Yes, finally we hear from David, and it turns out we’ve been neglectful. I guess we didn’t realize what we were supposed to be doing or how we could communicate with David. Now we’re learning (oops!).
So, Tuesday appears to be his preparation day, so that’s when we’re likely to have emails from him. Here’s the majority of his first email, edited to remove the computer stuttering…. No pictures, yet.
I seriously doubt I have time to write all of this, so sorry if it doesn't look pretty. We have 30 minutes of email checking time on P Days, and not a second more. On that note, if you would all use DearElder.com to write me, then I'd have all 30 minutes to write. It works just like email, but on our end they print it out and put it in my mailbox. It's free, same-day, and gives me more time to write.
Also, all of you should write me. My companion, up until today, had gotten seven letters and five packages, and I've only gotten two letters. From Sarah. That's sad. And then of course he just got five more letters today alone. You've got to step it up.
The MTC is great. Our schedule is literally sleep, eat, and go to class. Every waking moment is spent learning the gospel, how to teach, and the language. My companion, Elder Millett, is a fantastic guy. He is a hard worker, has a great testimony, and we get along really well. In fact, we've had several teachers comment on how close we're becoming so fast.
The language is coming along very nicely. We're expected to speak almost exclusively Spanish throughout the day, and almost all of our classes are in Spanish. I've gotten to the point where I can easily talk for hours at a time in Spanish with mi companiero, and I've even been thinking a lot in Spanish. Not exclusively, but some phrases just come out that way in my head. There were even one or two times that I would be talking in English and say something in Spanish accidentally. Mostly it was simple, like I'd be talking to someone and say something like "yes, pero…"
I guess I should also mention that I was called as the district leader, so I'm in charge of eight elders and two sisters (all of whom receive way more mail than me...hint hint). They're all great, and we have an awesome time. Even when we're joking I can feel the spirit, and trust me, we joke a lot. Mostly in Spanish, too, since everything is funnier in Spanish.
In the few days I've been here, I've memorized the first vision, the purpose of our mission, three or four scriptures, how to bear my testimony, and a good portion of how to teach the first lesson, all in Espanol. I've also been praying six or seven times a day in Spanish since the day I got here, and I've actually become quite proficient at it. We're in the intermediate class, though. Beginners don't get immersed like this. But it's funny to meet the beginners who have been here for nine weeks already. They speak as well as I do now, mostly, so we'll have to see how good I can get.
I also ran into Elder Dewey and Elder Ennis, and they're both doing very well. I'm really looking forward to the other guys getting here. It's so much fun to run into people I know from before.
Let's see.... What else? I've gotten the chance to do some calls at the referrals center, but both times someone actually picked up, they hung up on me. Elder Roach, one Elder in our district, sent the missionaries to someone's house on his second try, but nothing since then. We love going there, though.
I am personally holding it against all of you if you're keeping news from me, Lindsay. Or any of you, of course, but Dad kind of hinted at stuff.
I'm keeping a journal, which is good, I guess. And I'm filling up something like four pages a day in a different notebook of just my thoughts and impressions.
This is such an incredible place. I don't know if you got my other letter yet, but from day one I've been able to see why missionaries don't want to go home. I still feel homesick from time to time, but a Sister shared a scripture with me that helps a lot when I do. It's in D&C 31:5-6, and basically to me means that the Lord is watching over my life at home, and it will all be fine when I get back. This is where I'm supposed to be, and I plan on working as hard as I can while I'm out here.
Thanks for all your love and support, and for all of the letters that had better be coming :).
By the way, getting the mail for our district, which is my job, is sometimes what I look forward to most. But then it's depressing, because I got a whole lot of nothing. But it's all good. Write me! And I'll send pictures next week if I can figure out how.
I love you all, and remember that I appreciate all of your love and support, and expect to see you all soon, when I return in glory.
--Elder E. David Arrington