"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, April 28, 2014

A Baptism in the River

Hey my loving and loyal fans! I hope that this letter finds you all doing great. I continue to think about you guys but I know that you are all doing great. Thanks for your continued love and support in everything. This week absolutely flew by! So lets get to it! 

We started working out with the guys here in Sabana Grande, they all wanted to workout so almost everyday they come to our house and we work out. It’s pretty fun! I have learned some new words and vocab all about lifting weights, so that’s been pretty fun. We are getting after it to say the least. Working off all the beans and tortillas that we eat every day. HAHA

This week I held a meeting with the men here that are members here. As dad would say, “I gave them a little wake up call.” They needed to change and I was sick of talking to make things happen around here. So this Wednesday night I brought all the men together and we had a big boys talk. I told them to do up their pants cause we were going to talk straight forward and get things straightened out. We talked about these kinds of things: Organization, time management, doing things the right way even when it may be a little harder, daily scripture study, service, being a man of dignity in the home, being a leader in the home and outside of the home. I had 10 points that I talked to them about. About an hour and half later we wrapped it up. They all had the deer in the head lights look... like oh crap Elder Long is right.. Well, Sunday came along and a few thanked me for what we talked about. It went well, we had a vey good talk, I presented it in the right way and it came across very well. Don’t worry… no one went home crying. There is a ton of CHANGE here right now with the people and it’s for the better. Sometimes we need to light the fire under peoples pants to see change. Things are moving along now! 

This weekend we had a baptism! It was an incredible experience. We met this young lady while out knocking doors one day. One morning about a month and a half ago we were studying in the morning and my companion and I had the strongest feeling that this day we needed to find someone new. So we followed the spirit and knew that we needed to do so. So we were contacting this one day ... sooooo hot I must say, sweating like crazy and getting more and more frustrated because not a single person wanted to listen for some reason. We were contacting this particular street. This street is long and is a hike to say the least. We walked for 3 hours and not a single lesson... frustrating. My old companion said, “Let’s go somewhere else these people want nothing and we are just wasting our time.” I said, “No, there is someone that is going to listen to us.” We contacted every house on that street and about the 10th to last house we found K. She had never gone to church in her life, but was facing difficulties at the time and wasn’t sure what she should do. We showed up this day and she was thinking that she needed to do something different. Her dad wasn’t particularly the friendliest fello. He wanted nothing and when I mean nothing to do with us I mean it, he even told us to our face. So little by litle we were visiting Karla and she knew that what we were teaching her was true. Her dad now talks to us and that is SUCH an improvement. This past Saturday she was baptized in a river, just like Jesus Christ en nueva armenia! She was very excited to find an answer to what she was looking for. She had never gone to a church, never read much in the bible, knew it existed but that’s about all. We started from scratch and now her life is completely different, and the dad is willing to listen to us. It has been an incredible experience to see her grow spiritually and see her dad open up. So it was an incredible weekend.

Also in my time here I have had the opportunity to help kids my age to try and make the decision to leave and serve the Lord. There were many (3) that were on the fence about serving. After many talks with the 3 dudes, they are going to serve. As I write today, there are currently 5 people from here in Sabana Grande that are doing their papers to leave for their mission. I am soooo excited for them! What a great time in their lives. I am so thankful that they are all making the choice to serve the Lord, it’s the best choice they could make. I am happy that I was able to help them along the way to make this sacred and amazing choice. I am sooo excited for them. 

Well, I want to thank you al for your love and support while I am here in Honduras on the best journey that I have been on in my life. I am so grateful to be serving the Lord and the people of Honduras! There is not a place in the world that I would rather be than HERE at this moment. I am loving every minute of it. I know that you guys are doing great things. Continue to choose the right or in spanish Haz Lo Justo in all that you do. When we put our lives in line with Jesus Christ we will see the blessings come our way. Thanks for everything family and friends and work hard in ALL that you do! 

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

con mucho amor, 
Elder long! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

So grateful I did not make the Lord wait...

Hola mis amigos y mi familia! I hope that this letter finds you all doing great and kicking and living it up. Everything is going good here in Sabana Grande. Don’t you worry, it’s still hotter than Hatai here but all is good. Just enjoying the tan and the culture like no other. Every day brings something new and it’s always an opportunity to learn and to grow. That’s one of the best things about the mission, learning through others and their experiences. Cada dia we have the oportunidad to learn from otros. More and more I am thankful that I did not make the Lord wait to serve my mission. It’s a blast and a blessing at the same time, There is no other place in the world that I would rather be than where I am right now. Well sometimes maybe somewhere else when the gangsters are nuts but that is all a part of the experience right!? So lets get down to it shall we...

This week like many others in the whole world, the people here were celebrating Semana Santa or in English, Holy Week. So this week was full of crazy activities in the streets and pretty much a week to party. Everyone gets off work to spend time with their family and to celebrate the atonement. Well a lot of people just use it as an excuse to get drunk, go to the beach and have a good time. The beach is about an hour and half from here so literally everyone was gone like all day every day. Also there is a place cerca called Nueva Armenia that has a nice river with like water falls that a ton of people went to as well.  A lot of people though actually are very serious (the devoted Catholics) and do a lot of activities and things in the streets and at the church. So we had a lot of encounters with drunks and making them do funny stuff in the streets, many people got a kick out of it. Making them do balancing activities which not one of them could do, making them do karate and stuff like that... it was HILLARIOUS to say the least. So that was a good time!

This week we also had an activity at the temple. It was for all the recent converts and for investagadores (forgot that word in english haha sorry) but it was awesome! The whole theme was based on The Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the atonement in my life. My conocimiento (forgot that word too, cant think of it) of the atonement has changed my life. I am forever thankful for the oportunidad to learn and feel the atonement in my life. I know because we have a loving Heavenly Father we have the opportunity to return and live with Him once again, it all depends on our life here on earth. We need to make good decisions and live the best lives that we can every day. The power of the atonement is real. If you don’t feel the atonement in your life, I encourage you all to study and live out what you learn. I’ts one thing to study, but it’s otro thing to live out what you learn. I promise you all that if you learn about the atonement of our Savior, your lives will forever change and you each will feel the spirit more in your lives, and receive more blessings. I have seen it in many people that I have taught here. People that are alcoholics, drug dealers, real straight up gangsters, people that don’t believe in anything... but when they feel the power of the atonement in their lives, their lives change. Flat out change. There is nothing better than seeing someone aligning their lives on the path of our Savior. When we do the things that we know we need to do and should do, we will see change, and we will be better people for it. The power of prayer is real and we can draw closer to our Savior through prayer. It’s powerful. It also changes lives. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn more about my Savior through my journey here and through the journey of others. I know and feel that through serving others we feel the love of the Savior more in our lives. The scriptures say that when we are serving others we really are serving our God. I challenge each of you this week to learn more about your Savior through the atonement. When you learn and feel the power of the atonement your lives will change like mine has the last 9 months. Our Savior lives. I see and feel it everyday brothers and sisters. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to serve here in Honduras at this time and at this place. I am thankful for each one of you in my life. You all mean so much to me and I have really have learned from each one of you. Thanks so much for your love and support while I am here 

Make it a special week brothers and sisters! Aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward cada dia!


Con mucho amor,
Elder Long! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

What are we doing with our time?

Hey my loving followers. I hope that you guys are all doing great. I continue to think about you guys all the time and want the best for you guys every day. Hope that you all had a great week la semana pasado y este semana is going good. Well lets get down to it shall we.

This week the weather was miserable... it was so hot. This week started Semana Santa or holy week in English, and it’s always the hottest right now. I don’t think that I have ever been so hot in my life. It’s crazy... but we’re still alive. This week everyone pretty much has vacations because of Semana Santa so everyone is traveling to the north or south to hit up the beaches. So the buses to our area are packed because we are far south and have beaches. But it’s all about the journey and living it up in the Honduran culture. The heat will calm down after the next week or month – at least I hope so! HAHA

So this week nothing too exciting happened really, nothing bad or too exciting. I had interchanges with the zone leaders and I was with my zone leader who is a good guy but just the complete opposite of me, but it went good. He was amazed on how much we walk every day... I said, “Yep, now you can see when I say that I am tired at night you know why.” So that interchange went well.  

This week I spent a lot of time thinking about choices that I have made in my life and the affect that it has had. I also thought about things that I can do differently when I get back home. In other words, I was thinking about how precious time really is and how we need to make the most of every day that we have. Time can be our best friend or it can also be our worst enemy.  I have spent a lot of time teaching some missionaries about time management and all. Showing up on time, doing things the right way with proper planning. Running by the seat of your pants just doesn’t get it done. The Lord deserves better. We all need to be organized in our lives. We need to be organized daily and prioritize the things that we need to do, including those spiritual things. Like it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “There is time for everything. We need to prioritize for spiritual things as well. How will the Lord bless us if we are not making time for him?  5 minutes daily and you will see a difference in your life. I promise you that.  With the time that I have here I have realized so much about time, and how we really need to be smart with our time. I am so thankful to be learning life lessons here that will carry me the rest of my life. 

Oh, we painted a house this week for service. Dad you would have been laughing your head off... all the years when you thought that I didn’t pay attention to your talent…HAHA…it finally came into play. I taught these people how to paint. I was laughing so hard because I could only imagine the whole time you guys laughing your heads off at me. But I must say it looks pretty good.  I was working with very few materials so we did what we could with what we had. I’ll attach a photo. They insisted on doing this thing with a rag so that wasn’t my idea but I took care of the rest.

The sisters in my district had a baptismo this week. It was a couple that are 87 years old... They are the grandparents of the presidente of the rama here. We had a huge part in helping them and their conversion. So it almost felt like it was our baptism too. It was wonderful and always the highlight. The grandpa is so sick with about every disease that you can think of. And he said he wanted to follow Christ before he goes. It was a very special experience.

This week we are preparing a young man to be baptized. He is 15 years old and is changing his life...  he wants to make change and he is doing so. There is nothing that makes me happier than to see people that are willing to align there lives more with Christ. The reason that it makes me so happy is because they all receive blessings. It is a promiso from our Heavenly Father. So we shall see if every thing works out this weekend for his baptism. So we all can make changes for the better every day.

Well guys I hope that you are all doing great. Enjoy every day and make the most of every day as well.  I love you guys so much. Make it a great week, aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward every day!  

Enjoy the pictures attached…

Con mucho amor,
Elder long!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Obedience Brings Blessings

Hey my loving followers, I hope that this letter finds you all doing great. Thanks so much for all your love and support; you guys are all amazing. I have a lot that I want to share and not a ton of time so lets get down to it. 

First, if you were wondering, we are all still sweating like crazy here? Yes, that’s nothing new. But, all good! 

So this week absolutely flew by. All the leaders in the mission had a leadership meeting with President Fortuna and it was awesome! It was all about leadership in the mission and in life. A lot of good lessons learned. In simple terms, to be a leader, we MUST lead by example, that’s the short of a 2 hour conference. The spirit was strong and there was a lot of time to reflect and think about what we can do better and change. Trying to be better in life requires change. I challenge all of you to think about what you can do better to be a better man or woman because each of us are leaders in some shape or form. 

So this week I would like to focus my email on the topic of the importance of the little things that we do every day. What brings good habits? Good habits bring results that are good. What shall we do to see these great results? We must be obedient in all that we do. We must be obedient at all times, no matter the circumstances. ¨Selective obedience¨ isn’t the way. We must all stay steadfast and obedient during both times of good and times of turmoil. When we do things with obedience we will see that we can do all things in worthiness, and this is when we put ourselves where we will have to be to have uplifting thoughts and actions. Our gap in our standards and the world’s standards should be greater every day. Set your bar high and keep it there. Just because the world’s standards are lowering, does not mean that we should lower our personal standards. When we keep our standards high we will reap the benefits later. We may have to stand alone at times, but I tell you with all my heart it is worth it. You will see the blessings poured out upon you. I know that it is not easy.. but I do know that it’s well worth it. Our eyes need to be like a telescope. We need it to be clear. Our lens is our faith. It should always be clear, in hope, looking downrange that something good is soon to come. IN THE LORDS PLAN, THERE ARE NO ENDINGS, BUT EVERLASTING BEGINNINGS. I testify that the Lord is our Savior, but more importantly our personal Savior and counselor. 

Mis hermanos y hermanos, I know that the Lord lives, and that he is our Savior and Redeemer. Through the Savior we have the opportunity to live with our Heavenly Father once again. I am working in the Lord’s work and he bears witness to me of the truth of these things and the love that he has for each one of us every day. I know that when we are obedient we will see blessings. I know that when we sacrifice our time to serve others we will see the blessings in our life. I challenge every one of you to serve others everyday. It may be something small, but serve others. When we serve others we will de drawn closer to our Savior. I love this work. I love these people. I love my Heavenly Father and know that he has a plan for me and each one of us. I know that my time here is preparing me to be a better man in the future. I am so thankful for a loving family and friends. You are the rock in my life, just like the Savior is the rock to each of us. He is there to get us back to our Heavenly Father.

-Are you guys feeding yourselves spiritually every day? 
-Don’t limit your gratitude. Gratitude is the catalyst of Christ-like attributes, may we live in thanksgiving every day. 

I love you guys so much. Aim high in all that you do this week and put your best foot forward. 

Con mucho amor, 
Elder Long!