Tuesday, March 29, 2016

3/29/16 - 10th LETTER FROM NANAIMO


"But it'll still hurt my eyes...."

The words rang in my head as Leslie Johnny stood in the font after attempting to be baptized twice, but to no avail. He was scared. He has swimming acne and was genuinely terrified of being completely immersed in water. His child-like faith had gotten him so far. But he had reached the point of no return. The fear he felt right now was unlike anything he had experienced.

"It'll be ok." I tried to comfort him. It wasn't going to work. He didn't want to be baptized. Not right then.

"It'll still hurt my eyes...." My companion and I looked at each other. It was time to call it quits. But it seemed unfair. He had come so far...for this?!

This week, Elder Stirland and I had the privilege of being able to help Leslie and Macaira Johnny to come unto Christ through baptism and confirmation by the restored priesthood authority of God. It was terrific. We have been teaching these siblings for a little while, and their mom really wanted them to be baptized, but she wanted it to be their choice. After teaching them, they chose to be baptized to receive a remission of their sins.

We organized a baptismal service on Saturday afternoon for them, and it went wonderfully. Macaira was baptized in one try, and then...it was Leslie's turn. The combination of a crowd of people to witness him and his fear of water proved too much for him. He walked away from his baptismal service that day very disappointed.

As a missionary, that day was so, so stressful. We went back and taught Leslie again, and asked him what he could do to be baptized. He still wanted to be, but he was just not expecting it to be hard for him. Finally, he built up the courage and decided to try again the next day right after church. He practiced a new position in the font where he would squat instead of leaning back in the water.

We had a very private service and he was so excited to try again. He began to walk down the stairs and said to himself, "I can do this!"

As he got into the water, he looked very determined to be baptized this time. The words were spoken and he squatted down all the way under the water. Seeing him fully immersed and feeling the Holy Spirit of Promise confirm the ordinance was such a blessing. All of my stress about the baptism went away,  and I saw this little child of God walk out of the font yelling "That was awesome!"

That's our purpose right there. Let's all reach out and help our brothers and sisters come unto Christ. So that they can feel of His goodness and realize His love for them. It truly is awesome. Leslie, thanks for reminding me of that!

We had our zone conference up here in Nanaimo. It went really well, and we are all pumped to go out and to see miracles. President Burt is such an inspired mission president. I am grateful for him. Truly, I am.

My former companion, Elder Gawrys, and I went on an exchange. While we were tracting someone decided to take a picture of us. And now we're famous on the Internet here in Nanaimo....apparently, we were trying to steal souls.... Well, I don't know about you, but ...I don't even know how to steal one. Just how to save one...

We are having so much fun up here. Missionary work is the greatest joy you can ever feel. And I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, is with us in this work. He is there with us in our deepest sorrows, in the pouring, freezing rain. And He is there with us in our brightest triumphs, as we witness others come unto Him and become more powerful instruments in His hands. He is there with us always, and will not cease to be with us. His gospel is life-giving and unending.

As Alma said to his son after a bit of fatherly counsel, "Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same in not compelled to come..." (Alma 42:27)

The waters of life are available to all of us. What are you going to do about it? Partake? Or what? I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior, our Redeemer. Our Friend. He is our advocate with the Father, and will help us to reach our Heavenly Home. The plan of salvation that has been revealed unto us it true, and has been restored by a loving God to a living prophet. I know that we have a prophet today, and am excited to hear the Lord's voice through Him this next weekend. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Elder Stock
Baptism of Leslie and Macaira Johnny!!!
Polar Bears are on the money here...Canada, man! I love it!
 Someone thought we were up to no good...so they decided to tell the world about it...
 Nanaimo....the city needs me.....
 Ammonite Falls....what a place!

Monday, March 21, 2016



"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear....ELDER STOCK!!!!! Happy birthday to you!!!!! Wahoo!" the three elders sang in a slightly discordant unison crowding around the now 20 year old missionary. "All right, all right, get back to work!" said Elder Stock as they headed out the door to find miracles. Thus, the life of a missionary on his birthday.

