Monday, September 28, 2015

A Great Week!!

Seriously such a good week this week. I love this area so much. It is so tiring and I have never been more tired in my life but it is all worth it. We've been doing a ton of contacting recently and have found tons of great people that are progressing really well.
Monday we had our usual P-day of relaxing. The only thing of note out of the ordinary was when we went shopping. There were two Chinese girls at the store and they kept looking at us at stuff and the one kept sneaking pictures of us with her phone. They left they store before us but were still out in the parking lot when we came out. So while we were waiting for a Bajaj, the one came over and spoke very broken English to us and told us they were from China vacationing here. She also asked if she could get a picture with us haha. That night we taught Liva and Hery and had a good lesson with them about the Plan of Salvation. They are such a great family and I love them so much.
TUesday we had a great day. We taught a ton! We taught Modesta about baptism and got him more motivated to find a replacement at work so he can come on Sunday. Our next couple times fell through  but we were able to contact into one lesson. It was an older guy with his wife. They can't read and haven't been to church in a long time and they are from a small village in the middle of nowhere. There son didn't know how old he was. It's actually a more common thing than you think. Then we taught a referral that we received from a member. She brought him to church. We didn't know exactly where he lived but we had his address so we just got a Bajaj and he took us there. Well it is wayyyyyyyyyy far. But he's diligent so we'll teach him. We had a good lesson with him about the Restoration; it was more of a review because that's what we learned in church. It was good though, he is way accepting. We got back and taught Bakary and Ali close to our house. Bakary was the only one home though so we just reviewed some stuff with him and read with him in the Book of Mormon. We taught Dada about Eternal Marriage and it was a good lesson. He liked it a lot but he is still not 100% committed. He wants to change but he has a lot of things to change and to him it seems insurmountable. He'll get there. Then we taught Ulrich about the priesthood. It was a good lesson for him. He is a less active Melchezidek Priesthood holder. 
Wednesday we taught a ton. We taught Timoty and his family about temples first and they loved it. They had never heard about the endowment before so we were able to explain that a bit and I used that scripture you gave me mom. It's a good one. We taught Emmy about the Sabbath day and she said she was going to come to church but she didn't... frustrating. We taught Ordance and Hanitra and tried to get them on track again to be baptized. They are just kinda sitting still, doing nothing right now and so we are trying to push them towards baptism next month. We'll see how it goes. We taught Theodore about the Book of Mormon again. He is having a hard time accepting that the Bible is incomplete. He believes it's perfect. But he also wasn't baptized by immersion in the church he is in right now. So kinda weird. But we taught Arlette after that which is on the other side of town. We were flying on our bikes to get there and just weaving through traffic, it was nuts. We made it there in like 12 minutes. Way fast for how far it is. But after the lesson with Arlette we had to go all the way back to where we were just before. Pretty exhausting. 
Thursday we taught Dorcia and he is doing so much better. He has been reading and he is understanding the lessons super well. We are still going slower with him just to make sure he understands and he is on date for the 31 of October. We taught Eddie after and he had not read at all. We explained it again, a little more in depth this time and now he is more motivated to read. We were also able to start teaching Vololona and Lala again. We happened to see Lala out and about and we were able to get a time with him and go and teach him and his family. Well all our times fell through after that and so we did a lot of tracting. We tracted this really nice house but it was full of people not quite ready to receive the gospel. Quite sad really. But we did find a cool family from contacting and the mom had actually learned from missionaries before when they first came to Mahajanga in like 2007 or 2008. Then we taught a less active named Patrick. He is 18 and he is super cool. One thing about the branch here in Mahajanga is that it is full of young single adults. Well we had a cool time with him. He said that at first when we started to come visit him he thought it was super annoying but now he really feels just happy when he knows we are coming and it just makes sense for him to put other things off so he can have this time with us to learn about the gospel. Really cool experience. He's been coming to church the past couple weeks. We went to teach the other Dada but he wasn't home and it was already dark so it was kind of a lame way to end the day. 
Friday we had a bit of a struggle at first. Most of the times that we teach are just women and all of our member help seemed to be busy. But it ended up working out ok in the end. Ordance and Hanitra had a visitor over so we were able to teach them about the Plan of Salvation. We taught Jackie and Eugette after them about the Plan of Salvation also. They are very cool and Jackie actually came to church last week. We went out to that referral again, Victor is his name. He absolutely loves what we have to teach. He told us that he believes that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. We taught a couple of less actives after that, Bernard and Philibert's family. We taught Bernard about the priesthood and are trying to get him ready to receive the Melchezidek priesthood and we taught Philibert's family Alma 5. 
Saturday we had English and had a great turnout. Tons of people were there it was good. Kristian, Nickey and Krissy came. We taught Timoty and his family about the Atonement first thing and it was a great lesson. Timoty came to church yesterday. We taught a somewhat new investigator named Josefa after that and reviewed the Book of Mormon because he didn't remember anything. At first he had an attitude of, "I don't care really, just talk and you know, whatever" But by the end he was very intrigued and was excited to read and said he would. We taught Alex after that, another new investigator and he told us that he believed that the Book of Mormon was true. He could tell us the story of Nephi almost word for word. We had Nickey Krissy, Lalao, and Kristian after that and it was an awesome lesson! We taught the plan of salvation and talked about eternal families and eternal marriage. They absolutely loved it. They are also very concerned about how the world is now and how to raise their children so they will be strong. They asked us how we came to be how we are, since we really aren't all that much older than their son. I happened to have a "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" in my bag so I gave that to them and they loved it. The dad believes that the Plan of Salvation is true and said they are going to get a frame and put the proclamation on the wall. They are seriously the best family ever and I love them so much. They didn't come to church yesterday but it shouldn't be long before we get them in the water. We taught Dada after them about the Priesthood and how he can get it after he is baptized. He liked it but is still kinda iffy about things.
Yesterday was great. Church went very well. The past three weeks there have been people at church from 2 of my past areas and it's been good to see them. There were a lot of less actives that we have been teaching that have come back. It's been really cool to see. We taught Clemente after church about baptism and enduring to the end. She's super diligent and is preparing her papers to go on a mission. Our next time fell through so we taught a contact named Rija. We just shared a little spiritual thought with him. We went and taught a guy named Abdala, super Muslim. A very hard lesson but he's a great guy. Super smart. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he is excited to read it and have us come back and explain it. We taught Ordance and Hanitra after that and just reviewed with her some things that she had questions about. Then we went and visited Sr Hardy, the branch president's wife. We had a great little spiritual thought with her. We both just shared our favorite scriptures. I shared D&C 31:13 and Elder Heiden shared D&C 122:7. It just worked out perfectly and she bore her testimony to us about how true the gospel is and how she would be lost without it. She said that she gets thoughts all the time about her husband and misses him and feels way sad but always read the scriptures and it gets rid of the sad thoughts. It was seriously such a strong testimony and the Spirit was so strong. I can't even get close to doing it justice here in this email. But it was great. A great ending to a great week.
Thanks everyone for your prayers in behalf of Sr Hardy. She has such a strong testimony of this gospel and is a great example to me. She is amazing.
Elder Coleman

Monday, September 21, 2015


This week was a good one because we had a baptism! It was just great I don't know how to describe it but yeah haha. 

Monday: Didn't do much other than cyber and buy food for the week. We went to Liva and Hery that evening and had a good lesson with them about the Plan of Salvation. And right when we got to there house, we were approached by two men that wanted to learn from us. So we got their number and set up a time to teach them next Monday (today). Should be good. 

Tuesday was a good day. We taught a bunch of lessons and taught a bunch of new people too. Our first time we taught a new family, Eddie is the dad's name. We talked Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon with them. I noticed that there was some recognition with him on the Book of Mormon and sure enough after we finished explaining it he started asking questions about stuff he had seen on a documentary. IT was kinda funny. Before we started explaining anything I told him that those are not the most accurate things to get information from and that if he wants information about the church just to ask us, cause we would know. Well he brought up a couple things, including plural marriage. Well he was very surprised when I told him I only had 1 mom and that I would only have one wife when I get married. Kinda funny encounter. We taught a family after that, a new one, the mom is Christian and the father is Muslim. So it was interesting. But it worked out good. We gave them a Book of Mormon and they were both excited to read. We taught Bakary and Ali, the people we contacted last Sunday and they are awesome. They really just want to know where the truth is and so we gave them the 1st Pamphlet and a Book of Mormon and went over it with them. 

Wednesday we had a good day. We taught a bunch of less actives. Seriously so many. We taught Dada too. We haven't taught him in awhile because we haven't been able to catch him at home. We had a good lesson with him. He's a stud and just needs to come to church. It's frustrating when people are so close but then they don't do it. Way frustrating. But it's all good. He'll get there. We taught Ordance and Hanitra and Arlette that day too. 

Thursday we taught a few lessons. We taught a new guy named Alex. He's a stud and is super eager to learn about the gospel. We gave him a Book of Mormon and had a great lesson with him about Joseph Smith. We went and contacted a referral from a member in Tana after that. He's an older guy, has a lot of problems, and wants relief. He's super smart too. He's a huissier de justice, whatever that is in English. We taught Bakary and Ali again after that and had a good review of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith just to make sure they are solid on that. We taught the other Dada and read the Book of Mormon with him. We read 2 Nephi 29 and it was awesome. Just super powerful lesson and it is so clear in Malagasy the message that it is trying to get across. It was good. And that night we went and ate at a Italian place called Bôlô. It's super good. But I got this Strawberry ice cream thing and it is probably the best thing I have ever eaten in my life. 

Friday we did not have a super great day. All of our lessons fell through except for 2 of them. It was very exhausting. We would ride our bikes to one place, they couldn't learn, we would go to the next place, they couldn't either, and that's how it was all day. Our last time was at a member's house, less active and they gave us food so that made it better and the loaka was super good. Probably some of the best loaka I've had in country. 

Saturday we had English and it was a fun one. They asked me to talk about America and how things are different in different parts of the country, such as accent and sayings and stuff. I wish I would've taken a picture but I drew a great picture of the United States, Canada. and Mexico. And then I got to do my best impression of all the accents across America and I did a Canadian one too. Too bad Matt couldn't have been there to help. But after English we taught Timoty about the Priesthood and had a great lesson with him. He came to church yesterday too which was great! But unfortunately he is moving this week to Tana and probably not coming back ever. Our next fell through and then we had the baptism for Jean Louis. Ok so I'm going to confuse you all real quick. So Jean Louis is not a member but his brother, Jean Louis is. He is a return missionary and is originally from Manandona. I met him in Antsirabe when he first got back. His fiance is from Antsirabe and I knew her when I was there. But they live up here now. Anyway so Jean Louis was supposed to baptize Jean Louis but 10 minutes before the baptism Jean Louis called his fiance and asked if I would be able to do it since he couldn't make it. So I got to baptise Jean Louis. He is such a stud. He has changed. He has turned his whole life around to follow Jesus Christ and it has made such a big difference in his life. But yeah it was a neat experience. And it was in the ocean so that's cool too. We taught Theodore, the referral we received, after the baptism and it was really good. He has tons of questions and we are hoping we will be able to answer all of them. They are super solid, good questions too. Then we taught Dada and had a good lesson with him too. He said he was coming to church but didn't end up coming which is very sad.

Sunday we had a good day. Church went well. Better then normal. We had a great lesson with Clemente, a recent convert. She's very diligent and it's awesome. We taught Lalao and Kristian, the anti-Mormon people and had a great lesson with them. They had great questions and they have both been reading the Book of Mormon and see so many similarities between them. They kept saying that they relate. We told them that if they want to know if it is true that they need to ask God and he will tell them. I was able to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon and how I came to know that it was true. Then they offered probably one of the most heartfelt prayers I have ever heard. It was a little apostate but there was heart in it. 

Thursday morning, our branch president's wife got back. We stopped by on Friday to see how things were going. She seems to be doing ok. She is back to her joking self and is just a great example. She is making plans to go to the temple. She also is trying to figure out how she is going to get money to feed herself and her baby. She lives with family right now so they should be able to support her for awhile. She came to church yesterday. We will be going by this week to share a spiritual thought with her. Thank you all for your prayers. 

That's all for this week.
Sorry someone stole the card reader from the cyber so no pictures this week.

Elder Coleman

Monday, September 14, 2015

A great week!

This has been a great week although we have been recovering from the tragic loss of the branch president from last week. It seems like eternity since it happened but it also seems like yesterday at the same time. 

Well Monday we taught Liva and Hery from Alma 5. Great chapter, great teachings in there. It's a perfect just self-assessment to help us stay on track to where we need to go and what we need to be doing. After that we taught Philibert and his family. He is the Elder's Quorum President and his wife and older son are kinda less active. We shared a nice little Vatsim-panahy with them from Helaman 5:12. 

Tuesday we had a good day of teaching. We taught Modesta about the Book of Mormon. We are still trying to get him to find a different job and to quit working on Sunday so he can come to church and get baptized but he's kinda lazy. Our next couple times fell through after that so we ended up doing some contacting. We got into one house with a guy that had no idea about anything. The only thing he knew was that he was Catholic. So our teachings didn't even get the chance to go in one ear and out the other but stopped completely at the wall he put up that he was Catholic. Yeah a bit frustrating. We went to a member's house after that, Fabien, and taught him and asked for a referral. He said he would look for someone for us so that should b e good. That night we were able to catch Dada at home and teach him. It's been awhile since we have taught him last because he's been working but we got a new program with him and he is on track to be baptized in October. We also taught Ulrich, a less active member, a really cool guy, that lives close to our house. We had him teach us the Plan of Salvation and we pretended to be investigators. It was fun and we gave him homework to study it up and teach it to us again next week (tomorrow). 

Wednesday we taught Timoty again and they are doing awesome, they just need to come back to church. We got Toky's dad to help us because Toky was still with Sr Hardy in Antsirabe for the burial. He came with us to a less active and to Ordnace and Hanitra. We taught the latter about temples and they loved it. I love talking about the temple with these people. And it was good too because Toky's dad has already been to the temple so he was able to contribute a lot. We found a less active 18 year old name Patrick and taught him about conversion. He hasn't been to church in a long time and the last time we taught him he said he was coming but he didn't. We taught Arlette about baptism and tried to get them more motivated to get married so she can be baptized. Then we taught Mahazo and had a good lesson with him about the Plan of Salvation. Or I guess you could say that he had a good lesson with us because he taught us the plan of salvation. 

Thursday we had a good day as well. We taught Dorcia about the Book of Mormon. He told uis that he has just been really discouraged lately and doesn't want to do this anymore. We told him that the Book of Mormon would help him with whatever problem that he is having if he will read it and trust God. We shared a scripture with him to help him see what comfort the Book of Mormon can give. We taught Emmy with Toky's dad and had a good lesson with her. She said she was going to come to church but she didn't come. We did some contacting and had an interesting encounter. We knocked on one door and a lady answered with her two sons. First, she asked if we believed in Jesus. We explained who we were and the name of our church, which obviously has the name Jesus Christ in it. We explained that we teach the gospel and wondered if there was a time we could come by and share a message with her and her family when everyone was home. She accepted and we set up a time. As we were about to go, she admitted that she thought that we were Jehovah's Witnesses at first (that happens a lot) and wasn't hesitant to give us a time. She said that she only accepts people that believe in Jesus. Then she told us that she doesn't accept those J.W. at all. And then she continued and said that she doesn't the Mormons either. Well that's us. She just didn't know it haha. She told us she was from Tana and that she lived close to the U.S. Embassy before. We explained that the church is pretty big in Tana and that we have a church right next to the embassy. Her eyes narrowed and she put 2 and 2 together but didn't say anything and we left. We went and taught Jean Louis in preparation for his baptism on the 19th and then we taught Dieu Donne and then the other day and had great lessons with all of them.

Friday we taught a bunch of lessons and we were able to talk about the temple with Vololona. It was great and like I said I love talking about the temple. We taught Ordance and Hanitra about the Priesthood and it was a good lesson. Even though they are women it's still important to understand the importance of the Priesthood. We taught Jackie and Eugette by reading from Alma 36, Alma's conversion story. We chose this because Jackie is Muslim and doesn't have a strong belief in Jesus Christ so we showed him why it's important to believe in Jesus. It was a great lesson. 

Saturday we taught a bunch of new contacts that we had made during the week. We went back to the "I don't accept Mormons" lady and to our surprise she let us in. We expected hostility so we had a Book of Mormon with us ready to plant as soon as they got hostile and made us leave. But it never happened. They actually loved it and it was one of the most spirit filled lessons I have been in my whole mission. They are a lovely family with a strong belief in God. The dad has read the Bible from start to finish multiple times and the mom is very knowledgeable in the scriptures. They accepted the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith story and loved it. It was a great time. We finished the day with Arlette and had a great lesson with them about missionary work. We got a referral out of it too, a friend of theirs that learned from the missionaries before.

Sunday was good. There we lots of visitors all from Betongolo actually. I recognized them immediately and it was way cool to see them again. After church I did the baptismal interview for Jean Louis and he is getting baptized this Saturday! He is such a humble man and has come a long way. The cleansing power of the Atonement is so real and the gospel changes lives. I've seen it; in myself and in those around me. It's seriously the best thing ever. We had a good amount of teaching appointments yesterday and we had a great lesson with Ordance and Hanitra. Hanitra is starting to warm up to the teachings. She wants to start paying tithing even though she isn't baptized yet. We had a good lesson about our favorite scriptures and challenged them to find one to share with us next time and Hanitra was super excited to do it. Our last few times fell through so we did some street contacting. Elder Heiden thought we should just go home because it is way hard to contact at night here. But we kept going anyway and found some really cool Muslim guys that want to learn from us that we would not have found if we would have just gone home. The Lord blesses us when we keep trying even when we are tired and everything goes wrong.

I haven't seen the branch president's wife. She is in Tana right now I know. She should come back on Tuesday from what I understand. We will go by and see how she is handling things. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. 

Elder Coleman

Monday, September 7, 2015

In memory of a great man, a great father, and a dear friend...

The week didn't inherently start out bad but yeah. It honestly couldn't have been much worse. 

Monday we were in Tana and we went on a split with the Betongolo Elders (my first area) and I was able to go with them to Sr. Helen's house. It is the family of the sister missionary on temple square. It was good to see them again. 

Tuesday we had splits with Elder Mack all day in his area since his last companion Elder Thompson, was finishing up his going home stuff. Yes I know Elder Thompson. We lived in the same house in Antsirabe for 3 months. He knows the Luces, fun fact for ya. But yeah we had a fun day on splits with Elder Mack and were able to see a bunch of missionaries that I haven't seen in a long time. They all came up for transfers and stuff and it was good to see them. 

Wednesday we left to the airport with Elder Thompson. It was weird to go to the airport with someone that was going home. So our plane was supposed to leave at 2:30 but on the way to the airport the plans changed to 6 that night. That is just a little insight into the quality of Air Madagascar. And the flight plans had already changed 3 times before that too. It would have been a waste of time to go back to the office and then have someone drive us back out to the airport (it's kinda far) so we stayed with the AP's and President and Sister Foote to see Elder Thompson off and see the new missionaries arrive. I asked Elder Thompson when he was going to go visit Kanab because his uncle just moved down there a few months ago. He said in a few months so keep your eye open for him. We were able to greet the new missionaries and then we got on our plane to Mahajanga. There were some Americans in the airport too and they kept looking at us but wouldn't come over and talk to us. 

Thursday we had a great day of work even though a lot of our plans fell through. We did some contacting and were able to get into three houses that we knocked on. We got 11 new investigators just that day! It was awesome! And we got a great new family that we are super excited to go teach this next week. We went and taught Teddy but the thing is is that the path to his house doesn't exist anymore. Someone built a wall there while we were in Tana. So we have another path that we have to use now. His house is very close to the ocean mind you and the path is very low so it had a bit of water in it as we walked through. Not a lot and there were some steps someone had placed in the path so you could avoid getting your feet wet so it was fine. Well we taught him and then we left. Only about an hour had passed. But the water level rose. Quite a bit. Like up to the pedals of the bike. And the path is really narrow too. SO what we had to do was sit on our bikes, and ride through the narrow path by holding onto the wooden fences on both sides while trying not to get wet. Also we had to jump the wooden steps in the path that were there to help people walk through when the water is lower. I got a little wet but not bad. After that we went to teach Dada (a different Dada) and had a good lesson with him about the Book of Mormon and Prayer. He is a great investigator and understands a lot. 

Friday was a bad day. Just a bad bad day. We started off teaching Vololona and had a good lesson with her and then we went to Ordance and Hanitra and taught them and had a good lesson with them. Toky was with us up to this point and when we finished those two lessons, he left to do some things for the branch president. We left our bikes at the church and walked to a less active member that lives pretty close and taught him a nice little lesson and set up a program to come back. It was about 4:45 at this point and we had our branch president meeting at 5:30. We had some extra stuff to talk about this day in particular so we decided we would go a little early and get it all done. We got to his house about 5. He wasn't home. His wife and some relatives were there. They said he had just left to go swimming since their house is right next to the ocean and that he would return in a few minutes. So we waited. And waited. And waited. 6 rolls around and still he hadn't come. Malagasies are late a lot of the time but not like this. And President is not late like this. It was strange and the wife thought it was strange too. She went and looked for him for a little bit and didn't see him swimming anywhere close to the house. So we left and went to a lesson pretty far from his house. As we were teaching, someone called us; the branch presidents number. I figured it was just an apology for not being able to come to the meeting and so I ignored the call and decided I would call him back after the lesson. Well we finish the lesson and we leave and we hardly get out the gate of the house when the phone rings again, President Lalary this time, from the mission presidency. "Did you hear the news?" He asked in perfect English. "No" I replied. "He drowned. They found his body and they are at the hospital right now. We want you to go there right now and call me back when you get there." I have never felt that awful in my life. The hospital was on the other side of town and we flew across town in our bikes to get there. I didn't want to believe that it was true. At all. We got there and met his wife on the road. We walked into the hospital and there he was, our branch president lying on a stretcher. President Lalary asked us to stay with the family until they could get the body moved to the church. We got a car that could take the body and we helped load it into the car. Mom, dad, I know you've moved your fair share of bodies in your time, but I never have and let me tell you, it was not something that I enjoyed, especially of someone I knew. We got the body to the church and by the time we got everything taken care of it was about midnight. Tons of members had gathered at the church by the time we got there and they all stayed there all night singing hymns and praying. 

We got up at the normal time on Saturday and went over to the church to make sure they had moved the body somewhere outside of the church. We cancelled English class and helped the members clean the church and figured out the program for what was going to happen. I was told to report directly to President Foote what was going on and updates in the program. We went out and taught one lessons and then came back and went with the members to a viewing that was at a family member of the branch president. We were there for awhile. 

Sunday was weird. The first councilor conducted church and our job was to make sure things ran as smoothly as possible. We are the only connection the church here has to the mission presidency, which functions as there stake presidency. Imagine if our ward was very small and not super doctrinally sound and the rest of the stake and the stake presidency was in Logan. Things went well though. Just a little bit of apostasy yesterday so not bad. I never thought I would miss a ward so much in my life. I can not wait for the time when I don't have to fight apostasy anymore. But we had a good day of teaching yesterday. We were able to teach all of the lessons we had scheduled and help one of our investigators towards his baptism on the 19th. I'm excited for that. 

It is a very sad thing, the death of our branch president. The hardest thing to see is his family. He has a daughter that was born the day before I got to Mahajanga and now she will not know her dad. His wife doesn't work right now so we aren't sure how they are going to get food. But God has a plan for each of us and he loves each of us. He will take care of us if we trust in him and put him first. Even when things are as hard as this, especially when things are as hard as this he will help us. I would ask that all of you would pray for Sister Hardy and her family in this hard time. They need it. Thank you,

Elder Coleman

(These are answers to some questions I asked him...)

No labor day. Yes we have a phone. We had a cool lesson yesterday with Ordance and the Spirit just took over and took us right to where she needed. We got to exactly what she needed to learn. It was way cool. I have learned that humility and meekness is literally everything. It separates the celestial kingdom from the terrestrial. It also ties into obedience. We always have to be willing to humble ourselves to obey the commandments no matter what it is and we always have to be willing to submit to the will of the father. Everything that exists is the Father's. He made it all. The only thing he doesn't have and the only thing we can give him that he doesn't already have is our will. Complete submission to his will, as a little child to the father, or being meek and as a little child. It is the key. And it has to happen. We should always be assessing and reassessing ourselves and trying to become more humble and meek and giving up those things that are not in harmony with his will. No price is to much for eternal life.