Elder Brigham Blake

Email: Brigham.Blake@myldsmail.net

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Best week in a longggg time

Dear Family and Friends,

This has been without a doubt one of the best weeks of my mission. It's truly mind boggling just how fast time flies by. As of right now, I hope that my mission never ends because it is such an amazingly spiritual experience. Who else can really say that their purpose and job 24/7 is to help others find true happiness in their lives? Esto si es algo maravilloso! A few days a go I woke up from a dream at 3am, where I was sent home from my mission and I was only allowed to return on TWO condiciones. 1. If I were to LOVE everyone as Christ loves and 2. to be 100 percent obiendte. As of this dream my desire to work and served the Lord has sky rocketed.

This week, Elder Corder has taught me sooooo much. My kid came SOOO well prepared in all aspects. His ability to teach is phenomenal, his knowledge of the scriptures is uncanny and his attitude is impeccable. Basically we just hit the ground running and now we are changing the world. Not to mention that he is very witty and funny and brightens any dampening situation. Basically Elder Corder was an answer to my prayers. Anyways let me give a few highlights of this week.

This week, we decided to give Leo y Maria one final chance (they haven't come to church yet and kind of stopped progressing. However they're basically my family here. I LOVE them soo much.) One Saturday we went to talk about faith and works. The lesson became very spiritual and they came to realize that they needed to act on the impressions of the Spirit that they have felt. By the end of the lessons the whole family was crying and I was as well. They had a commitment for that morning however, they promised to come to conference on Saturday and Sunday, I know its gonna change their lives!! Pray for Leo, Maria, Angie, Wendy y Lilly! They're such an amazing family.

On Thursday, we went to Berling's house. This kid is a STUD. He went to church for the first time 2 weeks ago and he LOVED it. On Thursday after talking about Jose Smith he asked me, Elder Blake I read Moroni 10 3 through 5 and after  I prayed and felt something really different, something that I have NEVER felt before. I was SOOO pumped!! We testified of the fruits of the Spirit and he recognized that it was an answer from God. We hadn't really been thinking about picking a baptismal date, but he told us that he wanted to be baptized and be a missionary. Pray for Berling so that he will be ready for the 24th of Octubre! 

Anyways this week has been very spiritual. As many know I have a slight case of ADD which has made it really hard for me on my mission to teach effectively. I sometimes just go all over the place. However, with Elder Corder, EVERYTHING we have taught so clearly and effectively. Even as I'm teaching I just think, 'Wow! this all makes soo much sense now'. I love the DR sooo much and the chance I have to serve the Lord. I hope that we can all be member missionaries para llevar a cabo la inmortalidad y la vida eterna de los hombres!

Les queiro mas que sepan!

Elder Blake

Sunday, September 20, 2015

1st Nefi 17 vs 13

Wayyyyy mi querdida familia y amigos.

This has been an awesome week. I am wicked short on time for all but I hope I'll be able to address a few of the highlights of this week. However, as normal, the heat has been killer! I think it's safe to say that I sweat about a gallon a day. Haha khaki pants were really a bad idea because it shows sweat easily...let's just say that if you're not careful it can be very embarrassing!

As I have written for the past few months, this week was the big week....Richard's Baptism. I left the church in a taxi at 5 and got to La Vega at 5 30. I saw the true beauty of the DR that I haven't been able to see; I honestly can't describe the beauty, but it was exactly how I imagine the Garden of Eden would be. I'll be saving up to come back and see the true colors of la Republica. In La Vega, I was able to catch up with Frieny, Melvin and Cesar (Cesar is the menos activo who is going to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood this up coming district conference). Dang visiting everyone I love in La Vega made me wicked sad. But I don't want to be negative!1!
As for the baptism itself, I felt as if a huge burden was lifted as I baptized Richard. After the ordinance he began to tear up and testify that he truly felt the remission of his sins. It was such a powerful confirmation to my own testimony.

This week I began to read the Book of Mormon again. I am reading and marking any instance that menciones the gospel of Jesucristo: Aka, Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost and endurance. Their really is such a richness that one can receive to studying and applying the BoM. I was reading today in 1 nefi 17 when the Lord commands Nefi to go and build a boat. It says:
         13 And will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised landand ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.

I know that it's really the Lord who leads us if we do everything within our power to obey his commandments. Thankfully, he hasn't commanded me to build a boat, but I know that He expects great things of us. I have felt His presence with me and have received many confirmations of His love for me and His children here in the DR.

Love Elder Blake

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

3rd Nephi 12

Dear Family and Friends this week was epic!

We got dique hit by a hurricane on friday but it basically didn't even rain (thank goodness I'm in between two mountain ranges). I heard that it was pretty rough in Santo Domingo y San Cristobal but I really have no clue. However, Friday was more eventful because I was tossing up rice and beans for a solid 6 hours. (FYI Rice is by far the worst food for throw up ever because it clogs up your nose).

Anyway, this week was great. My golden investigator from La Vega called me on Monday to ask if I would give him the pleasure of baptizing him. I cried out of pure joy. Therefore, I'll take a taxi to the best area in the world on Saturday to baptize Richard...pictures will come asap.

