Elder Isaac Blake

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

Saturday, May 23, 2015


How can I not start with some huge shoutouts to 3 important men in my life -    
Big Pop aka Robin aka Uncle Jonny
 52, The Crusher, Elder Blake
 Elder Slighting (sorry, can't think of a lame nickname)

This has been a kinda hectic yet low-key week. Elder Slighting and I administered transfers from HQ from Saturday to Tuesday which was kinda stressful. We got to attend the Cordoba Temple dedication, but I wish I would have been more alert. Don't know why I've been so dog tired lately but I'm combating it with better AM exercises. We got back into the habit of running in a nearby park and I'm slowly but steadily running gassers like in the good ole days of football. Alas, it's not the same without Coach Griff or Davis screaming...

Hahahah, well, we welcomed a new group of Elders and Sisters. They all seem like really good people, excited to serve. One of them has the awesome blessing of starting his mission where Elder Miño started his, in the blessed land of Alberdi 2 in Jujuy, where the Brajedas live. LOVE THAT AREA AND FAMILY.

The rest of the week Elder Tello and I have been working in our area. The Chuychuy family supposedly is doing great, but sadly I'm not so in tune because of the days I've had to stay behind in the offices etc. Apparently they got a wedding date for June 5, which they're excited about. They'll then get baptized on the 6th! I wish I could be more involved with them, but hey, what're you gonna do. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God.."

I loved what you all shared with me this week. I've especially been thinking today about some of the notes from Pres Packard (can't believe they almost finish :( ). I absolutely testify that spiritual growth isn't a steady line, rather a zig zag. I've talked with E Slighting about how even on our missions, and even though we're conscious of this, it's so easy to fall into the mini pride cycle and kinda relax, only to be called to repentance. I personally feel like I've been on the slide lately and am struggling to get back to climbing and improving. I miss the mission field...

However, how marvelous is it that we can repent? I've been trying to receive revelation on how to better apply the Atonement in my life and I'm starting to see the windows open a bit. I love the Book of Mormon (Brig, I'm also in the middle of 3 Nefi) as well as the Bible. Check out this verse in 1 Peter:

24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereofalleth away:
 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel ipreached unto you.
I'd substitute the word "word" in 25 for 'glory.' When we seek our own glory, we're shooting ourselves in the foot, an empty investment. Tryin to be more humble.

As for less spiritual things:

Mom, sign me up to work at Caribeau, although I need to confirm again with the gang to know when they all go back up to school. Let's see how many of my friends actually read my letters hahaha. Gang, when do you go back to school in August?

As for my knee, I'm 95 percent sure I tore my meniscus doing mountain climbers (an exercise) in January. Since then, I'm walking and running fine but I still notice that not everything's ok down there. Can you talk to Jesse Dimmick and Dr. Weitzel to get their advice? Perhaps better to operate ASAP.

Gonna sign off now. I know that Jesus Christ is the center of God's plan, and that thru His suffering, we can be clean, as long as we sincerely repent! I'm so grateful that His gospel has been restored, and I'm also infinitely grateful that I've been blessed with 2 incredible missionaries in my life that help me live it! Elder Jonathan and Sister Julia Blake are called of God and teach quite well! Thank you for your rock solid values and also your strictness, yet coolness, and forever your love. 

Elder Isaac Blake

Thursday, May 21, 2015

RIP Sequoia? Herding the Sheep

Hey fam and friends,

It's been a good, standard week. Got to spend the majority of my time here in good ole Mitre working with Elder Tello. Getting after it, hunting the elect (our investigator pool is shallow, but progressing well).

1st - Updates on our pool: Daniel and Gabriela Chuychuy are progressing very very well! We whipped out the Word of Wisdom and Tithing this week. Both times, we left them with the pamphlet to study, and both times we got there and they had read and comprehended and were in agreement! Hahahah they actually taught us the Law of Tithing better than we could have taught it to them :) - so now, we're just waiting on the details of their marriage, which they're sorting out, and we'll be seeing a great new family enter into the path of eternal life!

Our other investigator is Tamara, the younger sister of a young woman who is getting active again, Camila. We're having trouble reading Tamara - she's shy and still hasn't made it to Church yet with Camila. We'll see how things go. 

So the highlight of this week was repentance! On Tuesday in our leadership council, I gave a training bit on rescuing the lost sheep with a South America South area initiative to strengthen the wards and hasten the work. I felt like I didn't prepare as well as I should have, and it didn't shake out as well as I wanted. I felt throughout the whole council that I had a lot of things I need to change in terms of balancing out the work - building up the Kingdom through baptism, rescuing, and retention. It was a great catalyst to change some things I've (not) been doing. 

What a blessing it was then, to be able to return to the land of my inheritance, aka Limache, the following day. I began my mission there, and spent a long yet eternally satisfying 7 months there. Well, I took advantage to go back and try and be a better Triple-Crown missionary. I planned our day consulting old planners and we ended up finding a few new people, one of whom is a legit elect who accepted a baptismal date. He went to church with his mom 3 years ago (she was a member), but fell away when she died. He never got baptized. We opened our mouths and did a ton of contacts.

