Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week 67: Daejeon and Elder Choi‏

To the people of the world!! I have repented and reformed and there is so much that I want to and need to share with you and I only have like fifteen minutes so...type like the wind 소거락들! (ahem.."fingers")

Well, first note. Thank you so very much for the package my family! It was such a nice surprise and I love the notes and all your doting affections! I am spoiled. But I love it. Congrats to Sydney and to Maddie! I was super surprised by the wedding announcements, but it was a pleasant surprise. I can't believe everyone is progressing in their eternal progression faster than me! Ahh! Luckily I'm just racing myself^^ And thank you dad for the music hookup. I love the toons. And your liberties you took by including "christian" rock. I mean I'm all about Jesu, Rock of Our Salvation, unfortunately, Reliant K may not end up on my 25 most played for the next couple of months. I love "mood rings" but I just can't fit it with my badge. :)

So in my attempt to help all y'all understand and appreciate this amazing and beautiful country that I love, I think I'm going to start including some cultural and or miscellaneous mission life/Korea tidbits in the email. I love it. The country that is, and I want all of you to see some of the awesome things I get to see and do every day.

First: the map. 

I wish I could show you all around my area because it is the greatest, but due to the absurd numbers of photos necessary and the fact that I don't want to look like a tourist, I'll start with the map. Here is Daejeon. It is a pretty big city and the part with all of the stickers is my area. It is rather small. I can walk it in an hour and a twenty minutes or so (which is crazy because my last area covered four cities) but I like it. The area is called Doonsan. But I live like twenty-thirty minutes out by bus.

And here is rice. My main staple. Here I'm holding a 20kilo bag which is pretty big. 

I've seen bigger, but not in a while. Elder Baker and I eat rice like three times a day with a meal that is like fried rice and kimchi chigae (sp??) It is delicious! Like the best parts of cooked cabbage with the flavor explosion of asian red pepper and some ham and mixed vegetables as we see fit. Actually, super super tasty. 

Elder Baker and I totally ate it as we watched the President Monson biography movie during lunch today. I love President Monson. He is the Lord's prophet. I know that! I can feel it is true. There seems to be so many evidences of the truth of the this gospel, of the Restoration, but ultimately I just rely on that little voice within myself that tells me it's true. I can just feel it with everything that is me! It is so true.

This week was so good for many reasons. My favorite: Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the first quorum of the 70 came to our mission this week (Elder 죄윤환 as we like to call him. I still am not sure why westerners don't put the family name first. It's more important. He is Korean and the BEST! I love him and his wife so much. They are one of the most premier couples I have ever seen. So one. So inspired. and inspiring! I hope I can be a bit like those awesome Koreans one day!) And the day was extra special because I was invited by President to have a personal interview with Elder Choi. So cool! I was really humbling and I'll share with you a bit of what I learned. both form that interview and from the day as a whole.

Enter Elder Choi. He is a bit of a big figure. Tall with one of those cute grandpa bellies iconic to Americans. (he has been in Utah for a while so it shows.) Back in his youth he was a bodyguard for the national president of Korea. I imaging he knows some crazy martial arts and such, and he commands attention. But I love that he just loves singing and made us sing like seven different times! Among his different commitments he made us all promise to sing hymns in the shower for the rest of forever. Okay! I've been doing good on that this week. And counseled us from his experience as a young Korean missionary and also as a mission president in Seattle a few years back. The biggest overall impact what his emphasis to "elevate our thoughts" Raise our sights. Lift the bar. Expect and do greater things. Among those was his call for each team to baptize one person a week. He said that was the mission policy in Seattle and though everyone didn't hit it, several rose to the expectations and baptized dozens and dozens of people. Also remember good readers that missionaries are more that those who wear tags. How many people will I help to baptize in the following years and unfolding decades of the future. Elevate your thoughts!! 

My interview was good and he asked if I had any questions. I didn't have anything deep but I did ask his personal opinion for how I could elevate my thoughts.

He told me that when I need guidance, don't look around to others. Look up. Look to heaven for bearings and direction. In all things. Always. I like that. Often I am on  to gauge myself on the performance of others when that does not matter. God is in charge. He knows all things. Don't look around for help. Look up.

There is more to share in coming weeks but I just looked at the clock and time has expired. I love you and pray for you. Thank you all and remember to look up! Go to the temple! All of you! If you can't go inside, go outside. Just go there. I want to go so bad and I can't. Go for me.

I love you all!

Onward and upward

Elder Tucker

Here is me with purple sweet potato!  Delicious...

A pic of me and Elder Baker for our English flyers

Me outside on the way to email....

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 66

Hello friends and family! I love you guys so much! I know I say this every week, but I hope that all of you realize how important you are to me. Every package, letter, email, prayer--especially the prayers--are felt and loved! This work is the best in the world. Thank you for being there for me and helping me be the best that I can. You love gives me renewed strength and additional reasons to get out there and keep spreading the love of our Heavenly Father! It is really nice to work in the love business. I love getting up early and studying and learning about God's love for us then getting to see the change in people's lives as that love transforms them. Truly a knowledge of true principles will change behavior better and faster than a study of behavior will change behavior, and I've seen the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ change lives. Especially mine! I am so glad to be a missionary in the Dajeon, Korea mission. (a.k.a the best mission in the whole world!) It is really nice working in the downtown portion of Daejeon because I get to swing around the mission office at least once a week and see President Shin. Man, I love that man! It is amazing to see the Spirit work in someone so clearly for the benefit of others. I am so happy that I have my very own Karate Kid master! (but seriously though--pres shin is a black belt in tai kwon do! Like Sensai style good~ I haven't seen him snatch a fly out of the air, but us missionaries talk^^)

This week was another good one in the catalog of great times! We were blessed with lots of time to go out and find new investigators so Elder Baker and I enjoyed hitting the streets and subways and buses, talking to everyone and sharing the good Word. Moral of the story: if you need a pick-me-up say high to a kind little grandmother. If you want to see miracles: talk to everyone. Period. It has been good.

I think my favorite moment of the week was when we went to Costco for lunch on Saturday with one of our most awesome recent converts, 황원진!  He is the best!! He is just so real! He has been having a bit of a hard time recently because he is doing all that he can to live the gospel and his wife just doesn't like it. She hasn't been converted yet and it putting up some resistance. He just keeps trudging along. Always happy. Always choosing right. He was just telling us about how a right attitude is critical but how sometimes it is really hard to be nice and happy all the time. We shared some selections from first Nephi and shared our testimonies about the Lords timing. HE listened and loved it but interjected loudly "Yeah, but it would be really nice if the Lord's timing were a little bit faster!!". We all thought it was funny. And I am sorry to you all because the timing of the joke was much funnier in Korea. Translation difficulties. Story of my life!!

I love you all!

(Don't worry mom, I am happy and healthy and getting plenty of viatamin C here in the 한국!)

Thank you so much for all that all of you do for me and for Him.

And shout out to my friends and family who are hitting the field this week! Go Kaylan, Go Glade! I so loved seeing the pictures of you guys and I know that you will change lives. You guys have changed mine!!

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Week 65: Asmelash!‏

I have to keep this one short this week because I don't' handle my time well and I think exact obedience is the hardest aspect of obedience! It's so--like on the line! But I do my best!

This week just flew by and I will share with you my favorite part of the whole week. Asmelash! I did not just sneeze, his name is Asmelash and he is such a great miracle! He is a masters student studying at KAIST university in Korea and is originally from Ethiopia! This week we did a member lesson with our member Anthony from Kenya and it went smashingly! Anthony cam and he brought his friend John who is from Ghana--I think it was the most ethnically diverse lesson we've had in the mission ever. Who would have thought Korea, right? He is amazingly prepared. We set to teach the plan of salvation and prepared really well, but ended up spending the 45 minutes of the lesson just answering questions and testifying. So powerful! We assigned him to read 3 Nephi 11 and he began asking his questions about the Lamamanites and Nephites and then kept asking and brought up the people of Jared then started asking about Mosiah and his people. He wanted to know about the geographical location of Zarahemla and Bountiful. You should have seen the looks Elder Baker, Anthony, and I were giving each other as he continued to expound to us his studies and his questions. Turns out in five days he read from the beginning of the book to half way through Alma, while juggling a full class load. He loves it and is praying and came to church and is just so happy! I really appreciate the blessings of the Lord. Truly he pours our his tender mercies upon all those who keep his commandments. If any of you lack [tender mercies] let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him! It is so true!

I love this work and am so excited for our mission tour next week with Elder Choi from the first quorum of the seventy! So great! Things in Korea are going well. As can be expected with the Lord on our side!

Onward and upward

Elder Tucker

Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 64: Reflections and Becoming a Spiritual Giant‏

So today I pulled a white hair out of my eyebrows. I think I'm getting old. Hopefully I don't go the way of Steve Martin or anything, but I'm okay whatever happens. I haven't been very good ever at counting weeks but I think I'm in the sixties somewhere. Super weird and super crazy. Missionary life feels like the only life I've ever known, and I'm pretty sure that my first name really is "Elder"--anything else sounds like some some sort of echo from the sequel to Inception. I dunno, but I do know that I love being a missionary! I love representing the Lord and getting hours every day to read the scriptures and try and do everything by the Spirit. I was super inspired this week as Elder Baker and I listened to the conversion story of one Bill Carpenter (it's on youtube I'm sure). The Lord works in mysterious ways, but His ways are always way smarter than mine and He does things so much more effectively! I don't have much time but I wanted to share with you some of the thoughts from a recent personal study and my email to President.


 Recently I have been studying Desire and its affects. I have been searching how to cultivate it and how to help instill it in others. The Spirit is the greatest tool here, but I was impressed by a different part of my studies. I asked myself the question "How can I become a spiritual giant?" I perused the scriptures and settled on studying one of my favorite spiritual giants: Nephi. So I did a case study on Nephi determining what it was he did that solicited his transformation into a spiritual giant.

First I recalled something that Elder Hernandez showed me in 1 Nephi. Nephi's greatest change comes between 1 Nephi 2:16 and 1 Nephi 4:31. In 2:16 he describes himself as "being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature" and in 4:31 as "being a man large in stature, and also having received much strength of the Lord". Nephi's perception of himself completely changes and did so in just a few weeks or months.

I read this passage and found the greatest indicators in chapter 2 verses 16-18. Nephi's actions can be summarized as follows:

-He wanted to know the "mysteries of God" for himself 1Ne2:16 (he had great desires to know/to receive the blessings of the Fathers Abr1:2)

-He asked the Lord for wisdom/knowledge/greater ability to do 1Ne2:16 (cried unto the Lord in mighty prayer) JSH1:13

-His heart was softened by the Spirit 1Ne2:16 (made whole through faith/ receive a true remission of our sins Enos1:8)

-He sought to share it with his brethren 1Ne2:17

-He prayed for others (his brethren) in mighty prayer 1Ne2:18 Enos1:9

Following this process Nephi was commended by the Lord for his diligence and he received many mighty promises that guided the rest of his life. After this process he was great and had begun to become a man of God. Following this we hear of his resolution and confidence in God (1Ne3:7) and can see his fortitude in his mantra "Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord". I love Nephi and this week I will continue to seek the spirit so that I can better begin my process to become a spiritual giant.

I love you guys so much! Thank you for your prayers! They are felt and they are very much needed! You are always in mine! I know that the Lord is watching over you and that He is mindful of all you stand in need of! Pray! He is listening. And try to make it a good prayer because that will do you a lot more good! ^^

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 63: Waters rolling forth in 둔산!

Hello Family and friends!!!

First, I am not sure what the news is with our North Korean friends. I've gotten mixed signals here in Hangook (한국). Some people have been pretty nervous--like one of our potential called us last week and told us it was war. WAR! (Except said in a really cute accent where the "w" was completely undecipherable) So there is that and yet I see so many people wandering around on their smart phones that I figure the sky can’t be falling yet. Things are pretty good here in theorient! 

And in even greater news~ the waters of baptism have been unleashed this week. So great! I did two baptismal interview this Thursday and then we had two investigators baptized in our ward on Sunday! Such a great week! So many miracles. 

The baptisms in Gongju (a nearby city in the zone) were totally out of the blue. On Monday they had no one ready and then they called on Tuesday because two of them wanted to get baptized ASAP. It was such a spiritual experience. One of the people was the sweetest forty year old lady moving to soul. She met the missionaries originally because she wanted to learn English, but she had a lot of sincere gospel interest. She has had a pretty hard life I guess, she was a little guarded, but in the interview we were talking about the gospel and she told me her favorite part of the gospel was repentance and then she bore to me such a heartfelt testimony on the atonement. And this lady has only believed in God for a few months! She said she went to Christian church once with a friend when she was really little, but hasn’t really ever thought about God. So amazing. The interview of the guy was kind of funny because he would only speak English to me and I would speak anything but Korean to him^^ he passed! When I asked him why he wanted to get baptized he said he just felt like God wanted him to be a Mormon and he wanted to follow God so that he could have a happy and successful life! True! So great!

And our baptisms in the ward were such miracles!! So this transfer (past six weeks) Elder Baker and I had the goal of getting two people to enter the waters of baptism. Things were looking pretty good because we had a date for the first week and a pretty solid one for the fourth week. Then out of the blue our friend for the fourth went off the grid. He stopped answering all calls and blocked our number. So sad! But we had faith that God would provide someone prepared and so we hit the streets and met a new guy, Jimmy, in miraculous ways after some really sincere prayer. He progressed really well and met with several members and was loving it. Then without any warning he blocked our number!! We have no idea why! I mean he thought Mormons were weird when he first met us! Everyone does~ So we were pretty bummed but still had faith! So it was week four and we met another new guy, brother 박성현 (Pak Seong Hyun) He is the greatest! He met the sisters on a bus then came to our English class like four weeks ago. He also came out to Church and to a baptismal service but because he was busy he kind of fell through the cracks. We met him with one of our awesome members and he had tons of question because in the weeks since we had met he just devoured the book of Mormon! Like in two weeks he read all of the way through second Nephi and by his interview he told us excitedly that he had finished the small plates of Nephi! Who says that!!? He is so prepare and is such a nice man, about 55 years old. He is so sincere. Like he bore his testimony for ten minutes on the plan of salvation and how he is so glad he now knows the truths he wasnt able to learn in the Presbyterian church. Who does that?!! I love him. 

The second baptism was so awesome! It was our good friend Shane Van Buren. Don’t let the name fool you, he is actually from Sri Lanka. He is an 18 year-old that the other elders taught and he is an amazing miracle. His father moved to Korea with him to help him adjust to school and is such a nice guy. Shane was having a hard time spiritually and so his dad hit the streets looking for a church of for his son. He met the missionaries as they were taking out some Costco pizza boxes and the rest is history. I love the lord. It has been a good week this week and I am so glad to be here in Korea, despite all the negative vibes from North Korea. I love you guys and I know the church is true!!

It's true!!

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Week 62

I am alive and doing well! I just have zero email time. Here is Elder Baker and I with our investigator who was trying to convert us to his church. Such a nice guy. We dropped him. such is life~

Onward and upward!!

Elder Tucker

Editor's note:  Yes, this is the email.  No, there was no real email last week, although his mother did get a one liner letting her know he was alive and safe and explaining why he didn't have time to write more.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Bonus Post: news article on Elder Hernandez (last companion) with pictures!

This entire article originally appears on in Spanish.  McKay forwarded a letter that included an English translation provided below:  It's always fun to see pictures of McKay that we haven't seen before!

From Pastor to Elder
Posted By Isaac Angulo on July 21, 2015 |17 comments

Elder Hernandez serving in Korea

My name is Carlos  Gilberto Hernandez Elvir, 9 months ago I started to serve my full-time mission: Korea Daejeon Mission.

Let me share with you a little about me, I've been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two years and my conversion story is quite simple and complicated at the same time.

From childhood I attended another Christian church, I grew up with Christian principles and good moral values as a child of God, and I understood that the family is the most important.

When I was 14 years old my parents had differences in their relationship until it ended in divorce. My mom has always been a working woman. Like all loving mothers, she fought all her life for us. She was the woman of faith our family needed. My Mother had to deal with my rebellion, and even I, the eldest of my brothers, never support my mother as I should have.

The residents of my neighborhood by the appreciation and affection that had for me wanted me to correct my life and follow the path of Heavenly Father. And even though they were not members, they encouraged me to listen to the missionaries. At that stage of my life, I went to study with a scholarship to another place in my country. In my absence my mother met the missionaries. She then listened and accepted the gospel. Soon after, my Mother and siblings received baptism.

When I returned to my home, my mom and siblings to me were... members of an unknown church. I looked at my brother getting ready to go to seminary and at that time I did not understand why he had to get up so early. In addition, at home my mom and sister were constantly singing hymns. Over time the continual exposure to these conditions, as one could imagine, created a new desire for me to serve God. As a result I started going to my old church. In my old church everything seemed fine until a May 12, 2013 (Mother's Day in Honduras). I was in my church and I was assigned to speak to those in attendance.  When I finished the ceremony, I look to all the families and children with their mothers and to me they looked very happy. I wanted the same thing in my life... but my family was Mormon.

It was at that time I remembered a prayer I made to the Lord in my childhood at that christian church, I prayed "Father, if you allow me to go to church with my family I promise I will serve thee all my life, Amen". 

That thought penetrated my heart so strong that one Sunday when I was in my mother's house, and she was a little sick. I asked if she was still going to her church because it was already 11:20 am. My Mother explained that the church was having its chapel remodeled and so they had to go at 1:00 pm at the Stake Center. After an hour she said goodbye and I said, "Wait for me, do you want me to accompany you?" she thought I was joking but I said that I wanted to attend the church with her. But because I did not want to clash in the Mormon church, I said she just had to wait a few minutes for me to get dressed into a white shirt.

