Elder Stockard

Elder Stockard
Mexico Cuidad Obregon Mission

Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015 - Week 27


Wow it feels weird to be here writing you guys cause just a few days ago it was like we were all back home together chopping it up in the living room! Haha like old times, it was honestly suchhhh a nice treat to be able to chat it up and share old memories, new stories and familiar laughs with each other as a family. It reminded me a lot of how rich of a blessing I have with you guys at home. 

So starting from my weekend, I guess I don't have as much to share this week with the skype call lol. We finished out the weekend really strong and we actually found a new family that I'm excited to teach. Well we actually were already teaching this lady, Carmen, but her husband came home from work in Monterrey and we taught them and their little daughter, Emily yesterday. I'm not sure if the husband will even be in town for more than a couple months, but it is always the best to teach families and be able to tell them about the blessings that God has planned for them.

We also taught a couple named Carla and Aldo this weekend. Carla's aunt is a recent-ish convert and she always helps us with teaching her. It's so nice because her niece can see her strong testimony and the blessing she's received in her life through the gospel. It was a little bit difficult to find some of the other common investigators this weekend with all the holidays, but hopefully this week will be different. 

So yesterday we showed up to Church and were told that we were going to have to give talks. I actually really like when that happens because it gives us a chance to talk to members and investigators at church. I shared some scriptures in 3 Nephi 9 right before Christ comes to America, then a story of Zeniff and his people trusting in the Lord to overcome the Lamanites. 

As far as this week I'm not sure how it will be with all the New Year's Eve and New Year's Day stuff. There are usually a lot of parties in Topo because its a really popular spot for people to gather. We will see how it all goes, but we'll keep going ahead no matter what. 

Well, I love you all and hope that your trip to Utah goes smoothly tomorrow. Super big congrats to Bryen Holloway on the Mexico mission call. Only the most righteous go to Mexico lol. Let me know about all my friends who get their calls!! I love you all and wish you all a great week. I'll be praying for you like always. 

Love always,


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 23, 2015 - Week 26


Heyyyy what up ya´ll. So not gonna lie, writing this email makes me super excited because in a matter of a few days we will actually be talking to each other!! It´s super weird that I'm already at my first call home to you guys and crazy that the first 6 months since the dropoff in Reno have come and gone. I could go on and on about it, but in few words I can´t wait to see your guys faces and your voices. So busy week huh? I loved the pics you guys sent me of the house all decorated, and I am very thankful for the 70 degree weather I'm enjoying now as I see the frost on the ground haha. But I'm glad to hear you guys are making all the usual preparations for Christmas and I am sure it will be a blast. 

Okay Mom, I have to start out by saying that we went to the stake center in Los Mochis where there was a broadcast of the dedication. But during the week, it was night time and we were contacting people on the street, and a lady came up and asked us what time church starts at, and told us she was visiting from Tijuana, and that she helped with the dedication. She cooked the food for Pres. Uchtdorf and Elder Oaks, and showed us a ton of videos and photos of all of them. It was super great. This was a really good week for us. We are teaching this 19 year old kid named Luis and he is super nice, really good guy. He told us that a couple years ago he decided that he wanted to change his life, and we told him that we think we have the solution for him. There's also this kid named Osiris who is getting baptized on Saturday and we have been teaching him. His grandma and mom are members, but the men in his family aren't so there's been some conflict with that, but he said he wants to get baptized so this week we have to finish teaching him the lessons so he can move forward with it. Those are the people who we're working most closely with right now, but there's also a lot of inactive members who were baptized wayyyy long ago and some of them weren't ever confirmed and so it's like starting from ground zero. It's been good though, and a few of them came to church for the first time in forever so they're learning nicely!

The preparation and things leading up to Christmas here is pretty minimal for us, as far as hanging decorations and stuff goes, but Mom I will have you know that we put the stockings that you sent us up in the house. Well, we draped them across some chairs in the house, but they are visible. And the other night we were visiting a member who lives right next door to us and she mentioned that she felt sick and that she needed something warm to drink, so we used some of the hot chocolate you sent me, and she helped us prepare it, so it was put to good use. It is nice to walk down the street and still see Christmas lights and decorations, although it is super different because I feel like it should be snowing and frigid cold, but it's like 70 degrees and completely mild weather. But hey, you won't hear any complaints from me. We are really hitting it hard with the Christmas initiative and trying to capitalize on the last few days before Christmas. The church really does a nice job with all their videos, and everything they put out and everyone who watches the video comments on how nice it is. 

So there was a little problem with one of the bills that arrived at the house, and with all the Elders moving around there was a payment on the electricity missed and so they cut our electricity unexpectedly, and we had to pay the missed payment (All of which the church helps with) and sort everything out and it was kinda a stressful day but  one of the Senior Elders from California had to help us through the process, and so he spoke to me in English about the whole thing over the phone for part of the day. It all turned out fine and everything, but I was really grateful for him and that he took time to help us. I'm sure that was about the last thing someone wants to do, but he dropped everything and walked us through what we had to do to get it all sorted out. It makes me appreciate the service that Grandma and Grandpa are doing in Ukraine. I received a pic from them and they look so great. 

I'm blessed to have grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles that aré such great examples to me and great sources of support. I'm blessed by each and every one of you, and although it's weird being away from all the Christmas fun with yall, I'm truly blessed to be here as a missionary serving the Lord in Sinaloa. I love you all and can't wait to see and talk on Christmas 

All Love,
Elder Stockard 

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015 - Week 25

Dear Family,

Well how has everyone been?? It´s sounds like quite the exciting time back there with all the moving about with Christmas and school and work and every other thing that makes life fun haha. And also it sounds like Alyssa killed it as the sugar plum fairy in the Nutcracker! Sad that I had to miss it, but I went to enough ballets throughout my years that I can imagine that she was great as always. It is pretty nice to read your guys emails and updates about final exams coming up and for the first time in years not having to worry about those things, but I can feel the pain of everyone who still has to take them.  So with that being said, I wish them all luck!

