"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou
dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."
-Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Week 24...Feliz Navidad!

Hey guys!

I first want to wish you all a Feliz Navidad and a Happy New Year! I hope that this email finds you guys all doing great and enjoying the holiday season! As far as here, besides the few houses that have Christmas trees and Christmas lights and the actividades we have done with people for Christmas it’s still hard to believe navidad is casi aqui.. wanna know why? There is NO snow... and it’s 80 degrees... so yea that will take some getting used too! But it’s all good! So this week was crazy busy with all different holiday and Christmas shenanigans. But it was a blast! 

So this past week we had the Christmas party for the mission with the missionaries, and that was a blast! So so much fun! Got to see all the boys and have a great time! We also got to watch a movie with the President- dispicableme 2! That was a very funny movie, so that was great! We also had a gift exchange and I got this pretty cool stone statue- it’s legit. So that was good too! Presidente shared some really spiritual videos and his thoughts and testimony about Christmas- the spirit was very very strong and it was such a great actividad! We also had the actividad de nuestro estaca loarque. That activity was amazing as well, it was on the temple grounds and the spirit was sososo strong. The spirit at this time of year is like no other. I love it. I am so grateful to have really learned what the holiday season really is about this year- more so then any other year in my life. My view of the Christmas season has really changed- especially with the conditions that some people live in here. I am truly grateful to really understand the true meaning of the holiday season.

So this Saturday we had a baptizmo de un joven se llama Genesis- she is 9 years old with one of the strongest testimonies. She is great! In the past few her testimony has really grown and she was so ready to be baptized. She is great! The spirit tambien was soo strong in the baptism! We have 3 more baptisms planned for this upcoming Saturday so with Christmas and all, this week will be very busy! The majority of the people here celebrate Christmas the 24th, tomorrow and some the 25th so este semana is full of visiting people and sharing my love… HAHAHA on Christmas or whatever day they celebrate!

So this past week I spent a lot of time studying about Jesus Christ... what a great topic to study. I spent the majority of my time studying Christ-like attributes. We all need to try and be more like Christ. There is no other way to explain it. We can all improve the people that we are. The Christ-like attributes that I studied this week are: hope, charity, love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence and obedience. All the attributes we possess are things that we can always improve and do better. It’s not easy, but it’s the right thing to do. Christ-like attributes are truly gifts from our Heavenly Father. We will develop Christ-like behaviors and receive blessings when we use our agency righteously day in and day out. It’s not always easy – I know but we must ask our Lord to bless us with the attributes - you cannot develop such great qualities without His help. We all need to continue to develop these fine qualities.

The discipline contained in daily obedience and clean living and wholesome lives builds armor around you of protection and safety from the temptations that come as you proceed through life. 

I love all you guys. I want you all to strive to be more like Christ. I love you guys and think about you all each day! Make it a great week and a happy New Year! With tons of loves, aim high in all you do, and put your best foot forward! 

Con Mucho Amor! 
Elder Long 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ponder & Prayer

Hope that this Letter finds you guys doing great this holiday season and are enjoying the holiday spirit! Another week down, one week closer to seeing all you guys! But I am doing good. Enjoying this crazy experience and cant wait to share it with you guys when I get back to the promise land with all of you!

I want to start off and thank you all for the love and support every week but last week especially on my birthday! You guys are the best! I can honestly say it was probably the most memorable birthday I have ever had in my life. It was so nice to hear from so many people. Thanks so much family and friends -you guys are the bomb!

So this week was slightly different for me. It all started on Monday again when we left (where we write and play sports on our day of Preperation ). I saw an accident that was horrible ... I never want to see anything like this in my life again . It was terrible .... So THAT was pretty hard to deal with that night -Monday. But I know that the Lord has a plan for us and even when terrible things happen, everything is for a reason. So hopefully I don’t need to see anything like this again.

This past week we started a family home evening at the church. So many members and people that we are teaching come to church on Thursday and we played a GAME and gave a spiritual thought. It was a good time. This past Thursday was the first one that we have done. So we blew that one out of the water , it was fun and the people had a good spiritual time. We will continue to do these every Thursday -just another way to keep some people off the streets at night and doing things that they should not be doing ...

So the military has been searching buses and have check points all week. They are looking for someone and therefore have had all these searches…I can’t believe how different it is here to compared to the states ... blows my mind every day .. everyday is quite the experience . But it’s an adventure and it’s a blast! My Spanish is better every week.

My Spanish is getting better and I am really trying to learn the most that I can in the two years I am here. The time is absolutely flying by!  I am loving my time here and it is never a dull moment as something new and exciting happens every day and it’s always an adventure!

Saturday we went to the center of where the fields are in town. There are two full size professional soccer fields where the people live all day every day . We went and watched the so called  “mormon squad” play and they were really good. There were a lot of all the young men on the field so that was a lot of fun to go watch them and support them.

