Hey Mom, Dad, Hope, and Everyone!
Sorry that this letter is later than usual, but we had changes this week and on change weeks we have our internet time on Wednesday. As for the update on how these changes effected me...well I have a lot to tell and not much time to tell it. I only got half of my wish, I was allowed to stay in my area of Promision, which is a wonderful blessing. As for the other half...my Trainer, Elder Molina, got changed to a different area and is going to train again while being District Leader in his new Zone. That´s a lot of responsibility and I know he can handle it, but I´m extremely sad that I didn´t get more time with him. I think out of all my companions so far he has been the best friend and the one with which I´ve created the strongest bond. I will never forget him, and I think he would love to come visit us in the States when I´m done with my mission. He has three changes left, has already completed 14, but still told me with sincerity that I was his best companion yet. He taught me how to have fun in the mission, and I´m thinking now that his advice is going to be invaluable as I am going to HAVE to have fun to keep going. I see some missionaries serving their missions with seriousness and complete focus, but they dont have joy. I want to have joy in my mission...if I dont, I dont think it will be of any value to me in the end. I´m doing my best to keep my spirits above water after having such a hard-hitting change, but I still need your prayers and support. My Family and Friends, you are all helping me so much with your support and love, and I know that without you all, I would not be able to do what a mission requires of a man. Some missionaries think it´s easy to serve, some dont like to serve but continue on, but for me it has become a very personal experience. The mission is full of internal struggles for me, and with the help of the Lord and my Family at home I am able to complete each day without much or any damage. You all know how much I love you and I know that the Lord knows how much I love him. However, I´m finding that love, although it is an eternal blessing and comfort, also becomes a kind of tug-of-war between all of my desires and dreams. I love and miss my Family, I want to be with you all every day, enjoying the blessings that God has seen fit to give us. I love my Friends and constantly think about all the possibilities that our lives hold, together, as interconnected as we all are in this life. It´s summer and at times I feel I´m missing out on what ¨could be¨, but I continue on in service of Another, whom I love as well. With the guidance of the Spirit and the blessings of the Savior, I have come to love the people that I teach and serve every day here in Guatemala. I truly believe that this love that I feel for them is nothing but an extension of His love for all His children, Heavenly Father´s way of showing me one of His mysteries. Can you all see how this creates that ¨tug-of-war¨that I mentioned earlier? The mission is the hardest thing I´ve ever done, but not because the work is hard or that it´s difficult to walk miles each day. It´s hard because I love you, I love you all. I want to be with you, all of you, share this life and enjoying it to the fullest. But I´m doing what so many of you (and my heart) tell me I SHOULD be doing in this time and season in my life. Your news, your support, and your love bouys me up, keeps me going, so please...never let it stop. I need you all in order to complete the work the Lord has called me to do. Every time one of you sends me a letter, or pictures, or news you become what President Hinckley called you to be. ¨Every Member a Missionary¨ he said. You all are part of my mission and I share my love for you with these people in Guatemala every day. Surprizingly enough, my experiences and feelings for you all give me the examples and testimony I need to share in each moment with the people I am teaching. I talk about you often, all of you. If you don´t believe me...well, you´re choosing not to believe in something I think is a real miracle, but I hope all take my words for what I mean them to be worth..which is EVERYTHING! If, when I finish my mission, it means everything to me, it will be because you all (My Family, Friends, and Neighbors) have made it so. These are the feelings and words that I wanted to share with you today. They´ve been on my mind all weekend and it feels good to finally get them on the page. =)
Alright, now it´s time to respond to everything you all sent me. Mom...thanks for checking up on me. =) I really appreciate your love and care, even over the 2200 miles it has to travel to get to me. I do have a little list of things you can include in a care package if you see fit to send one. I need: another tube of hydrocortizone, a big (or a couple) bottles of benodryl (yes, I´m getting bitten like crazy I a need some relief, and yes, I´m taking measures to decrease my ¨biteability¨), of course more chocolate (I am just about finished with the candy packages you sent, it was awesome, and yeah, I made it last =P), some more pictures (include some of how the Bear Lake House looks now please :P), and just for fun...a pair of size 34W 34L jeans. =) Yes, I´ve lost a lot of weight. My black Missionary Mall pants are all but hanging off of me and I´m on the last hole of my reversible belt. Even my old size 36W jeans are too big in the waist now! It´s fun to see what losing weight does to a person´s wardrobe. I think I´ve officially lost about 27lbs. And physically I feel great. No, I´m not ripped and have a six-pack, but I definately look a lot better than I did 4 months ago. =) Anyways, enough of that. More about home. =)
I was keeping track of the days so I kinda celebrated the days that Josh and Rob had changes in their addresses. It´s weird to think about all of my guy friends and how their lives are all changing like mine. Really, if I were home right no I´d have almost no one to hang out with anymore. haha! I´m excited for Josh Grow, sounds like a fun mission! Wish him luck for me. I´m happy to hear about all the changes that the Bear Lake House is going through and I REALLY want to see what it´s looking like about now. Mom, Hope, Metzie and Dad, you all are working very hard to turn it into the Bearadise we all imagined and I´m just a little sad that I can't participate in it´s metamorphasis. It´ll be fun to enjoy it when it´s all finished in two years though. =P Hope, I keep hearing from Mom that you´re doing a wonderful job with being obedient and loveable. Keep up the good work! You´re such a blessing to our family and I want you to always remember how much I love you! Try your very best to DO your best every day. That´s what I´m trying to do too, so we´ll be progressing together. I think about you all the time and miss our Family. Take care of them and when I get home we´ll all take care of each other again! Awesome to hear that you all are enjoying the boat and the summer at home. I really want to see everything that you´ve all perfected by the time I get back. It´ll be a CRAZY awesome summer in 2011! Mom, I wish you all the best in your studies, your summer, and your health. I know that changing is hard and it makes me cry at times too, but know that you´re only trying to complete all that the Lord has asked of you: to take care of your family, your loved ones, and especially yourself in body and spirit. Keep working, you´ll be eternally grateful for the blessings that will come for your efforts. I promise! =) Dad, I love you too and hope that you´re doing everything you can to support yourself, your family, and your business in their health and spiritual well being. You are a chosen father and I am grateful every day for the effect you´ve had on my becoming who I am today. I would love to hear about the business, how things are going with it, and how you are doing in all that you choose to pursue. I´ll wait patiently and hope that I´ll get to hear from you soon. =)
It brings me joy to hear from home and I cherish every word. I will tell you all more next week and hope everyone enjoys this letter. Next week I´ll know more about my new companion and what it´s like to have more responsibility as a missionary, so I´ll be able to share more. Again, I love you all to eternity and back. Until next week, I miss you.
-Elder Preston William Tucker