Hey Family and Friends,
I got a lot of love in your emails today, Mom and Dad, and I wanted to finally return the favor by answering your questions and telling you all about what´s been going on with my mission. I never thought so many people would be interested to hear about the everyday life of a missionary, but that´s what you all are asking about, so this email will be mostly about that. But first of all I wanted to thank everyone that sends me news and love. Dad, I´m glad you understand that the news from home keeps me grounded. Yes, I know it does not make it easy to completely "lose" myself in the work¨, but it keeps me sane and that´s a good thing. =P I´m happy that everyone had a good time over the weekend with 4th of July and everything. Good to hear that the Bear Lake House is serving it´s purpose perfectly by bringing family and friends together in comfort and love. I´ve been realizing lately that everyone, all my friends at least, are either going on their missions, busy with school, or getting married. Kinda weird to think that if I were home it would kinda be a ghost town for me in a way...but it´s great that everyone is enjoying their lives in all their separate ways. I have to strengthen my resolve to serve every day because in reality, this work is definitely not easy if you´re doing it right, but know that all your experiences, love, prayers, and happiness gives me that sufficient strength each day. Okay, now I guess I´ll get to what you´ve all been waiting for...my description of my mission life so far! =)
Okay, so the missionary schedule is pretty solid and I must say that I´m really liking it so far. The study time in the morning is invaluable and I enjoy it every day. Currently I´m studying the Bible in English and the Book of Mormon in Spanish, but I think I´m going to shift my focus to Preach My Gospel and just the Book of Mormon in both languages. I´m finding myself lacking in scriptures that I can share to enhance my lessons (my trainer is full of good ones though, so he saves my butt a few times a day by jumping in to share a scripture that supports what I´m saying) so I want to study in a way that will fix that problem. We get one hour to study personally whatever we´d like (but we try to gear it towards what our investigators need), then we get one hour to study as a companionship, usually we use this to plan our lessons and then study together the material that we want to share, then we have an hour of language study. My companion usually uses this hour as personal study, as his English is sufficient for his desires, and I try to use it to study my scriptures in Spanish. I need to find a more effective way to do this, so I´m going to try a few new things this week. I´ll let you know what ends up working well for me. After study we usually either have about an hour to two hours to go out and find new people to teach or give service to the members and others. Sometimes this time is effective and successful, other times it isn´t. Contacting and knocking doors is really just hit and miss and it´s hard to find the ¨elect¨ (those that are ready to hear the gospel) that way. Luckily we have a ward full of people that have good references to give us and we´ve found our best investigators through friends and family that our ward members would like us to teach. I´ve had my best experiences in the homes of these reference investigators, the spirit is so strong when you´ll teaching someone who is ready and has a desire to learn of their inheritance in the Gospel of Christ. After the finding activities we have lunch. Now, as for food and meals here in Guatemala, I´m definitely NOT in Utah OR Arizona anymore... Most often we get beans, rice, and eggs. Sometimes we get a really good cheese called queso fresco, but most often, the food is the same. The good thing is that I´m really content with the food that our cocinera cooks us. She finds ways to make things taste great. Like her beans...surprisingly...i love em. Mixing black beans and rice makes everything taste good enough to enjoy. She makes great eggs, but notas good as Mom´s. Sometimes (very rarely, it seems) we get meat in some form. Not even chicken is really abundant here. When we DO get meat, it´s in small portions and just makes me miss Mom´s wonderful cooking. But don't worry, I´m never really hungry and I´m definitely not in bad shape at all. Everything agrees with my stomach and I haven´t really had any problems so far. Now remember that this is just my first area...I still have a lot to experience later. =P But yeah, moral of the food story, I miss Mom´s cooking and I could really go for a green salad and a steak right now. ;P After lunch we just try to fill our day with visits to investigators to teach, members to earn trust and give service, and less active members to reactivate and reanimate their testimonies. Luckily we have pretty good success with keeping our days full. When we were sick it was hard to leave the house, but we did, even though we weren´t at 100% efficiency. This week we are rededicating ourselves to increasing our work load and finding a lot of new people to teach. Pray for us. Pray for the people we will talk to, that their hearts will be softened and that they will receive us so we can bring them Home. Truly I can feel the Joy that Heavenly Father feels every time a soul decides to return to Him. It´s a wonderful feeling and my experiences with it so far are priceless. We work hard almost every day, and when we get home we´re always tired, hungry, and happy. I don't think we´ve really come home unhappy yet. My trainer ranks me as his second favorite companion yet and I would have to say that I feel wonderful that my experience is the same. I love teaching and living with Elder Molina. He´s a wonderful person, laid back, funny, knowledgeable, spiritual, and just a bright soul. I really believe that my prayers inspired President Baldwin to make him my trainer and I will always be grateful for that decision. I wont forget my trainer and I am having a wonderful first change. Always 5 full weeks of success, challenges, trials, and love. I´m seeing and feeling the same way that I did before my mission, which is through the eyes of a loving Heavenly Father. The way He sees His children, the Earth that His Son created...it´s all just perfect and beautiful. Truly, there are challenges here in Guatemala that I have never imagined before in my life, but the people here are a happy, peaceful people. They have great spiritual potential, although they may be stuck living in poverty the rest of their lives. I´m eternally grateful that I was sent here and I know that it was no coincidence. Jason would say that I was made to Serve here and I think he´d be right. I love Guatemala and plan oncoming back again and again after I´ve served my full mission. I love you all, but I´m out of time for today. I will share more specific experiences with you soon, don't worry. Now I hope a few of your questions are answered and if you have more, don't be afraid to ask! Love you Mom, don't worry, I´m taking good care of my self and miss you every day. Love you Dad, and I´m so grateful for the example an the standards you set for me throughout my life, they are truly invaluable to me now. Love you Hope, hope everything is going well for you and that you are enjoying your summer. Love you Family, your love and support strenghthens me sufficiently to finish each day with a smile on my face and love in my heart. And I love you, my Friends, your strength is mine. I believe that i chose my friends well in my life and I will forever be grateful for your examples and words of comfort and support for me. Josh, I hope you are excited to go to Peru and that your MTC experience has been all you hoped it would be.Now I have to go. Talk to you all next week! Can´t wait to hear about more for Home.
-Elder Preston William Tucker