The Octopus tree growing just across the road.  We see it from our bedroom window.

The Octopus tree growing just across the road. It can be seen from S&J’s bedroom window.


Octopus Tree – blooms in early summer. The flowering spikes are two feet long!

The ads in the local papers read, “Summer Specials!”.  What?  Wasn’t it summer weather in January, over five months ago when Elder and Sister McCollum arrived in Hawaii?  Apparently that was winter!

On Oahu, summer days are now longer with daylight just before 6am  and sunset near 7:20pm, which gives almost 1.5 hours of more daylight than in January, when sunrise was at 7am and sunset at 6pm. With the summer season, it gives everyone the opportunity for longer and HOTTER daylight hours in paradise and the opportunity for everyone to feel the HUMIDITY even more! Here in Hawaii, there is no such thing as the “humidex” reading that is used in Canada; mainland USA uses the term “heat index”.  In Hawaii neither terms are used.  The “word on the street” is that it is just much HOTTER than usual.

The heat is blamed on the lack of Tradewinds; they just are not blowing and offering the cooling blessing of the ocean breezes.  Evidence of this lack of wind is noted at the McCollum Residence.   In May, Elder and Sister McCollum gave a “harmonious” wind chine to their daughter in law for her birthday.  Their son, Robb hung it by the front entrance, just outside S&J’s mianfloor bedroom window. The chime no longer rings.  Please, please ring again!!

Wind Chime at front entrance.

Wind Chime at front entrance.

Obviously, this is the season of years long past, when Tall Sailing Ships did NOT arrive in the Honolulu Harbour.  The ocean is FLAT most days, except where the tide rolls over the coral reefs.


BYUH Campus circa 1955

Magazine cover – BYUH Campus circa 1955

Elder and Sister McCollum  are very thankful that the office where they serve, has air conditioning!!  Not so, with most homes and apartments in Laie.  Even amongst the locals, there is complaining about the heat of this summer season.

Campus 2015

Campus 2015 – JFSmith Library on right side – largest building.

The middle large circle in this magazine photo, is called the Flag Circle.  Directly behind is the David O. McKay complex. Behind the McKay Buildings are the Hales/student Dormatories.  Off to the middle right side is the roof of the JF Smith Library, where Elder and Sister McCollum serve in the Centre for Academic Success – CAS is located in the Library.


Yes, blessings  or mini-miracles continue to occur daily in everyone’s lives if one is but observant. Elder and Sister McCollum continue to give thanks to Heavenly Father for their noticeable daily blessings as they serve. They’ve been pondering and praying for a change in the Probation System at BYUH since it does not seem to be helping struggling students to improve or change.  Definition of Probation Students:  Cumulative GPA falls below 2.0, or at least two consecutive semesters with GPA less than 2.0 . (Most schools and universities now use the GPA method of compiling grades.)

In the past, the only consequence for BYUH Probation students was to have to watch a 30 minute power point presentation; then they were allowed to add/drop current semester classes and also register for the next semester.  When compiling stats at the end of each semester, Elder McCollum saw that 50% of Probation Students do not improve their GPA in the next semester.

THE MIRACLE:  Administration will implement a program Fall Semester 2015 through the Centre for Academic Success (CAS); probation students must work “one on one” with CAS to set goals and be ACCOUNTABLE for these goals. Yes, some students GPA drops due to illness, personal issues or problems back home. Yet often the low grades are due to poor time management &/or not making use of the resources available (counselling, tutoring, working with an instructor etc.)


Thursday evening all the McCollum family that live here in Laie, head over to the David O. McKay Auditorium for the BYUH drama group to present a play based on the well read novel written by C. S Lewis that has been made into the BBC series and a Hollywood movie.  The author, a devout Christian, created a story that children would enjoy yet learn to understand, appreciate  and relate to the role of Jesus Christ. Lewis created the world of Narnia with talking animals and humans, using the premise of where there was a need for redemption. Lewis, used the premise, “What kind of incarnation might Christ under go in Narnia?”.  CS Lewis even has the girls in the story tend to the Lion Aslan (Christ) after he dies and the girls are the first to see Aslan after he comes to life (like the role of women in the NT.)

Henry (2y) & Samuel (5y) visit with Aslan & Mr. & Mrs. Beaver

Henry (2y) & Samuel (5y) visit with Aslan & Mr. & Mrs. Beaver

At the play’s intermission, a throne is placed in the middle of the stage.  Children are invited to come up and visit with Aslan.  While normally quite shy, grandsons Samuel and Henry, are the first in line to meet Aslan . Two year old Henry  feels that he wants to give a gift to Aslan so he kindly hands Aslan the program for the play.  How sweet!


Elder & Sister McCollum with our new friend/student Esafe from Tonga

Elder & Sister McCollum with our new friend/student Esafe from Tonga

Each of the “Island Villages” of the Polynesian Cultural Centre have a rotating schedule for a Saturday morning monthly devotional every six months;they invite locals and PCC and BYUH missionaries to attend clothed in “aloha” wear.  Elder and Sister McCollum attend the 9am Tongan Devotional and Brunch.  Four Tongan students talk of the four values of Tongan Society given historically by a queen of Tonga.

President and CEO of the PCC, Alfred Grace emphasizes that the students endure hot and often difficult work conditions in the villages.  President Grace points out that some Tongan and Samoan youths on the mainland join gangs as a substitute for the cultural background they are missing.  Working in the villages, provides the students “cultural background” and unity of purpose.  (BTW, President Grace is also Stake President for the Married Student Campus Stake; Elder and Sister McCollum are assigned to attend 3rd Married Student Ward.)

A Tongan choir performs.

A Tongan student choir performs.

Tongan musicians.

Tongan musicians.


25+ years ago, Haruko (from Japan) became a part of  the McCollum family when she stayed with the family in Calgary for a few weeks.  Haruko kept up correspondence with the McCollum family.  A few years later she came to live with the family after their move to Victoria BC.  She studied English and later attended University of Victoria, BC.  During that time, Sam and Jeannine became her Canadian “mom and dad”. After university graduation, she returned to live and work in Tokyo.

Hawaii is much closer to Japan than Western Canada.  So with only a few weeks notice, on June 10th, Haruko along with her husband Keiji, her son Kotaro (4y), her daughter Natsuho (almost 2y) and her law Hatsuho arrive on Oahu!  What a lovely gift for Elder and Sister McCollum.

McCollum's with Haruko at PCC.

McCollum’s with Haruko at PCC.

Day 2 of their visit, Sister McCollum tends Ko and Natsu at R&K’s home; they play with Samuel and Henry.  Interesting challenge…tending children who only speak Japanese!  When the children keep returning to the front door looking for their mommy’s return, Robb helps out by using a translator program on the computer “speak” Japanese to the children telling them, “Mommy will come back after dinner time.”  The children enjoy time in the backyard, something they don’t get to have in Japan.



"Grandpa" and Kotaro enjoying the surf.

“Grandpa” and Kotaro enjoying the surf.

Elder McCollum’s face and arms are brown and tanned yet he finds after spending a morning at the beach with Haruko,her children and his grandsons, his lower legs are sore and red! Oh yes, he uses sun block on the children but he forgets the sun block on himself!

Walking around Laie.

Walking around Laie.

Walking around Laie

More of Laie

International Super Heroes

International Super Heroes

Elder McCollum takes Haruko, Keiji and Keiji’s mother to dinner at the PCC Island Buffet; they enjoy the PCC evening performance, “Ha Breath of Life”.  When they return to collect the children, the group take a goodbye photo while farewell tears are shed!

Elder and Sister McCollum with Haruko & family.

Elder and Sister McCollum with Haruko & family.


Why is the banana the most popular fruit in the world?  Well…. it grows in 107 countries!  Yes and there are some growing in the backyard of the home where Elder and Sister live with their son and his family.  In the middle of the picture below, you can see a bunch of bananas that need to ripen some more before the bunch is picked.

Banana Tree growing against the fence in the backyard (School in background).

Banana Tree growing against the fence in the backyard (School in background).

