Friday, August 10, 2012

Back In Action

This... Is Elder Coles.  I have not posted on my blog in almost a YEAR!  There are a few reasons for this... The biggest one being that I haven't been on a computer in probably about 8 months.  Actually... that is the only reason.  So!  Now that I am back in action I have a lot of catching up to do.  As a missionary you grow a lot.  I am probably not even the same person I was last time I posted on this blog!  BUT!  The things that I posted are true.  I have learned a lot in these past few months and like I said so much has changed.  I attribute this change to learning about Eternal Truths that our Heavenly Father holds dear to his heart, and things that I have come to hold dear to my heart. 

President Boyd K. Packer said "True doctrine understood changes attitude and behavior.  The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior."  I know that this statement is true.

Now, I know exactly what you are thinking to yourself right now.  It's "Elder Coles, what are some of these gospel doctrines and other things that you have learned while on your mission that have helped you grow so much??"  Don't worry, I will tell you what they are!  And I will post and expound on them!  Are you excited??  Well you should be.  Some of them are:

-Importance of scripture study

-The Doctrine of Christ

-Expressing love and gratitude


-The importance of having good clean fun (that is a gospel doctrine!)

-The Book of Mormon (I had to put that in there)

-The Atonement

-The life of Jesus Christ

A few others... which I wont talk about right now.  But stay tuned on what I will say about these topics because most likely my posts will be the greatest, most exciting, uplifting thing that you will read while you are at your computer... unless you are reading the scriptures... or something from one of the prophets... but anyways it will be good!  Stay tuned and I'm out.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Book of Mormon... Again

This... Is Elder Coles.  I don't know if I have told everyone who reads this blog yet... But I love the Book of Mormon!  I take one everywhere with me!  On my bike, to teaching appointments, at the apartment, in the car, everywhere!  I have grown to love it for a few reasons........

Reason 1: The stories.
The stories in the Book of Mormon are amazing.  I have a few favorites, which I will briefly mention.  My first favorite is the story of Alma and Amulek.  Alma and Amulek went preach the gospel to people who are so hard hearted that they take them and throw them into prison.  While they are in prison they are beat and mocked by the wicked people, suffering for days without food or drink, but still remaining faithful to the Lord.  When the spirit told them the time was right, they broke the chords to which they were bound, and the walls of the prison fell and everyone in the prison, except for Alma and Amulek, were killed, and Alma and Amulek walked away unharmed.  (for more on this story see Alma chapters 8-14).  My next favorite is the story of Ammon and the sons of Mosiah.  They wanted to preach the gospel to their brethren the Lamanites, who were the enemies of the Nephites, which is what Ammon and his brothers were.  Ammon and his brothers split up, and Ammon went to be a servant to a King among the Lamanites named King Lamoni.  While Ammon was tending the flocks of the King, other Lamanites came to scatter their flocks.  Ammon stood to contend with these men and he slew many of them with a sling and when the people started coming after him Ammon drew his sword and anyone who contended with him he chopped off their arms.  Ammon is the man.  He then went on to convert the whole house of King Lamoni.  (for more information on this story see Alma chapters 17-22).  These are just two of my favorites, but there are many others which I may go into more detail in the future.

Reason 2: The Personal Applications 
I love how you can apply everything in the Book of Mormon to our lives today.  And when I say everything, I mean everything!  No matter what problem you may be having, weather it be you are having a bad day, or you are going through some trials, or you are having a hard time finding meaning to your life, the Book of Mormon has the solution.  You may be thinking "Elder Coles you are crazy.  This book was written over 2000 years ago how can anything in there apply to our lives today??"  Well here is how...

The prophet Mormon had a whole bunch of Nephite records.  It was his job to take the most important things and abridge and compile them into a book and deliver it to his son Moroni so that he could add a few words and then hide the records up in the earth so that it could come forth in these latter days to help us out.  The Book of Mormon, even though it was written over 2000 years ago was written for us, and it has been brought forth by our loving Heavenly Father through the prophet Joseph Smith for us to read today.  It is so great that He loves us so much that he has given us another volume of holy scripture and we can apply everything to our lives today!

There are so many more reasons why I love this book.  The examples of the prophets, the personal ministry of Jesus Christ, the wars, the lessons contained within, there is just so much that you can learn from the Book of Mormon.  I encourage all the read it, even if you have already read it, read it again!  It is so great and it will invite the spirit into your lives.  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Through small and simple things....

This... Is Elder Coles.  Missionary life is so crazy!  There are so many things going on all the time!  I feel especially overwhelmed this transfer.  I am serving in two units a ward and a branch and so we have alot of people to see, alot of members to teach and uplift, not to mention all the people investigating the church who we need to see as well, trying to reactivate members who have had some struggles, training a new missionary, preparing trainings for district meetings, continuing to learn the gospel, trying to write my friends letters, trying to make the best blog posts ever.... the list goes on.  Despite all of this going on I still continue to love life!  I love being busy and trying to balance out everything (which I still fail at but I am getting better).  I try to stay calm and I try to remember the scripture in Alma 37:6

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass"

There is a point that I have reached just recently where I have been trying to magnify my calling so much and trying to do what is right and be 100% focused and be PERFECT... I just realized that I cant do it all.  I want to do it all... but I cant.  I know now that I just have to keep it simple.  To keep life simple.  But for real... How simple is the gospel??  Soo simple!  Our savior Jesus Christ set the example for us and showed us how we need to live and what we need to do to be happy and taught that faith in him, repentance, baptism by proper authority and recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end is all we need to do to be happy.  Thats it.  Isnt that great?  Its so simple.       

Thursday, July 14, 2011


This... Is Elder Coles.  I wish I was perfect.  I strive to be better everyday and to be more like the savior... But I fail!  All the time!  It can be pretty discouraging.  I once had a day where I woke up and I said to myself  "today I am going to try to be perfect."  I think I lasted about two hours.  I have come to realize that to be perfect is impossible, and that we are allowed to make mistakes. 

One definition of perfect is "never having flaw or error."  Only one person has obtained this kind of perfect, and that is our Savior Jesus Christ.  We are commanded to be perfect by Jesus Christ (see 3 Nephi 12:48) but the apostle Paul says that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)  But there is another definition of perfect, and that is "having all flaws and errors removed."  This definition gives me more hope, and I know that we can become perfect through Jesus Christ.  I know that I have been far from perfect in my life, and I wish I could have been better.  But feelings of guilt and shame can be taken away through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  I know this from personal experience.  And I am so grateful for it!  Anyways there are some things that have helped me as I have tried to be perfect, and failed. 

One of those things is a great quote by Gerald N. Lund:
"Remember that one of Satan’s strategies, especially with good people, is to whisper in their ears: “If you are not perfect, you are failing.” This is one of his most effective deceptions, for it contains some elements of truth. But it is deception nonetheless. While we should never be completely satisfied until we are perfect, we should recognize that God is pleased with every effort we make—no matter how faltering—to better ourselves. One of the most commonly listed attributes of God is that he is long-suffering and quick to show mercy. He wants us to strive for perfection, but the fact that we have not yet achieved it does not mean we are failing."

Another thing that has helped me is I have been studying the book of mormon extensively while I have been out on my mission and I look at the people in it who have had to make mistakes and overcome weaknesses in order to be instruments in the hands of God.  One of those people being Alma the younger, who was one of the most "vilest of sinners" and later went on to be a great prophet. (see Mosiah 27) Another being the sons of Mosiah, who later went on to be the greatest missionaries.  (see Alma 17-22)  And one more being Alma's son Corianton, who was chastised by his father for being immoral on his mission, but who was later listed as a great missionary to bring peace to the Nephites.  (see Alma 49:30)

The thing that we need to realize is that we are not expected to be perfect.  We are expected to try to be better everyday and as we learn and grow through out this life and the next life we will be able to become perfected!  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Big Test

This... Is Elder Coles.  I have been trying to look at life in a different light recently, and I have realized how good life is, and how much our Heavenly Father loves us.  Our Fathers plan for us is very simple.  We lived with him before we came to earth, and we are here to be tested and to recieve a body and if we keep the commandments we can return to live with him.  When he presented this plan to us it says in the bible that we "shouted for joy" (Job 38:7) This is kind of how I picture the plan being presented........

I picture our loving Heavenly Father gathering the hosts of heaven so that he can present his plan to us, and he says that we can either choose to accept or reject this plan if we want to.  He says "Alright guys here is the plan.  I want you all to reach your fullest potential, I really do because I love all of you!  I have created a beautiful world for you all to go there and gain bodies!  Sounds great right?  But in order for you guys to learn, you will need to be tested, and sometimes you will be tempted to do wrong.  But guys, dont even worry about it.  This test will be open book. 
I will give you people who will be in direct contact with me.  These people will be called prophets.  They will tell you what you need to know to be happy and to return to live with me.  Oh, dont worry, you wont have to memorize everything that they say.  I will make sure their words are written down in books called scriptures.  Guys, remember to study these things, they will help you out and make you happy!  Also, I want to give you more things to help you out.  I will provide classes so that you can learn these things and you can apply them in your lives.  Ok, now I know that you will all make some mistakes, but I will provide a way for you to over come those mistakes.  I will provide a savior and you will be able to repent, and as often as you repent I will remember your mistakes no more.  Guys, thats not it.  You will be able to grow up in a loving atmosphere with earthly parents and families, where you can learn my doctrines and study my gospel in a loving atmosphere.  A church will need to be organized as well.  And to make sure this church is run right, I will give priesthood authority, which is the power I will give to you to act in My name, and the church will be run by that authority. 
I will not leave you comfortless either.  I will send the Holy Ghost, the third member of the God head down to dwell with you and to comfort you when needed, and to teach and testify of me.  And you know what, if you still need some extra help with this test, you will be able to come to me and talk about your problems with me through prayer.  Know that I will always answer prayers, but make sure you are listening very carefully because if you arent you might miss the answer.  Guys this plan is going to be great.  Do all these things and you will make it back here to live with me, and you will recieve your reward."

Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at all the things that our Heavenly Father has given us.  I am so greatful for all the things he has given me!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Little Things

This... Is Elder Coles.  This... Is a story that Elder M. Russell Ballard used in his talk "Finding Joy Through Loving Service" in April 2011 General Conference.  It goes like this.......

"Oftentimes we are like the young merchant from Boston, who in 1849, as the story goes, was caught up in the fervor of the California gold rush. He sold all of his possessions to seek his fortune in the California rivers, which he was told were filled with gold nuggets so big that one could hardly carry them.

Day after endless day, the young man dipped his pan into the river and came up empty. His only reward was a growing pile of rocks. Discouraged and broke, he was ready to quit until one day an old, experienced prospector said to him, “That’s quite a pile of rocks you are getting there, my boy.”

The young man replied, “There’s no gold here. I’m going back home.”

Walking over to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, “Oh, there is gold all right. You just have to know where to find it.” He picked two rocks up in his hands and crashed them together. One of the rocks split open, revealing several flecks of gold sparkling in the sunlight.
Noticing a bulging leather pouch fastened to the prospector’s waist, the young man said, “I’m looking for nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not just tiny flecks.”

The old prospector extended his pouch toward the young man, who looked inside, expecting to see several large nuggets. He was stunned to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of flecks of gold.
The old prospector said, “Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you’re missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth.”

I love this story because I often find myself looking for huge gold nuggets, and not realizing all the small gold flakes around me.  This story helps to remind me that there are so many good things around us and that we just need to take time to seek them out and notice them.

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass;...and the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes."
-Alma 37:6-7

Saturday, May 7, 2011


This... Is Elder Coles.  Life is all about choices.  That is one of Gods greatest gifts to us, to be able to choose for ourselves what we will do in life.  In 2 Nephi 2:27 it says "Men are free according to the flesh... they are free to choose liberty and eternal life through the great mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil."  No one likes to be told what to do, and the freedom to choose or our agency is something that is a gift from God, and will never be taken away from us. 

As I review the other things that I have blogged about, they all go back to choices.  Weed didnt have to slide down that hill and cut his head open,  Frent didnt have to speed to the store and get a speeding ticket, and Creston, Zolan and Frent could have jumped into the lake (and they probly should have).  I am so greatful that I can choose for myself what I want to do each day. 

Often times we are faced with hard choices we have to make.  Each day we are faced with situations that cause us to ask ourselves "Am I going to do the right thing, or the easy thing?"  Choosing what is easy (sin, laziness, selfishness) will make life more difficult in the long run. It is hard to do the right thing all the time, because the natural man in us is lazy.  But if we "put off the natural man and become a saint"(Mosiah 3:19) that is when everlasting happiness comes.  I think that Joshua put it best when he said "choose you this day whom ye will serve... But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

I am so greatful that I chose to come on a mission.  Being a missionary often requires me to make hard decisions, and to go outside of my comfort zone and teach others about the gospel of Jesus Christ  , it can be scary sometimes! and I know I fail to be as bold as I should be and that I can always do better.  But I know that this message is so important, and the more I study it the more I want to proclaim this wonderful message to everyone.