"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

Monday, April 29, 2013

I ride lots of small busses with chickens and dogs and Ecuadoreans

                   He said he had to wear an eye patch for 30 days but this is an eye blanket ...
                                         and look how much he's grown - he's a giant!
Hey Mom, 
This is me and Elder ____________.  He's a great guy and he speaks English really well too.  I think I'm going to be able to call you around 2:00pm your time on Mother's Day, but everything here is really unreliable. We have to find a place where we can do it. Webcams are rather scarce here.
(I asked what was going on with his heath)  I've been improving. I almost passed out during a meeting, so I went to the hospital and I received some injections and took 5 pills a day for 5 days. Yesterday was the last day. I'm not really light-headed anymore, but the headaches are still there, but I still need to finish the treatment that the eye doctor assigned. I have an appointment Thursday with the ear doctor that the optometrist sent me to, and on the twentieth or so, I have to go back to the eye doctor.  It hasn't stopped me from working.  I still do everything just like normal.  I just have to suck it up in front of investigators.
That's fine about having to cancel my debt card.  Sorry someone was using it.  I don't have to pay for the appointments at the doctors so I won't be needing it anyways.
What do I do?  I teach a lot. We had our first two baptisms on Friday, __________ and __________ ____________, and I baptized ___________.  It was cool because these are investigators that I started with. They weren't working with anyone before I showed up.  Also, I ride lots of very small busses with chickens and dogs and Ecuadoreans.  I usually have to stand hunched over but that's okay.  I love it.  Our areas are fairly far from our house so I take about 4 busses a day.  It's a lot of work but it's fun.  I have various study times in the morning for 5 complete hours (personal, companion, language, training, etc.) and that's the worst part of each day.  It's much easier when I'm outside walking around talking to people.  The headaches are worse then but I have people to distract me.
What else.. I get lost in conversations a lot still.  I can speak to pretty much everyone, but I'm far from fluent. We teach a lot, and I love the members here so much. There's an older lady named Hermana (sister) __________  here that I love to visit. She's like my Ecuadorean Mama because everytime I walk by her house, she tells us to come in and she feeds us.  Her husband is inactive, but we're working with him a bit. They lived in Utah for a long time, so she speaks some English and loves to speak to me.
That's wonderful about Matthew and the books!  I'm so glad he likes reading.  Make sure he starts a new series.  And Regan too with Junie B. Jones. Tell them I miss them both too, A LOT!  I miss all of you but I've already served an 1/8 of my mission.  Can you believe it?  Anyway, I bet you all think I forgot Regan's birthday present, but I didn't. I just haven't been able to send anything yet. I have the gift. It's small, but I think she'll like it. I've had it since her birhtday. I will try really hard to send it next week. It's difficult because it's about an hour bus ride to the postal office, and I have to get permission from president to leave my area, but I will try
Oh, I forgot to mention that it's a possibility that I'll be changing missions in June or July.  They are creating the Guayaquil West mission which will be part of my current mission.  So if I am sent there, I could serve in the Galapagos Islands because it is going to be apart of Guayaquil West.  
Love you all and keep me updated.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

She sold his hair for fifty cents

Okay Mom, sorry about last week but I have a bit more time now.  I had thought that my headaches were just normal before I left.  I did tell you I was having headaches a few times. I didn't think they were a big deal though and I don't want you to worry.  The mission President sent me to an eye doctor because I told him the headaches were causing vision problems. (The eyes aren't the cause of his headaches but he said he was lucky he went because the doctor did find he had a) case of conjunctivitis starting up... Cause that's how things are going hahaha. Anyway, the doctor seemed to understand my problem and said that I need to have my right eye covered for 6 hours a day for 30 days. I've started that treatment now that the conjunctivitis is gone, and I have 27 days left. However, he said that I need to see a neurologist. Also, he said I need to speak to an ear doctor, and I'm still waiting for that appointment.  Yesterday and all day today I've felt light-headed and sort of feel like I'm going to pass out. I tried to call the president, but he didn't answer. I'll try again later, but it's not fun.  Anyway, I'm sure I'll be fine. I just need people to call back haha.
That's really awesome about your temple walk Mom! I'm so glad you had a good time and that the girls enjoyed it!   Sister Martha is pretty great.  (She is a member that friended me on Facebook and has sent me several pictures of Michael this last week).  We ate ate at her house again last night, and she took some more pictures. She loves her camera.
I don't need anything mom, and I don't think you need to send me anything. I still haven't received my Easter package, however.  I recently received 5 letters from grandma and 1 from Brooklyn!  I was so happy.  I'm going to write them back as soon as I can, but I can only send letters every few weeks.
Also, I can't call both you and Dad on Mother's Day.  My Mission President said, "It's Mother's Day." (but in Spanish),  so if you guys could be together, that would be great.

I forgot to tell you the follow up story to the little girl that stole my hair! I saw her again, and asked what she did with it. She said she sold it for 50 cents. Which isn't bad considering I'm in Ecuador. She then proceeded to try to steal more hair.  I was going to send you some pictures of the iguana park for Regan, but I can't do it on this computer.
Sorry mom, I'll send them before long.
Love you all, miss you all, and know that I'm happy,

Monday, April 8, 2013

Don't worry... I'll let you know soon...

Hi Mom,

How are you?  I'm doing alright, and yes, I do know that you love me very much!  I love you too!!  First off, sorry I didn't tell you about the headaches, but don't worry about it. I don't know anything yet because when I called the President's secretary to see when my appointment was, he said the President didn't tell him to make one.  He must have forgotten, but I should be able to see one this week.  Don't worry though and I'll let you you know as soon as I find something out.

 My area is gigantic. It covers a whole bunch of areas, so I have to take busses everywhere.  The areas all have individual names, but my ward is called Via Doble 2. That's so nice of Brooklyn (I told him she had sent him a letter) and yeah, I know my family's awesome!!

That is so weird that there will be houses across the street when I get back!!  It's always just been desert. It was sweet to make forts in haha.

Yes, I knew that Kelsey's Choir got to sing in General Conference!  And yes, I did see her in the very last number for a couple seconds.  Twas' wonderful.  I was so happy!  I watched conference live, half in spanish and for the second half, the gringos got to go to another room to watch it in English.  It was really good!

We have two baptismal dates for the 13th, and I invited a woman to be baptized during our first lesson with her and she accepted, so that was good. We have about 10 other progressing investigators as well.  I'll attach some pictures.  The spider was in my hair one morning when I woke up. They like blondes.  The mold is the roof above my shower haha.  The last thing is a weird fruit that they have here but it's pretty good.

Anyway Mom, I've got to write some other letters!
Love you ever so much!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The 11-year-old girl's think his gold hair is beautiful!

Hi Mom!!!!

So I hope I'm able to answer your questions this week.  Just send letters and packages to the mission office.  Matthew, sunburns are no fun. Sorry big man.  I'm glad you got 50 pieces of candy. That's like 50 more than I have.  I love you so, so much.  Regan, you're so cool. They won't let me dress like Hermoine here. It's not fair. I saw two iguanas so far, but I'm not allowed to carry my camera with me!  But as soon as I get an opportunity, I'll send you a picture. I love you with all of my heart.

Now Mother, how are you and your wonderful face?  So I'll tell you a bit about what's happened since I got to Ecuador. We got off the plane and were met by the AP's. We waited for a group from the Colombian MTC for awhile, and the Mission President came and talked to us. He's a cool guy, but really strict. We can't play soccer or drink Coke but I'm fine with all that, even though we have to go buy this nasty "purified" water. Basically they dump a bunch of iodine in it because you can't drink the water here.  We have to buy it from a shop across the street. 

So far, I've attended one baptism and been part of committing 2 investigators to baptism. We're working on about 5 others and tomorrow we get to go to another baptism. I like the baptisms and the baptismal interview the best.  So my companion is one of the very few Latinos that are taller than me here, because I'm fortunate like that. His name is Elder _________, and he's from Chile. He's been out for about 14 months. He's also our District Leader, and our two roommates, Elder _________ and Elder __________ are the Zone Leaders. They're all pretty cool, but if there's a word I don't understand, they all just repeat the word over and over while staring at me as if it will help.  It's tons of fun.

I've lost a ton of weight. I've actually gone down two belt loops. There are chickens everywhere. My first area is here in the city and the hills that meet the city, so it's fairly poor - and thus, the chickens everywhere.  The other day, I ate at a members house that had chickens walking everywhere but there was this big white rooster that just sat there and stared at me the whole time. When the lady came to sit down with us, she picked up the rooster and started petting it.  But the rooster just stared at me the whole time I was eating.  I didn't much enjoy it.  Dinner was potatoes, tomatoes and dried tuna all mixed together - we weren't eating any chickens.

I like it here. It's hot and very humid, but that's alright. There are spiders everywhere and I've been bitten like ten times already.  We walk most places, but sometimes we get on buses with people - and chickens.  Pretty much everyone stares at me, and the eleven year old girls in church have informed that my gold hair is beautiful. They haven't had a gringo in this area for 7 years. I also forgot to mention that I'm opening an area right now. There haven't been missionaries here for about 2 years, so we have a ton of work to do.

I'm love it here but I miss home too. I was told that the first three weeks in the field are the hardest, and I can definitely understand that.  The people are so nice to me, and they all want to talk to the "gringito".

I love you all and pray for you every night and day. Love you all.
Your faithful Ecuadorian Missionary,
Elder Miguel Patricio Costello

Michael's dad called me after I received this email and told me Michael was having some problems but said not to tell me because he didn't want me to worry but that he thought I should know.  He forwarded me the email he's received, the last few lines of which read, "I don't want to tell Mom about it quite yet because she won't enjoy it but I have an appointment with the doctor this week.  I've been having some headaches for a couple of months...but they're getting worse and three days ago the vision in my right eye started going blurry each time I get them.  Don't worry about it though..."   Well Michael was right - I didn't enjoy it.  Nor did I enjoy him not telling me.  Lots and lots of non-enjoyment!