Subject: "All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's personal for a lot of people."
Up until this point in my mission I have tried to keep the mission and my personal life seperate, and I think that for the most part I've succeeded. But this week had a lot to do with my personal life, so this email is going to start with me explaining a lot of that. So sorry in advance.
This last week has definitely been the hardest in my entire mission. In the past I've gone through sickness, exhaustion, investigators that drop us, investigators who can't get baptized, bad numbers, confusion, worry, and even depression and anxiety, but it all passed. When things like that happen in the mission, you just have to kind of endure it, push forward, and move on, since you know that everything will soon be back to normal. You find new investigators, you start feeling better, the numbers pick up, other baptisms come, and so on. But in this last week, I've been hit with absolutely all of the things that I mentioned, and then some. And it's not a situation that gets better.
So you may remember that last week at the end of my email I mentioned that Sarah had sent me a rather un-favorable email. I won't go into the details of what is going on there, since the details aren't important. The point is that, like a couple of you have told me, she seems to have moved on. When I first read that on Monday, I was in shock. I had printed off the emails and was reading them in the house, and was in a fantastic mood, to be honest. The week before was the best week in my mission, and I was reading some great emails from everyone (including Brian, formerly known as Elder Oliverson), and it was great. And then I read Sarah's email, and everything very, very suddenly dropped to the highest hign to the lowest low. And it pretty much stayed there for a while. When I wrote to all of you last week, I was still in shock, and that continued for most of the day. I told a few people about it, but it wasn't that bad. But after P-Day ended I went to an investigator's house and pretty much just broke down. I was explaining to them why we had gone to visit them, since we had set an appointment for the next day, and it had to do with what had happened to me, so I started to explain it, and I just couldn't handle it. Monday night I think that I might have gotten a full hour of sleep, but I'm not sure. Tuesday was kind of the same, except that I started to feel physically sick from it. I still went out to work and, for the most part, was able to forget about it while I was teaching, but in between lessons and in the house I was a wreck. Wednesday morning we had district meeting, and for some reason President wanted to come see our zone meetings. While he was there, I asked for a special interview and a blessing specifically to help me through the process. It was a great interview, and I was basically falling apart the whole time, but he gave me some good advice and the blessing. When I got home, I went in our back room, shut the door, knelt down and prayed. A lot. My comp told me later that I was there for over an hour and a half. I didn't feel it. But by the time I was done, I felt much better. I've still been in ridiculous amounts of pain throughout the week, but I'm coping much better with it. I've found that the easiest way to cope, by the way, is keep my mind off of it, which means that I've been reading a lot of the scriptures. There's nothing else to do, really. So in my free time I've read a few hundred pages in the Bible. I'm almost out of the Old Testament now, finally.
Just so you all know, by the way, I really appreciated your emails this week. There was a lot of advice and such that kind of helps, but after a week of thinking about it (since there was really no one to talk to about it besides President), I'm pretty much done worrying about what is going to happen. If something happens when I get back, it happens, but if not, I'll eventually find someone else. I'll still get married one day, have a family, and be sitting on the couch eating potato chips while my wife nags me. It's just in the plan. Maybe not the nagging, but still. Right now I'm not going through a there's-nobody-else-I-could-ever-be-happy-with stage, I'm just going through the this-loss-hurts-more-than-anything-I've-ever-felt-in-my-whole-life stage. So thank you all for the prayers and the advice. I'll be alright.
Enough about that. I probably won't ever mention it again. I just wanted to let you all know how I was this week. But the ridiculous mental, emotional, and physical health issues were only one part of why the week wasn't good. It was the biggest part, but only a part.
At the beginning of this week, we had six baptismal dates for the month of March, which would have put us at seven in total for the month. That's pretty epic. I was stoked. Let me run through all of them. First, Christopher. He got baptized yesterday, and it was awesome. He loved it, and it was a great service. He's super powerful. I'll send pictures of his and Saul's baptisms next week (I'm running out of time). So that was the good one. The next most positive was Juan Carlos. He had his baptismal interview and passed it, but we don't know if he went to church yesterday. He was going to be at school and would have had to go to another ward (since it was closer), and we haven't been able to talk to him since. If he didn't, then he can't get baptized this month. If he did, then we have to plan a wedding and work through some worries about US Embassy fines before Saturday. If that all works well, then he's getting baptized.
Next, the Paredes family, which consists of Wendy, the mother, and Alejandro, the son. Wendy has three attendences, and can get baptized still on the 31. However, she has to work through some law of chastity issues with her boyfriend before then, and she needs another interview. It can definitely happen, though. Alejandro only has two of the three attendences that he needs, but since the 31 is conference weekend we might get special permission for after one of the sessions. Neither of them came to church this week even though they said they would when we passed by in the morning, and when we left church to go get them they weren't home. Not a great sign.
Then we have the Diaz family, Juan and Reina. They are both married already, so that's a big difficulty out of the way, but they didn't come to church either, so neither can be baptized until April. They are still pretty positive, though. They had told us the day before that they weren't going to be able to come to church yesterday. Still, I didn't appreciate it much.
And those are the six. Honestly, I think that we're going to end this week with one more baptism, and it will be Juan Carlos. That's my forecast. But we'll have to wait until next week to see, now won't we? For those of you counting at home, that means that two of the dates fell, two more are close to falling, and one is unsure. And one got baptized, which is nice. But still. Now, all of that happened in this terrible week that I'm having, and I know that it's not terrible to have five investigators that are preparing for baptism, but when the zone was pushing so hard to meet the goal of 20 and all of that happens, it hurts. Now, because of that, we won't make it. Elder Beaton, one of the APs, and the zone leaders spent a day or two in my area even to try and make everything a little bit better, but it just kind of starts falling apart. Those five, by the way, are not our only investigators, but they are pretty close since the rest are starting to drop us or need to be dropped by us. And we only found three new investigators. None of them are very positive.
Well, there it all is. It's been a rough week, and one of the longest weeks of my mission. But things are starting to get better. And the sooner I get through this emotional trauma that suddenly popped up the better. Thanks again for everything! I'll work hard out here this week, and just take it one week at a time.
Elder David Arrington