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.

Friday, January 29, 2016

December 14, 2015

Well, this week was a very interesting one. S and S, who had been progressing very well, now are not. But our other investigator, Z, who's kinda new, is progressing really welll. She came to an activity. She came to church. She wants to get baptized, and has a date for January 2nd. There are miracles here in Olavarria! 

In other news, I realized a couple of weeks ago the the Young Woman Personal Progress is indeed important, and that I can't tell all the Young Women here that they need to do it if I didn't do it. So I've started my personal progress all over again. And I'm making good headway. And its been really nice. It helps me progress as a missionary. And it helps me realize all the progress I've made, and where I want to go. And I wanted to challenge you do do your personal progress with me. We can compare notes every monday, and animate (is that a word... i cant english) eachother :)
Well, thats all for this week :)
Love you bunches,
Hermana Long

Sunday, January 24, 2016

December 7, 2015

Well, let me tell you, it's been a weird week. I broke out in hives, and my comp made me take massive amounts of allergy meds and sleep. But today I think I'm finally good with my health and I think this is gonna be a good week. I hope. The weather has been nice this week, warm enough that I can leave in just a skirt and blouse. And sometimes a light sweater. But people always talk about the weather here, and how it compares to other years. About every hour someone- my comp, the people in the streets, the members, someone says "it's been warm, but not as hot as last year..."

It has now been officially 13 months since I left home and 13 months as a missionary.... what can I say... I'm tired and happy! One of my district leaders told me that's the secret to being a good missionary, so I think I might be a good missionary.

Here are some answers to questions from her dad:

What's satisfied you the most the last 12 months? 
     I think what's really satisfied me is progress- the progress I've seen in other people, and the progress I've seen in me. I've helped a lot of people, from investigators who got baptized like Juan in Tandil, to the family that I helped change their lives, the Grondona in Tandil, to members that I've helped stay on the straight and narrow to other missionaries that I've been blessed to help on their way. And my progress- how I've learned how to be a missionary and a disciple of God, how I've matured, how the way I talk and treat people has changed. 

What's been the hardest? 
     The fight against the natural man. I always feel like I'm losing, but I think I'm just getting stronger. The mission takes a toll on anyone, especially a walking mission. And I'm always hungry and always poor. I'm pretty much always sore and tired. But I think I'm a lot stronger than I was before the mission. Also, the other thing that I didn't even think would be a problem is the idea of leadership. Everyone my whole life has told me that I'm a natural-born leader, that it's something I do really well. I always figured that if I was a good missionary, I would be a leader- there are senior comps, trainers, Sister Training Leader, etc. And my whole mission, I have had to act like a leader, but I've never had the title, the calling, or the support of someone who's a leader. I've been junior comp my whole mission- and everyone always tells me I'm gonna train, and they get me super excited, and then it doesn't happen. I'm coming to understand that there are other people who are not natural leaders, and they get called to learn. I try not to take it personally, but sometimes it's a little hard. I feel like I'm not good enough, or that president or the Lord don't believe in me, but I know that's just the adversary talking. I just have to focus on working with the Spirit in my area, the things I can change, and everything will be ok.

Was there anything hard that became easier? 
     YES! I had to learn how to talk to people, how to express myself- from my comps, to the street contacts, to the members to the investigators. In the begining I didn't know how to make conversation, how to teach how to share my testimony, not just for the language barrier, just cause I realized how awkward I really am as a person. But now that's a lot easier. Also, the studies. In the begining, I didn't know what to study, and they were just long spans of sitting down, but now I really enjoy my studies.

And with six months left, what would cause you to look back on that time and feel it was the best season of your life? 
     That's a good question. I think if I had a time where I got along with everyone- my comp, the members, the other missionaries, the investigators, and I was working really hard all the time. That would be the trigger. I try everyday to make that happen, but the natural man always gets in the way.
Well, those are my thoughts.

Well, the news for the week... pretty much just the hives... my comp freaked out and wouldn't let me leave the house. So it was kind of a rough week. But some good things happened- on Saturday the ward went to the temple and came back with a lot of really great stories. One lady went for the first time to get endowed, and was super excited. Another went for the first time to do baptisms and took her son. The couple that's getting married next month went to make their appointment for the wedding day. They all came back super excited. And last night we went out with a girl from the ward. She's 20 but she lives alone cause she's studying. It was really nice to go out with her and get to know her and talk to her. Also, we started teaching a new family- the mom is a member from childhood, but hasn't gone to church since she was a teenager. Some of her sons are members, but one isn't, and she and he are super excited to learn and grow. She's also got a little kid who's been living with her, a "child of the state" kinda deal, and he's just a mess, the poor guy. She's been trying to deal with being a single mom and raising this other kid, and she really needs the gospel in her life. So we've been working with them. 

Well, that's about all the news. Now, some pics-

This is S and his mom S, our investigators. He was progressing a lot, but then something happened in his work and now he's gone back to his drinking ways and doesn't want to listen. It's been a little rough. She's been progressing little by little, but she goes to a "Spiritual School" where they teach her weird things. But she really wants to learn about the church and has been missing someting spiritual in her life. She wants to learn how to be a better parent and a better person. So little by little, she's been receiving her testimony and learning. This was his birthday, we made him a cake and went to vist them.
This is me, Hna F and Hna Chestler, our third for a few days. It was a pretty good adventure to be with her.
This is liz- the youngest kid of the familia F, our investigators  She's got really long hair, and one day we went to have a spa day- I did her hair, we did nails, and we got to know the mom and teach her a little alone. It was nice.
This is the son of the ward mission leader. He had a concert for guitar, and invited us. We went for p-day, and it was really nice. He's a cute, talented kid, he reminds me a lot of Ben. They sang incredibly Argentine songs. It was just a really cute event.

November 30, 2015

Well, a few stories from this week. We had Zone Conference... it was nice. We learned about being our own agents; we learned about President's plan (he's a very smart, very inspired guy); we learned about finances (he's a money guy by profession) and we learned about health. The Argentine diet is not the best, and just about the whole mission is sick, so we have to learn how to cook healthfully and do it. It's gonna be interesting. Then the hna in charge of teaching us nutrition, Hna Chestler, stayed with us for a few days. It was really nice. We laughed a lot, worked really hard. Then we had stake conference. That was the big news of the week. It was a really good conference... there were two big focuses- the atonement and keeping the commandments, especially keeping the sabbath day holy. It was a really great conference.

Another thing going on here is the book of mormon challenge. I've been reading the book of mormon from the beginning  as part of the mission, and it's been really great. The challenge was to finish it before the conference  So I'm gonna give you guys the challenge too, to read every day as a family so that you can finish it before conference  There are a lot of blessings that come from it. Your testimonies will strengthen, the family will be more unified, you will come to a better understanding of the gospel principles. These are just a few of them.

As far as the work, we've been working a lot with a guy named L. His wife got baptized about a year ago, but hasn't been very active. Now they've been going to church together, and progressing together. It's really sweet to see the conversion in their lives, and in the family. We've been focusing on the priesthood and the blessings of having a priesthood holder in the home, and I'm just really grateful that I grew up in the house of a worthy priesthood holder and a mother who was worthy to support him. I'm learning a lot in the mission- to be grateful for what I had and have, and who I want to be now and what I want in the future. I don't always know how to put these things into words, but before the mission I knew that my testimony of the church would grow in the mission. It has, I know know that the church is true, but I always knew that. What I didn't know what that there are so many principles of doctrine involved- I have a strong testimony of keeping the commandments and a greater understanding of what that entails. A stronger testimony of the priesthood and what it means for my life. Of the leadership of the church. Of the savior and his sacrifice. The mission is just really awesome!

Well, that's all for this week!
Hermana Long

November 16 & 23, 2015

Well, a few notes from this side of the world.. hna Fasanando came back to claim her bed here in Olavarria- 
Wait- what does this mean? Are you a companionship of three? Are you still with Hna Bindley also? I thought Hna Fasanando was like a training sister? Is she still doing that?
Nope, hna B went to BALCARCE, the famous. Hna Fasanando is a Training Leader, but just for the Hermanas of Tandil and Olavarria... we had to go to Bahia for a meeting, and it almost killed me!

