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!


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