Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pictures!!







June 3rd... 8 MONTHS

I complete 8 months today!!! Time goes by so fast! and the miracles don't cease.
This past week, we were contacting and trying to find more families when we see this family walking ahead of us. So we catch up to them and started talking. One of the things we try to do here in Puerto is to invite them to baptism in the initial contact. So when we did that, they said yes. So then we asked if they would like to do it that day. They then said yes again! So we took them to the church, married them, and baptized them. I later learned that my companion was just talking and that he surprised himself when he asked if they wanted to do it that day. So this family was literally a chosen family. We were guided by the spirit to find them and baptize them that day. Another awesome thing is that we found a less active family living in the same house as the family we just baptized! The Lord works in mysterious ways here in Puerto Cabezas.
The second miracle that I came across is actually a funny story. There is this girl in my Branch that left for a month to go visit family and friends in other parts of Nicaragua. When she got back, she brought a guy with her. They wanted to get married. He wasn't a member, but had been to church a lot. He actually helped build a lot of churches in Central America and the temple in Honduras. He lives in Masaya which is a part of the Nicaragua Managua South Mission. So when he got here, we talked to him and he wanted to get baptized! He is probably one of the most prepared people I have ever met. He knew so much and had the greatest desire to follow Jesus Christ. So what did we do? We baptized and married him on May 30th! Now here's where the story gets funny. The goal for the mission in the month of May was to baptize 100 families. At the beginning of the month, we weren't doing very well. In fact, we were doing terribly. So we fought hard and were getting closer and closer to the goal. So then we had 99 families. Then this guy showed up. When, for example, the wife is a member and the husband isn't, it counts as a family to complete. In other words, a family. So we find out that the missionaries in the South Mission put a baptismal date for him for June 8th. I promise you, if they asked him if he wanted to do it that day, he would have said yes, so that was a pretty dumb move on their part. And we also found out that the South Mission missionaries like to talk a lot of crap about us North Mission missionaries. Probably because they're jealous they aren't in the better mission. :)  Anyways, long story short: Thanks to the South Mission, we got our goal of 100 families for the month of May! And even better than that: It was my baptism that counted for number 100!!
Miracles exist! Every conversion is a miracle and God is a God of miracles. This is so much fun!!!!! I love it!!!! And I love all of you! Have a great week everyone and keep making miracles happen!
Elder Vogel

May 20th



Things aren't going so hot here in Puerto Cabezas. We are supposed to baptize more than any other zone in the mission. We only have 7 families baptized for this month. And that is not good.....not good at all.....The good news is that 2 of those are my familes, so that's good. hahaha But seriously....President threatened that he would take every single missionary in Puerto out and only put 3 companionships before he leaves if things don't pick up. Nobody has any idea what is going on. We've tried so many different things and none of them seem to work. So right now, everyone here is Puerto is kinda freaking out because at any minute, they can call us and tell us who is leaving. And nobody wants to leave Puerto. The people here are amazing.
The awesome news is like I said before, 2 of the 7 are families I baptized. The one we had this week was a contact by my companion when we were reminding people about church last Sunday. The guy actually contacted him! He told my companion that he wanted to get married and baptized. So what happens when someone has a desire?? You do it! So this week, we brought him and his wife to the church, gave them an interview, and got them married and baptized! The coolest thing happened in the font right after I baptized him and he was waiting for his wife to come in. He looked at me and thanked me. Never in my life have I ever seen anyone thank a missionary for baptizing them. This really struck me hard. It completely caught me by surprise. All I hope for in my mission now is for someone to thank me for baptizing them.

This place is awesome! I would love to stay in Puerto for the rest of my mission. Like I said before: you will never see a people more ready for the Gospel than these Miskitos. They have almost nothing, yet they have everything they need. 
Be thankful for everything you have. Be grateful that you don't have to wake up in the morning and worry about what you are going to do to get food for your family to be able to eat that day. 
Amo los Miskitos. Amo Nicaragua. Amo cada uno de ustedes. ¡Mantengan la fe! Con fe, todo es posible.

Stay awesome!
Elder Vogel

From May 13th (running only ONE month behind now!)

This week was kinda cool. On tuesday, everyone in the zone switched companionships for the day. So I was with Elder Byers, who was my companion for only one day when I first got to Puerto. We practiced a thing called Inspired Questions. It's really difficult to explain so I'll just say that it's awesome and it really works.

Then Sunday happened. Our attendance last week was a record breaking 220 people. this week.......78. We have no idea what happened, but it was just really frustrating. And then all of our possibilities for baptism didn't come to church so we didn't have any baptisms. Then, out of nowhere, they told me i had to teach a class.....actually.......2. i was so unprepared to do that. meanwhile, my comp was outside doing nothing. I don't know. it was just frustrating.

But i got to call home!! that was awesome! I'm so glad to talk to people! hahaha It's good to hear good things!!

this is the work. this is awesome! there are many things that happen here, good and bad. but there's more good than bad!! it's the bomb.com!!!

love you guys!!

elder vogel

Update from May 6th



Just a little update. I'm still in Puerto Cabezas. Still in Lamlaya. Same companion Elder Palma. And we're throwing fire!!! I've been working on this family ever since I've been here in Puerto. They are one of those families that I'm happier more than ever to see baptized! It really was a cool experience. On Saturday, it was the dad's birthday. Sunday was his daughter's birthday. So they got married, baptized, and celebrated 2 birthdays on Sunday! How sweet!! And today, we're going to their house to celebrate more!! Another thing that made me really happy was that one of our recent converts of about 3 weeks passed the sacrament and payed his tithing!! It's just so great to see how much love these people have and how humble they are! And actually, the wife in the family that got baptized on Sunday got a calling before she even got baptized to be a teacher! Wow! 


Other random stuff:

I had cow tongue the other day....it wasn't that bad. haha
Having the time of my life in the best mission in the world!!!

Love you all!!

Elder Vogel

Update from April 29TH...



Hello everyone!

The events of the week.

We had 3 families ready to be baptized this weekend.....all of them fell thru

We moved houses today.......
I am still working hard.





Changes meeting is this Wednesday. I´m not leaving Puerto, but I really hope that I stay in this area. A lot of the times, they change people around in the zone.









I don't know. I just really don't have that much to say this week.
I did almost see a guy die from a machete........but that's about it. haha



I hope everyone is doing well. Love you all!!


Elder Vogel

Finally... an update from APRIL!!! April 22 to be exact...

So the first half of the week was kinda boring. You know. Just
chilling. Doing normal stuff. Contacting. Teaching. Normal missionary
stuff. Then Friday rolled around. We contacted a family that told us
that they wante to get married and baptized. For those of you who
don't know, the people are very poor so they don't have enough money
to pay for a marriage so they just live together and fornicate and all
that jazz. So as missionaries, our main goal is familes, so in
contacts, we ask if they're married and stuff and if they're not, we
inform them of the sin of fornication and how they can leave this sin
and be clean through marriage and baptism. And many times, they
accept. So this family accepted this invitation. Now I know what
you're thinking. These people will just get married and baptized and
never come to church again. And yes, sometimes it happens, but only if
you're doing it just to have a baptism for the month. If you're really
looking for these people that need your help, they will continue to go
to church and want to learn more. Our President says that if they really
 have the desire and you're not just forcing them to do it, teach them about 
baptism and confirmation and then do it. So that's what we did. 
When I went to their house on Sunday to see if they were really going to do it,
 they were all ready....2 hours before they needed to be. That to me is
miracle!! Usually, you have to remind them that morning and have them
get dressed, but they did it by themselves. So we took them to church.
And also 2 more families!! And after church, we gave them their
interviews, baptized, and confirmed them! It was quite the thrill. And
a miracle. This Sunday, we brought 25 investigators to church and out
attendance was higher than I've ever seen in any other ward I've been
in. 

This is Lamlaya. This is Puerto Cabezas. This is Nicaragua. This is
MisiĆ³n Nicaragua Managua Norte. This is God's work. These are
miracles! Like the scriptures say, God does not cease to be a God of
miracles. And like the prophets say, every conversion is a miracle.
This is where every young man needs to be. It's amazing. And a whole
ton of fun! Hahaha

Stay classy outside world! I love you guys!!

