Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More Pics

1. street in Lledia
2. if this whole doctor/researcher thing doesnt work out after my mission
3. another model pose
4. me, Alex, Elder Plaskett
5. Me and Alex
6. Elder Plasket, me, Alex


1. a tree inside our piso with our pet parrot
2. Elder Parrish, Elder Plaskett, Elder Da Silva.
3. a Spanish truck stop. the first time we went to the cook your own meet buffet, we had to take the bus. the bus stop was right next to this truck stop. it just seemed funny to us to see a truck stop in spain.
4. castle in the pueblo Monzon
5. Christmas lights in Lleida!

Socialized Healthcare


Well there is not much to report from this week....because well I spent most of the week in piso. Yep, I am sick. And in order to be given permission to stay in piso as a missionary, you have to be super sick. Well it´s been 8 days since I have been able to retain anything solid in my body. And quite often even liquids make me sick. Water is my only friend at the moment. I am super pale. And I have lost 5 kilos (about 10 lbs) this week! Wednesday night (technically Thursday morning) I got to experience socialized healthcare. And to be quite honest, I did not like it one bit! It is really tempting to go off on a political rant right now about healthcare, but I´m not supposed to talk about politics, so I will refrain myself. All I merely need to say is that I still do not like socialized healthcare. Anyway I woke up that night with a fever of 103.4 and was super weak. Thus Elder Plaskett took me to the hospital. After waiting forever and doing a bunch of random tests, they finally treated me for the fever and dehydration. At the moment, I no longer have a fever, but I still have trouble retaining food in my body.

Also, our baptisms for this weekend have been postponed. Tracy broke her hand and now has a cast. Her mom wants to wait to be baptized with her daughter. We will find out later this week when we can reschedule the baptisms.

Well, despite all the trials, we are still getting some work done. And the Lord´s work always brings a smile to the face. So, don´t worry too much about me. I´ll be fine.

Happy New Year!

¡Hasta luego!

Elder Buchkovich

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feliz Navidad, Bon Nadal, Merry Christmas!


So not much happened during the first half of the week. Just normal, everyday work! The funny thing is it seems like there is never a dull moment in missionary work, but when I go to write , there doesn´t seem to be much to write about. I know why. I´m finding joy in the Lord´s work. So, during the day, I´m happy and having fun but when I go back and think about it, nothing special happened. I simply enjoyed being a missionary! I probably shouldn´t admit this, but I´ve been so focused and enjoying myself so much, that I forgot that I could call home this Saturday. On Thursday night I was all excited about Christmas Eve being a week and 1 hour away and that´s when it hit me that I get to call home on Christmas! haha.

The time has come to test my 5 years of French. We might start teaching a man who only speaks Arabic, French, and less Spanish than us. So I am going to have to try to remember all my French.

So Friday was the ward Christmas Party. It was not good at all!!! We had quite a few investigators there, which is good, but I almost wish they hadn´t been there. First of all it started an hour late! But that is typical Mormon fashion. We have one Chinese investigator who when growing a bit impatient asked if promptness was valued in the States. So anyway it was supposed to start at 8 with food, but we didn´t have the food until 9. However at 8 they started playing music. Nice Christmas music to invite the Spirit? NO! They played American rap...and they didn´t just play it, they blared it! Elder Plaskett and I about died! We asked the member who was djing to play Christmas music or better music, but all he had was rap. Oh and by the way the capilla is small so the cultural hall is the sacrament room. Anyway we finally went up to the Bishop and asked how he felt about the music. He thought since it was in English and nobody could understand that it was ok. Which is ridiculous because blaring music with that beat drives the Spirit away no matter what language. And we had English speaking investigators who could recognize the swear words and other lyrics! So Elder Plaskett and Elder Da Silva got a ride to piso and grabbed our Christmas music. Elder Plaskett has a David Archelleta Christmas cd which would ahve been good to play, but he grabbed the wrong cd becuase our power was out. (we´ve been having problems with that in our piso the past week or so). however, he did grab my Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas cds. But, the dj refused to play them. I was looking forward to the spirit that exists at ward Christmas parties for weeks now. The only time you could feel the Holy Ghost is when they stopped the music so that the ward choir could sing while the primary did a nativity scene. Also we had promised to do a skit, but because the party started so late we had to leave before doing the skit. When we told the Hma in charge that we had to leave because of mission rules, she got all mad at us and started to cry. We gave in and did our skit and ended up arriving home late. This was frustrating because we had already done so much for the party with setting up and decorations and then the music. But oh well.

Saturday at our lunch cita with members, they told us that they had been seeing a ghost or demon or something in their piso. Thus, they asked us to say a prayer for their piso. So I can now add "casting out demons" to my list of things done on my mission. lol!

Saturday evening was very nice. The ward choir had a concert in this awesome old hospital building thing. Elder Plaskett and Da Silva sang in it, while Elder Parrish and I passed out flyers outside. It was really nice. The choir did a lot better than we expected and you could really feel the Christmas spirit. It was such a relief after the previous night. I consider the concert the real ward Christmas activity and much more of a success. I was actually thinking about this during the concert. Friday night you had this Christmas party. There was food, "popular" music, funny skits, etc. It was a successful party, but did it really feel like Christmas? On the other hand. You have this small concert in an old building surrounded by the "shopping district" of Lleida. Outside there were stores such as Zara, H&M, Sony, etc. People were hustling and bustling around looking for the perfect Christmas gifts. Inside it was calm and peaceful. There was a small, but moderate gathering of people, some who moments ago had been doing their own shopping, but who decided to take a break from their hustle and bustle. These were the people fortunate enough to find Christmas. They took a moment from their busy lives to stop and listen. To listen to songs praising the birth of or Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To listen to the Holy Ghost testify of Him. And to listen to their own hearts. After all this is what Christmas is... a time to remember the miracle of the birth of Christ, His life, and His sacrifice. I am far away from home, the food, friends, family, presents, and family traditions. Yet I still look forward to Christmas with great excitement, because I feel closer to my Savior now than I ever have. I know He loves each of us. He suffered and died for us so that we may return to our Father in Heaven! I am so grateful for this! On that first Christmas our Heavenly Father gave us the best gift of all, His Son, Jesus Christ!

I suppose that is all for now! Feliz Navidad! Bon Nadal! Merry Christmas!

Elder Buchkovich

Monday, December 13, 2010




Well not too much happened this week that is worth reporting. It was nice and warm early in the week. It felt the way I imagined Spain. Then like in Ohio, it all changed over night! The only way I know the temperature is from thermometers displayed outside farmacias. This week it got down to 2 degrees Celsius! That may not be cold compared to home. But here I don´t have a car and I´m not wearing a bunch of layers of sweaters and hoodies, etc. Also we spend ALL day outside! Thus it is really cold!!! On the bright side, we are a lot less late to our citas (from walking quickly). haha! I kept waiting for it to drop 2 degrees and snow! Especially since it was super foggy and already seemed like it was snowing.

Remember that story I told last week about that guy who was yelling at us and wouldn´t listen to us, but we gave him a Book of Mormon anyway? And I said that I didn´t think anything would come of it......Well it is with great humility that I now admit that I was wrong. He called and set up a cita. He´s technically in the other elders´ area, so we won´t get to teach him. Hopefully though, he doesn´t yell at them the entire time.

Also we set to baptismal fechas for Christmas!!! Daisy and Tracy (12 yrs old) are the wife and daughter of a man, Ramon, who hasn´t been to church in about 10 years. Daisy has a friend who is a member. Recently Daisy told her friend that she wanted the missionaries to start coming by to teach her children so that her husband will get reactived. Apparently the only time her husband has not been drinking is when he was active in the Church and she wants him to stop drinking again. So Elder Plaskett and I started teaching them. And now Daisy and Tracy are getting baptized and Ramon is coming to church again! A Christmas miracle! Also a friend of the family, also named Ramon, and his family used to go to church with Daisy and Tracy at their old church. When Daisy and Tracy started attending our church, Ramon and his family decided to check it out. We´ve started teaching Ramon, his wife, daughter, and two of his sons. Ramon and the two sons came to church and enjoyed it! It was a great week!

Aside from that is was a bit of a hard week. We got dropped by one family and found out another investigator is moving. Hopefully he continues receiving the lessons where he is moving to. Also we had a lot of citas cancelled over and over again. And it was freezing cold. Also we keep having problems with poaching (teaching in other elders´ areas). Apparently the way Lleida used to be is that they just shared everyone. Well I don´t like that. We are called by God to specific areas for a reason. Also it´s hard for us to set up citas with our people when the other elders are already setting up citas with them. Our zone leaders specifically told us to stop sharing and switch people to the correct elders. The other elders in Lleida aren´t doin this and keep teaching in our area. I keep complaining to Elder Plaskett but he doesn´t really care. And I started to realize this week why he won´t really say anything to the other. I´m starting to grasp a sense of direction in Lleida and where our area is. And I´ve discovered that several people we teach are in the other elders´ area!!! As frustrating as it is, I just need to be patient. We´re slowly dividing everything correctly so in due time it will be normal.

I haven´t really mentioned what my day is like. So I´ve decided to summarize and average day really quick.

7:30 am Wake up and excercise
8:00 am Get ready
9:00 am - 11:30 Personal Study, Companionship Study, and Castellano study
12:00 pm- 2:00 pm Proselyting (citas, contacting, etc)
2:00- 4:00 Medio dia (back to piso for lunch and more study or to member´s home for lunch)
4:00- 10:00 pm (10:30 if have cita) More proselyting, teach English class, correlation meeting, etc.
11:30 pm Bed

Well that´s all for this week. ¡Hasta luego! ¡Bon Nadal! (catalan)

ps. The Bishopric wants us to sing in the ward choir. Several songs that we are singing are in Catalan!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Here is the new address. Sorry I have not posted it sooner!

Elder Buchkovich
c/ Mossen Réig 4,3,1
25008 Lleida

Thursday, December 2, 2010

On The Road Again


Well this past week and a half has been interesting. The first half of the week was normal. Nothing that I can think of to report. I bought that awesome new suit, a valencia jersey, and a spain jersey with the star/world champs patch. I won´t be spending money for a long time. (at least not until january when that big sale happens).

monday evening elder lara and elder ames had a phone conference for zone leaders with president hinckley. we found out that the zone leaders in valencia were getting put back together, that the sister´s area was getting split (valencia barrio 2), and that another companionship of sisters was being added. one companionship of sisters and one of elders would be in barrio 2. and one of each in barrio 1 (my area). this meant that i would be at the least changing areas because the zone leaders would be in barrio 1.

On tuesday night i had a dream about transfers. i was pointing at a map on the wall, showing elder dalton my new area. i couldnt remember the city name when i woke up. the next day we had to go print something off at a locutorio so we got on google maps and looked at spain. looking at the map, i decided the city in my dream was zaragoza.

Then on wednesday night we got a call that Elder Corbitt in Alcoy needed to be in Barcelona as early as possible on thursday because he was going to be the new secretary to the president. So that means that Elder Anstensen needed a companion. So I went down to Alcoy with him and Elder Lara did a tripanionship with Elders Shields and Ames.
Alcoy was interesting. It felt like a Thanksgiving trip because Alcoy is in the mountains about 2 hours trainride southwest of valencia. It reminded me a lot of western pennsylvania. Also the missionary work down there is really slow. so we werent near as overly busy as we were in valencia. the people arent near as open. there was one point when we went to go ask for directions from someone and he yelled, "no!" and started to walk away. when we explained that we merely needed help, he was suddenly very nice. the ward isnt very strong either. of all the recent converts, one is still active. her 8 yr old son, danny, loves me and tried to follow us home from church sunday. anyway speaking of church, there was only about 40 people in sacrament and less in sunday school.

while i was in alcoy i looked at map of spain in the piso. it was just like the one in my dream! i realized looking at this map that the city in my dream was Lleida. i told elder lara on the phone saturday morning that i was going to Lleida. saturday evening the transfer calls came and sure enough i got transferred to Lleida!!! elder lara said he freaked out when he got the call. this was just like my dreams about the byu oklahoma game and the byu florida state game last year.

on sunday we returned to valencia. i spent monday morning with elder anstensen and shields. we went chair shopping for the piso. then monday evening elder anstensen came wiht me to say goodbye to people in valencia. and elder lara went with abram (a 16 yr old member) to visits. it was really sad leaving valencia after only one transfer. i hope to return there.

tuesday i left valencia in the morning. arrived in barcelona train station in the early afternoon. spent an hour or so there and then left for lleida with another elder coming to lleida. we had to buy the train tickets so the office didnt know when we were getting to lleida to tell our companions. neither of us had a cell phone and didnt realize so until it was too late. once we got to lleida i called the office from a pay phone and they called our companions and everything worked out.

my new companion is elder plaskett. he seems really nice. ill write more next week. one thing about him for now: he looks just like justin timberlake! there are two other elders in lleida. elder parrish (he was on the train with me) and elder da silva, who is from angola and is hilarious! i´m in another 4 man piso. it´s going to be really great though.

¡hasta luego!

elder buchkovich

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Give Thee Thanks For...


¿Qué tal? Happy Thanksgiving! It´ll be weird not having Thanksgiving this year. In fact we couldn´t even remember if it was this week or last week. We had to ask other missionaries and people who have lived in the States. haha! Eventhough I won´t be in the States this week, I can still be very grateful for the things I have. I have much to be grateful for. I am wearing a new Spanish suit. (It looks way good. And it makes me look super slim!) I have an amazing family. Supportive friends. An excellent education. Food. Housing. Í´m in Spain. I have a great companion. An awesome mission president. The thing I am most grateful for is the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He suffered and died for us so that we can repent and be cleansed of our sins. Have our troubles and sins washed away. How great is that!?! I am so very grateful to be able to partake of the Sacrament every week and renew my baptismal covenants and start each week fresh. It is a wonderful blessing to be a part of the Lord´s restored church and a privelege to serve Him by inviting others to follow His example. I am so grateful for the priesthood that I hold and for the opportunity to live for time and eternity with my family. I am so grateful for the plan our Father in Heaven has for us to return to live with Him with our families. The Gospel is a wonderful thing! And I am so grateful for it.

