Monday, August 31, 2015


Another of Elder Stock's Epistles to the World:

"The God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures asks not just for commitment, but for our very lives. (God) traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism...All of us can meet God's high expectations, however great or small our capacity and talent may be" (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten").

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much. But something that we need to realize is that He isn't a butler. It's His will that we must align with. Not the other way around. Something that I have learned recently is really just how powerful and intimate our Father in Heaven really is. He is real, and He loves each one of His children - us- so very much. His love is manifest in everything. The very ways that the trees grow and the wind blows, "yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of witness that there is a Supreme Creator" (Alma 30:44). It's amazing to me. He has provided us with His plan for our happiness - the gospel of Jesus Christ and He has restored it once again to the earth in these latter days through a modern-day prophet. He has restored His priesthood authority, which enabled His servants to bless the lives of His children, which enables His children - our brothers and sisters - to partake of the ordinances of salvation. He loves us, and He knows exactly what He wants us to be...what we can become. And if we ask Him, and follow His counsel, we can receive all of the blessings He has in store for us.

Those are some key words: Follow HIS counsel. This week, we really sought the Lord's help in our area. We asked Him in fervent prayer what we needed to do, where we needed to go, what we needed to teach, if the plans that we had made for that next day were good (or if we needed to revise them), and really just tried our hardest to turn our will - our lives- over to Him.

And he led us to those who were prepared.

It was a week of miracles! A huge windstorm descended upon the lower mainland this week, which was super intense. Trees were uprooted, houses were smashed, roads were blockaded, traffic was post-apocalyptic in flavor, and the power went out for a half a million people across the entire lower mainland...ourselves included....Those whom we had planned to meet with and teach in the central hub of Surrey could no longer come and learn about the gospel due to emergencies with the storm. And all the while, I remembered everything that I had recently thought about wind, and about how our job is to stand the wind. And so we did just that. Instead of being angry that our appointments were done for, and that we no longer had an operating fridge, and that we had to wander through our basement suite by headlamp light, we decided to realize the truth of the situation: that God had a plan for us, and that He was not going to let us suffer. But it would take us turning our will over to Him, so that He could lead us and guide us to what we were searching for.

And He did.

On Sunday, we taught so many new people, and really were just effective instruments in the Lord's hand. And it was awesome! And it was so cool to see God's hand in our lives even more.

This weekend, one of my old investigators back in Burnaby was baptized. He requested that I come and baptize him, and so I happily raced up to Burnaby on Saturday night to do that. This guy, Norman, is so funny and is always just so happy. When we got to the church in the aftermath of this storm, we realized that the power was out in the building, and that not only were the lights dysfunctional, but the faucet to fill the font was, as well. (Que dramatic Mormon message music).

So, with little time to go, we raced to the kitchen. Luckily, the sinks were operating in there, and so we started filling large pots of water and dumping them into the font in a mad dash to fill it with sufficient water to baptize. Norman got to fill his own font! We took about 40 minutes tossing in pots of water to this font, and just laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. A meager group of Burnaby ward members showed up for the baptism, in the darkness of the primary room, lit by the screens of iPhones and other contemporary flashlights.

The baptismal service got started, and the water looked about right. Just enough to baptize Norman in....who was a very tall guy, by the way...

We had some amazing talks, and then Norman and I stepped into the font. To my surprise...the ice-cold, unheated Canadian water reached about mid-calf on me. It was about to go down.

I spoke the words of the baptismal prayer, and then slowly dropped Norman on his back into the water. He literally was lying down in this font, and I had to pretty much push him down to the bottom to completely immerse him all the way under the water. It was epic.

Norman thought it was awesome, and we both agreed that we would never forget this day. He felt the remission of his sins, and was speechless after the ordinance was over.

That's why we're help out brothers and sisters feel the joy of redemption by receiving a remission of their sins and enjoying the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Even if it seems crazy, and even if you might not be comfortable with what's happening around you, just know that God has a plan for you. His will surpasses yours, because He will make you into something great. Because He loves us, and He wants us to feel joy.

I hope that you all have a great week, and keep on serving the Lord in whatever capacity that may be!

Elder Stock

This is not a celestial room...I promise!
It's a room in our branch president's house here in Langley YSA. President Terry is a boss!
 The White Rock lesson teaching crew. 
Elder Stock, Elder Miller and Josh Layton....he's leaving on his mission to Colorado this week! :D
My new homemade scripture box for my miniature standard works (dubbed now as the Confounder)...perfect for taking on the go and confounding false doctrine ;)
 The Vancouver British Columbia Temple at night. Chills!
The baptism of the dark. That lantern and the flash of the camera is the only light there...if you look closely, you can see just how low the water really is in the background mirror. ;)
 Elder Miller and I
Planning by candlelight. Aw yeah! Best date I've been on for a year ;)  

Monday, August 24, 2015


An Epistle to the World,

Wow. What a week. So, if you haven't already heard, I am at my year mark. And much to my chagrin, the year mark prophecies have come true. You see, the ramifications of hitting your year mark on a mission are kind of weird. Until that day, everyone considers you a "greenie", a brand new missionary with very little to offer to the Work. They pity you, telling you that one day, you'll get used to missionary work, etc. The second that you have been out a year, however, regardless of any preconception to your effectiveness as a servant of the Lord, you become a dying man.

"Oh? You've been out a year, eh? This year will go by in the blink of an eye," says a returned missionary. "Oh, a year? Have fun dying!" says a former companion. As if to say that death is eminent...

Well, brothers, elders and sisters! I testify to you that I am alive! I am living. And I ain't dying anytime soon. This Work won't be over until the Lord audibly says it is. And so until then, we run, we fight, we invite until we drop. Because we can't afford to do anything else.

I was struck this week by some very profound people and the counsel that they gave to us as missionaries. In our mission, we were visited by Elder Johnson of the Seventy and Brother Mike Hemingway, the head of proselyting in the missionary department of Jesus Christ's restored Church...yeah, that just happened.

They came to train us as missionaries on how we can do better. And the Spirit rebuked me a couple of times. The main message of their visits was that this is God's Work.

It's cool because it's true. Heavenly Father has a purpose. It's in Moses 1:39. He wants to bring to pass the--say it with me, now--"immortality and eternal life of man". Whoa. Did that say the immortality and eternal life of the members of the Church? Or of a select group of people? Or...of man?, everybody ever? All of His children, our brothers and sisters?

Fascinating what the scriptures can teach you. We are all children of God. And our brothers and sisters out there need what we have. It is only through us, the messengers and deliverers of the true and everlasting gospel, that they can receive the full blessings and atoning grace that Jesus Christ can offer.  Now, Heavenly Father doesn't NEED us. But He wants us. He wants us to do this Work, because of what it teaches us. It teaches us that it isn't about us. Forget yourself. And go out and work in behalf of others. Their welfare matters. And that is why we do this Work.

We don't come on missions to become personally converted to the gospel...that's a side effect, not a purpose... We come out on missions to be instruments in God's hands to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. And He is preparing His children for this. So we need to ask Him where they are. And the truth is, they are our friends.

As long as we are just going out and inviting our brothers and sisters to come unto Christ, and we're doing it out of a sincere desire to help them, then we will be blessed with the opportunity of being able to be instruments in God's hands and we will be able to assist them and bless them in their lives. To deliver the message of the Restoration to them.

Something that a general authority said recently was that missionary work is the blood of the Church. It is what courses through us, and it is what the Savior commanded His true disciples to do. And so we will do so. Because we love Him and we love those around us.

Elder Johnson said that "everything improves as people become involved in missionary work", and I know that to be true.

Want to be happy? Then go out there and serve someone. Share the gospel with them. Be an instrument in His hands, and your worries, your sorrows, will be lifted from you.

This week, I started relying more on the Spirit, and less on myself. I started turning this Work over into God's hands...because it's His work, not mine. And miracles happened. We're teaching some awesome people, and most of them are in White Rock, which is a super nice little beach town right above Washington...that has the best fish and chips I've had in my life! (Picture included) It's been cool to see that as Elder Miller and I just ask God where we should go to find someone who's prepared to receive the gospel, that He guides us to them. And after all we can do, the miracles began to appear. The members here in the Fraser Valley YSA are amazing, it's such a close knit family of people that are just trying to make a difference. And it is awesome. I love their devotion to the Work, and their help in it. This can only take off when both members and missionaries work together. Because we are ALL enlisted.

We carry with us the most beautiful, perfect, hope-filled message in the entire world. And if we aren't helping others feel of its light, then we are keeping it for ourselves. I know that as we do the work that He has commissioned us to do, we will realize that it is not a business of numbered baptisms, not a pyramid scheme of adding statistics to the Church, but that it is a cause. Of saving the lives of our brothers and sisters and allowing them to live with Heavenly Father once more. I love missionary work, it heals the soul, because it accesses the Atonement. Because Christ is at the helm of this Work.

Elder Stock

Me and Scott Hoffard, one of the YSA members
He says I have to wait a month to be his friend...I'll see about that...
 Elder Miller and Josh Layton (going to the Colorado Denver North mission in a week) eating at the best fish and chips this side of the Fraser River!!!
 That White Rock coast, though... A beauty!

Monday, August 17, 2015


An Epistle to Earth (Yeah, the Internet Makes that One Possible),

Hopefully I used the word epistle right. Well, I probably did. I guess there are probably different levels of, this is not going to be on the same level as Paul's to the Corinthians...that was a throw down of biblical proportions. And it probably isn't going to be as memorable as Moroni's epistle to Pahoran...that was a good one. I think it might go down in history as a very anti-climactic epistle. One that didn't really deserve any praise or recognition, or even the verbage or title of "epistle" in the first place. But perhaps time will tell. In reality, one might discover in the future, when this is found in the ruins of some then-ancient civilization of suburbia, that the author of this epistle really just named it an epistle because it sounded so close to the word "pistol" that he thought it was cool to say. Or perhaps not.

This epistle could have contained the temporal and hilarious affairs of my week. Such as the deathly experience we had with a spider literally the size of Shilob that almost ate my foot off, the hilarious exchanges that we had with some missionaries in our zone, the dubstep missionary raps that Elder Miller and I sing in the car on our way to the beautiful and dystopic city of Surrey, but I feel like I should share something better... Long story short: we need the faith to stand the wind!

This week, I was given an amazing opportunity to give a discourse (okay, okay, it was just a sacrament talk) in the Fraser Valley YSA Branch in which I serve. And it caused me deep reflection...mainly because I was given free reign on what my topic would be. And I was drawn again and again to the principle of having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and what that can really do for us in our lives.

Specifically, I remembered an experience I had when I was a young child. Just imagine the Elder Stock you know and put my same head on a small, really lanky child's body. that you have that image in your head, here it goes.

I was driving around with my mom with a stack, about the size of a phone book, of "thank you" notes to Relief Society sisters around the ward. On this particular trip, I was being used as an errand boy. I would take the notes to the door and then deliver them to these Relief Society sisters.

On this particular day, however, it was very, very windy. I'm talking trees thrashing around, dust and debris being flung across the neighborhood in all directions, and the general chaos that occurs with strong winds was occurring...much to my chagrin. The sand was getting in my eyes every time I walked out of the van, and the wind, I firmly believed, threatened to tear me down to destruction.

And so I did what any boy with any ounce of faith in Jesus Christ would do in this situation. I tried to be like Him. And I raised my hand to the wind, this invisible force of destruction. And I said simply to it, "Stop."

Nothing happened, of course.

But I learned a lot of lessons from this one day, this one moment in my life.

I was thinking about Jesus and His Apostles on their way to the Gadarenes in the middle of the sea. When the tempest raged around them. And out of fear, the Apostles asked Jesus, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" He sat there, sleeping, and suddenly, in response to their distress, He arose and rebuked the tempest. Instantly, He calmed the winds, the waves, everything. Just like that. And the Apostles, stunned, sat there speechless. And what Christ said to them is amazing. He simply asked them, "Why are ye so fearful?"

Why are we so fearful? We're like the Apostles of old. We're members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His true and living Church here on the earth. We have access to His Atonement. All of it. That's because we have the priesthood authority that makes living the gospel of Jesus Christ (you know the doctrine He taught that allows us to accept His Atonement) even possible. We have, so to speak, Jesus Christ right there next to us. In that boat with us. And so when the tempests rage, when the furious winds blow, when the monstrous and mountainous waves threaten us, why do we fear?

We have a promise in Helaman 5:12 that if we build our foundation on Christ, then the adversary will have no power to drag us down to the gulf of misery.

If we have faith, we will not be toppled by the wind. And I have learned in my life that the choice I made when I was a little kid to try and stop the wind was foolish. Only Christ can stop the winds that beset us, and He will do so in His time. All we need to do and all we can ask for is for the strength to stand the winds. Because they are there to help us grow.

This past week, we were able to see the baptism of Ariel Fritz. She is so awesome, and it was really cool to see her make this choice in her life to follow Christ. You could tell that she knew it was true. That this was her making a real promise with God. And that was amazing to see.

I love doing missionary work. Because it's so selfless. Naturally, I am a very selfish man. But I try every day to just be like Christ and turn out. Just focus on those around me and serve selflessly every day.

And this work helps us to be sanctified and to become truly and personally converted. Yeah, we can go to the temple and read our scriptures and pray more sincerely, and do everything that we can to better ourselves, but unless we turn out and share the gospel with others and truly help others, we are lost. It's called charity. I have learned that out here very literally. If we really want to follow Christ, then we'll go and we'll lift those around us. I saw so much joy this week as I was able to go out and just preach the gospel to every single soul I could see. And sometimes people aren't nice. But you know what? They're children of God. With a potential of receiving everything that their Father has in store for them. So you don't stop. You keep going. And you walk the path of Christ. And if that involves some suffering, then so be it. Because He suffered everything for us.

I love it! I have gotten to get to know the members here in the YSA a little better, now. And they are so cool. It is amazing to see these people accept the gospel and live it, and to see how they act on their testimonies. Our branch mission leader is amazing. He's so good at helping us as missionaries to coordinate with the branch members.

We're teaching some aweome people, and the cool thing about YSA work is that there are so many people in our area that are looking for this in their lives! I stand all amazed every day as I see these crazy miracles happen. I have seen Christ personally minister in my life and in the lives of those that I have had the privilege of teaching and ministering to, and it is the greatest blessing and miracle of all to see someone accept the Atonement and feel of its power in their life.

I know this Church is true. And it is a missionary Church. Just like Christ's was. And that's not so we can get more members to fill a stat book or to show that we're superior or anything. It's literally just evidence of God's love for the world. And that is more precious than anything. So keep being awesome. And keep sharing the gospel. Because we have no need to fear, only to have faith to stand the wind.

Elder Stock
He didn't send photos, so I chose a couple. Here's my cub scout passing off his outdoor cooking skills with Uncle Glen.
 Elder Stock and Elder McCown
They met at EFY and later were called to the same mission!
(photo by Greg McCown, Elder McCown's dad. He recently took an amazing photo of a lightning strike with a rainbow. 
Here's a link to the photo)

Almost 5 hours later and we have some photos!!!
Elder Mattingley and I
Epic exchange!!!
 Shilob....It's about to get real.
The Arachnapocalypse!!!!!
 Elder Nielsen and I
This guy looks like TJ Ethington!
Ariel's Baptism
From left: Josh Layton, Ariel Fritz, Elder Miller & Myself

Monday, August 10, 2015


Dear Humankind,

Wow. Langley YSA is awesome! So, last Sunday was literally the first Sunday ever that I have attended a YSA. In my life... And it was awesome! I mean, sure, there's the shallow reasons (no babies crying, so it's easier to feel the Spirit, etc), but there is also a missionary fire there that I've never been apart of before. Literally, people are so determined to share the gospel with their friends that they'll do anything for it. They're way on board.

So...that's awesome! We were lucky enough to be able to baptize an investigator this Sunday! Fialka is awesome, and she has been taught for a while with various missionaries. The Spirit was so strong at her baptism. It was amazing. Seriously, people. Baptizing is where it's at. That covenant we make with our Heavenly Father through this ordinance? Yeah, it's 100% real. I know that as we go forth and boldly invite our brothers and sisters to come to the waters of baptism, and in turn come unto Christ, that we will be assisted in our efforts and our Heavenly Father will help us in His Work.

My new companion, Elder Miller, is amazing. He's really good at following the Spirit and teaching, and so it's a privilege to be serving with him. This new zone that I am in, the Langley zone, is crazy! We're literally revolving the temple...miracles are going to happen.

We have a lot of brand new missionaries that have just come into the mission, just ready to go out and share their testimonies with everyone and bring souls to Christ. Greenie faith is where it's at!

It's cool being in the Fraser Valley YSA branch, because our area is so huge. We cover a ton of cities up here. From Richmond clear out to Hope! So it's an adventure every single day. But it's cool. I feel like I'm hunting for YSA people when I am out finding. At bus stops, I'm just scanning everyone for the student aged people, and then I'm running at them with the word of God. So...that's a thing.

I am grateful for my mission. I have learned so much out here so far, and I will continue to learn so much more. And I have felt very literally the way that our Savior lifts us from our troubles, from our sins, from captivity. The adversary wants nothing more than to drag us down into the gulf of misery. And that's so easy for us to do. To just let go and allow him to pull us down. But I know that when we turn to Christ, and believe Him. Truly, truly believe Him, that He restores us. He makes us whole. He makes it so that we can walk again. So that we're not blind. So that we can speak the words that He would have us speak. There is an adversary. But there is also a Redeemer, a Healer. And He is so much more powerful than anything that the adversary can conjure up. Please trust Him. Because He lives today, and He needs disciples. Forever. He has a Work to do here. He's trying to bring all of our brothers and sisters back to our Heavenly Father. And we have the privilege of being apart of this Work. For Him. Because we love Him.

Christ suffered while on this earth. And we will suffer, too. But we will also feel joy because of Him. We will be changed because of Him.

"As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase," (PMG 2). That is doctrine. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real, and it has saved me from death. And all I want is to help everyone obtain this feeling, as well.

I know that this Church is true. It is the only way that we can obtain true and everlasting joy, and the only place that contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been restored to the earth today. And we are a part of it. So do not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And have no fear. Because we don't need to be scared. We just need to have faith.

Love you all,
Elder Stock

Me and Norman...the Mongolian in Burnaby. 
He's a boss.
 Us and Kristian. 
He is so good at coming out teaching with the missionaries!
  From left: Elder Murray, Elder Kim, Me, and Elder Robinson.
The Koreans + the wannabe ;)
Fialka's Baptism!
Did someone say, "remission of sins?!"
 On the phone
 Elder Miller selfie

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Yesterday was a holiday so P-day was on Tuesday this week. So happy to hear from him and there's transfer news! The best part of the transfer is that it's still in his zone and he's still the Zone Leader.

Dear Mankind,

This week has been amazing. In a different sense of the word. Amazing in that I have seen Heavenly Father's hand, and felt our Savior's peace like never before. Amazing in that I have seen and heard things this week that have cut me down. And I have chosen to be built up again. I am reminded of the story that Elder Christofferson shared in General Conference in April of 2011. He shared the anecdote of Hugh B. Brown and his currant bush. The bush was about 6 feet high, but it was yielding no fruit. He cut it down drastically, leaving little stumps in place of the towering branches. When he looked back, he saw little drops coming from the stumps of the currant bush. It was as if the currant bush were crying, "How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth.. And now you have cut me down."

The man looked down at the bush, and said, "Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be."

Sometimes in life, we get cut down. Things happen that we freak out at. And it hurts to get cut down. It's not a fun process. Ever! But as long as we are patient and humble, and as we seek God's will before our own, we will be all right.

I've been thinking a lot about humility recently. If we just knew how much Heavenly Father loves us, we would be willing to go through anything for Him. Because everything that He does to us is out of love. We need Him. He sculpts us, grows us, cuts us down, grafts us into new trees, etc. All because He knows what we can become. And He is working so diligently to get us to that point. He has a plan for all of us. And it is perfect. I take great comfort in that.

No matter how hard we fight, sometimes we're going to lose. And that's okay. Because it's part of the plan. Adam and Eve probably didn't feel too good once they became mortal. Once they got cut for the first time or fell ill for the first time. But think of the joy that they could now experience! And that's what it's all about. Just accepting God's will.

This week, I will be getting transferred to Langely YSA! I am so excited, but it's also really sad to leave this amazing area in Burnaby. I will miss it for sure. The people that I have met here and the friendships that I have made will sustain me forever. I've been too privileged! Too blessed! It's amazing to see so many miracles happen, and now they'll be moving on to the next area!

Langley will be nice, though. That's where the Vancouver British Columbia temple is, for Pete's sake!

This week has been an absolute blast. We just found out everyone's transfer news and the mission is changing it up so much! I am excited to see what happens next transfer. By the way, with this transfer and the next transfer, 52 new missionaries will be coming to this mission! So...that's a whole lot of births! ;)

It's amazing to see that Heavenly Father really cares about us. Individually. And this section of His vineyard, British Columbia, is WELL LOVED! He is Hastening His work over here. It's just up to us to get on board with the work that He is doing.

I am grateful for my mission president, President Burt, and his wife, Sister Burt. They are prime examples to me. I am grateful for this time that I have had thus far to serve a mission for my Heavenly Father. And I know that this next year is going to bring so many blessings, and that there are so many lessons to be learned. This is it! This is the true, pure gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been restored to the earth. Us missionaries are not salesmen trying to get people to come to church. We are ministers of the truth. We are literally representatives of the Savior Himself. Messengers of God. Our mandate, our call, is sacred. This Work? The most important in the entire world. Without it, the plan crumbles. With it, we have hope. And not even in a weak, worldly sense of the word hope.

In the world, when you hope for things, nothing happens. When you have hope in God and Jesus Christ, though...that's when it all changes. Because having hope in Christ means that you expect miracles. And that is what changes the world.

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want it written on my heart, imprinted in my very DNA, carved into the marrow of my bones. Because I love Him. Because He is my Savior.

And I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed.

Love you all! Have an awesome week! I will be back next time, on Elder Stock's Weird Mission Updates/Declarations of Belief... ;)

Elder Stock

Miracles have not ceased. 
Just ask this lion. ;)
 Elder Westergard. Truly a man of many faces.
Gonna miss him!
 Our investigator, S, and his kids M & S. S's getting baptized soon! 
They are so awesome.
 The Raumas (Hannu and Angela). They changed my life.
They are so amazing! Great examples to me of gospel living.
Next week will be the first letter from Langley!