Elk Tacos?! ...won't find those in India!

What's up y'all?

This week has yet again been awesome.  The work Elder Smith and I are moving along was kinda hindered by a midweek leadership exchange, so I went to a different area and served with Elder Beals for a day.  The area was Meridian South and it was cool getting to see that area and serve with Elder Beals.  While there, we were at a members home, talking about my call to India and this happened:

Lady:  It must be hard to teach in India because they're Buddhist.
Me: ....do you mean Hindu?
Lady:  That too.
Me: ...????

I thought that was really funny.

So Elder Smith and I played that gig on Thursday!!!  The retirement home failed to communicate to us that they just wanted instrumental, jazzish music to be played in the background while the seniors ate lunch.  Oops.  We mostly played hymns, but we sang and played simultaneously (as we thought we were asked) and when we were done playing they said, "Uh, we'll call you back."  We have yet to receive that call hahaha.  

I've eaten some awesome food this week.  Elk tacos, normal tacos that were DELICIOUS made by a member who served his mission in Mexico, and a stuffed, one pound hamburger.  Am I getting fat?  No comment.

The work is moving along slowly but surely, our zone alone found twenty-nine new investigators this week and the mission as a whole found 107!!!  Crazy.

Hopefully I will have more time (and things) to report on next week.  Sorry haha.

Elder Tuscano

[additional note from parents: we added a photo sent by Roger Patterson, who lives in the Boise area and met Jonathan.  Roger served his mission with Jeff in Costa Rica / Panama. Small Small World!]


Bikes and Gigs!

This week was awesome. I'm seriously loving mission work and getting accustomed to mission life, no prob (I think). 

I think dad will love this. So Elder Smith and I were thinking of new ways to do service in the community! He and I both play piano and guitar (and sing? Well he does, I try). So we went to a retirement home in the community and asked if we could play some songs for them, Elder Smith and I alternating on guitar and piano and singing for them. They said yes! They were so pumped, we're playing a mini gig for them this Wednesday and also playing their Halloween party!

This week Elder Smith and I did close to twenty hours of service. A couple times throughout the week I was thinking that all this service is preventing us from what I thought we were here to do: share the message of the restored gospel. But each time I had the thought, another thought came to me--well a scripture: Mosiah 2:18 that says when he are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God. I was truly comforted by that thought. We did everything from fixing bikes to bucking hay.

Last week I knew very little about bikes, nor their parts nor how to fix them [parent insert: not because we didn't attempt to get him more acquainted with bikes, he just never liked bikes]. Now I'm working on bikes almost entirely by myself. It's crazy what you can learn with a good attitude.

But about the bucking hay part. So I can scarcely recall a time where I've been to a farm let alone "buck hay." On Saturday after helping a lady move for three hours, we went to a farm in a rural, beautiful part of Idaho. We were helping a farmer (whose land our 'shack' is on) deliver six tons of hay to another fellow farmer. Yes. Six tons. Like 12,000lbs. We moved the hay from a trailer to a barn. The bales were heavy and to move them you have to do like a power clean, then move it to wherever. There were five of us and it took us only forty-five minutes to move it all. It was crazy!!! All of us were working nonstop and we deduced that each of us moved roughly one ton ourselves. I wish I would have taken pictures haha I was covered in alfalfa from head to toe and my lungs and nose were stuffed with hay as well, my snot was green for hours after. It was tiring and hard, but SO worth it. Serving others is always worth it.

Elder Smith and I continue to crank out lessons to investigators and less actives alike, please keep praying for us though! Love and miss all!!

Elder Tuscano


Provo to Boise and first photos sent directly from Jonathan

Wow, my first week in the field has seriously been incredible. It is a challenge and not what I'm used to but I'm seriously learning so much everyday. It's crazy.

My companion is Elder Smith!! He is from Akron, OH and is about done with his mission. He is awesome!  I will send pictures as soon as I'm able haha. He reminds me of a lot of Tom Jensen as far as mannerisms and personality go haha, not looks. He is super intelligent and left Juliard to come on a mission. He sings opera hahaha and he's really good.

I don't have a lot of time as it is Zone P Day today where we engage in activities as a zone, I think we're playing dodgeball or something today.  Also I'm typing this on an iPhone at a law office because all the computers are taken, so I'll try and get to the point and comprise my observations and impressions briefly.

Idaho is confusing. A road will take three or so deliberate right or left turns and still be the same road. There are few sidewalks and they are spaced out unevenly. Everyone drives a Subaru. But it is nonetheless beautiful and the people are fantastic!!! Many people we come across really really like the missionaries, but some are not as big of fans. Some people honk at us and give us thumbs up, others give us another finger and yell profanities at us while we're walking haha. But that's only happened a couple times haha, most people are really kind to us.

I have felt a little overwhelmed a lot of times though, and whenever I begin to feel so, I say a prayer and I receive almost immediate strength and comfort, it's insane. Because a good number of people here are already members (or have achieved "emeritus status" from church), we do a lot of service here. At first I was like "whyyy do we do so much service here?" But then I decided that I'm not getting out of it so I prayed to HF and asked Him to help me be more happy and willing to serve, to do so with a good attitude. It worked! I seriously look forward to serving now. We do all kinds of service, from fixing bikes to yard work to working with the Salvation Army. 

One thing happened that I thought was cool, in accordance with the above paragraph. Earlier in the week when I was feeling super overwhelmed, I began to question why I was here and not in India. I wasn't mad, like I'm really happy to be here and everything, and I love Boise but I was just curious as to why He has me here right now. After I had asked Heavenly Father to help me be happier in serving I received an answer. We were doing yard work for a single woman and her son and all of a sudden something whispered to my mind "this is why you're here." I was like WHOA. And that made me even happier!! The greatest lesson I learned from this week (as a result of this experience) is that when we submit to His will, or rather, find common ground between His will and ours, is when we receive answers to our prayers. The Master will not succor the unwilling servant.

I don't know if any of that made sense and I don't really have time to proofread haha but I love and miss you guys!!! Hope all is going well back home.

Elder Tuscano

MTC companions 

MTC District 47A

Elder Smith and a Boise sunset

He referred to their place as "the shack"

inside the shack

Boise in the Fall


Our Boy is in Boise

How thrilled Sister Winder and  I were to greet your son and to welcome him as a full-time missionary in the Idaho Boise Mission.  What a blessing it will be to our mission to have him serving here to the assigned field of labor.

After arriving at the mission office and conducting a brief orientation of the mission, I had the opportunity of interviewing your son in an effort to become better acquainted with him and to feel of his spirit.  As a result of this interview, I felt impressed to assign your son, as a companion, to one of the most obedient, most skilled, and hardest working missionary in the mission.  You can be assured that this companion is one of our mission’s very best.

We are confident that your son will have a very positive experience while serving in the Idaho Boise Mission.  We know he will strengthen his skills, increase his knowledge and testimony of the gospel, and establish an increased measure of love for all of our Heavenly Father’s children he will assist in teaching.

We have attached a picture of your missionary with Sister Winder and myself and also a picture of him with his trainer, Elder Smith. The Lord’s choicest blessings be with you as you sustain your son and pray for his continued welfare.

Faithfully yours,
President John Q. Winder
Idaho Boise Mission


Idaho Boy

Just letting you know I'm here and safe!  My trainer is awesome and we live in a small shack thing, I'll send pictures on Monday.  Missionary work in the actual field is very different from what the MTC made it seem like it might be.  I feel like I'm a little overwhelmed but I will get used to it.  I'm learning new things and figuring new things out everyday especially with Heavenly Father's help, I've been praying a lot and he's definitely listening and answering my prayers.  Idaho is very confusing but really nice too!  I am really really loving the whole experience so far.  But I miss you guys and hope you're doing well!!

Love you,
Elder Tuscano


Ready to leave the MTC!

Ready to leave the MTC for Boise!

MTC companion Elder Magnusson


This week has flown by!!!  The first few days in the MTC were some of the longest in my life, just because they were jam packed with things to do and learn and there was little down time.  Everyone kept saying that after your first Sunday in the MTC it all flies by.  I didn't believe them at first, but turns out they're right!

Tuesday evening, Elder Claudio R.M. Costa (the one who spoke in Conference) came and spoke to us and he was awesome!!!  He was so funny too.   But the main point from his talk was that "You can count how many seeds are in an apple, but you can't count how many apples come from a seed."  I think this will be a great thing to remember during rough times in the field.

Speaking of the field, Elder Magnusson, myself, and part of our district/zone depart for Boise at 3:35AM tomorrow!  That'll be great.  But also Elder Mag and I met with some guy that's over missionary travel in India and explained to us the details of how to get into the country (if and when we get there).  He told us that if they question us as to why we are there, we're supposed to say that we're "volunteers for our church here to share a message with anyone who will hear." And that's exactly what we're doing! Plain and simple, I thought it was cool.  

We've been teaching mock investigators in TRC and the classroom.  Seeing these investigators progress and seeing the light and joy the gospel brings to their lives is incredible.  I feel the Spirit so strongly as we teach them and especially when I testify to them that what we're teaching is true.  Sometimes I get so excited I just want to stand on like a tower or wall or box or something and yell the lessons from there and bring everyone to a knowledge of the truth.  I want to bring thousands back to the fold like Alma and the Sons of Mosiah.

I learned about Thomas the Apostle a bit this week, he has a super cool story (as he was the first missionary in India, how cool is that?!).  After Christ was resurrected, Thomas was called to preach the gospel in India.  At first he was like "Eh...I don't think so."  So Christ appeared to him in a dream and said "There's no need to fear for I'll be with you."  He still was like "Eh..." The Lord's will will always prevail though, so he was put into slavery by some merchant that did business in India.  Upon arriving in India, Thomas was then sold to an Indian king as a slave.  He then converted the king and his brother and was liberated from slavery.  He went on to convert a said 17,000.  How cool is that?!  I wanna do that kind of work, but really I just hope I get there haha.

How did everyone like conference?!  My favorite messages were delivered by Elder Uchtdorf (Saturday Morning), Elder Larry Lawrence (Saturday Morning), Elder Eyring (Priesthood Session, especially the story about his great-grandfather), Elder Durrant (Sunday Afternoon), and Elder Allen D. Haynie (Sunday Afternoon).  I also really loved the testimonies given by the three new apostles!! I know they're men called of God and they'll do wonderful in the Quorum of the Twelve!  I feel that no one can denounce the validity of the Gospel and the truthfulness of the Church after this Conference.  



Until Jonathan receives his documentation for India, his temporary assignment
will be Boise, Idaho!  He's excited, and we're reminded of this funny scene from
The Singles Ward. "Boise, what do you say to that?" "I say right on."