Monday, February 20, 2017

Sixty Weeks

Hello Everyone!

This has been a pretty fun week, though nothing too out of the ordinary to tell.

Diego and Esteban are both doing great - they both made it to church again and they both now have baptismal dates set, but they have to get their marriage orders arranged before they can get baptized but here's to hoping that they can get it all done. :) We left Diego to start reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning two weeks ago as well, and has already made it to 2 Nephi 5 (about 80 pages in), which is awesome. Esteban has also already read all of one of the church's Books about the life of Gordon B. Hinckley, the last prophet before Thomas S. Monson, and both are actually sharing all that they learn and inviting all their family and friends to church as well of their own accord (we hadn't even asked them to do so) because as they both have said, they can see the huge changes that living the gospel has made in their own lives (and their wives has seen it too in them) and they want others to be able to benefit from it too. They're both awesome. :)

Kevin has been doing really good too, though it has been difficult for him to keep up in reading the scriptures, but he did have some questions about Joshua, the prophet from the Old Testament. (There was a HUGE novela about Moses here for the last year, with more than 200 episodes - a new one each night - that everyone loved, and watched all the time regardless of age or religion. It was actually pretty surprising. Well they made it to the end of the life of Moses, and so now it has ended but they are going to keep going with the next prophet, Joshua, which is what peaked Kevin's interest). As we explained who he was to Kevin though, we opened up to Joshua in the Bible and there in the first chapter was just the scripture that Kevin needed to explain to him why it's important to keep reading the scriptures and it was super helpful. Small miracle, but it was cool enough to share.

Other than that though, just little tidbits here and there (with a photo for each one):

1) My comp has in-grown toenails and so he has to soak them in a bucket that has a mixture of water and magnesium sulfate each night to soften the nail, and then shove little bits of cotton under them to lift them up. Well on the 15th, the day before my birthday, he decided to make me orange cupcakes (vanilla cake mix in an orange peel) as a birthday cake, and so I nabbed a picture of him doing so while soaking his feet. Also included is the finished result after baking them the following morning. They were tasty. Bonus photo - just him with his feet in the bucket. His expression about says it all haha.

I caught a gecko while out proselyting. He was a pretty big one and actually didn't even really run when I went to grab him, but I don't think he was too happy with it all the same. He was a cute little guy though, so enjoy a picture.

Also grabbed a picture of the Dad of the Week - one day is was downpouring super hard and I saw a big guy walking down the street getting soaked without an umbrella and then a very big umbrella going down the street right next to him with pretty much just a pair of little legs sticking out beneath it. It must have been twice as big as the little kid holding it.

Also, I made potentially the biggest hamburger I have ever eaten in my life this week, but it was super tasty. The layout was thus (it helps to see the picture too):

Bread Heel
-Mashed potatoes
Bread slice
-Mayo, Hot Sauce, Cheese (a lot), Patty (fried in butter), Fried Onions (fried in the patty butter), Fried Egg (also fried in the patty butter), BBQ sauce
Bread slice
-Mustard, Fried Egg (also fried in the patty butter), Fried Onions (also fried in the patty butter), Patty (fried in butter), Cheese (a lot), Hot Sauce, Ketchup
Bread slice
-Mashed Potatoes
Bread Heel

It was super tasty and most certainly filled me up. Doing the math between the patties, cheese, and eggs, I am pretty sure that it was at least 60 grams of protein. Didn't bother counting up the grams of fat though. Also, I had two glasses of milk to help get it down so that was nice. 

Also, the recent convert of Elder Jacobson and Elder Pinheiro, Yessica went on vacation for a week to Santiago del Estero (where she is from in Argentina) and so she brought back a few small gifts for us Elders, and I ended up with a small little drum. It's super fun. :)

Other than that though, nothing too crazy new. Thank you all for the birthday wishes, and other than the orange cupcakes, I didn't really do anything special. I didn't want to make it a big deal, so I didn't even mention it to any of the members and slipped by under the radar. :)

Hope you all have a good week though and love you all!

Elder McCollum

p.s. Here is something that I found in my personal studies that I really enjoyed that talks about "True Happiness". It obviously has a religous tone to it, but it is pretty applicable to anyone and seemed pretty impacting to me. I put it here instead of the main body of the email because it's not that important that you read it, but I would reccomend it:

Pleasure Versus Happiness.—“The present is an age of pleasure-seeking, and men are losing their sanity in the mad rush for sensations that do but excite and disappoint. In this day of counterfeits, adulterations, and base imitations, the devil is busier than he has ever been in the course of human history, in the manufacture of pleasures, both old and new; and these he offers for sale in most attractive fashion, falsely labeled, Happiness. In this soul-destroying craft he is without a peer; he has had centuries of experience and practice, and by his skill he controls the market. He has learned the tricks of the trade, and knows well how to catch the eye and arouse the desire of his customers. He puts up the stuff in bright-colored packages, tied with tinsel string and tassel; and crowds flock to his bargain counters, hustling and crushing one another in their frenzy to buy.
“Follow one of the purchasers as he goes off gloatingly with his gaudy packet, and watch him as he opens it. What finds he inside the gilded wrapping? He has expected fragrant happiness, but uncovers only an inferior brand of pleasure, the stench of which is nauseating.
“Happiness includes all that is really desirable and of true worth in pleasure, and much besides. Happiness is genuine gold, pleasure but gilded brass, which corrodes in the hand, and is soon converted into poisonous verdigris. Happiness is as the genuine diamond, which, rough or polished, shines with its own inimitable luster; pleasure is as the paste imitation that glows only when artificially embellished. Happiness is as the ruby, red as the heart’s blood, hard and enduring; pleasure, as stained glass, soft, brittle, and of but transitory beauty.
“Happiness is true food, wholesome, nutritious and sweet; it builds up the body and generates energy for action, physical, mental and spiritual; pleasure is but a deceiving stimulant which, like spirituous drink, makes one think he is strong when in reality enfeebled; makes him fancy he is well when in fact stricken with deadly malady.
“Happiness leaves no bad after-taste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it calls for no repentance, brings no regret, entails no remorse; pleasure too often makes necessary repentance, contrition, and suffering; and, if indulged to the extreme, it brings degradation and destruction.
“True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good; a moment of unholy pleasure may leave a barbed sting, which, like a thorn in the flesh, is an ever-present source of anguish.
“Happiness is not akin with levity, nor is it one with light-minded mirth. It springs from the deeper fountains of the soul, and is not infrequently accompanied by tears. Have you never been so happy that you have had to weep? I have.”—From an article by the author, Improvement Era, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 172, 173.

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