Elder Isaac Blake

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last of 2014

Hey fam,

Thanks for your letters. They moved P-Day back to Wed this week because of the new year, and I've been dying to write you since we skyped. Don't have a ton of time, so I hope I remember everything I wanted to say.

Brig, loved talking to you in Spanish and I LOVE that you're really assimilating to the culture. Like I've said, never speak or even think in English, and you'll be great. From what I could tell, you really do understand pretty much everything. I think what's tough for you is the same thing that's tough for me - pronunciation and speaking. Keep immersing yourself, but especially with the talking out loud etc. In all that you say, if though it'll be awkward, slow down and really accentuate every vowel, that way when you start speaking faster, you'll be losing your gringo accent. Try reading the LdM in Spanish out loud for Idioma, if you aren't already. 

Dad, again, sorry about what I said about your Spanish. It was stupid. I loved your letter titled "Choosing Everything." Keep up the good work. I'm learning a lot about reproving with sharpness and then showing the increase of love. A big key is having love in the first place. I can say that almost always, instead of tearing into someone, I tend to be a wimp and not say anything at all. I need to work on courage to speak up and correct with love. Can't lie, I'm jealous of the weather - we're consistently around 40-45 degrees Celsius here in good ole Santiago. 

Mom, thanks for your tidbits. I'm pleased to have been able to talk with you last week, and I'm glad it made you happy. I was SOOOO nervous when I called in the AM from the phone, not sure why. Maybe because I love y'all and you didn't pick up the 1st few times. It was weird hearing a buzon de voz (hahah i think they say caller ID or something) in English. I feel bad that me and Brig were losers the 1st time we went to the K's house and met the Kerrs. That's wicked cool about being a Patriarch. It's a calling that fascinates me.

I wish I would have closed my mouth more so it was more of an interaction, when I get excited or am happy, I really run my mouth (ask like ALL of my comps) ahahahha. 

This week and 2 days have been really fun and rewarding - we've been contacting like locos. Found a great family contacting (see my other letter). I LOVE this work and am really starting to be filled with love for my comp and the area. Before the call, I was kinda scared that maybe in August, I wouldn't really feel like going home, like it's be something normal, kinda sad. Yes it'll be sad but after seeing your faces and hearing your voices, I've gotta buckle down so I don't get trunky. Holy Cow, a mission FLIES. Can't freakin wait to see y'all and see the Gang, but I promise I'll give my whole soul these last months. Brig, DISFRUTE.

Hey one last quick note - we're helpinng converts on FamilySearch.org, and I checked my own family tree and there's nothing for Antone's parents and so forth. What's the story there. Also, quick shoutout to Gma and Gpa - Grandpa, I forgot to wish you a happy b-day. LOVE YOU both sooo much, keep going strong. I'll be down to visit A LOT, when I'm back at BYU.

Alright, that's everything, 

Choose the right, love everyone!

Elder Blake


Monday, December 29, 2014

Dec 22, 2014

Hey fam and friends,

This week was really pretty good. On Tuesday, we had our Christmas Zone Conference. We basically had to stay up until 2am on Monday waiting for the APs to sleepover. That killed me - I was dead all day, but somehow persevered through the fatigue and we rounded up some soda, ice cream, and 420 empanadas to feed the hungry elders and sisters. In the afternoon, the APs worked with us (divide and conquer our area) and I went with E' Almond from California. He's really cool and a really good missionary. Taught me a lot by his example - it's important to slow down and talk ccccllllleeeeeaaaarrrrrllllyyyyyyyy, so the people understand and can feel the spirit. We contacted a lot of people - I'm trying to revive the spirit of Hablar con Todos with E' Vera. ABRI LA BOCA!!!

Wed, I went to Ejercito Argentino on splits. Learned a lot about correcting with love and love in general. My comp said something that I loved, that really helped me in my companionship and will help a ton when I'm married: "True love is loving someones defects as well as their virtues."  Analyze that.

There isn't a ton of progress in the area, but we've got a family that's reactivting themselves and we'll be working a lot with Miriam and her daughters and her partner Victor Manuel. Pray for them! 

I'm ticked right now because I cant send pics, but yesterday we had a living Nativity in the Stake Center, complete with a live actor for the baby jesus. Guess who were 2 of the angels that appeared to the shepherds!! We were! Hahaha it was way fun.

Alright, love you all, merry Christmas!

Elder Blake

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

White Christmas

Hey fam!
This week in Santiago has been really good. I love my new comp and the area is great. I already love the culture and people of Santiago. Elder Vera is from Colorado - he's 6 months older than me in real years and mission time. He's way chill and kinda wierd like I am - we make a good duo. From the first day, he's been teaching me by example what it really means to SERVE. We went to the grocery store last week and when he saw that the lines were moving slowly, he went to the register and volunteered to bag groceries for the people. I followed and it was a great experience. We then cut a less active members "grass" with machetes (see pics) and we're just trying to lose ourselves in the lives of the members, people, and missioneries here in Santiago.
He told me and it's been a bit evident that he struggles a bit with organization, memory, balancing a big load etc. He's way easy going and sometimes it means that people or tasks are forgotten. Luckily, he's way humble and open and told me he wants to improve there, and I'd consider organization one of my strengths (shout out to mom for the semi-obsessive compulsive gene!!) We're gonna clean things up and as I get to know the members a little better we're gonna get the Autonomia train up to full speed!
This branch is small and struggling - however, the few members and leaders that we have are really excited and willing to work. It's gonna be a fun little project to elevate the branch.
Bueno, here in Santiago, I think it might be the hottest place on earth. Yesterday, it hit 40 degrees C, and they say it'll hit 50 in Jan. Pray for us, but especially the sisters in our zone! They're freakin warriors (4 of them had to suffer the monthy fast yesterday in an apartment without a fan or AC).
Ok so my time is up but a quick experience - Sat in my morning prayer I asked God what he wanted to me to do that day. He told me we should get out and talk with everyone, invite them to learn more about Jesus. Well, we found 2 great families that accepted baptisimal invites - we're gonna be working a ton here!
Last few logistics:
Ma, I've been buying souveniers a bit, but also stuff for the work (backpack, watch), paying for packages, buying gifts for converts, and paying for extra food and taxis etc. I'm gonna go frugal now. I'll let you know when/if I need more.
I'd love it if you guys wrote me your initial reactions to my emails so I don't just feel like I'm writing a blog for the public - let me know what you think!

Dad, keep praying and studying in EspaƱol!
Brigham, read Alma 17:9 when you get down. Your mission will go as you want it to go, regardless of your comps, if you LOVE, and trust in God.
Mom, can you research a few bands for me (I think they'd be appropriate to listen to here, but I wanna see who they are and what they believe etc)
The Lower Lights
Rend Collective
An album called "Nearer"
Do what you can and let me know!!
Love E Blake

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Welcome to Santiago

Hey fam,

Surprise! I'm here in a new area, new zone, new provincia! Santiago del Estero! It's the southern most provincia en the mission, the only I hadn't before known. Oh how I'm gonna miss Parque Guillermina and the wonderful people there - it was a super quick stay of 6 weeks but we worked our butts off and got to see the fruits this weekend. I'm gonna send a few pics so you can see them too. Had a missionaries dream - 9 baptisms in one day! It was incredible, especially considering the miracles we saw to bring them to pass. I'm sooo happy for the Lobo and Diaz families, as well as Jessica Quinteros, but am also pretty darn bummed to leave so quickly - the work is just getting started!

Monica Lobo and 3 of her kids got baptized, but we're just now starting to work with Julio (dad) and their 16 year old son Rodrigo. PRAY FOR THE LOBOS - a family truly special with an infinite, eternal potential for happiness. Last night, I left my final message with them - we challenged Julio to set the tone for the fam and he accepted a baptismal date for Dec 27. They're gonna prepare to head to the temple. 

Then, there's Eva Beltran and 3 of her grand kids, Nahuel, Maira, and Franco Diaz. Eva is rock solid - friends with all the Relief Society and goes every Sunday. The kids aren't as solid, but the grand hope is in their parents. Their dad (I've mentioned him before) is Jose, and he's such a boss. He wants to get married and baptized - really one of the elect, in my eyes. The keystone will be Rosanna, his partner and the mother. PRAY FOR HER AND THE WHOLE FAMILY! I also left a parting message last night - challenging each and every one of them to be doers of the word and not hearers only! They also have a sister, 15 year old Susana, that wants to be baptized - such great potencial for an eternal family there as well.

Man I'm gonna frickin miss them, but boss hog Elder Philpot is gonna take care of them - he's staying as the DL and is gonna wreak havoc in Tucuman. 

Aside from those 2 fams, we found another INCREDIBLE family yesterday - it was a referral from another area, really a gift from heaven. Cecilia and Pablo are a relatively young couple that is looking to pay tithing but don't know which Church to go to to pay it. Huh. I think we can help with that. We went yesterday with a recent convert (more than anything by chance that he came) that turned out to be an all-star for this fam. He answered questions about converting from Catholicism, paying tithing, etc. Incredible. This young couple is a bit lost, just looking for somewhere to put their faith so that their fam can be happy. They asked us if it's bad of them to open their corner store on Sundays because the Bible says we shouldn't work on Sundays - we reaffirmed what the 10 commandments say and they said, "Ok, we're gonna close on Sunday and go to Church!" YEEE. We gave them a LdM and he started reading the intro and says, "wow, this is awesome!" I died pretty much. Then, Pte. Chaparro called in the middle of the lesson (given that it was the last day of the transfer, it was 99% sure that it was because someone was gonna get switched) and so as we said goodbye to this great fam, I prepared myself to just hear about their conversion from Philpot. 

We left the lesson and I called Pte - he gave me the news: Elder Blake to Santiago del Estero with Elder Vera (from Colorado). This gave us time to say goodbye and leave the final message. It's been a magnificent 6 weeks, and I'm gonna miss the heck out of this place, but I trust in the Lord and trust in Pte - I'll go where you want me to go.

A few other highlights - Friday we did splits with the ZLs to do the 9 baptismal interviews. After Elder Knudsen did the 4 Diaz interviews, we went to his chapel and the 2 of us did 3 interviews for another area. I interviewed the father of a family that got baptized on Sat - this dude is legit, such a boss. He told me of his conversion and the long hard road of repentance, and I could feel his sincerity. That's what this is all about. Changing lives, opening the doors to the Celestial Kingdom. 

Last night I packed until 2:30 am and we got up at 5:30. I took off from the terminal around 7 and by 10 I was in the Santiago terminal completely alone for a good 10 mins. Huh. Luckily, my comp showed up and we headed back to the apt. The apt is really really good - we live the 2 of us, there's air conditioning etc and everything. 

Santiago is like Arizona - don't worry mom, we're gonna lather up real good and I'll be rockin my sombrero all summer. Nothing like 125' fahrenheit to get you in the Christmas spirit! Feliz Navidad! I really like my comp so far - he's got 3 months left on his ticket so I might finish him off. We're gonna get to work here in our zone and are looking to raise the bar!

I'm soooo grateful for all of you. Phil and I decided to only give thanks in our prayers on Thursday and it was a great experience. I rocked my Raider tie and Raider socks, but unfortunately looks like the ball didn't bounce our way this year. Bummer.

Well, love you all tons! Send letters, send pics, send love!

Remember this Christmas season that He is the Gift, the most important of all the gifts. God sent His Son.

Elder Blake