Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 22


MOM NOTE: Sorry letter this week, but she did send pictures.  I asked her to take some picture for our Christmas letter. Here's the result (followed by pictures from this last week).

Transfer breakfast at the Stake President's house :)
Me, Sister Kaufusi wearing Scotty's glasses and Scotty

Week 21

Sister Gardner with the Gratitude Chain
Holy Mack, what a week! Let me start from the very beginning. So for this week there has been a challenge where we missionaries go around and street contact using a gratitude chain. So we go around and ask every person we see if we can put down something that they are grateful for on a strip of paper and then we add it as a link to this chain. Well the district with the most links win. The districts who lose: girls can't shave their legs for a month and the guys have to keep their legs clean-shaven for a month. Needless to say, the competition got fierce. xD

So on Wednesday we went to our dinner appointment at 5pm like usual, but when we arrived they told us that they had asked us to come an hour and a half later. We did not remember them saying that, but being a missionary you just play along so we said "oh my goodness we are so sorry we forgot to put that down. We will be back in an hour and a half. We have some people that we can go visit so this is perfect!" We then left and we went to visit some of the referrals we had received that day. But, of course NO one was home. So we decided to go see a potential we had tried to see the week before and had only seen his son when we were there. When we got there the front door was open and they were all there decorating the Christmas tree. So we poked our heads, just being nosy missionaries that we are. 😇 And said, "Hey how are you guys!?" At first they were a little startled and didn't know how to handle the situation, but then they realized who we were and started to relax a little. John, the potential investigator, and father, was sitting on the couch with a can of beer in his hand… We just asked how their family was and asked if there's anything we could do for them. John, told us that he was not interested right now and apologized. However we kept talking because, firstly we are missionaries, and sixth and lastly the gratitude chain. So we asked this family and they responded and told us what they were grateful for. It was time for us to go because we had a dinner appointment and we are about to turn in leave and John was standing at the door. He looks at Sister Gardner and looked down at her stomach, realize that she was wearing a skirt that was tighter on her stomach and so made it stick out weird. And he asks, holding his third can of beer we had seen in his hand, "Is that a baby bump?"
........Dear friends and family, I am not writing to you from beyond the grave because I DIED!!! 😂😂😂 And that moment I nearly spewed out the water that I had been drinking right before he asked the fatal question. From the corner of the house you could hear his wife go, "JOHN!" with a tone of completely shocked horror.  My companion's jaw dropped and looked like she had just been hit by a stun ray before she exclaimed, not rude but with emphasis, "NO! I am not!" He immediately apologized but, then proceeded to POKE HER STOMACH… Meanwhile I, in complete and total shock, am standing in the corner just dying of laughter, on the floor rolling, spitting my water out, peeing, all of the above! And my companion is standing there with her jaw on the floor with a drunk man poking her stomach asking her if she is pregnant. What a night!!! (Just so you all know I have complete permission to share this story. #ThismessagehasbeenapprovedbySisterGardner)

The next day by a lesson we had with Erica Rincon. This was an amazing lesson! Erica, is an investigator that we have not been able to get in contact with her for a while. She was busy with school and with her little daughter. But we finally got in. This was such a spiritual lesson! She was so awesome! The member we had with us said that was the most spiritual lesson she has ever had with her! Wowza guys, this woman is amazing! She said the last sister kind of scared her because they set her with a date and didn't answer her questions and they didn't help her understand what they were teaching her! She was soooo excited about this lesson because she truly started to understand. She is SOOOOO GOLDEN! But sadly Sister Gardner will not be able to go back and have another lesson with her, she is being transferred out tomorrow. She is excited it'll be a fun area, and she's going into a trio. But I will miss her. While my companion is getting transferred, I am staying and leading the area. My new companion will be Sister Kaufusi who is from Tonga! She's already been out 14 months (my oldest companion thus far) and I'm excited to see how this next transfer come to be!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Wow, I just love Thanksgiving it is so awesome! I love how people are more willing to talk about the things they are great before and the people there grateful for around this time of year! They recognize the importance of gratitude, the Savior, their family, and so much more! Members here are so awesome they're so concerned about making sure that we are taken care of! We had an amazing dinner with an amazing family on Thanksgiving I am so very grateful for their hospitality and the willingness to serve us! I hope all of you had an amazing Thanksgiving this year! And I hope that you can remember the things we truly need to be grateful for! We have a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who was willing to suffer and die and live again for us so that we could be forgiven of all of our sins and to be able to return home to live with them again someday! Being able to share this message with people this time of year has been such a blessing and it has helped people realize that there's more to life than just living! Another blessing I'm grateful for this time of year was the opportunity Sister Gardner and I had to give talks on gratitude and missionary work in the sunset ward on Sunday! We were thinking we would be giving our talks the week before but the bishop then asked us to speak this past Sunday. Sister Gardner decided to focus her talk on being grateful for the Atonement and the Savior and what he did for us! So Sister Gardner and I went through the four Gospels, the harmony of the Gospels in the back of the Bible, and we took the accounts of the Atonement from each of the four Gospels and we combined them into one so that we could have the most beautiful story of the Savior's Atonement! Doing this has been so cool! I have learned so much about how the Savior truly does love us and about what He did for us and how I can take it and apply into my life more! I encourage all of you to read through the life of Christ this Holiday Season with your Families! There is so much to be learned!

Sister Longo

(MOM NOTE:  No captions were provided for these pictures.)

Week 20

Well, well, well. Another email has arrived! How is everyone? I miss all of you too much! It's still going a wee bit slow around here but I do have a story for all of you! So Sister Gardner and I were out tracting one evening down on Galena Crossing. It was a fun night! We just made our way down the street, knocking on doors, and talking to people. We knocked on one door and no one was answering. So, this mission is a "three knock mission": once for your companionship, once for your mission president, and once for the Lord! So of course we keep knocking. Well it's really nice when you're standing on someone's front porch and you're knocking on the door and then they drive up and pull into the garage. Just kidding. It's not nice it's SO awkward! Well as they were pulling into the garage Sister Gardner turned to me and said  "This is awkward let's run!" So…… We ran! We ran all the way down the street and around the corner! We looked crazy! LOL! So we just kept walking to get around to the top of the street again because we were going to attract another street nearby. As we are walking down the street there was a guy sitting on his porch. This was September 14! September 14 was the super moon! Huge moon! I like the moon in a little bit… That's a lie. I LOVE the moon!!! Anywho, we decided to talk to him and at first we thought he was just sitting there staring at the moon. But as we got closer and started talking to him we realize that he was painting. How cool is that?! So we talked to him for I don't know how long, and it was cool! He was really nice and we asked to him about what his belief in Christ was, he told us that he did not think you need to be a part of an organize religion. So we asked him what his specific beliefs were so that we could just kind of see where Ground Zero was with him. Crazy though, he has a lot of the same beliefs that we do! Which was cool for us but then also cool for him because he was shocked that we believe a lot of the same things he does! We are super excited to go see him again this week and just kind of see if we can relate to him more about his beliefs and helping to come to Christ! 

Who all is excited for Thanksgiving?! I know I am! I'm excited for the thankfulness part but especially for the getting fat part! I love food! One crazy good thing about serving here in Vegas though is that it is warm. We get to walk a lot because it is not snowy which is good because I am able to lose the weight that I'm gaining from all the stinking food! Lol, I was told that the Lord protects his sisters by making them fat! Isn't that great???? XD

So today I was reading in Mark 16 and in it Mark talks about how first angels appeared to the women at the tomb and tell them that Christ is risen, then the resurrected Lord comes to Mary Magdalene and then he visits two apostles traveling on the road. And yet the other 11 Apostles still refuse to believe! And my first reaction was one that was not so flattering towards the apostles. But then I read this:

