Monday, December 27, 2010

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 3:54 PM

Hola familia. That was really awesome that I could talk to all of you guys and Rachel also. That was really cool. The other missionaries were jealous that I was able to do a conference call with everyone. There isn´t a way though that I could call back again. But thank you guys very much for doing that for us. I went a little over anyways so I may get something for that, haha. The Christmas here went really great and it was an especially good time of the year to teach families.

I got the package from Grandma and Grandpa in the house already, but I haven´t seen it yet. I am really looking forward to opening it. Dad your song was hilarious because I heard that song every single morning this month of December. The lady next door has a sound system that makes the house vibrate and she loves that song. If you didn´t see the translation it is talking about the travel of Mary riding a donkey with Baby Jesus to Bethlehem. It is a popular song here. Did you have a script or did you just listen to the song and figure it out. If it was the latter I would be impressed, haha.

So I have already told you most of the stuff that happened this last week on the phone but there was a few cool things that happened between the call and now. The first is that I had a very interesting dinner that night. It was the whole middle part of a hen (hen without legs or head) and it had a surprise. In the very innards was an egg that never came out I guess. It was all cooked and fine so I ate it out of it. It was really cool.

So this Sunday we had a lot of success bringing people to church. We had 6 people and 1 family, almost 2 families but the wife stayed home. The family was brought by one our investigadores, Jonas. I guess they went once when they were living in Puerto Cabeza, which is on the coast, and they wanted to come with their cousin Jonas, so he brought them along. They are going to be here for a year and they want us to come by and teach them. Then today we were playing soccer for our Pday activity and we had invited Jonas to come to come play us. Well he brought that family again and his brother from the Corn Islands. So we had a fun time playing with them and we have our first actual lesson with them tomorrow. I am so excited for them. They are really cool and just laid back.

Well I don´t have to much time to write more but I love you guys a lot and Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 10:32 AM

I was kind of confused from all of those emails all over the place. I guess you guys couldn´t get the email off on time or whatever, but I will still write you back. So it sounds like we won´t be able to do the conference call thing with the different time sets and arrangements. It is fine. Just a few more questions: have you heard anymore updates about the papers for Chad and Isreal? What kind of stuff have you heard from the other missionaries out in the field? Any cool or funny stories? Kyle and CJ should be back home already, right? If so, how are they and what are they doing? That is pretty much the main questions I had for you. You could probably just tell me about that stuff in my phone call home but you can think of the answers now and then have them ready for me.

So this upcoming Saturday we have a baptism ready for the abuelita who was a reference for us to teach. She is a really nice grandma and funny too. She has about the same situation as Doris with her husband being a rock head. He is fine with her getting baptized but says only two words to us. We will get him too, we just need to find his soft spot. We are also going to have another one Sunday early in the morning for Manual Cruz and possibly his wife and daughter. If so we can have a whole family. That would be great and really cool. As for other investigators, they are coming along.

Last Pday we tried to climb that really big hill again that has a cool view of the Volcano of Momotombo but we got lost and once again had to come down without success. This Pday we plan on getting a truck from a member and Christmas Caroling with the missionaries. We are going to go and visit the investigators and recent converts and less actives of our areas. I am really looking forward to it.

So this week we have just been working and setting off fireworks. We got a new sister in the ward to wash our clothes for us and we are now cooking for ourselves in the house for lunch. We just buy as close to American food as we can and it is going great. Today we are going to make Spaghetti. I may have already told you about that but I am not sure.

Well I don´t have much to write about his week but I still love all very much. I am looking forward to this Saturday so that I can talk you guys and see how things are going. Well love you lots and Big Hearts.

Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Hey I just got your email so don´t worry. That is really awesome concerning what is going on up there. I am sorry to hear about Rose and how she is passing away. You guys are pretty busy with everything going on with the ward. That is awesome that you guys are combining the Spanish speakers into the ward. They may seem strange but that is just because you don´t understand what they are saying. They are actually really cool and they are all children of God. It would be interesting Dad to hear you singing Spanish songs. If you want it would be cool to get a recording of that. The name Tonky is actually a really popular name for dogs here. The owners of the house named him that. Just to let you know, that will be my dog´s name in the future. I just hope he isn´t as crazy as the one here haha. So far I have only gotten one package and yes I have already gotten into it. It is not possible to wait when you know what good things are in there and being peer pressured from the other missionaries. It has really awesome presents inside. I have already played the whole hymn book with the Ocarina, hurt my fingers with the yo yo, eaten pretty much all of the candy, but I still lack the Mentos Geyser. I haven´t decided which soda I want to send up. Those pomegranate candies are so good tasting. Where did you find them? Those Kool-Aid tabs are pretty nifty and tasty. Thank you guys so much. But ya I have only gotten one package so far from you guys. Looking forward to talking to you on Saturday. Love you all and Big Hearts

Elder Ochs

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Entonces esta semana fue tuanis aqui en Sandino (So this week was real cool here in Sandino). So ya I have gotten your package about last week I think. I am really excited to open the stuff inside and I am kind of worried that there is something in one of them that may get attacked by the creatures in our house. Thank you so much for that. Everyone is pretty jealous of me. We actually haven´t really gone back to talk to the rooster fighting guy but we need to. We have been pretty busy with everyone else that we are teaching. I will see about the whole conference call thing. Those pictures of the house are really cool. It looks really comfy. That is a pretty clever hat you got there Dad. Those pictures of us painted was pretty funny too. I look like a little wierdo.

So I have been having a really great time here in Sandino still. The other day we went to an investigators house so that she could show us how to make Nica tamales. It is pretty cool. I forgot to bring my camera so I didnt get any pictures. What they do is first lay down leafs from a plantain tree which serves as the cover and protects it from water getting in. They put down corn dough, pork, chunk of fat from pork for flavor, rice, tomato, onion, a leafy thing, and then a chile that is really hot. They then wrap it up really tight and then tie it off with a cord from the same tree that is really strong. The funny thing is that I got Elder Feliciano to eat some of the really hot peppers and I bought him a soda. Afterwards we went to watch the Joseph Smith movie for a lesson and he was rubbing his eyes. He still had pepper juice on his hands so had quite a teary experience during the movie haha.

Those pictures I sent are of the Zone the day before changes, these goats that Elder Feliciano was fascinated by, and our Christmas photo with Tonky the house dog. He all of a sudden got nice and now he is our best friend. We even bought him a Christmas hat and Elder Montierth gave him a tie. It took a lot a shots to get one of him looking at the camera. Also at this time there are a lot of fireworks and bombs for sell and Elder Feliciano has some extra money to spend. This one in the picture cost 3 dollars and was a very big explosion. We all ran inside for cover for this one. Don´t worry though because our motto is "Safety First".

So we are doing really great here and we have a bunch of families getting ready for baptism. I am so excited for it. I love you all very much and I will talk to you again next week. Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Hey there family and friends up in the states. It sounds like you guys are having a good time. You guys have a lot of stuff going on keeping you busy. I am going to write Grandma and Grandpa to tell them thanks for that Christmas present. The Thanksgiving video was really awesome also. Thanks for all of your lovings. That is awesome that you got to celebrate the Dutch Christmas. Here at that same time all of Nicaragua is celebrating the Shout of Mary. They go crazy all day and night lighting of fireworks, which are really just bombs, here. It is the time of the year that is most crazy and people from all over like to come here to Ciudad Sandino to celebrate. There are so many Mary statues here.

I didn´t tell you guys last week because I didn´t find out till Wednesday, but I am now a District Leader here. There are about 6 missionaries all together in our district. It is pretty fun and I like doing it. I get to talk to a bunch of the missionaries and see how they are doing and stuff. I also get to do Baptismal Interviews for them. I have done one already but he didn´t pass for this week. He has to wait one more week so he can stop drinking coffee. I have fun going to different areas too while on divisions with them. We live in the same house of the Zone Leaders so it is really cool getting help from them to when I need it. So ya I also get to write a lot of numbers so my addition will be excellent by the time I get back home haha.

Hey Rachel we also had 5 investigators come to church so that is awesome. It is the best we have been doing for a while here. One of them is named Jonàs and he is so pilas. He is 16 and is wanting to change around his life and wants to become like us missionaries. So we decided to bring him to our lessons and just doing actual missionary work. He is having a lot of fun too. He says he has a lot of references for us to go visit and also keeps us safe from certain roads and people that are dangerous when we walk at night. He knows pretty much everyone which is cool too.

We also got to see an actual rooster fight this past week. We were going around and visiting and we happened to pass by when they were having a match. It wasn´t all that exciting but the people yelling made it a lot more of a frenzy. We only saw one and decided to go when some people kept coming up to us asking for bets.

I am having a great time here and don´t worry, I am safe. We are getting more and more ready for baptism so hopefully they can take that last step. Thanks for all of your love and support. Big Hearts y Adios.

