kay, first of all...nobody panic...I´m alive, okay? haha Seriously, everyone freaked out this week. Where´s the faith?! Just kidding, I know that volcanic eruptions and hurricanes and mudslides are all very scary things. But everyone needs to know that where my companion and I live, there were hardly any of the terrible effects of the natural disasters from this week. I live in a little city called La Nueva Concepcion, which is comfortably situated about 15 miles away from the nearest beach and about 30 miles away from the nearest active volcano. I realize that volcanoes and hurricanes penetrate a lot further inland than those small distances, but where I´m at we are relatively very safe.
One of the most interesting things about these disasters is that about 7 weeks ago, in my last Zone Conference in the Capital, all the missionaries received copies of a new emergency plan for the Guatemalan missions as well as the rest of Central America. The plans facets included a plan for floods, earthquakes, civil revolutions (riots and civil war), and volcanic eruptions. The plans tell us exactly what to do and who to contact whenever something that falls under those categories happens or we personally witness it. When we got home that night, I read the plan all the way through and I knew exactly what I needed to do two weeks ago when there was a riot against the police right here in Nueva Concepcion. Also, if I had been in my last area this change, I would have been right there, very close to the volcano that erupted four days ago. Volcán Pacaya was actually part of my area back in Santa Elena Barillas. Family...everyone...the Lord is protecting me in very obvious ways. He took me as far away as possible from the volcano in the last change I experienced. He put me in the very secure place in the coast so that the hurricane would not hurt me either. I don´t know why...but the Lord is making sure that I am very safe and that nothing terrible happens. haha Maybe it´s for the sake of all of YOU guys, so you don´t freak out too bad! hahaha Just kidding, it was awesome to know how well informed my family and loved ones are about the occurrences here in Guatemala and that your prayers are always with me. Thank you for you prayers and support, all is well!
When the storm hit, we just used our common sense (mostly) and stayed safely inside our homes. Everyone in my district was smart and safe, and we just waited on the instructions from the "higher-ups." The Area Presidency of Central America suspended Sunday services yesterday too, all the way across Central America. The chapels were opened as refuges for the homeless and those who needed first aid. That sucked though because my entire district had investigators come to the chapels, just to find out that there wasn´t any meetings yesterday...but it´s okay, this Sunday will be better.
We missionaries don´t read the news very often, so we don´t get hugely informed on all this stuff, but I do get tidbits here and there. So far, with the disasters, there are just a ton of people without homes...not a very high death toll or injured list. Any death is sad, but with natural disasters of this magnitude, it´s amazing that the numbers are so few. We will be doing a lot of service, trying to get things back to normal with members and non members too, but things should calm down very fast. Today it is sunny, hot, and humid...all good signs for the weather...but all mean we´re back to sweating our guts out. That´s okay though, i´d rather sweat than drown! ;P
The Bear Lake weekends sound awesome...I´m jealous, but I love hearing about them, so don´t spare me. Dutch oven sounds good too...I miss Mom´s cooking WAY bad. haha Mom, think you could teach Whitney a few of your signature dishes? ;P
I´m happy that everyone is enjoying their activities. That´s really cool that Grandpa Welling had a reunion to look forward to and that Mom is getting really close to ending her year. Hope, sorry your summer is so short this year, but you´ll be happy about having a longer summer when I get home. Dad...keep working hard! I want you to be really well situated with your team by the time I get home. I can´t wait to see what you´ve built.
This week I have Zone Conference on Wednesday, so I´m hoping to get a bunch of mail and Mom´s care package this week. Next week I´ll let you know how it goes. Also, next week, on Wednesday the 9th, I´ll finally know whether or not I´m being changed to the new Guatemalan mission that they´re creating this July. I´m very excited for that opportunity. If I do things all right, I´ll be able to say that I was not only one of the first missionaries in a new mission, but also one of the "founding fathers," or the most successful missionaries it will ever see as well. I know I have the potential to do it, I´m just not sure yet whether or not I´ll get the chance.
Okay, this email is getting really long and I´ve gotta get going. I love you all, you´re all such a comfort to me. Keep saying your prayers, reading your scriptures, and doing your FHE. Your prayers and thoughts help me. You all are the reason I want to return with honor. I want to honor my friends that believed in me, I want to honor my wonderful family, and I want to honor my God.
-Elder Preston William Tucker