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.