Monday, March 29, 2010

29 Mar 2010 email

Hey I am finally here in Nicaragua. This is my second attempt to send this email because the first time when I was about half way through the power went out in the building haha. It happens a lot.

Well the last flight over here was rough on my stomach but I was able to teach the first lesson to this girl next to me. I also gave her a pass along card for a Book of Mormon because we only had Spanish ones. When we got off the plane it was 9 am and very hot and humid. There were a bunch of people waiting to get through regulations. When we finally got through there, outside the gate was even more people trying to help people with their luggage so that they could get some money. We found the mission president and his wife and headed off outside. We met the APs and we were packed into a truck. There are not really any speed limits here, hardly any stop signs, and no one has licenses. They just drive around like crazy so we had to also. People and dogs were everywhere in the streets. We stayed at the AP's house for the first two nights. I have a picture of that. The first day we had meetings and then afterward we did splits with some of the missionaries. We were again packed into taxis and taken around the crazy streets. We walked around and contacted people in the streets in Spanish, or at least tried haha. Elder Neal almost fell down an open pothole that we couldn´t see the bottom of haha. Luckily I got his attention just before he stepped down it haha. The first few days were pretty great until we finally got assigned our areas on Wednesday. We all gathered in the church and they displayed on the wall who was going where.

My companion is Elder PĂ©rez. He is also sending you an email. He has only been here 3 months and he is my trainer. He is a really great missionary. He makes me talk during the lessons too. He is from Guatemala and knows a little bit of English. When he sends you his email it is going to be in Spanish so you will need to enter the text in to BabelFish probably.

We were assigned to Chinandega Oeste, Tezoatega. It is the most Northwest mission. It is also the hottest area in Central America and some people say in the world. And this week is the hottest week all year long. Perfect timing. It is like we are walking around with blankets wrapped around us haha. One good thing about the heat being 24/7 is that the mosquitos can´t stand it so that isn´t much of a problem.

The church is about a mile away from us. We walk everwhere we go. People here live in houses from cement blocks to cardboard and plastic wrapped around sticks. Some how though almost everyone has enduros and motor cycles.

There are so many kids running and playing around here haha. They are pretty funny kids. Most of them don´t go to school so they just run around all day. Even though, they are all happy.

Oh also another thing is they all have hammocks in there houses. It is a must have furniture here. I want to get one this Thursday.

But yes the people here are probably the nicest I have met. I can´t tell the difference between the members and any other random person. Maybe except a few drunks, smokers, and one cross dresser haha. Everyone just sits out front of there houses and we say hi to everyone pretty much. The other day we were just walking by a house, we yelled adio and they replied back, invited us over, gave us there chairs and we talked to them about the church. The whole time I thought they were members. It turns out they weren´t and now they are our new investigators, about 5 of them. People here are pretty receptive.

This last Saturday we baptized 5 people and I did one of them myself in Spanish. My first one on the mission!

I had an interview with President Fraatz before coming out here. He wants me to read the Book of Mormon, create lesson plans for all 42 principles, and have perfect Nica(ragua) Spanish in 3 months. It is pretty crazy but I know I can do it because "the Lord does not give commandments unto the children of men lest he shall prepare a way for them to accomplish the things which he has commanded them" (I'm pretty sure that is how it goes). I have been getting up an hour earlier to have more practice.

Our apartment here is a big change from what were staying in before. I took a few photos and I ran outside and got some quick ones around down some streets.

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3

Your not supposed to really have your cameras out because even though these people are nice they will also nicely steal from you too.

Well I love you all very much and I have more to tell you next week. Oh and mail doesn´t get here for 3 weeks. The pic with flowers is the AP house the others are in my area and house.


Elder Ochs

email from Elder Perez

Hello! How are you? I hope that you are well. I am Elder Perez, Elder Ochs companion. I am from Guatemala. I am very pleased to train your son in the Nicaragua North Mission.

Your son is very intelligent and his Spanish is very good and getting better every day. Three days ago he invited someone to set a baptismal date, they accepted the date and were baptized last Saturday. I will send you pictures so that you can see how your son is doing in the mission.

Don't worry about anything he is very good in the mission and I am helping him with anything he may need.

It is a joy to meet you. I hope that we can keep in touch. I love you guys.

I know that Jesus Christ lives and he communicates with President Thomas S. Monson. I know of truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of the restoration of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

May you enjoy and learn a lot during this week of General Conference...

With Love


Elder Perez

Friday, March 19, 2010

19 Mar 10 email

Hey there, I am leaving this Monday at 8:00 in the morning. The time here went by really fast and now it is already time to get out into the field. I am pretty excited about it but not everyone in the district. Some are nervous about it and Elder Neal is going crazy about bugs in Nicaragua. I don't know if he just found out that there are a lot of bugs there or what but now he keeps talking about it haha.

This morning was the last time we will be going to the temple so it was cool just enjoying it. Afterwards we finished up a 4 hour explanation of the entire Book of Mormon which was really cool and cleared up a lot of stuff. She put everything together and in order and gave us all these timelines. Before we even went to the temple this morning we had a mattress exchange for our whole floor and the one below us. It was pretty fun riding the mattresses down the stairs haha. When we got back they replaced all of the mattresses with new ones which were pretty nice. Too bad we only get to use them for 3 nights. I still have my 4 inch foam pad so it doesn't make much of a difference I guess haha.

I also got my pants finally fixed by a sweet old lady in the tailorshop for free. Actually not completely free because she made me sing "Popcorn Popping on an Apricot Tree" haha. I needed some help from Elder Kunz though because I couldn't remember all of the words. I guess I should have sang more in Primary.

