Elder Stockard

Elder Stockard
Mexico Cuidad Obregon Mission

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015 - Week 10

Querida Familia,

Another week in the field! It sounds like you all have been doing awesome and the fun times continue to come! That is all so good to hear, and it sounds like our house is still popping at all hours of the day with friends! It´s too bad that everyone now has to go back to school and to the everyday grind for a few months. But it´s always good to get back in the groove of things. If it makes you feel any better, these past couple of weeks I have seen tons of kids going to school here in Mexico as well. I have no doubt that all of you are loving, and thriving in all the new school settings. Its good to hear you´re liking the high school, Mom. 

As for the happenings of my week.... It´s been really good this week. Sometimes it´s hard to believe it´s been that long because time really does seem to fly by. We taught a few new people this week, and continued to search for others. As for our current investigators, we are still praying for them and visit them, but are trying to shift our focus to people who are progressing. This past Friday we had a missionary activity that we all worked really hard on to plan and execute. In the hours leading up to it, we trekked across our whole area and invited like 15 investigators to come and join us for it. The responses were mixed, but we were expecting at least 7-10 to show up. We even coordinated rides for as many as we could. None of them showed up! It was really disappointing and it happens like that with church sometimes too, but I tell you this because there was a lot of positives to follow it. 

Elder Ruiz and I were a little discouraged after that, so we prayed specifically to be able to find other people to teach, and that they would be willing to listen to our message. The following two days, (Saturday and Sunday) we got references from members that we´re visiting tonight, and found and taught a group of 3 people (two older people and their daughter-in-law). By the end of the lesson, 6 more members of their family were listening and we had contacted one of their sons before. I don't know how it will turn out, but it was a very positive answer to our prayers. One thing I´ve noticed here is that the majority of the people are willing to talk to us and invite us into their home, but that doesn´t always mean they are interested in the message. I think what keeps people from going to church, is a lack of understanding of the importance of it, and a lack of desire. Which we are trying to figure out a more effective way to get people there. 

For whatever reason, it seems that it only rains during the middle of the night during the weekend here. I don´t know how scientific that is, but I have evidence to back it up. Saturday night there was a huge rain storm again and the power went out. With the power going out, so did our fans. We woke up and it was so hot, and couldn´t escape the heat. We drenched shirts in cold water, and tried to sleep in them, but it was all for naught. The heat here is crazy strong, but I'm getting really tan, and actually adapting well to the climate. The food has also been amazing, although I eat way too many flour tortillas. I can´t tell you how awesome it is to have members who are willing to feed us each day. Mom, make sure you give the missionaries a KILLER meal today and give them dessert as well because that is always a huge highlight of a meal. 

We just got back from Obregon and it has been pouring rain for the last little while, but something cool happened there. We were all walking out of Wal-mart with our groceries and a lady of about 55 years of age very nicely offered us a ride back to Esperanza, which we had to decline because we can`t ride with women solo. But she gave us all some juice and we gave her a Book of Mormon and wrote our names in it and she seems like she`s really interested. I don`t know what will happen with her but it was very nice of her and I hope she reads the Book of Mormon. 

To answer your question about the sink, it´s kinda hard to explain. We do only have one sink, it is located within our apartment, but it´s outside. Basically it´s a slab of cement, with walls around it, but with no roof that is like 5´x10´. The only way to access it is through our apartment though. Does that makes sense? There is only one ward in Esperanza, and we are assigned to it. There are 2 other missionaries in the ward, who live in the apartment below us. 

I´ve learned a lot already, and there´s always so much more to learn. It´s amazing the ways the Lord teaches us, and teaches the investigators. He knows us better and there are countless ways He can help us. I love to see little things throughout the day that testify to the fact that this is where I should be, and this is what I should be doing. The mission is a blessing to me. Having you guys is such a blessing I really love you all SO MUCH!! This is the work of the Lord and He has a plan for us. The church is true!!

All Love,

Elder Stockard

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015 - Week 9

Week 9 I know, it is hard to believe isn´t it?

Como le ha ido familia?

It sounds like you all are having a great time at home, that makes me super stoked everytime I read about all the happenings back on the homefront!! I do have to admit, I have heard that al pastor isn´t super common in this part of the country, so Tyler might have to pencil in a dinner date in 2 years with me where he whips up some of that for me haha. 

But I'm having a blast out here as well. We had a really good week with contacting people in the streets this week. We contacted nearly 100 people this week, which was about double any other week. The important thing is that we talked to some people who I have some really great feelings about, so I´m looking forward to getting to spend some time teaching them this week. We really tried to find new people this week because we´ve had some difficulties with getting our current investigators to attend church and other stuff, but we are still praying for them and continue to visit them lots. I still have really good feelings about them as well. We have also been focused on reactivation, because the attendance rate isn't super stellar in the ward here, and another positive is that we had some people at church who hadn´t attended previously for a hot minute. A quick highlight from the week... There's this recent convert here who is paralyzed because he got shot in his spine like 4 years ago. He´s having some more operations this week on his spine and he asked us to give him a blessing. We walked about 2 miles to his house in the very hot sun to do it, but it all felt great after that because he was very grateful and we all felt the spirit very strongly. 

In other news, I also got to spend 5 of the last 7 days in Obregon, which was a lot of fun. Mostly for meetings, but from Friday to Saturday I went on exchanges with the Zone leader which was pretty sweet. He is a spiritual giant from Mexico, but he speaks pretty solid English, is my age, but has been out for a little over a year. He works so hard and taught me a lot in only 24 hours.  It was really awesome.  

The food here continues to be very good, I think the thing that I will miss the most is flour tortillas. They make them all by hand and cook them on a stove right in front of you they´re sooo good. We eat a lot of chicken here, like grilled chicken. It is pretty good. Another thing that has been really great is the fruit here. It´s awesome to just walk right up to a tree and pick a mango off of it and eat it during a lesson. Guayabas are also pretty good and very abundant. Kinda hard to explain what they are, but look them up. I do miss some of the cuisine from America, but mostly the convenience of having a mom to cook it for me. 

We spent a lot of time cleaning our apartment today, and I have to say that was one of the grosser experiences I have had in my life haha. We found 3 or 4 scorpions, and 2 tarantulas!!! Don´t worry though, they weren't inside the living part of the apartment, our sink is outside and they were out there. Still pretty cool though!

 Man, the weeks sure are flying by here! Today I looked at my agenda and noticed that it is the 24th of August which marks 2 months since America, my family, loved ones, and I parted ways. Pretty crazy huh? I sure do love the aforementioned things; however, I am growing quite fond of Mexico and loving the people that I´m spending time with here. I seriously love so much hearing from you guys, I can´t even describe it. How is the high school going mom? Is it really different or is it like if you´ve taught one grade you´ve taught em all? Dad told me he has a 5 day trial this week, so I´m sure that´ll be able to keep him plenty occupied. I love you all and miss you all lots!! 

All love, 

Elder Stockard

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 17, 2015 - Week 8


What´s good people? Another week in Esperanza Sonora! How weird, sometimes it feels like I´ve been here for 2 days! This week was a really great one, for a multitude of reasons. Some that I might not be able to recall in this letter, but I will give you the highlights! So I had really been letting myself to get frustraded with the language my first week here, but I have felt like I´ve been making big leaps in that area, and part of it is just my prayers for patience being answered. But each day I see progress in areas which has been a big bright spot. Our investigators have been good. We have Guillermo, Jose and a 13 year old boy who is the son of Guillermo. So 3 generations from that family. They came to church last week, but unfortunately didn't this week. But they are very interested and have been making good progress. They have baptismal dates, so we´re hoping that works out. 

We also have another family. Samuel and Alejandra are the parents, then they have an 11 year old son, Samuelito, and a 3 year old daughter, Abigail, who reminds me a lot of AbbyBelle. They are so awesome and I can see big things with them, but we only get to meet with them like once or twice a week because the dad works weird hours. 

It is really an awesome and humbling experience to see the teachings of the Lord work in their lives, and have them tell us how they can feel the spirit when they do those things. On Saturday we got to attend the baptism of a guy named Alfredo and it was a cool experience. He is 26 years old and he is a great guy. We played soccer with him earlier this morning. 

The weather this week has been so extreme!! Like 115 degrees extreme, with humidity! Then on Saturday night, there was this crazy rain and lightning storm. We ran home through the dirt roads like a mile and a half and got completely drenched, it was super fun. Don´t fret, I made sure to do laundry after. The sunsets here are some of the most beautiful things I´ve ever seen in my life. Which is saying something, because I´m not usually one to appreciate natural beauty, but it is impossible not to appreciate these. The other night, this guy we´re teaching gave us mangoes right off the tree, a glass of water, and we taught him outside as the sun set. It was a pretty sick experience, not gonna lie. I need to be better at taking photos, I´ve only taken one thus far. 

So along with the weather and the work, everything else has been pretty sweet as well. My comp and I are getting along, I´ve enjoyed the ward and the pueblito of Esperanza. The members feed us pretty well. We have lunch with them rather than dinner. It´s at like 2:30 usually and it is always really good, and filling. The tortillas of flour are super super good... something that is a signature of Obregon. Also everything here is way cheap. Like $2.30 for a hamburger with fries, haha. Those are on the street. One member gave us tacos, super good salsa and avocado, ice cream, and mangos all in one meal. It was probably the best meal I´ve had since the states haha.

I was super excited to see and hear that Kevin and Lucy´s wedding went well and all the guests seemed to have an awesome time. Super happy for both of them. Now they can come join me for their honeymoon in Mexico haha. Mom how was the first day of school and everything?? Everyone sounds super good back home which is awesome. I love you all and miss you all a ton. Keep up all the good work back home. Until next week!

All Love,

Elder Stockard

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015 - Week 7

familia como ha estado?

Man, how it felt to think that a week ago I arrived in Cd. Obregón to really start my mission! There´s a saying about how time flies when you are having fun, and that sure holds true here! 

So the days here start a little earlier than usual. 6;15, that way we can read the Book of Mormon for 15 minutes before we start to get ready for the day. I was so tired that first Tuesday because I had been sleep deprived when I arrived, but lo and behold, I made it through the day haha. I got lucky with the area of Esperanza because my companion had a good number of investigators prior to my arrival, so I got acquainted with the investigators and the process of teaching, which was nice. We have quite a few investigators that I feel really great about and a couple that have committed to baptism. It is so sweet to see the primitive stages of the conversion process because it is such a lengthy process that no one ever truly completes. I have seen it in myself a lot too this week. Any thoughts that I had in the CCM about being close to fluent in Spanish are gone, haha. It is a lot different in the real world but I have already seen progress since I got here, which is reassuring. 

Esperanza sure is different than anywhere I´ve ever been before. The heat is definitely strong, but it doesn´t really bother me that much because it doesn´t burn my skin.  I guess the atmosphere here is thicker or something like that. Super weird haha, but one thing that I have noticed is that we drink a tooooon of fluid, but we sweat a ton. Really gross, I know. Size wise, it is probably like half or 1/3 of the size of Fallon. I don´t know, it is hard to guage, but it is small. The food has been pretty good. I have really liked some dishes, namely tacos de carne with flour tortillas. Super nice haha. I´m really hoping that I can return to Mexico sometime with Tommy because so much of what he has told me about it has happened already. No one would appreciate it but him. The apartment we´re in is very small but it gets the job done just fine. We don´t spend much time there, and when we are there we´re just studying. The shower is like a metal pipe that only puts out cold water, haha it´s crazy. Obregón is about 10 minutes away by bus and we have gone there 3 times this week, for zone conference, District leader meetings, and Pday today. We went to Wal Mart there and I had to buy sheets and stuff for my bed. I've been using my street clothes as pillows and blankets since I got here, haha. 

We have more work to do, but so far so good. The language will come and everything else will as well. It really does seem as if time has wings because I´m almost out for 2 months, but it feels like just yesterday we were gathered around the family room together talking, sharing memories, and making predictions for the future. You start school next week, right Mom? When does everyone else go back to school? How´re Lauren and Tyler doing? I love hearing and receiving pictures from all of you, it is always a highlight in my week. I also love to hear about what´s going on in the family. Grandma and Gpa's trip out to Reno looked like lots of fun. I'm excited for them to come out to the mission field because it is comforting to know that people I love are doing the same thing I am. I got to hear from Elder Shipley today and oh how I miss him, but he  is doing awesome which is good. I love you all more than either the Spanish or English language could ever begin to describe and know that I think and pray about you all. Keep holding down the homefront for your boy. I´m trying to do the same here for everyone. 

All Love,

Elder Stockard

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 3, 2015 - Week 6 - Arrival in Obregon

Greetings from Ciudad Obregón!

So my day started this morning at 1:00 AM Mexico City time. ( 11:00 PM Obregon time) We got up, got to the airport, and headed off to Obregon. At the airport, Elder Shipley and I had about 30 minutes to spend together before he had to head off to Saltillo. It was really sad to say goodbye to him but he is really going to do great things for the people there. It really is beyond me how I got so blessed with him as my first companion in the mission but I am thankful for all the times together with all the great friends I made at the CCM. After we arrived in Obregon, we met our mission president and his wife at the airport (which is by far the smallest airport I've ever seen in my life) and as soon as we stepped outside, it was one of the hottest places I´ve ever been in my life... Mind you, it wasn´t even 7:00 AM at this point. It is seriously so hot here, and humid. It´s crazy. We went to the mission home where we spent the next several hours going over mission rules and doing interviews, then finally receiving our companions and areas. My companion is named Elder Ruiz, he is from Mexico, has 18 months in the mission, and is a great guy. I love him already, I just wish I could speak a little better to him. We can communicate pretty well though. In an hour and a half we have our first lesson with a family. I´m currently running on 20 minutes of sleep over the last 24 hours but I will get to sleep tonight. I´m super pumped to teach this lesson with him though. We are in an area called Esperanza, which is like 10 minutes from Obregon. We just barely dropped our bags off at the apartment and let me tell you, it sure does make me appreciate American architecture and conveniences, such as AC. It´ll be a lot of fun though, we are at an internet cafe right now, just about to head over to the lesson. Ciudad Obregon is such a nice city though, like it is set up on a grid, there are lots of really cool looking structures all over the city, it is actually very green, it is super humid. I like it a lot, it has a nice feel to it. By the mission home there are some crazy nice houses there, it reminds me of a gated community in the states.

     The last few days at the CCM were fun and I´m grateful for the time there. We said goodbye to our teachers and I will miss both Hermano Villalobos and Hermano Ortiz like crazy. They both really have changed my life for the better in lots of ways. Hermana Call told me she is going to post a picture of me on Tommy´s FB but I have it on my email so I will send it as well. I have lots of pictures I will need to send to you guys but my camera is not with me right now so you´ll have to wait for a week. I´m sure I'll have many stories to send in that email haha. Presidente Munive is a great guy and his wife is awesome too. They talked to me about Ed Swapp for a bit and that was fun. Anyways, the field is looking good so far!!!

That is awesome that Alyssa got a good score on the practice ACT, but not altogether very surprising. She is a stud. What else is new on the home front? Mom is making all these new trips that sound really fun, and Emmett is looking like a stud in the Steph Curry jersey! I love and miss you all and wish I could´ve talked to you guys on the phone today. Until Christmas I guess, by then I can really get my Spanish right! Love you all and miss you guys. 

All Love,

Elder Stockard