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

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