Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012

Family and Friends:
Well another week here in Lebanon, TN has flown by! The weather here was really good this week! Most days were mid 70s or a few in the low 80s which was super nice! I'm finally sending home a few pics, they should be attached to this email, yes I know they are long overdue. The first one is me with a bunny that belongs to la familia Alduenda in our ward, The second one is Elder Rodenburg, Myself and Elder Hooper (College friends) all together in the MTC. The third one is Elder Holder (My trainer) and I the first day and the last one is the hail from the tornado! Pretty crazy stuff huh?

This week was really good, we had a challenge from President McKee to teach 7, 10 minute restoration lessons to members this week and we accomplished that which was really good! Rojino and Christina did not come to church this week which was too bad, but they are still learning and progressing at least. We just gotta make sure and get them to church! The members feed us almost every night. The Spanish group has about 40ish active members and like I said last week, they are some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. So many strong, humble, faithful people who hopefully soon will be their own branch and not just a group, but they do a really good job of feeding us.  A lot of them have made us some bomb authentic Mexican food which is sooooo so so good! I can't wait to get to Mexico and try some even more real stuff haha.
Also, some nights all four of us Elders here in Lebanon will go to a member meal together which is a lot of fun. The four of us, Elder Holder and myself and then Elder Ferre and Elder Brewer have had a blast living and working together! Elder Brewer has been out the same time as I have and we had an awesome experience this week. So once or twice a week we will do mini splits with the English elders so that we can tract in both languages. Usually I will go with Elder Ferre who has been out over a year and Elder Brewer will go with Elder Holder, but this time they sent Elder Brewer and I together. We decided to go tract a trailer park for the hourish that we had before we had to meet back up. The first door that we knocked on was an English speaking house that greeted us and let us in. Come to find out, they are members who have been less active but wanted to come back to church and didn't know where the building was. We were able to teach them a lesson and instruct them as to where the building is. Then as we were leaving we stopped and talked to some kids who were playing in the street and gave them some pass along cards. As we were doing this, a lady pulled up next to us and said hi to us. We said hi and didn't think much of it, but as we were leaving the park to go meet up with the other elders she pulled up next to us and said, "Can I have one of your books?" A little taken aback we immediately both excitedly said YES! We talked to her for a while, her name is Tamoya, she has a daughter and lots of family that lives in Lebanon. In the last little while she has had two deaths in her family and wants more than anything in the world to raise her daughter right she said. It was such a blessing to be in the right place at the right time because she is very prepared to hear our message. The English elders are going to go back this week and hopefully teach not only her, but also her family.
The work isn't always that easy or miraculous, it can be really hard when you have lessons scheduled with investigators and they fall through, or just when you have days when nothing seems to work, but you just stay positive, don't get discouraged and trust in the Lord. This is His work and He will provide. That is the best part about being a missionary: I know that the Lord will provide.
Momma I'm so glad to hear about all the good missionary work that is going on at home. It is amazing to see the change come about in people because of the power of the Holy Ghost. There is nothing like it, the joy and happiness that can come by living your life by the teachings of Jesus Christ is unsurpassed! I know this to be true I have seen it in people out here already. I have also seen just how good Satan is at counterfeiting that happiness with things of this world. We must ever remain vigilent so that Satan cannot fool us with his counterfeit means of finding pleasure.
So what else is new at home? The trip to Virginia is going to be so fun! Can you believe that in the time that has elapsed since our last Virginia trip I would have been able to go on my mission and I would have already been home for over a year! Crazy huh? It doesn't seem that long ago. New York City will be super cool as well. I heard from a member that BYU lost in the NCAA tournament, but it's crazy to think that March Madness is going right now! I'm glad to hear that Ryan has been shooting and playing ball and that Dad has been going to the gym! Was DWTS this weekend?
Well, I had better head out but I love you all so much.  Thank you all so much for your love, support, and prayers! They mean so much to me. Always remember the power of prayer.
Love you all so much,
Elder Stockard

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