Monday, March 5, 2012

Week 9 in Sonsonate

David continues doing missionary work even when his mom and dad are off vacationing on a cruise.  And, of course, he’s making progress with his investigators…DiCaprio is not one of them.

Subject: "Well, she's married to the Muffin Man." "The Muffin Man?" "THE MUFFIN MAN!"

When I read that Mom and Dad are on a cruise now and that they got to go to some Cuban restaurant, I was a bit jealous and told my comp. His response: "Elder Arrington, you've been eating in Salvadoran restaurants almost every day." Oh yeah! I'm out of the country, too!

So this week was pretty good. We worked really well and got a lot done, even though I had to spend two entire days in Santa Ana for some meetings. There's a lot of good stuff going for the mission, like getting 134 baptisms in February. That's definitely still down from the 200 or so we used to get every month, but in the last six months we hadn't gotten over 90, so it's moving in the right direction at least. And our zone, Sonsonate, is looking pretty good for March right now. And we've already got one baptism later this month that is about as sure as a baptism gets, and we're looking to put three more dates. It's going to be awesome.

Me and my comp have been working really well lately, too. We have never fought or anything, but he always seemed to walk a little slower and such. This week has been much better. And he's starting to take part in lessons a little more, which I think is because he's understanding what people are saying a little better. I remember what that was like. Well, I spoke a little bit better when I got here, but when you don't know a ton of Spanish you tend to want your comp to teach. Even if you know what's going on, it's hard to think of the right way to say things with a limited vocabulary and grammatical understanding.

By the way, I've noticed that my sentence structure, or just word choice, maybe, gets really messed up when I've been talking to a Latin in Spanish for several days straight. It kind of just makes me laugh. I don't have an accent, though, so sorry about that. I speak English way too much for that.

Alright. On to my investigators. The most positive right now is named Saul. He's a kid (10 years old) whose mom is a member. I think I already explained how we found them, and it was awesome. It's the Karias family, which I think I mentioned already. But something else that's interesting: when we found them, it was four days after the wife's husband had been killed. We had no idea until she told us yesterday. But because of that, in addition to a lot of other things, she felt like she really needed to go to church again. And for the last three weeks she's come on her own with her family, one of which we're going to baptize. We've taught him just about everything, and he's a great kid, so he was going to get baptized this week, but we decided to change the date to the 17. That will give us time to announce it to the ward (which they forgot to do on Sunday) and make invitations for people he wants to invite (future investigators, of course), and really just plan everything out really well. President has been telling us a lot lately that baptismal services should not be improvised. It's the most important day of that person's life, and we should plan accordingly. Plus, an event that spiritual is perfect for finding new investigators who will have already had that spiritual experience (or witnessed it, at least), and who have already visited the church building, which makes it infinitely easier to get them to church on Sunday. So we want to plan this one really well.

Another one that I had mentioned a lot in the last few weeks was Juan Carlos. His wife is going through those processes to get a US residency, and it threw a big, fat, stupid wrench in the middle of our plans to get them married and baptized (the wife is already a member, actually, so just him). However, we talked to him yesterday and basically found out that they have two options: A) Forget the plans they had, get married, get baptized, and just do their best to work here in El Salvador and trust that, since they're following God's commandments they'll be better off, or B) Not get married, live in iniquity for a year or so until this process ends, and then live apart for several years and maybe never get married, since she will be in the states and he'll be here. With the baby. So, when you look at it like that, it's pretty obvious which one we want them to do. But they see the trip to the states as an opportunity to earn a lot more money, and it's pretty attractive. It reminded me (and I actually shared this in the lesson yesterday) of that story that was told in conference about the two missionaries who were going to go home, and the President got them tickets for the Titanic, which to them was a huge, awesome, luxury cruise ship. Which it was. And I'm sure they were super excited to go on that famous ship. They probably would have even run into famous people, like Leonardo DiCaprio. Heck, I'd want to go. But some little thing got in the way, and they couldn't make it. And we all know how the story ends. The point is, a lot of times we see things like that that are big and fun and we just want it. It might not even be a bad thing, like her going to the states to earn more money for her family. That's not a terrible thing. But if we trust that God knows what he's doing, and do what he asks, then in the end it will work out a whole lot better. Even if we don't know why. And even if it doesn't happen in this life. We win in the end.

That was a lot about nothing, but it was a fun lesson. We have a couple other positive ones, but nobody that's really progressing. Christopher is still really hung up on the authority thing. We taught him yesterday with an RM who is way good, and he basically just sat Christopher down and, using various New Testament stories and personal experiences, explained the need for the Priesthood. It was actually a very good lesson, and I think Christopher got it, he just has to wrestle with it a bit and pray about it. Eventually, though, he'll get his answer. If he really wants it.

By the way, we had a couple investigators named Paty and Sonia, who were sisters, both with little babies. They had been progressing a bit and looked really interested, but the last few times we challenged them to baptism they said they weren't sure. This last time we taught them Sonia just said no, and Paty said she might go to church but she'd never get baptized. I don't get that point of view. We claim that Jesus Christ himself said that no other church in the world is true, and that they are all hypocrites, so either we are right and he said that, or we're blasphemers. There's no middle ground. I've tried explaining that, too, but people don't get it. They assume that any preaching about Christ is good. Which can be true, to an extent. But in the last lesson we asked her my favorite question to ask: "If God Himself parted the heavens and came down in front of you and shouted that you have to get baptized in this church or you will be damned, would you do it?" Normally, people say yes to that, but she said no. Crazy people. But that means we'll probably drop her for good. Maybe we'll go by once a week or so.

That's all I've got time for today. I hope this is a little bit more satisfying than last week's email. Thanks for all of the mail you all gave me to read today, which was all very fun (except for Lindsay's big fat zero. But I trust you to turn that frown upside-down). I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder David Arrington

PS: I am coming right up on 21 months. But I am not baggy! We're going to keep tearing it up out here!

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