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. 

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