"Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:9

Friday, March 29, 2013

"This time I learned about humility..."

Michael was able to call home when he left the Peru MTC on Tuesday.  He said that the flight to Ecuador was two hours but he didn't know what area he was going to, who was picking him up, who his new companion would be ...  But he sounded happy and excited and wonderful.  We only got to talk about five minutes but it was priceless!  I LOVE THAT KID! 

I didn't receive an email this week but I did get a letter in the mail -

March 17, 2013

Hey Mom and Familia!

Como estan?  Are you guys doing alright?  Has anything ultra exciting happened since I've been gone?  I hope nothing too exciting.

So I thought I could tell you a bit about my tracting experience.  It was very different from my first time.  That one was really spiritual and I was able to talk a fair amount.  This time we had a missionary in the field with us, and my companion was from Argentina where they speak in the Vosotros form (I haven't learned this yet) but the pronounce their double "l's" and "y's" as "sh".

It was hard to understand him but that didn't matter much because the missionary we were with didn't actually let either of us speak.  I wasn't able to give my testimony one time.  It was a bit frustrating but that's okay.  I learned about talking to people last time.  This time I learned about humility.

We were in favelas, literally the poorest place I've ever seen.  The favelas they show in the movie Rio are basically a perfect representation of what I saw.  Some of these homes were literally crates and tarps put together.  This experience wasn't nearly as sad as it seems however.  I've actually never seen a happier group of people.  They were all (or almost all) so kind and welcoming.  It was really cool.

So let me know how you're all doing!  I'm really liking it here and I have tons of great friends.  I am excited to go into the field though.

Matthew, how are you buddy?  Are you enjoying school?  Is Mrs. Jordan-Hicks still giving you tons of homework?  I'm sure she is but you can handle it.  I love you big man!

Regan, are you liking school pretty girl?  Have you and Matthew been getting along?  You better or I shall give you a hearty tickle upon my return.  I love you sweetheart!

Mom, are you doing alright?  How's the family doing?  I'm sorry you always have stuff going on but I know that you can handle it but let me know if there's anything I can do for you.  You are beyond wonderful Mom.  Be happy!  I'll be back soon.  Love you!

Byron, keep being a champ good sir!  Keep them all happy!

Love you all,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hey Mom,
I'm sorry my letter was so short last week, and todays can't be too long either.  I finally got your letters and stuff! Thanks so much!! I put two letters in the mail yesterday, one for you and one for Kelsey. It was all I had time to write. I should be able to send one to Dad this next Monday.
Tell Matthew I'm so proud of him!! He's the man! I told you a bit about whats going on in the letter home, so I'll just keep it short today. I'm loving it here, and I've got some great friends. My camera went missing. I don't know if it was from my closet, or if I left in the computer lab, but no one turned it in. Sorry.
How's everyone doing? I'm having a lot of fun, but I'm always tired. I fall asleep in class multiple times a day, but so does everyone so it's all good haha. Anyway mom, love you with all my heart, but I have to go.  I'm glad you send me Dallin's, Briana's and Eric's letters from their blogs, and I'm excited about Dallin getting out of the MTC. I know he's going to have a ton of fun and do great in Rome!
Elder Michael Costello

Michael mother is very annoyed that Michael doesn't answer any of her questions.  So annoyed that she is now speaking in third tense!  "Hey Michael, are you leaving the MTC next week?  Do you fly to Ecuador?  DO YOU GET TO CALL YOUR MOM FROM THE AIRPORT?  Do you know that your "letter home" won't get here for three weeks?  Are you going to be embarrassed when your mom calls the mission president to find out any information at all?"  Michael is in so much trouble!

Friday, March 15, 2013

While Michael was home from college and before he left for his mission, he came with his mom to school and volunteered in his 8 year old brother's classroom several times.  The teacher, who is not LDS, ask all the kids to write Michael a letter.  Michael won't get them for three weeks so I typed up their questions and emailed them to Michael.  This is his response. 

"Hey Mom, you are wonderful.  I literally just have a few seconds, left but I responded to all the questions.  I love all the stories about Matt and Regan so make sure you keep telling me what they're doing.  I hope you're doing alright.  Just a quick recap:  I am no longer the district leader and I went tracting on Saturday.  It was humbling.  We walked through the favelas on this mountain.  It's strange to knock on the outside of a crate and have a family come out to talk to you.  I'll tell you about it in my next letter.  Sorry, I don't have time.
Love you!!!


Some of the questions Matt's class asked and Michael's answers (they are studying animals right now) -
Matt wrote - "Have you met any lizards yet?" - Only little ones.
"Has anyone joined the church yet?"  No one has joined yet (He's still in the Peru MTC)
"Is everyone nice or mean to you?"  The people are very nice.
"Is it fun or not really?"  It's tons of fun.
"Is it hard learning to do your mission so far?"  Very hard but I can do it.
"Do you see different kinds of animals?"  Yes, but mostly birds so far.
"Do you like meerkats?"  Yes, a lot.
"Do you like Tasmanian devils?"  Yep
"Do you like Jaguars?"  Very much.  Actually those last three happen to be my favorite animals.
"Do you have lots of bugs there?"  There are a normal amount here but they're very big.
"How long do you have to train for and will you learn the language?"  The training is six weeks long and it is very good.  I won't be fully fluent when I leave for Ecuador but I can understand almost everything and I can converse pretty well now. 
"My favorite animal is the gorilla.  What is yours?"  I said earlier that my favorites were the meerkat, Tasmanian devil and the Jaguar but disregard that; gorilla is number one definitely.  (Michael chose to do a report on gorillas when he was in the third or fourth grade).
"Do they have good candy?"  It's alright.
One of the little girl's in Matt's class is in our ward and wrote, "Just advice, buy a pocket Book of Mormon, maybe two, just so you could hand them out.  Also, you could buy two CTR rings for you and your companion".  Good Advice!
"Do you like lions.  I love lions".  I love lions too.
"Can you do a mission for more than two years?"  My mom answered this for me and said "NO!"
"How old will you be when you can back from your mission?"  Twenty-one
"I am Mormon so I know all about these mission things...I was wondering if you have to eat gross food?  Do you have to ride a bike, a car or walk?  Does your companion snore?  I hope you are doing well and adjusting.  Matt talks about you most of the time".  The food is okay.  Mostly they feed us hotdogs.  I'm still at the MTC so we don't go out very much.  When we do, it's on a tiny bus packed with people.
"Do you like the food?"  The food is okay, but mostly they feed us hotdogs?
"Is it hot or cold there?"  It is very hot.
"Do the people speak a different language there?  Yes, two actually.  Spanish and Cechuan.
"Do you miss the animals here?"  Yes, I miss the pigeons and chipmunks terribly.
"Do you have waffles in your country".  If they do, I've yet to find them.
"What continent are you in?"  South America.  There are no tigers here (and then he wrote, show this to Kelsey) - whatever that means...
"What money do you use?"  Right now I'm in Peru and I use Soles but when I go to Ecuador I will use American money
"Where do you stay".  I live at a place called the Peru MTC.  It is a training center for Spanish Speaking missionaries and when I leave and go to Ecuador, I'll live in a tiny apartment.
"How did you get there?"  I flew in an airplane to Georgia and then a much bigger airplane to Peru.
"Have you made any good friends along the way?"  Lots and lots of great friends so far.
"Do you like being a missionary?"  I love it.
"Does the food taste different?"  Very different
"Do you miss your family".  Very much!  But it's worth it!
"What will you do for entertainment".  I will talk to people.

In part of Matt's letter, he told Michael that he had found a Harry Potter chocolate frog card and that that Kelsey told him to hang onto it until he got back and wanted to know if that was okay.  Michael wrote, "Matthew, my fine fellow, that card is now yours". 

I'm grateful for Mrs. Jordan-Hicks, a truly amazing teacher, for her wonderful students with their great questions, and my beautiful son, his sense of humor and his pure heart!!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hey Everybody!

I love reading your letters every week!  Tell everyone I love them and I'm praying for them.  How are you all?  Did Regan have a good birthday?  What's been going on at home?  I miss you all a ton but it's pretty fun here.  So, Elder ____________ and I got a new companion today.  His name is Elder ____________ so there are three of us.  He's cool.    

I read last week that you said you sent a letter in the mail but the only one I've received so far is the one from Grandma Layton sent by Dear Elder.  By the way, thanks Grandma and I love you too.

You wanted to know what was going on here but it doesn't change that much.  We speak a lot of Spanish and I love my teachers.  I'll likely be released this week from being District Leader, which is a good thing.  When we are not in classes, my favorite thing to do here is to draw in my notebook that you guys got me.  Maybe I'll send some pictures of my drawings soon.

I love you so incredibly much!!