Monday, December 2, 2013

Final Letter - December 2, 2013

Family and Friends:
Wow, well, there's really not much to say.  Oh how fast the time has gone.  I feel so blessed to have been able to serve as a full-time missionary here in the MisiĆ³n Mexico Tampico.  In my fast yesterday, my primary purpose was just to give thanks.  I can't believe the way the Lord has blessed me and changed my life over the course of these last two years.  He has given me a new heart, a new outlook on life, and an arsenal of life lessons that I've learned from people, from situations, from the spirit.  The Lord has given me a testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel and he has given it to me line upon line and precept upon precept over my time.  Being separated from my family and loved ones over these past two years has been the hardest things I've ever done in my whole life, but it's here, separated from all of you, that I have come to know my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ in a way that I never would've thought possible.  It's been here, under the blazing hot sun in the  streets of Eastern Mexico, where I've had to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and trust in HIM.  I've learned to not have confidence so much in myself, but rather, to have confidence in He who I represent.  I've come to learn that obedience to the laws of God brings blessings, I've come to learn that those blessings come when we are diligent, and I've come to know that when we are as obedient as we can be, and as diligent as we can be, that in THAT moment, our Savior, who knows our hearts, says "It is enough" and makes up the difference.  
I've learned to love people and see them more as what they can become.  I've seen people beat down by the sorrows of the world, who have changed their lives, or rather, they have allowed the Holy Ghost to enter into their lives and take effect, causing a change that a human being can't possibly make on his own.  I've learned that money truly cannot buy happiness, for some of the happiest people who I've met here in Mexico are people who have so very little of what this world esteems.  I've come to know the truthfulness, to a new degree, of the teachings of Joseph Smith and of the Book of Mormon.  What an incredible message of happiness we bring!  We teach that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was lost, and then RESTORED to the earth and that today, all those blessings are available unto ALL!  And the best part is, nobody need take my word for it, we teach and invite all to find out for themselves, directly from God.  I know that's true, I've seen seeker of truth after seeker of truth take Moroni's challenge and receive a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book o Mormon.  I have received that testimony and it's the most valuable thing I have in this life.  
I know that families can be together forever.  I was blessed to have a family that has taught me that since I was born, but as I taught family after family that principle, the joy of that message has become something that I treasure.  I came to feel it on a deeper level on July 27th of 2013 at the Sealing of La Familia Preza Cruz.  I felt the power of that ordinance on that day.  Last Friday we were at the Madero Stake Center for a Zone Leader's Counsel and I saw Hermano y Hermana Preza walking up the steps to go do a temple session.  Nothing could make me happier.  They have come to know and treasure what I know as well.  
More than anything, I know that Christ lives.  HE LIVES.  He knows and understands us, he fuels us to keep going and he is directing this missionary effort.  I have been so blessed to participate in it and I will continue participating in it now in a different role.  
Thank you all for joining me in this incredible ride.  You have made it so worth it and so enjoyable.  Have a great week this week.  I sure will.  Don't worry, I ain't trunky and I ain't gonna die, we've got a baptism this week and we had 7 other investigators in Church last week, we've got way too much to do to have time to take off.  
Love you all #GMC$ 
Elder Stockard   

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nov. 25, 2013

Momma y Famileee:

Yo, so it's been another sweet week! I can't even tell you how blessed I feel to be serving here in Huejutla at this time! Things are going so well! Sounds like everything is going well at home as well. Our week was bomb, one of the best ones so far: Baptism, tons of help from active members, new people to teach, people progressing, and just being so happy to be serving here with mi amigo Elder Dominguez. I can't even start to explain how bomb things are down here.

When I first got here to Huejutla, I liked it, it was gorgeous; but it took some getting used to, working in a branch, in a tiny little town with occasional running water and just everything was so different. Now though, I can't believe how in love I am with this place. I have seen so much progress (more than anything personal) in my time here. Attitude determines altitude completely.

This week we set 4 new baptismal dates and Carlos was baptized. David was in church and is now in Alma in the BofM. The active members of this branch are really supporting us as well, we had 12 lessons with a member present this week which is a pretty high number for us working here in a branch with 6 missionaries in it. The baptism of Carlos was really nice, he's 10 years old mom, but yeah, his fam has gotten active, they've gone every week since September, so they're there to support him. I was really happy for them, the branch really did a nice job with the baptism as well.

