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