Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Buenas tardes. It hasn´t actually been that long since I´ve written, and not much more happened since last wednesday. We´ve been looking for more people to teach, but it was pretty rough considering the holidays. Here in Chile, the party lasts all week and not many people want to stop playing to listen about God--no matter how Catholic they claim to be. But we found a few people and we´re hoping for better results this week.

I snuck a peek at my blog and noticed that the old mission address is still posted. Could you do me a big favor and changed it to:
Misión Chile Concepción Sur
Castellon 1063
Casilla 3560
Concepción, Chile

Thanks, Mum! You da bestest! I really do appreciate your help maintaining that blog so that others can stay updated as well.

I got several letters from Cydney and Andrea Christensen as well as from Patrick McGee (one of Deanne´s neighbors). Thanks so much for writing me! I loved the updates and feeling the love. It means a lot to me that you took the time to send me a letter. And of course I´m always grateful for those that email me each week. You da bestest!

Today I completed an experiment to see what would happen if I stopped washing the dishes for 3 days. It´s actually the second time I´ve done the experiment. I finally gave in and washed the giant pile of dishes this morning....ha.

Other fun facts: I decided to start a dream journal. In high school I always had fun telling my friends about the crazy dreams I had each night, and I finally decided to simply by a journal and write them down. It will be an interesting keepsake. If I don´t have any God-inspired visions, I´ll at least prove to future generations that I was a weirdo.

Today I just have a simple testimony to bare. God loves us. Thus, He allows us to have trials and difficulties. He knows that it´s the best way for us to learn and become more like Him. Trials don´t last forever--even when they feel like they will. If we just trust in our Savior and do His will, all will be well. 

Have a wonderful week! I miss you and love you.
Elder Long :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Chilean Independence Day!

Making the pino for the empanadas! Yumm!

Elder Ballesteros and Elder Miller at our branch party

Hna looks like the actress Eva Mendez (from one of Tanner's favorite movies "Hitch")

Letter home Sept. 18, 2013 Happy Chilean Independence Day!

Hey fambam! So sorry for not writing on Monday. Our Pday was changed to today (wednesday) since today is Chile's Independence Day. So happy 18th!!! We spent the entire morning helping a member make empanadas and then watch the town's little parade. It's so fun seeing everyone dressed as the Chilean ''juasos'' (cowboys). 

Thanks for all the fun photos of Brad at BYU and the new puppies! They look so cute! What makes me laugh is that duschound is the most common breed for Chilean pet dogs as well. All the ones in the streets are of course all different kinds of mutts, but almost all chileans own a weiner dog haha. Wahoo!

Random fun fact: This week I dreamed about Lacey getting married! The good news is that I was at least home for it, so I'm at least assuming it won't happen for another 10 months... 

Funny story: This week a young boy asked me, ''Is Hercules in the Bible?'' hahaha.

This week during my studies, I received quite a bit of enlightenment on the topic of God's mercy. Realistically, Christ is the only one that actually deserves salvation; He is the only one worthy of it due to our imperfections and downfalls to sin. However, if we follow His example, repent, and obey His commandments, we can become like Him. Through baptism, we can even take is name upon us, since there is no other name through which salvation comes (Acts 4:12; 2 Nephi 31:21). We don't deserve salvation, but God has provided a way to obey the laws of justice while still extending his ever-reaching mercy towards us. Thanks to Christ's Atoning sacrifice, we can be forgiven as long as we repent. Through His sacred name, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father after this time of probation has ended.

I know that Christ lives. I know that He loves us and wants us to be happy. Furthermore, I know that true happiness only comes from actively living His true gospel. Have a wonderful week! Love you!

Elder Long :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Zone Sept 2013

Imported root beer

No end to their faith...

Tanner's Zone 

Preaching to every creature!

Rockin zone leader Elder Dominguez

Preaching to every creature!

Tanner Japanese cook Akio

Letter September 9, 2013

Hey fambam. Thanks for the great messages in your emails this week! Words of wisdom. Sounds like everyone is doing well--even with the small mishaps and lessons to be learned during trials in this life. 

Saturdays have turned in to Japanese-day because Akio cooks for us. He's the family friend of a member in our branch that moved to Chile from Japan. He doesn't believe in God and doesn't want us to teach him, but he likes to cook. This Saturday he made us ''misu-siru'' (soup). He's a silly little guy with his broken spanish. All he ever talks about is how to cook with naturally healthy foods.

Mum, I wanted to ask if you could write me your testimony in Spanish. Maybe about the importance of attending church or something. I suppose anyone else can send me theirs too, but the idea is that I can show it to my investigators to help motivate them to get out of bed on Sunday mornings. Thanks!

