Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20, 2012 Dawson's 21st Birthday

We had another great week : )
Mayanin has chosen January 7th to be baptized! We are ecstatic for that, I'm just a little bummed that I will just miss it : ( But as long as she gets baptized! The Gospel has done so much for her and it has been such a testimony builder for me to witness it. She is such a nice lady, and so determined to do what she knows is right- despite much opposition.

Also the fam 5- well at least the Mom and the kids for now- are committed to be baptized New Year's Eve! Please keep them in your prayers! Paul isn't doing too hot at the moment. He just has a lot of distractions- including many mandatory community service hours + his girlfriend. But we will keep working with him.

Thanks in advance for the Christmas package! We are having a mission-wide steak and eggs breakfast this Saturday : ) We also caroled at 2 old-folk homes this past week and on Wednesday we will get together as a zone to sing some more : ) It is fun. Just five of us elders sang last week, and I seriously doubt it sounded that good, but the nice elderly folk just smiled and made us feel like we were MoTab ; )

Today we are going to get together as a zone again to play sports at the stake center. We are going to try and get a cool investigator named William there. He's the 17 year old son of the fam 5. Welp, I'm excited to talk to ya'll on Christmas : ) I will probably be calling around 2-2:30 California time. So have a great week and talk to you soon : )
Love Elder Flake

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 12, 2011 Email

Elders and Sisters help set up for the Christmas Creche display.

This young lady was recently baptized and below are her friends, family,
and ward members at her baptism.

Hi Mom : )
First of all, thanks so much for my B-day package! Good ol' summer sausage...
To answer your questions...
We will be eating Christmas brunch + make our phone calls at the Ruiz home- the same family that fed us Thanksgiving : ) It will probably be after church which would be around 1:00 or 2 maybe? California time. Because I will be seeing ya'll the following week (Will everyone still be there on the fourth?) I'd just assume doing the regular old phone call, if that sounds good to you. I know there family does have at least one computer with gmail chat capabilities. I'll find out if they have more. I guess it would be cool to see the new baby boy. I still have not heard anything about flight plans yet either. I will ask President in my E-mail today about that.

I can't think of anything really for the Christmas package. But I thank you in advance for it : ) I have a memory card for the camera, so don't worry about sending me the other one. A member photagrapher from one of the Palo Alto wards took us and 2 other companionships to Stanford Campus to take pics this morning. It was a good time and the pictures are going to look legit. We had another busy week. We found 10 new investigators this week- and we're not even focusing on finding! We have alot of people close to baptism right now. Hopefully I'll see at least one or two before I return. Well thank you for all you do Mom- you're the best : ) Have a fantastic week.
Love your son, Elder Flake

Broseph! I don't even no what CTE stands for! But congrats! You're the man! : )
So we had a really busy week last week. We found a lot of new people which means we got to teach the restoration a lot! I love teaching the restoration. You're going to be such a better prepared missionary than I was because when I get back we are going to study preach my gospel together, and practice teaching, sound good?

Hey so I've been thinking a little bit about what I wanted to do- carreer wise- and then last night I had a dream, I don't remember much, but you and I and some boys from the hood were there, and we were catchin critters! It's actually a theme I've drempt about various times on my mission. And then I thought, that would be a fun job, catchin critters. And then I remembered that that's what Seth Topham does for a living! So I might look into that field when I get back. What do ya think? Sounds like a pretty fun job, right? Ha ha, well we'll see what happens with that...

So you have not yet met our nephew as well, is that correct? I'm excited to meet him : ) Are you doin the 12 days this year? Are you keeping up with putting the stars on the tree? Are you doin nice things so you can put straw in the Baby Jesus' cradle? Ah... so many fun Christmas traditions... Well Bro, take care and spread the Spirit of Christmas every where you go, ok?

Love your bro, Elder Flake

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5, 2011 Email

Hello Mom : )
Thank you for getting the garments to me in such a timely fashion. I'm glad you are all feeling better from your bout with the flu. I have been very blessed with my health throughout my mission thanks to that awesome blessing. It's been pretty cold here the last few weeks. But it's snowed here only like once in the past century so my chances for a white Christmas are pretty slim. We've had a pretty good week, teaching a lot. I'm starting to wonder if maybe we are spreading ourselves too thin. Maybe if we focused more on specific people we would have more baptisms and more less actives back in church. Something for us to think about...
Mayanin is showing amazing courage by continuing on with us, despite heavy opposition from her family. She is the first person in her family in recorded history to study with a different church. Her brother and her daughter are especially giving her a hard time about meeting with us. Obviously the spirit is working with her, to see her continuing on despite putting cherished family relationships in jeapordy. It's a testimony building experience for me to witness. Thank you for praying for her.
So I don't know if I've mentioned much about the Zamora family, but it's a couple- not married - nonetheless they have 11 kids together, that the missionaries and ward alike have been working on for years now. We taught them and 9 of their kids all at once the other night. It was crazy. Like half of the kids are already baptized. Hermano Zamora needs to get divorced/stop drinking first, but both parties have set a goal to be married and baptized in the future. It will be a great day that I won't be here to witness, but we are going to help them continue to make their way towards it
We had zero contact with Paul last week. His phone is off and we can't find him home so that is worrying us. Well I got to get but thank you for all of your prayers. I hope Andy gets the chance to dunk over someone in his city league. I'm super jealous that he has that ability now. Well I love you all.

Love, Elder Flake

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29, 2011 Post Thanksgiving Email

Hi Fam : )
Sorry about Mom and Andy getting sick : ( But glad to hear you all had another great Thanksgiving up at Grandma's : ) I'm writing a day late because all day yesterday our whole zone was working on setting up for the Christmas Creche which is done annually here in Palo Alto. They bring in hundreds of nativity scenes from all over the world and it's open to all the public.

I worked on lining the walls with garland and lights for the most of the time; I also got to trim branches of pine trees for some other garland and also wreathes that they were making. It was fun to be there with all my fellow missionaries. Good 'ol Elder Fultz, my buddy from back in Hollister is here, and also Elder Porter, who graduated a year after me at Desert Hills is up here.

Thanksgiving was epic. Hermano Ruiz went all out. Our first plate was clam chowder in a bread bowl : ) Then we had the main course of the best turkey I've ever had + tri tip steak : ) I ate too much. But it was worth it : ) Also on Turkey Day we got to rake leaves again for an hour or so in EPA (East Palo Alto). It was fun to keep that tradition alive.

Friday night, kind of a last minute thing, an awesome family in the ward, The Bojorquez fam, had the idea to invite Mayanin (they are her awesome fellowshippers) to go up with their family to see the 'lighting of temple hill' up in Oakland. And she accepted and we got to go to. Jose Hernandez, another awesome member, took us up. There was a big music/dance presentation beforehand in this huge auditorium next to the temple, then we went out for the lighting. It looks B-E-A-Utiful. I love the Oakland Temple. Then we went inside the V.C and did a quick tour + 'the family' presentation and Mayanin loved it. She's amazing. We gave her a date for Christmas Eve, which she accepted readily and just asked what she needed to do to be ready. She's perfect.

But of course Satan isn't going to go down easy, and sure enough, the next she gave us a call, wanting to talk to us. Turns out her husband + her kids (all older) all kind of freaked out at the news of her getting baptized so soon (They are all Catholic). Mayanin knows what she wants though, but to appease her family, we agreed it would be best for now to drop the date for now, until her fam warms up to the idea. Please pray for Mayanin to have strength and also pray to soften the hearts of her family.

Paul's doing good. His baptismal interview is scheduled for this week. His girlfriend came to church with him this week and we are now going to try and start teaching her. The fam 5 (from El Salvador) are doing well. Ana, the mother, basically had a dream that confirmed the truth of what we have taught. Yea Latino's and their dreams! Hopefully the rest of the family follows her. So a lot of great things are happening right now. It's exciting : ) Well I best be off, but thanks for everything, and I hope ya'll have a great week. My companion from the south is starting to rub off on me ; )
Love Elder Flake
p.s thank you so much for the tree! We like to dance to the charlie brown theme song : ) I should be flying home Wednesday the 4th. The way they've always done it here is have the returning missionaries fly home Wednesday morning. I really can't think of anything I need for a X-mas package. Maybe a pair of medium garments? I ripped a hole in a pair or 2 and I find myself one short. I will send the memory card with my pictures this week. I need to take more pics... Included should have a pic from Irma's baptism atleast...

Well I love you tons! -Elder Flake

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 21, 2011 Email Last Transfer!

Yep, today is the start of my last transfer... Crazy. Transfer calls came and it looks like I will 'die' in a threesome. It's cool though. I have two awesome companions so it's all good. So we had a great week. Paul is progressing very well. He should be baptized in 2 weeks. He's awesome. It's fun reading the B.O.M with him. He pronounces 'yea' like 'ya' : ) Another investigator that is progressing SUPER well is Mayanin. Elder Barrow and I street contacted her like a month ago. She is like in her 60's and is one of the nicest people I've ever met. She's told us how she feels like there is something missing inside of her. After studying with us the past few weeks, she believes that what we are sharing might just be the thing to fill the emptiness : ) She's amazing. I've never taught someone who scrutinizes the scriptures like she does. Last time we taught her, she had 2 pages of notes and questions that came up during her study of the Book of Mormon. It's awesome! She basically has a testimony of everything- but she was nervous about what her husbands reaction would be. We met with him on Wednesday. Turns out he's super friendly too : ) They both came to church yesterday and seemed to have a great experience! Please keep them in your prayers.

We also started teaching a husband and wife and her 3 kids on Saturday. They're the 3 kids that we've been helping a member teach English to for the past 3 or 4 weeks. They arrived here from El Salvador 6 months ago and they are awesome. They came to church as a family for the second time yesterday. So that is very exciting. Pray for them too please : ) So we are busy and happy. We are going to play B ball again at the stakecenter today with a bunch of other elders. Always a good time.

For Thanksgiving we're going to be eating very well- Hno Ruiz, the professional Chef/caterer in our ward has invited us over : ) He's good. We've already eaten stellar lamb and fle-ming-yan? made by him. It still probably won't be as good as the food from Grandma D up in Logan, but it should be a close second : ) Well thank you for all your prayers and support! I hope everyone has time to stop and think about all of the fantastic blessings we recieve from our loving Heavenly Father this week. Especially us as members- WE ARE SO BLESSED!!!!! I love you all!!! -Elder Flake

Thanks for the updates from my friends Mom! They are all doing great! Good to hear. I will send you some pics maybe next week? Don't bother sending the memory card back this time. These last 6 weeks are gonna fly by. I would love to be able to come home in time to see all the fam together, but I feel that I need to stick it out to the end. I believe some other missionaries already tried to ask anyways and got shut down. Thank you for signing me up for DSC though! What day will I start classes? Tell Nate I say Hi back and tell Kaity Datwyler thanks for the letter and also wish Andy good luck on his scholarships for me please! I love you Mom! Thanks so much for all that you do for me!
Your son, Elder Flake

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011

Hi Mom : )
I printed off your talk and look forward to reading it later. It's true that the youth in today's world have their work cut out for them in order to stay on the straight and narrow. I would say a little more so here in California than back there in Utah. There are a lot of lost and confused youth walkin around these streets. You can almost always smell marijuana when we are walking around at night. There are also a lot of very young parents here.

We are teaching quite a bit of youth. Paul being one of them. We took him up to see the Visitor Center Friday night. He loved it. He loves to learn and loves coming to church. Good kid. So sorry this is really short, but we got to run. Things are good. We are staying busy and having fun. I'm glad Andrew had fun on his date. Hope you all have a great week.
Love Elder Flake

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7, 2011

Hello Father!
How do you feel to be a Grandpa again? Older? Ha ha. That was exciting news. Dillon... So do you feel more comfortable conducting now on Sundays? I feel a little more comfortable teaching District meetings now after teaching them for about half my mission. It also helps that I'm a Co-District Leader along with Elder Barrow. We get to share the load. We get along well with our newest addition Elder Hoggan. He's fun. We quote a lot of movies (including the Grinch : ) to entertain ourselves in the apartment and when we are on the go. He was a big band geek before the mission, like my trainer, Tyler Burton, who asked for your number today so he could call you guys.

Our recent convert, Irma Matute is doing great. She is always reaching out to others and she loves serving us. We are teaching this cool kid Andrew's age named Paul right now. We brought him to church yesterday, and he liked it alot, but he's too mature for all of the youth in our ward. But we'll figure something out. This whole family (parents and 3 teenagers) that we just started teaching came to church yesterday. They are awesome. They are friends of a family in the ward and we have been helping a member friend of theirs teach the three kids English once a week for a few weeks now. It seems to be paying off. They are fun.

We've been doing more splits lately with members which helped us be able to teach 9 lessons last Thursday. That was a record for all of us. It was crazy. Things are good. I'm VERY well fed and happy here. The members love to feed us. We are still trying to run about every morning so hopefully that will help counter the increased food intake. Also I think my metabolism is still working great : )

Well thank Mom and Andrew for me for there e-mails. I'm writing Andrew a letter today. That's a cool experience Mom had with prayer. I've had several experiences similar to that during my mission. Prayer is great. Well I best be off. Thanks for your great example and all you do.
Love Elder Flake

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 1, 2011 Steve Young Fireside

Congratulations Lindsey and Carlton!!!
I have a nephew!!! I look forward to helping Carlton teach little Dillon how to throw a ball when I return : ) Looks like he has a lot of hair. Is that as much hair as Andrew had when he was born? So where did the names Dillon and William come from? Sounds like a good strong name : ) Very exciting... So I imagine Lindsey had a pretty content birthday with the arrival of the baby : ) I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween yesterday and you all have a feliz dia de los muertos manana.

