Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Week 15 in Atiquizaya – Spiders…so everyday.

This week David gets news of the BYU/Utah game.  Sometimes you don’t quite win the game.  Same is true of missionary work.  Sometimes it’s hard.  Really hard.

Subject: “You sure? Because it looks like he´s...Leaning.”

NOOOO!!! I was so stoked to hear that BYU had another sweet win over Utah, but alas, my hopes and dreams were shattered. Thanks a lot, Utah. But it sounded like an awesome game. I wish I had seen it!

Okay, I have some logistical things to mention first. I have, over the last week, pulled out forty dollars from the checking account I have, and I want to explain it. One of my goals for my mission was to go the entire two years without pulling money out of that account until I wanted to buy something expensive, like a hammock. But last week I had 94 cents to buy food this week, pay for transportation, sending letters, and whatever else I needed to buy. Not good. So I pulled out twenty bucks, but found out that my account had received a reimbursement for one of our bills. So I had fifteen dollars. Then we went to get food, and I was talking to this guy in the line, and he was super nice and stuff. We talked for a while because the lady in front of us took forever, and when I had rang up my stuff, he just paid for my food. I was like, wha?? He just said don’t worry about it, and left. Imagen 006Sweet blessings. So I still have yet to use that twenty dollars I pulled out. But then today we were all expecting to get this month’s allowance, so to speak, but we didn’t. And I only have twenty cents now. So I had to go pull out another twenty, because we couldn’t go home first. So There you go. I’m trying super hard to manage my money, but this time it just didn’t work.

Also, Steven looks really tall in the picture that Dad sent me. Is that because he’s standing in front of super-short mom, or has he grown a bit?

I am uploading more pictures, and I’ll try out that new login. This week’s theme, I think, is "Random Animals that Shouldn’t be There". I just saw a lot of random animals this week, so I took some pictures. And these animals were in random places. Imagen 011 For example, the sheep are just in the middle of the road. The goats are in front of somebody’s house in a completely non-rural area. The crab just shouldn’t be there. They don’t exist here. The gecko is normal, actually, but it’s eating a spider, so that’s cool. Imagen 009 And I didn’t get a picture of it, but there’s some people who live close by that always just have a monkey tied up outside. I don’t know why. I guess, why wouldn’t you have a monkey outside?

This  week was a hard week. I’m not going to lie, the mission is really hard. Really hard. And this last week we just had no success. Imagen 013Nobody was home, we lost investigators, our church attendance dropped by almost thirty (in a ward of only a hundred or so), and things were just rough. There was a point where we literally just sat on the curb and cried. Yeah, I’m a baby. But that’s a really sad feeling, when you’re working as hard as you can and feel like you’re failing your calling. And we just didn’t know what to do to fix it.

There was a few highlights, though. First of all, the family that I randomly contacted last week when Elder Wardlow was kind of down are sweet. We’ve taught them a few times, and the husband especially is really interested. They’ve read parts of the Book of Mormon and have been praying, and the husband and his son, Jonathan, came to church yesterday. That’s an incredible feeling. Imagen 029I really, really hope they keep progressing. I already love the family. Also, we finally found out that this one lady we were teaching hasn’t been wanting to get baptized because she doesn’t have a testimony. Well that would’ve been nice to know sooner, but now we know what we need to work on.

Last night we had Thanksgiving dinner, and there’s some pictures of it. The bishop of the other ward here sponsored it, and it was actually really good. We all got stuffed, which wasn’t hard since our stomachs have shrunk a ton, but it was super fun. And good. In the last picture I uploaded I’m on the left Imagen 035 in the back, then Elder Sutton that has one less change than me. He’s Elder Winter’s new comp in Santa Ana. They came back for this because some girl that Elder Winters had been teaching wanted him to baptize her yesterday. Sweet. Then it’s Elder Hardy, who I live with, and has the same amount of time as me. Then Elder Marroquin, from Sucre. Next row is Elder Gonzales, who is comps with Elder Hardy. Then Elder Campos, comps with Elder Marroquin, and Elder Winters. Laying across their laps is the Bishop, who we all call El Tigre. He’s super funny. The Bishop’s Mom is on the right, and Elder Wardlow is front and center.Imagen 038
Also, some other good news is that Will, Henry’s brother, is getting out of prison today! He’s sweet, and we’ve missed him ever since he got picked up by the blood red van. I want to go visit him soon to say hi. Henry apparently will take a little more time, but we still pray for him. Last I heard, Will’s wife gave them both a Book of Mormon, and they’ve been reading it. Will’s already a member of course, but it’s still great. I really want to be here when Henry gets out so he can finally get baptized!

I feel like I’m really getting used to living here. The other day I pulled out my shoes to put them on, and there was a spider and a spider web in one of them. So I pulled them out and put the shoe on. It was no big deal. And then later Elder Wardlow and I were just sitting on the couch and this spider about the size of my thumb started crawling across the room. So we watched it. And that was it. Things just feel normal now. And I’ve gotten pretty good at killing mosquitoes, by the way. There’s plenty of opportunities to practice.

Alright, time to wrap this up. I’ll throw in another little cultural thing really fast, just so you can all get a little better idea of what it’s like. The houses here are all built together. There’s no room in between, so it all kind of looks like one continuous building. When people want to start a store or something, they just do it in their own house. So, consequently, there are a ton of places where you can just walk up to someone’s door and it’s a little shop inside. You stand at the door and tell the person what you want, and they give it to you. Cool beans. And it’s sweet, because they’re everywhere, and they sell bags of chips and stuff for ten cents. And chocolate-covered bananas. And ice cold bags of water. Oh, that’s something else weird here. Everything is in bags. Salsa, milk, butter, water, everything. If you go to buy a soda, they give you the bottle unless it’s a glass bottle. Those are worth a lot, so they just pour the soda in a bag with a straw for you to drink out of. It’s kind of quirky, but fun.

Thanks again for all the updates. It sounds like the trip to the everglades was sweet, and the trip to Arizona was relaxing. The football games were a little lame, but it was still good to hear about. I’ll try to work super hard so I can have some sweet stuff to report next week. Keep doing interesting stuff and telling me about it, by the way.

I love you all!
Elder David Arrington

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Week 14 in Atiquizaya – All better now!

So, we’re past the Dengue—um and it’s not Malaria—it’s apparently just similar.  Think Santa Claus.

Great missionary experiences this week including a David and Goliath movie, a wonderful finding and teaching experience, and the realization that we’re really spoiled.

Subject:  Oh, right. Of course it’s always about YOU, isn’t it?

I’d be a cotton-headed-ninny-muggins if I didn’t say something about little Darci first, so here it goes. Hi, Darci. Nice to meet you. You don’t know me, and can at this point probably care less about me than chewing on your hand, so I’ll just get to know you in nineteen months. Actually, eighteen and a half. Wow the time moves fast.

Stacey and Kyle, congratulations! I’m super excited about  my new niece, and that last picture really does remind me of Tarzan. Weird. Definitely fits in your family. Not that you look like Tarzan, but you get the idea.

So let me reassure you all of something. First, I never had Malaria. I had Dengue. I said it was kind of similar to Malaria. So I guess, in a way, I’m LIKE Santa Claus. We’re both giving, we’re both jolly, and we both work really hard, one day a year. Apparently Kyle knows what Dengue is, so ask him about it. Basically all that happened was that I got super sick for a few days. But I’m better now, and have been out working for a couple days. But not very many days, because just as I was getting over it, my comp got the same thing. That’s lame.

Let me say something else kind of lame really fast. Some of the Elders here don’t act like Elders, and it’s very, very frustrating. Me and a bunch of other people are all working hard trying to serve the Lord, and some people are just here goofing around, being super disobedient, not caring about what they represent.DSCN1956 I honestly don’t trust some of these guys. A few of them have stolen things from me, including significant amounts of money and some of my belongings, which I’ve had to fight to get back. I still don’t even have them all, but I will. So that’s super sad that some people are like that out here. Also super sad: my cheap watch broke. And the watch that I couldn’t get the back on is still broken. And the other watch is one of the things that was stolen, so I don’t have a watch right now. How lame is that? And how lame is it that I can’t trust people who have been called and set apart to represent Jesus Christ? Okay, enough sad stuff.

DSCN1949 I attached some pictures of a few things, and I feel like I should explain them. First, the president wanted us to go make some videos as a zone so we can watch them at Christmas. Our zone (while I was gone) decided to make one about David and Goliath. I got a role as one of David’s brothers. So I’m in like two scenes, but that’s cool. So there’s pictures of me in costume and such. You might all get a kick out of that. But when we went to film, we were trying to go up to the top of this big hill, but there was a river that ended in a waterfall that stopped us. It was an incredible waterfall. I don’t think you can tell how far of a drop it was because of the angle, but I tried getting a video, too. But the ZLs got us out of there pretty fast, because water is controlled by the devil, and evidently being where you can see it isn’t good. That’s a little harsh, but seriously that’s why we couldn’t stay there.

So that was cool. I also had a cool experience I wanted to share. I’ve actually had a couple similar to this, but this is the first time I’ve remembered to share it. So first of all, we had interchanges with Turin, so I went and worked there for a day. When I got back the DSCN1946next morning, Elder Wardlow and I went out to work. He hadn’t really planned the day very well, so we had a gap in the evening. We decided we should go contacting, so we did. He was also feeling a little sick still, so he was just kind of following me. When we got to the end of this one street, he got kind of complainy, which is okay because he was sick, but he said that he just didn’t feel guided at all, and that we weren’t doing anything. He sat on the curb to think, and I just kind of stood there. And then I remembered a talk by Elder Bednar where he told us that a lot of times we sit and wait to be under the influence of the spirit, but really if we’re sitting and waiting we’re not under the influence of the spirit. So I just told Elder Wardlow to get up, and I just kind of started walking. I had no idea where, or what I was doing, or anything. But I was praying while I was doing it. We ended up passing this little mini cul-de-sac (It’s a French word meaning the bottom of something, but I don’t remember what) [that’d be “bottom of the bag”--editor] that we had never visited before. Technically, I’m not even sure if it’s in our area. Or anybody’s area. But I just kind of walked up to the first house I saw, and we contacted it. As it turns out, a lady lived there named Delmi, with her 8 year old son. We started talking to her, and she invited us in. Just then, her husband, Antonio, got home. We ended up teaching them both, and they were totally into the lesson. They said they’ve been going to a few churches, but none of them really felt right, so they haven’t joined one. They could easily accept the gospel, and we’re going to fight for them, because they were totally great. Isn’t the spirit fun?

Once again, thanks for all your support. The letters this week were fun, and I’m super excited for the BYU game this week. I can’t wait to hear about it! And to hear about how Darci is doing! And how the family in general is doing! I love knowing what you’re all up to. Steven, I’m glad you’re done being sick. Sick is stupid. And Michael, work is sweet, isn’t it? To all of the girls: Have your babies already! I’m really in an I-have-new-nieces-and-nephews mood right now, so get on that. Emily, your lack of pregnancy is a valid excuse, I suppose, but the rest of you... Mom, I don’t know how you do something so repetitive like those negatives. However you do it, you’re amazing. Dad, the concert sounded sweet, and I’m jealous. I want to go to another one of their concerts when I get back. And good luck on your home teaching. That’s important stuff, you know. Have fun in Arizona, I guess.

By the way, you’re all super spoiled. We’re super rich in the USA, and we forget that sometimes. I don’t think I’ve seen a house here other than ours that is bigger than our family room. Maybe with the kitchen attached. They’re like boxes. And you know how missionaries don’t want to leave their country? I don’t think I’ll have that problem. I’ll be ready to go back to spoiled. Just so you know.

Thanks again, and I love you all. Especially you, Darci!

Elder David Arrington

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 13 in Atiquizaya – Dengue strikes (Salvadoran Malaria)!

Well, there you go.  David’s been pretty sick with the Dengue/Malaria thing.  I have to admire his tenacity, though.  He’s never really been a complainer when he’s been sick, and this appears to be the case here.  He still went out to work a couple times.  Even in his letter, Dengue is the second item that he mentions.  Harry Potter is first….

So first, I have a question: Did Harry Potter 7 come out there? I’m pretty sure it’s out here, and nobody has said anything about it there, but I saw a little TV mini trailer thing about it and it looked good. I’m jealous.

Remember how I always say that there’s not much to report with the work here or anything? This week it is probably more true than at any other point in my mission.

So last Monday I was feeling sick. I mentioned I think that I felt achy or something. When I got home, I rested, but I had a fever of over 102 and my head was killing me. The next day I had sweat like a monkey and the fever had dropped to normal, but in an hour or two it was back up to 102 and I was all achy and nasty. It was pretty awful. The next day, the same thing happened, but they decided that they wanted me to go get an exam done to figure out if there was a bigger problem. They weighed me, measured me, got a urine sample, blood tests, the whole works, and just so you all know it was free because it was government healthcare. Normally I’m against that, but I guess because I’m American, or an Elder, I got rushed to the front of every line and had a personal nurse-guy walk me through everything. He also happened to be a member, so that was sweet.

So the tests came back later that day that I had Dengue, which I guess is the El Salvador equivalent of Malaria. I got my blood sucked by a mosquito that had it, so I got it. There’s not really a cure for it, but it makes you super sick and you have to wait it out for a week or so. Also, because of this thing my blood platelet count had dropped to 138,000, which is below normal and a little dangerous. So I was told I couldn’t work, and had to come in in two days, Friday, to get another test done. I would have gone Thursday, but we had to go to San Salvador so I could sign a paper and get fingerprinted and such (second time, now) so I could be here legally. Also, I forgot to mention that in addition to Dengue I apparently have a minor urinary infection. That sounds fun.

Friday the tests came back worse. My blood platelets had dropped to 106,000, and if they dropped below 100,000 I’d have to be hospitalized. That’s not fun. They told me to rest again, which I did, but I managed to sneak out one night to teach a lesson because Elder Wardlow couldn’t find someone for divisions.

By the way, the entire time this was happening our phone didn’t work, because the bill was super high and not our fault so the office said they’d pay it for us, which they didn’t do and they shut our phone off. That makes it hard to call people to do divisions with you.
Saturday I had to go to another lab since the public one was closed, and they charged me $6. My platelet count came back as 404,000, which doesn’t make any sense at all, so the mission nurse had me try a different lab. They only charged me $3, and they came back as 150,000. So there you go. If you want to be healthier, you really do just have to pay your doctors more.

DSCN1928 Since 150,000 was the low parameter of the healthy range, I was told I could work on Sunday if I felt up to it. I didn’t, but I did anyway. Absolutely nobody was there. We walked around our entire area countless times, and got nobody. Finally we stopped in for an 8:00 appointment with Jorge, this guy that is on the point of baptism. He said he wants to be baptized, but doesn’t want to set a date to pressure him. He’ll just tell us when he’s ready. That’s lame, but it was his birthday, so we ate cake. I sent pictures of it, by the way.

So there you go. I didn’t work for six days this week. And I may head over to get another exam done today because I still don’t feel good. But hey, I’m completely used to getting blood drawn, now. I used to hate that. Now it’s almost fun. But it’s painful, instead. I don’t think I should mix up those sensations.

One day, though, this lady in the Atiquizaya ward invited us over and fed us a ton, so that was sweet. And while we ate she put on the church’s version of Beauty and the Beast, which was really not very well made, but it was fun. I think I liked it because it’s the first full-length movie I’ve seen in a month. (We watched Johnny Lingo as a zone a month or so ago).

And, actually, I guess I saw almost all of National Treasure 2 on a bus to San Salvador, so that might count, too.

DSCN1909As for the customs, not much is different from what I’ve been telling you all. Or not telling you all. One thing that’s kind of weird, though, is that they have different hand signs to show you how tall something is. Or how big something is. For example, if you say that a person is yay tall, like the cat on the picture below, nobody has any idea what you mean. Instead, your hand has to be vertical with the fingers curled in, making some sort of bear claw looking thing. THAT’s how tall they are. But only people. Horizontal hand, like we do in the states, is for plants and other post-like things. Sideways hand, like you’re about to shake someone’s hand, is for how tall animals are. The picture of the hand holding the apple, minus the apple, is how you show how big fruit is. The upside down version is how big a chicken or bird is. Like I said, it’s a little much, but it’s funny.

So there’s my El Salvadoran culture tidbit for the day. I hope you all enjoyed it. And to try to answer one or two questions I remember, yeah, the other Elders are great. We get along really well, and I’ve gotten to know a lot from my zone and other zones. By the way, look up the blog of Elder Heaps, who is in this mission. Emily sent it to me or something, back before I came out. He’s a sweet guy, as it turns out, and he was in the zone next to us for a few changes. On his blog, though, there’s a picture of him and another elder with a really fat little kid and a sombrero or something. That other elder is Elder Wardlow. Crazy.

DSCN1892And yes, stupid things continue in the house. Elder Winters is gone, now, so things are more quiet with Elder Hardy, who came in the same time I did. However, before Elder Winters left he got our door jammed to the bathroom and Elder Wardlow had to climb out a really tiny window up next to the ceiling. That was super funny.

What other pictures did I send? Some of Jorge’s birthday party, and some scenic ones. Also, some from last week that I don’t think actually went up. DSCN1902That giant yellow thing is a lemon. Crazy, the fruit here.

Thanks again for all of your love and support. I still love reading your emails, and although I’m a little disappointed that I don’t get to see my niece for a week, that’ll do, Stacey. That’ll do.

I look forward to whatever else you all feel like emailing me about.

And I love you all!

Elder David Arrington

PS: My comp believes that in the Millennium, we won’t have money. There won’t be any business or competition, either. If somebody needs something, people will just go out and make it for them. Where does this guy get off? You can all tear up this topic, too. It’s a little more easy than the Satan one.

PPS: I love my comp, so don’t think I’m bashing him. But really, where does he get off?

PPPS: I got an email today saying that the president wants us to send more colorful and fun-fonted emails. Um, okay.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week 12 in Atiquizaya – Not feeling well!

This email kind of surprised me in that it arrived a little earlier than most.  I think that might be related to the time change.  In fact, I was still writing a message to David, like I do most Monday mornings, when his arrived.

Sadly David is pretty sick.  Hopefully that won’t last long.  I’ve been through that as a missionary, too. It is not fun.

This email begins with the subject:  “Wow.  I guess I’m in trouble” presumably because we pressed him for some answers.  So often when we ask questions he never seems to respond to our questions.  Lots of answers this time, though! 

Honestly when I’ve been writing I’ve completely forgotten about the questions you guys ask. But before I delve into there, let me just assure you all that I had absolutely no idea whose cookies were whose, so that’s a fair win for Sarah. And Mom, I love your molasses cookies, so don’t even joke about not sending me more.

Alright. I just remembered you guys asking about my watch, so I’ll tell that story really fast. In the MTC I always wore the second watch we bought right before I left, and it was great. I love that watch. But then the battery died, and I took the back off to replace it, and the back of that thing is completely impossible to put back on. It just won’t fit how it should. So there you go. That one doesn’t work. So I was going to use the other one we got, which I did for a few days, and then a few of my district elders went out and bought these really cheap watches from the bookstore, almost as a joke. Most of them literally lasted less than a day or two. Elder Millett bought four of them and all of them broke within two days. Seriously cheap. So I bought one, and it’s lasted me half of the MTC and two changes out here. So really I’m only using it until it finally breaks.

So Mom, yeah go ahead and vote for me. I kind of forgot to say that. But the temple should be dedicated sometime next year. We don’t know when, but we just heard something about the prophet saying it needs to be bigger and better, so they have to take the angel Moroni off and put it back on later. When the prophet wants something done...

