Monday, August 29, 2011


On Monday we received this email from David:

Subject:  Quick Note

P-Day is Monday.

Elder Arrington

What on earth does that mean?  Since moving to the office his PDay is on Friday.  So that probably that he’s been transferred out of the office.  But to where?  And with what assignment?  We have a week to wait before we find out….

Friday, August 26, 2011

Week 30 in the Mission Office

Apparently David loves his job in the mission office and gets to do many things that most missionaries don’t get to do.  This week we hear more about that and get a couple pictures.  Are those his shoes that are so worn out?

Also, the Temple in El Salvador is dedicated!

Subject:  “Can I have your watch when you are dead?”

This week was the week of the temple dedication, which was super cool, but that means I have to start back on Saturday. After going to write, we got permission from President to go to the stake center and watch the temple cultural event, but only if we went with an investigator. So we were super motivated. We had invited other people to it before, but we never actually had permission to go if they did, so this changed things. But almost all of our investigators were out of town. Never discouraged, though, we went to Corina's house.

Here's a quick note about Corina and her circumstances: She lives with only her husband and daughter in a very big, very under-construction house that they do not own. Her husband is not married to her, and likes to smoke and drink a lot. This house has a gate, but they only have one key to the lock, so they generally have to stay home while the other is gone. Also, she has a habit of telling us that she wants to go to church and such up until 8:00 Sunday morning, and then just makes a mountain of excuses. But this time, even though we only had half an hour to do so, we pushed and pulled and manipulated and did all manner of iniquities to get her there, and it finally worked. I think it only did, though, because of all of the solutions that we gave to her excuses, so she had none left, because we called a guy to pick her and us up to drive us there and back (and he was on his way before she even went to go get ready), and because of the pupusas with which I bribed her. Yes, people can be bought. But I heard Elder Bednar talk once about that situation with him and Elder Packer, where he gave Elder Packer some money for food on the train or something and he used that to bribe the guy to keep his wife from getting arrested, and he said something which I'd like to invoke here. Said he, "Now, Elders, that's not a bribe. It's a righteous exchange."

The cultural event was basically a watered down version of the dance festival that we did a few years ago, and was a little bit slow at first, but it was good. And that was Saturday. Sunday was really a relaxing day because of the dedication. Since only members were invited, there was no need to go get any investigators before it. We just went by ourselves without backpacks, scriptures, or anything. Just a hankercheif. Yeah, spelling English words is stupid. I'll just write a white pañuelo and we'll all just know what I mean. And the dedication sessions were awesome. Elder Christofferson lead the meetings, and he, President Eyring, the Area Presidency, and a few others gave talks. They were all really good. For the prayer, President Eyring read it while Elder Christofferson read the translation. Very cool.

At the end of the last session, President Eyring got up to give the last talk and started out with, "I feel impressed to say something that I wasn't going to say..." and you could just feel everyone in the stake center lean forward. He started going off talking about President Kimball's first meeting after becoming prophet, discussing how the church will expand. He said that he had a map made with arrows coming out of the western United States spreading to Asia. But at the last minute, he had it changed to have arrows coming out of Central America and South America as well. People called him crazy. Well, maybe not since he is the prophet, but they at least raised an eyebrow. But President Eyring said that that prophecy is going to start coming to pass, and he talked a lot about the incredible potential that the church has in El Salvador, and all kinds of stuff. It was cool. But the coolest part was that President Cordon was in the celestial room for the third session with his son, Oscar. Oscar just got his mission call. He's going to China, Mandarin speaking. Which makes him the second person from Central America to be called on a mission to Asia. And the first was actually an Asian that moved to Guatemala and his last name was Chang, so it doesn't even really count. And he was in the room with President Eyring when he felt impressed to talk about that. Very cool stuff.

So now the temple is dedicated. I'll get to do some temple work in Spanish after all. That's fun.