Did you get my pictures? I don't know why the pictures are so bad though. Everyone elses was fine. I guess my camera isn't too great or I don't know how do use it. I also got my haircut this week before heading out into the field. It looks pretty good I guess.

We have learned all of the congugations for Spanish and now we have to just practice the grammar and learn more words. This last week has just been reviewing things that we need to go over.

I ate a couple of meals with Rachel and her companions this week. She is doing good too. Oh and finally we got a apostle for our Tuesday Night Devotional. It was Quentin L. Cook and he talked about a lot of things. He changed his talk on the way to the MTC so it didn't necesarily have a overall message. It was really cool. Elder Brown and I got really good seats too. We were four rows back from the very front. We slide in there really fast when they finally opened it. The funny thing is that last week this one kid that has been here for like 10 weeks was arguing with Elder Brown about how an apostle never comes except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. He also talked with one of the apostles for 10 minutes! haha.

Thank you for the package of Saint Patricks Day goods. I really liked the leprechaun facial outfit and beef jerky. Thank You grandma for that big box of Jelly Bellies. I have really been enjoying it a lot. I have almost finished the box! I love you all and thanks for all of the letters and support. Talk to you later from Nicaragua!


Elder Ochs

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

16 Mar 10 letter

Dear Mom and Dad,

Sorry it took me so long to send these off. I don't know why they didn't turn out very good though. My camera is hard to figure out.

My district's names are Elders Kunz, Harmer, Neal, Jensen, Dowse, Lytle, Dotson and Brown. Elder Harmer is going to Panama also with Rachel. He is the short blonde one. Elder Kunz is my companion. Elder neal is the one who has glasses and short brown hair. harmer and Neal are my roommates. Elder Neal is going to Nicaragua. Elder Jensen has brown hair, taller than Neal and pale skin. Elder Dowse is the one that usually looks weird in the pictures, has brown hair and a big smile. Elder lytle is the red head. Elder Dotson has glasses that are a little rounded and brown hair. Elder Brown also has brown hair and has squinty eyes when smiling. He is the one that is one of the kickers for LSU. We are pretty good friends. When I'm not with Elder Kunz, I'm with Elder Brown.

Some of the pictures though are with other districts above us. The individual shots are with the other district. They were the really fun ones before they left. The one I am standing on the feet of is Elder McKee who was pretty crazy. Elder Brown and I were almost in their district, it felt like it. They left for Mexico about three weeks ago. I have mada a lot of friens here in the MTC and hopefully we can meet again.

Hopefully you can pick out the missionaries with my descriptions, which I doubt. I am loving the MTC.

Love you lots,

Elder John Ochs

Note: You can view the other pictures at Elder Ochs' missionary online picture album.

Friday, March 12, 2010

12 Mar 10 email

Well it is still going well here at the MTC. My Spanish keeps getting better the more I am here. We have pretty much learned all of the conjugations and are just reviewing now. I have been reading a lot in the Doctrine and Covenants. I am about halfway and I am loving it. It is really interesting. I regret not paying more attention in seminary now.

This last Tuesday we had a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy come and talk to us. His name was Bruce C. Hafen and he talked about how to develop a testimony. It was really good and I learned a lot. The funny thing is that the word was going around that Elder David A. Bednar was supposed to be coming so Elder Brown and I got in line like an hour ahead so that we could get some good seats. Well we rush in there and got really good seats up in the front and in the middle haha.

Sorry I don't have much to write this time, I guess not much has happened out of the normal this week. We actually finally got our flight plans this Thursday too. We leave March 22. We are to be down to the Travel Service desk at 5 AM, flight leaves at 8:20 AM to Texas, then to Florida,and finally arriving Nicaragua at 7:50 PM (Central Time Zone). I don't know why we don't just go straight to Nicaragua because that distance is about the same as between here and Florida but I don't know. I don't mind going to a few states. Rachel got her flight plans too but I will let her tell you about it in her email. This week the pictures will be sent home, it took a while for them to be developed. Well I love you all and hope your doing well too.


Elder John Ochs

Friday, March 5, 2010

5 Mar 10 email

Hello from the MTC. Well last night it snowed about a foot of snow, so this morning on the way to the temple, we ran through the snow covered soccer field. It has been snowing ever since. The freshly fallen snow is perfect for snowballs too haha. But you get the most out of the snowball when you throw it at a snow covered tree when someone is underneath it and there are a lot of trees on the way to the Temple. We were pretty cold and a little wet when we finally got to the Temple. The nice thing is that the sun is coming up earlier and earlier each morning.

We also have been doing some interesting service here at the MTC. I guess they are running out of stuff for us to do because they have had us dust the door frames and that corner between the walls and the ceiling down the hallways. This last week we scrubbed the bathroom walls and then dried them haha. The funny thing is that one of the elders in my district, Elder Neal, wears his church shoes everywhere when we do stuff. So during service he is walking around in jeans and shiny leather shoes. He is wearing them right now next to me. The only time he doesn't wear them is during gym, but I wouldn't be surprised.

My Spanish is coming along a lot better now too. These last three weeks our district has made a goal to speak nothing but Spanish. It is coming along pretty well. The teachers are impressed how well our Spanish is for only being here six weeks. I am excited to get into the field.

This last Tuesday, Bishop Edgley of the Seventy and his wife came and talked to us. It was pretty interesting. You can't have green grass without the rain. I think Hermana Ochs has already told you, but this last Sunday Elder Kunz and I were assigned to be the next Zone Leaders. I am pretty excited to take on this new responsibility but kind of bummed because I have to be an example for the rest of the missionaries. No longer getting into the pillowroom or other fun stuff :(

Well I am getting closer and closer to leaving and I really appreciate everyone that has been writing me. I love you all and I'll send pictures home this week.

Elder Ochs