Monday, September 27, 2010

Week 6 in Atiquizaya

Today’s message is in two parts.  Apparently he’s preparing for his companion’s transfer and had to break it up some.  No news on who the new companion will be.  So, David’s first companion lasts 6 weeks.  And it looks like things were starting to go pretty well!

No pictures this week :-(

First installment:

So I’m not sure if this email will be fantastically long due to transfers, but hopefully it’s enough to get you all through missionary Monday. I only have half an hour or so to write because my comp is heading out to some other city tomorrow and we have to get ready for it. He got called to be a Zone Leader. Crazy. But there’s some people coming over in a bit to help us pack up and move his suitcases, thus me not having much time.

We have another baptism this week. It’s a 20 year old kid named Herson. He’s dang powerful, too. He and Mauricio both just love the gospel and want to live it. So great. I’ll send pictures next week. We wanted to baptize the Hernandez family as well, but they are having issues coming to church. Apparently the husband, who we have not been teaching, doesn’t have a problem with us coming over but forbids them to go to church with us. Weird. With a little prayer, though, I’m sure it’ll work out. God wants them to be baptized, so if we do all we can, they will be. Also, we have a couple more investigators, Jorge and Rigoberto, who both know the gospel is true, and we’re getting them ready for baptism. And of course, there’s Henry, who is still incredible and has been changing his life dramatically. He’s been taught everything and has studied a lot of the doctrine, he’s just waiting for President Lopez to give us the okay to baptize him, because of his marijuana problem. But the other day he told us that his uncle offered him some pot, and he not only refused, he actually left the house. I felt so proud, it’s not even funny. I feel like I’m actually making a difference for these people out here.

So let’s see... that’s all of my investigators. This last week was hard. Really hard. We did a lot of walking. I mean like walking for two or three hours for an appointment up in the mountains. And then finding out that they weren’t home. True story. Oh! That reminds me, though, it rained the other day. And I mean rained, rained. The streets were not just flooded, they were literally rivers. It was way crazy. A lot of the time I was walking in ten or twelve inches of water. I got wet. It was fun, though. You know that feeling that you get that’s kind of like you’re moving at a weird angle when you’re standing in the water at the beach and it starts to reseed? (I think that’s a word...) That’s what it felt like the entire time. I kept wanting to just sit down and float in it, but there were actual rapids at parts, so I was too chicken.

Funny story: I went contacting on Sunday, and we taught this family that really didn’t care much about our message, so we were trying to politely end so we could leave, and randomly this drunk guy stumbles into the house literally screaming ¨Dios! Dios!¨ which was a little weird. Then he calmed down a little and started kind of half preaching to us. All the rest of us just kind of sat there for twenty minutes almost while he just ranted on and on and on about the most random stuff. Mostly it was about him being drunk and trying to find God, and he wanted to get married but didn’t know how because he was drunk, etc. He would also start crying suddenly, and then just start laughing. Really odd. But the family told us where he lives and said he needs our message, so we’re going to go visit him when he’s sober. Probably tomorrow or Wednesday.

Alright, I’m just about out of time. I might be able to come back and type a little bit more later, but for now this will have to do. And sorry, but I don’t have any pictures this week. I kind of slacked off a bit on that. Thanks for all your emails, and it’s great as always to hear about the going-ons of the family. Also, Sarah sent me a small email reminding me about the part in Joe vs. the Volcano where he catches the really fake looking hammerhead shark and freaks out, and I just had to laugh. That part is so funny. I just wanted to say that because I want everyone to remember it and how funny that movie is.

Thanks again for all your support. I’ll keep working hard out here to try and earn you all a few more blessings!

Elder E. David Arrington

And here’s round two which came in about 2 1/2 hours later.  Just what is “thensologuism” anyway?

Okay, I have a little bit more time to write. Really I shouldn’t be on very long because we’re only supposed to write for an hour, and I’ve already done half an hour or so, but I just wanted to come back and finish this.

One quick thing that is kind of sad (I want to put it here so I don’t have to end with something sad): I might have told you that Elder Reyes and I were meeting with a lady who isn’t in our area, but she lives next door and is a member and has been going through some serious marital issues. The only reason we’re meeting with her is because the Elders who teach her aren’t actually fulfilling any spiritual needs. They’re just going over and hanging out. Anyway, another member of that same ward came to Elder Reyes and I with a referral. It was for a lady that has listened to the missionaries before, but never progressed, but now wants to hear the message again because she’s going through a hard time. Of course, we tried to refer her to the other Elders that should be teaching her, but she said that she’d already given them the referral two or three times and they never did anything with it. That’s just sad.

So I’m actually not even sure what more I can add. Although my other email today was short, it was pretty much complete. This last week we worked really hard, and it was exhausting, but satisfying. It’s amazing how much I can feel the spirit, though, when I work like that. But last week I tried to talk to Elder Reyes about changing the way we plan, which is something that’s been bothering me from the beginning. What we used to do is set our weekly goals about the same every week, even though we never achieved anything close to them, and then our daily goals were whatever we felt like we might get in a best case scenario after we had planned out that day. My suggestion was to do it the opposite. First, set the weekly goals. Then, when it came to daily planning, set the goals first, and keep the weekly goals in mind so we can work towards those, and then schedule our day to meet the daily goals. Elder Reyes, when I told him I wanted to try this, kind of looked at me blankly for a little bit and then said something to the effect of, “Well, this is the way that all the missionaries plan, but I’m open to trying something new, so if you want to, let’s do it.” So we did. And it made a huge difference. In almost every single one of the key indicators we got a higher number than we ever have before, and we completed almost every one of our goals. So there you go. Planning makes a difference.

So hopefully that will give you all a little bit to think about. I think every day this week I’ve learned something new and written it in the journal I’m still faithfully keeping. I’ll have to start writing notes to myself about what I can write home, so I actually have something interesting.

Now as far as the family goes, it’s great to hear what’s going on. Emily and Dave, you sound like you’re settling in very well in Oregon, and it seems that Mom and Dad are enjoying your company. Sarah too, even. And it’s good to know that all of your kids are getting a chance to talk in primary. Lindsay and Mike, I hope that application to BYU went well. I don’t think I ever heard. But I did hear your belly is moving now... Stacey and Kyle, I commend you on all you’ve done to stop Sgt. Beanie, but I fear he may be gaining territory as we speak. Thanks for all the emails, especially since you sprinkle them with a little bit of movie quotage. (A little thensologuism, as well (a little smoke-age...)) Julie and Dave, it’s strange to picture Dave going from his job as a famous TV man to a soccer ref, but there you go. I guess life does that to you. But it’s great you’re both stocking up for the baby. Michael, I got your letter, and am prepping a decent response that should be in the mail soon. Thanks, by the way. It was nice to read. Steven, you’re still dominating at football, so I can’t really tell you to work harder, but here it is: work harder! Dad, your detailed emails are always quite enjoyable to read, and I thank you for your consistency. It’s great that Heaps is finally the starter. Hopefully when I get back he’ll be good :). And Mom, thanks for the support, as always. I’ve noticed you’ve started to write a little bit more, and I’ve loved it. I got a second letter from you this last week that talked about the street in front of the office flooding or something like that. All I have to say is HA! You don’t even know what flooding is... (see previous email).
Thanks again family! I love you all, and pray for you every day!

Elder E. David Arrington

PS: I say Emily loses the cookie making contest. Even though hers were more professional looking, crunchy is never better than soft, gooey goodness. And next time, I’d wager Sarah’s will win. Unless Mom makes those molasses cookies of hers. Mmm, boy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Week Five - First Baptism!

Yep, David performed his first baptism already.  As he would say:  Crazy!...

Sorry this email is coming so late. I was having trouble with the computer earlier, so I just printed off all your emails to read and then come back to send the emails. I still don’t have long to write. And sorry about the whole apostrophe thing. I just can’t find it on this keyboard. It’s in the Spanish layout, but it says it should be right here, but it’s not. So I use that key anyway.

