|The tree is by the church and it's HUGE! I love this pic where I'm hiding. It's like "where's the missionary?!?!? THERE HE IS!" hahaha|
|Matsalleh is the nicer way of saying "white person" other than orang putih. So this street is White Person Way!!|
|The darling kids of the Sini family|
|The Sini family pet monkey!!|
Hello from Kota Kinabalu! I'm here for zone district meeting.
Two people coming to the Irvine mission whom you should know about!!!
1. Camille Nuttall, from Chicago, a friend from summer term at BYU!!
2. A girl named Jaclyn - wait for it - FROM SABAH, GOING TO MY HOME MISSION!!! Woah! So awesome! You have got to meet her. I'm going to try to meet her today or tomorrow. Don't know her missionary name yet, but I'll get it!
Okay. Teaching Primary is honestly the best. It's getting crazy because now I talk to little kids, understand them, and even one time this week tutored someone in MATH in Malay!! Speaking another language for math - one of the hardest things I've ever done. The Gift of tongues is real!!!
This week, we found out an investigator Elder LaFontaine and Elder Johnson had been teaching whom they thought had already moved is actually still here in Tawau! His name is Eugene and we are going to be teaching him in the future.
We did a lot of work with less active members this week, and we are feeling really good about progress we are making. I love seeing people come back and partake of the sacrament - what an amazing experience. Brother Adai was great this week and came out to church. AGAIN! So grateful!
Also this week, Elder LaFontaine hit his one year mark!! SO cool, so we celebrated at a restaurant with some steamboat - basically, where you get raw meat and stuff and cook it yourself in front of you! So fun and delicious.
BTW, DURIAN--SO GOOD!!! OH MY GOSH you may have seen it. or at least smelt it! SO DELICIOUS. Gotta try it three times! I had it once in the MTC, then twice out here, and by the 3rd time, you love it. So good! (This is Clay's mom: That fruit smells like a mix between rotting onions and soured cheese. I never thought in a million years that the world's pickiest eater as a little boy would grow up to LOVE durian!)
Enjoy the pics, and know I love you all!!!
The church is true, this work is real, and God watches over it!!
Elder Clay Coleman
PS As many of you know, my sister Maddy is serving a mission in Russia right now. Here is her email from last week. Really touched my heart and I know what she says is true and I wanted to share it with you!!!
"Hello hello!! How is life? I miss you all and appreciate your love and support and prayers. I truly feel them in my behalf.
How are the Olympics!? Sochi!!! I still can't get over that I'm living in Russia while the Olympics are here. Kind of crazy.
Anywho, this has been an amazing week. Guess what? We have two new investigators! They are incredible, and have so much potential. K___ just turned 18 on Feb 1, and she wants to take the missionary discussions now that she can. She has been coming to Family Home Evening and stuff for about 7 months now. I am so excited about her!! I___ is 27. We met in December, and it has been interesting with her. She has a lot of questions. She is so sweet and really smart.
When I was thinking about what I wanted to write today, I decided to share some of the things I have been mulling and pondering over this past week. Recently, my companion and I have been asked a few simple, yet interesting questions: "Why is religion important? Why should I come to your church when I already have a church I go to? Why are you even here?"
These inquisitions really got me wondering: Why IS religion important? If people already go to a church, what makes OUR church different and why WOULD they want to change and come to our weekly service? Why AM I here in Russia? Maybe some of you might ask yourselves the same things, and maybe you think I'm crazy for tromping around in the freezing cold here in Russia, with only my companion by my side, trying to talk to everyone, and doing it all for free. What would motivate a 21 year-old to do something like this?
Well, this morning, after studying and thinking about these things for the past few days, a couple of interesting insights came to me.
Why do I think religion is important? If I thought this church was just another religious sect, just some other place to worship once a week, if I didn't know what I know about where I'm from and why I'm on this earth and where I'm going after I die, I might think religion is unnecessary, that people are silly for believing in things they can't see. But this religion has answered all those questions in my life. I know I lived with God before I came to earth; I know my purpose here; and I know where I'm going after I die.
The reality is that this church--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints--isn't just some other religious sect. It isn't a "once a week" place of worship. This church is Jesus Christ--the Savior and Redeemer of the world's--church. This is where HIS gospel, ALL of His Gospel, resides. This is where the church he established when he was on earth has been restored. This is where people come and learn why this life is so incredibly important in the eternal scheme of things: "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." (Alma 34:32 from the Book of Mormon)
We are here to get to know God and Jesus Christ, and to demonstrate through our choices that we want to follow them. We are living this life so we can show Heavenly Father that we want to return to live with Him. We are here so that we can serve and help others find the light of Christ in their lives. This life is the time to progress, to change, to grow, to become. So to answer the first two questions in one: Why is religion important and why should people come to this church? Because to me, and to millions of others, this church is the place to come unto Christ with full purpose of heart, to have our hearts changed, to live with our families forever, to partake of the eternal joy that comes from having a full knowledge of why we are here on the earth.
Of course, I do not mean to say that other religious institutions don't have value or that they don't have some truth. They do! That is what I tell people on the streets every day. As a missionary, I am in Russia to strengthen the faith of those who are here, and to add to their faith a fulness of truth. We are here to invite others to be baptized by the proper priesthood authority, to have the opportunity to take part in ordinances that will open the doors of eternal life for them, and to answer the questions of their souls.
In answer to the final question? I am here in Russia because I know this church is true. Plain and simple. I love this gospel and my Savior.
I love all of you!!!!
Cectpa C. "