Well...I've been feeling pretty weird lately. Really wierd. Friday, July 22, 2016 marks exactly one year I've now had in Mexico.ONE. WHOLE. YEAR! This is kind of a big deal people! I keep reflecting over the past year, and wow. Today it hit me a little bit harder. We went to the temple and tried to make it to the 9:00 session but got caught in traffic (and the police now are stopping buses and checking all the bags for weapons which delayed us a bit more). So basically we waited til the 10:00 session when all the missionaries from the CCM go too and wow...ONE YEAR! I was exactly in their shoes. At that point I literally had no idea what kind of amazing experiences and blessings the Lord had prepared for me. In the temple I just felt this overwhelming feeling of gratitude. All the fears that I had one year ago about what was to come have completely faded away. Obviously I have new ones about my life after the mission and saying goodbye to this wonderful life I have now, here in Mexico. However, I now have a different perpective and more trust in the Lord. And the fears and doubts weren't resolved in a few minutes or days upon arriving here in the mission. It took time and effort and faith. Months and months of trial and error and a genuine desire to become better. More faithful, more humble, more selfless. A mission does not miraculously fix all of your problems and instantly make you a better person or a different person. Definitely not. BUT! It gives us one of the biggest opportunities to focus all our time in doing so. I don't want to seem like I now have no problems or that I've learned all that there is to learn on a mission or that I finally ''get'' it all. Mucho menos. I'M ONLY HALFWAY THERE! ANNNNDDD don't think that I'm that naive to think that I'll finaly ''get'' it after 2 years. I have alifetime trial and error. A LIFETIME! Plenty of years to try to understand the incredible truths and blessings of the gospel and to not make such a mess with my perfectly inperfect self. I think after being on the mission for a year now the greatest thing I have learned is that I really don't know that much. BUT! The Lord does. He know like....a lot. So, would I want to trust my triste self or the Lord? Hmmm...toughy. Being a person who is constantly afraid of the future and constantly terrified of failure, it's a incredibly resassuring to have the knowledge that our Heavenly Father truly is in control and we just have to trust Him. Something that I have always known, but never completely understood. Until now. Until the incredible, extremely difficult experiences of the mission. However, I'm forgretful and will forever have this constant struggle of understanding and applying the plane and precious truths that I've known almost all my life. Mortality, gotta love it. BUT WE CAN DO IT! WE CAN DO HARD THINGS! I am just so thankful to be here, at this time in Mexico. I know God has a plan for me and for everyone of us. I know that this mission has worked miracles in my life. I know that I am a representative of Jesus Christ and part of His true church. I know that this past year has been the best one in my entire life and I know that I have another year just waiting for me with just as many beautiful experiences and lessons to be learned. Thanks everyone, for all your love, support and prayers. You are all amazing and I miss and love you. WELL! It has been an exhausting day and I think I'm a bit emotional and need to talk to some food about it. SO! Hasta la próxima!
Wow, I'm already heading into my 4th week here in barrio Villada with Elder Choc. Only 3 more weeks until he goes home and I get a new comp!!! I feel like we just started all this craziness. But...that's just how the mission works.
So this week was another full week of divisions. I feel like all I do is run around and I'm hardly in my area but, I only have a little bit of time to get to know everything before changes. I spent all day Wednesday with Elder Preciado (we all call him 'Precious' which he just loves) from Guadalajara. He was actually in the same district as me when I came here in the mission. He knows quite a bit of english and is just a super funny, friendly guy. At a time when I barely spoke spanish and was a nervous wreck, he helped me feel a lot better. For that, he'll always be an awesome friend. So, the divisions went amazingly. The only bad, but actually super fun thing was that we got completely soaked in the street. It was raining so hard and we couldn't really avoid it so we just accepted it. People looked at us so wierd laughing and smiling in the pouring rain. It was awesome.
Saturday we did divisions again but started them after a quick, delicious breakfast together. One of the elders is from the north and taught us how to make flour tortillas by hand! We even rolled them and everything. Plus, we made homemade salsa, guacamole, and all the fixings for delicious breakfast burritos. They were the best breakfast burritos I've ever had and I ate like 4 of them. It was a great day.
The last interesting thing that happened this week was that I renewed my visa! Yep, I'm legal for one more year!!! It was awesome to get together with Elder Gardner and Elder Lynch from my generation. We also went with an awesome Elder from Puerto Rico who will be going home with us as well. It was a cramped taxi ride to Immagration, but it was super fun. Afterwards we made a stop at a store run by Jews that sell a lot of American foods. I got some cream soda and enjoyed every delicious drop of it.
The cream soda and burritos were definitely the food highlights for the week. Well, the good ones. Friday night we went to the store to buy some things before heading home for the night and a guy was there shucking oysters on the sidewalk. A bunch of other guys were hanging out there and one of them told me to try one. I politely said no and kind of tried to ignore them as we bought our stuff. I was waiting for my change when I see the guy offer my comp one. Choc asked where they were from and if they were fresh and the guy assured us that they were. He kind of looked scared but at it anyway!! Then, they handed me one. And guess what...I ate it. I don't even like oysters and never ate them at home in nice, authorized establishments but I'm here in Mexico eating them in the street by some random guy. It was 100% peer pressure and it 100% worked. Luckily, I haven't felt too many side effects yet. We'll see..........
Well, obviously I'm still working on my decision making skills but at least it makes for interesting experiences. Hopefully we guys have an awesome week and study1Nephi:18 in the Book of Mormon for your homework. Next week I will post a spiritual thought because I haven't done that in FOREVER and I feel terrible. I mean, everyday I have amazing spiritual experiences and learn new things about the gospel. BUT! It's more important to share the experiences we have and help others learn as well. Okay? Okay.
HAPPY GRINGO DAY EVERYBODY!!!!!! I know that everyone is just lovin their day in the sun, eating BBQ, hanging with the family and enjoying some awesome fireworks. Definitely miss all of craziness back home. BUT! Don't worry too much. We've celebrate the 4th here in Mexico in our own way. We planned a 2 zone activity at the stake center and spent the day playing volleyball and basketball. YEP, I FINALLY PLAYED VOLLEYBALL FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE MTC!!!! It was amazing. I also shared all my American snacks from my package my parents gave me. After all that we had a wonderful feast of McDonalds and Dominos...GOD BLESS AMERICA! Haha, it was an awesome 4th of July.
Now, about the week. Interesting (probably my favorite word, right?). So I got a very bad cold this week which did not make things too fun. Especially since one of the worst days was during divisions. I'm trying to get to know the zone a little bit better since I only have a month left until I'm left all alone here. So, Wednesday I was in a different area. It was terrible. I was such a distraction in every lesson mainly because I looked like I was dying. I was trying to hide it too which probably made it look even more pathetic. Also, I was trying to focus on helping out this elder in his area but I felt absolutely horrible. So I'm struggling to stay alive when the assistants call me to tell me some elders in our zone have special changes (we were on divisions with one companionship affected by the change) and they are going to close an area as well. Also, it was happening tomorrow. Well, that ended divisions. It wasn't really stressful or difficult for me but we did have to run home in the pouring rain so that one of the elders we were with could pack. During all this craziness, I somehow managed to lose my phone on the bus in my rush to get back. Really? I was so mad at myself. I frantically called and called, praying that someone would answer. THEN, SOMEONE DID!!! AND THEY LIVED ONLY A COUPLE CALLES AWAY!!!! So, still sick, still raining, we sprinted to this wonderful saint of a man. I could not stop thanking him and ended up giving him a hug (definitely regretted being a good person after that). What an incredible answer to my prayers. I realized after that, the day wasn't that bad. When we finally got home, I popped some pills, drank hot chocolate and slipped into a magical coma.
So, Thursday was still a pretty rough day but I felt a lot better by Friday. Just in time for the next divisions. Elder Butler from Arizona (who's an amazing and ssuuuuuppper tall person) came to my area and we had a great time.
Well, today was great but it hasn't ended and I still have to direct a zone meeting tonight. I hope everything is going well back in the States and you all enjoy your 4th of July. I know everything down here in Mexico is just incredible. I love the people I meet and teach, the other missionaries I work with, my amazing companion Elder Choc, all the wonderful friends I've made...the food and so much more! It's crazy/sad to think that probably this time next year I've be saying goodbye to it all. SO! Enjoy life and love the people around. There's really no other way to be happy. I love you all! BYE!!
con mucho amor,
To email Elder Foust, his address is: firstname.lastname@example.org