Monday, July 27, 2015

7/27/15 - 17th LETTER FROM BURNABY

Dear Humankind,

Wow. Where to begin? Literally every facet of missionary work was accounted for in this marvelous week. Finding, teaching, and baptizing. All coming together to form an amazing spiritual fruit punch. Like, imagine if Lehi just started pickin' fruit off of the tree of life, put it in a blender, and now we're drinking it. That's an accurate description. Probably the most accurate description that I can fathom in the moment. In BC, it finally rained this weekend after a long time without a celestial downpour, and in more ways than one. Where physical drops of precipitation gathered in pools in the streets of Burnaby, so too did the blessings and miracles rain down from on high and gather here.

Yesterday, we were able to witness and be a part of the baptisms of Angela Rauma and Kristian Baron. Over the course of my mission, it never ceases to amaze me that the Spirit is SO strong as when someone is baptized. These covenants that they are making are truly sealed by the Spirit. This Work is undeniably real. We aren't just religious extremists running around selling a church so that we can assert dominance or change people's values or get gain. We are ministers of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we are here to invite others to come unto Him. The only way to do so, the only way to enter into the path that will lead us back to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, is baptism. We are here to help. We are here to help others be healed by Him. Because His ministry has not ended. He still heals the sick, restores the broken-hearted, and comforts the wounded souls of the world. His ministry did not end at his crucifixion, and it did not begin at his birth. He is the Christ, chosen and prepared before the world began to help us to return back to the presence of our Father in Heaven.

He loved us enough to do so, and because of this, He gave His life a ransom for many. He paid the price for our sins, our shortcomings, our inadequacies. And He has set the terms for how we can accept this payment. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth today. We can have faith in Him, repent, be baptized and keep these covenants, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. For "there shall be no name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent" (Mosiah 3:17).

Everything that we teach as missionaries, as members of the Church, as disciples of Christ, comes down to just that. That Jesus is the very Christ. The Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer.

I've been thinking a lot about the Savior. About what true discipleship means. The apostles shortly after Christ's death went about teaching and preaching His gospel, testifying of Him to everyone they could see.

They were beaten, tortured, even killed for this. They were not liked by men. But they sought "to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). And when they were captured and tortured for what they had done, for inviting others to come unto Christ, they had no fear.

"And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name,

"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:41-42).

I want that. I want that courage. Because we are on the Lord's side. We are His disciples. We are the only ones that are going to stand up and make a change, make a difference. The only ones that can guide people to Him, because we know Him. And He is with us. Look out at the world. Who believes in Christ? Who believes in a higher power in general?! Faith in Christ is at an all time low. And that is why we have the Book of Mormon. I testify that this sacred Book was given to us so that we could know Jesus Christ more fully. I have gained a personal relationship with him. I know what he has done for me. And I can't comprehend it. I know what He sees in me. And I cannot understand it. I know what He has in store for me. And I cannot even imagine it.

Please read the Book of Mormon. Every. Single. Day. Have a revelatory experience with it. Every day. It is "the most correct of any book on earth, . . . and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book" (Book of Mormon, Introduction).

Yes, we preach of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we guide to Christ. And the only way that you can truly do that. And I mean TRULY do that. The only way to TRULY know who Christ is, is through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. His word. In its fullness. Found in the Book of Mormon. I know that He lives. Because I have felt His presence. He has ministered to me personally. And I have no choice. No option. I must defend Him. I must help others feel of His love. Because He is real. He is there for us. He knows us! And He wants to heal us.

If you aren't building your faith in Christ every day, repenting every day, maintaining and remembereing your covenants every day, and following the Spirit and seeking its guidance more each day, then I would encourage you to do so. Live His gospel. And gain a testimony of it through your own experience.

This Work will never end. Because the Father and the Son will never end. Get out of Heavenly Father's way, and watch miracles happen! Because He is active in this Work.

I love you all! You are inspirations to me. I hope that I can continue to strive each day. I have discovered that when we get out of ourselves, true happiness comes into our lives. What a precious lesson. I love this mission. I love this Work. Miracles have not ceased. How grateful I am for that.

Have a great week!
Elder Stock

Elder Robinson and I with Sammy "Hercules" Ebrahimi. 
Strongest man in Burnaby.
Elder Orr and I with Elder Ringer at Mission Leader Council! My father!!! 
Reunions are always the best.
 Exchange with Elder Petersen. He's crazy for missionary work! ;)
 Baptism of Angela Rauma and Kristian Baron!
 Just Kristian this time. He is amazing! Taught me a good amount of ASL.
The elders of the Burnaby Zone. 
Intensely good looking? Check. 
On fire about the gospel? Double check. 
Great at taking pictures together? Priceless. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

7/20/15 - 16th LETTER FROM BURNABY

Dear Friends,

As this week drew to a close, I was caused to reflect on just the sheer amount of miracles that the Lord has performed on my mission so far, and for the privilege that I have had to witness them and to participate in them. And for the first time in my life, I feel as though I am starting to realize the raw power and authority of this calling. Of being a full-time missionary, and of being a son of God. We are so privileged. We have been given freely, and so we too must give. Freely.

In Preach My Gospel, we are reminded that as missionaries we have the authority to preach His gospel. We are literally set apart from the world. To a higher plane of thought and activity. These blessings, including the right and the privilege to represent the Lord, are given to us freely. We signed up, we got on the plane, we put on the name tag. And yet just because we are here, just because we have all of these amazing tools and resources to work miracles, just because we are set apart, doesn't automatically make us good missionaries.

In addition to this authority, we need spiritual power as we teach. For just as Moroni has promised that, "by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things," (Moroni 10:5), we are reminded that "spiritual power  is a gift that makes it possible for [us] to do [this] work more effectively" (Preach My Gospel, 4).

If God works through power, then how do we access that power? Just as a leafblower needs to be in good working order for anything to happen, and for electricity to flow through it, so do we need to be in "good working order" in order for our Heavenly Father to work through us. We need to be pure, clean, and worthy to be able to have His power flow through us, in our words, actions, and thoughts. That is why we must consecrate ourselves to Him. But the power we seek cannot come from within us. As Ammon declares to his brethren, "I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles" (Alma 26:12).

As long as we seek His power, His help, and we are clean and worthy enough to accept it, then we can see His power work through us. It happens in different ways. Maybe our testimony will be confirmed by the Spirit, maybe we will be guided to say something to someone at exactly the right time, and the Spirit will carry our words and their truthfulness unto their hearts, and maybe we will just be able to express the love we have for others. Anything we do that is of God demonstrates the power that He has working through us.

This week, I have been privileged to have been able to teach some amazing lessons and to go on exchange with some amazing missionaries. Two of our friends whom we are helping to prepare for their baptisms this next Sunday, Angela and Kristian, are doing so well. Kristian had the flu this week, and so we gave him a blessing. Since he's deaf, I got to bless him and Elder Robinson translated it in the basic sign language that we have been learning from him. It was amazing, and the Spirit was so strong. The power of the priesthood that you could feel in that room was immense, and the authority we hold, if exercised worthily, becomes that great power.

Our friends Michael and Stephanie, two amazing investigators who are trying so hard to be baptized in August, are doing so well. They love this restored gospel, and all that it can give to us in our lives. They even wrote us a card, thanking us for the teaching so far, and at the end of the note, it said, "We are Mormons in our heart already"... Now THAT is awesome! We got to meet a man on the street the other day that described a vision he had and a memory he had of his life before earth, and described the pre-earth life in a perfectly sound, doctrinal manner. We proceeded to whip out some Plan of Salvation pamphlets and explained to him that the memories he has are true. Heavenly Father prepares His children for the gospel!

We met a mother and her daughter in New West last night who were astonished to hear about the Book of Mormon, and accepted our invitation to be baptized on the 15th of August. We'll be meeting with them on Wednesday. They are so amazing! Miracles literally abound all around us. Heavenly Father is reaching out in love to His children right now. Because this is His Hastening. And we have the utter privilege of being apart of it, and of feeling the power of God work through us.

