My Dear, Wonderful Family...sigh...I miss you!haha
So, it`s Monday again and I get to check off another week. It was a wonderful week full of service and learning and bonding with Elder Bergquist and finding new investigators. I had a LOT of fun, ate a LOT of good food with good people, and suffered through a LOT of body aches for the most wonderful cause in the world. Here is San Carlos Sija, everyone plants and harvests corn all year, every year. If you were to ride a bus from Xela towards Sija, most of what you would see are big houses made of cinder block (just like the rest of Guatemala!) and rolling corn fields everywhere! From the business man that commutes to Xela every day, to the humble farmer, EVERYONE has corn to harvest. So...what my companions and I did almost all week was to help our members and investigators with their harvests, lighten the load as much as we could, and use the spare time we gave them to teach the Gospel. It was so much fun for me, I love hard labor...hahaha Dad...stop laughing! =P Seriously, I loved learning how to do everything by hand and I loved helping everyone through true charitable service. Not gunna lie though...the body aches weren`t fun. haha By Thursday I was hurting pretty bad...the whole left side of my back was super sore and I had to go to bed early a couple nights just because I couldn`t stay sitting up any longer. =) It hurt so good! We learned how to cut the corn stalk, pull off the corn cobs, shuck the corn, and I already knew how to take the dried corn kernels off the cob, cook them, mill them, and turn it all into tortillas...the life blood of the Guatemalan people. The words for all those actions in Spanish are, in order, cortar la caña, desgajar la masorca, pelar el maiz, desgranar, cocer el nixtamal, moler la masa, y echar las tortillas! haha I`m really not sure if most of those words exist in real, academic Spanish, but they exist here, so I felt like sharing. Besides all the service, all four of us had very good luck in finding new investigators this week! In one day, Elder B and I were able to find TEN new investigators...that`s something that I`ve only done ONCE before in my mission, and it felt very good to dedicate a whole afternoon to finding instead of hitting constant dead ends. The only bad part was that no one could come to Church and start progressing towards baptism this Sunday...I guess we`ll just pay for better results for this Sunday.
This week we will be making sure that the investigators we found last week are worth our time and want to progress and complete their commitments, and at the same time we will be contacting and finding more new investigators to fill the "possible baptism pool". I hope it`s obvious to everyone at home that even though I only have 10 weeks left in the mission, that I`m trying hard to work hard, serve hard, and love hard until the very end. Yes, I`m very excited about everything that I will be enjoying and experiencing at home, but I`m staying focused on blessing the people and teaching my companion so he can be a very successful, intelligent, spiritual mission for the next two year. I feel great. =)As for the news you shared with me today, I`m very glad that even though winter has set in and everybody is ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays to get here, everyone is trying to stay busy and happy. Never forget to keep up on the family prayers and family Scripture study, because that will be the source from which we all draw on for the energy to carry on. I have come to know this week that the true worth of my mission does not lie in how many people I contacted, taught, or baptized. The true worth of my mission is found in the number of families I have blessed with my testimony of the truth and the efficiency with which I shared the Teachings of Christ with those families. I have, to date, only 13 baptisms, and probably will not have many more before I come home, but...after reflecting on the worth and impact that my mission has had on the people whom I have been called to serve...I have realized something very important. A dear friend and member of the San Carlos Sija Branch explained this to me yesterday during Sunday School... In two years I may not have had many baptisms or seen grand signs and miracles or healed many sick...but because I did my best to teach anyone that would listen, especially the inactive and less active members and families of the Church, I have gained hundreds of CONVERTS! I have helped all those that never really achieved a true testimony of the Church and the Gospel, I have helped them to understand, ask for, and obtain TRUE conversion to their Savior and His Church.
Looking back...I cant remember all the names...unfortunately, time robbed me of that (my own fault for not writing a journal, i know)... but I know that I can count several hundreds of converts that I have helped come unto Christ. Our missionary objective, as stated in Preach My Gospel, does not just say "Invite all those who don`t know Christ or His Gospel to com unto Christ." No, the missionary objective says "Invite all people to come unto Christ" and that is what I have done for almost two years...and I have succeeded! =D I`m going to work my hardest for these last two months so I can come home tired, but strong...but now I know that my offering is acceptable before my Brother and Savior. =) I can come home honorable, knowing that I did the Lord`s work, I was obedient to His voice, and I myself became truly converted to His Gospel in the process! =D Just a couple quick things before I finish and write to other people... Elder Solis` mom`s name is Sonia Arevalo and she goes into surgery on Wednesday. I don`t know what for, but I know that she is weak and needs prayers in order to pull through. Elder Barrios is having a very hard time staying in the mission and says often that he wants to go home. He has almost 10 months in the mission and is a great missionary, but has lost sight of why he his hear...or, like me, the reasons for him being here are being obscured by Satan and his evil influence. I don`t know what will happen to him, he wants to speak to President about it today...I`ll let you know what happens. Elder Bergquist is doing VERY well. He learns fast, and gets along with anyone. He is funny, smart, and genuine, just like Josh Timothy...actually he makes me miss Josh a lot. =P But I`m glad I got a companion like him towards the end of my mission. The Lopez family went to the coast this week and we haven´t heard anything from them. You can also pray for the Diaz, Vicente, and De Leon families. =) They need to have the desire to receive us, come to church, and progress.I love you all and miss you constantly. Nothing special will happen for me for Thanksgiving, but I want everyone to eat as much as they possibly can, in my honor...maybe I`ll be able to taste it if you eat enough. ;)Love Always,-Elder Preston William Tucker