Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas is in the Air

Well, today we get like 3 hours of P-day to get some stuff done, so I get to write! This week has been so weird and crazy and fun! It feels a whole lot more like Christmas this week than last week. It was actually raining here! Ah!! I was so excited. It is summer here and was super hot. But this weekend we had to use leggings and our big winter jackets because it was freezing. It was so great though! I felt right at home! But now the heat is coming back. It's ok, I got a taste of Christmas!

Hermana Christensen and I had a pretty good week together! We had some divisions and I went to Apoquindo. It is the super rich sector of the mission, where President Wright lives. Oh my goodness! It was so different than my sector. It felt like I was back in the states. So insane! But then when I got home to my sector of El Parque, I was so happy! I love my sector and ward!

Yesterday we sang... so much! I sang Oh Holy Night in sacrament meeting. Then later that day we went caroling. It is something that is not done in Chile. Everyone thought we were weird. But that's ok! We went to see some less-actives and investigators. We sang a Christmas Hymn and then gave them some manjar cookies and truffles. It went really well! We found a less-active member we had never met before and he wants to come back to church! Then we sang with the ward choir at our apartment buildings. We set up this whole sound system. I sang Oh Holy Night again and a bunch of people came out of their apartments to listen! It was pretty awesome! Then we went to a feria for Christmas that is in our sector and sang again. It was a pretty cool activity!

On Saturday we had a Conference with President Wright and our whole mission. So many missionaries! We are changing the way we do things a lot here in our mission! Before, we would have goals with how many lessons with investigators we wanted to have in a week, how many with less-actives and so on. But they have changed it. Now we aren't counting how many lessons we have in a week. We are measuring it all by how many people are in our sacrament meeting. We have to keep track and make our wards grow by 10% this next year. Yesterday we had 103 people at church. I was so excited yesterday! Hermana Miryam Valdebenito came to church! She is a less-active who got super offended and left the church. We have been working like crazy with her for the past few months. And yesterday was the first Sunday she came back! I was practically jumping for joy!

I am getting so excited for Christmas! I cannot believe we are already here. I have never realized as much as I do know how important families are. Really, families are the way we can be happy here on Earth. I am so grateful to have family who cares about me and wants me to succeed. Families are a central part of our Heavenly Father's plan for us. Be with your family this Christmas. There are a lot of people we visit who are going to be alone. We are trying to see everyone we can so they can be happy and feel God's love. If there's someone who needs a friend, be that friend. It is an incredible feeling to serve someone and develop the love of Christ for them! Love you all. Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas! 

Feliz Navidad!

Hermana Flake

1..Making manjar cookies with the Youth in the ward. Hermana Christensen is addicted to manjar!
2. When I sang my solo I had to use this weird microphone. I felt so awkward...
3. McDonald's for lunch today... we were craving something SUPER gringo :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Concert at the Temple

This week has been one crazy long ride! But it has been fantastic! It started out a bit rough with Hna. Altamirano going home on Tuesday. She was my trainer and taught me everything I know! Hna Christensen and I went to the temple with her Tuesday night and said goodbye there and she took off for the airport. It was pretty rough being excited for the next day. But it was so good. I realized just how much the Lord is capable of. It is pretty crazy being two gringas in my sector! But it is so much fun! Hna Christensen and I just have adventures all day long, it´s the best!
We had something going on just about everyday this week. Whether it was the temple, a Zone Conference, divisions, or other meetings. Today I had to go into the center of Santiago and do all the work for my Visa... OH my heavens. I waited in one building for (I am not exaggerating because I got a ticket with a number on it and it said what time I entered the building) 4 hours! But I got it all done! Yay!
Yesterday was so awesome! We got to go to the Christmas Concert at the Temple! You need to watch it! I´m pretty sure it is on! And a big plus, lik 80% of it was in English. Marvin Goldstein came and played the piano and some other woman from Arizona sang. It was super pretty! My favorite song was by three young girls singing a sassy version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Super impressive! And there were a bunch of Nativity scenes. And lights everywhere! It was like a mini temple square! But with Palm trees :)
I am so excited for Christmas! We have Christmas lights up around the apartment that mom sent me. I got my Christmas Package and everything is waiting underneath the tree. I can´t believe I´ll be talking to you guys in like a week and a half! How exciting! I won´t be writing next Monday because our P-day is on Christmas. I hope you all remember the importance of this time. I have learned so much being away from home during this season. It really isn´t that important to have a long list of things you want. But it´s important to keep the Savior in your heart. I am so grateful that He lives and loves each one of us.
¡¡¡¡Feliz Navidad!!!!
Hermana Flake                                                             

We really like gigantic completos.. at 10 o'clock
at night...because yeah, we're really healthy

At the Christmas Concert yesterday! We went with
Carlito (recent convert) Antonia and Flor (cute
members) It was such a fun day!

Pictures of the Chapel Open House we helped 
out with on Saturday!

Car selfies! traveling home in the car after the
concert! Herman Christensen and me!

We Went to the Zoo December 8, 2014

Wow, where do I even begin? This week was full of miracles, laughter, and lots of missionary work! It was a fantastic week! Ok first off, I want to share what I am most excited about... A new investigator we have!! His name is Camilo and he is probably the coolest person I have ever met. He is what you would call a "Golden Investigator." But like really. Ok, cool. Here's the story:
On Saturday we decided to go contact the references we had received from the offices. There was one for our apartment building so we went to meet Camilo. He was super super friendly and invited us in to talk more about the gospel but he lives alone so we couldn't go in. (We can only go in when there is an adult woman with us). So we told him we would come back in an hour. So we called our ward like crazy to find someone who could come with us. NO ONE COULD. We were praying like crazy. Finally a young woman said she would leave her family party to come with us. Such a sweetheart! So we went to see him. We left him a tarjeta of He is the Gift and asked him to watch it before we came back. (Which is the coolest video ever. If you haven't seen it, look it up on youtube. It's life changing!!) When we got in his apartment we sat down and he had watched the video and was looking up more information on So cool. And then we started by teaching him the first lesson of the Restoration. He was so interested the whole time. You could just tell that he was hungering for the gospel like Enos, in the Book of Mormon. It was incredible. We asked him to come to church with us the next day and he said yes. And guess what... HE CAME!!! Ah, we were like freaking out. He brought his Book of Mormon and stayed the whole time. He was introducing himself to members saying, "Hi, I'm Camilo and this is my first time here." He is so friendly. He is 25 and already wants to go on a mission. He told a young man in the ward that he would like to get baptized. We have a crazy schedule today, but we are going to try and see him. Even if it is during our time of P-day. He is awesome!
Ok, yeah. I was really excited. But about the rest of the week. It was super great. We have quite a few investigators that are progressing, less-actives that are coming back to church, and super great recent converts. Our mission focus is baptize, reactivate, and retain. President is working really hard to have all of his missionaries focus on all three of these points. It is great because we focus more on balancing our week with these goals.
Today for P-day, we went to the National Zoo of CHILE! Yeah! It was way awesome! It is on the Hill San Cristobal and super cool! We got a lot of great pictures and I saw a lot of my favorite animals... minus pandas. Dang it. But it was fun! It was the last P-day of Hermana Altamirano. She goes home tomorrow. I am kind of dying inside. I will finally be alone with Hermana Christensen in our sector. It will be great though! Tomorrow we get to go to the temple! I am way excited to finally go again. It has been months.
This week was fantastic! I wasn't sick at all and got to work my head off. I love weeks like this. When you feel like you are just running and running. And then you realize the week is gone. And then you look back and see all of the work that has been accomplished! It is a great feeling! I hope you all have a great week. Love you lots!
Hermana Flake

Monday, December 1, 2014

Another Crazy Week of Sickness

Hello All!

This week has been a bit of a challenge for me. My health has been in a crazy rollercoaster... but I think I have been able to find a solution. So it's all ok!

It all started on Wednesday. I felt pretty crummy. I had the chills, my body ached, and a raging head ache. But I didn't want to say anything to my companions and be a problem. So I just kept going. We went to lunch and then were in the streets walking for about 3 hours. It was blazing hot and my body was slowly dying. We finally got into a house and taught some less active kids. I used their bathroom and almost passed out. But I just kept pushing myself. We went to another less active woman's house and I was just trying to stay awake and not throw up the whole lesson. My companions asked if I was alright and I said Yeah, it's not a big deal. So we kept going. We went to visit an investigator, Bianca, and she looked at me and freaked out. She made us go home because I looked horrible. I went home and slept until the next day. Apparently a crazy lot happened while I was sleeping! Bianca went to mutual and told the whole ward I was on my death bed. People were calling President Wright, people wanted to take me to a hospital, it was craziness! Just so you know, I had like a flu or something, definitely not dying.

The next day we had a Meeting for the New Missionaries. So I took Hermana Christensen and President Wright told me I had to go to the doctor that day. We scheduled an appointment and went to President's house to wait. Blessing in Disguise! It was Thanksgiving! So we got to eat Thanksgiving with President and Hermana Wright in their house! It was crazy. I wish I had felt better and been able to eat more. But hey, I'll take what I can get. I went to the doctor and he said I had a virus and told me to sleep for 2 days.

Now I am better! But life was crazy for this week. The food here is super hard on my stomach. So the mission nurse has a diet that I have to be on. So now I can't eat with the members at all. Kind of a bummer. But I just want to be able to work! It was so lame being stuck in the apartment for 2 days straight. I just wanted to do stuff! But now my body is healed and I am good to go! I have learned so much about patience and prayer this week. Sometimes your body can't do everything you want it to. But I had a lot of time to read my scriptures and understand why this was happening. I realized that I can't be a control freak and do everything perfectly. But that I have to rely on the Lord because His ways are higher than my ways. There is a reason for everything. And somehow, everything works out.

