First off, sorry for the late letter--I forgot to mention that this week's P-day was moved back a day so that we could have in-field training. Guess why... I leave for Chile on Monday morning! Whoo!!! So weird.
This week's fun events: During our mission conference last Sunday, one of the people giving a talk had the hiccups. Soooo hilarious!!! That night we also got to watch a recording of President Monson's 85th birthday celebration. So good! Look it up on LDS.org if you haven't seen it yet. The music is absolutely incredible. There are now over 2750 missionaries here in the MTC, so breathing space is very limited. Sooo crowded! Good thing I leave in one more day! I hosted again this past Wednesday and got to host Elder Garrett Jacobson. It was great to see him! I also bumped into Elder Sammy Caballero, who happens to me in my zone! It's so great to get to see him and talk with him! He'll be such in incredible missionary. Love those two.
On Monday morning I'll be able to make a phone call during my lay-over in the LA airport. I bought a $5 phone card with 500 minutes on it, so I won't need to use your credit card, Dad. That would have been super expensive! Mum and Dad, would you two figure out beforehand how to group call so that we don't have to use up precious time during my call? I'll probably be calling around 10:30 am or so. Also, I'd like to call Lacey. I don't have her number memorized and I won't receive any more Dear Elders here at the MTC, so I'll just ask you Mum and Dad during our call. Lacey, when your phone rings during class, just politely excuse yourself. I'm sure your teacher will be OK with Miss President of Everything missing a couple minutes. If not, too bad. I don't want to have to leave you a voicemail ;P See if you can grab Tyler or something too. That would be cool! Be ready for my call!
Soooo many great stories to share this week but so little time! I had to retype this letter because everything suddenly got deleted -__- I had a good discussion with our investigator, Javier, about why the day of rest is Sunday, when Saturday is considered the 7th day of the week. After some research, we discovered that it's because the day was changed after Christ was resurrected on the Sabbath day, Sunday. Remember Elder Holland's talk "Sunday Will Come"? Soooo much more meaning to it than you think. Just ponder on that one for a while. Do some scripture reading on it if you can ;)
During TRC last week, we met with a girl named Valerie. She was supposed to have gotten to the MTC an hour earlier for her appointment, but the traffic from SLC was so bad that she was super late. Which meant we taught her instead. As we talked with her and got to know her, we all realized that it was divine purpose that she was late. She was meant to be taught by us. My companions and I had each had specific experiences throughout the week prior to Friday that had taught us important lessons--lessons and experiences that Valerie needed to hear. The Lord had prepared us all week for that lesson without us even knowing it. It was the best lesson I've had so far. I got to genuinely help a real person (not fake investigator) come unto Christ. I so firmly believe that everyone in our life is placed there for a reason. There is something you can learn from each person. And next time you're running late, who knows, it might be for a bigger reason than you know.
I've always known the scripture stories and that's great, but now I'm finally really learning how to apply those stories to my life. I was reading in Alma 17-18 about the story of Ammon and found so many incredible gems. Please re-read those two chapters and really ponder about how his words apply to your life. For me, 18:3 is a powerful verse. We too, should live our life in a way so that others know we are a friend to the king--who is our Master Jesus Christ. Read through chapter 18 and think about what your "flocks" are and how you can be a better servant of the Master.
Lastly, I'd like to share my missionary purpose. "To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." Guess what. That's your purpose too. Every member's job is to invite others to come unto Christ. You can do that through your example, sharing the Book of Mormon, bearing testimony, offering service, etc. Prophets have declared that every member is a missionary. And you don't have to teach non-members to be a missionary. "Invite OTHERS unto Christ." Everyone. Anyone. We all need help coming unto Christ. As I was reading in the Book of Mormon about Ammon's experiences, a thought was placed in my mind of a quote from the Bible, except the words had been changed prior to entering my mind. The thought was, "Be thou a servant of the believers" (1 Tim 4:12). I took that as my personal call to not forget to help other members and even other missionaries come unto Christ, not just the non-member Chileans.
I invite you to think about how you can be a better servant of the Lord. Have a wonderful week! Write me (at my new address) in Chile!
Elder Long :)