Tuesday, April 12, 2016

7 April 2016

Well, this week's news- Viedma. I'm excited to be here. It's compelety different from everything I've ever seen before in my mission. It's in a different provincia, and it's all a new adventure. I don't really know why im here, but I'm sure I'll find out. I like it. We've got a few investigadors. One is Diego. He's not a person who believes a lot, but he's learning and he always does his reading and gets really excited whenever we come. Then we have Luciana and Ursula. Mother and daughter. We're just starting to teach them. Then there's Valeria. She was an investigator of the elders for a long time, and now she's our investigator. I'll keep you updated on how the investigador search goes this week.

Also, I'm really happy to be with my companion. Hna Antuña is super cool. We're practicing English. She wants to be a "10"[at English]. Her english is really good, she just mixes up little things. Like he and she. Stuff like that. And I'm teaching her to dance in the morning. She can't dance as well as she can speak english. We work hard together, and we also laugh a lot together.

Well I'm running out of time, so I'll leave it there for this week. Hope you have an awesome week. And dont worry about me, my eating is going well. I don't have pain if I don't eat what I'm not supposed to. I've dropped 3 kilos, cause I was super bloated from the bad pancreas, but that went away, so all's good here in Viedma.

Hermana Long

Sunday, April 10, 2016

31 March 2016

Well, the big news.... transfers. I am not dying in Trenque Lauquen. Im dying (as the say) in Viedma. Its the most southern part of the mission. I went to the most south from the most north. It's been weird. But you'll never guess who my companion is... Hna Antuña. We came to argentina together, lived in Balcarce together, always talked about being companions, but thought it wasn't going to happen. So yeah. That was transfers. We're the only hermanas in our zone (again). We share the area with the zone leaders. They're a little distant, and have a lot of elder friends, cause they live 6 in the house, so it's very different from in Trenque. But they seem like good elders.

What else can i tell you about this week? We were super suprised by the transfers, cause they took the hermanas out and put in elders. That was weird. All the members are upset. They might storm the mission office. 

Marta got confirmed on Sunday. That was nice. It was Elder Perkins last and first confirmation (is that spelled right). "Last" because he was dying, first cause he'd never done one in his whole mission. Marta's husband, Delfin, came and says that he's gonna keep coming and listening to the charlas. 

Ummm, we're really excited for general conference. Hna Antuña wants to watch in english with me, but she's not sure she can. She speaks super good english but says that "church language" is hard. She put the goal to pray in english, but she's too scared to do it. She convinced me to pray in english last night, and it was a super humbling experience. I hadn't prayed in english since the MTC, and I realized just how much the way I've prayed has changed. It's not repetitive, it just comes from my heart. I ask differently, I thank differently, I end differently. The name of Jesus Christ has come to be something even more special in this time. I'm not one of those people who closes "nameajesuscrist" anymore. It was just a very interesting way to see my progress.

What else.... when we left, we showed up at the terminal and a whole bunch of people from the ward showed up, and the presidente de rama helped drive us and all our stuff to the terminal, and I just felt super loved. Marta and her husband showed up to wait with us for a while. Oh, and we had to say goodbye to our sweet neighbor and we could just see how much she loved us. It's amazing to see just how much so many different people can love us. I love the mission.

Guess what else? I finally feel like a skilled missionary. Last Saturday, we'd set up an appointment with a menos activa, and when we showed up, she started with "well wasn't it tomorrow, i have to work today" and didn't want to let us in. Did i give up? NO. i asked her what her work was, and she told me that she sells clothes from her house. So I asked to see her clothes. Then I started asking inspired questions (really inspired, cause I'm not a very good question maker on my own) and she started telling me about her conversion and her doubts and concerns, and it was just a really nice moment. And I felt like, wow, I really can do this missionary thing. It was a nice moment. Well, I'm about out of time for this letter, but I hope you have an awesome week and to hear from you soon. 

Hermana Long

24 March 2016

What can i tell you about this week?

1-Marta got baptized, and shes super happy.

A bunch of her family came and had a super spiritual experience. We're now friends with her granddaughter, who wants to go to church and take the charlas, so that's good. Our lider misional, Ignacio, the 18 year old kid, baptized her, and since then she's been calling him "mi padrino" or godfather. We tried to explain that that's just not it, but she's so happy that we gave up telling her. This Sunday in church she's gonna get confirmed, and she's super excited. And let me tell you about the font- it was super gross. For years, people never cleaned it, and now it's just a mess. It's got a gross layer of algae or moss or i dunno what on the bottom. We spent like 2 hours cleaning it out. And the drain is super bad so we had to use buckets, and dust pans and a mop and squeegies to get all the water out. But in the end it didnt smell too bad, and it was just enough to wash away her sins.

2- I GOT THE PACKAGES!!!! I feel so loved. i said to all the missionaries- my mom really does love me :) I was so happy. i especially liked the note with your testimony. i taped it in my little book where everyone writes notes so i cant loose it. 

3- Elder Perkins is dying. Or rather, he's going home. All week we've been trying to make him feel happy, so he can go home happy. On Tuesday we had the reunion de distrito, and we threw him a going home party. It started out as a funeral- we all wore black, and had flowers and pretended to cry as e paternina told him a story about him dying and going to the final judgment, then it turned into a party. We threw glitter, we "danced" (mostly just pumped our fists in the air awkwardly) to the music from efy and threw confetti at him. And then the spiritual part- he shared his testimony with us. And it's so crazy, cause I've known him since the Olavarria days, like more than 6 months, and I've seen how much he's changed and grown. And then he threw the glitter at us and we just laughed and laughed.

4- The cold weather is coming in. Cold nights, cold mornings, cold days. And then hot again. Everyone is getting sick. And I never know what to wear. Today it was chilly, so I'm wearing my new sweatshirt, a beanie, jeans, and my cool argentine shoes.

5- Against my better judgment, I'm going to tell you about my health. Since i left Olavarria, I've been little by little having stomach problems. Not like digestive problems, like my liver and gall bladder. And as someone who had gall bladder problems you can tell me what to do. These days, whenever I eat, the top of my stomach hurts. And I've been eating super healthy these days. But whenever I eat anything it hurts, especially sugar, or starch. We've been talking about what it could be and we've got some candidates-
  1. celiac- the gluten intolerance. It explains the bad liver symptoms and why a little bit of bread killed me yesterday.
  2. gall stones- that would explain the pains that I get when I eat that go away pretty fast.
  3. thyroid- that's what a menos activa told me to explain the ridiculous hair loss I've been having. But I don't think it's highly likely.
  4. stress- all the members tell me its stress about going home. That's always a possibitlity.
Now, dont worry. Please don't freak out. It's nothing super bad. I can always walk and talk, it's just the consistency that has me worried. I just don't want it to get worse. But if you could tell me what your experience with the gall stones was like, I think it would help.

6- Pehuajo- thats where the reunion de distrito was. It's a little pueblo with a little casa capilla. And its super nice. It's nicer than every chapel I've ever been in in argentina. It's clean and well maintained and the bathroom doesn't smell bad. I really liked it.

I'm gonna share what president shared with us this week about prayer. We've been really focusing on praying with real intent, and this is something I really liked. Sometimes when we pray, we get in the routine of "please bless that this can happen, and "please bless that." He says that that's not the most worthwhile way to pray, it's better to pray like this (an example for me) "father, I'm gonna go out and contact. It's not easy, but I'm gonna go out and do it. Please help me that I can do what I have to do safely and that I can have your guide." Or a good example for [Mom]- "father, please help me to do my exercise and be good." Better- "Father, I'm going to bed now, and I'm setting the alarm so that I can wake up and work out. All that I ask you is that you can help me to be strong, that you can strengthen my good choices." That's real intent. Don't forget- jose smith didn't just go into the woods to find out what church is true, he went into the forest to know which church was true so that he could baptize himself in it. Pray like jose smith, with real intent.
Well, now that's all for this week. 
Love you bunches!
Hermana Long​

17 March 2016

Ok my notes from this week... 
number one... we've got a baptism this week. The abuela Marta is getting baptized on Friday. She's super excited. She already had her interview and we made invitations and she's already inviting everyone. She's just super excited and super converted. And her husband is progressing super well. He now sits in on the visits and prays when it's his turn. And we're now teaching her inactive brother and his wife who's not a member.

number two... my birthday... it started with an Elder R juice party- where you wake up at two in the morning to drink juice and go back to bed. So we did. And the theme was "21 birthday" there was really strong orange peach juice, red solo cups and 21 shots of the orange juice in the red solo cups. And party sunglasses and money napkins. Then my comp woke up early to make me breakfast and decorate the house in Happy Birthday stuff. Then we went to lunch at Marta's house with Marta, Delfin and the elders. We made invitaciones and helped a little with the lunch and my comp brought the cake- a strawberry pizza. It was awesome. Then the elders and our lider misional threw a suprise party... my comp was in on it... it was super well done, I had no idea. There was lying and code words and ballons with all our inside jokes and a super tasty cake. It was a win win for everyone.

also, number 3... we've started a game of donkey kong in real life. It's a list of kinds of street contacts we need to do with a point system. The elders are super excited. I really like being here in Trenque Lauquen... the elders have become our best friends, our lider misional helps us a lot, my comp is just the best... I really hope this doesn't change. But I've heard from the leaders that there's a lot of really big changes coming in a week. So I hope everything goes well in transfers in a week and a half.

Well, that's it for this week. I'll send more next week.
Hermana Long

Pretty sunrise from the balcony. Speaking of balcony, we've started eating the cilantro. It's a success.  Also, after 16 months of searching, I found some in a fruiteria. It was a really good day. I've been eating cilantro like a crazy woman.

A giant lollipop that my comp bought me for my birthday. i finished it in four days

My birthday asado

Marta's baptism day... I'm wearing the shirt she got me for my birthday.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

10 March 2016

So, first I want to tell you about today. It's 10 o'clock in the morning and we already had a huge spiritual experience today. That's pretty much how Trenque Lauquen is, we just cram everything in, then the best things happen when I'm least expecting. So anyway, yesterday we were with our investigator, M, my favorite fun argentine grandma, and she's going thru a bit of a hard time. First, her son has cancer, and they told him that it's complicated. Second, she, as all good abuelas do, has a bum knee. And the doctor says that she has to not walk a lot. And has to bike. Three, when she was biking around town, a car hit her bike and she fell and hurt everything worse, and especially her bum knee. Four, her cancer son has a catscan today and the last time he freaked out and couldn't do it, so she's nervous about that. So last night we told her that the missionaries could come give her a blessing if she wants it and has faith, so she said she did. So we called the elderes and we four went today, p-day, in our p-day clothes all the way to M's house to give her a blessing. And it was a super spiritual experience. Her husband was there, and he's not super believing in god and religion and all that, but we asked M who she wanted to give the blessing, and he was like, can we all just pray, and she explained to him that the elders had to do it, and I said "well, we'll just finish the "spiritual part" with everyone saying a prayer." So then the elders gave her the blessing, and it was super special. And then we all took turns, all six of us saying a prayer. The elders started, then Hermana Nomellini, then M and then it was D, her husband's, turn. AND HE PRAYED. For the first time. And he just said what was in his heart. And I've seen such a big change in him. In all the time weve been with M, we haven't been able to teach him very much, cause he's not a big fan of religous talks. But more and more, he's participating. And this week, he started praying with us. And today he prayed. And it was a beautiful, heartfelt, faithful prayer. And then I finished. And then we hugged M, and she shook the elders hands and she was just so greatful. Then they gave D huge hugs and we shook his hand with all we got. And the spirit was strong. Everyone had tears in their eyes. Even the elders. It was just a beautiful moment. And then we left. And now they're ready to take their son to the study. They've just progressed so much and on that note.....

¡BAUTISMO! M's getting baptized on the 19th. She's so excited. We were a little nervous to give her a date, cause we always talk about her baptism, but she's told us a few times that she wants to take her time. But we felt super strongly that shes ready to accept a fecha and that she'll be ready the day it comes. And she said, yes, finally. Then we went and invited some of her grandkids and her son in law to her baptism. She's just so great and a perfect example of conversion and fruits of repentance. For example- she went to church alone last week, she wants to clean the church, she told us that the gospel taught her that she needs to be nice and say hi to people even when they dont say hi (these things are super important here in Argentina), she also said that she needs to stop saying bad words and she's doing it, little things like that. And it's all just one big thing- conversion. I LOVE THE MISSION!!!!! So yeah, that's what's going on in Trenque Lauquen. Umm, what else.

Yesterday was zone conference. My last zone conference. We went to Santa Rosa. You know who's in Santa Rosa??? Hermana Bindley, my ex comp, best friend and future roommate. It was so awesome to see her. I felt like Alma when he runs into his buddies and they've all stayed faithful and he's so proud of their progress. We started talking and we talked about the work and mission life and everything we've learned ALL NIGHT. It was the best. I love how I have the opportunity to see conversion, even us missionaries convert ourselves. And the zone conference was super awesome. We talked about all kinds of things, but more than anything, that as a mission, we're not baptizing a lot. It's true, because before we were baptizing anything with two legs, but now we're all a little scared to return to our old mistakes or focus on other things, like all the menos activos from all of the crazy baptisms. But president wants us to baptize, but baptize converts. And he felt like that's not happening cause we don't have enough investigators. So instead of yelling at us and telling us we need to baptize, like they did before, he taught us how to find investigators. He's just soooo awesome! 

Well, I've got a lot to write and not a lot of time. I told dad some good spiritual stories and so I'll write you a funny one. Like I told him, I saw Hermana Bindley yesterday. It's been like 2 weeks since her birthday so I decided to bring her a birthday gift. Remember when we bought science papers and laminated them and walked around saying "we believe in science" nacho libre style. Well  bought a giant poster of a dude with all of his body parts like a puzzle and laminated it and cut it out and drew him a placa (I like to call him Elder Cuerpo) and gave it to her with all of her favorite candies. It was a huge success- she loved it. And she got me a birthday gift- a bag that she had made in a sociedad de soccoro activity. She said I can put things I like on the inside and she put things that made her think of me on the outside- a bird, cause my birding stories kill her, my initials in a weird print and a bit of red and blue flannel cause she alllwaaayss talks about how nice red and blue flannels look on dudes. And I loved it. She's just the best. She is definitely my mission bfff, and I think she's gonna stay my bff for a long time. We always talk about what our slc apartment is gonna be like :)

Ummm, well, I've written a lot and I still have to write everyone else, so I'll just finish by telling you that my garden is good, Boris is growing and my cilantro is almost ready, I have spanish maps and a chart about photosynthesis and animal cells (in spanish on the wall) and I'm working on a new periodic table of elements for a placemat. I'm just realizing every day that I'm super excited to be a chemistry major when I get back.

Love you so much! Send me more spiritual experiences and church stories next week! Thanks for always writing me!
Hermana Long

Thursday, March 3, 2016

3 March 2016

Guess what??? I bought a converter. So Im just gonna send you pictures and explanations this week....

So, in my process of realizing I'm becoming more and more like you [Dad], there's been a new development. My quinta- or farm (it's really just a small garden) I'm obsessed with keeping it going. The newest addition is aloe vera. We're talking about mint bushes and flowers that attract butterflies. Do you have any suggestions for a balcony garden? But seriously, the other day I was lovingly watering my plants before I went to bed, checking on all of them, and I felt just like you. I check on them first thing every morning, and before I go to bed. And I don't have a lot of enemies (yet) but if I did, I would be so down to stop them from eating my plants. 
So, yeah, everything's good here. Fighting with the mosquitos and the wart blisters, but good.

Hope you have an awesome week!
Love ya!
Hermana Long

This is my "quinta". That means farm. It's not really a farm, just a balcony garden. In the back, there's some oregano, then in the box theres cilantro, that i was worried was just grass, but now its growning into cilantro, my cactus, Boris, and the new addition, the aloe vera, we're still looking for a name.

Monday, February 29, 2016

25 February 2016

The following are excerpts from conversations with Kate. Mom is writing in blue.  Kate answers in black.

Hi! Oh hey. How are you? Sitting. That's a typical argentine joke.

Gosh I enjoy writing you. Have the packets or letters arrived yet? No. Let me know, Ok? Will do. You gotta watch from your end and find out when they get here so you I can call and bother the elders until it gets here.

(About photos)
... I would like to remind you that 1) i have to buy an adaptor for my camera to send you pictures. 2) The internet is supppper sketchy here, so i cant send a lot of pictures. Do you realize that you have not sent any pictures since DECEMBER 7?!?!?! Do you realize that i am in a developing country with a budget and schedule of a missionary? Sometimes i don't even take enough time to go to the bathroom. There are a lot of factors that have nothing to do with me at play. 1- the lack of a cable. 2- the lack of adaptor 3- the difficulty of finding and buying one of those two things 4- I'm living in a developing country that's about 25 years behind the US. Everyone is just starting with screen phones. I have not seen one iphone. There is very little technology. I pay 20 pesos an hour to use a máquina that frequently stops workingTHAT'S ALMOST THREE MONTHS!!! I am a visual person! I need to seeeeeeeeee you and your life. Buy what you need- you have $$$$$!!! Money can't buy everything! It can't buy time and it can't make Argentina more technologically advanced. 

(About reading the Book of Mormon)
I'm okay. Still reading the Book of Mormon everyday. Yay, go mom!!!!! I was kind of blown away when you said the scriptures looked weird in English. You had been telling me about your Book of Mormon reading challenge, but I didn't realize it was in Spanish. Well, yeah, I do everything in Spanish- my agenda, my studies, usually my notes in church... sometimes I get trunky for English and write in English, but it's rare. I think I even talk in my sleep in Spanish. Wow. So are you just used to reading scriptures in Spanish? Well, yeah, I've been reading in Spanish since my first area, that was more than a year ago. I can't imagine doing my studies in English. How cool is that? I never did personal scripture reading in the language in my mission. Just a bit of language study. I struggle so much with language study. Secret weaknesses from Hna Long- sometimes I feel prideful about my Spanish and don't want to do language study. I have to make a huge effort to do my language study. Sometimes I read the dictionary. Lately I've been reading the himnos and looking up words I dont know. There's usually 1 in every himno, but they're super weird words that even the latinos don't use, like super formal and all that. But I have to keep learning. Most of my scripture study was in English. I even had my mom send me new scriptures (English) partway through, because mine were getting worn out. My triple broke a couple weeks ago, and I fixed it with tape (Hna. Taborda called me a redneck) and then the other side broke, so I fixed it with "wood glue" that's really just modge-podge. I'm so impressed. No wonder you English so badly. Hey! Anyway, back to the point- I really wanted Jacob and I to finish the Book of Mormon Pres Craig's style before he goes on his mission, but we just started Enos, so we have a way to go. Jacob basically is willing to do three pages a day. Tell him that I read 2 chapters a day. 3 pages is nothing. How's he gonna study for an hour alone and an hour with his comp like that? I really want to do more!!!
Well, that's our news. I hope you're healthy and happy! For the first time in a long time I'm healthy. I even went to Bahia 2 and didn't get sick. I did get sick two days ago, but it was my fault, cause we had a taco fiesta right after a fast, and we ate a boat load of super spicy stuff and it made us all sick. And I hope you're figuring out the senior companion thing. It's been going super well. We work super well together. Hang in there- I'm proud of you, and love you more than I can explain. Send photos! See previous notes about picture expectations



Monday, February 22, 2016

18 February 2016

Well, what can i tell you about this week... Last p-day, I decided that I'd waited enough and I was gonna buy a cactus. So i did. His name is Boris. They are all the rage here in Argentina. Also, I bought an oregano plant, and we have enjoyed it on several days, and cilantro seeds, cause there is no cilantro in Argentina. I'm still waiting for them to grow.
We've been working like crazy here in Trenque Lauquen. We've found a really awesome investigator, M, a crazy grandma who's looking for a change. And we've had some interesting lessons. One day we went to visit an ex-investigator named Pascual. We started talking about prophets and he says "Oh, but anyone who shares the word is a prophet. You guys are prophets." And I say "if you go by that definition, yes, but in the scriptures it uses a different definition, that there are holy prophets, called by God, to direct the church." And he says "Well, no, you guys are prophets." And he proceeded to correct us on everything. Well this no, that no, God doesn't do that. Ummm, who are the almost prophets here? But aside from the funny citas, we've had some really good, spiritual citas. We're teaching a woman, Maricel, and her son, Ramiro, who are getting ready to be baptized. She and her husband are gonna get married in the beginning of March and then she and the son are gonna get baptized. The husband's got a lot of doubts, but we're working with him little by little. We had a nice noche de hogar with them and a member family. We watched Jose Smith: Profeta de la Restauración. That's my favorite movie ever! It's the best. And they loved it!

Well, what else happened this week... Oh, yeah, so here they sell little suckers with fake tattoos and I bought some for me and my comp and they stuck out of our shoes and Elder R says to us "Hey, I like your tattoos" right after we said "I hope no one says anything." It was so awkward and funny and it became the theme of the week. 

Well, I'll leave you with a spiritual thought. I don't know if you've been studying very much your Preach my Gospel, or Predicad mi Evangelio, as it's better known, but there's a really great section called "Christ-like attributes" or "attributos semejantes a Cristo". It's super great, I really recommend reading it. But there's one section that says "Diligence". I love this section. There's a line that talks about how the diligence in the work is a sign of our love for the Lord. I'm now in the second to last transfer, a transfer famous for missionaries who don't work or take it super easy. But I love the Lord and I don't want to have a transfer like that. Everyday I put on my shoes and sunscreen and we head out to work. And we keep working. We've been so tired this whole week, but we keep working. Even my sweet, oh so young-in-the-mission comp is tired. But we keep working. Because we love the Lord and understand that we have to use every moment to serve Him. And we're seeing good results. And we're happy with the work we're doing. And I feel like the Lord is happy with my work. And that's the best feeling in the world.

