Monday, December 29, 2014

One of the Coolest Moments of My Life

Alright so this week was pretty slow if I am being honest!  It felt like nobody was home and that all of the appointments that we had fell through!  We had to drop our only investigator because she was just too flakey!  She wasn´t coming to church and just wasn't keeping up with the commitments that we left her!  So this next week we are going to spend trying to find some people, preferably a family, that we can get going to church and listening to us!  Who knows why but for whatever reason nobody wanted us this week!! 

So I don't have any cool stories as far as that goes!  However I do have some pretty funny stories that I hope you will understand! 

Story number 1  We were out Christmas caroling to members on December 23rd and it was a great time and so then we decided to just knock on peoples doors.  Pre note: everyone says quien(who) when you knock on the door.  So we knock on this door and the person yells from inside quien? So we responded with Mariachi!  Then they told us no we didn't order a mariachi and we yelled it is free and then we started singing to them!  Well they didn't open the door until we were about to leave but they wanted us to come sing again and then they tried to pay us after we sang to them!  It was so funny!

Story number 2 So one way we get around is by buses called combies.  So occasionally people will get on and try and sell things and rap and all sorts of things.  Well on the 23rd of December we were going out Christmas caroling to people and so we were having fun knocking on doors of random people and singing our songs but we decided we needed to take it up a notch so we asked the combie driver if we could get on and sing a song and of course he said yes and so we sang Feliz Navidad to everyone and passed out the El Es La Dadiva (He is the gift) cards and everyone was just laughing at us and we just had so much fun!!  This was honestly one of the funnest days of my mission!! 

We also got Javier and Gerardo some gifts for Christmas and when they opened it they didn't know what to do!!  Javier told us he just wanted to cry!!  It was nothimg much just a tie and some bicycle cards but they loved it and it was so cool to see their faces light up when we gave it to them!  It was one of the coolest moments of my life to see something like that!!  

This is one of the more popular songs right now here in Mexico we hear it all the time! y fue asi por Julion Alvarez

The word of the week is bien.  It means like good but here in Mexico City it also can be used to express an extra amount.  Esta camisa esta bien chida! This shirt is REALLY cool! 

I hope you guys are all having a great time and that you will have a great week this week!!

Elder Orchard

My birthday shoes

My birthday sweater

The Honduras flag.  One of the Elders in our zone is from there so I took a picture and sent it to Eli (a friend from Cottonwood Baseball who is serving there)

Our Christmas Countdown!

Christmas morning eating waffles and I don't know.  I was just wearing this.

One of the Elders teaching me how to Salsa dance at a wedding

At lunch today they asked for a name so I gave them the name Jim since I knew they wouldn't be able to spell Douglas and they messed that up too!  My fault!  I should have said Luis or something more simple!

Monday, December 22, 2014

How Lucky We All Are Living in the States

This week has gone by pretty fast!!  To start off we dropped Jose Luis.  He never came to any of the appointments that we had and all he really wanted was money!  He knows where the chapel is and if he wants something he knows where to find us!

Christmas is definitely different here!  It really doesn´t even feel like Christmas because it is like 75 degrees everyday!  It is nice though not having to deal with the cold!  We did get a Christmas present from President and Sister Stutznegger though and we got a heater because at nights it gets a little chilly!  However, it really doesn´t feel much like Christmas!!  Some people have Christmas trees some people don´t.  They don´t really get as into it I guess!  Part of it could be that people where I am at are really poor and so we were talking to some kids that Santa has never brought them anything for Christmas and it is really quite sad!!  We got Javier(the cool twelve year old whose parents won´t let him get baptized) some cards and then we gave him a couple ties because he only has a clip on that he wears to church!  It is crazy to see the poverty here and I just think about how lucky we all are living in the states!  Nobody can really even understand the life that people have here!!

