Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 29: Here we go boys...2015! Nice!

Salutations and Hello,

My peeps, my people, how are you doing! Firstly and foremost I want to express a shout out to one of my very best friends, soon to be Elder Adam Anders Nissen. If I am not mistaken (though I often am) he joins the ranks this week! I am so excited for him and the surely countless lives that he will impact and change for eternity. It is kind of a big deal: the work of salvation. It is kind of weird that as an eighteen year old I am engaged in such a marvelous work. It humbles me a little..which I guess is a good thing. I am so grateful to God for the best-thing-in-the-world opportunity and for the best family and friend that a guy could ever dream of. I sure love you guys. . . ^^  (Korean smiley face. No really, that is how they text it. I love it!)

Random moment for the week: It probably has to be when we were meeting with an investigator we met on the street. He is a really nice guy, obviously not all the way there upstairs (He is a little special, and his dream is to go to America and meet Bill Clinton. Strange to say the least..), but Bishop said that he can get baptized so we teach him. Anyway. We were teaching him on the third floor of a cafe the other day, trying to get through the plan of salvation. It was a little tough because he gets distracted easily. Plus, that particular cafe plays American music in the background. So we were teaching about our post death lives when I hear the radio switch songs and drops the best. Duh...duh duh...duh duh....Hey JULIET! Classic! "Hey Juliet", one of my very favorites. Also the last song I expected to hear in Korea. It's okay..we also got Jason Mraz and Taylor swift same day. Needless to say we're teaching at the church this week. So funny! The song drops the beat and we drop the Spirit. It was a good one for the books.


I am sorry my peeps for my short time, the funny thing is that my typing is speeding up..Anyway, Happy New Year! I am so excited for 2015 because it is an entire calendar year that I get to devote straight to God. It will undoubtedly be a year of big growth and change--hopefullly I will get that foot or two that I sang about all those years (or at least an inch..) In considering new goals and resolutions reflect on the words of President Monson closing conference remarks. I wish I had time to post them here.. But alas, I do not. This week and this year I want to focus on being a more courageous servant and more valiant in the testimony of Christ. Look at Alma 53:20-21. My goal is to become a little more like the boss servants of the Lord in the Book of Mormon. I find so much comfort and so much inspiration as I read from its pages. I love it. For New Year's how about everyone reads the Book of Mormon again? Maybe twice. Thrice if you are really feeling it! I'll do the same.

Love you all so much and pray for you every day!

Onward and Upward,

Elder Tucker

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week28: Holla from 흥덕 (heungDeuk)‏

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wow, I can't believe the season is upon us. It's practically here! I was going to go on a Grinch rampage for a second but I just have no time. ..I feel like I am qualified to do Grinch impressions because someone tells me I look like Jim Carrey at least three times a week. I love Korea! It really is the best!

This week has been so good and chalk full of miracles. My new companion, Elder Wagner, and I get along so well it's kind of scary. He is like the one year older , Logan Utah, more Zac Efron-y version of me. It's great! The Sisters sometimes call him Malibu Wagner (think Ken) and so now we're Team Malibu. Classic! I was kind of worried our first two days because who knew the work of salvation was so much fun! It's great! And we do work! So Great! (I realize I say "it's great" a lot so I'll try and lower the usage..:) One of our investigator, Anna, is the greatest. She is so sassy! She lived 30 years in America and speaks great English. She is rough around the edges (wears combat boots and a bandana)  and is super independent, but is opening up to the gospel so well. .. I hope. It is great! They own a burger shop literally right next to the church and always give us free cajun potatoes. They're delicious.


I am so out of time but want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Remember that He is the gift and to gift the gift of yourselves to Him and to others. I think my favorite Christmas song today is I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I love verses 3 and 4. It is Hymn 214 in the English Hymnbook. I know that this gospel is true! He lives. And through Him, through our Savior, Jesus Christ, whose birthday we're celebrating, we really can have peace on earth and good will towards all men.

Love you and wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Onward and Upward,

Elder Tucker

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week 27: Cheonan...It has been real. Real fun and real's still snowing.

Hello world, (Family, friends, I send you my best regards)

First off, it is still cold. I think I am finally coming to realize and accept that there are four seasons out there. Winter is the cold one (well...if you're in the northern hemisphere at least...). Snow is so pretty--less fun when it is slush, but I learn to adapt. Winter really is pretty fun.

Other news is that I'm being transferred! What? Yep, your little boy is leaving the nest and the trainer and heading to 흥덕 (Hung Deok or something similar to that..) It is actually really close to Cheonan and it's in my stake. Still cool. I am so excited!! I will be serving with Elder Wagner who trained my buddy Elder Woods and My pal Elder Dubois will be coming to take my desk and my companion. Crazy...Christmas. This week we have a Christmas party in Daejeon. It should be super great. I think we're watching 17 Miracles. Classic!

The stressful moment of the week was actually yesterday. I was sitting in sacrament meeting waiting for it to start when the second counselor in the bishopric came down and asked me to play the piano. What?! Yeah, that awkward moment when they don't give you any notice and have preselected all the hymns and I've never played any of them! I had to sight read everything! IN sacrament meeting! Arguably it was not too bad. I just went too fast on the first one but started doing better after that. This was also the first week that the they decided to do a rest hymn too. Four hymns, sight reading. Stress to the max. But I'm still alive. And happy. I might not be able to choose everything I have to do on a mission, but I can choose how I feel about it. I choose to be happy! I feel happier when I'm happy!


