Monday, December 21, 2009

Email - Received Monday, December 21, 2009

Hey Family!

Guess what?! I love you all. Every single one of you. I`m so happy today because recently I have learned so much, received a ton of understanding, and I have fallen even more deeply in love with the Plan of Happiness that our God and Savior prepared for us as a family from before the foundations of the Earth. I feel sometimes like my head is going to short circuit or that my heart is going to explode because I hunger to learn more, I want to receive eternal understanding, but I just feel like my body can't handle it yet! Mom, Dad, I know you`re all going to laugh at me for using this example, but I feel like a character on Dragon Ball Z! On the show, in the fights, the protectors of the earth can only power up to a certain point before their body can't take the strain anymore and they just go out like a candle`s flame. I feel like with my understanding of the Gospel that I`m constantly hungering and thirsting for more power, knowledge, and capacity, but my brain, body, and heart can't take it yet. I feel so exhausted, but yet so happy sometimes after a really great lesson or a deep discussion with a member because I know that my testimony is growing. Just like you Mom, with your excersizes, I keep trying to push my boundaries, trying to get stronger, but sometimes I just have to lay on the bed at the end of the day and be sore and tired. Now, don't get the wrong idea, all of this that I`ve described so far is making me VERY happy! But yeah, sometimes my limitations bother me because I want so much more than I can have right now. I`m sure that, when you read this email, you`ll all shake your heads and say to yourself something like ¨Well, that`s Preston for ya.¨ or ¨Sounds like he`s still himself.¨ But I hope that that`s a good thing that you all miss me just as much as I miss you.

I`m not going to lie, this week I`ve been a bit baggy, thinking about family, home, snow, and Christmas. I just can't get you wonderful people off my mind. =P I cant believe that I left in April, and now it`s Christmas, but I can CERTAINLY believe that in a year from now, I`ll almost be home. New Year`s Day of 2011 I will have 21 months in the mission, and right now, that oddly doesn`t seem very far away. I will miss the mission, the opportunities to share and grow, but I will love being together with my eternal family even more! I realized today, actually right now, that I haven`t talked like this in an email for months, and that makes me happy. It lets me know that I`m doing a good job, focusing when I can in being a good missionary, making Heavenly Father proud of me, and continuing to vicariously bless MY family. Sometimes I feel very selfish, but if you can imagine this existing, I would call it a very HOLY selfishness. I just love you SO much that I can't describe it, and I`m eternally grateful that I already have a family sealed in the temple and we don't have to change much to bring the Gospel into our lives a little bit more each day. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for teaching me well, for raising me to be intelligent, and for helping me be a person who understands my potential as a literal Son of God! =)

Okay, so I got some awesome presents this week. Dad, I got your letter! =D It was awesome and I`ve read it several times over already. It was a little shorter than I thought it would be, but I`m so happy that you chose to include so many wonderful incites into your life. I don't want to burst your bubble though by saying this, but I kinda already knew a lot of the lessons you taught in your letter, but that just means that you taught and trained me very well! =) Mom, rest easy, I got my Christmas package! I haven`t opened it yet...thanks to the insistence of my companion to wait, but I`m getting very antsy to know what you sent me! I will be sure to pass your thanks on to Sister Paz and her family. They are wonderful people and we will really enjoy spending Christmas Eve with them. Also, I`m going to try to use a neighbor`s phone to call Unlimited on Christmas Morning, but if that doesn`t work, I`ll call you from our phone in the house using Dad`s instructions. It`s just that this other phone is connected to the States already through an internet connection and it also has Unlimited calling to the States. Alright, well I`m out of time this week, but I`m extremely excited to hear your voices this week! Good luck with everything, enjoy your vacations, and MERRY CHRISTMAS to all!

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Email - Received Monday, December 14, 2009

Hey Family!

Like always, it`s wonderful for me to see lots of emails waiting to be read each week, but unfortunately the majority of the emails I got today were from the mission. Thus, I had to spend a lot of time reading other emails when I really wanted to be responding to YOURS! I only have about 15 minutes to write today, but I`m hoping that you all will forgive me.

I`m so glad that you all really enjoyed the email that I sent last week! I was hoping that what I had to say would put a smile on everyone`s face. I was excited about the opportunity to send Christmas home as well, because it provided me with a little more traditional way to express my love and adoration of you all. =) I`m going to get the package into Elder Hamblin`s hands this next P-Day, and I`m hoping that when he gets home, he`ll either immediately get it to my family, or at least he`ll hand it off to Caitlyn, who will be absolutely sure (like the wonderful friend she is) to get it to you. ;P

Unfortunately, today I dont have a ton of happiness and good news to share. Just the business end of things, I guess. I`m sorry. Next week will be much much better.

Dad, thank for you setting up a few things about the phone call home. I haven`t received any information about it from the mission office, but I`m hoping to learn everything I need to know tomorrow, in Zone Conference. Unfortunately, here in Guatemala, nobody uses any North American phone company. The companies are named Claro, Tigo, and Movistar. The huge cell phones that we all have in our houses use Tigo, so I think I will probably just get a huge phone card to use with Tigo. Like I said, I`m hoping to learn more tomorrow.

With regards to letter writing: yes! have received a coupld of letters from Josh! It`s been great to hear from him, and yes! I have written back to him. I just dont know if he has gotten the letters yet. I have NOT, however, written to Josh`s Family just yet. I should really get on that, seeing that this change I haven`t writen practically anything by hand. =( Oh! and Dad, I haven`t received your handwritten letter yet, but I DID receive the christmas card with the Christmas music! You guys are geniuses! That really did a number on me, having real Christmas music in the house. =) It makes me smile big every time we listen. My companion likes it too, so that`s even better. =) Also, I received the Missionary Mall package, and I love everything, and I`m using my shoes a ton, so thanks a LOT! =D I think I`ll probably receive the Christmas package tomorrow...that`s going to be tough not to open. =P Well, wish me luck and I`ll let you know how I`m holding up next week!

Baptism update! Once again, my companion and I had a very quick baptism this week. We started teaching Jairo, 13, and Diego, 9, last week on the 2nd, and they got baptized yesterday, the 13th! It was awesome, they understand really well, and almost their whole family came to support them. Maybe two more future missionaries to tally up! Oh yeah! =) Pray for their mom, Celeste, that she will have the strength and the love to reactivate completely and support her sons until they can support her in return! Also, please pray that this week my companion and I will find FAMILIES! We need new investigators, and families would be nice. Thanks! =)

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, December 7, 2009

Email - Received Monday, December 7, 2009

Hey Family!

Awesome to hear from you all again. I love Mondays, I always leave the internet cafe with so many mixed feelings of joy, love, a little homesickness, and the prospect of how the next week is going to turn out. I know that Mom is probably counting the days, or at least the weeks, already so I thought you should know that I miss you all so much that I`m counting too. I have exactly 68 weeks left in my mission and I finally feel like I`m not so new anymore. Crossing the 8 month mark was big for me this week. It means that I`ve served a third part of my mission, that I still have a while to go, but it`s not at long as I always thought it was. I used to think that Sister Missionaries have it so easy...18 months, who CAN'T do 18 months?! haha And now I only have 16 left. It`s a weird feeling that inspires a lot of satisfaction and a little bit of fear in me. I realize that I need to be working hard for the Lord, that I should be having success no matter where I am, and how much trust I need to put in the Lord that He will put His chosen ones in my path if I live my mission right. I don't have a lot of baptisms under my belt, and who knows, I might not leave with many, but I know that I have enough time to change a few more lives before I have to give up my plaque and step off the plane. haha Can you tell that it`s Christmas time and it`s making me a tiny bit baggy? =P I`m not allowing myself to be sad or homesick because although I`m not at home, there are people here who love me and will make me a part of their home this Christmas season. The sister that we baptized in October, Carol Paz, has invited my companion and I to celebrate Christmas Eve with her family. She is planning a big dinner, even though her family is not huge, but is doing so to make us comfortable and to help us feel at home away from home. Mom, don`t worry, the Paz family is going to take good care of us. =)

A couple of things that happened this week, and a few that DIDN'T happen. One, I got my Missionary Mall package! I love my new shoes! The pants fit better, but their still too big! The bag is funky, cool, and I`m not sure yet how I`m going to use it because I bought myself a nice backpack about 2 months ago. Maybe I`ll use the new bag to proselyte and my backapck for divisionals and district meetings...I dont know yet. =) I love the candy that you sent! My family knows me well...redvines and peanut butter M&M´s...ooooooh yeah baby! =D Also, I`m very grateful that you got my debit card to me. Go ahead and activate it. I got a good tip from another missionary about my expired card: If I ever get robbed on the street, I`ll have it with me so that I can give it up willingly and avoid a conflict. I don't believe that I`ll ever get robbed during my mission, but it`s a great suggestion. Everyone loves plastic! haha President Cook`s promise in my setting apart has held true throughout my entire mission up until now: He promised that I would always be safe in my travels in my mission. I have never had one problem of safety, even though I have not always found myself in the safest of circumstances...actually almost never am I in the safest of circumstances, but know that you dont have to worry! =) Here`s a couple of things that HAVENT happened this week. I haven`t gotten your hand-written letter yet Dad, and I`m excited to see what it says and what I`ll learn about my dear old Dad! Also this week, our Zone Leaders cut a part of our area off to give to the sruggling other half of my original area. Elder Wernli and Elder Flores have really been struggling to find investigators and teach lessons, so they need the new part of the area badly, but it also cut the work of my campanion and I in half. We also had to purge the Area Book of all the registers and records that now belong to Sonora 2, which has left our Area Book skinny and very light weight. I`m actually kinda excited about that though, because that means that we can now fill it with all originial Elder Tucker and Elder Alvarez work. Should be a great opportunity. This week we will be extremely focused on finding a ton of new investigators to fill our tanks with fuel and our agendas with appointments. I feel more and more that Dad`s new work and mine in the mission field are extremely similar and will reflect the dedication that we have to find success on ours and the Lord`s terms. Overall, it was a very slow and disappointing week in the work, but it`s now up to us to make it better. =) Now our area is small, the members are in need of strength, and their neighbors are in need of the gospel. Should be fun! ;P

Thank you Mom, for the recipe, it sounds delicious. I`m going to put my diligence to work and find all the ingredients so that we can really celebrate Paula Tucker style! =) I dont know if I`ve ever told you, but I`m in love with your food Mom. I miss it, and I want it back, so be prepared to ¨hit me with your best shot¨ when I`m back home! Fire awaaaaay Momma!...Did ya get the pop culture-slash-Tucker Family taste-in-music reference? Hope so...alright moving on. =) Dont worry Family, I`m not going to be selffish this Christmas just because I`m in a foreign country. I`m sending home a Guatemalan Christmas! I`ve met a new friend here in my Zone named Elder Hamblin who came from, surprise surprise, 4000 West in Syracuse, UT! =) I`ve bought everyone little Christmas gifts and I will be sending the package home with Elder Hamblin. He goes home on the 28th of December and will be dropping by (a little late, but you understand) bringing my family a little bit of Guatemala for the Holidays. Also, I`m sending home a game that should help Dad study his Spanish along with the whole family. The instructions and the game board are all in Spanish, but dont worry, I think you`ll get how to play pretty easily when you see it. =P There will also be something that you all can use to have Gautemala in our home next Christmas too. =) Mom, Dad, excited! =D

Time`s up for today. I love you all to the Moon and back a bagillion times. Los extreño bastante, pero estoy en la obra de aquel que es el ùnico poderoso para salvar. Èl me pretege, èl me guia, entonces solo manden sus oraciònes, y todo nos saldrà bien!

Los Amo para Siempre,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, November 30, 2009

Email - Received Monday, November 30, 2009

Hey Family! Guess what? I love you!

Holy cow! This week I got an overflow of wonderful emails and information and news that made me smile until it hurt! =) I`m so happy to hear so many wonderful things from home, and that happiness is sufficient enough to make any homesickness go away and be replaced with love for my family and thanks for my Heavenly Father. I know that He is blessing me and is very aware of every thought and feeling that I have, every little thing that I do, and every effort we make as a family to honor and respect the blessing we have of being eternal! I still need to do a lot of work on learning how the Spirit speaks to me individually, but I know that my awareness of Heavenly Father`s hand in my life is now almost crystal clear! Thank you for keeping me informed on all the wonderful challenges and blessings that you continue to receive, for each and every one is a blessing to me. =)

Well, I`ve got some very sad and shameful news this week. I didn`t remember which day was supposed to be I didn`t all. haha It wasn`t until after our Executive Commitee meeting with the bishopric that my new friend Elder Wernli said and quote ¨ was Thanksgiving...¨ haha! I didn`t even know it. What kind of American am I?! haha A good one...just not one that remembers the dates of Holidays that aren`t on the same day each year. I`m extremely aware of Christmas, but Thanksgiving (in a country that doesn`t celebrate it) kinda just slipped by me. Yes, yes...let the jokes come. =P

Alright, a little about my companion and I. We are now great friends, after two weeks of getting to know each other and working hard to make them good weeks. We had our first baptism together this last Sunday: a little girl of 9 years named Meylin Morataya. We taught her every day for a week and a half and baptized her as quick as possible. It was great! Sorry I didn`t give you any prior notice. =P I think we`re going to do the same thing with two more young kids this week to come. I really liked it, I just wish that the rest of our investigators could be like that (available every day for two weeks straight). Elder Alvarez is great. A little shy at times, but beneath the calm exterior, he`s a lot like me! He loves reading, video games, and his family! He`s read a lot of the same books that I have (but in Spanish) and has a great memory to tell stories. He is also learning English, and asks me to check his homework in the workbooks that the Latin Elders receive to earn their BYU certificate as certified English speakers. We get along really well, which is the first step to a successful companionship. Now we`re focused on working on our skills, trying to get better at teaching, sharing the time, and learning the doctrine in its most simple forms. He is sincere and humble, two wonderful traits. I believe that this could be one of those mission friendships that last a lifetime. I really hope I get to spend two changes with him, although it might not happen. We`re having a tough time with our cut-down area, but we`re making the best of it and have taught at least 20 lessons for two weeks in a row. =) Unfortunately that is including the few lessons that we have with loyal members, but we`re getting up there little by little. We have to fulfill those Rules of Excellence that President Baldwin gave us so that we can begin to have more success, but we`ll get there soon. So basically, I`m happy this change, excited for what comes next, not too pressured as a Senior Comp, but not fancy-free either. A great mix, I must say! =)

My companion has asked me to request a few things that I have offered him this last week. One, we are planning on having a bar-b-q (in spanish it`s called ¨churasco¨) with our ward mission leader, and Mom, if you could, would you send us a great marinade recipe with simple ingredients that we could use for open charcoal bbq? That would be awesome and I`m pretty sure we`ll be able to get any ingredients we need. Two, Elder Alvarez really likes my ¨bullet¨ speakers. Could you send him a pair, as a little christmas present to him. I know that he would love that! He comes from a fairly wealthy family here in the Capital, but they dont have the same technology or products here, so that`s why I`m asking you. =) I know that my family is wonderful and willing to share, so I know that I`ll be able to make Elder Alvarez feel like a new part of that beautiful family. =)

Alright I`m almost out of time. I`m sorry I didn`t respond to all your news and questions, but I had a lot to read today (which I loved). Next week I will write more, but just keep the good stuff comin! I love you forever, I`ll like you for always, where ever I am my Family you`ll be! Oh how great is that Plan of our God, I will trust in Him forever, because He first trusted in me!

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, November 23, 2009

Email - Received Monday, November 23, 2009

Hey Family!
As always, it was a wonderful feeling to wake up today and know that I would get the chance to read some emails, hear some good news, and think about my family. This week has been busy and I have not had much time to turn my mind to family, which in a way is good, but I still noticed the part of me that is missing, waiting patiently in Utah and Arizona. As we continue to strengthen and teach the members and non-members here in La Sonora, I am constantly reminded of the vital importance of my own family. I think often about my current, eternal family (Dad, Mom, and Hope), but interestingly enough I often catch myself thinking about my future family. I think often about how I will know when I`ve found the right eternal comapanion, when and where it might happen, and what I will be looking for if I am continually tuned in to the eternal perspective of life here in the world. There is a young couple of returned missionaries in our ward named la Familia Dubòn, and they have a baby of about 6-7 months old. They call me Tio Tucker (¨tio¨ means uncle) because I am always so interested in and loving with their young son. I dont know what it is, but everytime I look at that little guy, he looks me straight back in the eye and keeps our vision locked together. In those moments I long to experience life as a father and husband to a family that is sealed for eternity. I know that I am only 19 years old and should not be thinking about getting married and having kids yet, but I believe these feelings are the desires of my spirit, my soul, trying to remind me of my purpose here on earth as a Priesthood holder and eternal Son of Heavenly Father. My understanding and testimony of the Plan of Salvation are continually becoming deeper and more real here in my mission, especially when I look in the eyes of young children. I just want all of my family to know that, although I wont be celebrating Thanksgiving with you this year or the next, that I am truly and infinitely grateful to my Heavenly Father and Christ for making my eternal family possible. I am also grateful to you all, for living lives and loving me in ways that make me want to be with you forever.

Here in Guatemala I have to deal with the hard reality every day that the world does not teach these beautiful principles. The world does not want people to stay together, to make convenants with one another, and to be strong against Satan´s constant temptations. I pray and hope that all the members of my family, and my dear friends too, can realize the things that I am realizing all too clearly, and then fight against evil´s influence. Fight, please! Fight hard. I`m here trying to teach people how to be soldiers in defense of their own families, but I know that everyone back home needs that help as well. Read the Scriptures, pray often, accept and partake of Christ`s Atoning Sacrifice, and experience the joy that comes when you do so. Heavenly Father has given us all that we need, and more. It`s up to us to use the armor he has given us. Would you go skydiving without a parachute, or climb a mountain without rope and harness? If your answers were No, then please don't leave home, exposing yourself to the world, without God`s Armor protecting you on every side. I love you. I want to spend eternity with you. Help me meet that goal. I know you can do it! =)

Alright, so that`s it for the testimony for today. Now on to answering questions. Dad, I`m sorry that I have not explained P-Day sufficiently up until now, but it`s a difficult day to put in a nutshell. We do everything on P-Day. We get together as a district and as a zone, we play soccer, we play football, we play Uno, we eat a lot of food, we buy the food that we need in the house, we write letters, we give service, we prepare for the activities that we`ve been assigned to direct during the week, we take a nap here and there, and we teach in the night-time hours, helping and strengthening the lost and wandering sheep of Heavenly Father`s fold. P-Day has always been, and I`m pretty sure it will always be, on Tuesdays. Mondays we email as a part of our District Meetings, so President Baldwin has shortened our P-Days to 5PM. Before 5, it`s up to us what we use our time for. After 5PM, it`s still up to us, but we use it to teach. I realized this week that it doesn`t matter what day or time it is, the way that we use our time here in the mission is always up to us. We`re here and we work because we want to, and if someone really doesn`t want to work in their mission, they can choose not to. It made me happy to realize that I am working because I want to, not because I`m required by President, my companion, or even the Lord to do so. I`m willingly serving, and that`s a good feeling. =)

Now for a few more answers. Elder Child left as District Leader, but Elder Gomez (from Mexico) came to fill his place. Elder Gomez and Elder Rivera (from Costa Rice) are assigned to Barcenas, so the name of our district changed, but it`s no biggie. We did have to move into one of the new homes that we found, and I am now living with Elder Alvarez in the house we found in Valles de la Sonora 1. It`s a comfortable, quiet colony. The house is comfortable, but a little echoey because we have only a minimal amount of furniture. I enjoy living closer to the center of our area, and we are seeing good results from the move. We do not live with other Elders in this house. President Baldwin says that two elders in a house is a companionship, but four is a party. The Lopezes did not stay together. One (from Nicaragua) stayed in Linda Vista, close to us, but the other (from Honduras) went to Palin (the opposite edge of the zone). Overall, everyone is happy with the changes and we are doing well. It`s hard on the two new elders that came to the newly divided part of our area because they are new missionaries as well as being completely new to the area. They are intelligent though, so getting started should not be a problem, especially after my helping them get to know most of the area. Elder Alvarez is also a very good companion. He is a little quiet, and teaches very simply, but he has a testimony and that is enough to start well in this work. We will constantly be working to become better, and I will keep you posted on what happens, but I have faith that we will have a successful change together.

