This week actually seemed to go by super fast. No idea why, but it's exciting and terrifying all at once. I realized that when I'm done with training, I'll almost have 6 months on the mission since I'll stay with Elder Kleven an additional month before he goes home. It's crazy to even think that I could have that much time on the mission. However, how fast this week went by makes me think it's going to be a lot sooner than I think.
Anyway! This week hasn't been too interesting. Working hard, teaching lessons, crying...I mean trying* to speak spanish, and of course eating a bunch of delicious food. I've been very blessed with good food so far, but I feel my luck is going to run out. I've hear papaya and chicharon con salsa verde are the two things gringos despise and EVERY member is shocked when I say I've never tried it. Elder Kleven knows it's terrible and I take his word for it, but he explains to members that I need to try it at least once. I'm so glad to have such a wonderful teacher who really wants me to experience ALL of what Mexico has to offer. Well, I'll be sure to relate that experience next week.
Other than that, I've been blessed this week to many opportunities to really practice my spanish. I've had several discussions with investigators/members about random stuff and I use all the spanish I got everytime. It has helped me grow in the language a lot and I actually feel really comfortable during them, too. I guess I really don't mind as much if I sound like a complete idiot gringo, because guess what...I am! The one experience I wasn't so calm during was English classes this week. Every Saturday we have free English classes open to everyone. Usually our District Leader leads them, but he had a meeting so Elder Kleven and were supposed to teach. He told us this an hour or so before. No big deal. We get there a little late due to traffic and there are a LOT of people. Well, lot of people and two Gringos, they decided to have two seperate classes and I had to teach one all by myself. One problem, you have to know Spanish to teach Spanish speakers how to speak English! I felt a little stupid at times, but it was overall a good experience. I love teaching and I learned a lot from it. I just hope someone learned something.
This week on the Mexico City Metro: Shirtless guy comes on the train carrying a bag of glass (I know, already so good). He does some fancy flips using the handrails (naturally). Then, he does a somersault on the glass and begs for money. I love Mexico.
Spiritual thought this week: We don't and won't know everything about the gospel and that's okay! Rereading the Book of Mormon I have realized how many prophets of god confess to not knowing all the mysteries of God and explain man will not know most of the mysteries of God (1Ne11: 17, Jacob4: 8, and many more) However in Words of Mormon v. 7, Mormon explains, " And now, I do not know all things; but theLord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, heworketh in me to do according to his will."
As we have the spirit with us and study the scriptures, we are blessed with so much knowledge and understanding of the Gospel. However, there are times when we will simply "not know." We forget that we are still a religion of great faith. Sometimes it is best to stick to the simple knowledge that our Heavenly Fathers knows what is best for us and will direct our paths if we are obedient to His commandments. We are promised by God if we keep His commandments we will be blessed. A perfect knowledge of everything isn't neccessary. And, most of the time knowledge is the blessing recievedafter faith is exercised.
Anyways, I love all of your amazing emails! They strengthen me every week! I miss you all like crazy and hope you have an amazing week!
This week has been interesting, which makes since it started out so weird. After the temple rededication and going to the Zocalo, we had the super exciting experience of staying in our house for almost 24 hours during Mexican Indepence (crowd or something screams)!! Well, actually it was a great time to study A LOT. Basically after our lunch appointment on Tuesday we had to be inside and were not to leave until our lunch appointment on Wednesday. Celebrating with all the Mexicans in the street would seem pretty fun, but after hearing what sounded like the beginning of a revolution the ENTIRE night, I think it was for the best. I mean I'm 60% sure most of the fireworks they used here are 100% highly illegal in the states. They were so incredibly loud that everytime one would go off, all the car alarms would go off, too. Made for a wonderful soundtrack to sleep to. The next day, the streets were still full of fireworks, eggshells, and of course confetti. Not much was open Wednesday either. However, we did eat a lot of awesome leftover celebration food at the Bishop's house. It was good.
I guess the only other interesting thing that happened this week is...I BAPTIZED SOMEONE! Yes sir, Elder Foust had his first baptism here in Mexico. But of course, there was some obstacles we had to overcome. Like, perhaps, not having any water in the church. We were supposed to have the baptism on Saturday at 5:00, but water is kind of necessary. I would have never thought this could be a possible problem, but it was and is here in Mexico sometimes. Well, we moved it to Sunday at 8:00, before services. BUT, the ward mission leader called us at 9:00 and said there still wouldn't be any water. So, we called the zone leaders and they told us that we could do it at another nearby chapel since they just had a baptism and the font was still full. And that's just what we did. We had a baptism service at 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. The investigator, his girlfriend, the ward mission leader, a recent RM were the only ones there. Besides our investigator having 5 names and the water being FREEZING, everything went great. It felt amazing to be a small part in someone's conversion to the Gospel. He was excited that he was my first baptism and I was glad to have baptized such an amazing and dedicated person. He was our miracle and it's an experience I won't forget.
Other than that... Mexico: 1) On the metro there are always people who come on the train and sell stuff. However, this time, a lady came on and SANG to us. She had a karaoke machine with music and everything. She even walked the length of the car just looking at us and singing. It was so amazingly and incredibly awkward, I wanted to give her all my money. 2) There are a LOT of day-drunks here and they ALL know the missionaries. Luckily, they're all friendly and we can usually get away with just a wave. One of them did actually catch us by surprise and just wanted us to read a sentence in English for him. So, hopefully he's doing well. 3) We ran out of gas for the boiler Sunday morning, so cold showers are a fun way to start out your day. Actually, it hasn't been nearly as bad as I thought.
So this week has been interesting, but amazing.
Tomorrow I complete 2 months here on the mission. It definitely had been an eventful 2 months and I can't wait for what fun 22 more will have in store for me.
This week I read 2Nephi:10 and found verse 20 to be incredibly inspiring and encouraging:
20 And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea.
Sometimes times are difficult and our circumstances seem a bit overwhelming. However, God had given us so much and it's important to recognize His hand in our life and all the many blessings He has mercifully bestowed upon us. Of course we need to try our hardest to keep His commandments and "lay aside our sins," especially in difficult times to fully recieve the blessings of the Lord. Although my favorite part is, "and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off." The Lord is with us wherever we go and has directed our paths. We may have been put into difficult situations and "driven out of the land of our inheritance," However, it is for a divine purpose and if submit to the will of the Lord then, "we [will] have been led to a better land."
Homework: read the rest of this chapter (and 2Ne:26 when you're done with that) https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/10?lang=eng
Anyway..This week, make a new friend, feed and help your missionaries, eat something disgustingly chocolately, and remember that I love you all!
con mucho amor,
¡Hola mis queridos amigos!
This week seemed to take for ever and fly by all at the same time! It seems like forever ago that I left the CCM, yet it has only been 2 weeks. I don't necessary want the time to pass quickly, but I do want to learn Spanish a lot quicker! I've come a LONG way though! I can understand a lot and I'm actually starting to talk (horribly) in discussions. It's coming, little by little. Anyways, This week wasn't as crazy as last week, but still a lot of awesome things happened. First, last Monday night, a little girl in a family we're teaching had a birthday party and she called us and invited us for cake. Her family is amazing and she was so excited for us to come! Plus, the cake was super good, too! The next awesome thing was the temple rededication! Saturday night we took an investigator to watch the cultural event at the stake center. It was super well done and our investigator seemed to like it a lot! Afterwards, she bought us tacos. It was my first time having authentic Mexican tacos and they were amazing! I was a little worried I could get sick, but it's been a couple days and I seem to be in the clear...for now.
Sunday we watched the temple dedication at the stake center. President Eyring conducted the session and Elder Holland gave an incredible talk. It was an amazing spiritual experience. I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to start my mission at such an awesome and exciting time. I got to experience the entire process of a temple being dedicated and it was one I'll remember for a long time!
Today, we went to the Center of Mexico City. On the way there we stopped by the Mission Offices and Elder Gardner and his comp just happened to be there! It was awesome to hear from him and compare our areas and experiences so far. Definitely hope to see him more often! Well, the first thing we did was go to the Zocalo. Which is a HUGE cathedral in this great big plaza. The building is beautiful and it was awesome to get to look inside as well. The plaza was all decorated for Mexican Independence, too. The President comes out to address the people and they have a big stage for a concert tomorrow night. We have to stay home after lunch because people get a little crazy on the 15th. I mean, they're pretty crazy all the time so I can understand the precaution pretty well. At the center we looked around at a lot of the stores then we ate Chinese food! (I've missed soy sauce so much).
