Thursday, July 31, 2014

Week 8: One Week More!

Salutations! Yes, so the subject of the letter is best read if read like you're in the ensemble of Les Miserables...I am loving it here in Provo. The MTC is pretty much neck and neck with Disneyland in "happiest place on earth" points, I think. I have loved learning here and I think it is amazing how much I've learned since arriving. If you open yourself up to it, it is amazing what the Spirit can help you to understand. But, even though I have loved it, I am so excited to go to Korea. I am so nervous and am sort of freaking out inside, but I am excited for the unknown and for really being a missionary. And the time is fast approaching...I can count the number of days left on two hands (though technically I'd need at least one hand with six fingers or maybe I'd just count one toe. I have 11 days)!  Tomorrow I pick up my flight plans so I will keep you in the loop as to departures and arrivals....eeek! I'm so excited!

This week in choir we sang a pretty easy and pleasantly powerful song, Hurrah for Israel. I'd never heard of it before we received the music. but it was easy to learn. It was a two page unison piece and most of it was sung in triumphant forte! It was great, we were singing about Israel and the gathering of Israel. Like always I loved Brother Eggett's commentary. Being the seminary and institute teacher that he is he explained to us the Abrahamic covenant (the 3 P's: a place--promised land, blessings of the priesthood, and an endless posterity. Plus, all of the promises made to him are available to all of the righteous children of Abraham), a brief history of the Children of Israel and their wanderings, their settlement in the promised land, the two kingdoms, and the breaking off of the top 10 tribes, and their eventual capture and escape. Pretty much Israel is scattered and the lost 10 tribes spread out across the globe. My calling (and that of all of the missionaries) is to go out, find those lost 10 tribes, and bring them back to the fold. So neat!

The guest speaker this past Tuesday (the one we sang our song for) was Brother John H. Groberg, an emeritus general authority. You know Brother Groberg, the missionary from The Other Side of Heaven. He was pretty spectacular. He shared with us the importance of frequent, fervent testimony as well as some clips and lessons from his experience as a missionary. One particular experience I found especially profound. While serving on a small island on Tonga, Elder Groberg heard word of a family on another island who wanted to hear the gospel. So he and three other brethren took off in a sail boat for the island. At first the wind was favorable but soon after they were on the way the wind stopped and they couldn't move anywhere. They prayed for a tailwind but alas, nothing. Then they all got down and prayed for a "good wind". Again nothing. They waited awhile then one of the brethren gathered the necessary supplies and with Elder Groberg got into a little rowboat and began to row the two of them to the island to teach the family. The man said to Brother Groberg that he had lived a long hard life and didn't begin to follow Jesus Christ until he was an older man. He wanted to do all that he could for the Lord. He couldn't do everything but that day he could help Brother Groberg to share the Lord's word. He could be the Lord's wind. He could answer both Elder Groberg's prayer and his own. I think that is amazing and that so often our prayers and the prayers of others will be answered though us. Oft times in order to fill our sails and to sail onward and upward in life we have to be the Lord's wind that pushes us a little further or that rows across the ocean for a while. And then, if we follow D&C 123:17 and cheerfully do all things that lie in our power then we can stand back and with the utmost assurance wait for the hand of the Lord to be revealed. The Lord helps those who help themselves and those who follow Nephi's example in 1 Nephi 4:6 and follow the promptings of the spirit even if they don't know beforehand where the Lord is taking them. His vision is grander. He is all knowing and is in charge and if we will do what he asks of us, when he asks it of us, then we will receive so many blessings! He is the gardener here! He knows what is best for us; He knows what he wants us to become and though that vision may include cutting us down at times, it is so we can be lifted higher. 


A thought. So this week I attended Branch Leadership Meeting and I was struck by a series of thoughts. 

