Moe’s Last Letter – Is This Real Life? – October 13, 2014

I just don’t even know how to begin… I can’t stop crying!
I just love getting emails from everyone. I wish y’all could all see the out pouring of love you’ve sent my way! It is amazing. After shoulder problems, illness, discouragement… I honestly didn’t think I’d be right here, right now. I guess you could say I am living proof that God works miracles! If He can take me: a broken down, worn out, stressed out, heart aching missionary, He can truly heal anyone (: This has been the ride of a lifetime.
We spent my last week watching movies… no joke! (: okay – just one movie. MEET THE MORMONS! Oh my lanta – it was amazing! The first presidency gave us a sneak peak. President Drake traveled the mission from zone to zone and we got to sit and be uplifted and inspired by some incredible members of our church! If you haven’t seen it, GO! If you haven’t ‘liked’ it on facebook, DO IT! We want it to be popular enough to get on Netflix. It’s amazing!
This week I said goodbye to Xavier. Oh my goodness – that boy is a mess. He still has a lot of family problems… But he’s getting a grip! He just got a car, so he drove himself to church yesterday. He came all dressed up and looking good! I was so proud of him. He even stayed after to support us at Jonathan’s baptism.
What was that? JONATHAN GOT BAPTIZED! What a great way to end my week (: I just love this kid so much. Our YW President, Lacy Ruggles, made him some baptismal invitations. He went around (look at how Christlike this boy is!) and gave invitations to his biological family. Yep – the family that kicked him out and told him he was worthless. He still wanted them to be a part of this special occasion! When he went to see his dad, his dad hollered at him. But Jonathan stuck it out, gave him an invite, and turned to walk away. But (Look at the spirit go!) his dad briefly apologized, then told him he was proud of him. PROUD OF HIM! We saw Jonathan right after the fact – he looked like he was floating. To hear his dad say he was proud of him meant everything and so much more to him. We all cried a little, bore testimony that the gospel blesses families and brings us together… it was a tender moment. But okay – day of the baptism: Jonathan’s dad, aunt, and cousin came. They got to see the baptism, confirmation, and even stayed to mingle afterwards. When I saw his dad get out of the car, my heart was raging. I just thought, “There he is. the man who cant even love his own son” I was furious. But as the service progressed, even my stubborn heart softened towards him. After he left, we talked to Jonathan about it. You could see it – he was floating again. It meant SO MUCH to him that his dad came. When I asked him how he felt about his baptism he said, “Good” (typical 18 year old!) but I kept pressing on him. “How does your heart feel?” and he paused, closed his eyes for a minute, then said, “I feel amazing” then he teared up a little!
Teaching Jonathan has been the icing to the cake. This is what missionary work is about – like in Luke 22 when the Lord tells Simon Peter that once he is strengthened and has gained his testimony, to go and strengthen his brethren. The Lord took me, a broken down daughter, and strengthened me. Seeing Jonathan gain that same testimony and strength from his LOVING Heavenly Father means EVERYTHING to me.
All in all – it was an incredible last week. I was STRESSED OUT OF MY MIND! But God – as usual – was there for me. Saying goodbye to members has not been my favorite thing, but knowing I can call them whenever I want after this “transfer” makes me feel better. Whew! This ward is great. Silsbee is a special place!
Oh – Ma Boddie’s son, Ian, is home. He’s super awkward. I just looked at him and thought to myself, “Oh no… That’s going to be me!” HAHA! I’m so scared.
I just want to leave my testimony one last time with y’all… I know that this church is true. I know that God is my loving Heavenly Father. I know He is aware of me. I know that the gospel Christ had established on the earth is here again today. I know that Christ restored His gospel thru the prophet Joseph Smith and that The Book of Mormon is a living witness of that fact. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God today! I know that families are eternal and are meant to be together forever. I love everything about this great work – there is nothing more joyful or fulfilling than being apart of the Lord’s team. I am excited to take all these truths (and so much more!) with me throughout my life and to continue to share them with others.
To my Texans: I am going to MISS YOU! Y’all have changed me. I hope I’ve done even just a tenth of what y’all have done for me. I love this great state!
To my Boise-ites: I’ll see you soon. I love y’all so very much!
— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – What A Week! – September 15, 2014

Oh my goodness… This week has been crazy and it hasn’t settled down!
Monday night we drove to Kingwood to sleep at the mission home. Tuesday was our Mission Leadership Council. That was, of course, inspiring and uplifting! I love the Drakes. We had the opportunity to write new mission standards and set the expectations. It was SWEET! Too bad they’re going to be implemented the weekend before I leave… *sigh*
On Wednesday we got a call saying that the next day we’d be moving out of Ma Boddie’s and into an apartment. We knew this was coming, just didn’t know when. Ma’s son is coming home from his mission… I guess she wants to live with him 😛 So we spent a lot of the day packing up and cleaning.
Thursday morning at 9:30 the elders came over to our house to help pack our car. We drove over to the new apartment where we were meeting a senior couple (the guidrys) and our new landlord. OHMYHECK. Our new place… is a dump… Our neighbor is a felon (but his wife kicked him out? maybe?), one apartment previously caught on fire, another one has been condemned, and another one was broken into and had everything stripped out of it. -_- The elders FREAKED when they saw it. They were all, “Sisters, there is no way you can live here!” But we were trying to be tough and not cry, so we just said we’d find a way to make it fit. Apparently every other housing complex in Silsbee is full… I don’t know if I believe it, or if our housing guy is just being stingy.  *sigh* so then we went to walmart with the Guidrys cause we have no stuff. My heart has never hurt so bad just watching them ring up the absolute basics our apartment needed. We spent over $300! OF TITHING FUNDS! I couldn’t stop thinking about all the poor single mothers who barely make ends meet, but still have the faith to trust God and pay their tithing… Ugh. So we load up all our stuff, and then the landlord tells us we still have no power turned on. Um, what? Elder Guidry says, “Oh they’ll be fine. They can live without power for a few days. The water works, right?” -_- Is this a joke? Thank goodness Ma is still letting us live with her! Ian doesn’t come home till October 9th.
