Elder Stockard

Elder Stockard
Mexico Cuidad Obregon Mission

Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016 - Week 44


Okay, don't worry, I will answer all those questions. So there are a lot of obvious differences between a town and a city. I feel like there are about an equal number of people, because here we are just in one part and in Topo we have like 3 small towns and we're in charge of all of it. Just from a convenience prospective, there are a lot more people here, we don't have to walk as much, there are more stores and things open during the day. There are also a lot more members, and the church here isn't new like it is in Topo. So the members are super interested in helping us, the church meetings are super good, and we have a lot of people to teach. 

This week was good. It is always a little weird when you first arrive in an area because you're not very well acquainted, nor do you realize where you are, but after a couple days all that wears off.  We have a lot of really great investigators we are working with. One of the coolest is this kid named Ricardo, who is 14. We visited him the first time this week, and he went to church, and then he wanted to accompany us to learn more. And he is already teaching with us in certain parts of the lessons, and is super excited to get baptized. We are also teaching this lady named Monika and her son, Lalo. 

As for the meals and my apartment, well the meals are the same as far as eating with the members every day, but generally the food in Sonora is better than the food in Sinaloa, and well, I find that to be true. I mean I loved the seafood of Topo, but it was a lottttt of it, haha. We are the only people who live in our house and there are 2 sister missionaries who work in the same part of town as us. My companion, Elder Alvarenga is super cool and it is really cool to talk with him about his country, El Salvador, and how it really is different. I didn't realize how different the other Latin American countries are, but they are. And also they use the American dollar which is interesting. 

So how have you felt with your treatments and how are you feeling going into this long journey? It's a little bit like the mission, like you know it's going to be better for you and that you'll learn a lot but you know it will be difficult at times haha. Honestly, I realize now how we should never take for granted the blessings and promises that the Lord has given us and never become complacent with the gospel. It's the most important and valuable thing in the world and we have it. We sure are blessed and I know the Lord will continue to bless you in your struggle with your eyes. I love you all and I'm so glad to see that things are going well and that we now have 2 college graduates in the family. I'm pretty sure Alyssa will beat me to being the 3rd one, but hey, it's all good. I love you all and keep you in my prayers, the church is true!!



Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016 - Week 43


Greetings family!! I'm writing you this letter from.... Obregon! I'm now in a ward in Obregon and I just arrived here. The ward is called Pioneros, and its the biggest one in the mission and it's actually really really close to my 2nd area in Esperanza so I'm super excited about that! My companion is new in the mission he has about 3 months. His name is Elder Alvarenga and he's from El Salvador, I told him he was my first foreign companion haha. But I'm really excited to be here in Pioneros and working with Elder Alvarenga. Yesterday I said my final goodbyes to those that I will miss in Topolobampo and headed here to Obregon, exciting huh?!

So I feel like everything else that I tell you guys is gonna be overshadowed by the change of companions and areas, so I'll only share the coolest parts. There's a family that lives in Topo that was kinda less active and live in a small town outside of Topo. The husband had been working in the sea for a long time and didn't go to church because he worked. But recently we´ve been going out there and inviting them and little by little, they've started coming and finding lots of time to go to church, and they love to help the missionaries as well. This last Sunday they brought one of our investigators, Hector with them and they came as a family to church and the dad is going to receive a calling soon. Part of missionary work is less active members, and the members can help them just by being their friends!!

Other than that it was a pretty normal week. Elder Vaca and I were suspecting a transfer, and so Saturday night we bought tacos and cookies and watched Meet the Mormons to celebrate our last night together as companions. I'll forever be thankful to be able to make such great friends on the mission that will last for a long time. Both my companions, the other people who we´ve taught will always be really great parts of the mission and I look forward to be able to meet many new people here in Obregon.

So I'm glad to know that the doctor has a solid plan for your eyes. It sure seems rare this disease, but how convenient that 2 of the 5 doctors live in SLC. There's no doubt that the Lord has blessed us through this time with your eyes. But that's super exciting news that Lauren and Tyler decided on University of Utah. I just want to know, what are we gonna do with all their possession in the house now that they won't be accepted in the family?? Haha I'm kidding, honestly that's super cool and in a year and a half all of us will be up in Utah, which is pretty cool. It's so cool that Tommy is gonna graduate this weekend too. He really has worked hard to be able to get to where hes gotten and I speak for all the family when I say I'm super proud of him. Save me a taco or 2 in the fiesta that you're gonna have this weekend!!

Well family its always so great to hear from you all. Its so crazy that in like 2 weeks we´re gonna be talking face to face right over the phone on skype. You'll have to let me know where everyone's gonna be and how we´ll best be able to set that up but I'm excited and so weird that its almost Mother's Day. (May 10 here in Mexico). Anyways, I love you all so much and keep you in my prayers. Until next week.