So this week was pretty sweet, and wayyyy different setting from what I was accustomed to in my other area. I loved my time and the area in Esperanza, but it is a lot different. So to give you a little bit more details on the transfer.... Esperanza was a small town in the state of Sonora and it was actually the most northern part of the mission. Topolobampo is smaller than Esperanza, it´s a port town literally right on the beach, like we can see the ocean from our house. It´s in the state of Sinaloa, about 5 hours from Esperanza. Imagine the distance between Reno and Vegas and that´s about it. It´s super sweet cause the style and setup of the city is way different  from any other area in the mission. That´s not to say that the city resembles the work of a team of engineers from Harvard, because that definitely is not the case, but it is really sweet nonetheless. It´s allllll hills here and so we do a lot of inclined walking which is good for exercise. There´s  a branch here of about 40 members and they are all sooo awesome. My companion Elder Salazar and I have the same amount of time in the mission, and we were friends before cause we lived together in Esperanza for 3 months, so we were pretty stoked to be comps!  

So as far as the work, I'm really excited to move ahead with the people here. We are teaching a lot of really cool people who have a lot of potential and desire to learn. The members are really willing to help us too. We are teaching this one lady named Carla, and we teach her with her aunt and uncle who are members. We also have this 19 year old kid who is super nice and it makes it easier cause we are the same age and can really just talk with them as friends. All the people we talk to are always super interested in all of the logistics about missionary work, and how our lives are. It´s nice because then we can tell them that we´re really just normal people who wanna help them out. We worked with a kid in the branch this week who is going on his mission to Honduras tomorrow, pretty crazy to see other missionaries setting out for their missions haha. But I'm really excited to continue with the people we have and see how it all goes.

So this weekend was really unique too. We got to go to the dedication of the temple in Tijuana and also the cultural event that went on the night before. The Tijuana temple is soooo beautiful; the people there really are blessed to have it there and I hope one day I can visit it! It was all really well put on, and on top of that I got to listen to Pres. Uchtdorf and Elder Oaks and a few 70´s give killer talks which is always a plus. Then today in Los Mochis we all played soccer with like 12 elders in the area and then went to see Los Mochis a little bit. Super sick city, and they have a lot of great Christmas decorations put up right now which makes it look really nice. Honestly Im really really happy with my current setting and I'm so glad to be out here on the mish.

So as far as the Christmas call... We can do it either on Christmas Day of Christmas Eve, but I wanna do it on the 25th. I think that we should be able to do it at about whatever time we want. I would imagine that we´ll do it maybe at like 4:00 or 5:00, but I will confirm with you guys for sure next week. I don´t exactly know how it works, but I know we use skype. If you guys could set me up a skype account and send me the username and password next week, that would be awesome. Just so I don't have to do all that. I will let you all know definitely  next week. Oh and just a heads up, I think our Pday next week is going to be on a different day. I don´t know exactly when, but there´s a good possibility it gets changed, so just be aware of that if I don´t email you guys on Monday. Well that´s about all for me. I love you all so much and Im so glad everything is good with all of you. I'm sure it will be fine but it´s good you are taking care of it. I love you all and will talk to you all soon.

With Love,


Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015 - Week 24

Dear Family,

I gotta tell you guys right off the bat, I don't have a ton of time to write but I have lots of exciting news and so I'll pack it all in here for you all. So yesterday was the last day of the transfer, and there is always a buzz in the air with the uncertainty of what´s gonna happen. As luck would have it,  I received a transfer, my first one in my mission!! So I had to pack all my bags late last night and early this morning we all gathered together and went down to Sinaloa, the other state our mission covers. I'm in an area called Topolobampo, and it´s literally right on the ocean and soooooo sick. All the other missionaries are super jealous when you say you´re going to Topolobampo . 

So we arrived here and the branch president gave us a ride to his house where his wife had prepared us lunch, and we talked with them and they´re seriously so awesome. We have some other lessons to night, and I'm super excited to try to help their branch here in Sinaloa.  It really is such a blessing to have great people who are willing to help us. With all that being said, I was sad to say my goodbyes  to the families we were teaching in Esperanza. I am so happy with the progress they all made, and I can't wait to see them be together for time and all eternity. I had a really great transfer with my companion Elder Ruiz as well . 

So my new companion is named Elder Salazar, and we have the same amount of time in the mission and were actually super good friends before this so we were stoked to hear we would be companions. We lived next door to each other and were in the same ward in Esperanza for 3 months. We are both super stoked to get to work here and enjoy the views while doing it haha. He is from Mexico City and is an awesome missionary . 

This week was really good though. We taught some of the most spiritual lessons in my mission and I got to work with my trainer, Elder Ruiz for a few days because there was some sick companions that had to rest. I also received your package with all the starbursts and peanut butter, thanks you guys so much!!! Awesome news from home with Tyler and the schools, and I'm so glad everyone´s doing so well. I love you all and will talk to you with more info in a week!!

All Love,

Elder Stockard

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015 - Week 23

Dear Family,

Yo what´s happenin?? So you guys all survived the busy Thanksgiving weekend there without too many bumps or bruises (just a little flood lol) But I hope you all had your fill of pie, turkey, family, and busy black Friday shopping. I'm sure you did. It always makes me laugh when I read about experiences at home that happen exactly how I would expect them too. Like the chaos of getting everyone back to Provo in an efficient manner haha. Some things never change right! So for anyone who´s wondering how the people of Mexico celebrate Thanksgiving it is by asking all the Americans on the streets if they´re going to be eating turkey that day lol. I was actually surprised by the number of people who made that comment to me, but it was really funny. 