Once again, I love and appreciate your support and love. Your prayers help us, I have a testimony that is true. Keep them coming, please. =) I`m extremely excited for the packages that you are sending. I think they will probably get to me at the same time, but thats just fine. We get our packages in interviews and zone conferences. I just have one additional request: Pictures! =) I sent you some, now it`s your turn to return the favor. =P

I`m all out of time for this week. Until next week...I love you!

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Email - Received Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hey Family!

Oh man...I love you so much! I just can't get over the fact that each week increases my love and desire for you, my family! I know that I will be more than ready to see you in less than a year and a half, but I know also that I have enough time to show the Lord that I really did come here to Serve Him. It`s interesting to hear about John Taylor and Reggie Pincock coming home because for all 4 changes that I have now completed, I have been extremely aware of the pasage of time, whether it be slow or fast. Up until my second change with Elder Child, time has seemed to pass very slowly for me, but now it has seemed to pick up speed. Now Ryan Hunter and John Taylor are home. Wow! That was fast! I`m coming up on 8 months and my second call home. That too, seems to have come at me fast. Haha I`m suddenly reminded of the insurance commercial that says ¨Life comes at you fast¨. It really is true! Anyways, enough with talking about time. Now down to the news!

Okay, so as Dad has felt very strongly, I did receive some very big changes this week. Elder Child has left and gone to his final area in the capital. I was told that I had an interview with President Baldwin, which almost always means that a missionary is going to receive a new responsibility. I did receive that responsibility. I am now the Senior Companion in the area La Sonora 1. My new companion is Elder Alvarez, a Guatemalan from th capital city, that has completed just one change less than I have in the field. He is a little quiet, but I can tell that he is a great person and will have a lot to offer in our work for the next 5 and a half weeks. He is 19 years old, has a family of 6, all active members. He has a big brother, a 17 year old sister, and a 14 year old brother. I have seen pictures of them and they seem to be a great family, strong in the Gospel of Christ. I am a little nervous about my new responsibilities, but I am praying often and with strength that the Lord will send me all the tools and spirit that I need to complete this assignment well, to His standards. Also, to let you all know, the baptism that we had planned for last weekend went very well. We completed the Aguilar family and they now have their sights set on a Temple sealing! I feel great that we finally helped Hermana Judith, Erwin`s wife, to realize her dream of her husband getting baptized in the True Church. Thank you for all your support and prayers.

It sounds like almost everything is going well at home! That`s awesome!!! I know that the Lord is blessing my family for my sake. Not for the work that I do, necessarily, but so that I don't have to worry about you spiritually or temporally. I love you eternally and want all the best for you all. I know that your habits of study, prayer, and fasting will sustain you during these challenges, and that Familia Tucker will come out on top, shining like the Sun! =D Mom, you`re awesome. I know that you love your job, teaching young minds, and I know that you`re great at it. I have pride in telling my friends here that my Mom is a teacher and that she is the greatest Mom that I could ask for. =) Hope, how awesome are you?! Dad and Mom keep telling me that you fight off sickness, that you play hard, and swim even harder! I am so amazed to constantly hear that you are improving your times and swimming in 5 events or more every meet! I love you and am so proud of you! I want to be there, rooting for you in your meets, but I know that it`ll have to wait. I want you to know though, as soon as I can, Ì will be there to cheer you on. And dear, awesome, strong, happy Dad! I could not have anymore pride in you if you had told me that you had been elected President! You are so strong and you keep our family strong too. I am so grateful to you for so many things that I just can't express it enough. Your fortitude and drive astound me as you enter this new job. It`s really kinda cool to me that this opportuniy is like a second mission for you. I can track your progress just like you can track mine. I like this a lot and hope that you keep me informed! I love you forever and want you to know that deep in your heart. No son could be more proud of his father than I am for you. Dad...thank you SO much for being my Dad!

Something that I forgot to mention in my last letter. My ring size is 11 and 1/2. No, I have not received your handwritten letter Dad. Yes, I received the one that you sent me Hope, and I loved it. This week I also received letters from Josh in Peru and from Sidney Bell. I`m so grateful that I have a family and friends that always support me and keeps me well informed about their lives. I`m also very excited to receive packages this change. I probably wont receive them until Zone Conference, but that`s okay, I`m learning patience here too. =)

I don't have much time left, so know that I love you all! I miss you and think about you every day. Stay strong. Keep praying. Read the scriptures. Be good! and Remember who you are! AND where you came from!


-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, November 9, 2009

Email - Received Monday, November 9, 2009

Hey Family! =)

Wow! I received SOOO much news from you this week, and I loved it! However, I did have to read for a while, which doesn`t help on conserving writing time. Dont, get me wrong, I love that you give me lots of detail in the news you send, but I do have a favor to ask. I would ask that you (Mom, Dad, and Hope) write your emails to me BEFORE Monday. Write me on Saturday or Sunday, so that when I get to the internet cafes on Monday, I dont have to worry about receiving last minute emails. It`s happened a couple of times that I haven`t gotten an email from you until the last 2 minutes of my hour, and then have had to read it the next week. It`s not a big deal, but it WOULD make it easier if you wrote a little earlier in advance. Thank you! =)

Okay, to answer the key questions right off the bat:
I need more white shirts and garments because here in La Sonora, the member that washes our clothing receives our clothing on Monday, but does not give it back washed until Friday or Saturday.
I WAS planning on saving half of my clothing for my second year in the mission, but this inconvenience prevented that plan. Also, my first missionary bag (or at least the way that I wore it) wore out a couple shirts in Promision. The shoulders were stained with stains that dont come out, and on a bus one day one of my shirt pockets got caught on a seat as I was getting in, and ripped a large, unrepairable hole in the front of the shirt.
My sizes for garments would be bottoms = 34 and tops = Large. I would like three more pairs, but two would be just fine. I also only need two more white shirts, size 18 neck with half-sleeves. I am still asking for these things because I`ve been hearing that taking a week to wash and dry the missionaries`clothes is pretty common throughout the mission.
Also, If you would like to send my shoes seperately, go for it! I definately do not want to run the risk of having you send and overly-enticing package through Guatemalan post. I`m ever so very excited to get packages. Letters are awesome! But there`s just something extra special about getting a package at Zone Conference.

You are right, changes are coming up this week. This Saturday we will hear about changes, and it`s possible that everything in my area and mission is about to change completely. This coming change the President is dividing my area and assigning four missionaries to the La Sonora Ward. Don't know if he is going to split me and Elder Child up to train the two new missionaries, if they are sending two sister missionaries, or if they are going to just white-wash the area (all new elders, untrained, and unfamiliar). I just pray that, whatever happens, the progress and friendships we have made do not get destroyed with this change, as often happens with missionary changes. I`ve heard bad news that because they white-washed Promision, none of my converts back there are active and that the missionaries they sent have destroyed the member-missionary confidence that existed before. I can only do what it is possible in my assigned area and send a letter or two to my converts to help them get animated again. At times, it frustrates me, how things happen and change, but I know that the Lord has a plan and that no unhallowed hand can stop this Work from progressing.

This week was very busy and a little hectic for us in La Sonora. We received the news about the area division and were then assigned the immediate task of finding not one, but TWO new houses to rent within our area. This was a tough task because almost all colonies here want to SELL their houses, not rent them. However, in the long run we were both able to find the two new houses to rent, AND teach 17 lessons in total this week. I was pretty impressed with us this week, but I know that the coming weeks will check my pride and test me in ways I have not ever been tested before. I ask that you pray for me, that no matter what happens, I will be able to roll with the punches and continue to seek and find success in my mission.

I am currently studying the Book of Mormon from the beginning again, but this time in more depth. I am familiar with 2 Nephi 26, and am very excited and proud that my family and I are on the same page there. I just started into Mosiah (my favorite part) and am learning volumes about the doctrine and atonement of Christ. Thank you so much, Dad and Mom, for sending me with my mp3 player full of great talks and books on CD. They have helped me each night to gain yet another glimpse into understanding the Gospel and the real application of Christ`s Atonement in my life and in the lives of all those around me. Also I am learning even more profoundly how deeply my soul longs to KNOW the scriptures AND to UNDERSTAND them. I know that will be a lifelong journey, but I`m extremely willing to enjoy it! =)

Again, I would like to remind you that this week I will receive my news for changes. If I get changed, it`s possible that I won't write until Wednesday of next week. I will let you know what happened as soon as possible, okay? =P Elder Child has been a wonderful companion, and if we are seperated this change, I want you all to know that Elder Braden Child has changed my life. He comes from a wonderful, intelligent family. He has a deep love and knowledge of the scriptures, and has helped and protected me like a Senior Companion is sent to do. If you ever get the chance to meet him or his family before I get home, please communicate my everlasting thanks to them, because their missionary changed yours in wonderful ways. =)

Just a note, Mom, the CTR ring (the link that I sent) was silver with black CTR. I would actually like the black one with the silver CTR. Ya know...shiny things attract greedy eyes. haha =) Or send both...if you`re feeling generous. ;P

Dad, I love you and wish you the best of luck with your appointments and training. I`m so proud to have an intelligent, loving mortal father that always makes lemonade out of the lemons, and has taught me to do the same. =) Mom, keep working hard! I think about you often, and my soul cheers for you every day. Keep working out, supporting Dad, loving and guiding Hope, and doing everything you can to teach the young minds in your classes. You are so good at what you do and I want you to know that I love you to eternity and beyond! Hope...oh my dear, tall little sister! I love you SOOO much! Today I got your letter, and even though it was short, it almost made me cry because I miss you so much! I want so badly now to be a part of your life. Your schooling, your swimming training, your goals, and your happiness. I miss you, but want you to know that when I get home I want to do everything I can to love and support you while I am at home to enjoy the summer with you! Grandma, I got your letter too! It was wonderful, and I love you. I miss you and hope you can find strength in my spirit. You`ve taught me to love the Lord, and to love my family, and to ALWAYS love my Grandma! I will see you soon, dont you worry! =) and Metzie, put on your strength! You are one of the strongest, most loving women I have every met. I look to you as a sailor looks to a bright star. You give me direction and I want you to know of the happiness you bring me. Stay strong, and when you need more strength, visit my family and you will be rejuvenated. I love you, always remember that!

Alright, well my time is up this week. I have to go. Dang...this hour is always the shortest one of the week. I just hope that I`ve written enough for you all to learn and feel my testimony and love.

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, November 2, 2009

Email - Received Monday, November 2, 2009

Hey Family!

Yet again, it was awesome to hear from you this week. Up until this point in the day I haven`t received an email from Mom, but I did get the email from Dad. Thanks Dad, for keeping me updated with the situation, activities, and relative uneventfulness at home. Haha! I know that when Winter comes everything slows down, but the good news is that we always have another summer to enjoy afterwards. Just use this time and the extra time that you may have to prepare yourselves for the future, to work hard, and enjoy the Family that Heavenly Father has seen fit to bless us with. I`m sad at times that I don't and won't get to celebrate these Holidays with you for another little while, but I have full confidence that you will have a whole bunch of Spirit and energy stored up to help you enjoy life to the MAX when I get home. =) I recently (yesterday) completed 7 months in the mission, and yes, the time DOES seem to be moving faster as I continue to progress and work in the Vineyard of the Lord. I`m enjoying my time now, and am constantly revising my own work to find ways each day that I can be better. I appreciate to Infinity and back the support that ALL of my family gives me each week and the love and prayers that you share with me and my investigators. I know that you all are an integral part of my portion in this work and would just challenge you to keep working as hard as you`re able to establish good habits and gospel testimonies NOW so that we can all be prepared to accept our inheritance as an Eternal Family in the life to come!

This week was a rather eventful week as all of our planned activities and preparations came to fruition during our triple combined Zone Conference with our Area Predisent, Elder Don R. Clark, this last Wednesday. Three zones of missionaries, supposedly called the ¨coastal zones¨, although Amatitlan doesn`t really qualify as part of the coast, joined together to learn at the feet of leaders of this part of God`s Vineyard. Listening, participating, and taking notes while President Clark spoke was an EXCELLENT experience, and I have four pages of notes to show for it. I really enjoyed every minute as he touched on and taught MANY eternal principles that help us as missionaries to be more effective instruments in God`s hands. President Clark is known in the mission for his sharp tongue and his deep dislike for disobedience. Some experienced missionaries came scared that they were going to get chewed out by a General Authority, but I was very excited for the opportunity to learn. Truly he is an inspired man, called of God, to lead us towards our divine potential. I thoroughly enjoyed this change`s Zone Conference.
Apart from this experience, Elder Child and I had a good week in La Sonora. We visited and strengthened Sister Paz, who just got baptized, and also set a baptismal date with an eternal investigator, Erwin Aguilar for the 14th of this month. We are very excited for this baptism, as he has been receiving the missionaries for forever, and his wife has been waiting for him to make this decision for years. They have a beautiful family of 5, three young children, and Sister Judith has already received her endowments. We want this family to have the possibility of being eternal, so we`re doing everything we can in these two weeks to get Erwin ready. Also, things with the Familia Lopez are about the same. However, we have the possibility of replacing Otto`s work with a better one that will allow everyone to attend Church and progress towards baptism. So this week is pretty much all good news.

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, October 26, 2009

Email - Received Monday, October 26, 2009

Hey Family!

Hold on just a second...
I LOVE YOU AND WISH I COULD CELEBRATE WITH YOU, BUT I`M HOPING THIS WILL BE ENOUGH FOR NOW! =P Okay, just had to get that out of my system. I`m good now. =D

I know things are crazy at home, and that you won't be able to get much news to me about this week, but that`s just fine. I`m just very glad that you all got the letter and pictures that I sent a couple weeks ago. Everytime I send something in the mail (now that we don't have Pouch Service) I just hope and pray that it gets through and safely into your hands. I wanted to let you know that I`ve now begun to feel an increasing interest and importance about writing letters by hand to my family and friends. I feel like with just the emails and the blog, a few people kinda miss out on the experience of actualy ¨writing to their missionary¨. I still love it when I get a whole bunch of news, a couple attachments, and lots of love in the emails you send, but I`m also hoping that we can start writing each other with renewed purpose and intent. I really enjoyed the letter I received from Kim: it was full of personal thoughts, ideas, questions, and more than anything, intent and love. I loved it, and have read it over a few times again. I`ve written her back and I hope that that letter will get to her this week. Also, I wrote Dad a personal letter this week and got it sent yesterday. Dad, you can expect it to get to you in about two weeks from today. It only costs me a little to send each letter, and it doesn`t hurt my budget at all, so dont worry about that at all. Anyways, the point is that I love you all, and want to start communicating personally with you more often. I truly can't stop missing my family. In my opinion, I couldn`t live without you and I definately would not be the person that I am today, if it weren`t for growing up with and around you all. I do, however, need a couple home addresses that I don't already have. I need the addresses of all the aunts and uncles, then of Katie and Amanda in specific. Thank you for all you do for me, and I hope you`ll get to hear from me soon. =)

Okay, now for some news from the mission. This week has been an emotional and spiritual roller coaster ride. We finally had our Stake Level Baptismal Service this last Saturday. It was a great experience and everyone felt the Spirit extremely strong the whole night. Unfortunately, we only had one baptism from our ward. Finally, and through a lot of effort and prayer, the Hermana Carol Paz was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church. She has waited years for this opportunity, and now she will enjoy all the blessings of full membership in Christ`s Church. The Familia Lopez was not baptized this last week because the ¨blessing¨of Otto, the father of the family, receiving work finally turned out to be a curse in relation to their baptism. He now works in a factory for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. His family cannot attend church because neither of their parents are able to accompany them. This is sad to the extreme, because recently many of the members of the Lopez family have expressed that they have testimonies that the Book of Mormon and the Church are true. We are going to try every avenue we can to get them baptized by the 14th of November. Please send us your support and prayers in this goal. They are six souls that are ready to come home, let's help them get there. =) Anyways, the service was plain and simple. President Peñeda, our stake president here in Amatitlan, and President Baldwin both spoke a little. We also heard a few other talks and had the opportunity as the missionaries of the stake to sing a special number. We sang the Prophet`s First Prayer and I directed. In all, every one of our new converts felt the Spirit and will, in my opinion, always remember their baptisms into the true Church of Christ.

I just got the notice that I`m out of time. Sorry to cut off so suddenly. I love you all and hope to hear more from you next week.

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pictures Received!!

I think the best way for me to share the pictures we received from Preston is to post them on Picasa and share them out for everyone to see. Please follow this link and enjoy the pictures Preston sent recently!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Email - Received Monday, October 19, 2009

Hey Family! I love you!

Sorry that I cut off my email so quick last week, I ran out of time a little faster than I thought I would. Unfortunately I think that`s going to happen again this week, as the mission secretaries and President Baldwin sent everyone a lot of emails in preparation for a big event comming up in the mission. President Don R. Clark, our Area President here in Central America is coming the Mission Guatemala City Central for a tour. He is going to be present in many of our Zone Conferences at the end of the month, and as a General Authority he is to be well-treated and well respected. We are all shaping ourselves up in our behavior, our numbers, and our etiquette so that we give a good impression on President Clark. In conjunction with all these reforms, President Baldwin has been using his time traveling the mission, giving instruction, and setting new goals for the mission. We have instituted what the Quorum of the Twelve call the ¨Rules of Excellence¨ for all missionaries, all over the world. We are all to teach 20 lessons as a companionship, each week. Also we are to have 90% of our progressing investigators in the Sacrament Meeting each Sunday. And additionally we are to use the baptismal commitment invitation in 75% of all the first lessons that we teach to new investigators. Also, this morning, Elder Child told us in District Council that we have two more Rules of Excellence to institute in addition. We are, as companionships, to find 3 new families or 10 new investigators each week. Finally, we are to set, individually, a goal of the amount of new investigators we are going to find for the REMAINING time we all have in the mission. If my goal is going to be the bare minimum, my number will be about 740 new investigators from now until April 5, 2011. That`s a LOT of investigators! But I think I`ll be able to do it with faith and obedience...maybe. =P Just kidding, I have faith that if this is the Lord`s will, I won't just meet that goal, I`ll surpass it.