I mentioned a new Spanish suit. I caved to temptation. We were in H&M and I just looked too good in the suit. Suits here pretty are well priced, compared to the States (even after converting from euros to dollars). I love it! A picture will be included. It´s amazing how nice it is compared to my super baggy missionary mall suit. ´Now spaniards on the streets will take me seriously! by the way, i do not recommend missionary mall for future missionaries. the only thing i like from it are the socks. I liked the shoes until my shoelaces snapped! i had to tie the lace back together and relace it. it is quite uneven now and very bothersome.

this week we spent a lot of time with president and hermana hinckley. they came down monday and we made paella (the rice dish you keep asking me about, mom). then tuesday through thursday we had a "mini-CCM" in the mornings. president hinckley is so intelligent! i learned so much! in the evenings the missionaries from the other areas either returned to their area or came out with us. it was nice having help. we made a lot of contacts with antiguos (old investigators) but still got lessons in. i can´t think of any stories to tell. i had a few i was going to tell, but as usual i forgot. plus i dont want to take a lot of time so that i can upload pictures.

one story really quick. elder lara and i had to return to piso to grab something on friday. we were walking past the capilla and noticed it was open. we peeked inside and saw hermano mambo waving us inside! it was their turn to clean the chapel. i saw johana and thought "oh no, isabel isnt going to be happy" (the only thing keeping johana from baptism is that isabel thinks johana spends too much time at church activities and is slacking with her home responsibilites. sergio´s mom has complained about the same thing). immediately after thinking that i heard an all too familiar laugh...it was isabel!!! we can´t get her to church but here she is cleaning it! lol. i see that as some progress. haha.

also we´re teaching sergo´s family. they are all as awesome as he is.

well that´s all for now. ¡hasta luego!

im having trouble with the pics. hopefully i can figure it out!

elder buchkovich

The Amazing Valencia Zone

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quick One


This letter is going to be quick. We have to be back in piso in 5 minutes. Today was crazy. we got up at 4 am to go get my fingerprints done for my residency. it was my last step. in 40 days i´ll get my dni card and be official.then after that we went down to catarroja to make paella with the hinckleys. the capilla there is HUGE!

this week was fun. i went up to castellon for intercambios for a few days. i was with elder middleton. he´s a transfer ahead of me and super good at spanish. he´s also from london. it was really fun and a great learning experience. i had to speak a lot more spanish. they had christmas lights up throughout the city but they´re not lit yet. it doesnt feel like christmas is less than a month and a half away!! mostly cuz it´s a lot warmer than home and utah at this time of year.

we had another baptism this weekend. two people got baptized in the Valencia 2nd ward (the hermanas´ area). and one from our area, Antonia. Antonia is the 76 year old lady that elder lara and i have been teaching. it was funny because yesterday after she received the Holy Ghost/was confirmed by elder lara, she gave him a 5 minute long hug. then she preceded to slowly (she´s super frail) hug and kiss everyone on the stand. there were a lot of people on the stand bc it was a special sacrament mtg about missionary work and there were a lot of short talks/testimonies.

we get to spend pretty much this whole week with the hinckleys. we´re having a mini ccm (mtc) training session through thursday every morning. i´m super excited. i love the hinckleys. i can´t help but be happy around them!

sorry this pc has no slot for my camera card.i´ll try again next week.

elder buchkovich

Monday, November 8, 2010

Elder Teixeria


This week was pretty amazing! Elder Teixeira of the First Quorum of the 70, came on a mission tour. He came to the Valencia Zone on Friday. It was such a wonderful experience! He is so great and the best part was including him, his wife, and the Hinckleys, there were only 22 of us in the room. So it was seemed very personal. He is very impressed with the work in the Valencia and challenged us to continue being an example to the mission. Elder Teixeira focused a lot on bringing people to church, especially families. He promised our zone specifically, that if we bring investigators to church, especially families, our mission will reach it´s goal of 404 baptisms for the year. That is a remarkable promise because we still need a little more than 100 baptisms to meet that goal. I would just like to point out that we´re not focused on numbers. As Elder Teixeira pointed out, the number itself isn´t important. Rather, each number symbolizes a person. Someone who is that much closer to returning to Heavenly Father. Yesterday we were expecting 18 investigators to come to church. Only 5 showed up. It was disappointing, but we just have to work extra hard this week to make sure they get there.

Tuesday evening we gave Isabel a blessing for health. She has been getting a lot of really bad headaches. She called to cancel our cita. But we showed up anyway and asked if she wanted a blessing. As a side note, earlier that day in the Bible she had been reading about healing of the sick. While we gave her the blessing, she could feel the Spirit. She didn´t admit it to us, but later told her daughter Joanna that she had felt the Spirit and no longer had problems with her (Joanna) getting baptized. Joanna is super excited and on Saturday while she was helping us and the other Elders prepare for a baptism for another girl, Maria Laura, she kept talking about ´"when she gets baptized." Hopefully tonight we can set a fecha (baptismal date).

I had a cool experience on Saturday too. Antonia is a 76 year old lady who is getting baptized this Saturday. She lives with a member family. The buzzers in their apartment building don´t work. Last week we travelled all the way out to their piso (far on the other side of town) and couldnt get in or get a hold of them. Saturday we had the same problem. Emeka (the member husband) wasn´t answering his phone. Thus, I said a super heartfelt prayer asking for a way to get in the building. I got a distinct feeling to wait 5 minutes. At first I doubted that it was from the Spirit. Come on how unoriginal is 5 minutes?! I thought it was just my mind. But being a missionary, I decided to be obedient to the prompting anyway. I didn´t tell Elder Lara about it and he was ready to leave. But after 3 of the minutes had passed I insisted that we wait 2 more minutes and try calling Emeka again. So we did. As he was trying to call Emeka, a lady left the building. I grabbed the door and we went in. When we got up to the piso and knocked on the door, Emeka answered and let us in and we got to teach Antonia.

Today all four of us went to the mall so that Elder Lara could get some suits tailored. Outside the mall there is this glass room set up with couch, toilet, sink, shower, etc. There are 2 people who live in it for 40 days straight. I don´t know if it´s for a reality tv show or what. But, there was a camera crew there. We stopped to watch for a second. The girl inside saw us an said, "who brought the guys in the suits?" (it´s set up so that there´s a mic so that you can hear wat´s said inside and they can hear outside) Naturally we started talking to her. She invited us in, but we didn´t have time. However the camera crew caught us. So i think i am on spanish tv! lol

¡Hasta luego!

Elder Buchkovich

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tender Mercies of the Lord


I´d like to start off apologizing...I forgot my camera so there are no pictures again this week. I really don´t have any great pics anyway because we´re too busy to take many pictures. Also I need to clear up some things from my story two weeks ago about Sergio. He´s Bolivian and he doesn´t have relatives who are members. His girlfriend whom he met on the internet and who lives Peru is a member.

I forgot a bunch of things last week. Now I can´t remember them again. Oh well.

This week has been...well interesting. I have a lot of stories to tell some are spiritual, some fun, and some are....interesting. I´ll go through day by day.

Monday: I weighed myself at Mario, a member´s house during FHE. It turns out that I had lost 2 lbs since leaving the MTC!

Tuesday: I spent the day on intercambios with Elder Ames. James, a member, came with us to several appointments. At one point we stopped at his piso for a minute to pick something up. Elder Ames is very friendly and likes to get to know people. He´s a lot like Dad. Thus, Elder Ames was asking James all kinds of questions about his life. We finally split up after one of our visits. James started heading back to his piso and Elder Ames and I to the bus stop. We got a call at the bus stop delaying our next appointment by a half hour. While Elder Ames was on the phone, James passed by us on his way home. Since we had extra time, we decided to go visit a new convert, Juan Carlos (sweet name, i know). On our way we passed by James again. Well James is from Nigeria orignally and had lived all throughout Africa. Thus, he is a bit paranoid. Later that night he ran into Elders Lara and Shields. He told them that he suspected Elder Ames as being a terrorist and was about to call the police, especially if Elder Ames tried to talk to him again. This may sound funny now, but the 4 of us were FREAKED out that night. We envisioned Nigerians breaking in our house and beating us, or worse Spanish police rappelling into our piso. We were so scared we almost called President Hinckley, but Elder Ames didn´t want to get transferred. Nobody slept well that night. We were paranoid the next day too. Luckily nothing happened. And Elder Ames and James talked things out at church yesterday.

