Today we got the BEST present we could have received this Christmas Season from Elder Long…we got to skype him and see and hear him for the first time in 6 months! After reflecting on our phone call with him I would sum it up with six thoughts.
First, his testimony of Jesus Christ has blossomed and become the focus of his endeavors each day.
Secondly, his leader at the CCM in Mexico City advised him to learn to love the people, culture and language. He has embraced each of these things and because of that he is starting to feel like he is “home” where he is.
Thirdly, he has a deeper appreciation of just how good his life has been, and that he has been given much. His greatest challenge BY FAR is seeing the lack of daily necessities and the poverty that surrounds him. As Elder Long talked about life there…we could see and feel the heartfelt sadness he has for the conditions that so many live with. This is an extremely hard thing for him to see and be around every day. It all makes much more sense after talking with him why every letter each week reminds us back home to all be SO SO grateful for all that we have.
Fourth, he had a difficult time thinking of some of the words he wanted to say in English. We would ask him a question and he would start answering it in English and about 5 words into it he was speaking Spanish! I hope we can communicate with him when he gets off that plane in 18 months!
Fifth, he expressed his deep love for the people there who have had such a watchful eye on him and helped him be a successful missionary. There are a few families that he loves and adores and will be friends with them forever. He is very thankful for their love and support each day.
And lastly, his deep love and gratitude for each of his family and friends back home who take time each week to write him. He said a mission is very hard. There are daily struggles. And each Monday when he receives e-mails or when he gets mail delivered to him, hands down it is the single most important thing that keeps his spirits up and keeps him going. He feels extremely blessed to have such dedicated friends and family that support him and encourage him each week.
Any family that has sent off a missionary knows what an exciting phone call this was. Just to see his face…hear is voice was a blessing beyond words. He sounded wonderful and positive…the only way Mar knows! He told his little brother about 20 times….PREPARE…PREPARE….PREPARE now. A mission is hard work.
It was wonderful to hear his love for the gospel, the people and the language. He said the Lord sent him to the perfect place. He is working very hard every minute of every day to make us all proud.
We miss him dearly but wouldn’t want him any other place in the world than where he is today. Go gettem’ Elder Long. Go seek “To Find the One”. We love you very much.
Mom, Dad & Giavanno