Friday, April 13, 2012

What has been happening in the CFM!

March 5th
Dear Family,

I really enjoy hearing from you. I am glad we have this form of Communication. It is really weird that Blake and Tianna are 14 and 13, respectively. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I can't believe you are starting college this next semester. That is really strange... If you see Decker, tell him I said Hi!

It is OK about the package. I will get it eventually.

Tianna's party sounded awesome! I hope you had fun.

I hear that "The Hunger Games" movie is coming out soon, I wonder if it will be a flop, like Eragon was, or if it will do well. I have heard it is already the second highest grossing film currently out, and it isn't even out yet! (Being a missionary is like living in a snow globe, you really have no clue what is going on outside except what the members tell you.)

We were supposed to go to Yosemite today, but there was a rock slide.... Not going to happen.

I just found out that Elder Yandow's dad's first area was Blackfoot ID! He served in Moreland in 1981! It is a small, small world.

Here was my week!

Monday- Preparation day. We shopped, and did other things to prepare. Then, we had a lesson with some members, we did a follow-up ATM. That was good.

Tuesday- We ran around a lot. Clear from Jamestown to Mi-Wuk. Jamestown is at 1,500 ft, and Mi-Wuk is at about 5,000 (About Home). I could tell the difference. If I were living up there, I have a theory that my Blood would adjust faster than someone who grew up at Sea Level.... We also had a lesson with some Investigators,
Wednesday- Snowed. Well, down here it rained. In Mi-wuk it snowed... We had district meeting, so with travel time we didn't really do much until 3 PM. The Valley smells... I noticed a very stark contrast in air quality. In the evening, we taught an ATM.

Thursday- We spent the day in a community called Groveland. It is about 45 minutes away and is very sparsely populated. We didn't know where anything was, did not have a map, and our GPS was on the fritz, so we spent the day driving around looking for people and wasting miles. (We had names and addresses, but that didn't help us.) We spent the night with some members. (We have permission to do so.)

Friday- Weekly planning. We returned from Groveland. We had an awesome lesson with one of our investigators. She committed to be baptized. That was awesome! Then, we ate dinner and had a snowball fight. Next, we had another ATM follow up. That was a really good day.

Saturday- More driving around. Our set appointments cancelled. It happens. Then we tried to find some of the people on the Focus 15. More driving.

Sunday- Church for 9 hours! Learned about Isaiah, I also have a talk next week on the Witnesses of the BOM... Not much in the Approved Missionary Library, but I will try! Had an awesome lesson with an investigator who solved his own Concerns with Rev. 22:18!


K1- She is 16 and really sensitive to the Spirit. Committed to be baptized on March 18th. We taught a little about the Plan of Salvation, then asked how she felt about it. She said she felt good, and acknowledged that that was the Spirit acknowledging that it was true. Elder Yandow invited her to be baptized, she recoiled a little bit, then he invited her for a specific date and she said yes! Immediately she said she felt "warm Fuzzies" telling her that this is true! It was awesome!

P- Family- Doing well. Father is a member who is coming back. Everyone else should be baptized pretty soon. The 12 year old son was baptized several weeks ago and passed the sacrament on Sunday.

B1- Doing well. He solves his own concerns and read 7 Chapters from the B.o.M. He will be baptized.

W1- Former Jehovah's Witness. Was disfellowshipped and has a bad taste in her mouth from that experience. Said she feels something is missing from all the churches she has been to... (We just need to get her into the Church building...)
Love you all!

The Church is true! I know it!

Elder Coles

March 12
Dear Family,

I RECEIVED MY PACKAGE! Thank you so much. Suprisingly, the cookies taste fine. They were a little crumbly, though, so the B.o.M.'s will need some cleaning before I use them. Thank you again. Sister Mauro called me and said you had called. I had to laugh because you have been way stressed about this. I did get it though. Part of the problem was that I was transferred to a different Zone partway through them getting the package to me.

Mission Conference was amazing. We were able to Shake Elder Perry's hand. It was interesting, because when he walked into the room, my first thought was, "He is just a frail old man." Then, I shook his hand. The air around him was electric. The spirit told me that there was definitely something different about this man. There was something deeper in his eyes. "The eyes are the windows of the Soul." We were able to learn a lot.
My talk went well. I was super nervous because I was trying to do it without notes. I prayed really hard, and the Lord came through. I wasn't nervous as much when I was at the pulpit, but when I sat back down, I felt it. It was funny, I had a whole bunch of thoughts that went through my head beforehand, but I only used probably one of them. The Lord guided me, and I had people tell me they felt the Spirit while I spoke. I was able to testify of the Book of Mormon. I haven't borne (Spelling?)  testimony like that since I was twelve. It was great!