So Friday we expected the power to get turned on, but of course it didn’t happen. After our zone meeting we went and cleaned as much as we could. I have never – in my whole life – wanted to cry and gag so much. Our apartment smells like it has some serious water damage. We sprinkled and sprayed stuff all over, but I doubt the smell will be gone. Our ward members are not pleased…
While all this craziness is going on, we’re still living out of our suitcases. Um, we just packed our WHOLE ROOM AND BATHROOM! We’re sisters; it’s not like we travel super light! Ugh. We have felt so frazzled. But even with it all going on, we managed to do some missionary work (:
When we were shopping on Monday, I ran into Aaron Smith from Vidor. I started crying as soon as I saw him, but managed to pull myself together. That was a sweet, sweet, tender mercy from heavenly father!
On Wednesday we met with our kiddo recent converts. They’re adorable! Danine and AJ Gore. We went over the plan of salvation… They know so much! They’re incredible. I love them… We also got to go help Athena with some baby stuff since she’s due so soon. I wish we could get her back to church, but with being pregnant she isn’t ready to face people :/ can’t say I blame her… yikes.
We got to visit Vicky and it went in a direction we were SO not expecting. She can’t get baptized now because she “suddenly remembered” her husband telling her that she had been baptized. But it was right after her mom died so she was grieving and didn’t even know she’d gone and done it. So now she thinks satan is trying to tell her to be baptized twice. I was all, “Did she just call me satan for inviting her to be baptized?” This lady is nuts, but I love her! I think she’ll still get baptized. We just gotta pluck away at her fears.
Didi called us outta the blue and set up an appointment, then blew it off…(: haha surprise, surprise!
There’s a family in our ward who is on FIRE with doing missionary work. This is the miracle of the week! After having the craziest of crazy weeks, Sister Stanley stopped me before relief society and told me about the “friend” who’s been attending with them! I met him a few times, but he always runs away from me. Well, his name is Jonathan and he’s 18. When he was a baby, his pallet didn’t form right so he has a pretty severe speech impediment. He also needed brain surgery, but then his parents failed to take him to follow-up stuff. So he’s got some struggles with that. Well now that he’s 18 and a senior in high school, his parents kicked him out. They told him he was of no value or worth so he may as well quit dragging them down. At this point, I’m nearly bawling cause it’s so sad! So the Stanley’s have “adopted” him. He’s been coming to church for about a month, and started to go to seminary with their son James. Well he surprised Brother Stanley and asked him if he could be baptized! WHAT?! So yesterday evening we went and sat down with him and went over the first discussion. He said the most incredible prayer at the end. I nearly started bawling again.
It just blows my mind that some people really feel nothing for their kids. I can’t imagine being raised to believe that I was of no value or worth to my parents. I just know, right now, that this gospel is going to save this boy’s life! He’s about to have his mind blown. He’s super hilarious, so teaching him is good. He just has trouble with comprehension. But James, who’s 17, does a great job of explaining things to him. He was a huge help in our lesson. He’s supposed to get baptized in 2 weeks, but we need to stay with him on lessons. The Stanley’s are crazy busy.
I am so thankful for faithful members! I am so thankful for people who are not afraid to step up and take more on, even though their lives may not be running as smoothly as they hope. The Stanley’s adopted James, their nephew, when he was 6 after both his parents died. Now they’re raising Jonathan, and they’re also sharing the gospel with a man named Jim. They literally emulate Christ in everything they do.
So that was the icing on the cake for the week. It was nuts, but it ended with a huge miracle. I am so thankful to be here in Silsbee! I love this ward. I love being a missionary! I love the fact that I’m still learning. I can’t believe it’s nearly over… :/ I love my mission! TEXAS HOUSTON EAST! I am so thankful for it and the things I’ve learned.
— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – Let’s See here… – September 29, 2014

Well, someone called bishop and complained that we have a nasty apartment. He finally got it taken care of… We moved! Again! *sigh* right next door… It sounds crazy, but this one is waaaay nice. It’s been recently renovated and updated. We were all, “What the heck? Why didn’t they give us this one to start with?” Well – it’s a 2 bedroom. So the mission probably only looked for 1 bedroom… But now we have a study room instead of putting our desks in the living room! It’s great. It’s mold free! It smells good! We’re pretty happy. We’re almost 100% settled in… Just on time for me to pack again… *sigh*
On Tuesday we had exchanges with the Woodville Sisters. Sister Crump came to Silsbee with me. It was great! We got a lot done. We had the most insane bipolar lesson ever with Vicky though. We kept trying to help her recognize authority. Finally, I told her she needed to kneel down right then and pray to know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, if the priesthood was on the earth, if the book of Mormon was true, and if God would be upset with her for being baptized twice. Being baptized twice was suddenly her biggest concern. So she did… We all kneeled down, she said her prayer, and before we could get up she said, “What a minute! Wait a minute! Don’t move… I feel it… I can feel it…. YEP. I’VE DONE GONE AND GOT MY ANSWER!” “Oh really?” “YEP! The spirit gone done and told me that I need to be baptized. I guess I’m gonna have to.” I died laughing. This lady is so stinking funny. “Really!? That quick?” “Yep – I can’t deny it. I’m gonna have to. The holy spirit has done gone and told me to!” “Well okay! How about October 11th?” “YEP! That’s the date it told me. Mmmhm…”
Well – Vicky didn’t come to the relief society broadcast or church this Sunday, so we don’t think the 11th is gonna happen… Goll dang it! The Spirit had gone done and told her! That crazy woman…
Jonathan is doing extremely well. He has been inviting EVERYONE to his baptism. He is so excited. He’s doing good reading the book of Mormon. He’s loving it! Each lesson we have, you can just see him grow and light up more and more. This poor boy… His life has been so hard. But the gospel is awakening good things inside him! I am so thrilled to be a part of his teaching process. He’s definitely going to be ready for the 11th!
On Wednesday we went to YM/YW to help out with their activity… We were judges for their “Shining Idol” contest. They had to lip sync and dance to songs. They broke into 3 groups… It was HILARIOUS! But super weird cause… it wasn’t hymns… I just thought, “This is what people listen to now?… What in the world…” but oh well. We had a great time with the youth! The elders were there too. We did team judging. It was sooo much fun.
On Friday we got permission to go to the Silsbee High School homecoming football game! I hadn’t been to a game since 2011… It felt so weird. But: it was amazing. We were supposed to go and meet up with Jonathan. Well – he totally didn’t meet where we were supposed to. So there we were… at a game… with a bunch of ghetto black people and crazy hicks. We were trying to figure out how to be purpose driven without getting kicked out or giving the church a bad name. As we were walking around, some members stopped us and said they wanted to introduce us to some of their friends! They met them at the games; they sit in the same spot each week. They’ve been trying to figure out how to introduce us, except the only times they ever see these people is at football games. Then lo and behold: there we were. They were thrilled – and the people we met were super nice! The members just went on and on at how happy they were that we came to support the town and put ourselves in a place where everyone could see us. They said, “Y’all need the publicity, and in Texas, there’s no where better!” So heavenly father answered our prayer. We were able to visit with these people, watch a little football, and put the missionary spirit out there! Some of the youth even introduced us to their friends. We just didn’t get to have lengthy conversations with them… It really impressed me though. I don’t think I would have ever introduced my friends to the missionaries at a football game. I would have been too embarrassed or worried about seeming weird. But the youth here have grown to love us, and we love them, so they are starting to share their friends with us!
On Saturday we went to the homecoming parade. It was cute. Almost all of the youth were in the parade. They were so cute! They were all excited to see us sitting there.
We went to visit Magda and Athena; our less active mother-daughter duo. Well – now it’s the less active mother-daughter-granddaughter trio. Athena just gave birth to her baby girl; Zoey Adele. She’s adorable! It was so tempting to hold her, but we resisted.
The broadcast that night was AMAZING! I learned so much. I loved how they talked about how the home is the first taste of the temple your family receives – IF you do what is right… There were a lot of lovely things said. Too much to type though!
The church is true, missionary life is the best, Silsbee is great, I LOVE TEXAS!
Love y’all! Thanks for everything!
— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – I LOVE TEXAS! – October 6, 2014

 I got to go on exchanges with a greenie sister in Beaumont, Sister Del Bosque. She’s adorable! We had a lot of fun. We got to teach a guy who seems solid, but not very sincere… if that makes sense. His wife is dying and she used to be Mormon. He pulled her from the LDS church and made her Baptist, but now he has regrets. He says she was always happiest when she was Mormon, so that’s what she needs to die as. But he wants to be baptized… but doesn’t seem sincere… I don’t know. It was weird. But it was a great exchange nonetheless. We got much accomplished!
Jonathan is doing excellent. His mind is retaining things much better now. He is ready and set for his baptismal interview this Wednesday! I am so excited for him. It has been the journey of a lifetime seeing this boy progress. His life has been so hard, but he has LIT UP as he’s kept his commitments! He even woke up in a bad mood one morning and decided to read the book of Mormon. he said it turned his day around! (: it was so cute. I am so proud of him! He is so ready.
Vicky is… not currently meeting with us… so we’re having to let her go :/ that woman. She’s so close, then so far.
We went and did our service at the Silsbee Oaks nursing home. It breaks my heart to do in room visits with some of those folks 😦 they’re so lonely! I don’t know if I mentioned this lady before… but we visit an old Pentecostal lady, Helen. She sings the cutest praise songs! Haha I love her. But she is so weepy… the poor woman. She is so depressed! So we visit with her, sing with/to her, and share scriptures. She is VERY well versed in the bible. Whoa! She’s got them all packed up in her brain. It’s so cute to hear her quote stuff… and interpret stuff… wrong… (: haha but oh well. She’ll get it figured out eventually. We’re just there to visit, not to preach. But she let me record her singing my favorite song that she has shared with me! It’s adorable. I can’t wait to share it with everyone!
Conference was AMAZING! I had so many questions answered and direction given. I loved Bednar’s talk. It made me wish that every nonmember in the whole world was tuned in! The story of his boys… Oh man. I was rolling. And Holland? Wow. I cried as he described our sweet, sweet President Monson walking through the airport in his house slippers! Oh man – it still gets me. We are SO BLESSED! We are so blessed to be a part of this gospel and have all the luxuries we need at our dispense.
I finished the book of Mormon again on the 1st. It was AMAZING, of course. It has me all ready to take on the world and share it with everyone! Yeah! I wish everyone would just take one, read it, love it, and get baptized. Man! It felt so good to feel the holy ghost confirm to me, once again, that it is the holy word of God. That spirit… it’s incredible. I can’t imagine life without it.
I had to begin my goodbyes this week… I’ve had all my favorite families from Silsbee lined up on the dinner calendar, so I had to start taking pictures and saying goodbye 😦 ahhhh! It’s awful.
I honestly don’t have much else to report. We’ve had tons of rain… we’ve met lots of people… we’ve done our best to be the Lord’s servants. It’s been great.
I just love my mission sooo much. I feel beyond happy with the time I’ve spent here. My heart is ready to burst with the love and joy I’ve gained! I just…. wow. I just don’t even know how to describe it.
I am so thankful for all the love, support, prayers, fasting, packages, emails, handwritten just-because notes, goodies, and tears of joy and pain that may have been, and have been offered up on my behalf over the past 18 months. It makes me cry to think of how many people have supported me out here. And to think, I’m just one missionary! There are so many families who sacrifice and save for years… I am so thankful that I was able to make the decision, to do it, and for my family and friends who backed me 100%
I love y’all! See y’all soon! THE CHURCH IS TRUE!
— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – Hey Y’all – September 22, 2014

This one is going to be short… We spent Monday and Tuesday going to meetings. EXCEPT: Last Monday we did go fishing. The elders spent some time catching me some tadpoles which turned out to be guppies. *sigh* so I had 3 pet fish this week! But I just released them this morning. For not being fed, only 1 died! (: I felt pretty accomplished. haha I had named them after the elders. They were not amused. (:
Monday night I did get to go to the Smith’s as well! EEEK! I got to say goodbye AGAIN! It was awesome! We had to go to Vidor to pick up a sister for our meeting, so I just snuck on over super fast (: It was awesome.
Tuesday was our leadership training. Learned a ton! Loved it!
