"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, March 31, 2014

I LOVE this work.

Hola mis amigos! I hope that all is going great with you guys. Thanks for everything. Your love and support is amazing. I have my family and friends in the states and now in Honduras! I couldn’t ask for more. Thanks so much for your love and support while I am here on my mission. I am so happy to be serving at this time and in this country, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now in my life. I am learning so much about life and what I can do better to draw closer to my Heavenly Father and make me a better man right now and in the future, I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to serve right now. Thanks for your love and support. So let’s get down to the Sweat Report. 

Not going to spend so much time talking about how hot it is here because I think that you guys get the point... it’s scorching aqui. Serio es horrible. No puedo decir how hot it really is here. But we’re still alive and kicking that’s for sure. 

So this week we had to do some humbling with a guy in my zone- it was a blast! He was talking a whole bunch of smack to people about how good he was at basketball, so I took him to a challenge. Lets just put it this way, the game was over before it started. Then we had a little talk about humility - it was great. Don’t talk the talk, if you cant walk the walk. I love that saying so much. We can apply it to anything in our life. So we played basketball last Monday and that was a blast! Always a good time ballin it up. 

This week we walked hours and hours visiting our investigators, the people that we are teaching are amazing. Here it’s not like my last area where we have people out the ying yang to teach, but the people that we do have are amazing. Their progressing and doing the things that they need to do and are loving the gospel. I love to see people change for the better, and it doesn’t matter how old they are or their circumstances. The gospel and our knowledge of our Savior changes our lives, and the lives as others as well. I see it every day and it just brings the biggest smile to my face when I see that the people are changing their lives for the better and are trying to align their lives with the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

This week I spent a lot of time studying about Gratitude. I reflected en la oportunidad que I have right now to be serving my Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to wake up every day and have the opportunity to help others change for the better. I love it. But last Friday I talked with my district about how important it is that we are SOSO grateful every day for the little things that we have. So my talk was based on Gratitude. We read the story titled ¨La opcion de ser agradecidos¨ de Henry B Eyring. We all had the opportunity to reflect on our lives and our tiemp aqui y los cosas que realamente son muy importante para nos. Something that I really loved from this talk said, ¨We all like to feel thankful, however, it is not easy always being thankful in all circumstances when we are facing difficulties or problems in life.¨ I really loved that, very simple but so true. We all need to be more thankful, no importa nuestro situaciones. We all can have more gratitude. This talk made me reflect on my time in Ojojona y ahorita aqui en Sabana Grande. There two pueblos, small little towns. The people in pueblos sometimes have nothing... only a tortilla and salt, that’s a meal. But yet they are so thankful. What a great lesson that we can all learn from ...  A lot of people don’t have running water, no electricity, kids with no shoes, and eat the same thing every single day… imagine that... We need to be so thankful to our Heavenly Father every day for the LITTLE THINGS that we have. This is where the importance of our prayers comes into play. We need to pray every morning and night  at least to our Heavenly Father and express our gratitude for the things that we have. The power of prayer is real. Prayer can bring miracles en nuestro vidas. I promise you that the power of prayer is real. If you aren’t praying with your Heavenly Father, do so. I have such a different view and perspective of what Gratitude really really means. I am so thankful for this. We all can come to feel this way when we understand the atonement in our lives. That Jesus really died for us and that we have such a loving Heavenly Father. Say your prayers this week my loving followers! :)

Oh so this week someone tried to break into our house... but a good ole fake conversation on the phone scared them off. It was about 10:20 at night. The electricity was out so people were trying to take advantage, but ya know, just another day in the promise land of Honduras! HAHA

Thanks for all your love and support! Make it a great week! 

Aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward! 

Sacrifice, brings blessings.

Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Mariano Long

Monday, March 24, 2014


Well, hello once again my loving followers! Espero que todo bien con ustedes! (I hope that everything is ok with you). I hope that you had a great last week and this one will be even better. Thanks for all your love and support. You guys are the bomb, for those who email, thanks so mucho! Well this week absolutely flew bye! Bollando! So lets get down to the sweat report shall we?

Soooo... it’s SOOO HOT. And the real heat hasn’t even technically arrived. It’s about to come in April. I can’t even explain how hot it is here. Lets just say we are trying to get through it. This week I started buying these little bolsas de water for 2 limps (un dolar es 20 limpiras which is in English; one dollar is 20 limpiras) super cheap and just dumping it down my neck. I lather sunscreen on like no other, otherwise I’ll start looking black. But just trying not to let the heat get to me, but we’re doing good! Enough about the heat, you get the picture, it’s hotter than Haiti’s here. 

So this past Miercoles my little companero from Nicaragua had cambios, (this past Wednesday my little companion from Nicaragua had changes) so he is now in the city and now I have a new companero. My new companero se llama Elder M. and he is from Bolivia. He has a sick accent and uses a lot of different words! So we are enjoying life together. He has 3 and 1/2 months in the mision y es un excelente misionero. We’re getting after it to say the least! I have been blessed to have such great companions. I love them each dearly. We have the same mindset, work baby, so we’re going to kill it with the time that we have together.

This week there are no super crazy stories of getting robbed or having to kill a snake or anything, but we did have some new people come to church this week. They live pretty close to our house too... 2 hours walking in the montanas. They live in what I call the back country here, that’s for sure. From their house you can see Nicaragua, El Salvador, y la ocean. Crazy cool! You can’t snap a picture because it’s hard to tell but you can definetly see it on a clear dia. So we go there twice a week, putting the miles on the legs that’s for sure, but it’s all worth it. I will walk 2 hours any day of the week to teach people that want to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. They are great, so we shall see.

This week I spent a lot of time studying about the family, and the importance of the family and friends. It kills me here to see how many people don’t have support from family and friends and don’t have direction from the time that they are young. So this week we spent a lot of time sharing with members and our investagadors la importancia de familia y amigos. Not all, but many homes are broken and I love trying to help the families get it together. It’s a procceso que does not happen over night but with time everything is possible. So this week I shared a scripture from the Holy Bible with some of these people. You can find the scripture in Deuteronomy 6:7 and it reads, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when though liest down, and when thou risest up.   I love this escritura. It shows the importance of a good example and how crucial la house is. The home is one of, if not the BEST place to be an example and to learn. Not only can we teach our family pero nuestro amigos tambien! I am so thankful to have a great brother who is an example to me in so many ways, yes he is younger than me, but I am able to learn so much from him. I thank you Giavanno for always being firm in the gospel and an example to our family. Mom and Dad, I am so thankful for you guys as well. You are my rock in my life. You are always there for me, you have taught me what a father should be like and what a mother is like as well. I can’t thank you enough for your fine example day in and day out. Thanks. To all my friends and family, I thank you as well, you are all an example to me in many ways. Without you guys I would not be the man that I am today – thank you. 

I wish you all a great week, kill it! Make sure when you lay your head down on the pillow at night you have given it your all and you feel like you gave it your all! We all need to put into practice what we learn from every day, and to make goals to live what we learn from each day. I love each and every one of you guys and am so thankful to have you guys in my life. 

Aim high in all that you do, and put your best foot forward every day. 

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much... - Jim Rohn

Con mucho amor, 
Elder long! 
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Monday, March 17, 2014

8 months out and I'm living my dream...

Hola mis amigos y mi familia! I hope that this letter finds you all doing great! I am doing well. Other than sweating like a crazy man I am doing great! I am enjoying the journey that I am having and taking it all in. So lets get to it, shall we.

This week absolutely flew by. It went so fast. I am lost in the work and time is flying. I am enjoying it more and more every day. I am loving Spanish and the people more and more. I really can’t express my love for the people here and the work that I am embraced in. I don’t go a day without thanking my Heavenly Father for the opportunidad que tengo para servir ahorita aqui en Sabana Gande. Don’t worry about me, my loving followers, all is good!
So we had stake conference this weekend at the temple in Tegucigalpa. It was awesome! We had three people come that we didn’t even know that they were going to come. They walked 2 hours just too get to the church where the bus was going to leave from. 2 hours… we visited them later on Sunday and it literally was 2 hours. HAHA you can see Nicaragua and El Salvador from where they live. It was a very cool experience. We will be heading there a lot now that we will be teaching them. So that was good! I got to see everyone from Ojojona because everyone was in the reunion. It was fun to see all my old friends from my old area and all. So that was really fun and rewarding.
I had intercambios this week with the zone leaders. I was with Elder M. He’s from Utah. He has like 3 months left – he’s on the tail end of his mission. So, I gave him a good talk about finishing strong and giving it all he has. He has a good mind frame and I was just helping him out. At the end some slack off but I told him to give it all he has. He will do so!
So this week we were playing in the park at some table that had chess pieces. We were playing while waiting for the other elders to come to end the intercambio and there were 7 people around us cheering and learning how to play chess - it was so funny. Like they were literally cheering HAHA it was so funny. So that was quite the experience that I never thought I would have… a crowd and cheer leaders when playing chess... HAHA…another wonderful experience here.
Also this week I had to help some missionaries out that were having some differences. They are really great missionaries, but I needed to help them work through some things and while doing so I also learned. I just love working with people. Aren’t people just so great! I love people!
I am so happy to be serving right now my brothers and sisters. There is no other place that I would rather be than Honduras serving and helping others come unto Christ. I know that this work is very important y que it’s short. I love helping and seeing people change their lives for the better. I’ve seen people change from drug addicts to people who go to church and have the spirit in their lives. We are children of God. When we act like it we will receive blessings. I am so proud to have a loving Heavenly Father that can provide direction not only for me but for all of us. When we follow the commandments, help others, and give ourselves to the Lord in all things, we will receive blessings. I know this to be true. I challenge each of you this week to serve someone in some kind of fashion and I know that you will be blessed - I promise. Hagalo! (Do it!)
Thank you so much for all the love and support guys, you are truly amazing. Thanks for the example that you guys are to me, through all your examples I have the opportunity to learn and grow and to be here. Without you all I would not be here today. I have had great example in my life and I am so thankful for that. I am so thankful for loving parents, my brother and friends who have guided me in my life. Thank you. I wish I could express this day how much I love you all and know that you guys are all doing great things. Have a great week and make a big difference. Be the example to those around you like Jesus Christ is for us.
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet and are with as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. Aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward always!
Con much amor,
Elder Long

Monday, March 10, 2014

Things are heating up!

Hello my loving followers! I hope that this letter finds you all doing great. I know you guys are doing your thing and enjoying your lives. Keep up the good work. Thanks for all your love and support you guys are the bomb. So lets get to it shall we!

Well I think that I have NEVER in my life sweat mucho. es horrible. I can ring my shirt out on some days. That’s how hot it can be. This week was worse too because it rained a few times, and I mean DOWNPOORED so it got soooo humid. One day this week it absolutely rained liked cats and dogs and we were an hour from our house (first time it rained here in months) and it rained like crazy! We were absolutely drenched! We made it fun though, so it was a good time! So to give you an idea how hot it is here, our water from the tank above our house literally comes out like boiling from the shower. Since the tank is in the sun all day the sun pretty much boils the water and then at night we can’t even use the water from the shower because it’s so hot. Yea.... but it’s all good. We’re working in the rays and getting our tan on (don’t worry mom I am wearing sunscreen)! Oh crazy!! One day this week I had a tie tan... so when I took my shirt off at night you could see the outline of my tie from the sun, hahaha crazy stuff! All Great experiences though!!! 

The past few weeks some things have happened that have made me do some reflecting. They have all been things that I really have learned from. This week when I found out that my 97-year-old Great Grandpa died it made me do some reflecting, and I know that my grandpa is in a good place so I wasn’t worried about anything. He is living happy and feeling great with our Heavenly Father. But, when we loose someone that was close to us and has had a great influence on our lives it brings reflecting. I really looked up to my Great Grandpa, and it made me think about some things. He was a great man, quiet by nature and I want to be a great man and father one day as well. So I did some thinking about what exactly I could share with you guys this week.

First I was thinking about what drives us in life. What makes us better and want to do better. A few things came to mind. When we have goals, set backs, rejection, success, and faith – all these are things that bring actions. How are we going to re-act to situations in life? But I want to talk about the most important work that we have. We all need to plan and envision our greatest work. What is our greatest work? OURSELVES. Can you see, have you seen, who YOU want to be? What will happen if we have no vision of who we want to become? We all plan-everyday in our lives we plan of some sort. Whether it’s for school, sports, work or goals, were always envisioning and planning. We MUST plan in life to succeed. But, have you planned your greatest work? Have you envisioned who you will become or be? Do you plan for what kind of person you want to become? Can you use in your mind in who you want to be? Do you know? As we consider what kind of person we want to become, what choices do we have? Here are some choices, but overall they are a choice between the qualities of light or the qualities of darkness. 

Do you want to be powerful or weak?
Certain and confident, or afraid and insecure?
Do you want to have peace or conflict within?
Generous or selfish?
Influential or inconsequential?
Honest or dishonest?
Do you want to be forgiving or hard and unforgiving?
Knowledgeable or ignorant?
Do you want to be a person of faith or doubt and fear?
Trustworthy or unreliable?
Hardworking or lazy?

The first of these choices are an attribute of light. As we incorporate Christ like attributes (faith, hope, charity and love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, obedience) into our character we will begin to shine bright like light and choose to follow Christ’s example. 

I know that when we follows Christ’s example we will have the spirit more in our lives, and we will receive blessings. That’s a promise. I challenge all of you to find who you are and what you want to be. Then take action and try to be more like our savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve at this time and in this area. I know that our Savior lives and that when we need the Lord in our lives, he is ready to help us. I challenge you all to pray every day and to take 5 little minutes for our Lord every day, whether its praying, reading, or going to church on Sunday. I promise when we put the Lord in our lives, we personally will change and find out who we really are and how we can become better. Thanks for all your love and support, make it a great week, aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward. 

Gi, your a stud, keep up the good work! Family and friends thanks for everything! 

Make it a great week! 
Con mucho amor,
Elder Long!! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

The work continues...

Well, I hope this letter finds you all doing great and doing your thing and enjoying the promise land aka United States. I hope you all had a great week and this week you have another good one or even better.
This week I studied a lot about faith and I have some scriptures that I really like that you guys can take a look at.
Alma 7:23-24
1 Nephi 7:12,15:11
Alma 13:28-29
So someone… I don’t remember who asked me what are some of the most important life lessons that I have learned while being here on my mission.  A few things came to my mind. First, the importancia de los cosas en nuestro casas. Everything starts in the home. In all aspects of our life we can learn in the home and from our parents. I have learned so much from seeing broken homes and familias aqui. La importancia de la familia is incredible. Parents have such an influence in our lives and I am so glad that I can apply things that I have learned, in my future home and with my future familia. The home is SO important. When I say home that doesn’t only mean with our families but wherever we live. Also, the principle of giving to others is so important. Giving to them your heart and soul and being invested in who they are and their needs, even when it’s hard to help someone out. It’s not always easy to serve others, but we need to do it. Probably one of the biggest lessons learned aqui is that there is siempre happiness in our lives. I’ve seen people in the worst conditions y estos personas todavia have happiness in there lives. We always need to look at the bright side of the situation. We can do it, It’s not always easy but its always possible.

Someone also asked what is my favorito parte? Well, there are a lot of things that I love here but here are a few of them. I love serving others and helping them out but more importantly helping them align their lives with the teachings of Jesus Christ. The best part is seeing the people change for the better! I love the language and the people so much as well. The culture is so loving and giving even when they have so little. That in itself has been an amazing life lesson for me to see.
This week was Elder W’s birthday! We had Zone Conference this day so I was with him and we got to each lunch together and of course I treated by boy to a good meal :) He’s the bomb! All is good with him. We’re grinding along doing our thing…
So this week we were casually climbing up a mountain and I had the strongest impression that we needed to go visit a family. So we followed the spirit and we headed up to this house. Without going into too much personal detail out of respect for this family I will just say that we needed to be there at that moment in time. We were able to talk to them and teach them. They needed our Heavenly Father’s direction for their life. They needed to feel loved and cared about. We were there for about an hour trying to help them. So I shared from the Biblia Deuteronomy 6:7 and I said that we will end with that. Once again there is not a better place to teach kids then in the home. It was a weird lesson but it went very well. Nothing like having 20 years and teaching a married couple in their 30’s life lessons and things that they need to do when I am much younger. But then again, much of the lesson wasn’t from me, but was from our Heavenly Father. And he always teaches me much. Well, we saw them about 4 days later and they said that all we said was correct and they were going to apply those things we had taught to them to get them back on the road to happiness. Once again the spirit guides us when we really need it. Never ignore promptings from the Holy Ghost. Never.
I am so grateful for the oportunidad that I have to be serving at this time and in this wonderful area. It’s great! I am loving the differerent experencia and everything that I am able to learn from it. Thank’s so much for all the love and support, you guys are the bomb! Make it a great week. Aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward.
Fun fact for the week- we were eating at a members house this week and when we got done eating the members were like, “Hey Elder Long have you ever had meat like that before?” And I was like no I don’t think so (the whole time we were eating I was thinking, what in the world am I eating haha ). It was cow kidney... only in Honduras. LOL! It was actually not too bad and I am grateful for the people who serve us food and take care of us missionaries. That I am grateful for.

Well have a good one, loves you guys.
Elder Long