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

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 17, 2013

hey dad.
thank you for the encouragement. i do know that when i get home it will be a different world full of termoil and a lot more work to stay close to the spirit. but it is possible to do such a thing haha. i just have to try. and always put god first; then he shall bless me in my journeys path.
my mission has in no scene been easy or a breeze. i have had challanges that fall under many catagories and have learned to overcome. our missions sound very simular. the experiences we encounter and things we learned. and i am so greatful for that. there so no one else i would rather share so many experiences with than you.i really appreciate you dad and really missed you yesterday as it was fathers day. i felt pretty far from you and the family and just felt it was time to go back hahah. i love you so much and cant wait to see you again. but i am focusing on my mission and my investigators. you can talk about me all you want in your talk on the 30th haha. enjoy. give me a good introduction.
you gotta be excited about not going to any more awards nights for a while!! but your not quite out of the weather yet tehre . you still got tons of grandchildren who are gunna want dada be bates there. haha. sorry. it never really truely ends. but enjoy the illusion while it lasts. its exciting for emily that she got an award. i also go most valuable forward. it just sits there on my wall. haha. i might put it on a resume i will never need hahahhaa. but its nice in the moment and she learned something of disipline from the sport i hope. and much of integrety. our family is now really old. no more children in the main line. they are all pretty much classifided adults. by the law anyways. hahaha.
i definatly like the idea of a shope out back way better than the screen encloser. i never liked those things. i think if we worked hard and if you were serious about it we could get it put up before winter. it'd be nice for the trucks in that cold. haha. and it would make for a less clustered garage... just sayin. your the boss but i think we should do it! make a project out of it.
going to idaho will be nice. a nice little vacation just you and mom. or is emily going to? make sure to tell the family i say hey and to get there butts up to canada august 2013. itll be a party extravaganda they wont wanna miss hahahaha.

charity is a great topic for my homecoming talk. i only gave 2 years to try and perfect it. i didnt even get close but i dented the surfice a little. and it gos along great with my fairwell talk wich was about sacrifice. just like yours is on the 30th. coincidence. haha. i am so happy to here that colter and dallin are doing good and still working together great. brings me so much joy.
i hope the pictures i sent got to you. i am doing great. working hard trying to help the people i teach find the trueth of this life and the life to come. this week we were blessed with many spiritual times. people telling us how they have been looking for so long and hoped we could help them. this church is true above all other truths. i love it and i love you

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates
(sorry about the sideways pictures, I am havin a heck of a time trying to get them to rotate on here)

 now im lookin like somethin worth while
 this is by far my best picture ever taken.
 "yo smithson!"
 fanirys birthday so we made him a cake! mmmm
 elder rahamafadrahona, my comp, fairy, me and elder nuef with a delicious cake from a box.
 mmmm this is called sonjo. its a root like thing grown here. its delicious with sugar. you boil it first and it iurns out like potato

 me again

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10, 2013

so. i hope i made up for the lack of pictures this past few weeks.... i sent 10! haha
dear dad.
so whenever someone is sick we try to go out with arronich priesthood. but its the school year and they are all in school. so it was just me and him. with not much to do hahahha. noro is great as ever. way excited about learning and things. she couldnt come to church this past sunday because she had some meeting at a hospital but promised to come next week. we are teaching them about the plan of salvation and they love it. they always have alot of questions. always catholic based questions. wich are sometimes fun to answer haha.
going to lethbridge must have been so much fun. even just for the weekend. seeing the grandkids and things. going to emilys rugby game. pretty dang fun if you ask me. also riding mary!! pretty jelous about that. me and bevan are the only guys in the family who havent gotten to drive that beauty now..... im sad to here that they didnt getthe gold at provincials. but i am way proud emily got a tri!!! and its funny to here how skinny dallin is when i havent gotten much pictures of him. haha i can only imagine. i am actually gaining a little wait again here with all the rice mamma be is feeding me every night. its like in america. where missionaries get fat. haha
thats cool that they had a combined ward thing at church. and iteresting that they changed the bounderies once again. its all because of all those mormons who live down by lakeland ridge. haha they are going to be tehre own ward soon. so what are the bounderies now. whatare the separating roads? i feel like when i get home i am going to know nobody in the ward beacuse of all the new people and now this boundery change haha.  oh well. itll be fun.
im glad you got to go to sydenys fairwell. it ounds like your sunday was super busy and crazy. thats way fun though. getting to go all the way out to devan, then spend some time with friends in bonnie doon. definatly a fullfilling day huh. im glad spencer is doing so good. i wrote him a couple times since being out here but didnt get a reply. thats how it has been with all the others though as well. missionaries just get to busy to write eachother hahaha. we will all swap stories back at home. so carrissa is dating that brock guy?? thats cool. im glad she is planning on going on a mission. its crazy shes almost 19. cool. i am way happy for her.
i heard about robyn running over that  pipe. its a good things things ended up working out well though. and that they got home safely.
so you bought mom a highlander huh!? thats way cool!!! what you gunna get me when i get back huh??? im a sucker for a chevy. hahahahahhaha just kidding. imma get a motor bike...... then go cruising with colter. :P 
i am doing really good. working hard as always. we had some fun this friday doing service. we went out and dug a pool to put fish in and then when that was done we planted sonja. wich is an african plant kinda like a potato but purple spects throughout it and really bland... but you eat it with coconut or surgar and it tastse delicious!!! and we used lots of fertilizer to plant them!! hahaha they guy we were doing it with just starts diggin in with his hands and we fallowed suit. he just smilled at us and said. " its all biological my friends" hahahaha. so that was fun. another damper on the schedual is the new curfew we have until the elections are over. we now need to be in by 8 every night. silly. oh well what can you do. i guess its for the best right. other than that i am doing good. struggling to help my investigators. tired as ever. patiently waiting to go home. working till the end. haha buti am looking forward to seeing you all.
love ya tons
be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates
me and faniry and elder rahamafadrahona

 thats the floor of the school we helped recement
 we went and farmed a little friday. haha
 wich ment cow poop!!!! hahahaha
 yup. thats the poop
 its all biological i assure
 good day of work:
 me at a didy poatra... 
 beautiful winter sunset in madagascar
 just a good lookin white guy.

June 3, 2013

haha sounds like a wirl wind for sure back there. you gotta love that though. its crazy hard when your in it but then when y ou look back there is so much to ponder on and learn from. where as if there is no wirlwind then you look back and see what? a semi blank page. thats kinda how my week felt in a sence. my companion was sick tuesday and wednesday so we didnt leave the house........ those 2 days were kinda a blank page and i did not like it. but there has to be things we learn and progress in. and ther definatly was this week.
the needle was definatly clean and brand new!!! and i may only have contracted a cold from the whole ordeal haha. i sneezed 14 times in a row yesterday. blech. oh well i am not someone to stay home for a minor cold..... but i do remember somewhat the story you told me of your tests in peru. but i didnt remember all of it and definatly got a laugh at your experiecne. haha its alot like it is here. the woman nurse who put my needle in stabbed me hard!!!! the bruise was there up until yesterday!!! hahaha today i can barely see it. but they are things we will charish and laugh at forever.
dang provincials are going to be so dang exciting!!! filled with adreniline. with challenges. gotta love it. i am excited for emily. and seeing as the have so many stinkin points they have very very good odds of winning provs this year!!  thatll be way fun. personally i think emily should go up early with you and go to the party. it might be a little more enjoyable. less alcohol..... wich thing i hate most in this world. but i am sure she will choose what she thinks is best. and its way crazy that emily is graduated!! pretty crazy to think about. and what a cool way to celebrate it by going to a performance at the winspire. lucky duck.
thats a pretty scary thing for nani to go through. all though she looked fairly well in the pictures you sent. big smiles. i am glad she is ok for now. its good to know that they know the problem. a leaky pipe! haha shouldnt we call a plumber or something?? just kidding i really hope we can get it fixed and fast.
i think what you were thinking about just going up to the vanbruggen reunion friday is a good idea. that way we can get more things in.   itll be a busy  time. we can go home first. and make sure to let people know my homecoming talk and stuff. i was just shooting out ideas. but whatever works best floats my boat. i am just excited to see family.  especially you guys.
its pretty crazy kenseys got a baby now! i remember when she was first starting to date that boy and she was all smiles all the time. right before i left on my mission we went to dinner and she told me she was probably going to marry him with a big smile on her face. i am so happy for her. its such an amazing thing to be able to bring new life into this world. make sure she knows i say congradulations.
so i am doing really well. home is definatly on my mind alot but i am trying to get through that. its just something thats going to be there no matter what and i just have to cope with it. when im working its less present. but it didnt help that my companion said he was to sick to work tuesday and wednesday...... the days pasted slowly. hahaha i got two letters on thursday. one from mamma behr and then the other form sydney bates! they were both great letters. sydneys was way nice to get. you can tell them that i got the letters and that i am going to send replies this week. i might just send my reply to syndey to her mission adress. as letters take a while. but other than that we did get things done this week. we teach a girl named noro who is confined to a wheel chair. we have taught her 4 times now and she ahad a huge desire to go to church. so we picked her up and took her there. wich is a task here in madagascar with no car and she lives at the bottom of a big hill hahaha. but it was definatly well worth it. she enjoyed chruch and couldnt stop asking about baptism. i am excited for her. we also went out to ambohimanambola and recemented the floor of a school we volunteer at every tuesday. they people really appreciated it and we brought many members with us. it was a mormon helping hands project. it went well. and the director of the school is strongly considering baptism right now so i pray that helps him. then on a personally exciting basis there is a member woman in my ward whos name is sister nivo we stop by very often as  some of her kids are not members. we went and bought her 50 kg of rice and so now whenever we dont have a dinner appointment we go to her house and she feeds us delicious malagasy food!!!! :D hahaha i hate cooking it at home cause it takes forever but she said she would do it for me till i went home. she considers me one of her kids. i really love her family. he daughter started coming to churchagain as well the past couple weeks so its really nice. but thats about it for me. just going strong trying to do the lords work. i love you and am so excited to see you all again. give emily a big hug for me.  oh ya and hesston turned the big 8 yesterday huh!!? that is way exciting. i am so excited to see him get baptised!!

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates  

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27, 2013

dear dad. 

yes we did get the flight plasns. crazy huh?? ill be in germany for like 5 hours!! haha i wish i could go look around. jump over to holland for a quick visit. i have really found an interest in my heritage since being here on the mission. 

well should work out alright with the family reunion i guess. hopefully president mendenhall can just release me that day and we head straight up there. itlle be pretty cool to see the whole family. well moms side. right that first week. i remember you telling me the story of you reading the time wrong and running franticly through the airport trying to get everyone out on the tar mac. i was also flight leader when we came here and we didn really have any problems other tha nthat one elder was going to travel separate from us for some of the trip wich i didnt feel comfortable with. but we talked to so me people and they got it is so we were all together on the same flight. but that was the only problem. i remember paying some african dude a a bunch of rands to take us to the terminal we were supposed to go to in south africa cause we were pretty lost there hahahahaha. but i think i will be find going home. though i am somewhat a country boy i think ill be able to find my way throug hthe airports. itll just be weird to be alone for such a long time.... haha a whole day with no companion. might be a nice break... lol. 

kensey has a baby!!?? wow. thats freakin crazy. i would not have thought she would be the first. hahaha but i love beeing proven wrong. tell her i say congradulations!!!! that is so exciting, and i am sure brother lambert is pretty excited about it. just remember back when hesston was born. you were pretty darn proud to. and its pretty crazy that emily is graduating. that is way sucky that she doesnt have a date! why doesnt she just ask matt to go to the whole thing with her!!? grad is lame anyways. haha. the parties and everything... just kinda pointless. oh well. i know its important to her. so i hope she has a good time.

well as long as you didnt actually spend the money on the thing on a sunday i think its fine that you went and took it for a test drive. no big deal. and its not liek there was anything better to do. but if you had the money sitting in your pocket or something thinking of buying it that day then you woulda got an ear full. hahahaha. 

i am so sorry to hear about mom hitting that poor old woman. it is something that sounds pretty unavoidable by the sercomstances mom told me. i am glad that the woman will be ok and hope that her family can understand what happened and not be angry or try to sue or something silly like that. mom soundsed pretty shook up in her letter she sent me.... but i am sure she will be able to find peace in the matter soon. and i am so happy that the police were nice to mom... because we havent had the best experiences with the rcmp in the past. but i am glad this time was different. its one thing when the police make dallin ball but if they were to make my mom ball i think i would feel a little stronger about it. haha. 

its crazy that brady got married last week. so quick after getting home. lucky guy. lol but i am srue the girl he found is fantastic. and i am happy for him. nobody even told me he was engaged hahaha. i found out he was getting married from sister leslie in her letter to me 2 weeks ago. 

sorry about the pictures. this week i dont actually have any to send you... oops. but this week we have a ton of service planed and will be taking many pictures. donty worry. but this week was long and tiring and taking pictures arent the first thing on my mind anymore. think about ti. are they the first thing to come to your mind throughout the day. oh i should take pictures... haha i dont think so because your just so used to everything around you. kinda what its like wtih me. i am so sorry. i will take a bundle this weeka nd send them to you. i promise. but i am doing good. working hard. we were tricked into giving blood on wednesday wich is a funny storey. so tuesday night we stopped by a members house to say hello and naturaly i asked if he need any help.. and to my suprise he looked at me and said yes i do. he said his mother in law was sick at the hospital and they needed help the next day. natuarally i thought they wanted us to give her a blessing. wich is what usually happens. nothing new. so we go the next morning to the hospital and meet them and then all of the sudden i am in this little room with a man and he is asking me if i have diabetes...... now i have been to madagascar hospitals many times and that is not what happens when you walk into the door. so i asked why he was questioning me and he gave me a confused look and said "oh your giving blood" hahahah so i imediatly called my mission president to see if it was even aloud. where he answered. "hmmmm good question..... let me look at my book." lol then continiued to tell me to be srue they wore cloves and wiped down with alcohol and used a clean needle. so i made sure....... hahahaha and i was the first missionary in mada to ever voluntaraly give blood followed by my companion. pretty funny story. and i am still alive with no deseases. i know that by now you are probably phone in hand dailing the mission president but i assure he knows what he is taklking about when it comes to medical talk and if we would have been in any danger he would have put the red flag up imediatly. hahaha. just another day in mada. i love you so much and am excited to se you. try not to remind me to much on how little time i have less here..... hahahahah 

