Monday, August 8, 2016

Thirty Two Weeks

Hello Everyone! This'll be a fairly short email because it has been a pretty easy going week, but at the same time it is pretty crazy the kind of things that can happen in such a short amount of time.

I've got two good stories, the first really funny, the other really awesome (at least as a missionary).

1) There is a member here that was put in charge of setting up a family history discovery day for this stake, where anybody, whether member or not can come and learn about family history and get some instruction in how to use the site the church puts out for free ( to do it on. To set it up though, he had to order some materials from the USA, and they arrived here but were in holding until he could information that he needed to go and collebit of information that he needed to go and collect them. The only problem was he couldn't speak english, and so he needed us to come to his house and help him out and act as a spanish translator for the call. Well it turns out that the materials came from BYU Print and Mail service, and a young college student answered the phone and that was who we had to translate to/from. It was very very weird to speak in English like that (especially with it being where I was studying before the mission) and I actually struggled a bit haha - I can speak english with my companion but I still mix in a bunch of spanish words, and speaking english with anyone that isn't a missionary now is kind of difficult haha. We got it all sorted out though and all is good.

2) So this week, we set a goal to try and contact a bunch of new people, to try and find a lot more people to teach. One of the people that we ended up contacting though happened to be going through some really hard times (she was 40 years old and living with her mom to help her with some health problems, but they weren't getting along whatsoever and she wanted out, but had nowhere to go). Well we ended up teaching her a little bit, about God and Jesus Christ and how they really know each and every one of us personally and want to help us with the problems that we are going through. We then introduced her as well to the Book of Mormon (another book of scripture like the bible, but written by ancient prophets here in the Americas, just like the bible was written by ancient prophets in Jerusalem), and taught her a little bit about what you can get out of reading the scriptures, both the Bible and the Book of Mormon and how you can find words of comfort and how there are stories inside that we can relate to our own lives to help us get through problems we are going through, and how we can learn more about God and Jesus Christ by reading them. We then left her with a chapter to read (leaving her a Book of Mormon), and taught her how to pray and continued on our way. Well about four days later, she sent us a message saying that she read the chapter we left her, then starting reading the Book from the title page, and had read all the way until 1 Nefi chapter 12, about 35 pages (of scripture, which isn't always super reading) and wanted us to come by again and teach her some more, thanking us for the uplift that we had given her. So we set up a date for the next morning and taught her with the Bishop's wife about how we came to have the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth, and she asked a bunch of really good clarifying questions and was really intent in learning; she then committed to be baptized on the 3rd of September and said that she would come to church on Sunday. Saturday night then though, she sent us a message that her brother had cleared out a room for her to live in and so she had moved in with him and his family to get back on her feet, but that where he lived is about 30-40 minutes away from where me and my companion are assigned to work (this also was a pretty specifc answer to a prayer she said with us). So we are still in contact with her, but we will have to send her new address to the missionaries where she is at and they can continue teaching her. All of this in less than a week - it was a super cool experience and though I am kind of bummed that we probably won't be teaching her anymore, I am really glad that we were able to help her out as much as we did and give her the moral boost that we did. 

Other than that, there is not too much new here - as I said it has been a pretty tranquilo week so I didn't really have any photos to share, so I grabbed a couple this morning of some of my food. :)

1st, we have the sugar that I make my Mate with - I got a big laugh out of it because it is one of the most South American things I have seen - it is branded "Cristo" or Christ in english. Thought you all might enjoy it too.

2nd, all my flavors of Mate - I have three 500g bags of different flavors (Forest Fruits (berry), Wild herbs (mint), and Valley fruits (apple, pear, etc mixed together). They're all super tasty, but I have gotten to the point where I am drinking about 1 liter a day during the 2.5 hours of study time we have haha.

3rd, peanuts. I found a place where I can buy 1 kilo (2.2lbs) of raw, unshelled peanuts for about 30 pesos (about $2) so I got some last week, roasted them up in the oven, and have been enjoying them as my new snack food.

Hope all is going well for everyone though and that you all have a good week to come!

Elder McCollum

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