Calling

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

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
70127 

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 

Week 55 - August 28, 2017

Hola y'all!

So my first week here in the New Orleans area has been awesome! I love the area and I love the culture! The houses here are all so cool and so different from one another that there is always something new to see! It is also super crazy being back with Elder Israelsen (Izzy). I love that I don't have to go through that whole awkward getting to know your new comp phase so it has been nice! It is also awesome being back in a quadship apartment, meaning there are two sets of elders in the apartment! It makes for some really fun times and good memories! The other two elders are Heath and Cooley. Heath is on his last transfer and Cooley just started his mission. 

So there isnt too much to report this week. Izzy has been taking me around to meet the members and get used to the area. I got to meet one of our investigators named Kimani! He is about 10 years old and loves to dance haha! He is planning to be baptized on the 16th of September and he is such an awesome kid! 

Well I am sorry this is such a short letter but this week has been a lot of packing and unpacking and cleaning an apartment!

Love y'all and hope all is well!
Elder Stoddard

Week 54 - August 22, 2017

Spanish Outcast goes to Nola!!

Hola y'all!

So as the title says, I got to go to Nola this week! We had a visiting General Authority, Elder Klebingat, so they had us go to New Orleans for a Zone Conference! Now for the awkward part of the story. We were 30 minutes late........ like that is the most awkward thing in the world! In our defense it was because the STL's sent us the wrong address and we ended up in the wrong part of New Orleans on a Saturday! Traffic like crazy! So we walked in 30 minutes late and I am so sad we did! The first part was my favorite part! Elder Klebingat went into some deep doctrine about the why we are here and why the House of Israel is so important! It was awesome. The rest of it was him hitting us hard with things that we need to change about ourselves as missionaries. It was pretty cool!  
We also took time out of our p-day last week so we could spend the rest of the day after Zone Conference in New Orleans. We went and spent our time at the French Market looking around at all the cool things that they have there!  I loved it!! I am so excited to serve there!

And that leads me to the next bit of information. I AM GOING TO SERVE IN CHALMETTE!!! I finally am going to New Orleans! I am sooooooo freaking happy! And even crazier news, Elder Israelsen is going to be my companion, AGAIN!!! Haha I am so excited for this coming transfer!!

Well that is about all for this week I think! Spent time saying good bye to people and did a lot for service!

Have a great week y'all! 

Elder Stoddard











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