Monday, January 26, 2015

1/26/2015 - 21st LETTER FROM DUNCAN

Some Missionary Moms don't focus on the two year countdown.  Instead, they countdown the 24 Fast Sundays of the mission.  Next week will be our 6th!  Here's his letter:

Dear Peeps!
Man, this week has been crazy awesome, as usual. not gonna lie, I feel too blessed up here...don't know what I did to deserve such an awesome mission thus far, but I am not going to complain! Quick overview of the week: miracles. Miracles everywhere. One of our investigators was having some serious financial problems, and didn't have enough food for him and his daughter. We were trying to schedule an appointment, but he was too stressed. So we decided to load up some of the spare food we had in our apartment and head over to the rescue. After all, we are representatives of Jesus Christ! We knocked on his door, and when he saw the food we had brought him, he was so relieved. We came in for a little bit and talked with him, helped him out. We committed him to live the word of wisdom, the law of chastity, and the law of tithing. He's so grateful for this church and this gospel, and he's been reading the Book of Mormon. It was a wonderful lesson, and I'm grateful to have been a part of that experience.
We also had the opportunity of heading up to Nanaimo and attending what's called a specialize training session, where the assistants and Sister Burt gave a training on weekly planning and how important it is while President Burt interviewed each of us individually. It was incredible. He's such an inspired man. Truly called of God. 
My testimony has been strengthened in one specific aspect of the work this week. Let me share an incredible miracle with you all: We had a very cool experience this week. As we were walking down the road that we live on, a man drove by and skidded to a halt right after he saw us. Taken aback, we stopped, too, wanting to make sure that he was okay. We walked up to the car, and he rolled down his window, asking us, "Hey! Are you guys Mormon missionaries?!" Automatically, we answered, "Yes! Have you ever talked to some of us before?" He was super excited and said that he'd been wanting to meet with us forever, but couldn't find us. He gave us all of his contact information and set a return appointment for today, January 26th, at 6 pm. We are so excited to visit with him, and for his progression in the gospel. The reason that that happened is because we had prayed just before leaving the house that the Lord would make sure that we would be placed in the path of His children who are prepared to hear His message. And lo and behold, it worked! The gospel is real! I have such a testimony of that.
It was awesome. The work is hastening. The Lord is ever at the helm. We met with Will this week, as well. He's doing great, but he's a little discouraged that he can't get baptized yet. The wait is literally destroying him. It's agonizing to watch, but we're helping him out so much. Patience is a virtue! Every trial that we go through is here for us to learn and to grow. The Lord has a plan. It's in His hands. I need not worry. This week was great. I love the work. It gets better and better each and every day. It's also comforted to know that I am in exactly the right place at exactly the right time right now. This is where the Lord wants me to be. I've prayed about it, and I've received an answer. And THAT is how we know all things. If we have any question, just ask Him. He'll give you the answer liberally, and upbraid not. That is the principle that restored the gospel, and that is the principle that leads souls back to Christ, and back to their heavenly home to live with their Father in Heaven forever. I know that to be true.
You all rock! Have a great week!
Elder Stock
Me, Elder Hancock, and the hilarious Korean elders in Courtenay
  I made pancakes the way that papa made them. They tasted exactly like his. It was incredible. Best morning I have ever had! 
I would call it a successful week if it's full of miracles and Papa Pancakes! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

1/19/2015 - 20th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

Tomorrow will be the 5 month mark for Elder Stock!  I can't believe it's been that long because it certainly doesn't seem like it. 

Dearest Missionary Blog,
Hello! I hope that everyone's week was fantastic! Mine was incredibly awesome. Like ten thousand gallons of pure awesome sauce. All over the place. If that imagery doesn't grab you like a National Enquirer headline, then I don't know what will. Highlights of this week include: finding a Book of Mormon CD at a random Canadian thrift store (the Lord provides), sniffing an air freshener called "passion" in an elderly member's truck on the way to a new member lesson, having a really weird dream about Disneyland as a missionary, watching "To This End Was I Born" with Norm and Ken and seeing the part where Jesus Christ visits the spirit world between his death and Resurrection, being taught from Preach My Gospel by my two recent converts and a super solid investigator named Will, being super tired everyday (it's only gonna get worse!) yet super happy, hearing the good news that we are getting a new car because our car is over 78,000 kilometers, and teaching a man with "22-caliber faith". 
The work is hastening here in Duncan. The Lord truly is preparing His children for the wonderful, hopeful message of the Restoration. This is His work. Not ours. We just have the privilege of being instruments in His hands and learning from Him. I testify that He is real, and that He loves us. I can't emphasize that enough. This is His church, His gospel. I would exhort you all to read the Book of Mormon, to study it every single day. Pray fervently about it with great faith and sincerity, apply its teachings in your life, and you will not only see the blessings from doing so, but you will know that it is true, and you will have the privilege of building a relationship with your Eternal father in Heaven. What a wonderful gift that is! Have a wonderful week, everybody! 

And finally....A shout out to the Central Ward Young Women! Thank you for writing me! Your faith makes me work harder each day!
Yours truly, 
Elder Stock

Me and Elder Hancock takin' a breather before e-mails. 
 And Burger King's new bacon poutine!
It was nasty...

Imagine that.....Burger King's food was nasty! 
Ah, the food choices of a missionary.

Monday, January 12, 2015

1/15/15 - 19th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

I knew that transfers were happening and I couldn't wait for Colton's letter.  I again messaged Sister Ruttan for some information on my boy.  She was more than happy to let me know that they would keep him in Duncan a little bit more! 

Dear World,
This week was....fantastic. One of the best weeks of my mission thus far. It was transfer week! *air horns* So, we usually get transfer calls on Monday night of the transfer week, but this week, we didn't get any call at night, so we thought we dodged the transfer bullet and went to bed slap happy. The next morning, we woke up and while Elder Jacobs was in the shower, the Assistants called us. We quickly regained composure of ourselves after we about fainted of disbelief, and then heard the transfer news. Elder Jacobs went to Terrace to train a greenie. Elder Hansen went to Surrey to be with some other missionary, and I am staying in Duncan! With a new companion! His name's Elder Hancock, and he's a transfer younger than me! I'm pulling rank on him. ;) Just kidding. But seriously...he's been a main-lander his whole mission so far, so it's time to slap that apostasy out of him. Lol.
He's super cool, though, and willing to work. He's from Surprise, AZ, loves movies with a passion, and is a Dr. Pepper fanboy! So much in common already! So far, we've taught a ton of lessons together, and it's been a blast. The work is hastening here in Duncan, and I am thrilled to be a part of it. Our recent converts, Judith and Shawnee, are doing SUPER well. We need to teach them at least 2 times a week to make sure that they are enduring to the end, so it's been going super well. In fact, one of the coolest things ever happened on Thursday. We were teaching Shawnee a lesson, and she told us that she just got a job to start paying for her....MISSION FUND! Yeah, she's determined to serve a mission in a year! Isn't that amazing?! We gave her a Preach My Gospel and she's going out teaching with the sister missionaries all the time. It is so cool. In fact, both Judith and Shawnee are going to start teaching us lessons now, just to make sure they know the doctrine. It's incredible to see how much this gospel transforms people. 
We are teaching, teaching, teaching. And there were so many miracles in our zone this week. Our results were sky high. I love it. We're truly seeking the Lord's direction here. We got a new bishop, as well! Bishop Holt! He looks very similar to dad, just with a Canadian flare. And he used to be the second counselor in the bishopric, too, so...I'm feeling if this truly is the Canadian Tony Stock, then dad: you're gonna be the bishop soon. Have fun! :D We had a super cool cottage meeting at Sister Arnott's home, taught about the power of the Atonement, got to have some stellar hot chocolate, and got to talk with Will. He's doing super well. I love that guy! 
The mission is great, what more can I ask for?! I'm gaining an incredibly strong testimony of the gospel, I'm seeing miracles, I'm learning more and more each day that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ actually live, and that they are so loving. This gospel is literally here to help us return to live with Him once more. And it's the most incredible message anyone can share. I am honored to be one of the Lord's servants. Read from the scriptures, pray about them, and go to church! As you do these simple things, you will be prepared for eternal life! I know this to be true, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Elder Stock
The end of the Tri-Force!
(Hansen, Jacobs and Stock)
 Elder Stock & Elder Hansen
 Elder Stock, Elder ?, Elder Jacobs
 Elder Jacobs & Elder Stock
 New Companion!!!
Elder Hancock & (the first time as a Senior Companion) Elder Stock
I thought I would share the meme that Kyler sent to Colton this week.
We're busy putting the finishing touches on a care package tonight.  Tomorrow it will start its journey to Canada and into the hands of Elder Stock.  Can't wait for next Monday to hear more about his adventures.

Monday, January 5, 2015

1/5/15 - 18th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

Transfers are this week!  Duncan or a new area?!?  We will know next week....unless Sister Ruttan will tell me before then ;-)  Kyler is into making memes for Colton......maybe next week he can have a different photo.

Dear Humanity,
I feel like I haven't written you all since, like, last year! *Crickets chirp* 2015 is truly the one year of my life, where I will have the opportunity of serving the Lord the entire time. I am pumped! My New Year's resolution? To become a better missionary! Pretty vague, but I have a lot of goals written down, like repenting daily, accounting to the Lord, etc. It's gonna be epic!
This past week has been usual... Duncan is fantastic. Great weather, and beautiful scenery. I never knew trees could gets so tall until I came up here. I actually didn't really know that trees could grow at all until I came up here. I still love Arizona scenery, though! So, last week we went to a creepy thrift shop in downtown Duncan. I was sifting through the creep-fest ensuing before my eyes, and found...nothing good...except for a really disturbing doll with half of its face ripped off. Thrift shoppin' in Canada! Sweet! We made some Missourian food in honor of Elder Jacobs, as well. Jambalaya and wassun (I think that's how you spell it...){I think he's talking about wassail}, that one drink that's like orange juice, apple juice, cinnamon, and cloves had a baby. It's pretty good! Also, with our new Nerf guns, Elder Hansen accidentally shot Elder Jacobs' point blank straight in the eye. It was hilarious. Well, except for when Elder Jacobs couldn't see for a couple of days... Don't worry, the eye doctor said he's fine. And he can see now. We think... 
We visited N and K again, and N revealed the stunning truth: he doesn't like the new Planet of the Apes reboot movies. If I wasn't a missionary, I would have left. Kidding, kidding! It was super funny, though. They're doing great. 
We visited our new investigator, M, and he is awesome! He is seriously so prepared! The Lord is truly, actively involved in His work. We are just tools. We are the ground troops, but He is the commander. He sees all, and He knows all. That's why it's so important that we keep our inner vessel clean. that we are truly conduits for His spirit. Otherwise, He cannot work through us, and then no work will be done. because then, it will be man's work. 
We also got to meet with one of our investigators, R. His sons S and A love a certain movie that I was able to connect guessed it.. PAC RIM! It was hilarious. They weren't really paying attention and then I found out they liked the movie, so I started geekin' out with them, and then after that, they were totally engrossed in the lesson. The plan of salvation is awesome.
We also saw a pretty neat miracle. We went to Boston Pizza, and ordered a pretty good amount of food to start our fast. After we were finished, the waitress told us that someone had picked up our bill. We looked over and this older gentleman was leaving with his wife. She pointed at him and said, "It was him." We thanked him and he left abruptly. But it was super cool to see that Christ-like love. Something so simple as paying for someone's meal. It made a difference to me. By small and simple things, great things come to pass. 
We got to visit a man named S. He is another testimony of how much the Lord prepares His children for His message. He's been through a lot of rough times, but because of this, he knows that there is a God that loves him. And that's all that matters. Everything else comes after that. Being with him at church yesterday was sacred. He truly felt the Spirit there. You could see it in his eyes. And it was wonderful. I love this mission. I have never known before, with such certainty as I do now, that Heavenly Father is real, that He loves us so much. That the priesthood is real. That His church, His truths, His pathway back to Him, are back on the earth once more. Right at our fingertips. All we need to do is hold on. We already know the result of this war between us and the adversary. God will not let us down. To play in this game, we don't need to be huge, starting linemen. We don't need to be star wide receivers. We just need to put on a jersey and run. That's all that He requires. To run. To strive. To improve. Joseph Smith himself said that our progression in this gospel is much like climbing a ladder: what matters isn't that we reach the top, but that we are continually taking the next step. That's all that matters. not perfection just yet, but improvement each and every day. I can promise all of you that as we look within ourselves, ask the penetrating question that President Uchtdorf so eloquently committed us to do: "Lord, is it I?", that we will receive light into our lives. We will know what he wants of us, and we will know exactly how to repent. How to become better. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 
Elder Stock
Thankfully, he's OK!
 Until next week, when we find out about transfers.