Hey, It's so great to finally be able to email. I have 26 minutes and counting, so let's get to it!
First off, thanks for all the packages and letters. It's great to hear from everyone. (I'm going to try to respond to as many of your questions and comments as I can - I've been taking notes!)
Dad, I'm surprised about your tough experience after I left, but honored (if that makes sense). All your movie quotes and everything were awesome. And in your most recent letter, I loved the reference to "your band" and everything. :)
Mom, "the part of Aladdin will be played..." was great. It really made me smile, as did "Oh shoee..." and the fact that Reagan has been chewing grass. Haha. So funny. I love you.
Miranda - Your story about sleeping in school does sound like a pretty odd day, but hey. Naps during school are never a bad thing. Naps during the MTC... not so good. They keep telling us that naptime is in two years. Yikes. :) You told me a little about school, but I'd like to hear more. And yes, that teacher is a tough grader... kind of. He gives you the exact instructions for his assignments, and if you follow them and work hard, you'll be fine. Plus, you'll learn a whole lot; that's what I liked the most about his class. But that was my experience -- hopefully you like the class as well. Oh, and tell your friends thanks for writing me. I really appreciated it. One day I'll find the time to write them back, but until then, just thank them for me.
Gabbie -- I LOVE the comics you've been sending me. And the Mario/Luigi/Toad costumes! You definitely have to go as one of those for Halloween. I really like reading Calvin & Hobbes too. It always makes me smile. :) Thanks for your notes and your pawprints of Nikka (how is she doing, anyway? Does she miss me? haha), and everything. Love you Gabs.
Reagan -- Oh shooo.... haha. How's Reagan been doing? Mom, you said he's been good at school the last few days in a row. That's great. Keep me informed. Until then, somebody give him a hug and a punch from me. :)
Okay, so I absolutely love receiving your letters and packages. Seriously, they're so often. I'm still working my way through all the food though! Thanks. While we're on that subject, the next time you think about it, I could use some white socks - we have gym 5x a week, so I've been reusing socks - no rush. Again, thanks for everything you've sent.
Some questions from previous letters. The blog sounds awesome. The idea of gathering comments from friends and sending them to me is a great one. I'd really like that. So far I've heard from all of you, Lisa & Laura (who sent me cookies and letters and such), and Jason.
Speaking of Jason (Stapleton), I got to see him here! His visa was delayed a week, so he was here until yesterday. We met up a couple times. Sunday night I had the chance to talk to him for almost an hour. He's basically fluent in Russian and doing so well. Still the same old Jason, but you can tell he's a missionary now.
I've also seen Jordan Cooper -- he lives on my floor, actually. We're in the Matthew Cowley building, right next to the cafeteria. It's very nice. He's going to Houston and has been here a couple weeks. Pretty cool to talk to him. Oh, and I met an Elder Davis who is friends with Nate Houle and has been to the Houle's house. It was kind of surreal. I'm super excited to see Cameron too! That's awesome.
Okay, now for the most important part... me. :) I'm absolutely loving it here. I'm sleeping well, eating well, excercising, and learning so much. I'm thinking in half Spanish pretty much constantly, which is cool. I'm learning so much about the gospel too. We've memorized D&C 4 (in English) and a few other things... like "Invitar a las personas a venir a Cristo a fin de que reciban el evangelio restaurado mediante la fe en Jesucristo y Su Expiacion, el bautismo, el arrepentimiento, el don del Espiritu Santo, y perserverar hasta el fin." (I think that's mostly right... It's our purpose as missionaries.)
It's hard to sum up all these experiences and feelings in... 5 minutes :) but I want everyone to know that I'm having a wonderful time. I'm not feeling any homesickness at all. It's not that I don't miss you, because I do, but I'm so focused on the work that it's never been a concern really. In two years I'll get to see you again! Until then, I'm going to work as hard as I can, be obedient, and preach the gospel.
Okay, now Dad's recent questions. My companion's last name is Ostergaard - his mom's maiden name is Shurtz -- did you know any of that family in Michigan?
Okay, 30 seconds left. I love every single one of you very, very much. Don't ever forget that. I'm praying for you.