"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, September 3, 2013

Week Eight: First Baptism..."Finding the One"

Hey! Como esta!

I’ve been thinking about each of my friends and family so much lately…I do love the mission but I do miss my family and friends so much. I love you all each so much. You each mean so much to me! I have loved everyone’s e-mails/letters. Keep up the good work! Thank you to all my friends for your love and support. And to the many moms writing me too I really appreciate your letters. Means a lot! My mission is very rewarding. You learn so much about people, yourself, and life. Every day you learn something new. Especially some Spanish! Learn a lot each day! I absolutely love the language. I love the people. My areas are great. The members are very willing to help us. The members are very giving even when they barely have anything. It’s sad at times and is hard to see. They are so loving – very admirable. Always serve others. Be the example.

The older people are still pretty difficult to understand but I am getting better though! This week was very busy. We accomplished a lot. Finding the One… A lot happened this week. First of all, I asked someone to get baptized and work for this date and he said yes!  His whole family are members except for him, but he’s working for baptism. Great guy. I was very nervous asking him but it was great. That was one of the many good things that happened this week. This past Friday we helped with a wedding. Many people here are “married” but really are not married so before baptism they actually have to officially get married. The wife and children are members already but the husband was not. So we got to see them get married. On Saturday the dad was baptized. First baptism! The baptism went well even though we had to do it twice. The picture I sent is of the font and it is pretty small and he is like 6’3” so it made it a bit harder. He was good about it. It is so wonderful to help someone change and see the joy of a couple getting married, the father baptized and being so involved with it. This was a GREAT part of my week. Weddings here cost about 800 Limpias, which is about $40.00. That is a lot of money to people here. They are so happy.

It is truly amazing to see how the Lord helps us all everyday. We have 4 more baptismal dates set. We are/I am “Finding the One”. I often share Dad’s conversion story with the people I am teaching. There is no doubt that the numerous times I have shared Dads story that the spirit bears testimony to me and those I am teaching that this gospel is true and that the holy ghost does confirm things to us.. I tell your conversion story a lot Dad. There are a lot of Catholics here and they can really connect with your story. There are so many good people here, whether they are of our faith or another, they are good good people. I love and respect them so much. And I learn a lot from them. Humility is probably one of the greatest virtues I am learning from the people in Mexico City and here. The members here help us a tremendous amount with the work we are trying to accomplish. There are not very many of them but they help out a ton. For some families tithing (giving 10%) is very very hard because they have so little, but let me tell you, they pay it. They have such faith. The Lord brings blessings when we do good things and are obedient.

It’s sooo HOT! Geez!!! So HOT and I am serving in a cooler area right now. So yea, all good though. The buses are still crazy! So fun! There was over 94 on this one school bus we rode this week. People standing and sitting on one another. It was crazy! Music blaring! Life was good! This week we had a newbies meeting for all the new missionaries; great to see all the guys from the CCM in Mexico City. So good to see them, my friends. Doing hard work and having fun is always good. Great guys that I now call friends. I will get to see them again in four weeks and I can’t wait! So blessed that I was in the CCM with them.

So a little about here…Every day is a hike and a half! The terrain is still rough, and boy am I breaking my shoes in! So yea, my legs definitly get quite the workout. The people are all cold here. It blows my mind. I’m sweating through my white shirt and their wearing jeans with sweatshirts! Crazy! Now I see why the Mexicans in the states always have layers on! Hopefully my body will adjust. Well…my favorite subject always…food. The food is great here when we are fed. If fed we usually get smaller portions but its very good food. Lots of veggies…holy cow…I do love them now. It only took me 19 years. HAHA. There are lots of mango trees here so I pick off those a lot. They make great juice too. We’re always given hot drinks which is crazy because it is so stinkin hot out. They are so good but man! It makes me sweat even more and I don’t need that. Needless to say, I am drenched by the end of the day. I still have yet to see a blonde haired person here! LOL! All dark hair! I do miss hot showers but that’s the least of my worries. There are some very good soccer teams here. In the middle of the town is a field. Their teams are equivalent to the Sparks that play there. Very good! It’s a whole town thing. Very competitive with lots of cheering and food. The weekends are so noisy. There is a lot of dancing. Man can they all dance. Wish I could go into these places – wish we were allowed so I could actually learn to dance. LOL…stop laughing my friends!

My companion Elder H. is very good with the scriptures and all the gospel studies. He has many great qualities and I am learning many things from him. It is interesting to see how different personalities are put together and find a way to connect and work together.  We are different but that is all ok. He doesn’t eat a lot. In fact he will skip meals. Anyone that knows me knows I am a big eater. What teenage boy skips meals? NONE! I have learned a lot about how to train someone when one day I might be given the opportunity to be a trainer. He has been a good example to me and set the tone of how I should work as a missionary.

Well, I haven’t said much about this in the past but the reality is I miss college ball so much. I miss my friends, I miss the hill (can you believe it Peter???), I miss my cadet friends, I miss hanging out at the clubhouse, I miss my high school friends and I miss family. As crazy as it sounds, I am still a normal 19 year old boy who lays in bed thinking about what the college scores from the day are, ESPN news, family and friends. Some days are much harder than others but that is life and I press on with faith and the Lord blesses me and blesses each of us.

To my little brother…keep working hard in school and ball. Hard work will always pay off. ALWAYS OUT WORK EVERYONE. That is the new Long motto. Mom, it’s time to replace the old family motto, “Girls screw up baseball scholarships”! Always out work everyone. I love ya Gi. I am always thinking about you. Help Mom and Dad. Be the best you can be.

I look forward to you meeting my friends here family when you come and pick me up. I can’t wait for you to meet the people here. They have so many talents. This one guy in town is a wood crafter. AMAZING. Him and dad could make some killer stuff. Both very talented. I love the people here. And you will too.

Say hello to everyone. Miss you all tons. Think about you every day mucho. Some moments are very hard but I am doing my best. What else do you want to know?
Miss you Gi, Mom Dad Family & Friends. Aim High. Put your best foot forward every day. Love you all so much! Make it a great week!

Love you guys so much,
Elder Long

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