Wednesday: Every Wednesday the ward mission leader teaches a Preach My Gospel class. The missionaries always go and teach a 10 minute lesson on something from PMG. Afterwards, Maria took us out for dinner. She took us to a Chinese buffet. There were tons of sea food. I went crazy. I ate octopus, mussels or clams, calamari, and more! I didn´t feel too well the next day.

Thursday: Afterward correlation meeting, Victor, who is also African and speaks English, gave us a ride to our next appointment. He was listening to inspirational music. This particular day I was feeling super down about my Spanish and lack of ability to teach effectively as a missionary. I had just attempted to talk to a Spanish investigator on the phone. It didn´t go too weel. The very first song played from that CD was a song about believing in yourself. the lyrics were something like, "yes, you can. if you just believe in yourself." it was just what i needed to here. I don´t believe in coincidences. I know that my Heavenly Father and Jesus knew I needed to hear that song. It made me feel a lot better.

Friday: Friday mornign we had interviews wiht president hinckley. i am so lucky to have him as a mission president. he is great. and so is hna hinckley! she is so excited about missionary work. they went to a mission presidents conference in germany last week. one of the area authorities from the 70 said that the harvest in Europe has not yet begun! i am super excited and lucky to help prepare the people of Europe for the restored Gospel!!
Thursday afternoon we started a fast to find to new investigators. The other elders ended up having a surprise dinner appointment so they ate. Elder Lara lasted until friday morning. I was the only one who fasted until our lunch appointment. But we were blessed for it. The evening we stopped my a less active man´s piso. We met his wife and children who aren´t members and are now teaching them.
The best story from the week happened here. Elder Lara and I were looking for a less active member´s piso. The address we had didn´t exist. So we were standing on the side of the road making some phone calls. All of a sudden we hear, "Elderes! Elderes! Esperen!" A man was yelling for us out his window. He came running downstairs to us. His name is David. He is a less active member who just moved to Valencia two weeks ago. He had been looking for the chapel and the day before (thursday) he had emailed a friend for help finding it. Well a different friend of his answered him; even so that we were standing outside his window when he felt inspired to look outside.

Saturday: We vistited David again to get to know him some and make sure he knew how to get to church. He´s originally from Ecuador. He told us the story of his conversion and his mom´s conversion. I¨m short on time so I´ll do the quick version about his mom. His mom was against him and his siblings getting baptized but let it happen anyway. After a year or so she noticed a change in her children...a change for the better. So she decided to meet with the missionaries. She was still unsure so she said that she´d get baptized only if one of the same elders that baptized her children baptized her. By now the elders were finished with their missions and back in the States. Well guess who was on vacation in Ecuador visiting his old mission. Yep, one of the elders. So guess who got baptized? It amazes me how the Lord knows our needs and he watches over us. He helps us with his tender mercies. My faith was greatly strengthened by these stories. He knew that I needed to hear that song for encouragement, he knew that David was looking for a way back to church, and he knew that David´s mom need to be baptized to start the path back to Him. I just cannot express myself on this email how wonderful this is! In the MTC and here in Spain, I have learned to look for the tender mercies of the Lord and my blessing in life. And it makes me a lot happier!

Sunday: We stopped by Veronica´s piso. She is a recent Nigerian convert. She doesn´t have much money and her husband is without work often. But she always insists on making us drink a 2 liter each of fanta when we visit. Today she offered a choice between that and hot chocolate. So we took the hot chocolate, thinking it would be less. WRONG! she brought out these HUGE mugs. Elder Lara couldn´t drink his cuz it was too hott. like a good companion i drank half of it. we ate lunch with the Mambos like we do every Sunday. and we were overstuffed like we are every Sunday! We ate dinner at Mario´s again. I couldn´t resist weighing myself. I gained 2 kilos since Monday. Do the math yourselves...it´s not pretty! I am taking this as a lesson on obedience and waking up on time. I keep sleeping in through exercise time....well that won´t happen anymore.

Well i spent way too much time on this. that´s all for now. ¡hasta luego!

elder buchkovich

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meeting at Madrid MTC

Dinner at Madrid MTC

Madrid MTC

Another Week Gone


If the first transfer is the longest transfer, then my mission is going to fly by! Eventhough this week was kind of bad and I´ve been super sick, it went super fast. I want to start off apologizing for my letter writing as of late. I`ve spent the last 2 p-days trying to sleep off this bad cold, so l haven´t been able to write as many letters. I don´t know how long the mail takes but the few letters I have written should be arriving in the states soon.

This week has been pretty tough. We had to indefinitely postpone 3 baptismal fechas (dates). I don´t know if their baptisms will be rescheduled. Jazmín (17 yrs old) came to church on Sunday with her dad who is a member; so that is seems promising. On Wednesday I made a ¨homework¨ assignment for her and her brother Andrés (20 yrs old). I wrote some questions that i thought might help them and scripture references to answer those questions. I´m hoping that since Jazmín came to church that it means she did it. I tried asking her but i was rushed, and therefore my Spanish failed. I really want to help her and Andrés accept the gospel. They are both really great people!

Elder Lara went on intercambios this week with an elder down in Caterroja (i butchered the spelling of that town). So since i´m so new we did a 3 way intercambio. Elder Ames (one the other elders in my ward) went with me in my area since he is super experienced and speaks super good spanish. and the other elder from caterroja went with elder shields. this week elder shields and i might have to go on intercambios together, which will be interesting because elder sheilds is only a transfer ahead of me. i was proud of myself this week though. elder ames doesn´t know my area well. I was able to navigate us to our citas (even if it wasnt always the quickest route). i´m really starting to get to know northwest valencia!

i got my first spanish haircut last pday. It´s not too different from home. However, they don´t cut the hair in on the neck as high up. the best part was having my hair shampoo-ed and massaged by a beautiful spanish girl. haha. eventually i want to buy a spanish suit. i´m waiting for a couple months until one of their huge end of fashion season sales that they have in spain. when i come home in 2 years i´ll be transformed into a spaniard! lol.

they still feed us WAAAY too much here. i still don´t know what i´m eating, but most of the food is good so i just gladly eat it. i did have one interesting experience this week. i have already eaten enough fishcake to last me a lifetime. i dont want to go into detail cuz i still get nauseous. but, we were way overfed. i thought i was going to burst. and it wasn´t too tasty. dad would love it. i think it´s mostly made out of eggs and fish. the problem is i´m not a big fan of plain fish. and my body isn´t used to eating as much fish as we had to.

the pics wont upload on this pc. so maybe next week. sorry.

as usual i´m having trouble remembering all that i was going to say. that and i want to keep these letters positive....this week didn´t have much positive.

elder buchkovich

Monday, October 18, 2010



Tuesday morning we arrived in Barcelona. we went up to the castle on a hill that overlooks the city on one side and the mediterranean on the other side. it was gorgeous. everything was! we spent most of the day in the office. we had lunch with president and sister hinckley and had orientation and stuff. we finally got our companions and first assignments. my companion couldn´t come pick me up so i had to wait until wednesday to meet him. those of us coming to the southern part of the mission were supposed to leave tuesday evenign, but the train was full. so we had to stay overnight. this was cool because every tuesday evening during transfer week, those at the office go and sign hymns in downtown barcelona. it was a really cool experience. however it was cold and rainy...no wonder i have a cold now. haha. it was fun and a lot of people stopped and listened seemed interested. wednesday bright an early we boarded a train down to valencia!

