May 20, 2013

WHOA! I’m running out of time so this one may be short. i’ve been trying to catch up on past emails… i’m so rude. i must type super slow but i feel like my fingers are flying! goll dang.
THIS WEEK HAS BEEN AWESOME. but also really dumb. we’ve taught more lessons this week past week than ever before! 17 to be exact. I think the Lord is being kind and realizing that sister haller and i are finally starting to get along so he’s blessing us to be able to teach more people. He was smart and waited till we get along… we really needed the spirit and oh buddy – there were moments when we were lacking. but this week rocked in terms of meeting people and teaching lessons!
Our members are starting to step up. we are really holding them accountable! mom – be stern with the elders. ask them why they  never extend commitments. and if they do, ask them why they never follow up. help them realize they have to hold you members accountable or else they’re wasting the Lord and the ward’s time! so do all you can to support them; meals, letting them teach in our home… anything you can think of that wont break rules.
THOMAS AND DAVID: THIS IS FOR YOU! Start to study Preach My Gospel! Study chapter 3 and chapter 6. Those will be the best for you before the mission. Everything else you kinda just use when you get here… but start becoming familiar with every heading in chapter three; lesson 1: god is our loving heavenly father, the gospel blesses families… all those main points. get to know them NOW. do not wait! and study chapter 6 so you don’t end up like me. become as christlike as you can! especially with patience. i’m learning more and more how to be loving and patient with my companion. holy smokes – it is so hard. but it can be done! and if you hate your companion and dont know how to be christlike, guess what! the lord will inspire your mission president to keep you together. meaning, you wont get transferred and you’ll be stuck with someone till you learn the lesson the Lord wants you to live. ALSO: read Kimballs talk, “Lock Your Heart”. David, if you haven’t already, say goodbye to abby. She’s so cute, so sweet, but so not what you need right now. you need to prepare your heart and your mind for just the Lord. There will be plenty of time to get to know her or any other fabulous daughter of God after the mission. (: I love you both! Now get to work. Y’all are old. It’s almost time for the mission. Don’t slack off and be prepared! It will make all the difference.
On wednesday we had a meeting with our one of our ward missionaries in subway. while i was sitting there, i was totally worldly (i’ve repented) and basked in the glorious music of The Lumineers! Oh how I miss you all, sweet family. “I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart!” I love you all so much. Thank you all for the support you give. i can really feel your love and prayers. Things are getting easier, and the work is moving forward, so thank you – aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma – everyone for the support and encouraging letters! it means the world to me.
Something I’ve really tried to keep in my mind is that the Lord has provided me with a portion of his vinyard to tend to. It’s up to me to help it thrive; give it the love and nurture it needs. I don’t want it to be burned and have to start from scratch because of anything I do. I want it to thrive and be the most healthy portion of his vinyard in all the world! It’s such an amazing time to be a missionary. I love it and am learning to love it more and more each day. Exact obedience brings blessings! I’m learning that more and more. studies don’t start at 8:02am, they start at 8. It makes all the difference!
Mom, Dad, thanks for making me so beautiful. hahaha! that sounds so vain. but i can’t tell you how many people comment on my eyes, or my hair, or how perfectly plump (i’m getting fat) my face is! they adore me. and you know what – it gets us in doors. so thanks for getting married, loving each other unconditionally, and making me so darn cute! 😉 everyone calls me their baby girl. They are really looking out for me and protecting me; making sure they come to lessons and that i’m fed. So don’t worry about me! I’m doing really good now. I love the ward here. They are doing such a good job. but mom, thanks for never letting me get colored contacts. i love my eye balls! and everyone here loves them too. hahaha so thanks for those; dad, thanks for the nose i guess (:
THURSDAY WAS THE BEST HOUR OF POWER EVER! There’s a section of our area where no missionary has ever gone before. Jk – that may or may not be true. But way down a road, there’s a few houses that no one has gone to. cause there’s no record of any addresses in our area book… but I said, “hey. let’s go out there during our of power!” and sister haller was all, “heck no! we can’t waste hour of power out there” but in the end, i won. we drove out there, and boy, was it sketchy! i was so glad it was still light outside. BUT – before we went, we prayed with the Marksberrys. I asked brian to pray that we would find a home who would let us in and teach them RIGHT THEN. So we go out to no mans land, scary trailers and nastiness, and knock on a door. nothing. so we go to the next house, which is on a ton of private land. sister haller was freaking out; but i made her walk down this long drive to get to the double wide trailer. when we got there, a guy came out yelling he was cooking, 5 pots on the stove and had no time! so we just stared at each other. then he said, “but you could come in!” so then we were really confused. and we didnt’ know if there was a lady home. and just then – a lady comes walking out! we started talking to her and she said, “Oh good. I’ve been hoping someone would come visit me. sit down and tell me what you have to teach me about Jesus Christ”. So we sat! Her name is Valerie White; the most wonderful black woman i’ve ever met. She starte telling us how Jehovah Witnesses go to her sisters twice a week, and she wishes someone would visit her, BUT NOT THEM! she hates their guts. we sort of laughed but tried to remain professional. So she started asking us things like, “can y’all come twice a week?” uh, yes! “can i come to church this sunday?” Uh, yes! “can a grown woman get baptized?” UH YES SHE SURE CAN! then she started to cry. Mind you, we haven’t taught a single thing yet. So then we started explaining what we do. She just cried and cried. we heard her life story, her bitterness towards god, all of it. Then, she threw her hands on the table, looked at the sky and said, “Lord, I PROMISE YOU, I will never let my two little angels down! I will do everything they ask! I love you Lord and am ready to return to church. I love my angels. Thank you for sending them. I wont let them down!” then looked at us, and told us to go on.SHE IS AWESOME! Ahhh! She is so great. So that was on thursday. We had a member come with us on Saturday, we taught her the 1st lesson, and she just cried and cried. She loved reading from the book of momon (we’d left it thursday). she felt so good when she looked at it. Then I had the pleasure of reciting all of Joseph Smith’s experience (thomas david, memorize the whole thing!) and she cried. She just told us how much she loved that story. how it made her heart pound, and that she just knew it was right. SHE IS SO PREPARED! HOLY SMOKES! she is so ready for this. and she came to church yesterday; all three hours. She told everyone she met, “I love my two angels. I love this church. This is my church! i feel so good. y’all are so kind!” It was amazing. I don’t think she got a ton out of relief society, but she stuck with it! we also learned she has a smoking problem. She took a couple smoke breaks during church… that was a little awkward. but she told us she wished she had a way to quit. and ya know what? the church has a quit smoking program that works in a week if you are 100% faithful and diligent to it! so we are going to give her that. but she is amazing. AH! She accepted to be baptized, she is reading the book of mormon, she is reading the pamphlets… She can’t wait to come back to church. She is amazing. 
And that is my miracle for this week. The Lord does incredible things! I am so thankful that I was able to listen to the spirit and get out to no mans land. I am so thankful for the prayer of our member; for his faith (and his family is less active) that helped us find sweet Valerie. I am so thankful for the prayers of our prophet! I love that he and the 12 pray each thursday for all the missionaries. Hour of Power brings miracles! Faith is something that’s hard to comprehend all the way, but if done so correctly, nothing is impossible. 
I love being a missionary! I love it with my whole heart. i love this little town, Humble! Where the people are so humble, they don’t bother to say the H… i love it. Mosiah 24:9-16 was brought back into my life this week; i’m really learning patience. Holy cow. sister haller and I had quite the incident saturday morning, but it’s all resolved now. but whatever is happening at home: just know that our heavenly father is aware. if we can endure with faith and patience, everything will work out for our good. I can promise that! I’m living that RIGHT NOW. it’s crazy to see the Lord’s hand so prominently in my life. I feel like i’m floating!
But thank you for everything I miss you all, as i have stated many times. Give Keirsten lots of kisses for me! 
The church is true, the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. Share it! Don’t hide the most incredible gift; get out and share it with the world! Or just our neighbors. Or the guy down the street at Jacksons. Missionary work doesn’t have to be a task; it’s a ton of fun! So go forth and serve (: D&C 4. Study it! Catch the wave!
— Sister Stockinger 

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