Monday, December 1, 2014

Dat Thanksgiving Tho.....

December already... So weird and it doesn't feel at all like it's December. Today it does because it's dark and overcast and all the Malagasies have sweaters on and stuff even though it's still like 70 degrees. Weirdos.

Anyway, last Monday, I got a haircut. And since this email convers Thanksgiving week, I will talk about everything I'm grateful for. Number 1 Stephanie Clarkson for cutting my hair. I never thought I would be grateful for someone who can cut hair but I am so much. The buzzer thing that they used hurt so bad. I'm pretty sure they pulled more hair out than cut. It honestly felt like someone was just using sandpaper on my head. And then, after it was all done, it was uneven and I had to fix it myself. If i can get a decent haircut in this country it'll be a miracle. Other than that, we just contacted around our house for an hour and then had a soiree with Etienne and Mario.We had a way good lesson about blessings. Mario used a scripture from Alma, I don't exactly remember where it was but I talked about how we need to pray to God for everything. Sometimes in order to get blessings all we need to do is ask. Obviously, there has to be work involved but sometimes that's all it takes. But also sometimes when we ask for blessings God gives us trials. But according to 1 Nephi 1:1 footnote 'e' (in English versions of the Book of Mormon anyway, this doesn't work with Malagasy Book of Mormons, those of you who may have access to various other language versions of the Book of Mormon could see if this is in there) afflictions and trials are blessings given to us by God. And I know without any doubt that that is definitely true. They refine us and make us better people. Also if you look at D&C 121, after our trials we can receive huge blessings too, but we need to endure it well.

Tuesday, we got to wathch the stake conference in English for studies and holy cow was it good. We had Elder Gay of the 70, Some lady from the Primary Presidency, Elder Bednar and Elder Uchtdorf. It just went over tons of problems that members have in Africa and it was super awesome. Afterwards we went to the Fokontany, basically it's an annex of city hall in neighborhoods that take care of business and stuff for that neighborhood so city hall isn't super crowded; way cool concept, not sure if that exists in America. Anyway yeah we went there and tried to find land for sale because we are looking for a place to build a church. President Adams is coming down on the 13th and we want to have some places ready so when he comes down he can maybe make a decision. That took a lot longer than we thought so we were late to a lot of times and most of them didn't have time to learn anymore so that was lame.We found some less active members and taught them real quick though. Elder Connault wasn't feeling well so we went back to the house. But as we were going, the biggest storm of the century rolled in over the top of us. Within not even three minutes my pants were completely soaked through. We were home for a couple hours but Elder Connault felt good enough after that to go teach a Fanasina, our most recent convert. We started reviewing the lessons with her. Elder Connault told me to lead and I thought "hey she just got baptized, let's talk about the Gift of the Holy Ghost" so we did. She didn't know a lot about it so it ended up being a way good lesson. She's such a stud. 

Wednesday, we had the Ambositra elders come down for our zone meeting the next day. I got to go on splits with Elder Mack and Elder Christie for an hour and that was fun. After that, I went on a split with a branch missionary in our area and that was super interesting. I had to speak only Malagasy for pretty much the whole day but it was way fun! I taught quite a few lessons and I pretty much had to do the whoe thing because this branch missionary is not exactly a lot of help. Even when I asked if he had anything to add he would say a short sentence or say he didn't have anything. We had Jean Chrys' suare that night and it was interesting. It's just a little awkward now when we go because they won't go to church anymore but we're trying to get them to change their minds. 

Now for the big day, Thanksgiving! We had a way good zone meeting with Elder Rigby that morning. He's going to be such a great zone leader. He's seriously such a stud; love that guy. He set some good goals for us as a zone and things should start improving. We went up onto the mountain to teach again and we had Etienne with us this time so it was way good. After al the lessons we came back and went to Tsara Guest House, a super fancy vazaha place, way expensive but so worth it. Way good steak and cake. We went around the table before we started and did the super cliche cheesy thing where we all say things that we are thankful for. It was super awesome and I will go over everything at the end of the email. 

