Monday, February 23, 2015


To the World,

Well...first the sad news: I'm no longer in Duncan. :( So, I got the transfer call in the middle of a new member lesson with was kind of devastating.  So, long story short, I am now in Westbank, West Kelowna...with my new companion Elder Boehmer (he's from Calgary, Alberta and is a boss), and I am now a district leader!  So, that's a lot of change for me...It's crazy.  Saying goodbye to the friends that I have made in Duncan over these past six months was brutal.  Especially the ones that I have had the privilege of helping to come closer to Christ through baptism.  Judith, Shawnee, and Will are terrific people, and it was crazy hard to say farewell to them...  But, as Will and I said, "The Lord has a plan...and so whatever happens is for our good."
SHOUT OUT to the Duncan Ward!  As a whole.  You are all so awesome.  I'm coming back someday. Oh, it'll happen.  I love you all!
Leaving Duncan, I'm not gonna lie...was harder than leaving home.  Sorry, family, I still love you a ton, but there was a different attachment to these people, it's hard to describe.  Boarding that ferry was more heart-wrenching than walking away from the MTC, that's a thing!  Hopefully that means I served well in Duncan, or maybe it just means I'm sentimental and easily attached to things, either hurt.  But I'm loving my new area already, so that helps!
So, I guess I should tell you how my travel went... On Wednesday afternoon, I was picked up by my zone leaders in Nanaimo and dropped off at a ferry...alone!  AAHHH! I wandered around like a homeless man in really nice clothes on that ferry...scared to talk to anybody especially people of the opposite sex, without my companion... So I took some selfies on the deck, because...why not...and then I ran inside and grabbed some good ol'ferry poutine.  Stuff's so good.  That was my dinner for the night, too.  It was sweet!  This random member from Chilliwack came up to me and asked me where my companion was...I told her we do travels alone sometimes, now, and then we talked about Mormons in BC for a while.  So, that was nice. Could have been better if a giant kaiju or something surfaced and blew up the ferry, making it so that I had to stay on the Island forever...
So, after a two-ish hour ferry ride, I landed in Tsawassen. The lower tip of the lower mainland.  The Richmond South elders picked me up, and one of them, Elder Vanatta, was in my MTC zone! Auld lang syne!  He's doing well, and him and his greenie picked me up and took me along their crazy night of picking up other misfit travelling elders coming in from the north.  I also got to go to the mission office while they were in correlation meeting, and so that was cool!  We street contacted in downtown Richmond.  So many people... And I slept on the dirty floor of their apartment, waking up at 5 am sharp to get ready to head down to the Greyhound bus station to catch my 7:25 am bus to Kelowna.  So, we got there, scrambled to find some cash to pay the guy for my bags, and then I was thrown onto a massive, smelly bus...alone....for a five, almost six hour bus ride across the lower part of BC.  It was fun!  Cool scenery, etc.  But this crazy guy sat next to me after the bus stop in Merit, and we started talking religion...go figure...and his crazy views on it.  He tried to give me the Satanic bible, and told me how we don't actually have free will, because we only have two choices: heaven or hell, life or death.  And I was like, "But you still have the choice, even if you know that the death choice is the bad route."  And he was ticked at that answer... But he's a cool guy.  We got along by the time we got to Kelowna, so that's nice.
Then, I called my new companion on the pay phone at the bus station, and he was like, "Wait...we thought you were coming in at 5 tonight!" At this point it was 12 in the afternoon...but luckily, they were close by, so they grabbed me within the hour and I was off to Westbank.
My reaction to Westbank: this place is nice!  It's a very wealthy part of BC, in the Okangan (The Canadian desert...) and our apartment/basement suite is SUPER nice because it used to be a sister missionary apartment haha.  It is luxurious.  The church building here is almost brand new, as well, and it is super beautiful.  The ward members are awesome, so far, too, so it's going well.  There's a guy here named Brother Baker that is literally the Canadian Uncle Jean-Jacques.  He has that same uber sarcastic humor and it is hilarious.  he was surprised that I knew how to deal with it haha.  But's pretty good. Elder Boehmer's super cool, and we're getting along quite well.  Our first P-Day was also pretty awesome.  As a zone, we all went to the church building in Kelowna, and played an epic game of free-for-all dodgeball.  It was intense.  So, I'm getting some cool sport action this transfer so that's good! I will keep you all posted, as usual, on what happens next.  I'm loving the mission, the people are great, and the gospel's even better. Love you all!!!

Elder Stock

P.S.-Tender mercy of the Lord: so, the first thing I did coming into Westbank was go grab a bite to eat...and guess what restaurant is right next to our house?!  FIVE GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And it's not even Canadian downgraded Five Guys, it tastes just like America! IT IS AWESOME!!! But anyways...that is all. ;)

The final goodbye to Norm and Ken. :.(
 Eating Burger King with Will...he took the picture...
 Last lounge in Sister Arnott's amazing chair...
Us and the Arnott's. Bye, cottage meetings!
Will...he pulled us down to his height. ;)
Us and Brother Schmidt, our ward mission leader. He rocks!
 Us and Brother Schmidt's swaggin' son, Parker!
Me and Brother McCullough. He rocks!
 Selfie with Sister's connections...
Sister Ruttan. She's awesome!  Caught her right after the Relief Society meeting that us and Will sneaked into...
 Shawnee George! Recent convert, soon to be full-time missionary. Miracles have not ceased!
Weird selfie on ferry #1
My reaction to leaving the Island/weird selfie #2
Weird selfie #3
Totally want to edit Godzilla in the background of this one!  Opportunity=taken.
That ferry poutine, though!!!
Scenery on the bus ride.
The beautiful Okanagan Lake!!!!! Legend tells of a sea monster called the Okopogo that lives in these waters...I'm gonna find it!
Our companionship selfie!  Elder Boehmer is the best!!!
Our beautiful even has its own dishwasher AND electric fireplace!
Me on the bed...makin' my first district leader call to the other elders!  Exciting times!
Makes a mom happy ;-)

Monday, February 16, 2015

2/16/15 - 24th LETTER FROM DUNCAN

Elder Stock received his latest package from us and loved it!  It even included some letters from our YW.  Favorite line from the letters: "Those are my rangers lost every time a jaeger goes down!"  Kudos to Megan Manwaring who quoted from his favorite movie!!!  I know that Elder Stock tells us this was the "best week ever", but this week was pretty over the top special.  Here he is:

Dear World,
This. Week. Was. The. Best. Bar none. Holy miracles! preface this weekly Elder Stock update, let me just tell you: I am way too blessed! I don't deserve any of the blessings I get, but hey, I don't question miracles! Seriously, I have an amazing family, I was born in the covenant, am currently serving in the best mission on the planet, and have had the utter privilege of teaching--I feel like that's not an accurate description of what I did in my formative days of missionary life...probably preachy stuttering is more like it--the most amazing children of God that I have ever met in my life. Judith, Shawnee, and Will, are members of His Church, of His Family, of His Fold. What a blessing that is! And I got to be a tool (maybe a rusty wrench, but something!) in His hands during that process?! Too blessed. I am honored to have been a part of it at all. 
So. Miracle of the week was honestly Will's baptism. He is the coolest guy that I've ever met, and such an inspiration to me. I cannot believe how far he's come since I met him until now. Words cannot describe it. You cannot tell me that this church isn't true. No one would do what he has done to bring his life in accordance with the gospel if it wasn't. If the Holy Ghost hadn't manifested that truth to him. After a long wait, he was finally cleared for baptism. And what a spectacular night that was. The atmosphere of Valentine's Day was rightfully overshadowed by the pure love of Christ that we felt through the Spirit that night. It was a wonderful service. We got to double dunk in Duncan, too! Both us and the sisters had investigators being baptized. Theirs was Heather, and she is awesome! They're both so solid in the gospel. 
Will was overly excited to be baptized. He was so giddy. it was like watching me watch Pacific Rim. It humbled me. If this guy can get so excited about the gospel, then why can't I every single day?! Well, after his baptism and confirmation, he was literally glowing. It was awesome. He still is haha. I am so excited for him and for the life in this gospel that he has ahead of him. It's going to be incredible. 
The coolest thing for me was seeing the ward take Will and Heather in. As a missionary, sometimes I feel like my investigators' salvation rests on my head. Like, if I don't do something right, they're done for, and I am, too. Totally not true, but it's the natural stress that comes into the situation. So seeing Will getting not only welcomed and fellowshipped, but treated like a king at the fantastic Duncan Ward up here was astounding and heartwarming to see. 
I had an incredible experience last night, though, that needs to be shared with all of you. So, we had our weekly cottage meeting. We decided that we would have a mini testimony meeting, and so we did. And can I just testify to you all that the Spirit was SO strong there! Hearing the testimonies of Judith, Shawnee, and Will were the greatest things I could ever hear. The gospel literally has saved all of their lives. I stand all amazed. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what we need in this life to find happiness and joy in the life to come. I am so grateful to know this, and to know that it has indeed been restored to the earth through a prophet. Joseph Smith. We have a living prophet today. How is that not the coolest news ever?! 
I'm just too overjoyed by this week. It's hard to describe in words. But all I can say is just keep living the gospel. Not only will blessings come, but you will be able to see other people's lives change. I know this church is true, that the whole message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ isn't just some really cool, convincing story that we tell to help investigators understand the church, but that it is the truth. It actually happened. Joseph Smith saw God the father and His Son, Jesus Christ. These truths are exactly like the law of gravity. Doesn't matter if you don't believe in them, because you'll still fall when you step off of that cliff. ;) I love this gospel, and I love this mission! Miracles have not ceased! You all have a great week! 

Elder Stock
Elder Stock, Will, Elder Hancock
The last time I saw Colton on the stand singing was in his last Primary Program.

Sister Missionaries, Heather, Will, Elder Stock and Elder Hancock

The next day and Will is still glowing!

 Epic Cottage Meeting!!!

 He loves Duncan!
It will be hard to leave his first area.

Goofy Kid!
Poutine from the Corner House Café
Colton's rating.....EXCELLENT!
Friday will be his SIX MONTH MARK!
I can't believe it's already been that long.  We will celebrate the night before by trying poutine from Costco. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

2/9/2015 - 23rd LETTER FROM DUNCAN

It's getting close to the 6 month mark, can you believe it?!?  He's spent his entire time in Duncan and transfers are in a week and a half.  The clock might be winding down for this area, we'll know soon.

The following is an account of a missionary's awesome week in Duncan, BC associated with a spiritual uplift.  If you don't like feeling happy, good, or hopeful, you might not like this post.  Reader discretion is advised.

What is happening, everyone?! Firstly, I hope you are all doing well. And I'd like to thank all of you for your support.  I feel it every morning I wake up and drop to my knees, pleading with the Lord to help me each and every day, to help Him hasten His work here. Your prayers are felt, and they buoy me up. So keep it up! You're all awesome.

This week in Duncan has been nothing short of amazing.  Miracles have not ceased.  The Lord lives, and He prepares the way for all of us to return to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father. Our Father in Heaven has such an intense love for all of us...I've seen that first hand out here, and it's pretty great.  So, last week, we got the awesome news from President Burt that Will's approved for baptism!

Sister and President Burt, Elder Stock, Will, Elder Hancock
And ever since then, miracles have poured out upon us. We dropped by some investigators from our area book, which was an interesting experience...some people are "formered" for very good reasons.  Yikes...But it was fun, as usual!  We taught a lot of lessons this week. The people we've been able to reach out to and help and teach are so incredible, and I've made some great friendships out here, ones that I hope will last a lifetime.  I made a huge tray of Texas Hash this week, so that was good!  We got to take the youth in our ward out for some lessons, and they loved it.
The biggest news is that this Saturday, President Burt came up to Duncan to interview Will for the last time, and it was an amazing experience!  Will's getting baptized on SATURDAY, the 14!!! Will's testimony is so strong, and I'm so happy to have been able to teach him, to have the pleasure of being his friend.  I'm so excited for Saturday. Right after the interview, President Burt told us to take Will and get him a white shirt and tie. We happily obliged, and now he looks like a legit member.

It's so awesome. We planned the baptismal program with him and a woman named Heather who the sister missionaries in our ward have been teaching, and they are both getting baptized on the same day: Valentine's Day!  What better way to show love for the Lord than by being baptized, eh? :D

I've been thinking a lot, too, about testimony and conversion, the first presidency message this month.  Last night, I was able to teach with Will and Elder Hancock about that message, and to me, I changed the words to knowledge and action.  The Lord gives us our testimonies. For me, my testimony of this restored gospel is my greatest treasure.  But what good is it to have that testimony if we don't ACT on it? Once we do, then we begin the process of being converted.  None of us are done with our conversion process.  We won't be for a LONG time, after this life.  So we need to make sure that we are acting on our testimonies, and then we will not only grow in our knowledge and conviction of the gospel, but we will help others do so as well.  We will become the tools in the Lord's hands that He wants to use, the ones that will help Him hasten His work.  
In the world, we hear a lot about how "progressive" everything's getting.  How "forward" we are moving, etc.  But to where?  What's the end goal here, people?  Progress is movement...but if you don't have a goal, or a destination, you will be lead astray quicker than you can blink.  It's like having faith.  We can't just have faith...that's a trust and a hope for something we can't see, but in what?  We need to center our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Then, we can start moving somewhere.  Through Him, we can reach our destination: the kingdom of God! The same is with our progression. We need to be progressing toward eternal life.  As we make our steps back to our Father, He will see our efforts and bless us, or help us come closer to Him.  Conversion is a gradual process.  It happens as we do the daily, small and simple things consistently and build our foundation of faith.  So get up and read the scriptures, pray fervently, and seek personal revelations in your lives! As you do so, you will be blessed and you will be able to feel the direction of your Heavenly Father, and become more converted unto the Lord. I know that this is true, because I've seen it in my own life.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is real.  It changes peoples lives every day, and helps them to access His Atonement, to access His healing.  I know this to be true.  I've seen it.  I've felt it.  The witness born to us by the Holy Ghost should be what we seek each day.  So do it! It will bless your lives so much.

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Stock

Is Elder Stock ready to have his own cooking show?!?
 Texas Hash!
 I have nothing to say about the next four photos.....
except that they are teenagers!  ;-)

Monday, February 2, 2015

2/2/15 - 22nd LETTER FROM DUNCAN

HAPPY GROUNDHOGS DAY!!!!!  So happy to be able to talk with my boy (on email) today.  Here's his letter:

Hello world,
Man, this week has been fantastic! Probably getting old, but it's not a lie each and every time that I say it. It truly is awesome to be serving the Lord in this capacity. These past five or so months have changed my life so much, they truly have. My testimony in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is invaluable to me, and this opportunity that I have not only to strengthen my testimony even more, but to help others to receive a testimony as well, and to see them grow and take hold of this perfect, incredible gospel, is such a blessing. Losing myself in this work so far is happening by degrees, kind of like the positive version of Amalickiah's scheme. Metaphorically, figuratively speaking, of course. 
I feel like the more I give up to the Lord, and the more I try to just move forward with faith and forget myself in the work, to truly serve selflessly, that everything works out way better. It's like, when you try to go at it with your own strength, your going to get your own results: nothing. We, as mortal beings, cannot hasten the work. It's impossible. We can't convert anyone, we can't find anyone to teach, we can't help others to come unto Christ on our own. So when we work with our own strength, that's exactly what happens: nothing.
We get in a rut, and we start to feel discouraged, like the work isn't real. Like there aren't people out there who actually want the truth. BUT, as I've come to know, when we give up ourselves and try to become an instrument, even a weak instrument, in the Lord's hands, then what can we do through Him?! Through Him, we can find those that He has prepared to accept the teachings of Jesus Christ's restored gospel, those who have a desire to follow Him, and to receive eternal life. 
A miracle happened this morning. President Burt has been in touch with us elders as we have tried to get Will's baptism approved from the proper authorities. We've been praying together that we will receive an answer, and we've been trying to keep his hopes up. He's too resilient, though. He's handled this trial so far like a boss! So, this Sunday, we all fasted for Will's baptism to be approved, that we would get an answer. This morning, I kid you not, I get a call from President Burt. "Elder Stock, they've approved Will's baptism." 
Literal. Spiritual. Adrenaline. Flowed through my veins. 
You cannot tell me that miracles have ceased, that God does not live, that He is not interested in our individual lives. That is simply not true. He is alive, and He is there, and He wants to communicate with us through sincere prayer. When we humble ourselves, when we show our desires to Him, He will grant them to us. According to His will, of course. THAT is the truth. As I've been reading The Book of Mormon again on my mission, a major theme has struck me this time: God keeps His promises. 
If He says it, it will happen. He is Almighty God! And what has He promised us?! That if we keep His commandments, we will receive eternal life! Boom, there you go. As we earnestly follow the doctrine of Christ in our lives, we will see so many blessings come from it. 
This week was awesome. I got to go to Nanaimo on an exchange, which made me realize how much I love Duncan even more, as the big city scared me a little bit. Duncan has a nice mellow feel to it. People are a lot nicer to talk to, even when they're rejecting you. We got to see Norm and Ken, as usual, and they're doing fantastic! Elder Hancock had his 19th birthday, as well! To celebrate, we had his favorite: lemon meringue pie!!! So good! Oh, and guess what?! I had the coveted Costco poutine! Oft regarded as the best poutine overall in the three categories of the poutine scale: 1) size, 2) cost, 3) taste, it definitely took the cake. Good job, Costco. Good job. 
The work is hastening. Right now. We are in the middle of it. So get out there, start working, and make history! Boo ya! I know this church is the true and living Church of Jesus Christ on the earth, and that the authority we hold is God's authority. The Book of Mormon is true. Share it! Have a great week, everyone!

Elder Stock
Texas Hash
Homemade by Elder Stock
This is one of my boys favorite recipes.  Colton asked for the recipe a couple of weeks ago and he finally made it.  YUM!
Here's Mita's recipe
1 large onion, diced
(opt) lg. green bell pepper or 2 stalks of celery, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c. uncooked rice
1  tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease/spray a 9x13 pan and then evenly pour the rice in the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.  Cook the onion (and bell pepper or celery, if using - I usually just use the celery and I add 4-6 stalks) in the oil until soft.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned.  Next, add the tomatoes and seasonings, gently pour the mixture on top of the rice in the 9x13 dish.  (making sure the rice is completely covered by the tomato/beef mixture.  Cover dish with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil and cook another 15 minutes.