Happy New Year

Monday, December 30, 2013
With his Christmas gifts--small things that made him happy, like the Chick Fil-A sauce :)
We LOVED getting to "see" our elder on Christmas day!! 
Hello all!!

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas! And that it was more Christmas-y than mine! Don't think I'm complaining, I think Christmas traditions over here are hilarious, but it's definitely weird not being home!

I got to Skype home for the first time on Christmas, which was so great! Anyone who knows our family knows we are a talkative, lively bunch, so the hour I had to chat with them vanished like smoke! It was amazing nonetheless. Really makes you appreciate your family even more when you're not with them for Christmas!!

This week was interesting, as my companion Elder Cook got really sick and was essentially bedridden the whole week! The poor guy. I kasihan him a lot (pity in Malay, but that's how the Elders here talk hahaha). Luckily, we did exchanges with other missionaries a couple of times so I was still able to get out to my area!

We started an English Class out here! That's been fun and we hope that our members can start bringing their friends in weeks to come! hahahah So funny though. Malaysians cannot, not even to save their lives, correctly pronounce the "th" sound. There's no similar sound in Malay or Iban and it's so funny to watch them try to say it.

So. Christmas in Malaysia. People just jalan-jalan, or walk/stroll/travel around, going from house to house, eating random people's food! Even M u s l i m people get into it and jalan! hahahah it is so funny! So, after a delicious meal at the Senior Couple's home of ham and rolls and green beans (SO GOOD), we went to 4 houses and ate a full plate or two at each of them! I ate a chicken foot, more rice and noodles (mi [pronounced 'me'] in Malay) than I want to remember, and some REALLY REALLY REALLY gross meat that was claimed to be babi hutan - or wild boar. Literally, it had the taste of... well, poop! It was SO GROSS. Whatever! You only serve once lah!

Anyways, I've just been so blessed that I haven't gotten sick. I'm really grateful for that. Oh, and I gave another talk in sacrament meeting! In Malay! Such good times.

Love you all! Please keep giving service to be like Christ! :) I'm trying to, so give it a shot! Happy New Year!

Malaysia Boleh,

Elder Coleman
His much-loved advent calendar...every day he got to open a note from a family member or friend.
He says it was a treasure!

Before he opened his gifts! I don't know what time it was but knowing him, it was EARLY! :)

With Santa! aka President Schollenberger at the branch Christmas party
The Kota Masai Branch

Christmas in Malaysia

Monday, December 23, 2013
Fun at the Masai Branch Christmas beach party! (Photos courtesy of President Schollenberger)
Well, Merry Christmas from Malaysia!

I'm doing just swell out here! Life on the other side of the world just couldn't get better. I realized yesterday that this is going to be the most un-Christmas Christmas ever, but whatever. It's hot here, and no one decorates with Christmas lights, or anything like that, so it's not much of a Christmas! I still have a giant Christmas box to open from home though, and talking to my family (!!!!) is going to be awesome, so that will make things seem a little bit more like Christmas. It's tough because in JB, my city, the vast majority of people are I s l a m, and that just makes it hard to see anything Christmas-y out here. But, occasionally the grocery store near our house plays Taylor Swift Christmas music! Totally can hahaha so life is still great!

Erika is on track to be baptized on January 4. I'm really excited for her, and it will be my first investigator to be baptized! It is such a huge blessing to have seen her progress. When we first started with her, she had a hard time praying, and didn't really feel comfortable doing that, but in our lesson yesterday, she volunteered to do the opening prayer! She's really doing remarkably well and we feel very good about her.

Everything out here is going great. I really have gotten pretty close with Elder Jackson, who lives in the same house as me. He is a brilliant guy and really helps me out whenever I need it!

This week we had Christmas Conference and got to watch the Christmas Devotional in Singapore! Because I am in one of the Singapore Zones, even though I'm in Malaysia, I only saw those serving in Singapore. I'm like the only missionary from my group of MTC missionaries in the Singapore Mission in West Malaysia or Singapore! Yikes! I miss them all haha but I feel like I'll be seeing them soon.

Keep up life back at home everyone and try to be like Christ for me! :) do a good turn daily and think of Jesus! :) Love you all!

Malaysia Boleh!

Elder Coleman

Ps hahaha the Malay word for the week: responsibility . It's epic: tanggungjawap. To make some one responsible, or give them responsibility, is mempertanggungjawapkan. SO GREAT.

Lunch at the beach party -- chicken heads and feet! 
(Here's a link to a blog post by Elder C's district president with all the details of the Christmas beach party, including the technique the Malaysians use to eat chicken feet!)
In the middle of a speed eating game! That's why everyone is watching him!

The Gift of Tongues is a Thing!

Monday, December 16, 2013
Elder Coleman and his companion with their investigator Erika and some of her family
(she's on the left with her hands on the little boy)
 Hello everyone!

Okay, I know, I missed last week's update and I'm sorry!! I had to run quickly and didn't have time to get a long email in. This week I hope makes up for it!!

My new companion, Elder Cook, is from Kaysville, Utah, and was serving in Bintulu before he came over to Johor Bahru with me. He has definitely got a good work ethic, and I think that's awesome! I'm thinking we are going to do some great work together. 

This week has been great showing the new Elder around and introducing him to the members. I have been praying ever since I began my mission to obtain the Gift of Tongues, essentially the ability to speak other languages through a gift of the Spirit. I have had some awesome progression in the Malay language since I began, but in the last week, the language seems to have clicked. When Elder Adams left, a missionary with some of the best bahasa in the entire mission, I really needed to improve if I wanted to understand things said to me. I prayed harder and got some major help. It's been so cool. I seem to be able to understand most things spoken to me now. I'm going to try and keep up everything that I've been doing to make sure I still can improve and receive help from the Lord!

We had some awesome lessons this week with Erika. She is so enthusiastic about the gospel and is really accepting everything we've taught her. In fact, we moved up her baptismal date two weeks to January 4th! It's been so cool seeing her progress and also feeling the Spirit so strongly in our lessons. In one of our recent lessons, I nearly started crying because the Spirit was so strong! Man! So great.

My companion and I are really working on finding others to teach right now, and one of the major other things we do is help people who have stopped coming to church every week refind their commitment and come back into the fold. That is what Christ did, right? :)
Okay, something that I love about Malay, one of the greatest things about the language in my opinion. You can get really creative with what you say with it. In Malay, there is a suffix (which sometimes comes with a prefix but don't worry about it) that makes me laugh like every day. The suffix is "-kan". Check this out. It essentially means to "___-ify" something. 

Example: Jatuh means to fall, but the word "jatuhkan" means to knock something over! Or to fall-ify something. or.... Kalah means to lose, but kalahkan means to defeat, or to lose-ify someone! hahahahh Is that not epic?!?!? I mean that's just genius! If it doesn't make sense, I'll have plenty of time to attempt to explain it when I get back in a couple of years :)

Alright, I love you all! You're all in my thoughts and prayers!

Malaysia Boleh!

Elder Coleman

A Few Life Learnings

Monday, December 9, 2013
The Hong Kong LDS temple is the closest temple to Malaysia, but obviously too far away for the missionaries ever to have an opportunity to attend while serving their missions. 

Elder Coleman didn't send an actual weekly update this week (boo hoo) or any photos, but we were able to email a bit back and forth with him when he was online. He told us he loves the Christmas Advent calendar we sent him with notes from family and friends. I wonder if he is really only opening one per day, but if not, then hey. It's all good. Here are a few excerpts of things he shared with us:
When I asked about his new companion, he wrote: "I have a theory that it takes about a week or two to become friends with any companion. It hasn't been two weeks yet, so I can't make a judgement about us just yet! But he's got an even bigger personality than mine! :)"

When I asked about the people he is teaching, he wrote: "Right now we've only got one actual investigator, Erika, who is planning on being baptized. But we are really going to be working to bring that number up and find more people who are interested. It's tough because J B has way less Ibans than other areas. There are mostly I s l a m i c people here."

Some things he is learning:

Sometimes it is hard not being an older elder in the mission because people inherently think you're uncool because you're new. But a great lesson I learned this week: Whether or not you end up a legend, if missionaries talk about you for years to come or not, whether you are the coolest elder in the mission: none of that matters. What matters is that you are in good standing with Jesus Christ, our Employer and Captain, and do everything He would ask you to do. So I'm really grateful for that realization because, no matter what, I'm going to be the missionary Christ would have me be. :)

Another thing: So many people here live in poverty, yet are so happy. It's such an epic lesson for me and helps me learn what's really important in life.

Finally: Take advantage of the temple, everyone at home! I can't even go once over my two years here in the mission field :/ so use it often! I know that our family really can be together forever. It's so cool to teach that to so many people because it is building conviction in me that one day, a while from now, we will all be together and laughing together in the Celestial Kingdom. It's real.

And although I'm sad we didn't get more from him this week, he redeemed himself with little things like this: "Mom, I miss you so much! I realized the other day I have never heard you be sarcastic ever, and I have realized you are the best example for me in the whole world. I love you!"

One thing I love about his emails is he often begins with a Malaysian word, as if we know what they mean! Thank heavens for Google translate! Sudah! Belum Lagi! Bolehkah! And his English is definitely sounding more awkward as the weeks go by...

Unexpected News!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Elder Adams (on left) will be leaving for Bintulu on Thursday (shown here with Elder Crosland)
Hey Everyone:

Right now I am shocked! Today we got transfer news, and Elder Adams, my companion and trainer, is leaving to be a Zone Leader in an area far from here called Bintulu. (A zone leader is someone who has leadership responsibility for all the missionaries in his area, or zone.) I just found out I'm getting a new companion. This whole thing was totally unexpected. My new companion is Elder Cook, and he will finish my training (which is usually 12 weeks and I've already completed 6 weeks). I really thought I would be with Elder Adams for my entire training! And I don't know a thing about my new companion! It still hasn't gotten into my head that I am not going to have Elder Adams... yikesssssss. I have no idea about the transfer procedure because this is my first time (emoji with the teeth showing). All I can do, though, is trust that the Lord is doing what He knows is best for me and the Kota Masai area where I'm serving. I have to have that faith and keep pushing onwards! The coming week will definitely be interesting!

This past week we went Christmas caroling. Weirdest thing ever! We sang in Malay... but caroling is nothing like it is back home. Okay. So all of the church members in my area gathered at one house, with everyone inside. Then, we sang a song - but the group leader forgot to bring the hymn books with him. So we ended up just singing regular LDS hymns! hahahah Great songs but definitely not Christmas songs. Then, we packed up, and went to someone else's house who was already in the group of carolers - went inside, sat down, drank some orange sunkist water stuff (actually pretty good just impossible to explain), and sang there. Then we got up and went to another person's house, who was already with us! Then we went to the house of someone who wasn't caroling with us and brought them to the next house! They "ikut" or follow. (Hahaha it is a word that is used differently in Malay. You "ikut" the person that drives you in a car... doesn't even make sense hahahah) But so much fun! 

On a spiritual note, one of our investigators just agreed to be baptized. She is progressing, and I know she will make it. I'm so excited and so grateful to see the changing power of this gospel. I know this work is true, and I know I'm doing what Heavenly Father wants me to be doing.

Stay strong everyone! Love you all! Hope your Thanksgiving was great and that in the coming weeks you sing some real Christmas songs in English for me!

Malaysia Boleh!

Elder Coleman
Elder Coleman was blessed to have this Thanksgiving feast with the JB elders at the home of the Schollenbergers, who are a senior missionary couple serving there. The Schollenbergers were able to find a 9 lb. turkey (which cost a fortune) and prepared a delicious meal for the missionaries. (Photo courtesy of Ed Schollenberger)
Local member with his temple recommend!

Sweet Miracles and Learnings

Monday, November 25, 2013

Oh yum! Chicken feet?! Actually, not that bad :)
Hello all!

So I know you have seen some pictures of members playing Jenga with us, and I wanted to give a little background to it! It is a great idea that my companion had, so we have been doing it with a ton of less active and also members in our area! It is a Jenga game, connected with Helaman 5:12. We have to build our foundation on Christ, and if we have faith in Him, we cannot fall! It is a lot of fun and you label all the bricks with things that strengthen our faith, such as "hadir 3 jam di gereja" (3 hours attending church) and "ambil sacramen"(take the sacrament) and "ada malam keluarga"(hold family home evening) etc. Then as you stop doing them, you remove them from your foundation of faith. and it becomes easier and easier to fall. It is a really fun time that really builds the trust with the missionaries as real people, rather than just these orang putih! (white people) So much fun! We are always looking for clever ideas and fun ways to get members involved, with fun games that have messages attached. If any of you can think of games like that, I would love it if you emailed me the idea and Elder Adams and I will try to use them!! (My email is jon.coleman(at sign)myldsmail.net)

Okay, here in Malaysia, stuff happens. Last week, rain came every day. except one. So yeah, sometimes we ride all the way out to Kota Masai (20+ miles with crazy hills, my legs are unreal) and it's still raining. So this week my companion and I prayed really hard that we could have a week without rain so we could make sure we were accomplishing everything the Lord wanted us to. And this week, it only rained once during the day; the only other times it rained were at night or in the morning, times we weren't proselyting. That was definitely a miracle we saw in our area this week that was super sweet! The Lord is really looking out for the work in this area.

It's an urban area, but we leave the city and ride out to the suburbs. I don't have many village things near me because I am in a big city called Johor Bahru, but it's pretty sweet looking. The food here is all delicious; there are just sometimes fishy things I am so not down for (see the fish pic), but it's all great. Also, McDonald's and KFC are quality restaurants down here! They're actually way good, but Burger King is much cheaper so we go there more often. We have to have American food sometimes to counter the digestive issues we experience at times from the local food!

