Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29,2012


sounds like things around the house are very busy. it has been a busy week for us as well and we have been working very hard. and have been very blessed by the lord.

it also sounds like colter is having a dificult time at work right now. i wish him well. those suprise snow storms are no fun and create alot of unexpected problems. especially when we are not as prepared as we could be. but i know he can handle it haha. plows braking, tractors falling apart, and customers calling all thinking they should be your first priority. its all one big head ache. and we signed up for this right??? hahahha. i to have been feeling the pressure as an old program runs out and i am faced with the task of building a new program. finding those people who are tuely devoted to the lord and spending the rest of my time trying to devote the multitude to the lord and his work. "i know the book of mormon is true but our family is of another faith. we all make it to heaven anyways." is something i often hear and constantly stuggle with. but ultimately it is up to them to change after i have done what the lord has commanded me to do and we still do get blessed with so many truely dilligent followers of christ. i think it is so good for dallin and colter to be working togther again. it seems dallin just cant get away from the south and all his memories down there wich is good. that is always where he seemed to be happiest. i just hope him and colter dont get burried in all that snow they are dealing with!

thats way cool that the calgary temple was deticated yesterday!!!! and so exciting to see the work progress in alberta. i wonder if many people actually understand how much it takes to get a temple build in a city or even a country. there is sooooo much that gos into it. being in one of the few countries that doesnt have access to a temple without an airplane and a long trip i have seen and learned how much faith and dilligence it actually takes. there are over 3 thousand people in madagascar who are members of this church. 2 stakes and 2 districts. people constantly ask why there is still no temple here and for many it seems so distant that they truely cant imagine it. i know there will one day be a temple in this land of madagascar and that it will be dotted with stakes and wards. however distant that day might be. haha first there must be more of a true desire from the general body of the church here.
I did not forget about granpi and his surgery. it is on my mind and i do wish him luck. and my prayers are with him and nani in this hard time. i know that the lord will bless us according to our faith wich is in no
shortage in our family.

i am doing good. i am very tired (hense the shorter email) but am costantly seeing the blessings of the lord in my life and in the life of my companion. we are working hard at building a new program as our old one is running a little thin. and as we do that, street contacting, tracting and begging members for refferals and searching we contstantly see the hand of the lord. yesterday was an especially unusual day. we started by going to church being interrupted intermittently by people with small things here and there to talk to us about. then after one small interruption from class i heard a water hose running from a small toilet room on the upper floor of the church. so i went and investigated. turns out some one (probably a child) had disconected the head of a small spray hose used for cleaning after you were done doin your business and kinda just ran away after they realized what they had done. so i ran in there and put the head back on getting socked in the process haha. then continued downstairs to find a mop and bucket. me and my companion then spent the remaining hour cleaning up the flooded room while others learned. it was kinda comical. peole poked there heads in and made big eyes and said thank you to us and walked away. then after church we went to work. going from house to house, we even helped somebody move as they were getting kicked out of there house. then as the day rounded to an end me and my companion walking home we were intersepted by a man by the name of zaka. with two children following behid him he invited us into his house. seemingly slightly intoxicated but in good spirits non the less. we went with him and his whole family was in there. they continued to talk to us about life. he was fairly wealthy. worked for a canadian mining company called ambatovy. they even fed us rice and laoka and gave us juice. it was extremely random and we could tell we had no part in it. the lord wanted us to meet this man and his family. throughout the conversation we realized that the man was more than a little drunk but still very hospitible and had a family. so we set up a return appointment with them and they said they would feed us again!!! haha i love getting food. hopefully through the power of the holy ghost we can teach this man and his wife and three kids. we can show them the true blessings of life and turn them away from the evils of the worlds. such as alcahol. oh and our area also got split this past week. 2 new missionaries came up here to tamatave and now work half our area. it was a very big area to beggin with and now they are putting plans together to split the branch. so that has all been very exciting. thankyou for all your love and support. i continue to work hard here because of the great example you and all those close to me gave me.

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012

*for those who do not know, one of Riley's cousins, David van Bruggen, passed away this week in a work accident. It is with a great love that we remember him.


this week and the months following will truely be ones of solemnity as we expirience this heartbreaking death of our beloved brother, son, father, companion and friend David Van Bruggen. and i pray that we may all take the time to ponder his greatness and humility and the example of kindness he was to all of us. But we as latter day saints have the privillage of knowing that this life has no power over us. that trails and tribulations fall apon all men that they might be built into a giant. ready for the eternal progression that awaits us in the kingdom celestial. and that some day God will call every one of us back to his presence. i know with all the bounds of my heart that that is true and that death has no power among men. i pray with all my heart for Tanya and her 4 beautiful children that they might remember god and his love for us in this time of sorrow. and that they are never alone in there sufferings. i remember david as he was. a humble hardworking father who loved his kids and wife with all his heart. and who always worked for them. those are things i have observed from the privillage i had to know him in this life. and i know that he continues that even now as he prepares a place for his family in heaven. along with many other great men who are counted in our family line. though i am far from you in person my heart is with Tanya and her children in this time. i pray that the spirit will comfort all in this time.