Elder Vogel

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


This week was just like any normal week. except Saturday. Saturday was supposed to be the best day of the mission, but it turned out to be one of the worst.
I have been teaching a family since I've got here to Puerto. They really are amazing. The guy wants to learn English and he knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet and everything! His wife is just as cool too. So we talked about baptism a lot and they just said they needed more time because they had these doubts that we could never really figure out what they were. So on Thursday, we went to talk to them after we put a date for this Saturday. Now this Saturday, we planned on baptizing in the ocean as a whole zone! It was gonna be super special because we don't get to do that very often. We need to have permission for it. So on Friday, when we went to talk to them again, and they backed out, claiming they didn't know enough. (even though we taught them everything we could have). So we called the ZL's and they came and talked to them and they were all good for Saturday after that.
So on Saturday, we went to their house and got them all ready to go. We were about to go to church in taxi, paid for the taxi to take them to the church and we went in another one.  When we got to the church, they weren't there. We waited for about 30 minutes and they never showed up. We checked at their house. They weren't there. So I waited at the church and my companion waited at their house. 2 hours later, they never show up. And their phone was off. Turns out, their baby was sick and they took him to a clinic. So they said they would do it on Sunday. This just frustrates me cuz they never called to tell us  and it makes it so I can't really trust people that much.
We then left to go talk to the other family about and the guy was very rude to us because we were late. It made me extremely angry. But instead of yelling at him, I took my stuff and left the house and waited for my comp. So yeah. Saturday was just a very sad day for me.
Sunday really wasn't that much better either. Our family never came to church to get baptized. So yeah. It was a disappointing weekend.
But today was really fun. We went on a picture scavenger hunt. One of the pictures was to find a shark. And here, sometimes it's quite difficult to do that. But we did it! Then we bought the shark. haha And now the Sister that cooks for us is gonna cook it!! I've heard that shark is actually quite delicious. So I guess we'll find out.
And now my mom complained that I don't put enough spiritual experiences in my emails. (even though spiritual experiences on the mission are a given) But i'll try.
I guess I've learned that Satan really works super hard on this people. Since they are so humble, Satan just has a ball. Every time we have an activity, it rains and knocks out the light and the satellite signal...so as missionaries, we try our hardest to try to get the people to understand the difference between things of Satan and of God. A lot of the people don't understand the difference and that makes us really sad. But when they do understand, they are so ready to follow Jesus Christ and keep the commandments. It's quite amazing really.
Well. I hope your week goes well.
Love you guys!!
Elder Vogel

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Puerto Cabezas...



...it is very beautiful here...






... we pretty much walk everywhere we go...


...but...



All that walking takes a toll...

... a toll on the feet and the footwear...





...but...


...then there are the joys and blessings....




...the joy when entire families get baptized 
and receive countless blessings !!!

GO THE EXTRA MILE!!
it's worth it


April 1st - This week was one of the best so far!

Let's just say that this week was one of the best so far!


We had this sweet activity on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for the youth. It was like a mini youth conference. We call it pre-SOY. SOY stands for Strength of Youth and it's the program here in Central America very similar to what in the USA we call EFY (Especially For Youth). 
It's also quite cool because 'soy' means 'I am' in Spanish. So it's like saying:
 'I am Nicaragua' for 'SOY Nicaragua'. 

 On Saturday, we had a talent show. Most of us missionaries took part in that. It was super funny and we have some great videos.

But that wasn't even the best part! I baptized my first family this weekend!! We contacted them on Wednesday and after we explained baptism, we asked if they would like to be baptized . Without hesitation, the husband asked when they could do it!  My companion (Elder Palma) and I were kind of taken by surprise at this statement. It completely caught us off-guard. So we said Sunday after church and they agreed!! So we went back and taught them everything the next couple of days and after church yesterday, we married and baptized them!! It was really cool. The water for the baptismal font here is green. hahahaha And at times it was difficult because they don't speak very much Spanish, so we had to get a translator for Miskito. But it was really awesome! I also confirmed them members of the church. And I also conferred another guy the priesthood. Pretty Awesome!!!

I love it here in Puerto Cabezas. The people here are soooo ready. General Authorities have said that if the missionaries have enough faith, every single person in Puerto can be a member of the church. 
A lot of the people here have almost nothing. They are so humble and because of that they are closer to Christ and just ready to be part of his kingdom.

So yeah that's my week. The zone of Puerto Cabezas has baptized 20 families this month of March. And last time I checked, the mission was at 75 for this month. 

Take it easy everyone. This work is moving forward. Stay strong! Be awesome!

Love,
Elder Vogel

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Craziest week so far!

Craziest week so far.

So during this week, some craaaaaazy stuff happened. Me and my companion Elder Patterson were just chillin. Doing what we need to do. On Tuesday at our zone meeting, we just got finished and I was just laying down while everyone else was playing a game when my Zone leader told me that I had to go to the office at that very second. When I got there, I talked to President in his office for a minute then he took me over to his board of all our faces and the areas and zones. Then he told me that he's sending me to Puerto Cabezas. 
Now I'll explain why this is crazy.
 Puerto Cabezas is on the Altantic coast. That means that I had to take a plane to get here. Puerto looks nothing like the rest of Nicaragua. If I didn't know I was in Nicaragua, I would have thought that I was in Africa. It's just completely different than any other place. And most of the people here speak Miskito. It's an African dialect only spoken in places in Honduras and Puerto. So now I have to learn that as well as Spanish. Ok. back to the story. So I'm kinda freaking out because Puerto is one of those places that every missionary would love to go to or they fear it. But once someone goes there, they never want to leave. Puerto baptizes more people in a month than most missions baptize in years!
So yeah. I was freaking out because I didn't know what to think about me going to Puerto. I knew I was gonna go eventually, but I didn't know it would be this soon. I was told I could be leaving the very next morning or on Thursday morning. So I had to pack. When we got back to the house i packed up all my stuff, but didn't leave that night.  I went 2 days anticipating leaving at almost any minute. On  Wednesday night I get the call to go to the AP's house at 9:30. We found it...at 10:15. Were they there? Of course not! We had to wait with all my bags just sitting outside. An hour later, they finally get there. We went in and everyone got ready and went to bed except me and Elder Estrada, who I replaced in Puerto. He was packing to go home because he was finishing his mission and I was trying to get my bag down to only 30 pounds to meet airline requirements. Stayed up until 1:15 doing that. The next morning, I put all my stuff on the truck and we first went to drop off Elder Patterson and some others at one of the churches for a multi-zone meeting. Me and 2 others from the office went to the airport. They gave me my ticket and my stuff and left me at the airport alone because they had to go to President's house. So I go into the airport and got my bags weighed....34 pounds....scale in the AP's house was wrong! It weighed  29 pounds at their house. Then, no one ever told me that I only could have 20 pounds in my seat with me. There was a total of 44 pounds I had to check. And I couldn't leave anything cuz the guys from the office already left.... I had to pay $20 extra for baggage. Which is a lot of money here. Then I sat in the airport for 3 hours waiting for my plane. Once on it was smooth sailing to Puerto Cabezas.

But is that all?? Negras. It's not. I get to Puerto and the lady takes my passport. My visa was 4 days expired....yippee...
We took my stuff to the house and we went to go eat. My new companion was Elder Byers. After lunch, we went to the police station with the ZoneLeaders. After everything, we had to pay the equivalent of almost $30 or me to stay in Nicaragua without being arrested right there. Again, that's a lot of money here. The reason for this is that I don't have my "cedular" yet. It's like a residency card for Nicaragua. After 90 days in the country, we need to have that card to be legal. So right now, I'm on a 30 day extension of my visa.

And again, was that all?? Again, I say negras.  I unpacked everything, but the next morning we get a call from the Zone Leader saying that I had changes.....I had a companion for literally less than 24 hours, and most of that was sleeping. So I had to pack up all my stuff again and move to a different house. There, I got my new companion Elder Dennison. I now live in a house with 7 other Elders. Let's just say that it's really funny. Anyways, my area is massive. It's a good 3-5 square miles. It's huge! And we don't have bikes right now, so it's all on foot. And I'm wearing fairly new shoes and I got some pretty big blisters now.....Joy....

But it's way cool. We eat lunch at a restaurant everyday. And this place is known for having some awesome seafood! And if you know me, you know how much I love seafood. The water here is not safe at all. Like. the water in the baptismal font is green....literally green. So yeah. There's that. But the coconut water here is reaaaaaaally good. And there's a toooon of coconut trees.
Another thing is pretty funny too. All the people here are a lot darker than most latinos because they're African descendants or something like that, so a lot of people think that I'm from Puerto. And some people think I'm Miskito. That's what you call the people that speak the language. Let's just say that when I heard my first dose of full-on Miskito, It was like starting my mission all over when I couldn't understand anything!!! But I've heard that it's a lot easier to learn than it sounds. And there are words in English and Spanish in it because it's more of a reformed Miskito, so that'll hopefully make it easier.

So today for my first P-day (day off)  here, we went to this random river about 2 miles away and did absolutely nothing. Then when we were trying to come back, someone thought it would be a great idea to go through the forest to get back faster...Yeah....Didn't work out so well. It was like our backyard there at home. Creek, mud, mosquitos, more mud....yeah. It was fun though.

Now for something a little more serious.

In my patriarchal blessing, it says, 
"You shall be called on a mission to serve in your native land; that is, the native land of your ancestors and shall speak the tongue of this people." I don't know about you, but when I got called to Nicaragua, I was really confused. If my mom is straight German, and my father is straight African, why the heck am I going to Nicaragua speaking Spanish?? But I got to thinking about it a couple of days before I came to Puerto. 
Miskito is an African language......what if I'm part Miskito??? 
And later on in my blessing, it says, 
"Many, exceedingly many will hearken to your voice and the word of God will spread in the fires of excitement." Remember when i said that Puerto baptizes more people in one month than other MISSIONS baptize in YEARS! Talk about awesome! 

This church really is the kingdom of God on Earth. Stay strong. Keep me in your prayers. I'll need them. Love you guys bunches!!

My 'second' companion in Puerto Cabezas - Elder Dennison!



Sunday, January 13, 2013

A "normal missionary" week


market in chinandega
check out this huge fish i watched this guy catch. he literally had a hook, bait, and a bunch of line. to put the size of the fish into perspective, the guy was as tall as me!

fresh coconut milk
Elder Vogel had a good, normal week full of the typical missionary things. Tracting, eating fresh caught fish... you know... the usual!

We've been asked not to copy/paste his emails here so Cindy's going to take over I think (Mama Vogel) and give you updates as they come!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Volcano Ash!





Week 4

Sorry for not writing yesterday. My companion had to get his Nicaragua ID in Managua. So yeah. We had to wake up at 4:30 to get on a bus to Managua. Then we spent all day in Managua and didn't have a chance to write. So here I am! Hahaha

This week was kinda normal. We found 2 new families to teach. One of them went to church and we're working on the other one. Our first family is still going to chuch, which is awesome!! And we're working really hard to get one more family to go. So right now, we have about 3 families that we're teaching.

Of course I'm having tons of fun. I've eaten a guayaba straight off of a tree. And also a coconut. And a star fruit! Still waiting for my first mango though.

I love this work. These people are super difficult to teach because everyone here is either Catholic, Evangelical, or Jehovah's Witness. They all think that the Bible is the one and only and there's no way we can convince them that there is other scripture. But, I'm getting pretty decent wth the Bible.Hahaha

For New Year's here, the make an old man out of old clothes and fireworks. Then they throw him in the street and light him on fire! So that's what we did. Except we were on the beach. It was really cool. And if you think the people in the US are crazy about their fireworks......It looked and sounded like World War 3 was happening. La gente aqui es loco! But They're all really nice and almost everyone will talk to us about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his teachings. 

I hope everyone has a Happy Happy New Year!

Elder Vogel

P.S. I forgot to mention that the volcano I live near blew ash for about 3 days. It didn't get to Corinto, but Chinandega is COVERED in ash.