Monday, February 28, 2011

Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 10:58 AM

It is great to hear from the people I love a lot. Again you guys are always running around doing stuff. Dad I am not too sure of that resource about Fruit Bats but I wouldn´t have liked to have been the person that did all of those studies. (Excerpt of letter that was sent to Elder Ochs: So that is pretty interesting about your Fruit Bat issues. You might want to share this information that I found online with Elder Talla: "Fruit Bats like to look for fruit in more elevated and soft areas, like bunk beds. They have been known to at times mistakenly think that human eyes are fruit. They will usually quietly sneak up on the victims face and gingerly begin eating at there eyelids in hopes of getting to the more desirable eyeball center. If you happen to awake and find a Fruit Bat chewing on your eyelids, usually just screaming and shaking your head vigorously will dislodge the little bugger, usually. Sometimes writing on your face with a permanent marker with such phrases as, "Stay off my Face, Sucker!" or just simple doodlings have been found to sometimes help keep Fruit Bats away." I am not sure of the validity of this website, but you still might want to warn Elder Talla with this important information.) I will give Elder Talla a heads-up about that though, haha. That was pretty funny, I didn´t know that Fruitbats "gingerly eat" stuff and hopefully they understand English writing. Yes, we had a meeting with Elder Christofferson (Church News article saying that Elder Christofferson visited the University in Managua, Nicaragua) the same day as when he talked to the students. He did that in the morning and then came directly over to talk to us. Hey I also want to see how Uncle Mark is doing. Mom you need to make that Rootbeer Pork when I come home alright, and please refrain from describing how delicious the food is please, haha.

Alrighty then, so this week seemed longer than the ones before because a lot happened. Like I said last week I am staying in Bello Amanecer another change with Elder Talla. We are working just fine. We have gotten some new investigators this week. One of them named Juan Pablo was a sailor back when he was younger and he visited every country in the world except two. I don´t know which two ones. So he has a lot of cool stories that he tells us about all of the weird cultures and experiences he has had. They live right by the church too so I don´t think it will be that hard to have them come. The wife is very forgetful of stuff, haha, so that may be a problem, but we will see. He is also a strong supporter of Sandinistas but I am cool with him. He said he will get a FSLN shirt for me and my comp. FSLN is the Sandinista/Socialism group.

Here in Bello Amanecer the missionaries will never not have an investigator in church on Sundays. There is a crazy guy that comes every single Sunday and even the activities but can´t be baptized because he doesn´t need it. He usually sits in the back and sometimes tries to make announcements in front. I guess he used to be a preacher of a church but now he is crazy so he just wonders around the town all week with a Bible under his arm and cites scriptures or some random stuff. Like today walking to the Cyber to write, we met him in the street and he gave me very important information. He told me to tell the Bishop that the United States of America is sending gasoline to Nicaragua, and then he kept walking. The cool thing is that this last Sunday the bishop gave him a triple combination. The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. So he got rid of the Bible because it was too heavy to carry them both and is preaching the restored Gospel like us. He is already starting to read and cite scriptures too! Maybe we will get some references from it, who knows. He is really cool.

So the big story of this week happened Saturday night. So Elder Talla and I always come back to the house around 5 to turn on the porch lights and what not to keep away the bagos (bats). So we came to undo all of the locks and find out that we don´t have the keys and he left them inside the house. We are the only ones with keys to open it, I don´t know why there aren´t any copies. The house first has a wall that surrounds it that is all locked up and then the actual house is inside, also all locked up. It is very well fortified. So I remember seeing a space between the top of the wall and the razors around the back. So we talk to the neighbors to let us come around to go through. We had to take apart their roof to make a space to crawl through and then over the wall. We were able to do it but the worst problem was to some how get in the house still. All the windows are barred up and the doors locked from the inside. We tried stuff for hours but nothing worked. Our cell phone was already low on batteries and eventually died. We did every thing but without success. So we camped-out outside on the ground with all the critters and bugs. We didn´t really sleep that night and I chose the worst time to do a fast, haha. In the morning we had church at 8 and we needed to get our investigators beforehand. So we eventually got the idea to get a really long tube, about 15 feet long, that we had sitting in the back yard. Then we put a hose down it with metal wire tied to the end in the form of a hook, and then we feed it through a window. We used the tube to knock around stuff until we could find the keys. Miraculously we find the keys, hook them with the wire, and pulled it in. We showered around 6:30, got ready, and went to get people. I should send you guys some pictures so it is more visual. Next week I will. We got to church on time, and 3 investigators came, one was for the first time, the daughter of her, and the crazy guy. The people we thought would make it didn´t come and the ones that came we weren´t expecting. It usually works out that way.

So in studying I read about the gifts of the Spirit. It is funny because it talks about how most people don´t know what they are or which ones they have. When they think of the gifts of the Spirit they think of prophecy and talking in other languages because those are the ones visually seen. That most people make a big deal over the gift of tongues when it is practically the least of all the gifts that the Holy Ghost provides. I was thinking about that a lot because there are a lot of Evangelicals here and they believe that the Gift of tongues is talking in nonsense that no one understands. They don´t understand that the gifts that the Holy Ghost provides is for edifying and much more, not confusion. How have you guys dealt with experiences about the Gift of tongues with past investigators? I would like to hear insights.

I am still loving the work and the Nicaraguans here. Thanks for writing and supporting and loving. Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 5:49 PM

Hey family beloved, how is it going up there? Here it is nice and really hot like usual, haha. It sounds like you guys are even more busy than before. You are doing activities and projects every week. It keeps you guys busy I guess. That is really awesome to hear about Israel going through with you guys and that Elder Hiatt made a surprise visit. It sounds like he is all ready now. If you guys are interested the Temple stuff is really cheap here in Nicaragua. Like $2 dollars for pants and $5 for everything. They lower it a lot here so that the members can actually buy them but missionaries also have access. Something to know. Dad and Mom we will definitely need to make a stop by that Ghirardelli place on the way back. I really liked your hat Dad, haha. Speaking of chocolate, it is perfectly fine to send some chocolate. when it gets here we can just put it in our fridge. Also something more that you can add to the Easter package is those Hubba Bubba Squeeze Pops that we used to get from Blockbuster. We were talking about those the other day and it sounds really good.

So I am staying here in Bello Amanecer for another change with Elder Talla. We get along great and we have a lot of stuff planned for this upcoming change so I am excited. Elder Montierth is leaving though so that is sad. I going to miss him. I am going to be seeing after the mission though. We have some stuff planned out already. Concerning the guarded community I haven´t had the chance to go visit it this last week because I was not in my own area the majority of the time. We did a lot of divisions. Elder Talla said that they had some really good lessons out there though while he has been with the other Elders. I got to go to the cleanest town in Nicaragua called Nagarote. It really is known for being the cleanest town. There is this one road that makes me think of money lane with all of the lights and paved roads, and steps.

I am sending a few more photos from this week. The first is of Elder Talla posing with the Volcano Momotombo in the background. The next is a picture from one of our District meetings. Next is of Elder Monteith, Kunz, Me and Elder Santos. And the last picture is of the sunset there that I thought was nice.

Not to surprise you guys but I took out $120 dollars this last week to get some really cool stuff. I won´t tell you now but I will send you a picture next week. Trust me, it is really cool.

We found out what the thing is that is leaving fruit and egg looking stuff. Our house has a lot of bats sleeping inside with us at night, haha. It is alright though because Elder Talla sleeps top bunk, haha. We are pretty sure that they are just fruit bats so they won´t do any harm. The house owners told us that we could leave the lights on or have music playing at night because it irritates the bats. I forgot to tell you guys also that our house was haunted. Missionaries had been having visits at night and weird stuff would happen. One of them happened when another missionary, Elder Sanchez, was on staying the night on divisions. He didn´t want to come back. I personally didn´t have an encounter but I wasn´t planning on it either so Elder Talla and me cleared out the place making it a place where the Holy Ghost can dwell and we haven´t had any problems yet.

I have been collecting those teachings of the prophets books and studying them in the morning before study time and at night before going to bed. They are really interesting and awesome. I have Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, David O McKay, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, and a few others. I am collecting them as I go from the different chapels. I will have plenty to read for a while.

I learned some really really awesome stuff but I don´t have that much time to explain. Pretty much to obtain Eternal Life we need to make our spirit stronger to overcome the wants of the body. The body is corrupt but the spirit is not. The Holy Ghost teaches our spirit, so God is the example spiritually and Jesus physically on how to live righteously. When our spirit has dominance over the body we will not fall into temptations. So strengthen and work out your spirit so that it beats up the body, haha. That is it in a nutshell.

I am really thankful this time I have been given to strengthen myself spiritually here on the mission so the world won´t be a problem. Thank you guys so much for your support to keep me out here. I am definitely using the time wisely. Please keep me in your prayers and you will be in mine.

Love you lots and Hecka Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Hey thank you guys very much for sending that video and the messages. It is really great to hear how everyone is doing over there in California. Happy Valentines Day to you guys too! Here we don`t really celebrate that holiday but that's alright. I still have those Propel packets you sent me from the Valentines Day package which are really good. Thank you thank you.

So Mom all of your flowers are starting to grow ? That is awesome. There have been a few new flowers popping up here and there over here too. Mom you need to let me know the address of Isreal so I can write him while he is in the MTC. I know how cool it is to get mail in the MTC. Let me know as soon as possible if you can, por favor. There is hardly going to be anyone when I get back now. It seems like everyone is out on their missions. That is a good thing of course. A letter from down south got here but I haven`t got it yet to open it up. All it says is Redlands California so I don`t know if it is only from Grandma and Grandpa or more. The most important thing is that it got here. Dad I liked the video that you sent and it was pretty funny also. It is crazy to see how the younger generation is growing but the rest seem to be about the same, haha. Mom and Dad are you still doing your exercises in the morning?

That hike you did (Mt. Diablo) Dad sounds really fun. I can`t wait to hike it once I get back. I am sure it would be an adventure, haha. Dad, the prophet your talking about (I mentioned that his being able to continually go back to the gated community without being stopped is like the story of one of the prophets from the Book of Mormon who went back to a city he was kicked out of without being harmed.) is Samuel the Lamanite. It is funny how his name is because it is in the same order of words as in Spanish, "Samuel el Lamanita". Ya he had to climb a big wall and then jumped off of it. From that one painting of Samuel the Lamanite you would think that he wouldn`t survive the fall, haha. But ya it is nice going and teaching there because the people understand and we don`t have to worry about anyone coming in and stealing our people because no one else is allowed in, haha. We have found a few families working out there so far.

I am having a great time here with Elder Talla. He just got a letter from home saying that his family already knows Hermana Ochs!. He showed me pictures with Hermana Ochs in them. It was really cool.

We are getting a few families ready for baptism so we will see how it goes. We are fasting and doing everything possible to get our goals met.

In my time working I have grown to love the little fritongas on the side of the road. They are people that fry a bunch of food and then sell it in front of their houses. The fried enchiladas are so good. I buy one everyday now. I also tried Oreo cereal the other day while on divisions with another Elder. He convinced me to try it. It is what it sounds like. Oreos in a bowl of milk and you eat it like cereal. I tell you this to let you know my new diet (except the Oreo cereal because it is expensive) Don`t worry though I haven`t gained any weight, haha.

We also have a mysterious thing happen in our house. Every morning we find some kind of grape looking fruit scattered all over the floor and dry yellow substance that I suspect as eggs. They appear in the middle of the night so we don`t know what is doing it. The place is fairly closed in except for the gaps around the ceiling so it can`t be that big. Any suggestions?

This Sunday I got to give a talk in sacrament meeting about Obedience and it was really good. I line I liked was that "if we freely obey him he will freely bless us." So the limit doesn`t exist on either side because there is no end to his blessings and we are not perfect so we can always be more obedient. On another note I finished reading Jesus the Christ this morning and that is a really, really, really awesome book. It strengthen my faith and testimony a thousand times. I highly recommend it to whoever has not had the blessing yet. WOW!! I am pretty pumped about it.

Well I love you all very very much and I will talk to you next week. Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 12:38 PM

This week was really cool here in Nicaragua. So I will explain now what happened last week. That night when we set a date with Ivan to get baptized, I got a call from the office and they told me that I have emergency changes with another missionary here in the zone. It is Elder Harrison, the one from Yucaipa, that I changed with. He came to my area and I went to his. I am now in Bello Amanecer with Elder Talla , the old comp of Elder Harrison, and Harrison is with Elder Santos now. I got bumped down from District Leader and Elder Harrison is the new one. Elder Talla is from the same area that Rachel is in right now, Tocumen, Panama. He said that she may posibly has gone to a family home evening at his house. Have you met the Familia Talla yet Rachel? He is really cool and we get along great.

Our first week here we already got a family baptism. I guess this guy has been taught by missionaries for a few years now but was never baptized. They told me all about him and said that if I could baptize him I can have a family. So the second day in my new area, we planned to go by so I could meet him. We got there just before he was leaving to go to work. I talked to him and then asked him if he wanted to be baptized. He asked if we had the authority, because he wants it to be as close to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. I pulled out that little card that we have and showed him the signature from the prophet saying I had the authority to to teach and baptized. He then agreed but said he didn`t want to be baptized in a baptismal font but in moving waters. The closest river was 25 miles from here so we decided on the lake nearby called Lake Xiloa. He was fine with that but requested that Elder Harrison had to baptize him so I told him we can do that too. So boom bam boom he was baptized this Saturday at Lake Xiloa by Elder Harrison who also had the authority. He came to church the next day and now the whole family are members.

Another crazy story is that my companion found a really big spider/tarantula in his sandal. We got some good pictures and even caught him in a jar. We put a cricket in with him and he ate it. We are scared to let him go because he can come back for revenge. He is still in his jar.

We are working really hard here and getting some work done. We actually found a rich area that is almost just like the states. I even got the door shut on me and rejected like in the states. That doesn`t usually ever happen. Supposedly they don`t let any one into this residential area. Some of the people we talked with were a little mad because sometimes they don`t even let family in of the people that live there. Elder Harrison tried going in before and they said he couldn`t. I wanted to try it out, so we walked over there. We came up and we walked right passed the security. I don`t know but maybe we are supposed to be there. The people in there were surprised that we got in but they talked to us anyways. We have been going there every day now and haven`t been stopped yet. Once they did and they asked us where we were going. We told them a random number of a house and then he let us by, haha. So ya it has been a really cool week.

I got my Valentines package and thank you lot and lots. I don`t need the backpack in the end but thanks. I got a cool Burton one. Well I need to finish up this email and I love you guys lots and lots.

Big Hearts.

Elder Ochs