The donkey was just some guy we asked if we could take a picture with because we see donkeys on the street like four times a day haha so we just asked the guy if we could take a picture on his donkey and the guy was so excited because we told him we were going to send the pictures to our families and now he thinks that his donkey will be famous.

Let's see... we don´t really have any great stories to tell this week!  We met a new investigator this week and she came to church so that is exciting!!  Her name is Marienela and we go back and see her again tomorrow night!  We only have two progressing investigators right now so that is kind of crappy but we are looking for more and more people every day!  We did go to a Christmas party this week!  They said be there at 7 because that is when it will start so we started at 8!  That is one thing that is not good about the culture is nothing starts on time!!  Haha, I am picking up a bad habit!  Church usually starts at like 10:20.  It is just a completely different culture down here!!

Nothing too exciting has gone on this week!!   Just another week of the mission!  We now have three Americans and one Dominican in our ward but I am still the baby!!  I will be calling between 9 and 10 so that is what you guys should plan for!!  I try to continue with the Spanish and it is going fine!  I would say that I am still pretty far from native but thats okay I guess!  Hopefully by about six months I will be fluent!

I enjoyed my package, thank you very much!!  It was nice to have all the United States things!!  Especially the oatmeal!!  There isn´t any brown sugar yet that we have found!  According to one of the members they do have it so we asked her to buy us some if it is true!  

Also the word of the week is Dadiva.  It means gift.  This is funny because we have to teach all the Mexicans here this word anytime we talk about it.

I just got done and realized this is a crappy letter!!  SO in other news me and Elder Lund are trying to teach ourselves the guitar!! We sound pretty good if you are to ask us!!  We can play the song Reindeer´s are Better Than People from Frozen so that is pretty exciting!!

We are looking forward to having a good Christmas week and finding someone that we can teach so we can get some baptisms lined up!!  I will talk to you guys on Thursday.  Hopefully something exciting happens before then!

I love you,
Elder Orchard

proof of how real Nacho Libre is here!

decorations for Virgin Day
Do no hang pinatas. Neither climb lamp posts as this poses a risk of accident.

longanisa with potatoes onions and eggs we make our own tacos

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Laziest Week of My Mission

Alright so like I had already mentioned last week that we weren´t going to work very much and we even ended up working less than I thought!! We had a Mission Christmas Party where we watched Frozen so that was nice!!  We had a new misisonary training meeting and so we spent all morning there on Thursday!  Friday was Virgin day and so we weren´t allowed to leave the house!  Sunday was just a day full of meetings and church so this week was quite slow as far as the work goes!! We only had like 15 lessons all week and so it was really hard to get really into anything for more than a day!!

Jose Luis (our investigator from last Monday) cancelled on us a few times but we have an appointment to go with him again on Wednesday and so hopefully he is there!!  We reput one of our investigators to a fecha on Sunday because if they don´t come to church then they can´t get baptized and so that is one of the big struggles!!  I guess maybe we just need to have more faith or something like that!!

Anyways so the Virgin day the other Elders from our ward came over and so that was really fun!  We had a piñata to celebrate Mary!!  Okay not really we had the piñata to celebrate my birthday and to celebrate Elder Cottrell hitting a year in his mission so we partied it up for a little bit!!

