"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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Loving my life as a missionary!

May 26, 2014

Hey my loving friends and family. I hope that this weeks’ letter finds you all alive and kicking and doing great! Time is... I really don’t know where it is going. It’s crazy fast and I am just soaking up all my time here. I love my mission more and more every day. There isn’t a day where it’s easy but it is the best thing I have ever done in my life. I love helping the people grow closer to our savior and know that this is the Lords work. So lets get down to the good stuff! 

This week we were just dodging bullets all week... just kidding haha! Nothing too crazy happened this week so nothing too crazy to report! But here it is. This week we were running around with our heads cut off visiting a ton of different people. We have focused a lot on just finding more and inviting more. The more that we find and the more that we open our mouths the more success one will have. So we have been tearing it up. This week we had a baptism. His name is M. and he is a stud to say the least. He comes from a super duper catholic family but is very open-minded. His mother has cancer but is a overcoming the sickness and is doing great. M. has seen the blessings that the Lord has given him and his family in recent months. What a perfect time we have had to get to know him. He is family with J. here and is always in the house when we are there eating and all. Little by little we have been sharing messages with him and his best friend who is a member. When I got here his best friend was not very active, but with me here my little friend C. didn’t have a choice but to get his butt back to church. He is a stud too. Now the best friend of C. is a member. They are on mile high right now. They have so much ganas to serve a mission... I think that I have been like a Tyler W. for them. These two 17 and 16 year olds mean the world to me. I have taken them in and now there on the right path. They are great guys with a bright future. So this past Saturday we had his baptism. We went down to the river in Nueva Armenia and its so beautiful there. So we baptized him the same way that Jesus Christ was baptized, in the river.

The hermanas also had a baptism this weekend too. I had the opportunity to do the interview to see if he was ready and all. It was such a powerful experience to see and hear his story and his conversion. He was very emotional and I could feel and see that the gospel of Jesus Christ has had a very big part in his life and the change that he needed. It was an unbelievable experience to be able to interview him and feel his love and testimony of the gospel in the 30-40 minutes that I was with him one on one. What a cool experience for me. So we dunked the two gators on Saturday and on Sunday they were confirmed. Great day! It gets better. We had 51 people in church! That doesn’t seem like a lot probably to you guys.. but here that is a lot. It was great! So pretty much we killed it this week. But that means NOTHING, this is a new week baby!

Okay, well this week I studied a lot about faith and a lot about patience. These are two virtues and characteristics that Jesus Christ has. We all need to be more patient and have more faith. Yes, I know that it is not always easy, but there are no ifs, ands or buts... we need these qualities. I was reading in Romans 5:1-5 and I really loved these verses. They are cince versus that we need to study and put into practice. I really love versiculo 3. We are all going to face tribulations and problems in our lives, that is normal but the question is how are we going to react and what are we going to different? When we are working our faith, at the same time we are working our patience. I love this because we all can apply it to our lives. God and his son Jesus Christ love us so much and want us to succeed in every way possible, they want the best for us. They have an abundance of patience and faith in us so why is it that sometimes we don’t in them? We must be patience. Blessings and good things will always come our way. That’s a promise from our Heavenly Father. BUT, we must be doing our part. We must be in line with the teaching of our Savior. There is no other way to put it. So if you are doing all that you can, keep doing it. If you are not, take a look in the mirror and make some changes. I ask each one of you to do better. We ALL can do better. And that is daily. We must not wait to be in front of the Lord and have to say that I could have done more... today is the day. Pray, read your scriptures, go to church, serve others and aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward! 

Brothers and sisters, I promise you that this is the Lords work. We are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. When we do our part, the Lord is ready to bless us in many different ways. WE MUST DO OUR PART. I thank each of you for your love and support while I am here. You guys mean the world to me and it has made the difference for me while I am gone. I know that The Bible is the word of God and can CHANGE our lives for the better and that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ that testifies of our loving Savior. I know that when we read the word of God, our lives CHANGE for the BETTER. I promise you that my brothers and sisters. I love each of you and want the best for each of you. Say your prayers, serve others and you will be engulfed with the spirit. Now get up, stand up, and make a change! 

