First I want to say a huge thanks to Leanne and Grampsir for the birthday cards and very generous donations! I sure love you.
Mum, today I was reminded of the many times that we took advantage of you when we went grocery shopping while you were hungry. I remember that you just wanted to get home and eat, so you let us get away with throwing extra goodies in the cart. Today we went grocery shopping while I was STARVING and ended up buying half the store...haha. For the past year I've been able to spend normally only about $6,000 pesos ($12 US), but today I spent $17,000 pesos ($35 US) on food. Oops haha.
While Elder Bills and I were shopping for a new watch for him, we were surprised to hear people speaking a language we didn't understand. I've been so blessed to be raised speaking English, and even further blessed to understand Spanish--but It's been a long time since I didn't understand someone's language. It turned out to be a group of Ecuadorians speaking Quichua. It sounded pretty cool--like a weird mix of Japanese/spanish/french. Who knows.
On Friday Elder Bills and I had a leadership council meeting in President Martinez´s house. Wow, it was awesome. Aside from his wife's AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS food, the Spirit was incredibly strong the whole time. We were in the meeting from 10am until 5pm with just a short break for lunch. So worth it. I wish we could spend a day like that every week. President Martinez is SUCH an inspired man. In every way. I'm so grateful for his great example and influence. I feel so close to the Savior when he teaches and testifies because he's such a great Christ-like leader. The training meeting was about faith, attitude, and despondency vs hope. It was fantastic.
On Saturday we gave a tour of our chapel to a new little family we're teaching: Marlene and her autistic son. When we arrived two weeks ago, they were nice but not very interested. A few days later, they called us asking us to come over. They've had some recent experiences that helped them realize that we were sent from God to help them during this difficult time in their life. As we showed them the sacrament room and the various paintings along the hallways, the Spirit testified strongly to all of us that this is true. There was such a great peace and stillness in the quiet, beautiful house of the Lord. She couldn't wait to attend the church meetings the next day (FYI that NEVER happens) and despite being up until 5am working, she got out of bed and came to church with her son. She loved it. As we presented her to other members, she found out that our recent convert Isabel's husband was her childhood friend, as well as another recent convert Soledad was a long-lost friend she hasn't seen for 20 years. God is pretty great. It was a great Sunday. Isabel invited Marlene to an FHE Monday night where we're going to teach them how to make American pancakes. We're excited for a number of reasons, if you know what I mean.
What a blessing it is that I know for myself that the gospel of Jesus Christ is completely true. I love it. I love serving Him as a full-time missionary, and I love watching His hand in His work. I'm so grateful that He allows me to be a part of this marvelous work among His precious children. Have a great week!
Elder Long :)