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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Week 50: Homeward Bound. . . the song. . . ^^

So this morning as I was doing pushups (fist bump for missionary work outs) the song "Homeward Bound" came on over Elder Johnson's iPod. I love that song. It reminds me of good times past and my hope for good times yet to come! I remember singing that song with the alumni at graduation and it is weird because that feels like it was in a different lifetime. The missionary work rolls forward and life continues to press on, and I just felt a little reflective today. The email is not really a good recap for my week, but I think it gives you some insight into where I am. And I think that's good. I was thinking a little about the words from the song "Homeward Bound" (conveniently found on the church website. Thank you Church!) and the words hold truth and here is just a little of what was going through my head.

"If you find it's me your missing, if your hoping I'll return, to your thoughts I'll soon be listening, in the road I'll stop and turn. Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end, and the path I'll be retracing, when I'm homeward bound again."

I know that missions and life are hard. I know that missing home is normal because it means we have love there. And I am so happy for my opportunity to teach people about their heavenly home and how the Lord loves them so. He is good. As the time moves and as I move forward in my missionary service I can feel the "wind" setting me racing and it's a funny thing. Time moves and life changes. And am I always homeward bound? (not a trunky joke^^) Am I always fixed and moving in the direction of my home with Father? What can I do to be more homeward bound?

"Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow, set me free to find my calling and I'll be homeward bound in time." I know my calling and I know by whom I am called. I know that Christ lives and I know that as I follow Him, as I'm obedient, that is when I am unchained. That is when we find freedom. Obedience to God and living the precepts of the gospel is God's gift to us for a happy life. I know that's true. And I know that as I seek to be homeward bound that I will feel God's love. I will see His hand in my life. And I will experience all those happy reunion. I love you guys! I am so excited for all of my friends and family that graduated, for those heading out on missions, for those on different adventures. I love you and know that God watches over you. May all of you feel my love and feel His. And may we all be homeward bound in time!

Onward and Upward,

Elder Tucker

I ate so much food. It was gross‏.
We went to this buffet "Ashley" with our member from Kenya and our investigator from Uganda. I ate nine plates of food. It was terribly. Terribly delicious, but you know. I almost died!~
I love you guys. Don't worry. I'm eating well in Korea.^&^

In the quiet misty morning
When the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing
And the sky is clear and red,
When the summer's ceased its gleaming
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure's lost its meaning -
I'll be homeward bound in time
Bind me not to the pasture
Chain me not to the plow
Set me free to find my calling
And I'll return to you somehow
If you find it's me you're missing
If you're hoping I'll return,
To your thoughts I'll soon be listening,
And in the road I'll stop and turn
Then the wind will set me racing
As my journey nears its end
And the path I'll be retracing
When I'm homeward bound again
Bind me not to the pasture
Chain me not to the plow
Set me free to find my calling
And I'll return to you somehow
In the quiet misty morning
When the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing
I'll be homeward bound again.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week 49: Happy happy birthday! Love you Dad! Love you Abby!

Well, I think the subject line gives it away, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU TOO ABBY!! What a day. Yeah, it seems pretty weird that we are in May and that you guys are celebrating you birthdays; it means that time is flying! How I love you guys and I wish I could tell you in person, but email will have to do. Family is the most important thing and I love you guys more than Helvetica could ever convey. (which is impressive because there are some really well worded things written in Helvetica and maybe even more in Times New Roman!)
You guys are my happy. You make me happy, and all I want is to live my life to make you and my Father in Heaven happy. I guess that's the plan. Plan with a capital P.
So I'm not sure who my email reaches, the internet is pretty expansive, and I wonder if all of you know my father and adorable little sister very well. And so I want to depart from my normal format for a second and share with you some awesome things about the two of them.

