Monday, April 27, 2015


Dear Everyone,

What a week!  I was reminded this week, through being taught from on high, that we need to keep it simple.  Think about the job of the Apostles.  Back in Christ's time, they were to keep the doctrine pure and simple, for that is how it is.  That is how God teaches us.  To our understanding.  Very simple, and very profoundly. The simple truths of the gospel are what the Spirit will testify of.  God is our Heavenly Father, and we are His children.  He loves us, and wants to communicate with us.  We can do that through sincere prayer!  He has a body of flesh and bone, and because of this, He weeps with us when we suffer, and rejoices with us when we choose the right.  He has provided a way for us to return to live with Him after this life, and we can do so through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Boom.  That's Preach My Gospel.

We aren't called to teach about crazy elaborate church history, the specifics of the Levitical Priesthood, or where God lives in the universe...quite frankly because that isn't pure doctrine.  What I mean by pure doctrine is something that genuinely hleps us to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and fulfill God's plan for us.  Faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  Boom.  That's all we need in this life.  Basic truth that helps us.

As Alma, my Book of Mormon hero, says, "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass" (Alma 37:6) Whoa. THAT'S profound, Alma.  And...wait a moment...simply put!  See, the key to sharing the gospel is not to be the smartest guy in the room.  Human wisdom and logic are cool, and all. But guess who has more knowledge than all y'all combined: our Heavenly Father!

Yeah...ANYTHING in life can be logically broken down.  Heck, even anti-Mormon literature is logical.  But is it the truth?  Of course not!

When we are talking with people about the Church, about our beliefs, what are we telling them?  Are we in Preach My Gospel every day, do we truly KNOW the doctrine we are called to teach?  The Spirit will be with you if you testify of God's love to someone.  He might not be there when you start trying to assert you "mighty" knowledge of the obsure events of early church history.  You know what I'm talking about.  The stuff that doesn't matter in the long run.  So prioritize.  Study what our prophets and apostles have shown to us as truth, as basic doctrine.  Don't know where to find it? worries.  It's a little book called Preach My Gospel!  Study it, believe it, learn it, love it, and teach it.  The Spirit will be with you, and you will be able to keep pace with the Hastening of the Work.

This week, I was privileged enough to attend Missionary Leadership Council (MLC) in Richmond.  All of the zone leaders and sister training leaders were gathered together from across the province with President and Sister Burt and his Assistants.  It was an AMAZING experience.  The conference was about 9 hours long...and yet it felt like a minute!  We discussed the needs of the mission, and some ways that we could be more unified across the mission in this wonderful work.  It was cool to be a part of it.  I felt so inadequate, though, walking in among these legendary missionaries.  When I walked into the meetinghouse, I saw my trainer himself, Elder Orr!  What a reunion.  We reminisced about the Duncan days and my greenie moments.  He's in Prince George.  It's cold up there... It was an awesome experience, and I found out from Elder Swallow (my old zone leader in Nanaimo) that Will is doing super well as the new Assistant Ward Mission Leader in Duncan!  I feel too blessed to have met Will... I am honored and humbled to be here in Burnaby.  The ward is awesome.  Speaking of MLC, I was called up by the bishopric and asked if I could give a talk in sacrament meeting.  "You know I can!"  So...I prepared a little ten minute talk.  And when I got up on the podium, I totally forgot my talk, and instead when on for twenty minutes on how memebers can do missionary work as well, and related it to my topic... It was, like, kind of overly passionate.  But they ate it up!  So...there you go, eh?  It was a fun experience.  The members were kind of shell-shocked afterwards though... I felt a little bad that I went over, but I was like..."This is the most important topic, so...I'll be excused..."

The work is going super well.  We're teaching a guy named K who had some nerve damage in his arm.  Going for a baptismal date tonight!  And we just found a brand new family to teach yesterday.  C & J and their three little kids!  They're so cool.  Our super solid investigator, L, moved to Vancouver...she's getting baptized in two weeks into that ward... So, that's amazing!  Metro Town mall is insane.  I love it.  I love this work, and I know that it is our Heavenly Father's work.  We aren't just an organization going out and getting numbers!  This is literally Heavenly Father using His children as His servants to gather all of His children together, to return to Him.  So go out and be friends with everyone, and show them how much this gospel can change your life!  Wahoo!  Have a great week, everybody!

Your Guy,
Elder Stock

P.S. - Shout out to Island Ward Activity Girls/Sister Baxter!!!  That package was awesome!  Sunshine on a rainy day.  We have already devoured the food, and it was amazing!  You are all amazing, and you made my day! :D

Me and Elder Spencer devouring American Oreos...thank you Sister Baxter!!!!!
 Me and my father in the mission, Elder Orr, at MLC. #blasttothepast
 The first time Elder Spencer has had Oreos with milk...African children probs ;)
We're 2 weeks away from a Skype call with Elder Stock!
Can't wait!!!!!

Monday, April 20, 2015


Today marks Colton's 8 Month Mark!!!  Here's the letter!

Dear Everyone,

What an incredible week.  In Moroni 7, this amazing Book of Mormon prophet asks us a pretty rhetorical question when he inquires, "have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven...?" Because He fulfilled the law, and accomplished the Atonement, is it all over?  Is God just on a recliner, ceasing the work He has always done?  "Behold, I, [Moroni], say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men."  Now, angels do minister to us.  But what exactly is an angel!?!  Moroni explains that, "the office of [an angel's] ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and do the work of the covenants of the prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him."

Whoa.  What's an angel again?!  Someone...or something...that calls men to repentance...fulfills Heavenly Father's covenants...and prepares the way for His children to return to Him by declaring His gospel of Jesus Christ to them, that they may testify of it and of Him... That sounds really familiar to me...

There's something else that has a similar office...a calling or something.  Someone who is called to "help people qualify for baptism and confirmation by teaching them true doctrine and inviting them to repent and change their lives through making and keeping commitments that build their faith in Jesus Christ." Oh, yeah! A missionary!  As missioanries, we call men to repentance.  We invite others to make and keep commitments, to ACT, to Do something that will build their faith in Christ and help them to change in accordance with His will.  We fulfill and do the work of Heavenly Father's covenants.  He promised that He would gather His children.  In unity.  In one faith.  Why do we have a Church?  To gather ourselves in unity and faith!  That's why we're inviting everyone to it.  We prepare the way for His children to return to live with Him.  As they are baptized and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, then that way is wide open and they can return.  We declare the gospel, the word of Christ, to chosen vessels.  To those whom the Lord has prepared.  And when they are truly converted, they testify of Him and of His gospel.

My recent convert in Duncan, Will (one of the greatest men I have ever met in my life), was just called to be an Assistant Ward Mission Leader in his ward.  He is testifying of Jesus Christ.  He has been ministered unto, and now he is ministering to others.  Because we do not learn truth just to keep it.  That's not how God's plan works.  He didn't give Joseph Smith the most remarkable answer to prayer ever just so that Joseph could keep it as a souvenir and go on his merry way.  He gave him that answer so that he could share, so that he could help others to come to the same witness of the truth.  And look at the work now.  Sharing the gospel is a fundamental part of learning the gospel.  So go out and share it!  I have learned that as long as we are doing all that we can do, and we are living the gospel of Jesus Christ, that the Lord will bless us.

Miracles truly have not ceased, and nor will they ever now.  The Lord is hastening His work.  Of that I testify.  This week, we found someone who moved here from Kamloops with her two twin sons.  She's a single mom who's had an incredibly rough past, and all that she wants to do is move forward, to be baptized, and do all that she can to lead by example, to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Not only was her coming in contact with us a miracle for her, but it was a blessing for us as well.  We have been finding so many people who will meet up, but are not willing to progress, to live the gospel.  And so finally, the Lord has granted us that desire of our hearts.  A blessing for both sides...that is how the Lord works!  He gives to all men liberally, and He is so good to us.  Blessings and miracles are raining down upon us each and every day.  All that we need to do is "close our umbrella" and feel the rain.  I am honored to be here in Burnaby with Elder Spencer.  He is amazing, and has taught me so much.  I am grateful for the missionaries that I serve each day and for the ward that I have been given to work with and bless.  I am grateful for the support of such an amazing family, that truly is an example to me of making the gospel of Jesus Christ a pattern of living.  I am excited to serve.

Have an amazing week,
Elder Stock

Elder Stock selfie...
 Transformers collection that some kid had in Coquitlam...He's obsessed ;-)
 Went on exchanges with Elder Kelly in Coquitlam!  
"We're here to FIND, Elder Kelly....not SEE!" #moralauthority
 Elder Spencer calling a district leader...
 Me and Elder Spencer calling a district leader.... ;-)
 All-You-Can-Eat Sushi.... SO much food....
8 months down....
16 more to go!

Monday, April 13, 2015


This weekend there was a social media blitz in British Columbia.  Two members shared photos of Colton and his companion and it was a great surprise for me! Jon Johnston took shared these two photos:
We meet the missionaries early to study with them.  They pray, study scriptures and make lesson plans.  We discussed the needs of people they teach and how to help them. #RealBCMormons
Nate Johnston and I joined the missionaries to help move dirt for a community garden.  The organic vegetables will be given to people in the neighborhood.  #RealBCMormons  Mormon missionaries usually wear white shirts and neckties.  But they wear work clothes when someone needs help.
Douglas Blatherwick posted these three photos:
Out with Elder Stock from Arizona and Elder Spencer from Zimbabwe.  #RealBCMormons
Sometimes missionaries get busy and have a hard time making time to eat.  They often try to find cheap, or all you can eat places to extend time between meals and save money.  One place of favor to missionaries over the years has been Uncle Willy's.  #RealBCMormons
As I left the missionaries I saw this view of #Burnaby and thought this is not a bad place to spend 1.5 to 2 years of your life on a mission.  I know I like living here.  Isn't it beautiful what God created?
As our church leaders have said, we are all missionaries, the full-time missionaries are just here to help us.  #RealBCMormons
It is a beautiful place.  Now let's hear about Elder Stock's adventures this week.

Dear All Y'All,

This week was great.  Elder Spencer and I conducted our zone meeting on was a little nerve-wracking at first because Preisdent Burt himself attended ours.  So I was nervous to get up and starting our missionaries on accountability, how district meetings should look, etc.  Gladly, it all went really well.  Super interactive, super edifying, etc.  I love Elder Spencer.  He is a boss.  Just a bank of mission knowledge all contained in one Zimbabwean superstar missionary.  It's been good.  It's cool to see him, on his last transfer, still going strong.  Not losing momentum.  That's a good example to me.  I should treat every transfer that wya, with a desire to not lose momentum.  Because that is how everything falls apart.

As you probably all saw, as well, we had an epic media blitz!!!  It was fun to have members with us for the majority of the day, and to see the crazy awesome miracles that happened because of it.  Seriously: member-missionary work is the way that we access the true power of the Hastening.  Do it.  It is the Lord's way, and the only way that we can help others to truly come unto Christ.  Seriously, though.  What qualifies us for eternal life?  Enduring to the end!  What helps converts endure to the end?  Having a friend in the church.  Fellow-shippings is the biggest task that we have to attend to in this Work.  And us as missionaries can't do that, because we are always swapping wards.  Members and missionaries are one.  Simple as that.

We also got to attend this cool fireside last night by Dr. Givens with two of our investigators, Kevin and Anja, and the fireside was all about why we should choose to believe the restored gospel, and the five gems of the Restoration.  In layman's terms, they are that: God is passionate, He feels our feelings, that we have existed eternally, that we are in an ascent toward God, and not a Fall, that God is an architect with ambition; not a repairman acting out of desperation, and that heaven is a continuation of our family relationships on earth.  It was super cool and mind-blowing, and we got a lot out of it.

The gospel principle that I've truly learned this week is that God is passionate, that He cares about us so individually, so perfectly, and so intimately.  He is focused on us, we are His greatest joy.  All that He wants is for us to return to live with Him, but more than that: to become better from our life on earth.  He is not satisfied with us just living with Him.  He wants us to learn, to grow, to become like Him.  What an incredible Father we have, who has orchestrated with us such a perfect plan to go about doing this.  I am grateful for the plan of salvation, and I am grateful for how incredibly detailed our Heavenly Father is, and how truly dedicated He is to all of us.  So reach out to Him!  Pray a little bit more, seek His guidance.  Because He knows exactly what you can become.  And it is far greater than anything you have ever imagined.

I am truly honored to be here in Canada.  This mission that I am serving is honestly the greatest time of my life.  You are all amazing!  If you see my picture on Facebook, just know that..we're #RealBCMormons ;)

Elder Stock

His beloved Chipotle!

Monday, April 6, 2015


He's in the big city!  Before we get to his letter let's see his farewell photos from Westbank, West Kelowna area.
Why do goodbyes have to be so hard?!  I'll come back for you, Ogopogo..... ;-)
Beautiful Okanagan Lake and West Kelowna!
 Leaving West Kelowna. Bittersweet moments...
 Kelowna Zone Leaders. These guys rock!!!
 Lee Counsell...recent convert in Westbank...and his dog, King Pedro Chico Yoda
 Me and Elder Boehmer with Pedro at Lee's house.  Memories!!!
 Bishop Wellington. What a boss!!!
 Some members from the West Kelowna Ward. They're fun!
 Ogie come back!!!!!
 Me and my MTC companion, Elder Ricks! We met up in Richmond because he's a zone leader, too!  Sons of Mosiah moment.

