Monday, October 27, 2014

10/27/14 - 8th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

Dear Followers,

Well, this week was awesome as usual in Duncan. It started off last Monday with us havin' an awesome preparation day. We cut our own hair to save money with clippers we got from our bishop. I have a semi hipster haircut that's awesome! We had a good day. On Tuesday, we visited "N" and "K" (as usual) and watched a video about temples with them called Between Heaven and Earth. It was awesome. Our stomach's were growling the whole time, "N" and "K" and us were laughing super hard. They're hilarious. We had our district meeting on Wednesday and it was awesome. We had the coveted McNasty at McDonald's and it was truly epic. (I was emailing back and forth with Colton today and had to ask him what the McNasty was.  This was his reply. McNasty=McDouble + McChicken. You tear the McDouble patties apart and put the McChicken in the middle. Mega sandwich! It's delicious!!!! Oh Colton, you will be ready for college when you get home!)  We had a great lesson with an investigator named "S", etc. It's raining super hard here, now. And it's pretty cold. It's like, Canada, or something! ;) I'm loving it, though. We have gotten a lot of chances to talk with everyone we can see, and that is awesome. We met a man named "J" who doesn't like God because of what his life has ended up as, etc. We are meeting with him on Tuesday to discuss the plan of salvation. He seems really interested in what we have to say. He's feeling that Spirit! We had to walk on Saturday, and so we did. It was pouring rain. There's no protection at that point. It's just pure wet...all over! We ate at a member's home--the Zeck's--that day, and it was super good. Spare ribs, potatoes, etc. They gave me some blackberry juice to pour in my cup. I did so. Then, I discovered that my cup was upside down.... Blackberry juice everywhere! Oh, man, living up to my father's legacy! ;) My companion can't stop laughing still! It was pretty embarrassingly funny. Then, we went to church and "N" asked us if we wanted to see the handcuffs. We were a little confused, and then he pulled out these handcuffs out of his jacket pocket.
"What are you doin' with those, "N"?" we asked.
"Don't ask me!" said "N".
"Are you going to take over the ward today?"
"Yeah..." said "N" with a creepy grin. Oh, man. It was pretty funny. So yeah, we're having a great time up here! The church is true! The gospel of Jesus Christ is literally flawless. I love it! As long as we live as the lord would have us live, we will find peace in this life and a fullness of joy in the life to come.

Elder Stock
I think someone might be missing the desert.
 New haircut!
 He's never needed a coat and beanie to keep warm at home....and it's only fall!  Can't wait to see him all bundled up in the winter.

Monday, October 20, 2014

10/20/14 - 7th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

Another great's Missionary Mail time!!!!!
Dear Missionary Stalkers:

