Monday, May 28, 2012

May 27, 2012

What's crackin this week in the USA? Haha, I hope all is well, it sure sounds like it is. Man, every Monday when I come and sit down in this little cyberg in downtown Madero, Mexico I just can't believe that another week has flown by and I'm here again. Also, every week at this time I am also reminded of how much I truly love each and every one of you. But before I get into how this week went, I wanna tell y'all (yeah I still got some Tennesse in me, lolzz) a little something about my best friend Miles Adams. I don't know if he will read this or not but I've been thinking about him a tonnnn in the last few days as he gets ready to hit the MTC. I can't believe it's been so long since me and that dude were kicking it in our 3rd grade Northside classroom. I am so so proud and blessed to have a friend like him. He is going to be an incredible missionary, and a true servant of the Lord. I have always admired the way the he has always stood for and done what is right. He has a way of doing so that is not boastful and he is a true leader. He is going to do incredible things for the people of Paris, France. Miles, best of luck brother #143.
I love reading your letters every single week and hearing how well everyone is doing back in Fallon. It's such a blessing to know that all is well back at home and to hear about how awesome everyone is doing; all learning, growing and progressing. haha, Hearing the wasabi story is hilarious about Ryan, Hadley and Stu. It reminds me so much of some of our classic trips to the Wok with all my Boyz. Speaking of which, I hope Elder Special K is doing well. I sent him a letter right before I left TN and haven't heard from him since. Someone should (through Shelly) give him my address here.
So a little health update on me that I forgot from last week. Elder Rindy and I went to the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor last week because I was having problems hearing. Turns out I had a ton of ear wax up against my ear drum that we were able to see on a TV screen (so dope, I know) all from using Q-tips to try and clean my ears. Apparently that is really bad, haha. But he cleaned them out really well and it was dope to watch on the TV. Maybe more interesting (and a lot less gross) than that is that I am now weighing in at a whooping 167 lbs.... If I remember correctly the last time I weighed this much I was a freshman in high school. Hahaha. I have dropped a ton of weight. I also have some ridiculous tan lines at my neck and my forearms. The heat is super heavy but it's a ton of fun haha.
So Elder Castro and I have had a straight sick week! We have truly seen miracles. He doesn't have much experience in the mission and neither do I, but I am so blessed because he is such a good missionary and we are working crazy hard! Elder Rindlisbacher and I were able to really lay a good foundation for this transfer here in Francia the past six weeks because of the reactivation efforts and now Elder Castro and I are working to really expand our pool of investigators. The best way to do so is through the members and we have some really awesome ones, but most of our time has been spent contacting trying to find people. Last Wednesday, Elder Castro and I were planning and we prayed to know where to go and who to contact. We both felt good about the same area and prayed again to be able to find two people ready to hear and accept the gospel. Well, the next day we went up to the area and started contacting. After we knocked the first door of that street, we heard someone calling to us. Two men were standing out in front of a house calling to us. They wanted to know who we were and what church we represented. They wanted to talk to us about our beliefs and so they invited us in. It was a man and his son, both named Roberto and the father's wife Irma. We couldn't believe it! Within 3 minutes of tracting, two people had invited us in. It turns out that all of their family has quite a bit of interest. We taught him the Restoration and invited him to an activity we were in charge of for our ward this last Saturday. This led to another miracle when they all gladly accepted and said they would also bring other friends. Well, Saturday night came... and we ended up with 50 or 60 people at our activity at the Church, 13 of which were non-member investigators, and another 7 were less actives! Elder Castro and I were able to give a tour of our Church building and teach an awesome lesson on Lehi's Tree of Life Vision and ways that we can all hold to the rod! It was such a blessing.
As for Merced and Yedid, they were not at church and we are going to move their baptism back probably a week so that they can really be prepared, but they are still on the right track. It was a really awesome week here in Madero. As to answer Shelly's question, we only cover Barrio Francia, but I would love to know what ward Hub's comp is from. There are two stakes in Madero but I would love to know. It was an awesome week and I love you all so much. I hope that all is well back at home. I love each letter I receive. I feel bad because I haven't written responses very regularly, but I love you all so much. Have a great week and in all things give thanks. #143 #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012

Mi Familia,

What is up? Man, sure sounds like it was a super busy week in Fallon! That's awesome, it sounds like everyone is doing so well.
I am happy to say that I finally did receive an enormous stack of mail from various family and friends! That was awesome!  It was so great to hear from all of you. You were right Mom, Brandon's letters were absolutely hilarious and I learned a ton from them! I'll talk about that in just a minute. But thank you so much everyone for your letters and support, I love you all so so much.
So awesome to hear that Had went through the temple! That's awesome, I'm stoked for him. I can't believe that next week Miles hits the MTC! I bet he's super ready to leave haha, that dead period waiting time would be super tough I bet.  Sounds like an awesome week!
Today is the first day of my second exchange here in Tampico. Elder Rindlisbacher goes home this week and so I knew that I would be staying here in Francia and receiving a new Latino companion. Today I got my new companion. His name is Elder Castro, he is from Honduras and he got to Mexico only one exchange before I did! We are both super young mission wise and President Call said he's never put two missionaries so young together before. But everyone has told me what an awesome missionary he is and he really seems like he is! We're both really excited to start working together. I am also sad to be splitting up from Elder Rindlisbacher, he is such an awesome missionary and example and we will be friends for the rest of our lives. But we have had a lot of success in this week and Elder Rindlisbacher and I were really teaching well together. We found a new family that we're teaching named la familia Sosa Cervantes. They are super cool, they have 3 kids ages 13, 10 and 8. The two oldest are boys and they are like super interested in learning about the gospel! We have been teaching them and they are reading and progressing well. They weren't at church yesterday though so we will have to work on that for this week, haha. Merced and Yedid are progressing well and have a baptismal date set for June 9th so Elder Castro and I will be working towards that which is exciting!
But this week I have learned a ton from reading Brandon's letters that I got. He talked in one about helping investigators learn to recognize the spirit by asking them to describe how they feel both before and right at the end of the lesson. When they feel better at the end of the lesson he talked about teaching them the fruits of the spirit and helping them recognize that the reason for the difference is that the spirit is in the room. This is something that we did all week and it worked so well. It was awesome and it helped me recognize the spirit in the lessons better as well. It was great advice!
I miss you all but everything is great in Madero! Thanks so much for all the letters, prayers, love and support.
Elder Stockard

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012

Ok, so talking to you guys yesterday was soooooo much fun! Like seriously it was for sure a highlight haha. It amazes me how everything is so much the same with us even though it has been nearly 5 months and I am currently in a different country. Everyone sounds so good. What a blessing it is to have a family (and I include extended and friends in that group) that is such a source of strength, support, encouragement and love.
That is another thing I have learned since I have been down here is the fact that not everyone has that same system of support that I do, and every day I become more cognitively aware of the fact that I am the person that I am today because of three things:  the gospel of Jesus Christ, my family, and my friends. I sometimes wish that I could take credit for being who I am, but I truly can't.  The examples I have had in my life; beginning primarily with the Savior and then my parents, have truly shaped me into the person I am today. Each and every day I truly strive to live and work in such a way that each one of you would be proud. You have all done so much for me that I feel that doing anything less than making you 100% proud would constitute at least partial failure. I love you all so much.
Another thing that I am continually learning here on my mission is the value of tribulations and trials in our life. I have come to love the beginning part of Romans 5 where Paul says that he glories in tribulations because he knows that tribulation worketh patience. This is a lesson that I continue to learn every single day because by no means is missionary work easy.  If it were easy, I would feel a little shorted on the experience because you can truly learn so much more through trials and tribulations. We are all here in this life to learn, grow and progress. Many times the only way to obtain true progression and change for the better in this life is by learning through tribulations. Let us all try and remember this fact as we all will undoubtedly experience trials and tribulations in the coming days, weeks, months etc... Rely on God, be patient, and find ways that we can learn through tribulation.
One last thing, so yesterday for our third hour of church they did a presentation on EFY, which will be in the Tampico area for the first time ever. It made me think back to my EFY years with all my boys. I'm thinking that sometime in the coming summers that I'm gonna wanna be living in Midway and counseling at EFY if I can get some dudes on board with me haha. Nah, we will see. Also where is my boy Scotty Hutchings gonna be going on his mish? I love you all and know that all is well. I loved all the pics you sent momma thanks so much.
Elder Stockard
 Elder Stockard in Fort Worth, Texas.  April 3, 2012

 Elder Stockard and his trainer, Elder Rindlisbacher in Tampico.  April 8, 2012

Elder Stockard with a turtle at a member's house in Madero, Mexico.  April 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012

Wow, another one in the books and you guys are so right, time is really flying. I thought about that too this week how Mitch, Mason, Kev, and Hub have been out a year already! That is straight insane I remember them leaving like it was yesterday. I'm trying now to start a letter correspondence with my boyz Elders Hubbard and Johnston down here now that we can mail more frequently within the same country haha.

But this week was good, not gonna lie, it was tough, but nobody ever has said that a mission is easy and we were really blessed still.  The tough part is here in Mexico is you contact people in the street a lot and you try and get return appointments when you can go to their houses. It's tough when these people aren't at their house or tell you to come back later. Needless to say, we had a lot of appointments fall this week, but this ended up working out in the end because it gave us time to go and do visits with some less active members and part member families. Ernestina had a little trouble this week and wasn't at church, and at the last minute, Gaudalupe couldn't go either.  But the highlight of the week is last Monday night, we found a golden family. Their names are Merced and Yedid (Merced's the guy) and they have a little two year-old daughter. They are sooooooooooooooooo prepared. They read 10 chapters in the BofM in between our first and second lessons with them and they are so awesome. Yedid has read the Bible all the way through twice and has really liked the way the B of M clarifies the Bible. They were at Church this week along with 70 something others! This was a miracle considering that three very active families were out of town and we still have some less actives that we can get to church. We can very easily have 100 plus people in this ward that just a few weeks ago had only 30 or 40 people attending. There are so many awesome people down here in this ward that I seriously love! Some super sick families and the people love missionaries a lot.

Elder Rindlisbacher and I have had such a fun time this transfer. He is seriously such an awesome comp and friend and example. We have a blast every single day.

It sounds like everything is all good back in Fallon. I'm so excited for Miles and Hadley to enter the MTC, they are going to be really happy to see each other in there haha. Just remember, the mission is incredible and so is the MTC, but it won't be easy.  I love you all so much and love hearing from all of you so so much. Press forward and rely on the Lord, have faith, obey the commandments, and then watch miracles happen. Always believe in miracles. Always.

Elder Stockard