I am out of time for the day but I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. Remember that the best gift we can give is ourselves. Give  ourselves to those we love and give ourselves to God. Remember that love defies logic. The more you give the more you have yourself. Remember that service is the price you pay to live in someone's heart. Thank you for everything you do for me--your prayers and support mean so much to me. You are in mine..

Merry Christmas,

In all things, Onward and Upward!

Elder Tucker

We went to one of our investigator's labs. He is super smart. Such a nice man. His kids are going to college in the states so he's pretty much adopted us as his family. In konglish his name is Choonkeun Park or 박춘근 in the Korean. Last names first, you know. Take a close look at the clock in the background. It is different than you'd think.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

From the Deajeon Korea Mission Blog: Mission Tour

Wednesday, December 10th Post

Last week, Elder Koichi Aoyagi of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy and his wife Shiroko Aoyagi came to Korea to give a training to all the missionaries.  He spoke two different times, once in the city of Daejeon, and once in the city of Gwangju.  The meetings were enjoyed by all the missionaries as Elder Aoyagi's Training was translated from Japanese to Korean.  The theme of the meeting was, "missionaries from the Book of Mormon," but he also talked about the love of God, and spiritual self-reliance.  Sister Aoyagi also gave a training had very fun hands on training and role playing.  The mission tour was very successful, and gave a good spiritual boost to all the missionaries in the Daejeon Mission!

North  (McKay is 6th from the left on the back row.)


Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 26: Well...It's still cold outside and this week I finish lap one‏

Hello Family and friends,

Salutations from the wintry wonderland that is Korea. It is cold here. Weird. I kind of miss green grass Christmas, though let's be real: white Christmas is beautiful. I decided that I really actually like snow. It is like a pretty, magical version of rain. This week we had snow six out of seven days and falling snow is cold, crazy awesome. Thank goodness for scarves and other warm things. The downside with Korean snow is that you can't eat it. The weather is dramatically affected by China and because China is a pollution producing machine we have acid rain...or in this case snow. Stinkin' China.....communists :/

This week has been terrific! Highlight was our Mission Tour with Elder Aoyagi from the 2nd Quorum of the 70. He is fantastic; probably one of my favorite Japanese people. (Though arguably I don't know a lot of Japanese people. Love him anyway.) Let me tell you: we have an amazing worldwide church. Elder Aoyagi is fluent in English but decided last minute to deliver his talk to us in his native Japanese. Wow. I think he was affected by General Conference. He had a translator that translated from Japanese to Korean and then one of the APs translated the Korean to English for all who were interested. I was interested. I understood most all of the Korean (fist pump for 2nd languages) but let's be real, it is way easier to take notes when you don't translate everything in your head first.

As mentioned in my heading, this week marks the end of lap one. I compared the mission to a 1600 meter race. There are four laps. Each one is critical and presents its own challenges but the point is to run every lap to the max so that I can run a sub 4 min mile. (Shout out to my main man Roger Banister.) The race will qualify me for bigger and better races to come but it is a kind of qualifier, and my placement in the next races is dependent on my performance now. Yeah...I get pretty into sports metaphors. The football one is a little harder to follow though so I will save it for later. The point is that this week marks six months as a missionary! WOW! how did that happen? I am a greenie no more. Next week also begins transfer 4 in Korea. I am excited for the Christmas party. I have no idea what will happen but it just sounds nice.


I am extremely low on time but I have been thinking about Christmas recently. Remember that the purpose of Christmas is Love. It is love for the Savior and love for each other. Love is what makes the world go round and is the only thing that heals hearts and changes lives for the better. Live with more love. What can you give to Christ for Christmas? Ask yourself that but in a non rhetorical way. Answer the question, wrap it up, and change. I love you all and Wish you a very merry holiday.

Onward and Upward

Love Elder Tucker!



skinny Santa models

cold me!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 25: Short time and lots of snow....‏

Yeah, remember last winter when it was a crazy blizzard on the first of December? NO! I'VE NEVER LIVED IN SNOW AND WE'VE GOTTEN FOUR INCHES IN THREE HOURS! So yeah, it is a new experience for me. And surprisingly I am totally okay with it. The trick with cold weather is layers. I wear like five. Gloves, they're good too. Elder Hollingsworth is part penguin and he loves the snow. He has already thrown five snowballs at me today. I think it may be a long, cold winter. But on the bright side, Winter is beautiful. Frozen Asia is pretty! It kind of reminds me of Frozen but with more public transportation.

This week should be fabulous. We have mission tour on Thursday with a member from the area presidency. It should be great! I have been reading up on all the missionaries from the Book of Mormon and have been as thorough as I could have been but am getting a little nervous. I have tour in three days and am on Alma the younger. There will be some frantic writing going down in personal study, let me tell you. And let me tell you that I love you! I was very thankful for all of my family and friends this thanksgiving! I had a great time doing missionary work and even enjoyed a great chicken burrito for dinner from Costco. I ate it with pot stickers. Classic pictures to follow. And Happy Christmas.


