Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 25, 2012

iHola mi Familia y amigos!
Ok before anything else is written, two things. First of all, a major shout out and congrats to one of my best friends and my brother Miles "The BiggHeadedAstronaut, Willard" Adams and being called to serve in the Paris France mission!!!!!!!!!!!! That is seriously so sick! I gotta letter in the mail for you big boi best, that will be so dope. Second of all, I have heard a rumor going around that the one and only #JakeHeaps has gotten a twitter. Ryan, please get on my account and follow him for me and everyone else, if we are friends you will follow him on twitter and or create a twitter just to follow him. It is only respectful to the Golden Boy.
So what is up? How is everything back home? I can't even begin to explain how much I miss you guys! It is seriously so awesome to be here but having the greatest group of family and friends in the world makes me miss you all so much! We finally got some snow in P town, and Momma it sounds like Fallon got a little too. I will never forget my junior year with those two snow days. That was seriously so fun!
This week I had two significant things. The first thing is that this past Monday I was able to finish reading the Book of Mormon. I can't even tell you how great that was. On my mission so far I have developed such a love for the Book of Mormon. It truly has all the answers, and is without a doubt the true word of God. I love reading the final chapter and especially Moroni's promise. I encourage all of you to take his challange and when you finish the Book of Mormon, ask God for yourself, with faith if it is true of not. I promise you that you will recieve an answer that it is true. There is no doubt, no man could have written that book. Fam, I also have a challange for each of you. I want you all in the next week to read Ether chapter 12. Wow. It never hit me until last Sunday when I read it how much power and insight that chapter has. I have always loved verse 27, because a long time ago Uncle Brandon showed it to me and it has brought me strength, but please read the entire chapter and tell me what you think about it and what it teaches you. The second significant thing from this week is last Thursday, Elder Parry and I took the challenge given in The MTC handbook and issued to us by our teacher Hermano Finely and "SYL" or Speak Your Language. This entire week (minus planning session and companion study) we have spoken only Spanish and we will continue to do so for the rest of the MTC. We did pretty well, it definitely limited our communication somewhat and at times we had to resort to pointing or drawing pictures (swagg i know) but we learned SOOOOOO much this week! Our lessons have steadily improved as we have commited to speak Spanish. We aren't perfect but we are trying our best to speak very little English and we were so blessed this week for it. My speaking is getting better but my reading comprehension and abililty to understand what people are saying is really good (well not so much when natives speak but that's ok) .
To all my friends who have been or will be called to foreign missions, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO important to Speak Your Language as much as possible, it is the only way to learn the language is my speaking it as much as possible. One thing that has really helped me is I have carried around a piece of paper and pen and when I dont know how to say something I write it down and then I ask one of our teachers. So that was great.
Also this past week I have had sometime to reflect on just how blessed I have been up to this point in my life. Its really almost unfair. I look at what an amazing life I have had; blessed with such a great group of family and friends, being born in a free country, with the gospel and I am just so thankful for it, but more than anything else, I want everyone to know how thankful I am for my mother. Mom, you ever since I can remember you have taught me and raised me right. Ever since I was that little blonde-haired smiling kid in the Peavine Mountain ward who just wanted to go up and bear his testimony every Fast Sunday (mostly for attention i think haha) you have been teaching me the principles of the gospel, reading to me from the scriptures, kneeling down in prayer with me, and you have been there every time I have needed you. I can't even begin to describe to you how grateful I am for that. I thank my Heavenly Father every night for blessing me with you. You are my number one supporter, no matter what. You always have been. Even when I was at college we talked almost every day and whenever I had a worry or concern I would call you and you would comfort me. I miss you so much but it brings me joy and solace to know that ever since I was born this has been one of the primary goals you have raised me to have. As I walk around the MTC I think of you often and of your smiling face. I try to reflect your love through myself. As I learn and prepare, I am able to focus and do so becasue of you. You have made me who I am today and as I share the gospel with those of the Tampico Area, they will really be hearing it through you because it is the love and the principles that have taught me that have made me. I am eternally indebted to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with you and I am eternally indebted to you for what you have done for me.
In short, Mom, I love you so much. You are the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Dad, you're alright too. hahahahaha. No, Dad I will have to get to you another time becuse time's almost up but I love you so much as well, Lauren, Ryan, Alyssa and Extended family and Friends you as well. Thank you all so much for you letters, packages and above all, your prayers. I love and cherish each letter so much and I intend to keep every letter I recieve on my misison. I love you all so much. Know that all is well and I can't wait to hear from you.
Love, #143, #SpecialK and of course #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 18, 2012

iHola Mi Familia y Amigos!

What's up everybody! How's everything out in that big cold world? I'll tell you what, although our outside time is limited in the MTC, it has been a surprisingly warm January, as in no snow (although it's supposed to tonight) and I am comfortable sometimes in no jacket. But how are you guys? I'm glad Ryan's team finally got off that losing streak, keep those updates coming I love those. I heard through the grapevine that Kobe had 40+ in 5 straight games? Thats #swagga. Lauren, I got your Christmas present and I absolutely love it! Everyone here is envious of it! It is so awesome I love it so much, congrats on the Science Quiz Bowl and have an awesome time in Vegas. Can't wait to hear more about Pops and Dancing with the Stars. haha That'll be one for the ages for sure. Dad v. David. #TeamDavid # SorryPops.
This week was seriously so awesome. Since we have virtually the same exact schedule everyday some of the days run together but this week was seriously awesome. Every Sunday and Tuesday there are devotionals that everyone attends. This Sunday's talk was good although I don't remember who gave it. After Sunday devotionals they have like 6 options of previous talks or church movies that you and your companion can attend. This week we went to a talk by Elder Holland that he gave at the MTC a while ago. It was one of the all time greats for sure. One thing he said that I love was, "The reason this work is hard is because Salvation is no cheap gift, not for you and not for those who you teach, YOU HAVE TO EARN IT! It was never easy for the Savior so why should it be for us?" It was a great talk for sure. Tuesday devotionals are always the General Authority speakers. Guess who it was this week dad? Elder Kevin Duncan of the Seventy. I tried to get up to the stand and talk to him after, but he was gone too quick. If you get the chance, tell him I loved his talk. He and his wife both spoke on the changes that occur for missionaries over the course of their service. The thing that hit me during his talk wasn't something he said, it was a thought I had as he spoke. The thought was: People search their entire lives for a cause or a work that they truly love and that they can dedicate themselves to; I am fortunate to have found the ultimate labor of love and joy at a young age and I want to be sure that over these next two years I give 100% of myself to it. It was a great talk.
And it kind of segways right into what I want to share next. This week Hermana Colverwell (one of our 2 teachers) gave a lesson on prayer. She showed a video of a convert who was willing to join the church and give up her friends, image, and past way of life, but she needed to know that the church was true. She prayed to our Father in Heaven to know and got her answer in the affirmative. As I watched it reminded me so much of Alma 22:18 (I think) where King Lamoni's father is praying and says to our Lord, "Manifest thyself to me and I will give away all my sins to know thee" I love that passage. What great faith that displays. She then gave a lesson with roleplay where she was the missionary and she taught an "investigator" how to pray. At that time and for the rest of the night I experienced what was probably the strongest spirit I have ever felt in my life. I felt what I would describe as joy. I dont know exactly what did it, but it was the greatest feeling in the world, Elder Parry and I taught our best lesson yet to an "investigator" that night, it was just a great night. You hear R.M.s all the time talk about how much they loved their missions and how happy they were, and I am convinced that is the feeling. It is joy. It's that feeling when the spirit manifests the truth of something you have taught to an investigator, or when they pray. Joy is incredible, and I'm sure the magnitude of it and how often it occurs will only increase as my mission progresses. Joy is the feeling that we can have for eternity in the presence of our Father in Heaven if we do what is right. Joy is what our Father in Heaven wants us all to have in this life and the next, and as we as missionaries take this message of the restored gospel to all the world, more people can experience it. It is truly a blessing to be on a misison.
Last thing before I go, Miles, Hadley, Colin, Brady, Trevor, Bryce, John, Maka, Bisciut and all my other boys leaving soon: Learn to take advantage of and love the time for personal study you get while on your mission. It is incredible! It may be hard to focus at first but pray for the ability to focus and it will come. One thing I learned this week from it is an awesome quote from M. Russel Ballard's Our Search For Happiness. It reads: "That's the way it is when Jesus Christ becomes a reality in your life. It isn't that He somehow makes you do things that you wouldn't do otherwise. Rather, you find yourself wanting to do what He would do and respond as He would respond in an effort to bring your life into harmony with His. And an interesting thing happens whenever you attempt to place your feet in Christ's footsteps. If you really concentrate on trying to walk the way He walked-- loving, caring,serving, and obeying each step of the way- one day you'll look up and discover that His path has led you directly to the throne of God."

