I´ve got a ton to report this week, even though hardly any of it is about investigators. This week has been completely full of changing plans and getting to know a new companion, area, and branch in a relentlessly hot part of my mission. haha Seriously, I have been sweating my guts out...but, interestingly enough, I don´t feel very dirty or gross due to the sweat...on the contrary, I actually feel energy, I feel clean. haha I feel like in the Capital I was comfortable with the climate, our accommodations in our apartments, and our work pace. But the whole time I was there I felt like I was breathing thick, polluted air, that it was somehow getting to me and making me weaker. Here, in the coast, I feel like sweating so much has cleaned me out, has gotten rid of a lot of the bad effects of being in the Capital for so long, and has given me a completely new opportunity to serve the Lord in a completely new way.
Here´s the news about my companion, area, and branch...and get ready because from an observer´s point of view...it´s not all good. My companion, Elder Segundo, and I get along really well! He´s a little bit of a smart-aleck when it comes to answering to authority (like President Baldwin, and strict Senior Companions), but with me he is just intelligent, fun, and laid-back. I don´t think I´ll have any problems with him the whole time we´re together. When it´s time to rest, we have fun. When it´s time to plan, we plan well. When it´s time to work...I think I´ll have good support from him and we´ll be able to work well together. I think that a whole bunch of rumors have just been spread about him because he likes to challenge authority figures when they attack his "way of life." Anyone who knows about the "Colors Test" knows that that´s exactly how a Yellow reacts to a demanding Red. haha If no one else besides my parents got that...that´s okay, haha don´t worry about it. Now, my area...is HUGE! We don´t have a map that shows all of it, so I´m just going to have to ask for a lot of help from the leaders and get to know it by "feel" rather than by sight. However, where we live is just a HUGE rectangular city that has a couple central points and a whole ton of same-sized properties with a whole bunch of different-sized houses on them. The streets are wide and made of concrete, which makes everything seem more open, calm, and organized...I like that a TON! Everyone zips around town on their motorcycles and it´s all a bunch of activity of motors, buying, selling, moving, and shaking in the center of La Nueva Concepción. It has two markets, and there is a huge supply of fresh fruits, new foods, and a lot of really fun looking products. haha Everyone has shade trees in front of their houses and almost everyone has a few hammocks hanging out front to escape the heat and have a good, long nap! In our house, we don´t have a hammock, but we DO have two big fans that help us beat the heat, so we have them going full blast on us all night so we can sleep without sweating to death! haha I´m thinking about buying a hammock...but I´m not sure if I´ll do it now, or more towards the time when I´m closer to coming home...it´s just that it takes up a TON of space in a luggage bag. About the branch...it´s dying! haha Don´t be alarmed, the process CAN be reversed...and I´m just the guy to do it. I told the leadership right up front...I´m not going to be your leader, but I´ll be your servant and I´ll help you organize, revitalize, and gospelize this branch. They have had 6 hard months of inactivation and little to no baptisms, so it´s almost like I have a clean slate, a new canvas, ready to paint a new masterpiece. If I ever had a grand opportunity to leave my mark on an area in my mission, it´s right now. If we give our all and we have the Spirit with us...maybe in a few months I will have wonderful things, news of life and growth to share with you. I feel positive, I feel the desire to help these people, and I already know that they will love me when I show them what I can really do, with the Lord on my side.
I´m out of time for today, but I´ll be calling home tonight. I love you all and I will keep you posted on the changes that we´re going to see in this branch. Pray for us, and I know the Lord will send his support and his angels to bear us up and direct us to success.
-Elder Preston William Tucker