Well, hope you have an awesome week. Love you!!!
Hermana Long

Sunday, February 14, 2016

12 February 2016

What a week I had: TRANSFERS.... Dun, dun dun. I was transferred. After 5 long weeks in White with Hna Islas, they took me out so she could train. And now I'm here in Trenque Lauquen. What you guys don't know about the grand Bahia Blanca mission is that in the north corner of the mission, there's a little area called Trenque Lauquen. It's super small, a zone with 3 areas, and the 3 of them are different pueblos. And about a year ago my district leader called and said that we needed to fast for Trenque Lauqen. That started a whole bunch of jokes on my part. That Trenque Lauquen always needs help, that they're out of the way, that no-one ever escapes. All of these jokes were always followed by "one day they're gonna send me there, for all of my bad jokes. And they did. I'm writing you live from a ciber in Trenque Lauquen. And I've got a new comp- Hna Nomellini, from Fresno, California, an hermana with 5 months in the mission, and passed them all here in the famous and infamous Trenque Lauquen. We've been together for 3 days now, and I think it's gonna be a great transfer. We live in a sweet bachelor pad in the middle of the city, on the 4th floor. And the chapel looks like a castle. It's huge. I'm so excited to be here :)  And... we share the area with elders! Yes! One is Elder Perkins. We were in Zona Olavarria together for a long time. The other is Elder Rickeburg... everyone here has really weird names. I'm the weird one with a short, pronounceable name. Elder Perkins is dying this transfer and Elder Rickeburg is rather new. Its an odd dynamic. So I'm super excited to be here. The last 2 months have just been super crazy- Olavarria, Punta Alta, White, Trenque Lauquen, it's left me with some serious commitment issues. I'm always expecting a call kicking me out,  I'm scared to unpack, I don't want to get to attached to the people. It would make sense that this is my last area, cause I've 6 areas already and only two transfers left, but I'm not really sure.
Yesterday we had a conference with half the mission. I got to see Hna Islas, and my old zone, and Hermana Bindley and Elder Jensen and Hermana Shiffler and a bunch of my other mission friends. And we got to hear from a 70. I'm not entirely sure how to spell his name, but he's from Argentina, and he and his wife talked to us and it was just an awesome conference. I love being a missionary!

[Shane asked Kate the following] I'll put a question to you- What hymn has taken on special meaning- or become permanently tied to your mission? For me there were a few - Llamados a Servir, Secreta Oracion.... That's a good question- Secreta Oracion has been my favortie my whole mission. And Llamados a Servir has always been up there. I've been adding onto the list for a while now- Divina Luz- I love the part when it says "Momentos hubo en que tu ayuda no suplice confiando en mi propio expiriencia no tuve fe" I get emocional just writing it down. I listen to that song in some form every morning. Umm, Trabajemos hoy en la obra del señor. That's a big one. The other day we sang "cuando enseñe a tus hijos" and it really spoke to my soul. "
  1. Cuando enseñe a Tus hijos,
    dame, Dios, inspiración
    pues quisiera motivarles
    a buscar la perfección.
  2. Quiero guiar a mis hermanos,
    al desviado, rescatar
    y mostrarle el camino
    a Tu celestial hogar.
  3. Dame las palabras aptas;
    bríndame Tu comprensión.
    Quiero ser un buen maestro;
    toca, Dios, mi corazón.
  4. Guíame a tus ovejas
    que errantes andan hoy.
    Quiero yo apacentarlas
    y traerlas a Sión.
It was just a hymn that knew everything I was going thru every day, everything I want to ask for in prayer that I never can find the words. And everything I'm going to miss when I have to leave the mission and give up being a full-time missionary.

Well, that's all for this week. I love you bunches!!!! Next week I'll send you more information about Trenque Lauquen.
Hermana Long :)

Selfie Sunday- me, my comp, and a sweet girl, Sara, from the rama. She's waiting for her mission call. So my comp, her name is Hermana Nomellini, she's from Fresno, California, she's 19, she went to BYU-Idaho before the mission, and she's studying exercise and health. In Hawaii we call that EXS, I dont know what they call it everywhere else. She's got 5 months in the mission and this is her first area.

This is our chapel. Its pretty nice. I think its the biggest, prettiest chapel I've ever had.
The view from our balcony of our bachelor pad/frat house. That's a school. The kids are outside playing all day.

4 February 2016

Today was a super p-day. We went to a little town outside of the city, where a few hermanas are, who can never come into the city. We drove up and then hiked to the top of a hill, then we went and played "capture the factura"- it's like capture the flag, but with facturas. I realized that I'm super out of shape, but not as out of shape as I thought. It gives me hope for the future. Also, I realized just how much I miss being outside and camping and hiking and I have hope for a future in which I can do all of those things with out dying (I think there are several doctor visits and massages and long bubble baths and gym visits between now and then. I've got my summer cut out for me.)

As far as how I'm doing, I'm doing really well. We've hit the end of another transfer, and I think it was probably my favorite. We've been working super hard and having a lot of fun. I'm tired all the time, and my joints are about to give up on me, but I'm still working like crazy. My health is hanging in there... I thought I was gonna get a sinus infection this week. But it went away without problems. We've been cooking and I've been following "my plate guidelines" like a crazy person. We've got named days... you'd be so proud: Milanesa Monday, Taco Tuesday, Molletes Miércoles, P-day de Pabadas (thats funny business), Jueves, Variable Viernes, Sandwich Saturday and Fideos Sunday (that one doesnt have the same letter thing, but we learned from the argentines.) So that's been good. And we've been running. A lot for my poor broken body. 2 times a week. I think I'm gonna start running more, 'cause I really want to run the Hartford half in the fall, but I think that's a really rough goal. I don't know if I'll make it. But the idea is out there.

As far as investigators goes, we've found a few new investigators that are super great. One is Noelia. Shes 21 and pregnant with her 3 child. And none of the fathers of any of the kids is in the picture. She's super sweet and funny and passing through a part of her life that's very dificult. But she's learning a lot and starting to gain a testimony. Then there's Fernanda. Shes a mom of 3 kids and lives with her husband. He's listening to us too, but he works a lot. She's looking for the purpose of life and has a lot of questions about those kind of things. She loves to learn about God and his plan. She's super loving and always says hi when she sees us in the street and always asks us to come over. Then theres Gimena. Shes an 18 year old girl with a lot of questions. She's got a neighbor who's a member and she's been helping us teach her. Then there's Lourdes. She's a 10 year old girl. Her mom is a member but her dad no. She doesn't really know much about God or the church, but she's learning about these things little by little. And her mom is reactivating little by little too. Those are our investigators for now, but as always in little White, we're still looking for more.

Well I'm about out of time. I'll leave you with these thoughts. This Saturday is transfers, and president told my comp that he wants her to train again. She started out training, but her new missionary had to go to an English speaking trainer. So we'll see what happens.

Love you bunches! Enjoy your week. Please take care of yourself.
Hermana Long

28 January 2016

The weather here's been odd. It was suuuuuuper hot the week before. Then it rained and it's been cold since. I'm not really sure what to expect.

Today I'm gonna tell you about my shoe adventure. So, about the time Hna Fasandando showed up in Olavarria, my shoes started breaking. But i just ignored it. Then the hole started getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Until about 3 weeks ago, it got unbearably big, and we were doing a lot of walking where there is no road. So, I had to do something. I tried to take them to get fixed, but they just laughed in my face. So I went to buy new shoes. I bought some cute grandma sandally ones, but they gave me blisters and started breaking. Then the blisters started getting infected.... and my whole ankle swelled up. It was bad. So I tried to take them back and exchange them. The cranky shoe store lady told me that she'd give me half the price of the shoes. And the only other shoes that fit me that were misión aceptable were dude shoes. They look like super snotty sperrys. I went from grandma shoes to frat boy shoes. Its been a weird turn of events.

Other notes, we've been working like crazy this week... we've got a few investigators, a few part- member families, and a few converts to teach, and we're always visiting and teaching. And when we're not in a house teaching, were contacting like crazy women. Also, we knocked a door the other day looking for someone. And a grandma said to us thru the window "Quien es?" and I said "somos misioneras" and she said "no hay nadie" also known as "nobody's here" and then I kept talking to her and she realized the ridiculous thing she said and said "well, I'm alone here, so I can't let you in" we laughed for like an hour after!

I show up at the house super, super tired every night, but its a good kind of tired. Also, I've been reading the Book of Mormon like a crazy person.  Weve got a reading challenge to read two chapters a day, finishing around March. I've been behind since we started, but this last week I decided to take it super seriously. And it's been going really well. As I was reading in Alma, the letter from Helaman, I was thinking wow, that's super powerful and spiritual, I should write to my mom like that. But then I forgot and just remembered. Ooops. I finished the book of Alma last week. An Elder in my zone told us something really cool about Alma, and I wanted to share it with you. He said that Alma is famous for the war chapters, and there was so much war because of the change in government. The same thing happened in the Bible, with some of the Israelites, I don't remember all the details. But the idea is that a little farm boy with no education was not gonna know these things, that the book of Alma is one of the strongest points of the truth of the Book of Mormon. I thought that was super cool.

But a spiritual note... the other day we were in district meeting, and we were just talking about the chapter in PME about the Christlike attributes, and Elder H, who's super new, was bearing his testimony, and I felt the spirit so strong. Then Elder P, the zone leader, had to finish up the meeting and said- `Wow, how powerful it is to listen to a missionary bear his testimony, and to be together and feel the spirit.' And bore his testimony. And then he gave his comp a little side hug. And it was just a moment of super strong spirit and super strong feeling of love in the zone- a love for each other, for the gospel, for the Lord. It was just a really nice moment. Im so greatful to be a missionary here in this moment, to have these nice Little Moments that strenghthen my testimony.

Well, I have to end. Im gonna run out of time!
Love you bunches!!!
Hermana Long

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 21, 2016

I don't have a lot of time, but I'll type out a few lines. This week was a good, hardworking week. It been hot, we've been walking a lot, but we've had a lot of appointments, so that's good. My shoes broke, and I had to buy new ones. I got the package from the Woodlands ward... someone loves me. Hey, my birthday's coming up, and it's about time to start putting together my birthday package... I'm really missing duct tape, and big bandaids, and goldfish, and beef jerky and goldfish, but more than anything, I want handwritten notes from the whole family, where you tell me about your conversion. That's what I want for my birthday. 

Theres' a bit of technical difficulties with my fotos... I ran out of space in my tarjeta. So I have to buy a new one, but that takes a while. Oh, and to answer the question, i definitely had lice, but now it's all fixed. I hope. I think its like pneumonia, and once you get it, it's a lot easier to get it again. Or I could just be paranoid.

Ummm, what story can I tell you. This week I learned a lot about "enduring to the end". The rama in White's got a bit of a difficult past, and there are a lot of members who went inactive for the bad things that have happened. I've talked to a lot of really great people, who were super active before, who in a moment of weakness, changed their priorities just a little, and now they aren't enjoying the blessing of the gospel in their lives. I'm learning that I have to put my testimony, my understanding, my covenants, before everything else, or I will miss out on the blessings that I want, that I can have. Also, I'm learning just how important it is to love, and to treat people with love, to talk about people with love. The rama of White is teaching me a lot. I love the mission, I love the confidence the Lord has in me, and I love the things I'm learning and the ways I'm changing.

Well, I dont have a lot of time, so I'll leave it at that. I love you bunches. 
Hermana Long

These are the other hermanas in the zone, Hermana Taborda, colombia and Hna Gonzalez, uruguay. They were about 15 minutes away in collectivo. We did divisions a few times with them, and they're just the best. Hna Taborda is now in her house and Hna Gonzalez has about a year in the mission. 

January 14, 2016

Well, what can I tell you about this week? My health is clearing up really nicely. I was getting bronchitis and I had a horrible, horrible cough, but I think that's gone. My throat doesn't hurt. We've been eating healthy and my stomach problems have gone away. I don't think I'm gonna die.

What can I tell you about White. Really it's called Ingeniero White, and it's a really, really, really small town with a lot of factories... I don't know what they're for... I think oil and gas. Everything looks and feels like Baytown. The rama is super small and the church is tiny. I've always had small chapels, but this is the tiniest. I think the Canada house is bigger. But it is a chapel. I'll take pictures on Sunday and send them  to you. We've been cooking for ourselves. That's been interesting. My compa cooks really really tasty food, but she hasn't quite gotten the My Plate guidelines yet. I explain it everyday and we always end up eating a lot of carbs with not a lot else. Sometimes meat. But we had tacos (on Tuesday. I've learned that I really enjoy doing the acronym days thing.) Today we're going to make molletes. I'm super excited. I've wanted to make them my whole mission and never had support. If you want to send me some basic, fast, My Plate guideline approved recipes, they would be greatly appreciated. Other things about the area- everything is closed, almost all the time. I don't know how people can live like that. On Sunday, we had a bit of a misadventure... there is something really really common here called "lice". I've realized that in the US we are raised to believe lice is a step above death, but here, it's not a big deal, and no one freaks out, and it's super common. Well, we realized we had lice on Sunday. Over a year in Argentina avoiding lice, and I finally got it. Our heads were super itchy, and we were super grossed out, and we decided that we were going to go to the pharmacy and buy some lice combs to get them out. Well, the entire White was closed. The whole day. So then we called the zone leaders that are a town over, to see if they could find us lice combs. Guess what, everything in their town was closed too. And they knew we had lice. Needless to say, it was  a rough day. 

Well, the rama itself is nice. There are a couple, 3 I believe, families, and they're all super sweet. And super excited to have hermanas. Yesterday, an Hermana from the ward went out with us and showed us around. It was nice. It's really nice to work with the members. She told us about her mission, her family, and shared her testimony. And taught with us and gave us references. It was a huge success. Then we met our leader misional and his wife. They're  super sweet. 

I think my favorite part of this area is the zone of missionaries. We get along super well. And everyone gets along with everyone. That's really nice. On Tuesday after the district meeting we swapped stories and laughed. Today we showed up at 9 in the morning to play games in the chapel. Well, just "extreme senals." Everyone has a sign, and you have to pass it around. It's really uniting us, cause we play as a team effort, saving each other, instead of every man for himself. I like it. It's pretty big too. There are- the zone leaders, E P, from Hawaii, and E C, from Brazil, us, the other Hermanas, Hermana T, from Colombia and Hna G, from Uruguay. And then the Elders- E P, who I met in Tandil, and we shared the zone for a transfer from Utah, E R, who was in Olavarria just before I got there, and is super famous and is from Dallas (FYI, from what I know, we're 4 here from Texas: him, me, Elder D, from Corpus Cristi, and an hermana from Tyler, I don't remember her name), E F, from California, and E H, who's super new, straight out of the fabrica. We always laugh a lot, learn a lot, and feel the spirit together. I think it's my favorite zone I've had in my whole mission.
This is my zone from last transfer. It has been my favorite zone of my whole mission. It was the best! From left to right: Top row- Hermana Child, Utach, Hermana Darrington, Idaho, Elder Fallentine, California, an an investigator, I dont remember his name, E Paleka Hawaii. Bottom Row: Elder Caparroz, Brazil, E Riding, Dallas, Texas, E Holmes, Utah, E Price, Utah, Me, Hna Gonzalez, Uruguy, Hna Islas (my compa :)) Mexico, Hna Ashby, South Carolina, and Hna Hurtado, Boliva. 

President came to our district meeting and we had a great talk with him. He knows deep doctrine like no one's buisness. I'm realizing that I really don't know as much as I thought I did, and that I'm not quite the thinker I thought I was. I don't even ask as many questions as I thought I did. I think I'm just a `take it as it is' kind of person. 

Also, in other news... I have been in the mission for a really long time. For like the last year, I've felt like it's been a long time, but now I know. Some signs it's been a long time- 
My shoes are broken. But super broken. We had to fix them with super glue.
People ask me if things were "even out" when I was at home. Usually the answer is no.
Principos de Evangelio is starting over. Every week is deja vu. I remember when I heard this class the first time.
I tell people that I've got 14 months, and everyone looks at me like I have terminal cancer.
Everyone I know is "dead" meaning they've finished the mission.
I think every article of clothing I own has a stain or a hole. Or both.
I have some calluses the size of Mars. And I think some of them have splinters, but I can't find them. And I'm not even worried about it. 
I've got a watch tan line that's visible from the ISS.
People tell me about what they were doing last year at this time, their adventures- and then there's me... I was here.

But it's good. It's been a really great year. And I'm super pridefull of the time I have. I would not have had anywere else where I'd rather have spent it. I wish the mission would never end! Why can't I be Superman and they would let me serve forever.

Well, that's all for this week. I'll see if I can send some pictures.
Love you bunches!!!!!
Hermana Long

January 7, 2016

So, you may be asking yourself, what happened in Punta Alta? The truth is, everything was going super well, we had great plans to work, and we were doing them. We had some really great investigators that were really progressing, and then we got a phone call out of nowhere... there was a poor, new hermana from the US and doesn't speak any Spanish who was with a latina, and President wanted to switch her to be with Hna. Leavitt, so I had to pack up all my stuff, and leave all my new friends behind. It was horrid. I did not want to do it. Our investigator, C, was finally starting to like me, and she started crying after I told her. And her 8 year old son started bawling like a baby. And the sweet conversa in front of the house started crying when I said goodbye. I went thru a lot in my one week in Punta Alta, and I love it with all my heart, and I feel like I left a big chunk of my heart behind. Now I'm in White, and at any given moment I would drop everything to go back to Punta Alta. Even the elders were sad when I left. I made them adventure badges, so they won't forget me too fast. And now I'm in White, which is outside the city, far away from everyone. It's a cute little pueblo. But it's a little behind the times- the internet in the cyber is broken, we have to take the bus to the district meeting (I think all of my money is gonna go to collectivos), there's not a lot of stores and stuff, and the banks are not the best in the world, so we always have to come into the city. 

The best part of the switch is my new comp- her name is Hermana Islas, a mexicana. She's awesome. We'd met once before, and I'd always heard such great things about her. She was in a trio with Hna Lopez, my sweet little comp, and Hna Shiffler, my buddy from the mtc, and they always said really great things about her, so I was super excited to be her comp. We get along super well, and I'm super excited to work with her. She's awesome! And we're gonna eat a lot of mexican food together.

Well, that's about it for this week. Love you bunches!
Hermana Long

Me and Hermana Islas. Hermana Islas- shes from Hidalgo, a province next to DF, Mexico. She's 20, a convert of 3 years, she's about to complete a year in the mission. We enjoyed a lot of Mexican food together. We were only together for 5 weeks, but I really really enjoyed being with her in White. The area of White was a little difficult, cause its super small and the elders left us with nothing, but we really enjoyed working together everyday.

December 31, 2015

Feliz Navidad from PUNTA ALTA!

So, here I am. Transfers hit. And I'm currently writing you from a cyber in downtown Punta Alta, a coastal city close to Bahia Blanca. This transfer was really weird. President took just about everyone out of their comfort zone, including me. They made me go really far. But Punta Alta's nice. It's small. We have ELDERS AGAIN. They're super great. One is Elder K, from North Carolina, and Elder W, from Arizona. Elder K's got like a year and a half, and Elder W's, got 3 months. My new comp is Hermana Leavitt, who kicked me out of Balcarce. She's pretty great. She's super funny and likes to draw, anime style. She reminds me a lot of ben.
Me, Hna Leavitt, Cintia, an investigator, and her neighbor. This was new year's day. Me and Hna Leavitt were only comps for 1 week. But it was a super awesome week. We got along super well, worked super hard, and then they fired me from Punta Alta and sent me to White. She's from Utah, she's 22 (I think) and is an art major and was studing at BYU.

Well, what can I tell you about the last week... On Saturday  they told me that I'd be going to Punta Alta. the truth is, I was pretty sad to leave Olavarria, and not super excited to go to Punta Alta, cause it's really far out of my comfort zone. But I decided to see the best in it, and thought of goals in the bus. The two most important to me were "have a working relationship with the bishop" and "have a working relationship with the ward mission leader." I was super excited by the time I arrived in Bahia Blanca. Then Elder B, the elder from Montana that I got to know in Tandil, says "your ward's really great, they're baptizing like locos. And your ward mission leader's less active. And when he got home from his mission, he tattooed the baptism symbol on his back. And your bishop's inactive." That was it. I almost started to cry and wanted to get back on the bus to Olavarria. But he convinced me to get in the cab bound for Punta Alta. So that's how I got here. And everyday's been weird since I got here. Its a small, almost dysfunctional ward. The missionaries are beloved and run everything basically  The hermana that I replaced was super beloved and nobody wanted her to leave. So that's rough. But I think they're warming up to me. 
The zone's really, really weird. Were just a bunch of really nerdy white people. All of us. We're all from the US- it's weird. And we're only 8. And 8 of the nerdiest nerds i've ever met. 

So that's what life in Punta Alta is like. Next week I'll send fotos, and more information about the ward and the investigators.

Well, i'm not really sure what stories to tell you, so I'll go for three catagories- funny/weird, Argentine, and spiritual.

Funny- there's an elder here, E K, who's super redneck. I said the phrase "hold my beer and watch this" about his redneck story, and he laughed and said, that's about right. But he's got a pretty sweet tie. It's blue, a baby blue, with bunches of cotton. It's a really well done tie, Brooks Brothers style, but super redneck at the same time. I thought it was pretty funny.

Argentine- we've got an investigator who's got a dog who loves us more than her. His name is Leo. He's a little squirt. The other day he followed us the whole time. The whole day. We went into places, and he waited. On the way home, a slightly bigger street dog attacked him in the neck, and tried to kill him. We scared the big dog off, and poor little Leo was too scared to keep going. My comp comforted him and carried him for like 20 minutes until he calmed down. Then we sent him home. Then the next day he was fine. Argentine dogs are weird. A follow up story, the same dog followed the investigator to the chapel for her son's baptism. Then we had a sports night outside. The dog really wanted to be a part of it, but he's so not allowed into the court. It look like 20 minutes to get him out. First he came in one door, then the other, then a mischievous little girl let him in. And then the elder from Montana said, I'm gonna fix this, and tried to pick him up. A member girl who was there grabbed his arm and said- elder, don't do it, he's got pulgor. And he looked at me and said- what is pulgor. And I said "ticks" And he said- oh, and tried to grab him again. And the member girl freaked out and wouldn't let him. There's the difference between Montana and Argentina.

Spiritual- the hermanas have a cute little convert of like a week. She was super attached to the hermana who left, and did not really like me. But last night, she was super sad about the hermana who left, and we had a good talk, and I was just like, Heavenly Father, give me the words to help this girl. And I knew just what to say. Then she gave me a huge hug and we started getting to know each other. In a part of Preach My Gospel it says that you know you're a successful missionary when you feel the spirt working through you, and I felt that yesterday with this sweet young woman. And I felt pretty good, like I'm not the worst missionary ever. (I think that might be the elder who has a child that he doesn't know in Balcarce. So there's that.)
Well, thats all for this week. LOVE YOU TONS!
Hermana Long

This is the front window of the Punta Alta house. 

And this is the kitchen. I was only there for a week, so there aren't a lot of fotos.

When we skyped on Christmas, we saw she was sunburned, so we asked about the weather:
When I got here to Punta Alta, it was hot and humid and I was happy. For the first time in a long time my whole body isn't itchy. So that's nice. But then it got cold again. But it's still a little humid, so that's nice. I've learned that I have a really high tolerance for heat. And I've been really good about sunscreen. It's part of my daily routine now. I'm super tan, but not burnt. It's good.