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

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