"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

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Week Four

August 6, 2013

Hola que paso! Thank you to each of you for your letters and e-mails. As I hear from so many of you, I am so grateful for the stories, updates on you and your families and for your continued support of me in this new journey I am taking flight in.  This past week has been a tougher week. I seem to miss my baseball guys, the sport I love, and all those loved ones I am away from more this week. I know the Academy is about to start a new school year, and as crazy as it sounds cadet friends, be grateful you are there and embrace it. I wouldn’t change where I am today, but being away is very hard. I miss everyone a lot.

Another week has gone by and I continue to be humbled and learn from the people around me. If I were to write one thing this week, it would be to be so grateful for all that you have. Outside of the MTC I see people living in cinder block homes. They live in straight up blocks that have a tarp over it. That is their house. And yet they NEVER complain or lack faith or hope. They press on, just like the Saints did in the early days when they were persecuted. It is my hope that each of you that read my blog, know that I have a very humbled heart for the bounteous blessings I have. I come from goodly parents who love the Lord and who have served hard. I have had a roof over my head, glorious meals every day, the best of education laid out before me, and played the game I love so much for a long time. And here I observe people who have nothing, yet seem to have everything. They have good attitudes, smiles on their faces every day and are good and humble people. They will never know, in my quick interactions with most of them, the impact they have had on me. These are Gods children. I love them so much.

While I was walking here to the computer room to have my e-mail time just now, a guy backed into a tree with his little car and shattered his window. We went over and talked with him. He is devastated. The car is his son’s car and he didn’t have the money to fix it. He was so upset. I felt so bad for him. My friend and I helped him clean it up. He was so devastated and I felt so bad for him. Things like this are hard for me to see. I just want to be able to help everyone. It is difficult to watch and not be able to help how you would like to. So, I pray for each of them. That is what I can do. Let me share with you a good example of a cheerful heart. There is a teacher here. He rides his bike 15 miles a day to work here. He lives in a tent. He has nothing. His appearance is dirty and messy at best, yet every single time I see him he has a smile on his face. He is always willing to help anyone. I would never have known his conditions if I hadn’t been told. What an example to me. How can I not be grateful for the trials that I am facing? We each have them. The reality is that everyone has trials of some sort. We just need to pray and have faith. Remember works without faith is dead. That is a fact. This teacher goes far beyond the teaching in the classroom. His actions teach me all I need to know and learn from him. Be of good cheer…

As my time is drawing nearer to a close here  I have mixed emotions. I love the people so much here. Many I will dearly miss. I can’t say I am not ready to leave the classroom and get out on the streets, that has been challenging for me. But I am ready to go face some new challenges in the country I have been called to serve in. I know that the poverty, crime and struggles that are here are just the beginning of what is yet to come. I hear that new challenges await me. Crime and poverty will be on a much deeper level in Honduras than what I am seeing here. Let me share a story with you. One day when we were traveling to the temple we saw a woman in the back seat of a car, tied at the ankles, and her arms were tied to her chest. What pain and suffering, fright and the unknown to what and where she was headed flashed before my eyes and I am sure before her own. To say I was not sickened by it, would be an understatement. I wanted to jump out and grab her and save her. I immediately turned to the Savior and His crucifiction.  And then I thought of the Savior being nailed to the cross. Willing to take upon Him every sin of mankind. Although I could do nothing to help this woman in need in this car, I could try and help save souls in Honduras. I then reflected on one of our training videos that was shared with us:

Though this was a horrific sight to see a woman bound in a car, it gave me hope, hope through the Savior, Jesus Christ to go to Honduras and save souls. If it be just ONE person that I save, it will be worth every day I am there serving. As I have told many of you, my theme for my mission is, “Finding the One”. It is my hope and prayer that I can find the one lost sheep who needs the gospel of Jesus Christ in their life. So, back to the story of the tied up woman. What if the person who tied her up had found the gospel of Jesus Christ? What if the world had more good? Could it not save a person from an experience like this?  

This week I have found that my eyes have been opened to those things that really matter. I have been led to people who have taught me much. I met another worker here. He is a super cool guy. He has to take a bus here to work. It takes 2 hours. He goes to school every day for 3-4 hours in the morning and then comes to work. He works here until 9 every night. He and a women work from about 2-9 every day. Every night we can we help them clean the comedor which is where we eat. It normally takes them about 2 hours to clean it but when we help it takes about 45 minutes. We try and do this a few times a week to help them get out early. If we don’t help them they leave here about 9:30 at night and don’t get home until about 11:30 or midnight. It is amazing by this very small gesture how thankful they are because they get 30 more minutes of sleep and get to see their families more. It’s the little things that make you feel so good. They are so appreciative here it is not even funny. And it’s the little things they appreciate so much.

I continue to keep one thing going strong and that is my appetite.  Although I have lost some weight, I have been told that I am the number one eater here at the MTC. I have made friends with the head cook. We are tight and he hooks me up. The other night they ran out of this really good chicken that they had made but he saved me some in tin foil and gave it to me when I came through the line. They all are such nice people. I have lost some weight, but continue to try and not loose too much. Corn tortillas are my best friend to fill up my gut!

This past week a new missionary came into the MTC. He is a stud and will be the quarterback for BYU when he returns home from his mission. I have so much in common with him. He is a great kid.  I continue to love all the people and the guys I work with. I am so excited to teach people and help so many people out when I get to Honduras.

Thank you for all your continued love and support. I have wonderful friends and family. Thank you, thank you for the letters and e-mails. They mean the world to me and I need your encouraging words that you send me. It helps me so much.

Have a great week. Con mucho amor!!!
Elder Long

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