About them Standards of Excellence…
Subject: You would THINK I would know the way to my own castle!
Last week I think I mentioned that I had a goal to make all of the standards of excellence. Those are kind of high and ridiculous, but I was super committed. And before I tell you how it went, here's a word from our sponsors:
"There once was a little boy, and that little boy had a dream to run one of the most sophisticated, illegal gaming operations the United States Army has ever seen. And that little boy's dream came true. But now, they're trying to snatch that dream back from him. But what are the last two letters in the name Bilko? K-O! Of course the first few letters are B-I-L, which is meaningless. But still, am I giving up? No! Never! Well kind of, but not really, because there is *no Way* I'm going to Greenland. Well, you are probably wondering if I have a plan. Well, of course I have a plan! A P-L-A-N, plan! Dang it! But maybe, a plan is not what I really need. what I really need, is just a little puppy. A little puppy with big brown eyes, who would just come to me and lick my face, and just love me so much no matter what kind of person I am!"
Yeah, I had to just copy and paste that one, since I don't have time to try and remember it exactly.
With that out of the way, I can continue. Let's review the week.
Monday was P-Day, and we ran to get five lessons in, which we did. With only four hours to work, I feel pretty proud of it. Tuesday was the first full day of work, though, and it was rough. We pushed through, though, and taught nine lessons. Wednesday we did divisions for a couple hours, and that helped a lot, but because of various meetings in the morning we only got seven lessons in. Thursday we had weekly planning, and got seven lessons in. And Friday we had a multi-zone. It was a fantastic multi-zone, and as is the tradition in the mission, I got to go up and give my final testimony. It was a very cool experience. Only a third of the mission was there, though, so even though I am part of a huge group going home, only five of us did it. I did not cry, but I was very close a couple of times. And the spirit was super strong. I love testimony meetings.
Anyway, the multi-zone went long. We were expecting to get out at 2 or 3, but it got out after 5, so we did the best we could and got six lessons in. Saturday was a little rough, since we hardly taught any lessons in the morning. Nobody was home. It was pretty awful, but in the afternoon/night we got seven. We should have had at least nine. So Sunday we had to literally run part of the time, and by the end of the day had nine lessons. Let's do the math, shall we?
"Even if you were right, that would be one plus one plus two plus one not one plus TWO plus one plus one."
5+9+7+7+6+7+9 = 50 lessons. BAM!!!
Total new investigators for the week: 14. BAM!!!
Referrals received and contacted in the week: 5. BAM!!!
Okay, so maybe that was a way too dramatic retelling of the whole thing, but I am stoked. I have never even seen a missionary companionship that teaches fifty lessons in the week. The other area in my district was also pushing pretty hard, by the way, and got 49 lessons. That's awesome for my district. We did a conference call with the ZLs and the other DLs last night to report numbers, and I got a lot of praise, which went directly to my head, of course. I'll have to watch that. But in addition to a metaphorical mountain of lessons, we found fourteen new investigators and were working very well with members, as we can see from the referrals. Granted, I have gotten more than five referrals before many times, and fourteen new investigators is really just a "pretty good" week, and not a "fantastic" week, they both complete the standards of excellence. And, another random note: 18 of those 50 lessons were to investigators with members present, which is pretty dang impressive. The moral of this story is that God must have helped us, because there is no way a missionary like me could have pulled that off. Maybe He felt like I deserved a good week like that right before I go home (I don't deserve it), or maybe He just felt like being nice (which He kind of always is), but whatever it was, I'm super grateful for it.
I really did just spend a long time talking about statistics that really aren't that interesting to all of you, I guess. Except maybe the two recent RMs that are reading this. They may understand it, at least. Mostly Brian, since he is from here, after all.
Alright! The bad news was that, due to sicknesses and stupid emergencies in San Salvador, six of the eight investigators we should have had in church couldn't come. So we only had two in church. But I can honestly say that there was nothing else we could have done about that. What happened really couldn't have been predicted, so I still feel alright. But it means that Jason and Naomi, his sister, can't get baptized for another two weeks. And apparently the father-in-law also wants to get married and baptized now. That's fantastic news, except for the "two weeks" part. Oh well. I'm still excited for them.
The other sad news is that we talked to Daniel. He finally not only agreed to a baptismal date, but he's super excited for that date and is telling people about it and is really just a super powerful investigator. He asked us a lot of questions about repentance and the Atonement, and it was really cool. The not cool part? The date that he is excited for is June 22. Dang it! I'm also bummed about that one. But he chose it after praying about it, so I don't want him to change it. I did try to have him change it, but as soon as I started mentioning it I felt like I shouldn't. So that officially means that I have baptized all the people I will baptize in my mission. The Tobar family technically could make it, but they are way too hard to get ahold of to be ready that soon, and Carolina could, too, but she is an eternal investigator that is still basically half Catholic (even though she is doing her Personal Progress and bore her testimony in church) (Ironic, right? She's doing Personal Progress and refuses to actually progress in the gospel). So I think that's about it for me. We are preparing some really cool people for baptism, though, so that's very exciting. They just won't be ready before the 19th, which I'm pretty sure is my last day in Sonsonate.
I have one and a half weeks left, by the way. How crazy is that? I've been trying to work hard amidst all of the missionaries and members reminding me how little time I have left. I think that my goal is going to be to work hard up until I leave my area. Several returned missionaries that I know have told me that the last couple days you tend to just not get very much missionary work done. I guess that makes sense, since I'd be saying goodbye to people and such, but I don't want to do that the last couple days. I want to say goodbye during this coming week so I can be teaching investigators my last two or three days. Maybe that's unrealistic, or maybe it's way too realistic. I don't know. I've never been in this situation before.
"Then tell me, future boy, who is the President of the United States in 1985?"
"Ronald Reagan? The actor? Then who's the Vice President, Jerry Lewis?"
Alright, I'm just about out of time, and I have to get out to work soon. Just so that everyone knows, next week will be my last P-Day, so it will be the last time I will read emails from any of you here in El Salvador. So if you have anything you want to say to me before I head home, this week is the time to say it.
Thanks again for all of the emails and support that you guys have given me out here. Really, I feel like I've always had a lot of support from home, and it's definitely helped me to know that there are some people back in the states that are interested in what happens out here. I'll be pushing hard this last week so that I can end strong, and I'll let you all know how it goes next Monday, for the last time!
Elder David Arrington