Elder Brigham Blake

Email: Brigham.Blake@myldsmail.net

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ayyy family, no tengo mucho tiempo, necesito escribir muyyyy rapido!

Man this week flew by! 
Life is still going well in the greatest city on earth. Man I don't know where to start!
Thursday I was having a tough day with my comp, I think he's a little frustrated he dosn't have a Latino comp y a veces yo quiero un gringo comp! I told Oldroyd my MTC comp in a letter before I left that I knew I was going to have problems like this with my first comp. Anyway I called it! And know that I am supposed to learn something with Elder Rod. He's great, but we just have our differences. 
It was cool though, Friday night our zone leaders  called and told us we were going to have an inter combio Friday. They just felt inspired to let us know. It was muchhhhhh needed, I love working with Elder Zotello, he only has three years in the church and is testimony is so strong. We taught a blind man named Pablo Friday who knew the New Testament forwards and back; we would teach something about the restoration and he would give us a scrip and recite it...it was awesome.
As for the rest of this week, Pablo and Enilda didn't show up to church on Sunday which was tough, however their boys have come every Sunday and are progressing. Were still hoping for their baptisms this December!

 Okay, Ill add a quick spiritual thought. We taught one of our less active members this week Alma 17 through 19. Each chapter was another lesson. I can't remember the verse but I think is was Alma 17:9 and 10 when Ammon told the king that we was with there in his kingdom to serve. I love this scripture not because Ammon is basically this biggest savage missionary ever, but because his purpose was so simple. Service. Service, is basically the key to our work as missionaries and I believe it's just as important for non missionaries to serve as well. Mosiah 2:17, when you're in the service of your fellowman, you're only in the service of God. Keeping this perspective has helped me to further dedicate myself to this work.

I know that ive been called here to San Francisco, with my comp for a reason. At times it is hard to get along, but as Ammon told the king, my purpose is to serve. Servicio es la clave!
Before I sign off, have to give a big shout out to the Raiders. Best of luck this week! Kick some Rocket butt and enjoy the turkey!
Con Amor,
Elder Blake
Elder Sotello from Arg

Some members who walked us home Sunday night, we didn't have light and they were worried about our safety.

​My zone leader's USA baseball jersey!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Eyyyyy! All is well.

All is well in the great city of San Fran!
Man this week has flown by, I cant remember much, but ill throw down some highlights.
We had appoyo on Friday (I racked in my 4000 pesos and bought a ton of eggs) This week I've been eating 6 eggs for breakfast and doing 100 burpees and 15 minutes of running stairs. Man it feels great.
On Thursday I went to La Vega, approx 45 minute bus ride for a multi-zone conference. It was dope and got me pumped up to work. I cant remember any specifics but its always awesome to hear from President and Hermana Douglas. However the best part was talking with my Mtc Comp Elder Oldroyd, he's just a huge savage and absolutely killing his mission. He was really blessed to get the ex AP as his trainer and I guess he works him to death, but their area is suffering. On Sunday they only had 16 adults in church, even for the DR that's bad. Our church is pretty average and we only have about 60 active members, right now we´re just really trying to strengthen the members and inactives we have. However, Elder Rod and I are pumped because we have two solid families with baptismal Fechas.
Milagros and her daughter already know the church is true and she told us this week that shes excited for us to baptize her. She has classes Sunday morning until December so her date is for the 3rd week of December.
Pablo And Enlida are also doing great, we talked about their goals a few nights ago and both of them said they want to keep the sabbath day holy. Its hard for them because they both work on Sunday and haven't had time to attend church.
As for a thought this week, I have really been thinking about how important it is to be fully dedicated to this work. The Santiago mission has a slight problem with disobedient missionaries and one ¨´tiger¨(disobedient) elder on Friday night told me something interesting. He said that he breaks the rules, does what he wants basicamente because the elders he's seen that try and act like Christ seem miserable. I tried not to laugh at him because I think he has it all wrong. Yes being 100 percent obedient is difficult, but we wear a tag that states we are representatives of Christ. This work isn't supposed to be fun in a worldly sense, but I have experience real joy inviting others to come unto Christ when I have lived in a manera like Christ. I'm not prefect, but I know that when we try to be like Christ, and obtain Christ-like attributes (chapter 6 PMG) we´ll be uber blessed. 
I love this work, and I love putting on my tag every morning. I tell my comp almost everyday that this still doesn't feel real; I feel like Im living a dream, its so awesome.
Con Amor from San Fran
Elder Blake
My breakfast a few days ago. Isaac my buddy Elder Sotello from Arg told me you´d be eating this a lot. Mate and Fried Bread, I ate the break with a little frosting and it tasted like toaster strudel.

Grilled this morning with my Buddy Jose

View from my roof, san fran is dope!

Another dope pic of the sky, The sky is absolutley gorgeous ever night from 6 to 7, I love it!

Elder Rod, Jose and I, I'm kind of embarrassed of these pictures but this is the only one I have with Jose

Elder Rod and I are rock stars  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Much better week

AYYYY Amigos y Familia!

Man, I think I have a bipolar disorder or something because this week was 1,000 times better than last week. And I think it all boils down to relying on the Spirit.
Every day this week before I left the house, I would get on my knees and pour my heart out, and oh my goodness it made all the difference. 
My comp is either lazy or has faith in me because he had me lead basically all our lessons this week. I tried not to worry about my dirty Spanish and just listen to the Spirit. 
Wednesday night we taught a dope lesson to Pablo Y Enlida acerca de the apostasy and Joseph Smith. I had a Juliablakeart moment where I got a little over emotional and started crying when I bore my testimony =) Solo Broma! 
Anyways after I bore my testimony they said they could just feel an overwhelming sense of peace. DOPEE. Both of them work and we haven't had an opportunity to teach them since. But we talked to their son Elumine ayer and he basically asked after his baptism if he could go to the temple, this kid is Anna's age and an absolute savage.
On Saturday we had a miracle with one of our investis Milagros (the joke is milagros means miracle in English). Mil is an antiugo investi but hasn't talked with the missionaries in a few months. She straight up told us that she wants elder Rod to baptize her and her daughter and she wants to go to church on Sunday. We have a cita with her tonight so pray for us!
Those were definitely the two highlights from this week. A few times menos activos and investis complimented me on my Spanish and told me that I've definitely improved. However this doesn't matter, I care too much about what other people think of me.
My motto for this week going forward is let the Holy Spirit Guide. 
All is well in the DR 
Con Amor

PS - I would love Kodak pictures of everything, football, the family, the house etc. (Julia here - friends and family - feel free to send pics to him).

San Fran - one of the safer neighborhoods

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Second Week in San Fran

 Holy Cow. One of the hardest weeks of my life in every aspect! I would be lying if I said I wasn't homesick right now. This week has had its highs and then some extreme lows. But hey that's how the life of a missionary is supposed to be. 
Elder Rod and I projected this day to be dope. We had a appointments set up with 5 investigators and were planning on having 3 new investigators. Long story short either they weren't home, avoided us or just straight up didn't want to talk. But hey that's life! 
Happy Halloween! Man this had to have been the hardest day this week and one of the hardest days of my life. I thought too much about home and thought a lot about everyone at home trick or treating etc. At night we had a small ward activity called hallowhite and it bombed. Long story short a ward member was giving me a hard time about my Spanish. I ended up going back to the apartment and crying myself to sleep. 
Things finally started to turn around on Saturday. We had a service activity and then committed a family to baptism. They gave us about 20 pounds of bananas and oranges so i think its safe to say they were pretty pumped. Pray for Pablo y Enilda!
We had seven investigators at church on Sunday. All of them Anna's age (16) it was awesome. After church they were playing baseball in the street and we had a quick lesson with them. We talked about our goals and for all of them it was to go to the states for sports. I talked about how I wanted to learn Spanish and through the help of God we can accomplish our goals. They all seemed pretty fired up
Basically this week started out really hard and got a lot better. Yesterday we had a meeting with all the new missionaries in Santiago and talked about our experiences. Many of the other trainers came up after and complimented me on my Spanish and asked if i had taken it before. Man how I needed that confirmation! This week I just felt that I wasn't progressing but to hear that really brightened my spirits.
My favorite talk given yesterday was Hermana Douglas's She talked about the importance of keeping a gratitude journal. Here is my entry from last night:
1. I am grateful for my health. There are many people here with deformities and illness. I have been so blessed with good health and have an amazing opportunity to serve the Lord. If it weren't for my health I wouldn't be able to serve
2. My Family. If it weren't for my parents' testimonies there is no way I would have one of my own. I have been so blessed to be born into a house with two loving parents who are strong in the gospel.
3. Football. Football has taught me so many lessons that I have been able to apply to my mission. This week I've been thinking that football was really a way to practice and get ready for my mission. The lessons about adversity and brotherly love are so closely tied in missionary work and football. 
4. Book of Mormon. Man seriously my best friend here in the field.
5. My brother Isaac. Isaac has been my role model since day one. I have a collection of letters he has written me in the past year that I read weekly. I call them the epistle of Isaac. Because every time I go back and read one I find something that I can apply to my life right now. 
Wow I have so much to be grateful for and I want to close that I know this work is hard. It's hard for a reason. Elder Holland in MTC devotional to Mission Presidents said this about the difficulty of missionary work: "I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We  are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this is true, and he is our great eternal head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never easy for him. It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane."
I am so grateful for this work and Grateful for this opportunity to serve. Even though I am, at times, homesick and get teased because of my Spanish, its nice to remember that I am trying to stand shoulder to shoulder with the greatest missionary who has ever walked this earth. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane.
I love you all 
Con Amor Elder Blake
Q&A with mom during the time Brigham was online:
Brig: I'm on. Oh man this was the hardest week of my life. I seriously have missed home like crazy.
Mom:  Oh my goodness!!! What has happened??
Brig:  Just a really hard time with Spanish. I had a few ward members give me a hard time this week. My comp was telling me that they all assume Americans know Spanish already. And that kind of just sparked a wicked bad anxiety attack Friday night. It was tough but I'm better now!
Mom: Can you ever go on splits with Americans??? From your zone? I know there are none in your district.

Brig: No not really there are three Americans in my zone. I'm fine, its just hard. Missionary work has always been hard. Especially for someone a lot greater than I. Jesucristo. I just need to stop worrying and turn outward!