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 please...be 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.
-Elder Preston William Tucker