Monday, October 26, 2015

Hot days and hard work

I can't believe how fast the times flies here. But Elder Stringfellow and I are killing it and having a blast. We did a lot of work this week and we are hoping that things will start moving here now with the new branch presidency.
So Monday we taught Liva and Hery about forgiveness. That is a big problem with Malagasies here, especially in the church. The second someone gets offended, they leave. Liva and Hery don't have any problems with that but it's better to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent. But yeah it was a great time with them and I love them so much. Their little daughter is adorable. I'll have to send a picture next week.
Tuesday we had a lot of contacting. A lot of contacting. We were able to get into a couple houses that we contacted into. We contacted into a house right on the beach and were able to teach them about the Restoration. It went very well. they have pet lemurs too. I'll attach a picture. It's super great to be with Elder Stringfellow. People just understand what we are saying and it's way nice. But the one guy in the lesson was super interested and accepted the Book of Mormon. We have a time to go back to them this week. We were able to teahc Dieu Donne as well and help him to get an answer about the Book of Mormon. We are just trying to push that with him first before we move on too far. We had some more times fall through and so we kept up the contacting and set up a bunch of times for later on in the week. We got into one house actually with some students and they had a PS3 and were playing it. It's only the second one I have seen in my whole time being in Madagascar. They were super cool though and accepted a Book of Mormon as well. Dada wasn't home unfortunately and so we went to Ulrich and taught him. He is super cool we just need him to come to church. We did a mock baptismal interview with him even though he is already baptized just to see where he was at in the doctrine and if he had any problems with the basics.
Wednesday we did a similar thing with Timoty and his family. It went well and they have a couple things they need to work on so we will doing that over the next week or so. Toky couldn't help us because he was doing some final things for his mission so we couldn't teach the less active women that we normally teach. So we went tracting. We contacted into a family that had actually accepted the missionaries before and had a Book of Mormon. It was super funny when they told us their names. Her name is Mary and her husbands name is Joseph. So we are teaching Mary and Joseph now. We went and taught Jackie about the Book of Mormon and he loved it. He said he was going to come to church but didn't make it. Shouldn't have really been a surprise there; that always happens. All our next times fell through as well and so we decided to go visit Teddy and Patrick, Two less actives that live close to each other. They were both home and it was way nice. Then we went to a contact named Michael. He's a stud and is super good at English. He is in a way apostate church though. So we'll see how things go. We went and taught Mahazo about covenants and I thought it went really well. He understood super well. But he didn't come to church  yesterday.
Thursday was a great day. We pretty much contacted the whole day and had a lot of success. We started by teaching Vololona and Lala about the Plan of Salvation. They loved it and still remembered it pretty well. The problem is getting them to APPLY it. They need to see why it is essential for them. They said they were coming to church but did not make it. We did a bunch of contacting after that and contacted into a super cool Muslim guy that wanted to hear what we had to say. We shared the First Vision with him and he thought it was very interesting and that it wasn't all that different from Mohammed. He also was directing us to people that would like to hear about it too. Way cool guy. Then we taught a guy that we contacted on the beach the other day. His house was crazy hot! Like an oven! We taught the Restoration and he loved it and also said he was coming to church. Also didn't come. But at least the desire is there...kinda. We did more contacting and tracted into a young family that just moved to Mahajanga from Tana. We knocked on the door and the wife said we could come back and teach when her husband got home. Well right as she said that her husband pulled up on a moto. Cool! They told us straight up that if what we had to offer was better than where they were currently praying then they would join our church. They received a Book of Mormon. We went and taught another family that Elder heiden and I contacted into a couple weeks ago. We stopped by and they were all there and we were able to share the Restoration with them. They loved it and begged us to stay and keep teaching them. They were like,"Wait what? That's all for today? it's just getting good!" We taught the other Dada aft6er that and we are trying to get him to know that this is where he needs to go. A little slow on the progress right now with him.
Friday we taught Vololona about praying to know that the book of Mormon is true. She is turning into one of those eternal investigators but she is coming to church so it isn't all wasted. She just doesn't seem to be going anywhere with the Book of Mormon. We decided to go back to Ordance because 1. hanitra called us and asked why we didn't come by the other day and 2. I figured we could try one more time to get her progressing towards baptism. Well there seemed to be a new energy in both of them to learn but Ordance didn't come to church yesterday. We went out to Viktor's and taught him and his family the Plan of Salvation. They liked it a lot and came to church yesterday! They are going to be baptized here pretty soon. We came back and taught Jackie about prayer and how to pray because he doesn't really know how. And then we did a little bit of contacting and came across a big family that let us teach them. We will be going back to them this week but it was kinda hard to teach them. They were not what you would call receptive. We taught about the baptismal covenant to Philibert and his family and he kinda hammered on his wife because she is less active.
Saturday was English and tons of people showed up. They always ask me weird questions though. But basically our whole plan just fell to pieces. We taught Timoty and had a good lesson with them on Obedience but after that literally all our lessons fell through. We did a lot of contacting but no one would let us in or was busy at the time. We were able to teach Dada though that evening and read with him from the Book of Mormon.
Sunday was interesting. I almost had to give a talk on the spot. Of the three people that were supposed to give talks, not one showed up when the meeting started. But they found some members that could do it so I didn't have to. We had a lot of investigators at church this week and Viktor was very interested in the temple and eternal marriage. We taught Clemence after and she seems to be doing a lot better. We taught a bunch of people after church too. Our program was packed full. We taught Mercien about the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. Then we went to some new investigators that was basically just a waste of time to teach. It's really sad when people just reject the message of the Restoration. We know it's true and that there are immense blessings that come from knowing that but they don't care. We taught Mary and Joseph again and went over the Book of Mormon with them. They understand it well now and they should be able to understand it as they read. We taught a fellow by the name of Rakotovao again. Elder Heiden and I found him. He is a cool guy and we talked Book of Mormon with him and he just gets it. It's way nice. Some of our other times fell through so that was lame. Our last time was super lame because everyone was just goofing off and it was loud so we just ended the lesson and left.
We worked way hard this week and it was awesome! We got 23 new investigators this week! I am excited to see how things go over the next few weeks!
Elder Coleman

Monday, October 19, 2015

Transfers (finally) and President Foote's first visit to Mahajanga

Well this has been an interesting week that's for sure and a long awaited week too. So the thing is is that Air Madagascar just kinda shut down for two weeks. Not sure why. So it took me a little longer than usual to get my new companion.

Monday night we had a soiree with Sr Hardy, the ex-branch president's wife. It was super good food and was a way good time but some things came to light. She has heard people talking and they are saying that the branch president killed himself and he was drunk the night he died. We know it isn't true and she knows it as well but obviously she is having a hard time with it, as if things weren't hard enough already. But I was way mad. That is not ok. So I called the AP's to see when President Lalari, one of the counselors in the mission presidency, was coming down so he could address the problem. We they happened to be with President Foote when I called and so they just put me on speaker phone. So we talked about that and the candidates for the branch president right now and some other things that can not be mentioned in this email. But it was an interesting way to start off the week. 

Tuesday we did a lot of tracting and we taught a recent convert's brothers. They are way cool guys and they come to our English class. We had a little lesson with them and they fed us too. Tracting was not super successful that day. We taught Dieu Donne about answers to prayer. He is still struggling to see the answers to whether the Book of Mormon is true or not. We taught Dada after that and read with him in the Book of Mormon. He is still not 100% dedicated so we are pushing for the Book of Mormon with him. He is starting to do a lot better though. He has been coming to church the past few weeks and is doing very well. He didn't come yesterday though :(. We taught Ulrich after that and had a good time with him talking about obedience to the gospel and all the blessings it brings. 

Wednesday was lame. My bike broke on our way to lunch and so after we ate, we took it to Toky's house. We went and taught Timoty and read from 3 Nephi 11. It was good for them. We had to do a little geography lesson first to get them on the right page. We taught Emmy after that and talked to her about the Book of Mormon as well and trying to deepen her conversion of it. She is super mean though to us and it's very hard to teach her. She acts like she doesn't want us to be there. We taught Bernadette after and taught about baptism and covenants and the like. They are starting to wake up more to the teachings and like it a lot. She came to church yesterday too! We went back to Toky's and the bike was good to go. So we start going and my pant leg catches in the gears and rips it all the way up to the knee. And the other piece was still broken so we went back and Toky informed us after an inspection of the piece that it would keep breaking unless we replaced a bunch of pieces SO we decided to do it. So we went all the way to the store with all the bike parts and they didn't have any. We go to the other store: closed. So big waste of time there. So we had no bikes and we had a long ways to go to our next lesson. We just took a Bajaj out there and taught Arlette about answers to prayer. We thought that the best course of action would be to go back in the morning. 

So we go back in the morning and it's still closed but there was on a sign on the door that said it would be open in the afternoon. So we went to our first couple times, not there, and then went back to the store. Well it is run by some Muslim that I'm pretty sure are from the Middle East and the parts they had were incredibly expensive. Big waste of time. we just went to a street market instead and bought all the parts for less than one of the parts in the store. Toky started on the bike and we went to a lesson and taught a new guy that we had tracted into the other night. he let us in and was super nice. He loved the lesson and as we were talking with him he realized that it only makes sense that God would call another prophet in our days. Great time. When we went back to Toky's, he was still working on the bikes, so we helped him finish it up and then went to our next lesson. We taught Dada and talked more about Baptism and are trying to push him for baptism on the 31. He still isn't sure though and we are encouraging him to pray about it. 

Friday we taught Vololona and answered some questions that she had about the Sermon on the Mount in the Book of Mormon. We helped her understand it and that took the whole time but it was a good thing for her. All of our next times fell through and so we decided to go teach a less active that lived close by, Francisca. I went to her with Stephano when we did our split last week. We just gave a little vatsim-panahy and invited her to come back to church. We did some tracting after that and got into a house of a student. He was Muslim so the lesson went nowhere. He couldn't accept that God was a tangible being or that he was even a man or anything like us to be honest. But that's what they believe though. We went to Bernard and talked Joseph Smith with him. We went a little more in depth about his life and went up to his death. He had never heard that story before so it was good for him. They fed us corn too and it was super good. Super good. At this point the AP's had called us and told us that they were in Mahajanga and were going to meet up with us at the house. We thought they were going to take us out to eat but it didn't happen. They brought my new companion and my package so I was pretty happy about that. 

Saturday was English class and a ton of people showed up. I had to leave Elder Stringfellow there with Elder Heiden and go let people in to our house because we got a new washer. My clothes can be clean now! It's just been like three months! After English, President took us our to eat at a place that serves tons of crepes and ice cream. Delicious. I got to talk with President too while we were there, just me and him. It was nice. It was good to be able to talk to someone about how things have been up here. Then we had a split. I went with Elder Herrin, one of the APs and Elder Heiden and Elder Stringfellow went together. We went and taught Josefa first and talked Book of Mormon again with him because he has a hard time accepting anything other than the Bible. Then we talked with Alex and he is already through 3 Nephi 22! I was way surprised. Lalao was home but Kristian wasn't so we decided just to go straight to Arlette and then go back. But Diam wasn't home so we couldn't teach them either. We went contacting for a little bit just behind his house and were able to teach a cool guy that knew Diam and wanted to go to church with us. Way cool. Then we went back to Lalao and Kristian and had a great lesson with them. It had been awhile since we saw them last but they are still as awesome as ever. We went and invited a couple of investigators to church and then met up with the other too and a vazaha pizza place. 

Sunday was great! We had tons of people come to church and we had 7 investigators! Including the 2 that we invited! One of them actually texted us right before church saying that he wasn't going to be able to make it but then he showed up right at the beginning of the meeting. We got a new branch presidency which is great! They are all studs and I think things are going to go really well now. We taught Clemence after church and she had a breakdown. The primary teachers here are super mean to each other and she just doesn't want to come anymore. We comforted her and took her straight to our new branch president and had him talk to her. Then Elder Stringfellow and I, together at last, went and taught Mercien about the Atonement. It was a great lesson and she really needed it. Then we went and taught a bunch of new investigators and had a ton of success. Most of them were there and were very accepting of us. I am very excited for this transfer with Elder Stringfellow and we are ready to go hit it hard.

Monday, October 12, 2015


This week went by so fast! Seriously just flew by! This week was very tiring but it's over and we move on into a chapter of the mission. So Elder Heiden is leaving and I am getting Elder Stringfellow! He is one transfer behind me and I knew him in Antsirabe. I am very excited and ready for this change!

So Monday we went to Liva and Hery and taught them about the temple. They loved it and they have that goal in mind to go to the temple. They are probably one of the strongest families in this branch and it is way awesome to know them and be able to interact with them. Liva just had her baby and got to see her. I'm sorry but I did not get a picture. 

Tuesday we taught Modesta first thing and taught the Plan of Salvation. He is one of those "Eternal Investigators" and I am really sick of it. SO we are pushing them hard for baptism but if they aren't willing to move or change or do anything, we are dropping them. It's just a waste of time and there are other people we could be teaching. Our next two times fell through after that and so we went and taught Fabien. He is a semi less active member, teenager and really just needs some help being diligent and not being lazy. Then we went and taught Toky's family, looking for a referral. We had Dieu Donne after that and taught him about baptism. It was a great lesson with him. Now we just need him to come to church. We taught Teddy after that about the Plan of Salvation. It was a good review for him. We taught Dada after that about service in the church. He is starting to realize that he can do this and is starting to make the changes necessary to be baptized. I think we can get him baptized at the end of the month. We taught Ulrich after that and talked about the temple. We are trying to get him motivated to come back to church but it isn't working so far. 

Wednesday we had a pretty good day of teaching. We taught Timoty and found out the problem with his dad. He goes to the Assembly of God now. He said that he is "tied to his responsiblities as a deacon in the church" I wonder what the Melchezidek Priesthood and the baptism covenant mean to him. We went and taught a sister Helen and looked for a referral. No luck but we went to Bernadette next, and taught her about the gospel of Christ. THey liked it a lot and she actually came to church yesterday! For the first time in years from what I understand. We taught a new investigator, Jackie about the Book of Mormon and he loved it. he said he was going to come to church but he didn't. We taught Ordance again after that. It has really become almost a chore to teahc her. I know that's bad to say but we have taught her everything 3 times since I've been here but I haven't seen her at church once. We went to Teddy again after that because they wanted to feed us and while they were making the food we went and taught Arlette about the Book of Mormon and how to gain a testimony of it and why. 

Thursday we had our first time fell through so we taught Stephanon and Fabien and asked for a referral. Still no luck but at least people know now that we are searching. We taught Vololona and Lala and had a good lesson with them about the Book of Mormon and prayer. Lala was very intrigued but the daughters and the mom were very irreverant and just straight up rude during the lesson. Kinda frustrating but it worked out. We taught Dada and we were supposed to have lunch with him for his birthday but he forgot it was his birthday. He was very confused when we showed up at his house with juice and snacks. He was kinda embarassed too. We taught Emmy abouyt the Word of Wisdom after that and it just went nowhere. She just would not pay attention and was completely unresponsive. We did some contacting after that with not a lot of success and then we met with the brach to talk about things that need to happen on Sunday and make sure that everything is going to go well. We taught the other Dada about baptism after that and had a great lesson wit5h him. He really wants to know if this is the path that he should take. We told him to pray about it and when we come back we will see where he's at. 

Friday we actually had lunch with Dada and it was super good. We had corn in hot milk with sugar. Soo good. Probably one of my favorite Malagasy foods. He asked me to give his wife a blessing and I was very happy to so. We went all the way to Vololona after that and taught them about prayer and answers to prayer. They are also in the "Eternal Investifator" category. We taught Noeline after that about scripture study and prayer and stuff like that. She struggles with that a little bit. After that we went on a split with the members adn I went with Stephano. We went to a bunch of less active members that have not been to church in a long time. We actually were able to catch a lot of them at home. None of them came to church yesterday but at least they know we haven't forgotten them and that there are still people that care. We met back up at Philibert's house and taught that family.

Saturday we had English class and it went super well. We had tons of people come to English  and Elder Heiden in the more fluent class taught the restoration so we got some seed planting going on in there. We taught Timoty's dad, Alphonse, after that and his sister about covenants. Then we went all the way over to Josefa and found him not home. So we went on over to patrick's house and shared a little spiritual food with him about the temple. He also asked us to give him a blessing because school just started for him. It was way cool. We taught Alex after that and he is progressing marvelously. Still has an issue of going to church but hopefully that will be resolved soon. Lalao and Kristian were not home when we went by which was kinda strange. We did a bunch of contacting after that with not a bunch of success but then went to a less active member, Rakotomalala. He's the young men's president if I'm not mistaken. He's a very cool guy, very smart and he's actually read the whole Book of Mormon. Not sure why he's less active, maybe just lazy I don't know. After that we went to a way nice hotel and ate dinner. I had a fish fillet and shrimp. It was super good. While we were eating, President called us and told me that I was getting Elder Stringfellow and that Elder Heiden was going to Ambohimangakely to be with Elder Knight. And on the way back Elder Heiden crashed. he didn't have a light, it was dead, and we were going down a huge hill. They were doing construction on the road and so there was a big hole on one half of the road. He was ahead of me and I just hear a load crash. I thought for sure that he had crashed in the hole and I was going to have to pick him up out of there. Also our phone was dead so things were not looking good. But he had just hit the caution sign before the hole and was perfectly untouched. He said that he somehow like glided off his bike and landed on his feet, unharmed. 

Sunday we had church and it went very well. Elder Heiden gave a talk because it was his last Sunday. Dada came to church and had a great time. We taught Clemence right after church and had a great lesson with her about following the prophet. Then we went and taught Mercien about the Sabbath day because we know that she works on Sunday. It went very well and she's pretty sure that she can work it out with her boss to get Sundays off. We taught Ordance and I tried really hard to drop her but it didn't work super well. So I'm going to give her another week and if things don't change then we are going to have to drop her. Our next time just completely fell through. it was a new investigator. The husband, that we had not met before answered the door. He told us that he didn't even know who it was that we were searching for even though it was his wife. I had asked what her husband did as an occupation when we first met her and she told me that he was police. So I slyly asked this man what his job was and he told us that he was in the police force. I really hate when people lie to us. Just say you don't want us to come in. That's all I want. It's way better than being lied to. We had dinner again with Teddy, they invited us over. We had to eat super fast because we were running late and had to be home by 9:30. 

No super big plans today. I think we are going to go hang out with some people today on the boardwalk here. it's where the big Baobab is that I took a picture of when I first got here. President comes up here this Saturday and I'm not sure when Elder Bednar is coming or if he is still coming at all. I'm very out of the loop up here.

This was an answer to my question this week... How have you seen the hand of the Lord in your life?

There are so times now that I look back that I can see God's hand in my life. It just seems like everything that I've done and who I've become has been influenced by small things that have happened that could only have come from God. Just like the people I have grown up around and the people I have met. It just doesn't make sense if it was jsut by chance. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

October already?

It's crazy that it is already October... It seems just like yesterday I was in my first area with Elder Rice have a grand ole time in Tana. I looked back in my journal to a year ago and it was the last time I drove a car. And Elder Mack came in to country a year ago. Way weird. This week was an interesting one. One of those weeks that you just have to push through. 

Monday we didn't do much. We taught Hery and Sergio, his brother. The mom wasn't home. We taught them about tithing and had a very good lesson with them. They are super smart and just super cool. We got invited to Bernard's house to eat and it was super good! Probably some of the best rice and loaka I have had in country.

Tuesday was a good day although we had our first four times fall through. We were able to contact into a nice older couple and teach them. They are very interested in hearing about what we have to say. They are Muslim, of course, but are very smart and open minded. They accepted a book of Mormon so that was good. We contacted the house next door to them and were able to get in and teach. We had a good first lesson with them although the 12 year old was probably the most engaged. We taught a member family after that. The dad is actually French. Super old guy and super good at Malagasy too. Not a member and has not interest in being but a cool guy nonetheless. We taught Dieu Donne after that about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it was a great lesson with him. He is super smart. We taught Dada about the Atonement after that because he's been kinda down lately. He doesn't think he can make all the changes to make it to baptism. We shared Ether 12:27 with him and talked about how Christ is always there to help us. We taught Ulrich after that and shared a talk from the Liahona from last conference. I don't remember the name right now sorry but I believe Elder Uchtdorf shared it. It was very good. Ulrich just really needs to come back to church. 

Wednesday we taught Timoty about the Sabbath day and it was very much needed. He loved it and it cleared up a lot with him. We taught Emmy after that about the Temple and had a great lesson with her about that. We had Lalaclerc with us, who has been through the temple so it helped a lot. We visited another less active member, Bernadette after that and taught the Plan of Salvation. She was very unresponsive, frustrating and then she didn't come to church. We got a new investigator, Jackie, that we contacted on the street the day before. We taught him the first lesson and it was way awesome. They liked it a lot. We taught Ordance about Joseph Smith again and she continues to be frustrating. We may not be teaching her for much longer. She just is not progressing at all. We taught Arlette and Diam about tithing and they loved it a lot. I don't think they realized all the blessings we get from tithing. We taught Mahazo as our last time and taught about baptism, the sacrament and enduring to the end. 

Thursday we taught Vololona and Lala again about the Book of mormon and had a great lesson with them. The dad was super interested and really wanted to know how to know if the Book of Mormon is true or not. Our next few time fell through  but we were able to teach that one Muslim couple again. It was not a good lesson at all. It was just loud and people just kept coming in and going back and forth. There was some random Catholic lady there that told the exact same thing word for word about 5 times. Not super great. We had a meeting with the temporary branch president and talked about things that need to change in church on Sunday. Very good and very needed. Then we taught the other Dada. We got there and he had a bandage around his pinkey. Well while he was at work that day his finger got caught in the machine and cut off the tip of his finger. 

Friday we had a pretty good day. We were able to teach a lot and it was good. We taught Noeline about the Sabbath day and also taught Ordance. We taught her about Tithing. We taught Jackie and Eugette after that and he's doing super good. He is one of our best investigators right now. Then we went all the way out to Victor and taught him. We read 3 Nephi 11 with him and he asked us when he could be baptized! it was perfect because we went to the lesson with the intention of inviting him to be baptized. We taught a couple less actives after that and had good lessons with both of them.

Saturday we had English class which was pretty small that day. Not a lo \t of people came. We taught a new investigator that Norbert gave us. She was not super responsive but she came to church yesterday even though we only taught there the one time. We taught Joseph after that and had an interesting lesson with him. We taught the Plan of Salvation with him but he wouldn't accept anything unless we proved it with the Bible. It was very frustrating. We did it but i felt like he was trying to discredit what we were saying by catching us on something not in the bible. We taught Alex after that and he still has an issue about coming to church. The people he lives with won't let him leave in the morning on Sundays. They make him wash the cars and stuff. But he believes that the Book of Mormon is true. He is trying to find a new place to live right now and then he will probably be able to come to church. We went to Kristian and Lalao after that and we got there kinda late and then they just fed us and made us leave so we didn't get to teach them. It was a weird thing. We taught Arlette after that and showed the Restoration video with her. She liked it a lot and hasn't seen it before. Then when we got out of the lesson, Elder Heiden's tire on his bike was flat and we happened to be the farthest that we ever go from our house so we had to walk all the way back. Super fun. 

Sunday was a good day. Church went way well. We didn't have a lot at church but things went well. We taught Clemence after church and she is having a bit of a rough time. She is trying to prepare to go on a mission and people are giving her false information on what she needs to do and it's just a mess. We went to Mercien after that and taught about baptism. We found out after the lesson from Stephano that the member in America that was going to come marry her is not coming anymore and that almost made her stop coming to church. He convinced her otherwise however and she came. She also sees that the Book of Mormon has things in it that shes needs. We went with Stephano after that on a wild goose chase for less active members way far from everything. We got to their houses and they weren't home obviously. Big waste of time but now we know where they live at least. We went to Stephano's house after all our other times fell through and taught his family. Then we taught a recent convert Lucien. He is a super cool guy and is way good at English. 

Yeah a rough week and to top it off I have been sick like all week. It started off with my stomach just hurting like crazy and has now developed into a fever. Fast Sunday yesterday was very hard that's for sure. I hardly slept last night and I am very grateful that today I can just sleep.