I hope that you all have a special week and do something DIFFERENT for the better. LOVE YOU all. 

Con mucho amor,
Elder Mariano Long 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Planting seeds...literally!

Hey my loving fans, I hope that this finds you all alive and kicking. I am thinking of you guys still all the time and hope that your all doing great. This week absolutely flew bye! Feels like yesterday I was sitting at this ghetto computer writing you guys and here we are again writing the ghetto report :) So lets get down to it shall we! 

It’s been more humid than all get out... but that’s okay other than sweating in places that I didn’t know existed. All is well! You don’t even have to walk and your sweating. It makes for long nights but we are getting used to it. So, enough about the weather. 

This week we did a lot of service with the machete and working in the fields. Everyone is getting ready for what they call winter here or the rainy season. So we have been helping plant beans, corn and all that good stuff. It’s a lot of work to say the least and we helped them all so that it could free up their Sunday and they could go to church. Well, not a single person that we helped for hours came to church.  So Mar had to learn some patience because I literally wanted to blow up I was so angry. They said all week they would go and we helped them out so much and in the end they didn’t keep their word. That is hard for me but what are ya gonna do… nothing. You keep getting after it and hope that they get a little getup in the step Sunday morning to go. So Sunday morning we walked an hour or a little more to pick people up in our four by four, or what we call zapatos (shoes) HAHA so we walked a lot Sunday morning because they all said that they were going to come to church and in the end not a single person that we passed by went. But like I said, there is nothing that we can do. We are giving it our all and the Lord will do His part. So hopefully this week we can get some people to complete with what their words mean. 

We are picking this area up though with a lot of hard work. It’s taking time and a lot of patience but it’s working. We had 45people in church this past week and when I got here we had about 20 something attending. So things are really picking up. It’s simple, you just need to be straight up with people in life and changes occur, a bunch of blah blah blah and you get no where. So that’s where we are, here in the Sabana Grande! We are doing a lot of reactivating right now along with teaching the people that we have. We are getting it done. I definitely have had to learn more patience, and love the people even when sometimes it’s hard to have the patience and love to keep going. It’s been good though. Not complaining, I am alive and kicking. The people are loving the work that we are doing and they are helping us out. 

This week I spent a lot of time studying about Christ-like attributes again. I love this section in the missionary handbook, Preach My Gospel. All the good qualities that we look for in people are things that we need to have as well. Sometimes its hard to do everything the right way and in the right manner, but we all have the opportunity to learn from everything that we do, say and see. It’s always good to learn from others. This week I spent a lot of time teaching members here. That is a GOOD thing to receive consejos or advice. That’s not a bad thing. Here in Honduras a lot of people take advice the wrong way. Its interesting how things are different in different parts of the world. So this week I focused on with some members is how to take advice in a good way and not a bad way. Once again, we put on the big boy pants and had a good talk, it went well. We saw change Sunday with some of the things that we talked about. Little by little and these people will have an AMERICAN MENTALITY with me here. HAHA. It’s been hard to change some people, but we are doing it baby! It’s all good. 

I am so happy to be serving, time is FLYING bye! Its crazy! I am loving it. Living the dream of being a missionary aqui en Honduras. Everyone is gearing up for the soccer game, Madrid vs athletico madrid. It’s a HUGE soccer game that everyone here is getting ready for. Its a little ways out, but they are crazy about their soccer. I love it. It’s such a cultural thing, their heart and soul and lives are based on these games…HAHA…gotta love it!  Well, I want you all to know that I love you all and thank you for your love and support. There is no where else that I would want to be than serving the loving Honduran people here in Sabana Grande. I know that when we do the little things right, we will see blessings in our lives. The little things make the big difference in our lives. When we put the things that our Savior wants us to do in our lives, we will be more in tune with the spirit. It’s like what we teach our people here... the little things make the difference: reading our scriptures, saying our prayers, going to church, praying in the morning and at night and before we eat. I’ve learned that we need to be thankful to have food all the time. I am surrounded by people that don’t often have that.... to say the least. We need to do the little things right. The Lord is always ready to bless us, but we need to do the things that we know we need to do as well. Don’t use the excuse that there is not enough time because we would not say that to the Lord if He was standing in front of us, so we need to getter done. If you aren’t saying your prayers, say them. If you aren’t reading the Lords words, The Bible or Book of Mormon, get it done. If you aren’t getting to church, get to church. People walk hours here to get to church. We are so lucky, we get in a car, we are so blessed. Imagine one walking 2 hours to get to church? We can get in our cars and go. It’s a blessing to go... you WILL receive blessings. I love you guys and know that you all can do it. 

Love you guys so much. Make it a special week. Aim high in all you do and put your best foot forward. I challenge you to do something different this week for the better! Love you guys!

con mucho amor,
Elder Long!!  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Talking to my family was amazing!

Well hello my loving followers! I hope that you are all doing great and enjoying life where you all are. I am continually thinking about you guys. I hope that you all had a great Mother’s Day and did something special for your mothers. What a great day to think about our moms that do so much for us. Well, let’s get down to the jungle report shall we...

It’s been more humid than ever so other than sweating in places that I didn’t’ know existed, all is good! We are still walking a ton and right now doing a lot of service. The type of service that we are doing is pretty cool though. We have been cutting down shrubs and stuff in the mountains to get ready to plant maiz and beans and stuff like that. It is a lot of work and there are no machines here so everything is done by hand. So we have been working a lot on the mountainsides helping people out. It’s pretty fun for the first 5 minutes and then after that you are just dying it’s so humid and you can just see how much work is ahead of you. But in the end we are helping people so that they have something to eat.... so it’s all worth it. I have gotten pretty dang good at using the machete to say the least! 

We are teaching a lot of new people right now so that’s fun, getting to know the new people and loving them a lot. I love the people here so much. They are so loving and giving for the little that they do have and it amazes me every day how willing they are to give when they have basically nothing It’s a lesson to remember for the rest of my life. But teaching a lot right now, we are starting to get people to teach that live a little closer to one another and don’t have to walk an hour from lesson to lesson. Don’t get me wrong, we are still putting the miles on but it’s all good! 

Hmm… this past week the best team from San Pedro and the best team from Tegucigalpa played each other in Tegucigalpa so that was nuts... everyone was going crazy! The team here in Tegucigalpa won so everyone was very happy. The soccer culture here is so cool, I really understand now the Hispanics in the states and their love for the game. It’s literally their life. All the men come home from work and change fast and all go play while the wives cook and then go home to eat. It’s their life; I see why games now are so big! So cool to be able to live in the culture here and be a part of these experiences. I would not change this experience for anything, soaking in every minute! 

On Mother’s Day, we as missionaries had the opportunity to Skype our familias! What a great time. I am so thankful to have a loving family that is always supporting of me and that goes for all my friends and family as well! It made me do some reflecting... how grateful we are to come from loving families that support us and are there for us at any time. It is hard to see sometimes the family circumstances here... we always need to remember, “The little things in life are big things. We need to count our many blessings every day.” The little things especially... it’s not always about the big things in life. Be thankful for the little things that we take for granted in the states. I would like you all to take 5 minutes this week when you get this letter and just think about all the blessings that you have in your life. Do a little reflecting on all the things that the Lord has given us. 

Well, my loving fans keep up the good work and make good choices every day. Remember that we have so much to be thankful for. Always say your prayers and give a little time to our Heavenly Father. Put your best foot forward and aim high in all that you do! LOVES!

Elder Long

Monday, May 5, 2014

Boom Boom Boom...what a week!