This week we got super sweaty playing soccer = bola sepak, like SUPER sweaty and gross, probably sweatier than I have ever been in my entire life! But I've been refining my keeper skills! Hahaha Also, every week I work on my piano skills at church! My sight reading isn't that awful and it's actually getting way better. I might even be able to be a pianist by the end of my mission!

Also, I've kind of made a resolution to learn Mandarin Chinese when I get back, so I've been talking to Chinese Elders about some random Chinese phrases! I've learned how to ask for a name and say what mine is and also say 'I'm a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.' Pretty cool.

Something I really have seen this week is the reality of my calling and how important it is. One of our main investigators is named Erika, a relative of some recent converts. Elder Adams and I taught her about the Plan of Salvation, Heavenly Father's plan for His children that allows all of us to live on this earth, gain experience, and return to live with Him and our families forever. As I was teaching, I really just realized how significant this message is! See 3 Nephi 5:13:

13 Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been acalled of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.

I really know that to be true, that this message can really help people have a better and more fulfilling life on earth but also have a joyful existence with our families after this life. I remember saying in the lesson "Sebab rancangan ini, kalau saya meninggal, atau seorang ahli keluarga saya meninggal, saya tak risau. Saya tahu memang saya akan jumpa mereka lagi selepas kehidupan ini di bumi"(Google translate: Because of this plan, if I died, or a member of my family died, I'm not worried. I know I would see them again after this life on earth.) I really felt the Spirit testify to those words.

This gospel is true! If you have read the Book of Mormon, and at one point knew it was true, please! Think about your life and come back! If you haven't, I exhort you to read just one chapter (Alma 7) and pray if this book is true. If it is, it will open up a completely new aspect of your life and you will be happier than you have ever been in your life. In the slightest possibility the message of our church is true, I plead with you to find out for yourself. 

I testify it is true. I know that it can change your life and bring happiness that is unrivaled by anything on this earth.

Love you all and talk to you next week!

Malaysia Boleh!

Elder Coleman

EXCERPT FROM ELDER ADAM's WEEKLY EMAIL (Elder Coleman's current companion and trainer):
I called sister sukie on the phone to meet with her.. the phone call went something like this (a bit is lost in the translation)....

hey sister sukie, where are you now?
just at home elder..
oh perfect, can we drop by later and meet with you and the family. 
sure elder.
sister sukie, have you eaten yet? 
no elder not yet. 
oh really?! neither have we... soo how bout we get a chicken at the store bring it to your house and you cook it for us...can or not? 
sure elder, meet at 8 oclock yea? 
ok sister sukie, thank you! CLICK

so after dinner was set up we headed out towards some less-actives homes. upon realizing that getting the chicken from the store would be an ordeal in itself we called sister sukie back and asked if we could invite the less-active families over to her house and throw a family home evening/dinner instead. she was totally on board.. so we changed routes and headed straight to her place. 
we asked for a list of what we needed to get at the grocery store. she told us we would not know how to find everything and that her husband just got home and could drive us all over there. i had told her we would buy the chicken but very quickly it appeared as we were doing their weekly grocery run. they were throwing things left and right into the cart. we got up to the cashier and sister sukie and brother lidi awkwardly moved away from the register leaving elder coleman and i standing there... haha we ended up emptying our pockets and coming out with enough. that was the kinda bummer. but not really, from then on it only got better. sister h____ and brother m____ who have been long time less-active showed up at the house excited to join us all. we played with the kids and talked with brother m  and sister h while sister sukie cooked. we then had brother m  come with us to pick up another less-active family, sister d. so by the time all was said and done we had 15-20 people in the home having dinner fellowshipping one another. and then playing jenga and read the scriptures together. sister h told me she felt very happy and comfortable and invited us to her place so she could make us dinner in the following week. 

we have been really trying to capitalize on this idea. having fun activites in the homes of members and less-actives showing them that the gospel can be shared with our friends in fun ways. and that we (the elders) are actually fun and real people. we hope to see many referrals of families and friends come out of this. lately we have been trying to more creatively go about the work with faith and charity. i pray we can all be on the same page in this effort."  

Fish for days

Yep, I'm in Asia! Gotta love it!

P-day outing - a captive audience?!

So Grateful to Be Serving

Monday, November 18, 2013
Hello everyone!

This week was great! We had an awesome lesson with a girl named Erika, a relative of some members, and we really hope she's going to progress.

It's so cool because the Book of Mormon is everything to missionaries. We can teach all we want, tell people about our doctrine, and some people will kind of accept what's going on - but if they don't get a witness or a testimony on their own of what we say, it's basically all useless. And that's what the Book of Mormon is--the way for them to find out on their own. Go check out the last two paragraphs of the introduction to the Book of Mormon and then you will see exactly what we teach investigators! (excerpt below)

We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)
 Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.
Two funny things from this week, both really great. So my comp and I are riding through some sketchy Malaysian shop lots, and I see this epically named store. It's called "The Ideal Face."

Just let that sink in for a second. "The Ideal Face." What do you think this store sells? With a name like that, what is it?

"Professional Hair Styling Salon." Oh man. It's stuff like that that reminds me I'm actually in Asia.

Another thing that was fantastic, that also made me realize again I'm actually in Asia: My grandparents' names are Ken and Barbara; famous American toys are Ken and Barbie, right? Well, there's a family in our branch that is so close! Chen and Barbara. Hahaha! I think that's hilarious. CHEN and Barbara. That sums up Malaysia so well too, that they're just so close but so far at the exact same time. 

So great though! It's pretty janky (meaning sketchy, weird - crazy vocab I'm picking up from Elder Adams) over here, and we bike like that same length (50 minutes) to and from our members' houses every day. We mapped it out with a map and a string and a legend: 20.54 miles yesterday. And that's a ride we do almost daily. I know you're all probably tired of hearing about all my biking, but it is the thing that I do most often out here! :)

Spiritual thought for the week: Missionaries definitely receive impressions from the Spirit that help them help others. At church yesterday, a woman walked in and I went up to greet her. As we talked for 30 seconds, I just got this feeling like there was something we could do for her. I asked if she needed anything, and she said yes, she would like a priesthood blessing. A priesthood blessing is something that Elders in our church, (or those that hold the priesthood authority from God to act in His name to serve others,) can give to those who are sick or those who need comfort. See the following quote from James 5:14-15:

14 Is any asick among you? let him call for the belders of the church; and let them cpray over him, danointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
 15 And the aprayer of bfaith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be cforgiven him.

Anyways, she is pregnant and had just received news that her baby was turning in the womb, which can be dangerous during delivery! So she wanted a blessing. I told her that when my mom was pregnant with me, she almost miscarried me, and that without my dad's priesthood blessing, I may not have been safely born. So we gave her a blessing, and I actually managed to give the full blessing in Malay! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve here in Malaysia and to help people with anything that they need. 

I love this work and this gospel, and I'm so grateful to be able to serve a mission!

Godspeed everyone at home!

Malaysia Boleh!

Elder Coleman  

P.S. Shout out to Tesoro's Mock Trial team, you're the bomb and I know you'll go far! Keep doing work and good luck! Win the finals for me!

Rain for Days

Monday, November 11, 2013

Elder Coleman strategizing on Jenga...haha this is so him! 

Hello everyone!

Busy week!

We got slammed by some rain, with rain every day except Thursday! It's still just amazing the amount of water that pours every time it rains here. I think some of it is from the same storm as the typhoon that hit the Philippines.  I don’t have time to write a long email today because I’ve been emailing with Elder Brown and Elder Moncur in the Philippines. Pretty nuts! (They are friends of Elder C’s who are serving in the Philippines Naga Mission.)

We had District Conference this week in Johor Bahru, and it was cool to have a member of the Seventy with us. (And one that knows my parents! Legit!) They all talked about hastening the work and working together with members. (Elder Gerrit Gong is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and was Elder Coleman’s grandparents’ bishop and home teacher for many years.) 

The church is true! This work is really what the Lord wants us to do! I see it every day when I talk to people and they feel the Spirit testifying to them. 

Malaysia Boleh!

Elder Coleman

PS The APs came on splits with us this week, and I may or may not have annihilated one on his bike when he abruptly stopped. Too funny. We laughed it off and everything's A-OK. Email me personally if you want more info :) hahahahahaha

(AP is an Assistant to the President, a missionary who serves closely with the mission president in a leadership role in the mission. Going on ‘splits' means that one assistant worked with Elder C and one worked with his companion )

I think he sent this because of the "May the Force Be With You" haha

The Work is Moving Forward (in spite of torrential rain and jellyfish kebabs)

Monday, November 4, 2013
Some of the Malaysian dishes he's learning to love!

Soaking wet after riding his bike in a torrential downpour
Hello all!

Now that I have settled in here in Malaysia, things are really starting to get rolling. Like my companion Elder Adams said, it feels like the Lord's hand is directly over us and He is willing us to succeed. 

We have been meeting a lot with the members and having great experiences with them. Helping people come back to church and remember their testimonies is a constant struggle out here in the field, but we work on it and hopefully make a difference.

Also, this week we had some marvelous lessons where the Spirit really took over and turned the lesson into Jesus Christ's lesson, not ours (if that makes sense, pardon English errors).

