Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29, 2012

Que dicen todos? Long time no talk that's fo sho. Haha so yeah the Christmas day skype call was off the chain, it was so good to see you all. It seriously seems so much like I just left the house yesterday and now it's one year later. I'm still not totally sure how it's possible that I've now got a year under my belt. This last year was probably the most fulfilling of my life. I have grown and changed so much in so many aspects of my life. I have seen time and time again that the grace of Jesus Christ is a very real power that works in each of us according to the level that we allow it to. More than ever before in my life I have done things that I didn't think I was capable of doing. You are 100% right Momma, December 28th, 2011 will always be a very special day in my life because it really did signify the beginning of a change. The beginning of a HUGE change. That was the day that I put on that missionary name badge and began to represent the Savior full-time. That was the day that I began to stop being such a prideful, self centered, worldly-praise seeking, natural man. That was the day that I started to set the course for the rest of my life. In my memory, it is a really important day, very memorable, but I think that honestly the more important day for change honestly took place the day after. I think I wrote about that second day in my first ever letter home. It was in that second day that I was very distracted. I missed home, I missed the fam, I missed all my friends, both from home and from college, I missed my old life, etc... I started out that first full day as a missionary thinking a ton about all of those things, I was busy feeling sorry for myself and I was super distracted for most of the day. Finally, that night as I was studying the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, probably my most life-changing revelation hit me. I was on the mission to share the gospel and receive blessings; we learn from the scriptures that ALL blessings are predicated upon our obedience to the laws of God. At that moment, everything about me started to change. I hit me as clear as day: I wasn't going to go home early from my mission and thus I had two choices: I could love every minute of my mission, work crazy hard, change myself for the better, obey every rule with exactness, and be blessed for the rest of my life... OR I could be miserable, waste two years in the prime of my life, disobey, be lazy, and bring condemnation upon myself. It was so clear to me, I couldn't think of anything worse than the second option, so I was obviously going to take the first. That moment, sitting in the hallway of the 4th floor of building 18M of the Provo MTC, was when I really started to change. Even though December 28th is a very special day, December 29th is even more special for me. Since that moment I have given 100% of what I have to missionary work. I haven't been perfect, but I feel pretty good about the last year of my life. I have learned something in this time, as we give 100% of ourselves to the Lord, our capacity increases rapidly in SOOOOO many ways. As that happens and as He blesses us in every aspect of our lives, He expects us to give more of ourselves so that He can in turn take us and mold us even more into better people.
This Christmas season here in Mexico was something incredibly special to be apart of. The Christmas season teaches us so much, about giving, the life of Christ, and showing our love for others. One thing that this Christmas season really taught me here in the mission and here in Mexico is this: Miracles happen every day, we just have to ask for them and look for them. Seek and ye shall find, the same applies for miracles in our lives.
Another thing that made me so happy to skype the fam, is hearing and seeing just how well everyone is doing. That has been a huge blessing of my mission, I haven't fought the battles that so many missionaries do in questions of how their families are doing or how things are at home. That hasn't been a huge battle of my mission. I love hearing about how well each of you are doing and more than anything I love hearing about the progress that each of you is seeing. My love for each member of my family has grown since leaving a year ago.
I love you all so so much. It has been another incredible week here in the mission. The first year went way too fast. Hopefully this next one isn't quite so crazy fast, but just as happy, life-changing and enjoyable. I love you all! Have a great week and thank so much for all of your support, love and prayers. #143 #GMC$ #JAKEHEAPS
Elder Stockard

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