We had a great week here, and as usual there was something to keep us on our toes. After many months of planning and preparation it was finally time for the David Archuleta and Paul Cardall visit. Paul Cardall (an LDS pianist) did a concert in Slovenia last year, and this year another one was was organized to include David Archuleta. The whole concert was done in partnership with a Slovenian charity that benefits children with hearth defects, and the entire event was really nice. It was also a good way to help people get familiar with the Church and see that we’re actually quite normal!
The concert craziness started on Thursday morning. After getting to Slovenia, David Archuleta and Paul Cardall went right into a rehearsal at the Ljubljana Opera and Ballet theater – it’s a stunning building. Elder Hughes and I were able to attend that rehearsal to take pictures and shoot some video for a promotional video that went on the Church’s Facebook page. It was fun to see them rehearse and we were able to get to meet and talk to David Archuleta and the people that came with him.
(We took a little trip to the Ljubljana castle)
On Friday afternoon we had a missionary fireside at the Ljubljana chapel with David Archuleta and Paul Cardall as our speakers. They both did wonderfully, and David talked a lot about his mission and the different things he learned. He shared some great insights about following promptings of the Spirit and repentance, and, of course, sang for us. For someone famous, he is a very down to Earth and genuine guy, and I really appreciated some of the things he talked about during that fireside.
(And more Slovenia)
Finally, the time for the concert arrived. All of the missionaries in Slovenia were able to attend, as well as many of the members. It was fun to see so many of the missionaries and members all dressed up going to the concert! The entire evening lasted about 2 hours and was a lot of fun. David Archultea sang, Paul Cardall played the piano, and both sounded great. I’ll try to include the links to some videos I took. They aren’t the best quality, but definitely get the point across.
By the time we finally got home on Friday night we were exhausted. Even still, it was a great week and we were lucky to have someone like David Archuleta come visit. Things like this aren’t only fun though, but do a good job at helping bring the Church’s name out of obscurity, even if only a little bit. Although I would venture to say that nobody will be baptized because of this concert, I can confidently say that to a few hundred people “Mormon” means something a little more positive now. The Church in Slovenia is still young, and most people simply don’t know who we are. (Funny side note. Harrison Ford’s movie “Witness” is, for some reason, really popular in Slovenia. It’s on TV at least once a week. The movie focuses on an Amish boy, but in Slovenia the people who did the subtitles translated “Amish” as “Mormoni”. So now the entire country thinks that “Mormon” is a name for those people who live in the country and don’t use electricity…) Events like this help the Church slowly but surely become a more recognizable and positive force in Slovenia. It’s a great time to be a missionary here!