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