I love you all so much. Thank you all for your letters, love and support. I love each of you and your letters more than you know. Stay Strong, #143 and of course #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 11, 2012


How are you guys? Man I miss you all so much. Its been another great week, and how could it not be? I mean my only worries are choosing the right and serving the Lord, pretty good gig I would say. I had an outline of things I wanted to say but I totally forgot it so this might be scatterbrained but I hope not.
How are things back at the good old casa? I hope all is well and I'm sure it is? How's being back at school for everyone? I hope you all are loving it. Lauren and Alyssa, this is going to have to count as a reply to you guys as well this week, so sorry! How is basketball going for Ryan? Sounds like he played well at Spring Creek.
This week has been really great for me. The days are very long at the MTC, we are jam packed all day every day, even P-day. Usually six hours of class a day, 2 hours of language study, a few of personal and companion study and then a few meal breaks. Not much time to sit around haha. It's great though, the MTC is seriously such a blessing and the devotionals here are unreal. Last night we had Russell M. Nelson who gave an awesome talk all about how we as missionaries in the Latter Days are fulfilling a promise made over 4000 years ago, the Abrahamic Covenant. Pretty cool huh? He is such an inspiring man. In the last 5 months between here and college I have seen 5 of the 15 quorum of the twelve and first presidency members. I am very blessed. Oh and Pops, guess who was on the stand right next to Elder Nelson? Your boy Elder Kevin Duncan! I wanted to go up and talk to them but they were outta there in a flash. Haha.
The Spanish is coming well, it's remarkable how much the Lord blesses his missionaries in language learning because we are moving at warp speed. Elder Parry and I have taught 5 different lessons to "investigators" completely in Spanish. Our Spanish is obviously very rough but we are working hard and improving every day. I love both of our Spanish teachers. Especially Hermano Finely, he is like 4 months off his mission and he's just always happy. He makes me excited to go and serve, seeing the amount of joy each one of these R.M. teachers has is just an undeniable testimony of what a blessing the gospel is not only in our own lives but in the lives of those who we teach. It is the only message on this earth that is truly life changing and life saving, and the more I learn about and grow within it, the more excited I become to have the chance to spread that joy to others. I am so blessed to have Elder Parry as a companion, we get along really well and we are both doing our best to focus on the work. The Lord truly has blessed me to be paired with him at this time, he is a true servant of the Lord and I'm so greatful for the opportunity I have to learn and to grow from him, along with the rest of my District and Zone members.
The MTC is awesome but it isn't always easy, Satan knows what a divine and important work this is and he excersices all his might in order to bring discouragement and disobedience into the MTC. The good thing is though, as we learn in Alma (not sure exactly what verse or chapter) when talking about Captian Moroni, Satan only has the power that we allow him, and that is a message that is very comforting and reassuring. I have been so blessed to have so many people show their love and support to me since I have been here. It means so much to me to have so many people that love and care about me. It truly lifts my spirit and inspires me everytime I read a letter or recieve a package from someone. Momma, you said people wanted package ideas, I would say I need a notebook, letter supplies (stamps and envelopes, already running low haha) and then just surprise me.  Elder Parry and I have both received quite a few packages and we love getting food, when we have a ton we just share it with the other members of our district.
Keep me updated on the sports world. I heard through the grapevine that Tebow had some OT magic verse the Steelers haha but I haven't heard much else. How's the Lake Show doing? And of course at the first sign a Jake Heaps news I better have a letter from all my college boyz and gurlz and Ryan. I love and miss you all so much.
College people, everytime I walk to class I get a good view of campus and think about you all. Know that I see the same mountains and sky as you and that every hour on the hour I hear those same bells telling me all is well. I'm gonna be sending you a Top 10 things I miss about BYU list shortly so watch out and my 1st counselor in the Branch Presidency reminds me so much of Brother Hemingway its weird. But I've got Elder Hooper here now so he's taking good care of me. Its always great to see him.
Had, Miles, and all my other peeps: Miles- Can't wait to hear where you're going, Had- got your letter and got a reply for ya in the mail ;) other home friends I miss you all as well, thanks for all the love and support. Family: Gosh I miss you all so much, I know that the Lord will continue to bless you and know that all is well here in the MTC. G ma, Lisa and Brandon I love you all so much and love getting letters from you. Grams thanks for the package especially the jerky #Keepitcoming. Well that's all she wrote for this week. Much love #143, #GMC$, #SpecialK and of course #JAKEHEAPS.
Love you all, thanks for all the letters, prayers, and support.
Elder Stockard

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January 4, 2012

Hello Fam!

Wow! its been a crazy week that is for sure! I have missed you guys like crazy! I hope break has been awesome and it sounds like New Years was a straight party at the Stockard Casa! I'm glad all my friends are continuing to prove my hypothesis that my brother is so much cooler than me by still kicking it at our house even after I'm gone haha! Well this week has felt so long, but so fast at the same time! Its a wierd phonomena haha. I am loving it though! It is such a blessing to be in the service of the Lord and more specifically at the MTC. Jake ( I guess it's Elder Johnston) is so right, the MTC is what you make of it! I am determined to love it and so far I do; that's not to say its not challenging at times and I miss you all like crazy, but this is where I am supposed to be and I am loving it! Where to begin?  I'll start with my Companion. His name is Elder Mark Parry, he is from Pocotello Idaho and he is acutally the first person I met at BYU haha. Crazy huh? He was in my Y group at orientation and we hung out there, he knew I was expecting a mission call and I knew he was as well, but after orientation we never really saw each other again. Haha so I showed up in my classroom the first day and there he was! And we're comps! So Crazy huh?  He is honestly the best Companion I could have asked for. He is going to Tampico as well. He loves sports, really funny, hard working and easy to get along with. We are blessed to have each other for sure. #Inspired.

Our district has 12 people in it, 4 going to Tampico, 6 going to Monterrey East, and 2 heading to Bolivia. We get along really well and are all helping each other a lot. The other two in our room are also going to Tampico, their names are Elder Grill and Elder Wall (yes we do call him John haha #swagg). Elder Grill is straight hilarious! They are both awesome guys. Elder Parry, another guy from Mesa, and I are the only people in our district not from Utah. There are so many Utah missionaries here. The days are very long days. We are up at 6 am each day and with the exception of 3 meal breaks, we seriously are working the entire time. The first morning actually started much earlier than that for us. Elder Grill and I wanted to beat the rush to the showers so we decided to set our alarms for 5:45. His went off and we husled into the showers, both feeling extremely tired. He got out of the shower first and I entered the room to the sound of Elder Parry yelling "What do you mean its 4 am!" to Elder Grill. Somehow Elder Grill's alarm was set an hour and 40 minutues early so we were up at like 4:30 ready to go hahaha #MTCAmatuers.

Not gonna lie, Thursday was a major adjustment for me, I felt homesick a ton and I was missing my family and friends like crazy. Two things got me through it. The first one was when we got back to the dorms on Thursday night I had 6 letters and 2 packages waiting for me from various family and friends. One package was from my awesome sisters, and the other was from my main man Elder Special K! In his was a new sick tie, tons of food and snacks, $10, and a note that said, "I know how tough the first few days in the MTC can be, so here is something to help out, Love Elder C". I am so grateful for how much I am loved by so many people, and I am so so so grateful for my friends older than me that have set the example and are looking out for me. If I can be half the example of missionary they all are I will be an excellent one.

The second experience happened Thursday night as I was going to bed. I had just read my scriptures and prayed and I was laying in bed feeling homesick and overwhelmed. I missed my family, my friends from home, my college friends, and everything else so much, but then it hit me like a ton of bricks. The thought came into my head and it clearly said, "Get over yourself, you have two years to dedicate to my work, your family and friends will be fine, this is where you are supossed to be" and right there with tears rolling down my cheek I made this commitment: I will be the best misisonary I can be.  I will do as Uncle Brandon and Dad tirelessly counseled me and follow each rule with exactness. I will work like a maniac to not only understand the scriptures and Church Doctrine, but also to master the Spanish language ( which is still a definite work in progress haha) and everytime I feel homesick I will just work even harder. I have two years to devote completely to the Lord and the rest of my life to think about what kind of a job I did at it, and I will not, I cannot think back on my mission and have any regrets. Since that point I have followed Elder Johnston's advice and loved the MTC, and I have forced myself to do so even when it's hard. It is truly a blessing to be here in the Lord's service, at the greatest language learning facility on earth surrounded by teachers, elders, and leaders who love me and want the best for me. I am truly blessed.

I love you all so much and miss you all so much. I pray each night for you and was so excited to hear that Miles' papers are in and Hadley's are almost finished. To the both of you and to all my BYU pre-mish friends know this: The MTC is by no means easy, especially the first three days, but the spirit is here and it is worth it. Work as hard as you can here to learn and to grow, follow each rule with EXACTNESS and the Lord will bless you with whatever you need. Do not slack off in study time, there will be people who do. Don't be one of them. I love you all and have a great week.
Elder Stockard