Moe’s Letter – November 25, 2013

Howdy howdy from dreary, rainy, freezing cold, TEXAS! I never thought I’d say it was freezing cold… Feels like just yesterday it was 107 and I just changed my clothes for the 3rd time (: haha ahh yeaaah… We’re loving this frigid 40 degrees!

This past week has been a doozy. It started with Sister Clegg getting a bit sick, so we had to stay in for a little. Then all of a sudden… Hello double ear infection! I think I’d choose strep throat over an ear infection ANY DAY. This was bad… I called Sister Crawford telling her it was hurting, so she said to sleep it off. So I slept… and slept… and slept some more! I was so dizzy. Holy cow. So then I couldn’t take it anymore. Being in the apt sucks. You just lay there, stare at white walls, and just think about everything going on back home. It’s miserable. So sister Crawford finally let me get some drugs, and those KILLED ME! If there was a side effect, ohh buddy, I made it my own. Things were getting bad; I was crawling from room to room with my eyes closed! It hurt to open them cause of the light, and then standing made me too dizzy… Oh my gosh. I felt so stupid! Poor sister clegg… We’ve barely been comps and this is what she has to deal with. OH MY GOSH. Pure humiliation. So then I just died for a few more days. It got so bad, I thought, “hm. maybe you should have gotten a blessing…” so I let sister clegg drive me out to Spurger where the elders live so I could get a blessing.

Remember when Mom was teaching Megan how to drive stick? And Megan was about to kill the car, so it was doing that jumping leap frog thing when you get terrible whip lash? And she was trying to pull up to the curb, stalled it, and mom threw the door open and flung herself out of the car and onto the grass, broken foot and all?

Well that’s how I felt with sister clegg driving the truck. OH MY GOSH! If the ear infection wasn’t going to kill me, surely my companion’s lack of driving skills would… I thought I was dead. I just kept praying… It was terrifying. So now I only do the driving. Turns out sister clegg can’t see stuff. She needs her eyes checked. Poor girl kept apologizing. She’s scared of the truck, I’m scared of her driving… It all works out. I drive.

So while I was in the apt dying, laying there thinking surely my life is the worst on earth (so selfish, I know), wondering what the crap I’m doing out here on a mission if all I’m going to do is get sick 2 weeks out of the month… Hm… Sister Clegg decided to put some church history videos in. Watching Joseph Smith suffer makes you feel an inch tall. I felt super bad for laying there like a big baby. I am so thankful I didn’t have to be a pioneer! So if you’re having a bad day, just whip out some church history movies.

So by the time we made it out of the apt, it was… Thursday I believe. And by out of the apt, I mean, we made it to the truck. Drove a little ways, then ended back at home. Denese Durr called President (this is so crazy. the members here are so crazy!!!!) and asked him if we could stay with her, watch the other side of heaven, and let her just take care of me. Uh – so embarrassing. President was all, “Um, no. They just need to go home and sleep more”. So we did…

Friday – I’d had enough. I decided the best place to go would be Ivanhoe, cause if I was stumbling around there, no one would question it since they’re all on drugs. So off to Ivanhoe we went! And ya know what? It was the best day ever. I only had a little headache, so I just poured ibuprofen in me and used my doTerra oils. Every door we knocked on we go into, except one! We met with less actives who I’ve never even seen before. It was AWESOME. So we got a new investigator in Ivanhoe!

Later that night we went to visit a less active named Bell. She was baptized in Samoa when she was 13. Usually Bell has the TV on, is yelling at her daughter, and just tells us all about her stupid drug dealer boyfriend who just fathered her most recent baby. This time when we went, she turned off the TV, sent her daughter to bed, and just let us talk. I asked her question after question about her life in Samoa; how she found the church, how she felt about it, why she doesn’t come… I asked her to describe her baptism day. She smiled, told me all about it, and then said this, “I was baptized on a Saturday. My mom wasn’t happy my dad let me do it, so she came and picked me up. I never got to go back to church after that” Sad, right? Then she says, “I also never had that thing when they lay their hands on your head” COME AGAIN?! Turns out, she never got confirmed! So Bell isn’t actually a member! The spirit was so strong and I just started crying. Everything suddenly made sense… Sister Tuigamala and Bell were best friends in Samoa, then Bell moved up here. So then Sister Tuigamala got her mission call here, and it caught Bells attention! When I came to Woodville, Sister Tuigamala would tell me randomly, “You need to visit Bell. Go save my friend!” So I’m crying, telling Bell how much I love her, how much I know Sister Tuigamala loves her, how much God loves her, and how she needs to come to church with us. We went over lesson one a little bit, left her the pamphlet, and do all the other stuff missionaries do. So we turned our less active into an investigator. It was crazy. I was crying like a baby. I was so happy. haha!

So it was a good ending to a terrible week. I’m just thankful I’m not sick this week cause we have too much to do… We’re going to set up our Christmas tree today with the Fred elders. There’s an elder here in our zone who’s from Boise (so awesome. he’s precious) and he just had his birthday so we’re making him some cookies. We’re getting into some holiday spirit! On thanksgiving we have some rounds to make. I don’t know how I’m going to eat all day… I’m so scared. I hardly even ate at home. I think I’m just going to starve myself until Thursday. haha jk. But really… I lost some weight being sick, I dont need it back!

Tomorrow we’re going to Vidor for a double zone conference. We hear it’s going to be a big beat down session since we’re going over the 4th missionary talk. That talk makes me feel so weak and small… haha ahh man. The boys should read that so they know what they’re getting into. Grandma actually sent me a copy too! It’s good.

Basically, I’m alive and doing okay. I miss y’all so much! Give baby Jackson kisses for me. He is soooo cute! Oh my goodness.

I love y’all! Keep on being righteous – do what is right!

— Sister Stockinger

 

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Moe’s Letter – November 18, 2013

MEGAN HAD HER BABY!?! Oh my gosh… oh my gosh! It’s a good thing this is an email – otherwise you’d see all my tears staining the paper! Crap… I knew Jackson would be born before I got home, but still. Haha! I’m so bummed I missed it… He’s gonna be huge by the time I get to snuggle him. Shoot. Y’all better kiss him for me! And smell him (: hahaha DID ANYONE ELSE notice his initials? JSH? Ha… I love it.

This week has been one to really test me… When it rains, it pours. Ya know what I mean? I told y’all how I said goodbye to my friends, well – stinking Sister Tuigamala had an extra week here because of flights. Ya know – getting back to Samoa… It’s not like flying to Utah or Idaho. haha so I got to talk to her a little more and such. Blessing and a curse; I miss her so much. I sobbed last night when she got to the mission home and called one last time! Maaan… It was rough. Count my blessings: I’m lucky to have known her! She’s pretty awesome.

Sister Clegg is one of the most hilarious people I’ve ever met. She’s very quiet but she can pick at me! Ohh man. I love her. The poor girl! She had to come to the country after being in ghetto Beaumont. I took her out to Dam B and Odomville one day. She had to sit through a lesson watching a dog chew up a rabbit. Then she had to deal with a dead deer… We were talking to Gordon and Marilyn as he was skinning it. BUT we get to keep the hooves! Hooves? Hoves? Hoof… What the weird? I hope you know what I’m trying to say. hahaha It’s little feet. We get to keep the feet. Gordon cut them off and is drying them out for us. I’m trying to figure out if I can turn it into a keychain… ya know, like a lucky rabbit’s foot? haha yeehaw country!

