Sorry to write again on a Wednesday unexpectedly, but that`s the life of a leader in the mission. I seriously have not realized, until now, that it is because I`m a District Leader that my schedule is so abnormal all the time. However, the abnormality of the schedule this week was due to a rather...normal reason. This week was a change week and I`ve begun my 8th change in the mission. My District saw quite a few changes, but luckily Elder Garcia and I are still together. I was so bummed 9 month ago when they took my Trainer (Elder Molina) from me after just one change. I was happy that President Baldwin spared that experience from effecting Elder Garcia`s mission. Now I`ll have the next 6 weeks to fill in all the holes left in the training that Elder Garcia received at my hands. We`ve talked about it a lot, we have set good goals for obedience and work ethic, and we are excited about the opportunities that these next 6 weeks will bring. However, in my District the changes were big ones. Both Elder Rodriguez and Sister Cruz (Trainers and Senior Companions) were changed out and sent to new areas. Neither of them is training again. Sister Cruz only has two changes left until she goes home to California, and I was sad to see her go. Her and I had a very special friendship and were always able to be our true selves around each other. Her ¨daughter¨, Sister Mascareño was also sad to see her go, and I will need to make sure that she keeps her chin up and her heart in the Lord`s hands. ha ha Interestingly, no one was sad to see Elder Rodriguez go...he was one of those elders that takes everything too far and complains about every little pain. However, he worked like a draft horse, set a good example for his ¨son´, Elder Chavez, and his work ethic will be missed. Sister Campos came in to be with Sister Mascareño, Elder Lopez came in to be with Elder Chavez, and then they divided the Elders`s area of Villa Canales and put a new pair of Sisters there to open it. Their names are Sister Ramos (she entered the field with my same group) and Sister Rojas (a new Sister from El Salvador). So now District Santa Elena Barillas has four Elders (of which, I have to most time in the mission) and four Sisters. Sister Campos has about 4 months more than I do, so I`m not officially the oldest in my District, but it`s interesting to know how many ¨young¨ missionaries they have put under my stewardship. I know how to be a District Leader well now, after two changes of practice, and I have confidence that I will be able to inspire my District with the scriptures and personal testimony and, more than anything, the help of my Lord. Now lets just keep our fingers crossed and a prayer in our hearts that nothing horribly difficult happens so that everything will go smoothly and we will be able to focus well on being a hard-working, spiritual district.
Speaking of ways to be spiritual, I have a cool bit of news to share with everyone. President and Sister Baldwin have introduced a new project in the mission that dates back to the missions of Elders Cook and Holland of the Twelve. Those two participated in a similar project and still benefit from the lessons and blessings it gave them so many years ago. The project has to do with the Book of Mormon, a red and blue marking pencil, and a Mayan hieroglyphic symbol, nothing more and nothing less. =P The project is called ¨Utchi¨, which is the name of the Mayan hieroglyphic symbol. The symbol is translated to mean ¨And it came to pass...¨ and is of Hebrew origin. The fact that archaeologists have found this symbol here, in Central America, is physical proof of the movement of groups of people (and their literary and language structure) from Jerusalem to the Americas. In simple words, it proves that Ancient America was influenced by the Ancient Holy Land. The Church`s explanation: see the Book of Mormon to learn HOW it happened. =P So here`s the project: Each missionary in the mission was given a soft-cover copy of the Book of Mormon in his or her native language, and we will all be reading them cover to cover...twice...in the period of 6 changes (8-9 months). This first time through, we are marking with red pencil ALL the references to Christ (his names and pronouns that refer to Him) that we can find. The second time through, we will mark with blue pencil all of the doctrines and principles of the Gospel that we can find. Interestingly enough, I had already started a similar project of my own (reading the Book of Mormon cover to cover, marking all the scriptures that called my attention or that help me personally to be a more Christ-like person, and then sending the marked up book Home...to all of you! =P) about 2 months ago, but I`ve replaced it with ¨Utchi¨ now because it involves a prize! =P After the first time through, marking with red, Sister Baldwin will give us a figure of the symbol ¨Utchi¨ to put on our desks and take home as a memory of what we accomplished as a mission. It`s gunna be awesome, and I`ll show it to you all when I get home. Of course, I will finish my personal project later and send that book home as well so that my Family can benefit from my studies in the mission. But what do you think? I think the new project is awesome and I`m already blasting through the first time through. I`m in Mosiah 20 and we just started two weeks ago. =) I`ve shared the project with a few friends in other missions and they are all excited to do it too. FUN FACT! Elder Cook and Elder Holland say that when they go to prepare talks for General Conference, they still use their red and blue marked, soft-cover copy of the Book of Mormon to find and explain the Principles of the Gospel that they teach us over the pulpit. =)
Alright, well that was the business part of the email. Now for the personal part. HOPE TUCKER!!!! I am SO FREAKING PROUD OF YOU!!!! I must have the most naturally talented swimmer of a little sister ever. You`re totally going to the Olympics. It`s only your second year going to state and you qualified for SEVEN EVENTS! Holy crap...that`s cool! Then you passed preliminaries for FIVE EVENTS! Dang girl...you can swim! and then you FREAKING METALED in TWO EVENTS! I`m....speechless. You blow me away Hope, I`m just sorry that I wasn't there to see it. However, like Mom and Dad said in their emails, in two years I WILL be at State and I`ll be there to see you do even better than this year! I`m so happy for you. I love that you have a passion for swimming because it is a sport that will bless you and our family for your whole life. It will keep you healthy, fit, and happy. As long as you can keep everything going well at school, you`re on an excellent track for your very bright future! =P That`s all...sorry, I kinda freaked out there...and sorry Mom, for saying ¨freak¨ so much...it`s kinda a habit of Mission Central missionaries and it`ll take a long time to break the habit when I get home...I`m just apologizing in advance. =P Mom...sigh...you sold you bike... ha ha I`m not going to lie, I had hopes that you were going to keep it and then sell it to me when I got home so I could have transportation in the 2011 summer and so that I could learn to ride with the Tucker Clan. =) It`s okay though, I`ll get home, work hard, make money, and get me what I need anyways. And Dad, as long as you have your bike, you`ll still be able to teach me how to ride with the big boys. I`m excited about that, if you couldn`t tell. Dad, I`m so glad that you are putting so much effort into your new job, building you team, and trying hard to safe me a spot on that team for when I get home. I would love to work with you again, and I promise that when you meet me once again, after I get home, you`ll want me working for you as soon as possible. ;P Dad, I already do realize the opportunity that lays before me. I have a year left to show the Lord exactly what I`m made of and do everything I can to Return with Honor. Time...is just time now. I have a year behind me, and a year ahead. I have faith Father...I understand it more than you give me credit for. I know that my Family is WELL taken care of and that all the blessings that Heavenly Father has prepared for me will be waiting for me, if I work for them diligently, at the end of the airport terminal on the 5th of April, 2011. I believe in Christ, I believe in His power to exalt me in the Heavens and bless me here on Earth, but more than anything I BELIEVE Christ. I know he can do all the things he has said he will do for me. I know with all my soul that He IS who He says He is. I know these things of a surety, but I have faith as well to back all that ¨knowledge¨ up. I understand the Laws of Justice and Mercy, and I constantly seek to allow Mercy to justify me and satisfy the payment that I constantly owe to Justice. I trust in my Heavenly Father, and I trust in my Brother, and I trust in my Earthly Family. I know these things to be true, and I apply them more and more each day. Therefore, let thine heart be at peace, my Father, rest thy soul of its anxiety for thy child and allow thyself to be embraced in the arms of his Love and Honor. ha ha A personal, scripturized phrase from me to you Pops. I hope you liked it.
Well, I`m out of time for this week. i should be able to email on Monday, the 29th. If not, please still write BEFORE Sunday night and wait patiently for my reply. I love you all dearly and will have you in my prayers and in my heart all day, every day.
-Elder Preston William Tucker