Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Año Nuevo‏

Woo we passed Christmas, and the new year comes quickly. The Bolivians have their own unique style of celebrating Christmas; the grand feast is Christmas Eve at midnight-ish. So much is cooked that the leftovers are used for lunch the next day. Also, at midnight, everyone launches fireworks. There were so many fireworks and explosions going on that we couldn't sleep. And we're told that New Years will be even bigger...

Monday we didn't really have much time to do anything around here in Montero since we had to go down to Santa Cruz. Why? For the Christmas dinner of course! Last year we went to a buffet and ate the place out; this year we didn't go to a restaurant. Instead, we all gathered in the Paraíso stake center, where food from all over America was prepared. From the American stuffed turkey, to the Peruano causa (Peru dish), and the Argentina asada (meat) we ate. We also talked with friends and other missionaries until we had to head all the way back to Montero to sleep.

Tuesday morning we went over to the bishop's house as a zone to help lijar y pintar (sand and paint) his house. We had a fun time. Afterwards we had a little intercambio (exchange) to let an Elder that started his mission in Floresta come and tour his old area. Then, in the night, we got a surprise call telling us about more immigrations we had to do. To make it even better, we had to be in Santa Cruz by 5 in the morning. As such, we didn't get to sleep much if at all, making the rest of the day really fun. The good news is that E' Cubillos has his carnet de extranjero (visitor card), and I should recieve mine soon. Then I won't have to do immigrations again! At least for me.

Thursday we were still pretty tired, but we still had to go to the district meeting. Not entire sure if we were complete awake the entire time. The rest if the day wasn't so bad since walking helps alot with sleepiness. We got invited to several of the large Chirstmas Eve feasts, but since we had to be home by 8 we only had 1, and only just barely we made it home on time.
 son de la cena con nuestra pension (dinner with our pension)
Then, since we live with members of the Church, we ate another one.
es la cena en la casa (dinner at home)
And cake, since it was the birthday of the mother of the family.

So much food.

Christmas day was fairly calm. Since it was Friday, our time of weekly planning, and the house were we live has wi-fi, we didn't actually leave the house until after dinner. I feel kind of lazy saying that, but we did work hard until we had to return home an hour earlier than normal. Saturday was the baptism of one of our investigators, Blanca Carrillo.
There was also a BBQ in the Church, so Saturday was also very easy-going for us. Then, for Sunday, I never actually told anyone that it was my birthday. My companion E' Cubillos, on the other hand, went out of his way to tell everyone we saw that it was my birthday. Oh well. At least people couldn't go too crazy since there was no warning beforehand, and couldn't go shopping on Sunday. Not sure what'll happen this next week though...
es el panetón de mi cumpleaños (que no comimos)
(An Italian dessert for my birthday (we didn't eat it))
With love,
Elder Yates

Monday, December 21, 2015

¡Feliz Navidad!

Woo it's Christmas week! This past week did feel a bit more like the Christmas season. I think it's because it cooled down this week, and it rained a bunch. There were also more lights in the houses, and especially in the main square of Montero. We also went caroling as a zone, but more on that later.
Decorations people put on our house 
Decorations in our area
 A plaza close to our house
A little stream in our area
We had a pretty relaxed Monday this past week, using the majority of the day washing clothes and cleaning around the house. We had a small FHE with a family watching the Restoration and eating some snacks. Tuesday we had some more fun as a family finally let us cut their lawn, so we jumped at the opportunity to practice the machete. We invited some other Elders and the 4 of us spent the morning cleaning up a bit. And, as normal, we got invited a giant plate of lunch for our efforts. We always say that we already have a lunch planned, but it seems that people want to see fat missionaries.
We were planning on doing even more service Wednesday morning, but the rain decided to start and cancelled those plans. The rain didn't, however, cancel the plans we had to do an intercambio, (exchange) so we moved right long with that. This time I went with an Elder Lucero to Minero, a small town about 30min north of Montero. It's a small and peaceful place, and there is only 1 compañerismo (companionship) for the place out in the jungle. It's kind of how I imagined the mission to be, only with more paved roads and development. Then, as we were proselyting, E' Lucero told me that we were going to go to another place: Pueblo Nuevo. It's a village by a river, about 15min away from Minero. It was a very calm experience, but the wait to find a way back to Minero was long. We stopped by the main square in the night to see the lights, and they were nice. (see photos... quizá) (maybe - but he did send them. These are of the plaza in Minero)

As we returned from the intercambio to have the Zone Meeting, we realized that E' Cubillos and I were supposed to give the classes. Woops. With a little phone planning we got things ready and had a good meeting. And, since the Elder that was with E' Cubillos (E' Yorgason, from the CCM Mexico) had servied before in Floresta, we had several new people to visit over the next few days. Unfortunately most of them failed, but at least we now know where they live, so there's no escape >:).
About our investigators with baptismal dates, one of them disappeared. Not sure what happened with him. The good news is that the other one, named Blanca Carrillo, will be baptized this Saturday. Woo!
Sunday we had a pretty good time in the night as we went as a zone to sing in the main square of Montero. We thought it would be a good idea to see if we needed permiso (permission) to do so, but never found info about it, so we went right on with the plans. Then, Saturday night, we get a call from other Elders asking us if we got permiso, since evidently it's kind of important, and gave us a number to call. When we called, we were told that it would be impossible to get said permiso before when we wanted to sing, but basically told us to go ahead and sing anyway. So we did. One of the wards from Montero also decided to join us, and we had a considerable gathering of children, youth, and missionaries singing in the middle of the square. The good thing is nothing bad happened.
Decorations in the plaza de Montero

Elder Yates with Elder Moreno 

Our caroling in the Plaza de Montero

And so ends the week before Christmas.
Elder Yates.
ps. vienen los fotos (the photos are coming. I interspersed them throughout his letter this week)

Monday, December 14, 2015


Only a week and a half until Christmas once again. Sometimes it´s hard to believe, and sometimes it doesn't even feel like Christmas time. I think it's because it hasn't gotten any colder here. Also, people arn't as decorative here as the people are in the States, as few houses have any Christmas decorations. The decorations that we do see remind uf of the season, and the lights are beautiful.
This week started off on a little sour note as an Elder from the zone got sick enough to the stomach to get internado (admitted) in a local clinic for a few days. Luckily it was nothing more than a small infection, and got back to working full-force quickly. They even managed to prepare someone for their baptism for this next week. Apart from the small surprise, we had a good Monday, having a super FHE with a family that was baptized a little while ago.
Tuesday morning we once again found some service to do, this time cleaning out a part of the yard of some members. We were shoveling broken bricks and rocks for a while and loading it all up into a truck to get hauled away. They told us to clean out everything, so that's what we did. (Later in the week we learned that we accidently took some things that where still useful. Woops.) After the service, we had another intercambio (exchange), but this time we sent E' Cubillos away and I stayed home. We had a pretty good day preaching, and basically spent the entire time laughing about this or that. There is one person is particular in our area that doesn't like Peruanos ni Chilenos (people from Peru or Chili) for whatever reason, and always gives said persons a hard time. During the intercambio, I was with a Peruano, and when we visited this Hno we convinced him that the other Elder was Argentino. (I later told him of the Elder's true nationality, and his reaction was pretty funny.)
We didn't really do anything interesting Wednesday or Thursday, just ward council and district meetings and proselyting. We still havn't found time to make our way out to the farlands, but one day we'll make it out. We have been using some pretty cool little cards about the iniciativo Ha Nacido un Salvador, (program A Savior is Born) and have found that people are much more receptive when we want to give them a free card, rather than share the gospel. How strange.
Friday we had to go down to SC for the concilio de liderazgo (leadership training). Normally these meetings are the first Tuesday of the month, but for whatever reason it was postponed for a while. We had a great time, and got to listen to Presidente Zambrano talk a lot about the importance of being pacient, being humble, and having charity. We returned back to Montero a bit earlier than we planned, but were able to use our extra time well.
Saturday morning we had to go out to the other city of Minero to give an enterview for their investigator that will be baptized this week. It was a fun experience, driving out through the jungle and arriving in a little town once again, then heading back to Montero. We had a good time preaching in the afternoon, especially because a less active member agreed to join us visiting during the day. It's always good when such people start to discover their testimony again. We also found a little surprise service; as we were walking we noticed an older lady starting to cut her lawn with the Bolivian lawnmower. Being such nice people, we offered our help and cleaned up quickly before moving on.
This Sunday was a beautiful day, especially since it didn't rain in the morning, and the primary had their little program. The afternoon was a little interesting as we were invited to a funeral, so we went and gave our support for a while before continuing on. It's sad when people move on, but it gives me great consuelo (comfort) knowing that it's not the end, and the glorious future that is in store. The rest of the day went prettty well, until about 8 when it seemed like all our ideas came crashing down. We got the impresion to go by a certain house, and found someone that was visiting with missionaries in the past, so we set to talk. He even treated us to a hamburger before we headed home.
Con amor,
Elder Yates
***Sister Zambrano (the Mission President's wife) posted the following video on her blog from the Leadership training. I got such a kick out of watching the native Spanish speakers not sure of the English and really laughed when it appears like Elder Yates has to think hard to remember the English words. Enjoy!!***
Elder Yates also sent me several pictures with the following explanation: The photos are from the last Monday when we went out to the campo (countryside) and went exploring.

This picture is of E'Moreno (far left) whom E'Yates trained
and E'Aguilar (middle) whom E'Moreno trained

Monday, December 7, 2015


Hard to believe that it's already December once again. It seems like just yesterday we were talking all about the initiative, El es la Dadiva, (He is the Gift) and now it's Ha nacido un Salvador (A Savior is Born). Crazy how quickly time flies. Also of note, the cambios (transfers) were this week, meaning that my old companion, E' Solano, is already home. I am still here in Montero, and my new companion is E' Cubillos.
A little about E' Cubillos; he is from Chile, from a city called Copiapó. If no has heard of said place, it's OK, no one around here has either. I'm told that it's close to the mine where 33 miners got trapped, for a little point of reference. (I'm also told that a semi-distant uncle of E' Cubillos was one of the 33) E' Cubillos has been in the mission for 9 months, and spent all the rest of his time in a ward called Campa Rosa of the Bajio Stake. He is also shorter than me. (woo!) As an interesting point of note, Chilenos are not the most well-liked people in Bolivia, because of a small conflict where Bolivia lost territory connecting the ocean con Bolivia. This part is known as Antofagasta in Chile, but La Libertad (or la Litoral) in Bolivia. Luckily in Santa Cruz it isn't as hardfelt, but it is still interesting to see the reactions of the people when they learn my companion is from Chile.
In terms of a day-for-day playback, Monday we went out to a cabin-house (for lack of a better term) in the jungle for a little zone activity. Photos are coming. We were then working normal in the evening when we got a call from the AP telling us to do cambios (transfers) a day early, o sea (that is), Tuesday in the morning. As such, we had to quickly print out the changes and prepare for the next morning.
The changes were, luckily, pretty calm this time, with almost everything being down quickly Tuesday morning. We really only had to take 3 missionaries to one point and pick up 5 from the same place and bring them to Montero. We were then able to proselyte the rest of the day. We were in trio with E' Solano, E' Cubillos and I because E' Solano wasn't needed until Wednesday in the morning. We let e' Solano give his last farewells a some families and returned home to let him pack his bags.
Wednesday morning we took E' Solano and let him free in the office so we could return home and work normally. Most of the day was used to help E' Cubillos conocer (learn) the area, but we also visited with many people. Thursday morning we had to take an Elder to the airport so that he could fly out to his new area. While their, I learned that E' Quispe and E' Gunderson, 2 of my old companions, were going to be the new ZLs in Riberalta, a zone in Beni. As we were dropping off extra stuff in the office, we ran into E' Solano and the other Elders that were finishing their missions, and they caught a ride with us back to Montero to give some more Farewells, since they had all spent some time in Montero. Unfortunately we didn't make it to our district meeting.
Just when it looked like we would have a normal morning so we could study for the first time since last Saturday, we got a call telling us about the inevitable imigrations that I have to do for Friday morning. As if that wasn't fun enough, we had to be in the middle of Santa Cruz at 6 de la mañana. (in the morning) To make things even better, We got a call from the AP while we were in line telling us about an emergancy transfer in our zone. What fun. Luckily everything worked out as we finished imigrations and got the Hnas (sisters) where they need to be without problem, and returned to Montero to continue working normally.
Saturday we were finally able to study normal. We also found some service to do cleaning out some rocks and dirt. We found many interesting bugs and even some small snakes. It was pretty cool. (Nothing bad happened mom, don't worry!) We spent the rest of the day pretty relaxed since it cooled down a lot and there was plenty of cloud coverage. It rained in the night, not surprisingly. Sunday was really cold in the morning, but gradually warmed back up. It was also our only day where we spent the majority of the time walking around and getting to know the area since our appointments fell threw. The good news is that we have 2 investigators with a baptismal date.
Con amor,
Elder Yates
ps olvidé traer las fotos de la semana anterior... la próxima sera (ps forgot to bring photos of the week ... I will next week)
I did find one photo to send this week, but the rest will come next week... Sorry :/ 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Día de acción de gracias

¡Feliz día de acción de gracias! (Much more simple in English, ¿no?) For our Thanksgiving day here in Bolivia, we didn't do anything. Honestly, I didn't even remember until Saturday, and only because we passed by a store with its 'Viernes Negro' sales. How strange that the Bolivians don't have Thanksgiving, but do have Black Friday. Not entire sure what to think about that.

This week was the very last full week in the mission field my companion, E' Solano, had. This new week he will be heading home, and newbies will be coming to replace him. It's like the circle of life. As such, I already know for certain that I'll be receiving a new companion this cambio, (transfer) but I havn't a clue who it'll be. Fun times. As part of his last week, we had a fun little NDH (FHE) with a family where they treated us to what they called, la negra. (the black) Supposedly its true name is morcilla, and is basically a cooked intestine filled with blood. It was actually pretty tastey, but my companion claims that its much better fried.
We had a little intercambio (exchange) Tuesday, where I went to go with an Elder in a ward called Guabirá. It was an interesting day, where we had many people to visit with the help of a ward member. The member that acompanied us is a little strange, always making strange references to scriptures. I made sure to humble him a little, and started to talk about other things. We talked a lot, the other Elder and I, about how to improve as missionaries, and had a pretty good day.
While I was away, E' Solano got an interesting call telling us that we would recieve 2 new Elders to restart missionary work in one of the wards. As such, Wednesday we headed down to SC to pick them up, It turns out that one of the Elders is E' Moreno, one of the Elders that I trained. Unfortunately, they had to return from Beni because his companion had a little health problem, so they had to check out a few things in some clínicas. (clinics) As such, we just returned when we realized it was getting too late for us to stay in SC. In our way out, we took a ride with a very interesting taxi driver. We were talking normally for a while, until we suddenly burst out yelling '¡BIEN! ¡GLORÍA A DIOS! ¡que bueno!' (GOOD! GLORY TO GOD! HOW GREAT!) and pounding on his stearing wheel. We didn't talk too much after that, and every once in a while he repeated his little chant. A interesting fellow.
Thursday was pretty calm, and the new Elders arrived during the District meetings. We also had another intercambio, this time E' Solano went to a ward called Stadium (yes, in English). I was joined by an Elder that said he is from Italy, but lived much of his life in Utah. An interesting Elder, and a nice guy. On Friday we had to head back down to SC to try and get a few problems fixed up. We ran back after so we could visit a bit in the evening.
Saturday morning was pretty normal, but then E' Solano started to have some problems with his stomach, so we had to take things a little easy. It also decided to suddenly start raining, and didn't let up until Sunday afternoon. It also got really chilly, giving us a small break from the sun. Luckily the sun should come back soon, and will be moving us along in the streets, nice and dry.
With love,
Elder Yates

Monday, November 23, 2015


This week went by pretty quickly and calmly, in the sense that we didn't have a giant mixup in communications. It also cooled down a lot in the middle of the week, with some heavy rain and thunder storms in the nights. Luckily the rain stayed in the night hours so we didn't have to trudge along in the rain at all.
In interesting news, we were traveling around Monday in motos when, after leaving my moto, the driver called us to talk a little. It turns out that he only wanted to contend a bit with us. However, in stead of trying to convert us with different doctrine, he started telling us about the things that we actually believe, such as the importance of Jesus Christ. When we told him that we believe in the things he was saying, he gave us a weird look before running off. Very strange some of the people we meet.
On Tuesday we had to go to the city of Santa Cruz for a multizone conference.

It was us and 2 other zones, and we learned a lot. This conference was a little different in that a lot of the time was spent doing practices instead of listening to and participating in classes. As a side note in the conference, I found myself with 5 of the original 7 of us missionaries that were together in the CCM of Mexico. (Also the last 5 of us remaining, 2 already have returned home) After the conference we headed back up to Montero to continue working. The best news is that we found a member of the Church to help us transport all 19 of us in one go, making the transition relatively easy.
Wednesday passed along without much excitement, filled with walking around and visiting people in the day. Thursday we had our district meeting in the morning. As we were visiting in the afternoon, we get a call from one of the Elders in the zone asking E' Solano for the address of a convert in his old area. Then, the Elder passes his phone to President Zambrano, who starts talking to E' Solano. It appears that the President decided to visit with another companionship de sorpresa. (by surprise) There we learned that the next day would be our interviews, this time specifying that they would be here in Montero. We then continued on, even having a ward activity at night about acting out Book of Mormon stories. I have pictures to share, and should arrive one day.
It was Thursday night and Friday early morning when the rain fell hard. Luckily the President made it out here to Montero safely so the zone could have its interviews. After the interviews, we all returned to work. The rest of the week passed by without much worthy of note, just visiting and finding people. One day, as we were looking for a house of a less active family, we passed by a man reading the Bible. While not altogether something of note, it was interesting that it was the Bible published by the Church, so we stopped to talk a bit with him. Another day we went out to the extreme of the area to visit, and were out there until late. It seems like we managed to grab the last trufi (public transport) back to the city, so we didn't get to have too grand an adventure that day.
We still havn't made it out to the pueblito (village) like I wanted to, since it's pretty far, but we noticed a sign this week advertising a museo (museum) of some kind out there, so the desire is still strong. One day we'll go.
Con love,
Elder Yates

Monday, November 16, 2015


I think we're getting stuck in a rut; here we are, waiting to write and read emails Monday morning, just like every other week. While I'm not one to complain about reading, many times I don't have a clue what to write. It really makes an impact what we learned in Church yesterday, about how Paul took about 6months to write his letters to the saints. Interesting how those worked out. (Don't worry, I'm not going to take just quite 6months to write a letter, but something to think about)
I think that, as a whole, this past week went better for us than the last one, for several reasons. First and foremost, it didn't rain on us at all during our proselyting time (it did rain in Montero, however; more on that later). We also had more success in visiting and getting to know less active members, and even some new investigators. The members here have continued to help us a lot, and have gone visiting with a wide variety of different people.
Monday went pretty well visiting in the evening. We had a FHE with a flia (family) where we were treated with a home-made Bolivian style pizza. For those interested, a bolivian style pizza doesn't have very much sauce, and is loaded with corn hot dogs on top. Tuesday would have been an easy day, especially since we were informed that the zone was going to have intereviews with President Zambrano, starting at 10am. Since Montero is a little far from the city Santa Cruz, and (so I've been told) past interviews have been done in Montero, we assumed that they would be here this week. As such, we informed the zone of their scheduled interviews and told them to be ready at the appointed times. However, when we got a call at 10:30 from the sister missionaries asking why no one was in the chapel, we also started to worry a bit. Upon calling the asistentes and checking why, we were told that they were to be done in Santa Cruz. Woops. After a small process, we were told that the scheduled interviews were cancelled until further notice.
Aside from the interesting morning, the rest of Tuesday went pretty well, visiting and sharing the gospel with the sun smiling upon us. Wednesday we did have to go to Santa Cruz, but for a different reason. As such, we only had a little time in the morning to visit a less active Hna after the receint loss of her husband before running down south. As we were returning, the rain struck Montero and the road between the two cities. It rained pretty hard on the road, probably for about 10min, and when we got to Montero we found the city wet. Luckily the sun quickly came out and dried up all the rain, so the itsy-bitsy Elders could walk around normally the next day.
Thursday and Friday we had our normal District Meeting and Weekly planning seasons as normal, and spent the days in relative peace sharing the Gospel of Christ. For the first time in our time here, we managed to visit with the bishop and see how we could help out the ward more effectively. Saturday also looked to be a normal, promising day, until we went to one of our pre-set appointments. We supposed it was a new flia de investigators, (family of investigators) but the member that joined us said they were members. When we entered and got comfortable, there was a knock at the door; a preachor from another church. As it turns out, the hna who was member of the Church decided to join another one (Adventista if you're wondering) and set up the appointment to basically Bible Bash with us. It was an interesting experience, and it saddens me when people close their hearts to the Spirit.
Sunday we kept pushing on, this time taking some scenic routes to enjoy the plant life in our area. We also heard of a small pueplito (village) that is supposedly part of the ward boundry, so you can probably imagine what I want to do in this next week. If we make it out - and back - safely, expect some photos.
With amor,
Elder Yates
it seems that, when we went to do inspections, a missionary had his camera ready and snapped this when I tried out his weight.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Well, another week past and gone down here in Bolivia. This week was pretty normal, without too much excitement or big adventures. The good news is that my companion, E' Solano, and I get along pretty well. We might even have become friends. Not quite as much as with ex-E' Fleming, but we're trucking along. The weather certainly has been interesting this week, as the first half was gloomy and rainy. Wednesday was hot and humid, but the last half of the week wasn't too hot or too cold. Just right, as Goldilocks would say, with some sun, some clouds, and some wind to make our time walking a little more fun.

