Calling

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Week 53 - August 14, 2017

God is Good, All the Time. All the Time, God is Good.


Hola y'all!

So as the title says God is Good! This week has been so AMAZING, and it all starts with last P-Day after we emailed.

Last week we found a new investigator named Kizzy while out trying to find some less-active members for the Ward Council. She welcomed us right in and we got to share the Restoration and the Book of Mormon with her and we left her with a copy of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration pamphlet. So she asks us to come back Monday at 2. So we went there after emailing last Monday and Kizzy was waiting for us!! Like that never happens! People always 'forget' that we are coming by! And even better, SHE READ THE BOOK OF MORMON!! She didn't get too far in it but she likes it and she likes that it goes right along with what she learns in the Bible! And something that is even cooler than that, she came to church yesterday and brought three of her daughters!! It was so awesome! 

One of the other really cool things that we got to do this week was as a district we went to an Outreach Bible Study! It was awesome! I honestly believe that the people in this church will all be converted as they are in contact with the missionaries more often! Out of all the religious services I have been to out here they preach from the Bible the things that we as the LDS church teach. Like it was super impressive. The group believes in a general apostasy after the Apostles were killed and that Christ will re-establish his church on the Earth with prophets and apostles to lead them. They are just trying to gather people so that they can be prepared for it!! Like dang, they are honestly soooo close to the truth! And they are the nicest people I have met in my life! 

Anyways I hope y'all are having a great week!
Talk to y'all later!
Con amor, 
Elder Nathan Stoddard
 








 

Week 52 - August 7, 2017

Mountains in Louisiana?!?!

Hola y'all!

This week ended up being pretty normal. Not many people wanted to talk with us or let us into their homes but we had fun out trying to spread the Gospel to others! We spent quite a bit of time this week out looking for less-active members for the Ward Counsel. We didn't have much success finding them but we did get meet a new investigator named Kizzy! She is super nice and was pretty interested in our message! She even took a Book of Mormon!! Her daughter was also interested in learning 'what the Mormons believe.' We have another apt with them today at about 1! 

So the cool thing that happened this week is that we found a mountain in Louisiana!! Like what?! They have those here?! I mean compared to Idaho it is a hill but out here it is totally a mountain. Best part is that it is a garbage dump! Leave it to Louisiana to take all of its garbage and make a mountain out of it! But hey it was nice to see so me change in elevation for once! 

Well I hope all is going well for y'all! Sorry this is so short but I have trouble remembering the things that I do during the week haha! And I will try to take more pictures so that y'all can see the cool things and the cool people that I meet out here!

Con amor, 
Elder Stoddard

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Week 51 - July 31, 2017

Hump day!!

Hola y'all!

So this week I came to a crazy realization....... I have less than a year left on my mission :( Where the heck did all the time go?!?! I still feel like I should be being trained!! This has honestly been the shortest year of my life! I guess time does fly when you are having fun and learning every day, I just wish this experience would go a lot slower and not super fast like it has been.

Alright, this week we had Zone Conference and interviews with the Mission President! This was honestly one of the greatest Zone Conferences that I have been to out here! President has brought a new energy into this mission. He came in with the goal to trust us and to love us as missionaries and he has honestly impressed so many of us missionaries! These interviews were more of a get to know the missionaries interview so we talked about hunting, fishing, camping and college! It was awesome getting the opportunity to get to know the President better and his wife bought all of us lunch and while the other missionaries were being interviewed we got to talk with her and get to know her!!

Other than that this week was pretty slow. Most people that we tried to get with or talked to either didn't open the door or weren't interested in what we had to say.... typical! But hey we were there and we gave them the chance, that is what we are asked to do.

Love y'all!!
Con amor,
Elder Nathan Stoddard
 
 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Week 50 - July 24, 2017

Howdy y'all!

So it has been a good week out here in Hammond! Things are going well and the people are as awesome as ever!

This week ended up being a service week. Our mission is partnered with the American Red Cross and we got to go to Amite and help two times this week! It was so much fun! First, on Wednesday, we were helping people sign up to get free smoke detectors put into their house and then on Thursday we go to go out with the Red Cross and the Fire Department to install the smoke detectors! It was so fun and we got our own Red Cross vests! Winner!!

I also got to go on exchanges this week with our Zone Leaders. Elder Orison came here to Hammond with me and Elder Magee went to Denham Springs with Elder Hall. It was a good time! I was able to get with a few people that we haven't seen for a little while and It was awesome! Saturday morning Elder Orison and I did more service for a recent convert named Kenneth. We were helping replace the floor of his trailer. It was kind of fun! I like doing stuff like that! 

Other than that this was a pretty normal week. The work has been pretty slow the last few weeks but we are getting it picked up again. The coming few weeks should be good and we should be getting some awesome work going!

So this week I have been thinking a lot about Psalm 23. My favorite verse of it is verse 4;
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

It is strange being out here. 100% honesty, missionary work is hard and sometimes dangerous, but we are not here to fear what men or what the devil can do. Yes men have power and so does the devil, but God has more and because God has more so do we. We are doing His work. He doesn't want us to be afraid, He wants us to love others and "perfect love casteth out all fear". I can say that out here I have learned to say like David "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;"

I hope y'all have an awesome week!

Elder Stoddard
 



 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Week 49 - July 17, 2017

Hola y'all.

Well here I am, transfer 5 in Hammond. It is a crazy feeling! I have been here for so long already! This transfer I will hit my year mark and never have served in NOLA which is strange for a Spanish Elder. 

So the awesome news about me staying is that my new companion is Elder Magee! He is from Alpine Utah and was one of the Elders I had really hoped to serve with! We have been having a great time trying to learn Spanish together. Elder Magee was actually at the CCM with me at the same time but he was originally assigned to serve in Peru. He was there for a transfer and got sick and had to go home and get re-assigned. He came to Louisiana as an English Elder but has been changed back to being a Spanish Elder with me!!

This past week wasn't too eventful. I was helping Elder Barney get ready to go home for the first little bit of it and then I have been showing Elder Magee the area and introducing him to people here in Hammond. The one really fun thing that we did go out and do was Spanish tracting in a trailer park and best part of all, it was raining like crazy! It was honestly the most fun I have had out tracting on the mission. We probably looked and sounded like complete fools and we even had a guy tell us that our Spanish was terrible but hey we were having fun and trying our best to spread the Gospel! We did get one good lesson with our new investigator Miguel. He is from Honduras and is here for work. He has met with the missionaries in the past and was excited to have us meet with him again! 

Other than that there isn't much to report for this week. I am excited for the coming transfer with Elder Magee and I think we are going to get some good work done here!  

Have a great week y'all!
Elder Stoddard
 




 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Week 48 - July 11, 2017

Another Transfer Down

Hola y'all!

So another transfer down here in Hammond Louisiana. The big news of this week is that my companion Elder Barney is going home. It has been an interesting experience being with him in a salt and pepper companionship and I will never forget it. I have learned a lot of things that I probably would not have learned otherwise and I am glad for the experience.

So the other big news that goes along with Elder Barney going home is that I am staying here in Hammond for my 5th transfer.... I am both excited and a little sad about it. I love this area and will be sad to leave but being in one place for 7 1/2 months is a long time!! Also I got called to be the District Leader for the Hammond District. It will be a really interesting experience and it will be the first time that I am in a leadership position. I am a little nervous.

Other than that this week was pretty slow. We were doing a lot to get Elder Barney to get ready to go home. We did get to go tracting in a Spanish Trailer Park with one of our members Yolanda Cardenes. She is awesome and really likes doing missionary work with the Elders and Sisters. I think this transfer will be really good and we will find a lot of people that are interested in hearing the Gospel.

Well that is all I have for now! Love y'all and hope y'all are having a great week!



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Week 47 - July 3, 2017

Hola y'all!!

SO this week was a freaking amazing week here in Hammond Louisiana.

Alright I really only have one thing to talk about this week. Eibar got baptized!! He was so excited and so ready to be baptized!! One cool thing is that his brother, Donny, came down from Tennessee to perform the baptism! Donny is quite a bit older than Eiber and was the only member in his family until Eibar. Donny was baptized when he was 16 and ended up serving a mission! He is such an awesome guy and is such a good example to Eibar and it a big part of why Eibar was interested in the gospel. On Sunday I had the pleasure of confirming Eibar a member of the church and conferring the Gift of the Holy Ghost! That was a crazy experience!! And what made it even crazier is that I did it in Spanish!! Whoa!! I was freaking out the whole time!! It was all good though and it is an experience I will never forget!

Other than that this week was pretty basic. We had a lot of unexpected service and things like that. Also most of our scheduled appointments got cancelled so we had to find others to teach. All in all though it was a good week! 

Well I think that is about it for now!!  Have an awesome week y'all!

Con amor,
Elder Nathan Stoddard​



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Week 46 - June 26, 2017

I'm old....

Hola y'all!

So I have come to a terrible realization this week..... I am old. Who would have thought that I would be twenty already?! Not me!! My life is almost over!! Just kidding but being 20 is a strange feeling. I no longer have to call myself a teenager. I thought I would be happier about that than I am. Idk it is just strange to think that my teen years are gone and I will never get them again.

So in other news we had out last lesson with Eivar before his baptismal interview. We went over the commandments and went through the baptismal questions so that he know what is expected. Eivar is such a golden person!! We taught the Word of Wisdom and he felt super bad because he has drank coffee. He committed to stop drinking it and asked for a blessing to help him stop! That was the second blessing I have given in Spanish and I must say it is freaky but it is a good experience. 

This past week we also started teaching  an awesome new family! We got in contact with them as a Bible and Book of Mormon delivery referral and they are so prepared for the gospel! We went over the Book of Mormon with them and they were so excited to read it!! So it is four people that we are teaching in that family. It is a mom and dad with their 29 year old daughter and their 7 year old grandson. The grandson even did some of the reading in the Book of Mormon and his mom is going to help him read it every day!! They are such a good family and I can't wait to keep teaching them!

So a scripture that I have found recently in the Bible really stood out to me this week. 
 
1 Peter 5:6-8;
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

This is something on the mission that I have way come to know is true. Satan is out there doing everything he can to find those that he can devour. He doesn't want any of us to be happy. He wants only misery, but he is good at disguising misery and happiness. The only way to over come him is to "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God." If only that was as easy as it sounds. That is one of the hardest things for me on the mission. Learning to be humble is a slow process but I know that as we try God will bless us and Satan will not be able to devour us.

Well anyways I hope y'all have a great week!! 
Elder Ancient, I mean Stoddard :)
 

Editors Note: This is the happiest I have EVER seen Nathan look. literally. :-)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Week 45 - June 19, 2017

A Week of Service


Hola y'all!!

First off, Happy later Father's Day to all you fathers out there!! I hope that it was a good day and that y'all were spoiled by your families! You deserve it!

So this week was very productive but didn't involve much teaching. Some weeks we just get lots of calls to do service and this was one of those weeks.

So the first thing that we did this week was service for a member of the Amite Branch. He is working for Southeastern University trying to re-floor the Library. So our service involved moving a lot of books and book shelves!! It was hard trying to take apart the shelves and then put them back together with the books still on them but hey, we did it!

Our next service was for one of the Sisters investigators. She had a drain pipe that needed to be dug up and replaced. That was really muddy work. We had to slope the trench so that the water would flow down and not back up close to the house. It was a fun little project.

The other big service that we did was with the Spier's. They are moving to New Mexico and needed us to help them with some painting and repair things. It is sad to see them move. They were an awesome family and they also make up half of the primary for the Hammond ward. 

Well that is about it for this week!

Con amor,

Elder Nathan Stoddard 







Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 44 - June 12, 2017

A Week of Excitement

Hola y'all!!

So it has been a great week here in Hammond!

So the first cool/weird thing that happened this week happened on Tuesday when we were down working in Ponchatoula. We were getting ready to drive home and on our way through a neighborhood we got flagged down by a guy in his yard. He asked if we had time for the ministry and so we pulled in. Barney and I were both like, "oh crap, we are about to get bible bashed." That is what usually happens when someone waves us down. So we were getting ready to be bashed and when we get there all that the guy wanted to tell us is how much respect he has for what we do! He told us that he knows how many people slam the door in our face or are jerks to us and he wanted to make sure that we had at least one good experience that day! It was so awesome! 

Second cool thing that happened this week was that on Thursday and Friday we had exchanges with the Denham Springs ZL's. I got to stay in Hammond and Elder Hall came here with me while Elder Barney went to Denham with Elder Orison. Elder Hall and I are pretty good friends from serving around each other in Opelousas my last transfer there. It was awesome to get to serve with him again and to ask him all about Opelousas and how everything is going!

And last but not least the best news of all! Three of our Spanish Investigators agreed to be strive to be baptized on the 30th of June!! They are all such awesome people and they would be great additions to the church! Eivar already has such a strong knowledge and understanding of the Gospel! It is so cool to see them learn and grow!

Well that is about it for this week! I hope all is going well at home and that y'all feel the Lords hand in your life!

Con amor,
Elder Nathan Stoddard
 
 

Elder Stoddard with President and Sister Hansen

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Week 43 - June 5, 2017

"Catch the Vision"

Hola and howdy y'all!

So it is another good week here in Hammond. 

This week was a little slower because of transfers even though we didn't get transferred. We did a lot of planning this week for how we can best help this ward and how we can best do our work as missionaries. We came up with a plan to invite the members of this ward to be the ones that invite less-actives back to church. We are calling this plan "Catch the Vision." Each day we plan to invite an active family or member to  get in contact with someone that they know who is struggling with activity and invite them to come back. It has been received really well by the members so far!

So one of the cool things that happened this week is that we got in contact with the Strausbaughs again for the first time in a while! They have been keeping the commitment to have family prayer each day and have seen benefits not only for themselves but for others that they have prayed for! It was so cool to get with them and to hear about their experiences with prayer. We also committed them to add scripture study to their nightly routine and they accepted so we will see how that goes!

We also got to spend a lot of time with our Spanish investigators this week! The four that are progressing are Eivar (A-bar), Gregorie, Janice, and Melanie. They have all prayed about our message and felt good about it! They all said that they felt peace when they prayed and Eivar explained it as a great tingling in his whole body!! They are such good people and I can't wait to see how much they grow! They all came with us to Stake Conference this past Sunday in Denham Springs and they loved it! Joel and Brother Abel also took them to see the Temple after Conference because they are interested in seeing it! 

So one of the questions that we will get every now and then out here is, 'Why are y'all here?' or 'How are y'all crazy enough to pay to come out here to preach?' I have been studying the New Testament a lot these past few weeks and I think that Peter and John give a great answer to the Pharisees. Acts 4:19-20

19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.  

That is exactly why I am willing to give up my time and my money to serve God. As a missionary we can only speak the things that we have seen and heard or in other words the things that we know. I know that this Gospel is the one and only effective way to find happiness and joy in this life and in the life to come. I know that through the scriptures and the teachings of the Prophets, we will come closer to our Heavenly Father and to his Son, Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus Christ lived, suffered and died for us, but more importantly I know that He lived again for us!! How can I not tell others about these great things that can bring them happiness and peace?! This is why I am a missionary.

Have a great week y'all! 

Elder Stoddard out!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 40 - May 15, 2017

Howdy y'all!!

So this email will probably be pretty small sorry :( But I have been having a great time out here in Louisiana!! This past week was pretty slow when it came to work. There was a lot of stuff that we had to do for prepping for this coming week! But some cool things did happen this week.

SO first off I got to go to Denham Springs for ZL exchanges. I was with Elder Stucki who goes home in 16 days! He is an awesome missionary and the best part is that he is from Idaho!! So he is automatically awesome! There was a crazy hour long storm while I was with him and we literally couldn't see 15 feet in front of us because of the rain!! I love the storms out here soooo much!! 

Next we got to go to a baptism for a young man named Soljah. He was an investigator for the Hammond Sisters. He is one of the nicest kids I have ever met and he is so ready for the gospel! He always wants to say the prayers and answer questions in class! It was such a cool experience to see him get baptized by his Grandfather!

Other than that the big event this week was talking to my family on Mother's Day!! That is always a good experience! It is weird to think that I have already done two of my four skypes home on my mission! The mission goes way too fast!!

Anyways I hope y'all had a great Mother's day weekend!! 

Hasta luego!!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Week 39 - May 8, 2017

Just Another Week on the Mission

 
Howdy y'all! Como estan?

So this week was a pretty basic week out here on the mission. Not too much exciting or crazy happened.

First of we did meet a really awesome former investigator that we are working with again. His name is Neil. He is an awesome guy but has some concerns about the church and some of our teachings. I think most of the concerns that he has come from some misunderstandings of what the other Elders had been teaching him so we are working to clear those up! It has been a good experience for Elder Barney and me.

We were also able to catch up with the Strausbaugh's again!! It has been a long time since we could get them nailed down on a time to visit. They are doing alright. They are coming out of a really tough financial time and things have been hard for them. We are trying to get it set up so that we can meet with them at a minimum of once a week.

The other cool experience for this week was going on exchanges. I went to Albany with Elder Jensen. Well I went with Elder Jensen, but we were mostly in Amite, which is a little out of our area, for service. We helped a family repair a deck and some stairs. It was actually a lot of fun and it was good to work with this family. They aren't members but the daughter lives in Albany and is an investigator. It was a good time!

Well that is about all for this week! I hope y'all are doing well! 

Hasta luego!!
 
 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Week 38 - May 1, 2017


Hola mis amigos!

So this week has been pretty interesting. It was the last week of the month and we had some extra miles so we went to the far reaches of our area to visit some less-actives and members that don't usually get visited! It was a good experience! Most of the people that we saw were super happy to see the missionaries again and a lot of them are wanting to come back to the church!! We are planning how we can visit all of these people regularly since they live so far out. It will be hard but the Lord always provides a way!

Also this week we got to meet with our new investigator Jimmy. He is an interesting man.... He is willing to learn about God but he isn't too familiar with gospel terms. We brought him a Book of Mormon and read through the introduction with him. 
The last paragraph says, "Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah." 
So when we asked Jimmy what he thought about what we read his comment was "When I hear the word Messiah, I think about Donald Trump." It was all we could do not to laugh and we had no idea what to say back. He will be an interesting one to teach haha!

The other exciting thing this week was that Church was canceled because of horrible weather conditions. We had tornado warnings, rain and lightning like crazy. President called us and told us to just hunker down while it passed over. It was crazy to watch!

Anyways that was my week in a nutshell! I hope all y'all are seeing the blessings of the Lord in your lives! He loves you and knows you personally!! He will always be there for you!

Hasta luego!

Week 37 - April 24, 2017

The Hunt for Less-Actives

 Hola Y'all!!

It has been another awesome week out here in good ole Hammond Louisiana!! The weather had definitely started to warm up and I am not for sure that I like it haha! This summer will be interesting to say the least.

So this past week has been really good! A little disappointing at times but good none the less. So we spent a lot of this week trying to clean up our ward list and find some people that we can help return to the church. It was cool going to go and meet new people! One of the people that we met, Mike, is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met about the gospel, he just doesn't feel like coming to church. We also me a guy named Michael that has been living in Hammond for about 12 years and we are only the second set of missionaries to try and reach out to him. We hope to meet with both of them again because they are really nice people! 

Other than finding, hunting, less-actives, this week has been pretty regular. Elder Barney and I have come up with a tracting schedule. So far we have gotten in contact with some people but not many have an interest in what we have to teach. We have been able to pass out some pass-along cards and some Mormon.org cards but that is about it. It has been good though and we feel like this week the work will pick up a little bit.

SO I hope all y'alls weeks have been well! I love y'all and hope everything is going well!! 

Hasta Luego!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Week 36 - April 17, 2017

Hello again y'all!!
So it is another transfer here in Hammond Louisiana. Elder Israelsen and I are no longer together. He has moved on to Morgan City in the New Orleans Zone. He is now with my CCM comp Elder Porter. As far as I know they are doing well together! My new comp is Elder Barney. So the crazy thing about Elder Barney is that he is a English Elder.... So yeah I am in a salt and pepper companionship now. It has been an interesting week needless to say. Elder Barney is from Utah, go figure, and has been out for about 21 months. He and I get along pretty well together and I think some cool things will happen this transfer.

So this week wasn't too eventful other than getting a new companion. I have been taking him around to the people that we visit and introducing him to them and to the members of the ward. It has been good. 

So I am sorry for the short email y'all.... It has been a crazy week but mostly because of the new comp. Hopefully next week I will have more to report.

Love y'all!

Editors Note: Pictures are from last week. 






Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Week 35 - April 11, 2017*

Good Mornin y'all. So another transfer has passed for me out here on the mission. They seem to get shorter and shorter every time. Elder Israelsen tells me that it is probably because this transfer was only a five week transfer instead of a six week one but I'm still not convinced that is the reason :)

Still no news as to if Israelsen and I are being transferred, the calls wont come in until about 10 or 11 my time. I am hoping that Israelsen and I stay together one more but we will see what happens.

So this week was a little disappointing. We were supposed to have a baptism on the 15th of this month but on Saturday we were informed that we would have to postpone the baptism because of a few things that have come up. I won't go into detail but please keep the Strausbaugh family in your prayers!! 

The big thing this week was the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival. It is one of the largest festivals here in Louisiana and it is all dedicated to strawberries. Who would have thought strawberries were cool enough to bring hundreds of thousands of people to a small town like Ponchatoula?? Not me that is for sure!! So we got to spend a lot of time at the festival by doing service for the local Kiwanis Club. They were selling non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri's to earn money for this years projects. It was a lot of fun and when we weren't helping there we got to go around and see some of the booths and talk to people. Not many people there were from our area but we did get to speak some Spanish there so that was really cool!! 

Other than that this week was fairly slow. We got a few new potential investigators this week including a family but we have to follow up with them this week and see if they are interested in continuing meeting with us. I will keep y'all updated on that.

One last thing. If y'all haven't seen the Easter videos that the Church has put out this year, I would strongly encourage y'all to go to Mormon.org and watch all nine videos. They will bring a Spirit of Peace into your homes this Easter season. I have felt and seen in others the Spirit that these videos bring.

Have a great week!! I will keep y'all updated on transfers!!

video