Elder Ochs

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Hola familia y amigos. So I really liked your last letter and the stories in there. That Sardines game sounded pretty intense also. That would have been fun to play Justin because he is really fast. Dad, where did you scoop that mud to put on your face? Hopefully away from the horse pins. Dad your Thanksgiving video didn`t go through but the pictures were pretty funny. That is awesome that Sean got his call over to Chicago, Illinois. Tell him I said to have fun and enjoy every minute of it.

So we had our own little Thanksgiving meal here in Nicaragua too. We had chicken, mashed potatoes, bread, vegetables, and Jello. It was pretty good. We did it as a Zone. We all paid this member to cook a big meal for all of us. It only cost $5 dollars each so it was fine.

I also got a pretty cool deal on hammocks this week from this guy walking around with a bunch of hammocks on his back. The first one I bought he wanted 350 cords but I got him down to 250. He walked with us to the house so that I could pay him. I only had a $10 and $5 bills which added up to 220 cords so I lacked about 30 and I only had a 50 cord bill in my wallet. So he just took it and I was bummed out because he got the better deal. He then wanted me to buy a second one for $10 but I told him I only have a $5 dollar bill left in my wallet. He lowered the price to $8 then $7 but I was telling him I only have a$5. So he offered me it for $5 but I also have to give him my backpack or a pair of my pants. I told him he was crazy because I only have one backpack and the pants cost me $30 dollars, so no. I then told him I will buy it for $5 dollars alone because he already stole 20 cords from me for the other hammock. He thought about it and finally gave it to me. So in the end I have 3 hammocks, one being from last week, that costed in total $25 dollars Which was the amount Grandma and Grandpa Ochs sent me for my Birthday. Thanks a bunch :).

So we just found out changes right now and I am staying here in Ciudad Sandino, Woo Hoo! Elder Feliciano is staying here another change with me too. I will complete 6 months here by the end and hit my year mark here. Elder Montierth is staying here another change too so that will be 7 1/2 months in the same district. Also we will have a house full of only greengos again for another change. Hopefully it doesn´t affect my Spanish too much. The best part is spending Christmas and New Years with the members here.

So we are still echando fuego here with Elder Feliciano. We got a bunch of people that we are teaching and getting ready for baptism. I am loving it here and can´t wait to get some more work down here. Thanks for all your lovings and I love you too.


Elder Ochs

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Hey there everybody. It sounds like there is a lot going on back at home. That is a very sad story about Ryan (not able to see the new Harry Potter movie). If he would like, the movie has already come out here and I can send it. They actually are like original copies of the movie with the menus and everything. Someone explained it to me how they get it here and how they rob the truck and stuff haha.

Well what we are planning to do here in Nicaragua for Christmas is maybe have a special meal and enjoy the night with members. We will probably have a ward activity and possibly something as a mission. It sounds like we are on the same lessons as you guys in Gospel Principals. We also taught about the gifts of the Holy Ghost too. I liked it a lot. That us awesome to hear about how Isreal is doing and his papers are ready. Have you heard yet about Sean and Chad´s papers yet?

Well this week was pretty fun here in Ciudad Sandino again. Elder Feliciano is still making us all laugh with his acts and jokes. He is a real fun missionary and comp to have. We are really good friends. Today we all bought slingshots down at the market and we plan to have fun with those out in the streets and on Pdays. They were less than 1dollar each. I also bought a cool hammock from a vendor walking in the street. It is one of those sitting ones and I got it for 10 dollars. I plan on just sending it home some how because it will be a pain to carry around with me everywhere. I would take a picture of it but my camera is already plugged in. I will get one next week. I plan on getting a full size one also.

I have a few more pictures to share with you: This is Oscar my recent convert in a festive mood. They are starting to do decorations around here now. This is a pretty cool sunset shot down the road where we eat. This is us with Kelvin, one of the kids at our dinner cita. These other ones are of the Volcan Momotombo and the Mountains of Leon are taken from a part of our area up on a hill  Picture 1  Picture 2. These are more shots from different parts of our area.  Picture 1  Picture 2  We got a lot of hills and stuff. The graffiti one is on a wall over by the plaza.

So the other day when Elder Feliciano and I where exploring an area of ours we have never been to before, we found a really cool place. It was a rooster fighting ring out in the middle of a little village like place. We talked to a guy that works there and he told us all about it and what not. He even let us hold his best fight´n rooster. Elder Montierth thought he would take a shot at him. We saw them training them and it was crazy. The best part is that the guy is a new investigator of ours now haha.

Then the other day we were walking along and I saw a little lump of black fur on the sidewalk. I went over and saw that it was a kitten that reminded me of Milo so I had no choice but take him. I convinced my comp to put him in his backpack so we could carry him back to the house. He was scared it was going to go to the bathroom in his backpack because he had a bad experience before with another animal in his old backpack. I got a picture with him and his head poking out. I named him Pèpe because it is a popular song here similar to Amilli which I named Milo after. We bought a bag of milk for him and set it out for him to drink. We had to leave him though and I haven´t seen him since.

We have been finding a whole lot of new people to teach lately. They just kind of fall into our laps. For example, we have been teaching a kid that has a lot of problems. Well one day we go to see how he is doing and his mom was there. She told us she wants us to help her son change and that she will be coming to church with him next Sunday. She also planned our first visit with her to teach, not at her house, but at her sisters and the family so we can teach all of her relatives at one time. She also gave us the directions of her daughters house in Linda Vista Managua, my old area so the missionaries over there can go teach her too. She is a really nice lady and hopefully we can bring all of them unto Christ. We have other stories similar unto that too that happen everyday. It is really amazing and I am making sure to say thanks every night. I am loving it out here and hopefully everything is well at home too. Thanks for all of your love and support for me and adios.

Elder Ochs

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Hola Familia. I really enjoy receiving your letters and your support for me. I haven´t yet received my package from Grandma and Grandpa but 40 days is a really long time. I will see how long I can hold out once I get it. So I will be waiting patiently for that. Eric I really enjoyed the video you made. I could understand you perfectly fine and you are right about it taking a while to understand their humor. They have really weird jokes and sayings mostly having to do with animals for some reason. But it is still coming along fine. Mom that big ol´pot of stew stuff isn´t really that great, at least here it isn´t. You can´t really eat the meat because it is mostly fat and bones but the soup itself is alright if you have limes. Dad I am going to send that picture off again of me thinking. It may have not downloaded completely before I had sent it off. Mom my skin is fine already and I will be more careful in the future.

Our baptism for the Family Garcia went great. I was worrying about a few things before but everything turned out fine. The one major thing I was worrying about was if we had white clothes big enough to fit Oscar, the husband. He is a pretty big guy. So we were running all over, calling missionaries from different zones trying to find some. Usually Nicas aren´t that big so we don´t have those big sizes. We eventually found a really stretchy jumpsuit. I gave it to him just before the baptism just praying he could get into it. When I went to go check on him he had it on and everything but it was very form fitting. I was laughing so hard. I couldn´t help it. He was fine with it, he was even joking around in it too. We had the bishop do the baptism because they were good friends and he was pretty strong. We had also married them before so we bought them a cake and they brought Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is the drink that all Nicas just love here. They have a really cute baby too. That all turned out great in the end and they are definitely going to make it to the temple in a year.

So here in Nicaragua it is going good for us missionaries. Elder Feliciano is a very funny guy and he always has me laughing. I guess this morning he had a crazy exercise coming back to our area. Last night we went on divisions with the Zone Leaders because they had to do interviews for other missionaries in an area far from here and Elder Young was sick so I stayed in Sandino while Elder Montierth and Elder Feliciano left for Mateare. They couldn´t find a bus at that time of night to come back so they just stayed at the other missionaries house. The next morning they got a bus to come back on the freeway. Well when they were about 2 or 3 miles from our bus stop in Cuidad Sandino I guess my companion thought it was that one and got off the bus. The bus was really packed as always so he didn´t hear the missionaries yelling that it wasn´t the correct stop. So the next thing they see while the bus is already moving is Elder Feliciano hopping off the back. They look through the back window and he is just standing there all by himself and confused with the bus already getting up to speed. The missionaries were just shocked and tried telling the passengers to stop the bus but they said they couldn´t. They look back again and they saw Elder Feliciano in full sprint chasing after the bus. I guess he ran for about a mile before they could get off. It took me a while typing this story because it was making me laugh so hard. The good thing is that he knew where he was because we had explored out to there a few times when tracting, he just didn´t realize how far he was from the actual city. So it is a bunch a stuff like this that he does all day that keeps me laughing.

I am really having a great time here on my mission here in Nicaragua. The time is going to fast though. Kyle is coming home in December right? Make sure to tell Elder Hiatt thanks for helping me realize that you can still have fun on your mission and that he really helped me prepare for one. Thanks for your love and help that you guys give me and Love you Lots.

Elder Ochs

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Hey so it has been another really fun week here in Ciudad Sandino. Elder Feliciano and I are getting along really great and we are teaching a bunch. Elder Feliciano actually was sick for a few days this week but his time was due. It happens to all of the new greengos here in Nicaragua. He only had it for two days though and then he he got better. Elder Montierth, who lives at the same place with us had Dengue Fever the week before so that stunk. Now everyone is fine and working again.

So I am writing today on Tuesday because we did´t get home till pretty late for our Pday in SAN JUAN DEL SUR!!! This month our zone baptized the most families in the mission and the reward was that we could choose any place here in Nicaragua to go visit for a Super Pday. We actually tied with another zone but we had less missionaries in ours so they gave it to us. No we didn´t get to see any of the Survivor crew or competitors but we could see Costa Rica. It was really awesome there and the water was so tempting but we didn´t get in. Some of the elders bought fake Oaklies (Sunglasses) from these vendors on the beach and they also had some bracelet stuff. My comps Oaklies broke in half in about 5 minutes. We then went and took pictures next to this miniature of the Golden Gate Bridge that they built on the beach. I am not sure why they did but it was pretty cool. We then hiked up this really steep hill to take took pictures next to this huge statue of Jesus and a really cool view, Picture 1  Picture 2. The one leaning back in the middle of the street was fun. I will probably send more pictures later. I didn´t put any sunscreen on so I got pretty burnt too. It took us forever to travel there and we still had to head back so we didn´t spend a whole bunch of time there. It was still a lot of fun. The bus rides were pretty crazy too. They pack wayyyyy too many people on those buses. If you weren´t standing the entire time for 3 hours smashed, you were sitting with Nica bellies on your shoulder or head. I am not sure which one was worse.

This letter was pretty short because I was looking through all of my pictures and stuff but I will talk about more stuff next week.

The winter time here actually does get a little bit cooler. We don´t have to use our fans anymore at night and the mornings are a little chilly. I won´t be needing anything though thank you. That is so awesome that Chad and Sean are getting ready to go on missions. Let me know as soon as possible about their calls. How is Isreal doing with his papers? Any thing about Kacey? Also that silver penny from 1973 so I don´t think it is original. Those stories about Grandpa and Russel were pretty funny to hear. I just got a letter form Russel this last Saturday.

So I am having a great time here and I am loving every minute here. Don´t worry though because I am coming back Mom. We have the Family Garcia this weekend for baptism and I am really looking forward to it.

Love you lots and Adios.

Elder Ochs

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Man it sounds like you guys are having a pretty crazy fun time there. Halloween looked really fun. Ryan´s costume was pretty funny looking with his really skinny beard. I knew he was going to get into Harry Potter again. Dad I didn´t expect your outfit to turn out as funny as it was. I am sure it got pretty hot under that beard though. I liked how you showed the soft side of Krok with Kaaat. It made me laugh so hard here in the cyber.

I can´t wait to get that Christmas package, it sounds really nice. Mom sorry I forgot to wish you Happy Birthday and that I couldn´t send you anything. We don´t really get very much money here.

That is crazy how Elder Hiatt is heading home now. His invitation is pretty funny and yes there was very many crazy memories with him too. That address you have is the same address still for our mission. And yes I did see the video of Ashley and Brooklyn which was really cool. For some reason though it is really hard to hear what they are saying. The dry season has hit now so we won´t be seeing any rain for about 6 months. It is going to be getting pretty hot.

So this last here in Ciudad Sandino with Elder Feliciano was really cool. Denis finally got Baptized!!! We had been working with him for 5 months but it was totally worth it. I got to baptize him myself too. I did it on the first try and everything. We had them married too but that was before the baptism of course. We bought a cake for them too. It was so great. He has totally changed from the first time that we met him. So cool. We are going to be baptizing another family on the 13th of November and that is going to be really awesome also. We have a lot of new people we are teaching now so I think we are going to have a successful month in November, but we will see.

Today we were looking at a stand of Nica toys and I took a picture of a toy car that made Elder Montierth and me laugh. If you can read whats on the side, that is the funny part. "Here comes the Meat Wagon, wee woo wee woo." It is from a movie. I also found a silver penny the other day. Of all places I found it here in Nicaragua. I was wondering if it was actually worth anything? For Halloween we didn´t do anything really that special. We just had a normal day, but this Tuesday is The Day of the Dead? I think a bunch of people just go to the graveyard and cry, that is what I heard. Doesn´t sound that fun of a holiday.

Presidente Falabela just came here also this last week and taught a lot of great stuff on how to baptize more people. We sat in there forever but it was worth it. Also our Zone Leaders had a meeting with him this last Friday and he saw that our zone had the best numbers out of all the mission and they asked them what they were doing to accomplish that. One of them is this goal we have to find 2 new families every night before dinner. He said he really liked the idea and that he is going to use the idea for the other missions here in Central America. So Rachel you could be hearing about this maybe. It was pretty cool.

So ya it is a blast serving here in Ciudad Sandino and I am hoping I have at least another change here. Thanks very much for all of the love and support y adios.

Elder Ochs

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Hola familia y amigos. So this week was really awesome. First off I am still here in Sandino for another change with a new comp. The even cooler thing is that he is brand new in the mission and I am training him. And even cooler than that is that he is from Florida and already knows how to speak Spanish and English. His Spanish has a greengo accent but he knows how to speak just fine. His name is Elder Feliciano. I just took a picture of him here in the Cyber so I could send you a picture. He is really cool and we get along great. He reminds me a lot of Brice actually. His parents are both from Mexico. His Mom served a mission in Mexico and he Dad was once a Super Bago, which means Super Bum, until he was baptized into the church. He is already contacting, teaching, and everything. He is really pilas. So now in our house, Spanish has become ruled out because all four of us missionaries living there are greengos and speak English. Don`t worry though because my Spanish is doing fine and I am actually learning more with him because he understands my questions I have for him about Spanish. So ya are having a fun time.

The other picture is our zone before changes in front of our church. We usually take a picture like that before we split. This change, 5 new missionaries came to the zone and 18 greengos all together in Nicaragua Sur with maybe 6 Latinos. This mission is becoming a greengo mission. We actually outnumber all the Latinos haha.

You know how I was telling you about the guy that wants Twizzlers. Well his name is Hermano Falabela and he just saved us a baptism for this weekend. We had been working with this one investigator named Dennis forever and we couldn`t get him to stop smoking. No matter what we did he wouldn`t stop. Well this Hermano Falabela swears to it that he can make any smoker quit smoking just talking to them. So he came over with us to the Dennis`s house, took the guy to another room, talked to him for about half an hour, and the guy totally gave up smoking and is getting baptized this Saturday the 30th. It was crazy. And then this Sunday in Sunday School, Dennis just pretty much took over the lesson and taught it himself. He all of a sudden became pilas, when for months we couldn`t get him to do anything. So that was really awesome.

Dad you talked about that one activity with the plane built inside of the chapel and I guess they did that exact same activity a year or two ago in Managua and it had a really good turn out. That is funny that you mentioned that though. I didn`t really get that many pictures of the Titanic activity. There were other missionaries that did so maybe I can get some from them.

Dad don`t worry about sending floppy keyboards to me because I am fine. Mom I am really jealous about you having the 5th Leven Thumps book right now and you guys eating spaghetti. Too bad Milo behaved when Dad was holding him haha. I can`t wait to get the photo. And I definitely want to see Dad`s Viking outfit haha.

Well thanks for the letters and what not. I am having a really great time here in Ciudad Sandino and serving the Lord. The people here have really become family to me and it will be hard to leave from here, if I do. The time just seems to be picking up faster and faster and I am worrying if I will meet the goals I set to complete while here. Keep me in your prayers and I will keep you in mine.

Thanks again and Adios.

Elder Ochs

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Hola Familia y Amigos. Today we get to find out if we have changes or not. I will probably be here for another change. I really like it here in Ciudad Sandino. It is a great area.

So Dad you asked about that candy I was requesting. I guess I had a pretty bad typo because I was trying to spell the candy Twizzlers. Maybe I should do some spelling checks before I send off my emails now. So ya he wanted Twizzlers, filled if you can.

And you asked about the word "Pilas" here it means to work hard or go the extra mile or like you said to put on the pressure. They use it a lot here in the mission. We also have another verb here called "jarron azul" which means to do anything to accomplish your goal. It comes from a short movie called "The Quest" which you can probably find on YouTube. It is really old and pretty funny.

Dad you always seem to find the strangest things to make you look small. It was a pretty funny picture. Thanks for the pictures of Elder Harmer too and ya, he was in our District and room in the MTC. That is funny the El Jardines guy still remembers us. Ya it is fine if Grandpa wants to write me, I have time.

So Mom I didn`t get very many pictures of our activity but here are two. We had over 500 people show up for it and it was pretty crazy. I was working in the bar and they just totally raided us and took everything. The Nicas are so crazy. The activity was called the Titanic so we built this really big Titanic inside of the chapel and the rooms around the building were like places in the boat. All of the missionaries and others helping got to dress up in sailor outfits that a sister made for us. We started it with the part of the movie where the Titanic starts up and takes off, projected up on the wall. We had a Bar, Fortune Telling room, Disco, Casino, Theater room, Dancing and others. We then had the boat crash and we had that part play on the projector while we shook the boat from inside. Everyone freaked out when the scene came up of the rats running down the hall. We had all the women and children leave for outside to get in the safety boats, while the husbands and men stayed inside. We talked about the importance of the family and everything. It turned out well and we got a lot of references.

A lot of this week was spent working on the Titanic. The raining season has about ended I think so now it it going to be just really hot and dry for 6 months till the wet season.

I don`t have much more to write now so I will be ending this letter. So I love you guys a lot. Talk to you next week.

Elder Ochs

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Hola familia. So I keep trying to send pictures home but it always messes up. The computers here are really difficult sometimes. I got one that has a landscapish view.

OK, here are a few more pictures from our trip to Momotombo Volcano last P-Day.

That story about Brennan and Al sounds crazy. (They rolled over in a Jeep while on a hunting trip) I am glad they are alright though.

So I got my Halloween package this last Saturday and I liked it a lot. Those pictures were awesome of all the family. I really liked it alot.

About the Christmas package, there is a member here that works with us a lot and he asked us to tell our parents whenever they are about to send a package to put "Tears" in there because he loves them and they are nowhere to be found here. He said his favorite are the "filled ones"? So if it is possible that would be cool. Other than that I don`t really have any requests.

That is sad that Honey died =(.

The line that I mentioned in the last email that I thought was funny was when Elder Uchtdorf was beginning his talk about trees or something and then he said "But you are probably wondering what that has to do with planes." Just because that is usually he puts into his talks. Our family that we got to Conference is going along great and there is a possibility that they will be baptized this week. So we are going to put the pilas to get them prepared.

This last week has been a little crazy so I don`t remember too much and I didn`t write in my journal at all this last week. We have being telling people all about this activity we are going to have this Saturday called the Titanic. We are building a huge ship inside of the church with a iceberg and everything. They did it in Managua last month and it was a big success bringing investigators and less actives. I will try to send back pictures of it and how it goes.

The other day Elder Garcia and I were in one of our areas looking for new people. This area is up in the hills next to Lake Managua. We found this little dirt path that ran along the hill and we followed it. It ended up taking us to the tippy top of the hill and we had a really cool view of Managua, Lake Managua, Sandino and a bunch of other areas. The only problem is that I wasn`t carrying my camera because it wasn`t the safest place. We found a lot of new places we didn`t know was in our area so we will be working up there the next few weeks.

Other than that it has been really cool working here in Ciudad Sandino. I am having a lot of fun here and I really like the area. I am learning a lot here and I`m definitely changing. I can`t imagine living without this Gospel in my life and the comfort it brings me knowing that I am in the right church. We talk with so many people that are so lost and confused and I am here to help them find the truth. I am grateful for the Plan of Salvation that enables us to return again to our Heavenly Father with our families for the eternities. Just want to say that I love you all and adiós till next week.

Elder Ochs

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Hi. So I don´t usually know how to start my emails because the first sentence is always the hardest. That was fine.

General Conference was so awesome. We got to see almost every talk. We missed the one when President Uchtdorf talked about pride during the Priesthood Session. He was about 30 seconds into his talk when the satellite lost reception for about 20 minutes because of the storm. It came back on just when Eyring stepped up. We got to watch all of them in English but there was ten of us Elders in one small room watching it on a normal TV. But it was really great and I have a lot to change. I would quote a line that Uchtdorf said on Sunday that was really funny but I don´t want to ruin it for you Mom and Dad. We also had one of our families come to the Conference and I was so glad. They already looked like members all dressed up with there little girl. We are definitely baptizing them.

So before General Conference during the week we had a Missionary Conference. We had interviews with Presidente Monestel. I passed and it was a fun Conference. We learned a lot about the importance of recent converts. They only have one year concentrated with the missionaries to get ready for the temple and that time is really precious.

This week the Zone Leaders bought some more turtle eggs for Hermana Gema to cook for our dinner because Elder Montierth has never tried them. Well it was pretty nasty again but he ate three eggs. I´m not sure why he didn´t just stop at one, haha. I didn´t realize the first time but we actually eat the premature turtle with his shell, nasty.

Speaking of food, our new lunch cita at the pharmacy makes a lot of good food. The only problem is that every time we eat all the food, she adds more the next time because she thinks we are still hungry. So from the original servings we got before they are now doubled and we are kind of shy to tell her that she is killing us. We will probably tell her today.

So we went and hiked the mountain across from Momotombo Volcano last Pday. It was awesome. I got a lot of cool pictures that I am trying to send. It reminded me a lot of scouts when we would go on those big hikes and be joking around the whole time. There was some pretty crazy views up there. The whole time there was a light sprinkle of misty rain so it kept us nice and cool but the trail was really muddy in spots. We didn´t have time to go to the very top to get a cool picture of Momotombo though.

My Spanish is coming along well. I am enjoying studying too. The water and electricity goes out at least once every day here but it is when we are out in the street so it doesn´t matter. At night it is always fine. The ketchup and rice thing is something they like here for some reason so yes we eat it with our rice. The rice doesn´t have any flavor so you have to change it up some way. It sounds you guys had a lot of fun up in Yosemite. It looks really cool. That Midget Wizard was really mystical, haha!! It made me laugh so hard. I was expecting a gnome or something.

I am loving it here in Nicaragua and I can´t wait for the stuff to come. I am definitely changing a lot about myself here and learning how to be more like Jesus. I am trying to be better than the day before everyday. Thanks for always loving and supporting me.

Love you much and Really Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Hey there, how is it going there? I´m doing fine here in Ciudad Sandino.

Hey Rachel, I forgot to tell you HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! last week because I forgot you don´t get my letter till the week after it is sent. So Happy Birthday and I would like to send you something but our budget is tight here, haha.

So that is really awesome that the next Survivor show will be here in Nicaragua. There aren´t any missionaries down in San Juan right now but who knows, they are opening up new areas every change so there is a possibility that I could be sent there. So the episodes are starting right now or is it the next one coming up?

The storms haven´t been that crazy here this past week but it still rains every day. It is a little windy today but not bad either.

So you said you wanted to know more about Elder Garcia. Well he is from El Salvador, his Dad is a Bishop, he has two little brothers. He was baptized when he was 10 years old. He has the exact same time in the mission as me. He reminds me a lot of Braydon. He is good at talking with people and has a lot of friends here in Sandino. We get along really well. I got him hooked on Big Lemón soda. He doesn´t like ketchup on his rice. So ya, he is pretty “chill” is best way to describe him.

I got a notice that you guys sent off a package in my email and a Halloween package sounds really awesome. I can´t wait.

Dad, I didn´t pick anything up at the market last week because they were closing their shops when we got there and we didn´t have very much time to look. We were just trying to get out of there in time because they were locking up the entire place with gates. I won´t be able to go today either because we are going hiking up in some mountains that supposedly has a pretty cool view. I will take pictures. I haven´t seen the video of Mark yet because the computer wasn´t able to download it but I will try again this week. Also the sound has been really low so I can´t really hear much. I don´t know if it was the computer or the video. That skit you did Dad sounds like it was pretty funny. Who were the lions? Poor deacons they were probably a little sore the next few days. That is really awesome about Brennan, tell " Nice interception". Maybe April has a video of it because she usually records them.

So yes here in South Nicaragua Mission we are totally focused on only teaching families right now. All of our investigators are families. Presidente Monestel told us that he doesn´t want us working with just kids, teens, single Moms or Dads, but families. He said he doesn´t care if the number of baptisms fall a little but as long as we are baptizing families. So now when we are in the streets that is all we look for. Ladies holding babies, guys sitting next to ladies, anything that points to families. The funny thing is that we are having more problems teaching the wives. The husbands are the more receptive ones, which is usually the other way around. So we have a goal of baptizing 5 families this month of October and I plan to complete it. I am really looking forward to the General Conference coming up and getting our investigators there to listen to the prophet.

Well Big Hearts and a good helping of Love on the side.

Elder Ochs

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Hey I wrote a really long letter to you guys and then I accidentally discarded it and it wasn´t saved anywhere. So I can´t send much of an email today.

That is really cool that Rachel and Bruce are in the same area in Panama. I will keep an eye out for a crazy Nica return missionary.

I couldn´t get the video of Mark to download today. I'll try again later.

I was planning on taking out the $25 dollars for my birthday today for the market here in Ciudad Sandino. We are celebrating 8 months in the mission today with American pizza from PriceMart. Rachel only has 1 year left!

We have a new lunch lady at a local pharmacy here. It is too bad that we can only teach families now.

Thanks for everything and Love you all, every one.

Elder Ochs

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Hey, so I am here in Ciudad Sandino for another change with Elder Garcia again. We also got a new Zone Leader. We have two greengo Zone Leaders here and that doesn´t usually happen, but it is cool. Especially because it is Elder Montierth from Managua. We used to go on divisions and what not all the time in Managua so that is awesome. So we also have a new area here called Xiloa which is where we went those Pdays to fish in the lake. Now there are 18 Missionaries in the zone and most of them are greengos haha. Ya Mom I really liked the card you guys sent. The dancing baby always cheers me up. The 20 hour thing with the Mission President wasn´t just us two but two zones so you don't have to worry why the Mission President was spending so much time with us. I have gotten a little off track reading the Old Testament because I have been studying a bunch of other stuff. That Zuccuni surprise actually sounds good now that I have been here haha. Living here has made me appreciate a lot of foods.

So this last week our Mission President has really put a emphasis on families. Our zone leaders set a new goal for all of the zone that we need to contact 10 new families everyday. We just have to talk to anyone that has a baby in there hands or a guy next to them. We have been working really hard to achieve this goal and there have definitely been results. Our agendas are full of people that we have to stop by and teach now, and the majority are only families. One lady we contacted Saturday night and then came with us Sunday the next day to church with her kid. Her name is Marta and now she is our new investigator. We are preparing a guy named Denis for baptism this Saturday to complete a family but first we are working with him to quit smoking. We are passing by every day to see how he is doing and to help him out. The Jehovah Witness family really likes us missionaries and they are opening up more to us now. Hopefully they can progress along and then the extended family.

So last night was a really crazy lightening storm. We were at our dinner cita when it hit and we were stuck in there a little while until there was a space of time when we could run to our house. The wind was blowing, lightening cracking all around, thunder booming, and a whole lot of rain. It was pretty cool. I am now washing my own clothes in a stone basin/sink thing. You put soap onto the clothes and then scrub it against the stone. It gets pretty clean and then we hang it up on the wires to dry. I usually wash what I need for the next day the night before and then let it dry over night. It isn´t that bad. I am also ironing them. It doesn´t really matter if your shirt isn´t completely dry because it will eventually get wet again some time during the day.

Well I am having a great time here in Ciudad Sandino. Thanks for helping and supporting me. Love you lots and Big Hearts

Elder Ochs

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mon, Sep 6, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Hey family and friends. Here it is the last week before changes but I have a high possibility of staying here at least one more change.

So I got my Birthday package and thank you very, very, very much. I really like the goodies inside because you can´t find any of those things here. I am already using the memory flash card. Unfortunately I live with two other misssionaries and they have the only refigerator that I need to use to preserve my food. Whenever I go to get it they just stare at the box so I share with them, haha. I am fine with it because it makes them happy too and most of them have never gotten a package before in their mission. Elder Solorzano has already tried one of each candy I have and loves it. I really liked the card you sent me too, it makes me laugh every time I open it.

Mom keep working with Sheryl and your doing a great job. The video attachment of Steve wasn´t in this email but I did see his belly in the video of Cameron a few times. Those flags are really awesome looking and those photos of my room made me really trunky but I really liked them. I like all of the photos that you send to me so don´t worry about holding back. Ya it is alright that you eat Mexican food without me, haha. So they made a "Wimpy Kid" movie? The books are really funny also. I have a few of them on my shelf, and if not Anna has all of them. You need to send a picture of Aaron with his future wife. Tell Milo thanks for defending my dreams but if he can, take the mice with him because we got plenty here.

I am sending a few pictures of our apartment in Ciudad Sandino. Here is the front of our apartment, the hallway to our bedrooms, our Kitchen, our Study Room (with Elder Garcia), our bedroom, and our back porch. As you can see the rooms our very colorful.

So here in Sandino this last week wasn´t all that crazy but we did have 20 hours of training with our Mission President. That was pretty tiring but totally worth it. We learned a new way of teaching and studying so we have a lot to practice. It is no longer just going and teaching lessons but now we are teaching people. It makes it more difficult to do planning for them because it can change on the spot. We need to listen to what the Spirit wants us to teach. I will let you know how that goes as we work on it. We also learned how to put commitments with our investigators and a bunch of other stuff.

So we found a family of 7 the other day when looking for a certain soda at a pulperías, (a small stores with random stuff, usually it is on the front porch of a house.) The Mom is a Jehovas Witness but the rest of the family doesnt have a religion. She is a little tough but if we can get her to change the rest of the family will too. Her name is Nanci and her husband is Orlando. The nice part about teaching at the pulpería is that the family gives us snacks and drinks when we visit, yum yum. Now the Mission is putting a big focus on finding families.

I forgot to tell you last week but I finally memorized the Family Proclamation to the World in Spanish. I am pretty sure I am the only one that did it in the zone and I am not sure about the mission. But we are working hard here and thanks for all of your prayers for me while here in Nicaragua. I see the blessings here everyday and I really appreciate them

Love you Lots and Big Hearts

Elder Ochs

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Hey thanks for the news and updates. It sounds like there are a bunch of missionaries out in the field now. How many plaques are there up on that wall now in the church? (The answer is 12!) Did you see Elder Hayette or Elder Gutierrez at the farewell talk? usually all of the missionaries go to that.

No I haven`t got my birthday package yet but it will probably be here soon. For my birthday I decorated the page in my agenda but other than that it wasn`t very different from any other day. My comp gave me a toy owl that looks like Hedwig. I was also sick that day so I didn`t feel like doing much. It is weird to think that I have entered a new decade. Only last decade I was in Primary. I wonder where I will be at the end of this one?

So the broken collar guy is better now and now we can`t find him at home. He always takes off and he doesn`t come back home till late at night. I liked it better when he was bedridden haha. We have three other guys we are trying to get baptized but they are being difficult. This change has been a little bit tougher than the other ones.

Our dinner lady was telling us the other day that she had the most wonderful dessert the other day. She didn`t remember what it was called but she described it it for me. It was a Milky Way McFlurry from McDonalds haha. I warned her though and told her to watch out eating at McDonalds because how big it can get you. She also had a dessert or maybe more of a appetizer or something for us too after dinner. She brought out a plate that looked like it had ping pong balls on it. They were actually Turtle eggs and partially cooked. What you had to do is tear the shell which was soft and then suck out the inside stuff. My turtle was already forming so it was a little meaty. I ate two of them.

So I have been having a really great time here in Sandino with all of the other missionaries. Thanks for always writing and telling me how it is going there in Oakdale. I like hearing what is going on. Love you lots and Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 12:12 PM

So this is my incomplete email that I sent last week. The power went out before I could finish and it stayed out for a few hours. So I am just going to finish up this one and add what I have this week to make one big one:

So you guys have some pretty crazy stories from there in Oakdale. I am glad Hunter is enjoying school but too bad Samantha is with that mean girl again haha. I guess next time you will be ready for that wasp if you run into it again Mom.
My Spanish is definitely not to the point that people think I am local neither do I have an accent yet. I am studying every morning and with my companion but it is taking me a while. I guess I am learning patience right? That is cool to hear how Taylor is doing and I am sure he is loving it.

It sounds like Liz, Hillary,and Anna had quite an adventure. Hopefully they have recooperated from it by now.

I really liked the video from Grandma Ochs. Grandma, I`ll try to show you how to fall from a tree onto my feet if you want me to but I may need some more practice before. I got the video of Grandpa this week and I really liked it too.

But the closer shot you took move it up more to the Northeast and it should be there. I can`t point it out from the bigger picture but if you move it I can. It is just a little more up from that corner.

Rachel I am not exactly sure what last name is the sister who went to Panamà but I will ask her.

So this week here in Ciudad Sandino was good. I am learning more and more from my companion and about our area. We had Stake Conference here the last Sunday and that went well.

The other day we were visiting a member and he was telling us how before he was a member he was a Buddhist haha. He told and demonstrated all of the rituals for us and they were really funny. Especially because he looks like the Buddha. He also showed us how Evangelicals worship by jumping around the room in patterns. It sounds really weird but it was hilarious.

So speaking of other members, we contacted this lady last week, taught her the first lesson, left a commitment, returned to teach more about the Book of Mormon, gave her a Book of Mormon , and finally challenged her with a baptismal date before she finally told us she was already a member haha. It was embarrassing but now we have a less active to activate and her family.

The other day we were walking in the hills at the edge of our area when we saw an old guy walking up this hill really slow with crutches. I stopped and asked him if he needs help. He asked me for one cordoba and I told him he couldn`t buy anything for one cordoba but I gave him the one I had in my pocket anyways. Once I did that he asked if we were Mormon missionaries. He then told us that he has read the Book of Mormon up to Alma. He told us his wife thinks the book is of the devil but he just tells her "The book talks about God so it can`t be about the devil." He has highlighted in his Book of Mormon every time it mentions Lord, Savior, Senor, and God. It was a bad thing that he fell that night and broke his collar bone, the good thing is that he is always in his house so we can teach him whenever we want. He really likes us coming over but I am not to sure about his wife.

We have a few people we are preparing for baptism these upcoming weeks so I am really looking forward to it.

We had our stake conference this last Sunday and President Monestel and his wife came to talk.

We have been having some crazy storms hear and deafening thunder. I have been worrying almost every night that our room will flood. We still haven`t bought a umbrella though.

I also have learned how to wash my clothes by hand on a stone. All of our clothes have been sitting for about 2 weeks because our lady who washes them has been sick. So every night we would wash a pair for the next day and let it dry over night on our fans. We also used some Nicaraguan irons to iron our shirts.

So Rachel, that looks like a pretty crazy looking fruit. I think there is a similar looking fruit here but the shell is green. It has a gel like cover that is really sweet. We have a bunch of those dinosaurs all over our room.

That is crazy news that Hillary is getting married with Justin Ponce. Tell Hillary and Justin congratulations. That is awesome! I bet Brennan will enjoy playing out at the Ranch with him. I don`t know if Brennan remembers but he played commando with Justin Ponce before and we couldn`t catch them.

I need to send Grandma and Grandpa a thank you letter.

Dad I don`t know anything about this whole bed leg breaking business you got going but tell Mom I love her.

I am sending you some pictures of the lake we went to a few P-Days ago.

Well I love you all and thanks for supporting me and helping me out. Love you and Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Those pictures were so cool to see! I can´t believe how big Brennan has got. It looks like Braydon has to be careful now, but I think I can still take him haha. So it sounds like Milo is enjoying his time at the house lounging around. It is good to hear that he still is in attack mode haha. I didn´t know you were making a temple bag Mom? It looks really cool. Sorry to hear that the hammock squishes you Dad. Here they put sticks on both ends of the hammock so it won´t close in because there are a lot of big people here too haha. I am not sure how they do it but it spreads out the hammock.

Elder Garcia actually knows more English than any other comp I have had so far. He surprises me sometimes with the words he knows. But usually I can only understand him if he talks in Spanish. I like sharing the house with other missionaries. The other set are the Zone Leaders so they keep us on our toes which is good. The room that Elder Garcia and I are in is about the size of Rachel's room, so we are in close quarters. We can´t fit chairs and tables in there so we have to do all of our studying on our beds. I don´t have pictures right now but I will send you some. We live with a recent convert who does our clothes so it is nice having everything close. Our dinner cita here is so good. She makes any Nicaraguan food taste great some how. We aren´t doing Retention here in Sandino, we are normal missionaries now. But I have a lot of ideas of what I want do now to work with the recent converts and less actives.

So Angie, Anna, and Jacob were out at the Ranch! That is awesome. How are they doing. What is Jacob doing now?

So Rachel (Patton) said she had a convert from Nicaragua? That is interesting. The Nicaraguans here love Spaniards.

I want to print out that picture of Jesus riding the dinosaur and put on my next agenda. I will show you how it turns out next change haha.

Kacey Stout is working at Big 5! He will have fun there especially since his cousin is there too. Tell Kacey "Hi" back when you see him again.

So here in Nicaragua we are having rain everyday and then it gets hecka hot. Just blazing. Last Pday we went to Lake Xiloa and that was pretty cool. I took pictures and I will need to send them next week. We might go fishing there one of these Pdays. There are no rules on it so it sounds like a lot of fun.

So I got a haircut again but not as short this time. It feels a lot cooler that way.

Elder Garcia has been sick with something all week but he is getting better. We gave him a blessing and everything so it isn´t up to us anymore. I have been studying the scriptures like crazy lately so that is really fun. It is all I do in my free time and on Pdays haha. I am also working on memorizing the Family Proclamation by the end of this month. Presidente Monestel has been making a lot of goals for us to complete. That is one of them. He also wants us to read the complete standard works every year while here. So now I am starting from the beginning of the Bible. The funny thing is that my first time reading it will be in Spanish so that will be interesting.

I didn´t have much to write about this week but it was great. I am learning a lot everyday here and I am trying to improve everyday. I am loving it here in Ciudad Sandino and this work. Thanks for your love and support for me.

Big Hearts

Elder Ochs

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 1:13 PM

So I don´t have much time to write this week because it is all hectic right now where we are. So this week´s letter is going to be really short, sorry.

So I had changes unfortunately again. I am here in Ciudad Sandino with Elder Garcia. It is only over the hills from my last area and supposedly we are still in the same stake. That means that I will see my old ward again for the Stake Conference coming up and maybe even for General Conference if I am here long enough. Again it was hard leaving that area because again the whole ward was like my family. But I will see them all again so no worries.

Elder Flores was sent to this area called Bluefields. It is on the coast way far away from here. You have to take a 2 hour boat trip to get there and most of the people speak English and are African. It is the dream place to go here in Nicaragua but it was the last place that Elder Flores wanted to go to, haha. He is companions with Elder Neal who came with me from the MTC. Elder Flores was like my brother but we had to split for a while. I can´t wait to hear what he has to say about it.

So my first week here in Sandino we had a baptism for a sister who is about 25 years old and it went really well. The funny thing is that she has a phobia of water so she was really scared to do it. When she went under she kicked out here legs and jumped out really fast haha. She asked if she did it and I got to tell her she was fine because I was one of the witnesses. I attched a picture of her baptism. I am getting to know this new area and it seems fine. This one sister just got back from her mission in Panamá and she said she knew Hermana Garcia. She was pretty excited to know that my sister is serving there too. She said Rachel will probably get bigger because of the amount of rice they feed her. Sorry Rachel. She also told me a bunch of phrases that people from Panamá say. I left the list at home so I will have to remember it next week.

The ward here is really nice and there is a whole bunch of them. Almost triple the amount from Mira Flores. Our food citas are also very good at making tasty food here. I tried out turtle here the other night and it tasted really good. I kind of felt sorry for the turtle but he died for a good cause. Our house here is really nice and we are living with three other companionships. The zone leaders are one of them so they keep us on our toes. They are helping me out and giving me advice and what not. I have been studying the scriptures a whole lot and they are starting to look a little crazy. I am kind of scared of them because I don´t know how to use all of the stuff I have. I am finally getting to know them and knowing where stuff is now. It has always been something I lacked, having a knowledge of the scriptures.

I have a picture of our last zone in Managua. I am going to try and send the pictures I took of my agendas since the last area and now. It is a thing here in the mission to decorate your agenda when you get a new one every change. We usually get the pictures from Liahonas or other church magazines that are really old. The first one has Lehi building an altar that I really liked and the passage of the Family of Lehi. The second one is Joseph Smith leaving Kirkland. I like the back better because I customized it. It had this old creepy guy talking to a teenager and I put on top Amigos haha. I was really tired in the morning when I made it but it makes me laugh whenever I see it.

Today I finally became an official Nicaraguan. I got my identity card and everything too. I had to travel to immigration this morning to do it. Unfortunately I got car sick on this bus. I also bought some new ties at this Packa that has a bunch of clothing. They cost a dollar each and I like them a lot.

I guess this letter is longer than I thought so I will slow down. Thanks Mom for the letter. I got it yesterday in the mail. I liked that little squirrell climbing on the tree too haha. It looks like you had a good time Dad down in the Grand Canyon. Too bad the falls didn´t turn out like they were worked up to haha. That waterfall looked pretty big. Who all jumped off it? Did you end up taking a hammock? It didn´t look like there were very many trees that you could hook it up to. It sounds like Milo is having a nice time at the house. That is funny that he slept on dad for a while in the hammock haha. Is he still crazy or has he calmed down a bit? That is so cool that they all went back to Huckleberry Lake again. I am surprised Brother Ramos still wanted to go again haha.

Well thanks for all of the news, love, and support. I am loving it here in Nicaragua more and more everyday. I am not sure if I am coming back to the USA so we will have to see haha. I am definitely coming back here thought that is for sure. So I am having a great time and and take care. Big Hearts

Elder Ochs

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Hey there family and friends. This week has really awesome again like every other week here in Managua Nicaragua. The transfer of the music from that memory card worked out fine and Elder Flores is really liking it and all the other missionaries are jealous of how good of a deal he got on it.

About my backpack, it really stinks because the sponge stuff in the straps have gotten all gross from humidity and sweat. So now I just flip the straps around and the sponge stuff doesn´t get all stinky. I have had it sewn and had new material put on it but I think I will be buying a new pack from here soon.

I haven´t figured out what tv show I was on yet and I doubt it could be found because it is a pretty weird one but I will keep looking.

The first photo of me was a cool graffiti we found and I liked it a lot so I took a picture next to it. The second one is for Israel Flores because he will probably be the only one that thinks it is funny.

So first the Retention missionaries are being taken out and moved to another area to help fill in open spots. There is a possibility that Elder Flores and I will be together again another exchange in this new area they are opening so that is really cool. The new area is called Lezcano and it is still here in Managua. That would be really awesome if we could both go there and open it up.

We had a really long 7 hour conference today with the Presidente Monestel and had interviews. They had fun stuff and we learned a lot of stuff but it lasted for a long time.

I went to a Nicaragua funeral also the other day which was different. That night there was actually three people that died all on the same block. A bunch of people come to the house where they can see the dead person in the coffin which stays there for like three days. They get pretty stinky and scary. The funeral was for this really old lady that was a member and we had been stopping by every other day to give her blessings and say prayers and she finally went. She was doing pretty bad up to that point.

So I finished getting all of the Bible scriptures from my comp the other day and now I am ready to take on anyone, haha. Now I need to get them colored in and divide them with tags and what not.

The other night we set up for a Mormon Theater night in the chapel. We got a projector and everything and set it up in the gym. We had a big turn out with a lot of members, recent converts, and less actives. We made popcorn in this huge caldron and bought soda for everyone which they all went crazy for. The place was a little stinky from some burnt popcorn but I don´t think anyone noticed.

It has been raining a whole bunch lately and we have been getting pretty wet. It stinks though because we have 3 baptisms set up for next week when we won´t be here so we will miss those. We are just going to have to let some one else baptize them for us. They are all really pilas too. It was been really awesome working here with Elder Flores in the time that we have but I will have a lot more experiences with other companions in the future. My Spanish is doing a lot better and I am able to communicate a lot better with the people now, even better than my district leader who is going home next change haha. No but he is a really good missionary.

Well I love you all and thank you for all your love and support for me. Big Hearts y adios.

Elder Ochs

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Hey there family and friends. I am doing great here in Managua, Nicaragua. Elder Flores and I got our packages and everything was in it so don´t worry. I also got a bunch of letters so everyone was pretty jealous. Elder Flores was really excited and he is already working on his new ScanDisk Fuse player and the candy too. I guess that was the first package he has gotten yet on the mission and he has about a year. He really appreciates it a lot.

Seriously we get along really great. We are actually one of the only companionships that gets along with each other here. We are like best friends. I am hoping we have at least one more change here as Retention.

So my hand is alright. (Elder Ochs sent us pictures of his right hand that got infected with some rash when petting a puppy.) The only reason I sent the other shot of my other hand is so that you could compare it. I would take a picture of it right now but I don´t have my camera with me because my backpack stinks. I showed the nurse lady for our mission and everything and she is the one that prescribed the medicine. The only problem was getting a hold of it because the office took forever to send it. I didn´t show the mission president because it was in between the crazyness of the division and changing presidents. The rash didn´t spread anywhere just turned different colors where there was contact. It is totally fine now and he hasn´t given me any problems at all since then. So don´t worry.

So I wanted to tell you also that that recipe to get rid of asthma, you only need two cloves of garlic, not two whole things. Hopefully none of you have already tried it and almost died haha. If you did you may get an idea of the Nicaragua food we sometimes eat here haha. So ya it is only two cloves.

Speaking of foods I had cow tongue this week. I would have taken a picture of it before but I didn´t know what it was before I ate it. It was really soft and tasted alright I guess but when they told me what I ate I felt sick in the stomach haha. More on food here, Rootbeer doesn´t exist. The only people that have even heard of it are ex-missionaries and others that have left Nicaragua, which is a very small percent here. I was talking to an ex-missionary about it and he said when he found it he fell in love with it. He told my comp that it was better than Coca Cola which is what everyone loves here, and especially my companion. My companion is dying because we aren´t allowed to drink it here. His job before the mission was with Coca Cola painting there advertisements. He had an unlimited amount of Coca Cola when working haha.

So today is the celebration of Independence for Nicaragua and they have a lot of spirit. They already started partying early last night bumping there music and dancing in the street. It was so funny seeing how borrachos dance. I have already learned some new moves haha. There was just huge groups of people all crowded in the streets. Today people are wearing there red and black and driving around with people in the backs of the trucks waving flags around. We have to be careful though tonight around 5 because that is when they start drinking and getting crazy haha.

Last Saturday we had a soccer game with the locals again and it started raining so we played in the rain. It was so cool because I was thinking how nice it would be to fall into a pool just before and the pool came and fell on us haha. We got pretty soaked but it was a lot of fun.

So lately in the mornings between the time I get up and when we start our studies I have been copying my companion's Bible. He has already read through it here on the mission and has marked so many good scriptures for teaching. So I have just been going through and copying his markings which is a lot with all of these references to other scriptures. I have about an hour and a half every morning to get as many as possible. Changes are coming up this next week so I need to get what I can in case he leaves. I have also divided and tagged my scriptures so I can quickly turn to them when teaching. Don´t worry I am going to read the Bible for myself while here but that won´t be for a while.

We also had an activity this last Saturday for all of the recent converts and less actives here in Managua. We got pictures of there baptisms and a few years later and had them displayed with a projector. It was really cool and it was a good turn out.

So I am having a great time here in Nicaragua and I am so glad to be here right now. I know that I have changed a lot here and I still have a lot to work on too. We are having so many awesome experiences here and I getting closer to my Heavenly Father everyday. Thanks for all of your love and support for me while here and I love you all too.

Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Hey there, how is everyone doing. I am doing great here in Nicaragua but there are ups and downs. It is good to hear that everyone is fine and healthy. I will have to tell Elder Harrison about how you will be going on a camping trip with one of his family members. You will have to talk to him Dad to see how his brother or son is doing. Remember I told you about how I talked to him on the bus and how they are friends with the Miller family.

So my pack of letters should get there soon I am sure. Sometimes they do get lost in the mail like Rachel said but they usually always get there.

So we got to have our first conference with the new Mission President, Presidente Monestel of the Nicaragua South Mission. We got to meet his family and we got to ask questions and everything. He isn´t as intimidating as Presidente Fraatz, so that is different. If you were ever even close to him you felt like you had to be working or reading your scriptures or anything. The new president is a real hard worker so hopefully we can get a lot of stuff done in this short time here. After the conference it started raining really hard outside but we had to go anyways. We had a hard time getting a taxi where we were because one thing, most of the taxis were full and secondly, whenever you got to the edge of the curb to wave one down other cars would drive by real close to try and splash us. I made a game out of it and would stand really close on the curb to have the cars come after me and then jump away at the last minute so it would splash the missionaries behind me haha.

So speaking of crazy streets, the streets during the Mundial Final were crazy. People were yelling and screaming and were blowing horns and whatnot. Whenever Spain would make a goal they would all run out into the street and go nuts. So we pretty much knew what the score was just by listening to the noises. But in the end Spain won it 1-0. Everyone here is either for Brazil, Argentina, or Spain so since Spain was in the Final the were pretty excited. I want to buy the uniform for them because it is really cool looking so maybe that can be my Birthday present. The only problem is that I need to get permission to go to this place that sells them. It is restricted because too many missionaries would waste there money there.

So just some random stuff, Nicaraguain pizza is really gross here. The cheese is really salty, there is no sauce and the pepperonies are just a mystery. Elder Montierth and I ordered some last P day and it was a bad idea. Also I have been keeping track of time here now by my ties. I have to check my tie to know if something happened that day or earlier. I have surprised myself a few times already because I thought for sure something happened that same day but I had on a different tie when it happened. If that makes sense. I am sure all missoinaries experience that.

I have officially finished the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price out here on the mission. I learned a whole bunch from reading that and it has already helped out so much explaining doctrine to people. We often get some strange questions from people and there hasn´t been one yet that has stumped me thanks to the Spirit of course. It has definitely been a blessing and I am so grateful. But I guess I can´t brag too much about that because our recent convert that we baptized last month has already read the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Gospel Principles book that we are teaching from in Sunday School. She is really pilas which means amazing. She hasn´t gotten a calling in the church yet but I can´t wait to find out what it is. She is a really amazing person.

So I am having a really great time here in Nicaragua and I just want to say I love you all and thanks for your love and support.

Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 3:59 PM

So I haven´t talked with those members about that TV show since then but we stop by there at least once a week so I will ask them about it.

That is awesome that you guys are able to go to the temple so often. I really enjoy the pictures that you send also. I forgot the cable for my camera again in the house so once again you will have to wait another week for them sorry. I sent an envelope of letters home the other day so you should be expecting some soon.

That is great that Katie and Bruce had great time and they came home safe and sound too.

It sounds like Dad will be having a fun time in the Grand Canyon and hopefully that hammock thing works out or he will be having an even more fun of a time haha.

So I am officially in the Nicaragua South Mission and the other two missionaries from my district are in the same mission too so that is awesome. Our Mission Presidente is Presidente Monestel. We are supposed to have a conference with him tomorrow to get to know him and have some interviews also. I have heard good and bad things about him but I am only listening to the good because that is what matters. Anyway no one has even met him yet so what do they know haha.

I am not sure if I already told you about this last week, but Elder Flores and I had an idea to get people more to come to church. We had people interviewed by the bishop and when they passed we made these missionary name tags for them with there name on it and everything. The liked it a lot and we are going to see how it goes.

So I think I may have an idea of how that guy from the Count of Monte Cristo slept. My bed is like a stone slab. When you lay on it you are as straight as a board and I have no pillow either haha. Another Elder didn´t believe me until he jumped up there and felt it. So it is a good thing also because I don´t want to lay in there anymore than I have to so I am up on time every morning haha.

So that day when I fell through the roof and we went looking for replacement roofing we contacted this guy to find out where we could find some supplies. In the contact we gave him a Book of Mormon and he is already in Alma. He has a family and kids too and they are all interested in going to church. So I don´t necessarily think that it was an accident that I fell through there and that it was all part of a plan haha.

The other day this grocery store had this deal that if you buy 200 cordobas of this kind of brand you get a free soccer jersey. So I went there and bought stuff I was running out of which was all this one brand and got a Brazil jersey. I will send the picture of it next week. I also bought some really cool color pencils for marking my scriptures and I drew the Plan of Salvation. I took a picture of that too.

We had another soccer tournament this Saturday and a bunch more people showed up for it. We got even more references and we had a lot of fun. I made 3 goals this time too which was pretty fun. I think my new Brazil soccer jersey has "taken my game to the next level" haha. So that was cool and the bishop bought drinks and bread for everyone and that was crazy passing out to people haha.

We also got invited to a baby shower this week so we bought a little outfit and a bib for the baby. We didn´t know if it was a boy or a girl so we bought the material in yellow. It turns out it was a girl so it turn out fine. I was put into this contest to see who could drink this juice from a baby bottle the fastest. I didn´t win but it was a fun I guess haha. Elder Flores was in this competition to see how fast you could dress this baby doll with a partner and one of your hands were tied. It was pretty funny seeing them flinging this doll all around.

So this 4 of July we were teaching this investigator and we had left a chapter with her to read last week. When we got there she had only read the beginning so we read the rest of the chapter with her. It was Chapter 13 of 1 Nephi which talks about the restoration of the gospel. The thing I thought was most cool was when they talked about a man who would cross the sea to come to a place with religious freedom and how the motherland would fight them for it also. How God would help them in their battle so they would win and open they way for the restoration. I explained to my companion that this was the very day that we made our declaration of freedom and it was pretty cool for me.

So I am learning so much here everyday and am excited for the things to learn in the future. I am grateful for all of your love and support. Big Hearts.

Love Elder Ochs

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 3:35 PM

So this week was another really good week here in Nicaragua. We almost got the 100% retention but this one girl just didn´t want to go. She was the only person we needed but we couldn´t convince her to go. We already grabbed another kid and made him get dressed but we couldn´t exactly force the girl to go. We got into the 90´s% though which is really good especially here in the capital.

That is pretty cool that you all got together to share stories. That stinks that Bruce is having difficult missionaries but that is probably because he can handle it. I have been lucky so far to have awesome companions.

So the answer to your question about foods we have a lot of corn tortillas and sometimes she makes fried tortillas. Chips here are fried plantains which are pretty good. So instead of potato chips in the store it is different flavored fried plantains. I have not had any burritos yet here and the tacos are rolled up fried tortillas with some type of meat inside. I found out the other day why they call burritos burritos. When you translate burrito it means "little donkey" because when you eat burritos it makes you as fat as a donkey. So if you want a real serious burrito you should upgrade it to a burro haha. I think I am going to start taking pictures of my meals now and send you them so you can have a look for yourself of what it is like.

We already did a service project to fix the roof of Hermana Nubia so it is all better now haha.

So I didn´t have time this week to grab my camera but I will send some pictures next week. I appreciate all of the letters I got this week in the mail also. I was working on writing back this morning but I haven´t finished them all. I am going to just send a pouch of letters to you Mom and Dad and you can just pass them out.

An interesting thing I found out from my comp a little bit ago was this remedy that is supposed to get rid of Asthma. His brother took this for 3 months and he said that it got rid of it. It is pretty simple two garlic cloves mixed with a liter of milk and you drink that 3 times a day with your meals. He said it was pretty nasty but it worked. I didn´t know if Braydon was still having problems with that and I know Grandpa Graham does too. I was pretty excited to hear that and wanted to let you know so if they wanted to try it out.

This last week we also had a little soccer tournament at the church. Us missionaries had our team and we invited all of these kids from the street that had teams to come and compete. We also bought a trophy for whoever came out the winner. Our team didn´t win obviously but I did make this one cool goal against the best team there. We also got a bunch of new investigators and reactivated a few of the less active members. Everyone is pretty excited about the World soccer tournament right now so they keep us informed. The U.S. made it to one of the levels of the finals but got beat by Ghana haha.

I guess I am pretty famous here in Nicaragua now. I am just that cool of a missionary that everybody just knows me, just kidding, haha. But seriously, some members recognized me because they had seen me on a popular Nicaraguan TV show the other night. I guess some guy did a trick on me and they put it on his TV show where they go around doing tricks on people. It must have been when I was up in Chinandega because they said my comp was this short guy. I don´t remember this happening but they were absolutely sure that it was me haha. Oh well, it is pretty cool that I got on TV down here haha.

So we will officially have our new Mission President this upcoming Tuesday and we are supposed to have this conference to get to know him a little bit. The missions are all split up and I am in the South. My Spanish is getting better every day and I am learning a crazy bunch. I actually found out how you get to Kolob too haha. But I am loving it here a whole lot and just realized how fast the time is flying by. It really does just keep picking up.

So when does Kyle and Taylor get home because I am thinking it is pretty soon right?

So it sounds like all is going well at home and you are enjoying the weather haha.

Love you all and Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Hey it is really great to hear from all of you. I really like the spiritual experiences you are all having because they help me also.

The Mission President's wife likes our hair cut this short so it is fine and my head didn´t get sunburnt.

So we are definitely into rainy season now because it is raining everyday here now. But we had transfers this last week. Luckily I am here again in Managua as a Retention missionary and I am still with Elder Flores. Only one person left from our District this last change so that is pretty cool. We got to help out with the new missionaries coming in. We got 32 new missionaries and our zone was in charge of training them how to contact their first day here. It was funny because I remember being just like them when I got here only 3 months ago.

So my emergency money that I have been saving has really come in handy because they always seem to send us our money about a week later than when we are supposed to get it. But don´t worry at all because I saved a sufficient amount haha. I also have been using it for service and helping people out. Something cool I found was some actual American donuts at a little store around the corner from us. There is this store here called Price Mart. None of the missionaries are allowed to go there because they sell American food and the missionaries would waste all of there money there. These donuts are from there but I am not at liberty to tell you how they are getting to us, haha.

So Elder Flores and I have this game we play pretty much all the time when we are in the street, where we try to kick stuff between each others legs. Because there is all of this trash here that people just drop on the ground, we have plenty of items, like bottles, rocks, and a bunch of mango seeds. Sometimes we get pretty competitive and I am getting a lot better haha. The bigger the item, the better the score.

So the other day Elder Flores and me were walking and this drunk guy came up and started talking to us. While talking to us he took our Glu-Glus (Nicaraguan "Capri Suns") and my comps pen, putting it in his pocket. He would just look at it and then snatch it. I didn´t care to much about the Glu-Glu because it was empty but I wanted my companion's pen back. So I took out my agenda and asked him if he had a pen I could use. So he reaches into his pocket and hands me my companion's pen, haha. I said thanks and we walked away, haha.

But one of the scarier things I saw was last Friday. Again we were walking and this little dog was scurrying across the street which was strange because they don´t usually run around because they don´t have much energy. Well he went by and there was this other one just as short following. One of his eyes were squinted and his mouth was foaming spit. It ran right past my leg too. I always thought that the foamy mouth was an exaggeration for rabies but it is true and very scary.

The craziest moment though this week was when we were giving service at the house of the lady that cooks our meals. We were cutting branches down from this big mango tree in her cement back yard. This tree grew in this little patch of dirt and they built the house all around it. She wanted it cut so it wouldn´t fall down during the storms this season. Well my companion, Elder Montierth, and I were in the tree. Elder Flores was cutting, I was passing the branches to Elder Caulderón on this wall so that the branches wouldn´t land on the roof. Well Elder Montierth passed me a branch and I was leaning to pass it to Elder Caulderón when I lost my balance. I fell out of the tree, went through the roof, took out a clothes line underneath, and some how landed on my feet on the ground haha. My arm got some tiny scratches and the back of my leg a little bruised from hitting the clothes line but other than that I was perfectly fine haha. Hermana Nubia thought that I had died because of how high I was. Good thing I´m a missionary or that could have turned out a lot worse haha. We are definitely being watched over out here and I don´t doubt the Lord was watching over me that day. So that was my crazy story this week in Nicaragua.

I am looking forward to doing the Lord´s work. We are going to beat the record of the highest retention here this next week so I am pretty excited. The highest they have ever got it was 91% percent and we got just below that this last week but we will easily get 100% percent this next Sunday. I am really excited to be moving the Lord´s work along and getting to love the people here. I have definitely grown and learned so much in the short time I have been here. I Love you all and Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs