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