P1000867On Monday I had to go with Elder Gonzalez to the airport to drop off a couple Elders who finished, so I had to get up at 4:00 and drive for three hours or so round trip. But it was totally worth it, because I ran into, of all people, President Lopez and his family! They had come for the dedication and were dropping off Cristal so she could make it to BYU in time for classes. That's BYU Utah, by the way, which is another reason why that family is awesome. They speak English AND go to BYU. Anyway, it was super fun to see their family again, and I uploaded a picture from it. President Lopez is always in a suit, I swear.

Another fun thing that we did this week was have the farewell dinner for Elder Oliverson. Normally it's a tradition in the office that when somebody leaves President has a big going-away dinner for them. He didn't do that when Elder Oliverson left, so he just got around to it. But the Cordon family is really great in one very, very important way: they know how to spend money on us. That makes Elder Huaman a little uneasy, since he's the financial guy, but I enjoy it. Hermana Cordon always has a few treats for us, but this lunch was crazy. Gummy worms, Snickers and Hershey's Kisses sitting on the tables. Fillet Miñon and Chicken Cordon Blue (that can't be spelled right, either) and Ratatuilli (I give up). Tres Leches cake to finish it all off (that's Three Milks, translated, which is basically a cake that has been soaked in milk. Kind of weird, but once you're used to it it's delicious). Fantastic lunch. And from what Elder Huaman told me, way way too expensive.

P1000857Also, the other day for lunch I ate cow's tongue. I don't know if I told you all that. It was good, but I kept cringing, imagining that feeling when you bite your tongue while it's numb. I thought I was eating my own tongue.

Dad asked about my job. I'm the records guy, which means that I sit at the computer and enter baptismal records into the church's database. Not an easy task when you're in one of the highest baptizing missions in the world. But I actually kind of enjoy it for some reason. It's relaxing. I have a few other things I do, like getting the release packets ready for missionaries, but mostly it's just the records. And I should be in for at least one more change, or six weeks. We just found out (actually just me and Elder Huaman know, so it's still kind of secret) that Elder Huaman is going to Belize next week. So that means that I will be the only member of the office that knows Trebol. That, with my recent re-assignment, rugged good looks, and position as the one of the two people remaining in the office with licenses that feels comfortable driving (Elder Gonzalez and I are the only ones with a license, and the first time he drove a car was for his driving test. He's a little rough, to put it lightly), means that I probably will not be leaving the office this week. And, yes, I'm a little excited to be a regular missionary again, but at the same time I don't want to be. The office is way more fun than I would have imagined it being, and it brings with it a ton of great perks. I just know that when I leave I'll daydream about all those great times when I'd be driving in the air-conditioned car eating an ice cream cone and honk as I pass the regular Elders, walking in the hot winter days here. Good times. Yeah, I've got the cushy job.

Oh, and I was going to say that the mission got a letter from some lady in Utah, which she sent out to all of the missions in the world. She apparently got excommunicated, which is a no-brainer when you read the letter. It talks about a "messenger" (it never says his name) who has been called to be the actual prophet now because our prophet is false, and how this messenger translated the 116 lost pages and the sealed section of the gold plates, and how he wants to try and incorporate all of this into our church because of our resources and missionary program and such. And she said that, as even more evidence that he is who he claims (without actually identifying himself), he's almost done writing a book entitled "Without revealing my identity--the official, authorized biography of Joseph Smith as delivered by the resurrected Joseph Smith" Or something like that. I don't remember exactly. It was highly entertaining to read, although complete garbage. It's amazing how far off people can get from true doctrine. It just gets all twisted. That's probably why we have to study every day; so we can continuously refound ourselves on the basic, beautiful doctrine of Christ. If you go too long without doing that, maybe you're straying from it a bit. I've seen that happen to Elders. They start focusing so much on the deeper doctrine that they stop studying the Book of Mormon, and next thing you know they'll believe the most ridiculous things. Just an interesting observation.

P1000866As far as investigators go, there isn't much to talk about. There was one thing that kind of stood out, though, and was really quite sad. We were teaching the Mojica family for a while, who were a reference from some recent converts. They seemed like a pretty good family. They went to the temple open house and liked it a lot, and were very receptive. One of their daughters had died at a very young age, so the Plan of Salvation was interesting to them, and the husband had had a bunch of really crazy health issues and was just kind of a nice, humble guy. But just this last week we went back and things had changed. I was on divisions with a member the last time we went, and it wasn't good. The husband was super weird suddenly. He started off by telling us that he had stopped reading the Book of Mormon because he had several issues with our doctrine, such as baptisms for the dead. Really, that's not a hard principal for us to teach with the Bible, Book of Mormon, logic, or any other tool, so I explained it very clearly to him, and he just wouldn't accept it. It was probably the closest to Bible-bashing I've ever gotten with an actual investigator. I didn't want to, but he did. But it was even worse, because he definitely did not know the Bible very well at all, and was misquoting all kinds of things and saying that the verses that we pulled out and read were not true because "the Bible has to say something four or five times before it's true." Even though those are quotes, it's a paraphrase. By the end, we finally worked around to the Book of Mormon again and I was basically begging them to just read it for a couple days and pray, but they wouldn't. So we said a prayer and left, and they gave me back the Book of Mormon.

I feel kind of bad for the priest that was on divisions with me, because he didn't really say much for the entire lesson. He bore his testimony once or twice, though, which was probably the best part of the lesson. Oh well. That is not the first time that that has happened to me. I don't know if I've shared any of the other experiences like that, but they're all sad. The worst part, though, is that I love that family and want them to come to church and be baptized and have the gospel, but they don't. What we're pretty sure happened, based on a lot of other clues in the weeks leading up to that, is that the church that they used to go to noticed that they were meeting with us and decided to go visit them, too. And so they talked about how evil baptism for the dead is, or something like that. It happens. But now they go to that other church, which is stupid.

Quick side note: I've heard stories that actually kind of make me laugh from missionaries who have visited a family for the first time, had a super spiritual lesson, and when they go back the family says something to the effect of, "Wow! When you guys came we just felt so great and felt the spirit so strong that we decided to start going to our old church again!" You see it's funny, but it also makes you think.

But enough about that sad depressing stuff. We're also teaching a couple other families, like the Linares family. They are a little bit less positive, but the wife seems pretty interested. The husband is the intellectual kind, though, and just thinks that what we're teaching is really interesting and fun to learn about. They might progress.

Okay, that was a pretty good, long email. So I'll just wrap this up with a thank you to Mom and Dad for writing me. Home seems like such a strange place now, with all of us moving around and changes happening with jobs and whatnot. It'll be good to go back someday. But it's still a solid nine months away, and then some, so I'm not yet baggy. But nine months goes fast. Wow. If one of you told me suddenly that you were pregnant right now, I might be home before the baby is born. Maybe not, I guess, but it'd be close.

Elder David Arrington

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Week 29 in the Mission Office

This email came a day late, presumably because President Eyring was in San Salvador training missionaries…

Subject:  "Rasputen!" "Rasputen! Oohoohoo!"

You have to all read that quote like he says it in the movie. Much funnier that way.

So I think that I should start with the responses to your emails so that I can end this up on a spiritualish note. And, since I feel bad for past weeks, spot #1 goes to Julie.

So Julie. How've you been? I got the list that you sent me, but to be honest haven't read it yet. I just printed it out to read later so that I have time to write you all. But I am assuming that it will be hilarious. Also, I quite enjoyed the pictures, and believe that James has got to be the fattest baby of Arrington descendants at this point. So you win the fat baby award. And it looks like you are all very happy and doing well. Very nice. He'd better be able to wrestle me when I get back.

