Monday, April 25, 2016

4/25/16 - 1st LETTER FROM VERNON


"Well, Elder Scully...we're in Burnaby right now, and we've got to get to Vernon way out in the Okanagan in about four hours....You ready, my man?"

Elder Scully turned to Elder Stock in the front of a new Nissan Rogue, with the look of determination on his face. "Oh yeah," he said in a manly falsetto voice. "Bring it on."

Elder Stock flipped the vehicle into sports mode and they went flying through the lower mainland and up nearly the entire width of BC towards their new area. No stops... Well, except for:

"Hey, we're low on gas....and I need a Dr. Pepper. You down?"

"Sure..." said Elder Scully.

And they were off again! Through canyons, mountains, forests, and valleys. They arrived in their new home: Vernon. Of course, they had to pass through Kelowna...and we all know that it's a long road from Nanaimo to Kelowna! The dynamic duo made it to the city that needs them, and were met by their heroic third companion: Elder Jenkins. And they went to work.

The week was incredible. I enjoyed the drive to the Okanagan and it was really fun to be able to come back to this area of the mission. It is WARM up here! (I googled to see how warm it was when he arrived. Vernon was having record breaking temperatures at 81 degrees fahrenheit. I don't know if my boy can handle the heat in Arizona anymore) I got to bust out my short sleeves again. Time for that missionary/farmer tan! This week, we started working in Vernon and preaching the gospel like crazy. We saw some huge miracles so far, such as a random woman seeing us in downtown, then wanting to talk to us but we had left, and then we felt inspired to tract on her street and she ran out of her home, wanted to meet with us and is now progressing towards baptism. Whoa, people. It's like the Hastening or something!

We got to know our zone. The missionaries here in the north Okanagan are incredible. Our zone is on fire. My companions are really great. Elder Jenkins hails from Bountiful, Utah, and is really good at just about everything and being a great, hardworking missionary on fire. Elder Scully comes from the far away land of Edmonton, Alberta, and is a boss at finding out scriptural lineages and making the best voice impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Morgan Freeman of all time...that's a plus.

We are seeing crazy miracles, the ward is legit, and everything is going really well. I am learning a lot at this point in my mission about the heart and how to give that to the Lord. I am doing everything I need to be doing, but the way to improve from there is to give of your heart to Him and really allow Him to change your nature. And I am learning that, I love my Savior. He is there right beside me and He redeems me when I fall. He makes me into the missionary He needs in His vineyard. His words this week from the Doctrine and Covenants stood out to me. He said, "yea, [you have] undertaken a greater work; therefore, I will make [you] as flaming fire and a ministering angel; [you] shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth" (D&C 7:6).

I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and He is at the helm of this great Work of Salvation. Wherever you go, He is with you. So long as you come unto Him. Because He has come unto you. I know that He invites us all into His rest, and that He has restored His everlasting gospel to the earth once more through a living prophet. He has brought forth more of His word. The Book of Mormon is true, and it is the instrument we need to draw closer to our Savior than ever before. We live in dark times. Trials come our way that we can't foresee, temptations surround us that seem impossible to overcome, sadness looms over top a world that on the surface looks so "put together". But amidst the challenges we face, amidst the perils and pitfalls of this broken world, we can find hope, peace, and comfort through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that I am called of God by a prophet. And this great Work will never cease. Until He says it does.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Have a great week,
Elder Stock
Possible the last ferry ride.... :(
 Elder Scully and I gearing up for the long road!
 Our first view of Okanagan Lake!
 TERRIFYING Primary posters in Canada...
 The TRI to end all TRIs!
 Elder Jenkins and I at a Mexican food hole in the wall...

Monday, April 18, 2016

4/18/16 - 13th LETTER FROM NANAIMO


"Elders, we're sorry to call you.. What we're about to tell you saddens us, too...." the assistants to the president said over the phone. Elder Stock and Elder Stirland looked at each other, panic in their eyes.

"No!!!" they yelled in unison.

"Yes, elders. We're calling on behalf of President Burt. With some transfer news..."

Needless to say, Elder Stirland and I are going to be having different companions this transfer. And I'm no longer going to be on the island! I am heading off to Vernon, out in the beautifully balmy Okanagan Valley. Now, if you remember your study of The Missionary Journeys of Elder Stock, you will notice that this isn't the first time I've been to the Okanagan Valley. But Vernon is a little more north than Westbank. I am so excited to go there and to be able to serve in this zone!!!

Maybe I'll get to find the infamous monster of Lake Okanagan...the Ogopogo!

I've had such a blast here in Nanaimo. Vancouver Island is precious land, and I am grateful for the time I was allotted to return here. The members on the Island are incredible, and the people here are, as well.

This week, Elder Stirland and I found a miracle new investigator as we were finding by the Spirit. We were walking through the south end of our area, in the sketchy part of the city, and seeing lots of fun "mission story" people. But we wanted to find people to teach, not just to talk about later. So we decided to go farther up into a street we had never seen before called View Street. On it, we found a young single adult named "R". He's from China and lives in an immaculate house. He goes to VIU and studies fine arts. He was so interested in what we had to share, that he let us in and we taught him the message of the Restoration. Even though he has very little Christian background, he was so excited at what he learned, and wants more of it. He committed to baptism in May and to come to church...which he did the next day! He is loving it and is soaking up the gospel.

The Lord is preparing His children all over the world! And we, as missionaries, can find them and teach them as we rely on the Lord to do His work.

We had a really great zone meeting this week! Nanaimo is on fire!!! We learned how to be great missionaries, and how to press forward even through trials.

Anyways, this is going to be a great transfer! I can't really talk, as I have to catch a ferry soon. But I will update you all more on how epic this week will be.

Elder Stock
Nanaimo Zone Meeting!
 "On Fire" announcement
 The banner.... to announce our new found fire!!!
 Reflecting on life and discipleship out by the end of the world...
 Starfish be like....
 Me and the starfish...
 Elder Stirland and I's family picture frame!!!
 Starfish hang out spot.
 Homemade to break a fast right! ;)
 My personal, narcissistic shrine...
 The storm clouds of life...come at me!!! 
Just kidding....just kidding....

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

4/11/16 - 12th LETTER FROM NANAIMO


"Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life!" (John 4:14). Jesus Christ has promised us everlasting life. Everlasting knowledge, everlasting love, everlasting peace. All we need to do is to partake of it.

The joy of partaking continually is that we have something to continually partake of. There is no end to our gospel knowledge, no end to our conversion, no end to our trials, and no end to our joy. But there is an end to death and sin, and it is through Christ that we find this. I know that He is there. That He lives. That He loves us. I have seen that so plainly here in British Columbia and even throughout my pre-mission life. And I am so deeply grateful for Him and His atoning sacrifice. I am grateful that right now, I have an opportunity to help others to feel of His love and His redemptive power.

This week, I had the opportunity to teach many people of this. A family, the Littles, were found this week and came to church. The mom is really grateful for the opportunity she has to come to church and for her kids to be involved in it. And, as a side-bonus, the little boy that was baptized recently - Leslie - is best friends with one of the new investigator kids! God's hand is in this Work!!!

Elder Stirland and I were able to go to a special meeting out in Richmond this week and get reunited with some old friends around the mission. I got to see Elder Murray and Elder Petersen again, who were in my zone back in Burnaby!!! Blast to the past! At this meeting in Richmond, I was able to speak about "pressing forward amidst trials on your mission", and it was incredible to be able to teach and learn by the power of the Spirit. I summed it up into five points to face trials with confidence and joy. First: to pray fervently and secure your place, second: strengthen your testimony of the plan of happiness and the doctrine of the role of trials in that plan, third: seek the word of God (scriptures, a priesthood blessing, words of leaders around you) and then apply what you learn, fourth: lose yourself in the service of others, and work harder than you ever have, and fifth: have confidence in your call as a missionary. KNOW that you are called of God. And if you aren't a missionary, KNOW that you are a child of God. Doing these five things will ensure that you can rely on the Savior during times of need. And as you do, He will support you. I have seen that vividly in action out here, and am grateful for the lessons I have learned. Just know that our Heavenly Father loves you!

As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated beautifully in this last general conference. "The first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind and strength--that's the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. That love is the foundation stone of eternity, and it should be the foundation stone of our daily life" (Jeffrey R. Holland, "Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders Among You"). Let's all press forward a little better this week and find ways to strengthen our brethren! He will bless us as we do. Because He loves us more than we can ever know.

Have a great week!
Elder Stock

Me and Elder Murray. He's in Kelowna YSA right now...I picked him up on his first day in the field...Whoa!!!
 The Georgia Strait coming back to Nanaimo...
 Elder Stirland and I's family picture wall. The Nanaimo zone is where it's at!!!



"Hey, Leslie...what do you like most about praying....?"

"I like that I get to say 'hello' to my Heavenly Father..."

That is why we are here. To help others to know their Father in Heaven, and to follow Him and experience His plan of happiness.

I am so grateful to be a missionary, and to be able to go forth with faith each and every day in this great work. I am grateful for the blessing it is to be able to help others to receive this restored gospel. Truly, this is the work of the Lord. If knowing that our Savior lives, loves us, and is reaching out to every single person on earth doesn't get you pumped up to share the gospel. I don't know what will!

So, this week was general conference, if you didn't notice. And as a missionary, general conference is the best. It's hype level is like the midnight premiere of your most anticipated summer blockbuster, and everything that the speakers say is like a golden nugget that you cannot wait to incorporate into the lessons you teach. In short, it is just incredible.

I know that the words they spoke at general conference are of God and are true. That as we apply them into our lives, we will be blessed. I am still in post-conference spiritual digestion overload mode, but I know that Heavenly Father has provided us with these words because he sets forth patterns for us all so that we may not be deceived by the adversary. As we follow them, and are faithful unto His commands, we will receive a bounty of promised blessings that will help us wherever we are in life.

"And the days have come; according to men's faith it shall be done unto them" (D&C 52:20). Let's have more faith and see these blessings fulfilled!!!

I know that this Church is true, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the head of it and that He has restored His gospel and the truths we need to return to live with our Father in Heaven. And I know that His priesthood is powerful. We need to let that power run through us! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Stock
Elder Stirland and Elder Stock enjoying DQ!