Holy cow...where do I start?! This week has been so full that I feel like I met my new companion like 3 months ago and that we`ve been working non-stop for a month to get things organized. The thing is that the area that changed missions, the actual land area, was organized into a Church District, with two Mission Districts and 10 missionaries. Now District Tiquisate is still a Church District, but is now a Mission Zone. This means that this entire week we have been super involved in receiving trainings, organization, interviews, and preparation for when the new Mission President gets here. We want to get everything done so that when he comes in a week from today that he will be immediately able to work hard with all his training and strength. I`m not going to lie...for me it`s been stressful. BUT, and this is a King Size BUT, I have gone to bed every night feelings tired, satisfied, and ready to face the next day. The only thing that I haven`t liked at all is being so "out of the loop" with all the plans. We are having to make plans and attend meetings at the drop of a hat and at times we were doing things from hour to hour instead of day to day. Anyone that has ever experienced the sensation of organizing and managing a large group`of people knows that that is a very stressful situation. When a missionary can`t plan in advance...usually things get a little stressful for that missionary eventually. hahaha But it`s OKAY! I`m OKAY! I really enjoyed my week, and even though being a Zone Leader is tough, it`s satisfying. Our priority this week will be to keep organizing and planning, and then (in two weeks) our focus will be to dig in and WORK! Needless to say...I`m tired, but I`m having fun.
One of the really cool things that I`ve gotten to experience this week has been to travel all over a new part of Guatemala, even though traveling in buses and never getting to drive myself anywhere does get a Little annoying. I`ve visited three major cities: Mazatenango, Retalhuleu, and Quetzaltenango! They are all very beautiful, but also VERY different from the capital city of Guatemala. They are smaller, more level (without skyscrapers), and very twisty-turny. haha If you asked me to find my way around them, just from the small visits that I`ve had...I KNOW that I wouldn`t be able to. But everything was a great experience. The only bad part was that I never really got a lot of chances to take good pictures. I know that I still have plenty of time left to take pictures, but it would`ve been cool to have a few more memories of my first times in those cities.
Also, this week I had my first interview with President Lorenzana, a man that I`m sure that I KNEW in the Pre-Existence. President Lorenzana is the Mission President of the Quetzaltenango Mission and is a man that is FILLED with love and knowledge. He was a Gospel Teacher for over 15 years of his life and has an excellent knowledge and mastery of the scriptures and their principles and lessons. haha Just off-handily, during a lesson to the missionaries, he taught us that the plagues in Egypt was a type of Christ. At first I didn`t understand, but then he explained that "only after the death of His Firstborn could Pharoah let the House of Isreal go from their temporal AND physical bondage" and then I understood the connection. President Lorenzana teaches by inspiration and he understands the communication of the Holy Ghost more than any other teacher I have had in the mission. He is teaching me by example and is helping me to know who Heaven Father made me to be. haha Do you all remember how it frustrated me that my interviews with President Baldwin were all shorter than 5 minutes? Yeah, well my interview with President Lorenzana was over 30 minutes!!! It was incredible. He told us beforehand, "if any one of you have old sins that you have not repented for, tell me in your interviews and we will work through them once and for all!" So I did...I confessed everything and I know now that I`m as clean now, as a missionary, as I was when I was baptized as an 8 year old. I finally have the assurance that I am completely worthy for God`s work and ALL the blessings that He has to give me from here on out. Besides confessing and working through sins, I told President Lorenzana all about my family and my Eternal Love for them. He loves you as well. He feels like him and I must have been special, VERY close friends before this life because of the connection and familiarity he felt during our interview. I love that man, it makes me sad that I might not be under his direction in another week, but I know that we will see each other again soon.
Okay, now to answer questions: I don`t have my mission address yet, that`s why I can`t give it. You`ll all have it as soon as I do, okay? Patience is a virtue that I`M learning too! =)
My companion`s name is Franklin Guevara Vasquez. He is 20 years old (February 16th, 1990) and he is from El Salvador. He speaks Spanish and English because he went to a bilingual University and had to learn it to get good grades and a good job. He is a computer tech, through and through, and plays around on the computer through all the settings and systems as if it were all child's play. He operated his own business before the mission and is very smart. He is full of knowledge, but is also self-admittedly prideful. He`s working on that. He has 3 younger brothers, and no sisters. His parents are married in the Temple and His Father has served most of his life as a Bishop, Stake President, and IN Stake Presidencies. Elder Guevara has huge potential, and I learn from him every day. He has almost 10 months in the mission and has been a Zone Leader for 3 months now.
What I`m going through right now...I just need help to keep taking things as they come. We haven`t been able to do ANY normal missionary work this week because of how busy we`ve been with other stuff, but when it starts to calm down, I`ll let you all know.
I know that everyone is really interested in all the details of everything that is going on with the change in missions, but to tell the truth, I just don`t have enough time to ever communicate EVERYTHING here in the mission. Once I`m home, I`m sure I`ll be able to tell you ALL about it, but right now I can handle a couple specific questions each email. =P I love you all and hope that you enjoyed this email. The last tid-bit of news that I can share right now, before I end this email, is that I confirmed with President Lorenzana that with the new change cycle of the new mission, the Church will be sending me home three weeks earlier than planned. I believe that makes my departure date the 15th of March, 2011! I love you all, enjoy your week, work hard, and pray harder!
-Elder Preston William Tucker