There is very limited time but I wanted all of you if you can to go and read Alma 27. Here is a more detailed account of Alma and the sons of Mosiah. I like to think of myself as a happy fellow, but Ammon takes the cake because he keeps fainting from happiness. Pay attention to why he was able to feel that joy. I want to be like that and I have a feeling that when we next see each other it will be an alma-style joyful event.

I LOVE you and the work is true!.

...its still snowing...

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 24: Salutations and Exhortations from King Benjamin :)‏

Hello form Asia! Korea, 천안, to be more specific. Life is good.

Though it is raining. I love the rain, but Korean rain is a little less fun because you need an umbrella. Why? Because of acid rain. It's no good. I have to use an umbrella for fear of losing hair. It's serious. My companion Elder Hollingsworth doesn't use umbrellas well and it shows.. (#recedinghairline #reallyprettyfunnyandtrue)

Anyway, I was reading in Mosiah today and was really impressed by King Benjamin (more so if you read of his sweet deeds in the Words of Mormon. He was a boss. A king so that would be obvious, but he also was the definition of gallant.) I don't have a lot to report from my life in the Orient and I wanted to share with you my thoughts from Mosiah 2.


This is a new insight for me concerning the Holy Ghost. King Benjamin says "if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom's paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved--I say unto you, that the man who doeth this, the same cometh out in open rebellion against God; therefore he listeth to obey the evil spirit, and becometh an enemy to all righteousness; therefore the Lord has no place in him, for he dwelleth not in unholy places."

Prior to this Benjamin taught his people to keep the commandments, to avoid contention because it's of the devil, and "to render to God all that you have and are". God has given us what to do through his holy prophets and if we fail to do them, if we are disobedient or contentious, or fail to give God what is rightly his in the first place, then we learn from kin Benjamin that we offend the Spirit and it leaves us. BUT, the spirit doesn't move. God's standard is fixed, he is always there and always available. His arm are always outstretched, ready to receive, and pour out the "immediate" blessing that Benjamin mentions in verse 24. When we offend the Spirit , we leave. We turn away from God, we rebel against His set standard. We let go of the rod and start drifting; without the security that comes from keeping covenants we are subject to the devil: we begin to dwell in unholy temples. This is heavy stuff! We are talking about eternal consequences here! the consequences that come from our little mistakes--but they aren't little, they're wrong!
We can't forget which way we face. We can't leave the Spirit of the Lord. It guides us in wisdom's paths and it is there that we "may be blessed, prospered, and preserved."

Whoever made the shirt with Darth Vader that said "come to the dark side...we have cookies", was spot on. In this life always choosing right is hard because wrong often seems more fun. I mean, the great and spacious building probably has a killer hot tub (you know, heated by hellfire and brimstone) and they all wear nice jackets. The point is, it looks nice, and it might even feel nice really nice at first, but it is not right. Happiness, real lasting happiness and joy only come through righteousness. We've got to be good for goodness sake or shoulder the consequences.

This is heavy stuff--but we're talking about the weight of glory and the kingdom of God! Let's all face God, keep the commandments, and keep doing it until the end. It will all be worth it. Remember this because it is true. (Mosiah 2:41)

I love you!

Onward and upward!

Elder Tucker

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 23: Winter!!

Ok. It's actually fall, but in my defense I am from Mesa and I can wear shorts at Christmas. This week in  천안 has probably been the first week with consistent cold weather. It is crazy--not actually bad at all because I have layers. I have layers like an onion! Or an ogre! Or a cake. Anyway, onto more important matters.

Yesterday in church was the primary program. Oh my goodness gracious, those Asian children were so adorable! It is amazing how on the other side of the world the church is the exact same. The primary took me back because it was just like the ones at home--super cute children singing (really energetically and slightly off key), little quotes about Jesus, articles of faith, pouting children who refuse to move...the best! It was just like home! ...but in Korean. I love this gospel and love how it makes families stronger and happier. I can attest that I have one of the greatest families on the planet (I feel like some sort of an authority on the subject because I live on the other side of the world these days. :) and I know that it is due to living and being taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the little things that make the biggest differences. I learned my habit of daily (more than once a day) prayer and scripture study form my parents and older siblings. I have been edified by the words of the prophets because watching and re-reading General Conference was a regular occurrence at my house. We frequently had family home evening and there I was able to learn from the testimonies of others as well as shared mine own (and we all know that testimonies grow in the bearing of them. It's like love: the more you share it, the more you get) So I just wanted to send a shout out to my people! Thank you family! Undoubtedly your influence will be felt in the lives of others for eternity (because we are a "forever family").

Also, this transfer we have a mission tour with a General Authority from the are presidency. In preparation he gave all of us missionaries home work. We are to go through the Book of Mormon and look at all of the missionaries contained therein. I am to take note of what they did and what brought them success. He asked us to  write everything we learn down in a study journal and bring it in tow with us to the conference. I love this homework as I am getting so many new insights from the awesome figures in the Book of Mormon as I study them specifically and in depth. I have gotten so many new insights. I'm here to tell you that if you take a specific question into the Book of Mormon, the Spirit will guide you and God will pour out the inspiration upon you. Any question you have can be answered in the Book of Mormon. Any question! I promise.

