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).