After a fun-filled P-day and a gran FHE for Monday, we had to return to SC on Tuesday. The reason is because of the concilio de líderes (leadership counsel) that the mission has every first Tuesday of the month. In said concilio, all the ZLs, office workers, and hermana capacitadoras (sister trainers) of the mission gather to talk about how to improve or in what to focus on in the new month, or something like that. Yes, even the ZL from Beni come to SC for the concilio. It was a very spiritual meeting and we learned many things. We took the opportunity to do some things in the mission office before heading back to Montero, giving us just enough time to visit for a little while before we were supposedly going to have consejo de barrio. (ward council) Oddly enough, no one else showed up. Instead, we got drafted to give a small message in the RS activity that was going on before ending the day.
Wednesday morning we planned on going to the houses of the other Elders and doing some inspections to make sure things are going well. We received a call from a companionship inviting us to help in some service, which we originally declined, planning on doing the inspections. However, we felt the impression to help them and returned to call and offer our help. At the time it seemed like no big deal, but the next day, in the Zone meeting, this companionship shared the experience in this way (mas o menos): they planned on helping a family move houses, a service which would be very difficult with only 2 Elders, so they set to ask help. Unfortunately, all the other companionships were unavaliable. Worried about whether they could do the service or not, they set to pray for help. It was the moment after praying that we called offering our help. Coincidence? 
The service went well, and helped us remember the importance of serving others. As part of the moving process, we loaded up their stuff in the truck and we rode in the back to help keep things stable. It was easy going until the last 5min when the road got bumpy, leading to a fun last while of the trip. Thursday morning, for the Zone Conference, also went pretty well as we shared the information and teachings from the concilio with the zone. The biggest miracle is that there was a lot of participation from the zone, leading to even more learning and giving us the spiritual strength to keep moving on.
Friday in the morning we headed out to inspect the 4 other houses in the Zone housing the other 7 campionships of Elders. One of the houses is in another little town called Mineros, a drive of about 30min northeast-ish from the center of Montero. In the drive we passed with jungle on both sides, and found the small city tranquilo and peaceful. The other houses are much closer to our house. All the Elders appeared happy and excited to be serving missions. After the inspections, we headed back to our area to continue visiting and getting to know the ward.
Saturday and Sunday passed by without too much problem. Saturday morning was spent doing weekly planning since we didn't do it Friday, and we got to meet some more families. Since the weather was pretty nice, we enjoyed walking. Only a few areas were still muddy, so we didn't even have the chance to risk slipping. Sunday we had church in the morning, followed by some more walking and getting to know people. The members here are super nice, sharing a whole bunch of different types of fruit with us. It'll sure be interesting to return to Arizona and only find apples and bananas...
With love,
Elder Yates
As a side note, there are sooo many mango trees here that almost every house has at least one. Also very interesting, I think it became some kind of challenge to merge mango with other fruit genes or something, as we constantly find mango mixed with other fruits, such as the mango manzana or mango piña. Very strange

Monday, November 2, 2015


The month of November has arrived once again, and another Halloween passed by in the mission. We saw 4 or 5 kids this time, walking around and asking for candy in the many street stores that dot our area. However, more common seems to be the observance of the Día de los Muertos, (Day of the Dead) as many people mentioned such. A few seemed quite surprised when I commented that we don't (generally speaking) have such a day in the US, insteading opting for the demonic day of asking for free sweets. Oh well, different cultures.
This week went a lot better us in the sence that we didn't have to take as many trips back and forth from the city, leaving us with plenty of time to get to know the new area. The ward of Floresta is pretty big, and it seems the majority of the members are located at the two extremes of the ward. Which leads to another interesting point; about half the area is pretty well off with paved roads and nice houses while the other half is out in the middle of nowhere. And, since we're the only missionaries the ward, we get to travel back and forth.
The majority of the week was nice and sunny, but for whatever reason it seems like the Sur decided to come, and has been rainy and overcast since Friday night. While the rain hasn't had too much of an effect on half the area, it has converted the other half into muddy streets, making for very interesting travel. Luckily we havn't quite landed face first, but we'll see if such luck holds out.
As I said before, this cambio (transfer) both E' Solano and I are new in the ward, leaving us both almost lost. Luckily the members here are super nice, and have helped us out a whole bunch, to the point that we now know where the vast majority of people live and we no longer get lost. We are, however, still walking with a small map to help out just in case. We had a small excursion Wednesday to the city to do I don't remember what exactly, but it was relatively quick and painless.
Not really sure what else to write, as we've been busy in the endevor of opening an area and seeking out people to visit. As part of this task, we walked a whole bunch through sun, rain, dirt, mud, and snow (well, probably not that last one). We have been blessed with a lot of success, and the following week should be filled to overflowing with such people to visit. I did make sure to take some photos, which will be following this letter, I promise.
Con Amor,
Elder Yates
**Promised Pictures**
Me with a duck that we hunted down and caught in the front yard of our pensionista in El Dorado 
The cathedral that we went to visit while still in the City of Gold
Me in the torito of a member in El Dorado
  My new companion, E' Solano, posing in part of our area in Floresta
Another part of Floresta