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013

dear dad!

i am so greatful that you can be greatful for the challenges in your life. for i am also truely greatful for those trials and mountains god asks us to climb in order to learn wisdom. that great hulility and submissive spirit that we must have . " for except you become as this litttle child ye shall not enter into the kindom of my father" i am so greatful for all that the lord does choose to give me in this life. how he does test me. for through that i can learn more and more. every day. and i know you feel the same way.
haha i  am not going to lie i had a feeling that me telling you the transfer possibilities would make you toss and turn a little. and its funny when i walked into the office and talked to sister cornilleous and she told me that she had just talked to you then told me my realese date. and i know you were wondering when she asked if you were from salt lake that if they were going to accidently send me to salt lake buti highly doubt that was the case... haha she is just an oldlder lady that forgot i was from canada. but the church knows. hahaha. kinda wierd now that there is a day. not really real in a sense still. lol but at the same time makes my days here in madagascar truely numbered. but i just think about the work. hahaha you talked to fred at frist. he is a secretary in the office.... he is sister cornilleouses right hand man. he served in south africa for his mission and is pretty good at english but the accent is hard to get used to. so i am sure it would have been fairly difficult for you to comunicate with him. i can only imagine you trying to talk to him. it makes me laugh.  but it looks like i will be coming home right in the middle of the family reunion right? sorry if that s somewhat inconvinient for any of our family. but i have a feeling it might make it more convenient in some ways. i am truely blessed because i will be able to see many family members that week that might not have come the long distances they need if the family reunion was not that week. where us the family reunion anyways? is it at that lake again? i cant remember how far away it is from the house...oh welll. it will all work out.
it must be nice that you finished spring cleanups!! i am sure it is a weight off your shoulders! and that you could find help. its good that you are so service minded and will do anything for the customers. that is a great quality of yours. the neilsons are very nice people as well and have been great customers for a long time. and dont worry about climbing up on that steep roof anymore. next spring i will be ther eand i still have the bravery and hard head of a young man. you can just move the tarp at the bottom. hahaha. taylor has always like doing lawn maintanence. he always looked for opportunities to work for you or do it himself. but i guess he sees something in being a machinist... wouldnt be my first pick though. has we can clearly see haha. 

hahaha mom wrote me and told me not to listen to a word you said about the glasses thing. but it is funny. it made me laugh. im sure she was a little embarassed by it though.
where did you guys eat with nani and grampi? it made me laugh in nanis letter where she said they had changed there diets and werent eating fast foods anymore but i guess he just cant give up that royal buffet..... sooner or later it will go too... hahaah.
emily always is nice and busy this time of the year. i hope her math went well and that she will be able to graduate. i havent heard about that and am afraid it is a touchy subject.
i am glad that you can have dinner with the missionaries so much. they really do appreciate it. but not only that. they appriciate it when you bring friends...... hahahahaha just sayin. it makes a missionaries day when you invite them over and have one of your wide eyed unexspecting friends sitting there in the living room.... definatly a good thing. and elder brown sounds very simular to elder bates here. i am sure that they are alot alike wich means that elder brown has a great desire and even greater heart.
i am doing great and working hard. we had a great blessing this week where a man named mamy came to church this week. he is a great man with a great love for his family but has been out of work for a long time. we have been teaching him for 2 weeks. his family is already members. his wife baptised in 1997. but he never joined the church. but he started spending time with him and getting to know him through teaching him and he has committed to changing his life. it has taken him over 10 years to accept the gospel. he almost went through with it in 2009 but at the death of his daughter at birth he stopped accepting missionaries. but we went back right at the right time. he was humbled. and ready to recieve the gospel. we will bring great blessings to his family through the holy priesthood of god in these next coming years. he as a broken heart and contrite spirit. and i am truely greatful to heavenly father for blessing him with this gospel. i am still going over here trying not to think about home haha. my comp doesnt help me sometimes as home is all he thinks about but we get along great and are very honest with eachother. that is a great quality to have. honesty. i thank my heavenly father daily for this great gospe l and the opportunity i have to serve him. i will continue in this truthfullness my whole life. i am also so very greatful for you and mom. the great powerful example you have for me and you love you show me. i cant wait to work with you the rest of my life. to learn from you even more.

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013

*Mothers Day is one of Two Times a year Missionaries can call their families (the other is Christmas) and so yesterday we all got to talk to Riley! And it was so great to hear his voice, although he definitely has a different accent then when he left and talks really fast, at one point I had to ask him to slow down so that I could better understand him. I think I speak for all members of Riley's family when I say that we feel very blessed to have him in our lives. He is doing great and plans to finish his mission with as much zest and zeal as when he entered it, if not more! I know that the Malagasy people will always have a bit of his heart.

Not too much longer until he will return from his mission, the next three months are going to fly by!

And even though we just spoke to him he still sent us a letter!

dear dad. 

how wonderful it was to hear and speak with you and mom and the whole family. it brought so much joy. i am so glad that everybody is doing good right now. that they all feel like they are doing what they need to. we have all been raised by the same amazing mother and father. 

life sounds busy for all. and i am glad work is going good... 

i as you know am doing great. just striving to do as the lord wants me to do. getting everything i can out of my mission before that dreadful day on a plain. then the day after that it is of course a wonderful day. tell everybody back home i miss and love them. i am so excited to see people. though i can wait a little longer. 

be fitiavana mandrakizay 
elder bates 

and a little from Lyndi's letter too.

... am really doing great. working hard. trying to serve the lord. bearring strong testimony. an incredible blessing i had. it inovolves to men and the book of mormon. we tracted into both of them. there is no relation between them and they dont know eachother. but we found them both on the same day. so we have been teaching them slowly and the lesson came to the book of mormon. i went through explaining the sacred book as i had many times before. but in both these times there was a great feeling of the spirit. the to sceptical men both ended up telling me in seprate times that they have been searching a long time for the trueth much like joseph smith. they both promised me to read the book and pray if its true. they both haev troubles excepting baptism. but i nkow that these men are important to god. and that there is a conversion power in that great book. that holy ancient scripture. i pray to god that they will find what they have been searching so dilligently for in the book of mormon. i know that it can bring countless blessings unto there families. i love god and this work. i love the spirit wich i can feel so abundantly every time i bare testimony of this great gospel. 

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

 service!!!! we were just walking to a time and saw two women shoveling out this canal. so we took over. they loved it.
 these were the women shoveling. they loved us. we invited them and ther family to church and went on our way. 
 elder Smithson verse the gremlins
 tuesday we went to a school way out in nowhere land and helped teach. it was a blast. we are going to do int every tuesday morning.
 me and elder smithson really love doing service! we shovel dirt
ya. thats how much i love rice....especially when its slightly burnt and swimming in water like that. delicious!!!!!!!!!  (*sorry I couldn't get the picture to rotate... just turn your head a little.)

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013

dear dad

if i didnt take the work whole heartetly and put my back into it then as president bringham young says i would go and return in vain. i have an incredible opportunity for 2 years to be completely submissive to the lord. and i need to take advantage. haha hopefully i can find a woman who will keep me on track with my desire to continue in the work of the lord once i get home from my mission just as you did. and it is very true what you say, that wealth brings people to lean less and less on god. its a sad thing. but it will make the work of a missionary that much more rewarding. 

that is a really late start to spring clean ups! ythat is crazy. who is doing the other churches if you are taking care of 6 of them? i bet its nice to have mich bag working for you for the summer. shave a young back hauling all the grass hahaha. is doug still working for you as well?? i always loved coming home after spring clean ups and seeing the black wash down the drain. now i am not even doing manual labour here. well not as much and its still the same. you just watch the crime from the air wash down the drain... pretty sad hahaha. but i know itll get cleaned up soon. 

hahaha i cant even imagine what quality the food is at royal buffet... but i am sure it would be anything but barf compared to the stuff i love here! but it makes me laugh that grampie loves eating there so much. its just his place. just like yours is swish chalet. lol. and him going out with there minican in the wetest part of spring is pretty comical as well hahaha. he probably just forgot to turn on the 4 wheel drive haahaha. its a good thing your such a good son to go and pull him out though. even though you got muddy. 

emily sounds liek she is killing it in rugby as usual! i wish i was there to watch! and play haha. hopefully i can find time next year to go and play again. but we will see. it would definatly keep me healthy. 

oh and i had a question for you. does nait have any language classes? i want to take a french class when i get home. can i go to nait and grant mac at the same time? just a question hahaha. dont know how possible any of my thoughts are but just trying to get a gage of things to plan for in three months.  you guys should be getting my flight plans here in about 2 weeks. then you send them to me. thats how it works. but i am pretty sure we go home the 14th of august. that s the most logical time. so i wont make the family reunion by a hair haha. oh well. its what the lord asks. 

i am doing really good here working hard as usual. people tell me every day how malagasy i am hahaha. im sure going to miss this place when i leave. but for now i am just soaking it all in. looking forward to speaking to you all in 6 days!!! taht will be pretty awesome. tis my last phone call. then time really flys by. thats what people say anyways. lol. 

one incredible and humbling experience i had this week was being the tool in the hands of god to spare a life of a lost soul. sos me and elder smithson were walking from a time when we saw a tiny little woman carrying a big back of charcole on her head. not unusuall but elder smithson picked the bag off of her head and carried it for her. then we returned and got the other one where i continued to carry it about a  1 km to the final destination. but in the middle of it all. as we got to the second bag. i saw there a woman sitting on a stool writing on a small piece of paper. her name is razanany delphine.  these people were very very very poor. living out of cardboard boxs litterally and getting 2 dollars each bag of charcole. not enough to lvie on. but as i talked to the woman writing i learn that she used to work for an american man before the riots of 2003. then he went home and in subsaquence to that she had no job. he kids were homeless and she was living with family in a small town called moramanga. she had found a little work for her kids in order to get them food and such. and then the money that they made from that (about 45 dollars) was all stollen from her by one of her sons. the she had no money to take back to those that gave her the work. she couldnt give her children what they and there own families needed. so she was writing a small will. a suicide note. i pleaded with her to reconcider. to pray to god and trust that he loved her and would bless her. she gave me the small note in her hand and we parted in tears. to my knowlage she did not go through with taking ehr own life. i have kept that note as a reminder of her. that we might find joy together in heaven knowing that we endured to the end. i thank god that he trusted me to help delphine. he truly does love her. she is a lazarus of this earth and i know that she will recieve celestial glory along side us in heaven. if that is the only thing i did on my mission it would be worth it. but i have done so much more. and i thank god for such an opportunity. one i will never forget and always long for again. 

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates
 me carrying the charcole bag they are heavey.....
me and delphines daughter and 2 kids after finishing the hike with the charcole haha

 elder smithson with delphines daughter and 2 kids. she was the one origionaly carrying the bag. wic his about 100 pounds if i would gess.
 me and sister simonette. she is a member in our ward that just god her last leg cut of... she is a wonderful woman.
 a greatful man after seeing us carry the charcole for the women
we were invited to a birthday party in elder smithsons old area. they were a way cool family and me and the father really got along good. he was amazeed and how good i was at malagasy.... he was just flattering me haha

April 29, 2013

hey dad. 

i am glad you think i look good. i hope i look pretty studdly. and i dont write certain things in my letter to you because it gos up on my blog. so i know that lyndi lets you know the good of the things i write her and that you hear about it. and i know if its not straight from the studs mouth then it isnt the same but there are just some things not needed to go onto the blog. sorrY. so my apartment is me elder smithson elder neaf from organ and elder ramafadrahona. from here. ahahha. and its a good house. i lived with elder neaf already aback in tamatave. haha he is a funny guy. we are pretty good friends. when i taught solofo it was only going to be me but i sweet talked the gaurds into letting my comp come with me. god has blessed me with a way with people here in mada. so we god a little bit of a special cercomstance. 

no snow huh!? and i thought we might see snow here it is so cold. to me. i dont actually know the tempt but i am sure its like in the teeens as well and i am freezing. i slept with a big old hoody on last night. and its not even the coldest yet. thats in june or so. i am dreading it. though i was born in january i have gotten scary used to the heat. spring cleanups so so dusty. i remember getting so dirty. i miss that! haha its amazing how much you miss stuff. is mitch still dating that one girl he new back from school? if so you should see if she has friends. he can talk me up hahaah. even get one or two of them to write me. ill work my magic hahahahahaha. just kidding. kinda. but seriously he could put in a word for me ;)

me not writing lyndi was not a cruel broth trick or a joke... haha it was pure tiredness and lose of mind. thats what happens on pday. just get lost in the crap. its my least favorite day other than the letters i get. 

i think i got one card from leslie a while back. when did she send it? i can look in my stack of letters. but i havent gotten a letter since january so if she sent it after that then nope. havent gotten it. hahaha. thanks for the picture of mom. truely is a gem. and i like how you used the word courting.... hahaahah old man. i jsut found out though that there is a plant here that if you mush it up and put it in your hair it will grow back!!!!!!!! i will bring much back for the both of us!!! hahaha tthen we can look young again. lol. 

me and my copmp elder smithson are doing great! having a ton of fun and we get along good. we are focusing on the blessings of god. we set goals and make plans just like the council in conference. we haev investigators working towards bap dates and are constantly finding new people. working hard to get the harvest of the field. i lvoe this work with all my heart and desire to do it the rest of my life. i hope i just dont get lost in teh craziness of life to do it. thank you for all you have taught me and do for me constantly . i love you with all my heart. 

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates
  me and elder smithson in a taxi.
 me and my mada mamma. she makes good rice haha. her name is nivo. shes a member but many of her kids are not. 
 solofo and fara and me. he was the one in prison
 me and a member family. although the one is not yet a member/ but getting baptised in january. oh and the sisters are also in that picture. 
 the lady putting on my comps socks... hahaha
 cool flower.
 i think dad may have used a flip chart similar to this in his mission. is old.  and out of date. not saying anythign about you though dad. your still hip
the baptism of nana and manga. i baptised manga. nanas father baptised her. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 22, 2013

hey dad!

i am truely lucky! i did get a chance to read your letter you sent
last week just briefly but had no time to reply! as you understand
time is short while on a mission. but i did read it and am greatful
for it. i know that my email time changes but it is not usually my
fault. computers dont work and we are busy trying to get things done.
pdays are always the most heckic! lol but i am truely sorry.
 i did not know you taught a prisoner in peru! that is very
interesting. i did teach solofo while he was still in prison. it was a
humbling experience and one i will never forget. the prisons here are
just grounds where you have time to rome around. practically no
matinence other than what the inmates do iwth there little supplies
they have. your family has to suply you with food and if you have no
one to give youfood the prison sells you a tree root one a day..... it
is scary in there but most the men were very humble. searching for
forgiveness. solofo now has a baptism date and is working towards it
slowly. i hope to help him truely change his life to what god would
have him be. what i see him becoming.
 i do have an gmail account. its...  feel free to
imput that into the registration. but if the closing date is in
september then i wouldnt worry about it to much. i will have a couple
weeks to get that figured out when i am home. it is better if i dont
focus on it now. but feel free to get me registered if you can! hahaha
i wont go on the NAIT website untile i am home but i trust you to know
what to do.
 that trip to jasper sounds like it was way fun! and the mouse story
is one for the ages! hahha you and brother lambert both got a new
friend. and he really likes you guys by the sounds of it. did he chew
into your bag signifigantly or just a little? haha.
 i do miss playing rugby quite a bit. and i hope i can find time to
play when i get home but it is all about prioritizing. that picture
you sent of emily is great!! she is a rugby star!
 how old is colter turning 29? i believe that is the number. either
that or 28 but im pretty sure its 29. all i know is he is 7 years
older than me. oh well. i will be sure to write him a nice letter this
week. be sure to put my name on the card as well if you know what i
mean with that present hahaha.
agency. what a truely simple, inginious creation. god does glory in
simplicity  i know it. but i truly loved president uchdorfs talk on
the matter of agency and sins and getting back up. using the example
as when a todddler learns to walk and he falls down do we schould him?
of course not. we pick him up and cheer him on in the right direction.
so it is for each one of us with god. he will always pick us up and
cheer us on in the right direction. so it has been through all of our
lives. and sooner or later that day comes where we no longer learn to
put one foot infront of the other. but walk smoothly along side our
savior. who so patiently waited by our side. how much joy i find in
the mercy and grace of christ. and his exalted excistence along side
the father. for as president eyring said, it shall be a glorious
homecoming where promises are fullfilled. i have had fasts and prayers
answered this past weekend as i listened to conference. pains and
worries lifted. i have put them on christ and do go serving him. that
is the wonder of the great sacrifice he made. and i will never turn
away from that.
 i am doing really well. working hard and finding joy along the way.
costantly reminded of the words of alma and his great desire to bring
"some soul unto repentence" in my mission i have been blessed to bring
more than just some. and am not through. i shall never be finished.
not until that great day of judgment.
  there was a transfer this week as missionaries go home. my malagasy
companion will be leaving me and i will be getting an american man
named elder smithson. he is about 6"4 and has a great heart. desires
to be obidient and servisable. and i have been blessed to get him as
probably my last companion. i look forward to working with him. we
shall learn together and find the blessings of god each and every day.
we have a baptism coming up on saturday of a woman named nana. her
husband doesnt come to church but has desire to change and follow. a
little seed will be planted as his wife gets baptised and leads the
way for exaltation for her family. she is a very humble woman who
serves the lord. i look forward to he baptism. as i look forward to
all those i teach to step closer to christ. what a great work this is.
something to keep us busy in this life haha.

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

 me desire and his son grabriel and his daughter roseline. then one of his nephews i dont know very well
 then the rugby one is a bunch of kids who live in one area a go to alot and they love jumping on me and stuff. they are cute.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 15, 2013

*can we just put this out there that Riley's sister is a bit of a slacker lately when it comes to posting his emails. Seriously though.

dear dad.
so i didnt get your email this morning. i am sure your just still working on it and it will be like 3 pages long but i will look forward to reading it next week. my week was very good with lots of work. i have a man come to church straight out of prison! i had taught him and given him a book of mormon while in prison and then he was released saturday and came to church sunday. he has already read up into alma in the book of mormon. what a great blessing. he also has a family i have been teaching and the wife desires baptism but wants to be baptised alng with her husband. so we are working to teach him more. he was in prison for getting ina fight with a guy at a bar. nothing big but he was in there for 4 months and should have beena year. i have also been working hard on converting a mans wife to the gospel. she was just following her husband desire. then her son who is 18 desided to be baptised and prepare to go on a mision. now she wants all the books and asks lots of questions. she has a testimony. i explained to here how a missionary lives the law of consicration. she loved that. she was so amazed. i hope your week was good ad full of joy. sounds like it was from the other letters. love you so much and look forward to your letter next week 

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

dear mom
thank you so much for your letter. i am so glad that you and dad and emily had so much fun with lyndi and the kids. that is always a great thing to hear. and lyndi wrote me on how much she enjoyed her stay there. she really appreciates ou and dad and all you did for her during the past two ad a half weeks. i remember going to that indoor playground above kinsmen and how lm much fun it was. getting a treat out of the machines. and then you would take us swimming. how i miss swimming hahaa. but i do also remember all the trips you took us on. and how dad would come and then have to leave early or not even go at all. but all of those trips. especially the palmyra one are what fill my mind. they are not just things i remember but they are the things i charish. and i hope you know how much i appreiciate you and dad and all the work you put into it. we did soo many amazing things. seeing niagra falls going to sea world. it was and will always be something i hold onto. i was so young then (9years old) and iwant to go back now as an older man to be able to truely charish all that was holy in that expirience. i  remember sliding down the hil chamurah and things but what i truely reember in detail is how i could not take my eyes of that pagent for a minute. it amazed me. i wanted to be in it. i wished to experience it. oh how great it will be to understand and see all that was, all that is, and all that is to be. i truely look forward to that eternal day.
i am very jealous that you get to spend so much time in the temple. haha. it has been a while since i have been there and was not endowed very long before the mtc so i look forward to going to the temple. i remember singing that song and the missionary song in primary. now they have both become real. and what an amazing gift that is. i am sure your parents would have gloried in gratitude for a temple so close to there home. and i am sure they glory now in the fact that you can so freely partake of that great blessing. they do wait patiently in paradise to hear your incredibe stories and expiriences.

i thank god every day for my opportuity to be a missionary. to serve him and give my life to him. i explained to a woman the consept of missionary service. giving your all. she was amazed. ehr son was recently baptised and excited for him to go on a mission in a year or so. i feel she will also enter the waters of baptism before i leave. i love you and thank you for the scriptures. mosia 4 is my favorite chapter i the book of mormon. i recently read it with an investigator. it is amazing words form a great king.

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates 

Friday, April 12, 2013

April 8, 2013

hey dad
it sounds like you are all havign such a good time with the opportunity you have to spend together. getting to play with all the grandkids and see so much family and feel so much love. i can only imagine the same thing in august. wich is coming up so soon. ive been gone for 20 months so far. so stinkin long. and hole snow batman! it will just barely be melted by the time i get home if its like that!!!!!!! i might get to go skidoing sooner than i excpected. hhaaha its starting to get cold here as well in the mornings (as in 20°C) so i know how yall are feelin hahaha. seriously though i am getting a cold. i am going to die when i get home.
moms new calling would be sooo great to have. she is so lucky! and it suits her so well. i miss the temple so much. i cant wait to go again. so many members have no idea what that really is. it was like me and a mission before i actually came here! haha; 
thank you so much for all your support and love and prayers. i am doing well and working hard. i have seen many blessings this week. we are teaching a woman named hasina and she really desires baptism but her husband wanted nothing to do with it and they are married so she couldnt. we stopped in one day on an unplanned visit and to our suprise her husband rija was there! we taught him the restoration and we could see it really touched him. then saturday night we watched him preach to another family member of his who tried to argue our faith. it was truely a miracle from god. i love this work and would give nothing for it.

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

April 1, 2013

dear dad

so you beat lyndi out of the water this week dad. she didnt even write me one word! i am srue she is busy with children and visiting old friends though wich i understand.
 i am so glad that easter is your favorite time of the year. it is a very important thing that many people seem to think is all about a bunny with chocolate. but it is soo much more than that. christ has risen. he has risen! what a glorious miracle. what incredible sacrifice man has never known. and it is for all. and i am so greatful for christ and his atoning sacrafice. for if it were not for him i would have no perpose in this life. it is truely a great thing.
your vacation souds like it was wonderful! that hotel sweet in the bighorn sounds huge! how much a night was that puppy. regina sounds like its life inside a popsicle. mmmm popsicle. and it did make me laugh your mentioning how you got your ear pierced. ive actually told a few people that stoy. they thought it was pretty funny. the best part was walking into the hospital and seeing the nurse try soo hard not to laugh hahaha. but lets be honest dad it really brought out your eyes. i still think you should have kept it. and i am glad that kasper had fun throughin rocks in the river and things. it would have been nice to be ther. but i am doing a much important work here. mitch is dating a girl from edmonton hey? that will be nice to have him workin for the summer. him and doug should lighten the load quite a bit for ya. oh and i will do nothing in my life if not live this gospel the best i can. and getting married to a women with the same goal is very important. but i am not to worried about that.
no i have not heard anything about a locust inffestation. there are plenty of infestations in this poor sad country though so i wouldnt be suprised. but its not in the city yet. and i did get the pictures you sent last week thank you very much! and i also got some colter sent. his beard is just an april fools joke right? its clued on or somethin. thats rediculous. and i am truely sorry to tell you that my computer is again quite stubborn and will not let me send any pictures. but we did have a baptism this week. grabriel and rose. desires son and daughter. and desire said that he plans on getting baptised in june!!! so exciting. and we are laboring in the spirit to find more who are ready for this gospel. i love you so much and our wonderful family that you so willingly provide for. mothers day is just around the corner and then its home. scary thought. enjoy conference next week. i hope all will take the time to focus on the words the lord wants us to hear. modern scripture.
be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates