Monday, February 11, 2013

February 9, 2013

What's Poppin' Family:
Yo, so right now is my 5th straight P-day that we don't have P-day, haha. I actually kind of like it. My mission has taught me that time really flies when you're working hard. So this week has been really super crazy, this transfer that we have right now is a 3 week transfer in order to adjust to the new amounts of time in the MTC (I think that I already told y'all that), and we have received new missionaries now every week of this transfer. Last night, 6 visa waiters got here fresh out of the MTC in Provo, haha. I honestly love receiving new missionaries, it's like one of my favorite parts of my assignment, not gonna lie. We have a pretty good system set up with President and Sister Jordan now for doing it. What happens is that the Americans always get here to Tampico really late at night, well like 8:30, so about 8:20, Pres. and Sister Jordan go over to the airport to pick up the Elders. At the same time, Elder Salazar and I finish up our last appointment and go and pick up like 6 kilos of tacos de trompo (its like these pork tacos that are like a heart attack in a corn tortilla but they be off the chain, momma!) and we all meet up at the mission home. We hang out with Pres and the new elders, eat, talk, and really get them excited about the mission. Then when they finish, they always stay at our apartment for the night, which all the missionaries love because of the temple front view. Then in the morning we get up and come over to the offices and go through a ton of training for all of them. That's what we are doing right now. It's really fun to see new missionaries come in, I especially love receiving new Americans because it brings back memories of how I felt when I got here and I can relate to them. It really wasn't that long ago since I was in their shoes, but a lot has changed since that time. Almost all new missionaries are the same; super culture shocked, super excited to be here, and super ready to work, which is such a cool thing to see and such a good attitude to have.
Besides that, things are incredible here in Tampico, not gonna lie. The work continues progressing at a lightning fast pace. One Familia has their baptismal interviews today which we are really excited for, they are an incredible familia. They know a lot about the Bible and are loving learning more and more about the Book of Mormon. They were actually a reference from President Jordan, they have family members who listened to and accepted the missionaries in another missions, and they went looking for the missionaries, and have now attended church the past 4 weeks! Chris and Ber should be getting married in the next week or two and then baptized very shortly after. This past week we had like 11 menos activos in church as well so the work is really moving forward in an incredible way. I'm also really enjoying my time here in the offices as well. Being in the offices as a missionary is an experience that is really different from being full time in the field, and I'm really grateful to have this experience. I also think that it's exactly what I needed at this time in my mission to really progress.
Something that I keep learning about every week is the law of sacrifice. I'm learning more and more about how sacrifice always leads to increased faith, and how once we learn and accept the law of obedience, sacrifice is one of the best ways to really show the Lord that we love him. I'm earnestly looking for and trying to find things that I can sacrifice in order to increase my faith. It's really really hard. Sacrifice isn't easy, but my testimony is really really growing of the principle of sacrifice as I look to apply it more in my life.
I'm glad to hear that all is well back home and in Virginia. Hey, cool story for the Martin Family while everyone is there together. Yesterday one of the new Elders we received is from North Carolina and like totally knows Uncle Quinn. His name is Elder Holladay. I told him that I had fam in North Carolina and asked him if he knew any Martins, which he said he did. So I showed him a picture that I somehow had of the Martin family (I think they sent it to me in a package, thanks Martins!) and he like totally knows them! Really small world here in the church.
I was really glad to hear that Travis is doing well in the MTC, I was thinking about him some in this last week, I hope he's doing well. He will be an incredible missionary.
I hope that everyone who reads this knows that I really love you all. I hope that you also know that I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true. I finished it this last Sunday and started it along with all the Misión México Tampico this last Monday and every single day the spirit confirms to me the truthfulness of that great book. It's true, it's true, it's true. There is no doubt. I hope that every investigator and less active that I teach for the rest of my mission and the rest of my life can know at the end of our lesson that I know that that book is true. It's is a loving Heavenly Father's tool to show unto the world that he loves all of his children, wherever they live, it is his tool for restoring, and clearly teaching us his gospel or the things which we need to do in order to be happy and to qualify to live with him.
President this week told us to think of a creative "diagram" of how to explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to share with you what mine was and I'll end with this. I hope this helps someone who reads it: I want to compare this life to a big, long road. In this example, the Atonement is going to be like a gas station. We, as people, are going to be like a car. We bring our car to the gas station to get gasoline so that we can move forward in our car. We come to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ as a way to gain faith in him, which faith moves on us and makes us act. Our faith comes from Christ's Atonement just like gasoline comes from a gas station. After we use the Atonement and gain faith it moves us forward and, if we have sufficient faith, we can overcome all trials in our lives. In the same way, after putting gas in a car, we can overcome even the worst roads and continue forward in our car. Eventually though, our car is going to need more gas, just like we will always need the Atonement in our lives. Repentance is like once again stopping at the gas station to refuel our car, or to use the Atonement and once again, as we repent, we gain even more faith which once again propels us forward, ready to face all the trials that are placed in our path. With this combo of added faith and repentance we can now be baptized, which puts us on the smooth, paved highway which leads to salvation. Now, even the best highways occasionally have bumps and trails, as will our lives even after baptism, but the good thing is that on the smooth big highways, there is almost an endless supply of gas stations, from which we can always refuel our car when we get low on gas. In the same way, as long as we stay on the smooth highway of living the gospel, we will frequently and faithfully return to the Atonement of Jesus Christ as a way to heal our wounds and overcome our trials. There is no limit to the number of time in which we can repent and there is no limit to the amount of faith that we can gain from doing so in this life. This is the principle of Endure to the End. Progression is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about, it's all true and it's all for our benefit. I love you all so much. Have a great week. #143 #GMC$ #SPECIALK #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

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