Stacey, you haven't seen Hot Rod. That's horrible. I congratulate you for getting both the Tenth Kingdom and Balto quotes, but that's just not going to cut it. Get on that. But thanks for the email. By the way, it seems like every week for the last three or four weeks I've heard from somebody different that Harry Potter 7 is amazing and that they spent like an hour on the phone talking to you about it. You definitely do need a new hobby. "I once had a girl who rearranged furniture!" Speaking of which, I seem to remember you preparing a Music 101 review for me...

Lindsay, those were also some great pictures. Was it just send Elder Arrington baby pictures week? I was quite surprised that Reese is so big and seems to be starting to walk. Also, you have long hair! And Mike has a ton of hair all over his face! That's crazy as well.

And Dad and Mom and the family. I don't think anyone ever told me that I spell Eyring wrong either, so I'll have to work on that. And just spelling in general. I'm glad everything is starting to move along with all of the family, and it seems like with Michael's Nike stuff and Steven's sports stuff (dang that kid is ripped) and the Frogleys moving out and Latin Concerts and so on, life is pretty great. Life is great when it's busy. I think so, anyway.

By the way, there have been a couple weeks where I might have mentioned rough things or frustrations that I've had, which happen from time to time, and then I'll get responses and such to those difficult things. Thank you for that. But I was going to say that a lot of times I'll get on to email and read these emails that say things like, "It sounds like you're going through a really rough time..." and I just sit here and think to myself, "What? What did I say last week?" And then after a few minutes I start to remember and it makes sense. It's just funny to me that I generally can't even remember the rough things I was talking about.

Oh, and I very, very much enjoyed the BYU Football news. It sounds like we've got some rough roads ahead that could end up super great. I'm stoked. Even though the emails aren't as great as watching almost all of the games live HD, I can feel the good ol cougar pride.

And what is this I hear about an Apple TV? That may need some explaining. I think I remember Dad talking a little bit about those when he was deciding on what TiVo to buy, but I know about nothing more than that. Technology is fun.

And in some strange way, that brings me to the rundown. This week was very slow with investigators. And kind of sad. First of all, none of them were at church. We already knew that all of them were going out of town this weekend for some strange reason, but it was still sad. We don't even have Principles of the Gospel if there's no investigators. I meet in a rented house that fits about 80 people, and about 60 come to church. I don't know if I told you all that. It's an interesting experience. But they're starting to build a chapel, so it'll be good.

Since all of our investigators were gone Saturday and Sunday, it made those days really hard to work in the area. We found a couple new investigators, but none of them very positive. I'm not even sure if we'll go back to them. This one that we found, though, was really interesting. He had been invited to the temple and went, so that's how we got the referral. His name is Agosto, I think. He's like sixty years old. But we got to his house, and he started talking. People in this country really like to talk, by the way, even if you very clearly are not listening. Just a side cultural note. But this guy was actually interesting. We noticed the Book of Mormon was on his shelf, and we commented about it, asking if he had had a chance to read through it at all. It turns out that he's read the entire thing. I think several times. He started talking about all kinds of things like the ruins here in El Salvador and how well they correlate with the Book of Mormon and Alma and Nephi and Mosiah and King Lamoni and how Christ came and on and on. I think this guy knew the Book of Mormon better than I do, maybe. Maybe. Maybe, Harry. After talking for almost an hour about the Book of Mormon he straight out told us that he knew it was written by prophets here in the Americas and that it was true. But he's Evangelical, and likes going there more. We tried working on that a bit with him, but he wouldn't budge. He's actually some really important guy in whatever Evangelical church he goes to. He's in charge of the prayers or something. But that just goes to show you that having intellectual knowledge of the Book of Mormon or this church doesn't get you very far.

The rest of this week was focused on getting ready for the temple dedication, and since I'm running short on time I have to jump to yesterday. We had a meeting with President Eyring (I totally spel good) together with the San Salvador mission. So we worked in the office in the morning to finish up a couple quick things and then, around two, we headed out to San Salvador. I had to be there a little bit early to help set things up for the choir we put together (let's put them here in front. Looks good. Done), and then we kind of just waited around. I spent a big chunk of that time talking to other missionaries, such as Elder Duzett and Elder Oliverson. Meetings like that are always fun. It's fun to see people again. But then they finally let us in around 4:30, and we waited. And waited. Two of the Area Presidency were there, so they kind of gave a couple talks and stalled for time for an hour or so. President Eyring was running late, so he didn't get to the chapel until around 6:40. But it was totally worth it. That man is a beast. Spiritually. He's actually kind of an old man physically. But he came with Elder Christofferson (however that one is spelled), Elder Falabella from the Area Presidency, and Elder SomethingthatIdon'trememberanymore from the Seventy. And one of the first things that we did was have our special choir number, where I went and played Lead Kindly Light on the piano with President Eyring about four feet away. And Elder Christofferson, both mission presidents, the Area Presidency, a couple seventies, and about 400 missionaries. Not intimidating at all. Thanks to prayer, though, it went really smoothly. And since I played the piano, I got a special spot on the inside isle of the third bench back. Great spot to be. I was that guy that President Eyring looked at really often to bare his testimony and hammer home some points. I think I stood out since the rows in front of and behind me were all Sisters. But that is a great experience. So I'm going to end with one of the many points that he covered. By the way, Elder Christofferson speaks Spanish really well. I don't know if you all knew or not.

President Eyring started by making a couple remarks about his trip to the chapel and how they had not anticipated how horrible the traffic was going to be nor the horrible driving of the citizens, so they moved very, very slowly. He's really funny, by the way. But he talked about how President Monson will always start the day with a huge smile and then just go to work. He said that he and President Hinckley are very alike in that. He said that often the twelve would come to President Hinckley with some huge problem, almost trying to impress him with how difficult or challenging it was, and he would just smile and say, "Well, everything will work out." So he tied that into the traffic that he was in, and how he kept thinking about that. He said that all of us need to be faithful, work hard, and smile throughout because we have complete faith that everything will work out. Maybe not the way we want it to, but as he said, it will work out the way God wants it to. And His way is usually better. He also shared a small part of his patriarchal blessing which said that if he is faithful he will receive blessings beyond his fondest expectations. He told us that that is true of every one of us. And the best part is, we can't even imagine right now what those blessings will be, because they're beyond our fondest expectations. So there's my little message for today. Be faithful, work hard, and smile throughout. Everything will work out well in the end if we do.

I love you all. Thanks for sending me emails and letters. I've been enjoying both, and it's a huge blessing for me to have such a great family supporting me while I'm out here. And it's even better because really my family is like five families now. That's five times as cool. I love our family.

Elder David Arrington

Friday, August 12, 2011

Week 28 in the Mission Office

Funny letter.  This guy cracks me up.

Oh, and from my perspective, it would be great if every missionary came into Ward Council this prepared…

Subject:  “I was hiding under your porch because I love you.”

Ha ha Stacey sent me some pretty great Pixar quotes, so I had to start with that one. These were the other non-Pixar runners-up:

"Do not rustle about so. You'll wrinkle my shirt."

"That's what he said. Rather poetic really."

"Butter would not melt in my mouth. Well yes it would melt, of course it would melt. But very slowly!"

"No! We will not die like dogs. We will fight like lions!"

"It's just that it's such a pretty boat. Ship."

"And then they made me their chief."

"But you live with your mother!"

Alright, there's some pretty good ones in there, I know. I will grant one wish to the first person who can tell me what all of them are from. I'll bet there's a couple you're scratching your head over right now. So satisfying.

I don't think anyone ever taught me that the word weird is not spelled wierd. I just assumed it was i before e. And yes, I know what happens when you assume. I just had no idea. This is crazier than the time, as a senior in high school, somebody finally pointed out to me that I write my capital Qs backwards. Did I actually pass kindergarten?

"Whoa, how come Rod is kissing his sister?"

"Denise isn't his sister, man."

"She's not? That shatters my entire universe."

So I'm running out of time quickly, so let's get to the nitty gritty of it all.

Things in the office have been a little bit more relaxed since a lot of my job is just putting in baptismal records. I had to put together a list of all the converts since 2008, which presented a ton of problems, but I got that done finally. But we're starting to get a little bit more rushed since we have to prepare for a meeting with President Eyring next Friday (I'll probably have P-Day Saturday, although that's just my assumption. Yeah, I've got to watch out for those). Our mission is in charge of putting together a musical number for the meeting (the two missions are combined for it), and the Elder that was chosen to coordinate it put me on the piano. So next Friday night I'll be playing the piano for one of the men in line for the throne. That's super awesome.

Also, I just realized that I should still have P-Day on Friday. The meeting isn't until like 6:30.

In our area, things have quieted down a little bit. It's kind of our own fault, though. We have a couple investigators, like Corina, who always seem super positive until Sunday morning. And then nobody shows up to church. It's super frustrating. By the way, we leave at like 7:00 to invite people to church, and it's ridiculous how much people just throw out excuses. But one family, the Mojico family, did show up this week. They still seem really positive, but they've had family in town all week so we haven't been able to meet with them for a while.

Most of our focus, then, was on the members. Specifically the less actives. We have a goal of 100 in sacrament meeting before Elder Huaman leaves the area (or I do, but we think that he's going first), and that means there's a lot of work to do. There's usually something like 65 or 70. So we've been talking a lot with the ward about how to do this, and hopefully we're going to start getting some people to leave with us Sunday morning to invite people.

Something that seems to be a problem in the church down here is that nobody in the leadership has any experience. They're returned missionaries, but they tend to just not do things. For example, on Wednesday we had a ward council meeting. The missionaries always have the first amount of time to talk about their investigators, less actives, and recent converts. The meeting was supposed to start at 6:30, which is when we got there, and the bishop showed up at about 7:15. And he was the first of the council to get there. That's a very, very common thing here. I miss punctuality.

So we start the meeting, and I pass out all of the copies of our progress sheet. Each member of the council gets one so they can see exactly who we're teaching, what we're teaching, and what needs to be done to help them progress. I started just running down the list, briefly reviewing who each person was so that everyone could get an idea before discussing actions to be taken. It's a really great process that the church has put together, and should work very well. Instead, the bishop interrupted me before I got a third of the way through the list and told us that there's a family that had just moved into the ward boundaries from my old ward, Independencia. They are very, very active, but, since they have callings in Independencia, feel like they should keep attending there (plus it's a way bigger ward that meets in an actual chapel. We just have a rented house). He went on and on about how they need to attend where they live, and that this is a serious problem, and what can we do to convince them to come over here, and so on and so on. He, and the rest of the council, would not stop discussing it until 8:30, at which point Elder Huaman and I had to leave to catch the bus. So what did we get out of that meeting? What are the actions that will be taken to help the families that we're teaching accept the gospel, be baptized, and gain exaltation? What are we doing to help the recent converts stay active, and the less actives become active? Those are all very good questions. But you all should be very proud that we might be able to convince an active family to change wards, thus raising our attendance by four.

Sorry, that was probably a lot of ranting. It was more than I wanted to spend on the subject. But it's just frustrating to me that we're going to the ward looking for help and nobody really cares. They'd rather we just go, work, baptize, and stay quiet about it all. Unfortunately, that's not how it works, is it?

