Monday, December 26, 2011

Week 17 in Buena Vista

This week, on Christmas Day, we had an unbelievable great call with David.  We talked for about 2 hours on Skype, so we got to see him as well as hear him.  And we had a great time doing it.  We even did multi-location video conferencing so Lindsay and Stacey could get into the act.  Julie and Emily were here with us (and Michael and Steven, of course).

As we said, the call was great.  We laughed, we told stories, we asked questions and got answers.  We even had spiritual moments.  What a great thing to have a son on a mission!

One day later, what’s he going to talk about?  This will be a short one….

A note about the computer problem he’s having with uploading pictures—I explain it the next week.  He’s forgetting the S in “https://”.  He’ll get it soon.

Also, I included his letter to the ward below his letter to us.

Subject:  Well, look at the bright side: at 6 o'clock I'm coming into some money!

I don't know what the deal is, but whenever I try to log onto the family server to upload pictures it gives me a "we can't show this page" error. So I just have to refresh it five or six times before it works. It's kind of lame, but it works. However, I've been refreshing it for the last twenty minutes, and I haven't gotten in. So it looks like there will be no pictures this week. But you did all see me yesterday, so who can complain?

So what is there to tell? That's always the fun part about emailing after phone calls. There is just nothing else interesting about my life here. I guess I'll just write that paragraph for the ward. I think I'll send that separately.

I just realized that this email is lame. Sorry about that. But I just talked to you all yesterday. That's probably no excuse. But I hope you all have a Merry Post-Christmas, and a Happy New Year. I'll try to get a super awesome email off to you next week.

I love you all!

Elder David Arrington

Subject:  Message to the Ward

My parents told me about a week ago that I needed to write some kind of short message for the ward newsletter, but I have no idea what to write. I didn't even know that our ward had a newsletter. But I guess I can start with El Salvador. I've been down here for a little while, and I've pretty much gotten used to the lifestyle. People here live in much humbler circumstances than anyone I've seen in the States, but they're still fairly well off. Everybody has what they need, and they're content. Missionary work has been going very well here. My mission only covers the three western departments of the country, which is an overall area about the size of Rhode Island, and last year we baptized just over 2000. The people are generally very open to the message that we have and are very nice even when they aren't. And they give us plenty of pupusas, so I can't really complain.

The people that I have taught here are wonderful, and I've been able to see myself grow with them. For example, we have been teaching a family that used to have some family issues. None of them were that serious, but they would just kind of fight every once in a while. We started teaching them, and they started reading the Book of Mormon individually at first, then as a couple, and then with their children. The wife, Delmi, has told us several times, that studying the Book of Mormon and praying as a family has completely changed their family, and she now has a strong desire to be baptized. Her husband, who is already a member, is working very hard to quit smoking and is trying to become worthy to be the one to baptize her. Through their examples I've begun to recommit myself to not only study the Book of Mormon more seriously, but to look for specific blessings that I receive that otherwise I may have taken for granted.

I know that this gospel is true, and that sharing it with the world is the most important and wonderful task that our Father in Heaven has given us. I'm so grateful to be living in the time of the harvest. The seeds have already been planted, and all of us get to see the fantastic blessings that come from spreading this message to all of God's children.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 16 in Buena Vista

As we approach Christmas, we’re clearly getting ready for the long-awaited Christmas phone call.  Or Skype.

Subject:  That's not true. I did call Slurpee Heaven. They said they didn't want you. Heard you had an attitude. Said you weren't "Slurpee" material

Before I forget, our plan is to call home (phone call, since we still aren't sure if we'd be able to use Skype or not) at 2:00pm our time, which should be after church there. If we find out in the next couple days that we will get Skype set up, I will probably not be able to let you know until Saturday night or Sunday, but I will definitely try to. It'll probably be by email, by the way. But if you don't hear from me until Sunday afternoon, just assume we're using the phone.

Okay, here we go. This week was really kind of slow, to be honest. We've basically become super stealthy ninjas about getting dinner appointments, which not only fills our little bellies with delicious food (pupusas mostly, but we even made hamburgers a couple days ago), but it also make our ward relations way awesome because, let's face it, I'm hilarious. Just kidding. But the members all kind of really like us two, which is always a great thing.

On Tuesday we didn't really work in the area at all since we had yet another training meeting in Santa Ana, and it went kind of long. Wednesday we had district meeting, and Thursday we did a huge long but not very difficult service project which took a big chunk of the day. And Friday we had the Christmas multizone. So we didn't get a ton of time to work in the area. But we did alright when we were there.

The Christmas multizone was really fun, by the way. And it was run just like a day at EFY, which makes sense because President and Hermana Cordon are basically the founders of EFY in Central America. So we played some good EFY type games and had a talent show, which actually turned out really good. And then we had a more spiritual section after, where I was contracted to sing an a capela quartet (which was supposed to have a piano part, but our pianist forgot his music). We practiced it literally twice right before, but we did a fairly good job.

Also, I don't think that I have mentioned this before, but I play the piano here all the time. Every Sunday I play the hymns in church, and just about every multizone or training meeting or meeting in general I play the songs. It's a good thing that I learned to do that before the mission.

Now on to my investigators. The ones that are progressing the most are also the ones that are most evangelical, which is normally not the case. We have a woman named Esperanza, who is older, and loves to read. She's very open to everything that we teach, and is reading a lot in the Book of Mormon. But she still hasn't come to church, although she says she wants to. When we gave her the challenge to pray about the Book of Mormon, we didn't even get to the actual explanation or challenge. She just straight out said that she would have to pray about the Book of Mormon to know if it's true. I like that. And she's super nice.

Another woman that we're teaching that's like that is named Lidia. She lives with some kids, two of which we are also teaching. They are very humble, very nice people who are also very open to what we teach. The kids haven't been keeping commitments, though. The mom tries to read the Book of Mormon, but her sight is bad so she has her kids read it to her instead. We've only been teaching her a week and she already says that she knows it's true and that she'll get baptized the next time we have a baptismal service. Which will be on the first of January, since she has to go to church first.

She was actually going to go to church this week, but because of miscommunication with the member that was supposed to go pick her and her kids up, he didn't go, and so they never went. It was kind of lame. But still good.

Alex and Delmi are getting way closer to being able to get married and baptized. Delmi is finishing up her job, and Alex just needs to start working so that she can drop her job completely and come to church. She's an old investigator (he's an innactive member) that already wants to get married and baptized. It's just this stupid work thing.

The Siliezar family had this huge problem with us because they had a baptismal date and marriage date before, but the missionaries ran into some problems with them (the six of them), and stopped teaching them. The dad, Oscar, told us he wouldn't progress because he just couldn't accept that we do baptisms for the dead. So we went and had a super awesome lesson where we taught it so basically and clearly that he couldn't hide behind it anymore. He said that now he just feels hurt because the other Elders left them. So once we work past that I think they'll make some good progress.

And to finish this up, we had a lesson yesterday that was really interesting. It was with an inactive man who apparently left the church despite his strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, a modern prophet, Joseph Smith, etc. because some people at church had hinted that Christ probably got married. He just kept telling us that he believed that Christ was a perfect being, and he just couldn't accept that Christ would do something as evil as get married. He was a very good man, and I could tell that he really does have a deep love for Christ, but I thought that was really interesting. Obviously there is no doctrine about that subject, but we need to help him remember that Christ was perfect, and that marriage is a sacred, eternal law. We don't know the answer to that question, but maybe we can help him learn a little bit more about the eternal nature of families.

Alright, I'm out of time, so I have to wrap this up. Thanks again for all the support you guys give me! I haven't gotten that package yet, by the way, but I'm hopeful for this Wednesday. You are all awesome, and sorry I couldn't re-upload the pictures from last week. I didn't bring my camera or memory card. But next week I will!

I'll talk to you all next Sunday!

