Sunday, December 30, 2012

Week 3 (Day before Christmas)

Hola everyone!! There´s really not much to write this week. Just a normal week in Nicaragua. Of course I had some Christmas activities. We made cookies and went caroling and today we are exchanging gifts as a zone and a couple of us will be singing somewhere tonight. I don´t know all the details, but I will try to have pictures.

I get to call tomorrow!!! I can´t wait to hear from everyone!!

That´s pretty much all I have this week. I´ll talk tomorrow!!

Elder Vogel

Week 2 in Nicaragua!

Where do I start??......Oh yeah, I had my first baptisms on Friday and Saturday!! It's a family that the Sisters before us taught, but they got transferred before they could do anything. So it kinda counts, but at the same time.........Oh well. I'm just excited!! I performed my first baptism ever! Of course it was in Spanish as well. But the spirit when I was in the font with that family was amazing. It makes me wanna go and find more people!!! 

We're teaching this other guy named Julio as well. He told us that when he was younger, he wanted to know which was the true church. Golden! We brought him to church and he liked it a lot! So we need to teach him a couple of more lessons and he'll be baptized soon! We're also teaching another guy named David. We're trying to teach his wife and daughter as well, but they're never there when we go. But we're trying! And we're also teaching a family that the Sisters before us contacted, but never came back.....Don't know why, cuz they have a baptism date for the 29th. So yeah! Hopefully, we can get at least 2 more families in the water before the year is out! 

The work here is moving forward! and I'm so grateful to be apart of it. Like Graham said earlier, it's so much hard work, but so much fun! Like today, we played soccer on the beach and I found a bunch of cool seashells. 

The language is slowly coming. It'll take a while, but i'll get it through the Lord's help. I love everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season!

You stay classy outside world,

Elder Vogel

Friday, December 14, 2012

Live from Nicaragua....

Hola Everyone, 

I'm finally in Nicaragua!!! This place is insane! There's so much going on at the same time. Of course I can't understand anything anyone is saying, but I'm getting better. But anyways, the people just seem not to care about anything! For everyone reading that thinks the drivers in Utah are bad.........They're professionals compared to these people. The honk at EVERYTHING! If you don't go as soon as the light turns green, they honk. If they're passing you, they honk. Oh, and they pass whenever they want to. They'll see an opening and take it. They never follow the speed limit. They go pretty much as fast as they can. There are no crosswalks. You just cross the street whenever you want. People are everywhere. No matter where you go, there's people walking or sitting outside. Everything is really cheap too. They have their money in Córdobas. 1 dollar is about 24 Córdobas. You can get a ride on a bus for 2.5 Córdobas, a ride in these tricycle things for 10, and a ride in a bus for about 13. But, we don't recieve very much money, so it gets kinda expensive. And everyone rides bikes everywhere!

The people here are extremely poor. I haven't taken pictures of some of the neighborhoods yet, but a lot of people live in houses made of sheet metal and wood. Some of these houses down here are actually pretty nice. I honestly wouldn't mind living in some of them. What confuses me is that most of the people here have satellite TV. Even the sheet metal houses. An a lot of people also have plasma TV's. I don't know. It's confusing. And most of the food and drinks we get come from shops people set up in their homes. We just walk up to their house and buy what we want. There are some clothing stores like that too.

The food here is surprisingly good! I've only had gallo pinto once. Gallo pinto is literally rice and beans. I've had a lot of rice and a lot beans, but not gallo pinto. I've had a lot of chicken and fried platano. Platano is kind of like a banana. And the drinks here are AMAZING!! The 7up is soooo good! As well as Fresca. And I've had Chia juice and Piña con arroz. Which is Pineapple and rice juice. It's surprisingly good. I've had mango juice and the orange juice here is great also.

We never make out own food. We have something called a food cita, or food appointment. It's a member that we pay twice a month to cook food for us.

Everyone in the mission is way cool though! I'm in Corinto! It's about 15-20 minutes outside of Chinandega. It's on the Pacific Ocean! I can walk 5 minutes from my house and get to the ocean. It's awesome!! My companion's name is Elder Barrantes. He's a native from Costa Rica. He's way cool. I got lucky too. He speaks perfect Englsh. Hahaha. And he's only been here for 3 months. He just finished his traning and now he's training me. But yeah, more about my area. It's on the beach like I already said. It's really long. Like, probably about 5 or 6 miles. And we don't have bikes. So we walk everywhere. And we know no one. They took 2 sisters out and put us in. So we have to figure everything out. We don't know where any of the members, less actives, or non actives live. It's kinda frustrating cuz the Zone Leaders are getting mad cuz we're not doing anything, but we're trying really hard. 

