Happy Birthday Mom! I´m not gunna say the number, because in your email you made it very obvious that you aren´t too happy about it. hahaha Mom, don´t worry about it at all. You´re still the super fun, ultra loving, mega service-oriented, selfless Mom that I´ve known my entire life. You´re one of the greatest sources of learning, love, and comfort that I have in my Life and you need to know that your son loves you more than you will ever know or understand...at least until we´re all exalted in the Celestial Kingdom. hahaha Anyways, Mom, happy birthday...enjoy it, and have fun tomorrow night with all your sisters and Grandma. Give Grandma Welling a huge hug and kiss from me and let her know that she´s on my mind. Also, apologize for me for slacking so bad on writing letters during my mission...there really just isn´t enough time to write everyone in between in the work and the fun of the mission.
This week was a good one. Elder Solis and I worked hard to visit the members and get to know more of them. It kinda sucks that it´s taken this long to get the support of the Branch Presidency and get them to help us find our way around the area. Our area is huge and a little mountainous, so it´s a little hard to know who lives where and where to go to find them. Definitely don´t want to get lost in the mountains of Guatemala and never get back home. haha When we visit members, we try to talk with them about every aspect of their lives...temporal and spiritual, so that we can measure exactly where they´re al individually and as family in their progress. Once we´ve measure where thay´re at, we can begin to select lessons from the scriptures to teach them, left their spirits, inspire them, and get them working towards better lives and a stronger branch in San Corlos Sija. Our church attendance stayed about the same as last week, but a ton more less active and inactive members came this week, which shows big progress. We still don´t have many investigators, but that´s okay because our job for now it to get this branch back on its feet. On Saturday Elder Solis and I had a wonderful meeting with the Branch Presidency and they basically gave us an idea of the overall state of the branch and the requirements of the Church for our branch to eventually become a ward. It´s a long road ahead of us, but we´re hoping to install a turbo charger in the engine to get things progressing a lot faster. We´re doing well. This week will be full of work activating members and finding partial families (families in the which not everyone has been baptized yet). We got the good news yesterday that there is a partial family of 13 people (only 6 baptized) that wants to come back to the Church and just needs our teaching and help to get there. I´m hoping to have a lot of good things to look forward to in the progress of the branch of San Carlos Sija. I´ll keep you all posted.
Dad, you made reference to the fact that maybe I have been holding back emotions and thoughts about my missionary experience from you guys and that it´s difficult for you as a father to know what my experience has been like. I just want to tell you that I´m 100% sincere in my emails and letters, although I admit to holding back certain emotions and experiences that may have been a source of worry or concern for you and Mom and the rest of the family. I´ve held certain things back only because I don´t need to focus on them and they really wouldn´t HELP my family at all. You also said that I continually have expressed my growing testimony about certain aspects of the Gospel and that you feel my growth and love for the Gospel. You´ve also expressed that you finally feel like I´ve become a man and that I´ve turned out almost exactly the way that you and Mom hoped I would. Dad, that IS my mission. I have not baptized hundreds, nor even 20, but I have changed lives and allowed my testimony to be filled and stretched and grown my experiences. I have experienced a true, eternal, powerful personal conversion and I will never fall away. I have become the man that the Lord needs me to be to achieve the many great and wonderful works and heights that He has planned for me. I have come to know my Savior and my Father. I understand their Love and I understand the power and the purpose of the Atonement. I still have MUCH to learn and a TON of room to grow, but I´ve made HUGE progress and I know HOW to get to where I´m going now. Dad, that IS my mission. You will be happy with what the Lord is about to give back to you in the form of your only Son. I caution you all, however, about one thing. Once I´m home...be careful about what questions you ask me, because I will NOT linger on the emotions and experiences that brought me down. So, if you ask a question and I don´t have an answer for you once I´m home, don´t worry, just focus on the wonders that were worked in me and marvel at what I´ve become by passing through the hands of the Master. Sound like a deal? I´ll answer almost ALL of your questions, just don´t ask questions that won´t have uplifting answers. I´ve learned to fight the negative and focus on the positive in my life. I will continue that course and I will bring anyone that is will to come along with me on the journey! =)
-Elder Preston William Tucker