Monday, April 16, 2018

Felizmente acostumbrándome de nuevo a la mejor Misión del mundo.

Hola Familia!

Good week here in the México Cuernavaca Mission. Friday and Saturday I wasn´t feeling too hot because I must´ve eaten something wack, but it´s all just apart of getting re-adjusted to the mexican missionary life. Nothing that a little cocita y limón can´t fix lol.

Anyway, Wednesday we had a multizone conference in Cuernavaca and I got to see my other CCM companion, Elder Stevens! He´s a district leader in the Galeana Zone right now and must be doing something for his morning workouts because his arms are jacked. President Ávila never disappoints in the trainings he gives in zone conferences. I love the way he uses the scriptures. The scriptures really do have all the answers.

Friday, the ward had a family home evening activity in the church building and there was a good turnout! Elder Bernal and I brought an investigator family and they seemed to enjoy it. Unfortunately, Rogelio wasn´t baptized because he has some word of wisdom issues to get over, but we´re continuing to work with him and have hope that he´ll be able to do it. Victor is still progressing like a champ.

Saturday we did something that I think we should do more often everywhere in the Church called a Ministering Activity. The 2 other elders and 2 sister missionaries of our district came and worked with us and our members in the Jiutepec Ward. Each missionary left with a set of members to go visit less active members of the ward, investigators, and find more people to teach. Afterwards we all met back at the church building for comida. I think things like this are exactly what President Nelson talked about in general conference.

My comp Elder Bernal is such a legit missionary, but I´m just trying to get him to enjoy it a little more. Missionaries need to be happy!

Other than that, I hope you all have a good week! Please pray for Victor and Rogelio! Ecsudriñen las escrituras!!!

Monday, April 9, 2018

¡Que bendición estar de nuevo en mi bendita Misión México Cuernavaca! Barrio Jiutepec

Hola Familia!

Wow, how's everyone doing? Wednesday morning, I arrived in the Mexico City airport and was immediately received by a familiar face, Elder Schmitz, who I served with in the Pinotepa Zone. Elder Schmitz is currently the executive secretary of the mission. Since I arrived so early, we had a lot of time to wait for one of the other mission secretaries and all the elders and sisters heading home that day, so we actually got permission from President Avila to go do an endowment session in the Mexico City temple!!! It was incredible because since there's no temple in the Cuernavaca mission, I wasn't going to be able to go to one again until I had finished the rest of my mission. What a blessing! After that, we returned to the airport where I saw another familiar face, Hermana Hilker, who had originally arrived at the same time as me to the mission. She has completed her 18 months of service and was heading home! Upon finally arriving to the mission offices Wednesday evening, I saw my old CCM companion, Elder Contreras, who is now a zone leader in Cuernavaca! It was great to see him again and to give him that hug that his parents had sent to him through me.

Thursday morning, I had my welcome-back interview with President Avila. He gave me two big hugs and was so happy to see me again. As was I.

I've been assigned to the Jiutepec area/ward in the Civac zone which is just outside of Cuernavaca. I'm glad that I will never be cold again like I was in Portland, or at least not for a while. My companion is Elder Bernal from Tamaulipas, Mexico and he is great. He's the district leader and has about 13 months in the mission. We're opening the area which means we arrived to it together for the first time on Thursday. It's a little intimidating because the area is bien gigante and we have to find a new place to rent before the end of the month, but luckily, we have the best ward I think I've had so far in my mission. Around 120 members attend church each Sunday and they are so focused on missionary work and helping us out. We are already planning a baptism for this Saturday for a man named Rogelio. We visited him for the first time on Friday. Supposedly, he was a member of the Church with his family when he was young, but went totally inactive and after all these years and finally coming back to the Church, no one can find any record of him or his family so he needs to be baptized and confirmed again. Also, on Saturday, the members that fed us introduced us to Victor who they've been fellowshipping and going to church with now for around 6 months! Victor might be the most prepared person for baptism I've met in my life and he's on date for the 28th! Needless to say, there's a lot of work for us here.

More than anything, I can testify that the Lord really does direct this work. How else do you explain a 20 year old mexican and a 19 year old guero who don't know each other walk into a place in southern Mexico they've never been to before and not get completely lost the whole time, let alone find children of God that are open to receiving the message of His Gospel. It's honestly the coolest feeling in the world knowing that someone as small and insignificant as me can be converted into an instrument in the Lord's hands to bring His children back into His fold. We as missionaries give, compared to God, something so little and He truly blesses us ten times over because of it.

I'm so happy to be back in the Cuernavaca Mission. It's been a long journey and I still have a long way to go for the Lord, but it's always worth it. My spanish is good I just need to regain that confidence and trust in myself to talk like a native again. hahaha jk, but I'm so excited!

Sad to hear about the passing of dear Grampy Norberg. He was a tremendous blessing in the lives of so many many people. I'll never forget all of the wonderful moments we had on the 4th of July at Coronado or all of those swear words that slipped out whenever the Suns/Cardinals/Dbacks/referees sucked. He was a great man and I know he's enjoying a round of 18 in spirit paradise right now. I'll continue trying to follow in his footsteps by working as hard as I can out here on my mission.

Love you all! ¡Ánimo!

Elder Tucker

Elder Tucker and Elder Contreras

Monday, April 2, 2018

Querido Portland...y la Conferencia General

Hola Familia!

So how bout that conference, right?! I honestly loved this weekend's General Conference so much. The Solemn Assembly and priesthood organization and home/visiting teaching changes were just testaments that the Lord really is hastening His work and preparing us for the Second Coming. We just got one step closer! I know without a doubt that Russell M. Nelson is God's prophet on the earth today. One of my favorite talks of conference was Elder Robbins' about failure and success. Our failures are just as much a part of Heavenly Father's Plan as our successes. We need to trust in the Plan and in scriptures like Ether 12:27 "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble." How would we ever learn humility if we were perfect and succeded at everything? I also enjoyed the correlation between Elder Wilson's, President Oaks', and President Nelson's talks in the Sunday morning session about receiving revelation and increasing our spiritual capacity. The world we live in today is too wicked for us to just casually float down with the flow of the river. We need to constantly be paddling upstream and figure out how to receive our own personal revelation from the Spirit in order to stay spiritually safe. Following other people's footprints is not enough.

This was a great last week in Portland and the WVM (Washington Vancouver Mission)! My flight leaves from Portland tomorrow night at 11:30 PM and I'll be arriving in Mexico City at 6:50 AM Wednesday morning. I'm so unbelievably excited to return to my mission in Cuernavaca and to President Ávila. It's been a long journey.

I will miss Portland, though. I've made some amazing friends, like Elder Vance, that I'll definitely be hanging out with once I finish my mission.

The Cherry Park Ward is wonderful! There are so many members that supported Elder Valentine and I tremendously and gave us referrals. Two of our most promising investigators, Larry and Daniel, are getting baptized because of some members that found them and told us when they were ready. Brother Wells has to be the best ward mission leader I've ever met and Bishop King showed so much love towards all those that he presides over and so much devotion to fulfilling his calling.

I'll honestly miss the incredible public transportation system here in Portland. It made missionary work without a car possible.

And as different as he is from me, I'll honestly miss Elder Valentine. We witnessed so many miracles together these last two transfers.

Thank you so much, Mom, for sending me that Easter/birthday package this week!!! And shout out to my cousin, Eric Hironaka, for that new temple that got announced in Nicaragua! Your work made a difference!

Hope you all have a great week! Love you all.

¡Hasta la próxima!

Elder Tucker

Monday, March 26, 2018

¡¡¡Una Semana Hasta Bendito México!!!

Hola Familia!

Woohooo, life couldn't be better right now! So many amazing things are happening here in the Cherry Park Ward AND I'm returning to Cuernavaca next week!! Kind of a bittersweet feeling actually, even though I've wanted to go back to Mexico so bad.

Wednesday, Elder Zeller from the Mt. Scott Ward, worked with me in Cherry Park for exchanges and we had another wonderful lesson with Daniel. He said he enjoyed church last Sunday. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited him to be baptized on April 21st and he humbly accepted! He said "I know it's gonna be hard and I'm gonna have to leave some things behind, but I'll do it." Then we taught him how to pray using one of our pamphlets. I love how prayer is as simple as addressing our Father in Heaven, pouring our hearts out to Him usually through gratitude and asking for blessings, and closing in the name of Jesus Christ. Daniel said his first prayer out loud, in front of us that day. It was so humble and sincere. I've come to realize that teaching someone to earnestly pray for the first time is my favorite part of being a missionary because you get to help them be able to communicate themselves to a loving God who has been waiting so long to hear from them. You also get to witness the person's leap of faith and sincere desire to learn and grow by tentatively uttering those words out loud for the first time. It's so amazing to be there for that. Heavenly Father really listens to our prayers. On Sunday at the ward's linger longer, Daniel actually came up to me to tell me that he's been enjoying praying everyday and that he's even been starting to read in the Book of Mormon, and then he actually set up our next appointment with him on Wednesday! Wow, this man is golden!! I love him so much. He walked hinself to church!

Thursday night, I visited Tony with a member from our Ward, Brother Magleby. We had beautiful discussion with him that I'm sure was directed by the Spirit. We explained the importance of baptism and coming to church and honestly trying to follow the Savior. His own words were finally "let's do this baptism thing." He even said his first prayer in front of us with the help of Brother Magleby to close the visit. Tony still has some things to get over regarding the Word of Wisdom, but he's made tremendous progress. Some members told me that the first time they met Tony, they thought he would never be able to come to church, but this Sunday made it Tony's fourth tine attending with us!

On Saturday, Larry passed his baptismal interview with our zone leader, Elder Holloway! He's so great and was so prepared by his fellowshipper before we even met him. He really wants to follow the Lord and he will do whatever it takes. We'll continue to meet with him frequently to help him be ready for his baptism on the 7th and make sure he doesn't forget anything because he's kinda old. At church on Sunday, he told us to start visiting with his wife as well whenever we come see him because he wants her to start taking the lessons and hopefully become a member of the Church too. So we are stoked for that this week!

Sister Fuapau has continued communicating with us every once in a while asking us about some church support groups and telling us that her husband has moved back in with their family and everything, but it wasn't until this week where she told us that her family unit is finally ready to start receiving visits from us!!! One dad and 4 sons!! They've been struggling for a while now, but it looks like the Gospel is going to unite them fully as a family and heal all wounds. So many of us have been praying for them. Sister Fuapau's father is the second counselor in the Bishopric. And it looks like this is their time! They'll be having the missionaries over for dinner next Tuesday.

Probably the most miracle, blessing-filled week of my mission so far. All of these wonderful children of God coming unto Him. The Lord really blesses us ten-fold for all of our efforts.

I love being a missionary. This is why I'm out here. This message is so true and it can bless all families for eternity.

Have a great week, everyone!

Elder Tucker

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