Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Elder Alonso testified that we are true messengers

Jan 30, 2012

Dear Family,

This week was great! It has been really long, though.

We had Specialized Training on Tuesday. (It is a different name for a Zone Conference) So that was awesome! It is always awesome to hear from President and Sister Gelwix.

Wednesday was tough because we hadn't had any true proselyting days since Saturday, so it was a bit tough to get back into the swing of things. We are also doing a lot of finding right now, and finding is the toughest part of this work.

Thursday, we helped some members move. That was good.

Friday, we did weekly planning and Stake Correlation, which took a long time. It was frustrating. Then, Elder Mangum had a Baptismal Interview at the Stake Center. We spent the evening flying around on our bikes so as to avoid being late, but it was futile.

Saturday, more finding and following up on Potential Investigators.

Sunday, Modesto Stake Conference. Presiding: Elder Jose Alonso of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Also, President and Sister Gelwix spoke as well as the 1st Counselor and Assistant to the Matron of the Oakland Temple.

President Gelwix spoke on how the members can help the missionaries, he invited them to invite us over to their homes to share a short 20-25 minute message on Faith and Testimony called the ATM (Awake the Members). He was his usual, firecracker-like self. I think some of the members were surprised.

Then, Elder Alonso gets up, and asks the Missionaries to come forward. We were going to sing.

We were all confused. What on earth are we going to be singing?

We sang "I am a Child of God," then, Elder Alonso testified that we are true messengers and that every day, we go out and talk to people.

"Every day, people: Ignore them. Reject them. Lie to them. You have been invited to have these messengers over to your homes to share in their spirit. Are you going to Ignore them? Reject them? Lie to them?"

He then talked about the blessings of missionary work and going to the temple; in his native tongue, Spanish. (It almost had more feeling when told by the translator) He concluded with the story of Cooper, a 4-year old, who, while with his mother at the bus stop; somehow got free and ran out into the road. He was subsequently struck by a truck driven by a 17 year-old male without a license and died.

They were in the same Stake.

The boy panicked and drove home, told his mother what had occurred and locked himself into his room. Crying.

The police came and began the legal process.

The parents of Cooper began funeral arrangements.

Both grieved.

The Stake President decided to have a meeting of Cooper's Parents and the parents of the 17 year old as well as the 17 year old. (The parents were liable since they let him use the truck.)

Cooper's Parents arrived first. (They had decided not to press charges)

Then, the boy and his parents arrived. The father of Cooper stood up.

He walked straight at the boy.

He looked him in the eye.

He placed his hand on the boy's shoulder.

He told the boy, "I forgive you, and I love you."

Then, the Mother of Cooper stood.

She walked to the boy and took his head in her hands, looked him in the eye and said," I forgive you."

They told of how their grief had been swallowed up in the Atonement of Christ. There was already one family that had to deal with that grief and they did not need two. The father told of how he had been prepared for this incident by attending the temple with increasing regularity over the past six months.

It was truly an amazing story. I love it. It truly shows how temple attendance blesses our lives. Also, how the Atonement is real and works.

Elder Alonso bore his testimony and sat down. The meeting closed.

No one came up to talk to us.

In consequence, we are going to be working on gaining the trust of the members over the next few weeks. Any ideas?

That was my week.

We are at a Zone Activity. We played glow in the dark Dodgeball vs. Modesto North Zone.

This is truly the Lord's work. I love it and I love you. I know the atonement is real. I know it works! I know the Church is true.

We have not played any rugby.

Dad, you have become quite the furniture maker! That is awesome.

I laughed at Colby's antics.

Love you all!

Elder Coles

Friday, January 20, 2012

"The following takes place between 12:00-1:00..." cue theme song for "24"

Jan 16, 2012

Dear Mom,

This week has been interesting. I was transferred to Modesto 8th Ward on Wednesday. It has been interesting to go through the process of learning a new area again. I still feel slightly Dizzy.

Modesto is about 20 Minutes north of Turlock, and is extremely Close to the Boundary of the Mission. We will discuss that later.

My companion is Elder Mangum from Emery, UT. He was Elder Roberts' MTC Companion. He is also the District Leader, which has been interesting.

Back to the City of Modesto being near the mission boundary. We are in Modesto Stake, Modesto North actually covers the DMZ. (De-Missionaried Zone) (I just made that up, not particularly Funny... But oh well.)

I had been in the area probably about 3 hours, and we went to contact a Potential Investigatior Named Dr. L, an OB/GYN here in town. We knock on his Door and he says," Hey! Let me take you out to lunch! I have some questions to ask you and we can talk."

We thought "Hey, that is cool. This guy is only a potential. This will be cool!"

"You can put your bikes in my Garage." Said Dr. L.

"Cool. They won't get stolen. That is really nice of him."

So we start driving in his brand new BMW M3... Nice car. Then Dr. L says, "I have a CD for you guys to listen to, Then we will talk."


So we keep driving. Elder Mangum notices that we are leaving our area and asks," Where is this burger place?"

"Oh, just a couple minutes farther," Says Dr. L.

So we keep driving. All the while Dr. Lee is talking about tithing and how it says in Deuteronomy that Tithing is supposed to be taken to the Temple and eaten... Made into a party. That was kind of weird.

Then, we get to the Freeway. I-99. Which is not in our area... Or our Zone. We turn onto the Northbound on ramp. Elder Mangum asks, "Where is this Burger Joint, anyway?"

"Manteca, It is only about 10 Minutes down the road," replies Dr. L.


Meanwhile, Dr. L puts on a CD that both of us Objected to listening to. It was what we expected. Anti-Mormon. Having never heard much "Anti" stuff before, I didn't really know what to expect, Although, I didn't really expect it to be exactly what I expected... Meaningless Hogwash and scare tactics. Not really any actual facts in there. I won't detail it. It wouldn't be worth my time. I kept praying that we would be able to get Dr. L turned around.

Mostly what I felt at this point was trapped, which I was. I was in someone elses car travelling at 70 MPH headed toward Manteca. And the Mission Border.

I tapped Elder Mangum on the Shoulder.

"Manteca is outside the mission." I whispered.


Elder Mangum told Dr. L that Manteca was outside our mission and that we couldn't leave it. After some prodding, we finally got him to turn around, in Ripon, which is outside the mission. We ate at Red Robin, while he asked us questions that we can't tell if they were sincere or intended to shake us. We did eventually get home. And realized that he intended to do that to us. He took control from the beginning, us in his car, our bikes in his garage. We couldn't "Punch out"

Needless to say, we won't be getting in any stranger's cars anytime soon. I also keep my U-Lock on my backpack, just in case we get abducted again. It was probably good that I didn't connect that I could have brained him with it while I was in the car with him... he hadn't done anything wrong, legally, at least and causing a wreck isn't exactly my idea of a good day.

Other than that, the week has been good.

SHARLENE HAD A BABY?!?!?! That is weird.

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

Love you all!

The Church is True!

Elder Coles


It was hard to leave the people in Turlock. I understood, to some extent, what you meant when you said it was harder for you to leave your mission than it was to come out. I am trying to learn the new ward as fast as possible and work my tail off. Thank you for teaching me how to work hard.

Elder Coles

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"I have been so grateful for this Christmas season!"

Dec 28, 2011

Dear Mom,

It was fun to talk to you on Christmas, as well. I was worried it was going to be really distracting, but it actually helped me put things into better perspective. The feeling I had talking to you and Dad and the rest of the family made me realize just how much I love all of you. I cannot imagine having to give that up. That is what we are offering to people. A chance to be with their families forever.

I will get Colby's gift as soon as I can. We went to the temple today, so we did not have time to go shopping. I will put it in my Planner in BOLD MULTICOLORED letters. (The temple is a bit farther away than we are used to. Fresno is about an hour and a half away...[I am simply glad we get to go])

The Cherry Cordials were... Smashed. Thank you USPS... The pieces were excellent, though. Thank you for thinking of me.

Dad is awesome! I really appreciate everything he does for all of us.

New Years Eve? We are working, until 6:00 PM. Then, for our safety, we go inside. MY party is going to be behind my eyelids...

Our investigators are doing really well. It has been hard to catch them because of Christmas, but when we do, we usually have fairly good lessons. I am still learning how to teach... We haven't taught many lessons in the last week.

I have been so thankful for this Christmas season! I am thankful for the sacrifice of the Savior and what it means for me. I know this is where I am supposed to be and that the Church is true. I know that Christ Lives and that He truly died for our sins and sorrows. I know that others can find that out as well. I am here to help them do just that!

Love you!

Elder Coles


If you have any other suggestions, I would really love to hear them!

We also went out on a team-up Last night with a man named Ron King, who works with Buck Oler. Seems to know his family pretty well... Ask Buck if he knows a man from Turlock, CA named Ron King... It was kind of cool.

Thank you for being my dad!

Elder Coles

Jan 2, 2012

Dear Family,

Everything is going great! This week has been pretty hard since everyone is still coming back from vacation. We have tried really hard to do well. I am having to reevaluate my effort to make sure I am not stagnating or coasting as I am so used to doing. I really wish I had tried harder in school... I have carried the attitude that everything is easy and I don't really need to exert myself, just show up every day, throughout my life. I am working hard to correct it, but mediocrity is easy to slip back into. Excellence it doing that little bit extra when you think you can do no more... I haven't been doing that. It has helped me to have a planner where all the day's activities are written out. I need to prioritize though, I never have been good at that.

New Years was strange, we had to be in by 6 unless we had a member with us and a set appointment, our appointment fell through, so we were in by 7. We got to bed early. It is a different world out here. Apparently, there were gunshots in our neighborhood... Not something I am used to.

Thank you. I will continue to improve and become the best I can be. Transfers are coming up, and it is strange because this is my first "real" transfer, as I was guaranteed to be with Elder Roberts for two Transfers so he could train me.

It is interesting how I thought that BYU football was going to be one of the hardest things for me to give up. It has been tough, but it has gotten easier as I have been out. Like I said, it is a different world. I have been blessed as I follow the promptings of the Spirit. I have had the opportunity to give several blessings out here, and it is weird. It is so much easier. I don't usually, while I am giving the blessing, have anything that I thought of beforehand or before I say it. It just gets said. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing yet.

We had the opportunity to set 3 baptismal dates within the last 3 days! That has been awesome!

Our Investigators are doing great!

I love you all!

The Church is True!

Elder Coles


How is everything going? I hope your Christmas Break was awesome!

I had a Cherry Cordial this morning that USPS hadn't smashed. It was awesome! Thank you so much for sending them to me! I love your chocolates! I am going to send Colby's Present today!

I love you!

Elder Coles

Jan 8, 2012

Dear Family,

Thank you for Decker's Address, It has been awesome to have him write me.

Oh, I guess I should tell you. I am being transferred on wednesday to Modesto 8th ward. Just 20 minutes north on I-99. Modesto is about the same size as Boise... I don't know how they cram so many people in... I miss the mountains.

We had some awesome Lessons yesterday: (Sorry I haven't told you much about our Investigators recently)

J: We took his member fellowshipper, Bro. C, whom J had never met. That was awesome. Bro. C had also had a problem with chewing tobacco before he was baptized, and Elder Roberts and myself didn't say much for the whole lesson. We just let the two of them talk. Bro. C told us in the car after the lesson that J was going to be baptized. May I stress the importance of a MEMBER fellowshipper. That is the only thing I would have any ward do better. It is really key in an Investigator's progression, and almost guarantees their baptism.

Ji and Ja:

We had an awesome lesson with them. They aren't living together anymore, and Ja expressed a great deal of emotional stress because of it. We went over how God feels about all of His children and that He loves her. We gave her a blessing and Ji was moved because of it. That was really cool! (I also gave them address cards, they are one of those families I will have to come back and visit.)

Jo: She is a senior sister who is very accepting and has already been to church once. She is awesome!

I love you all and I know the church is true! Have an awesome week!


Elder Coles


How has mom's desk been coming? Thank you for telling me stories about your mission. I really am enjoying the work. It doesn't make sense to the natural man, but I am...

Elder Coles