Monday, July 15, 2013

Tanner's 1 year mark!

Happy one year! I take a photo like this every month. It will be fun to put them together and watch me change over the two years

I found an old shirt another elder had long ago left behind and we burned it, as is tradition ;)

Happy 1 year!

Letter home July 14, 2013

Hey fambam! Thanks so much for the fun emails! It seems like everyone is having a fantastic summer. That's crazy to hear about the mountains being on fire, sad to hear that the Hortons and Stewarts are leaving, and even crazier to hear that Megan is getting married! Send me her new address so I can send her a letter!
I was so excited to get a few letters from friends this week--until I realized that they were returned from when I sent them. Boo. Ha, so I need the current address of Tynica Kruyer and Katarina and Kristina Bordinhao. Qwenk. Please and thanks!
Oh! And while I'm thinking about it--the new mission address is:
Misión Chile Concepción Sur
Castellon 1063
Casilla 3560
Concepción, Bio Bio
Gracias! Random fun facts: I've had a huge hankering for pretzels lately, but they don't exist here. Help me out if you can ;) Same with Cheeze-its...
So this week was a rather trying week, despite the fun of completing a full year in the mission. Or maybe because of completing a year. But the good news is that I've crossed the half-way mark. On Sunday I was put into reflecting upon the INCREDIBLE blessing of being raised in a ward that functioned properly. I was always grateful for our great ward Hacienda Heights, but I've grown a much deeper appreciation and gratitude for sharing a ward with such wonderful people. As far as I've ever known, we don't have members that hate each other or Priesthood leaders that argue. What a blessing to have grown up in the world's best ward ;)
I've be pondering a lot about charity, and how EVERYTHING leads back to that pure love of Christ (1 Cor 13:1-13; Moroni 7:45-48). The reason we exist, the reason we have religion, the reason God sacrificed His Only Begotten Son, the reason He allows us to be forgiven through repentance, etc--all of it is because of the love God has for us. It's a level of love that we completely don't comprehend nor immitate. I'm so grateful for the love of my Heavenly Father and Savior that I've felt through my parents and church leaders. What a wonderful opportunity we all have to be able to help others feel God's love for them by reaching out to them through service, invitations to learn about the gospel, or emotional support. All of it leads to God's love/charity. Maybe the Beatles had more wisdom than we thought ;)
Have a wonderful week! Much love!
Elder Long :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tanner's post op recovery pics

Tanner is doing fine!

Hey fam bam!
First I wanted to say a quick thanks to Trina and Julianne for sending me letters/Dear Elders recently! It's always fun to get mail apart from emails. Poor Julianne's letter had weathered many storms coming from Germany over 2 months ago. I'll send a picture of some of the letter so you can see.
I had a Dr appointment on Friday and got my 8 staples taken out of my gut. I'm able to move around more and even went out to work on Saturday with a wheelchair and on Sunday on my own two feet. I felt great until this morning, where apparantly my body is not as happy as I was with all the walking...haha. But I'm quickly getting better and able to do more each day. All is well! I don't know if I should actually send home a picture of my scar and the staples. I'd say it looks pretty stinkin awesome, but some of the other missionaries I've shown don't like seeing staples in human skin...haha. Mum, any insights of the medical differences between using staples vs stitches?
This week I was reflecting upon Christ-like attributes and our constant challenge to become more like Him. I thought of how great the Deaver family has been at doing simple acts of service like baked goods to help people feel loved and appreciated. I thought they deserve a shout-out for being such a great example. I've had a lot of time to reflect and people-watch lately and it makes such a huge difference when someone says a simple ''thank you'' or returns the favor. It's always a very interesting experience trying to help others come to that realization. So many church members are inactive because someone else in the ward offended them, yet if we just focused on serving others rather than filling our own needs, we are so much happier. I've definitely experienced that truth in my own life. Matthew 16:25 has so much wisdom that if we forget ourselves, the Lord will help us be happier. If we put God's children before ourselves, He will provide the rest for us (Jacob 2:18-19 Book of Mormon). What a marvelous opportunity the Lord gives us to serve others and experience the joy of selfless charity.
Thanks for all you do! Keep up the great work of helping the missionaries. Give them rides, feed them lots of food, give them dessert, and invite them to meet your friends/co-workers. Miracles will be wrought. Love you!
Elder Long :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tanner's surgery in Chile

Tanner survived surgery in Chile! July 1st, 2013

Hey fambam!
First off, happy birthday to Mum and Trina! I know it's two days late, but I couldn't email until now...haha. I'm glad you all had such a fun week of playing with the aunts and going to shows and the lake! I sure miss the warm weather and all the fun summer activities! But all is well. I bundled up and my companion wheeled me to the town ciber so that I could do email. Hoorah! I'm still on bedrest until
Friday when I'll get the staples taken out of my gut. I counted them. Eight. But until then I'm loving reading Jesus the Christ and my scriptures! I've studied 15 chapters of Jesus the Christ (an incredible book by James E Talmage to help us understand the Lord's divine ministry on earth and thereafter). I do indeed get bored of laying down 24/7, but it's a small price to pay for the added knowledge of studying all day every day. While I was at the President's home in Concepción for a few days, I had companionship study with him. Ha!
Quick piece of news: Our mission office will be changing to a different location this week. However, they still haven't given us the new address. So if anyone is planning on sending me a letter, --dare I say it?--wait until next week to be able to put the correct address on it. Gracias!
Thank you so much to all those for your prayers and fasts in my behalf. I'm sure it has made all the difference. Life is good, the weather is cold, and Christ undoubtedly lives. I love learning more about Him and His life, and I add my personal witness that He continues to guide His work in these modern times. Have an excellent week!
Much love,
Elder Long :)

June 26, 2013

Hey fambam! Thanks so much for the uplifting emails and for all your prayers and fasting! All is well. Really. Poor mum's email to me made it sound like she's preparing for me to die tomorrow haha. It's just a fun experience to add to the list of stories to tell after the mission. I'm actually really looking forward to staying with President Martinez and his family for a few days--they really are wonderful. Sister Martinez has helped me feel my own mum's presence as she has accompanied me to all the doctor appointments and exams. You are very well represented, Mum. She even scares me with her driving too ;) hehehe love you!
Last month our zone barely had 4 baptisms. This month, we already have 12 including 8 baptisms this past Saturday, and we have 3 more planned for this coming weekend. Our goal and motto for this month has been ''17 Miracles,'' and they have indeed been incredible miracles each week. There have been people that turned down job offers in Santiago to instead get married and baptized, a young 10 year old that finally got permission from her non-member father, and countless stories of miraculously finding others to baptize. It's been such a great faith-building experience--especially because a month ago I was one of the people able to set this ridiculously high goal. I felt so strongly about it, and the hard work of our missionaries coupled with the Lord's mercy and power has led to daily miracles in our zone. I was even blessed to get to do many of the baptismal interviews. What marvelous a marvelous experience it is to privately talk with someone who has decided to get baptized.  Each time it reminds me of my dear friend Krysta and how amazed I am at her for so wisely choosing to get baptized (before I left for the mission).

Each sector in our zone had at least one baptism this past Saturday. We baptized Yesenia, a 22yr old that we have been teaching for about 2 months. All was perfect until we showed up to the chapel Saturday afternoon. The water that had filled the baptismal font was a disgusting brown/green. Ha. Sneeky Satan. With fervent prayers and insistance, the she was still baptized. Pictures to follow.
I hope you all watched that EXCELLENT broadcast from Provo for the new mission presidents!!! It was fantastic. The Lord really is hastening His work--BUT IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE MEMBERS. I loved Elder Russell Nelson's counsel that full-time missionaries only exist to ASSIST members in their missionary efforts. I also felt like Elder Boyd K Packer's address was somewhat of a farewell. What a powerful testimony he shared by saying, ''I know Christ lives. I know Christ.'' (Sé que Cristo vive. Lo conozco.)
As you have acted in faith with all of your prayers and fasting, the Lord will surely watch over us and my surgery. I loved Elder Neil L Anderson's quote from last night that, ''As we act in faith, we often find that the blessings we receive are much different than we expected but much better than we imagined.'' Tomorrow we'll be taking a leap of faith, but the Lord's arms are outstretched to catch us and guide us. I am absolutely certain that we can trust in Him.

All my love,

Elder Long :)