But you guys wouldn´t believe how crazy these people are about the Virgin Mary!  Literally everything here has to do with her!!  Even this sign says out of respect for the virgin please don´t litter!! 
We were trying to get someone to get us some of the virgin t shirts that they give out but they didn´t get them for us how crappy!!  So I figured that since I don´t have any good stories to tell about this week as far as investigators go I will tell you guys a little bit about Virgin day.  So this is a Catholic holiday that people celebrate all over Mexico!!  Some people walk from as far as oaxaca because the catholics believe that if they make this walk to the basilica that they will receive a forgiveness of their sins so people walk thousands of miles from oaxaca for this. The streets were filled with people that had their backpacking packs on and were just walking through the streets of Mexico City.  Some people are like way more into it than that even and then once they get into actual DF (Distrito Federal) they start crawling or walking on their knees!  I guess that over Easter they take people up to the crosses we hiked to and they pretend to crucify them and they do this whole Jesus reinactment thing over there and I am assuming that we also won´t be working that day!!  Those days are a little boring but you find things to do!  We bought a deck of cards and so we played some games and did some studying.  We worked on all things for our investigators and stuff like that!  I have almost caught you in the Book of Mormon (we are on Mosiah 18 as a family) and I started on November 28th.  I haven't read as much as I wanted but I am going to finish it before I finish training!  One thing I have noticed from reading it fast like this is how often we have the promise of if we keep the commandments then we will be blessed!  A scripture that we have been sharing recently is in Mosiah 2 and it is the last verse of the chapter but it basically says that when you keep the commandments you get blessed not only spiritually but you get blessed temporalmente.  Sorry, I don't know that word in English.

We are going tomorrow to go get the package at the changes (transfers) so I will get it then!  Thanks for getting that down here for me.  That was really nice of that agent! other good news I have still found a way to avoid getting sick!  I know it is going to happen one of these days!  One of the Elders that was in my MTC district actually just got sent home a few weeks ago!  He was super sick and couldn´t keep any food down and so that was crappy to hear!!  It is nice to see all of the people that I was there with and know that they are still doing so well!  Well I am just babbling on and so maybe I better end this!  Sorry it wasn´t better.   Next week we will have some more stories hopefully!  This week's word is chafa.  I am not sure how to exactly spell it but it basically means crappy.
Este semana era bien chafa
This was a really crappy week. 

I love you all!
Elder Orchard

This scorpion was outside our house so we took it in and burned it.

I bought a watch with my birthday money.  It was 190 pesos.  The dollar is worth 15 pesos now so I am glad I waited to pull my money out. (Price of the watch based on that information is about $13.)

Monday, December 8, 2014

This Week's Word is Parangaricutirimicuaro

Thanks for all the birthday wishes!!

Alright so I will answer questions first.

We get around by walking if we finish a lesson late we will take a taxi for saftey reasons but other than that just walking.  Or if we go into the center we take a bus that costs four pesos to take us anywhere we want.

We email from a little cyber internet thing and so there are like eight computers here so that's how we do that.

We set up to facetime home (for Christmas) with someone in Elder Lund's old area so I will be able to just facetime you off of their Ipads.
NO christmas tree and we are not going to buy one.

I have not shopped at Walmart, no.

Alright so this week was pretty slow too!!  All of our fechas (dates...I am assuming he is talking about baptism dates) fell through and so the soonest we could have one (a baptism) would be the fourth of January.  It is really hard for us because they have to come for five weeks to church before they can get baptized.  We found three new investigators this week and so hopefully we can get them to progress!!  We are still just waiting for that golden investigator.  We are hoping that it will be this week!!  Things are basically going kind of slow right now!!  Nothing cool happened this week so I only have pictures because of my birthday and even then I only have two!!  Yeah a few people here knew but for the most part we didn't do much to celebrate!

I see the tienguies all the time.  Those are the stores you can buy watches and stuff!  I think I will probably buy a watch and maybe some shoes with my birthday money!!  Thank you by the way!!  I went and bought this really good looking sweater this morning so tell Grandma and Grandpa thanks for that!

Yes, I actually eat a lot of vegetables thank you very much!!  We eat a lot of them because they are cheap.  I even eat onions now!

Alright so this week nothing really cool happened like I had previously mentioned!!  I went on divisions with one of the zone leaders one day and so I got to practice my Spanish a little more that day!!  We found some lady that was basically crazy and then when we talked to the relief society president about her she warned us and said to not go into her house because she would probably yell rape and then we would get in trouble so we just aren´t going to go back to her house!!  There was a cool guy that we just gave a prayer card to the shows the steps of praying a few weeks ago and we saw him again today!!  His name is Javier and when we saw him he basically bore his testimony about how it really works and he has seen so many blessings since he started praying that way!!  So we used it as an entrance and gave him a restoration pamphlet!!  Hopefully we can see him again soon and see where this goes!!

