Hey Family! (yes, all of you)
This week has been completely nuts for me! Nothing happened like I thought it would. My little missionary world got turned completely upside down and I`m not sure how exactly I feel about it. First of all, I`m going to tell you about the changes I received, but then I`m not exactly sure what I`ll say next...so be prepared.
Okay, so everyone that has been reading my blog and/or knows anything about Guatemala City Central Mission knows that my mission has three basic areas, or climates. We have the Capital, the Mountains, and the Coast. I have been in the Capital for basically my whole mission, receiving a variety of different opportunities and responsibilities. I`ve really grown up physically, mentally, emotionally,, and spiritually in the Capital, but I guess it was finally the Lord`s will to change all that. Elder Garcia, my mission son, was left behind in Santa Elena Barillas, while I received a change. I did NOT train again, but I`m still a District Leader. About 2 weeks ago, in my interview with President Baldwin, I told him that I wanted a new challenge, that of learning a Guatemalan Indian dialect. I did NOT receive that blessing/opportunity, unfortunately. I wasn`t even sent to a different part of the Capital or the Mountains...I got exactly what I didn`t want to happen until the end of my mission...I got sent to Zone Santa Lucia, Area La Nueva Concepciòn...as my new companion Elder Segundo called it..."the Hell of the Mission Central"...the Coast. I`ll explain why I didn`t want to get sent to the coast until the end of my mission. I wanted, in my last few changes in the mission field, to go to the coast and sweat off all the rest of my excess weight, right before I get home. I guess the Lord wants me skinnier NOW, and not later. I was way disappointed that President didn`t send me to learn a new language, BUT after reading your emails, I know why I`ve been sent here earlier than I planned. Mom and Dad, you`re right...the Lord has blessed me with the gift to learn and speak Spanish fluently...and I wanted to learn a new language, which probably would have started me back at zero as an efficient missionary. Now is the time for me to stop trying to progress personally, and start helping OTHERS to progress.
I`ve been secretly fearing the point in my mission when I would have to "forget myself" completely, and work completely unselfishly. In my mission, I have always served others, but I`ve also been making a conscious effort to serve myself as well. I`ve been working hard in my studies to know the scriptures, know the doctrine, and deepen my profound testimony. I`m feeling like this change was Heavenly Father`s way of telling my to stop what I was doing before, and to get to know serving "the least of these" His brethren. I feel a little bad for what I was doing before...however I know that I didn`t leave regretful service in my wake. My faith in unshakable now, I will never fall away from this Gospel or Christ`s path, that much I personally know. However, now I will learn to give my all in the teaching and service of others. I feel like I`m confessing a long hidden secret to you now, and I`m hoping that it doesn`t come as a huge surprise, but I`m also hoping that you`ll forgive me and support me in the challenges that lay before me.
Here in the Coast, I will sweat my butt off (I already am...I hope I don't eventually disappear), I will probably experience debilitating sickness, and I will pass through even more difficulty and trial than I already have in my mission thus far. But I will eventually leave this Coast carrying my "sheaves" upon my back, knowing that I know how to be a successful missionary. I do not know whether or not I will baptize many or few or none here, but I do know that there are thousands (or maybe just hundreds ;P) of lives that can possibly be changed for the better by my testimony. I will continue to study and grow in my testimony, but it will be through sharing it with everyone that will listen to me that I believe I will grow the most.
I feel like the emails that I received today were all huge admonitions for me to change, focus, and work. I plan to follow your directions and advice, now humbled and submissive before the Lord. I`m sorry if anything that I have written or said in my letters up until now has worried any of you or made you upset at me for my lack of "forgetting myself-ness." I want my family, my friends, and my future wife and children to have marked, holy pride in the example that I gave them through my missionary service. I don`t want to have regrets...I fear them and I know they would ruin the memory of my mission. So I guess...if any of you feel forgotten or neglected from this day forward...I can only say I`m sorry...others need my help until I can finally come home.
My companion, Elder Segundo, entered the mission field with me a year ago. I`ve taken time these last three days to get to know who he is, and not pay much attention to the stories that other elders seem so eager to share about him. I know that he is here for the right reason, to serve others, but I also know that we might have some struggles ahead of us with respect to how we continue serving the Lord (in what method and how hard). Please, be willing to pray for me to know, through the Spirit, not only how I can help investigators and members, but how I can help Elder Segundo progress and become the man and missionary he is supposed to be. Right now, our area does not have any progressing investigators, but that will change soon. Pray that we can find men, Priesthood. In the Zone Santa Lucia, we are working in a District, not a Stake. All of our congregations are Branches, not Wards. We need to find, teach, and baptize LEADERS. We need strong, intelligent people to come to the Church here so we can continue to establish Zion in this part of Guatemala. That`s what I need from home this week, and all the weeks that I`m here in the Coast.
Also, Mom, in my next care package...I need new, cheap flip flops, a few pairs of Missionary Mall socks (yes, please specifically buy Missionary Mall socks), and a few pairs of garments. The mission office does not have any more garments, and because mine have been washed by hand against concrete and rocks for the last year, they are starting to disintegrate. I need to replace a few pair. Please send what you can.
About Mother`s Day, we will be calling on Monday, the 10th. I will call you in the night time, about 8PM. I`m not sure what the cost will be, but I will talk to other Elders to find out what the best way to do it is. I`m excited to talk to my family, but I`m more excited that it will be just one less call until I`m home. After next Monday, my last call will be on Christmas. How cool is that huh?
Alright, well I`m out of time for this week. I`ll be writing again on Monday, just about mission stuff and what we were able to do in the next few days, so then on the call I can give more stories and specifics about other parts of my mission. I love you all and have sent faith and love in the mail which should be getting to many of you soon. Be faithful, try hard to live the Gospel, and read the Scriptures.
-Elder Preston William Tucker