Monday, July 18, 2016

Twenty Nine Weeks

Hello everyone! This has been a super busy week and so I have to work on writing this email fast because it might turn out to be another novel haha. First of all, we foud ten new investigators this week (which means that we found 10 new people, taught them, and have an appointment to come back and visit them again), which is the most I have had in one week in the mission, and so I am pretty excited for that, but we'll see what that number pans out to be in a few weeks, but not too bad for week 2 in a new area.

We also had some really good lessons with less active members as well (which don't count towards the ten new investigators), with some really spiritual lessons. A member that served his mission in Brazil went out to work with us for a few hours as well and I was able to learn a lot from him - in Brazil they are way more receptive to anybody teaching about Jesus Christ, and so they actually had to invite people to be baptized in the initial contact they had with them (before even teaching anything) to find out if they even had any real interest in listening, and then they were able to contact hundreds of people in a day whereas here we contact maybe ten on the very best day, but some of the stories that the member shared with us gave us some ideas that we might be able to use, so that was pretty alright. 

On Saturday there was also a baptism, and though it was the daughter of a member we were asked to fill up the font and so we had to get up at 5:00 in the morning and lose an hour and a half of sleep to get ready and head over to the chapel to fill the font (the baptism was at 10:30am and normally they are at around 5:00 in the afternoon) so we were pretty dead for the rest of the day but we found stuff in the chapel to make some pretty quality hot chocolate while we were waiting (it was very cold outside), so it all turned out okay in the end (hot chocolate is normally pretty not quality here in Argentina).

Also, we visited a less active member that is retired law enforcement (and a little crazy) that after we taught pulled out his pistol from his belt to show us (which is fine, I like guns) but was waving it around all over the place without paying too terrribly much attention to where he was pointing it, so that was kind of interesting. (Did I mention it's very very hard to own a firearm in Argentina?) He then also showed us his very large knife that he uses for Asado (barbecue). I'm not exactly sure how often we'll be passing by him from now on lol.

Also, we are teaching an older lady that has Diabetes and because treatment is so bad here, if you have diabetes it is not good at all. She recently had a toe die and they had to amputate it off and so she was super sad (she's in a wheelchair for now and has to depend on her family to take care of her) and could hardly sleep because of the pain. We gave her a blessing though that it would heal fine and that she could sleep well on Saturday, and that night she slept like a baby and then on Sunday she let us come look for her in her house and take her to church (she lives right around the corner of the chapel), so that was really cool.

Fun stories of the week now though:

So my companion's grandpa gives him $10 a week of spending money to buy (normally food) for him and his companion. So, this week we bought some Choripan (A type of really tasty grilled sausage they have here that they put on bread (like french bread, but just common bread here) with some sauces) on our way back to the pench and we were talking with the vender about how yes we were north americans, etc. etc. and he said that we'll have to tell our families about his street stand (it was just any old street stand) and so we said okay. Fast forward about fifteen minutes and we arrived at the pench, having already eaten the Choripan and began planning for the next day right away as usual. A handful of minutes in though, the Choripan started working a number on my comp and so we finished up the planning in record time (literally, I have never planned that fast since being here), followed by my comp running to the bathroom saying out loud "I'm definetely going to tell my family about your choripan!" Maybe it was funnier in the moment, but I got a really good laugh out of it.

Secondly, I had just about the coolest visit of my life with anybody here in Argentina. So next to the church, there is a huge property with a huge house and a few smaller buildings around the property, as well as all kinds of exotic tropical trees and above the gate it says "Los Leones", or "The Lions" so of course we contacted it last week. The owner came out and was super friendly, telling us that we could come back this Sunday. So yesterday, we went and had our visit to teach him but he also gave us a small tour of his museum (yes, he has a museum on his property). Inside the museum though, he had a whale vertebrae that they found in their property while digging up the hole for their pool, an actual human skull (with models of more primitive human skulls), an actual egyptian statue of a person that is about the size of a fist that his son found while travelling there, a ton of different insects and beetles from all over the world (literally), and a ton of different seashells and corals, with one small one that he has valuing over $1 million US dollars because of it's rarity (he made sure to tell us), as well as a bunch of different rock type minerals, a whole pile of petrified wood, and two softball sized meteorites that he found on his property. He let us hold the meteorites (which were extremely heavy, much more than you would expect) and then his wife actually broke of a little piece that was crumbling off to give to me, as well as one for my comp and then a little bit of petrified wood as well (I included pictures, because the fact that I now have a piece of meteorite is just way too awesome, but I didn't have my camera to take pictures inside the museum). He then told us he also has a workshop with a lot of other cool stuff and two libraries, one with a preserved body (like Body Works) [because he is a surgeon] and said that next time we visit he might be able to show us a bit more. We then went inside and were talking to get the lesson started and we found out that not just him, but his wife is also a surgeon and that they are almost always travelling all over the world to whatever different country. He said that his two most crowning achievements were being part of the team that performed the second heart transplant ever in the world, and also that one time he reattached a man's head to his body that had been cut all the way to the spinal column (the only part still attached, otherwise the operation could not have been performed) in an attempted suicide and afterwards the man was even able to speak because by freak chanche the knife had passed through the millimeter of space between the two vocal cords. His name is Mario A. Paganini if you want to look it up, but afterwards we taught our humble lesson and it went really well according to what I would think. They said they would read a little bit of the Book of Mormon and we have an appointment to come back so I hope that all goes well. I have never taught such highly intellectual or wealthy people before though and so it was a very unique experience.

That is about all that I have got for this week though, so hope everyone is doing well and has a great week to come!

Elder McCollum

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