So as for my week... It was a really good week out here. I got to work with another missionary named Elder Cruz on Tuesday and he is really good and helpful. We worked here in my area and had a good day of work, I always really enjoy doing divisions with other missionaries. It´s a good opportunity to get to know someone else and learn more from them. Other than that, the week was pretty standard. We´re moving along with a couple families, and one of them is getting baptized this Saturday. The conversion in people is always the coolest thing to see. One of the families mentioned to us that they really wanted to get their hands on a bible, because they didn´t have one. So Elder Ruiz and I got one for them, and we surprised them with it. They were super excited, and they gave us cookies and juice in return, so it was a good trade off, haha. I also helped them change a few lights in their house cause there wasn´t anyone who could reach them before hahaha. 

We started teaching a married couple with a 3 year old boy the other day and I'm really excited about them. The husband is actually a member and his parents are really active in the church. They told us they have been reading a little bit of the Book of Mormon again and go to church with his parents in Obregon every few weeks. He´s super cool and easy to talk to, which makes it really fun to teach him. The only thing is that they are kinda in a tough spot to teach cause the wife is very pregnant, and they are gonna have their baby any day now. But I feel like once the baby's born they´ll be even more inclined to listen and accept the gospel in their lives. Tonight we´re doing a family home evening with the Stake President, his family, and some friends of theirs who are interested in the church and I'm really excited for that. Having members being there to help investigators is such a huge help!!

So other than that I'm planning on enjoying this week and working hard, cause it might be my last one in Esperanza. We´re already on the last week of the transfers and I really don´t know what is gonna happen. In other news, I heard Kobe is retiring at the end of this season. Sad that I´ll never get to watch him play again, but all in all, it sounds like it´s time for it to happen. How is BYU football doing? I haven´t heard much about them recently. 

I like what you shared about get to instead of have to. It is very easy to talk about how we know what Christ can do for us, and the blessing we will receive by doing something, but we really show our faith and GET TO receive those blessings when we actively look for ways to live more like Him. This time of year is a great opportunity to remind of us things like that. Focus on what it means that Christ is our Savior and why it is important that we have a Savior. The church put out a really cool video on that. 

So that is a rundown of my week, business as usual. Finish out these last few weeks of school and the semester strong, and then get ready to recieve my call on Chirstmas, I'm super excited to talk to all of you guys!! I love you all, and am so glad to have your love in each email. Know that I'm praying and thinking of you guys every day. I love you all!!



Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015 - Week 22

Family, what´s happenin??

So another week back at this whole mission thing! So basically what I gathered from all of your emails is that this week is Thanksgiving, which is not celebrated in Mexico, but I was never a huge turkey fan, so it´s all good lol. Also everyone is back at home this week to celebrate, and it sounds like you´re all doing super good which is awesome. And shout out to my friends and HS for the state championship, that´s pretty sweet. Well, this week was pretty good to be honest, we´re seeing a ton of progress in the work and the weeks really do fly by! 

So some highlights of the week with the people we´re working with. One family is meeting with us almost every day and they love to hear about the gospel and all the things we teach them, which as you can imagine, makes our job a lot easier and more enjoyable. They´re really awesome. Reading the BoM and applying the principles of it in their lives and their testimonies grow by the day. They´re super stoked to be baptized and we are excited for them as well. We also have another family, who are also growing their faith by the day and very eager to learn more and more.

The other day we had an appointment with this lady, and when we arrived she told us that she was really busy and had to leave soon. So we started to head to another area and she called us back and was like, "Actually, I feel like I really need to hear you guys, I can make some time." So we taught her, and she loved it and told us she had questions about exactly what we taught her. It is a great example of her exercising faith and receiving blessings for doing so.

As a mission we are gonna be helping with this Christmas initiative that the church is doing. We have cards to give to the people with the church website on it and a link to the video about the birth of Christ, and what it means for us to have Him as a Savior. It´s a really well done video, and I'm excited about sharing it with people. You guys I'm sure will see it, so when you do, think of me inviting someone on the street to watch it lol. We had a meeting this week about it and I think it should be really coool. 

The weather here really is pretty perfect right about now. It is funny every day when I write in my journal I notice the date and am sooooo grateful that I can enjoy 80 degree weather  at the end of November haha. I can literally wear short sleeves shirts for my entire mission. Other than that my week has been pretty normal. I want to start eating more healthy, so today I bought a ton of vegetables and eggs and stuff to start that goal. Maybe when the weather goes back up to 120 degrees I can afford to eat a little bit more freely and sweat it all off, haha. I actually haven´t gained any weight since I left, so that´s good. Oh and you mentioned the senior couple in our ward and to answer your question, we have 3 senior couples in our mission, one that just arrived from Southern Cal. They´re really awesome, I always think of Gma and Gpa in Ukraine when I talk to them. 

So even though I won´t officially be celebrating Thanksgiving with turkey, and pie, and football, and family this year I still want to take time and let you all know how grateful I am for each and every one of you. Each of you has so many individual attributes that have brought me so much happiness, peace of mind, and comfort throughout every day of my life. I couldn´t have hand picked better parents, siblings, and grandparents. With that being said, I know that it had to have been a blessing from our Heavenly Father to place me in such a perfect situation for myself. I am eternally grateful for His knowledge, love, and support of each of His children. His plan for us, and His son and our Savior Jesus Christ. I read the part of Alma this week where he is giving his last piece of advice to his sons individually, and it really caught my attention that he continually told them that the Lord has told us if we keep His commandments, we will prosper in the land. I'm grateful for you guys who have always instilled the perfect plan of our Father, and were always there to support me as I inevitably stumbled over and over. All of us will need help, but we can always be grateful for an Eternal Father that will be there to help us as we stumble. We are blessed.  Always give thanks and keep the commandments of the Lord. Love you all

Elder Stockard

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nov. 16, 2015 - Week 21


Yoooo what up y'all? Another week back at it, sounds like you all have been doing great! This week was filled with lots of positives, and great food so I can´t really complain. I think the best food I had was pineapple tamales. The weather is pretty perfect, and we´re seeing lots of people moving forward and gaining testimonies which is awesome! You guys sounds so good, from all parts of the nation too, haha.  

So this week was pretty solid, and with the new area it has taken time, but each day we know our way around more and continue to get more and more investigators and references. It makes the days soooooo much better when we have people to teach and visit. We have had multiple investigators in church every week though, and that is really good. I wanna share this really cool experience of the faith of an investigator and the power of the gospel....

We found this family a few weeks ago, and they have a little convenience store in their house, so as you can imagine, they´re pretty busy most the time, but they´re so nice and their kids are awesome. We taught them once our first Saturday here, then they all came to church the next day. But for the next couple weeks we passed by their house, tried to set appointments, they kept falling through and we weren´t able to teach them and we were starting to think that they didn't want to listen to us anymore. But this week we taught them like 3 times, they asked lots of great questions and they really felt good, but said they probably wouldn´t be able to go to church because their store needed to be open so that they could receive sufficient money to pay rent and they were very concerned about that, and rightfully so. However, we shared some scriptures and invited them anyways, and yesterday they came to church and told us they knew it was the right decision. They wanted to grow their faith and they knew they had to put forth the effort to show the Lord that they´re willing to do their part. It´s really true, if we sincerely look for the truth, through the power of the Holy ghost, we can find answers to our concerns or questions. The work here is good, we are teaching multiple families, and that always helps cause they automatically have someone and I feel like it makes the lessons and visits more effective. 

In a weird way, the land and desert here are really beautiful. There´s a ton of palm trees and cactus, and also some really sweet mountains that are kinda far off in the distance, but look really cool. The weather is at the point where it´s just about perfect and that makes it a lot more pleasant to go out and walk in the streets. So the other night we were noticing that our sink in the kitchen wasn´t draining very well, and there was a little leak every time we turned the water on. so we tried to remove a little tube that was underneath it, and a freaking tonnnnnnn of hair and other things that were clogging the sink came out and it was reallyyyyy gross, haha. So now we have a bucket underneath the sink to fix the leak, but it drains a lot better, so that's a plus. But I thought you would be happy to hear that I'm also developing my plumbing knowledge and ability here. I had to go all the way to Mexico to figure out how to do that lol. (Just please, never ask me to do it again when I get home.) 

So it sounds like that the family was scattered all across the globe this week, it´s always fun to here about your guys trips and adventures. Any news on the med school or law school with Lauren and Tyler, or have they returned from all the interviews yet?? How are school and preparations for Thanksgiving, and everyone returning home going? I imagine that you´re all doing thanksgiving in Fallon this year. Tear up Black Friday for me, here in Mexico they have Un Buen Fin which was this weekend and it´s kinda like black Friday but not as big and it lasts for 3 days instead of one. The year is coming to a close very soon and it´s so weird that I've been a missionary for like 5 months already. I miss you all and love you very much and pray for you. Thanks for all your love and support as always. Until next week!! 

All Love,

Elder Stockard  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Nov. 9, 2015 - Week 20

Dear Family,

How are you guys doing. I'm sorry we don't have question marks on this keyboard so I'm just going to make everything a statement and I hope you catch my drift haha. But anyways... So it sounds like you all had a really great time celebrating Dad´s birthday and I really liked hearing about all the fun things you did, and will be doing. I'm surprised that the new movie theater wasn´t more packed, but that's really cool that it turned out nice. I'm anxious to hear about all the interviews in Texas and how the weekend in Midway goes. I'm sure you guys will be having much different weather conditions than I am experiencing right now. The mornings and nights are like 55 degrees and the days are like 70,75 degrees. (Of course those are very rough estimates)

So this week was pretty solid. Elder Ruiz and I continue to explore the area, and we are getting more comfortable in it and know how to navigate ourselves around now. With that being said, there´s still a lot of times that we find ourselves in a part of town and we don´t know where we are, or where a street is or something. It's pretty fun because we get to see these two little towns, and they´re both really nice and have some cool things in them. We have a lot of really awesome people we´re teaching, which helps a lot. Some of them are inactive members that we´re working with, but they´re so helpful to us and are willing to always offer their help. Today, one of them helped us break into our house because we accidentally locked the keys inside. It was a success though, and we were able to retrieve the keys without too many scratches haha. There´s this one family that we´re teaching and they've been to church every week since we arrived, and super super sweet. They learned about tithing the other day, and that day in church they were asking us how they could pay their tithing. Really humbling experience, I can´t remember if I already told you about them or not. 

One really cool experience this week is that we got a phone call one morning and it was some missionaries who had received a reference in another city for someone that lived in our area. So we went to her house, and it turns out that she is dating someone who is a member of the church, and they want to get married in the temple, so she needs to get baptized. And she also has some siblings who were there too, it was really cool. We are going to visit her more this week and see how it all goes, but it was a definite blessing that we saw. 

On Saturday and Sunday we had stake conference in Obregon, and there was a member of the area 70 that was there to speak to us. He spoke very plainly to the members and offered a lot of great advice. He shared the parable of the 10 virgins and told everyone that we all need to be prepared and that now is the time to start to live the commandments, even the ones that dont seem as significant. President and Sister Munive also spoke, and delivered great talks. Its always nice when we have investigators present to hear such eloquent, powerful, clear messages because then the spirit can really testify to them.

So today for PDay we went out to this statue that the State of Sonora built recently. It´s of this huuuuuge Yaqui Indian, I'm gonna send you guys some pics of it. Basically the Yaqui tribe has a ton of influence on this part of the mission and you´re always hearing about them. It was a relaxing day and the best part about it is hearing from you all, the ones I love so much. I'm so grateful for your support, and for the knowledge that we have that we can be together forever. I love you all and hope you have a great week. 