Hello! It's rainy in Duncan! As an Arizonan, I love it! Well, the mission is awesome. As usual! This week, I don't necessarily have too many crazy spiritual experiences. Or maybe I do, but I've gotten so used to them that they're normal... Either way, it was great week and more than that: this week was actually FUN! What?! Fun and mission in the same e-mail?! Yeah, I went there. Let's divulge:
So, Monday was great. fantastic. We ended the day by teaching some investigators about baptism and 2 Nephi 31, etc. Which was awesome. Oh, and now we have sister missionaries in our area. Translation: Elder Orr and I have to start working SUPER hard now to keep up with their work. Man, just when you get into a groove, the Lord kicks it up a notch. What the heck? Does he want us to improve and learn from challenges in order to grow and become like Him someday or something?! Anyways, we then saw our recent converts N and K on Tuesday. These guys are hilarious! We watched a bunch of LDS videos with them to keep them entertained, and then we asked them if they wanted to start to prepare to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. They said that that would be too hard. They just want to sit there in church. Wow! Well, at least they're honest! I wish I was courageous enough to say that back when I was twelve! "Yeah, bishop...if I get the priesthood...I'll just have even MORE'll take a rain check." Kidding! Love the priesthood! We also saw a crazy Celtic guy that has a ton of stained glass in his house and a cat the size of a small child!
He was hilarious to talk to. And we're going back around Halloween to see his decorations.
Wednesday, we helped someone move into their home, and we talked with our recent convert, J, about the concerns she still has. Her testimony is growing so powerfully and she can literally feel the Holy Ghost in her life. That's awesome! We ended the night by talking about skinwalkers and ghost stories over the phone with Elder Gawrys from Campbell River.... Scary stuff! Thursday was awesome. We helped a potential investigator plant some trees in his yard, and he was super appreciative. He's looking for a church, but he's still not too sure yet. Boy, he's so ready! I love seeing how the Lord literally prepares people to receive this gospel. We went with our awesome bishop to contact some former investigators, and ran into this crazy guy with beer cans and cigarettes COVERING his floor. The gospel's for everybody! So we went in and got into a huge discussion about God with Him. He told us we were pretty nice for being open minded, but he's already figured out what God wants for him. So he kicked us out. Yeah, man...I'm not sure God WANTS you to have addictions to nasty substances, but, you know, who am I to judge? ;) 
Friday was the day that we were compelled to be humble. All of our plans fell through, and so we were finding (tracting, street contacting, etc.) all day. It was nuts. We saw literally no success. So, we had a super spiritual companionship inventory where we set major goals for this next transfer of how we are going to become awesome missionaries and consecrate ourselves to  the work. It was awesome. We then met with Big Papa, one of our investigators, and we drove to Nanaimo for stake conference. The whole zone went to the meeting because President Burt was there. As I was sitting there, some guy taps my shoulder. I turned around and BOOM!
Elder McCown, in the flesh!
Whoa! He's being trained in Port Alberni, so he's in my zone! It was awesome to see him and his excitement for the work. I'm so pumped to be serving in the same zone as him. We stayed the night in Nanaimo South's apartment. Me and Elders Orr, Burns, Durfee, Gawrys, and Briscoe all in the same apartment,. We PT'd (Pillow Talk), like, all night haha. It was nuts. But it was super fun. I love being surrounded by missionaries and that we each have that same goal of inviting others to come unto Christ. It's awesome. Then, we went to stake conference on Sunday after we all made heavenly breakfast burritos, and President Burt interviewed our investigator, S, and cleared her for baptism! Miracles! So, Duncan will have another baptism soon! Man, the work is hastening. I am so glad. I love this gospel, and I love the Book of Mormon. It is truly the keystone of our religion, and of the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What a joy and a peace that that brings into our lives. I love it! I hope you're all having a wonderful week, and remember: everyone's a missionary! Share this gospel out of a pure love for everyone you see!

That One Guy,
Elder Stock
We finally have missionaries on our bulletin board!!!!  Elder Blake Sanders is serving in South Africa.  His family just moved into our ward this summer.  Then Colton!!!  It's not quite the 16x20 he envisioned, but it works ;-)

10/13/14 - 6th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

I can't believe I didn't get this letter up last week!  Life is busy.  Enjoy another great letter from Elder Stock.
Dear Fans and Everyone Else,
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!! Yep, Canada, man. They celebrate Thanksgiving now because it's too cold to celebrate the harvest meaningfully in November up here, so they do it in mid-October! And there's not really a special Canadian twist on it, either, it's just a carbon-copy of American Thanksgiving, but without any mention of Mayflowers or Native Americans, pilgrims, etc. I kind of liked it better that way, though, because as we sat down with a family in our ward called the Lusts (don't worry, we didn't seek after them ;), we basically just had a huge turkey dinner and said what we're thankful for, and there was more focus on that simply, underlying exercise than the whole laborious story of the purpose of Thanksgiving. It was interesting and above all, super tasty. As a missionary living at the mercy of Great Value macaroni and cheese and whatever the microwave doesn't consume first, we were especially thankful for this feast. And plus, the family we were with was awesome. They had three boys, too, and so watching them fight each other and do crazy stuff together reminded me a lot of home, but not in a depressing way. Instead I truly thought of how thankful I was to have such an astounding family to raise me up in this gospel, to deal with me through my life and to help me become something better. That's what I was mainly thankful for this Thanksgiving: my family, and the importance of families in our Heavenly Father's plan for our individual salvation. 
So, I guess I'll just recount how my week went! First off, the second after I e-mailed you all last Monday, Elder Orr and I tore off down the road in our Chevy Cruze (#MormonLyfe) and headed into Wal-mart to buy our groceries for the week! And you can imagine how that goes when two 18-20 year old missionaries buy food. Don't worry, mom: I got the essentials! Toaster waffles, the coveted perogy, Great value mac and cheese, etc. And, of course, the mandatory Kinder Egg! After grocery shopping, we went to Boston Pizza and celebrated Elder Orr's birthday in style: with Spicy Perogy Burgers!!!! That was delicious! We took care of some stuff for the week, like washing our car, etc. It was a great P-Day that ended with some tracting and a new member lesson with Judith! 
Then, on Tuesday, I went on an exchange with Elder Burns from Nanaimo (it's a small little harbor city on the coast of Vancouver Island). We headed off to some teaching appointments there and had a lot of fun with some crazy people. For lunch, Elder Burns took some East Indian food he was given by their neighbor and cooked it on the stove. It looked nasty!
But, we ate it. Yikes. Bad mistake. That stuff was weird lol. So, there's my first weird food experience of the mission! Our night in Nanaimo culminated in the weirdest experience of the mission thus far. Some crazy drunk guy by the 7 Eleven yelled at us to come and pray with him. We weren't gonna turn down a potential investigator! So, we did. He grabbed our hands, and started chanting some crazy stuff about the Lord and then knelt before us and put Elder Burns' hands on his head, and said, "Do it! Do the special prayer!" Woah. I wasn't about to do a priesthood blessing right then and there, especially to this man... But we listened to the Spirit, and sure enough, the Spirit said, "No." We just said a regular prayer with Elder Burns' hand on his head, and as he did, this drunk guy started rising from his knees and chanting stuff. We got out of there fast! But, maybe when he's sober one day, he'll remember us and give us a call? The Lord works in mysterious ways, and alcohol doesn't help people come closer to Christ... 
Wednesday was our zone meeting with President Burt. He's awesome and super inspired. Truly called of God! Anyways, he gave us some awesome instruction on what we need to be doing in our areas to hasten His work. And it was awesome. The love he has for each of us as missionaries is truly astounding. 
Thursday was great! I went on exchange with Elder Huni from Nanaimo as well. He's my zone leader and we worked in Duncan for the day. We did a ton of street contacting in downtown Duncan, and that was awesome! Talking to people in a natural setting is super cool and way less awkward than tracting. But they're both vital for this work to move forward! We placed a Book of Mormon with our neighbor, Colleen. I love that book!!! You never really, truly realize the sheer awesomeness of the Book of Mormon until you're out here, doing the Lord's work. It is truly God's word. It is evidence that Joseph Smith was and is the restorative prophet of this dispensation, and the testament of Jesus Christ that, combined with the Bible, give us the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ! It is evidence of continued revelation from a loving Heavenly Father, and I love it's healing effects in the lives of our investigators. It speaks to your soul in a way that no other book can, and as I continue to study it throughout my mission, I am gaining a stronger and stronger testimony of just how true it is and just how powerful it is. Without the Book of Mormon, then The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not exist. And without this Church, we cannot enter the kingdom of God and live with Him after this life, we cannot gain exaltation. Man, this gospel is TOO cool! 
Friday was pretty cool. We taught an investigator with the Book of Mormon and she really got a lot out of it. She's planning on working towards baptism, but isn't sure about a specific date just yet. But hey, she's realizing the importance of the doctrine of Christ and of taking that step towards Him! 
on Saturday, we had a powerful lesson with a First Nations couple, R and K. We taught them about the Restoration, and helped them recognize that the good feeling they had while we taught was the Spirit of God testifying to them that what we were sharing is true. We invited them to read and ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon, and then I asked them how they were feeling right at that very moment. They responded, "Good. I feel intrigued." Boom. That was my chance! As soon as your investigators feel the Spirit, so within the first lesson, you invite them to be baptized! That's how Christ taught, and that's who we represent, and so I invited them to, when they knew this gospel was true, to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God. And they said they would. No hesitation. THAT'S the Spirit! Not me or Elder Orr! It was super awesome! So they're planning on being baptized around November 8th. It's a goal they'll work towards. I love it. 
Sunday was Thanksgiving, and so we were in members' homes, teaching them principles and getting referrals, etc.
I love the mish!!! The Church is true, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of it, and as Joseph Smith said, we will "get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." I know this to be true. This is the Lord's work. Not ours. So pray all the time, read your scriptures, and read Preach My Gospel! I love you all!!!!
This was Asher's birthday gift from Colton. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

10/06/14 - 5th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

Dear Loyal Fans and Internet Stalkers Alike,

Well, this marks another fantastic week here in Duncan, BC! Elder Orr and I are like two peas in a pod, two buns on a burger, two seats on a see-saw... Wow. Those were ALL super weird and creepy. But yeah, we're doin' good. ;) We're like brothers now. Well, technically, he's my dad (You're missionary trainer is nicknamed your dad). You better believe I have fun with that! Jokes like, "Tracting with dad," and "Dunkin' in Duncan with dad," are constantly being said. It's hilarious. To me, at least. Anyways, it's Elder Orr's birthday!!!!! Happy Birthday with dad!!! Gonna have to go eat something awesome after we e-mail!
So, this week, as usual on the mish, has been full of miracles and pure spiritual awesomeness. Not only was this weekend a super spiritual recharge with the pure awesomeness that was general conference, but we had our first baptism last night!!!! {:D
So, the week was awesome. We met with our investigator, Judith, almost everyday this week to prepare her for her baptism this Sunday. And those meetings were great. She has such a desire to follow the example of Christ and be baptized and work toward a more faithful life of service to Him. It's so awesome to see. We had awesome spiritual experiences this week. We met with some born-again Christian guy to do service for him (move some logs and stuff in his yard) and he gave us lunch. Little did we know was that it was a trap. Well, the food was super good so we stayed anyways, but this guy goes on and on about how we're being deceived by the devil "disguised as an angel of light", etc. It was hilarious to watch. We kind of just ate our bratwursts and let him drone on. He told us that heaven is gonna be awesome, and the purpose of Captain America and the Hulk is that we are supposed to be like them in heaven. Haha... He'll believe THAT, but not that God caleld another prophet...just like He's done throughout the beginning of the Earth.... Riiiiiighhtt.... Anyways, it's crazy to see how lost people are and how hard Satan works at people to try to turn them away from the truth: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is Jesus Christ's church, reestablished on the Earth through a modern-day prophet Joseph Smith. I know this through the Holy Ghost. It has born witness to me of its truthfulness, and as President Uchtdorf said two days ago, the truths that the Spirit teaches you are more valuable than the highest education on Earth. It's so true. Heavenly Father wants us to know all, and He can give us knowledge through His Spirit. It's so awesome!
So, then we got to meet with another investigator, A. This guy has been through some ridiculously hard times, and wants to follow Christ, and he says that whenever we meet with him, he feels this spiritual recharge that last for a while, then dwindles and is recharged again when we come back to him. We told him that this was the Holy Ghost, which we have access to through ordinances like baptism and confirmation. We asked him if he wanted the constant companionship of this "spiritual recharge", and he said, more than anything. We committed him to baptism and he said he needs to think about it, but he said he'd like to soon! Miracles have not ceased!!!!
Anyways, general conference was SUPER awesome. Every speaker had with them such a wondrous Spirit. I got so much out of this conference, and I look forward to applying it to my life this week as I go out and represent Jesus Christ and minister to His children, and invite them to join His fold. This work is not ours, it is His. He is with us on our left and on our right.
After conference, we had a baptismal service for Judith Shaw..... Guess who got baptize her?
ME! It was crazy awesome. The Spirit was so strong at the service, and I was so grateful that I am able to use my priesthood to help bless the lives of others. She said that as she was under the water, she felt this indescribable feeling. She said it felt really good. Elder Orr and I told her that some people have described it as a warm blanket being wrapped around you. She said that was a good way to put it. And the difference in her countenance before and after the baptism was staggering. She's a new person. She has truly been born again in Christ (and not in the weird Captain-America-heaven way, but in the correct way, by His sacred priesthood authority!) Oh, man, this weekend was tremendous. Easily the best of my life thus far, as far as just feeling that Spirit and and having Him testify and confirm to me the wonderful truths of this gospel.
I love you all. You seriously all rock. This Church is true. Jesus Christ lives. He is with us now. And he is at the helm of this great work. I know this to be true.

-Elder Stock