Elder Brigham Blake

Email: Brigham.Blake@myldsmail.net

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Visit to San Fran

I was in San Fran yesterday so I got permission to write today.
San Fran was AMAZING!! I cried like a baby saying goodbye to my converts, Astrid, Milagros, Miranda and Alexandria. Wow! They are all doing sooo well. I don't have much time because I'm here instead of eating lunch and we just got back from a killer service (we mixed cement for 4 hours) and I woke up yesterday at 4:30 am. So I am legit exhausted!!!
I have A new comp. hahah Isaac I'm finishing my mission with an Argentinian!! He is new in the mission so he still speaks like a capo....I have a hard time understanding his accent at times but he is super cool. He is from Buenos Aires but worked in Salta. He's a funny guy, kind of weird but he has a ton of animio and I'm going to finish strong with this young buck!
Well let me write you all a hand written letter when I have time. But seriously this work is sooo amazing, and I'm seeing all the fruits of my labor. Visiting with Milagros and hno Miranda a mission profecia was completed. They both, with tears in their eyes gave me the credit for bring the gospel into their lives and blessing them as a future sealed family. I'll have to explain this all in better detail when I'm home, 3 weeks, crazy huh?
All is normal para que sepan! I feel normal, just in the grind!!
Con mucho amor.
Elder Blake

Hermana Shira!!

Familia Mendez!!!!

La Bella Vista de Moca.

Food they made for me

Greatest family the DR has ever seen (I'm an adopted member)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pday in MOCA

Well I'm in Santiago and have to catch the five o clock bus to Dajabon in 45 minutes. Also this is the worst space bar I've ever used. In other words this will go down in history for the worst pday letter I ever write. Haha But I'm coiming home so soon that it won't really matter. 4 more pdays el diache!!

Today I left Dajabon at 5:30 am to go to Moca!! It was been such an AWESOME day. I got to hangout with my converts, Shira, Carlos, Freddy and Edinson. They are all doing SOOOO well. Edinson is going on a mini mission next week, Carlos when to EFY in Bonao last week and LOVED IT. Freddy is now the teachers quorum president and loves passing the sacrament, but best of all Shira is going to the temple the week after I'm going home. She is such a sweet soul and her testimony brought me to tears. When I knocked on her door she ran up yelled BLACKAY!! and hugged me before I could even react. We were talking about how much had changed in this past year and then she bore her testimony of the blessings God has given her. She really let her light shine forth. I left Moca in January thinking that there was a whole lot more that I could have done, but passing through today made me realize how worth it it was to work as hard as I did. Shira's testimony alone has made these past two years of prayers, sweat and tears worth it. After, I shared with her Mosiah 2:24 and started crying as I bore my testimony. I didn't think it would be soo hard to leave. But I still have 1 month left!!

As for Dajabon everything is going well. Only our investi Julian came to church. Josafina and Joselo couldn't, I cant remember why. But Julian is a huge stud. He lives out in the middle of nowhere!! He lives in a small wooden shack with dirt floor but he is one of the happiest people I've ever met. He was a reference and has been to church three weeks in a row. Last week we invited him to be baptized for the 30th but he said he would need more time. He had been visiting another church for about two years but realized it wasn't for him. We are pushing hard with prayer and the BoM. He has difficulties reading but he is really in tune with the spirit. 

We have transfers on Wednesday and I think my comp is out, so hopefully all will go well. I am going to freaking die in 4 weeks and now it's really starting to hit!!
Well I love you all and I know this church is true. 
Keep praying and studying!!
Con Amor,
 Elder Blake


Happy fourth everyone. I forgot that it was our country's special day. What a blessing it is to have freedom of speech and religion.

Not much to report on this week. It's been hot, as usual and that's made it hard to sleep. I feel like I'm living inside a furnace, but my body is not completely used to it. We went to take out money in a bank on Friday morning and there was air conditioning!! Haha After about two minutes I got really cold and had goosbumps. It's gonna be a rough adjustment in 5 weeks!!

Well we are working hard! Lilo and Josafina didn't show up to church on Sunday. We are going to their house after writing, so vamos a ver lo que paso. I was able to talk to Lilo's mother (super faithful member) on Friday during an intercambio with Elder Stratton. He has had a lot of problems with other women and playing the lottery, but I think we are going to fast with them. He is also making us dinner tonight a locrio de arrence. I'm pretty pumped. People have been giving us soo much food latley. Rice, chicken and fried platanos. 

We had two investis at church. Joselo and Julian. Joselo now has a date for the 30th of this mes. He is a charlatan, he comes to church and prays disque but he refuses to read. Please pray for the guy? Julian has come to church twice now but he lives so far away and has such a tough work schedule that we have actually never been to his house, but as soon as we get there we are totally gonna teach this guy to repent!! He seems super cool. Well, todo is good here in the Dajabon Zion.

Cool moment, I went on a intercambio with Elder Stratton this past week. He is a fairly new missionary and training; I love the guy. He has a difficult time talking to people. He doesn't really know how to just walk up to someone and start talking to them. All the lessons fell through so I taught him how to contact. We contacted into this awesome family. They are pretty young, quizas mid thirties and have 4 kids. We talked about the restoration. The dad said that when he decided to join a church it'll definitely be the Mormons because we are always in the streets. We taught about the Book of Mormon and invited them to read it. Stratton and Gonzales are going back tonight. With Stratton I realized how much I've learned here, and how little time I have left. It's sad but I'm just gonna keep working hadddd until the last minute!!!

Love y'all!!
Elder Blake

Semana que se yo?!?!

Weayyyyy wow this week went by SOOO fast!!
I don't like having pday on Mondays because it makes the week go by a lot quicker, and with the poco time that I felt, these last 6 weeks are going to be over before I know it. Not cool!! I wish I could be a missionary forever!!

Well not a whole lot to report on. Stevenson's baptism was a hit. He scared us a little bit. He asked us Saturday morning if he could get baptized right then and there because he is out of money and getting kicked out of his house, he was going to go straight back to Haiti. He only pays about 40 bucks a month to live in a one room shack. As a Haitian its really hard for him to find work here. Dominicanos are pretty racist towards Haitians. However, we helped him out a little bit and he got a job as a Creole teacher in August. We gave him a little money so that he can stay in his apartment until August. It looks like he will be having to come back and fourth from Haiti these next few weeks. I don't know if I mentioned this but he studied for two years to become a Catholic priest. He came to understand the restored gospel and gave up that part of his life. Every prayer he offers he gives thanks to God for giving him the chance to come to the knowledge of the restored gospel. I love the guy soo much!! After his baptism we took him out to get pizza and he told us that he felt so clean. It was a very special moment.

The work is moving forward. We had an awesome partial family show up to church. Josafina (non member) comes EVERY week, she really wants to get baptized, but her husband, Lilo (long time less active) isn't really about it. But, they came as a whole family hoy! Kids and everything. They have a super funny 3 year old named Miguel. I call him Adam because he HATES cloths. Miguel left the primary room, went to a secluded corner and took off ALL his cloths in the church. He made quite the scene. No one said anything though. 

Well to wrap up, I was reading in 2 nefi 33 and trying to discover things that I might have not yet understood. The light of the gospel keeps illuminating my mind and I love it! I love the light of the gospel. 2nd nefi 33 10 reads,  10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jewand all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these wordsfor they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all methat they should do good.
 11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
Well, as Nephi says if we believe in Christ we will believe in his words, o sea the Book of Mormon. I thought a lot about what this really means. Obviously he couldn't have been speaking of a passive belief in Christ. A passive belief requires no effort or self exertion. The test of our faith is more precious than gold, because its worth and glory is eternal. If we truly believe in Christ we will know that He is the son of a living tangible god. My testimony is based on this simple church doctrine. I know that Christ is the savior of the world, our father sent him to the earth to suffer and die for all of us. The Book of Mormon, in my opinion is an unmatched testimony of the divinity of our savior. I love this work, and invite you all to participate.

Elder Blake

Monday, June 20, 2016

Great Week

Well the clock is ticking but let me jot down a few of the best moments of this week. This week was seriously a dream week. We had two baptisms, and Stevenson is pumped for this Saturday! We are going to try to go to the beach in Manzanillo for his baptism.

1. Rita and Saul's confirmation. Their baptism couldn't have gone any smoother. But then she made me nervous because she said she wasn't going to be able to go to church on Sunday. One of her family members is on their death bed and is likely going to die within this next week. She said she had to go take them something. >Those of our faith know that a baptism isn't complete until the person receives the Holy Ghost the next day in sacrament meeting. Anyways we told her it wasn't necessary for her to go to church if she had a family emergency but we strongly advised her to find a way to get to church. Long story short Rita shows up RIGHT at 9, she had left for Montecristi at 5 am to visit this family member so that she could get back in time to come to all 3 hours of church. We prayed and prayed and the Lord really touched her heart!!