Elder Stockard

Monday, November 2, 2015

Nov. 2, 2015 - Week 19


Wow, yet again here I am writing the ones I love!! (I'm in a different internet cafe and the space bar is a little sticky so right off the bat I wanna ask your forgiveness if you find a few extra spaces inbetween words haha.) So it sounds like it has been a successful Halloween weekend and I hope that you guys were the house that gave out the king sized candy bars, you know automatically making you the favorite neighbor. I hope you guys stay busy this week, and give Dad a great 50th birthday. I'm sad to miss milestones like that but I'm sure he´ll understand that I'm a little occupied for the time being haha. What a busy schedule for Lauren and Tyler, I'm really really excited to hear how everything goes for them with the interviews though. I'm glad to hear that the charter school and transition to HS for you and Alyssa is all playing out smoothly as well. 

So my week was a lot different than the usual, which was nice to have change, but it was hectic nonetheless. So we are in an area that is completely foreign to both of us, and so it is kinda like the blind leading the blind haha. Monday night we were informed that we had to move houses by Wednesday, right after we had just finished moving into our apartment. Luckily, we hadn´t unpacked a ton, so it was an easy transition. On Wednesday we moved to a house that is right in our area, and I have really liked it so it was nice. This week we have worked with some old investigatores, and also found a couple others. We are working on contacting lots of people in the streets to build up a solid base of people we can visit. So far it´s been improving steadily which is all we can ask for. We have a good number of investigators that are working towards baptismal dates and progressing well, which is always cool to see.

Our district now is only 4 elders and so it´s super small, but I like it a lot. There´s my companion Elder Ruiz and I, my former companion Elder Ruiz, and his comp Elder Hilton. They´re all really great missionaries and I'm blessed to be able to learn from such great people. My new companion is from like 2 hours from Cancun and has a lot of sweet stories and pictures from around his house. He´s a really talented guy with a lot of strengths, and I'm hoping that by the end of my time with him I´ll be able to emulate some of them. 

Today it was fun, I got to see a lot of other missionaries that I haven´t seen since the CCM and they are doing really well. It´s also cool cause after a few transfers in the mission, you grow your web of missionaries you know and it is always fun to see them again. We all go to Wal Mart on Mondays, so we run into lots of other missionaries there. Today is acually a holiday here in Mexico, called dia de los muertos. It´s pretty big, basically people do things to honor loved ones that have died. Like there are people that cook favorite meals of the person and other things they liked and put them outside of their house or at the cemeteries or all over. I really have enjoyed learning about the culture of Mexico more, so it is cool to see a different holiday. 

I also really  love the story of Abinadi and seeing how the Lord touched the heart of Alma and gave him the courage and strength to stand up for Abinadi, even though he then had to run for his life. Becuase of Alma the church of God was then established and lots of other good came from him as well. Today I read about his son, Alma and Amulek grilling Zeezrom. The Lord´s work will always go forward, and he will always provide a way for it to happen. It´s so awesome to see and I have gained a testimony of it. I love you all and love to hear from all of you. A special Happy 50th Birthday shout out to the best dad in the world!

All Love,

Elder Stockard

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015 - Week 18

Dear Familia,

Pretty hard to believe that it is already week 18 right?? That is cool that you guys have been organizing the house more. It's necessary every so often, but it's a pain nonetheless haha. But good on you guys for doing it lol!! Really exciting news about the LSAT scores and all you guys finishing up with your midterms/quarters in school. Time really goes by quick when you stay busy. But you´ll have to keep me updated on all the Law School and Med School updates. I'm hoping and praying for everything to go well for those guys, and I know it will. Also, how sweet would it be if Ashley and Brian could move out to Reno and join the party!! Well in reality, I wish all the family could move so close. And I'm keeping Brandon in my prayers this week with the surgery for sure. 

Wow so I had quite a bit happen in the last 24 hours with the transfers, it is pretty interesting so stay tuned haha. So there has kinda been some debates about the ward here; however, they kept Elder Ruiz and me here but both of us are with new companions and in new areas that we haven't worked in before, (and Elder Ruiz will also work in our old area.) So we don´t have any investigators, only references. My new companion is actually named Elder Ruiz as well haha a little confusing, right?? So tonight we´re going to head over to our new area and start working there. I'm actually really looking forward to the challenge of it and I have faith that we´re gonna see a lot of success in the area. So this morning I had to move all my stuff and bags to a new apartment. Elder Ruiz and I are happy that we´ll still be in close contact for at least another 6 weeks haha. And with my NEW Elder Ruiz as well! He is really cool, he´s from Yucatan Mexico. Haha it is always promising to start a new transfer and I am excited to get to work with everything!!

This was a good week to close out in my old area. We had a lot of good lessons and a lot of our investigators are starting to move forward! I'm happy to see that, and that I will still be able to check up with them in the weeks to come. It is so awesome to see people have the spirit testify to them that the things they are reading and hearing are really of infinite worth for them. I have really grown to love teaching the people and helping them find that stuff out for themselves. We have been working really closely with the Elders Quorum president here in Esperanza and he is really awesome. There´s a real lack of elders here and we are working to try and teach some inactive members, as well as some recent converts so they can receive the priesthood. Members really are critical to the work of the lord. So never hesitate to help the missionaries!!!

So no, we haven´t had any effects of the Hurricane in Mexico but we sure have heard about it. It sounds pretty devastating. The weather here has been relatively mild. I say relatively cause it´s still really really hot and humid, but less than before haha. I am pretty sure that I won´t actually feel real cold for 2 years. But that´s fine by me, it will help me maintain my figure with all the good food that we eat. We have been lucky these past two days, and eaten tacos for lunch with the members and they are soooo delicious!! Yesterday we had tacos de cabeza. Which is basically the tongue, and who knows what other parts of the head of a cow. They were veryyyyy good. 

All is well here and as usual I'm so glad to hear all of you guys are doing so well back at home. I love you all and keep you in my prayers and thoughts. I printed out a picture of us and keep it in my scriptures. Lots of the investgatores like to look at it and they all comment on how beautiful my mom is. Then I get to tell them about you guys a little bit and it is pretty sweet. I love you all, until next week!!

Elder Stockard

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015 - Week 17

Dear Family,

Here we are again, another week has come and gone. I always love so much sitting down at the internet cafe, at the computer that´s loaded with viruses because I get to hear all about how great you guys are doing back home! I got some pics of Tommy´s birthday party and it looks like it was poppin, haha. Still weird to think that he is 23 years old, haha. I also got a a pic from Tyler of him and Lauren in Kansas City and it sounds like they´re doing great. Although that really sucks that they have to spend time in North Dakota right now lol. You will have to send me pictures of the upstairs apartment and keep me updated on how it goes. That room will forever be hallowed ground with all the nights that we spent going hard on the PS3, haha.

This week I was able to see a lot of support from the Lord in His work. I want to tell you guys a few little things that happened that might not seem super significant, but that I was really grateful for as a missionary this week. The first one was on Friday. I was working in my area with Elder Salazar. He´s an elder in my district who has the same amount of time as I do. It was like 5:00 PM and we had only found one person that day, and it was super hot all day. We decided to head over to this guy Jorge´s house and as we were turning onto his street, he called us and asked if we could come over and teach him something and that since our first visit he´s felt super peaceful and good. We told him we would be there in like 30 seconds haha. Yesterday we also visited an investigator who told us that she had been hoping we would go by her house the last couple days, and she was receptive to the message. Later that night, we were teaching an inactive recent convert, and her daughter wandered in and joined us in the lesson. Afterwards, the daughter asked us why we always seem to teach exactly what she needs to hear. Her mom, then explained that it was because of the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Like I said, I know those sound just like your typical mission stories, but it was all very powerful to actually be sitting there and seeing it with my own eyes. We are moving along nicely in the work of the Lord and I know without a doubt that he helps us in the work. 

This week our whole zone had to go to Obregon to have our periodical interviews with President Munive. It was nice to talk with him and get advice from him. He really is a super big stud and I'm really glad that we have such a good President at the helm of this mission. Afterwards, we got to have Domino's pizza which was a nice taste of America. I have actually been surprised with how I've seen a lot of random things of American culture here that they´ve kinda adopted. I can´t think of a specific example right now, but I think it´s because we are so close to the border. In one of the more random exchanges of my life, I met this guy who was wearing a Lowry Buckaroos shirt, and it turns out he lived in Winnemucca for like 5 years haha. Suuuuuperrrr random.

This is the last week of the transfer and our whole district is speculating about what´s going to happen because we´ve all been together for 3 months now, which is usually the max amount of time. I will be sad to leave my companion, Elder Ruiz cause he has been such a big help to me. I can honestly say that I can understand everything that´s being said in Spanish now and I can speak my mind, which he has helped me with a tonnnnnn. At the same time, I know that I´ll be able to meet new people and learn new things from them. 

To answer your questions... Yes there is Boy Scouts in Mexico, there isn´t much changing of the seasons here and so there isn't much color in the trees. It is just a tad bit cooler though. Like 87 degrees, haha. And Sonora doesn't do daylight savings, but the other states in Mexico do. So right now we are on the same time as Nevada, but when the rest of the world changes their clocks, we will be one hour ahead of you guys. 

Thanks for sharing that scripture, I have really liked that and it is definitely true. We dont have to understand everything, but we can always know that God loves us and helps us make correct decisions. Every Monday, without fail, is always a great reminder of how much I love you all and how blessed I am to have you guys as family. Thank you for everything and I love you all.

With Love,

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015 - Week 16

Dear Family,

What up, what up?? It sounds like you guys all had a great week too!! It sounds like you´re super busy with all the stuff in the morning, and I'm sure that you´re dead exhausted at the end of the day with exercise, teaching, studying, and making sure our house continues to function. But It´s a great feeling going to bed dead exhausted after a very productive day. It´s good that you´re setting goals. As missionaries we always work in goals. With ourselves, our companions, our zones and districts and our investigators as well. It´s something that the church has always emphazied I feel like. And for good reason, with goals we always have something to work towards and it really does help with productivity. 

Anyways, this week was pretty solid. We had an investigator that came to church with us, and a few less actives came that hadn´t been in quite awhile. It was definitely a highlight of the week. We also had ward council for the first time since I have been here, and gosh, it was a lot different from meetings I had attended before my mission. The main concerns were what verses of the songs the primary are going to sing in their primary program, and what time they would go to Obregon to set apart a sister missionary in the ward. It has been tough to get help from the ward with the investigators, but we´re gonna keep on trying and it´ll all work out. I really like teaching some teenagers that we have cause they´re all very attentive, and ask really good questions. It´s sweet to see their sincerity and to be able to talk about some things we have in common. The hard thing is that they´re all pretty busy with school and other things, so it makes it more difficult to find time to teach them, but Im really excited with moving forward with them! We have plans tonight to teach the plan of salvation with an investigator that just had her dad die like 5 days ago, and we´re really hoping it goes well. 

Today we deep cleaned the bathroom of our apartment. We had to rig a few common house hold supplies into cleaning supplies (For example, we found an old TShirt and taped it to the bottom of a broom to use as a mop) but in the end we got it done, and it looks a lot better now. All of Mexico uses only tile floors, so it makes it a lot easier to clean the floors, because all we have to do is sweep. We also went into Obregon to buy food for the week, it is always very exciting when we have a kitchen stocked full of food at the beginning of every week haha. I actually really have enjoyed being able to cook my own food, and I think it will help me out a ton in the years to come knowing that I actually am capable of preparing food haha. The weather here this week has been super super nice. It has finally cooled off a little bit, and it makes for very nice days walking in the streets. It was kinda funny, we were talking about how nice it´s been with the cooler weather and someone noted that it is only like 85 degrees. I thought it was funny because I used to think 85 degrees was miserably hot, but it feels like perfect temperature after a couple months of 105-110 haha. And the rain has turned into just a light drizzle every few afternoons, which I actually really like. Things are good here and it´s so hard to believe that we are almost through with my first two transfers here in the mission field. I will miss Elder Ruiz a lot. He´s honestly been a huge help to me with lots of things out here in the mish. But we still have 2 weeks together, so we´ll make the most of it!!!

