Monday, May 25, 2015


Dear Humanity,

This week has been interesting.  Super fun and rewarding, and full of amazing miracle moments, but not without it's weird plot twists.  Some persecution, some plans falling through, etc.  Character builder moments.  I've learned a lot this week about hope, and what that means for us as missionaries.  In Preach My Gospel, we read that, "hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you...It is believing and expecting that something will occur."  Powerful stuff.  And just like faith, hope is a principle of action.  We can't just passively hope that we will be able to find someone to baptize, that we will be able to fulfill our purpose as missionaries and help God's children to come home to Him, if we aren't willing to do anything about it.  That's just mocking God at that point.  We need to be willing to work.  Something that President Burt always tells us is that we need to be worthy and willing.  Those two components are key, and it's a very common theme in the gospel; change yourself first, and then go out and help others experience that same joy of repentance.  First believe, then do.  They're inseparable.  Faith without works is dead, people.  And works without faith are just as lifeless.

And so we need to have hope and faith in all that we do.  No matter how crazy things get, just put a smile on and trust in God.  Doubt not, fear not, for He is with us.  I remember the time in the book of Alma, where Helaman, Gid and Teomner - three amazing warriors in the Book of Mormon - were trying to reclaim their city of Manti, but to no avail.  Everything they tried was failing, and they were embarrassed at their lack of success.  They didn't understand why they weren't succeeding, and began to be discouraged.  As missionaries, we're trying to "reclaim Manti" if you will.  We are trying to help everyone to come unto Christ and to help build up God's kingdom.  So what happens when we don't see any crazy success?  Do we just forget everything and collapse to the earth?  For these three warriors, they decided to turn to God.  In their own words, they said, "we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that He would strengthen us...and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in Him" (Alma 58:10-11).

I know that if we turn to God, if we truly want peace and assurance, and we're willing to be patient and to suffer a little bit, and to do some hard work, that He will give us peace.  He will help us in every aspect of our lives, if only we let Him.

I had the opportunity to go on a mini mission this weekend with Benson Woo, some guy from the White Rock Ward in BC.  He's preparing to head out in August to go and serve in the California Irvine mission.  It was awesome to have him with us the whole weekend.  He was exposed to missionary weirdness, and to miracles.  He even found us a potential investigator we're going to meet up with on Wednesday!  It was so fun to be around him and to get to help him to prepare.  The mission is where it's at!  Seriously.  No matter how crazy it gets, no matter how hard you think it is, just take a step back and realize who's in charge.  The Almighty God.  The Eternal Father.  He is well aware of what you're going through.  So ask Him for help, for guidance.

Our investigators are amazing.  Seriously.  I am so grateful to be able to teach so many wonderful people on my mission.  It boosts my faith, my testimony, and helps me realize why I am here.

This is His work.  He is in charge, so don't give up, don't get scared now.  You're locked and loaded on the rollercoaster of discipleship, and it ain't getting any slower.  Let it begin!!!

I hope you all have an amazing week!

Elder Stock

Candid shot of me calling my favorite district leader, Elder Hudson!
 Benson Woo.
Best mini-missionary of all time!
 Elder Marchand and I taking Benson to get "released" from his mini-mission.
 They call him "Miracle March-eazy"...well...I do, at least.  
He's a mission legend, and he's my companion!  Boo-ya!

Monday, May 18, 2015


Two more days and will be at the 9 month mark!  I really can't believe how fast the time is going by.  We are getting so close to that year mark, I can't wait!!!  Here's his letter:

Dear Humanity,

This week has been a week of disorienting awesomeness.  As if I was on a beach, and the water started receding...and all hope was lost, and then...a tidal wave of miracles descended upon the shore, drowning me in blessings and missionary joy.  If that doesn't sound weird and slightly unappealing, then you're a sane, normal person.  But if that sounds awesome to you, then you are qualified for the Work.  I'm kidding...that's actually...not scripture...but...anyways!

To start off the week, Elder Spencer and I - in his dying days and at the end of his Canadian ministry - went to eat at a super fancy restaurant called the Cactus Club Cafe.  It was paid for by a member who knew Elder Spencer's family in Zimbabwe.  Small world.  It was incredibly good.  Food is amazing, and having a steak is pretty nice once in a while.

We then went off to the Vancouver YSA's Family Home Evening to say goodbye to all of Elder Spencer's YSA recent converts.  He had a fan club, evidently.  The day was great, and then the unthinkable happened: Elder Spencer was taken.  Into a legion of departing missionaries, preparing themselves to return to their homes, to the real, scary, secular world by throwing a massive party with the mission preisdent and street contacting for one last hurrah.  I watched him drive away toward Richmond, never to see him again...

