…So for starters, it's been a great week! Elder Sosa and I have been working really hard here in San Rafael, and we've been having a blast doing it.
To start the update, we'll take it back to transfers which happened just before Christmas. Elder Espinoza (my Chilean companion) got sent to an area over in Mendoza by the name of ‘La Favorita’ which is a... Well… let's just say that it's less than a super safe area. Elder Neto (the apartment's beloved Brazilero) was made a Zone Leader, and is now doing a stellar job over in San Luis (another province in the mission). He's an absolute stud so we all saw that one coming…
Elder Richardson (the Idaho Zone Leader) is still in the apartment with us working in the next area over from ours, and his new companion is (drum roll please…) Elder Banks! Elder Banks hails from the great state of Minnesota, and is a clown de verdad. He's a great guy, he works hard, and he's a lot of laughs.
As for me, I stayed here in San Rafael in Parque el Molino, to receive the man, the myth and the legend - Elder Sosa of Paraguay. He's the craziest, funniest, hardest-headed Paraguayo you'll ever meet, and he's very much an "I'm the captain/master of my destiny" kind of a guy…
And then - choir happened... It all started when the ex-assistant to the president Elder Briones got the idea of a mission-wide Christmas Choir. The email was sent, and the missionaries responded, and over the course of around three weeks, twenty or so missionaries practiced a boat load of Christmas songs and carols, and other groups were assigned other songs. All told, the following was the list of songs in the order they were performed in the concert.
1.) Jingle Bells (performed by the Orchestra, viola, violins, cellos and bases. It was a great intro.)
2.) Sleigh ride (two Sister missionaries at the piano, and the song starts. All the missionaries come jogging in, with Santa hats and sleigh bells ringing, shaking hands, wishing merry Christmas, and putting the audience into a riot of laughter.)
3.) Far, far away on Judea's planes (The Elders come marching in from the back, and take their places, and it sounds AWESOME)
4.) Carol of the bells (Pentatonic version, 3 Elders, one Hermana, and ‘fui yo’. it was a lot of fun)
5.) Away in a manger/Oh little town of Bethlehem (The whole choir. Sounded great!)
6.) Angels we have heard on high (the same group for Carol of the bells, and it was an interesting mix up this one. We used the musical arrangement for the hymn as does the standard hymnal, but we set it to the rhythm of Pentatonic' white winter hymnal. That was a lot of slaps and claps and snaps to memorize and synchronize.)
7.) What child is this? (Two Elders, Three Hermanas and Elder Moon, one of my best mish friends at the Piano. They sounded amazing.)
8.) Hark the Herald Angels sing (the Choir with Hermana McGill at the Piano, that was one of the most awesome arrangements for the hymn I've ever heard-- it was powerful.)
9.) Come all ye faithful (same group for Carol of the Bells, and Angels we have heard on high, pentatonic version-- this was a fun one)
10.) Islander's Christmas mix (This was by far the funest of the songs I took part in. The two other Elders that sang this one with me were Elder Tew from Yakima WA ‘woop woop’! And Elder McCabe from Los Angeles CA ‘woop woop’! We sang a Tongan tune by the name of ‘e otua tataki au’, and ‘melekaliki maka’ with Elder Tew on the Ukulele.)
…And that's a wrap (I have more to write on the concert but my time's up so I'll continue next week), and I didn't want to leave you guys hanging for two weeks in a row! Take care! And I love you all!