Nathan Coleman

Nathan Coleman
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 24, 2014

To my friends and family,

Seeing as though today is Christmas Eve, my letter will focus solely on the Savior. Korean is great and fun, but I am not here to learn a language; I am here to testify of my Savior.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is "What Child is This?" The lyrics say something along the lines of "what child is this that lays on the hay?" Who was this child? Who was this child who kings traveled for months to bear their gifts? Who is this child who an angel came to announce the birth to shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem? Who is this child that was born of the humble Mary? Who is this child who has been promised since the beginning?

To find this answer, we need to look to the scriptures that describe his life. This child is one who called humble fishermen to gather his flock. This is the child who sat by a Samaritan and promised her eternal life if she believed on him. This is the child who fed the 5000 and walked on the water. This is the child who healed the sick, liberated the captive, and opened the eyes of the blind. This is the child who calmed the waves and raised three from the dead. This is the child who refused the praise of the world. This is the child who was condemned by his own and betrayed by his friends. This is the child who never reviled against those who spat on him. This is the child who was scourged and forced to wear a crown of thorns. This is the child who suffered for us all on the cross and in the garden so that we wouldn't have to suffer ourselves. This is the child who promised life everlasting and peace to anyone who believe on his name. This is the child who died so that all men could live.

This is the child that on the third day rose from the dead. This child is the redeemer of all men. This child is the son of God. This child is the Christ.

"For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

As a set apart witness of Jesus Christ, I bear my testimony that this child is the Christ. He was a prophet. He was a teacher. He was a humanitarian. But more importantly, he was a brother, a friend, and savior. He suffered death for all of our sins that we don't have to suffer. He took our sins upon himself. "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes, we are healed." This child made it possible for all of us to feel peace, forgiveness, joy, and experience everlasting life.

This season, may we remember that without Christ there would be no Christmas. Without our Savior, there would be no peace and real joy in this life. May we remember Him this season. May we remember His sacrifice. May we remember the blood that was shed for us. But more importantly, may we share that love. May we sacrifice like He did. May we love like He did.

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

I love you all, and I testify that through the Savior, all can be made right. Go to Him. His arm is extended. He is truly the living water and He wants to give you that peace. I pray that we may all accept that invitation.

With Love,
Elder Coleman

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 18, 2014

To my friends and family

What a week! This week Im going to answer some questions my mother sent me that I think can apply to all of us and should fulfill the purpose of this blog. She asked me what the coolest thing I learned about the Korean language and the gospel this week and my greatest challenge.

The coolest thing I learned in Korean is probably the gerund form. I finally learned how to have two verbs in one sentence, which is incredibly important for teaching. We have had about 4 teachers in our class everyday because the older district left, so we have gotten a lot of private lessons from native speakers which is super cool. In addition, we learned that there is actually inflection in the Korean language, which we didn't know about, so that's fun...

The coolest thing I have "learned" or rediscovered or studied about the gospel this week is found in Alma 43. It discusses the process by which we can overcome the armies of the devil and the various temptations and struggles in this life. In verse 13, it describes how the Nephites were completely alone in fighting the Lamanites. They had many deserters and they were completely surrounded. Sometimes, we feel alone in fighting against our trials, but this chapter gives us advice on how to overcome even the most impossible odds. First, in verse 19, the scriptures state that we must prepare physically and spiritually for the enemy. We cannot go into battle without armor just as we cannot go out into the world without prayer or scripture study. We must prepare in every way to fight against to trials we will face. Second, in verse 23 we must prepare by asking the living prophet's advice. The living prophets will give us advice that applies to us directly in this time. We must give heed. In verse 30, it reminds us that we must also have the right desires and stratagem. We can't expect to avoid the dangers of sin if we walk right into places where they are most common! We must try our best to avoid them and develop strategies to overcome them. Unfortunately, even after all of this, in verses 42-44 we are reminded of the power of temptations. The Lamanites smote through many of the Nephites armor and fought like dragons. They slew many Nephites despite their diligent preparation and strategy. Even with sincere preparation, we are still vulnerable to the snares of temptation and we will fall if we do not take the final step. Verses 49-50 describe the power of prayer and how praying sincerely gives us the ability to stand against the adversary with power. I have a testimony of the power of prayer and the strength it brings. When our wisdom and our preparation have failed, prayer makes up the difference and God will give us the strength to stand with power against all things. I know the scriptures apply to us in this day and I know they teach principles that if followed will bring us happiness in this life and salvation in the next.

I love you all,
Elder Coleman

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 11, 2014

To my family and friends,

This letter will be short because I am pressed for time this week. Some notable news is that one of our sisters went home with celiac complications today. We will miss her so much and she has been and will be in our prayers everyday. Other notable news; it is December 10th and we will be playing beach volleyball outside today. So that's good news. 

So Korean.. Last night we were basically taught sentence formation technique by our instructor. He said that you can change any verb to a noun if you add a gerund marker on it and just put it in the object space. So that probably doesn't make any sense to anyone, but it was super cool for all of us. In other words, Korean makes so much more sense than English. 

So today I want to talk about the parable of the vine found in John 15. Christ compared himself to the vine, which basically amounts to the stem of a tree or vine. He then tells all of us that we are branches or leaves on the vine. Christ reminds us that we have no strength without him and we can receive no nourishment but through him; however, we can have unlimited strength through him. I know that Christ's atonement and suffering allows us to repent and can give us strength when we don't have any left. He will carry us and he will nurture and nourish us throughout our lives.

So my testimony about the restoration of the gospel revolves around the Book of Mormon. I struggle with many principles of the gospel, but I know with absolute conviction that the Book of Mormon is true and that anyone can receive peace and become closer to God through diligent study of the book. Start anywhere. Read anything. Then pray to God and ask if it is true. He will answer you. It will be in his time and in his own way, but it will come.

I love you all,
Elder Coleman

Friday, December 5, 2014

December 4, 2014

To my friends and family,

Another interesting week at the MTC. My companion has some type of stomach pain so we have been in and out of the hospital, the clinic, and pharmacy for the whole week, so we missed some gym and service activities. We don't know what's wrong yet, but he has been feeling a little better. If you are interested in good news, Sister Wi (She's from Sri Lanka and speaks English as her second language and can't read very well) is progressing incredibly quickly and is getting a preach my gospel and BOM in her native language. She is the first Sri Lankan to ever serve a mission in Korea. Also Sister Russel got called to give a surprise talk in church this past week, and she did very well. 

So aside from the discussions we had this week on bath houses and the danger of eating live octopus and dog, one of the cool cultural things I continue to learn about Korean is their concept of prayer. Koreans pray kneeling down, but some of the Buddhist tradition has crept in, so they put their arms in front of them and kneel looking at the ground. Furthermore, they use an honorific tense while praying that is reserved for basically just God. Occasionally, someone will use it for a king, but mostly just God. It really brings a spirit of humility and reverence to the prayer.

So my lesson on Christ for this week is something I read in Mark and Mosiah (a Book in the Book of Mormon for those of you who don't know). There is a rich pharisee or scribe (forgive me if I quote poorly from mark, it is not in front of me) who approaches Jesus and asks "Master what must I do to be saved?" Jesus responds that he must keep the ten commandments such as honoring his father and mother and avoiding sins such as stealing. The man responds that he has done this since his youth, and asks if there was something else he had to do to be saved. The Savior responds that he must sell all of his possessions to the poor and take up his cross and follow him. Unfortunately, the man went away because he was very rich.
The question I have to ask everyone today is what are we willing to sacrifice for Christ? Christ says that anyone who gives their life for my sake will receive one hundred fold in the Kingdom of his Father. The prophet Abinadi, found in Mosiah, gave up his life to testify of Christ and teach his commandments to a wicked people. We are not asked to give up our lives. However, he wants us to live in a way that proves that we are his disciples and that we love him and appreciate his sacrifice for us. Some of us may give up our wealth to the poor. Some of us may give up friends and family to join his gospel and follow him. Some of us may give up addictions or bad habits so we can better feel his spirit. Some of us may give up our pride and become humble. Regardless of what the sacrifice is, the more important question is how and why we give it.
We must be sincere in following the Savior and we must truly seek to become more like him. We must do more than just believe in him; we must turn our whole heart, might, mind, and strength to follow his teachings. I know that not only will we be blessed after our death for our sacrifices, we will also have peace in this life. For whoever shall save his life shall lose it and whoever shall lose his life for my sake shall have everlasting life. Let us be humble. Let us follow Christ's teachings so we can better our own lives. Take Christ's yoke upon you; follow his gospel and his teachings, then Christ will take your yoke, your burden, your infirmities upon himself and ease your guilt, shame, and heartache with peace, joy, and love. For he was bruised for our transgressions, and with his stripes we are healed. That is my prayer for all of us that we may be healed by his sacrifice if we turn to him.

With Love,
Elder Coleman    

Thursday, November 27, 2014

November 27, 2014

To my Friends and Family,

This week I had many incredible experiences. We had the opportunity to hear from Elder Oaks a couple days ago and Elder Bednar today (two modern day prophets of God). Elder Oaks discussed the importance of losing yourself in the work and taught that whoever shall lose his life shall find it. Elder Bednar was very casual and passed out cell phones for all the missionaries to ask questions. Both men were amazing and it was especially special because this past Tuesday was not a great day for me to start, but through trying to serve my investigators and companion, and giving a blessing to a sister, I was able to feel so much better. In addition, it is incredibly rare for two apostles to speak at the MTC in a week, so it was just a tender mercy I guess. Plus we got "randomly" picked to sit in the very front during Elder Oaks' talk. Aside from that, the week progressed as usual: we learned Korean, taught investigators, learned about the gospel, and felt the Spirit. 

So the Korean lesson of the week is something we call the Glue principle. So for some conjugations (Past tense, want to form etc.) you have to use something called glue, which is basically just adding an ending and conjugating it. Its just super hard to do because there are tons of exceptions and its hard to do on the spot. But at the same time, its really cool because it is very organized and logical. 

So my lesson I learned about Christ comes from Matthew 27 and Mathew 4. In Matthew 4, the Lord is tempted by the devil with the word "if" three times. The devil tried to get the Savior to question his divine purpose and care for his physical hunger, pride, or fear. Then in Matthew 27, the crucifiers mocked Him on the cross and demanded that if He be the Son of God, then he should let himself down or if God be with him, he should come down from the cross. The two most dangerous sins are pride and doubt. They are opposites.  Pride is a sin because we think we are better than God. Doubt is a sin because we doubt God and are ungrateful for our blessings. Doubt destroys our faith, cripples our soul, and can physically lead to depression, anxiety, and pain. We feel alone and lost because we don't remember our calling, lineage, or purpose. Christ never forgot that he was a Son of God. We must never forget, especially during our own trials and while we bear our own crosses, that we are children of God, who will never abandon us if we go to Him in prayer. 

Finally, I want to talk about how we can receive this peace in our time of doubt. The Restored Gospel can bring peace to our minds and hope to our hearts. I've seen it work for me and so many people around me. I've seen it work for our investigators that we teach and people who have no conception of or belief in God. Listen to the modern prophets and the restored scriptures like the Book of Mormon. The lesson or chapter doesn't matter; pick anything from any conference or book. Then pray before you read or listen and ask God if these words are true. Then read and study it out in your mind. If you do, you will feel a prick or feeling in your heart that will testify to you that these words are true. If we follow these words, we will not be led astray and our doubts will be overcome by hope and faith.

With Love,
Elder Coleman

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 20, 2014

To my friends and family,

Today was as expected, a much less exciting and busy week. We are pretty settled into the routine at the MTC and teaching two investigators at a time (yes in full Korean). I've just been loving watching the progression of the missionaries spiritually and in the language. Oh and basketball is pretty fun as well.

So the Korean lesson for the week is about verb conjugation. So just like other languages, you can conjugate the verb into different tenses, the three main tenses being past, present, and future. In addition, there are also different stages of honoring a person: high form for addressing those at a higher level or strangers (Missionaries generally use this), middle form for addressing friends and people at the same level, and low form for only close friends, family, and children. It takes a while to get them all strait and conjugate them on the spot, but its pretty cool once you get the hang of it. 

MTC District
So I learned a lot about Christ this week, but the best lesson was from a video that I saw from Elder Bednar, called the "Character of Christ". His argument was that to really be converted and to really follow Christ, we have to have his characteristics, especially charity. Elder Bednar describes that when Christ suffers, instead of turning inward and being selfish like the natural man, he turns outward and helps others. During my hours of studying the New Testament and Jesus the Christ, I've found so many examples of this divine characteristic. I encourage all of you to look to the scriptures to find how Christ acts in all situations and try to implement that in your own life.

Finally, I had another amazing experience with the restored gospel this week. We were teaching one of our investigators about who Joseph Smith was and how the Book of Mormon can bless her life. So we read a lot from the scriptures and showed her the history; however, she wasn't convinced until she got on her knees and prayed. Just as James 1:5 directs, we can receive an answer to all things if we "study it out" and then "ask god if it be right" (D&C 9). 

With Love,
Elder Coleman

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November 13, 2014

To my ward friends and family,

Thank you to everyone who sent me emails, letters, and gave encouragement to me throughout this entire process and during my life. All of your advice, kindness, and effort has truly touched me as I move onto a new chapter in life. Specifically, I would like to thank the Permenters, Walburgers, Andersens, Seibers, Varinis, Elwells (Sam and Amelia as well), Lyons, and the Burns for the wonderful letters. I cannot respond to all of them, but you have my sincere gratitude. 

So the format of the letters will be simple. First, I'll give some important events that occurred. Next, based off my Mission President's advice, I will share an experience with the new culture or language, a testimony of Christ, and a testimony of the Restoration. 

So to start, this week was incredible. Incredible as in impossible, glorious, invigorating, splendid, demanding, and any other word you can think of. The Spirit is strong here, and you can almost taste it in the cholesterol and trans-fat packed "food". But I really do actually like the food... My companion is incredible. he is the District Leader and although he is young, he is learning to become a leader and a fantastic missionary. I have to remind him occasionally of his purpose and calling, but he is truly incredible and I am blessed to have him. We have taught 4 investigators in Korean and we can pray fluently, read the scriptures (slowly and we don't know what they say), and I personally have learned over 100 vocab words. Its a humbling but empowering experience. 

So a tad bit on the Korean language. Sentences are inverted so that the word order is subject, object, and verb, which is super cool and fun. We have only learned basic sentence structure and one prepositional phrase structure, but I love it.

Now a little bit on Christ. Goo-Joo (romanized) is the word for Savior in Korean. When I came into my room the first day, I found a picture of the Lamb of God stuck in between my mattress, so whenever I looked up at the bed, I saw the Savior. I've had so many touching experiences with my Savior this week, that I can't share them all. But when we taught Be-Gu-noo (our investigator's name) all we could say in the language were simple sentences like "Jesus loves you," or "Jesus is your Savior". But that's all we needed. The Spirit testified that Christ was in fact his Savior, and when we asked if he believed he said "ne, Cho-nun mit-da' (yes, I believe).

For all of those who are not LDS or who don't have a firm testimony of the Restoration, I testify to you it is real. There are prophets today. God still speaks to his people and his Gospel is present on the earth today. The Holy Spirit will testify to you if you read the book of Mormon and pray sincerely. I can't teach you. No man can teach you. I can't prove it to you. But God can. Pray. Ask. Listen. Humble yourself. And you will know for yourself.

With Love,
Elder Nathan Coleman