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

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Hey so I am having a great time here in Managua, Nicaragua. Thanks for writing me and letting me know about how you are doing at home. I definitely have time to read your long letters, I like the most information as possible. But it sounds like you are having a good time. How did the the All Star game of Braydons go? How was Brennan´s season of baseball? Did Ryan ever get my letter?

So this week was a pretty fun week again here. Today we were looking around and different shops to buy soccer jerseys. I don´t know how crazy it is up in North America but everyone is crazy about the World Cup for Soccer. It is a whole month long event and people are just in their houses all day watching it. Most of the people here are fans of Spain, Barcelona so are lot of people of wearing those shirts here. We couldn´t find any today but we will keep trying.

But while looking around I did find a cotton candy man. He was selling these decent sized bags of cotton candy for only 25 cents each. I only bought one to see if it was even any good because you can´t always trust the food here. By the time I did try it out and I wanted to buy some more, the guy had already disappeared. So I am going to be keeping an eye out for him.

So ya the food here has given a lot of the missionaries problems. I stayed home for a whole day with one because he had stomach problems and then my comp was having a lot of pains. I have been lucky enough to be fine but then again I haven´t been drinking the water here haha. Not only the missionaries have gotten sick either. Almost every house we have visited this week had someone sick in it. They say all of this rain is causing it. They say the water of the rain is from the lake where everyone dumps their trash so it gets people sick. But they have a bunch of wierd ideas here. They think that if you iron in the morning and then get wet it will get you sick because of the temperature change haha. A lady actually missed her baptism because she had ironed that morning haha.

So we did have a service project this last Saturday fixing a lady´s house that was falling apart. It took a few seconds to take out one of her walls and then we redid it. We actually had to chop off branches from some trees with a machete for the frames of the wall. Elder Jorgensen that climbed up the tree to cut the branches was attacked by a bunch of ants and he was freaking out haha. He wasn´t getting bit at all but they were climbing all over him haha.

That same day we had 2 baptisms, Lucrecia and her daughter Anaís. We had only contacted the mom 3 weeks ago and had set up a baptismal date for her at that first meeting, haha. She had talked to missionaries before as they walked by but they never actually talked to her, they only greeted her and walked on. They passed up the best lady that was just waiting to be taught. She is so awesome and her daughter also. She is definitely going to be a great member of the church and help it progress. Elder Flores baptized her and I baptized the daughter. When Anaís, the daughter, came out of the water she exclaimed " Que rico!" which translates "How nice!" or " How great". It was a really awesome baptism.

But yes the people here are great, the other day we also set up a baptismal date with these three guys at a car wash place. I was on divisions with Elder Montierth and he really had to go to the bathroom. We were planning on going to to this place further but we were walking by this carwash and we asked them if they had one. This guy we thought was drunk yelled something and pointed to the back and we found one back there. When we came out and went to thank them we ended up contacting them. The one guy wasn´t actually drunk it turns out (haha) and we set up the baptismal date with him and his friends. One of the friends was really excited about it and was trying to get the other guys to make an appointment with us. We got all of their information and they are all excited.

So yes the missionary work is moving along great here and the blessings just keep coming. We are all pretty excited for the big changes coming up and the future of this mission. The final changes for the split of the mission are this Wednesday and I am hoping I am here again in Managua to work with these amazing people. Well thanks for all of your love and support and Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, June 7, 2010

7 Jun 10 email

Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:48 PM

So this week here was pretty fun, especially today. We had another super Pday again. We went up to the the volcano of Masaya which was really cool because it is active and smoking. We went on the hills all around it looking around. My district leader told us we didn´t need to bring our Pday clothes because we wouldn´t need them. Well it turned out we were the only ones that didn´t bring pday clothes and everyone else was wearing theirs. So our district wore our normal missionary clothes up there. I got to use my boots. I took a bunch of pictures up there but we didn´t have time to stop by the house on the way back so again you will have to wait another week to get them.

On the way back on the bus I finally met the other missionary that Wendy told me to look for. He was sitting right behind me next to the other missionary from Yucipa. Elder Harrison and Elder Thorpe. I guess Elder Harrison is good friends with Brandon Ochs before they left on there missions! This is such a small world. We talked about that for a while.

So also this week it rained like crazy this one day to where there were miniature rivers going down the streets. We were walking home after a choir practice, for this conference we had with area seventies, in this storm. We were soaked head to toe like we had jumped into a pool. We went and got haircuts also after this storm and I was a little afraid that their electric shavers would shock my wet head. I got the lowest haircut ever because President Fraatz said it was too long. 1 on the sides and 2 on top.

We also did two service projects this last Saturday. One was moving a pile of stones out of this shed to another place because this girl said she saw a snake and it ran in there. So we moved all of the stones and never found that snake, only a bunch of huge cockroaches. So after that we went to a house that has a bunch of inactive members to fix this door of theirs and paint it. We had to realign the door and hinges and everything so it took forever with the supplies we had to work with. For some reason my companion mixed the paint with gasoline, good thing they are members because if any of them smoked that door would go up in flames. The hard part was that they kept bring us soda and cookies that looked really good while we were trying to fast haha. We just put coke in the dirt by a tree and the cookies in our backpacks.

So I read Our Heritage, Our Search for Happiness, and started True to the Faith? this last week which was really cool. They are so interesting and they really helped me strengthen my testimony. My testimony has grown crazy a lot here. Constantly we are having these spiritual experiences that you can´t really have any where else except for in the mission. I have especially been watching missionaries here that are going home soon and what they are like. There are attributes I want to develop they have and others that I need to avoid. I feel like whatever bad habits I have now I need to take care of before I leave here or else I will never be able to get rid of them. The mission is the time to become the person you want to be for the rest of your life and in the eternities.

Thanks for all your encouraging letters and support for me on the mission. Love you all and Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs