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

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Week 79 - February 12, 2018 - Downtown

Hey y'all!!

So first off biking in NOLA is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be! The area is actually super bike friendly and there are so many back roads to take that you can avoid the major roads very easily. The one problem right now is Mardi Gras. We live about 4 blocks from St Charles Ave and that street has almost constant parades during Mardi Gras! On car it is so look hard to get around. Biking makes it easier but you still have to weave your way through a ton of people and parade floats to get to the other side to work. So that has been the adventure of the week is trying to get through the parades.

On transfer Wednesday we went to the St Charles Church building and met for a ward function and to watch one of the parades with the ward! It was super fun and a good way to meet members but the funny thing was that some of the members that came for the function were from the Chalmette Branch! So I got to see the Farrells less that 24 hours after leaving Chalmette which was actually pretty cool. And the parade was super fun but it was also raining so we got soaked but it was worth it! Elder T even caught a teddy bear from one of the floats.

The last adventure that we had this week was biking to a ward King Cake party to meet more of the members and to talk with the non-member families they invited. It was about an hour and twenty minute ride! As we were leaving to go back home we realized that the Mardi Gras parades would be in full swing by our house and ghat there would be crazy drivers everywhere so we called the Mission President and got permission to stay with the Spanish Zone Leaders for the night. It's a good thing we did too cause as we went to load up our bikes onto their bike rack I realized that my front tire had gone flat while we were at the party. So it was a blessing that President gave us permission to stay the night!

Other than that this week has been pretty slow. Getting doubled into an area around Mardi Gras is kinda difficult. We spent the rest of our time trying to learn a bit more of the area and trying to find where the Hispanics live in this area but we weren't too successful this week. Hopefully when the craziness of Mardi Gras dies down we will be able to get around better and find more people.

Love y'all and hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Nathan Stoddard


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Week 78 - February 6, 2018 - Fourth Quarter

Alright y'all

So it is now official. I'm in the last quarter of the mission. If I had to compare how I feel right now to someone else, I would say that I feel like Tom Brady from last years Superbowl. I 'm down in the fourth and have never felt more comfortable. Its time for the final push to win the game. I am moving areas for this last quarter. I will be serving in Downtown New Orleans with Elder Tonumaipe'a, or T cause it is hard to write his name every time haha! I am excited and can't wait to see what this last 6ish months bring. Oh and Downtown is a biking area so now I will really feel like a missionary haha! 

And the moment we have all been waiting for, DONALD IS DUNKED! It was a long hard road but it has totally paid off! Because Donald is in a wheelchair, we had three of us in the font to baptize him. It was Elder Israelsen, Hernandez and I and we had to do the ordinance three times! But hey it all worked out and Donald is now an official member of the Church! Whoop Whoop!

Other than that is was the standard missionary week. We did a lot of tracting and found some really awesome investigators that are super interested in the message. One of them, Nessia, is about our age going to college and she was super into the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. She understood completely the need for a restoration and how the priesthood needed to be restored if the apostasy actually happened. It was awesome! We also found a cool new Spanish family that let us come in and teach and said that we are welcome back anytime! So hopefully the Spanish Group here really starts to grow!

Well that is all for me this week! Love y'all!

Elder Nathan Stoddard

Week 77 - January 29, 2018 - Meetings and a sick week

Hey y'all!

Alright to be honest there isn't really anything for me to report since last Wednesday other than Elder Hernandez and I both got sick so it really took down the work for the weekend! So we are happy to have a new week and a fresh start. 

Spiritual thought for the week. Moroni 7:41
"And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise."

Y'all we have so much to be hopeful in! We have a Savior that loves us and sacrificed himself for us! Because he did that we can have the hope, through faith, that we can once again live, and see our family again!

Love y'all!

Week 76 - January 24, 2018 - Elder Costa

Hey y'all!

Well this week has been pretty good! We have had some exciting developments in the mission! As of this coming week we will be getting smartphones for the mission! I cannot tell y'all how excited I am for that because it is going to help the missionary work soooo much! Our planning and Area Book will now be on the phone and we will be able to share videos and study more talks as we prepare to teach! It is going to be an amazing blessing the the missionary effort! 

Yesterday we also had the awesome opportunity to have a General Authority Seventy, Elder Costa and his wife, come and do a mission tour. As always it is super amazing to have a General Authority in the same room as you and they are all soooo funny! I have never had more fun Zone Conferences than those when a General Authority or Apostle is visiting. So Elder Costa told us a super funny story from his time as a mission president in Brazil. He got invited by some of his Elders to come with them to a teaching appointment of a family where a local minister would be in attendance. Turns out the not only a local minister showed up but the head minister of the mission region and, even better, the head minister of all the church in Brazil! Big game yeah? So the church that the family belonged to is one that believes the Sabbath is on Saturday. So the head minister of all of Brazil says that if Elder Costa will answer a couple questions then they will leave and let them teach the family but if they can't answer the question the Elder Costa and the Elders must leave. So they agree. And of course the first question is "Do you believe in the bible" followed by "What day is the Sabbath?" So Elder Costa answers both questions and it makes the minister mad. The minister starts to bash with him and then Elder Costa gets a spiritual impression, "Do to him as Nephi did to Laban."  Elder Costa looks at us and goes, "So then I am looking around trying to find a sword!" We are all dying at this point because of what he is saying. He then tells us he says a quick prayer "Lord I don't understand." and the spirit tells him "Cut off his head with the spirit." So he turns to the story of when the Savior healed a man on the Sabbath and how the Pharisees reviled him. He then looks at the head minister and says "You are like they were. I hope you keep your word." And then the ministers leave. We all died during his story because he has broken English and we could tell that if there had been a sword there he probably would have done exactly what Nephi did! All in all it was a great time!

 One last awesome thing that happened was that we had about 40 people at church this week in the English branch! I haven't seen that many people in a long time and the best part is that all three companionship had either an investigator or a less active that they had been working with show up! It was soo cool to see the fruits of all our labors here in Chalmette and that we actually are making a difference! Maximo and his family also showed up to the English branch because, as Maximo told Elder Boyd, "This morning was a good morning, and I wanted to feel good this morning. I do feel good this morning." So that was really cool to hear. It was also a blessing because something came up and Maximo and his family werent able to come to the Spanish group that night! The Lord does prompt his followers!

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

Elder Nathan Stoddard

Week 75 - January 16, 2018 - I HAVE A DREAM

Hey y'all!

Alright so I will just get right to the fun stuff for this week! First off Sunday was an awesome day! We had a Southern States broadcast from Salt Lake which was really cool. Elder Bednar presided and gave an awesome talk about repentance and how our faith in Jesus Christ is what makes repentance more than just a changing of ways, it is what makes us clean from our sins. It was a super good broadcast, almost like a miniature General Conference!

After the broadcast a large group of missionaries got invited to stay at the St. Charles building to be part of a missionary choir that would be going to sing that evening at a Baptist Church that was holding a memorial service for Martin Luther King Jr. We sang 'I Believe in Christ' and 'As I Have Loved You.' It was super cool and we also got to hear a real Southern Baptist Preacher talk which is always fun! I wish I had a video for y'all so y'all could experience just how crazy and fun a Baptist Church can be out here haha!

On Monday we got to march in the New Orleans MLK day parade. I  was a little skeptical about how well it would go having a bunch of missionaries passing out pass-along cards in an MLK parade but man it was probably one of the most fun things I have done on the mission! We passed out thousands of cards and it was super fun to meet and talk to some of the people that we handed cards to! All the little kids got so happy when you walked up to them to hand them a card! About seven or so of us walked out on the side of the parade on the grass where people were sitting in the back and passed out cards to them since they werent right at the edge where everyone else was passing them out. We even ran across the street on the far side a couple times to give the people over there cards! It was so freaking fun! I'm sad that I will probably never get to do that again..... but I'm glad I got this experience. 

After the parade, all 60-70 of us missionaries walked to a restaurant named Mother's and the Stake President, President Stock, payed for all of us for lunch! Like dang that is pretty darn generous! I can only imagine how much it cost but he is an amazing guy! 

Well that is the excitement for the week! I hope that all is well with everyone and that the New Years resolutions are still going strong! I love y'all!

Elder Nathan Stoddard


Monday, January 8, 2018

Week 74 - January 8, 2018

Howdy y'all!

Alright I am going to give y'all some updates on some of the people that we have been teaching!

Donald: He quit smoking! He told his care taker to not buy him anymore and as of Friday he has none left! So he is on track to be baptized on the 19th!

Estefana: She is a lady that we just tracted into last week and we had our second lesson with her this week! She is Daisy's sister! We didn't find that out until the second lesson. She has been looking for a Church for a while and she has been thinking a lot about her salvation and if she is doing what she needs to to be saved. She has some really good potential! 

Well for now those are the main progressing ones! We have others that we found and the ones that we have been teaching but there haven't been many changes with their progress so I will keep y'all posted on that! Other than that is has been a pretty normal week. Spent a lot of time this week trying to find new investigators and we were fairly successful. The weather is also warming up again so we aren't freezing as we are out knocking doors! 

I think that is all I have for this week! I hope that all is well and that y'all are going strong in your 2018 resolutions! 

Elder Nathan Stoddard

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Week 73 - January 3, 2018 - Happy New Year!

Hola y'all!

I hope all y'all lovely people are staying nice and warm out there cause us down here in NOLA definitely aren't! It got into the 20's this week! At one point a member told us it was 8 degrees with the windchill! Like what?! I thought I was never going to feel cold here in Louisiana but it looks like I bring cold weather with me! Haha oh well, better cold than hot in my opinion!

I hope y'all had a great New Year and that you are working hard on those New Years resolutions! This past Sunday I had the opportunity to speak both in the English branch and Spanish group about how we can use the Saviors Atonement in our lives to help us work through the struggles of live and to help us work on achieving goals! It was my first time speaking here in Chalmette and it was also my first time giving a talk in Spanish! It was kinda scary haha! So the main 3 points of my talk were
1) Pray
2) Make a plan/goal
3) Be patient
Life is kinda hard you know? We gotta remember that to make it through requires our action. We need to pray to our Heavenly Father for help and then go out and work like we are the only ones that can get us through the trial or goal or whatever it may be. If we are patient we will see the blessings of the Lord even in the midst of our trials and we will be soo much better for taking the hard path of faith.

Have a great week y'all :)

Elder Nathan Stoddard