Elder Isaac Blake

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

Monday, January 26, 2015

Open your mouth!

Hey fam and friends,
We set my personal record this week for contacts, shattering the previous week. My mouth was literally dry at the end of the week from so much talking (and a LOT of Santiago sun.) It's really fun to talk with everyone, meet them, hear their stories (and their excuses, not so fun) or their straight up rejections. We are finding a TON of people to teach.

I'd like to highlight a few conversion stories!
Maria Victoria Camacho Paz is a 9 year old girl, the daughter of Miriam, a woman who has reactivated herself in the last 2 months! I had the priviledge of baptizing her on Sat! She is golden - says she loves going to church every Sunday and if it were up to her, she'd never miss. ALso, she plans on serving a mission in 10 years.
Fabiana More, who I've mentioned, is really one of the most converted people I've ever taught. She spends her day reading the scriptures and is really starting to find a ton of comfort and solace in them. SHe's a warrior, and has had a really hard life, especially with her ex husband etc. When I got here, she was honestly full of pure anger, and for a few weeks each "lesson" was us listening, almost like a therapy session. ALl of the sudden when we finally were able to visit her with a few different members, she's changed completely. She tells us that every day, she feels more and more like getting baptized. We're hoping she'll have the faith to take that step soon!
Last Sat, we visited an older woman who's been inactive for a while - shared a powerful message on the Atonement. She came to church the next day and invited us over for lunch whenever we wanted. Well Saturday, she made us asado (the best lunch there is) and bonus, her husband was there! He's like 80 and is struggling healthwise, which kinda discourages her and is the reason she went inactive. Out of nowhere, Hugo, husband, breaks down crying because he misses his deceased family members. We testified of the Atonement and resurrection, and invited him to be baptized. Luisa tells us that missionaries have insisted with him for 20 years to no avail. He immediately said yes, and they went to church together yesterday.
I can't describe the happiness I can see in their eyes. It fills my heart with joy. I LOVE this work and this Gospel, and I know it's true. There is not a single doubt in my mind.
Love, Elder Blake
PS- Brig - keep your mind on your mission, 100 percent!!
SERVICE - I went a little hardo with the machete, but the tree didn't live to tell anyone

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Piano Man is Back

Hey fam,

Running out of time, but it's been a fantastic week. I'm gonna copy paste a few conversion stories of a couple of our investigadores, and I'm sorry ahead of time, the translation won't be too clear. Try and learn Spanish to understand it better. 

Nuestro amigo Luis tiene 25 años y ha tenido algunos accidentes, algunos golpes a la cabeza. No capta mucha informacion, pero tiene deseos de seguir a Cristo. Ha ido a la Iglesia 3 veces con un miembro a la vuelta. Me encanta enseñarle y ver cuanto ha progresado en algunas semanas. Hemos enseñado L3 5 veces para que aprenda bien el Evangelio, y va recordando mas y mas.

Fabiana es una mujer mayor, con 2 hijos. Ella hace un mes estaba dejando de progresar, aunque nunca dejo de leer el LdM. No sabiamos porque ella "no se hallaba dentro de la Iglesia" hasta que le enseñamos con la Pte de la Soc Soc. Ellas estan en situaciones familiares muy parecidas, y sacamos todas sus dudas en cuanto a la vida eterna como mama soltera etc. Desde ese dia, hemos ido con muchos miembros diferentes y de repente, Fabiana se animo muchisimo y llego a la Iglesia sola, y esta a punto de bautizarse! Hace un mes, cada leccion ella estaba llorando etc, y fue muy dificul tenerle paciencia, pero persistimos y hicimos la obra en la manera del Señor, y fue toda la diferencia. Es una de las investigadoras mas convertidas que he conocido. Lei 1 Tes 2:19, 20, y 1 Tes 3:8 esta semana, y asi es como lo describo yo, tener conversos reales. 

Tambien, enseñamos una hermana investida inactiva que vive con algunos problemas. Esta bajoneada por la salud de su marido. Compartimos Mosiah 14 sobre la Expiacion y sentimos el Espiritu fuerte. Se comprometio asistir, y nos ofrecio almuerzo cualquier Sabado. LLego sola a la Iglesia ayer.

Elder Edwards came focused and fired up and we got after it this week. In few words, I love contacting and being guided by the Spirit. We're finding a ton of new people that have desires to follow Jesus. The members are getting involved and we're organizing a ton with them to get out and teach!

Hey, wanna know something really trippy? I'm the oldest missionary in our zone of 28. Whoa. 

Mom, get on google and find out where Santiago del Estero ranks in terms of hottest cities on the planet. The people here say it's top 3. 

I'm finding a lot of joy in this journey, and the work is way more than worth it. Keep pressing on everyone!

Love you all,

Elder Isaac Blake

PS - I'm the new branch pianist again. (Branch means small congregation - Ward is larger congregation).

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Page

Hey fam,

I'm here writing on the tail end of my first all-nighter in the mission!! Hahaha wasn't nothing like an all-nighter in the den with the gang, but something along those lines. Last night we had transfers, and I had to make sure everyone made it out of here to their new provinces on the right bus at the right time. That included my good friend Elder Vera, who will finish his mission in Tucuman. Elder Edwards, from San Diego CA, has recently joined me to lead the fold in Santiago. His last comp was... Elder Miño, my beloved hijo!!! I'm pumped, I don't know much about him but I'm sure he works great.

This week, we headed to Salta for our leadership council. A really good, spiritual conference helped me renew the fire. Also, I received really great news about previous areas! Aldana and Gabi (Limache) are active. Victoria (Limache) is still inactive because her fam got mad, but she's feeding the Elders etc. 

That reminds me, mom, will you please reach out to Victoria on FB and tell her I'm praying a lot for her and that I know the BoM is true and will bless her life as she keeps reading. I don't know what God's plan for her is, but I feel strongly that I will see her again in this life or the next and the reunion will be sweet.

Also, I'm not sure how much I talked about her, but an awesome investigator (her partner is (was) an inactive member) named Cinthia Barrancos in Jujuy, got married and baptized by her husband at the end of Dec! She's a miracle, and just finally made it to church my last Sunday there, after battling with a pretty tough sickness. It made me really happy to get this news, and I hope to keep hearing good things from my friends here in Argentina.

I'm not sure what much else there is to share from this week. We keep talking with everyone and are seeing progress in the area as a result. On Sat, E Vera and I had a good old companionship inventory to shake out a few things that were bothering us, and we ended up feeling a lot of brotherly love, coming out of it a whole lot closer. He's great and I'm gonna miss him. He taught me a lot about service and humility, and it really feels like it was yesterday that I came here. 

I'll close with what I spoke on in church yesterday. They asked me to give a talk last minute, in large part because we only had 30 people in attendance. I spoke about the power and influence of our words, and how the Atonement can help us speak more lovingly. Countless times in my life I've seen other people interact without the Spirit and it's really sad the biting affect can have a thoughtless word or 2. I shared scrips like Eph 4:29, 32, I John 4:7-9 , 2 Nefi 33:1, and Galatians 6:10. I've been loving my NT studies lately. I know that if we seek to always speak by the Spirit and full of love, everyone will be happy. 

Shoutout to all my friends and family. I've got 7 short months on my ticket and I've had some dreams/experiences lately that have scared me into working harder because I know that after these 7 months life will never be the same. I don't know if I'll ever have the same calling and authority to teach and testify of Jesus Christ as I do now, and this time has grown to be one of the most precious gifts I have.

Elder Isaac Blake

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy 2015

Hey fam and friends,

This week has been really great - stressful but very rewarding. We're pressed for time because we're here in the bus terminal waiting for our bus to Salta for leadership meeting, so I won't have time to read and respond. Sorry!

Kinda weird writing after a short week. Since Wed, we've kept the fire going, talking with everyone!! This week, we did 154 street contacts, which is the highest week total I've hit since I started keeping track about 6 months ago. They weren't in vain! We're exploding the teaching pool here in Autonomia and had 7 investigators in Church yesterday. That's the most E' Vera has had in his 4 months. We're really excited because 6 of the 7 are people we've been working hard to get to church, and the 7th is a friend of a member that wants to learn more about the Gospel!

We're focusing here and in the whole zone on talking with everyone. About a year ago, Elder Ballard came to ARG and talked about just how important it is to do so, using some very strong words. He essentially said that if a missionary doesn't talk with at least 20 people per day and ask for refs from everyone, he or she wont have success on the mission. Those are harsh biting words, and that can certainly be overwhelming for some, but if we trust in the scrips, like DyC 24;12, we will be given strength and courage to open our mouths. I KNOW that if we do what the prophet and apostles council us to do, we will be blessed! 

It can be tough to help the other companionships build their faith in this work and in the promises of the Lord and His servants, but its possible. I've been studying every Sunday in DyC 121:34-46 about how to better influence for good. 

1st: gotta clean out the closet of ALL pride and selfishness
2nd: Seek to cultivate Christ's attributes, most of all, CHARITY (TPLOC - s/o Sister Shearer!!)  The pure love of Christ
3rd: Follow the Spirit in reprehending and exhorting and praising

I love the work and the Gospel. Sun's coming out but the Autonomia Express is also picking up the pace, so watch out Satan! Hahaha ok but seriously, I feel really good about what we're trying to do, 'seeking to establish His Zion' (1 Nefi 13:37), and can see the Lord's hand guiding us. I've started to realize just how important it is to trust in His Spirit in all that I do so that I can be sure I'm on His errand, and I hope to keep following it more faithfully. 

Love yall,

Elder Isaac Blake

PS - check out this tractor tire we lifted from a soccer field and wheeled like 2 miles to our house one morning. I'm doing the classic Jesse Davis tire flips along side the house in the AM to stay light on my feet and strong in the hole. GO Raiders!!

Monthly Leadership Meeting in Salta