So the big news for the week in my neck of the woods is that I am now in a 3 some again! Elder Hoggan from American Fork has joined forces with us. He's a really good missionary and we are excited to have him. He was serving in the Bolivia Cochabamba mission (which one did Heather serve in and which mission is T.J in again?) but then he had to go home for some medical reasons and now he's with us : )

President wants us to double our work by going on splits all the time with members so we should be able to cover alot more ground now. It's a little tight now, as far as living space goes, but we have more room than the 2 months that I was in a 3 some back in Hollister ;) In the 4 or 5 months Elder Hoggan was in Bolivia, he sure learned alot of Spanish. He speaks better than me.

Also this weekend, I had the chance to 'become friends' with one of my childhood heros... Steve Young! He's in my stake and he held a fireside Sunday night for the youth. I called us friends because he explained in the beginning of his talk that one of his goals of the night was to make friends with all of us : ) He did so by telling us some of his childhood experiences and fears. He was a moma's boy growin up ;) He also talked a lot about faith and how he had to have faith as an nfl quarterback when he would have to throw to his receivers (namely Jerry Rice) without seeing them because he was too short. He has a very strong testimony. It was awesome.

Well I got to get, but my congrats to the new parents and I look forward to meeting my new nephew : ) Love Elder Flake

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 24, 2011

No baby yet, huh? Maybe he/she will have the same B-day as Lindz? that would be cool. Well I'll be sure to keep her and the new baby in my prayers this week as well then.

Well, Irma Matute got baptized and confirmed this weekend!!! The service was great. We had a really good turnout from the ward and the spirit was strong. She felt so good, a lot of relief. Irma is such a great person. If she isn't doing something for someone, she isn't happy. Kind of reminds me of my grandmas and you mom : ) Irma always wants to make us food- and she even gave us a gift bag and thank you card on the night of her baptism! She is still going through tough times with her marriage and also with some immigration problems, but now with the gospel, she has so much more hope facing these problems. It has been a great blessing to get to know her and help teach her. The whole Matute family is just awesome. So life is still muy bien here on the Peninsula.

Elder Barrow is from Houston Texas. I served along side him in Salinas for 6 months. He's awesome. We get along wonderfully. He goes home 6 weeks after me. He speaks the language so well and is a great teacher. We get up and go running at 6a.m almost every morning. We both love sports and climbing on things. We both just laughed when President Watkins told us we were going to be together. We couldn't believe it.

So we have a ton of good investigators right now- it's amazing how the Lord is just putting boat loads of people in our path. As of right now, it looks like our biggest challenge will be getting them all to church. Many of them have road blocks that keep them from coming to church on Sunday at 9 a.m. We are going to try harder to get each of them a member friend. We think that should help. It is fantastic teaching 20+ lessons a week- all pretty much to investigators.

So for the first time since Fremont I'm back in a zone where all of us missionaries are close together. So we are going to be playing a lot of sports. Last week we played a bit of football, rugby and ultimate Frisbee. It was a good time. Well thanks to all those who keep me and us missionaries in your prayers. I invite you all to rise up and be better missionaries yourselves. It's not easy but the Lord will help us! Make it a great week!
Love Elder Flake

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 17, 2011

Hey Dad : )
Glad to hear you had a good b-day. Tennessee tacos. I need to make some of those one of these days. It's been too long. I ate like a dozen pupusas this week. They're a staple/delicacy of El Salvador. There are a couple families in the ward from there. I don't know how to describe pupusas or exaclty what's in them, but they're good.

This was the first Sunday my whole mission where I saw a full chapel in a sacrament meeting. It's a beautiful sight. I talked about the Book of Mormon in my talk. I used a little bit of Elder Callister's talk from conference, including the line example and how the Book of Mormon helps us clarify the doctrine of Christ. It was fun.

Also this week we made a trip to the Oakland Temple with some investigators : ) Norma and her 11 year old Jazmyn and 6 year old Diandre. We all felt the Spirit and the idea of an eternal family sunk into them. I love the temple! I hadn't been to the visitor center in a while and I saw for the first time the new Lucy Mack Smith narrated version of the 'Prophet of the Restoration', and also they added a scene or 2 to the "God's Plan for the Family" feature. The first scene looked to be filmed in Southern Utah, Snow Canyon maybe? I love God's plan for the family! It's fool-proof :)

That's exciting Lindsey could have a baby this week. Let her know that she's in my prayers! So it was a great first week here. We taught like 22 lessons and found 9 new investigators. It's awesome to be teaching so much. Elder Barrow is really good at engaging people and slipping into teaching them before they even know what is happening ;) We are very excited for Irma Matute who will be baptized this Friday. She's a very special person and was super prepared to accept the Gospel. She joins her mother and 3 sisters who are also members. Awesome family. Now we need to work on the men.

