Saturday, July 29, 2017

Eighty Two Weeks

Hello Everyone!

This has been a pretty easy-going week. We have a new schedule of when we are in the mission offices, and so that has been interesting getting used to it but now that we are doing so it has allowed us to spend some more time in our area. As such, this week we have been finding lots of new people to visit and teach and have met some really awesome people that we plan on going back to visit as well. 

One really cool thing that happened though, is that the security guard that sits in a little booth on the corner of the block the church is on (his name is Cristian) started sharing the gospel with a friend, despite the fact he's not even a member. He tends to be a little of a goofball, but at some point in the past some missionaries had given him a Book of Mormon (with a guide of how to pray written in the front to help people who don't know how to say more than just a recited prayer) and it had sat in his booth for a long time. As far as I knew, he wasn't really interested in the church, but the other day he asked my companions for another Book of Mormon, with the same guide written in the front to give to a female friend that he has. He had explained it to her as a good book with things to help you written in it, and the guide on how to pray was especially helpful. With that, she wanted a copy to read for herself and thus we got to where we are at now. They gave him the copy and hes going to be giving it to her here in the next couple of days when he sees her, but we´ll see what comes of it. It was really cool for me though to see how someone that wasn't even a member of the church was able to see how beneficial the Book of Mormon could be in someones life and shared it just like that with someone else because "It´s a good book."

Other than that, there isn´t all that much new for this week. Last Sunday we didn't have lunch with a member, and so Elder Cespedes (from Argentina) taught us three Yankees (the rest of the companionship) how to make empanadas. They were completely homemade, including the dough, and they turned out nice and tasty. I enjoyed them. Photos will be included. 

I hope you all have a great week though and love you all!

Elder McCollum

1921 - A pretty cool quote in spanish we saw grafittied on a wall. "They won't pass into history those who speculate, but rather those who most play (take action)."
1925 - Us making empandas. It involves rolling the dough into a disc, scooping stuff onto it, then folding it in half and crimping the edges by folding it to seal it shut.
1926 - Making empanadas.
1932 - We visited a member whose son is into real world sword fighting (and has traveled to Russia and Spain to participate in tournaments for it). My comp took advantage of his sword being there to grab a picture.
1937 - Our district (as of right now - next week it is going to change :/ ) 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Eighty One Weeks

Hello Everyone!

Well, among the new changes with a new Mission President is that he wants the office Elders to have P-day on Saturdays, which means that I will now be writing you all on Saturdays instead of Mondays up until I leave the offices. :)

Thus, not much has happened since I wrote just four days ago, but I do have a few fun, short little stories to share.

First, I was on divisions with Elder Peralta, another Elder in our district on Tuesday. We didn't have that many plans, and so we went and tried to re-establish contact with some people that Elder Cespedes and I had contacted previously. Well, we showed up to the house of someone named Ariel and knocked on the front door. From a side door farther down the block though, someone stuck their head out and asked who it was. We told him that we were looking for Ariel (I didn´t remember so well what Ariel looked like) and he told us that he wasn't home, but that he was his brother. We talked with him about a minute more, and asked him if he wanted to hear our message (he declined) and so we talked a minute more with him and were on our way. As he was stepping into the house though, I said I'd missed him name and asked him what it was. "Ariel." He then stepped inside. I don't think he realized his slip up, but I don't think we'll be heading back there haha.

We were also able to teach our investigator Serefina this week. It was really cool though because though she told us once again that she wanted to put of getting baptized a little longer, she was really open with us about doubts she was having and how it was a little difficult for her to leave behind some of her traditions. I say it was cool because not a lot of people here tend to be that open; they just shut it all up, or layer it with excuses or things they think you want to hear to be happy. It's nice though, because now we know how to actually help her and she ought to be able to make it to baptism some time in the not too distant future.

Yesterday too then, Elder Cespedes and I got to help out with the zone conference in Chivilcoy that started at 9am, so we got to wake up at 5am to get ready and then out on the road there by 6:30. It was a fun drive, and was a really good zone conference, but there was one part in particular that made both of us about die laughing. If it's not that funny in email, I'm sorry, but it was really funny in person (and in spanish - not sure if the English translation will have the same humor). Anyway, I was grabbing something out of the backseat of the truck, with my hand on the doorframe, and Elder Cespedes decided to look in to see what I was grabbing. As I grabbed it and stepped back though, my hand (and more specifically my finger) went straight under his lip, in the same way as when you have a baby make a kissy face and then pass your fingers over their lips to make a funny sound. I grabbed my hand back, and then have jokingly, half actually saying it said "¿Porque pusó su boca allí?" "¿Que haces?" ("Why´d you put your mouth there?" "What are you doing?" - what made it particularly funny though is that the form I used for the verb in the second sentence, "haces" is the same kind of verb you hear a parent talking to their kid with, or one friend talking to another with (vos), and not the more professional form you normally use as a missionary (usted), and it just came out like that without thinking). It was a kind of awkward random moment turned funny.

Other than that, there isn't all that much new to share this week. Sorry, but it was kind of a short week between P-Days haha. I hope you all are doing well though and have a great week!

Elder McCollum

1906 - Elder Peralta and I on divisions
1910 - The sunrise on the way out to Chivilcoy
1911 - Early morning fog off in the distance on the way out to Chivilcoy
1912 - Zona Chivilcoy, who we helped out with their zone conference (I´m not in Chivilcoy, so I'm not in the picture)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Eighty Weeks

Hello Everyone!

This has been a busy, busy week. More than anything, we have had zone conferences every single day and the schedules have been changing a lot as President Resek goes trying to decide the format that he most likes. With all that, it has been a little difficult to get out to our area every single day, but on Saturday the whole zone got together in our area (around 20 missionaries) to go out and contact and they were able to tell us about a lot of awesome people that were receptive to us going back to visit them and so that kind of made up for it. We are looking forward to following up with them (if time allows) this week to hopefully find more people to teach.

Today on P-Day, our bishop also invited us over to have an Asado (a type of Argentine grilling out). We came a little early though so that he could also teach us how to make it, and so now I am a little more ready to give it my own hand too. :) It was super awesome though because normally we are limited to one hour to eat with members during the week so that we can get out and get working again, but since it was P-day we were able to spend time with him, his wife, and his kid, as well his neighbors that are also members just visiting and telling stories, which was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it, and I think it was one of the tastier asados that I have eaten as well.

Other fun things for this week are that I have been sick with some kind of throat something. I don't feel sick at all, other than a sore throat that at times really starts to irritate (especially when it's cold) but I found that having a scarf on and keeping it warm makes it less irritated, and so I have been wearing a scarf all week long, both inside and outside, awake and asleep. Since we´re not quite sure what it is either, the mission nurse lent me a medical-type disinfectant spray that I can spray in my throat that has a dragon on the bottle. I thought it was cool (and it helps) so I am sending a picture.

Other than that, with our new mission president, we are now allowed to drink mate, an argentine hot drink that is super tasty (or so say I - it is very bitter and most people probably wouldn't like it). It is prepared in a "mate" or "matero" though, with "Yerba" (dried Yerba Mate plant, sometimes with flavorings) and a "bombilla" - a type of metal straw with a filter on the end so that you don't end up drinking the plant leaves too. Long story short though, you put the bombilla in the matero with yerba, and you pour hot water into it, drinking it up as it passes through the leaves. Once it is gone, you fill it up and drink again. You can add sugar if you want (and many people do). It's fun though, and I really like drinking it during my studies (especially since it's cold outside) so I'll also include some pictures of that.

Other than that though, there isn't really all that much new to share and so I hope that you are all doing great and that you have a great week. Love you all!

Elder McCollum

1872 - A very Yankee sight as we were going down the street in our area. A convertible Porsche outside of a Starbuck's Coffee. (In my year and a half in Argentina, this is the ONLY Starbuck's that I have ever seen or heard mention of, and maybe the second Porsche that I have seen.)
1882 - Elder Cespedes and I running and errand in the office truck. Notice the scarf haha.
1886 - Mate and crackers with cream cheese is pretty tasty in the morning. The thing that says Taragui is a bottle of hot water to make the mate with.
1887 - Mate :)
1888 - Mate with water.
1892 - Dragon feel better spray. I like.
1898 - A very foggy day outside - picture taken from our apartment on the 13th floor.
1902 - The asado that we were making with the Bishop today. It was tasty.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Seventy Nine Weeks

Hello Everyone!

This has been a busy week. It has been cold and very rainy, and I have been a little sick, but we have been enjoying life all the same. We are working a lot on finding new people to teach, and so this week we basically just spent contacting (knocking on doors, etc.) and speaking with as many people as we could. Thus, there is not that much to share, but there were two contacts that we had this week, one right after the other that both made me laugh a little, so here is how they went:

Contact 1:
-We knocked on the door of a house and a man opened his window to talk with us. He said sister missionaries had visited him before, so we had hopes to visit with him as well. The following conversation was after talking with him for about 30 seconds already.-

Us: Can we come in and share this message with you?
Man: Forgive me, but right now no.
Us: In a different moment then?
Man: No, no. That's why I asked forgiveness - because I am going to close the door.
-Closes the window-

Contact 2:
-We saw a couple of young people sitting outside eating lunch, so we decided to go up and try to talk with them. The following took place (with them starting to talk to us before we even had the chance to speak with them).-

Them: Not right now.
Us: Oh sorry, busy eating lunch?
Them: Yes.
Us: Oh, what a bad moment.
Them: No, what a good moment!

Other than that, there is not all that much new though to be completely honest. This next week is going to be busy with interviews and trainings all over the mission with President Resek, and so we will see what comes of that. I hope you all have a good week though, and love you all!

Elder McCollum

-Presidente y Hermana Resek
-Our companionship
-Our companionship with an awesome member family that gave us lunch. :)

The companionship: Elder Sultan (with the camera) and Elder Tanner normally work together, then Elder Cespedes (the Argentine/Paraguayan) and I normally work together.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Seventy Eight Weeks

Hello Everyone!

This has been a very, very busy week... ...and we have a new mission President!!!

First of all, I don't have my weekly planner from last week, and so I kind of forgot all the things that happened; it all passed by in a pretty fast blur. Basically however, we spent all week preparing useful information in a 3 ring binder for the new mission President and his wife for them to have, as well as doing a few last small things to send off President Robertson and his wife. On Friday then, President Resek arrived with lots and lots of energy, and so we will see in the coming weeks all the changes that may come. 

One fun thing that happened though was that we were able to get together all the office staff on Monday (P-day) and we chipped in a little bit each person to have an asado (grilling out, but Argentine). One of the best parts of the asado was that President and Hermana Robertson cleaned out their pantry before leaving and I they gave us Root Beer concentrate. Thus, I was able to make Root Beer and enjoy it for the first time in a year and a half (picture included).

Other than that, we have been trying a lot in our area to share family history with people (knocking on people's doors and directly presenting the gospel hasn't really been super effective for finding people to teach) and it has actually been pretty successful. We have found a good few people that we are going to be able and go back to help them get a basic family tree going and it is a really good conversation started for why we are interested in family history as well and the importance of families. Plus, it´s really fun to just hear other people's stories too.

Other than that though, as I said there is not all that much new that I can think of that happened this last week without all the notes I jot down, but it was plenty busy.

I hope that you all can have a great week and love you all!

Elder McCollum