That day was crazy.  My zone leader trainer had left, and I had to put together our zone's travel plans for transfers basically by myself.  Insanity ensued.  But luckily, everyone got there in one piece...well, except for one of the new guys coming in.  He's still in critical condition. Kidding. Or am I?  Tuesday, I was up in West Van/Northshore with the elders, basically on an all day, switching off exchange.  It was really fun, and we got to bond before they headed off to Kelowna.

Wednesday came around, and we raced down to Langley's Greyhound bus station to drop off one of our elders, which was insane.  I finally got to see the Vancouver Britist Columbia Temple!!!

Then, the Assistants called, and gave me some crazy news.

Elder Spencer was still around for one more day, and had requested that he stay with me and Elder Marchand before he had to get on the plane...

The man had returned!  So we were jumping back and forth all over Richmond the whole day.  Picking up and dropping off, etc.  It was awesome.

Elder Marchand and I ended up dropping Elder Spencer off at the airport.  It was legitimately the most unreal thing I had ever seen.  A missionary whom I had served with for 6 weeks, now gone.  Just like that.

Elder Marchand and I got right to work.  Our teaching pool had pretty much imploded on itself in the last weeks of last transfer, so it was up to us to replenish it.  I was thinking a lot about this in my studies.  And of what we are tasked to do as missionaries.  My thoughts were drawn to 1 Nephi 17, when Nephi is commanded by the Lord to build a ship that will eventually carry him and his family across the ocean to the Promised Land.

Firstly, the Lord commands him to arise and go to the mountain, which he does without hesitation.  The Lord has asked us as members of the church to basically get up and go to work.  Are we doing this without hesitation?  More specifically, the Lord told me to get up and go on a mission, and so now that I am here, now that Nephi is at this mountain, what happens next?

He is commanded to "construct a ship, after the manner which [He] shall show [him]" (1 Ne. 17:8).  We as missionaries are commanded to invite others to come unto Christ.  To essentially construct the kingdom of God.

To build it up wherever we go.

So what was Nephi's response?  Did he ask for a manual on ship building?  Or that the materials he needed would be on the beach, ready for him in a nice, fancy box labeled Scriptural Ship Builder 2000?  What Nephi asked in return was, "Lord, whither shall I go that I may FIND ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?" (1 Ne. 17:9). Whoa. Ok, Nephi.  You're cool!  Not only was he exactly obedient, but he wanted to work so hard for the Lord.  He was willing to start from the ground up on this project.  If I were him in this situation, I probably would have been guilty of asking for some tools to come down from heaven.  Actually, I would have asked for the Scriptural Ship Builder 2000, but anyways, Nephi wanted to go and find. I don't know exactly how ship building works, but Nephi had to start off from literal scratch.  He had to first make the tools to make the ship.  He had to make a bellows, and do everything that his commandment may be fulfilled.  But he was more than willing to do it.

In building the kingdom of God here on the earth, we need to be willing to go and FIND.  There are three aspects or phases of missionary work: finding, teaching, and baptizing.  Just as Nephi wanted to go and find the ore, we as missionaries need to be willing to go and FIND those that God has prepared to hear and accept our message of the restored gospel.  Just as Nephi made the tools to construct the ship, we need to use our tools (teaching skills, Preach My Gospel, the scriptures, etc.) to TEACH all of God's children about His message, and help them receive it.  And lastly, Nephi constructed the ship. To bring about God's purpose for his posterity, to grant unto the Promised Land and to help them return unto Him.  We need to construct His kingdom, to BAPTIZE those whom we find and teach.  To help bring about God's purpose of returning all of His children back unto Him after this life.  So we did just that.  We did a TON of finding this week, and saw a crazy awesome miracle.  New investigators!  We're now constructing a teaching pool.  We found a young couple, Jordan and Katie, who are amazing.  They love the message of the Restoration of the gospel, and are so excited to keep learning, and to come out to church.  We found a man named Michael, who wants he and his wife to turn their lives around so that they can raise their two year old daughter in a better home.  We found a family who have been looking for a church to go to, but haven't felt at home yet, and many more.

All because we realized what you need in this Work.  You need to be willing to go and FIND the ore.  Not just to baptize.  Sure, that's what we want to do all day. But if you don't have the material to make the tools, then how are you going to construct the ship?

I know that this Work is God's Work.  He is at the helm.  This is His Hastening, and He needs all of us to join together and to go and find those that He has prepared.  They're in our friend groups, they're on the streets, they're our neighbors.  Everyone has the chance to accept this great and wonderful gospel, so go out and share it!  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, that He loves each and every one of us, just as our Heavenly Father does.  They are completely unified in their purpose,  and they want us to be as well.  You are all so awesome!  Thank you for your prayers, and for your support.  Have an amazing week, and Happy Victoria Day!!!! #Canada

You Already Know,
Elder Stock

Our Burnaby Zone...don't ask why I wasn't dressed out.  It's a long story. :D
 I got to see, like, my favorite companion ever in our transfer travels!  Elder Boehmer!!! Aw yeah!
 The Death of Elder Spencer.  The End of His Candian Ministry.  His final hour.
 Unbelievable.  The man, the myth, the gone.  Why?!  Why?!  
Back to cold, cruel world...

Monday, May 11, 2015

5/11/15 - 6th LETTER (sort of) FROM BURNABY

Yesterday was Mother's Day, one of the best days for a missionary mom....we were able to Skype!!!  It was a fun and very relaxed call from him.  We started with a kneeling family prayer and then he shared how he felt about me.  It was sweet and sincere.  Then we all had the opportunity to talk with him.  He ended by bearing his testimony and I offered the closing prayer.  It was a wonderful 40 minutes! Of course we had to update the family photo ;-)
 His reaction to me taking a photo of him.
We wrote our family letter to him as usual.  I was even able to email him back and forth for a bit...but he didn't send a big letter.  How did that happen?!?

This is part of what he wrote to me:

It's really weird seeing Elder Spencer in his "dying" days. (Elder Spencer flies home to Zimbabwe on Wednesday after completing his 2 year mission.  He's not 'dying', just his time in the mission field is)  He's such a good missionary, though, so he's not even stopping at all.  And my new companion, Elder Marchand, who's coming in?  Yeah, this is his last transfer,, I'll be "killing" two missionaries in a row lol.  I shall be known as the Zone Leader Killer from now on.  Fear the wrath. Lol!!!!!  
P.S. Elder Spencer and I's baptismal picture made it onto the front page of the mission newsletter!!!! (wouldn't that have been a nice thing for him to send?!?  I can't complain at all though.  Yesterday we found out that he has the same amount of time to be on his email as every other missionary, but he has to complete and send off all his reports during that time also.  No extra time for the Zone Leader!)
Can't wait for an actual letter next week ;-)

He wrote again this afternoon!!!!  Here's the letter...and photos:

Dear Humanity,

Life is good.  This week was full of miracles, and epic missionary moments with my awesome companion, Elder Spencer.  Literally, the pure joy that comes from this Work is indescribably awesome.  It's as if the Gospel of Jesus Christ is, like, true, or something. ;) I was so happy that I was able to Skype my family for Mother's Day yesterday.  I have the best family in the world, by the way.  It's unfair.  I feel like the blessing of having such a good family was supposed to go to someone else, but it flew over to me on accident.  But hey, I'll roll with it!  They are so good, and having even just our short amount of time to talk with them was such a blessing.  I felt even more of a desire to serve God afterwards, and we had an amazing night at Metro Town, finding so many potential investigators.  

This week, we went on a TON of exchanges with our elders.  It was fun to be able to go into their areas and help them see miracles.  I was with the Korean missionaries on Friday, and that was a pure blast!  I've learned how to speak a little bit of Korean so that I can help them find people to teach.

It was pretty awesome, this last Saturday, because we had the privilege and the honor of participating in the baptism of Laurie Moore.  Pretty great because it was Elder Spencer's last weekend in the mission field, and he finished it off pretty well if you ask me.  It's so cool to see the miracle of the gospel truly unfolding in people's lives.  I feel the blessings of the gospel each and every day.

Our P-Day was pretty crazy today, with Elder Spencer getting ready to head off and all, so we don't have too much time to e-mail.  I'm sorry, I'll go crazy next week just for you guys! :D I know that this Church is true, that the Book of Mormon is not only true, but life-saving, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, is our Savior and our Redeemer. So obtain His gift: the Atonement.  It can heal everything.  Both physically and spiritually.  I love you all!  You are the best!!!

Elder Stock

Us and the Vancouver South sisters right before Laurie's baptism.
 Laurie, her twin sons TJ and Zach, and me and Elder Spencer after the baptism.
Elder Porter in his natural habitat. #exchange He's Korean speaking, and is also from Gilbert, AZ....small world!

Monday, May 4, 2015


Only 6 more days to wait before we have our 2nd Skype call with Elder Stock!  We're so excited and can't wait to see him again!!!!  Here's his letter:

Dear Humanity,

This week was....crazy!  Literally, everything flew by in a blur of awesome sauce.  By the time I am writing this to you, I don't know where to begin, or what even happened... It's a weird feeling.  But I do know that Elder Spencer and I basically had the flu this week.  See, when we went to Mission Leader Council, we had the Terrace zone leaders over with us for the night... And Elder Aldredge had the flu...  Thus, the Plague of Terrace was spread to Burnaby.  Literally, we were drained of all energy.  Super stuff noses, coughing, and just general death.  I felt as if someone had taken a syringe and literally drained all of the energy (I mean, there wasn't too much there to start with...) out of each and every one of my muscles (again...not much there... ;) We were toast.  And there was no way out of this predicament.  Especially since on Tuesday, we were to stand before the zone and conduct a zone meeting to relay the information gained at MLC and to build the faith of our missionaries.