President Monson said once that "It is our duty to live our lives as examples of righteousness that others may follow." We have to be those good examples because we are the light on the hill that is shining and is showing others what to do. President Monson also said "We should never  do anything that we wouldn't want our children to do." Wise words. I was also struck by the observation that children will imitate what they see. Most people will imitate what they see others doing. We need to be good examples so others know what to imitate, but for us, we need to carefully select those we imitate and try to emulate. I am so strongly influenced by my family, my leaders, my teachers, the living prophets and those in the scriptures, and I am continually striving to be more like Christ. As I seek to copy what they did I get closer and closer every time. Just like imitating an accent or an impression, the more you repeatedly strive to do copy, the closer you get. I also think that when we are thrown into new circumstances, when we are new, we are more sponge-like and seek to imitate and follow what is being done. I have felt this as I've been thrown into the missionary life and also when I go to a new school or when any other new thing goes on. The cool thing is that through the Savior's atonement I can be given a new heart! Everyday day, multiple times a day even, I( can be given a new heart and be in that frame of mind where I can better imitate those righteous examples. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the central doctrine of the church and I am continually striving to make it the center of my life. Doing this brings me peace and happiness. This church is true. I love it and I know it can bless everyone's life! Try it out. It will change you for the better.. for forever!

I love you all and am so grateful for your prayers. I feel them. They buoy me up and know that you are in mine.

Keep the faith! It is true. Continue forward with Christ, Onward and Upward!

Elder Tucker

Me and good O'l Samuel Smith (the 1st missionary)  He had his laundry in a nap sack;  I have mine.

Me and Elder Powell in the rain.  It's been surprisingly rainy this week.  I love it!

the rainy mountains  #crazyclouds

Favorite Japs!  I love these Elders.  They were my volleyball buds.  Elder Woods on the right in the suit.  We were probably closest with the Japs.

Me and some of my favorite Japs.  Elder Christensen, Elder Siebach and then Elder Woods

Here's me for the next 22 months!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Week 7: Like A Bullet Train

Salutations Friends and Family,

Happy Pioneer Day! If it's possible, life at the MTC is just getting better and better. It's crazy that I've passed the 3 weeks till take-off mark. I think I'm sitting somewhere around eighteen days: expected departure on the 11th. Wowza. I'm so excited for 한국! Korea Here I come! The language is progressing; it is slow and drudges on at times but I can see improvement and that is good. It's neat that probably the best way that we learn the language here is in prepping for and teaching our progressing investigators. We teach two investigators twice a week: Brother 황 and Brother 김. (Brother Huang and Brother Kim) We teach them and two TRC lessons, and Elder Christiansen and I also teach the sister missionaries in the district once a week, and they teach us as we play "investigators."  So there is a lot of teaching, but it is using the language, in trying to invite others to come unto Christ that I think my language abilities really improve. Yep. Good stuff, and I think that truth will be apparent for all of my time laboring in the vineyard of the Lord. 

Yet again choir has been one of my favorite parts of the week. We are normally conducted by Brother Eggett (the spelling is iffy on that one but it's how it sounds). He is spectacular! I don't know how he does it but somehow he gets nearly a thousand or more young men and women to sing with one voice. He had a way of commanding our attention and getting us to perform amazingly well with very little rehearsal time. Rehearsals are always memorable because he actually usually takes half of the time to tell us stories (about either the author of the song or related stories from church history or otherwise--I love stories!) Brother Eggett teaches seminary and institute too. I bet he'd be a spectacular instructor...I think the stories are amazingly effective because once we, the choir, understand the meaning or real intention that helped make a work of music it is so much easier to feel the music and then to convey that feeling through singing. This last week we sang LeadKindly Light. Learning the story of John Newman, of his travels across Europe as a very young minister, of his continual searching for truth and for the eventual turning point in his life where he was brought very low traveling on an a boat trying to make it back to England so he can learn more and serve the Lord; encompassed about by mists and torrents and suffering nigh on the point of death with an debilitating illness. In this moment he reflects, pulls out paper and quill and pens the words to the that hymn. He petitions the lord to lead him on! In his life he loved to choose his own path. He loved the garish day and wanted to guide his own path and then comes to. He sees and recognizes (as we all must) that it is in following Him that we get where we want to go. In all things acknowledge him and he shall lead us on. That particular hymn is one of my very favorites. It speaks to my soul and now knowing John Newman's story I feel as though I relate personally to the hymn's tale in a new way. Stories. So good. 