Woodville is a retired community. Everyone is old. No – they’re ancient. They’re all about to die. Poor grandpa Kenneth, evon, and aunt Sylvia… they’re all pretty much dead. It’s sad. Then every person we meet is super old – set in their ways and terrible health. Everyone thinks that the good Lord has already saved them and is almost ready to bring them home! I just shake my head…

We got a new investigator this week! His name is Allan. He’s old. I’m not sure how this is going to go; he forgets things quickly. And he tells the same stories over and over again… But he’s precious. haha! He feels very close to Christ because he got stabbed in his side during a difficult time in his life. So naturally – he lifted up his shirt to show us the scar. Ew… People are so comfortable with us. I love it?

There’s a less active whose daughter is dying. She has melanoma :/ It was awful – she kept talking about it and I was crying, she was crying, and sister clegg had no idea what to do. But ya know – after grandpa and my friend Amy, I just don’t do skin cancer talk very well. It’s vicious. I hate it. But what do ya do?

Now – this has become the most depressing letter. But there’s a point to it – I promise! As I’ve been meeting with all these people, and listening to everyone’s woes, it’s made me realize how thankful I am to be a part of the gospel. Well – to be active in the gospel. Satan is so good at making people run around looking for some magic cure. He is one clever guy… But we’ve been reading the gospels as a mission. Reading about the life of Christ each morning is amazing. Ya know – sitting in Woodville, surrounded by trees, incredible sunrise, having a comin’ to Jesus talk (: I could do this every day for the rest of my life! But yes – reading about Christ, then going out and meeting these people who swear on their life THEY KNOW CHRIST (and I don’t doubt it!) but don’t really want live like they know Christ… It’s tough. But I love it. Also – in 1 Nephi 21:16… Oh man. I love it. It doesn’t get any more personal than that!

Sister Clegg and I met a super cool black girl at Walmart today. She started talking about how her church isn’t really a family church. Then she was all, “I don’t even know why I go there!” So that was cool. We got her number. Hopefully that works out…

Basically – this week has been a long one. We were blessed to meet a lot of less actives who’s names got sent back to the branch from SLC. I love these people. They are so good! They’re just confused.

I miss y’all and love y’all! Thanks for all the prayers and love! 

— Sister Stockinger

 

Moe’s Letter – November 13, 2013

Well – first things first: I GOT A NEW COMPANION! It was horrible to have Sister Allison go. I’m stinkin’ terrified to lead Woodville… The area is huge and there’s too many county roads. haha ahh well… Time for growth (:

My new companion is Sister Clegg. She’s from Roy, Utah. I love her to death already… You’ll never believe this. She’s into BODY BUILDING! Heck yes. Her parents own a pro shop and a golds gym? Something like that… basically this means we get tons of delicious protein powder and supplements. Thank goodness – I’ve been getting fat. We’re both outta shape though; she broke her leg and had to have surgery so she hasn’t had a good workout in a while. But she’s been out for 6 months. She came out with Sister Allison. She also likes to cut all her hair off and dye it funky colors. She’s basically my twin. I’m okay with it.

We ended up getting to transfer meeting 2 hours early. Milton and Betty Odom took us. They were WAY too excited about it. haha they always pray someone will get transferred so they can go to the meeting… Can’t blame em though! It’s so spiritual. But since we were so early, Milton and Betty took me into Humble so I could cry my eyes out and say hello to Sister Elzinga. They used to live in Woodville, so everyone knows them… Small world! I wanted to see Bishop Call and Sister Davis too, but they have to work. But it was so bitter sweet. I loved seeing them! I don’t know if that was breaking the rules; going to my old area… but it was worth it. haha!

Sister Allison is now companions with Sister Haller! If you remember her… She’s the one who trained me my first 12 weeks. Weehooo!

I had to say goodbye to some of my favorite missionaries yesterday. Sister Tuigmala is on her way back to Samoa. I was doing SO GOOD not to cry, but then she hugged me and I let loose. Oh man… It was embarrassing. She said she’d come live in Idaho with me, as long as we don’t live in the Mormon bubble… HA! I miss her too much already 😦

It’s officially stinking cold here. Apparently a cold front was coming towards Woodville that was going to freeze everything, so everyone’s been freaking out about all their plants… Stupid plants. I’ll never enjoy gardening! haha but anyways – it came. Holy cow! It’s like 25-30 degrees in the morning now. Working out is PAIN! Cold humidity is the devil. I was thinking about asking you to send me my pea coat, but I don’t think even that will protect me. I’m just going to subject myself to frostbite.

So I’m not even sure where to start with the past 10 days… Things have just been really weird. The country is weird. I think the most exciting thing that happened last week was on Thursday… A cutie pie named Karen had to be rushed to the hospital because her appendix burst. Her dad gave her a blessing and she had zero pain the whole time! So she got to come back from Lufkin early. We decided to drop in and check on her; we love this family. Her mom is from Mexico and barely speaks English. So we have a good time haha. Whenever we go over, her dad isn’t there because he’s working. So we go to their house and Brandon’s work truck is home. We couldn’t see the porch cause of their cars, but SOMEWHERE there is a giant great Dane named lluvia. I LOVE THIS DOG! She reminds me of Cooper. I could cuddle with this dog all day. So we’re walking up to the house, and I yell, “Heeeey lluvia!!!!!”, arms wide open, and she comes bounding off the porch at me. All of a sudden she’s a foot from my FACE ready to rip it off. I have never screamed so much in my life! She kept gnashing her teeth, jumping at me… It was like when the scriptures describe hell and the devil. PURE EVIL. So I’m trapped between the car and the dog, screaming my head off, and sister Allison leaves me! she ran away! she started to climb into Brandon’s work truck. So Brandon saw her from the window and decided to find out why a missionary is getting in his truck, NEVERMIND MY DEATH SCREAMS! So he called lluvia off me and we were able to visit with them. Apparently she only does this when he’s home. So she’s cool. We’re still bff’s. I’ll just never walk up to the house when the work truck is home. haha

So you’d think my day couldn’t get any worse. Well thanks to the time change, we have to do hour of power in the dark. Tracting in the country is already scary enough, but in the dark… it’s just a dumb idea. So we were contacting this lady at a dark intersection. A truck rolled up to the stop and had his lights shining on us. And he just sat there… lights shining on us while we were talking to this lady. So we were wrapping things up and the lady was walking away, so we turn to start going back towards our truck. This truck suddenly sped up and pulled off on our side of the road and this guy leaps out! My first thought was, “Can I take this guy?” then i thought, “Nah – just book it the 200 yds to the truck”. But I knew sister Allison wouldn’t keep up with me! So we stood there and this guy walks up to us and says, “Hey, y’all got a car nearby?” “Uh, yes”. Then he kinda just stood there and stared at us. I know this is all happening in about 10 seconds, but it felt like an eternity! I was thinking, “Okay. I’m about to get kidnapped. There’s 3 men, and all we have are BOOKS! Why don’t I have pepper spray?!” So then i just started praying, Sister Allison was shaking, and then he just walked back to his truck without saying anything else. As soon as he turned his back I RAN! So good news: We’re alive!

Heavenly Father kept me alive twice that day. It was nuts. He is so mindful of our needs. haha.

BUT as you know – we have terrible hour of powers. We usually have nothing happen during them, except near death experiences. But in the last 5 minutes of our hour of power, a less active called us. Sister Allison was in Woodville 6mo and never met this lady. She just doesn’t let us in. But so she called asking for Betty Odom’s number. We were about 3 minutes from her house, so we asked if we could come over annnnd she said yes. MIRACLE! So her name is Pat. She has a lot of health problems (I think she’s a hypochondriac). But she sits in her bed all day and does crafts. She talked our ears off for 2 hours about drugs, beads, and painting. She was so nice though! She asked us to share scriptures, told us her conversion story, acted like she was completely active… haha! I love her. She’s awesome. She gave us these gypsy bracelet things that wrap around you middle finger then come up over your hand then around your wrist. FANCY! haha I love it though. And we got some little angel earrings… cause we’re her angels. Yep – first time we ever met the lady and we’re ANGELS! I’m a big fan. Honestly – I think she could come to church pretty soon. It sounds like her meds are getting cleared up and she could be pain free soon! So stay tuned. Pat is awesome. AND her husband isn’t a member. And he makes bomb deer jerky… I’ve learned it’s good to be friends with the people who make deer jerky (:

So we had our zone meeting on Friday. I absolutely love the Beaumont Zone. Everyone is so much fun. But we were talking about pride and companionship unity. Elder Bock (who just got transferred from Fred. So sad) gave some good perspective. I know I’ve heard this before, but I just really liked hearing it again. He quoted someone and said, “Satan doesn’t care if you think high of yourself or low of yourself – just that you’re thinking of yourself”. And it’s true. As missionaries we have to learn to let go of a lot of things and set our own desires aside. Which is a lot more difficult than I’d anticipated it to be. I know I struggle with it each day. I just know that Satan is constantly working on me; trying to remind me of everything I used to do and enjoy. But I also know that the times when I’ve been the most dedicated and focused as much as I can, I’ve seen miracles happen. And I just think, whoa! What if we did that as regular members as well? I still think about Bishop Call from the Humble ward, and how he said anytime we don’t share the gospel it’s because we’re selfish. “I don’t know enough”, “What if I can’t answer their questions?” “I don’t think they’re ready”… We think about ourselves too often. I wish I was risky enough to stick everything on the line, but I’m not! I’m chicken. I’m a baby. BUT why hold back? Hm… things to consider.

This week has just been a lot of connecting with less actives. One less active, Rebecca, is doing soooo good! She’s kicked her boyfriend out, she’s coming to church, and she’s going through a lot of changes with our branch president… It’s amazing. It’s incredible to see the gospel work on people. Her family life has improved so much! She has three little boys and even they have improved. The hard work is worth it when you see people like her change. The gospel is for families. No doubt about it.

We got our stone knives from Tim Durr! This will probably be my most prized mission possession. I don’t even know how to describe this baby, so I’ll just have to send some pictures. Skinning the bob cat was well worth it!

So pretty much: The church is true. I absolutely love it! I still can’t believe I’m a missionary sometimes… And I’m almost half way done?! What the… Seeing friends go home made me realize I am SO not ready to go home. Haha I’m good staying right here. I’m pretty sure Merrilee Davis from Humble would still take me in… Maybe I’ll just never come home (: haha

I love and miss y’all so much. I am so thankful for our eternal family! Can’t wait to hear from y’all…

— Sister Stockinger

 

Moe’s Letter – November 4, 2013

Well, Sister Allison have started week six of this transfer! Our time is quickly going… We both really think she’s going to get transferred and we are sad 😦 But oh well. Things gotta change! Sister Hunt was kind and pointed out that we’ve been out 7 months (from our MTC date) now! Pretty crazy how quick it goes… By the end of next transfer I’ll be halfway done! 😦 This is no Bueno.

We had a pretty crazy week. It started off with one of our members passing away. We visited her all the time, trying to help her quit smoking and drinking coffee. She was so tender and sweet. I loved her! Apparently she had a heart attack and her neighbor found her just peacefully sitting in her chair :/ Thank goodness for our knowledge of the plan of salvation!

On Tuesday we had the pleasure of meeting with President Crawford. I think this is the first interview I’ve had with him where I didn’t start crying. I ALMOST did, but didn’t! #victory. He’s just so spiritual and kind; he’s so in tune with our needs. We just talked for a few minutes about the growth he’s seen in me and what more he hopes to see out of me. It was a good chit chat. His wife made the most incredible pumpkin muffins. OH MY GOODNESS! So I got the recipe and made those yesterday and today. They are DIVINE. Mmm, mmm…

On Wednesday we got rained out. We had torrential rain storms and flash floods. We were going to the church to set up our Fall Fest with some ladies and we saw a lady sitting in her car with water up to her windows. It was nuts. But it was definitely her own fault! The roads are really slanted so water can run off, and she was driving in the far right lane with bordered a hill, so it created a perfect V for water to build up between the road and the hill. So… It was crazy. Our District Leader ended up telling us to either get to a members house or get home. The crazy part? IT WAS WORSE ON THURSDAY!

So we got rained out for two days this week. It was ridiculous. The rain finally stopped around 5, but President Crawford told everyone to get with a member from 5-8, then go home, on Halloween. So… It was kind of a pointless day.

On Saturday we biked all over wretched Ivanhoe (where we got our truck stuck). No one was home. It was sad… No one was home and no one wanted to hear our glorious message! We were getting pretty desperate, so we tried to go to Joe’s house. He’s the one who pushed our car out of the sand. We knew they go to the Cowboy Church, but we just wanted to see if they liked our Book of Mormon scripture we put in the card we took with the banana bread. Well – we pulled up and his wife suddenly appeared at our window. We said hi, just wanted to check on them, blah blah blah… She said, “Ohh you girls are the sweetest! HEY! Wanna come to the cowboy church tomorrow? it’s at the rodeo grounds, and we’re having duck dynasty day! Everyone is wearing camo and drinking sweet tea!” Uhhh… She then went on to bear us her “testimony” on the cowboy church; how she loved she could wear Capri’s and flip flops, everyone’s a riot, it’s laid back, and you cant deer hunt from 10:30-2 anyways! We were defeated. She invited us again, then had to go. We didn’t get to say a word… But man – I really hate this cowboy church. It used to be based just in Jasper, but they just created the Woodville location. They already have over 120 people going and they’ve been open 2 weeks. -_-. not cool man. 

We visited Lois again. Her kids got on trouble on Halloween so she was making them all stack firewood. It was a BEAUTIFUL day so we got to visit with her outside. We met her fiancé, but he didn’t really want anything to do with us. We had a good discussion with her, then she pulled out a cigarette and smoked in front of us. Uhh… Yep. We’re making dandy progress! haha 

This week has been nuts. I’m just really trying to figure out what the Lord is trying to teach me. I’m in the end of Mosiah right now in my personal reading and just REALLY connected with this story. In 23 the people have been having lots of peace. Alma is doing his thing, things are going good. all of a sudden in verse 21, it says, “Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith”. I thought it was oddly placed; things are going good! But then in Chapter 24 the people are placed into bondage and commanded not to pray out loud. Verses 11-16 are AWESOME. It talks about how the people cried to the Lord in their hearts and he heard them. Then he said that because of the covenants they made with Him, he will visit them in their afflictions and lift their burdens. He didn’t remove them though! Uhhh… but then, the people “…did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord”. Then the Lord tells them that because of their patience and their faith, he will relieve them from bondage the next day. I just really appreciated this story. I know that if I do all I can, am patient, keep my covenants, and cheerfully submit to the Lords will, all will be made right. Things are tough not having any investigators, but this is my burden. I get frustrated sometimes thinking, “I have the desire to find, teach and baptize. I have the desire to bring people closer to Christ. These are righteous desires! Why is the Lord making me wait?” And that’s a question President Crawford and I talked a lot about. He doesn’t know why the Lord is having me wait, but is sure it’s for good reason. I just know he’s going to give us someone who’s ready to be baptized! Someone is prepared for us. I just need to cheerfully endure and submit to the Lord’s will (:

So that’s something I was grateful to learn from the scriptures the other day. I hope y’all are doing the 30 days of gratitude and are reading your scriptures! They’re pretty awesome.

Well I’ve gotta get going. I miss and love you all so much! Thanks for everything you do.

— Sister Stockinger

 

 

 

Sorry…out of sequence… Moe’s Letter – September 9, 2013

Well I forgot my planner at home so I may struggle with remembering all that happened this week… Sorry!

 

First and foremost: PAUL NICHOLLS IS OFFICIALLY BAPTIZED! Paul was my super amazing investigator from Humble, who lives in Baytown, who was dating my favorite member Merrilee Davis. Whoa. He’s the one who was super prepared but we had to hand him off to the elders in Baytown since that’s where he’d have to get baptized… but anyways – I got permission from President Crawford to attend. A member drove us the 2 hours to Baytown. It was AMAZING. It was so cool to see someone who I helped teach finally reach this point! He was so excited… We got there at 4, so church was being let out. When he came out of priesthood all the ward members were just acting like he was already baptized; thanking him for his comments, chatting like old friends… It was REALLY sweet to see he’s been fellowshipped into the ward. His baptism was PACKED. We didn’t have enough chairs; people were crowding the relief society room, peeking in from the hall. But it was incredibly spiritual. Paul bore his testimony after he was baptized and I just cried. He loves this gospel. He admits he doesn’t know everything about ‘being a Mormon’, but he is prepared, willing, and excited to accept all things required of him through faith. He always asks me for new rules; “Tell me something else I don’t know that I need to follow!” uhhh… He just really wants to be obedient and follow our Heavenly Father. It was such an honor to be there! The elders who finished his teaching called me a week in advance and said Paul was begging that I be there. It was so sweet (: He almost hugged me when he saw me! hahaha it was a little awkward.

 

THE CHURCH IS TRUE!

 

But up here in Woodville… CRAZY STORY:

 

Well I just hit send on accident… Sorry about that. hahaha
 
CRAZY STORY: yesterday, our ward mission leader was not keeping the Sabbath day holy and let someone come over to his house to look at a pistol they wanted to by. Ronnie is super old (okay. like… maybe in his 70’s) and is always super careful with his guns. He’s actually afraid of them. hahaha BUT he was taking the bullet out of the chamber and it went off some how and HE SHOT HIS RING FINGER! They were in the wash room so it was super loud. His sister in-law was home (his wife is the one taking us to the baptism…. we’re driving as all this is happening) so she went running and found him so pale and in shock. The man and his daughter looking at the gun were just stunned and shocked; still unsure of what just happened (idiots). So Loretta had to take poor Ronnie to the ER! We’re still waiting to hear how bad his finger is but… Oh man. Kids, that’s what happens when you try to sell things on Sunday. You shoot your finger off.
 
We got to do some service on Friday for the annual Lion’s Club Mexican Dinner. Ohh man… It was so much fun and the food was so good! Mmm. It was really neat cause we got to work in the kitchen and talk to a bunch of non-members. We didn’t gain any potentials, but we were able to talk about our faith and answer questions they had. So we feel pretty successful in helping them see that Mormon’s are pretty neat people.
 
So sister allison and I were fixin to go back to our Heavenly Road and find some people to do some teaching with! So we went on Thursday and it just started to RAIN. It was so bad I had to drive so slow… So we ended up leaving our heavenly road and went out to this town called Dam B. We visited a less active family Sister Allison had never met. Ohh man… They were a little off. I don’t even know how to fully describe these people. But their house was pretty much a shack. It was an abandoned gas station… They had a whole bunch of trash out front with a card board sign that said “yard sale”. I was SCARED. I was all, “okay. if this is the outside, there’s no way i can go inside. HEAVENLY FATHER! ahhh! help help help!” So we knocked on the door (we’d driven quite a ways, we couldn’t just chicken out) and their emo son came out. He tried to get rid of us but his parents came to the door and shooed us in. Oh man – if i could send smells home, i’d totally have sent you this one. it was RAUNCHY! but down we sat on nasty chairs and conversation was begun. i was shaking the whole time; i could not get a grip. I was praying so hard in my mind to have help from heavenly father, that i could see them as he sees them and that they are desperately in need of the gospel again, annnd… it worked. prayer works! I stopped shaking, was able to contribute to conversation, and actually had a good time once my nose was numb to the stench. They turned out to be a rather fun family to talk to! They had a lot of woes, they kind of dumped a lot of stuff on us, but in the end we were able to share a great message with them and leave them happier than we found them. I’m even a tiny bit excited to go back!
 
Saturday night (sorry i’m jumping all over the week) we had a branch supper. There was a non-member boy who’d done scouting with our troop and was getting his Eagle. So our whole branch went to his court of honor and a ton of people from his church in kirbyville came too! So our little gym was PACKED. But we were able to meet a lot of people, eat tons of delicious food, and watch our branch in action as they talked with non-members. it was a really good experience for everyone… I also scared the heck out of sister allison and popped the question on a non-member girl who’s been dating a man in our branch. “So, Lauren, you’ve been coming to church a lot. Would you like to take our discussions?” She seemed a little stunned, but then said, “actually, yes! that’d be great!”. I thought Sister Allison was going to pass out! She was so pale. hahaha BUT we’d been needing to ask that question for a long time. Sister Allison and Sister Mills were too scared, so I just took over and did it myself. Turned out pretty good to meeee…. (: hahaha
 
My thoughts have been stuck on the bible lately. Specifically in John. I’ve been reading in John 13 annnd… 15 I think. But I’ve been reading about Peter and all that he did right before christ was killed. I would not want to be Peter. At the end of 13 he said that he would go where ever christ went and even lay down his life! Then – when judas comes to betray christ – Peter is all packing a sword and decides to whip it out and defend our savior, chopping off a guy’s ear! Christ is all, “Man, what are you doing? Put that darn thing away!” (I just imagine Peter has a complex at this point; adreneline pumping from being all hard core with a sword then he get’s softly rebuked by christ. DANG.) So then – peter who has claimed he would lay down his life, defends the savior, all of a sudden denies Him three times. ???!! this makes me crazy. It doesn’t make sense! Granted – it does cause Christ totally called it – but why would Peter do that? Then I started to liken this unto myself. How many times have I ever bore my testimony, or boldly claimed that “I AM A MORMON!” and whipped out my sword to defend what I know, but then sheepishly shyed away from anyone who may have ever been truely interested? How many times have I ever not shared the gospel, or stood behind my Savior, because it wasn’t the cool thing or because I may have felt social pressure? Interesting, is it not? CAUSE THEN even Pilate is all, “hey everyone! there’s nothing wrong with this guy! are you sure you want to condem him? wouldn’t you rather have me release him?” and the people shouted, “no! give us barrabbas” haha check out that spelling… but you know what i mean. Oh MAN! How many times to we trade Christ for something way worse? Like – not reading our scriptures before bed but watching hours of netflix? Or not saying our prayers in the morning but catching up on the news? We trade things all the time for righteous works and it makes me sad. I can’t believe the life I’ve lived! Or the fact that I haven’t been zapped yet. Oh gosh… So yeah – that’s just what’s been on my mind. You should go read those chapters. They’re prettying exciting! I really like them.
 
So that’s pretty much what’s been going on… I haven’t been too sick. Actually – I’m pretty much back to my ol’ self. I’m turning into the fire cracker I once was and sister allison is all, “whoa. suddenly she has energy!” cause I’ve been pretty lathargic(?). I’m having problems with spelling…
 
Oh – there’s a member who works at a restaurant in town. He let’s us come through the back kitchen door and he gives us food (: But MAN – they make the best fried chicken and chicken and dumpling soup! Ohhh my gosh… I could die eating that soup and be completely fine with it. I’m getting faaat! Sister Allison and I are starting a diet today… We’ll see how this goes. baaah!
 
Well I love y’all and miss y’all so much! Hope you’re reading your scriptures(: They’re amazing!
Be wise and be righteous in all things!
— Sister Stockinger

 

Moe’s Letters – October 21, 2013

Well y’all already know how last Monday went… Fishing was SO much fun! 

Tuesday we got to go visit a less active who really needs to have the gospel back in her life. Her name is Bell; she’s from Samoa. Sometimes I wonder how low the Lord has to bring people before they realize they need to pick themselves up and get back to doing what they need to do. Bell just had a baby girl. She is PRECIOUS. There’s a ton of drama though… Bell has had a lot of kids by a lot of guys. It’s sad… It’s really hard to see people suffer and know that the gospel can fix it all.

On Wednesday I had probably one of the best days of my life. We went and did family history with the young women and men and also helped a nonmember boy get his account set up. When they all started to trickle out, I logged into mine for a minute. A member, Sheila Gibson, helped me sort through things… THEN: she showed me how to reserve names. I went WILD! I hope dad doesn’t mind, I reserved a ton of names on his side. I did this because I saw that someone was doing our family history! RUDE! I want to do it! So I started grabbing all the names I could before they could take them from me. hahaha I can’t wait for our next temple trip! 

On Thursday we realized we were running a little low on miles for the week. So we went to Ivanhoe – the glorious land of sketchy people – and parked our car and began walking. We were walking towards a member’s trailer so sister allison could use the bathroom, when all of a sudden 8 dogs came out of no where. Sister Allison HATES dogs. One of them seemed especially aggressive. They were walking towards us, growling, barking like crazy… It took everything in me to not pee my skirt. Sister Allison and I whipped around and tried our best NOT to run, but walked really fast. We were so mad! This member we were going to has a daughter who needs some help with the gospel, who recently moved back home. But we couldn’t walk back to our truck – no time, no miles. So I said a prayer in my head, stopped, and told sister allison, “I think the dog is all talk”. So we turned around and started walking towards them all. One of them looked like she just had pups. The closer we got, I started talking to them like they were babies. The female stuck her tail between her legs and started walking towards me, really cowardly like. When she got to me I started to pet the crap out of her. She was peeing everywhere, her tail was wagging, and slowly all the other dogs stopped barking. We started walking towards them all again, and this lady talked walked beside us, completely happy! Soon all the other dogs started to disappear into the trees and we just walked firm with this sweet dog. I kept talking to her like a baby, rubbing her sides, and just kept moving. It was so scary! I have never been afraid of dogs until that moment. I thought we were going to get mauled. 

What’s so significant about this story is I felt like we were living the scriptures! Sounds silly, but we were. It was like Alma – he wasn’t having any success until he had Amulek on his side. When Amulek went with him into his city, the people saw one of their own accepting Alma. They were able to baptize thousands! Yes – they endured hardships, but they were able to accomplish what the Lord needed. Alma didn’t give up, had faith the Lord would provide, and the Lord sent Amulek – who had been a not so righteous person, affiliating with the wrong crowd for some time. And look – a little faith in the Lord that I wouldn’t get ripped into by dogs, he sent one to befriend us, and she set the example for the others that we weren’t there to cause any harm. It was pretty cool to me. 

On Friday we went to Jasper for our district meeting. Again – worried about miles – we weren’t sure who to call to take us. Well sweet Dolores Lovelace texted us that night. “Need a ride to Jasper tomorrow?” ??!!! Uh, yes?! We had the best time. We went with her and her sister Loretta. They went to get their nails done, so they were able to drop us at our meeting. On the way back we stopped at the famous alligator sign and took some pictures. Dolores is so funny… She’s just the craziest old lady. She has dementia, which has progressively gotten worse since I’ve been here, and her husband finally revoked her license. So he and Loretta have to drive her everywhere now. It’s sad, but it just makes her even funnier. I love her! 

Friday night we had dinner with Emelie and Ava. We had taco soup… for like, the 3rd time that week. I don’t get it. Of all the foods in the world, missionaries go on a run with the same meal ALL the time. It’s the weirdest thing. But it was good! No complaints (: Just a weird phenomenon. ANYWAYS – after dinner Emelie took us out to a huge pasture to meet her cows, donkeys, and horses. They were adorable! My favorites were ‘Uh Oh’ the mini horse, ‘Slick Willy’ the bull, and ‘Friday’ the baby donkey. They were too precious. 

Emelie is so awesome. She tries so hard to be a good member-missionary. I love it. She is constantly telling us neat stories about sharing the gospel. Most of the time she gets to talk about her baby brother, Jarom, who’s on a mission. Soooo I know mom is trying to be better about sharing the gospel… Maybe y’all just need to strike up conversation, tell a funny story – like the bob cat – about my mission and then get them to wonder what the heck a mission is? I don’t know. Follow the spirit and be member missionaries! It’s fun.

On Saturday we had a slightly disappointing morning. We went to this heritage festival that happens every year. Everyone was telling us that last year the missionaries spent hours, and hours! there sharing the gospel. Pretty awesome! So we were all, “heck yes! let’s go and share the gospel at a FESTIVAL!” We went, we looked at shops, and people talked to us about the gospel! But any time we asked if we could come visit them, or send other missionaries to them, they would say no. Then they’d sort of shoo us away. It was sad… So we were only there for a couple hours. BUT we did get some pretty cool Texas pot holders. haha ahh…

This week really has been a blessing though. We’ve been working really hard at being exactly obedient. On our zone obedience challenge we’ve been steadily improving over the last 3 weeks. Along with that, our total lessons have been steadily increasing as well. We’ve been blessed to meet more people, teach more lessons, feel the spirit more, and listen to it’s promptings. 

We’ve also been able to find a lot more lost sheep! Our branch list is FULL. If people would come to church, we could turn the branch into a ward. Yesterday we only had 68 people at sacrament. Which is the sad, cause it’s the most full meeting. We have relief society, then sunday school, then sacrament. So people don’t show up for the early meetings; they trickle in around 10:45 for sacrament. But what can ya do? We just keep visiting, and visiting, and finding, and finding. Good thing we know the Lord makes up the difference! He will always provide.

Sorry there isn’t a whole lot to report this week. We finally have a ride to Beaumont so we’re going to go get our hair cut and whatnot. Woodville is so small none of the hair salons are open on Monday. Everyone just decides to take a 4 day weekend I guess. But I haven’t had my hair trimmed since the end of my first transfer! So that’s now… about 5.5 months. It’s pretty dead. It’s gross.

But I love y’all and can’t wait to hear more good things from y’all! Keep doing all you can to share the gospel! THE CHURCH IS TRUE!

— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – October 7, 2013

This has been quite a long week… We have worked our tail ends off but felt like we just spun our wheels. It was HARD. But Ether 12:27 teaches us that God specifically gave us weaknesses so we can become stronger… We are waiting to be made strong. haha. Woodville is an awfully stubborn place.

The week started great though! Last Monday after we emailed we went to a resale shop. On the last Monday of every month they do a ‘$2 bag sale’… Basically, anything you can fit into a Walmart bag, you get it all for $2. We went cardigan hunting. President has asked us to start wearing them to ALL meetings. Normally we’d be bummed about this, but it’s starting to get very chilly here so we’re welcoming this new standard (: haha. And by chilly we mean, 59 degrees… We cant stop shivering!

On Tuesday Sister Allison fixed some banana bread to cook while we studied. She made it for the man who helped push us out of the sand when we got stuck in Ivanhoe. So we went and spent the WHOLE day in Ivanhoe… Ivanhoe is a terrible place. It’s really run down; drugs, unlivable shacks are being lived in by hobos, messed up roads… It got trashed after the hurricanes. I guess back in the day it was the place where all the rich people retired. They have a booth at the front of the city (one way in, one way out) where you had to check in with a guard, tell him where you’re going, get a slip of paper to take to the person your visiting so they could sign it and time stamp it, and tell them when you’re leaving. They had the whole place timed; they new how long it took to get from the gate to every single house, so if you weren’t there when they patrolled by, they knew you were off causing problems or fishing/swimming in one of the private lakes. Apparently they wouldn’t let black people in there either. But anyways – things have gone down hill. It is a DUMP. No one wants to go to Ivanhoe… but we went. And we took the banana bread back to Joe. He was so surprised to see us! He was sweet though, very kind and humble, just amazed that we’d think to bring him anything. We gave him a card with our number in it and a scripture from the Book of Mormon. haha… maybe someday he’ll let us teach him! 🙂

We’ve been focusing on the youth in our branch, trying to solidify their testimonies and get some referrals from them (: haha So we went to mutual with the Young Women to get on their good side. Oh my goodness – BEST ACTIVITY EVER! We played a game called “Whack a Cracker”. You thread fishing line through a Ritz cracker, tie it to your belt loop or around your waist, then roll up some news paper, and try to whack the other persons cracker off. But you have to stay within an area; you can’t run all over the place. But oh my goodness – it was so much fun! The crackers didn’t break like i thought they would… and even if it chips you’re still good – the whole thing has to fall off. It’d be an awesome reunion game. hahaha we had so much fun.

Our members have been trying their best to implement the Ammonihah Effect. I’m excited to hear their thoughts from conference on members going out with the missionaries… (: but we had 2 members lined up to go out with us and both our lessons fell through! We were so bummed. We didn’t get to see any of our investigators this week, which is challenging, but we were able to spend some good time finding.

On Saturday we watched conference with Denese and Tim Durr. It was nice! They’re so sweet. It’s weird watching conference in church clothes though… haha. But some stuff that stood out to me was Uchtdorf’s talk; “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith”. I think that so many people believe any thought that pops into their minds, which is usually something negative about themselves or their situation, that they never question it. We never challenge our own thoughts. But our thoughts can lie to us; we have to learn to develop a positive form of thinking. So if you’re doubting things – especially something concerning the gospel – doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith!

I also had a spear go through my heart when Elder Ballard said, “To you full time missionaries: if you want to teach more, you have to talk to more people!” Which is something we hear all the time, but I’ve also noticed how sometimes I chicken out when just walking straight up to someone. It’s easier to knock on the door for some reason. But I had the thought “We need to talk to at least 10 people a day”. We go a lot of days when we don’t see a single soul (the country is a curse). So sister Allison finally borrowed a bike from the mission. Her parents haven’t sent hers and she can’t buy a new one, so I made her call the office and ask for one. haha and look – they lent her one! Perfect. So we had her bike for day, and right after conference ended I said, “We need to get on our bikes and go meet people!” So for an hour we went and rode around, put aside our fears and pride, and just rode up to people on the streets and started talking to them. Guess what: Heavenly Father is so merciful. He is so kind. Oh my goodness – He loves us so much! I get emotional thinking about how silly this story is, but it was a miracle to me… In that hour we biked around we were able to meet 10 new people. Out of those 10, 2 were willing to let us come back and share more of our message. For this area, THAT IS A MIRACLE! I just know without a doubt, if we follow the council of our apostles and prophets we will be blessed. We just have to be willing to step outside of ourselves and open our mouths! The Spirit will take over if you’ve done all you can (studied, prayed, looked for opportunities…) You think all these fears would have been set aside by now, but they come in waves. It’s the weirdest thing. But I am so thankful that the Lord put into my mind, “Ten people a day” and that very day we talked to ten. It’s amazing! Don’t ignore spiritual promptings (: All things are possible!

So we have our work cut out for us, but I know we can accomplish whatever the Lord wants. I think it was a man from the seventy’s, Gordan Nielson? I don’t know… I’d have to check my notes. But He’s from Texas! Whoop whoop. He was talking about how Joseph Smith said that the Lord will begin to hasten his work when the time is right. Directly following that he simply stated, “It’s time”. Ahhh maaan! We really are in the final days. 80,333 missionaries! That’s one big army and it’s still growing. If every member of the church got on board and shared the gospel (like so many general authorities have asked) that army would be HUGE! I am so excited and thankful to be a missionary during this time. It’s crazy… It’s just crazy to see things change.

But thank y’all for everything y’all do! I miss and love you each so much. Hug each other and kiss the dogs for me! And Keirsten – kiss her alllll the time for me.

THE CHURCH IS TRUE! Don’t take it for granted (: Keep your covenants!

I love you.

— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – October 28, 2013

Well we just finished week 4 of the transfer… just 2 more weeks and I think sister Allison will be leaving Woodville! She’ll be hitting her 6mo mark, so it’s time for a new area for her… It makes me nervous! I don’t want a new companion!

This week has lasted forever. It’s been quite a struggle and test of faith for us. I apologize now if this is short….

But before I get into everything, the mormon.org videos I loved this week were ones called “God’s greatest creation” and “continue in patience”. In one of those videos, I believe President Uchtdorf said, “The more you trust and rely upon the spirit the greater your capacity to create”. I really liked it. I thought it could apply to many areas of our lives cause as humans, we’re always trying to create something new. Relationships, food, crafts, knowledge, testimony… You never know. But trust in the spirit!

On Thursday during our hour of power we got yelled at by a crazy, half naked agnostic man. It was awful. I just couldn’t believe that there was someone in Texas who didn’t believe in Christ. It was really sad! He lived in a dumpy trailer house and just didn’t look happy at all. The gospel could bless his life, but people have their agency… It’s terribly frustrating at times.

We’ve been working with a less active named Lois. She’s HILARIOUS. She’s living with her fiancé right now, and isn’t really sure when they’ll get married. She’s trying to quit smoking though! She’s feeling discouraged though because her fiancé and her best friend both smoke, so it’s hard to go cold turkey when everyone around you won’t give it up too. But she’s a sweetie; has a lot of kids. She knows what’s right just needs a little push. I guess she was raised in SLC and her parents are super-duper active… She just kind of fell off the wagon. Super sad. She’s always excited to see us though!

A couple in our ward had their 50th wedding anniversary. They had this huge party at a restaurant called “The Picket House”. They told us to come because there’d be a lot of people to contact. We were pretty excited! Well…. We got there, and yes there were a lot of people, but the whole event was very formal. There wasn’t an opportunity to mingle. We just sat there for a few hours, getting fat off fried chicken and this fruit dip stuff, and tried to guess when an appropriate time to excuse ourselves would be. But they were so precious! Dancing, so happy… They are leaving this weekend to drive to LA. They were sealed in the LA temple and they get to go back on the exact day they were sealed – it’s even on a Tuesday! They haven’t been back in all their 50 years, so they’re pretty psyched.

This week was a big test of faith though. We were able to gain a new investigator, taught the first lesson, set a baptismal date, and committed him to come to church. THAT’S HUGE for Woodville. However, his wife is a less active who has never wanted him to join the church. He’s in a nursing home and can’t be removed unless you have her permission. SO. Denese Durr called and asked if she could pick him up for church, Betty (the wife) said that his doctor just told her he isn’t strong enough to do anything. Well, me being me, asked the nurses the next day if Mr. Sisson was strong enough to come to church. They cheerily said yes, that’d actually be very good for him to get outside and go somewhere! So I was pretty psyched. Well – we went to have our lesson with John and he immediately said that he needed to stand firm in his church and not move forward. So all in the course of a week, we had a super prepared investigator commit to progress, then drop us.

It broke my heart. It was obvious by some stuff he said that his wife persuaded him to drop us. It was awful. Woodville has been such a difficult area… We officially have no one to teach, so it can only get better from here. All of these people can be so stubborn. Sometimes it feels like things would be easier if we just quit and gave into despair, but we know that’s not the most productive thing to do. It’s just a struggle to meet people and convince them that they don’t actually want to go to the cowboy church where they wear blue jeans and smoke, but that they’d rather come to our nice chapel in dress clothes for 3 hours! Ya know? Satan REALLY has his grasp on these country folk. It’s obvious to see why a person wouldn’t want to change; they have such a simple easy lifestyle that demands nothing of them. We’re just trying to figure out how we can bring the spirit into their lives since that’s the changing and converting factor.

I just feel like we are missing something. We’re doing so many things, yet hardly making progress. It’s like we’re missing one little piece of the puzzle that will make all our prayers, efforts, and time come and work together. I’ve been studying the lessons, studying faith, a chapter in PMG is all about developing the faith to find that I’ve poured over, and have also made my prayers extremely specific. I just figured that if I want the Lord to bless me a certain way, I have to ask for it. I can’t keep assuming he’s going to understand what I want… In the bible dictionary under ‘prayer’ it says that there are certain blessings you can only receive IF you ask for them. Heavenly Father wants us to ask for things – he’s waiting to bless us.

We’ve challenged a lot of our branch members to ’30 days of gratitude’ starting on November 1st. We’ve asked them to read their scriptures each day, then write down their thoughts or even just a bullet point, of something they learned from the scriptures that they can be grateful for…. We had a guest speaker at church last week who spoke on gratitude. He blew my mind! He told the story of the brother of Jared, but said something so incredible about it! In the story it talks about how the winds tossed them about on the sea, causing them an uncomfortable journey. However, a few verses later, they give thanks for the winds that kept pushing them ever onward towards the promised land. Crazy, eh? They gave thanks for the very thing that was causing them pain, because in the end it brought them closer to the Lord. It just made me think of my own trials and struggles as a missionary (like, no investigators?) that I can learn to be thankful for. The Lord must be trying to teach and refine me…

So starting on November 1st, be sure you read your scriptures every day and keep track of what your grateful for that you learned! 2 Nephi 4:15… Nephi delights in the scriptures and writes down the things of his soul for the learning and profit of his children. It’s time to delight in the scriptures!

Well I have to get going… I miss and love y’all so much! Thanks for all the prayers and love!

— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s letter – October 15, 2013

The library was closed yesterday! Columbus Day? What the… Libraries close for that? 

This week has been pretty exciting. We’ve spent a lot of time on our bikes, constantly finding more to teach. It’s been great. The harder we work, the more energy we have, and the better we sleep! It’s a fantastic cycle. We’ve set a goal to bike at least 1 hour a day, but it always turns into more. I love it sooo much!

We went out riding early Tuesday morning to an appointment in “the black neighborhood”. It’s kind of scary… About 4 years ago some guy stabbed his brother to death on the corner, I guess. We stick out like sore thumbs – two white girls, in skirts on bikes, wearing goofy helmets. It’s awesome. But we went to go meet with Ms. Billy but she wasn’t home. We saw a lady walking with a ton of groceries in her hands so we rode over to her and asked if we could walk with her, then put her bags on our handle bars. As soon as we said we were missionaries her face lit up and she just talked and talked. We walked with her to her house, which wasn’t very far, but it took us about 30-45 minutes cause she was a little old. When she’d get really excited about whatever she was saying, she’d stop walking. But her name is Linda and she’s met with Elders before. She’s very active in her little Baptist church, but said we could come back. We had a great chat – all sorts of restored truths were brought up.

We had quite a few members go out with us. One lady, Linda Odom, took us out to a little baby town (Warren) to find some lost sheep. Her visiting teaching route used to be in Warren so she knew all the county roads. It was awesome! People who the branch has been missing for years she knew how to find. We’re all – “Why haven’t they gotten with Linda before?” it was awesome. So we were able to find a bunch of houses, even meet a couple, that we can start to re-fellowship. It’s great!

On Wednesday when we did our mormon.org I found a super cool video. It’s named, “A Book of Mormon Story” and this black guy narrates it. The animation they use is sooo neat and the guy has the voice of an angel. They should have him do the Book of Mormon on tape. I really liked it… We also got to go out with a member, Connie Lovelace, and she took us to a little baby town called Colmesniel. But everyone calls it “Colmeniel”. It’s easier to drop the S. But we went and contacted a referral! Her name is Beth. She’s a patient of our sweet member, Betty Odom, who does home healthcare. Beth has had a double lung transplant and broke both her legs, all within the past 1.5 years. Pretty crazy! But she was so positive! It amazed me. I really liked visiting with her, but she didn’t give us a chance to speak! Then all of a sudden she was saying, “Well so nice of y’all to come by… I’ll see you later!” and we left. So we didn’t really know what to think of that. But on Thursday, Betty went to go do blood work on her and said Beth just talked and talked and talked about us. So we’re going to go back and give it another shot.

Thursday was quite an exciting day. We had a lovely lesson with JoAnn in the morning with a member, Dolores Lovelace, and then headed out on our bikes. We had dinner with Denese Durr that night before our Hour of Power. We shared a scripture with her, then asked her where we should head to find someone. She didn’t really know, so she spun a pen on the floor and told us to go the direction it pointed. Well – it pointed to the OTHER black neighborhood. It looked like a bunch of old slave houses – no joke – that you’d find on a huge plantation. Except there were just rows of them… all these little shacks. We weren’t really having success, so I said, “Hey, let’s go bike down there to the right!” the road looked so pretty; trees, a bend and a creek… Well we’re riding, and we hear a POP! POP! I looked over my shoulder at sister Allison and saw blood gushing out of her! jk. hahaha i looked at her and yelled, “retreat! retreat!” so we spun around on our bikes and booked it back to the main part of the neighborhood. So we headed left… and heard another POP! POP! so then we looked at each other, didn’t say a word, and but began to pedal out of the neighborhood as fast as we could. I don’t think we’ve ever biked so fast. I was actually pretty scared! 

Our mission has been reading Preach My Gospel together. We read a chapter a week, study it out, and pray for strength as we do it together. It’s pretty cool the insight I’ve been getting… Especially with chapter 3 where all the lessons are. I’ve probably read those lessons a hundred times, but I’m learning new things! I love it. There’s such a strength to things when everyone puts their faith behind it… Like fasting! It’s pretty cool. We’re becoming better teachers.

Well yesterday – since I didn’t get to email y’all – we went fishing! We met up with the Fred Elders and all headed to Odomville. There’s a pond that everyone calls “the secret pond” that we’ve always wanted to find. FINALLY! Milton Odom and Marilyn McCabe set us up with some poles, sweet corn for bait, and a bucket then showed us where it was. It was SO COOL! It was way back behind all these pine trees. They keep it stocked with perch and catfish. It was the best fishing I’ve ever done (and I have SO much experience! :P) I have never had so much fun fishing. We’d drop a line, then yank out a fish. But it was funny cause Marilyn’s adult poles weren’t set up I guess, so we had to use her grandkids poles… I got to use the Spiderman one. Elder Bock and I caught the most, but we think I caught the biggest perch. It was so fun. We filled the bucket and they all started dying (lack of O2) so we had to call it a day. But I touched them! I took them off the hook and everything. It was so fun.

Have y’all been given those new family history books? They’re so neat! They’re the cutest little books that will help you get you going on family history. We had a whole presentation with videos and such during church last Sunday. It makes me so jealous – I want to do family history so bad now! I’ve caught the bug and I can’t feed the fire… It’s awful. I’m just so excited to come home and do temple work! Ahh man… Don’t take it for granted! Get going on it (:

Well this letter is getting out of control. I will call it good… I miss and love y’all so much! Thanks for all the prayers. See y’all soon! 😛

— Sister Stockinger

 

Moe’s Letter – September 30, 2013

Well this week was a great one! We were able to go to the temple on Tuesday. It was AMAZING. Oh my goodness… President and Sister Crawford attended our session with us. It was so sweet. President just stood in the celestial room, looked around at the 40+ missionaries, and cried. It was a really great experience! I love the Houston Temple. It’s GORGEOUS!

On Wednesday we helped this 80 year old lady clean the blinds in her living room. They were pretty nasty… She’s a strong Methodist and has no intention of changing, but she calls us her cleaning angels and wants us to come by each Wednesday to eat treats with her. We’ll see… I’m getting fat. I don’t think I can afford a steady weekly treat. Oh man…

We also did our mormon.org on Wednesday. There’s a really cool Youth Mormon Message that I think the boys would like. It’s called, “A Work in Progress”. It’s about a boy who works really hard at basketball… But President Monson is quoted in it. He said, “It’s not enough to want to make the effort. It’s in the doing, not just the thinking, that we accomplish our goals”. That applies heavily to missionary work since we set a TON of goals. But it obviously applies to life in general.

Last Saturday morning one of our favorite members, Denese and Tim Durr, had their little 6 year old grandbaby Lakay pass away :/ she had a lot of disabilities; they think she had a seizure in the night. Since she passed away at home a huge investigation has had to take place… It’s been crazy. But on Thursday we had her funeral. It was really sad… I don’t like little caskets. But the service was nice. A lot of people came… The main funeral was held in Kingwood and President Crawford spoke at it. We didn’t get to attend that, but she was buried out in Dam B so we got to go to that portion of it. Thank goodness for eternal families!

Not too much happened on Friday and Saturday. I was on exchanges with Sister Johnson who’s serving in Jasper. She ended up getting sick so I just mainly sat around their apartment reading New Eras.

On Saturday we did get to watch the General Relief Society Broadcast. I thought it was very good! I liked how they tried to help mothers understand ways to teach their kids what a covenant is since 8 year olds get baptized. I especially loved President Monson… Doesn’t he look OLD?! Oh my goodness… He has changed a lot. But listening to him made me get so excited for General Conference! Wooweee!

So I’ve been in Woodville for 6 weeks now; one transfer. I was asked to say the opening prayer in Relief Society yesterday… “Sister Stockinberg? Will you say the opening prayer?” Or sometimes it’s, “Sister Stockton, where are you from again?” or, “Sister Stockler, are you the one allergic to dairy?”… yeah. It’s great being a ‘Stockinger’ living with a bunch of illiterate Texans. haha keeps it interesting!

Transfer calls came Saturday night. We’re both staying in Woodville! Sister Allison will probably get transferred at the next one cause this will be her 4th transfer here now.

Our investigators are still doing okay… We struggle with getting them to church though. People are stubborn! Southern Baptists… OH MAN. When we tract here, people open their door and look happy to see us! Then they yell, “Oh girls, I have Jesus in my heart! I’ve been saved!” annnd then we walk away… This is a challenging area. It helps us think outside the box though (:

It’s been pouring rain for a couple days now. I don’t remember if I told y’all I had to buy rain boots… The grass becomes SO WET that you think it looks fine, but when you step on it you sink to your ankles in water. Sooo trying to preserve my shoes, I bought really flattering rain boots. The city hall put up a sign that says, “Thank God for Rain”. Haha I love it. Only in Texas do you see religious signs everywhere…

Tim Durr – the man whose grandbaby passed away – is a mountain man. He looks normal, but he is a MOUNTAIN MAN. He makes these really cool stone knives the way the Indians do and all kinds of scary stuff. He does all the scouting for the area; almost every boy in Tyler County goes to him for help with scouts. He’s awesome! But anyways – he makes the knives for the missionaries who serve here but you have to earn them. So some missionaries have ate hot peppers, pickled pigs feet, hog head cheese, skinned a raccoon… nasty stuff. Well he prayed about the challenge I have to do in order to get my knife. So right after this I’m going to go skin a bob cat! AHHH! I’m probably going to cry the whole time. But Sister Allison gets to skin it with me for her challenge too. I’m freaking out! But kind of excited (: haha

So that’s the most exciting thing that’s been going on here. The field is white and ready to harvest… We’re doing well!

Thanks for all the emails and love. I miss y’all so much!
Love y’all,
Sister Stockinger