"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, February 24, 2014

The inevitable...

Well my followers I hope that your doing great and enjoying life! Miss you guys but I know that you guys are doing great. Miss you all tons, But, I am doing great here in the furnace ( it’s soooo hot here). This week was full of some exciting stuff! So here we go. ..

First, CONGRATS BRO! You’re a stud man! Happy that your hard work payed off and you made the basketball team, I wasn’t worried one bit cause I knew you would make it. Like I have said my whole life, get after it and good things will come. Hard worky ALWAYS pays off in some sort of fashion. Always give it your all, on and off the court. You earn playing time during practice-always remember that. Also mom, enjoy CHI TOWN and the chill - have a BLAST with your sisters and Ellie- make sure you hit up all the food places that I love and take pictures there too! Ellie kill it there, you go girl!
So este semana was full to say the least! We had zone conference with President and his wife, it was very good . VERY long though. Started at 8 am and went until like 3:30... so long. But the spirit was good and we learned a lot. The theme was centered on the atonement of Jesus Christ. It was wonderful. The spirit was so strong, the zone conference was held at the chapel at the temple.
We have the people working like crazy here and we are getting after it. This area is much, much harder then Ojojona. Money sometimes brings problems and difficulties, but that’s not stopping us and we’re moving forward and getting after it, having fun along the way! So having more lessons with members and working hard with the menos activos. There are close to 250 less actives here… for many different reasons. But, we’re doing our thing and trying to make it happen!
Well everyone is starting to talk about Semana Santa.... so what does that mean? That means that it’s going to get BLISTERING hot.  It’s at the end of March and first week of April. It’s starting to heat up a ton already and I got sun burned through my shirt and had backpack tan lines... yea that’s how hot it is. And the people say that this is nothing compared to Semana Santa... so one month from now I might die of heat LOL! But it’s all good, all about the experience right!
I’ve been helping a new sister in my district that has two weeks in the mission. She has had her hard times just like all of us in the beginning of the mission. It’s all good though and she is doing better and we are helping her out. She’s a great missionary and is just in the beginning of a great part of her life. The mission is great- wouldn’t want her or I to be anywhere else at this time in her life. So I helped her out and gave her some different perspectives and let her know I was pulling for her. We’ve all been there and it is super difficult.
SOOO..... it took about 7 months before anything would happen. Well, that streak ended Sunday night around 7pm. We were walking down the street and we turned this corner and saw a man walking about 50 yards in front of us. He had a machete but that’s not a big deal because literally every person here that works in the fields or other types of jobs carries a machete so that was nothing new. Well, when we got about 40 yards from him my companion and I looked at each other at the EXACT same time and in the exact same words said to each other, “We are going to get robbed by this man¨. I can’t tell you how strong the spirit was at this moment, probably one of the strongest feelings that I have EVER felt. I was told that everything was going to be okay just to keep walking. I didn’t question the spirit and we kept going and knew all would be okay but we were going to get robbed. The President of the Rama was with us too. So it was us three and just this man. Well, we got within about 10 yards and he put up the machete and told us to stop- so we did. We first thought that he was drunk, but he wasn’t drunk at all, he was just a thief. Well, he was like, “I am ¨guarding” this area of bad things, put your hands up¨. So we did. He started to pat me down first. Started with my backpack and then my entire body, socks and all. He was looking for cell phones and money but we don’t keep it on us for this reason. Then he started searching my companion. At this moment I saw the gun that was sticking out of his pants. But everything was good because we knew that we would be okay. So we calmy let him search us three and then told him,  ¨You see we were not lying when we said we didn’t have anything¨ We were like, thanks and you have a great night.  We were calm the entire time because we knew that the Lord had our backs and the spirit already testified that we would be okay in this moment when this was going to happen. The Lord lives. The Spirit is REAL. This was such a strong learning moment for me. Always listen to the spirit, it never leads us in the wrong direction, when we listen to the spirit in all aspects of our lives, we will always be lead to make the right decisions. I am grateful for the spirit and the guidance that it is for us in our lives. Always do what you have to do to have the spirit with us in all moments of our life.
Thanks for all your love and support you guys are the best! I am doing great here. I am loving the experiences that I am having in the culture and more importantly spiritually. THE SPIRIT LIVES. It is a compass for us in our lives. Thanks for your love and support, make it a great week. Aim High in all that you do and put your best foot forward always! Go gettem’ tigers!
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Long

Monday, February 17, 2014

A 9 Hour Walk...

