April 9, 2012
WOW. What a week! I have now experienced Semana Santa in Andalucía. I don´t know if I´ve ever explained how provinces and such work in Spain. There's the country of Spain- ESPAÑA then the country is divided into Provinces. Madrid, Andalucía, Galicia, La Mancha etc. Then in every province there are little states that I don´t know what they´re called in English. For example, in Andalucía there´s Sevilla, Cádiz, Granada, Málaga etc. Each of these little states have a Capital that shares their name. I was IN Sevilla the state AND the capital city. Here I´m in Sanlúcar which is part of Cádiz. Which is the capital. So I don´t know if you´re now saying- Well DUH. Or if you´ve learned something new. Anyways. Andalucía is the deep south of Spain. Spanish traditions are the strongest here. (duh Matthew)
Last year I was in the CCM (MTC) in Madrid and Semana Santa is VERY different in Andalucía. Semana Santa is BIGGEST and most popular in Sevilla. I started my mission in Sevilla about a week and a half after Semana Santa. Oh darn. But don´t worry there were still plenty of processions the month AFTER as well. And I did see the Feria. What am I doing thinking about "LAST YEAR" in my mission.
I´m far too old.
Well this week I finally saw Semana Santa in ALL its glory. People come from ALL over Europe to see Semana Santa in Andalucía. We were climbing up to Barrío Alto (the neighborhood higher up) and we had to pass by the castle. And as we were climbing WHAT did we see?
if we were in the United states you would SCREAM. "ELDER! ITS THE KKK!!!!!!!!!!" but in SPAIN you would scream "¡MIRA! élder. ¡Un PASO!" (look Elder! a procession!)
There was a HUGE group of the penitentes (KKK hat wearers who follow all the processions for Semana Santa) Every Hermandad (Brotherhood? that's what they call them) is in charge of a paso (procession) and they have different colors. This specific paso had penitentes in BLACK robes. Well imagine climbing up a Spanish callecita passing an old castle and seeing DEATH EATERS up ahead. That's what happened to us. (WHERE'S MY WAND HARRY?) hee hee hee
So we ( I ) got excited (Elder Hoyos lived in Spain for a few years) and took a shortcut up to the other side of the castle and I whipped out my well prepared wand.... I mean camera and got a lovely little video of the paso.
That was Wednesday I believe. Then Friday we went to visit a member who was going to the temple but was really stressed for matters I will explain after, and she asked for a blessing before she left. (it's a 7 hour bus ride) So we went and gave her a blessing then we were walking with her because we had to go to Barrío Bajo (neighborhood downhill next to the ocean) and she was going to the bus station ALSO in Barrío Bajo.
So we were walking and we saw a paso so we decided to take another street. We had to walk through a HUGE crowd of people (we thought they were there to see the first paso) but then we literally RAN INTO another paso. Imagine a HUGE crowd of dressed up Spaniards, penitentes (KKK), a marching band, and then one of the most FAMOUS pasos (a giant virgin María holding the dead body of Christ) going along their little path then two missionaries and a woman with a HUGE bag running along beside it. I honestly felt a little bad but we were in a HUGE rush to get her to the bus station. The truth is it's just a huge crowd, people talking, smoking and people are always running around trying to get through. It was just funny missionaries in WHITE shirts and a lady with her big bag running alongside this giant virgin statue.
That's the mission for ya. Well in Spain at least.
Rocío´s husband Eduardo who has been unemployed for a LONG time has started working these last few weeks at a construction site. Well on Wednesday he was on a roof and a crane malfunctioned and kept swinging its load (towards him Eduardo) so instinctively he dodged the crane but in doing so fell from the roof. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Then moved to Cádiz. He has about 13 broken ribs (some shattered) a punctured lung (from a rib) one of his vital organs (name in English I don´t know) in spanish "Vaso" and from my limited medical vocabulary in Spanish, Something in his head or brain was also affected his medula? I don´t use too many medical works.
Rocío who suffers from anxiety attacks, fainted. We were in the hospital for about an hour with them. We weren´t allowed to see him, but we were with the family. He was moved to Cádiz and the members there immediately moved into action. Priesthood blessing, relief society food etc. He is in an induced coma. The situation is serious. But thanks to the members they are doing so much better. Thanks to our Heavenly Father he is still alive.
The member who WE gave a blessing to was affected too because 2 days before the accident they "celebrated" for lack of a better word, the death of their father 4 years. Who fell from a roof and died instantly. It was a very unwelcome shock for her family as well. But everything is better because it´s in the Lord´s hands. But it has been a hectic week. The members of the stake went to the temple and the youth from Sanlúcar brought me a white rock from around the olive tree on the temple grounds. I love the Madrid temple.
Well I believe that's it. Work was a little difficult with Semana Santa but people are progressing poco a poco. Little by little.
Love you all. I know our Savior lives. I know He loves us. His atonement and suffering is VERY REAL and we truly can have lives with more hope and happiness because of Him. I love my Savior and I love my Father in heaven.
I love you all. Don´t forget to pray and read the scriptures. Go to church. Spend time as a family. And listen to the Prophet.