That pretty much makes the week! It was definitely exhausting, but I definitely feel a lot more alive interracting with the people. I already feel pretty awesome bond with them and I can't even talk to them that well! It's good. Life is good. Thanks again for all the support from home! I love getting your emails. They make my week! I might not get to respond that quickly to them because I just don't have too much time, so sorry! But I'll try to get back as soon as I can!
Love you all like crazy!
Holy, Mexico...It has been an emotional week. But...an amazing one! Okay, so that awesome and weirdly peaceful day I had at the mission home after having just left my friends and what was my home for the 6 past weeks. Yeah, that didn`t last. Haha! I was a nervous wreck on Tuesday! All I could think about was: Who the heck is going to be my companion. Am I dying? Or am I already dead? I don`t know Spanish what am I doing!!! I miss everyone so much.. Blahblahblah, what a baby. Anyways, as soon as we got to the Stake center for transfers, Elder Gardner found his companion. Literally my last piece of comfort was leaving me...immediately! It was hard, like really hard. Then, it wasn`t too long after that President found my companion for me, Elder Kleven. An American! I was certain it was going to be a Latino. Still not sure what I really wanted. The main thing I want to do is learn Spanish as fast as I can, so I`m not sure what is best. Well, Elder Kleven is from Mount Pleasant, Utah and has 20 months on his mission! Sounds like he is going home after my training which is really cool. He says he loves training and wanted to end like this. Plus, he practically speaks like a Latino, so I think it was a good match. I stood there as he talked to everyone. I watched Elder Gardner pack his stuff into a cab, he came over and gave me one last goodbye then left. Hard stuff I know.
We eventually made it to our house in Pantitlan. It`s an area still in the Federal District and close to the airport. The Hermano that gave us a ride, Hno. Juan, (super nice and funny guy) told us we lived right next to him! Then he excitedly showed me his fake leg. Pretty cool. We pretty much dropped off our stuff, took a look around, then headed off to work! The hard thing is that I`m obviously new, but my trainer is ALSO new to the area. He has been a zone leader for the past few months. Anyway, so we had no idea where anyone was. Luckily, the Elder that was here last lost his bag, came back to Pantitlan and showed us around. He also told us that our ward had a trip to the Temple Open House and an investigator was going. I tried to talk to him as best I could. I`m just really glad we went to the temple. I was a nervous wreck and going to that beautful place really calmed my nerves. That`s what I have really learned this week. Whenever I`m in a bad mood, anxious, nervous, or just sad, it goes away quick. The Lord finds ways to comfort me.
Well, I`ll give a quicker run down of the rest of the week. We have met and talked with a LOT of people this week! And, THE PEOPLE ARE AMAZING! Most of the time I recieve that comfort from the Lord when I meet with our investigators. Everyone we (I mean my companion) talk to is amazingly nice and friendly. I don`t speak as much as I should (or at all) but I`m pretty amazed at my abilitty to understand them. I remember the first time I heard a native speaker talk, I`m just like I know some of those words. Now, I can understand, usually. Not really well when they ask me a question directly. Somehow my brain shutsoff when that happens. My favorite part of our investigators is that they are all pretty much families. And they are really willing to invite us into their family. Two families in particular are really awesome. One has a mother who is a recent convert and her daughter and future son in law are investigating the church with their two adorable kids (little mexican children are really adorable, but I can`t understand them. It`s pretty much like that scene in Finding Nemo with Squirt) The other family consists of a 25 year old who`s girlfriend is a member and his mom (and recently Dad!) are taking the discussions. We even took them to the temple Saturday. They, and my other investigators are why I`m here and why I feel so good everyday!
