Wednesday, December 23, 2015

12/21/15 - 19th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

THIS WEEK ON MISH LYFE: LANGLEY YSA...

The sleek, metallic beast roared down the road in a blur of light and sound, spraying leftover rain up into the air off of the highway, shooting through entire cities in the blink of an eye. Her name? Queen Rogue--a Nissan Rogue commandeered by the elite Elders Stock, Briscoe, and Reay used to hasten the work of salvation. The Queen skidded to a halt in the slurry of rain and mud in front of an investigator's apartment complex. The three warriors within stared at each other. "Let's do this..." They said in perfect, Spirit-tuned unison. The doors to Queen Rogue were opened and they stepped out into the cold, humid air. The whir of a dilapidated sky train and the agonizing yelps of the godless dregs of Surrey Central echoed in the night air. It was about to go down...

There's a little taste of the epicness that is missionary work during the Lord's hastening. If you're a priest-aged young man reading this and that didn't get you to mission prep, then I don't know what will....

This week was incredible. I mean, it's hard for a week of missionary life NOT to be incredible. It's like making a microwavable burrito. It takes a special skill set to ruin it.

We had the privilege of being able to have our combined zone meeting this week. We went all the way out to Abbotsford where we correlated with Elder Stone (the King of Abbotsford) and had an incredibly uplifting zone meeting centered on giving the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to others this Christmas season as missionaries. We had a lot of time to role play and really focus on using inspired questions in our teaching. It's helped a lot, and it's been nice to see a change as we more fully apply the counsel we have been given in Preach My Gospel. It's as if the book is inspired or something...

At the zone meeting, we had a huge Christmas tree with everyone's Christmas packages and letters underneath it. We also got these incredible consecrated oil vials that were handmade for our mission. They say Canada Vancouver Mission on the side along with our motto. "Love. Serve. Obey!" And a little Canadian maple leaf is included as well. Solid stuff! The senior couples from Hope and Chilliwhack also made us a huge lunch. As a missionary, and especially as a YSA missionary, your appreciation for food is pretty intense. So we devoured that Christmas food as if it was about to sprout legs and run away from us.

We have been teaching our friend C for a little while now and he is so excited for his baptism in January. He was down to be baptized, like, yesterday, but he found out that he's got to go to Penticton this week for Christmas. So as soon as he gets back, he's cannonballing into the font. Well, probably not literally because that would hurt and be blasphemous...you'd feel two effects of the Fall: Pain and Spiritual Death... He's doing so well, though! It's been fun to be able to teach him and help him understand the gospel. Especially because he is incredibly prepared and eager to learn more. He told us this week that he wants to increase his virtue and knowledge even more in order to live a more Christ-centered life....because he learned about those principles at church. What an amazing thing this gospel is. I marvel every day at how much Christ changes people. How much He changes me, and how much He can change everyone in this world. If only we let Him. We need to "yield our hearts" to Him, and then we shall experience that peace, joy and sanctification that only He can give (Helaman 3:35).

We also were able to see our investigator, S and give her a blessing to help her feel better from her illness she's had for a little bit. She's doing really well, though! And her family is now interested in meeting with us missionaries. Say what?!?

We found some new investigators as well. We are teaching a man named L who's progressed a lot surprisingly in the short week we've been teaching him. His first lesson, he had a full bottle of hard whiskey on the table when we first started teaching him which he drank from mid-lesson. By yesterday's lesson, he didn't have any alcohol that we could see in the house, was much more alert and spiritually receptive as a result and has committed to really read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I love it. I love this gospel!!!!

We've had a lot of funny and awesome experiences lately. It's hard to write down all of it when I get to e-mail time...kind of like what the prophets of the Book of Mormon felt as they tried to write down everything in the scriptures but either didn't have room or were overwhelmed by everything. But it's been a great week.

I am excited for this week to celebrate Christmas and to be able to help others to find Christ in their lives. To invite them to come unto Him. It is my testimony that as we yield our hearts unto God more fully, He will bless us with increased sensitivity to the Spirit and with more of a desire to obey Him. He will help us to find those in our lives that need a helping hand, that need a Savior in their lives. And we, with our knowledge and testimony of Him, are those they need. To guide them to Him. This is God's plan for us. To bring us together in unity and to help us become like Him and His Son, our Perfect Example. I am grateful for this Christmas season, and cannot wait to report on the amazing miracles we see in His service on His day. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sincerely,
Elder Stock

Abbotsford/Langley Zone Christmas Tree!
 Josh Sloan was with us again...
 Elder Briscoe thinks he's fat....He's not. He's actually a stud...

Monday, December 14, 2015

12/14/15 - 18th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

THIS WEEK ON MISH LYFE: LANGLEY YSA...

Whoa. Transfer week. More like....chaotic whirlpool of flying across the Lower Mainland in a Nissan Rogue week...

Elder Gawrys is gone. Cannon shot up to the Great White North. I remain. A lone wolf....with two other companions now...

Elder Briscoe and Elder Reay are awesome. It's a blast to have such good companions and to have three of us in the YSA. Work is about to get DONE!

So...I was in the MTC with Elder Briscoe. We know each other quite well. He's from Missouri and is a blast. He's hilarious, loves pandas, and is really diligent. He sits in the back of the car and phones through TONS of potential investigators that we have found and sets up crazy awesome teaching appointments. He's also super new to YSA work and so it's fun to watch his reaction to the incredibly fast pace of it all.

Elder Reay is incredible. He's from Slidell, Texas...a town of 125 and filled to the brim with American character. He's got a thicker accent than most and is basically a cowboy incarnate. He's got an awesome testimony and is an asset to the area.

Together, we form the indestructible tri-force of missionary work called the Langely Tri-SA. Well, with the Spirit magnifying our call, of course...

We have had a good week so far together. It's been hectic and crazy, but good.

C is doing well and we are still on track with him to be baptized, and we are hoping and praying that everything goes well with that.

Also...it's apparently almost Christmas. It has been sneaking up really quickly and it is actually a weird thought to think that Christmas is almost upon us. But, I guess I will just roll with it...

It's a great time of year to do missionary work, though. I am enthralled to be here. Especially in the Fraser Valley YSA. It's incredible.

I can't really remember what happened this week...it was kind of a blur of little to no sleep and driving all over the place through cities to drop off and pick up missionaries. I do know, however, that I was able to eat at an all-you-can-eat Korean and Japanese BBQ called Il Uk Jo's....and that was incredible. Oh, and I also got to do some cool new thing they're doing in the mission.

So, when new missionaries come into the mission now they do this thing where the new missionary gets paired up with a missionary in the Lower Mainland and we go do some missionary work for a couple hours and then drop 'em off at the mission office for them to meet their trainers. I got paired up with Elder Weli, a Norwegian who's super fresh looking. It was fun. We went to Surrey Central sky train and just went crazy and got Fresh Slice pizza and then threw him back at the other greenies as if nothing happened.

We've got zone meeting coming up, so that will be fun! It's Christmas/Atonement themed, so we are excited. There's even going to be a nice warm Christmas lunch! Bring on the food!

I'll keep you all updated. Thanks for the support and have an incredible week!

Until next time,
Elder Stock
The Langley Tri-SA is here. Get feared.
Getting ready for the first wave of food...
 All you can eat sushi!!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

12/7/15 - 17th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

THIS WEEK ON MISH LYFE: LANGLEY YSA...

A giant claw swooped through our mission two nights ago. It was devastating. Tearing apart companionships, tossing missionaries across the province. A violent and brutal night it was. But alas, I shall still make a record of the destruction. This ominous, physics-defying claw was called.....

THE TRANSFER CALL!!!!!!!!!! (Get terrified...)

We were sitting in a lesson with our INCREDIBLE investigator C (if you're reading this, C: you are awesome), and all of a sudden, the entire roof exploded and this claw flies in and just grabs Elder Gawrys and flings him clear up to Terrace, BC. Clear up North. Near the cold, relentless coast. And it stares at me and seems to whisper, "You're next," in a raspy, robotic purr. And I clench my fists and yell, "NEVER!" as the rain pours in from the outside through the newly torn hole in the ceiling.

In reality, we were sitting in the lesson and got a call from Elder Ricks (one of the greatest assistants to President Burt in the world and my MTC companion and best friend) and he tells Elder Gawrys that he is being transferred to Terrace and that I am for some reason staying in Langley YSA! They just can't get rid of me. My new companions will be Elder Briscoe, (who I was in the MTC with and who was trained by Elder Gawrys himself) and Elder Reye, who is a younger missionary that evidently has an incredible Texan drawl. Cannot wait!

So, if you were waiting for an insane new area to get announced on the Missionary Journeys of Elder Stock, you are in for a sad surprise. But, if you wanted the scoop on one of the funnest and miracle-filled weeks of missionary work every, then please keep reading!

During the week, we flew in a military-grade Nissan Rogue across the western half of the Fraser Valley, gathering lost souls and ministering to children of God like representatives of Jesus Christ do these days. We infiltrated a mainstream Christian college called Trinity Western University and taught people about the Restoration of Christ's gospel. And a cool miracle happened!

So, we were driving away from a sky train station in Surrey, and we got to a red light. Next to us, there was a man in his car just chilling out with his window rolled down. Basically telling us, "Hey! I want to receive the gospel!" So....we obeyed.... I rolled down the window. "Hey, man! We're ministers from our church! We're sharing our favorite book with everyone! The Book of Mormon!" I held up a fresh copy of the fruit of the Restoration...just waiting to be proven true through the witness of the Holy Ghost. "Do you want one?!" I shouted amidst the roar of engines.

"Yeah, man! I'll take it! Free, right?"

"Of course!" I said and tossed the Book of Mormon into his outstretched hands. "Hey, tell you what, we'll text you and see how you liked reading from it! Can we get your number?!"

"Sure, man!"

Boom. The rest is history. He texted us later, asking if the Book of Mormon taught about the afterlife and the judgement...because he wanted to know more about those things... Um...prepared much?! So: moral of the story.....Never stop being a missionary. Even at a red light. You're still called to invite others to come unto Christ.

I also am pretty much fully recovered from my crazy weird cold that I got! So, that's a miracle!

I'm excited for this week and the transfer ahead of me. I know it's going to be good, and I know that I am in the Lord's hands.

I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. For the access it provides for us to the Atonement of our Savior. Especially for the ordinance of baptism that helps us to be cleansed of our sin, and for the sacrament that we have the privilege to take each week to renew and build upon that covenant. It is my testimony that this Church is His Church, that His restored gospel is the way, that He lives today. That because of Him, we can be whole. We can be healed. We can rejoice! Because a Savior truly is Born!

Go to https://www.mormon.org/christmas is you haven't already and then share the video, A Savior is Born, with everyone you know. They will feel the Spirit this Christmas as you do.

Have an awesome week!

Sincerely,
Elder Stock

Just because...
 True doctrine!
 Member present lesson...with Joshua Sloan!!!! ;)

Monday, November 30, 2015

11/30/15 - 16th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

THIS WEEK ON MISH LYFE: LANGELY YSA....

This week was incredible and miracle filled. Elder Gawrys and I are having lots of fun here in the YSA branch, and are so grateful to be a part of the work of salvation. It's always nice to take a step back and realize the magnitude and majesty of missionary work and what it really means. What our purpose really is. And this week, we got to see that entire purpose unfold in beautiful fashion.

The Savior, just before His ascension into heaven, left His Apostles with a commission, a mission for them to serve. He commanded them to "go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them..." (Matt. 28:19). That commission that He gave to the original Twelve is just as valid today, and we as missionaries are companions with those Apostles. Our charge is their charge. It's wonderful.

Today, we are in the middle of the Lord's Hastening of His Work. And He has asked us that we first "purify our hearts" before doing His Work (D&C 112:28). We need to obey and be cleansed from sin and guilt. To show with our thoughts and our actions that we are devoted to the master. With every fiber of our being.

One of our investigators, Josh, has been searching for the truth in his life. As we were able to teach him over this short month, he has progressed so well. He knows that the restored gospel is true. That it is the truth that can help him in his life to feel that peace and joy we all yearn for. We had the sacred opportunity and blessing to be able to participate in his baptism this last Saturday. What a terrific experience it was.

At the baptism, the Spirit was so strong and we had one of our investigators, C, there as well (the one who prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true in a Tim Hortons and silenced the coffee shop with the Spirit). I love just how much the gospel changes people and sanctifies them.

Josh bore his testimony right after his baptism saying, "I stand before you now a changed man. I bear testimony that the Holy Ghost gave me revelation while I was investigating..." He testified of the Restoration and of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And the Spirit was SO strong at this point. Everyone could feel it. It was a sacred experience. He's so happy to be a new member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has a testimony, he knows where he's going, he knows who is helping him. It's a great feeling to have been a part of that whole process.

That's why we are here, it's to invite others to come unto Christ. To HELP them receive His restored gospel through applying His doctrine in their lives. It isn't to just wander the streets of Canada or wherever you are and try to sell the church. It isn't to be mediocre, it's to follow the example and commission of the Savior and help God's children to covenant with Him and return to live with Him.

I have such a testimony of that. I was asked in church yesterday by our gospel principles teacher. "Why did you commit to serve?" This is why:

A personal witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true can lead us to do amazing things. At one point in Jesus Christ's earthly ministry. He asked His disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" They answered by saying, "Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets." Logically, that probably made sense at the time especially for people who didn't believe that a being like Jesus Christ could exist.

The Savior asked Peter, then, a harrowing question. "But whom say ye that I am?"
Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
And what Jesus said was simple, yet profound. "Blessed art thou, Simon bar-Jona [Peter] for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 16:13-17)

No matter what we can discover with our own logic, our own intellect, our own "flesh and blood", nothing can be as sure or correct as the witness and revelation we are entitled to receive from our Father in Heaven.

And I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. That this Church is Christ's Church. That His priesthood has been restored to the earth. And that is why I committed to serve. Because I know these things are true. How can I not share them? I learn every day more and more about this gospel, and every day I have experience with the Spirit that I cannot deny. At this point, I am no longer on neutral ground. I am on God's side. And I know that everyone can receive that same witness from His Spirit. I have seen it here in British Columbia. It works. And it works wonderfully. I learn every day more about my Savior, Our Master. He is anxiously engaged in His work. And as His representative, I know that He lives. I am grateful for this gospel. For this week. It was rewarding.

I hope that you all have an amazing week!

Sincerely,
Elder Stock
Intricately detailed Book of Mormon timeline hanging in our study now. We feel like scriptorians ...
 Josh's baptism!!!
 Josh's baptism....continued

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

11/23/15 - 15th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

THIS WEEK ON LANGLEY YSA: MISH LYFE....

Right after the last update y'all received, I decided to invest in a little bottle of cologne called Preferred Stock. It was literally an insta-buy with a name like that! I use it in meetings to leave a scent of authority. Not sure if it's working, but I prefer it. ;) I got to revisit my old area of Burnaby this week as we went to a meeting to discuss the needs of the Chinese missionaries in our zone. It was odd. But fun because I got to see my legendary old companion, Elder Robinson. I snapped a shot of the Burnaby skyline as I fled the scene of the meeting. Good ol' Metrotown!