This past week I spent a lot of time studying and pondering why things happen to us in the time table that they do. I learned that it all comes down to one thing . Our time here on earth is on the time table of the Lord. Everything that happens, everything that we are given, happens for a reason and at a specific time for a reason . We always need to look at the bright things and press on. Pray every day , read your scriptures and go to church. These things are to keep us on the straight and narrow  path and make correct decisions. I see people here every day do great and terrible things ... just do what you know you need to do and all will be good. I am almost out of time so I need to go! I love you guys so much and I hope that you all have a great week and all do good things.  I love you guys very much.  Thanks for your great example and everything that you all do for me and my family.

Con mucho amor!!!
Elder Long

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy BIrthday today Elder Long!

Hello Everyone!

Today is Elder Long’s birthday. What a special day. I had a feeling his time would be very limited to write us all…as he would receive many birthday e-mail wishes. In our very few correspondences today through e-mail he expressed his deepest gratitude for all the support. As many of you know…months ago I asked you, his friends and family to send me birthday wishes and pictures. With those I printed all the letters on cute paper, and developed 150 photos…enough to make 5 small albums he can trade off carrying around with him. To say he wasn’t overjoyed when he opened them this morning would be an understatement.

Because he got SO many birthday wishes today…his letter is short and was half in Spanish and he obviously didn’t take any time to edit it. SO, I translated it and tried to make sense out of a very “hurried” letter.

He is happy, healthy and loving his mission. He said he misses his normal life and most imoprtantly misses the relationships he loves, but would not want to be anywhere else than where he is today, teaching and praching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So…here is his letter for this week…

Hello Everyone! I just wanted to say thank you for everything! I recieved a ton of e-mails from family and friends today.  I am very appreciative for each of you ! I love you guys a ton.

This week was good. We were really busy. I really love the mission ! I love the people and the culture soo much.

English classes are still going great and I love teaching the kids and all the people who come to the classes!

So another interesting and crazy story. We were in the middle of a lesson and five dogs came into the house and started going nuts. I mean NUTZZZ !!! They were fighting like crazy. We were hitting the dogs with chairs to try and break them up but nothing worked... nothing! There was blood everywhere ... this was not that funny. It was actually pretty scary to say the least!

We were invited to a grad party this past Friday. That was a blast. The food was.... hmmm soososo good! His name was Manuel, the family was very proud of him and all that he’s accomplished. A person who graduates from high school is a big deal in my area. It was yet another learning experience, and I was so happy to be a part of the party that the family had. It was only the family and my companion and me. It was so cool to see him accomplish this. The traditions are very cool. I don’ have a lot of time to explain it all , but it was so fun!

So I talked a lady into giving me a free sweet sweater for me and my companion. I did some barganing so that was good! It’s because I refer all the missionaries to buy things from her.

Well , this week I have a TON of e-mails to copy and paste to microsoft word and not enough time! Thanks so much for the love and support. You guys are really the rock in my life... I have much love for each of you and want the best for you too! I love you guys! I will give more details next week but I want to print off all the e-mail to read later! Love you guys a ton.

Lots of love !
Elder Long!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week Twenty-One

Today I have translated a little bit of his letter…as each week it is written more and more in Spanish…
Heyyyy to my family and friends. Espero que todo bien con ustedes! (I hope all is well with you) I think about you guys still all the time but I know that you guys are doing muy bueno! This time of year is great! I love the Christmas season and the spirit that it brings! I am always thinking about you guys y todo las cosas ustedes estan haciendo en los estados! (and all the things you are doing in the states)
So... this week absolutely flew by! Muy muy rapido! (very very fast) So last lunes (Monday) we played dodgeball as a zone.. that was a complete blast to say the least! It was so good to throw balls and peg the crap out of other missionaries, Elder W. and I went to town. So that was fun! This week was pretty dang busy too... we are teaching mucho! ( a lot) Entonces tiempo es muy rapido! (So time is going very fast)
Miercoles- (Wednesday) the weather changed por la mayor! (for the most part) actualmente cooled off a ton! The people think that it is like antarctica pero realamente es perfecto! Solo (Only) a light sweatshirt y todo es perfecto! (and everything is perfect) Pero los personas aqui pensar que ellos van a morir.. (but the people here think they are going to die they are so cold) They have no idea. So it’s been nice to have some cool air going through the pants! LOL
I met a guy at a Pulperia (grocery/convienant store) this week. A pulperia es donde persona pueden comprar cosas. (a grocery store where people can buy things) Es un pequeno tienda para comprar bebidas, dulce, cosas asi. (it is a small store to buy drinks, sweet stuff) Entonces This white guy was in there, speaking Spanish, so we starting talking and he lives in a village cerca de Ojojona- come to find out, el es de Iowa! Small world! So of course we were talking about the Chi and how great it is.. haha fue muy divertido! Todavia es dificial hablar en engles, entonces nostros hablamos en espanol!
So, Thursday and thinking about Thanksgiving... so it doesn’t get much better than celebrating Thanksgiving with rice and beans. LOL!  HAHA but it’s all good though! Good times! Benjamin gave us some good foood! But there is nothing like the promise land- U.S.A!!!! Never take a day for granted! But, I am so grateful to Ben and his family and all the families here who help and support us missionaries. I am very grateful for that this Thanksgiving season.
So we had a baptism this past weekend, it was so great! His name is Brother L and his wife and daughter have been members for years and he wasn’t, but we have spent a lot of time working with him, and he was finally bapitzed!! La esposa era muy emocionado y la hija tambien! His wife and daughter were very excited too) Fue un bueno bueno dia sabado por esta familia! (It was a good good day Saturday for this family). What a great experience to help this man do what was necessary to help him get baptized this past Saturday! It was a wonderful, wonderful day. I was able to give the talk at his baptism and the spirit was so strong. I love this family. I am proud of them and so happy for them.
I really am enjoying my companero! (companion) Si, el es muy differente pero el es muy bueno! (yes, he is very different but very good) He is straight out of the jungles from Peru. Just raised WAY differente de nosotros y haver cosas en differente maneras! (raised different and have different things and different ways) He is always wanting to serve- he’s great! I speak all Spanish with him as he doesn’t know any English. That is a very good thing for me and hopefully I can teach him some English too along the way. We have a lot of fun together and are teaching and working hard together.
So besides the point… I am growing the hair out… we have to keep it clean cut over the ears but the top is getting super long.  I haven’t cut it in a LONG time so for the boys up on the hill, the FC is on point, don’t worry! FC means flow control for all of us that are older and out of touch!!! LOL!
Everyone, enjoy this Christmas season. Serve others and always remember the small things that we have. We are SO SO blessed in the states! We need to thank our Heavenly Father each day for the things that we have! Have a great week and I can’t wait to read your emails next week! All I ask for my birthday is that you all thank our Heavenly Father for all that we have in the states for many people do not have the things we have, our capabilities that make life comfortable. And yes, you can eat a good juicy burger or something for me! I think about you guys all the time and I have much love for each of you. I love you guys a ton! Put your best foot forward, and Aim High in all that you do!
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Long!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Week Twenty: Done being locked in! WOHOOO!

Hey! I hope this letter finds you all doing great! I miss you guys a ton still and continue to pensar en ustedes cada dia!  I know that your all haciendo bueno cosas. Keep up the good work. Love you guys all so much. The love and support drives me and keeps me going! Love ya’ll.
Entonces, Electiones are over and The National party called Nationalistas won. So all the other parties are mad and upset... but it’s over! It sucked being locked in the house por los tres dias. Muy aburrido! But, all good now! We really did have a lot of fun with Ben-the guy we live behind. We did a lot of stuff! Had a good time. I built a weight bar that es muy mas grande! Es muy bueno! Terminaron ayer! So can’t wait to use it this week and don’t worry somehow I  am going to drag it to all my areas. LOL! We’ll see!
Mi nuevo companero es de Peru and is pretty cool, Elder N. He is a very hard worker y tambien tiene un bueno testimony. He is a good dude. We are very different and come from such different backgrounds, but the gospel unites you and brings you together. Somehow, those differences become less visible with the gospel of Jesus Christ. So its good. We get a long and are doing our thing, teaching people about Christ. Helping all the people that we can. So just desfrutando mi tiempo here! Time is really flying by!
My zone is legit! Elder W.and I  get to see each other every week so that’s great! He is a bro! He will play ball after the mission on the black tops in Chicago. Sorry he told me to say that! HAHA. But our zone is legit. We have a lot of good guys so that’s great.
We have two baptisms planned for this upcoming weekend- we are having a lot of success here and las personas son muy receptiva para escuchar la palabra de dios. Many people are very willing to listen so that’s very nice!
Well Thanksgiving is pretty much here y navidad muy cerca! Enjoy this time of year and all that we have... I wish I could really express in words how thankful we really are. We are blessed more than we will ever know. It has been an eye opener to come to another country and realize how much we have been given. Be thankful for the little things! These little things are the things that we really need to be SOSO thankful for! So, thank our heavenly father for the little things that we have... every day and don’t go a day without forgetting!
It’s kinda crazy here... wanna know why? it’s November casi diciembre y es muy caliente! No fall or winter weather…  todavia sweating my toosh off!  Talvez un dia i will get used to it! We’ll see!
I am doing good! I feel great! I have lost some weight but that’s okay! I will put it back on when I get back to the Promise Land and hit the weight room!
hhmm...considering we were locked up for a few days I don’t have a ton to say besides this week we are going to be super duper busy hitting up all the houses we couldn’t visit durante la tiemp no pueden salir la casa! But it’s all good!
I finished the Book of Mormon from cover to cover - that was good!  What a spirit that the Book of Mormon and The Bible bring- it es muy especial! The Book of Mormon and The Bible really are direct inspiration from our Heavenly Father and can help any person in the world... I see it help people on a daily basis. Never forget what our Heavenly Father does for us every day! Always pray and show your thankfulness por nuestro senor.
Entonces, we are going to go play dodge ball so I need to go. I am about to light people up. But, make it a great week! Put your best foot forward, always be thankful, serve others, and aim high in all that you do! I love you each so much and hope that you guys are enjoying the states.... live it up! I would die  for some basic cheeseburger or hot water... but its all good!!!!!!! It’s the experience, right! I’m living it up like I am in a five star hotel :))))))))))))) Well, have a good one guys! I love each of you. Make it a good one! Enjoy the thanksgiving season and the Christmas stuff- lights and all that good stuff!


Elder Long!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Goodbye to Elder H. and Welcome Elder N.

Hola! I hope that this email finds you guys all doing great. Yo siempre am thinking about all of you guys. You guys are all the rock in my life! Muchisimo Gracias por todo su apollo y amor. You guys are the bomb! Keep up the good work.
So this week was nuts. First, I got my new companion- that was on Wednesday. It was sad to leave my other companion. We had our ups and downs pero uno persona puede learn from everyone that they are surounded by. So it’s always hard to say goodbye to someone. Pero, recibi mi nuevo companero  - he is from Peru. He knows ZERO English so that is fun! Doing my thing and rolling my tongue trying to learn as much as I can in my short time here in Honduras- so that’s good! He comes from the jungles of Peru so it’s been interesting to hear stories... we will leave it at that... he’s lived quite the different life. So just adjusting to a new companion and all but its all good.
Elder W. - mi favorito amigo de la CCM y aqui en la mision is in my zone! I am so pumped so I will get to see him every Monday and sometimes Viernes! Eso es muy bueno! Muy emocionado! So that is amazing!
It’s actually getting pretty chilly aqui durante la noche! Eso es muy bueno! So that is something to look forward to en la noche! So, the weather is kind of cooling off- that’s a plus!
The political stuff here is still pretty intense. We will leave it at that... They are not civil about the way that they go about political cosas perso eso es un bueno experience. I won’t forget the political stuff, that is for sure. It has been fun to be a part of it and watch from a distance. Every place just runs differently and it is good to see your eyes opened to new things and new experiences. We are not able to leave our houses next Saturday, Sunday, y Monday. Because of this I will be emailing next Tuesday- just so you guys all know! The elections are on Sunday here this week so that is why we can’t leave... por security razones. Pero, It’ll be all good! Yesterday was the last day they could ¨do parades , rallies, gatherins¨ but really they still are doing them. But two parties were right next to each other and campagning and stuff and they all love us and were yelling, gringos and stuff -soooooooooooo many people and we were right in the action... only here in Honduras… so that was kind of nuts, but a great experience! I know the mayor and the family are members so we got right in there! I wanted that experience - leave it to me. HAHA! So… all good!
Nosotros estamos todovia haciendo los clases de Engles! They are a blast and are so much fun! We have anywhere from 40-60 students each week! So much fun! So the kids are great and all! Entonces, we do that every Sabado y es muy divertido! I am really enjoying teaching English. It has been a very good experience for me.
I bought a machetti! We do a lot of service with it and all! So that’s good!
Entonces mis amigos y familia. I think about you guys a lot. You are always on my mind. You guys are great! You are really the rock in my life. I enjoy your letters, e-mails and everything that you guys do for me and my family. Family and friends truly are the most importante cosa nosotros tenemos aqui on the earth. Value our relationships and families that demonstrate love and care. Todos los personas no tienen eso.... So cherish it! Always try and make the right decision! Always be honest. Always make the honest decision in life even when it will make it harder on yourself. That’s one GRANDE leccion I have learned aqui... ALWAYS BE HONEST. You guys are all the best and I know that you guys can be the examples to everyone we know and are around. Solo, put your best foot forward and always serve others. I love my family so much and my friends.... you guys mean the world to me. Keep up the good work. I cannot wait to hear from you guys next week! I love you guys tons!!
Con mucho amor,
Elder Long!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week Eighteen: Welcoming my new companion this week!


Well another week down! It was a good one. Every week good and bad things happen but the experience is one that I will never forget! Cada semana es mucho mejor!
This week I say good-bye to my first companion. He trained me well, we’ve worked very hard together and I appreciate his wisdom in teaching me more about gospel truths and doctrines. Thank you Elder H.
Entonces, I had intercambios with Elder M. - The leader de zona. He’s from Guatamala and very cool! So that was a good to spend time with him. I am so emocionado to train! I am so so so excited to get my new companion and help a new guy! So that starts miercoles, so that will be exciting! I get that new companion wed morning!
We are killing it here! Tuvimos 13 non-members in the church this past Sunday! We’re doing our thing that’s for sure! It’s so good to help people that really need some direction in their life. It really brings true joy! Serve others and good things will happen. Always look for the good en las personas… yes it is muy dificil a veces but really it’s the best way to go about every day. The days really are much better when you are helping others.
WE are truly blessed to come from such a great country... and on top of eso nosotros somos very blessed to come from loving families. Family and friends are the backbones to our lives. We need to be the best brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and amigos a todos las personas nosotros conocemos! Many people here lack strong families. Not all, but some y eso es muy dificil para ver each day… just be the best person that you can be always! People take for granted great friends y familia en los estados. Some people here would die for that... just be sososo thankful for the LITLLE THINGS!
Spanish is coming along! I love it! I absolutely love the language. Each day I feel more comfortable. Tengo mucho amor por todos las personas y nuestro familias! I will never forget some of the experiences that I am having. So every day I am trying to learn more and more. Soak in the time here! Loving it!
 It’s starting to cool off which is nice, at least my aread cause we are in the mountains, still sosos hott in teguc. But, cools of poquito during the night. So that’s great. But walking 5-10 miles a day sometimes doesn’t help to stay cool. But doing good! I just look like a string bean cause I have lost some weight... but that will stop next week! :) I purchased piping and concrete para construir pesas. So that’s my project next week con mi nuevo companero!
We had a baptism this past weekend and that was great! They are an amazing familia! They are so happy and are doing so well. I am so proud of their accomplishments and working hard towards a goal. So feliz to see ellos muy muy feliz y contento! Fue un bueno dia!
I am so thankful for great family and friends! I am truly blessed. We MUST be so thankful every day for the little things that we have. I can’t emphasize it enough. I am grateful for great examples in my life, we all need that. I saw something this week that I really never want to really see again, but it was a learning experience - nothing happened to me at all but I was there to help. It is so important to RESPECT everyone. Respect nuestro amigos y familia. Especially nuestro friends, spouses and family. We need to treat people with the utmost respecto. Always be there for others. You never know when someone needs YOU. So press on and always be the best you can be every day. I experience things every day that reassure this.
Thanks for all the love and support always! You guys are the rock in my life! You all mean so much to me! Press forward always with faith! Gi, Mom, Dad, family and friends- I love you very much. Ustedes son en mi oraciones cada dia! Gracias por todo! Make it a great week! You guys rock!
Con Mucho Amor!
Elder Long!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Week Seventeen


So this week started off right away... once we were done writing we had an activity as a zone. We carved pumpkins for Halloween! Well, we didn’t think that this would cause trouble to say the least haha. Entonces, we carved pumpkins, when we were done there were 8 of us missionaries and 2 sets de hermanas. Mi companero y yo were the only ones walking with our pumpkins not in a plastic bag (we were one bag short) so no problem right? haha no… so I now know that they really believe in witches and all... so this guy saw our pumpkins and went nuts! He was screaming and yelling at us and all the people in the streets were looking at us! They were either riendio at nosortos o really scared! It was quite the experience to say the least.... so never carve pumpkins here again and have them out in the open. LOL!
My love for the people, culture, and kids grows cada dia! I truly love la gente! Ellos son muy amable! Everything here is going good! Lots of work and service to be done! We are getting more missionaries on the 13th (when the transfers happen), that’s when I will be getting my new companion that I will be training! So I am muy emocionado para entrenador! That will be great! But, I truly love the people... their amazing!
This past week I had intercambios con dos differente companeros! Elder O. was one of  them, and Elder  M. One is from Mexico and otro es de Guatamala! They are studs! I love them both! The friends that I am making are amazing! I miss my friends so much from back home, but its good to have the guys and girls here that are my friends as well. Friends and family are so so importante! We all need examples in our lives, amigos y familia are the best thing to influence us in our lives! How do you want people to remember you? Be the best friend ever! Cherish relationships that we have! Some people don’t have that.... make each day count.
I met a family that loves baseball! It was great! I have only heard people talk about soccer por the past tres meses, entonces muy bueno hablar con un persona cerca de beisbol! It was great! They gave me the lowdown on the World Series, so that was great!

