Monday, December 20, 2010

Week 18 in Atiquizaya – Countdown to the phone call…

No pictures this week, but we are looking forward to the Christmas phone call to the family.  Other than that, we must learn how to bring a ship into Turtuga.  Together, I guess.  And transfers?  Who knows….

SubjectIf we were here two hundred years ago, we’d be swimming!

So let’s tackle the biggest things first, here. The most well-known is to never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well known is this: my phone call.

I’m pretty sure that the only important rules are these: What a man can do, and what a man can’t do. For example, I can call family. But I can’t bring this ship into Tortuga all by my onesy. Sevy? Basically we’re allowed to call family. That’s what they tell us. We do this from our house with basically no rules attached, so here’s the plan I think I’ve come up with: At 11:00am our time (I think that’s 9:00 Oregon time since we don’t have daylight savings or anything) I will call the house. This will give me a chance to talk to the family there, especially Mom, for a while. Then I will call into the conference call using the number that Dad gave me and talk to the rest of the family. The only downside to this is that I don’t know when I’ll make that second call, so the girls will all just have to be ready and waiting. It should be pretty late in the morning, though, so I don’t foresee any big problems. Any changes in this plan will have to be communicated during the first phone call, since this is the last email before it.

Congratulations on getting Michael’s stuff done so fast! That’s awesome. Michael, you’re a stud. So are you, Steven, because wrestling in beastly.

On my end, we do have changes. Normally they’re on Wednesday, but because of the Christmas multi-zone we’re having Wednesday they got moved to Tuesday. Tomorrow. And they are supposed to tell us Saturday night, or Sunday night at the latest, if we have them, but here we are almost past noon and still nobody knows anything. That means that if I leave I’m going to have a fun time packing all night. And I wouldn’t have any time to go say goodbye to the members. And I’d miss the stupidly massive amounts of Christmas dinners we’ve been offered. Lame. But I’m not completely sure I’ll have changes. We’ll see.

I don’t really know how it happened, but we ended up with two dates for this Saturday. The last weekend the baptisms can count. How? No clue. But we’ll just see what happens with those. One is a kid who has been going to church for forever, but he’s in San Salvador until the 23. The 24 we’re going to interview, and the 25 is the date. Not much room to breathe. The other is a 9 year old kid of a family we just reactivated. Super nice people. The father just went to the bishop Sunday to see if he could do the baptism, but we don’t know what happened with that. We’ll find out today. If he can’t, we might try to go ahead with it, but we’ll probably just wait. I don’t want to take that opportunity from him.

Some things have been said about the massive number of baptisms here. Here’s the real truth. We get a lot of baptisms, but the people here really don’t get converted. There are churches on every street corner, so religion really isn’t a big thing for these people. It’s just somewhere you can go and say that you worshipped God for the week. Thus, when the going gets hard in our church, they drop it. I don’t know what the stats are for my ward, but in the other ward there’s something like 600-700 members. Their attendance this week: 63. Nuff said. Remind me to say something about this in my call, by the way, because there’s more that I’m just too tight on time to write about here. Julie, I’m putting you in charge of that. That’s punishment for being so scatter-brained lately. JKBS.

I did interchanges for three days this week, and it was pretty good, but I went to an area called La Labor. Wow. I had no idea that an area could be so dead. That must be what some of you got in Europe. Our zone, apparently, is pretty tough, but my area is one of the better ones I think. La Labor doesn’t have very many houses in it, and they’re a lot richer people, so they are a little bit more, humble-less. And since there aren’t too many, they’ve all been contacted a ton. We tried contacting a few people and they weren’t too happy about it. Elder LaFrance, who I was with, said that he contacted there with the ZLs and they had people screaming at them and slamming doors in their faces. Ouch. I did, however, eat a fresh coconut. Now, normally I don’t like coconuts, but these were a way different kind. They were bright orange on the outside, and the milk was a really blandish watery thing. The inside was white, but was a lot closer to the consistency of a papaya or mango than coconut. And it was pretty good. Didn’t taste like coconut at all. Hence it tasted good.

Quick cultural note: Everybody here uses machetes for everything. Everything. Trimming trees. Cutting open coconuts. Cutting trees down. Pulling out nails. Cooking. Mowing their lawn. It’s ridiculous. But I guess that means I should get a machete.

Alright, I’ve got to go. I hope things are still sweet at home, and I’m completely stoked to call all of you!

Merry Christmas!

Elder David Arrington

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