Our branch president got released since he's moving to Concepción, so the stake presidency came to preside our meetings on Sunday. The good news is that they are fantastic. The bad news is that our branch has no priesthood holders accept us missionaries. So that might answer some questions that Dad has had about my responsibilities as elders quorum president...ha. There's a few members that have the priesthood, but they either aren't active and/or aren't worthy. So it's a work in progress. Until a new branch president can be called, a member from the Stake Presidency will preside each week. I'm actually very glad they'll be here each week.

As far as transfers, there are none. My testimony that you can't pray away a trial has been reconfirmed. I love Yumbel and would love to keep working here, but I was hoping for a change of companions. Latin pride is just killing us right now. But rather than complain, my question to Heavenly Father is, ''What am I to learn from this?''

Random question: How much do Gary Thortons' horses cost? 

To end with a spiritual thought, I was reading in the September Liahona and found so many treasures within. It's an edition definitely meant for me and our family. One message I liked best was by Elder Holland, who wrote about the  justice and mercy of God. He talks about how we can become captive to sin and guilt unless we repent, and I started pondering about Christ's role in freeing us. I was impacted that Christ, the only man completely free from sin, submitted himself to the captivity of other men to be tied, beaten, and crucified. He symbolically showed us physically what happens to us spiritually. It is so unjust that the only one free of guilt was the one that had to pay the full price. What a debt we owe to our Savior. And the only way to show Him our gratitude is by living His restored gospel in its fulness by daily repenting until we become perfected in Him.

Have a wonderful week. Love you!
Elder Long :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zone conference and dog bites

Elder Hughes got attacked by a loving little dog

Lunch after zone conference

Original MTC 4-some: Elder Long, Tengberg, Watt and White

September 2, 2013 Labor Day in America

Wow, this transfer has flown by! We're already on week 6. I have no idea what will happen this next transfer, but I have a feeling I'll be staying. We'll see.

Thanks so much for all the letters and pictures! Ben's letter was hilarious: ´´I changed schools because my old school is poopy.´´ Speaking of letters, I got a letter from my BYU friend Alissa Strong! It was a mini package with a bunch of wedding pictures and whatnot. So exciting! The mission financiero told me that he found it in the van and isn't sure how long it's been in there....ha. I heard that Chile's mail strike finally ended, so I'll try to send some letters today!

Random fun facts: Chile's top three most important things: 
1. The Simpsons
2. Angry Birds
3. The Fast and the Furious.

Everyone wears clothes from Angry Birds, drives a car with Fast and Furious stickers all over the windows, and constantly watches the Simpsons. It just still makes me chuckle. 

I had a dream again that I came home from the mission. I had been home 2 hours and we went to a restaurant to meet up with the family and Lacey and I just spent the whole time crying haha. It was silly.

On Friday I went to a conference for all the leaders in the mission. It was a long and very interesting conference as we try to resolve a few issues with the lack of success in the entire mission lately, but it was fruitful. Plus it was great to see a few elders that I haven't seen in a long time--including the three missionaries from my original district in the MTC! Pictures to follow. 

We're teaching a new investigator Cecilia, the wife of a very very Evangelical man. He's friendly and chats with us, but as soon as we start talking about religioun he leaves the room. But he at least allows his wife to listen. I absolutely LOVE how intently she listens to us and her fantastic questions. She really does have a sincere desire to learn. After teaching about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we asked her what would be a reason she would read the Book of Mormon or continue learning from us. She told us, ''If I didn't want this, do you think I would let you keep coming back?'' It made me laugh of course, but I was also sooooo thrilled at her sincerity. The last time someone told me that, she was baptized a month later! Woo! 

On Sunday Elder Ballesteros and I went to the campo to eat lunch with a member and her husband. They reminded me sooooo much of Mum and Dad. The wife is a very pretty yet very silly school teacher who was very proud to show us her 17 chickens and her self-sustaining egg supply. The husband was a very hard worker that had a workshop out back filled with 20 half.-finished projects hahaha. We had such a fun time chatting and getting to know them better. No one can compare to my wonderful parents, though. Each day I realize more and more how INCREDIBLEY blessed our family has been. I don't have time to expand on that thought, but I sure will another time. 

I know that Christ lives and loves us. He cares about our daily lives and wants to be involved in all of our decisions. He will help us if we seek His counsel. I know that He restored His true church through a modern-day prophet, and I know that each person can know for himself by reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. Simple. Everyone is invited ;)

Have a wonderful week! Love you!
Elder Long :)