I turned 20 on Thursday. So that was fun. It's honestly weird to say that I am 20, so I'll probably never get used to it until I'm long past 20. But oh well, life's too short to worry about logistics. The week's been a blur. I snagged a Native Art necktie with a Thunderbird design on it as a birthday present to myself. It's a good little reminder of Duncan/the Island. I had an awesome week handing out the new Hallelujah initiative pass along cards and sharing them with our members here in Nanaimo. We went on an exchange up to Campbell River and spent the day with some awesome missionaries there. Elder Okamoto and Elder McGaughey. Elder Okamoto and I went tracting and found a family who is deaf! Luckily, I know a little bit of sign language from my Burnaby days, and we were able to set up a return appointment with them and will be seeing them soon! Miracles have truly not ceased!

We had a great time together and talked a lot about what it means to have faith in missionary work. I am so grateful for my mission and for the pure fun that it is each and every day to go out and do the Lord's work. This work is divine!

We are working with some awesome investigators. "G", "L", and "M" are so prepared. I love seeing the change in people as they truly accept the restored gospel. The Book of Mormon DOES in fact increase your faith in Jesus Christ. That is not just a myth or some belief that works for some people. It is fact and spiritual truth that applies to us all. We asked "G" this week what has helped him to quit drinking and move forward toward baptism and further conversion. He paused and pointed at the Book of Mormon. "it was the reading assignments you gave me. That's what has helped," he said. "It's built my faith in Jesus Christ. He's with me, now."

That's why we're here. As missionaries, we are here to invite others to come unto Christ. And we help them get there. By helping them see the iron rod, and helping them continually hold steadfast to it. I have such a testimony of this work. I know that it is Christ's work. And that He is at the helm of it!

We are working with a little boy named "L" who is so excited for his "batman-tism", which is how he says baptism. So...we're excited for Bruce Wayne to show up for the service... It's been fun to work here in Nanaimo. We are seeing miracles every day.

My thoughts of the work are summed up in a scripture this week. As Paul says to his son, Timothy, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord...but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God" (2 Timothy 1:7-8)

There is no need to fear. We share a message with the power to connect people to the Savior, who looses them from the bands of death and sin. We are messengers of this glory, servants of God. Chosen by Him. We need to exercise our faith and works to be what He needs us to be here at this time. And I know that as we do, and as we partake even of the trials that come into our path, that we will recognize His hand in all things and find His support even in our darkest trials...and even in our brightest triumphs. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Catch you next week,
Elder Stock

In case you felt unsafe, Nanaimo is nuclear free. I'm in good hands!
 Me in Campbell River's attic apartment...
 Me, Elder McGaughey, Elder Okamoto, and Elder Stirland!!! What an exchange!
 Now THAT'S a coastline...
 Me and a blizzard...good times...
 Me, Ashwani, and Elder Stirland! Happy Birthday!!!
 My birthday cake from Ashwani...
 What a piece of cake... Ba-dum-ch!!!!!

Monday, March 14, 2016



"The theme for this stake conference is, "Do or Do Not, There is No Try..." announced President Weckesser of the Nanaimo Stake to a crowd of hundreds of people huddled together on a rainy day here in Vancouver Island. The congregation chuckled. Our investigator, "G" laughed. "It's a reference to...a movie...." he added as he continued his opening remarks.

Did I say I love British Columbia?!

This week has been really, really good. Miracles truly have not ceased in the work of the Lord. Elder Stirland and I have seen so many incredible miracles this week in conversion with our investigators. There is NOTHING like having solid, progressing investigators that are working toward baptism. We are helping "G" and "L" to receive the restored gospel.

This week, "L" told us that he wants to be a missionary like us. We told him he had to wait until he was 18, and his mom told him that he can do it when he gets there! He is soaking up the gospel.

"G" is building his faith in Jesus Christ each and every day. It's incredible to see him begin to trust the Lord and lay aside all of his sins to know Him more fully. I know that the Atonement is real. He strengthens us through His grace and we can overcome anything in our lives as we turn to Him and find new life.

We are finding people to teach, as well. It's a joy and a blessing to be able to go out each and every day in faith and find those whom the Lord has prepared to receive this restored gospel.
My thoughts this week were turned to the principle of charity. In the Book of Mormon, we read that, "[The Lord] doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him...all are alike unto God" (2 Nephi 26:33)

I know that that is true. As we come unto Christ, we find that He truly accepts us all. Flaws, inadequacies, imperfections, sins and all. He loves us and lifts us to become better people. It doesn't take away our personal responsibility to repent and exercise our faith in Him by continually covenanting with the Father in Christ's name, but He does indeed help us. I know that all He does, and consequently all that we do as His missionaries, is there to do good among the children of men. In plainness and in truth.