Hola familia y mis amigos! I hope that you guys are all doing great. I’m always thinking about you guys. Hope this letter finds you all doing great things and enjoying life! Make the most of every day. So this week was CRAZYYY busy. I have never been so tired on my mission - but it’s all good, getting after it here in Sabana Grande. 

So Monday after we wrote and played with the rest of our zone, we got back to our house and had to do laundry... let’s just say that there is no more washing machine like we had at Bens house. So... we washed clothes by hand.... it was MISERABLE. HAHA It was so hard, no joke it was like a workout for the arms and shoulders. It takes us over an hour to hand wash all our clothes... so that was quite the new experience. I was with Nino and Elder W. on Monday too. Guess what? Elder M. is in a different zone than us but we play with them every Monday so I get to see that goon every week now too! Good stuff! 

So this week we got a call from some other elder and they asked us to do them a favor, we were like no problem what can we do to help? So we had to go to a place about an hour south of Sabana Grande to take out some papers so that they could help this couple get married. So we hopped on the guagua aka bus and went to Nueva Armenia. It was an hour bus ride. Well after that the stories just goes down hill! HAHA! So, when we get there the people are on lunch break so we wait around for an hour because they are supposed to come back. Well... they don’t so we were asking around for where they lived cause this place is a little small pueblo. So we finally find out that the two people that work there are not coming back to work... GREAT.... wait it gets better…so then we go to wait for the bus and they told us that the last bus leaves at 2:00 ... we were like what.... are you kidding me? So we went to the local pulperia where you can buy drinks and stuff and packed our backpacks with water. Here the trek begins... just so you know it’s a 9 hour walk back to Sabana Grande. Well, we walked for hours and finally a truck past bye.. and we hopped in the back and returned home safely.  We were only 1 hour from Nicaragua... that’s how far south we were. IT WAS THE HOTTEST WEATHER I HAVE EVER BEEN IN. It was 92 and humid and the sun was so hot because we were in the mountains... so that was quite the experience to say the least...

Well, we ran into a few large snakes this week... just another week here in the mountain or jungles… whatever you want to call it. But we got after it this week. We had 11 lessons con miembros this week. It’s the most lessons missionaries have ever had with members in one week. We’re getting after it here, they have no choice with me. HAHA But, we are having a blast along the way that’s for sure. I also had interchanges withe the Zone leaders this week which is always a blessing and a lot of fun. I was with Elder S. which he is from DF Mexico and we had some good times together. We talked about the CCM and future plans when he comes to the states to play soccer. He is amazing at soccer and played professional before the mission. So overall it was an exciting week and we did a lot of walking that’s for sure. Lots of teaching and lots of having fun and enjoying the experience!

This week I spent a lot of time studying about Jesus Christ. I read a lot of different things and scriptures. I came across something that I really like. Jesus Christ not only came to atone for our sins he also came to show us the way. He is the way. You not only may become like him, everything is stacked in your favor to become like him. Think of this life as a path on which you never stand still. As your move forward, you incorporate into your being the characteristics and qualities of God. As you move backward you assimilate the qualities of Satan. Every challenge you face, every hard thing that you confront, every bad thing that happens to you, every unfairness, every conflict, every sadness, tragedy, every disappointment and heartache, every temptation and every opposition happens for one purpose only, to give you opportunity to respond by applying your life with the teachings of Jesus. As you do so you are changed to become more like HIM.

I LOVE THIS. I want you all to try and apply this in your life. LIVE IT. LOVE IT. ENJOY IT! 