Monday, October 26, 2015

Nuevo Cambio

Well, first things first: the transfers were this week. And yes, I did actually have changes, and no longer am in El Dorado, nor in the stake Paraíso. In fact, I'm not even in the city of Santa Cruz. I am, however, still in the department of Santa Cruz. I was sent out to a city called Montero, a drive of about 70-90 minutes from Santa Cruz, in a ward called Floresta. Also of note, I am no longer a District Leader, but a Zone Leader.
On Monday, before learning of the changes, the 4 of us missionaries living together decided to have a giant FHE with our pensionista and her family. As such, after a long day of playing fútbol and washing clothes, we had a fun FHE, just in case one of us had cambios. Tuesday during the day we still hadn't learned of the cambios, so we set about working normal. Luckily, even though it was pretty hot, we had plenty of people to visit and teach. As such, we didn't do a whole lot of walking.
Tuesday night was when we learned of the changes, and only I was leaving the ward. The others continue in the great ward. As such, I put about packing up everything. Since Montero is close enough to Santa Cruz as to not require flying, I was able to bring everything. Wednesday in the morning I finished up and set about to wait until the time of leaving.
When the time arrived, we grabbed all my things and we went to meet my new companion, E' Solano. I had already met him before, as he had the assignment to work in the mission office when I was still in Los Pinos, which share the same Zone. Before we left to our new area (since there weren't missionaries in Floresta this past cambio, we're 'opening the area' as they say) we helped another Elder meet up with his new companion.
After the long drive out to Montero (made even longer by a detour) we had just enough time to set our stuff down and eat lunch before picking up the Elders that will be training this cambio and heading back to the city to pick up the 3 new Elders for the Zone, fresh from the MTC. We got back to Montero and dropped off the Elders with just enough time to find dinner before getting ready for bed.
Thursday we went to meet the Zone during the Zone Meeting. It's a pretty big zone of 20 missionaries when we held the meeting. After lunch we walked about getting to know our area and searching for members to help us. At night, we had to pick up a missionary that was arriving from the department of Beni after his flight that joined us in the zone. However, when we got to the airport at the appointed time, we learned that the flight had been delayed 2 hours, so we camped out in the airport with all the other Zone Leaders that came to pick up missionaries. At long last the plane arrived, and we made our way all the way back out to Montero to sleep.
Friday in the morning one of the Hna missionaries had to take a flight to her new area in Beni, so we took the trio of Hna down to the airport to help one check in and prepare for the flight. We returned to Montero and had more time to wander the area. However, at night, another Hna was arriving from Beni by plane, so we made our way back to the airport, waited for her plane to land, picked her up, then made our way back to Montero for the night.
Saturday looked like it would be a normal day of work, and we decided to take advantage of a missionary that had served in the ward earlier in his mission, that just happens to live in our house. As such, we did a little intercambio (exchange) with them. In my adventures, I met up with an Hno that I knew from Los Pinos, which was pretty exciting. However, we got a call from the office informing us of emergancy tansfers for the Elders that we were doing an intercambio with. As such, we rushed back to the house, got them packed up, and helped them get to their new area, which is about 9km south of the city. I've heard that Montero is about 80-90km north of Santa Cruz. Needless to say, we spent the rest of the working day driving.
Sunday we had a multi-stake conference, including all the stakes from Bolivia and Peru. We had the priviledge of listening to Elder Niel A Anderson talk in Spanish about the importance of attending the tample and temple marriage. From there we finally had a normal day proselyting, and the members here are super nice and helped us a lot in getting to know the area. I'm super excited about working in Floresta, and will be sending pictures of the beautiful area soon.
Con amor,
Elder Yates
**Follow up questions about his new companion and area**
E' Solano is from Lima Peru and will be finishing his mission in 5 weeks. He was the financiero of the mission for a time. We're the only 2 missionaries in the ward, and currently live alone. We have a pensionista again, and we do have a little portable electric stove. We also have a very cozy 2room apartment, with a place to wash clothes right by the window. There is also a large mango tree, which should be rippening in about a month.
The new internet café is about the same, only in Montero instead of Santa Cruz. We don't actually have a car, we went in taxis.

Monday, October 19, 2015


This week certainly flew by quickly, which is a good thing because it must mean we're working hard. However, unlike the other weeks, we even had some fun adventures as well. It certainly was a good last full week of this cambio. (transfer)
Startng on Monday, after writing to all my adoring fans, we went to walk around in the plaza 24 de septiembre, the main plaza of the city.
There we found a giant Catholic Cathedral that was built in 1605 (or somewhere around there) as well as artists from around the world working on wooden sculptures. Unfortunately we didn't learn much about them, as it seemed like they had just receintly started, but it was pretty cool. What I did find out is the artists are given an old tree trunk that the city cleaned out and have the opportunity to make something cultural from their nation. After we had some ice cream (even though it was already cold out) before returning home to clean and wash clothes.
Tuesday was almost normal, the only super exciting thing being visiting and talking with the Bishop. As a side note (almost completely unrelated to the current topic), the PS3 is king over all other consoles here, the xbox being basically nonexistant. However, the Bishop has one, that he says his brother sent him. While we didn't play anything (lo prometo) (I promise) it was pretty interesting to se an xbox again.
Wednesday we first went to do some service - what we were going to do the other week, but got cancelled because of the rain. We were asked to fall a tree, so that's what we did. We also almost knocked out their power, since a stray branch caught on their little antena thing as the tree well. Luckily we were smart enough to turn off the current beforehand, and the tree also got caught on part of their fence, thus preventing the tree from falling completely. After the experience, we had an intercambio. (exchange) However, unlike the others, this time E' Quispe went to the other area. I was joined by an American Elder (Elder Sorenson from Utah) who just recently got here. It was an interesting day, but very fun.
Ending one intercambio Thursday morning in our Zone meeting, we started another one. For this one I did go to the other area, which was actually another area in El Dorado. Unfortunately we didn't have much time to work, since we had ward meetings in the evening, but what we did do went well. We also talked alot, where we learned that we both played way too much video games before the mission, and how we're going to improve after. At night we tried ordering a pizza, but it appears that their house is too far out in the sticks to deliver. Not that I blame them, but I was pretty hopeful for a pizza...
Friday nothing special happened, but Saturday and Sunday was the Stake Conference of the stake Paraíso. However, we were unable to go to the sessons Saturday, which wouldn't be so bad if all the members hadn't had gone as well, leaving us no one to help us visit. We still had a pretty good day. The sesson Sunday that we did go to was buenango, (Bolivian slang for good?) and the best part is that several investigators came with us.
<3 con amor,
Elder Yates


It is currently very cold here, and I'm all wrapped up with a sweater, beenie, scarf and gloves. The weather here apperently depends less on the time of year, and more on the wind patterns because it certainly was not this cold at this time last year (how strange it feels to say that). When the wind comes from the south, we know that the cold and rain comes, Making the next few days sad and gloomy. This started Saturday, but tomorrow should be nice and sunny once again. Even E' Quispe has started to dislike this cold, because o the humidity and wind. It's actually pretty interesting.
This week went well for us this week, with daily and constant visits leaving us little time to walk around and get ourselves into trouble or have adventures. We also had a little surprise when the grandchild of an older Hno (Brother) that we receintly helped return to activity came and told us of his desire to be baptized. His grandfather is the only Church member of his family currently, and told us that the desires came after watching the General Conference sessons. Who would have guessed that listening to living apostles and profets would do such a thing?
After a long while, we once again returned to doing intercambios (exchanges) with the other Elders this past Friday. This time I went to an area in the ward Los Chacos. There we had plenty of time to talk. And, interesting enough, there I ran into the Flia Linares, one of my first pensionistas. Once again they are giving pension to the Elders. Since a little time had passed since the last time we saw each other, we talked awhile and took some pictures, that should've been seen by now.
In our travels we find many people with many questions about many different topics, from Church history to doctrine of other churches. However, especially this week, we met up with a man with many strange and interesting questions and doubts. Luckily the scriptures have many answers of peace, confort, and truth. It makes me a little sad that I didn't study the scriptures as much as I could have before the mission, but it's never to late to start.
Thursday we changed up the daily rut and went to the Cumavi to see what we could find. For those who don't remember (or if I never said) what the Cumavi is, it's the giant open-air market. It seems that, in our travels, my face got a little sunburned, making the rest of the day and Friday pretty fun. Saturday we got a little surprise when the Zone Leaders showed up for inspections, especially because I was still in the house in Los Chacos. It was a little interesting as the house in Los Chacos was inspected first, then we went together with the ZL to our house and passed the inspection again.
Something that I learned this week is that October 11 is the national women's day in Bolivia, so I'd like to take this opportunity to give a (late) shout-out to all the women.
With love,
Elder Yates

Monday, October 5, 2015


Well, it has reached October once again. Tomorrow I will complete one full year since arriving in Bolivia. We also had the great opportunity to listen to 4 of the 5 General Conference sessons, only missing the Priesthood sesson becaue of its late start time. Unfortunately, we don't have any other chances to watch it, so those talks will remain a secret to me, probably until we get the next Liahona  with all the other talks. It's a little sad, but the talks that we did listen to were really good. And the best thing is that we got to watch in English again. Hurray for the Internet.

This week was fairly interesting for us, as we started off pretty well with some good  references that we received, leading us to some prepared families on Monday. The father of one family is from Cuba, with a very different accent from what I'm used to hearing. At least it's still Spanish, so its all good. Tuesday we also met with a good amount of people, after  cleaning up a bit of our yard again. It was also E' Quispe's first time using a machete, and his hands didn't fare so well, leaving some painful blisters. Good ol' learning by experience. Life's a cruel master.

Wednesday we had plans to go with the other Elders in our ward, that live in a different house, to help out a member. However, since it started raining a little in the morning, we called ahead to make sure we were still good to go. We got the thumbs up from the member, so we headed out to the other Elders' house through the mud and rain. When we got to their house, they told us that they also called the member and were told that the service was called off. As such, we traveled out to the sticks in the mud and rain basically to hang out a bit as we waited for the rain to calm down and let us head back out.

In other Wednesday news, the son of our pensionista returned home from his mission to Brasil. As such, we had a special lunch of churrasco and talked with the newly released Elder Supayabe. It was especially interesting because, as Spanish and Portuguese are practically the same language, he kept switching from Portuguese to Spanish in the same sentance due to his past 2 years only speaking portugués. It was quite fun for all of us to speak with him.

Thursday was a pretty normal day, going around and making sure to invite everyone to the General Conference sessons. We also found a member that had receintly moved to our area that had started to fall away a bit from the Church, so we talked with him a while to get to know a bit of his story.

Friday we got a little surprise as the asistants called to inform us of interviews with the President that would take place in the afternoon. As such, we rushed to get everything ready and headed out to the new office, which we had to search for to find. We got to know a bit more of Santa Cruz than we  had planned. Luckily we got there on time and passed the interviews without a problem. As a side note, I also learned that E' Moreno, the first missionary I trained, headed outside the city to a pueblito (village) called Riberalta. President Zambrano also commented on several  interesting and popular photos of me that seem to be floating around on the internet.

For both Saturday and Sunday, we had a prolonged intercambio (exchange) with the Zone leaders so E' Knight and I could go watch the Conference in English in the stake center while E' Quispe and E' Saira went to watch in Spanish in the new chapel. E' Knight is also from Arizona  - Page, in case anyone is wondering - so we had a little more to talk about as well. It was a pretty  nice weekend.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Yates

ps Recibí el paquete que me envió mi familia, justo en tiempo por 1 año en Bolivia. (I received the package my family sent me just in time for 1 year in Bolivia)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Día del Camba

This past Thursday was the day of recognition of Santa Cruz. It would appear that Santa Cruz became a department on the 24 of September. In a little celebration, the ward had a little fiesta in the chapel, which we made sure to attend. Of course we brought some investigators, so we wernt free-loading on the food, for the most part. It was a few simple and traditional foods, including masaco de plátano verde, masaco de yucca, and pan de arroz. Very tastey.
The rest of the week went fairly well. Monday we tried to visit some members for a small FHE, but the father was called in to work longer, so we had to reschedule for Tuesday. When we passed by Tuesday, our FHE plans turned into only eating dinner. Not that Im complaining, but not exactly what we had planned. Since it turned into a dinner, it made us pretty late to get to our last visit, leaving us only one option: flag down a mototaxi. We made it to the other side of our area very quickly to visit with the other family.
When we went to visit the family of recient converts, the Flia Montaño, on Wednesday, we found that the young couple had left to pick up their paychecks, leaving us to speak with their mother. As we were talking with her, she commented to us her desire to be baptized as well, and we put the plan to do so the 17 of October.
On Thursday we had the little celebration in the chapel, and afterwards we went to visit and party with another family of investigators. There we had good ol American hamburgers cooked on a grill. It seems that our style of burgers is the better one.
The weather up till Thursday was consistantly hot, and even in the morning the sun was pretty strong. However, it cooled down a whole bunch in the afternoon, and rained pretty hard for a few minutes. We had received warnings all week however, so we were prepared, at least for the rain. I didnt fair so well in the cold, but somehow I survived. We visited a few people and returned home to warm up a bit.
Saturday in the morning was also pretty cold, but warmed up really fast. What made it even worse was the added humidity after the rain. We spent most of Saturday in meetings and waiting for people to show up for the meetings, but we did visit a family in the morning. Theyre pretty alright for the most part, but focus a little too much in Apocalipsis methinks. Sunday we had many good visits with new investigators, with many people attending with us in church.
All in all, this week went well with many crazy changes in the weather.
With love,
Elder Yates

