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