Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 3 in Buena Vista

This missionary work thing appears to be harder than it looks!  A few challenges to talk about today….but no pictures.

Subject:  "I see you like to chew. Well why don't you chew... ON MY FIST!"

I am kind of a little bit short on time. We have a zone activity this week, so with 18 missionaries needing to write in a very short amount of time and very limited machines, I get the short end of the stick. But that's not that bad, because this week was kind of uneventful.

As far as investigators go, I'm a little bit befuddled. I think that has three d's. We have a pretty solid group of investigators that we're teaching, but none of them seem to have any desire to come to church. They are all really excited at first, but then they just don't do it. For example, we're teaching this guy named Francisco (who everyone calls Don Paco for some reason). He is reading the Book of Mormon, has been praying, and has told us several times that he feels like he wants to go to church and see what it's like, and that he thinks that that's where he needs to be. But then, Sunday morning, he says he just can't. Or he isn't home. And he's not the only one. People come up with the stupidest excuses. "Oh, I'd love to go to church today with you, but Sunday is my only day to wash the clothes, and I haven't done it during the week at all, and it just cannot wait another hour." It's ridiculous. But that's agency, I suppose.

Another that we've been teaching lately that has been kind of positive was a girl named Cindy. I don't really know how it's spelled in Spanish, but I speak English and that's how we spell it. She is a skater-girl, and every weekend goes out to skateboard with her friends, but doesn't really seem like it at first. She seems kind of like just a nice person. Anyway, she's been reading the Book of Mormon a bit as well, and is interested in the Bible and churches and all that. She just hasn't come to church because of different parties or camping or random things that she does on the weekend. But she seems pretty positive, to be honest. We were there last night, and we had a pretty good lesson about the Bible and the Book of Mormon and how and why they are important, which stemmed off of some questions that she had about Revelations. That is a confusing book.

Also last night we went to visit Alba, the lady that just got baptized. She invited a few people over and we taught them, which was cool. Teaching people in the houses of members is really powerful. Anyway, there were two families that we started to teach. One of them is slightly older, and the wife, Rosa, already got baptized a long, long time ago. But she doesn't go to church at all. Francisco, the husband, is learning about the church and is kind of indifferent about the whole thing. The other family is Carlos, the son of Francisco and Rosa, and his wife, Mariela. All of them were pretty open to reading the Book of Mormon and praying. The only part that made things a little bit more difficult was that the lesson started off with a question about why we do baptisms for the dead, and the statement, "If you answer using the Bible, it's okay, but if not I won't believe you." Now, that's a little bit hard to do using just the Bible, but we managed okay. I also found out that there aren't really any scriptures in the Book of Mormon at all about it. Funny, that. But we took that and tied it into the restoration and why it's important to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was pretty good.

One big thing that I almost forgot to mention is the 15 of September, which is the El Salvador Independence Day or something. It's not super huge here, but it's at least a holiday. We spent it at a missionary activity. The Chalchuapa Stake, as it turns out, hosts an activity every year called the Corn Festival. It's a huge cultural event in the stake center with a bunch of dances and acts and such, and afterwards there's a ton of free corn-related foods. There's a lot of corn in this country, by the way, and I had never heard of any of these foods before coming here. They get kind of crazy with it. As a matter of fact, one of the foods is called "Crazy Corn-on-the-Cobb", in Spanish of course, and it's basically corn on the cobb smothered in mayonnaise, catsup, I think one other thing, and cheese. I was inclined not to try that.

Anyway, the activity was great, and there was a super great turnout. The stake center was literally packed, and I would send pictures except my battery is dead, so not until next week. Sorry! And since the activity was missionary-purposed, we missionaries had a bunch of assignments to make sure everything ran smoothly. It took all day, by the way. But my job, together with my comp, was to make sure that nobody entered or exited the cultural hall through a certain door, since it would create chaos. There was no way to lock the door, but the great part is that somebody had broken the knob, so there was literally no way to open it. So for a few hours we were guarding a door nobody could use. But it gave us a pretty good view of the dances and acts and such. There was this piano/violin duo that was really good.

My district is not doing very well. I feel like my comp and I are doing okay, and we have goals to get better this week, but the numbers for the other two areas are super low. It's kind of sad. The zone leaders are worried about it, as well as I. Every day we have to report one indicator called "Lessons to Find". One lesson to find is when you go talk to someone who is not an investigator about the church. That could be knocking doors, talking to the person on the bus next to you, asking someone for directions and mentioning the church, etc. It's super short, easy, and you just kind of do it. Each missionary is supposed to do ten each day at least, so twenty per companionship. In one of the areas in my district they had zero lessons to find for the WEEK. That hurts. Ow. So any ideas from all y'all would be good. But give me some creative ideas. If you want different results, you have to do something different.

Alright, I'm out of time and I still have to write to President. Your emails were fantastic this week. I got a pretty good bunch, and they were all pretty long and fun. I think the horrible, shameful loss of BYU must have sparked some desire in everyone to write to me. I'm not complaining; I didn't have to watch the game. Though it sounds horrible.

Julie, your email was great. I loved it. And it's great that you got to head out to Utah for a bit, even though you couldn't go everywhere that you wanted. Also, I definitely am sending you something that you might enjoy, so look forward to that.

Stacey, likewise your email was great. You both are really funny. And I fully expect you to take care of that music until I get back. You have a piano?

Mom and Dad, I'm glad the week of service was such a ridiculous success. The church works really well in the states, and it's cool to see everyone come together like that and exceed your expectations. And Michael was dressed up like a dog with a cape, so I think it was a big win-win.

I love you all! Thanks for the support!

Elder David Arrington

PS: Dang it. I knew you'd guilt me into paying the ticket. Oh well. That's probably why I mentioned it to you in the first place.

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