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!