Monday, November 26, 2012

Nov. 19, 2012

(Editorial comment: for some reason his letter came up with Japanese looking characters- perhaps he's blending into Brittany's mission in Japan!) 
eres Querridos! 

Happy (early) Thanksgiving! I hope you磖e enjoying the holidays!--especially on your stinkin family cruise! How fun! Obviously Chile doesn磘 celebrate Thanksgiving, so I guess we磖e just waitin for Christmas. I磎 curious to see how much decoration they磍l have or what they磍l do to celebrate. I磛e definitely felt extra homesick because of the holidays and remembering all the fun family traditions that I磎 missing, but such is the life. At the least, I磛e learned that I磎 going to make a great mom someday--I already know how to clean up after three teenage boys! But in all seriousness, everything that happens in our life really does prepare us for the future. I always figured that working for Dad and learning how to do plumbing and whatnot would do me well when I became a homeowner with my wife, but I didn磘 realize how much sooner I磀 be using all the skills I磛e learned over the years. Quite frequently I have the opportunity to help someone paint, do yardwork, muck out a house, shovel, fix something electrical, etc etc etc. Thanks, Dad, for being such a Renaissance man and teaching me soooooooooo much!!! Plus it helps people understand that I磎 not a lazy American that has never worked a day in his life as I can honestly describe how I worked construction and did manual labor for years to earn enough money to pay for a mission. But changing that stereotype is harder than the actual physical labor itself. Ha, anyways...

This week I finally got the letter that Kendra Williams sent several months ago, as well as letters 4 and 5 from Corey, and some Dear Elders from Mum. Thanks so much! The talk you sent me (Mum) was really good! It was missing some big chunks, but luckily one of the other elders in my zone has the audio recording of it and let me listen to it. Powerful stuff! Elder Holland is definitely an incredible representative of the Lord.

Quick questions: How many people regularly attend the Hacienda Heights ward? People ALWAYS ask me, but I have no idea what to guestimate. Also, what are some common/funny sayings in English? I want to do what Mum did for her English classes and end with a 创dicho创 each time. We taught our first English class on Wednesday, and it was interesting. After about 30 mins someone finally showed up, and after an hour we had a total of four people. So I taught the pronunciation of the alphabet, personal pronouns, and the verb 创to be.创 It went well, but I wouldn磘 mind some tips from my wonderful mother who already has so much experience with this! Thanks!

A few days ago my companion and I were out tracting on a beautiful sunny day when we felt like going to visit one of the inactive members of our ward. We sat down in her humble home, and began to converse and share a spiritual thought so we could ask for some references. After a few minutes, an ENORMOUS thunder storm suddenly started rumbling her entire house. The rain and hail was coming down so hard that we could barely hear each other speak--especially because her 创house创 is made out of thin cardboard-like walls and a tin roof. I haven磘 been in a storm that powerful in a long time. When the thunder struck, it shook the house. Honestly it was pretty stinkin cool! haha. As we wrapped up our visit, it was still raining pretty hard. We said a final prayer, thanked her for her time, and braced ourselves to get drenched. We opened the front door and the rain became an ever-so-light drizzle and then stopped completely. What a tender mercy of the Lord to protect us from the unexpected rain and hail. Moreso, He guided us to that protection--eventhough we didn磘 realize it until after the fact. That磗 often how the Spirit works. It seems like it磗 just your own thought or feeling, but can later trace it back to really being a prompting from the Spirit. So often we mistakenly think that 创being led by the Spirit创 is some grand powerful experience where it磗 so obvious that it磗 the Lord guiding us; this isn磘 so. I could easily write, 创The Holy Ghost led us to visit Juana where we would be protected from the unexpected storm创 and it sounds like I knew we were being prompted to go to a specific place. Don磘 let yourself discredit your ability to feel the Holy Ghost and receive His promptings. You probably just don磘 realize that it磗 the Holy Ghost. That磗 why it磗 so important to say your nightly prayer and think back through your day and try to recognize what the Lord did for you that day. 

We need the Holy Ghost in our lives. It磗 the greatest gift we can have in this life, and eternal life is the greatest gift in the life to come. If we don磘 live worthy to have the Spirit, we磖e missing out on some MAJOR blessings. When we don磘 have the Spirit, we know exactly what will happen: unhappiness, failure, loneliness, anger, etc. But when we do have the Spirit with us as our companion and guide, we have no idea how great of miracles the Lord will work. 

May the Lord bless you as you faithfully rely on Him! My love is sent your way during this holiday season! Eat enough delicous food for the both of us, and remember to be grateful for what the Lord has given you even after Thanksgiving has passed. Have a wonderful week!

Much love,

Elder Long :)

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