It's a short one today because my fingers are slow on the keys.

1 Nephi 18:24 Here we have a verse that it most often over looked, but I love it. I love how when Lehi and his family got to this new place, when they arrived in their promised land, they had to plant food to live. They had gathered seeds along their way (seeds being talents or gifts or what have's an open analogy) and here they till the earth and bury all their seeds into the earth. They don't hold anything back from the Lord and trust Him and trust in his ability to provide if they keep the commandments  (2 Nephi 5:10-11).  They do this and they were "blessed in abundance". The same promise is there for us and if we will trust Him He will multiply all of our seeds and we will be happy! God....He is like the best investment banker ever!

Love you,

Onward and upwards...(like there  is any other choice... :)

Elder Tucker

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 22: Transfer 3: A Transfer of Transformations

First of all: Titles are surprisingly difficult to come up with on the spot and also when you type "Transformations" it kind of just makes you think of giant robot car superhero people things. At least is does to me....anyway on to the letter.

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings from the pleasant and surprisingly brisk fall life the Korean missionary, Elder Tucker. Life in 천안 continues and the work is progressing. It's funny, often times it grows and slows and moves in ways I would never foresee, but the Lord is at the helm. One fun example from this week was Wednesday. All of our appointments cancelled. All of them. Backups. Gone too. It was looking pretty dim. We had a lunch appointment at the bishop's house (which was delicious. #the rice and 김법 life)  and left with the full expectation to be one the street just doing 전도 or proselyting as we call it in English, when we got a surprise text. His name was Bryan (his adopted English name) and he saw our number from one of our advertisement flyers for free English. He said he had tons of time and could meet in an hour if we could. WHAT? Crazy miracle, right? So we meet and go to the church and on the way he tells us that he's seen tons of missionaries like us before. (A very unusual thing because there are 6 missionaries in a city of 600,000) When he was little he lived in a nearby city and used to live right by the LDS church there. He used to play basketball with the missionaries all the time. He never met with them for discussions but wants to perfect his already great English--kind of lose his accent-- and wants to know what makes our church different from other churches. Golden! Plus he wants to meet three times a week. Nice! Long story short: God is good.

Also meet my new flat mate: Elder Lee or 이승원 장로 as we say in the Korean. He is an awesome 24 year old, really funny, nice, hard working missionary. In Korea there are a bunch of older missionaries because Korean guys also have two years of mandatory military service. So yep! I am doing well and God is good! It's moving onward and upward!


The inspiration for the thoughts come from Elder Bednar's "Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease" talk from April conference and from Mosiah 24.

Recently I've been praying for an "increased capacity to do." I've just wanted to do more and do it better and need His help to improve. I need to pray for an increased capacity so that my burdens can be made light. I have really felt that happen! My frustrations and angst evaporate as  I study the Savior's words. I need to pray to be "empowered through the Atonement to act as an agent and impact my circumstances." For "in the strength of the Lord I can do all things!" The strength of the Lord is the enabling power of the atonement. It allows me to:  do good and become better in the ways that stretch far beyond my mortal capacities."

He is the way! I love this gospel and know it is true.

Onward and upward!

Elder Tucker

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week 21: 천안: Six more at least!! and some other updates of my recent activities and stuff... :)

Transfer calls are in and.....okay, titles kind of ruin surprises but I am here for at least one more transfer! Yay! I am so excited because I really love it here in 천안 and Elder Hollingsworth and I are really going to have some amazing success in the next few weeks, I believe. The future is as bright as my hope and I am a pretty hopeful, hard-to-keep-me-down kind of person so it's looking really bright. The weird news is that this is my last week as a "greenie" ..."greeny"....I think I like "ie" better but I don't know who the authority is on mission slang. It feels weird, any yet at the same time not because I haven't really felt like a "greenie" that much. I feel like a missionary who is working to speak to people better. Elder Hollingsworth is always great and I think that having to be a senior comp for three of the transfer's six weeks has really helped. But anyway...on to the goods.

My caption for the picture is "The most unconventional service project ever" The most scared I've ever been in my life is probably when I was being attacked by six and seven year old Korean kiddies in a dark piano classroom. Halloween has mixed feelings for me. But the party we hosted at the church was a raving success! Sweetness. The work is true. and Halloween is less true, but can be used for righteous purposes...anyway, I digress.


This week has been great for personal studies. I love that if I put in proper preparation and follow the spirit, I can have my own sacred grove experiences each day. My little nook in the corner of our room can become my very own sacred grove if I treat as such and expect to get "wisdom" every time I ask. Neat-o!

For today's info I draw upon the words of my good friend Alma. The younger one (technically he is older at this point but you get it.. :) Alma 7: 22-23 Here he is talking to the righteous folks form the city of Gideon. Read the verses then my expansion makes more sense.....He exhorts the people of Gideon and me and you to remember our duty (though I'll probably use first person narrating from here on out) and to walk after the holy order of God. He lists what I must to be  a "Priesthood man" as President Eyring said in the April 2014 Conference: humble, submissive, and gentle, easy to be entreated. These are all similar and mean that I need to be a humble and easily approachable person. I should often seek counsel and be a very open, hear-people-out kind of person. I need to be approachable (I wrote it twice because I think it is important. #biblespeech)
I must be full of patience and long suffering- I cant get easily upset or frustrated with the situation, with others, or with myself. Be a Job-like character. Don't be easily ruffled, but be a peace maker and patient.

I must be temperate in all things. I musn't be a fanatic in anything except for my personal devotion to God. Don't do or say anything to the extreme. I think I ought to be more of a Ben Franklin--rarely ever speak with people in  ABSOLUTES or definites. Of course there are definite rights and wrongs out there and they must be valiantly defended, but I can be tactful and peaceful and avoid contention and extremes while still standing or truth. Think of Elder Oak's most recentConference address for reference.

I need to be diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times and all places. I need to keep and want to keep all of Father's commandments because happiness will come in doing what He asks. I mean, He is God. He knows all things from the beginning to the end and He created the Plan of Happiness so we could be HAPPY. It's not the plan of merely being mediocrely glad or whatever, but God intends us to have eternal life! We are to have joy if we do what he asks. Let us all do our duty. Be Obedient! Remember that this life in not meant to be endured but to be enjoyed. God is good and if we follow him we will be happy forever. And now too.... I promise.

In all things let us go Onward and Upward!

Till next time,

Elder Tucker

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week 20: 천안 : The Work Continues...And is Good!‏

Hello to my wonderful family and fantastic friends,

Hello world. It is another beautiful fall day in Korea and it's pretty nice to finally learn what fall feels like. Being a Mesa, Az, boy my whole life I have come to realize as I've talked with other missionaries that this whole "getting cold" thing is actually the norm in America. They looked at me funny when I said I wear shorts at Christmas....but hey, that's life.

The work in Cheonan (천안), as I said before, continues. As in all things there is opposition and our baptismal ready investigator list has gone from five to three and that really kind of hurts the heart, but is okay. My homeboy 전진영 is going to some crazy study academy in Seoul and will be there for a full year. There is hardly and breaks and very little contact. I guess it's supposed to really well prepare him for college or something. I'm just sad. We're doing what we can to refer him to other Elders but he is set on just resuming in twelve months. Our other friend 김현일 is really busy with tests right now and we haven't met for a few weeks so we had to drop the date though we haven't dropped him. All will be well. All will be well. I feel like the whole "missionary" life is undoubtedly the hands down, very, number one thing I've ever done and I thank God every day for this blessed opportunity...but it's hard! Life is hard! We all have challenges and things that are less-favorite (or not liked at all) and we have to do things that are uncomfortable. I am quickly adapting to the fact that as a missionary I get to live without a comfort zone. My bubble of what I feel comfortable doing is either popping or just growing so fast and big that I don't really see the edges. Probably the latter..And I think it's a good thing. Sure, life is hard, but to steal a line from my pal Sherrie Dew: "If life were easy then it wouldn't be hard." Difficulty or being uncomfortable are what make us grow. It's like stretches or sprints. They are painful or tiring or not "fun", but you become stronger, faster, and limberer (that last one is really fun to say:) (sidenote: I've been doing a lot of stretching and now can sit cross legged! Nice! I still have some work to do until I sit like an Asian, but I am proud of my progress:) We've got to endure and get to that next level. But remember: "Life isn't meant to be endured; it's meant to be enjoyed". So smile because smiling makes you look happy which makes you feel happy, which makes you happy. (transitive property of smiling)  Also read Alma 31:38 Christ takes care of all the hard times.  :)

I apologize for the short entry but time is short and alas (earwax...#albus), I must go.

My prayers are forever with you.

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 19: Holla Back at 'Cha....the 천안 Adventures Continue

I bid a very warm-hearted hello to my friends and family, (and especially to my buddies in other parts of  the vineyard if this reaches them)

So yes, in some ways this week has been kind of a tough one. I was going to talk about how about half of our confirmed appointments cancelled on us last minute and it has been really rough proselyting on the street. There hasn't been a lot of acceptance and it's felt like an uphill battle. But...capitals should be used for that...BUT, the Lord is so good and poured out miracles upon Elder Hollingsworth and me. This week we have a total of FIVE baptismal date investigators! It is crazy! Three of our investigators who accepted the invitation have only been meeting us for two weeks and come directly from us opening our mouths on the street. It is amazing how when you follow the Lord;s call to lift up your voice, that miracles start popping out of the snow like daisies...actually there isn't any snow yet, but autumn is upon us. It is exciting indeed.

Also this week I discovered a dandy little shop near the church that sells goodies form across the world. I bought some Lotus Biscuit Spread and dear Nelly friend it is so good! I think I have a new friend that I like more than peanut butter. Who would have thought I'd find English treats in the corners of Korea! Any way my mind moves to other matters.


So my studies became well today. (I use "become" as a verb in a whole new way thanks to Korean grammar. I'm not sure how much sense it makes but it is how my sentences become now :) I studied sheep today. Well, sheep and goats and the difference and why sheep are superior--why we want to be sheep. I wanted to understand that on a little deeper level. First of all my mind went back to a few years previous to a sunny afternoon spent in the library of my second home, the Denton's residence. Jenny was talking about sheep. She grew up in Idaho and I'm not sure about how factual my memory is, but she told me how they raised both sheep and goats. Growing up she would wonder why Christ wanted to be sheep. Sheep are dumb. Really dumb, I guess. It seems that goats can do pretty much just what sheep do but they're smarter. I mean, the glory of God is intelligence so why would he want us to be dumb sheep. The point, I can now clearly see, is not a sheep's intelligence, but its ability to follow, its ability to wholeheartedly and unquestionably follow its Shepherd. I love sheep.. they are so cute and fluffy and there are some things we need to take into mind when considering our fluffy friends vs. the goats.

Matt 25:32-33 says that Christ shall separate the sheep from the goats--the sheep to his right hand and the goats to his left. Later on in the chapter He says that those on His left shall be sent off into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. It seems like a steep price for being a goat! Goats are bad in the sense that they are content to lead themselves. They don't hearken the same way that sheep do. Jesus said of sheep that they hear His voice and they follow Him. I also know that if we hear His voice and follow then we will truly be free (D&C 38:27). He is the light of the world; He will lighten our way--He is the way! He is the truth and He has told us that "the truth shall make ye free!" (John 8:32).

"Christ is our shepherd and shepherds go before the sheep and the sheep follow, being more or less attached to their master, whose voice they instantly recognize " (Bible Dictionary "Sheep") Also know that if it is "my voice or the voice of my servants it is the same". So follow your priesthood leaders too. President Monson is leading the Church of Christ restored in the Latter-days. I love it...below is a little excerpt from my journal written after the concluding words at General Conference. I think it sums up how I feel and who I want to be. Am I going to be a sheep or a goat? Are you?

May I go courageously forward! Become a more valiant servant in the Kingdom of Christ. A little better. A little kinder. A little more full of love and striving more earnestly to emulate my Lord and King, Jesus Christ. May my search to push on, push onward and upward, to live like my Savior, to do what He wants me to do, to do what He would do, in all times and places. Always. That is my prayer for me and for you. Amen!

I love you

Onward and upward!!

Elder Tucker

My buddy 임현석 who will get baptized in December!!

It is fall in Korea....

...well, almost

The spread!  So GOOD

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 18: Salutations from 한국: conference and other goods

Dearest greetings to my loved ones,

Hello! That was close. I just typed "hello and exclamation pointed it but realized I forgot the "o". I fixed it and good thing, that would have been more emphasis than I was going for. ha!

Anyway, I love you and am so happy to report another successful week is in and out. This week in some ways was difficult because half of our investigators either cancelled last minute or punked us altogether and street contacting wasn't as fruitful as it has been in previous weeks but things are looking good and plunging forward with full sails and hope for the future. Our miracle investigator 김종석 is doing great! He has met with us three times in just over a week, has been to church and three sessions of conference, and is scheduled to receive his very first ordinance, baptism, on the 2nd of November! Yay! Progression makes me so happy and this man is progressing. He does have lots of questions--some I was even unsure how to answer (In English that is. I don't know how to answer the questions in English. Korean is a different beast altogether.) But with a great companion and ward mission leader sitting-in too, he has completely accepted and believes whole-heartedly everything we've taught thus far. So amazing.

Oh yeah, and we had General Conference this week. It was, how the kids say these days, "ai'ight" or "legit" or what have you. In reality I am so stinking happy for all I have been able to learn and re-learn as is more typically the case. I feel so rejuvenated and exited to just GO. I want to just push, to push forward and apply and grow and be better. I think conference is probably the best thing that ever happened to October. The talks were all fantastic and I was really excited to take Elder Bednar's advice I learned in the MTC to not take longhand notes of what the speakers say  (That is what the Ensign is for.) but to listen to the Spirit and write what He  tells you to write. As I did that I was really able to get ideas for how I can improve and what I can do to be better. I guess that is why we have get our marching orders for the six months. Every talk is critically important and comes straight from God to us so that if we ask "Lord, is it I?" then He can tell us how to better come unto Him. So good. It was so good. It was fun. We had conference at the church. They streamed it to us via satellite--Korean downstairs on the projector, English upstairs on the TV for the missionaries. It was fun. I like the picture and  promise that the one of me is only sort of posed. I really looked like that for most of conference but I only remembered that I wanted to document the moment during the last song of the last session. Close one, right?


I wanted to share some of my tidbits with you. Some are their direct words, some are mine.
  • Divine aid can be ours every hour of every day no matter what, but we need to ask for His help, take responsibility, and go to work so He has something to help us with!
  • I need to always see which way I face and seek to better follow and know the Savior, who is the best example of courage and facing God. Don't fear man or what "they" think! Care only what "He" thinks!
  • Hone my spiritual tool---"light receivers"
  • Look more -- seek God's guidance and truth through prayer, specifically asking more questions
  • Kindness is powerful; especially show it to those who don't have the same values as you
  • Pray to God for blessings you will need in the future
  • We retain a remission for our sins by pleading to God
  • We maintain a remission of sins by how we help our brethren
  • Be valiant in the testimony of Christ
  • If it is my desire to cultivate Christlike attributes (all of them) then God will make me an instrument in His hands unto the saving of many souls
  • Sustain, honor, follow the prophet
  • Decisions determine Destiny!
Courageously move forward! Listen then move forward! Onward and Upward!

I love you and am praying for you. Pray for me.

Elder Tucker

Check out the board too!

...and the pajama pic!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 17: General Conference... and Korea continues..‏.

Salutations Family and Friends! My love is with you.

Contrary to the subject heading, this email is not about General Conference. Why? Because I haven't seen it yet! I never really had a problem with this whole fifteen hours ahead thing until now. I love General Conference! And I think as a missionary the hype I feel for more words from the prophet and church leaders is greater than any movie or record release I've felt up to this point in my life. I'm just like "What is is Tommy going to say!?" or my main man Elder Holland/ Elder Uchtdorf/ Elder Bednar/ ElderScott.... okay, they're all my main man.  Main men, I guess. I love the GeneralAuthorities, They are called of God and whatever it is that they say is exactly what God, our father, wants us to know at this point. It's kind of like the game plan or weather forecast for the next six months. "Yes, well, it looks like we can expect the wickedness to be quite fierce coming form a northwesternly direction and a calm breeze for those who heed the Spirit of Elijah and do family history work for their ancestors....or something like that" I can't wait until this upcoming weekend when I get to see it for myself. (The Church express delivers it to us) and I will even get to watch it in English! Bonus!

This week was one of miracles. I keep seeing how when I do all I can and open my mouth to everyone I see that the Lord blesses me. I don't always see them but I really feel like I'm being showered (maybe soaked--like a tub) with blessings. This week we found a capital "g" golden investigator. He called us because his son received one of the name cards we hand out on the street and he really wants to know about the Book of Mormon and everything we believe. He is SO prepared. It is crazy. In the past three days we've taught him twice with our ward mission leader, and he came to church and loved it, and we're meeting him at his home at least twice this week! It is so amazing; I guess you could call it miraculous..literally. God is good.

Sometimes missionary work is hard. Ok. It's usually hard. Sometimes the language or the investigator's progress is discouraging, but know this: All that God intends will be brought about through our personal righteousness and desire to do His will. I am a firm believer in prayer as a fix-it-all, usually it fixes me to be able to fix my situations or changes my heart rather than someone else's actions. And you know what? I love it! I love missionary work and totally encourage everyone to find out what more you can do to share this precious message, this fruit which is desirable over all that is desirable to make one happy.  I love it. I love you. My prayers are with you and I feel yours here. Keep 'em coming!

Keep going. Press continually forward! Onward and upward!

It is good to be on the wining team. Fight the good fight!


Elder Tucker


Here is my testimony!  well...part of it. :)

I know God lives! You know, for two years I get to serve with his name hovering over my heart and I am so grateful to my savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, who knows me and loves me perfectly, who dies for me and suffered for me personally so that I can come back to him and to Father. I am so grateful to the prophet Joseph Smith and I know that he did indeed see God the Father and the Son. He restored Christ's church and I know he was called of God.

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. [Editor's note:  You are invited to learn more about the Book of Mormon or request a free copy for yourself as a gift.]  Through reading this book God has softened and changed my heart, He has taught me who He is and who I am. The Book of Mormon brings people unto Christ, it brought me, and I know that though continually holding fast to it and to its teachings I can remain faithful, progress, and ultimately return to God. Reading the Book of Mormon just makes me happy inside and no matter how many times I read from it, if I go into it with a question and faith, I always come out with more light and knowledge. I know that this is because the Spirit testifies of truth. I love the Holy Ghost; he is the third member of the Godhead and through him I've been able to know my Savior and feel the miracle of the Atonement heal and change my weak and very-human heart. I know that God is my father. He loves me and sent His beloved son down here to be lifted up on the cross so that I can come unto Him and be lifted up at the last day. I love my Savior and I know and testify that He lives. What comfort that sentence gives! I am so grateful, forever grateful, for his merciful and infinite atonement that can make me better than I am and can lift me upward and onward "that the Grace of the Father may be, and abide in [me]", that "the hope and glory of eternal life [may] rest in [my] mind forever" (Moroni 9:26-27).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week 16: Transfer 1 check. Transfer 2 Yikes. Here we come. Where is the rosary?

Better question, what is rosary? I don't actually know for sure but I remember Billy Joel singing about it in "Only the Good Die Young" or whatever the title is. Whatever it is, I need some because I am now a Senior Companion.

What?! No worries. Elder Hollingsworth and I are still going strong together but my group of missionaries are the first to pilot a new 12 week program in the mission. We did the First 12 Weeks intro to missionary life book in six weeks and then spend the second transfer switching off from senior comp to co-senior comp for six weeks. Then after that who knows where I'll go or who I'll be with but potentially I might never be junior again. Yay! Yikes! I don't know how I feel. Mostly overwhelmed but oddly okay with the situation. Formula for success: work hard. pray hard. The Lord qualifies who He calls. What are you called to do? ...missionary work!! It's true I wear the tag over my heart with His name on it but we all have His name written on our hearts. So share! I've found the more joy in my short service than in all of my short 18 years preceding it. (And there is a difference between joy and happiness, I've found. You have joy in the journey, even if it's a crazy uphill climb. The view always brings happiness too, though. Just a thought.) Share! It's the best!

Fun fact about being eighteen. I have no idea why, but Koreans do age really weird. Rather than count the number of years you've been alive they count the calendar years you've been involved with. Then they go up one. Yeah, it's weird but here I'm 19. Technically because my birthday is in February I could even say I'm 20 because they do that too. It makes no sense. But I don't feel 18. I'm way bigger than most people. But it's always good.


I received a sweet pep talk from God in my personal study and wanted to share it with you today.

So I can't recall with certainty which movie because the mission veil has descended and obscured most all of my pop culture knowledge, but the quote is "Sometimes you just need 30 seconds of insane courage" or something to that effect. [Editor's note:  He is referring to We Bought a Zoo.] I subscribe to that philosophy. Often times I am afraid to move and I just need 30 seconds to get moving. I need that little "umph" to get my tires moving and get me out of life's ruts and onto the path that God has for me. I love the words of Paul because he so often talks of grace and "fighting the good fight," and my heart takes courage form that. I like what Paul said to the Timothy in 2 Timothy1:6-7 from Rome when Paul was sent before Nero for the second time. I'm sure he wrote because Timothy was going through a rough time. He probably felt under-qualified or was facing a lot of opposition, or perhaps life was not being fair (is it ever?), or maybe he felt like God wasn't hearing him, or this whole church thing was too hard or not worth it. Paul counseled him: "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up thy gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands (i.e. the Holy Ghost, comforter, the Revelator, and spirit of promise) For God hath nor given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind."

Take courage (maybe of the crazy 30 second variety) square your shoulders. Apply unto him for power, love others because charity will transform you and put new wind in your sails, and keep a sound mind. Realize that God, the Creator of the Universe is on your side and his purpose in life is your success and happiness. All will work out in the end and if it's not alright it's not the end.

I love all of you and wish I could say more but I am called another way..

Take courage. Fight the good fight. Onward and Upward.

터커 장로

Elder Tucker

The Library.  I may have never been happier in life.

The view from my apartment.

The view from my apartment.

Me wearing Ben's tie because I needed a boost.  And because he wore mine to his farewell.
So sweet!  Love you....

Elder Ben Denton wearing my tie at his mission farewell.  

The ties that bind:  Best friends for Life.
Ben and McKay saying goodbye, last June, for nearly 2 1/2 years.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 15: Ground Control, this is Major Tom. We've crossed the 100 day mark. Over and Onward and Upward.

Hello Family and friends! (This is a salutation. Commas are not needed.)

This week has been another solid one in the ongoing adventures of Elder Tucker in the wide world of  South Korea. It is crazy to think that my first transfer out here is on the tail end and that I'm closer to October than to August. Time doesn't make sense. It stopped making sense after I took a class on A Brief History of Time but now it makes a different kind of nonsense. Make sense? Anyway, the Lord has been so good to me and I have definitely seen his guiding influence in my life this week. The blessing and neat part in life is that if you pray for eyes to see them, the Lord's tender mercies are over all of us (check out 1 Nephi 1) and they move our lives every day. He is so there and involved. Because He loves us. I really feel that; I've felt it this week.

In some respects this week has been difficult. All of our investigators either couldn't meet or didn't keep their commitments so that was disappointing and discouraging but such is life. With our current pool of investigators not swimming well, this week we've tried to get more people. We've been talking to everyone we pass on the street. (Very literally in some aspects.) And that is hard. Sometimes it is hard to open your mouth. I have a hard time communicating and even understanding at times (especially the toothless old men. And the kiddies.) but the trick in life is to just push on. Push forward. Onward. Upward. I pray to God for strength to "courageously act" on the prompting he sends to me and to just love and talk to everyone I come in contact with. I do that whenever I just let someone walk on by or when I realize afterwards that I was ignoring my bud the Holy Ghost. As I have done that this week I've been so blessed to make strides forward in Korean. We also have three or more solid potential investigators lined up for this upcoming week. It's still tough but improvements are visible and increasing in rapidity. Yeah! God is good. Just do what He says.

Cool Korean things I have neglected to tell you thus far.

McDonalds delivery. Yeah. It exists. And it's free if you order a set meal. Korean fast food is superior to American. It was so cool to open up my happy meal and go "wow! It really looks just like the picture I ordered!" I ate the French fries with a blissful, satisfied feeling. I think I realized that I've been missing salt. Good ol' sodium chloride. Korea is great for many things, salt is not one. They prefer peppers. I usually substitute seaweed to get my fix. Korean food, though, is delicious.


This week I have had so many rockstar quality personal studies. (I realize now that rockstar might not be the best description for awesome spirituality...  :-)  As I've prayed at night to know what I should study the next day, I've really been led and the heavenly faucet that cranks out revelation has been on high. I think my favorite study form the week was comparing the similarities and parallel messages of Moroni 10:32 and Ether12:27. They are great! The two great keys from this week revolve around receiving revelation; they're faith and humility. As you increase in these two then your ability to feel the Holy Ghost will improve and you will receive more revelations. Even "many revelations daily" as was the case with Nephi and Lehi in the book of Helaman. The reverse of the message is that if you're not receiving revelation then either your faith (and works for that matter) or humility need to be checked and improved. Also I learned that faith and love are synonyms. So great. Check out the verse comparison. They're great.

I love you and pray for you,

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

We got some grandma pants!  All the grandmas were them!  They're so stretchy and nice.

Here is a glamour shot with them.

And me sardined into a car full of Asians on the way to a conference.