Random fact: On Thursday, I was on exchange in Oakdale, CA. I met the Bishop there. Bishop Williams. He is the Cottam's In-Law.
"It's a small world after all. It's a small world after all. It's a small world after all. It's a small, small, World!"

I am glad you exercised your 19th Amendment right to vote! In that vein, will you send me an Absentee Ballot, come October? And keep informing me about the Election.

Monday- Preparation day. Did quite a few things. Elder Yandow boiled the mountain lion Skull he found. That thing stunk so bad...

Tuesday- Went up to Mi-Wuk. Taught some lessons. Had another Amazing lesson with K1.

Wednesday- I was on exchanges, and was really, really tired for some reason.

Thursday- Still on exchanges. Had an interesting experience in the evening. We got floored by some Investigatiors who were extremely argumentative and had found some stuff they probably shouldn't have.... Oh well.

Friday- Mission Conference: We had an amazing time. Elder Perry concentrated mostly on finding those who will receive you. and working a lot with the members.

Saturday-Not the most productive day. Had a good weekly planning. Had several ATM follow ups with members.

Sunday- Had an amazing day. Had a lesson with K1. Had a very spiritual day. It was great.

I had better go. The Church is true! I know it. I know Jesus is the Christ and that HE is the leader of this church. I know that the Apostles and the First Presidency are Called by HIM!

I love all of you!

Elder Coles

Mar 19
Dear Family,

It was a very interesting week. I, too will start with the end and work toward the beginning. The end of the week encountered much snow. (They got about a foot up in Twain Harte) The problem is, it didn't stay for very long. It was all super slushy. Not much fun. Everyone was also extremely worried about driving, and church wasn't particularly well attended. Maybe I am just naive, but I didn't think there was enough snow to warrant being absent from Church, even in Twain Harte. I am also not the one driving, but I really don't mind driving in snow, it really isn't that bad.

So we got snow, which made me more than happy. I did not expect to see snow on my mission. It was great when I walked out on Sunday morning to at least 8 inches of the stuff.


Sunday- Snow, and church. We had dinner, then went and taught a lesson to some members in first ward.

Saturday- K1 was BAPTIZED! That was awesome! It snowed. In the morning it was raining, and we helped someone move. Then, we ate lunch, and went out. By the time we were done with lunch it had snowed. It was coming down pretty good. I was excited. Because of the Snow, we did not want to go to Mi-Wuk. (Mi-Wuk is at about 4,500-5,000 Ft, and if it was snowing where we live, at about 2,500.... We have a two wheel drive Corolla....) Therefore, our plans for the afternoon were eviscerated. So we went and saw the people we could, then went and filled the font, and finished the Program for the Baptism. K1 is about 16 or so, and she didn't think her dad would be there. It was a miracle (Literally) when he showed up a few minutes from the end. (About the miracle, We counseled him several days before to pray about getting work off so he could attend. He committed, but did not seem like he would follow through. He prayed that night and his boss called him to ask him to work at 12 instead of 2. This meant he could get off early. He showed up a couple of minutes before the end of the program. It was awesome!) Then, to put the cherry on top, I received a letter from Kiah! Those never cease to make my day better!

Friday- Weekly planning. Not a particularly eventful day. We had a team up in the evening and saw  a partmember family. On our way back from dropping off the team up, it was pouring rain! Buckets, and sheets, cats and Dogs! Then, our GPS decided to take us on the windyest road in the county! That was an adventure! I have never seen so much rain!

Thursday- We saw some people on the Ward's Prospective Elders List. That was pretty good. We had dinner with a family here in the ward, the wife is a member, the husband is not. That was good. He was pretty excited about the BYU game that was on. K1 was interviewed, she was nervous. She passed, Obviously. She had nothing to be worried about. She knew the questions before he asked them.

Wednesday- We tried to see some of the men on the Prospective Elders list, but didn't make it to that. We saw other people instead. We also went on teamup with one of the Young Men.

Tuesday- We contacted a Headquarters Referral, then went and dug a garden for a less active member. Then, we had an appointment with K1. We watched a talk by President Monson. The priesthood Session. That was good. Next,  in the evening, our team up took us to see a part member family. The husband likes the church, but is trying to figure it out without the Spirit. He is in his 80's.

Monday- We did our preparation day activities, then, we went out and worked. We saw a part member family, where Elder Yandow talked a little bit about Weightlifting. He Benched a little bit, just to see how much he could. He maxed out at about 260! I was thinking, "That is TWO of me..."

This has been a really awesome Week

I have to go.

Love you! I know the church is true!

Elder Coles
March 26
Dear Family,

First off, Mission Conference Picture is available at:
See if you can find me!

I am not excited at all... ;)

If I do not get back in time for fall Semester at BYU, I will lose my spot. That was the agreement I signed. President can honorably release me up to 30 Days early without any additional paperwork. Since I expire 2 October, 2013, I should be going home around the beginning of September anyway.
I am glad the Young Women's Broadcast was good. We tried to get two of our investigators to go, but they didn't. That was frusturating, but they were the ones who made the choice. We can only encourage.


Monday- Preparation Day: We completed Preparation day activities, then had FHE with the YSA. That was so much fun.

Tuesday- It was tough, we spent a lot of time seeing less actives. We had one appointment with an investigator family. That was good.

Wednesday- We had a lot of set appointments that fell through. That was OK, though. We had several really good appointments in the mix, too. So it balanced out.

Thursday- We went to Modesto to Zone Meeting, so our day was shot after that, pretty much. We did have three very good appointments.

Friday- Weekly planning: We did have 3 good appointments. It was great.

Saturday- we had to go to Modesto to exchange the car. Then, we finished weekly planning.

Sunday- We went to church, then, saw a potential investigator family. We ate dinner, then had another investigator appointment.

I love all of you! I know the Church is true! Sorry about being so brief. I don't know where the time goes!

Love you

Elder Coles

April 2, 2012
Dear Family,

This week has been great. Conference was absolutely amazing. Thank you for the pictures of Beauty and the Beast. It is awesome to see my friends again. 

Elder Yandow left this morning for Fresno. After that, his destination will be Georgia. I was pretty sad. Although, Elder Marr, whom I am on exchange with currently, just lost his trainer to the two year plague. 

This week was really good. I felt the spirit very strongly at conference, and am happy that I get to hear a modern day Apostle again on Saturday. 

I had better go. Sorry for the brevity of this letter, I can't think of anything to say, and I am running out of time... I love you all very much, and I am thankful for the support you give me. 

I know the gospel is true, and I know that the only way we can come to know that is through humble and sincere prayer as it says in Moroni 10: 3-5.

I Love you!

Elder Coles

"Translate That!" Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ

April 9
Dear Family,

This week has been awesome! Elder Goodsell is from Peoria, AZ. He has been out 22.5 Mos. I am sending another one home... It has helped me not be as homesick, though...

Monday and Tuesday- I was on exchanges waiting for Elder Goodsell to come from Madera. To be honest I don't remember much. I don't like exchanges too much since I am allergic to change.

Wednesday- Elder Goodsell arrived, we ran some errands (We felt like the Zone Leaders), took the car to the shop, and returned to Sonora. I must say it is very strange to be the one staying in the area. I feel like I know everything and nothing at all. It is frusturating since I am not the one driving. Therefore, I know where nothing is. I am going to get my driver certification on Saturday, that way I will be able to drive if the opportunity presents itself.

Thursday- We were up in Mi-Wuk teaching a lesson to an investigator who is recovering from a car crash. She broke both her legs and arms and only took Tylenol! She does not want to read or pray. Elder Goodsell is excited about the snow that is still up there.

Friday- We had weekly planning. We had a really good lesson with the dad of a recent convert. He is great.

Saturday- We did service and some other things. We had a couple of lessons.

Sunday- Brother Mele, the Sherriff, was up in Idaho for his son's BYU-I graduation. He showed me a picture of the Freeway exit that is south of Blackfoot. Then, he showed me the sign for Fort Hall Casino. He was razzing me about how I said that the Casino is not in Blackfoot. Which it isn't.

Monday- I am writing all of you. We have a Zone activity in Modesto. Frankly, I would like to stay here, but it is Elder Goodsell's last Zone Activity. I am short on Time, so I will write the rest of you a physical letter. I need to get better at managing my time on here....

I don't remember what else I was going to say, So I will end here.

I love you all! The church is true! Jesus truly is the Christ! I know that and I am very thankful for the opportunity that Easter gave me to remember the atonement more and keep it in my thoughts.

I love you!

Elder Coles