Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Cochabamba, Bolivia Temple

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

¡Nuevo Cambio!‏

Woo and now we start a new cambio. I'm sure at least a few of you are excited to know what happened, and I'll tell ya'll shortly. But for now, it'll just be an agonizing wait (unless you just skip ahead, which I'm sure someone will do.) Even though it was the last cambio that Pdte Zambrano did, and should now be heading home soon, the mission doesn't really feel different. Not sure what I was expecting, but it didn't happen. Maybe in the next (and my last...) cambio it'll be different.

For the very last P-day of the last cambio, we all got together as a zone and we ate tacos. It has been a very long time since I ate Mexican food, and I definitaly miss it. And then, in the evening, we had a big FHE with our pension because it was the last Monday night of one of the Elders in the house. We ate cake and BBQ.
Really tastey. We also had a larger despidida Tuesday night for the same Elder, but this time without BBQ. I liked Monday night better.

After a long day of work and anxious waiting, Tuesday night the ZLs called to tell us our cambios. (Not too long of a wait in the letter, ¿no?) And so, we learned that my old companion, E' Quiroga, is now assigned to Riberalta, the northern part of Beni, while I stay here in Trinidad. My new companion is E' Abrego, a Latino from El Salvador that arrived in Bolivia with me. I was kind of hoping that I would get a new Elder to train try help me not be trunky, but instead I'm with an Elder that will be ending with me. How strange. And I might just be in my last area.
If it sounds like I'm getting trunky, it's a lie. I'm completely focused still. Wednesday in the afternoon we picked up E' Abrego, who was just in the neighboring ward, and started to get to know the new area. We took a little break to give our last farewells to all the Elders that were ending their mission in the airport, and spent the rest of the day walking and visiting a little. And we were told that the both of us were District Leaders together. Not sure how this will work out, but it looks like my little vacation from leadership positions has ended.

Normally, every Thursday morning we have the missionary meeting and Friday the weekly planning seasons, but for whatever reason this week it got switched around. I think it was kind of weird for most of the zone, as many missionaries were still waiting for their companions to arrive and had to plan alone, but who am I to judge. At least it gave us one day extra to plan the district meeting.

In the early morning of Saturday, we all went as a zone to play futbol together and get to know the new arrivals. One of the newbies is E' Quispe, my old companion from El Dorado that I trained. And now he must have almost a year or more in the mission. How crazy to think how fast the time has flown by. Sunday evening, after a very normal week with its weather, things decided to change. We were sitting in ward councel normally, and then it suddenly started to pour rain and the temperature dropped. Because there was no warning at all, none of us had brought a jacket. Luckily we only had to tough out a few hours before we got to return home and warm up a bit.

Most of the week after Tuesday we spent helping E' Abrego get to know the area, and us getting to know each other. We're super excited for this next cambio, and we are currently helping several people progress towards their baptisms. If all goes well, this month should be a white one.

Mucho amor,
Elder Yates

Monday, June 20, 2016


And here we go with yet another letter home. I think this letter will be a little better than last week, but I'm not entirely sure by how much. Something of note, it hasn't been too cold this week. A few days it was actually almost normal. Unfortunately, I've been told that it will soon get very cold. Oh well, living the hard mission life...

Our last P-day was pretty calm for us, as we played a few 'FHE' games to kill some time. And, when we visited a family in the evening, we ate some relleno beniano (the sausage cooked in a cow intestine; very tastey). I also had an interesting ride back home in the night, as the father of the family we visited offered to give me a lift in his motorcycle. He is a nice guy, and has Parkingsons. Luckily it doesn't show too much when he drives motorcycles.

After a normal day of proselyting Tuesday, we wanted to have a FHE with a family that we're visiting. But, instead of doing it in their own house, we brought them to the house of a member of the ward, who also just happens to be their uncle. After the small lesson and some hymns, the members busted out giant plates of a traditional dish called majadito. We returned home very full and content.