Lo Siento, pretty lame letter this week. I didn't get to work much. It was horrible not getting to see my investigators! OH! But some exciting news! Rodrigo, our recent convert (the husband of Nayibe) was made Elder's Quorum President! It is his first calling and he's been a member for 7 months! Pretty scary right? But he is so awesome. He'll do a fantastic job.

Hermana Flake

Photo: Last Monday at a birthday party. The last piece of cake I'll get to eat for awhile.... 

Hermana Christensen November 24, 2014

Hello Everyone!

Well, I got my new companion! Hermana Christensen, she is from Arizona and knows the Shirley's! She is super awesome and happy and great! We get along super well and are working hard together. It is great that we still have Hermana Altamirano with us for 2 1/2 more weeks. This week was kind of super lame... I had to go to the dentist, I got the flu, and was super sick. But it's ok. I am better now! And now we are working like normal. I felt so bad that Hermana Christensen's first few days I was sick. So here's the story of this crazy week:

Tuesday! We got up early and went to the mission office to get Hermana Christensen! I practically freaked out when I found out I would be training a gringa! But that's alright. She is learning Spanish and is trying so hard! She will learn it way fast, I just know it. We had a crazy time getting back to our sector because the metro has been having problems. So the buses were packed and we had all her suitcases. It was craziness. But we got back and went to a lesson and then had our English Class in the church.

Wednesday! I woke up and flossed my teeth, you know, like I am supposed to. And my filling fell out. I had this huge hole in my tooth. I called the mission nurse and she told me I had to go to the dentist. We scheduled an appointment and went. Ok... let's just say I hope I never have to go again. It was one of the sketchiest experiences of my life. I opened my eyes a few times as he was putting a new filling in and I almost passed out. He had pieces of random metal scraps and yeah. Whatever. I am alive now so it's not important. But it cost me a bunch of money so now I am way poor for the month... ugh. But then when we were on the bus coming home I started feeling like I was going to throw up and got this strong fever. I found a seat and slept on the bus for like 45 minutes. When we got home I couldn't move because I was exhausted and the fever was horrible. I slept. and slept. and slept. I ended up sleeping for like 30 hours... It was so great that Hermana Altamirano is still with us! Her and hermana Christensen were able to leave and go to lessons while a member stayed in the apartment with me. It was so lame...

Now I feel a whole lot better and the fever is gone. We went to see a less-active family on Saturday and they all have the flu. I started feeling sick last Monday, the day after we had a lesson in their house. pretty sure they're the reason I was sick. But oh well!

Yesterday was a great day in the chapel! Hermana Christensen shared her first testimony in the ward and did a great job! We had 6 investigators in sacrament meeting! So there is a woman in our ward who is named Sharon. She got pregnant and had her baby and the father of her baby isn't a member of the church. They blessed their baby yesterday in church and the father came, his name is Eduardo. Sharon was talking to us, she is seriously so awesome, and told us that Eduardo wants to hear the lessons from us! We are going to go teach him this week! I love new investigators. 

This week has been one hectic thing after another. But really I have learned so much. It has been hard. The responsibility of training a new missionary is really big. But Hermana Christensen has the desire to be an obedient and fantastic missionary, so I know that we are going to have a lot of success together. I am excited for this coming week!

Today we are having a mini-Thanksgiving in our apartment. We invited some other hermanas to come. We will be having a squash-pumpkin pie (because they don't have real pumpkins here) cranberry sauce (YES! I FOUND CRANBERRY SAUCE) funeral potatoes!!!! (that cost like 40 bucks for all the ingredients...) and some chicken (because turkey doesn't really exist either). It is kind of a lame Thanksgiving, but that's ok! We are excited. My companions are so annoyed with me. I keep singing my family's Thanksgiving song "Gobble, gobble, gobble, Fat Turkey" It makes me so happy!!!! 

Hermana Flake

The trio of El Parque!
Hermana Christensen and I!
Me moving a matress (All by myself) to get the apartment ready for Hermana Christensen!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Big Changes Came...

Woo-hoo! I finished my training and now am a "real" missionary haha. But I have some crazy news, we had changes in the companionships! I am a trainer! Tomorrow my new companion will be coming and I'll get to teach her everything about the mission just like Hermana Altamirano did for me! I am kind of freaking out. President Wright called me on Saturday and told me. I don't know if it is a gringa or latina. I hope she is a latina so she can help me improve my Spanish some more. But it will be good. Hermana Altamiran will still be with me for 3 weeks until she heads home. So we will be in a trio until December 9th. I can't wait to meet my companion tomorrowmorning!
This week was fantastic! We had a lot of different activities. First was that we got to go to the temple and take Rodrigo and Nayibe to do baptisms for the dead. They took names of their parents and grandparents. It was so beautiful and they were so happy the whole time! We are so lucky here in El Parque. There is a bus that passes right in front of our apartment and takes us right to the temple in 1 hour. It is such a blessing! We are getting Carlita ready for her recommendation so she can go in the next couple weeks.
We also had a Talent Show in our ward on Saturday! We had SO many investigators and less actives who came and participated. It was so fantastic! Connie and Patricio, a young couple we are teaching, sang two songs and loved the whole night. It turned out really well! I sang Teach Me to Walk in the Light with Emmanuel (The son of rodrigo and Nayibe) he is turning 4 next week. He is so darn cute and asked to sing with me. I will try to send the video that Hna Altamirano has of us. The 4 missionaries in the ward also did a talent. We sang Si Vas Para Chile a song that every Chilean knows. Everyone was cracking up the whole time. They loved it :)
On Sunday I gave a talk in church. I was so proud of myself! I spoke for more than 15 minutes. Which is quite a challenge in Spanish. But it turned out super well! I spoke about Love and Service. And why it is important to serve with love. 
I am excited for this next week. I am really scared about training. But president and the Lord believe that I can do this. So I know I will have help and be able to succeed. We are still running around like crazy today to get stuff together for her! It will be a good challenge for me!

Hermana Flake

P.S. I am going to try to send a bunch of pictures since I couldn't last week.
Oh yeah, mom, I got my package!!!! YOU ARE THE BEST! Thank you thank you thank you! I freaked out, I was so happy!

The First is with a little four year old named Eric in our ward. We had a family home evening with his family. He is so darn cute!
The other pictures are from when we hiked the hill in our sector. In the picture with just me you can see almost all of my sector! It is so pretty

And more.. Sorry, I took a bagillion pictures this week!
-I got my package!!!
-Teaching Hna Aceituno the piano! Two of her kids: Vicente and Flor. They are the cutest, right??
-Connie and patricio singing at the talent show!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Elder Russell M Nelson Came to Speak

Wow! I have felt so blessed over these past few days. I think the most exciting thing to happen was hearing Elder Nelson speak to us this morning! Oh my goodness. It was absolutely incredible to be in a room with more than 450 missionaries and here one of the 12 apostles of our Savior, Jesus Christ, speaking to me. It was a very humbling and sweet experience. He and his wife spoke about "pure doctrine" as they stated. It was an amazing experience. He shook the hand of every missionary in the chapel. It was Santiago North and East missions. At the end of his talk he gave a blessing upon us as missionaries. It was so special. I know the words he said in this blessing are going to help me in my mission for the next year or so. 

Things are starting to get crazy over here in El Parque. My trainer is leaving in 4 weeks. It will be in the middle of a change so President Wright said we will be put in a trio until she leaves and then I will have a companion. On Friday I find out what will happen! And next Monday I will have one more companion! So crazy how quickly time is passing here. I remember when I got here Hna Altamirano told me when she would be leaving and I thought "Oh good, we have forever together." But now the time is winding down. 

We went to the temple on Friday (Probably around the same time Jess and Hyrum were in the hospital meeting McLane!!) with Carlita and Elsa. It was awesome! We showed up to the chapel that is on the temple grounds and were waiting because we couldn't go inside. Elder Nelson was giving a talk to the missionaries in the CCM. So we waited on the temple grounds. When he was finished he came over to us 4 missionaries and Carlita, and he shook all of our hands. I cannot believe he is 90 years old. He looks so much younger! It was so powerful to be so close to someone who is an apostle of God! The temple tour went really well with Elsa and Carlita. Elsa just wants to get baptized and sealed to her family forever! We are patiently, but persistently, waiting for Carlos to accept the message. We saw Carlos and Elsa on the bus this morning. They were going to the hospital to see if he could have his operation. It was really good to see them before and Carlos was very kind and receptive.

We had our Stake Conference of the Stake Javiera Carrera this past weekend. It was really great! Presidente and Hna Wright came to speak at both the adult and Sunday session. They gave great talks along with the other speakers. There were some very inspired talks. Some elders in my zone had two investigators at the Stake conference and after Pres. Wright got done giving an awesome talk about the worth of souls the 15 year old teenage girl started applauding like crazy. Poor thing, she was so embarrassed when no one else was. But seriously, everyone felt that way about his talk. It was so powerful!

I am still doing well down here in little Chile! I love it everyday. It is getting hotter and hotter, but I am loving it more and more! I know it is where I am supposed to be, without a shadow of doubt. I cannot imagine anything better to be doing with my time. 

