Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Monday, August 31, 2015

Un Año Ya

Well, I have officially passed the one year mark in the mission, and boy has it passed by quickly. This week passed especially quickly as we were constantly busy helping and visiting people. We had a few interesting experiences that we lived through, and I also will describe a bit of the entire past year, with many photos coming.
One of the families we are visiting, the flia Urimo, accepted our numerous offers to help them and let us pass by Tuesday morning to help clean up their yard. We also passed by Saturday to lijar sus paredes (wash their walls) so they could paint. Unfortunately we didn't get to help paint, but we still got plenty dirty. We also had the great joy to finally see them attend Church with us Sunday. They're a great family that needs to get married to continue, and are pretty excited still.
We were invited to a lunch with some members this week, with one condition: that I would cook the hamburgers. They brought all the materials, including the grill and charcoal, so I went about and made the burgers. They turned out well, and the family was decently surprised that it was so tastey. The only problem was that the bread that we used for 'buns' didn't really go well with the meat, and just threw on salad of tomatoes and onions. Still very good however.
Saturday the Elders from the other area in El Dorado had a baptism, but when we arrived 30min early, we realized that the water hadn't been changed since the other week, so we had to change all the water en la pila (the font). We had to help the drain by sacando baldes (filling buckets) of water and pouring them out so we could start filling it up as quickly as possible. Then, when we got to filling, we made makeshift mangueras from the grifas (hoses from the ??sinks??) en the bathrooms to pour into the pila (font), as well as filling more baldes (buckets) to make the process as fast as possible. Amazingly we got it done in just over an hour and a half. Naturally we took photos of the process to give a better idea of what happened. (However, he did not send said photos this week)
And now, I would like to start the yearly recap, obviously with the most import thing: the food. This year, even being in the city, I have had the priviledge of eating many strange things, including, but not limited to: gerbil, cow stomach, cow udder, cow tongue, chicken feet, chicken heart, just about every other part of the chicken, probably 15 or more different fruits and vegetables I've never heard of before, I don't even know how many types of bread, and a whole bunch of different styles of cooking rice. My favorite things probably are: majadito tostado con charque, masaco de plátano verde, cuñapé, and the salteña de carne. I havn't suffered in any way from the food.
Many people and missionaries say they feel homesick or start to miss the people they left behind when leaving for a time. Luckily for me (and without wanting to offend anyone) I havn't been plagued with such feelings, although obviosly I'd love to see my family and friends again - but after one year more. Although I havn't been able to go where I wanted in the beginning, I really enjoy my 2 areas (even if they are in the same stake) I have been in. The people are really nice, and many people love to hear the word of God. Doing and living, on the other hand, is a little harder...
I've learned many things over the course of this year, things that I would never trade for anything. Things have been hard, but I don't know if I have every truly felt this ssame level of happiness.
Con mucho amor,
Elder Yates
ps I'd like to end with one of my favorite saying: Antes la misión, hablaba un idioma muy bien. Ahora, hablo dos idiomas mal. (Before the mission he spoke one language very well. Now I speak two languages badly)

Decorating the church for the marriages last week

The 3 beautiful couples that were married

Monday, August 24, 2015


This week was pretty hectic in a good way. We had the great pleasure of being a part of 3 weddings and 15 baptisms and confirmations this week in the ward El Dorado. It was very exciting, emotional, and spiritual. The only downside is that we didn't have much time to work, as I'll explain shortly.
This past Tuesday we had the priviledge of participating in an all-day multi-zone conference with President Zambrano. We learned many wonderful and spiritual things and had a great time. Also, for the first time since the CCM, we were able to unite 5 of the 6 Elders that came from the CCM in México. It was nice to meet up with old friends after so long, especially as it was the first time some of us saw each other.
Wednesday was our only full day we had this week to proselyte the entire day, and we made good use of it visiting as many people as we could. We even got the help of a member with his little 3-wheel motorized vehicle thing in the afternoon, so we cruised around in style. In the night we had a special visit with the Flia Montaño that was baptized this week were we had a delicios 'dinner' of cheesy rice, yucca, and grilled chicken hearts. Honestly very tasty.
Thursday we spent all evening in the chapel, as I got to interview 13 people for their baptisms. The best news is that only 1 of them didn't pass. Then, Friday we spent the afternoon preparing the chapel for the weddings before returning home to eat dinner and prepare to head out to witness the 3 couples get married: the families Montaño, Batista, and Robles. It was very special, and many photos were taken, but to be passed along this next week.
Saturday was the big day, and we spent the afternoon cleaning up after the party from the night before and fixing up the chapel for the baptisms. We started with the movie of the Restoration before starting the ordenance for 15 people. Many people showed up to support the people from the ward, completely filling the room to watch. I had the personal pleasure of baptizing one of the 3 baptisms from our area. 
Sunday was pretty crazy as we had to do the 15 confirmations, which took up almost 35minutes of the Sacrament meeting. Then, in the afternoon, we went to visit with a young man that's leaving for his mission this Wednesday to Chile. We got trapped there for longer than we wanted, but still were able to visit with a few families before heading home to finish this crazy week.
With Love,
Elder Yates

Monday, August 17, 2015


This was a week full of  fun surprises and adventures, and once again the weather was all over the place. Since the previous week, just about everyone was warning us that miércoles (Wednesday) was going to be freezing and rainy. However, when miércoles came, it was still nice and hot. Then, Thursday morning, it  chilled down a lot but then warmed up pretty quickly. Friday and Saturday were fairly cool, a great temperature for missionaries, but then Sunday got cold enough that we busted out our little sweaters for Church. And, this morning, the rain started to fall. It didn't rain too much, but now things are wet again. The best news of this is that now there isn't so much  dirt flying around everywhere.
As if the weather wasn't fun enough, all the power in our area went out Monday night, cancelling all our plans as we had to return home early. Luckily the power returned before we fell asleep. Tuesday went fairly well, and we got a little surprise that the family Montaño that's going to get  married this Friday still didn't do all the paperwork with the lawyers; and the last possible day to do it was Wednesday. They also asked me if I could be a witness for their marriage, but it would appear that only Bolivians can be witnesses for now. The good news is that they made it and got everything done Wednesday, so everything is set for Friday.
Wednesday we changed things around a bit as we had another little intercambio (exchange) with other Elders. I went to check things out in the barrio Chacos. As I worked with E' Stratton, we had much success visiting people. And I think only 1 of the visits we had didn't give us something to eat or drink. At the end of the day, E' Stratton told me he had never eaten so much in one day before, and asked when I would return as I was a 'good luck charm.' From what I heard from E' Quispe, he also had a pretty good day with E' Taylor in El Dorado.
Thursday and Friday were pretty average days as we walked and gave some lessons. Friday we planned to wander our way to the far edge of our area and seek out some references we were given. Unfortunately, we realized (and remembered) that the directions here arn't exactly the greatest, as the largely are 'la segunda calle, tercera casa a la mano derecha. Hay un tienda cerca.' (the second street, third house on the right. There is a shop nearby.) There are many small house-stores here, and house numbers are non-existant. As such, we got plenty of exercise and talking with new people.
We did a small intercambio Saturday with the other Elders in the house because there were several important appointments at the same time as a meeting, so we thought to complete both at once. However, it turns out we misunderstood the start time of the meeting, and since we were unable to get the chapel 'on time' the meeting was cancelled, and we were left without plans. We quickly threw something together and finished the night with a short visit.
This Saturday there are, in total, 16 planned baptisms. That also means 16 baptismal interviews, Luckily  3 are from us, so the Zone Leaders work with  them. The other 13 (what a lucky number) get to meet with me. While I'm happy to talk with people about the Gospel, I'm not too thrilled to be in interviews for several hours. The joys of leadership.
Con mucho amor,
Elder Yates