My very first P-day here was yesterday. It also happened to be the mission Christmas party thingy. We went to Managua (Which is about a 2.5-3 hour drive from Chinandega) and played a bunch of sports in this sport complex. I kinda learned how to play rugby....kinda. Then we went to the chapel and had this very nice catered dinner and got presents from President Arrendondo and his family. (Who are awesome by the way.) And had a nice devotional from them.

I've literally only taught one lesson since I've been here so far. And I just sat there the entire time. Except when I recited the First Vision cuz I had it memorized and I bore my testimony at the end. But I felt the Spirit, so that's all that matters. And I understood basically what was going on.

One thing I really don't like is that everyone focuses on numbers too much. We are one of the highest baptizing missions in the world, but I feel it's because everyone just wants to have those numbers. A family only has to go to church once to be considered progressing and can be baptized that day too. I don't know. It's really weird. 

But yeah! Everything is going great! I'm pretty sure I've lost most of my MTC weight already because all we do is walk in the blazing sun all day. Oh, I forgot to mention that my area is the hottest area in the mission. It's probably a good 80 degrees right now. Probably more.  Fuuuuuuunnnn.....And I really only eat lunch everyday and snack randomly.

Yep! The work is moving foward! I can't understand anything right now, but it's coming little by little. One thing one of my teachers said in the MTC is that God speaks Spanish, so i don't have to worry about a thing. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing and I'll be ok.

I love you guys! And I miss you as well! Have fun in the cold! :)

You stay classy everyone,

Elder Vogel

P.S. I AM allowed to email anyone I want that's NOT  in Nicaragua. 

P.S.S. I don't really have an address, so everything goes to the mission office in Managua and it stays there until we have a mission conference or transfers, so i won't get letters from anyone until January. Same with packages. They WILL get here, but I will only get them every month and a half. And that's AFTER they take about a month to get here. But just in case, my address is:

          Elder Alexander Vogel
          Nicaragua Managua North Mission
          Edificio Discover, 2do piso
          Frente Al Club Terraza, Villa Fontana
  Managua, Managua NICARAGUA  

Me and Elder Barrantes
Pictures from back in Provo....

After they go to the temple they sit on this wall. Every time. 
Look closely, you can see their "ghosts" 
Christmas lights at the MTC

Monday, November 26, 2012

Get ready Nicaragua!

I've got 10 more days left in he MTC!!! This week has been pretty exciting. On Tuesday, Elder Paul B. Peiper came and talked to us. Don't know if you remember, but he talked to us at stake conference a couple of years ago. So that was pretty cool. On Wednesday, we got our travel plans!!! It's finally getting real! I'm going to Nicaragua!! So excited. But what made this week even better was Thanksgiving. In the morning we had a devotional by Elder Holland!! It was so good!! His wife and some of his grandchildren talked as well. Pretty legit. And in the afternoon, we made care packages for kids in Mali. That was a lot of fun. October 3rd was the greatest time to come to the MTC in my opinion. We had General Conference and the huge announcement, Elder Bednar on the next Tuesday, and Thanksgiving and Elder Holland! It's so cool!!

Yeah. The food here is alright, but I don't have the opportunity to get enough exercise to work it all yeah....I've gained a couple of pounds. And it doesn't help either that on Wednesday, I sprained or rolled my ankle playing volleyball in gym time. So yeah. I'm not gonna be able to do anything for the next couple of days. But yep. That's my week! Hope everything is going awesomely! Love and miss you guys!

Elder Vogel

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pics from Elder Vogel

"I made a Snorelax out of sticky tape"
He must be bored people, better write him!!
Planking. At the MTC. Some things never change...
"Elder Boegarts is from Belgium. He knows Dutch, French, English, and a little bit of German. He's going to France speaking Spanish. Hahaha"
"My district at Halloween."
"Our Narnia hole. exactly how we found it. underneath the chips is the 40 something cans of soda"
"the obedience sprite is something that elder cooper and i are starting. it's just a can of sprite, but it's going to stay in the room or zone unopened for as long as possible. elders will write their names, where they're going, and the date on the can."
"Me and Connor Moody! On his way to Peru!"
"before the temple. me and elder patterson don't have umbrellas. haha"
"some of my district at the temple today while it was snowing"