Elder David Arrington

PS: I had a bet with a member's little brother (who only hasn't gotten baptized because his parents won't give him permission) where I said that Real Madrid was going to beat Barcelona a couple weeks ago. I lost. So he got to dump an egg on my head. Pictures next week.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 15 in Buena Vista

Subject:  "So are you going to miss it?" "What, you’re talking?"

This week. Wow. Mostly it wasn't very eventful, but it became a little bit nuts.

So to start off, we had training meetings Tuesday and Thursday almost all day, and this week Tuesday and Friday we have some more. So we hardly worked in our areas those days. Wednesday I was on interchanges with Chalchuapa, meaning that I thought that there was a problem there in Chalchuapa with the missionaries who are there, so the junior comp came to work in Buena Vista and I went to work there for a day. We started after district meeting and kept going until Thursday morning. It didn't go fantastic, but I found out what I needed to know. There definitely is a problem there. Basically it's that the senior comp doesn't want to work very hard, he doesn't like the members, they don't like him, and he doesn't care, and it's just rough. We had a meeting with his ward mission leader, too, and we came up with some really good ideas to improve the ward relations and get more of them involved, to which this Elder just said, "I am already doing what I should be, and I don't care about the members." Not good. Especially since he isn't a fantastically obedient missionary, either. And his comp is good, but very very very quiet and timid, and so does nothing. It's all just kind of a lame situation, and I'm going to have to figure out what to do there.

Thursday we tried something a little nutty. We went to buy a cake on our way back from the meeting and dropped it off with a family in the ward. We had gone to them before for references, and they just say the same that everyone else says; "Oh, everyone around here is catholic." I just want to shout, "That's the point! We WANT to visit people who go to other churches so that they come to OUR church!" But that usually doesn't work. Anyway, we gave them the cake and said that we were going to come back on Friday to eat it with them if and only if they invited a friend to watch the Restoration with us. And you know what? They found someone! So we went over and watched the Restoration and ate cake. And I think this girl might be pretty good. But we'll have to see.

Funny story as well: I don't know if you all remember this, but a while ago I mentioned something about Alba Delgado being really funny because she thought that she might not be able to take the sacrament because when she goes to sell things she sells them for a different price than she buys them and thinks that it's lying. Well, now we found out why. Enter the Salazar family. The husband is probably 55 or so, and the wife is 17. With a 3 year old baby. That would be enough, but get this. They got baptized (or at least the wife did) less than a year ago, and then almost immediately went inactive. The reason? The wife had bought something from Alba for a couple dollars, and then a few days later her husband went into town and found out that there it's a little bit cheaper. Outraged, he confronted her about it, calling her a lier and a devil worshipper and demanding his money back. Her husband, Juan, then got involved to try to explain that it was part of her business to sell things at those prices, otherwise she wouldn't make any money. The Salazar husband got completely upset and left the church. And don't think I'm exaggerating at all. I'm not. We went to talk to him and he was telling us about how hard the devil tries to keep them from going to church. And to me it was hilarious. He was saying stuff like, "There are just some people at church who go to church but really aren't worshipping Christ. They're worshipping the devil. There are just enemies in the congregation." or "One time, she sat in the row in front of me! I couldn't believe it! How could I have taken the sacrament with her right next to me?" and he would make this disgusted look and shiver. Wow. I think we may just leave him inactive for now. That's probably bad to say. We'll just have to invite him to talk to president.

And then the other big news was with the baptism that we had. Olga and Rodolfo got baptized and married on Saturday almost without a problem, and then Sunday they got confirmed. The catch? They didn't actually get married. The lawyer called me less than an hour before the marriage to say that there was a problem with the papers. Since everything was planned and the whole branch was going to show up, we decided that we would have a fake wedding, get them baptized, have them live separately for a few days, and take care of the paperwork later. It's working out okay, especially since he already went back to Guatemala to work. We just have to hope that we get the paperwork done without any problems. Oh, and we're also kind of upset at the lawyer because this is her fault for not telling us days sooner when she should have, and this isn't the first time she's done this. But oh well. We'll let her repent later :) Also, I baptized Olga, and then my comp baptized Rodolfo. It worked out great. It was an awesome service.

Alright, I was going to send the baptismal pictures to them so that they can forward them to Rodolfo's daughter who is on a mission in Chile, so I'll finish this up. Thanks for all of your emails, support, and love! I love you all!

Elder David Arrington

PS: Sorry, you may just have to piece together an email for the ward. My bad!

PPS: We still haven't worked out the phone call. President will probably talk about it on Friday, so we figured we'd wait until then.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week 14 in Buena Vista

David and Elder Adams apparently ran out of money for a few days.  Hungry missionaries?  That said, some good progress is being made by investigators.  No pictures this week apparently because of a corrupted USB drive….

David sent a quick request for a copy of a family picture, which I sent.  The picture is for the Christmas slide show.  Funny thing is, we already had such a request from the mission office, and sent a copy to them.  Where’d that one go?

Subject: “You don't think we'll get in trouble for this, do you?"  "No, not a chance!"

I've been reading in the Bible lately, and it's really kind of
interesting. I just read the story of Moses the other day. Good stuff.
That was a little random.

Okay, a lot happened this week. Let's see if I can remember all of it.
On Monday we didn't buy much since we were still out of money. My comp
was worse than I was. So after writing we kind of just went home. But
then we had to head over after a few hours for a surprise birthday
that we had helped plan for this kid named Carlos who helps us all the
time. He's the really tall guy with glasses, in case I've already sent
a picture of him. I think I might be able to upload one if I haven't.
It was a great party. And we made lasagna.

Tuesday we had a really great day. We taught a bunch of lessons, and
at this point are just finalizing our plans with Olga for her wedding
and baptism this weekend. It's been an interesting experience with
them since the we've had to basically do battle with some mission in
Honduras to get her birth certificate. And even now we aren't
completely sure if we will have it on time. But we have faith.

We also have been having great success with less actives. There have
been a couple less active families that we've been teaching, and
suddenly all of them are starting to come back to church. It's like
they just needed us to push them a little bit, and now they're back. I
hope it's for good.

We also had a family night lesson Tuesday with the Delgado family,
which is the family that I completed a couple months ago with Alba.
They're always pretty fun, but I think that we need to come up with
some more involving games for them. They're really quiet.

On Wednesday, we finally got money. So obviously we spent a little bit
of time in the morning after district meeting and zone meeting to go
buy some food and some other stuff that we needed to do Monday, but
were too poor to actually do. Like buy a Christmas tree. Necessities,
like that.

Dang it. It looks like my USB that had all of my pictures and
everything just instantly got corrupted by this computer. That's
stupid. I still have my other USB, though, that has a lot of the
pictures, but there may be a few that I didn't have backed up on the
home server or the other USB. That's really kind of lame, but mostly
it's just stupid because I was supposed to send a few pictures for the
Christmas Multizone Slideshow just now. I guess THAT's not happening.
And I basically used up all of my time trying to figure out how to fix
it, so now I am just about out of time. Let's see if I can sum
everything up really fast.

We went to the temple on Friday, and it was awesome. I'll have to send
you pictures next week. The temple here is crazy nice. And we had a
Spanish session, which was great. We also had a bunch of other
meetings this week for training and stuff. They were kind of boring,
but that's mainly why I said we had a lot that happened. Oh, and due
to our genius we had like three pupusa dinners this week. And we have
another tonight. Except that my comp is informing me right now that
that will be our third, not our fourth. Oh well. We've also gotten a
lunch and some snacks that were fantastic.

Elder Oliverson fell asleep with his backpack on.

