Monday, February 29, 2016

Week Nine

So this was a crazy long week with a lot that has happened. 

I don't know if I mentioned it last week, but last week Mario proposed to one of the Hermanas in our district (via a note) for when she gets back to the states. Because of that, our mission president told us we had to talk to him and tell him that as missionaries, we are not allowed to be in a relationship or anything like that, and can't even think about that until after the mission and misisonaries have to be looked at like monks/nuns. We would have told him on Monday but it was his Birthday (and he made some really tasty chicken dish with potatoes, etc.) so we visited again on Tuesday and had to break it to him. He seemed to take it really well at the time though he was really kind of down about it, but when we tried to stop by Wednesday-Saturday to see how he was doing, he wouldn't answer or wasn't there. This last Sunday then he wanted to talk with my comp and the branch president and wouldn't let me in the room with my comp because the problem he had was with my comp and not me (I hadn't spoken at all during the visit on Tuesday because of Spanish and because my comp would have had more experience to be able to deal with it) but he proceeded to chew my comp out for 30 minutes (calling him a disgrace to his ancestors, arrogant, and a list of other false accusations) while my comp just thanked him for his advice and told him he would try and improve. Obviously we can't pass by anymore, but that was something that nobody expected and the important thing is that Mario is still going to church so over time I'm sure things will clear up as he isn't so hurt anymore.

In other happier news though, we got to go to the Capital on Tuesday, then sleep overnight in the Sky Pench on the 13th floor (Pench = Pension = Apartment) with a bunch of other missionaries (I slept on the balcony with a view of all the city) because the following morning Elder Bednar (one of the twelve apostles) was coming to speak in a conference where all 4 Buenos Aires missions would be together, and it was broadcast to all of the South America south mission area as well (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay if I remember correctly). It was way awesome, as there were two South American members of the 70 there as well and we got to ask questions, be asked questions, and learn together. It was awesome, and the rest of my MTC district was able to see me on their big screen when the person behind be asked a question, and then I was also able to see and give a hug to my MTC companion there who is in the Buenos Aires East mission, which was an awesome experience. We then heard some from our mission president (back in the mission offices) and then left back to Chivilcoy that Wednesday night. 

Thursday was fairly normal, but Friday was my first time doing divisions (splits) where you have a different companion for a day from a different area, which helps both of you find ways that you can improve. I would have expected to go to a different area and be somebody elses companion but my comp was actually the one that left so I had to navigate around and find all the appointments on my own, and the most awesome part was that my comp was from Chile so speaking English was not an option. I got a lot of spanish practice that day (both with him and in lessons we had without Elder Groen there, and when we had to get a few things from the store) and it gave me a lot more confidence and I'm able to understand and speak a lot better from just that one day, and converse a lot more with people. The lessons that day were super awesome as well, but from that day comes my fun bike story for the week, though my bike has been fairly well behaved. (We got the handlebar fixed on Wednesday night) On the day of the divisions, we had to make it to the bus station quickly to meet the other companionship where we would swap and where they would get on the bus to leave almost right after, but we got out to the street and were about to go when I realized my bike had a flat, so we had to walk all the way there, quickly, but we made it. Me and Elder San Martin (the elder on divisions with me) took it and got it fixed just after study time and then went to grab a couple things from the store for lunch/for the pench. I had all the groceries in my backpack thankfully for the next part, but as we were leaving we had to go up on the sidewalk and to do so you kind of pull up on your handlebars so that you can get the front wheel up more softly/easily and the back just follows. Well after the new handlebar, the grips didn't fit so well, so the both slid off when I did that and I hit the curb (thankfully at a very slow pace) with no hands on the handlebars at all. I was able to leap off and land it but I had no clue what had happened until I looked down and saw the grips in my still closed hands. It was pretty entertaining to be honest.

Most important item of this week though: I HAD MY FIRST BAPTISM OF THE MISSION!

It was Diego, the investigator that had been passed to us by the Hermanas. He is such a capo (stud in spanish, used all the time here) - he finished the Book of Mormon, soaks all the lessons up like a sponge, and has already practically completed his family history book and one of the first things he asked after he was baptised was when the next temple trip was. I'm super excited for him. We had to spend some time cleaning the font on Saturday, and then had to wait around for an hour while it filled. Because of everything going on with Mario though, I was the one that got to baptize him, and it was an awesome experience - especially when we hugged afterwards and all he said was "gracias". While we were waiting for people to show up though we had kind of a funny exchange: He asked me "So this is your first time?" (performing the baptism) I thought for a second then said "Yup - and you?" He smiled and said "Equal then I guess." He was confirmed the next day in Church and we have an appointment with him tomorrow to put all his family history names in the computer so that he can go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead for them on the next temple trip, which will be awesome for him and which is something that really helps people to stay active in the church as well.

Last cool thing: Yesterday we contacted somebody that was referred to us by an inactive member that had a dream about two men visiting her and speaking with her but had no clue what it meant until we showed up and she realized it was us. Her husband had died 4 months previously though and because of that she had grown a lot closer to God and her faith in Christ had grown a lot as well so I am very excited to teach her, but she will be out of town all this week so we can't until next Sunday. It should go really well though.

I think those are the biggest things - I suppose I could include another random Argentina fact for this week: they call the Falkland Islands "Las Islas Malvinas" and on any map say they belong to Argentina (they lost them to the UK in the 80s) and there is a memorial to them in every park (and there are way more parks here than in the states - at least one major plaza in every city even if it is only a few hundred people) as well as pictures of them on some of the money, and just in random places. It's kind of interesting/bizarre since it'd be kind of like Mexico claiming that it still owns Texas even though they clearly have no claim to it at all.

Anyways, talk to you all next week!

Elder McCollum

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