It was a very busy week for us. The zone conference with guest star Elder Teh of the First Quorum of the Seventy blasted through the mission, and ended in a climactic finale at the Templeview chapel here on our homefront of Langley. Because we were the closest elders to the venue, we had to make sure that everything was "bristol ready" for the meeting, etc. On top of the entire Lower Mainland's missionaries being assembled for this mammoth of a meeting, the Terrace zone decided to join us as well. Yeah...they're clear up North...so they flew down, and we were assigned to go and pick up the elders from Smithers all the way at the Vancouver airport...way late at night right before the zone conference. It was intense. But I got to be with Elder Vo and Elder Tolman, so that's always nice. Elder Vo is also from Arizona. We represent!

The zone conference was incredible. At one point, I found myself sitting in between two spiritual giants: President Burt and Elder Teh, on the stand. To help you visualize what that looked like in my mind, imagine a guppy in between two great white sharks. Yeah. Pretty intense. Conducting the meeting was hilarious, but hopefully I didn't fumble on my words too much.

We talked a lot about true missionary work vs. missionary things that we can sometimes find ourselves doing, the importance of the Spirit and of teaching people, not lessons. It was an amazing conference and I got a lot out of it. Go Elder Teh! He's a master teacher.

As we went through the week, we saw so many miracles. One of the elders in our zone, Elder Swallow finished his mission after extending for a full month past his original departure date. He was such an asset to the zone, and so it was hard to have to see him leave. He served a really honorable mission, and was such a Christ-like leader. In fact, back in "Nam-naimo", he was Elder Gawrys and I's zone leader. The legacy he left behind was incredible. He's going to do great in the post-mission existence. Moving on to whatever lies beyond that mysterious veil...

I feel like the highlight of the week, however, was a lesson we had with one of our incredibly solid investigators, C. This guy is literally a Preach My Gospel miracle. We found him a little while ago by a skytrain station, and he missed his first appointment. We didn't think he was too interested, but we called him again after a little while and he was excited to meet up. We met with him, taught the Restoration, and he ate it up. We left him with the pamphlet we had taught the lesson with to study, and committed him to read 3 Nephi 11 from the Book of Mormon and to pray about it, among other commitments.

We met with him again a couple of days ago in a small, incredibly noisy Tim Hortons (Candian donut/hot chocolate shop). His Restoration pamphlet was filled with notes, indicating his intent in studying. We talked more about the Book of Mormon, and where it came from, and why it is so important. He expressed to us how he didn't quite feel the same feeling from reading the Book of Mormon as he did when he read the Bible, but he wanted to believe it was true. We showed him Moroni 10:3-5. And taught him how in order for us to know that the Book of Mormon is true, we need to ask God in prayer and listen for His Spirit to answer us.

We committed him to pray right then and there, at the end of the lesson, and to ask God specifically if the Book is true.

He accepted the commitment and began to pray in such a heartfelt way. He thanked Heavenly Father for the opportunity that he has had so far to learn more about the restored gospel, and for the Book of Mormon. Then, he paused and added, "God, please help me know if the Book is real..." and then he paused for his answer. Nothing. Just the rushing sound of Tim Hortons customers. He kept waiting. And then, he spoke again, "God: is the Book of Mormon true?" with so much sincerity, faith and such real intent. He paused again, Elder Gawrys and I prayed that he would receive his answer. And suddenly, the entire Tim Hortons grew silent. For a moment in time, everything seemed to stop. The Spirit was palpable, and I felt the peace and warmth it brings to my heart. C closed his prayer, thanking God for the answer, and then looked at us. "I felt a heaviness in my heart..." "That is the Holy Ghost," we said, amazed. "That is how we know it is true."
"I know. I know it is."

That's what it's all about. We are here to guide others to God. This is not a program, it is a cause. The cause of Christ. I know without a doubt in the fiber of my being that the Book of Mormon is true. And I know that we can all know this. But we've got to be like Cody, and ask specifically, sincerely, faithfully, and with real intent. I am so grateful for the restored gospel, and for a Heavenly Father who loves us all so much. He's not giving up on us. We are His children, His joy. I hope and pray that we can never forget that and that we all can remember the answers we receive as we kneel before our Maker in mighty prayer. Because He'll answer back.

Sincerely,
Elder Stock
You know, when you want cologne....
you need to get something that you really prefer...
  The Burnaby "Metro Town" skyline. 
What a beauty!
Gettin' ready for a picture with Elder Vo
The Elder Vo
Stock and Gawrys goof shot!

Elder Haase and I taking pictures at the temple!

Pre-picture dance!
Elder Swallow the Legend!
Stunned Face! 
The Willoughby squad!

Monday, November 16, 2015

11/16/15 - 14th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

(Insert Epistle Name Here)

Hey! How are y'all doing?! That's good to hear. Unless you said you're not doing well....then....I'm sorry. But anyway, life is good up here in Langley! It's getting pretty chilly and rainy outside. So that's always fun. A constant downpour of mist that just rusts everything in its path. Our Nissan Rogue, The Lord's Chariot, is battling its way through these rain-battered streets of the lower mainland. Amidst the hustle and bustle of western Canadian city life. On the prowl for children of God whom He has prepared to receive the message of the Restoration. It's goin' down.

Pondering on the Book of Mormon, my thoughts came to Alma the Younger. What a hero. His purpose was so pure in his missionary efforts. As soon as he experienced the Atonement, he "laboured without ceasing, that [he] might bring souls unto repentance; that [he] might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which [he] did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost" (Alma 36:24). I've noticed that for myself, whenever the missionary work I do is because I truly desire my brothers and sisters here in British Columbia, and when I seek to follow the Spirit in how to best help them, then I not only feel better myself, but the people I'm teaching are able to actually progress in the gospel.

And I feel like for all of us, no matter where we are at in our missionary work, we can feel the same way. Are our interactions with our brothers and sisters motivated out of charity, the pure love of Christ? Or are we just getting by? Are we seeking to lift others and follow the example of Jesus Christ? Or are we content with mediocrity? Then wake up and do something more!

It's a blast to be out here, doing the Lord's work. Honestly, it is. When people tell you the mission isn't easy, they are right. It's not. You never really know what's going to happen next. But don't let that discourage you. The mission isn't easy, but it is definitely rewarding. As a representative of Jesus Christ, you are in the front seat of an epic rollercoaster called consecrated service. And you see miracles. Every day. So if anyone's reading this, and they're on the fence about serving a mission: do it. That's a command.

My week has been crazy busy. We are teaching our boys J and H who are getting geared up for their baptisms soon. They are doing so well. We are teaching up a storm over here and loving it.

Also, in an unprecedented turn of events, we ended up going on exchange out in White Rock with the Chinese elders! Elder Shoop is awesome. I went with him to White Rock and turns out....he knows Nelson Brown! Small World! I had fun trying to catch up with my terrible conversational Chinese during lessons and drank a lot of herbal tea in one lesson because I couldn't teach, so they shut me up by making me keep drinking. I ain't complaining, though. In one person's home, they had a rug that used to be a real life polar bear. Oh, the animal rights activists would go nuts! I thought it was awesome.

We had an incredible zone meeting this week, as well. It was very uplifting, and the announcing point of President Burt's new push to be a mission on fire. Grab the gasoline! It takes attitude, work ethic, obedience and knowledge to be what the Lord expects us to become. We took another zone picture, as well. Right in front of the temple. It was a good time.

This next Thursday, we are having a member of the Seventy, Elder Teh, come and visit our mission. A zone conference will be held on this day, and guess who'll be conducting the entire meeting of over 100 missionaries?! Yeah, I'm gonna be up there... Pray that I won't stumble on my words. Or start preaching false doctrine.... Those would be bad.

I'll give you all an update next week on how THAT goes.

Life is good.

Have a great week!
Elder Stock


The Langley Zone
Like a Royal Army, we're comin' for you....
So get in your baptismal whites.
Because it's about to rain....miracles....


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

11/9/15 - 13th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

Hello Again!

