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