Elder Brigham Blake

Email: Brigham.Blake@myldsmail.net

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,
 This week was absolutely killer. I honestly cannot understand just as to how fast time flies by here in the DR. I guess when you're doing something you love with those you love time really lets itself go!! 

I have soooo much to report on that I don't know where to really start, I guess I could say that I still have not heard a single thing about the church policy change here. No one has mentioned it nor known about it until either I or my companion bring it up. 

On Thursday I had to go to Santo Domingo to Renovar mi visa. I went down with Elder Thaler and we left our Greenie comps behind in our areas to go ham! Elder Corder got kicked in the butt with the gift of tounges and was able to answers all questions or doubts that our investigadores had. He is such a stud and has been my best companion by far. On Thursday night we had to stay in Santiago to wake up early and take a bus to Santo Domingo. My CCM comp and buddy Elder Oldroyd who is our mission secretary hooked up Elder Thaler and I and we were able to sleep in his house. The most rewarding part our my trip was being able to leave on intercambios with Oldroyd because we wanted to see just how much we had progressed in the past year. It was a very cool experience teaching with him after such a long time.

On Saturday we had two baptisms: Freddy y Carlos, two brothers who have been investigating the church for the last 5 months. These kids are awesome. When my last comp left I decided to stop teaching the family just to see if Freddy and Carlos would still come to church. They stuck faithfully and have come to church every Sunday on their own since June. All that runs through my head is that these kids are Lincoln's and Noah's ages (9 and 15). It really pulls on my heart strings when I think about the situation that these two young men are in, but I know that they will keep on faithfully in the church. Anyway, their parents haven't ever really progressed. The father is pretty lazy and the mother is very catholic. But Cecilia, the mother was able to come to church for the baptism and after the service our ward mission leader invited her to bear her testimony. Her boys and I started to tear up. It was a very touching experience.

To finish I would like to leave a scripture that I read yesterday in Omni. It's not everyday that someone quotes Omni but I love how he invites us to come unto Christ. It reads 26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.

I know that coming unto Christ is what truly brings us joy in our lives. It seems soo difficult at times to live the gospel of Christ but the rewards are many. It has hit me just how simple missionary work is and how satisfying it can be if we do it with all the energy our of soul. I know that I have become a better person coming unto Christ. However he requires that we offer our WHOLE souls unto him, not just a part. We are not perfect but through the gifts and merit of the atonement of Christ we can be glorifed. 

We deep fried oreos, pb n js, pop tarts last night btw, it was honestly really gross.               

Saturday, November 14, 2015

El Sacrifico

Family and Friends,

This has been about the most monstrous weeks of my mission. I would say that Elder Corder and I grinded it out and we were very blatantly able to see the blessing of from the Lord for our sacrifice and service. We were able to teach 36 lessons, have 9 investigatores in church and put 6 baptismal dates for December. I was astonished when investigators who we had not thought would progress walked into sacrament meeting. I know that these fruits came from really putting the Lord and his work before ourselves. I have been humbled and refined by the Lord and love the work that He has called me to do. 1st Nefi 20 verse 10.

I would like to give just a few of the many amazing spiritual experiences that we had. Last Tuesday while waiting for an investigator to come home I felt a very strong impression to sit down next to a guy named Alejandro and just talk. As soon as we sat down and started talking he opened up at how hard his life had been for the past few years. He is a really smart and capable guy but hasn't been able to land a steady job. As we began to testify of the plan of salvation his cousin named Edinson came over and we felt inspired to ask he was could teach them a little bit. We started the lesson and the spirit has filled the room, we talked about what our purpose in life is and the importance of living the gospel of jesucristo. After the lesson Edinson looked very perplexed and asked us what he would have to do to be baptized. We testified of this sacred ordinance and that it was for all people who are willing to repent and humble themselves. We invited them to church and we put a date for the 12th of December. Honestly, these kind of experiences aren't too uncommon here, but what happens is that the people are sometimes too lazy to act on the spiritual impressions that they feel. However we invited them to church and out of nowhere Edinson walked into the chapel on his own at about 9:30. Casi tenia lagrimas en mis ojos por eso. 

Another miracle that we had was our lesson with Berling about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. I was very concerned these past few weeks as his baptismal date fell through because he had to start working every other Sunday. We set up an appointment to talk about the Sabbath day. As we testified and promised him of the blessings he accepted the challenge to ask his boss if he could change his Sunday shift. After the lesson he told us that we had to teach him the scriptures about the Sabbath day so that he could share them with his boss and help him also keep the Sabbath day holy. Haha he's such a thug. The next day he called us and told us that his boss was willing and open to let him change his shift so that he would be able to go to church on Sunday...soooo dope!

All in all this has been one of the most spiritual weeks of my mission, and I think I have found the formula to have success in my mission and in life. We need to be obidiente, dedicated and be willing to SACRIFICE. This week Elder Corder and I have been leaving at 9:30 after our comp study to teach and to talk with everyone, and we have been leaving an hour earlier in the afternoon to be able to teach more people. We have come home everyday SOO TIRED but it has been soo very worth it. I know that I am willing to sacrifice because of the love I feel for every single person I meet here no matter how rude or ignorant they might be to us. This week I have thought a lot about John 15 verse 13 that reads 

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Although Elder Corder and I are not laying down our lives, in a way we our sacrificing a greater portion of ourselves that of which the mission and the Lord requires. It has been very humbling to receive these blessings from the Lord. I know that this is the true church of Christ. I know that God is unchanging and that he knows better than his billions of children what brings us happiness. I love being a missionary for the church of jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias. 
Until next week! Elder Blake
Elder Corder and I with the matching Padre y Hijo ties we made

On a see saw with elder thaler

Amebas beard lol

Halloween in the DR

Captain Blake

The most GHETTO zoo of all time. No habia mas personas. And if we wanted too we could have hoped in the lion cage.

Wicked close to this fierce ostrich

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ether 12:27

Dear familia y amigos, this week I was finally able to get back up on my feet!  We had transfers today and my best buddy Elder Thaler (who lives with elder corder and I) is now training! This past week we had jokingly been hoping that Elder Thaler would train an American. Elder Hawks rolled up this morning at about 11 and he is a STUD. I know that these next six weeks are going to be LEGENDARY. I couldn't be more excited.  We are going to go hard!!!

To get back on track, this Friday I was able to leave the house and get to work! However, this week has been really rough and showed me that the Lord humbles the prideful.

Let me explain, On Friday we had planned Berlins baptisimal interview and he is SOOOO prepared for baptism. He has a testimony, he is living the gospel and wants to serve a mission, aka a golden investigator. However in the past 5 days a chain of events has stumped me and just has me and Elder Corder questioning ourselves and the Lord why. To start things off Friday Berlin wasn't home and he called us to tell us that his dad wants him to hold off on baptism so that he can investigate the church a little bit as well (all in all this was a silver lining because now we can try to teach them both) But it was just hard at the last minute. Second, his boss changed his work so that he will have to work all day Sunday, every other Sunday, to see that he will never be able to attend frequently. However he says he is going to talk to his boss to see if he can switch his schedule. And finally his cousin was murdered on Monday by two muggers about 5 minutes away from his house. All in all things have gone down hill this past week with Berlin. I still believe firmly that the Lord will provide a way and just requires that we give a little more effort and demonstrate a little more faith. Pero nada voy a seguir para adelante!

Also having to stay home sick for a week was a very humbling experience, I was able for many hours to sit and study the Book of Mormon. I have been able to find and analyze soo many things that I haven't previously understood. Basically I love the Book of Mormon and the example of Nefi.

In this situation, I have been able to reflect a lot on Ether 12:27, which has been my favorite scripture since I was a deacon.  However I know that the Lord requires his servants to be humble and repentant. I have a new-found love and desire for the Lord and his work. I love being a missionary and doing what the Lord wants me to do.

Amo el evangelio de jesucristo y se que lo que estoy haciendo es lo mejor. No quiero estoy en un otro lugar con niguna otra persona. Amo mi salvador y la expiación. Se que el libro de mormon es el libro mas corecto de todos los libros.

Bueno ya se fue el tiempo!

Hasta la próxima semana! 
Elder Blake

A house full of americans! from the left to right (Elder Thaler one of my best buddies, Hawks thalers kids, Corder my kid y Yo)

Worst week of my life!

October 28th, 2015

Brigham: Online!
This has been a very hard week. I have been diagnosed with dengue AND amebas. I havent been able to leave my apartment for 6 days.
Julia:  Oh my goodness!!!! WHAT??? What is the prognosis?? Are you getting the care you need???? Aren't amoebas really hard to get rid of? I haven't ever heard of dengue.
Are you going to get 100% better????
Dengue is an illness past by mosquitoes a lot like chicangunya and malaria. I had a 104 fever for 3 days straight and it just hurt to move any part of my body, especially my head. Thankfully i feel a lot better now but ill still be in my house until Friday with out being able to leave and proselyte. Have you ever heard of having amoebas in your stomach before?? 
But yeah Im taking some super killer meds for the amebas but ill be good!! On the plus side i have a SWEET beard right now.
Jonathan:  Dang - I'm very sorry!!
What is dengue??  Amoebas like stomach bugs. What are your symptoms.  Treatments and outlook?
Julia:  Oh my crud!!! Please make sure you are getting enough CLEAN water and food!! I am so so sorry you've been practically dead and I'm home worrying about stupid things in my life. 
I want to fly down there are take care of you!! Have Elder Corder send pics of you with your beard.  

Brigham: I have pictures on my camera but my camera is at home.
I don't know a lot about dengue but its not fun!! Just look it up on the internet!!
Mom, how are you doing??
Jonathan:  Has your fever broken??
So like a really bad flu - you've had. When I left Colombia they gave me some pills (I guess it's meds) that basically did a cleanse of my gut and intestines.  Don't remember details but seemed like it just flushed things out good. Do you have a mission doctor that's from the US that you can consult with??
Brigham:  My fever Broke yesterday. But yeah its basically a really bad flu that sometimes comes with some other pretty wicked symptoms after the fever breaks, tal como un rash etc. But we have a mission nurse. (Hermana Grange) I have been on her radar since Saturday but she walked my through what I should be doing and such. 
She paid me a visit yesterday and took a picture of my beard and said that I was going to make her weekly blog. I don't know what it is but Ill ask her for it the next time I talk to her.
Julia:  So you haven't seen a doctor??????
You are out of the house today. I initially thought your first email said you were in your apartment. I will look them up. Can I PLEASE contact the mission doctor?? Do you have an email for him or anyone that does? 
I just read about it online.  Mosquito borne virus.  Glad your fever has broken!!  That's good.   Not a lot you can do for it except ride it out.  Says take acetaminophen (NOT aspirin) 
Going forward lather up in mosquito repellent!!!!

Ask your mission nurse what to do for the amoebas.   Hopefully it's not too bad.  Most of my time in Colombia is felt like I had "Rock gut". 
As long as its a good doctor -no witch doctors or voodoo crud 
 if your mission nurse is from the US you're probably in good hands - hopefully she's experienced for the tropics.
Brigham:  Yeah Hermana Grange is the best. She bought me gatorade and I am drinking a lot of water! I can't really eat much though.These things are really common here and I wont have any complications. I am taking some medicine and just resting.
BTW I left our house to come write but the internet center is right around the corner. 
 Yes Hermana Grange is from Oregon and shes awesome. She works harder than ANYONE! I dont know how you can contacty her right now but when I talk to her ill get her info.
However I am gonna have to go lie down, love ya sooo much!
Elder Blake