Holy cow, Spring Break is here already?! Don`t get me wrong, I`m stoked about it, but it`s just kinda unreal right now that I`m half-way home. I`ve got so many mixed feelings about that. I love the mission, but my soul longs for home. I love the people I serve, but my heart aches for the presence of my family and friends. I love Guatemala, but the United States of America will always be my home base, where I`m safe and I`ve won the game. (Sorry about the random baseball analogy, I was just going with the flow of that thought process =P) Hump Day has come and gone, but today is special too. Today is the 5th of April, 2010. In exactly one year from RIGHT NOW, I will be home again, having finally completed an honorable, full-time mission in the service of my Lord and Savior. I long for that day, but I make sure I enjoy the days that I have left as they pass. This last week I`ve made a lot of goals for my last year of the mission. To tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I have not been as obedient as I know I could be. I`ve had more fun than I ever thought I could have in a religious mission, but possibly at the cost of teaching opportunities and important moments of personal growth. However, this 180th General Conference has taught me much and basically set my sights back on the right targets and the righteous methods of how I can achieve them. I don`t want to miss another opportunity. I want to be obedient. I want to help all the people that I can in the next 365 days. I want to leave my Final Interview with President Baldwin, KNOWING that I did what the Lord sent me to do, and that I was a bright, sharp, and unstained instrument in His hands. The best part of all this though...is that I KNOW I can do it. It`s never going to be easy, but it will ALWAYS be worth it. I`ve learned that here in Guatemala, I`ve learned that from the Lord.
Okay, so this week was another week of weird schedules, WAY too much time in buses, and lots of time outside of my area. I`m not sure how I feel about this area anymore because lately it just seems like I spend more time traveling than I do teaching. Every time that Elder Garcia and I have to leave out area to go to meetings, interviews, doctor`s appointments, or to take care of any other necessity of my district, it costs us at LEAST 8 Quetzales (1 US Dollar) round trip. On the budget of a Guatemalan missionary, even with a District Leader Transport Bonus, that`s a lot of dough and these buses suck my wallet dry EVERY month. It`s okay though, I`ve learned to always have a missionary copy of the Book of Mormon in my hand or in my backpack (in English OR in Spanish) so that I can read, learn, and be fed by the words of Christ and His prophets. I finished my first time through the Utchi project on the 31st of March, marking in red the references to Christ. It was an awesome experience and I learned an incredible amount about the examples of the prophets and how they apply to my life. I`ve also reaffirmed my love for the Book of Mormon and have come to an even better understanding of WHY it is the Keystone of our religion, as Joseph Smith, Jr. always told. Almost as a side-effect of my reading, I`ve become better at remembering where BoM scriptures are located and scriptures now randomly come to my mind when they apply to a situation throughout the day. It was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone seeking to know more about Christ`s doctrine and the Love that Heavenly Father has for His children. I`ve started my second run through, but this time I`m going very slowly. I have other responsibilities and goals to accomplish before I can focus completely on a project again. I wanted to share my testimony to my whole family in this email, both immediate family AND extended family, that I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
This whole time I have been reading the Bible through for the first time in my life and have come to a very certain conclusion from what I have read in both books. The Bible gives the Law, which was extremely important the spiritual and temporal well-being of the House of Israel at that time in history. However, there where VERY few of the House of Israel that understood the meaning of the Law, that it was always pointing forward to the future, when Christ would come, fulfill the ends of the Law, and introduce the law of Mercy through faith in and on the name of Jesus Christ. Although this lack of understanding was widespread among the House of Israel IN Israel, the prophets of the Book of Mormon knew from the beginning the meaning of the Law and then taught that understanding to their people, the Nephites and the Lamanites. I love reading the Book of Mormon because the teaching is simple, it is clear, and it all testifies of Christ. I love teaching from it because that`s exactly what the world needs. The world has been saturated for thousands of years with the Bible, it`s errors, and have thus become hard in their hearts. By reading, understanding, and teaching from the Book of Mormon, we find those ¨chosen ones of the Lord¨ that are ready to soften their hearts once again and really become disciples of Christ. I`ve come to know that this is true. I want my family to know that it is true as well. Read. Ponder. Pray. And then, I promise each and every one of you that read these words, that when you have done these things with diligence and full intent of heart to KNOW the Truth, Heavenly Father will send the Holy Ghost to testify of the truth and divinity of His Son in and through the pages of the Book of Mormon. Other, better men have testified of these things, but I`m your son...your brother...your cousin...your nephew...your grandchild. Take my promise and put it to the test. I dare you to. ;P In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
-Elder Preston William Tucker
P.S. This Conference I took 5 full pages of notes. I`ll keep them safe and I`ll be sure to share them with you when I get home.
P.P.S. I got your package this week, along with a package from Whitney as well, and I absolutely loved my Easter treats and surprises. I love you all. You know me so well. You take care of my, even when I`m more than 2000 miles away, and for that I`m eternally grateful. I love you. =)