Friday, August 17, 2012

Week 5 MTC

Family and friends!

First, to answer a few questions: Dad, that's great you found a coupon for some watches, I would love both! I've been relying on the alarms of my companions, but I need my own soon. Both please! Thanks! As far as how they decide who goes to which MTC, I have no idea. I know that the MTC in Chile is for natives only, so that's why I'm in Provo. But three of the missionaries in my district spent three weeks here and then are now spending another six weeks in the MTC in Guatemala (where they will serve their missions). Other than that tidbit of info, I'm not sure how it all works.

That's great about your diets! Sounds like it's going very well. Dad, I told my district about the opening paragraph of your talk and they were laughing sooooo hard! I've yet to be able to read the rest because we are so limited on time with computers, but would you please send it to me in a Dear Elder so I can read it? Thanks! The kids' rooms look great--so huge and clean! Thanks for sending the pictures, Mum. Looks like everyone is having a lot of fun!

Dearest Benny whom I greatly admire and respect: watch the hands -__-

Some updates on my whereabouts: I've been called as the new District Leader, my two companions are the new Zone Leaders, and the other two missionaries in my district are the first ever Portal Instructors (a program to measure our progress as we learn the Gospel and language). So we are a very busy district! Starting on Monday we'll be the oldest district in our zone, and it will stay like that until we leave on September 10th! It's fun feeling a little bit older and wiser--or at least more experienced--than the incoming missionaries. They look up to us a surprising amount, which is humbling because I know I'm no better than any of them. We just got here a few weeks earlier. The sister missionaries are always so great, and I love talking to them and imagining what Brittany is up to. I'm sooooo glad she's serving a mission. Except if I didn't know any better, I'd like most of the girls here were only 14-18 years old...ha. Random note: my carpal tunnel has gotten significantly worse considering we do so much writing and studying. Bleh. Good thing I brought a lot of advil...ha. Oh, and I'm no longer sick! Thanks everyone for the encouraging words, prayers, and offers of sending me medicine! haha but I am doing better, so thanks.

Now time for some fun Spanish words/phrases/jokes! After telling another misionary where I was headed, he said, "Serving in Chile is messy, but it's not as bad as serving in Greece!" The incredible lameness of the play on words made me laugh so hard haha. Serving in Turkey could be fun though... ;P I have two favorite words this week. 1) "Armario," meaning "closet." I just picture a group of friends getting ready to go to the movies and one of them yells, "Hold up a second, I need to go grab my jacket from the armory!" My other (probably all-time favorite) word is "frigadero," meaning "kitchen-sink." It's five times better when you say it with a super Gringo accent. Mum and Dad, next time your children aren't doing their dishes, tell them to get their tushy to the frigadero!!!
Another phrase I find hilarious is when we are talking about the generally accepted idea of what Hell is like. People talk about the "llamas de fuego" (flames). But you might be thinking, "Wait a minute, I thought 'llama' was the weird-looking animal." You are correct! I picture a bunch of llamas on fire running around and spitting in peoples faces in Hell. Not sure if that's quite how it is down there, but it's quite the funny mental image!I want to share a quick spiritual thought that I discovered for myself (believe it or not). In 1 Kings 17 we read the story of the woman who gave up her last morsel of bread to feed the prophet, knowing that she and her son would then die of starvation. However, because of her sacrifice, the Lord blessed her and made it so that she never again ran out of food. How does this story apply to us? That God works miracles? Sure, of course. But let's take it a step further: The woman's pot of oil represents our soul. The prophet represents Christ (literally and figuratively). When we put Christ and His desires before our own wants and needs, He will bless us so that we never experience spiritual death. At times, it is a major sacrifice and a major leap of faith. We don't always know the outcome--in fact, sometimes we embrace ourselves for the worst. But if we put the Lord first in all things, He will work miracles within and for us. I invite each of you to consider your own actions and desires, and decide for yourself if how you spend your time and energy is helping you come closer to Christ and be a better person, or if you are putting yourself first and seeking solely for entertainment. Christ wants us to have fun and enjoy our time here, but that can't be our only focus. "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Such a simple request. Are you showing your love for your Savior?

Three last things. Look up the talk by Mitch Davis about his lightning strike. Absolutely amazing story. Secondly, I've realized that while I've been asking for a power converter, I'm not even sure if I need one. Mum or Dad, will you please look up what the power differences are so that I'll know exactly what I need to buy? Do I need a converter, transformer, or both? Lastly, I'm presenting you all an opportunity to put Christ first and take a few minutes to do an act of service. One of the missionaries in my district rarely receives letters, and his companion refuses to accept his until the other receives letters too. I have a big stack of letters to give him, but he's making me wait to give him the letters until his companion, Elder Gordon, receives letters too. Please show some charity and send a quick Dear Elder to Elder Gordon in MTC mailbox #215 so that he can feel appreciated as well as so his companion, Elder White, can read his stack of letters. Gracias!

May the Lord bless you for your kindness! He sure loves you. Have a wonderful week!

Much love,

Elder Long

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