Monday, July 11, 2016

Twenty Eight Weeks

Well this has been a super fun week with a lot going, but it goes by really fast. First of all a huge announcement that I somehow missed - apparently you can now send packages to Argentina (with the new president) - not exactly sure how it works, but I think that it might have to be something small besides, but it's super expensive regardless - a Priority Mail flat rate envelope (the size that I saw another missionary get, which is how I found out that it's possible) costed about $30 in postage... Just wanted to mention it though in case anyone was interested haha

Before anything else though, the people that we are teaching and then I have a few fun stories: this week we visited a family of four (one mom and three kids, 19, 13, and 11 that are all members but not going to church) where the father passed away last year - they were all super cool though, especially the 11 year old kid. They were extremely happy to have us visit and it was awesome to get to know them.

We also visited with a young girl that is about 17 years old that was also super awesome (and also a member even though the rest of her family aren't) that now has a hard time believing in god because someone that she knew that was a really good person died in a really unfair way and she couldn't understand how god could let that happen. I was able to learn a lot just listening to her story though, and it made me realize that a lot of people seem to attribute all the bad things that happen in the world to god but don't very often attribute all the good things, no matter how small they might be because they just become commonplace to us, things even as small as a tree or a pretty view, and it made me realize that if we are all a little more appreciative of the small things in life instead of just focusing on all the bad things we can all walk away a little happier, regardless of whether you believe in a god or not.

Other than that though, we have been doing more or less just a lot of walking to get to know the area and it has been a little bizarre - as I said I was studying the map a lot because I had to be able to get my way around, especially with the bad numeration of the streets. I was able to do that and succeed very well in doing so, but that's why it has been a little bizarre - I can end up on some random street somewhere, surrounded by things that I have never seen before and know exactly where I am at and exactly where I need to go to get where I want to go to. Normally it works the other way around and you learn where you are at by landmarks and things like that but I guess that'll just have to come with time.

Fun stories though for the week:

This fourth of July me and my companion met up with two other Yankee missionaries and made hot dogs. We ate them with potato chips while drinking Coca Cola and it was about as close as we could get to an American 4th of July, but it was very enjoyable regardless.

Another time, me and my comp were just walking down the street going from one appointment to another, when a motorcycle with a couple of of college age guys on one motorcycle sped towards us, then stopped in the middle of the intersection at the end of the street we were walking down, took our picture (we gave them a thumbs up for an even better picture), then turned around and sped off - it was very random but pretty entertaining - missionaries can be a pretty entertaining sight for Argentines from time to time though, which is I'm sure why they took the picture.

Also, this past Saturday was the independence day of Argentina (9 de Julio) so the ward here put on an activity where they made a bunch of Locro (classic Argentine stew that is normally only made for special occasions with how difficult it is to make) in a giant pot over an open fire and so we were able to help prepare it by peeling vegetables, cutting up meat, etc, and then we had a delicious lunch eating it - I had three bowls haha but I forgot to bring my camera so we didn't get any pictures, sorry.

Also, there is a family of three that goes to church every sunday (members) where the father is blind, and him and his wife have an 8 year old daughter. The church is also pretty close to where we live and so we just walk home afterwards (we walk everywhere else during the week anyway, so not a big deal) but this last sunday the wife was driving the family home when they passed us walking down the street and the 8 year old daughter said to her parents ''There go the Elders - Can we drive them home?'' and so they stopped so we could get in and drove us home. Something super small, but sometimes little kids can be super caring as well, and it was really awesome to see that.

Last story though and then I am done - this week we did divisions so for one day I was with a different missionary instead of my regular companion. He was in Libertad before though about a year ago and so he showed me around a lot but when we got back to our apartment for the night, he was starving and wanted to buy Empanadas and so we ordered some to the pension as a rare treat and they were super good. Normally Empanadas on their own make me happy, but the place that we got them from made them top notch quality and had around 20 different flavors for about the same price as any other place, and they mark the flavor by punching a series of holes in the crust around the edge so you can compare it against a paper that they give you and know what you got. I included a photo.

The last photo though is the four of us that got together for the 4th of July posing together in front of a sign that says "Men Working" (in spanish, obviously) - it was too good of an opportunity to pass up though.

Anyways, hope you all have a great week and enjoy my novel of a weekly email - sorry for making it so long haha.

Elder McCollum

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