DSCN1412 I just uploaded a bunch of pictures, and you’d better enjoy them. There is now actual proof that I’m in El Salvador. Crazy! The first few pictures are of the Hernandez family, one of the families that we contacted. They were adding on to their house, so we went over for four days to help them shovel the dirt in. There was a ton of it, and it was hard, but I have to say, I worked dang well. So as much as it pains me to say it, thanks Mom and Dad for my work ethic. I do have to apologize for the quality of the pictures, though. I gave the camera to one of the daughters, and she took more of Elder Reyes, and the ones of me are all weird. It’s hard to monitor the quality when you aren’t taking the pictures. There’s also a picture you all should enjoy, especially Mom since you wanted a better picture of me, of me, Elder Reyes, and Mauricio at his baptism. You may notice that I am also dressed in white, because I did the baptizing. More on that later. But it’s a little bit funny to me that nobody besides little kids in El Salvador ever smiles for a picture. They will seriously be laughing and having a great time, and then you pull out a camera and everyone is dead serious. That’s why Mauricio looks that way. And Elder Reyes is smiling, because I guess people in Guatemala do that.

We only found a couple new investigators this last week, and for some reason we could never get a hold of our investigators. Henry is really moving along great because we’ve been reading the scriptures with him every day. He knows a ton of the doctrine, and he always asks really great questions. He had a drug problem before, and still says that when he hangs out with his friends, if they were to offer some to him, he’d take it without thinking. We helped him build up some strength against that, but a law just got passed that says that (I’m not sure exactly how it works, but oh well) if he hangs out with his old friends, they can all get arrested and sent to prison for eight years. It has to do with them having tattoos, because a bunch of them lived in the US before, but here tattoos mean you’re part of a gang, which isn’t good. But anyway, he’s already done five years and doesn’t want to do more, so he’s been staying away from his old friends. So those temptations won’t come. What a blessing in disguise! Even he told us that he’s frustrated by this law, but he thinks it’s what he needed to really turn his life around and help him through this to baptism. Cool stuff.

DSCN1490 Like I mentioned earlier, we had a baptism on the 19th for Mauricio. For some strange reason, he asked me to do it, so I did. Crazy, right? It all went really smooth and the service was really great. The only weird thing was that when I actually baptized him he tried to lift up his feet, which means we had no balance and kind of fell over. It was really somewhat embarrassing, but the witnesses said it was good, so it stands. Also, the 19th was Mauricio’s 19th birthday. Also cool. And one more dang cool thing: Ever since we’ve started to teach him, he’s been asking us questions about how he can become a missionary. He has to wait a year before he can go through the temple, but after that I think he’s ready to go. He sounded excited and wants to go out and serve. That’d be so cool. We’d be in the field the same time.

Sorry I forgot to mention how many Elders I live with. Up until this morning it was six in our house, but two of them, Elder Perry and Elder Campos, just moved out to a new house. Elder Perry is a gringo that came in the same time as me, and Elder Campos is from San Salvador and has been here a while. The other two Elders that live with us are Elder Martinez, who’s from some Central American country and has been out a month, and Elder Winters, a gringo that’s been out about six months. It gets pretty crazy around there. Or did. I guess it’ll be a lot quieter now. I’ll try and send pictures of them next week.

As far as transfers go, I think they just tell us and we go. Or at least that’s what I think it is. I haven’t heard much about it. But even if we do go to San Salvador, we don’t ever see the Greenies. They come in a different day than transfers. Like a day or two before. Which reminds me, if you can get a DearElder or something to Sam, it’d be great. I just need him to know that when he gets here he can give the package to the assistants with instructions to get it to me, and they should put it with the mail that we have at the mission office so my Zone Leaders can go pick it up. I think that’d be the most effective way of getting it to me, since I have no idea when or if I’ll see Elder Duzzett here.

Kind of sad thing I wanted to say really fast: An Elder just recently got excommunicated. And he lived in our house just before I got here. Apparently he messed around a little too seriously with a female member, and the President found out, so he got excommunicated and sent home. He lived in San Salvador, though, so it wasn’t far to go home, but he just within the last couple days moved in with this member in our mission boundaries. I don’t know where exactly, but that’s kind of a weird situation. And it’s really sad. That Elder just threw all of this away for something that’s probably not going to last very long. All of you should know that I am not going to do that. I’m pulling through the whole two years, and I expect a dang big party when I do.

Really quick note I forgot. I finally got mail. What happened is that the Zone Leaders go to San Salvador to pick it up every week and distribute it, but for the last few weeks we haven’t been able to ride buses because of bomb threats, so they never picked it up. That’s all cleared up now, though, so I got it. So everyone in and out of the family who wrote to me, I should have it.

So there’s life here. Sorry if this one isn’t as long as some of the others, but I didn’t have too much to say, anyway. Dad, as always, thanks for the family updates, and I love this new quick upload thing on the family server. Much easier. Mom, I finally got your two letters, and on the same day because of the thing I mentioned, but I loved getting them. They’re kind of short, but good. And I loved your journal introduction thing. Very scripture-esque. Emily, congratulations on your splurge. That’s awesome! I just had one as well, since we’re given 180 dollars every month for food and such, and for most Elders that’s about right after all their expenses. For me, I lived by the famous Dad-ism (that I’m sure he stole from someone) ''The rich have lived like others won’t so they can live like others can’t.'' So I hardly spent any money this month, so today I had 130 dollars to spend on groceries. I spent 40, which bought a ton, and am using the rest to live like a king for the next couple weeks. Great feeling, right? Lindsay, I can’t think of much to say to you. Have fun playing Texas Hold'em with MY stuff? Stacey, I appreciate your diligence in keeping my list for me. I’m assuming that one of the two must-see movies is Inception, even though you didn’t specify. Oh well. I’ll find out in twenty one months. Weird how I’ve been out over three months. That’s one eighth of my mission over already. Julie, keep prepping for the baby, as should the rest of you that are with child. Michael, I’m glad you like your job. That’s important to have. Plus you’re making money, which is also important to have. Steven, you kick that taller kid’s butt. Yeah, I said that. Thanks again for all your support and letters. I love getting them every week and staying caught up on everything. And one more cool thing for Mom and Stacey since they reminded me: I’ve written in my journal every day of my mission. Woot for me!

-Elder E. David Arrington

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week Four in Atiquizaya

Here is installment four from David in Atiquizaya, El Salvador.  Looks like he’s learning a little humility while helping investigators progress.  Baptisms are coming! 

A little gang activity certainly helps parents sleep at night (not!).

Here’s an interesting insight.  Apparently there are four elders in his apartment, not two (are there more?).  And it appears that the cockroach problem may be the fault of the gringos, not the natives we may have assumed before!

The subject on his email was:  “Not too much to report today…”

Like I said, not much to report. First, let me just say that I discovered something really good. I discovered that when my comp tells me I’m doing something wrong or need to improve something, if I just make a joke, especially at my own expense, we do just fine. This last week we’ve been doing great, and we’ve started to just open up and talk a lot more than before.

I think I may have mentioned that I had a meeting with the Mission President this last week, which was really just to see if we greenies were doing alright. It ended up being cancelled because of gang activity. From what I understand, some gang members threatened to blow up a bus if any went out on Tuesday, so there weren’t any out, and then the governor started trying to crack down on it, and it was pretty ridiculous. Police were everywhere, all the time. Normally it’s not strange to see a guard or someone with a shotgun or machine gun in front of a store or something, but this week they were basically on every street corner. At least in the city. So for three or four days we weren't allowed to ride buses or be out of our house after 6:30. That may sound like a nice break from the work, but seriously I have never been more bored in my life. There is nothing whatsoever to do in our house. I just wanted to get out and work so bad!

Countryside? Eventually that all got cleared up, and we can proselyte as normal again. We’ve found a few new investigators through contacting and a couple referrals, and I have to say, my comp was kind of right. The investigators from referrals are incredibly easy to teach compared to the contacts. And they already have someone to bring them to church. Of course, that doesn’t mean our contacts weren’t rewarding. I think I already said we’ve got a baptism this week for a kid named Mauricio. He’s 18 and was a referral, and he’s come to church almost every week for the last four weeks and has taken the lessons very well. He always asks really great questions, and I think he’s going to be a great member. His family isn’t progressing anymore, though, and they kind of don’t want anything to do with us, but they aren’t stopping him from being baptized. They’ve even helped him get up in time for church. Also, we contacted a family called the Hernandez family, which is one woman and three daughters, and we’ve only taught them twice, but they were very receptive. The sister had several questions for us about what happened to the real church of Christ, why there are different translations of the Bible, and how she can find out exactly what God wants for her and her family. Of course, these are our specialty.

We also found a man named Rigoberto, who we’ve already committed to baptism. He knows it’s all true, but we have to wait until the 26th because he needs his two church attendances and was out of town this last week. Last time we went to teach him, though, he was talking to a friend and introduced us. It turns out that he had already invited this friend to church with him next week, and we taught him the first lesson, which he also loved. Very powerful, this missionary stuff. And we got another referral named Herson, who we’re going to hopefully commit to baptism today or tomorrow. He was probably as receptive as Mauricio, so I’m pretty excited about him. Hopefully by the end of the month we’ll have four baptisms. I honestly think it’s possible. It’s what we’re planning on. And then maybe the month after we can get the Hernandez family. Awesome!

DSCN1394[1] I uploaded more pictures, but they’re just scenic. Sorry about that. This week I promise I’ll get pictures of me and maybe some members or other Elders. It’s just rough because there’s never really time to take pictures. But hey, at least I’m getting a few up.

A couple other things I think I forgot to mention, really fast. The food here is amazing. There’s things I don’t really enjoy much, but most of it is delicious. I eat pupusas practically every day, since depending on the day I can buy 4-7 for a dollar. Plus they’re fantastic. Basically everything else is made from corn or rice, including a lot of the beverages. I’ve drank some pretty strange stuff here. This one drink was literally, I think, corn that was ground up and melted or something. It had the consistency of a milkshake, but it was hot and tasted exactly like corn. Very strange. But it wasn’t terrible.

Also, I noticed that no other houses really have a cockroach problem. We’ve got more than usual right now, something like three or four dozen on our floor (the other day before I showered I had to kill 5 in the shower, bringing the grand total dead in there to 14), so I was a little surprised to find out that other houses don’t really deal with this problem too much. Really I think it’s just because our house is filthy. One of the other gringo elders is really messy. He always leaves orange peels, apple cores, pudding cup things, etc on the ground or counters. Maybe if he gets transferred this change we’ll just spend a day cleaning everything.

We’re almost positive that Elder Reyes is leaving this change, by the way. He will have completed eight months here by then, and that’s a lot for one area. Just about everyone has been telling me that I’ll be here for a long time. It doesn’t always happen like that, but I guess I need to know this area really well or something. I’m not complaining. Things are moving really well here, and the members are great.

DSCN1398[1] Alright, I’m running out of time, so it’s time to respond to people. I don’t think I had many direct questions, but I really enjoyed all the emails. Seriously I was laughing out loud at most of them. Things just seem really funny when I stop and think about home, since I feel like I’ve been a missionary for forever. Plus I can totally just picture all this happening, so it’s great. Steven, I heard you got your jersey that you wanted, which of course means you need to do dang well this year so they’ll retire it when you leave. Michael, congrats on the job and ensemble. Those are both really great opportunities. I’ve never worked at a job quite like that, so I don’t have much to say for advice, but with ensemble just make sure you sing loud and confidently, but more importantly LISTEN. Many people in choir don’t, and they end up singing badly because of it. Always try to correct yourself or improve yourself, and you’ll be dang good. Julie, there’s a bit of a discrepancy in your last email. First you said you spent five hours on that thing, then you said four, so I’ll just assume that you meant one. But congratulations on getting fat. I think I may be as well. Stacey, you failed to name the other two quotes, but that’s okay because Emily got them. I commend you on your monkey theme and your ongoing battle with beanie. Just remember, you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Interpret that as you will. Lindsay, it’s good to hear Mike is keeping you in your place with this motorcycle business. A woman should not tell a man whether or not he can ride a bike. Just remember, Iron Man is a superhero, but Iron Woman is a command. Let that be a lesson to you. But seriously I loved hearing from you again. Emily and Dave, it’s good to hear that the family is doing well. I’m glad the boys are up and walking, and it sounds like everyone is having fun starting school, playing soccer, and occasionally boating. Mom, I haven’t gotten any mail since I got here, but maybe I will in a couple days. Regardless, it’s good to hear that you’re up and shopping again, and just between you and me I always knew your to-do list/organization skills were right. And Dad, thanks for all the updates about the family and such. It’s sad to hear BYU blew it, but I’m not really that sad because I never watch football out here. I just hope they don’t do that when I get back. Thanks everyone for your support. I’ve been getting a ton of it, and it’s really helped me to stay focused while I’m out here. That may not make sense, but it just helps to know that things back home are good.

Thanks again for everything, and I’ll send some pictures this week. It’ll be great fun.

Elder E. David Arrington

Monday, September 6, 2010

Atiquizaya “Episode 3”

And here’s David’s letter from September 6, 2010.  We’re getting more pictures, and several will be embedded in this email (yea!).  On some of the pictures you can click for a higher-resolution version.  David is also getting more settled as demonstrated both by his passiveness to annoying bugs and his frustration with annoying companionship…..

The subject on this week’s email is:

El Ángel, Atiquizaya Episode 3 - The Criminal Projective

I doubt any of you got that reference. Except maybe Michael and Steven. Maybe Stacey and Julie as well.

So here I am again, typing a little letter to all of you. It´s been a crazy week, as always, but it´s been good, too. It´s weird how time moves here. It doesn´t feel linear. When I´m out working, it feels like forever. Then we get home at night, and it feels like I haven´t been out very long. When I think about home, P-Day seems forever away, but it still feels like P-Day was yesterday. Really strange.

DSCN1302 First, I should answer some questions. The weather here isn´t really that bad. It gets dang hot, and I´ve been told by several people that this city is the hottest part of our mission, but it usually rains, so it cools down pretty good. I have to say, I´m getting used to the cold showers, bugs everywhere, constant state of damp, etc. The language, though, is a completely different story.

When I got out of the MTC I could speak fairly well, I just was´t very confident talking to natives. That´s gone now. From the beginning I´ve been able to contribute to lessons, have fairly simple discussions with some people, etc., but some people here are really hard to understand. They just slur words together and mumble a lot. Especially old people and drunks. (By the way, there´s a lot of drunks here, especially on weekends. Quick story: We went to teach a lesson at a less-active member´s house and a drunk outside was shouting at us the entire time. It was really disruptive, but we ignored him, and eventually (almost at the end of the lesson), he stopped. After the lesson, we went outside and saw that he had passed out on the street in front of us. Kind of funny) But I´m getting the hang of it, and honestly I can speak much much better than most of the gringos that came in with me, and a lot of people have complemented me on how much I´ve already learned. Of course, it´s just the Lord helping me. It becomes really clear that He is when I lose the spirit and suddenly can´t speak to save my life.

Mototaxis I just started to upload some pictures to the home server. I don´t have very many of the area, yet, (Elder Reyes really doesn´t like it when I take pictures) but I´ll try to get more this week. Also, if I got some duplicates, sorry about that. And Dad, for some reason I have to add them to that list of things I want to upload one by one. Is there a way to fix that? It takes a long time. And as far as your plans about a memory card, I think the hybrid thing would work well, but really I have an hour or two to upload. If I start it at the beginning of my time, it can upload through my email time, and I think it works really well. But still, I don´t want to upload everything. It´d take forever. But there you go. In the pictures I uploaded you should be able to identify my bed, a couple mototaxis, one of the four or five Cockroach on 2" tiles dead cockroaches on the floor of our shower (and those are two inch tiles, I think), and a picture of Elder Reyes in front of our house. Fun stuff.

The work has been progressing this week. We had no one to teach for a while since we were basically out of investigators, so I basically forced Elder Reyes to go contacting with me. He still didn´t want to, saying it´s a waste of time, so we went on splits, him visiting members, and me contacting. I found four different investigators, one of which has a family of seven that we might be able to teach. We have only returned to visit one of them so far, but he already knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet and the Book of Mormon is true. I hate to say I told you so, but... (said in a completely Christ-like way, of course :))

Kitchen at David's Apartment I think I told you a little bit about this kid we started teaching named Mauricio. Two days ago we set a baptismal date with him for the 19 of September, which is a Sunday for some reason. I´m pretty excited. We also started to teach his mom and brother, and they could be baptized, too. Awesome!

Living Room at David's Apartment The word of wisdom is a big problem here. Everyone who isn´t a member of the church drinks. That might be an over-exhaggeration, but still. We have a couple other investigators who were getting ready for baptism, but now have to re-overcome addictions. One of them is a guy named Henry. He was born and raised in the states, so he speaks English, but he was part of a gang in Reno, Nevada. Study area at David's Apartment He got arrested and did 5 years in prison for stealing cars and such. Then he got deported to here. He really wants  to change and be baptized, but he´s been having a rough time with it. He said he always feels alone, and never has anything to do. He wants to get a job, but nobody will hire him because he´s got tatoos, and here that means you´re in a gang. We were getting him ready to meet with the Mission President, but just a day or two ago he drank again and smoked marijuana with some friends. David's bedThat´s tough on a missionary, let me tell you. But we´ve talked a lot with him, and decided that we´re going to study the scriptures with him every day, and he agreed with it. I think it´ll be interesting to see how that works with him. Hopefully it´ll give him the good friends he needs, and the spiritual help he´s been missing, too.

I get to start teaching English classes on Saturday. That´ll be interesting. I have no idea how English actually works, so we´ll just have to hope I can teach something. It´s really just to find new investigators, though.

Elder Reyes in front of their house Hopefully things will start to work out well as these new investigators start working out. Success breeds success, right? Still, I appreciate all your prayers.

It´s good as always to hear from you all, and the developements with Max Hall and the BYU football team (now separate entities) was really interesting to hear. I´m excited to see what it´s all like when I get back. Hopefully Heaps will still be there. Quick side note: in the computer place I´m in right now we´re listening to Beauty and the Beast in Spanish. Crazy.

Chapel in Atiquizaya Well now I´m running out of things to say. I loved the pictures you all sent, and hopefully mine are decent as well. None of them are attatched here, I just got them all up on the server, so maybe Dad can put those on the blog or something. Congratulations Mom for being up and about again. I´m glad to hear that´s getting a lot better. Dad, your updates are by far the most frequent and detailed, so I really appreciate them. It´s great to hear about the family, and your advice and council is always awesome. A lot of times I forget you served a mission once, too :). Boys, you´re both awesome. You´re getting stuff done, and Michael, you´re getting a job, so things are sounding good there. Congrats to you both. I still have yet to get something from you two, though... Lindsay, it´s good to hear you´re alive as well, and I thoroughly enjoyed your email. I literally LOL´ed out loud at a few parts. Emily, I hope you´re still doing great, and that Kathryn´s talk on Sunday was good. Stacey, you underestimate my power! Don´t try it! (get THAT reference, if you can) Clearly I am more clever than you thought. You tried to trick me with a name that was highly unusual, but, as with the Monkey house game that one day at work, I have risen triumphant. Julie, your emails as well are highly entertaining, and I always appreciate them. Thanks for all the encouragement, and your missionary efforts. That goes for the whole family, by the way. All your support is really what keeps me out here. That, and my testimony of the work. But trust me, the support goes a long, long way.

I hope you all have a great Labor Day! They don´t have it here, but I hope it´s relaxing there. And tell the Shafers I said hi!

-Elder E. David Arrington