Okay, now I have to finish this up. About the plans to come here,
since you asked, I would definitely suggest getting a car and not
taking buses. I mentioned that we shouldn't have many problems with
crime things, but if we take the buses I'm pretty sure we would. I
might be able to talk to a member and get them to let us rent their
car from them or something. I know of some other Elders that have done
that. We'll see. And yeah, we would probably stay in Santa Ana or San
Salvador, since everywhere is pretty close. I could drive from one
side of the mission to the other in less than two hours. And I already
know the roads, so you can leave that all to me. I just need to know
how many days we'd have here, and I can plan the rest. Oh, and Santa
Ana would put us closer to all of the different parts of the mission,
but San Salvador would have way nicer hotels and everything, really,
so I think it would still be worth it to be there. Santa Ana is a
really small city. But we can look into that in the next few months.

Now I'm way out of time, so I'll just talk to you next week? We're
still working on the Skype vs. Call conundrum, so I'll let you know.
Thanks for your emails, and have a great week!

Elder David Arrington

PS: Dad won. Thanks for sending me the picture!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 13 in Buena Vista

Much more entertaining message this round.  David had a good Thanksgiving and apparently ate lots of food.  We even got a handwritten letter from that day, scanned and emailed to us.  Very cool.  Here it is (click on it for a full size view):


Subject:  "Wait! How do I know I can trust you?"

"You don't. Why, do you have a choice?"


"Alright then. Let's go."

I won't even tell you all what that's from. You'll have to wonder.

This week was fun. We tend to teach really long lessons now, so our overall number taught is less, but I feel like we're teaching better, so it's okay. Maybe. We really wanted to find some news this week, but it didn't happen like we would have wanted. We did find nine, though, which isn't terrible for a week. The standard for the mission is fourteen, but almost nobody ever gets it. That's a lot of new investigators.

Out of the ones that we found, I think there's some potential, but I'm most excited about this one family named the Calderón family. They had met with missionaries before, but they just kind of stopped going by. They're super fun to talk to, they're already married, and they don't go to another church. And they don't work on Sundays. That's about every obstacle that we face right there that we now don't have to worry about with them. Fantastic.

DSCN8161This was out of nowhere, but I just remembered, Dad, that you told me last week that you hadn't watched the game yet, so I'd have to wait until this week to hear about it. And you forgot the play-by-play. Fail.

Happy Thanksgiving, by the way!

Olga and her Husband are ready for baptism, we just have to wait for Rodolfo to get back from Guatemala. So this week, next week, or the week after, we should have a baptism. That's kind of exciting.

Deisy Guevara is also progressing fairly well. We just have to get her married, which she doesn't want to do right now. It's a whole conbobulated situation where she doesn't feel like her husband actually wants to get married to her, even though he's willing to, so she doesn't want to. Frustrating, but we'll get that cleared up pretty soon.

DSCN8162There are a couple other investigators that we're teaching, but nobody is really progressing at all. The biggest thing still is getting them to church. Everybody is just like, "Well, I'd like to go to church, but God will understand if I go to work instead." Or sometimes they just say things like, "Yeah, I'll try to go to church, but if I can't it's because God doesn't want me to." I think that may be a little bit blasphemous to say that God made you not go to church. But it's what they say, and I'm not sure how they don't see the irony in it.

Speaking of which, I just started reading in Genesis, and it's been really fun. And I noticed that it says like twenty times that some prophet had God appear to him, or that God came to a man and said something, and it's a little ridiculous. That's one of the classic arguments that good "Bible worshippers" have for us, is that no man can see God. Have they read the dang book? It makes me laugh. And smile, because I know something they don't know (the truth).

DSCN8197I'm also uploading a few pictures that I hope you enjoy. Mostly I stole them just now from my comp's camera, so they're mostly from activities and such that I've already talked about. We found a toad, though, and took a picture with it. There's also a couple pictures of me and my comp making shoes with a less active, Johnny. He's great, and is starting to come back to church.

Great story: last week, my comp bought some stuff that he thought was gel. When he started using it, he realized it was conditioner. Great times.

Also, Elder Huaman, as of a few days ago, hadn't made it through to Belize because of problems in customs here in El Salvador. Apparently they wanted him to go back to Peru first. I don't know if he ever made it to Belize yet.

Let's see... Thanksgiving day we had a multizone, as you all know. They basically ran it like a normal multizone, but they fed us a bunch of food after, which I was very much okay with. And then we had a pupusa dinner with some members. So I was quite grateful that day. And just plain ful. You see what I did there? I wrote "full" with one L, kind of like a play on the word "grateful". Yeah, that was lame.

DSCN8208I've got another five minutes, so what can I say? It's been a blast to be here in Chalchuapa.

OH! I just remembered that I was going to say something about the call home, since Dad asked. My comp really wants to use Skype, which I'm more than okay with, but I'm good either way. The call did work really well for Mother's Day. I liked the conference call. And it was convenient. The biggest thing here is that Christmas is on a Sunday, so if we wanted to use Skype we'd have to get permission to do it at a member's house or something. We can't go to Cibers on Sunday. So I don't know what all of you would prefer, but I'm going to see if I can find some way this week to use Skype. I'll let you know next week what I find. But what would you all prefer? Let's run a family poll for it. I'm putting Emily in charge of that for no specific reason.

Congratulations to Lindsay, by the way, for running my business successfully this week. That's fantastic, and my wallett thanks you.

Nobody got Stacey to respond to my question. That's lame. Basically she just sent me a package, and I need to know if it's a Christmas package or not, so I know when I can open it. Dang you! I hate the suspense.

Also, I'm putting you all equally in charge of finding and uploading the Stardust soundtrack. I heard some of it the other day, and it's fantastic.

Alright, I'm out of time. I love you all, and thanks for sending me stuff like emails, packages, and promises you don't intend to keep. That was a movie quote, not me being rude.

Elder David Arrington

PS: It was from Beauty and the Beast.

PPS: The subject line one wasn't.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 12 in Buena Vista

Rumors of transfers abound, but David must have the inside scoop. Doesn’t surprise me!  Mostly good news on the investigator front, and we get a couple pictures!  Apparently, he is still hungry…

Subject:  You ate the whole wheel of cheese?

I'm really tripping out because of this new gmail look. I decided to change, and I think that I like it. And now it doesn't underline all of the words I write and tell me they're spelled wrong. Even gmail went and learned English. That's fantastic.

Okay. The big news that everyone wants to know about is changes. And I have the dirty details. First, my comp, Elder Adams, is staying in Chalchuapa. I, am also staying in Chalchuapa. Got ya, didn't I? No, changes aren't that big of a deal this time around. A few people are leaving the zone, but none of you know them, so that doesn't affect you one way or the other. The one really cool and fun part is that Elder Huaman is leaving Chalchuapa to be a zone leader in Cayo (part of Belize). Guess who's his comp? That's right, Elder Duzett. So that's a bit of gossip you can spread over to his family, since I doubt they'll know until next week. Or they might. Either way, I think that that's awesome that we will have shared a Peruvian comp. In two different countries.

I think it might be fun to go to Belize. I'll have to start speaking English to President more. He sends Latins there if they want to learn English or are practicing it... Does that work the same for Gringos? It should. Let's not be racist.

P1010299This week was fun. It wasn't super productive, but we did alright. Our numbers were a little bit terrible because we did a bunch of service projects and such, which don't really count as lessons. Also, we desperately wanted to find some news, so we were looking for a couple hours each day, but it just didn't work. We ended up setting up a lot of appointments for this coming week with full new families (six or more people in some cases), but they didn't let us teach them when we contacted them. So we may have a lot this week.

I just found out as well that Elder Gonzalez, one of my old comps, is training this change. Cool.

Our investigators are doing alright. Olga and Rodolfo are still getting ready to get baptized on the 30 of November. The only thing that we aren't sure about is the birth certificate that we're waiting for from Honduras. That, and Rodolfo has to go to church in Guatemala on his own before then, and I'm not sure if he will. That's nothing against him, I just have noticed that if you aren't there to cattle-prod people they don't go to church. And even then it's hard to prod them. As was evident this Sunday when nobody came to church.