We went to go get pizza on my birthay because our food cancelled on us again!!  It was funny though because we were sitting there for like ten minutes and people just kept walking by and we kept saying buenos dias, buenos dias.  Well finally this guy comes up and says, "Speakes spanish va?"  and we were like, "yeah we speak Spanish".  Then he turned to the other workers and was like I told you they spoke Spanish!!  They literally wouldn´t come talk to us because there was four Americans and they were scared that we didn´t speak Spanish!!  Well then the waiter comes over and in decent English just was like its okay I can speak English to you!  It was all really weird and funny all at the same time.  We at least got a good laugh out of it!!  

Then the next day we were walking down the street and some guy was like ¨hello brothers¨ so we said hello and just kept walking because everyone abuses us for being white.  Well he then was like what aren´t even going to come and talk to me? So we went back and it turns out he lived in New York for 20 years and spoke really good English.  He wants us to keep passing by and so we left him some stuff to read and when we go by again hopefullly he will have read! 

Another funny story from this week we took an investigator to church this week and he is ten years old.  They aren´t progressing but this kid really likes us so we take him(this is also the family I am in the picture with, with the birthday cake) Well Elder Lund jokingly said "hey you should bare your testimony" and the kid was like yeah okay!  Well he talks about how he saw the image of God one day in his closet after he woke up and it was cool what he said and he did a good job!!  Well then we went over to their house a little later and were talking with his grandma and she was like yeah one day Jordie came in and told my mom I saw the virgin in my closet!!  Me and Elder Lund just looked at each other and were grateful he didn't say that in church!!

Also I forgot I am going to start doing a word of the week so this week's word is parangaricutirimicuaro definition unknown. It is what all the kids would try and tell us to say to make fun of our accents but we now have it memorized and can say it good.

Alright well this week is going to be a lot less successful and lots less lessons because we have two days that we aren´t working this week!  We have a mission Christmas party on Wednesday and then Friday is Virgin Day (Public celebrations, or fiestas, are held in honor of Mary, the Virgin of Guadalupe, on December 12. Catholics from across Mexico and other countries pay pilgrimage to see an image of Mary (Virgen Morena), believed to be authentic, in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Children are dressed in traditional costumes and are blessed in churches. Thousands of people come to church to pray.) so it is too dangerous for us to be out working so we just stay inside all day!  Our exact email from President Stutznegger was something along the lines of, We love you guys and because we love you all missionaries need to stay in the house on Virgin Day!  We also go home at 7 the night before at the latest so pretty excited for that!!  I will write you guys all again next week.  I love you!!
Elder Orchard

(Elder Orchard got on the computer later and sent the following.  They had meetings to go to so he finished emailing after that.)

We had a cita and it was awesome!  Actually it was honestly a miracle!  We went for our district meeting and there was a guy outside the church and so Elder Norr, our district leader, was talking to him when we showed up!  Turns out he lives in our area!  Well we started to get to know him and he has had a crappy life so far!  Well he decided that he was going to kill himself and so he has been struggling a lot with that and he still is!!  Well we got done teaching him a little bit and then he asked if we could meet again tomorrow at six at the church!  Well obviously we said yes and then we said the prayer and he straight up asked,"If I apply myself and do everything you tell me do you think I could be ready to get baptized in a month?" and we said, "sure we could baptize you on the fourth of January if you would like" and he said yeah!! So That was really cool hopefully we will have more to report on that next week!!  I love you guys and hope you have a good week!! 
Elder Orchard

Monday, December 1, 2014

If They Have the Guts to Live in a Pink House Then They Have the Guts to Listen to Us!

Yeah I did remember that it was Thanksgiving!  We have all Americans in our ward and so we celebrated by going and getting some tortas!!  You can´t really buy much of a turkey and stuff for that here!!  It was actually really crappy because we went to our Thursday lunch appointment on Wednesday because we switched things up on accident so we ate two lunches on Wednesday back to back talk about being fat!!  We try and keep up on all of the stats of whats going on in the sports world but it is just too hard!!  That stinks that the Cowboys got killed!!  Well I knew our true colors would show through eventually!!
Alright so I am going to apologize in advance for this crappy letter!!  Well Tuesday started off pretty fantastic!!  We started knocking doors and Elder Lund and I decided that we were going to knock all the pink houses we could find because,"if they have the guts to live in a pink house then they have the guts to listen to us!"  so we got a few lessons scheduled out of that but then we knocked on a different door and Jesus answered!! We explained who we were and what we were doing there and it turns out that he invited us in to share the restoration on the spot!!  That never happens here and so me and Elder Lund were kind of excited!!  So we shared the lesson and at the end he just went on and put Jesus to a fecha for the 28th of december!!  It was literally like the coolest experience ever!!  So after we did like six mexican hand shakes we went off to three lessons in a row with investigators!!  At the end of the day we taught 9 lessons and had tons of new investigators!!  Well that turned out to be about the only exciting day for the rest of the week!!  We didn´t teach any investigators after that day and we finished the week with 24 lessons!  Worse than all of that however was just that the week was boring!!  We try to teach our investigators three times a week but they just flaked out on us for the rest of the week!!  All in all it was a bad week!! So we went to an area we don´t usually go to very often and we found that cool pink house!!

So of course we knocked it but nobody was home!!  They were a big catholic family though because they had a huge Mary and huge Judas statue in their patio so we left them that folleto. Then to make it all worse none of them even came to church on Sunday!!  So we are done with that week now and we just won´t talk about it again!!  We are hopeful that we can have a better week this week and we are going to work hard to find some new investigators!!
Our goal is to baptize every week before second transfer!!  We have got it set up to where we have the first two weeks with a baptism and so we just need to get the next five!!  This transfer is going to be seven weeks instead of six because President Stutznegger is sending this transfers missionaries home a week early for Christmas!!
Okay so on Saturday we went to the temple as a stake and that was really cool!  We had one investigator come but we don´t think she is there for the church we are pretty sure she just comes for the missionaries!!  That about is it for what happened last week!!
Today we went to central de abasto and that was bien padre!!  We spent 38 dollars and got so much food!!  The coolest part is that it is all brought in fresh every least thats what they tell us!!  WE are going to be eating like kings for the month!!  It is like costco but like 100 times bigger at least!!  It takes about ten minutes to drive throught the middle of it!!

We are looking forward to a great week this week filled with lots of lessons and lots of fun and hopefully some new investigators!!  It is crazy to think that my birthday is already this week!!  We will probably play dodgeball with the youth on Saturday and have them bring their non member friends so I will at least get to do something fun!!
Okay so here is a little food for thought I thought you and Dad would enjoy.  This is something we learned from Elder Piper who is in the Mexico area seventy presidency or something like that!  Anyways he said that a fast isn´t complete unless you pay a fast offering with it.  I thought you might like that since you and dad have been focusing on fasting for a little while now.
Alright well thats all I have for this week!!  I love you and hope everything is going great!!
Elder Orchard
The picture I received from Sister Stutznegger this week

And why not include this great pic!

Monday, November 24, 2014

I Am Happy As Can Be

Hello mi familia!!  This week has been great for the most part!!!  It has absolutly flown by!  I hope that the weeks will continue to do this!!  It was kind of slow as far as the number of lessons that we had we only taught like 35 and the goal is 55 but that is super hard to achieve with our lessons usually going like an hour and a half and food taking two hours because they forgot that we are coming to eat with them until we get to their door!!  One thing I forgot to tell you about last week was that we had a regional conference and the speakers were all americans and this poor lady hadn't ever taken a spanish class in her life and she tried to talk and it was a trainwreck.  I guess the good news is now maybe people won't think my spanish is as bad!!

Alright so this week we found three new investigators while we were knocking doors and all three of them have a fecha to get baptized on the 21 of december!  The one guy we thought wasn't going to really do anything or progress at all but then it turned out that he was actually really excited and told his whole family that he was going to get baptized!  Then this week at church his grand daughter wanted him to leave right after sacrament and he basically said she can leave if she wants but that he was staying which shows that he really knows what's happening!!  The other two investigators are in a family that doesn't really have much of a house at all! It is mainly just a porch!! But they are progressing good and it turns out the mom who is like 70 years old out of no where pulls out a Book of Mormon!  the whole thing was just a little crazy including her!! It is all super crazy to me that after these two weeks I have grown to love these people so much!!  I don't want to have to leave at all which is so beyond crazy to me!!  We have a couple other investigators that we should be able to put fechas with so hopefully that will happen this week and then get baptized the following week!!

I am loving the food we get every day and we actually just ate the best ice cream I have ever had from a members house!!!  it was like right up there with my peanut butter cup perfection!!!

The weather is literally the same every single day which is nice.  I never need to worry about it being randomly cold!!!  I am super glad I brought my New Balance jacket though it is perfect at night when it gets a bit chilly!!

So we were teaching two days ago some familiy that still just can't get an answer about if the church is true or not!!  they have been being taught for weeks!!  She wanted us to go to her church and see if it was good so we taught the restoration again and very bluntly said that this is the only true church and that all others are wrong!!  Then I had the strong impression that we should get down together on our knees and pray to know if it was true and then just wait a few minutes in silence with our eyes closed so they could recieve their answer!!  So we did it and the spirit was so strong and there were a few tears shed not much but a little bit!!  Then when we started talking she just said she still doesn't know.  So we ended up dropping the family!!  I bet you didn't expect that turn of events!!  So basically we are just trying to find new people which seems hard because we literally have four missionaries in an area that is just about twice as big as our neighborhood so we have half of the ward and they have half of the ward as well!!

So one of the funniest things that happened was we were eating with a member this week and she had like twenty kids it seemed like but it was really only like 5.  Well anyways we had just said the prayer and her eight year old son came out and asked why the tonto guerros are eating here.  Or in other words why are the stupid white people here!  In a members house!!  I couldn't believe it we all just busted up laughing the whole time!!!

I'm doing really good though!! So we haven't gone grocery shopping yet we are going to go next week to central de abastos which is like this huge costco or sams club on steroids and everything is pretty cheap there so that is what our plan is!!  I will be sure to take pictures next week and let you know how it goes.

The spanish is going pretty good for the most part I mean I still struggle but I am feeling better and better each day!! This week I gave a talk in church about the work of Salvation and so I talked for ten minutes!!  I was going to try and write out my talk since I still am not fluent but I just couldn't bring myself to do that so I went with some bullet points again and then had a list written down of things members can do to help the missionary work without being a full time missionary!  I won over all the hearts of the sisters because I said they can continue to feed us and this is huge for these people to feed us!!  I have eaten everything that has ever been put in front of me and I have had all sorts of vegetables I didn't like and I even eat peaches!!  You guys should be so proud of me!!  Since we walk like ten miles a day I haven't really gained or lost any weight since being here!!  But all in all things are going great!!  I am happy as can be and things are just getting better and better!!

Some cool things about the mission are going and seeing this complete turn around in people even after just one or two lessons!  Mexico is also pretty cool as far as all the sites and different things it has here!!  We have a lot of freedom and I really like my companion so we are really just out here having a blast!!

Yeah the duck is just one of the weird pets people have here!  (He is explaining the picture of him and the duck from last week.)  I see something new every day I swear!!  I think everything is good here as far as the prayers go I will let you know if there is something specific we need though.  Last funny moment of the week!  We had an appoinment with a member one night and we showed up and it looked like there was a party going on!!  Turns out her neighbors and other members of her old catholic church came over and they were totally having a rosario in our members house and we just didn't know what to do because she totally was just standing up leading it we just were laughing trying to figure out what was going on!!

We also went on a hike today up the mountain to this hill by our house and it was really cool!!  The pictures won't load to drop box so I will try them from a different place later I guess!  I love you guys and hope everything is going well at home!

Elder Orchard

Elder Orchard and Elder Lund

We got this gem with the hike pictures!  Random silver guy:)

Monday, November 17, 2014

We are in a City Called Iztapalapa

A little mom commentary:  In posts past I have taken the emails Doug has written home and fixed spelling, punctuation, run on sentences and such.  I have taken pieces of Dad's, and parts of Mom's and bits of Stockton's to make sure we got as much information as possible.  This week is different.  Our email didn't arrive until almost 4:00 in the afternoon but when it did it was beautiful.  It came from a happy servant of our Heavenly Father who, I believe, sat down and frantically wrote trying to share as much as he could in the time he had.  While he wouldn't get high marks in school for a paper of this nature I do believe the content speaks volumes of the change that is taking place in this boy's heart.  

I already answered stuff to dad and didn't have time to copy them over so hopefully you guys can come up with something!!  our apartment is pretty bad I will have a video tour for you guys next week hopefully!!  WE usually have water but sometimes we have to go turn on the pump.  We have hot water when we have gas but it isn´t too bad!! really small but thats okay!!  We teach a lot usually to less actives just because we have a lot of those!!  we do knock doors but it isn´t very much and isn´t very successful all of our citas have fallen through so far so we are going to look for better ways to do it!!  We are in a city called iztapalapa ward paraiso so it is pretty alright!!  we eat with the members every day and they usually give us some good stuff!!  we eat a lot of spagetti and it is basically two meals in one so we will have a huge plate of spaghettti and then we will also have something else usually with tortillas.  All in all everything is going good my companion is cool and I was glad I got an american!!  we work with two other elders and all of us are american and so we get called names a lot walking through town.  Guerros or fair skinned people is what that is.  warner brothers  americanos all sorts of great stuff!!  THings are going good though.  The mission home the first night was kind of lame because we basically just got there and slept the stutzneggers are really cool though and very nice!!  The other morning president called just to see how I was doing so that was pretty cool of him!!  Things are good here though 
Love you guys!
Love, Elder Orchard

My companion, Elder Lund
Alright so I traveled with everyone from the mtc and yes we spent the first night in the mission home.  They didn´t say much more than thanks for the candybars but they had kind of a lot going on at that time.  (President and Sister Stutznegger) Elder Lund is from provo and has been out for 15 months.  He is a really cool guy and knows a lot of spanish!!  We are currently in paraiso 1 and are in ward paraiso.  There are four elders assigned to our ward which is unreal!!Each ward in our mission has at least four!  Some of the bigger areas have up to 8 I think.  WE had a stake conference this week and had at least twenty missionaries i would say we had almost as much missionaries as other people at the priesthood meeting!  things have been pretty good for the most part just trying to actually learn the language!  We are knocking doors now because we have hardly any investigators!!  we work a lot with menos activos (less active) members and trying to get them to come to church!!  our apartment is a dump but that was to be expected we at least have hot water!!  today we went into the center and that was really cool!!  usually i will email earlier than this but we had a lunch appointment that didnt end until right now!!  mainly because she wasn´t ready for us.  all in all everything is going great here!!  The picture of me with the two kids i am putting up is pretty cool.  his name is javier and he has 12 years.  He is really awesome!!  he is kind of an investigator but kind of a member.  his parents won´t let him get baptized but other than that he is totally a member!!  he goes to church by himself and knows all the scripture masteries for all four years after like two months of seminary!!  it is awesome he is one of the coolest kids ever!!  his family is super poor and they littarally have nothing except beds for everyone and some kitchen supplies!!  no tv no couch no anything!!  it is amazing to see how little everyone here has!!WE are truly blessed more than we know!!
Love you lots!
Elder orchard
Javier is on my left, your right

More commentary:  It's important to note that President and Sister Stutznegger are AWESOME!  The day of transfers they put the pictures up of Elder Orchard and his companion.  They thanked me for the gifts we sent and Sister S sent a message Sunday night just letting me know that they had spoken with my son and he liked what he was doing better than the MTC (his words:)) and that he would be fine.  How grateful I am for their communication and love!  I love how they use Facebook as a tool to communicate with families back home.  I appreciate everything they have done so far and love them dearly!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Off To Mexico

This morning Elder Orchard boarded a plane and headed to the Mexico, Mexico City Southeast Mission via Atlanta, Georgia.  He should arrive in Mexico City at 4:30 pm.  Along with 19 other new missionaries he will meet his mission president and begin an exciting journey that will shape his life forever.  
When we said goodbye this morning he was happy, healthy and courageous.  I am so proud of him for pushing through his obstacles and committing to fulfill the call he has been given.  Each time we obey our faith increases and our Heavenly Father blesses us.  I know Douglas will be blessed beyond measure for his choice to serve.  I'm already SO excited for letter day!  The third time's the charm:).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cleared and Ready to Go

Great news!  After 10 sessions of therapy, Douglas passed his functionality test with flying colors.  His knee is strong and he is physically cleared, with no restrictions, to return to missionary service.  He has been walking 4-6 miles per day and passed the missionary department road test as well.  On Thursday, October 30th he turned his papers back in.  And then we waited.

On Monday afternoon we got notice that he would leave on Monday, November 10th on a 7:10 am flight.  That is his mission transfer day and he will meet his mission president with 19 other Elders.  Later that evening we were all together having family home evening when I got a call from a very strange number.  How excited I was to hear a man on the other end say, "Is this Sister Orchard?  This is President Stutznegger!"  It was so wonderful to speak to him and know that he is prepared to take care of my son for the next few years.  I asked him if there was anything I could send with Douglas since he was leaving from home and I had the unique opportunity to slip something into his bags.  He said Sister Stutznegger would be so delighted with some brown sugar and he would be grateful for a Big Hunk candy bar!  This has been a crazy journey but I am grateful Douglas is willing to exercise faith and go and serve.  I know he will be blessed and learn things he could learn no other way.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Home, Again

This is not Elder Orchard's latest letter home.  This is his mom:(.  On Monday I got a call from Elder Orchard asking what time would be convenient for me to pick him up from the MTC.  I was disappointed to say the least but after his letter last week I knew this was the direction we were headed.

This super awesome group of missionaries walked him to the car.  They inherited him a week ago when his district headed out to their intended destinations.  They were a great support and strength to Elder Orchard.  He mentioned how nice they all were and how they fasted together last Sunday for  his knee to be healed.

While at the MTC they did x-rays and an MRI.  Both came back normal but the knee was sore, swollen and not getting any better.  On Friday, Douglas was given crutches to get around.  On Monday night he was released as a missionary.

Tuesday we met with an orthopedic surgeon.  He reread the MRI and believes that everything is structurally sound.  The possible problems are either a strained MCL which will heal without surgery or a knee cap pulled to the side which may heal or not.  There's always the chance that something is torn and is not showing up on the MRI.  That does happen but we are optimistic that is not the case.  He prescribed 2 weeks of physical therapy and that felt like the right plan of action so we started that right away.  Although Doug's knee is sore from the hard work, he has made significant progress in his ability to walk.  He is no longer using crutches and walks without a limp...that just after 2 therapy sessions.

Things are pointing to a quick recovery.  We continue to pray for Heavenly Father's guidance and spirit for us and for Douglas.  I have no doubt he will lead us along if we rely on him.  I hope to resume posting letters from my missionary soon!