Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013

*So I know the counter on the right side says that Elder Bates has 5 days left out in the field, but the truth is he will be home in 3, I just never switched the date after we found out his travel itinerary. We are so excited for him to come home and have lots planned so people can come catch up with him. All events are up on on Facebook but if you haven't heard about them and would like to know the details shot me an email at 

Dear Friends and Family,

i have spent to years in full time service of my god. a loving caring knowledgable god who knew exactly what i needed. no matter how hard headed i am or how slow to act i am he is patient and understnands my struggles. i carried the name elder. to some that might just mean i pretended to be an old man for two years but to me and so many others it is a sacred calling to bring the truth to all the world. it ment i represented god as an elite force. nota life taking force but a life saving force. and it has refined not only those i taught but my very being. and now i am force to take off that badge and live life again. but i say i already lived it. there is no better life than a life of service. and that is what i plan to do for all of eternity. it will be hard and many may say that its impossible. to much work. but work is what we should be founded on.
i now have countless friends and family not only in edmonton and area but here in madagascar. and other people from all over the work that i have met. who i will never forget. all those i baptised here. all those i taught. i never did it for a number. wether it was one or many it was still salvation to some soul. and what a wounderful thing thatis. and god has blessed for that fact for it was not a few. but it was many who did enter the waters of baptism. those people shall forever be a witnes that god and jesus christ live. seprate beings one in perpose. to bring to pass the eternal life of man. and it is my honor to work along side my savior in that cause. all should know that there is life beyond death. it doesnt just go dark. and it is our responsability to get there. through giving our hearts to christ. that is all he asks. that is what i have learned throughout these two years in madagascar. i loved my mission. it was fullfilling in every sense of the word. it was rewarding. it was one of the only things that merits any true importance in my life as of now. and i dont plan on it ending. i will always work to share the gospel. i will always strive to serve my god. and i will always stand as a testimony that he is, that he was, and that he always will be perfect. patiently waitning for us to return to him. if you dont know how to do that there are people who can help you find it. he is always calling to us. i know it to be true. i know that there is power in god that he has given unto men to do his work here on earth. and through that power a simple man from simple upbringins restored the fullness of the truth. all things that we need to find true happiness are here on earth. there is a living prophet this day governing that work. there is a real presence of god in our lives. we justhave to stop and look. i know these things to be true. and i thank god for my oportunity to show them to the world.

be fitiavnana mandrakizay
elder bates

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013

 dear dad. 

haha i didn sit on any of the crocadiles but we fed them chickens and they were jumping up and everything. it was cool. i mean these crocadiles were over 3 meters in length. huge dinasours! and wewere litterally a foot from them hand feeding them chickens. it was cool. then i did some cool tricks with a snake for the vermilions and the other missionaries hahaha. and my brownies are freakin good.. i cook them from scratch. ya my momma taught me a thing or two.. not like you tryin to kill me with raw chicken! but your french toast is good.... so that makes up for it. and the egg mcmuffins. haha. the house sounds like its pretty much finished. you say it will look pretty much the same but i cant really imagine. the new flooring the carpet and the new paint is going to make a difference. but thats fine! im sure its better than the rustick look it had before the mission. haha. im excited to see it. i just cant wait to build that shop! its going to be pretty awesome. have you gotten the back yard leveled yet.?i guess i will see soon enough haha. those pictures you sent me from your mission were great! and ya you were pretty dang skinny hahaha. thank you for them.
me. i am doing you i dont know what much to say. my comânion was sick thrusday and friday so it was a slower week. i ripped out his ingrown townail for him as well as it was starting to bother him and he didnt want to go to the doctor and get it ripped out a 3rd time. so he went to doctor bates :D hahah it went over flawlessly. no tears. he took it like a man. we got it down right to the root. and he went out to work the next day. haha. its good because we pulled it out before it got infected. the infection is what causes the incomfortability for so long. our tools though i must say were slightly primitive. but my multitool and some siccors got the job done. hahaha.we did get to go out to a place called nosizato for a mormon helping hands project saturday morning and give a bunch of rice to parentless children. then play a little basketball with them. that was way fun. and then saturday afternoon was the baptism. it went great. tsilavina's whole family came to the baptism. and now wish to learn with us. his father is a drunk. but has shown desire to quite drinkning and one day get baptised. so that was a great blessing. however stilavina was late to church yesterday and could not get comfirmed haha. so he will haveto wait until next week. wich is a little worrying but not to bad. he'll be fine. this is my last week here. its getting real now haha. i got a departure email from the mission office... i gotta start figuring out my baggage and stuff... i will try and send you a little email next week. but itprobably wont be very long. haha. i will see you all next week. pretty crazy huh!? love you!
be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013