Well we got to get going. Hope you have a nice trip to Philly. I'm excited to see pics of my new niece or nephew :) Thank Darrell for me for coming down to help you and Andy finish the job.
Love Elder Flake

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 12, 2011 Transferred to Palo Alto

Hi Mom! I'm in Palo Alto!!!

This is one of, if not the best wards in the mission! We received like 5 referrals yesterday and had 3 member presents my first day here! There are 7 people being taught right now who have solid baptismal dates! It's crazy! Yesterday we just drove from appointment to appointment! It's heaven! I'm paired up with Elder Barrow, a buddy I worked closely with for 6 months down in Salinas! He's a fantastic missionary! I'm already learning a lot from him. I am SO blessed to be here and am excited to serve here until the day I come home.

So our apartment is in Menlo Park, the church building is in Red Wood City, and we do most of our work in East Palo Alto. I'm just 20 miles down the road from San Fran! There are so many trees here! So different than Salinas. It's beautiful. I'm actually just right across the bay from Fremont, where I started out. There is so much work here. It's going to be a fun 3 months. Yesterday I got to meet Irma. She is a really sweet lady from El Salvador who was just flat out not happy with life, then Elder Barrow and his former companion, taught her every day last week, cause she was just eating it up, and now she's happy! The Gospel brings happiness!
Thank you so much for the package! Elder Gile and I loved the bread and jam. The Davidson's said they really enjoyed their visit with you, and are very grateful for the cook book, and the shepard thing. My last night, they made our whole dinner from recipes in the cook book! It was awesome. Good people. I'm going to miss Elder Gile and a lot of the members there in Salinas. I pray everything works out for Gloria. The last we heard is she was in Yuma working in the lettuce there. She's in a tough spot financially. We'll try and get in contact with her and send the missionaries to her down there. Well I love you very much and I'm very grateful for the opportunity to finish my mission here on the peninsula. Exciting stuff is going on. I'll fill you in on more next week: )

Love Elder Flake

Friday, October 7, 2011

Visit from Dawson's Bishop in Salinas

Dawson's Bishop from his Salinas branch, came through Utah on his way back for attending General Conference. He stopped by with his wife to visit us and pick up a package. I had fun baking bread and cookies and packing some homemade strawberry jam per his request to send. I also stocked up on some of the basics for he and his companion. Bishop Davidson said that Elder Flake is a great, humble, and obedient missionary. I gave Sister Davidson a hug when they left and asked her to deliver it to him from me!

October 3, 2011 Post General Conference

Yea spiritual feast week! It was a great temple experience. Bishop Davidson took the 4 of us elders up the 2 hour drive to Oakland. It was a beautiful clear day, and up on top of the hill where the Temple is you could see the whole bay area. It was a great session, i learned a lot, and then I had cool experiences in both the Celestial Room and the chapel with the Book of Mormon. Both times, I just flipped open the book and the passages of Ether 12 and Moroni 7 were both perfect for me. Just like many stated this conference -God speaks to us through his written word.

Speaking of conference- it was awesome! Lot's about missionary work! Especially in Priesthood session. I love the first presidency. On Saturday- I'm sure we all felt God's love for us during President Uchdorf's talk. During all of President Eyring's addresses, I just find myself writing a ton of self-inspection questions. I don't know how he does it, but he's good.

Then President Monson, ha ha, he's a goofball! 'Hello!' and then his joke about him going to dedicate the new Wyoming temple, cause 'there's good fishing there!' He then fulfilled his role as a prophet calling the whole world to repentance. God's standards don't change! The commandments are not mere suggestions! Good stuff... I'm excited to re-read all of the talks in the coming months. Great Conference...

So what else happened this week? Gloria is still in Mexico as far as we know. She hasn't been answering the phone lately so we're kind of worried about that. I also went up to San Jose on Friday for the leadership meeting. President Watkins is an inspiring individual. He makes us all want to be better. He also gave us a look into his hobbies from back home and showed us some pictures of his Indy race car. He did an analogy using the car (using math-he always uses math :) and he told us that the car actually performs better the faster it goes. It is more likely to spin out going around a corner at 90mph than 120mph. He didn't believe that when his coach told him, but when he put it to the test, he found it to be true. He likened that to us- how we are scared to go faster, or work harder, cause we don't know if we can, or what will happen if we do. But if we take the chance to raise the bar, we will find that with God's help, we will be made capable of doing even more than we thought possible. Pretty cool.

Also this week, we had a good lesson with Juan Chavez. It's a little different teaching him than the majority of the people I've taught here in Salinas. We teach him in English, he has a nice apartment (he actually lives in the same complex as us), and he doesn't work in the fields. He has desires to change and come closer to Christ, so it's a pleasure to teach him. Que mas...

A member took us to In-n-Out between sessions Saturday and told us he would pay for our burger, but only if we ordered the 4X4 (4 meat patties). So we took the challenge. It was gooooood. I felt kind of grossed out at myself though after eating that burger, a full order of fries, and a shake. But it was worth it :)

Today we are planning to go to the bay with a less active couple. Martin and Hortencia. They're cool. Well say hi and thanks to Bishop Davidson and his wife for me please! Thanks in advance for the package! I really can't think of anything that I need... Maybe some home made strawberry jam :) Transfers are next week. I'll find out if I'm really going to finish my mission here in Salinas! It would be 7 transfers! It's a good place to be though, so esta bien :)
Well I love you all muchisimo!
Elder Flake

Monday, September 26, 2011

September 26, 2011 Temple Trip and Conference

Hola familia :)
I'm glad that you had a nice trip. Great job Lindsey and Carlton on your missionary work! I hope your friends continue coming to church! 3 to 6 weeks til Lindsey has her baby!?! Crazy!

So this past week Satan threw another curveball at poor Gloria. Her Mom, who she hasn't seen in years, just had a heart attack and slipped into acoma. So Gloria, upon hearing the news, jumped in her car and headed down to Mexico to see her. Satan really doesn't want her to get baptized, because every time she gets close, something like this happens. Please continue to keep Gloria, as well as Denis and Kain in your prayers. Denis and Kain are being watched by a cousin until Gloria gets back. We're not sure when that will be...

On a happier note- tomorrow is our bi-annual temple trip! The Bishop will take the 4 of us Spaniards up to Oakland tomorrow in time for the 12:00 session. Then it's confrence! So it's going to be a great week, regardless of the fact that we are hurting for investigators right now. Hopefully the Lord will answer our prayers this week and we will find some of the elect who are bound to be out there.

Also this week, we had a fun ward volleyball activity that we (the missionaries) put together. Some investigators of the other elders as well as some less actives that we have been working with came out, so it was a success. Everyone had a good time. Well that's about it for me. Thank you for the prayers. I know that we will all be blessed to hear from God's chosen leaders this weekend! So don't miss it! And invite a friend!
Love Elder Flake

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 12, 2011 Visit to Monterey, CA

Hello family :)
We just got back from Monterey. It was a good time. As a Zone, we went to the aquarium and then after Elder Gile and I + one of the Salinas English companionships explored Monterey a little bit. It is a beautiful place - very fancy. Those pictures of Elder Empey were very humbling. It sounds like he is having the experience of a lifetime down there in Bolivia though. Good to hear that. We are indeed very blessed to be living here in the U.S. My companion has 2 brothers over seas in the armed forces so hats off to them and all those who help protect our country.

So Elder Gile and I are working hard and having a blast. We were meant for eachother ;) He is a very entertaining, positive Elder. Yes, we are still doing the English class every Thursday night. The last 2 days we passed out about 100 flyers trying to get a few more students. We have a few regulars who are now investigator of the other Spanish Companionship, so it's starting to pay off. We had a great first lesson teaching a young man in the parking lot outside of his apartment the other day. His name is Cristhien and he accepted a baptismal date : ) Please pray for him- to have desires to continue on learning and to follow Christ. Looks like Andrew had a fun prom : )Well I hope you have a great trip to Canada. We have to visit Monterey some future day. God's creations are so beautiful! Well I got to run. You are in my prayers.
Love Elder Flake

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 10, Letter and Pictures

Salvador's baptism!

Elder Flake and Elder Gile
!Hola Familia!

Sorry I'm so bad at writing! I got a new comp! Elder Gile from Kansas! He's awesome! We are going to have to work super hard, but we will have success! I just have to have the attitude that I'm going to finish my mission here in Salinas--which actually is quite probable. It's kind of nice to be with a fellow gringo again. He wakes up with me at 6:25 to go play B-ball or tennis. (We invested money into buying rackets @ Goodwill)
Our apartment complex has a tennis court and the complex across the way has a b-ball court. :)

We taught a good Restoration lesson to a daughter/mother combo tonight. They should be solid. I have to carry the heavier end of the teaching load being as my comp only has 7 months out. His Spanish is pretty good though-better than I was at 7 months out. Elder Gile is fun. We sing together as we hake around or when we're in the car. He might be goofier than me! We are both dedicated to being strictly obedient and working hard so we should see success.

