Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012

Mommmma y Fam:
Ok, sickest thing I've ever heard in my life that you had Elder Rindy and his fam over for dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!! How crazy is that? That's seriously so so so dope. And how crazy that I put something about that in my letter the week before? Haha, but I'm and so super stoked right now to hear that. That is so great that he came over with his fam. Elder Rindy was an awesome trainer and comp. A few weeks back I wrote him a letter so I hope he gets it pretty soon. I'm so happy to hear you guys all had a get together. It was so weird,  first, to see a pic with you two standing with my old comp, second, to see my old comp in a white shirt and tie without a missionary tag and third, to see both our fams together.  Three months ago we only had pictures of our families while we were sitting in a tiny house in the middle of downtown Madero, Mexico.  Haha that's straight sweet.
So this week has hands down been the greatest week of my mission, it is up pretty high in the list of greatest weeks of my life. I'll get rollin on tellin y'all about it.
So this week I'm absolutely convinced that I'm seeing the fruits of obedience and hard work over the first quarter of my mission. In a really miraculous way, we put together 3 baptisms for this coming Saturday, all throughout this last week. Lucia, Hermana Alicia's oldest child, came back from vacation early and we got her all ready this last week to be baptized. Christian, the 19 year old from church last Sunday who asked us what he has to do to be baptized, has progressed super fast and is doing awesome. He will also be baptized this next Saturday. We've been teaching him everyday. He's a super cool guy and yesterday was asking a bunch of questions about serving a mission. As part of creating a strong support system for him within the ward, Elder Castillo and I along with our super dope Ward mission leader launched our own reactivation program for JAS (YSA) aged kids in our ward. We have goals to reactivate 4 in this coming month and we introduced it to the ward counsel this last week and it's going pretty well. Also, Jessica continues to love reading in the Book of Mormon. She has already had her baptismal interview and should be baptized this Saturday as well, but depending on her work, it might be Saturday the 11th as well. Either way this week has been miraculous. Even with all the success, that wasn't the best part.
The best part was that I got a package this Thursday night. It was a small, crudely wrapped package, but what was in it has made me maybe the happiest person on Earth. I opened it, and inside were letters, some pictures, and a baptismal program. The package was from my friend Elder Castro, and it contained letters from the Familia Preza and one from Elder Castro, and pictures of us all together and of their baptism. I looked at the pictures first and I was so happy, literally jumping for joy! All four members of their incredible family dressed in white standing with Elder Castro and President Jordan. I literally couldn't stop smiling. Next, I read the letter from Elder Castro who is without a doubt the greatest missionary in the entire mission. He described how great a service it was and how the whole family has continued to progress. Lastly, I opened up the letter from la Familia Preza. This one brought me to tears. The whole thing was incredibly sweet but the last few lines really got me good. Translating it, they wrote: 'You and Elder Castro are the reason that our family is so incredibly happy living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet. We miss you so much. The Familia Preza Cruz. P.S. We are anxiously awaiting our sealing as a family and hope that you will be at the temple with us in a year.'
As I read those lines, I finally understood what Jacob 5:70-75 was talking about when it says that as we labor we will find great joy in the fruits of our labors. What I felt all that night and since that time has been mainly 3 emotions. First and foremost is joy. I feel so so happy for that family. I feel so happy that they are all members of the only true church upon the face of the planet, protected under priesthood power. I feel so happy that they have a firm testimony of Christ and of the Book of Mormon as another witness of Christ. I felt so happy that they have taken part in a valid baptismal and that they have done so as a family. Second, I felt overcome with gratitude to my Father in Heaven. I know that it is no coincidence that Elder Castro and I found that family on the day we did and in the way we did. I know that God ordered and provided. I feel so grateful that he has afforded me the incredible opportunity to be in his service and to have been an instrument in his hands in providing the truth of the healing and strengthening power of the Atonement to this family. Thirdly, I felt really excited and anxious for this time next year. I know that they have made an excellent choice to be baptized, but the temple is next and they all still need to end up there. That is now the subject of my prayers. I hope that la Familia Preza, Joy and Rachel, Alicia Luis and Lucia, Jessica, Christian and all the other converts can understand and then act in such a way that they will not only be baptized, but that they can end up in the temple a year after. I am so happy for them and I have great faith and confidence that in a year we will all be in Tampico for their sealing as a family.
This week has been incredible. I have grown so much. I have thought a lot on different things that Brandon has told me in letters this last week but one of them has stuck with me more than others. He said, If you love them, you will baptize them. I think that's a pretty good theme to live by. Remember that, If you love them (whoever it is that's them), you will baptize them. I love you all so much. I hope more than anything that I can make you all proud every single day.
All is well in Victoria, the Lord is blessing me and helping me grow in ways I could have never imagined 7 months ago. A mission is worth whatever sacrifice it requires. Whether it's money, time, school, or bad habits, give it up because there are incredible people prepared in every part of this world waiting to hear the gospel.  You will change their lives as you labor diligently and follow the spirit, but more than anything else, they will change your life.
Elder Stockard

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