Monday, July 26, 2010

I love my Family more than Ever!‏

Hey Family!

Oh my much and so little has happened this week that I`m not sure if this email is going to be long, or short, or even sufficient to express myself. So patient and just love what I have to say. =P

First of all, my opportunity to talk to my family again for a couple hours was my FAVORITE part of this week. I got to talk to my parents, figure a couple important hings out, and just feel the comforting spirit of PW, Paula, and Hope Tucker just sink into my heart once again. Not going to lie, I`m pretty excited to see my family once again. I know that I have MUCH to do before I`m done here in Guatemala, but I also know that the Lord is helping me to not feel the time as it passes by. You all were right, it feels like July was less than a week long and that my homecoming rapidly approaches. I want you all to know that I`m going to do my very best for you all, myself, and my God to finish my mission with Pride, Honor, and Love.

Our zone experienced a few emergency changes this week. Don`t freak out anyone...this time the changes didn`t touch me. They shut down an area in my zone that is literally IN THE MIDDLE of NOWHERE. The Elders were sent to the new zone of Momostenango North. One of them will be a Zone Leader, and the other will finish his mission with a very young companion. One other elder will be leaving our zone, but we are all content with the future of the Lord`s Work in our zone. This month, we broke the record of monthly baptisms in the zone. In July we have baptized and confirmed 19 people and the previous record was only 11 in one month. I`m very excited to see what we can do with August and how much success I personally will receive from the Hnad of my Lord.

Elder Kahawaii and I are doing good together. Some days we don`t talk much, but I learn from his example a lot and he teaches me when I ask for his instruction. He has been a Zone Leader for a long time and has wonderful ideas that he shares and I modify. We want to make a weekly schedule of activities for our ward so that the members have at least one activity to attend every day, at least one for each Church Organization. (for example, Wednesday for young men, Thursday for relief society,etc.)

I`m SOOO happy to hear ALL about the weekend that my Family and Whitney`s family were able to spend together. Everyone felt a constant flow of Love, Comfort, and Spirit and I know that my Family is on it`s way to Eternal Exaltation. Mom and Dad, I`m so proud of you for being yourselves and for making an AWESOME first impression. Tracie and Whitney, I`m so glad that you two could feel at home in MY home and that you thoroughly enjoyed you restful weekend. It was awesome for me to hear that you all worked and played hard. That`s what my family does best and that way of life helps me every day here in the mission. I am constantly learning more, even though some days I learn more than others. More than anything the Lord is helping me to refine myself. I am finally allowing myself, as President Lorenzana puts it, to pass through the furnace of affiliction and the refiner`s fire. I now know that I will leave this mission having become the man that Heavenly Father made me to be. I may not reach my baptism goals, but I know that I will have no regrets and my past will be behind me and my Future before me.

Thank you, Family for being so wonderful. I know that I was chosen and blessed by my Father to be born to THIS family in THIS time and to serve THIS mission. I am Eternally grateful for the blessings I receive daily and for the strength I receive from His hand EVERY time that I kneel to ask in Humility and Love. I have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and I am learning to use the power of that Atonement in my daily life. I still have MUCH to do, as my Patriarchal Blessing states, but I know that I`ll be able to do everything and Anything with the help of MY God. =) I am happy, full of Light and Joy...finally. =D

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

Friday, July 23, 2010

Elder Tucker's Mission Changes

I think a lot of people are confused with all the changes Preston has been going through. So here is a list of the changes he has made starting in the Central mission in May through the Quetzaltenango Mission in July.

May and June (6 weeks):
Area: La Nueva Conception
Mission: Central
Position: District Leader
Companion: Elder Segundo

2 weeks of June:
Area: La Nueva Conception
Mission: Rentalhuleu
Position: Zone Leader
Companion: Elder Guevara

3 days of June:
Area: Santa Ana, Momostenango
Mission: Quetzaltenango aka Xela (Pronounced:Shayla)
Position: Companion of a District Leader
Companion: Elder Solis

6 days of July:
Area: Garibaldia, Xela Oeste
Mission: Quetzaltenango
Position: Zone Leader
Companions: Elder Olsen and Elder Burton

1 week of July:
Area: Totonicapán, in the city of Momostenango
Mission: Quetzaltenango
Position: Zone Leader
Companion: Elder Suazo

Remainder of July:
Area: Totonicapán, in the city of Momostenango
Mission: Quetzaltenango
Position: Zone Leader
Companion: Elder Kahawaii

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Okay, so I was ALMOST all settled!‏

Hey Family and Beloved Friends!

This week, I`m sorry to report, has been ANOTHER week with changes in my mission. Last week, when I emailed, I thought I was finally able to say that my changes were settled and that I was finally in ONE place, with ONE companion, and that that would stay the same for a while...I was wrong. hahaha It just goes to show that the Will of the Lord changes rapidly and without warning sometimes. So here`s what happened THIS week:

Last Tuesday night, Elder Suazo and I were visiting and teaching one of our recent converts, Carlos Velasquez, who was baptized last Saturday, the 10th of July. When we were able to leave the appointment, at about 7PM, we received a call from the mission offices and Elder Suazo was told that he had emergency changes and that he needed to pack his bags and be ready to take them to the Mission Conference that we had planned for the next day, Wednesday. That, needless to say, ruined a few of our plans and we had to spend the night saying goodbye to the members and picking up dirty, half-washed laundry, and packing up Elder Suazo`s bags.
The next day, the entire mission congregated in Xela for the conference and we got there without any problems. The one thing that was bugging me was that I couldn`t figure out why the Lord would take another companion away from me just as I was starting to get to know him and I still didn`t know my new area very well AT ALL. I was worried that I wasn`t going to be able to live up to the responsibility of directing a zone that I hardly knew, in a Mission that is completely new to me as well. Another thing that was a little unsettling as well is that I didn`t know who was going to be my new companion. I didn`t find out until AFTER the conference. I was just stressing a little too much...that`s all. I think you all can understand. haha Four areas, 6 companions, all in 5 weeks. Sigh...who knows WHEN I`ll be settled in for a while without anymore changes. But it`s okay, I`m finally feeling confident in what I`m doing as a Zone Leader, as a companion, and as a missionary in the Guatemala Xela Mission.
My new companion is Elder Kahawaii. He is 22 years old, from the island of Oahu in Hawaii, and is of Samoan heritage. He plays the guitar, thinks deep, and takes control of situations so that we can all be efficient and have fun at the same time. He`s a high-flying Eagle and he`s helping me to fly high by his side. I have a TON to learn from him, but I have faith that I will be able to learn exactly what the Lord wants me to learn from Elder Kahawaii before he separates us and sends me on yet another crazy adventure.

Last night, I had the opportunity to call my parents (with my Mission President`s authorization) and talk to them all about the changes that I`ve been going through. I finally feel like everyone is content and informed in my immediate family about what`s going on in my mission. Now, my next responsibility with regards to my family will be to write a really good letter by hand and send my next 300 new mission pictures home for everyone to enjoy. =) This area is beautiful, mountainous, and has a comfortable climate for me. I enjoy my days here and I have the privilege to go to bed tired every night. =P Coming up in the next couple of weeks is a MASSIVE festival here in Momostenango. The indigenous people of the city say that is should last about 15 days. We`ll see if we can get ANY effective work done, or if the party will just make everything impossible. I`m just really hoping that President Lorenzana doesn`t tell us to stay inside the house the whole time so that we`re not in any danger. I`m not going to lie, I would love to enjoy the extra time to study to Scriptures and become a better teacher of the Gospel, but being inside ALL DAY LONG is not my idea of a fun time here in the Mission.

Now I`ve gotta get offline, but know that I love you all and I`m putting ALL my effort into being obedient, efficient, and powerful as a tool in our Master`s skilled hands. Again, I ask you all to study, ponder, and pray this week to increase your spirituality and come closer unto Christ. I love my Family, and my greatest desire would be to see all of us together, united, in the True and Eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Finally All is Settled!‏

Hey Family!

Oh man, I love you all so much! Yesterday killed me, knowing that I was not going to be able to get an email out to my family until today. The thing is, and I´m sorry that it´s been like this, with all the changes that I´ve been going through it´s been really hard to have a set day and time when I get to email you all. However, I think that I´m finally settled in for a while. Here´s what my changes are and how things are going:

I have been officially, and irrevocably changed to the Guatemala Quetzaltenango (Xela)] Mission and my mission president is now, and will be until I end my mission, President Lorenzana from Honduras. He and his family will end their mission in June of 2011 and I´ll be going home in March. My new release date, as far as I know for right now, will be March 17, 2011. My final and permanent changes are that I´ve been called as a Zone Leader over a small zone in the mountains of the Guatemalan department of Totonicapán, in the city of Momostenango. My Zone´s name is Momostenango Oeste (West Momos) and my new companion is Elder Suazo. He is a 23 yea old Elder from Honduras (I love it because I always seem to get along REALLY well with Elders, and people ion general, from Honduras). He was born in the Church, and has a great testimony. He has both of his parents and he is the oldest of three (one younger sister, 20, and a younger brother, 9 years old). He is organized, observant, easy to get along with, intelligent, and always willing to teach and help me become a better leader in my new position. Our zone is small, 10 elders including my companion and I, and 2 sisters. The land that we cover is vast and it is hard to get good transport to and from all of the areas, but we make it work. It´s beautiful here and in the memory card that I´m going to send soon, you´ll see quite a few photos of my surroundings. The only bad thing about this place is that it is a little isolated. We have a post office, but I´ve heard that it´s really unreliable. What that means is that I´m probably going to have to write letters, get them addressed and everything, but then wait until I get to go into the city of Xela to send them from a more reliable post office. Okay, so patient with my letters and communication. =) Thanks. I´m really enjoying my time here, although it has still been a little scatterbrained. This week we will be having a Conference with the whole Xela Mission in the city of Xela on Wednesday, After that we will probably have interviews with President Lorenzana on Friday for the Momos zones. After this week is over, things should get back to normal and I will be able to really get to work.

Here, in my area, we work a lot with a very simple kind of people, a culture that is very hard-working, but a little on the slow, non-intelligent side. They are extremely traditional and a lot of families still carry on Mayan traditions. For example, women are very low on the social hierarchy. A woman has to receive permission from her husband for just about everything that she does outside of the house. I don´t agree with it, but I´m not going to be able to change centuries of tradition in just a few short months. I´m just going to do my very best to do my work, teach and animate my zone, and enjoy the success that the Lord has saved up for us. So far this month, the Zone has 13 baptisms and we are shooting to break the record big time and achieve 20. My companion and I baptized a 16 year old young man named Carlos Velasquez last Saturday and it was a great experience. Little by little we are bringing the Gospel into the hearts of his family along with him. We are hoping to be able to baptize his little brother soon as well. The only other investigator that is positive and getting ready for baptism is Bernardo Poncio. He is a wonderfully humble man that is just trying to change his own life, follow Christ, and do what´s right. He is probably the most humble investigator that I´ve had so far. I love him and his desire to learn more about the true Gospel of Christ. He loves the Book of Mormon and knows firmly that it is the word of God. He will be getting baptized this Saturday and I will take pictures to send with next weeks email, just remind me to attach them, please.

My biggest challenges in this change will be to adapt my teaching style to fit the culture and intellectual level of this people. I know how to serve them, I know how to speak with them. I know how to study, edify myself, and instruct others. But I will need you faith, hope, and prayers directed to my and my companion´s FINDING of the chosen people of the Lord. Apparently, this land and city has been visited SEVERAL times by Apostles and has been blessed by them with HUGE promises. Our work will just be finding and teaching this humble people and sifting out the wheat from the tares.

I love this work, I´m ready and willing to endure to the end, the end is in sight, but my eyes are set on the task at hand. I love my family, my future, and my Savior, but I also love this people, their needs and desires, and teaching them the Restore Gospel. I have a testimony that I am here for a reason and that I wont stop looking until I´ve completed my time here and have achieved my purpose. Study deeply, pray fervently, hope always. Ask, and ye SHALL receive, is my prayer and testimony for MY eternal family.

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, July 5, 2010

Jealousy but with Happiness!

Hey Family!

Holy cow, this week has felt like a month! It feels like forever since last Tuesday when I emailed last! but that`s okay, I`m finally at the computer and I can tell you all about my experiences! But first,. let it be known that I`m jealous that you all are having awesome summer fun, but at the same time I`m very happy with the changes that are happening in my mission right now. I feel like the next 8 months will go fast, but they will be filled with wonderful, rapid personal growth and lots of success in the Lord`s work. I`m not promising news of tons of baptisms every month, but I am promising that I`m finally on the fast track to becoming the man that Heavenly Father MADE me to be! I have divine potential, even in THIS life, and I`m determined to reach it!

Okay, so to explain my current situation, I`m now no longer with Elder Solis in Momostenango, in the mountains. Right now, at this very moment, I am in the city of Quetzaltenango (Xela) and I am in a trio of Zone Leaders. Our zone is called Xela Oeste (West Xela) and our area is called Garibaldia (don`t ask about the pronunciation, please =P). Our area is big, but small at the same time. It`s big in the fact that it is part of the very large, sprawling city of Xela and because of the population density in this part of the city. Basically, there are a lot of people living in a very small space. My companions are Elder Olsen, who is three days away from going home to Idaho, and Elder Burton, who is from Tennessee and has 10 months in the mission. They are both hilarious and very easy to get along with. Elder Olsen is ready to go home, but has been REALLY working hard to keep up his high work ethic to the very last day of his mission. He is doing wonderfully and is showing me a great example of how I need to think and work as a leader and a missionary until the end of my mission. Elder Olsen is tall, skinny, and down right funny! He is a missionary that is FULL of the desire to work for the Lord and bring glory to His name by setting a good example to everyone around him. I really feel that President Lorenzana put me with these two elders for a reason, and that reason was to learn how happy, healthy, inspired missionaries SHOULD work in the Mission Field. It worked. I feel inspired and ready for the next adventure that the Lord has to throw at me.

Before I tell you all about my next and final change in this crazy period of transition from Central Mission to Retalhuleu Mission to Quetzaltenango Mission, I want to share a couple experiences that I`ve had in the last couple days with Elder Olsen and Elder Burton. Here, in this area, working with the members and asking for references does NOT give much fruit, so most of what we`ve done to find new investigators is pure foot work, contacting in the street and door to door. We`ve gone on divisions almost every day in order to teach lessons and find new people to teach at the same time. During one of these divisions I was with Elder Olsen, and we had no plans for a couple hours. This happened yesterday, by the way. So...we start walking and listening to the Spirit. As we were walking down a busy street, towards a different part of the area that we hadn`t contacted before, we both turned our heads to look down a dead end street off to the left. We both kept walking about three more steps, but then we stopped together. We both just looked at each other and started walking into the dead end. We went all the way to the end of the street and knocked on the door of the last house on the left. Long story short, we ended up teaching a family of 5 people, all of baptismal age, and they opened themselves up to the message because of the GOOD example of the Saints they had met and seen in their normal, everyday lives. When we started teaching, this family did not have ONE trace of happiness on their faces...but once we prayed and left, they were all smiling and excited for the next time that Elder Burton and his new companion will come to teach them more. It was a miracle. The rest of the day was great, but that experience was the cherry on top of the cake. One other experience was that we had a baptism on Saturday of a 14 year old kid named Josue. His home is broke and invaded by the influence of tobacco and alcohol, but he has stayed strong. Satan was NOT happy about Josue`s baptism. When we got to the church to fill the baptismal font, a HUGE storm started over the city. The lights went out, the water pump stopped working, the plug of the font stopped holding water, and the signed permission of Josue`s mother got lost. However, we were determined to get this kid baptized. We prayed and worked and eventually, Josue got baptized, confirmed, and was given the Priesthood on Sunday. It was a great faith builder.

Okay, so I`m almost out of time (sorry again Whit...=( ), but I have enough time to tell you all about what`s now going to happen to me. On Wednesday, I will receive my final change: my new area, my zone, and my permanent companion. President Lorenzana told me many things in an interview that I had with him when Elder Solis dropped me off, but the important part for my change was that he told what he wanted me to do and learn in the months to come. President said that he wants me to be a Zone Leader for a while because HE, as a Zone Leader in his mission, learned all the important lessons that have helped his stay close to the Lord, listen to the Spirit, and have a success life with regards to worldly success. So, he gave me an option, I could either stay with Elder Burton once Elder Olsen goes home, and stay in Xela Oeste zone...or I could go back to Momostenango and help President organize and start a NEW zone in that city. I chose to go open the new Zone. So that means, just one more time, a new companion, a new area, a new culture, and a new ZONE! haha But i`ll be there for at least a month and a no more moving around for a while. =P Also, I had heard a lot of the missionaries in the Retalhuleu Mission AND the Xela Mission say to me that President Lorenzana wants to and will make me his Assistant soon. I didn`t want to go on pure rumor, so in my interview with President, I got bold and asked him what His plans are for me and my mission. I asked him a direct question and I got a direct answer. President asked me why I asked and I told him that I had felt the same and I would LOVE to be his Assistant. He told me in return that he and the Lord feel the same. He says he wants me to receive learning and training as a Zone Leader, and then he will probably call me to be his Assistant within 3 months. I`m very excited for that opportunity, but I`m patient and excited to learn what the Lord has to teach me.

Lots happening, lots of jealousy about YOUR summers, but LOTS of happiness on my end of the world. =)

I love you, I miss you (but not so much anymore that I`m distracted), and I promise that my next few months in the mission will be the most fun, important, and exciting of my entire mission so far. Please read the Scriptures, pray OFTEN to Heavenly Father for help and guidance, and LISTEN to the Spirit when he tells you the Lord`s will.

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

P.S. I know that I probably didn`t answer all your questions...but you gotta understand now...only 1 hour to read and write all the feelings of my heart and tell you all about my experiences is NOT enough time to make everyone happy...I just hope that this email has painted a better picture for you about how my mission is going and how I`m doing personally. I`m not stressed, but patient and excited. I`m in love with my Family, and I`m in love with the Lord`s work now. Be happy and be comforted, for all is well. =)