Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Monday, March 28, 2016


This week past was a good week. We had many adventures and many learning experiences. We also had the opportunity to have a little conference with President Zambrano and his family this week. It was really good. I'm feeling really lazy today to write, but I'll try to get something out.

As many people should know, this week was semana santa (Easter). As such, people were more excited to learn about Jesus than normal. I remember this time last year, I found many people contending one with another about the correctness of their own church and the wrongness of the others. This year, there wasn't too much of that. Really, I don't remember seeing or talking with anyone about different churches this week. Kind of strange, but I think it's because the majority of Trinidad is Catholic, and as such there arn't too many differences. Oh well, less fun for me.

Because of the semana santa, all week movies of the Bible had been playing on the different TV channels (or so we were told; we don't watch TV). As such, we also decided to bring along some movies and watch them in our visits. Sometimes I think that the movies and videos are more effective than just us talking, because people usually pay more attention to the videos. But then I remember if we only had videos, we would't really have a job - we would just be bringing discs around everywhere. Kind of boring.

As I mentioned before, Pdte and the APs came to Trinidad this week. They arrived Wednesday morning, and in the afternoon we had our scheduled interviews. I don't even remember the last time that we had interviews, but I think it was in December. Not that it matters too much. Anyway, after our interviews we had to head home for a moment to change out of our suit coats (which also hadn't been used for a while). After we both got on motos and started to return home, it started to rain hard. My moto just rushed through the rain, dropped me off, then dipped out as fast as he could. The moto of my companion, however, decided to wait out the rain. At least that's what I learned after waiting some 20ish minutes alone out front of the house. The good news is that we where then able to change and leave to visit normally. With rainboots to walk through all the mud.

After the heavy rain Wednesday, the sun decided to come out in full force Thursday, helping to evaporate the mud and make everything humid. We also had the conference with Pdte, so we got to leave in the morning with out suits again. We learned a whole bunch of stuff in the conference, especially about the doctrine of Christ. From there we went to eat lunch in some grill place. I thought it was pretty darned good, but my companion thought the meat cooked medium-rare was raw. It seems like Latinos only like their meat well-done. How strange.

For our viernes santo (Good Friday) the weather got really cold. Someone might remember that a while ago I explained that the weather in Santa Cruz depended on the wind, that when the wind came from the south it got cold, wet, and all around sad for a few days. It seems like el sur also arrives in Trinidad, as we had cloud coverage all day. Unfortunately, I didn't bring any sweater or jacket or winter clothing. Not even one long-sleeve shirt. I had to survive with my rain poncho. The good news is that, unlike Santa Cruz, it only lasts for one day here. Very strange. Apart from the weather, we had a pretty normal viernes santo, watching Church videos for most of the day.

I was pretty happy to see the sun again Saturday. That, coupled with the fact that we were in visits all day, lead to an easy and calm Saturday. Oh, and I remembered that we actually did find someone that talked about their church this week (my second paragraph lied, oh well). We had contacted a woman the other day, and so we went to visit her and her family in the morning. She seemed really excited to listen to us, but then her husband came out and explained that he was 'already a first deacon in a nearby church, and didn't want to be seen visiting with Mormons.' Oh well, we had to move on; can't be ruining the image of other people.

After the church services Sunday, we decided to have a little adventure. In our carpeta de area, we found an old investigator with a map of some place we didn't know, so we decided to look for it. As it turns out, we only had to cross some high grass, cross a stream over 2 sticks, and wander along the edge of a lake to find a little neighborhood. We started talking to a little corner store and learned that Elders hadn't been seen for 2-3 years. Pretty cool no? Anyway, when we started to head back, we had to search a little for the path back. We made some wrong turns, but eventually made it back to where we know well. The rest of the day was pretty average, but we made sure to take some photos to send home.

With love,
Elder Yates

Some gator hides on the wall of the restaurant we went to after the conference

 Some artwork on the walls of the restaurant

 A tree in the path to the hidden neighborhood

Path to the new area

Lake by the new area; a house can be seen in the top right

Another angle of the new area

Some loros in front of our house. A common sight here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


This past week was a very calm week for us down here in Trinidad. Almost the entire week we were blessed with the sun smiling down on us, providing light and life for the world. There was also a little rain storm Saturday that flooded the outskirts of Trinidad and got our streets all muddy. For me this has been my entire mission. For my companion, he told me he never had to use boots  in his mission before Trinidad. Strange how that works. We  didn't really do much this week, but I'll try to throw something together so thet the people back home don't riot.

Speaking of riots, there was some civil protest thing for who knows what Thursday, but more on that later. Monday night we had planned to do a visit with a family, and then we went and invited some other families to join us. I don't remember if we mentioned that the other families were going to join us before heading over. Anyway, we got to the house a little early and had to wait a few minutes for the husband to return home. When he did, he was being followed by 3 other motos of visiting families. Surprise visits are the best visits. Luckily we found enough chairs and a little light to put up outside.

We were going to do some service Tuesday morning, but instead had to go to a meeting with other missionaries. We were also in intercambio, E' Quiroga being called to leave me. Before he left, however, he joking told our pension that he was having cambios to Paititi. Later I'll explain what happened with that. For now, suffice it to say that my temporary companion and I went out to get lost in my area together.  Unfortunately we didn't have time to get too lost because we were visiting people all day, but it did cross my mind to go alligator hunting. Yes, there are wild gators in the edges and lakes here, and no, I don't know of any story of a gator attacking an Elder. Yet...

So, moving on, Wednesday morning we went to visit a family, and there we heard something interesting. It appeared that most of the ward thought that my companion was leaving to Paititi. The little comment he made the day before was believed and spread. A very funny  situation for me, but a little difficult for E' Quiroga. He had to explain to several different people  what happened. And so life moves on. There wasn't too much more excitement Wednesday, only walking and talking.

I mentioned early that Thursday there was some excitement in the city. Not sure why, but people where blocking streets and burning stuff in intersections and the like. As such, we were told not to leave the house until the evening. We camped out in the house and read the scriptures. Since our house is really just the second floor of a building consisting of a little kitchen, 2 rooms, an open space and a little balcony, I don't  really have space to set up the hammock. What a shame. When the clock hit 6pm, we rushed out to visit for the short time we had for the day.

Normally we have our missionary district and zone meetings Thursday, but this week we had to do it Friday because of politics. It seems like before we were doing too much service (can such a thing exist?) because we were told that we wern't being obedient about the rules of service; one approved project per week. Woops, we'll see if we can improve a little in that. After the meetings we went visiting. We visited some, and were also given plenty of time to walk and get to know random houses. In our contacting we found some inactive members aswell. There seems to be a lot of those around here.

With all the rain Saturday, we had to walk around in boots. It also ment that people wern't leaving to work too much, so we took advantage to visit them. We even found someone that was normally busy that we hadn't planned on visiting, but we were given the opportunity to  visit. Lucky us. Also, in Trinidad, they have giant water tanks made of cement that are pretty tall. A member in our area just happens to be in charge of the largest tower in our area, and he gave us permision to head up. He told  us it was some 22ish meters tall. After our adventure, we went over to the church since the other Elders had a baptism. Hurray.

And that's just about it for this letter. Luckily I have fotos to send as well, and will quickly follow this letter.
Elder Yates

Creo que es una piraña, pero no me acuerdo
(I think it is a piranha but I don't remember)


Well, looking through the titles of my email inbox it seems like my wonderful family got to escape from the toils of everyday life and go to Hawaii. Unfortunately they don't get to have the experiences I get to have in Bolivia, but maybe one day they will get the chance to find out. Much better being in the jungle than on an island. Especially because of what we did this week.

First off, for our little activity Monday we didn't play football; we played handball. It's basically the same thing, but with a smaller ball held in your hands. In the evening we went to visit a family that has a 'pet' alligator. That's right, we played with an alligator and taught of Christ. Can you do that in Hawaii? We also visited a family on the edge of the jungle, with a whole bunch of mosquitos. Not quite as cool as an alligator, but still an adventure.

For both Tuesday and Wednesday we went to cut some lawns with the Bolivian lawnmower. When I have my own house and Elders come to ask if I need help, they'll learn how to really work. I only have to get a machete through airport security. It shouldn't be that hard. Tuesday night we had an investigator that needed her interview with te Stake President, so we headed down to the Stake Center to get that taken care of. During the interview, we took advantage of the time to try to print out a bautismal record. After about 30min, we found one in English to print out. Luckily no one really reads the form, only the information.

Wednesday was much more calm, as we were able to proselyte normally the entire day after the service. We are finding plenty of people to teach, and many people show signs of progressing. Thursday as well, the only change being the District meeting in the morning. In the afternoon, we visited and finished the preperations for the 2 people that were baptized Saturday. 

Friday, after our weekly planning sesson, we headed out for another day in the sun (don't need to go to Hawaii for that). As we were contacting, we had a strange experience. There is a drink here called chicha, which I think is water, peanut and something else. Normally it's sano (healthy) and delicious, but ferments with time. Anyway, in one house we contacted, we were offered a cup of chicha. Expecting the chicha normal, we started to take a swig. It was not normal. We offered thanks and left. Shortly afterwards, we found the house of a reference that a family gave us. Well, they really only gave us their name, and ment to give us the address some day. You can imagine ouor surprise when we found them without trying. Coincidence?

As I already mentioned, we had 2 baptisms Saturday. One was the child of a less-active returning to church, and the other was a youth the other Elders had found. I stayed dry this time, as E' Quiroga was asked to baptism both. Before the baptism we went visiting normally. Sunday both were confirmed members of the Church. Woo for building up the kingdom. Sunday night we had a FHE with some members, where we ate the traditional soup, locro. We also got coconuts. Good ol' coconut milk.

A shorter letter today, oh well. Photos will come.
Elder Yates

ps de verdad no me importa mucho que salieron a Hawaii sin mí, sé que estoy en el mejor lugar :P (The truth is it really isn't important they went to Hawaii without me. I know I'm in a better place)

Monday, March 7, 2016


Yet another week gone in the mission. Super crazy how fast the time flies, as it seems like just yesterday I was here writing a letter to all my adoring fans (o por lo menos a mi familia (or at least to my family)). Since I just got here the other week, I've been trying to learn the area. The good news is that the area isn't too big, and pretty straightforward in layout, so it isn't extremely hard.

So, Monday was a day that was pretty calm for me, as we only we in our area after 6. During the day we were playing volleyball, buying stuff to survive and washing clothes. Never though I'd like washing clothes so much, but it's pretty relaxing and gives plenty of time to think. Tuesday morning we went to de some service with the Bolivian lawmower. This time was a little different than other times, however; due to all the rain, and the fact that our area is lower that the rest of the city, the lawn was a little flooded. So, we cut both grass and water with the matchetes. It would have been fine if we hadn't splashed some mud all over. Woops.

So, after the service we had to run home and change quickly before heading back out to work. Right now, we have 2 people that are going to be baptized this Saturday, a little girl of 10 years and another of 21 years. We also expect that the other Elders in Mangalitos have 2 baptisms, so there should be 4 new members the next time I write.

Wendesday in the morning we had another opportunity to serve as we moved dirt from one spot to another. As I said before, houses and lawns often flood here with the rain, so we went to help fill up  a little pond that was forming. I don't think the ducks that were around there were pretty happy, but I hope they'll survive somehow. The good news for them is that it rained almost all Tuesday and Wednesday, so they arn't exactly suffering. 

Thursday morning, after the meetings, we got a little surprise as Pdte Zambrano passed by Trinidad on his way up north to take out all the missionaries from the Paititi ward. Not sure what happened, but it's a good thing that I got switched out. E' Quiroga and I spent the rest of the day normally, walking around and visiting people. I think last time I mentioned this already, but we meet a super good family Gaston (the guy from Beauty and the Beast, ¿no?) that are very interested in learning and even joining the Church. And they only have to get married first, woo!

Friday we got invited to eat lunch with a part-member family. Here in Bolivia there is something called Chancho a la Cruz, where they basically crucify a big (pig?) and then roast it over an open fire. Unfortunately, we didn't eat that; and it really doesn't have any relation to the lunch we had, only something that I'd like to try one day. I think Friday was the only day that it didn't rain on us, but it got plenty humid and sunny instead.  Not sure which I prefer more.

Saturday we got invited by other missionaries to go help cut the jungle that a family in their area had been growing, so we grabbed our trusty machetes and headed out. Once there, they told us to be careful as they had found a snake the other day. Unfortunately we didn't find any snakes, only broken beer bottles and old kettles. It started drizzling on us, so we called it time and started to head home. As we were heading along in mototaxis, it started raining hard and we got pretty wet. After changing, we headed out again confident that the rain had already passed for the day. Boy were we wrong. Let's just say we got pretty wet once again. Sunday it was also pure rain all afternoon. At first I thought that it wouldn't rain, and as such not need a poncho, but I took one anyway. and good thing I did.

I think more rain has fallen this past week then all the rain Arizona recieved in a year, and still some people say that this season has been drier than past seasons. How strange it is live in a jungle.

Elder Yates

**Sent in another email**

Something I forgot to mention in my letter, I got bit by an alligator this week. Inlcuded is the photo of said gator. Also included is the results of the rain in some parts of Trinidad.