"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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A baptism and lots of goals

So I want to start off and say sorry for my spelling and all in all my letters.. My English sucks and it’s hard to think in English let alone write... so throw me a bone and cut me a break haha. Here we are once again... I really don’t even know where the time is going, it’s crazy!

I hope that this letter finds you all alive and kicking. So this week was a little crazy haha but it’s all good. We are doing a lot of running around and getting things done. We are currently helping a lot of the newbies in our zone kill it! We are getting after it. There is a lot of motivation in our zone and we are all competitive and trying to kill it together. The Enero Madness has been a lot of fun and people are really trying to take it to the people that they are competing against. So that has been a lot of fun!

We are working right now with a lot of people but we need to start finding some newbies that we can get for the next month. The mission right now is working on having a vision for two months so that we don’t do well one month and then the next month we’re crapping bricks. So it is all about planning and being well thought out. We have been really pushing the new people in our zone to hold on tight and go along for the ride. We are getting after it... everyone is pumped about the vision that we have for the zone and all. We are trying to have 30 baptisms as a zone this next month so we are working our little buns off. 

So this week there was a companionship that married a familia and then they got baptized, but the elders were new and didn’t know the process so we did it all for them but it wasn’t that easy. It was a difficult thing because the couple was from a place called Gracias A Dios which is like 6 hours from here and you can’t get there on land... so we had to coordinate it through the airlines and airport in order to get them here... it was quite the process... but we got it all done. The family got dunked and they were SO happy! It was great for these new elders to see the process and change the lives of their first familia! That took a lot of our time up but it was all worth it in the end.

Oh, so this week I met a guy... and let me tell you... he had some stories that would blow your mind... my mouth I am sure was wide open for about two hours just listening to this dude tell me things that I couldn’t believe.... it was insane! We are teaching his wife and she has come to church for 2 years and wants to get baptized and all but we have to work on him. The missionaries have never gotten anywhere with him and we are getting somewhere, he is an amazing man but he has had a past... I can’t even tell you... it BLEW my mind. So that literally made my week haha it was amazing!! 

Read the following talk. I really enjoyed it. It has a great message. Ponder and make a change baby! 

Guided Safely Home by President Monson

We look heavenward for that unfailing sense of direction, that we might chart and follow a wise and proper course.

Brethren, we are assembled as a mighty body of the priesthood, both here in the Conference Center and in locations throughout the world. I am honored yet humbled by the responsibility which is mine to address a few remarks to you. I pray for the Spirit of the Lord to attend me as I do so.

Seventy-five years ago, on February 14, 1939, in Hamburg, Germany, a public holiday was celebrated. Amid fervent speeches, cheering throngs, and the playing of patriotic anthems, the new battleship Bismarck was put to sea via the River Elbe. This, the most powerful vessel afloat, was a breathtaking spectacle of armor and machinery. Construction required more than 57,000 blueprints for the 380-millimeter, radar-controlled, double-gun turrets. The vessel featured 28,000 miles (45,000 km) of electrical circuits. It weighed over 35,000 tons, and armor plate provided maximum safety. Majestic in appearance, gigantic in size, awesome in firepower, the mighty colossus was considered unsinkable.

The Bismarck’s appointment with destiny came more than two years later, when on May 24, 1941, the two most powerful warships in the British Navy, the Prince of Wales and the Hood, engaged in battle the Bismarck and the German cruiser Prinz Eugen. Within five minutes the Bismarck had sent to the depths of the Atlantic the Hood and all but three men of a crew of over 1,400. The other British battleship, the Prince of Wales, had suffered heavy damage and turned away.

Over the next three days the Bismarck was engaged again and again by British warships and aircraft. In all, the British concentrated the strength of five battleships, two aircraft carriers, 11 cruisers, and 21 destroyers in an effort to find and to sink the mighty Bismarck.

During these battles, shell after shell inflicted only superficial damage on the Bismarck. Was it unsinkable after all? Then a torpedo scored a lucky hit, which jammed the Bismarck’s rudder. Repair efforts proved fruitless. With guns primed and the crews at ready, the Bismarck could only steer a slow circle. Just beyond reach was the powerful German air force. The Bismarck could not reach the safety of home port. Neither could provide the needed haven, for the Bismarck had lost the ability to steer a charted course. No rudder, no help, no port. The end drew near. British guns blazed as the German crew scuttled and sank the once seemingly indestructible vessel. The hungry waves of the Atlantic first lapped at the sides and then swallowed the pride of the German navy. The Bismarck was no more.1

Like the Bismarck, each of us is a miracle of engineering. Our creation, however, was not limited by human genius. Man can devise the most complex machines but cannot give them life or bestow upon them the powers of reason and judgment. These are divine gifts, bestowed only by God.

Like the vital rudder of a ship, brethren, we have been provided a way to determine the direction we travel. The lighthouse of the Lord beckons to all as we sail the seas of life. Our purpose is to steer an undeviating course toward our desired goal—even the celestial kingdom of God. A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder, never likely to reach home port. To us comes the signal: chart your course, set your sail, position your rudder, and proceed.

As with the mighty Bismarck, so it is with man. The thrust of the turbines and the power of the propellers are useless without that sense of direction, that harnessing of the energy, that directing of the power provided by the rudder, hidden from view, relatively small in size but absolutely essential in function.

Our Father provided the sun, the moon, and the stars—heavenly galaxies to guide mariners who sail the lanes of the sea. To us, as we walk the pathway of life, He provides a clear map and points the way toward our desired destination. He cautions: beware the detours, the pitfalls, the traps. We cannot be deceived by those who would lead us astray, those clever pied pipers of sin beckoning here or there. Instead, we pause to pray; we listen to that still, small voice which speaks to the depths of our souls the Master’s gentle invitation, “Come, follow me.”2

Yet there are those who do not hear, who will not obey, who prefer to walk a path of their own making. Too often they succumb to the temptations which surround all of us and which can appear so enticing.

As bearers of the priesthood, we have been placed on earth in troubled times. We live in a complex world with currents of conflict everywhere to be found. Political schemes ruin the stability of nations, despots grasp for power, and segments of society seem forever downtrodden, deprived of opportunity and left with a feeling of failure. The sophistries of men ring in our ears, and sin surrounds us.

Ours is the responsibility to be worthy of all the glorious blessings our Father in Heaven has in store for us. Wherever we go, our priesthood goes with us. Are we standing in holy places? Please, before you put yourself and your priesthood in jeopardy by venturing into places or participating in activities which are not worthy of you or of that priesthood, pause to consider the consequences.

We who have been ordained to the priesthood of God can make a difference. When we maintain our personal purity and honor our priesthood, we become righteous examples for others to follow. The Apostle Paul admonished, “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”3 He also wrote that the followers of Christ should be “as lights in the world.”4 Providing an example of righteousness can help to illuminate an increasingly dark world.

Many of you will remember President N. Eldon Tanner, who served as a counselor to four Presidents of the Church. He provided an undeviating example of righteousness throughout his career in industry, during service in the government in Canada, and as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. He gave us this inspired counsel: “Nothing will bring greater joy and success than to live according to the teachings of the gospel. Be an example; be an influence for good.”

He continued: “Every one of us has been foreordained for some work as [God’s] chosen servant on whom he has seen fit to confer the priesthood and power to act in his name. Always remember that people are looking to you for leadership and you are influencing the lives of individuals either for good or for bad, which influence will be felt for generations to come.”5

We are strengthened by the truth that the greatest force in the world today is the power of God as it works through man. To sail safely the seas of mortality, we need the guidance of that Eternal Mariner—even the great Jehovah. We reach out, we reach up to obtain heavenly help.

A well-known example of one who did not reach upward is that of Cain, son of Adam and Eve. Powerful in potential but weak of will, Cain permitted greed, envy, disobedience, and even murder to jam that personal rudder which would have guided him to safety and exaltation. The downward gaze replaced the upward look; Cain fell.

In another time and by a wicked king, a servant of God was tested. Aided by the inspiration of heaven, Daniel interpreted for the king the writing on the wall. Concerning the proffered rewards—even a royal robe, a necklace of gold, and political power—Daniel said, “Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another.”6 Great riches and power had been offered to Daniel, rewards representing the things of the world and not of God. Daniel resisted and remained faithful.
Later, when Daniel worshipped God despite a decree declaring such to be forbidden, he was thrown into a den of lions. The biblical account tells us that the following morning, “Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in … God.”7 In a time of critical need, Daniel’s determination to steer a steady course yielded divine protection and provided a sanctuary of safety. Such protection and safety can be ours as we also steer that steady course toward our eternal home.

The clock of history, like the sands of the hourglass, marks the passage of time. A new cast occupies the stage of life. The problems of our day loom ominously before us. Throughout the history of the world, Satan has worked tirelessly for the destruction of the followers of the Savior. If we succumb to his enticings, we—like the mighty Bismarck—will lose that rudder which can guide us to safety. Instead, surrounded by the sophistication of modern living, we look heavenward for that unfailing sense of direction, that we might chart and follow a wise and proper course. Our Heavenly Father will not leave our sincere petition unanswered. As we seek heavenly help, our rudder, unlike that of the Bismarck, will not fail.

As we venture forth on our individual voyages, may we sail safely the seas of life. May we have the courage of a Daniel, that we might remain true and faithful despite the sin and temptation which surround us. May our testimonies be as deep and as strong as that of Jacob, the brother of Nephi, who, when confronted by one who sought in every way possible to destroy his faith, declared, “I could not be shaken.”8

With the rudder of faith guiding our passage, brethren, we too will find our way safely home—home to God, to dwell with Him eternally. That such may be so for each of us, I pray in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, amen.

Thanks for all the love and support family! I really can’t thank you all enough for all that you do for me! Mr. 210 you really mean a lot to me and the family and all that you do for us. Thank you so much. I hope that all is going well, a lot to do in just short time, gotta find the one. 
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Long 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My mission is perfect! I love this work.

Hey there familia and friends, the weeks are going so fast that I really cant think twice and here we are again. I am doing good though and just enjoying life so much and doing my thing. We are doing a lot of good things here in Comayagua. So lets get down to the sweat report shall we! 

So this week we spent a lot of time focusing on what we can do better as a zone. We have 10 companionships in our zone and a ton of news, so we are really focusing on getting after it each day. We have set the bar high along with president with the teaching standards that we want to achieve every day. So I will share the love with ya’ll haha.

So we are trying to teach 3 lessons every day with a member, 4 others leciones, 10 contacts, 3 less actives, every day. It’s all based off of organizing your time and getting after it. So this week we had a meeting with a zone and we put together something pretty cool that we are going to do to motivate the zone to getter done. So we put a thing together called the ENERO MADNESS. So it’s a huge pool with our zone and it’s based off a weekly competition, so you have to complete with these standards to get a point for the day, you get all or nothing. So at the end of the week they will see who wins. It’s going to be a fun one. So that’s what we are doing as far as that! 

What else do I have for ya... We are currently teaching a family right now and the husband is 78 and the wife is 40!! Crazy, I know!!!!!!!! But they are amazing. They literally are the perfect match for one another if you can imagine that one haha They are the familia Madrano, they are going to be baptized soon. We are teaching a decent amount, we’ve gotta get some things moving and help the members like the missionaries more and support us in our work. There was a missionary here last change that RUINED a lot of things with the members and so it has hurt the work, but don’t you worry we’ve got things in the process of turning it around. Side note, we are teaching a dad of members that is not baptized and his name is Mariano, kinda cool! So we have about 6 people that should be getting baptized in the next month or so. We shall see. It’s all in the Lords hands. So the people we got are great, just continuing to find new gators and help them move a long! What else...

Oh, so this week we went to the temple, it was great. We went and visited hno mejia and their family and they literally are seriously the most amazing people. They fed us and we played on their trampoline and all and it was a great time for us all. We had to wait around for a few hours to get into our session so we headed up to his house to have a good time for a little bit. I am so grateful for their family. They have been an amazing blessing in my life here on the mission. I love them.

So we are grinding and doing our thing baby! We are getting after it and enjoying every day or it! Elder C. and I are doing great. We are enjoying every day so much it’s not even funny. It’s been such a good time to say the least. We lift every day at 5AM so watch out Gi, aka American Woman!!! I am coming for you! And Mr. 210 you better watch out too, I am coming in hot and strong, gotta find the one when I get back if you know what I mean! jeje So trying to getter’ done. Other than that just running with our heads cut off and trying to get all that we have on our plate done and trying to help the others make it happen as well. So ,we are doing our thing and enjoying it every day.

So we did have an activity this week on Wednesday at church and we killed it! It’s like a familia home evening but we do it at the church and play games and all and it’s something that I have started in every area and it’s literally THE KEY. So the members were loving it all, they were getting after it. Other than that hnas y hermanas, todo bien no se precupe, we are doing what the Lord wants and I know that we are going to see the fruits of his labor. 

So in the store this week we were buying food and I met an academy grad that is stationed at the AF base here in Comayagua. She was cool and graduated in 2009. We talked for a little, she was cool. Everywhere you go you see people that you just feel so close too. I love this country and the people. My love for them...I can’t even describe to you how I feel about the country and them, I love it here so much. 

Thanks so much for your love and support family and friends. I love you. Help me stay focused because I need to make this time special, this is not my time, its the lords time. I love it and living it up and cant wait to see you all but i have to stay focused and the things after will come into place. I love the people and the lord to much to think about home right now, yes its on the mind but there is just to much to do and little time. I encourage you each to give more to the lord. Go up up and away and do not put boundaries. Our success do not have limits, make each day count

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

Con mucho amor! 

Elder Long

Monday, January 12, 2015

Goodbye La Paz...hello Comayagua

Hey there my family and friends... well let me tell ya... we are back to the sweat report once again, and it’s in full force! I am in the second hottest area in our WHOLE MISSION. Its crazy! Oh yea, I had changes haha so I am currently in a new area! So there is a lot to tell about on this weeks sweat report... lets get down to it shall we!
My new area is called Comayagua, and it’s about 30 minutes from where I was before. It’s the second hottest area on the mission.. gotta love that part right! It’s soooo hot and summer is just coming, they say that it’s over 95 every day and last summer hit like 105 alot.. so yea we’re in for a hottie.
So all the things that mom would want to know about the area... lets see! So our house is hotter than ever haha we don’t have to wash our clothes because the members help us out with that... oh yea the best part! WE GET FED LUNCH AND DINNER EVERYDAY! So literally that is amazing! We live by a gym so we have been getting swole with the district! Everyone in our district is from the states so we are just all on the same page and tearing it up!
This week we got after it in our area and had the most at church ever, we had 154 which is the best ever, so by far the biggest branch that I have been in my whole mission by a ton. It was kind of weird and was great at the same time. So we have a lot to work with. There is another set of missionaries with us in our ward.
What else do I have for ya... so most likely this will be my last area on my mission and I am not to sure how I feel about that but it is what it is. We’re getting after it! My new companion is so cool, he is from Arizona, Elder C. is his name. We are having a blast together. He goes home in like 6 weeks, or the next changes so we are trying to go ham before he goes home!!
We just had a baptism Saturday of a lady 22 and boy is she a sharp lady. We are working with her sister now and she is moving along. We have a lot of people that we are working with and not only our people but the people of the zone as well. We don’t get a ton of sleep because we are always up late trying to help everyone out and their investigators and making all the plans and all for zone, but it’s a good time. We have things moving really quick this week! We have the goal this week as a zone to get 1000 contacts. A contact consists of getting their name, number, where they live, and a time that we can come back and visit them. Our zone has 10 companionships.
What else do I have for ya... so yea it was tough leaving the Paz but I gave it my all. I know that I left the area a lot better than when we got there and the area is doing good so I am happy with that! I am pretty close to there so maybe I will have the chance to go back once or twice, we’ll see. I don’t know though cause we are running with our heads literally cut off, but I am loving it! We wake up at 5 am to hit the gym and go to bed at like 11. Reminding me kind of like academy hours but I can honestly say I feel better and feel the best than I have on my whole mission physically. We only don’t go to the gym on Sunday. So it’s great, getting rid of that 0 pack or fat pack that I was rocking hahaha.
Other than that I am just super excited to be over the zone and help everyone out, including the 7 companionships that are in training with someone brand new. It’s fun to be able to help the new guys out, we have a lot that have the deer in the head lights look going but their GETTING AFTER IT…fresh off the block and doing their thing.
So that’s about all I have for you, getting after it and doing our thing! Thanks for all the love and support! Love you guys!!!

Aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward!!
con mucho amor,
Elder Long!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I love my mission

Well, what’s good there family and friends! I hope that all is well with you guys and your alive and kicking. I really can’t explain how fast time is going bye... it’s crazy! I really am loving it right now. So this week was great. I really don’t remember much haha but I will write about what I do remember!

So this week we worked hard all week trying to make a baptism happen and it happened! Pedro Maradiaga was dunked and he is more happy then ever. He is 73 and a stud. We found him about 5 weeks ago and originally he didn’t want too much to do with us and all... he was die hard catholic, so we had to put him on blast a little bit. We knocked some sense into him with pure bible doctrine and he connected the dots together. Saturday he was dunked. He is a great guy, has had a hard life and has been super let down by a wife that left and the story goes on and on. He is a good guy, he is the one with the picture of the pool tables in it that I sent you guys in previous weeks. So he was super happy and Elder Salazar baptized him and he was super happy too. Pedro cried after and was super happy to start his life over and do what the Lord wants for him. I was super happy for him. So that was good.

This week we literally ate more then ever, you have no idea. We ate soooo mucho. It was insane, but celebrating the New Year was super good. I can’t believe that I have spent an entire year in a foreign country doing what I love so much. I am going to miss this life, there is nothing better. I am going to miss sooo much the people and their love. It means so much to see people that are so thankful for the little things. My time here has been such a blessing. I am so thankful for people like Brother Manning and Tyler Wilson that gave me the encouraging words to stick in my head and help me get to where I am today. Without them...I would not be the man I am today. So thank you guys.

I am also so thankful for the opportunity I had to go to the AFA. The hill means the world to me. I had and will have opportunities that I can or would not have had anywhere else. This week I had the chance to go to the American Air Force base here and visit... what great memories that I have of the armed forces of the states. I am SO THANKFUL to be an American. You have no idea. We are sooo blessed to be citizens of the best country in the world. It’s great. We are blessed in so many ways. So that was a really good time to be able to spend a few hours there this morning... so yea! 

This week we have changes and we find out today who is a gonner and who is staying. I hope that I ... actually I don’t know at all what is going to happen and am good with going and I am good with staying. It doesn’t matter to me at all, I will find the one wherever I go.  You gotta live it up at all times, that’s what life’s all about! So next week the sweat report could be coming from somewhere else, time will tell! 

Let me share with you guys something that I studied and loved reading this week. Enjoy it. Thanks for all.

Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth by President Dieter F. Uchdorf

Your personal testimony of light and truth will not only bless you and your posterity here in mortality, but it will also accompany you throughout all eternity.
As an airline pilot, I flew numerous hours across continents and oceans during the darkness of night. Watching the night sky out of my cockpit window, especially the Milky Way, often made me marvel at the vastness and depth of God’s creations—what the scriptures describe as “worlds without number.”1
It was less than a century ago that most astronomers assumed that our Milky Way galaxy was the only galaxy in the universe.2 They supposed all that lay beyond our galaxy was an immense nothingness, an infinite void—empty, cold, and devoid of stars, light, and life.

As telescopes became more sophisticated—including telescopes that could be launched into space—astronomers began to grasp a spectacular, almost incomprehensible truth: the universe is mind-bogglingly bigger than anyone had previously believed, and the heavens are filled with numberless galaxies, unimaginably far away from us, each containing hundreds of billions of stars.3
In a very short period of time, our understanding of the universe changed forever.
Today we can see some of these distant galaxies.4
We know that they are there.
They have been there for a very long time.
But before mankind had instruments powerful enough to gather celestial light and bring these galaxies into visibility, we did not believe such a thing was possible.
The immensity of the universe didn’t suddenly change, but our ability to see and understand this truth changed dramatically. And with that greater light, mankind was introduced to glorious vistas we had never before imagined.

It Is Hard for Us to Believe What We Cannot See

Suppose you were able to travel back in time and have a conversation with people who lived a thousand or even a hundred years ago. Imagine trying to describe to them some of the modern technologies that you and I take for granted today. For example, what might these people think of us if we told them stories of jumbo jets, microwave ovens, handheld devices that contain vast digital libraries, and videos of our grandchildren that we instantly share with millions of people around the world?
Some might believe us. Most would ridicule, oppose, or perhaps even seek to silence or harm us. Some might attempt to apply logic, reason, and facts as they know them to show that we are misguided, foolish, or even dangerous. They might condemn us for attempting to mislead others.
But of course, these people would be completely mistaken. They might be well-meaning and sincere. They might feel absolutely positive of their opinion. But they simply would not be able to see clearly because they had not yet received the more complete light of truth.

The Promise of Light

It seems to be a trait of humanity to assume that we are right even when we are wrong. And if that is the case, what hope is there for any of us? Are we destined to drift aimlessly on an ocean of conflicting information, stranded on a raft we have poorly pieced together from our own biases?
Is it possible to find truth?
The purpose of my remarks is to proclaim the joyful message that God Himself—the Lord of Hosts who knows all truth—has given His children the promise that they can know truth for themselves.
Please consider the magnitude of this promise:
The Everlasting and Almighty God, the Creator of this vast universe, will speak to those who approach Him with a sincere heart and real intent.
He will speak to them in dreams, visions, thoughts, and feelings.
He will speak in a way that is unmistakable and that transcends human experience. He will give them divine direction and answers for their personal lives.
Of course, there will be those who scoff and say such a thing is impossible, that if there were a God, He would have better things to do than hear and answer a single person’s prayer.
But I tell you this: God cares about you. He will listen, and He will answer your personal questions. The answers to your prayers will come in His own way and in His own time, and therefore, you need to learn to listen to His voice. God wants you to find your way back to Him, and the Savior is the way.5 God wants you to learn of His Son, Jesus Christ, and experience the profound peace and joy that come from following the path of divine discipleship.
My dear friends, here is a fairly straightforward experiment, with a guarantee from God, found in a book of ancient scripture available to every man, woman, and child willing to put it to the test:
First, you must search the word of God. That means reading the scriptures and studying the words of the ancient as well as modern prophets regarding the restored gospel of Jesus Christ—not with an intent to doubt or criticize but with a sincere desire to discover truth. Ponder upon the things you will feel, and prepare your minds to receive the truth.6 “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you … that ye can give place for [the word of God].”7
Second, you must consider, ponder, fearlessly strive to believe,8 and be grateful for how merciful the Lord has been to His children from the time of Adam to our day by providing prophets, seers, and revelators to lead His Church and help us find the way back to Him.
Third, you must ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unto you. Ask with a sincere heart and with real intent, having faith in Christ.9
There is also a fourth step, given to us by the Savior: “If any man will do [God’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”10 In other words, when you are trying to verify the truth of gospel principles, you must first live them. Put gospel doctrine and Church teachings to the test in your own life. Do it with real intent and enduring faith in God.
If you will do these things, you have a promise from God—who is bound by His word11—that He will manifest the truth to you by the power of the Holy Ghost. He will grant you greater light that will allow you to look through the darkness and witness unimaginably glorious vistas incomprehensible to mortal sight.
Some may say that the steps are too hard or that they are not worth the effort. But I suggest that this personal testimony of the gospel and the Church is the most important thing you can earn in this life. It will not only bless and guide you during this life, but it will also have a direct bearing on your life throughout eternity.

The Things of the Spirit Can Be Understood Only by the Spirit

Scientists were struggling to understand the breadth of the universe until instruments became sophisticated enough to gather in greater light so they could understand a more complete truth.
The Apostle Paul taught a parallel principle regarding spiritual knowledge. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,” he wrote to the Corinthians, “for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”12
In other words, if you want to recognize spiritual truth, you have to use the right instruments. You can’t come to an understanding of spiritual truth with instruments that are unable to detect it.
The Savior has told us in our day, “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”13
The more we incline our hearts and minds toward God, the more heavenly light distills upon our souls. And each time we willingly and earnestly seek that light, we indicate to God our readiness to receive more light. Gradually, things that before seemed hazy, dark, and remote become clear, bright, and familiar to us.
By the same token, if we remove ourselves from the light of the gospel, our own light begins to dim—not in a day or a week but gradually over time—until we look back and can’t quite understand why we had ever believed the gospel was true. Our previous knowledge might even seem foolish to us because what once was so clear has again become blurred, hazy, and distant.
This is why Paul was so insistent that the message of the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing, “but unto [those who] are saved it is the power of God.”14

There Is No Litmus Test

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a place for people with all kinds of testimonies. There are some members of the Church whose testimony is sure and burns brightly within them. Others are still striving to know for themselves. The Church is a home for all to come together, regardless of the depth or the height of our testimony. I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.”
The Church is not just for perfect people, but it is for all to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.”15 The Church is for people like you and me. The Church is a place of welcoming and nurturing, not of separating or criticizing. It is a place where we reach out to encourage, uplift, and sustain one another as we pursue our individual search for divine truth.
In the end, we are all pilgrims seeking God’s light as we journey on the path of discipleship. We do not condemn others for the amount of light they may or may not have; rather, we nourish and encourage all light until it grows clear, bright, and true.

A Promise to All

Let us acknowledge that most often gaining a testimony is not a task of a minute, an hour, or a day. It is not once and done. The process of gathering spiritual light is the quest of a lifetime.
Your testimony of the living Son of God and His restored Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, may not come as quickly as you desire, but I promise you this: if you do your part, it will come.
And it will be glorious.
I offer you my personal witness that spiritual truth will fill your heart and bring light to your spirit. It will reveal to you pure intelligence with wonderful joy and heavenly peace. I have experienced this for myself by the power of the Holy Ghost.
As the ancient scriptures promise, the unspeakable presence of the Spirit of God will cause you to sing the song of redeeming love,16 lift your eyes to heaven, and raise your voice in praise to the Most High God, your Refuge, your Hope, your Protector, your Father. The Savior promised that if you seek, you will find.17
I testify that this is true. If you seek God’s truth, that which now may appear dim, out of focus, and distant will gradually be revealed and clarified and become close to your heart by the light of God’s grace. Glorious spiritual vistas, unimaginable to the human eye, will be revealed to you.
It is my testimony that this spiritual light is within the reach of every child of God. It will enlighten your mind and bring healing to your heart and joy to your days. My dear friends, please do not delay the moment to seek and strengthen your own personal testimony of God’s divine work, even the work of light and truth.
Your personal testimony of light and truth will not only bless you and your posterity here in mortality, but it will also accompany you throughout all eternity, among worlds without end. Of this I testify and leave you my blessing in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Well that’s about all I have for you guys!!! Kill it this next week!! 

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

Enjoy the pics!!! 

Elder Long