Friday, we had nothing on our schedule pretty much. We went and visited a contact and got a return appointment so that's good. We stopped by an investigators house on the way and found out that they had just got married! That is a major problem here and they already have it out of the way so that's way good. We did a bunch of contacting by our house and found a bunch of great contacts. First we contacted into this guy who used to be the bodyguard of the president of Madagascar. All he ever does is drink and he told us he wants to change and wants us to help him. So hopefully we can. And right next door to him we found a lady that can make custom suits for the same price as the guy in Tana. And she must be good cause she has a nice house, is not married, has kids, and has teenage girls apprenticing under her. We might go by there today and get another suit made. A little while after that we taught a guy who was so backwards, he might have been pooping out his mouth. He told us that nowhere in the bible does it say that Christ saves us from our sins. Fun Fact! I started reading the new testament recently and in the first chapter of Matthew it says that.... just so you know. Anyway we gave a lesson while he was saying stuff like that the whole time and then we asked him to pray about what we had talked about. He refused because he knows he will get and answer and will switch to our church. But he doesn't want to change churches even though he knows his church isn't true. Last highlight of the day was our lesson with Onja and Oly. We talked about the story of Lehonti? and Amalakiah? I don't remember the names but it's like Alma 47 or 37 or something like that. We talked about how Satan uses a tactic similar to that; to lure us to lower our standards just a little bit and then he takes us. Oh and we ate bugs... again... yummy.

Saturday was kinda sucky. We had English class and that was good. I didn't teach though I just was teaching myself how to play piano. I can kind of play "Misaotra anao noho ny mpaminany" Or "We Thank Thee Oh God For a Prophet" for all you English speaking folk. Anyway, we taught this guy that lives right next to us about the Book of Mormon and invited him to be baptized. He accepted so that's good! We went to Etienne's to finish of the day and shared a vatsi-panahy. I was again given the role of teaching and so I used Ether 12:27 and 1 Nephi 4:6-7. The Nephi one is way good; I recommend it to everyone if you have time. 

Yesterday we had 6 of the Brady Bunch come to church without us reminding them or taking them with us. I think some of them will be able to get baptized pretty soon. We had some more branch drama because our branch mission leader has been super mad at us for no reason. His brother brought it up in branch council in front of everyone so that was fun. He's like a teenage girl. We taught Alfred and that family again and taught about the Book of Mormon and invited them to be baptized. They said they would have to think about it. Oh and they didn't come to church because there was a wedding the day before somewhere far and they didn't get back until 3am. And after that, all of our times weren't there. So we did even more contacting.... until 7 when we taught Stephanie and Eric. We taught them the first vision and invited them to be baptized. THey accepted and they are way cool. 

This week was kind of a hard week. We worked hard but we saw almost no progress. It's very frustrating but it's all part of the work I guess. THe only thing to do is to keep on swimming and just do better the next week and hope that our investigators do their part because there's only so much we can do as missionaries. We can't convert them; they convert themselves.

Alright thankfulness time since it's thanksgiving. First thing: family. Being out here in Madagascar and seeing all these broken families has made me realize how grateful I am for mine. I am super grateful for the place I was raised in and the family that I had around me. SOme of the funnest memories I have are of things we did as a family, from family home evening board games to Thanksgiving at grandma's house. Also included in that is the GOspel. THe gospel really does bless familes. You look at the average family here in Madagascar and it's a mess but the families that are members are so happy. They are literally almost a beacon of light among so much chaos. These families that we visit everyweek, the recent converts, changed their whole lives and are super blessed because of it. For example, Etienne's family is not very wealthy and he is recently out of a job. He is helped by all the members near him and his family is so happy with what they have. He searches for a job everyday and still comes and helps the missionaries if we need it. I know that I have taken for granted that I was born into this gospel so many times through out my life. And sometimes I just need to step back and look at everything that I have been blessed with because of this church. I look at the friends I grew up with, the ward I was raised in, the priesthood leaders that helped me become who I am, everything that my life is, is because of this great gospel that was restored through Joseph Smith, because one humble farm boy had a question and wanted to know the truth. I am so thankful to be here, serving these people, bringing them this divine message of truth that will bless their lives. I am thankful for the Savior and his Atoning Sacrifice. I am thankful for everything He has done for me. 

Ok now for all the other stuff that I'm thankful for: an actual house, carpet, the time when I wasn't being eaten alive by fleas, roads, sidewalk, people that drive on their side of the road, a mattress, a pillow, clean water, real food, shoes, doctors, car, Temples, electricity, running water, stars, music, and for almost everything that is America (it's pretty obviously what is not included in that).

That's all for this week, sorry for the long email. I'm trying to go short but it just doesn't work out. Only 25 more days until Skype call ;)

Keep that beard hanging low,

Elder Coleman

No comments:

Post a Comment