Monday, October 1, 2012

"You aren't those Mormons from Utah that marry like 12 wives are you?"

Oct 1, 2012
Dear Family,

First off, could you take a picture of Oscar so that I can show him to people? (I know that is kind of strange, but people have asked me what my dog looks like, and he is kind of hard to explain...)

This week has been crazy. I have gotten behind on my journal, and I am frantically trying to catch up. It hasn't been going the greatest... but I will get there eventually.

We have an investigator, whom I will call S1. She is 14 and has been preparing to be baptized. Her mom isn't super interested. So, we were at District meeting on Tuesday and they counseled us to get the paperwork signed ASAP so that there would be no hang ups. Her mom told us no. That she did not feel her daughter was ready, but that she wanted the daughter to be baptized. We taught her the first half of the Gospel, then, we left for the day. We prayed that the Lord would help us.
  The next day, we got a text saying that S1's mom was going to let her get baptized. We were ecstatic! The Lord had given us the Miracle we had hoped for! So we went over and taught her the remainder of the Gospel, and the Commandments. (I should probably mention that we had been teaching her for about a week and a half and that she had already read from Alma to 3rd Nephi.... She was praying about the Book of Mormon, and when she came to church she said that she felt at home....) Her mom signed the paperwork and we kept thanking the Lord for this gift. We thought everything was just peachy.....
   We went by the next day to teach her the Restoration. While we were in the beginning of the Lesson, the mom gets home from work. (We were teaching her in their front yard)
The mom then says, "I have a question for you." (She didn't seem too happy, either... RED FLAG)
"OK," We answered.
"You aren't those Mormons from Utah that marry like 12 wives are you?" She demanded.
"No." (We thought she was talking about the FLDS people who got busted in TX a couple of years ago, so we started to explain the difference, but she was not in a very good mood, and didn't want to listen.)
She then said, "We are going to have to put a hold on the Baptism for now. I want to find out more." (Apparently, when she mentioned that her daughter was being baptized, her co-workers went nuts. I can understand her concern, and we were really nervous that she would Google, "The Mormon Church," as the first two or three things that would pop up will be official church sites, followed by "The Truth About". We made every attempt to direct her to, where her question could be answered properly. Then,we taught about plural marriage, Kind of. (We just pointed out Jacob 2...) We left.
  The next morning (It is now Saturday, and her date is on the 30th, Sunday), I called the District Leader to tell him he did not have to come to her interview. It rang to their Voicemail, and I proceeded to leave a message. Just as I was about to say, "We are not having the interview," S1 sent us a text that read, "My mom is going to let me be baptized!" I was really thankful. To top it off, the District Leader's Voicemail went haywire and did not record our message. We then felt like we should go over to S1's house to talk to her mom, which we did. (S1 lives with her mom, her twin sister, her older sister, and her older sister's girlfriend. Mom is a heavy smoker who has terminal lung cancer and is a heavy drinker, S1's twin also does not have the same father (I didn't know that was possible... but who knows.)  Point being, the home situation isn't the greatest.) We got there and the Lesbian Sister and the Twin Sister started verbally attacking S1 and telling the mom that S1 was not ready to be baptized. S1's mom defended her, kind of. (To make a long story short, we stood there for about thirty minutes watching, (We didn't know how to leave, it was kind of like when you are at a friend's house and their parents start arguing....) S1 had left and the Sisters and the Mom were sitting there arguing. The Spirit told me to offer to say a prayer, which we did. I ended the prayer.
   Dead Silence.
The Spirit Came back, and we had a pretty good remainder of the day. There were no more flip-flops and S1 was baptized yesterday, on her original date. The Lord was definitely at work here. It was great.

 Elder Pace is doing a great job. He has a very strong Testimony and a strong desire to be obedient. We work really well together, and thus far we are great friends, as well as missonary companions.

We were able to teach the 5th Sunday Lesson on Missionary work. It was pretty good.

I cherish all the memories I have from my mission thus far. The hard times have helped me grow. I want to use this next year the best I can.

Elder Burt already sent me a letter. He is doing great!

I love you!

I Know Christ Lives! He loves each one of us. He wants us to succeed at this life! He Atoned for our sins and pains. I love Him, and I want others to come to the same knowledge that I have.

Elder Coles

Dear Colby,

Thank you for writing me an amazing email! I am so excited to hear from you. Are you still making Lego games?

A day for me consists of:

6:30 AM- Wake up and Exercise (Sorry, I put that in reverse order) (Exercise = Run for 20 Minutes, warm up, cool down, Stretch and Plank (2 Minutes)) for 30 Minutes 7:00 AM-8:00 AM- Shower, Shave, Brush Teeth, Part Hair, Put in Contacts, Get Dressed, Eat Breakfast.
8:00AM-9:00AM- Personal Study
9:00AM-10:00AM- Companionship Study
10:00AM-11:00AM- Additional Hour of Companionship Study for Training
11:00AM-9:00PM- Proselyte (Talk to people, Teach People, Baptize People!) We take an hour for Lunch and an Hour for Dinner.
9:00 PM- 9:30PM- Daily Planning
9:30 PM- 10:30PM- Personal Time
10:30 PM- Lights out

I hope I could be of some help. You are awesome!
Tell me some stories about how school is going! What Lego sets have you gotten? What have you built recently? Do you like 5th grade? Most important, How do you feel about Jesus Christ? Have you been reading the Book of Mormon?

I love you Colby. Thank you so much for emailing me. You are an awesome Brother!
I know that CHRIST LIVES! He loves you so much.

Elder Brett Coles

Monday, September 24, 2012

This week was a little crazy.

Dear Family,
This week was a little crazy. Trainers drive to Fresno to pick up the new missionaries, and that happens on Thursday. Elder Hardy Left on Tuesday so he could fly out on Wednesday, so I was without a companion for Two whole Days. I got bounced around a little bit. On Tuesday I was with the Zone Leaders and on Wednesday I was with another Elder who is training. His name is Elder Wright, and he is serving in the same city as Elder Fisi'ihoi. (*This was his MTC comp*)  It was cool to see him again and to ask him for advice about training. Which he has done twice.
Thank you for those thoughts from Elder Moller. I had been thinking about him a lot... (Only two more!) It really isn't bad to send missionaries home. One simply has to insulate himself from thinking about home too much.
On Thursday, we woke up early and made the trip to Fresno. It was a little nerve- wracking. The Assisstants told us that we would be getting our companions in an hour. Then, they made us wait for another hour and a half beyond that. Eventually, I was assigned to Elder Pace. He is from Bountiful, UT, and he is an amazing missionary. He is great. It was interesting, when I was assigned to him, and before, I felt a love for him that I had not felt before. I have a strong desire to help him become the best he can be. I am working on it.
I love you.
I know that the Gospel of Christ has been restored, and that He Atoned for the Sins of all men. I am thankful for that, and will be for eternity.
Elder Coles
PS- Thank you for the Birthday wishes from the ward. That was great!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sept 17, 2012

Sept 17, 2012
Dear Family,

Thank you for all the Birthday wishes! It is really strange that I am in my 20's now! First off, just a few announcements:

President Gelwix recently changed the music policy, we are now only able to listen to LDS artists.

Also, I am pretty sure I am now only allowed to email my immediate family. I appreciate the emails from everyone else, but Letters are great, too! (If you are out of country, (Elder Bennett) You can email my parents somehow and they will print it and Mail it to me.)

I think that is it. 

We had a Zone conference on 9/11 with Elder Golden of the Seventy. It was really great, some of the things that stood out to me were: 

1) When you are following the Spirit, go with the FIRST THOUGHT you recieve. (That Helped me a lot, usually I dismiss the first thought, not realizing that I am dismissing the Spirit!)
2) You do not need to be ashamed of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
3) God Knows your Thoughts, and Satan doesn't (DC 6), but he can make a pretty good guess.
4) Start with common ground, then move to restored truth and testify.
5) The single most difficult word to say in the Gospel is "Nevertheless." (See Luke 22ish. Think Gethsemane)
6) These people mean EVERYTHING to Christ.
7) "Confident Humility" is probably the best definition of Humility I have ever heard.
8) Use "Sweet Boldness"
9) Getting Investigators to Church is Crossing the Rubicon
10) You do not need to become an expert on "Anti" Material. It is inspired by Satan, and it will only destroy you.

 We were able to sing "Homeward Bound," For Zone Conference. It was wonderful! Sister Gelwix invited us to perform it for a mission reunion in 15 years. (I will be 35! Hopefully with kids by that time)  It will be nice when I don't have a "Smog Frog" in my throat anymore...

This week has been pretty crazy since Elder Hardy leaves on Wednesday for Maryland. It is weird to be sending another one home. I hope I don't have to do it again, but if I do, I will do it joyfully, and Work as hard as ever.

We got transfer calls on Saturday and I am not sure who my companion is yet, but he is still in the MTC. I hope I don't ruin him and that I can be humble enough to accept correction from him. ( It is pretty funny, our entire district, with the exception of the missionaries who are being doubled in and the Zone Leaders, is training.) This experience is going to be great, I was able to study this morning with him in mind. It is great to focus on someone other than myself.

Mom, you will be pleased to learn that on Saturday, I practiced the organ. (I was on exchange with the Zone Leaders and he did not feel well. We were at the church anyway because he was interviewing one of our investigators for baptism.) I did not have the "Hymns made easy" that you gave me, but I wish I had. I was talking to a Sister at the baptism who has a Masters in Music, and she said that Adults learn faster anyway. I am putting that on my list when I get home. (You did not fail.) I was excited about that.

For some reason, I am able to type much faster today. That is why you are getting a novel.

I am going to make my cake today. I really appreciate the recipes; I have been running out of ideas. Everything I am thinking of takes too much time.  I marinated some chicken this week, though. It turned out pretty good. Those talks should be great, and I am sure I will be able to listen to most of the music. What I have listened to so far is fine. I really appreciate it. 

 Funny thing is, I was going to try and make overnight pull aparts, but I couldn't find any Rhodes Rolls.
You did send me the recipe for taco filled pasta shells. I appreciate it.

Members are going to feed us my birthday dinner. That should be great. It is kind of funny, though, I don't think any of the members know it is my birthday. (Elder Hardy has been here for 7.5 Months, so they are all concerned about him leaving.) It is OK, though. It is still going to be an awesome day!

I need to work on setting some goals for myself. I never seem to have the time, but I know that is Satan not wanting me to progress. There is a quote about goals in PMG and our potential that is pretty haunting.

Elder Golden used the same example concerning the Law of Gravity.

Thank you for your testimony.

I know that the Jesus is the Christ! He atoned for our sins, and our sorrows. He is the reason I am here today, both spiritually, and, I believe, physically as well. The circumstances of my birth are nothing short of Miraculous. He is mindful of me, and He wants us to succeed.

I love you!

Elder Brett J. Coles

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012
Dear Family,

HAPPY BIRTDAY COLBY! Description: was thinking about you today as we were walking around Yosemite. I really think you would like it there. It is so beautiful.

     There are many rock formations. The grandeur is amazing. We went with Bro. Daniel Strong, who works there so it was really neat to have him talking about everything he has seen there. It is a pity that the pictures can't capture the beauty of it all. El Capitan, which is in one of the photos, is a 3,200 foot cliff! It is mind boggling how huge it is! To top it off, we were able to spend time with Bro. Strong. He is a great man. He is always so nice, and always tries to help people feel big.  He is very Christ like in that respect. I have a lot to learn in that regard.
In other news:

This week was really tough, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, but I have found that in every adversity, there is something to be learned. There is strength to be found through trials. Hardened steel is made that way by the heating, cooling, compressing, and cooling processes. It can't be too fun for the steel, but it makes it much stronger. We are all in that process in our lives. I have found that thanking the Lord for my trials is a much better option than asking them to be removed. He is just helping me become what and who He knows I can become, and I am thankful that He is willing to do these things to me. That He is was willing to atone for my sins and die for me is amazing. I am so thankful that I have this opportunity to serve and to help Him in this work.

Your vacation sounds like it is going great. I don't think we have ever been to Northern Idaho. It was always too far away. It sure is beautiful up there. Everything is so green. I just don't understand it.
The horse rides sounded fun. I am glad you weren't injured by Spike. Was there a guide with you?
Oh, I should tell you that I danced with a girl on Sunday. She is the Bishop's daughter, and she is really cute. (Don't worry, She is two, and she is the one who latched onto me.... )

Elder Hegsted is from Orem, UT and is 10 days older than me. He really wants to be out here. He is an amazing missionary.

Transfers are August 8th. I really am not tired of Sonora. (I don't like it when things change) I feel I am finally getting the trust of the Members. They all know me, and I know the area. I am comfortable with the people, and the area. (Therein lies the problem. I won't push myself as much when I am comfortable). If I am transferred, that is what the Area needed anyway. I will do whatever the Lord wants.

I love each and every one of you. You are all awesome! I know that CHRIST LIVES! HE is the Savior of All mankind, and He wants  them to come unto Him.

I love you

Elder Coles

Aug 6, 2012
Dear Family,

I am being transferred. I am really sad to leave this area, but I know that the Lord is in it. I am going to the Turlock Zone to serve in Ceres 1/2. It is in the same district that I was trained in, so that will be strange. It is right next to the Zone leader area, and I am praying that one of the Zone Leaders who was there when I was trained will still be there. He is an amazing missionary.

I have got to go. Sorry I could not respond more. I will next week.

I KNOW CHRIST LIVES! He loves you and me. He wants us to return to our Heavenly Father and be Exalted as He is. I know He restored the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

I love you all!

Elder Coles

Monday, July 2, 2012

First off, know that I am OK!

July 2, 2012
Dear Family,

First off, know that I am OK. I am a little shook up today. I was trying to clean the oven, and decided to take the element off so I could clean under it. As I unbolted it, a thought popped into my head, saying, "You should unplug the oven before you do anything like that..." I thought, "The element shouldn't have any electricity running through it, it is off." Then, I proceeded to attempt to take the element off. I cleaned the oven, and there were no problems. When I tried to put the element back (It was still attached because I couldn't figure out how to get it off) I zapped myself. Needless to say, I was a little surprised, but I did not think to unplug the oven, (I have only been taught that since I was born.... really stupid. I guess ovens are not idiot-proof) Then, I managed to short circuit the element and the arc flash melted the connection. Now I have to buy a $50 oven element, but I am really glad the Lord is looking out for me, because the oven is connected to a 240 Volt line. I am also pretty sure that when I was fiddling with it, trying to figure out how to get it off, I grabbed the live wire. I don't know how I am still alive, I just know that I am, and the Lord has preserved my life for some reason. I will not disappoint. I know that He is protecting me. If nothing else, this has definitely put life in perspective. A lot of the things that I thought mattered don't really matter anymore.

 I will also unplug all electrical appliances before I attempt to service them from now on....

This week has been good. Transfers were a little interesting. I have not received my package yet.

I heard that Delta was on fire. I am glad that Brian and Debbie are OK.

That Temple walk sounds fun. We will have to do something similar when I get back. (Maybe we could walk from the Y to the Salt Lake Temple....)

Glad to hear Elder Simpson is doing well.

Today, I am up to: Nearly electrocuting myself with the oven (I still can't believe I did that... so stupid....), Replacing the element I destroyed, thanking Heavenly Father that He saw fit to preserve my life, writing letters, cleaning the apartment, shopping, and getting organized.

We will proselyte most of the day on the Fourth. Second ward is having a breakfast that we will attend.

Thank you for your prayers. I really appreciate them.

This week was interesting. Monday and Tuesday were pretty uneventful. Although, on Tuesday, we set up a wedding/baptism date with the Investigator who is the dad of the Recent Convert. He is doing well. We also had some good appointments.

On Wednesday, Elder Caprio Transferred, and I waited for my new companion. And waited... And waited. He never showed up. The Zone Leaders told me there was some medical reason he wasn't transferring yet. So I bounced around with different companionships for the next several days. Once, I was in Modesto 9th ward. Where one of my investigators from Turlock lives. She has gone a little south, but we were able to teach her. It was great. I have a good enough relationship with her that I was able to be really bold. The Lord helped me not fear and touched her heart. She was being really difficult, but she called after we left to apologize. So we can assume that the Spirit was working on her. That was Friday.

Saturday, I met Elder Hegsted, finally. We drove to Sonora and got to work. We had some good lessons.

Yesterday, we went to church. That was good. Then, we taught a lesson with an investigator... I don't think he is super interested. Ate dinner. And had another lesson with a progressing investigator.

That was about it.

I know that Christ lives! I know that He has an active part in our lives and that He will protect us from harm. I know that He loves us and wants us to succeed. I know that He has restored His church in our day and that Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I Love You!

Elder Coles

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012

 I am excellent today, and am pleased to inform you that I am not going to be transferred.  I feel bad for Elder Caprio, though. He really likes this area, and he has only been here for one transfer. Oh well, the Lord needs him somewhere else. I have no clue who my new companion is going to be. I get to drive next transfer! I don't know why I am so excited, we drive about 100+miles a day, but I passed my driving exam. I am also going to be the Senior Companion, so I assume that my new companion has not been out as long as I have. It is strange to think that the missionaries who are now finished being trained are six months behind me....

 As for the Weather. It is great. It has been a little chilly the last little while. It gets pretty cold in the mornings.... (It reminds me of home.) Although, during the day, it has been 80's to 100's. TRIPLE DIGITS?!?!?!? IN JUNE? :(

Your walk to the Temple sounds like it will be a great thing. I wish we could encourage our Investigators and the Less active Members we are working with to do the same, but that would be a very major hike. (The Oakland Temple is 120 Miles away)

I have not recieved my package yet. I don't know when I will recieve it, but It will be no later than the end of the week after next.

Our Investigator is Struggling with getting a wedding license. We hope it will be soon. We are taking the Bishop over there with us tomorrow.

TUESDAY-We had a lot of appointments, which is great. We saw a couple of less-actives, two of them did not come to church, but the one, who contacted us through (That is a really amazing story. So I will explain. He is about 26, and he fell away from the church when he was 16. He has been feeling like he needs to change his life around and get back into the church, so he contacted us through We made an appointment, and he was there when we showed up. We thought he was a nonmember, so we started asking some questions. He told us that he was a member and wanted to get back into the church and wanted a review of what the church teaches. So we taught him Lesson One. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and he held it like a baby. It was great. He showed up to church on Sunday.) Then, we did an ATM follow up with a family in Second ward.  
WEDNESDAY- We had district meeting. I was on exchange with Elder McDonald. (Yes, that is his name.) It was a good day. We had a lesson with a part member family. (They are both awesome. He is not a member, and worked for the Forest Service on a Hot Shot crew for years.) Then, we went to Institute.

THURSDAY- We had a pretty good day. We exchanged back, and had lessons with our Investigator whose daughter is a recent convert and some less actives.

FRIDAY-Weekly planning. We also travelled to Groveland, and had an ATM With our Recent Converts. Then, we had an investigator lesson with an Investigator.

SATURDAY-We had some good lessons. One of which was with a lady who became a new investigator.

SUNDAY-We went to church, taught an ATM, and had a member present.

Well, I had better go. I still have to write President.

I love you. I know the church is true.

I love you.

Elder Coles

The mark the deer left on the car!