Translation and editing by Djafan and Bebereader
Mr. and Mrs. McKinley welcomed me. She asked me many questions and both of them kissed me and introduced me not as a member but as a friend from Argentina. Mrs. McKinley knew that I had two nieces; she read The Voice and my own blog.
The first two rows were Reserved seating and Mr. McKinley removed a Reserved sign and seated me in the second row about a meter from the pulpit. Elder Archuleta would eventually sit on the same side of the pulpit so I had a perfect view. They chatted with me and introduced me to all the Elders; it seemed like they had been waiting for me. When Elder Archuleta arrived, Mrs. McKinley spoke with him for some time before he began to sing. He turned and saw me and he smiled. I smiled back.
He sang the same songs as the last Christmas devotional but this time I saw him up close. It was like a recital when you repeat the performance but he was more confident this time, especially in the Spanish and Italian songs.
When he sang the first song, “Los Pastores A Belen”, I was the only one singing along. We sang together for a few seconds! I was able to hear the Italian song perfectly. It was powerful because everyone was in complete silence. When he finished Los Pastores the audience applauded and he put his finger to his lips and made the “shhhh” sign with a smile. During the rest of the songs the audience would start to applaud and he would repeat the gesture, finger to his lips.
I also chatted with Sister Viviana, who will be in charge soon. She received her chocolates and told me that last Saturday she rode back in the same car as Elder Archuleta and that he told her about me and the chocolates and gave her some. She said that he is personable and nice and very humble. I showed her what I bought for him and she laughed and said “He is a kid at heart; he’s going to like it.”
I bought him a giant egg, with lots of eggs inside with building pieces. The giant egg had feet and a duck’s head, cute. I glued the messages to the feet and I wrote something on the back:
Elder Archuleta, I know you have contact with a singer from Utah whose name starts with a D. Please tell him that he won’t need to start at zero. Just begin where he left off. I give thanks for the jewels he left us and for those that are to come. I speak for everyone from around the world. May God Bless you and continue protecting you.
When I gave it to him I asked if he liked his previous gift and he said “Of course” and he recognized me.
“Have you eaten it all?”
He laughed a lot and said, “Yes.”
“Well here is something else but as before don’t eat it all at once.” (I showed him the top part so he couldn’t see the messages.)
He said, “Again? Thank you.” And when he saw the egg, he laughed heartily. It’s the most glorious laugh I’ve ever heard.
Since I was sitting among some Elders and had candies to snack on, I handed some out while Elder Archuleta sang. I gave the sweets to the Argentinean Elder Des and he asked if he could give some to the others too. So we all snacked on sweets together. Before I left I shook Elder Des’ hand and told him, “See you in Rancagua on Sunday.” He said, “We’ll be waiting!!!”
I ran into President MacArthur and he gave me a hug and kiss. I’d never spoken to him before and he said, “Ahhh, you are the one from Argentina.”
Me: “Yes, President.”
Him: “You know something, I always tell Archuleta that he has the possibilities of success. haha.”
The one who was in charge of that district, the Buin Chile district, was inviting people to see pictures and the shepherds/nativity in the next room. Before the show started, an Elder from Ecuador took me to see the exhibit and they gave me a copy of The Book of Mormon.
When I was leaving I saw Elder Archuleta again, from afar. He had a line of people waiting to greet him. They weren’t fans; they were families that just wanted to congratulate him and shake his hand. I watched as he smiled and spoke with everyone but I left. I didn’t want to abuse my luck. They gave him gifts. A man gave him cookies and snacks in a bag. Mostly they gave him food and he just laughed. I think they may have started this when they saw that I brought him a gift the last time.
Mr. and Mrs. McKinley kissed me and told me they’ll be waiting for me as did Sister Viviana. She said that on the 9th in Rancagua, it’s going to be beautiful and to make sure I get there early.
I felt on leaving that I had accomplished a mission of my own, with the message I gave to Elder Archuleta.