Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Week Down!

Hey Family!

Guess who? You`re favorite missionary son/brother/cousin/nephew/grandchild/best friend! Reporting in straight from Guatemala in a really weird, dorky mood this morning.

I don`t have a lot to report this week besides the fact that my Zone Leader responsibilities took me out of my area and away from finding and teaching almost this entire week. It was all for a good purpose though. See, when Preach my Gospel came out, they had a district of real elders and real sisters make videos illustrating the separate principles that PMG teaches missionaries. The videos were good, but they lacked focus and...the comfortable feeling of real life situations, I think. Anyways, recently (or, I guess the Church has been working on it for a while) the Church came out with a new set of videos for Preach My Gospel instruction called "The District 2". The First Presidency decided to make the new videos to illustrate and teach the fundamental principles that a missionary can/should learn from PMG in a simpler, realer, and more direct way. So this last Wednesday, the whole Xela Mission had a conference in which President Lorenzana and his assistants explained the separate parts and teachings of the new curriculum. It was a great conference and everybody learned a lot. I took great notes that I`ll have to share with you when I`m home. The normal missionaries went back to their areas afterwards, but ALL the Zone Leaders had to stay behind, sleep in a hotel, and then return to the Mission house for further instruction the next day. It was an AWESOME training that President gave us that second day and I learned things that will help me become the Man God wants me to be FASTER and EASIER. The principles that I`m learning now will help me achieve success for the rest of my life. I`m really excited to share what I`ve learned more fully once I`m home, but for now know that I`m really enjoying what the Lord is teaching me lately! We`re not having a lot of success in our area, but that might be fixed soon...not sounds like President Lorenzana has plans to take the mission`s leaders out of their areas to train them personally for quite a bit of time in the coming weeks. I`ll keep you all posted on how it goes.

I didn`t get emails from family today, so I`m assuming that all is well in the Tucker and Welling clans. That`s one thing I`ve learned...never to really freak out about anything anymore. I guess it`s understanding the concept of "no news is good news" SOMETIMES...not ALL the time. =P I hope that Brooke and Kate enjoyed their honeymoons and that they`re really getting buckled down into newly married life with their spouses. I`m really excited by the fact that every day brings my friends and I closer to being reunited again so we can all glory in our Lord and the experiences he gave us in the mish. I love my Family and my Friends...your prayers and love and thoughts support me day by day and the people around me can feel you love through the happiness you all bring me. I`m so grateful for the Gospel plan that joins me to you all in an Eternal chain, especially if we`re obedient to the will of the Lord. I love the Plan of brings me comfort in the hardest part of mortal life. I understand the power of my Maker and trust him and pour out my soul to him often. I`m developing a better relationship with the Spirit and am learning the depend on him when the good ideas run dry and when the heart needs uplifting. I love and know my Savior, and He loves and knows me. I testify that His Church is TRUE and the Gospel has been restored for us in these later days. I work hard to share my testimony and make it stronger so I can bear my family up for ALWAYS. I`ll talk to you all and see you soon.

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

Monday, August 23, 2010

Very Fast Week, Not Much to Report‏

Hey Family!

I love you all!

This week your emails were all long and full of great emotion and news! I enjoyed them very much. They didn`t leave me much time to write my own email, but that`s okay this week because not a lot happened! haha Sorry to say, but this week's email will not have much news about the mission work.

This last week was change week. Our changes are now done on Wednesdays. So on Tuesday night, the assistants told us who was going, who was staying, and who was training. Luckily, due to the wonderful change between Elder Kahawaii and I, we stayed together for another change. Our relationship has gotten 10 times better since last Monday. I would rather not go into details about what happened to make us have a the problems we did, because the important part is that the Lord helped us both to ask for forgiveness and to move on with more hope and love in our companionship. I finally feel like he and I are becoming good friends. You all know from my past experiences that I always do better in my companionship when my companion is my friend as well. A couple of elders left the zone and the elders that came into the zone are rather new and inexperienced. That`s okay though, we`re looking to really elevate the level of our zone`s spirituality and faith this change and we needed new blood. Unfortunately, this month the zone only has 2 baptisms so far, but next month we have hope and faith that we will achieve more than ever before.

This week I was a little baggy because it seemed like EVERYTHING I learned or heard was geared towards life AFTER the mission and eternal marriage. haha Kate got married this week, my baby cousin is now on her own, that thought kinda got me a couple of times this week. Congrats Kate! Be smart and always look to the Lord in all your challenges. You`re intelligent, beautiful, and talented. I know that if you pray and listen, the Lord will guide you to happiness always. Also, Brooke got married this weekend as well! Awesome, Brooke, I wish I could`ve been there to cheer for you. I know how far you`ve come and how wonderful it is that you were married for time and all eternity to the love of your life, Chad. Congratulations, even though you`ve never met me and don`t know too much about me, I`m very proud of you and wish you all the best in your new life with Chad. Prayer, as you know, always helps in any situation, but now you have the right to use the Temple blessings to solve any problem that you may come across in this life. Attend the temple often with your husband, and everything will turn out exactly the way the Lord meant it to. I have a giant testimony of the importance of the Temple and I wish for ALL of my loved ones to eventually enjoy the covenants and blessings that we can receive there! I appreciate every day the Love of the Father for His Children and how He made that Love manifest through the Eternal Blessings of His Holy House.

Hope, I`m so excited for you this week! You started SIXTH GRADE! Holy`re so huge now! I seriously feel like I`m missing out on your whole life sometimes...haha but that`s okay because I`m sure that you`re going to talk my ears off about EVERYTHING that has happened in the last two years. I want you to know that both Mom and Dad give me SHINING reports of how well you are doing in EVERYTHING you choose to involve yourself in. School, swim, soccer, and family! You`re doing wonderful and I am so grateful for your obedience! I have a couple little bits of advice for you, though, as you start this new part of your life. Hope, you`re growing up so fast, and as you grow up, more responsibility and good choices will be expected of you. I know that you are learning very fast about who you are, what our family believes and stands for, and who you need to be so that Heavenly Father can always watch over you, protect you, and guide you. You need to know now, Hope, that prayer should now become one of the most important parts of your day. When you pray in the morning, when you eat, and when you sleep, ALWAYS be grateful for the blessings that Heavenly Father gives you. Always ASK for the help and blessings that you NEED in life and I promise you that Heavenly Father will listen and answer your prayers. This is a lesson that I didn`t learn at your age...unfortunately, I waited to learn it until I got on my mission. Hope, I bare you my testimony that if you try REALLY hard to be the BEST 11 year old Hopester you can be...Heavenly Father will be happy and He will bless our family. Hope, in your new school, try your VERY best to find and make new GOOD friends that SUPPORT you and love you for who you are. Do not change who you are so that other people will like you, it`s NEVER worth it. Be yourself and love the people that show you love. Serve your friends and help them. When we serve others, they are more likely to want to serve us as well. When you help others, they will return the favor IF they are real friends. Always remember who you are! I know that Mom and Dad say that all the time, but it`s TRUE and it HELPS! If you remember that you are a Daughter of God and that He loves you and expects you to be your best will hardly ever give into temptation or make wrong choices. I love you Hope, you`re my favorite little sister EVER! =P Be obedient and love our parents!

Okay, that`s about it for this week. I know that I didn`t talk much about my week, and I`m sorry. This week might be full of a few wonderful events that I`ll be VERY excited to write and email about next week. I don`t want to spoil the surprise, so I`m not going to say much more. I need your prayers this week so that my companion and I can have the desire and the inspiration necessary to find the chosen investigators of God. We don`t have many people that are very positive, so pray that we will know when and who to teach this week so that more of our brothers and sisters can share the blessings of the Gospel with our AWESOME family! I love you all and I`m very proud of you. I love it when you share your feelings like you all did this week and I want you to know that I appreciate every effort you all make in the RIGHT direction, the direction of the Gospel Plan. It`s a True Plan, it`s a Perfect Plan. Follow it, and you`ll find Happiness, I testify!

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Pictures!

Last Week of the Change‏

Hey Family,

Okay, I had a LOT to do this week before I could start this email so I`m just letting you all know that it`s going to be short and sweet. I loved all the email that I got and the news that everyone is being challenged but is enduring those challenges well is very uplifting to me. It helps me feel like my missionary efforts are being felt at home. I know that lately everyone has been having very abrupt and life-shifting changes, but I want you to know that keeping in mind all the scriptoral promises that we have IF we Endure to the End will help any of us get through even the HARDEST changes in life.

This week I had a good start. On Tuesday I had my interview with President and I think I was in there with him for over an hour and a half! We talked about ALL the things that I had on my mind and heart. I unloaded on him and he unloaded on me. I learned much about the progress that I`ve made ever since I changed missions and the progress that I still have to be made. I learn how, spiritually, I can beat bad habits and how the Savior can help me with even the smallest things. I also spoke to President about my future in the mission and my future in home-life. I do not know where I will be going in the changes that will be made tomorrow OR with whom I may be placed, but I am pretty sure that I will be receiving a change.

This week my companion and I had a rather large misunderstanding and Elder Kahawaii ended up giving me a complete silent-treatment for 3 full days. He never told me what I had done wrong or if he was offended or angry. He literally spoke less than 10 words to me in a period of 72 hours. However, I do not want ANYONE to think badly of him because I`ve said this. We have now worked out our differences and are fine as friends and companions, but it was a long three days of learning for me. As missionaries without unity we were unable to achieve practically anything, which taught me that alone...when I`m supposed to depend on someone else, especially the Savior, I cannot accomplish anything. It also taught me the importance of communication and free expression of feelings and ideas. Also, as the silence continued, I learned to turn my Heavenly Father immediately in prayer and supplication. I prayed for strength, for understanding, and for love. I prayed for my companion as well, unselfishly. I also learned to turn immediately to self-reflection to figure out WHAT or IF I had done wrong. I learned much about myself this week, but all of those lessons just built upon the lessons I`ve already learned in the mission thus far. And I learned probably the most valuable lesson of my entire Xela mission so far. Mom, and Dad, this will mean more to you two than anyone else, but I have learned HOW I can complete one of the most important promises that I was given in my Patriarchal Blessing. I have learned how to be happy in all situations and how I can live with a joyful heart. My soul overflows with gratitude as I think about this invaluable lesson that came to my through the Spirit and through trial and prayer. Although this misunderstanding could ave ruined MANY things, including my companionship and friendship with Elder Kahawaii, I did not let it. The Lord and His Spirit helped us through it all and now we came out on top, with Satan crying and lamenting down below.

On a much higher note, I also was able to develop something that will help me for the rest of my LIFE when it comes to my Spiritual Progression. In my interview, President told me that he does not want me to wait to learn from HIM, but to learn from the Spirit and then just confirm with him the lessons that I learn. The Spirit taught me how to make better use of my scriptures as a missionary and revealed to me a system of how to mark my Scriptures that will bless my life and the life of my family and those I teach for Eternity. Unfortunately, you all will have to wait until I`m home to see what I`ve done, but I know that most of you will be able to see the true value of what I`ve discovered. I showed the system to President on Sunday, as he was there for our District Conference in the Zone, and he actually asked me to scan and send him a copy of my system, as he saw that it was useful and he hinted that he might want to institute my system in the entire mission very soon. =)

Okay, these were the largest events of my week. It was a big one! I have no idea what this week will hold for me, but I will let you all know next Monday. I love you. I`m proud of all of you. I wish you all luck and strength. Know where to find it, through Prayer. Use the tools Heavenly Father has given you. Trust in Him, and He will guide you to happiness. I testify of these things.

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

P.S. I attached a couple of my photos from the last few months, but there will be many more on the way. I have not sent my memory card yet because I haven`t had the chance to pass by a post office in a very long time. I may have the opportunity soon, I don`t know. Enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Week Outside My Area...‏

Hey Family!

I love you all. It was great to hear from Dad about all the fun stuff that everyone is involved in and how summer is winding down. You all know what THAT means, right?! That means that next summer...I`ll be HOME! hahaha Just kidding, I`m not thinking about that...too much. =P

This week was really quite uneventful for me. I spent almost the entire week outside of my area in divisions with another elder. Elder Glenn is assigned to the area in my zone called Racanà and they had a pair of investigators that had to get married before they could get baptized. So, I was put in charge of getting the legal paperwork in line for the wedding and making sure that the pair was ready for baptism. It was interesting for me because it was the first time that I`ve had a reason to deal with the bureaucracy of Guatemala personal identification systems. We had all the papers that we needed when we went in, so it was actually pretty slick. However, the problem in Guatemala is that hardly anyone keeps good track of their records or even their own identities. So it COULD have been really tough...but it wasn`t. So I spent the week over there, teaching, walking, and waiting for the wedding and baptism to be over. Another stumbling block was that the pair does not speak Spanish, so we had to have a member translate for us all the time. It was fun though, a good experience.

While I was gone, Elder Kahawaii and Elder Glann`s companion, Elder Amaya, were working really hard here in my area. They had a TON of contacts and our investigator pool is getting a little deeper. That was all good, but I still feel like I missed out a little on the fun part of the week and don`t know much about who our new investigators are. Oh well, I`ll figure it out as I go.

The big event of this last week happened last night. During our daily planning session, Elder Kahawaii and I basically had a very long, very sincere talk between companions about what we haven`t been doing right and what we a lacking as a companionship. This whole change with him I`ve felt a huge gap in our communication and it`s effected me very much, so last night I just laid all my thoughts and feelings on the table. We worked through almost everything very smoothly and I did my very best to be teachable and open. I learned many things that I`m not doing exactly right and, as a result, that I was setting a not-so-good example for the missionaries in my zone. I now know what I have to do better and what I need to change to be a truly effective zone leader and a better companion for Elder Kahawaii. He shared with me the fact that he feels that he would really love to become good friends and see each other after the mission, knowing that we made each other better missionaries and better people. I would really love my family to one day meet Elder Kahawaii, he`s a great man and a very focused and effective missionary.

Tomorrow our zone might have interviews with President Lorenzana. I`m really looking forward to that for two reasons. One, I really want mail and the packages from Mom that have been waiting to get to me for a LONG time now. And two, so that i can speak to President about many of my thoughts and feelings and ask for his help on many subjects. I`m also planning on asking President Lorenzana to keep me and Elder Kahawaii together at least one more change. I still have much to learn from him before I`m eligible for a different area, companion, or assignment, so I`m asking the Lord for more time. Apparently, in Xela Mission, the mission president actually respects missionaries requests and helps them progress in the ways that they believe they must.

Alright, so I have a lot of hope and goals for this, the last week of this change. I have 5 changes left after this week. My time is rather quickly coming to an end. I think of you often, but I don`t allow myself to miss you too much. I`m here to work until I`m sent home with Honor. I`ll make you all proud.

This week be sure that you all say your personal prayers, that you study your scriptures at least 5 minutes every day, and that you constantly seek to better yourselves for your families and for your Lord.

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker

P.S. Yes, the festival here in Momos is finally over and the streets are finally open and uncongested again. We can finally get to work like we want to without the bother of pushing through crowds of strangers and market vendors.

P.P.S. Yes, I`ve been able to use my DVD player and it`s very useful. This week we`ll use it in the outer villages so we can generate interest in the Church. I expect to have wonderful things to report next week. =P

Monday, August 2, 2010

This Festival is Driving Me Crazy!‏

Hey Family!

I love you! =)

So this week was slow...not alot to report, sorry. The thing is that here in the city of Momostenango, every year there is a festival that comes to town called the "Feria." Schools shut down, the already narrow streets become clogged with venders` stands, carnival games, pizza sellers, and a whole other list of weird and interesting things to see and buy. The crappy part is that it lasts for 15 DAYS! So...all this week the streets have been full of people from all over Guatemala selling, buying, walking VERY slowly, and not being interested in learning about the Gospel because we can never get them to stay in their houses long enough to listen to a lesson. We had a whole MOUNTAIN of contacting opportunities, but the ones that were positive either did not live anywhere close to here, or they aren`t going to be in their houses to receive us until the Festival goes away. Hopefully it will be gone by the end of this week...hopefully. haha I`m just excited to get into making all of our plans work for us. We have a whole bunch of villages in our area and we need to start working there a lot more in order to find people to baptize. The people that live in the villages speak mostly Quiche, the local dialect, and hardly any of them can read, write, or have even gotten a more than 3 years of formal schooling. It presents both a challenge and a great opportunity. Teaching these people will be a good training for me to learn how to teach my future children I think...who knows what lessons I`ll take away from this area. One thing is for sure...if I had not sufficiently humbled myself before in my mission, these people will teach me how to be truely humble in every sense of the word.

Anyways, I`ll get right to answering questions this week! =) Happy day, right?! Right.
Mom, Dad, and Hope...I`m doin just fine! =) I like my area, even though it`s tough to find and teach and baptize here. I like my companion; he teaches me new things every day by his example. The only thing that we lack is a little communication and sharing of responsibilities. I guess I just keep expecting him to do the normal things that zone leaders do without asking, and then things fall through. I`m also, at the same time, trying not to micro-manage him OR the zone. I`m just trying to be good at my job without being a tyrant I guess. hahaha
Unfortunately, we haven`t had baptisms this week or last week. It`s because when I got here, we baptized the only two positive investigators in the area and now our investigator pools are almost dry. The responsibilities of a zone leader have NOT been making it easy to strengthen my area or my ward lately, but once the Festival goes away, things will get easier to plan and manage. I`ll let you know when we start finding more investigators so you can pray for them by name. One person that you CAN pray for is a 15 year old boy named Egil Ixtocayac (Eh-hill Ish-co-tah-yac). My companion and I have both given him blessings people his family came on their own to the Church to ask for one. He has some form of epilepsy. In the blessings I was inspired to give him the promise of complete healing for some reason, of course as he and his family show faith in the Lord by keeping his commandments. Pray for him...if our blessing works, that could be a whole family baptized very soon! =)
My next change date will be in two weeks, around the 16th of August. Yes, the change cycle is still a 6 week change cycle. The transitions that we`ve had to make in the zone have all gone smoothly and we`ve been struggling to find new investigators, but things are getting better. The Festival effects ALL the areas because everyone has come to Momos to sell their good and make money for their families, so once that goes away, things will calm down everywhere I think. And right now, due to the Festival...we`ve been teaching around 10 to 15 lessons a week. But soon we will be able to dig in and maybe get up to 25 - 35 lessons a week with a few baptisms mixed inbetween. =P

Okay, this letter has a lot of information in it for everyone to enjoy, so I`m going to end a little early. I hope everyone enjoys the picture I`m trying to paint of my mountainous, humble, VERY traditional area. I enjoy it here, and I`m learning a little more every day. I`m trying to come closer to my Savior and I think my efforts are being noticed on High. =) I`m happy and I`m not counting down the days. I know how much work I have left to do, and I`m willing to do it. I do it happily, and I`m trying to do what my Patriarchal Blessing tells me to. I`m trying to be grateful in all that I do and say and to always be happy with a joyful heart. I know that it`s been reflecting in my latest letters and emails, so I hope everyone at home is content as well. I love you all.

Love Always,
-Elder Preston William Tucker