Thanks for all the emails! I got great emails from Tyler, Trina, Mum, Grampsir and Gramzy, and my mum forwarded me a message from Aunt Paula. I love getting mail from you and getting updated on your fun/busy/crazy lives! Sounds like homecoming was a blast, and I loved the pictures! Lacey is gorgeous of course and Tyler is a stinkin stud! Where did that come from?? haha he looks super tall. Did he get new glasses too? Son vacán. The new park by our house looks fun too, I´m glad Ben will get to enjoy that!
Some updates about my past week: I think I already told you about my trip to Conce since we emailed after all that. On Friday we had cambios (transfers), and quite a bit changed! My roommate from Peru got called as a district leader to another zone and moved up north, my companion got called as district leader of our zone, and our Mexican roommate is now training! Our new roommate is a gringo fresh out of the MTC and can barely say ´´gracias,´´ so it´s been a fun weekend getting to translate for him! Having to translate made me realize how much I really do understand now. Having a new greenie brings back sooo many feelings and memories that I´ve felt in my first 6 weeks here in Chile. It will be good that I can truly relate to him because I so recently experienced what He´s now going through. His name is Elder Willcocks from Provo, UT. So now we have a Chilean, a Mexican, and two gringos in our humble home. He´s quite a bit bigger than me too, so there goes my ´´tallest guy in the ward´´ reputation... haha.
There´s been some solid discussion about me teaching English classes down here, and I need some help from you, Mum! Could you send me a scanned copy of some of the worksheets that you use for your class at the stake center? I have no materials to work with, so I was hoping you could give me some advice about a decent (and extremely basic) curriculum. Thanks a ton! You da bestest!
Ironically enough, this week I have a story about how I butchered a lesson because I confused two different Spanish words. It was my turn to teach the Gospel Principles class on Sunday, and the lesson was on the regathering of the house of Isreal. That topic can be difficult enough in English, let alone Spanish. I actually really enjoy that topic though and had studied it while at BYU. So I knew what I was talking about--the difficulty was doing it in Spanish. When I got home after church, I realized that during the entire hour I had used the word ´´regocijar´´ (rejoice) instead of ´´recoger´´ (regather). So I gave a confusing lesson to a bunch of investigators about the rejoicing of a bunch of tribes from ancient Jerusalem. Ha. Oh well, the church is true :P
While we´re on the topic of words and their translations, I want to share something I realized this week. The Spanish word ´´prueba´´ translates to ´´test, trial, proof.´´ We often talk about how in this life we face many trials and challenges. These trials are tests of our faith to see if we´ll still rely on our Lord to help us through difficult times as well as through good times. We are ´´probado´´(tested/tried) throughout our entire life. Each prueba is more than just a test that we have to pass or a refiners fire to strengthen us. It is an opportunity to prove ourselves. This life is a prueba--a trial, a test, and a proof. Our Heavenly Father sent us to this earth to receive mortal bodies and prove our faithfulness to Him. What I´m trying to explain is that when a trial comes, don´t just endure through it waiting for it to end; take the opportunity that the Lord is giving you to prove yourself. Prove to Him and yourself that you deserve forgiveness for your sins. Prove that you deserve His help. Prove that you are willing to submit to His will because He knows better than you do. Difficulties in this life are more than just trials, they are opportunities to prove that you deserve Christ´s Atonement--every drop of blood that He spilled not just for your sins, but because of your sins. As my wise father has often told me, ´´You need to take the opportunity of a lifetime in the lifetime of the opportunity.´´ Trials don´t last forever. That means your opportunity to prove yourself has an end too. Don´t postpone your chance to prove yourself worthy of God´s mercy by complaining during trials and wishing them away. Take advantage of the opportunity just as you would if it were an opportunity to get that new car/house/phone you want. Because as great as those gifts are, the gift of eternal life is much, much greater.
Have a wonderful week, get to know your next-door neighbors, be kind to one another, and rely on the Lord. Read the Book of Mormon.
Elder Long :)