Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 27, 2013

What up Familllyyyyy!
Yo what's poppin! This week has been really really good not gonna lie. It's nice to have my comp be another Zone Leader now as well, I am loving that. Elder Fernandez is great, we have both had some great ideas and we have been able to really brainstorm and come up with some good plans and ideas for the zone. He and I also had a really productive week in our area as well. Tancol is on the rise, people. We had 17 less actives in church, set some new baptismal dates, and found a couple of really good new investigators. Overall it was a really fun week.
First of all, Momma, I am so proud of you for your exercise goals and for completing them! Great job, that is so awesome, I am so happy for the whole fam training for this half marathon! That will be great! You have all motivated me and I have finally lost the gut I developed in Victoria and in the offices from all the tacos al pastor and tortas de la barda that I ate in that time, haha. I have been following your example and exersising every day as well! Ryan's job sounds awesome and I'm happy for him that he loves it so much.
This week Elder Fernandez and I put together our plan for the zone for June. We are focusing on a few different things: First off, we are focusing on teaching all the missionaries in the zone (myself included haha) the importance of the line of authority. This is one of the differences between serving in the US and in Mexico I think, here sometimes the wards fall into a bad habit of being used to the missionaries doing everything in the ward, preparing the sacrament, teaching gospel principles, giving talks very often, organinzing activities and almost literally directing the ward counsel meetings sometimes. The Obra de Salvacion has been great, but it's also kind of fed that perception a little bit I think, so this month we are really focusing and teaching the zone to work more with the ward within our realm and also using the ward mission leader, that way he can learn his responsibility as well and the work can progress at a more even pace, instead of being really good when the missionaries have success and really bad when they don't, does that make sense? So yeah, we are going to teach the line of authority this month and also we've set the goal that all the zone has weekly meetings with their ward mission leader as well. Haha before the mission I didn't even know that calling existed, who is the Fallon 4th ward mission leader? We are also putting an emphasis on praying better as a zone.  Preach my Gopsel says that prayer is something that requires real effort and that is sooooooo true, good prayers are not just kneel down for a minute and then done, it's something that takes work. We're going to look to get better in that area.
This week was interviews for our zone with President Jordan.  The inspiration that that man recieves never ceases to amaze me, I am so blessed to serve in this mission with him. This week I was also reflecting a lot on the plan of salvation and how incredibly perfect it is. It made me think about the Andros family and how that is EXACTLY how the plan of salvation is supposed to work: Two people who love each other make covenants with God, and then those people teach correct principles to their children and so on and so forth throughout time and eternity. 10 children all sealed in the temple to returned missionaries is an accomplishment and I'm so grateful to have been born as a part of that family. Thanks Gma and Gpa!
Well I love you all so much! I hope you all have a great week and that we can all remember how incredibly blessed we are! Love you all!
Elder Stockard

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013

What's Poppin' Family?:
Yo, that is so sweet that Elder Oaks came to the promised land of Fallon, Nevada! That is sick, that doesn't happen that often, what a great experience. Also, way big ups to President Williams on the inviting some recent converts to the meeting beforehand. I'm not sure what the statistics are on that, but I'm sure its a pretty high retention rate for recent converts who get to personally meet and listen to an Apostle. Haha, that is so cool. I'm glad that you all got to hear Elder Oaks. I like him because he is really direct. His talk in October on children was sweet. I always imagine the Quorum of the 12 kind of throwing all the really tough topics to Elder Oaks and Elder Holland due to their incredible power and eloquence when they speak. I would guess that Elder Christofferson is in training to take on that position as well someday soon.
I'm so glad to hear that all is going well at home. Have a great last week of school, Momma. Sounds like the marathon training is going really well. Keep up the good work in everything.
This week in Tancol was ward conference. It was a really good turnout, it was the highest attendance that we've had since I got here, like 120 or 130 I would guess. Between the two sets of Elders there were like 30ish less actives in church, 3 received callings, one is going to get the Melchizedek priesthood and also we had Paloma's baptism and confirmation this weekend. It was a really successful weekend all in all. Things are on the way up in Barrio Tancol and in all of Mexico really. In the last quarterly report of the church, throughout all of Mexico, church attendance was up 6%. That is ridiculous! There are a million members of the church here in Mexico, so a 6% rise means that an average of 60,000 more members attend church here in Mexico this last quarter each week! How sweet is that?
I had a really good first week with Elder Fernandez, he is a really good Elder and now that I'm not the only Zone Leader, it's also fun to share ideas and work together on things for both the area and the zone. Oh another cool bit of news: Zona Chairel is getting 4 new missionaries tomorrow, a bunch of people finally got their visas so our zone is getting bigger which will be really good. In these next two changes, the whole mission is going to get a lot bigger! Only 6 missionaries go home between now and September and like 30ish arrive so there are going to be lots of new areas opening up! It's such an exciting time to be a missionary, the work is progressing everywhere in the world as never before. The Lord is truly hastening his work.
I started reading the New Testament along with the Book of Mormon this week. I've never read the New Testament all the way through, but I'm reading 4 pages a day, which will get me finishing it on the 15th of September, and then I'm going to read the D&C at the same pace to finish both before I come home. I'm also reading 9 pages in the BofM everyday which will help me complete my New Year's resolution to read it 4 times this year. I also did what Dad told me and started setting some goals for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, after the mish and for my life. I've got some really good ones, some that are going to be REALLLLY hard, but really good I think.
Well, it's been another incredible week. This week I don't really know why, but 2 Nephi 31:10 really impacted me. It's really so true. I love you all so much and I pray for you all daily. Have a great week and keep doin' work back home. Tell the LeBlancs that I'll be praying for Mitchell. #143 #GMC$ #JakeHeaps
Elder Stockard

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013

What's poppin' y'all!!!
Yo, so it was great to hear from you all. I can't believe how much Ryan's voice has changed. Haha. It makes the mission that much more enjoyable to know how well you are all doing back at home. I said that yesterday, but it truly is one of the biggest blessings of my mission to have a family that is doing so well. I love you all!!!!. Mom, I hope you had an incredible Mother's Day. I'm sure you did. I just hope that you always know that you were the best mother I could have ever asked for. What you wrote me today about scripture study was maybe the best gift that you gave me of my childhood: the attitude and demonstration of diligence in studying the scriptures. Nothing else has been more of an impact for good on my life that I can think of than the habits that you and Dad instilled in us kids of without fail having daily prayer and scripture study. Thank you so much for everything.
So yeah, not a whole lot else to say. I got my new comp today. His name is Elder Fernandez. He is my first Mexican comp that I've had from Mexico City. All my other Mexican Comps have been from the northern part of the country. I'm super excited, this is his first time being Zone leader and this is maybe my last transfer as a zone leader so I'm just really focused on teaching him everything I know and also learning from him. I actually don't know him very well, but he has an excellent reputation as an Elder that is very obedient so that should be really fun. It's always really fun to have a comp who really wants to obey because both just wanna go out every day and work hard. President always told me something that's really true. He always said that for those who commit to obey, there are no restrictions. At first it sounds kinda weird but when I thought about it, I realized it's really true. Think about it, if the rule says get up at 6:30, but you already get up at 6:15, what kind of a restriction is that rule? Cool huh?
So yeah, this week should be dope with Paloma's baptism. We are excited for that. I'm also really excited because Elder Parry is in my same ward, and now Elder Grill, Elder Salazar, and Elder Garry are all new zone leaders, so I will see them pretty regularly. I'm excited for that.
Today I finished the Book of Mormon. I love that book. I love it, I love it, I love it. I also set a new goal. I'm keeping my goal that I wanna read the B of M 3 more times this year, but also, starting tomorrow, I'm going to start to read the New Testament. I've never read it all the way through and I want to. I plan to finish it September 15 by reading 4 pages a day and then I plan to start the Doctrine and Covenants and read it at the same pace of 4 pages a day to finish it by the end of my mission. That's the goal. Help hold me to it familyyyyy.
I love you all so much. Have a great week and live it up!
Elder Stockard

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 8, 2013

Yo, so how fast does the time fly!!! It's straight nuts, right?  Haha, so totally sorry that I forgot last Monday to tell you that I would be writing you all this Wednesday, totally my bad! We changed our P-Day in order to go to the temple today!!!!!!!!!!! It was so dope, so worth it every single time. I also got your package today with the two study guides from Brother Parker's class. Thanks so much, I have without a doubt the greatest family in the world.
It makes me so happy to hear the the missionary work is going so well back in the 4th ward. Being a missionary has made me really see just what an incredible difference that good supportive members can make in the lives of recent converts. It makes me really happy to hear all the missionary work that you are all doing! Great job.
So the temple was awesome today! I learn so much every single time that I go. I think I'm one of the few missionaries that has been to 4 temples on his mission. Provo, Nashville, Dallas, and Tampico. Pretty cool huh? Temples are some of the most gorgeous buildings on the face of the planet. Temples also are one of the greatest blessings of the restoration as well. It's such a privilege every time I get to go.
This week in Tancol was pretty solid. We have like between 7-10 less actives that either now have a calling or are in the process of receiving a calling just on our HALF of the ward. Tancol B, Elder Parry and Elder Hancock also have a bunch. The work is really going well with the reactivation. As far as with investigators, Paloma will be baptized next Saturday and we were also able to find a few new investigators this week that have some good potential. We will see how everything goes with them. You asked about Ernesto, Momma.  Ernesto served in Chiapas, Mexico like 8 years ago. He is sweet, he is actually now the 1st counselor in the Elder's Quorum presidency.
Thanks for sharing with me about your studies in the Book of Mormon. I love the Alma chapters on the sons of Mosiah. They are some of the most incredible missionaries this world has ever known and their efforts changed the course of the lives of generations of Lamanites. I was actually reading those chapters a few weeks ago and I learned something new that I would like to share with all of you. I hope it has the same effect on you as it had on me: So Mosiah chapter 24 is a famous chapter for the way that the Lord answers the prayers of the people of Alma who are put under bondage by the Lamanites led by the wicked priests of King Noah; but a few weeks ago, a verse caught my eye that I had never really noticed before. Its verse 4. It says that the Priests of King Noah began to teach the Lamanites in the Language of the Nephites. At first I didn't pay any attention to this verse, but at a second thought, it really took my attention. Think about it, this verse refers to a time between the year 145-121bc. Although there seems to be no real significance, this verse shows us something really important: The Lord prepares his people. The Lord was teaching the Lamanites the language of the Nephites 50ish years before a few powerful missionaries came to their children and grandchildren, teaching them the everlasting gospel also in the language of the Nephites. They brought scriptures also in the language of the Nephites. The Lord prepares his people to hear and accept the gospel in grand and mysterious ways, but he always does it and Mosiah 24:4 is evidence of this.
Well, I am doing great, I am really loving being a missionary, its an experience that has and is changing my life. Tampico, Mexico is exactly the mission that I need. I am so blessed to be here and I'm loving every minute. I wish I could say that I really miss you all, but I would be lying. I can say very honestly that I love you all though. I hope and trust that all is well. Have a great week everyone and I'll catch y'all next week.
Elder Stockard