Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission Spanish Speaking - August 2016 to August 2018

Monday, April 2, 2018

Week 86 - April 2, 2018 - General Conference

Morning y'all :)

Alright, imma just give a quick overview of the week. First off, Johnson and I had a long week of tracting with little success in the way of new investigators but hey, we had fun out doing it! We also had our interviews for the transfer with the Mission President! That was cool as always but this one was pretty quick because he had a lot of people to interview. Best part was that after the interviews he took six of us to a Asian Buffet! 

So the coolest thing this week was the opportunity that we had to watch General Conference. And lets just say that that was one heck of a General Conference to have as my last one on the mission!!!! I know that this church truly is led by a prophet of God. Russell M Nelson has been chosen to lead us in these times and to help the church become stronger! I am excited for the changes that he has put in place and for those revelations that will continue to come to him and to the brethren of the Council of the Twelve.

My favorite quote from the conference was from Gerald Causse. "Are we active in the gospel, or merely busy in the church?" I think that is a good reminder to all of us a members that being active in the gospel is more than just being at church and doing our calling. It is making sure that we are living in the way the gospel teaches us while doing these things! Without the gospel the church is nothing, so we need to make our activity in the gospel so that the things we do in the church will be for our benefit and the benefit of others! 

Well y'all that is all I have for this week! Love y'all! 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Week 85 - March 26, 2018 - It's hot....... again......

Hey y'all! 

So the most important news of the week is it's hot in NOLA again! It has been interesting biking in the heat, but we will make it...... hopefully! 

Life has been good tho! I am enjoying my time here with Elder Johnson, aka J. He is my second comp in a row that goes home the transfer for me so battling the trunky can be hard. It's been really good tho and we have been doing good work! Another good thing about J is that he isn't from Utah! So thats always a plus! He is from Rancho Cucamonga California and is definitely a California surfer/skater dude. 

Funny story of the week is I got in my first bike wreck 🤣 We were biking down St Charles and I was riding between the street car tracks and was trying to pull back out onto the road. Well I didn't turn the bars enough to travel over the tracks at a good angle so all of a sudden my front tire sets into the track and I go a different direction! Not too many people saw so that was good! And I didn't get hurt so life is all good!

Well that's the fun/news for the week! Have a great week y'all! 

Elder Nathan Stoddard 

Week 84 - March 20, 2018 - Transfers and Blessings

Hey y'all :)

First off, the transfer news. I am staying here in Downtown but my companion is leaving to go to Morgan City. I am going to be getting Elder Johnson who is another one of the Elders that I have wanted to be companions with for a long time! Johnson goes home the transfer before me so I am hoping to be the one that can stay to kill him off and then die in Downtown myself. We will see how that goes.

So now for the blessings. This week I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Hoole here in Downtown and it was an awesome time. We spent most of it out tracting and while we didn't find any Spanish to teach that day, we did get to talk to an awesome guy in English that wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon. He was really interested in it and liked that it was Another Testament of Jesus Christ not just some replacement for the Bible. So overall it was a really good time! 

Next blessing is that we got to have lunch with Frank Jackson again! His mom came into town and wanted to make all the missionaries lunch so we had 8 of us there! It was super good food even for being vegetarian :D and an even bigger blessing is that Frank bought all the Elders super nice watches! Like really nice ones! It was pretty cool and just a great way to end the week! 

Well y'all there isn't too much else exciting to add. I am happy that I am staying here in Downtown and cant wait to see what this transfer brings! 

Elder Nathan Stoddard 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Week 83 - March 12, 2018 - Joy

Hey y'all!

So if you follow me on Facebook this letter might sound pretty familiar :) 
This week we had the opportunity to have a meeting for all the missionaries serving in the New Orleans area. One of the main focuses was joy and finding joy in the mission. It got me thinking of a quote from my favorite Mormon Message, "The Refiners Fire." (If y'all haven t seen it go check it out on The lady in the video makes a very profound statement. In effect she said "the greater our sorrow, the greater our capacity to feel joy." I have come to learn on the mission that that is so true. To be totally honest y'all, the mission is hard. Some days you just don't want to go out, you miss home, you miss friends and family, you want to be away from your companion, you want to help people but they just won't listen, and most of all you want to be perfect but you are reminded everyday how far away from perfection you are. I have never felt more sorrow, pain or discouragement than I have on the mission. That being said, I have never had more joy than being on my mission. Sounds funny yeah? How can you have joy while being sad or discouraged? It's because, for the first time in my life, I have decided to follow the Savior Jesus Christ as best as I can. Through him, we can feel joy even in the hardest of times because he is the path to joy! If we will only follow Him then we will have the joy that only He can give! I would encourage y'all, whenever you are going through something that seems too much and you don't feel like it can ever get better, to look to our Savior because he can bring you joy!

Zone Conference was definitely the highlight of this week! It is always awesome to gather as missionaries to learn and to teach one another!

Well y'all I'm sorry for the short letter this week! The next one will be bigger I promise!

Elder Nathan Stoddard

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Week 82 - March 5, 2018 - Dinner with a Pelican

Hey y'all ☺

It's been a pretty good week here in Downtown so here are some of the highlights!

First I got to go on exchanges with my good friend Elder Tu'avaou. He has was one of the elders that served here in Downtown before T and I got doubled in. We did exchanges with him so he could show us some of the good Spanish areas over here! It was pretty effective. He was able to show me some neighborhoods to check out and they ended up being great areas when T and I came back later!

The second cool thing also happened on exchanges. I got to go to dinner with Frank Jackson, a player for the Pelicans! For those who don't know that is the New Orleans NBA team! Frank is a member from Utah and loves taking the missionaries out when he can! He is also really good friends with one of my previous comps, Elder Magee! He is a super funny guy and I mean who doesn't feel cool going to dinner with a NBA player?! 😁😁

The last cool thing from this week was that I got to go to a baptism for a lady in Chalmette that the sisters had been teaching! Because Chalmette doesn't have a building they came to the church on St Charles which is only a 10 minute walk from our house so it was cool to go! Her name is Lakeyshea. She is an awesome lady and I am so happy she decided to get baptized! It was also cool to see all the members from the Chalmette Branch again! 

I think that is all the cool/fun things from this week! I hope all is well back home! Love y'all!

Elder Nathan Stoddard 

P.s. These are some pictures of the area that I am serving in right now


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Week 81 - February 26, 2018 - NOLA life

Hey y'all! 

So this week I don't have too much exciting news to tell. We had a good week and found some cool new investigators. The best part of the week was going on exchanges in Kenner. I got to go with Elder Myers and let's just say, I would love to be that guys comp! We had a good time out tracting and just talking while we were out doing the work. I also came on a great day because we got fed both for lunch and for dinner! That hasn't happened to me since Hammond! I also got to go that night and help with an English class! It was super fun to do that again! 

Other than that everything is going well. It is strange having technology in the mission but it really does help once you get used to it. Love y'all and hope y'all have a great week!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Week 80 - February 20, 2018 - Mardi Gras and Miracles

Hey y'all!!

So this week was another crazy one!! Tuesday was Fat Tuesday and the last day of Mardi Gras. We got to go to the Zulu parade which is one of the most famous parades here in Nola, and it was a freaking party!! The Zulu parade is well known for throwing out coconuts and hey! I got one! It was really funny watching all of us missionaries trying so hard to get a fake painted coconut but hey, memories right? It is definitely a day I will never forget! The one problem, my voice still hasn't fully recovered from all the yelling trying to get coconuts and as many beads as I could! Oh well haha 😂 All in all it was an awesome time but I am glad that Mardi Gras is over cause it made travel really hard in our area.

Now for the miracle of the week. So getting doubled into an area can be pretty interesting because you have to kinda start from the ground up. It has been some hard work on the bike but our work is starting to pay off. We were visiting one of Elder T's recent converts and randomly one of his neighbors comes over and joins in the lesson and starts bearing his testimony to us about how God can help change lives. This guy had been an alcoholic for a long time and Elder T remembers seeing him drunk all the time when he was working with his convert before. Cool thing is tho, this guy decided that he needed to change and so he prayed and God helped him to quit drinking! We invited him to come to our next lesson and he said he would be there and he even wants to come to church! The Lord really does prepare people to be taught his Gospel.

Spiritual thought:
1 Peter 1:7-9
  7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
  8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
  9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Isaiah 48:10-11
  10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
  11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

Sometimes we are called to go through trials that we don't understand. We know we have faith and yet life is still hard, bad things still happen. Many times I have asked myself why life has to be so hard, I mean I feel like I would enjoy it more if it was easy right? Isn't that what God wants? These two scriptures have come to be some of my favorites over the course of my mission. They really put in perspective for me why we have these trials. God wants for us something more precious than gold, he wants our salvation. In Isaiah he states that we aren't refined with silver. Why? With the Olympics going on I will relate it to that. What is the goal of the Olympics? It's to get the gold right? To reach the highest that an athlete can go. It is the same with God. He doesn't want us to get silver, he wants us to reach the highest we can and get that gold. Like Olympians, if we want the gold we must work to become strong enough or fast enough to get the gold, the only difference is that it is our faith that we have to work and that is why God gives us trials. If we didn't have trials we would never have to use our faith and it would never get refined into something stronger.  He will never refine us into anything less than the best so trust Him and know that, as he said to Joseph Smith, "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

¡Dios les ama mucho!

Elder Nathan Stoddard