2. Interview with Presdente Castillo. Wow this was one of the greatest moments in my mission. Friday morning we went down to Montecristi for interviews and President told me something I was NOT expecting. He sat me down and said, Elder Blake before we empezamos, You have been called to Dajabon by the Lord to baptize, the Lord wants your district to flourish these next two months. I have been impressed to lower you as a zone leader so you can complete with what the Lord requires of you in Dajabon. I was shocked and frankly told him, Presidente look, I haven't baptized since November. How could the Lord require this of me?? And he promised me some very incredible things. In pocas palabras, I think the Lord is really really pouring down his blessings upon us. We as a companionship will finish this month with 3, and looking to have 2 next month. 

3. Sacrament meeting yesterday. We had some great investigators in church. 2 references and a super super prepared Haitian guy named Owensby. No joke, I sat down next to him as the meeting started. I started to get to know him and he tells me: "Look I took the lessons in Haiti a few months ago and I know the Book of Mormon is true. I NEED to be baptized. I put the date for him right then and there for the 23 of July. Sadly we went to try and find his house yesterday but directions here don't make sense and he doesn't have a cell phone. We will just have to meet up with him at church next week.

Well I am really short on time but I want you all to know that I know the Lord is blessing me for the hard work I have but in these past 6 months. I love this work and it kills me to know that I'll have to leave these people in a few short weeks. Two nights ago I had a dream that I was walking on a train platform just telling everyone how happy I was for living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this gospel is true and that it brings us joy. I love my family and know that I can be with them forever. If you have never read the Book of Mormon read it>!!1

Have a great week!!
Elder Brigham Blake
Rita y Saul se bautizaron!! It was a DOPE service!!
Distrito Dajabon!!

I made food for nuestra casa. I am called el abuelo because I'm soo old! And the only one who knows how to cook haha.

DR Pimp my ride!! I wish I would take more pictures here becuase I see werid funny things like this ALL THE time. How often do you see a 30 year old truck without doors or a windsheild that still works?!?!?! DR!!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13th - Monday PDay

Hahaha well, I am assuming that mom hasn't updated my weekly blog in a long time because what I have to write really isn't all too important anymore. I'm really sorry that I'm not a creative writer. (Julia here- NO! I'm just super busy and a bit lame). However I want you all to know that the work is pushing along and we are doing well here in Dajabon. Honestly, I'm soo greatful to be in this part of the country because I dont think I will ever again in my life exprience heat so so brutally blistering.

Anyways briefly, this week has been good. We are eating a lot of mangos. Rita knows that I love them, and she has 4 mango trees in her patio so she gifted me a huge bag of about 20 mangos. Every morning and night I sit in my hammock feasting on fresh DR mangos!!

Rita and Sauol are doing well. They came to our ward activity on Thursday. They watched the testaments and Rita said it helped her understand a little bit more about Christ's ministry in the Americas. Sauol just played basketball. We were also able to teach her about the Word of Wisdom. To our surprise she has no problems with coffee, or alcohol!! Shes awesome! Sadly she didn't go to church so we pushed her date back a week. Keep praying for them!!
Stevenson is AWESOME. He is loving the gospel and is now participating in instituto. He left for Haiti today& he gets back on Thursday. We just need to get him prepped for the 25th!! If all goes well, he, Rita and Sauol will all be baptized that day!!

Cool moment. We were walking home on Friday night, and just joking around I contacted a younger woman in English. It's a great contacting tactic I picked up from Elder Preston to break the ice with people. Dominicans are SUPER out going. Anyways she is a good sport about it and invites us to come back the very next day. We show up on Saturday and teach her a bomb lesson one, invite her to church and she showed up yesterday in sac meeting!! Pray for Sonibel!!

I started reading the BoM over again this week. I love love love this book! I'm trying to finish it again before I go home. I was reading about Nephi's voyage to the promise land, trying to analyze the book in a way that I never had before. We know that the Lord had sent many afflictions upon their family. A gospel theme that I have found many times states that we come to receive blessings from God, after our faith is probado. I was struck by a verse that talks about HOW and WHEN Lehi's family would come to know God. 
1st Nephi 17 verse 14 says, 14 Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem.

 This verse hit me because it reads, AFTER you have arrived in the promise land. I have tried to understand what this means. Once Lehi's family had arrived in the promise land they could understand fully that the Lord had been with them always, and because of their faith the Lord would bless them, even to KNOW him. I don't claim to know God, but I do know that as I try to live His commandments He will bless me. I know that this is His church and that Christ suffered for my sins. I know that as we are diligente the Lord with deliver us from our personal destruction. I love you all and wish you a prosperous semana.
Elder Blake
I found the lost sheep!!

On the DR/Haiti border with my comp

Action shot of Haitians crossing into the DR by crossing a RIVER!!

Book of Mormon y Star wars

Dajabon week one

This was a really interesting week. Its always soo weird entering a new area, but even more so now, knowing that I'm going to finish in two months.

Despite a few bumps this has been a great week - my comp and I are doing good things. We have three people that will get baptized this month. Please pray for Rita, Sauel and Stevenson. Rita and Sauel are mother and son. Rita is a single mother and my comp contacted her 5 weeks ago. She hasn't missed church since. She is super excited about being baptized and is a very humble person. Please pray for her and Sauel.
Stevenson has become one of my favorite people ever. He is Haitian and contacted Elder Sandoval a few weeks ago. He has gone to church 3 times in a row and wants to be a missionary. His love for the gospel is pure. But after that we don't really have anybody. I'm going to work my butt off to find some news!!

I don't really know wha'telse to report on. Maybe just to mention that it's really hot always. I am going to come home black!!

Always interesting note, Dajabon has the COOLEST flee market. Mondays and Fridays the Hatians are allowed to cross the border and sell their goodness in this HUGE warehouse. Sadly all the items have Goodwill, Savers or DI tags on them. So basically all the US donations are sold here. But I bought some cool stuff like new Birkenstocks for 5 dollars, and a RED Head back pack for $10. I'm gonna aprovechar before I head on home!!

As for my comp, he is a really good kid. His name is Elder Sandoval from Panamá. He has 6 months in the mission and is still getting things figured out. I feel like I'm training again because his trainer and second comp were both pretty disobedient. I've had to help him out a few times. I live in a house of four with an other American named Elder Stratton (he is a weird nerd but I love him) and Elder Gonzales de Guatamala. He is a funny, small kid. I call him Duende (dwarf) because he is so small. They all make fun of me because I'm finished with the mission so shortly. 8 weeks, ayaya que cosa!

I finished the Book of Mormon for the 4th time in my mission. I absolutely love it. I exhort all to read the book, especially to read Moroni 10. The second to last verse he invites us to come unto Christ. I know that those word were written for our days. I know that this is the Lord's work and that this is His true church. 

Hasta lunes!
Elder blake

Con Amor Elder Blake   

Separate email:

I GOT your guyses letters that you had sent for Christmas. I don't know why it took so long though haha. Isaac your letter was is one of the most cherished items I have in my possession. THANK YOU for your mission run down. It gave me some good animo to always strive and be a consecrated missionary.

Jonathan asked:
1)  What are key things you would tell someone who has doubts in terms of building more belief/faith in their lives?

2)  What are key things that we can do to be better missionaries that you've observed on your mission?

3)  what are your favorite general conf talks from this past April?

Hahaha dad, I'll send a picture. We can go to the Haiti Border anytime we want. On Monday a Haitian woman stopped us. She barely spoke any Spanish but she told that she liked the gospel and wanted to learn more. I just thought to myself darn I wish that Carlens was my comp!!! Hahah

1. I always turn to the Book of Mormon because that is really what strengthened my faith. I credit the Book of Mormon to being the corner stone of my beliefs. I LOVE the book. I finished it for the fifth time last Saturday (4th time on the mission). I'm aiming to read it again before I get home. 
2. Opening our mouths, we are faced with sooo soo many missionary moments everyday. I know that we often get impressions to share the gospel with people and for fear of man we don't do anything. I think that if we open our mouths anytime we feel the spirit prompt us we will be great member missionaries.
3. Gary Stevenson's talk on Priesthood keys, as well as Jeffery R Holland's closing talk. Dope vaina mi hermanito!!!

Les quiero mucho!!
Para que sepan, mi dia Pday se ha cambiado. Ahora sera el dia Lunes. Entonces acuérdense para este lunes. Gracias!!
Les quiero mucho! (Okay BTW My Pdays for now on will be MONDAY. They just changed that.)
My FIRST personal bathroom EVER!! Five star DR class might I add!

I caught a lizard!

I think that my thermometer is off, but just to give you an idea of how HOT Dajabon is. It's like Saint George (UT) without air conditioning, and having to walk around in the hottest part of the day...I LOVEEE IT!! (no sarcasm)

Stevenson, he has a date for the 25th, he is an AWESOME guy!!