Monday, November 23, 2015

Transfers just in time for the holidays

So yeah long story short I'm getting transferred just in time to catch Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, which all happens to be in this transfer, so that'll be fun. I will talk about what's happening at the end of the email though. It's exciting.

Ponderize: 2 Ne 25:29

So last Monday we went to this place that has tons of souvenirs and stuff and looked around. It was cool but nothing really caught our eyes. There was one store that was selling tons of illegal stuff so that was cool. Well it would be illegal in America that is. We are talking shark heads, wale bones, crocodile heads and leather, stingray tails and all kinds of stuff like that. I took a picture and will probably attach it at the bottom. We had our family home evening with Liva and Hery and it was a pretty good lesson. They are getting better! And also Elder Lehr went home that day so that was kinda weird.

Tuesday we had a pretty good day. We had a lot of lessons fall through so that was kinda lame but hey we live with it. We were able to go out to Victor and help him get ready for his baptism on the 28th. We did a practice baptismal interview with him and he is super ready. I'm way excited for him. His real interview is this week, tomorrow actually. We were able to catch Dada at home as well and he is just not as motivated anymore I don't really know what's going on with him. He's stopped coming to church but he is still reading the Book of Mormon so that's good. 

Wednesday we taught a bunch of less actives that haven't been coming to church. Well we usually get them to come for about 2 weeks and then they don't come and we have to go back. It's like herding cats to be honest. We were also able to teach Felgence, a new investigator. He is going to school here to be a doctor and he has taken an interest in the message. We need to get him to come to church though. We were able to teach Arlette as well and she keeps saying that see wants to get baptized but see is not willing to do the things that she needs to do to be baptized. So that is frustrating. 

Thursday was interesting. We taught Cece first thing and he's awesome. His brother was there at the lesson and Cece just taught his brother the First Vision right there during the lesson. Super awesome. He's doing great although he didn't come to church yesterday. We received a referral from Fabien for some past investigators and we had set up a time with them and went back. Well it was not a very pleasant experience. She was obviously just lying to us. Like hardcore. It was ridiculous. But we had a meeting with the branch presidency after that and then went and taught Dieu Donne. He has been slipping into the "not progressing" category and we are trying to get him back in it. And then we taught the other Dada bout the Sabbath Day. He really needs to come to church but just never seems to come, not sure what's gong on with him. After our lessons we went to our usual Thursday night spot, Bolo. Tons of great ice cream. Well we get there and this white family comes out. From America. From Reno actually. He's a pastor that has moved here with his family for 5 years while he builds a church and gets everything organized. It was way weird.

Friday was a good day. That morning we went and picked up a package that the office sent up to us. It had some things for the church but also I got some letters and a package with candy in it! Thanks mom for the phonogram cards! Those are going to help so much with English We had quite a few lessons too so that was nice. We reviewed some things with Victor and his wife and things are just going great for them. They are set to get baptized on the 28th. We visited Bernard and Philibert later that night and shared some vatsim-panahy with them. We finished off with Ulrich and had a great lesson with him. 

Saturday we taught a bunch as well. We had a practice interview with Mercien and found out a little problem that she was going to have to talk to the mission president about so that was kinda scary. We were still hopeful that she would catch the 28h though. We had a fireside after that that we set up. We talked about the Restoration and showed the video. It turned out pretty good. A good strengthening for the members. And boy do they need it. As soon as the fireside ended, we got a call from President Foote with transfers. So I'm going back to Tana. But it's weird. I am going with Elder Te'e, he's from a polynesian island, in an area called Tanjombato for about 2 weeks. And then he goes home. Then I am moving to an area called Ambohimanarina and be companions with Elder Yeagley. We will be Zone Leaders. I don't know what President is thinking, putting me as a zone leader. I don't know I just don't feel like adequate enough to do that job but that's what he wants I guess. The zone I am going to is the biggest in the mission and covers the north half of Tana. We'll see how things go I guess.  We also were able to teach Lalao and Kristian and had an interesting time with them. We are just encouraging them to read the Book of Mormon but they have a hard time connecting the dots between the Book of Mormon and God's living prophet. 

Sunday we had an area conference broadcast from the area 70 and Elder Renlund and Elder Cook. I heard it was really good but the broadcasts are so hard to understand in Malagasy that it was hard for me to really catch exactly what was said. We gave a blessing to a member and an investigator right after church and that was a cool experience. It's always cool to give blessings. Then we went out to work. We got a lot done yesterday. We had Mercien's real interview and we had to give President Lalari a call to have him talk to her. But everything is all good and she will be getting baptized! I'm super excited for her. We were able to teach a lot of investigators but our night program kinda fell apart. So we went and visit a couple people and did a little vatsim-panahy with them and said goodbye. We went to Ordance and Hanitra first. We had a great lesson with them and said goodbye and left. Well the wife of Ordance's son gave me a little piece of paper as we were leaving. Well she snuck it into my hand in a handshake. I will attach a picture of what it said. It's way funny. And then we went to Bernard and did a similar thing with them and said goodbye. 

This morning we went out early to send something to Tana and meet up with Stephano and the branch presidency to go look for a new church building that we can rent. We found a good one and while we were looking at it, the pastor from America came and was looking at it as well. So we have got a little competition going on haha. But I just got the email with my flight plans and I fly back to Tana on Friday. 

So yeah next week I will be back in Tana. I haven't been there in over a year so it'll be fun to work there again. I'm way excited but nervous to be a zone leader. I'm very sad to leave this area right before we have three baptisms and I am also way sad to leave Elder Stringfellow. He's great.

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Coleman

Monday, November 16, 2015

A very interesting and yet satisfying week

This was a crazy week. Just crazy. Lots of interesting stories to tell.

Ponderize scripture of the week: Alma 57:21

So Monday we didn't really do anything other than go to Lac Sacre. We did get our haircuts and the guy was not good at all. Elder Stringfellow and I have no hair. Like at all. Malagasies don't know how to cut hair. But we had our FHE with Fr Abel's family and it was awesome! They still have some work to do but it is getting better. And then after we left we went to Sandratra's house and I lost the phone in a Bajaj. So that was awesome. That was only beginning of the week. 

Tuesday morning we went to get a phone. We went in the morning so we could still catch our times. Well it was the easiest phone to buy ever. The asked for ID and so I gave my student ID card from my senior year and they took it! Like it totally worked. They would as about my ID number and stuff and I had no idea what it was and so the lady just said ok whatever, doesn't matter anyway. But then we went to get our old number back and that was a hassle. They wouldn't accept Elder Stringfellow's drivers license so we had to back to the house so I could get a copy of my passport. But we got it all figured out in the end. And then our work day wasn't super great. No one that we went to teach was home. We did a lot of tracting but it didn't really get us any lessons but we did have some interesting experiences. First off, we went and tracted in an area that we haven't really been to yet. We started tracting and ended up knocking on a French guy's house. Well the thing is, that is usually a no go but to our surprise he let us in! I recognized him as a guy that usually goes to the ice cream place that we go to. He told us that he used to own a restaurant in Tomatave (A city on the east coast of Mada, there are missionaries there) and that missionaries would go there all the time, every Thursday. He actually had received a French Book of Mormon in the past and had read it. I don't think he was too impressed with it though. It was also super hard to communicate with him but we managed. He gave us some cold water too so that was way nice. Then we went to his neighbor and got let in and the guy there expressed that recently he had just had an epiphany that the church he was praying at wasn't right, there were lots of things going on that weren't according to the Bible, and that he was currently searching for the right church he should join. Well obviously that's great! He didn't have time then to learn but we set a return appointment. He wasn't there for the return appointment because he got called in to work but we will go back this week and teach him. We went and taught a family that learned from missionaries before but stopped investigating the church for some reason. They still wanted to accept the missionaries and so we taught them. The problem is that he works on a boat and is gone most of the time so it makes church attendance kind of hard. But we went to Victor after that and taught his family. They are going great and are going to catch their baptismal date on the 28. 

Wednesday we got quite a few people . We found a few new investigators that day and were able to teach some less actives as well. We taught Jackie and he is getting excited about the gospel. we just need to get him come to church. We contacted a lady last week that teaches English at a school here and she is very good. We went to teach her but she wasn't home. We were able to contact close to her house. We were let in by a couple boys and so we taught them. We went back by the English teachers house but she still hadn't come so we just left. But on our way back, we saw a old lady just standing in the middle of the path with the back of her skirt up scratching her butt. Yeah it's more a common sight then you think but it was just very unexpected there and just added onto our crazy week. We went and taught Ulrich after that and we are really trying to get him to come to church. I think I know what is going on but he needs to just trust God and go. Then we taught Arlette and she expressed that one her biggest goals right now is to be baptized but she is not really following through on trying to complete that. 

Thursday We had a lot of things fall through. Our very first time fell through so we decided to stop by some other investigators that we didn't catch last week. It was good that we stopped by because the husband was home and we were able to teach them. They are awesome too! We taught Jackie again this day at his request because he is getting excited as I said. and then we went to another time that fell through and just contacted around his house and found some new investigators. They have a Bible that is in Malagasy and English. It's pretty cool except the English translation is super bad. It was changed a lot and you just need to look at it. It's the "Good News Bible". It's actually kinda funny to read. We had a meeting with our branch presidency after that and then did a fireside with the members on the beach. Well we were supposed to but no one showed. SO that was way lame. 

Friday morning we got a call from a DHL guy that a package came for the church. We were also dealing with this all week. They are the installation discs for the computer in the church. When the computer first got here it didn't work and so we've been waiting on these discs from South Africa for like 2 months. Well the finally came Friday morning. We got a lot done on Friday too. We taught a lot of people. We went out to Victor again and took President Paul with us and Stephano. The lesson went great and they are already great friends. We were teaching about the fast I think and President Paul stopped us and asked if he could say something. And then he said very matter-of-factly, "Don't commit Adultery" had nothing to do with the lesson haha. He's crazy.

Saturday morning was spent trying to get the computer to work. The discs didn't work and I tried everything I knew how to try and find a problem but couldn't find anything. SO now we have to wait. I took pictures of the error screens and sent them to South Africa and so hopefully they will know what to do. Then we noticed that Elder Stringfellow's tire was way messed up so we had to go clear across town and gt a new one. That took awhile and we missed a time because of it. Then a bunch of our times after that fell through but we found a new less active member that we will be teaching and can hopefully reactivate. We taught Arlette as well and are trying to get her more motivated to come to church and reach her goal. Then we taught Lalao and Kristian and had an interesting lesson with them. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and the importance of it and discovered that they haven't been praying about it at all. We both just kept bearing our testimonies about how we know the Book of Mormon is true and it finally got across to them that they need to read and pray about it. 

Sunday was interesting. Not organized at all. We had Cece come to church though! We didn't catch him this week but he came even though we hadn't seen him at all this week! This branch is struggling though. It's almost better to not bring investigators to church I feel sometimes. But we had a good day teaching and got some new families and investigators. Marcelline is progressing very well towards baptism right now and she will be getting baptized on the 28 as well. We have some pretty solid investigators right now that I am very excited for. Hopefully I don't leave this transfer. 

Well that was the week. Crazing but things are going great here! Elder Lehr is at the airport at the very moment that I am writing this letter. He is bringing a couple things home for you guys that I had made in Antsirabe. 
Have a great week everyone!

Elder Coleman

Monday, November 9, 2015

Busy week, President Lalari, and Lac Sacre

It sure was a busy week this week and kinda of long one. Lots of times that fell through so that was a little annoying but we don't dwell on those we just keep moving forward. It is just going to happen sometimes.

Since I'm ponderizing scriptures I'll include the one that I did during the following week which was 2Nephi 9:39. Really good one. Read it.

So on Monday we attended Abel and Liva's first family home evening. Long story short, they need some practice. No one here does it and so we are trying to get that going, one family at a time if we have to. But it was good. Fr Abel taught the lesson on Nephi going to get the brass plates and talked about family history work. It was an interesting thing that I had never really thought about before. 