Wednesday we cleaned the apartment some more… yikes. I don’t think that place will ever smell good. But that evening we did get to teach our little RC’s, Danein and and AJ. I just love them! Then we got to teach Jonathan after mutual. He’s doing soooo good! He’s telling everyone about his baptism (: He’s very excited.
Thursday we cleaned, yet again. It was so bad… it took more than half the day to clean out the cabinets. Sister Long was a champ and scraped mold out of the cabinet above the stove. It was about 1/4 inch thick, and covered the bottom, sides, and top. *sigh* I said we should just duct tape the thing shut, but she couldn’t knowing it was there haha. I gaged the whole time! As you could imagine, we’ve been a little depressed about where we’re moving to… The elders have such nice apartments! We got the pits. But trying to remain positive, we went to walmart to get a scentsy and some shelf liner. We washed the cabinets out 3 times, but finally had to accept the fact that they’ll always be filthy and sticky. Sooo we decided to cover it… Well, being missionaries, we’re kinda broke. We decided to not buy a scentsy and just the shelf liners. So in near tears, we drove to dinner at the Hewlitts. While we were driving, we just sat in silence. I was praying sooo hard that Heavenly Father would find a way to make things right! We got to the Hewlitt’s house and walked in… IT SMELLED SOOO GOOD! Not of dinner, but of some delicious sugary sweetness. She had a scentsy right next to the door -_- of course. Just rubbing it in our face. THEN her dad called and they talked about scentsy. OF COURSE! Just rub it in goooood. Then, when she got off the phone, she looked at us and said, “Sisters! Do you need a scentsy?” I gasped. She continued, “I used to sell scentsy. Would you like a warmer?” “OH SISTER HEWLITT! YES! PLEASE! YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE WHERE WE MOVED!” So we told her our dramatic traumatizing story. When we finish, she said, “You bought shelf liner? I have some! I could have given it to you!” “…could we still have it?” “Sure!” I literally almost started crying. Heavenly Father even cares about scentsy and shelf liners! Never, in my whole life, have I met someone who uses shelf liners… until now. SUCH AN ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS!
Well her shelf liner was a smaller roll than ours, so we were afraid that we’d still have to open the one we bought. Heavenly Father is so kind – I am convinced that he made that shelf liner stretch and cover all the shelves in the kitchen and bathroom. There was just no way that liner could have covered everything! But it did. It was a pure miracle!
It was so silly, but I just know that Heavenly Father cares about the small things. I know He hears our prayers and answers them, so long as we are living worthy of it. Everything aligned perfectly… Imagine if we’d had dinner with them next week, or last week! Her dad wouldn’t have called while we were there, we wouldn’t have bought the liner the same day… It was all divine intervention from a LOVING Heavenly Father. It still amazes me.
On Friday we took a break from cleaning and went on exchanges with the Buna sisters.
Saturday we got right back to it… and officially moved in. We got all our stuff out of Ma’s, into the new place, and cleaned Ma’s by 9pm. When we went to say goodnight/goodbye to Ma, I burst into tears. Oh my heck – it was bad. It felt like I was leaving home all over again… Ma Boddie is amazing. She is such an incredible example of what a righteous woman should be! Living with her was a blessing and honor. I love her sooo much! Thank goodness we live half a mile away so we can still drop in whenever(: haha
We’re still getting settled… But we’ll survive. Heavenly Father is giving us such great experiences!
We did get to visit jonathan Sunday night, and he’s doing excellent. We moved his date back though, to Oct. 11th. We don’t want to rush his teaching process and make sure he doesn’t fall behind in school. But he’s going to be great! He even told us last night that they watched the “Called To Serve” movie with David Archuleta in seminary, and he wants to serve a mission now. Awww! ❤ he’s precious.
Thanks so much for all the love and prayers! I love y’all sooo much!
— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – A Week of Black People Sass – September 8, 2014

Well I have something so super duper exciting to share! This is the story I saved from last email… Ahhh! Okay –

Mom emailed me a couple weeks ago letting me know that someone read and commented on my blog where she posts all my emails. This girl claimed she had gotten her call to be an Hermana in the mission, but I didn’t recognize the name. I asked the assistants, but they never responded. This cutie pie said the sweetest things, so i took a stab in the dark and emailed what I guessed would be her mission email. Because of the holiday, as all y’all know, i didn’t get to email last monday and transfers happened on tuesday Well, there I was. Sitting in transfer meeting. AND LO AND BEHOLD: an Hermana Rogers was brought into the mission. I gasped! THERE SHE WAS! My little fan (: After the meeting I ran over to her and said, “Did you read my blog?!” then she gasped, became so excited, and started to brim with tears! YES! She had! and she had gotten my email but I hadn’t had a chance to check it yet! So there we were: jumping and hugging.
Isn’t that crazy?! I met her! I’m going to attach a picture. She really is the most darling thing. I feel like she’s my little soul best friend.
But anyways… Let’s see, after I emailed y’all on wednesday… we got to have a lesson with some recent converts who are 12 and 10. They are adorable, Danine and AJ. Then we went to young womens for a bit, then went and had a super late dinner with Magda and Athena. It was delicious.
On Thursday sister long and i set some goals for this transfer. We started praying for a lot of things, one of which was a part member family who was prepared to hear the lessons, come to church, and be baptized. Later that night we prayed with the Powell family for hour of power. We talked to Jackson, who’s 12 or 13, and he said we could come over. When we went, he said, “So you’re going to go to tic toc street?” “Um… no? but should we?” “Oh, i thought you said tic toc street… yeah! my friend lives over there!” so we got a referral and a sweet prayer from jackson. Well, his buddy wasn’t home. But we tracted and met this guy Chris. Chris’s wife used to be a member! He seemed open to hearing more and said we could come back. SAY WHAT?! Part member family?! We’re so excited to keep following up with him and begin teaching them. he seems like a super nice guy.
On friday we had sister hyde out with us. She is such a good member missionary. We were blessed to teach 2 lessons with her. One of the lessons was with our buddy, Ty. He’s this black guy who has a barber shop at his house. Black people from kirbyville, jasper, orange, buna, kountze, lumberton, beaumont, woodville, zavala… all come to have him cut their hair, so there’s always gobs and gobs of people at his house. Well, this time, there were so many it was kind of difficult to teach. So we shared some scriptures, sister hyde testified how much they help her life, and all the guys (about 25) were all giving us their “mmmhm” and “amen!” comments. I was trying so hard not to laugh. It just tickles me when they do that! haha! but so… about 10 of them were actively engaged in the discussion, so when it came time to pray Ty and Dennis (our other buddy who just so happens to always be at Ty’s house) made the other 15 come gather around. One guy was dragging his feet, so Dennis yelled, “BOY! Get over here and get some prayin! I know you need it!” so the guy came over, then smiled kind of obnoxiously (you could tell he was uncomfortable) and said, “Yeah i need some good prayin” so then Dennis smashed into him saying, “Then why you back there draggin yo feet? Dont you know these are GOD’S ANGELS?! Don’t you know that these are GOD’S ministers sent to save your hell condemned soul?” I was stunned. Dennis is so sweet but he was not gonna take any crap from this guy! He continues, “BOY! When you come around here at Ty’s place, and these ladies show up, you do not disrespect. Do you hear me? You do NOT disrespect!… Okay ladies, you go ahead and pray for this boy’s soul”. WABAM! There you go – Dennis is laying it down thick! hahaha I was just smiling so big, sister long looked terrified, and sister hyde was openly laughing. So then we prayed, shook hands with all our new friends who’s souls are on their way to being saved, and went to see miss vicky.
We haven’t had a lesson with Vicky for a couple weeks… She’s been depressed I think. Well sister hyde make her happy! She said all the right things. We were able to talk about the book of mormon and invite her to church. Well… come Sunday morning, Vicky was at church! We had stake conference. Half the stake was at our building cause they broadcasted it from Beaumont. Well… Vicky noticed that she was the only black person there… and we had TONS of wards there! But literally – the only black person in that building. She sat there upset until the meeting started… and what do you see on the screen? a black lady praying! YES! She said, “Well I’ll be darned” except… not darned… and she said it loud! hahaha oops. THEN all through out the meeting she took notes, and when it came time for a closing prayer, another black lady said it. It was awesome! It made her so happy. Whew! I think she’ll definitely come again – and bring all her black friends so she isn’t the only one (so she says…haha!)
All in all we had an excellent week. We were able to get a lot of things done. I just love Sister Long. She is exactly what I needed for my last transfer! We are having so much fun and working so hard to reach our transfer goals. I can just tell she is going to be an amazing STL.
Thanks so much for all the emails, love, and support! I know a lot of you are praying for me and I can literally feel that strength carrying me. I love my mission! I love this work. I know this church is true.
I love y’all and miss y’all,
— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – Hey Y’all! – September 3, 2014

Well… It’s Wednesday… This is awkward. Let me explain!
Monday, the libraries were closed so we just had a HUGE bbq with our district at our place with Ma Boddie. It was deeeelicous! We played phase 10. We had way too much fun. Ma is the best! I love her so much.
Tuesday was…. TRANSFERS! AHHHH! Sister Johnson left, as expected. You’ll never believe who my companion is……….. SISTER LONG! haha She is precious. She just got called to be an STL so life just became way easier. Whew! Now when we go on exchanges we’ll finish the zone all at the same time. Companionships only have to plan on one exchange instead of 2 now! Whew! It’s awesome. I love it. She is from Idaho Falls, IDAHO! Say what?! I love having Idaho companions. This is my second one! The first was Sister Allison, who is also from Idaho Falls. We have a ton from that side of the state. IT’S GREAT!
But okay – last week….
We got dropped on our booties by Jimmy. His girlfriend said if he ever went to church his stuff would be waiting on the lawn. So we were all, “go to church! go to church!” but Jimmy is a big moocher. He has no personal income; his girlfriend pays for everything. So he called and dropped us. Ugh.
We’re making progress with 3 less actives. One is the Bohler’s…. Sister Bohler is actually semi-active, it’s her husband who never comes. We call them Grannie and Pops. We LOVE them! Ohhh my heart flutters when I think about them. They’re the ones who we were visiting when Sister Johnson threw up and it echoed through the whole house…. Maybe I didn’t share that story… I can’t remember. But the point is: we love them and Pops is making progress! Woot!
The other 2 less actives are Magda and Athena. They’re quite wayward. But we have a standing appointment with them every week now so it’s GREAT. They have their trials… For example, Athena is currently pregnant out of marriage :/ But they have hearts of gold and are doing so well!
On Thursday…. IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY! THE BIG 22! AHHH! We celebrated from sun up to sun down (: Literally. And then a little more! (: It was AWESOME! Probably the best birthday I’ve ever had. It started with Ma making me my favorite breakfast. Which is apparently German Pancakes… She asked and that flew out of my mouth! But: it tasted like home. I haven’t had that in ages! So she made that (and added some cinnamon and nutmeg! mmm), fresh strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate milk, and gluten free waffles for Sister Johnson. All through my studies I just couldn’t stop smiling. I just felt so happy! My joy was overflowing… and all we had was breakfast! But ma also got me some Coke and chocolate (: She knows me well!
Then we had weekly planning, which was good. in the middle of that we took a break to go have lunch with Sister Melanie Bourne. We went down to her brand new beauty supply store and ordered from Boogie and Tootsie’s Deli. Mmm… So I got to spend some time with her, which is ALWAYS a good time.
We went home to finish weekly planning. Then I broke out the Blue Bell Ice Cream I treated myself to for my birthday… I got the new kind, Southern Peach Cobbler. Basically: it’s awesome. I feel so bad for everyone who cant obtain such a heavenly treat! Mmm. Then later that night we went and did the hour of power. We met a lady named Bridget. We are going to be following up with her this week!
For dinner we went to Lacy and Ray Ruggles house. We had the yummiest tacos! They got me a chocolate extreme ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. This family is amazing (: I love them so much! Ray is actually a motorcycle cop in Vidor. We share good stories all the time 😛
We continued to celebrate my birthday on Friday by going to taco bell for district meeting! Woot woot! Haha then finally my tshirt and card came 😛 Whoops. A day late, but it was cool cause that just meant more celebrating! I loved the card and shirt, so thanks to everyone who contributed!
On Friday we took a recent convert, Taylor, out with us. We’d been trying for 3 weeks to coordinate schedules. She did awesome! She is normally very shy… But when we taught a lesson this guy, Ty, she testified without us even prompting her to! She even invited him to come to church (: I was so proud of her! She’s amazing.
Saturday night we got two new investigators, Ricky and Durwin. They seem pretty neat! I’m excited to keep teaching them. We were blessed to answer a question they’ve had for a long time; what happens to little children when they die? We blew their minds with the book of Mormon (: Way to go, Spirit! It was a great lesson.
On Sunday I got to see a family from Summerwood – the Hales! They went camping in Lumberton and came up for sacrament meeting. That was a great little reunion. I LOVE when I run into families from old areas!
But okay – since i’m emailing in the middle of the week I can’t share details yet… But I have THE MOST AMAZING STORY TO SHARE WITH Y’ALL NEXT WEEK! So stay tuned till next Monday! 😛
But any who… Thanks for all the love and emails! I miss everyone soooo much! I am so thankful for my mission and the continues joy I feel every day. I love this incredible work! There’s nothing better than sharing the gospel (:
Miss and love y’all!
— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – Best. Week. Ever. – August 25, 2014

This past week was crazy. Wow! We were constantly on the go. Yikes!
Monday night we went to Beaumont to meet up with the Hermanas. I got to go to Port Arthur with Hermana Christensen and Hermana Bonar – aka: my soul best friends. We had SO MUCH FUN! I learned so much from those cutie pies. We had all of Tuesday to go out and visit people. Listening to them speak Spanish was incredible… Hma Bonar has only been out 11 weeks, and Hma Christensen has only been out 6mo. They knew so much! It blew me away. Heavenly Father really prepares his missionaries to accomplish anything. I mean – hello – they’re fluent in a language after such a short amount of time, and they’re both only 19! Whoa! It made my heart swell. They had such excellent companionship unity too. I loved being with them! They call me their “Hermanita” or, “Little Hermana”. They want me to join them for my last 6 weeks 😛 ha! But at the end of our exchange, we went to grab a bite to eat cause dinner cancelled. We found this hole in the wall Mexican place – it made me miss dad! But we all ordered in Spanish (heck yeah! Never doing that again…) and so the workers gave us free horchata since we could speak Spanish. They were so impressed! hahaha the sisters had a good chat with them while I dug into my awesome food. Mmm. That horchata though – wow. It was sooooo good!
On Wednesday we had our zone conference in Vidor. It was combined with the Orange zone. Ohh my goodness… Sister Samantha Smith made me her homemade cheesecake for my birthday. When I saw her van pull into the parking lot I FREAKED OUT! I went sprinting to her and the girls! I was happy, then as soon as I hugged her, I started sobbing. Ohhh my goodness – I love this family. It was such a mix of emotions. I miss them so much! It was so good to see them for a few minutes.
But zone conference was excellent. I learned so much! I love being with the Drakes. They are so amazing. Sister Drake spoke to everyone on our Mormon glow, a recent convert came and spoke about her conversion that took 15 years, the assistants talked about setting end mission goals (yikes!) and we talked about our mission culture. President Drake has given us 3 things to focus on, Empathize, Visualize, Edify = Baptize. So we talked a lot about those 3 words and how we can use them to make a spiritual culture in our mission.
On Thursday we helped a pregnant less active build a crib. That was fun… and the elders went and taught Edward for us. We’ve been a little creeped out by him, so we asked them to go evaluate him for us. They said he was legit, he just has some major issues. So… we gotta work through that. I’m just not a huge fan of 64 year old men rubbing my knuckles while we pray. YUCK! Or in Spanish, GUACALA!
On Friday we went and met with Didi, finally. We talked about all the things that are necessary for her to be baptized. She picked her own date – Sept 13th. She texted us later that day and said that she and Mikey would be married in a week! Whoa. So all of a sudden, things picked up speed. We had the best lesson with her Saturday night as well. She came to church Sunday – a nonmember brought her! (more on that later). But we woke up to a text from her saying she was sorry she wasted our time and just couldn’t do this anymore. WHAT?! My first thought was, “Heavenly Father – this isn’t what I prayed for” It broke my heart! But we texted her and are trying to help her see that she doesn’t have to rush things. She doesn’t have to get baptized on the 13th, but that’s the date she picked so she can move it if needed. We’re waiting to hear back from her… It seems like we calmed her down a little though. She just has HUGE changes to make. I have faith though! Heavenly Father produces miracles when we are faithful.
Saturday… what a day! We were blessed to be visited by Elder Quentin L. Cook. Wow! Before the meeting started, we all shook hands with him. As soon as I shook his hand it was like electricity filled my body. I almost started crying! It was such a testimony builder. Then, we heard from a member of the Seventy, then one of our assistants, a couple other missionaries, Elder cook’s wife, and then finally him. I wish I could describe everything he talked about, or copy my notes to y’all, or something! It was amazing. At the end, he left an apostolic blessing on each of us. It was if he had laid his hands on my head and spoke exactly what I needed to hear. I have NEVER felt such a sensation fill my whole body… It was wild. It was incredible. It was nothing but the holy ghost! I cried and cried, and so did sister Johnson. It was a blessing on the mission, but it was a blessing for us as individuals as well. It was so powerful.
So yesterday, at church, didi got a ride with a nonmember. Her name is Marlo. She just moved here with her family from Utah! She was taking the lessons and was supposed to get baptized in July, but then they moved. Whoa! It’s crazy cause… As a mission, we’re asked to baptize weekly. So sister Johnson and I have been praying to accomplish this. Obviously, it hasn’t been going so well. But: we’ve still been setting the goal and asking Heavenly Father to send us someone prepared. Not just prepared to hear the gospel, but someone who is so prepared that they’ve taken the lessons, don’t have any chastity issues, don’t have any word of wisdom issues, and has attended church at least twice (: Haha. so we were basically hoping to steal someone’s investigator from elsewhere in the mission. Well… Here is Marlo. A literal answer to our prayers! She’s married, has had all the lessons, and went to church all the time in Utah. The only thing we need to do is make sure she is 100% okay with word of wisdom and check her understanding – so take her through the baptismal interview questions. Heavenly Father answers prayers!!!! It’s incredible. I can’t believe it – yet I can! Faithful goals get you places (:
So yes – what a great week! We’re starting week 6 of the transfer, and nothing major is going on. I don’t have any exchanges to do – whew! I just get to work in Silsbee (: I love this place! With how quickly this transfer has passed… I don’t even want to know how quickly this next one is going to go. It feels like I just got my STL call, that I just got to Silsbee… Oh wow. Time flies and I am not okay with it. Ugh.
I just want everyone to know that I know this church is true. I know without a doubt, that the book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that Joseph Smith gave his life for this gospel because he was called of God to be a prophet. I know that God operates the same; that a prophet is here on the earth today so we can come closer to Him and our Savior. I know that Christ atoned for my weaknesses and that He knows me perfectly! I know that prayer WORKS! Heavenly Father hears all of us and wants to give us everything. He is so kind and loving. I know all of this to be true, and so much more, and am so thankful I have the chance to proclaim it every day!
I miss y’all, I love y’all, and I can’t wait to hear from y’all. Thanks for everything!
— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – Heeeey Y’aaaaaal! – August 18, 2014

This week zoomed by! Holy Moly! I’m super excited for this new week though… I have exchanges with the Hermana’s tonight and all day tomorrow, zone conference with President Drake on Wednesday in VIDOR!, and then on the 23rd is Elder Cook! An apostle! Yay!!!! I am super pumped for this week.

So last Monday was a little crazy. We had dinner with a family, the Pynes, who just moved in. They are 100% fun. Brother Pyne is going to be working at Lamar University in Beaumont; he’s a biology professor. It’s his first big time job! We’re all excited for him. He’s super cool! And Sister Pyne is a hoot and half. I love her! She’s so bold. She’s already handing out pass-along cards and going to lessons with the elders. Woot woot!
Monday night we ended up at the hospital. Didi’s fiance came down with some crazy brain infection? Or… as the nurses say… he was going through withdrawals… I don’t know. But a member threw some food together for them and off we went! It was a great lesson. Sister Bourne went with us; she and Didi are good friends now. Except: Didi didn’t talk to us at all this week! She just dropped off the face of the planet. Till yesterday! FINALLY! So we’ll see what happens with her… Yikes.
Another couple also moved into the ward. The Hydes! Brother Hyde is working for the Big Thicket National Forrest Reserve. He must really like camping… and trees… but he just got called into scouting 😛 haha! That’s probably his eternal calling. His wife just sits at this hotel they’re living at until they close on a house. So she’s been coming out with us almost every day! It’s awesome. She has really helped fellowship our slightly nutty investigator, Victoria (Vicky). Vicky did her homework though! She went above and beyond. She read the intro, all the testimonies, and chapter one of the book of mormon. But: she went even further and copied them all down by hand! Just to prove to us she really read it. I was on exchanges in Jasper that day, but apparently she was beaming and super happy she did it. haha! I love this crazy lady.
We got dropped on our bums by an investigator this week. It was Rachel; the girl who’s dad passed away 3 weeks ago. We came by and she just told us she felt an evil spirit while she read the book of mormon. She’s baptist and not looking to convert! Sooo that was fun. There wasn’t really anything we could say. She had her mind made up! Goll darn. I hope future missionaries are able to soften her heart!
On Friday we had a ball helping Sister Bourne. She’s just opened her very own BEAUTY SUPPLY STORE! eeeeek! It’s like heaven! She cuts our hair for free. So the day before the opening we went and helped finish putting price stickers on things, took a final inventory, painted the window with a giant “now open” sign… It was fun. I LOVE Sister Bourne. She’s like the grown up version of me… She loves makeup, she does photography, she used to be a teacher (but i don’t wanna do that. I wanna do something else). She’s wild! I love her.
So my new favorite scriptures are 3 Nephi 17:5-6. I just LOVE these verses! They really hit hard the other day. It has really motivated me to keep building my relationship with Christ. I want Him to know who I am and what I’m thinking without me even saying a word. I want Him to know how to help me personally. But – that’s up to me to come unto him.
So anyways… gotta go! Our time is cut a little short today. So much to do! I miss y’all and love y’all so much. Thanks for everything.
Oh – we won another competition! Elder Case challenged us all to get members out with us, so whoever had the most member presents could PICK THEIR PRIZE! So we won with a pitiful number… 3. Haha! no one else in our district even got 1! So sad. We need members out with us! Yikes. Soooo we have no clue what we want from him. We’ll see… (:
Love y’all!
— Sister Stockinger

Moe’s Letter – Soooo Sleeeeepy – August 11, 2014

Okay – I’m sorry! I totally forgot to mention that, YES, we definitely won in our contacting competition. It was glorious! We were ahead the whole week, but the Kountze Elders were always just a few steps behind us. We only won by 9! In total, our whole district contacted 439 people.

This was the longest, most exhausting week of my whole life though. I don’t think I have ever felt so busy and gone without sleep so much on my mission! It started with Monday…
We went to zone pday in Beaumont and played a bunch of games. Thankfully no one fell of the stage and broke their arm this time! Whew! Elder Collet’s arm had some crazy surgery last month but he’s doing good! Later that night 3 other STL’s and I drove to Kingwood to stay the night in the mission home. It was so much fun. I felt like I had some new best friends and we were off on a road trip! It was Sister DeGuilio from Beaumont (my fellow STL) and the two STL’s from Orange Zone, Larsen and Walton. We made it to the mission home around 9:15pm and stayed up awhile talking to Sister Drake. It was a lot of fun! However… When it came time for bed, I couldn’t sleep. I was SO NERVOUS! Why?
Tuesday morning was the scariest morning of my whole life. It was time for my FIRST MISSION LEADERSHIP COUNCIL! AHHH! All of a sudden I realized… Almost 18mo ago, I slept in the mission home in the very bed I’d slept the night before. Now I was sitting in the Eagle Springs Building where I had my New Missionary Training. I thought to myself, “I’m supposed to know stuff” meaning, “I’m at a meeting with all the spiritual giants of the mission. What the heck??!!” All of a sudden, things have come full circle. I’m not new anymore! I’m old as dirt! I felt like I was going to barf. I think President knew it too; he had his eye on me the whole time.  It was stinking amazing though! I got to see Sister Stofferahn who also just became an STL, as well as Sister Perkes, so that made me happy (: It was awesome to see them! I learned so much at this meeting though. Heavenly Father also blessed me and confirmed to me that the things I was doing were right. He helped me see how my studies from the previous week had been 100% inspired. Seriously – I had no idea how to be an STL so I relied heavily on my studies. Everything we focused on were the top 3 things my studies were lead to. It provided some much needed relief!
After the meeting we went back to the mission home to have lunch. I laughed so hard – President Drake is such a sports fanatic. Whenever President Crawford wanted us all to be quiet and reverent, or to get ready to pray, he’d always say “Elders, Sisters…” in his professional CEO voice. SO SCARY sometimes. Well President Drake used his coaching tactic and just yelled, “QUIET!” whoa. Silence. Then he chuckled. It was sooo funny to me! They are so different, but so wonderful all at the same time.
After MLC we all piled back into the car and drove back to Beaumont. I picked up Sister Johnson and back to Silsbee we went. We had enough time to eat, try visiting a couple people, then we had to drive to…. WOODVILLE! I had to go on an exchange with Sister Crump. I had been very nervous for this exchange due to previous circumstances, but after MLC I felt like I could take on the world! I ended up having the BEST time on this exchange. I got to know Sister Crump really well; we have soooo much in common! We stayed up till 1am talking. Yikes. This is now two nights in a row where I haven’t slept in my own bed and haven’t gotten a proper amount of sleep. Buuut here I go… I kept on moving! I was able to see some less actives in Woodville who are STILL less active… yikes. That was weird. But the sisters are having so much success up there! It made me sooo happy! It was also nice to be back in the most beautiful area of the mission. I loved it!
On Wednesday night I was finally able to be in my own bed. Whew! But then came Thursday… President Interviews! Oh my goodness – it was such a joy to be with the Drake’s again! I absolutely love them. Sister Drake is the most precious thing on earth. She is so nervous, but is doing such a marvelous job of stepping into her new calling. When I got to have my one-on-one interview with President Drake, I started to cry… of course… except this time I didn’t know why I was crying. I think I just had so many feelings bubbling in me that my Spirit didn’t know what to do. We talked about MLC, he chuckled cause he knew I had been nervous… but he paid me some of the highest compliments I think I will ever receive in this life. He told me things that pertain to my patriarchal blessing!!! This man, y’all, is very inspired. It made me feel so at peace; that Heavenly Father was aware of me and my simple minded feelings and is helping prepare me for greater things to come. I couldn’t believe it! Our interview only lasted about 3 minutes. This is something that blew my mind: he repeated back to me some of the very thoughts I had had while at MLC. He said, “Sister Stockinger, you don’t need to worry. You are a spiritual giant in this mission” I GASPED. I’m telling y’all! HE IS SUPER INSPIRED! So then I just cried a few more tears, he chuckled the way I imagine Santa Clause to, then sent me out the door. It all happened so quickly! But it was everything I needed.
On Friday we went back to Beaumont for Zone Meeting. It was amazing, as always. But now, by this point, I am TIRED. I had the worst headache when I woke up! Then I had to ride with Buna Sisters and their member… who drives a little crazy… so then I was super car sick. But then into yet another meeting with the zone leaders I went, then into our zone meeting, then off to lunch, then back to Silsbee. I DIED. but I couldn’t stop! We had so many set appointments there was no time to slow down.
Finally, Saturday morning, I woke up and made it halfway thru my studies before I HAD to lay down again. I had such awful vertigo, light sensitivity… the whole show. I was basically crippled. I ended up sleeping till 3pm. It felt like 10 minutes! Sister Johnson had made calls and cancelled all of our appointments. but my migraine persisted! I thought I could go out, but we ended up coming back after an hour. I fell back asleep and konked out till Sunday morning.
I wasn’t kidding when I said this was the most exhausting week! It felt like I never stopped moving. But I was okay with it! I have really grown to love my calling as an STL this week. I really felt like Heavenly Father helped open my mind and heart to revelation, as well as loving the sisters whom I serve. I am so thankful for the opportunity I now have to grow in this capacity and work, little by little, at becoming more like my Heavenly Father. I just love my mission SO MUCH! It is the best, most incredible thing I have ever chosen to do. I love my up’s and I love my down’s. I can’t believe that time is short!
I just hope everyone knows that I know this church is true. I just know that Heavenly Father places us exactly where we need to be. I know that Christ is my Savior. I know he knows me perfectly. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the he translated the plates by the power of God. I KNOW that the priesthood is here on the earth today to bless and guide all of Heavenly Father’s children. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it testifies of our Savior. I know that Heavenly Father loves us now, as much as He loved His children in ancient times. That’s why we have a prophet! I am so thankful for the revelation our apostles and prophet receive. I can’t imagine what life would be like without such divine guidance! I hope everyone knows that i know these things are true, as well as so many others. I say it in Christ’s name, Amen.
Real quick, an investigator update… DiDi is going to have to push her date back. We’re having a hard time finding her a place to live so she doesn’t have to live with her fiance. She also has some word of wisdom issues. Victoria is still crazy but still amazing. haha! We started teaching two sisters, Keauna and Ashuanta. Yes- they’re black. I love them! They’re hilarious. We also started teaching a young black mom, Rachel, who’s dad just passed away 2 weeks ago. She is BEYOND prepared. She asked us all the right questions. We just need to get her to church!
Xavier didn’t move back to Houston, but he moved to Lumberton. He and his dad were able to find a place! Whew! The Lumberton Elders do their best to visit him, but he’s hard to catch cause of work. However, both he and his dad came to church yesterday! And his dad isn’t even investigating the church! WHAT A BLESSING! We and the elders were super excited. His dad, Theo, is so prepared. He just needs to make time to sit down!
It was an awesome week. Thanks for all the love and prayers! I miss and love y’all sooo much!
— Sister Stockinger
P.S. we found out Quentin L. Cook is coming on August 23rd! At first they said the 28th, so i was SUPER EXCITED… yay birthday! but no, he’s coming a little early. Still – it’s stinking awesome!