So things over here have been fairly quiet. Like I said, we had a few meetings in San Salvador last week, which we do every once in a while, which means a two hour bus ride. Not incredibly ideal, but we do it. We had one more this week. It was good. We learned a lot that we’ve been applying in our lessons, and we’ve been noticing a difference.

As far as our investigators go, things aren’t great. We haven’t been able to actually talk to the ones that we thought were positive, and we’re not making much progress with the other ones. I think more than anything we just need to find more people. We have been walking from appointment to appointment all day without talking to more than two or three people, sometimes. Just nobody is there. However, we are teaching a lady named Carmen whose entire family are members, and a man named Rafael with the same situation, and we really want to get them ready for baptism. This month our goal is two baptisms. That may sound low, but it’s more than I’ve ever gotten in a month, and that’s how many we need to reach the zone goal. We’ll do it, though, if we work hard.

By the way, changes came in last night. I’m staying here with Elder Wardlow, and Elder Gonzalez is, too. Elder Winters is heading to Santa Ana, though, and that’s really sad. He’s a great guy. Crazy, but great. It’ll be weird not having him around. Also, this probably means that I’ll get changed next time, which will stink because changes are three days before Christmas. So I’ll be in a brand new area for the holidays. That’ll be rough.

Alright, I’m running out of things to say. I am sick. Like, really sick. I probably won’t be able to go out and work today, and maybe tomorrow. Hopefully, though, I’ll get over this fever fast so I can get back to work.

Thanks again for everything. I love reading your emails and seeing pictures and stuff. Which reminds me; Michael, you’re a stud. You look good. And I mean real good. Keep it up.

And as for the rest of you, I expect you’re all looking good as well. Thanks for the notes you send me every week. They really are exciting to read. And did you guys realize that I’m less than one change away from being a fourth of the way through my mission? Crazy.

Thanks again, and I love you all!
Elder David Arrington

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 11 – A Bit of Positive Progress

This week David quotes a couple movies, though I’m not sure why.  And apparently he says he like’s Sarah’s cookies best.  Mom will never make him cookies again….

Subject of this week’s email:  “*sigh*. How’s it goin’ tire.”

Well this week went pretty dang fast. Really, there’s one more week in this change. That’ll be my second change done, which means about three months in the field. Really, that’s fast.

First, let me say that all holidays here are completely disappointing. Halloween exists here, but it was basically two or three kids running around in masks asking everyone for candy. Seriously, only two or three kids. And for some reason everyone likes to throw fireworks all the time, so that’s what most of the kids did. Except when I say fireworks, I mean those ones that you buy and look like a tank or something and then you’re all excited to set it off and it does something stupidly small for like two seconds and you feel ripped off. That’s all the fireworks they have here. Really it’s pathetic, and it’s funny because the kids don’t believe us when we tell them that they’re small fireworks. We also do have a day called the day of the dead, but it’s on November 2, which is tomorrow. Basically everyone just goes to the cemetery to decorate graves, and since everyone goes there, people set up shops there. And since the cemetery is on the end of our street, it’s hard to get home because there’s tons of little stands set up. I’ll have to send pictures next week. I don’t have any from this week. Sorry!

“You were supposed to be a colossus. You were this great legendary thing! And yet he gains.”

I couldn’t find a good spot for that, so there it is.

Stacey said something about my English deteriorating, and I’m a little surprised. I felt kind of bad because I thought I hadn’t deteriorated at all, and you would all be mad, but maybe I’m just not noticing. Sweet. I’ve been dreaming in Spanish, though, which is cool. Actually it’s in English and Spanish. Like we switch mid sentence, which is funny because that’s what I do with the gringo elders.

By the way, the keyboard I’m using is awful, so if this is short, that’s why.

So in just about every email I got I heard about Mom scrapbooking. I guess that’s big. Congrats, Mom! It sounds like fun, and you’ll have to send me some samples so I know what you’re up to.

I also heard a bunch that my Facebook is all safe and sound, which I’ll trust you on, but it’s weird. I can’t get on Facebook, because there’s rules against that, but I had another member search for me and they couldn’t find me, and I had them look up Sarah and search her friends and I wasn’t there either, so I figured you just erased me. Weird. Maybe I’ll have to have them check again.

“Goodnight Wesley. Sleep well. Good work. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

Alright. This last week was rough again. We ended up not teaching a ton of lessons because we had some meetings in San Salvador again, which were fun. We kept losing investigators, too. Like one of them is the friend of the sister of a recent convert, and she’s been looking for a church, and she was super involved in our lessons, and we could feel the spirit, and she had been reading and everything, and at the end of our last lesson with her she was just like, “Oh, and my family has kind of forbidden me from talking to you guys again.” Oh. Okay.

On a brighter note, we have been teaching this lady named Carmen, who apparently has been talking to the missionaries for years and nothing ever happened. Her husband is one of the counselors in our bishopric and her kids are all super active in the church, but she never did anything. But on Sunday she came to church, which is sweet because we didn’t even invite her yet. We were going to wait until next week for that one. Sweet. Hopefully we’ll see some progress there and get her family ready to head to the temple.

Oh, and nothing has happened with Henry and Will. I think they had their trial, but they’re still in prison. That’s rough.

And Jorge got super sick and couldn’t be baptized last week, so we’re hoping for this week.

Mostly this last week we’ve been visiting a lot of less active members and part member families, because the President really wants us to baptize families that can go to the temple together, and part member families are perfect for that. We really need more investigators, though.

Oh! I also got a package on Wednesday, and that was sweet. Thanks everyone! I also tried and judged the cookies, and I did it honestly without knowing whose is whose. My favorite ones were the ones that were like perfectly circular and big, and they were peanut-buttery with little chips of something in them, but I don’t know what. Also, Sarah’s were my favorite, in case those weren’t hers... :) But they were all great. And I think all the Pringles are gone already, and I’ve got a massive bag of candy waiting for me when I get home. Sweet.

But just for future reference, if you send me food again, make sure it’s packaged well. There were a few dozen ants I had to kill inside the box. I told you, they’re everywhere here. In fact, I don’t know why, but if we leave the lid off our water jugs they like to climb inside and just swim around or something. Like lemmings.

That’s about all I can think of writing. This week I’ll have some more sweet experiences to tell you all about, so it’ll be good. Oh, and all of you should ask Sarah what I told her to start arguing with you about, because she failed that homework assignment. And the assignment of sending me some kind of info about how to avoid getting fat on my mission, because I think I am. Mom, I figure you’re the expert on that, so send me whatever food eating thing you have.

Alrighty, it’s that time again. Steven, I feel like you’re probably really bored now that football season is over. Oh well. That’s all I have about that. Michael, volleyball is sweet. And it sounds like dad is still keeping you busy. Keep it up. Julie and Dave, you’re getting ready and such, which of course is good, and I’m glad you got the Stacey thing on video. Stacey and Kyle, I can’t believe you’re going to have a baby that soon. That’ll come really, really fast. But be careful. I would hate for Kyle’s schedule to be interfered with. Lindsay and Mike, I hear you’re all split up and Lindsay won’t get off the computer with Mom. That’s ridiculous. But fun, too. And Emily and Dave, I’m glad Halloween was fun and you got to take the girls to that party. It sounds like they had a blast. Mom, I feel like I failed, because your present is still kind of half done. I feel like I want to do it really well, though, because I’ve only got one shot at surprising you with this. Not even Dad or the family knows what it is, so that’s sweet. Just know it’ll come when it’s ready. It may end up being a Christmas gift, though, just because I have no time to do it. Sorry in advance! I feel bad. And Dad, go buy something nice for Mom from me because I feel bad. And thanks, as always, for the updates. And the advice. I’m definitely going to try that more in my life here, and hopefully I will be more successful.

Thanks again everyone! I love you all!

Elder David Arrington