Well there you go. I've got to get this off soon so that I can finish up a couple quick emails. But let's see if I can respond to a few comments:

Stacey, that was a great email. That wedding schedule sounded fantastic. Although I'm not really sure how I feel about that movie being planet of the apes. The quotes were good, football sounds fun, and life is amazing. Speaking of football, has BYU started up yet? I'm excited for football season. All I've been hearing about here lately is soccer leagues and Barcelona and Real Madrid. Ridiculous, huh? Although I have bought some pretty awesome jerseys. And I've been playing a lot of soccer lately, and I think I've gotten pretty good. In the beginning the Latins always kind of joke about the gringos that are playing, but now they've kind of come to respect me. In an actually-that-guy-can-kind-of-play way.

"Hey, man. What would Jerry do?" 

"Jerry would play!"

"He would play!"

That wasn't all directed at Stacey. Sorry about that.

And I publicly must apologize to Julie for not giving her personalized responses when she writes me. There, are you happy now? I got your letter by the way, and I loved it. Very fun.

Lindsay, funny quote. Good times.

Mom and Dad, the week sounds like it was pretty dang full. Those are always fun, but it really makes the weeks when you're relaxed a lot more relaxing. I'm quite looking forward to that feeling in the coming ten months. I don't have much to say to respond to all of the medical going-ons of the family, except that I got really sick on Monday and Tuesday. I'm better now, mostly, but I couldn't work for a couple days. By the way, somebody should look up for me whether or not tamarinda juice can ferment, and if it can, if it becomes alcohol. I was sick before I drank it, but it was really weird. Ha. I spelled it wright.

That was a joke, by the way. I know wright has two t's.

I was going to say one other thing, though, but I think I forgot. Oh, it might have been about how I'm upset that Obama is being exactly what we thought he would be, but it kind of gives me a little satisfaction, ya know? I want to rub that in a few of my hippie Oregon friends' faces. But I won't, because Christ wouldn't do that. Actually, the way He teaches some of the Pharisees and such, would He?

I love you all. Thanks for the emails and letters that you've been sending. It's great to get them and hear how all of you are doing.

"Live long and prosper."

I don't think I've ever seen an episode of that show. Only the new movie. Which was amazing.

Elder David Arrington

Friday, August 5, 2011

Week 27 in the Mission Office

As always, good to hear that David is in good spirits.  Not a lot of deep news this week, this letter is a little shorter than the last one.  But we did get a couple pictures!

Subject:  Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin? Here I am! Here I am!

That's not really a movie quote. Unless we have it on home video or something. Does anyone actually know where that song came from? I am kind of curious. But I'm also a little scared, because there was this one time that I was in like fifth grade and I was trying to figure out where this one song came from, and I asked someone, and they told me it was from Barney. Then I felt bad because it was like, "Oh, I guess I watch Barney..."

To clarify, I do not currently watch Barney.

Did I ever watch it, actually? I don't remember what I watched as a kid. Maybe Sesame Street. Or the Muppets. Oh my gosh. Muppet Treasure Island. Epic.

Thank you all for accompanying me down that strange, nostalgic road for a bit. Dad was very right when he said that I'm going to have to load up with a lot of new movie quotes when I get home. I'm running low on them. In my defense, though, I have had to think of two or more per week for the last fifty some-odd weeks. Quite a challenge.

I was at a member's house the other day, who fed us some kind of Nicaraguan pupusa rip-off, and I saw a way-too-short trailer for Brave, that new Pixar movie that's coming out. If I recall from the speech I gave about Pixar at BYU, they were going to come out with a movie called The Bear and the Bow. I guess they changed the title. But it looked very well animated, at the very least. I didn't pick up on any of the story, though. Just so you know that I am mentally (and on paper) making a list of to-watch movies to stock up on those quotes. Also, I saw some kind of deodorant commercial that had clips from the new Captain America movie, which looked interesting, especially with Hugo Weaving. Did anyone see that?

P1000827Sorry. Hearing about movies here is really weird. The trailers and posters and such don't usually come out until like a week before the movie is on the street vendors' shelves. And it's even weirder because I won't actually see any of them until after the mission. It's like getting text message updates about a party that you're not invited to. That's kind of a depressing simile, actually. So think of that, but that you can't go to the party because you're out home teaching.

