Here in Hawaii few locals know little about “Groundhog Day”; they are not familiar with the tradition of a rodent predicting when spring will arrive in the northern hemisphere.  Tradition: If the creature sees its shadow, then 6 more weeks of winter will follow.  Having lived many years on the Canadian prairie, Albertans know only too well that winter lasts until at least April regardless of whether the it’s cloudy or sunny on February 2nd.

FYI: The BYUH Library does not have the DVD of the movie, “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray with his unsavoury charm.  Elder and Sister McCollum had to forgo their Ground Hog Day tradition of watching this movie where the main character is in a never ending repentance day loop!


In the story, Phil is doomed to live the same 24 hours of a day over and over for eternity.  He repeats indefinitely one day after another in Puxsutawaney, Pennsylvania.  Some movie critics compare “Groundhog Day” with “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  It is a zany comedy and love story.

IMG_3130   FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

Phil tries to die!                   Phil does good deeds….!

Out of frustration with the same day after day, Phil tries several ways to end his life.  Yet he awakes the next morning to start all over again.  Then, he finally “catches-on” to the reason for his endless loop.  Phil begins making use of his time by doing good deeds and self improvement.  Of course the story includes a love story that after much effort, ends happily.

Elder and Sister McCollum try to view the movie on Netflix.  Not there!  They will renew their Groundhog Day tradition on February 2, 2017.

THE START of SPIRIT WEEK at BYUH – February 6, 2016

Spirit week marks the anniversary back in the 1950’s when prophet David O. McKay visits Laie, attends the local elementary school’s flag raising ceremony at which he foresees and shares with the children, the day when youth from around the world would gather in this town to gain further education.  So Spirit Week begins with a Flag Raising Ceremony.  Elder McCollum is invited to raise the flag for Nauru for student Jane-Lyn who cannot attend.

IMG_2818 photo

IMG_2825 IMG_2823

A student (greatgrandson of Bob Hamilton that was a neighbour & friend of Grandpa Glen Jensen)  from Lethbridge AB raises the Canadian flag.  Albertans Elder McCollum & Alpha and Les Harper proudly display the Canadian flag.


Ward members gather in the courtyard of TVA (Temple View Apartment), “G” on a warm very sunny Sunday at 11am.  Elder and Sister McCollum bring stuffed baked potatoes which are a big hit especially for those from the mainland who grow tired of the usual cooked white rice served at most functions in Laie. Ward members enjoy the meal, then head home to ready for Church services at 2pm.  Yes, this is a very late hour for church meetings, but with so many wards sharing the church building, it is 3rd ward’s turn to get the late time

IMG_2805 IMG_2802 IMG_2812

Elder and Sister McCollum pose with young married couple, Annie (from Korea) and Ahki Ikeda (from Japan).  Annie and Ahki are wearing the newly ordered 3rd ward T-shirts.  On the back it reads:  “Happy Marriage/Happy couple.”  Listed are the names of the ward members.


Elder and Sister McCollum continue to enjoy the weekly spiritual feast as they attend the campus wide devotional Tuesday mornings from 11am to 12 noon.

Elder and Sister McCollum visit with student, Zara from Albania as we gather in the Canon Activity Centre on campus.

Elder and Sister McCollum visit with student,                              Zara from Albania as the campus gathers in the Canon Activity Centre.



Yes, it is time as the semester nears an end for once again to have this group meet and share a meal.  Two of the women with their husbands and children, will be leaving Laie for their homelands, as their spouse graduates from BYUH.

IMG_2848 IMG_2859

Most of the husbands are unable to attend due to part-time work commitments.  Elder McCollum is the photographer for the event.


Elder and Sister McCollum are invited  by Saku (Bayarsaikhan Altansukh ) to help the Mongolian students and their families celebrate the Lunar New Year 2015.  (Saku came to Hawaii when her husband Mo was accepted to attend BYUH; Saku took on-line English classes and attended the Spousal English class where we met her.  She has now been attending BYUH for two semesters.)


Elder McCollum, Mo, Saku and Sister McCollum

IMG_2875        IMG_2874

The senior guests are seated in a line and the “young people” individually greet each of the seniors by extending the forearms with the palms of their hands turned down.  The seniors place their forearms and their hands with the their palms turned up toward the young people’s hands.  The young people kiss the seniors on each cheek and they softly speak a New Years Greetings in Mongolian.  Lovely tradition!

FYI:  The round Mongolian tent made of animal hides is called a “Ger”.  The term “yert” is the name in Russian.  While waiting for the food to arrive, the seniors are served hot milk, a traditional drink in Mongolia.


The tables are set with a centrepiece called a “boortsog”, a decoration made of cakes & biscuits with a US flair.  It is sprinkled with “jelly belly” candies.  Now here comes the food! The meal includes “dumplings” filled with meat, cabbage, potatoes and carrots.  Mongolians are big on meat dishes.  (FYI horse meat is sold along with beef and mutton in butcher shops).  At the dinner, even the potato salad has pieces of cooked diced meat.  Sister McCollum who does not eat meat, is able to have coleslaw and bread for the feast.  During the meal, everyone watches on a big screen video clips of a Mongolian wrestling match, the favourite sport in their country.

IMG_2872 IMG_2871

IMG_2869 IMG_2873

Following the meal, the Mongolians bring out “sheep bones” and teach Elder McCollum a dice-type game.  Elder McCollum compares it to a game called “PIGS”.

IMG_3147 IMG_3146

Adults visit and playtime for the children.  Samuel and Henry McCollum also join the celebration.

IMG_3161 IMG_3151




Elder and Sister McCollum arrive home from their senior missionary Family Home Evening to find their bedroom door decorated with hearts and loving messages.  Yes, a “Heart Attack” is posted by Robb, Kimberly, Samuel and Henry!




Elder and Sister McCollum find their way down to the beach with a flashlight just in time to see a small slit of morning sun showing between the horizon and the heavy clouds.


A flashlight shows that the tide is coming in and….


……..  find tell-tale signs of crabs.

IMG_2901     IMG_2904

More sunlight but that is all the direct sun that shows due to heavy cloud cover.  Yet the sky begins to lighten on a new day at Temple Beach.


A student listens to the scriptures as the day begins.


Laie Point now shows up in the distance.

IMG_2925            IMG_2927

Sister McCollum rinses the sand off her feet, the only downside to a walk on the beach.   Ready for the short the bike ride home as they head toward the temple.


Elder and Sister McCollum continue to appreciate viewing the wonders of this Earth that were created by our Heavenly Father, his son Jesus Christ and “Father” Adam.  On looking out their bedroom window, Sister McCollum sees the “bow” in the sky.

IMG_3198 IMG_3185 IMG_3199

By standing at the end of the driveway, a few photos show a double rainbow, the palm trees framed by the rainbow and the rainbow arch across the sky!  What a beautiful promise-symbol!


Have you ever seen or tasted the tropical fruit rambutan?  It grows locally on the Big Island of Hawaii.  In an effort to encourage school children to eat fresh fruit, each Friday the elementary children are sent home with a different fruit to taste and share with their family.  Grandson Samuel brings home a hairy red and kind-of scary looking rambutan fruit.

IMG_3178 IMG_3179

With a teaspoon in the photo, one can see the comparative size of the fruit.  The price in the local grocery store is $4.99 a pound, rather pricey.  The fleshy fruit, inside the hairy red ball, is white and oval shaped with a light brown seed in the centre.  Henry says, “It tastes like jello.”  The fruit has a flowery scent and texture similar to a grape; rambutan very pleasant tasting.


This city is on the southwest corner of the island of Oahu and lies to the westside of Honolulu.  It is a master-planned city known as the “second” city on the island of Oahu.  It is the home to very well planned communities filled with family homes, golf courses, shopping centres and many hotels.  The climate on this side (south) of the island is sunny and gets much less rain than along the north shore where Laie is located so the grass on the hills is usually brown.  But the grass and vegetation on the golf courses, shopping areas, living communities and hotels is well watered, green and beautiful.

All six of the McCollum family that live in Laie make the 90 minute car drive to the city of Kapolei.  The destination is the Aulani Disney Resort. (OW- OO-LAN-EE) What an amazing and beautiful vacation destination.  R,K, S & H are guests of K’s Aunt Judy and Uncle Kent (from California) for a four day stay.  Elder and Sister McCollum meet J&K, have a quick tour of the site, make a stop at a nearby Costco for groceries before driving back to Laie.  They will return in four days to try out the water park and collect R,K, S & H.   By not parking the car at the Resort, they will save $37 a day!!

IMG_3229       IMG_3231

Samuel, Henry & Grandma pose in front of a huge hallway map of the islands.                                        Elder & Sister McCollum meet Disney’s Chip!


R,K,S & H pose with Mickey Mouse!; they are all ready for water sports!


Elder McCollum in the beautiful hallway as he  leaves  the Aulani Disney Resort.                                                    Chip, Dale and Mickey were too busy with work at the resort for Elder and Sister                                                                                               McCollum to convince them to come to Laie and register for the upcoming                                                                                                      Spring 2016 Semester at BYUH.

NOTE: Elder and Siser McCollum must make the most of their time.  They now have only 3 months before before their departure date of May 29th, 2016.


  1. Linda Fredrickson

    Oh, my, what a wonderful update! To me, sitting here on a blustery Abbotsford afternoon, your life in the tropics sounds so idyllic and magical. I know it’s not all fun and games. I know you are both busy and doing wonderful things for the students you work with. I can’t wait for you two to come back to Abbotsford, even if it’s just for a visit. I miss you, dear friends.

  2. Fidela Fernandes

    You are so blessed meeting all these wonderful people and that’s just what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. It is great to see you enjoying your mission in Hawaii. Elder and Sister McCollum thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures.
    We have ranbutan in the Philippines yes they are very good. May Heavenly Father continue to bless you.

  3. Donna Orr

    How I love Hawaii. You are very blessed to have the opportunity to have lived and experienced the culture that you don’t have time for when on a short holiday. You are both looking good. It has been interesting hearing about the married couples at BYU. Enjoy all the pictures

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *