Monday, September 25, 2017

Ninety Weeks

Hello Everyone!

The biggest news of this week is that there are transfers! I will be getting a new missionary to train and will be staying in the same area, and Elder Gonzalez will be going to Libertad, where I was at about a year ago. It ought to be a really fun second to last transfer to come, though I don't know yet if my new missionary will be a yankee or a latino. I'll be finding that ought on Tuesday.

Other than that, this week we were all over the place trying to visit people and walking a lot. There was one day that we were going to go out with a member to visit people too and so with that, as well as the hard rain that was happening we had to reorganize our day about 3 times (and then in the end the member was getting sick so they couldn't even go out with us to visit). 

One really cool thing however is that on Sunday, Jonathan Vargas (one of the family of siblings that is all living together) made it to church for the second Sunday in a row. It was really awesome to see him there and see that the ward is really trying to help him too now. We were then able to visit with another member that hasn't been in a while on Sunday afternoon and it was really cool to see her  meet up again with a member that we brought with us that was baptized on the same day as her. It was a pretty cool get together and it was a really awesome experience to seem them meeting each other again as old friends that hadn't had contact in over a year.

Oh, I also got to help someone change a flat tire this week on their car while my companion talked with her about the gospel. It was a pretty cool way to contact someone, but as soon as it was changed and the flat was put in her trunk, she thanked us, got in, and drove off. I got a laught out of it.

Other than that though, there hasn't been a whole lot new for this last week in our area and so I hope that you all have a great week!
Elder McCollum

2128 - We came across a Google Maps car driving down the street this week. It was pretty awesome.
2130 - A train station in our area (we use lots of trains).
2132 - Train station (again).
2157 - One day when it rained, there was a street that flooded out particularly bad - at least 6 inches deep.
2163 - Some cool graffiti that we found in our area.
2167 - There was one truck that was carrying lots of Coca-Cola bottles that fell through a part of the street in our area. They had to unload it, get it out, then load it back up again.
2168 - Following the sighting of the truck that fell through the street, we saw lots of coca-cola bottles stacked up all over the place (more than what could have come from unloading said truck. It was a weird glitch in the Matrix.
2170 - We got our hands on a ping-pong net and paddles, so we set it up on a table we have that is about 4 feet by 2 feet, a fraction of the size of a real ping-pong table. Nonetheless, we had a really fun time playing at night when we finished our day and before going to bed.
292 - A really polluted river that runs through the limits of our area. We grabbed a picture while we were close.
301 - Someone was bored with just a painted on house number, so they got creative and drew a face in it too. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Eighty Nine Weeks

Hello Everyone!

This has been a really good week. It was pretty eventful all in all. I was able to do divisions with one of the Zone Leaders in our area on Tuesday, which was a lot of fun since I was able to fully guide the area just by myself for the first time. I was also able to learn a lot from him, which was really awesome.

On Thursday then we had interviews with our mission president and I got the exciting news that I will more than likely be training a new missionary this coming transfer. We are getting a large group of new missionaries coming in, and he said that he would like me to be able to be able to train one of them. It gets me excited because the time that I spent training Elder Dosdall was a lot of fun. It's really cool seeing a new missionary learn and grow, as well as seeing how much excitement and energy they have to work.

Friday then was a very interesting day in and of itself too then. As we were walking down the street we came across a member whose grandfather had recently passed away. I don't know if you all remember when we helped lay a concrete walkway for a family a few weeks ago, but I included a picture of an old man in a wheelchair sitting there by a fire watching (I'll include it again). It was him that passed away. It was super crazy because we had personally seen and spoken with him as little as two weeks ago, but it was a pretty hard hit for the family. We'll be passing by this week though to see how they are doing.

We also had a very interesting contact that same day - when we knocked on a door, there was a little old lady that came out who had a pretty amusing conversation with us:
Lady: "If it's for religion, I'm not interested."
Us: "Are you sure? We're only here to help; not to fight over beliefs or anything."
Lady: "No, my husband passed away 5 months ago. It has been really difficult and my faith has helped me out already." (At this point she started sobbing)
Us: "Ooh, that's really really difficult. Could we at least say a prayer with you so that you can be okay?"
Lady: (Through sobs) "No, my food is getting cold..." (she was eating lunch)

On Sunday night then, we were able to find a family where we taught a mom and her two kids about the Restoration and when we asked them how they felt afterwards, the mom said that she felt so full of good fullings that she felt like she was going to burst/couldn't contain it and the son said that he felt anguished (the word he used) to know more. It was a really cool testiment from them about how they felt. We invited them to be baptized mid-October and they accepted and so we hope to see how that goes.

One more small tidbit from the week then is that Ulises made it to church for the first time on Sunday, arriving for the last 30 minutes. We were super happy to see him there and everyone recieved him great.

Other than that though not much else new to share for this week and so I hope that you all have a great week!

Elder McCollum

2106 - Flares have made it back to Argentina - this is not an isolated case. Sometimes we get to feel like we are in the 70s just for fun.
2107 - A bread store with a genius name. (Pan = bread in spanish). Well played Argentina.
2109 - A GIANT spider we saw in a hole in a wall, capturing an ant in it's web. For size comparison, the little black thing that you see hanging down from the front of it's body is the ant.
2115 - A very complex looking house that we saw. I'm not sure the designer could make up their mind on what they wanted.
2117 - Graffiti of the soccer player that wears the number 10 jersey. (Messi - from Argentina and a super famous soccer player worldwide). (dios = god, so d10s is a play with the lettering. It says: The force of god --- a national and a popular hero).
2118 - In Argentina, every municipality has it's own little logo and slogan. In Hurlingham, it's "Hurlingham is my place".
2119 - Some motivational decorations in the window of an office supply store.

