Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27, 2012

¡Ey Que Onda! Whats up errbody?  Yeah, Momma it really is crazy the difference a year makes. Now all those teenagers that were always at our house are or will be sharing the gospel on almost every continent. I've been thinking a little about that and I seriously can't believe that it's been a year since I started school at BYU. That seems like yesterday. You guys are all starting up school and in a ton of different parts as well. BYU, CCSD, The Charter School, etc... but I'm super excited for you all, the start of school is always pretty fun, especially for Ryan I'm sure who will be driving to school haha.
Our week down in Victoria was a ton of fun. One thing I've found out about my missionary style is that I'm here to find the people that are prepared to hear the gospel. If we are teaching someone and they aren't showing forth a lot of interest, I'm not gonna keep coming back to them, it's not their time and if they're not going to keep commitments and progress, they're wasting our very valuable and short time. This is good, but sometimes it means that we have a few days or weeks where our investigator pool isn't huge, haha. This happened last week at the beginning of the week so Elder Garry and I had some good solid bonding time while contacting in the sweltering midday Mexico sun, haha. President has put a big emphasis on improving the way we contact and find people and I'm all for that. Contacting is incredibly ineffective, but sometimes it's necessary if there's not another option available at that hour of the day, so Elder Garry and I have been putting a big emphasis on contacting looking for specific people or houses, etc. What we've been doing is praying very specifically during our nightly planning, asking for specifics in where and how and when we're going to find these specific golden investigators, and then going and looking for them. One time this week we found exactly who we were looking for and they accepted us! It was a super cool experience and we're going to see what happens with him. It's also been kind of good because at the beginning of the week Elder Garry was getting lots of good practice with his Spanish and contacting people and talking to them in the streets. Man, after serving a mission, I'm very convinced that I will never have an awkward date because I have so much practice with talking to random people about nothing, hahaha. For example, when I door contact, usually I just pick the first thing I see and start talking with the people about it till I can make a joke, they laugh, and then if it's a sincere laugh, I have 2 minutes, if it's fake I have 30 seconds. Haha. Just a note from how we contact down here.
We found, taught, and had a new part member familia at church today.  They are pretty great. The dad and the daughter that is 13 are not members, but the mom, 23 year old brother and 17 year old daughter are. The mom has a really strong testimony and they came to church, which was stake conference yesterday. The familia Villanueva is still on to be baptized this Saturday and have already had their interview which was sick. Christian esta con ganas. I don't know how to say that in English but he's super on fire with the church and everything right now. He has taught with us and is reading everyday in the BofM. He's also going to three institute classes and has some sick friends that are all members. At first his fam didn't like that he got baptized, but they have all seen huge blessings and changes since he did and we're hoping to maybe start teaching them all real soon.
At stake conference yesterday, I heard something really cool. Estaca Victoria has had 200 convert baptisms in the last year! That is a ton. Also, President Jordan has this really good retention program that we are doing where we have two 20-minute lessons every week with our recent converts and we do this for 20 weeks. In these lessons we review, reteach, or even better, have them teach us, one point from one of the investigator lessons until we have covered them all. I really think this will be killer for retention.
Elder Garry is a super cool Elder. I really like him a lot and we know a ton of the same people. He knows a ton of my friends from school like Maeser and all the Mesa kids. He's a super cool guy from a super strong fam and I really like him a lot.
Well that's what good in our hood for this week. I love you all so much and miss you tons. Thanks for all your love and support and especially your prayers.
#143 #GMC$
Elder Stockard