I hope things are good back home. I hope you don't feel like I've forgotten about you (because of the lack of letters) It's just there is always so much to do out here! I pray for you every night! I hope you enjoy the pics!

Love Elder Flake

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 9, 2011 New Companion!

Hi Mom :)

Today I'm sending you my pic card with a short letter. So this will be brief. I got a new companion! A gringo named Elder Gile. He's awesome. I'm very excited for this transfer. We are going to work hard, have a little fun on the way, be very obedient and have success. Elder Gile is a very determined missionary, 7 months out from Topeka Kansas. Well sorry this is so short. I hope all is well back home. Thank you for your prayers.

Love Elder Flake

Hey Bro!

So you did the sunrise Timp run, huh? Pretty cool. I'm putting that on my bucket list. You down for doing it again next summer? :) That's cool that the X country team is doing so well. Jake Powell is a prodigy. Good lick staying on Varsity! My new companion,Elder Gile, is a lot of fun. He also still has some greenie fire so we are going to do some serious work out here. Ha ha, Elder Gile got a nice welcome to Salinas - he got 4 flat tires with in his first 3 days all on the same street! Plus he wrecked his bike! Terrible luck. He's buying thorn proof tires now, so that should help stop that problem. I've never got a flat :) Well bro, thanks for the e-mail. Make it a great week!

Love your bro Elder Flake

Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29, 2011 Email

Hey Dad!

Good to hear from you :) Ya, I've only been in 3 areas and Salinas might be my last one. Elder Mote is getting transferred up to San Jose so I will be getting a new companion tomorrow and holding down the fort here in Salinas. I only have 3 transfers left! Crazy... I'm glad to hear you are staying busy with work up in the cool mountains. I was blessed to spend this summer in the coolest area of the whole mission. It maybe broke 80 a couple of times here. Pretty nice, eh? 60's to 70's all day long :)

I look forward to doing some good, physical work with you when I return. Ha ha, ya, nursery would be fun - as long as I don't have to change poopy diapers. What's new... Last P-day we went to the beach and threw a ball and ran around on the sand. It was a good time and it felt amazing to have sand between my toes. We also came acrossed a Seal just chillin on the beach. Took some pics of him. The biggest blessing of the week was finding a family of 4 to teach. The Martinez family. We taught them a quick restoration and my new companion and I will be going back to teach them this week. They're a nice family. Pray that they understand the importance of our message! I look forward to working with a new companion who maybe will bring some fresh ideas of how we can find more people to teach. Well Dad, I love you lots. Thank you for your prayers,

Your son, Elder Flake

Hey Steve! Take it easy!

I'm confident you passed your big test. Have you taught Alexa how to throw a spiral yet? Ha ha, I bet playing with her just gets funner and funner as she gets bigger and bigger. So what did you mean by no NBA season? They can't not have an NBA season can they? That sounds like herecy to me. Well I hope you have a nice break from school. I'm going to be getting a new companion here tomorrow, so that should be exciting. I've been with the same elder (Elder Mote) since March! So it will be nice to have a change there. Well Steve, thank you for your prayers. I pray that all is well with you and your little family. Love Dawson

Hi mom! I promise I will send a note and my picture card this week. I'm sorry I haven't got around to that. I will repent. I'm glad to hear that Lindz and Carlton survived the Hurricane. Crazy stuff. So i will finally be getting a new companion. I learned a lot from Elder Mote, but this area needs a change of pace, and hopefully whoever my new companion is can help me take things to another level. Ha ha, i thought i told you about the Tuberculosis thing. My bad. So like 2 months ago, we picked up a new investigator who was on medication to recover from Tb. Armando Arreola. He turned out to not be interested, but the mission office, upon hearing that we were teaching a man with Tb, wanted us to get tested, just in case. Elder Mote and I both came out negative ( we DO NOT have Tb :) So that is that story. Well I best be off, but you will get mail from me soon. Thank you so much for everything Mom. I'm pretty sure you're the best Mom ever. Love ya tons, Elder Flake

Hey bro! That's a funny story of you having to run home from your morning bike ride ;) I have never had to replace a tube my entire 4 months here on a bike :) Ha ha, Elder Dimond, one of the other missionaries serving here, has had to replace his tube like 8 or 9 times! Poor guy. 17:36, not bad bro. Don't let that little Sophmore punk beat you! Ha ha, jk just do your best bro :) Who's the top dog on the X country team these days?

So bro, who are your teachers? What do you do for lunch? I look forward to going on lots of bike rides + rock climbing with you next year. Well love ya tons! Keep reading your scriptures! I just started the Book of Mormon again for like the fourth or fifth time on my mission. It's a good book! I highly recommend it :) Do a good turn daily - Love Elder Flake

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 22, 2011 Email

Hey family!
Elder Flake here in Salinas. Sounds like everyone is doin well, good to hear. So what happened this week? Fidel didn't make it to church this week, so we'll have to push back his baptismal date :( But he's still the world's nicest old man and we have an appointment with him tonight so a la mejor he'll still be baptized here in the near future.

I did some more service on an exchange this week with Elder Campbell. It was a 'clean up Salinas' project and we got to wear little orange vests and walk around the streets and a park picking up trash. There was a BBQ after so that was nice.

As a part of the Zone Goal this week I had to ask 2 random people on the street to be baptized. The crazy part was that both of the people i asked said yes! One of them Elder Mote and I will teach on Wednesday, and the other was this cool black guy named Keis who the English Elders will go and see. I should ask random people to be baptized more often... :)

On Tuesday we had a Zone Conference and I got to hear from Elder Gavarret again. He's a very loving man. President Watkins is a very qualified man. He talked a lot about the need to be 'pro' in our actions and appearance, and that we need to win the hearts and minds of the ward members, and especially the ward council members, in order that they will trust us.

On Monday we ended up going to the park and throwing a football and also playing scategories at our Bishops house. It was fun. We're hoping to get a member to take us to Monterrey or somewhere today. Just to see the sights. This will most likely be the last week of Elder Mote and I being together. I can't imagine us being together for 5 transfers. I'll let you know next week about transfers. We have the car week this week. So hopefully we'll be able to meet with a lot of our potentials we have gotten from all the contacting and increase our teaching pool a bit. Well that's all for now. I love you all so much!
Elder Flake

Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011 Email Release date: January 3, 2012

Hey Momma!

I hope your transition from summer life to school life goes smoothly. I got all the notes from our couzins :) Tell them all thanks for me please :) So what's the next big event you're planning as part of your calling? Speaking of callings, the Monterey Stake Presidency just got re-organized during stake conference this weekend. We went to the Sunday session over there in Sea Side. Elder Gavarret of the first quorum of the 70 was presiding and an area 70 by the name of Elder Cordova accompanied him. They were both Latinos! So they held a special meeting for all the Spanish members of the stake after the main session :) Both meetings were great. It was good, I think, for our members to see that there are Latino leaders in the church. Both meetings had a missionary theme. Pres. Watkins and his wife spoke.

The week was pretty slow, teaching wise. The majority of our appointments that we did have fell through :( We did do a lot of service though :) First, we took down this dead tree for a very nice little old lady named Betty. I used a hand saw and chain saw to trim the branches off, then we called our Spanish compadres, Elder Barrow and Elder Dimon, and they helped us push it down. Now Betty is an investigator of the English Elders :) Then on Saturday, the 8 of us elders here in Salinas helped out with a city 'clean up Salinas' project. There were multiple large garbage bins lined up along the street, each for a different material, (metal, wood, plastic etc.). And we helped people unload there junk from there cars and trucks and threw it in the bins. It was kind of fun. They payed us in all the little cezars pizza we could handle :)

Welp, tell my friends former elders Montague, Cox and Thompson that I say hi and that I salute them please. That's cool that I will get to fly into the new airport. I still got a lot of work to do though so we can't be thinking about that :) Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers mom. They are appreciated.

Love your son, Elder Flake

Very good to hear from you! You're a senior now!!! Wow! Let me know how your first week of school goes, ok? Which classes are you taking, who are your teachers etc. Sounds like you had an awesome summer. I look forward to hangin out with you all next summer. We're still gonna do a crazy road trip, ite? I'm happy to hear that you are doing X- country again. I think I got about the same time as you my first race my senior year. So you definitely have a shot at breaking my PR. What was it, like 16:30? Ha ha, looks like you had a pretty crazy fan club at your race :) Our cousins are crazy aren't they? What's Justin up to these days? Tell him I say hi, ok?

The mission goes on here in Salinas. We meet so many people everyday. It gets frustrating some times because WE know that our message is so important, and you try and share that with others, and no one gets it! But you just got to keep on inviting and pray that Heavenly Father will put a person in our path who is spiritually prepared enough to understand the importance of what we are talking about. Well bro, make the best of your senior year. You're such a nice kid and everyone knows it, so just keep being yourself and continue to reach out to the friendless. I love you to death and hope to hear from you again soon.

Love Elder Flake