Happy New Year Family!
2011 has finally come! Holy cow...I never thought that this moment would come. I never believed that I would finally be counting down the time until I´m home in a matter of a few days rather than in a few months. But the time has finally come. Here in the mission, missionaries are now calling the year that they spend completely in the mission field (from January 1st to December 31st) the "Black Year." I have finally completed my black year and it went by so fast. MUCH faster than I ever imagined it would. I´ve seen good times and bad, but mostly they´ve been VERY very good! I´ve become truly converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have finally learned the grand lesson of putting the Atonement of Christ in effect in my daily life. The amount of goals and ambitions that I have accomplished and obtained this year astounds me. Some missionaries say that living the two years in the mission is like living 20 years of normal life all at once. I feel like they may be right. I wont lie, yes, i feel tired and ready to come home, but I also feel a little nervous to leave behind the world that has become my life and reenter the "real world." However, my nerves never have the chance to turn into fears because I know that I have a wonderful, strong, loving family that is waiting to receive me with love and joy. I´ll walk off the plane without fear, knowing that I´m not leaving one battle field for another, but knowing that I´m leaving the mission field for the paradise of my own home. However, I still have 4 weeks to make a little more difference here in Guatemala, and I intend to do my very best to love, serve, and if it be the Lord´s will, baptize.
Things here in the branch of Tierra Blanca are not in a great position for immediate growth. As with many of my previous areas, this branch has been beaten down by Satan and the lack of hope and true conversion. However, I´ve become a much more able servant of the Lord to deal with that type of challenge and I know that my companion and I will be able to do several wondrous works before I must leave it all in Guatemala and come home. We´ve met a lot of the branch´s active members, although we still dont know very well exactly where they live. We have had a couple very good meetings with the current branch leadership and we have been able to listen and participate to set goals for the new year and to get to know what expectations the branch presidency has for us as their new elders. The hardest part about this area will be finding new, positive investigators. It is yet another very Catholic community, and there are many roadblock in the minds of the people that dont allow them to freely accept the True Gospel. However, we have the right tools, fasting, prayer, hard work, service, and love. We´ll do our best to be instruments in the Lord´s hands, and He will do with us as he sees fit. We currently have NO investigators. The previous elders left us with nothing...but it´s kinda a good thing...it means a fresh start and anything that we leave behind will have all be fruits of OUR labor. I actually really enjoy my companionship with Elder Jimenez and we get along just fine. On New Year´s Eve and Day we were ordered to stay in the house because the communities ge dangerous with alcohol and guns. So we just enjoyed basically tow full days getting to know each other and laughing our butts off about the stupidest little things. I love the feeling of aching ribs after having laughed until you cried. Elder Jimenez teaches me many cool things about Mexico, where he´s from, and I enjoy learning the slang that he used to use there. Needless to say, I´ll be able to hold my own in a Spanish conversation with American Hispanic once I´m home. =) I´m sure I´ll make friends in the Latin community very fast.
Well, there´s no other news besides the fact that we´re finally ready and correlated with the members to work hard in these next weeks and try our best to do the Lord´s will. I´ll be home soon, so have all your questions, party junk food, and favorite meals ready for me. Can´t wait to party it up with my family in my own home. =) i love you all. I loved talking with you all on the phone. Can´t wait to be there in person and start out true adult life. Until next week...
-Elder Preston William Tucker