So... something happened that was pretty funny this week... I was walking (getting a little dark out) and we were going down un hill. So I stepped into a hole and tripped and fell face forward... LOL… but it gets better! I fell in horse crap... I smelled soo bad… and tenia mucho lodo en mi pantelones... it was terrible. HAHA… but looking back pretty funny!
So we always pass by the posto, police station, and say hello! But that’s about it. So un dia nosotros estamos pasando by the police station and they stopped us. We ended up teaching them. It was cool. They love us. They told us they had our back if we ever need them. So that was good to know. But they son buenos hombres, solo a little different to teach people in a police station. LOL!
So this past week I spent a lot of time in the morning studying prayer. It was something that I felt that I needed to study in order to help the people we serve and teach more. The power of prayer is real. When we pray with a sincere corazon con fe nostoros tenemos la oportunidad para recieve answers! We all need to pray every day. We need to give thanks for the little things that we all have in the states... this mision es un humbing experiencia to say the least. It’s so sad to see some of the people. BUT, they are so grateful. So what does that mean? We MUST thank the lord every day for the things that we have. When we wake up and before we go to bed we must pray and demonstrar nuestro appreciacion.  God hears our prayers. He answers nuestro oraciones tambien! We just need to ask con fe. Prayer is one of the mucho maneras nosotros podemos hacer para invitar el espiritu in our lives. When we pray daily we have the spirit with us. Prayer can change lives. I urge ustedes cada dia pray in the morning and en la noche tambien.
Service... how powerful service really is. Service is one way to demonstar amor. Hay mucho maneras to serve. Our strengths are all diferente and nosotros podemos utalize our strengths to help others. Just because your busy doesn’t mean that you cant serve others. It we use the excuse that nosotros son muy ocupado-we’re lying to ourselves. There is always time to serve others. Blessings will come after. Sometimes one needs to sacrifice to gain. I see it cada semana, actualmente cada dia! What are you going to do to serve others this week? Find a way to serve someone. Think, pray and ponder to help the right person at the right time!
I love you guys all! Family and friends... you mean the world to me. I apppreciate all the amor! You guys rock! I am kicking butt here in Honduras and enjoying the ride. It’s one heck of a ride! Make the most of each day! Yo tengo mucho amor por la idioma! It is great! It’s hard for me to think in English. LOL! I am in spanish mode all the time now! I re-read my carta and realizar that there is a lot of espanol! I am sorry! I really don’t mean to! It just happens!

Make it a great week! Love you guys so much! Can’t wait to hear from you all next week!

Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Long

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week Sixteen: Semana de la Bruja! (Halloween Week)

What’s up guys?! 
So another week here and its never a dull moment in Teguc to say the least! Every day is a different adventure and one is never sure what is going to happen! This country is wild with so many different aspects about it that are different from home. But I absolutely love it! Its great and I wouldn’t want to have my mission anywhere else!
Well, the week started when we left Teguc last Monday. We were waiting for the bus next to an ice cream stand and so we decided to buy some ice cream while we waited. Finished it cause it was so hot and it tasted muy bueno. Entonces the lady was such a flirt. She didn’t understand we were only missionaries (haha) but we got some free ice cream out of it so that was good! Just one of the Hondurans wanting an American baby! LOL!
Entonces, this past Saturday we had a great activity in the church. It was a talent show pretty much. It was a blast! Us missionaries had a few really good short skits y todos los personas riendo mucho! Fue muy bueno! Otro personas in the church sang, danced, and did other cultural things- it was a lot of fun!
So.... I think that the food from the activity got to me... I was straight dead. I had food poisoning to say the least.. so I was down for the count for half a day, but don’t worry I bounced right back the next day and was doing work! All good!
Also this past week I had an intercambio with Elder W. – he’s from Chile. That was a lot of fun. We were in our town and we did a lot of work! So that was fun to learn about Chile and the differencias y cosas asi.
So Sunday night we got a call from President F! He asked to speak to me... right away my mind got spinning. HAHA BUT it was a good thing! I am going to be a trainer! Isn’t that great. I am so pumped! I am going to be helping a newbie just like I have been helped! I receive the new elder on November 13th. I do know he is Latino which I am so excited about.  He speaks no English and that is not a problem. I will train him for 12 weeks! So I am so excited to do that! It’s going to be a lot of responsibility but that’s okay, that is what a mission is all about! Helping others! So I can’t wait to find out where he is from and all that!
So we have been running all over the place trying to help this family get ready so they can get married. It has been quite the challenge to get all the paperwork in order but we finally got it taken care of. So we had to go to a bank to pay for the Nota de Solteria…well once again the power went out and the bank system was down. So then we had to go to another bank to finish. The power always goes out and it only causes problems! But it’s all good and that is small stuff! We finished the papers and their getting married este viernes en la manana. Then Sunday they are getting baptized! I am very excited for them.
Our area is going crazy here and we are so busy. This next transfer we will be receiving a set of hermanas to help us out! It’s going to be great! There is just too much work and service being done for us to keep up with it all, so we are getting hermanas to help us out!! So that will be good!
So this week I spent time studying the topic Faith. What a great week! Faith is always pointing towards the future. We need to always be positive and do things the right way. Other peoples strengths make us stronger. Also doubt your doubts, don’t doubt your faith. When we higher our standards and don’t slip after things that are not good we strengthen our faith. Always be ready to give a hard respuesta to alguien cuando tempted to do something that you know is not right. Our lives are an endurance race. There are many things that can distract us and cause us to alter our path. But we need to stay on the straight and narrow path always. Always look up. When we look up, we know where everything comes from and why things happen at the time they do, and how they happen. Remember, the Lords way is the only way. Always choose the right in all that you do, make good choices, serve others, and be the best example that you can be!
How grateful I am for great friends and family! You all are truly my rock in my life. Keep doing great things! I love and think about you all each day. Always say your prayers and thank heavenly father for ALL that we have. We ARE A BLESSED PEOPLE. We are from the best country in the world and have so many opportunities. Make the most of it at all times! I think about you all each day. You’re always in my thoughts and prayers!
Make it a great week! Aim High in all that you do!
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Long!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week Fifteen