Other than that this week has been really average. We are working hard and praying that the many people we have will progress. We have three baptismal dates for this month but the they're three jovenes and all are a little iffy. However, pray for Freddy, Carlos y Manuela!! 

I think that the highlight of my week was receiving an answer to my prayers in the Book of Mormon. For those that know me well, you know that I have a hard time loving as Christ would love. A few times before I have had people that really bothered me and I would verbally make sure that they were aware. On Monday night, I almost lost my patience with a new convert because she insulted me for being American and strict...aka obiedinte. She yelled at me because she doesn't think that I like to have fun, or in other words go to her house at 9:30pm to eat her food. It's been a little rough because the missionaries here have stretched the rules a little bit and therefore, it appears that I am the party pooper haha. However, I prayed for guidance during my personal study yesterday and received a direct answer to my prayer. I read in 3rd Nephi 12, it says   44 But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and'pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;
 45 That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good.

The Holy Ghost punched me hard in the face as I read these verses yesterday. Its SOOO easy to say that we love our family and friends, but then once someone offends us, even continually, our heart changes and we begin to hate. Honestly on Monday I was super frustrated and wanted to yell at this woman; in the moment it seemed just. how could i, trying to do my best, get a boat load of crap from a member? It boils down to ignorace and lack of knowledge, however. I took the high route and tried to explain where I am coming from. But when I read the words of the Savior to the Nephites I felt a change of heart, as it says in 45 the sun rises for everyone, ourselves and our enemies. It rises for all of us because we are all his children and he loves us all equally. Going forward, I know that it's important to keep this perspective, and to bless those that curse us. This past year has been the greatest year of my life. Through a constant, diligent, daily effort I testify that the gospel of Jesus Christ has the ability to change us. I know that I am a better person for this gospel. Sorry, I am not the best writer under time pressure but I hope that anyone who reads this can feel, or understand just as to what I am trying to convey.
Love Elder Blake
PS - Cladooo, Mom I'm pumped to go to the Spanish branch next summer because there are a ton of Dominicans up in Mass!. A member I knew from san fran has 3 daughters who go to a branch in Worcester.  I hope I'll get to meet them!

To Isaac: Diache, la vida sigue volando. Pronto cumplire un ano en la mision y todovia me siento como un Greenie!
Pero de verdad me alegro que todo este bien con ustedes. Espero que anna tenga un buen ano y que noah se mejore. 
Isaac, donde estas viviendo? Espero que puedas contarme sobre sus clases y si puedas consegir trabajo. Tiene mucho tiempo a hacer tarea y otras cosas asi. Cuando tu estas terminando en la primeveria consigue un trabajao para mi en la biblioteca, este seria bacanisimooo! Realamente me dule mucho a pensar que los dias de mi niñez han pasado, pero nada pa lante!
Isaac, todo sigue bien con mi compa. De verdad el tiene muchas problemas con gringos pero le ayudo a ver lo que es mas importante....el trabajo. Este semana tuve una expriencia muy duro. Lunes un hicimos una noche de hogar con un converso reciente y un miembro menos activo. Despues de la lección, aun que fue a las 9 30, el menos activo insitio que nos quedaramos para cena. Cuando dije que teniamos que irnos, el converos empezo a gritar que yo soy un mal misionero porque no disfruto la mision. Explice las reglas, pero ella me dijo que no la importara. Antes de venir aca, mi compa decia a todos que puedmos estar afurea de la casa hasta 10. Basicamente por la disobendiencia de mi companero, los miembros principlamente piensen que no soy un buen misionero. Ha sido un poco dificil.
Que crees que pueda hacer a arreglar eso?
Les queiero muchisimo!!

From Isaac:No sé si todavía estás en la compu, pero leé Hechos 5, especialmente 29, 38, y 39. No es fácil tener valentía, pero necesario sí!!

Te quiero!
August 26, 2015

Wayyyyy familia y amigos, 

este semana ha sido bacanisimooo (wicked cool)
Life is great here in Moca and I cant even believe at the rate time is flying by, in just over two weeks I'll hit the famous hump day....one year in the mission! It's scary at the rate time flies by.

I would like to share a few amazing experiences that I have had this week. 
On Monday I got an AMAZING phone call, it's honestly really weird for people to call here, however, it was Richard (my stud investigator in la vega). I had put a baptismal date with him my last week in La Vega and he is SOOO ready. However, sadly, transfers came. Anyway he called to ask me if I could baptize him on the fifth of September. Thankfully Moca borders La Vega so there is a high probability that I will be able to go for the afternoon (pray that pres Castillo wont be hard hearted!!) But my heart was filled with joy because I felt like the spirit really led us to his house, and that he is a amazing man with an enormous gift of faith. 

This week has been really amazing; we have  A TON  of people to teach. My companion, before I arrived was averaging 10 lessons a week (that's quite honestly nothing) but this week I was able to help pump him up and we more that trippled what he had been doing. It was truly a miracle because I did not once feel tired nor lazy. I asked him in one of our inventarios what his mission goal is, and without skipping a beat he said to baptize a family (one of my goals as well). From that moment on we decided that we would try to only teach complete families from 6 to 9pm...its been such a miracle. We have 3 young families who have promised us to come to church this Sunday. Pray for Leo and Maria specifically! Even though my companion is pretty lazy and not very excited about the work, I've been trying to focus on the good, and just be an example. We have grown a lot and I know that God has blessed me with the gift of charity.

This week I have gone to town on my studies. I found a 700 page textbook on the history of the church and I started studying it last Monday. Every free second I have I read. I'm coming up on page 400 and have enjoyed every second of the book. It has really fortified my testimony of the Book of Mormon and Jose Smith. A scripture in DyC 35 has been running through my head, it reads  For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miraclessigns, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name.

I've come to realize that the church of Jesucristo of Latter Day Saints really is the true church of Christ. I don't have time to recount the many miracles I have seen here in my mission but most of all, I know that the greatest miracle has been the change of heart I have felt. I know that the blessings I have received in my life are directly related to my church membership. It is such a joy to share the restored gospel to God's children.

Love Elder Blake.

PS -Wayyy, chicungunya is officially off the radar and it hasn't rained here in about five months. People are actually really suffering for the lack of agua. Soooo if you could pray that God will be mercious on these wicked wicked dominicans I would be very grateful!

In response to Julia's plea to play the piano:
PPS- Hahah, if my last ward (it was without a doubt the best ward in the mission) didn't like the piano there is noooo hope! Im sorry, i would love to practice but there is no realistic way to do so. I really don't want to lose, or bury my talent. But as I said there isn't any realistic way to play. Our church building is a solid 30 minute walk. But, if there is a will there is a way!
Anyways, im signing off!


August 19, 2015

Wayyy familia y amigossss,

This week has flownnnn by. My area is 100 percent different than my last two. We basically work in the rural farm land of Santiago. Therefore, the people are super poor, humble and receptive to the gospel. However, there is a fair share of less-actives. Everything is going great and this week we found two AWESOME families contacting. Pray so that Maria y Luis and Maria y Leanardo can keep progressing!

It really hit me hard on Friday morning that Isaac FINISHED his mission. I honestly feel really sad for him because I know just how fun and fufilling a mission can be. It's quite honestly impossible to explain to someone who has never served a mission why I love it sooo much and why I don't really want to go home. As I have mentioned before, my mission has really put into perspective the Plan of Salvation and the atonement of jesu cristo. To be able to share and testify of the truthfulness of the gospel brings a sense of peace and joy to our hearts and minds.
I think that Ether (Book of Mormon) really summarized the point that I am trying to get across. It reads in Ether 12 vs  Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for better world, yea, even place at the righthand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good worksbeing led to glorify God.

As it says here, those who believe in God have the promise and HOPE for a better world. The gospel boils down to a firm belief that God is our loving Heavenly Father, this is the first point we teach as missionaries. And as it says in DYC God is obligated to bless us (or give us a better world) if we do as he says. However, this is not easy and, as mormon was editing the Plates of ether he realized this as well. To believe in God is to have faith. But God, since the beginning of  time has required that our faith be tested And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

Our faith is tested daily, and for this we must do as the Lord commands! I know that these principles are true, because I have lived them and tried my best to help others live them as well.
I LOVE this country and the people I serve. I love the food, the heat, (the music is awful, just look up DR Dembo 2015 and you'll understand what I mean) but most of all I love the humility and charity of the Dominicans.
I LOVE this work soooo much!
Elder Blake

Wow, de verdad estoy TAN agradecido por este ano tendre a servir al senor. A ver, bueno escuchar sobre la primera senama en la casa es un poco doloroso. No porque queiro regresar, pero porque yo se que la felizidad realmente viene de vivir los principos del evangelio.
Ahoura estoy con un compañero sumamente disobideinte, en una casa con tres misioneros disobidnetes y este me duele mucho. Lei ayer en hechos cinco, verciclous 1 hasta 10 sobre una pareja que vendio una porporidad y se quedo que parte del dinero. Ellos feuron castigatos por los apostoles y se dieron cuenta que negaron el espíritu. 
Isaac, no soy perfecto, pero este ano ha sido el mejor con el cercimento espritual que necesito. De 9 a 10 (mi compa no quiere estudiar conmigo) leo un textbook sobre la histora de la iglesia, y es buenisimo. Espero que pueda seguir leyendo y esforzando a aprender mas del evangelio de jesucristo. Mi consejo es a recordar CADA dia sobre lo que estamos hacideno aca en este mundo. Como estas haciendo, realmente somos las manos de dios y tenemos que ayudarlo en cada momento. Isaac, espero que pueda eschuar musica buena, himnos, rock cristiana. En byu empenze a escuchar indie rock, y si le gusta busque tallest man on earth.
Le quiero muchísimo. Ahora no quiero que mi misión se termine. Quiero esforzarme cada momento a magnificar el sagrado llamamiento a ser misionero de nuesrto senor jesucristo.  
Ps, cuando regrese, solamente quiero hablar consigo en español!