Elder Isaac Blake

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

First Week in Tucuman


Had a great week here in Parque Guillermina - gonna spit out a ton of things in probably no apparent order.

My compa is Elder Philpot from Glendale/Phx AZ. He's got 6 months in the mission. He's dope - hasn't had a lot of success with his 1st 2 comps but has learned a lot and luckily (thank heavens) already speaks Spanish like a pro - saves me a lot of headaches and time. We've been talking a lot about what we'll do to have success, given that we'll have probably little time together (this is still his 1st area) and our area has a TON of potential. Our members are fantastic - they want to go out and teach with us, they want to feed us lunch etc. Couldn't ask for more from them. The area geographically speaking is humongous - we walk a lot (yes! I was getting kinda fat in Jujuy). There are richer parts and poorer parts - we stick mostly to the more humble.

Tucuman is a really big city - much bigger than Salta or Jujuy. We're on the outskirts but there's still much traffic. You won't really care because you don't know life down here, but get this! In our area (our area alone, not just zone or city) there is a McDonalds!! That is incredible. Unheard of in the mission. There's also a Walmart somewhere here in Tucuman. This area is kinda spooky in some parts - almost feels like we're in the US. I don't like it, but it's a good spin. We're called Guillermina Park because there's a huge park in our area - something like Central Park but obviously smaller. Adds to the US feel. 

Alright, so I've got 6 minutes. Not sure exactly what else to add. We live the 2 of us in a big apartment - a good change of pace from the zoo in Jujuy with some other locos. We're working on a few families to baptize at the end of Nov - we're gonna focus on fellowshiping and testimonio because they will do just about anything we teach them, at least for now. A really tough challenge here - retention. We don't wanna baptize just to put some numbers down on paper - we wanna bless these people and save them - pray for us, and especially pray for the sisters in my district.

I know the Church is true and that this work is true! Love you all, keep fighting, keep praying!

Elder Blake

Monday, October 20, 2014

Heading to Parque Guillermina, Tucuman

Hey fam and friends,

Yesterday was Mother's Day here in Argentina! Happy day mom, I love you a lot. I threw you a shout - out in my testimony yesterday. I killed the hymns, including a final rendition of "Para siempre Dios este con vos - God be with you." More than anything it was for Elder Villanueva who ends his mission today, but we could also sense that perhaps I'd get transferred. And it came to pass...

I'm about to head to the bus terminal to catch a double decker to... Parque Guillermina, Tucuman. I'll be working with Elder Philpot from Arizona (about 6 months in the mission). I'm pumped! Tucuman is supposedly a crazy province with a lot of theives, motos loaded with families of 6, and a lot of humid heat. I doubt it's as bad as the DR tho...

Elder Cowan is heading to Salta, the zone where I started. He's gonna have the task of lifting up a battered zone, he and another Elder are whitewashing the previous ZLs. Pumped for him to meet my converts. 

Yesterday, kinda anticipating the transfer, I said goodbye to some people here, mainly the Brajeda family (see pics). Leo was my first convert with Elder MiƱo and without a doubt one of the most converted people I've ever met. He has turned his life around completely, and he says he owes a lot to the fact that Elder Molina and I contacted him in the street 3 months ago. The rest is history! He ran with it and since then, his 2 sisters got baptized, as well as 2 friends that he baptized on Saturday! So yesterday, he made us a cake and we had a good time together, We even went out one last time to teach the Gospel to a neighbor!

Saturday, Maxi and Ramiro got baptized. Love these 2 kids, especially Maxi - he's a boss. Very shy and quiet, but in the month we've known him, he's opened up quite a bit. I'm gonna miss him a lot. Fun side note - he was born on May 24 of 1996! (Brigham's exact birthdate)

Thursday it was freakin hot - they said it reached 42 Celsius (not sure what that is in Fahrenheit), but it felt like 110. The worst part? We forgot to pay the electricity bill and they cut the service in the AM. We ran downtown to reinstate it, but it wasn't till about 5 that they plugged us back in (it stunk because we had weekly planning aka all afternoon in the apt without a fan or cold water). 

To top it off, around 6 it started to drizzle, 6:05 rained a little harder, and by 6:10 - straight up hurricane. It was nuts. The house in front lost the roof - the strong winds just bent the tin right in half. A cool experience as a result - we went and offered that family some help and they had us move some cinder blocks etc. 

Gonna tie things up and head to Tucuman! I'm not sure how I feel right now - I freakin love these people here, but I feel like the Lord really needs me in this area. I've seen many miracles here, as well as passed thru some tough disappointments. For example, yesterday, an investigator in a wheelchair and her inactive partner walked 10 blocks to church for the first time. We've been visiting them for every week of my 4 months, trying to exercise patience together. Bruno got up and bore his testimony - he said, "I think the moment has arrived." I agree. Also one more little thing - my absolute boy Adrian, the investigator that dumped us, came to see me off this morning! It was kinda awkward because he's kinda awkward, but I think he did it out of the love he has for us. We tried our best to be at his side. Regardless of what he chooses to do in terms of living the Gospel and commandments, I'll always love him. 

I feel the same way about y'all - I KNOW that the Gospel is the path and the commandments are the handrail, but I'll always love you all regardless!!!

Be good this week - shoutout to 52 heading into the field today! Bautize conversos, predique sin cesar, y disfrute la mision!!!

Elder Isaac Blake


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hey fam and friends,

Another good week here in Alberdi (more than anything Barcena, the neighborhood where Leandro lives).

A little late - Brig, absolutely loved your stories about the sleepwalking (happens to me a lot too), and you really touched me with your Christlike example, giving away your watch etc. 

Mom, I also wanted to know how it’s been going with Sophie Underwood and the Brooks family. I’m praying for them, but never heard any follow up. Remember, doesn't matter how good the message is if you don’t get the chance to share it and share it well!!

Another quick shout-out – don’t have anyone's emails but I wanted to send a message along to the football captains: “Never ever give up. Someone told me recently that a ship that doesn’t have its destination set won’t get any help from the wind. If you lose faith in the destination you originally set, you’ll never get anywhere. However, if you keep that eye single and work hard regardless of the outcome, you’ll see results. Never back down, keep those feet moving. Enjoy every second. ”

Ok, so the week – We’re working a ton in Leandro’s house with his sisters, and a bunch of his friends – planning quite a few baptisms for this Sat, many or all of which Leandro will perform. Rather than go day by day – it was WICKED hot all week until it rained Thurs night, finally – I’ll profile a few boss hogs.

Ramiro – 15 – Leo’s buddy. Turns out the missionaries taught him when he was 12 with his Mom. She’s really not that interested but she’ll come along. This kid is a boss. He’s a bit addicted to computer games (in the ciber). Besides that, he accepted all of the commandments we taught him - told us he is gonna stop going to the ciber on Sunday, and that he's gonna live the Law o f Chastity. 

Maxi - 18 - Leo's buddy. He's really really quiet - a man of few words. When he does talk, he gives 2 word responses that are very hard to understand. However, he has accepted everything we've taught and has a testimony. This week, he started to open up a lot more. Had what I'd consider a conversation with him yesteray . haaahh Leo invited him to come out and proselyte with us. He laughs a lot and it makes me laugh. Love the dude. 

Well, running low on time. I've noticed in my life and on my mission that a real weakness of mine is judging others and jumping to conclusions, vocally shooting my self in the foot by saying what I think before thinking abut what I'm gonna say. My comp is painfully aware of such a weakness. Found a great scrip just for me - 

19 For behold, the same that judgeth rashly shall be judged rashly again; for according to his works shall his wages be; therefore, he that smiteth shall be smitten again, of the Lord.

Mormon 8

Trying to walk in others´ sandals and not judge so much. Had to ask forgiveness from the neighbor because I yelled from my high seat of self-righteous judgement (see Elder Zwicks Apr talk), (ironically I was on the balcony and she was below in the street). (She was burning trash in front of our house and the smoke didn't make me happy).

Enough of that - end with a great note. Yesterday, I had the incredible privileged of ordaining Leandro to the office of Elder in the Sacerdocio Melquisedec. So happy to share the line of authority with him - he's a BOSS.

Love you alll!!!

This is on Leandro's wall - Dad translate

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference Week!!

Muy buenos dias Familia and Amigos!!!

Hahahah writing to you from here in Alberdi, San Salvador Jujuy in good ole Argentina!!! We're coming off a hot (literally) conference weekend, (including our Zone Conference, which was Friday). 

Coming off a few BAD Mondays in terms of afternoon teaching, this last Monday was DOPE!!

We have been teaching Milagros and Celeste for a few weeks now, but there was a lot of doubt as to if they both were gonna get permission from their parents to drop cce (catholic thing) and be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Well, we started praying for them, and BANG, Monday when we went to teach them, Alberto (papa) came out and signed their "fichas" - not sure the english word (their forms with personal info etc) - YEAH! We left with the biggest smiles on our faces, literally both of us just wanting to run down the street screaming!

We kept the train rolling, including a heck of a day Wednesday by Elder Mino, just stepping up real,  big time. I went on splits with elder Paul Romer from Waco, TX, in his area, leaving Mino with Elder Austin Cowan from West Jordan, UT (our DL) in our area (and coincidentally, Elder Cowan's first area in ARG, small world). I put full names because these 2 are BOSS HOGS and I'll be keeping in touch with them. Anyways, Romer and I did some good work, while Mino and Cowan blew up the area, teaching lessons in every corner of the area, bang bang bang.

Friday, we had our Zone Conf, with Pte and Hna Chaparro - yeeeee! They're really, really great presidents. We talked about using time wisely which is something we could all do better. There weren't any big changes or anything - one thing I love about Pres is that at least for now he holds us accountable on the basis of personal integrity and will. He doesn't impose a lot of strict rules and he doesn't breathe down our necks - DyC 58:26-28.

We had unlimited empanadas and ate with Pte and Hna, everyone talking openly and joking around. They're fun and focused, which makes the work fun and focused. 

Saturday and Sunday we ran around our area hunting investiagators to see conf. Our ward pulled a projector out of it's you-know-what at the last second and thus we had every session available their in the chapel (the stake center is being remodeled). Not trusting much in their last second magic, we set up with 3 different investigators with internet to watch in their houses. For us and me, this was kinda unfortunate, but for the people, it was a home run. Well, it's more blessed to give than receive so I took one for the team. The internet in the 1st house was spotty, and NOOOOOOOOO we missed the 2nd half (1st Pres) of the Priesthood session because guess what... The freakin power went out in the WHOLE neighborhood. We supposed Satan was behind that. 

Sunday was perfect in terms of connection and we had quite a few gators catch the Conf. Unfortunately, every session was obviously in Spanish. There are still weird words that I sometimes don't catch, and because I'm so dialed in to understand in my 2nd tongue, I felt like I missed a lot of spiritual promptings. Tough. I just downloaded the whole Conf in Eng so we'll be catching up every day working out and in the shower. All is well. Side note - the 2 or 3 talks given in Spa were dope because they came from the OG source and I understood everything. Hoping poor Brig had English translations...

Ended the day and the week with... The baptisms!!!

I had the privilege of baptizing Celeste while Leandro baptized his other sister Milagros. It was AWESOME seeing and helping Leo baptize so soon after his repentance and baptism. Watch out, he's gonna be baptizing a lot more in the coming weeks...

GOtta go, love you all

Elder Blake Isaac!
Zone Conference this week.

781 - that's right!

Nice sky pic
Studying at Zone Conference

Leo got to baptize his little sister!!!