First of all, before I forget, would you add this email to my weekly email list: xxx.xxxxx.xxx. Last companion. My time with him was far too short.
Let me tell you more about my new companion, because I love him and he makes the missionary work here way more fun :) Unfortunately, I won't be able to send a picture of him to you yet, but imagine an Eastern-European Teancum Hadden. That's basically Elder DeBisschop :) His last name means Bishop, in English, and his father is the bishop, which means that they call him "Bishop the Bishop." He only walks on my right hand side when we're travelling, and if I walk next to a wall, he walks behind me instead of on the other side. He's had too many heart surgeries to count, and he doesn't have any sense of smell (which is a funny story really, because I found out by saying "do you smell that?" and he replied "Nope, I can't smell." I thought he was totally taking the mic, because that's something he would say, but it turns out he really can't smell anything). His sense of humor is downright gut-splitting, mainly because of his demeanor and because I love Eastern-Europeans. If you're not listening hard enough, you'll miss his curt comments. You'll never miss the Spirit that is present when he teaches, though. We're always laughing and loving our time spent as missionaries. He's a very quiet man, although he's trilingual (speaking French, Dutch, and English). We're really working on balance in our teaching, and getting him to come out more. He cares about the gospel, and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, which is all you could ask for and more in a trainee. I'm glad to have him teaching by my side. Also, I've asked him at least a dozen times if he will make waffles one morning, and he always says no :) [Note from Meredith: this companion is from Belgium...thus the waffle joke.]
Alright, now for stories that I promised: First, my interview with President. This was quite the event, although I was kind of expecting something unusual to happen anyways. Something unusual always happens during interviews with President. He has this way of slipping immanent prophecies into his talks with you; it's quite unnerving :) Anyways, the first few words that he said to me were these: "Elder Foster, you need to know that I received specific revelation to keep you in Witney for as long as I did. I now understand why you needed to be there..." He then went on to tell me that I would be follow-up training Elder DeBisschop and reviving an area. Mom, I found that the Lord uses me a lot for my patience, even when sometimes I'd rather He use me for something else. I'm sure that this will make me a better teacher and leader, for Christ taught the greatest leaders are the greatest servants. As for the area, it's thrown around the toughest missionaries, so it's going to be a challenging one.
Next, the Sutton Family. I don't know how to describe my love for this family. They're really like family. Sister Sutton baked a cake for me before I went, with a red-headed missionary on it. Brother Sutton gave me a toothpick with an orange on it, because he always called me "an orange on a toothpick" (in an angry Scottish accent, of course). He also gave me his original copy of MoTab's "Love at Home" album, which he was given by the missionary that baptized him, and was a huge part of his conversion. I pretty much got all teary faced and such, which I blame you for. Their last words to me were "come back and visit", "open a fish and chips shop in America", and "don't wear pink or I'll break your legs off." That last one was Brother Sutton. Before he gave me a real hug, he gave me an awkward hug, then a really slobbery kiss on the cheek. Anyways...the point that I was going to make before getting carried away in remembering all of that was this: they gave me a letter before I went. I don't know if I told you this, but their family was actually less active when I came into the area. Elder Ganta and I helped to reactivate them and get their missionary spirit back. In the letter, Brother Sutton told me that because of that, he was able to get his Temple recommend and attend the temple as a family for the first time in seven years. If that isn't a reason for a missionary to be sent somewhere specific and stay there, I don't know what is.
Well, that's all I can think of for now. My time is up anyways. I love you, I thought I would share this with you because they were a few things that really affected me and answered my prayers about leaving Witney. I kept praying about it because I was scared, and because I thought I was leaving things behind unfinished. I now know that the Lord has allowed me to finish all that was needed.