"O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God" (Alma 37:35). The precious teachings of Alma the Younger to his son, Helaman, in whom he was entrusting the records later known as the Book of Mormon and other sacred artifacts exclusive to the prophets, ring so true in my mind as I read them. It's possibly the best advice that a father can give a child, because obedience unlocks miracles and blessings, and learning gospel obedience in your youth creates a foundation for your entire life. See, the Book of Mormon is FILLED with accounts of father and son relationships. (That's why it's the perfect Father's Day gift for all of your non-member friends. ;) You've got accounts of Jacob and Enos, of King Benjamin and his son Mosiah, of Alma the Elder and his son, the Younger, even of Mormon and Moroni. And it all starts with an amazing example of fatherhood: Lehi, the "father" of them all, who bravely led his family and consequently an entire civilization to the Promised Land.
The family is the most important social unit in all of time and eternity...and so it's no small wonder that God, the most powerful, perfect, and loving being in the universe, chooses to be referred to as our Heavenly Father. I had the amazing opportunity just yesterday to be a full-time missionary, a representative of Jesus Christ, on Father's Day. I even got a Dad's root beer and cookie along with all of the older males in the Burnaby Ward! But that's beside the point. Listening to the talks in sacrament meeting caused to reflect for a brief moment on the importance of fathers in our lives, and the tremendous importance of having a Father in Heaven.
I have a lot of father figures...it comes with the territory of being a missionary. The elder who trained me, Elder Orr, is my "father" in the mission. He taught me obedience and hard work, as well as how to find success. For that, I am super grateful and indebted to him. We learned a lot back in the Duncan days, and he helped me get through a lot of things.
My other father figure in the mission is President Burt, the greatest mission president alive. He has taught me so much about consecration, personal worthiness, and challenging yourself. Without him, I don't think I would have nearly as much motivation to work. I am so grateful for him, and for the way that he leads this mission and ministers to his missionaries individually. I definitely know that he has been called of God to lead the mission at this time.
I learn a lot on a daily basis from my Heavenly Father. Gaining a personal relationship with Him through prayer has definitely blessed my life more than I can describe. He teaches me through His Spirit the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how to personally repent and become better each and every day. He leads me each day back to Him, and helps me to love those around me. Without my Father in Heaven, I would be utterly lost. He authored the plan of happiness, chose a perfect Son of His to fulfill it, and allowed a personage of Spirit to teach it to us all. And He is a perfect Father. So pray always, and "cry unto God for all they support" (Alma 37:36)
Lastly, my earthly father has been such a blessing in my life. Yeah, I'm talking to you, dad! Anthony Stock is truly a hero of scriptural proportions. Dad, you've taught me so much. And you've helped me so much in my life. Thank you for that. It's always good to have the type of father that you can sit in a McDonald's drive thru line with, ordering an American sized cup of Dr. Pepper, and talk about the intricacies and mysteries of life with, someone who can teach you the gospel in the most simple and fervent way, someone who can help you when you need him.
As much as I love my dad, I love the principle that he taught me that I am using every single day up here in Canada. And that is service. I've never seen a man more devoted to serving others and forgetting himself than my dad.
He won't tell you straight up, but he is ALWAYS serving his family. No matter what he's doing. Whether he's at work, or he's sitting down and talking with you, his life is just service to God. I remember vividly all of those crazy elders' quorum moves where it just ended up being me, my dad, and my brother, Asher, going out to the people who decided to move out of their third stories apartment complex in the middle of the week when everyone else was too wrapped up in work. And instead of leaving them out to dry, my dad would make time. And he would make sure to bring us.
And that, even though at the time I was very reluctant to go out and serve, has helped me so much. Because it's ingrained in me. Whenever I serve, I feel so good. Because King Benjamin (another great father in the Book of Mormon) was right in saying that, "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17).
That's what I am out here to do. To serve. And to do so selflessly! And I am grateful to have had a father that has taught me the importance of service, and the importance of serving an honorable full-time mission. Because he has set that example for me.
He encompasses every great father figure you can read about in the scriptures, because he is a father of scriptural proportions!
This week has been amazing. We saw so much success. We found a guy names Basil on the street who is from Bella. Bella (a small First Nations' town up north in BC), and he is so awesome! He's on track for baptism, and loves feeling the Spirit. The Burnaby Ward is so awesome, by the way. We have so much food at our apartment because of them! And they're helping us so much by fellow-shipping those whom we are bringing into the church.
This transer has been a blast, full of miracles in the realms of finding, teaching, and baptizing! I love it. AND, I have some epic transfer news, by the way! So, with Elder Marchand's death (he goes home tomorrow!), I am getting a new companion here in Burnaby. His name is Elder Robinson, and he was in Korean work at the beginning of his mission. Which is a Godsend because the Koreans are in our zone! Aw yeah! So, I'm pumped! Thank you all so much for everthing that you do! I will keep you up to date on the crazy stuff that happens. Like this week: we got to eat a pig at a Tongan party, to teach a guy literally receiving God's words in real time, to accidentally punch a wall and destroy my arm, and to cry repentance to everyone we could see. In the process, we found some crazies. Aw yeah!
Member missionary work is where it's at!
This is Hermana Wilson and Hermana Hoth standing in front of a picture hanging in the MTC. These Spanish speaking Sisters arrived in the Canada Vancouver Mission in April. People had commented how they looked like the women in the painting because of their hair, they happened to have the clothes to recreate this. I think it's awesome!
Elder Porter and I on exchange. We decided to take a bus selfie...Aw yeah!
Happy Father's Day!