In October I set the goal to finish the Book of Mormon one more time. I'm highlighting all the verses that teach on prayer and it's been such a powerful experience to be able to do so. Today I was reading in 3 Nephi 18 where the Savior teaches on the Sacrament and later on prayer and I am just blown away by the wisdom and the power of the teachings of Jesus Christ. I'm on track to meet the goal which will complete one of my New Year's resolutions. I love the scriptures, I've come to love the Bible much more as well in these last few months.

This week is gonna be busy, we've got the Zone Leaders counsel in Tampico, those are always bomb, plus David's baptismal interview. It's such an exciting time to be a missionary. I hope that all is well and I trust that it is. I love you all so much and I'm so grateful for the way you have prepared me to be a missionary. Thank you all so much for that.

Elder Stockard

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nov. 18, 2013


Hey y'all. Wow, so Lauren isn't going home for Thanksgiving? That'll be a lot quieter party than in years past with only 2 kids in the house I bet! You're getting old Parents, haha. Jk, not that old. How weird will it be for you guys though when Ryan leaves next year and there are only 3 Stockards at home in Fallon? That'll be a change. Time just keeps flying right? My week was bomb. Sounds like yours was as well.

Our investigator pool is getting bigger and bigger every week. I feel like at this point in time Elder Dominguez and I are really putting everything together pretty well. For me especially, I feel like a lot of hard work and diligence is really paying dividends for me at this time. I've been reading back in some of my journals and reflecting in these last weeks and my mission can be divided in like 2 parts: 1.) MTC up to Mainero, where I learned 3 huge lessons: Obedience, Diligence, and Grace. In those first 10 months I really set some good habits, those months were the foundation of my mission house, because if I had never learned those things, I wouldn't have had the opportunities and experiences that I've had in this 2nd year of my mish. and 2.) Central up to right now in Huejutla where little by little I have learned sooooooo many different lessons. This second year is where I felt like I've learned a lot about leadership, love, humility and pride, the gospel and about people in general. All in all, I can't think and reflect on my mission for very much time without feeling just so grateful to my Heavenly Father for this time that I have to serve him full time. What an opportunity! I just love the mission. I have met so many people that have changed my life. This week, Carlos, the son of la Familia that we have reactivated, passed his baptismal interview and will be baptized on Friday. David continues progressing like a baller, he read about fasting in the gospel principles book on Saturday and on his own decided to fast. The man is a stud. He is progressing as well as a ton of other investigators that we have. These people here in Huejutla are incredible. I love 'em, I have learned so much from them.

I hope we can all have a great week and that where ever we are this week, I hope we can give thanks to our Eternal Father and Supreme Creator who has given us all so much. He has given me so so so much, starting with all of you. I still remember when I came home from college last year at Thanksgiving, Brother Yates gave a talk on gratitude that has really stuck with me. I love this time of year even though it's not celebrated the same down here, because it calls us all to remember and give thanks. I hope y'all have a great week and that you know how grateful I am for each one of you.
#143 I'm also grateful for #JakeHeaps.

Elder Stockard

Monday, November 11, 2013

Nov. 11, 2013

Hey Fam,
Man, you guys are the bosses.  Sounds like you all are doing so well.  I love hearing how conscious you all are about doing missionary work.  Remember, ask and ye shall receive, ESPECIALLY in missionary work.  I think we sometimes don't realize how willing God is to bless us with missionary experiences if we ASK and look for them.  Remember, this is HIS work so we know it's His will to give us missionary experiences, it's just up to us to ask and look for them.  Great job fam!  I've got the goal to never go to the Fallon 4th Ward again without inviting a nonmember friend to go with me and offering to pass by and pick them up.  How is it having the missionaries just in the 4th ward?  Do they come around asking for references and people to teach a lot more now or not really?  I am so curious about how missionary work is going back in the Reno mission.  It's such a fascinating thing to me, haha.  
Let me tell you all, I think this week was maybe the best week so far in my mission.  I know I've said that before.  The thing is that I feel like I'm really putting it all together right now as a missionary.  The Lord is really blessing me.  I have some really steep goals that I've set for myself and the Lord is really helping Elder Dominguez and myself to achieve them.  It's incredible to see the Lord's hand in this work.  David and our other family were in church this week and had spiritual experiences while in church and in their process to get there.  The adversary really tries and tests prepared people, but when they exercise their faith and make the decision to follow the Savior and keep His commandments when its hard, THAT is when they receive a living testimony of the truthfulness of this Church.  Let me tell you, as a missionary, one of the greatest feelings is seeing people successfully do just that.  There is nothing better.  Seeing people exercise their faith and repent, and make real changes in their lives is something that still amazes me.  David this week after church approached Elder Dominguez and I and asked us about the church's stand on a few commandments that we still hadn't even taught him.  He told us that, among other things, he had stopped smoking and drinking in the last 2 weeks... but we still hadn't even mentioned him the Word of Wisdom, how is that possible?  It's all about what 2 Nefi 32:5 teaches us; That the spirit will show us all things that we should do.  We didn't teach him the Word of Wisdom, but the spirit did.  The Spirit is what motivates all true seekers of the truth to make changes and continue progressing.  I have been so privileged to come to know so many of these seekers of the truth and they have surely had far more of an effect on my life than I have on theirs.  
I am so happy.  I continue to say that, but it's true. I love you all so much.  Have a great week and know that all is well.  
Elder Stockard

Monday, November 4, 2013

Nov. 4, 2013

Ey YO:

Hahaha, so two years in Mexico has totally made me forget that this last week was Halloween, that was so fun I bet. Here this last week it was Xantolo,the dia de los muertos festival that is native to this Huasteca region. We weren't here in Huejutla for the main night of it cuz we had a Counsel meeting in Tampico, but in our Saturday meal we got some BOMB tamales and hot chocolate. It is a really cool festival and Huejutla was PACKED with people from all over Mexico that come in for this weekend. It was really cool to see and to taste hahaha. As for me, I am loving my Zone, my comp, and my area. Being a missionary is literally so much fun. Elder Dominguez is such a cool guy and we get along so well. We have now gotten to where we teach really well together.                                                                                                                                                                        
One of the coolest parts of this week was our Leadership counsel that the Zone Leaders, the Assistants and some experienced sisters have with President and Sister Jordan at the end of each month in Tampico. Every single one that I've been to has been really sweet, but this one was one of the best. I just love learning from President and Sister Jordan, I can't even start to explain to you how much those two have blessed my life, I look at them with so much respect and love. I have been blessed to serve under their direction.                                                                                                                                                                       
Also this week, Elder Dominguez and I had some great lessons with some new investigators, some less actives, and some recent converts. We had some really powerful experiences teaching about the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. That is one of my favorite doctrinal themes to teach people on because no matter what interests you or what you are doing with your life, almost certainly you are wanting to be happier and that's exactly what the Gospel of Jesus Christ allows us to do, and when we present the principles and ordinances of the gospel to these people as a highway to happiness, they really seem to understand it well and try to apply it. How blessed we are to know about the Gospel. I feel so blessed to have been born into the church and to Parents, Family and Friends who understand and live such principles and have taught me to do that same. I feel so blessed to know each and every one of you. I love you all so much.                                                                                                                     

It never ceases to amaze me how happy I am here as a missionary. I have come to do things and learn things that I never ever thought possible, all by the grace and mercy of our perfect master. I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week. I especially hope that all goes well for the Hubbard family and Brandon with his tonsils. They are in my prayers along with all y'all. Love you.                                                                                      
#143 #JakeHeaps                                                                                                                                                          
Elder Stockard

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013


Hey people, man I love you all. I don't get tired of saying it: You people are the greatest. I love hearing your spiritual experiences, funny stories, and loving comments every Monday. Thank you all for being so supportive, that has been such a blessing as I have known many other Elders who don't have a family and friend base that is so supportive. I think yesterday was one of the greatest days of my entire mission. Everything just went so well. I am so excited for this next transfer, things are really looking up for E. Dominguez and I here in Huejutla as well as for the whole zone. Let me just say that I love being a missionary.

So this last week we had had a little trouble getting in contact with David due to his work and also due to the fact that the man lives LEJOS (Far)! Like he lives in like the last house in our area and its no small task to get out to his house. SO anyway, yeah, we hadn't seen the man for a long while due to his work schedule and the distance, but Saturday we had another appointment out in the same general direction. As we rode in the back of the old, run down, ice cream man style, 15 person van that serves as the most reliable form of public transportation, we came near to David's house. As we got closer, I started to feel that we should get out there and go and visit David even though we didn't have an appointment with him. As I thought this, initially I started to think that this was illogical; we had another appointment that we were late for, David probably wouldn't be there, we could always just come back later etc... But as I tried to push this thought out of my head, I continued to feel like we should go in my heart. So I told Elder Dominguez and we got off there to pass by David. We got there, called out to him, and sure enough... He was there! And he had been reading! The man is already in 2nd Nephi reading! And he went to church yesterday! And he is getting ready to be baptized! And if we hadn't passed by at that moment, he wouldn't have been there later cuz he was getting ready to leave at that moment. This taught, or retaught me a very important lesson: 1. The spirit speaks to our heart and to our mind (D&C 8 or 9 i think), when he speaks to our mind, usually it sounds logical the impression that we receive and therefore, we do it. I don't think that we recognize the majority of these impressions. 2. Occasionally, the spirit speaks more to our heart and it doesn't seem so logic to us... But if we follow the impression, these are like the big time spiritual experience promptings. This experience taught me to always live worthy and be obedient so that the spirit will speak to my heart and to my mind, and then always follow the heartfelt impressions. Great experience to cap off a great week.

I am loving Huejutla. I love our zone, I have been so privileged as a missionary to come to know so many awesome other missionaries that are such good examples to me. Our zone is killer and should be great this next transfer as well. have a great week and know that I love you all. I hope I can make you all proud. #143


Elder Stockard

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013

Hey Famileeee:

Yo, so I hope that you all are enjoying the fall season back in the USA because there is like no such thing here in Mexico, hahaha. It has stayed pretty hot all day everyday here in Huejutla. But it has been a dope week here in la Huasteca, that's for sure. Sounds like it's been a pretty solid one back in Fallon and Provo and wherever else y'all be at as well. I'm just so happy to be down here in Huejutla and still be learning and teaching the gospel everyday.

So the region of Mexico that I'm in is known as La Huasteca. Its a really unique subculture that's found only here in this part of Mexico. La Huasteca covers parts of 5 states here in Mexico: Hidalgo, Veracruz, San Luis Potosi, Puebla, and Queretero and it's an indigenous culture with great food and lots of native languages and dialects. It's a really cool part and Huejutla is like the flagship little pueblo of the Huasteca region. Here in Mexico they don't celebrate Halloween but they celebrate el Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead). Here in la Huasteca they have like an extended and really big Day of the Dead festival and holiday called Xantolo. Xantolo is a day in which they remember their ancestors that have already passed away and commemorate their lives. The traditional food for the day is tamales, hot chocolate, and sweet bread. People are starting to get ready for the day and it sounds pretty cool. I'm excited to see it. 

As far as the work, it continues to progress. David couldn't go to church this week for work but la Familia went and we also found a bunch of new investigators that seem promising this week as well. Elder Dominguez and I have been surprised at how much the Ward Counsels have progressed in the short time that we have been trying to work with them. The Lord has really started to hasten his work. This week Elder Dominguez and I were able to have a coordination meeting with President Jordan, President Ramirez (his counselor that's in charge of the district) and President De Santiago the District Pres here. Things are on the way up here in la Huasteca and there are some big plans. Needless to say, it's a privilege to be a missionary at this time in the history of the world.

In other news, the Internet cafe that we write in is right in front of a Junior High. As I sit here writing you, a bunch of kids are trying to get me to talk to them in English. I just gave them the best, "Hi, how are you?" that I could muster and for my efforts I received nearly a standing ovation. Hahaha the funny things that happen in Mexico.

Well, I love you all. I hope you all know that. I pray for you all and love hearing how happy you are. Keep up the great work back and home. The Hubbard family is especially in my thoughts and prayers and I trust that all will be well. Have a great week! 

Elder Stockard