Good Morning Family,
Today marks day 1 of my second to last change in the mission. You received my flight plans this week, which I`m sure was a little bit of a shock for Mom and Dad, but also a big source of happiness and anxiousness. Trust me, it is for me too. I`m trying my hardest to keep my head in the game and focus on the mission and the goals I still have to complete before my time is up. I remember several of my good friends in the mission that turned SUPER baggy in their last couple of changes and it made it really hard for their companions to stay focused too. Elder Solis will soon have 9 complete months in the mission, and I don`t want to make him suffer the same that I did with my "old, dying companions." He is such a good friend and companion to me, I really appreciate everything that he is and does for me. I try my best to impart my knowledge and experience to him as he faces some of the same challenges that I did early in my mission, and I believe that we have a special ability to help each other. Elder Solis is another of those people that I feel like I knew in the Pre-Existence, the people I knew I would meet and have the opportunity to help and love during my mortal life. I have a special request this week from my parents and Whitney too, if she`d like to participate. My request is that your first priority this week be writing a special email to Elder Solis, telling him anything that you`d like to say to him, and then make your second priority writing me an email for the week. I`d also like my family to say a few special prayers for Elder Solis to help him in the rest of his mission, prayers for his sick, single mother, so that she can regain her health and strength, prayers for his sisters and their families, so that Elder Solis` nieces can grow in good homes and so that his sisters can make ends meet. I really share a strong love for this companion, and I`d like my family to be able to feel the spirit of service through prayers sent his way. Thank you, if you accept my request. =) His email address es firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week the only big bit of news that I feel inspired to share is that Elder Don R. Clark of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the President of the Area Presidency of Central America, came on a mission tour of Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission. Thus, we had special conferences throughout the mission directed and taught by Elder Clark himself. In the Xela Mission there has occurred a big change in that most of the old missionaries have left for home and that mission is now FULL of new missionaries, most of them being North American. So, there is a unique challenge in the mission. Many of the missionaries dont know Spanish well enough to express themselves, there aren`t many experienced missionaries to be able to teach them quickly, so they must learn on their own, and most of the new missionaries are being trained by other new missionaries that only have a change or two in the field. So Elder Clark`s teachings and comments were mostly directed towards the new missionaries, but they helped us all. He talked a lot about basic principles that will help missionaries both North American and Latino have successful missions. He spoke about the importance of learning and speaking Spanish. He spoke of the importance of loving our companions and loving the people. He spoke of the importance of opening our mouths and talking to everyone.and at least sharing our testimonies. I took many notes and learned many things through the Spirit that will help me complete my mission with success. He also taught us how to measure the success and value of our missions...and I was elated to finally know of a surety that my mission has been EXTREMELY successful in its own right. I`ll be able to explain more once I`m home, but for now I know that my mission is valuable and acceptable to the Lord because first I, myself, became truly converted the the Restored Gospel of Christ, I came to know my Savior and love Him completely, and I came to understand and use the Atonement in my daily life. Second, I know my mission was successful because I loved the people and I served them with my whole heart, and they loved me in return. I cannot remember many families that didn`t have a true love and respect for Preston William Tucker and the Tucker Family by the time I was change out of the area. Most of those that I truly helped were members. I baptized a few, I reactivated many, and I taught them all through the Spirit. So, in summary, I have come to know for myself the value of my mission and the eternal significance that it has in my life in the lives of many of our brothers and sisters in this world. That was the value that Elder Clark`s conference had for me. I love my mission and the challenges that it presented me with all because I grew and changed and progressed. In about 12 weeks I will be able to step on the plane and leave Guatemala knowing that I`m coming home having become the man that Heavenly Father planned for me to become up to this point in my life. I`m excited to continue progressing and helping those around me, especially my family, and I know that because I have these desires, my mission will never truly end. =) I love my Family and I love my Father in Heaven even more for blessing me so completely and deeply in my honorable full-time mission. =)
Until next week...I love you. I`ll tell you all about the changes if we receive any, but let`s keep our fingers crossed that everything stays the way it is for me for at least one change more. =) Oh, also, I had forgotten to mention...for the first time in my mission a leader of my branch, a member of the branch presidency, and a high counselor all told me that they requested that the Stake President request of President Lorenzana that I and my companion stay in our area together. That was a good sign, I think. =P
-Elder Preston William Tucker
P.S. Mom, Dad, Hope, Whitney...try not to get TOO baggy or trunky now that I can almost count my remaining weeks on my two hands. ;P Love you!