And so the chaos of December is finally coming to an end. This week was pretty overwhelming. First, my trainer Elder Kleven went home, then we had Christmas Eve (or the night of eating waaayy too much), finally Christmas day and the amazing experience of talking to my wonderful family. This week has been madness. Pure, incredible madness.
So, Kleven's last full day the mission field was Tuesday. For his last P-day we went to Teotihuacan with some investigators and our recent convert. It was awesome to see the pyramids and get to breath some fresh air for once. It was the most space I have seen in 5 months and I enjoyed every minute of it! It was a great day except for getting a bit sunburnt. The next day was just full of running around like crazy. Kleven still needed to pack and had some people to say goodbye to as well. We finally dropped him off at the offices in the night and by Wednesday morning he was on a plane back home to spend Christmas with his family. It was hard to say goodbye because he was my first companion here in the mission field and we had a lot of great experiences together. I definitely learned a lot and am so grateful to have had such a great trainer to help me make the difficult transition here into the real Mexico City.
Wednesday definitely felt a little wierd without our third companion, but Elder Colledge and I were ready to refocus and start back to work like normal. The problem with that was that we still had Christmas. Pretty much the entire ward and all our investigators invited us to eat at different dinners for Christmas. We had to decline most of them but still ended up eating 5 different meals on Christmas Eve. One of those meals was romeritos which is a traditiona dish eaten for Christmas Eve. It consists of mole, potatoes, shrimp, and this terrible, soggy, grassy, herb (called romeritos). It was also terrifyingly spicy. By far the worst thing I've eaten here so far. All four of us suffered through that one. Plus. the entire family already ate and just watched us so we tried our hardest to look satisfied. After all the dinners, Elder Colledge and I went home and had a small Christmas devotional. We sang some hymns, read the Christmas story, and shared our testimonies of the Savior. It turned out to be a perfect night.
Waking up on Christmas day, I was excited but pretty nervous to talk to my family. I wasn't sure if seeing them would make things harder or easier. My companion assured me that you feel amazing and excited after, but I still wasn't sure. However, when I finally made the call I undersoud what he meant. I was little overwhelmed at first after seeing everyone's face appear on the screen, but it was an amazing experience. The best part was to see that everyone was still the same. They were still themselves and I was still me. It just felt normal. We talked for a while then said our goodbyes. It wasn't too hard to say goodbye because I felt as though I was fine and would see them again soon enough and it was easy for them because I'm pretty sure they wanted to finish opening their Christmas presents. All in all, it was great to see my beautiful family once again.
The rest of my Christmas I spent back at our house with the entire district. The hermano that we live with made us tacos and started another bonfire. It turned out to be a great Christmas and I'm excited I still have one more left here in Mexico!
Now, I'm ready to focus on work and planning for the new year. However, the cycle ends in a week and I'm pretty sure I'll have changes. It think it's finally my time to leave Pantitlan, my wonderful first area here on the mission. I know it'll be hard, but change is necessary and I'll be exposed to new experiences and opportunities that will help me grow as a person. I'm still not sure if it will actually happen but it's a strong possibility and I'm already preparing myself. If it really is my last week I better work hard and enjoy my time!
Remember that I love all of you so much and God loves you so much more. Have an amazing week and enjoy eating those wonderful holiday leftovers before the you feel the new year guilt!
So, these past 3 weeks or so have been insane. My companion is leaving next Wednesday and we have been running all over saying goodbye to Mexico City and all the wonderful people in it. Last week I didn't get a chance to write because we spent the day saying goodbye to an old area of Elder Kleven's. It's actually pretty sad witnessing it all. He seems fine, but I'm not sure I am. I don't even know these people and they were some hard goodbyes!
Anyways, we also had zone conference on Wednesday and Dia de la Virgen on Saturday. I guess it's one of the craziest holidays and potencially dangerous for those not chanting, ¨La Guadalupana, La Guadalupana!¨ in the streets. For that, we had to stay in our house after the food on Friday and all day Saturday. It was great opportunity to study and relax. Plus, the hermano whom we live with made us a bonfire and we roasted hotdogs and giant marshmallows. We also had permission on Saturday to have a baptism as long as some members drove us there and back. We made it to the church, had an amazing baptism, and returned home safely without being mobbed by the Guadalupanos. I think we celebrated Dia de la Virgen perfectly with 3 awesome baptisms.
But wait! The excitement doesn't end there! Yesterday, we watched the dedication of the Tijuana Temple. This makes the second temple dedication I've seen since I've been in Ciudad de Mexico. This time was extra special because we went with our converts. It was a perfect opportunity for such new members of the church to change their focus change from their recent baptism, to the incredible blessings of the temple. Elder Oaks and President Uchtdorf were present and spoke. It made for a perfect Sunday!
Today we have our mission-wide Christmas party, so I'll be busy all day today, too. We also have permission to write a little bit more tomorrow, so don't worry I'll make sure to update all my pictures and respond to a lot of emails then. I'm not sure I'll have much time next week to write so I have to take advantage of the time I have now.
Now, Christmas is next week, it's practically here! It definitely feels a lot different than usual. Sometimes I feel like this:
But most of the time I feel like this:
And the ¨feeling¨ is all good! I am here in Mexico celebrating the birth of our Savior as one of His representatives! How much better can it get! And I only have 2 opportunities to do so. I love and miss my family of course, but here in Mexico I am understanding more clearly the true meaning of Christmas and what my responsibilities are with this new knowledge. To spread good tidings of great joy! Haha, it's all a bit much, but I've always been a bit much. I am glad to be here on a mission at this time of year. It's an incredibly special and different way to spread Christmas cheer!
Thanks for your love and support as always! And don't worry, I still have a life time of Christmases with all of you!
To email Elder Foust, his address is: firstname.lastname@example.org