What a week. I´ll say it again. What a week. I´ve been having troubles with my companion and I not getting along to the point where I wasn´t feeling the Spirit, and I was constantly praying and striving to know what I could do to help him change a few small things that would help us. I was finally humbled by my zone leader when he told me that it´s all my fault. I didn´t agree with him, but I decided to submit to him as my leader and do whatever I could to improve our situation. This week has been fantastic. My companion still has his same flaws and differences, but what changed was my attitude and reaction. I´ve heard so many times growing up that I can´t control the behavior of others, I can only control my own actions. But I didn´t LEARN that phrase until this week. I didn´t LIVE that simple truth until this week. I´d like to give myself some credit and say that in the past I´ve tried and done what I could, but I´ve learned so much during my time in the mission. It really is a time that the Lord stretches us so that we grow. It´s uncomfortable and difficult for a time, but as we endure our trials with faith and HUMILITY, all will be worth it and we will be better off. Because otherwise, being a worry-wart, a perfectionist, and a missionary don´t go very well together.
This week we got to do several service projects--which I´ve learned are so much easier than proscelyting! Good thing I´ve always enjoyed doing service anyways haha. One of the projects was cutting a pasture of grass/weeds that reached up to my bellybutton. With a hefty weedwacker it would take maybe an hour or two. But here in Chile, we used scissors....hahaha it was quite the experience. At least they were big scissors... Afterwards we helped one of the members in our ward move a bunch of logs and wood and flour (for his bakery) we moved literally over two tons of flour. Hoorah! haha. I think dad will appreciate one thing the most: the top of my head got sunburned. Yay going bald....haha :P
Random thought #1: I bought some new lotion with the scent of White Gardenia--the flower from Hawaii. It reminds me of Mum, so now I walk around all day getting occasional wifts of Hawaii and thinking about Mum. I still need to decide if that´s a good thing or a bad thing...haha it hasn´t been a distraction though so I think we´re good.
Random thought #2: On Christmas day I´ll get to skype my family! Woo! Let´s start trying to coordinate now considering we can only do it through emails once a week.... What are the family´s plans this year? What time would be best to try to call? Start thinking of questions you have and write them down so that you don´t forget when we´re actually skyping!
Thanks so much to Paula for being so generous and contributing to paying for my mission! I sure feel the love and support from you all, and I don´t have the words to express how grateful I am and how much it means to me!
Thanks for all the fun pictures of the cruise! Maybe I shouldn´t have looked at them though, because now I´m super jealous!!! Looks like you all had a blast! Hopefully no one got too sunburned or sea sick! Send my love and birthday wishes to Grampsir!
Speaking about having fun and finding joy in life, I want to mention the joy of missionary work. There´s countless scriptures that talk about it, but I had yet to really feel it until recently. I didn´t have a great connection with the first family we baptized because I don´t understand their Spanish and we don´t have anything in common. But I´ve had the opportunity over the past month or so to help another family accept the Restored Gospel, and my joy has been full. I have a strong feeling that Claudio and I were good friends before this mortal life, and I don´t doubt that I once promised him I´d find him. Claudio, his wife Jacquelin, and their daughter Catalina (my hermanita Chilenita) took the first step towards eternal life by being baptized this past weekend. I can´t describe the joy and love I feel for this family. Until recently, I wasn´t sure if I could love the Chileans. That has been one of my biggest and most unfortunate struggles as a missionary so far. But the Lord has shown me that I can love them, and I am so incredibly grateful. I´ve felt the joy and excitement of seeing an investigator come to church. I´ve experienced the happiness and gratitud of helping a friend enter the waters of baptism. And here´s the catch: you don´t have to be a full-time missionary to experience this ´´fullness of joy.´´ Invite your friend to FHE. Introduce them to the missionaries. Invite them to church. Mosiah 26:20-22 in the Book of Mormon describes exactly what you need to do to obtain eternal life and forgiveness of your sins. Read it and apply it.
Thanks for all of your love, support, emails, letters, pictures, and prayers. It means the world to me.
All my love,
Elder Long :)