Well, I would love to amateurishly expound on some magnificent scriptures about missionary work/the example of Jesus Christ, but I am super busy today. In fact, I am down in White Rock, BC for this e-mail. Beautiful place and a beautiful drive....'course, you'll be tired and cranky when you get there! We are having some fun with the elders here and decided to come and e-mail with them on preparation day. So, we're going to be bailing pretty soon.... They've got a nice beach here. Like, a seriously nice beach. They don't call this place Beautiful British Columbia for nothing! Can I just take a moment and publicly praise my companion? Elder Gawrys is awesome! Seriously, it's so fun being in the Fraser Valley YSA. We are having a romp and getting work done! It's been great. I am constantly learning. Every day. And it's all from on high. God truly does teach us through the Holy Ghost. I know that to be true. And it often comes as we are doing His work in His way.

There were lots of cool experiences this week. We taught one of our investigator's friends, D and he is solid! Really great lesson on the Restoration. Truly, the Spirit testifies of Joseph Smith's First Vision EVERY SINGLE TIME! Go ahead: test it out. We headed out to Surrey on Tuesday and had a blast finding people to teach. And we taught them! Lots of lessons, this week, people. When you're a teaching missionary, you're happy. And then when you're a baptizing missionary, you're even happier.

We got to have another super professional meeting out in Abbotsford with a stake presidency member. We're talking board room, fancy suits, people bringing in water for us to drink...it was pretty cool. I felt like I was in an action thriller where the main guy finds himself roped up in a crazy business deal that ends in an unraveling conspiracy. But in reality, it was just a really, really good meeting on how missionary work can improve in the stake between members and missionaries.

We had another big meeting out in Richmond on Friday, President Burt talked a lot about having "a mission on fire" and what it will take to get there. The base of our mission fire is going to be attitude, work ethic, knowledge, and obedience. I can assure you all that this mission has caught fire. It's going to get pretty sweet in these next few months as a spiritual wildfire spreads through the province, igniting all in its path and, as the fire of the Holy Ghost does, sanctifying everything it touches. I'm pumped.

It was an amaing meeting, and I was glad that I was able to reconnect with a lot of my batch (the elders I came out on my mission with). The Richmond ward cooked us a huge turkey dinner, as well! Us missionaries cannot say no to food.... Well, at least I can't...

On Saturday, we saw some cool miracles! We were riding the bus from Langley to the tip of Surrey, and were sitting next to a lady named K. We started talking to her, and ended up teaching her the Restoration! We will be seeing her this week again. Always be teaching. Wherever you go. Because the Lord will put people in your path who are ready to receive the restored gospel!

We also were teaching one of our recently returning less-active members. T, and there was a person sitting next to us at the Tim Horton's we were in. We decided to invite them to learn more about the Restoration, and they accepted! The YSA sisters will be teaching her this week and helping her prepare for her baptism later this month. Seriously, God is so good. If we can just forget ourselves and our own comfort zones. He will shower us with miracles and blessings from on high. But, just like the Hastening of the work in general, He works according to our diligence and our faith. He's not going to force us to do well in this work.

We talked to T about his brother, H, and worked with him to start teaching him. The lesson we had with them was incredible, and T wants to work toward receiving the priesthood now to baptize his brother! That's God's plan, right there!

We went to visit a member from the YSA and their family, and just decided to drop by instead of call ahead. We came over and they let us in gladly. We shared our message about the plan of salvation, and expressed how we had felt prompted to be there that evening. The Spirit was so strong, and we were able to identify some people in their lives that we are going to start working to share the gospel with. And then, as if our visit wasn't enough, the Willoughy Chinese Sisters dropped by as we were leaving! The family was like, "Ok! Fine! We know that you were inspired to see us!" It was hilarious.

The week was fantastic. Honestly. And this week is looking really good, too. I love just getting lost in this Work. It's where it is at. Just serve God will all of your heart, might, mind and strength. Give Him your all, and you will find that He is already giving you His all. I know that our Heavenly Father lives and loves us personally. He sees the potential that we have and desires nothing more but to help us reach that potential. His Son, Jesus Christ, is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and that He is actively involved in His work of salvation. He has called apostles to help Him, and they have called us, His missionaries. I and my companions throughout the world are called of God. And we will serve. Because this Work will not end. Despite any opposition that can come our way, we will not stop. Because He is on our side. I hope you all have an amazing week!

Sincerely,
Elder Stock

Me and the new Nissan Rogue.....
The Batmobile of Langely YSA
Get ready, world!!!
(Colton has also referred to the Nissan Rogue as the Lord's Chariot!)

Monday, October 26, 2015

10/26/15 - 12th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

A General Epistle-Update,

Bright colors!!! Deafening explosions! Book of Mormon heroes brawling it out with huge swords!!! Heavy bass!! Thick, almost tangible suspense in the air! If that's not intense, then I don't know what is. That's basically an abstract illustration of how this week went down. It was pretty incredible. So, we worked really hard. In fact, I am really tired right now as a result. And I will continue to be even more tired as these days go on. And that is a sign of doing something right! This work, this Church, is truly that stone cut without hands, barreling down the mountain.

The Old Ship Zion is primed, ready and locked and loaded. It's armed with cannons and has the power to smash through anything in sight. And that's what's going down. The Hastening is in full swing. The only limit to it is our faith. I'm not going to waste this e-mail going off on how important the Work is, but just know that I know who is at the helm. And He is the most powerful being in the universe.

This week, my studies have taken me to the Plan of Salvation. And the book of Alma, for the prophet Alma and his companion Amulek teach the Plan of Salvation SO well! On the mission, there is a new meaning to the promise of the Book of Mormon, that "a man would draw nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book" (Book of Mormon, Introduction), and that is because out here, I am living the Book of Mormon. Alma went and preached the word of God to everyone and anyone who would listen. And it drove him to his knees in prayer. He wanted to help these people so much that he, "[wrestled] with God in mighty prayer, that He would pour out His Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that He would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance" (Alma 8:10). Whoa. Sounds like a missionary prayer to me! As I have prayed for the people I am serving, and really had the Lord on my side, I have seen a difference not only in the success of my missionary service, but in the attitude I have toward it. There is a lot of opposition out there, for sure. And being a missionary doesn't mean that you are in an impenetrable bubble of the Spirit, but it does mean that you are a representative of Jesus Christ. That you have authority from God to preach His gospel to and teach His children more about Him and His love for them. That as you exercise that authority righteously, you unlock power from on high to invite the Spirit not only into your life, but into the lives of others.

I am grateful for my call to serve a mission. For what is means to me each and every day.

During this week, we had a lot of opportunities to teach and to invite. We taught our investigator S, and she is doing so well. She's faced a lot of opposition, for sure, but she is grounded in the Book of Mormon. And that is honestly what is going to pull her through to her baptism later this month.

J, one of our investigators, is doing so well. He came to church again this week with his girlfriend and everyone thought that he was a returned missionary. The branch presidency is convinced that he is a member. "So you grew up in the church?" they'll ask.

"Um...I am actually exploring, discovering the truth right now...and these guys are helping me..."

Solid! The biggest blessing of them all is being able to be a part of someone's conversion to the gospel. Luckily, it is the Spirit that does the work, but it is a blast to watch the truth change someone's life.

We also found a new investigator, K, who is a super fresh/fly/jivin'/cool/slick Filipino guy that just started university. He is awesome because he is so genuine as we teach him. I love how truth-seeking he is, which you can tell he is as he asks the most inspired questions ever. His desire to be baptized is founded on the belief he has now that the authority from God has truly been brought back to the earth.

We are also teaching another guy named H who is friends with a member. Member work is where it is at! I am grateful for my companion, Elder Gawrys. He is a huge help in the zone and in the area. Life is going well.  Funny experience: we were cooking REALLY quickly in our apartment before we had to head out to teach some people, and Elder Gawrys accidently put the plastic cutting board over the hot, metal frying pan while we were cooking chicken to keep the heat in. As we turned to grab the chicken, we pulled off the cutting board...and literally it was as if we were pulling out a slice of plastic pizza...we're talking strings of melted plastic oozing off of that board...and it melted a huge circular shape into the cutting board! Ha! It was a priceless "elders-trying-to-cook" moment...oh, and I tried to give Elder Gawrys a haircut...it was so bad that people on the street laughed at him and he had to go and get it professionally cut to fix it...

I hope everyone has a great week! I'll keep you all in my prayers. And remember: life is awesome, the gospel is better....so share it!

You Already Know,
Elder Stock

That haircut, though...XD
This is after the professional revisions had been made...
(oh.....I feel so bad for his companion!)

Monday, October 19, 2015

10/19/15 - 11th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

An Epic Epistle....Epic-stle?....to the World,

Wow. To quote a wise, goofy fictional character in order to describe this week, I will just say, "THAT....WAS.......AWESOME!!!!"

And it was.... Holy cow what a week. So, Elder Gawrys and I have seen so many miracles together. This week, we got transfer calls as a mission......

And, well, we're, uh....

I don't know how to word this, but we are...

Staying together for the next transfer!!! WAHOO!!!! Not only am I excited to stay with Elder Gawrys because he's awesome, but I am excited to stay in the Fraser Valley YSA branch. It's a thrill to be able to work alongside so many amazing young single adults. Most of them are recently returned missionaries, and so I always feel so inadequate taking them out to lessons....because they know how to be a missionary in today's world....something that family ward members just don't have. It keeps me in check and keeps me continually improving, for sure. I am grateful for the YSA culture of missionary work, though. It's more member driven naturally because people actually invite their friends to partake of the fruits of the gospel. It's almost as if the most success in missionary work comes when the members are the source of finding new investigators or something like that - that may or may not have been directly quoted from Preach My Gospel...

I've learned some very valuable lessons of how to be a member-missionary from the members in this branch. And it really comes down to a very simple principle that President Monson even spoke about in this most recent General Conference: being an example!

It's something we hear all the time, but it's a true principle. As we "let [our] light so shine before men," (Matthew 5:16) and really show by our works and our personalities that we have internalized the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will see marvelous success in missionary work. Because Heavenly Father, as we speak, is preparing His children, His chosen vessels, to receive the restored gospel, the lost words of the Lord (Amos 8:12), and as we set the example and show them what they are looking for, they will recognize this and they will desire to receive it in their own lives.

We need to be "an example of the believers" (1 Timothy 4:12), and the way we do that is by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in ALL aspects of our lives. In word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith, purity, etc. At work, school, play, in all interactions with our brothers and sisters of God. As President Monson says, "as we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, that light will burn within us and will light the way for others". I know that that is so true. I would like to share a miracle that occurred yesterday that highlights this very eternal truth.

In the branch, we have a member named Brady Moore who is incredible. He's so missionary minded and so faith-filled. He obeys the commandments, and lives the gospel of Jesus Christ not just on the Sabbath, but throughout his daily life. As a result, as he was riding the bus to his school in Surrey, he met a friend--one of his classmates named Tushar---whom he began to talk to. The two became good friends as the days went on, and Brady naturally invited him to the YSA conference that was happening in Burnaby. Tushar went on Saturday and had a ton of fun, but he wasn't going to go to church the next day. Respecting his choice, Brady went to Sacrament meeting. During the bearing of testimonies, he stood and bore powerful testimony of the Savior. Then, as he did so, he mentioned that he has a friend who really needs to be here right now. The Spirit overcame him, and he quickly finished his testimony, and then grabbed his things and turned to us. "I have to go and pick up a friend, elders," he said, determined to follow the promptings he had received. He walked out of the chapel.

Within a couple of minutes, Brady again walked into the chapel with his friend, Tushar. They sat next to us, and people from the YSA region bore their testimonies of this gospel and this church, and how it had blessed them in their lives. One of our investigators, S, who is getting baptized this weekend, even walked up and bore her testimony on the power of the Book of Mormon and how it changed her life from night to day.

At the end of the meeting, we talked to Tushar. He told us that he has never felt so much peace in his life, and that he wants to be baptized. Speechless and ecstatic on the inside but playing it cool on the outside, Elder Gawrys and I taught him about the Restoration with Brady and set a baptismal date for November 8th with him, testifying to him that the Spirit he felt in the meeting that day could be with him for the rest of his life as he was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

I'll never forget what he said afterward. "This feeling I had today is the feeling I had when I met Brady. And the feeling I had whenever he talked to me. It's good, man. I don't want it to go away." Wow. Can we all be like Brady?!

Can we all just live the gospel of Jesus Christ so well and be so Christ-like that others will feel the Spirit as we are around them? I testify to you that we can. Let your light so shine. Light they way, and then invite them to walk the path of discipleship with you. When we are doing all that we can, then we can help others as well. I have learned that the most important thing that Jesus Christ did, second only to His Atoning Sacrifice, was to be our Exemplar. He led the way so that He could say, "Come, follow me..." Let's do the same. All it takes is a little bit more effort. But we can do this. The Lord has entrusted us with a little sliver of His vineyard. So keep it well.

As this week went on, I was reminded again and again of the love that Christ has for us.

And that is the motivation for His work. As I strive to be more like Him each day, I realize just how perfect He really is.

As I read from the Book of Mormon every day--my absolute favorite book of all time--I realize just how merciful and loving He is. I realize the effect that the gospel needs to have in our lives. The same gospel that has the power to change us. My week was fantastic. And I know more than ever that this is Christ's church. His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, testifies of it. And you can't argue that. I know that the Book of Mormon is true because it is what has helped me gain such a strong relationship with my Savior. And I am grateful for it. Now let's go share it!

You already know,
Elder Stock

Welcome to Brookswood...good ol' Langley!
 YAY! We're staying together! 
Let's take the worst selfie ever!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10/13/15 - 10th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!

Wow. Sorry about the late epistle/update/letter/indicator of mental capacity to do missionary work, but it was Canadian Thanksgiving yesterday! And "holidays are excellent opportunities for finding and teaching because many families are together and are at home" (Missionary Handbook, 17). True doctrine, that is. We got to teach some people that would not have been normally able to meet with us simply due to the fact that it was a holiday and they had some free time! Yesterday, we taught a man named Hugh about the Restoration. He was fascinated by it all, and loves the pictures in the pamphlet we use to teach the lesson... We've got to work on getting him out to church, now...

After that, we headed over to the Onedo's home where we were fed an amazing, bountiful, Thanksgiving feast at the hands of this incredible Ethiopian family--the father of which is a master chef and the children of which are in our Fraser Valley YSA branch. The crazy thing is that back when I was in Burnaby, the Onedos lived there and we ate at their house all the time. Now, they've moved to Langley as I moved! With that cooking, I'm not complaining. "Don't question miracles," as the saying goes...

We also got to eat another Thanksgiving feast on Sunday with one of the members of our branch and his father who lives up in the Yukon... His cats were battling the whole time, and it was pretty frightening. Definitely the most action-packed animal fight I have seen in a while. (My entertainment standards have fortunately lowered A LOT over these past months...) Our member, Quentin, illuminated us on how Canadians see us Americans. It was hilarious. I feel like I am hearing more about soon-to-be President Trump up here than I would if I was in the states.

Our super solid investigators, S and J are doing so well. As a mission, we've really been focusing on how to better help our investigators progress to baptism. Because we have proven to the world that we can baptize. Now it's time to help them to gain this spiritual conviction and enduring conversion that will aid them throughout their entire lives.

It's been a miracle being able to teach such incredible people throughout my mission. Seeing their desire to learn and to share the gospel once they realize what it truly is always motivates me to do better in my own life and to continually strengthen my conversion. The faith that these people need to have in order to live the gospel of Jesus Christ astonishes me, and is undoubtedly another witness that our Heavenly Father loves us and is actively involved in our lives. That He has not stopped speaking through His servants the prophets, that His Son---our Savior and Redeemer--lives today and continues to minister and succor us through the Holy Ghost. Oh, it is wonderful. Wonderful to me.

S has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. And when your faith and testimony is grounded in that, then you are seriously not leaving anytime soon. J is someone whom we are teaching who was referred to us by a member who he is dating. Unlike the "date 'em, dunk 'em, drop 'em" situations of the past. J is very truth-seeking, and notices that there is a gap in the faith he has grown up in. He feels the Spirit and reacts to it. He learns the doctrine and runs with it. We are so excited to continue to help him prepare to be baptized. Because that is where it's at. Making covenants with our Father in Heaven are why we are here. Why we do what we do as members of the church. And what we invite others to do, as well.

Recently, I've been pondering a lot about what makes a successful missionary. My thoughts are drawn to my ponderizing scripture of the week, found in the book of Mosiah. The Lord says unto Alma in this verse, "blessed art thou because thou hast established a church among this people; and they shall be established, and they shall be my people" (Mosiah 26:17 emphasis added).

We are here. As latter-day saints across the world. To establish a church among His people. And as we establish this church, by inviting all to come unto Christ and helping them get there, then they--the people of the church--shall be established, as well. They shall be the Lord's people. What does it mean that the people shall be established? I believe that it all comes back to having that firm foundation. The church is here as a vehicle to help us become like Christ, to inherit the kingdom of God. It does so through the ordinances and covenants within it, which in turn become our foundation. These ordinances and covenants alone, though, are dead. But with Christ's priesthood authority, they are made alive. We find that as we keep our covenants, we receive power and are bound to the Savior. Our foundation is rooted in Him and His gospel. And we are thus established on the land just as a building would be, with its foundation surely planted.

That's my purpose. As a missionary. To establish strong centers of the Lord's church wherever I am called. To represent the Savior in all that I do. To be a Christ-like missionary...not just to do "missionary things"... I am grateful for this time I have to serve. I see miracles each and every day. And I know that my Redeemer lives, and that our Father in Heaven loves us. Individually. He knows us by name. They restored Christ's church on the earth once more through a prophet named Joseph Smith. I know that he was not only a prophet, but a righteous man of God. And I know these not of myself, but of the Spirit. For by the power of the Holy Ghost, we may truly know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:5).

Highlight reel: we got to have an awesome gospel conversation with two deaf guys in Surrey central (teaching Kristian in Burnaby is a blessing in more ways than one!), we are finding so many people who have a desire to be baptized, we made a ton of fake movie trailer audios for ideas we have in the zone...one of our missionaries, Elder Sigrest, is now know as Batgrest...etc. Elder Gawrys and I are having a blast, as usual! And there is so much to be thankful for. Last night, in my prayer, I ended up just thanking God for everything I could think of. And I cannot describe to you the feeling of peace and gratitude I felt as I did so, I encourage you all to try that out, especially in this Canadian Thanksgiving season.

I am grateful for all of you and your support, and hope and pray that this week will be amazing for us all.

Sincerely,
Elder Stock

Preach that gospel, yo!
 Found Rocket Raccoon....long trek to Earth!

Monday, October 5, 2015

10/5/15 - 9th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

A Epistle of Epic Proportions,

This week a literal prophet of God commanded the entire world to repent and bore the most powerful witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ imaginable, whilst losing strength in his own body and regardless gave his all to the cause of Christ. Let's take a step back and realize how blessed we are.

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He sent His servants, the prophets, seers, and revelators of our day, to counsel us and deliver His will unto us. Blessed are we if we hearken to this counsel! I loved basically all of the talks that were given over this weekend of conference, especially the one given by Koichi Aoyagi...and partly because the beginning of this man's epic talk sounded like the plot to the next kaiju movie...

I loved the analogy of the surfers and the barrier of the bay, and that takes a lot because I can't tell you how many analogies I have heard of commandments being fences keeping evil away, but this one was just terrific...probably because it mentioned evil-looking sharks...

Elder Holland's talk about mothers was stunning. I'd like to give a small shout-out to the best mother in the world (mine, of course):

Everything that Elder Holland testified of in his talk about mothers is true of you, mom. You are seriously amazing.

Shout-out ended.

I loved, loved, loved the counsel given to us to teach more simply and with clarity. That is something I strive to develop every day, and it is so rewarding to be able to learn from the Lord how to simplify His gospel message.

Ponderizing is now one of my favorite words.

Scripture to PONDERIZE this week: Alma 36:27--> God will still deliver us as we continue to put our trust in Him!!! (Good ol' Alma...he's inspiring)...

Oh, and Elder Christofferson's throw-down on why we have a church in the first place was perfect in every sense of the word. Such good timing, too. I can't tell you how many people in this world are all like, "I don't need a building to worship God!" We need the church. We can't fully live the gospel of Jesus Christ in isolation.

I could go on for days about the raw awesome that was general conference, but I will just ask all of you: will you go and restudy your notes/re-watch the talks from this general conference?

*Pauses for a "yes"*

Thank you! So, anyways, this week was awesome. I mean, anytime you do missionary work, life just gets more and more awesome, but this week in particular was awesome.

We got creative with our food choices because we were out of money, and so...that was interesting. By the grace of God, last night we were able to scrounge up some stuff hiding in the cupboards and the fridge for a Mexican food night! Now I know for myself that the story of the loaves and the fishes was possible.... (I'm kidding...the Spirit already bore witness of it a long time ago...)

This week, I learned a valuable lesson of repentance and procrastination. Before everyone freaks out, the lesson came through an analogy...

I have been walking around for the past two transfers with an intense ingrown toenail. Unwilling to fix it due to either pride or fear of needles (probably a mixture of both), I let it fester and grow for months. Walking, which used to bring me so much joy and loss of weight, now became a task that required my constant vigilance and brought increasing pain. Finally, I decided to change it all. When the pain became so rough to bear, I reached out to the fabulous Elder Croshaw, a podiatrist-senior-missionary-undercover-superhero in our mission. He called me up on his way back from Chilliwhack as they were passing through Langley. Luckily, we were heading back from Abbotsford at the same time, and so it worked out perfectly. We pulled in to the Fraser Valley YSA chapel and he unveiled the tools for the job: needles, clippers, science-fiction-toenail-root-killing-chemicals, etc. And the games began.

Sitting on the couch in the foyer of the church meetinghouse, with my foot propped up on a chair for the black market operation, I felt like I was in one of those sketchy movie scenes where the guys end up having to get a surgery done in, like, a back alleyway or something...except this time it was in the Lord's perfect, true and living Church, so...it was kind of different...

Anyways, after agonizing moments of numbing fluid being pumped into my veins by needles, I realized as soon as he started clipping that it hadn't taken effect! Don't worry...I won't go into details, but....everything ended well. My toe feels great.

Let that be a lesson. If we procrastinate the day of our repentance, all that it means is that it's going to hurt even more...by the day...

We had our zone meeting this week, and I loved it. Such an amazing meeting! I got to train on how to have greater faith in the Work, and how to find people... It was pretty funny. I did a punk move on the zone. To get everyone to get the point of bashing is bad, I told them to open up to Chapter 9 in Preach My Gospel about finding and told them to find the section called, "Bashing with People"...they got the humor... I told them it was right next to "Sleeping In" and "Being Apostate"! Oh, I make myself laugh sometimes...

We got to watch a hilariously cheesy video about car safety, and learn how to plan better and how to use our time more effectively in the Lord's service. We also got to take a group picture as a zone! I love it. I love being in Langley, and the Work that the Lord is leading here.

We are teaching so many awesome YSA people, and the work is definitely hastening. I am grateful to be here and honored to be a part of this great and marvelous work. I love this gospel. It is so true. And it has been restored through a modern prophet. The Book of Mormon is undoubtedly true. By the power of the Holy Ghost, I know this to be true. And that is all that matters. And I know that as we build our faith, we will be strengthened for the storms ahead of us, because with and through Christ, we can do all things.

With awe and respect,
Elder Stock

The Langley Zone!
From left to right: Top row: Elder Gawrys, Elder Mattingley, Elder Slack, Elder Haase, Elder Swallow, Elder Sigrest, Elder Stirland, Elder Frei, Elder Jorgensen, Elder Nielsen, Elder Stock, and Elder Samis. Bottom row: Sister Christensen, Sister Cendreda, Sister Mumford, Sister Bernard, Sister Miller, and Sister Shroeder.
 The Vancouver British Columbia Temple here in Langley.
BEAUTIFUL!!!!!
 That moment when you find yourself in this situation...

Monday, September 28, 2015

9/28/15 - 8th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

An Epistle to the World,

I am tired. That's a good thing. It's a sign that you did some work. And when you're physically tired but spiritually energized...that means you did some missionary work! Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not a passive, one-day a week deal. It's a binding, solemn, and epic covenant we make with out Heavenly Father at baptism that consumes our very lives and shapes our very natures. It is a promise of eternal life in the presence of our Creator. A promise that He will never break. It all comes down to us. Our commitment. Our desire to follow Him. To do as He commands. To really endure to the end by thriving on our covenant path and making the gospel of Jesus Christ, in its pure, beautiful form, a pattern of living.

I have seen in missionary work, on this short time that I have been out, that God is actively and anxiously engaged in His work. At this moment, as you are reading this, He is preparing His children, our brothers and sisters, to receive the message of His restored gospel. And as missionaries/members of Christ's Church, we have the privilege of listening to the Spirit and inviting these people to come unto Christ. And to prepare to return to live with their Father in Heaven. How great is our calling!

Our desire to share this gospel needs to be something that shapes what we do and how we interact with people. Because the gospel of Jesus Christ will bless everyone's lives, regardless of where they are spiritually, physically, emotionally. Our desire needs to be like that of Alma's, who declared, "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mind heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!" (Alma 29:1).

If our desire is there, if our desire is really to help others to partake of salvation, then miracles will happen. Because we will have shown forth our faith, and God works miracles according to our faith (Ether 12:12). Now, with that being said...our desire shouldn't overrule God's direction and plan for us. Alma goes on to say that, "I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me...why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?" (Alma 29:3, 6).

All we have been called to do is to Invite and to Help...

This week was full of miracles and blessings from the Lord. We were able to teach our investigators and apply the counsel that we had received from the Lord during our planning sessions, because we have started planning more for our investigators and less for ourselves. I feel a new light come into our companionship and our area...and our zone, for that matter! We were able to show the video of the Restoration to our investigator S, and she finally understood the magnitude of Joseph Smith's life. Whoa! Testimony in modern-day prophets = yes. She's progessing so well, now! Who knew that if you focused on helping your investigator receive a testimony, that God would work that miracle...?

We also had a goal of helping our investigator R to live the word of wisdom. He's been smoking forever, and to live it takes a lot of courage from him. Finally, we sat down with him last night and really let the Spirit into our lesson.

We testified of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it can bless us in all aspects of our lives, that Christ can help us overcome addictions. We then taught him how Satan wants to keep us down by giving us these chains of addictions. We read Helaman 5:12 with him and testified that we cannot fail when we build our foundation upon Christ. He burst into tears and literally gave us all of the substances that he had in his home to dispose of, and now he is living the word of wisdom and on track for baptism next month. Holy cow. It was the most intense and Spirit-driven lessons of my life. I testify to you that God is preparing and helping His children to live the gospel. We found some guy from Uganda names J....he is such a solid investigator! Teaching like angels has changed our mission and our areas specifically, I love it.

We have a new emphasis on driving safety in our mission due to some weird car crashes recently, and so President Burt has re-instituted park the car day in a big way. Our area covers, like, 4 cities...so....we were stressin', but then we realized that we have members that can give us rides! And so we did just that. And all day Saturday, we used 0 ks! Aw. Yeah. It was a feat to remember, and we couldn't have done it without our amazing members here in the YSA. Shout out to Ty and Adam!!!

My companion, Elder Gawrys, is great. He's super good at cleaning apartments...which is surprisingly a great skill to have in life and especially in missionary work. We're having a blast and always are on the go. YSA work is super fast faced and unstable...but it is fun haha.

I got to be reunited with some of my mission heroes/friends in Richmond this week for a meeting. It was fun being able to see them again and to talk about how the mission is changing a ton and how everyone's doing clear up north. It's a brotherhood of spiritual warriors around here.

I am having a blast up here. Been eating a lot of McDonald's because I ran out of money....oh, the hubris of Elder Stock, but it has been so fun to just go out and do the Lord's work. When we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are truly only in the service of our God (Mosiah 2:17)

I testify to you that the gospel is true. The Work is God's work. And our Savior lives and loves us.

Have an awesome week!

Sincerely,
Elder Stock
The Articles of Faith...color coded to fit the missionary lessons. I love the mini-quad!
2 Nephi 31...marked up according to the lessons...what an epic chapter! Live that gospel, peeps!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

9/21/15 - 7th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

An Epistle to the World,

"And now, my beloved brethren, ...hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words, believe in Christ. [For] they are the words of Christ, and He hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good," wrote Nephi (2 Nephi 33:10). I can imagine his fervency and his boldness in desiring that his people come unto Christ. In reading 2 Nephi, we learn of the care that he and his brother Jacob put in to really teaching their brethren, their families, the truths of the gospel. Before my mission, I avoided 2 Nephi -- mainly because I looked at it as the Isaiah trap - - but it's full of gems.

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I know that the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ contains the fullness of His everlasting gospel. As we strive to increase our faith in Him, as we repent daily, strengthen and renew the covenants that we have made with Him through baptism, and as we strive to remain worthy for and enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost, we will experience the joy and the peace that comes from living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, and He is so actively involved in our lives. He is blessing us and guiding us in ways that we will not comprehend for a long, long time. And He has a perfect, divine plan for us. As we follow His commandments and obey His counsel and direction willingly, we will find and recognize the blessings that He has promised us.

During the week, I found a lot of opportunities given to me by Heavenly Father to testify of the restored gospel. It was pretty awesome. I've really been working throughout my whole mission on cleaning up my teaching skills and really refining them so that the Spirit can be there, unrestrained. He is the true teacher. It's been sweet to watch the miracles happen as I have been able to teach more simply, more quickly, and more powerfully. I know the Lord has helped me in this endeavor.

As a mission, we've really been working on focusing on our investigators, on those we serve, rather than ourselves. Studies, planning sessions, conversations with our companions, are all more or less focused on the people we are teaching and helping to receive the restored gospel. And it's helped a ton. I definitely have a testimony of losing ourselves in the service of others.

That is what life is all about!

We had a super fun experience this week. We were able to take our best friend, Scott Hoffard, out on his mini-mission for three whole days! He was a trooper. He's testing the waters for serving a part-time mission here, and so this was a mock-beta test for that. We had a blast with Scott as he told us the goofy stories of his childhood and early adult life while we drove around from appointment to appointment. The highlight was him being on our conference call for the zone: "I'm Scott Hoffard...I'm being trained in the YSA...in Langley...." Classic.

We almost got attacked by a drunk guy at Surrey Central, we hardcore cleaned our apartment, we taught some really cool new people, etc. It was a blur of a week with transfers and everything. We were back and forth across our area basically the whole first half of the week...so that was crazy... It rained a lot, too....so that was awesome. Glad I have a good rain jacket! That is all I have to say. I love it up here in BC. And I love the investigators that we're working with.

My companion, Elder Gawrys, is hilarious. Love him to death. We're having tons of fun out here in the YSA wilderness.

The church is true. The book is blue. Live it, love it, preach it!

Have an awesome week,
Elder Stock

Scott Hoffard (our mini-missionary for the weekend) with his two best friends--the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel.
 Elder Stock, "Elder" Hoffard, and Elder Gawrys
 "Elder" Hoffard and Elder Gawrys
 "Elder" Hoffard and Elder Stock

 The Dynamic Duo: Stock and Gawrys

9/14/15 - 6th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

A General Epistle to the World:

Well, you might have guessed by the title that we got transfer calls this week! Oh snap! So, I'll let you fester on that thought for a little while. Where in the world could Elder Stock go? Well, your choices are in fact limited to most of the province of British Columbia...and, with tons of areas to serve in down here in the Lower Mainland, you could be pretty safe in guessing an area within the fabulous cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford, Coquitlam, etc. You could also be pretty safe in guessing somewhere up North, e.g. Prince George, Terrace, Smithers, Burns Lake, etc...since I've collected 3/4 sub-missions thus far (sub-missions within the Canada Vancouver Mission include: Island, Lower Mainland, Okanagan, North). You COULD also be accurate in guessing that maybe I didn't leave the Fraser Valley YSA, because I've only been here for one transfer...and maybe my companion went somewhere else and I am still here...

But then again, if you had been studying your copy of An History of Elder Stock's Missionary Journeys, you would note that at one point, upon his entry into the desert landscape of Westbank, he left within one transfer and trekked out to Burnaby. But regardless, your guess is as good as anyone else's. Because transfers are unpredictable.

I wish I could say I was tranferred to the area my father and I often discussed in our many trips to the infamous McDonald's drive-thru: the moon. A lunar colony populated with ridiculously prepared people to hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ, something so amazing and everlasting that surely it was...out of this world..... Eh? Eh? But...alas, the moon colony mission hasn't quite opened up. Give it some time, and I'm sure it will all come around...might be race between it and China, but...you know how the cookie crumbles...

Anyways! Tangents. Secants....geometry? What the...? I totally forgot math...how did...? The Spirit really DOES bring all things to remembrance... Speaking of remembering...

Oh yeah! So, my tranfer news is as follows:

My companion, Elder Miller, will be heading out the party city/vacationing spot of western Canada: Kelowna!!!

And I will be....

STAYING IN LANGLEY YSA!!! My new companion is going to be Elder Gawyrs. He's awesome. I've met him before and am super excited to finally serve with him. It's going to be good times. Especially because the work here in the YSA is seriously hastening! I am excited.

This week has been great. We were able to teach so many lessons. Which is something I always love doing. No matter the setting, the lesson, the person, it's cool to see that God loves ALL of His children enough to allow His Spirit to testify of the truths we teach as missionaries. Every. Single. Time.

I have grown to love what we teach as missionaries and how we teach as missionaries. Simplicity is what the Spirit can testify of with power. I love helping people understand the message of the Restoration, in its beautiful simplicity. Helping them understand the need for a prophet and for the priesthood authority of God to be on the earth. And sharing with them the account of Joseph Smith's First Vision for the first time in their entire life. The hope and the love that that brings into our lives is unbeatable.

I love teaching people and helping them understand that we have a purpose here in life, that our life didn't begin at birth and that it will not end at death. That we lived with our Heavenly Father before this life, that we are here to learn and to grow, and that we have an opportunity to return to live with Him after this life.

I love helping people live the gospel of Jesus Christ. To build faith in Him, to repent and change, to be baptized and confirmed, to endure to the end and enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost forever. I am grateful for the commandements of God, and for the direction they give to us and the enriching lives that they allow us to live. Surely there can be nothing so rewarding as being able to help our brothers and sisters to receive the restored gospel.

Everyone's so different, too. It's cool to be able to meet all of these people that are really reaching out to God for something they feel is missing in their lives. I taught a man last night by a campfire who literally asked me if God has a plan for him. Well, uh...yeah! And let me show you a pamphlet all about that! ;) The Lord is hastening His work. It's really energizing to be a part of. I know that He lives. And that He loves all of us. That matter where we are in life or what we go through, that He is there for us, and that living this gospel is more important than anything we can do. Sleeping, eating, breathing included.

I love missionary work. And I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior. They have done everything for me. And everything they have done has been given freely and out of love. The least we can do is follow their example and share it.

Sincerely,
Elder Stock

Me, Kyle Fifeld (recent convert in the YSA and our walking set of scriptures), and Elder Miller. The lesson teaching dream team!

Monday, September 21, 2015

9/8/15 - 5th LETTER FROM LANGLEY

Elder Stock's Other General Epistle to the World,

What a week! Tuesday preparation days throw me right off... But it's good. Labor Day was an excellent opportunity to teach, because no one had work or school! We spent most of our day out in Surrey, teaching people over by the Simon Fraser University campus about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. What a day. We were able to see so many miracles, and we took a member of the YSA branch with us named Kyle. He's a recent convert of about 5 or 6 months, and has such a burning testimony. While sitting at McDonald's waiting for one of our investigators to show up, we started talking to a lady who was very uninterested in what we had to say as full-time missionaries. But Kyle bore a really sincere testimony on how much the Church has changed his life, and we eventually were able to teach her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon.

I've really learned this week that it's all about the simple truths of the gospel. Those are what will change the world. As we strive to simplify ourselves, and make sure that our testimonies are strong and easy to understand, then the Spirit will testify of our words, and we will be able to help many of God's children -- our brothers and sisters -- to come unto Christ.

This week, I discovered an amazing new miracle. The pumpkin pie blizzard at Dairy Queen. Don't worry, a picture of this beautiful, decadent, divinely inspired treat will be included. So enjoy. What a glorious invention! That is all that I have to say about that...

The week was really great! We are preparing a lot of amazing people for baptism, and so that is always fun. We found a Chinese guy named Fred, and teaching him the gospel is a thrill ride. He soaks it all in, and it's all the first time he's even heard about Jesus Christ and about God, so it's pretty crazy. But he's doing really, really well. The YSA branch is super fun, and we are really trying to build up the faith here in missionary work and to do everything that we need to help them out. To truly be a SERVANT of God.

I have such a testimony of this Work. That it really is the most important thing that we can do to help our brothers and sister to come unto Christ. This is it. The work of salvation. And we need to be anxiously engaged in it. I know that our Heavenly Father works according to our faith, and that is because He is all loving and will never force us to do anything. But when we show our faith to Him and in Him, and we align our will with His, then that is when the conduit to Heaven and unceasing revelation flows. I know that there is no such thing as a dead area in a mission. But there are dead missionaries. And the way that we can revive ourselves is by stripping ourselves of pride and relying on the Spirit more than ever. When we do all that we can to invite the Spirit, then He will be there and we will find miracles. I know that my Savior lives. That He loves me, and knows me personally. That He knows each and every one of us the same way. And because of that. He has commanded us to invite all men to come unto Him, to "go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19)

We have a duty to perform. A labor. It won't be easy to follow Christ. Trials will come. But it will always be worth it and it will always be possible. Because we don't have to do it alone. He heals us, and He redeems us from misery, and from sin. So trust Him. Believe Him. I know that my Heavenly Father lives and loves all of us, and that He has a plan for us. That we can return to live with Him after this life. And that we are all a family of God. I love this Church, and I love this gospel. It has been restored today through a modern prophet. Joseph Smith really did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ that spring morning in 1820. And because of that, the world is blessed. I leave you these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

You already know,
Elder Stock

Oh mai goodness!!!! Church's Chicken! The cashier in this place is YSA and asked us for a Book of Mormon. We're going to teach him this week. Miracles!!!!
 The pumpkin pie blizzard, yet another evidence of God's love to the world...and that He does continue to inspire men, just as in days of old ;)
 E-mail time. In Surrey.