Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26, 2011

hey famly and friends!

how are you all?, i hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Chistmas here is very diffrent because theres no family and its extremely hot haha. so it was kinda weird. ok so it was really wierd but thats alright haha. i did get to talk to my family on the phone yesterday wich was very nice. i do need to tell my sister Robyn and my brother in law Bevan that i love them tons and that they are always in my prayers and thoughts. because the phone died before i got a chance to say goodbye to them. and the power was out in our house so i couldnt chard the phone. but i didnt enjoy getting the opportunity to talk to everyone. however Christmas is a short holiday here and today its back to normal life for all the malagasy people haha. its like it never happend. i miss you all so much and thank you for your support.

lets see not much happend this past week. Monday i took the new missionary into tana to get some things done for him. his name is Elder Landon and he is a very nice guy. very excited to work which is nice. he is from Las Vegas city so he is used to this heat already haha. i am just starting to get used to it. Tuesday we did splitts and worked all day tracking. it was pretty good. the rest of the week was pretty slow. just getting ready for Christmas. people dodnt really want to learn very much so we didnt get many times. this week will hopefully be better. there isnt much goin on here so there isnt much to tell you really. love you all tons and hope to here from you soon

be fitiavana mandrakizay

elder riley bates

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011 - hey fam!

So I need to start this letter of by saying how greatful I am to my Lord for preserving my fathers life. That is my biggest fear here. That someone I hold very closely to my heart will die. I pray every day and plead with my Heavenly Father to protect my family because that is all I can do. I've really learned on my mission that I can do nothing without God. Being so far away I feel helpless when it comes to things at home. but I have learned more than ever that the best thing to do is pray. Because through Heavenly Father we can do anything. And I am so greatful for the gift of prayer and the willingness of God to help his children. It would have been devistating for me to have Dad die. But I know that through so many prayers and through being a worthy priesthood holder and active member of zion that my father was protected. It truely is a Christmas miracle. I hope you know that I love you all will all of my heart. And that if anything were to happen to any of you it would crush me. and i love our God with all my heart for I am nothing without him. I praise him and thank him for all he gives and blesses our family with. 

This week has been good. Lots of work as always haha. so the number you guys are going to call me on is ...... give it a try to see if it works thats no problem. and because of daylight savings time you guys are 10 hours behind right now so call me on christmas eve. and hopefully I will wake up early enough to answer ;) haha  I look forward to talking to you all so much. I'm very excited. all though I talked to you all 2 months ago it seems like a lifetime ago. probably because I have learn more so far on my mission than in the better part of my life. so lets see i got my guitar this past week and I've been playing it like crazy haha. oh ya and I got a little package from the Jaffrays for Christmas with some chocolates in it which was nice. tell them thanks for me. still havent gotten the packages you sent but I'm sure I'll get them sooner or later haha. we also have bap dates for lots of our investigators wich is very exciting. we had 2 baptisms this saturday, Mamysoa and Yando. They are our recent converts children. very funny kids. Mamysoa is 9 and Yando is 10. Their father also has a bap date for the 7th of January so that will be a whole family.  that would be awesome. I did not get to see this past baptism because i was in Ankazobe which is fine. I do not need to see them get dunked to know they did it haha. me and Elder Wilson started working Amboitrimanjaka this past week which is cool. The path there though really brought it home that I was in a developing country though. It was straight out of one of those Africa commercials I swear. It broke my heart. The walking path is lined with garbage on either side and there are people, adults and children all throughout the garage sorting through it. sorting food clothes and anything else they could find. It really was sad. It bugs me that I cant do more to help them. it really breaks my heart. But I know they will have a chance for salvation one day. 

oh and in one of dads dear elders he sent me he mentioned how in the picture the houses looked very big. One of those houses is a white guys house and it is big. But the thing is, is that france had Madagascar for a long time and it was a first world country. So some houses and things look large and not very third worldly. But now one of those houses is home to 6 or 7 families. And the people live in a space smaller than my bedroom at home. I've been in homes smaller than our bathroom. they all share one bed and they are lucky if they have an old broken wooden chair. So the houses dont look very poor but they are. unfortunatly. i remember Robyn and Bevan being very interested in what we eat as well so I will give you the food I eat every day. Its called sedapp. Its itchyban pretty much. and eggs. and if we are lucky enough to get fed then we eat rice and laoka. The laoka verys quite a bit every time but its either vegies with a little meat or pork fat with a little meat or ravitoto which is just ground up grass that they boil. You think ground up grass would help with the digestive system but think again. It aint like the bears do in the winter when you grind it up first hahahaha.  So that is a taste of madagascar. Everything invoves rice. Sometimes we go to a hotely which is a little resturaunt and buy a pethetic excuse for a steak but we cant afford very often. I cant complain though because we are wealthy here. And still cant find out a way to live on our alotment they give us for a month.

I'm also very excited to hear where Dallin gets called haha. its all very exciting. This is the last email yall are getting from me before Christmas so i guess i will just end by saying Merry Christmas!! haha always keep in mind who this day is really for and what it should remind us of. Think of how lost we would be without our Saviour and his atoning sacrifice. He lived and died for us. And lives today so that after we die we can live again eternally. And if we endure here on this earth we can live in the presence of our God and become like him. I love this gospel with all my heart. I know without a shadow of a doubt that through the prophet joseph smith god and Jesus Christ restored the gospel on this earth. That very same church that Jesus started many years ago. 

be fitiavana mandrakizay

Elder Riley H Bates

Monday, December 12, 2011

November 12, 2011-dia ahoana!? (whats up)

hey yall! hows it going!!?? those pictures of Dallin are absolutely priceless!! made me laugh so hard. the blond was just rediculous then he litterally looked like he was 60 with the whiter beard. and his beard was sooooooo long!!!!! i was amazed at how long it was. blew me away. my companion and Elder Walker both enjoyed it as well. i feel for you with those chemical burns though. and you had to shave which is probably why you look so bummed out in that one picture. that beard was your pride and joy.. haha. youve got time to grow it back though ;)ssshhhh don't tell Dad i said that. Dad i think he should stay clean shaven too but don't tell Dallin i said that.... hahaha its hard to appease two people reading the same email. but i really think Dallin should grow it out again hahahaha.

and yes i did hear that Emily backed into Davids car... that sucks but I'm sure David can handle it hahaha. i hope Emily didnt let it get her down! you cant know what its like to be a good driver till you put a few dents into some other cars haha. that may seem silly but here is my logic. its like the plan of salvation in a way. in 2 Nephi 2:27 it explains how we could not have known good if we did not know evil. makes sense right? so i believe thats true in all things. we cant know what its like to be one thing unless we experience the opossite of that thing first. other wise what would we have comparitavely. absolutely nothing thats what hahaha. so there ya go. don't worry Emily now youll probably look behind more carefully when backing up. which will make you a better diver. and Dad is so awesome that he is even taking your burden of having to get Davids car fixed. which is very nice of him. make sure you dong forget to thank him for that ;). Dad really does save our butts alot in this life. hes saved mine a ton anyways. haha and im sure thankfull for that.

so did you all hear that Kasper took his first big boy poop on friday!? quite impressive if you ask me. i like how proud he was of it in the picture that Lyndi sent me. nothin like pointing at your first victory in the toilet. hahahaha i really was impressed though. a mild winter eh Dad? im sure your hating that so far and capital region probably adds to the fire enough to make it seem less mild. they did last year anyways. and no i still haven't gotten my guitat. i got it costum made by a guy in Tana and he is giving me the run around a little bit so i am going to talk to him today with a malagasy and he will have a nice chat haha. transfer news came this week and i am staying in this area with Elder Wilson for at least another month. we will see from there though. i would like a change sooner than later. maybe slip that in a prayer or two hahaha. but God has a reason im here so i cant complain.the other Elder in our house Elder Walker is training this transfer so we will se how that goes haha. we will be the youngest house in the mission. the languae is still proving to be very difficult for me. i can talk about the lessons alright but its the understanding of what people are saying to me that is very difficult. extremely difficult acctually but i wont stop trying. i got a couple dear elders this week form Dad and one from Mamma Behr. those were nice to get. i still havent gotten any packages yet but i will keep lookin. still no hand writen letters but im not even sure if anyone has writen my by hand yet hahaha. but i definatly enjoy getting letters from everyone who wants to write me.

oh ya congratulations to Adam on his engagement!! Lyndi told me about it. i dont know Victoria personally but from what i know about he she is a very nice girl. so good for him! is she gunna let him keep the bike??? hahaha all of the pictures and things sent to me by Nannie got to me so that was very nice to read. Mitch and Brady seem to be finishing so quickly while my mission seems so slow. haha but then again i look back on these past 4 months and they seem to have flown by. the work is going alright but its so hard to get mazoto people here in our area. we have one family who is way ready for baptism once we finish the lessons but they arent married and getting people vita soratra here is a task and a half but with the Lord on our side i know we will be able to pull it off. and our recent converts 2 little boys just finished learning and they are getting baptised on saturday which will be nice. but all of our other investigaters either dont want to be baptised or just arent ready. which is disapointing at times. but the work gos on.

so for Christmas. is it alright for you guys to call me Christmas eve instead of Christmas day? i know robyn and beven usually have stuff with Bevan's family Christmas eve so i hope it will all work out but thats what is going to have to happen this Christmas i think. cause my companion is senior comp and he made the decision that he gets Christmas day. just the way the time zones work out. so the way it works is that you call me on our phone here by using skype or a calling card or something because its cheaper through skyp and other things. im trying to give you enough warning to figure it all out cause im really excited to talk to you all. but you will be calling me christmas eve at like 830 or nine. if you want to call earlier than that thats fine i can get up as early as you want. just let me know the time you want to call in the next email. i hope it all works out cause its seems very little works out right in this here country hahaha. but that is the plan. i love you all and i love this gospel. till next week!

be fitiavana mandrakizay

Elder R.H Bates


Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5, 2011 - Pictures

The next few is him showing off his manly stubble he was forced to grow. (Only cause there was no available showers...ew)


December 5,2011

hey family!!!!!! how is everyone this hot December day???? hahaha it makes me laugh to hear of all the adventures in the snow you are all having. im glad to know you are all safe! sounds like you lived a little on the risky side this weekend. (raised eyebrow) haha. im sad to be missing all the singing and Christmas spirit that is already at home. its not quite here yet. it really doesnt feel like Christmas at all.... haha no snow, no decorations, no family. its a little weird im not gunna lie. but im sure itll get better. im sure Emily loved that the tire blew with you and Dallin in the car and not her driving! haha that was lucky for her but not so lucky for you and Dallin. sounds like Madesyn's baby blessing was great though. so im excited to talk to you all in a few weeks. the way it works here is that i give you our phone number and a time to call then thats when you call. you may have to call on Christmas eve... i hope thats aright with everyone. just the way the time change works out. if you call me at like 9 at night on christmas eve its 7 in the morning Christmas day hear. but if you call Christmas morning its like 5 at night here.... hahaha so im not completely sure yet when youll be calling but just plan for either Christmas eve or day. lol i wish i could heard you all sing. i wanna hear Dallin in that quartet! haha thats awesome.

so i get my guitar today hopefully if the guy making it is on schedule. but from what i hear he usually isnt on schedule. so we will see. i have used my mastercard and it does work if you can find a bank that takes mastercard hahaha. luckly there is one not to far from where i live. i need about 70 dollars to pay for the rest of my guitar. so i will use the master card for that but i dont want to spend much personal fund wwhile on my mission because the mission already costs alot of money so im going to try to stick to my alotment from the church. if i do take personal money out i will let you know.

so this week my companion Elder Wilson bought himself a pet turtle and named it rico. he bought it for about 2.50 american. which is 5000 ariarys. i feel very rich when i walk around with 30000 ariarys in my pocket but its only about 15 dollars hahahah. so that was pretty exciting. i dont actually have pictures of the turtle right now but i will send you some next week. i must say not much has happened this week. we teach and we knock on doors haha. not many people are letting us in right now but thats Ambohimanarina for ya. i have been very tired lately but i think that will pass. i just gotta stay more hydrated. i was excited to here about jordans call! he emailed me a short letter telling me where. i hope he is excited. it really doesnt matter where you get sent. we are all doing the same work. spreading the word of god. and he only has to be in the mtc for 3 weeks hahaha. thats a bonus right there. hmmmm lets see we had a couple big rain storms this week. those were exciting. i will try to send you the video i took of it the river that once was our path hahaha. i wrote a few personal letters to people who sent me dear elders so look for those in the mail. i will try to reply to all of them as best i can. i hope my letters are getting to you all in the mail hahaha. its difficult to say if they are or not cause it takes so long to send and recive them. i did get a big envelope from the primary in our ward which was cool. i was planning on replying to that sometime this week. probably tonight actually. and maybe i have some letters for me at the office. i will find out today. i got a nice card from Nannie and Grandpi for Christmas!! thanks for the gift Nannie and Grampi!! it was very much apreciated; and the other elders got a kick out of the fact that they put Elder hippo on the fake check so that was funny.

i am almost done the New Testament and i have really come to appreciate the life of Christ more in my life. i guess it is a very fitting time it being Christmas to finish the New Testement but its amazing how much you come to learn and how much revelation the Lord provides us if we just put in some effort. ive learned more about our life hear on earth and our eternal purpose and this gospel in 4 months than i ever learned in my life before the mission and its because i am only now starting to put an effort into picking up my cross and following in my saviors footsteps. i kick myself for not trying earlier in life. and i look up to Dallin and and so proud that he is puting in the effort before his mission. he will gain so many blessing for it. countless blessings. i love yall so much and think and pray for you every day.

be fitiavana mandrakizay

elder R.H.Bates