Monday, April 26, 2010

26 Apr 10 email

26 Apr 10 10:45AM

Hello it is Elder Ochs in Tezoatega, Chinandega. Thanks for your letters Rachel, Brennan, Mom and Dad. Thanks Eric a lot for your letter in the mail. I really appreciate your uplifting support. It was really cool this week here in Nicaragua. Lots of experiences, stories, baptisms.

Viejo is the area right next to us and it is where we go for the internet and stuff. The old lady is one more house up. I haven´t seen here up there lately so I still don´t have avocados.

So the first crazy thing that happened this week was when I had returned from sending my last email. When we got back we found a new visitor waiting in our house. We had a bat up in the corner of our room just hanging out waiting to suck our blood. It was a little guy but he was there. I got my camera and Elder Pérez got a stick. He then wanted to trade because he said he was too short, but he was scared. He told me to knock it down so I did. It started scurrying all over the place like a rat and then it took flight. It was going crazy and flying just above our heads. It was pretty scary. At one point it was coming at my face but I ducked. I saw his pearly whites and red gums but he missed. I could have hit it when it was going over me but I didn´t want it to fall on me and start biting me and get rabies. He then flew to our back porch and dropped. That is when we finally got a picture before it started scurrying again and we lost him in this little storage area we have. Elder Pérez says that is the 7th one they have had. So that is the crazy story for the week.

I finally got the little boy to shake my hand. At church he had to sit by us the whole sacrament and he was staring at me for quit some time. He tried to climb over the pews but his mom kept pulling him back haha. So we have a handshake but I think that is the limit right now.

So here in Nicaragua it isn´t strange for someone to be covered in sweat and dirty, but the funny thing is that the first place a Nicaraguaian sweats is just above the upper lip. So when you see people walking around, men, women,and children, they have these sweat-staches. I don´t know why but it is. I thought that was pretty funny.

Remember how I told you that they throw water all around their houses, I think it is to make the dirt hard like a floor. Lately we have been walking up to people as they are throwing the water around and ask them if they are watering their garden as a joke. Well no one has gardens just a bunch of dirt and maybe some strange plants. So they just stare at us, it is so funny and then we start talking to them.

The people here also keep giving us mangos. We have so many bags of mangos in our house. We can´t keep up with the rate that they are giving them to us. Speaking of mangos Dad. They made a mission video for here in Nicaragua called Animo Mango. You should see if it is on Youtube. You probably won´t understand it but it is funny.

We had our interviews with Presidente Fraatz this past week and I passed. He macheted us about repentance. Then bought us TipTop which is a poplar chicken restaurant/fast food here in Nicaragua. Afterward we took one of those bike taxis where the guy sits in the back and pedals while we sit up front in the chair. It was a pretty bumpy ride. The taxis here are crazy. The other day our Taxi guy almost pushed this motorcyclist off a bridge.

Elder Pérez reminds me a lot of Kyle (A best friend of Elder Ochs who is currently serving a mission in Missouri). He makes the same kind of noises and just acts a lot like him.

Baptisms this week were crazy. We were only expecting 3 this week but we ended up with six. First we had a reference for this one teenager. We talked to him and he had had the lessons and attended church before so we challenged him to get baptized the next day and he accepted. I thought that was pretty impressive, a 5 minute baptism, till we were walking back from lunch when a member brought up his friend and said he wanted to be baptized. He had already been talking to the missionaries, so we challenged him and he accepted. Then at Mutual the same member brought another friend and the same story. I thought that was pretty cool until the morning of the baptisms the same member came to our house with another friend and the story repeats again. They all passed the interviews with the District leader also. I don´t know what we were doing right but we were definitely blessed. And were are hoping that the member has some more friends haha. One of them we still need to teach before being baptized this next Saturday. We have a goal of 20 baptisms this change so we need 6 more this week. So the missionary work is coming along great here in Tezoatega, Chinandega Oeste. Thanks again for your support for me out here and I love you a bunches.

Elder Ochs

Monday, April 19, 2010

19 Apr 10 email

Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Hola este es Elder Ochs otra vez. This week in Nicaragua was really nice. This upcoming Saturday we should have 4 more baptisms.

This last Sunday we had the Area President of Central America come and talk to us. He talked about many good things that I bet helped out the people here in Nicaragua. Also our Mission President and his wife were there also.

This last Wednesday we made the 3 hour trip to Managua for a conference. We got up at 3 o'clock in the morning to get there on time. It was pretty fun and I got to speak in English to other missionaries. It lasted till 5 o'clock in the afternoon and then we made the 3 hour trip back.

So ya there are a lot of street vendors here in Nicaragua and there are a lot of them that sell movies. Well this last Pday we checked them out and they have like up to 6 movies on one disc for less than a $1. And they weren´t just weird Spanish ones but new releases. Movies that haven´t even come out in the USA yet. I didn´t know if you wanted me to keep an eye out for a certain one. They had that one Peter Jackson movie about the kid with a sword, Mom.

Our dinner cita / laundry lady is back now and we have food again plus non stinky clothes. And we had another critter in our room last night. Actually it has been in there for a few days running circuits around our room at night. It was only a mouse but it kept flashing across the room while we were studying. So we waited till it went through some plastic bags in the corner of our room and used our trusty mop and worthy broom to get him. He almost got away but we had opened the door and flung him outside. In the end, our trusty mop had taken damage and is now retired.

This last Saturday, I think, we had to walk 3 miles out to this members house because Elder Pérez didn´t have enough money for the bus and the trucks were going to fast to jump in. So after we were done with the visit I did not want to walk all the way back. So we walked a little ways and found a very rare thing here in Nicaragua. A speed bump. We stood next to it and within a few minutes we got a ride. I actually was even able to get a biker to stop and he was going to give me and Elder Pérez a ride but Elder Pérez said we couldn´t, but I think he was scared haha.

It is funny though, like Rachel was saying, that everyone is mesmerized by blue eyes. When you walk up to them that is the first thing they look at.

My diet here now includes these CanCan cookies. They are sponsored by Spongebob and have stickers inside, which is part of the reason why I buy them. But there aren´t stickers in all of them, only select packages. But they don't call him Spongebob they call him Bob Esponja. It is pretty funny.

I haven´t made any progress with the bowl haircut kid yet. I saw him at the Conference but he hid.

No none of the avocados have fallen to my side but there was an old lady up there on the roof the other day getting some. I was going to ask her for some but I was scared because it didn´t look like she was wearing any clothes haha. I may use the worthy broom and try to get some to fall. They look more like miniature pineapples, they are huge.


Elder Ochs

Monday, April 12, 2010

12 Apr 10 email

Mon, Apr 12, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Hey there, it is me again. So this last week was also very good. I forgot my journal so I may not have as much stuff to write about. But I´ll answer questions. First of all I do have a Avocado tree right next to my house. (Elder Ochs really learned to love Avocados, especially Guacamole, a few months before his mission. He was told that they eat a lot of Avocados in Nicaragua so we use to joke that he hoped he would have an Avocado tree next to each place he lived in while on his mission.) It is right there but about 6 feet out of reach through this cage that is over our backporch, the one I hooked up the hammock to. I look at it everyday. The Avocados are at least three times the size our normal ones. So ya I can´t even reach them. I am hoping one will fall and roll off our roof our something.

We have this bucket also for showering like Rachel, but I just take a shower at night when it is our turn for the water. It rotates throughout the different cities and we get it at night. Ya it is almost impossible not to drink the not so clean water here. All of the members when they give you drinks put ice in it and offer you water too. It is hard to turn down drinks here haha. But the food is going pretty good here. we have beans and rice every meal with some other kind of foods. They also love to smother stuff with mayonnaise. yech yech. I had a hot dog the other day with onions, tomatoes, weird squishy stuff, and and a bunch of mayonnaise all over. the bun was absorbing a lot of it. I had to keep telling myself in my head that it was only special hotdog sauce. Oh and we also had this drink that remind me of home. Do you remember Mom when we would go to that arts and crafts material store? It had a bunch of fake flowers and materials for clothes. Well that weird scent in the air from all of the stuff in the store was the taste off the drink haha.

Oh Dad that picture that you sent is South of where I live. That picture is closer to the city of Chinandega. There is that baseball stadium and stuff. We were actually walking all around there today looking for an internet place. All of the electricity went out in our cities so we went over there to look for one. We hitch hiked both ways. Here, all you have to do is put out your thumb and you get in the back of a truck with other people and go as far as you want in the back. The people are pretty nice like that. So if you have a truck down here, you have to continually maintain a speed or someone is going to jump in the back haha.

I also got my haircut here today Dad. I went to Barberia José. You have to keep your head down though while in there because he has a lot of advertisements. This was another perfect timing moment. I got in the chair, told how short I wanted it and everything. He gets a good chunk of hair out of the side of my head and that blackout of electricity happened that I told you about earlier. So I was sitting there with that black cover barbers put on you in the heat, my head down, with a chunk of hair missing for about 20 minutes till he got the backup generator working. This whole time a missionary I was on splits with was laughing at me haha.

We baptized 3 more people this last weekend. Ezlaras, Diana, and Flabio. We have a goal of twenty people this month. I have more pictures and stuff but I can´t send them because this computer doesn´t have a SD slot. Maybe next week.

I have Rachel's email address now and she sent me an email already too. I got your letter mom, thank you lots. This last Fast Sunday was pretty rough. We walked around a bunch in the sun without water. At the end of the day we had to wander houses of members seeing if they could fed us because our food cita is in the hospital because her mom is about to die. She is also our laundry lady too so hopefully we figure something out. We ended up getting two dinners that night haha.

Oh have have to tell you about this one kid here. He is not over two years old and he has this bowl cut haircut. Every time I see him at church, on the street, or when we our visiting his house, he stops with wide eyes, puts his hands out to his sides, starts making some little noise, and slowly backs up without taking his eyes off me. He doesn´t stop walking backwards until he is up against something haha. For some reason he is like the only kid here that is terrified of me. Every time I see him though I saw hi. Hopefully he overcomes his fears soon haha. But I am loving it here in Nicaragua and I love you all very much. I´ll talk to you next week.


Elder Ochs

Monday, April 5, 2010

5 Apr 10 email

Mon, Apr 5, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Hey there, it is me again. I made it through the hottest week of the year supposedly. One of the nice things about it being so hot and humid here is the effect it has on your clothes. No matter how wrinkly your shirt is, you walk around outside for a few minutes and it is practically steam pressed nice and straight haha. It is really awesome here. I am loving my bed more and more every night now. I have already eaten some interesting food here. The other day we had soup over at a members house and it was very interesting. I think they boiled bamboo or something and put it into water with crawdads. They only way I was able to get through it was because I had a lime to suck on after every bite haha. I have also had cow stomach, some crazy juices, and fresh coconuts too. I actually opened up the coconut, drank the milk stuff inside, and then ate the white stuff too on the inside.

The other day was our service day so we went to this place way out down the freeway. It was in the back of this long dirt road too. They had a huge pasture with trees all around and they had us walk around with machetes to chop up dry wood. There was about six of us chopping up stuff. Then afterwards the kids were climbing these trees to get those coconuts down like I was talking about. There are a bunch of mango trees everywhere here, so what you do is use a unripe mango that is close to the ground and you throw it at the good ones up top. It is pretty fun. Afterwards they fed us beans, rice, and fried chicken which is pretty popular. There were six dogs and two ducks waiting by me for food haha.

I borrowed a hammock from one of the members here. He had a few so he lent me one to try out and see if I liked it. Well we have this back porch thing with a cage over the top of it to keep out animals and people I guess. I hooked up the hammock to the cage thing but the only problem was that it was like 5 feet in the air. I got in it anyways and attempted to stay the night in it. Well I woke up a half an hour later and I had bug bites on my legs and arms, so that didn´t last very long.

One of the funny things about our ward here is that no one knows how to sing. At church everyone is all over the place. Luckily our church is like the only church in the this area that has an electric piano. It can play any song perfectly by just pushing one key the entire time haha. It helps a little bit. We play soccer down in the gym and outside at the church on pdays. We can take the locals pretty well. They don´t stand a chance in basketball though haha.

We had a scorpion in our house for a few days because Elder Pérez wouldn´t let me take care of it. Finally we took care of it with marbles, lemons, and a mop. I will see if I can send a picture of it.

Some weird things they do here in Nicaragua is: one they drop their trash everywhere all over the streets. There aren´t any trash cans here. They just drop their trash in piles and someone comes by and burns it. Second is that everyday, I don´t know how many times a day, they throw water all around their house. They cover every square inch of dirt around there house. Old ladies and guys just fill up buckets and throw the water around haha.

General Conference was really great this last weekend. We got a room for all of us greengos with a TV to watch the conference in English. I really liked the talk by Elder Uchtdorf about patience with trying to learn the language and everything. The talk about diligence was also great. It was really awesome how much they talked about the family and how to take care of them. I didn´t catch all of the new temples though. I also heard that there was an earthquake in California on Sunday. Where was it at and how strong was it?

I did get that attachment about the camera. Thanks. I think I figured it out. How did the pictures look?

I don´t really know what my address is though because like you said it it is like saying two blocks west from the graveyard on the right, which is our address, roughly. There are a few little stores around us too. The front of the house is red and flat. To send letters I think it is just sent to my mission in general and then it is distributed by the leaders within a few weeks. Sending emails are a lot faster but I appreciate letters also.

Brennen, that is awesome that your baseball season is going good and you have caught bunches of coons. Keep up the good work in school too Nenee. Your Freshman year is almost already up, crazy. What have you made in woodshop so far? Happy Late Birthday Ryan. I will bring back stuff for you guys when I get back. They have some pretty cool stuff here for really cheap. The nice hammocks are like $5 dollars and some other pretty cool stuff. I don´t know if I could get everything to fit though. If you could Dad maybe also is send me the birthdays of people if you have time.

I Love You All.

Elder Ochs