"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

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week Thirteen

Dear Family & Friends,

This past week has been an awesome week! I feel like the Lord has allowed me to grow in ways that I couldn’t do on my own. I feel a greater love for my testimony in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that testimony undoubtedly has been strengthened by the messages and lessons I have learned from our leaders and our prophet of God, President Monson.

So where do I start? Let me just say, conference was AMAZING!!! And heavy on the EXCLAMATION POINTS! For those of you who aren’t familiar with General Conference, it is a weekend that we gather together and watch either through satellite, television, radio, etc talks given to us from our church leaders. The headquarters of the church are in Salt Lake City and this is where the conference center is. The conference is literally available to members throughout the world. So, twice a year in the fall and spring we have the opportunity to watch General Conference and hear from our church leaders.

I know that each one of us has been lifted up by the words we have heard. There were so many edifying talks that were given it is hard to choose one that was my favorite. I am anxious to be able to go back and study them. Remember, this General Conference was ALL in SPANISH for me so I had to really listen carefully to get the whole meaning of the message. And yes mother, I did not sleep thank you very much haha.

Throughout the messages given, the topics that stuck out in my mind that seemed to be repeated and emphasized were: Missionary Work, Love, Women & their important role in the gospel of Jesus Christ and every day life, Home Teaching, the role of the Priesthood and the Atonement.

For me, this conference was yet another testament that the Lord lives. These men are inspired men of God. Each word we heard was inspired.  I can and do find much joy in the Lords work. This is the Lords work. The spirit does the converting. I know that at this time I am on the Lords errand. I have felt the spirit many times in my life but this conference was pretty special.

What do you think the Lord expects of His workers? WE ARE HIS WORKERS – whether we have a nametag or badge, it does not matter. The church has such great diversity. You could see that in the men and women that spoke this weekend. Everyone is different and adds different energy, gifts, talents, experiences etc. What are you doing with the talents the Lord has given you to bring people to the way of eternal happiness?

S. Gifford Nielsen talked about game plans. Probably not the type of game plans I have spent most of my life learning and practicing. What play are we going to “run” to help one another? What is our game plan to return to live with the Lord? Think about your game plan and then ACT. Execute it. There was so much I learned from this talk. No matter where we are at in our life, we need a game plan. What is the most important game plan you can work on? Implement it into your goal setting and MAKE it happen. NO ONE can stop you from reaching the finish line of your game plan but YOU. Ask the Lord for his help. He knows our strengths, our weaknesses, our deepest insecurities. Just ASK…SEEK for His help…and KNOCK…and He will be there waiting for you. The Lord will help you succeed with your personalized game plan. Make sure you include Him. Make sure this game plan is the plan to eternal happiness, the plan that will allow you to be with your families forever.

It doesn’t matter what faith we are. Many and most of you who probably read my blog are not of my faith. But each of us needs the Lord in our lives. We each are children of our Heavenly Father who loves us. He sent us here to earth to gain a physical body and to be tested. He knows that each of us will fall down and make mistakes. But with the Lord included in our lives, we cannot fail. He is there to help us. He loves each of His children.

The atonement of Jesus Christ is real. That is the KEY to success and to experience true happiness. The adversary is real my friends. Don’t let him win you over, don’t let him win his game. One of the standout punch lines in conference for me was, “Don’t give Satan a chance to cheat your soul.” Isn’t that great? Don’t allow him to get the best of you…

I have not quite thought of home teaching as missionary work but after listening to conference I have a much deeper outlook on home teaching. For those of my friends who don’t know what home teaching is, it is an assignment given to you from your bishop to watch over and visit each month a family or two in your ward. You visit them and give them a spiritual message. This message is an inspired message from the President and his counselors of our church. You keep an eye out for this family and help them in time of need. In a nut shell, you are doing what the Lord would do for this family if He was here on earth. I love being a missionary and the new outlook it bring on things.

As conference came to a close I committed to strive to become more Christ like in all that I do. Are any of us perfect? No. We just need to simply put our best foot forward in all that we do.

So, I pose a question for all of you. How will you be more Christ like this coming week? How will you serve others better? How can each of us be a better instrument in the hands of God by helping others we come into contact with?

If nothing else, love ALL those people around you. Go throughout your day with love in your heart for all mankind. Give people the pass in what they do to annoy you or bug you. Even when life seems too challenging, be an example to those around you. Be like our Heavenly Father and radiate His qualities in all that you do.

So…what would my mission be like without all the crazy stories I get to share with you! This week we were walking and we heard a lady screaming and people cheering. We kept getting closer and closer and we saw this group of people and there was a lady on a table on the porch of her house, giving birth. HAHA only in Honduras would you see this! Crazy stuff!

The language is coming along well. I work very hard at it every day. I look forward to the day that it just flows easily. A funny thing, I am starting to dream in Spanish. LOL!

I am thankful for the people here and their example to be happy when they have so little. What an example they are to me. I pray very hard for them that they will find work to be able to eat. That is what I pray the most about for them. Seeing them not have food is very hard, having them offer their last bit of food to me to eat, is even harder. Pray for them. I love these people.

I thank my family, my extended family and my friends, each of you for your continued love and support of me. I have felt a heavy heart for my lack of time in being able to respond in great length to your e-mails and letters. There is just NO possible way to do it in my allotted time. Please know HOW MUCH they mean to me. I owe each of you so much. I pray that you will feel of my gratitude even when I can’t express it to each of you as I would like to.

I love you guys. I think about you all the time. I pray that no matter what you are doing that things are going good for each of you. Thanks for your love and support.

Loves! Elder Long

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