Editor's Note: Due to Transfer Week, Elder Jones' P-Day was moved to Tuesday, so the post comes a day late!
Hello from Pergamino, Argentina. My companion had a migraine this past week, which left me with a lot of free time both in the hospital and apartment while he recovered for three days. While he was recovering, i wrote up an ESPN article in Spanish, just to practice my translation skills. It isn´t perfect, but it turned out alright. Then I decided to translate it back from Spanish to English. Every part of it is true, except the quotes, which are obviously made up from scratch, but basically portrays how everyone feels. I hope you enjoy it. Here it is:
Pergamino´s Preparation Days
Elder Rory Jones
For as long as anyone can remember, the missionaries here in Pergamino, Argentina, have always played soccer on Monday, their famous preparation day when everyone rests from the strenuous work and simply just takes a break.
"I´m not gonna lie, Mondays are totally rad and chill," said Elder Hixon, one of the current district leaders here in the zone. "If only they were a little longer. . ."
With a mere seven hours of free time, these devoted missionaries really have to use their time wisely. Just like Elder Hixon, the majority find themselves wishing for more time as the day comes to a close.
"At least three more hours to relax would be perfect," responded Elder Rodriguez at the last press conference, when asked if he thought Mondays should be extended in the future. "I mean, who doesn´t want more free time to eat, sleep and recharge yourself," he added later while yawning and further debating about the official preparation day schedule.
Whether the typical Monday schedule changes or not, everyone will always enjoy the leisure time, regardless of its length!
"I just go hard all day and never stop," said Elder Sáez, one of the largest missionaries know for his immense stature and limitless strength. "Sometimes people call him the `human tank.´"
And there you have it. From the crack of dawn until the end of each day, Elder Saez keeps plowing forward, always accompanied by his faithful companion, Elder Welsh.
"On Mondays, every second counts, just like in BYU football games," exclaimed Elder Welsh, when asked for his opinion during the last mission council.
Currently serving as a zone leader here in Pergamino, Elder Welsh has chosen to suit up for the Lord these next two years, leaving behind his fame and putting his future career and football scholarships on hold. He does it with good intentions, though.
"We are glad to have him on our team," reported President Hugo Giuliani, the current leader and president of more than 200 missionaries here in southern Argentina. "He was a beast on the field in Provo, and he´s a spiritual beast here in the mission field."
One might say that Elder Welsh´s prayers were answered this past week and his sacrifices recognized. Why? Well, surprisingly enough, the whole zone gathered together and played American Football this past week, breaking traditions and giving some Latin Americans quite the experience. Despite the fact that 95% of them had never touched a football before the mission, two of them managed to score touchdowns!
"I caught the ball and just took off running," said Elder Valenzuela, the newest missionary in Pergamino who arrived with Elder Jones about a month ago. "Everyone kept screaming, so i just kept running like a madman."
The saying "Third time is a charm" really defines this extraordinary play of the game. After bobbling and dropping two previous passes, Valenzuela grabbed ahold of the third one and bulleted into the endzone.
"Yeah, there you go, man!" shouted Elder Jones, the quarterback at the time who threw a perfect, spiral bomb to his companion.
One hour later with the score tied at 14, all 12 missionaries lined up and waited for the hike. As soon as possible, Elder Eliosoff shot off the line at lightning speed, showing no sign of fatigue. Later, before anyone knew what was happening, Eliosoff was launching himself into the air to avoid the last defender and belly-flopping into a bunch of knee-high weeds and untamed grass.
"Everyone went bonkers," he exclaimed during his post-game interview. "Even though I got a bunch of weeds and prickles down my pants, it was worth it in the end," he later commented.
Eliosoff´s team came out with the win, and each missionary celebrated differently. All in all, it was just a chill and eventful day. Everyone enjoyed themselves--Latinos and Americans alike.
When asked about his experience, Elder Salt said the following: "I got pegged a few times like a kid in dodge ball, but that´s just part of the game, ya know?"
In sum, preparation days leave all companionships exhausted and satisfied--a goal quite hard to achieve.
I don´t think anyone could have put it better than Elder Nelson, known as "Nelly" by all missionaries, when he described preparation days like this: "Mondary are just flat-out sweet."