We arrived at 1:47 pm and entered the chapel. I remember hearing "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen" and I remember saying to myself "This was very fast, Mormons are weird" at the end of the prayer I remember my mom quickly began to introduce members to me. I remember the smile and the joy that she had to see her three children in the Church. To my mind came the thought that always had in my other church, "This is what I want for my life , To be with my family".

No speech struck me, no hymn inspired me, and no prayer lead me to action. It was the joy, the joy of my mother. When I saw my mother happy I knew this gospel was true. I knew it was true because I would be with my family.

After listening to the missionaries for two weeks (Elder Oveson and Elder Martinez my 2 angels) We scheduled my baptismal date for July 6, 2013.

Since then I have progressed and I have had many different callings and assignments in the church. Sometimes I remember my desire to be a Pastor and in many ways the Lord has allowed me to guide and help his sheep. For example I am now serving a full-time mission. I started October 14, 2014. I am finding joy in serving others and preaching the fullness of the everlasting Gospel. The same gospel that changed the the life of my mother, siblings and me. Whenever I teach I try to teach with the same love the missionaries did to me and my family. Ever day I try to smile so that people can see the joy that this restored Gospel produces.

Elder Hernandez in Korea

I decided to give two years of my life to the Lord, and still I think this is a short time. Even when people criticize the church and call it a "cult" or false doctrine, I know I'm ready to give my 110% for my love to Heavenly Father. Even though I am weak as man and could easily give up, I know that Heavenly Father would never surrender for me. He loves us, and I testify that He lives and loves families. I know this because He restored my family, my home.

Elder Hernandez in Korea

Missionary work is the work of Heavenly Father, He loves us and wants us to remember that when we are ready to give our 110% He will make the people around us recognize that what we have in our lives is called " THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST "and if we decide to never give up, the Lord will give us the strength we need to face adversity.

This I testify with love and humility in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Week 60: Some reviews and personal reflections on 고치다~‏

안녕하세요 여러분!! 잘지냈죠?? 이번주 잘보냈어요? 벌써 월요일 인데 어떻게 그런지 모러게ㅆ어요!!!!!  The week has gone by so quickly! It has been a good week with lots of roadblocks. The good things about roadblocks is that they are actually just stepping stones. It has been one of those upward and onward kind of weeks. You know, the kind of week where you keep muttering "onward and upward" under your breath as you feign patience and diligence until it becomes sincere intent. Sometimes I associate myself with that funny little train climbing the mountain: "I think I can, I believe I can, I have faith that this is something that I should be able to do so I will move forward with the attitude that it will all go well and I'll adapt and throw the plans and the backup plans and the backups to the backups out the  window when the spirit prompts me to". It has been a good week.

So recently in the mission Elder Ballard has challenged all of the missionaries in the Asia North Area to essentially double the number of lessons we do each week. This is in an effort to increase productivity and baptisms as a whole and improve every facet of the work in the long run. So we are working on this and searching out more investigators and showing forth faith, but Elder Baker and I have been thwarted this week by other people's agency!! THWARTED! Way too many cancelled appointments. The good news is we are seeing even more miracles and our drive to do quality work has never been higher. I think one of my favorite experiences was when we were fasting for the zone on Thursday and Elder Baker and I went to share a short message with some members in our ward. We got there and they brought out plates of sliced fruit and like four huge cobs of corn for us. (hard to eat everything and share a message in the twenty minutes we're allotted for member visits - another mission program) and the members just started going off about other members and the success of the ward and things that missionaries need to do more of or do less of and we tried to share the message and it came out but the spirit just wasn't amplifying us. It was tough and we got out of there and talked about it on the subway home. We had several ideas for improvement and new and improved direction for the week. We learned some very valuable lessons. We prayed and fasted for success and were blessed with greater understanding. I love the way the Lord works!!! HE is so much smarter than me!! I'm glad I'm starting to learn that and have been seeking His help more and more.


I am out of time but wanted to share a thought from one of my personal studies this week. I was studying healing. I was struck how whenever someone has a problem in the scriptures, a physical or emotional, or spiritual wound, they approach the savior and are made whole. I found especial meaning in the fact that the healing came as they reached out, as they searched and followed and besought the savior for relief and respite. In missionary work, in life all of us have different things that need "healing". We all have wounds or bruises. Maybe we are suffering from an "issue of blood" or from one of a million other "issues". Sometimes there are problems that we bring upon ourselves and often there are troubles that have been with us since birth it seems. I like the Korean verb 고치다. It is one of the verbs that mean healing, I love how it can also mean to mend, repair, to set right, to put in order, to redress or amend, to rectify, to cure. It can mean to improve, to make better, or to heal. Mostly I think it means to change into a better condition. I love language and I love the Lord. I love how he comes with healing in His wings and that he is there for us. I know the Atonement of Christ is real!! I know that through it we can all find healing. I know that healing extends to broken hearts, to unhappy outlooks, to unfruitful mission areas, and most especially to you and I as we trip up from time to time on our pathway to perfection. I love the Lord and am so grateful to be His missionary. This work is true! Pray about it. Find out for yourself. We worship a very real and very personal Father in Heaven. He knows you and wants to heal you.

I love you all,

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Week 59: Wet and wild and the Waters of Baptism

I will begin by apologizing for the shortness of this email. Time is of the essence and my little fingers just won't type fast enough!

This has been a splendid week for me and Elder Baker! He is the greatest and I feel like we are a dynamic duo set out to defend the city of Daejeon against the powers of sin and the adversary~~we have ties but maybe we should invest in capes! no capes..

But the week was really good. The highlights were a stake primary activity that they recruited the missionaries for. The first half was a bunch of  indoor activities centered on service and faith in God. The theme was service and missionary oriented and the kiddos were so cute! The second half was a huge water fight because the weather was ripe. Elder Baker and I helped fill like 500 water balloons though we didn't participate in the crossfire. It was a fun day.

More fun was the next day when our investigator 박민형 got baptized!! (that is Park, Min Hyung for no Konglish readers^^) 

He is an amazing miracle and a member referral from an awesome member in the ward next door. It is amazing because when we met he had no belief or faith, but was willing to learn and pray because his friend said it was important. He is so humble in accepting our teaching, but doesn't just take our word for it--he always studies it out and prays himself. His testimony is so strong now, and he and the friend who referred him may or may not be a thing in the near future. I feel so honored to be a part of his life and so blessed and humbled by the whole experience. I love the Lord. I know the gospel is true!!

And my new favorite scripture this week is D&C 29:1-6. The Lord really came to bat for me this week in my personal studies! I love Him so much!

Happy Birthday this week Jones! and Grandpa Tucker!

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

I think I am actually starting to look Asian!  Look at my eyes!! What is this!?!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week 58: Thoughts on being "among the multitude"‏

Hello my people!!

It has been a very nice and a nice and humid week here in Dajeon, Korea. The week has been pretty busy and it was one of those weird ones where each day felt like its own week and trying to remember last Monday was like trying to remember march! Where is the time going?? But exciting news is that I am now serving with Elder Baker. He's from Farmington~~I'm not sure where that is more than in the central Utah super-Mormon-populous area. He is the greatest. A team of Elders were taken out of our area and so we have the big house to ourselves. It's nice in some aspects (more shower time and less laundry waiting time) but I have no idea what to do with four bed mats--maybe make a super bed!

The exciting news of the week was Mission Leader Conference on Friday. It was fun because Elder Dubois and Elder McCmullin who I was in the MTC with had to spend the night in Daejeon for the conference so we had a sweet slumber party! Watermelon, lemonade, way too many missionary stat sheets and missionary goals--viva la vida baby! The mission conference was great for several reason. Reason one: seeing so many friends from my MTC district and around the mission. Reason two: President. He is the greatest man and I love all of his trainings! so many new ideas to apply! Reason three: it's all in Korean and somehow we all understand! Thank you Spirit! Reason four: Our guest speaker PJ Rogers was amazing. He is a professor at BYU Hawaii I guess, but he helps out the missions in Korea . He is fabulous and I have never seen a big ol' white guy sound just like a Korean! He taught us about ways to become more effective missionaries and more importantly how to recognize our own importance and the enabling power of the atonement that will make everything else possible!

I am so sorry to not have any more time! I'll give you way more next time folks!

I love you and I know it's true! It is true!

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker!

with Elder Baker

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Week 57: Six weeks already??! The adventure continues

So every six weeks in the mission we have what we call "transfers" where our Mission President prays over all of the missionaries and for the mission and looks at where all of the missionaries are serving and who they're serving with and there is a chance of us moving and changing companions. It's always pretty exciting, it's like the NFL draft for missionaries or something. ~ Pretty much the most exciting thing. And this six weeks was exciting because my friend and companion, Elder 박 (Park) is transferring to Cheonan and I am staying in Daejeon. It will be an exciting couple of months. I will be living with Elder Baker who is in the house with me right now. Two elders are being pulled out of our ward and the zone will be seeing all sorts of changes too.

It is an exciting week. Tomorrow or the day after Elder Wagner and all of the missionaries in his group will be back in America which is pretty crazy because it seems like last week that me and Elder Wagner were working up a storm in CheongJu. Time flies. And it is an exciting time for the mission with lots of room for growth and improvement. Elder Wagner and his group made up almost all of the Zone Leaders in the mission and with their departure the hole is being filled with lots of my friends who I came to Korea with. Mission dynamics are always so fun..^^ But, the best thing of the mission is not the dynamics, but the Spirit and the Word.

This week has been a good week for the word! Elder Park and I have very few investigators right now, but I love them and they are progressing well, with baptismal dates for the beginning of next month. I have really loved serving with Elder Park because he has shown me how to really teach with the scriptures as well as teaching with members. That is the only way to do it!! The scriptures, the word of God, is the most powerful thing for teaching and will bring the Spirit of the Lord more than anything! But why is the spirit important?? As I’ve been a missionary one thing I've learned for sure is the need for the Spirit of the Lord. The spirit brings confidence and the sweet peace of assurance that comes from doing what's right. I love the Comforter because it is that power that I have the ability to do everything that is on my plate. The Spirit! Every gift and blessing I seek can come about through the spirit and the strength of the Lord.

I love all of you and am sorry for this jumble of an email. Time is short and it is very rainy outside. Man, the rainy season--and not in the desert are really pretty wet!
I love you all,

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Week 56: America the beautiful, God Shed His Grace on Thee

Hello my people! What a week, huh? Does time fly as quickly on the western hemisphere? It ticks by pretty quick around here.

And Happy Birthday America! I love you! It was kind of funny eating rice instead of hot dogs this year, but it was such a fabulous day. I made breakfast for the house and went gourmet for them making French Toast and white syrup to complement the rice. It may have been a little ironic that I made French toast, but I feel like I've come a long way since cutting bagels and toaster tacos. I am growing up, I guess. And so is America. As I took time to sing all of the America songs in the hymn book I was touched by all of the verses of America the Beautiful. Even though I hear Ray Charles in my head whenever I sing it I am touched by the words and how it is God that refines our gold, refines our souls, that provides us with purple mountain majesties, and with amber waves of grain. I love the part of God mending our every flaw and the united cry that all of our good be crowned with brotherhood from sea to shining sea! I may not know a lot--I'm on the up and up--but one thing I have learned more concrete than anything else is that as we trust in God He will crown our good and bless us to prosper in the land. I love that, and I know that is true! It's my prayer that as we launch off bottle rockets, we down hamburgers, and we sing our patriotic anthems, that we remember that it is God in whom we still trust. He is good and He will guide us home. God bless the USofA!!

And it was great living with and singing all the American songs we could remember the lyrics too. Living in a house with three Americans has its advantages, though it's tough when they all hate on country music. (side bar: how can you love your country and not love country music?? Come on people! Embrace it! We're going mainstream!..) But they did sing along to my Toby Keith and God Bless the USA. Good times. I even sang The Star Spangled Banner Whitney Houston style. Quite the show. I think my favorite was Elder 박's face when we told him that the national anthem was a hymn. Classic.

The week has been great and the rainy season is now upon us. It was crazy last night when we left our Ward Missionary Leader's house because the sky had a slightly oppressive omi-nousness to it so we borrowed umbrellas and embarked. It was a good thing we did because it wasn't more than twenty steps later the floodgates of heav'n were opened!! We took shelter under a bus stop and then 전도ed (I think the word in English is proselyted?? the Korean one is way easier--jundo. see. easier!) on the bus. Pretty great. I love talking to people on the bus because they have nowhere to run away from me to. Nice! I got some numbers and I think we will be meeting one of the guys this week!


In my studies this week I've been a little all over the place. I've been studying the words of Elder Packer -  in of memory for him as well as seeking light and knowledge for how to help lead the zone in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and all I have to say is that God is amazing! I love being a missionary where there are 내 ㅡ무ㅛ ㅔㄱㄷㄴ(dang keyboard!) so many pressing demands that require the help of heaven. What I've been learning recently is that God will give us direction and instruction for every aspect of our life. As we seek him humbly and with real intent he will deliver. (that "deliver" has two meanings!) I love all of you and I want you to know that I know God lives! And He loves each and every one of you! He is aware of your hopes and your dreams, your wants, and He seeks your good. Life is hard, but this second estate is all about development and growth. Growth, comes with growing pains, but the results are worth it! May you remember that and may God shed His grace on thee!

Onward and Upward.

Elder Tucker

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Week 55: 외국인's out the wazoo!!‏

Okay people of the internet, family, friends, people that I love and admire. This one is going to be a short one, but I'll do my best. Time is short and occasionally I wish that those vulcan mind melds worked over time, space, and the internet because there has been so much happening, and it's so fun and I wish that I could really capture it all better than I can with google chrome and sans serif font. But alas, I'll do my best.

The title of the week means "foreigners" out the wazoo because church was great! This week one of ward members, Brother Patro from Mexico baptized his wife Sreymom who is from Cambodia. Patro is super cool and speaks like 9 languages fluently with five or six he's working on right now. I don't understand people like that--but I'm glad that God is good and that Patro is doing so awesome! His wife Sreymom is the sweetest lady ever and so happy and gave the best testimony ever at her baptismal service that Patro translated into Korean for the ward. Actually it was really fun because she was speaking Cambodian and Patro was translating into Korean and then I was in charge of translating the whole meeting into English for the other foreigner members in the ward. Our ward is fun because there is an English group (smaller than a branch) within our Korean ward. So me and either Elder Baker or Elder Hogan (the other American elders I live with) are in charge of translating sacrament meeting into English from Korean every Sunday. It's really tough at times but also fun. Everyone we translate for wears headsets and there is a transmitter that we speak into via microphone. I feel like a spy missionary. I think the tie helps with the vibe.. and the Spirit helps with the translation. It is fun because I do my best to try and get an exact translation but sometimes with language lags (thanks reverse grammar) I miss gaps, but the Spirit always gives me something to say and it is amazing how the sweet English speakers can still feel the Spirit and learn and be edified despite my weakness. I really know that God is good and gives us exactly what we need. He gives us opportunities to shine and opportunities to rely on His grace and mercy and be made stronger. And I know that even though I am full of weaknesses, when I am doing His work, He does and will magnify me to make me the man for the job. I've really felt that this week, that God knows us. He loves us. He is perfectly aware of our circumstances and the circumstances of those around us and will give us all we need to take care of our immediate needs and gives us what we need to help others too. . . Back to the foreigners. So this week our member from Kenya, brother Antony brought a friend from school (who happens to also be from Cambodia) named Sokha and Sohka loved church! She is super great and super nice. She converted from Buddhism to Christianity just a few years ago, though doesn't belong to a particular denomination. She got along super well with Sreymom. I have faith. Hopefully Sokha's name will make the heading of the email in a coming week. The other foreigner was this random black (sorry, African American) lady from New York that came to sacrament meeting and stayed for lunch and the baptismal service. I guess she has a Korean friend...yeah, I'm not positive. But hopefully she is in the heading of a future email!! Fun day for foreigners and translating and the Spirit is so awesome!!

This week I had 순대국밥 which is pretty tasty actually. It's something like noodles and mashed bean paste stuffed in pig intestine with some pig ear and other assorted parts thrown in. Really...okay! The worst part was when Elder 박 told me to eat this nice looking green pepper before our food came. Turns out it wasn't the nice one I thought it was but really spicy 고추 , like the spiciest one in Korea. And to make matters worse I dipped it in 고추 sauce before I ate it to add flavor!~~ (insert mental pictures of a very hot and slightly perspiring Elder Tucker) It was pretty good and I might do it next time too!~

 I love you guys and I am short on time. But some quick thought about charity from my personal study today..


When I'm filled with charity, the pure love of Christ, I fully accept and begin to exemplify a "thy will be done" attitude. Charity, the pure love of Christ, is loving God with all of my heart, might, mind, strength, with my whole soul, and seeking His will in all things. This means keeping His commandments not out of duty or for the hope of blessings, but simply because I love and trust God and want to "do always those things which please Him". When I'm filled with the love of Christ I will love all of my brethren for it was charity that enabled Christ to pass beneath all things and take upon himself our infirmities. Possessing charity entails seeking to serve others and then doing all I can to help them receive the restored gospel, for that's what Christ did for all of us!

Charity is a game changer because it is the attribute that changes my perspective, putting me on a different plane with God and rooting within me the desires that lead to good works and the development of a new creature in Christ. Moroni's Call to me in chapter 7:48 is to pray for charity with all purpose of heart that I may be filled with this love. This one act, the development of charity will purify and purge me. Charity is love and love is light and I'm seeking to be a light on a hill, shining forth with the light of Christ, the light of the world. Through charity and true and proper desires I'll be able to love like Christ and hopefully help others to feel that infinite and abiding, that abounding love that so freely he offers me. With charity I change. I grow and deepen. With charity I'm able to, like Christ, turn outward rather than inward, developing other essential attributes, enabling me to take the step from a servant of God doing missionary things to a truly Christlike missionary, an instrument in the hands of God.

Love you guys,

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

snagged some pics of me and Elder

All is going well!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 54: Happy Father's Day!! I learned about stepping up!‏

First and foremost I love my dad! He is the best man that I know, the smartest, nicest and will make anyone the best playlist ever--really he's great! (now say it like tony the tiger: Ggggrrreeat!!!) I hope that you dad and the fam are having a brilliant time in paradise! I love the pictures from Hawaii and can truthfully say I'm keeping my jealously at a low. I'm so glad that the blessings from the windows of heaven include plane tickets to and a beach house in tropical paradise! Life is good. And I'm doing fine because I've been loving Korea so much!

This week has been pretty great. And it's great that it's over. Elder 박..Park...and I were in charge of combined district meeting this week which means we held a 5 hour meeting with all of the missionaries in our zone with the APs and President and Sister Shin. We were in charge and President did interviews. So exciting, I got to lead the whole zone in an hour long discussion of the "Sister Susan Fulcher Case Study". We got the paper in the MTC as part of in-field orientation and we have used it on and off for different mission things since I've been here. Pretty much it's the best. I have my copy from the MTC still but it's cool because the Korea version is included in the Korean version of "the power of everyday missionaries" (actually they have like a ton of bonus features in the Korean version. I chalk it up to brother Christiensen serving in Korea and I'm just happy because I can read all those cool circles and squiggles now. I wonder what Korean looks like to all of you  guys?? ㅋㅋㅋ이 것을 읽을 수 있어요??  Yeah, we had a Korean class this week where we're teaching some foreigners Korean. So funny. I forgot how weird Asian sounds when it's translated literally. "I know that God lives" Oh, you mean? " I God(honorfied subject marker)  lives(present progressive conjugation)thing know!" Yep. Korea! This weekend there was a special broadcast for all off Korea. It was a stake conference of sorts. Elder Ringwoood from the Seventy gave his talk in Korean (so cool!) and we also heard from Elder Maynes and Elder Christofferson! So great! I think I need to go back and download and relisten to it because due to some odd circumstances where I had to help translate the first part of stake conference Elder Park went with our investigator and listened to the broadcast in English and I listened to it in Korean. Life, man, sometimes the irony just gets me.


And this week was super good. From combined district meeting and also my interview with President I recognized my urgent need to step up and raise the bar and be more of the leader who God and the mission need me to be right now. I think since receiving my new call to serve with Elder Park I have allowed myself to be a little overwhelmed and have been acted upon more than me leading out and being what I'm capable of. It comes down to faith I think. I have confidence in God! I know He is just and perfect and can do all things and I know that my call comes from him. I have faith in President Shin and know that he leads us by revelation and I was lacking faith in myself. Who am I to doubt the President and the Lord. My calling comes from the Lord and according to my asking he promises me revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, and the spirit in greater abundance than I have ever know to do the job before me. I realized that I am going to be lacking. That is part of the plan. I live in deep waters and that is okay. I lack so that I can turn to God when I'm lacking wisdom or strength and he can give me liberally and upbraid me not. Duh!~ Elder Tucker has been tutored by the spirit and I have been able to approach the tasks before me much better this week. I have realized that all I need to "step-up" or really, to magnify my priesthood is the spirit. The Spirit and the gift of the Holy Ghost contain all the gifts of God and my diligent application unto that will change me and transform me into a servant of the Lord. This week I have been thinking about the difference between "obtaining" the priesthood and "receiving" the priesthood (D&C 84:33.35). I think it is similar to "receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost". They both require active choices on our part and will be the greatest difference in our individual ministries.

So that's what my mind has been on recently. I pray that the spirit is with you (man, I sound like a jedi sometimes! Awesome!) and can tutor and teach you what you need for your individual lives!

God is good. Look to Him and live..

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker  (I love you dad! Happy father's day!!!)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Week 53: Happy Birthday Elder Tucker!!!‏

And I say hey! Hey! what a wonderful kind of day!(thanks Arthur for the best theme song ever). And thanks emails for reminding me that I've been on a mission for over a year! And there is no looking back! Like seriously. I was excited on 11th because I felt old, and I literally forgot that it had happened this week when I logged on this afternoon.^^ Funny, I spend like four weeks hyping about it and then I forget last second. Well, ladies and gentlemen (Elders and Sisters) It was a little over 365 days ago that I got a neat little black tag and Elder Tucker was born. Being a missionary is the best life ever! And to tell you the truth I can't really remember any other life. When I get mail it's fine, but if I ever talk about myself or say "McKay" it's the weirdest thing, like talking about someone else's life. I don't even know who McKay is?! All I know is that 나는 하나님의 아들 예수 그리스도의 제자라. 나는 그의 백성 가운데 그의 말씀을 선포하여, 그들로 영생을 얻게 하기 위하여 그에게 부름을 받았느니라 (or in other words "I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and I have been called of him to declare His word among His people!) It is nice to be a disciple of Christ. So far it is my favorite line of work and the benefits are off the chain!

This week was pretty fun! Okay, I am sorry mom. Elder 박(Park) is really hard to photograph--which is unfortunate because he is the cutest little guy I know! He is the greatest! He is 23 and has already done his two years of mandatory military service and one of his dreams is to become a professional song writer. I think he's got the stuff. He is fabulous on the piano and even better on the guitar--you can rest assured that we have good jams. He is super organized and has the best handwriting I've seen in any language. He hates reading, though. That's a drawback, but not because he loves the scriptures and totally devours the word of God. He is really good at English and it was awesome this week in comp study when he was teaching me new insights from his study of Luke chapter one in English. it was really good! It will definitely come in handy thins week when we give our training this week at combined district meeting. We have like five hours of meeting and a lot to cover.

I am so sorry my people, but time is expired and I have to go! I love you and you are in my prayers!

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker (it'll be really weird when Elder Tucker turns two! yeah, we're not allowed to think about that^^)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Week 52: I think I'm going to die!!!‏

Ok mom, don't be alarmed by the heading of the email. I am writing this right after getting back from lunch. Today was pretty good. Elder 박 (Park) had to do some paper work for some family stuff today so we came to the mission office in the morning. We called and did our mission leadership conference call with President and the AP's then all of us missionaries went out to a 고기buffet. And I meant to write "meat" not 고기...language problems.  Ha! So for those of you not familiar with Korean dining culture it is popular here to eat a lot. and as a result there are tons of buffets and meat buffets are really popular. We go and put tons of raw meat on a plate then go to our table and we grill it on the hot plate they have there. Super delicious. You can all you want of whatever you want. And we went to a nice one and it was only ten thousand won. (roughly ten bucks!)  Huzzah! Down side is that we ate continuously for like 90 minutes so I think I passed maximum capacity! So really I might die. I don't think I'll eat dinner. . .

But moving on to happier notes: I love Elder Park. I'm sorry already that I left my camera at the apartment because he is the best. Super cutest Korean I know. And I know that previous sentence wasn't perfect English and I'm okay with that! We have been busy with lots of meeting as of late and recently the Doonsan (둔산) ward has had lots of baptisms so all of our investigators have either been baptized or dropped. So we have been busy hitting the streets and talking to everybody. Because I am in Doonsan area it means that I am in the heart of Daejeon city. My area is probably the smallest geographically in the mission, but there are tons of people. It is all metropolitan and we take the bus and subway most everywhere if we aren't going by foot. It is fun, I love the city. Not that I know any different--I've been blessed to live the big city life ever since I came to Korea. It is fun. Daejeon is fun too because of the huge shopping areas they have. I mean, I can only go shopping on p-day, but as when we do they have HUGE department stores with everything under the sun. I also like the huge underground shopping malls they have. crazy. Koreans are crazy about their shopping. Such a trendy country. I think the only thing they have more of here than cell phone stores is probably hair salons. Life in Korea is good. Hot, fast paced, and good. I love Korea.


This week has also been a good one for studies. recently I have been studying the life of Peter. As a mission there are lots of great experienced missionaries going home in the next few weeks and so it is up to the rest of us to step up and fill the roles needed to lead the mission. I love Perter because he is such a fabulous example of an ordinary man becoming an extra-ordinary servant of the Lord. I have been studying his before and after--how did he go from denying thrice to president of the church? What did he do that changed him? I think the secret lies in the last direction that Jesus gave to Peter specifically in the gospel of John and in the last direction to the apostles in the Book of Matthew. The Lord told the apostles to baptize all nations and he told Peter very specifically to "feed My sheep". It seems to me that Peter was changed as he testified and as he taught the truths of the gospel with power and with authority. Peter was just a man. He was imperfect and a tad impetuous and a lot like you and me. Though he still had weaknesses and was imperfect, he became the amazing prophet and leader as he preached by the spirit, letting the spirit change him as much as anyone. God wants me and he wants you to be our best and He will do that as we do His work for His children. What an amazing blessing that is! When we start to do His work in His way, he will shape us into the best tool to get the job done. The Lord shapes the back to bear the burden placed upon it and through our striving with the spirit He will make us into something great! I love that and know it's true. And it's what I'm working for.

I love all of you guys and I will add pictures next week!

In all things, onward and upward!

Elder Tucker

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Week 51: Lead Kindly Light! Lead thou me on!‏

So a little reflective and reminiscent title... I love that hymn and I really think it's crazy that it was almost a year ago that I sang it in the MTC. Weird. It feels like two lifetimes ago and like last week at the same time. I think I'll probably be dwelling on that theme for the next few weeks because that seems to be the only thing that is constant in missionary work and life: change and the fact that time makes no sense.  And speaking of change, we got transfer calls from the AP's today. And it was a surprise! Elder Hernandez is leaving and I'm leaving! They are moving us both out! Elder Johnson and Elder Young in our house will both be staying but will both be getting new companions and covering their old area and our area. Elder Hernandez and I will both be getting Korean companions! (Insert happy dance because I love Koreans) I will be serving with Elder 박변성 (Pak Byeun Sung..rough english equivalent...) and it will be awesome because he is a fantastic Elder. I am super excited. I am moving one area over. Literally like fifteen minutes away on the subway, and now I will actually live closer to my old church building but will be in the heart of Daejeon. The work there is pretty exciting, and their ward has had a baptism every week this transfer and the Zone leader, Elder Kidman, goes home this week so there are some big shoes to fill. It will be an exciting adventure. 둔산! (doonsan!) wow. Still in Daejeon and super excited to be working so close to President. I love that man.

I also love Elder L. Tom Perry and was so sad to hear about his passing but was at complete peace because know where he is, and I know that all will be well. That is a great lesson I've been seeing a lot in my mission: "All will be well!". All is well. Really truly I know that the Lord is in charge. I know that he is the great Director in our lives. He knows each of us and loves us and has given us this life. He gives us strengths and weaknesses so we can grow and so we can lean on Him. I have come to really love the Lord and am starting to start understanding the infinite atonement and what that means in my life. I know that through be yoked with Christ I am able to pull more than me. I am able to lead on to great heights and grander vistas than I ever imagined...

And when sometimes I feel like I've been treading water in the deep-end for a while I like to sing the song Lead Kindly Light to myself:

Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene--one step enough for me.
So long thy pow'r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

I know that God will lead me on! I know that He will lead you on too! That help comes through Christ and the blessings are predicated on our obedience. I know that the gospel is true and that God is at the helm. He directs his work and He directs the lives of those who let Him. So let Him! As I remember L. Tom Perry I remember that he was always happy!--More than me! I love his love and his undying trust in the Lord. I love his words about how there is no thing more important than the family and that obedience to law brings true freedom. Remember him, and remember what he taught us. And remember that God will lead you on!

Onward and upward,

Elder Tucker