Monday, March 30, 2015

72 kilos...

Very good week this week. Even better than last week. Monday wasn't anything special. We taught Robin's family and it went way well. They are super awesome; I love them a lot. I love the members in this branch a lot. 

Tuesday was good. We had a split alike we did every day this week because we have way too many people to teach. All the times that I was supposed to teach fell through though so that was lame. But I did teach this new family and they are way cool. Maurice and Hanta is their names. We met aback up at Johnson's house. He's a super active kid but his family is super inactive and we taught them. Their problem is that the dad, Rolland, was super active before but missed two Sundays. Then when he went again, a member told him that he had to be baptized again because he didn't come. The member also said that was a message from the branch president for him. Yeah super lame. But then we went to Setra's house and they fed us a ton as always. Way nice.

Wednesday was a good day. English class was super fun as always. I teach the class that is already pretty good and they just ask me about America all the time so that's fun. It makes me realize just how great America is and how blessed we are to have such an amazing country and so many nice things. SO many nice things. Like roads and sidewalks. A functioning government(I won't go in to that but trust me, it can't be any worse than here). real food. I caught a few times and did a bit of contacting too. Pretty often, we go to times and the parents send the kids outside to tell us that they aren't home. Super lame. That happened to one of our times that day and I was way mad. I could hear the mom inside the house. 

We had district meeting on Thursday and it was way good and we got to eat lunch at the Tolman's house which was way good as always. And at their house is where this email got it's name. The Tolman's have a scale in their house and I stood on it and boom! 72 kilos. Or 160 pounds for those that are not mahay at metric. Yeah so I've gained 20 pounds.... weird stuff. But way awesome! I'm super happy right now that I'm gaining weight. After lunch, we did a split and I went and taught Maurice and Hanta about the Book of Mormon. I love teaching athat lesson. It's just a super powerful message. I also taught another investigator about it the same day so I got double duty on that one. We met up with Razaka after that and taught ROlland and Maxime after him then went to Setra and had a soiree. We bought some drinks for the soiree and when we were buying the drinks, we some guy ask if we were Mormons. That's super rare here; nobody knows the word 'Mormon' in this country. So that was kinda fun. He offered me a cigarette too so that was fun. I have been offered beer, cigarettes and weed on my mission but not once before. Kinda funny. 

Friday was a good day. I did a bunch of contacting so that was kinda lame but it was kinda fun at the same time. I kind alike searching for new people to teach. I taught a couple of the contacts. I also taught a less active member who lives very close to some active members and I got them to come with me. It was a way good lesson. The member gave a lot of useful input to the lesson. 

Saturday, we had a basketball activity in the morning that was way fun. We had the whole district there and I got to run like the score/stats thing. Thank you Luce for having me as the basketball manager. Who knew that would ever come in handy? It was good but them some random people came and starting playing on the court in the middle of one of our games. We had the court rented too. We tried to get them to leave but they wouldn't and basically just wanted to fight. They would have left, but it was the white guys that were telling them to leave so they weren't having any of that. We taught TInah and Naina later and had a good lesson with them then had PMG class which was a total bust. We aren't going to do it anymore because no one comes. I went and taught Liva after PMG though and had a good lesson with him. He's a very smart guy and just accepts what we are telling him is true. He knows the scriptures and what we tell him just makes sense. He just needs to pray now. 

And then Sunday came around which is the craziest day of them all. Well first off I gave a talk in Sacrament about the Atonement so that was fun. When they announced that I was giving a talk, everyone in the congregation turned and looked at me. Thankfully I have a Malagasy companion and he helped me with some phrases that made me sound super good at Malagasy and every was super amazed. It was way funny. And it was like the easiest talk I have ever given in my life I think. And we had one of the people from Be Sofina show up to church randomly. They have been learning from missionaries forever and have never come. And we have this other investigator who is way amazing. I am very impressed with her. When she was younger, she broke her leg. Since this is Madagascar, she did not get a cast or anything; couldn't afford it, so she just went on with her life and her leg healed, sideways. So she has to use a big stick to walk around because she can't walk normally. She lives a long way from the church. She has come the past two Sundays, walking for 2 and a half hours to get there. She can't move very fast because of her leg but she wants to come. She loves our church. She is amazing. As soon as branch council was over, we did a split to catch all our times because we have way too many on Sunday. I caught a few times but a lot weren't home. I taught a Jehovah's Witness so that was fun. People here a lot of the time think that we are JW's so that's lame. And another funny story is that I was talking to this less active member outside her house and this guy, a girl, a little girl, a dog, and the cutest little puppy ever walk by. I said hello to the people then I turned to the member and said,"That is a super cute puppy" At that point the guy stopped dead and came over and started freaking out at me. I could tell he has high and drunk. He kept asking why I didn't greet him first and if I should greet animals or people first. He was super annoying. I just walked away and he freaked out but it was funny. We taught Tianh and Niana again and got them set for their baptism. We just need them to get married first. Then we went to Be Sofina and they told us that they are all going to go to church next Sunday.

SO Yeah way good week. I am becoming way good friends with the members thanks to Razaka and I have a favorite member family now here. They are way cool and are super fun. And their youngest daughter is like my best friend right now. We have our own special dona. I don't know if you have seen this movie called The New Heros or something like that. It's like these smart people become like super heroes and fight some guy with a mask in San Francisco. It's a cartoon. Well they watched this movie this last week and when the kid gives his robot a dona, he like explodes it and says,"la la la lala" So that's ours now haha. I don't know if that made any sense but that's how it is now. 

I don't know about Easter yet but I do know that it is super big here. Like the biggest singers here in Madagascar are coming to Antsirabe for a big 3 day concert so that'll be interesting. I have not gotten your package yet but if there is one it'll be coming down this week. The zone leaders are going up to Tana today for a leadership conference and are coming back on Wednesday.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mountain Biking and my first dog experiences....

Well it's been a very good this week and I am very tired. We worked hard this week and I honestly just want to sleep right now. Last P-day was pretty uneventful. I went with Elder Stokes and Elder Kelsch to take some final pictures for them since it was their last P-day here. We also went and got some ice cream at Gastro's and holy cow was it amazing! I'm super excited to get some actual ice cream from America! It's like a whole new world has been opened to me! We just kinda chilled at home after that. When we went out to teach Robin's family, we overheard his family asking him all these doctrinal questions and he was answering them all. Stud! And Robin's older brother, Fenosoa, wanted to help us this week which is way cool! He's super inactive so it'll be good for him. One cool thing too is that the night sky was perfectly clear and the stars were absolutely gorgeous! Amazing! 

Tuesday Elder Kelsch left... That was sad for sure. I liked Elder Kelsch a lot. We did a spilt that day and I went with Johnny. We tracted the whole day pretty much. But we found lots of cool people that want to learn. We found this weird guy that has a bunch of pet chickens... like they live in his house and stuff. Weird but he's way smart and is progressing really well right now. 

Wednesday was a good day. We taught Solo before English class about the Plan of Salvation. Elder Razakamandimby taught her last on a split and I thought he had already taught her through "life on earth". SO I just asked her what she remembered from the last time and she told me everything through the life on earth. But here's the thing. He didn't teach her that last time. She just read the whole pamphlet we gave her. Way cool. English was fun. We talked about a lot of things in America. Like: Holidays, weather, marriage, and school. It was way fun though. We are going to try to get "Meet the Mormons" so we can play it in English class. We had another split after with Robin to teach that one family of 13 and the mom has changed a lot. She really wants to learn now and she reads the pamphlets that I give her. She's doing way well.

On Thursday we had a way cool district meeting about creativity in teaching and how it brings the Spirit better because it shows that you are open and willing to teach in any way. It was way cool and I've seen how much it has helped in the work in just these past few days. We taught quite a few people after that including Landy. She was interesting as usual. They still don't understand the apostasy so I went way indepth and explained the origin of the Catholic church and all the other churchs that came from it. It's very frustrating to have to go over the same things every time. 

Friday was a good day. We did another split and I was with Dimilahy (fun fact: his name literally translated is: 'five guys') and we did a bunch of contacting too. We found one lady that is obviously struggling very bad and we shared a vatsim-panahy with her about the Atonement and how it can help all of us through everything we go through. It was awesome. We taught a bunch of people that I contacted the other day with Johnny and then we went to meet Razaka when we were attacked by dogs. Like literally attacked. I could hear them barking like very viciously behind this fence so I wasn't too worried but then I shined the flashlight on the fence and there was a huge hole at the bottom. So yeah two dogs came running out and tried to eat us but Dimilahy kicked one way hard in the stomach and they didn't really like that so they backed off. Way scary though. 

Saturday was a way fun day. We had a basketball activity in the morning that was kind of a bust. Not very many people came and just members were there. But we got to eat lunch at a way cool member family house. I love them a ton; they are way solid. They gave us so much food I wanted to explode. We did another split and like all the times I was supposed to teach fell through. I went and taught the chicken guy though and he's way smart. We met up with Razaka at Robin's house for a soiree and it was way fun. They gave us tons of rice too and at that point I really felt like I was going to explode. We took Johnny and Fifalina home on our bikes and another dog came after me, trying to bite my ankles. I was super scared so I just peddled way fast but Johnny was just screaming at me, "Dakao! Dakao!" Which is the command form of 'to kick'. Yeah no way. I just got out of there as fast as I could. 

Sunday was a way good day and we had another split as usual. Most of my times actually happened that day so that was good. I went back to that lady that was struggling, the one from Friday. They were super surprised and told us that we must be actual messengers of God because we came back. They have had visits from missionaries of other faiths before but they never came back. So they were really impressed with us. And they read the whole pamphlet I gave them. We taught Tinah and Naina and they are doing very well now. They have a bap date right now which is way awesome! And then on our way home, Razaka warned me that there are usually dogs on the path to our house so to be careful and if they come after you just go fast. So we start going down this hill on the path home with Razaka in the lead. It's super dark at the bottom and I can't see anything. All of a sudden I hear a bunch of dogs barking and Razaka scream,"ALEHA" which is the command form of 'go, get out of here' It's usually only used for dogs. All the dogs chased after him and I was left alone so that was good. Razaka outran them per se and it was all good in the end. 

This morning we went to this waterfall out in Manadona. It's an area about 20km south of Antsirabe. There are missionaries out there. In fact, Elder Lehr and Elder Christiansen work out there. Anyway it was way cool and quite the hike. It was way tiring though. I'm already tired from this week of biking up ridiculous hills and away from dogs haha. It was a good week though. We taught a lot of lessons this week; more than I have ever done in my mission in a week. Good but very exhausting.

Monday, March 16, 2015


On Monday we had a pretty chill P-day. We bought jerseys for our team for the tournament on Saturday. Robin and Fifaliana came by our house and painted our names and numbers on the shirts. Still no guinea pigs for our soiree but it'll happen eventually I think.

Tuesday I started preparing for zone conference by studying this talk that President sent to us. It's called "Our whole souls as an offering unto Him." Very good talk and I studied the heck out of it too. Like 3 whole pages of my study journal were filled. We taught one of our investigators about the first vision and they just wanted to believe what we had to say but we told them they need to pray first. It's kind of voatery (required) We taught some less actives and it was all good. They come to church sometimes but they just barely had a baby and they Malagasies do things is that whenever someone has a baby, they just stay home for like 2 months. Yeah kinda lame. But after that we went to our branch president's house to set up a time with him. Well we knock on the door and his wife and son answer. The son looks right at me, freaks out and gives me a huge hug. I had never seen him before that day. Kinda weird but cool nonetheless. 

Wednesday we had English class and it was Elder Glabareath's last atime so Tahiry sang to him. It was weird but it was good. We did a split again after English and I went with Robin. We went to Blondine, the place last week where the lady got mad for me being too direct. Well she had read the whole pamphlet and prayed about our message. Way cool. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she really liked it so we'll see how it goes. Our other times fell through though so it was kinda lame but we did have one other one after that. And we had a soiree so that was good. 

We taught this guy today who lives way far from anything but he came to church last Sunday, learned from the sisters in Tana before and wants to learn again. Way cool guy. He's way quiet but he's cool. So in one of our lessons on Monday we taught a lesson and there was a visitor there while we were teaching. Well she wanted to learn from us too. SO we taught her and it's way cool. She told us that she had had many missionaries in her house from different faiths and the first time she saw us she felt something different in her heart and she knew she wanted to hear what we had to say. We went back to the church after that to a fireside by President Adams for the members about the Book of Mormon. It was way good and the members loved it. And then for some reason there was a guy from Razaka's home ward there and he agave us a ride to our next time. He had a way nice car and Aerosmith was playing on the radio when we got in the car. 

Friday was good solid day of less active work. That's pretty much all we taught that day was less actives. They were all good lessons though don't get me wrong. We did teach one new investigator family that is very poor and makes popcorn for a living which is actually not that great. I'm sending a video home of how they make it and it's a lot different than microwave popcorn that's for sure. 

Saturday was a way awesome day. We had the soccer final in the morning. The missionary team lost their first game and when we went out to play, things got bad. There was some confusion in the bracket and one team wanted to play us but we beat them the last time. So they were out. And we would have but we were short on time so we had to play another team. But this team wasn't having any of that. So they all threw a tantrum and just sat in the middle of the field and wouldn't let us play. Like little kids. They were grown men let me remind you. So yeah we just called it and left and now they are really mad and are blaming it on the missionaries... It's like dealing with 6 year olds sometimes. But we had zone conference and that was way good. We learned a lot about asking questions when teaching and focusing on the importance of a living prophet. But the best part might have been that we got to watch meet the Mormons. Yeah way awesome. The weird thing is that I felt more comfortable watching the part in Tibet, because it looked a lot more like Madagascar than any of the other stuff. But it was a way good movie and we might start showing it in our English class. It made me feel very grateful to be a member of the Church. Tena Marina. After zone conference we went to some birthday party for a member that had started hours earlier but they refused to cut the cake until we got there and were calling us through the whole zone conference. So we went, grabbed some cake and left. I hate Malagasy cake. Oh and, Saturday was my one year anniversary since I got my call. 

Sunday was a good day. We had a decent amount of investigators come to church. And one of them went up to the Branch President after sacrament and asked him when the next baptismal service was because he wants to be baptized. I love this area! Then we went out to work, Razaka and I taught one lesson together and then did a split because we have way too many investigators on Sunday. But Robin and I went to quite a few times and taught Tinah, Naina and Pascal, the one who asked to be baptized. They actually asked about baptism when I got there so I explained it all and tried to give them a date. Well they said they don't want to set a date quite yet but I got them to commit to doing it this Saturday so it'll be good. And then we had transfers. Well Razaka and I are staying together and Elder Kelsch is going to Tana. I'll miss him, he's way cool. Elder Mack is coming to Antsirabe though so that'll be fun. And Elder Rice is training again which is going to be kinda weird haha. 

Oh I almost forgot but I am also giving a talk in 2 weeks so that'll be interesting.

Elder Coleman and Elder Kelsch

Razaka, Pascal, and Austin

The girl on his left is the same age as him.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another week in the best mission in the world...

So last P-day, I got a haircut. And yes they screwed it up as always. So my hair is super short right now but it is not as bad as last time when I was with Elder Rice. And the Tsena was out of guinea pig so we bought foza orana instead. Basically they are crawdads. Not a huge fan. They eat them with the shells on so not very good. 

Tuesday we went to the bike place to see if they had the part that we need but they still don`t have it. We had some good lessons today. We taught one investigator, Manalana, about prophets and apostasy and you could definitely tell the Spirit was there. We went to an inactive member to see his daughter's new baby. It was a different experience because I couldn't help but think about how awesome it is to fulfill God's plan by having a family. Kinda weird but that's really all that I could think of. Families are just a great thing; Just awesome. We went to teach Landy after that and they were super annoying as usual. I need a lot of patience to teach them. A lot. Apparently that's what I need to learn with them. We finished the day with Setra and they always feed us when we go there.And it was more foza orana. Awesome. 

Wednesday was an interesting one. All our times before English fell through which was lame because it's like that every week. After English, we did a member split and I went with Robin to that house with 13people and it was interesting. Well they asked like if our church was Catholic or Protestant or what so I told them about the Restoration. And at the end of the lesson the mom freaked out at me for being "too direct". I'll admit I was direct but not to the level she was describing. It was kinda funny though cause she was trying to bring her husband in or her side and he was like, "He wasn't direct, he just answered our questions." 

Thursday we had district meeting which was way good. We continued our mission reflection and shared it with our companions. It was a good companionship building thing and I liked it a lot. Even though we are all in the same mission, we all have very different missions. We taught this lady at Bebe Rahary's who learn from missionaries before but stopped because she thinks of herself as too much of a sinner to be able to repent. Kinda sad but we told her otherwise and hopefully she'll progress. We got a referral and contact her. Her name is Chantelle and she learned everything from the missionaries before but is not married so that's a problem. When we got back home, the AP's came down and I got the package you sent mom with the double stuffed oreos. Never have oreos tasted so good in my life.

Friday was a pretty good day. We got a bunch of good lessons in. At one Less Active lesson we had, they were watching shrek in Malagasy. Let's just say it was not good. And that night we had a soiree with Landy and it was awful. They gave us dry fish which is just all kinds of nasty. The heads are still on and everything. Way gross.

Saturday morning we went out to lake antraikiba and did some tree planting as a district activity. It was way cool until the windows of heaven opened and dumped water on us. After that we went to a soiree which was way good. We also did a split with Elder Weber this day. He's an AP. We taught Tinah and naina about the Spirit World and then went to PMG class. We only got one more time after that so it was a bit of a bad day. 

Sunday wasn't the best. We only had one investigator come to church. We did a split after church because we have too many times on Sunday for only the two of us to cover. So Robin and I went to the ex-patriarch's house to contact a referral. Well it turns out they couldn't learn today so the patriarchs wife just told us her conversion story and it was way cool. After that we went to the ex-branch presidents house and shared a spiritual thought because he is super inactive. Then we went to Chantelle and met her "husband". We got it worked out though so they can get married soon so no worries there. We taught Tinah and Naina again and finished the Plan of Salvation then went to a soiree at Be Sofina's. 

Oh and mom, I got your letter today. You know the one you sent on January 19th? Yeah. Madagascar.

 Elder Coleman and Elder Razakamandimby

Monday, March 2, 2015

Soccer Tournament...

Way good week this week! Had loads of things go good for us and I had two splits this week. Monday we went to Tsena Sabotsy and I bought a bunch of soccer stuff for the tournament on Saturday. I bought a shirt, shorts, socks, and cleats. I got ripped off hardcore on all the stuff except the cleats. I was pretty proud of those actually. They are pretty good cleats and the lady wanted 70,000A for them which is super expensive but I got it down to 35,000A which is a normal price. All the Malagasies want to do is rip white people off. That is their purpose. And we bought two rabbits for our soiree and that was way cool. We bought two, and we'll they were alive when we picked them out. But obviously we didn't want to have two live rabbits in our house until our soiree so we asked them to kill the rabbits. They have obviously done that many times before. It was cool to watch though for sure. Elder Kelsch had never seen anything like that before so it was kinda funny. But basically the rabbit went from alive to just meat and bones in about 10 seconds. It was actually way tasty too. I think today we might have guinea pig but I'm not sure. 

Tuesday was Elder Razakamandimby's birthday. We got invited over to the Tolman's house, the missionary couple here. And we had the best food ever. It was so good. And now I'm going to blow your minds. The mission has changed me completely... They gave us desert; ice cream. I ate it........ and I liked it. Never thought you'd hear that from me huh? After that I went on a split with Elder Morse from my group. We had a bap interview in my area so that's why. But it was a way fun split Our investigators passed though! And the wife wanted me to baptize her so that was a pretty humbling experience. I've only known them for 4 weeks haha.

Wednesday was a bit long. I was sick starting Tuesday night and I hardly slept at all. I had a fever all night. I had a fever of 100.5 in the morning but I'm pretty sure it was higher during the night. English class was fun as always. One thing very cool, so we have a guy in our branch who was the patriarch in Tana before but now lives here in Antsirabe. He gave us a referral on Sunday and brought this guy to church with him who is way cool. We had a time scheduled to teach this guy, Rogger is his name, at the patriarchs house. Well we go and the patriarch isn't home but we meet the guy outside his house. We try to find another time to teach him and he says,"Hey, how about on Saturday after the baptism?" He had come to church once, heard about the baptism announced in church and wanted to go, entirely of his own free will without us asking. He needs to get in the font now. That is if we had a font here. That night we had a soiree with an epicerie lady that lives near our house. An epicerie is like a small store that people run out of their house. But she has a way nice house and served us very good food. 

Thursday we had zone meeting which was way good. It was all about having a good attitude and setting goals for our mission. We did a mission reflection too which was pretty cool. We just started at the MTC and went up to the present and talked about all the lessons we have learned and the reason we served in that area and with this person. It was awesome. Then I did a split with Elder Fox in his area which was super fun. We stayed at the Tolman's house and had a meeting with the district president which took forever but when we got out to teach it was super fun. They have some way awesome investigators. It started pouring rain while we were going and I got completely soaked. Sometimes the rain jacket is a curse. When it rains a lot, it just runs down to your pants and then your legs are soaked. We also had to walk down this super steep path that was super slippery in the  dark so that was fun too. A cool thing; we were going to our last lesson and Elder Fox asks me to give the vatsim-panahy. He says they are less active and they probably just need some love. Alma 7:11-13 just immediately pops into my mind. We get in there and I use that scripture and I talk about everything that the Atonement covers and how he loves us so much to do that for us. It was a very spiritual lesson and we felt like that was just what they needed. 

Friday was pretty uneventful. We taught Solofo about the Book of Mormon. He is super inactive and so we asked him to pray about the Book of Mormon again. Hopefully that'll work. We taught this contact in her house which is super small. It is literally a wood shack with cardboard set up on the inside to block the holes in the wood. The roof is just a tin sheet. The floor is just the dirt of the ground. During the lesson, it started pouring. It sounded like someone poured the ocean on top of the house. I couldn't even hear myself think. 

Saturday was the soccer tournament and it was super fun. Our team won both of our games and will be in the finals on the 14th. We had a lot of non-members come too so that was way good. We had too run home super fast, shower and change for our baptism. The baptism went well though. They were super ready. Then we taught PMG class and I had too sisters that are leaving on their missions ask me about things they should do when teaching and with investigators, stuff like that. It was weird for me because I could answer all their questions. I was asking all the questions they did myself not super long ago and now here I am. The mission does good things. And we went to contact a referral from a member and the referral was for this huge family! We got 13 new investigators out of that one family. 

Sunday was a way good day. We had tons of investigators come to church and the referral from the patriarch that I was talking about; He came with his whole family to church and they all want to learn too. Way awesome. We had a little trouble with apostasy with members again today, including from the patriarch but the church is young so it's bound to happen. We taught a bunch of lessons today and they are all investigators that are progressing way well. This area is soo awesome! We went to Be Sofina to finish the day. If you remember, this is the place that had the Hobbit part 3 playing the last time we were there. We can tell they are watching a movie through like a crack in their door but we couldn't tell what movie. I figured it couldn't be any worse than last time so we knock and they let us in. Well I walk in and glance at the TV just in time to see the One Ring melt in the Fire's of Mount Doom and everything in Mordor start falling apart. Of course they are watching Lord of the Rings. Of course. 

Well all in all it's been a good week. Looking forward to this next week too. Well I need to go by some ice cream now because I like it now which is weird...


Soiree with the rabbits

Austin wearing Uncle Wade's number

Playing for the missionary soccer team

The missionary soccer team