Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


And so my first full week in the Jungle has ended. It was a pretty good week, and would like to take a little time to explain my new situation.

While the temperature isn't actually too high (no more than 100 I'd say) here, one really feels the sun. We're just constantly sweating in every moment, whether we're walking or sitting. It's only strange for the first day or two, then it just becomes life. I think i'm starting to enjoy it. There isn't too much wind (almost nothing) and the week was nice and sunny without clouds. I'm told that it should rain this week, but hopefully it doesn't last too long; I need to tan a bit more.

The people here also live pretty humble, in that the majority of the houses are just wooden panels nailed on top of each other. Also pretty common here are houses made of stacked sticks. Sometimes the people slap on cement to stick them together more, and sometimes no. However, the vast majority of people also have their personal motorcycle, a big fridge, their nice TV, and the latest touchscreen phone. Sometimes humanity amazes me.

After writing last week, we went to play some sports before going shopping and the like. I met some new people, super buenos. Since there are 6 of us living in the same house, we all got up early Tuesday morning to play some fútbol in a nearby field. We also had some service after study, where we were asked to haul bricks from one place to another. It seems like the other week the zone (of missionaries) knocked down an old, abandoned house, and the neighbors wanted those bricks. I think it was legal, but we never brought that part up. We only did what they asked. What nice people these missionaries!

After the game and the service and all the walking (since our area is very big) around from Tuesday, Wednesday we were a little tired. We also had a small missionary capacitacion (training). It was the first world-wide missionary training for more than 12ish years (I think, don't remember too well) and we received 2 hours of training from the Church Leaders. Super bueno. We then had a good rest of the day, getting to know the people better. Thursday was then used (without really wanting to) to get to know the area, and we walked from one end to the other and then back. The interesting news is that we found a guy that lived in the States for a while, and wanted us to teach in English so that he could practice. It was really weird trying to give a lesson in English after so long, and pretty funny afterwards as we talked about how it went.

Before Thursday ended, we got invited to eat some BBQ. Naturally, we couldn't turn it down. We slept happy. Friday morning we also got talked into going to play more fútbol in the morning. It's fun, but a little tiring. We spent the day visiting, and ended the day with a small English class in the chapel. It's pretty funny to see Bolivians try to speak English, and then I remember how I was for my first while in Bolivia, and then it gets even funnier. For the first time in a long while, I have a companion that also went through the same fun times so we could laugh together. I made sure to take a picture this week of E' Fusi, so ya'll can see him (Unfortunately, E'Yates didn't send the picture home). He's super funny and super friendly.

Saturday we got up early again to play fútbol. Maybe one day I'll get to sleep in again (I doubt it; we got up early today to play as well). We also went to the feria de Pompeya (an outdoor market), which is basically a super smaller version of the Kumabi in Santa Cruz. We went because E' Fusi needs new shoes, and so that I could get to know it a bit. Unfortunately we didn't find any shoes for my companion since the people here have such small feet. We did, however, talk to a friend of the missionaries to see what can be down to obtain a hammock, since those are all the rage around here. It seems like even the poorest of people here have a makeshift hammock. Why lose out on the culture here?

Life is super out here, and the people are also very receptive.
Much loves,
Elder Yates

Monday, January 18, 2016


Well, this past week was the cambios (transfers) for the mission. We learned the changes Monday night and by noon Tuesday the cambios were done for almost all the missionaries in the city of Santa Cruz and Montero. Only the changes of missionaries out in Beni were done later in the week. For all those curious, I did have cambio this time, in that I am no longer in Montero. In fact, I'm not even in the department (state) of Santa Cruz now. I got moved out to a place called Paititi in Trinidad, the capital of Beni. Yes, I finally got out to the jungle. I'm also district leader again. Woo!

Like I said earlier, Monday night we were informed that the cambios were ready, so we rushed to print them out and get ready for the changes. Tuesday morning we headed out with 2 cars to drop off the oldies and pick up the newbies from Santa Cruz. However, one of the cars broke down on the highway, so we had to return to pick them up and keep moving on with only one car. We were able to drop off the 2 oldies and their bags without any space problem, but we had to do some fancy tricks so that the 3 newbies and all their stuff would fit in so we could head back to Montero. It took some work, but we did it. We were then able to use the rest of the day working normally.

Not sure if I mentioned this before, but there is a small branch like 80min to the west (I think I said to the north last time; my bad) that the Elders from anther ward were visiting. Well, when we commented to President Zambrano that we had found a suitable house for the Elders, the branch got their own companionship. The only problem is that the house was bare. So, Wednesday morning, we had to drive out there in the back of a truck hauling beds, closets, tables, chairs, and other things for the house. We left our house at 9 in the morning to pick stuff up and head out. We got back home just after 1. In the trip back, we got a call from the mission secretary telling us that my carnet de extranjero (visitor's card that all foreigners have to carry) had to be picked up by my person before my flight to Trinidad. We got the call at 1:30; the office closes at 3; and my flight was for 7:45 in the morning the next day. We ran to Santa Cruz and got to where the office was at about 2:40, only to learn that the office had moved. We then ran to the new location, but when we got there they told us it was already closed. After a little chat, they let us pass. Then, when we got to the counter to pick up the carnet, they told us the time to pick up cards was until 2. A little more talking and we were finally able to walk out with my carnet in hand.

After the craziness in the morning and afternoon, we though to work calmly in our little temporal (temporary) trio for my last night in Montero, but then it decided to rain alot, so that was fun. In the early morning Thursday we headed out to the airport so I could check in and await my trip to Trinidad. It was to be 2 flights of about 40min each one, first to Cochabamba and then to Trinidad.
 La mayoria son de la avion (The majority (of the pictures this week) are from the plane)

I was joined by 2 other Elders heading to Trinidad, and the first flight passed without any problem. However, our second flight got postponed because of poor weather conditions in Trinidad. At first, it only got delayed an hour (10:30), but when that hour passed, it was announced that the flight would be cancled until 8pm. So, we got to know a bit more the airport of Cochabamba. We would have left to see if we could've found the temple, but we were told not to. Oh well. Luckily the weather in Trinidad improved a bit, so we could lave at 4:30pm instead of at 8. When we got to Trinidad we saw why the flight was delayed: a whole bunch of rain water everywhere.

Thursday night I got to meet my new companion, Elder Fusi. He was born in California, but his parents were born in Tonga. I havn't actually taken a picture yet, so ya'll can't see him this week. He's super funny and has already been in the mission for a year. The area of Paititi is also super beautiful, with lots of plant live - and lots of dirt and mud. Friday we were able to work normally and help me get to know the area. Saturday and Sunday were also spent getting to know the area bit by bit. I don't have any super crazy stories just yet (except when we had to try to pass a flooded street to get to a visit) but some should be coming soon.

una es una calle en Paititi que tuvimos que cruzar (a street in Paitit we had to cross)

With loves,
Elder Yates

*A little more info shared in other emails*

Yes, E' Fusi speaks English. I perfer speaking spanish, but the fact that our house of 6 missionaries includes 4 English speakers (one of which has only a little bit of time in the mission) gives way to plenty of opportunities to speak English instead of Spanish. The six of us of the house are in Paititi, and the zone consists of 5 wards and 1 branch, with a total of 12 companionships, 3 of which are sister missioneries
una otra es con el tejon de una familia que visitamos
(One other picture is of the badger (?) of one of the families we visited)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Woo second week of 2016! This week has been full of rain and clouds, all day every day - except for Friday. Friday it got super hot and humid. Also half of Saturday, but then the clouds returned. Super crazy the weather around here. It was also a crazy week in more than just the weather.

For example, Wednesday we did an intercambio (exchange). E' Cubillos stayed back to help Floresta while I went in search of adventures (not really). In one of the wards in Montero, Guabirá, the Elders are asked to visit their ward and another banch, Yapacaní, a few times per week. This past Wednesday just happened to be the day of traveling. A such, after meeting up with E' Cuayla in Guabirá, we went to take a trufi out to the branch, a journey of about 75min. While the branch is called Yapacaní (in name of a town), the chapel is actually located in a different town called Santa Fe (about 10min south of Yapacaní). It's a small little town, with very beautiful scenery. We went and visited around there for the day before taking the long trip back to Montero. In all, Wednesday we passed through Portachuelo, Buena Vista, Santa Fe, and Yapacaní, beautiful places with a good amount of people just waiting to receive the gospel one day.

Monday and Tuesday were realitively calm. Monday we played some volleyball as a zone before returning home to wash clothes before the rain came. Tuesday morning we passed by the houses of the Elders in Montero in a little inspection before visiting the rest of the day. We also had to go back out to Minero to sign some papers to rent a house so that more missionaries can arrived. We were told that more would be put in soon.

Thursday morning we had our District Meeting and went around visiting in the afternoon. In one house Thursday we got a little trapped as the people there love to talk about everything. It didn't make it any easy that the mother lived in Spain and the father in Chile for some time, giving them plenty of things to talk about. When we finally escaped, we had a easy day. A little while ago an investigator we were visiting, Denar, accepted a baptism date then disappeared. We found him again, and he told us of his desire to be baptized, so we put a new date. We havn't been able to visit him since...

Friday morning our District Leader told us that we were going to do an intercambio. The good news is that we live in the same house, so we could start quickly. I was taken to visit in the ward Villa Verde, on the complete opposite side of Montero. (Floresta is the SW part, Villa Verde the NE) After a successful day proselyting, we passed by the ward activity to see how things were going. We were given a giant plate to eat. What a hard life.

Saturday we had the concilio de liderazgo (leadership council) in the mission. Since it starts early, we had to get up and moving early. The plan was finish the concilio and head back to Montero to eat lunch. However, when President Zambrano heard what time we got up (it wasn't that early...) we got invited to lunch with the office. Since they were ordering Papa John's, we didn't complain too much. Eventually we got back to Montero and back to work.

Picture of a tatú pulled off the internet

Sunday after church we got invited to a small BBQ by the Elder's Quorum president. There we ate something that is called tatú here. It looked a lot like the armadillo, but I'm told that it doesn't roll up into a ball. The white meat tasted a lot like turkey, but the dark meat was a treat all on it's own. Super tastey, would recomend. Then the counciler joined us and we had a good day of visiting.

A good last day of the cambio (transfer); will be here for the next one as well.
Loves and hugs,
Elder Yates

Pictures sent by Elder Yates that are from activities mentioned in last week's letter

The birthday dinner...(Papa John's Pizza)

 New Year's Eve BBQ

Picture shared on FB from perhaps their District meeting on New Year's Eve?

Our small service last Sunday (cutting stems from the coca leaves) 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Woo it's already 2016. Hard to believe. We really partied hard around here, getting to bed at 10:30 and getting up at 6:30. We also ate a whole bunch. Very much. And very tastey.

So Monday, after a normal day proselyting, we decided to do something for my birthday, just a day late. As a note beforehand, here in Santa Cruz there are not very many American restaurants (Burger King, KFC, Subway I think), and in Montero nothing. Also, the pizza here is no where near the good ol' American grease pie. That said, the other month a Papa John's opened up in Santa Cruz. As such, we asked the dueños (owners) of our house to go pick up some pizza for a little birthday dinner. They did, and it was the best pizza I had all last year. Day one of lots of food.

Tuesday we got a call telling us of a small emergancy transfer, where we only had to go and pick up an Hna to join the other 2 that were in Montero. So we made all the arrangements. Then we got another call telling us that we only had to send the 2 Hnas to the rondevouz point, as they made plans to bring the 3 back to Montero. A little strange sometimes our orders, but whatever. We set out to work normally.

Tuesday night we got yet another call for a small transfer, this time taking a Hna to the airport to be flown out to Beni Wednesday morning. Since her flight left at 7:45, we had to get up and leave pretty early. The first part of the day of proselyting wasn't too bad, but the lack of sleep slowly took its toll during the day. The good news is that the Elders Quorum had a years-end BBQ, to which we were invited. Naturally we couldn't turn down the invite, so we passed by before heading home for a late dinner. Day two of lots of food.

Thursday, being the last day of the year, we decided to have a little treat as a zone, and, as such, we all ate salteñas right before the District Meetings. If I havn't before explained what is a salteña, it's something like a hand-held potpie. After the meetings, we went to visit until 8, the time in which we had to return home early. When we got home, we found the dueños (owners) with there grill going loaded with meat. Day three of lots of food.

Thursday night wasn't actually too bad I think. After Christmas, as we were talking about all the fireworks that went off, we were told that New Year is even more fireworks. However, it seemed like there was a lot less, as there wasn't as much bulla. In the morning there was still people partying, so it seems like the fireworks money was spent in a different way. The good news is that all the drunk people stayed in their houses, so we went around unhindered to visit. And, since it was the first day of the year, our pension had an extra special lunch and dinner. Day four of lots of food.

Saturday and Sunday were filled with rain, mud, and wind. For whatever strange reason, it never seems to rain on us when we're walking in the street. It waits to rain until we're in Church, at another house, at home sleeping, or home studying. I think 1 or 2 times it sprinkled on us a little, but we didn't actually get wet. Very strange. As we were visiting Sunday, we passed by the house of a less active family, and they asked for our help. Being nice people, we did. When we entered the house, we found a table full of coca leaves, and they asked for our help to cut of the stems. Certainly the strangest service I've done this far in the mission. Also, since we were fasting for the first time this year, our pension prepared an extra large lunch to end the fast. Day five of lots of food.

So, don't worry about me (mom) for the food here, as there is plenty. I don't even want to know how much weight I've gained, but I'm sure it's a good amount. We'll see one day. Maybe.

Lots of Love (LoL)
Elder Yates