I have learned much so far in my mission about the Atonement of Christ and the application it has to me, my family, and the rest of our human family in the world. Maybe at the cost of study time that could have been spent focused more on my investigators, I have come to know the tip of the iceberg of the meaning of the Atonement, and am now starting to dive deeper, to understand and apply more. I still have a long way to go, but at least I have two parents and a whole Church of leaders and authors to help me keep learning until I`ve really got it down. Needless to say, if I allow the knowledge that I am now gaining to really plant itself in my life, to really effect every facet of my person, I know that I will come home a different Preston William Tucker than when I left on the mission. Honestly, I dont know if I can say that I will be COMEPLETELY different, but I can say that I will welcome and love this change that the Savior is affecting in my life. Now my focus has changed though, and I am now committed to really BECOMING a missionary, and I am starting to study for my investigators. I enjoy the work and the companions I have the chance to work with; they teach me often and I learn much each day. But please, if you have lessons, scriptures, advise, or counsel that you believe I would benefit NOT hesistate to send it my way. I NEED to change if I want any chance at spending the rest of Eternity with you all, and that`s what I want, so help me get there please! =)

Alright, a little bit of bad news from the mission field here in La Sonora. Otto Lopex got work! But it`s in a bag factory and he now works 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, for dirt cheap, and he isn`t home enough for us to teach his family during the week. Also, his wife is still working every day, including Sunday. This means two things, we have to depend on their faith and works that their testimonies will continue to grow, and they also will not be able to get baptized this Saturday. This was very bad news for us here in La Sonora because we were very ready and excited to have a handful of baptisms after having a whole change with none. However, we will continue to teach them when they are available, and I believe in about three weeks we will be able to baptize them all together as a big, newly-washed family! =) I dont know...I have to be optimistic, otherwise...bad things might happen on both ends. However! Sister Carol Paz WILL be getting baptized this weekend, and she is very excited about it. She told us that she`s getting baptized, even if she has to do it in secret! haha! What a trooper! She`s awesome, and Mom, I think you two would get along famously! She has two teenagers that listen to us, and we`re hoping to baptize them before the end of the change (November 16th). Time has flown this month and we`re almost to Halloween. I`m sad that I`ll miss the festitivies, but I know that you all will make them up to me when I get home! AKA...I expect a HUGE party! ;P

I got Kim`s letter this week, and I loved the words I received. Not all of it was the best news, but I was still extremely stoked to see her name on the envelope and read her news over and over during this week. Kim, I`ve already sent you a letter back. It`s two pages, and will probably get to you in about another week and a half. I think you`re going to like what I had to say, and you`ll definately be reminded that...I love you! I miss my whole family, and I know that you`re all fine, but still I want to advize you to stick to the Spirit. Go to Church, read your Scriptures as a family, have Family Home Evening, and enjoy your time together! Heavenly Father ordained family existence for a reason. It`s a gift for us all, and we better start enjoying/appreciating it, or else He might not think we want it anymore. I`ve learned this much thus far...we are blessed when we keep the commandments, our blessings are lessened and even taken away when we don't. Show Heavenly Father you care, and He will return the Favor. This is my Testimony, and I share it with you in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Email - Received Monday, October 12, 2009


Another good week here in La Sonora has past and we`re doing alright, working hard for the Lord. I`m so happy that I get good news from my Family each week! Yes, I know, Mom is an optimist and she`s probably only going to send me the good stuff...but I still really appreciate it. =) Sounds like everyone is doing their part to contribute to the Spirit having place in our home. This is something I have been studying this to recognize, invite, and use the Spirit`s power. I agree with what Mom has said, it really is all the little habits that, put together, contribute the most to having the Spirit to be with us. It`s part of our baptismal convenants to always have His Spirit to be with us, so we need to live worthy of His presence. Heavenly Father does not dwell in unholy temples because He is a perfect, glorified God. Neither will the Holy Ghost dwell in unholy temples because He too, is a perfect, glorified God...He just hasn`t received His body yet. =) I`ve learned a ton here in the mission, and if the only treasure I would take home with me was the knowledge I gain here, it would be well worth the effort. I continue to gain a hunger for the knowledge of the Gospel, the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. I feel like I will only ever be able to commit the time I`d like to to this study AFTER my mission, when I have entire days to devote to study, but I truly do appreciate the time I am given here. My challenge to my family this week is to really FEAST on the words of Christ. Hunger for time to read the Scriptures, because they are the fountain of eternal knowledge that we`ve graciously been given in these Latter Days to prepare ourselves for the Second Coming. I want to be ready when it happens, so as a sidenote, that means I want my family to be ready for it too. ;P

Alright, I dont have a lot of news to give about our work this week because it`s been a lot of the same. We`re just fighting, teaching, and working to prepare these investigators for the 24th of October. That`s going to be an awesome day and I`ll be sure to take a lot of pictures. All the missionaries in my zone are preparing their investigators to gather in OUR chapel on the 24th and have a massive baptismal service, all together as a family of members, missionaries, and newly found lambs for the fold of Christ. So far my District, all on its own, has 11 people ready and willing to be baptized on this date. We were hoping for about 20 as a zone, but I think we`ll see even more! =) This might be one of the great highlights of my mission, so far and yet to come. I`ll be sure to let you know how the preparations are coming. The one thing I would like to ask is that you all turn your prayers to the Familia Velasquez. We haven`t had a set, successful appointment with them for almost two weeks and I`m getting a little worried. I want them to progress, and I know that Heavenly Father wants that too. Pray that Elder Child and I will have the opportunity to teach them this week and that they will receive the answers to their questions and prayers. I know that your efforts have helped me so much before, that`s why I put my faith in you now. =)

Alright, Mom, this is a little unfair of you to do right now, but I understand your personality, so I`m gunna let it slide this time. =P I`m talking about you requesting a Christmas List, from your missionary, THREE months early! =P hahaha Not cool, I`m trying not to think about spending my Christmas away from my Family for the first time. I think, though, that the only nessecities that I can think of right now would be a couple new white shirts, size 18 please (yes, I like the comfort factor), and maybe a few new sets of garments in my respective sizes. =) Oh, and more pictures! haha I dont know if you have received my letter and memory cards yet, but I completed my end of the ¨bargain¨, now it`s your turn. =) Send as many as you can! And if you`d like to send them on the card, there are plenty of places here that I can print them off on real photo paper. By the way, I loved the family photo that you all took at the Family Reunion. =P It was awesome! Also, I`m out of candy...haha Again, I made it last, but I`m getting cravings for more, now that I`ve been out for about a month. =P For right now, that`s all the nessecities. If you would like to make cool, little treats or toys/gifts for the kids here in Guatemala, go for it! I know they would love it! They treat pretty much everything they get from the missionaries like gold. =D

Alright, well I`m out of time for this week. I love you all and will be writing more letters by hand, hoping that I`ll be able to get some to the extended family and friends too now. Hope, I`m so proud to hear about your experience in Park City. I knew you would do awesome and get really excited to have an up-close experience with real Olympians. My promise is still good, I`ll take you to the Olympics in 2016, ESPECIALLY if you qualify to compete in them! =D That would be have an Olympian sister. =P Alright, really out of time now. I love you, miss you, and think about you all the time.

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, October 5, 2009

Email - Received Monday, October 5, 2009

Hey Family!

I would like to start off this email by letting you know how much I loved General Conference this week and how much it made me realize the true depth of my eternal love for you. Each time I think about you guys here in the mission, my love, or at least the true perception of my love, for each of you three beautiful people seems to deepen. It´s a phenomenom (nice word huh? ;P) that I can actually almost perfectly explain for a change. Through study, prayer, and experience I am coming to understand the Plan of Salvation more and more. Thank you, for supporting me in my decision to serve a mission, because I think, if I hadn`t served, I would´ve never come to study and understand these important priciples until much later in my life. I`m gaining an unquenchable thirst for the principles and mysteries of the Gospel, and know that this fire will continue to grow, even after I come home. With my growing desire to learn and understand more about our Heavenly Family and God`s Plan for all of us, my love for you as my eternal family grows too. I love you, and missed you terribly, but was and am comforted by the fact that I will see you in exactly 18 months from today. So yeah...thanks a lot! =)

Alright, I was having a hard time before I got to the Internet Cafe trying to figure out how I was going to start this email, but luckily Dad provided me with a SLEW (another cool word huh? =P) of questions to answer! =D I only hope that I can answer them all in the time that I have to write this week. Oh, and another FYI, as you can tell from receiving my email on Monday, I didn`t have changes! In fact, my entire district didn`t have changes! Which is awesome, for reasons I will explain later. =)

Okay, now to answering the questions!

1) I actually live outside of my area with another companionship in an area called Linda Vista. We get to our area every day by either walking about 20 minutes, or taking one of the colorful, insanely driven buses for 2 Quetzales or about 25 cents. The buses are almost all old, American-made regular yellow school buses. But they`ve all been repainted in really cool ways (sorry, i didn`t take any pictures of them on the card I just sent =(), and the their drivers push them to the limit in speed and manueverability. That part used to be scary, and now it`s kinda fun- =)

2) I live in a two floor, condo-type home in a colony (community) called San Mateo. All the houses are painted either red or yellow, I`m in a yellow one, the first house on the corner, just after entering the security gate.

3) I live with three other elders: my companion Elder Child, and a companionship of two elders, both named Elder Lopez. Elder Child and the older Elder Lopez entered the field together and have 20 and 19 months, respectively, in the mission. I actually entered with the other Elder Lopez, and he has one less change than I do in actual time served. We sleep on the second floor in wooden bed frames (pretty nice and sturdy) and I also have my study room upstairs. We have a kitchen on the first floor and the Lopezes study down there too. We have a little back yard, which we don't use for anything, and have a pretty simple, bachelor-type life.

4) The types of meals I`ve learned to cook...haha that`s gunna seem to be a kind of joke for you all. Ready? Fried-egg sandwhich, tuna sandwhich, omelets, refried beans...fried again, fruit, guacamole, and on special occasions...meat....or pizza (but we order out for that) =P Sorry, on a missionary`s budget, we dont have much creative license. =P

5) Umm...we dont live in a village...we`re still kinda considered part of the main vast expanse of the central city of Guatemala. Maybe later in my mission I`ll live in a village...I dont know.

6) I have plenty (not enough in my opinion) of time to study in the mornings. Almost every morning, but Sundays, I get to study. Right now I`m studying Preach My Gospel, the Book of Mormon in English and in Spanish, and Jesus the Christ (Chapter 19 today). I love studying and just wish I had all day to read and think about what I learn, but unfortunately I won't have that priviledge until I get home. =(

7) I haven`t kept my journal since I left the MTC, but I`m going to start today and try to write at least a little about my experiences and studies each day from here on out. Sorry about that...but I`m going to do better. =)

8) We eat the regular three meals a day, unless I dont have anything for breakfast, which usually happens just before P-Day when we get to go buy groceries at the local ¨Despensa¨. The Despensa is comparable to a Safeway and is owned by Walmart. Their motto is ¨the lowest prices, or we`ll give you back the difference¨ hahaha

9) Recently there was a rule in place to prevent us from eating or accepting food from members and investigators, but it was lifted and now, YES, we can eat with members and do so maybe once a week. We do have members that are our designated cooks, so I`m not counting those as ¨eating with members¨.

10) I dont have any emails or addresses to give you so that you can write to my member friends. Why? Because I cannot give my time to delivering and translating your letters for them. I`m sorry, but being a missionary is a little too time consuming for that right now. =)

11) Yes, I have an interview with President each change. Usually it is just a 5 minute interview where he asks how I`m doing and if I need anything from him. I haven`t had any special interviews with him besides these, but I think I may have one at the end of this change. For what? I`ll tell ya later. =P

12) Yes, so far I have been able to both see and hear the attachments that you all have sent. The only thing is that pictures take up a lot of memory and I`m only allowed so much. I was even able to listen to the voicemail that Pres. Cook left. That was cool for me. Thanks! =)

13) Our ward, La Sonora, has church services at 8AM on Sundays, and yes, pretty much everywhere besides in the coast, we enjoy the regular three hour block schedule. =)

14) La Sonora is a ward of who-knows-how-many members, but usually we have an attendance of about 140 members each Sunday. We share the ward building with Linda Vista and the building was just completed about a year ago. It is a big, beautiful chapel with an ¨H¨ form factor. =P Kinda insteresting, but very effective and very clean. We like it. =P

15) P-Days! Wow...that will take a little more detail, if you want a good picture of it, so right now I`ll just give you the basics. We get to shop for groceries on Tuesday, and rest, and meet with the rest of our Zone. We usually end up getting together in groups and doing an activity each week. We use internet on Monday, so our P-Days are shortened to 5PM. I`ll write a letter with more details later about what I`ve done so far on P-Day.

Okay, well I only have 4 minutes left, so I gotta say goodbye. I love you so much and I really enjoy the fact that you all are faithful, beautiful members of the True Church of Christ. =) Dad, I share your liking for Elder Ballard`s talk and would like to establish a closer relationship with you through handwritten letters, more often, and more detailed. I love you all and hope that all the mail we`ve sent gets through safely. Until next week...I love you to eternity and...well...beyond! =D

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Email - Received Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hey Everyone! =D

I was a little bugged that yet again this change I was going to have to wait until Wednesday to write you all, but it was for a good reason as Monday was Zona Amatitlan`s combined Zone Conference with the two coastal zones. We had a great experience and were given a lot of new instruction in order to achieve a few new goals that President Baldwin has set for the Mission Guatemala City Central for the coming year. To fill you all in on the biggest change/goal he has set for us, I`ll have to give you a little bit of background. The Central Mission, for the last 6-8 years has had a pretty steady legacy of success in baptisms to the amount of about 1000-1100 baptisms per year. President Baldwin has received the spiritual impression that it is time to change that even trend. He has based his new expectations on the scriptoral account of the Sons of Mosiah and their success among their brothers, the Lamanites. I don't have the scripture reference on hand, but there is a verse in Mosiah that talks about the fruits of the labor of the Sons of Mosiah. They, through their faith on the Lord, Jesus Christ, and their hard labors were able to baptize THOUSANDS among the Lamanites, the same people who I have the opportunity to teach today in Guatemala. President Baldwin wants us, as a mission, to meet that standard. Instead of baptizing ONE thousand per year, in the year 2010, President Baldwin wants to work towards a goal of reaching 2010 baptisms, effectively doubling our success as a mission. We were all very excited and even a little bit nervous about this goal, but the general consensus is that we CAN and we MUST reach this goal. I`ve learned through my studies that one of the main purposes of the Missionary Work as a whole is to speedily prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ. That calls for a steady, exponential increase in the world-wide baptism rate and success in the missions of the Church. We cannot be content with holding strong at 1000 souls a year. We MUST do better, especially if we would like to see the face of the Savior return to His Earth before our bodies are laid to wait, in the grave, for the Resurrection. So there ya go, the great work of MY personal mission is to help my field of proselyting reach the goal of baptizing THOUSANDS. President Baldwin has assured us that if each companionship, each month, will baptize one family of souls, we will all reach this beautiful goal. You asked me to recount to you a little miracle that I`ve seen in my mission this week, but I found that THIS miracle is much too grand to be classified as ¨little¨. =P

I know in my heart that this is the Lord`s will and I will do my very best to bring it to pass. As a preparatory month of practice and learning, this month of October, Elder Child and I hope to baptize TWO families. The Lopez Family is progressing wonderfully. They came to church this week and loved it. The only challenges that they face is finding work for Hno. Otto, getting Sunday off for their Mother, and keeping the Word of Wisdom. I say ¨their ONLY¨ challenges because I now know that through faith (which they all have =P) truly ALL things are easily possible. MY faith is growing with theirs. I hope YOUR faith can grow with mine. And I hope that ALL our faith will help bring to pass the finishing of this great work. This Church will fill the Earth, and Christ will reign personally thereon. I am sure of it. The only thing that I can do is work as hard as I can to help it come to pass in MY lifetime (which I would love to see, rather badly)! =D

I was so excited to hear about all the family news and to know that, although we all pass through trials of faith and strength, my family can and WILL come out on top of it all, and before rejoicing in themselves, recognize the Hand of our Heavenly Father in all things. Keep working on making your perspective eternal, because we really are a Forever Family. I`ve entered the Mountain of the Lord, the Holy Temple, and I know for certain that my family was sealed by the only authority powerful to do so in this world, the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ. I am more and more grateful each day for the moment that I knelt at a Temple altar across from my parents and my sister, and we were locked together, our futures and lives intricately intertwined for eternity. I still remember that moment every-so-clearly and I hope that all these families I teach and baptize in Guatemala will have the same opportunity after being faithful and sufficiently strong to endure and enter the doors of the Temple worthily. Unfortunately I know that many people will and always have used their free agency to choose the opposite path, but I know that through faith we can acheive all things. I love you all and hope to hear from you soon. I have sent a handwritten letter to my family, which should get to you in a couple weeks. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to type it up and post it for all to see. =) Pictures are coming soon too, so get excited. About 230 are on their way for your veiwing pleasure. =D

Next week is changes and I hope that I will not have to change my companion OR my area, but God`s will be done and not my own. This means that it`s possible that I wont be able to write again until next Wednesday. However, if you hear from me on Monday, it means that I got my wish and I have stayed exactly where I want to be, La Sonora for another 6 weeks. I hope to hear all sorts of quirky, fun, or serious news next week, so keep me posted. I love you and miss you every day. Take care. Until next week...

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, September 21, 2009

Email - Received Monday, September 21, 2009

Hey Everyone! =D

Had a great week and, as always, it`s wonderful to get love and news from home. I miss you all, and thought about you a lot this week! Conference is coming up, and in a kinda cool way, for me in my mission that means that I`m coming up on the 6 month mark. I`m not going to lie, I`m very excited to cross that mark, but I`m not surprized at all that I DO have very mixed feelings about it. It means that a quarter of my mission is behind me, time that I can never re-experience or re-serve, time that I`ve dedicated to Heavenly Father, and time in which I`ve changed.

I love the mission. The mission excites me. Being part of the Work of God is a calling that I would not trade for any quality of life I might have had if I had been home for these 6 months. I still have a lot to do, but I can finally see the path beneath my feet. I can't see very far ahead, but I know now that I dont NEED to see far ahead. All I need to do is put everything in the Hand of Him that has the Power to Save. The path may wind and turn, but as long as I put my faith in Him, I`ll always be headed in the right direction.

News about what`s going on in La Sonora right now. Spanish is still progressing nicely, everyone comments to me about how surprized they are by the abilities that are supposedly mine. I know that they really aren`t mine though. Yes, I`m learning a language and I will have the talent to speak it for the rest of my life, but the ability comes from Heavenly Father and his messenger, the Holy Ghost. We are having relatively good success right now. We are teaching three individual families that we see have very bright futures in the gospel. They are not without their challenges, as some have been trained rather firmly in other religious beliefs, and some are not trained at all. We will need your love and prayers to help them all soften their hearts, humble themselves before Christ, and enter the waters of baptism to take His name upon them. Pray that Vicky Velasquez will find her answers, that she will put her faith in the Lord, and that she and her family will find what they are searching for in the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ. Pray that the Lopez family will forgive us missionaries of our faults, and keep going in their course to becoming faithful members of the church as a future forever family. And pray that the children and extended family of Carol Paz will soften their hearts, open their schedules, and receive the Restored Gospel. =) Hermana Carol will be baptized this Sunday and we are very excited about it! We are focusing our efforts in helping all our investigators progress more rapidly and also keep the cycle going by finding new investigators.

General Conference IS coming up and I`m realizing that it`s going to be like Christmas in the mission. We are all very stoked about it and are preparing to have an awesome weekend in two weeks. I will have the opportunity to watch and listen in our ward building in a room specially designated for broadcast in English. I`m excited that I wont have to pray too hard for the Gift of the Inperpretation of Tongues. =P I`m not sure whether we will all watch as a Zone or not, but any way will be cool with me. I hope all my Family has the opportunity to fully enjoy the blessing that IS General Conference. Let me know all about your thoughts and feelings in the days afterwards.

Again, I love you and am SO proud of all of you! Dad, I`m so excited that you`re going to learn Spanish! Mom, I`m so stinkin proud that you`re keeping with your workout routine and that you`re seeing the results you waited patiently for! Hope, keep going with your school and especialy with swim! I wish you all the luck in the world for your first meet of the season! I love you all! Until next week!

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, September 14, 2009

Email - Received Monday, September 14, 2009

Hey Mom, Dad, and Hope!
And all of my other beloved friends and Family.

I`ve looked forward to Email Day all week this week to report on the news and the life of a Guatemalan missionary, and the week just kept getting better and more interesting as I waited. As I said in my last letter, sorry about the unannounced delay of my email last week. This week I have time to describe the reason for the delay. It was caused by a service project that the missionaries were a trial group for last week on Monday. Like Mom said in her email this week, if you check out the Guatemala news, the southern part of the country is having a realy hard crisis of food shortage because this rainy season hardly happened in that part of Central America. The crops depend on lots of rain falling each summer, but this year, for some unknown reason, it didn`t rain there. So practically all of their crops failed. =( BUT the Church, being the awesome support of the Human Family that it is, has committed supplies and money, along with other businesses and organizations, to put together food essential packs to send to the people who are currently in need. I spent Monday packing black beans, corn, sugar, and other essentials into about 30lb sacks to send. I think I heard that their eventual goal is to send 20,000 packs. Unfortunately there isn`t much that I know about that you all could do in the states to help. Just pay your tithing and offerings and support the Church, and they will continue to power through these trials here. I will also be able to spend tomorrow at he service project again, although it`s kindof a bummer because tomorrow, the 15th of September, is the Guatemalan Independence Day and also was supposed to be our P-Day. I don`t know why things conspire to take away cool P-Day experiences, but they have done and are doing the same tomorrow. Oh well, I`ll have P-Day on Wednesday and spend the holiday trying to help out as much as I can. =)

Yet again, I cant thank my family enough with the news, love and support that they send me every week. Really, even when nothing big happens, its the little things that really get me. I almost cried when I read a few familiar phrases that Mom and Dad sent this week, I`m a man and I`ll admit it willingly. I miss you all so much and I am truly sorry that I haven`t sent a written letter or a memory card lately. The mail system in Amatitlan Zone is kinda messed up. We can only receive and send mail when we meet with the Zone Leaders, and that isn`t as often as it was in Villa Nueva. Dont worry though, I`m working on it. I`m going to send all that I can this week and hope that it gets home soon. Keep the emails, letters, fasting, and prayers coming. The next project that I would like my family to work on is praying or fasting for our investigators to feel the deep spiritual need to attend church services at 8AM. I know it`s not something we really like to do, wake up early on Sunday and get dressed in Sunday Best, but in order for our investigators to progress, they need to be present in Sacrament Meeting. =) Okay? Great.

Seriously though, good job these last two weeks! Big pay off! =) We now have 4 new families that we are working with, hoping that they will come to church, and asking Heavenly Father to bless them with answers to their first true-intent prayers. =) And I have an awesome story to tell about this weekend and I hope you all enjoy it. Here it goes. So, on Saturday morning I got back to my area after having 24 hours of divisonals with another missionary in his area. My companion (who`s parents are named Jeff and Mary Jane Child, by the way Mom, if you`d like to try and look them up, they live in the part of Bountiful that`s closest to the Temple. =P) Anyways, my companion had left the night open so that we could go to a kinda upscale Colony in our area wher practically all the Ward Leaders live, so that we could go correlate and meet with their families. What he forgot was that they were all going to the Temple for a ward temple night on Saturday. So we were left with 3-4 hours of open time. We used it to get to know a litlte more about our area, but eventually we ran out of ideas. We were walking towards our home, but Elder Child received inspiration to visit an obscure, forgotten reference that a missionary who used to be in our area had received and tried to contact before he was changed. This woman lives in a set of apartment buildings that we had never visited before (not gunna lie, it`s because it looks like a sketchy neighborhood at night) but we went anyways and tried to find her. As we climbed the stairs and got to the top, there was a woman hanging her clothes out to dry, who turned, and in the darkness called out ¨Elder Pande?¨ We replied that we were not Elder Pande, but were looking for a woman named Carol Paz. She was the woman we were looking for, and she invited us in to her apartment to talk. We got to know her a little and found out that she used to receive the missionaries in her old house, was about to be baptized, but suddenly moved away. She was the most prepared person I have ever met and she accepted another appointment with her whole family for last night, Sunday. We then went to see her the next night, where she was waiting with her 18 year old son, and her aged father. Unfortunately her 16 year old daughter had to leave, but left saying that she was excited to hear more about our message the next weekend. =) We taught a wonderful first lesson, everyone participated, and we put baptismal dates with Carol and her son Luis. =P After the lesson, to help Luis with his school tests, we gave a Priesthood Blessing, and then to help with Carol`s father`s health, Julio is his name, we gave a Blessing of Health. Carol`s happiness and faith after all of this was almost tangible! It was a wonderful feeling! After all was said and done, including the closing prayer, we set our next appointments with them, for the next weekend, and Julio asked us to stop by during the week and bring him a bunch of Liahona magazines for him to read! How awesome is that?! I thought it was fantistically, miraculously spectacular. =) I hope you all liked the story. =D

Well, I`m about out of time for the week, so I have to conclude. I love you all, just like always. The time is starting to become less of a problem and more of a blessing. I`m beginning to fall in love with the missionary work and the spiritual high that comes with helping others accept Christ in their lives and their hearts. I want you all to know that I can truly say, with all my soul, that I am happy. I miss you all, and will surprizingly see you all in about a year and a half. =D Until next week...I love you and may God and His Son, Jesus Christ be with you.

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Email - Received Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hey Family!

I`m so so so sorry that I wasn`t able to write until now, but this week's schedule got a little thrown off by a big service project that my district and the Church in general is participating in this week. I`ll explain it a little more next week, because right now I only have about 10 more minutes to write. But I`m very grateful that I had the chance to write just a little about my week to my beloved Family.

I love receiving news and letters from you all, whenever I get one it puts an almost permanent smile on my face. Grandma Welling, I got both of the letters you sent by mail in August, so don't worry, I loved every word! =) I am sorry to report though, that because the Central mission doesn`t receive Pouch service anymore, we don't receive our DearElder letters anymore either. =( But it`s okay though, becuase just a few words from my Family each week is enough to keep me going for the whole week. I am finding more and more strength in the Atonement of the Savior through my studies and the practical application of His love that I constantly see here in the mission. I still miss everyone absolutely and completely, but I AM beginning to understand why and how missionaries come to love to mission.

A few things I have to shout out in this letter: =) Grandma Tucker, Happy Birthday! I love you and hope you are doing well. Know that your grandson is doing his best to serve the Lord and will come home with many stories and lots of love to share with his family.
Country Crossing Ward Guys! I love all of you, my friends and neighbors. I was really sad to hear about the ward boundaries getting changed, but I want you all to know how proud I am of you and your decisions to serve missions and to support your friends and family in their own missions as well.

To my Extended Family, come together! Do everything you can to trust in one another and to trust in the Savior. He wants more than anything for us to apply His Atonement to our lives and allow our bodies, hearts, and souls to heal. We become stronger as we use our strength in strengthening others...and you can quote me on that!
I love you, miss you, and think about you constantly, but I am also working on extending our eternal family, here in Guatemala. Dont worry about me, our Heavenly Father and the Savior sustain me, as does your love and support.

I would love to share more with you but I`m running our of time. I DO need to share the most important news of the week with you though. Your fasting and prayers paid off...BIG TIME! We found 2 new families of 8 members each! In total, 10 people of baptismal age and a growing generation that can be blessed by the Lord`s love. I love you all for your determination to be obedient, work to progress, and help me with your prayers. Until next week, I love you.

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, August 31, 2009

Email - Received Monday, August 31, 2009

Hey Family! =)

So I don`t have a ton of news, but what I do have is all good. I`m going to love this change. Elder Child and I are already becoming really good friends. It`s great to finally have a companion that I can truly communicate with. It`s interesting that talking in English all the time isn`t really effecting my Spanish much, although I`m noticing that my understanding depends a lot on my getting used to the different accents and manners of speech of all the members and people we visit. We had a rather successfull week doing what we call ¨depositing¨, which basically just means having a lot of lessons with members and new converts trying to deposit trust in an emotional bank account with them, so that later, when we invite them to participate in the work, they will have a lot of trust and confidence in us as missionaries. I already feel very at home with the new ward and the members were all very welcoming to me. It`s always kinda funny to me trying to explain the pronunciation of my name to Latins. They can't make the ¨uh¨ sound very well, so I always explain my name as Elder Tooker instead. It`s a lot easier and really it`s not my name that matters for these two years. I`ve found here in La Sonora that we dont have a lot of new investigators to teach because a whole bunch just got baptized in the last few changes. It`s a cycle that likes to repeat itself in the mission: lots of people to teach...then baptisms...then not many people to teach...then it starts over again when the missionaries get into gear and find new people to teach. =) We`re very positive that we`re going to have a lot of success and we`re hoping we have at least two changes together so that we can make a lot of awesome things happen here in our area. Just please, pray and fast for the purpose of our success in finding new people to teach. That`s really general, I know, but it`s what we need right now. I have faith that your prayers and efforts on our behalf will help us tremendously, so keep them coming. =)

As for cooking, this week I`ve tried a few packages of soup, some beans, tuna fish sandwhiches (yes, Grandma Welling, I`m absolutely loving them and they really are wonderful to survive on in the mission =P), and the occassional invite from a member to eat with them. I`m doing well, I feel well, and of course, the multivitamins are really helping me out a lot! (THANKS MOM! =P) I have regular cereal for breakfast and I`m not really lacking anything in the food department at all. I have noticed that buying and cooking our own food ends up being more expensive in the long run, but that`s okay because I`ve commited myself not to spend my money needlessly like a lot of other Elders do. They always end up with nothing at the end of the month, whereas (even with having a very expensive first week here in La Sonora) I still was able to have more than 400 Quetzals left over at the end of August. =) It`s okay Dad, you can be proud of your son The Saver. =D haha No, but seriously, I`m doing great, pretty much on all fronts right now. My point of view is changing, the things I talk about are changing too, my whole person is changing into the missionary that I want to be. I know that I still have a little over a year and a half to serve left, but I`m committed to loving every change and doing the best I can to help my companions and the Lord do our work here in Guatemala City Central Mission. =)

Okay, well I got an email from Josh last week and didn`t have time to return his letter, so I`m going to do that now. I want you all to know that I still think about you all day every day. I use you as examples in my lessons, as helpful suggestions for my investigators, and as comfort for those that are passing through trials. Thank you all for your examples that you continually show to me and these, your brothers and sisters in Guatemala. Keep up the excellent work and I will write again next week. =)

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Email - Received Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dear Family and Beloved Friends,

I know you all are really interested to hear about what happened with the changes this week, so I`m not going to disappoint. I`ll tell you all about it in this letter, but first I wanted to thank everyone for their prayers, thoughts, and support. I don't think you all, or even I, will be able to fully comprehend the magnitude of what your thoughts and prayers do for me in the mission. Just knowing that my family and friends are supporting me every step of the way and that your prayers are always with me is a comfort beyond description. I`ve met a lot of missionaries (too many in my opinion =/) that have little or no support from home, and I`ve seen and know the difference it makes when that support is present. I can't imagine how I would feel or work without your support, so eternal thanks I send to you all, with love, from me. =) And just to soothe a lot of irritated (yeah, i know that was an overstatement Dad ;P) people about me sending pictures, I plan on writing a few letters back to the States this week, and my memory card will be included on the one I send to my family. It`s got just a little more than 200 pictures on it, ready for your viewing pleasure, so I hope you all will be more than a little satisfied when it gets home. =) I AM very sorry that I haven`t been very good about sending those cards home, but with a new change comes a new opportunity to develope a new routine too. I hope to improve my studies, my letter writing, and my picture sending drastically from here on out. So dont worry, be happy! =D

Okay, so about these changes...I know you all must be dying to hear what happened to me...And that`s good because I`m dying to tell you. I had a lot of things going FOR me in this change, so everything I have to say is wonderful! I was moved to a new area (my second) and I also received a new companion (my third in the field). My area is in the Amatitlan Zone, it`s called La Sonora, and it`s still really close to the capital, although it is still classified as a mountain zone...I think. In fact, I can almost see my old area from where we live, which is really cool for me. =) It was tough to leave my old area in Promision because of the deep, spiritual relationships I had the opportunity to develope with a large portion of our ward members and many new converts. I will always remember what good times and trials we helped each other through, and I know that I will want to visit that area again someday. I would love for you, Mom, Dad, and Hope, to meet those people who had such a large impact on me and took care of me while the Lord took care of them. =) They all would love to meet my family, so you have that to look forward to! Now, about my companion. Elder Rodriguez left to return to his house in El Salvador yesterday and I imagine that he is very happy to be home. However, this is not what is important to me now. My new companion is a North American from Bountidul, Utah, named Elder Child. =) He is almost 21 years old, and has about 18 months so far in the mission. He is also our District Leader, which will be awesome because I`ll have the opportunity to learn how to be a leader in the mission a lot better by his example. Everything that I`ve heard about Elder Child from other missionaries is wonderful and I have a strong feeling that I`m going to really enjoy this change with him. =) He is obedient, well-spoken, has awesome spanish, and teaches with power and authority. We are going to work very well and very hard together, I already know this to be true. After hearing about my last change, I`m sure all of you understand how excited I am for the opportunities that I will have in this change, and how grateful I am for the confidence that the Lord has shown me by blessing me in so many wonderful ways. I`ve only been with Elder Child for two days, but we`ve already taught 6 lessons and found a new, small family to teach. We`ve also already given a bit of service, and might have new teaching opportunities from that experience too. =P The members and recent converts that I`ve met in my new area so far are excellent, and support the missionary work whole-heartedly. I`m happy that my family can identify with that, as you all are praying, writing, and supporting the missionary effort through me as well. I do urge you all, though, that if you have missionaries assigned to your wards, to do everything you can to help them. Give them suggestions of friends that they can teach, people who might be ready to accept the Gospel. The best work in all the mission is done through the members of the Church. As Latter-Day Saints, you all have an opportunity and responsibility to help the Lord advance his work, so please, support your OWN missionaries too, not just me. Sound like a good deal? I hope so. =D

We live in a small, two-floor house in a nice colony named San Miguel, but the coolest thing is that we live with two other latin elders, both named Elder Lopez. It`ll be great to live and work with these two other elders and to share our experiences and give advise when it is needed. We dont have a regular cook, and we are on our own for breakfast and dinner. I`m trying a bunch of soups, and some local common dishes, so that I can learn to cook them and not starve in the process. (haha, Preston...starve? Oh please... =P) We DO, however, have certain members that cook lunch for us and certain days, and the food that we`ve had so far is really good. Not extremely filling, but still really cool.

Okay, so my computer just yelled at me that I only have five minutes left, so I`m gunna wrap it up. Sorry I didn`t have a lot of time to email today, I had a lot of notices from the mission and letters from my old area to read too. Next week you all will get more information, but I hope you are satisfied and happy with how my changes went. Please know that my only feelings about this change are wonderful. I`m so excited to keep working, in a new and improved way than before. Keep praying for me and I know your prayers will bless others that I will encounter in my path. Yes, I will ¨Enjoy¨ my mission, I`m dedicated to not just ¨Complete¨ it now. My outlook has changed, and I`m sure you all will see those changes very apparently in the next letters that I write. Okay, well, for now know that more letters and pictures will bve on their way soon, I love you to eternity and back, and I wish you the best of everything.

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Email - Received Monday, August 17, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

Just like last week, I´m not sure where to start in this letter. Today my feelings are so completely mixed that I´m not even sure WHAT I feel. I know that in regards to the amount of work my companion and I did this week, it was the worst week I´ve ever had in my mission. We were only able to teach 4 lessons...the ENTIRE week. Everything fell through. My companion ends his mission in a week, and I feel like I haven´t had a Senior Companion for almost the entire change. I´m trying to keep up with my study and exercise goals, but when we´re not meeting our work goals (however low they may be) it´s so hard to complete anything else. I don't mean to complain or whine, because I still feel very privileged to be part of the Lord´s work, but this week has got me down. I just feel I´m not using the Lord´s time I have something to really repent for...I dont know what to do to make this week better before changes next Monday. I´m going to study hard today and tomorrow, looking for my answers with a prayer in my heart, and I hope I find what I´m looking for. I just hope that my informing you all of this doesn´t lower your spirits. Know that I am still able to develop my testimony of the Gospel, I still really enjoy my studies, and I´m still enjoying being a missionary. There just isn´t much to show for all those good feelings inside me in the form of results this week. That´s all. =/

Anyways, it could just be the weather...haha Here the rainy season (winter) lasts from May to October and is drawing to a close too. It´s weird to everyone here though because we really haven´t had a lot of rain this winter. Nobody knows what to think. So while summer is ending for you all in the States, it´s just about to begin here in Guatemala. With changes coming up, I´m just hoping that the Lord doesn´t have a mind to send me to the coast to experience the summer there. I´m actually really hopeful that I´ll get sent to the mountains...but I dont know what´ll happen. I´ll be able to email next Wedesday to let you all know what happened with changes.

In any case, I´m mentally ready to accept any change or absence of change that comes. If I change, start. If not, I have more opportunity to continue working here in Promision and to turn my area arround from it´s downward trend. It´ll be good to get a new companion. I´m kinda hoping that I get someone from the States, but if I get another Latino, that´ll be cool too. Elder Rodriguez is definately ready to go home. He officially goes home in a week from today, but I think he checked out last monday...I dont know what to think. At any rate, new companion=new experience and new experience=good for me right now.

I have a little bit of bad news about my ward right now: none of my recent convert families came to church yesterday. I have no idea why, but I plan on finding out today. Our ward really needs a focus on reactivation and retention...but it seems like the members are too preoccupied to participate. That may become my mission this week...just to spend my time teaching about the importance of participation in the work. Pray for me, that the message the Spirit has prepared for the families I´m going to teach will find it´s way out of my mouth and into their hearts. That´s the support I need this week from Home. But the support I received this week was awesome too! =)

Mom, I got my package on Tuesday! How cool is that?! That was so fast and it was completely safe and sound when it got to me. I think we only get packages when we have Zone conference, but the fact that you sent it and it got to me in time was great! The candy...awesome. M&M´s and Swedish Fish are always classics and an excellent choice (good job Family!), but if there´s a next time...hold the Starburst... haha Not really a huge fan and noone here really likes them either. Couldn´t tell you why if I tried. Sorry. =P Also, Tidwell Family, I loved all your letters. It was great to hear all about how you´re enjoying your summer and you´re doing your best to make yourselves better every day. Aunt Ronna, I really appreciated the sincerity of your letter, and I want you to know how much I love you. You really are (even though you might not know it) a great influence in my life. You alays perservere and support your kids, wonderful traits in my opinion. It doesn´t matter how many words or emotions you use to express yourself, as long as you keep your heart the beautiful size that is (or help it grow, too) you´ll enjoy your life each day. Family, thank you so much for being good examples to each other.I know that you may all just be sending me the best of the news, but I still appreciate everything you do to help others. Mom, haha, you rock! Now I´ve got a virtual arsenal to fight off allergies and other ailments caused by the wonderful (sarcasm anyone? =P) insects here in Guatemala. I dont think I´ll be asking for more meds for a while now...and the vitamins should last me past the One Year Mark. Awesome, all I have to say about that. I think I´ve really gained a testimony of multivitamins, as weird as it sounds. I always feel better during the day when I have a multivitamin in the morning. Maybe its placebo effect...maybe not, who cares? =P And last, but certainly not the least in ANY way, the píctures! Whoever´s idea it was to buy that keychain and load it with pictures of the whole´re a genius. I was high on life all the way to Friday just because of that little thing. =D Seeing all your beautiful faces and feeling your love was a marvelous experience, which I could not help but share with my new family here as well. They all thought it was really cool to put faces with the stories that I tell them. I hope someday I´ll get to do the same for you all when I get back. =) Oh, and Mom/Metzie, the jeans...umm I´ve got some news about those... Ummm...they FIT! HAHA! They fit beautifully and I love them, absolutely love them. =D And the Bear Lake well does my Family know me?! =D I LOVE IT! Okay, my freak out is over, but seriously, you guys really scored with the package. I love you all, not just because of what you sent, but how much it reminded me of the depth of my eternal love and connection with you all. =) Thank you...thank you, thank you, thank you all. You made your missionary son/cousin/nephew extremely happy this week. Remember my love and try to share yours with others with your actions and prayers. They need a taste of your awesomeness too, ya know. =)

Anyways, I don't have much more time so it´s time to say goodbye until next Wednesday. Remember, don't freak out when you don't get a letter on Monday. it´s coming...have patience. =P I love you all to the Moon and back several thousands times. I pray for you often and think about you always. Your missionary truly loves you, and still can't wait to see you when he gets home.

Love Always,

-Elder Preston William Tucker