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