Thursday, September 29, 2016

The New Normal

Hey family.

My spanish is definately coming along... but I have a long way to go. It´s still hard to understand people and often times my companion will translate from fast quick mumble spanish to slow, clear spanish. Some Honduras slang for you: Masiso: Good. Cheque:Everythings good\ready\goodbye. Also they´ll throw in some weird english words too like bye.

Elder Marquezada is fun. He´s serious about obedience stuff which I´m so grateful for. Excellent teacher, I´m really glad he´s my trainer. He knows the scriptures super well. Every morning he wakes up and studies the seminary manuels so he always seems to have a scripture to turn to when somebody asks a question. He tells a lot of jokes, some I understand and some I don´t haha.

Day to day we wake up and study individually and together eat breakfast and go teach. We´ll go eat lunch at a member who we pay to make lunch for us´s house, then we go back and study language for an hour and then we leave again and teach until 9. Ususally we have a full roster of people to teach, but sometimes sombody won´t be home and then we´ll go and yell buenas in front od people´s houses, and talk to people on the street.

All my stuff´s holding up great, I haven´t bought rainboots because I haven´t really needed to, water only goes up to about mid calf and if I leave my shoes outside while I wear the other ones the next day they dry really quick.

Our house is great. Most houses have concrete floor but we have tile. We clean it ourselves, and as a general rule we keep it pretty clean, but when we walk in after the day, we´re usually pretty dirty and we get the floor dirty too.

Love you guys,
-Elder Stoddard

Saturday, September 24, 2016

First Impressions of 'Ondura'

Hey family, 

it´s been super long since I had the opportunity to email you guys. I thought that we didn´t have any time to email in the CCM (1 hour), but now here in the feild we have even less (30 minutes)! 

The field´s great, I´m serving in an area called Palermo. A week ago we woke up at 2 in the morning in the Guatemala CCM and drove to the airport where we flew to El Salvafor and then to the San Pedro Sula airport. It was sad saying goodbye to the guys from the CCM, but I was also so excited to get to the mission. 

I got my new companion (Elder Marquezada from Peru). He´s a great teacher and I´m glad I have somebody who doesn´t speak english so I can feel a little more pressure to learn spanish. He speaks english, but only a couple words, so I have to use the dictionary a lot. I was speaking spanish to him on the van ride to our area and I was feeling really good and then we got out and started talking to people and I understood about 5%! 

Hondurand do have an accent, they´ll drop the s sound in a lot of words so ¨nosotros¨ becomes ¨¨nohotros¨¨ änd the way they say honduras is ondura. 

Power´s pretty reliable here. In the time that I´ve been here it´s only gone out twice. The first night I was here, it went out about 6 and didn´t come back on until early morning, so that first night was way hot. The apartment had a fan in it for me and when it turned on I had the experience you told me about dad, where I rolled over and smiled. 

It is unreal how hot it is here. Never have I sweated so much in my life. It´s rainy season here and every day at about 2 or 3 like clockwork it´l start raining really really hard, and it´s weird because most of the time the sun´s still shining so the rain does very little to cool things down. 

The people here are great. We´re teaching one guy named Wilmer who wants to be baptized, but the last time we talked with him he said he didn´t know that the book of Mormon was true so we read the introduction and I bore my testimony about the power of prayer. It´s a completely different thing to bear your testimony to somebody who isn´t one of your teachers in the CCM. 

I so happy to be in the field. When I got the call, this is what I was excited for. The CCM was cool and I learned a lot, but being here is exactly what I was looking for. 

the food here is delicious, baleadas are way good. 

Contacting is fun. Instead of knocking on doors here they yell buenas in a really loud voice. 

Yesterday the bishop asked me to introduce myself to the ward and I made my second ever joke. ¨Yo quisé hacer un chiste pero mi español es un chiste.¨ [Dad Translation: "I wanted to tell a joke, but my Spanish is a joke."]  They got a kick out of that, probably because that was bad spanish too. 