Monday, August 10, 2015


This past Thursday was the Independance Day of Bolivia, the 6 de agosto. Luckily we  didn't get locked up in the house again, but given free reign to go forth and celebrate the day. The bad news is that, even in such an important day of the year, many people had to keep working. The weather especially was a lot better for the Bolivian Independance day that the American down here, as it wasn't very hot and windy. Very, very windy.
Anyway, we had a special meeting with President Zambrano Tuesday, all the Zone and District leaders in the mission, for some leadership training. We talked a lot about the importance of serving others, with Christ as our perfect example. After the highly uplifting meeting, we were heading back to preach a bit when we ran into the Flia Linares, my old pensionista back in  Los Pinos. It would appear that they just receintly moved into the barrio Los Chacos. It was quite a surprise to run into eachother out of the blue, and I'm sure there's already pictures from la Hna Linares.
As a little change of pace Thursday, we did a little intercambio (exchanges) with the Elders from another ward, with me going with an E' Wilbee from Colorado, so I got to meet new people all day for the Day of Independance. And I really won out on the exchange, as we got a giant churrasco (basically a BBQ but instead of fine-cut fillets, its the cuts of meat with the bones still attached) for lunch, a giant plate of the super-popular (around here at least) Pique Machu, (french fries, cow meat and hot dogs cut in chunks, green peppers and onions sautéed, probably some other things, and all covered in ketchup, mustard, and mayones) and, after a ward activity at night, a giant pizza to end the day. Not to mention all the soda that we were given. Apart from all the food, we had a good time working and talking. Something interesting, E' Wilbee also did the IB program and earned the Diploma, so we had much to talk about.
For a special treat Saturday we got invited to eat lunch with another family where we were treated once again with the Pique Machu, but how it should really be made (supposedly): spicy. However,  I didn't find it at all spicy. My companion, on the other hand, took a lot of time to be able to finish. Just another example of the supremity of the Mexican spices. The same night, we went to visit a family, but the wife was still working when we arrived and the husband was busy moving his several thousand bricks from one side of his yard to the other. Instead of leaving him alone, we did the natural missionary thing to do and started to help move bricks for a while. Quite the experience to haul bricks from one side of a house to another by hand, but I wouldn't recomend it as something to do to enjoy yourself.
We had a little difficulty again this Sunday with getting people to Church as both the members with Micros were unable to help us out in the morning. As such, we were stranded with about 30 or 40 people with no way to make the 20min+ journey by car with very few public transport passing by. Somehow we flagged down a car (a minivan that is used as a small public-transport known by the name 'trufi' here) and managed to fit about 25 people in and send them off, leaving us the job of flagging down a few more smaller cars so the rest of us could get to Church. It worked, and we were only 20min late!
As for the families we are visiting, we found another family that really wants to change the problems in their life, as they see the damage that is being done to their children. I'm really grateful for the Gospel in my life and the strength that it brings. This family is another that isn't married already, but they told us that they were already thinking about it soon. The family Montaño is doing well, and are very excited for their marraige and subsequent baptism. Not sure if I mentioned this already, but there are 3 families in El Dorado that will be married the 21 de agosto, and 15 people preparing for baptism the 22. Really starting to see the hand of the Lord in the people here.
Con mucho amor para todos,
Elder Yates

Monday, August 3, 2015

Nuevo cambio

At the beginning of this brand new cambio, (transfer) we look forward to many great experiences and adventures here in the area El Dorado with my companion E' Quispe. No, we didn't change around at all. However, there was a small change with another Elder in the house leaving and another coming. The most interesting part is that the new Elder is from Brasil. As such, he speaks portugués and is learning español. There are now 3 languages spoken in our house. Talk about cultural diversity.

Because the weather is so strange here, I would like to talk a little more about it. The good news is that it no longer gets cold and the rain has gone away, probably to come again another day. It would appear that the heat has return for a good while to come. I am pretty happy, but E' Quispe not so much. On the other hand, there is a whole bunch of wind. Bastante viento. (Quite windy) This in itself wouldn't be so bad, if all of our area wasn't dirt and sand. But, because it is, we get pegged alot in the neck and face, depending on which direction we're going. I don't think I've ever eaten so much dirt in such a short amount of time.
To help us beat the heat and dirt a bit, the 4 of us Elders in the house went and bought some hats. I'll have to send a picture so ya'll get the right idea of how they are, but suffice it to say that I feel a bit like a cowboy talking around with the new hat. At least the 4 of us are all in the same sandy boat.
This past week was full of good teaching experiences, and E' Quispe is especially progessing a lot for his second cambio in the mission. The family that was going to get married the 7 had to postpone a few weeks for the 21 because of a few problems, but are super excited to move forward in life. We also have the daughter of a less active family that is starting to return to activity that is getting ready for her baptism, which will also be the 22 with the other family. The other Elders have another 13 investigators preparing for baptism the 22, with 2 families that are getting married the 21. With all these people getting ready, I only have a few wishes: first, that they all can ready by then; second, that they become strong in the faith; and third, that there will be enough clothing for everyone. We'll see shortly.
We got to do some more service for the first time in forever. The only bad news is that it didn't include the Bolivian lawnmower. Instead, we hauled dirt from one place to another for a good amount of time. The purpose of the haul was to fill up a low area that was collecting a lot of water, making it a bit unsafe. Unfortunately we didn't finish, so we'll return again this week to
haul some more dirt. Hurray for service!
A small update on my reading of the Old Testament: I'm currently in Ezequiel. In this book there are a whole bunch of strange parábolas and visions, making for a very interesting reading. Luckily I found a manual para alumnos (for students) from Institute so I have a little help understanding.
Con amor,
Elder Yates