Monday, January 30, 2017

Fifty Seven Weeks

Hello Everyone!

This has been a very interesting (and a very long) week with something crazy or notable happening pretty much every day so I will split up the letter like that.

On Monday we went to visit Kevin, who was doing great after having been baptized a little over a week prior (the previous Saturday), going to the temple last Saturday, and hearing an apostle on Sunday. It was a nice surprise then when we showed up and his mom said that he wasn't there; He had gone to EFY for the week, a summer camp that the church puts on for the youth that is supposed to be super fun. That was a nice surprise, and so when we finally  were able to visit him again yesterday (Sunday) he was happy as a clam, minus a sore throat and pretty much having lost his voice haha.

Tuesday rained. A lot. A whole lot. It was supposed to rain for the afternoon, and so I had gone the whole day carrying my umbrella (my small one broke with the end, and so I had to buy a bigger beefier one the size of a cane so that it would actually last) and my rain coat, but we had gotten up until 7:00 without a single drop of rain. Well at 7:00 we got on a colectivo (public bus) to go to a different part of our area and once we got on, it started to pour buckets. I felt like  a spy that went to a secret phone booth or something to change because we got on, it started to pour and then I pulled my rain coat out of my backpack and put it on, put everything in my pockets in a plastic bag, change my nametag to my jacket and pretty much as soon as I got ready to go out in the rain, we got off, opening up my umbrella as we stepped off. Unfortunately though, it was pretty much all for naught because within 5 minutes we were completely soaked from head to toe and my waterproof shoes were once again filled with water, with the waterproof lining holding it in so even if I was on dry ground, my feet were wet haha. I got a couple pictures and a short video with the phone (sorry for the terrible quality, it's not a smartphone) so I hope you enjoy. I apoligize beforehand though for the annoying singing.
Also on Tuesday after the rain stopped, we heard a firetruck going by and as you remember, here in Argentina Santa drives around on christmas eve on the back of a firetruck. Well there was also a mom and her very young daughter walking by and the little girl stopped, all excited, and said "Mommy, it's Santa Claus!". The mom said, "No I don't think so" as she kept walking and it definetely gave me a good little laugh.

Wednesday had nothing particularly special.

Thursday my world in the mission got turned upside down. There was a worldwide missionary training that had some pretty big changes. So for the last who knows how long Missionaries have had to follow a very specific morning schedule, getting up at 6:30 and going out to work at 10:30 (12:00 if you are training) and then coming back at 9:00, planning the next day that night, and then going to bed at 10:30. Well, now we still have to get up at 6 :30, but we have more time to get ready in the morning, we now plan for the morning, and then we can be out to work at 10:00. There is one more hour of studies besides (2 hours if you are training) but you can put them wherever you want during the day to accomodate it as you need. You are also back in the pench at 9:00 but you now don't have to plan at night so you can be to bed earlier if you want to get more sleep or you have a little bit of extra time to write in your journal, etc. P-day also changed from the previous schedule (10:30am-6:00pm) to starting now at 8:00am, so we now have 2.5 hours more to do everything that we need and relax a bit, which doesn't actually normally happen on P-day, and so that is nice. Another big change too then is that before we had to report how many lessons we taught, how many referrals we recieved from people, etc. but now we only report new people we find to teach, how many people we bring to church, how many people were baptized, and how many people have a baptismal date programmed. It might seem like a small change, but it means a lot less number counting and allows us to be focused on what can really help us help others instead of just teaching someone that might not actually even be listening to us and then counting it as a lesson.

Friday we visited our investigator Esteban and he is doing great. He said that whenver he is feeling down he grabs the Book of Mormon and opens it up and it almost always has exactly what he needed in that moment. He also told us that last fast sunday he fasted so that his wife would also listen to us because he has been able to see huge differences in his life already by reading the scriptures and praying every day, and that she later in the week told him that she would listen to us too once her sister was no longer visiting them and so we are pretty excited for that. 

Saturday we visited our investigator Diego and he is also doing great. Diego ahs been sharing bit by bit with his wife as we go teaching him as well and though his wife doesn't often listen to us, she is starting to warm up to us a lot and says hi to us as we go in and since Diego is hard of vision, she has actually been handwriting in larger print the 2-3 verse assignments that we leave Diego to read from the Book of Mormon so that he can read them easier, but it means that she too then is also reading. Diego said that she asks him questions from time to time to and so we are hoping to be able to teach her too. Diego professes seeing big changes in his life too since he has started going to church and now wants to share it with everyone haha (which is awesome) but I really haven't had such great investigators now in a little while and it is awesome.

Sunday wasn't anything too crazy. Diego and Esteban both went to church, which was great, and in the afternoon we were able to visit Kevin and his older brother Nico. The two are doing great and I have grown to really care for them both. We are trying a lot now to help Nico get back into the swing of things going to church again too and he's right there and so I am hoping for a little push that might be able to help him out, because I really do want the best for him and Kevin both.

Other than that though, not all that much else new and I feel like I have rambled enough, so I hope you all have a great week!

Elder McCollum

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