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