The best part, however, was visiting 5 families - 4 convert families and 1 woman that I helped reactivate. Cesar Miguel Palma, then Victoria Gonzalez, followed by Maria Salvatierra, the familie Correa, and finally Aldana and Gabi Yapura. 

The visit was awesome and I felt the Spirit strongly as I tried to testify of the blessings of enduring to the end despite the opposition. The best was with Aldana and Gabi, who kept firm and strong the 1st 6 months after I left, but who have since fallen away. It was a sweet reunion, but I wasted no time to get to the problem. We read Alma 36:12-25 and discussed repentance, and I asked if they believe that the Libro de Mormon is the word of God. Gabi said yes, Aldana said she likes parts but isn't sure of it. I shared a really powerful experience that helped me obtain a testimony of said book. }

I've dedicated a lot of study time to the Atonement, and I'm trying to figure out just how Aldana can apply it in her life to find healing and forget the past. Haven't reached any concrete answer other than the Bishop needs to play a huge role. Well, we set up interviews with him that just perfectly coincided with the temple dedication recommend for the new temple in Cordoba! So now they'll be getting to participate and hopefully can keep working with the Bishop and the members to make the transition back to the straight and narrow. 

Dad - any advice on how to help Aldana?

I know this Gospel is the path to happiness. Let us all press on!!!

Don't let go, don't ever give up! The Church is true, the Book of Mormon too. 

We can all be more obedient and thus be brighter lights for those around us!

Elder Isaac Blake

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Hey fam,

Now sure how it slipped my mind last week, but this week we got to tour the mission with Elder Viñas of the 1st Quorum of the 70! Elder Slighting and I helped Pres. Chaparro organize 3 multi-zone conferences, and they were awesome. The theme of the conferences was how the Atonement helps us be better missionaries - we ended up talking a lot about how we can become more converted to the Gospel and as a result help others do the same, by way of the Atonement. It was a really awesome experience witnessing 3 consecutive conferences, as Elder Viñas changed his teaching according to the participation and the Spirit.

But as a side story that is very connected, let's talk about the Chuychuy family - Daniel and Gabriela. Not sure if I've told much about them, but they're a miracle. A few weeks ago in splits, Elder Tello and Elder Pizarro felt that they should knock on a door, and well, the Chuychuy's let em in. The rest is history :). They committed to go to church and have been 3 weeks in a row for all 3 hours. They take their 2 year old girl Mikaela, and she doesn't cry - just plays around. Every lesson, they are waiting eagerly to learn more and they keep all their reading commitments. This week, our big challenge and concern has been addressing the issue that they aren't yet married. I was traveling for ZCs when they taught it, but Elder Mann and Elder Tello taught the Law of Chastity very well, and they Chuychuys said they'd been thinking about getting married lately, and they want to keep all the commandments, so they're down. When I got back on Thurs, we did a followup and cleared up doubts. It's incredible how the Spirit is working in them. They've learned enough about the Temple that they know that there is a difference between civil and temple marriage. It was kinda uncomfortable, but we helped them understand that the powers of procreation are to be employed righteously between husband and wife, not only to create life but also to strengthen the marriage bond. They are set on getting sealed in a year. They are reading the Book of Mormon and praying together. In less words, they are experiencing the first fruits of conversion...

I have a ton of notes and thoughts from the conferences. Here are some random impressions: 

-Wow, this guy knows the Scriptures. He stood and taught for 1 hour and 30 minutes without touching anything but the microphone, and yet cited verses word for word from all 4 canonical books. 

-He talked about how the "remission" of sins is not the same as "forgiveness" - that we are gradually cleaned as we serve others and keep the commandments after partaking of the Sacrament - the Sacrament isn't so much like a car wash that we visit once a week. As we do our best throughout the week, we are gradually cleansed.

-He said very directly that the Church needs CONVERTS, not numbers. It was such a hopeful, loving, comforting feeling, one that really wasn't felt in my first few months in the mission. We didn't feel pressure to reach quotas, but rather, minister and bless ALL. Mom, I recognize that you've been preaching this to me my whole mission - members, active or less active, recent converts, other missionaries, non-members. WE ALL NEED to keep moving forward in the path, and thus we all need help! Overall, I felt a deep sense of urgency to never waste anytime, and that all time spent ministering and helping others feel better about themselves is time well spent. 

In each exercise, he took out the lists of the recent converts in each ward in the present zones. He called a few names from each ward and asked that the missionaries tell everyone how they are doing. In Jujuy, I had the privilege to sit next to Leandro Brajeda, one of my best friends in the universe. He was baptized in Alberdi when I was serving there with E Miño, and I invited him to the conference. He showed up with a sweet suit. As he was next to me, Elder Viñas took out the Alberdi list, and called the names of those recent converts who had received the Melquizedek Priesthood. There was one name. "Leandro Javier Brajeda." The 4 Elders from Alberdi jumped and said very excitedly - "He's here, in the 1st row!" 

I can't say that all of "my" converts are active, sadly. I've felt that I've got a lot of work cut out for me for the rest of my life to try and help everyone keep advancing in the path. But as for those that are active, like I said last week, they are my joy and happiness. Elder Viñas was clear in saying that the only person responsible for their activity is their self, but that we all play a vital role inviting and influencing others. 

I want it clear, especially for Brigham, that the mark of a successful mission depends on your dedication (obedience, diligence), your love for the people, and the quality of conversion that you help promote. That being said, of course more is better, but it needs to start with quality.

 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall byour joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul thatyou have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father,how greawill be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! 

May we ALL seek families that are prepared to accept and live the Gospel, keeping the commandments and serving the Lord to build His Kingdom, is my plea. We work for His glory, and in turn he blesses us with unremitting joy. 

Elder Blake

His mom and sister and brother are members.
We're gonna be trying to work on his dad now!

Nahuel got baptized (2 weeks ago.)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Feeding the Flock - Happy Labor Day!

Hey fam,

This week was another awesome one. We had a sweet baptism on Saturday. The young gun Nahuel Flores was baptized, joining 2 siblings and his mom that are members. He was sooo ampred, it was awesome. Yesterday, he had the incredible oportunity to go to the Cordoba Temple open house!! 

Then to start the week, we headed up North to Oran (the 2nd city I lived in!) to do splits. Wed was Tartagal (the northern point), then Thurs and Fri in Jujuy (my 3rd city!). It was a good, exhausting road trip week! We did splits with the ZLs every day and got some good work done, but the highlight of the week was the incredible blessing I had to be able to visit a few people who I worked with and taught when I served in Oran and Jujuy. 

1st - I got to say hi to a few member families in Oran because we were in the Chapel all day while Pres did interviews. The best was seeing the Cabana family, converts of abouyt 5 years, and one of my converts, Dani Rasguido. It was awesome, because I'd lost all contact with him since I left, and had no clue how he was doing. His member friend told me where he lived and we stopped by. He came out with a smile on his face and told me he'd gotten a little lazy, but that last Sunday he went to Church. It was great to see that he's still striving to serve and keep the commandments!

Then - the highlight of the year - going back to the Brajeda house. For those who don't know or remember who the Brajedas are, please revist my letter from Aug/4/14 titled "Hey Brother." Leandro is Elder Miño (my hijo)'s first convert in the mission. 

Fri just happened to be Argentine Labor Day, so we dropped by the house on our way to the other zone, and the whole family was at the table eating b-fast!!! Wow, it was soooo awesome to see all of them again! The first thing I did was hug Alberto, Leo's dad, and he told me that they had been planning on going to the Cordoba temple as a family, but at the last minute there was a doggone bus strike! DOGGONIT!! But what he said next melted my heart. He basically said, "But hey, maybe it'll be better t wait and go later when we can get married for all eternity." During my 3 months teaching Leo, he and Norma almost never sat down to listen to us. When I left, Leo kept talking to them and they slowly opened up, eventually getting married and baptized!

In the fam, they're 8, like the Blakes. 4 boys, 2 girls. As of now, 5 are members, with the other 3 in jail... But they tell me that Diego, Adrian, and Kevin are reading the Book of Mormon in jail and they like it a lot! By small and simple things, great things come to pass!

I had an ear to ear grin on my face the whole time we were there. Leo told me he's planning with the Bishop to leave on a mission in December 2015!

Word's cannot describe the joy I feel to see them firm and steadfast. I'll finish with some word out of 1 Thessalonians 2, directed at all of the people I've been able to meet and work with here in ARG up till now. I LOVE YOU ALL:

 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willingthave imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, butalsour own soulsbecause ye were dear unto us.
 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travailforlabouring night and day, because we would not bechargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you thegospel of God.
 10 Ye are witnessesand God also, how holily and justlyand unblameably we behaved ourselves among you thatbelieve:
 11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted andcharged everone of you, as father doth his children,
 12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath calledyou unthis kingdom and glory.
 13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing,becausewhen ye received the word of God which yeheard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as itis in truth, the word of God, which effectuallworkethalso in you that believe.
 17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for short timeipresence, not in heart, endeavoured the moreabundantly to see your face with great desire.
 18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even Paul,once and again; but Satan hindered us.
 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Arenot even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at hiscoming?
 20 For ye are our glory and joy.

Elder Isaac Blake

Me and Jose Choque, a member from Oran that accompanied Rosano and me to visit people. He's a convert of 1 year, only member in his fam, and he enters the MTC in 5 days.

Dani Rasguido, my only convert in Oran. He's still going to church.

My dear, beloved Brajeda family (Alberdi, Jujuy) - (Left to right) Leandro, Giuliana (Julie), Norma, Isaac, Milagros, Beba (Not sure her real name O.o), and Alberto.