For a little bit of fun excersizes, we woke up early Wednesday morning to play futbol. When we got back home, we started an intercambio. I left the area again to go work with the DL E' Olson. Poor E' Olson is returning home this week, as his time has come to an end, and it's starting to show a little. We explored a little when we had some extra time between visits and got invited to eat several times. In one house, we got invited to some very unique lemonade made with salt instead of sugar. Not the best invention, and the family spent a lot of time apologizing. Would recomend.

Thursday we had the last District Meeting of this cambio; crazy to think how fast the time has flown. As we were visiting, we found 2 young men that have a lot of potential to progress in the gospel, and have a lot hope for them. Even though they are in situations very different, it's amazing to see how the same gospel of joy brings so much hope to us. Also, a package arrived from the States, and we enjoyed some good ol' American candy.
We had our last weekly planning Friday as well for this cambio. Not entirey sure what'll happen with the new mission president, but it seems like I grew roots here in Mangalitos. Maybe I'll just finish here and not have to pack my bags again. The proselyting day was interesting as we ran into a less active member who was very unhappy with the people in the church. We tried to help him shape up a little, but I'm not sure how well it worked as he didn't show up Sunday...
As is the tradition, Saturday morning we got up to play more futbol as a zone. After the game, we got invited by a family to eat some breakfast. We headed over and enjoyed some patasca. It's a soup commonly eaten on the weekends here that is normally cooked with the head of a pig. But we can't eat pig, so the family used something else for the meat: cow head. If you don't really think about where the meat that you eat came from, it's really tastey.
The patasca soup. All that meat is from the cow head. Yum.
Us eating the patasca.
The rest of the day passed without any major incident, just another visit with one of the young men that we found the other day that is doing very well. We visit the other young man Sunday, and he also improved bastante.

Will send pictures to complement letter.

With love,
Elder Yates
Out exploring a little

Russian boat, American conquest.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Remember a few weeks ago when I said that a difficult week to write about was going to come? Well, it looks like this week is that week. Not sure how much will come out in this letter, but we'll see. One thing that I can write about is the weather, which has been really cold basically all week, especially in the morning. Sometimes it warmed up enough that by the time we were outside it wasn't too bad, but then the cold night returned. And we're told that it's still only autumn time; winter officially starts the 21 of June. Oh what joy.

Well, to be more accurate, the cold didn't start Monday. Monday it was still normal, and we had our visits without a problem. Tuesday morning the cold did hit. Oh well,  just something I'll have to get used to. When we invited a member to join us to visit a family, we unexpectedly reunited 2 friends from another city that had lost contact with each other several years back. Odd how that worked out, ¿no? Now I hope they don't lose contact again...

Even though Wednesday morning was even colder (or at leat it seemed) than Tuesday, the other Elders in the house were set on going to play futbol in Paititi. Since I can't stay home alone, I went to go run around a bit. Even running around we felt the cold. And then the trip home in motorcycle was even more fun. One way or another I'll get used to the cold it seems. The rest of the day was average, just dealing with the weather.

Yet again Thursday morning was cold. And then we had our missionary Zone Meeting, the last one that  we will have under the dirrection of Pdte Zambrano. How strange to think about for me. But the mission keeps on going. At least I still have plenty of time left to go, right? We visited some people in the afternoon and had some good success. I think that Friday morning was actually the warmest morning of the week, so it wasn't as hard to roll out of bed as it was the other days. But our study time was still chilly, and the doing nothing but read doesn't help keep one warm. We powered through and then went to do some proselyting.

In light of the little written about until this point, I'll try to make things a little more interesting. Saturday morning we went to play more futbol. Latinos and their sport, ¿no? (In other news, I've heard  that the US is doing pretty well  in the Copa America right now...) As we were walking along Saturday, we found a family working on building a little storehouse out of something called chuchillo. From what I understand, it's a type of reed that grows by the rivers that, once dry, become hard enough to build with. Yep, a house made of sticks; seems like that little piggy wasn't as crazy as we thought. Anyway, we stopped and helped cut the chuchillo and build a wall  until we had to move on. In the night we visited a family again that was living together without being married and we had been trying to help be more obediente, either through marriage or seperating. Saturday night they told us that, to be obediente, they are going to seperate. Not what we had hoped for, but at least it is a part of the repentance process.

Sunday morning, which might have been the coldest morning of the week, we got up early to go wake up other people  with the hopes that they would make it to church. We passed by several houses, and some of them made it to church. However, for the cold many people didn't make it to church this week. So it looks like I'm not the only one that doesn't like the cold. Luckily that by noon the sun came out and everything warmed up nicely. As we were walking along, some one called us and started asking about the Church. A nice reversal of what normally happens. We stopped to talk a while, and he seems like someone that wants the restored gospel.

Sorry if this  letter isn't what ya'll hoped for, but at least I can send the fotos from that week that I didn't send. 

With love,
Elder Yates

Mostly fotos of the Flia Gaston, reciently married and baptized. The last one is a view of my bedroom window of the mango flowers. Unfortunately the cold killed most of them.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


And so we have began the month of June and I'm still here in Trinidad. It seems like just yesterday I was still down in Santa Cruz; crazy how fast the time flies. This week also flew by quickly because of al the great things we did. Well, not that we did that many things out of the ordinary, but still, we had a good week. And the best part is that it hasn't been super cold this week, just a little bit of rain this morning to get the streets a little wet.
We started our week off playing some vollyball as a zone. It's always interesting to play vollyball with latinos since they always seem to use their feet more than their hands, making for crazy rebounds. No one has been injured yet, so I guess it's fine. And then we had our normal proselyting time. Tuesday we were busy all day visiting different people. In our travels, we decided to contact a house. It turned our to be the house of campesinos that only come for a few weeks a year before returning to the fields to work away the rest of the year. Some interesting folk. They told us that they're good with the word of God since a señora passes by their cabin to read the Bible. When we asked them how frequently the señora visits, they told us 'normally 2 times a year.' Yep, they're fine.
Wednesday morning we went to play some more futbol over in Paititi. It's a fun time I guess, but it kind of sucks getting up earlier than normal. Someday I'll be able to sleep in again. The most important thing about this day is that, in the evening, the Flia Gaston got married and thus completing that last requisite for their baptism Saturday (more on that later). The day between futbol and the wedding was normal, without too much to comment on. We did a little contacting and found a family with 3 childen, all of which are named Maria. Of course each one has a second name, but I still think that the creativity level was kind of low.
In our weekly district meeting Thursday, we were asked to give the class on the Holy Spirit, which we did. I think it went well. And then we had our normal visits. Friday we once again went to play futbol in the morning before having our weekly planning. After a full day of sharing the gospel, a family wanted to invite us a dinner in celebration of the birthday of their child. But they didn't tell us that until we got to their house, expecting to share a lesson. It's common here to eat something called picante de pollo for special events, or every Friday. Both of the reasons came to together, and it looks like we won the prize.
And then, to start the weekend, we went to play some more futbol as a zone in the early morning. Very much futbol here is played; maybe one day I'll get good at it. Maybe. When we went to visit our first house, we found the family getting to make rellenos benianos to sell. For those unfamiliar with the relleno, it's basically meat and some other things cooked inside of an inflated cow intestine. It tastes a lot better than it sounds. But, as we were visiting, the inflated intestines were hanging up over a stick by our heads. It made for a very intersting lesson that we ended quickly. And, as we walking to other families, we realized that we had forgotten to fill up the baptismal font, so we ran down to the chapel to start the process.
Luckily the font in our chapel here filled up really fast, so it was ready in time for the baptismal service. It was a simple and beautiful and very spiritual. E' Quiroga was asked to baptize the father, and I was asked to baptize the mother. Everything went fine the first time through, and we all returned home happy. Then the Flia Gaston were confirmed Sunday morning; 2 more precious sheep returned to the fold! Now we only have to make sure that they don't escape again, which should be the easier part. I hope.
With lots of love,
Elder Yates