Yep, I am alive indeed. In fact I am alive and doing great! Also, I HAVE A SON!! (I'll send out the announcements as soon as I can). His name is Elder Johnson from Riverton, Utah. I was pretty certain it would be a latino so when I got to changes and they told me I was training a 'Johnson' I was pretty surprised. I kinda asked, ¨Are you sure this one's mine?¨ There were 11 Latinos and only 2 Americans that came so it's pretty crazy how it all worked out. He's great, has awesome spanish, and we have a lot in common. It'll be a great 3 months working with him and I can tell already that we'll have some pretty interesting and funny stories by the end of it all.
My new area is waaayyy different from my last one. It's a lot bigger and hotter. There aren't as many tall buildings and apartments so we have no shade. Just pure, hot, Mexican sun. And there is a lot of dust and dirt that flies all around. It's really not that bad, just waaay different compared to Pantitlan. We've spent most of our time walking and contacting too so that doesn't help things. Hopefully as we get more citas we won't suffer in the sun as much. We're working super hard because we came into the area with no idea where anyone was. The other elders before didn't really leave anything to work with and the other elders we live with and share the ward with are new too. Luckily, we've recieved so much help from the members and leaders of the ward. I definitely see some great potential here and expect great things in the following weeks!
Leaving Pantitlan was definitely hard. There are some amazing people there that I know I will remember forever. It's super hard to say goodbye to my converts, too. A bunch of them called me to make sure I was doing great and a couple want to come and visit me and come with us to some citas. They're literally the best human beings ever!! I guess I kinda miss my old comp Elder Colledge too. I don't want him to get a big head in case he ever reads this, but he was an awesome comp. We worked really hard and got along perfect. I learned so much from him and he helped me become a better missionary. Luckily, I have no doubt we'll keep in touch.
So that's all the craziness this week. I felt pretty nervous when I found out I would train AND open an area. Then I found out it would be an American and I would have to help teach spanish as well. A few weeks ago, just the thought of all these things made me a nervous wreck. But here, actually living it all, I feel amazing. I feel so much stronger than I was before. I've already gotten tons better at teaching and spanish. I know the Lord is blessing me in incredible ways. I've never been a great one to accept change or at least a change I couldn't control. However, the mission and this change in particular testifies to me that it's necessary in our progression. It's something I always knew but was always hard to accept until now.
Thanks for all your love and support through all this maddness. Your thoughts and prayers uplift and encourage me everyday! I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!
This is the letter that Carson wrote to us in a bit of a hurry this week. He was a very busy young man. He spent a day or two training and interviewing with President Stutznegger. He and two other of the elders from his MTC group not only went senior companions but they will also be training new missionaries! Carson thought he would be getting a Latin companion but from the picture that Sis. Stutznegger posted, it looks like he has another American. He will confirm next week. Anyway, this is going to be a real challenging time for him and the other elders so please keep them in your prayers.
"You were right, I dont have too much time. BUT i heard the rumors from our district leader then Pres confirmed them to me during interviews on Monday. Im going to be training (most definitely a latino) and opening an area. I thought he told me it was an area that has been closed to elders for a little but it could just be one where they just barely took both out. It will be interesting regardless because i wont have too much to work off. And I'm completely in charge. Que miedo! I'll write a blog post about everything next week with mi hijo!! I'll definitely need all the prayers and help you can give me! I love you all and am so glad to have your support. I gotta go now!! Bye!
Since I just barely wrote on Thursday, and nothing much happened over the weekend, I decided to dedicate this letter to sharing a spiritual thought for the week.
As missionaries we teach people everyday of the miraculous life-changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We explain the important doctrine of salvation. The steps we need to take in order to return and live with our Father in Heaven. In search for eternal happiness, we find peace and happiness in our life here on earth. The message we share is powerful yet incredibly simple as well.
In Numbers 21:4-9 it explains the story where the children of Israel, while wandering in the desert, began to complain and murmur because of their afflictions. As a result of their ingratitude and lack of faith, the Lord sent forth fiery serpents to bite and torment the people. Suffering the consequences of their actions, they plead to Moses for a way to overcome their afflictions. The Lord answered him saying,
''Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.''
The Lord created an easy way for the people to be healed and saved from the fiery serpents. We know from the Book of Mormon that this experience foreshadows and symbolizes a greater, yet still simple, way for all mankind to be saved from their fiery serpents as well. It says in Helaman 8:15,
''And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal.''
So we know that the way we can overcome our fiery serpents, whether they be consequences of sin or pains and afflictions of which we have little or no control, is through the Savior Jesus Christ. Only through Him may we recieve, ''that life which is eternal.''
But is it really that simple? As missionaries we explain everyday that praying, reading the scriptures, and going to church will strengthen your faith and invite a spirit of peace and hope into your life. We teach that this faith leads you to repent and aline your life with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Necessary steps in this process, and the process of salvation, are baptism and then confirmation in order to recieve the Holy Ghost. Finally, we continue on this path of discipleship and help others along the way as well. In this way we, ''look upon the Son of God.''
However, many people feel the simplicity of the way is too good to be true. Can the ''secret'' of eternal happiness really be already prepared and laid out right in front of us? Nephi elaborates a bit more on this matter using the same example of Moses and the Children of Israel,
''He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.'' (1Nephi 17:41)
In the recent General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke on this same subject,
''Sometimes, the truth may just seem too straightforward, too plain, and too simple for us to fully appreciate its great value. So we set aside what we have experienced and know to be true in pursuit of mor mysterious or complicated information. Hopefully we will learn that when we chase after shadows, we are pursuing matters that have little substance and value.''
He goes on to explain that the gospel is, ''so simple a child can grasp it, yet so profound and complex that it will take a lifetime, even an eternity, of study and discovery to fully understand it.'' There is a place for everyone and their level of understanding in the gospel. All we have to do is begin and live it. In his talk President Uchtdorf lays out the simple process of living the gospel as well,
It's an incredible, never-ending cycle that fills our life and the lives of other with light and love.
I know that this gospel is true and has blessed my life tremendously. And now, here on the mission, I have the incredible priviledge to witness the blessings of the gospel in the lives of others more than ever. I know that its power is derived from its simplicity. As along as we have a love for God and a desire to serve Him. And so,
''do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. They way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever...For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternall bliss.'' (Alma 37:44,46)
''It Works Wonderfully!'' President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Oct. 2015 General Conference:
It was bit of a long week! Not having your P-day until a Thursday is pretty exhausting but well worth it for the opportunity to go to the temple. So, it has been a great day!
There isn't too much to report this week, just work as usual. We've been looking really hard for new investigators. Most of them have come from references from recent converts which is amazing, but we've also been knocking on a lot of doors lately with little success. We contact and contact and although people accept another cita, they're never there. Little disheartening, but hopefully we're planting the seeds. The important thing is to keep working!
Trying to think of anything else interesting to share. Well, I did eat a couple of live insects at an investigator's house. That sure was an interesting experience.The bugs are called jumiles. They fly, have little hearts on their backs, and for some crazy reason people like to eat them...often times alive. They have a powerful aroma. Kinda like old furniture or something. And guess what! They taste like the smell of old furniture, too! They also got a little kick of spice to 'em. I don't even want to think about where that favor would come from. It was gross, but not terribly gross because I ate another one. I captured the experience on video, but I've tried uploading videos before without much luck. I'll see what I could do. That definitely satisfied my desire of eating disgusting, exotic delicasies. Not for Colledge. He ate tacos of cow eye a couple days later. I didn't quite feel up to eye tacos. My tongue was still numb from the jumiles (not sure if the feeling of having your mouth numbed at the dentist was a normal or healthy side-effect, but I'm still breathing so we're good). I still have plenty of time to eat eye, brain, nose, intestines, and whatever else Mexico has to offer.
Short and sweet, but a good week overall. Thanks everyone for all your love and support! I love you!!!
To email Elder Foust, his address is: firstname.lastname@example.org