are very active and super nice, but their parents are less active. There is 10 year old Rebecca and her little brother Evan (who is turning 8 at the end of the year; so they'll be baptized together shortly after.) They are fun to teach and hopefully in the process of teaching them we can help to reactivate the parents.

Other good news is that Renato quit smoking! He said the voices (that he hears in his head) and God teamed up and decided that it was time for him to kick it. So he went from smoking a pack a day to nothing, like that! Miracle! We also had an awesome spirit-filled lesson with a cool member of the English ward (Bro. Walters; who quit many addictions himself before converting) that helped Renato out a lot. He is fun to teach and I enjoy encouraging him to keep from smoking and to pray and such. Maybe I'll be a counselor of some sort some day... Pues I hope this e-mail finds everyone well and happy. If you're not happy, pray or read the scriptures or something, becaues the gospel of Jesus Christ is happiness :)

Love Elder Flake

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for the dinero! We'll put it to good use:) I hope it doesn't get too cold in Logan this year. Thanks for your love and support, Love Elder Flake

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 4, 2010 Email

Hey brother!

Thank you for the e-mail:) I'm glad you stuck with X country another year and that is exciting that you got to run varsity @ state. I'm super jealous! 5th place too, that's good:) So tell me about this Brooke Hansen-when is Sadies? Make sure you be very respectful and open doors for her and stuff. Hope you have fun. You got an A- huh... Voy a castigarle por eso. J/K bro. You are way smarter than I was - keep up the good grades! You had already blew the 4.0 though right? No importa. Pues....
Sounds like you had fun on Halloween. I always wanted a gorilla suit... We got to go to a trunk-or-treat party at the church Saturday night. We found these LEGIT sombreros and wore them for our costumes. I'll send pics. The most creative costume I saw was this kid with cereal boxes glued to his shirt with knives stabbed into each one.... He was a CEREAL KILLER! Ha ha;)
So Bro, you know the deal- you can be wise and happy or stupid and miserable. The choice is yours:) No bro, I know I don't even have to worry about you, (Just please check your knots while climbing! I sound like Mom!) thank you for being awesome!
Love Elder Flake

I asked Dawson to write a letter to a sister in our ward who has cancer. They wanted letters from all of the kids who were in her Sunday School class. Here is his letter to her:

Dear Sister

Hey Sister , it's Elder Dawson Flake. I'm out here serving in California just like your son was. That seems just like the other day, when he got home, yet it also seems like another life ago... Serving a mission is great- I've seen so many people grow and progress from the Gospel of Jesus Christ- including myself. Us as members have been so blessed to have had the chance to accept this glad message here in this life. It's sad seeing so many people lost and confused out here- especially when you see someone reject the out-stretched hand of our Savior -when you know if they would just accept the saving grace he offers, their lives would be SO blessed. For this life and eternity. But when you do see someone who's heart is sufficiently softened, and the light that comes into their lives when they begin to follow Jesus Christ, it makes it all worth it.

I'd just like to thank you and your husband for the great examples you were to me and all of the other youth in the church. I felt of your kindness and love and am very grateful for all the life lessons learned in your Sunday School class. We had a lot of good times in that classroom as well and also those partys at your house. Ha ha I just remembered when Adam got shocked with the dog collar- that was funny. Well thank you again for the positive influence you've had in my life and know that you are in my prayers.

Love Elder Flake