Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First Week in the Field

Hello All,

I guess this is the first week in the Field for me. I am going to tell you that I have been sent to Utah... I mean Brentwood. but I mean it i am basically in Utah. It looks like Utah, the wards(yes I have 2 wards) are like Utah sized, the members are super happy to help with missionary work, we are fed every night(we have a whole calendar for a dinner schedule, and our wards are in a very nice chapel. so yeah... Utah.
I really love my companion. His name is Elder Tolman. he was actually called Cambodian speaking in the Oakland(so that means we have 4 hrs of study because he has to do language and I have 12 week). It is awesome because he is going to hook me up with some ties that are made in Cambodia, I already have one, they are so cool. He is from Herriman, Utah, and he likes music. and he is a really awesome. also he knows very little about this area, because we got shotgunned into the area, and have to sort through what the missionaries before us have left us. without the members we would of never found our investigators.
Our apartment is pretty cool. except the other elders left it really messy and smelling like smoke. we have been trying to clean it up. but it is taking a long time. I have a car so we drive everywhere because we have two wards. the Brentwood 2nd ward and the Marsh creek ward. They are super helpful. We eat with a member every night, at one the dinners we got to me a Saint Bernard dog he is so big and is still growing
That is all I have to say about to area so far so that is all I will email about till next week.
chumriapbliah( that's goodbye in Cambodian)

Elder Stokes

Note: If you don't all know.  Joshua loves dogs so we loved that most of these pictures of that big Saint Bernard.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Last email from the MTC

Hello all,
I am going to start out this email by saying this will be my last email in the MTC. I will be going to Oakland next Wednesday and then you have to wait for the Monday after that for my Next email. This last week has been crazy. we have had so much time inside the classroom. as i sit my friend Elder Miller is reading everything i type(he says sick). I believe we spend about 9 hours a day in a classroom. I  Have to apologize and say there will be no pictures this time because the computer I am on doesn't work with them. This letter wont be too long but i will say some highlights. The Elders going to Utah in my zone left and that is sad because they are awesome. I do believe that there are laxitives in something but it is not the orange juice. (Note: Caleb said he heard there were laxatives in the orange juice.) I had the chance to go to the temple cafeteria today and it was heaven. The food just felt more somehow. I did get the chance to see Sister Stokes, and I also got to sing in the choir again. there was a major rumor that Elder Holland was coming on Tuesday but that was false information. Instead, it was Sister Oscarson. so that was awesome and we have had so much fun playing beach volleyball. It is funny how many people here are desperate to get olympic news. They are all asking the TRC's. Speaking of them this week i have Theo and Matthew, they are both awesome and we have learned so much about teaching them and not the lessons. for entertainment we go crazy Wed. night to scare the new ones. I remember what that was like thinking all the Elders were idiots and that is what the MTC can do to you. There is always so much to do. I dont have time to read the BoM because im studying the BoM for my investigators. I have two things that are spiritual i want to say. Alma 26 is my new favorite chapter of the BoM. and Safety for the Soul by Elder Holland is amazing. also if you look at the Mormon message for Bubba in His Grace you can know he is a TRC here and has apparently nearly shattered somebodys testimony and I might tell that story later. I have to go but i probably didnt get everything, oh well i will tell more later.
Adios, goodbye, good luck, Life is good.

Elder Stokes

Joshua must have found a way to upload his photos because he sent a few of them.  The first is a recommend holder with the Oakland Temple.  And then more with his District including the Sisters.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

First MTC Week and 1 Day!

Hey Everybody,
Well the first week of the MTC has been crazy, hard, and amazing. I guess you might know i have P day on thursday just not the thursday after we arrived. So i had to wait 8 days for a P day. Getting through the first 3 days was the hardest. But I had my companion and others to go through it quickly.
My Companion's name is Elder Campos and he is from Hidalgo, Texas. He first language is Spanish but he will be speaking English with me in the Oakland/San Francisco, CA mission. The others in our room are also going to Oakland. so 4 Elders in our district are going to Oakland and 4 Elders are going to Minnesota. Cool thing, Elder Nielson is in my district, you know the one I went through the temple at the same time with.
We are all crazy in our district. I remember the first day we were thinking the Elders in our dorm were idiots being loud and crazy. but now we are the idiots being loud and crazy every night. We are love to be around each other and it really feels like another family. Honestly, getting up at ^:30 really isn't that hard. Neither is going without video games or a phone. I really am enjoying my time here.
We have investigators to teach but they dont tell us if they are members or investigators but they did say some are real investigators. We are teaching two right now, Dennis and Jack, they both are commited for learning to be baptized and are progressing nicely.
For all the advice i got about the MTC, you are never really ready for sitting in a Classroom for 9 hours a day, teaching a investigator, or freaking out as a district over such little things one thing i was not ready for was the spirit being almost as strong as the temples. I love feeling it around me every where I go.
Another thing I have loved is the Devotionals and videos. on Sunday we got hear the leaving missonaries bear their testimonies and then got to sing their favorite songs at the temple walk then we got to be in the choir that sang at President Holland(Elder Hollands son) talk about Joseph Smith.after that we saw the video Character of Christ by Elder Bednar. That video was amazing and very spiritual. This tuesday we got to have a very awesome experience and sang Happy Birthday to Neil L. Anderson right before he gave us a devotional on how being a missionary is not complex but not easy. so that is awesome. apparently we also get to have a devotional by Elder Holland this next tuesday so that is going to be awesome.
I am going to end that there
Elder Stokes
(P.S. If you have questions send me a DearElder and I will try and answer)
(P.P.S. the order in names in the picture with us standing in a line is this Elders Nielson(Minnesota), Holmes(Minnesota), Hanson(oakland), Little(oakland), Campos(oakland), Me(oakland), Davis(Minnesota), and Miller(Minnesota)

(P.P.P.S. we have 3 sisters who didnt want to be in the picture Sisters Crane, Avila, Rothe)