The return of Hna Fasanando

we still don't have elders here or hnas in the other ward, 
So are you crazy busy with the obra? 
Ya, were drowning in citas, and running from house to house. It's going to be an interesting transfer.

I met one of the new elders to the zone... he's crazy... when we said goodbye, instead of shaking my hand he made a `rock on' symbol with his hand and expected me to make one with my hand and touch his fingers with mine... well, I looked at him hesitantly and he said "Rock me on, Hermana.." needless to say, it was weird. 
Truly weird. 
Yep, he's a really weird guy.

The other one I knew in my first zone. It will be interesting to be in this slightly different zone... I'll keep you posted on the great obra goings on here and the crazy elder shenanigans that go on...
Looking forward to good stories... 
On Monday, they were playing soccer, and they got the ball stuck in the air vent. Well, Elder D comes in to look for the broom, and I asked him what happened. He tells me what happened, and that Elder M has already climbed up. It was funny, because Elder M always climbs. I wanted to go watch them try to get it down, but those playing a card game inside made me stay inside and play... freaking!

Speaking of the obra, we're teaching this family, the familia F... they're super great. We've been teaching the plan of salvation to them little by little. They are super smart, super spiritual and super, super prepared. I'm hoping there's a baptism soon. He really wants to get baptized really badly, but the wife is pretty sure that her baby catholic baptism can get her into the Celestial Kingdom... they're in a really odd straddle of religions now... they know what we teach is true, but they think all churches are good, that any baptism is valid. Were gonna talk more about the priesthood and try to get them to go to church. Also, we're gonna have a noche de hogar with their family friends that are members.... we're really excited :)
Sounds great- like they may be in the right frame of mind to keep learning and progressing.
They're doing really well.... were trying to help the family as a whole, which is something no other missionaries have tried before. I'll keep you posted

Well, that's all from Olavarria... LOVE YOU!!!! UNTIL NEXT WEEK :) 
Hermana Long

November 9, 2015

Well a few points on this week. We celebrated Guy Fawkes day, for the first time in my whole life, and were planning on having a bigger party today.

Elder Landeros made us Mexican rice... it had a lot of black pepper... if you don't have jalapenos, just put enough pepper to make it burn!

A member showed up to the church with a tie that looked like geographic layers, and I thought of you [Dad]! I told him I liked it and he told me it was the ugliest of all his ties, and I said I liked it anyway!

Well, I don't have a lot of time, so I'll leave it at that! Love ya!!!
Hermana Long

November 2, 2015

Dad- first, I wanted to ask you to send me a copy of your line of priesthood authority. Hna B has her uncle's, and it really comes in handy. Plus, it would just bring me a lot of pride and joy.
Two, I wanted to send a conference talk your way... it's a bit of a throwback, but it's in october 2011, called love her mother. It really made me think of you. Three, did you ever have a house curse in your mission? Without getting into too much detail, all my houses break, and the elder in charge of the houses knows me by name. So there's that. Is this hereditary? How do I break it? All week weve been talking about me piggy-backing Hermana Bindley `Holes style'

Well, this was a pretty good week. My first official international halloween. Everyone here calls it "Dia de la Bruja" or "witches day" and thinks that we go around putting spells on each other. We tried to explain that that's not it, but they just looked at us like we were confused about our own culture. 

Also, we are just realizing how big of nerds we are. We walked into a kiosko, and there were a bunch of science nerd printouts... we bought a boat load. Hna B about the body, she wants to be an international doctor, and I bought natural science ones, think the sun, but in spanish, el sol. And a volcano. Don't you worry, I bought you some too.

Another nerdy moment. We were walking down the street, and we saw a dead frog, and without talking about it, stopped to look at it. Then I said to her "well, look, the blood goes that way, but the cars go the other way, and it's not really squished, but the blood made it far, so I think it jumped up and got hit by the car." And she said "look at thoes intestines... I wounder how they work." Ya, we've definitely figured out our future careers. Well, we were outside of lunch, so the members came and asked us what we were doing, so we told them looking at a squished frog, and they looked at us like we were cray-cray.

The elders dragged us on a super p-day adventure, and we were just two hens in a rooster house. The Elders are just silly. One of the Elders, Elder D, a little white boy from Utah, has had us cracking up all week. One time I heard him say to Elder M, another white boy from Utah, "white shorts" cause he was boldly wearing white shorts to which, E M said "white boy white shorts." Then he walked away like nothing had happend. It's our new theme. Then one moment a dog was trying to jump on top of him, and it was wet and gross, so he grabbed him by the neck and pushed him off and then started petting him with his foot and said "ahi no mas" or "don't get any closer". It was a great moment. Would you please make a meme?!?!? Also, I realized that he is just dad in a 19 year old, past his prime, boy's body... he threw rocks into a river for about an hour, then picked up a ladybug and I took pictures and then the three of us quoted a funny nerd movie for twenty minutes straight. Then he told us that our song from EFY was too romantic. Thanks Dad. You can tell Dad he doesn't have to come to Argentina cause he's already here!!!

Well, a nice, spiritual story to top everything off. So, there is a part member family that the Elders were teaching who went out of town the same time they got taken out. And they finally got back. So we went to go get to know them. We show up and we weren't really sure what to say. But thanks to my experience in the mission, my awesome comp, and the spirit, we were able to pick up on what to say and how to keep teaching. It was just a really nice lesson. It really felt like the fulfillment of the promise about storing up the words of God and they will be given in the exact moment. I just love this work, I love being here, I love being on the errand of the Lord. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!! I think I'm gonna talk to president about a permanent extension, but I don't think he'll go for it. Also, yesterday in church was just really great. I just really love going to church as a missionary. I feel like everything is written to me and my investigators.

Well, that's all. I'm gonna send some pics :)
Hna Long

Who are you dressed as/Disneybounding/hinting at for Halloween? I really tried to think; here are the clues that I found. 
-You are wearing a yellow sweater (which I don't think is yours), which means it is intentional and significant. Yes, it, is!
-You are holding up a Book of Mormon, so I think that you must be someone related to the Book. The book of mormon is our particular weapon of choice.
-You are wearing a belt, which you usually don't with that skirt. Ummm, you're taking a lot of notes on my pictures a lot more than I thought... It looks kinda like a G
-Teal skirt, hair back, belt
-Hna B is wearing a dark jacket & the sun glasses on top of her head???? and holding the Book of Mormon-again, our weapon of choice... she also ran around yelling lipstick tazer!!!!

I am a minion, Kevin, to be exact, and she is agent wild!!!!

Zona Olavarría

We're just really cute :)  Comp love <3

Just some Elders in a truck wearing our sunglasses...They look like a boyband...
we call them the Jeans!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

October 26, 2015

First, I would like to start this weeks e-mail by telling you that Hna. B just broke her chair and ended up on the floor... all four of us (me, her, and the Elders from the other ward) are laughing our heads off. Guess what, one of them is E. Chile... he finally came in from the little pueblo he's been with his Brazilian comp.Well, this was a good week. As always, we are struggling with tendonitis, weird stomachs from sketchy food, and poverty, but it's been good. It builds character. As for me, I'm doing pretty well. I have been almost healthy for like two weeks, so that's good. I still have a stuffy nose and headache that come and go, but it's workable. 

First the funny... we went to the zoo. That was just a very interesting experience  It is a very wild zoo. It's pretty much run by the animals. And the cages are not very effective cages. There were peacocks everywhere (in spanish they are called pavo real... that makes me laugh so hard) And there was mostly llamas... weird. There is a lion, but given as his wife died like two weeks ago, he was just sad and slept. The monkeys were funny. But the parrotish birds stole the show. They just fought and made a mess of their food. Also, it's just a laugh to go with the elders... they are just a mess. They were picking on the animals, causing little problems, and just providing the inevitable comic relief. And there was the egg- two of the elders found an egg in the bathroom. First they tried to convince us that a hen just laid it... not very convincing, because there were only scraggly teenage looking roosters, but then one of them throws it in the mess of chickens... AND THEY DEVOURED IT!!!!! We all freaked out and yelled... CANIBALS, THAT'S YOUR SON!!!!!! It was just weird to say the least.

Just thought of another funny story-
We went back to the little town in our area, Sierra Chica, and we were waiting for our bus when we saw this group of teenage dudes walking down the street. Now, dudes here wear short shorts, but this guys shirt looked like it was covering his shorts... until his buddy passed him a pair of shorts and he started putting them on. We freaked... we started laughing and covering our eyes. It was just a really crazy gross moment... these crazy argentines!

Now, a "news" item... we went to a wedding! A guy from our ward married a cute lady from the other ward. I think they're both recent converts and they were just really happy with their new lives and to be together. And we were just really excited to get out and do something out of the routine... we put on makeup and wore our nicest clothes and were just really excited. It was just a good day. It was really funny cause we asked our zone leader if we could go and he said ya just don't get too trunky. Well, the wedding itself didn't make us trunky, but the sketchy food made us sick and we couldnt leave the house to work making us trunky (imagine us looking at our closet and saying... after the mission we're gonna wear real clothes and heels... that's pretty much how it went.) But all in all, a good event.

With Hna Bindley at the wedding

Last, the spiritual... We're still working with our investigators. S is slowly, like the snails are beating him, progressing, but he is progressing. He's really trying to change his life, and it's hard. But he's changing. There's a grandma in our ward who's got some really bad back and hip problems and she cant leave the house for now. And all the members have been telling us that we needed to visit her, and we were always busy and didn't really want to make time to go. But this week, it was time to go. And we didn't really want to go. But I'm really glad we did, because we had a really spiritual experience  She was just really really sad where we came in, and we shared with her Mark 10:27, (I'm hoping you'll look it up and read it) and we talked about the atonement, that Christ has felt everything, all pains and sadness and really helped her feel a little happier. And we left with a really strong spirit. And I was reminded that here in the mission, the spirit is supposed to work thru us and sometimes it isn't in the way we want to work, but it's not my work, it's the Lord's.

Well, love you!!! Hope you have a good week.
Hermana Long

October 19, 2015

Sounds like everyone is doing really well. I'm glad to hear that you're doing scripture reading and running and working out. That's all really good stuff. And I would be really excited to hear about your lesson. We had the same one. (Funny story, I was reading your email or Dad's, I'm not sure who wrote it, to hna b, and we got to the part about the date night [where you and Dad worked on your Relief Society at a restaurant], and we stopped and were like, hahahaha what a mormon couple, and then we were like `oh no, thats the future' and then we were like `well, thats not the worst thing ever. Dinner and doctrine its a really nice date...' then we realized how much the mission had changed us... weird.)
Also, a follow up to Elder Mexico and the tacos: the next night we get a call from our Zone Leader, Elder G, from Boliva. He calls us around 9.55 and says, Hermanas, we're coming to your house because you need to let us use your blender, and it's an emergency. So then at 10.20, way past cerfew, E Bolivia, Elder Mexico, and Elder B, from Peru, all show up at our house to get our blender. We were livid! We're still kinda cheesed at Elder G, but Elder Mexico redeemed himself last night- he called us at around 9.45, after planning, but during the time for phone calls and says, So we want to go to the Zoo tomorrow. This received a cheer from us- I don't know if I've kept you updated on the Zoo Drama- there is a zoo in our area and I want to go as a zone. So a few weeks ago, Elder Y, the other Zone Leader, asks if we have any zone goals. There's a moment of quiet in which I whisper to my comp and say "the zoo" and then she raises her hand and says "my comp has a goal to go to the zoo, and I have a goal to help her achieve her goal." E Y asks the other elders to second the vote. Elder D shoots his hand up, Elders Idaho and Chile look at each other and slowly put their hands up and then everyone else follows suit. It was a great moment for the hermanas. Then the zone leaders start looking for other options... now they say they want to to go to a quarry (is that how you spell it). All the members say that it stinks and is not worth the time, but the Elders are crazy about going. So it was a huge success for Elders and all Mexicans when Elder L invited us to go to the zoo. We told him that we wanted to go and he said he would make some calls and call us back in the morning to NOT BOTHER US AT NIGHT. I think he's learning. So we forgave him for the stunt.
Other news, HAPPY ARGENTINE MOTHERS DAY!!!! Heres sending you virtual goodies with a lot of dulce de leche.
Well, what else can I tell you. Hna B keeps keepin on in her sneakers. A little kid yelled at me for the way I ate a factura (hermana, what are you doing????? Not with your fingers, with your teeth!!!!!! cmon now!) Ya, that was weird. Umm, we went to get our blender from the Elders yesterday, and then we (read Hna B) filled it up with water to water a street dog. It just ignored us the whole time. There was a bit of a storm this week. Here, rain storm means sprinkling with a lot of wind. Its weird. There was another Argentine holiday this week- Race Day. Its pretty much when colombus day should be (is there a link between that and Canadian Thanksgiving Day) where they celebrate all of the different "Races"... I feel like that would not float in the USA. But here, everything was closed!!!!!! Ya, it was weird. Other funny thing, a guy from our ward is getting married to a girl from the other ward, and they were talking about the party in Relief Society, and how everyone was invited and then said it would be "a la canasta" thats where everyone brings food.... it is my favorite word in any language ever. So we got really excited, me and hna b. And were like, food!!!!!!! a la canasta!!!!!!! and then the presidenta looks at us and says ya, and music and dancing and it starts at 8.30 and uninvited us... but don't worry, w'rere gonna show up a little early and eat food and be at home on time. WE WILL EAT CAKE!!!!! We've hit the point of the mission where cake is the best thing on the planet and we pretty much find our happiness from it... is that normal????

