Monday, March 30, 2015

3/30/15 - 6th (and final) LETTER FROM WESTBANK

Yes, you read that correctly.....the last letter from Westbank.  It took Colton nearly 6 months to be transferred out of Duncan and only 6 weeks to leave Westbank.  Here's the story:

To Whom It May Concern,

Well, what can I say?!  You already know how awesome my week went, because they just keep getting better and better, so...yeah...this week was fantastic.  We did some crazy stuff.  We taught a ton of lessons as usual, and really focused on studying Preach My Gospel to its maximum capacity.  It's so, so, so important to know the doctrine that we are called to teach as missionaries. Without that, we are just aimless missionaries, but with it, we are focused ministers of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!  Literally, it is getting harder and harder to write down detailed, day by day e-mails of what is happening out here, because everything is going by in a big blur.  It's kind of nuts, actually.  But I can say that I now have a t-shirt to commemorate my stay in the Okanagan.  It says, "Ogopogo" on it, which is the mythical (we all know it's real, come one, now...) sea serpent of the Okanagan Lake.  So, that's fun!  Elder Boehmer and I got to serve a lot.  We were moving people out of their homes, getting free pizza out of one of them (free food is the best...especially as a missionary), and just ministering.  Everywhere. I loved it.  Elder Boehmer is so awesome!

We set a baptismal date with a woman we were teaching named Linda.  She's married to Lee, the self-named "King of Westbank"...he's an...interesting fellow...  We gave her to the sisters, but Linda wouldn't listen to them, so we were like, "Ok, I guess we're teaching her," and it's turned out really well!  We keep telling everyone of the ominous transfer calls that we were anticipating tonight.  But...the crazy thing is...they happened last night and totally caught us off guard!!!

I was calling the elders in my district, collecting some results, and praising their awesome work, when we get a call from President Burt himself.  Now...this kind of made my heart drop on its own, and so we were all, "hey, elder, we'll call ya back.  Hold up!"  And then boom, we were talking to President Burt.  He told us he was calling with transfer news!!!!  AH!

So...long story short, Elder Boehmer and I are both leaving.  My companion's going to Clearbrook, in Abbottsford, and I am heading off to Burnaby North, to be a stinkin' zone leader over the North Vancouver Zone!  AH!  So it was super exciting, sudden and crazy.  But I think we survived...

It's so sad that we're splitting up and that we're leaving Westbank...but I am honestly so pumped to be in Vancouver.  A) I will be there during the time when the Book of Mormon musical comes to Vancouver (bring on those golden missionary opportunities!) and B) I will be there during the time when, according to Pac Rim's timeline (oh yeah, I'm goin' full out nerd on y'all), the first jaeger-kaiju fight Vancouver!  So....I am legitimately pumped beyond belief.
Honestly, God is so good.  He is truly at the helm of this great work.  I cannot stress to you all enough that we are literally smack dab in the middle of the Lord's hastening of the work.  All we have to do is open our mouths, and get out there and work, and we we'll see extraordinary missionary opportunities basically come to us once we show our diligence and our devotion to the Lord.  I am so excited to be a missionary at this time, and I know that we can choose to make every moment a life changing one.  Because of Christ, and because He lives, we can choose to rise above who we are, who we were, and be who He can make us.  And that is the beauty of the gospel.  I hope you all have an amazing week!

Elder Stock

We're so happy for Colton!  Since he didn't send photos this week...I get to choose a few.

Congratulations, Elder Stock!!!

Monday, March 23, 2015


Colton was able to celebrate his birthday with service and pizza...a missionary dream come true! ;-)  Here's the latest and lots of photos!!!

Hey Peeps,

So...are you ready to have your concept of Canada shaken even more?  Because I just got back from a kangaroo farm.  Yeah.  Let that one sink in!  This week has been insane.  So much awesomeness and craziness and...yeah...just another day in the life of a missionary!  I am loving it.  So, we had fun on my birthday.  It didn't feel like a birthday at all, but it was amazing nonetheless.  We started it off by heading up to an investigator's house.  She lives with these awesome members, and so we were prepared to share a message and help out with their move, and then all of the sudden, the unthinkable happened.

The members that she lives with left the water in the downstairs washtub running and didn't think to check it for a while.  Elder Boehmer and I were outside working, and then we open the front door and we just see a miniature ocean in their downstairs main hall.  The Flood of Westbank has begun.  As two teenage guys would do, we closed the door and walked upstairs the back way, thinking that they had it under control for some reason.  As we were working on their dry wall, we asked Sister Mazey what she was doing about the flooding downstairs.  Well....that was the first time she had heard anything about that.  Oops.

So DEFCON 5 erupted in the house, and we were down there with a Shop-Vac and a squeegee quicker than you could say, "service opportunity!"  It took a little bit to clean up, but we got that was my birthday.  Fighting a flood and then going out and teaching people about the gospel.  It was pretty sick.

We also had a zone conference in Kelowna this week, and President Burt came up for that.  It was super fun and we learned a ton.  It was also catered by Subway, so that may or may not have made it the best zone conference ever.  I love my mission!  I met an elder who's serving in Merritt this week, because he and his companion stayed the night in our apartment before the zone conferene, and guess who he knows?  Nelson Brown!  Small world, eh?!  So, THAT was cool.  Tons of crazy stuff happened this week, but it's all happened so fast and I don't really remember a lot of it...

I had a pizza party with my district.  Love those guys!  Today was sweet.  We headed up to Kelowna with the Rutland elders, and on the way, we stopped by a doughnut place called Dolicious...I had a maple long john with bacon on top of it.  It was heavenly.  We went to this super good Mediterranean deli to have some fancy sandwiches, and then we went to a kangaroo farm. Now THAT was awesome.  I'll send pictures of that.  I got to hold a baby kangaroo, got to pet an albino kangaroo, got to see come capybaras, got to chill with an emu.  It was awesome.  Buy yeah, the mission is treatin' me great.  Once you figure out that missionary work is actually, like, also the funnest thing you can do, then life just explodes with awesomeness.

This week, I have truly seen how powerful prayer is.

Prayer is literally a two-way communication between us and our Father in Heaven.  When we pray, sometimes it's good to imagine ourselves walking with God.  Talking with Him openly, telling Him how our day has gone, asking Him questions, truly developing a personal relationship with Him.  Because He is ready and willing to reach out to us.  I have discovered that our prayers are the way that we indicate what kind of relationship that we want to have with God.  The more often we say prayers, the more sincere they are, really determines how close we are with our Heavenly Father.  What a wonderful tool that we have been given to connect with Him, and to receive guidance in this life.  Because I'm sure we've all realized that life is crazy.  So it's such a blessing to be able to talk to the one who knows all, right?  Prayer has truly helped me so much in my life, and I know that if we truly use prayer for what it has to offer us, then we will be so much happier because of it.  It's no coincidence that prayer is woven throughout the doctrine of Christ so much.  To build our faith, we pray, and ask God if He's even there to start out with, then we ask if the Book of Mormon is true, if Jesus is the Christ.  Prayer is a huge part of repentance: praying for a desire to change, for forgiveness, and for determination and strength to keep it up.  Baptism and confirmation both are done with a special prayer, and as we pray always (Alma 37:36), we are able to endure to the end so much more.

I hope that we can all find something we can improve on in our prayers, and that we can build an even better relationship with Heavenly Father because of it.  Because that's what we need.  Christ died to save mankind, but He also died so that man could talk to God.  Have a great week!

Elder Stock

From top to bottom, left ot right: Elder Heiner, Elder Eschrich, me and Elder Boehmer. #kelowna
 Us missionaries with the tour lady at the kangaroo farm.
She was a little creeped out...
 Holding a baby kangaroo....Who's your daddy?!
 Baby kangaroos are the best.
 Emu was dangerous.  We took the risk...
 The most adorable kangaroo of all time.  
He knows it.
 Albino kangaroos are the rats of Australia ;)
 Exotic animal versions of Roscoe and Coco? LOL!
 Me and my photogenic kangaroo.  He's a boss.
 I had to sneak up on this one.  He's timid...
 This guy was sunbathing.
 Beautiful modern house we drove by...
they're all summer homes so we're waiting to tract 'em until later ;)
 Westbank-Pentiction Birthday Pizza Party!  Treat the boys right!
 Optimus Prime truck in Wendy's drive thru...
 Birthday hat and giant kinder egg.
 NICE house!

Monday, March 16, 2015

3/16/15 - 4th LETTER FROM WESTBANK (and a day before his birthday!!!)

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and more importantly.....
Colton's Birthday and last year as a teenager!!!!!!
For most of his life, I thought that this would be the time to put in his mission papers. Then President Monson announced the mission age change and instead of getting ready for a mission, my 19 year old has already been serving for nearly 7 months!  I love reading his weekly letters, but the photos this week are a crack up.  Here's the latest:


So...miracles have not ceased.  And guess what?  They're all around us as we speak! So, my entire mission, my entire outlook on life, my entire thought process in general has completely been destroyed and rebuilt all in one week.  It was awesome, let me tell you.  My week started off really well.  Elder Boehmer and I were doing good, we were teaching some people, missionary life is always super fun, and nothing was going awry.  Then, we got a phone call.  The assistants to the president, Elder Baker and Elder Crowell, were coming to Kelowna to attend our combined district meeting...and afterward, Elder Crowell was to come on an exchange with me.

I was pretty dang stressed.  So, after cleaning our apartment like mad fiends that evening, and making sure everything was ready for him, we headed off to the Kelowna chapel, and had a super spiritual meeting.  All of us district leaders got to give training on different aspects of the work that we need to do better with, to keep pace with the Lord's hastening of the work.  That was super fun, and we all committed to be better, to do differently, to get more creative with planning, keeping up our area books, etc.  You know, all of the paperwork stuff that's assocated with missionary work.  The stuff that we assume isn't as important, BUT, we quickly realized that it was.  You see, we all have a vision of what we want out of our missions, out of our areas, but until we plan, or put that faith, that vision, that goal, onto paper, then it's not going to happen.  Planning shows our commitment to the Lord and His work.

So, we started going ballistic this week.  No longer is the day like this: finding block, teaching block, lunch, finding block, teaching block, dinner, teaching block, home, sleep, rinse, repeat.  Instead, it's all like: minister, minister, minister, minister, minister....sleep?!  Already?!

To explain it in English: when Christ was on the Earth, during His mortal ministry, what did He do?  He taught, healed, blessed, invited, and just generally DID what His Father sent Him to do.  As missionaries, we are representatives of Jesus Christ.  So...we need to do what He did.  We need to just go out there and start blessing lives, start praying with people on the streets, in Wal-Mart, in their homes, start teaching them the gospel, and showing them that we care.  Then, they will begin to recognized us as His disciples, and then the hastening will take off even more.  

I have realized, with the help of President Uchtdorf, how obedience and blessings really work.  You see, I kind of thought of it before hand as a big cloud somewhere full of blessings, and once we obeyed a commandment, the Lord was like, "Sweet!", and He unlocked a blessing for you and tossed it down to Earth.  So it was kind of like a pay-per-blessing system.  I was so wrong.  In reality, God is showering us with blessings.  All the time.  Right now, as you read this, there are so many blessings around you.  Here's the tricky part: due to our own disobedience to the commandments, our lack of faith, our own doubts, we are basically holding up a spiritual umbrella against that downpour of blessings.  We're all like, "Hey! Let me wallow in self pity down here, man! I don't need your blessings!"  And so we close ourselves off to the miracles in store for us.  But, once we realize what the commandments are there for, instructions from a loving Heavenly Father for us to "close our umbrellas", then we will feel the rain of blessings that He has in store for us.  

I've seen that this week more than ever.  I know it to be true.  Don't be scared to obey, to do as the Lord commands.  Because it will ALWAYS turn out better than the other road.  Can I just tell you all how glad and excited I am to be a part of this work?!  This is literally the work of God.  There is nothing more important that I could be doing right now!  It's so awesome!  I am happy, though, because I get to share the gospel with people.  And the gospel of Jesus Christ saved my life. The Book of Mormon, which contains His teachings and dealings with God's children in the Americas, is the most powerful book ever.  I owe too much to it, and so it's the least I can do to be out here for a couple of years, serving my heart out. 

My week rocked.  SO much.  I hope you all have a good one, too!!!