Make it a great week. LOVE you guys with all my heart. Thank you for the love and support! You guys are the best!!! 

Aim High in all that you do and put your best foot forward every day! 


Elder Long

Monday, February 10, 2014

Welcome New Area

I am going to add a few more details to Elder Long's letter this week. All of this information came from our e-mail time today.

After 6 months in his past area he has moved to another area just south (about 15 miles according to Google Maps...he said 30 miles in his letter) of where he was. It is a village similar in many ways. As his letter stated, the center of town appears to have more signs of economic strength but in the areas that him and his companion are concentrating on and teaching in, is very similar to where he came from.

He said it is way hotter, more humid and lots of tall mountains that they climb daily. They carry their machete most days, as there are tons of snakes, many poisonous. I hope they got that in their missionary training…how to detect a poisonous snake and how to kill one fast and furious! He said you are on your tiptoes at all times. He said, “Mom I’m not going to lie, there are lots of poisonous ones but I live my life every day so that the spirit can lead and guide me. The Lord has my back.”

He lives in nice conditions. He has running water, warm water to boot. But after they get home he is so hot he wants to take a nice cold shower! They have beds they sleep in. He didn’t answer of my question about how they wash their clothing…

He said there is so much work to be done that every minute of every day they will be working hard. Elder L. his new companion is awesome and is ready and willing to work his tail off. He comes from an all member family and is a super nice guy. We actually get to speak English again…although I want to keep strengthening my Spanish. We will do both to help one another out with our second languages.

Elder Long is especially grateful to the many friends he left behind. He said a mission blesses his life in so many different ways it is amazing. He has seen things and experienced things to change him for the better and he has a different view of things after all the incredible experiences he is having.

He again thanks everyone for their love and support. He said there is nothing greater than getting an e-mail or letter from a family member or a friend. It’s the small things Mom…

Mountains, heat, snakes and more!

Hey my fellow followers! 

I hope that you are all doing great. I am thinking about you all. If the spelling in this email is weird and stuff it’s because I am currently writing I think with the ghettoest keyboard that I have ever seen in my life. But I am grateful I have it to communicate with you. I think it’s from the time of my great-grandma’s era. HAHA!  So yea... but this week has been crazy busy! It’s been good though. I had changes this week! I am in a different area than I have been in my whole mission these  past 6 months. It’s about 30 minutos mas sur de mi other area. It’s called SG. (If you really want to know the area call my Mom as it shouldn’t be mentioned on my blog)  It’s like my last area but the center has a little more money. More people have cars and just dress a little nicer because they economically are a little better off. So in that aspect it is a little different. But my companion y yo don’t work a lot in the center. We work more in the aldeas or pueblos. So we are up in the mountains. When I say that we are up in the mountains I mean we are up in the mountains! We walk about 30 minutes to get from visit to visit... So yea, putting some miles on the zapatos jeje. It’s good though! Only bad thing is that there are TONS of snakes and lizards and such... so we are careful because where we work in the mountains there are a ton. The rama (branch/church) that we are in is huge but there are tons of people that don’t go to church. A lot of less-actives, almost 150 of them. So we have some work to do. It’s like my past area in that when I arrived things were not going too well but I did my thing there and turned it around, and that’s the plan here. This area used to be part of the Tecuicigalpa Mission but three months ago it became part of our mission. We have got some work on our hands. It’s all good though, I have a  plan to make it happen. Saturday and Sunday I had meetings with members. I lit a fire cracker under there rears and said we’re going to get after it and work. Their super excited to work and before they didn’t work a lot with the missionaries. Well they have another thing coming! Their going to be put to work! jeje A good week before was 5 to 6 lessons with members... in my last area we would have about 15 each week, sometimes many more than that. Well, just this first Sunday we had 4 lessons. I told them how the ship is going to be run :) so we are already seeing progress in just one day. They just need direction - they didn’t have that before with anyone and now they do. So we’re going to hit the dirt streets running and get after it. So it’s just the beginning of what we’re going to do. My companion is a stud. His name is Elder L. He is from Nicaragua and is so cool . He can speak English because he studied in an English University and after the mission he is going to the states to study. He’s a stud. We’re killing this area together. Elder L. has 3 months on the mission, but has such a strong testimony and wants to get after it as well. So it’s goootime baby! The people here talk so much different, I know that I am pretty close (30 min away  from my last area but yet they talk so differently. They have such a different accent and use different words for different things. So that’s a lot of fun. Keeps me on my toes. It’s also sooo much hotter here. Since we are more south it’s like probably 10 degrees hotter every day. And since we work in the mountains we are higher up and all so it’s even hotter. To give you an idea of how high the mountains that we work in are, we are able to see Nicaragua and El Salvador and the Pacific Ocean from certain parts where we work... so yea we’re up up and way in the mountains. Other than that we are just getting after it! I am going to have a good time here with the people and with my companero y en el mismo tiemp, gonna get er done. Thanks for the love and support in all! I love you guys! Make it a great week! Aim high in all you do and put you best foot forward!

