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

March 25, 2013

hahahaha i am sure lyndi will laugh when you tell her this but her letter was longer than yours yet again.... sorry. but yours was still incredibly impressive!! and i am so appreciative for all the time you put into writing me in such great detail.
sorry you didnt get my letter till later last wek!! my schedual changes acording to what we need to do so i didnt email till the afternoon last week. but i am writing this so that it should get to you by about 1 over there hahah. sorry about last week. we went to the lemur park way early so that we could feed them and so we dodnt get to email later.
30 cm is a ton of snow to get in one dump!! and i am sure your hard just droped as soon as you saw that. but it never stops amazing me the blessings of the lord. just reading about all the things that happened to you during a 24 hour period or so and still getting all the work done and making it to regine the day after is sooo amazing. davis is s stud for going to help you. how tall is that kid now 7 foot!!?? those long arms and legs of his wpimd push the snow nicely i am sure. and how great of emily to go help you as well though she did tell me it was reluctently hahahaha. and then the pinched nerve was even worse i am sure. emily wrote me this week and told me i shouldnt take over the business. i take that as a sign that she didnt like it on friday lol. but funnilly enough all the snow and things going wrong do not even begin to give me cold feet. it just gets me excited to go out and experience it myself. to learn from it all. i can think of nothing else i would want to do more in my life than work outdoors along side with you. so dont worry. i am pretty tapak-hevitra. 
that is so incredible that you got a call from a young man in peru!!! i can imagine how good that felt for you! i hope i can have that as well. to have those you stived with and loved for so long remember you and make effort to contact you is a great blessing from the lord.i know that i can recieve the same blessings if i am dilligent and endure to the end just as you have strived to do your whole life.
just chillin at lyndis huh??? hahah you talk with emily to much huh dad. pickin up the slang lol. i am truely jelous that you are just chillen at yackity lyndis. though she wasnt so talkative this week..... ya your letter was much longer than hers... haha im funny right. but she did make it a point that she did it on purpose so that you could win once.... and you might cry when i tell you this next part. but the computer i am on is refusing to let me send pictures..... im sorrY. youll have to wait till next week. but i am truely jealous of your free time to go and cisit all of the family! though you definatly deserve it i wish i was with yall! haha even with screamin kids in the car for 6 hours. i dont even think the people here have heard of a car seat. those who do have cars just let the kids run around and hold the little babies in their arms and nurse them the whole time so that they do not cry.
church sounded very enjoyable. the lesson on improveing ourselfs every day sounds great. we had a combine relief society priesthood thing and a couple missionaries came and taught about temple work. it was a great lesson and many many gained from it. all of our investigators that were there were so excited to go to the temple its a wonderful thing.the temple truely is sooo important. andi hope that all can one day convienietly benifit from a temple. we are almost there. just gotta gett into the very corners.
ya s oabout the rat.... i am not sure if i was the source of its death or not but all i know is i was contacting a man on the sidewalk and we sat down to talk to him and i leaned into the gras sand got up and the malagasy helping us was all like. whats that on your arm??? and i was like, i dont know. and then he pointed at the dead rat in the grass and the puzzle pieced itself together. i went and bought a waterbottle and washed my arm and then thourouly washed with hand sanitizer. you seem to think that we arent very sanitary here. the country may not be sanitary.... but we try to be. and i have been very healthy throughout my mission sickness wise. the last thing i want is a serious desease that will affect me for the rest of my life. and i ma glad that your hand has cleared up!.
so my week has been very very good. again full of gods blessings. it is hard to have a bad week when you really start lookin and watching. we have had mpre less active members come back to church and investigartors are progressing toward baptism. we have 2 people getting baptised on saturday. gabriel and rose. you ahve seen them in my pictures. the are desirees kids. desire is very dilligent but his wifes family has denied him marrying her because they are already finished the malagasy way. but that was another blessing we have seen. we talked to the family and have been teaching them and they really really like the lessons and because of that i feel like desirees baptism will be coming shortly wich fill my heart with such joy. we have also been teachinga man named jerry who has really been putting me through the ringer hahaha. he is a 20 year old very educated man and prays with the jehovahs witnesses. he is semmingly very curious about his chuch and i have had incredible desire to help him find the fullness of truth. i fell desire for all those i teach but for some reason my soul has been vexed as i have struggled to teach jerry. this week we talked to him about how our spirits do not die when our bodies die wich is exactly opposite of what he has learned. but he went through the bible and malagasy is a great language but it doesnt have many descriptive words.for example. soul and spirit are one ward in malagasy. but in french and english and hebrew they are 2 very different words. and jerry likes to read in french so we explained how the scriptures he showed us were about the sould dieing. wich is your body and spirit combined. and then we told him that we agree that our sould dies at death and awaits the reserection. it seemed to really gett him thinking and i am so incredibly greatful for god that he prepared me throughout the week for that. we also got a call from one of our old recent converts. because our area was very big it got spil and half of it went to the sisters. so a member who lives in a fairly remote area of the sisters area called us saying her brother in law was very sick and needed to be tended to. so we called the sisters and headed out there. the man said he had a pain in his abdamin that would climb up into his chest and make him cough and shake uncontrolably. it was aparent that something was causing this man great pain. his name was modeste. so we taough about faith and athority and offered to give hima blessing if he had faith enough to be healed. he humbly said that he had the faith and we continued with the blessing. the power of god is an incredible gift given to us and can bless those if we are worthy. there were many in the house and i was so greatful for the spirit as we gave him a blessing because here there are so many horribly wrong ideas about casting out devils that there is always bound to be something wrong or weird happen. but this time there was nothing but the feeling of the spirit. and modeste was healed. straight after the blessing the pain left him. that will stand as a testimony to many and will bring many unto this gospel. god knows his sheep. and they are counted everyone. i love this work with all my heart and though i long to be home i know that i have more to do here to bless the lives of these people wich i lvoe so much. i pray you will be sage and find so much joy in your vacation this week. i dont know if i will ever beable to show the gratitude i feel towards you and mom for all you have done for me. know that i am doing my best here and walking along side the angels of god.

be fitiavana mandrakizay
elder bates