See ya next time,
Elder Stock

Pink suit jacket that I snagged as an old lady was throwing it out.
 More fly poses
Aw yeah, Dat Canadian flag, tho!
Elder Boehmer rockin' the floral suit jacket.
 Canadian Doritos Locos was kinda gross ;-)
 A picture an old lady made me take to sell her exercise equipment on Canadian Craig's List...
 Elder Crowell & Us....mind-bending exchange!
 Skippin' rocks at Okanagan Lake!


Monday, March 9, 2015


It's Spring Break here!  The best part, I can email with Elder Stock!!!!!  Here's the latest:


Man. This has been yet another amazing week in the Canada Vancouver Mission.  Westbank is where it's at!  Stuff's happening, and we are just seeing so many miracles and blessings from the Lord that it's kind of impossible to deny at this point lol.  We are working hard, and guess what?  The secret to missionary work, aside from the Spirit, because obviously that's the most important part, is diligence! If we are diligent, truly diligent, and we have a constant, energetic effort in our work, then it will cease to drag out and instead transform into a spiritual adrenaline rush of epic proportions.  I've seen that in my own mission so far.  And I've also seen the power of sanctification, or that purification that we can receive through the Holy Ghost.  In D&C 43:16, it says, "Sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken." Whoa. Sanctify yourselves?!  But, sir, I can't physically sanctify myself, the Spirit does it.  Oh, but what's our role in it?  To CHOOSE to be sanctified.  To choose to purify ourselves and cast away the nets that we may hold and walk with the Savior; to follow Him.  Sanctification, like anything in the gospel, is a choice.  God's not going to force us to do anything.  He cares too much about our agency and how we use it.  So everything in missionary work is a choice.  We can CHOOSE to wake up on time, we can CHOOSE to go out and work, or we can just sit around and expect a guy to walk up to our door in baptismal whites, asking us to fill the font.  But that's way less likely to happen than us going out and finding that guy on the street.  See, that's the cool thing to me.  When we live the gospel, we choose who to become.  Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, growth is possible.  We don't have to be satisfied with who we are.  Because through Christ, we can become what God wants us to be. Whoa. yeah, you read it right.  That is what the gospel is here for.  To cleanse us of our sins, to qualify us for His mercy, but also for us to rise above mediocre and become great.  To become like Christ.  He's our example, so let's start following Him a little bit more! He will give us strength.  I've seen that too much on my mission.  He does not want us to fail, and so He will help us succeed.

I had the incredible opportunity this week to conduct a baptismal interview for a boy that the elders in my district have been teaching.  It was such a wonderful experience for both of us.  What an honor and a privilege it was to be the representative for the Church, for Christ in that situation.  The Spirit was so strong, testifying to me that this little 12 year old young man was truly ready to be baptized.  He had prepared himself so well.  And it all comes down to teaching.  We need to be better teachers of this gospel.  The quality and power of our teaching invites the Spirit more as we grow as teachers. Again, it's a choice.  It all comes down to that.  Can I just tell you that life is a blur now?  It seems like yesterday, I was e-mailing you all.  And another week has flown by in the service of the Lord.  It makes me want to work even harder, because it's going by too fast already haha.  Thank you all for your support.  Your prayers are felt all the way up here in Canada.  Seriously.  I owe everything to my parents.  They are prime gospel teachers.  THAT is called magnifying your calling.  They could have just been normal and kept me away from the stove and the highway, but instead, they invited me to come unto Christ.  Now I can help others do the same.  I am so grateful for this gospel.  It is so true.  Never doubt that.  Lean on my faith if you have to.  Because I've been there, in the darkness of doubt and uncertainty.  And you can't feel God's light all the way at the bottom of that abyss.  So get up and choose to be saved, choose to grow, choose to become who God knows you can be.  Have a great week!

Elder Stock
Me and Elder Boehmer at our ward mission leader's house
(amazing view!  I would love to visit here!!!)
Me trying to be intimidating...yeah...doesn't work ;)
My superhero name has been announced to the world!
Tired beach contacting weird face. #missionarylife
 Chili + Great Value Mac & Cheese....a feast fit for a king!
(at least he didn't combine the chili with creamed corn like his father did on his mission!)
That house, tho!