¿Comó estan? Estoy excelente! Esta semana, tenemos Elder Zwick del Setenta nos hablado. Fue super chivre. Ojalá, obteneremos Elder Holland durante Thanksgiving. Pero, cosas esta irando a la bien aquí. Lo siento para me Spanglish. It´s no como está irando a la entender it anyways. :) Pero, there is something I have to say in English. Probably the coolest thing that happened this week. In the MTC, we have these things called Narnia holes. These are places that missionaries will hide candy, toys, or whatever they want in there for the next missionaries that are in their room. Well, we didn´t know about this one Narnia hole that we had in our closet. So when we finally checked, we found over 40 cans of soda, a bag of tortilla chips, and a bunch of candy with a note attached to a box of Ritz! The missionary before us put that there for us to have and to make it bigger and better for when we leave. I will enclose a picture with this email. But yeah, that was awesome! Own progressing investigators that we are teaching are going really well too. I don´t remember if I said, but we are teaching our teachers who are acting as investigators. We now have a baptismal date for one of them, so that´s going great. Although, I am starting to get a little tired of this place. It´s fun, but very physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Got only a couple of weeks left and I´ll be in the jungle. I´´m gonna miss the snow. It´´s actually snowing right now. The second time since we´ve been here. Well, that´s about it for this week! ¡Hasta proximo semana!

Con amor,
Elder Vogel
This week was pretty good. Not too much happened. Just the normal learning Spanish and learning how to teach. i can see my Spanish is getting better every single day though. I have a long way to go, but it's a loooooot better than it was a month ago. I think the most fin we have with the language is figuring out how to say a bunch of random phrases like: "Pues, Pues, Pues. Que tenemos aqui?" Which means: "Well, Well, Well. What do we have here?" It's a lot of fun translating different things into Spanish. So I heard the Disney bought Lucas Arts and they're making three new Star Wars movies. This can't be true... And I also heard that BYU stomped Georgia Tech! That's pretty crazy! Oh, so me and my companion have had our own room for a while since our last roommates left for the Guatemala MTC. Yesterday, we received an announcement that in this coming week, we're going to have two new roommates. I really liked having only the two of us in there. We both had two closets, double the drawers, and double the room. I just hope they're just as cool as our last roommates.
Slowly, but surely, all of my BYU fiends are leaving here to go out into the field. I have one more friend that I know of coming in next week, but that's it. It's pretty crazy watching everyone leave and going around the world. I just can't wait to get out of this place. It's becoming way too repetitive.
I also heard about the hurricane out that way. Hope everything is ok in Georgia. I heard it was pretty ridiculous.
And the General Authority that spoke to us this week was Don R. Clarke. It was a great talk. I just can't wait until Thanksgiving! There is talk that Jeffrey R. Holland might come! He hasn't been here since February, so he's due for another visit sometime soon. That will be the highlight of my MTC stay.

Well, until next week.

Elder Vogel

So i kinda had a quiet week. the only real thing that happened is that Shayne M. Bowen of the Seventy talked to us for devotional. Don't know if you remember, but he talked to us at conference. But yeah, I'm still having a lot of fun. Two of my roommates are leaving next week with all of the Hermanas (Sisters) in my district to go to the Guatemala MTC....lucky. I forgot to say that we have a guy from belgium in our district. It's weird cuz he already knows dutch, french, and english and he's learning spanish. What's even weirder is that he's going to France. But he's probably the funniest guy here.
I'm learning more and more every day that I'm here. We got to teach some local members who volunteered their time to be taught. Of course we had to do it in Spanish. They are amazed at how much we already know for just being here for 2 weeks. It really goes to show that we really do have the gift of tongues. We are also teaching two "investigators." Our teachers are acting as an investigator and we get to teach them. In Spanish. It's so great seeing all the new missionaries come every week. Especially when you know a couple of them. Express my love to everyone!

Elder Vogel

Friday, October 19, 2012

The FIRST letter!


This is the first time I'm getting to email or really even write letters. We've just been extremely busy all the time. Everything here is great! My companion, Elder Cooper, is awesome. My district is awesome. My zone is awesome. This whole place is just so great! The food is really good, but it screws with my stomach. Today is my first P-day since I've been here, so it's the first time I've gotten to do laundry. With General Conference being this past weekend, it messed up our schedule so we couldn't do certain things. But Conference was awesome! I can't wait to see all the new missionaries that can go a year or even two years earlier!! Since it's so much closer for them now, they need to decide RIGHT NOW whether they are going.  This entire experience is just so great and I want them to feel the same way I do. The language is coming a lot better than I had expected. I can mostly understand what my teachers are saying and can somewhat come up with an intelligent answer. Hahaha We are the guinea pigs of the MTC. Before, everyone learning a new language had to teach a mock investigator in that language. We got to teach in English. Mainly to focus on what we were teaching and how we could better teach the investigator rather than focusing on the language.We also had the awesome opportunity on Tuesday to have Elder Bednar come and speak to us for our devotional! It was a really special experience for everyone. It's not often that a member of the twelve or first presidency come to talk to the missionaries. I see Graham every once in a while. I'm sure you've heard that he's doing really well. I've also seen Dillon and a buuuuuunch of the guys from my BYU ward. It's so awesome coming here and seeing all my friends and being able to make new ones. Hope everything is going well back in good ole Augusta, Georgia!!

Much love,

Elder Vogel

my roomates! the dark haired one is elder cooper, my companion
the native american is Elder sam
the blonde is elder gibson.
they are both going to el salvador
P.S. Remind everyone that they can send me letters FOR FREE on

Elder Alexander Vogel
Provo MTC Box #248
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A letter from the mama.

I will never forget the proud feeling I had when Sascha announced the fact that he was even going to go on a mission many m-a-n-y many months ago. Much has happened since then. 

I was very surprised about the call to Nicaragua and the spanish speaking part. And thrilled. Especially for him. I know he will do great things while serving the people there and teaching the Gospel by example. 

These past few months have been an emotional roller coaster ride for me. Good thing I love coasters! I am soo glad the shopping is almost done, and hopefully he will have everything he needs before leaving the MTC. Even though I detest shopping, I have really enjoyed that time with Sascha and Graham Lowry and his mom. Also am thrilled to have gotten to spend some time with just Sascha and his brother and I will really miss listening to the two play rockband or have a conversation even if it is about a video game. 

Looking at my Missionary last night, it took me back a ways... to when he went for his first day at Pre-K. He was so small and I wanted to hold him, keep him, protect him, so the mean kids couldn't hurt him. Keep him safe by my side. And Sascha just barreled in there and took everyones hearts by storm. I know he will do the same in Nicaragua with the people there! Sascha has charisma - that is his special gift. It makes him a natural leader, and hopefully he will use that gift wisely. He is a joy to be around and he always has a song in his heart. Love that about him! And I guess sometimes his heart is so full of music it flows out his mouth. Hehehe. He even has me thinking in lyrics 

Sascha/Elder Vogel just left this morning and I love you so much it is beyond even my comprehension. I am sooooo proud of you. You are an amazing young man and I am so proud to be your mom. 
So here, in your honor is a mildly modified Disney lyric... fitted for the occasion... and yes.. I know it needs work but hey - it's my first time! 

Let's get down to business 
To teach Nicaraguans. 
Did they send me daughters 
When I asked for sons? 
You're the saddest bunch I've ever met, 
But you can bet before they're through, 
Elder they'll make a man out of you. 

Tranquil as a forest, 
But be on fire within. 
Once you make Christ your center, 
You are sure to win. 
You're a stumbling, lost and wretched lot 
And you haven't got a clue. 
Somehow He'll make an Elder out of you. 

Really, you are an Elder already! You are the gospel storm about to take Nicaragua 
Never forget...we love you bunches and - of course - pray for you 

Love, Mom

Final preparations before departure!

Before leaving for the experience of a lifetime, Elder Vogel packed in as many memories as possible. 
 Including none other than a Kayaking trip with the Mama and the Brother bear. 
 Families are forever.
 Then he got dressed up like a real missionary and was set apart on Tuesday, October 2nd by a brand new (week old) Stake President, President Squires. Joining with him in the priesthood circle were Mark Lowry, Ray Criswell, President Squires and Jared Anderson.
Siblings. Pretty much.
 Family. Pretty much.
 The Augusta Stake's newest missionary, and 2nd missionary set apart by Pres. Squires, Elder Vogel. 
Then it was time to make sure everything fit in the suitcase, which it did, even his 60 something ties! Quite an impressive collection, thank you to all those who contributed to the cause!
And come early morning, it was time to be leaving on a jet plane... 
And hit the MTC. Hit it so hard, it won't know what hit him. We're so proud and can't wait to hear of all his adventures. Return with honor, Elder Vogel! 
{Wait, how did these make it into the suitcase... hehe... what a mama}

Monday, October 1, 2012

Preparations being made...

Don't judge. Getting ready for a mission is enough to make a guy sleepy, ok? 

Friday, September 28, 2012

The map.

{The light gray area is his mission! Not the dark gray. That's the ocean.}