Monday, May 16, 2016

Twenty Weeks

Hello everyone! So far it has been awesome being with a Latin American companion (Elder Quezada, with a Z not S)! We joke around a lot but work a full (a lot) and have better lessons than I have before had here in the mission. That's not to discount my older companions - it could just be the area or the fact that I'm not so new anymore - but I am loving it. I am getting a whole lot better at speaking spanish for one and for two I can help him as he's learning English (he's learning English) so it's a mutual trade off. I can learn and grow a lot while also providing a service. It's great. The first picture is of the two of us together. 

Now for some fun stories/updates before I get to talking about the people that we are teaching (there are a ton here, it's awesome):

First of all, the Police Cars here say "La Matanza" in the back just behind the passenger door, which translated means "The Killing". Not sure how to take that, but it's pretty funny at least (and not a need for worry, the police here are actually somewhat lazy compared to other places).
Second of all, the new pension (not the one I helped move all the stuff too, but rather the one where I live now) is really nice on the inside. It even has AC because apparently in the summer it gets really hot. The only sad part though is that it is now Winter so it's not all that useful at the moment, especially since the building is made of hollow bricks that are super common here (and aren't very insulated) and some of the cold gets in on it's own. Nothing too unbearable though. I'm also super excited though that we have a washer and dryer in this pench, but they also aren't your typical washer and dryer. The washer worked up until two weeks before I arrived because a hot water tank fell on it and left it with a couple holes in the side and water so it can't be filled. I really wanted a washer though so I patched the holes with packing tape and now it holds water just fine. Also, the turbine thing in the middle was all kinds of cracked/broke but for that there was glue. Now it works great, and I was finally able to wash all of my clothes without spending hours doing it by hand. The only other funny thing about it though is that it has no knobs or switches or anything. You just fill it up with water (from a hose), put your clothes in and plug it in and it starts chugging away until you unplug it and then drain it (from a hose attached to the machine). The dryer is also super useful but again, not something you would find in the states. It's a centrifuge, which means that you just put the clothes in (and make sure the weight is distrubuted really well, sometimes you have to try like 5 times) and then plug it in and it spins really fast so that all the water gets pressed out of the clothes, then you take them out and hang them up. Those two things really are some of the best in the world for me right now though, but discourse over, sorry for taking so much time talking about a washer and dryer haha.

Two fun adventures of the week as well:

1) Placing Argentine coins on the railroad tracks and letting a train run over them. They turned out awesome (picture number two) and my comp thought it was the most genius thing ever.

2)Eating tongue. Maybe not an adventure, but I had never done it before and it was actually pretty good. Probably not something I would make for myself but I appreciated the flavor and can easily see how others would like it. Didn't have my camera though so I didn't get a picture (sorry).

Now on to the people that we taught this week:

First of all my comp and I practiced teaching together using a DragonBall Z action figure that we taped a face onto. It was rather amusing (picture 3).

Real people though, first up would be Familia Suarez. They are both capos. They are a couple living together (for about 3-4 years) and they both came together already having kids (and now have one together as well). They need to get married to get baptized so we're working on that (they're unsure if the marriage would last, but want it to be so that it will) but Elder Quezada has been teaching them for a long time. He said that they didn't even believe in god for the longest time but still wanted to follow certain commandments, such as the Word of Wisdom (no Coffee, Tea, Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drugs) regardless - I would have that without having a testimony of god that you wouldn't be worried about his commandments too much either then. They now have that testimony though and want to pay tithing too now, even though they still aren't baptized. Hopefully next month though they can be baptized (marriage papers here take a month to go through). They talk to us and confide in us with their problems though as though we have know them for life. It really makes me realize how much service we are providing people as missionaries when we talk to them (as well as others) with how much confidence they have with us and with how much look to us to help guide them. It really is kind of crazy but awesome at the same time to both have that responsibility but also to be able to truly and sincerely help them.

Next would be Hermana Viamonte - she is an elderly lady in the Ward (congregation) here that had here husband pass away 3 years ago and only recently started going to church again. That entire time though between when her husband died and she stopped going until now the missionaries always kept passing by no matter what and so when we were there she thanked us because in her words "Nobody has really visited me, and so for the last 3 years it has just been me, god and the missionaries, and I thank you for that". That was a pretty ridiculous moment too that made me also realize what it really means to be a missionary and again the service and help that we provide while we are here serving. It's pretty awesome.

Lastly would be Familia Lescano - A brother and sister that both served missions about ten years ago (and the wife of the brother, who is a member of the church but didn't serve a mission) that we have been to a couple times to eat. They are the ones that gave me the tongue to eat and they are always super fun to visit and talk with/hear stories from.

Other than that, I don't really think that there is all that much more to say for this week that I can think of off the top of my head. I will try and get more photos next week but I haven't been carrying my camera around this my first week in the city because I wasn't sure how secure it would be but I think I should be fine carrying it around every once in a while to grab a photo here or there.

Love you all and hope you all have a great week though!

-Elder McCollum

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