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!!

Trasladosss, Para Dajabon The light of the Gospel.

Well, I guess I have finally been sent to my last area in the mission. To Spend the last 9 weeks working on the Border of Hati. DAJABONN. I was transferred today to finish the mission here in Dajabon B and as a DL. I feel pretty excited to get this district going. I live in a house of four, Yo, Elder Sadoval (my comp) Elder Stratton (trainer) and Elder GOnzales (newbie). I realized on the 4 hour bus ride from Santiago that I have more time in the mission than all three of these guys combined....yeah I'm old!!

Anyways I'm feeling good. Leaving an area is always bittersweet. I got to say goodbye to the awesome people we were teaching. Both Santiago and Ronnie are progressing hardcore for their dates. Both are shooting for the 18th. Santiago is praying A LOT. He is super poor and has had many many problems in his life. I have really seen how the light of the Gospel changes peoples' lives, as they live it. 

Light is something that I studied this week. I love the symbolism of light in terms of the gospel. If there is light in a place, darkness cannot exist, because light always triumphs darkness. As we build our testimonies any refugee of darkness gets cleaned out and we begin to shine brightly. Receiving light is a literal way to drive away temptation.  I was singing the him, Oh My Father yesterday in my hammock, and the third esrtopha really hit me. It roughly says in Spanish:
                   Before I Called you father without knowing why. But the light of the Gospel has revealed to me that I am your child. 

I can really testify of these words. I have always said that I know my Heavenly Father and that he loves me. But as I have studied and prayed the Holy Ghost has confirmed to me, through an enlightness that he is really there and really loves me. I invite you all to build your own testimonies.
I love hearing from all of you and know that this church is true!! It's such an amazing gift to have the light of the gospel in our lives!!

Hasta la semana que entra!!
Elder Blake  

Fila Rosairo. Super Super awesome investigator family that would progress if their work schedule les permitiera.

Harley and Clan. I love the this kid!! We almost cried saying goodbye!

Ronnie (the kid with the white cast) and familia. Super awesome people. Ronnie is gonna get baptized in a few weeks!!

Celebrating a great transfer with Welch's Sparkling Cider on the Roof!!

May 25th

Quick weekly update life is great here in Bonao. We are working really hard and effecitently right now. We have two really good dates, both for the 18th of June. Pray for Hna Aida and for Hno Santiago.

Yesterday was a GREAT birthday, becuase I really wasnt focusing on my self. It was a day of service like anyother day. Service is an eternal truth, our father in heavens JOY AND WORK is to serve us. I think as soon as we figure out that we are here to serve, and as we become like god we will continue to just serve serve serve. 
Anyways we left at 10 and basically didnt get back to the house until 9 30 we are working demasiado!! We had two great lessons with Aida and Santiago. Aida, we just finished la restouracion, she read the BoM and felt the spirit!! She told us that she feels like this is gods church. As for Santiago, this mans life is a miricle. He had a bad accidente about two months ago and about an eigth of his brian was removed. He was a drug addict and has been neglected basically his whole life. In our gospels class on sunday we talked about Baptisim. In our lesson yesterday he asked us how he could prepare himself to be baptized, carzy awesome stuff!!! We are really rpoud of him. haha our lesson ayer fue como algo de Predicad mi Evangelio. 
As for the rest of the week everything is normal, just trying not to think about how little time I have left! 
We have transfers next week, I could be leaving possibly!! Crazy stuff!!
BTW in Moca Edinson is getting baptized on saturday, and he asked me to baptise him!! Hopfully ill be able to go. Here is a throw back picture with Edinson and Elder Corder!

Love you all!!!
Con Amor Elder Blake
Hermano Santiago. He has gone to church the last two Sundays. We had our first lesson with him yesterday and we put a date with him for the 18th of June!

The whomping willow of Bonao!

An Awesome family we are teaching!! I cant remember their apellido though

Last night the Elders came over and brought me a ice cream cake. It was a great way to celebrar 20 years. Wow ya soy viejo!!

Family lineage!! I saw Elder Corder and his kid, Elder Garcia in Santiago today. We talked about the good old Moca days!

May 18th Time Flies When You're a Missionary

Time flies when you're a missionary, and time flies when you're having
fun. So what about if you're a missionary and having fun? Haha well,
time just kind of slips through your fingers like grains of sand.
Tengo que aprovechar!! Honestly I think the week went by soo quickly that
I cant even really remember what we did!

Sunday was a pretty funny day, the whole country was shut down for
Eleciones. We only had Sacrament meeting and two investigators showed
up. We were pumped to see Ronny at church bright and early. (our
investi with a date for the 4th of June). He even brought us doughnuts,
but the weren't as good as Krispy Kremes. Ronny tells us he loves
church and gave up coffee to get baptized. For the last two weeks he
has been telling everyone that if they drink coffee they need to
repent. He is a super funny kid. After sac meeting we met briefly with
our Branch Pres to try and spark our branch. It was a fine meeting and
he put my comp and I incharge of our branch activities. Finna try and play
a lot of dominoes!! We need to get the members and our investigators
interacting!! After our meeting we went home and realized that we had
NOOO food except for salami, a sweet potato and this gross vegetable
called tayota. It was the worst lunch I have ever eaten in my life - no
joke, I wish I would have taken a picture. Boiled sweet potatoes,
tayota and fried salami, BAD COMBO. We then got a call from the
Assistientes saying that we couldn't leave the house because of the
eleciones, which was probably a good call. The party that lost the
eleciones have been throwing a huge fit for these past few days and
have gone on a nonstop strike. The police have killed 6 people in our
area in the past 2 days. We have seen a lot of burnt tires and burnt
trash around. As a matter of fact yesterday was the worst, but we
didn't leave because my comp and I are sick. I have a fever of 102 and
Elder Irish has the Runs.

Yesterday I had a lot of time to reflect on my mission and what I want
to do going forward these next three months. As I listened to a Truman
Madsen talk on the Abrahamic Test, I thought about the test and trials
God has sent in my own life. The underlying point Hermano Madsen got across
is that God requires tests of our souls; sooner or later he will
strongly probar our testimonies. It's quite interesting actually,
because it seems to be trait of human nature. To grow we must be
tested. I have a strong testimony that as we are faced with trial we
must hold firmly to the Iron Rod, read the scriptures, pray
and assist the church. That is how we can edificarnos sobre la roca
de Cristo. (Helaman 5 vs 12) No one can remain straight and true to
their testimony without haciendo estas cosas. Sooo do them!! Another
interesting point Hermano Madsen made is that more often that not we
pray hypocritically, asking for God's will to be done, ONLY if it se
concuerde with our will. This is something that I know I really have
to work on these next three months, trying to learn what God's will
truly is.

On another note, Harley expressed to his Parents his desire to be
baptized. We don't know the details yet but he told us that he was not
granted permission. We will keep working with him and Carmen. He might
not be able to be baptized quite yet but I have to feel satisfied to
know that next Febuary he will enter into el evangelio. As a
missionary, it's just as important to be a planter as it is to be a
sower, (one person I found and taught with Elder Corder in Moca was
baptized 2 weeks ago, and 2 more have dates for the end of this

I have no regrets for my mission. I love what I'm doing and I know that
this is the Lord's work. Every time I think that I'm tried, or under the
weather I think of the atoning sacrifice of our savior Jesucristo. I
love all of you!!
Con mucho Amor!
Elder Blake

Mango face

We found a tire in a river, en la Cueva

Ronny with his Pats jersey. What a thug!

Julio Cesar. He's a funky kid haha.

My friend with a shot gun

En el Campo.

Friday, May 13, 2016


From Jonathan:
It was soooo great to skype with you on this past Sunday!!!  You're looking really great and sounding great!  It's wonderful to see you so happy and energized by what you're doing.  Rather than give you a travelogue on this past week it seems like you're interested in more of a dialogue, which will get kick started with questions back and forth to each other.  You asked for it!!  So here goes...
 Thanks Dad I think this is a good idea. I'll try to respond quickly and efficiently.

1) What is your definition of "success" especially as it relates to missionary efforts/work?
Like I said while skyping I think that success isn't defined by numbers rather the by your relationship with God. I love an idea from the coach in Friday Night Lights and how he defines perfection. Perfection isn't reflected by the scoreboard or the number of baptisms that you have, rather by the dedication and love you have for the work. I honestly believe that if you do everything in your power as a missionary to obey, love and serve you will be successful. That's when God will put prepared people in your path.

2)  You only have a few months left as a full time missionary, what will you do to ensure that you work hard till the end and 'leave it all on the field'?
I will do my best to not let down on the little things. If you're doing the little things all else will fall into place. I'm not really worried about this though because I LOVE proselyting.

3)  What's your favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon?  How about other scriptures that you love?
I love the chapters 2 through 4 from Mosiah but also chapters 36 to 38 in Alma or 1st Nefi 8....the tree of life!!. King Benjamin and Alma hijo are two spiritual savages!! But honestly I think it changes every now and then because the whole Book of Mormon is just soo amazing that its hard to choose one favorite chapter. Right now I'm reading Jesus es el Cristo. I have loved studying the New Testament, especially the book of ACTS. Paul is one of my favorite scripture heroes and I just love to read abut the original church of Christ. To read it side to side with the BoM and to read it thinking of the principles of the restored gospel. What about you papa?

4)  Has anyone asked you to play the piano in church or do they even have pianos in your current area?  How about singing - have you done any more solos?  :)  
I have never been asked to play the piano. I think I have said this before but Dominicans are tone def and they hate hate hate it when people play the piano. Its really sad because people here have some of the worst voices I've ever heard in my life!! But after 2 years of sac meeting here Ive gotten used to it.

5)  How often do families cook for you  vs.  how much do you cook for yourselves?  Do you do all your other domestic chores like cleaning and laundry?  
 We eat with families maybe 2 or 3 times a week. I usually don't eat breakfast and we usually eat lunch at home. But people like Carmen and Harley will cook for us on occasion. Right now we eat with them every Saturday. Every once in awhile people will make us Cena. Cosas como yuca, mango or espagueti. But its not too often.  I usually cook.  Yesterday I made rice and eggs. I love rice now. In terms of other cleaning we clean and wash. Our washing machine is nothing more than an oversize weak blender, its such a joke. It just spins water around so our cloths never get REALLY clean.

6)  How's your relationship w/ your mission president?  Do you get to see him very often?  What's his family like?
 Pres Castillo is Preach my Gospel. He is super super awesome. I think that right now he is stressed out because as zone leaders we have a monthly meeting with him and the APs and we haven't had the meeting this month yet. I haven't vocally talked to him in over 2 months but I respect him alot. He has 3 kids, but I've never met them. His wife is super quiet and spiritual. Overall I think that they have been really overwhelmed but they're adapting. Keep in mind that he is like 38 years old.

7)  What have been the keys to having a good relationship with your companions?  I know you've had ups and downs - what are things that make a difference and are within your control?
 Love and patience. I have realized that I'm A LOT like mom. Little things get me angry aveces but after about 10 minutes I forget about them. I haven't really had any problems with comps who like to work and obey, by the end of each transfer we become best buddies. I realized that there are many things you can't control about your comps and a lot of times the reason that I get mad has to do with one of my own problems and not theirs.

8)  How have you seen the Lord's hand guiding you in your life this past week, month, year?  
 I feel guided everyday. With Elder Irish this is something we have been studying. Basically we are working on our inspired questions and listening skills to let the Holy Spirit guide. On Monday we were guided to a super awesome guy who wants to give up beer and cigs. We talked to him as a person and just tried to insert gospel principles naturally. We left our lesson and realized that the spirit was strong and felt that we said things that were really put into our mouths to say. 

9)  Do you know how much we love and admire and appreciate you?  
Hahaha this is a trick question!! I love you all sooo sooo much.
DAD thanks for these questions, I won't have time to write home a weekly letter and quite honestly I have nothing else to really say. Abrazos y amor de la República.
Elder Blake

I hope so on the last question, because you're awesome and I'm so proud to have you as my son.  You're such a joy and a blessing to all of us.

Work hard and stay focused.  Do all that you can to suspend the notion of time and just work hard each day and moment!

Love you so much and look forward to your answers and questions back.  If you're pressed for time then you can pick one or a couple or a few and we can dialogue over the next few weeks!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Week of Miracles

Que lo que mi GENTE.

This week was MONSTROUS, and super wet. Its rained every single day this past week. My shoes, scriptures and mission manual are just soaked!! Honestly it's a nice trade off from brutal heat because after 20 months its been really taxing!! My skin is FRIED. 

This week I have seen some amazing miracles and they all have come back to studying and understand a very basic gospel principle. GOD LOVES US. I think that this principle is soo over looked; how often do we take advantage of our all-knowing and loving Heavenly fFather? Well for starters I know that I could poner mas confianza en el. I think that this week my comp and I saw great miracles because we decided to do all we could and put the rest in God's hands.

Lemme take y'all through a few of the miracles I saw. 1st off Juan Alberto did NOT go to church this week. I was soo soo worried. It turns out he got home super late on Saturday and over slept until 12 30, we gave him a fat bolche Sunday night. And something super cool happened. First off let me say that he and his family LOVE me and I LOVE them. I can't really explain it but we have just really clicked on sooo many levels. They honestly say that they just feel a light when we are in their house. Juan Alberto told us about a dream he had. He told me that he and I were sitting on his porch with bird seed in our hands and that a large white dove landed on my hand and started eating. He said that doves DON'T just land on people's hands and that in his dream he was very amazed but that I just stayed calm. He called his grandparents and parents to look at the Dove gently eating and relejándose. He asked us what to dove could possibly have meant and we talked to him about Christ's baptism about how the Holy Ghost came over him as a dove. He took it as a message that we are the Lord's missionaries who have the Lord's spirit....super cool stuff. Please pray that he and his family keep progressing.

2nd Yassenia and  Yeusdies went to church on Sunday. We went and picked them up and yassenia said the opening prayer in principos del evangelio. She prayed that she could become a member of the Lord's church. Also yesterday she told me that she also dreamt of me. That I was on a path and calling to her to follow me on the path. Muy profundo también. We only have one obstacle with Yassenia - she has been living with a man for about a year and has to get married before baptized. We are now going to focus hard core on her husband so that we get the WHOLE family. Por favor oran por ellos!

3rd. Elder Corder, my kid, called me today and one of the most back door santa investigators that I had contacted in Moca got baptized on Saturday - a dude named Ramon Antonio. When I met him he had an awful foot infection and wasn't able to walk, but he always told us that he wanted to go to church. He then disappeared for about a month and came back to Moca with his leg cut off. We taught him a few more times but it seems that he had progressed a whole lot after I left. Elder Corder tambien me dijo que algunas otras personas se van a bautizar pronto ya, like Anthony. Soo dope that the seeds we planted are now being harvested!! I MISS MOCA!!

As I send at the beginning of this email I think that having focused more on God's love for his children allowed us to have miracles in our work. We are striving towards a few baptisms for the 28th. Please pray for Ronnie and Juan Alberto, also Yassenia su esposo and Yuesdires. I love this work and know that Cristo esta a la cabeza de esta obra!!

Hasta luego!!
Feliz dia de las Madres!
Elder Blake
Walking the campos de Bonao, con las vacas

This dude in a guaga had his fighting chicken, i asked him if I could hold it.

Comiendo cena con Juan Albeto.

In honor of Big Papi. Wall murals here are brutally ugly. Ill try to take some more pics

Elder Paulino y yo hicimos oreos fritos.

Con mangos!

I have Tevas haha

My comp and I