Okay, rapid fire. This random old guy on the street who had two walking sticks that were not helping at all yelled at us to help him. He instantly clung to my companionsand I held the walking sticks. It took us a good 30 min to walk him home and he smelled terrible. Plus, we were pretty sure he had something to drink that morning. He couldn`t walk as is let alone sauced up. No wonder he needed help. ANYWAY, I saw E. Gardner at the temple on Saturday. I already left and was across a busy street so I just yelled at him. We motioned hand gestures of endearment, then he left. It was nice. Friday we had Domino`s pizza. Heavenly. I`ve also had fermented water that I thought was alcohol at Sunday lunch. I was assured by the Hermana it wasn`t but, I didn`t take any chances. There is also grafiti that says , ¨I am Groot¨ Neat. One of my investigators called his wife a ¡bruja! (witch) because she remembered something or whatever. Made my day. We have a gym membership and have been going everymorning. The food is WAY better than the MTC and I`ve loved everything. Worst thing I`ve ate was a banana, and yes I ate the whole thing (pretty radical for those who know me) The last and probably best MIRACLE was when a guy found us on the street, said he`s had all the discussions and has been going to church in his girlfriend`s ward, AND wants to be baptized as soon as possible (gasp).
It`s been a good week.
Well, I finally made it to the Mission field today! Our President and Sister Stutzneggar came to pick us up from the CMM around 10. As soon as I met them I felt lots more comfortable! They are the best!! The van ride to the mission office was a difficult one for me. It was hot and the crazy Mexico City traffic doesnt make for the smoothest of rides. Estaba un poco enfermo. But, I felt tons better when we got there and I got some fresh air. The APs and all the other leaders and Elders who work in the office are all super nice and helpful. I definitely feel very comfortable here. I´m staying the night here at the mission office, then tomorrow I´m assigned to my area and off to work! It´s crazy!!! I´m still with Elder Gardner until tomorrow which is also nice. It´s been a long goodbye process and kind of hard too. However, I already told him that he wont get rid of me that easily. I am going to see him randomly throughout the mish and I KNOW Ill find him after, too. Anyways, a couple of other things. Our teacher HNO. Hernandez (who is the best possible human being on this planet) emailed a link to a youtube video for me this morning. Its the Holy Land in 4k and It is amazing! Made me think of Dad and his trip. Be sure to share with the rest of the family. Also, watch the He Lives video again for me because it is amazing and I love it so much. Also, HNO. Hernandez wants to go to Japan REALLY bad. He loves to travel and we are already planning a trip to Japan. We told Elder Gardner he can go, too. We´ll see. He told me that when he gets done working at the CCM in April, he might move to Chicago. I told him to contact you guys if he does! You NEED to give him a tour of the Church sites and whatever else. He is literally the best and I love him so much. He lives close and told Gardner and I that he could pick us up and take us to the Pyramids whenever we can. Also, he can be our member for our lessons if needed. He´s probably the best resource I have here in Mexico. It was hard to say goodbye to him and the rest of my district. They are the best people and made my time at the CCM amazing. The other cool thing that happened today was my interview with Pres. Stutzneggar. Usually I feel pretty nervous meeting with people like that and interviews and such. But he has such a comforting spirit about him. I feel so much peace when I talk to him. I´m beyond excited to get to know him more and serve with him for 2 years!! I know the real test is tomorrow, but for now, everything is good! The other Elders are bbqing right now for us and we are just relaxing and talking.
So far I know that we will be able to go to the Temple dedication which is beyond awesome. ANND Mexico Independence day is the 15th which I hear is crazy, so President already told us we won´t be working.
Oh yeah! This is the address that I´ll have my entire mission:
Elder Carson Foust
Mexico, Mexico City Southeast Mission
Av. Del Taller #540
Col. Jardín Balbuena
Delegación Venustiano Carranza
México DF CP 15900
Another thing regarding packages. USE FEDEX. I am told that is the best way to send packages. They might not get here in a lot of time, but they will normally get here SOMETIME. And put a picture of Jesus or The Virgin Mary (which they say is even better) over the tape and seams. People are less likely to steal if they have to rip a picture of Jesus or Mary. SO STOCK UP! Pues....I think I´m done now. Uhh.
REMEMBER TO SEND QUOTES, TALKS AND OF COURSE PICTURES!!
I love you all like crazy, have a great week!!
To email Elder Foust, his address is: firstname.lastname@example.org