My first area is Valencia. I love it here! It is a beautiful city. Palm trees line the streets and the old architecture is quite pretty. My apartment is near the soccer stadium for Valencia´s team. It is so awesome. I love the soccer culture here. People are constantly playing soccer on the sidewalk, in the park, etc. It´s truly wonderful! My companion is Elder Lara. He goes home after the next transfer I believe. He is really great. They split up the zone leaders down here. so, he is one of the zone leaders. the other zone leader and his companion share the same apartment.

I already love the people here. The members of the Valencia I ward are amazing. They´re so sweet. They love the missionaries and even though I can´t communicate well with them, they all try talking to me. and even say ¨welcome¨ which is funny cuz i know ¨bienvenidos¨ President hinckley mentioned that they might split the ward up soon. i noticed that the chapel was quite full yesterday. They feed the missionaries well too. We have a lunch (instead of dinner) appointment almost every day in the afternoon. They cook tons of food for us and expect us to eat everything. It´s intense. I feel like i´m gaining so much weight already. the food is all amazing....except for the blood sausage; i could have gone without trying that. usually i have no clue wat i´m eating, but since it´s mostly delicious, i don´t mind not knowing. it´s probably better that way.

There were three baptisms this Saturday, one from each area actually in Valencia. Sergio was the one baptized from my area. He reminds me a lot of charlie. Anyway he is really cool. He is 20 years old and is originally from somewhere in south/central america...i want to say guatemala....anyway he has relatives back home who are members. one day he decided to find the church and be baptized. he saw elder lara on the subway but was too afraid to talk to him. but he vowed to talk to the next missionaries he saw. some days later, he saw to elders. the zone leaders were in barcelona for a mission counsel meeting. so it was their two companions, two relatively new missionaries. sergio came up to them and asked to be baptized. they thought they misunderstood him but wrote down his info anyway. two weeks later i got to witness his baptism. apparently stuff like this happens a lot in valencia. the missionary work is on fire here! missionaries get contacted more than they contact. and we teach people from all over the world. there are a lot of immigrants from africa and south america. we teach a lot of nigerians. i like these lessons because they speak english! i can actually help out a lot more. we have several more baptism dates set and a few investigators without dates but are really close. for example joanna is a 16 year old girl who is waiting for her mom´s permission. her cousins are really strong members, but her mom doesn´t feel that she is ready. however, we´ve been teaching her mom a lot and she seems to be making progress, even if she won´t admit it.

Church yesterday was interesting. I had to introduce myself during sacrament meeting. i´ve never been so nervous before in my life. i´m pretty sure i messed up my spanish a bunch of times. the language barrier is hard. hopefully i´ll get over it soon. the whole mission is hard. i can`t talk to anyone, i´m exhausted, and now i have a really bad cold. but i still love it. i can´t help being happy knowing i´m serving the Lord. the great thing is that even when i have now clue what is being said, i can still feel the Spirit in our lessons. this is going to be an awesome 22 months! i kind of wish i had more time!!!

I´m going to send my address to Mom. If you want it just ask her or ask Michelle (via my account) on facebook. I attached a pic of me and Sergio. I´ll send more next week.

¡Hasta luego!

Elder Buchkovich


Well, Alex was singing with that group and he was in the back, so I am pretty certain that the person we picked out was him. If you haven't searched the picture, do it now. Find Alex! Print it off and let his neices and nephews search for him!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Is the guy in the back under the brown umbrella behind the yellow unbrella Elder Alex Buchkovich? You will need your magnifying glass or go to the Barcelona Blog and click on the image to see a larger version.

Letter from Barcelona

Your son, as I am sure you are well aware, has arrived safely in our mission. I would like to take this time to send a letter from Pres. & Hermana Hinckley, as well as a few photos that were taken of your son upon his arrival here.
If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email.

Elder Parry
Secretario al Presidente
La Misión de Barcelona España

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Spain Barcelona Mission: "Regular" Transfers

The Spain Barcelona Mission: "Regular" Transfers: "In between all of the 'interim' transfers driven by visa delays, we still have our 'regular' transfer every six weeks. Regular transfers wer..."

I did it!

Barcelona At Last

Alex's picture is on the Barcelona Mission Site but I could not copy and paste it. He made it safe and sound and there are also some pictures of the sites they saw along the way. I will keep trying to figure out how to transfer the pictures but if you cannot wait, you can check it out for yourself

Monday, October 11, 2010

Just A Little Excited...

Here is part of the last letter we received from Alex. It is too funny not to share. He is soo excited it spills out into his letter! Count how many times he says super and fun!


This weekend in the Madrid MTC has been quite awesome. We get naptime, snack time, and we go to bed early. haha this is mostly just to adjust us to the 8 hour time change we experienced from Provo to Madrid. food here is amazing, but they feed us WAAAY too much. the snacks are pretty good too. i absolutely LOVE the italian elders. most the time i half no clue what they´re saying, but they are so hilarious and they seem like great elders. one elder knows a bajillion languages. he always has to translate. sunday was really nice. After the pictures we took care of all our paperwork for applying for residency. A nice lawyer lady came and picked us up. We walked a couple blocks down to our first stop. It was super exciting walking down the streets of Madrid; we weren´t even downtown yet. At the first stop we got a bunch of paperwork. We split up into three groups and took taxis downtown. That was super fun! We spoke the taxi driver a little bit about the national holiday tomorrow (columbus day). At our second stop we waited outside FOREVER. it was fun watching all the spaniards walk and drive by. it was so much fun to people watch IN SPAIN! some elders even tried making a contact with someone (eventhough we didn´t have any passalong materials with us). We signed some papers and then took a taxi to the notary. On the way to the notary we talked to the taxi driver about God. he said he didn´t believe in God but thought that since the world was so beautiful that there might be something. We were quite bummed that we didn´t have a passalong card or anything to give to him. At the notary, we signed a power of attorney to the church to take care of our residency application. the lawyer dropped us off at the subway and we rode it back to the mtc. the subway was super nice and fun. when we got back we went straight upstairs to lunch. there we met the madrid mission president. he was super nice. i can´t wait to meet president hinckley tomorrow! unfortunately i don´t have many pictures from downtown madrid. we were super busy and we´re not supposed to look like tourists for safety issues. so you´ll just have to take me word for it when i say that the architecture in downtown madrid is BEAUTIFUL!

¡Hasta luego!

Elder Buchkovich

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Spain at Last


Well i have forgetten pretty much all that has happened before thursday. thursday my travel group went to the spanish consolate to receive our visas. the spanish consul teaches at uvu so we met him there. is was really awkward walking through uvu because we got the oddest looks. while talking to the consul, he mentioned us leaving the next day, which is odd becasue we were supposed to leave tuesday. when we got back to the mtc, the travel office informed us that we were indeed leaving the next day. i had to hurridly pack and get ready. luckily i got terra´s cookies (which are delicious!). unfortunately i left my pillowcase from the lorain yw in my room. í´d very much like to get the back somehow.

we left provo bright and early in the morning. while waiting for our plane at the slc airport, we were like superstars. everyone kept waving and asking us where we were going. one couple even gave another elder and me a cinnamon roll. it was awesome. we flew to jfk where we had a 2 hr layover. and then we were off to spain. on the plane i had just sat down, when a spanish woman approached me. i had NO clue what she said and gave her a blank stare. she pointed at my nametag and said "¿hable español?" to which i feebly replied "un poco." luckily her husband knew some english between his broken english and my broken spanish we were able to communicate and ended up switching seats, which was nice because i ended up sitting closer to two of the other missionaries.

This morning at about 7:00 am in madrid, 1:00 am eastern and 11:00 pm mountain, we landed in madrid! It has been quite crazy. it´s so weird knowing i´m in spain, in europe. i don´t think it´s really sunk in yet. we got to the airport and had to wait quite a bit for our ride. as group travel leader, i was about to withdraw some euros from the atm to call the madrid mtc when the mtc president and director finally arrived. they are both really nice. we went straight to the madrid mtc, which really is right next door to the madrid temple. we were supposed to go to a park to proselyte this morning. however, it has been raining all day. so instead we got to take a much needed nap. although, the nap made me more tired than i already was. after the nap we ate lunch. they spanish cooks insist you take everything and then yell at you if you don´t eat everything. fortunately the food was all really good, however i may gain a few pounds here. after lunch we got to go to a session in the madrid temple. it was so awesome! the entire thing was in spanish of course. they gave us headphones with english to listen to, but most of the time i kept the volume on low and listened to the spanish. i could follow pretty well, but i don´t know if that means my spanish is good or if i just know the session really well.

the mtc is really cool. it´s really laid back, which is kind of sketchy at times. but it´s also really nice too. there aren´t many missionaries here at all. those of us arriving today probably doubled the numbers. there are now 3 sisters, 7 spanish-learning elders, 1 spanish elder learning english, and several italian elders serving in italy. the mtc is only a few floors of the building. it´s so weird being here after being in the huge provo mtc. the rooms are really nice. the bunks are wooden and they have REAL mattresses. the showers are also really nice, although i haven´t figured out yet how to get hot water. i love it here! district 16F in provo mtc would totally love it here too!

here is my schedule for the week. today we´re going to eat dinner and then go to bed. tomorrow is church. and i´m not sure what else we´re doing tomorrow. monday, we´re taking care of residency paperwork, etc. and then tuesday (october 12), we take a train to barcelona. yeah that´s right, i enter the field on tuesday! i´m super stoked!!! although i´m also freaking out about entering the mission field a week early.

Well i suppose that´s it for today. I do not know when my P-day will be in barcelona, entonces i do not know when my next email and letters will be sent out. Although apparently we can email anyday here in the mtc so i may send another one out before leaving. ¡Hasta luego!

Elder Buchkovich

Friday, October 8, 2010

Change of Plans

Alex was permitted to call home real quick yesterday because....instead of leaving Tuesday as originally planned, he is leaving TODAY! He will be permitted to call from the NYC airport at 3:30 today, so he called to let us know. We have been waiting for this day for a long time. It is sooo exciting!

Monday, October 4, 2010


Alex has asked me to post the following addresses and also tell everyone not to write to him at the Provo MTC after Wednesday but instead to send them to one of these addresses:
Spain MTC:

Elder Alex Michael Buchkovich
Spain MTC
4a. Planta
Calle del Templo #2
28030 Alicante

Mission office:

Elder Alex Michael Buchkovich
Spain Barcelona Mission
Calle Calatrava N[degrees symbol] 10-12, bajos
08017 Barcelona

Es aquí!!!!

Hey everyone. Esta semana ha sido muy marveilloso! I´ll start with the news everyone has been waiting to hear. I FINALLY GOT MY VISA!!!!! I leave the Provo MTC early next Tuesday (oct 12) for Madrid! I am so excited! Although, i've been made travel group leader, which kinda of makes me nervous. I'm not sure what is going to happen once I get to Madrid, whether I'll head over to barcelona or stay a week at the Madrid MTC. I don't think my Spanish is ready or my teaching skill but the Lord will help me!

Anyway this entire week has been amazing. My new companion, Elder Rouse, is awesome. I've grown a lot this past week. General Conference was beyond amazing, as per usual. Three elders from my district were in the priesthood choir. I didn't do it cuz i didn't have high school choir and my teacher wouldnt let me miss class for practices cuz practices started back when we didn't know if i'd still be here or not. It was fun seeing them and other elders I knew on the screen. We also had an awesome Fireside last night. I'll be honest; i wasn't looking forward to sitting and listening to someone speak for another hour (my behind was getting sore from those gym chairs). However the fireside was a pleasant surprise. Instead of speaking for an hour, pres. breinholt (mtc presidency) and his wife spoke a couple minutes about their favorite hymns and we sang a bunch of hymns and had several special musical numbers.

Tuesday's gym was great! A zone of elders learning German tried to claim the soccer field for themselves, saying that they always have to go play on the small fake goals (which is a lie. i've played with them before on the regular goals). Three of us spanish elders wanted to play with them. they whined and complained but relunctantly let us play. they're whining continued to occur during the game and one elder, very un-Christlike, threated one of us. So the three of us got to together and decided we had to do short passes to each other and score a lot. Well the first goal of the game was scored by yours truly. Then Elder Rosberg (spanish elder) scored the next goal. The following two goals were scored by germans on the other team. But the Elder Rosberg scored the next and final goal. So eventhough we were on a team with the germans and at least one of was actually nice and had some nice crosses, they way i view that game is 3 spanish elders:3 to 30 german elders: 2. It was awesome! I was so exhausted afterwards!!!!!

I've been having trouble deciding whether to risk my health and play soccer this week. I considered playing volleyball with my district but i realized i've broken a bone in volleyball, never in soccer. Well this weekend a gian sink hole formed in the soccer field. I guess i know what i'll be doing in gym now.

This next week is going to be weird being my last week. That's all i have time for today.

Elder Buchkovich

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crazy Week


This week has been pretty crazy. It's been quite an emotional rollercoaster! Things didn't go so well with the tripanionship. We weren't progressing much together. There were a lot of mornings where we wouldn't say much to each other. No bueno! At one point Elder Taufa and I got into a dispute where he yelled at me. Luckily Elder Tholen came in before I could go off on him. Needless to say things weren't going well.

Luckily, the Lord blesses his servants. Whenever I was feeling down about the tripanionship, the Lord would always find some way to cheer me up, whether it was through soccer, other Elders randomly telling me to cheer up, etc. One day Hermano Petersen was talking about the tender mercies of the Lord. I listened to wat he said and really tried to look for the tender mercies in my life. It is filled with tender mercies!! I could hardly stay mad when i thought about my many blessings. Another thing that kept me going was the Church website. They have these video clips callled "Mormon Messages." I suggest EVERYONE watch them. They are amazing. Usually they're clips from general conference set to music and pictures, etc. These always cheered me up. I even received some personal inspiration about faith, hope, and charity. I don't have enough time to give my new insight on the three subjects. But to put it simply as way to show my faith and have charity in my heart, I'm going to try live my life with a more positive attitude and be less of a pessimist. If it weren't for my companionship troubles I wouldnt have received this new insight on life. I am so grateful that the Lord tries his children for their own strengthening!