dear dad!

lyndis suprise sounds amazing!! haha she should have done there here... in madagascar. i cant imagine what it would be like if i randomly saw one of my family members seeking around my yard here.... haha soon enough i will be able to have that again though.
the basement sounds amazing!!! as i said in moms email i cant wait to see my new basement sweet!!! :P hahahhaa seriously though.. no rent right? lyndi told me the flooring was pretty hard to put in but that after some sore fingers it got done. i feel like its gunna feel like a different house when i get home!! its exciting! you left a place for me to hang up my antlers right??? haha. ive been thinking a little bit about what the first things i am going to do when i get home are... i thing cabelas is pretty up there on the list..... finding out i got a draw this year is pretty exciting.
thats just how it always is huh? captial region has the best timing! haha nothing nothing nothing. BAM! right when you have no time for it . lol oh well its a good thing you have a good work ethic. you know how hard that acctually is to find in some people!? i am glad that you taught me a thing or to about it. i am excited to start school in september. a little nervous but it feels like its time haha. although it has been 3 years since i have done any type of formal learning other than the mtc.... so we will hope for the best right!?
that is a gerat lesson that you got to teach in priesthood!!! what a true thing that is. i talk to mom a little bit about how people these days set there hearts on "right now" the focus on it. and thats all they worry about. there toys and things taht will make them instantly happy. but what is so hard to do is to set our hearts on heaven. to do the lords will and give our whole selfs to the service of our fellow man. then we shall have nothing to be sorrowfull for. but if we dont do so then we find ourselfs in a depressed and broken state needing to call unto heavenly father repentance. but that is this world and i haev realized that through my work here. how many men go to play soccer sunday morning instead of worshiping there heavenly father. not taking that leap of faith. and just acting on that feeling that comes deep inside of us. "go to church" or as a missionary "talk to him." "take that shovel from him" but once we act what true happiness we find through giving of ourselves. and that is something not only the richman in the story needs to ponder a little more but each and every one of us.
haha i remember us going over there and riding the sheep as little kids. or colter taking me and dallin over there and letting us watch him try and catch them. great memories. thank you for the picture. kasper seems so big now. especially his head! that kids got a brain and a half in there! haha. (he doesnt actually have a large head lyndi just the brain part. i am sure the camera just makes it look out of portion.... haha) 
i am sure those sister missionaries heads are both just exploding right now! hahaha. not being out very long and having to train and not getting along. trials are a wonderful thing! after the fact hahaha. i hope they can find a grove in the work of the lord that brings success in sherwood park. but i will be meeting them soon and maybe even be able to find some clients for them haha.

 i am doing good. trying to work hard. i am trying to let elder smithson make most all the desicions lately wich is kinda hard for me. i always asked his opinion before and tryed to work together but now its all him and he does things a little differently than i might. haha. but i need to trust that the lord will encourage him to work hard and prioritize his time. this past saturday we put on a missionary fireside. it was not very organized due somewhat to our ward mission leader not being very on the ball. but it turned out ok. 25 people showed up. we focused on the missionary work in the ward. it  was the first one the ward had ever had so of course there is going to be some loose ends but i believe it is a start to a great thing. i made 5 pans of brownies for it! i got up at 4 oclock that morning to start cooking.... blech! and elder smithson didnt give me any help with anything..... oh well. what can ya do right?? hahaha. we have a baptism saturday of a boy named tsilavina . he is 15. he will be a great missionary one day. he is already preaching to some of his friends. that will be my last baptism before i go home. only 2 more weeks. how crazy is that huh? i think i will only email you one more time after this on the 29th... but we will see if i have time the monday before i leave...  this monday we went to a park here called croc farm. its a ways away and so i went early in the morning and didnt get to email till now... haha sorry. i met some people from vermillian out  there though!! small world hey?? the croc farm was fun. it has something like 150 crocodiles in it and we fed them chickens... hahaha pretty cool. they also have lemuers and snakes and things you can play with. i love you so much and cant wait to see you. 2 weeks is nothin. its to short.......

be fitiavana mandrakziay 
elder bates

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013


ya. i would love in ways to go out and teach like crazy my last few weeks and not worry about my companion and how he wil ldo once i am gone but that is just not right. honestly this is more his area than mine now. everybody everywhere all they can talk about is how i am going home soon. some ask me what they will do when i am gone. it scares me that they dont have as much confidence in my companion as they should. but now they are getting it. they are getting a tast of me not being there and how amazing elder smithson really is. i just hope it sticks. the sick elder is now all healthy and i can go back out to teaching people again!! haha. definatly very exciting. its hard though because i am not sleeping well at night. haha i guess i have other things on my mind... but what can you do right?? 
i am glad your weeks are busy! not busy is boring!! and im impressed you can still lift all the "big logs" into the trailer ahhaha. not going to lie i am really excited to get back to working.. with my hands and my mind instead of just one of the two.. before my mission it was alot with my hands.. on my mission its mostly all mind. and now going home i can apply both and become as the lord excpects me to be.  hahaha you think that blue tractor will still run??? i guess youve got it running every other time. but its pretty rusty now aint it? if you do get it running i can think of a few fun things to do with it. :D haha. i cant believe you let julia drive a truck and trailer her first day!! hahaha was it just around the yard? or like on the big open pony trail....
your talk was great! i loved reading it. it kinda brought out how old you are with all that history of the church in sherwood park stuf haha but it was great. i like how you talked about more spiritual side of it rather than ust manual labor service. brings a new light that many dont think about on a regular basis. and that is really what i will try to do with my talk.  it goes along great with my topic of charity. i know that all people are going to want to here about is my mission and i have provided stories about it. but i am going to talk about what i was asked to talk about... do you think the bishop is going to want me to bare my testimony in my mission language?? what do you think about that. because i feel it is kinda pointless. it is for growth of myself if we read in korinthians... but the spirit of prophesy is for growth of the churhc. i would rather bare my testimony in a language all can understand. but i would like your oppinion on it. haha

i have complete trust in the lord with all concerning my family. it is all i can do. he knows best how and what to do and it is my job to be a tool. thats all. they way of becoming that tool is humility and submissiveness to his will. and that is what i will always try to do. 

YA I GOT A DRAW!!! hahaha thats the first draw i have ever gotten. and i love going mule deer hunting after that big guy i snagged the year before i left. itll be enjoyable. definatly an answer to prayer hahah. and it will be awesome to be able to go with my dad and brothers! and i am glad to hear that at least my dirt bike made it through the 2 years!! less than i can say for my truck... no im not crying. i just have alergies.....
haha so my week was full off!! waiting on a sick man yet again!! hahha but it was enjoyable. i finshished my homecoming talk rough draft and got lots of my book of mormon read and things. got to spend more time with elder naef. i have lived with him ever since he got in coutnry minus 2 months. haha it will be over 10 months by the time i leave. he is a great guy from organ with a big heart. i was in the mtc with his older brother who went to mongolia. they are a great family. my investigators are doing great. they all have fantastic questions and have grown a real love for the teachings. the only problem is getting them to churhc hahaha. malala is always busy with something on sundays and then you ave tovo an niaina who have no real excuse other than they go play soccer... i lothe that sport... haha. but we are trying very hard to help them progress in the right way. our next baptism should be on the 27th. its a 15 year old boy named tsilavina. the only problem is he has been put in a very okward situation. his aunts were the ones who introduced is to him and he started taking the lessons. then his best friend found out. his friend is a jehovah's wittness and ever since then has been trying to convince hom that there church is the one he should start praying there. so he is having a hard time desiding. but i tryed to encourage him to pray and ask god. not his aunts and not his friends, but god which was the right and true church. we will see what his answer was. he did not come to church sunday so i pray he makes the right one. i love you and am so excited to get to see you again. all of you. i am just working hard till iget there.

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013

yes just one more month. 30 days until i get on a plain and make my way home. haha no matte rwhat you said about me coming home its already passed through my mind. i am very anxious at the moment to get home and see all of you! i miss all of you so much and so i am homesick no matter what. just trying to patiantly what for that day.

all the renovations getting done sounds so exciting and fun! haha i can wait to help out with them! i am especially excited to build a shop out back! its gunna be a good time. haha its exciting hereing that you are getting everything leveled out and ready. and finishing the basement!!? haha i am sure thats a huge monkey of your back! its a boring day when there is nothing to do! doesnt sound like you have had many of those this past week! i can just see emily and moms faces as they looked at there watches and saw it was already 345 and you were just picking up a brush! lol its good that they buckled down and helped you get it finished! who wants to go stand and walk the a wedding reception line anyways!! blech. the food is whats worth it ahahha.
work and everything all sounds so good and i am so happy about that. that run karmyn and emily did sounds so fun!! did they raise money for it? emiuly is workin the rootbeer stand huh!? i remember when all my highschool friends signed that contract hahaha. i would go to the festivals and stuff and go see them at work... lol suckers... haha butit was a pay check!! and it payed for there cellphone bills. so i guess it was worth it for them. i hope emily enjoys it. the rootbeer really is good.
i am doing good. working and keeping my mind on work and the lord. i haev had to spend 3 days at home however with an elder who got a nasty incgrown toe nail. he went and got it ripped out and lives in our house so his companion and my companion both take ward members with them all day and we wait at home till he is healed. i would like to be out working but i feel it is better for my companion to start to get a grasp on the area and running it himself.... cause i do most of the things and he needs to start. he still doesnt keep track of any of the weekly status numbers... hahaha its a work in progress.. so i have finsihed my homecoming talk somewhat in that time. i am srue i will still make revisions in the next coming weeks but its a rough copy so far. finished to the end. haha. we also through a birthday party for a son of a resent convert of ours. mamy. they dont have much at the moment but his son turned 14 so we brought a little soda and a cake and celebrated a little with them. they really appreciated it. love you so much and thank you for your email. noro did not go to church. her family just took in 5 homless children to take care of becaues there mother just got sent to jail so they are a little strechted at the moment and couldnt get to churhc. but they are still progressing. hse needs a little encouragemynt to read and things but i feel she will still progress to baptism.

be fitavana mandrakizay
elder bates

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 1, 2013

hey dad!!
playing in the mud is good to do. if putting a little bit on your face takes a year or so off imagine how many years you just gained back ;) haha.
noro is doing good. coming ot church is a challenge for her. she feels like she is being a bother to those who take her and pay for her to go. (cause the are extremely poor) buti told her that they want to do that to serve her. that it is there calling as members of christs churhc and that helped her. but she couldnt go this past sunday because they went to there sisters wedding. but tshe is going next sunday for sure.

thank you so much for your great letter! i love reading all about everything happening. i am soo excited to read your talk! it looks great from the little skim i did. and i am so incredibly appreciative of brother cyper and his incredible spirit and prayers for me. little did he know, but god new i would need that amazing prayer. friday we had a very challanging experience of some of a couple we teach fara and solofo  fighting and god put ME right in the middle of it... hahaha why? because i could bring his spritit to his children who are very important to him. it was all very dramatic and things. but god i am so greatfull for god and all he has prepared me for and all that HE makes me. for if it was me i would be nothing. we counciled and talked and they came to church together as a family. they are working to eternity. much as i witnessed in our family asa young boy. my memory serves me well and i can brong back experiences that serve me now. i am so greatful for god and for brother cypher and his special prayer offered just for me in such a time of need. the hand of the lord is truely in our lives and i see that as clearly today as the brother of jared saw 6000 years ago.
president hendersons words are so very tue. i feel i can to nothing but give glory and thanks unto my lord for all that HE gave ME. not what i gave him. he could have done it without me. but he was generous enough to grant me the opportunity to learn and grow in the the spirit and in knowlage. it is a very special and important experience in my life i will never give up. i had a saying painted on my guitar "nosiko tsy foiko" it means "the island i will never give up" that is not for the beautiful senory of the tropic or the unique wildlife. but the things i have gained he have changed my life forever. and i can asked nothing of the lord in return for what i have done because he has already given it so freely. he gives everything freely as we give our heart.
mendenhalls looks great! i remember us landscaping that the summer before i left. just me you and dallin. its was a great time full of laughter. cooporation. and it looked great afterwards. the sidewalk adds a nice touch. its cool that julia started working for you. i did laugh though thinkin about how it would be for mitch... lol he'll handle it though! haha.
thank you for your letter. i love you so much and wait anxiously to see you and the family again. i am excited to work with you all august  haha. get my hands dirty again. mom told me colter got my draws in! :D haha he knows what to do. lol he listens to the spirit. hahahahaha. you told me how much a make you proud and blessed. and that brings me much joy. but i cant take the credit for the blessings my family has recieved in these 2 years. they are from god and god allown. and he would give them no matter the situation as long as faith is present. we must remember that as i get back from my mission and get back into the grove of life. god will allway bless us. we must only have faith to do as he asks. 
be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 24, 2013

hey dad!!
sounds like you guys had some fun visiting with all the family down in idaho! thats great! and you and mom got a little vacation well i was going to say alone but i think with emily graduated you now have quite a bit of alone time. hahha. how does that feel?? from once6 screaming crazy children to dead silence. its nice to here about the family and thankful for all the prayers. im the only one out on a mission now huh? haha thats weird. but i am very greatful for all the love i do feel from all our family out here.
dallin bought a motor home huh!? hahaha thats pretty cool!!definatly a dallin thing! fits him perfectly . and i am glad you has desided to wokr steady for a while. and i know colter is being good to him haha. i cant wait to see them.
so your doing more work on the mendenhalls yard?? thats great. i did hear that carly is marying the corey boy! good for her! starting a family! haha. tell the mendenhalls i say hey! and am excited to see them again.
so some of the spiritual experiences are hard to describe as they are of things spiritual haha. which is more of a feeling than it is words. but we haev been teaching 2 brothers. tovo and aina and there families. they are amazing men. love god and there families. and we taught them of the restoration. and the spirit there was felt through the flow of the lesson. i dont feel i have ever taught so clearly and smoothly. and i know that it wasnt me. there was a certain warmth in the room that was sentalizing. it was incredible. and then then next time we had with tovo he told us he felt joseph smith was a true prophet and came to church with us this past sunday. it was an incredible blessing i will never forget. i pray tovo will continue to have comfermation to his prays all throughout his lfie and that he will learn to serve his god. then we had a zone confrence that was based on thje atonement. it was incredible and i got was the translater into malagasy. i have been asked to translate quite often and because of that my notes are slim and non excistant hahahaha but i feel i get so much out of it and god blesses me to remember amm that was taught as i reiterize it to my fellow brethereen. watch a talk by brad wilcox called " his graceis sufficient" its amazing. i loev this gospel and this life. i will do all i can.
be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates