Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 4

Hello hello hello!

Another week down here in Chile! Quick shout out to my awesome older sister Brittany who just turned 22 while serving in Japan! This week has been much better than the first three, even despite being the coldest and wettest stinkin ´´spring´´ ever haha. I´ve woken up a couple times with numb feet in the morning despite all my blankets and pajamas! What´s funny is that rather than smelling like beautiful nature after a rainstorm, it smells like wet dog. Anywho, I have some quick funny stories I want to share.

1) Every couple blocks there is a speed bump in the road, but that doesn´t always make the bus drivers slow down. It´s HILARIOUS to watch everyone get launched into the air as the old rickety bus hits the speed bump! I´ve turned it into a bit of a game to see who can get the most air. 
2) I´ve mentioned before that the singing down here is not quite American Idol worthy--well, unless we´re talking about the auditions. I still like to try to sing harmony or sing the recant bass part, but I always find people giving me quick glance that says ´´Poor dumb gringo can´t even sing the right melody or at the right time´´ hahaha. It always makes me laugh.
3)Most eventful story of the week: In the mission, girls are often referred to as snakes--just the flirty ones that will kill your focus with infectious venom. I´ve been lucky so far to not have any big problems....until a few days ago when one tried to kiss me. It might have been tempting if she weren´t 80 years old and extremely drunk...hahahaha. My companion and I were tracting and stopped to talk to a few abuelitas, when the drunk one stumbled over to me and said, ´´Tú me gustas.´´ It translates quite differently than you might think. We realized this conversation was going nowhere, so we gave them pass along cards and tried to leave. Before I could even extend my hand for a handshake, the old lady was grabbing me and pulling me in for a kiss! I firmly, yet gently, moved her small body to put distance between us and told her that just a handshake would suffice. I quickly walked away slightly confused, extremely creeped out, and didn´t even bother to try to hold back my laughter. Never in my life did I think that would happen. Oh the joys of foreign travels...hahaha.

I have several bits of great news! I got several letters at last! Thanks so much Mum for the Dear Elders, and thanks Sister Ochoa, Grandma Lenna and Corey for the letters! They were great!!! I heard that Kendra Williams sent one, but it got a little lost in the delivery process. Hopefully I´ll get it soon. I found out that while I´m here in Las Ámericas I´ll get mail the first Tuesday of each month. That´s when we have our zone conference and my zone leaders can give us the mail from the mission home (where all mail must be delivered). So thanks so much for writing me! Just a random thought that may or may not apply: if you should choose to send a package to me, it would be very wise to cover it in stickers of Saint Mary. People tend to break into those packages less often. It would also be smart to have a list inside the package that details what should be within the contents so that I know if anything is missing. ¡Gracias! Also, I finally got peanut butter!!! It´s ridiculously expensive though...ha. That will certainly have to be a luxery rather than a necessity for the next two years. 

Conference was so fantastic! It was so cool to be one of the missionaries that the prophet and apostles were referring to! Plus, how huge is the news of the age change???!!!! Wahoo!!! However, I am soooo glad that I did a year at BYU before my mission. I think that really helped me prepare so much better. But to teach is the responsibility to pray and decide for him/herself when is the right time to serve a mission. What´s crazy is that by the time I get home, Lacey could serve! And Tyler is shortly behind. Weird. Anyways I was so blessed and grateful that I got to listen to General Conference in English. All the members in all of Las Ángeles have to come to our chapel to receive the broadcast of GC. We 5 gringos went in a small classroom to watch in English. We had a blast! But it was nothing compared to home. As much as I loved every bit of Conference, it made me pretty homesick. Especially during Priesthood Session when I couldn´t stop thinking abou Dad, Papa, and Tyler attending together in Vegas. I´m so grateful for the opportunity that I had to go with them every 6 months as three generations of priesthood holders. 

Mum and Dad, thank you so much for teaching me the importance of listening to the prophets and apostles and heeding their counsel. Thank you for setting such a great example of always doing your best to be able to watch all the sessions of General Conference. I realized today that I haven´t been home for the past three conferences. But just three more and I´ll be home again! 

Since last Tuesday I had already chosen what spiritual thought I wanted to share, but then Elder Bednar gave his talk on it--AKA are you converted to Christ or to the church? So I´m going to change my spiritual thought. A few days ago, my companion and I were on our way to an appointment with a new investigator (or at least a hopeful). We couldn´t find her street at all, even though we knew exactly where it was supposed to be. Twice we stopped and asked for directions, and twice we were told the same direction to walk in. After deciding they pointed us in the wrong direction, we walked the opposite way and sure enough found the correct street. We found her house, and she cancelled on us because she had guests over. Disappointed, but not truly surprised, we set another appointment and left. We had only walked a few meters when we decided to stop and look at our list of inactives to see whom we could visit that lived nearby. As we discussed, a woman carrying grocery bags approached as if to pass by. We of course said hello, stopped her, and struck up a conversation with her. We found out she was an inactive member and we were standing in front of her house. She invited us in, and our discussion continued. I wish I could have understood more of what she said, but people are difficult to understand when they are crying. That´s why God blessed me with a native companion so that at least one of us understood haha. Anyways, long story short, she agreed to attend church this past weekend. I know that Heavenly Father wanted us to run into her that day. That´s why two different people pointed us in the wrong direction. That´s why our other appointment fell through. That´s why we decided to stop. We didn´t know who she was or when she would be passing by, but the Lord did. He is always aware of you and of your needs. The Lord will put you in the exact place you need to be at the exact time you need to be there because He has a plan for you. Even when it doesn´t seem like it. So don´t complain if external circumstances cause you to be late to something. You never know what the Lord has planned for you. Even in regards to Kassi Gillette having to wait to be 21 to serve a mission. The Lord has a specific place and time for you to be in Italy. He knows best. 

This gospel is true. Christ lives. He loves you. Trust in Him and in His timing. Have a wonderful week!

Elder Long

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