Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012

Eyy Yo:
Que pasaria si les escribiera in puro espaƱol? Nah jk not gonna do it. I've decided that English is a much better languague to write in. Much easier to flow and really express yourself in English. Haha but another week has gone pretty fast. I can't believe it's already been nine months since I left for the MTC. Time really does just keep cookin, huh? Sounds like everything is pretty much same old good life back at home. Yes I do remember very vividly the back to school cold season. How is the weather back in Fallon? Has it started to cool off yet or not much?  We got a couple cooler days up here one weekend and then it just cranked right back up to burning. From what everyone says here, Elder Hubbard's mish is the place to be for really nice weather all year round. It should start to cool off a little more now that were heading into October, but that's what I thought about September as well, haha. Best of luck to my Boy Costen Colburn! I'm so excited for him, he's going to have incredilbe experiences and he will be an awesome missionary. I hope he lives up every moment because it goes soooooooo fast.
So this week starts a new transfer! I can't believe Elder Garry and I have been together 6 weeks already! I also can't believe that I've been up here in Victoria for three months now.  I still feel like I just got here haha. I'm straight loving it though, not even gonna lie. These last few weeks have been like drop dead busy, to the point where we don't ever have enough time to accomplish everything that we wanna get done. But that's a really good spot to be in because if by chance we have a cita that falls, we've got plenty of back up plans and we don't end up just knocking doors. This last transfer really taught me a lot in organization as well, seeing as we have two wards, it's a pretty big area.  Planning appointments that are close together is super important because if you don't, you end up walking almost as much as you're teaching, so it's been a really good lesson in thinking things through and planning well. Another thing that I've really started to realize more and more, over the whole course of my misison but especially in the last few weeks, is truly the power and authority of our calling as full-time missionaries. This last week we saw experience after experience where we arrived in the exact moment that people needed us, asked some good questions, let them talk and share their problems, and then let the Spirit work through us to help and lift them. It's such an awesome feeling to know that you were where the Lord needed you to be, as his servant, at the exact moment he needed you to be there. It's something bold to say, but legitimately we are the only two people in our our area who are commissioned of Jesus Christ, with his authority, to prepare and help people recieve the ordinance of Salvation, aka Baptism. That's a huge huge task, and it is for that exact reason, for that exact purpose, that we as missionaries must be removed from the world. You couldn't live at home, with your family, friends, and facebook and do what we do in the way the Savior needs it to be done. You must be completely removed from all those things in order to truly honor the call that we have been given. It's a lot to ask but as we do that, the blessings and power that come from honoring that call are incredibly real and tangible. I have had experiences here that are incredible, that I couldn't have done if I hadn't been comissioned of Christ to do so. It's interesting: What makes missionary work hard, aka the separation from the world, is also what makes it possible.
So that's been the biggest thing I've learned this week. I'm so excited for this next change that is coming, I love working with Elder Garry, he is an incredible companion and I'm so happy I have another change with him. I know that the next six weeks are gonna fly by just as fast as the past ones did, and probably even faster. I'm really trying to live up every moment that I possibly can here in Victoria, it's seriously such a great place to serve, I wish you all could see the mountains here. They aren't quite as big as the Utah mountains, but they totally look like someone yanked em fresh out of the Land of Zarahemla. You guys should google earth Colonia Mainero calle 9 y canales in Victoria. It's our chapel, and then turn opposite of the chapel and you will see the super sick mountains that I wake up to every morning.
Well, Victoria is still the Promised Land, don't worry Momma I'm taking lots of pics. I can still say that I miss you all cuz I do, but I really don't think about it all that much. I can legitimatly say I'm to the point where I love the mission. When you work with faith, every day is an adventure. I can honestly say as well that I feel very confident that you guys are going to get me back much better than how you sent me off. Christ truly changes those that allow him to do so. I love you all so much. thanks so much for all your prayers and support. #143 #SpecialK #Jakeheaps
Elder Stockard

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012

Yo so check it! Another sick week up here in Ciudad Victoria. I say that all the time, but it is legitimately the truth! I straight love this place so much.  I would be so content serving the rest of my mish here. Part of this comes from serving with Elder Garry because we get along so well, but a lot of this comes with time and hard work as well, but in these last probably 5 or 6 weeks, I've transitioned from the attitude of, 'I love my mish but I miss my fam and friends and I will be happy when I can see them again,' to the attitude of, 'I love my mish so much and every day is a challenge but it's straight SICK WIT IT everyday up in here.' I seriously love it so much. There are some days where I wake up, pray, think about the plans we have for the day and just can't wait to get out there. It's been pretty cool. I think this also comes as I learn more and more about the eternal laws that govern all happiness that it just so happens that we as humans many times make the choice to ignore. Those laws are the commandments, they don't change and they always bring us happiness, it's a very simple process, the problem is that Satan has dressed up and twisted disobedience to the commandments in such a way that many people have been misled as to what really brings happiness. The good thing is that the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, have that guide for us as to what really brings happiness and our obedience the these principles will always keep us on the path of joy here in this life and eternal life in the next. Pretty good plan I'd say.
So the best thing this week happened with Lorenzo's family, la Familia Villanueva. Their whole family lives together, and when I say whole family, I'm talking like 3 generations, lots of people. Not all of them are members, but all of the sudden a ton of them want to listen to us. We now have 7 investigators in that fam and 5 of them want to be baptized really soon! #Blessing. Two of them have already been to church a lot and are going to be baptized in two weeks and the rest is a work in progress as we are going to have to help get two of them married. This is usually somewhat of an obstacle due to the cost, but not to worry, one of our super awesome member neighbors has the government hook ups and has a way to get it done for free! So that's pretty sick, we should be baptizing an awful lot in these next couple of weeks with all these part member families. Something I've really seen a lot of success with with these less actives is to always start with some questions about how they met the missionaries, their conversion process, and their baptism day. This serves two purposes: 1, It gets them talking about themselves, which everyone wants to do, it gets them telling experiences which they will almost always ending up telling you why they are menos activo, and 2, it gets them remembering, thinking and feeling some of the same spirit that they felt at the time of their conversion. My ability to get people to talk about themselves has been something that has really grown and it's a really great tool in missionary work, not gonna lie. Remember all you future missionaries slash car salesmen, EVERYBODY WANTS TO TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES, and if you let them do it for long enough, you will know what you need to teach, read, say, or do... I promise.
Another super sick part of this last week was that I had my first dia de independencia here in Mexico!!! The stake had this huge fiesta with a focus of getting investigators and menos activos out to it... And we did. There was over 1000 people there, tons of food, games, and Mexican music. We had like 8 investigators there and a ton of less active families. The Elders were allowed to go if we had investigators there and so I got to see the Mexican version of 4th of July. Not quite as good as a good ole patriotic 4th of July with Booner Ray Giles, but still it was fun. Plus one thing is that Mexican people just flat out know how to cook, that's for sure. It was a really fun time though and a successful activity for our investigators and menos activos.
Well, the church is true, it's something I feel every single day in my heart. And even if I didn't, I could just look at their financial records and I think that would be sufficient evidence of the truthfulness of the gospel. Hahah jk, but like for real.
Love you all to death. #DYT #143
Elder Stockard

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012

 Yes, my name is Elder Stockard and yes, I do serve in the best city on Earth.
My neck has gotten a little bit smaller, haha.

Elder Garry and I at Lorenzo's baptism.

Wow, OK so first off, so so so stoked for Elder Travis Woodburn to be serving a mish!!! ¿Hong Kong? That is so, so dope. Elder Garry has been to Hong Kong quite a bit actually. His Grandpa was the Area President there for a long time when he was in the Quorum of the 70 and he loved it! That is so sick! Yo but momma, you totally left me hanging on when he leaves for the mish, haha. So hit me up with that next week. So good to hear from all of you clowns once again. Sounds like everything is going really well back in the US. Yes momma not gonna lie, it does kinda seem like all you guys do is go to Midway and I don't blame you haha. That's all I will be doing for prob the first six months when I get back along with #ElderSpecialK and T Hubbs. We're gonna be living the dream up there at BYU and hopefully making the trip up to Midway quite often. 
So its been another super great week up in Victoria. A few weeks back, President Jordan introduced a plan that Presidente Johnson, the Area Pres of Mexico, had come up with and that a lot of missions have been doing. It's called the Obra de Salvacion and it's a reactivation/find through the members/ baptize like it's hot plan. It's all centered on teaching these part member menos activo familias in the homes of members, in a joint effort between the Ward Counsels and the Missionaries. Basically, we are teaching these familias all of the investigator lessons again from the beginning in a way to really get them excited again and help them remember why they got baptized.
The highlight of this week I would say was that Elder Garry and I set some goals for what we feel we can accomplish in our two wards in these coming months before the end of the year. We really hit it hard (as part of these goals) this week with la Obra de Salvacion as well. We taught the Restoration a TON of times this week and almost all of them were a little bit different but they were all really great spiritual lessons. Elder Garry and I feel that we can increase the average attendance here in Barrio Victoria and Barrio Mainero by 25 people each through convert baptisms and reactivation between now and the end of this calendar year. So this past Tuesday we wrote out some really specific goals of what we wanted to do and how we were going to do it, and then we got our Ward Mission Leader on board with our plan of how to do so this last Tuesday at our meeting.  We presented it at Ward Counsel yesterday. What we want to do is pick 5 familias that are part member or menos activo and start with them, and we want to combine that with a ward effort to give the visits every week until the end of the year. We mapped out a lot of potential families and the auxiliary organizations that they would be involved in and brought all this stuff together to our ward counsels. Then together with the ward counsel we picked 5 that we wanted to start with from this list and are hitting the pavement with it. It was a really great meeting and I feel like were really going to have success with this. The mission is teaching me the importance of goal setting as a way to truly achieve full potential. I really like it and have gotten so much better at it. It also gives you a better mapped out way of how we're going to do things and, when goals are set under the direction of the spirit with righteous intentions, it's a great way to enlist the spirit's help in your life. That's my opinion.
Also, believe it or not, the mission is teaching me the importance of having a plan. This is a struggle for me as Elders Christiansen, Adams, Faught, and I have always been complete fly by the seat of our pants kind of people, but planning really does have it's benefits. My problem is that I've always had a plan, I just don't usually voice it, I just get it done.  Working in a companionship has really taught me to have a good, well-understood, well mapped out plan. That being said, I'm still not perfect, considering that we got assigned to speak in Church this last Wednesday and yesterday I just totally got up and winged it for 15 minutes hahaha. #Classic
I'm not gonna lie, I straight love serving with Elder Garry. He's a super cool Elder and he reminds me a lot of myself when I was with Rindy. I hope I remind him of Rindy cuz that dude is just a total boss, but we are having a super fun time. It's really funny having an American trainee because all the cultural differences that I don't even notice anymore, he totally notices, which in turn makes me notice.
Life is straight good. The work is good, really hard, but good. The comp is good, the food is good, the city is good. I hope all of you are having as good of a time in the US as I am down here in Mexico. I really do mean that. I have really arrived at a point where I straight love the people down here, I love teaching, I love the mish right now. I love you all so much. Shout out to Elder Faught heading down to Chile #DYT. Love you all and I truly do feel your love and support. #143 #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 3, 2012

Mi Querido Familia:
Whats goooooooooooooood??? Yo so another super sick week here in Victioria! Seriously such a good week in such a good area. We had a ton of success this week and some good ups and downs which really make you appreciate the ups, that's for sure.
We taught like 25 lessons this past week, with 11 new investigators and 2 of our recent converts went to the temple in Tampico to do baptisms this last Saturday as well!!! I was so stoked for them. One of them is Christian who is straight on fire right now! He loves working with us, has institute classes almost every night, reads the scriptures daily, is making tons of good LDS friends, and cannot wait to serve a mission. It's been so awesome to see his progress. Other than that for sure the highlight of the week was Lorenzo Villanueva's baptism this Saturday. Lorenzo has been one of my favorite investigators and seeing his change and progress has been absolutely incredible. Lorenzo is a 55 year old man whose wife and grandson joined the Church about two years ago, but shortly after went inactive. We found them through the help of the Obispado and over these past two changes, we first reactivated his wife and Grandson, and since then have been teaching, reading, and trying our best to invite the spirit to work within him and their entire family. We have had some wonderful experiences with their family over the past month and Lorenzo's conversion has been an incredible testimony to me of the power of the Holy Ghost in conversion and also of the Book of Mormon. A month ago, Lorenzo wanted nothing more than to just listen in (he actually only started listening because we insisted on having a man in the room in all the lessons, haha) and nothing more, but the Book of Mormon intrigued him. As he started to read he was engulfed in it; and something incredible happened: the teachings of the Book of Mormon changed him. Well, mejor dicho, the spirit that he felt as he listened to us and read the Book of Mormon changed him. Pretty soon he quit drinking, he hasn't done that in a long while, and he actually did that even before we taught the Word of
Wisdom. One of the defining moments in his conversion was the first time that he came to church. It was Elder Castillo's last day here in Victoria and the whole family came to church. That night we went by to see how they felt and literally, Lorenzo's countenance had changed. He actually looked different. He talked all about how great all the members had been (such a blessing to serve in maybe the friendliest ward on the planet), how much he learned and how he had felt. Lorenzo has become a true student of the scriptures and is learning and growing everyday. It has been an experience that makes me proud to be a missionary.
Yesterday I taught both Priesthood and Gospel Doctrine classes and it was soo fun. I taught Gospel Doctrine on Temples, the importance the reason etc... and it went really well. I have become such a better teacher over the course of my mission, the Lord has really blessed me with that. The key to good teaching I am convinced is in the questions that you ask, and your ability to let your students learn the truths for themselves (as much as possible) instead of just handing them all this info. When people can arrive at knowledge themselves, or self commit to do things, instead of having it given it to them, the information sticks so much better. The key is to ask good questions that help the truths of the gospel really click inside people's heads as they answer logically and let the spirit work inside them. Well, at least that's my opinion, haha.
So sounds like a super sick week for the Stockard fam as well. I love hearing about all the good times up in Midway. I hope you guys will all go skiing or snowboarding up there sometime this winter. Yes, I definitely remember all the good old Kelly reunions up there. One that I remember especially was when right after, Grams, Ry and I took off in the old '03 white accord and drove to California and stayed the night in Beaver Utah. #GoooodTimes. I really can't believe it's been a year since I got my mission call and that Travis will be getting his sooo soon! Really use this time well to prepare Travis cuz the hour is hastening on. Oh and also, I love hearing from Elder Adams, Elder Faught and of course #ElderSpecialK's letters. Haha I read Elder Adam's first letter from when he got to Belgium, apparently he didn't get the memo about how you don't write home about all the crazy things that happen during the week, hahaha. So glad school is going so well and that everyone is having such a great time. I miss you all so much but that doesn't change the fact that Victoria is the Promised Land. #143 #DYT #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard