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

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