Elder Isaac Blake

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

Monday, May 19, 2014

News from Oran

Hey Fam,
Pretty good week. I'll work backwards. Yesterday, I gave a 15 min talk in Church (found out Sat.) and also taught Gospel Principles (found out 5 mins before the class started). Both were in Spanish (just to clear things up if Brigham thought his assignments were burdensome or fastidous). In the MTC, I learned the meaning of one of my favorite scrips, DyC 6:36 - "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." Preparation is the key. I felt pretty prepared for my talk, in which I discussed how faith and repentance, gospel principles we often overlook, are the key for overcoming the natural man that tries to undercut our effectiveness as disciples of Christ (get off our butts and put our shoulder to the wheel aka stop making excuses). I think a lot about the excuses I hear others make, and how I can avoid making them. I decided I'd better not quote Coach Davis in Sacrament Meeting, but I imagine you might appreciate one of my favorite quotes: "Excuses are like buttholes; everyone has them, and they all STINK." (Please excuse my language).
Let's all put in the due preparation and strive to be better people.
On Sat, we had a great baptism. 22 year-old Daniel. He's good friends of a recently returned missionary, Dante. Dante invited him to church a few months back, and Daniel had been looking all over for the truth. He found it. For me, the highlight was seeing Dante and Danny hug in the font, right after Danny was baptized. The baptisms I've had the priveledge of seeing always put a big smile on my face.
As for the rest of the week, I learned some valuable lessons about obedience and the value of our time. I'm still learning, and striving to overcome the natural man in me. I know without a doubt that, like Elder Ainge said a few weeks back, the key to success is obedience and diligence. I revel and struggle in living another favorite quote from Elder Bednar (paraphrased), "What we know isn´t always reflected in what we do."
As for some tidbits to finish up - Feliz cumpleaƱos Dad and Brigham! I'll be thinking of you Friday and Saturday. Live it up.
We're working on tracking Antonio's sister down - she lives only about 10 mins from our apt, but in the area of the sisters in the other Branch. Trying to carve some time out to visit her.
Mom - send lots of pics, for there is a great place to print pics here in our neighborhood. Also, my address is:
B` San Martin
C` Arenales 934
I'd research how to format the rest, but we live in the Ciudad de Oran, Provincia Salta.
Send me a test or two.
Love you all a ton. Live the Gospel, and don't forget the little things! OLA (read, pray, go to church).
Love, Elder Blake

3rd pic is Elder Mahowsky, from Chile. He's in his 2nd transfer, an lives in the apt. The definition of BOSS. Brigham, you'd love him.

Monday, May 12, 2014

What a pleasure it was to see your faces yesterday! It feels like yesterday was Christmas and tomorrow will be my birthday, that's how fast the time goes. Honestly I don't really know what much more there is to say. I suppose I can give you a quick low down on the area and my new comp, Elder Rosano. I'm still meeting people and covering the terrain.
Oran is a smaller city than Salta, but I'd say cozy and pretty dang cool. Elder Rosano is an electric, motivated veteran, who goes home in 3 months. I should be finishing him off. I couldn't be more grateful for him - in one week I've seen so many little things that he does that I can improve and will make me a great missionary. He helps me see my room to grow. 

I think what I've learned/seen in him can basically be summed up with DyC 11:21

21 Seek not to declare my wordbut first seek to obtain my word,and then shall your tongube loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.

Rosano is a native of Uruguay and speaks impeccable Spanish. After suffering a blow to my Castillian progress after 4 months with a gringo, we're back to getting after it. He is willing to correct my every little mistake, and is especially helping me to literally loose my stubborn, white boy tongue (still can't roll my rs). 

He also really knows his scriptures - he's always quoting scrips from the Bible and the BoM, which he attributes to much study throughout his mission. 

When I asked him what he thinks has been the key to success, he said it's been doing things out of love he has for the people. 

This is my newly renewed vision, to live DyC 11:21. I can see and feel the "power of God unto the convincing of men" in my comp, and I aspire to such a level of performance. 

The branch is really strong here. We consistently bring people to church. The members and investigators (there are a ton of part-member families) love us alike. I already have secret handshakes with all of the primary kids, many of whom have gotten baptized in the last year or so. 

I'll end with a cool experience we had the other day. We found a new family of 5 who after an initial and powerful visit with the mom and 2 daughters, convinced their dad to come listen. We taught them outside their wood shack until it got too dark to read, helping them understand the Restoration of the Gospel and the importance of Joseph Smith and the Priesthood. I touched on the Apostasy and set Rosano up to recount the 1st vision. What happened next I didn't realize until afterwards, and didn't think much of it. He says the first line, slowly, and clearly. However, he stops, and basically says to us all, "Ok, this is really important, I want to make sure we're all paying special attention." He then goes on to finish. The Spirit was really strong and I left feeling edified. 

As we are walking, he says to me, "Did you realize what happened?" "No." 

He goes on to tell me that as he said the first line, some dark, evil feeling came over him. He said he couldn't speak. Not that he forgot the words or literally couldn't open his mouth, but that for some reason, he just couldn't. He regrouped and told me he started to pray, really hard. As he said (in his head) "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen," he said the presence was lifted and was able to finish. 

Obviously a good part of you will recognize the special significance of what happened. I know that Satan is real and is strong, but I also know that Jesus is real and is stronger. My testimony is stronger than it's ever been, but like big Robin (Dad) once told me, I feel like the stronger it gets, the more I feel like there's room to grow. Luckily for me (maybe not for Mom), I still have 15 months. The opportunity to serve the Lord full-time is incredible. My cup surely runneth over. 

Love thy neighbor, and love God. 

Fight on,
Elder Blake

​Ald's brother in Limache
Me and big A after I told him about Oran ( a lot of tears)
Us with the Bishop and his fam (bosshog)
  Mon, May 12, 2014 at 10:33 AM, Isaac Blake <isaac.blake@myldsmail.net> wrote:


Monday, May 5, 2014

Amazing Answer to Prayer


I've got about 30 mins to write you here. Forgive the locura, the craziness. I've got so much to tell. I'm uploading a ton of pics. Here goes. 

So in the afternoon last Monday, we got the tragic news that a 9year old girl in the ward was hit by a car and killed. The next day, we had her funeral service. She and her family were baptized last year, and are the epitome of humble. I sent a handwritten letter with Elder Durrant, my dl (district leader) that dies today (that means it's his last day on the mission), that should get to you in a week or two.  It has all the details and my fresh thoughts.  Share what you find appropriate. 

Details: we will be calling by skype around 3:30 Salta time, which means you'll have to miss Sacrament Meeting I think, if that's ok. I'll send the call and we'll have 40 mins. 

Alright, so this week in prep for my potential departure, we've been forewarning some dear friends. Antonio hasn't been doing too well lately, he got kicked out of his sisters house and he's really struggling with his vice. We met with him Tuesday and Saturday. We never know where we're going, so we told him it could be anywhere. He's from Oran, a smaller city 4 hours north of Limache/Salta capital. We told him it was a slim possibility. Obviously, we were just planning for me to leave too. Well, like the dope dude he is, he gets to praying that I'll go to Oran. 

Had a great exp Saturday convincing Rom. Cor. to go thru with her baptism. She's kinda shy and told us she wanted to push it back. With great help from the Spirit, we saw her overcome her fears and decide to do it. Like MLK said, "you are the channel, not the source." I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost, and the service was great. 

Sunday after her confirmation, we got news from our WML (Ward Mission Leader) that both of us were getting shipped out of Limache. He thought we knew, and he'd received a tip from Pres. We thought he was maybe joking, but he showed us a text from Pres. We then got a call a few hours later from the ZLs (zone leaders) around 4pm, giving us extra time to pack and clean. "Elders, we're sending Sisters to take over Limache. Elder H is going to Tucuman, and Elder Blake............"


"Are you kidding?"

Man. We get to Antonio´s and don't say anything, just ask him to say the prayer. He says something like "Lord, bless my friend to go to Oran. I beg you, and call upon your most high grace. Amen"

I say, "Antonio, I'm going to Oran"

Man. God answers humble prayers. He cried and cried, because of the uncertainty, more than anything because he's losing us both. I've got his address and will be on the lookout here in Oran.

Julia here:  just so you can get an idea of the significance of this, there are probably between 40 and 50 areas Isaac could have been sent.  The odds of him going to Oran were that slim.

The afternoon was crazy bittersweet. I LOVE Limache. I'm gonna miss the people sooooo much, especially Ald. and Ga.. We had a great time with them and the Fl., a rock of a fam, then ended with Cor.. It's been an incredible 7 months there, and I've learned sooo much. I gave thanks to our HF (Heavenly Father) for 15 mins last night.

Hahaha we cleaned like crazy last night till 2 am, got up at 6 and left for the terminal. Ald´s Dad gave us a lift in a really old 5 seater. We had our 4 suitcases, and hahahah man the trunk didn't close. Ald´s dad put mine on top of Herms' and just said "I'm gonna drive really slow so it doesn't fall." No belt or anything to tie it down. I prayed the whole ride, and everything was great. 

The new apt is dope. My comp is Elder Rosano from Uruguay. He has 3 months left, so it looks like I'm gonna kill him (be his last companion). He's great; really upbeat and positive. You'll get the lowdown Sunday

I know the Church is true, that God lives and loves, and that the Book of Mormon is true. I love you all so much. Amidst the Fridays, Sunday will come.

Love, Elder Blake