Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sixty One Weeks

Hello Everyone!

Well this has been an interesting week for certain, and perhaps the most busy thus far for me in the mission. (Including from when I wrote last Monday until Today, Wednesday, which I know is more than a week.) One thing that I had not mentioned in my last email is that on this Monday/Tuesday we were to have transfers (with us finding out Monday morning and packing, and Tuesday actually doing the change), and honestly I was expecting to go to a different area (potentially in a flash or another change before Monday because I have rarely had a normal change from one area to another). Well what happened was not expected haha. I was waiting for a random call to say that I was going to get flashed through the weekend, but it never came and so on Monday morning we were cleaning our apartment before going to the ciber-cafe to check on the computer to see what transfers were to be when our mission president called to tell me that he hoped I could be packed and in the mission offices that very afternoon because I was going to be one of the Elders that works in the offices of the mission! (I included a picture of my reaction just after the call haha. So thus it was; I had from 9:00-12:00 to pack my bags and then was in the offices by 1:30. Normally what happens is that an Elder is in the offices for a few transfers, and then about a week before the end of a transfer, the mission president lets him know that he is going to be replaced, and then a replacement comes in to learn everything over a few days to a week, and then replaces him. Well I was called in the day before the Elder I was to replace was leaving so I had one day to learn everything that I need to do, and then the following day I had to help out with transfers (coordinating, sending out, and setting up for about 120ish missionaries to come to the chapel that the offices are in, get their new companions, and then head out again) and now today is my first day doing everything (and I am able to email you all too because Monday and Tuesday were huge national holidays too and most people weren't actually able to email their families on Monday). 

Anyways, life in the offices is thus: There is a financial secretary (in charge of all the finances for the mission), a pensionero (in charge of all the apartments and housing for the mission, a materials secretary (in charge of distributing materials to all of the mission to help with going out to teach, etc.), a tramites and references secretary (in charge of paperwork/visas, etc.), and a technology secretary (which is me :D ).  I am in charge of the paperwork that gets sent in when someone is baptized so they can be registered a baptized member of the church, all the cell phones that every companionship in the mission has (about 100 of them), making new maps for all the areas when they ask for them, and various miscellaneous other things. For example, the computer I was given to work on (which just so happens to be the central computer that has all the storage and printers connected to it, that has to be turned on and working for all the others to use those things) did not have internet access and had various other random things going on and so I got to enjoy a 2 hour long tech support call getting it all fixed. While waiting for things to load or whatnot though, I got to just make conversation with the tech support guy on the line and it turns out that he had served a mission here in Argentina as well more than 30 years ago and just so happened to pass through one of the same stakes that I was in, which is pretty cool. 

For us though office hours are from 10:30-5:00 Tuesday through Friday, but the rest of the time we go out and do normal missionary work all the same which is still nice (provided that there isn't some kind of special event going on or something that we need to help set up and take care of). I've included a picture of my work space though so enjoy. :) This next week should be a fun time as I get everything down though and learn the ropes, and I'm definitely smiling a lot more than in my initial reaction. It's actually pretty fun because you get to know the entire mission really well, both the Elders and the areas, so it should be a lot of fun. :) My new companions by the way though are Elder Ehlert (from the USA, tramites secretary) and Elder Moreno (from Mendoza, Argentina, pensionero). They are a lot of fun, and I'll get you a picture next week, but yup I'm in a trio again. :)

In other news, now that I have ranted on about that quite a bit, Elder Dosdall finished his training! I have also included a picture of his reaction just after finishing the last video that we had to watch. I also got a much more entertaining video reaction, but it might be a bit too big to upload. I will have to see if I can bring the size down a little bit to send it next week if possible. 

As far as Diego and Esteban though, they are doing great still and I will at least be in the same stake, if not in the same ward, and so if there are big stake conferences or activities I should be able to see them from time to time, as well as Kevin, which should be really cool. I was pretty sad to leave Kevin behind, but he is doing great and so I am pretty confident that everything ought to turn out just fine for him.

I am sure I am forgetting a lot of things, but I'll try and include what I forgot next week because I don't have all that much time left with which to write. Love you all though and hope you all have a great week!

Elder McCollum

p.s. I included a 4th photo - in my new apartment we sleep with the window in the Bedroom wide open (because it is very hot still) but that means that I wake up each morning looking at the sunrise in a view just like the picture I sent, but with more pretty colors because I obviously got the picture a few minutes after waking up haha. It's pretty awesome though and I love it. 

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