Elder Stockard

Elder Stockard
Mexico Cuidad Obregon Mission

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 Obreg√≥n 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

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14, 2015 - Week 12

Dearest Family,

What´s going on ya´ll?? How cool that you guys got to go up to Provo and spend some time with a few generations of Andros´ before Grandma and Grandpa jet out to the Eastern World this week! I have definitely had them in my prayers and thoughts but I know that they´ll really thrive in their positions. Really, I think they were built for that. That is so great to hear that everyone is doing so well (Including BYU football, who seems to make a living off of late game thrillers this year!) Make sure to always send my love to everyone! 

With regards to my week, there were some pretty cool happenings. We are teaching this lady who is going through a lot of tough times in her life, but is seeking to change. Her 15 year old daughter just left her family on a whim and moved to Hermosillo with her boyfriend and the mom has been really struggling coming to grips with that, along with other things. It is difficult to catch her at times when we´re able to teach because she and her brother are both gone a lot, but we´ve had some very spiritual lessons with her. Our other investigator was sick this week, but we are gonna pass by to see him and pray for the best this week. We continue to teach another family, but only with limited visits because they´re so busy. The good news is that we are teaching other people and fill a lot of our time teaching inactive members. 

One of the bright spots of my week came on Saturday night. At 4:00 we had a lesson with woman named Angela, we taught the BoM and a little bit of the restoration. She was very engaged and asked some great, sincere questions throughout the whole lesson. We then invited her to a Mexican cultural event  that was at 5:00. (Transmitted at the Stake Center as part of the rededication of the Mx. City temple), not having our expectations super high with such little notice. To our delight, she accepted the invitation and we brought her along with us. The event was awesome, and was all about the Book of Mormon and the things we had just taught her. There was a baptism in the church directly after the event, that she also attended. It was really quite the blessing that she could see all of that. 

We didn´t have our regular church schedule yesterday, but instead got to watch the rededication of the Mx. City temple. Really powerful spirit that was there, and it was very nice to be able to hear Henry B Eyring and Jeffrey R Holland speak in English haha. They all gave great talks, and it was a sweet experience. Yesterday also marked the end of the first transfer out in the field. There was a certain buzz in the air all weekend as all the missionaries anticipated the transfer assignments, it´s all a little bit comical, haha. As far as transfers go, my companion and I are both staying put in Esperanza for another 6 weeks. I have a lot of faith that this will be another great 6 weeks with him. 

I had the opportunity to try some unique meals these past few days. Yesterday we had cow heart tacos. Surprisingly, they were actually pretty good. It pretty much tastes like a lower grade of carne asada, which I guess it is. It also helped that I was able to drown my tacos in salsa and guacamole, but hey, all in all, I was very pleasantly suprised the meal. The other day we were in a house and given these sandwiches with tuna, lettuce, and salsa. But they were prepared the day before and so the bread was very soggy and tuna is not my first preference as is. And those tasted exactly how you would expect. Haha but it was all good. The food here has been great, and even when I have a meal that I wouldn´t choose to eat, the people prepared it with love in their hearts to help us as the Lord´s servants, which is so great in and of itself. 

To answer your questions, the apartment handles rain just fine. I don´t know how long the rainy season is to be honest. And my feet are doing just fine save it be for a lot of mosquito bites. Everything here continues to get better by the day. There are always going to be things that happen that aren´t perfect but we can´t grow if we never experience adversity. I continue to try and learn to embrace the difficult occurrences as learning experiences and opportunities for growth in my life, both spiritually, and physically. Things here are great and it´s important to remember that the light of Christ dwells in each one of the people we come in contact with in this life. The atonement is sufficient for everyone of us. Keep up the great work at home and know that I love you always. 

With Love and Prayers,

Elder Stockard

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September 7, 2015 - Week 11

Que hay, familia??

I know I say this everytime but I´m amazed each time that I sit down to write you guys that another week has already passed by! Here in Esperanza we are just starting our 6th and final week of the transer, my first one out in the field. More than likely, my companion and I will both stay together for the following transfer, but who knows what will happen. The important thing is that there is another week here to further the work.

With regards to the work, we had a very productive week. We found 2 new families, well partial families, that we have begun teaching. 6 people in total. We also had an investigator come to church yesterday which was such a blesing! Jose, I´ve mentioned him before, but it was his 3rd time to church and we are working to set a baptism this month for him. He also has a son-in-law and a grandson that we teach who have also been to church but they´re a little bit more difficult to find with school and work. We are teaching another family that is so great and so ready to have the help of the gospel in their lives, they just need to attend church. They have a son, who studies and asks us questions. He is like 10 or 11 years old, and quite the smart kid. There are other people as well, but those are a few of the highlights.

The rainy season here continued this week, which is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it is much cooler, mild weather during that time. A curse because all of the roads that were once paved with dirt, become rivers of mud. Haha it is pretty fun, it just calls for a little bit of caution and a lot of shining shoes. One funny thing that happened this transfer.. In like the 3rd day here My comp suggested that we play the game Bocho. Which is the Spanish name for Slug Bug. Every time we see a bocho (slug bug) we hit each other in the arm. I figured it would be fine cause really how many slug bugs could there be in Esperanza? It turns out that the bocho is like the American equivalent of like a sedan. They are everywhere!!! It is kinda funny to see haha, but it is fun. 

Something that I have really enjoyed here is experiencing the culture of a new country. It is such an adjustment and it can be difficult a lot of times, to be completely honest. But there is something very fulfilling about pushing yourself. The people here and way of living are very different than anything I´ve ever experienced in my life, but there is also a lot the same. Teaching parents of children is a blessing because you see how much they love their children and how badly they want the best for them. It makes me appreciate you guys and your undying love for me and our family. Always giving me a glimpse of the infinite love our Father and our Savior have for us. 

We just got back from Obregon and it was a fun PDay thus far. We did some laundry and got some things in Walmart, and checked out the city a little bit too. It really is quite a nice city, not too big but not too small. Kinda like the size of Reno more or less. Writing to you guys is always the highlight of P-day, however. It sounds like the BYU game had quite the exciting end. I always love to hear that the Midway house is still poppin' every game day, haha. But it sounds like they almost brought it to the ground in the last few seconds. Honestly I love sooooo much to hear about dad´s weight loss that is maybe the most exciting thing of my whole mission. And Alyssa being the historian at the charter school is maybe the most perfect job for her. Couldn´t think of someone who could do better at something like that. It´s also really exciting that Grandma and Grandpa head out to Ukraine this next week!! Grandpa will really thrive in the temple presidency, and they´ll be in my prayers. Everyone sounds so good, which is so awesome!! Things here are great. I continue to love it more and more each day and it´s all possible with the love, support, and power that the Lord offers to each one of us!! Mosiah 5:2

[Mosiah 5:2:  "And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." ]

Love Always,

Elder Stockard