Actually, one person did come to church, but they did so on their own. It was a girl named Nidia whose husband is the young men's president. We started teaching her a little bit, but not a ton because she lives really far away and isn't always home. But when we taught her last time we put a dead date for the 17 of December. We have a bunch of dead dates now.

P1010301Another one that we have a dead date with is Deysi. She loves the church and wants to be baptized, but her husband kind of bailed on her at the last minute last time she was going to get married. So she is really bitter about it and doesn't want to get married because of what he did. She still has all of the clothes for her and their five kids ready, even, but now she just won't. Part of the problem is that he is willing to get married but just wants to go to the town hall and sign the paper. He doesn't want anything else. And he said he'll only do it so that she can get baptized. He doesn't want to marry her. Honestly he treats her kind of bad. But now she won't even agree to that since she is so bitter and doesn't want to marry him if he doesn't actually want to marry her. It's kind of weird, but we had a really cool lesson yesterday. It was one of those that started really lame, but then we just started talking about her and her needs and to make a long story short we had her give the closing prayer. It was a fantastic prayer, and she was in tears. And I think we're making progress. We still have a dead date with her for the 17 of December as well.

That's basically it for the most positive investigators. We really are looking for news because a lot are falling right now, but it's good. Elder Adams and I get along great, and it's really fun to go out and work. I love the area, too, even though the attendance is a little low and we don't have a very functional branch. It's awesome. And the other day we tried to make pupusas with Maria, an awesome member, but we didn't put enough beans and cheese in them, so they were basically just tortillas. Fail. That was really funny, though.

Also, just a heads-up, I think I may pull some money off the card you gave me today. I bought a hammock this month, and then I had to pay my $60 fine (yay for doing the right thing...), so I'm kind of broke already. My bad.

Thanks for the support and the emails. I've been loving reading about everything going on back home. Gosh, I miss Thanksgiving. They don't celebrate that here. I'll be hungry. Think of me while you're all gorging yourselves on delicious turkey.

And mashed potatoes.

And stuffing.

I am so hungry right now.

Elder David Arrington

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week 11 in Buena Vista

A little shorter message today and the tone is a little less fun.  He was obviously sick even when he was playing water-balloon volleyball, but I think that was a week ago.  Hopefully, he just had limited time?  The good news is that we got a few pictures—including a baptism icture!

Subject:  I trust my barber.

I just took a look at the Arbor Manor site, and it looks great. Good work, whoever put that up. And the numbers this week are not quite up to the set goals, but that's okay. It actually makes me laugh, because we have daily and weekly goals that we have to report on every week, and that's about the same as ours. Except that instead of baptisms, you all want events booked.

P1010285I had a slightly better week this week, but it didn't start out that way. I was really sick on Monday, but ended up playing water balloon volleyball and soccer and teaching a few lessons. Toward the end of the night, though, I just couldn't make it and we headed back home. I took my temperature and was about at 39º Celsius, which is a little over 102º F. I drank a ton of water, took some pills, sweat like a sweaty pig, and in the morning I felt fine. Except that my stomach was still a little bit weird. I just had to be careful about how much I ate. On Tuesday, my comp got sick. So he couldn't work all day. I spent most of the day in San Salvador doing immigration stuff, but then when I got back we just kind of went home. And then we didn't work a whole lot on Wednesday, either.

Once the week got going, we started teaching more. A lot of the branch is starting to work with us now, and we're finding a lot of new investigators like that. I think that I had already mentioned Olga and her husband, Rodolfo, who live with our clothes-washing lady. The wife is super excited to get baptized so that her daughter can grow up to be a missionary. The husband works in Guatemala for two to three weeks at a time. We just talked to them this week and had to move the date we had set for baptism from December 3 to November 26, which means that, if everything goes well, we'll have a couple of baptisms this month! The biggest problem, though, is that we need to get Olga's birth certificate from Honduras. I've been working on that for a few weeks, but it can take time.

P1010290They are our only live dates right now, but we've put a few others with some of our investigators. They just haven't been to church yet, so we can't count the dates. We seem to be really good at teaching people and putting dates, but only so-so on getting them to church. However, we've been getting better. And now I feel like there is just nothing to write about. Which makes me feel really bad because I have hardly written anything. But my time is ticking away without anything popping into my head.

I miss going to the temple. We can go as a zone here, but my zone leaders just keep on avoiding asking permission from President. He's already said we can, we just have to let him know that we're going. I think I might just call him myself so that we can go already. It's kind of making me upset.

P1010294The business sounds like it's off to a fairly good start. I agree that it is somewhat like a flywheel. We just have to act as the bendex gear and rev that thing. Look that one up. I've learned a little bit about cars out here.

Football is doing well. I like to hear that we're easily beating the snot out of teams. But I wish they were teams like TCU and Boise State. And Utah. Oh well. It will happen when I get back.

That's about all I've got time for, so it's time to sign off. I love you all!

Elder David Arrington

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 10 in Buena Vista

Here’s a much more complete letter.  We love hearing mucho information from David (note the weak attempt at Spanish?).  No pictures this week, but David hints that he isn’t feeling particularly well this week.  Hopefully he’ll be back up to full strength soon!

Subject:  "I... miss him very much." "Oh one more time!" (rewinds) "I... miss him very much."

That is such a fantastic movie. I love it. And I was thinking about it lately because I still haven't seen Toy Story 3 yet.

One quick note so that I don't forget: Dad, it seems that Sarah has changed her email address and is trying to find a way to save all of the emails that we've sent to each other and that she's gotten from school and such. So she's been sending them to Microsoft Word documents. Do you think you could help her set up a quick POP3 account to copy them all straight to the computer? That would be so much easier. Sarah, if he doesn't do it, call him and make him do it. Nicely.

And yes, I definitely was laughing because I know a way better way to do that :)
It seems like Sarah keeps getting more and more involved in our family. Huh. I'm not complaining.

I also just tried to go to the website for Lindsay's new business, but it must be down or something. I couldn't get to it by explorer or firefox. Maybe next week. I am kind of curious to see what my sister is doing with my business. Well, partially my business. I own a company!
The week was fairly good, and fairly bad, and has ended kind of horrible. Yesterday we were fasting, and those are always super slow days. But we were also walking around everywhere, since nobody was home. So we didn't teach much, and we didn't have energy. Last night, we ate dinner with a recent convert, and something didn't work right. Last night I couldn't sleep, and this morning I had to stop by the bathroom every couple minutes. Just during my bucket shower I had to stop and use the toilet three times. And I almost threw up a couple times. In addition, my whole body aches right now and I'm just kind of in super pain. Is this what being old is like? If it is, I vote against ever growing up. Did I agree to that before coming to earth? I doubt I would have signed up if I had read THAT fine print. But it looks like my sarcasm is passing by unscathed, so all is well. My comp and one of my ZLs are going to give me a blessing when I finish writing.

A couple weeks ago I might have mentioned that we were starving in church, so we passed around a calendar in the Relief Society to basically ask for dinners. We also said that we wanted to use that as a way to get to know people's friends in a comfortable atmosphere. We came up with the idea because of a couple RMs who told us that they did that in their countries and ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner free every day. What did we get? Mutton. A few people signed up for this last week, and the appointments were all awesome. One was with the Branch President and his wife, I think because they felt bad that nobody had signed up, and it was awesome. The family they invited bailed, so they literally walked across the street five minutes before the dinner and invited a random family to come. And it was great. By these dinners we also got a couple inactives to come to church, and we found a few other investigators. So we shared that success on Sunday in RS, and guess how many signed up? Not one. So, while that tactic seems to work well in every ward except ours, it apparently is less effective here. I guess we'll fend for ourselves again.

"They take you to the lab. And that sounds bad."

I don't know where that came from. But there it was.

Oh, also I got to go back to San Salvador this week. I am apparently illegal, so we went to fix that. It was a long drive there, and then when we got there Elder Maradiaga decided that we should do mine on Tuesday instead, so I did absolutely nothing and get to go back on Tuesday. It was fun to see everyone that I used to work with in the distribution center when I was in the office, though.

Oh, and the reason we didn't have time on Friday when I went is because I had to be back by 1:00 for a baptism. I had interviewed this guy named Santos in the ward Panamericano, and he asked me to baptize him. I'll send pictures next week since I forgot my cable in my sickness.

And I was going to mention something about the trip to El Salvador. It surprises me that El Salvador is really dangerous for tourists. I still haven't gotten robbed (except on the bus and in my own house), and I walk around all the time looking like a super-tourist. I've never heard of the families that come to pick up their missionaries having any problems, but if you want to hire some kind of guide I'd say go for it. Except that the guide won't help you go visit some of my converts or families :)

Speaking of which, I still am kind of curious about what I'll be able to do in between my release here and my release there. If we can, I'd like to head down to a couple beaches maybe, but this one specifically where there is some super huge, super nice coral reef where you can go scuba diving. I'd be down for it, since we'll be here anyway. Maybe someone could ask President Fotheringham for me? As far as I understand, once the President here interviews me, my Stake President is responsible for me. And I know him pretty well, as it turns out.
My comp isn't sick. He's the new guy. That doesn't seem fair.

Did all of that talk about when you all come down make me sound baggy? I don't think I am *cough* seven months left *cough* at all.

And just so that I don't forget, I was going to mention that I used a little money from the card you gave me to buy lunch once or twice and buy some new soccer shoes since the ones I have are falling apart. My bad.

Thanks for the emails, by the way. Julie sent some pretty dang good pictures, by the way. I like the pumpkin eating the pumpkin. Cannibalism, anyone?

Mom, thanks for the review of the last year. It looks like you were, indeed, quite busy. And I'm proud to say that I was way out of your way for the whole thing. Doesn't that deserve some kind of prize?

OH! I have forgotten for three or four weeks straight already, so I'm really glad I just remembered. If you're getting a Christmas package together, I would definitely enjoy getting one of those prank pens that shocks you when you try to use it. People borrow my pens all the time, so the possibilities are endless. Especially since they're Latins, so they wouldn't see it coming at all. Was that racist?

Dad, your email was a little bit less football-filled than I would have liked, but I can't really blame that on you. Thanks for the update on the deal with Lindsay, and everything that's been going on.

And Sarah emailed me. But I refuse to tell you if a letter is on its way or not.

Thanks again for everything! I love you all!

Elder David Arrington

Monday, October 31, 2011

Week 9 in Buena Vista

David finally got the new home server working, which means we get some pictures today!  Well, sort of.  Missionaries milking a cow?  What next?

Subject:  It's no use. The only way out is to chew your own foot off!

I just figured out how to get the new home server to work. As it turns out, I have to use internet explorer for it. Oh well. That's what I used before anyway. And the whole site seems to work faster and is, of course, just cooler. Well done.

P1010200Also, I was reading through the general proposal emails that Dad and Lindsay sent around, but I haven't had a chance to look through the rest yet. I was planning on printing them off so I can read them during the week just for fun. For now, though, even though you all sound like desperate salespeople, I'm on board. Which means that Dad, being one of the more knowledgeable of all of us in these kinds of things will have to examine my bank account (do I even have money left?) and decide how much I can invest. And let me know. Basically I have no access to things like that, but I trust you to invest a sensible amount.

This week was a good one, but it was kind of bitter-sweet since we didn't spend a ton of time in our area. The mission itself still isn't doing very good. This month it looks like we'll be ending with only about 96 baptisms, although a bunch of those dates are for today. As of now we only have 89. That's a new record low. However, our zone has 16, which isn't bad for Chalchuapa. But we could have done a little bit better.

P1010237The really tough part, though, is that we had three dates for this last weekend: two in Panamericano, and one in Chalchuapa. I did the interview on Saturday for the lady in Chalchuapa, but she didn't pass. She isn't married, and her husband definitely still lives with her. I don't know what the Elders there were thinking. So now they have to get her married and baptized next month. The other two dates in Panamericano, Santos and Josue, passed their interviews. I did the interview for Santos, and he actually asked me to baptize him, so I showed up on Saturday for the baptism. However, he got really sick and couldn't do it. So that one fell until next week. And Josue had some kind of problem with the permission from his parents, so that one fell, too. So I spent all day Saturday in Chalchuapa for no reason. But I did get to eat a bunch of the refreshments that members had brought for the baptism. No complaint there.

Speaking of food, me and my comp decided something. We bought 120 pupusas on Friday (that's a lot of pupusas!) and threw them in the freezer so that we can just go grab some and heat them up when we're hungry. Best idea ever.

P1010241We also didn't work in our area at all on Tuesday, either, since my comp had to go to San Salvador so that he could be legal. So I worked in El Refugio with Elder Huaman, which is why I'm uploading pictures of us milking a cow. That was an interesting experience.
I just started typing in Spanish accidentally. That was weird.

Last Sunday Elder Adams and I were starving, so we decided to pass around a calendar for people to sign up to give us dinner. Of course the purpose was to find new investigators. But a pretty good number of people signed up. The only problem is that they didn't sign up for last week. They signed up for this week. So we have a dinner appointment almost every night this week where people have promised us new investigators or less actives. That's awesome.

We haven't really talked to Cindy much these days mostly because she's gone skateboarding all the time. It's gotten really hard to find her since the rain stopped. The Segovia family, which I might have mentioned before, hid last time we went to talk to them. We waited outside their house for over half an hour. Then we started shouting to them that we had seen them, so they sent out their 9 year old son as a messenger back and forth between us and them. How lame is that? So we dropped them.

We also have been talking to Griselda and Melvin. Griselda has come to church three times now, but she isn't progressing very well. She doesn't want to get married, and the last time we taught her she pulled out a bunch of anti-Mormon material that we had to combat basically. It was mostly her husband, actually, that was really set on disproving us. She seemed to accept what we were telling her. And it was a cool experience because we just stayed calm and followed the spirit. When I left I felt happy with it. At one point we just stopped and read the articles of faith, which are quite handy, actually. Who knew?

The really positive investigators that we have right now are Olga and her husband, who are basically set for a baptism the third of December, and the Cruz family, who hasn't been able to come to church yet because of work. But it looks like they might be able to come next week. We run up to their house every night to share a quick scripture since Alex, the husband, is quitting smoking. And they have been reading a bunch of the Book of Mormon, which is awesome. They're great.

Happy Halloween, by the way. It is exactly the same as any other day here. Sarah sent me a picture of her being a dead Ute, but I don't think she did the dead part as well. Maybe you should have gone for an axe in the head or something? And Julie was saying they're all going Speed Racer themed, which is awesome. I'm going as a missionary. Original, right?
Thanks for the emails, and for all of your support. It really helps out here. And I'm out of time, so I've got to send this off now.

Elder David Arrington

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 8 in Buena Vista

I’ve learned that it’s not actually Buena Vista, though I think that is the “neighborhood.”  It’s actually Chalchuapa which is about 10 miles outside Santa Ana and about halfway to Atiquizaya, David’s first city.  That being said, I’ll leave it as Buena Vista.  That’s easier to pronounce.

New rules this week….

Subject:  What about my carpet?

Okay. First I have to explain something that will inevitably make some people very sad. And I'm sure we know who that specific person is. Sorry, Sarah.

Due to the now eight missionaries that have been sent home, President has decided to tighten a few of the rules. The biggest ones that you'll all be interested in refer to our emails. We now only have 45 minutes to email, as opposed to the hour/hour and a half before. We also may not email anybody except family members. I personally talked to President about that and this is what he said: We may write to immediate family only. However, if we would like, we can send that email to non-family members. We also may receive email from other people, as long as we do not respond with personalized emails to them. Everything must go through the family. So mostly for Sarah, being the only non-family person I have written to: I love getting the emails and highly encourage them, but I will have to respond to them by hand. Sorry. Those dang missionaries ruined it for the rest of us.

And don't worry, I definitely will be sending at least one letter off soon in response to the quite entertaining letter that I got this week.

Also, I have a better way to write, now. Instead of reading all of my emails here, I print them first and then have almost the entire time to respond. Hopefully I'll still get some decent emails out. Today was a little bit different, though, since Dad sent his email late. So I had to stop and read it. (I enjoyed it, though)

By the way, is the address of the new server the same? I just went to and it didn't work...

Okay. This week was good, but very tiring. I also gave a talk on Sunday, and as a missionary I've gotten pretty good at that. I can come up with a topic, a few scriptures, a really general outline, and talk really comfortably about all of it. In Spanish, even. Who knew?

My comp just told me that this will actually kick me off at 45 minutes now, so I have to be careful about this. But it may end abruptly.

We've finally been getting a couple investigators in church, which is pretty awesome. The one that has come twice now is named Griselda. Her biggest difficulty is that her husband is not too thrilled about her going to church. She's progressing, but we haven't talked much about her getting married yet, either. Just enough to know that it's going to be tough.

We were at our washing lady's house the other day, and out of nowhere I decided to invite this one girl that lives there to church, because I thought that she might be inactive. It turns out that she never got baptized, she really, really wants to, her husband also wants to, and they want to get married. The problem that they had before is that she is from Honduras and they couldn't get her birth certificate, but now they have it. Now the biggest problem is that he, Rodolfo, works in Guatemala and only comes back to El Salvador every twenty days. He just got back, so we reviewed everything with him. He's super great, knows all of the doctrine, and is ready. He even has a daughter on a mission in Chile. But since he can only come back every twenty days, the date is set for the third of December. Kind of far out, but oh well. I'm content. God is awesome.

My comp and I get along great. He's pretty hilarious, but he's not big on movie quotes. It makes for some kind of weird moments where I'll quote something hilarious, and he'll respond to it as if I had just been talking, or he just won't get it. And then I have to explain it. Oh well. I guess not everyone communicates by movie quotes.

Mom, you asked if I got the package with the hymnal. Yes, and I already gave it to Elder Huaman, who is actually in my zone again now that he left the office. Thanks for that, by the way. He liked it, and started laughing pretty good that I had actually gotten him one.

So I guess that's where I leave it all. Me and Elder Adams are working great together, and we get to the house every night super tired. And we do some quirky, funny things together, like buy a lot of pupusas (that's not bad at all, nor quirky, but we do) and paint tops (mine turned out pretty good, I'm not going to lie. Pictures next week!)

I just got a two minute warning, so I'd better get this off. Thank you Dad, Mom, Julie, and Sarah for your emails! I love you all!

Elder David Arrington

PS: With ten seconds to spare...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 7 in Buena Vista

David gets a new companion.  Or animal.  Or beast of some sort.  There’s some weird stuff going on in Sonzacate causing bad things to happen.  Still, the work in Buena Vista continues unabated!  (What a ride!)

Oh, and revelation:  I’m old….

Subject:  We've all got to die sometime, right? I guess I've just got to do it saving the world.

I have to explain something really fast. During the week, if I think of a really good movie quote I write it in my agenda. When it comes time to email, I just use the first one. I didn't mean to choose this one because of Grandpa, nor the twenty some-odd people that have died down here because of the rain. Nor the crazy mission stuff which shall be explained shortly. There, I covered myself.

So first, just so I can get this off, I have to say that this week has been nuts. Probably the craziest week of my mission. I have a brand new missionary companion, I'm having great success suddenly (probably because of him, not me), and it's been raining super hard all week. Here's the real kicker, though: I probably shouldn't give too many details about it, but I have to at least give an overview. I remember that Elder Oliverson was having a tough time in Sonzacate, and he told me some of the things that they suspected Elders were doing there. It was bad news. One North American Elder that I know pretty well (he was in my zone in the MTC) got involved, felt guilty, and confessed to President. One really awful process later, seven missionaries have been sent home, at least three of which (including the North American) have been excommunicated. Missionaries that I have known really well, and have even lived with (but none of my comps, so don't worry there). Another dozen or so missionaries are being investigated, most of which had direct involvement in some lower forms. And it doesn't stop there. A lot of church leaders in the Sonsonate/Sonzacate area have been wrapped up in this as well. We're talking bishops, branch presidents, high councilmen, etc. It's a huge deal right now, and I think the church is in a lot of trouble in that area. All the members do or will know, and we can all imagine how that will kill the work. President, as you can imagine, is pretty torn up about all this. We're going to have some multizones this week to talk about it.

Elder Adams[1]Anyway, on to happier things. On Tuesday, I got my new comp. His name is Elder Adams, and he's a beast. I love this guy. I am waiting for the office to send me the picture that they took of us, but if they don't that may have to wait until next week. I don't have a way of sending pictures right now. But I remember that that same day it started raining really hard. We were heading up this street that was basically a river, and there was no way to stay dry. I was contemplating going back to find another route, but he just looked at me and asked, "Where does that family live?" I pointed up the street, and he took off, wading through the water. He's a beast. And I swear, he's way better trained than I was from the MTC. And his Spanish is much better, since they've started sending the Elders to Guatemala.

Wednesday and Thursday we worked really well together, and we found some sweet families. They have some problems, but it looks like we'll be getting some baptisms together, at least. We've started to get a lot better at committing people to baptism on specific dates, too, so we have a few dead dates for November (they don't have church attendances, so it doesn't count as a live date). There wasn't anything super special, we're just working better together. And our planning and comp study is so much better than it was last change.

We did have this cool experience a couple days ago, though. The lady that washes our clothes has not been doing it lately since nothing dries in this rain. So we went over there to grab some of our clothes and dry it ourselves in front of the fan. There's a woman with a new baby that is her daughter-in-law, and she's always super nice. Her name is Olga. I had always just assumed that she was a member, but I hadn't seen her in church lately, so I invited her to conference, and I started asking her about stuff like that. As it turns out, she never got baptized. She loves the church, wants to get baptized, and was just waiting for her birth certificate to come from Nicaragua so that she can get married and then baptized. It was a long process (two years so far) but they finally have it. Her husband got baptized once, but never got confirmed, so he has to get baptized again. And yesterday we went to start teaching her, and right there committed her to be baptized on the 12 of November. Cool!

Alright, I got the picture attached. Good times.

I'm just about out of time, so I don't think that I have time to respond to all of your individual emails. Suffice it to say, though, that yes, Julie, missionaries act just like fat people trying to read mail. The football game was awesome. I got some great emails from Dad, Mom, Stacey, Julie, Sarah, and Elder Oliverson today, so that is fantastic. I loved them.

Thanks for all of the love and support! I know that things have been rough with Grandpa dying and all, but it has been amazing to be able to read Mom's account and just kind of sit back and see this as a part of life, instead of something sad or terrible. I really feel relieved, as well. We'll see him soon, anyway. Mom and Dad, you'll probably see him sooner. You're old.

Elder David Arrington

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 6 in Buena Vista

A little (unstated) companion trouble, and the opportunity to train a new missionary!  Plus, encounters with a spider!  A big one!

Subject:  “Three days? How many sins could you have committed in three days? Come back when you have more time please!”

I saw on some kind of newspaper thing that they're planning on making a new Zorro. So I went home and listened to the (amazing) soundtrack. And now I wrote that quote. I just wanted us all to get a nice, warm, Zorro feeling.