i am so glad for the grace of God that prevails among us at this time. we have always been a very blessed family on both sides and god will continue as we continue in faith and charity. i am sure that Madysens birthday was very nice to be able to attend. its hard for me to believe she is already a year old! haha it truely seems like just months ago i was telling the other missionaries that i was an uncle again. but really i was still in ambohimanarina back then. still so new to things. and now as time gos here in madagascar i guess it seems to freeze for me back at home. but really its moving along there as well.

haha whenever emily gets together with any of her siblings she seems to be able to find herself in a happy joking silly mood. wich is something i greatly miss. and i am sure that her and robyn were having alot of fun in subway together. and i am glad that there wasnt another bathroom incident...... hahahahahah i am sure you dont remember because you dont want to remember but for me, i hold them in great fondness.

it is so good to hear a little about dallin and his life in lethbridge. how well he is doing and still preparing to go on a mission. it has been so long since he has writen me. wich is fine. i am sure he is busy. and about school. it has been an issue somewhat playing on my mind a little. because i want to get right into education after my mission and not take any breaks but i also want to be around home soo much. but the school i thought i wanted to attend is byu wich is so far away. but after little contemplation and pondering and prayer i have decided that i would not mind going to school somewhere around home. maybe grant mac or u of a or something where i can still further my education and be around my family. still apply to get me into byu but if it does not work out dont push it. i know god will provide for me no matter where i am as long as i am dilligent and faithfull. and i would love to go to school in alberta. my priorities have come to me in a very clear way on my mission. and my family is second on the list.

i will continue to pray for granpi. it comforts me to know that its a pretty regular proceedure. i guess nani servived it and she is only a little bit tougher than grampi so i think he will do alright ;)

i am doing very well personaly. your letter certainly did find me in health and good spirits. me and my companion got a week where we worked with eachother the whole week and nobody was ill wich proved to be a great blessing. three weeks ago we tracted into a man named luciano. he is a young man who works for a beer company as an advertiser. our first time with him proved to be very unique and especially full of the spirit. me and my companion came out of it filled with joy and wonderment. undoubtable the spirit had consumed us. then last week we went to him again and discussed with him the book of mormon in great detail. the holy ghost especially consumed our conversation. he then bore testimony of that holy ghost and how it is so important in his life. how he was told by the holy ghost that his job was not good and not something he wanted to do for a long time. again after leaving the time my companion and i were full of the spirit of god. thanking him for such a great opportunity to teach a man clearly prepared for our message. knowing that if it were our word it would have no power over him we praise our lord almighty that he has trusted us with such responisbility. and that was the highlight of our week. though our week was truely full of highlights i will leave you with that one for now. thank you for all your love for me and support. i will continue to thrust in my sickle doing the work of god even as my fathers and forfathers have done and are still doing in this life or the one to come.

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

1. PACKAGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


3.these are the two people who got baptised. i baptised the girl, elder ludwig baptised the boy.

4. the awesome braccelett my sister sent me!!!! thanks ems!!

5.a horned beatle. about 2 inches long. and very clingy.... haha

6. my studdly haircut

7.byu in madagascar. he was a totally random dude on the street. not a member haha

8.our delicious water filter. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012

hey dad! 

sickness happens quite a bit here. i have become quite acusstomed to it in my mission after workin in the office. but the sickness continued throughout this past week unfortunatly so i in consiquence did not get to work very much again.... but that is alright. there is a purpose for everything under the heavens. you just have to make the best of your time. and this has really helped my companion elder ludwig come out of his shell and become the best missionary he can be wich is great haha. and yes dad what your companion did was definatly not in acordance with the white handbook lol. tsy mainsty mandeha stiroaroa foana!!!! (gotta go two by two!) lol but thats alright. oh and in answer to your question. sorry i kinda forgot to answer it. but i want to go home and study business and possibly landscape arcitecture. that is what i think would be best for me. and what i plan to do. so i dont know what schools would be best for that. my prefference would be byu for sure but if there are better schools around the family then i would be fine with that. i know blaine is studying business at kings university collage. maybe that could even be an option. but my prefference would be byu. and i would want to go that fall semester right after i get back. no time to take a break. haha i wanna get right into school after my mission. but if thats not possible then the semester after that. in the end it really doesnt matter where i learn as long as i get into a school hahahaha. the actuall edcation part is the post important.grant mcewan or something could aslo be an opption. i wouldnt mind staying close to home either. i will have already spent quite some time away. 

so it sounds like you all had fun down in southern saskatchewan!!! wich is great to here. and its always nice to go and get hte time to visit with family and feel that unique loving bod that excists in a family!! 
so grampi is getting a bypass surgery now huh?? thats pretty crazy. we still dont know when exactly that is? i dont actually know to much about bypass surgeries. do there replace the artery or actually just bypass it with something else? the way i worded that questions seems to make the answer obvious but work with me here hahaha. i will keep him in my prayers for sure. 

so byu won nationals huh!? thats way freakin cool!!! haha might be a little hard for me to get on the team like that though.... my dreams may be crushed.... oh well. hhaa but we actually never play soccer on pdays. we just had an opportunity last pday to play with some random kids for a couple minutes. lol. it was fun. so we endd up baptising 2 of the 3 people planed for baptism because the mother of the one boy didnt allow him to. she doesnt think he is mature enough yet because he has a hairstyle and plays soccer..... so that was a little disheartaning but now she is interested in coming to church and such so hopefully solething good comes of it. and i would send you pictures but the computer i am on wont allow me... i am sorry and will send pictures next week. they people who got baptised are nirina soa donares and rajafindrakoto falinantenaina nicot. haha have fun pronouncing those!!!! i am pretty good at it. my companion got the privalage of baptising the really long one and i baptised the shorter one. it was great. and we also got a really great new investigator named luciano who is aweosme!!!! he prayed at the end of the first lesson and i have never heard so much senserity in someone so new to our lessons. he has great questions that invite real conversation wich is rare here. it swas sweet. the only problem is that he works for a beer company......... so we will see how that gos hahaha. but other than that nothing really new with me. thanks for your love and your picures and everything. i appericiate everything you do for me. try and get me into a school but i cant focus on that while i am out here so i am counting on you. and if you cant then dont worry about it really it will all work out in the end if i trust in god and serve him before anything else. 

be fitiavana mandrakizay 
elder bates

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012


how are you doing!? i hope confrence was great and filled you all with more knowlage and understanding of the things now and things to come. and what we must do to prepare for such things. i think it is incredible that they have changed the ages of allowence to go on missions form 19 and 21 to 18 and 19!!! that will open the door to so many people and give them all the opportunity to serve the lord. and it really shows us how we are in the last hour of this life here on earth. this will open the doors to so many more missionaries and its like we are giving it all we got in the last quarter of the game. and we can through as many players in as we want. i encourage ALL worthy bodied members to fill out there papers and become full time servents of the lord in spreading is great and eternal plan of the gospel of jesus christ to his children. we must again combine the house of isreal to builds christs kindom for when he comes again to earth to rein and rule in the millenium. and there is nothing more important than that. god will always come first in my life and should in all of our lifes. i cant wait for confrence to get here in a couple of weeks and i can bask in and learn from the words of the prophet and the twelve and the seventy and all other general authorities chosen to lead and guide us.

i will definatly keep grampi in my prayers as he gets respringed this friday. he will be bouncing to the moon before he knows it hahaha. and i hope nani gets better as well!! i just got over a cold. they are no good. mirary fahasalamana as we would say here. (get well)

i am sorry to here about your hunting trip going down the pits.... i was really excited to hear all about it but it seems that other forces were agains you and didnt want you to stay in that bush. and i am truely sorry to here about kevins wife. i hope everything with her will be ok and she can beat cancer. looks like hunting this year just isnt in the cards. and next year will be very busy for me so i doubt i will get to go much either hahaha. but i hope you had some fun out there riding around the quads and getting to see the outdoors. i dont think georges jacket is bright enough though. i bet he was still wearing that when he snuck up to that moose hahaha. and alex looked like he was pretty cold out there in that one picture. oh well. there will be time for that in the futrue. i am glad you made it home safely. .

so this week for me has been fairly slow in a sence. monday we took our companions to those big old jungle trees so that they could see them and then we ended up playing soccer with a bunch of kids for a while wich was way fun. i was in goal and i got beat!!! hahah some of those kids were pretty good and they were scoring on my left and right. then tuesday came along and one of the elders in our house got sick. he had diareha and it was quite clear after he accidentaly pooped while sitting on MY bed that he should stay home hahahahahaha. so we worked it out so that we could go on splits and so both areas could still get worked. and because my companion is still fairly new in country i felt it best for him to go out and work instead of sit at home. (remembering my early months of the mission) wich he willingly did. he is great and has a great spirit of work. consiquentaly the sick elder didnt end up getting better untill friday. so i stayed with him and looked after him that whole time. and then on friday he came to me and told me he was ready to work so me and my companion finally got to work together. then saturday came and the companion of the already spoken of sick elder got sick.... hahah but my companion was also feeling a little under the weather so he opped to stay home and i went out and worked with a young man from our branch named florent. he is very dilligent and was baptised not even a year ago but has plans to serve a mission in december. saturday night my companion became even more ill and ended up going to bed early. sunday came around and he was still not better so i went to an hour of church to partake of the sacrament and organize our 2 baptismal interviews happening that day and then went home to take care of him and allow the other companionship in the house to go to church and to work. so it would seem that i didnt do much. but given this opportunity i took time to read, ponder, and pray. and i have learned many great invaluable lessons. i have greatened my understanding of how to interact with people and teach people. and how to better lead as well. i had the opportunity to read quite a bit in the history of the church in the fullness of times and greatten my understanding of the early saints and our early ancestors and what incredible impact the had in the coming forth of the church. and i have started to read the new testiment in malagasy wich has proven to be rewarding. i read about the two men coming up to the savior desiring to serve him and the one asked for a week or so to burry his brother and christ said to him "let the dead burry there dead. come and follow me" to many this might seem morbid and unconsiderate but i have come to understand that christ had at that time a greater understanding of the great plan of salvation than the other man. and that above all things the one think we must do is follow christ. we must be completely submissive to his word. just as abraham. and these are the things i have learned and pondered in the past week. we have 3 baptisms this upcoming week wich i am very excited for. i hope you all have a great week and take time to ponder those great words of our general authorities. travel safely to regina and know that i may not be there in body but i will be there in a spirit of pray and thanksgiving to the lord.

be fitiavana mandrakizay
your son and friend
elder bates

sorry. not many pictures this week do to the fact i was confined to the walls of our house.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012


well it has been another week in madagascar. and quite a long one if you ask me haha. but sounds like you guys are having a blast back at home wich is great. i lvoe hearing all about the things you are all doing and how it all is. and the contrast to life here. and i can definatly understand why you miss full time mission life. its awesome. i am definatly excited to see what my next stage in life will be like but i can wait a little longer haha. i am almost to my year mark in country wich is way weird. it feels like i dont have long enough here. but thats alright. haha im sure yall wouldnt mind if i extended right?? lol just kidding. we will see about that when it gets a little closer.

so youve left for the hunt eh?? thats exciting. if you dont send me pictures from that imma be upset... hahha thanks for the pictures of my little plaque by the way!! thats pretty cool. do i get to keep that after the miss? thats still my favorite scripture to. but be sure to lett me know all about the trip!!

sounds like you alls are having a blast with the family. it seems that the little game of scaring one another in our family has greatly increased since i was home a year ago... hahaha its like every letter you have some story of scaring someone lol. and that you are starting to go to great lengths to do it hahahah. though i am sure it was extremely funny to catch colter in "all is glory". how much does a quart of wood go for in lethbridge? is it more expensive i guess if colter thinks he can make a 300 dollar proffit? i guess ther isnt much down there for fire wood.

hahah oh i think i already have cabelas penciled in for very soon after i get back. heck i might go there for my first date... i think i would be romantic.

haha sounds like you have been busy getting stuff ready to go. i have always been amazed at how much you can seem to get done in one day. you always seem to be moving and working wich has tought me a very valuable lesson. so thank you for that.

oh and i would like to give a big old happy birthday shout out to my brother bevan!!! how old is he now like 30? hahahaha better get workin on those kids.... you dont wanna be an 80 year old man kickin you last kid out the door.... haha just kidding aroud happy 28th birhtday.

so i am doing really well. having a ton of fun here in madagascar. me and my companion get along great and he even talks alot more now. wich is awesome! and its cool that mckell knows one of his buddies from the byu! speaking of byu nobody has told me much about if they are trying to apply there for me or not. just curious....... hahaha cause its against the rules for me to apply i think. mission wise anyways. but this week was definatly interesting and i have learned a ton. we worked hard and had to deal with some sickness for a day and a half so that took some time out of our schedual. but we also had some really good times with alot of people. hopefully they hold up there end of the deal and complete there commitments. haha. but i taught my first muslim this past week. his name was mister said and he was extremely nice. i learned alot about the muslim religion that i didnt know and we even have a return apointment with him. though he doesnt seem like changing is an option at all he respects us for what we do and our values. he said to me that he let us in because he saw us going around teaching about god and was impressed with how we didnt even have a girl or went to bars or anything but we were always polite to people and trying to help him and that is why he let us in. we had a descusion and he was way nice about everything. we will go back again and give him a book of mormon. that was a cool point in the week. and the work is still going strong and i love it. thanks for all your support and love and be sure to tell me all about the trip!! hahaha

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

mmmmmmmmmm my favorite meal. rice and beans

so i saw this flower i thought emily would really like call me a photographer

this path was about as wide as my shoulders...... litteraly.

something else i saw i thought emily would like. it was in my food. mmmmmmm my second facorite meal.

Me lookin good