Friday, February 16, 2018

The King of Emergency Transfers

Hey family,

So big news! I`m once again having emergency changes. It`s been so long since I`ve had normal changes, I`ve almost forgotten what it`s like hahah. So this morning the assistants called us and said we have emergency changes. I`ll be going way far away to the other end of the mission. To an area called sabà. Kinda weird to get that phone call. It was the same thing when I got called to the office in the middle of a change. It was kinda sad because I don`t really want to leave this area or leave my companion, but I know this is what the lord wants for me to do, and that it`s all in his plan. Now that I think about it, the only time I`ve ever had regular changes was when I was changed from Palermo to Montecristo. I`ll have to leave behind the baptism of William and Wilson, which is this saturday :(, but I know the same way I`m leaving behind good investigators here, that I`ll find them in Sabà. So yeah, that`s my big news of the day- I don`t know if I`ll finish the mission there. I`ve heard being way out there in the east is a completely different experience, I`m sure it`ll be a lot different from being here in the city. Well yeah, all the usual changes feelings. Nervous-excited, I guess I`ll have to let you guys know how it goes next week. I`ll be getting there on Wednesday, once again travelling alone haha. Another funny thing that I just remembered is that I was gonna give a talk this Sunday. Ooops, well I guess I`ll let the bishop know.

This last sunday I taught class for the first time in a little while. It went really good, even though I taught without knowing I was gonna teach beforehand. Yeah just about every night we eat dinner at a member`s house. Last night we ate a ton of baleadas. We always leave the Trujillo famlies house stuffed. 

Yeah, when I get home I`m gonna be sure to help out the missionaries. Brother Mayen has been a huge help, and William and Wilson are ready to be baptised this Saturday, I`m a little sad that I won`t get to see it though. Everything else is going good. 

I got along great with Elder Asturias, I really enjoyed my time with him. He`s a great missionary. My stomach`s doing good, no more problems since the cheese. Yeah I loved the a/c. I doubt I`m gonna see any more of that stuff for a long time. 

And for the baptisms on Saturday. Thanks for the prayers! I hope that now everything`s settled down with the protests I`ll get the package a little quicker. It might be hard though because I`ll be so far away from the mission office. 

I don`t know what to do about the shoes. I think it`ll be pretty hard to get them to Elder Asturias, but I`m sure I`ll find a way to get them to him. 

For right now I`d like to plan out when I get home. I`d like to get busy as quick as I can. I want to sign up for some online classes like Allie, and maybe get a job too. I don`t want to be bored haha. No pictures right now, but I`ll take some on my 8 hour bus ride this week, and I`ll take some as I say goodbye to people in this area.

I love you guys so much and I hope you have a great week!
-Elder Stoddard

Help from Local Members

[from February 5, 2018]

Everything is going really well here. changes went good. there weren`t any changes to my companionship, which was good. i really like my comp, and i think another change with him will be good. we have lots of progressing investigators here, but nobody is quite ready for baptism yet. lots of hard work, we have several families that need to be married and those youth are still struggling with addictions. this week i had the opportunity to go on divisions with our new zl. it was a good day, and we found a couple of really promising people. I`m glad I get to stay in this area a little longer. I would have felt really sad leaving this area without seeing too many of the fruits of our work. Besides, I like air conditioning so much. Last night there wasn`t light so we didn`t get to appreciate it so much, but when it`s on it is heavenly. i think this will be my last change in the area. i doubt i`ll be here another change. i want to leave it in a really good state before i leave. i wouldn`t have felt very good leaving in this change. it is a kind of hard are to be honest. i think president wants to change me before too long. i`m not sure what will happen though. we`ll have to see.

i want to finish the mission strong, six months is still a good amount of time. i want to leave this area really nice. one thing that we finally achieved this week is we filled our dinner schedual. we`d been having to buy dinner twice a week, but a couple families invited us this week, so we`re a lot fuller. Today actually we got invited by a sister who gave us so much food! i think i gained a few pounds. she gave us a whole ton of soda too. i don`t know if i`ve said this before but here there are 3 liter bottles of coke, and 2 liter bottles look so small to me now. between the two of us we drank the entire three liters of coke! i am so stinking full, and my companion wants to run tonight... i think i`m gonna die haha. there are some really good members here and they are all happy to have the missionaries back in this area. People are really excited that we are back. It`s been a while since there were missionaries in this part.

Yeah we had a realy good visit with William and Wilson last week. They still have problems though. It makes me really sad to see how someone with the same age as me has so many problems with drugs and alcohol. These ward members are making a huge difference, it was hard for me and my companion to relate, neither of us have ever had any kind of drug problems, but it was a huge help to have that ward member come with us. We found out too in our last visit with William (Wilson wasn`t there last time) that Brother Mayen is checking up on them every day to see how things are going. Really cool, they still aren`t ready to be baptized yet, but it`s awesome to be getting this kind of help. I`m teaching a guy right now who speaks perfect english, and it`s really weird. Praying in english is also kind of weird for me to do.

Church is really good here. We go to sacrement meeting like everybody else and then the second hour there is a class with just us and the investigators. SOmetimes we teach the class and sometimes a member teaches the class. Sometimes when a teacher doesn`t come for a different class they ask us to teach. One time we had to teach primary. It was really crazy. There are some nutso kids haha.

Once again, I love you guys and have a great week!

-Elder Stoddard

Getting the Work Going After Years Without Missionaries in the Area

[from January 29, 2018]

Everythings going really good. Sorry about last week, I couldn`t write because I had to go to the hospital and get my tuburculosis skin test checked. 

The area`s good. It`s been kinda hard getting started here. Finding Adonai our second day here was a true miracle. He was just so prepared. He had been taught by the missionarys before and was all but ready to be baptized. I think the only reason he didn`t was because of the whole debacle of missionaries being taken out of this area. 

We`re teaching a couple youth who are really promising (William and Wilson) both of them are struggling with word of wisdom problems. We visited them with an ex-alcoholic member this week. It went really well. THe spirit was really strong.

Also, this week we found another guy named Edwin who speaks perfect english. He works at a food stand on the side of the highway that runs through our area, but lived a year in San Antonio TX. We visited him twice and he went to church with us on sunday. He really liked it and said he would bring his family next week. We were like wait... your family? We`d only visited him at the food stand, so we`re gonna have to visit his house. 

We had a huge step forward this week too, because they finally called a ward mission leader. He`s a really cool guy named Brother Medina. I really get along well with him. My companion is still a pretty one track mind excersize nut. He`s really funny and I get along well with him. Just a 100% really good guy. He eats really slow though, which always makes whoever is helping us with the food ask me if I want more hahah. 

THey announced the changes last night and I`m gonna be here in this area with Elder Asturias another change, so we`re both pretty happy. As far as the apartment goes, we are both so happy to be in the new one. Going from no running water, basicaly no electricity, and windows with no screens (basically just holes in the walls that are invitations for mosquitos), to a house with a/c running water and glass windows was a huge change that we are still so thankful for. 

Sorry for not writing too much, I love you guys lots but sometimes it is kinda hard to arrange the p-days and stuff. I`m all set with the food in the package. There isn`t anything I really need. My companion wants some vans shoes though because they don`t exist down here in Honduras or Guatemala. He like the black slip on kind. (you can just send the shoes, not the whole box). His shoes are pretty ratty and I think he`s really apprecate it.

I have a russian copy of the book of mormon too, but I can`t read any of it. I can sound out the words, but I don`t know what it means. Maybe I`ll try to Elder Kolipoki it before too long haha. It`s really nice you have a bunch of different ways to practice the russian. It`s almost as if you`re doing companionship language study... you reading the book of mormon outloud. I also listen to General conference during the language study time. Whenever I get the chance I download some that sound interesting to me in spanish onto my "ghettopod." 

From The Other Side of Heaven - Elder John Groberg's Story

I visit ward members when we have dinner with them. Sometimes ward member will go with us to visit which is really cool. This last week we had some visit with us, and it helped a lot. 

I love you guys! Have a great week! 
Elder Stoddard