con mucho amor!
Elder long

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 30: Goodbye O!

Well, this week has been nuts! Tons of stuff to do and tons of gente to visit. It was a great week. I only have today and tomorrow and then I am out of O. It’s been a great 6 months here. Time has flown bye to say the least. I have met so many good people and made a lot of friends. I am so grateful for this pueblo of O. It’s been real! 

This week was full of saying my goodbyes pretty much... sad but that’s how it goes. Other areas need some lovin’ too. We ate so much this past week it was crazy. We ate some pretty dang good food! I even learned how to cook some stuff, like typical plates from here - so that was a good time. We ate with Argentina and her family. Her daughter made the best tres leche cake, it was to die for. It was by far the BEST cake that I have eaten in my entire life. Hands down. So I put on some pounds this week- not sure if they are good pounds but it was well worth it! HAHA

This week I spent some time reading a talk titled- Living A Life of Peace, Joy, and Purpose by: Richard G. Scott. It was excellent. It talked about the key points and attributes that we all need to have in order to succeed in life, or to live better spiritually and mentally. I really enjoyed it. It had ten key points that I would really like to share with you. I know that when we apply these points and things into our lives we will feel better and all aspects of our lives will be better. The following ten things are the key:

1. Establish principles to guide your life.
2. Don’t make exceptions.
3. Be loyal.
4. Live so that the Lord can guide you. 
5. Serve others.
6. Smile.
7. Don’t complain.
8. Always make time for the Lord.
9. Follow the Saviors example. 
10. Aim High and put your best foot forward every day. 

I love these ten points. I have spent a lot of time this week thinking about these points and know that these can help myself along with all of us. Worthy character along with making wise decisions is also very important. We need to make decisions based on eternal truth. There are two types of making decisions. One is making decisions based on circumstances and the other is based on eternal truths. We all know which we need to base our decisions off of.... eternal truths and not the circumstances that we are in. I loved that part of the talk. So basically that was the thing that I really learned this week was from this talk. 

So, this past week was full of packing the house. Or making sure that everyone and their mother came to English classes and church on Sunday. I wanted everyone that I knew at church - whether they were a member or not! So we packed the house Sunday in the church! We had 105 people in the church! The people from the stake said that it’s a record! I invited everyone I knew and even random people I just knew from the street so that was fun. We did some work to say the least. It was a lot of fun! 

Other than that I am just getting ready to leave O. on Wednesday. I am excited to see where they will put me and all. I will let you guys know next week where I am, how it is, and all the little details just like I know you all want. I love you guys so much and am so proud of each and every one of you guys. I love my family. I am so thankful for your support and love. Also, to all my friends and family too. You guys are amazing. Thanks for all that you guys do for me. You guys are the rock in my life! Thanks for ALLLLLL you guys do for me. Make it  a great week! Aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward! Love you guys!!!!!!

Con mucho amor, 
Elder Long