Monday, March 2, 2015


Yesterday marked the 1 year anniversary of the Gilbert Temple Cultural Celebration and today marks the anniversary of the Gilbert Temple Dedication!  What a great weekend!!!  I was privileged to help with the Cultural Celebration and be there with my boys.  As the future missionaries (they had all received their call) carried the flag of the country they would serve in, I wondered where in the world would Colton serve.  I couldn't wait for him to receive his mission call.  In this past year, Colton received his mission call to the Canada Vancouver Mission, graduated from high school, worked at Bahama Bucks, was dropped off at the MTC, has served nearly 6 months in Duncan with 3 different companionships and now almost 2 weeks in Westbank.  We are all so proud of Elder Stock!!!  I love (as Colton has mentioned) that 2015 will be the year he does nothing but serve the Lord.  Here's to a great 2015!

Dear Everybody,

What is up?!  Man, time flies when you're havin' fun!  This week flew by! I was pretty disoriented and confused when I found out it was P-Day doesn't feel like it's been a week...but...that's a really good thing. ;) West Kelowna is awesome.  The work is hastening, and a lot of cool things are happening this transfer.  The ward's really supportive and awesome, and the weather is pretty sweet here.  A little colder than Duncan, but still nothing like the stories I've heard from the North.  I feel too lucky...I've dodged the "classic Canadian winter" so far...Knock on wood, eh?

This week was great.  I got to conduct my first district meeting, which went a lot better than I thought it was going to.  The Spirit was there, which is all that matters.  We all knelt down and prayed as a district, and asked our Father in Heaven how many people could be baptized this transfer between us, and He answered us.  We're going for it.  Our goal is going to take some work, but what doesn't take work?! Especially in the gospel? Exactly: nothing.  I'm going on an exchange for the first time as a district leader tomorrow, so that'll be fun.  Kind of nerve-wracking, though. I have to do a lot of stuff haha.  But the one thing I love about leadership is that it gives you an opportunity to serve and to love others more than you would if you weren't their leader.  My job isn't to be a harsh, militant authority figure to keep everyone in line, but rather it is to lift, encourage, inspire, and bless those around me.  And that is awesome. So, I'm working on that.  It's going well so far.  Elder Boehmer and I are doing awesome.  We're having so many cool experiences here in Westbank, and I'm excited to see what the transfer will bring. So, something hilarious happened this week.  We had a lesson scheduled with a guy named Justin. I'd never met Justin. He was a former investigator in our area book who'd been formered twice because he won't agree with our doctrine of the Godhead.  We thought we'd give him a try again.  Little did we know...but we were walking into a spiritual minefield...

So, we bring a member with us, a Greek-British guy that's pretty awesome, and go to his house.  The visit starts off nicely, with him showing us around his pad and showing off his collection of salamanders...yeah...he's a reptile specialist.  It was pretty sweet, not gonna lie.  So we are chatting with him, finding out cool stuff about lizards and dinosaurs, and then we head into the living room for the lesson. Man. Right out of the gate, he starts assaulting our doctrine, telling us how we've invented a new Jesus in the Book of Mormon, etc, telling us about how we incorrectly destroyed the trinity, etc.  So we're backed into a wall already. We decided to say a prayer to invite the Spirit.  It worked....for about two seconds...and then our member started spouting off deep doctrine to try and assuage his turned sour real fast.  Note to all members of the church: if people aren't even going to accept the basic nature of God, then what makes you think they're going to want to know about your crazy theories about how the earth was created and in what times?!  Yeah...keep it basic, people... But anyways.  It was a hilarious disaster, and so we laughed it off.  But the week went really well.  Just today, I headed up to Kelowna to play dodgeball with the zone and then to eat at this crazy good poutine place called Smoke's Poutinerie...I got a poutine called the hogtown, which had sausage, mushrooms, and onions on top of the poutine.  It was delicious.

So, the church is true people.  Seriously, Jesus Christ lives, and He wants to help you in your life.  He has the power to deliver you from your trials and afflictions, and as long as you reach out to Him, He's right there to life you up.  Trust Him!

Elder Stock

 I'm pretty sure Colton's going to need a scrapbook that's dedicated to his poutine photos!