Good Morning Family!
I love you! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I was sad about missing the Welling Christmas party...I´m sure that the food and the fun were excellent. Next year, by the time we have the party, I´ll be out of finals at ASU and I´ll be able to come back home for a visit. Again, it was a little weird to be in Guatemala for another Christmas without all of the snow and lights and music everywhere...but this time I wasn't sad because I knew that I´ll be home soon and next year I´ll be able to enjoy a truly North American, traditional, Welling/Tucker Christmas together with the family I love so much! My companion and I had the usual dish of pasta with prepackaged red sauce for dinner, read the scriptures a little and talked about what we learned, and then spent the rest of the night talking about what we were going to talk to our families about the next day. It was actually a very comfortable, very calm Christmas night for me and I really enjoyed the time getting to know me companion.
Okay, so I better tell you all about the changes that I experienced this last week, before I forget to talk about it. So, I had told you all in previous emails that I was also SURE that I was going to stay in San Carlos Sija for my last change and that I was going to stay with my companion Elder Bergquist. What made me so sure about it was the fact that the Stake President, the Branch President, and us as missionaries, we had all asked President Lorenzana, and the Lord, to let me stay. We had big plans for the area and were ready to put them into action. I guess the Lord´s plans, for ME at least, were a little different. On Tuesday night, at about 11:30PM I got a call and was told that I had changes. They didn´t tell me where I was going or who I was going to be with, but they told me that Elder B was staying and that I was going. So on Wednesday Morning I got to say goodbye to the Perez Family, then ride with them into Xela to the bus terminal and receive my changes. Once I got there it was a madhouse of activity and I just waited until the assistants saw me so they could give me my changes. Imagine my surprise when they told me that I was headed back to Momostenango for my last change! Not only that, but my new companion was going to be Elder Jimenez, another missionary that was transferred to Xela, originally from Guatemala Central Mission as well! I didn´t know Elder Jimenez at all before that moment, but I´ve gotten to know much more about him in the last 5 days, and I get along with him wonderfully. He is from Mexico, he is 19 years old, has about 8 months in the mission, and has a identical twin brother on a mission in Honduras. He is from Tobasco, Mexico, and wants to go to Cuba after his mission to study medicine. He was trained by Elder Carcamo, an elder that entered the mission field with me when we left the CCM. We talk a lot about the differences between Central and Xela Missions, and we enjoy the relaxed, hardworking attitude towards the Mission Work.
Yesterday was our first Sunday in the Tierra Blanca Branch. It was a madhouse! haha kinda fun actually. Yes, I´m serving in another branch, but this one has a few more members than the last couple that I´ve served. Tierra Blanca (White Land) has a normal attendance of about 70 members, and it stays pretty constant. Here´s the thing though...it´s mostly little kids! Seriously, most of the Sacrament Meeting room was FULL of little children. I don´t know how many of them are baptized or how many were just friends of the member´s kids visiting the Church, but it was crazy. Crying, spilled drinks, women breast-feeding their children, chaos everywhere! hahaha It´s great though, the prophets tell us that it´s very important for us to bring our children to Church, so we tried our best to feel the spirit and serve every one we could. The classes were normal, but the members don't participate much. We´ll change that. =P The year of Old Testament came to an end yesterday, so next year it will be easier to understand and participate. =) The Branch President has only been in his calling for a month, and the last Branch Presidente was assigned from somewhere else, so we don´t have a ton to work with. However, now I know well how to work with these circumstances, and we´ll turn things around quickly.
Maybe it would interest some of you to know that Tierra Blanca was the area where Elder Kahawaii finished his mission. It was funny because when we got to the chapel (we live in a room in one of the small classroom buildings) I fond a lot of very familiar articles of clothing and papers that Elder Kahawaii left behind when he left for home. The area has been closed for a month and a half, so any investigators that he used to have, will be hard to find, but we´ll do our best to pick up where he left off. Alright, my time is up. Pray for us this week. We´ll have a couple activities and a big New Year´s party in the branch so we need to make sure those things go well. We need to find, teach, and serve all the members of the branch this week, win their trust. Please pray that we will be able to to do effectively, and I know everything will go well.
I enjoyed every minute of our phone call on Christmas. We got everything that I wanted to talk about worked out and I´m excited to come home and see my beautiful, powerful family once again. I love you and miss you every day. I´ll be home soon, but for now I´m gunna work hard to come home as tired as I can. ;)
-Elder Preston William Tucker