Tuesday we didn't so much have lessons fall through we just had an empty program for the most part. So tracting is what went down. We were only able to set up return appointments but it's still better than nothing. We were able to teach a new family that we contacted into last week. He was very cool and wants us to come back so we will. We taught Dada again and we are trying really hard to get him to baptism. He has changed a lot already but he isn't quite there yet. He just has a hard time coming to church every week. He's reading the Book of Mormon and making excellent progress on it but church is what is really holding him back. And we were teaching Ulrich on Tuesday and we really tried to get him to come back to church. There was no more beating around the bush or trying to ease him into it but we just sat him down and asked him what his goal is in life. He said to get to eternal life. Well you can't do that without the gospel and you definitely can't do that without the sacrament and going to church every Sunday. He didn't come but we'll keep trying. 

Wednesday we had the before mentioned falling through of lessons. We had Stephano helping us and so we went to a couple less actives with him and had some good lessons with them. He also showed us to a past investigator that was interesting. He is going back to where he actually lives and there is no church there so it's kinda pointless to teach him. We had a soiree that night with a Taylor Moulton who used to be a missionary here in Mada. He just came to vacation I guess and so we had a soiree with him and some members and it was super fun. It was weird to see someone from America that wasn't a missionary. Then we taught Mahazo. He hasn't come to church in a while but still isn't coming even though he says that he is coming every week. 

We taught Cece first about the Book of Mormon and he absolutely loves it. He really wants to know if it is true and told us he was going to come to church even though he didn't. He has a lot of potential though and I'm excited to teach him this week. We taught the people that live right next door to the house and they are also showing great potential. The love the Restoration and find it very interesting. We had a meeting with the branch presidency that night and set up a couple firesides for the branch. One of them is a literal fireside. At the beach. At night. It's gonna be great. We also have one coming up where we are going to have the members bring a friend and we are going to talk the Restoration with them all. We are hoping for a good turnout. We taught Dieu Donne after that and he is looking good too. He says that he feels like the Book of Mormon is true. We are going to make sure that he actually knows first and then we will continue on with the teachings. Dada the second is also in a similar boat. 

Friday we had a pretty good day. We had quite a few times fall through on us but we were able to teach Marie and Josefa. We taught them about the Plan of Salvation again because the husband wasn't there last time. We taught Tsilavina and Naomi too nut it was not a super good lesson. he was not focused at all and kept getting calls on the phone and stuff so we are going to try again this week. We went clear out and taught Victor and he is doing great! We have him on date for the 28 and he is going to make it! He is super diligent and loves coming to church. He's going to great in the church.

Saturday we had English and it was super good. Tons of people came including some of our investigators. And then Saturday literally all of our times fell through. We were scrabbling finding people to teach. We were contacting and calling less actives but it all worked out in the end. We were able to find some families to teach. We taught Sr Hardy and Teddy together because Teddy happened to be visiting her when we dropped by. We taught a new family and we were also able to teach Dada that night but he wasn't able to make it to church yesterday for some reason. Also I helped a kid with his English homework so that was kinda fun. 

Sunday was fast Sunday and it was a tough one for sure. It's hard to not drink anything now that it is super hot but I'll live. We had a pretty good turnout for members but not so much for the investigators. President Lalari came up from Tana this week and did some training with the leaders. He gave a talk in church and told all the members that they need to get a move on and help the missionaries. It was great! We had a ton of members come up to us after the meeting and ask when they could help. Hopefully they mean it. I ended up teaching the investigator class because the teacher never showed up. So that was fun. After church we had a good teaching day. We were able to teach a few new people and catch people on our regular program. We found a new family that has a lot of potential and we were also able to catch a less active at home and committed him to come to church next week. 

And then today we had a great day. We woke up at 4:40 this morning and went with Stephano to a place called Lac Sacre. It was a long ways because we had to walk there. It was cool though. There was a cool pond that was crystal clear with cool fish in it and then there was a big baobab tree with three Maki lemurs (or Zabomafo lemurs) and then we finished it off by looking at some crocidiles. The crocs were way scary. Super big. Our tour guide kept poking it with a stick and then it would get mad and growl and bite the stick. 

But that's it for this last week and hopefully this week will be even better! It's getting way hotter and I have lost a lot of weight. All the weight I gained in Antsirabe is gone. It's really sad. 

Elder Coleman

Monday, November 2, 2015

It's really hot and it's raining and we got to watch conference :)

So we had a really good week this week. Work wise it went very well and we got to watch conference too which was super good! Loved it! It'll be great when I don't have to wait a month to watch it though.
So last Monday we didn't do much but I typed up a paper in Malagasy as a guide to conducting family home evening that we were going to experiment on Liva and Hery. If it goes well then we are going to spread it throughout the branch. Well the lesson went really well with them and they are way excited to try it out and get it going. I gave them a bunch of suggestions for lessons so they should be good on lessons for awhile.
Tuesday was good. We taught Modesta and we are really trying to get him to understand how important this message is for him and his family. He just seems to think it is a cool thing and is interesting to hear about and that when he has time he will come to church and stuff. Yeah that is not gonna get someone into the celestial kingdom. Our next couple times fell through so we did some tracting and tracted the house right behind ours and got in. They were very nice and very interested but the return appointment we set up for later in the week was stood up. So yeah. Things happen. We taught Albert and we are having kind of a struggle with getting him to understand 100%. One of the biggest problems is that he can't read very well. We taught a new investigator family that is way cool. They love the teachings and they loved the Book of Mormon. The husband is Muslim so it'll be kinda interesting but he seemed very interested about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. We finished off the day with Ulrich and tried to get him to come back to church. He is such a cool guy.
Wednesday we taught Timoty and had them share with us why they joined the church; what brought them to become baptized into the church to help them see that they actually believe it's true. it was our last lesson with them because they are moving back to Tana and there Elder Heiden can start teaching them again. We taught Emmy and had a great lesson with her. She was very receptive this time and as we taught her about covenants she made some very helpful insights. It was a neat experience. We taught Jackie after that and gave him a baptismal date for December. Then we Joseph and Mary and read with them from the Book of Mormon. They love the Book of Mormon so far and are actually reading it so it's great. We had a couple other new investigators that we taught and then finished off the day by teaching Arlette about how to receive an answer to her prayers.
Thursday everything fell though. We ended up tracting for 5 hours straight in the hottest time of the day and no one was letting us in. But right at the end, we were able to get into a house of a family that is super great! They are super smart and seem very prepared by the Lord. I'm very excited to go teach them again this week. We had a meeting with our branch presidency to figure out how conference was going to go down and then we taught Dada and gave him a baptismal date for December as well.
Friday we taught Vololona about baptism and tried to get her more excited about getting baptized soon. She really wants to wait for her husband and that's good. We were just trying to get her excited so that she'll get her husband on track to get it done. We taught Ordance about prayer and about how to receive an answer to prayer and she said she was going to come on Sunday but didn't, as always. Very frustrating. She knows the Book of Mormon is true. We went to Viktor after that and reviewed the Plan of Salvation with them and they loved it. They came to conference too! We got back from them and did some tracting. We went to the house of one of our Enlgish students and taught him. We had Bernard that night and Philibert and they are just awesome. I love both of those families. Philibert's wife though is very frustrating. She just comes up with so many excuses to why she doesn't come to church. 
Saturday was great! Loved conference! All the talks on Saturday were super good but some of the talks I like especially were President Uchtdorf's in the Morning session, Elder Holland's in the Afternoon and Uchtdorf and Eyring's in the Priesthood session. Super good talks and I loved them. After conference we had some times set up but they all fell through so it was kinda lame.
Sunday was just as good as Saturday. I really enjoyed the testimonies of the new Apostles and the Eyring talk in the Morning session. And in the Afternoon session I really liked Devin G Durrant and Elder Bednar's talk. The members fed us in between sessions too it was great! Super good! After conference we were able to go teach a couple people. We taught Mary and Joseph about the Plan of Salvation and they lo0ved it. We taught Arlette about the Sabbath and then went to a somewhat new family and reviewed the Restoration with them. It was great!
And it has rained everyday this week. It has usually rained at night and made the day way hotter and more humid. It rained this morning and it is so humid right now. I'm seriously just pouring sweat right now. I'm told that it is supposed to get hotter and have more rain as time goes on into December and January.
Elder Coleman