Monday, March 19, 2018

¡Dos semanas hasta México!

Hola Familia!

I swear I sent an email last week, but somehow it didn't go through. Sorry about that! Well it's been another good couple weeks here in Portland regardless. The weather has been wonderful and sunny and I'm loving it!

Thursday, our dinner appointment called and said they were inviting a non-member friend to join us that night and that he was interested in learning more about the Gospel! So that night we met Daniel who said he recently had an epileptic seizure and that during, he also had a vision of being judged by God. He said it felt so real and that he felt so guilty. Hearing this for the first time made me think of Alma the younger and the vision he had in Alma chapter 36 of the Book of Mormon, so we decided to read it with Daniel and explain to him that like Alma, Daniel can turn to Jesus Christ and feel complete relief and forgiveness from that guilt. It was a very powerful first visit.

Saturday, we went to the Portland Temple Visitor's Center with a long time investigator, Tony. We talked about eternal marriage and he seemed to really enjoy it. We identified some concerns of his which is good, because hopefully We'll be able to work through them now and help him get baptized.

Sunday was great because it was ward conference and Tony and Daniel both attended! The President of the Portland Stake, President Dickey, talked to us in ward counsel and then gave an amazing talk in sacrament meeting. Bishop King also gave a great talk. Church was packed! Bunch of less actives and people I hadn't met before hahaha. The best though was that Brother Pickell finally came because we had made a deal with him a couple weeks ago that if we beat him in chess, he would come to church!

Elder Valentine and I have been getting along really well and forming some good habits together! I'm excited to make the most of these last two weeks here before returning to Cuernavaca!!

Hope everyone has a good week! Love you all.

Elder Tucker


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Aprendizaje Misional

Hola Familia!

It was another good week here in Portland!

Tuesday, we had a sweet district meeting where we talked about the importance of receiving revelation in order to be converted, effective missionaries. One of the most converting factors in my mission has been being able to find the answers to my own questions through prayer and personal scripture study. I'm so thankful for the Guide to the Scriptures at the back of every Spanish Book of Mormon and I encourage everyone to use it and the many other resources we have to find answers to your questions and receive revelation.

We had a couple more lessons with Doug this week before he flew to Oklahoma on Friday. He had gotten into a lot of antagonistic material against the Church, and he thought he would be able to catch us off guard with some of the controversial history of the Church, but luckily, Elder Valentine were able to have the Spirit with us and calmly answer his questions. Then I was able to make a connection between him and Thomas, one of Jesus Christ's original apostles. Thomas didn't believe the stories of Jesus rising again after the crucifixion because he hadn't seen the resurrected Lord with his own eyes. When Christ did finally appear to him, Thomas fell to his knees and wept. Jesus said "blessed art thou, Thomas, because you have seen and believed. But how much more blessed are those that believe without seeing." This really resonated with Doug and it really resonates with me too because we are here on this earth to develop faith. We're never going to have a perfect knowledge of Gospel, but if we have faith, we will find peace in this life and eternal joy in the life to come.

Friday, we had interviews with President McAteer. I had a couple questions for him about priorities and the best way to correct my companion when I know we can be doing something more effective. I asked him this because I had been struggling to agree with Elder Valentine on a lot of things because I had seen him do things incorrectly. President McAteer told me that although it is important to keep your priorities straight, it is even more important to have companionship unity. You could be doing all the right things, but if you're not on the same page as your companion, it's not going to be as effective. What President McAteer told me taught me a ton.

4 investigators attended church on Sunday! James, Larry, Tony, and Tamara. Elder Valentine and I have been doing some good work and it was nice to see some more fruits. Larry, Tony, and Tamara are working towards baptism.

Anyway, hope you all have a great week!

Elder Tucker

Riding bikes with Elder Nieman 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Un Orto Traslado en la Mision Washington Vancouver

Hola Familia!

Well, I'm still here in Portland. President McAteer called on Wednesday saying that he had just gotten word that I'll be returning to Cuernavaca at the end of this transfer, which will be April 2nd. It was a bummer to hear that because I was looking forward to heading back to Mexico, but the Lord must be keeping me here in Portland another transfer for a reason. Still a great week to be a missionary.

On p-day, Elder Valentine and I made another pie for an investigator, less-active, part-member family, the Garlicks, with more of the ingredients that Elder Valentine received from his family in his Thanksgiving package. It was a Carmel apple pie. Kind of something some sister missionaries would do, but hey, it was really good and effective for our investigator. She shared us each a slice later in the week.

Thursday, we had a zone conference in Gresham with Elder Carl B. Cook of the quorum of the 70. It was uplifting and powerful. The whole time, I just kept thinking about how spiritually edifying a mission is and how much I don't want it to end. I want to continue deepening my conversion after my mission. And the only way to do that is to keep setting goals, making plans, and working towards them immediately.

Sunday was awesome because 3 investigators came to church! Juston, Doug, and Larry. Doug, 36, was a street contact that Elder Valentine had with his last companion, Elder Harris. They gave him a Book of Mormon and a piece of paper with their phone number on it. After 2 months, Doug finally reached out to us and told us about his struggle of going through a divorce, being seperated from his kids, and now being homeless. He said he wants to pick himself back up and was hoping the Church would be able to help with that. We said absolutely. And although hearing that can make you question as a missionary if a person is really coming to you for the right reasons or if they just want a handout, Elder Valentine and I could tell that Doug was sincere and motivated to bring a positive change in his life with the Church's help. He also seemed interested in learning more, so we set up an appointment for him to meet with Bishop King on Sunday. Bishop King helped buy a plane ticket for Doug to go to Oklahoma and get in touch with more family that will hopefully be able to help him out. Elder Valentine and I are also helping him get in contact with the local missionaries to continue teaching him the Gospel and help him reach his goals. I don't know if Doug will convert to the Church or not, but seeing his face after he left the bishop' s office with a check to buy his plane ticket to where he so desperately wanted to go made it worth it.

Larry is a man in his 70s who has been investigating the church through his old high-school best friend, who lives in another ward. He loves it and even said he wants to get baptized which made it such a miracle when his friend brought him to our ward for the first time on Sunday. All Larry needs is to receive the missionary discussions! We have an appointment scheduled with him and his friend next Sunday after they come to Church. What a blessing!

I've been learning so much lately about humility and not only genuinely listening to others , but really hearing what they have to say and pondering about how I can help them. I'm also grateful for what I've been learning regarding the Church's welfare program because I'll tell you what. There's a whole lot more people like Doug out there.

Anyway, have a good week! Love you all so much.

Elder Tucker

1, zone breakfast on Friday to kick off the new transfer
2, we had a car for a couple days and it was snowy
3, the Carmel apple pie

Monday, February 19, 2018

Una Semana Bien Rara....

Hola Familia!

Another good week as a missionary here in Portland! I didn't get to baptize Damian Lillard this transfer like I was hoping, but some crazy things happened this week.

Early in the week, for the first time in my mission, Elder Valentine and I met with an openly-gay, middle-aged man named Johnathan at this restaurant called Cruisers. He told us about himself and how despite everything, he accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior. This was pretty cool for me to hear. So we talked to him about how much love the Church and especially God has for all of His children. He had some questions for us about the Church's stance. We didn't have much time to met with him that night, but maybe he'll be open to hear more another time.

Later, we had a FaceTime lesson with a member who had just moved into our ward, Jesse. Jesse had just recently converted to the Church when his Elders quorum President told him that he needed to have a vision confirming the truth of the Book of Mormon before he was to receive the priesthood. This caused him to be really confused and grow a little inactive. Well, after telling him that what his Elders quorum President said was crazy, Elder Valentine and I felt impressed to draw up the Plan of Salvation focusing on the role that the Priesthood has in all of it. Very powerful. You could tell he was receiving a lot of the answers to his questions. Then on Sunday, after Sacrament Meeting, we met up again with Jesse in the Bishop's office and helped confer the Aaronic Priesthood upon him! Hopefully, he'll participate in the blessing or passing of the sacrament next Sunday. I'm so excited for him.

Thursday, I got flown down solo to Las Vegas to meet with the Mexican Consulate and finish the process of obtaining my visa. It hadn't really hit me until I walked out of the consulate building, that I was all alone as a missionary in the middle of Las Vegas. I didn't have a phone so I walked to the closest place I could find with free WiFi which ended up being an outdoor mall called Las Vegas Premium outlets. I had some lunch at Shake Shack and then borrowed the mall customer service place's phone to call my zone leaders in Portland. They got the number of the local Elders in the area I was in for me and I called them and told them the story and they were so confused like "I've never been in a situation like this before. We're gonna have to call the APs and the mission President and ask". Hahaha. But they ended up driving over to come get me. Elder Roberts from Idaho and Elder Roberts from Vancouver, Washington!! Crazy! They took me with them immediately to an appointment with a woman named Cheryl who had just been baptized on Saturday. We went over the Restoration with her. Then, the elders took me to the nearest chapel where I met the President of the Las Vegas West Mission, President Walker, and his wife. They took me to the mission home and I went on a walk around the neighborhood with President Walker. He was very nice to talk to. Then they fed me some pizza for dinner and paid for an Uber to get back to the airport. Elder Broadbent and Elder Valentine picked me back up in Portland at 10:15 PM that night. Hahaha crazy day.

Sunday, Elder Valentine, Brother Wells, and I all spoke at church. I was assigned to speak about Elder Quentin L. Cook's talk in the April 2016 general conference called See Yourself in the Temple. Very important principles in there. James, our investigator, AND Sister Bacso, less-active (returning), attended church which was the best. Sister Bacso got to go to the temple prep class and says she can't wait to come back next week.

Another miracle that happened this week was with Sister Fuapau, the less active member with four sons that we visited last week. It was her birthday this week, so we weren't able to go over on Tuesday, but our ward mission leader dropped off some cupcakes for her saying they were from the missionaries of the ward. Then on Sunday, we get a text from her saying she's trying to get back together with her husband and that they ALL want to be taking the missionary lessons as a family!!! Wow. Pray for the Fuapau family because this would be an unbelievable blessing if it worked out!

Regarding my return to México, President McAteer told me that he still hasn't heard anything, so it's possible that I'll be staying in the Portland a little longer than I thought. But I don't know, I guess we'll see. I'm praying that I can return to Cuernavaca as soon as possible.

Anyway, have a good week! I love you all.

Elder Tucker
There was a blizzard last night

We made a pumpkin pie. Elder Valentine's family had sent him the ingredients on Thanksgiving

Portland Temple. We went to the visitor's center with Sister Bacso and her friend on Tuesday

Working with the Elders in Las Vegas

I made some delicious pancakes for breakfast on Friday

Last District Meeting 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hola Familia!

First of all, Happy late Birthday to my awesome sister Abby!!!!!

Hello again from Portland, OR. The weather has been so great lately, I don't think it's rained all week! Still a little chilly for this Arizona boy but not bad at all.

Anyway, on Tuesday, Elder Valentine and I had dinner with a part-member family. This was an inspired appointment that Elder Broadbent and I were able to set up last week. The mother of this family is actually the daughter of the second counselor in our bishopric and she's been less-active for a while. She's currently separated from her Methodist husband and their 4 sons, 14 years-old, 13, 10, and 7 are not members. At the beginning of the visit, the mother was polite, but kind of skeptical with having missionaries in her home. We asked if we would be able to continue coming back and teach her sons the lessons, but she just maybe and that she would have to reach out to us another time before we came back. Well, after reading a little in the Book of Mormon and talking about prophets with them, we totally gained their interest and by time we were about to leave, the mother was scheduling our next appointment! And on top of that, she said she would try to make it to church on Sunday. She didn't end up coming this time, but it was another witness nonetheless of the Spirit that is felt through reading in the Book of Mormon. They completely changed in a matter of minutes and were willimg to hear more. We'll be seeing them tomorrow night.

Wednesday I had my last exchange with Elder Vance in Cherry Park. We visited Sister Bacso, a less-active, with Brother Claycomb again and gave her a blessing. Immediately after, Sister Bacso informed us that she had been shaking all day and that the blessing made her stop shaking entirely. Such a powerful experience. After that, we got to hear a little bit more of Sister Bacso's conversion story and how even before becoming a member, she had seen pictures of LDS temples and had a desire to go inside. We set up going to the temple visitor's center tomorrow with her so I'm really excited for that.

Thursday, we visited another less-active, part-member family, the Knights. They have this huge organ set up in their house with a bunch of other instruments and gadgets just like Organ Stop Pizza. It's crazy, I've never seen anything like it in someone's home. And Brother Knight is amazing at playing it. He played us the Star Wars and Star Trek themes with this light show and it felt like we were actually in a movie theater hahaha. Definitely the most unique moment of my time in Portland so far and that's saying something. We listened to him again on Sunday.

Friday was Elder Valentine's 20th birthday! Unfortunately, Michelle failed her baptismal interview with President McAteer and said she doesn't know about us visiting her anymore, so that was a bummer, but at least we had a good Tongan dinner that night and the members gave Elder Valentine a birthday cake. Also, we taught Juston the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson in five minutes because he had to leave, but he was loving it.

But the best part of the week happened a few minutes ago when I got a call from the mission office telling me that my Visa is ready and I'll most likely be returning to Cuernavaca at the end of this transfer which is next Wednesday!!!!!!!!!!! Wow! What amazing news! I couldn't be more excited! It happened even faster than I thought it would and I just feel so blessed to get this opportunity to return to my Mexican mission.

So I'm pumped. Ready to keep working hard. More adult things I've been doing lately, I've been cooking like crazy and I'm actually pretty good. I got hard boiled eggs right the first time ;) hahaha lol. Also, I'm becoming a pro at public transportation here in Portland. We got these sweet hop passes which allow us to get on all buses and street cars.

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Tucker

1, Hop pass, waiting for the street car

2, Portland street car

3, little bday present for Elder Valentine

4, Valentine's day pizza hut special

4, Birthday cake

Monday, February 5, 2018

¡Un fin de semana lleno de milagros!

Hola Familia!

Another good week out here in Portland and it feels good to be writing again!

On Wednesday we did another exchange with the zone leaders and I worked in Cherry Park with Elder Broadbent this time. Elder Broadbent is 23 and had almost graduated from BYU-Idaho before coming out on his mission so he is very smart and mature. It was a blast working with him and we got some good work done in the area. He's a Spanish speaking elder as well so we talked Spanish throughout the whole exchange. He speaks pretty well.

Then, Thursday evening, we had our regular appointment with our investigator, James, where we finished teaching him the Plan of Salvation and then discussed the importance of making church a priority. I began feeling a little discouraged with James because it didn't seem like he had really been keeping his commitments, but it was a powerful lesson and we definitely got him thinking.

Friday, we met with a 41 year-old member named Roger. He converted to the Church when he was 16, but hasn't been very active since. He also just broke up with his girlfriend of 6 years and he takes care of his 11 year-old stepson and a 2 year-old daughter that he had with the ex-girlfriend. Very polite, humble guy. It always throws me off a little bit, though, when some of these people in Portland tell me their age because Roger, for example, looks and talks like a younger person maybe in their late 20s. Anyway, we had a great visit with him where we talked about the Joseph Smith story and patriarchal blessings actually and about coming back to church and he was loving It! Later, we had Michelle's baptismal interview scheduled with President McAteer, but at 6:45 PM, when we got to the cancer center where she stays, they told us that she had already gone to bed for the night. Pretty embarrassing having President drive down for that hahaha.

Saturday was a miracle day of catching people at home! First, we helped a couple inactive people move into their homes and then we were able to stop by and visit three different investigators, Jeanne, Juston, and Ed which never happens. We're working with Jeanne to accept a baptismal date. With Juston, we gave him the chocolate cream pie that one of the inactive people had given us for helping him move which Juston said made his night. And we got to read in the Book of Mormon with Ed. So awesome to be able to catch people at home!

But now for the best part, fast Sunday! I REALLY wanted people to show up to church yesterday and my prayers were answered when James AND Roger walked in the chapel. I can't describe the rush of joy I felt for seeing mine and Elder Valentine's hard work paying off by seeing those two men at church. What a blessing and faith-builder! What a miracle! I now have even more motivation and hope to continue helping these men and many others in their conversion to the Gosepl!

So things are going great over here. I'm learning so much and feel like a more effective missionary everyday. I also have been so good at doing adult things lately like shining my shoes, cleaning/organizing the apartment, and trying to teach myself how to sow haha. It feels good. Anyway hope you are doing well! Keep hitting me up with the emails. Thanks so much for the love and support.

Elder Tucker

Turns out an apartment building in Portland houses Darth Vader 

Bishop King took us to a nice Chinese restaurant and I got a NICE fortune.  Hope it comes true soon! 

Elder Vance and Me 

Monday, January 29, 2018

No somos llamados a un lugar sino para servir...

Hola Familia!

My third week in the Washington, Vancouver Mission has been great! Can't believe I'm already halfway through a transfer.

On Wednesday, we had a multi-zone conference here in Portland. We heard some amazing talks from President and Sister McAteer and the local stake president, President Dickie, and his wife. The Spirit was so strong and it made me even more motivated to keep working hard. Then we received some trainings from the APs, Portland zone leaders, and President and Sister Gamett of the mission presidency. I learned about being obedient and using the Book of Mormon more with my investigators. Then we had a testimony meeting where we heard from all of the missionaries going home at the end of this transfer. I had never been to a zone conference like that before, but I loved it.

Then, as if the Spirit couldn't get any stronger, we got to go to the Portland Temple on Thursday! It was special because, since it's just outside the mission, we're only allowed to go twice a year and I got to go! One of the most beautiful temples I've ever been to.

Saturday, we had ward mission correlation meeting and all of the members present were impressed by the work Elder Valentine and I have been doing with our ward mission leader. How we're able to communicate and record everything with our devices and have a more spear-headed, organized effort It motivated them to be more involved in the mission effort which, in turn, motivated us even more. One of the best principles that has come from Preach My Gospel is that, as missionaries, we teach people instead of lessons. Meaning that we work with people's individual needs and help them to progress towards conversion instead of just giving them a robotic lesson.

Yesterday, we had stake conference. We were really hoping our investigator, Michelle, would be able to attend, but when we went to pick her up from the care facility she lives at, it turned out that she was still sick from pneumonia and wasn't able to go. Fortunately, she told us this with a Book of Mormon on her lap with a bookmark in Alma chapter 4! We just got her to start reading on Thursday and she's a quarter of the way through! "This is a lot more interesting than I thought" she said. So we have high hopes for Michelle. Her health just needs to improve for her to be able to be baptized so keep her in your prayers.

Lastly, after a long afternoon of failing to be able to visit people on our ward focus list yesterday, we received a referral from a temple visitor's center sister. His name was Justin and he had just been to the visitor's center that day. We looked for his address which was perfectly between us and our dinner appointment so we contacted him a few minutes later and he is Golden. 50 year old, buddhist, vietnamese man who was mesmerized by the organization of the Church and our focus on The Family. He said he has a bunch of festivities and traditions to do for Chinese New Year at the beginning of February, but he says after that, he'd love for us to visit him! What a miracle to have found him and so conveniently. The Lord really doesn't do random.

Well it's been great and I'm ready for another hardworking week here in Portland. Thank you for the emails and love and support. Have a good week!

Elder Tucker