Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011

Hey family up the road!
It was BIG week down here in Salinas this past week, with the 101st Salinas Rodeo, California's largest. Lot's of vaqueros (cowboys) came, and the streets were pretty crowded for a couple days, but now things are slowing down again. Elder Mote and I stopped on our bikes outside the stadium to watch a couple of bull rides on the jumbo tron the other night. That was right after some crazy homeless guy tried to push elder mote off of his bike. Luckily he bounced off some bushes and was able to keep riding. I was riding behind, so I just dropped off the curb into the street out of the guys reach and got by him. Ha ha, it was pretty funny. There are a lot of homeless people here in Salinas. It's sad.

Well none of our investigators came to church this Sunday :( But a member brought a friend that we are going to start teaching :) His name is Manuel. It seemed like he enjoyed church. We did quite a bit of street contacting this week. Hopefully some of the potentials we got from that will turn out to be solid. There is a less active from the San Benito Branch (Hollister) who is now at the big hospital here in Salinas. It's actually hermano Vasquez, the one we helped remodel a house over Christmas time 6 months ago. His Kidneys failed, so he just had a surgery and now he will have to start doing dialysis 3 times a week. I hear dialysis isn't very fun. The waiting list for a kidney transplant is 6 years now-a-days... We gave him a blessing, and then a few days later we stopped by to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with him. He is a funny guy, a good man.

This week we also had a fun ward party. It was the 'Zarahemla challenge'. There were 3 teams and they played a series of games (such as sling shot shooting, a big puzzel, etc.) mixed in with questions from the Book of Mormon. Then at the end, a member did a presentation on the Navajo Indians, and then we had Navajo tacos- and they were super good. It was a fun evening. Well, I better e-mail President Watkins, but if I have a little more time I might write a little more. Well I hope you enjoy your time here in the Golden State. Stay away from Fulsom prison, I here it's a bad place. The lake sounds nice though. Send me some pics!

I got a letter from Darrell on Saturday, Gracias primo! Thanks for the salutation Jonba! A Town, you're my hero! Parents, you're amazing :)
Love Elder Flake

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 18, 2011 Email Transfer-Stay in Salinas

Wow Mom, that is quite the compliment Pres. Topham/Sister Dalton gave you and the fam. Thank you so much for your examples! Sounds like the hard work you all put into the trek really paid off, and had quite the impact on everyone involved. That's awesome.

So transfer calls came and it looks like I'll be spending my fourth transfer here in Salinas, still with Elder Mote. We thought for sure Elder Mote was being transferred. Obviously I'm supposed to be learning something from him that I haven't figured out yet. He's very serviceable. Also he is a great teacher and loves the people we teach and associate with. So maybe he's slowly helping me improve in these areas, and Heavenly Father thinks one more transfer with Elder Mote will be for the best. We don't always get along super bien, but we are understanding each other more and more as time goes by. So I might finish my mission here in Salinas? I only have 4 transfers left... We'll see I guess.

The English class went well. Only 3 members showed up, but they all learned a lot and seemed excited about it. We advertized it quite a bit the last few days, putting flyers in laundry mats and the like. And people have started calling so we expect a better turn out next week. We found and taught this cool young couple this week. Pedro and Ernastina. They are very nice/humble and accepted our invitation to be baptized :) So that was exciting. Also, the 4 of us Elders in the ward all gave talks in Sacrament yesterday. I got carried away I guess and I took 15 minutes only leaving 15 minutes total for Elder Mote and Elder Barrow, and they had to skip the rest hymn... but people said they enjoyed my talk :)

Of course, we all spoke on missionary work. I shared the experience of how Jamie saw the example of the Domninguez family, members who are practically family of Jamie, and because of the happiness that the Gospel brought to their lives, she pursued it and was baptized. Now Jamie is about to head off to girl's camp and it is a blessing to see her change from the Gospel. So ya, I talked a lot about being an 'example of the believers' and 'letting your light shine' to all their non-member friends. And also I suggested ways that they can take the first step in sharing the Gospel with their friends. And of course I told them how much the Gospel has blessed the lives of our family and will bless anyone who accepts and applies it.

What else... This super nice, like celestial good lady, who is always giving us fresh fruits and vegies, and packages of bottled water, and anything else she thinks we need, is taking 6 of us Elders to Olive Garden for lunch today. Her name is Hermana Rico. She is the best. Well familia, Haz lo Justo and Mantenga la fe and stuff alright? Thank you so much for helping me be out here and for your tremendous examples. Way to do missionary work Andy! Tell Shelton I say Hi :)
Love you much, Elder Flake

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011 Teaching English

Hey Mom:)

The work continues on here in Salinas. Things are a little slow right now. We have a few investigators. None of which are super promising, but with a little work and by helping them keep a few commitments, things could definitely happen. We need to find more people. To help with this, the 4 of us Spanish elders here in Salinas are going to begin teaching an English class every Thursday. There are already a handful of members who are excited about it. So that's good. This will be my first time trying this.

Speaking of language learning, our recent converts, the Apolinar family, taught Elder Mote and I some Mixteco last night, while we we were visiting with them. Kuni Kushi! (I'm hungry:) It's a crazy language- sounds like Chinese. They are doing well. They work so hard... Before my mission, I never thought about where the strawberry I was eating came from. These people spend hours of backbreaking work out in the sun caring for, picking, and packaging the fruits and vegetables we enjoy. And they do it for $45 or $50 a day. It's a tough life...

5 and a half extra hours of meetings? That's crazy Mom. A typical Sunday for me?

8:00- coordination with ward mission leader
9:00- P.E.C
10:00- call investigators to remind them about church; or if we have the car, we go to their houses/apartments to wake them up
11:00-2:00- Church
2:30-4:00- proselyte
4:00- dinner; on Sundays we usually eat with bro. Vargas (the Elders Quorum President) and his family, or la familia Apolinar
5:00-8:30- We usually are busy with appointments, if not, we proselyte some more (street contacting, visiting potentials, less actives, etc.)
8:30- return to the apartment, I get the numbers from the district and then I report them to the Zone Leaders
Sunday is game day. How well it goes is determined by if you get investigators to church or not.
Well Mom, thank you for your prayers and sacrifices in my behalf. I love you very much. Good luck with the trek.Where are they doing it? Andrew would make a great Indian. I hope you have a great week! Love Elder Flake

p.s, I have not received the package yet, they must be holding it till transfers next week (Tues. the 19th) bummer :(

Love you Mom!

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 6, 2011 Email

July 6, 2011

Hello Family :) Sounds/looks like you had a fun time at Lake Powell. We got to meet with Pres. Watkins twice already, with interviews and a 'meet and greet'. He's awesome. Different from Pres. Jackson, but awesome nonetheless. He appears very smart and is already coming up with some new ideas to help lift the mission to another level. He emphasized the importance of obedience, hard work, and having a positive attitude. It will be interesting to see the changes that occur in the next 6 months.

We found a new investigator who seems promising named A. A. The only thing is that he has Tuberculosis. He is on medication, so it shouldn't be too contagious, but the mission medical adviser wants us to teach him out of his hotel room, in an open area, as a precaution. For P-day we went and hiked again at Pinnacles. It was fun, although it was hot, like 100. We are accustomed to the 70's here in Salinas ;)

The East side of Salinas, where all the Mexicans live, was crazy on the 4th. Smoke and fireworks going off everywhere. We're not sure if all of them knew exactly what they were celebrating, but they were sure having a good time ;)

Oh, one other cool thing I found out yesterday is that this younger guy, 23ish, named Juan, who Elder Gainor and I found in Hollister got baptized! He's the one who when we knocked on his door informed us that his Dad was being brought over from the hospital that afternoon so he could die at home. We talked and testified to him of the Plan of Salvation before later referring him to the English Elders. Now he's baptized! Miracle! I'm on exchanges with an Elder Campbell from the Philippines right now. Well I better get going. Thank you so much for your support. I love you all.
Peace and Blessings, Elder Flake

P.s Mom, please inform Lindsey that I did get her letter and I will be writing her back soon. Did you get the postcard-picture that I sent Alexa? I have not yet received the package you sent. Love you!