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