The mission is really weird. But super fun and awesome. But weird. Last night a member called me a, and I quote, "Salty Monkey". I told her that I was from Honduras, (jokingly, of course) and she said, "Oh you salty monkey, tell me the truth." That's just weird. And the day before, I think, we were looking for a reference that had contacted us for an appointment that we had. We only knew that he lived in house number 4 of a certain street. So we went house number 4, but they told us that there were two number 4s on the street. But the entire time, a little ways down the street (it was a very small street), there were these two youths having some serious PDAs whilst laughing at us with a couple of P1000830their friends (it happens sometimes when people think that I don't understand them). So we try to go find this house, but couldn't since there were no numbers, so we asked a few people. Where did the house end up being? Of course, it was the one where the kids were hanging out. Dang it. Elder Huaman and I were like standing there trying to convince each other to go ask for ten minutes. Finally we went and I asked them if the guy lived there (Elder Huaman still wouldn't do it). Of course, as soon as I started talking to them they stopped joking. (It's very fun in this country to hear people say something that they think you don't understand and then respond to it. Their faces are priceless). But it turns out that, even though it was the right house, the guy didn't live there. Go figure.

P1000829By the way, I'm uploading a few pictures of me and my comp in front of the giant clover that is at the entrance to El Trebol (Trebol = clover in Spanish, for all those taking notes). Also, there's a note that President Cordon's daughters left us in the office, which I thought was funny.

Things with our investigators haven't been moving along quite as well as I would have hoped. Mostly we've been visiting with Corina, Walter, and Noel and his family. Corina has been reading a little bit of the Book of Mormon, but hasn't gotten very far. She's a really slow reader. But we've been talking a lot about repentance, baptism, faith, the commandments, and all that stuff that you talk about with investigators. The last time we went we read together 2 Nephi 32 and analyzed it, talking a lot about how it applied to going to church especially. She still seems really absorbent. That's the best word I can think of to describe her. She just learns and believes really quickly what we teach. But she still hasn't talked to Marvin about getting married (or splitting up if it comes to that), so until that happens we can't really do much.

P1000831Walter is kind of the opposite. He is up to Jarom, now, in his personal reading of the Book of Mormon. He still doesn't feel like he's gotten a real, solid answer that the church is true, but he's still looking. We reread part of Enos yesterday with him and talked about how to pray and get answers to those prayers, especially about how Enos prayed all day and night until his prayer was heard. It was a cool lesson, and he's the kind of investigator who asks a lot of really thought-out questions, so it's really fun. But his biggest problem, I think, is that his wife is kind of skeptical, and we can't really talk to her at all. We're still working on that, but until we can go and teach them together I don't think he'll progress all the way to baptism.

And Noel seems to be one of those guys that just kind of lets us come to visit without really listening much. He's a good guy, but doesn't really participate much in the lessons. The reason we keep going back, though, is for his kids, Karen and Gerson. They are 12 and 16, I think, and in the last week or two have become friends with some of the young men and young women and gone to mutual twice, the second time without anyone inviting them. They've also got permission already to go to church on Sunday. I think they could progress pretty well, and once Noel starts to see that he might pay a little bit closer attention.

So that's how the work has been going lately. It's good to hear that everyone has been working pretty hard there at home, too. And can I just say that the twins are super huge now? It doesn't make any sense to me. And Steven, as well. People are getting tall. Sorry Michael, Mom and Dad. I think you're all the same height. And I'm assuming the rest of you are, as well.

And I'm super jealous that you're going to see Les Miserables tonight. I'll hum some of the songs throughout the day in my jealousy.

And I'll buy an ice cream cone. Lindsay described deliciousness to me, but I can get a giant two-scoop ice cream cone with strawberry cheesecake and banana split flavors for $0.99. That's awesome.

Elder David Arrington