May 6, 2013

Okay. I’m going to try to type fast. So if things don’t make sense, well… Sorry ’bout that!
Monday the 29th, we went to the mission home to help Sister Crawford make muffins. AKA: she wanted to see if we had killed each other yet. We were both alive and doing well after that 5 hour meeting with President. Although, I think some of the magic is wearing off and we may be slipping into old ways. I’m trying not to pull my hair out over it, but please pray I don’t go bald(: But Sister Crawford is amazing! She actually reminds me a lot about mom(: Except short. haha She taught us how to make salmon patties with salmon from a can! It completely grossed me out at first. But they were delicious!
Tuesday we met with Paula and Fenae, the mother daughter duo. We learned a lot of sad things about their family. It was really hard to see them going through it all, but that’s the beauty of the gospel! It can fix anything (: So we shared a quick message (we’d been there way too long) and set a return appointment. I absolutely love these women! I wish I could pack them up and carry them with me from area to area. They are so christlike! There are a lot of good people here… Good people stuck in their ways and don’t know what there missing, though(:
On tuesdays we volunteer at a place called HAAM. It’s a food services place. So we stock the shelves from donations and put kits together to hand out. I love it! They let us take food home with us cause once it expires they have to pay out of pocket for it (i dont really get that part cause most of it is donations…) so we get to take bread, tuna, canned chicken… soups. pretty much anything canned that we don’t want to buy on our own. It’s a huge blessing!
a less active family in our ward owns an AWESOME snocone shack. basically, “we get free glazeys on wednesday”… haha i’m funny. but no – we get free snocones whenever we want! haha it’s awesome. AND that less active family just came to church! so we are stoked about that.
On wednesday we study up on mormon.org. I LOVE IT! some of my favorite profiles from this week are: www.mormon.org/rochelle, www.mormon.org/vanessa, and www.mormon.org/kevin. People are so cool! They make me feel like a bum though. I’m all, “uhhh… okay. my life is not this awesome. i need to step it up when I get home!” but i guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So i’m sure my life is pretty sweet to someone else(:
I also had my first door full-on slammed in my face! It was sweet. This cute girl was telling us what church they go to as we wrote our number on a resoration pamphlet, then WHAM! her dad just slammed it as hard as he could. It scared the heck out of me and you could hear the girl yelling, “dad, what the heck! uh, okay… rude!” it made me laugh.
we also had to drop a lot of our potential investigators. we had tried to visit with them all 3-5 times so finally… just had to let them go. time to move on and find more people who actually wanna know!
So, on that subject, mom had asked: we had to drop Mary last week. We had no way of contacting her. Since she was in a shelter for women, we couldn’t call her. and she wasn’t calling us… and we had planned to meet her twice and she blew us off on both. so… we kinda just lost her. not by our choice though :/
on thursday sister haller and i had an interesting experience. we went to visit a less active and it was not a good home… GOOD mother, BAD home. let’s make that clear. it smelled so nasty; nothing but weed in the air. for mom and others who may not know: WEED is MARAJUANA! if i even spelled that right. also known as pot. it’s disgusting and illegal! so we are sitting at the table and hello: a joint is there! a full on nasty joint of weed. and the member is wearing bracelets that have the F-word on them. so I’m all, uhhh… this is not a good place to teach. Yes – i’d like to teach her. can i come into her home? NO. the spirit will never be there as long as all that is going on!  sister haller thinks it’s okay to go. I put my foot down and said HECK NO.
we also met with one of our recent converts, Trey. He’s 16 and totally awesome. he’s black and on fire! he’s super funny. He hasn’t been to church in a bit cause he moved, so we tracked him down and he came this week. It’s cool cause he got to baptized, got the priesthood, then the next week baptized his sister and two cousins. So he’s great. I’m excited to work with him more! His sister Ivyion is awesome. She’s 11 and bore her testimony! Shocked me, cause she’s shy and hasn’t been to church in a month or so, but I like her. She’s adorable.
On Friday we had dinner with a family named the Koivistos. They’re so cute! Brother Koivisto is from Finland. They actually all lived in Finland for 3 years, so sister Koivisto speaks fluently as well. They talk to their kinds in Finnish all the time; they respond better. That kinda freaks me out for future babysitters and teachers. haha. They also mix finnish and english into the same sentence; whatever comes easier. so… that’s weird. but super cool!  She made us fish tacos… more on that later….
We also met this wonderful, super tall, black guy named Mookie. He was just walking down the street and we stopped him. he told us how he was training to be a priest, but no longer can cause he went to jail (blames it on his friends… he was in the car and his friend got in trouble, everyone got arrested). So now he’s looking for a church who can forgive him and let him be close to God! PERFECT, right?! Well when we got his name and number, i said, “Oh i like the way you spell that!” and he goes, “Oh uh *wink*, do you now? *wink* Sister Stockinger? Well thanks…” and it got SUPER AWKWARD. Then he asked me on a date! He looked at Sister haller and said, “Well you have my number,” then turns to me, “But YOU have my number! *wink* you call me anytime! anytime… you have my number *wink* call me anytime!”. I died laughing and told him I can’t date for 18 months, so he said, “That’s okay! That number will still work in 18 months! You call me anytime!” This was probably the highlight of my week. We’ll definitely be taking a member with us to any future lesson with him. We’ll see how productive it will be… hahaha!
Saturday… well: side note. I’ve finally gotten over my fear of drinking the essential oils. I drink the slim and sassy one every day cause I DO NOT want to get fat with all the nasty food here. I also take a vitamin now! and biotin! lots of morning pills! haha I feel like mom cause I even bought a pill box. it made me laugh. sister haller didn’t get it. but I think it’s hilarious. I also worked on memorizing the bazillion verses of the joseph smith experience president asked us to memorize. it’s coming easier than i thought it would. but i also pray for help with it before, during, and after. all the time. I need help memorizing! haha so… I’m getting better. almost there!
But on Saturday we got SO SICK! We’re pretty sure the fish tacos weren’t made right since sister koivisto said it was her first time cooking fish… and we were vomiting the whole day. and diharrea! SO NASTY. I won’t go into details on that… but it hit sister haller first and we had to drive to get her a blessing. we made it home, then it hit me! we thought i was fine! but we had to wait for elders to come give me a blessing. i was so out of it. I was shaking, super cold, vertigo like mad… I thought i was dying. but the elders came and gave me a blessing, and all i remember is laying there on the floor saying to myself, “thank you Heavenly Father…” over and over again. and my stomach felt sooo much better! I had zero energy the next day, and we were told not to fast cause we were so dehydrated. So I felt like walking death.
Sorry that’s all i have for now, but the library is filling up and I gotta go. I love you all and miss you so much! Thanks for all the letters and prayers; they mean a lot. I’m sorry if i don’t respond to everyone right away; poor grandma had to wait weeks! haha but I love ya’ll!
I’ll be calling home 6-7 IDAHO TIME. I have to ask president if i can call dad too… So say a prayer that he says yes! BUT MOM: KEEP YOUR PHONE BY YOU! I ONLY HAVE 30-40 MINUTES! got it?! okay. LOVE YA’LL!
the church is true. i love being a missionary. all is well for now.
— Sister Stockinger
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April 29, 2013 reply letter to mom

Dear Mom,
Thanks for all the advice. I really needed it. You said a lot of the same stuff as my president. haha… I think about my growing up years all the time. I’m sorry I was so rotten. I don’t know why I ever acted like that. But I hope you know how much I love you. I think about you all the time. I always wish I could come curl up on your bed and hide under the covers with maggie. hahaha.
How is my dumb dog? Still alive? Still living at our house? I miss those two a lot! I miss Pippa’s crazy face; the way she tilts her head. hahaha
I thought about me and dad’s happy day yesterday! I forgot to mention that in my email to him… Tell him happy day for me!
I’m going to try and make my camera work. I’ll be looking at it some more… Eh. I’ll see how it goes… Can you send some granola some time? Doesn’t have to be soon. But I’m hating cereal and just oatmeal each morning. Plus that’d be a good snack to have in the car. And I told my president about it and he thinks it sounds like heaven! haha he’s really funny. and i’m doing okay on ointment right now. So… Don’t worry about that. i haven’t even opened those 3 i have. I’ve been using up the one i had open at home.
Our mission is allowed 1.5 hours on the computer. President decided that this week. So I’m just going to have to type real fast and hand write all my friends. Dad got me some addresses and I appreciate that. i don’t know why i’m remembering everything he did now that I’m writing you… Sorry about that!
Is david alive? is tom? why haven’t those two bums written me! I got letters from Atlanta, Sloan, and Bailee this week. As well as a girl from my singles ward. And big david has written me twice. So that’s nice of all of them! Grandma emails me too… She’s so funny.
So I’m going to try and send some pictures! Love you a lot. I’m really trying to work and improve myself… Thanks for all the love and letters! I wish I could give you a real hug.
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Sister Stockinger

April 29, 2013

Dear Family,
Thanks for all the emails! I really appreciate everyone taking the time to send love my way…
This week started off lovely, as you know… Last Monday was a little rough. I had an awful morning. That evening was an adventure… Someone likes to steal our wiper blades. A member was really nice and bought them for us. He teaches auto classes at a small college here. He taught me how to put them on! (: I can even check tire pressure, tread, and oil! Look at me go.
Tuesday we got stood up a lot. People love to “cancel” appointments here. They’re just too nice to tell us no… We also had to drop some people. They just weren’t progressing and we had to focus our time elsewhere. We did meet some super awesome ladies though! Their names are Paula and Fenae; a mother daughter duo. We saw them playing dominoes outside their apartment so we started chatting… They LOVE to talk about their Savior! Which is perfect for us! haha They are so sweet; they love that we are out ‘evangelizing’ all the time. We talked for about 2 hours; they told us to come back anytime… So we did. We went back the next day and we shared a message with them. We also scheduled another appointment. So that’s two new investigators! They are so prepared. They agreed with everything we talked about; even modern day prophets! Which is funny cause Fenae is a teacher at their church. So… We’ll see how this goes.
On Wednesday we come to the library to study up on Mormon.org profiles we can refer to people. People are very hip with online religion stuff so they love when we refer them to a computer. I guess that’s easier to read than a book? Even though everyone here has to go to the library to use a computer? I don’t get it. But one profile I looked at was a lady named Athelia Kaye Woolley Le Sueur… She stated, “Happiness is determined by choosing fear or choosing faith”. So you can imagine how that can apply to me right now(: I’m really trying to put my trust in Heavenly Father!
Thursday our zone had the special opportunity to attend the Temple. I LOVE THE HOUSTON TEMPLE! I think it is gorgeous! I’ll try to send some pictures from that day… It was so great. We got to go to a deseret book type store and I bought a new ring. It’s one of the kinds that spins and it says, “Families are Forever”. I got it cause I miss you all so much. I fidget with it all the time when I study; it’s a good reminder for me to know you’re all praying and backing me up. I’m super homesick if ya’ll can’t tell. I also bought a picture by an artist named “Lyon”… He painted the woman with the blood disease and reached out to touch Christ. I think the photo’s name is “By a tread of faith”. It’s incredible. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I bought a small version and it sits on my desk…. I started to look around our living room at all of our pictures and decided: If someone didn’t know our apartment housed missionaries (like is maintence came to fix stuff while we were gone) they’d probably think we’re insane Jesus worshipers! Which – I guess we are! haha I”ll have to take a picture of my desk. I have 3 pictures of christ from the April ensign over my desk… They’re stunning! I love that easter edition they put out.
Friday we had dinner with the Rodriguez family. That woman can cook! She puts on quite the production. It was delicious tacos, roast beef, brownies… yum yum! Earlier this week she also gave us pot stickers, two kinds of cake, and all sorts of little goodies. That lady is awesome! Her husband is way spiritual; he’s on the high council. He talks with such authority! I really admire him. I just want him to teach me so I can memorize what he says. haha
Saturday we had a long meeting with President Crawford… Like… 5 hours… We just sat and hashed everything out. I had a HUGE headache! Tons of crying. He definitely is an inspired man… He knows what to say, how to say it, and how to get you to spill your guts. It was awful and amazing all at the same time. Now sister crawford call us all the time to see how we’re doing. It’s like couples therapy; which I guess we really needed.
Sunday was amazing! One of the best days of church I’ve been to. There’s a mother and son in our ward who we visit; the mom, Tina, has had a stroke. She’s lost her husband, connections with family (they all look down on her), and all kinds of things. This boy is the SWEETEST son I have ever watched. He’s always letting her cuddle on him, he kisses her on the head when he comes to say hello, he he holds her hand while she talks and just strokes her hand… he’s so sweet to her. And he’s only 18! He’s about to graduate high school… But anyways. I love watching them and talking to them. But he spoke in sacrament meeting and shared Mosiah 24:13-15… it really applies to me right now. Look it up; it’s a good one. Also, the sister who taugh relief society said these two things, “success is not an instance; it’s the attitude of never giving up”, “it’s hard to beat someone who never gives up” I loved those. Another sister quoted Eyring… He spoke at a stake conference while she was at school, so his talk isn’t printed or recorded! Bummer! But he said, “When you find out who you really are, You’ll wish you would have tried harder”. So this is me, studying chapter six of PMG; trying harder. Cause I don’t want the Lord to give up on me or consider me a failure. So… Wish me luck.
Thanks for all the letters and well wishes! Things are slowly getting better. I miss you all so much!
Megan: thanks for the pictures of Keirsten. Have mom print them and mail them to me, please!
John: thanks for the email! I’ll try to write more specifically to you soon(: I love you so much!
Thomas: Way to go on you LAX games! Stupid Boise thinks they can announce that on radio and follow through? Pfft. Bunch a ninnys.
David: Are you alive? How’s the ankle looking again? Doesn’t need surgery, right?
See ya’ll real soon(:
— Sister Stockinger

April 22, 2013 reply letter to mom

Hey mom!
I miss you a lot. Turns out I’m more like you than I realized(: I plan my meals, am thrifty when I shop, get annoyed when my comp leaves a mess on the table… It’s great! hahaha
It’s okay if you do all the computer stuff. I just didn’t think you’d have time for update my blog or stuff. Can you make an album of mission pictures for me on facebook? I’d appreciate that…
I miss the MTC. I could have stayed there forever. I miss Sister Hunt a lot. She’s in my mission, but I have no idea what area. Gah! 😦 I want her back. We could have been companions forever and been just fine. haha
I’ve been able to email Megan, you and dad… Grandma and John will have to wait. I think my companion is sick of being in the library; we’ve already been here almost 2 hours. But I really wanted to send all those pictures; proof i’m still alive. She just doesn’t email very much and does a lot of hand writing; plus I think she doesn’t have a lot of people to write. So she finishes fast.
Her name is sister haller. She’s from Bend, Oregon. Lucky me.
People here are nice for the most part. So nice, they don’t want to tell the missionaries no. So they set appointments then just dodge us. About 60% of our are ward is inactive. When sacrament starts theres about 30 people there and by the end 161 (at least that’s how this last sunday went). We have church at 1, so that just shows how lazy people are.
I’ve decided I don’t want to get a southern accent. People here just sound “plain dumb” when they talk. I’m okay with the ya’lls, but even those get excessive… The state flag is everywhere and on everything. It’s lovely! haha. and there’s a billboard with a guy who owns a TRUCK dealership and his picture is hilarious. I don’t even know how to describe it.
 I’ll talk to you next week… I miss you a lot and everyone else. I’ll try to get some hand written stuff to the boys.
Kiss keirsten and the dogs for me!
See you soon
— Sister Stockinger

April 22, 2013 / 1st email from Texas!

 

Hello family!
I’m alive. Barely… I’m living in Humble, Texas. Pronounced ‘Umble’… It’s a little po-dunk town next to Kingwood. Kingwood is awesome! It’s called the livable forest. Once upon a time, there was a beautiful forest (trees, who knew!). Then a mean man came and chopped a bunch down to make roads and houses. The end. And that’s Kingwood! A subdivision/town with HUGE oak and pine trees in every yard, in the middle of the streets… everywhere. It’s beautiful but sad once you think about it. The neighborhood streets are about 5 lanes wide; gotta leave room for those trees in the middle! The houses are beautiful; all brick. It’s stunning work.
Well… It’d be okay with me if I came home. I’m really struggling with my companion. We don’t see eye to eye on anything. I don’t know what to do; it’s making it difficult to feel the spirit. I usually just silently cry at night wishing either she or I would die in our sleep. Or if I could call president and beg him to send me home. I’d be fine with either at this point. I can’t hardly look at her half the time cause I just know she’ll say something that will make me wanna smack her. So during personal study I look at chapter six of preach my gospel; Christ-like Attributes! How to develop them(: Yay.
Our apartment is livable… meaning it’s tiny, lacking kitchen supplies, but has running water and beds. It’s not as bad as another area though… They had some crazy stuff happen and the President had to go and pick them up, pack their bags, and haul them to the mission home.
Our ward doesn’t trust missionaries very well, which stinks for them because with 22 missionaries coming out and only 2 going home, a few areas were created and a couple split. Ours was split so it’s now the Humble West and Humble East. We share the Humble ward with a set of Elders. So that just makes our ward super excited… MORE MISSIONARIES! for them to feed, go on lessons, and offer rides to! They love us(: ha. ha. no… they don’t. I just feel bad for our Elders cause they live on the West side, which is far, and they don’t have a car. So they have to beg members for stuff more than we do.
Yes, we have a car. Every set of sisters has a car. We only get to drive a certain amount of miles though, so we attemp to ride our bikes on nice days. Attempt meaning: it’s hot. We rode them once last week and it wasn’t too bad. I’m so glad Texas is flat. My bike is lavendar; so it’s cute. My helmet is super adorable of course. I love that baby! Never wanna take it off… Not. But I didn’t complain out loud(:
On Thursdays our mission does this really cool thing called H.O.P; Hour of Power… It’s when we have dinner from 5 to 6 with a member, ask them to say a prayer that we will have success while tracting from 6-7, and then ask them to set an alarm on their phone to say a prayer the next week at 5:55. So potentially: we will have all of the wards in all the areas praying for all the missionaries while we all tract at the same time. The success is incredible. It is really powerful! I loved it. It will probably be the highlight of my weeks. We set 3 return appointments, got 6 people’s contact info, and handed out a lot of Resoration pamphlets and BoMs.
So… that’s pretty much it. Oh – one cool story. While we were riding our bikes, we took a break to eat an apple and rest. While we were sitting, a lady was walking past us and so we said hello. She then crossed over and just started talking to us. We learned all this stuff about her; how she’s looking for a church, just got divorced, is living in a battered women’s shelter… crazy stuff. This is on saturday. We taught her the 1st lesson right then and there, comitted her to church the next day, and set a return appointment. Missionary language: that’s a progressing investigator! haha so that’s pretty awesome. Her name is Mary. She’s so open to everything and very humble. she’s had tons of stuff happen… Poor sweetie.
The heat isn’t too bad yet. It’s been a nice 70, very low humidity. So tracting has been pleaseant. I got super burned on my arms while bike riding though… (: yay! There’s a ton of black people here (they’re hilarious) and so when they see my burnt arms they say stuff like, “Ohh poor little white girl! Yous redder dan a lobster. Yous needa git some sun pro-TECT-ion! Dang baby girl! Lemme get you some water…” it’s great. yay pity!
It was actually pretty funny though. When we were tracting, I couldn’t stop scratching my hand. a few minutes earlier I had killed a bug on my other arm (sheer panic had taken place), so I was afraid poison was in the hand that killed it! Finally, my comp was walking in front of me, so I just had a break down and yelled, “SISTER HALLER. I THINK I’M HAVING A REACTION TO SOMETHING!” That’s when we realized I was just burned and it was irritated. Whoops…
Well I have tons of people to write
The church is true. Heavenly father has a sense of humor.
Love you all!
— Sister Stockinger

