Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013

What's poppin' Familllllly:
Yo, so what is up with all the craziness in the Stockard household??? I am almost positive that two letters ago Ryan and Hadley were going to prom with Logan and Baylee and now Ry just went to prom again???? And I'm also pretty sure that last letter you all were telling me about Lauren starting college and the school year starting and now she has just finished her first year?? Fam, I am seriously amazed at how fast the time is flying, how well the work is going, how much I am growing, and at how many times I can eat Tacos al Pastor and they still taste good ;) Lolzz. No but for real, the time is straight blazing. Ryan, major congrats on the Golf Tourney and the ESPN contest. That is some major swagggga boi. Not gonna lie that is way dope. Laur... your a boss in the classroom, nuff said. Whatever guy you marry is going to be very lucky cuz if he ever loses his job, he can just let you go make billions.
This last week was our Leadership counsel, which until this past month was called the Zone Leaders counsel, but now has a changed name because it now includes sister Missionaries cuz our mission, just like every other mission in the world, is gearing up to receive a ton of sister missionaries. But it was a sweet meeting. Zone Leaders in our mission are expected to make a plan of action for their zone each month. My plan is one that I really put a lot of time, effort, organization, and planning into and it worked our really well. It maps out 3 weaknesses, 2 strengths, and 4 focus areas that I want us to have as a zone. We presented them in the Leadership counsel and also learned from President Jordan. I really hope that Dad can meet Pres one day because it never ceases to amaze me at how similar they are. The comparisons are endless and both are incredibly observant, intelligent people. But yeah, every chance to learn from Pres is a real treat as Miles would say. We actually had two chances to do so this last week cuz we had the Leadership counsel and then Zone Conference as well.
As for the work, things are going well. It is a huge adjustment for all missionary work in Mexico because so much of the success was based on contacting in the streets and knocking doors before the obra de salvacion and now all of our finding efforts are done through the active and less active members of the church. We are really seeing good progress in doing it... It's a matter of diligence.  You really have to ask in EVERY lesson and opportunity if you wanna get references. But we are doing it. The reactivation is going really well also. We have been reactivating a ton of priesthood, one really cool guy is named Ernesto. Ernesto is an former missionary who fell away a few years ago when he had to work on Sundays.  Now his work has changed, but he continued with the bad habit of not going to church. But Ernesto is the bomb, we showed up and really didn't even need to convince him to come to church, we just taught him, invited him, and he came. The Bishop has really been supporting our coordination efforts as well.  He has been constantly interviewing and paying attention to all of the less actives that we are working with. He interviewed Ernesto and Ernesto gave a talk yesterday in church, is going to receive a calling next week, and has been going to church for a month straight now. It really is cool to see how the Lord prepares people, members, non members, recent converts, whatever.  The Lord prepares people to accept or re-accept the gospel in all part of his vineyard. Paloma is going to be baptized next week so she will have her interview this week with Elder Parry.  Patricia didn't go this week, but every lesson with her has been off the CHAIN! The spirit has been crazy strong so I'm holding on to hope that we are going to get her to the water still!
I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can't explain it, it is a priceless, wonderful gift. I'm so grateful for my family and group of friends who have helped me to live it and appreciate it all my life. I'm so grateful for this time that I have as a missionary. I am straight loving this time here in Tancol with Elder Quiñones and Elder Parry in the same ward. It's like heaven on earth, not gonna lie. I hope Pres keeps us all together here in Tancol cuz its just raining blessings here. I love you all. Have an incredible week and know that all is better than well down here in Tampico. #143 #GMC$ #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22, 2013

Que Onda Familia!
How is everything up north?  Yo, so Ryan's story that he sent me about the whole ESPN thing is pretty dope. I would love to hear more about that. Sounds like Zion prospers up north in Fallon. Ryan, respect to the just planning to go out and run 13 miles instead of training, that totally sounds like something that I would do. #TMS.
Yeah, but everything is poppin' down here as well. Elder Quiñones and I are killin' it here in Tancol, not gonna lie. The Lord is blessing us like crazy. So yeah, the story about Patricia gets better. She looks like she should be pretty solid, she also has a daughter named Fernanda. We taught them twice last week and in the second lesson we set a baptismal date with both of them. Elder Quiñones did it, and he was really nervous, but he did it really well. It's funny how the things that are new to us are usually the things that scare us as well... Once we know what to expect, the fear usually goes away, I think that one reason Mormon funerals aren't the saddest thing in the world, because we have the plan of Salvation. But yeah, they look pretty solid.
This past Tuesday was one of the best days of my mission. We taught a few really good lessons, in which the spirit was really super strong and then on top of that, I got a call from my boy Elder Agren, who is one of the assistants right now saying that he was up in Victoria working and he was with the Elders in Mainero. He was also working with Christian, one of my converts who was out working with the missionaries. Christian has all his mission papers done and is just waiting on his interview with the Stake Pres and then he will turn his papers in and get his call!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That made me soooooooooo happy! So SO happy. Besides my fam, I can't think of anything in this whole life that has made me happier than hearing that the people that I was blessed to come to know and see the change in their lives, hearing that they are doing well and enduring to the end is the happiest, best feeling in the entire world. It's something very hard to describe but it is something that I will never forget. I can't wait to hear where he gets called to. I hope to do something similar to what Brandon does for me, and write him, or at least email him every week for his entire mission.
Barrio Tancol continues to be blessed as well by the Obra de Salvation.  Two less actives that we have been working with received callings yesterday and another was advanced in the Priesthood. The wards are realllllly growing here and I come to know more and more every day that this plan is truly inspired for this time and place. It is a blessing to be apart of it.
I can't explain how much I love being a missionary, and how much it scares me to see how fast the time is moving. It seems as though Elder Quiñones and I are busier and busier every week and that every week is faster than the last. My focus is just maximize the time that I have and love every minute. Happiness is truly a decision and not a circumstance or a place. I love y'all so much. #143 #GMC$ #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013

What's buzzin' FAMILY!
Yo, what's good up North?  Hope it's as good as things here down south! Things are going better than I could have ever imagined at this stage in my mission and in my life. A year ago today, I would have never ever guessed that I would be sitting here where I am today having had the experiences that I've had so far, meeting the people, learning new doctrine, and having eaten so many delicious tacos and tortas, ha ha. I have been so blessed in my mission up to this point and my only goal is to keep having such incredible experiences and meeting such incredible people in the time that I still have left. Time is really flying, I can't even believe it!
I'm so happy to hear about all of you doing so well with all your fitness goals, Momma and Alyssa 6 miles in an hour is very impressive. Congrats! Dad you as well, keep going on it. If only fitness were like the doctrine of Christ in that once in gets into our hearts, it can bring about instant changes that are permanent. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite function that way. ha ha.
Things are going super well here in Tancol, I'm so happy with the work and the members and the way that things are progressing. Our focus on finding, teaching, baptizing, and reactivating priesthood holders is really paying off. A former missionary that we are teaching and helping get active named Ernesto accepted a calling as the 1st counselor in the Elder's Quorum last night, and Bernardo is going to receive the Melchizedek priesthood in 2 weeks and is going to get a calling as well. The other callings are being issued weekly and the ward is really growing. Even with church starting this year at 8am, the attendance has gone way up and we are having like 110 members every week in sacrament meeting. We also are having a TON of success with finding new investigators right now as well. When Elder De Hoyos of the 70 came to the mission, he taught and focused on how we can find new investigators through the members now that contacting is off limits. Elder Quiñones and I have really been trying to apply these principles and it's really been working, this week we found 6 new investigators that really have potential.
We also had a TOTAL miracle! Check this out homies: So we finished a lesson at 6:30 in the farthest part of our area and we had another lesson close to there at 7:30, so we had an hour with no real solid plan. Not having a ton of viable options of people to visit in that area for an hour, we decided to look for some former investigators that we had a list of that other Elders had taught. As we were doing that it was BLAZING hot and we weren't having any type of success. It almost felt as though we were just killing time... but we kept at it, looking and looking, when we decided to head up one street. As we did so, a lady getting out of her car says, "Hi Elders, how are you, I'm Sister Prado from Barrio Modelo... Oh and by the way, my friend who lives here at this house wants to get baptized, let me introduce her to you!" SICK!!!! How crazy is it that?  At the exact moment that we were walking up that street, la Hna Prado also pulled up to her friend's house, to visit her, who lives in our area, who had wanted to be baptized for a while? #MIRACLE. Her friends name is Patricia and we set an appointment to go teach her tomorrow so we will see how it goes.
In other news, President Jordan called me yesterday and said he wanted to come by and drop off something for me... It was a little weird but I was just like, whatever. So he shows up with a red bag that had a tag saying "Love, the Swapps" Hahaha, they had had a mission president conference in Mexico City and the Swapps had made some AWESOME, American, chocolate chip cookies and had given them to the Jordans to give to me. That was so nice of them, I want to thank them so much, Grams if you can call President Swapp and tell him thanks so much and also pass me their email address I want to thank them. They are super busy I'm sure, but that was so nice of them to do and I loved the cookies.
In other news, word had it that my convert Christian, the 18 year old guy that was a miracle baptism of Castillo and I in Victoria, HAS TURNED IN HIS MISSION PAPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so stoked for him, it makes me so happy to hear how well he is doing. Also, I got a letter from la Familia Preza this week... Let me just say that every hard day, every drop of sweat, every tear, every appointment that falls through, every second that I haven't wanted to work hard or obey, but I've done it anyway, IT IS ALL WORTH IT. It's all worth it for these wonderful people who have humbly listened, studied, prayed about, and come to know the truth of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ and all the blessings that come from it. IT'S ALL TRUE and it's all for our happiness. The gospel changes people, I feel it changing me and I see it changing others. I am so grateful for my mission and what it's teaching me. I love you all so much but I'm so glad that my time as a missionary isn't up yet. I'm so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and for the blessings of the gospel. I'm so grateful for all of you, my family and friends that support and love me. Thank you all so much. Have a great week. IT'S ALL TRUE! #143 #GMC$ #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013

Yo, so we just finished one of the two greatest weekends of the year. Wow, wasn't that an incredible conference? Momma, to start off, when I heard Elder Scott's talk about creating a Christ-centered home and then letting others openly come into it, especially friends, I couldn't stop thinking of you and how well you did that. Our crib was always the place to be and I am now convinced that that was the reason. Just so you know I was thinking about you when I heard that talk.
Wow, so I'm happy to hear that everyone took questions with them to Conference.  I did as well, I had 8 questions and I left with probably like 270,000 answers. General Conference is just like a banquet of revelation. Now what I'm doing is taking all the answers I got and setting specific, measurable goals that support my new year's resolutions and applying them over a timetable from here until October. I really felt strongly in this conference that the conference is designed to give us the guidance that we need for the next 6 months. I also heard 4 themes that were really reoccurring throughout the whole conference. I would be curious if you all heard the same themes as I did or different ones. The 4 that I saw over and over again were: 1. Temptation is at an all-time and extremely dangerous high. We live in times when Satan is really attacking everyone, especially the youth and the family. 2. The laws of God do not and will not change. The laws of man and of society might, but God's laws are eternal. 3. God is our loving Heavenly Father and also lots about the nature of the Godhead. and 4. Missionary work. I heard all 4 of these a ton of different times. There were so many awesome talks. We are so blessed to have a prophet of God on the Earth today, and even more blessed with the knowledge that Thomas S. Monson is that prophet. I think my favorite talk of all was Elder Bednar's on the law of chastity or Elder Uchtdorf's from the Priesthood session. My eyes were opened with Elder Bednar's talk: Chastity is the only eternal creative power that we are entrusted with here in this life. It is also a celestial and I would say an exalted law. How could the Lord ever entrust someone who has unrepentantly abused that power here in this life, with the eternal power to create and rule worlds? It's all a test. It's all about obedience. I also liked President Monson's talk Sunday morning.
Besides that, the work keeps steaming forward here in Tancol. It is like I've died and gone to heaven to be here in the same ward with Elder Parry. It is like wayyyyy too much fun to talk with him every night and to see him often in the chapel. We are really getting some good things going working with the members here in the ward. It's a huge area geographically, not sure how to compare it, but it's big, Momma. The Bishop is a humble guy who has really jumped on board with all the work that we've been giving him to give interviews, assignments and callings. We have 9 inactive priesthood holders that we are working with on our side of the ward and we are visiting all of them with him so that he can get to know them and get a time when he can have an interview with them. He is planning to give 10 of our less actives callings next Sunday in Sacrament meeting. The ward has grown like crazy and I think everyone is truly catching the wave. We have a few new investigators who look promising and a baptism coming up on the 20th or the 28th. I'm really happy with the way things are going.
I got a really cool letter from Brandon today about angels and how many angels there really are who are around us and helping us. I never cease to be grateful to Brandon for the letters that he sends me, making me laugh, teaching me, humbling me, and making me laugh some more. I am really grateful to him and Lisa and all the Bird fam and all my extended fam who is always supporting me, sending me things, and praying for me. Thank you all so much.
I love you all. The church is true. So glad you all had a great time in Utah and at conference. How did Ladamien like it? Have a great week. Love you all, but don't really miss you that much ;) lolzz jk. 
#143 #GMC$ #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 1, 2013

Yo what upppppp? Haha I've been teaching Elder Quinones English and I'm teaching him to use the word "finna" instead of "gonna." He's getting really good at it now. He now tells me, "Hey, I finna shower" and "Hey, I finna sleep" at night. Yeah, you know, I wanted to be sure and teach him the really essential parts of the English language first such as "finna" and I think our next lesson will be to use the word "swagga" correctly... You know, just the basics. Hahaha. No, I'm teaching him better English than that, don't be too worried.  Haha  How is everyone?  Glad to hear that all is well in Spring break back in the USA. I was just thinking this morning and wondering about when Travis was gonna head off to China. But yeah, there he goes. Haha, he will love it and he is going to do great.
As for me, today starts a new transfer and it is going to be SWEEEEET here in Chairel, wanna know why? Elder Quinones and I are serving in Tancol "A" but there is another set of Elders in Tancol "B" and the newest elder here in Tancol B is....... ELDER PARRYYY!!!!!!!! Yes, that's right we are going to be serving here in the same ward Elder Parry and I! I am soooooo excited and we are going to communicate every night because he is going to be one of the district leaders here in the zone. It is going to be off the chain!  All in all, the zone looks like it is going to be really good. They are opening up a new area in the zone, another area for Sister missionaries, so now the zone will be 10 elders and 4 sisters.  I am really excited for it.
This week was really good. It was really busy. Omar's baptism was Wednesday and it was super good. There was a really good turnout of support, we had to have the service in the Chapel because not everyone would have fit in the baptistry. That's always a good sign. Lucero, his mom bore her testimony as well and Hno Edgar performed the ordinance. It was a really good night. Omar and Lucero getting active has also completely reactivated one of Elder Rindy's converts here. His name is Danny and he is Omar's neighbor and best friend. We are still working to reactivate Danny's mom but she will be a little tougher still. Seeing this and also reading in Alma 25 ( I think) where it talks about all the Anit-Nephi-Lehis that were converted from the Lamanites, but how the Lamanites who lived near the Amulonites and the Amalikites weren't converted has made me realize even more the importance of having good friends and acquaintances. Many times we become who our friends are, as is the case for the better (like with Omar and Danny) or for the worse (like with these Lananites that lived around the Amulonites). I'm so grateful for my group of friends that I've had all my life and the examples they have been.
This week is one of the two greatest weeks of the year because... It's conference time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love General Conference. I wanted to share something with everyone that I did last conference that really worked. Feel free to apply it in your conference watching as well. The week before last conference, in a spirit of prayer, I made a list of all the questions, concerns, doubts and problems that I currently had in my life, and I wrote them in a question form on a piece of paper. I left quite a few lines in between each question in order to write the answers. Then, I took this sheet of paper to conference and prayed to be able to receive the answers I was looking for in the words of the prophets and general authorities. As each speaker spoke, something they said touched me and answered one of these questions almost every time. I left the conference with PAGES of revelation directly related to the problems or questions I had at that time. It was a really spiritual experience for me and I invite anyone who wants to try it to do so, I know you will find answers.
Well, That's the biggest news from my hood this week. My former comp Elder Castro is the new Assistant here in the mission and I'm really excited for him. He will do great. To answer your question, yes Momma, I'll be able to go to la Familia Preza's sealing, which will be something that I'm really looking forward to. Well, all is well. I love you all so much. Have a great week. #143 #GMC$ #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard