Monday, December 2, 2013

Final Letter - December 2, 2013

Family and Friends:
Wow, well, there's really not much to say.  Oh how fast the time has gone.  I feel so blessed to have been able to serve as a full-time missionary here in the MisiĆ³n Mexico Tampico.  In my fast yesterday, my primary purpose was just to give thanks.  I can't believe the way the Lord has blessed me and changed my life over the course of these last two years.  He has given me a new heart, a new outlook on life, and an arsenal of life lessons that I've learned from people, from situations, from the spirit.  The Lord has given me a testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel and he has given it to me line upon line and precept upon precept over my time.  Being separated from my family and loved ones over these past two years has been the hardest things I've ever done in my whole life, but it's here, separated from all of you, that I have come to know my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ in a way that I never would've thought possible.  It's been here, under the blazing hot sun in the  streets of Eastern Mexico, where I've had to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and trust in HIM.  I've learned to not have confidence so much in myself, but rather, to have confidence in He who I represent.  I've come to learn that obedience to the laws of God brings blessings, I've come to learn that those blessings come when we are diligent, and I've come to know that when we are as obedient as we can be, and as diligent as we can be, that in THAT moment, our Savior, who knows our hearts, says "It is enough" and makes up the difference.  
I've learned to love people and see them more as what they can become.  I've seen people beat down by the sorrows of the world, who have changed their lives, or rather, they have allowed the Holy Ghost to enter into their lives and take effect, causing a change that a human being can't possibly make on his own.  I've learned that money truly cannot buy happiness, for some of the happiest people who I've met here in Mexico are people who have so very little of what this world esteems.  I've come to know the truthfulness, to a new degree, of the teachings of Joseph Smith and of the Book of Mormon.  What an incredible message of happiness we bring!  We teach that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was lost, and then RESTORED to the earth and that today, all those blessings are available unto ALL!  And the best part is, nobody need take my word for it, we teach and invite all to find out for themselves, directly from God.  I know that's true, I've seen seeker of truth after seeker of truth take Moroni's challenge and receive a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book o Mormon.  I have received that testimony and it's the most valuable thing I have in this life.  
I know that families can be together forever.  I was blessed to have a family that has taught me that since I was born, but as I taught family after family that principle, the joy of that message has become something that I treasure.  I came to feel it on a deeper level on July 27th of 2013 at the Sealing of La Familia Preza Cruz.  I felt the power of that ordinance on that day.  Last Friday we were at the Madero Stake Center for a Zone Leader's Counsel and I saw Hermano y Hermana Preza walking up the steps to go do a temple session.  Nothing could make me happier.  They have come to know and treasure what I know as well.  
More than anything, I know that Christ lives.  HE LIVES.  He knows and understands us, he fuels us to keep going and he is directing this missionary effort.  I have been so blessed to participate in it and I will continue participating in it now in a different role.  
Thank you all for joining me in this incredible ride.  You have made it so worth it and so enjoyable.  Have a great week this week.  I sure will.  Don't worry, I ain't trunky and I ain't gonna die, we've got a baptism this week and we had 7 other investigators in Church last week, we've got way too much to do to have time to take off.  
Love you all #GMC$ 
Elder Stockard   

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nov. 25, 2013

Momma y Famileee:

Yo, so it's been another sweet week! I can't even tell you how blessed I feel to be serving here in Huejutla at this time! Things are going so well! Sounds like everything is going well at home as well. Our week was bomb, one of the best ones so far: Baptism, tons of help from active members, new people to teach, people progressing, and just being so happy to be serving here with mi amigo Elder Dominguez. I can't even start to explain how bomb things are down here.

When I first got here to Huejutla, I liked it, it was gorgeous; but it took some getting used to, working in a branch, in a tiny little town with occasional running water and just everything was so different. Now though, I can't believe how in love I am with this place. I have seen so much progress (more than anything personal) in my time here. Attitude determines altitude completely.

This week we set 4 new baptismal dates and Carlos was baptized. David was in church and is now in Alma in the BofM. The active members of this branch are really supporting us as well, we had 12 lessons with a member present this week which is a pretty high number for us working here in a branch with 6 missionaries in it. The baptism of Carlos was really nice, he's 10 years old mom, but yeah, his fam has gotten active, they've gone every week since September, so they're there to support him. I was really happy for them, the branch really did a nice job with the baptism as well.

In October I set the goal to finish the Book of Mormon one more time. I'm highlighting all the verses that teach on prayer and it's been such a powerful experience to be able to do so. Today I was reading in 3 Nephi 18 where the Savior teaches on the Sacrament and later on prayer and I am just blown away by the wisdom and the power of the teachings of Jesus Christ. I'm on track to meet the goal which will complete one of my New Year's resolutions. I love the scriptures, I've come to love the Bible much more as well in these last few months.

This week is gonna be busy, we've got the Zone Leaders counsel in Tampico, those are always bomb, plus David's baptismal interview. It's such an exciting time to be a missionary. I hope that all is well and I trust that it is. I love you all so much and I'm so grateful for the way you have prepared me to be a missionary. Thank you all so much for that.

Elder Stockard

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nov. 18, 2013


Hey y'all. Wow, so Lauren isn't going home for Thanksgiving? That'll be a lot quieter party than in years past with only 2 kids in the house I bet! You're getting old Parents, haha. Jk, not that old. How weird will it be for you guys though when Ryan leaves next year and there are only 3 Stockards at home in Fallon? That'll be a change. Time just keeps flying right? My week was bomb. Sounds like yours was as well.

Our investigator pool is getting bigger and bigger every week. I feel like at this point in time Elder Dominguez and I are really putting everything together pretty well. For me especially, I feel like a lot of hard work and diligence is really paying dividends for me at this time. I've been reading back in some of my journals and reflecting in these last weeks and my mission can be divided in like 2 parts: 1.) MTC up to Mainero, where I learned 3 huge lessons: Obedience, Diligence, and Grace. In those first 10 months I really set some good habits, those months were the foundation of my mission house, because if I had never learned those things, I wouldn't have had the opportunities and experiences that I've had in this 2nd year of my mish. and 2.) Central up to right now in Huejutla where little by little I have learned sooooooo many different lessons. This second year is where I felt like I've learned a lot about leadership, love, humility and pride, the gospel and about people in general. All in all, I can't think and reflect on my mission for very much time without feeling just so grateful to my Heavenly Father for this time that I have to serve him full time. What an opportunity! I just love the mission. I have met so many people that have changed my life. This week, Carlos, the son of la Familia that we have reactivated, passed his baptismal interview and will be baptized on Friday. David continues progressing like a baller, he read about fasting in the gospel principles book on Saturday and on his own decided to fast. The man is a stud. He is progressing as well as a ton of other investigators that we have. These people here in Huejutla are incredible. I love 'em, I have learned so much from them.

I hope we can all have a great week and that where ever we are this week, I hope we can give thanks to our Eternal Father and Supreme Creator who has given us all so much. He has given me so so so much, starting with all of you. I still remember when I came home from college last year at Thanksgiving, Brother Yates gave a talk on gratitude that has really stuck with me. I love this time of year even though it's not celebrated the same down here, because it calls us all to remember and give thanks. I hope y'all have a great week and that you know how grateful I am for each one of you.
#143 I'm also grateful for #JakeHeaps.

Elder Stockard

Monday, November 11, 2013

Nov. 11, 2013

Hey Fam,
Man, you guys are the bosses.  Sounds like you all are doing so well.  I love hearing how conscious you all are about doing missionary work.  Remember, ask and ye shall receive, ESPECIALLY in missionary work.  I think we sometimes don't realize how willing God is to bless us with missionary experiences if we ASK and look for them.  Remember, this is HIS work so we know it's His will to give us missionary experiences, it's just up to us to ask and look for them.  Great job fam!  I've got the goal to never go to the Fallon 4th Ward again without inviting a nonmember friend to go with me and offering to pass by and pick them up.  How is it having the missionaries just in the 4th ward?  Do they come around asking for references and people to teach a lot more now or not really?  I am so curious about how missionary work is going back in the Reno mission.  It's such a fascinating thing to me, haha.  
Let me tell you all, I think this week was maybe the best week so far in my mission.  I know I've said that before.  The thing is that I feel like I'm really putting it all together right now as a missionary.  The Lord is really blessing me.  I have some really steep goals that I've set for myself and the Lord is really helping Elder Dominguez and myself to achieve them.  It's incredible to see the Lord's hand in this work.  David and our other family were in church this week and had spiritual experiences while in church and in their process to get there.  The adversary really tries and tests prepared people, but when they exercise their faith and make the decision to follow the Savior and keep His commandments when its hard, THAT is when they receive a living testimony of the truthfulness of this Church.  Let me tell you, as a missionary, one of the greatest feelings is seeing people successfully do just that.  There is nothing better.  Seeing people exercise their faith and repent, and make real changes in their lives is something that still amazes me.  David this week after church approached Elder Dominguez and I and asked us about the church's stand on a few commandments that we still hadn't even taught him.  He told us that, among other things, he had stopped smoking and drinking in the last 2 weeks... but we still hadn't even mentioned him the Word of Wisdom, how is that possible?  It's all about what 2 Nefi 32:5 teaches us; That the spirit will show us all things that we should do.  We didn't teach him the Word of Wisdom, but the spirit did.  The Spirit is what motivates all true seekers of the truth to make changes and continue progressing.  I have been so privileged to come to know so many of these seekers of the truth and they have surely had far more of an effect on my life than I have on theirs.  
I am so happy.  I continue to say that, but it's true. I love you all so much.  Have a great week and know that all is well.  
Elder Stockard

Monday, November 4, 2013

Nov. 4, 2013

Ey YO:

Hahaha, so two years in Mexico has totally made me forget that this last week was Halloween, that was so fun I bet. Here this last week it was Xantolo,the dia de los muertos festival that is native to this Huasteca region. We weren't here in Huejutla for the main night of it cuz we had a Counsel meeting in Tampico, but in our Saturday meal we got some BOMB tamales and hot chocolate. It is a really cool festival and Huejutla was PACKED with people from all over Mexico that come in for this weekend. It was really cool to see and to taste hahaha. As for me, I am loving my Zone, my comp, and my area. Being a missionary is literally so much fun. Elder Dominguez is such a cool guy and we get along so well. We have now gotten to where we teach really well together.                                                                                                                                                                        
One of the coolest parts of this week was our Leadership counsel that the Zone Leaders, the Assistants and some experienced sisters have with President and Sister Jordan at the end of each month in Tampico. Every single one that I've been to has been really sweet, but this one was one of the best. I just love learning from President and Sister Jordan, I can't even start to explain to you how much those two have blessed my life, I look at them with so much respect and love. I have been blessed to serve under their direction.                                                                                                                                                                       
Also this week, Elder Dominguez and I had some great lessons with some new investigators, some less actives, and some recent converts. We had some really powerful experiences teaching about the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. That is one of my favorite doctrinal themes to teach people on because no matter what interests you or what you are doing with your life, almost certainly you are wanting to be happier and that's exactly what the Gospel of Jesus Christ allows us to do, and when we present the principles and ordinances of the gospel to these people as a highway to happiness, they really seem to understand it well and try to apply it. How blessed we are to know about the Gospel. I feel so blessed to have been born into the church and to Parents, Family and Friends who understand and live such principles and have taught me to do that same. I feel so blessed to know each and every one of you. I love you all so much.                                                                                                                     

It never ceases to amaze me how happy I am here as a missionary. I have come to do things and learn things that I never ever thought possible, all by the grace and mercy of our perfect master. I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week. I especially hope that all goes well for the Hubbard family and Brandon with his tonsils. They are in my prayers along with all y'all. Love you.                                                                                      
#143 #JakeHeaps                                                                                                                                                          
Elder Stockard

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013


Hey people, man I love you all. I don't get tired of saying it: You people are the greatest. I love hearing your spiritual experiences, funny stories, and loving comments every Monday. Thank you all for being so supportive, that has been such a blessing as I have known many other Elders who don't have a family and friend base that is so supportive. I think yesterday was one of the greatest days of my entire mission. Everything just went so well. I am so excited for this next transfer, things are really looking up for E. Dominguez and I here in Huejutla as well as for the whole zone. Let me just say that I love being a missionary.

So this last week we had had a little trouble getting in contact with David due to his work and also due to the fact that the man lives LEJOS (Far)! Like he lives in like the last house in our area and its no small task to get out to his house. SO anyway, yeah, we hadn't seen the man for a long while due to his work schedule and the distance, but Saturday we had another appointment out in the same general direction. As we rode in the back of the old, run down, ice cream man style, 15 person van that serves as the most reliable form of public transportation, we came near to David's house. As we got closer, I started to feel that we should get out there and go and visit David even though we didn't have an appointment with him. As I thought this, initially I started to think that this was illogical; we had another appointment that we were late for, David probably wouldn't be there, we could always just come back later etc... But as I tried to push this thought out of my head, I continued to feel like we should go in my heart. So I told Elder Dominguez and we got off there to pass by David. We got there, called out to him, and sure enough... He was there! And he had been reading! The man is already in 2nd Nephi reading! And he went to church yesterday! And he is getting ready to be baptized! And if we hadn't passed by at that moment, he wouldn't have been there later cuz he was getting ready to leave at that moment. This taught, or retaught me a very important lesson: 1. The spirit speaks to our heart and to our mind (D&C 8 or 9 i think), when he speaks to our mind, usually it sounds logical the impression that we receive and therefore, we do it. I don't think that we recognize the majority of these impressions. 2. Occasionally, the spirit speaks more to our heart and it doesn't seem so logic to us... But if we follow the impression, these are like the big time spiritual experience promptings. This experience taught me to always live worthy and be obedient so that the spirit will speak to my heart and to my mind, and then always follow the heartfelt impressions. Great experience to cap off a great week.

I am loving Huejutla. I love our zone, I have been so privileged as a missionary to come to know so many awesome other missionaries that are such good examples to me. Our zone is killer and should be great this next transfer as well. have a great week and know that I love you all. I hope I can make you all proud. #143


Elder Stockard

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013

Hey Famileeee:

Yo, so I hope that you all are enjoying the fall season back in the USA because there is like no such thing here in Mexico, hahaha. It has stayed pretty hot all day everyday here in Huejutla. But it has been a dope week here in la Huasteca, that's for sure. Sounds like it's been a pretty solid one back in Fallon and Provo and wherever else y'all be at as well. I'm just so happy to be down here in Huejutla and still be learning and teaching the gospel everyday.

So the region of Mexico that I'm in is known as La Huasteca. Its a really unique subculture that's found only here in this part of Mexico. La Huasteca covers parts of 5 states here in Mexico: Hidalgo, Veracruz, San Luis Potosi, Puebla, and Queretero and it's an indigenous culture with great food and lots of native languages and dialects. It's a really cool part and Huejutla is like the flagship little pueblo of the Huasteca region. Here in Mexico they don't celebrate Halloween but they celebrate el Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead). Here in la Huasteca they have like an extended and really big Day of the Dead festival and holiday called Xantolo. Xantolo is a day in which they remember their ancestors that have already passed away and commemorate their lives. The traditional food for the day is tamales, hot chocolate, and sweet bread. People are starting to get ready for the day and it sounds pretty cool. I'm excited to see it. 

As far as the work, it continues to progress. David couldn't go to church this week for work but la Familia went and we also found a bunch of new investigators that seem promising this week as well. Elder Dominguez and I have been surprised at how much the Ward Counsels have progressed in the short time that we have been trying to work with them. The Lord has really started to hasten his work. This week Elder Dominguez and I were able to have a coordination meeting with President Jordan, President Ramirez (his counselor that's in charge of the district) and President De Santiago the District Pres here. Things are on the way up here in la Huasteca and there are some big plans. Needless to say, it's a privilege to be a missionary at this time in the history of the world.

In other news, the Internet cafe that we write in is right in front of a Junior High. As I sit here writing you, a bunch of kids are trying to get me to talk to them in English. I just gave them the best, "Hi, how are you?" that I could muster and for my efforts I received nearly a standing ovation. Hahaha the funny things that happen in Mexico.

Well, I love you all. I hope you all know that. I pray for you all and love hearing how happy you are. Keep up the great work back and home. The Hubbard family is especially in my thoughts and prayers and I trust that all will be well. Have a great week! 

Elder Stockard

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013


Hey family, let me tell you, I am so blessed to have the family and the friends that I do. I have thought a lot about that this last week with my birthday; just how blessed I am to have the family and friends that I do and even more so to know that you all will be my family and friends for time and all eternity. How wonderful it is to know about the plan of salvation.

This week was really good. Yeah so David, the investigator that we found last week is still seeming straight GOLD! I love teaching him because he is really smart and when he reads the scriptures he understands them well. He asks good questions and is interested which makes for the funnest lessons to teach. He is doing well and is progressing well. La Familia Del Angel is progressing well and we also found some really good new investigators this last week as well. I love working here in la Huasteca because there is never a moment without something to do. We are busy and finding more work day after day. Elder Domiguez and I are very happy needless to say.

Along with everyone else here in the mission, my thoughts and prayers have been with the Kunz Family this last week. Life really is something very precious that we often times take for granted. I didn't know Elder Kunz but I pray that his family can find peace and solace through the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation.

One thing I have been so grateful for in my time as a missionary is the chance that I have had to learn the doctrine. The mission has taught me to study and has instilled in me a love and a thirst to learn that my first 12 grades of schooling didn't give me. There is nothing more interesting to me than the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can never reach the end of our learning process in the subject either. I have come to love the simple doctrines such as Faith, Hope, Repentance, and Humility; doctrines that aren't "deep doctrine," but rather are basic doctrines that as we learn on them and deepen our knowledge and understanding of them, our testimony strengthens, and we can understand them more clearly and see how they can be applied in everyday life. I love that about the gospel. I have come to understand the doctrine much better than ever before in my life. I hope that my love for learning is something that I can keep developing back at school and throughout my whole life.

Well, all is well. I love you all so much. Have a great week and be safe! #143


Elder Stockard

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

Hey Yo:
So yeah, I don't know bout y'all but I can die a happy man after conference now.  That was sooooooo dope.  Like too dope.  I had 8 questions and they all got answers.  Today I made my plans to put 'em all into practice over the next 6 months and now it's just carry out all the work.  My mission would be worth it for nothing other than the love that it has instilled in me for General Conference.  Last April I remember telling Elder Parry that we were only 5 months and 30 days away from conference.  It is seriously better than Christmas or birthday here in the Mish, I love General Conference.  
Speaking of birthdays, thank you all for the birthday wishes that you sent to my email these last few days.  I love you all so much.  Wanna hear a secret?  Nobody down here is going to know it's my birthday and I'm going to just try and treat it like a 100% normal day.  There is really no good place for relaxing or celebrations of any kind in the mission, so I'm going to just put it off for a little while and we can double celebrate when I get home, haha.  
But yeah, Elder Dominguez and I have been having a great week down here filled with happy days, lots of work, funny stories, and miracles.  One huge miracle that we've seen has come as he and I (and earlier, Elder Gonzalez and I) have really worked with all these little branches here in the district to establish the Work of Salvation.  At the start of September, only one branch of the 6 was having weekly ward counsel (and it was a branch with a missionary as branch pres, haha). As of last Sunday, all 6 are now having weekly branch counsel meetings that are focused on the work of salvation.  It been a total miracle as we have worked together with the branch presidents to learn together about la Obra de Salvacion and implement it in each one of the branches.  It's been great to see and the branches are really benefiting from it.
Another miracle happened Thursday for us.  We were walking to our comida and we were kind of in a hurry because we had gotten out of an appointment kind of late.  As we hurried along, a man called out to us and asked us for a pamphlet.  We started talking to him and turns out that he lives in our area.  The next day we were over by his house when an appointment fell thru, so we decided to go and try and find it.  Well, we found him and turns out that the man could be GOLDEN.  His name is David.  He is a really cool down-to-earth guy who lives alone with his daughter.  We taught him Friday and Sunday he came to conference along with his daughter. We are going to keep working hard with him and with our other investigators.  The work is a pretty even split right now Momma between investigators and less actives in our area, in the mission it's still definitely more work with less actives.
Well, I couldn't be happier to be a missionary at this incredible time in the history of our world.  How blessed we are to know that we have a prophet today and that he communicates the will of God to us every 6 months.  Let us all strive to apply what he and the spirit have taught us.  I love you all so much.  Have a great week.  
Elder Stockard    

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

Yo family,
Hey y'all.  Sounds like everyone back home is doing exactly the same thing that I'm doing here:  Loving life and getting ready for the greatest weekend since April:  GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!  I have seriously been counting down for this since April 7th haha.  I absolutely love conference.  It's better than Christmas, a two day banquet of answers.  I am so excited and it sounds like you are too.  Dad, I loved seeing the photos with Rindy, is he still not married? Tell him to get on it!  Hahaha jk.
So before I forget, I wanna wish a super, super happy birthday to my little sister Alyssa.  Where has the time gone?  I can't believe that you are now 15 years old.  Have a great b-day Lys.  You are wonderful.
So as for Elder Dominguez and I, we've had a great week.  I have been so blessed with so many wonderful companions and Elder Dominguez is incredible just like so many have been.  We get along great.  This last Thursday and Friday we were in Tampico for Leadership Counsel and we got to teach an ex-mission president in a practice.  That was a lot of fun.  Teaching is so much fun, it's something that I've really come to love in my time in the mission.  We are having some really good success in a lot a different aspects of the work right now.  We've got a few good investigators with baptismal dates, la Familia Del Angel is doing great and learning more every day, we are helping branch counsels throughout the district learn and carry out the work of salvation, and we are personally learning more and more about the gospel every day.  
I love being a missionary and I think I am appreciating the unique opportunity that it is more and more every day.  Never again will I be able to be a single, young man dedicating all day every day to doing the Lord's missionary work.  The greatest part is that as I have tried to do so faithfully, the Lord has truly helped, molded, and changed me more than I could have ever thought possible on my own.  The church is true, 100% true.  I love being a missionary and I feel so fortunate to have been born a member.  Thank you so much parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  You bless my life more than you could ever know.  
Have a great week and have a KILLER conference experience.  I love you all so much.  
Elder Stockard 

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Yo, so the work in la Huasteca just keep bumpin' like always!  Not gonna lie, this week was a lot of fun.  Lots of good stuff going on down here.  Sounds like everyone is healthy and happy back home as well.  That is always so good to hear and know.  Even though you are all happy, I'm not sure that it would be possible that you could be more happy than I am down here in Huejutla, Hidalgo.  
My new comp is a total boss.  Elder Dominguez is from Chihuahua, Chihuahua.  He is a graduate of the church school down here that they just turned into the new MTC, El Benemerito de las Americas (All of my last 3 comps have graduated from el Bene).  He's been a  member his whole life and has like 14 months in the mission.  He started his mission in my district when I was up in Victoria, so its fun to be comps when we already know each other pretty well.
So yeah, not sure if I told you guys this story so I'm gonna tell it to y'all again cuz its pretty good and it keeps getting better.  So we have one neighborhood in our area that is way far away from the rest.  It's called El Pintor, it's actually in a different state than the rest of Huejutla, haha.  Well, we have quite a bit of work out in El Pintor, but it's a trick to organize it well because it's far away and we don't wanna go out there for just one appointment and then come back to our area.  So, one Sunday like two weeks ago, Elder Gonzalez and I were walking back to Huejutla from El Pintor on the highway.  As we walked, a lady came up to us and asked us to come talk to her and her husband.  Well, it turns out that the two of them are members and inactive... But, their son is not a member.  So these last two weeks we've been working with la Familia Del Angel to get them back into the swing of going to church and living the gospel.  They are a really sweet family, they were baptized like 7 years ago, went for just a little while, then went inactive till right now.  Yesterday they all came to church.  The good thing about El Pintor where they live is that there are a lot of active members who live out there as well who are really helping us out in the work.  The son, Carlos, is 10 years old and really likes going and playing sports at church and everything and the whole family had a great time at church yesterday.  I have seen, time and time again, that when we work hard and obey, the Lord will not let us fail in his work... Even when it doesn't seem logical, miracles always come when we are prepared to receive them.
I'm glad that Connor Nelson got my letter.  Please tell him hi for me, he actually wrote me first.  Also, good luck to Spencer, Skye and Baylee.  They are all gonna kill it big time. There is no greater time to be a missionary and they are going to learn why very quickly as they learn to work within the work of salvation.  
I love you all, thanks for all the support and love that you all have for me.  I feel the same for all of you and am blessed to know you.  Have a great week.  #143
Elder Stockard

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 18, 2013

[P-Day this week was backed up by two days because of Hurricane Ingrid.]

So it's been pretty much straight dope to be down here in Mexico this week cuz hurricane Ingrid has been doing work all over the place.  I don't think I've ever been so soaked in my entire life.  So I'll break it down for y'all. 

So yesterday we were teaching a lesson with our Branch Pres at like 2ish.  As we were finishing up the rain started to come pretty hard.  He offered to give us a ride to our next appointment and on the way it just got like crazy hard the rain.  Elder Gonzalez and I, not the type to be easily discouraged, thanked him for the ride and got out of the car to go trek through the rain.  We found ourselves walking in what was once a dirt road towards the appointment, but what was now quickly becoming a river.  It was seriously nuts.  After the appointment we went to eat with La Familia De Santiago, the District President and his family.  There is where I learned the practical reality of what a flash flood is.  We were eating in their covered outdoor kitchen and it was raining one minute, and literally the next the whole house was filling with water.  That obviously put a kink in my desires to eat the carne asada that we had just blessed, as we quickly turned all our attention to running into and saving everything from their house by taking it to their upstairs rooms.  It's a good thing that we were there because between President, Chucho (their son), Elder Gonzalez and I we were able to save all their possessions before the water ruined them. But our relief for having saved their stuff was minimal because we found that the house continued to fill with water!  I was so stunned by how quickly the flood came.  Living in Fallon, flash floods were never really a problem, but this flood literally came out of nowhere.  It was so cool to see though, as not only us and the De Santiago family worked to clean the water out of their house, but literally their whole neighborhood was there helping out!  It was so cool and they came together so fast to be able to do it.  All these people from different houses that were safe, came quickly to the aid of their friends and neighbors, it was so cool to see.  We were able to save and clean their house and two hours later we sat down to finish eating as if nothing had ever happened, haha.

Besides that, the work is going well.  Today are transfers and my friend Elder Gonzalez is outta here.  My new companion is named Elder Dominguez!  He is a total Chief.  He has been a Zone Leader in another zone right now and I'm excited to work with him.  We were in Victoria together so it should be fun.  The time is flying by and I couldn't be happier to be a missionary.  There is literally nothing that makes me happier.  I think I wrote this a few weeks ago, but I analyzed it and I think that I am literally happy 98% of the time as a missionary.  There is like no room for sadness.  It's the greatest work, the most fulfilling thing I've ever done.  The best part is that its ALL true.  Thank you all for being example to me and know that I love you all.  #143 #JakeHeaps

Elder Stockard 

September 9, 2013

Ey Yoooooo,
Wow, so can you all get any cooler?  I was walking down this small little street here in Huejutla last night and it just hit me once again how grateful I am for 2 things: 1. To have been born a member of the Church and 2.  To have been born into the incredible family that I have.  What a blessing y'all are to me.  At different points throughout my mission your support has always meant sooo much for me in so many different ways.  Thank you for being the family that you were and are for me.  I thank my Heavenly Father every day for y'all.  

So, sounds like Stake Conference was bomb.  That's cool that they redid the Church building and thanks for the interesting facts about the creation of our stake Momma, I have really become fascinated by all things church organization related in my time here in the mish.  That's cool that it was the 500th stake created.  Now they are at over 3000 right?  The Lord is truly hastening His work.  That hastening is no more apparent than here in the Tampico mission.  This area of the Huasteca especially.  We are seeing miracles on all fronts daily here in this area of the vineyard.  Someday I would love for some family member to see this place, I have never seen any place else in my entire life that is so green and gorgeous.  The people here are a true example of humility as well.  

I have been studying the Book of Mormon highlighting all the scriptures that show or talk about humility in one color and all those that show or talk about pride in another and it's really opened my eyes to a few things.  It's also been really cool to have these Huastecos as examples of such humility as I've been studying it as well.  One really interesting things that I've been learning has to do with the Nephite Pride cycle that eventually destroyed them.  We learn in D&C 29 (I think) that unto God all things are spiritual and that he never gives us temporal laws.  We also learn in D&C 130 that all blessings are received for obedience to a law of God.  Its logical to think that spiritual laws bring spiritual blessings right?  I am convinced that what happened with the Nephites and what still happens many times today is that we obey the spiritual laws of God, who then starts to bless us, the side effects of which are many times worldly success and prosperity... But those temporal blessings are blessings that bring with them a test:  The test of whether or not we will remember the Lord our God when all is well.  If we pass that test, we receive the true, deeper, life changing blessings such as increased humility, patience, faith, Gifts of the Spirit and all in all we become more Christ like and show that we can be faithful over the little that we have.  I also see that journal writing and the Law of Tithing are commandments given to help us succeed in not falling to our temporal blessings/tests.  The gospel is really so interesting and has become so much more clear to me as a missionary.  
So this week was bomb.  Yulma couldn't go to church yesterday for work but her 3 kids went.  Her kids are 16, 12, and 7 and la Hermana Lupita has been helping us a ton!  They continue progressing along with lots of other great people and miralces.  All and All, life couldn't be better.  I love my comp, we get along great, I love this place, I love the mission.  I was thinking about it and I don't think I'm like ever sad as a missionary.  Stressed, or frustrated sometimes but sad like never.  The work of the Lord truly makes us happy.  I love you so much.  Have a great week and thanks for all the Support.  #JakeHEaps #GMC$  
Elder Stockard

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013

How is it that another week has flown right by us?  I'm so blessed to hear from y'all and it makes me so happy to know that all is well!  I love you all so so much.  Wow, so Momma, did they like totally remodel the Stake Center or something?  If they did I bet it's gonna be off the hook now.  That's dope.  
Dad wrote me last week about his plan for motivating Ryan and Lys to get to seminary on time and I've gotta say, it's brilliant.  Respect to your plan Dad.  Motivation is a wonderful thing and sounds like you've got the two of them really motivated.  What Ryan and Alyssa are learning is something that I've been learning a lot about in these last few weeks:  It's all about perspective!  Two different people can see the exact same problem, the exact same situation and one can be completely overwhelmed by it and the other can be unphased (I hope that's a word) by it.  Why?  It's all due to the perspective with which we see things.  The narrower our view of the world or a situation, the more extreme the problem seems.  The wider our scope of vision, the smaller and less significant the problems will seem.  Our Heavenly Father knows this, that's why he created and has taught us the Plan of Salvation, because it provides us with an eternal perspective.  It helps us to grasp that our afflictions will be no more than a small moment (dyc 121) and helps us to overcome them by knowing where we are going and where we came from.  That's why so many people who become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ say, "I still have problems, but they don't seem as big as they did before."  The gospel widens our perspective and helps us to see that our difficulties and problems are manageable.  Thinking about Ry and Alyssa, they might at first think that getting to seminary on time is absolutely impossible, but give them a little motivation and get them in the habit of doing it, and pretty soon it will become second nature to them... Now it won't even be an obstacle, rather just a part of their life.  Hope this comparison made sense, haha.
As for life in Huejutla, things are great.  The missionaries down here in this district have a role that is so very different then a missionary in a ward might have, just because some of these branches are still very small and new.  But I am loving it, I'm learning to love the people.  We put a baptismal date with Yulma and her husband Jose Luis and their kids for October 5th which was sweet... But then they didn't go to  church yesterday :( haha, but it's all good, we ain't trippin too hard yet.  They are progressing well.  This week we also had the leadership counsel in Tampico and I always love hearing from President and Sister Jordan, I love and respect both of them so very much.  Overall, life is incredible, the mission is the best experience I could have ever asked for.  I'm working hard to make the most out of everyday.  I love you all so much and thank you so much for all your prayers and support.  Have a great week and keep it real!  
Elder Stockard

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013

What up Famileeee!

So another blazing fast week has flown us by.  Momma and Dad, I am so happy to hear that all is well in the family and I also love hearing about all your awesome experiences and the ways that you all are thinking to do missionary work.  It makes me so happy and so proud of y'all.  Thank you both so much for living the gospel.

So I had a bunch of cool experiences this last week.  This area has been the busiest of my mission, we teach like 30 or more lessons every week and it is insane.  We have some great people, less active, recent converts and investigators who are all really progressing well.  This last week I learned a lot about how subtle the impressions of the spirit are.  Elder Gonzalez and I were just walking along to an appointment this week when we saw an active member who lives in our branch but in the part where there are other missionaries serving, not us.  She was outside of a friend's house just talking.  We said hi to her and asked her how she was, but being missionaries, we immediately turned our attention to her nonmember friend.  She told us her name is Yulma and that she had been to church before with her active friend who was there, La Hermana Lupita.  She said she went to a district conference like a year ago but never really got in touch with the missionaries.  We set an appointment to come back and teach her and invited Lupita to come as well.  Well, last Saturday we went back and taught her.  Turns out that when she went to church last year she had been going to another church, but now she's stopped going and it seems like she's pretty legit!!!  Lupita and her husband Pilar nailed it with us in the lesson, the spirit was super strong and yesterday Yulma, and her two daughters were at church with Lupita, Pilar and their family!  That is members and missionaries working together!  It was an incredible experience and I know that it was no coincidence that we passed by the exact moment that Lupita and Yulma were outside their house talking.  

It amazes me how subtle the spirit works in our lives.  That is the reason that living the commandments is so important because the spirit speaks gently to us.  If we aren't paying attention it passes right over our heads.  I'm so grateful that I've been able to learn about the workings of the spirit in my time as a missionary.
One other cool thing this last week,  I had the opportunity to reflect upon my progenitors this last week as I learn about the spirit of Elijah.  I found a DearElder you had sent me in the MTC, Momma, in response to my question about how many generations of missionaries had served in my fam.  The letter talked about Robert Baird who served in the Southern States in 1898, mainly in Tennessee.  How cool is that Momma?  Who would have ever known when you sent me that letter in January of 2012, that only a month later I would be serving as a missionary on the same ground as my great, great, great grandfather.  I know that that wasn't a coincidence either.  I'm so blessed to have the immediate and extended family that I do.  The Church is true, the gospel makes us happy.  Thank you all so much for LIVING it!  I love you all.  
Elder Stockard

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013

Yo Family!
Eh, so it was a totally dope week this week and it sounds from my crew like it was pretty dope back in Fallon and in P-Town as well. Soooooooooo much respect that Elder Parry was kickin' it wit Special K and Big Hubbs and Lauren up in Midway!  That is so dope cuz he has heard soooooooo many stories about those 2 and now there they are all up in the promised land of Midway, Utah with Grandma Dot.  #Clutch.  That made me happy.  Respect to that group.  Also it made me happy to hear that the Got Money Crew is heading back down to SoCal for a few days.  That will be so fun for Kev and Ryan, they will kill it, there are lots of good memories down there.  Steal some fastpasses for me boyzz.  Hahaha.  
Momma, I cannot believe that y'all are already back in shcool!  The summer goes so fast!  Down here I think it's the first day of school as well cuz we've got a Jr. High in front of our house and it's packed today for the first time since I've been here.  
But this week was incredible not even gonna lie.  We had some great success in our area as well as in our zone.  In our area, Elder Gonzalez and I have out of the blue finally been able to help like 4 new less active families start to progress.  We also have 2 investigators that look to have solid baptismal dates for Septiembre.  One family that has really started to progress are two people named Narciso y Ramona.  Narciso y Ramona are your classic Huastecos, humble, nice, quiet, etc... They are probably about 55 years old and Narciso has really struggled to find work.  Two weeks ago we taught them on the law of tithing and they didn't really accept it that well.  We both felt really inspired to promise them that if they would kneel with us in prayer, promise the Lord that they would pay their tithing, and ask him for help in finding work, that He would help him to find work in that week.  It was a pretty specific and sweet promise, but even with that, he wasn't really feeling it.  So this last week we went again and taught them again on another subject but they continued to talk about their struggles without work.  At this point, I felt inspired to turn the subject back towards tithing seeing as that is what they seemed to need.  Elder Gonzalez and I told them, "Brother Narciso, we came last week and basically taught exactly what you need to do to find work.  You need to pay your tithing; now last week we made you a promise that if you would promise the Lord that you would pay your tithing and asked Him for His help in finding work, then He would bless you with work.  Now we want to make you that same promise, but this is the last time, if you say no once again, the Lord wants you to know that that promise will leave out the door with us."  It was a super strong spiritual moment when he finally decided to kneel in prayer with us and do as we had invited him to do.  Two days later we went back by to see because we had been praying like a wild child that God would help Narciso.  We knocked on the door and Ramona his wife came out smiling and said that Narciso wasn't home because he was out working!!!!!!!!!  She thanked us and assured us that they would pay their tithing this Sunday.  What a sweet experience it was!  I felt the spirit so strong in that lesson and I know that when we as missionaries promise blessings by the spirit, they Lord will make good on them.
The Zone is also going bonkers, as a zone we had 151 menos activos in church and a ton of investigators as well.  The work is reallllllly hastening here in la Huasteca and it's incredible to be a part of it.  I love you all so much and I'm so glad to hear that all is well.  Have a great week and know that I love you all.  #143
Elder Stockard

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

Dear Familee:
Yo, so I know it's the same for y'all, but I can't even comprehend how fast the weeks are going.  I know I say that pretty often, but that's cuz pretty often it's true.  How blessed we are to have the gospel as the life blood of our family and friends.  Mom, sounds like your talk went great and I'm sure that Dad's did as well.  I tell the story of Travis to investigators, missionaries and members down here alllllll the time.  He is the man.  
Anyway, this week was really good, it was a little more administrative because our zone is a little complex and week 1 of transfers is always a little crazy.  Our zone is the biggest of the 10 in the mission with 27 missionaries.  It is also the zone that is the most spread out, with those 27 missionaries spread out over 5 little towns within 3 states and 5 hours of each other by bus.  So yeah, transfers take some real coordination, wayyy more than in Tampico, hahaha, then on top of that we gave 2 trainings this week, Elder Gonzalez and I, to the whole zone which took some coordination to get everyone into Huejutla and back out in one piece, haha.  It was a really good week, the mission really helps develop you in sooo many different ways, it's crazy.  I often times wonder how it is that I am so happy and yet soooooo tired all the time, haha.  The answer is truly simple:  The gospel and the people.   It's just that simple.  The gospel because it's the lifeblood of this work and of our every second of our lives for these 2 years.  It is also the ultimate source of happiness on this earth and when immersed in it for such a long, consecutive period of time, it truly changes our very natures.  The other reason is the people, and this is very connected with the gospel.  Elder Perry gave a talk a while ago on how two people that share spiritual experiences together become bound together by love for each other due to those experiences.  That is exactly what happens as a missionary, those with whom we share these spiritual experiences, where the spirit is the teacher.  The spirit comes in, touches our hearts, and changes our very nature and desires.  Those people, whether they be investigators, less actives, active members, whatever, become our very motivation as missionaries.  They make it ALL worth it.  It's incredible.  
Also, Lisa wrote me an incredible email (maybe the highlight of my week Lisa!) this last week about how her kids participated in a no-TV activity.  I think that's a huge part of the change that comes to missionaries as well, we are soooo separated form the world... Things that my life used to revolve around such as pro sports, I haven't heard anything of that in almost 2 years, just being set apart from the world for so long has a real positive change on our lives as well.
Huejutla is going great.  We have one investigator named Jesus who is starting to progress real well who we are excited about.  Momma, These branches can't become a ward until there is a stake.  Where there is no stake organization, only branches can exist because there are no high priests except the mission president.  There can be a branch within a stake but there can be no ward within a district.
Well, I love you all so much.  Thanks for being my examples and a great part of my motivation to keep going even when its tough.  I love you all and hope you know that I am SOOOO happy.
Elder Stockard

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013

Yo, so nobody told me anything about Micah Manning taking the lessons or getting baptized but that is soooooo tight!  Big Time Congrats to Micah!  I would love to shoot him an email to congratulate him, if y'all got it, I would love to have it, if you don't have it, at least please tell him congrats for me. That is so awesome.  He couldn't have made any better choice.  
Every week it sounds like y'all be straight killin' it back at home.  Momma, I love hearing about your missionary experiences, Laur, sounds like you are still the most organized, smartest person on the block.  You don't know what a blessing it is to be serving a mission here in Mexico and to truly know that all is well back at home.  Thank you all for that blessing, thank you all so much.  Thanks for telling me I have two new cousins Momma, how many are we now in all?  The Andros Family in not a small one.
So, Huejutla is pretty dope, not gonna lie.  I love it, I feel like now, one change into my time here in la Huasteca, I'm finally good and adjusted to working in a branch, although yesterday we had almost 120 people in church and the other branch here in Huejutla had 140+ people in church, so it's not your classic thought of a branch if you will.  But as far as church culture wise it's got a lot of branch tendencies still and that is what we are really focused on.  The Area presidency here in Mexico back in November put the whole "Missionaries won't knock doors"  theme with the goal of the missionaries and the members working together more.  The blessings of members and missionaries working together are many and I've really seen them in my time here.  First off, the missionaries can strengthen the members: their faith, their understanding of the gospel etc... and the members can do the same for the missionaries.  Secondly, the members are the ones who know the prepared people, such as Micah; where they live, what they like, who they are, etc... and so the work moves forward at a more productive pace when the two groups work together.  Here in Huejutla we are really focusing on making that happen.  We want the members and the missionaries to be a team that together can hasten the Lord's work in the work of salvation.  That's been our focus and Elder Gonzalez and I have really seen some miracles with it.  Although not all of them have progressed really well, we have had lots of members that have introduced us to their friends and family members who aren't members and we have been able to teach those people in the chapels and in the homes of those same members.  It's been really cool to see and the members are really starting to catch on well with how to do missionary work. It's been a cool thing to see and we know that if we obey and are diligent, we will find the prepared people here in this part of the branch.  
In other news, it is soooooo hot here.  It was like 110 degrees here and humid this week.  Haha, it makes for good motivation to find people to teach when it's so hot because you just don't wanna be stuck outside all day, hahaha.
I say it every week but I am just so happy.  Momma, if you are still talking on my mission next Sunday you can tell everyone that the most reoccurring theme that I've learned on my mission has been centered on the Grace of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful for his atoning sacrifice and for the way that that sacrifice will work in every part of our life if we will just let it do so.  It will heal us, it will motivate us, it will strengthen us in that moment when we feel like we can't take one more step or it's just too hard.  I know it's a true real power because I've felt it every day in my time here in the mission.  I'm so grateful for it.  I love you all.  Have a great summer week.
Elder Stockard

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013

First of all, sooooooooo proud of all your member missionary work!  Congrats on that Momma especially!  I am sooooo so proud of you.  I meant to write that the last few weeks as well that I'm just so proud of you.  
As for me this week... It's been incredible.  I've had a few words going through my head all week and I can't get em out.  The words are as follows:  "It's ALL worth it,"  Literally, last Saturday has made it ALL worth it.  Every appointment that's fallen through, every long hot day, every time that I've obeyed when it wasn't popular or easy, every morning that I was too tired to even think straight but I peeled myself out of bed, every person who slammed a door in my face, or laughed at me, or yelled swear words at me or whatever it may be... It doesn't even matter, it's ALL worth it.  The Family Preza was sealed for time and all eternity last Saturday and I was there to witness it.  It's ALL worth it.  The feelings I had last Saturday were ones of indescribable peace and happiness.  I was able to witness as that family completed their final saving ordinances here in this life.  Now they must only endure to the end, and if they do so, they have the promise of our loving Father in Heaven that their family relations will continue beyond the veil.  As I think about that, and I reflect on that accomplishment for their family, I am overcome with gratitude for my Father in Heaven, for letting me, in some small way, be an instrument in His hands.  For letting me be a part of his eternal work here in this life, for letting me see the power that the gospel has to change and refine other people first hand.  It brings tears to my eyes to think that, not withstanding my mortal frailties and errors, the Lord has seen fit to bless me SOOO much in my time as a missionary, to let me come to know soooo many wonderful people who have been soo prepared to hear the gospel.  It's been the second greatest blessing in my life to come to know these people, right behind having my own family.  Needless to say, this week was truly the greatest week of my life.  Its ALL worth it.  And you know what, I know it's all been possible because I've obeyed and I've worked hard.  Missionaries or future missionaries who read this, if you want to see miracles, have faith in what your leaders teach you:  That obedience and diligence truly bring those miracles because it's true.  La Familia Preza is a flat out miralce.  I worked almost 3 months straight without any success in Francia when we found and taught them.  If we do our part, God will do his, I know that to be true, I've seen it firsthand. 
Well, that was the highlight of my week.  And really of my life, haha.  I'm waiting to hear where Cristian gets his call to and when cuz I'll hopefully be able to go to the temple with him as well.  It's ALL worth it, and don't let anyone tell you that it's not.  I'm so blessed to be a missionary, in the GREATEST mission for ME in the world.  The gospel is true, the spirit will confirm it to any and all who let it.  I love you all soooo much!  Have a great week!  
Elder Stockard

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 22, 2013

Ok, so just so y'all know, I think I just had the happiest week of my whole life.  Not even a joke!  I can't wait to tell y'all bout it cuz this week has been absolutely incredible!
So first things first.  There were two baptisms this last week that I am sooooooo happy about.  Don't know if y'all remember Cristian and Berenice from when I was in Central in the offices?  The son of Pascual y Ricarda?  Well they finalllyyy got baptized after 7 months of waiting!  I got a letter from them this last Wednesday when the Assistants came out to la Huasteca and also the assistants called me Friday right before their baptism and let me talk to them.  I was so so so so happy to hear that they finally got baptized.  I put my absolute heart and soul into teaching and helping those two.  I also say that my mish wouldn't have been complete if they hadn't gotten baptized.  I got to talk to them and they just sound so, so happy.  Also, Pascual and Ricarda are both active and have callings, so that is awesome to hear as well.  
That was one very happy moment... but it gets much better.  Wednesday the Assistants were here in la Huasteca working with us and my dear friend and ex comp Elder Castro, and they gave me an update on my old area, up in the Promised land of Barrio Mainero and Victoria in Cuidad Victoria.  Great news up there as well:  Cristian, one of our converts up there, SUBMITTED HIS MISSION PAPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He will have his call in 3 weeks!  I am so, so happy for him.  Also, Alicia is preparing to go to the temple!  All is well in Victoria as well.  
By this time you can see that this was a great week... but it still gets better!  Last Saturday I got a call from Elder Castro once again and he was ecstatic... so so happy because... La FAMILIA PREZA WILL BE SEALED NEXT SATURDAY AT 1:30pm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh my goodness, I am so excited.  I will be heading up to Tampico this weekend to be at their endowment and sealing!!!!!!!!!!!!   I don't think I've ever had a better week in my entire life!!!  I am so happy.  I finally know what Ammon and Aaron and Alma and Zenos all talked about in rejoicing in the fruits of their labors,  these people have changed my life forever and to think that I could have been blessed to help them change theirs as well is a feeling that I can't quite describe.  I truly can't describe it, but I don't think there are many things that feel better than the way I've felt in the last few days.  I love these people here in Mexico so much.  I would truly do anything for them.  That is a great feeling.  That is something that I didn't know how to feel before I was a missionary and it's something that the Lord has taught me here.
Family, thank you once again for being a family that lived/lives the gospel.  Momma, Dad, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, thank you so much for teaching me to live the gospel.  There is a difference between being members of the church and making the gospel part of your life.  You all made the gospel part of your lives and that in turn made it a part of mine.  That has made all the difference.  ALL the difference.  Thank you.  Aunts and Uncles, if you are ever thinking or feeling that your efforts to live the gospel and teach it to your children are falling on deaf ears, don't be discouraged.  I promise you that one day your children will thank you for your efforts, without a doubt.  Hold on, keep pushing to do what's right and not make exceptions.  It will pay off.  
Well, that's about it from down here.  I hope you all know how much I love you.  You are the greatest friends and family that I could ever imagine.  Keep doin yo thang.  #143
#GMC$  #SpecialK #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013

Yo, so don't trip Momma, I'm takin' lots of pics, I just don't send 'em cuz these Mexican internet cafes are pushing it sometimes to even send little emails, haha.  Don't wanna push my luck.  So Dad in his letter said something to me about how this is probably the most exciting time in the history of the world to be alive!  I totally agree and although I love y'all too much, I wouldn't wanna be anywhere other than Huejutla Hidalgo.  Things are really poppin' down here.  
So to answer your question on Panacaxtlan Momma, Panacaxtlan is a tiny little community like 20 minutes from Huejutla up in the hills.  There are probably like 300 people who like there and like 13 active members.  It had been off limits to visit except in organized activities with the district president till this week when Pres. gave Elder Gonzalez and I permission to open it up as we see fit according to the amount of work that there is there.  And so we did.  We just went out there once last week but we started visiting some less active part member families.  I feel as though there are baptisms to be had there.  We will see how things go.  
As for here in Huejutla I cant believe how fast things are progressing.  Two years ago President Call divided the branch here in Huejutla and made it into two.  Six months ago, 60 people attended la Rama 1 (where I'm at) and like 90 attended la Rama 2.  Yesterday we had over 100 in our branch and the other branch had over 150 people in attendance! There were over 20 investigators between the 2 branches and tons of less actives.  All of these branches here in la Huasteca are growing like a wild child.  It is incredible to see.  Elder Gonzalez and I have lots of work with less actives right now but we are still struggling to find investigators that are progressing.  That will be a definite focus in the coming weeks.  It is so different being a missionary in a branch than it is being a missionary in a ward!  Especially here where the Mission President is like a Stake President, the missionaries in some of these smaller branches play BIG roles.  Its a really good experience for these missionaries and I think it will really serve them going back to their home wards and already having experience in helping run a church unit.  
Elder Gonzalez is a really cool guy.  He is from Puebla, and he went to the church school of Benemerito de las Americas which is now the new MTC down here.  We get along really well and having fun.  I've been really blessed with a ton of excellent comps who are really blessed and changed my life.  I've been reflecting so much on the change that the mission has made on my life and it is unreal.  There are things that I have learned here that I couldn't have learned in any other circumstance or way.  I am so grateful Mom and Dad, that you always taught me and stressed the importance of serving a full time mission.  Mom and Dad, also thank you so much for teaching me the importance of obedience.  Brandon, you as well.  No other principle or law has resulted in more blessings that the law of obedience.  Thank you all.  Thank you, family in all, for being a family that didn't just attend church, rather you made the gospel of Jesus Christ a part of who you were and are.  You taught us to LIVE the gospel.  There is no greater blessing than that of knowing, since infancy, how to LIVE the gospel.  I am eternally indebted for that.  
I love you all so much.  Have a great week this week and know that I love you all!  The Gospel is true, it's ALL true.
Elder Stockard

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013

Yo, so let me just tell you that it is so good to hear nothing but good things from y'all every Monday.  There are so many Elders and Sisters here in this mission that don't have that blessing or privilege and I thank my Father in Heaven every single day that I am a member of the family that I have and that all of you have had such a positive impact on my life and on my mission.  Thank you so much for that.  I am so proud of you all.
Lauren, Ryan, Momma, happy summer birthdays!  I love you all soooooo much!  So SO much.  I hope you all had a wonderful time and Ryan, I hope tomorrow is great for you.  
Life here in Huejutla is great.  Like straight up.  The Huasteca is a totally different world.  I would love it if someday one of you could experience the life that I am living right now.  I am learning so many things in so many different ways.  I'm guessing that this is the most jungle I have ever seen or will see in my whole life.  The people who live here are very poor and very humble, but they are incredible people.  
This Friday I had a sweet experience.  We were able to go with the district President to the smallest branch in the whole district, a little tiny place called Panacaxtlan.  Panacaxtlan is pure Anahuac (Native American culture and language).  The members there speak Spanish as well, but they pray and communicate amongst themselves in Anahuac.  We pulled up to this little casa de oracion (house of prayer?  I don't know really how to say that in English or if it has another title) and the Branch Pres came out to see us and sent his kids to round up all the members that live in that little tiny village.  They came and we sat down, sang songs, shared a message and enjoyed feeling the spirit together.  At the end the Branch President, almost crying said, "I knew that the Elders were going to come today, I just knew it, we needed you so bad and I just knew that you were going to come today."  Those humble people look forward to the visits from the missionaries so much.  It was truly humbling to see how happy those faithful people were to see the missionaries and it really showed me how the spirit is not contingent upon level of gospel knowledge or worldy prestige, but rather upon love of the Lord Jesus Christ and our conversion to his gospel.  It was a great experience that I'll never forget.  I talked with Pres and I think he's going to let us open up Panacaxlan to the Obra de Salvacion.  It was awesome.
This week I was once again reminded of the wonderful blessing that is the Sabbath day.  I absolutely have come to love the Sabbath here as a missionary.  Alyssa and Momma, I was so happy to hear about your Sabbath experience on the way back from Utah.  I've come to learn of the healing power that the Sabbath has.  I hope that when I am home I can maintain the love that I have gained for the Sabbath day.  It really is the way to recharge our physical and spiritual batteries each week and it all starts with the blessings of the sacrament.  How blessed we are to have the priesthood authority restored and to know the meaning and symbolism of the Holy Sacrament.  What a blessing it is to be able to take it each week and renew our commitment to follow the Savior.
Elder Gonzalez and I found some good new investigators this week working with the members and of the 54 potential priesthood holders in the district that we want to have ordained in September, 20 went to church yesterday so that's a start.  Yesterday was the election here in Mexico, but I have no idea who won or really what anyone stands for.  What I do know is that the church is true, the atonement heals, the Book of Mormon is true, and that the Savior lives and directs His church.  What a blessing it is to know that.  I love you all so much.  Have a great week and stay fly!  #GMC$
Elder Stockard

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013

The weeks just keep cookin' Family!
Ok, so it has been a great week out here in the state of Hidalgo!  I am LOVING this little pueblo, that is the absolute truth.  It has been a crazy, crazy week out here, but this place is EXPLODING with work!  I'll break the week down a little bit for ya.
So Monday I headed out of Tampico coming down south!  I got here and met up with Elder Gonzalez.  He is really awesome, he is from the state of Puebla.  From the moment that I got off the bus here in Huejutla until now, we legitimately have not stopped working.  I actually never bought groceries last week because we never had time.  Haha yeah, so I've been in like a 7 day fast without a purpose.  We immediately started getting the houses ready for all the new missionaries that were going to be arriving the next day, unloading materials and supplies, assembling things and getting things all set up.  We also had the Zone Leaders counsel this Friday, so Thursday night we made the trek to Tampico and stayed in my old crib with the assistants right there in front of the temple.  That was fun, but it's 4 hours by bus from Huejutla to Tampico, so it totally ate our Thursday afternoon and our whole Friday, but the Lord really blessed us.  Somehow with all the other stuff we were doing, we were still able to see miracles in our own area, teach 20 lessons, find 2 new, good investigators, and help 14 less actives get to church!  It was sweet.  

Here in Huejutla there are 2 branches and now, each of the 2 branches has 6 missionaries, or 12 in total.  Between the 12 missionaries here in Huejutla, there were over 70 less actives in church this week!  There were over 100 people in both branches!  This place is about to EXPLODE!  There are a bunch of investigators all ready for baptism and things are on the rise.  Between our whole zone, which includes a few other little towns as well, there were 136 less actives in the branches this week!  We are getting things all set up to offer a Priesthood prep class for those less active and recent converts who are candidates to receive the Melchizedek priesthood to help em get all prepared.  

Overall, I couldn't be happier with how things are going here in la zona Huasteca.  It was a great week. There is one branch that when I was in the offices, we were thinking about closing because the members didn't support the missionaries and there just wasn't a lot of work,  Yesterday, that branch had 27 less actives in church, 7 investigators in church and 5 baptismal dates for this month! 91 people attended church!  The Lord is truly hastening his work and doing miracles here.

I love the chance that I have to be a missionary.  I am truly committed to use every single second that I have here in the mission the best that I can.  I know and feel that the work that we are doing as missionaries in all parts of the world is SOOO important.  It's the most important thing that I could be doing.  I am so blessed to be here in la mision Mexico Tampico.  I hope that I can make y'all proud.  I hope you all know how happy and I am here.  I can't really explain it, but I am SOOOOO happy!  I love the Gospel.  It's ALLL true.  Have  a great week and keep it reallzzz!
Elder Stockard  

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013

Yo Fammmilllly,

So this week has been NUTS for y'all as well as for me. Needless to say there was nothing better than seeing the Great One posted up with big Hubbs doin their thang again. I love those two SO SO SO much. And then you put that on top of a meeting with my brother Elder Parry and needless to say, I was pleased to hear that your week was awesome. Mine was too.
Ok yeah Momma, I saw the Obra de Salvacion training live and it was dopeeee! That is exactly what we've been trying to do down here in Tampico so it was cool to see it at a worldwide level. There is something very comforting about listening to the Apostles talk. I love it. The best part about being a member of the only true and living church on the face of the earth is that the church adapts to the times and seasons SO well, according to the revelation received by our leaders. For example, did you notice that in the last General Conference and yesterday that SOOO much of what they spoke on and did in the conference took advantage of the wonderful technology that is available to all of us in this day and age? That really stood out to me and just goes to show that we belong to a living church and that we believe in revelation. But yeah, that was so good.
So today is transfer day. First, let me start by explaining a little about the setup of our mission. La Mision Mexico Tampico is made up of 8 stakes (5 in Tampico, 1 in Victoria, 1 in Ciudad Mante, and one in Ciudad Valles) and 3 Districts. The Districts are areas that don't have sufficient real growth or membership to be a stake and the Mission President basically acts as the stake pres in those areas. The biggest District in our mission is called the Huasteca District. This district is getting REALLY close to becoming a stake. It's made up of a bunch of little tiny towns as well as a few Fallon-sized towns. The Huasteca is famous for its beauty (it looks like stepping into Zarahemla), its food, and the people (a lot of them speak a native language called Anahuac). The only thing the Huasteca lacks to become a stake is, yep, you guessed it, Priesthood and tithing payers. So Thursday, Pres called me and told me that today I'm heading down to the Huasteca, to the flagship city of the district, a town called Huejutla (whe-hut-la). It's the farthest south that the mission goes. I will be the Zone Leader down there and we are going to have a Priesthood project going on down there from what Pres was telling me. I think it will be my last area. How crazy is that? So yeah, the goal is to get that district turned into a stake so that they can govern themselves. Needless to say, I am really excited!
I have never worked in a pueblo in my whole mission. All my areas have actually been like right down town. I am sooo excited to get out there. My companion will be Elder Gonzalez. He will be the other Zone leader.
The Huasteca is really unique here in the mission. Our mission is cool because it has 3 different cultures. Victoria has northern Mexico Culture, Tampico has its own, and the Huasteca has its own as well. All the food, people, everything changes with the regions.  It's really cool.
I am also kind of sad to be leaving Tancol. We have had some great success here and its been so fun to see. I'm really confident that all 3 baptismal dates we have right now will get baptized which is good. Elder Johns is coming here, so I leave Tancol in great hands.
Momma, if you can holla at Special K and Hubbs and Mitch and tell those clowns to drop me a line next week I would love that. I love you all. Have a great week this week! The Church is true. Revelation is real and we all have right to receive it. I love you all so much!
Elder Stockard