April 15, 2013 postcard from TX

Hello everyone! I’ve made it to my mission safely…except I’m super tired and get sick on the planes. 😦   My mission pres & his wife are amazing! They were so excited to meet us at the airport…. I have a cool story about my last flight, but I think I will save it for a real letter. 🙂   The weather is nice; humidity is super thick. It smells like a damp, old dishcloth. Kind of nasty…. I find out who my new companion is tomorrow so no news on her. Almost every area has a car! Crossing my fingers I get one of those…haha. But – I love you all! The church is still true 🙂  See ya’ll real soon, ya hear? 🙂  —Sister Stockinger

April 11, 2013 letter while in MTC

The MTC is incredible. I’m learning so much. I wish I didn’t have to leave on Monday! I don’t think I’ve ever understood the full capapcity of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I feel like my heart is going to send itself into a heart attack because it beats so strong and fast all the time.

To answer some questions asked:

Food is good,

Don’t drink the orange juice or eat the cour’dob blu crap,

The cereal bowls are tiny – it takes five or six to equal ours at home,

Laundry mats suck,

No gum allowed. SEND ME LIFESAVERS TO THE MISSION HOME PLEASE!

Really fast: My favorite investigator was this old guy Larry and his wife Judy. Larry is inactive because he felt no one in the church was helping him fulfill his calling or cared for the work he did. He reminded me a lot of grandpa Fielding – he was in the army, went in to the medical field, loves his wife more than anything else. THREE MINUTES! AH! And so I had the strongest feeling to bare testimony to him of the importance of grandpas and the role they play for their grandkids. He started crying when I talked about how much grandpa Fielding meant to me and how his testimony, which he shared boldly and often, is something that contributed greatly to my own. He started crying really hard after that. He then told me that I had said enough, that never before had a missionary been able to touch his heart and rekindled that desire to return. That made me cry like a fountain. His wife bawled the whole time. He said he would start going to sacrament meeting and easing back into his ward; he also wants to read the BOM with his wife. It was so sweet; he loves her so much. We are never told if our investigators are actors, converts, or real investigators, but I can testify to you that no matter what he really is in real life, he is a real person with a real heart. I’m so thankful for the spirit being with me and giving me the words and scriptures to say to him. I miss him already! He touched my heart.

I have to go. My time is now over. The computer timer is red and yelling at me. So goodbye! I go to TEXAS on MONDAY! Yeehaw! See you all soon, thanks for the letters; they mean so much after my super long days!  —Sister Stockinger    Texas Houston East Mission, 2815 W. Lake Houston Pkwy, Ste 109, Kingwood, TX 77339-5220