And I also saw that Steve Jobs died. That's kind of horrible. I feel like that's going to be a pretty huge hit for Apple. And for the world. I loved the line that Dad sent me, though. Ha. Thanks Obama for the lack of Hope, Cash, and Jobs.

"Don't make me start it up again, because I will!"

"I didn't know it was THAT free."

There's a couple random quotes for you all.

So I want to start this week with a little bit of good news and a little bit of just news. The just news is that, for the last week, my comp and I have been pretty bad. I won't go into details, since I shouldn't, but ask me after the mission about it. Basically, though, he started doing some stuff that not only is against mission rules, but is completely against what President has directly told him, and it involves serious things. And I'm pretty upset about it because I can hardly control him, and the zone leaders are pretty upset at him because they can't, either, and we're all just kind of in this Mexican stand-off (Only we don't got no Mexicans!). That's the news. The good news is that I have changes this week. My comp is leaving, and I'm TRAINING! Who knew that one day I would train a new missionary? Well, statistically speaking it was bound to happen, but still. I'm stoked. And I'm kind of nervous because I don't even know what nationality he'll be. Probably a Latin. But he could also be a gringo... Gah! Oh well. I get to meet him tomorrow, during a meeting where President will decide our companionships.

Elder Duzett is also finishing training, right? That's kind of fun. And what's that about him teaching one of my families? I definitely don't know which one it would be. He's in Paraiso, and I don't follow my investigators well enough to know who moved where. But that's super awesome! I'll have to ask him about it if I get the chance. Get the family's name, though, just in case.

P1010125Oh my gosh, I almost forgot. Monday night I had the craziest time ever. I wish I could send the videos, but the pictures will have to do for now. I was sitting in my chair doing my reports, and I stood up and turned around, there was some kind of tarantula thingy right behind my chair. I flipped. That thing could kill me. I think. I called my comp over, but it was the first day of our having issues, so he was just like, "Deal with it." And then went to bed. Dang it. So I spent the next hour and a half trapping it under a pot, sliding it onto a piece of cardboard, flipping it over, dousing it with rubbing alcohol, and burning it. And I got a lot of videos of the process. But I'm uploading a few pictures instead, since the videos weigh too much (in Spanish that made sense). So I dominated a tarantula (horse-spider is what it's called in Spanish. At least here), without anyone's help. Take THAT!

P1010164We were supposed to have interviews on Thursday, so we went and waited for almost two hours. And then President cancelled them. Lame.

I'm also uploading a few pictures of when we made pupusas with some investigators on Saturday. Good times. They're a fun family.

Sunday, despite our intense efforts this week to commit all of our investigators, nobody came to church! Gah! Just come to church! Why did God give us agency again? Oh yeah, I guess it's important. But it's also annoying.

We did find an inactive lady named Dora on Saturday that came to church with the BP's wife, so that was kind of cool.

P1010181Oh. And on Sunday we had this ridiculous two hour meeting after church with some of the branch leaders and finally convinced them that they need to work with us. So we left Sunday afternoon with the EQP and the HPGL to visit some investigators. They enjoyed it, and now our investigators will have a little bit more support and more friends in the church, so maybe they'll show up.

Also, this week we left with a few different people, especially during the weekend, to find news. And it was completely fruitless. We did find a mountain of less-actives, though. Anyway, it was a little bit sad to me that we worked for so many hours to find new investigators and only came up with less actives. So we had zero new investigators this week, which is just about as awful as you can get as a missionary. Oh well. That means that we can only go up from there, right?

P1010173Our investigators are progressing a little bit. The most is probably the Acosta family (Francisco and Rosa, and their son and his wife Carlos and Mariela). They really enjoy us coming over and have told us that they've seen a big difference in their house lately. They don't fight as much. Cindy as well is progressing a bit. We decided to start pushing her more than ever, and she's starting to pray and read more, but she didn't come to church and she told us that, because of her boyfriend, the Law of Chastity is going to be a tough one. That's too bad. Oh well. Even if we fail there, maybe we're just planting the seeds, right?

So I hope that you're all doing great. It's rough that Grandpa is doing so horribly right now, but I know that it's just about his time. And I'm going to stay out here and focus on my work even more, just trusting that the Lord knows what he's doing over there.

Thanks for the updates, and for the package that I got this week! It's almost gone, by the way. Oh, and it had a problem in customs since it didn't have a customs label on it, which normally would seem like a bad thing, but they sent it through anyway. And, even better, I didn't have to pay the usual $2.50 for it. So disobeying customs laws saves you money. Go figure. That makes me a little worried for this country's national security.

I love you all, and hope that you have a great week!

Elder David Arrington

PS: BYU is awesome. We totally won.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 5 in Buena Vista

In which the mission sets a new record.  But not a good one….

The good news?  We got a few pictures!

Subject:  "He's possessed!" "He's insane!" "He's my kind of guy!"

Wow. Wow. Did you all not just love conference? I was taking notes like crazy. My hand is still cramping from it. Awesome stuff.

So this week was a little bit lame. Mostly that was because of not having a lot of time on Monday to work (as normal), not having time on Wednesday because of an almost all day multi-zone (which was amazing as well), and not being able to work at all on Saturday, and only a little bit on Sunday (not that I'm complaining much).

P1010020When we did get out to work, we did a lot of service projects with some recent converts and some investigators that we have. Alba, the recent convert, is making some plastic flowers to sell for the day of the dead here, and she's behind. So we went to help her with that a little bit, and while we were there, Rosa, who is completely inactive and her husband is an investigator, came over and mentioned that she, too, needed to make some plastic flowers. Hello, service week! We spent a few hours throughout the week helping both of them. With the few hours of work that we had to begin with, that meant that the numbers were a little bit low this week, but we did find eight investigators while we were working on those, and we built those relationships a little bit stronger. So I don't feel horrible. Just a little bit bad.

Cindy is a little bit disappointing to me now. I think we were focusing a little bit too much on fellow-shipping and less on teaching the gospel, and it hurt us. This week we wanted to undo that, so we watched the Restoration DVD and reviewed that a little bit, while at the same time inviting her to come to conference. It was a pretty good lesson, and I felt the spirit there, but I think that she was a little bit less interested in that than just kind of hanging out. We're going to keep going back this week to see what happens there, but it's just not looking fantastic right now.

P1010034Another one that is a little bit frustrating still is Fransisco. He keeps telling us that he's going to come to church, and then he doesn't. We even go to get him, and it just doesn't work. I think that this is the fourth week straight that I've complained about that. But the worst part is that that's the same that happens to every single one of our investigators. We've even put some dates with people, but they just won't come to church! How lame is that, that people will commit to be baptized into a church that they've never visited?

We found a family this week of less actives. They are called the Rivas family. They're one of those families that the missionaries found a couple years ago, baptized the parents, and then they went inactive. Then more missionaries came, reactivated them, baptized the kids, and then they all went inactive. They straight-out told me that they stopped going to church because the missionaries that came later were boring. So we're going to try to reactivate them (since I am NOT boring), and try to make sure they stay that way. Which means that we've got to get them testimonies. And maybe they'll have to do some baptisms for the dead or something.

P1010052That's basically all I have to report from this week. Like I said, there wasn't much to report. Oh, but I will say this, too: our mission had a goal of baptizing 230 in one month. The closest that we had gotten was a couple months ago, when I was in the office, when we baptized 218. This month we were all excited to get it finally. How did we end up? 90 baptisms. Ouch. That's the lowest in one month that I've even heard of in this mission. President isn't happy.

In response to a few emails I got:

Julie, your email was hilarious. And thank you for your compliment about my handwriting, although yes, you should have noticed earlier. I don't write those letters, by the way, at the same time as my emails, so me having to respond to hand-written letters doesn't in any way make my emails shorter.

Also, I think I am mostly free of the Premature-movie-judging-Stacey-syndrome. Nasty disease, that one. Although, I definitely did not know who Will Arnett and Christina Applegate are, and your references to Blades of Glory and Anchorman didn't help. I only saw Anchorman once a long time ago, and I've yet to see Blades of Glory.

Your story of the CHT bus quote made me laugh really hard. I wish I was there to see the confused looks on the high school kids' faces, though. They wouldn't have understood. And yes, I will let you take me to Red Robin when I get back.

That was a lot of response. It was also a lot of email. So thanks for that.

Mom, you mentioned that you were fixing up the BMW and you replaced that light on the front that "somebody" had taped on. Yeah, that was me. I'm just saying.

But don't go taking that out of my mission fund or anything. I didn't run into anything. It just kind of fell out.

By the way, did any of you watch the world report between conferences? Yeah, they definitely talked about the San Salvador temple dedication. That's ours. And it was mentioned in conference. By the prophet. How sick is that?

Oh, and even more important than that: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I didn't get you anything. Sorry. But you do share a birthday with two people in the Rivas family, so that's cool. I hope it's a good one for you. You'll have to let me know if I owe you any presents for these two years. I'll pick you up a capirucho or something on my way home.

Unless, of course, you come to pick me up! I'm still very much open to that. You'd just have to let me know when and such. Although, doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of going if you aren't going to the Canary Islands first? Oh well, your call. And no, in June it won't have started raining here. Maybe a tiny bit. But this year it didn't really start until mid July.

Dad, your email was awesome as well, although I suppose that BYU should take part of the credit there. Wow. I was on the edge of my seat reading about it.

I, also, have no idea what a lumen is. But I think that more is better. Go for the new projector. Although, buy the old bulb, too, so you can gift that projector to me upon my return.
And I'm totally up to going to the Panama Canal. Is that still the USA's? I think we were supposed to give that up sometime.

I'm also stoked that Steven's team beat Hilhi. Those Trojans. We were bound to win. Good job, Steven. You did me proud.

And I didn't even know who Riley Nelson is, so I'm completely out of BYU football. Dang it.
Thanks for all the emails, though! I love you all!

Elder David Arrington

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 4 in Buena Vista

Missionary work improving in the district in spite of cricket distractions…

Subject:  “That sounded just like an elephant!”

BYU, you had me worried when you mixed up those poisons. But now that UCF is dead, all is forgiven.

I'm glad that they played better this time. It means that they are still on the road to being awesome when I get back.

This week was a little bit better. But not a whole lot. The good news is that I found a way to help my district. In district meeting I talked about each of their areas and where they need to improve. Then I had them make a list of people with whom they could do divisions. And then I set goals with them every day of the week for their lessons to find. They didn't always meet the goals, but it really boosted the numbers. They even did divisions once or twice, which basically doubles the numbers for that day. As you can imagine, it's a good thing. I'm really quite happy with it. They're doing much better. My own area, though, has seen a little bit less improvement. We did divisions twice, though, too. So that helped.

P1010110There's this cricket looking thing right next to the monitor, and it kind of has half of my interest. So sorry if I seem to have a lack of focus.

The problem continues to be getting people to church. This week we had zero investigators in church. That's the first time that that has happened since I got here. And for this country it's pretty bad. We are teaching a bunch of people, though, so we have the investigators, they just all keep bailing on us Sunday morning when we pass by to pick them up. This week it was everything from "I'm feeling a little sick" to "Today is Sunday? I thought it was Saturday...". Annoying. But we've started having another problem as well. Since we have a bunch of investigators that we're teaching, we haven't been finding anyone. That's not good, because if you don't find you eventually won't teach. We tried to fix it yesterday and spent over an hour looking for a reference in this three-block colonia, but we turned up with nothing. It was kind of lame.

Most of the investigators that we have are progressing pretty well, though. If you don't include coming to church. Cindy is probably the most positive, still. The last time that we went to visit her (after not being able to for three or four days) she had read the two chapters we had left her (Alma 36 and 3 Nephi 11), Alma 32, since we had been talking about it one time and she was curious, and had started from 1 Nephi and was half a chapter or so in. That's impressive. I know a lot of members who don't do that. She is still full of questions, too. I'm not going to lie, it's a little bit nerve-wracking to have an investigator like this. You'd think that it's super great, but it's kind of scary. It means that she already has a desire to at least find out more and look for a testimony (by the way, she told us that she had not prayed about the Book of Mormon yet because she's in the middle of some pretty frustrating stuff with some guy and just didn't feel like she could do it sincerely enough while being mad at him), and that we are here to help her with it. With normal investigators we kind of have to convince them to do it, which means that any success is attributed to us and any failure is attributed to their agency. But with investigators like her it's just the opposite. If she succeeds, it's because of what she has done and her desire to do so, and if she fails it's because we messed up somewhere. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it's kind of there in the back of my mind while we teach her sometimes.

Quick side note, though: the credit never really goes to us, of course. Which means that the failure never really goes to us, either. We just have to follow the spiri--oh my gosh, that cricket just jumped onto me. So I decided to take a picture of it and upload it here. It kind of freaked me out because I had no idea what hit me. But then it wasn't a big deal. Kind of funny, actually. Also, when I tried to flick it off of me it bounced off the wall and grabbed back onto my leg. See, it was funny.

Fransisco has been taught just about everything, but he won't come to church. Carlos and his wife are doing alright, and Rosa and her husband are as well. What really surprised me, though, was that last night we went back to an investigator named Griselda. Her husband, Melvin, was an investigator, but I think I already told you all what happened there. He basically fought with us and told us that he didn't want any more. He's still a super nice guy, by the way, so don't think he's not. But we went back to talk to the wife, and she had read the Book of Mormon! Not much, but still! That's awesome. We hadn't even left her anything to read. So she might progress, as well. And she told us that she was going to go to the Corn Festival, but it was raining super hard so she couldn't. Oh well. That's progress!

To finish up, I'd like you all to know that I finished my journal. Not my first journal, nor my second, my THIRD journal. That's every single day for over fifteen months. I bought five in the MTC, and I've finished the green, the red, and the blue. I'm now on the black, and by the time I finish my mission I'll be a good ways through the white one. Be impressed. That's huge for me. And I've definitely seen how great of a thing it is to have those journals. I was reading one or two days from my first one, and it was great to be able to remember those things that I probably wouldn't have remembered otherwise.

Thanks for the emails this week. Stacey mentioned this new I'm a Mormon thing that's coming out down there in Arizona, so I just wanted to let you know that it sounds like a great idea. In fact, I think I heard about that. And I think that I browsed the page and watched all of the profile videos. About fourteen months ago. I was in the MTC, as a matter of fact, when a guy came and announced it to all of us missionaries. He showed us a couple of the videos and told us how it would work. In the MTC I made a profile for it, but I couldn't upload pictures, which is required, so I couldn't finish. But every once in a while, in the office, we would go online and watch a couple of those. They're great.

However, I have two little thoughts. One is that we are supposed to stop referring to ourselves as Mormons, so I'm not sure how that works. The other is from a book that our branch president has (in English) called Here We Stand. It talks about how often times we, as church members, try to find common ground with other faiths to be more accepted. While it's good to be accepted, though, the author explained that as a salesman trying to sell you something by first convincing you that it's exactly the same as what you already have. Well if it's the same, why on earth would we buy it? He also talked about a man that he knew that was a catholic and decided to visit the church. All of the members fellowshipped him, but they were all just trying to convince him that they're basically the same. He left the church completely convinced of that, and said later that he had no reason to change if they're the same. I'm not saying that this new campaign is doing that at all, I just thought that was interesting. It was a good book, from what I read, by the way. I might have to read that later. So there you go. That's my spiritual thought this week. We don't have to find middle ground in preaching the gospel.

Also, I'm glad that Romney is looking good in the polls. I also have been a pretty big fan of him. The guy just makes sense. That's rare in politics.

Thanks again for all the support! I love you all!

Elder David Arrington