The mission office is moving and since all letters and packages are sent to the mission office Elder Yates has a new address.
Please note (I have included the new address on the side bar for future reference):
Elder Mark Yates
Misión Bolivia Santa Cruz Norte
Calle Independencia No. 610, Esquina Calle Lemoine
Zona Central, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Monday, July 27, 2015
Well, this semana (week)was an interesting one. Everyday we had something to do for some reason or other that took up almost the entire afternoon, leaving us only a few hours in the night to visit people. The good news is that the 'winter' season has passed, so we're safe from the awful cold for a while. The bad news is that E' Quispe is extremely acostomed to cold environments, and, even though it's only a bit warm, is already starting to die from the heat. I feel a little bad for him, but we'll survive.
Even though we were a little time-limited this week, we still saw a lot of progress. For one thing, we found a new family that is extremely interested in listening to the gospel. They're a family that came from La Paz, and, about 14 years ago, heard a little about the Church and even obtained a Book of Mormon; they managed to lose it however. Another family, the Flia Montaño, the family that is going to get married the 7 to be baptized the 8, managed to disapear about 3 weeks ago. We found them again this week, still getting ready to complete these goals. Yet another family that is a bit less active is starting to return to the Church, or at least the wife and children for now. However, this past week we were able to visit with the husband, and he actually offered the closing prayer; a huge step forward.
A small problem that we have for our area is that the chapel is a bit far away, leaving us the options of taking 2 or 3 buses (depending on where we start) or flagging down a taxi that is willing to make the trip out there. Not surprisingly, not everyone is willing to make these sacrifices just yet, especially investigators and large families. The good news is that 1 or 2 members offer to give rides to people in their buses, if we arrive at the proper time in the proper place. Luckily we don't have problems with this Sundays, but during the week when we have to get out there we're left to fend for outselves. The worst part, however, is that out by the chapel not a whole lot of transportation passes by, especially at night. It's always an adventure trying to return home at 8:45 or later because of meetings.
Also this week we celebrated 2 birthdays, one for E' Quispe (mi compañero) and one for E' Padilla. As such, we got to eat plenty of cake and little treats, including the empanada de pollo, (chicken pie) of which I am a huge fan. As a small side note, (and may it not seem like I'm counting) it has been 11 months since I left home. Only 13 lucky months (and 1 day; LEAP YEAR) left in the short time I have. Time is passing very fast, as well as my ability to speak the English. Ni modo, por lo menos mi padre me entenderá. (Either way, at least my dad understands me)
Un pequeño catarata que formó en nuestra área después la lluvia
(A small waterfall that formed in our area after rain)
Yo en el 'lago' de dicho catarata en el frío
(Me in the 'lake' of the waterfall in the cold)
E' Quispe una noche, con la calle siendo un río
(E'Quispe one night with the street being a river)
El día de la amistad fue esta semana, y aquí está evidencia que sé cocinar(The Friendship Day was this week, and here's evidence that I can cook)
Cumpleaños de E' Padilla
un foto de todos los misioneros en El Dorado con el Obispo
(a picture of all the missionaries in El Dorado with the bishop)
Yo en el estadio famoso 'El Tawuichi'
(Me at the famous stadium 'The Tawuichi')
Un día nustra pensión perdió la llave de su cadena, entonces tuvimos que subir su pared para almorzar.
(One day nustra pension lost key chain, then had to climb the wall for lunch)
Yo y E' Padilla, listos para jugar más pelota
(E'Padilla and I ready to play ball)
(E'Yates and E'Padilla were the two elders that were injured in the game of Futbol a while ago and now are both well enough to get back to playing. Praying they have better luck from now on)
Monday, July 20, 2015
First off, ths darned 'i' key isn't working so well, so if one is missing from a word, I'm sorry. Anyway, the most excting event that happened is that I finally received a new companion, only 2 weeks before the next cambios (transfers). His name es E' Quispe, and is from La Paz, Bolivia. He only has a month in the mission, so once again I get to train another fantastic missionary. His other companion finished his mission this week, so E' Quspe got sent out here to enjoy the mud and water. The funniest thing is that he came from an area in the center of the city where everything s paved to an area where the number of paved roads can be counted on one hand - with fingers to spare. To make matters even worse, it rained (again) for several days, once again reducing the area to muddy streets. What a great welcoming party.
Much of ths week was spent introducing the area and the members to my new companion, which included a lot of walking. The good news is that, in all our walking, we found new people to teach and some 'lost' members that were forgotten by the previous missionares. Things are moving along pretty well around here with the people. We had a few problems this week with meetings, however, as keys to buildings were misplaced or the hands of someone else, but things como así pasa de vez en cuando (these things happen sometimes). Eventually we got everything sorted out, so there shouldn't be more problems lke this.
I'm sure that everyone already knows that for the past 4 weeks I was lucky enough to sport a cast on my arm. This past week I was even luckier to be able to get it taken off, and I was set free. As such, my time to train my left arm has finshed for now. We'll see if get more time later, or if I simply start to use more of my left, as my lefty handwrting wasn't too bad - especally compared with my right arm.
In our travels this week, I was remnded of the great spiritual power and knowledge the missionares have as many people ths week had many difficult questions. What surprsed me the most is that almost all were people with years of learning or specialized work, coming to jóvenes (youth) wth little to no formal trainng or advanced schooling. I'm really grateful for all the wonderfull truths that have been restored so that we don't have to be lost in the darkness that the world tries to gve us. Never forget to read the scriptures; they contain more knowledge than one would think.
Con artíssimo amor,
Monday, July 13, 2015
For the first time for 28 years, the Pope himself came and visited Bolivia this past Thursday. In celebration, we were locked up in the house all day. As such, we didn't really do much this day, and the week was full of people talking about his coming. Such a historical event, and the only thing worthy of note that we did was order a pizza...
Anyway, the 3 of us are still in trio. The weather also kind of sucked the first few days of the week, from Monday until Wednesday needing several layers of clothing to be comfortable. However, Thursday suddenly heated up a lot, which continued until this morning. Plus, the wind has started to blow, and it gets pretty strong. Santa Cruz really is a beautiful place, but the weather is a bit funky.
This week passed by really fast, and was filled with visiting and teaching (almost) every day. As such, we didn't have much time to do much worthy of note. We do spend a lot of time talking about this and that, so at least we don't get bored. We do, however have many spiritual experiences and miracles daily. This past week we got a call asking for a bendición de salud for someone that was going to have surgery, as a small tumor was found. However, when she went to the clinic after the blessing, she was told that there wasn't a tumor, only some swelling.
As kind of a side note, the youth in Santa Cruz had their FSY(the 'new and improved' EFY) week. As such, we heard many wonderful and powerful experiences they had Saturday and Sunday, which made me regret a little not going when I had the chance. Oh well, all I can do know is advise those that are still young enough to go to go.
Short Letter this week, I'm sorry, but currently there is a downpour going on.
Lots of Love,
Monday, July 6, 2015
First off, sorry for the delay in the letter. I got transfered to some village in the middle of nowhere and had to take flota (basically a giant bus for public transport) for 2 hours to arrive at a place that offers internet, and it's really slow connection. Second, I didn't actually get transfered; we just had our activity first this time.
|A photo of us on the teeter-totter this morning|
Anyway, the weather this week has been pretty abysmal with cold rain the entire week. We only saw the sun for a little bit every other day, giving us false hope for the time to pass. Normally I would describe the conditions of the streets as rivers, but I feel that wouldn't describe it well enough. Instead, I'll put it like this: our areas are one, big lake filled with mud. And no, I still havn't received a new companion.
|The work of the Lord continuing forward|
Since we're still in trio, we're still trying to cover a very large area in a very short amount of time. Oddly enough, it gets a little difficult. It does mean, however, that I get to get to know other neighborhoods. This last week we wandered out into the middle of nowhere in search of some families in need. The road out there was long and lonely, and we didn't even get to find and jungle to wade in; just more mud. This area really is beautiful this time of year.
|The three of us in a torito (small vehicle thingy)|
One view of the middle of nowhere
The other view in the middle of nowhere
Since the weather was so fantastic, almost everyone decided to take breaks from work to enjoy the times. As such, we had some good success visiting with people this week. However, it also destroyed the desires of church attendence, leading to a very small Sacrament Meeting. At the very least the building was warm, so I could take off my gloves, scarf, winter hat, and jacket for a while. However, the rest of the day wasn't as wonderfully warm.
As a matter of fact, Saturday was probably the coldest, wettest day of the week. This made a very poor 4 of July, especially as the others wern't as excited as I was for this great and glorious day. We didn't even eat burgers, steaks, nor hot dogs; we actually started to fast for dinner. And, to top everything off, I don't have a flag. I felt so unAmerican...
Anyway, the weather is starting to improve again, so hopefully my clothes will be able to dry (we wash by hand down here, greating learning experience). I also received a box from home, yay me! and thanks Mom! (Also, ¡FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS!)
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
This week was much more tranquilo (quiet) than this last week, and we had a bit more success and work to do. We even had the oportunity to baptize someone this Saturday, but more about that later. Also, a joven (youth) received his mission call this week, and will be going to Santiago Chile, starting some time in August if I remember correctly. How wonderful!
Anyway, after being locked up in the house for much of the previous week, my other 2 companions were a bit anxious to leave and preach the gospel, so we did, inspite of the bruised and slightly swollen ankle. Of course we had to take it a little slow for the first part of the week, but it's fine. The problem is that we have to manage 2 large areas that took all the work of 2 companionships with only 1. I was told that a new companion is coming 'pronto,' but the next cambios are only 4ish weeks away. Who knows.
So, about the baptism that happened. A young woman of our ward, that is active and attends activities, never showed up as a member in the system; se perdió su ficha (her file was lost). As such, the only option was to rebaptize her and make better registros (records). Unfortunately, it seems that this isn't as rare as one would hope around here, as several people have told me about stories of people being rebaptized. So, to really make sure she's a member, I had the priviledge of baptizing her for the second time this past Saturday. Ojalá no se piedra esta vez su ficha (Hopefully they won't loose her record this time).
Sunday we had a really good turnout of investigators in Church. The better news is that they all enjoyed it and want to return again. The family that we're helping get married (Montaño) is also still very motivated and excited to learn and progress. In the afternoon Sunday we went to a training session with some ward leaders to help improve some meetings to help the missionary efforts move along, which was good.
The weather has continued being crazy this week, with everyday except martes y miércoles (Tuesday and Wednesday) being hot. The good news is that it didn't rain at all, so we don't have to worry about mud and boots just yet.
****There is an amazing family in Santa Cruz that has consistently posted pictures of Elder Yates on Facebook for me. Here are a few pictures Hermano Linares posted from Stake Conference this week.***
Hermano Linares with Elder Yates
Elder Yates with a previous companion, Elder Moreno
Hermano Linares, Elder Taylor and Elder Yates