Hello, Everybody!

Hey, Elder Stock here...How are you doing?!  Sick!  Good to hear.  Love it.  Anyways...this week has been amazing, disorienting, mind-blowing, and just flat out fun as usual.  Burnaby is crazy!  It's weird for me, going from small, laid-back and rural areas like Duncan and West Kelowna, to now all of a sudden I am thrown into the big city, in a suburb city of Vancouver!  Needless to say, we are on transit.  Buses, skytrains, the whole lot.  But, as zone leaders, we do have a car.  And it is a sleek, red 2015 Subaru Legacy with a touch screen dashboard panel!  That's how it's done!  We use is sparingly, but we do need it sometimes in the work.  Also, another cool perk of being a zone leader, and being one in the lower mainland and being so close to mission headquarters, is that we get mail every week instead of every month!

My companion, Elder Spencer, is hilarious!  He's from Zimbabwe, and so he has a cool international perspective on things.  And now I'm in a super multicultural city, so needless to say my Arizona white-boy perspective on the world has been drastically changed already! Which is a good thing. I mean, when your knowledge of Japanese culture comes from the Godzilla franchise, and your knowledge of the city of Dubai comes from Mission Impossible, it doesn't hurt to actually start getting to know stuff... But yeah, it's been super fun!  I love how much street contacting we can do here.  I can literally just walk out of my basement suite, walk down to the main road, and boom!  There's people.  In my last areas, this was a little harder to do... I'm still in the honeymoon phase of Burnaby and the whole transit system.  When I go on the skytrain, I feel like I'm on a rolleroaster, so I'm way too excited and as a result start talking to everybody haha.  That's good, though, so I'm down!

Also, there's this mall here called Metropolis, and it is literally a small city has it's own skytrain station, for Pete's sake!  So I love contacting in there when it's raining... But do you all want to hear a tender mercy of the Lord?!  So, I'm walking with Elder Spencer, talking to some filipino guy named Kenneth, and I look over and just flip out because right there at the outside edge of the mall is a CHIPOTLE!!!!!!!!!!! (Colton's mom here......too many of his tender mercies are food related!)  Yeah, a member in Burnaby Ward owns, like, the only Chipotle in Canada.  (I just checked on their website and saw one in Burnaby, BC and one in Vancouver, BC) And it's in my area, I am so going there today or this week or everyday, or yeah....what a miracle. ;-)

The ward is nice, too.  Lots of young families who work in the animation industry!  Boo-ya!  And plus, tons of movies are filmed in Burnaby.  Elder Spencer was telling me how Godzilla was filmed here.  Yeah, it's officially the promised land. ;-) Also, there's a Brother Johnston up here from Tempe, AZ, that looks just like the Johnston's in the Islands investigate that...he's probably related. ;-) I asked him, but haven't gotten a straight answer yet...

My zone is awesome!  The elders here are amazing and the work is progressing.  I am a zone leader over this Korean-speaking tri, and they're hilarious.  Two of them are Korean, and then there's a Utahan thrown in there.  He's still grappling with the language, but would I!  General Conference was such a cool experience here.  We had so many language translations going off around the building for the different branches, and then in between sessions, each branch had a different potluck with food from their respective cultures, and so we basically had, like, a world tour of food.  Lots of sushi, some Mexican food, etc.  It was sick!  I am loving it here.  Oh, and cool miracle: I was on the bus with Elder Spencer, coming home from the mall, and I look over at the guy next to me.  He's huddled up against the window, on this familiar looking!  he had been on his Facebook stream, and his friend had posted the "Because He Lives" video.  So this guy watches it, right, on the bus.  He's super touched by it, and then looks over at me.  I'm like, "Man! That's the video I've been sharing with people today!  Nobody watched it but you!  That is sick!  How'd you like it?"  Turns out, he only speaks Spanish.  Boom.  Brain files: Spanish curriculum.  Arizona schooling.  Dust.  Cobwebs.  Nothing.  Wish I'd studied harder... But I managed to kind of have a small conversation with him in the broken Spanish I knew, which he laughed at.  Then I got his number and names, and we're handing him off to the Vancouver Spanish Elders!  Isn't that amazing?! Seriously, missionary opportunities are out there.  One of them was handed to me because someone was cool enough to share the "Because He Lives" video on Facebook.  So share it, people!  It is literally changing lives!!!  I love you all.  Have an amazing week.

Elder Stock

Elder Spencer in the flesh