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 :/