 I hope this letter finds you all doing great! I am sure that you are all doing amazing! I would not expect anything less. So another week in Honduras still experiencing crazy things every day! What an adventure and spiritual experince this is. I wouldn’t wanna be in any other place at this time in my life.

So this past week… it started off in the early evening last Monday. We were walking down a dirt road where all the visitors and touristas go to buy things. We were walking to a cita. Entonces, we saw in front of us some people that looked white. Cuando we see people like this we always get emociando to see where they are from and to talk to them! So we started talking to them- they were visiting from the states. They spoke Spanish and English. yo no puedo mentir, it was hard to think in english! Even right now my mind is in Spanish.. how crazy is that... So we were talking and come to find out one of the guys was from Chicago. Then he said he was from Joliet. What a small world! So we were talking about sports and all in Chicago! Oh…such good times! So that was fun! He had a daughter that lived off Rt. 59... what a small world.

Entonces martes I had a intercombio con Elder O, the zone leader. That was a lot of fun! I was in charge of the area for the day and all. We got a lot of work done. It was so fun to be in charge and show nuestro area. Estoy emocionado por the opportunity one day to train someone. Elder O went to school where the CCM now is, so he was so excited to see all my pictures of the CCM now that it is a mission training center and all. So the intercombio was a lot of fun.

So we were teaching the neighbors a lesson. We were teaching the husband and the wife. The kids were inside. The kid came walking out bleeding a little bit on the face… well their dog had bit their son en la cara and the lip of the nino was bit through and the nose was all scratched up. It was pretty gross to say the least… but lucky he got all stitched up. I can say I don’t wanna see that again.

We had two actividades con the zona this past week. It’s where all the missioneros in our zona come to an area and help with all the less active members and also to do find more people. So we had one in nuestro area and also one yesterday in another area nearbye. So that was fun to be with all the other missionaries finding people and all! 

Elections are getting closer and closer and the partidos are getting crazier and louder. They are cool with us though! No problems there at all! I have been collecting all the stickers and trying to get shirts and stuff from all the parties! Its good memories! It’s fun to see how an election is run in a different country. I think no matter where you go, elections can get nuts. I am sure if I was closely involved with an election in the states I would have a completely different view of how they really go.

So we are teaching this family right now that is so great! They have two little kids and the family just moved to our area not too long ago.  Like all marriages, they have their challenges. We arrived at a good time so that we could help them sort through some differences. When we got there we helped calm things down. Its amazing… I was able to speak so clearly and say what I wanted to say. The spirit was for sure helping me hablar mas.  We were able to help. But it was amazing to see the gift of tongues even more. The spirit is really a strong thing and when we really need help it is there to guide us. It helped me talk more to help this family. What a cool experience!

So to talk about the language. The language is going really good! I love it so much. It is so fun to be able to carry on conversations more and more! It’s great and very fulfilling when I have put so much hard work into it. Sometimes I still have a hard time being able to understand certain people but its all good! Poca a poca I am learning and being able to speak more! Every day I am able to understand more and the people accents differente. 

We had a baptism this past weekend! He’s a great dude! He lives in my old area. We have not been teaching el since los otros misioneros llegan a my old area. But when he wanted to get baptized he said that he wanted me to do it! So that was such a privilege to do it even though the other missioneros had been ensenando el. So that was such an honor to be asked to perform the baptism.

I met a person here that had an Air Force Bag while in our activity with the other missionaries. So I started talking to him. He is in the Air Force aqui en Honduras. Entonces, we were talking about Air Force stuff, sports, y todo estos cosas. It was a lot of fun. He was teaching me Air Force stuff but in Spanish so that was fun!

Overall, another action packed week here. The week finished off amazing here in Tegucigalpa because the missionaries that are leaving to go home had a going away activity before they leave. So that included my companion. So I was here all day with Elder M. and Elder W. It  was amazing to say the least! We shared crazy stories and experiences that we all are having. It was so fun to be with them for like 4 hours and have a great time together! Their doing good. Elder W. does not have Dange. El dice fue horrible! Pero he is all good now.

I hope that you all are doing amazing! I love you all so much! So glad for a great family that is loving and caring! So grateful for great friends as well! You guys are all amazing examples to me in many different ways. I am so proud to come from such a wonderful familia! It is truly un bendicion en mi vida. All of you, keep doing amazing things! Be at the service of others at all times! Help others when it is not convienant for YOU. Always be the best. Make each day count! Always thank your heavenly father for all that we have. We are all blessed. estoy agrecido por padres muy bueno y por un hermano que es asombroso!

Make it a great week! Aim high in all that you do! LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Hugs!

Looking back at what I wrote very quickly because I am short on time today…so sorry for some of the Spanish! It’s really weird to be honest to have to think in English because I always am in Spanish mode! So sorry for some of the Spanish! Deal with it :)

Love You All, Elder Long

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week Fourteen: HOLA from the Promise Land!

Hey! Hope that you are all doing good! So here is the low-down for the past week. Here it is people! HAHA
So elections for President are getting closer, November 24th. And It’s getting crazy. They are always parading and campaigning and all! They are always screaming and doing their thing! So that’s always interesting. I am trying to collect shirts and stuff from all the parties!
Right now we are helping a family get their papers and stuff ready for the wedding. It’s hard to do that when they lost a lot of the information they need so were dealing with all that fun stuff, but its all good! They are great people and are so very nice.
We received another set of missionaries in Santa Ana because we just couldn’t keep up with all the work in both Ojojona and Santa Ana. All of our focus now is in Ojojona which is good. It’s so good that the area is growing and all! The only bad part is the members in Santa Ana always fed us… HAHA… so that’s two or three less dinners for free… now we have to buy those meals…but it’s all good though! So that is the update on the mission area. It is awesome to see how quickly it is growing.
We have had over 80 people in church for three weeks now! That’s a record here so doing hard work and the Lords help things are moving in a positive direction! So that’s good.

Our investigators are doing very well. We are working closely with many individuals and families. Please continue to pray for those I am working with. The Lord hears them and will assist us in moving the work along
We started teaching English classes which is great. This past Saturday we had about 25-30 people which is fantastic and we are anticipating many more next week. It was a lot of fun! I love teaching the people and helping them. They are so good to us that this is a small way I can give back. My Spanish is coming along! Poca a poca I am learning and getting better!
The power of prayer is real. We all need to pray, and be specific when you pray. We all have so much to be thankful for and the power of prayer is real. Never forget to say your prayers, ever. The Lord helps us, and one way is through prayer, never ever forget to be thankful for what we have back in the states.
We all need to be thankful for EVERYTHING we have. It’s that simple. Count your blessings EVERYDAY…name them one by one!
We always need to make good choices. We are all examples to others. That’s the truth. There is always someone that looks up to us and is watching us. So how do you want that person to remember you? Do you want them to look up to you for good or bad reasons? Always Choose The Right and always be the best example you can be. Follow in the Lords footsteps.
As we walk along the streets, ride the buses here, teach people of our faith and not of our faith, I am continually humbled by the goodness of so many. I am also reminded that many people here have serious alcohol and drug problems. It is very sad to see how many lives are ruined because of alcohol and drugs. Be careful. Be smart. Don’t let it take over the good qualities people have and the capacity they have to do a lot of good. I see it every day RUIN families. I don’t want that for anyone. Just be smart and always try to make the best choices.
I think it’s important to know our strengths and our weaknesses. We all have them. Work hard to improve on our weaknesses, and help others learn and grow through our strengths. We can all learn from one another. That is what is so good about life!
And the best for last... So this week I was hit by a small pick up truck. HAHA! We were walking on the side of the road like everyone does here. So there was a car driving slow and this truck decided to try and go around him, well he did not see the motorcycle coming on the side where we were. So he had to come over more. I jumped out of the way, realized I couldn’t get over more in time so I lowered my shoulder. And my arm/shoulder hit the mirror of his truck. He was probably going 20-25 mph. I broke his mirror and it was hanging down.  That is why you don’t’ hit me! LOL! My arm is currently a little black and blue to say the least, but I am all good! I did more damage to his car then he did to me. HAHA. Only in Honduras would I get these experiences!  
Friends, family and loved ones! You are always in my thoughts and prayers! I can’t wait to see you all in two years! I don’t go a day without thinking about you guys but I am loving what I am doing! I pray daily for you guys and especially for my fam. I am so grateful for a great mom, dad, brother and extended family. ALSO VERY thankful for great friends! Always put your best foot forward and make good choices! Aim High in ALL that you do! Keep sending emails to keep me updated on the life in the states! Love your emails and letters! You guys are the bomb!!!
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Long!