Monday, August 30, 2010

Week 2 in Atiquizaya – No pictures yet….

Viewer warning:  This one gets a little graphic, as David was sick for a day or two. Don’t drink the water!  But then, you gotta drink something….Maybe its good we don’t get pictures.  Especially of those cockroaches.  However, the pics I posted are genuine!

Oh, and I finally figured out the “code” David is using with Stacey.  Actually, Stacey explained it to me, so I didn’t really figure anything out.  But, based on that, I think he’s figured out the mystery.  The code is in green below.  Stacey’s little girl has a name!

Alright, you´ve given me a lot to write about. Sorry if I forget to address a bunch of your questions. But here we go.

First, so I don´t forget, I checked out those pictures on the blog of Atiquizaya. I think I´ve been everywhere there except the courthouse or whatever that is. The chapel in that picture is the one we attend, so that´s kind of cool. However, as you may have gathered, this is the nice part of town. My area covers a few streets in this area, and then a bunch of neighborhoods up more in those hills in the background of the chapel picture. It´s a fairly large area. Also, I tried to logon to the family server, but it just gave me an error. The address didn´t work or something. I didn´t even get to the login thing. But I´ll try to upload a bunch to this email or another, if I can.

A couple more notes about the area and conditions, really fast. For some reason, every day we have about a fifty fifty chance of having running water. If we don´t, we get to shower by going outside and filling up big buckets of water, which we then dump on our heads. That´s always exciting. But on the bright side, we never do our own laundry. About twice a week a guy comes and drops off our clean laundry and picks up our dirty, but it all gets washed by hand, so it´s never quite as clean when we get it back. Also, the other day we had the exterminators come. I don´t know who pays them, but they just walk down the streets with these giant gun things and walk into every house, pumping it full of this green vapor stuff that kills things. When we were allowed back in the house, there were a good ten or twenty dead cockroaches just in the middle of the floor. We get them a lot, by the way. They´re sometimes as big as my thumb (both joints, not just the end part) but super overrated, because I think they´re dang easy to kill. Most of the time we just smash them and let them die on the floor. Usually nobody bothers to clean them up. Except today, since it was Pday. Sorry, by the way. I don´t know where the hyphen is on this keyboard. It´s an American keyboard, but I´m using the Spanish layout, so I don´t know where anything is. Also, some of the keys don´t work very well.

Speaking of this computer, to answer another question, we go to some kind of internet cafe thing to email, and I think it´s free for the missionaries. I guess they just bill the church directly or something. I´m not really sure. But we´ve never had to pay before.

When I got here, my mission president met me at the airport. He and his wife are awesome, and his wife especially is really funny. They took us all to eat in their home, which I didn´t realize at the time was super nice, and then we spent the night at the assistant´s house on a ton of mattresses we laid out on the floor. There were probably twenty of us. Me and one other American, Elder Perry, got assigned to Atiquizaya. He´s in a different area, though. Only me and Elder Reyes are in this area, and there´s two other missionaries in our district that live somewhere else. They´re also the Zone Leaders. Fun. By the way, we got to Atiquizaya by bus, but it was a special bus with only the new Elders on it. Kind of like a tour bus. I think the missionaries here are roughly half American and half Guatemalan or Honduran or something like that (obviously they´re either all American or all native, so you know what I mean) But really only the natives go to Belize. I don´t think I´ll get sent there. There´s only like 18 missionaries there, and well over a hundred here. They like sending the natives there to learn English.

I can´t really think of any families specifically to tell about. The first guy we contacted when we got here though was basically crazy. He talked really fast, so he was hard to understand, but I figured out that he agreed with our church, he just didn´t want to be a part of it. In fact, he wanted to start his own church with the same exact doctrine, structure, etc. but with himself as the Prophet and have people pay tithing to him. He even told me he´d make me an apostle if I joined. I declined, not really sure what was going on. As it turns out, he was just messing with me. He´s been a member for a long time, served a mission in Guatemala, and we eat dinner over there every Pday.

One more quick crazy story. This happened about my fourth day here. We went up to visit some lady up on some farm, and she had a friend over, who insisted that she had the gift of prophesy. Okay... But anyway, I was asked to give the opening prayer, but as I started giving it, she started praying too, which apparently is really common for evangelical ladies. But she was loud. I had to almost shout to finish the prayer. When we were about to end, she was asked to give the closing prayer. I have no idea why. So she started to pray, literally shouting the entire time, for almost five minutes. Then, still praying, she stood up, and slowly walked over to each of us in turn and put both her hands on our heads. For another good minute or two each. Í was more than a little bit freaked out. This thing lasted for a good ten minutes or so. Very odd. And then, kind of funnilly (I know that´s not a word...) we were walking back from an appointment a few nights later, and we could hear her praying. From almost a mile away. Very clearly. And for the entire time we were walking on that road. Crazy lady.

Last week, around Tuesday, I got sick. This may get a little graphic. First, I had diarrhea. Then intense constipation. It got to the point where I couldn´t go out because every five or ten minutes I had to poop, but nothing would come out. Except blood, because the cloggage was literally ripping my butt. I told you, a bit graphic. But it was fine a couple days later. I think it was just because I forgot to drink enough water. It´s super easy to get dehydrated here. Also it the last week, I´ve gotten a good twenty or so tick bites, which are not as fun as mosquito bites. I think they got in my pants yesterday, because they´re all up and down my leg. And I got an ingrown toenail. Like you said, Dad, when it rains it pours.

I feel like I should elaborate a bit on my comp. He´s really not hard to get along with, and a lot of times we have fun talking and such. He wanted us to start praying at night in English, so we did, and it´s kind of funny to hear him try to speak English. Actually, to be honest it felt really really weird to pray in English. I haven´t done that in months. But my problem with him is that he´s really condescending sometimes, and when I try to input something, he kind of ignores it. I am learning from him, but there are just things that he does that I don´t really agree with that I can´t convince him to change. For example, one of the standards our President has set is for us to contact ten people per day per missionary. Elder Reyes says this doesn´t apply to us, since contacts don´t really work here, so since I´ve gotten here I´ve done exactly one contact with him. That puts us behind by something like 279 contacts. And then just yesterday he wanted us to fast for new investigators, but we still haven´t contacted anyone, and we never ask for referrals. I don´t know how he expects us to get new investigators. But this last week our goal was 15 new. We got 0. But hey, we´re teaching a lot.

Alright, I should wrap this up. Emily and Dave, it´s good to hear Jacob and Joseph are walking mostly. It´s also great that you´re so close to Mom and Dad. Lindsay, I guess keep doing what you´re doing? Stacey, that wasn´t it, but that´s okay. It helps anyway. Actually last time was not very strategic, since I hadn´t really thought about it. Don´t always really compute it, if you know what I mean. Julie, I´m excited for you, and it sounds like you´re getting good and ready. I loved the pictures of Dave in his old baseball gear. Boys, get stuff done. You´re getting close on scouts, and things are going to get crazy soon, so you might as well start before school. Mom, I hope you start feeling better. I´ll work harder out here, and maybe those blessings will get sent home. Dad, thanks for moving so quick on that iPod thing. Make sure you get those songs from Sarah, and I had one more request. It´s called Distant Islands from the PostHaste Music Library. I think Stacey might know where it is. It´s only a minute or two long, but it´s good. Good luck on finishing up the yard. I´m excited to see it next week!

Love you all!

Elder E. David Arrington

Oh shoot. I just spent forever trying to figure out how to upload pictures, but it turns out I need administrator priveledges to do it on this comp, since I have to install some drivers or something. I´ll try to find a workaround by the end of today, but no promises.

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