We met some Ibans last week and finally had the opportunity to meet with them this week. One lesson was with two men named A__ and I___. We taught really simply about Christ and his love for us and how our purpose is to help them build their faith in Christ. Pretty great, and they were so interested in the message. We are meeting with them again this week and can't wait! Hopefully we can continue to touch their hearts.

The lesson that really blew my mind, however, happened last night. This was our first lesson with them. When we originally met these men, they were drinking a ton and smoking, but we gave them some pamphlets and encouraged them to read. We got their phone numbers and later in the week (even when they were more sober haha) they said they still wanted to meet with us. That was great! So we met them last night - and what an experience it was! 

Elder Adams and I were teaching and we didn't even think about what we were saying. I literally opened my mouth and felt it being filled with words and sentences I wasn't thinking about. I had a plan for the lesson but the words just came out according to the dictates of the Spirit. As I spoke, these people were riveted (see the photo with them below). They were so interested in the message, and through our examples and use of the Gospel Art book, the Spirit testified to the truthfulness of our message. Wow. 

On the way back to our apartment, Elder Adams and I remarked on the marvelous nature of that visit. We were so led by the Spirit. Only time will tell if these people will still want to learn, but if we can have the Spirit like we did during that lesson, I know they will be able to change and come closer to Christ. So awesome! Experiences like this make my life and mission so great! I know I can do this for two years, even through hard times and 20+ miles a day biking over long hills and weaving in between cars (sorry mom, Malaysia is super sketch). This Gospel is seriously so true and seeing the hand of the Lord as we teach and watching Him help us succeed is a witness to me this work is really the work of Jesus Christ. So amazing!

We just had a Zone Conference in Singapore. (A zone is a geographic group of missionaries who work together.) Clayton Christensen spoke. He did a whole training exercise on some major ways to get missionary work going. THE number one thing was for us to get to know the members and earn their trust. Then, getting them involved. In my limited experience, major success in the work of salvation revolves around the church members. Here's something my mission president said that blew my mind,  and maybe you'll want to share it in the ward sometime:

"Do we have two churches? A missionary church and a member church? No. We don't. We have one church! So why, then, do we draw an artificial line between missionary work and members? This work is the work of the church - not the missionary church, but the one church. There is no missionary work; it is all of our duty." 

Then, you have President Monson, the prophet of the living God, saying to us: "Now is the time for members and missionaries to work together!" I would not be surprised if a Preach my Gospel for members comes out. Also, my understanding of the significance of President Monson is increasing. He is literally a living prophet who leads according to the dictates of Jesus Christ. So cool!

Malay here is so campur-ed (mixed). Instead of using "kamu" or "awak" for you, they use "you"! Like "apa you mahukah?" "Di mana you tinggalkah?" Hahahah so funny

Oh, man, the majority of the food here is amazing! Look up "roti canai" or "roti bom" or "nasi goreng pataya" or "nasi lemak". So delicious, and the rice chicken stuff here is also amazing. Just Malaysian food in general is good. But, there is also lots of gross stuff that we just have to DOWN. And it's nasty. Eg jellyfish on sticks like skebabs haha. They're super gross and ewww but what can you do? Just down it with some Milo. (That is amazing by the way, look that up! Milo is a hot chocolate-like drink that everyone drinks here. We get it with ice and it's great! All members tend to give us that and it's pretty delicious.)

But we went to a random Indian person's house, and here part of the culture is to serve food or drink to people. Every time! Usually just drink if they don't know / like you but this Indian person made some chicken with strange sauce and some weird tortilla things that were like soft sponges...it was gnarly! Oh so gross, but you gotta eat or else those people just won't listen! Nothing like eyeballs (i don't think haha) Just things that you have no idea what they are but you eat anyways because you can't offend them and you want them to be happy!

Also, one night we bought a ton of food and ate it all. So delicious. and we were full. But then! We went to a members house and found out they made infinity mi goreng (fried noodles) for us. And so we ate. And ate. And ate. Three plates each. Oh man that was nutsssssss but so delicious!

Life is the bomb out here and the work is moving! Hope you all stay postive and rely on Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and Leader. I know I am, and He truly is strengthening me.

Malaysia Boleh!
Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." :)

Elder Coleman

PS  I knew the Red Sox would win! BOOM! Life Rocks! And Mom, Dad, and Jess: Your Halloween costumes are only the single greatest thing of ALL TIME. Literally! I died! So great that you did that in my honor! :) (Note from Elder C's Mom: Sadly, the $45 telegram we sent to tell him the Sox won the World Series never made it...he literally found out on his p-day...a full five days after the fact!)
Teaching families about Jesus Christ, what this work is all about
Our friends Christine and Clayton Christensen, (for whom Elder Coleman was named)
Singapore Stake Center
View from his apartment

The Singapore Zone (Elder C on far back near the left. His companion is far left with glasses)

Malaysia Boleh! (aka YOLO)

Sunday, October 27, 2013
Elder C couldn't get his photos to load at the internet cafe where he emailed from, so here is the weather he will be experiencing this upcoming week. Notice--90 degrees and rain every. single. day. Haha!
Hello everyone!

