Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes! It was great hearing from you! I'm so bummed I don't have enough time to reply to everyone individually, but know that you made me feel special! Monday night we had a little birthday party /going-away party for Hna Porter and me. Her birthday was the 14th and mine the next day. She got transfered to the north but I stayed here in Villa Obispo. We had a good little party with our neighbors (awesome young family with whom we spent Christmas). They are so sweet. My actual birthday I spent in a different sector because I had to do an exchange haha but we had a great time. I lived with Elder McOmie in Yumbel for a long time so it was great to spend my birthday with him. The dumb part is I forgot my cable at home and now cant send the pictures! Bah, I'll send them next week. But it was a day of miracles. All of our plans and appointments fell through, so we just relied on the Spirit and had some GREAT lessons and found some fantastic people for his sector. Wahoo!!!
I now live with Elder Bills, Elder Douglas, and his new companion Elder Lopez. Elder Lopez is the most gringo of all four of us. He's from Texas, has a thick southern accent, and still struggles with his spanish haha. But he's such an excellent guy. I love these 3 guys so much. What a pleasure it is to serve with them.
Other fun facts of the transfers: my ''son'' that I trained, Elder París, is now zone leader with my good buddy Elder Townsend (who has been the AP for the past 11 months). Also, Elder Tengberg, my MTC companion, is the new AP with Elder White, who was in my MTC district. One big happy haha. It's so fun and exciting watching them be the great leaders that they are. My hope is that Elder París will be the AP that leaves me in the airport in 5 months time. I believe!
This Sunday in church I had a wonderful revelation--that is to say, my understanding of Christ's atoning sacrifice was deepened. As I pondered the pre-mortal existance, I was reminded of the simple fact that Christ obviously knew us very personally before we were born. He is our older brother. Thus, as He atoned in the Garden of Getsemani, He knew for which person He was suffering. The Atonement is much more than just a sum total of debt paid to the Father; it is personal act of love done individually for each person who has ever existed or will yet to exist. Christ loved us so much before we were born that He was willing to suffer, bleed, and die for us. That is why He knows us intimately and can truly help us if we humbly repent and live the gospel He has given us.
I know that Christ lives. He loves us. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have each day to testify that to the Chileans. May we always seek the Lord's mercy and guidance as we kneel in prayer each day.
Elder Long :)