Hey familia y mis amigos! I hope that this weeks letter finds you guys doing great as always. I don’t know where time is going, it’s flying bye! I know that you are all doing great things and enjoying ever day. Thanks so much as always for your love and support throughout my mission. You guys are the bomb! So lets get down to the Humid Report shall we!
It’s SO humid right now. Like every day it rains and then it’s just so humid you can’t even imagine. It’s horrible. But we’re getting through it baby!
This week we spent a lot of time finding new people to teach. People that didn’t want anything or were not moving a long like Elder Long wanted, we said nos vemos we will return later. We are going to leave them in Gods hands. We didn’t stop visiting everyone but a good amount of them we did. So this week we hit the rocks running and finding new gators to teach. We found 15 new people this week so it was a great week. We talked like crazy in the streets! Sunday we had 45 people in church, it’s growing here, so we are working hard and it’s paying off. We had a mom come to church and it was her first time coming to church in like 5 years so that was way cool. 
So this Sunday I talked to about 12 people at church and said, ”Listen at 3:00 we are all going to leave and we’re going to visit people.. Typical Hondurions they like to give excuses... well, I didn’t give them that option. I said you are going to go and you will like it. HAHA Well, they all showed up and we killed it yesterday. We visited about 30-35 different people. So I left with the president of the rama (branch) and one other member. Well we had plans to go to a different street that we always go to and visit some of the people that we have on this one street. Well, we were walking and I had the strongest feeling to not continue walking and to make an immediate righty. So we listened to the spirit and took a righty and started talking to everyone on the streets and every house. Well, in two hours on that street we found 7 new people and two familias that we are now teaching. It gets better. We passed by this one house and there was a man outside the house. But where we were walking you could not see him. He was like behind this tree. Well I had the strongest feeling to turn around once again.. so we did. Well there was sitting a man. We started talking and getting to know him and come to find out he was a member that had not been to church in 15 years... crazy huh!! So that was way cool! The spirit is a guide in SO many ways my family and friends. You have no idea! The spirit is a guide in our lives. When we are doing the little things right and trying to always choose the right, we are going to have the guide from the spirit. I am so thankful to have this guide from my Heavenly Father. I know that each of us can have it when we do the little things right diario. Always do things to have the Lords guidance in our lives. When we do so we will receive many blessings.
Well, lets’ get to the real interesting stuff…HAHA! This week we pretty much were in the middle of a shooting... but it’s all good. It is just another journal entry, right? So we were walking down the street (the street where our church is) and we were about to turn the corner and a man was yelling go go go go and a lady was running. We asked what was going on because this area is typically SO calm. When I finished my words, what’s going on, there goes the pistol. BOOM BOOM BOOM 8 times. We were about 25 feet from where the shooting was. So the story goes, there is a place where people play pool close to our church. Well, this dude was super drunk and got kicked out and he was mad. He was also on drugs. So the owner of the business kicked him out so he was mad and went to his car and got his pistol and started shooting up the door and the building... It was nuts. I felt and it sounded like we were in a movie. But don’t you all worry, the Lord has our back. We were all safe. My adrenaline got going SO fast and I don’t think that I have ever ran so fast in my life. Literally I felt like I was flying! HAHA enough about that!
Hmm what else do I have for you all! Hna garis from my district left and now we have another hna here and she is from Arizona. She is super cool, Hermana Wagner. She loves sports and isn’t a square so that’s good! Hna garis and her are the bomb! I am lucky to have had two really strong hermanas in my district. We are moving things along together.
I am so glad that I have the opportunity to serve right now my brothers and sisters. It is such a blessing to be here in Honduras personally growing and bringing others to Christ. There is not a better feeling in the world than helping others change their lives for the better. It’s a blast! I am so thankful to be protected and serving in the Lords work. I know that this is the Lords work and I am only an instrument in His hands. I see it every day. Thanks for your love and support. Remember guys, always say your prayers and give 5 minutes to our Heavenly Father every day and read your scriptures. If you sacrifice a little time, in return you will be blessed more. If your not doing it, give it a try and you will see the blessings poor upon you. Get after it this week, serve someone else, say your prayers and always be sosososososoosos thankful for the LITTLE THINGS that we have. I love you all!
Have a great week, Aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward every day!
Con mucho amor,
Elder Long