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,
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|