Monday, May 31, 2010

31 May 10 email

May 31, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Well it is me Elder Ochs again. That is really cool how much Isreal (Flores, a friend of John's that joined the church before he left on his mission) has grown in the gospel. I can´t believe it has been 7 1/2 months since his baptism. That is awesome that he gave a talk and with the Mission President. I cant wait to hear where Bobby (Hancock) is going to serve his mission. That is so awesome all of those I grew up with are going out to serve at the same time with me. Ya I have a lot of letters backed up to write to people. I never have time to sit down and write here. We are always going around doing stuff and I run out of time. I also for got my notebook that had a lot of stuff I was going to write so I will try to remember.

So today we had a Super Preparation Day. The mission president was real happy about our numbers this month so we got a Super Preparation Day. We didn´t meet our goal of 1,000 baptisms but got 643, 105 families, and 145 priesthood. 100 families was also another goal he set for us and we got that so he is going to get us something for that also. For the Super Preparation Day we went to this place that had several turf soccer fields and we had a bunch of zones there to play against each other. It was a lot of fun and I also made a goal. We got pizza and soda afterwards.

So ya again everyone in our district ran out of money this last week like always, so it was difficult getting breakfast in the morning because I have to take someone with me who doesn´t have money for food. So I end up buying them some stuff haha. Also driving around in taxis I had to pay for others. I don´t know how they lose it all so fast haha.

So I had my first baptism in these areas this last Saturday. It was a thirteen year old girl named Anielka. It went really well. Her Baptismal Interview with our District Leader was the easist one compared to the other people in Mira Flores. The missionaries there keep finding gangsters and teaching them so the interviews are usually rough. Lets just say they have problems with the second worst sin you can commit. They have to attend church for 6 months straight if they want to get baptized.

The reactivation of members here is pretty difficult because the members don´t want to do anything. Elder Flores and I are doing what ever possible to get the numbers up though.

So ya it has been raining like crazy here so it is pretty cool now. We just walk in the rain here, I don´t know why they don´t buy umbrellas but it is cool. It feels nice because it is nice and warm.

So the other day we were outside talking to a recent convert after it had just rained. Well big drops of water were falling on me and I thought it had started raining again. Well there was this branch that came down by my head and I looked up and there was a squirrel with a red collar on it staring at me. It freaked me out but it was pretty fun. It took off after a while which was good because I was worried it was going to jump on me.

So during all of that rain this last week the streets were covered. Well one of the short APs were walking across the street and couldn´t see that there was an open man hole so he fell right in. He was fine but it was a pretty funny story.

So I went to this one area the other day that reminded me so much of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. It was at night when I went there and it had this miniature canal going down this hill with water running down it. Along it are these shacks with dim lights outside with crickets all around. With the humid warm air all around, trees and plants, and walking along this canal it was just like the beginning of that ride when going past the restaurant and the old man sitting outside of his house on the porch haha.

So I wore my Zelda shirt. I wore it to the Super P-Day activity so it got all wet in the rain. I had another missionary hold it while I took a picture of it. His name is Elder Martinez. I couldn´t send the picture yet because this computer is being dumb, next week

Well I will try to write more next week. So I love you all and big hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, May 24, 2010

24 May 2010 email

May 24, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Hola familia y amigos. So this week here in Managua was really good and fun. We have been working hard but having a good time doing it. It is nice to hear what is going on in Oakdale. That is really cool that Ben (Ward) is getting his Eagle Scout Rank and Bobby (Hancock) is getting his papers ready. It is nice to hear that Dad is having a good time doing yard work.

So the weather here has been pretty windy and with storms too. All last night it rained with lighting and thunder. One night I was on splits with another missionary, Elder Montierth, and it was raining pretty good. Well we were walking down the middle of the street and we saw this big guy that looked like he was drunk and could cause trouble so we crossed to the other side. Well the guy started to wave to us and was yelling. It turned out to be one of the members. So we went up to him and he had a flower on his ear and gave another one to my comp. He wasn´t drunk or anything, just walking around in the rain with flowers haha. He is missing his two front teeth and his fang teeth? stick out when he smiles haha. He is pretty funny and really cool. I guess he is a shoe maker and he put new soles on my comps shoes for only a $1.50. He also fixed a big hole in my backpack with new material and everything for $.50 cents. It is really nice having members that have random jobs.

Another funny thing I saw while walking back one night was police man trying to get mangos. He was chucking his nightstick into the tree and trying to hit the mangos. At least he is doing something with it because other than that they just sit around here. It is funny because there are security guards posted all over here but half of them are asleep haha.

So this last Saturday we had a soccer game to get people comfortable here and get references. It turned out pretty well but my team was me and Elder Montierth and a bunch of kids that would keep running off or laying down during the game haha. Afterwards we bought soda for everyone. The funny thing here is that they put a lot of drinks and stuff in bags. You just bite the corner and drink it. So we had 6 liters of soda and poured it into seperate baggies, twist the top, tie it, and then bit a corner. It is a lot cheaper than buying cups and it is cooler.

So I got your packet only days after talking to you on mothers day but I forgot to put it in my last email. Thanks a bunch! I already finished it and now I am sad.

Another cool thing is that we were at this Mega American Clothes store, which is basically a Salvation Army Store, and I found a green Zelda shirt. So I had to buy it for $1.50. I will send you a picture when I get it back from being washed.

We had our Multi Zone Conference this last Wednesday which was really good. Presidente Fraatz was wearing sandals because he had a bad ingrown toe nail. A lot of missionaries have that here but I have been lucky enough not to have any yet. On the way back from the Conference we took a bus. I barely was able to get in because it was so packed and my backpack almost got closed in the door. I contacted the whole bus which was easily over 60 people. I don´t know how many people could hear me but I just yelled as loud as I could. I was car sick after the ride haha. Well that isn´t everything I wanted to tell about but I don´t have time enough or space for it all.

Here are a few more photos.

I love you all and big hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Hola family y amigos. It is good to hear how it is going in Oakdale. It is crazy how much Oakdale has grown. I am going to try to send a video of a tour of my house. We also took some pictures of our area. Since we cover two areas, we have a lot of places to go. (Elder Ochs only sent this one picture for now, but it is a good one.)

Well this week here was not very exciting but a lot of work. We walk triple the amount we used to in Tezoatega. We all are all over the place here. I didn´t realize it before but Lake Managua is just down the street from us too. The weather here is pretty nice too because all of the wind. I got pretty sick in the stomach for a day this week from eating a bunch of coconut a a members house. A funny thing the other day was we were waiting at this corner for another missionary and a guy was walking by. So we tried to greet him and contact him but he just said "Hasta la Vista Baby" and kept walking haha.

I have been practicing my Spanish a lot more now. I contact about 15 people every night now. Also our Mission President has set the new wake up time at 5 o´clock in the morning now. He is trying to push a lot before he leaves. He wants the mission to baptize 1000 people this month of May which has never been done before and is only possible here in Nicaragua. It is hard though because there are missionaries that don´t want to work hard or we could definitely achieve that goal. I trying my hardest on my part though. My comp is really helping me out and I have learned so much here. Before in Tezoatega you didn´t have to do much to get baptisms but here it is a lot tougher. I am still setting my goals high. So thanks for all of your love and support and I will write more next week.


Elder Ochs

Monday, May 10, 2010

10 May 10 email

Mon, May 10, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Hola, este es me Elder Ochs. I am glad Mom that you had a great Mothers Day this last Sunday. I really liked the pictures that you sent. It looks like Charlie is in a karate grip to keep him still. The picture with me and Rachel was well done too haha. It looks like Rachel is kicking Charlie in the back haha.

So I am in a new area or areas already. I moved from Chinandega, Tezoatega to the capital Managua. I am actually covering two different areas because I am a Retention Missionary. I never had even heard of that before but we cover both Mira Flores and Linda Vista. My new comp is Elder Flores and he is also really awesome. I have already learned a whole bunch in the little time that I have been here. I don´t know my address exactly right now Dad but we tell people we are 1 cuadreno a bajo de Firestone, which means half a block down from Firestone a car shop. The church is only one block from our house which is really cool compared to a mile in my last area. Our cook lady is a half a block from us and the other area missionaries are just across the street. We all eat at the same house which is really cool. We are living with the District Leaders right now and it is a lot better of a house than our last area haha but I still wish I was there.

The crazy thing was that this first Sunday here in Managua I met one of the members from Tezoatega here in our ward. It was a family that we had been working with to reactivate back in Tezoatega. She comes here to study at the college here in Managua and attends church here when here. That was really awesome.

So I don´t have as many adventures here in Managua but it is even more crazy. It is a lot more civilized and hectic. The weather is a lot cooler here too because of all the wind. It is always windy here. When I tell people my last area, the first thing they say is how hot it is there. I think it prepared me for any other weather because no place is hotter than Chinandega, Tezoatega.

So there are so many cars flying around here and especially Taxis. The other day I was with another Elder on splits and we saw a Cotton Candy man. So we tried to wave him down and whistle to get his attention and we had 3 taxis pull over and try to get us. They don´t take no very well here so they sat there for 3 minutes asking us if we needed a ride haha.

So yesterday after I talked to you Mom and Dad we went outside and the other 2 missionaries started talking to this guy in a wheelchair. Well I saw this guy that looked like a an American with a big Pitbull, so I went to talk to him and see what brought him to Nicaragua (usually they are hiding from the police). When I was walking over to him these people kept telling me to watch out for the dog but he said it was fine and the dog looked nice. Well it turns out he was actually a Nicaraguan and I was trying to talk to him in Spanish. Well all of a sudden the Pitbull starts jump all over the place and was trying to bite this guy walking by. Well it didn´t take me too long to get out of there. I don´t know how that turned out haha.

But Managua is pretty cool. A lot of people like it here because it has the only 2 Burger kings, McDonalds, and a mythical Wendy´s in Nicaragua. You can find a lot of cool stuff here too.

Sadly the baptism rate is going to drop significantly here too. Everyone here just sits in the houses and aren´t that friendly. They don´t even give us their chairs anymore too. They just sit there and stare at us. So it is definitely harder than in Tezoatega. More than likely I won´t be here for more than one cambio (transfer) because it is a temporary call for now. They are still working on opening more areas and preparing for the split this next June. I don´t know yet if I am going to be part of the Nicaragua North or South mission. I wish I could take more pictures here but it is even more dangerous to carry around a camera here in Managua. There are so many cool shots I could have gotten here. Well I love you lots and thanks for all of your support. Big Hearts. <- these remind me of the lives in Zelda haha.

Elder Ochs

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Just a note to let you know that Elder Ochs called to talk to his mother on Mother's Day. He called us around 4:20 pm on Sunday.

On a sad note Elder Ochs was transferred this last Wednesday. So he was only able to spend one month with Elder Perez and in the city of Tezoatega. He said that he is really going to miss the ward there. On the good side of things, Elder Perez is staying there in Tezoatega, training another new missionary and became a District Leader after only being out 4 months on his mission! Elder Ochs has been assigned to work in the city of Managua now. His new companion is Elder Flores who is also from Guatemala. Elder Ochs said that they are on a special assignment to work with inactive members in two different areas. He says they walk everywhere because it is too dangerous to ride bikes. There are lots of hills in the area they cover also. This is a new position, so they didn't have time to find a place for them to stay at, so for the time being they are staying in an extra room with the District Leader and his companion.

Elder Ochs says that he is loving the work and that he is staying healthy. He finally got some avocados, but in his new area for lunch the other day. I guess he will never know what the pineapple sized avocados on the neighbor's tree in Tezoatega tasted like.

Monday, May 3, 2010

3 May 10 email

Mon, May 3, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Hola familia.

Thanks for the emails and the pictures, they were really cool. This last week we didn´t get our goal of six but we did get one. I will tell that story later. So in this exchange Elder Perez and I were able to baptize 15 people. Next month we are planning on 20. We have 4 positive families that all live in the Champas. One of the fathers of the families is a carpenter. We found him when he was outside finishing up one of his works. It looked really cool and I wish I had my camera with me. It had a bunch of flowers, grapes, and birds on it. The Champas is my favorite place to go here in Tezoatega because it it is more fort-like I guess and the people even more nice over there. I will have to get you some pictures.

I forgot to answer your question last week Dad about the volcanoes. We do have volcanoes steaming away and 1 one of them just went active actually like 2 weeks ago. One Elder was telling me if it does go that were going with it too, but I´m not worried about that because the Lord protects his servants.

We did have storms all this week. The first night was bad. I had just woke up and the rain came down causing the electricity to go out. So I no longer had my life line of the fan blowing air on me and it is flashing like crazy outside. Well I guess we have mosquitos in that lime and avocado tree above us and they swooped down into our room for cover. So to keep the mosquitos from biting me I wrap up in my sheets in the heat which was a bad idea. In the end I just let the mosquitos chew on me all night haha. It was funny though because the electricity would go on and off all night and you can hear everyone going "ahhh" when it went out and cheer "yahh" when it came back on and then back off again in 5 seconds.

We did more service again out in the Finca with the machete kids. This time we were de-roofing this big ol´house. It was that clay stuff that Grandma and Grandpa Ochs have on their house. Well I was up there for 4 hours straight in the sun throwing the clay down to my comp in the shade. I remembered sunscreen on my face but not my arms and legs. They got pretty toasted. I don´t know if I had told you how we sweat weird here in Nicaragua. Your skin doesn´t just get glisteny but your pores actually sweat individual sweat pools. Well with my sunburn, I started to sweat under the skin and it formed sweat bubbles. At first I thought they were blisters until I touched them and sweat came out. It is kind of nasty sounding but weird.

One of the cool things this week was that 3 people thought I was from Guatemala and my comp was from the United States. I don´t know why but they thought that.

I forgot to mention my first week here that I met Elder Thorpe here from Wendy and Evan´s ward down in Southern California. She told me to look for him while here and we met among all the craziness in the streets of Managua. He was coming for the exchanges and some how we got into the same Taxi. A small world I quess.

Sorry if all of this is confusing without spacing between paragraphs but it takes up less space. This last week a bunch of dentists came here to Nicaragua to do dental work for future missionaries, one of them being the dad of Elder Kunz in the MTC. Well there were 4 kids from our ward that went and got all 4 of their molars pulled. The next day we met them in the street and they looked so funny. It reminded me of my experience but they didn´t have all of the comforts I did. Like my Mom bringing me pudding and apple sauce, Thanks Mom.

I also found another toilet in our apartment this last week. I guess that little storage area that the bat ran into had one this whole time. I didn´t mention how I pulled out all the stuff looking for the bat and found a toilet. So I have been using it this last week.

I´ll end this letter with a pretty cool experience with this girl in the street. We usually walk by this girl everyday and she yells at us and we wave and say Adio. Well we started giving her pamphlets and she read all of them. She even answered all of the questions in the back. She has learned pretty much everything from those pamphlets we would give her. We have been teaching her now the things she doesn´t understand, which is few, and we will probably baptize her within the next couple of weeks. She reminds me of Isreal, where she has to be absolutely sure this is the right church before joining. So the Lord just keeps blessing us and more blessings are in store. Well I love you all and thanks for your Love. Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs