Monday, July 27, 2015


Paradise is the only way I can describe my new area. I honestly don't even feel like I am in Madagascar anymore. It is like a weird mix of South Pacific island and the Arabian peninsula. It's super cool though. Not temperature wise though. Temperature wise it is super hot. This is the hottest place in the mission. I went from the coldest place in the mission at the coldest time and now I am in the hottest place in the mission going into the hottest time of the year. Hopefully the mission won't have to send me home in a jar after I have melted.

But Monday before I left I was able to have a nice P-day in Antsirabe and print some pictures off to give to the members. Malagasies love pictures so much. We just had a chill P-day and then at night we went and taught Prisca. We said goodbye to them and then went to Voahangy's and Setra's houses to drop off pictures and say some final goodbyes. We had a soiree with Mampionona and his family that night and it was super good food. We did like a family home evening with them and it was way fun. 

Then Tuesday morning we were off. I said goodbye to Elder Reynolds and Antsirabe and Elder Lehr, Elder Liao, the Anbositra Elders and I all got in the Manandona truck and drove to Tana. Way better than a taxi be. We got to the office and got to see tons of missionaries that I haven't seen in a very long time. I was able to see Elder Rice before he went home so that was awesome. I went on a split with Elder Thompson (remember him) and Elder Mack. We just taught English so it wasn't like a busy day or anything. They live with the AP's and the Office Elders so I got to go back to my old house. The Elders that were going home were staying there too so I got to hang out with Elder Rice one last time before he went home. 

Wednesday I officially said goodbye to Elder Rice until I see him in America. That was sad. He is definitely one of my best friends that I have made on my mission thus far. I went on a split with Elder Snell that day all day in his area in Tana. It was a way fun day but I never really realized how poor Antsirabe was until I went to Tana. Everyone is so rich in Tana by comparison. SO rich. But yeah it was a good day and we were able to meet the new elder that stayed at the AP's apartment as well that night. 

Thursday I got to the office early and started packing all my stuff into one suitcase to head to Mahajanga. It still hadn't hit me at this point that I was going there. It was like a dream come true. Well I was almost late for my plane because the mission driver was goofing around in the opffice doing who knows what but I made it safely. Let me tell you, it is the weirdest thing getting on a plane when you are not going home. Especially since Elder Rice went home the day before. Weird. But it was a relatively short flight, only an hour. And we flew out over the ocean and it was amazing! I am so glad to see the ocean! We had to fly over it and turn around to land and it was the coolest. The Indian ocean is so beautiful. And then I stepped off the plane and got punched in the face with humidity and heat. SO that was nice. I made it to the house good and met my new companion Elder Heiden and he is awesome. He ran track and he ran the 100, 200, 400 and the 4x100. And he did a lot of things that I did too before my mission so yeah we get along great. He is from Portland Oregon. 

Friday we had our first full day of work here in Mahajanga and we taught a ton! The work here is going great! The people here are super prepared to receive the gospel. And the houses here are something else. They are ovens. The walls and roof are all tin sheets. Occasionally you'll get a roof that is like palm fronds but usually it is tin. SO it is already hot as it is but once you get inside some of those houses, you literally cook. But it's good though. I love it here.

Saturday we had English class and that was fun. The people here are super good at English. I was super surprised. We had another full day that day too. Sorry I can't really include details because I don't really know them yet but don't worry, this week I will get to know them better. And also on Saturday we did a bunch of contacting... on the beach. Our appointment was on the beach and so after that we just knocked doors around his house. It was awesome and we got a lot of good contacts. 

Sunday we had a very good day. We had church at 9 and even though we did not have a lot of people there, we did have quite a few investigators show up so that was good. I am very impressed with the branch president here. He knows what he is doing. So that's good. That means I won't have to teach him what he is supposed to do. We taught a bunch of awesome investigators that day that are progressing way well and I can see getting baptized soon. We were also able to find out the problem of one of our investigators of why they won't get baptized. She wants her whole family to get baptized is the thing. SO we can hopefully start teaching all of them and help them all get baptized.

So yeah it is way hot here. I come home every night just soaking wet in my own sweat and it's a biking area too to add on top of that. But I love it here. It is a gorgeous place and I honestly feel like I am in like Saudi Arabia. Just the way everything is here makes me feel like I am there. And there are lots of Muslims here. We have a Mosque actually not far from the house that does those cool singing prayers every morning. It's way cool. How's that for an alarm clock? 

Well have a great week everyone! 

Elder Coleman

Monday, July 20, 2015

Transfers, goodbyes, and be kibo

Well this week went by much faster than the last couple. I blinked and it was friday and then it was today. Just way too fast. And well I am being transferred as was expected and I am going to a place called Mahajanga, a city on the northwest coast on the island. It is the hottest place in the mission. There are only 2 missionaries there and is one of the three places in the mission called the "Big Three". Mahajanga, Toliara, and Fort Dauphin are the Big Three and are called such because they are like the best places in the mission. You count your blessing if you get called to serve there basically and I am definitely counting mine right now. I will be going with an Elder Heiden, I don't know him at all. But I will be on the coast and will no longer be freezing my butt off here in Antsirabe. I leave here tomorrow to go to Tana and from there I will board a plane and fly to Mahajanga. So yeah that's transfers for you.

So Monday was the beginning of all the goodbyes. We had our regular lesson with Raivo and Prisca and it was way good. I was super sad to be leaving them. I love them a lot. Then after that we had a soiree at Voahangy's house with Brother Aldous. It was way fun. We took lots of pictures and had a great time. They are seriously my favorite family here in this branch and I am so sad to leave them. I love them so much. 

Tuesday we had a pretty good day regardless of all the lessons that fell through. We got a lot of good contacting in and had a good time. We contacted into one family that has huge potential and I am hoping that they will progress with Elder Reynolds and his new companion. But that night we had a soiree with another member family and Aldous was also there. So that was fun. And then Elder LEhr and Elder Razafindresetra randomly showed up too. We had a way good lesson with them about the Restoration and you could really feel the Spirit. The mother of the family is less active and the daughter is a returned missionary, asked us to talk about that because she had been going to some other churches on Sunday instead. So we talked about that and the daughter was not subtle at all in her question asking. For example,"So if we know that this church is true but still go to other churches on Sunday, what will happen to us?" Stuff like that. It was way funny. 

Wednesday we had a good day too. We were able to teach quite a few people and help them to progress more towards baptism. It was my last time teaching English class here in Antsirabe so that was sad. We had a soiree that night with Faniry's family and Aldous was there again. It was three days in a row that I got to spend with my MTC teacher so that was way weird. It was way fun though. 

Thursday we were able to teach a new investigator, Done and he is super awesome. I love him. I am way sad that I don't get to be here to teach him anymore because I'm sure he will do great. He is a super humble guy that has had some issues with the fact that there are so many churches in this day and age. We did a lot of contacting that day and finished the day off with a final soiree at Robin's house. We had potatoes, beans, and ground beef for the loaka and it was super good. 

Friday we taught a huge new family that has some good potential. We contacted the son and he said we could come teach them. But yeah literally huge. Like there were 17 people in that lesson. Ridiculous. We had more things fall through so we just did more contacting. We finished the day off with a goodbye soiree at Sitraka's house. 

Saturday was a crazy day. We were just going and going the whole day from time to time and had a few fall through but we were able to catch most of them. We had three soirees set up for that night but one didn't quite work out so that was lame. We had one with the branch president and then with Voahangy's family again at their request. I am seriously going to miss them so much. 

And Sunday was just brutal. I was so sad. Church went well though and we had quite a few investigators come to church. Not as many as I would have liked but still we had some. Nicolas' family came to church! All of them except him. So that is kind of lame but we will keep working with them. We need to get him to come. We had some good lessons with Raholy and Hery and with Tiana and Naina and with Be Sofina. During the lesson with Tiana and Naina, President called and told me that I would be going to Mahajanga. So yeah that was fun. Then after all the lessons we went to the Zone Leader's house and had brownies  and stuff for a farewell to Elder Mumford who is going home this week. Also, Elder Rice goes home this week and that makes me way sad. I'm gonna miss him a ton. He is probably one of my favorite companions ever and we would just call and talk to each other all the time. I'll get to see him in America though in like a year. 

Oh and I have a gut now. I have seriously gained so much. ANtsirabe has made me fat.

Elder Coleman

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hump day,Navajo tacos, earthquakes and Aldous........

Faly miaraba anareo indray ny tenako amin'ity herin andro vaovao sady mahafinaritra ity. Tsy napoiziko mihitsy ny fandehan'ny herin'andro lasa. Mandeha malaky be mihitsy ny fotoana. Tsy mety izany. 

Well yeah it's Monday again. Crazy! But we had a good week this last week and I am excited to do better this week. Well last Monday we taught Raivo and Prisca which is always good. I seriously love them so much. Then after that we had a soiree with Sr Voahangy and her family which is always super great. I love that family so much and I am so sad that I will be leaving. We have another soiree with them tonight and I will be taking lots of pictures with them.

Tuesday morning we did Môrmôna manome tanana, or for those of you that don't speak Malagasy, Mormon helping hands. We cleaned up a yard at a school and it was way fun! I haven't done service like that in a long time and it was good to get out and do some work with my hands. And it was in Manadona so it was even better. We got back and were a little late to Desire but we were able to teach Rojo and we had a good lesson with him about the priesthood and why it's important and that it was restored again through Joseph Smith. Basically all our lesson after that fell through though. Funny story, we went to one house to teach and this little girl answered the door. I asked how she was doing and this was her response,  "Good. Give me money" She was maybe like 13. So next time someone comes to your door, ask them for money. We went back to the Mauritius guy after that and gave him a French Book of Mormon. He was grateful for it and said he would read and that we would talk about it next time. We taught A couple other people after that and then went to Nirina's house. There we were asked if we could give the grandma a blessing. It was a cool experience for sure. I have never given the blessing in Malagasy before so it was an interesting experience. But it worked out good. She was already looking better after we finished the blessing.

Wednesday we had zone meeting in the morning and it was way good. It was a great lesson about how through the small and simple things, great things are brought to pass. After the lesson, the zone leaders made us navajo tacos and they destroyed me. Literally destroyed my insides. It was a rough day after that but it was worth it. The lesson actually helped us with our first time, Nomena and Gaethan. We taught about answer to prayer and discovered that they were expecting something huge to happen to be their answer to prayer. So we used some of what we were taught that morning to help them understand. It was a great lesson. We taught the guy that fixes our bikes that day too and had a great time with them. We got a soiree set up for Wednesday with them too. 

Thursday was the day, the hump day. It's crazy to think that a year ago I started this journey and now here I am, a year later speaking a language I had never heard before, serving a people I didn't even know existed. It's truly amazing... beyond anything that I can possibly put into words. But Thursday in an of itself was a pretty good day. We spent two hours in the morning fixing bikes and that was kind of annoying. But Faniry wanted to help us, the son of the bike guy. So that was a win. He's a stud. We taught one lesson that day and that was kind of lame but we had a good day of strengthening the members and helping Faniry. We had our soiree with Mampionona that night too and that is always super good! Love that family.

Friday we had a lot of times fall through again but were able to teach a bunch of less active members. We had Faniry with us again that day too. We were able to have a bunch of good lesson and really had the Spirit with us that day. We taught Jeannot also and he is doing good. He just needs to read the Book of Mormon. He really wants to know where teh truth is but he won't read the book. That's a little frustrating but we just need to be patient with him. We just took time to show how the Book of Mormon and the Bible support each other and used examples from each. We had a soiree with Robin's family and then with Sitraka's to finish off the day. We were given mountains of corn at RObin's and then tons of rice and mashed potatoes at Sitraka's. It was the first time I have ever seen mashed potatoes used as a loaka but it was super good. 

Saturday morning I woke up to a loud noise and my bed shaking. And then it happened again real quick and then nothing. It was a total of maybe 2 seconds but it was an earthquake. That is honestly the first time I have ever felt an earthquake. I freaked out for a second because I realized that our house was made out of brick and that if it was going to keep going things were going to go down but it stopped so it's whatever. We had a good day that day too with teaching. We taught Tiana and Naina in the morning and then went to this old investigator, Victor. His teaching record in the Area Book said, teach at your own risk. So obviously we went by because we were curious. Well big mistake. He wouldn't let us talk at all and is super arrogant. And he made us listen to country music. Dolly Parton. I apologize if there are any fans of her in the audience but I think from that I understand better what happens to those in spirit prison. I'm kidding but it was rough. We went to a member's house and taught her brother who really wants to learn from us. He has diabetes and is super sick; way skinny. I felt way bad for him. Elder Reynolds and Elder Razafindresetra gave him a blessing last week on their split and he is super eager to learn. We went to Raivo and Prisca after that and taught them about scripture study and about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon. It was a good lesson. I also told them that I was leaving soon and they were way sad. I have made so many friends in this area, members, investigators, other missionaries and I don't want to leave at all. But after that we had a meeting with our branch president and talked to him about some reactivating ideas that we had. We had dinner with his family too and it was way nice.

Sunday was a great day. We had 6 investigators at church including Desire! It was way great to see him there. And Faniry came too! And to top it all off, Aldous was there. I don't know if you remember him but he was my teacher in the MTC. He just randomly dropped by Madagascar. And I got to bless the sacrament too and it was way cool. I had never done it in Malagasy before and it's the first time I've done it since the MTC. But after church, during branch council, we present our idea to them which was to take the whole branch council with us after the meeting and go visit a couple of less active families. Well they loved the idea so we all went to the bike guy, Nicolas, Faniry's dad. It was great and he said he was going to come to church next week. We also took the sacrament to Solofo and I taught them how to do that because they have never done that before but it went well. We were able to teach a lot of people yesterday too and had some great lessons. Our lesson with Be Sofina was of particular note. We were able to help them realize what an answer to their prayers is going to be like. It was just a great lesson and we were very thankful for the promptings from the Spirit. 

It was a great week and it's crazy to think that I have been doing this great work for a whole year. I have loved every second of it though and am very grateful for this opportunity to share the message of the Restoration with the Malagasy people. Have a great week everyone!

Elder Coleman

Fixing their bikes.  This is Nicolas' house.

Mormon helping hands at a school.

Filoha Ruffin the branch president

Aldous teacher from the MTC

Fenosoa's family

It's a tradition to burn a shirt on their year markl.

Nomena(the boy) and Rova(the girl)

Prisca's family. She is the one in the purple

Monday, July 6, 2015

President Foote, the Dona and Hump day....

The weeks just seem to go faster and faster. We had a great week this week though and Elder Reynolds and I had a great time! The transfer is winding down fast and I don't want to leave him or the area. At the end of this transfer it will be 6 months here in Antsirabe. I love it here and I am super sad that I'm going to be leaving soon. The branch has gotten so much stronger since I've been here. I've seen lots of progress and they finally are "getting it". I have set up a lot of dinner appointments for this week to just get some time with the members. But seriously I love it here more than anywhere. Maybe I need to give president Foote a call and have him keep me here until the end of my mission. 

Oh one thing I forgot to mention is that last week we caught a monster in our house. I will have to attach a picture but you just wait and see this beast.

So Monday was an awful day. Just awful. Well it was P-day so it was good in that way but everything lesson wise fell through. Our first 2 lessons fell through and then the last time had no guy so we couldn't go in. I felt way bad because they had prepared food for us and everything. Her husband was just late from work. He works on the other side of Antsirabe and walks home. It's like a good hour walk if he's going fast. Like really fast. But yeah it was just a rough day for us. Elder Lehr made it all better though. As we were riding our bikes home, Elder lehr came up behind us in the truck and gave us a ride home. It was way nice. 

But Tuesday on the other hand was a success. We taught Sr Juliette's husband again, Desire, and tryed to give him a baptismal date but he wants to read the book of mormon ad know for sure before he makes a decision. He's a cool guy and we have a lot of hope for him. All the rest of our lessons fell through so that was the pits but we had one amazing lesson later that day. Do you remember the guy from Mauritius that we contacted into? Yeah well we went to his house and taught his family. It was the best/wierdest lesson I have ever experienced. It was a super spiritual lesson about the family. Well his wife is Malagasy, he is from Mauritius and he has two kids. They all speak Malagasy but the dad and kids are not super great. So we were teaching in Malagasy obviously and sometimes the dad didn't understand. So we were switching from Malagasy to English and his wife was translating in to French, my companion was speaking French at one point; it was nuts. But the Spirit was so strong and we were able to place a Book of Mormon (Malagasy) with them and are trying to get a French one to give to them next time because I feel that it will be better for their understanding. 

Wednesday I went on a split with Elder Lehr. As district leader I am supposed to go on splits with the Elders in my district and so I went with Elder Lehr since they are the only other people in my district. Manadona (or the Dona as it is more commonly called) is a gorgeous place and I took a bunch of pictures. We had a great time teaching English and teaching a couple of lessons. It was all in all a good day.

Thursday we had almost all our times fall through, including Prisca and Raivo. That was very heartbreaking. But we had a good lesson with Dieo Donne and are unfortunately going to have to push his baptismal date back a couple weeks. He hasn't been coming to church so we'll need to move him back. As soon as he comes to church we can get things moving forward more quickly. 

Friday we had a great lesson with Honora. He is a great guy and is honestly seeking the truth. He loves the Book of Mormon and is reading all the things that we marked in his copy. He is doing way good and we have a lot of hope for him. We taught a lot less actives this day and had some great lessons there. At one lesson, the less active was kinda sick and he had some family over visiting him. I get talking to them and find out that they are members but are less active. As I inquired further, the one started ranting about the reason. He is tired of members not doing what they say they will do and he's mad at some members so he doesn't come anymore. Well we let him have it. Who cares if you are mad at a member, you will not achieve Celestial glory if you don't go to church and take the sacrament each week. He has been to the temple with his wife and this is the attitude he has. Well he knows that and that it's true but he said he won't come back. Very sad to see someone that has been to the temple refuse to come to church because of something someone else did. It's plain stupid actually. Just go to church! And then we had a horrible lesson that turned into a bible bash. These two guys were waiting for us and were prepared to bible bash. That's all they wanted to do. I tried to keep control and direct everything to the Restoration but it didn't work very well. And anytime I answered a question honestly, but didn't go with what they wanted to hear they got super mad. It was kinda funny actually. 

Saturday I had another split with Elder LEhr in the Dona to do a baptismal interview for him. We went and taught PMG class in the Dona and then came back and ate at Chez Billys for lunch to celebrate Murica Day. It's kinda weird since we both don't have American companions to be like super excited about it but since we were together we could talk about it and relate. It's weird to not be with an American for so long. Elder Reynolds is my 3rd non-American companion in a row. But yeah then we went back to the Dona to pick up some prospective missionaries and take them to the doctor. And on the way back, we ran over a dog. It was way funny. It was sitting in the middle of the road cleaning itself and didn't even try to move until we were basically on top of it. But we found out that the doctor doesn't work on the weekend so it was a waste of a trip. We went back to the Dona and taught a couple times and then I did the interview. She was a way cool girl and super ready to be baptized. And while we were in the interview, Elder Lehr got a call from the AP's that President Foote would be in Antsirabe in 5 minutes and would like to meet with all the missionaries. So we hurried and had a little soiree with a family and then went to the church and met Filoha Foote. He is so cool! Just a couple things about him: He helped build the temple in Reno Nevada and personally put the angel Moroni on top. His son just finished his mission a year ago and served with Elder Connault. Elder Connault had visa troubles at the start of his mission and started his mission in France. 

Sunday, President Foote came to our branch and I got to translate for him on the stand. That was fun... Well he's already learned some Malagasy so he did most of his testimony in Malagasy and I didn't have to translate until the end when he switched to English. Then the Tolman's came up to bear theirs, since it was their last Sunday here, and they both did theirs in Malagasy so I just kinda stood up there next to them awkwardly. I didn't know if they were going to switch to English or not so I had to stay there. The members thought it was pretty funny though haha. WE had a good day of teaching too after that and were able to teach a lot of people. Fidelis is doing amazing. He has already read everything that we gave him in the Book of Mormon. He's a stud. Raholy and Hery are doing great. Unfortunately we had to move their baptismal date back a week because they are still drinking coffee but as of now they are completely off of tobacco. They need a little longer to make sure it is for sure so I will not be here for their baptism. I'm glad that they are getting baptized but sad that I don't get to see it. 

It's been a good week and we are hoping for an even better one this week. It's crazy to think that one year ago I left home to come and serve these amazing people. It doesn't seem like that long ago since I left home but it also seems like I've always lived here. I don't even remember America to be honest. But this week is Hump Day, and I can look back on the year that I've had and look forward to an even better year of service to the Lord and these amazing people.

Elder Coleman