Subject: Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to.
That's a good quote. I like it. Five points to anyone who knows what it's from.
But that is really how I've been feeling lately. The mission was really exciting in the beginning, and I had a lot of people supporting me and excited about everything that happened to me, and I was basically starting out on this big adventure and it was fun and awesome and I felt great doing it, and now I'm coming to the end. The mission is still exciting, and I'm still definitely glad to be out here, but I've noticed that, like a good friend of mine said, the end of the mission is like carrying two fifty pound bags of salt to your car. Or they could be bags of sand or bricks or feathers, really. Either way, it's fifty pounds. The point is, you get tired out here, and the going gets harder. And I can feel it as I approach the end. And it's a little bit sad, too, because I know I'm leaving here soon, and I'll miss all these people and the mission and everything that is going on. I'm just noticing that everything has come down to these next four weeks. This is the climax of the show. The odds are even more against me than ever before, and it's no longer even remotely about making everyone at home or girlfriends or anyone else happy or interested or proud, it's just about me, my investigators, and the Lord. It's about how well I get the job done. That's why these last few weeks determine what kind of man I will be for the rest of my life. NOW I get it.
That being said (although, reading that back to myself, that may have been kind of confusing. To sum it up, these next four weeks are going to be intense), I am pumped. Last night me and my comp re-evaluated the way we're working, saw some things that we need to change, and are working on them. We even re-arranged the desks in our house and such to get an even stronger we-are-better-missionaries-now feeling. And I definitely feel that those small changes that we're making will make a huge difference in the way we work and the success we have. It's exciting to think about. Although I am kind of scared of the Area Book right now. I'll have to explain that later.
Oh, and now that the desks have gotten re-arranged, the ants that are always over everything have been coming out in hoards, but I don't know where they're coming from. If I did, we could draw a chalk circle around their hole (evidently, ants can't walk on chalk), but I can't find it. But now they are all over our desks, as if trying to figure out what happened to the old setup. It's a little annoying. That is one thing I will not miss from here. Having ants, spiders, cockroaches, and mosquitos flying/walking around you constantly is not nearly as much fun as it sounds. I wouldn't even consider it one of the exciting tourist attractions of this country. And yes, the ants and cockroaches all fly, too. I don't think the spiders do, though.
Anyway, let's talk investigators. The biggest news, of course, is the awesome baptisms that we had yesterday. The Mira family got baptized, and it was an awesome service. I baptized them both. Also, as a random side note to illustrate how awesome David Mira is, he read the Pearl of Great Price the day after we showed it to him. That's right, I didn't say he read IN the Pearl of Great Price, he read the ENTIRE Pearl of Great Price in one day. That's including Joseph Smith History and Joseph Smith Matthew. He's so crazy awesome.
I just got an email saying that I got a package. Awesome!
Oh, and just so that I don't forget, Happy Birthday, Dad! I don't know how old you are now, but I do remember back when we got you a card for your fortieth birthday. Something about being "over the hill". And that was a long time ago, so you've got to be a bit older than that.
Anyway, that family is the most awesome family that I have ever taught, I think. They are powerful. I also do not have my cable with me, so I will have to send those pictures next week, although at this point I could almost just wait until I got home. But I won't. I don't think.
We have a few other investigators that are progressing, but the most notable is this kid named Jason. He is super close to baptism, and he had a date for next week, but stuff happened. Let's review. Jason was an investigator who was a referral from someone in our ward who lives just outside of our area. Seriously, he lives like one or two blocks into Sensunapan's area. We talked to the zone leaders about it, and they said that, since it was from someone in our ward and Jason wanted to go to our ward, we could go teach him. So we did, and we even had a baptismal date with him. However, the sisters that work in Sensunapan started complaining because we were actually teaching a few different people in their area (all of which were referrals from this same member in our ward, and all of which wanted to come to our ward with her), so the ZLs said we should probably stop going down there, so we passed all of the investigators we had down to the sisters. They haven't even visited all of the investigators we gave them, and this happened like a month and a half ago. So those investigators are just not being visited anymore. They taught Jason a few times, though, and then stopped visiting him because he didn't want to go to church in their ward. Two Sundays ago, he showed up to our ward again with the member who was helping us. She and our ward mission leader had started to visit him to finish teaching the lessons and such because the sisters stopped doing it. We talked to him there, and he made it very clear that he wants to go to and be baptized in our ward. We told them all that we cannot visit him at his house, since the zone leaders haven't given us permission, so this member and our ward mission leader have been doing just about everything. We put a date with him for next Sunday and he was excited. The sisters found out and complained to the zone leaders (who also agree that he should just get baptized here anyway), and then went and found some obscure technicality that means that we have to move the date back a week. Then they told the zone leaders that they're really close to reactivating the super inactive mom, and she wants to go to Sensunapan, so we shouldn't baptize Jason because he should get baptized there with his mom active again. Makes sense, right? They've talked to the mom exactly twice. Not even visited and taught her twice. TALKED to her twice. That's just stupid. Even the zone leaders are upset at them, and I have to admit that I am, too. They very clearly want to take this baptism from us that we already gave to them, and have basically tried to sabotage us to do it. That's so stupid. I couldn't care less who reports the baptism. They can do it and take credit for it for all I care. I just want this kid to be baptized! He's awesome and wants to really badly, and it really ticks me off that the only thing standing between him and baptism is the sister missionaries. That should NEVER happen.
Sorry, I'm a little bit fired up about that, I guess. It just drives me crazy that some missionaries can be so childish. I'm kind of childish too, though, I guess, so I can't hold it against them.
I'm super running out of time, so a few more quick things: Dad - yes, Elder Duzett and I were talking about rooming together, and yes, you have permission to look for the best housing options you can find. I trust whatever you come up with. Laptops will definitely be a big point when I get home, but I don't really know what technology has done since I left. A Macbook Air sounds like it would be high quality, and I could always dual-boot to Windows with it (that used to be pretty easy back in the day), and I may actually enjoy a Mac. I've never tried one. And the trek sounds good, and the traveling plans sound good. I especially like the part where I drive to Utah to drop Michael off at the MTC. That would be sick! But then I'd be stuck at BYU with a car, which I wouldn't complain about...
I think that was all the big stuff anyone asked me about. Thanks again for all of the emails and support and stuff, and I'll be sure to get some crazy stories ready for next week's email. I love you all!
Elder David Arrington