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
-Elder Preston William Tucker