Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28, 2013

hey dad!

that is something i have learned here on my mission and something i really clarified in that book by president hinckley callled standing for something. there is a chapter about gratiutude. showing gratitude shows maturity and is just plain good to do. i am sorry for all the time you spent rasing me without much if any gratitude on my part. and i want to tell you that you have dint not just anything right but many things right! you and mom are amazing parents and get better by the day. i thank god that i could be born into the family i was born into.

oh and my companion speaks little if any english to me. just teh few little funny words he knows like "i need to poop" and "lets bounce" hahaha but usually we just speak in malagasy. is pretty fun. really tiring mentaly haha but fun. it is not even febuary and we are already well on our way to our goal of 10 families. honore is amazing. they are extremely poor as i have said before but that doesnt stop him from doing whats right. this week he quite smoking. that was difficult but he did it! ina week! and then on top of that his land lord came around looking for the rent. and honore was the only one the land lord talked to even though there are many people who rent from him in the area. needless to say honore didnt have to amount wanted so the land lord said if it wasnt given the house would be take from them on sunday.(yesterday). though many people are late on ther rent it seems the devil is trying to do everythign to keep this family from the fold of god. but it didnt work. we went to honores house at 830 in the morning sunday to walk to church to them. honore locked his door and came with us. on the way to church he explained to us the problem. but he was seemingly unshaken. we promised him blessings if he follows god and he fully believes they will come. and so do i. he is an amzing example of faith and humility. we dont know what has happened with him and his land lord yet because he has no phone and lives far away. but i belieeve god with help him for doing whats right. being a missionary is amazing and i really dont want it to end. i understand why john and the 3 nephites chose what they chose. what an amazing thing it is to serve the lord and nothing else.

and thats great that you are feeding the missionaries. and i know that at first glance it is hard to find somebody to learn the gospel. especially in a culture such as america or canada. but it truely is as easy as inviting someone over. being friendly and inviting. if they do not except it or are insulted at the gesture then that is part of being a latter day saint. it is such a hard thing but we are to be different. there is loneliness in the gospel. in leadership. in rightousness. but i know and promise that if we just invite. make the initial effort. then we will be bless abundantly by the god on high. theres the witzels who you have had on your mind for a long time. dough sounds like a good guy. many many people. there is power in a testimony. even a simple one. showing that we have the holy ghost in our lives.

i am sure emily gavea great talk about standing in holy places! i wish i was there to here it but i trust it was amazing. and you have to remember dad that she got her sense of hummor from you! hahahaha and i dont know what jeff princes joke was but thats how you know people love you. when they talk about you in public!! so feel loved! hahaha

so dallin is all packed away huh? i bet that was pretty hard for mom to do. am i a tote owner as well??? are my mounts still up on the wall. they better be. or did you hide em all so people wouldent get to jealous? im sure colter tells everybody they are his... hahaha i think when i move back home i might take up that mustard room.... its a little bigger than the one i was in before. is clayton still living down south? i cant remlember where he lived last but i think it was in medicine hat. what was he doing in edmonton. i am srue he loved getting those sheds dallin had. there were some good ones.

haha i have had a few malagasy nicknames. when i first came into country it was elder bota... wich means elder tubby. but now people call me rabetsy. wich is a tribe of people down south. it sounds alot like bates and so thats what i was given. and i have not gotten the box of garments yet but i am waiting. im sure it will get here. my week has been great. full of so much goodness. missionary work is sure different but it is so rewarding. this morning we went out to help noro berts family fix there roof that leaked like a siv and it gave me a taste of working with my hands again. just a little taste. but it is truely a godly prinsiple. i love you so much and thank you for all that oyu do for me.

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

1. me and my companion at a dinner apointment with members

2. me and a recent convert. he is solid! is name is jean de dieu. and my comp!

4. me!

5. my area :)

6.this is honore and lida and there 3 children. they came to church this
sunday. they dont have money for a bus and the church is about 6 km away.

7. me and noro berts family. they are all recent converts and amazing!!!

8.great view huh?

9. this always reminds me of lyndi when i see it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013


haha 21 years old... it is kinda crazy. doesnt feel much different though. andi hope i wont feel different from this the rest of my life. i feel great. i feel the love of christ in my life and that makes me feel light happy and young. i am reading right now from a book called standing for something writen by one of the greatest men to excist on earth president hinckley. he wrote that book at 90 years old and said he felt young through christ. ever learning and ever growing. i also aspire to feel young through christ the rest of eternity. 

so i cannot send pictures this week. AZAFADY!!!!! i know i shod cause it was your birthday saturday but i cant. please remove the fault. i will send some next week for sure!! but my companions name on his tag is rakotonjanahary. his full name is rakotonjanahary benja. with a j not a z. and he is 23 years old in april. i know him while i was working in antsirabe because he is from ther eand he helped the missionaries alot. he is a great guy. baptised with his mother when he was 19 years old. he has 3 imidiate siblings and other halfs. his father is a driver for some hauling company and his mother sells vegitables at a market. he doesnt speak english but tries to learn. he does not however try to speak to me in english very much wich is what will help him learn the best! he has a very calm persona about him even in stressful times wich i admire and aprettiate. i work in the ward manakambahiny. its the first ward i have ever worked in. and its alot different. but so great. the members are helping and we are finding the families with sturdy fathers to lead and to guide them. we are seeing so many blessings and it is so amazing. our ward is actually planning on splitting in the middle of the year. so we have very solid goals to baptise 10 families before that time. we already have 5 with baptismal dates. hopefully they all go through. god is truely blessing us here in manakambahiny. i wish to finish my mission here. when we get invited to eat it is always rice. haha then the topping of the rice varies from kidney beans, peas, an asortment of vegitables, potatos. and some pig flesh. usually it is mostly just pig fat and skin with a tiny piece of the meat at the bottom if y ou are lucky hahaha. but i really do love to food here. even the pig fat. wierd i know but you always taught me to eat whats infromt of me. as a child i stuggled with the veggies but now i have learned a great lesson from what you have taught me. people are amazed that i eat rice. many missionaries refuse to eat rice people cook them wich ido in no way cundone. it opens doors. something as simple as eating the food with the people brings you to there level. they show more respect. and more trust. 

you bought a truck that alread has 300 000 km on it!! haha thats prety high but i know you know what your doing. i hope it works good! has the transmition ever gone in it yet? was it used for any heavy duty stuff? either way you talked to guy down 2000 dollars wich is pretty dang good. doug is gone for a while to mexico!! and i did missunderstand. but now i understand. and am glad that you have been finding good help! 

it must be so incredible to sit and listen to robyn and emily harmonize in such beauty. i never realized how much singing is a part of my life and what i love until my mission where whenever there is a song we sing in sacrament or to oppen any service i find myself not wanting it to end. i love the harmonies and the melodies of the hymns. and am excited to sing again with my sisters. 

i wnat mom to know that i felt her love on my mirthday and was not lonely. though to be truethful birthdays arent really a big thing here and my birthday has never been important to me i did feel love and happiness through the servive of my fellow men. just as you told her it is easy for missionaries to feel comfort through there service. "for surely when we are in the service of our fellow men we are only in the service of our god" and if we serve god god blesses us. i do not need gifts of this world to find true joy in my savior. i honestly found no sorrow in the fact that i didnt get one thing on my birthday. i was blessed with amazing times with humble people who accepted baptism. what greater gift is there for a man but to share in an experience such as this. and for that i am extremely greatful. as we read in D and C ( mom was my seminary teacher and i remember reciting this to her) 14:7 "eternal life is the greatest gift of all gifts of god" and that is what i am witnessing here. 

haha dad you are 50!!!!!! thats not that old!!!!! your only half way there. compare that to my year mark on the mission i still felt sooo new! you will live to see my hair get grey. if i have any hair by the time it gets grey... seriously. this balding thing puts a damper on my looks. oh well. a very good man it was that invented the hat! haha 

dallin seems to have gret dreams. many ideas of experiencing life and doing what he believes will full fill that thirst. and i hope with all my heart that it does. all of his dreams can come true. there is always a way for us to do what we want to do. i hope that he can find comfort and happiness in this life and in the next. i hope that for all my family. i am thankfull to the lord for protecting my family. hearing about colter and his experiences this week my heart is full of thanks to the almighty for protecting him. how often we can find the answers to our prays if we look and wait in faith. faith is the key. as i reflect on my past 21 years i am so greatful for everything. i cannot express all my gratitute to you and mom and my sibling for all that you have done and taught me. especially you and mom. i have experienced good and bad and it has all been used to ad to my knowlage base. that is the point of this life. to expand our knowlage base. and our understanding of the almighty. how happy i find myself this week. not happy all the time but constantly happier non the less. we are teaching a man named desiree. he is a remarkable man. a refferal from someone right before i got to this area. but he has a problem getting married. first because his parents are traditional malagasies and they have already finished the tribal marriage cerimonies. and because of his incredible respect for his parents he will not goet married through the government until he gets the permission from his parents. he is a 40 some year old man. and the other problem is that he is the only one in his family whe will come to church. the rest pray at the luthren church. but he has everlasting faith in god that he will be baptised with his family and go to the temple. this is the faith we must all muster. a nother very humble man and women we teach are honore and lidia. they live in a house where the door is about 4 feet tall and the roof about 4 1/2 feet tall. they have 3 children under the age of 9 and he struggles to find work. we went there one day and the only one there was honore. his countanence was one of sorrow and sadness. as we talked he told us that him and his wife got upset because he hadnt found work. she took the kids and went to her mothers. you could tell that honore felt he had lost everything. and he did TRY to find work. so we turned to our scriptures. and as we read in ether chapter 12 with mormnis great description of faith i promised him that if he would be dilligent and haev faith through his trials he would be blessd with work before the following sunday. and so we left him. that was a saturday. going back to him tuesday night we found in the house his wife and his kids. and honore comes in the door late with dirty hands and a smile on his face that no man could take away. the lord does answer our prays and pleas. we must only have faith enough to do as he say's. this i do know with all of my heart and thank you for teaching me these principles. 

be fitiavana mandrakizay
your son
elder bates

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 14, 2013

hey dad!
so emily owes you a dollar... make sure you collect! hahhaa just kidding aza miloka!!! (dont bet!) lol but seriously. id get that dollar if i were you. i live in manakambahiny wich translates to stranger barakade or block. its on the edge of antananarivo to the east. lots of rice feilds and also lots of city. the area i am in is huge! i think its the bigest in tana. my companions name is rakotonjanahary benza. he is awesome. great guy with a really calm spirit he brings with him everywhere. he is going to turn 23 this year. i am the youngest elder in my house. but have been the longest on a mission. i am elder rakotonjanahary's second companion. his first companion was a malagasy so its kinda different. though i am pretty much malagasy anyways... i eat rice 3 times a day. hahaha. and i do my laundry!!!!!!! haha turns out that when you work in a 3rd world country, you get a little dirty. i really do try to keep my closed clean... but its dificult.
hahaha business is the same old same old. 2 or so years ago me and dallin had the other 97 brake down on us! but from st albert to spruce grove and not the other way. luckely for you guys it was just the alternator though. when it was me and dallin the dang header cracked and we had a nice antifreeze oil coctail... hahaha i forced that thing to spruce grove and there it stopped. doug and his wife sure do go to mexico alot! lucky for them haha. sounds like adam is working hard though which is good. and what kinda truck did you buy for 4500? is it another 03 chevy hahah.
woo hoo rugby!!!!!! hahahah i wish i was there to see it all go down! but i am doing something pretty important! hopefully school can work out for her and she can graduate so that she can do all the things she wants to do.
the bird was tame (in last weeks pictures). they had clipped its wings and things. quite a few people in tamatave have them actually cause martins are all over the place there so the kids will snare them and then they become a pet....
there are over 200 kids in the orphanage and its n international orphanage called s.o.s and they do not do adoptions. they give the kids a place to live sleep eat andlearn so they can become an influence to there own communtiy. they leave when they are ready. usually when they are about 21-25 years old. its a pretty cool thing. its a good thing its not run by the malagasy government either cause it would be alot less quality it is sad to say but true. 
so fifty years huh? meh. hahaha that is pretty dang rediculous! you might think getting old is a bad thing but thing of it this way. your one year closer to heaven. congradulations on turning fifty years old this saturday!!!! woo ho you will have to have a big praty. i will be celabrating it by seeing three people get baptised!! :D oh how exciting this weekend is.
so i am doing great! i live with malagasys i work with malagasies andi eat with malagasies and i couldnt be happier! haha rice three times a day! whats better than that! i will have more to write tomorrow but i think thats all for this week. i love you and hope you are haveing a great time!
be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7, 2013

hey dad!

haha you can tell brother cyper that i take is greating with great joy and i look forward to plowing his driveway again next winter!! haha i really apreciate that he remembers me and takes the time to ask how i am doing. how is he doing. has he had any more problems with strokes lately. his heart is very close to god. 

christmas and newyears are past and now it time for birthdays!!!!! hahaha you and mom look really good with horns (Mom and Dad went to Montana's for their birthday celebration with Colter). it really brings out your eyes. and sounds like you have been relaxing quite a bit the past couple of days! that must be so nice. and that was good of you to let doug take a while off to go to mexico and have some time with his wife! adam is a hard worker. its to bad about what happened at gaurdian. hopefully he can find more work. he has a good work ethic. visiting down in lethbridge and with everybody so much over the holidays must have been so nice. you make a really good airplane. maybe you should fly your way over here in august and then fly me back home hahahaha. i didnt know you could still get your body that straight and agile...... really i am impressed. and i know how you feel about morning church. it is so much nicer than afternoon. then you have all afternoon to read or visit haha. 

so dallin has become the hitch hiker huh? haha good for him. i hope he finds the structure he is looking for in his life. its kinda funny that he is homeless. but i think that that school in vancouver would be great and i hope he works hard to get into it. i am glad as well that he is still hanging aroung family and things. i actually just got a card from aunt irene and uncle randy! it was very nice. they told me that mitch is working for randy out in vancouver. that will be good for him. they also told me that meaghan is getting all sort of famous wich is great! 

granmpi is looking great in the pictures lyndi has of him. nice and healthy. and nannie as well. they are so strong. like the engergiger bunny. hahaha i can just imagine grampi with little pink ears on and a drum and he walks around beating the drum. hahahahahahaha oh that should be his halloween costume next year haha. 

i am doing really good. i just found out last night that i will be transfering to manakambahiny and i will leave wednesday. my new companion will be a malagasy named elder benza. i met him before he was a missionary when i worked in antsirabe. he is a great guy and i am excited to work with him. i will be living with 3 malagasies. yup haha. no americans in my house lol. it will be a great expeirence and i am very excited. we also found a new family here and the fathers name is mark. he is amazing. worked on a boat his whole life till his boat got beached and now he s been out of work since 2009. but i dont think i have had a better time with anybody on my mission. he asked all the right questions. and it was full of the spirit. i pray he will choose to come to church and find the trueth and structure in his life that he needs for his family. i love you all and am so happy you are doing well 

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates 
 me holding a martin bird! pretty cool

and that there is a parrot. it had clawzz!

my christmas R :D

yes that is an edmonton oilers hat!!!!!!!!!! go oil!

me and fabio! on a well built bridge thing. 
 we went back to the orphanage to play soccer with the kids. she was way cute
 so is fitahiana (blessing) its her name