Elder Isaac Blake

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

Monday, March 30, 2015


Hey fam,
I'm gonna base my letter in a lot of the things I've been studying this week - I think all really applies to how I feel and what I'm looking for in my life and the rest of my mission. It's also kinda funny because I'm registering for BYU classes this week aka my studies O.o. But first, a quick update on the people!
Our number one family, the Alagastin Family, is progressing very nicely. They're seeing and feeling the blessings of the Gospel in their family - peace, unity, and direction. They are: Marcelo and Fernanda (30ish), Camila 9, Melina 6, Aimee 3, y Mauro (8 months). A really cute, loving family. A missionary's dream.
We also have another great young fam, the Aguierres. Ale and Yanina (25ish) and Franco 6, Carolina 3, and Antonella 2. They live in the humblest neighborhood in the area and perhaps the whole city. Ale has been building their house (a brick hut with a tin roof about 20 by 20 feet) these last few weeks with his own 2 hands. We met them "knocking on doors" which is really clapping our hands and waving. He was amazed at the prospect of another testament of JC and is eating the BoM. This week, they kinda got serious as a couple and have decided that they want to follow the path of discipleship as a family. It's fun to see people committ and see the blessings in their homes.
Anyways - I've been studying the plan of Salvation and meditating on Exaltation. It's a constant struggle to find people that are receptive to listen to us and act according to our invitations. Focusing on the end goal motivates me and should motivate us all. What God promises us, through the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His Gospel is peace in this world, and eternal joy in the world to come. It's impossible to define joy or happiness, but you know what I mean. ANd I can promise that the best joy, better than beating Natick or screaming down the highway blasting music with the boys, comes from God's plan.
Hahaha, well my time has gone. Hebrews 11 and Alma 57:21 (Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.) - it's so important to exercise our faith in God and His commandments (and small mission rules like the schedule etc). This is what prepares us for a Celestial, exalted glory. I'm learning to worry about my own obedience with exactitude and my own faith, and then trying influence others to do the same. I learned this week that it's not always the most effective to just tell someone straight up what their faults are, even with the best of intentions.
I'm gonna keep trying my best to fulfill my purpose to invite ALL to come unto Christ and exercise more faith unto obedience, repent more sincerely, and honor and make covenants.
Love yall
Elder Blake
Other study influences, Talks from Oct 14 by Cook and Uchtdorf (Is it I?)

In the goal... Tim Thomas playing futbol

exercises with a granite rock

Selfy from the net

Monday, March 16, 2015

For the Right Reasons

Hey fam,
We've had a good, normal week here in Autonomia Santiago!! We're still working a lot with the Rodriguez family and the Alagastin family (Maria's father/daughter friends). But before I tell, shout out to 52 - crazy stuff with the tear gas etc. CUIDADO!! Also, before I forget, Dad - will you send me a letter or an email telling me how your mission went, like a summary or something. I hope you kept a good journal!!
But enyways, we worked hard this week, diligent to the end. We took our boy Luis Vasquez out like 3 times, to teach and to do Family History (see pics.) He's really a miracle. Sometimes I feel like no one else believes in him, but I honestly think he can become a leader in the church in this life. I'm trying to teach him to read right now... Wish me luck! (Note - you should all check out FamilySearch.org)
The Rodriguez family is doing great! They are starting to read the BoM as a family, and are understanding it. Sunday morning, they didn't make it until Sacrament Meeting and that scared us a bit, but they slept in 'cause Oscar was a bit under the weather (hahaha they said Lucas (9) was angry because he missed Primary). Anyways, in reflecting during Sunday School and the Sacrament, I really got to thinking about my drive and motivation. It's always tempting, and I'll add, not to easy to resist, to think about one's self, and the impact one makes in the world, and in my case, on a branch or on a mission. It's tempting, but I don't believe it's righteous. I decided and re-dedicated myself yesterday to "go about doing good" (Acts 10:38 I think), but to do so for the right reasons - the eternal well-being and happiness of those around me, of those I love. A tender mercy:
When someone doesn't show up to church, (shout out to Dad for this trait, I think) I tend to suppose or imagine the worst possible reason - for example, that they decided overnight that they don't want anything to do with the Gospel. I thought a bit of that with the Rodriguez. Well, I corrected my course, and in church, we asked for a quick appointment for the afternoon. I followed the Spirit in that lesson, and even though I had doubts and fears, I invited them to be baptized. Well, they said that just barely earlier they'd thought about the path they're taking, and said between the 2 that they feel good and wanna keep progressing towards that step. What a blessing! I LOVE being guided by the Spirit and love blessing others.
Elder Blake

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Back to the Basics

Hey fam,
This week was AWESOME! Elder Edwards and I repented and lit the flame again. We suffered more than anything from a giant lack of sleep and a really gloomy weather, but the past is behind!
I like this scripture to describe the renewed focus:

"but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass;" - Alma 37:6
I've realized this week, after complicating a lot of things in the last few months, that I need to edify my rock upon the simplest Gospel principles: Faith and Repentance. Below these principles, the simple things: Prayer and Scripture Study. I realized that my prayers have really been suffering lately, and have committed myself to pray with more fervor. Also, I've been studying a lot of GC talks and other material that's good, but not better or best (s/o Elder Oaks). I'm focusing my studies on how to teach the Restoration and Libro de Mormon with more power and clarity. EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON THE BOOK OF MORMON. I'm so grateful that I know that this book is true. It's the foundation of my discipleship as a servant of Jesus Christ. I know that it is true.
Yesterday, we saw some fruits of a more focused, dedicated week. The Rodriguez family was there, as well as a father and daughter that are friends with Maria Victoria, the girl I baptized in January. They're both really excited and loving Church. We're gonna keep focusing on the simple: The Book of Mormon.
I love this work and feel so blessed every day. There is nothing like being an instrument in God's hands for the blessing of another person. I know that the Gospel is true.
A few shout outs:
Jazmyn! Congrats on the marriage!!
Familia Marcantano, thanks for the letter last week! I'm gonna keep hunting out the people who genuienly desire to follow Christ!
Love ya'll!!
Elder Isaac Blake

The photos below were on the mission Facebook page. I (Julia) am SO thankful to Sister Chaparro for posting!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

This isn't Brae Burn

Hey fam,
We were pretty dog tired after transfers, and battled all week to work hard. I felt at times as if I needed Coach Kelton over my shoulder screaming, "Let's goooo, this isn't Brae Burn, quit WALking overrrr herrrrreeeee." Haahahha, good times. But seriously, I was kind of a baby, especially cause it rained Thurs-Saturday, a constant drizzle. Just the most miserable weather. No excuses. This week will be much better. (Julia's note - how many of us in Boston would trade for that 'miserable' weather?).
This highlight of the week was hands down our lesson on Fri with the Rodriguez fam. We slipped and slid to their house, thru about a mile of mud, and finally made it. They dropped everything and we sang a hymn and Miriam (the mother) said the first prayer. She prays better than most people I know. Anyways, they told us that as a family they've decided they wanna be firm and constant, never making excuses, in church and participating every Sunday. It was incredible. Miriam said she's been dreaming about the Book of Mormon since they began to read, and Oscar (papa) says he hasn't prayed about it yet, but thinks it's a good idea. I seriously left the lesson with a HUMUNGOUS smile on my face, for 30 mins couldn't stop.
Now, unfortunately they didn't make it yesteday. I called in the afternoon, and Miriam sounded a bit worried and just said they were out and about and had a problem, and thus they couldn't go. She said they'd let us know on Wednesday. I'm hoping and praying that they'll stay constant.
Speaking of constancy, what a good subject to discuss. THIS ISN'T BRAE BURN. Myself included, we all need to be more constant!! Mom, you told me that Latter - Day Saints are about the only people that go to church every Sunday according to a recent study. I'll assume that's a US stat. I'm learning patience, and the importance of true conversion to the GOSPEL here. So many people are caught up in the world, whether they want to be or not. Almost all of our members, including the leaders of the branch, are less active. It's really sad actually, that no one can string together more than 3 or 4 Sundays without missing Church. Pray for the Argentine economy? Or maybe we just all need to trust a bit more in God and His commandments (aka the Sabbath Day).
Love ya'll,
Elder Blake

Almost out of time 2/23/2015

Well, I'm almost out of time and don't know if I'll be able to read the rest of the letters. This week was good, kinda hectic with some splits we had to do to help out some companionships. We've basically only got one family that's making progress, but Oh the progress they are making!!! Oscar, Miriam, and Lucas Rodriguez. They are legit investigators, coming off a stint with the Jehovah's witnesses. They made it to church before all the members again, yesterday. Love seeing their sincerity, and especially in a suffering branch, I see them as future leaders.
The branch is on the way up - yesterday we finally had branch council. Gotta work with a less active bishopric, but hey, come what may and love it.
I frickin love my companion. We're gonna be together for another 6 weeks! (Didn't sleep from 2-6 last night because of transfers). Edwards and I had 2 key companionship inventories to workout some kinks, and I gained even more respect for him, felt a lot of love. We're really bonding as brothers - makes me miss my fam and the gang.
I've been studying and listening to a lot of GC talks every day, and I love drinking the words of the living prophets. I'm really low on time, but I'd recommend Oct 2012 - Ballard, "Anxiously Engaged."
I keep feeling the need for MORE dedication, MORE sacrifice, MORE selflessness.
I love this work, and love all of you. Marcantanos, write me about your conversion story!!
Love, Elder Blake

Eternal Friends 2/16/2015

Hey fam,

This week we had leadership meeting in Salta. Got a letter from the Brajeda family (Leandro) in Jujuy. They let me know that Norma and Alberto, his parents, got baptized!!! The best part was that Leo missed the baptism because... he went to the temple in Buenos Aires to do baptisms for the dead!!! Lets'sssss ggoooooooooo.

It's news like this that brings me true joy in the mission.

Mom, please send a message to Leo via Facebook and tell him to write me!

I've been thinking a lot lately about the importance of the GIFT of the Holy Ghost, something we members take for granted a lot. In accordance with our worthiness aka obedience, we have the right to be guided in all that we do, especially in order that we might be instruments in God's hands to bless His children. I've been really motivated lately thinking about the Marcantano family. There are so few sincere seekers of truth that seek, find, and then persevere. In my experience, they are an excellent example. I'd love to hear from Bro or Sister Marcantano a bit (a lot) more about their conversion. I'd like them to know how much I love and respect them for their dedication and sincerity.

Well, my search marches on. We had a great young family in church yesterday. About 3 weeks ago, Oscar, the dad, flagged us down in the street. Told us he was looking for the nearest Jehovahs Witness church. We're like, “No clue, but we know where the Church of Jesus Christ is...”

We set a date, and went and taught him, his wife, and 9 year old son the Restoration. Their son is a BOSS. Knows the Bible better than I do, seriously. Well, long story short, they kinda fought in their family, and told us Sunday that they were gonna stick with the Witnesses. We challenged their son to read 3 Nephi and said we'd come back in 2 or 3 weeks to see how it went. Well, last Sunday we went back and whoa.... They let us in and Oscar says “We never found a JW church, and my son likes your book, so we're gonna stick with you.” Meta.

I was on splits in another area, but Edwards went on Thursday. Well, yesterday (Sunday), at 9 on the dot, they rolled up, Lucas (9) in a tie and everything. The members were excellent fellowshipping and they loved church. They want us to visit them with members, and they seem very sincere seekers of truth! Let's hope the seed has been planted in fertile ground.

Saturday, we had 2 incredible baptisms, highlighted by 78 year old Hugo that I mentioned a few weeks ago. He was in tears afterwards and is the straight definition of “tender little fellow.”

I love the work and am striving to dedicate myself 100%. I'm not perfect either Brigham, but am confident that God sees my effort.

Love ya'll

Elder Blake