Sunday I was greatly blessed! I have a new companion. Elder Rouse broke his foot/ankle two weeks ago. His district left today. He has to stay until November. So Elder Rouse is my new companion. It is already going great. We had an amazing companion study today! Yesterday was kinda crazy, having to move his stuff and saying goodbye to his district (most left yesterday evening). Then this morning we had to wake up at 4 am to take his old companion to the travel office. I am really looking forward to this new companionship. We both want to be obedient to the rules and work hard! Today i even get to go to Babylon! (leave mtc campus) Elder Rouse had a dr. appointment.

Last Monday i went to the travel office. They said there's 99% chance I'll be in provo for all of my mtc time. They said they'd tell me when my visa gets here. no news yet.

Well that's all for now. Keep the faith. Remember our Savior always.

elder buchkovich

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still in the Provo MTC

After reading mom's sad letter about Aunt Mary, I can't remember all that I was going to say today. But i'll just start typing and we'll see.

I got my shoes from mom finally!!! I was so sure my visa would come last week b/c i said, "by the time i get that package, i'll be leaving for spain." i got the package, but no visa. oh well. there's always this week!

Tuesday we had a really amazing LGM (large group meeting, it's when several zones meet for a lesson on teaching once a week). It was about the Message of the Restoration. The teacher had us do this activity where we had to picture living in the time of Christ's earthly ministy. We were to picture him teaching on a hill, then we were to imagine making eye contact and him stopping his lesson and walking over us. then we were to imagine Him giving us an intimate, loving blessing. Then we were to imagine seeing Christ a week later. He still smiles at us, but down at us from the cross. Then we were to imagine the great apostasy and then our own personal "darkest hour" in life. He turned of the lights. Next he had us think of how the Restored gospel has blessed our life. I don't think I've ever been in a room with that many young 19 and 20 year old boys/men sniffling and holding back tears. It was really touching. I am so grateful for our Savior and his Restored gospel!

My companions and I have started practicing teaching a lot more. Our old teacher, Hermano Patten is our "progressive investigator." THis week we converted to teaching every lesson in Spanish. I did not know the definition of hard until I tried teaching a lesson in another language that I'm still learning!

I can't believe I'm halfway done at the MTC. I'm kind of sick of it here and just want to get out in the field and start teaching!!! however I am also scared out of my mind. i don't think i'll ever be ready to hold up a conversation with a native spaniard!

Well that's all for now.

Elder Buchkovich

Monday, September 13, 2010

Another week gone by!

Buenos dias!

Another week gone by! boy is the time going quickly! almost half way done with the MTC!! still no news about my visa. another elder from a different zone who got here the same week as me got his visa and is leaving for madrid. i think i've talked to him before and his fbi clearance got done a lot quicker than mine. my district leader said he had a dream last night about me getting my visa this week. we joke around about it being revelation.

In a week from wednesday we teach our first lesson in Spanish. thus, we've already started practicing. it is really hard, but it keeps the lesson simple. and our unity teaching as a companionship is a lot better when we can't go on on in english.

yesterday my district sang a special musical number in sacrament meeting. let's just say there was nothing special about it. my district isn't very musically talented. and on top of that we all choked and sang super quietly. some of the other elders were laughing during our song. oh well. what we did was really cool. we did a three part harmony (in spanish of course) with "nearer my god to thee" and "i need thee every hour." We made the songs into a medley singing the first verse of nearer my god to thee first then the first verse of i need the every hour. we did this for the first two verses.

yesterday was a hard day for the elders in my district to keep focus. one of the branch presidency members brought his daughter and her friend to sacrament meeting. both were very beautiful daughters of god. the presidency laughed (they really did) up on the stand as each elder in the zone noticed the two girls. my companions blessed the sacrament. i watched their eyes continually wander towards the girls. it was hilarious. then at the temple walk we saw numerous pretty girls walking on the grounds. no bueno!

i went to the temple this morning. i missed it last week. it is just so peaceful there!

i really love being a missionary! when you live the gospel and are constantly studying it, you are just happier. my entire life i've always kind of kept church for sundays. and left it out of my "wordly" life. but i realized that being a true disciple and follower of Christ means continually living in His gospel in a way that would make him proud. i've been reading a LOT in the new testament and Jesus the Christ about our Savior. i've never felt so close to him. even when I'm home i want to devote my life to serving him and bringing others to Him. i wish i had realized the greatness in having a close relationship to the Lord a lot earlier in my life. I am so grateful for His Atonement and the opportunity I have to serve a mission.

i love and miss you all!

elder buchkovich

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Last Picture Post

And the last one that I am posting is him in front of the Provo Temple. he actually sent more but this will do for now!

These two pictures are his tripanionship and of his district.

This is the famous map picture that evry missionary seems to have!

This picture is of Alex saying goodbye to Michelle at the bookstore. What a silly grin he is wearing!


Alex sent a few pictures home and I have been trying to post them. I will try one more time and hopefully will be successful this time! This one is of two elders he met at the airport who were coming home from their mission.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Semana 3


Not much happened this week except class and studies. We tried an English fast on Friday. It was a very quiet day in my district. lol. Actually it wasn't that bad. We're doing it again tomorrow. And by the end of the week our teachers are switching completely to Spanish and we'll have to speak Spanish in class. Speaking of teachers, we get a new teacher again tonight. Hermana Redd is starting to do speech therapy for her speech therapy masters program, so she can longer fit in working at the MTC. Our new teacher is Hermano Peterson.

I learned a lesson on humility this week. Remember last week how I almost scored in soccer every game? Well I spent so much time last week focusing on scoring for myself that I wasn't really contributing to my team. So this week the Lord humbled me. I didn't score at all! In fact times when I should have shot the ball I was overcome with and urge to pass it, and thus I did so. Being a missionary, I'm going to liken this unto the Gospel. As a missionary I cannot focus on getting baptisms just for my own glory. I need to work as a team with my fellow missionaries, the ward members, and the Lord in bringing others to salvation. If I focus on myself, I will not have a truly successful mission.

I also learned about sacrifice this weekend. Saturday was the first BYU home football game. My plan was to stay inside and study so that I wouldn't be distracted. Well, it would be my luck that I had gym during the game and could here every single cheer! I could even smell the food!! I realized that in my entire life I am NEVER missed a season of college football. I probably haven't even gone a autumn Saturday without watching part of at least one game! I also realized that I really didn't care that I'd be missing two years of football. The Lord's work is much better. Then on Sunday the MTC President spoke. He mentioned the sacrifices some foreign missionaries made to be here. It really put into perspective how lucky I am. How little I had to "sacrifice." I am so grateful for the blessings in my life.

Now for some humor. I keep foregetting to mention a joke the MTC president told on our first day here during orientation. He was doing a survey of where everyone was from. He asked all the missionaries from Utah to stand. An army stood up. He then said, "Stay humble. After all Utah was God's fifth choice for Zion in the Latter-days!" Also some missionary slang that I love: "missionary goggles"- the phrase used to describe that fact that any girl looks beautiful to Elders. "I'd baptise her!" - used when you see a very good looking girl.

I guess that's all for now. I might write more later. Adios!

Monday, August 30, 2010


It has come to my attention that I never posted Alex's contact info so here it is now!
MTC address
Elder Alex Michael Buchkovich
MTC Mailbox # 174
SPA-BAR 1013
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793
Please feel free to write, he will love your letters.

More News

Buenos dias! Well, I guess it's not morning there anymore. How are things? The MTC is great! Although being in Provo for the start of the semester is going to be hard, esp. when the first home football game rolls around! This week has been filled with spiritual enrichment!

On Tuesday the devotional speaker was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. How's that for a first MTC devotional? haha. He as usual gave a power talk that was very motivational. It was super similar to his "Don't you dare go home" talk. But nonetheless it was really good. I was going to share a few points that I liked the best, but I left my notes in the classroom. The main thing I got out of his talk was that as a missionary I am needed in the work and that I should have no regrets when I get home. I just got back from the temple. I LOVE being able to go the temple every week. It is so uplifting to be able to go and receive answers and comfort to my problems in the House of the Lord.

The Spanish is still progressing. Although we're learning so much that it's hard to compute it all. Thus I feel like I'm not learning anything. But I know I am. My French background is still providing difficulties, but there a TON of French-Spanish cognates that make like a lot easier. One of our teachers had to leave us this week. Both he and the other teachers have morning classes at BYU so they couldn't fit our MTC schedule. I really liked the one that has to leave. But it's probably better off because he reminded me a lot of a typical BYU student and really made me miss the Y.

I found out on Thursday that I won't be heading to Madrid on the 7th anymore. My departure time is to be decided. PLEASE PRAY FOR MY VISA! Some elders in my zone just left for the Madrid mission. They were supposed to go to the MTC there too but their visas didnt come until last week. They had been here 8 weeks already so they get to go to the field a week early. I cannot wait to get to the mission field.

Yesterday during lunch I sat by an elder from Barcelona! He's headed to the Ogden mission. He told me Barcelona is the most beautiful city in Europe. It made me super excited! But also a little nervous because I could barely understand him in English....how am i going to understand him in Spanish?!?

About the retainer....turns out I do have it! I don't know how I managed to go 2 weeks without seeing it in my toiletry bag. But yesterday I found out. Boy were my teeth sore this morning, wearing it for the first time in weeks.

Every Sunday evening we get to watch church videos. Yesterday we did a companion exchange. Elder Weaver and I went and watched the First Vision and Kirtland movies. I always feel so proud to be from the Kirtland area when I watch that movie!

Well that's all for now. I still have 10 minutes of email time. So I may send another one later if I think of anything more I want to add.

Elder Buchkovich

Monday, August 23, 2010

FIRST E-mail

Mi familia y mis amigos,

The MTC is amazing! The Spirit of God aboundeth so much here! I am in a tricpanionship. Mi companeros are Elder Tholen and Elder Taufa. They are both really cool and we all get along well. They're going to Panama. I love my district! All the elders are awesome. Our district is F in zone 16. No one else in my district is going to Spain, but I did meet some elders during dinner the other day who came in on the same day and are scheduled to go to the Spain MTC on the same day, which is Sept. 7. Let's alll have faith that my visa will come on time.

These past few days have been crazy! The first days were super long and exhausting, but now they're starting to speed up. My Spanish is progressing amazingly! (although I have a French accent) The Spirit really does work miracles for the servants of the Lord!!

On Tuesday on my connection flight, I sat by two elders returning home to Utah from one of the New Jersey missions. They were Spanish-speaking, so they gave me tips on learning the language. At the SLC airport I walked the one elder to his family because he was having separation anxiety. The other elder continued on to St. George.

I don't really have many stories to tell since I've only been here a few days. Yesterday during our temple walk, we talked to a member and his daughter. He had seen all the elders walking to the temple so he stopped to show his daughter good examples of guys to date. haha she must have been so mad at him!

I suppose I could bear my testimonio in Spanish. I already have it memorized, although it's at the level of a primary child. Yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador. Jose Smith fue en profeta y que esta iglesia es verdadera. El libro de Mormon es verdadero y Tomas S. Monson es un profeta hoy en dia. Y tambien que las familias son eternas y por medio la fe, podemos vencer las pruebas. En el nombre de Jesucristo, amen. I've already improved it. I just typed what I wrote in my journal a few days ago to save time.

Mom please send me my white adidas shoes and the shoe cleaner that should be with them. Those cheap shoes we bought already broke. The heals caved in. I blame Michelle for telling me to run 4 miles that one time a couple weeks ago. haha. Also send my retainer I left it at home! It should be on my nightstand.

I am sorry if my emails and letters home are bad. I can write fine when it's creative writing, but with letters and emails I am terrible at expressing myself and I tend to get random and out of order.

Please forward this to: quijada.2@buckeyemail.osu.edu cami.heroux@gmail.com spacecase8908@aol.com tiggger1246@roadrunner.com seklopp@aol.com NAGYE@umich.edu c.summers.1@hotmail.com AshelyHolt52@hotmail.com apayne1@ashland.edu michelleolson23@gmail.com and all my siblings and other family or friends interested in my emails.

Elder Buchkovich

News From Alex

We received a letter today from Alex. He was allowed to write and let us know he was safe and sound. He said he would like his mailbox to be less empty. He is in a tripanoniship ( 3 missionaries) and he likes them both. He is learning Spanish already. His branch president is the judge who convicted him of a misdemeanor! He is scheduled to leave on September 7 for the Spain MTC if he gets his Visa so say your prayers please! He said to go to a wbsite called DearElder.com to make his mailbox less empty! It was great to hear from him.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Alex is now in the MTC thanks to Jennie. We appreciate her patience and service! I just heard that he left his scriptures in her car so now she has to deal with that too! I can't believe he did that, but then again, I can believe it! Well, I feel much better tonight knowing he is where he is suppose to be as he starts part three of his journey!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Safe and Sound

Elder Buchkovich has arrived safe and sound in Utah and is now under the supervision of his sister-in-law. So, part two of his journey has begun. I am releived that he is with family again until he gets turned over to the care of the Men at the MTC!

Flyimg the Friendly Skies

Elder Buchkovich is on the plane that will take him on the first step of his mission journey. His Dad and I had a bet going to see if he would turn and wave one more time before he disappeared behind the security gate. I thought he would not but his Dad said he would. Sure enough he stretched around the man behind him and waved one last time making his Mom's day but bringing on her tears at the same time. And then he disappeared for two years...it may take me that long to clean up the mess left behind. ( Well ok that is a bit of an exaggeration). Stay tuned for more events to come.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Elder Buchkovich

Alex is now an official missionary of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That means no TV, no internet, no text messages, and no girls, except of course his Mom, for the next two years. It was an exciting day but also a bit sad. He leaves on Tuesday for the MTC in Provo. It was a very spiritual and touching blessing he received from our stake president. His farewell talk this morning at Church was very good. Two of his high school friends and his Grandma were also there, and that made it even more special. The Bishop called on me, his Mom, to bear my testimony at the end of the meeting. I was so caught off guard that my mind went blank for a minute and I did not know what to say. However, I recovered enough to bear my testimony of the gratitude that I have that Alex is going on his mission..

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mission Call

As many know, Alex got called to the Spain Barcelona Mission. He received his mission call on March 31st. He enters the Provo MTC in a week from tomorrow on August 18th. After 3 weeks, if all goes well with his visa, then he'll head to the Madrid MTC. On this blog I'll post his weekly emails home and his mailing address/area updates.