Well, first a funny story then a spiritual story. First, we played soccer with the Elders... that was an interesting experience! We played for about 45 minutes, and we have next to no skills. They decided it was best to break up the inexperienced newbie hermanas, as we have not played soccer in pretty much a year, and we were never good at playing. Elder Y, the zone leader from Washington, really stepped up to help my comp learn how to play. And at one point he was teaching her how to kick, so he kicks the ball as hard as he could. At that precise moment, an elder behind me decided to ask me a question, so I looked back at him and the ball smacked me in the face. E Y felt really bad for like two days. But it was not the first time I've been whacked in the face, and it will not be the last. So then E B, from Peru, decided to be my body guard and coach (can you just hear him say, watch it, watch the hermana, watch out she's right there) to all the other elders??? He's a nice guy. So then we let the Elders play alone, and they got the ball stuck on top of a very very tall satellite tower. It took about an hour to get the ball down. They tried every idea under the sun, from climbing the inside, climbing the outside, they wanted to buy a trampoline to shoot elder b up, but we managed to convince them that was a bad idea. Side note, we always feel like we're living in the office. Elder Y is Michal Scott, so that just about tells you what my life is like. Then, they attached three  sticks together and one elder climbed up the low hanging roof and managed to knock it off. It was a win for all missionaries all over the world. Then they started playing and kicked it over the fence. Then it took all week to get it back.... oh, elders!

So now, the spiritual story. So, we were teaching S, and he was telling us that it's just really hard to stop doing all the bad stuff he does and really really hard to start doing good stuff, like waking up to go to church, reading his scriptures and praying. So i felt impressed to talk about my testimony of daily prayer and challange him to pray every day. So I did. And I think it really touched him, cause at the end he yelled excitedly "In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN" He's just really becoming really mormon! And then my compa made him a note that said "Ya oró" or "did ya pray yet?" to put on his bathroom mirror. And he said he would :) yay for calling people to repentence!

