In which David has a bad day, but some great things happen, too.
And we learn some Spanish poetry.
Subject: “I can't believe it. I'm losing to a rug.”
I'm gone a whole eleven months and now nobody wants to go on the father son campout? What has become of our family? Oh well. Honestly I'm pretty sure that I won't be going, either.
Today was a pretty exciting day, to tell you the truth. We got up around five and got ready (the four of us with our tiny, tiny shower) and went to the chapel, where we were meeting at seven for a surprise zone activity. We were also required to write a poem for one of the other Elders in our zone (names were assigned). Slightly confused, we went. Here's my poem, by the way, which I wrote to Elder Stone:
Vivimos juntos y oramos juntos,
antes de salir,
entonces escribì un poema
que quiero compartir.
No importa si tenemos
con su pelo y con sus dientes.
Creo que somos amigos
por nuestro tiempo juntos trabajando,
Y es bueno, realmente,
porque su hermana me està esperando.
I wrote it in like five minutes, but there you go. I don't think it rhymes in English.
[Note: Here is the Google Translation of the poem:
We live together and pray together
He then wrote a poem
I want to share.
No matter if we
I'm in love
with her hair and teeth.
I think we're friends
for our time together working,
And it's good, really
because her sister is expecting me.
Obviously, something is getting lost in translation. Or David has lost his mind.]
Anyway, we had a quick meeting at the church, we packed up on a mini bus and headed down to San Andrès, which are some ruins in Santa Ana. I think they're there, actually. The point is, we took a lot of pictures and had a great time. It was really cool, too, because we were basically the only ones there. I won't be able to send any pictures until next week, though, for reasons I'll explain in a second.
Oh, and I definitely spent like thirty bucks on souvenirs. But the stuff is awesome, so I don't feel too bad. And the lady gifted me a bamboo flute for buying so much. Nice people.
The rest of the week was pretty rough, to tell the truth. The call was super fun and awesome, though. I was kind of really sad to get off, but I was out of time. It kind of makes me mad, because Elder Oliverson used one of the office phones and just put saldo on it (I don't know what that's called in English) [Google say’s that’s like an account balance], which is what I did, but he did it a day sooner, when there was a promotion for saldo x6. I didn't have the phone with me that day, since I borrowed it, so I couldn't. That's not fair. He had like two days to talk if he wanted. Oh well. We move on.
Okay, I am writing this whilst trying to keep up conversations with Dad about something, so I'll explain that. It's basically the most eventful day of the week, anyway.
Oh, but first I want to tell you all something a little funny. Elder Guevara, one of the assistants, has been trying to get his license for forever. He and the other AP, Elder Hosman, have been having problems with their residencies, though, and haven't been able to. But his came, and he took the test really fast, passed it all, wove his way through the bureaucracy, with President pressuring him a ton, and came out with it on Friday. That night, President went to the house and did the test. He passed. Saturday they didn't use the car. Sunday they used it just to go to church. And Monday morning he slammed the passenger side fender into the garage door while backing out. And did a lot of damage. And lost his driving privileges. Okay, THAT'S funny.
Alright, so now we move onto the investigators. The Diaz family is still just waiting to get married. Not much has happened there. The Caminos family seems to have a new-found interest in meeting with us. That's cool. We are teaching a family called the Merino family. I don't think I've mentioned them, but I might have. The husband, Juan, has met with the missionaries before. His almost wife and their one year old daughter, have not. But they seem really positive. We've only taught them together once, though, so I'll have to update you more on that as time moves on.
On Monday, I got the super awesome scripture cases I ordered. I'm in charge of sending the orders to Hector, the guy who makes them, and normally they take about a month or so to make. But I think he knew I'm the one he has to please, and I got them fast. I ordered them last Wednesday. That's fast. And they're good quality, which sometimes they're not. I'll send pictures next week.
Tuesday was Mother's Day here, so we went and wished everyone a happy Mother's Day. Including Hermana Lopez, who promptly fed us cake. I love her. She's super fun.
So now on to Wednesday, I think it was. The office was kind of stressful, but not too bad. The new missionaries were coming in for their migration stuff, so it was my job to take new pictures of all of them. So I brought my camera to the office. It turned out that they weren't going to come in until Thursday, so I brought it for nothing. But we took a bus back to our area, like we always do after the office, and it was super packed. Somewhere in that process, someone grabbed my camera out of my pocket. So that's now gone, and I can now say that I've been pick-pocketed by a Latin. What's really lame is that I was thinking to myself on the bus that any one of those people could rob me, being as close as we were, but I was only thinking of them opening my backpack and taking stuff. Dang it. I felt horrible about that, but the truth is that I only lost a couple pictures, like the one we took with Hermana Lopez yesterday. Fortunately, I was pretty good about keeping a backup. I lost a couple fun videos, though. Oh well. Honestly I'm just really glad I've been keeping a backup. But because of that, I didn't have a camera this morning. I have to rob some of the pictures that my comp and Elder Oliverson took. And don't worry, I made sure that they took a bunch for me.
After that incident, a bird pooped on my backpack and on Elder Gonzalez's hand/shoulder/head. That is so wrong. Funny, but wrong.
Then we went to Ana. This is a story for all of you with new kids, or who are about to teach some really rowdy primary kids or something. It was not good. We tried to teach, and I tried with all of my teaching skills to commit her to a baptismal date, but it just didn't work. The reason is that she just kept yelling at Daniel, her four-ish year old son. And he started going crazy. And she started yelling more. And then hitting him with a belt. And it was just terrible. Near the end we were really trying to invite the spirit, so I did a magic trick for him. He calmed down. Then we pulled him in close and showed him some pictures of Christ. We started asking him things like, "Who is that?" "Do you love Him?" "What does He want you to do?" "Does He want you to misbehave, or not?" And you know what? He sat there and stared at those pictures and answered exactly the way we wanted him to. He knew who Christ is. He knew that he should start being better. He even had his arms folded while looking at the pictures. And then we asked him why he misbehaves. You know what he said? Because his mom hits him with a belt! Gosh. It's not rocket science here. It was just the most depressing thing to me, because here Ana couldn't stop talking about how terrible Daniel is, and how he won't calm down, and be like a normal child, and on and on, and we had him calm, good, and exactly like a normal child. The difference? She was using force, we were using Christ.
Okay, I've written a ton and have to go soon, so I just want to wrap up with what I just said. One thing that has been on my mind a lot, which one of my councilors taught me in the MTC during a ZL training thing, is that when you want to change someone's behavior, you don't force the behavior you want. Here's the order of influences:
Identity effects our beliefs, which affect our character, and so on. The point is, you don't change the results or the actions. The problem is like an iceberg, and you can only truly fix it if you go all the way up to the top. You have to attack their Identity. Or, better said, build it up. If they understand who Christ is, what He did for us, that they're a child of God, the potential that they have, and so forth, the rest will literally fall in place without even mentioning it. Well, sometimes it will have to be discussed, but the important question that you should be asking them is: Do you love Jesus Christ? I have a great talk that we recently saw by Elder Holland that I want to send you all, so I might get that ready to upload next week. Or ask permission to upload it from the office. It's that good. Mostly about missionaries, but still applicable to all.
Alright, I've got to go. Sorry that I didn't write much about my investigators this week. I'll get better about that. But I just wanted to share some of that stuff. I love you all!
Elder David Arrington
[Also note that we told David to get another camera. We want more pictures!]