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.
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!!!