Monday, May 25, 2015

Round 2...

So yeah this week was just about another last week. Almost exactly actually. Kinda scary. But yeah. Last Monday we just had all the Elders in Antsirabe come over to our house and we just had a party so it was fun. We had a soiree with a member family that night as a kind of going away party for a Sister in our branch leaving on her mission to Cote D'Ivore. It was way fun.

Tuesday our zone got challenged by the Ap's to teach 25 lessons, 6 with a member, teach 10 father led families, drop 5 new baptismal dates and get 28 hours of proselyting time. It was a challenge for sure. Tuesday was kinda rough. We didn't get as many lessons as we would have liked or needed to reach our goal. It was basically just a day of tracting and no one let us in. 

Wednesday was a struggle too. We were able to give a baptismal date to a family that we just started teaching which happened to be exactly 5 so that worked out nicely. We were able to teach a decent amount of lessons that day and it was productive. Fun story of the week though. We finished teaching a time that was in this field behind some buildings and were making our way back to the road. We had to go through some small windy alleyways to get back to the main road and when we did, it was packed with people as usual. I started to go to the right, which was the direction of our next lesson when I hear someone yell, "Coleman!" So I turn and see 8 "cool" kids leaning up against this wall. They signaled for me to go over to them so I did. The one asks, "Are you Coleman? I want to learn from you guys." So that was cool. And I guess I'm famous because I had never seen this kid before. But while I was taking his information and setting up a time, I was also asking the other wall-leaners if they wanted to learn from us too. None of them were really interested but at that point I noticed that we had made quite a scene, two tall white guys with bikes standing in the middle of the road. Well a crowd had gathered around us and we couldn't really move. So I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and started street contacting all of them Dan Jones style (If you don't know what that is, look at the first page of the first chapter of PMG). Elder Reynolds and I contacted at least 60 people right there in the middle of the street it was awesome. And we just started handing out pamphlets like crazy. The thing about Malagasies is that they love books and as soon as we broke out those pamphlets, it was like we were handing out $1000 checks. We ran out pretty quick. 

Thursday was a very rough day. Every time we went to fell through. A very trying day. But we kept trying and trying and were able to find people to teach that have a lot of potential. We found one family that is way awesome. All of their relatives are already members but they aren't. As soon as we knocked on the door they just let us in, no questioins asked, it was awesome. We also were stopped in the road by some guy that was crying and told us that his family hated him because he drinks and they have like disowned him. We were able to share a spiritual though with him and lift his spirits a bit. He wants us to come back so hopefully that'll be good. He's super poor. You know the shed in our backyard? Yeah that's his house. But I noticed the Lord's hand in this work that day. We were just trying so hard to catch our goals the whole day and just nothing was working. We just kept trying and trying and and the very end of the day, We ended up catching them. It just goes to show that He is always there to help us and may not help us in exactly the way we think but he will help us.

Friday, Elder Reynolds was sick so we didn't work at all that day. It was very frustrating. He said that he felt better towards the end of the day so we were able to go out and teach a couple times. Yeah it wasn't a super good idea for him. He was just feeling awful so we went back home kinda early.

Saturday we taught a bunch of people actually. We had a lot of good lessons and we visited a bunch of contacts from our Dan Jones-ing experience the other day. They are actually pretty solid people. Usually when you contact, they just give you a time and then don't show up. But it turned out well and we were able to get some new investigators and good lessons in. 

Sunday was good too. It is Pentecost so there was like no one at church and like no one at home anywhere but we were somehow able to teach quite a few lessons. We were able to give another family a baptism date and I think they will progress very well. He is a pousse driver and he is very smart. He says that he knows that Joseph smith and the Book of Mormon are true and he's an awesome guy. 

So all in all we were able to have a pretty good week regardless of the trials that we faced. The Lord blessed us with our goals even when we didn't think it was going to happen. I love being a missionary and am glad to be here that's for sure. And training is hard. Very hard.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A trying week

This week was a rough one. Not like super bad but still rough. A trying week for sure as the title says.

So Monday was actually a good day. We hung out with the AP's a little bit and then went to this cool place called Tritriva (pronounced chi-chi-va) which is this lake on top of a mountain in a crater. I realize that that is not super descriptive but it was cool nonetheless. I took loads of pictures and will probably send some along with this email. We got back and went to a soiree with a member in the other Ambohimena Elders' area that is now our area. And it was super far. So far. Our house is so far from that part of our area. But we made it ok. I only lost Elder Reynolds once but we found each other again so it all turned out ok. The soiree was way good and during it, a transformer blow up down the street and it was super loud. Not an Autobot but I mean like those things or the power poles, the big boxes. Yeah so the power was down in the whole area. But on the bright side, it was super far from our house so our house was not affected. 

Tuesday was kinda frustrating. It was the beginning. All of our first times fell through. We were able to teach one time which was good but other than that they all fell through. Then we went to the other part of our area to teach investigators over there but most of those fell through too. I had called one and set up a time and when we got there he wasn't there but had just barely left for work. So we went to another time that I called and we had no idea where his house was. He was telling us all these names and things and I didn't know the area at all so it was super pointless. We were able to find it though because I kinda remembered where it was in general and we had him come out to his gate so we could see him. We taught him though so that was good. Then we went to Patrick and Ony and gave them a baptism date for the 18th of June. That's the date he wants because that's when the anniversary of his marriage is. The beginning of that day was very frustrating. 

Wednesday was a good day actually. We taught quite a few people and had English class. A couple times fell through but our backup times were solid so it worked out. We went to Maxime's house (remember him? He's the guy that we baptized right when I got here, on Feb 28) and he was drunk. he has been drinking again. He was completely free before his baptism but he started down that slippery slope again. He relapsed once and then slowly slipped into drinking ever day again. or most days. But yeah when we got there he tried to hide from us but that's kind of hard to do in a house that is as big or smaller than your bedroom. Yeah he hid himself under a blanket. We gave a spiritual thought to strengthen the family because they are all having a hard time. It is affecting all of them. That was heartbreaking.

Thursday started our way good. We just were hitting lesson after lesson. We contacted a guy that wants to learn from us and he's interesting. We shared a little spiritual thought with him and then, completely unrelated to the spiritual thought at all (James 1:5) he drops this question, "What is love?" It was a big temptation to not start singing I'll be honest. Yeah he was an interesting character. But yeah I got sick. It was way bad. I puked while we were out at work. So yeah we went home obviously haha. I did not feel good at all. Luckily, it wasn't in a lesson. It was in front of our member help though but it's ok they just laughed. Yeah I was sick all night; didn't sleep at all. I was just up all night puking. And it wasn't normal either it was like solid. For example, you know when a momma penguin feeds her babies? That's what I was doing. It was awful. 

Friday we didn't work at all because I couldn't leave the house. Super lame.

Saturday I was determined to have a good, productive day because of Friday. We were able to teach quite a few lessons and had lots of success contacting and talking to people. We had a meeting with the branch president and got him to start working with the people in the branch to get things running better. I miss the church where it runs. We taught Jeannot and he told us that he wasn't sure if he wanted to join the church or not. He's not sure if he wants to come to church anymore either. He wants us to come by but he just wants to learn. He's eager to learn and wants to think about it more thoroughly. That was also disappointing because he shot down any chance of us giving him a baptism date.

Yesterday we had a good day. We had a lot of lessons fall through which was not fun but we still got quite a few. And right as the day started, like after church and once we were out at work, the pedal on my bike broke off. So I had to go the whole day without a pedal. So that was fun. And then we taught Patrick and Ony and talked about baptism. I asked them if they were still excited to be baptized and Patrick said yes but Ony was like," I've thought about it and I don't think I need too. I was baptized in the Protestant church and there is one God so I don't feel like it is necessary to do it again." NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! They were investigators for ever and have learned the lessons, all the lessons, 4 times and they Elders before told me to just give them a bap date but I guess some things didn't quite sink in. So frustrating. I told her to pray about it and review the 1st pamphlet. We reviewed it with her and asked her read it again. They know it all I'm sure but now we just need to be double sure and we may have to push their baptism back if they aren't super solid on some of the teachings. 

