Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 1, 2012

iQue Tal People!
What is up everybody?!! How's life out in the Big Cold World? I was excited to hear that Ryan started last night! He has now started more Varsity basketball games in his Freshman year than I did in my entire Varsity career!  But how did it go? That's exciting about Lauren's quiz bowl coming up! That will be awesome.  Laur, I know you will tear it up! How's Lys and the rest of the extended fam?  Aunt Christy, Grandma and Grandpa Andros, Grandma Dot, and Momma I got all of your packages this week, thank you all so much for them! Mom, the shoe soles work great, and I realize for the last couple weeks I have been ignoring your question about pictures, accidentally of course, lolz. I will send some home in a letter soon!
I am so excited! Today my boy Aaron Thomas gets here and next week Elder Bisciut gets here (he's my boy from college!)  Brother and Sister Thomas, if you read this, know that your son is about to experience growth and happiness that he couldn't imagine beforehand and that I will be here for this next month to take good care of him and show him around.
Oh and in other news, fun little fact: The last 3 districts going to Mexico have all been delayed due to issues within the country, I think there are 90 VISA waiting missionaries or something waiting for Mexico, so it will be really interesting to see how the whole VISA situation works out. If it doesn't, I could be kickin' it in Boize (Lol Kenna, that's for you) Mesa, or the SLC for a while but we will wait and see.
Last night was an incredible experience. Last night's devotional commemorated the 50th anniversary of the MTC and because of that we were blessed to have quite the program. Jeffrey R. Holland walked in first followed by Russell M. Nelson. Both gave awesome talks and it was so sweet to hear President Brown announce, "Our first speaker will be Elder Holland of the Quorum of the 12, and he will be followed by Elder Nelson, also of the 12."  That made me think, "wow, outside of conference how many people get to hear those two names announced as their speakers for the evening?"  It was so awesome the spirit was incredible. Elder Holland talked a lot about the importance of honoring the office to which we are called and those who have gone before us. It made me think, Mom, what generation of missionary am I? I know the Bennions/Bairds are longggggg time Mormon fams but how many generations before me have served missions? I would be really curious to know. Elder Nelson's talk was awesome as well. He talked a lot on the ripple effect that missionary work has over generations and also on the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion. I have a strong testimony of that as well. To anyone who may read this, know this: The Book of Mormon is UNDOUBTEDLY the word of God to his prophets. If you don't believe it, I challenge you to read it with an open mind, pray, and decide for yourself. There is only one answer you will receive and that is one that will affirm the truth of it to your heart and mind.
One more experience I want to share. This week I met a remarkable Elder. I don't remember his name but he is from Ethiopia. He is going to Portugal (or Brazil, can't remember). He knows 5 languages already. He is an incredibly humble and faithful servant who is so happy to be out on a mission, his happiness and joy radiates from his face. If I had to guess, I would guess that in temporal matters, he may not have been as greatly blessed as most of us. I saw him yesterday in the cafeteria, eating, smiling, just overall very happy, and it made me think about how blessed I have been in my life and also it made me think about perspective. From my perspective, many times I have walked into a cafeteria and complained about the food, or the choices or whatever it may be, but I was complaining about things that I had been blessed with. He walked into the cafeteria and I'm sure was just blown away by the amount of good food and choices he had. He wakes up while at the MTC and looks out the window to see a temple, a house of the Lord only a matter of steps away. Seeing him and his faithfulness and spirit has made me think about how much so many faithful young men give up and sacrifice in order to be apart of this work. It is truly humbling to be a missionary and I am so happy out here. Don't worry about me for even a minute. haha.
I am so grateful for each and every one of you who I am so proud and honored to call my family and friends. I love you all so much. Each of you has blessed my lives in ways you can't even imagine. I miss you all, and I honestly can't describe how happy it makes me to read a letter from any one of you! I cherish your love and support so so so much. I am truly the most blessed Elder in the field because I have been privileged to know and to learn from each of you.
May we all strive to live our lives in accordance with the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this week. The way to do so is simple, keep his commandments and if you do that, His spirit will guide you and show you all things which you should do. But don't take my word for it, check out 2 Nephi 32:5.
I love you all, #StayFly #DoItBig #TeAmo and of course #JakeHeaps
Take care gangstas and don't forget ladies, Valentine's day is just around the corner in the MTC as well ;)
Elder Stockard

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