Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1, 2012

What's Good Fam?
So here we are after another week. It's been another really good week down here in Tampico! Sounds like all you back in the USA can say the same thing. I'm glad to hear that Ryan wasn't too hurt. Undercut going up for a dunk? When was someone gonna break the news to me that Ryan even had the ability to attempt the said dunk? Hahaha, at least that's a cool story to be able to say, 'Ya, I got hurt going up to dunk on somebody.'
Ok Momma, to answer your questions, Elder Mesa has been in the offices longer than I have. This is his 3rd transfer in the offices. There are 6 office Elders, 4 Secretaries and 2 Assistants. One companionship is an older couple named Elder y Hermana Garcia. They are the materials secretary and the secretary of records. The other two are a normal companionship of young Elders who are the financial secretary and the secretary to the president. Their names are Elder Leavitt and Elder Griggs and they are really cool guys. We don't live together but we see them a ton. Elder Mesa and I are the only ones in our apartment but we have a ton of extra beds and when new Elders get here or old ones leave they always stay with us. Also when there are trainings and Elders need to come in from outside the Tampico area they always stay with us. It's fun to have people stay with us but it always results in even less time to sleep, haha.
Elder Leavitt and Elder Griggs have a ward as well as Elder Mesa and me. Our ward is Barrio Central in Estaca Madero. It's not the biggest ward in the world but they have really supported us. For example, when we have to go out of town for trainings or when we can't make all our visits, they have really helped us out a ton with visiting our investigators and the less actives that we are working with. Also, we haven't had a single lesson this whole transfer in which a member didn't come with us. It's all part of the doctrine of the keys of missionary work from the Stake and from the Mission working together. It has really helped us so much to have members participate in our lessons. It builds a relationship between investigator and member that lasts and strengthens as the investigator becomes a new convert and so on. It is how missionary work should be done all around the world because it is the only way that huge numbers of baptisms and confirmations become real growth and these people stay active and fill all of the requirements to achieve salvation.
Elder Mesa and I are usually doing some sort of office or other mission task until about 2 o clock in the afternoon and then we usually have all the afternoon to work in our area. As for our area right now, things are really clicking, not gonna lie. We have found some incredibly prepared people and they are really starting to learn and live the doctrine of Christ and the commandments. We have 5 baptismal dates right now, 4 are the Familia Cruz and then also Lorenzo.  I think I already told you about him. All five are progressing really well. Lorenzo is reading the Book of Mormon like a wild child, understanding it well, and he hasn't had a drink in almost a month!! We have really been focusing on and teaching him the doctrine of always staying vigilant and not letting his guard down so that he can always stay protected from temptation. La Familia Cruz is progressing super well too, last night we taught them the Word of Wisdom and committed them to quit drinking coffee. The dad, Pascual and the oldest son Christian also smoke, so the focus right now is really helping them build their faith sufficiently so they can quit those habits. We have been visiting them almost daily, making sure that they are progressing and staying away from those vices. Teaching families is seriously the greatest part of the mission. There is nothing like it, one of the key points of the Lesson on the Restoration is that the Gospel blesses families and it is so true. The Gospel is designed to be taught to, accepted by, and lived within the family. There is really an added spirit as well when missionaries find, and teach, and eventually baptize families. Speaking of which, last night Elder Mesa and I were crossing the parking lot of our Stake Center and guess who I saw? LA FAMLIA PREZA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so stoked to see them and to talk to them! The greatest part is that Fransisco, the dad, now has the Melchizedek priesthood and is the Young Men's President, Jose the son has read the Book of Mormon all the way through, and Gloria the mom is in the Primary Presidency!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The whole family is progressing well and enduring to the end! I love that family so so much and it was so good to see all of them.
I have really enjoyed my time here in the offices so far. I'm really glad that I'm here right now instead of right at the end of my mission though. It is a great experience because it is really different than what I usually think of as missionary work, I have learned a lot and I continue to learn more here every single day.
This last week I took a little time to think about how blessed I have been in my life by the example of my family. But not only my immediate family, also my extended family. I was also thinking a lot this past week about how blessed I was to grow up with the Bird family living right down the street from me. Lisa and Brandon have been such good examples to me and I have always had such a special connection with both of them. I loved being able to just show up at their house from time to time and talk to Lisa or Brandon just about anything. Lisa, thank you so much for being such an example of hard work and diligence in you work, family, and in the gospel. Brandon you're alright too, haha. No, I really love the Bird family and I miss them a lot, I know we will have some great Sunday dinners in the future just kickin' it like old times.
Well that's about it from down here in Tampico. I love you all lots. Congrats to all my boys getting their mission calls, I'm jealous that you have a full two years ahead of you to go and serve while my time is now only about half that. Every day as a missionary is truly a privilege. I promise you Momma and Pops, that you will not be receiving that same little boy you sent out on a mission when I get back. I am 250% better of a person now than I was then and I know that progress will continue as I rely on the Lord. I love you all lots and pray for you daily.
#143 #GMC$ #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

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