Love you all,


Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016 - Week 42


Mom, first off I wanna tell you that you guys are loved, and you never have to worry about making your letters too long, I enjoy and cherish every word that you guys have to write to me, whether it be 2 words or 1000 I love hearing from you all. I'm glad you guys are studying the talks from General Conference, it really is modern day scripture. I loved the Pres Monson analogy of the Cheshire cat and how are decisions depend on where we want to go. All of us know where we want to go, and we´re blessed to be able to choose the good path. But wow, this week was super crazy!! We had two baptisms and saw a complete miracle. Really sweet how the Lord works through us to accomplish his work!

So on Thursday we went to a lunch meeting with a member, but she wasn't there, so we were walking around with nothing to eat and really hungry. So we went to teach a member with hopes she would have something to eat, haha, and during the lesson she had a few grandchildren there who were all visiting from Tijuana and had been really engaged in the lesson. Then she casually mentioned how one of her grandchildren, hadn't ever been baptized. He was going back to Tijuana early the next morning, but was there a few extra days, and she asked if he could get baptized. It was like 4:00 PM, we had to get permission from Pres Munive, get an interview, go to Los Mochis, and it seemed like it was so unrealistic, but by some miracle everything worked out and we baptized him. He's 11 years old and had been telling his mom in Tijuana that he felt like he was going to get baptized in Topo and how he wanted to go to the new temple in Tijuana. It was really amazing how everything worked out and humbling to be apart of such an experience. 

On Saturday we baptized Maria, who is kind of a local star in Topo. She is known by everyone here because she has a huge store. Everyone was eager to attend her baptism, and I got to baptize her which was cool.

The work is going really well. Each week we´re seeing an increase in less active members attending church and other investigators who are progressing. It's super awesome. We are working with this one man named Jesus, who is super cool, he's about 60 years old, and he was baptized many years ago but never was confirmed. He came to church with us this week and were hoping to be able to complete his membership in the church soon. 

Today, with it being Pday, Elder Vaca and I had someone give us a ton of fish, so we decided to play around and see what we could do with it. We fried it and made rice and cut up some vegetables and made a few killer tacos, and we both learned that we can in fact cook something edible. We both want to keep learning little by little how to cook, but it was pretty fun and we had a whole day to do it. 

So Lauren and Tyler are considering Dallas TX?? Another area that I was only in for a couple of days, but I really really liked the feel and style there. Pretty crazy how fast time is going, Tommy is already going to graduate, and this time last year I was moving out of the dorms and going to Lauren's graduation!! Really crazy. Also, we´re gonna have to buy a apartment or a house in So Cal if Steve is moving to Utah, lol. Well I wanna thank you all for the letters (yes, I received the package and waiting to try the watermelon chapstick)  and support. I love you all and can't wait to talk in one more week, who knows where I'll be!! I love you!!!


Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4, 2016 - Week 41

Dear Family,

What's up family?? So how did you guys like the general conference? I think my favorites were from Elder Christoffersen, and from Elder Renlund and from Elder Duncan. All of those men are super super guided men and they really are here to help us. I think Tommy said it best when he said that as a missionary, General Conference weekend is like the Super Bowl. It was awesome and I hope you guys had a great experience as well. To clarify Mom, I knew that Easter was coming up but I wasn't sure if it was the following week or not, haha. But as it turns out, it came and went without much noise here. The holiday is super super Catholic here so instead of being focused on the Easter bunny and candy, its more Ash Wednesday and 40 days and things like that.

 Haha but anyways, so cool that you guys enjoyed Arizona, I honestly really really liked Arizona as well. As a matter of fact, it´s funny that you mentioned how cool the Gilbert temple is because the other day before the conference session started, my comp and I were commenting about how sick the temples in Arizona are. We watched the conference in the church in Topo, and I watched it on a computer in English haha. I enjoy it in English because I can hear their voices. We had 7 investigators who went to conference this weekend, 3 of which should be getting baptized this Saturday if all goes well. Lizbeth, Maria and Oscar. Lizbeth was awesome because we found her this week and she had been reading the BoM and had gone to church earlier this year and told us that she wants to be baptized and knows it´s true. Really a miracle and she's an awesome person. 

 Raul, the man who we baptized like 2 weeks ago, was the only member who went to every one of the sessions. Every Sunday he pays his humble tithing, he stopped drinking coffee and beer after being taught about the Word of Wisdom.  We do service projects and he´s the only one of the members who shows up to do service. Raul is, to me, an example to me of a true disciple of Christ. He´s the first one who shows up to the church, with his white shirt that he bought and that he irons to try and be more acceptable for the Savior, he's always helping the other members. It reminds me that the Lord never put a requirement that we need to be the richest, the smartest, the best looking, or the most popular. But talking with Raul, one finds out how big of a blessing repentance and a new faith in Jesus Christ has been. Christ asks us to obey his commandments, and I don't know this, but I imagine that when Raul meets the Lord, the Lord will thank Raul for being his disciple. 

So yesterday while Elder Vaca and I were going to visit a less active family of 3 super old people, the were trying to grind like 15 pounds of corn with a hand grinder to make tamales for their grandson´s birthday. So Elder Vaca and I put on some aprons, stripped like 100 husks of corn, then ground the kernels while teaching them a lesson about prophets. It was a super cool experience to do something that was really useful with our time like stumbling into service opportunities. I hope that we can work to serve and more than anything work to be true disciples of Christ with charity. 

I love you all and I'm so glad you guys had a great week!! Keep staying busy and know you're always in my thoughts and prayers!!



March 28, 2016 - Week 40


Hey what's up ya'll. So 40 weeks down huh, before we know it we'll be at more than 52. Elder Vaca and I are from the same generation of missionaries and we were reflecting on how weird it was that we're rapidly coming up on the one year mark. I feel like yesterday we left, but yes, you're right, time is a funny thing. I'm glad that you all enjoyed your Easter Sunday and remembered the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What a blessing that we will all live again and we know what we have to do to be able to spend that time with our Heavenly Father.

So on another note..... yesterday was Easter?? Seriously?? I thought that it was this week coming up, haha. We're working with an iniciative with the Church for Easter, but I honestly did not know that it was yesterday. And if that doesn't answer your question, there wasn't much religious observance. They get two weeks off of school here in mexico and there's not many places open, and a lot of the people camp on the beach, so there was a huge drop in attendance at church yesterday. But we had a really good week, and we had a lot of really awesome lessons in our first week together. I feel like the first few weeks in a new companionship, we tend to find a lot of new people to teach and then drop the one's who aren't progressing. 

We are teaching this mother and her son, Oscar. I really really like them and Maria has been loving the church. They're both really great people and I feel like they understand that knowing more fully what the commandments are, is exactly what they need to really make their lives complete. I'm really really grateful for Elder Vaca. I was a little unsure of how things were going to go, with the transfer being so abrupt but honestly, in just one week we've grown into such great friends. He is from a city named Irapuato Guanajuato, in the center of Mexico. We have a lot in common and spend the whole day laughing and talking and we teach really well together as well. He wants to teach me a few basic Mexican recipies (like very basic, given our limited resources in time, utensils, and money) and in return I'm gonna teach him a little bit of English haha.

Mom, I still have not gotten the package with the Kool-aid and the limited edition chapsticks but I am sure that I will soon. I'll be on the lookout, haha.  I want to close by giving my testimony of the resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that after atoning and suffering for each and every pain and feeling that each and everyone of us will ever experience, after being tried unjustly, crucified, and laid in the tomb, that Jesus was resurrected so that each and every one of us will live again and so we can become eternal families, and because of him we never have to worry as long as we do as he tells us to do. I'm thankful for his willingness to sacrifice his perfect life for us, so that we can live again. I love you all and I'm glad that we know this to be true, and that we have the  gospel of Jesus Christ restored here on the earth today. 


Elder Stockard

March 21, 2016 - Week 39


     So another week down huh? How`ve you all been. Well, it sounds like you're moving along well and that things are going really well for you all. Mom, I'm glad to hear that you continue to see progress and that you're going to go see the Birdshot disease specialist in SLC. I'm confident that that will help you a lot with your eyes. It sounds like it will be a party in the fall of 2017 in Utah, let´s see if you and dad will be able to resist moving to BYU, haha. That's super exciting news that everything is taking form with Lauren and Tyler and that they´re gonna be going to Utah. Are you guys going to be in Utah for Easter and try to hit up GC live? I think it´s so cool that conference falls on Easter and I'm superrrr excited to watch it once again in a couple weeks!

     So this week was really good but ended with a super big surprise that was completely unexpected. President Munive called us last night really late and told us that there needed to be emergency transfer with some other missionaries and that my companion was going to have to leave so today I got a change in companions. My new companion is Elder Vaca. He arrived in the mission with me and I'm excited to spend this time with him, he`s a really good missionary. I was a little sad to leave Elder Ruiz but the Lord always has a better plan than us. So today we went to drop him off and I picked up Elder Vaca. We´re excited to work together and want to make the most of it. 

   On Saturday we had Raul´s baptism in Los Mochis and it was cool because he was super excited the whole day. The baptismal service went really well and I got to confirm him on Sunday as a member. It´s always good to see another baptism because it´s such a big step. Now we´re working with some of the recent converts that we have here to be able to go to the temple soon. We started teaching Roman this week, and we scheduled his baptism for next month and he´s also really excited. It should go good I think, he´s super cool and his mom is a member too. He´s 12 years old and really excited to learn. I also went to Los Mochis during the week to work with Elder Miller again. We had some super cool experiences and talked about how cool it will be to have memories like teaching families in Mexico together when we´re both back at BYU in a few years. 

   That´s cool that you guys could go to Schurz and speak there. I realize now how necessary it is to support the other branches and people who need that sort of support in the church. I'm glad to see that You guys are using your strengths and abilities to strengthen and serve others. I have a new appreciation for members who support where it´s needed haha. You guys are awesome examples and I'm glad that I can look back and have fond memories of having the missionaries over to teach others in our house. Ya´ll are seriously the best haha. I'm glad everything is going well with you back at the crib, and that I can tell you that I'm honestly loving the mission and see many blessings from having a faithful, loving family back at home. Love you all and we´ll talk more in a week!

Elder Stockard