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 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