Hey mum, dad, family, friends, and whomever else might be keeping up with my adventures in Chile!
With warmer weather always comes bugs. There are lots. They are big. That´s all I´m going to expound on that.
Thanks so much for all the fun emails and pictures!!! I looooveeeee seeing all the pictures! Everyone looks so much older! Tyler is a stinkin stud, Bridgie looks 16, and Lacey looks like one of the girls from BYU´s cougarettes or dance teams (in her sweat jacket thing). Looks like you´re all having so much fun! I´m so glad Lacey, Tyler, and Bridgie participated in the Missionary Madness activity. Those were always so great. There´s great small lessons to learn like how to plan for a lesson, learning to become instant friends with your companion, and dining with strangers. That´s just the tiniest little taste of what a mission is like. I feel like I was sooo underprepared to serve a mission because, like everyone else, I thought the hard part would be the physical labor of working 15 hour days as well as learning the language. It turns out that´s the easy stuff. Ha. But we continue on relying wholly on Christ.
This week we had a mission conference with Elder Arnold of the Seventy. It was really good. The night before, however, was insane. Due to the early hour of our conference the following day, many missionaries in further sectors had to bus into town the night before. Guess where they stayed the night... our hut--I mean house. We had 8 missionaries in our very humble home and it was complete madness. Especially because all of them were Latinos except for me and Elder Willcocks. It was quite the adventure. Mum, I´ve met several missionaries down here from Colombia, and I´m always so excited to talk to them! Usually they don´t live near where you served, but I finally found an elder from Barranquilla! His name is Elder Ballesteros. I was just curious if you happened to meet (or even teach) a family by that name. Let me know!
Other silly stories from the week: As my companion and I were talking to a man while tracting, we asked him, ´´Do you attend church with your family?´´´and his response was, ´´No, I´m Catholic.´´ hahaha. Oh jeez. We also went tracting in the super far part of our sector. It takes about 45 mins to talk there even at a fast-paced missionary stride. It´s the rich side of town. They even have doorbells. So it was an interesting day. People really are less receptive when they have less monetary needs.
Quick question: Mum, how´s it coming with getting me that Schwab credit card? It would be great to have that soon so I can buy some raingear!
As far as an investigator update, we´re teaching a new family. Yes, and entire family. Whoo! They were a referral from their neighbor, the relief society president in our ward. Claudio, Jaquelin, and Katalina are super great, especially because they have sooo much contact with so many other members of our ward (through work and neighbors). It makes our job 20x easier when there are members that help fellowship and befriend our investigators. They have a baptismal date set for the 24th of this month, despite having only met them two weeks ago. Which brings me to another question:
When is the last time you gave a referral to the missionaries in your ward? Sure, it´s great that you feed them dinner and help them feel welcome in the ward, but what about actually helping them serve? Pull out your cell phone. Hit the green button. There will be a list of at least 5-10 people whom you frequently talk to. A list of people who you can share the gospel with. And don´t worry, you don´t need to be the one to teach them everything. That´s why the Lord has called so many missionaries! Invite one of your friends/neighbors to family home evening, and invite the missionaries to be there too. Invite them to a ward activity. Invite them to dinner. Invite them to church. Invite them to take the missionary discussions. Do whatever you want, just as long as you do it. Having them simply meet the missionaries somehow opens up soooo many more opportunities than if the missionaries were to knock on their door one day. Prophets and Apostles AND THE LORD have testified that members need to help with missionary work. Tracting is inefficient, but if the members don´t help we have no choice. Fulfill your baptismal covenant and commandment to share the gospel with others. We missionaries would appreciate it!
Have a wonderful week! Much love!
Elder Long :)