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

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Week 66 - November 14, 2017 - Where did the transfer go?

Where did the transfer go?

Hola y'all!

First off, Where the crap did this transfer go?! Like it feels like it was just last week that we lost English Elders and it became just me and Izzy in the apartment! It has been a great transfer and I am sad to see it end. So the transfer news is that Elder Israelsen is going to go salt n pepper in Metairie. Kinda funny since last time Izzy and I got separated I went salt n pepper. I am staying here in Chalmette and my new comp will be Elder Hernandez. I am super excited to have a native comp that can really help me with my Spanish! This should be a good transfer!

So this week was kinda crazy! We had interviews with President on Tuesday and that was good. I really love our Mission President and his wife. They really are like our parents away from home. This week we got bored of the regular tracting routine and so we decided to go on a walk haha. We went to an area that has some cool graffiti that we wanted to get pictures with and just walked around and got to talk to a bunch of people! Best part is it is sooo much easier to start a conversation out on the street than it is on someones doorstep and a lot of times people will end up coming to talk to us! For example, we were walking past an art gallery that wasn't open yet but the owner was outside and stopped us to talk and ask what we were out doing. We got to tell him about what we were doing and where we were from and he thought it was super cool. He even let us come into his gallery so that we could look around! In the end we traded information with him and are planning to do service for them at the gallery!

The other cool thing that we got to do this week was go with Brother Landers to give presents to the granddaughter of a member of our ward. It was a member that I have only met once before but she is super sweet and her granddaughter was sooo happy to get presents! 

Idk I know that a lot more stuff happened this week but my brain just can't remember them right now haha! Well I hope all is well with all y'all!

Elder Nathan Stoddard



Monday, November 6, 2017

Week 65 - November 6, 2017 - Elder Oaks!

Hola y'all!

This week was super fun! Alright, it all started out last Monday. Our district took time out of pday so we could go to a Haunted House Monday night. It wasn't a very scary one but it was a lot of fun to go out and do something like that as a district! And it was funny seeing some of the other Elders freak out haha!

This week we also did a lot of service for a family that is in our branch now that was homeless for a while. The father had been active until he turned 17 and his girlfriend isn't a member but they have been coming to church and the ward has been helping them out soo much! We got the chance to help move donated furniture into their house a couple times. They are really nice and very appreciative of what the members have done. We are going to start meeting with, and teaching them this week now that they are all set up and into their new home.

Alright so the best thing this week was definitely our mission conference on Saturday. We got to go to Baton Rouge as a whole mission and meet Elder Dallin H. Oaks! We started with a mission picture with him and then we all got to shake his hand! That in it self was cool! It was crazy to have an Apostle in the same building as all of us! And the conference was nothing like what I expected. Most Zone Conferences are wayyyy too long and boring for me. Elder Oaks didn't have much time so it was only a two hour Conference but it was also super funny! Elder Oaks has a great sense of humor and likes having people laugh! He opened it up to question and answer with us and it was really cool. One of my favorite things he said was about humility. I won't get the quotes exactly right but I will get the gist of them. One Elder asked "So if we are to be humble, and being humble requires self-abasement, how do we be humble and not ruin our self-esteem?" Elder Oaks response was amazing. He said in effect "I do not think of humility as self-abasement. Being humble is being open and being able to be taught." I thought that was a good answer cause when we hear that we need to be humble we always seem to think that that means we need to make ourselves less, but in reality humility helps us make ourselves more than we ever could have been.

To end my letter I just want to state something that I have been thinking about a lot this weekend. So I have been thinking a lot about what the gospel is. So one of the things that came to my mind was a quote from Jack Sparrow in the first Pirates of the Caribbean. About ships he says, "That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that's what a ship needs but what a ship is... what the Black Pearl really is... is freedom."  As members and especially missionaries, when we are asked what the gospel is we tend to think in a list, at least I did. It's the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, the Commandments. So now I am going to change the original quote. "That's what the Gospel is, you know. It's not just a Restoration and a Plan and a Law and Commandments, that's what the Gospel needs but what the Gospel is... what the True Gospel really is... is Hope." Isn't that exactly what the gospel truly is to us? Isn't it the hope that comes because of the Savior? Isn't it the hope that because of him we can return to our Heavenly Father, and see our loved ones again? Isn't it the hope the because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can have help through all our struggles? 

Well I hope y'all have a great week!


Monday, October 30, 2017

Week 64 - October 30, 2017 Frozen in Nola

Hola y'all!

So as the title implies, IT IS COLD!! I never thought I would say that in Louisiana! I actually really enjoy that it is cooling down but man, I have gotten used to hot, humid Louisiana weather! I never remember being this cold in Lewiston at 60 degrees! 

So this week we had Zone Conference. It was super long, it went from 10-4:30, but super good! Many of the instructions focused on how we can be more unified by not judging others, especially missionaries and on how we can use Preach My Gospel more effectively to become better missionaries. All in all it was a great time, I just wish it was a little shorter haha! 

This week we really focused on some of our investigators that are close to getting baptized. One of them, Donald, is sooo down to be baptized and he knows that the church is true and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, but he has a problem with smoking. He really wants to quit and this week when he went shopping he wasn't going to buy any cigarettes so that he could be done for good, but the care taker that takes him shopping threatened to not let him have his allotment if he didn't buy cigarettes!! WHAT THE WHAT? Who does that?! This just proves to me that the devil really does work as hard as he can to make sure the elect won't be baptized. So please keep Donald in y'alls prayers so that there can be a solution found to this problem!

Other than that there isn't much that is exciting to report. We are having a good time here in Chalmette and the work is progressing even with Satan doing all he can to stop it. 

Elder Nathan Stoddard

10500 Hayne blvd. apt 205
New Orleans, LA

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Week 62 - October 11, 2017

Howdy y'all :)

So we have had an awesome week this past week! It all started last p-day after we got done emailing. We went to City Park and played a game called SpikeBall in the rain! That was really fun and getting soaked in the rain is like the closest thing to swimming you get to do on the mission so I loved that! We then got to go to one of my favorite families houses, Brother Maximo and his family so all in all it was a great p-day!

The other cool thing that happened this week is that we got to have two other Spanish missionaries come on a double in exchange in our area. Elder Maldonado and his trainee Elder Tu'avau came from Thrusday night to Friday night. Maldonado had served here in Chalmette for about 7 months so all the members and investigators were super excited to see him again! While we were on exchanges we all went to Goodwill after lunch to look around for a little bit. That little bit ended up being two hours haha. While we were in there a guy who was non-denominational started talking to me and like the great friends all the other elders are, they walked to another part of the store for a while to let me handle the guys questions! Eventually they all came over and got involved in the conversation. At one point this guy brought up Jehovah's Witnesses and what do ya know, there was a JW there. Soooo all four of us got to stand there while this JW and non-denom started bashing each other! It was pretty awkward standing there for that. After the non-denom finally got tired and left we got to have a good conversation with the JW and learn more about their beliefs and she got to learn more about ours! All in all it was a good time!

Well I think that is it for me this week! Have a great week y'all!

Elder Stoddard

10500 Hayne Blvd
New Orleans, LA

Week 63 - October 23, 2017

Hola y'all!

Well this week was pretty dang eventful! So on Wednesday evening, us Chalmette missionaries went to Nunez Community College and set up a table to try and connect and talk with the students. We would ask anyone that was passing by to answer the question, "What makes you happy?" At first we were a little skeptical about if it would be effective since it is a small college but it was actually a lot of fun and we got to talk to some good people! We are planning to make it a weekly thing!

Next on Thrusday we got to have an all day service day! So we started at a members house that is going to surgery this week and Elder Israelsen and I gave him a blessing while the sisters helped his wife with chores around the house. We then went with Bro Landers to Slidell to help him with getting orders from the Bishops Storehouse. When we were pulling in I saw a car with an Idaho license plate and it made me way happier than it should have! One of the senior couples that was there had just come out from Fruitland Idaho and even crazier, they know one of my former roommates from BYU-I so that was really cool! After we picked up the orders and delivered them we went to Bro Landers house and helped him cement some posts into the ground for a fence he is building. All in all it was a good service day!

The rest of the week was spent doing the missionary grind. We found a couple new people that have potential so we will see where that goes. Sunday we got to go visit one of our members, Leonard, in the hospital with Bro Landers and Bro Hatcher. I must say, those two together is quite entertaining haha! They are best friends and bicker back and fourth all the time! Soooo funny!

As a district we have decided to memorize a scripture a week and recite it in DM. This week the scripture is D&C 42:6
And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God.
I know that this is Gods work and that all us missionaries are called by a Prophet of God to go out and be a warning voice to the people of the earth.

Have a great week y'all!
Elder Nathan Stoddard

Friday, September 15, 2017

Week 57 - September 11, 2017

So I'm now a Vietnamese Speaking Missionary :)

Hola y'all :)

So this week has been a pretty interesting week. Okay so for the story behind the title. This Saturday Elder Israelsen and I went out early to tract because it was just such a nice morning! Sidenote: The weather has been awesome the past few days! 80 degrees with a breeze and low humidity... It has been heavenly! :) Anyways so we go out at about 9:15ish to check up on a member and decide to do some tracting when they weren't home. The area that we were in is called The Village. There are pretty much two nationalities, Garifunas and Vietnamese. Garifunas are anciently of African decent but were brought to Honduras so they speak Spanish. Well we picked two streets to tract and EVERY person that answered was Vietnamese!! Like holy cow!  None of them spoke much English so it wasn't very effective talking to them but it was fun! Now I am trying to learn some Vietnamese so I can tell them that we are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Should be fun!

This week we went to the park again with our High Council Group Leader. We brought pizza again and played horseshoes and ultimate Frisbee! It was a lot of fun and we got to talk to a lot of people who were interested in playing with us or eating the pizza haha :)  I mean if the JW's were offering free pizza I would probably talk to them so.... haha all in all it was an awesome hour or so at the park :)

Other than that this week we have been working pretty hard with the members here. We are trying to get the attendance up at the Spanish group but it is hard because most of the members here work on Sunday and dont get off until 6 which is when the group starts. The members here are super solid though and love the missionaries coming over.

Well I think that is all for this week :) 

Elder Nathan Stoddard

10500 Hayne Blvd apt #205
New Orleans, LA

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Week 56 - September 5, 2017

Hola y'all!

Week two in Chalmette has been a blast! So it started off with the day after last P-Day. That is when Harvey hit our area the hardest and so we went on a self-imposed lock-down because it rained all day and half or the roads were flooded so we had fun as a Quadship playing games and putting together puzzles! All in all it was a nice day and a well needed break :)

Friday Israelsen and I went out tracting in the Village! That is where we do most of our work because that is where the highest concentration of Spanish speakers are located. We didn't have much success teaching anyone there but we did have a good time! At one door there was this HUGE hornet right on the door and it wasn't moving. Israelsen and I look at each other and we both HATE hornets but he says "Knock for Jesus" and walks up the the door and knocks on it lol. Nothing crazy but just a funny saying from the week!

Saturday we had interviews with the Mission President. I love President Varner, he seems almost like a father and is really easy to talk to. We talked a lot about planning and on making our plans according to good, better and best. He had some pretty crazy insights to what those are! I was actually surprised when he listed tracting as only good! He believes that there are better and more effective ways to do missionary work and I must say that I completely agree with him! Other ways of finding are usually more effective and lead to more solid investigators! All in all I love the interview.

After that we went to the park as a district with our High Priest Group Leader. He had this idea to go to the park with pizza, play Frisbee and invite others to eat and play with us! It was honestly super fun and pretty effective! We go to talk to so many people about what we are doing and why we are here! If nothing else we planted some seeds and that is just as important as anything!

Well I think that is it for this week! I hope everything is going well and that you are finding reasons to smile every day! 

Con amor,
Elder Nathan Stoddard

P.S. If any of y'all want to send letters or packages to some poor, helpless, hungry missionaries, our address is