Monday, January 25, 2010
Okay, so I`m kinda freaking out a little about this coming week because I am turning the big TWO-ZERO! I`m so old... hahaha Not really, but that`s how I feel. I realize that I`m not a child at all anymore: not in body, not in spirit, not in intellect. I`m happily participating in the grand plan of our Heavenly Father called ¨Progress!¨ I do not know if this next year of my life will see huge changes or small adjustments, but I am very excited to find out. I feel a little sad that my family will not see me at all for my entire 20th year, but at the same time I`m happy because you all will get most of my 21st, which in some ways is more important. I feel like I`m growing up, in the mission, and in my spirituality. My testimony has changed from being passive, but powerful, to active and potent! I feel like I can communicate and plant the seeds of testimony in others now; something that I will need desperately as a father and husband in a few years. I feel like people, even here in Guatemala, see, hear, or learn of me and respect me as an adult. I know that I can make my own GOOD decisions now and that if I went out on my own into the world, I would find success on all levels. I feel good. I feel strong. And I feel loved! =)
This week has been full of many ups and downs. We were finally able to complete the mission goal of finding three new families in one week. We found the Marta, and her three kids, Antonia, and her whole family, and William, his wife and little daughter as well. Your fasting, prayers, and love has paid off, yet again. Good job Family, you`re a rockstar! =) We were able to work well with a couple members, although we did not receive any references this week. We need to visit more of the inactive and less active members so that we can strengthen the branch from the ground up. We will not be able to retain the families we baptize until we are able to fill the chapel with priesthood and testimony. Also, we will need your prayers to help us have the opportunities and ability to organize the branch into an effective tool in the mission work in Santa Elena Barilla. I feel like I will be here for a while, so we better buckle down and help nourish this part of the Lord`s vinyard. Also, a bit of news that our only present baptismal date with a 19 year old boy named Selvin Caserez got pushed to the 7th of February because he needs help keeping the Word of Wisdom. Please pray for him, as we work to help him enter the waters...
This week Elder Ostler and I, and our whole zone for that matter, will be celebrating my birthday with a really cool activity. Okay, well, to be honest, it has nothing to do with my birthday and everything to do with having a cool experience as a zone, but...we`re going to see some Mayan Ruins! =D Can you tell I`m excited?! We`re going to a place called Mixco Viejo (Old Mixco) which, as the Zone Leaders have told me, is a big archeological site with beautiful ruins that we can take pictures of and climb! Expect cool pictures! ;P By the way, that reminds me that I will be writing a letter with a memory card in it soon, so get excited for that as well. =) After we get home from the ruins, we`ll be bushed, and what better way for Elder Ostler and I to relax than...to COOK?! =) We`re going to cook a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and have some Symphony chocolate on the side!!! =D How well does my family know me?! I got your birthday package this week when we had interviews and when I opened it, I was very...oh how shall we say...HAPPY! Although (sorry for the frequent side-bar, rabbit trails in my thought process) Mom, you should probably pack my packages a little less tightly from here on out... My christmas package was awesome, but everything was covered in peppermint and chocolate because the Peppermint Bark tub opened during the trip to get to me. This package...was even a little bit more messy! haha =P Mom...I`m in a country who`s biggest export is CANE SUGAR...so it probably wasn`t necessary to send a BOX of sugar in a package full of new clothes and fun games... hahahaha! We thought it was hilarious and a bit sad that when I picked up my package, it was leaking sugar from the coners! At the buss stop, where I was sitting, underneath there was a two inch hill of spilled sugar before I noticed it again. and when we got home...I opened the package and had to shake the other half pound of sugar out of my totally awesome pj`s and pretty much every single package and letter that was sent in that box. It was hilarious, but a little sad at the same time. So yeah, Mom, just take that into consideration next time please! I love you! =) I loved all the gifts, cards, and pictures I received. You all made my week!
Okay, so just a few results of what I have done with my birthday package so far: I made the Fantastic Flake Candy and shared with Elder Ostler, and he fell in love with it. We shared some with our favorite members, and they loved it. and I still have enough to do it SEVERAL more times! =) Oh! and I did all this, while wearing my new pj`s and t-shirt! You guys scored this birthday. But only one thing wasn`t perfect...the ring is a size 11 and my fingers are probably more like 12`s... sorry. =( Maybe I`ll give it as a gift to a baptism in these next months. How about that? =)
Alright, so I`m out of time for this week. Love you all! Thank you for your birthday wishes and prayers. I`ll keep you posted on our progress and if you would, pray that Elder Ostler and I get another change together so that we can baptize a ton of cool new families. =)
-Elder Preston William Tucker
Sometimes, when I am reading your emails, letters, reliving our phone calls, or just thinking about you during the day and night...I think and feel that I could not possibily be more proud of or in love with my Eternal Family than I am in those moments. Today, that pride and love went up a few notches...enough to make me cry with gratitude, laugh with joy, and make my heart ache with love for my Heavenly Father for blessing me to a degree that I cannot understand. Sometimes I wish I already knew the language that we will speak in the Celestial Kingdom, so that I could finally completely express my feelings in the way I know that my soul would like to express them. Ya know, some missionaries have girlfriends that love them, some have fat bank accounts waiting for them, or a fast car sitting in the garage waiting for their return...but I dont really want any of those things right now...would you like to know why? Because I have an infinitely loving Heavenly Father who has blessed me with an eternal family that I am EXCITED to spend eternity with. Some could call me prideful about my feelings towards my family, but I know that Ammon felt the exact same way after he completed his mission among the Lamanites. It`s righteous, eternal pride that I enjoy because of you. You make me so happy...I can`t explain it fully, but it`s so awesome that it hurts to be far away! If I had not received the blessing of increased understanding, I would hate this hurt that I feel inside...but I love it because I know that it`s there. I love you. I love you infinitely because I`ve been blessed with a partial understanding of the love that Heavenly Father already had for my family before the world even existed. This is amazing...and I can only hope that my emails reflect a little of what I am feeling in these very moments...it`s truly incredible. =)
I am grateful that you, my parents, do not spare me details of what is going on at home. Of course, I would like to be there, experiencing it right along side of you, but I feel like I have enough information through the blessings that is my hour of email time each week. Some families slack off as their missionary`s time goes on, but you have not, and I hope that you never will. Those families explain less, have no variety, and are basically just waiting out the time until their missionary is home. You are not one of those families, and for that fact, I am grateful.
Now, to tell you a little bit about the blessings I received this week. I now feel adequate to fulfill my assignment. I feel like the Lord truly did call me to be a District Leader at this time and that I am doing His will and allowing Him to speak to His missionaries through me. The sister missionaries started the change with challenges, big ones, but are now working hard in harmony. The elders started with sickness, but are now healthy and being shining stars of hard work (35 lessons this week for those two). Elder Ostler and I love being together and are slowly learning the potential that this area has waiting for us to tap. We found two new families this week that are very positive and are thinking about Baptismal Dates for the end of the month of January. Salvin, our current and next baptism is ready, humble, and waiting to enter the Waters. Tonight we are going to watch The Testaments with the two new families of last week and a new family of this current week in the house of a member family. I`m very excited about this activity and I believe that we will see the fruits of the Lord`s labor soon. Also, I was contacted by a man on the bus who wanted to know why I was in a white shirt and tie. We will be teaching his family this week as well. All of these families are small, but humble and ready for the Gospel. Your efforts, family, have brought them to me, not it`s our efforts that will bring them to the Lord.
I`m out of time, but I love you. I could continue writing for hours, but that`s against the rules. I hope to see more wonderful news next week and every week to come. Keep praying, keep fasting, and keep reading. Dad, I`m proud of you. You`re going to be AWESOME in this new job! I know you will. Dad, thanks for being my Dad! Mom, keep working, you`re the best teacher I know! Guess what? You know what... Hope, I cannot express how freaking proud I am of you and your swimming! I SO want to be there, cheering you on, but it sounds like you do your best, even whille I`m far away. I love you TONS!
-Elder Preston William Tucker
Monday, January 11, 2010
So today I haven`t received any letters or emails from family so it`s going to be kind of difficult to respond to your news and questions. So, i guess I will just describe a bunch about my new area and companion. This week was full of disappointments and challenges, but we got through it. As such, I won't be talking much about my week of work, because there hardly was any. Dont worry though, this week will be MUCH MUCH different. We have great goals and the desire sufficient to meet them. Elder Ostler is wonderful and after two weeks, I already feel like he is become or has become one of my best friends. I just keep getting reminded of always being told that in the mission you make the friends that yòu`ll have for the rest of your life. I`m very happy about the campanions that I`ve met and had the chance to get to know, and I feel like the Lord had a lot of blessings in store for me in the companion department even before I started my mission.
Elder Ostler is from Herriman, I`m not sure how close to David and his family, but probably pretty close. He comes from a family of 5 and has a 25 year old brother and a 20 year old sister. They are borh married and Elder Ostler has his first nephew/neice on the way from his older brother. Elder Ostler is 19 and his birthday is on August 15th. He loves cars, movies, cars, music, cars, his family, his girlfriend and...did I mention cars? =P We talk a lot, sharing stories and laughing about good jokes and movie lines we remember. I`m (in mission language) his step-father, which is kind of weird for me. That means that I am his second companion and still have a few things to teach him about how to be a good misionary. He struggles with studying and Spanish, but i think we`re going to have good success with overcoming his challenges this change. I already hope to have two changes with him, but that might not happen, as I am now a district leader in a Training Zone...which means that it`s very possible that I might train next change...not ready OR excited for that. =/ Elder Ostler wants to go to BYU and be a Chemical Engineer as well, but has not started college yet. We talk a lot about our futures and what he would like to do with his career. He likes that I talked a lot with my parents about my future and my ¨plan¨ because it is helping him work his out too. His girlfriend lives in Riverton, but is a student at BYU. She is a sophomore there, and is completely and totally in love with Elder Ostler. Luckily, they aren`t one of those disgustingly cutesy couples, but he still talks about her a LOT. haha I`ve talked a lot too, and Elder Ostler has started praying that I will find a ¨super hot, fun, pefect wife¨ after the mision so we can all get together and wakeboard, snowboard, and just be sexy together! =P Also, he`s helping me start and keep to an excersize routine, which is helping my self-esteem and is also going to make me come home as a slim, ripped up, muscley beast! =) It`s gunna be awesome!
Alright, about Santa Elena Barillas. Where we live is the actual village of Santa Elena Barillas, but it is surrounded by many other ¨aldeas¨, which just means villages. Santa Elena is situated close to the top of a mountain, and as such receives a cool climate but a TON of cold wind. For the last three days we have had almost constant, cold wind and it`s been great and terrible at the same time. In the night, sometimes the wind wakes us up and makes us grumpy, but sometimes it is soothing to hear. In the morning, it makes the house freezing cold and makes it hard to get out of bed. During the day, at times it`s hard tot talk because the wind is so fast that it carries our voices away, and at times it`s even hard to stand up straight because of the nessecity to fight the wind to stay standing. The people are nice, but simple. I believe teaching new investigators here will be like teaching children, which I love so it`ll be great. The members are warm hearted, and surprizingly very informed about the scriptures and the doctrine of the church. The one aspect that I believe that we`ll have trouble with is organization and leadership. I will be praying a lot for help and revelation to help this branch turn itself into a ward soon! =)
Alright, my time is up. I`ll write more next week. I love you all with all my heart and soul!
Love Always,-Elder Preston William Tucker
Monday, January 4, 2010
Loved hearing a little bit about your week. I found myself missing you all a ton as I reflected on all the fun things that you all might and were doing over the Holiday Week for New Years. Elder Ostler and I have had a wonderful week as well, but definitely not full of fun relaxing activities. We DID, however, have the opportunity to spend New Year`s Eve with a very large family of very fun members from the Branch. Familia León took care of us with a good dinner, good company, and a good opportunity to get to know who and how they are. Daniel León is our Branch Mission Leader and was very interested in getting to know me and my hopes and dreams for my time in Santa Elena. His wife and three kids are hilarious and kept us entertained all night. He lives in a huge (by comparison) house, but also lives there with his parents, brother (and his wife and family), and sister and her husband and family. So you can imagine that it was a great party. Again, at 12AM a TON of fireworks went off and Santa Elena Barillas looked like it was burning. =P The only thing that I did not like about the festivities was that a LOT of men got very drunk and for the next two days were shooting their pistols randomly in the air. When the shooting started we had to stay in the house to stay safe, but eventually everything quieted down and we were able to go out proselyting again. This area is very different than any other I have seen and I will explain why soon. Just know that I am happy, and a little overwhelmed about my assignment, but I still have lots of faith that the Lord will make me sufficient to fill my post. =)
Santa Elena Barillas is a village that is about halfway up a mountain on the south side of the Capital City of Guatemala. As such, it is the high point of our area and where we will have our new apartment. Our area in total consists of about 5 more villages that are all separated by about 2 miles each, but with extreme altitude changes. It`s going to be tough to plan intelligently in this area, but I think that eventually we will figure it out. The people in this area are a lot more simple than those of my last area, but they still have just as much heart and love. I will have to deal with different spiritual problems here than anywhere else I have ever lived, but I feeling I`m prepared to meet that challenge. The leaders want very badly to have enough success in this area to make the branch into a full-fledged ward, so I obviously want to help them do it. It`s just that...at this point...I`m not sure how I`m going to do it.
Most of the geographic area of Santa Elena Barillas is covered in plantations of coffee and pineapple and sugarcane. It`s pretty cool and I`ve already seen some amazing views that I`m going to take pictures of and send home soon. I really think you all would enjoy visiting this area and I hope that one day we``ll have the chance. Right now, I`m running out of time again because I had to take care of more district stuff today, but I will write more in the emails to come. If you have specific questions, ask me. =) But don't ask about the apartment yet...because we`re moving today...it seems like President wants to make me into the missionary house moving specialist or something similar. =P Should be a nice change because our current house is a little drafty and dark. I`ll tell you more about it next week.
We don't have a lot of investigators here right now, but this week we will be finding a lot, so never fear. We need your prayers and we need your love. Thank you for being good examples to me and for keeping me very up to date with your news and special events. Hope, I`m extremely proud of your performance in swim and ever time I get good news about your times improving and you taking first and second place in events makes me smile huge and say ¨YES!!!¨ right out loud. Dad, that was SO mean that you went shooting with the Provost boys and I wasn`t their to slaughter the pigeons with you. I miss shooting REALLY bad and I will definitely want to go as soon as I get home. 1000 shells?? pfff...more like 2000 please! =) Mom, I`m so glad that you`ve enjoyed your vacations and have chosen to spend them nourishing your relationships with Hope, Metzie, Grandma, and the rest of the very important people in our lives. I gained a lot of wonderful experiences to share with my investigators, just because you are always an AWESOME example of service to me! I love you all, take care, write down your goals, and keep looking at them and working until you complete them. =)
Pospero Año y Felicidad,
Have an Excellent beginning of the new year and Happiness for everyone!
-Elder Preston William Tucker
Friday, January 1, 2010
To start off, I`m sorry to say this but I only have 10 minutes to write today. In a minute you`ll understand why. I also wanted to ask for your forgiveness for writing on Wednesday, but...I had changes...BIG changes!
This last Saturday We received the phone call from Elder Gomez that I was to have a change of companion, area, and that I had an interview with President Baldwinat 9AM on Monday morning. Elder Alvarez stayed in La Sonora, but we were ble to share many very tender and meaningful Christmas experiences with each other. He truely was a very good friend and a good missionary. He is shy at times, and with new people has a hard time expressing himself, but I love him dearly and have seen his true potential. I packed my bags with tears in my eyes and visited many of the wonderful members of the Sonora Ward before I had to go to the capital and receive all my new changes. Here they are:
I was moved to a new area in a different Zone.
My area is call Santa Elena Barillas and my Zone is called Villa Hermosa.
I received a new North American companion named Elder Ostler.
He is from Herriman, UT and is in his second change of the mission.
In Mission Language that makes me his Step-Father... (2nd companion) I thought it would be a lot longer time until I would be a step-father!
I was also called, in my interview, to a new assignment...
I am still a Senior Companion, but now I`m also a...duh duh duh DUH!...
District Leader of the District Santa Elena Barillas! =S I`m very nervous, I am very overwhelmed, and I have complete faith that the Lord will make me sufficient to fulfill my calling.
I felt very empty to leave my old area, as I had become a wonderful friend and brother and teacher to many in La Sonora and had a companion that loved me and I love him. However, I was able to go out to the streets with Elder Ostler and get to know several leaders and hey members of our BRANCH (luckily i wasn`t called to be Branch President), so now I am very excited about the work that we will be able to do if we put our shoulders to the wheel together.
Next week I will have more to tell, and more time to tell it in, but for now I have to go. Please send simple emails next week, with news, questions, and love, so that I will have to time to respond with lots of detail and the speicific answers to all of your specific questions. I love you all. I have missed you all terribly. But I throw my mind and heart into the work so that I will see you all soon and have the opportunity to share this beautiful experience with you all as well as with the people of Guatemala!
With All My Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker