Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fourth Week

Disclaimer: Mark sprinkled Spanish throughout his letter this week making it a bit more difficult to read. Luckily, his dad speaks Spanish and was able to translate those words that might not be understood. The translations are in yellow and in the parentheses. Enjoy this amazing letter!

¡Hola! Elder Yates here from the CCM down en Mexico to bring ya'll the events and sentimientos (thoughts/feelings) from semana cuatro (week 4). I think that this last semana (week) was pretty decent, so I´ll compartiré (share) the best I can. Brought my journal this time (muchas gracias (much thanks) Gundersons!) to help me recordar (remember) better.
First, it was exciting to open my email and see 8 emails instead of the 2 or 3 I´ve gotten antes (before). Yay! my fame está creciendo (fame is growing)! I promise I'll respond to them eventually, but the emocionando (exciting) one goes first.

The clases are going pretty well for the most part. Hno Ortiz and Hno Palma are los maestros mejores (the best teachers) in the CCM, as far as I´m concerned at least. Están muy divertidos pero (they are very fun but) still know how to get things done. Unfortunately some of the hermanas (sisters) are having difficulties with eachother, so I´ve gotten to talk with the CCM Presidente a bit on como a ayudar (how to help) them; Presidente Pratt is from Arizona and has actually heard of Surprise. Got a new batch of misioneros in our zona, so we´re finally not the newest distrito. They´re about half our size, but still pretty cool and nice people.

Ryan´s birthday was this semana, pero (week, but) I havn´t been able to see him. Mis padres (my parents) didn´t even send me a pintura (drawing/painting but he meant picture) of what they did without me! Oh well, it might be for the better. Tengo amigos nuevos, y están mas bien (I have new friends and they are better) anyway >=(. Our mail box has been kind of dry this semana (week), but it should get better.

We've started to change from teaching our maestros (teachers) acting as investigadores (investigators) to enseñando (teaching) each other con profiles de investigadores (with investigator profiles), which is kind of cool. It helps entiendo como los investigadores (understand how the investigators) are supposed to sentir (feel) during our meetings, which I think is the purpose. Of course, with the having a bunch of gringos (white people) trying to hablar español (speak Spanish) with each other leads to some pretty funny situations. I'll not include them here, but maybe in an email to mi hermana favorita (my favorite sister). Posible.

Monday night was an amazing experience para mí (for me), so I'll just quote part of my journal entry so I do't screw it up too badly: "Felt the sincere desire to pray, so I did. I poured out my heart unto God like never before. I could feel Heavenly Father listening to me and His love for me to such an extreme degree sleep was a burden; I found it difficult to fall asleep as my mind reveled in the amazing experience it was. So, I prayed again, and it was also amazing. This was probably one of the best nights in my life."

One thing we really focused on this semana (week) was being lead por el Espíritu Santo (by the Holy Ghost) in a lesson. To practice, we were put in a strange and difficult situation and told to teach. We were told nada antes (nothing ahead of time), so we had to learn and discern and then teach during the seis minutos (six minutes) we were given to help the 'investigador.' Boy was that an experience. But, through mucho orando (much prayer), I sentí el poder del Espíritu Santo (felt the power of the Holy Ghost) as I was given guidance on what to say. It was amazing.

Listened to a live broadcast Tuesday night by Elder M Russell Ballard about taking advantage of the time as a missionary to learn about el Evangelio (the Gospel). It was comforting when he said that before his misión he didn't really know the Evangelio (Gospel), so I might not be so bad off. Tomorrow (Thursday I think) we're going to have a special devotional, which might mean a General Authority will visit us down here. I sure hope so. I'm also planning and joining the choir for a special number for the devotional, since the misioneros here need more bass, so it'll be something.

Had a Boliviano (Bolivian) that happened to be in the CCM come into our clase and share his testimony with us. All I can say is, the first couple months out en el campo (in the field) is going to be interesting...

Elder Yates

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Third week

As I stop to write my reflections of this past week down in the CCM in Mexico, I notice that the events stop occurring frequently because the routine has set in. I´ll try my best to share what I´ve got though, so bare with me with this letter.

My district enjoyed the pictures from home I got (thanks Mom!) and it was comforting to see my amazing family again. I really don´t want to say I don´t miss my family, but I am kept busy enough to not get weighed down with their absence. I can´t even begin to imagine how bad it must be for my family to be missing the most amazing, important, and humble member. Actually tried the couches in our casa this week, since we actually had like 30min of free time, and I think I would find a rock more comfortable. After, we played some hardcore sand volleyball for almost 3hr, which would have been perfect if we didn´t all get sunburned. Heh heh, live and learn.

We´ve started to have 2 ´investigadores´ at one time, so it can be fun sometimes to remember what we taught whom, but we have planners and stuff for that. Otherwise, most of the time I am stuck up in our little classroom either studying or being taught. Not saying it´s bad, but I can´t wait to get out into the mission field and start the fun part of the mission. 

When I first arrived, my zone had 5 districts in it. Last week, one district left without getting a replacement. This week, two districts are leaving, and I think we´re getting one back. The CCM has lost significantly more people than its gained while I´ve been here, signaling the summer rush is ending. Kind of happy there are less people now, since the ping pong tables are actually open (woo!) and the Comedor isn´t packed all the time.

We´ve been blessed to listen to some amazing devotionals this past week. Sunday we got the privilege to listen to an Elder Octaviano Tenorio, who actually gave a talk in one of the 2007 General Conferences. He talked about a variety of things, including the first times he got mugged and kidnapped in Mexico (extremely comforting, by the way). The director of the CCM, Elder Cates, also gave an amazing talk about focusing on missionary work. Last night, we had a live devotional from the Provo MTC from Elder Richard G Scott, which would have been even more amazing if it had not been (essentially) the same talk we heard 2ish weeks ago.

Monday night was our Mexican Night in celebration of Mexican Independence Day. There was just over an hour of traditional Mexican and Native American dancing with music to match. I thought it was amazing, but the others in my district found it quite boring. Utah-ians just don´t know good Mexican culture when they see it I guess. That night was rough though, since all around the CCM were celebrations and explosions, which I think were for fireworks, but there was nothing close to the fireworks we know from the good ol´ USA.

Getting kind of sad, since my siblings obviously don´t love me enough to email me :(. Christina says she wrote me a letter, but no luck yet since no deliveries occur on the weekend or on Mexican Independence Day. I´m hoping (as well as the whole district) we get some good letters today though. Of course, can´t forget Ryan´s birthday tomorrow (Happy Birthday!), feels so exciting to be pulling a ´Mom and Dad´ by not being with him on his birthday. I´m just kidding of course (or am I?) and am sad I´m missing the big 17, old enough to buy his own M rated games!

Love all ya´ll,
Elder Yates

Can you see the nest with baby birds in it in the middle of the fronds?
 I'm going here when I leave the CCM!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Elder Yates sent me a whole lot of picture this week, but didn't label any of them. I will do my best to label and hopefully, not get too many wrong. (P.S. Editing a post on a 7" touch screen tablet is REALLY hard!)

Elder Yates at the Mexico City temple grounds.

The black name tag he will be wearing everyday for the next 2 years...

Casa 44 - home sweet home while at the CCM

I would guess this is a building at the CCM, not sure what building it is though...

Just a few of the missionaries from his district - must be study time...

The whole district at the Mexico City Temple

The whole district at the Mexico City temple without a guys head in the way...
Elder Yates and his companion, Elder Gunderson

Elder Yates and his companion, Elder Gunderson at the Mexico City Temple

Part of his district, not sure what they are all waiting around for...

A building at the CCM, not sure what the significance of it is or if the picture is just because it says Brigham Young

The Mexico City Temple. Unfortunately, the temple is currently closed for refurbishment and will be for the next year so they weren't able to go in, just visit the Visitors Center on the grounds.

Another view of the beautiful temple.
The missionaries he shares his apartment with at the CCM

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Second Week

Well, another week down and a new P-day begun. Don´t have as much stuff to write about for this week since things have begun to shift into a routine, but I´ll try to share what I´ve got.
Much of our morning is filled with classes on Spanish, teaching, and teaching in Spanish. The rest of the morning is scheduled for study time. Our ´investigator´ turned out to be our new afternoon teacher, so now even after lunch we got more studying to do. On the plus side, we also have gym time in the afternoon, so we get a little break. Tuesdays are also service days, woohoo!
Most frequently during gym times we try and play some volleyball (which, it turns, I´m pretty good at), but we have also done some basketball, Ultimate frisbee, and even some soccer (also pretty decent, who knew). Gym time is probably turning out to be my 5th most favorite time of the day (right behind meals and bedtime of course). We´re also learning the Mexican Independence song thing, since Mexican Independence day is the 15 or 16, so we get to have a fiesta and sing next Monday.
While our district is not always the best at studying, we get into some especially spiritual moods, usually after a devotional. We listened to an amazing (recorded...) talk from Elder Holland about the need to convert yourself as a missionary just yesterday. Since the first blessing of comfort for one hermana, I have since also blessed another hermana for health and anointed another Elder, which a different Elder then offered the blessing for.
Don´t get to see Elder Hart to frequently, and I havn´t really met anyone else I know from Arizona, but i have met some new people from the Valley area (no one has heard of Surprise though, how odd). Well, except for Elder Quarnberg (sorry for botching the spelling =\) that just arrived this past week. So crazy seeing him again; think he said he was going to Honduras.
The food here is great (not as good as Mom´s though). They switch between authentic Mexican food, generic plates, and even try their hand at American classics. We had curly fries for lunch the other day with bacon cheeseburgers, and while the burger was pretty ok, the fries were delicious. Also get to drink all the milk I could possibly want (it´s whole milk, but whatever). Don´t think I got something I didn´t like yet, but Christina would probably live off the cereal that´s always out.
Had fast and testimony meeting this past Sunday, which was also the last Sunday another district in our Zone had here in the CCM, so they dominated the meeting (in Spanish of course). Not that I´m complaining; they all had great testimonies to share, and talking in Spanish is still kind of odd. That night we had another area 70 speak to us, this time about repentance. He described it as someone taking a shower, and how we shouldn´t feel like repentance is a bad thing to have to do. Rather, we should feel blessed to be able to have our filthiness removed from us. It was an amazing talk, and the notes I took makes me feel better about falling asleep during the CCM President´s talk (whoops).
Our district finally got our first letters yesterday; one for me, one each for 3 of the 4 hermanas, and 3 letters for one Elder. My letter was from my wonderful, loving mother that (evidently) thought it would be funny to have me struggle to read her cursive. I only have a few words that I can´t quite make out, but the letter is awesome.
Spent the morning of my P-day preparing (what a great missionary I am!) by cleaning the casa and attempting to shine my shoes. Don´t think it went too horribly, since you can still tell they´re supposed to be black, but whatever. Our plan for the rest of the day is to play until dinner, so it´ll be fun. Oh, and then teach another ´investigator´ afterwards. Fun stuff!
Love and miss all you guys that are stuck at home while I´m stuck down here in the CCM, just waiting to get started, and my next email will be even more amazing (maybe). The attached picture is my awesome zone.
Elder Yates

First Week

Hey guys! Just starting the second week here at the CCM down in México. The first week has been pretty aiight and fun. After being dropped off at the airport and making my way through security, I ran into a whole bunch of other Elders and Hermanas heading down to the CCM with me, so I got to talk to a bunch of people while waiting for the time to board. I was not only blessed with an aisle seat close to the front, but also with another Elder sitting next to me (not that we talked at all; reading is too important). Got all my stuff together quickly and easily, then waited a little while as the people in charge gathered all the new missionaries and prepared us for transport to the CCM. The trip from the airport to the CCM was interesting, as the bus driver was driving the same crazy way all the other drivers drive in México City.

When we finally arrived at the CCM, we got all checked in and made sure all our shots were up to date and check any allergies. I, being the extremely well-prepared person I am, cruised through the check-ins and went straight to have some dinner (it was probably around 5:45 when I finished). Got absorbed by some cool, older Elderes (I think they were 4 weeks in), the only name that i remember is Elder Han though. After dinner (must not have been too good because I forgot what it was) grabbed all my stuff and went to find my new casa, casa 44. Ends up I got roomed with Elder Gundersen, Elder McInelly, and Elder Escobar (all great people by the way) with Elder Gundersen as my compañero. Went to some more meetings, I think, and eventually retired to bed.

Waking up sucked. The bed, albeit hard, was extremely comfy as 6:30 in the morning. Breakfast was a welcome event though. Don´t remember much about Thursday, except that there was so many long, boring info meeting (I dozed off a few times I admit) and I saw Elder Hart just after lunch (also a welcome event). I think we started language study, but I don´t remember. Dinner was pretty good, but sleep was amazing.

Friday was a day of horror. We had to give our first lesson (en español of course) to an ´investigator´ that night. Also, more boring meetings. There was also a lot of studying (cramming) the first lesion en español that day. Meet the whole district (16c woo), I think it was Friday at least, and they´re all pretty awesome too. Our district consists of 8 Elderes y 4 Hermanas. Also meet the Branch presidency (branches are formed by zones) of 16, and they had the great idea to call me as the district leader (ugh more work), although this might also have been on Thursday. I am trying to forget these two days because they kinda sucked.
Saturday was better. Elder Gundersen and I were decently satisfied by our first lesson to our ´investigador´ Enrique Palma, but we had no time to celebrate because we had to plan another one. This time we planned to introduce el Libro de Mormón and read the introducción with him, which went pretty OK. There was a meeting or two, but they were not nearly as bad the first two days.

Sunday was pure meetings all day, from the leadership meeting in the morning to the devotional in the afternoon. Of course, our district had to do the Santo Cena since it was our first week, but it went pretty well, considering there is only about 60 people in our branch. Learned about ordinances in priesthood and the Restoration in sacrament meeting. For lunch we had hamburgers. They definitely not the best burgers ever, but it was nice to have some American food. The devotional was a talk on prayer by Elder Richard G. Scott (video) sobre oración, and was really good. Had Elder Gundersen help me give a blessing of comfort to one of the Hermanas since she was having difficulties. She´s doing a lot better now.

Monday and Tuesday were pretty much the same; language and gospel studies all morning. Monday afternoon we studied español while Tuesday afternoon we helped decorate the Comedor for Mexican Independence Day, which is evidently in about two weeks. Also got to have gym time both days, never thought I would look forward to running around and doing something before. Monday night we had to give another lesson to Enrique, this time about baptism, and got him to commit to baptism (yay). Don´t tell anyone, but he is actually already a member and will be our teacher in the future. Shh. Had a devotional Tuesday night instead of teaching, which was given by an Area 70 from México, Elder Walker, about being one in the gospel and teaching.

Today, Wednesday, is our district´s first P-day, so I can actually email people. We got to go visit the Visitor´s Center today, which was pretty cool. got some pretty sweet pictures that I´ll try to include in this email. If not, whatever, I´ll get them to you somehow. Haven´t received any letters as of yet though.

One of the Elders from our District is from England (Lester I think he said) and is an absolutely amazing guy. I, of course, have been the typical freedom-loving American I am with Elder Smith, and he has been pretty English back (our ´bantering´ is very ´posh´). The entire district has been awesome, and we get along well. The food here has been great, but I am convinced the time for sleeping needs to be increased.


Hi Dad, just a quick email to let you know I made it safely to the MTC. Don`t have much time yet, but all is well at the moment.

Elder Yates