It's been an eventful week! I finally left the MTC and set off for the Singapore mission. I left Tuesday, and arrived in Singapore on Thursday. (Wednesday, October 23, 2013, did not exist in my life thanks to the date line). I was assigned to an area in the city of Johor Bahru, the southern most city on West Malaysia and mainland Asia! 

Life is great, but life is sweaty hahaha. I'm already starting to adjust and not notice the insane heat, but the sweat is always going to be a thing. That's okay, though!

So. Just to clarify. I am in the Singapore Mission, but since I will be speaking Malay, my country of labor will be Malaysia. I am in the Kota Masai area of Johor Bahru.  It's hot, the food is crazy (but really good), and I bike 40 minutes or so in the 95% humidity just to get to the area where I'm supposed to work. Yeahhhhh buddy, this is what missionary work looks like!! Biking for days and days!

My trainer is named Elder Adams, from Southern California, the Thousand Oaks area. We are a bit new together but with time we're going to be a stud companionship and duo. (Generally, a new missionary is assigned to serve with an experienced missionary or trainer for 12 weeks.

Elder Poppleton (my MTC companion) is off to Kuching, a city somewhat near Singapore on East Malaysia. We got a hug in and we'll see each other in a bit! Not too bad at all!

We have four elders in our apartment. Elder Jackson and Elder Sheranian work in the eastern part of our city, called Megah Ria. It's a good time, and we all are committing ourselves to the work!

Right now my Malay is great speaking wise, but I have got to adjust to their accent. Malay doesn't sound like an Asian language until you're out here. Wow, it's crazy!

I gave a talk in sacrament meeting at church in my first week! In Malay! haha Pretty great! I made everyone laugh when I explicitly gave them permission to laugh at me while I was talking. But I made them promise to come talk to me afterward if they did! They laughed. I talked about getting the members more involved with missionary work because that's really how the work gets going.

There are tons of m o s q u e s about, but that's what happens when you are in a very M u s l i m area! As you know, we can't talk to people of that faith, but occasionally we ask where some Christian people are.

So one of the tribes of East Malaysia is called the Iban tribe! They make up a large percentage of the baptisms because they are not M u s l i m and some are actually Christian, making them ideal candidates for learning about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Gereja Yesus Kristus Orang Suci Zaman Akhir! Legit! They speak their own language which is slightly similar to Malay, so I will be learning that as well!

Well, I learned the Malay equivalent of YOLO. It's Malaysia boleh (Malaysia can, essentially.) Definitely ending my letters with that now. 

Love you all! The work is great and just remember how important you are all to me! Email is the only means of communication (basically, I don't know much about letters). Talk to you all in a week!

Malaysia Boleh!

Elder Coleman

Arrived in Singapore!

Friday, October 25, 2013
Elder Coleman meets President & Sister Mains
Hello parents!

Sorry I didn't get an opportunity to send this to you earlier! I love you guys! 

My trainer is from California! My first area is M a s a i, near J a h o r B a h r u, right outside of Singapore. Go crazy learning about it! Also, I'll be learning Iban (go look that up) so that blessing in my setting apart will come in handy, the one about learning other languages. I love you so much. I will talk to you when I talk to you!

Love always your sonny!

PS I'll be hearing from Clayton Christensen at our next zone conference! The odds!

(Note from AD: Brad Mains is Clay's mission president. He and his wife are serving a three-year mission to preside over all of the missionaries called to serve in the Singapore Mission of our church. He and his wife will play a vital role in Clay's mission. My heart is so grateful for their willingness to leave their life in Pennsylvania, their children and grandchildren, to serve with and mentor Clay and the other missionaries. The "trainer" refers to his first companion in the mission field, who is a more experienced missionary and who will be showing Clay the ropes. Also, Clay refers to his "setting apart," which is a priesthood blessing our Stake President gave to Clay before he entered the MTC. President Brennan blessed Clay with an ability to learn whatever languages he would be called upon to learn. I thought it might be Chinese at some point--I didn't know about this Iban dialect! So exciting! And Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor and writer, is the family friend we named Clay after whom we know from our four years living in Boston.)

Countdown to Singapore and Malaysia...T minus 5 days!

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Elder Coleman's MTC classroom where he spent countless hours studying Malay (photo from Elder Bester)
Hey all! 

Down to my last week in the MTC! This Tuesday, the 22nd of October, we fly to Singapore! So stoked!

Ever since my district/group got our travel plans, the days have been CRAWLING. Man. I just want to get out of here! Don't get me wrong, the MTC is a blast! I'm just excited to really be talking to real people and speaking Malay with actual Malaysians and helping people's lives change and everything! I'm just stoked! 

Fun fact: My Spanish is all gone...when I try to speak it now, I just speak Malay! hahahahah (I was mildly proficient before I came here, with a better grasp than most missionaries in the MTC who are learning Spanish. Jokes.)

On an incredibly spiritual note, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came to the MTC on Tuesday and spoke. (To explain a bit more of what that means, consider this simple statement that sums up the Mormon church's belief about prophets: Heavenly Father speaks. He spoke anciently, to prophets of the Bible and the Book of Mormon; He spoke to Joseph Smith, a prophet in our age, and He speaks today to his prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Our church has the same organization as the church Jesus Christ set up while He was on the earth. We have Twelve Apostles, like The Church of Jesus Christ did so many years ago!) The Spirit that emanates from Elder Oaks is awesome! I guess that's what happens when you are that close to Heavenly Father and Christ. As he spoke, I could feel it in my heart that he is truly a man of God. 

(I love lawyers by the way - before Elder Oaks was asked to serve in our church full-time, he was an expert lawyer, and ended up on the Utah Supreme Court! And he actually was on Reagan's shortlist for the US Supreme Court! Anyways, he structured his talk in the "tell you what i'm gonna say, say it, tell you what I just said" format. Pretty awesome.)

Humility really is key, as I have found out! My mom sent me a talk about humility and hard work by Kim Clark (from BYU-Idaho) that was really great. (Mom, post it here please!) (Click here

I love you all! Please know that life is great with me! I can't wait to get out there and help people change their lives for the better!

Jesus Christ really is the Savior of the world! I love Him and the wonderful plan that allows us to live in families together forever! 

Next time I'll be in Singapore/Malaysia! See you all!!


Elder Coleman

Clay's district and with their two teachers

Sister Missionaries at the MTC (not looking "arm's length" to me haha)

Getting excited to go to Malaysia!

There must be a story here, but I don't know what it is :)

Behind-the-Scenes Look at the MTC

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Click here
When we dropped off Clay at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in early September, I was dying to know what he would be doing in his first few hours there, and what the dorms were like, and the gym, the cafeteria, the mail room, etc. So I was thrilled to find this 5 part series that is a behind the scenes look at the MTC. If you've also wondered what it's like, you'll enjoy watching this!

The MTC is Cruising!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Welcoming his cectpa aka Cectpa Coleman to the MTC!!
Hello all!

Well, as you can see from this picture below, I've been getting plenty of mail, and I love it! You guys make me feel so loved and appreciated. Thanks to all of you!

Shout out to Grandma, for the lovely updates of life! I definitely enjoy hearing from you! DeMordaunts, the cake pops were really good! Thank you! Sheriece and Pearson, you guys are studs! I love hearing everything! Pearson, the incredible amount of 'B's and 'Y's in your goodbye was amazing.

General Conference was the bomb! I really loved the line "Please, doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." (President Uchtdorf) Makes me think of how the Lord really does answer so many of our prayers and has in the past so many times! Keep remembering the incredible mercies of the Lord, and you will never be at a loss for faith. I was struck by the prophet's message on trials. Here is a man that still mourns his own wife's passing, and I feel that his message was really directed at anyone who feels they are suffering similarly. I encourage everyone to watch or read his talk here.

So here's the deal with being on main campus yesterday when you arrived to drop off Cectpa (pronounced "Sestra") Coleman: My district and I had to attend a malaria meeting on main campus and then I suddenly realized that we could see each other! So after we dropped off our Preach My Gospel books to get laminated (so my covers are no longer falling off, major score!), we waited by the front of the campus. I knew y'all would be arriving some time around 1:00 pm, so we waited. I saw Elder Jimmy Jacobs get dropped off, and then finally saw you! Wish I could have come down to hug you, but I still saw you! Pretty sweet!

The MTC is cruising! I'm loving it here, we teach our Malay teachers (all returned missionaries from Malaysia) as they pretend to be investigators from their missions. I just can't wait to leave, though! I want to speak Malay with real people! 

Keep the faith! Life is awesome! You guys are all the best!

Love you all! 


Elder Coleman
Evidence that Elder Coleman is getting lots of support and encouragment!
Watching General Conference at the MTC
He loves running into friends who are also at the MTC--Elders Wyatt Corbin and Joseph Miller
Pranking his district mates with his companion (evidence they really are 18 year-olds)