Sunday, August 20, 2017

Two Spiritual Experiences

[Editor's Note: If you have been following, Christian does not take many pictures because he is afraid of the camera being stolen. In the absence of pictures from him, I found pictures on the Internet to depicting some of the things he described. None of the following pictures in this post are from Christian.]

Hey Family, 

I realized last week that I´ve been doing a kind of poor job sending good spiritual experiemces to you guys... it´s just SUPER hard to remember when I´m writing, but before I write and after I write I´ve got tons. 

So this week I made a special effort to remember some stuff. I carried around a little slip of paper and made three bullet points in two days. My plan was to do it all week, but with changes and all that... things don´t get too spiritual in the airport haha. 

But anyways... 

1.) The first one happened on last Sunday. We were walking down the street in the early night and we saw a member family. We had eaten a late lunch, (and it was a LOT of food) so we weren´t really excited to eat even though they were really excited to feed us. (We hadn´t made any dinner plans with them or anything; we just found them on the street and they offered us food). So we accepted, but we asked for it to go. So they gave us two take out boxes super full of pollo con tajadas ("pollo chuco" they say here). It´s a typical honduran food. Fried chicken with little strips of fried banana. 
pollo chuco
Super good but we were full and we already had dinner plans. So we took the dinner to go, hoping we could find someone to give it to. We didn´t find ayone who really wanted it. So we went on our way to our planned dinner with Herman and Yeimy. They live in a poorer part of La Paz called la invasión. I think I explained a little bit to dad about it. They basically steal their power and water and build little wood houses. 

humble homes in San Pedro Sula
Herman speaks english so he has a pretty good job at a call center, the reason they live there is because they want to help our Yeimy´s family, who basically has nothing and her mom is pretty old and needs care. So we were on our way there, and I got the idea to go leave the containers of food at an investigator´s house (named Belkis, she also lives in La invasión. So we had to pass by Herman and Yeimy´s house to get to Belkis´s house and right when we passed by it started raining HARD. It started absolutly pouring. My companion said we should just go and eat a Herman´s because Belkis probably would want anyways, but I insisted we needed to leave the food somewhere; maybe it was because I felt bad just dumping perfectly good food that somebody had made for us (or maybe it was the spirit?) So we ran to Belkis´s house, pretty far away. When we got there and offered her the food she started crying and said her sons had gone two days without eating and she had gone 3 days. She was so grateful for the food we´d brought her. I was so glad we´d made that little extra trip to bring her the food. So we went to Herman´s house and he brought her some beans, rice and flour (to make tortillas) to last her about a week. It was super sad, but I´m grateful we didn´t hear about it the next time we had a visit planned on Wednesday. And I´m also glad Herman is there to help her if she needs it. Those two kids ate that chicken SO fast! 

2.) On Monday we had a big meeting and I brought my Preach My Gospel. 
missionary handbook
 Usually I don´t carry it with me, but on that day I was just about the only day ever. So.. in the night we stumbled on a couple fighting in the street (with words, not legit fighting; even though I´ve seen that before too). Usually when I see that I don´t say anything- I walk by- i don´t know- it makes me super uncomfortable... like a not my buisiness kinda thing. But my fearless companion walks up and starts to contact them. I think they were both a little suprised and caught off guard. So we contacted them and went into their house where we began to talk and learned that they were already members! They just both had been baptised as kids but hadn´t returned to church in years and years. They were still super mad at eachother, and I felt like we needed to do something kinda different. I took out my PMG and flipped to the part where it talks about the companionship inventory. 
companionship inventory
We talked with them a little bit and helped them as they went through the steps. At the end we told them to hug and they did. We finished with a prayer and left. The next day their neighbor tracked us down and asked us to teach them. Word spreads pretty fast I guess. I´m the Honduran Dr. Phil or I don´t know what. I don´t think I´ve ever seen Dr.Phil but I think that´s basically what he does. 

I love you guys! 

-E´ Stoddard

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A New Honduran?

[from August 12, 2017]

Everything is going great here. I´m just hanging out in the office right now.  Changes are coming up so that´s a big deal for us here. I have to do that crazy transfer thing dad talked to me about doing (with all the buses and taxis and stuff).
 
I love being a missionary in Honduras! I think it´s cool how little money things cost in Honduras.  You can buy your rice and beans and tortilla for really cheap.  An egg costs 5 cents.  A 3 liter bottle of coke costs 2 dollars. I just got my Honduran residency this week so I´m officially Honduran haha.
 
The baptism last week went super well. It was another family that we helped get married.  Their names are Herman and Yeimy.  We´d been teaching them for a while.  Herman had actually lived in the the United States (in Utah actually) and knew lots of mormons and was really open to us.  Yeimy had a lot of doubts, but she overcame them in a really cool way.  She didn´t think she needed to be baptised twice, but she heard the testimony of a evangelical preacher- turned mormon, and she felt the spirit really strong and wanted to be baptized. 

I lost my camera charger (another missionary got a little mixed up and took mine and I have his) so I couldn´t take any pics on my camera. The good thing was, the sister missionaries had theirs, but they still haven´t given us the pictures.  

Changes last for 6 weeks.  The next one is in on the 16th of August.  It´s looking more and more like I might last another extra change here in the office, but who knows.  I though I would probably be leaving in November, but it´ll probably be December.  Yeah But if I last 4 changes it´ll be 6 months.  5 changes is 7 1/2 months. so I might be in here for about 8 months.  Yikes!  But I like it here, there are just some things that I do miss about being outside the office.  I´m sure I´ll miss it here when I leave.
 
I´m getting used to big city living.  I really like being here in a bigger city.  It´s really hard here to look stuff up because there are no addresses.  You just kinda gotta know where things are. 

When I´m in the area, we don´t use the truck.  I think that might make people see us differently.  If we show up in a huge new truck to their house made out of tin sheets, I don´t know.  Just mala honda [bad vibes].

Now that I have a year I do kinda feel like I´m an older missionary.  I also get to see the brand new missionaries coming in to the mission.  It´s kinda cool to talk to them.  It makes me remember when I first got here.  

I had a hard time with the fasting in my first few months in the mission.  The only thing was, I would get so thirsty in the hot street!  But I got used to it, and now I´m ok.  Don´t worry, I am safe in Honduras.  God protects us in the same way he protected those missionaries all those years ago.
 
I´m enjoying these slip on shoes.  I think I might keep this style for the rest of my mission.  I might just buy some other ones when these wear out.  I have those boots too, but they just aren´t necessary, cause my area´s pretty flat. 

I think I´m not gonna take too much stuff to college.  Being a missionary has taught me to not accumulate stuff because I have to go in a couple months. I think that would be a good idea to get an internship.  I just have to figure out what I want to be first!  

Love you guys,

-Elder Stoddard

Over the Hill

[from August 5, 2017]

My companion is pretty funny.  He doesn´t really ask before he does stuff.  He just sees something and does it, which is pretty funny sometimes.  Today we were on the way up on the elevator and he really quick-without saying anything-pushed the emergency button.  It was even funnier because there were more people in the elevator with us.  He was pretty embarrased but it was funny to see.  Apparently in Guatemala those buttons do something different (like make an alarm sound as long as you hold them down). 

My companion has no fear of eating thinks.  And he eats a TON which is good if I feel really full, I can give him some of my food.  Usually I have been the companion who eats more, so it´s kinda cool to have Elder Reyes who eats a ton.  I´ve eaten some things that I didn´t like.  I wasn´t a huge fan of the sopa de mondongo (soup with cow stomach), but that´s pretty common.  I don´t really like how they eat feet here, that´s something I avoid at all costs.  I do not like feet.  Chicken feet, pig feet.  It´s all gross.  

I think the dirtiest I´ve ever been in my apartment was when 20 missionaries were finishing the mission and left a big mess in our house.  My cleanest companion was my second one.  We cleaned almost every day. 

Holy smokes that´s weird to think I´ve got less than half of my mission left.  I´ve got to appreciate it as much as I can.  I sure don´t feel like I have been out for an entire year.  You know me... I´ve thought very little about what my plans are for the future... I have less than a year left :( but at the same time :) because I´m gonna get to see you guys again.  We´ll see what happens, I think I´m gonna try to keep it as General as I can in the first little bit of University.  I really have no idea how any of it works though... I´ll be happy with anything honestly. I honestly can´t believe I´m already a year into the mission.  
   
I doubt I´ll be able to give missionary talks around the stake in Ukraine.  We´ll see how it all goes when I get back.  Maybe there will be an interpretor.  I don´t even know how strong the church is over there.  Or maybe I won´t need an interpretor!  Haha just kidding I for sure will.  I can say about 20 word in russian.  I haven´t been studying it as much as I should if I want to learn.
  
There are mosquitos here too- if you can imagine.  The weird thing is I don´t get bitten by them- almost never.  I must have some kind of World War Z kind of disease that makes them not want my blood.  At the start of my mission I had lots around my ankles and socks... but since about 4 months in the mission I have not been bitten.  Weird huh?  No dangue for me *knock on wood*

Sometimes, when the power goes out and we have the car right outside I think about turning it on and feeling the air conditioning too.  That would be nice, but I still haven´t done it. 

Sometimes I used to take a P-day nap, but it´s been a long time since I´ve done that.  When I get home I think I´m gonna take a big long nap.  Sometimes when I´m not driving I fall asleep in the car, but I try my best not to.  

Everyone/Public Service Anouncement:
More baptisms today!  I´ll try and send pics during the week, but that´s where I´m going as soon as I send this message!

Love you all!

-E' Stoddard