Cleaning a hoarder's house, getting "recharged" on top of the Pyramid of the Moon and a great lesson on the blessings of hard work...
Santos gatos, these past few weeks have been absolutely insane. Basically, I'm here with Elder Durham and we have been working and running around like crazy. Literally not stop action since I have been here in Paraíso. However, amidst all this maddness have been some incredible experiences.
I was unable to write last week because we went to Teotihuacan...again! I think it was my fourth time visiting these amazing ancient ruins. We went for 2 reasons 1) Elder Durham has never been (I know, crazy) 2) My trainer and 'dad' here in the mission, Elder Kleven, came back to visit for a few days and wanted to go with us! It was cool/weird to see him again since he has been back home for over a year now. It was also interesting because we went on the 21 of March which is just in time for the Spring Equinox Celebration they have each year. Basically TONS AND TONS of people show up wearing white to climb the pyramids. Once on top, they raise their arms in the air and 'recharge' their energy for the year. On top of the Pyramid of the Moon someone started a meditation circle that I gladly joined for a few glorious minutes. I was definitely in my element. The only fallback was that it took waaayyy too long to climb the Pyramid of the Sun because of all the people. However, it was definitely a unique experience and now I know to come back in a year, dressed in white, ready for my next recharge.
Elder Kleven came back at this time for a much greater reason that to just recharge. One of our converts from Pantitlan entered the temple for her endowments last Saturday. She was baptized in November 2015 and has finally made this incredible next step. Elder Durham also had a convert who was baptized around the same time, in the same ward which scheduled her entrance date at the same time! It was a Pantitlan Ward reunion for sure. The session was to start at 10:00 on Saturday and in typical Elder Foust fashion we made it just in time after a taxi, a van, another taxi, and a dead sprint to the temple. Nothing like arriving at the temple doors like a fiery, red, sweating tomato. However.....It was all worth it. This was a life-changing moment for me. I have never felt so close to heaven in my life.
Woah...okay, breath. Well 2 weeks ago we spent our Saturday in the temple dressed in white and this past Saturday we spent it in a disgusting house covered with inches of dirt and THOUSANDS of spiders. Big difference...REALLY BIG DIFFERENCE! So, have any of you seen the show Hoarders? Well, I've got the sequel series: Hoarders: Mexican Infierno. Honestly, I think I have PTSD. There are just some things you can't unsee. Let's just say that it took us and the entire zone a lot longer than we thought. Eventually it was almost time for the food and we had to send all the elders back to their areas. By this time we finally finished cleaning the house and just had to organize and throw away all of the things we took out of it. But, we would have to do it alone. To make things better, it started pouring down rain. Rain and garbage don't usually mix. We definitely were not expecting to spend the entire day there and we had a lot of appointments with a lot of future investigators. However, we both felt we needed to stay and get the job done. The hermana has a lot of disabilities and her husband just had a heart attack last week. The house might have been atrocious but helping these wonderful hermanos was way worth it. So, we canceled a lot of our citas and stayed. However, the Lord always has a plan. As we were finishing up, the family of the hermana came home to see our hardwork. All of them have seen and spoken with the elders but none of them were members. By the end we were laughing, talking, and eventually teaching all 7 of them!
The entire week we have been working hard to find people to teach with little success. However, just this weekend we found several families and other individuals that already have a baptismal date! People we have never met, literally arrived at the church on Sunday wanting to learn more. And we thought it would be a failure of a week. After church services we were telling an hermana in our ward of the experience and she shared with us a valuable lesson. She told us to never stop working, never stop trying because God sees all of it! Maybe we don't see the fruits of our labors in that very moment but the Lord will always see and will always remember and will always bless us. Perhaps not in the way we expect, but normally a whole lot better. So...work hard, be patient. God loves you!
I have felt amazing but completely weird lately. I'm in a new area, with a new comp, with the same problem: Time just keeps flying by. However it has been a great 2 weeks since changes mainly because 1) I'm in Paradise!!!! No, literally I am in the Paraíso stake and the Palmitas ward. It is back in the main part-ish of the city kind of like the area where I started my mission. With lots of apartment complexes, traffic, FOOD! (finally) and other city-like stuff. 2) I AM WITH ELDER DURHAM!!!!! Yep, my dear friend who started a cycle after me in the same ward of Pantitlan is now my comp. He is just the best and I have been learning a lot from him. Since the first day with him I knew it would be a good cycle. We just have this flow when we teach. It's incredible. I think the Lord knew that leaving Ixtapaluca would be really hard on me so he helped me out so much with these changes.
The past couple weeks have been really crazy. We've been running around a lot helping the elders, doing divisions, going to meetings and other shenanigans. I have been really tired but happy which is a sign that everything is going good. I can't remember too many specifics right now to share with you all (I hope you don't come shoot at me) but know that I love you and hope you have a great week. I will be sure to write better next week!
OH I did remember something kind of cool about my new area. Every year around Easter time they have a lot of 'reenactments' of the Crucifixion of Cristo here in Mexico. Well, there is a big hill/mountain right behind our area where they do it! Don't worry, they don't actually nail them to the cross. They just tie them up there. The reenactments where they actually do the nailing to the cross is in another part of the city. Oh, Mexico...
Baptizing an old investigator, saying goodbye to a great companion and leaving the "house of prayer" on the side of a mountain...
Okay, well tomorrow is the day of changes and it looks like I'll be saying goodbye to the zone Ixtapaluca and the little house of prayer on the side of a mountain. I have made this place my home for the past 6 months and it is definitely going to be a big adjustment. This entire week we have visited pretty much all the wonderful people and families that we have found in these past cycles. It is obviously hard to say goodbye, but I just feel so blessed for the success my Heavenly Father has given to me in this area. There are just so many incredible people who are so willing to truly come unto Christ and accept the message of the restored gospel. The greatest blessing of all is that they are almost all young families and couples that are making these changes and taking these steps together. Yesterday, we had a LOT of them attend the church services and I felt overly happy and grateful as I saw each one of them participate and listen attentively to the talks and lessons. It made the experience of giving my last gospel principles lesson in the Casa de Oracion that much more special. I will never forget this wonderful mountain and all the wonderful people on it. Although it will be nice to end a 6-month long leg day.
Another area also means another comp. The Wolford and Foust Company will suspend its services until further notice. This incredibly tall, baby-faced, Utahn but Midwesterner at heart has definitely made leaving even harder. Like, why? I have to leave Ixtapaluca AND Wolfy? Not fair. He has definitely been the main reason for the great success this past cycle. Always upbeat and ready to work, he just makes mission life fun and amazing. I'm going to miss working with him everyday. I'm also going to miss singing at the top of our lungs every night and every morn, being laughed at as a fall EVERY SINGLE DAY, talking in a British/Southern accent wayyy too much, and just spending time with my best friend.
A week of goodbyes is always hard but I did have an amazing surprise that definitely lifted the mood. Last week I recieved a call from an old investigator back in Arboleda, my second area when I was with mi hijo Johnson. He was getting baptized on Saturday and wanted me to baptize him!!!! This kid was an amazing investigator and an awesome friend. We worked hard with him for 3 months to prepare him for baptism. It just wasn't his time. However, we knew that one day he would take that step and looky, 9 months later (WEIRD) now was his time. Our trip back to Arboleda brought back a bunch of crazy memories. It's crazy how here on the mish it seems as though the area you're in at the moment seems like it has been your entire mission and will forever be your only area as well. Heading back and recieving notice of my changes definitely shattered that illusion. Anyway, hijoles, Saturday was a very special day. I love this kid so much and at 18 years old, I just know that he is going to continue doing great things in the church. I will never forget that incredible feeling of giving him a soaking wet hug right there in the baptismal font. Planted seeds eventually do give fruit people. Tengan paciencia.
Well, here I am again. Another Monday before changes. Probably one of my last changes before the big change back to the good ole U.S. of A. Ew, weird. That's enough talk of that. Anyway, have a delicious day! (I imediately regret writing that)
To email Elder Foust, his address is: email@example.com