We were sick.

And looking for help.

The Assistants, Elder Engelstead and Elder Cottingham came by on Monday night and went through our agenda for the zone meeting.  They noticed our awful and wretched state, and decided to help us out.  We received some priesthood blessings, and went on our merry way, feeling pumped up and ready to go.  The promised blessing was that we would be able to endure through zone meeting...we assumed that we would be healed after that, but...obviously I didn't read the fine print.

Literally, we were miraculously not sick for our whole zone meeting, and then as soon as our missionaries left, everything started flooding back.

But this is not a Work for quitters. And so, partly out of obedience and our love for the Savior, and partly out of stupidity, Elder Spencer and I decided to work through it.

There was no way out.  But, as Alma said, "If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed" (Alma 15:8).  I can testify to you all, that if you put your trust and faith in Christ, and seek the knowledge that He can heal you, that He will.  Now, I'm not saying that we said a fervent prayer and worked, and we were OK.  Not at all.  We didn't even know why we're still going!  I fell asleep on a bus and almost fell on somebody!  We looked like fools walking around Metro Town, and we didn't even see any crazy success stories or find any new investigators.  But we kept working.

Healing doesn't come, usually, in miraculous moments of realization.  I mean, it can, don't get me wrong.  God is ALL powerful.  Which means He can literally do ANYTHING.  But if you turn to the scriptures, when Christ visits the Nephites in the Americas and ministers unto them, He say, "for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you" (3 Nephi 17:8).  Whoa....

According "to our faith in Jesus Christ, He can heal us, both physically and spiritually" (PMG, pg. 62).

So, if it's according to our faith that we are healed, and if faith is something that we need to work for, to earn, then it makes sense that Christ doesn't usually automatically heal us.  Because we always need to learn something from our trials.  In Lehi's Dream, Lehi walks through a mist of darkness right as he begins to follow Christ (1 Nephi 8). We will all face those mists of darkness.  Our trials won't stop just because we are seeking to follow Jesus Christ.  But we will ALWAYS be rescued from these mists, at some point in time, as long as we just continually hold fast to the iron rod, to the word of God, to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

That is truth.  Yesterday, I met a man who argued that all religion was "subjective truth", that the only truth was what you could see right in front of you.  He held up a newspaper.  "What shape is this?!" he scowled.

"A rectangle..." I responded curtly.

"Exactly!  THAT's truth. Watch this...I am going to 'share' my truth with everyone on this street, and they will agree with me, while you will share yours and no one will."

Before I share with you what happened next, let me just tell you: the only truth that we can actually trust is that God is real, that He loves us, and that the gospel that He has provided for us is true.  Everything else is man-made fluff.  That rectangle?  Named by a human being.  The more I live the gospel, the more I realized that it is the only truth worth following.  Because it does not change.  No matter if you believe in Him or not, God is real.  He is our Heavenly Father.  And He loves us.  That's His motivation for everything He does.

So back to the encounter.  The man then walks up to everyone walking by, screaming at them, "Excuse me!  What shape is this?! What shape?!" Almost everyone starts running away in terror...people don't like crazies.  Go figure.  He then gets an answer.  A young man walks by, and is asked the question.  Confused, he stares real hard at the newspaper, and says, "A triangle."  The man, stunned, tries to change his mind.  But the kid walks away.

He turned to me and said, "well, obviously they can't speak English or something..." And then walked away, embarrassed.

People, there IS absolute truth.  We don't need to swim in this cesspool of moral relativism and subjective reality, searching for an existential purpose to our lives.  Because God lives.  I have seen too many miracles in my life to deny that, and I have felt His Spirit, the Holy Ghost testify to me that He does indeed live, that He does indeed love me.

I have seen people, lost and broken down, with nowhere to go, find hope in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, immediately apply it, and receive deliverance from their sins and afflictions.  I have seen people humble themselves before God and receive blessings from it.  I have seen someone, who didn't even believe in God two months before their baptism, discover that He is there, and receive a testimony of light and truth that holds firm to this day.  I have seen the hand of God prepare people to receive the gospel, and I have felt Him strengthen me as I do this work.

I know that Christ heals.  And I know that He does so according to our faith.

So go out there and share your knowledge.  Your testimony!  Because the world needs your light.

Elder Stock
He didn't send a photo this week.......truthfully, I'm thankful since he's been sick, but I have to include a photo.  So here we are with a photo from 2005.  
The Stock Boys of the House of Steve!