So yeah this week was a good learning experience and I'm glad it's over. Hopefully this week will be better. I really hope so.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day and District Conference

Well what a week. On Monday we went to Robin and taught his family. It was a pretty good lesson and they got to know Elder Reynolds better so that was good. We are trying to get all the members to know him a little better since he's still new. But yeah we didn't really do much that day other than that.

Tuesday, was not a super good day. We went to our first time but there was no guy home. That happened for our next two lessons. We had no member help that day and it really shot our program in our foot. We did have quite a few good lessons though. We taught one lady that is super rich (she has an Xbox) and she is good at English. She actually spent some time in Kenya and so yeah she's pretty good. She actually has a King James Version of the Bible in English that she uses when we teach her. And we have another family in the other area that is doing very well too. They will probably get a baptism date this week. 

Wednesday, we had a cleaning activity at the church that lasted all morning. It was fun though don't get me wrong. That killed our program for that day too. We did teach a couple lessons after the activity though so it was all good. We had a way good lesson with one family and got them committed to praying about the Book of Mormon. They are way cool and sound like they will actually do it. 

Thursday we had district meeting and it was my first one as the district leader so obviously I exercised unrighteous dominion over all 3 of the other Elders in my district. We had a pretty good day that day with lessons. We taught Landy again and got her recommitted to being baptized. We actually felt like we should read 2 Ne 31 with her and when we did she said that it was exactly what she needed and now she really wants to get baptized. It was a way cool experience. And when we got done with one lesson, we had a little kid that was listening at the door come up to us and asked us to come by his house to teach his family. That was way cool.

Friday we didn't teach a bunch but we taught Jeannot and it was a really good lesson with him about the Plan of Salvation. He really understood it and he is progressing really well. We went by him on Friday because we had a session of district conference on Saturday. 

Saturday morning we skyped Elder Reynolds' family because of the time difference between here and New Zealand. For lunch we met up with all the Elders at a vazaha restaurant. The AP's came down with President so they were there and Elder Roush, who just finished his mission, came with his dad. That was way fun. Then we went and taught a lesson at Tina and naina's before the district conference. The conference lasted pretty much all day. We got one lesson in after conference with that one rich lady again. 

Sunday was the conference and we had to do it at some other place because there isn't enough room at the church. It was a good conference though with lots of good teachings that were needed for the district. I got to be in the choir and sing for the conference and it was way fun. We sang the Army of Helaman song and it got me thinking a lot. The last time I sang that song in a choir was in high school at missionary farewells and now here I am, in a city that no one in Utah has ever heard of, on an island in the middle of the Indian ocean singing that song in a district conference that is being spoken in both French and Malagasy. It just made me think about the journey that I have experienced these last 10 months. It was a crazy moment. We also had our interviews with President at the church after the conference and it was really good. I got some good tips for studying the Book of Mormon. After that we went and taught a lesson to Mampionona, the girl with the messed up foot if you remember her from past emails. She actually asked if she could be baptized so we gave her a baptismal date. Then I skyped at that was way fun. It's so crazy that it's already my second skype call in Madagascar. It was way fun to see everyone though and hear how things are going. We taught Tina and Naina after the call and I kind of had to be a little blunt with Pascal. Apparently, he never prayed about Joseph SMith. So I had to break it down for him and told him that Everything we have done with him the past three months was a lie if Joseph Smith wasn't true. Hopefully he'll get the idea.

Today we are going to go to Lake Tritriva which will be way fun. I'll send pictures next week of that but it looks like a cool place.

Well have fun with life where there's carpet and clean water.

Elder Coleman

Monday, May 4, 2015

Well, I'm training..

So this last week has been an interesting one that's for sure.

Monday we had a soiree with a member family to say good bye to Elder Razakamandimby. Everybody was crying and stuff. Super weird but yeah it was sad to see him go. 

Tuesday we had to wake up super early and take Elder Razakamandimby to the bus station. He left with Elder Gariki, Elder Fox and Elder Christiansen. Elder Fox and Christiansen were done, which was super weird. They were the ones that picked me up from the airport. I was sad to see them go too. So since I didn't have a companion, I went with Elder Lehr on a split. It wasn't super fun actually cause we didn't really do much. He's the new branch president of his branch so he was doing tons of branch president stuff while I just kinda sat there. But Elder Christie and Elder Morse met up with us and took me with them so they could show me their area. Yeah Both of them left and the areas combined so that's fun. They showed me all their good investigators and solid times so I could continue with them. 

Wednesday we had to wake up early again and take me and some others to the bus station. Elder Thompson, Elder Christie, Elder Morse and I all rode up to Tana together. Elder Thompson and I had the front seats so it wasn't too bad of a drive. I hadn't realized how long it had been since I had been to Tana. It's such a crazy place! I got to go on splits with the office elders that day though! It was super fun to see my old area again. We were able to go by and see Andry and see how he was doing. It's a lot better now that I can actually talk to him. And I went by and saw the family of the sister missionary in Temple Square. Super fun day! 

Thursday was the big day though. I got to go with my new trainee, Elder Reynolds, and the AP's to breakfast at the mission home. Sister Adams' cooking is so amazing! So good. Then we did training in President's office for like all day then had lunch courtesy of Sister Adams. Super good. And while we were eating, Elder Rice came in with his trainee. I can't tell you how happy I was to see him. It has been since October since I saw Elder Rice last. It was good to talk to him for a little bit and then we got a picture. The Ap's took us to the bus station after that and then we were on our way back to Antsirabe. This ride was definitely not as good but we made good time. When we arrived, the district president was right where we got dropped off so we talked to him for a little bit. Elder LEhr and his new companion came and picked us up. Elder Lehr's new companion is a Malagasy from Fianarantsoa that he knew when he was down there. He's a way cool guy. We went to Chez Billy's for dinner and the weirdest thing happened. I don't remember if I told you about the creepy lady from Fianarantsoa that would stalk missionaries, but she did that to us a few times. Well anyway, she just walks into Chez Billy's while we were there. Super weird. 

Friday was Elder Reynolds first day in the field. We actually had a pretty good day. We taught a bunch of lessons and he is super good at Malagasy already. He's already way better than I was when I first started my mission. 

Saturday we had a pretty good day too. We taught a bunch of lessons including a very awesome one. We went to Robine and Jeannot and started teaching them. I asked him if he had read any of the Book of Mormon yet but he said he hadn't. He was like, "I won't lie to you guys, but I haven't read it. Maybe on a holiday when I have time I will." Well that was not going to fly with me. We had the Plan of Salvation planned for him but I felt like we should read with him. SO we did. We took turns reading verses and when it came back to me, I asked him if he had any questions before we continued. Well his response was awesome. He was quiet for a minute and then said, "Well, what we just read has already convinced me a little. I thought this was a book about something completely different but now I see that it is exactly the same as the Bible. It is scripture." We continued the reading, finished the 1st chapter and he asked if we could continue on to the 2nd chapter. So we did that and when we were done, he asked us what time church started. He turned to Robin too and asked him if they could go to church together. Super awesome.

Sunday, he came. Him and RObin came to church together and I sat with him. Elder Reynolds bore an awesome testimony in front of the branch because he was new. I am always impressed with fast Sundays here. There was a line of people waiting to bear their testimonies as soon as it was opened up. And A bunch of younger people went up to just because they wanted to. In fact, a girl the same age as Jarrin went up and bore her testimony. Just by herself. She just got up and walked to the front. But yeah Jeannot was super impressed with the way church is run and he liked it a lot. And Claudia came up to us after church and asked us if she could be baptized. So that's awesome! We went out to teach and got a few lessons. We got a bunch of good ones and they are doing way good. 

Last week was a little lame work wise because I was in Tana but I'm hoping that this week we will have a lot of success. We will see though. But Elder Reynolds is way cool. He has a twin sister and two older brothers. His dad served a mission but his brothers never did. He's the first one out from his family since his dad. But his parents were both born into the church and he lives in a town near Auckland. He's way into music, plays the flute very well from what I understand. He likes to sing too. He also took French for 5 years in school so I'm pretty sure he's way good at that too. And to top it all off, he has a way cool accent.

But yeah I think that's all for this week. But I will literally talk to you next week.  

Saying goodbye to Elder Razakamandimby at the bus station.

New companion- Elder Reynolds from New Zealand.