Hno Rosales - The grandpa that passed away. He was a pretty cool person.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Eighty Eight Weeks

Hello Everyone!

This was a pretty interesting week. There were some changes in the mission with the new mission president that were perhaps a little difficult to swallow at first, but we have since been getting used to them and have had a pretty successful week - finding various new people to teach that are really great.

One such person is an 18 year old named Ulysses. He is a really awesome youth that lives in a pretty humble area, but regardless has already finished his secondary education (suprisingly uncommon, but even more so that he is already done at 18 years old - normally people finish at 19 or 20 years old) and is preparing himself for college. He´s super easy-going though and way open to us visiting with him and so we hope to be able to help him keep progressing in this coming weeks. 

On another day then we contacted a house and a 15 year old (more or less) opened the window. We presented the Book of Mormon to him and asked if he had seen it, to which he responded "Yes, I actually have a copy. Dan and Jeremias (two youth from the church) gave me one." It was really cool to just by chance have come across someone with whom the members (especially the youth) had tried sharing the gospel with. He was home by himself though (and busy) so we weren't able to teach him, but we are going to pass by again this week to hopefully find him with his parents.

Two more funny stories from this week:

One takes place in a meeting with all the ward leaders as we are talking about people that we are visiting and teaching. There was one person that we asked them to be able to visit that lives in an area a little more lively than maybe the other neighborhoods in our area. One of the women asked us though "Isn't that area dangerous?" My comp and I both responded in unison without even thinking "Eeehhh...." That got a good laugh out of all of them. Hopefully we'll be able to get them to go with us though at some point during the day (when it really isn't problematic at all). 

The other story has to do with a person named Santiago Maldonado. It is someone that people for various reasons thought that the governement had abducted and nobody had heard from him or even knew what was going on with him, which lead to a few small riots against government buildings and pickets and all that kind of thing (more in capital than where our mission is at). It has been one of the main news topics for the last couple of weeks though. Turns out in the end though, that he had just gone on vacation to Rio and didn't have a phone or any sort of technology with him and so he had just slipped off the grid for about 42 days. It was pretty entertaining to see the anti-climatic resolution of it all though haha.

Other than that though, threre isn't really all that much new for the week. Yesterday we visited Pablo again (the stay at home dad) and this Friday we are going to have lunch with them (supposedly homemade ñoquis - a delicious type of Argentine pasta). Everyone else that we have been teaching has been doing really well too so no need to worry about them either.

I hope that you all have a great week though!


Elder McCollum 

2081 - So in Argentina there is a cracker branded Don Satur that is about 30% grease, but somehow tasty all the same. The other day while shopping though, I found that they have now started making Yerba too (for making/drinking mate). I really wasn't disappointed. The two of them make a pretty killer combination since the crackers really were kind of meant for eating with Mate.

2088 - Elder Dosdall, the missionary that I trained now made it back to the mission! I didn't even know that he was coming back, but just came across him in a zone conference this week. I was pretty happy to find him. (He had gone home to have a few different ingrown toenail surgeries).

2095 - "How's your week going so far?" Take note of the Mate that ended up on the floor (by accident) and the spinner in hand. (Spinner is a spinny toy that is super popular here and supposedly stress relieving). It was a pretty funny moment.

2099 - Well this week we found a bike that had a built in popcorn machine. It got our minds thinking of what it'd be like to see said bike compete in the Tour de France (or any bike race really). It'd be pretty entertaining to see...

2101 - We found a Yankee mailbox this week. Honestly not something that I expected to find in Argentina. Thus we contacted the house. We'll be going back to teach them later this week (the guy is Argentine though).

2104 - A vehicle that we saw that had an interesting match up of decals. On the back window was Joker (from Batman) and on the side was a catholic Virgin Mary with the name of a church - fountain of blessings. It got a good laugh from us.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Eighty Seven Weeks

Hello Everyone!

This has been really easy going week. To be completely honest, there hasn't been all that much exciting that has really happened and so this email will be kind of short. 

Two fun stories to share however:

First: I did divisions again in Loma Hermosa this week (an old area of mine) and we went and visited Transito (the person's name) and it was a really awesome experience - he was super friendly and super receptive to the missionaries and had lots of great memories of them from the past. What made it really interesting though is that I had passed by for him before when I was in Loma Hermosa and he did not let us in (he mentioned it while we visited with him, not realizing that it was me he had rejected, but said that a few days later he felt really bad about it and then kind of felt bad too when they never passed by again). The problem was that he really got to know the missionaries but shortly thereafter there were various flashes (out of the normal changes) and various missionaries passed through the area in a very short amount of time and he got tired of them always changing without letting him know and told us to just not pass by anymore (and really wasn't too happy about it). Well now, 8 months later the Elders found his name and passed by and he let them in, and so it just goes to show that everyone has their time I suppose.

Second: As we were contacting somebody in their front door the other day, somebody walking down the street saw me and shouted ¡Polaco! (Pollack!) Both me and my comp, as well as the guy we were contacting just went quiet for a second as we watched him keep walking down the street grumbling under his breath. As he turned the corner though we looked back to the guy we were contacting (who apoligized for his neighbors and gave an explanation) and just kept on with the conversation. It was pretty entertaining haha.

Other than that though, there isn't really anything else new that happened, so I hope you all have a great week!
Elder McCollum

2020 - An interestingly branded box of hamburgers I saw for sale here...
2021 - (Same)
2075 - Divisions in Loma Hermosa with Elder Winward

p.s. The mission offices asked me today for my information to program my flight back home. The official date (unless something happens) will be December 18th (leaving Argentina) and December 19th (landing in the USA).