So, the big question- how is S... well, as good as a 22 year old man who acts like a 12 year old boy can be. We had some really good lessons with him. He's really learning and trying to turn his life around. He's hit a point when he knows he needs to change- a lot, and he knows its gonna be hard, but he wants to do it, so that's good, cause were here to help. We are reading the book of mormon with him. This week was 1 Nefi 8 and 9. He really liked the tree of life, and it really helped him realize that he has to change and he can do it, so I think it was a success. Then we read 9 yesterday. Its kinda weird talks about the big plates and the small plates and the mysteries of God. We got to the end and he says "so what is the teaching from that?" he really does want to learn and apply things to his life. So we explained that, like Nefi, God asks us to do things that we dont know why, but we need to do them. I think it kinda hit him hard. He was just kinda like, oh, but its hard. Ya, it is, but we explained that the hard important things are the best to do. So that was good. His mom's really starting to listen too, and she invited us over for dinner, woo hoo. FOOD!!!!!!! Then the funniest part, we asked him to say the prayer at the end and he was like, girls you know I get nervous and embarrassed to do that. I dont even like reading out loud and you make me do that every day. And I just get embarassed really easily I dont do anything out loud... I dont even fart out loud!! It was one of the funniest moments of my entire mission. We pulled it together for the prayer and then laughed all the way home. Oh, S. I'm gonna take pictures of his house and him and his mom tomorrow to send to you.

Well, that's all for this week. Hope you have an awesome week and start writing me earlier next week... I have questions. Mostly about the Temple... whats the closest? Calgary? I found a picture of the Cardston Temple yesterday in a Liahona and I was thinking like that sounded like part of the new suburb. Is it? It's really cool, looks like something from ancient greece but white and with windows. Will you go and send me pictures.... I REALLY WANT TO GO TO THE TEMPLE!!!!!!! GO FOR ME!!!!! I'm just so close and yet so far!
Well, love ya, Hermana Long

A few more fotos from conference  :)

October 13, 2015

Well, this was a very interesting week. On Monday, we cleaned the. entire. house. Every piece of furniture in the house, yep, we moved it. And cleaned the storage room, and then put some of the stuff we don't use in it. It's been a weird adjustment, but we decided the harder it is, the more the fung shuy is working. Every time we go to put stuff in the mircowave on top of the fridge where it was, we rejoice. And if I sit too close to the fridge, the door hits my chair. And we're pretty happy. So there's that. But then a couple of rough things happened. Hna B finally got into the doc- she's got tendinitis and has to walk around in..... SNEAKERS!!!!! It's very enjoyable for me, but she just feels awkward. The best part is, the doc told her she had to buy nice, comfy, supportive running shoes. So she has to buy..... NEW BALANCE!!!!! After all the time we spent pickin on E Idaho for his shoe choice. We're (read I'm) pretty excited. She's still a little embarrassed to leave the house. Our investigator, Silvano, totally laughed at her when we pointed it out.

So, don't have a lot of time today. I wish I could tell you everything that went down, but there just is not enough time. So I've picked two stories from the week- one funny and one spiritual. Well, the funny one first-

So, we were talking to E Landeros from Mexico yesterday in the district meeting about teaching us how to make Mexican food today, p-day. So, we decided yesterday that we would make a good plan tomorrow (well, today really). So then flash forward a few hours. It's 10.37 (We have to be in bed at 10.30 and we can't call anybody after 10) and were in bed trying to sleep, and E Landeros calls. And we're like `it's after hours it had better be an emergency.' So this is how the conversation went.
Hermana Long: Hello
Elder Landeros: Hi Hermanas, good night, how are you?
HL: What happened Elder? It's late!
EL: Why? Hermanas, are you sleeping, it's barely 10.30.
HL: Ya, we know. That's why were trying to sleep. We're obedient, you know. Is it an emergency?
EL: Well, obviously Hermana.
HL: Alright, tell us what happened.
EL: Are we still gonna make tacos tomorrow?
HL: Elder, that is not an emergency! We can talk about tacos tomorrow. Good night.

And I hung up on him. And we laughed really hard. What a goof wad!
So now, the spiritual one... so, we're just really learning how to love here in the mission. We've got this investigator, S, the one that we adopted from the Elders when they left us. And we've been teaching him. And we're really learning how to love him, as a brother, as a son of God, to want the best for him. So this week, we've been studying for him, planning for him. We went to his house and tried to get him to go to church. And now we really just love him. And we had a really great lesson with him, a friend of his, and a couple of members. And it was just really great. And I just really love being in the mission, with this opportunity to teach and change peoples lives.
Well, that's all for this week.
Love you!!!!
Hermana Long
PS Ummm, can you send me a little money? My shoes are about to bite the dust and taking care of my comp's foot has tapped out my cash flow...