I am so grateful to be here. To be serving the Lord in this capacity. It's an honor. And on top of the miracles, I get to enjoy just being in British Columbia, and the people here. Bubble tea is also super good, so that's a plus...(picture will be included). But guess what! We are all disciples of Jesus Christ! No one said that following Christ would be easy. But everyone has said that it is worth it. We will all face hard time, but we will all have the opportunity to face the joy and the happiness that this life can bring. And so put your seat belt on, and get ready to go. Because the roller-coaster of discipleship is leaving. It's Hastening. And it isn't waiting for anyone. Now is the time. So pray for opportunities to serve others and to share the gospel with others. Because He will give unto you plenty of them.

I hope that you all have a great week!

Elder Colton Stock

Bubble Tea
Taro with Coconut Jellies
And Elder Murray exchange review. Aw yeah
 Bubble tea selfie to reflect the astonishment of this nectar of the gods.
 Elder Robinson decides to try a new approach to preaching the gospel... We'll go back to being Preach My Gospel missionaries ;)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

7/13/15 - 15th LETTER FROM BURNABY

Dear Humanity,

Shortly after Alma the Younger was ordained as the High Priest of the Church of Jesus Christ in the ancient Americas, he went about teaching and testifying to his people throughout the land. In Zarahemla, he taught them of humility and sanctification, and bettering themselves. His words were inspired, and he exhorted them to do many things. He sealed these words with a testimony of revelation from God. "And this is not all. Do ye suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
"Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that these things are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me." (Alma 5:45-46)

Gaining spiritual knowledge is so important in building a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And we gain spiritual knowledge by doing what Alma testifies of: we fast, we pray, we do all we can to ask God with a sincere heart, and with real intent, and then He answers us. And the witness we receive from His Holy Spirit, the knowledge that we gain from our Heavenly Father, is more powerful and more true than any other knowledge we can ever receive in this life. While it's great to know things, little trivia facts here and there, calculus wisdom over here, all knowledge pales in comparison to the knowledge of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). That is why we have the Book of Mormon. So that we many KNOW that Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of God. That He is our Savior and our Redeemer, that it is only through Him that we may be saved. The Book of Mormon builds our faith in Jesus Christ more than anything else.

It also helps us to KNOW that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, that through him, the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ was restored.

It helps us to KNOW what the gospel of Jesus Christ is, by teaching it plainly, simply, and completely. The Book of Mormon truly fulfills the purpose of missionary work, by inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through living the doctrine of Christ. It's pretty awesome that we have this book of scripture to truly help us in our lives and in this work.

I've been trying to use it more in my ministry here in BC. And miracles have abounded because of it! We were so blessed this week to be able to teach so many of our investigators, and to be able to prepare them for baptism and confirmation. Kristian, our deaf investigator, is so excited for his baptsim, and is teaching us sign language, which is awesome! I know how to sign dinosaur, Godzilla (literally, to sign it, you just walk around like the king of monsters himself...why isn't English like this?!), and roar...along with gospel terms and basic conversational stuff. So...that's always fun!

We are having so many good experiences up here. And it all comes down to having great faith in the Lord and in this work. It is truly hastening. I know that to be true. And even though some will not accept the message we share, there are truly people out there, our brothers and sisters, who are waiting to hear this message of the restored gospel and to act on it! And that builds my faith and hope so much.

I know that as we just sit back, relax, and enjoy the gospel, that we will find so much happiness and joy. This is the gospel and the plan of happiness. Show it! Smiling is a side effect of conversion. And so is missionary work. I just wish that we had robot suits to run around and do this work in, because I can't run fast enough to keep pace with the Hastening! But I know that it isn't just me that's working in this area. Jesus Christ is there with us. This is His work. And I take great comfort in that.

The book is blue, the church is true! What more can you say?

Have a great week,
Elder Stock

The Koreans and I. In theatres and IMAX this Friday.

Monday, July 6, 2015


Dear Humanity,

This has been an awesome week. Just yesterday, when the week was winding down to a miracle-filled close, I looked around and kind of took it all in. I'm in the most beautiful place on earth. British Columbia is awesome! I'm surrounded by huge, towering trees, majestic mountains, and green. Everywhere. Better yet, I'm not just here on a two year vacation. I'm here as a representative of Jesus Christ, with real priesthood authority given to me to preach His gospel and minister to the children of God that we would be ministering to if He were here right now in my place. How awesome is that?! The authority us missionaries hold, as Elder Robinson and I remind ourselves, is greater than the kings of the earth. This really is the most important work to be a part of. I'm privileged to be here. I don't know why I entered into this weird, surreal state of reflection and gratitude, but I do know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

A lot of miracles happened this week. We are teaching some amazing people, and they are loving the restored gospel. Probably because it's true and is the only thing on this earth that can bring us true, lasting happiness and joy. I had the opportunity of going on exchange with some missionaries in my zone this week, and it was awesome! It's cool to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ can truly change our natures, even as missionaries. We aren't exempt from faith and repentance. We have to continually be converting ourselves if we want to help others to feel the joy of the gospel. And faith is so cool. Because through our faith in Jesus Christ, miracles can happen.

In the Book of Mormon, we read, "for if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them" (Ether 12:12). So as missionaries, if we have no faith, then....nothing happens. As I was reading some more, I discovered the secret to why the missionaries in the Book of Mormon are so good. Because we read in Helaman 5 about Nephi and Lehi, the sons of Helaman, and they baptized 8,000 Lamanites after just having been thrown into prison by them. Now, that's awesome! And why did that happen? "Behold, it was the FAITH of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost" (Ether 12:14).

It all comes down to faith. If we don't believe something can happen, then it won't. Because we aren't showing God that we are willing to work, to accept His Son's atoning sacrifice. If Nephi and Lehi had just gone out to the Lamanites' land, believing that maybe they would be able to help someone out somehow, maybe just do some lawn work for them, or just help them smile in their day, then they would have done that. And they would have probably been killed by the Lamanites. But, since they had incredible faith in the Work, they went out with the expectation that they would see miracles. And thus, they saw incredible success, and they saw their brethren come unto Christ and feel the joy of the gospel.

That's why we're here. That's what I want. To bring my brothers and sisters to the waters of baptism, so that they can truly obtain the fruits of eternal joy. Because I have seen it. I have seen my brothers and sisters, lost and alone, find Christ. Find hope. And that drives me to do this Work each and every day. A lot of people think that us missionaries are out here for ourselves. A bunch of religiously extreme salesman trying to get some baptismal statistics so that we get some plaudits or popularity. But that is false. We are here because this is it. This is the plan of salvation. And I am bearing my testimony on the line to help my brothers and sister, those that I love, to come unto Christ. To feel His love.

How great is my calling!

I feel like this mission is a world tour. I have met people from and had food from every corner of the world. Foods from India, Africa, the Philippines, China, Korea (kim-chi for life!), Japan, etc. The list goes on. I have discovered in my time here that I am not a curry fan...not even a little bit. But the people are awesome. Seriously. And the coolest thing is that Heavenly Father knows all of them, all of us, perfectly. And He loves us unconditionally. And that is why we're out here. "To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).

I'm learning sign language and Korean right now. We're preparing a man named Kris for baptism at the end of the month, and he is deaf. It is awesome teaching him. And praying in sign language is amazing! Korean is fun...I work with the Korean elders a lot, and so it's fun to pick up new phrases to use when I'm talking to Koreans. Life is good. I love the mish. Literally the best time of my life. And I am excited to continue to share the gospel. Because it is the purest, simplest, and most powerful Work on earth.

Thanks for all of your support and for all that you do. Keep being strong, devoted, disciples of Christ, and pray for missionary opportunities. Because they will come.

Elder Stock

Elder Ricks and I...on exchange. He was my MTC companion, but now he's an assistant! He's a boss. We had tons of fun tearing it up in Burnaby haha.
 Elder Robinson studying like a mad fiend.