Nathan Coleman

Nathan Coleman
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

February 22, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Again it was a great week in Korea. It was the Lunar New Year, so things were not as productive as they could have been, but we did get to go to Chinatown, which, of course, was incredible. It was pretty Oriental, so for those of you who are into that, I hope you enjoy the pictures. Not too much progress teaching-wise, none of the people we are teaching came out to church, but at the same time nobody took significant steps backwards. We have formed a pretty solid base of people to teach, so that is all going well.

So for my message I will share a quick scriptural passage we shared with one of our friends this past week. "And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens. And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed. And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away. And I said: Lord, how is it done? And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole." (Enos 1)

One of the most difficult things to teach in Korean is the feelings of the heart when you receive an answer to prayers or when you receive forgiveness. But I think this scripture describes those feelings the best. Our guilt is swept away. It doesn't only partially heal like a scar, but it is swept away like the footsteps in the sand. As we pray with the effort that Enos did and as we ask God to forgive us of our sins, it will come. We don't know how it will come and we don't know what we sometimes have to do to make everything better, but it will come. Our hearts are mended, our mistakes are forgotten and our lives are changed. I know that when we ask God how can he forgive us of the things that we have done, we will have the same answer that we read in the scripture. It is because of our faith in Jesus Christ who we have never before heard or seen. We then can go and be whole once again. I pray that all of you will understand and act on this promise. Turn to him. Please, please ask. Anyone who asks will receive. Anyone who seeks shall find. To anyone who knocks, He will open. Please let him heal your heart.

I love you all,
Elder Coleman

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 15, 2015

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Hello everyone!

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful week and for those of you in CT right now, I hope you are surviving the blizzard all right. This week was very productive, but unfortunately an Elder in our house is transferring to another area in Korea, so that is kind of sad. We had one of our investigators come to church today and he seemed to be interested and he is still preparing for his baptism.

So Korean culture for the week: 축구. In Korea, soccer is the sport to play. People play a little bit of basketball, baseball, and other things, but basically every Korean is good at soccer. We play with our church members and also some kids who come and play with us every Saturday morning. It is very cold, but it is so much fun. In America, there just isn't a sport that unifies everyone that everyone can play. But in Korea, everyone that I have met is just a beast at soccer. Anyway, it's one of my favorite times of the week and I get to know the people better through it.

So today I'll share a very brief thought because I'm almost out of time. This week I have begun my study on diligence in the scriptures. One of my favorite scriptures so far is found in D&C 123:13. It discusses how we should wear out our lives in the service of others and in sharing the gospel with others. It is great to be diligent in school, sports, and anything else that we love to do. But the most important thing we can be diligent in is service and trying to bring people closer to Christ. As we get closer to Christ we have a better life. It is really that simple. I have had times in my life when I was close to Christ and did service. I was happy then. I have had times in my life when I was not close to Christ and I didn't serve. I wasn't happy then. I hope all of you are happy, and for those of you who aren't, serve your friends, your family, and people around you. Read the scriptures, say a prayer. If you truly want to discover Christ, he has given the invitation, all we must do is knock.

Elder Coleman

(Below is Nathan enjoying a little bit of  home...KFC!)
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Sunday, February 8, 2015

February 8, 2015

To my friends and family,

Another week in Korea! I wish I could send you more Korean words but typing is really hard for me, not to mention the spelling. I promise I am learning the language even though you can't tell through the emails. I also want to make it known that the Canton church ball team will beat the Avon church ball team this week and Nate Eberly will be held to 6 points.

Anyway, so this week I'll tell two stories to illustrate two similar points.

So first of all on Thursday night, my companion and I had an appointment with a former investigator (someone who has met with the missionaries before). Usually these people don't show up to the appointment, and if they do, it usually isn't a great lesson because they are distracted or just want to speak to us in English. So in planning we were trying to decide what to teach this person. My companion had a thought that we should extend a baptismal commitment to him. Of course both of us thought yea right, we have never met this guy, but we wrote it down because who knows. When we got there, it felt like a typical appointment. We went to a little coffee shop and shared our photo albums with him. We then started talking to him about religion and he started to slowly open up. He started to talk to us about what he learned from the missionaries before us. Then I felt prompted to ask him how he came to believe in Jesus Christ. He then went on to talk about North Korea and something about it being really difficult, most of which I didn't and probably won't ever understand. Anyway, then my companion asked, "최증훈, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by one holding proper authority?" He didn't say anything at first, then he said, "yes, I believe."  We don't know who needs to hear the message we are here to share. We also don't know the thoughts or hearts of others. When we interact with people on a daily basis, we need to follow that example of Jesus Christ and love all men. We need to not judge. We need to forgive. We never know what good can come from listening to a prompting or from following Christ's commandments.

The next story I want to tell is from Saturday. We were on exchanges so I was with Elder Doyle (he has been in country for 11 weeks so I knew him in the MTC). Needless to say, we were not Korean experts. We also had a lesson to teach that day to an investigator named Ty. He goes to English class regularly and has at least a little bit of interest, but he doesn't want to join the church because he doesn't want to go to a different church than his family. Fortunately, we also had a member in the lesson with us until the end (more on that later). Our investigator responded to us in English, so that was at least good. But basically we are on our own to teach this lesson. Toward the end of the lesson after the member had already left, we got to talking about the Book of Mormon. He asked "so many religions have religious texts and so many religions claim to be inspired by God, why are you any different?" It reminded me of a quote in Preach my Gospel (our missionary handbook): "every man is eventually backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must take his stand". We could have him read the testimony of people who saw the book, we could have him read the book to listen to the truths and evidence of geographical facts and evidence that it contains. But that is not how God works. God doesn't work by sight alone.

So we made our stand in our toddler-level Korean. We said that the book and the principles contained in it would bless his family and bring him closer to God, and that if he prayed sincerely and listened to God's will for him and his family, he would know, not just believe, but know the truth of the work. After we finished, he said that he could feel our conviction and that he appreciated our service and that he would read the book. But what he and so many people don't understand is that it is not conviction, it is not eloquence, and it is certainly not the words that matter. It is the spirit of truth that teaches us all things and brings all things to our remembrance. If he prays after reading it and asks God with more than just words, but with his soul and with the intent of acting on the answer he receives, he will know that it is true. For those of you who doubt or for those of us who are going through difficulty and are backed against a wall, make your stand. Decide now to trust that God has a purpose for you and have the faith to listen to him and look for his will for you.

I love you all,

Elder Coleman

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February 1, 2015

To my friends and family,

First, I have sinned the past several weeks. I promised to give Sarah Newberg a shout out on this blog. I have failed, and now I repent. She is the best.

Anyway so this week was rough, but also very rewarding. We dropped a little more than half of our investigators for various reasons (meaning we don't meet with them anymore). We did a lot of calling and a lot of looking for new people to teach. We have one super solid investigator and he and his family seem interested. We meet with him about once a week and meet with a ton of members to help them and stuff. This week we think we should be able to get some new investigators: we are going to focus on how much Christ's gospel can bless the family.

So Korea. First, I got to eat pig intestines (interesting texture) but pretty good, plus a ton of other foods. Second, I get to go to a bathhouse today which should be a awesome cultural... um.. experience. 

So my message on Christ today is found in John 7:17. Christ is talking to the Pharisees about his doctrine and he says something along the lines of "if you follow my teachings, you will know of yourself if it is from me or God." That is what we try to teach our investigators all of the time. Our message is an invitation to all who are willing to humble themselves before God and ask. We can ask anything, any questions from our soul that we have. God will answer them. He promises this sooooo many times in the scriptures. Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened. If we are willing to take that first step and follow Christ's teachings, we will come to KNOW not just believe, but know that it is from God. We will know that Christ suffered for all of us and that through believing and following His commandments, we can live with our families and return to God's presence for eternity. We can know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he saw God and Christ and he truly was a prophet of God. May we follow the the Samaritan women's counsel in John and "come and see." Ask and ye shall receive. Knock, and you will know the mysteries and the love of God.

I love you all,
Elder Coleman