On Sunday out devotional speaker was Brother T.C. Christensen (the Director of 17 Miracles, Joseph Smith: Prophet of theRestoration, Emma Smith: My Story, and Ephraim's Rescue). He was very enthusiastic and had several things to share with us. As part of his presentation he shared with us four video clips, two from 17 Miracles and two from Ephraim's Rescue. I loved it and now I wish I had seen Ephraim's Rescue.  Ephraim Hanks (I think his last name... :/ ) is an amazing example to me. Wow. His story of faith, of answering the Lord's call, of being where he was needed when he was needed is spectacular. We watched a clip where Ephraim is sleeping and while he sleeps he is told that "the handcart saints are in trouble and he is needed. Will he answer the call?" He wakes up, packs his bag, saddles his horse, and sets off to see Brigham Young so he can find out where he is needed. It was so neat because while on the trail to Salt Lake he passes a messenger who had been sent to fetch him; the Prophet was looking for him. He sat in a meeting where several men were briefed about the immediate need of the handcart saints. Brigham asked who was ready to go and several men said they'd be ready in a day or two after they'd gotten their affairs in order. Ephraim stood up and told Brigham "I am ready now." I (all of us) need to live our lives so that we can answer the Lord's call right when he calls. So neat. 

Brother Ephraim Hanks was also amazing because he was blessed with the gift of healing. He amazingly healed hundreds and hundreds of people though the his faith in the Lord's power. At one point he is asked to pray and heal a brother's feet which are thoroughly blackened from walking hundreds of miles through the ice and snow. He prepares himself for the blessing by washing his hands and the face and hands of the suffering saint (symbolic maybe. Methinks yes) and just prior to the blessing he is asked "Brother Ephraim, how is it you do so much good?" His reply: "I try." simple. sweet. and yet, it is profound how true it is. I'm not certain if it was my main man Gordon B. or my good friend Thomas who said it but is goes something like: "What we need to do in order to achieve triumph is often to put a little more 'umph' in our 'try'." Do good. And in all things try. By try I mean strive and give all you've got. This will bring on the blessings of heaven. 

Our Tuesday devotional was presided over by Elder Stanley Ellis of the 70. It was neat, he was here in Utah having a family reunion and so he brought most of his family with him. He and his wife have eight children and all eight of them have served missions. (or are serving...the youngest child, Emily, is currently in serving in Korea. aka the best place evah!) Rather than Elder Ellis speaking to us the entire time he had each of his children come up and give us a word or two of wisdom or council. It was amazing to see these simple examples of faith. They were the everyday latter day saint who really live their religion and are so happy because of it. It was inspiring to see and such a testimony to me of the results of righteous living. 


For my 2.0 today I have a couple of thoughts. They're scattered but I like them.

A thought from the oldest Ellis child, Joy. She served in France many moons ago and she talked about the gospel in comparison to a train. The train is constantly moving. People get on. Some get off, but it continually pressed onward and can't be stopped. If you want to make it happily to our ultimate destination then you've got to stay on the train because it is how we will travel through life's terrains. (ter-trains...ok, not funny.) The mission is kind of like a bullet train. Way faster and while I'm here on it I have the potential to get really far very quickly. In many ways my mission is that bullet train and I have to stay on it because if I were to step off for any time (through not working hard or not giving my whole heart to Him) then the train keeps moving. It's a bullet train and it's going fast. True, because of the atonement any and everyone can get back on the train and make it to the destination but you and I can't make up the miles that we could have crossed. We might miss views that were only visible then. Stay on board and keep moving onward and upward. Be that little engine that keeps chugging along and makes it over every hill lying before it. I think I can. Through Him, I know I can. Trains....who knew?

This work is true. I know it and everyone can know it too. Ask and you will receive. He does every time. Sometimes His time frames are different than the ones we'd choose for ourselves, but His are always best.

Happy Pioneer Day! Keep the faith. Read Elder Uchtdorf's Pioneer Day talk "All is Well." Press onward and upward! 


Elder Tucker

On splits at the temple

Elder Anyanwu, from Sweden called to serve in Japan  He's one of my friends.  So great.

Elder Downing and Elder Green

Sister Holt

Also a great friend, Sister Johnson

Me and the natives

My boys in their tripationship:  Elders Keil, Yetter and Ashby

Devotional at the Marriott Center

Elder Godfrey

Elder Lees

District Leader Elder Hoynes photobomb!

with Elder Tanner - photobom courtesy Elders Wright and Woods

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Week 6: The Sound of Music

Family and friends,

Ok, so do you remember that scene from the Sound of Music? You know, when Maria (Julia Andrews) leaves the nun life and gets on the bus and is singing all around Austria (??was it Austria?) "I have confidence is sunshine! I have confidence is rain! I have confidence is confidence alone; I have confidence in me!" Yep, that song is super catchy and sometimes I think life would be so much cooler if more people just burst out in spontaneous singing like in the movies...there'd be some pretty sweet missionary musical; moments. (think Book of Mormon the musical, but for reals!) but the point I'm coming around to, that I realize often, is that I don't have a ton of confidence in me. When is comes to Korean I'm lacking in the confidence department. It's challenging and I can't express myself well, though that's to be expected; but, I do have confidence is God. God is good. And I know that He can do all things; he's all powerful and all knowing and I'm here on a mission to do His work. I have so much confidence in Him and his love for his children and because of that I know that everything will be okay. Because of my confidence in Him I know that I will get Korean down and will be able to effectively and clearly express myself. It's part of his plan for me and I know that through him I can do all things. I'm pretty confident about that...

That was perhaps a random beginning to my weekly address, but that was swirling around my brain and needed expressing. This week, like all weeks has been fantastic. I'm still kind of blown away that I'm here and it continually perplexes me how the days can be so long but fly by so quickly. I guess that's life. Some favorite parts of this week.. I love being a part of the MTC choir. Singing twice a week is a serious highlight. Funny, in all of my past choral experiences (be it school or church) I've hung out in the basement with my other low singing friends. I realize I'm not a true bass but I feel comfortable in that range. I got here and just to mix things up and have fun I've been singing 1st tenor. I love it. Granted I float the high notes (which seems fine when we're supposed to sing a high A in ff! This week we've been having devotionals in the Marriott Center. This week we sang a rockin' rendition of Faith of our Fathers. We raised the roof. It was so great and the spirit that was there was unreal.  The choral director would often pause the rehearsal to tell a story of missionary work and faith. First of all, Wilford Woodruff and Heber Kimball are fantastic and the stories of their missions are quite inspiring if you have time to look any of them up. Second, I am so proud of my pioneer heritage--both those I am related to and those that I've adopted as my ancestors. Their faith really awes me and gives me strength to do as they did. Also, remember and recognize that the way you're living your life is penning your legacy. Live so that your posterity can look back with pride and have the impetice to follow in your footsteps.
check out this story from the 1995 ensign. It's titled Tonga: A Heritage of Faith by Eric Shumway. Keyword "throw the baby!" crazy stuff you'll have to look it up. 
And here are two quotes that I gathered this week that made me stop and think (and smile)..

From Elder Nybo in my district "You can say whatever you want to say, but in the end you are what you do." Pretty profound. I love all six foot five inches of Elder Nybo. Also, i think his quote is almost entirely from Batman. so that makes it even better!

President Yost was talking to our district on Tuesday and I loved one of his quotes. It kind of reminded me of you Mom! "Don't quit! Don't quit because then you'd be a loser! and you're not a loser!" True. The only way to win is to finish the race. So stay in it. Stick to it. On to the victory!


Last Tuesday we heard form Elder Neil Anderson. It was really special and I only didn't mention is earlier because of time constraints. He shared 10 thoughts about the spirit that I thought were fantastic:
·         Both intellect and emotion are involved.
·         Heart must be believing, anticipating
·        Direction without explanation at times. You may have specific words come to your mind
·          Helps connect doctrine to your personal life
·         Strengthens our desires
·         Extends power of conscience
·         Is confirmed by priesthood leadership (D&C 46:27)
·         Cannot be forced; must await in patience
·         Comes at times line upon line, not learning some answers until later
·         Often comes as you speak or write.

I love these. I feel especially strongly about the last one. It is interesting that as I write in my scripture study journal, as I reflect and record what I'm learning or feeling and then look back at what I've written, often the words seem like more that me. I think for me, as I write I can feel the spirit spirit and It comes too as I bear testimony. Testimonies are awesome because just like love the more I share it the stronger it grows.

Last thought was a message from tuesday's speaker Brother L. Edward Brown (former general authority and current awesome dude)  His message was all about the Lord and the lord's name and not taking it in vain among other topics. He related an experience when he was asked to administer a blessing to a friend who had just been diagnosed with very serious cancer. He parked outside his house and prayed because he knew that this would be a very important blessing and he felt inadequate to pronounce such a blessing on such a great friend. He asked the lord to do his works despite any lapses in faith or whatever that he suffered from. These words then came to hid mind: "Do you intend to bless him in your name or in Mine?" Wow. IN giving a blessing or in any part of my missionary life (or your life) are you acting (and not being acted upon) in your name or in His? If I act in His name I can do anything because He is god. That can spread to any and every aspect of our lives. Second thought, so we give blessings in his name. I feel like I recognize that more often, but Elder Brown brought up that we're supposed to pray in the Lord's name to. In fact, we say we are at the end of every prayer. When I'm praying do I always pray with that real intent that I am communicating to God in and through Jesus Christ and that if I do so faithfully and am trying to do what's right and do what He wants me to that He will answer my prayer. That is so neat. Third thought, We are not supposed to take the name of the Lord in vain, correct? It's one of those ten commandments, right? I often check that one off my "got that one" list and call it good. I don't curse so I'm good, right? Not really. It's more than that. When we're baptized we take on ourselves the name of Christ. So, if we're not doing the things that God asks, are we taking that name in vain? I guess so. So we all have to live our lives in order so that we are worthy of the spirit and so that we don't take His name in vain.

Everyone, I love you. thank you for your prayers. I feel them. Thanks for the dearElders and for the other mail too. (thanks to the sirrines and the Frees (and Co.) for their packages as well as my awesome dad. I loved them!)

The church is true and God leads and guides it.

Keep the faith. Onward and upword!

Elder Tucker

with companion Elder Christiansen at the weekly devotional

with cousin Prescott Conway

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Week 5: Freedom is Never Free

Salutations Family and friends,

Another week has come and gone and it's weird because I think i'm about at the hump day of my MTC experience. It's neat because as the summer progresses I've seen more and more friends shuffle into the Missionary Training Center. This week's sightings include Gabe Smith, Gentry Evans (both going to Korea), Heber Teney (come and gone and in Mexico by this point), and I was so excited yesterday to run into Prescott Conway who showed up yesterday. Yesterday was pretty fun because my district helped host some of the new missionary arrivals. We had over 650 newbies yesterday!

Ok, the 4th of July was so terrific. We spent most of the day going about on the usual missionary schedule. You know, study, some comp study, language study, additional study, lunch, come back and have class for three hours, more additional study, then dinner. The evening though, was different because we had a campus devotional to celebrate our independence. It was sweet! there were special musical numbers and clapping and singing. It was awesome, during a fiddle piece, Sister Nally (MTC sister  mission president) got out of her chair, went out the door, then came back with fiddle and bow and started soloing! So choice! One of the executive secretaries of the MTC addressed us and it was an eye opening 4th of July address because he talked about freedom, but not emancipation from Britain, rather out freedom from sin and death though our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Through Him we are:

·         free from the natural man
·         free to choose
·         free to live with God again

It's always so great that the truth shall make you free and I have the blessing and privilege of going out and sharing that truth with my favorite Asian brothers and sisters. Brother Gubler (the speaker) also addressed how all true heroes are disciples of Jesus Christ and also freedom is never free. I love that: Freedom is never free! How true that is. I think of my founding father homeboys. How I love those brethren and all they did for us. As I studied there writings and thoughts last year at school I really came to know how truly Christian our founding fathers were. There was ne'er a document I read that God wasn't was recognized and hailed directly in some way or indirectly thanked for some blessing, occurrence, or what have you. I love that they recognized and talked about deity so freely and I love that in being a missionary, recognizing, thanking, and preaching of deity is my life! I know He lives and I know he loves each and every one of you. He is aware of what you're going through and is cheering for your success. As we do what he wants and make his wants our wants (think "thy will be done") our lives are better and happier. Everything will work out!

Where was I? the 4th. So we heard from Brother Gubler and then settled down because we then got to watch 17 Miracles! So choice! I love that movie. I love those pioneers who gave so much and who went through so much so that we could have the lives and heritage that we appreciate today. It was so awesome to watch the miracles in their lives, but what I thought takes the cake is to look back and see the hand of the Lord pushing us along. I submit that everyone has miracles in their lives every single day. The trick is recognizing them. I think that the more you recognize the miracles that happen, the more you will come to see. And the more that you can expect the Lord to come in and help out. If you know how to see his hand in your life then you will be able to see it more often. cool principle. After the movie, and after my whole district wiped our tears away  with our ties (don't judge. It's a sad movie. I still can't believe that George dies! so sad! But then when the caption rolls right before the credits and you read that part about President Faust and how he had them sealed it just yanks at those heart stings! Truly, "it will all be worth it in the end!" Following the film and following the conclusion of Sister Carrie Underwood's performance at the Stadium of Fire we filed out of 19m picked up a Dove ice cream bar and then watched fireworks light up the sky. It was picturesque for sure! It was a 4th I will always remember.

One thought from our mission conference this past Sunday: everyone needs to be studying Preach My Gospel. It is the inspired words of the brethren. It helps with missionary work, sure, but it is critical for all for all of us to read (and I mean "all of us" in the specific sense. you should think I mean "you") because its purpose is to convert the missionary so that they can go out and by the spirit invite others to come unto Christ. If you will study that book you will become more converted and your testimony will become more sure. It's such a special book. I love what Boyd K. Packer said of it: "I believe this book was put together on the other side of the veil and we were allowed to assemble it here on earth." It is special. Read it.

Also, I want everyone reading this to go and practice the piano. Oh my goodness. Our speaker for Sunday night was Brother Josh Wright. He is a world class pianist (the best that I've ever seen) and he is truly gifted. It was amazing and all I kept thinking was "Sorry mom for not practicing...."

It was fabulous. So all of you out there, follow the moms. Practice the piano. It such an amazing tool for bringing in the spirit and such a blessing to your life.


Some thoughts from this week.

From an old MTC address of Elder Bednar's I learned some great things. I learned of the relation between doctrines, principles, and applications. A doctrine is a revealed truth -it's simple and it's foundational and it's good. It answers the "why" questions of life and the gospel. Think atonement, plan of salvation, etc. Principles are the parts that make up the doctrines. They're more specific. It is a guideline from a doctrine. It answers the "what question. Applications are what we do to put the principles and doctrines into practice. They are the "how" of the gospel. I think they are the things we deal with the most such as daily scripture study, or prayer, or paying your tithing. or those 10 commandments. They are critical but what is most critical is the doctrine. If you understand a doctrine, if you get the "why" then putting the "what" and "how" is easy. Study of true doctrine improves behavior faster and better than a study of behavior improves behavior. That was almost a quote from my friend Elder Packer. The answer to any question you have can be found in the doctrine. The doctrine is always the answer. In your studies, look for the relationship between doctrines, principles, and applications.

You know, the atonement not only cleanses us from sin, but strengthens us to do hard things. When God says that he will make our burdens light I don't think he hardly ever will just take away those hard and heavy things, rather He will strengthen you and I so that our burdens are light in comparison to the strength from which we draw. The answer is always in the doctrine and I love the doctrine of the atonement.

If you are a parent (or whoever. this thought was bednar's. I just liked it) and you want to help a child to do something or to stop doing something, what doctrine if understood would help them? It is understanding doctrine that really helps. It can help them practice the piano or be chaste or protect them from those fiery darts that Satan shoots at us.
I know and I love that the Savior's atonement gives me the strength to do all things! (Philippians 4:13) In his strength I can do all things! that blessing is promised to all of god's children who enter into the solemn covenants and promises with him. He will help you do all things.

I love all of you. You are in my prayers and I feel yours for me. Keep praying...Korean is pretty tricky. The church is true and Thomas Monson is the Lord's prophet. God loves you and will direct your path.

Keep the faith. Onward and upward!

Elder Tucker

Let Freedom Ring!
4th of July Missionary Style

"That last selfie doesn't adequately show the multitudes that swarm the MTC.  It is really awesome!"

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Week 4: Time Travel

So first semester of Senior Year when I was in Mrs. Lanier's class centered on Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time we had a bunch of different discussions on pretty much every topic under the sun. I remember one Tuesday we talked for about forty minutes on time travel, on time warps especially. I'm pretty sure that I've been living in one. Today is p-day, and yet i'm pretty sure that it was also p-day yesterday....time warp. So weird. The days go slow but the weeks pass by ever so quickly. The MTC is still amazing. It is such an amazing leaning environment, I really think I'm progressing. The progression is slow, but noticeable. I've learned that this place is so great and with the Lord I can take leaps and bounds forward in my progression, but moving forward is completely determined by me. By my commitment and by my diligence. I love the words of Richard G. Scott: "The Lord will not force you to learn. You must exercise your agency to authorize the Holy Ghost to teach you." I have all the help I could possibly need just a prayer away. By being baptized, confirmed a member of the Church and by receiving the gift of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost if I live righteously I can call down the powers of heaven to help me with anything, but that power is still predicated on my agency and on my inviting the Spirit to help. If you want to receive then you've got to ask.

