Flooding the Mission Presidents office, the Stutznegger's final two, heart felt Zone Conferences and having to say "Goodbye" to his own generation of missionaries... plus some homemade cherry turnovers.
What happens when you hear that the water ran out at the offices? You turn on the sink to check and see if the water really did run out at the offices. What happens when someone leaves the sink running and then the water magically turns back on without anyone knowing? You flood the mission president's office. What happens when you find out that your bathroom sink was the one left on? You blame your companion...It has been a long week.
I thought something like that would happen just to top off another crazy, wonderful week here in Mexico. And boy has it been an insane week. Tuesday we finally had the first of two zone conferences in the Paraíso stake center. These conferences were highly anticipated since they were the Stutznegger´s last. So you can imagine that the week started with an emotional bang. Elder Roberts and I trained and we felt it went well but we were not prepared for the grand finale. President and Hna Nebeker AND President and Hna Stutznegger shared with half the mission their final thoughts and pieces of advice and they left no whole-hearted survivors. Roberts and I swore that at the zone conference in Neza on Friday we would take precautionary measures and make sure to slip out just before. However, a part of us thought that since we had already heard their messages we would be immune to their fiery darts of sadness and inspiration. Oh how silly of us. I did not leave unscathed from either of the two conferences. Because it wasn't as much for the inspiring words they shared but the love that was felt. I left these zone conferences with a surety that God had blessed me with the best mission parents any elder could ask for because they loved me with such incredible depth and power that felt almost tangible. Feelings and emotions I could never forget.
These memorable conferences were accompanied this week by some other surrealistic experiences. Basically two years ago I arrived here in Mexico City with some other pretty cool gringos and we started this wild ride together. Now, with a million more stories and way better spanish, it was time for them to leave me. To make matters worst, Elder Wolford, who was a straggler to the party because of visa issues but a proud member of the best generation known to man and world-class companion, decided to jump ship as well. Add in the incredibly beautiful puerto rican Elder Alverio who was one of the best missionaries this mission has ever seen and a huge example to me and you have a quite the cocktail of amazing people all set to ABANDON ELDER FOUST! On Wednesday, we went to an emotion session at the temple, then came back to have an even more emotional testimony meeting, only to head out to the airport on Thursdayand have a devastatingly emotional goodbye. Okay, maybe not devastating but it was hard. However, I knew it wasn't a final goodbye. I grew up with these people here in the mission and we have truly formed a friendship set to last through the eternities. They are my brothers and I am going to miss them. But in reality, imma hunt them down in few months so they can run...for now.
An incredible blessing to me was that I felt I received yet another confirmation that extending my mission was the right decision. I knew saying goodbye to my generation would be a little hard but I was worried it would make me more trunky or more, well, sad. I thought the ''would've'' or ''could've''s would have plagued my mind but it felt surprisingly natural. As if meant to be. It didn't really feel like I should have been on a plane last Thursday heading home. It wasn't meant to happen that way. I felt a lot of peace knowing I'm on the right track.
So running around like crazy and witnessing a number of chapters end has been a continuous theme these past few months. But with new endings there are always new beginnings and a new excitement of finding out what's the next thing life has to teach us. The book of life. I've heard it's a great read.
con mucho amor,
The "Fantastic Four" is no more, a surprise baptismal experience and a return to the House of Prayer on the side of a mountain...
Hardwork and Heartbreak. Seems like these will be common themes for the next few weeks. Last time I mentioned the alarming number of goodbyes I'll be having to make and this week it became a reality. Our Fantastic Four has been savagely ripped apart. Elder Arroyo and Elder Ibarra left us Friday afternoon and Tepalcates hasn't been the same since (Elder Roberts is still here and still great but he'll have his moment). We had the torturing privilege to accompany our brothers to the airport and say our goodbyes. Tears were shed all around. I have had such amazing companions here in the mission and these two were some of the best. I love them so much. They have helped me learn, laugh, and live so much more happier here in Mexico. Pure power from these two. I don't think they'll ever know just how great of an impact they´ve had on my life. However, I hope, no, I KNOW it won't be the last time I see them. They'll be doing bigger and better things, but I'll find them!
The Lord has definitely been aware of this sad change we've had and knowing that it is just the beginning, has wisely found wonderful ways to lift me up and keep me going. A few weeks back, I received notice that a family Elder Durham and I found in Palmitas was to be baptized. Through Durham's obsession with their dog, the mom invited us 'gringos' in to talk to them about the Gospel of Christ. Now this family was incredible and sadly I only spent a few short weeks with them before changing to Tepalcates. However, a few weeks later, some lessons and a whole lot of faith and love later, they were prepared to make their first covenant with God. Durham and I both came back for the baptism and I was surprised to know that I would be baptizing 1 of the 5. By surprised I mean I had no idea and brought no clothes or anything to baptize. Luckily, Elder Durham worked his magic and sneakily organized for Elder Roberts to bring all the essentials. It was a wonderful gift from a wonderful friend. The spirit was strong as this family, all women, made the decision to follow the example of Christ.
That experience alone would brighten even the darkest of days. However, the miracles were not meant to stop at that. THIS week I got a call from the elders back at the Casa de Oracion in Ixtapaluca. A couple good 'ole Elder Wolford and I found back in December made their decision to be baptized and the hermano wanted me to perform the ordinance. I loved that little House of Prayer and poured my heart out on that gigantic hill for 6 months. To be completely honest, at times I felt all that hardwork was in vane with little fruits to show of it. WIth thoughts like these passing through my mind more frequently just the week before, God gave me the best comfort a loving Father could give to a somewhat troubled son. That baptism last Saturday brought me so much peace. And taking place just a day after saying goodbye to some bestfriends made it that much more special. The Foust baptismal curse came back a little bit when the hermana was too scared to dunk her head underwater. We waited about 15 min in the water trying to help her relax. Elder Gonzalez who was performing the ordinance was a great sport and maintained his patience. Eventually I got in the font too and helped him and the hermana finish the baptism. The more the merrier!!
Tender mercies, yes. Lesson on patience, also yes. JUST DON'T STOP TRYING! The lessons will be learned and understood and the blessings will come. But, oh how we easily forget. I love you guys so much and am so grateful for your love and support. Have a great week!
To email Elder Foust, his address is: firstname.lastname@example.org