Ladies First:

I have the coolest little sister in the world! Abigail Rose is the best person I know and really is a hero to me. I used to love it and laugh when my older sister would say "I want to be like you when I grow up" , you know, because she is older than me, but I really mean it for my little sister. I want to be like her when I grow up! I don't know anyone more kind or caring, or aware and concerned for the feelings of others. She has crazy curly hair and of course has her moments of excitement, and I love her all the more. She is a great dance partner and taco maker and is the craftiest person I have ever met. (She can do things with a hot glue gun that would make you wonder) I love her and her cowboy boots and how she loves a'merica like I love a'merica (I add the apostrophe for accent!). I love how much my baby sister is growing up. I'm scared I won't recognize her because of how grown up and mature she'll be, but I know that'll I'll always know her because of her good heart. She is one of very best-est friends and I hope she has the best birthday in the world!! And a note to any boy who might be reading this. Yes, I know she is turning 16 and that means that now you can date her, but know that I'm still super protective even though I'm in Asia! So I would like the first boy to take her out to send me a typed resume, maybe a letter of recommendation. I promise to process it by the next preparation day. ^^

Dad! My father! Pops! I love you dad! And I hope you know that I don't know anyone who is a better father than you are. I don't know anyone who loves his family or his kids more than you! You are the best example for me and I hope and pray that one day I can be a dad like you. I think I better start taking better notes. . . Dad, I want to thank you and express my love for you. In my life I can't remember one time where you were angry at me. I've been scolded and received just punishment for some of my "less than finest moments", but I can't remember even one time where your voice was raised to me or you spoke to me in anger. I cannot tell you what an amazing example you are to me. You've taught me that love is and always will be the best motivator and that showing love is the most important. I can always feel your love and I'm glad that I finally appreciate all of the pictures you take of us kids (and now grandkiddos) with your phone. Thanks for sending them to me---you're the best! I appreciate so much your amazing work ethic. I can't remember how many times I woke up to find you already up and out and working on the lawn or how many times I woke up and found a note saying how you couldn't sleep so you decided to go put in some time at the office or you got a head start on the shopping or garden or were out getting something for those screeching chickens. You always seem to be going going  going and then when you take time to pause the first thing you ask to do is some sort of 가족 활동 or something. . .  (That was family activity for those of you who aren't up on the latest 한국말 ^^) I love you so much, and I hope that you have the greatest birthday! You're old, Dad! But I love you!!


Just for a final note I thought I'd include a little bit of my email to Pressident Shin this week. I learned a lot this week and have done a lot of reflection as I've been reading Preach My Gospel. That book is inspired. I love you guys and love this mission. I know that Christ lives and that He called me here to the Korea Daejeon Mission. I am so excited for my fabulous cousin Glade and the awesome times he'll be having in the Mexico Puebla South Mission. He will be the greatest missionary because he is one of the greatest people and one of the greatest friends I've ever had. Anyway, I have to go. I love you and have the merriest, happiest birthday ever!

 "My calling is to preach His gospel by the spirit not to teach the five lessons. To me this means that I invite all to come unto Christ through the process of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I need to build relationships and trust with my investigators and I really believe that through testifying and trusting the spirit to help me and my companion recognize how the gospel is pertinent to their lives, the people will come. They will like us if we spend time with them and make them feel good, but they will respect us as servants of the Lord as we teach them truth and help them know how they can have lasting peace, joy, and a hope for a better world.  It comes out again and again in PMG how we are to testify of the message of the restoration. For me it seems that testifying of the restoration is hard. In sharing the gospel there is so much of what we share that is the same with the rest of the world, there is so much common ground. In my attempts to find people I have so often searched for what makes us the same so that they feel comfortable. I think this is good--but I think what is better is what I'm learning in trying to better proclaim with power and authority that which makes us different; our unique message to the world is the restoration. I have been feeling that stronger and stronger as I've been reading Preach My Gospel and I know that that is the Spirit teaching me truth. So, that is what I've been studying and pondering lately, I wanted you to know. And now the hardest part is application. . . but I'm working on it and I know I'm not alone!

Thank you President for all that you do. Thank you for your trust and love and for leading us through revelation and by the spirit. We are always praying for you and Sister Shin. Know that we love you guys!"

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 47: A new week and some reflections!

So the week has been pretty great. Elder Hernandez and I are having tons of fun together and have really been blessed to meet some amazing people this week. (I'm going to ask everyone to pray for our friend sister 김지희 (lee ji hee or you can call her abigail^^) We met her this week, and she is awesome and very busy. We have high hopes for her getting baptized but I think we'll need more collective prayer power to have it happen. Just pray that she will read the Book of Mormon, feel its truth and desire to know of our message. And that she'll have time to meet!

I am sorry that time is short. This week was great and we had a terrific combined zone meeting. We met two more Spanish potential investigators, and the work is on the up and up. I spent some time responding to a good friend about some things to think about as you prepare to head out on a mission. I decided to just include it for you as my 2.0. Here are some things that I learned and I hope that it may help some of you!


Deal! SO you are wondering what to do, huh? Well, first I'm sure you're doing great, but I'll just give you what I wish I could have done better in the MTC and prepping for the field.

1. Read PMG. A lot. Like read it cover to cover again before you enter the MTC or CCM or whatever and keep reading it regularly throughout your mission. It has the words of the prophet for you and what you can do in your ministry. Always relevant. I suggest what I'm doing right now: read it cover to cover once a transfer.

2. Exact obedience. This may be hard to believe, but I had a hard time going to bed at 10:30. Shocker. And consequently I would stay up a little late to journal more or just review Korean grammar at my desk. I didn't suffer from lack of sleep but I bet I missed a couple blessings. One missionary I love said "There isn't a big difference in getting up at 6:30 or 6:31, but if you want to be with the Lord you'll get up at 6:30."  Sounds tough but it's true.

3. Love. This is your most powerful teaching tool and finding tool. And everything! If you love and they feel your love, the Spirit will be there. Remember the way that missionaries show their love is through finding, teaching, and baptizing people to bring them closer to Christ. What greater gift can there be than that? Hello!.... Eternal life! Doesn't get better than that!

4. Show your love. I have learned that faith without works is dead. Thanks you Seminary and James 2:17 for pounding that into me.^^ Just as true is "hope w/o works is dead" and "love without works is dead". How do you show works for hope? I do it through my celestial smile. (Celestial not in a narcissistic way, but because I want to be smiling eternally and through smiling we can share a little glimpse of that forever-happiness that we're working towards.) And we show our hope-works through being optimistic, trusting God, and truly believing that all things will work together for the good of those who fight the good fight. Show your love. We are people, and people need to feel that they are valued. Tell people you love them! Don't let them assume anything! I know that as you regularly share you love it will grow stronger and will brighten and embolden you.

5. Pray hard. Trust God. Let Him become your best friend and your confidant, and tell him your wants, hopes, desires, and dreams. I have always known that God is there and that He loves me. But I come to more greatly realize how infinitely concerned He is with the everyday and trivial parts of my life. He is the greatest support and on your mission make that relationship central in all that you do.

6. Onward and upward! Always push the envelope. Demand your best, expect wobbling and some stumbles. Be ready to brush of the dust, kneel back down in the dust, then get up and keep going. Missions are pretty hard. but they're  pretty much the best thing ever, too. Endure to the end. Do it with grace. (both His grace and grace on our part) All will be well. All is well! You are on His team.

I hope this helps a little. I know you will do fantastic! Fabulous! You are on the errand of angels and God will be your guide. Be nervous, but don't be nervous^^ One foot in front of the other. It is an uphill battle but I hear the hike is pretty fun. Ok, I love the hike! Especially because mine has all sorts of cool Asian tourists and stuff^^

화이팅!! (rough translation of "good luck^^")

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

Elder Hernandez told me that he used to eat Roli Poli's all the time when he was little.  So we found one.  And documented it.

You know that scene in Lion King where Simba tries the grub and is like "Slimey yet satisfying!"?

Yeah, not real life.

Does your library look like a smile?

Thanks, Korea, for awesome architecture!  How can you not smile when you see books living in a house that cool?

Man, SeJong (the new capital) is off the chain.
The only problem is how there are like no people to talk to on the streets....but we're working on that!

I saw this sign the other day with all three of my areas on it!

Go right for greenie area, left for 2nd or straight for my current one!  Neat-o!

Yeah, for some reason I had no idea that hakuna matata was Swahili.  I'm not quite sure how I missed that tid-bit... I'm usually pretty good with that kind of random fact thing.  But luckily our member Anthony is from Kenya and totally speaks Swahili.

He served his mission in South Africa and is the best ever! So great for member lessons with our foreigner investigators.  Man, I love him!