WEEK TWO (July 23, 2013)
Hello Everyone! Today I had to say good-bye to 4 of my friends. It was hard to see them off as they leave for their mission fields. Mom, I am going to need an International calling plan after my mission. They will be my friends forever. Just amazing guys. I had them write in my journal and they wrote some great things. I had a lot of fun with them and we laughed a lot. And that is what we all needed as we arrived here with so much change for many of us. I look forward to after my mission when my Spanish is good and I can really communicate with them. They were a huge blessing to me these past 2 weeks. I will miss them a lot.
So, today is my P-day. Yes, I got my group up early again to do wash early and get into the laundry rooms before everyone else did. It just frees up our day more and allows more “playing” time. I am playing a lot of soccer. It is really fun but man the running involved. It’s a lot of running and stopping and running again. But it’s so amazingly fun. The guys and girls are in amazing shape. We played about 2 hours today. We play on concrete with fences and you throw each other into the fences and all. It’s pretty fun. I am all scraped up though but that okay. With today being my P-day, I went and got a haircut. Well, so much for my beautiful hair. I thought my Spanish was very good and that I explained well what I wanted. I speak better than the majority of all the other elders; in fact I was translating for an elder sitting next to me explaining to his hairdresser how to cut his hair. Well, lets just say…I look like a cancer patient. I was talking to her about me at the academy last year and how we had to wear our hair. I think she just thought I still wanted really short hair. You know me; I like my hair and am very particular…oh well, so much for that. Needless to say it was the worst experience ever. It’s all good and part of the whole experience. Thank goodness my hair grows quickly. Next P-day I am giving guys their haircuts. Because I was one of the first to get a haircut and it turned out so bad, everyone is scared to go to that place so I am cutting their hair. We already have times set up. They are going to buy me a cold drink or a bag of gummy bears and I will cut their hair. It’s a win-win.
As far as the gospel lessons and language, I am in the classroom pretty much every day all day. As everyone knows me well, that is not my thing. I am getting pretty sick of it. The language is coming along., some days better than others. The spirit helps so much with the language.God helps us speak. We study and he fills in the rest pretty much. I had to give a 20 minute talk on Sunday, all in Spanish. My subject was on faith and how we need to have faith in times of hardship. I spoke a lot about my friends and how friends are there for us in times of need. That was a long time to speak in Spanish. I used very little English. It was hard but I got through it and got my point across. I felt like I did a good job. Yesterday I challenged our district to read the Book of Mormon in 4 weeks. So that is what we are doing. It means we need to read about 22 pages a day. I am excited and it’s going to be a great experience for all of us. I challenge you guys to do it as well.
So dad…I decided that I would have some fun with the counting of tortillas that I eat. Lets just say that I guess I am a bigger eater than most the guys here. The big meal of the day here in Latin America is lunch. It’s pretty solid unlike breakfast and dinner that are a joke. So, getting full has been a bit of a challenge. So, now when I go through the line for food the man and the lady usually just give me two of everything. They already know that I eat like a horse. The past week from Tuesday to Tuesday I ate 143 tortillas. I eat them with everything. The meat they give us, potatoes, rice, beans, literally anything they give me I put in a tortillas. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to get filled up. So, this past week there was a red like sauce that we would put on the tortillas with rice and the pollo they gave us. Looked like the normal sauce. Little did I know it was not the same. It was the hottest thing I have EVER eaten. Literally the hottest thing ever. People in the dinner area were crying it was so bad ha ha. I can take hot things but this was literally on a different level. The thing I miss the most with the eating part of things is that you don’t get cold drinks. I miss cold water and drinks. I have had two cold drinks since I have been here. They just opened up the latienda which is like a place where you can get snacks and cold drinks so as a district we go every day and get like their version of Gatorade, water or something. It is sooooogreat to have a cold drink.
My greatest thing about my mission is I enjoy the people the most. By far, is the love I have for the people. The hardest part of my day is being cuped up in a classroom most the day. That is pretty hard for me. Also, the MTC is not easy. It is a grind. Every day is a grind. But, sooner than later it will be done. Seeing the poverty here stinks. It is SO hard. People just have so little. When I leave my mission I am going to give all my clothes away, EVERYTHING to them before I leave.
So, I have a funny story for you. This kid in my district has a girlfriend. She is super hot! So this elder went to go teach his investigator (the practice one) and while he was gone we opened up his package from his girlfriend. There was a bunch of stuff in there…and there was a letter….so we opened the letter and wrote a fake Dear John Letter. For those friends of mine who don’t know what a Dear John letter is…it is when your girlfriend sends you a letter basically dumping you and telling you the relationship is over. So, imagine you leave a serious relationship, go serve the Lord thinking she is going to wait for you and all will be well when you get home. And then you get the “Dear John” letter while your serving. So, I wrote the letter. It was great. It was super girly hand writing and it sounded for real because he had told us so much about her. He started crying in class and all as we asked him why? He showed us the letter and all and we played along for a few minutes. LOL it was so funny. Then we told him it was me and a few other guys playing with him. We laughed and laughed so hard it was sooooo funny. He was a good sport about it and laughed after the fact. Today he acted like he didn’t get any mail when he got another letter from his girl. He was joking around though and he is super cool. He gets the last laugh, he has the hot girlfriend, not us. Another good reason to go to BYU or Utah. Hot blondes LOL.
I am getting so excited to get to Honduras and teach the people. We have been told that in certain areas of our mission that we will be given a machetti knife so we can get through the jungle. That will be so fun.Our mission President is supposed to be the boss. I have gotten to know one of the workers here that does a lot of the ground crew work here and I see him every few days. One day I started talking to him because he didn’t look like a native so I asked him and come to find out he is from the Dominican Republic. He played ball when he was a kid and still plays. He is super cool. He knew sooooo many big leaguers. The town he grew up in he knew at least 32 guys that were either in a farm system or the big leagues. When we see each other we talk all the time. I love talking about ball. I miss it.
Tell everyone I say hello. I miss you, dad, mom, gi and all my family and friends. I love each of you tons. It is really hard to be away from those you love. Keep doing good things all of you. Strive to be the best individual, friend,daughter/son of God each day. Do good things for others. Be the best you can be. I want the best for each of you.
Elder Long (ChaChi)