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