Hermana Flake

P.S. Dang it, I forgot my camera cord... We hiked a huge hill in my sector that has a big white cross on it today. We took super pretty pictures where you can see all of my sector! I will send them next week.

Monday, November 3, 2014

P-Day with President Wright

I had a fantastic week full of work! It was crazy with two divisions and travelling over the mission and not being in my sector. But it's ok! I am alive :)

This week I started learning how to do Family History! My companion is starting to teach me so that I can help others do it too! And guess what! I found a name to take to the temple! It is so crazy! I thought that all of my work had been done. 

We are pretty excited for the progress of Carlita. She was confirmed on Sunday and we had dinner with her and her parents. Her mom came to see her get confirmed and wants to get baptized so bad! She just needs to get married. When we went to lunch we saw Carlita's dad, Carlos. He was super sick with a cold and is having an operation today. He asked for a blessing of health so we brought Jose Manuel and Joaquin with us. They are two young men preparing for their missions. They gave him a blessing and later we said goodbye and he looked completely different. He said he felt incredible and knew it was from the blessing! Yes! Miracles happen :)

We have been working a lot more with Bianca and her son Nico. We went to see her on Saturday night and keep trying to get her to church. She just won't budge. She has never been to a church before and is so scared of it. But it's ok, she is slowly progressing and I know she will get there!

Today for Pday, the four hermanas from my ward went to a volcano with President and Hermana Wright. It was so fun! It was in San Jose de Maipo. We went to a beautiful waterfall and were super close to the Argentine border! It is so awesome to think I am on the opposite side of the world than my family! So crazy, seriously.

But that's about it for the week. Just keep going. My comp has about a month left in her mission now. She is extending for like 3 weeks. So we have until December 9th together. And I don't know what will happen with my next companion because it is in the middle of a change. But it will be great! Love you all and hope all is well in Los Estados.

Hermana Flake

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Carlita's Baptism Oct. 27, 2014

Hello Everyone!

This was one crazy hectic week! But it turned out so well! It was the baptism of Carlita yesterday! Ah! It was such a special day. She is 13 and couldn't be happier in the church. We have been teaching her mom and her for about 2 months. We started just about when I got here. They are so awesome! I sang When I am Baptized with Hermana Ximena Calderon and then Carlita bore her testimony after being baptized. There were so many miracles! Her dad has been super anti for the church, but has supported her. But he said he wouldn't come to her baptism. We prayed and prayed that his heart would soften, and he came! When she bore her testimony he was crying and so was her mom! The bishop spoke to her parents about getting married and coming to church. At the end of the baptism her parents came up to us and said they want to come to church every week! We are so excited to get started with teaching Carlos, the dad of Carlita! Her mom, Elsa, is ready for baptism, she just needs to get married!

The rest of the week was great too! We had craziness in downtown Santiago for two days. Waiting for you know, like 7 hours in a building with no AC for a dumb visa paper. And then having to go back the next day. They really don't have much organization here with this stuff. It was all for my comp's papers. And we have to go back in about a month to get my visa, ugh, it is such a waste of time.

But it's ok, because the time we had to work was spent super well! We found two new families to teach! They are so awesome! The Acuña and Folsch families. With the Folsch family we had an awesome lesson! They had elders come and help them with service about 5 years ago and have good memories of Mormons. They invited us back and kept saying what a blessing we are to their life in this moment. We also found a woman, Norma, who is really interested in the church. 7 new investigators this week! We are so excited to work hard and see them this week and hopefully have great lessons! I am so happy to see how the work is progressing here! There are always appointments that we have to get to and we end up running through the streets to be able to get everywhere in time! I love how busy I am. I can truly feel Heavenly Father helping my companion and I with this work!

Hermana Flake
P.S. Sometimes you end up cleaning the baptismal font with a trash can.. and then you find a cat that has been living in the chapel.. Chile is just full of interesting adventures!

Trusting the Lord Oct. 20, 2014

Well, another week gone! Crazy how quickly time passes here! I can't believe it. This last week I hit 3 months in my mission. I honestly feel like I have been here for 3 weeks! But oh well, I am going to enjoy every moment I possibly can!
This week has been one of lots of faith. We have two investigators, Elsa and Carlita. They had a baptismal date for October 26th, next Sunday. It has been a crazy roller coaster of emotions this week. Full of prayer and fasting and trusting in the Lord's ways. I went to see Elsa and Carlita when I had divisions last Tuesday. We got to the house and Elsa started by saying she wasn't going to be baptized. She said she knew it was true but wanted more time, like a year, to be sure that it was right for her. My heart broke. I was so worried! I wasn't with my companion, I can't speak Spanish, yeah, I had no idea what to do! But I prayed and somehow the words came. I told her about Alma 32:21 and faith. She goes to church every Sunday and I asked her why. She said she goes because she knows it is where she should be and she feels peace there. I told her that I couldn't tell her that she is ready to be baptized, but that the only one who can, is our Heavenly Father. When we closed the lesson she said: Ok, I want to be baptized. It was so great! But this isn't the end. We went back on Friday to finish teaching the lessons required before baptism. We had to teach the Law of Chastity. We had been introduced to her and her "Husband" but apparently they weren't married. She can't be baptized if she isn't married... Her heart was broken. She pleaded with us to see if we could make an exception. We told her we could pray and fast, but that we couldn't change the guidelines. She asked her husband if they could get married and he said no. We are still praying for her and she is figuring things out. Her daughter Carlita is still going to be baptized, so that is great! But we are going to work hard to get Elsa there someday!
Besides that this week was pretty calm. We made banana bread for a few people who have helped us in the ward, We are always trying to bake little American things for people. Everyone is always so amazed at how different the cooking is in the U.S.
Life is still going on down here in Santiago. I really cannot think of a time that I have been happier in my life! Yeah, going out and working everyday in the heat is hard at times. But seeing the change people are making in their lives is so worth it. I love every second I am here. I love the things I am learning and applying to my life. I cannot even imagine "normal" life now! I haven't even worn jeans in months.. Super weird, right?! But it's all good. I love it here and I know it is where I am supposed to be. 

Hermana Flake

-The Lepe Family! Hermano Lepe is our ward mission leader and their son, Jonathan, got his mission call for Cordoba Argentina! They are pretty much our parents here. Every time we don't have lunch we just show up at their house and they feed us! They're the best!
-My companion and I in the elevator in our building
-The four missionaries of El Parque with Jonathan when he got his mission call.

Summer Is Coming Quickly Oct. 13, 2014

Ok... I'll be honest. I am pretty sure my body was not made for the heat. I am dying!!! And it's not even really summer yet. My little Peruvian companion was wearing a cardigan and saying she was freezing and I was sweating to death. Oh dear, I do not think that is a good sign. Oh well. I'll just eat up on ice cream and ice.
This week... was great! Not too much happened. Just the normal with teaching lessons, bloody heels from walking so much, and yep, that's about it! Nah, but really it was great. We started teaching some muslims. They are sisters who live here and we are teaching them spanish. It is great, I just get to speak in English the whole time. We started talking about their religion and it opened the door for us to talk about our beliefs. It went pretty well and are actually progressing. They are from Afghanistan and had to flee their country because they were in danger from the Taliban. Scary, right? I feel so bad for them. Their culture is so different than from here in Chile. They just want to move to the States. It breaks my heart when they say things like, "Please just put us in your suitcases and take us home with you." But I know that if they have the Gospel the quality of their lives will be so much better!
We had some really great lessons with one of our investigators, Bianca, and her son Nico. They came to mutual on Wednesday and really liked it. I love when our investigators find the courage to come to activities! It is so great when the ward can help them feel welcome.
I started teaching piano lessons to a woman in my ward, Hermana Aceituno. We had a keyboard in the apartment and a simplified hymnbook. So I am teaching her once a week. That way when I am gone someone will be able to play the piano in the ward.
Today for P-day we went to Providencia (AKA the super rich part of Chile). It was so crazy to be in a place more similar to the U.S. We went to a super market there and guess what I found... Cranberry sauce!! For our Thanksgiving dinner we will be making in a month or so. AND... Mac&Cheese.. Kraft!! Oh my goodness. I just about died and went to heaven. I am so excited. I never imagined they would have that here!
In two weeks, on October 26, we have two more baptisms! A mother and daughter are getting baptized, Elsa and Carlita. They are so sweet and we are working like crazy to teach all of the lessons before their baptism. We taught them the word of wisdom lesson last week and when we asked if they would follow it. They said: of course! And we will throw everything away in the house that doesn't abide by it! It was so great! I love seeing the people that the Lord has prepared for the missionaries. I know that this sector of El Parque is super blessed! I feel super humble to have to opportunity to be here.
In November Elder Nelson is coming to speak to the Chile Santiago North mission and we get to go too. I am so excited to hear from him! Conference was so awesome. I just want more and more! 

Love you all!
Hermana Flake

Photos: One is with me and my investigator Andrea and her son Fernando. Fernando looks sad.. but he's such a cute little kid! 
The other is of me and Martina, she is the daughter of another one of our investigators, Lili. martina is just like Isabel! It is so fun to be around her.
The other is of the four missionaries in El Parque. We were at the ward mission leader's house for his birthday. His son, Jonathan has his mission call and we are going there later tonight to open it with him! I am betting that he'll go to the states :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

General Conference

This week was pretty darn good! Pretty sure it was because of the past weekend! GENERAL CONFERENCE! Oh my goodness! Those talks were just the best, right?? Elder Klebingat's and Elder Bednar's were by far my favorites! But they were all awesome! It was so nice to be able to listen to it all in English and understand everything! I have to give a talk in church on Sunday and I am going to use some of the talks for my talk. Tonight we have a lesson with Andrea, an investigator, and we are going to show her Elder Bednar's talk. Unfortunately, none of our investigators were able to come to the Conference. Our stake center is super far away.. But it's ok. We are going to watch talks with them in our lessons!
All in all this week was great! We made "Galletas de Los Estados" AKA Chocolate chip cookies... for our investigators. They were all in shock at how good they were. (Let's be honest, they weren't even that good. Cooking is kind of hard when you have an oven that is used by lighting a match.. You never know how hot it is in the oven!) But it was great that everyone liked them! We are hoping that we can give cookies to people and they will let us teach them haha! We have some great plans :) 
Today is the last day of my first transfer! Hermana Altamirano and I are still together! But Hermana Chavez, an hermana who lives with us, went home! I can't believe she finished her mission! And tomorrow Hermana Leishman is going to train a new missionary. So there will be someone newer than me here! Pretty sure she'll be Latina though, so I will still be the one who can't speak! 
Everything down here in Chile is great. Just working hard. The weather is warming up and I can already tell I am going to die in the summer.. We'll see how my super white skin does with this sun.. Haha! 
I love you all! If you didn't get a chance to watch conference.. go watch it! It was the best. Especially the second session on Saturday!
Hermana Flake

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Divisions Alone in My Sector ~ Sept. 29

Okay, this week... was, a little different. My companion is a sister leader. This means that she is a leader over 2 other companionships of sisters. And because of this she goes on divisions with the other hermanas. So either I go to a different sector with a different hermana or she leaves. Well, so far I have always left... because well, I can't speak Spanish and I don't want to be alone in my sector with another hermana who doesn't know the area. But this week my companion decided that I would stay in our sector... I just about died! It was so scary! I was in charge. I had decide who we would visit. The people knew me, so I had to talk the whole time. And I had to remember where everyone's houses were. And my companion was Hermana Alcantara, she only has a month in the mission field too. And she speaks no English. But guess what. I did it! It was great! We had a bunch of lessons, went contacting, and found new investigators! It was fantastic! It was super hard to be the one who was making the plans and deciding what we would do next and planning everything. But I had so much help from my Heavenly Father. It went super well... I was so exhausted afterward!
Sunday was pretty great! We had 7 investigators at church. It was awesome! We feel like the Lord is truly preparing the people in our sector to receive the gospel. There is a lot of work to do. We are waiting for the weather to warm up. We are both sick.. pretty sure I am destined to be sick my whole mission. 
On Saturday I got pretty homesick. We watched the Women's Conference and I just wanted to be there! And when the choir sang "Ï know that my Savior loves me" I just thought of mom playing it for me. 
My investigators are doing super well! There is a 16 year old boy, the son of Andrea, who wants to learn everything. He wants to go to mutual on Wednesday and go to conference. His mom said that after we taught him the first lesson he talked to her and said "I have to learn more about this. I want to know if it is true for myself" His name is Fabian and he is great! We are hoping to see him right after we get done writing.
Conference is this weekend!!! I am so so so excited! I have been reading the Liahona from May with all of the talks from the April conference. It is my goal to read all of it before Saturday. It is an incredible experience to tell the people we are teaching about conference. We tell them there is a prophet on the earth today and that he receives revelation for us, personally. They all want to come and here what he has to say. It is making me feel so much more grateful for this special opportunity we have. I hope all of you will take advantage of this weekend and listen to the word's our Heavenly Father wants us to hear. I love you all! Hope you have a great weekend!
Hermana Flake

P.S. So sorry that I forgot my camera cord and can't send home any pictures. I will send a bunch next week!

September 22, 2014

This week was pretty great! Oh yeah, and it was the 18th! Chile's Independence Day! So let's just say there were a lot of drunk people the whole week and weekend. It was pretty...interesting. 
On the 18th we had a meeting for the new missionaries. It was so awesome! We listened to the testimony of a woman named Victoria. She is getting baptized in December and has this incredible testimony in the Book of Mormon. It was so awesome! We then got to ask her questions to try and help our investigators. Hermana Leishman, who lives with me, found her in March. When I got back to our sector I told her and she was so happy! 
After the meeting we went to the church for the party. Unfortunately a bunch of our investigators didn't come.. But we had a few there! It is so different from a normal ward party in the U.S. There was a table of "salads" haha they call potatoes with mayo on top a salad.. Eh, its alright. So many empanadas, churipan, and meat. It was good!! I have also decided that they don't believe in dessert here. Weird, right? Then they started dancing and singing karaoke. It was hilarious! They dance the Cueca and it is super cool! Everyone here dances. I am so glad we weren't allowed to dance. I'm so awkward... haha
The next day we had divisions with the hermanas in La Reina. I went with Hermana Huber and went to their sector. Oh my goodness, it was so much nicer than our sector! I was shocked. I have gotten so accustomed to our little sector. But I love my sector so much :) Hermana Huber and I had some... adventures together. We went to a crazy party.. and didn't know how to escape. There were a lot of drunk men and a couple of members who kept us safe. Let's just say my blonde hair makes me stick out like a sore thumb in this country. But, there was a plus to this sketchy party, we got chocolate cake! The next day we got yelled at by a drunk man who almost started chasing us when we ran away from him. Yay for drunk people..... 
All in all, this week was great. We couldn't find a whole bunch of people because everyone was out of town. But we are excited to meet up with our investigators this week! 
Hermana Flake

P.S. Sometimes you spill something on your skirt and then a Chilean family insists they pour salt all over you. And sometimes you eat food and think you're doing well. And then they bring out more and you think you might die. That's my life now! And it is fantastic! 

Lorraine on the balcony of her 10th floor apartment

Monday, September 15, 2014

Baptism of Nayibe!

This week was full of craziness and so much work! It was fantastic! First off, the baptism of Nayibe! It was yesterday and it was such a special day. Her husband, Rodrigo, (who got baptized a few months ago) baptized her. She was so happy. It was a wonderful experience and one I will never forget!
We also found two new investigators who are truly prepared! One is named Andrea. When we visited her we shared a little about our purpose in being in Chile, that we want to help and bring happiness in her life, and that Christ can help her personally. She talked about how she has always felt she has a purpose but never known what it was. And she got emotional when talking to us about Jesus Christ. It was a tender moment. We saw her later in the week on the street and she was so excited to see us! We have another lesson with her tomorrow and we are hoping she has made some more progress!
We also met Loreto. She is an older woman and very intelligent. She believes in Christ and studies the Bible but doesn't have a religion. We taught her the first lesson about the restoration of the fullness of the gospel and she got so excited. We talked about the Book of Mormon and she was so engaged. We pulled one out of bag and wrote our testimony in it and then handed it to her saying it was a gift. She had a look of shock on her face and said: A gift? Really? I can read it? And we told her yes and she got so excited. We asked her to read the introduction before our next visit. And she said she would read the entire book. She was excited to get started right when we left. Yeah... it was a pretty great visit!! Unfortunately we don't get to see her in forever.. This week is the week of their Independence Day here in Chile. So practically everyone is out of town visiting the beach or the South. 
I love seeing the miracles that are happening all around me. It is truly incredible to see the hand of the Lord so prominently in my life. It is pretty hard to do this. The language is coming.. But it is pretty frustrating at moments. 
Oh. This was a week of feeling thrown under the bus for Spanish. I should be grateful... but it was crazy. First off, I am in a district of only Latino missionaries. Second, my companion and I had to teach the district lesson on Tuesday and it freaked me out. Third, when I got to church on Sunday a counselor in the bishopric said I would be giving a talk... in 5 minutes. And play the piano.. So.. I pretty much died. But it is alright. With all of this practice my Spanish is coming along better and better. I feel very blessed and know I am having so much help from my Father in Heaven. 
I love you all! Hope you all have a great week!

Hermana Flake
Pictures: One is of Nayibe's baptism, Sushi a few days ago... SO GOOD! and one of last Monday. It was Hermano Caldaron's birthday and we had once, had a little Family Home Evening, and played music. It was great!

Monday, September 8, 2014

El Parque!

Wow, another week gone! Crazy how time is in the field! This week has been fantastic! Just a lot of walking, getting to know people, and being confused by Spanish. You know, the usual! It is pretty great though! 
We had a stake activity on Saturday because the month of September is Chile's Indepence Day of sorts. It is crazy with Chilean pride everywhere! I love it!! We bought a flag for our apartment and need to buy some more stuff to decorate even more! On Saturday we had a bunch of empanadas and it was great! But unfortunately I got some kind of bug. Because for the next 2 or 3 days I was sick with the flu. Ugh, it was pretty miserable. I tried to go out and work a bunch but my body couldn't really handle it. Shoot. But I feel way better now, so it's not an issue!
Today we went to San Cristobal. It's a big hill where you can see most of Santiago! It is so beautiful, I'll attach some pictures. Of course there was a bunch of smog, there is always smog. But it was so beautiful! We met up with a few other sisters. It was fantastic! Then we had pizza... oh how I miss American food. I am quite happy with the food here. But there are times where I just crave my mom's cooking.
Next Sunday I have my first baptism! I am so excited! The woman's name is Nayibe and she is so awesome! Her husband got baptized 5 months ago and they have two sweetheart boys. They are so awesome and I can't wait to see her get baptized! She is so ready and it's so exciting! I am hoping our other investigators can come and see! It has been a great week. And I look forward to the work we can do this next week too! Love you all!
Hermana Flake