"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, August 25, 2014

Rats, flooding and more!

Hey guys!!! Hope that this weeks email finds you all doing amazing. I hope that for all of you that have started a new school year, things have started off on the right foot and all is going well. Make it a great year and do things right, rise above, and kill it in all ways! Well another week down, another week of accomplishments and funny things and experiences that I think only happen to Elder Long and Elder T. here in T. HAHA! So lets get down to the report!

So we went from rat problems to water/bathroom problems... and I really can’t tell you which one is worse... So this week we were studying and we heard like out of the blue a huge waterfall sound start to rush in the back area of our house...so we ran there to see what was going on.

Well, where our pila is, the pipe had broke... and water was going everywhere.... well it gets better... I don’t know how but the toilet must be connected under ground or something. I really don’t know and so all the sewage was coming out of the toilet and going everywhere... it smelled SO bad HAHA and so we had to take care of that for a little bit before the dueno of the casa came and helped out and shut the main water off. So that was a good time and just another good diary entry. HAHA What else...

We have been teaching this really really good familia. They are amazing. Well, we found out some information that gave us some red flags as to if we could continue to work with them. I was really bummed out to say the least. I love this family. So that put a damper on some things and really put us down for a little bit.

Well, we talked to the wife and all and even him… and we still can’t keep it straight so we are just doing our thing still with them. We shall see what things bring with time. The wife and the daughter are super good and are progressing a ton in the church and have been to church dos veces so we shall see.

We explained to him that he can’t be engaged in things that are different than those gospel truths we are teaching him, and what the Lord wants him to do..

So that’s where we are with them, its been quite an interesante experiencia porque it has taken a lot of prayer and faith to know what we need to do and teach. We are letting the spirit guide us and help us with him and the familia!

This week we did a service project for the mayor here.. our whole district helped them do some things in the parque here in the middle of town. They are redoing it and so we helped them lay grass and paint the park and stuff. The hermanas did the painting and Elder T. and I laid the grass y todo cosas asi.

It was good, we were able to meet a lot of new people and men to teach, and at the same time met 6 people that were inactivos, so we are now trying to track down these souls to help them out. So that was fun to help out and the mayor and everyone was super happy… HAHAHA… taking pics and all! They even had an i-pad which we were all shocked HAHA…it was a good day!  

What else…

This week on Sunday I was getting a little fired up with some things that have been going on so we put the big boy pants on once again and put people in their place. It was great. If we are going to serve we must serve with all our might, mind and strength. And that was the basis for my meeting.

I called all the leaders together after church and we made a plan. PLANNING is not always easy for some of the people here, but I taught them a lot I think. Many were very feliz for what we did.

We installed a plan for the young men and women. The presidency was super happy for what we did. We now have another plan that we have installed to have exito en la rama. We have made a lot of changes and they are all for the better. I think the people are finally catching on that the ship is leaving and we get after it.

We’re not all about talk, we are about action. I want you all to take action too. Do something different. Read the scriptures, go to church, serve others, say your prayers and I promise you with all my heart these little things make the biggest difference in our lives and the lives of the people around us. Get after it my brothers and sisters.

I would like to share with you all my love for the Savior and the importance of reading The Bible and the Book of Mormon. I know that single handedly these three things have completely changed me here on the mission for the rest of my life.

My testimony has grown not only from my own experiences but also from seeing others change their lives through doing what the Lord wants them to do. Are you doing what the lord wants you to do?

So this week I had the chance to finish the Book of Mormon. Many people have many questions like, what is the Book of Mormon and what is the purpose of the Book of Mormon?

I would love to briefly share with you what the Book of Mormon is. The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to The Bible. It is not better than The Bible in any means. It is a record of Gods dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel.

I often ask people, why do you have evidence that there are prophets in Jerusalem and not here in the Americas? And people are like that’s a great question. And then my next question is, Do you believe that we as people too, need a guide from a prophet here in the Americas? And we all respond yes.

We too are just as important as the people in Jerusalem. We need prophets and evidence that we too are important here.  Well, my brothers and sisters I want to tell you that there is evidence. It is the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It testifies that Christ lives and is our Savior. The book is evidence that we too here in the Americas need prophets.

My testimony of my Savior has grown so much through reading the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. I know that my Savior lives and has died for me and all my brothers and sisters. I promise you that if you read for yourselves you will see the truth and divinity of this book.
The Bible along with the Book of Mormon has changed my life completely. I know that my Savior loves me and sacrificed for me. I would love to share with you two different parts from the Book of Mormon that talk about the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that when we understand the atonement and the importancia de eso in our lives, we will be forever changed.

I promise you my brothers and sisters. The following scriptures are from the Book of Mormon and I would love you guys to think about the following versus and see how important the atonement is in our lives.   

First of my favorites – Mosiah 4:6-9
 6 I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body—
 7 I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world.
 8 And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.
 9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend. 
Second favorite- 2 Nephi 2:6-8
6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
 7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
 8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. 

My brothers and sisters, I love testifying to mis hermanos y hermanas here in Honduras that I know that our Savior has a specific plan for each one of us. And that he loves us. He died for us to bring us so many blessings. I love my Savior and know that he lives.

I want each of you to have a strong conviction of this as well. I can’t wait to share my love for my Savior with my brothers and sisters in the states aka promise land baby!!! I know that the Book of Mormon and The Bible are the word of God and that we need to be spiritually edified every day. If we do so, we will rejoice with our Heavenly Father one day again and we will receive the blessings that the Lord has in store for us.

Don’t think about it, just do it and you will see the blessings in your lives!!! If you have any questions about what your boy Mar is teaching and doing regarding the Book of Mormon, this link can help!  

To all my friends and family, make it a great week! Kill it this week! Put your best foot forward, love you guys so much! I am always thinking about you guys and you are always in my prayers! Love you all, aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward every day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love you fam, love you american women, Mr 185 and mom! Thanks friends and fam for your love and support!!!

Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Long

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Time is ticking way too fast

Hey my crew that just loves getting the crazy weekly emails. Well, this week was just starting and boom it ended. How fast is the time going... I don’t like it! I am really going to miss the people and all here, I just can’t believe how fast each week passes. It’s crazy! Well, lets get down to it shall we because we have some stories from this week that are pretty good. 

So we were walking down the street this week and were talking to everyone, trying to find some new people to talk to. So we contacted this man and started talking to him and then about two minutes later I realized where his shirt was from! You are not going to believe, his shirt was from Naperville!!!! He had like a t-ball shirt from Naperville!!! Crazy huh!

Everywhere you go there are just memories of old places. Then I saw someone with an Air Force football shirt.. so crazy HAHA but always good to see the people down here wearing great shirts even though they have no idea what it means or says. HAHA

So last week we had the opportunity to have an activity at the temple and we brought a lot of people like I had said. Well one of those people just absolutely loved it and after had such a strong and edified testimony. He had gone to church before because his mother is a member, but just never felt the need to progress or really embrace himself in the gospel. Well, we talked to him and all and got him to feel the need to live the gospel and be baptized to follow the Lords footsteps. He really got the big picture.

The crazy thing about it is that the familia asked us to teach all of them in English.... let me tell ya... it was sooo hard! My English is suffering to say the least... and that’s no joke. So A. was baptized on Friday and he is on mile high right now, so happy for him. The spirit was so strong and he really has the desire to do good and help all of his friends family and loved ones come unto Christ by following the Saviors example.

We are so proud of him, just 12 years old with such a strong testimony and strong spirit about him. He will be leaving soon to go back and live in the states. 

Sunday I had the opportunity to give a talk in church, and I killed it! I put pretty much everyone on blast. I was direct and said it how it was. I talked about the importance of church and the things that we do in church. I told them all to put the big boy pants on and enjoy the ride and that they are going to learn why and how we can become better latter day saints and better young men, women, dads, and mothers. They all really loved the talk. I prayed super hard that they would feel my love and spirit while still shooting it straight. It went very good, there were many people that were thankful for my words.

I absolutely love Spanish. After, I spoke I was just thinking of how happy that I am that I am able to speak this language. It’s amazing to say the least, I love it! So that was Sunday! 

So… shall we say why I am currently writing so late... so this week we were sick of not being able to sleep so much because the rats in the roof cause sooo much racket. So we decided to put some mata rata in the roof. It kills the rats really quick HAHA. Well, we did that Saturday afternoon. Saturday night we didn’t hear many, so that was a good sign right, we figured that they would eat this poison and then go away and die..

Well, we didn’t quite know that it kills them RIGHT AWAY... so needless to say we came back on Sunday morning from church around 12 and holy cow.... did it smell HORRRIBLLEEEEEEEEE. You have NO IDEA. So we went and slept in an empty apartment and today we had to take the roof off and get rid of the dead rats. It took a few hours to say the least... then we left it open to air it out. All good though, hopefully they don’t come back anytime soon!!! So just another story for you guys :)))

Well I would like to share a little with my brother! I am super proud of you. I know that you have been working hard in sports this summer and enjoying it a lot and getting a lot better.

I want to tell you something that coach Joe always taught me. Success on the field starts in the classroom. I really hated that saying but until I started the recruiting process I really didn’t know how important that saying really was.

I know you have the ability to play at the next level. It will start in the classroom, put your mind to it and I promise you that you will reap the benefits later. I promise you stud.

Set goals tonight like we always did at the beginning of the school year. Look at them every week. Put them above you bed and in front of the door so that you are constantly reminded of them... do not let them slip out of your mind. Do not let anyone get in your way. Make your own path.

Be an example at all times, even when it is hard. Stand firm for what you believe and know what’s right. There will be much temptation this year, STAND FIRM IN YOUR ACTIONS AND WHAT IS RIGHT. HAZ LO JUST SIEMPRE. Always choose the right.

I know that you have such a bright future in the classroom and on the field, when you put your mind to something don’t let anything make a difference. I am proud of what you have achieved this summer. You have a lot to accomplish this school year. You too, PT AND REEE. Make every day count, don’t let a day slip away from you.

One important lesson that I have learned here is making the most of every day and not letting a thing get in your way when there are always people trying to tear you down or help you NOT achieve what you know you can. Make it count every day. Work hard on the field, in the classroom, in the weight room, doing your homework.

Whatever you do, do it with purpose and realize that you are laying your name on everything. Make the Long name mean something at your school . Set the groundwork. Be the leader, help others, serve others, be the kid who does something different because you know it’s right. Don’t follow the crowd, and I know the Lord will bless you.

I love you Gi. Your a stud. Make it count this year like you have done in the past. Love you with all my heart. GET AFTER IT STUD. AIM HIGH IN ALL THAT YOU DO AND PUT UR BEST FOOT FORWARD EVERY DAY . Con mucho amor Gi. 

Thanks so much for your love and support family and friends! I would like to send a special shout out to two super importante personas en mi vida! Grandpa Taylor and PJ , FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love you guys!

Elder Long!!  

Monday, August 11, 2014

The waters of baptism!

Hey my loving friends and familia! I hope that this weeks email finds you all alive and kicking and doing great. It was an amazing week this week, we had a lot to do and a lot to get done. So time flew by and we got it all done! Best part about it HAHA was that I didn’t have to spend to much time in the bathroom this week or anything like that HAHA so all good baby!! So lets get down to it shall we!

So this week we had zone conference with Presidente Fortuna y su esposa. They are so amazing! They are such a great example to all of us missionaries, I really look up to Presidente Fortuna, he’s a stud and a half.

So zone conference was like an all day affair, it was very spiritual and we also had our laughs. Presidente spent a lot of time talking about Faith. I loved it. Whenever we read the scriptures and talk about faith and look at the many great examples from the scriptures, one is always edified and uplifted. This always brings an action. I have really learned on my mission that there are two things in life. One knowing the gospel, and the other is LIVING the gospel.

The Lord not only wants us to know his gospel but he wants us to LIVE IT. When we live the gospel he is so happy with our actions and blesses us in abundance. I promise you my brothers and sister. I have seen it in my work here and in my life here while in Honduras. I have seen it through people that I have taught.

When we put our lives into the Lords hands and have the faith that all will be good, I promise you that it all works out. I love to study about faith and look into the scriptures and see the faith that many antiguo personas had and to look to them as an example.

It is always great to turn to the scriptures when facing a hard time. Our faith will be lifted up and we will see a change. I promise that through reading the scriptures and saying your prayers, that you will see and FEEL a change for the better. There is not a better feeling in the world than seeing someone change for the better, and its even better when its your self.

I am a living witness of this. Through prayer and a lot of diligent scripture study here on my mission, my life has changed for the better. My faith is aumentado and I know cien por ciento that my Savior lives. I am so grateful to have great examples in my life that have exemplified faith like my loving brother and parents. I would not be where I am today without them. So I learned and grew a lot from our zone conference that was mostly based on faith. 

We also had a zone activity this week that included a trip to the temple. Lets just put it this way, we killed it!!! It was an activity for all the people getting to know the church and people that wanted to learn more. So the stake paid for a big bus to transport all the people... well let’s just say that we invited so many people that we didn’t all fit on one bus. That was a great problem to have. It was amazing! So in the end they had to call another bus to come so that everyone that showed up could go to the activity (attached a photo of all the people that went when we were on the temple grounds). It was a great activity, one could really feel the spirit very strong and the people really learned a lot.  We were so happy that everything went so well!!! BOOOMM killed it again in another activity :))

So, a funny story from this week. We were out in the sun contacting houses for about 4 hours... sunny as crap and hot. So we were just making the most of it. So we went up to this house and saw the mom, as soon as she saw us she took off running HAHA so then her daughter came out who has about 5 years old. So we talked to her and asked her if her mom was here and if we could talk to her. She said, mi mama dijo que no esta ahorita... in english that means, my mom said that she is not here right now. So her mom told her to tell us that she was not there and then she said that...we were dying laughing HAHA good times contacting and finding people.

The familia that we found a week ago is amazing. They are so good. Familia A. They came to church and loved it and said they felt the spirit very strong and know that there is something there. They accepted a baptism date for the first weekend in September. Were super pumped for them! So all good there.

We also had a baptism this week for G. (photo attached) He is amazing and such a great guy. He has changed his life around so much and I am so happy for him. Everything becomes possible with the help of the Lord. I promise you that my brothers and sisters. So happy to have another alma saved and on the right path. 

I am so thankful for each and every one of you. You guys are the rock in my life. Thanks for your love and support throughout this amazing journey that I am on! I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else and the time is going bye way too fast. I am going to miss the work that I am embarked in so I am giving it my all... it’s the life... helping others to come unto Christ... does life get any better? NO WAY JOSEEEEEEE!!!

I love you guys, miss you guys, but know that i am doing great! Make it a great week and do something special. I challenge each and every one of you to serve someone this week that does not know you. Love you guys and know that you can do it. How’s the family coming along fam that your working on? Are you finding the one? Gi, how are your ten goals? Share them with me. I am here for each and every one of you if you need anything. Loves!!! 


Con mucho amor, 
Elder Long 

Friday, August 8, 2014

The work continues...

Hey familia and friends! I hope that this letter finds you guys doing amazing and enjoying summer and all the good activities that follow! I continue to think about you guys but I know that you are doing great. Thanks so mucho for your love and support during my time here, I really can’t believe that another week is gone and here I am writing again, it’s crazy!!! But all good! Let’s get down to the hot/humid report shall we! Yup, it’s warming up again... oh great! HAHA

Well this week we had some battles, not going to lie. This week was not a cake walk at all. We had a lot of doors slammed on our face and people just really not wanting to listen to us. It makes me sad because they really don’t know what a great message that we can bring to them. We can bring so much peace into their lives and help them grow so much closer to our Savior, they have no idea. But we got after it, we kept battling and I can honestly say we didn’t really have much success until yesterday... but what a great day yesterday was. I can testify that the Lord blesses us when we keep doing things in the right way even when its hard. This week was another testament of that. It was a harder week but ended up amazing, so that’s good!

So walking all week thinking, where can we go that someone will really want to listen to us and where should we go. Well, I said to my companion you know what, lets work close to our house and see what it brings. Right down the street we found a great familia! They are amazing! They have never listened to two white missionaries HAHA, never, so it was a great time and they are super interested in our message that we brought and they said that they feel something special in just the first visit. The first time we went the husband was not there, but the second time the wife said don’t worry the whole familia will be here, so when we got there on Sunday they actually were all waiting there for us.... and people keeping their word here doesn’t happen as much as you would think.. so we were so pumped!
They loved our message and they are super excited to have us come back this Tuesday so that was great!

Then Sunday I had a feeling that we needed to go visit and member, we are also teaching their son but he struggles a mucho with drugs, so we headed there because I felt like we needed to ask the dad if he knew anyone that we should visit. So we followed the spirit and went with it. We got there and asked him if he knew anyone, he said no one wants to listen to missionaries here, everyone thinks they know everything. I told him, Hermano F. I know that you know someone that you can bring us to teach and he was like I really don’t know of any one. I said well bring us to a friend or someone you know because I had an impression that I needed to ask you to help us find someone. So we went to his friends house. Come to find out he was one of the first members here in Talanga. He was baptized about 25 years ago... how crazy is that! His wife had a baptism date but then the missionaries had changes so they left... and they have never had missionaries visit them in about 20 years... how crazy is that!

It brings me to the point that we must always listen to the spirit, it will NEVER lead us astray. I promise you that my brothers and sisters. When we came to the door they were so excited to see two boys in white shirts. It’s EXACTLY what we needed this week to say the least. It was excelente! I am so thankful to have the spirit guide us when we need it most. We must prepare ourselves to listen to the spirit. You never know when the still small voice will tell you to do something or not to do something and you never know what will come of it. I testify that the Lord lives. This is the Lords work, I see and feel it every day. I am SOOO proud to be serving and would not want to be anywhere else. Enjoying every minute of the way!!! 

This past Friday my mind was full thinking of my brothers and sisters that were running and marching out of Jacks Valley from boot camp at the United States Air Force Academy. About 2 year ago I was in their boots... and let me tell you what an experience that it is! I had goose bumps the entire day thinking about what they just went through and what they accomplished. I am proud of all the cadets that made it out of boot camp. I am so thankful for the time that I had at AFA. The AFA experience is a lot like the mission in a lot of ways but in many ways very very different. I am so thankful to have both experiences and I know with all my heart that I am a better man today from both of these journeys that I was on and will continue to do when I return home. I know that the Lord has a plan for me in my life. I know that this plan isn’t easy, but it will make me a better man and has changed me.  My time at the AFA and my time here on the mission has changed my life for the better. I am so thankful for my heavenly father who has a plan for me and my future. I know that if I do what he wants me to do and do what’s more important, one day I will have the opportunity to live with him once again.

I am so thankful for the past two years and all the ups and downs that I have had. I wouldn’t do a thing differently. I know this is my time to give it my all to the Lord. At times it’s not easy, but I have this time to serve and my whole life to remember it! I am so thankful to be serving right now!

Friends, family and loved ones, thanks so much for your love and support these past two years when I have been on some crazy experiences. I want to share one thing that I have really learned on my mission. This is especially for my little brother and family whom I love so much but also for all my friends and family. I have learned here on the mission one question that I ask myself a lot and that has changed my life.... Where will this decision take me?  I love that question so mucho. I ask ustedes to pregunta su mismos este pregunta. Where will this decision take me? We need to build our strength and capacity to see and think ahead. This will help us so much I promise you guys. I ask myslef this a lot here in my mission and it has helped me out immensely.  So Gi, where will your decisions take you? What will you do differently? How are you going to prepare to serve the Lord and what will you do to be a better young man? Thanks mom and dad for your examples. I wouldn’t be here today doing what I am doing and going to the AFA without the love and support of you guys. THANKS. 

I want to leave you guys with my love and testamony that I know that the Lord loves us and that he wants the best for us. se que cada uno de ustedes tienen un proposito en esta vida. quiero el mejor por cada uno de ustedes, si hay algo que puedo hacer por ustedes cuentame porfa! Se que el evangelio puede traer mucho gozo en nuestro vidas, y eso es que quiero por mis hermanos y hermanas! estudia las escrituras, vaya al iglesia y ustedes van a ver los bendiciones en sus vidad, les prometo mis hermanos. Espero que todo bien con ustedes! Tengan un buen semana!

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

Con mucho amor,
Elder Long!!!!!