Yo quiero dejar ustedes con mi testimonio. Este iglesia es verdad. Yo he sentido el espiritu demasiado fuert demasiado veces. Por el poder del espiritu santo podemos sentir el amor de dios para nosotros. Yo espero que yo podía ver ustedes, pero yo daré 2 años con mi familia eterna entonces alguin puede vive con su familia eterna para siempre. Me ama ustedes. [Dad translation: I want to leave you with my testimony.  This church is true.  I have felt the Spirit too strong, too many times.  By the power of the Holy Ghost, we can feel the love of God for us.  I wish I could see you, but I will give two years with my eternal family, then someone else can live with his eternal family for forever.  I love you guys.]

-Elder Stoddard

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Blog Title (Above) Has Been Realized

We did not hear from Christian this past week.  He left the training center before the day of the week when he would usually write home and apparently arrived in Honduras after their weekly "preparation day" had already passed.

So we will have to wait a few more days to hear his first impressions of the place where he will spend the remainder of his two years abroad.

We did receive an email from Sister Carlisle, the wife of the Mission President on Tuesday to let us know he arrived safely that morning.

She attached a handful of pictures of Christian and the other new missionaries being greeted at the airport, and she told us that his first companion (and trainer) will be an elder from Peru.  He and Christian will serve in a place called Palermo.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

One Foot Out the Door

Hey family,

Last week I didn`t write a lot, partially because I was having trouble thinking of stuff to write about, and partially because that p-day i was the day I had a bunch of responsibility given to me pretty quick and I didn`t really know how to say how I felt without sounding super negative. 

Last p-day pretty randomly I I was told I`m the new district leader and I had to lead a BOM devotional that night, so I needed to be prepared for that. I think Giod gives us challenges to build us, and the devotional went great, but I spent a lot of the time I should``ve been emailing reading the Book of Mormon and trying to prepare what I was going to say and `ve felt kinda bad about that this week, so I`m gonna try and repent and write more this week. 

I tried the hot chocolate It was pretty good, it had a kinda christmasy apple-cinnamon-oatmeal flavor instead of a really chocolatey flavor. 

This week we had a super good lesson one of the days, Elder Lorscheider and I. We went in with nothing, no notes, no plan, anly a solid resolve that this was the lesson we would find the need. I was super worried that we`d be sitting there in silence with our teacher, but that didn`t happen at all. In fact, because we made it a conversation instead of a lesson, we ended up having almost no silence the whole visit, and we were the fist companionship in the district to find the need, so we felt really good afterwards.

Guatemala MTC Group Picture II
(The blur in the sky is probably a pigeon, but the blog editor says it is an angel ... or at least a dove.)

This is our last week hare at the CCM, the next time you get an email from me I`ll be in Honduras! 

I`ll bet nearly every missionary has this same experience, but after 5 weeks (going on six) I am so excited to get to the field and put into practice what I`ve learned here, even if my spanish is far from perfect. 

Something abopu tbeing here in the CCM is that even though I`m in Guatemala, it kinda feels like I`m in Utah. We`re in such a sheltered bubble here, I wonder what will happen when I get asked a real life question from someone besides my teachers or a member. I hope when that day comes (in six days) I`ll be in tune enough with the spirit that my shortcomings won`t make a difference, and the person I`m talking to will be able to feel the spirit.

love you guys,

-Elder Stoddard  

Friday, September 2, 2016

CCM Veteran

Hey family,

Things are still good here. I thought my Spanish was getting pretty good, but then they started introducing more and more grammer and now I know there´s a lot of work I still need to do to improve my spanish. I´m starting to get to the point where if the person talks slow I can understand everything except for a few words I don´t know.

I think all of us in my district are kinda worried about not knowing enough spanish when we leave. Whenever I get a little bit down or upset I just think how cool it is that I have to opportunity to be here in a different country learning a foreign language, and helping people in the same way the savior would. That always puts a smile on my face.

I didn´t know about the pictures from the CCM, but it´s cool you got to see them, because I haven´t gotten to. When we get out of the CCM I´ll be sure to send some pictures.

Guatemala MTC Group Picture
(Christian is in the middle row; 3rd from left)

You might not believe it, but things are starting to get a little repetitive here, too. I can´t believe I´ve already been out for a month.

Nothing super exciting has happened this week. We got some new people and it was kinda fun giving them the same advice we got from the older generation.

Last week was super exciting, this week has been pretty relaxed. I´ll write more next week, we didn´t havew as much time this week.

- Elder Stoddard