Officially a quartet, a return to the MTC and preparing to send off his MTC group and Mission President...
The cycle finished last week and so the schedule was full crazy and interesting things. By far one of the coolest/weirdest is.....I HAVE A NEW COMP!! Well, I should say I have an additional comp. We are now officially a quartet! Never in my mission life would I have imagined that I would have not one, not two, but three companions at the same time. Madness.
Elder Roberts from Yucaipa, California is the newest addition to the team. Over a week ago, before the changes, Roberts moved on over and the fantastic four was created. However, we don't waste all this manpower walking around all together. This week and for the weeks to come we have been doing divisions and working in the area everday. Two leave to visit the mission, two stay and maintain the area. It works magically. I've been spending a lot of time working with Elder Roberts and it has been a blast. He's such a great elder and I can tell that we are going to work really hard together. It's such a relief that he's a great comp since he'll be my last one! Elder Arroyo and Elder Ibarra now only have a few short weeks here in the mission leaving Roberts and I alone. The start of many hard goodbyes this cycle. It might be short lived but the fantastic four will be legendary.
So the week before changes: Tuesday, Elder Roberts joins the team. Wednesday, we accompany the generation that leaves this cycle to the temple for an amazing session and lunch. Thursday, new trainers meeting and 6 week training meeting. Friday and Saturday, work like crazy in the area. Sunday, church and weekly reporting. Which brings us to Monday. The day of the new arrivals. Also, the day that Elder Foust returns to the Centro de Capacitacion Misional (MTC) after 21 months! WHhaaa?¿!¡ Memories came rushing back the moment I entered those mas o menos pearly white gates. Good memories. GREAT memories. I've come a long way. I also advised my old teacher in advanced so that we could have a reunion in the place where it all started. Luckily it has been one of many encounters and we are planning that it won´t be the last. After fotos, fotos y mas fotos, we finally headed back to the offices in the combi with all the new missionaries. I stayed in the back with all the new ´gringos´and just answered questions the entire time. Once we arrived we had a short training meeting, ate, more training, then pizza. I loved being with all of the missionaries fresh out of the MTC. I will NEVER forget that moment in my life and tried to make it a good moment for all of them. However, you can't prepare enough for real mission life.
Changes followed on Tuesday morning. It was a big one this time in preparation for President Mann's arrival. Regardless, things seemed to run smoothly and soon enough changes were done! It marked the start of what will most likely be the busiest/weirdest/most exciting/saddest/tiring cycle yet! It really hit home last Friday during mission council. We revised the calendar and, oh boy, big changes are coming. One of the hardest strangest sights was to see the page of departures and arrivals. The Stutznegger's. Nebeker´s, and EVERYONE from my generation. It felt a little weird. However, there will be little time to, as the youths say, ´get caught up in one´s feels.´ Plenty of work and preparation to be done. Also, great things are happening in our area as well. Lots of support from the members and a lot of great investigators to be found. Things are good and the mission is as amazing as ever.
Love you guys so much! Thanks for the love and support.
Mother's Day, an opportunity to work with Elder Gardner again and getting to know the Mission and missionaries better...
Well, I'm still recovering from the awesome talk I had with my beautiful mother and fam yesterday for Mother's Day. Everyone is happy and healthy and it felt like I was just home! It´s weird, that was the LAST video call home that I will have here in the mission. That's it! They're all done! Breath. Good thing is that there is just too much stuff to do here in Mexico.
This week we did a lot of running around. Divisions, 'site-seeing,' and more divisions. On Tuesday, the three of us made our way out to Texcoco, the furthest area in our mission. It is HUGE. There's a bigger-ish downtown where the church is and the elders live. Then, there are around 20 different little pueblitos all around. It requires a lot of travel and careful planning to work this area. Luckily, Texcoco has one of the best elders in the entire mission. Mi amigo, Elder Gardner!!!!! Gardner is training an awesome new elder and they are working like crazy out there. We planned to do divisions with almost all the new missionaries this cycle. Fortunately for me, I finally got to work with my dear friend. We always wanted to be comps after we had parted ways arriving to the mission field from the CCM. However, Gardner is heading for his last change and it seems like that was never meant to happen. Still, it was an incredible day working shoulder to shoulder with such an awesome person. He has been and will always be such a great example for me and I am so blessed to have been able to share at least 1 day here in the mission field with him. It was also so incredible to get to know Texcoco. It has a completely different feel with it's large open fields and farms, goats, sheep, and PLENTY of cactus. Although I didn't get to try the famous Texcoco barbacoa, it turned out to be a great day. Happy and exhausted, we headed off for home the next day.
Wednesday, 10th of May is Mother's Day here in Mexico. We worked until the night and then headed to the mission offices so that my companions could talk to their mamás. They were happy and I was happy to see them happy. I introduced myself as the awkward gringo then slipped out so that they could enjoy their special time together. Staying in the offices was also perfect because we were closer to Downtown and we changed our Pday to Thursday to site-see. All of the museums are closed on Mondays so changing our Pday made it possible to visit the world famous Museum of Anthropology here in Mexico City. It was so big and breathtaking. So many rooms and so many exhibits. Mexico truly is such an amazing country with such vast and rich culture and history. I loved it and we barely scratched the surface. I will definitely have to come back and finish what I started. Elder Arroyo and I were all in but museums are not Elder Ibarra's cup o' tea. He was a happy camper like always, but you could tell he was pretty tired and ready to go by the end. All in all, it was an amazing experience.
All the running around made me pretty exhausted but I knew I wasn't done. It was my turn to do a solo division in my old area Villada on Friday. I first arrived in good ole Villada in June of last year! Basically ONE WHOLE YEAR! *shivers* They were great divisions and I got to see a lot of awesome people that I love and plenty of new faces which makes me happy to know that the ward is growing and progressing. Plus, I got to eat Villada's famous tamales in the morning. Nothing beats a delicious blackberry and cream cheese tamal...
So plenty of maddness to go around and thinking forward to the next cycle which starts next week, it is about to get a whole lot crazier. Bring it on.
Wow, I really haven't been good about writing much lately and for that I apologize. However, today I am going to give you a rundown/reminder of my life here in Mexico. I'll try to explain a bit more about things and stuff and such and so forth. Está bien? Bueno.
Over a week ago I completed 21 months here in Mexico City. I would say that is a decent amount of time. I feel I have lived here for a lot longer. Lately I have been reflecting back on my first weeks or months here in Mexico and trying to remember how I felt and how I saw things then. It comes in pieces but eventually I get to the initial picture of how Mexico was for me then. That always fascinates me how quickly and drastic your perspective can change. It's like reading an amazing book for the first time. Everything is exciting and overwhelming and your just constantly 'feeling.' Sure you miss a LOT of details and you might get lost, but the emotions are so strong. Then you begin to reread it again and again hungry for those same feelings. But it's different now. It's normal and expected. However, it does bring greater depth and with time a greater love. Maybe with my 21 months here in Mexico I'm not as fascinated by the thousands of delicious taco and quesadilla stands, the enormity of the city and number of people, the fact literally EVERYONE speaks spanish, hearing venders and garbage men yell and ring their bells every minute of the day, or the fact everything comes with tortilla or salsa, there´s an army of aggressively-friendly drunks, even the candy has chile, and the some of the most spiritual experiences can be in the bathroom. Maybe all that remarkably seems all normal to me now. But, the depth and greatness of the love I have for this place has definitely grown. Instead of being shocked at the vast number of stray dogs, I think of the places I've been, the people I've met, and the incredible experiences I have had. Instead of thinking where am I? I thank God for making Mexico City my personal Holy Land.
The one thing that remains fascinating to me is the fact that I wear the name Jesus Christ on my chest. I'm a missionary! No. I'M A MISSIONARY IN MEXICO!!! If you thought I wanted to come to Mexico just to have fun, learn Spanish, get to know another culture, eat amazing food, or from obligation, you are deeply mistaken. I love my life and I am as happy as ever but my 'mission' is much more important than that. For these two years I am a representative of Jesus Christ called by a modern prophet. I am here in Mexico City to teach the restored gospel and invite all to come unto Christ. THAT IS WHAT I LOVE! THAT IS WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY! Sure the pambazos are great and reggaeton is cool and all but, COME ON PEOPLE, there are more important things than that.
So, everyday I wake up, we prepare for our day as a companionship then we hit the streets to start preaching. What exactly is 'preaching´ for us? Finding people to teach, teaching them the doctrine of Christ, and inviting them to act in faith and make sacred covenants with Him. It is not just like one of those 'pretty Bible messages' that pops up on your Facebook feed from time to time. Quoting Elder Holland in probably my favorite talk of all time,The First Great Commandment, ¨Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world.¨ I know that´s true. I will never remember my mission as just two great years of having fun in Mexico. It is and will also be remembered as a sacred time in my life, a HUGE perspective change that blessed me with greater and deeper love of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Sure, in the far off, distant...nope even MORE distant future, I will come home and tell you all about the dogs, tacos, and crazy, funny, experiences I´ve had in CDMX. I'm still the crazzzzzy, easily kicked by horses, Carson. But expect plenty of talk about my real purpose here in Mexico. God lives, He loves you...I love you! Have an awesome week!
To email Elder Foust, his address is: firstname.lastname@example.org