Elder Isaac Blake

Elder Isaac Blake
Email: isaac.blake@myldsmail.net

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 25, 2013

Salutations fam and friends

wow this keyboard stinks. excuse all errors

bueno I'll start with logistics:

abso no snacks to carry - nuts etc. are super expensive. I eat mad fresh fruit tho tha makes me trunky for Gpa Bringhurst's garden. Garden stands n every corner hook me up good and cheap.

Dad - not sure if you still have a red sox 04 WS shirt but I'd love if you could hold onto it if so.

Brig/Mom - could you beg Coach D for my white 40 jersey (the old ones now I guess). That would mean the world

I'm still not getting Coop or Nate's emails

Oh yeah, please send pics of the Thanksgiving game - 52 keep your head up and be a leader!

ALso for all, I can only view photos in .jpg

sports updates are perfect, Dad


Great to hear from ya'll this week!! Had kinda a tough week numbers wise but there's plenty of silver linings. A couple of pretty sure baptisms rejected us but our 2 for the next two weeks came to church and brought their families. One single mom made it thanks to the Spanish persuasion skills of ya boy (Went on splits with a member and I didn't really understand her - just said "bueno, vamonos"). Carlos Espinosa's lined up for Sat and his wife who we just met a few weeks down the road. The other is Anabel. Pray for them.

Random tidbits: Gratitude (s.o. Mrs. Pich). About the closest I could describe the rivalry between the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses here would be Wellesley-Needham. Not even close to good old Turkey Day but I take what I can get. Anyways, despite this rivalry, a TJ woman shared a facebook quote with us: "What if you only had tomorrow what you thanked God for today?" Let's just say I've been praying a little longer these last few nights. 

I recently found a sick scrip that I carry around on my agenda now: Alma 37:16. It captures everything we need to be successful - obedience to the commandments, action based on them, PRAYER = "no power of earth or hell can take them from you."

Whatever's on your plate, I dare you to try this out. Forget your preconceptions surrounding religion. I promise success. 

Concerning CR/MAs (less actives etc in Spanish) - in fact, your wisdom Mom is something I've been thinking lately. It is in reality tough to focus on them b/c almost all the numbers focus on baptisms. However, we're doing it anyway. I've seen a number of families return to church these past 7 weeks, and I can tell you the future is bright. Every soul is precious!

S/o Noah - Bro, I periodically think about you and how much of a boss you are. I know we didn't have the greatest relationship, but I love you and really know you have GREAT things in store for you. You remind me a lot of myself, and I LOVE hearing about your triumphs. S/o to Keir too. 

Don't have much else to share - trying (and improving) on keeping "an eye single to the glory of God" and the work improves too. Estoy rey contento.  


Elder Blake

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013


I don't want to refrain from communicating to allll of my family, but I'll change it up a little bit. om - this should be a little more what you're looking for, but you should still sent it to all.

Lamentably, I don't have a profound message this week. I'll defer to copy/paste some BoM scrips I found yesterday that perfectly sum up how I feel;

 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the atrump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and acome unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.
 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.
 Now, seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to aperform the work to which I have been called?
Asi es. I still struggle with stray thoughts, but we're having success and when we work, I just wanna drive the Sequoia down 95 bumping with my boys. However, for now why should I do anything more than "perform that work to which I have been called?"


Now on a day like today with a ton of great letters, thats dang freakin tough. Thoughts:

Happy b-day Tim!!!!! Loved the description of your team obstacle course. Sounds dope.

Brian - doesnt surprise me at all that the Panthers are "suddenly good." 2 words - number 59. Brig can agree with me (and of course Pich), Luke Keuchly is a BEAST. And Shark, you know I'd kill to be watching the Pats and Bs tonight in the Cave. 

Go freakin Raiders. You're killing me Mom - you left the recap to come from Dad's second hand account!!! Still, I LOVE to hear about the personal and team triumphs. I'm super happy for John Fadule and Dziama, the two stars that you mentioned. Oh how I wish I could be home to watch the Rockets shot down at the Swamp. 

PLEASE SEND PICS of some game action!!

As for me, today is the first day of transfer #2. As Shark put it, I'm one lap down in my 2 mile tryout for life. I can hear Magpiong screaming in my ear something about it being hard, and I can also see Matty being a hardo already on lap 5, steal sprinting. I think I even saw him rip his shirt off and flex his six pack. 

Pertaining to other trunky references from that past few weeks' letters: I can't wait to go to Barca with you Matt, I'm certainly planning to organize a trip to the Big House in 2015 when BYU comes to town, obviously I need to go to a game at Lambeau, and Dad & Noah - camping is weirdly one of the things I miss. Lucky. Loved the candid excerpt from Keir.

Anyways, transfer 2. The other missionaries tell me the 1st two in the field are super slow, but that the rest FLY. For now, let's hope so. This transfer has felt like literally 6 years. They tell me the mission is their home and they want nothing to do with their real home. I look at them and tell them they're crazy, in English-to be super clear. If there¡s one personal thing being this disconnected from home has taught me, its just how much I really LOVE all of you. Love gets tossed around too lightly. I've taken a lot of you for granted. Boy, I can't wait to see you all again.

Shoot, this is exactly the kind of stuff that I referred to last week as my weapons. I'm gonna bury them and focus on these next 21 months.

Right now, my biggest personal struggle exists in my relationships with other missionaries. My whole life I've feared that anything even a little direct or bold would offend someone else. Its hard to describe, but I've often sacrificed personal comfort for fear of speaking up and quizas offending. Well, this is still a problem. And guess what, its 5 times as hard to be direct and chose the right words in Spanish... 

Never fear. I've made it a goal to work on and I'm improving. Basically, I've had some small issues with Elder Ramirez doing too much of the teaching in lessons. I'm fully confident in my ability to communicate to the investigators, but his speed and lack of pauses make it tough to involve myself while not making it seem like I'm snatching every second of silence to get my words in. 

Everything's all good in Limache (note the spelling Mom lol). We baptized 3/6 weeks this transfer (Victoria finally got dunked!). I made fresh squeezed OJ, which is a killer game changer. That reminds me Dad - 

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, sauteed spinach, onions, green peppers, and grilled chicken. Chef Sack serving up a mean helping of protein every dang day. 

Lunch: Giant meal with a member. Some assortment of chicken, rice, pasta, milanesa. Had my first Auth Argentine Asado to round out the tranfer. The old Bishop, B. Flores (bosshog) cooked it up

Dinner: doesn't exist. You know those pics of people after they take a diet pill on TV? That's me with my suit pants. I'll wait until they're clown pants to snap a pic. I'm just getting started.

Had no clue there was inflation. Good on money (i think). No clue on my visa. I'm under the impression that its a non issue.

EVERYONE - I'd love any quantity of appropriate pics sent my way! I can download them on my camera.

Signing off

Love y'all

Go Raiders
Go Pats
Go Bs
Gang Love

Elder Blake

Lion King on in an investigators house (for Matt of course)

Me reinacting the best scene with our boy from Blok 3 - shawty

Friday, November 15, 2013


Alma 24:17-18

17 And now it came to pass that when the king had made an end of these sayings, and all the people were assembled together, they took their swords, and all the weapons which were used for the shedding of man’s blood, and they did abury them up deep in the earth.
 18 And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they anever would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching andbcovenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would cgive up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.

This might be my favorite scripture right now. I'll get straight to the point. We all have a lot of weapons - temptation, shortcomings, vices etc. - things that impede us from reaching our divine potential. Essentially, we concede to these things, accepting (knowingly or not) a life of mediocrity compared to what we could be. My weapons are my thoughts. My frickin, wild running thoughts. As I've mentioned before, I walk in silence a lot. Thus, I often think about the Gang, my family, BYU, the life I want to live, etc. It's easy, but it serves no purpose. Whatever your weapons might be, search them out. Let's bury them together.

I've been trying really hard to control my thoughts, thinking only in the missionary work here in Limache. 2 days this week, we worked so hard that I hardly thought about anything else. The other 5 were to some degree or another, mediocre. 

Another thing I tend to do a lot is compare myself to other people. In the mission, I tend to hear about another missionary's success and baptisms, and bust myself up over not being on the same level. This is a weapon. However, in the mission and in life, we often compare ourselves to other good, sometimes great people, and concede a habit or justify a vice that they do, thinking "hey, this highly respected person doesn't do this, and he's doing great. I don't need to do that either." Essentially, we take the example of someone else settling for less than greatness, and justify our own concessions. What seems to be a plague in la Mision Argentina Salta is missionaries settling for good numbers, accepting that greatness cannot be achieved, and often times even counseling other younger missionaries that it is impossible to supersede such "standards of excellence." This debilitating cycle destroys faith, which makes failure inevitable.

I believe to overcome the harsh effects our weapons can have on others and others on ourselves in terms of reaching our potential, is to disregard almost completely the achievements and let downs of others. Obviously there are exceptions, but I've found that if we have faith in ourselves and focus on our own personal improvement, anything is possible. 

I haven't even begun to touch on the beautiful writing that Alma uses to summarize the interactions between brothers. If you know me, you know the word 'brother' carries enormous weight and value in my life. I have more than 4 brothers. When I read verse 18, I immediately think of the Gang. It's not like we're actually a gang and have shed the blood of anyone else (literally, that is - we've wreaked plenty of havoc and left our mark in other ways) or ever needed to literally give our lives up for one another. However, the sentiment of selflessness is there. Rather than take from a brother, I will give.

The recipe - Sacrifice, Selflessness, and Work. Simple, yet profound.

New Friend (still not Finn)

Speaking of work, here's a day in the life of Elder Blake (No down time, Matt):

7-7:30 - get after it with some pushups/pullups
7:30-8:30 - shower and eat some eggs (I'm getting jacked)
8:30-9:30 - Personal study (BoM)
9:30-1 - Get after it in the streets. Teach lessons. 
1-2 - Giant lunch with/made by a member
2-3 - Comp study
3-4 - Spanish study
4-9:30 - More getting after it. Only now, we're fighting the siesta. Everyone is fricken asleep until 7
9:30-11 Plan, journal, hit the sack

S/O to the Magpiong family - stinks to hear about Jane's situation. You're in my prayers.

Logistics Mom - 

Email>Handwritten Letter>DearElder - I PRINT MY EMAILS. Please write all you can. Dear Elders take a fricken thousand years to arrive for some reason. I'd love to see the handwriting of my favorite people though.

I have good sunscreen but I'd love a few sticks of our go-to face sunscreen
Love the letters - Dad send me all the talks you can. Super happy for Noah and the babysitting. Noah - SAVE YOUR MONEY! The things you'll buy right now will end up becoming trash pretty soon. Save it!

Love ya'll

Elder Blake
Kinda embarrassed I forgot to mention we baptized this bro named Emmanuel (16). Bosshog (has a mini mullet too)

Evolution of a Dope Sunset

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013


Almost all of my favorite movies, tv shows, and books (of old, but then again, the Good Book and the LdM  too), are centered around the theme of good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, joy vs. pain, faith vs. despair. A huge part of my life - sports - and specifically football, revolves around this struggle as well. Guess what, the mission is too. Life is this way. 

I can hear the voices of Coaches Magpiong and Davis screaming in my ear the word "adversity." Every day, walking these streets of good ol Argentina, I can hear them yelling this word. It's a condition in which sports are arguably the ultimate teacher. I can't express enough my gratitude for the lessons I´ve learned about handling adversity from sports, and specifically from these two fine coaches, BEFORE entering the real world. 

The conclusion I'm continuing to reach, both from practical experience and accounts in the Book of Mormon, is that the only true counter to adversity is faith. Faith is the belief in things not seen. Faith breeds and implies work. Faith without works is dead. The Red Sox survived and ultimately triumphed in 2004 riding the wave of faith. Keep the Faith. It sounds like they just barely finished doing the exact same thing. (Reading the account of the celebration from my boy Matty O was heartbreakingly awesome. Oh how I'd love to have seen Jonny Gomes place the trophy at the Marathon finish line.) Faith is the reason we beat Natick last year. One year ago yesterday is a day I'll forever remember. The week leading up to it, the morning of the game, obviously tearing my ACL too, were all different. Faith fueled the fire. 

The thing with faith is that it's freakin hard to harness all the time. There will always be demons of adversity laboring to destroy our faith. Una pelea de la mente. At times, it's easy to see the hope on the horizon and keep pressing on, but at other times its pretty darn easy to feel you're going no where but down. 

Another hard thing about maintaining faith is that we often wait for a tragedy, a misstep, or for the clouds to weigh down a little too much, to exercise our faith. We let something like the Marathon fiasco be the source that pushes us. This is great. Produces results too. But the next season, or the next go round, that foundation is gone. 

We need to plant our seeds of faith in something simple, true, and concrete. Provide your faith with plenty of room to establish firm roots for those tough times. Then, nurture it. Feast upon the words of Christ, serve others, go out and let your faith be tested! Members of the church will recognize this metaphor straight from the Book of Mormon. Others that are not members can marvel at the beautiful, simple advice. Faith requires foundation, effort, and patience, just like a tree. It's not gonna sprout from a seed to a tall oak in a day. However, there are people that have come before us,  from whom we can learn and adapt our trees of faith around. 

The ultimate message of hope that we can take from this understanding of faith is that the potential of your faith is infinite, and thus your potential as a human being and a son or daughter of God is infinite. As we strive to improve every day, we arrive that much closer to perfection, to a firm, tall oak. 

This past week, our faith took a pretty big one, two punch. Friday night, Maximileano - one of our best investigators (Baptismal Date = Nov. 16)- got sent to jail. Again. He had just barely done a 10 year stint. We don't really know anything else. Also, Victoria, our golden investigator, sent us a text the morning of her baptism: "Don't come to my house anymore. I'll find you and return the Book of Mormon." Nothing more. We still haven't been able 
to track her down, and we still have no clue what happened. 

It was hard to take. Not terribly, however, because of our somewhat young oaks of faith. Control what you can control, trust in God, and WORK. That's the recipe. That's faith. Granted, I sound a lot more accomplished/wise than I really am. I know the recipe, but I sure don't follow it all the time. The invitation is out there for all of us. Plant the seed, water it, and patiently watch your faith, and thus happiness and satisfaction, grow. We learn from Nephi that perspective can give us a much needed boost, but even this motivation isn't enough: " 50 And I said unto them: aIf God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
 51 And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannotainstruct me, that I should build a ship?" (1 Nephi 17)  I personally marvel and am even a bit jealous of this incredible faith. Today, the invitation is to look at your problems in the perspective of the universe. Realize that God can do ANYTHING, and wants to do anything for us, His children. The deciding factor, that which bridges the gap, is our faith. Regardless of the condition of your oak tree, I challenge you and I to trust in God today to help us with our tasks. The promise, contingent on our faith, is that we will be able to build a boat. (read the link) Maybe not today, but as we nourish the faith, the boat will slowly take form. Dare to be great. Have faith that your potential is infinite. I know yours is. Godspeed.

Go Sox. I was teased and tormented Monday night in the home of a less active family as they flipped through the tv channels and stopped at Game 5 for a brief moment. The tv literally felt like a window to my old life. Oh well. Mas tarde.

Congrats to the Raiders despite a tough loss. Season ain't over yet tho. Beat Needham.

I'm so super lucky to have all of you as my support. As I sometimes long for what once was and what will be, I think about the promises of the glory of Heaven, and the Celestial Kingdom specifically. The ultimate promise is that we can live with our families forever in a perfected, exalted state. We often diminish the value of the word forever. I think everyone of my friends that wrote me this week included this sentiment in one form or another. Forever is truly remarkable, and undoubtably is a part of true glory. I can't imagine just how blissful this will be, but I have to believe it will include you friends (Gang Love) (and football). 

Happy B-Day Ned. You were in my dream the night before 11/3. We balled up hard.

I am seriously homesick for New England's four seasons. I'm done with 100 degree Halloweens (not big at all. The young changitos run around but there's hardly anything different. I got the idea that there's a lot of evil associated with it here. The members were surprised that we have halloween parties at the church). Although ya'll may hate the 5pm darkness and being able to see your breath, I'm convinced it's all about juxtaposing the warmth and brightness of summer. Be grateful. I miss it. 

Tim and Shark - you already know I only rock the Birkenstocks every freakin day. I miss the Cave, Shark, Finn, the whole crew a ton. To my pleasant surprise, I even found some of Finn's hairs stuck in the sole. Kinda gross, but my sentimental side kicked in and made me love them that much more. 

Shout out to the Bill family. You're in my prayers, especially Alex. Stay strong, and know you're very loved. 

Mom, I truly did laugh out loud at the stories of the 1%-ers etc. Brigham is spot on. A Toyota is a luxury vehicle in my neighborhood. Everyone drives stick. Quite a few people drive (the sickest) 50 year old trucks that I think Grandpa Bringhurst probably drove. It's evident that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears have gone into preserving the same mode of transportation between generations. Finally, its a common occurence to see a young family of 4 crammed on a little moped like Evan Callahan's. Apparently in Tucuman they can fit up to 7. I'm so grateful for the Sequoia. You better never sell it! We're truly blessed, tempororally of course, but more than anything spiritually. 

Don't know which pics are which but heres the scoop. 
Cute Pastor Ademan puppy is dope, but nothing like Finn. 
They serve Gatorade in glass bottle and 10 year old logos here. 

Went ahead and bought my own knife - ain't nobody messing with me now. Don't worry. The knife and slingshot are basically just manifestations of my childhood in Texas that were dirt cheap so I had to buy them of course. 
Finally, the clouds/mountains here are sooooooooo sweet. Anna's camera doesn't do them much justice though. 

Finally, Christmas package list:
1. Tons of family pics etc. printed out
2. Contacts - send the ones you ordered
3. PLEASE try and gather as much football film as you can from my 4 years in HS. Jim Sarni and Coach Davis and the Wellesley Channel probably. Obviously don't send them but I don't want to run out of time
4. Handwritten testimonies from Mom, Dad, and the Grandparents (individually would be great)
5. A Quarter from 1994
6. Calendar with pics of Wellesley or Boston (4 seasons)
7. Mini foam roller - ask Jesse Dimick
8. BBQ chicken rub
9. .20 mm architect pens, black ink (2 or 3)

Cranberry/dark chocolate trail mix
Annie Shells
Homemade food
pen drive w/ contemporary style church music
peanut butter

Sorry to everyone I didn't get a chance to write today. I'm already over an hour O.o
Elder Blake