Monday, November 24, 2014

11/24/14 - 12th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

We've survived the first three months!  I feel I've adjusted better than I thought I would.....until I had this dream.  I've included my email to Colton and his response to me.  I promise, this craziness is not the norm!

Mom: I had a dream the other night and you came to see me.  I woke up so excited and then I freaked out.........HE CAME TO ME IN A DREAM AND SAID HE WASN'T COMPANIONS WITH ELDER ORR!!!!!!!!!!!  HE'S DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  HE VISITED ME AFTER HE LEFT HIS BODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Then I calmed down and went to work.  I just told myself, they will call if he's dead......don't think about it until they call.  When I didn't receive a call by the end of my shift, I figured you were alive and well!  ;-)  Just thought I would share that with you....I know, I'm crazy!

Colton: That's super weird and crazy haha. I'm definitely alive. Lol!
Here's his letter:

Dear Awesome People,
This week has been a week of miracles. Easily the best week of my life thus far. What an incredible time we live in, right smack dab in the middle of the hastening of the work of salvation! To start off the week, I finally got my BC driver's license! Street legal, eh?! I invested in some hair clippers to cut down hair cut costs, and they are workin' out so nicely. I'm a self-stylist, now. Call me up in two years and I'll teach you the tricks of the trade! ;) I went on an exchange with my district leader, Elder Durfee, who's also from Gilbert! He's goin' home in about a it's kind of crazy to go out and teach God's children with him. We had a crazy day. We met the druid of Duncan--he has a crazy crystal staff that he carries around to ward off bad energy (he likes us, so maybe the staff actually works ;) We were tracting in a nice little neighborhood and found a snake just chillin' on the driveway! (Picture included) And we took an exchange selfie! (Also included)
Later on, we got to meet with W, our super solid investigator who's going to trade me something for his snazzy dress shirt. He's super hilarious and cool. Elder Orr and I are super unified now. It's weird. We're like, legitimate brothers. We say the same stuff when people ask us questions at the same exact time. We got to use my plan of salvation visual aid (click here to see what he's talking about), and we read Ether 3 with W. Wow. What an awesome chapter about faith! One of the members in the ward is taking a temple tour and is going through AZ soon! He's going to have to send me pictures... 
I went on another exchange this week with Elder Huni, one of my zone leaders. He's hilarious. He served in Vancouver most of his mission, so he is obsessed with Asians... We saw a deer in a suburb while driving away from tracting it, and so obviously I snapped a photo of it. But a miracle happened when we knocked on a door and a Chinese family let us in! Elder Huni was ecstatic. We were fed seafood by a Chilean investigator of theirs that just got baptized two days ago. So, we had a pretty fun week. But it all culminated in the greatest day of my life: Saturday, November 22, 2014. 
We were so fortunate and blessed to have helped S work her way to baptism, and when it finally came, it was incredible. The Spirit was never so strong. I was struck this week by just the simple reality of this gospel, and of God. He is real. He is there, and He loves all of us so much. Baptism is real. Like, it is actually a saving ordinance. It really does wash away the sins of whoever takes upon themselves this wonderful ordinance and makes this sacred covenant with their Heavenly Father. I have seen the countenance of both J and S change literally within the moment they were baptized. My joy that I have felt his week has come just from knowing that S is partaking in these covenants and ordinances that will lead back to our Heavenly Father. Her testimony in this gospel is so strong. At the end of her baptismal service, she said, "No matter how dark the times, there is always light if you just simply turn on the switch. For me, that is Jesus Christ and our Heavenly father. They are our light to fight the darkness." The Spirit was SO strong at this point. Stunned silence. Then, she raised her hands to the heavens (First nation's tradition) and said, "Haisatka!" Which means, thank you to a group of to God. It was incredible! Everyone was like, in tears. She was glowing by the end of the night. All you need to do in this life is ACT on your faith in God. And He will carry you the rest of the way. She was confirmed yesterday, and we got to meet with W and watch the Restoration movie with him, as well as attend an amazingly spirit-filled cottage meeting at Brother Schmidt's house. Man, this is what life is all about.
God is real, whether you believe in Him or not, this is reality. He's waiting there for all of us to reach out to Him so that He can bless us. he wants to help us, but we have to choose to accept that help. This is His church, His gospel. He is at the helm of this work. Missionary work is the most important work on earth. I am honored to be here, and I am honored to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. "I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed..." I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Stock
Silly Elder!
 Ensign time!
Gilbert Boys!
Elder Stock and Elder Durfee
Driveway snake
Love the view
 Elder Orr, "S" and Elder Stock
We're so happy that he had the "best week of his life"!

Monday, November 17, 2014

11/17/14 - 11th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

Always so happy to receive our letter from Colton!  This week is extra special because one of his friends will be entering the Mexico City MTC on Wednesday.  Laura is called to the Washington Kennewick Mission, Spanish Speaking and is reporting in Mexico first.  We're so excited to hear all about her experiences too! Unfortunately, since their missions border each other, they won't be able to write to one another.  (Laura is in the dark blue shirt, just behind Colton)

Good luck, Hermana Hawkes!!!!

To Whom It May Concern:

Hello, loyal fans. How's life?! Man, the Island is nuts. It's getting super chilly, we're talkin' -2 C. No snow just yet, but tons of frost. We left our car outside at our ward mission leader's house while we were over there for a cottage meeting, and when we got out, the Chevy Cruze was sparkling. Like, we're talking an apple-cider-level sheen. (If that makes any sense to anyone but me...) So, serving a mission is 2,500 tons of awesome. I am getting good at it, too, now! Well, not to sound prideful.... I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not the worst teacher in the world anymore. I'm starting to lead in lessons now, and I actually know the doctrine now! I'm getting better!'s pretty fun now that I'm not constantly worrying about my atrocious teaching skills. Now I just accept that we're eighteen-twenty year old we're going to be weird and clunky and awkward, but that's all part of it. It's getting awesome. So, I'll give you what you came here for: the secular history of my week in the mish... 
Monday: We ate at Boston Pizza right after e-mail time. Pizzaburgers are God's gift to the world. A hamburger wrapped in a pepperoni pizza... Chills. We did our thing, got some shopping done, and then we decided to clean out our fridge....oh, man. There are some things we neglected in the fruit drawer for a while (ever since we got to Duncan) and they legitimately smelled like death. So, I'll be sure to include pictures of what we did to combat the smell. Hint: scarves are life-saving. We taught a less-active family in our ward about the Book of Mormon, and it was awesome. Gettin' cold!!!
Tuesday: This day was packed to the brim with awesomeness. We started off the day by watching Mr. Krueger's Christmas and The Other Wise Men with N and K. They loved the movies. N, when called on to say the closing prayer, told us to, "Bow down!" He's fueling our mad theories that N is going to take over Duncan with his crazy schemes to take over the world. We then did some service for a family in our ward. Their kids are crazy! They kept shooting us with Nerf guns and trying to get us to play soccer...and we're all, "I'm here to work, boy!" Anyways, we had some great soup, and then we told the little kids we'll be back to play soccer one of these days. They liked that. Then, we went and dropped by a member referral that we'd prayed about and felt really good about. They are awesome! We talked with the wife pretty much the whole time while everyone else was making dinner, and she was so excited to hear about prophets on the Earth today. Then we taught W about chastity. He made it hilarious. When we told him about how the law of chastity forbids homosexual relationships, he said, "I like woman." And we started laughing so hard. Oh, man. You gotta love these times. We showed S a movie called Between Heaven and Earth all about temples. It was awesome. SUPER spiritual lesson. She told us that her grandfather who had died the week before (they were grieving for a while) was baptized into this Church. She wants to be as well, to be an example for him. Whoa. Chills!
Wednesday: We taught K about the Book of Mormon, and found a shortcut to our house from downtown where you climb up these weird moss covered stairs up a cliff pretty much. It's wild. 
Thursday: We planned our week out and got to teach W again about tithing. He expected us to have something like that in the church. He's too solid for us!!!! We met with the White family in our ward and their son Ammon was hilarious and adorable. They were talking about the story of Moses, and they gave him a hint: "He's in a movie you saw!" And the whole time, this kid was trying to figure it out. Then, as his dad was telling him how this guy parted the Red Sea, and turned a staff into a serpent, and all this stuff, he blurts out, "Is it a Jedi from Star Wars?!" I almost died from laughter. Man, Moses WAS a Jedi. Wisdom from the mouths of babes. 
Friday: Amazing zone meeting about baptism. I have pictures from it. One of them: me and my favorite missionary ion this mission, an assistant who's going home soon. Elder Lieber rocks. He greeted me from the plane when I got here, so he's the first missionary I imprinted on haha. That's my explanation for our relationship. He's super cool. And then me and Elder McCown got pink tie buddy pictures!!! Oh, and guess what: a woman in our ward works at a place called Pacific Rim Early Childhood Foundation! PAC RIM!
Saturday: We went to Lake Cowichan, a nice little town, to meet with a ward member that was running for mayor! We had steak with him and talked for a while and shared a lesson on prayer. We just felt like that's what we needed to share. Then, the next Sunday, we saw him again. He didn't win the election, but he was impressed. The lesson he was teaching in elder's quorum was on...prayer! That Spirit, tho! 
Sunday: We had a cottage meeting at our ward mission leader's house and it was hilarious and awkward because it was just us, the sisters in our area, Brother Schmidt (our mission leader) and Judith, our recent convert. Hilarity ensued....
Love you all! Church is true! The Book of Mormon is the word of God! We have a living prophet on the Earth today! #truth
Cleaning out the fridge!
 Cleaning the fridge!
 I have no idea!!!!!
It's wonderful to see he's as "interesting" in the mission field as he was at home ;-)
 Elder Stock and Elder Lieber
 Pink Tie Buddies!!!!!
Elder Stock and Elder McCown

Monday, November 10, 2014

11/10/14 - 10th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

No new photos this week......but the letter is here on MISSIONARY MONDAY!!!!  So here's a pre-mission photo.
And on to the letter!
To the general public: 

Hello! I'm Elder Stock!
Man, this week was awesome in Duncan, BC. Super crazy and busy, but that's just how I like it. I hate down time now. It's what the mission does to you! So, to start off the week after last Tuesday, which you already received an update for, I went on an exchange on Wednesday with the fantastic Elder Burns! He's a super awesome missionary that's companions with my district leader. We went and saw N and K and watched a movie called Together Forever all about eternal families. N and K were really touched by it, because they love their family and being brothers. It was super cool. I love that principles of eternal families, and how they truly go on forever. It's really sweet to know and brings a lot of peace into my life.
Elder Burns had a nasty leg injury earlier that week, and so we had to end up calling the mission nurse and get him some rest. But we did a lot of work on Wednesday and I got to give Elder Burns a blessing. Love the priesthood!
So, Thursday rolled around, and 50 K winds tore Duncan apart pretty much. Power lines were torn down all over the place and since we live on Sherman Road, we're on a separate power grid than Duncan, so we had power. But we drove out to downtown at night, and it was pitch black. It was pretty scary. Looked like a low-budget dystopian 80's action flick. Had an Escape from New York feel to it.. So, we went to our bishop's housed that night and taught his family about dispensations and prophets because we can't tract in pitch black...
Saturday was pretty cool, because we got to be a part of a lot of service opportunities. We helped a family move in, and we helped some YSA people shovel mulch into a goat pen and then wrangled the goats into the pen. I got to drag a goat by its neck into a pen in the middle of the forest somewhere on Vancouver Island! It was hilarious. Elder Orr told em he secretly wanted the goat to kick me or something...he thought that that would be funny. I must admit, that would have been hilarious. We met a guy on the street named R. We're going to teach him soon. He's super prepared. Bonus: we talked to him while our bishop was waiting for a red light right in front of us. How's that for building trust with the ward members?! :D
Sunday was INCREDIBLE! The Sabbath Day truly is holy. We had the Duncan Ward primary program yesterday, and so I got to enjoy the overpowering Spirit that comes from all of these little children singing hymns and sharing the pure and simple truths of the gospel. It reminded me of the program back home, except with less Joey Knight Iron Man....that was done better in the Islands Ward's. ;) It was super cool, and we had a lot of nonmembers at church because their kids were in the program. We taught our super-solid-baptismal-date-holding investigator named W right after church. He's so awesome. He's already making a ton of comments in class. More than most of the active members! I love watching people take hold of the gospel and letting it change their lives and mold them into something better. That's what this gospel offers to all of us. 
We went and taught the Ellis family (he's the first counselor in the bishopric) for our dinner appointment that evening. They're super nice. They home school their kids, and so I got to tell them how I was home schooled, too for second grade! Well...kind of...right, mom? (For the record: Colton was officially home schooled for 2nd grade!!!) ;) Sister Ellis is from Safford, AZ. Right next to the Gila Valley temple! I've been there! It's cool to find people that are from the same state as you up here. We taught their two twin children about baptism (they're getting baptized in two weeks) and they loved it. It was a fun little lesson. I love teachings kids, because you can just tear it down into super simple principles.
Anyways, I'm loving the mission. My testimony has grown so much already, and I can't wait to see what's in store for me. I love you all, and know that my prayers go out to all of you! 
Go to church, pray often, and read your scriptures!
All of Y'all's Biggest Fan,
Elder Stock

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

11/04/14 - 9th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

Well, Colton hasn't been out 3 months and I can't live without my Missionary Monday email.  So picture how happy I was when I didn't receive an email from my boy on Monday.  That afternoon I went to facebook and discovered other moms who didn't have their expected email.  (by the way, what did parents do before email?!?  I need my weekly letter, how did so many go without contact for weeks on end!) Someone finally posted that there was a Zone Conference on Monday.  One mom posted this, "I just read all the comments. Mine is in Victoria too, so that makes sense. I'll stop yelling at him now." (and NO, I was not the mom that wrote that)  Tuesday evening, we discovered that Colton had written!!!!!!  This is what he told me, "Hello, mother! How was yesterday?! I hope you didn't panic. When our zone leaders told us that the zone conference was going to be on Monday, the first thing I said to Elder Orr was, "My mom is going to be ticked!"  Oh, how that boy knows me!  Without further ado, his highly anticipated letter.

Dear General Public:

(The following must be read in an epic Law and Order-esque TV Narrators voice)
Last week on Canada Vancouver Mission: Duncan Elders' Adventures:
Elder Stock and Elder Orr had an amazing preparation day last week. With barely any money left from a stupid move at Boston Pizza that only two hungry teenage men could make, they were left to wander around in Duncan, looking for free souvenirs. They were saved by Elder and Sister Nickels, an incredible senior couple, who gave them homemade sushi from a man in North Island. Balance was restored. And from this experience, they now budget their grocery spending extremely well. Later, Elder Stock journeyed to the harbor city of Nanaimo on an exchange with Elder Camp, his senior zone leader. Together, they taught a Chilean woman about the plan of salvation who gave them hot chocolate and dulce de leche. It was epic. They read the Book of Mormon with a man in the hospital, and felt the Spirit very strongly there. They ended the night with two dinner appointments. Food is good. The next day, they all attended a district meeting led by the glorious Elder Durfee. Afterward, they ate homemade breakfast burritos at the zone leaders' apartment, where Elder Stock discovered that potatoes are worth their weight in gold in the mission field. The next day, Elder Stock and Elder Orr taught their incredibly solid investigator named Will about the Word of a coffee shop with a coffee in his hand. Hoping that he wouldn't beat them up for telling him that he shouldn't drink coffee, they waited for his response to the question: "What do you feel about the Word of Wisdom?" To their utter surprise, he said, "Well, sacrifice is necessary for the Lord..." and threw his coffee cup away. God is real. Every commandment He gives to us is for our benefit. The Word of Wisdom helps us remain healthy and live active life styles to help us serve those around us and help free us from addictions. It's so inspired. Then, Halloween came. The rule in their mission is to go inside by 6:00 at night and do weekly planning while the Hallow's Eve shenanigans rage outside of their windows. They entered the home of a member in their ward: Brother Gedcke. He gave them chocolate Santa Claus's. This was the only Halloween candy they received. And it was basically just a stocking stuffer... It was awesome. With them, they took a picture that will be their Christmas card for forty years at least. It was a crazy Halloween. Lots of lessons taught, and it ended with them celebrating the holiday with a feast at A&W (Canada worships American fast food). While they were walking on Saturday, they ran into extremely drunken people, and it led into a hilarious conversation. This truly is...Drunken Duncan as they call it. ;) We fasted for revelation at the zone conference on Monday, and when it came, it was awesome. We watched Meet the Mormons. Following is a review of the movie. 
This Monday, we watched an incredible movie as two zones on Vancouver Island combined. It was simply titled Meet the Mormons, and it briefly examined the lives of six LDS families that all have one common thread together: they're ordinary human beings, united by an extraordinary gift: the gospel of Jesus Christ. They're Mormons. It's a movie that aims to help viewers understand that Mormonism is not a cult, that it is indeed a worldwide church, even a worldwide family united in their beliefs and their values and their goal: to follow the example of Jesus Christ. Both hilarious (the 30 Rock and The Simpsons references were outstandingly and flawlessly edited into the film) and utterly heartfelt (the stories of these Latter-day Saints are genuine and incredibly inspiring), the movie is remarkable. It manages to introduce the world to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without preaching to them. It's an incredible missionary tool. It shows what we value: that we enjoy life, that we are here to experience mortality with a physical body to one day become like our Heavenly father. That's what He wants for us. And we are here to serve others and to follow the example of Jesus Christ. Who didn't laugh their heads off when the football coach showed his perhaps unhealthily competitive side? Who didn't tear up at the missionary mom's story of sacrifice and faith in the Lord? Whether you're a pro-active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the most ravenous Anti-Mormon fiend known to man, this movie will touch your Spirit in ways that you could never imagine. It is quite literally perfect. 5/5 This and Pacific Rim are pretty much Best Picture Nominees for Life... That's my review.. :D
What will happen next on Duncan Elders' Adventures? Will Elder Stock and Elder Orr baptize the entire town? Will miracles happen? Tune in next week for more!
Christmas Santas for Halloween....why not!
 The Clonts' in our ward sent Colton a care package.  I will let his words describe the rice krispies for you....."They're delectable."
And finally a shout out to the Young Women of the Central Ward in Tucson, AZ.  Thanks for sending him a letter!