Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Elder Coles' investigators

Nov 21, 2011

Dear Family,

I got a letter from Brother Inskeep, and Decker this week! I was so excited, up until this point Elder Roberts has been getting all the mail.... (You guys email me,so you are exempt...)

Wow, a lot of questions today! I only have an hour to email, but I will try to answer them all.

Everything is going great! Life is good. I need to concentrate on losing myself to the work, and working as hard as I possibly can.

We do have many investigators, but I haven't talked about them much. We have:

Ja: Ja lives in a sobriety house. He is a recovering drug and alcohol addict. He has a baptismal date for this weekend. He is struggling to quit smoking, so I don't think he will make his date.

H: Struggles with the courage to come to church even though she has received a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Gospel is true. She is making good progress.

Ji and J: Ji is a member who is a recovered drug addict. His parents are active. It is amazing to see his testimony grow. Struggles with the reality of the atonement, and self guilt. He is working on becoming worthy.

J is an investigator, she is Ji's fiance. She is progressing really well. Both need to quit smoking. We had a lesson with them last night. They are amazing people.

Hu: We tracted into Hu. He is reading the Book of Mormon. He has some doubts. Probably because of his "Other Research." He is sincere though. It is so nice to be able to direct him to Pray to know if it is true, and he actually does it.

T: T is a former Drug Dealer. He is a big softie, though. We found out recently that he was on Amphetamines.... That was fun... He was excited to tell us the other day that he had been clean for 3 days! Extremely sincere, just has a lack of understanding. I am worried that he is on probation...

I can't think of any more. Although I know I forgot someone...

We teach pretty much everyday. I am becoming more used to mission life. I am not nearly as scared as I was at the beginning of the transfer...

We do have Walmart. I promise not to use Gramps and Gramms' Christmas Present for groceries.

I did get your package. Thank you so much! I loved it!

Thank you so much for telling me about Suzanna! That is awesome! Tell her that she has my congratulations!

This life is very temporary. The nice thing is that we know where we are going.

Interesting fact about Turlock, CA: "Turlock was once in the Guiness Book of World Records for having the most churches per Capita." We met a preacher on Saturday night.... That was interesting. I think what really made me mad was how condesending he was and how much he denounced our belief, when all we wanted him to do was read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it is true. (Which it is) I was really angry. I did bear my testimony to him, although I was angry, but it was still my testimony. He started praying in the middle of it as if I were the Antichrist or something. Oh well. Hopefully his heart will be softened someday... I have taken to calling him Ecclesiastes.

I can't think of anything else right now.

You guys are amazing! I love you all!

I know the church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is his rightful successor and that he has been called by God.

Elder Coles

PS- There are a lot of seagulls that have migrated here. In the evenings whole flocks of them camp out in the trees. Yesterday we came out of an appointment into a carpet bombing....


Thank you so much for that. You are an amazing man. I appreciate your great example. Do you have any tips for avoiding bashing with people?

I hope Riley Nelson is OK... Collapsed Lung? Wow.

Keep it up

Elder Coles

Nov 28, 2011

Dear Family,

First off, we cover two wards, Turlock 1st and Turlock 3rd. On Wednesday (Transfer Day) They are splitting our area. Elder Roberts and I will remain in Turlock 1st. It is fairly disheartening, but such is the nature of the Life of a Nomad... (All of the investigatiors with Baptismal Dates are in Turlock 3rd...)

Ja is doing well. We are trying to get him to stop smoking. He came to church this weekend, which was awesome! He is progressing.

H Also came to church on Sunday. She wants to be baptized and is working on that. It is awesome!

Ji and J They are living together, which will need to be worked out. We are working on getting them to stop smoking.

Hu- We have not met with him since.

T- His phone was disconnected. He is homeless. We are scrambling to find him before wednesday. (He is in Turlock 3rd).

It was really sad. We were talking to a woman the other day who seemed extremely prepared, but declined a Book of Mormon because her Priest had counseled them not to read it. There is a Catholic Church in our area and we have recieved permission to talk to the Priest to ask him why he doesn't want his congregation to even read it. If he is so sure it is not true, then it wouldn't hurt people to read it.... (Turlock has an immense number of churches, there are at least 12 within a half mile of our apartment (Catholic, Lutheran, Assyrian Catholic, Assyrian Presbyterian, Assyrian Evangelical, 2 Different Nondenominational Churches, A Jehovah's Witness church, and several others). It is pretty interesting. ) There is actually a fairly large "Anti" Population here. Some of the nondenominational churches teach that it really doesn't matter which church you go to as long as it is not the LDS church.

There are several congregations here in town that teach their people to argue with us and to try to "Take down" the Church. They also show "The God Makers," So I've heard. Yet the church is still growing. A testament to me that "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing."

Other than that, I have not wrecked on my bike this week.

The Church is True!

I love you!

Elder Coles


I remember you dragging me around the softball field. That was fun. I actually told Elder Roberts about that this week. Funny you mentioned it...

Thanks for the advice. I needed it. You can definitely tell when someone wants to argue. They don't let you speak, generally.

I know the Church is true. I know Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God. I know that Christ lives and that I have been called by God as a representative of Christ. I hope to magnify that calling to the best of my ability.

Love you!

Elder Coles

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sept 28 - Nov 7, 2011

Hello, everybody! I am very sorry this is late. I have not had much time, such is the life of a missionary. (Thai is good, it keeps me out of trouble...:)

As you all know, I entered the MTC on Wednesday, September 28th. That first day was, shall we say, a bit of a shock to my system... I was actually not very excited, then, before I knew it, I had hugged my family and said goodbye for two years! I was "Processed" then sent to my classroom, where I met Elder Fisi'ihoi, my MTC companion. Elder Fisi'ihoi is from New Zealand and is of Tongan Descent. He is an amazing Missionary.

I really loved the MTC, I loved our teachers,and my disctrict. (Most of which went to the Colorado, Denver, South Mission (Fruita is in that mission)). I learned a ton. There is a very special spirit there, Be prepared, they have you teaching on the First day. Remember your purpose and you will be fine! NEVER try to convince anyone of the truthfulness of the gospel. The Spirit will do that much better than you ever would be able to. Simply invite them to come unto Christ and pray, and they will come.

I was excited to leave the MTC, even though I loved it there, and was accompanied by the same anxiety that was present when I entered the MTC. We left on 17 October. (Oh, before I forget, Conference was amazing) We boarded our little CRJ200 (That was for you, Decker) and started for Fresno. Elder Fisi'ihoi and I were the only Elders in our travel group. Our other Travel Group members were: Sister Caramella (From Fairfax County, VA. (She is serving next door to Elder Roberts and I, in Turlock 4th)) Sister Ingram, (From Kirtland, OH, currently in our tri-zone area), Hermana Wiglama (In our district), and two other Hermanas who are down in Fresno. (They only travelled with us, so I don't remember their names)

We arrived at the Fresno Air Terminal (Which also double as a military airbase for the California National Guard), and were greeted by some departing missionaries, who counseled us to be exactly obedient, and that the California Fresno Mission is a baptizing mission. Then we walked through security and met President Gelwix and the Assistants. We collected our things and left for the Mission Office. We were again, "Processed" and then we went out on our "Open your Mouth" Experience. I was with Elder Black, Who was an offensive Lineman for BYU before he came out, and was really surprised at how bold he is. We were street contacting and he was showing the people a picture of Christ, asking them why Christ was baptized, and then inviting them to be Baptized. Some of them said "Yes"! Later, I was doing a similar thing. I really wasn't prepared to be extending baptismal invitations within hours of entering the mission. After that, the New missionaries, (We don't use "Greenies" in this mission) Went to the mission home and ate dinner with President and Sister Gelwix, and the Assistants. That was really good. President Gelwix does an excellent job of making everyone feel welcome.

After dinner, Elder Fisi'ihoi and I went with the Assistants and put in for the Night.

The Next day, Elder Fisi'ihoi and I were Assigned to our trainers, Elder Fisi'ihoi to Elder Jenkins in the Fresno Area, and Myself to Elder Roberts in Turlock, about an hour and a half to the North of Fresno on I-99. It is comparable to Idaho Falls in Size.

Elder Roberts is an amazing missionary. He mostly teaches by Example, which is very nice. He corrects me when necessary and encourages me to do the same to him. He considers us equals, which is amazing.

Turlock is a nice place. I feel good about the work here. We are working with several people, although they each have their own challenges.

I will update this next week. I am running out of time.

I love you all!

The Church is true. I know that with all my heart, and will carry that knowledge to my grave if that is what God asks of me. The Book of Mormon is the Word of God.

"Never Surrender. Never Quit. No Regrets." President Gelwix

Elder Coles

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The first few weeks in Fresno!

Oct 17th

I just wanted to email you to make sure you knew I made it to the Mission Office alright. It is interesting. I swear my eyes must be as big as dinner plates. One of the first things we did was go street contacting. We committed two people to baptism! That was really bizzare. I did not expect to be asking people on the street to be baptized, but President Gelwix knows what the mission needs.

I really loved talking to Mom and Dad! I love all of you!

I will be in the Mission Home tonight and meet my trainer tomorrow.

I am getting excited, even though I am really nervous...

I had better go.

Love you!

Elder Coles

Oct 24

Dear Family,

I am actually not allowed to email anyone except family (That includes Extended Family.)

I am serving in the City of Turlock, CA. We have a huge area, and I don't have a bicycle yet. It takes us about 2 hours for us to walk from the top of our area to the bottom. My companion is Elder R from Indiana. He is awesome. We have been working hard. I have only been here a week, yet I feel I have been here forever... I don't mind though. I love our investigators.

Don't ever start smoking. We are helping one woman quit with the Stop Smoking Lesson. It is really hard for her. It is such a vice. I hate it.

My package got here transfer day. Mother, your timing is impeccable. I appreciate the spook treats. Sadly, Elder Roberts and I have to break the chain...

One of our wards had their primary program yesterday. It was awesome! I loved it. I remember when you taught nursery...

I need a bike. I think I will just buy one with my debit card... The bike that the mission had for me is too large...

I will send pictures soon. I have not been fed anything strange.

Dad, Thank you for reporting the BYU scores! That is good news!

Elder Coles

Oct 31

Dear Mom,

It is easier to follow the crowd, but I can testify of the blessings that come from EXACT obedience. (Our alarm didnt go off the other day, we only slept in by 7 minutes, but I did not feel the spirit as strong all day...)

I absolutely love teaching! (Not street contacting or tracting so much, but teaching in a controlled setting, yes.) It is amazing to trust in the Lord and take no thought to what you are going to say, and then be directed by the spirit to say something that you would not have said otherwise.

Elder R is from Indiana. He is from a town smaller than Blackfoot. He is amazing, and I am glad to be taught by him. He teaches by example a lot, and he teaches me by allowing me to do things, which is nice.

I agree. One of the things that really bothers me about street contacting is when people say that they are happy the way they are and that the only reason they are a certain religion is they were born into it.

We had Zone Conference on Thursday. Elder Kalliger from the First Quorum of the Seventy came and spoke to us. That was awesome!


I hope your class is still doing well. One of the Bishops here teaches an online course at BYU-I as well. He said he saw you on there. What a small world it is. We also ate dinner at the house of someone who was a high school pottery teacher the other day.

Any advice for teaching someone who is a devout Southern Baptist and thinks we are all going to go to Hell?


I am Flattered that you are a missionary for Halloween! This work is amazing! Hard, but Amazing as well! How is school?


How is band? How is life? What is new to your life? There aren't any Boys in it are there?

You stay amazing!


You are awesome! Have an awesome experience in 4th grade!

I know that the Book of Mormon is the most correct Book on the Earth. I know that through it we will be brought closer to Christ. Through it we will gain a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restored Gospel, and Through that, Eternal Life.

Elder Coles