President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency explained why it may have been so difficult initially for the disciples to believe that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead:
"Perhaps the Apostles should not be unduly criticized for not believing that Jesus, having been crucified and buried in a tomb, had come back to earth as a glorified being. In all human experience, this had never happened before. It was completely unprecedented. This was a different experience than the raising of Jairus’ daughter (see Mark 5:22, 24, 35–43), the young man of Nain (see Luke 7:11–15), or Lazarus (see John 11:1–44). They all died again. Jesus, however, became a resurrected being. He would never die again. …
“Said President David O. McKay of this experience: ‘The world would never have been stirred by men with such wavering, doubting, despairing minds as the apostles possessed on the day of the crucifixion.
“‘What was it that suddenly changed these disciples to confident, fearless, heroic preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ? It was the revelation that Christ had risen from the grave. His promises had been kept, his Messianic mission fulfilled. … On the evidence of these unprejudiced, unexpectant, incredulous witnesses, faith in the resurrection has its impregnable foundation.’ (Treasures of Life, comp. Clare Middlemiss, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1962, pp. 15–16.)
Like the Apostles of old, this knowledge and belief should transform all of us to be confident, settled, unafraid, and at peace in our lives as followers of the divine Christ. It should help us carry all burdens, bear any sorrows, and also fully savor all joys and happiness that can be found in this life” (“The Supernal Gift of the Atonement,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 13–14).

Please let us all be like the apostles of old and the living prophets! Let us all be fearless in our efforts to spread the good news that Christ IS Risen! And that because of him, everything that the Father has is within our reach!
I love you all and have faith that you can overcome all weaknesses with the Holy One of Israel!

Sister Longo
Isn't this the coolest door????! Me want!!!!
This is Suzy, a recent convert that we visit every week. She pulled out her French crystal champagne glasses and treated us to alchohol free Chardonnay! Lol, it was SO much fun! It tasted nasty. Which I guess is why normal people have to have the alcohol in it. But she was so sweet and cute, telling us that no one else besides us would appreciate her fine crystal glasses.

So we went out to get Boba drinks one night and they make it so in order
 to get your straw in it you have to stab it. Well Sister Gardner had done it with a lot
 of force so I teased her that she went all "she-hulk" and then,
 in a hulk voice exclaimed "GARDNER SMASH!"
 She laughed so hard and then demanded a photo shoot of 
her hulking out. Isn't she the best???? XD

Hahaha, so... the rule with iPads is that when we are using them we have
 to be within sight and hearing of our companion. We can't use it when they are
 in the bathroom or when we are in different rooms of our apartment.
Sister Gardner and I have been forgetting this rule and will continue to
 be on our iPads if the other is in a different room of our apartment. So.
I made this picture of my companion with 3 pointed questions and
 made it my lock screen. LOL! As you can imagine I've been
doing pretty good at keeping this rule now. xD

I cut my hair! Well...technically, Sister Gardner cut my hair. xD

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 19

Hello beautiful people!

Wow what a crazy week. Where do I even begin?  So we finally got our car back! YAY!! Now luckily we don't have to walk everywhere, even though that was nice because calorie burner, but also we are able to talk to more people this way! We love it! This week really was amazing! It was simple and not a ton happened but we are truly starting to see God's hand in this work! Last week all of our investigators were dropping us and the members were all canceling on us coming out. But this week we decided we needed to hard core repent and show Heavenly Father that we are serious about wanting the work to go better by planning more specifically. And holy specifically planning makes a huge difference! Planning to see specific people even though they are not home puts you in a place where God has something prepared for you! Ok, so here is the story:

We had planned to go see a couple of the potential investigators and so that's what we were doing. We went to see Nikki who I have never met but she was not home. So we went to see the next person on our list, John, who I have also never met. He was home, we could hear the kids running around yelling that someone was at the door, but no answer. OH! Let me back up first. We originally were going to go see John first but Sister Gardner had a feeling to go see Nikki first! When we were at Nikki's door a car rolled into the neighborhood and pulled to the next street. Well since this happens all the time, we did not think anything of it! So we continued! After John did not answer we walked down to go to the next person but we decided to talk to the guy who had pulled in! His car was still on and playing some really awesome music so we said hi and I commented about how much I loved his music! He was packing his fishing rods and so Sister Gardner asked if he was going on a fishing trip and he said that everywhere he goes is a fishing trip, lol. We then got talking about family and faith and he said that he believes in a higher power but doesn't believe that someone is just sitting on the clouds watching him. 

He then shared his story about how his mother contracted E.coli and severely ill for about 2 years before she passed away! He said it was incredibly hard for him! Then about 2 weeks after her funeral he was eating Chinese with a friend and for some reason he did not want his fortune cookie that day, but his friend told him that he can't have Chinese food and not eat the fortune cookie! In order to shut his friend up he decided to eat the cookie. At this point in telling the story his eyes welled up with tears and he told us that he read the fortune and it said "3 months from this date is a very joyful day!" 3 months from that day was his mother’s birthday! He didn't know why this comforted him but he said he knew at that point someone was watching out for him! SO AMAZING! So we talked to him for a little bit longer and he told us that he there is always a Bible near at hand for him. He has one on his nightstand, in his car, in several rooms of his house, and as he was telling him this I had the feeling that we should leave him with a Book of Mormon. I didn't because whenever we have pulled out a Book of Mormon the person we are talking to shrieks and runs away (okay, not literally but pretty darn close to truth) so we left him with a Restoration pamphlet, said our goodbyes, and walked away. We got two houses down when I stopped. I had the strongest impression that we needed to give him a Book of Mormon, I turned to my companion and said, "We have to give him a Book of Mormon." She looked at me and nodded and said that she had been having the exact same feeling. We both looked at each other and we were hesitant to go back because it would be a bit awkward. But I felt something inside me firm my resolve and I spun on my heel, not even knowing if my companion was following, and went up to Ricky. I pulled out the Book of Mormon is my hand and I told him that it was a gift for him and testified of its truthfulness and divinity and promised him that if he would read it that he would come to more fully know Christ and be able to feel His love more strongly in his life. I was stammering and it was awkward but I could feel the power of the Holy Ghost as I gave a simple, I ineloquent testimony. And I could see in his eyes that he was feeling something as well. He accepted it with gratitude and set up a time to meet with us. We left, for reals this time and it was all I could do to keep from clicking my heels together as we walked back to our car. I can promise each and every one of you that you will NEVER regret following a prompting from the Holy Ghost, but remember that you will always regret ignoring one. 

The Book of Mormon testifies and teaches about Christ literally on every single page! It is so incredible! I was reading 2 Nephi 19 where he is quoting Isaiah: 
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
I have been reading the Book of Mormon with the Institute manual and it quoted Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, as I was reading his thoughts on this scripture I started tearing up, overwhelmed with love and gratitude for my Savior.
 “The fact that the government would eventually be upon his shoulders affirms what all the world will one day acknowledge--that he is Lord of lords and King of kings and will one day rule over the earth and his Church in person, with all the majesty and sacred vestments belonging to a holy sovereign and a high priest. All can take comfort from the fact that because the government--and the burdens thereof--will be upon his shoulders, they will be lifted in great measure from our own. This is yet another reference in Isaiah to the Atonement, the bearing away of our sins (or at very least in this reference, our temporal burdens) on the shoulders of Christ.

As ‘Wonderful Counselor,’ he will be our mediator, our intercessor, defending our cause in the courts of heaven. ‘The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people,’ Isaiah (and Nephi) reminded earlier [2 Nephi 13:13]. Note the wonderful compassion of our counselor and spokesman in this passage of latter-day scripture:

‘Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him--
‘Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
‘Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life’ [D&C 45:3–5].

Of course, as noted by Isaiah, Christ is not only a mediator but also a judge [see Mosiah 3:10; Moroni 10:34; Moses 6:57]. It is in that role of judge that we may find even greater meaning in Abinadi’s repeated expression that ‘God himself’ will come down to redeem his people [Mosiah 13:28; see also Mosiah 13:34; 15:1; Alma 42:15]. It is as if the judge in that great courtroom in heaven, unwilling to ask anyone but himself to bear the burdens of the guilty people standing in the dock, takes off his judicial robes and comes down to earth to bear their stripes personally. Christ as merciful judge is as beautiful and wonderful a concept as that of Christ as counselor, mediator, and advocate.

‘Mighty God’ conveys something of the power of God, his strength, omnipotence, and unconquerable influence. Isaiah sees him as always able to overcome the effects of sin and transgression in his people and to triumph forever over the would-be oppressors of the children of Israel.

‘Everlasting Father’ underscores the fundamental doctrine that Christ is a Father--Creator of worlds without number, the Father of restored physical life through the Resurrection, the Father of eternal life for his spiritually begotten sons and daughters, and the One acting for the Father (Elohim) through divine investiture of authority. All should seek to be born of him and become his sons and his daughters [see Mosiah 5:7].

Lastly, with the phrase ‘Prince of Peace,’ we rejoice that when the King shall come, there will be no more war in the human heart or among the nations of the world. This is a peaceful king, the king of Salem, the city that would later become Jeru-Salem. Christ will bring peace to those who accept him in mortality in whatever era they live, and he will bring peace to all those in his millennial and postmillennial realms of glory” (Christ and the New Covenant, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, 80–82).

I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He and our Father in Heaven love us more deeply and perfectly than we can comprehend in this life. It is only through Christ that we gain peace in this life and joy in the life to come.

I love you all so very much, God keep you safe,

We went to dinner at a member's house and they made enough
 food to feed an entire third world country! And it was DIVINE too!!!
Sister Longo
We learned how to make origami dresses on
PDAY so we "dressed" an Elder in one 😂

Yes. In Wal-Mart (affectionately referred to as
"Wally World" by my family and I) we found
 a poop emoji bean bag. Yes. My life is now complete.

Week 18

Happy Halloween Dearies! 

How is everybody? I miss you all so much! How was every body's Halloween? What did you dress up as? I didn't dress up as anything… Just kidding I was a missionary! Best costume in the whole wide world! I bet you can't beat that! :P But I did have a way fun Halloween! It was preparation day so we actually went out proselyting for a few hours after studies and then we did our shopping and just had fun. And want to know what was fun for me? My companion dyed my hair!!! It was so fun because she went to cosmetology school before her mission so she knows what she's doing. Soooo... I wanted to go back to Brunette. However, as you all know my hair was black. So Sister Gardner (who went to cosmetology school before her mission) had to pull the color from my hair in order for the brown dye to work. The part between stripping it and dying it brown was super cool looking!!!

That night instead of going out proselyting all of the missionaries, except for the missionaries out of Valley (#SUCKERS!!!), came together in the mission office and we all watched a movie together. You will never guess what movie we watch! We got to watch Shrek!!! I never realize how much that movie applied to missionary work. We talk to people about random things and complement them on their boulders all the time! Well... we do it before they answer the door so we don't look crazy. But still, watch that movie from the prospective of a missionary and its scary cool how well it applies to mission life!!! How fun that we got to do something like that as a mission! 

This was not the highlight of the week though. On Friday we got to go to the temple! It was new missionary temple so all the missionaries that came in this last transfer and their companions got to go to the temple! It was so much fun I adore temples! The Las Vegas Nevada temple is beautiful too. I cannot wait to go to the temple every day when I get home! I'm going to see if I can be an ordinance worker in the temple when I get back! 
So, if you're not going to the temple as much as you can go, repentant! Go to the temple! Even if all you can do is walk the temple grounds still go! There is a special spirit there that you will never find anywhere else on this earth :)

One little bump in the road we had this week is that a car is now in the shop. So what does this mean for Sister Gardner and I? WE ARE WALKING EVERYWHERE! But hey it's great because cardio is good for the soul... or so my companion tell me. But so is the book of Mormon! What a great book! It's my favorite book I love it so much! I hope you are studying The Book of Mormon with real intent every day! I can promise you that it will bless and change your lives in so many ways!

One awesome thing we found though from walking is that we found this really yummy crêpe place! This guy was on the Food Network! And holy cow I have never had a better crêpe in my entire life! I encourage all of you to come and try these crapes… After I leave though because we don't want to be apostate! 

Yesterday was my 4th month mark. Holy cow. Not prepared for this. Mission time is so weird. A day feels like an entire week, it goes on for eternity. But a week feels like it was only a day. Don't ask me how it works.

I finally know what everyone is talking about when you have your ups and downs on a mission! But that doesn't matter we will have our ups and our downs whether we are on our missions are in real life! We just have to remember to keep her focused on Christ and push through! There's always a rainbow after a rainstorm! I love this work, yes it is hard sometimes, but in the end it is all worth it and I have a smile on my face! Never stop serving! Always look for opportunities to help others coming to Christ! I can promise you will go to bed smiling every night if you can do one little act to help someone feel Christ's love! 

I love you all and I miss you all so much!
Sister Longo
Lunch before the baptism (sent by the
Relief Society President: Debbie Enniss)

Fun reminder our leaders made for us.

Week 17

Hello darlings!

SO much happened this week, I don't even know where to begin!
Well, first off I have been told by someone that I have a rather extensive vocabulary and that I have the tendency to be rather bombastic (#shoutouttomydad) so I have decided to have a word for the week. And I would like to challenge all of you to try and use it this week as much as you can! :D
Adjective: lackadaisical
Lacking spirit or liveliness "a lackadaisical attempt"
=dreamy, languid, languorous, lethargic, unenergetic
Idle or indolent especially in a dreamy way "a lackadaisical, spiritless young man-about-town" "she was annoyingly lackadaisical and impractical"
Noun: lackadaisicalness
Adverb: lackadaisically

Anywho... some thoughts I had/found this week other than my talk I gave during church yesterday. (Members of the congregation are asked to take turns giving talks on assigned topics each week.) (The text of the talk is below)

“You can never get enough of what you don’t need, because what you don’t need won’t satisfy you.” Elder Oaks
Each area is a mini mission.
"If you can kneel before God, you can stand before anything."

A way to see where your priorities really are: (#calltorepentancetomyformerself)

Sister Gardner's birthday was Wednesday and she got a Dory onesie from her mom and she is literally the most hysterical person in a Dory costume!!! :D

Sister Longo


Worth of Souls:

"And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father" (D&C 15:6).

"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (D&C 18:10).

Why is that? Why are souls worth so much to God? Why is bringing souls unto God the most important thing we could ever do? The answer is in Moses 1:39, "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

This work that God has called us to do is the work of Christ. It is the work of salvation. We are the cause for which Jesus Christ suffered, bled from every pore, and in perfect love gave His life. His cause is the good news, “the glad tidings, … that he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; that through him all might be saved.” Our Savior has “marked the path and led the way.”

There are three main parts to Christ's work of salvation that the prophets have spoken about. Helping those who are not members of the church progress towards the Savior and helping those who are members of the church progress towards their divine destiny and helping those who are members of our families qualify for the blessing of eternal life. Of this President Harold B. Lee said, "Missionary work is but home [or visiting] teaching to those who are not now members of the Church, and home [or visiting] teaching is nothing more or less than missionary work to Church members." And “the most important [missionary] work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.”

I've been at BYU Provo the last two years and one of the things that frustrates me so much is when I hear young adults who are return missionaries, men and women alike complain about member missionary work or about home/visiting teaching and then try to make excuses by saying things along the lines of, "Someone else can take care of it. I served 18 months or I served 2 years. I did my time!"

Before we were born, we accepted our Heavenly Father’s plan “by which [we] could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize [our] divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.” Of this premortal covenant, Elder John A. Widtsoe explained: “We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves but … saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work, but also our work. The least of us, the humblest, is in partnership with the Almighty in achieving the purpose of the eternal plan of salvation.”

We have renewed this covenant when we were baptized and continue to renew it every time we take the Sacrament. The phrase "take His name upon you" we individually promise and say "I take His name upon me" means so much more than we sometimes realize. Taking His name upon us means that we take His work, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man upon our shoulders as well.

There is no "I've done my time." There is no "someone else can do it." Our work, our partnership with the Lord is not finished "until the great Jehovah shall say the work is done."

There is a parable about the path each of us must take to recognize the worth of a soul in order to fully enter into the partnership with God that we covenanted to enter long ago.

I walked along a stormy beach late one afternoon with the wind roaring at his back and the seagulls screaming overhead. Tourists who came to the beach would collect shellfish and sea life tossed up each night, boil them in large kettles, and take the shells home as souvenirs. I walked far down the beach around a point away from the collectors and saw a man gazing at something in the sand.

In a pool of sand a starfish had thrust its arms up stiffly and was holding its body away from the stifling mud. "Is it still alive?” I asked.

“Yes," said the man and with a quick, gentle movement he picked up the star and spun it far out into the sea.

"It will live,” the man said, “if the offshore pull is strong enough."

At first I felt only the futility of the man’s efforts, 

"Why are you spending all of this time," I asked, "throwing one starfish at a time back into the sea when it nightly tosses out hundreds? It won't make a difference!"

The man tenderly picked up another starfish and once again spun it far out into the sea before turning to me and said, "It made a difference to that star."

I scoffed and walked away, shaking his head over the foolishness of the man. But as I walked past the tourists and all of the waste in the name of pleasure something began to stir in his heart.

The next morning I again went to the beach. Again the star thrower was there. Silently I picked up a still-living star, spinning it far out into the waves. "I understand," I said. "Call me a star thrower also."

The man grinned before he stooped and threw once more. I bent down and joined with him. And so we, alone and small in that immensity, hurled back the living stars. Sowing life on an infinitely gigantic scale. We set our shoulders and cast, slowly, deliberately, and well. The task was not to be assumed lightly.  Each moment counted if we were to rescue the starfish that we sought to save.

Like the sons of Mosiah we should get ourselves to the spiritual point where "[we are] desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, [because we can] not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even [to the point where] the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment [will cause us] to quake and tremble" (Mosiah 28:3). Where we understand how incredibly priceless each and every one of our brothers and sisters and ourselves are to our Eternal Father.

Elder David B. Haight said, "We need star throwers--throwers with vision and who have a sense of discipleship with the Savior, who feel the need to save where there is still life and hope and value, and not to let that life die on a friendless beach, but to hurl it back to where it belongs. In a world where materialism, cynicism, and hopelessness exists, we share the message of greatest hope--the gospel of Jesus Christ. Be a star thrower! Then you may better understand our Lord’s commandment: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 19:19.)

If we wish to call ourselves Christians, we need to be ready to work alongside the Savior in His work, "True Christianity is love in action. There is no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for your fellow men. This is the spirit of missionary work.”

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 16: #Spiritdoppelganger

A nice woman gave Sister Gardner and I Aloe
plants for free!!! Lol, Sister Gardner the gardener....
Hello Friends!

It's been a crazy week!! But it's been really good! As you all know I have been transferred to a new area with a new companion, and while it's been hard to leave people that I know and I love behind, (again) I have had a crazy wonderful week. My new companion, Sister Gardner, is the best thing since sliced bread. I was really worried to leave Sister Foulke, I guess no one wants to leave their mother lol, but sister gardener has been amazing! This far in the field I have been SUPER blessed with my companions. Transfer day was ridiculously ridiculous *heavy sigh* so there's this phrase that members of the church use called Mormon standard timewhich means that Mormons always run 10 to 15 minutes late. Well… Missionaries have this thing called missionary standard time where missionaries run 15 to 45 minutes late. That's OK. I'm definitely not bitter. Not dwelling on it either. LOL it doesn't bug me even a little bit.
Last night we had dinner at a member's house and
they had a house-pig... not a house-dog. A house-pig.
Sister Gardner was in heaven! XD She is SO cute.
But I prefer not to make friends with my bacon.

So this week… Let me rewind a little. Sister Gardner is a Nauvoo missionary which means that she serves in Nauvoo for the summer. And in the winter she serves in another mission in the US. I am the lucky duck who gets to have her as a companion!! *fist bump!!! She and I have decided that we are spirit doppelgängers. Yes. We have realized that we are the same person. We both love to work hard but still have fun at the same time which is a hard balance for most people but not for us two!!! We have the same sense of humor and the same laugh and by that I mean that we're both obnoxious laughers! XD I have only been companions with her for less than a week, but I have decided that we will always have to live near each other. We are both super OCD, we both love the same type of music, and for those of you who know me, you know that I take great pride in my burping abilities... and she also takes pride in my burping abilities!!! I have found my match and she agrees!

OK so this week has been Cray Cray to the max!! But there is a lot of work that can be done in this area and that is super exciting! I love missionary work and in this area we don't have a lot of progressing investigators which means that Sister Gardener and I do a lot of walking and a lot of tracting and tracting just means that we go door to door and introduce ourselves and ask if there's anything that we can do to help. Most of the time people won't accept our help or our message about Jesus Christ, which makes my heart hurt because I know how much joy it can give them if they would just accept it. But everyone has their agency and I just need to learn to love them enough that even though they don't use their agency the best they could I still love them. One of the things that's been a little hard for me is when people are rude and by rude I mean really weird because I love people so easily and so it's hard not to take people's rudeness personally. But the enabling power of the Atonement is a real thing. Because of the Atonement I have been given strength and ability and love to spread the message of Christ's love for us. Because we have a loving Heavenly Father who gives us families and prophets to help us and guide us, because he has given us his only begotten son we, all of us, have the opportunity and ability to return to live with Heavenly Father in Eternal joy. How crazy wonderful is that!?!?! It is such a blessing to know the truth. That is why I am serving a mission, because I know it can bless so many people's lives. That's why it makes my heart hurt every time someone rejects the message that we bring. It's not my message. It's not the church's message. It's Christ's message. It is a message from God himself telling us that we can find joy that it's available to all of us!!! How blessed am I to be a messenger of this great work!!!

LOL, LOL, on a less intense missionary note: this week I was missing some of the people in the last area I was in. I was talking to my companion about it while we were tracting and we walked past this maintenance van and I walked a few steps in front of it before I did a double take. So I walked back and lo and behold it was a van for a company that one of the families in the last area, the Barlow's, and on the van is a picture of Sister Barlow and one of the boys, his name is Seth who is the cutest thing ever!! I was so happy to see them even if it was just on the side of the van! LOL, I love being able to see some of the people that I grew to love! I was also able to see another member from the YSA Ward, she is super awesome I love her! This week was incredibly hard, incredibly awesome, incredibly blessed, I saw so many miracles this week! I wish I had more time to tell you all about them but it will have to wait for next week. :)

I love you all so so so so so much! You are all in my prayers! Stay safe! Love one another! And write me back!!!

Sister Longo

Crazy cool, HOMEMADE Halloween decorations!

More great decorations. 

There IS life and beauty in this place!
Not a whole lot, but I'll take what I can get!
#relationship goals ☺

Week 15

Hello My Lovelies!

I hope you all have had a great week. We had a great week this week, a lot of things occurred. We had ZTC, which is Zone Training Council. They basically just regurgitated what President Snow talked about in Zone Conference the week before. It was good though.... found a really good Mormon message! xD
 We got our flu shots this week! I absolutely didn't want to, but our mission president's wife, Sister Snow, was quite adamant about it, so my mommy (Sister Foulke) rewarded us with delicious ice cream because I was such a brave girl when I got my shot! 😇

We had to get the flu shot (if you want my rant about flu shots
email me) and so my mommy (trainer) got ice cream because
 I was such a brave girl! 😇

Kelly got baptized!!!

WE HAD A BAPTISM ON SATURDAY. We weren't going to have one, but when we told Kelly that we were probably leaving, she bumped it up to this week. It was an amazing baptism, it went perfectly, and Kelly cried while she was being baptized. She deserves this, she is SUCH an amazing person and it was a beautiful experience. She was so happy the whole time.

There was a Why I Believe on Sunday, and Sister Foulke, two other sisters and I sang "A Child's Prayer". It was an amazing fireside, the testimonies of the converts were very compelling and inspiring.
Ah yes. I'm being transferred! I've been in the Royal Mesa YSA ward for 2 transfers, or 3 months. So...*DRUM ROLL* I'm being transferred to the Warm Springs stake, Sunset and Silverado wards! My new companion is going to be Sister Gardner who is from the Nauvoo mission (they send their missionaries to other missions during the winter when they don't need them) and she actually is a signing missionary!!!! So I get to learn ASL from her and I am SOOO PUMPED!

I think that's everything that happened this week, it seems way shorter than usual, I don't know why. I'm having a lot of mixed emotions about being transferred. I'm glad to leave, I want to have new adventures, but I'm sad to leave the people that I've grown to love so much! I love this area! But I'm excited for what awaits! :D

I love you all, thanks so much for all your prayers! I can't believe I've
been out for almost four months! The time has flown by!

Sister Longo

MY NAME! (on the license plate cover)