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 20, 2012

Yo, so crazy dope week! Lots of time on a bus, baptizing, teaching, finding, teaching, and eating super good Mexican food as always. So it started out with heading to Tampico last Tuesday. That was super, super fun, four of us from Zona Victoria headed up to Tampico to pick up our new comps. I was so stoked for this generation of new Elders because they got some super sick trainers not gonna lie. Every single missionary there at the trainers meeting is a super good missionary and it was fun to see all of them. When we got to the mission home Tuesday, there were 12 new missionaries. 8 were Americans and I was pretty sure I wouldn't get any of them as my comp, 3 from South America and 1 from Mexico. Well my comp's name is..... Elder Garry, an American from Mesa, Arizona, who one night was taking photos with Elder Faught in the MTC and the next was snappin photos with another member of GMC$ down in Tampico, Mexico! How sick is that?! He's a super cool Elder.  We know a bunch of the same people because he went to BYU too.  So yeah, I was pretty much blown away by that, President Call very rarely gave Americans to American Trainers, but here we are together. Haha. His Spanish isn't too bad, but there's still a lot to learn, so the goal is that we're really trying not to speak a lot of English and so far we've done a pretty good job with it. I'm really focusing on giving him lots of opportunities to teach and contact and learn by trial and error because really that's the only way you learn a lot of times is by personal experience. That was something that Elder Rindy gave me was a ton of chances to contact people in the streets which really helped my Spanish improve quickly, so we're doing a lot of that down here as well.
So I was super happy that Jessica's baptism was this last Saturday because how sick is it to arrive in your first area in the mission and have your comp tell you that you guys have a baptism this coming Saturday and that you're going to do the ordinance?! So yeah, Jessica's baptism was this last Saturday and Elder Garry did the baptizing which was super sweet! He did a great job, he was a little worried about the words in Spanish but he did perfect. It was such an awesome service, her husband came with their little daughter, and Christian, one of our other recent converts, spoke and gave the story of his conversion which was super, super powerful. He is preparing to serve a mission, going to receive Melchezidek priesthood soon, and we made plans for him to go on the ward temple trip to Tampico in two weeks!
We also found of ton of new investigators this week that are super close to baptism already! There's a man named Teodocio in Barrio Mainero that was baptized not too long ago and we found him, taught his wife and his two kids, and they ALL came to church this past week! It was super sick, also the familia Villanueva is progressing well and will be baptized the 1st of September. I've been really happy that Elder Garry is experiencing some good success in his first area because that wasn't really a luxury that Elder Rindy and Elder Castro and I had in Francia for like 9 of my 12 weeks there haha. But it's been a super fun week, Elder Garry is getting used to Mexico pretty well, he hasn't gotten sick yet which is a plus.
I'm super stoked, tomorrow is Zone Conference so Pres and Hna Jordan are heading up to Victoria. I really like President Jordan, we get along super well and he reminds me a ton of Dad. There are a ton of similarities haha. But he's a super funny guy and I'm sure zone conference will be sweet. Our goal as a zone is even higher this change than the last one. It was 53 last change and 57 this change. I'm super stoked, Victoria seriously is so sweet and truly is exploding right now.
It's still blazing hot here, but everyone tells me that in September it will start to cool off a little bit, that will be nice. This last week has been kinda weird because for the first time is my mission, my Spanish is better than my companion's haha. But it's been really good; I would say I feel 100% fluent, I don't have any real problems communicating and I can finally get some of the jokes the first time haha. The Lord has really blessed me with the language.
Ok, so I need my home girls Logan and Baylee's address up at BYU so if you will hit me with that this next week I would love that.
I love you all so much. Have an awesome time going back to school everyone. I wanted to send a ton of pics this week cuz I have some sweet ones, but my computer won't let me in the Internet Cafe I'm in HASHTAGhomeless. I hope all is well. I miss you all, but Victoria is the place to be at. Thank you all for your prayers, love and support, I really do feel them often.
Elder Stockard

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012

Yo so crazy sick, kinda weird week this week here in Victoria! This was the last week of the Transfer and as a zone we had a super high goal of 53 baptisms here. Our Zone is 22 Elders and that goal was the highest the mission has ever had as a Zone! Our goal as a companionship was 4. Well, as a zone we ended with 50, and as a companionship we ended with 3! Jessica, who is a teacher in a small pueblo wasn't in town this weekend but her baptism is all planned and scheduled for this Saturday. We also have a part member family, la familia Villanueva, that will be all members in two Saturdays. All in all, Barrio Mainero is in super good shape going into the next change with 3 pretty solid baptismal dates for the first two weeks of the next Transfer which is exciting. But let me back it up for y'all a few days first.
So week 6 of the Transfer is like the week leading up to Christmas, but it happens every 6 weeks. You never know what's going to happen and President Call really liked keeping people on their toes so he never told anyone until the Sunday night before. But this Thursday, I got a call saying that I would be going to Tampico Friday morning for a training without my companion. So I went to Tampico, me and 3 other Elders from Victoria, had a bomb breakfast at the mission home, and had a training. Turns out that I'm going to be training again!!! I'm super stoked, my nuevo is going to probably be from South America, but tomorrow I head to Tampico and we will have a meeting, the 11 trainers and the 11 nuevos and I'll find out who is my new comp. I'm super stoked to be training again, I learned so much from doing so with Elder Castillo (who is going to Ciudad Mante). Also, I'll get to meet all the kids from Elder Faught's zone in the MTC which I'm super stoked for. I'll have some stories to tell them about Elder Faught haha. But it should be an awesome experience to train again. Mom, Elder Parry was serving in Victoria as well until yesterday so we would see each other pretty regularly at zone meetings and stuff.
Other than that, Mainero is pretty sweet, still incredibly hot, but pretty sick. I feel really good that we're going to be baptizing like it's hot this next transfer, I feel pretty good about the investigators we have and how they are progressing. Yesterday really built my testimony of the importance of attending church in the conversion process. La Familia Villanueva came to church, and later last night we went by and taught them. Both the parents just appeared almost physically different. They told us how great of an experience they had and how nice all the members were, how great the classes were, and how well the teachers explained everything. The spirit was super strong. Moral of the story: Never underestimate the power that feeling the Holy Ghost in rich abundance has to change the attitudes of those who are prepared to hear the gospel.
So right now I'm gearing up for another 8 hours and a crowded hot bus tomorrow from Victoria to Tampico and back. But all and all I'm super excited. I'm excited for this generation of new elders, they are gonna have some sick Elders for their trainers, there are some really good Elders who know how to baptize that are training.
Lauren, I'm so so so excited for you to go to BYU, it's going to be such an incredible experience for you. I loved every minute of it and made friends that I love to death (Even though I haven't heard from them since the MTC hahaha hashtagouch). Study hard, play even harder, and live it up on the weekends in Midway. You are going to love it so much. Log and Baylee are gonna love it too (Logan I hope is already loving it).
That's about it from South of the Border. I love you all so much and constantly feel and rely on the strength of all of you wonderful examples. I'm so blessed to know each of you and love you to death
Elder Stockard

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6, 2012

Que Onda! Man, from all the letters and everything it sounds like Midway is the place to be. I got a letter from Grandma the other day that says how great it is up there too! That place has just got it all. HAHA so funny to hear about Ryan's drivers test, well funny to everyone but him I bet. It reminds me so much of my boy Charlie Heck when he failed his drivers test for running a stop sign haha. That was a good story for sure.
Thanks for telling me about Scotty's letter he wrote me, I can't wait to read it! I love that dude to death and I'm so glad he's getting ready to go on a mish. He will be awesome as a missionary because he has always been so good at connecting with people and talking to people. He will be super dynamite in lessons which is like a huge skill as a missionary. How is it possible that Hadley already has a month in the mish? Haha I swear he entered the MTC yesterday and Miles too. Miles is like half way around the world now. I love that dad sends me their letters and #SpecialKs. #Respect #143GMC$.  It's so awesome to hear how they are all doing. I think a bunch of my college friends are in the MTC right now with Had but I'm not exactly sure. I'm for sure gonna be looking out for Elder Garry and Elder Ringer down here in Tampico. This week I met Elder Riley from Reno. He went to McQueen and we know a ton of the same people. Ask Lalo if he knows them because he knows a ton of the Otuafis.
This week was straight dope once again here in Victoria. We had two baptims, Christian, who has a ton of member friends and has been attending in a different ward for a long time. We have had a ton of member support in his lessons and we have been able to teach with and reactivate a friend of his named Brigido in our ward which has been awesome. Both of them are straight on fire right now and Christian's conversion process has been really awesome to be a part of. He has loved reading in the Book of Mormon and has grown so much. Also, the last daughter of Hermana Alicia was baptized this saturday, Lucia. Their family is one of my favorites. They have grown a ton. This Sunday was really awesome to watch Luis, Alicia's son that we baptized, as he passed the Sacrament for the first time. Lucia and Christian were confirmed. A bunch of menos activos, including a family of 7 whose son we are working to help prepare to serve a mission, were all in Church. A recent convert blessed the sacrament.
 As I watched all of this awesome progress unfold, I just couldn't help but feel incredibly grateful for all of the crazy ways we have been blessed in my time here in Mainero. This area is seriously awesome. Some wards aren't crazy supportive, but Mainero really is. We had almost 40 people at Lucia's baptism and they had a ton of food afterwards and everyone had a great time. We have a crazy sweet ward mission leader, Hermano Giovanny who is an awesome member, he supports us like crazy and teaches with us and works with us.  Now his nephew, who isn't a member, is living with them and we're going to teach him. Also, we live next door to the 1 counselor in the Stake Presidency and the Stake Geneology coordinator and they always take good care of us. They love giving us food when we get home in the nights. #TMS. Mainero is seriously like a dream area. We have worked crazy hard, had great support from the members and seen good results. Everything really does depend on obedience. It's not always easy, sometimes you've got to do it alone, but it's a simple principle that as we learn and apply it, we are more happy and qualify for more blessings. The Book of Mormon says countless times, "Keep the comandments and you will prosper in the land." This is truly a simple and true principle that I have learned in the misison. The reason is this: Like D&C 130:20-21 says, There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven on which all blessings are predicated. That law is obedience. As we obey, we qualify for blessings. This is something marvalously simple that is taught over and over throughout the entire BofM. Its a true principle. If we obey, we qualify for the spirit, if we qualify for the spirit we will baptize. It's a question Uncle Brandon posed to me in a letter when I was in Tennesse and that's my answer haha.
I love you all so much. We should have Jessica's baptism this Saturday and maybe one more. The Church is true, Mexico is the Promised Land (Just ask my boys Elder Johnston and Elder Hubbard) and I have the greatest group of family and friends on Earth. You guys mean the world to me and I hope I can make you all proud. #143 #JakeHeaps #DYT
Elder Stockard