That is true charity. The pure love of Christ that we develop within us as He grants us it day by day leads us to fulfill the first and great commandments. To show our love for God by obeying Him and His commandments, and showing our love for others by helping them receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us all continually have charity by being obedient and serving others.

I know that as we follow Jesus Christ, we find new life. #hallelujah for that! followhim.mormon.org  hallelujah chorus

I hope your week is incredible!

Elder Stock

Us and the Duncan elders. 
In my old stompin' grounds!!!
 Me being ordained by Moroni to protect the record...KIDDING!
Thought it was funny, though :)

Monday, March 7, 2016



"There they are...." Elder Stirland said, staring at the gargantuan ferry gliding into the harbor. The dark evening water swirled in defense.

Missionaries from various areas in the mainland began to walk from the ferry to the terminal across the bridge. Gleaming with fresh faith for their next transfer assignment.

"You know what we have to do now..." said Elder Stock.

"What's that?"

"Put this faith to work..."

Missionary work is like anything in the gospel and in life. You get out of it what you put into it. Having faith in missionary work consists of firstly BELIEVING in the work. That it is divine. That it is the cause of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. That it truly is the lifeblood of the church. That salvation truly does come through it. Secondly, we need to ACT on that belief and truly give of our whole souls in the work. This is the part that gets all of us. I bet you that almost everyone of us that is an active, even halfway faithful member of the Church has a BELIEF in missionary work. But that is sadly only one half of faith.

It's the DOING that is challenging. And even as a full-time, set apart missionary, I can attest that sometimes it is not easy to do what we do. But I was reminded this week of the principle of faith that keeps us all going. And it is that fear, which is the only obstacle we face in this work, is opposed to faith. And that as we have true faith in Christ and His work, that fear will be dispelled and we will find success.

I know that as we truly continue to always be partaking of the fruits of the gospel and continually come unto Christ, that we will have that true faith that dispels all fear. And we will find success. No matter what we do in our lives. As the prophet Jacob said during an incident in his life that was meant to shake his faith, "I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken..." (Jacob 7:5). Let's be more like Jacob this week, and remember the conversion we have. Let's remember, as he did, the countless experiences we have had with the Spirit of God, and hold fast to those. And as we do, we will not be shaken.

This week, our whole zone was basically changed as we started the new transfer with new transfer assignments. And everyone seems to be so excited to start working so hard in their areas. We are truly grateful for everyone's enthusiasm. I myself am grateful to be here. Nanaimo is a blessed place, and I am with an awesome companion. SHOUT OUT TO ELDER STIRLAND!!!! HE IS THE BOMB!!!

I had the incredible opportunity this week to teach a kid named L more of the restored gospel. He is so excited to join the church and continue to learn more about Jesus Christ. We have been using some videos from discover.mormon.org that really help people, especially kids, to learn and understand the gospel.

I am amazed at how simple this gospel really, truly is. We fasted for our investigators and our area, that more would hearken to the Spirit and progress quickly in the gospel. As we did so, one of our investigators, G who has struggled with drinking for his entire life and has been scared to progress to be baptized, called us and told us he wants to stop drinking and be baptized, that he needs to get over his fear. I know that the Lord is in this work.

The joy I feel from living the gospel is so intensely real and enriching. It is true, and it will bless lives forever. I am grateful for everything that we have as members of this restored Church of Jesus Christ. Especially for the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true, and that it is the words of Christ. I know that as I have testified countless times of it throughout my mission, and as I continue to testify of it throughout my life, that it will never cease to be true. I know that as you and I always continue to be partaking of the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that we will not be shaken. I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Stock
The elders in the zone for the new transfer. Let's go, Nanaimo!!!
 Planner cover for the new transfer!
 A sick 1970s Book of Mormon with RED pages that I scored in an apartment I cleaned out!
 Photo from Ashwani Kumar Sinha in Nanaimo.