I am doing great here. It just so happens that my buddy Elder Kaulukukui from BYUH is also my companion here at the MTC. We are studying hard and I feel like I've learned a lifetime of things and it has only been a few days. It turns out that I am going to be here 11 weeks so my estimated departure date is July 20th, and that is only if my visa gets cleared so we will see . . .
When I first got to the MTC they were handing all the Elders their packets with PMG [Preach My Gospel] and other gospel materials. I walked past the english Elders who had these small packets and then past the foreign Elders who had slightly larger packets. Then I got to my section and they said, "Elder, you are very lucky," and handed me two huge bags that I had to have my host help me carry. Supposedly my district is one of the first to be going through this new type of training at the MTC which is cool. Our teachers are awesome and the rest of my district is awesome. One of the guys is not here yet because he said that he had to finish finals but we think he really just wanted to see Iron Man 2. It's been pretty exciting to see all my friends from BYUH here too its pretty cool to see people that I went to school with here especially since I didn't really know they would be here. Our branch president told all of us newbs to have talks in french prepared for tomorrow and he chooses randomly who will give the talk which was kind of overwhelming . . . It is cold here . . . There are some things that I need . . . I have used 27 of my 30 minutes on email just writing this letter so if you could keep emails short and sweet that would give me more time to write.
Love, Elder Cosby
6 a.m. Wednesday, May 5, 2010: Van and I, Joseph, and Elder Cosby head to the airport. I love you. We love you. Work hard. Be faithful. We'll pray for you. Write. Take a few pictures for me. Hug me. Hug your brother. I love you. This is the fifth time I've done this. Joseph . . . or was it you, Seth? Remember how you cried when your brother left? Because he accidentally slammed your head in the trunk when he closed it . . . which brother was that? They do not blend together, my boys, but there is a familiarity to rituals like this, like a musical refrain. Mom, are you going to take pictures of every single thing? Yes. And we will watch you walk away until we can't see you anymore. Until even after we can't see you anymore. I don't know French, or Tahitian. I know a little Spanish. Vaya con Dios, that I remember, a beautiful lyrical phrase. Go with God. Vaya con Dios, Seth, I mean Elder . . . Elder Cosby the fifth . . . no the sixth, counting Dad. Reach for Van's hand. We stand together with Joseph. God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again. Wave. He is eagerly looking forward, to what is ahead. Good-bye. This is easy. Let the boy try, Mom . . . how many times have I heard that? Let them go. Let them fly. How grateful I am that they choose to fly high when they go. They honor us and the Lord. I am not a wimpy Mom. I have six sons, and I want them to grow up to be responsible, faithful, Christlike good men. Salt water on my face feels good. Feels like the South Pacific.
Doctrine and Covenants 84: 77-88 (excerpts) . . . BECOME EVEN AS MY FRIENDS in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power . . . Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire. And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst. For consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin, and the kingdoms of the world, n all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these. For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things. Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself. Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man . . . this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry . . . that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom. Behold, I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come. And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I WILL GO BEFORE YOUR FACE, I WILL BE ON YOUR RIGHT HAND AND ON YOUR LEFT, AND MY SPIRIT SHALL BE IN YOUR HEARTS, AND MINE ANGELS ROUND ABOUT YOU, TO BEAR YOU UP . . .
Jacob arrived home early Sunday morning, April 30  just shortly after Ben's family had to leave to get back home for Sunday duties. He and I and Joseph went to church to hear Seth's farewell talk (the only week he could speak in church because of fast Sundays and ward conference, and the one weekend of the year that Van had a mandatory sales meeting and couldn't be there!) Seth gave an impressive talk on faith as an agent of change, and shared some profound thoughts on how to increase our faith. Wow! I've never heard him talk in such depth or length. He prepared and delivered very well--he had many positive comments! The next Thursday his Dad came home and on Friday the rest of the family started rolling in, first Jon's family, then Sam's, then Katie and Gordon until all were there except Ben's family who had come to say good-bye the weekend before. What a wonderful time we had. The family kept going to "Tahiti" (Belle's creation in the garage) and breakfasted and played there. Go-carts had been such a hit the weekend before that we went back again. We had a barbeque and created our own best hot dogs and burgers and roasted marshmallows over the firepit. Laughter, game playing, and conversations floated around as our home was filled with five grandchildren and 6 of our children plus three spouses. I love to watch children play, and get down with them . . .we did puzzles together, and alternated shopping and then running the cash register in our little store and kitchen on the back porch. The weather was so beautiful. Elijah was fascinated with the play sink and spent most of his time there (as Belle had the weekend before)...the only thing that could compete was ring-around-the-rosy on the trampoline. Little Anna's second birthday was coming in a day or two; she ran around happily chattering and singing and we sang to her. Isaac and Lincoln played in the park and the kids get-away in the room under the stairs and out in the beautiful weather as we all adored baby Levi. Good-bye to Seth . . . there were words of encouragement, advice, and affection. A great highlight of the weekend for me was on Sunday when we had our own family Primary about missions and missionaries! Isaac and Lincoln repeated the first five articles of faith, which they have down! We had a singing time about things that missionaries need to learn to do. Best of all, the returned missionaries in our family shared their testimonies and stories and the kids identified where our family missionaries (Papa Van and the uncles) had gone . . . into "all the world:" England, Canada,France, Brazil, El Salvador, Florida, and now Tahiti . . . .and what a blessing that has been to us! We attended church, which was a Fast and Testimony meeting. My husband, son, and grandsons bore their testimonies from the pulpit. After the meeting block, Sunday, May 2, 2010, Seth was set apart by President Gary Riding as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, becoming Elder Cosby and receiving a beautiful blessing. These are poignant, precious times. I looked at my grown sons, and Seth, now Elder Cosby . . . our baby (for a time, yes, he was supposed to be the baby for a time, but we got a bonus child in Joseph:) Hearing the calls of "Papa Van" and "Gramma," through the week, and the sweetest sound in the world, the laughter of little children . . . I was left thinking . . . yesterday . . . this was you, Seth. It was you we were helping to understand what the Spirit felt like . . . and singing primary songs with. I only blinked . . . I just turned around . . . and nineteen years have gone . . .
Ben's family came up to say good-bye to Seth the week before everyone else because Ben had business conflicts later on. Seth, Joseph, and I were the only ones at home because Van had to be out of town at a big business meeting for his company and Jacob was still up at BYU, but we had a rollickin' good time! Ben had thought about flying Seth to his place, but Isabelle would have none of that! She will be a great event planner someday! When Belle realized that a mission meant Uncle Seth would be gone for two years and would not even be able to webcam with her during that time, she decided that he must have a big good-bye party. We had a great time mini-golfing and riding go-carts. I had a tub of luau decor from my young women days that Belle and I used to decorate the garage as "Tahiti." This was great fun to watch . . . she directed her Dad "a little to the right . . . now a little to the left" --wonder where she got that? Belle planned activities that included dancing, fishing (magnetic), island drumming and music making, and finding little blue rocks she had hidden. We had a great couple of days together. Belle picked out a tie for Seth and gave him his going away present one evening after her bath when she was dressed in her very charming cowgirl pajamas! What a delight a little child is! We got to play with Belle and cuddle our sweet Olivia. Seth also got great missionary advice and advice in general from his Brother Ben and Sister-in-law Amy. This was the start of a full week and a half of family fun and good-byes. We left Belle's "Tahiti" up for her cousins to enjoy the next weekend. Thank- you Belle!
On the same day Olivia was blessed, Seth returned home from his third semester (plus one half term) at BYU-H on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian islands. Having graduated from high school a semester early, he will be almost a junior when he returns to college, but he will not be returning soon. While he was there, Seth received a call to serve for two years in the Tahiti Papeete Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Seth has a special feeling for serving the Lord as a missionary and a strong belief in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ being on the earth in these latter days and led by a prophet of God. He also has a special feeling for island peoples and had a great desire to be a missionary in island lands, but was very willing to serve wherever he was called, knowing that was probably a remote possibility.. He was thrilled when he opened his call and found it was to the islands of French Polynesia! About 119 islands are in the mission! Seth made good friends during his time at BYU-H, and enjoyed the delights of island living. Now he has the promise of seeing more beautiful tropical island scenery, but he will not be surfing! We do not have any pictures of him studying at school, but now he will be learning two new languages: French and Tahitian (he took Latin in high school). A whole new world of learning is waiting for Seth, and as soon as got home from BYU-H he was launching into that!
When I was a girl my sisters and I used to corral our Dad and style his hair. (Brylcream was a popular TV ad back then, I'm not sure what we put in his hair, but we styled it). Having had four daughters of his own, Dad has a soft spot for little girls. He told us "Mr Magillicutty" stories and brought presents when he traveled.
Now, as a GREAT and GRAND Pa, he is surrounded by pink when we go see his oldest grandson's daughters, Olivia and Belle. Belle is crazy about dogs, so when I saw a cute one, Great Grandpa wanted to buy it for her. Belle's favorite dogs she plays with constantly are named Jack Russell and Houston, so when Great Grandpa Frank presented her with a new puppy, he named it Austin. Now Belle has several fun stuffed dog friends to play with: Jack Russell, Houston, Austin . . . and Lulu (who often stays back at the doghouse looking after her little puppy ) And Great Grandpa Frank is a hit with the pinkalicious crowd!
On Sunday, April 11, 2010 Olivia Cosby was blessed by her father Benjamin. The Christensen and Cosby families gathered together to witness this special event and celebrate Olivia's arrival. Katrina and Gordon and Great Grandpa Frank were able to join with us and Amy's sister Allie and her husband Nick came with Grandpa Lee and Grammy Jeanine, our counterparts. We love the Christensens! (Van and Lee have the same birthday) We had a wonderful time together. Olivia was a beautiful star of the show, along with her sister Isabelle, who was delighted to have a houseful of playmates!
On March 25, 2010 Levi Samuel Cosby made his "grand" entrance into the world, a month early. Because of his early arrival, he stayed in the NICU for awhile getting everything checked out, but look how healthy and beautiful he is! They just made sure all systems were stabilized. I drove down and was able to hang out with the newest Cosby-- here I am with my son and grandson. Great Fun! Heather is a super Mom, Sam is a great Dad, and big sister Anna is excited and happy to have a new little brother! And now we have Levi and Livvy (Olivia), born exactly one month apart (same day of the month, that makes it easy to remember!). Both Livvy and Levi have photo albums on my facebook. Little Levi is going to bring us joy! Welcome to our family, Levi!!
On January 30, 2010 Katrina married Gordon Meldrum in the Houston Texas Temple. We had a happy time with the preparations and the event. Both Katrina and I agreed that we truly enjoyed the details of the wedding more than we anticipated. Katrina was a joy to work with as a future bride. We love Gordon and are excited to have him be a part of our world and our family. We know he and Katrina can bless each others lives and build a beautiful family together and are so happy for them. All the family were such a tremendous help and added so much to the wedding with their ideas, creativity, and support. Amy's parents, sister and husband also did so much for us, we appreciate their generous aid, and that of many other dear friends and family members. Photo albums with some story lines in the captions are in the photo section of my facebook page for details of this exciting event! All of our sons and their wives (those who have wives) were at the Houston Temple with Katrina and Gordon. What a great way to start 2010!