One of the favorite experiences of the last week was teaching TRC (teaching resource c..something..) My companion and I prepare a twenty minute-ish lesson and deliver it to a Korean speaking volunteer. Oftentimes it is a BYU student but sometimes local Korean families come in to. It ends up being the equivalent of sharing a message with members. It was sweet. It felt more like a real teaching experience than even our daily investigator lessons in Korean. It was also nice that the first person we taught was John Tucker's good friend.. (#tendermercy) Even though it's difficult to communicate in my language, the spirit was there and I felt like she really understood what I meant and that was a sweet experience.

This week has been terrific. I've seen three friends and counting! Cannon Cowley, Mike Pace, and now Gabe Smith (who is my Korean brother-albeit half brother because he's going to Seoul, but I don't hold that against him...) It is always great to see friends and to see them doing such great things. I feel like I can relate a little bit with Alma and my homeboys the Sons of Mosiah from Alma Chapter 17. So sweet!

Thank you mom, Ashley, dad, and Tara for your DearElder letters. They mean so much to me and hearing from you and hearing about what you're learning and doing means so much to me. Mail always makes my day!

The Devotional Addresses this week were from Stephen middle initial Allen and Lowell M. Snow. Elder Allen is the Managing Director of the Missionary Department and Elder Snow is a former mission president and former 70. Both were fantastic and I will include some of their remarks in my 2.0


As part of Elder Allen's message he shared with us a bunch of old church commercials that they ran in the 70's and 80's as part of the "home front campaign"  question mark on the name. Each commercial was shorter than thirty seconds and each had a tag line that was pretty great. Here are a few:

"When everything else tells can't, believe in the part of you that tells you you can!"
"It's not who you aren't, it's who you are! And being yourself is what makes you great!"....there could be a semi-colon. not sure!

"Sometimes the most important thing you can share is yourself."

"it's often life's smallest moments that bring the greatest memories. Don't let their magic pass you by." I also thought of those small moments as the those moments with the still small voice. They can be so sweet-they will be so sweet. Don't let those moments pass you by.

"The people in your heart can't know they're in your heart. Let them know they're in your heart." This one was nice. It was an Australian commercial and thus-ly made much more sense in a down under accent. it's nice.

"What children think about themselves is often determined by how you label them." And not just children. Friends, companions, spouses, whatever. Only ever think and say the best of people, including yourself and they will live up to the label.

and "sharing. It's the icing on the cake." this one is so cute. It's that video with the girls and the cupcakes at the tea party that we used to watch at the visitor center all the time..Ah, good times. so many feels!

As part of Sunday we made district goals and one of them was to study a Christ like attribute from chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel. this week we studied diligence. It was so good! I feel like I leaned a lot about application and the critical nature of giving my all all of the time. I would suggest that everyone study diligence in PMG and in the topical guide. There are some real gems there. For anyone who is goal setting right now, or who just wants to see improvement in their lives read D&C 124:4. And remember D&C 123: 17 in it all. Give your all but make sure to do it cheerfully. After all, this is the plan of happiness and if you are not happy right now then you're not following the plan properly.

If any of you have questions or are looking for direction right now look up Omni 1:18 (I think). [Editor's note:  He likely is referring to Mosiah 2:6.]  I re wrote it to serve my purposes: "go up to the temple to hear the words which [my Father] should speak to [me]." I know that this is true. There is so much power in the temple and if you go there you will receive the Lord's guidance.

Last thought, In Elder Snow's address he shared the story of a young man, Dan Ito, who suffers from skeletal muscular atrophy (I think that was it). He can't move any of his limbs. He need help doing everything and he probably won't live past twenty-five. He is a church service missionary and attending LDSBC. He always has a smile on his face and positively impacts everyone he encounters. I love his life goal: "It sounds crazy, but I want to change the world!" That resonated with me and I love President Yost's slight misquote that ended up hitting me harder "As we come unto Christ, He empowers us to change the world." That is true.This work is true. Through Him I can change the world and so can you.

I love you all. Thank you for your prayers. I feel them and you're in mine!

Elder Tucker

with Elder Cannon Cowley who will be serving in Spain