Elder Isaac Blake

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

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Lord works in mysterious ways. Working backwards:

Friday, had zone training. A really good meeting that helped me see my weaknesses but also gave me hope to overcome them ended with the package from Mrs. Jacobs and family! Thank you soooo much for your love! Thank you.

Sunday was insane. I was assigned to give a talk 20 mins before Sac meeting. Whipped up my message based on the feelings with me in that moment - the lack of observance/initiative by members to fellowship new non-members visiting as well as less-actives returning. I felt inspired to try and inspire with love instead of anything negative. I opened with an analogy about how coming or returning to Church is like the 1st day of school in Texas (elementary school of 1000) and your mom just throws you on a bus. It's terrifying, but a warm, loving teacher and class makes all the difference. Given my lack of notice, it wasn't that good and left me wishing for something more crisp, but I think they at least felt something with the analogy. 

We had our number one there, Miguel, but I very painfully stated how hard it is for 18-25 year old males to make someone new feel part of the gang. Made me really ache, and desire to change when I'm a civilian. Guys, please, BE A FRIEND. 

Anyways, my anguish led me to the Scriptures in the afternoon. I prayed: "Heavenly Father, what can I do to help them want to warmly welcome those that are new?" I just opened my LdM (Book of Mormon) randomly, and wow, guess where I open - Mosiah 18

 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people,and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mournyea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stanas witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrectionthat ye may have eternal life—

This is exactly what we members of the Church of Jesus Christ have covenanted to do. That's great, and will make all the difference if we live our covenants, but I left perplexed on my role as a facilitator, a missionary. Verse 7:

 And it came to pass after many days there were goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord.

Repentance, redemption (Atonement), and faith. The gospel is simple, but it changes human nature. I will preach these things. 

Don't have time to describe the first World Cup game - Dad was pretty much right. Nuts. We were still able to grab a taxi, but I'm sure as they advance it'll be harder. It sufficeth me to say that he really saddened me to arrive at a lesson at 9pm to see some investigators with all their vices on the table just being animal. Really hard for me to see that. I've changed a lot in terms of the environments I can withstand in 10 months. 

Ok, so here's the real locura. Transfers were last night. We arrive to see that I have been transferred after only 1 cambio in Oran. Wow. Talk about a side-swipe. 

Rosano and I were dumbfounded. He, perhaps more devastated than I. Man, I don't have the time nor the words to describe my feelings. I cried for leaving the apt, the people, but most of all, Elder Rosano. He's become one of my best friends, in just 6 weeks. We've been thru a lot together, and I just feel like our time got robbed. 

However, he said some really important things - 1) This must mean there's someone here in Alberdi Jujuy that really needs me. I never rebelled, even mentally, with this revelation from Pte. I KNOW the Lord directs this work, and I trust this is the best. It kills me to leave, with everything it implies. As Rosano played the same sad mourning song over and over, I packed my bags. Didn't sleep until the bus, around 3:30 am. I can't describe the love I feel for those I'm leaving, but it's a divine gift that I'm forever grateful for. 

At the terminal, Rosano pulled me aside. He said something really important - "Elder, success has nothing to do with anything besides how much you grow to love the people you serve." If it's true, and I believe it is, Í´m filled with hope that I'm a successful missionary. 

Time for a new chapter. Living 1 Nephi 16 here. Not comfortable, but will be worth it. Here I am with Elder Molina from Pereira, Colombia. He's in his last transfer. They baptized 4 on Saturday and there are more to come. 

Brig - don't be nervous. I just cried on the plane, nothing of nerves. If there's anything I've learned about sudden changes and the unknown, it's that speculation does nothing. I loved Elder Molina the second I heard his name.  It has to be that way - regardless, think it will be great, and thus it will be great.

Dad - you know I'm praying for you. You all know I'm praying for ALL of you.

I love you more than you know. I am changed everyday I serve, and wouldn't trade a day for anything else.
Love, Elder Blake

Thursday, June 12, 2014

5,000 words

Is that a crab??

Gift for my first convert
11 Letters in one day
this last one was 10 mins before we left for the cyber

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014


Sounds like we've had a fantastic week, everyone. 1st and foremost, CONGRATS to 52 with your call. Vamos a dominar al mundo juntos para siempre amigaso, hermanos festejando en lindo castellano y no tan lindo español dominicano, jajaja todo bien, cheeeeeeueeuuuuuuuu yeeeeee jajjjjj!

Whoa... Sorry. My email spanish kinda just crept out. Hahahaha thats how my papi from Mexico writes me via email. jajajajajaaj = hahahahaha in spanish.

But on a more serious note, seriously the best news ever, can't wait for these next life chapters, o ¿deberia decir, capitulos de la vida?

Ok, enough.

This week has seriously been one of the best of my mission, and stretching a bit, maybe my life. I'll try and work forwards. Tuesday morning, had a quick doctors apt in the neighborhood in the north zone of Oran, where Antonio´s sister lives. Not really sure why I hadn't been feeling more initiative before to visit her, but decided we'd go out of our way to hunt her down. After walking a million miles in the wrong direction, we found his ex-partners house.The first person we talked to in the vicinity of his address knew him. I asked for "Pambola," his street name. She laughed and pointed us to his old shack. Well, his ex partner was really bitter, rightfully so, for his alcoholic past damage. I told her with I the love I could transmit that he's getting better and wants to turn his life around. We walked 2 blocks and found his sister, where he's stayed up here when he's come to visit. His sister said he hasn't been up since I've been here, but we left our number and she'll call when he makes it up. At one point when we walked the wrong way, apparently to his address, I thought I'd lost him. When we finally found his sister, it hit me how inspired our leaders are, given the transfer to this area thanks to my Pres. We live literally 6 blocks away. 

Wed was Zone Conf. Wow. An incredible experience. The Levrinos started normally and we did some practices and training for a few hours. After the 2nd break (conferences are 8 hours straight), Pres turned off the lights and they spun a slide show. Very uncharacteristic of him, given his deep voice, very demanding style, the video was tender and real. They showed pics of their 3 year mission, and the words talked about the trajectory of a missionary and about how this experience is really about prepping for life and a family. Hahahaha, very trunky-inducing, which also surprised me. Anyways, the change of character was a really pleasant surprise. I felt LOVED, and there were few dry eyes. 

Apart from the goodbyes, I felt that the training was directed right at me. All in all, a dope conference. 

Implementing changes (minor) in the work, we saw some incredible tender mercies and miracles. 

Thursday, we got out to work around 6. We were looking to contact a referral around 8, and we knocked on the wrong door. We realized as we approached, but decided to knock anyways. Wow. Out comes a family with their moto, and they don't sound very interested. However, they insisted that we just walk in and talk with their 26 year old son. We go in a meet Miguel A. He was stabbed in the rib cage last week by the dude down the street (turns out to be the referral we were looking for) and shows us his stitches. Hard core. He'd been living in Bolivia for a few months, and he found the Church there thru his aunt. Turns out he did a lot of repenting from the past life when he was the guy doing the stabbing, and was about to get baptized up there. He was planning to come here for just a few days, but he got stabbed his 1st day, and he's now staying indefinitely. We had an incredibly powerful 1st lesson. He asked, "This guy that stabbed me... Do I have to forgive him?" We testified that God forgives, and that Jesus died for the sins of the world. It was incredible. 

Friday, we taught 9 lessons and found 16 new investigators, including 4 families. The standard of excellence for the WEEK is 10 new investigators. I was gassed from feeling the Spirit and seeing the hand of the Lord so much, including when my comp grabbed my arm and pulled me out of a contact when he saw a guy next to us flash us his pistol he had tucked in his pants. 

Sunday morning, Miguel A. was up and ready to go to church when we stopped by at 8:30. He's got a date to be baptized within the next 2 Saturdays, depending on how things shake out. Miracles happen. 

Sunday in Church, I bore my testimony. I tried to follow Elder Bednar's council on the difference between a testimony and your life story. I started by saying,, "Sé qué Dios obra y habla por medio de sus líderes del Sacerdocio." I said so with my many experiences of the week in mind, the many ways I saw Him work through other people, especially with Brigham's Spanish speaking mission call. I let the Spirit guide, and I ended up testifying of everything 'True to the Faith' says are the key elements of a testimony. I testifed from what I know however, not just what the Church says I should know. I'm grateful for my testimony.

Gotta run. Dad - brush up on your español. Brigham, don't remember what the app is called - its a green bird thing. However, the number 1 advice I'd give is to start reading El Libro de Mormon. I started late, about a month into the CCM. It'll be tough at the start, but what I did and still do for my language study is read, with an English copy opened, and write a list of every word I don't know. I'm finishing Éter now, and read fluidly with very few unknown words in each chapter. 

Someone in the MTC who was learning Tongan (s/o Gpa Donkey Wonkey, WAY harder than Spanish) said that if you stick with the BoM in your mission language, you'll be able to Preach the Gospel from day 1. I agree. 

THANK YOU, everyone, for your letters and your love. Just opened 11 letters this morning. the Apr 28 fhe all got here the same day. I love you all so much. 

Elder (Isaac) Blake
PS - No pictures this week because the computer I'm using doesn't have a USB port.

May 26, 2014

Hey fam,
1st of all, just wanna let ya'll know how blessed I feel to be able to communicate with you all this week, to see some pics, read your words, and feel your love. We are very blessed.
This week was full of miracles, and I would like to recount a few. I am very inspired by the movie 17 Miracles, which we got to see in a "Branch Home Evening" last night. It shook me, and I left feeling, more than anything, humbly grateful. I would recommend it to ALL who read this.
We met a family my first day here, 3 weeks ago, that is really good. We committed them to come to church, but for 2 weeks that made excuses and never showed up. It's been tough to find them at home, but we caught Viviana and Graciela, the mother and a daughter about 18, Wednesday or so. We've seen them as not so steady, but with a lot of potential. We committed them again, and Gr. said firmly, "Yes, I'm going. Not sure about them, but I'll be there." Mom, not so firm. Anyways, I honestly didn't think much of it. So many people say whatever thing they think we want to hear, and very few come thru. Well, Sunday at District Conf (like Stake Conf), we saw her there, in the 3rd row or so, already sitting with a member fam. She has one side of her head shaved with stars in it, and this kinda style makes most 18 year old girls way too shy to show up to a wierd new church on their own. I gained a lot of respect for her, and think it shows a lot about her desire to change.
My Desk
The parents of a 12 year old recent convert are opening up. Cl. has plenty of problems with alcohol and other women, but Ro. says he's seen a lot of progress in these months. According to him, Friday night was a huge breakthru, in which we invited him to sit down a few minutes at his moms house and listen to a scripture and prayer. He's always refused, but he stayed. He's thinking a lot about the things he wants to change, even if he doesn't show it.
Finally, another dude C., who we finally grabbed, gave a great prayer in a lesson and showed a lot of humility, something not so common these days. He said he's gonna start using his few vacation days to get off work to come to Church. He prayed for strength to give up drinking, smoking, and coca (kinda like dip), and I felt the Spirit strongly.

With reference to my subject, hahaha the weather has actually gotten pretty cold these last few days. It's nothing you all would get bundled up for, but we're not used to it (I haven't had a cold day in over 13 months). Whipped out a dope peacoat I bought at an american fair (J. Crew for 80 pesos). With the drop in temperature, we're all (the apt, us 4) going through various degrees of cold and flu symptoms. Nothing to fret about, just the little molestias of life.
(L to R) Elders Rosano, Mahowski (bosshog), and Blake. Happy Birthday Robin, this was for you

I know the Church is true. Prayers are answered. I can't describe how grateful I feel to wear the name of Jesus Christ on my chest, next to my own name. I can't comprehend His suffering, all for us. I owe Him everything, and I hope to some how return at least a bit by way of a life dedicated to service, Christlike service.

Love you all,

Elder Blake