Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Monday, April 25, 2016


Unlike other weeks, I actually have an idea of what to write about. And no, it's not because I wrote out a letter before hand, but because something interesting happened this week. Or least for the first part of the week. The rest of the week was kind of dull (except for Saturday) so the begining and end will be the most exciting parts. Not that I'm entirely sure anyone actually reads the middle part anyway. It only serves to make the letter look longer and make it seem like my life is a bit more interesting. Usually. At least that's the purpose for this letter.
Anyway, last Monday we were reminded that we were going to have a super conference with the ex-mission president Elder Calderon (now area 70) on Tuesday. Because of the greatness of the conference, the missionaries stationed in the cities of Riberalta and Guayaramarin (the part super north of Bolivia) had to fly down to Trinidad to be present. I assume becaue there wasn't time for Elder Calderon to fly out another day, but not entirely sure why. Anyway, in total there were 33 missionaries that arrived in Trinidad Monday afternoon. So, we had a giant missionary activity in the little time remaining for our P-day, which basically consisted of games and food (the most important things). Then, so the visiters wern't left with nothing to do, we had to figure something out.
The answer that the ZL found was to take one missionary from Trinidad and give them a companionship from the other zones to work for the night, effectively doubling the work force in Trinidad for about 3 hours. To make it a little more clear, E' Quiroga was given 2 Elders from Riberalta and was sent off in trio to proselyte, and then I was given 2 Elders and then sent off to proselyte. 56 missionaries wandering the streets of Trinidad gives a whole new meaning to flooding the earth with missionaries. And, for those wondering, the 2 others with me were E' Gunderson (my comp from the CCM) and E' Quispe (my comp in El Dorado). We made sure to enjoy the time.
So, after the Monday night excitement, Tuesday we had the conference from 11 in the morning until 5:30 in the afternoon. Luckily lunch and snack breaks were included. Elder Calderon is an interesting character with a great love for the missionary work. We learned many important things from the conferenceand were excited to put them in practice. We thought that, like Monday night, after the conference we would be given new, temporary companions, but that didn't happen. Not sure what the missionaries from the other zones did, but I assume that they didn't do too much. When we return home at night, however, we found some pizzas at our doorstep from the visiting ZL, so I'd guess that it had something to do with ordering a whole bunch of pizza.
Wednesday morning the visiting Elders all went back to Riberalta and Guayaramarin, leaving us to return to normal. From Wednesday to Friday not too many exciting things happened, just us visiting and searching for visits. The good news is that I don't think I've ever been so busy as we are now with out visits. And we're seeing the results as well, as families are starting to attend church again and others are starting to start attending a church.
Also, this Saturday, we had the baptism of a youth. One of his friends from the Church baptized him, as so was something very beautiful. Even though not very many people came, the Spirit was strong, and I think helped the family of investigators that did come. It did make me a little sad that the family Gaston that was going to be baptized as well wern't able to achieve baptism just yet, but I think that the time will come soon. The wife has achieved such a strong testimony, but the husband is starting to drag along. Darned stubbern men, ¿no? (just joking; don't judge me too much)
And now that the people that always skip the middle part have started reading again, I just want to say that I love you all and wish the best for you. Never forget the love of God will always win over the hate of the devil.
With love,
Elder Yates
ps. some fotos coming; maybe...

Monday, April 18, 2016


Well, in my last letter I commented about what would happen if I didn't write something home. Now I know, and am not so anxious to try it out now. However, that still hasn't made it any easier to figure out how to start writing. It seems like once I start, everything flows, but ¡cuan dificil es empezar (How difficult it is to begin!)! Oh well, I guess we'll just have to struggle on through. Maybe if I just write less...

As I have said lots of time before (and will probable keep on saying) the weather here is a little crazy. Luckily the weather in Trinidad is a little more predictable (hot and humid) than Santa Cruz, but still. That said, Monday looked like it would be a normal day until it started to pour down on us. Since it was our preparation day, it was a very unfortunate situation as clothing does not dry well in the rain. Believe me, I've tried. Luckily the rain stopped in time for us to leave to visit in the evening without ponchos. The rainboots were needed, but that's fine; don't have to shine those afterwards.

All the rain from Monday made a super fun Tuesday, especially since the sun was nice enough to come and dry up all the rain (and most of the mud). We were visiting normally until we realized that we didn't turn the baptismal record from last Saturday in to the ZL, so we had to run and do that. Reminds me a little of my time in Montero. Good times. Nothing else was so exciting Tuesday. Wednesday we did have another intercambio, so I got to work with another gringo for a day. We sure did have a riot (a good one) together. As we were visiting, we did have to move around some of our schedule as we passed by empty houses, but we still spent more time visiting than walking, which is always to goal.

As we were in the intercambio, we passed by to visit the house that had the pet gator that bit me some 4ish weeks ago. It's a little bigger now, and while the bites don't do any physical damage yet, they are starting to pinch. So, we let the little gator bite my tempory companion so he could write home the big news. Hope it goes well for them. Thursday passed by without any problems, only visits.

Since we were reminded of the rules about planned service activities, we havn't been able to do as much service as we would like. However, there isn't any rule about unplanned service, so we're always watching to those. Friday we finally got the chance, as the family we were going to visit told us they would have to cancel because it looked like it was going to rain (which didn't happen, by the way) and they had to store away all their bricks. If that sounds weird, remember that bricks are made of mud and then cooked, meaning that rain ruins uncooked bricks. Instead of agreeing and leaving, we jumped in and started storing bricks as well. It seems like I can never escapre from moving bricks. After all the bricks were safely stored away from the (nonexistent) rain, we were able to share a little message. Hurray for service.

The process of making bricks; taking them out of the oven

Also Friday night, we had a small fireside. Since we don't have time to go camping as missionaries, it was the best excuse we could find to build a fire. We were planning on roasting marshmellows as well, but we couldn't find any. What a shame. The fireside did go well, so that's a plus.

Our little fireside

This weekend past was the stake conference of Trinidad, and we had planned to invite an investigator to join us to the Priesthood session Saturday. Unfortunately he went fishing, so we went with a different investigator. We had the pleasure to listen to Elder Balderama (area 70) talk about the Priesthood and was super bueno. Sunday morning we also had the chance to listen to the first councelor of the mission Santa Cruz North (which was also the first time I ever saw him) as well as Elder Balderama. Absolutely wonderful the conference, hope the conferences up north were just as good.

Elder Yates

ps I remembered my camera today, so fotos are coming (with captions from Elder Yates)

Not sure if I have ever sent a picture of how people mow their grass here, so here's an example


A little bat that decided to join us in our house one day.

A sloth we found.

A family of capiwatas (don't know what they are)
(I explained they were capybaras. When he said he still didn't know what they are,
I told him they are these little animals :) )

A surprise treat we were given; coke cake (pretty tasty, but not too sure if we should've eaten it...)

Monday, April 11, 2016


Another week gone, and another letter being written. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I didn't write home, and I'm tempted to find out. But then I remember that it's a mission rule to write home every week. So, it looks like I might not find out any time soon. But there's always hope...

And so, for now, I'll keep being obedient and writing these long-awaited letters. Not sure why, since it seems like we don't do too much out of the ordinary. For example, last Monday we went and played handball as a zone before going home to wash clothes. Not exactly super exciting. What was a little exciting was our visit with the Flia Gaston (Gaston family) in the evening. Not that Tuesday was much better. All we did the entire day was visit people and share the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. We did do a small intercambio in the morning to be able to attend 2 meetings simultaniously, but even the weather was pretty normal.

We did mix things up a little but Wednesday morning when we went to play futbol in the morning. Since the costume was to play in a little court in Paititi, we returned to my old area. Made me feel a little weird, but oh well, that time has already passed. We played a little then went back home to study. Also, for the first time in a long while, we were able to do some service. For our little project, we went to trim a tree, since the family was complaining that monkeys were crossing through the branches to play on top of their house. Unfortunately we didn't see any monkeys, but now their tree has been left without branches.

After getting all cleaned up from the service, we left to visit normally and had one visit where the wife told us that their neighbors wanted us to pass by, so we went to see. We found a little old man huddled up on his bad, obviously very sick. We shared a small message, and we were asked to offer a prayer for him. The strange thing was that he wanted us to touch his leg while we prayed. And so we did. Not sure what happened since then, as we havn't had the time to pass by the house again, but maybe one day we will. The rest of Wednesday passed along without incident.

Thursday we did have some difficulties, as all our appointments in the afternoon were leaving when we passed by their houses. Plus, since we had decided to go to an area far away, we didn't really have very many plans to fall back on. Another afternoon working on the tan; it seems like I won't be as pale when I get home. Luckily in the evening we were able to do some visits. Friday afternoon we had a small misunderstanding with a member, so once again we were left without plans. Unlike the day before, however, we didn't have as much time to tan since we found some very good people to visit. One of the families was an avid fisher, so we learned about the many fishes and fishing places in Beni. It seems like one of the more popular places to fish, as we're told that people take vacations just to do some fishing here.

Saturday was a very special day as we had a baptism in the evening. What made it even better was that her older brother did the ordenance. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera with me right now, so I can't send pictures today. Also, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning was super humid. Like very humid. All the mugginess and sun made a very uncomfortable fast. Somehow we survived, but it was very difficult to sleep Saturday night. Makes me miss the dry heat of Arizona.

Luckily it isn't very muggy right now, since the rain came this morning to cool things down. You could say that some of the south winds passed through, and would be very correct that it passed through, probably in about 4 hours. Still super happy to be serving as a missionary in Trinidad, and will have to send pictures next week. Sorry :/

Mucho Amor,
Elder Yates

Monday, April 4, 2016


Hard to believe it's already April. Time flies so fast. Along with this normal letter, I bring a little surprise. If someone has been counting or paying attention to the cambios here in Bolivia, one would logically think that this new week we are starting would be the cambios. For whatever reason, however, this past cambio was only 5 weeks instead of 6, meaning the changes already happened. My companion and I didn't actually have any cambios, nor the other Elders we live with, so it's like nothing happened. Just to let ya'll know that the cambios already passed.

With that little news out of the way, there really isn't too much to write about. Monday we didn't do much more than wash clothes, clean the house and visit in the evening. Tuesday we did have a little adventure. Because of all the rain recently, tanto aqui en Trinidad como en otras partes de Bolivia (both here in Trinidad and in other parts of Bolivia), we had heard that the land outside the city limits was completely flooded. And we wanted to see if it was true or not. As such, we wandered on out to the city limits and, sure enough, we found a giant lake with trees sticking out. It was pretty odd to see, and will send pictures as proof. We then returned to proselyting and the like.

A view of the flooded land. We're on top of a mound of dirt.
Another view of the flood.
We're told that the water was higher before, and has lowered substancially.
Not sure what happened, but we didn't do too much walking Wednesday, as we were visiting the entire day. There is a family in our area that is breeding (I think?) alligators and has a little artificial pond of some 10ish gators. Very cool to see, but no pictures of this experience (sorry). Since these gators were much bigger than the last gator I held, we wern't to desirous to pick on up this time. Thursday we went to visit a part of our area that is pretty aisilated from the rest of our area. We spent the entire afternoon out there, and contacted some pretty nice families. The real adventure was the trip out there in the motos. After all the rain, it seemed like some big cars tried to pass through the little path, leaving giant holes along the way. Even though it was all dry, it was still a bit nerve-wracking, but very fun. Not so much fun for the driver though...

After the great success we had contacting the aisilated area Thursday, we decided to go and contact the secret area we found the other day. Unfortunately, it did not go as well and we got to work on our sweet farmer's tan instead. Also, the other week when I sent pictures about our adventure to the hidden land, I realized I didn't send a picture of the bridge, so I will correct that today.

My companion crossing the bridge that leads to the little neighborhood we found.
It's mostly safe and only bends a little bit.

In the evening we did have much better success and visited some people, including the Flia Gaston. This family is the one I mentioned the other week (I think) that is progressing super well for their baptism the 23 of April, along with their marriage. Very excited for them.

As ya'll should know, this Saturday and Sunday past we were priviledged to listen to the General Conference. We listened to many great and uplift talks. There was a little difficulty in the Saturday afternoon session, as the power decided to go out about half way through. After some time, the power came back on for a few minutes, then shut off again. Oh well, guess I'll have to read those talks later. Apart from that little malfunction, the rest of the conference passed right along without any problems.

The 4 of us missionaries in Mangalito during the General Conference.

Since this letter was so short, I'll make sure to send photos with a little bit of commentary (maybe)

Con amor,
Elder Yates

 A little family of something called capiwater.
Not entire sure what they are, but it was cool to see.
(looks like capybara to me)

 A path we walked through this week. Not sure why, but it makes me feel calm and happy.

A little alligator we found.

The same gator. It didn't do much, just submerged in the water and swam away.