Elder Brigham Blake

Email: Brigham.Blake@myldsmail.net

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last of 2014

Dear family and friends,

Can't really describe how great this week has been. Lo empanzo (it started with) with an amazing hour and a half with Isaac and the Family, and then another 30 with Nick the Peretti. I feel awful at how poorly I described the purpose of  missionary work, but my excuse is that I was feeling guilty for how long I skyped...gotta repent!
Talking in Spanish with Isaac and hearing Dad's prayer and watching Mom start Christmas dinner was with out a doubt the highlight of Christmas. Da me six months and I'll be a straight up Dominican thug Isaac. Man Spanish is gonna be epic.
Anyway, I have very limited time, the one thing I have really learned this week is that happiness is a choice. To really enjoy any hard situation in life it is imperative to focus on the things we can fix, turn outward like Christ would. A few examples:
My Comp. He's a goof ball. He really only does the bare minimum requirements as a missionary. For the first transfer I was with him this really bugged me, he never does the dishes, studies language with me etc. The things he does are very self-centered, totally fine but it was really hard at first. We would fight because I would try to force him to be more obedient...doesn't work! Service and submitting to his will has really helped. 
The people. Being the only gringo in a place like here has its challenges, especially me being so new to the mission. I've gotten to the Rubio comments and the comments about my hideous accent etc. I can't control how the people treat me but I can control how I respond. As I have thought (in Spanish Isaac) this past week, to be a representative of Jesucristo is very hard, but I will only change here on the mission if I try to be a representative of him. Wearing the the name tag isn't enough. To be a missionary means to live in a way that Jesus Christ would live.
I can't even begin to express how grateful I am for this mission and for my family. Yeah, there are a lot of problems here, it's dangerous at times and I don't agree with my comp a veces. But I can't control that.  As I have come to enjoy this people, country, comp, it's only been through turning outward in love and service. 
D&C 24 v 8 Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.
D&C 121 v 7   My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
John 15 v 13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Sorry for no pics, I promise I'm still beautiful. Jajajaja
Con Amor, 
Elder Blake

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Family and friends!
This has with out a doubt been one of the best weeks of the mission. It terms of teaching, we really lacked this week though. On Saturday day we had a flash mob in the only mall, in all of San Francisco and Salcedo. It would have been awesome if there were people in the mall. Sadly, I think everyone here is too poor to shop in places like malls. Anyways our dance was awesome, but we didn't have an audience. But on Sunday we had all three of our progressing investigators at church! After much prayer, Milagros was finally able to come to church. You should have seen my smile when she walked in to the chapel. It was unreal! 
We are teaching Edwin, Azdri and Milagros regularly. They have all prayed about the church and have a testimony of the restoration, its awesome. We're hoping and expecting to baptize all three of them in January. We're working hard and I know that through fasting and prayer it'll become a reality.
This week this, something elder rod and I have really tried to focus on is letting the Holy Ghost guide through prayer. I don't really know why but I have always been a very nervous person. Before football games, dates, tests literally everything that has weight to it, I am nervous. However, something I've learned in football, and here on the mission is:
First, prepare. Preparation is sooo vitally important for missionary work. Every night and week, as a companionship we prepare for what we our going to teach. Realamente without preparation, teaching meaningful lessons is impossible. Aveces I was nervous before dates, maybe because I didn't brush my teeth haha, or before tests because I didn't study everything in the study guide, quein sabe!, realamente it's soo important to prepare.
Secondly, and probably more important is to pray. I have really seen a difference in my Spanish, and the way I communicate this week because I have cried unto the Lord to deliver me. Sure that sounds weird and Bible-y, but read Ether 1, The brother of Jared is an amazing example of someone who prayed to God with all his heart.  

When I have done these two things, I have really seen a positive difference in my life. I have a testimony that when we work as though everything depends on us, and then pray as if everything depends on God, we will be sooo blessed.  

I know that my grammar is bad, but I blame it on a lack of time. I love this gospel with all of my heart. I know that my brother is doing work down in Argentina. 
Merry Christmas to all!
Love Elder Blake
1. Me and Elder Merlow. Classic Honduran!
2. Elder Rod, Me, Ray and Robsioins, goofin after our stake Christmas devotional on Sunday
3. Routa picture, the taxis here in the DR have a max capacity of 7 people. four people in the back, two in the front not including the drivier. This is probably the nicest routa I've take, it actually has cushioning!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Family y Friends!!!

Family y Friends!!!
This week's letter is going to be on the shorter side because I've used half of my time sharing the amazing video 'He is the Gift'. I haven't had a chance to watch it in English, but I know the message is just as powerful as it is in Spanish.
As for this week, Elder Rod and I worked hardddd, easily the best week in terms of lessons and feeling the spirit. We're still trying to work on our teaching dynamic, but now that we have a few solid investigators to teach, I know everything will fall into place!
This week, we've really cracked down and been teaching Edwin, the Son of Pablo and Enilda every other day. He's the second investigator we've had that actually reads and is progressing, were pumped. His baptism is set for the 20 so pray for him and us that he'll be ready! He tells us he feels the spirit every lesson and wants to be baptized, now the hard part is trying to get his parents to get married! Then we'll have a new family in the ward!
In other news on Tuesday we had a big conferece in La Vega for Christmas. Our zone did a hilarious dance and President gave an awesome capacitaion about how we should be more like Peter. Watch the movie 'Son of God' and you'll know what I mean. I love Peter's example because of his undeniable testimony and faith in Jesucristo, but also because he wasn't perfect.
None of us are perfect, and even an apostle of Christ, who had seen all his mercies, denied him three times, cut off a guards ear and lacked faith as he walked on water. Like Peter we all have moments when we doubt our faith, loose our patience and deny God. But what I love most about Peter is that he was willing to change and become a true disciple of Christ.
Sorry for such a short letter. 
I absolutely love this gospel and this people. As Christmas is coming closer, try to remember what we are celebrating, the birth of Christ.
Con Amor,
Elder Blake

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hola a todos

Hola a todos,
Holy cow, just finished my first transfer! Time flies when you're on the Lord's errand. This week has been great, tal vez the best week I've had so far. I've really seen the Lord's hand in this work and things come my way as I diligently live the gospel.

As I said last week I've been having comp problems, we don't talk and he doesn't really seem to enjoy the mission. After a long Friday morning, I took initiative and asked to have a comp inventory, basicamente el me dijo que he hasn't felt ready to train and that he's a bad missionary. He only has nine months in the mission and doesn't know why Pres Douglas asked him to train. He told me that he wanted to change and it's made all the difference. We teach with the spirit and let the spirit guide; we still have our differences but when you teach and study by the spirit the rest will fall in place.
1st Nephi 4:6 is a perfect example of being lead by the spirit. I'm really grateful for Elder Rodriguez because he's helped me exercise my patience and charity. We need opposition in all things and even though he's hard to get a long with, finding things we have in common is a huge win.
In other news, I have been thinking a lot about the Raiders. Thanksgiving just isn't the same here in the DR. I did eat turkey and potatoes but there was no Raider football. My heart goes out to the boys of fall - sounds like it was a hard loss. Shout out to Dolan for his commitment to tufts though.
The coolest experience I had this week had to be our lesson with Martin. Martin is a dope menos activo who is always very enthusiastic to talk and learn. It's hard because he always says he will come to church but hasn't since I've been here. On Saturday we had planned to teach him about the plan of salvation but we could tell something was wrong with him. He just looked so sad and wouldn't really talk. Out of no where he started crying his eyes out and telling us he needed to change his life. In all honesty for me it was really awkward at first, but my comp did something really cool, he stood up and just gave him a hug. We didn't teach anything but it was the first time I'd felt the love Christ has for us. Sadly Martin didn't make it to church Sunday. I kept asking myself why, but I know somethings take time. We have a lesson with him tonight and hopefully we can help him on his path to change.
I know this gospel is true, and Im so greatful for my time here in San Fran. All is going well at the end of my first transfer!
Isaac, hook me up with some dope ties, and congrats on the 9 baptisims, do what you can to help them stay active!
Mom, sadly I haven't gotten your packages yet. I was ticked, some Idaho kid who has one more transfer than me got six this week. Hopefully they'll come before Christmas!
Con Amor,
Elder Blake