First 2 weeks in Polynesian – January 4 -17, 2015


Yes, our housing is four star* because-of our son Robb, his wife Kimberly, 5 yr old grandson Samuel and 2 yr old Henry!!  We were invited to share their home when we were called to serve our mission.  Most BYUH faculty are housed in university owned accommodations that are rented to faculty at subsidized rates, since Hawaiian housing is expensive even here on the Northshore and also since there is a shortage of housing.  Even though BYUH owns many homes, they are not all “created” equal; as Robb and Kimberly discovered. This house is their 3rd BYUH home to rent in an attempt to improve their accommodations.  Their current home is a nice 2 storey home, roomy livingroom/dining room with 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths upstairs. We have our bedroom, off the front hallway on the main floor with a bathroom across the hall.  We are very comfortable.  FYI: few homes on the northshore have airconditioning.  On hot days, homes can get hot by late afternoon, but generally cool off as the sun sets, around 6:30 pm, all year round. The home is on a quiet small dead-end lane; just perfect for the boys to play with their neigbourhood friends.


Catch and Release Exercise:  We believe in helping maintain the wild life of the island.  Elder McCollum has not, and will not, catch and roast any of the MANY domestic/wild chickens that roam Laie, although Sister McCollum would like to get rid the roosters, who begin wake-up calls by 4:30 am.  Even ear plugs do not block their calls!  We have seen our first road-kill, a cockroach; Sister McCollum’s first sighting of this species.  A few nights after our arrival, as we head to bed, Elder McCollum notices a black spot on the ceiling that moved.  It is a baby gecko!  Sam scoops it, unharmed into a small bag and Jeannine returns it outdoors where it belongs!  At least we did not find it in our bed!

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Since the roosters on our street have not posed for us, we have inserted this picture.  It comes from a portion of a painting depicting “Peter denying the Saviour”.  Perhaps, those living in Jerusalem in Christ’s time, may also have had to deal with feral chickens.


Yes, serving here on the campus of Brigham Young University – Hawaii is somewhat like attending church weekdays.  We begin our day of service (Monday – Friday) in The Center for Academic Success (housed in the Joseph F. Smith Library) with a short devotional and prayer before we share our daily plans.  Those of you born in the 1940-1950’s (at least this happened in Canada), remember when we started the public school-day with the Lord’s Prayer?  Students attending universities owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have the blessing of  having an opening prayer at the start of classes.

U-tube video about mural at foyer entrance of BYUH:



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Entrance to BYUH with mural:  check out

Weekly one hour devotional:  Every Tuesday at 11am, students and faculty gather in the Canon Activities Center (gymnasium) to hear a spiritual message from faculty and/or guest speakers.  On January 13 we hear from the president of BYUH, President Wheelwright.  (We previously noticed him on campus and figured out his position even though he wore no name tag, was just mingling with the students and wearing an “aloha” shirt.  Pres. W wears a smile and shows an interest in those around him.)

Sunday Services at the Laie 7th Ward, North Stake:  As full time missionaries, soon we will have an assignment to attend a student ward on the campus.  For now we attend Sunday meetings with our son Robb and family.  LDS church services around the world are similar yet each have their “own” characteristics.  Yes it is true that in Hawaii, the member of the bishopric who conducts Sacrament Meeting greets us with, “Aloha” and the congregation reply back, quite loudly, “Aloha”.  We notice that most of the congregation really participate and sing-out for the hymns;  perhaps because a goodly portion are of Polynesian descent and inherit a musical gift?!  The spirit is strong during the administration of the sacrament by the Aaronic Priesthood; when the young priests bless the sacrament, the words of the prayer are spoken very very slowly and most reverently.


The center where we serve is staffed by senior (retired) missionaries; currently there are six of us.  We either serve for 6 months, or 1 year, or 18 months or 23 months.  Elder and Sister Bott (who are training us) leave in 2 weeks and other missionaries will arrive in another month.  We act as grandparents when the students need someone to confide in or discuss problems.  If there is a need for tutoring or counseling, we help set us this assistance.


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Hawaiian Hierarcy: ( FYI To submit LDS mission papers, a prospective missionary must have a Chest X-ray or TB skin test to confirm no active tuberculosis.)  Day Two at BYUH, we head to Human Resources to get our identify/key cards and are told there will be a two day delay.  WHY?  The State of Hawaii has decided that all foreigners and even some mainland states must have “Hawaiian” Tuberculin Tests before working at schools and universities, as well as in the food industry.  Obviously, TB is still previlent in the South Pacific.  But seriously, aren’t our “tests or x-rays” just as acceptable!

Meeting Freshmen:  Students from over 70 countries attend BYUH.  We meet students at an      I-WORK orientation.  These are students who will attend BYUH and work up to 19 hours a week at the PCC – Polynesian Cultural Center, a church run tourist attraction that enables mainly students from Asia and Polynesia to help supplement their tuition/living costs.  40% of these students may end up on Academic Probation while adjusting to first semester at university, homesickness etc.  The Center for Academic Success is here on campus to help.

We help as needed.  Sister McCollum tends two lovely children so their daddy can meet with his Academic Supervisor.



We give up our early morning walks on Monday through Friday.  WHY?  Because we walk to and from campus daily.  We haven’t the energy to do both morning walks and the trek to and from campus!!  We do continue with early morning beach walks on Saturday and Sunday.  This morning we were lazy and left later than usual so we saw a lot of beach, just beautiful.


Eat Local Produce:   “Eat Local” for most of the Senior Missionaries means having dinner at local restaurants (and there are not very many close-by).  No time as yet for us to check out local places to dine.   We do take Samuel and Henry to “Angel’s Ice Cream” when we tend them, so R&K have time off on Saturday to date/skate in Honolulu.  BUT we eat local fruit!  Robb introduced us to lillikoi (pronounced lilly- quoi) or passion fruit.  Lillikoi grows on a vine down at the end of the lane, beside a walkway at the elementary school.  Directions: Cut the round fruit in half. Scoop out the seeds.  We use them in our morning vegetable/fruit smoothie.

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Lillikoi Fruit                                                         Sam having lunch at BYUH.


One Comment

  1. McCollum

    Below are previously posted comments (before we moved website servers).

    Wendy MacKinlay
    January 26, 2015 at 4:59 pm
    I have loved reading your blog, and think you are so smart for knowing how to set one up and use it! Sounds like you are totally set to serve a great mission – the tutorial centre and all who are around you are blessed to have you there! We miss you on Tuesday mornings at the temple. Take good care of yourselves.

    Helene & Bob Mitchell
    January 26, 2015 at 6:34 pm
    Sounds like you had a great start to your mission and we wish you well.

    January 26, 2015 at 6:43 pm
    Wonderful to hear and see what you are doing and where you serve. So heartwarming to see your smiles again and feel closer to you in spite of the distance! Loved the video about the mural… How miraculous and incredible.

    Robert & Judy Schultz
    January 28, 2015 at 4:38 am
    Thanks so much for the update. We are envious send us a ticket and we will be there ready to or Monday Morning.

    Carole R
    February 20, 2015 at 3:01 pm
    Dear Elder and Sister McCollum,
    You both look wonderful and healthy in that sunny part of the world. Your updates are most enjoyable and interesting.
    We didn’t tour BYUH when we were there but loved the PCC. It makes me want to go back and see more. Aren’t the children there beautiful!
    I so enjoyed working with you in our temple office and look forward to seeing you again. May the Lord bless you in all your endeavors. I know you will brighten the lives of all who come in contact with you.
    Love Carole R

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