Cleaning House as an Analogy for Life

Friday, June 6, 2014
These handmade ties are SWEET! These members make them and are saving for their temple fund!
The Malaysian versions of my cousins Nick and Gillie--they are so similar, it's weird!

Hello everyone again! 

Glad to be here after a full week in Miri, Sarawak! This place is beautiful!! And I'm now back among Ibans, one of the native peoples in Borneo (which is the name of the island that has Sabah, Sarawak, and a bit of Indonesia). They're great and I'm glad to be serving them again!!

Let me introduce you to the missionaries of my Zone:

- Elder Bodhaine: My companion and fellow Zone Leader, he's from Claremont, California about an hour north of my house and goes home in 6 weeks. Pretty nuts. I really look up to him; he's a great example for the kind of person and missionary I want to become.
- Elder Coleman: Me!
- Elder Griffin: From Mapleton Utah, he's a district leader and a great guy overall. He's writing a book that has similarities to Eragon! Impressive!
- Elder Kavapalu: A Tongan elder from Australia! He's a dang good Rugby player from what I understand. He's got 10 siblings, which is epic.
- Elder Flynn: From Utah, played baseball, he's a great guy. He is a Chinese speaking elder and he is finishing Elder Warner's training!
- Elder Warner: A greenie! I love this guy. He's aweomse and cheerful and humble. He's going to be a great missionary.
- Sister Rigby: From Indiana! She's a Malay speaking sister and is working way hard. Has a twin!
- Sister Hawea: A Maori from New Zealand. Lots of missionaries from that area. She's going home soon as well - but is a great, great sister.
- Sister Coward: Also from New Zealand, came in with Elder Yang's group, and is a dancer. She apparently was on the New Zealand equivalent of the Wiggles, the Polka Dots...?
- Sister Nixon: Another greenie! She's quiet but a really great sister. She used to play rugby, too!!
- Elder and Sister Riser: An EPIC senior couple! This is their third (yes, 3rd) senior couple mission. They served previously in Laos/Thailand and Africa. Now Malaysia. Pretty cool, huh?

I love my Zone. They're awesome and I just hope that I can serve them to the best of my ability!

This week was interesting. I developed a bit more patience :) For two major reasons, not as much missionary work was done as possible. 
1) Gawai. Gawai, or June 1, is the Iban's harvest festival - or at least, that's what it used to be. Now it's really just an excuse to gather with your family and drink and drink and drink and drink. Hahahha literally, the Ibans make a wine called Ait Tuak that is rice wine! and it's what they drink ALL THE TIME. Additionally, Ibans always "balik kampung", or go back to their little village in the middle of the jungle. Google "iban long house" and you can see what their original homes are - they're pretty incredible. but anyways, many people just left Miri to go back to kampung and so we didn't have a lot of things to do. Which brings me to my second point...
2) We moved! All the missionaries of Miri switched houses. We closed down three homes, and all 12 of us (including the Risers) moved. So that took a ton of time!! But, while all the Ibans were gone for Gawai, we were able to focus on moving and cleaning like crazy!! Woo. Glad that's finally over.

So! Because we focused on cleaning houses this week, I have a little analogy for us. It's pretty good (at least I think so). Oftentimes in life, we meet problems that are difficult to solve. Like really hard to solve. Even though we work our hardest, we still don't know how to overcome them. It's like a way dirty bathroom sink. Or toilet. Or greasy dish/pan. We scrub and we scrub and we scrub, but no progress is made. Let me give us two ideas that can change such situations to allow us to overcome: 
1) Change the temperature of the water! Everyone knows that hot, molecularly excited water is much more effective for cleaning than cool and complacent water. When we don't actually believe we can overcome, or we get discouraged, that's ADDING to the situation's difficulty! Rather, focus on being upbeat and with an attitude of faith, we can overcome anything. President Monson taught this in an Ensign article I just read yesterday: "So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment. We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude." I love that!!
2) Get the right soap / cleaning materials. If we scrub at a sink without any chemicals that are at the ready to get rid of all that... gross stuff that's accumulated, of course we're not going to make any progress! Now, not to diminish God's help by comparing it to soap and cleaning supplies, but when we work with the Lord, we can do things that just hard work and elbow grease cannot! Divine help is ready when we request it - so if you're confronted with a problem, of course be ready to work until you drop, but make sure you offer a prayer for guidance and direction. The Lord's help and grace can take any problem that just sticks or won't go away and eliminate it. 

I know that these things are true! I know that the Lord watches over missionaries and us all! Just ask Him, and He'll let you know just how much He cares.

Love you all so much! Thank you for all your emails and support - you really do mean so much to me. If there's anything I can do for you, shoot me an email! I'd love to hear from you.

Malaysia Boleh!

Elder Clay Coleman
Nasi Goreng Pattaya---yum
Beautiful place, Miri!!
   iban datok dan nenek / grandpa and grandma. you call people that here.
hahah like "hey nenek, dasfdasd" hahah so funny.

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