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Monday, January 26, 2015

Boy What a Week!

Boy what a week. A super awesome week this week for us. First and foremost, cake. Holy cow... the taste of an actual cake about brought me to tears. We made it Monday night and it was soooooooo good. Like so good. I can't describe with words the delectibility and scrumptuality of that little slice of heaven.... And by little slice I mean, we cut the cake in fourths and ate it like that haha. Sooo good.

Tuesday started the week off nice with Herman and Celestine. They are a way cool family that we have started teaching recently. We gave them a Book of Mormon last time but they hadn't read it yet. So we just read the 1st chapter with them to just kind of get them into it and invited them to pray about it's truthfulness. Elder Connault and I have been trying recently to be more bold when extending commitments and when teaching and since we love this family so much we are being very bold with them and well it's working so far. We taught Tinah later but he wasn't feeling well so we just showed him the Restoration video. Remember that girl that had the weird thing on her chest? Yeah she was there and about half of it had fallen off. Apparently it was a burn. It was some boiling water that had fallen and burned basically half of her torso. We went to visit a contact but she hid from us when she saw us coming. Way lame. So we climbed a rock. A big rock. Super cool though. You could see way far. We taught Sandra and she is ever so slowly getting it. And we taught Orion and tried to give him a bap date. But a little problem there. He said "No, I don't want to be baptized." Well yeah that was kinda weird. It turns out that he's terrified of water so that's why. We'll see what happens I guess.

We taught Tahina and Alicia about temples and they told us again that they both want to go on missions later. We'll see how that goes too. Coco and his family were next but for this, we need a little back story. His daughter is 18 but she's handicapped. It's seriously the weirdest thing I've ever seen. Her head is almost 3 times the size it should be. When she was born, she had a twin but their heads were fused together. The one died and the doctors had to operate to save the other one. So she ended up having a huge head and can't move or do anything by herself. Well we got there that day and the dad was super tired. He told us he had worked until late and then had been up all night taking care of her. We basically only taught the mom because he was falling asleep the whole time. She goes to church 4 times a week because she believes that God will heal her daughter if she does that. Way awesome lady. We taught Larry and Dorice about enduring to the end again and talked to them about a mission a little. They were kinda interested in that and we think we might focus on that in the weeks to come. 

We visited Raymond on Thursday and taught about how he just needs to trust in God and come back to church. He's a way cool guy. We chilled with him for a little while and played with this chameleon outside his house. I got a way cool video of it climbing a tree. We visited a contact from Onja and she is a way cool lady. Her husband wasn't home so we haven't met him yet but her name is Berthe. She asked about baptism so we taught her about the Priesthood. She was like, "Well when can I get baptized in your church since mine wasn't valid?" Way awesome. Then cool story time. So we just got out of a lesson and decided to contact one more house. We go to the door and ask if the head of the house is home (I know kind of a weird question but that's what you ask in Madagascar). He wasn't so we turn around to leave and there he is walking toward us. He tells to come in at least 10 times and we go into this way nice house. It looked ok on the outside but it was way nice on the inside. He had a way nice couch too. We sit down and talk to him and he seems super interested in our message. He even gave us a glass of soda and as a parting gift, a liter and a half of fresh milk. Super random hahah. But it was awesome because Elder Connault used it to make crepes that night. He's just what the church here needs too. He speaks French, a little English, plays the piano (which is way rare) and is just an awesome guy. 

Friday was a lot of contacting but a way fun day. We contacted this one house, go in, and they are watching the Jungle Book! Way awesome. We taught this one girl who has this way nice apartment later. She's way smart and is genuinely interested in our message. When she accepted the commitment to pray, I felt like she really meant it and that she was going to do it. I really hope she does because she is super awesome. And she has a carpet rug. Yeah it's a big deal if someone has carpet. The best part though was I had the opportunity to give a blessing to a little girl that had been sick since Sunday. It was a little bit of a struggle to do it in Malagasy but it worked out.

Saturday was the baptism. It was way cool to see them get baptized after finding them and taking them all the way through to baptism. I had the opportunity to baptize Tahina, who is a couple months older than McKenna but is about the size of Jarrin. I bet Jarrin is bigger than her actually. The water was super cold and I struggled a little bit with the Malagasy bap prayer but it worked out in the end. We taught Herman and Celestine again and they are reading! They said they prayed about it too! We're just waiting on an answer now! Found out that morning at the baptism that the little girl was doing much better! The Priesthood is such an awesome thing! My testimony of that has been strengthened a lot by that experience. 

Yesterday was cool. We didn't have as many investigators at church as we would've liked but Tahina and Alicia got the Holy Ghost. We were invited to be in the circle to do it and it was a way awesome experience. I'm going to be very sad to leave this place. We didn't get a lot of times yesterday but we did teach one less active Priesthood holder who is a way awesome guy. 

This week will be my last with Elder Connault. It's been a long time that we've been together and I'll miss him for sure. We receive transfer news on Sunday and no matter what one of us will leave. We'll see what happens.
Elder Coleman
Yeah the Pineapple is super good! Leches are kinda weird. They have like a shell kind of thing on the outside that you peel off and the inside is like an eyeball. Yeah it's weird. THey are way good though and way cheap! You can buy like 50 for like 500 Ar.



Austin and Elder Connault at the baptism of Tahina and Alicia

 Elder Mack, Elder Connault, Austin, Tahina and Alicia

 Cute girls!
 Francois helping Elder Connault on top of the big rock.
 I sent Austin a cake mix and frosting for his birthday.  They made it and cut it in fourths!
 From on top of the big rock.

 Chameleon (Tanala)



 The cake was decorated by Elder Connault.  It says 19 Cole!

 This is the building they meet in for church.
 Austin labeled this one. Sketchy ladder and cold water!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Cyclones

Well last Monday we had no water like I said last week. Super lame. The P-day went pretty average though last week. we did nothing super special. We bought journals for Tahina and Alicia to give after their baptism. We taught Mario that night. He's been having a hard time the gossip about him and so we shared D&C 121 with him and his family. I think it helped him a lot. It was a way spiritual lesson. Fun little thing, when we got there, they were watching CSI. 

Tuesday we still didn't have water. So we called Elder Cloward at the office and he got it all figured out. When we came home that night we had water again so it was all good. It was just a day full of contacting. We taught this one family of 4 that had 2 visitors over in a house that was soooooo small. If you were to put two beds side by side, the perimeter was the size of the inside of the house and the roof was super short too. It slanted down and the highest point was maybe 4 feet and the lowest was maybe 2. Way small. And when we were teaching them someone was blasting Hotel California. We contacted some guy whose name was Omega. Yeah kinda weird. We taught Sandra today and she is very slowly getting it. Very slowly. 

Wednesday we taught Tahina and Alicia about missionary work. We told them they could go on a mission if they wanted to after they are baptized. Not sure if they want to or not but Tahina seemed interested. She only has 3 years until that's an option for her. We did a lot of contacting that day too. So much contacting. 

Thursday was super lame. The first half of our day just completely fell through. We did teach Dona though about the Word of Wisdom. We set a goal for him last week to help him get off of alcohol and he said he didn't drink at all since we last saw him. Hopefully he can go another week. We taught this new investigator we have, Tantely, about the Book of Mormon and it was a pretty good lesson. He's Catholic and obviously very into his Catholic mind set. We were pretty straight forward and told him exactly what he needs to do and  so hopefully he'll do it. He's a cool guy though. Super Buff. He's a security guard for a bank so he kinda has to be.

Friday it rained. A lot. All day. And all the paths in our area are very much dirt and very quickly became a muck. a very slippery muck. Elder Connault and I almost fell a bunch of times but our branch missionary fell a ton. It was way funny. He was covered in mud by the end of the day. We taught this way cool new family about the Book of Mormon today and we like them a lot. That is why we made sure they knew exactly what we wanted them to do. We told them to pray about the Book of Mormon and to come to church with us on Sunday. They said they would do both and we told them we would come get them before church. We taught a less active, Larissa, and it was a way good lesson too. She's a stud but her friends tell her that our church isn't true and she's having doubts. During the lesson, her sister went outside and she slipped and fell way hard. It didn't hurt her but it was super funny. Larissa couldn't stop laughing for like 10 minutes it was way funny.

Saturday was lame. Super Lame. So we were supposed to have a baptism but then Mother Nature happened. With a cyclone. We got phone calls from President and from the couple here that told us to be careful. The couple actually told us not to leave at all. So obviously we left to buy a bunch of food when it calmed down for a second. And down our path a tree had been uprooted and fell on the Vahao ny Oloko church (the Let My People Go church). So we stayed home all day and cleaned the house. Super lame.

Sunday we went to pick up that couple but they stood us up. Super lame. We still had quite a few investigators at church though. Our day yesterday was poopy work wise but we did get a couple times in. We taught Eric about baptism and got him a new bap date for February 14. He should be ready by then. 

So Tahina and Alicia's baptism has been moved to this Saturday. Hopefully no more cyclones this week but I asked some members last night and they said there is usually 2 or 3 in the season which is right now so we'll see. 

I think that's all for this week. Hopefully I can talk about a baptism next week and not about another cyclone. Keep on keepin' on.


Elder Coleman


This was a funeral by their house.

You can hear Austin speaking Malagasy in the background. The kids are trying to get mangoes out of the trees.
video

Monday, January 12, 2015

6 Months...

It's so weird that I've already been out 6 months... Elder Rigby told me that the period of time from 6 months to a year just flies by. I'm not excited for that that's for sure. 

Well last Monday, it was raining hard like I said last week. To make it better, our times stood us up and me ended up just being soaked in the short time we were outside. The rain here is like nothing I have ever seen. You can be sitting inside somewhere and you'll hear something that sounds like a rushing river slowly get louder and louder. Then, it will hit you and if you are inside a house you can't hear yourself think and if you're outside, well you're soaked in seconds. 

Tuesday, we walked to our area and there is this huge retaining wall that just fell into the middle of the road. The thing was at least 10-12 feet tall and the rain throughout the night had just worn it down enough somewhere I guess so it all came crashing down. Our favorite Jehovah's witness lives just across the street and he said he thought it was an earthquake. Speaking of him, he's still reading the Book of Mormon I gave him. He was in 1 Ne 4 when we talked to him that day.We had Francois with us today and just contacted pretty much the whole day. We found this guy that works at Tsara Guest House; a cook. He knew Francois through his dad somehow. Super Random. We taught Sandra, Orion and Fanasina later. Sandra is finally understanding that God and Jesus Christ are not the same person. The Catholics really drill that into their brains. They are by far the hardest to teach. But you can definitely can tell that Fanasina has the Gift of the Holy Ghost now. We are going deeper with her on things that she had a hard time understanding the first time around but gets it no problem. She's reading everyday, going to seminary, and helping her sister learn. She's a stud. 

Wednesday, we did a practice interview with Tahina and Alicia. They are scheduled for baptism on the 17th and they did super well in the practice. They are so ready I think. Our program pretty much flopped over and died after that. We tried to go see Tina though but he was asleep. So we thought we might as well contact the house above his. So I go climbing up the stairs and there are these two little girls up there. They were quite startled I might add, to see a white guy coming up their stairs. They were sisters obviously and one had like this thin layer of cloth wrapped around her. Well the older sister just grabs it and opens it to show me the little girl's chest. And holy crap it was the nastiest thing I have ever seen. It was this big black thing that stretched from a little under her right shoulder to her lower ribs on the left side. It looked like a giant burn. It wasn't a burn though but that's the best way I can describe that. We taught Tina after that when he woke up and the rest of the day was just more contacting. 

Thursday was the worst day of the week by far. I woke up and felt like I had been hit by a truck. We went out on the mountain but that whole program fell through so that doesn't exist anymore. We taught this inactive guy on our way back into town, Raymond (Everybody loves him, obviously). He's such a stud. We taught about Captain Moroni. He'd never heard the story and liked it a lot. He's been kinda depressed lately because there is lots of gossip about him right now and that's why he hasn't been coming. The new branch president set up an interview with him and we encouraged him to go and told him how awesome the new branch president is. When he said the closing prayer of the lesson he started crying. I didn't quite catch what he said in the prayer but I felt super bad for him. The rest of the day was just poop. I had a huge headache and a fever and just felt like crap the whole day. It was a struggle for sure. 

Friday, started off how Thursday ended. Contacting. We couldn't find anyone and all our times and backups fell through. We went to one backup and she said we could come back in an hour so we did some more contacting by her house and found a way awesome family. I can see them going far. Then we went to Ludovic with the Branch President and his wife and did a big spiritual thought trying to help him come to church and get him baptized. After that we did more contacting and found this lady that goes to this church where they have to wear all white. When we asked to start the time with a prayer she had to grab her white scarf and take off all her rings before she could. Super weird.

Saturday, the day of the interview. Elder Rigby and Elder Johnson came to our house to do the interview. Elder Johnson and I went on a split and Elder Connault and Elder Rigby. Tahina and Alicia are part of the Brady Bunch and so they live basically at our house haha. Well they passed! It's super awesome! It's way cool that I got to be there when they started to learn and go through the end of the lessons with them. They've changed so much and they are so ready. They haven't missed a single day of church in almost 3 months. Elder Johnson thought they were already members. I went with Elder Johnson into his area and it was a way fun day. We went into the MTC together so it was way fun just the two of us. We did contacting but it was way fun. We taught one of their investigators later who asks the most ridiculous questions. He argued with us for 40 minutes about how we can't baptize him tomorrow (Sunday) because he doesn't even have a testimony. He told us we are the doctors and he is a sick person and he needs it right now. So ridiculous. How often do you argue with a guy and tell him he can't be baptized the next day? Later, Elder Connault told me Tahina and ALicia changed their minds and want us to baptize them. Tahina wants me to do hers and Alicia wants Elder Connault. It'll be way awesome. Hopefully they don't change their minds again haha. 

Sunday was normal. Went to church, taught Tahina and Alicia after and dealt with more drama from that infamous big party. It's seriously like dealing with children. Mom, Dad, I know how you feel now. We taught a couple of way cool people on Sunday but nothing really too exciting and I'm getting lazy now to write anymore. 

Well, we stopped having running water at our house starting Saturday night and it still hasn't come back on. It does this quite often so we thought it would come back on soon like normal but it still hasn't. I had to shower this morning out of a bowl from the kitchen, filled with water from our water storage, heated up on the stove, and used a cup to pour it over me as I washed. Never thought that would happen on my mission for sure. 

It's weird to be at 6 months already and to be 19... I feel super old now haha. Actually I really don't feel any different. Just living the dream...

Alright well that's this week.

Elder Coleman
New Year's Dinner



Elder Connault and Elder Mack




Birthday and 6 Month Mark Dinner.  Grandma Kurtz sent him the Cactus Cooler.

He labeled this "Reach for the Sky"

The town of Ranomafana

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bless the rains down in Africa...

Well what a week. It's weird that it's already 2015... It seems like just yesterday 2014 was starting. But it's been a crazy week work wise and branch drama wise.
Monday we just chilled at home until we went to work. We taught an inactive member, Larissa. She is is some of the pictures I sent home. She and Florent helped us one day and wanted us to take pictures of them. Anyway sees been having a hard time with friends telling her that the church isn't true and all kinds of stuff like that so we are trying to strengthen her and help her come back.
Tuesday we taught Tinah and he was interesting as usual. We taught about the importance of baptism and he understands perfectly that he needs to be baptised. He's a smart guy. But the only problem is that he's lazy. He told us that his faith is very little. That was perffect though cause we shared Alma 32 with him which is the "faith is like a little seed" so hopefully that helped him. We got a new investigator who is just a stud, his name is Orion. He has a sweet name too. He lives in the bottom of Jean Chrys house. We started teaching Fanasina's sister too, Sandra and oh boy was that interesting. We spent 45 minutes trying to teach her that God and Jesus Christ are very much not the same person. Very frustrating.
New Year's Eve... We taught the Brady Bunch about the Law of Chastity so that was fun haha. We mostly taught Tahina and Alicia because they are they only too that will be ready for the baptism on the 17th. We taught them all the points of the Law of Chastity and every single one they called out someone in their family that did that, in front of them. They are an interesting bunch that's for sure. They thought it was hilarious though. We taught a bunch on less actives that day too. Lary and Dorise are still going strong with coming back to church! We just need to get them some friends and to feel welcome. We ate at Tsara Guest House that night and stayed up until midnight for the New Year. I'm glad I got to be a year ahead of y'all for like 10 hours haha.
New Years day was good. We had a zone meeting and talked about area books and stuff. Other than that the day was super poopy. It's pretty sad when a whole country shuts down because everyone is drunk from the night before. It was seriously a ghost town. We contacted a lot that day and actually had some success. We contacted 2 awesome families. One of them was super Catholic and said a weird prayer chant thing together with us for the closing prayer. Super weird. WE finished the day by teaching about Captain Moroni to Mario and his family.
Friday was just a way good day work wise. We taught a ton of people and it was way fun. We taught one guy outside and that was fun haha.
Church was good because it's at 10 now. Tahina and Alicia came to church a half hour early and she showed us her notebook. Our last lesson with her we told her that Elder Rigby would be doing an interview with her and would ask her questions about the learning. So she goes and makes notes in her notebook and has been studying them diligently. How awesome is that? She's such a stud. She's so ready too. We taught her after church and she told us a story. Apparently, before, their family had a good amount of money. Like they were fairly well to do and their dad owned a big truck and that's how he earned money. But one day, the Dahalo came and destroyed their house and took all of their things and now they are where they are now, in a shack made of sheet metal with rags for clothes pretty much. Way sad. We taught Eric that night and he told us that he hasn't had any cigarettes or coffee so that's way good obviously. But he didn't come to church so we have to move his baptism to the 31.
Today we tried to go to Ranomafana but we ended up going past it to this little village in the middle of the jungle. It was still way fun though and got to see a bunch of cool stuff. We came back and it started raining a lot. I'm typing this email soaking wet because it was raining very hard haha. I hope y'alls new year is great! Love ya see ya bye.
Elder Coleman