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


This week went a bit better for us than the last week, especially for me as it was hot all week without any sign of rain or cold. We visited a few more people but still spent a good amount of time walking around. Sometimes it seems like all we do is walk and talk.
As a little break of the same boring rutine, we were asked to help out a family move a bunch of wood. So, we went and moved a whole bunch of wood from one spot to another. To better understand why, the family are carpenters and wanted to install a new machine to work more better (or something, didn't ask about the machine honestly). However, the spot they wanted to use was already occupied by other things, mostly wood. So we hauled it away. And no, we didn't burn any of it. It did cross my mind, but it appears they still wanted their wood.
At long last I finally got a little more time to use a machete, this time in our own backyard. It seems that, as we help other people, we tend to forget our own house. Such is the life of a missionary.
Something very small and almost insignificant is that peanut butter is almost unheard of here. When we talk to someone and start to mention 'mantequilla de maní' they don't know how to respond, and ask what it is. And, especally after eating so many PB&J sandwiches before, didn't think that it would make much of a difference. However, this past week I found some Bolivian peanut butter, so I leaped at the opportunity and made my own PB&J. Granted it wasn't the same as good ol' American peanut butter, it was a nice change from eating constant rice with everything.
It seems like the rapid progress we had early has slowed down a bit, as many of the people we visit with arn't married or play futbol Sundays and don't have time to come to Church with us. We did, at long last, find a family that is married, but it seems like the Hno only wants to talk about how the world will end and how to understand the book of Revelations. 
With Love,
Elder Yates

Monday, September 14, 2015

Nuevo Cambio

Well, this past week was the week of  cambios. (transfers) First off, I'm still in El Dorado, partnered with E' Quispe, serving as District Leader. The other Elders in our house also stayed the same. The rest of the zone did change, dramatically, including the closure of an area, and changing to 2 new Zone Leaders.
As for what we did this past week, we wound up doing a whole bunch of walking as people left town or got sick or too busy to meet with us. We have had the great pleasure of doing many service projects with different families, most of which involved moving bricks from one place to another. It seems like that's all we do anymore; I can't even remember the last time I got to use a  Bolivian lawnmower. It's a little sad, but someday we'll get the opportunity once again.
I would like to mention once again the insanity of the weather  down here, as Thursday  was a very warm day, but Friday was so cold I almost busted out the thermals. What made it even more fun is that it rained hard in the morning and there was a constant drizzle  the entire day. Somehow I managed to survive, but only just. Saturday was slighty  better,  as there wasn't rain all day, but it took until Sunday in the afternoon to start warming up again. And this morning started to look pretty gloomy again, but it cleared up, luckily.
Saturday we decided to have a little activity in the ward, so we set up things to watch the movie, Meet the Mormons. Oddly enough, no one told us that the same day was campeonatos (championships) in the Stake, so we had to compete a bit with the other activity in the same Chapel. Oh well, it still went pretty well with a good amount of people to watch with us. 
Sunday was also a little unique in how we got to Church. Since neither of the 2 Micros were able to give us a  ride once again, we had to make our own ride. Luckily another member drove by with his little moving truck from work, so we managed to get all of us inside the  back storage. Once Church finished, we didn't have to take the same means back as most of us were able to catch a ride with the Micro that went early. The 4 of us missionaries, however, got left behind to fend for ourselves.  
Elder Yates
ps It seems like I'll be completing a full year in the Stake Paraíso (Paradise Stake) with this cambio; Woohoo for the Mission Bolivia Paraíso!

Thursday, September 10, 2015


After the repeated comments of "Your letters sure have improved!" I've decided to back things up a bit to give me more breathing room and so a mob dosn't start a little more down the road. As such, this week got pretty hot and muggy, making it a difficult week for my companion, E' Quispe. There was also a whole bunch of wind and dirt flying around.
As a few more notes about my year in the mission, I'd like to say that we wash our own clothes here in Bolivia, for the most part. Some missionaries pay members to wash clothes for them, but we have no such luck here in El Dorado. Also, we don't have washing machines, so everything is washed by hand. As such, I've gained some pretty valuable experience for the future if I ever get left without a machine. 
In regards of this past week and all the wonder adventures passed, I'm not exactly too sure of what to write. In part because we didn't really do very many exciting things, and also because it would seem that I lost my agenda, so I don't have my little cheat-sheet to help me. However, we did try to beat the heat this week by getting some ice cream to snack on Monday before returning to normal, everyday missionary tasks. 
We got the oportunity to prestar servicio (perform service) twice this week again, one time Tuesday with moving more bricks, and another time Saturday where we helped to take out some trees. Let's say that we had more success with moving bricks. Nothing bad happened, but taking out tree trunks isn't the most fun thing in the world.
Wednesday we did another little intercambio with the other Elders in the house, and I got to spend the day with E' Fernandes the brasilero. We had plenty of time to speak and learn both English and Portuguese. Not entirely sure I'll return home falando portugêus, but I'm pretty sure E' Fernandes will quickly learn English well. 
We've had some difficulties with our investigators this past week, especially because everyone only has time at 8 o'clock at night. We received some interesting questions, ranging between 'why are all the church leaders white' and 'what happens with gays' and everything inbetween. Not sure what happened so suddenly to bring up such questions, but it's been a different week for sure.
Con Amor,
Elder Yates
Pictures from the large baptism a few weeks ago

A photo of all the people in white (plus a little kid)
 Another photo of all the people in white without the little kid, but a little blurry

All the people getting baptized a few weeks ago

A photo of our makeshift hose (the other Elder isn't really doing anything of value, just wanted to be in the picture)
The other end of our makeshift hose (both of these Elders are doing things of importance)
Our chapel is a little 'out in the sticks' and more than just humans pass to hear the Word of God