Did you know….that when the trunk(stem) of a banana  plant (not really a tree) grows a bunch of bananas, the trunk or stem must be chopped down so that the younger stems will develop and grow.

Another bunch of bananas to be picked when they are ripened.

Another bunch of bananas ready to be picked when they are ripened.

Home-grown organic bananas

Home-grown organic bananas


Yes, this tasty drink is very popular here in Hawaii.  By the time this drink began to be sold commercially, milk and juice products were sold in plastic/paper cartons. Sister McCollum finds this product (see below) on the refrigerated juice section at Foodland, the local grocery store in Laie.  She enjoys the flavour of the juice.  But when she puts fresh passion fruit into their morning vegetable/fruit smoothie Elder McCollum always notices the strong “flavour” and says, ‘Please do not add that fruit to my breakfast smoothie.’

Passion Orange Guava Juice

Passion Orange Guava Juice

A marketing manager for Hawaii Dairy remembered a childhood game, perhaps from the 1920’s, of flipping milk caps.  He comes up with an idea to market “POG” juice by printing milk caps called “POG’s” as a give-away to sell the juice. Then in 1991, a Hawaiian school teacher remembers that her parents told her about the”flipping milk cap game” that they had played as children.  She teaches her students the game using the “POG” collector caps, and the game spreads from Hawaii to the mainland.  Do you remember the “POG” craze?

Do children in the mainland still play this game?  Elder and Sister McCollum see school children here in Laie Hawaii trading and playing “POG” on their street.




Elder and Sister McCollum attend the wedding reception given by Michael A. and his wife for their eldest daughter.  (Michael A. is the faculty advisor for the Centre for Academic Success where Elder and Sister McCollum serve.)  Elder and Sister McCollum are aquainted with the groom since he is a student at BYUH.  Sister McCollum is intrigued with Isaiah’s family name, which is a form of her niece Shelley’s married name (who lives in NB).  I. Gillenwater’s family is from Indiana, USA.

IMG_2162The reception is not fussy and formal; instead it is a beautiful fun affair, especially with being able to watch the children, teenagers and wedding party dance the night away!


Meanwhile back in Fort Collins, Colorado the second oldest grandson, Ethan has his High School Graduation.

Ethan McC - 2015 High School Graduate

Ethan McC – 2015 High School Graduate

Ethan with his parents

Ethan with his parents: Glen & Danelle

Meanwhile, on Vancouver Island near Victoria BC, the oldest granddaughter, Caesha also has her high school graduation.

Caesha on Prom Night.

Caesha McC on Prom Night.

Grandaughter Caesha

Grandaughter Caesha

L to R: Gr'pa & Gr'ma Mix; Caesha's mom Deanna, Caesha, her sister Nyah, and dad, Cliff.

L to R: Gr’pa & Gr’ma Mix; Caesha’s mom Deanna, Caesha, her sister Nyah, and dad, Cliff McC

These two grandchildren of the McCollums were born two weeks apart when both families were living in Victoria BC.  Gr’pa & Gr’ma really enjoyed watching them  grow and play together for 2+ years; then Ethan and his parents left for grad school in Colorado and are still living there.


Elder and Sister McCollum receive another wonderful surprise: the visit of their friend’s B&S Easterbrook from Friendswood, Texas.  B&S along with a daughter and granddaughter are visiting on Oahu to see their son Cody, a resident of Oahu.  Cody has a part in the recently released movie, “Aloha”.   Elder and Sister McCollum forgot to get a photo of the group as they all visited together one evening.

McCollum's with Cody E. at PCC in 2012 on a visit to Hawaii to see new grandson

McCollum’s with Cody E. at PCC in 2012 on a visit to Hawaii to see new grandson

B&S Easterbrook served a full time LDS mission in the Vancouver BC, First Ward (2013-14) when S&J McCollum lived in Abbotsford BC.  The McCollums/Easterbrooks have been friends since November 1972 when they each had daughters born a few days apart at the Welland County Hospital, Ontario, Canada.

Easterbrooks & McCollums Chinese New Year - Vancouver 2013

Easterbrooks & McCollums
Chinese New Year – Vancouver 2013

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