Did you celebrate Tommy´s Bday with some sort of cake even though he wasn´t there to enjoy it with you guys haha?? It sounds like he´s gonna be having a pretty dope party to celebrate this weekend haha. Let the good times roll at the Midway house!!  So crazy to think that he´s already 23 years old, it doesn´t sound right saying it out loud. You are definitely right, that with all the wonderful things you´ve done in your life, being a mom to us has been the most important job and Im sooooo grateful for the job you´ve done and example you and Dad always set for us. I realize it more and more every day that I spend away from you guys too!! I  love you all and I'm always keeping you in my prayers. 

Love Always,

Elder Stockard

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5, 2015 - Week 15


Ayyy, what up, what a quick week yet again right?? It was quite a busy one on this side of the border and from the emails and pictures, it sounds like it was busy for all of you guys as well. How crazy that Alyssa is 17 years old now and that this week Tommy will have his 23rd birthday, I feel like my siblings shouldn´t be that old, haha. I was saddened by the fact that I wasn´t there to enjoy the birthday cake, so to cope with my emotions, I started using the cake batter flavored chapstick, haha. No but really if you could wrap up everything good and sweet in this world, it would be my little sister Alyssa. And Tommy has always been and will always be my best friend in the world and I wish them both the best birthdays. 

So this week was pretty routine during the week, but with conference during the weekend it was pretty different. I'll give ya´ll an update on the work... So on Wednesday I went on divisions with our new zone leader, Elder Adams. It was cool because we were in my area and it was the first time I was responsible with getting us from place to place, planning our whole day, and making all the phone calls and talking with all the people and things like that. It was a big change but I was able to handle it well and we actually had a really effective day, one which included introducing the Book of Mormon to the teenager we´re teaching and setting a baptismal date with him. We have other ones set right now, and we´re working hard to do everything we can to get the people ready to enter into the covenant of baptism. The dates are constantly changing (based on church attendance and other things) but the important thing is that they really understand the importance of baptism and that it really is a necessary step for us. We also found this other teenager who has taken the lessons about a year ago and wants us to teach her again. We have an appointment with her and her mom tonight which I'm excited about. 

Conference this weekend really was super great. It brings a totally new prospective as a missionary, and I think the biggest difference was watching every minute of it without the usual distractions. We got to watch it in English with all the American missionaries in the zone and that was super nice, because we can hear their real voices and the messages are easier to understand in my native tongue. I also really enjoyed Elder Durrant´s talk about ponderizing the scriptures and it´s something we do in the mission. Right now we´re working on Jacob 1:19. During Elder Holland´s talk I thought about how blessed I was to have you as my perfect mother throughout my life and also how big a role you, and my grandmothers played in helping me become the person I am today, and who I will strive to be in the future. Another one that I enjoyed was President Monson´s, I could really feel the power in his testimony even though he was noticeably exhausted at the end. Unfortunately none of our investigators were able to go to General Conf, and during each talk I just kept thinking, "Man, how nice would it be to have them hearing a lesson taught from the 15 biggest spiritual monsters on earth??" I´ve been reading the Bible lately because I love to read about the plain and simple doctrine that existed in the primitive church of Christ, and how big of a role the apostles played in that church then, and in this church now. It really is a huge blessing to us to receive their guidance. 

So do you guys have any other plans going on for the week, or any trips to Utah planned?? Pretty crazy that it´s already October right? I heard it rained a few times there this week, here as well. The good news is that it really is cooling off now to a comfortable temperature. Today we enjoyed our Pday by having a zone activity in the morning, then going to Obregon to buy food at walmart for the first time in a couple weeks. For breakfast I usually eat oatmeal, yogurt and fruit, and water. Then for dinner I always do peanut butter sandwiches, in case you were wondering about my meals, haha. Oh and I ate stringray this week too! Actually pretty good. There´s a dish called cauamanta here which is basically stingray soup. But that´s about all from my end. Thanks for all the emails and loving support I receive from the best family in the world. I love you all so much and pray for you all often. Until next week!!

All Love,

Elder Stockard

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015 - Week 14

Dear Family, 

Ayyyy what´s poppin'?? Another week in the books, pretty crazy, right?? It´s so good to hear from all of ya´ll about all the good that you´re doing back in the homeland!! Everyone sounds so good and that things continue to go really smoothly for people (Well, except BYU football I guess.) I loved receiving all your guys emails. Some of the best parts were the Angels are on a tear, the Mom and Alyssa Seinfeld Marathons, and the Lauren-Tyler road trip for med school and law school tours/interviews. Super busy, but busy is good!!

So as for my week... It included multiple sessions of pulling weeds, believe it or not. Mom, you´ll be pleased to hear that for the first times in my life I did it without one ill word haha. Here they use like plastic bags instead of gloves when pulling weeds and it actually works surprisingly well haha. As for the actual missionary work, it continues to go well. We taught a good amount of lessons this week, and have some investigators that really have some potential. We continue to teach the one sister  and she is progressing well. She got some sort of ear infection this weekend so we couldn´t bring her to church, but I have a really cool story about that. We were cleaning the apartment today and found an old teaching record from a couple years back and it was for this same lady. It turns out that she has taken the discussions once before and already has attended church a few times. It was cool that we found that by chance, and it gives us a lot of information on her. We also have been teaching the daughter of an inactive convert and they are both asking a lot of good questions and read the book of Mormon, which is a step in the right direction!! 

The ward is good, and I'm always grateful for the humility of the members and their willingness to help us. Today a member gave us a ride into Obregón to pick up somethings from other missionaries that we needed for our apartment. Also, the members feed us meals every day and that is a sacrifice that I can appreciate much more now that I have to prepare some of my meals by myself. President Munive came down to Esperanza the other day and gave a training to some of the ward leaders and it was really great. The dude uses How to Win Friends and Influence People flawlessly. I think it will really help the ward out in moving forward. We also had another ward mission activity on Friday, and this one had a better turnout than the last. We divided into teams and had to construct temple using newspapers then after we discussed the blessing of temples. It was a good way to widen my Spanish vocabulary with construction terms lol.  

My companion and I have been really meshing well together. He is super super knowledgeable in the scriptures, which is remarkable cause he was only a member for 3 years before he left on his mission. Something that I really like about teaching with him is that he has some really awesome and moving stories about his conversion, and he will share them with investigators during lessons sometimes. He does a great job at effectively using his experiences, while still keeping the focus on the investigator. This past week for comp study he taught me a ton about the bible and shared a lot of really cool scriptures. Each night we work on his English together, and it is really fun. it gives each of us a glimpse into being a language instructor and a translator haha. I also made a milk shake for him this past week cause he wanted to see some of the desserts from america haha. I am grateful for him everyday and can honestly say without his guidance the first few weeks, I woulda been completely lost haha.

Mom, I really like what you told me about how our agency also applies to reacting to bad situations. Lots of times people have their faith wavered because of the bad things that have happened in their lives, and it is difficult to always keep a prospective on the eternal scheme. But we are always offered support and help from God and Christ and their plan for us is so much bigger than any trial that we have in this life. It is very difficult to explain and I really wish to improve upon that in my life. Im grateful for the things Im learning here on the mission, and for the principles that Im learning so that I can continue striving to grow as a child of god. Im also eternally grateful for all your guys love and support and examples to me. Keep it up (especially Dad with the weight-loss!!!) You continue to constantly be in my prayers and I learn so much from you guys. Love you all.

All Love

Elder Stockard  

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015 - Week 13

Dear Family and Loved Ones,

Well here we are again with another weekly update!! It really never gets old hearing all the wonderful things that are going on with you all back at the crib. First off, I want to say just how GREAT dad looks!!! It´s incredible, he looks completely new, younger, and so happy!! (Not to say he didn´t have all those things before, but they´re even more amplified now haha) I´m very pleased to hear that Grandma and Grandpa made it safely to Ukraine and it seems as if they´re settling in nicely. The story about the food labels being in a different language reminds me of my first day with my companion when we were grocery shopping and I was trying to ask him where the peanut butter was, but was having a whale of a time trying to find Spanish words to describe it to him haha. Also, very cool that you got to hear from some RMs. Both of which I´m sure delivered killer talks. 

So my week.. It was pretty solid. Everything here continues to be really good with the work. I´ll start with a bit of saddening news, however. On Friday night one family we are teaching told us that they have a lot going on in their lives and that they no longer want to receive lessons from us. It was all very respectful and sincere, but nonetheless very disheartening because we know the good that the gospel can bring to their whole family. Then on Saturday, we had an appointment with Angela and her sister who had committed to being baptized and we were super stoked to teach them. But they called us during the afternoon and very bluntly told us to not teach them anymore and that they changed their minds. It was all very unexpected and once again those feelings of longing for them to know the truth revisited us from the previous night. My companion was very discouraged and explained to me that had never happened to him before, and all of a sudden it happened twice in 24 hours. 5 Investigators gone, all of whom had committed to be baptized and told us they believed it was true. Together we decided to continue to pray for them, and heed our advice that we gave those very investigators. Trust in the Lord. Come unto Him, and let Him help us in whatever difficulty or trial we face. We are going to do just that, and I know we´ll see results. In just 3 short months I´ve had experiences powerful enough to really change my perspective on so much in life. And sometimes it´s difficult experiences like these ones, but just remember to ALWAYS ALWAYS move forward!!! 

We have a 15 year old named Jesus that is really mature and smart for 15 years old, and we are also working with some other inactive families and members in an effort to strengthen the ward, which has been struggling with attendance and activity. This week we have a meeting with the Bishop, the Ward Mission Leader, and President Munive to create a ward mission plan. That should really help out the work here. 

Per the usual, Mexico continues to throw a plethora of fun surprises at us each day. Last night, Elder Ruiz and I had to chase a HUGE lizard around our tiny little apartment. The chase eventually ended the life of the poor lizard, but at the same time brought us peace of mind knowing that we could sleep without the fear of it accompanying us during the night haha. It has been raining pretty hard for the past 36 hours or so, but before that it was pretty hot during the day week. Although, it is cooling down a tad, which is nice. Everywhere we go is absolutely teeming with little gnats, ants, and mosquitoes. It´s super annoying, and makes for a fun obstacle of trying to strategically place our food in a place where ants can´t get into it. If you drop a crumb, it will be swarmed with ants within literally 30 seconds. Haha, but each day I get more accustomed to everything here and love it more and more. 

I didn´t get the chance to try any super weird food this week, but a lot of times we eat sushi here. But it is a big step up from the raw fish and seaweed sushi that we have in the USA. It´s basically carne asada with rice, guacamole, and salsa rolled up to resemble a sushi roll. I´ll have to ask the guys at the Wok if they can whip me up one when I return, lol.

All is well here and I am glad to hear the same from you guys. Too bad that BYU lost by only one point, but it sounds like they really are looking good this year. I try to keep the Angels in my prayers, and of course the Lakers as their season is right around the corner, lol. You guys will have to keep me updated on all that. I also would love to read the emails from Gma and Gpa in Ukraine, or at least see the pictures!! 

I love you all so much and pray for ya´ll everyday!! Keep up the great work in the USA!!! 


Elder Stockard