Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I feel full of love-12/17/13

One of the beautiful sunsets in Bo, West Africa!

Ok to start this week. It's been pretty good. We had Christmas Conference yesterday so that's why I'm emailing on Tuesday instead of Monday. It was really good. So to organize the letter:

Work: So it's pretty crazy we got like 6 referrals this last week. We are teaching about 20 different people so we are always super busy. Work work. It's good though.
Miracles. So this section will be pretty big. First off Joseph and Paul are getting baptized this week :) It makes me so happy. They are so great. A really cool experience was we invited Joseph to come with us to family home evening at President Gwehns (branch president) and he told us that he really felt something there and that this is what he wants in his life. And he wants to marry in the temple too. It's great. Next one is we were walking and found a less active member and just started talking to her and invited her to come to our activity last Saturday and she came and participated and is really great. Then we found that her brother is one of our investigators who is a teacher that is really interested. So they can support each other in coming back to church.

Funny stories: So it's become a habit for me to check the walls of the bathroom every time I enter. Which is a good thing too because this was the biggest spider even Elder Hovley has seen. It was the size of my face this time.. really really big and scary. And I don't know if these big spiders are the infamous ogre faced spider or not, so yeah. All I know is that it is big.

Football: To let you know I will now be referring to soccer as football. ok done. So I have decided that Chelsea is my favorite football team. I even bought a full jersey and shorts for 5 bucks.
really good deal. I absolutely love football now it is so much fun. And we started inviting investigators to come play with us which has been great. It gives them friends and helps build our relationship and it's just flat out fun. I'm going to do this when I get home. It's so fun.

Christmas: I finally got some packages :) 3 to be exact. And not to worry the Ipod came, thank you. But the cord to charge it wasn't there so I bought one today. (Actually it was, he just didn't look hard enough). I love my district it feels like Christmas almost all the time. It's so great. I am loving it here. It's hard work but it's great.

Withdraws: I have noticed that every week I have some strange withdraw and then I get over it. The first week it was my family and that was a big one. Others have been small. One week it was Tifa our dog, pokemon another week, getting info quickly, being able to learn random facts, Fruit salad, gummy candy. And this past week it was seeing white women. I miss all my white women friends haha. But it is passing. I simply pray and ask to be able to focus and resist temptation and it's gone. Simple as that.

My growth: Lately I have realized how selfish I really was and that is something that has been difficult my whole life. I am working hard to become less selfish and patient. It feels good when I'm not selfish. (I think the only thing he was ever selfish about was getting his sleep whenever he wanted it.  Well, and not wanting hugs from mom when he became a teenager.)

Other growth I've had is in my belly and my booty haha yup I'm getting a butt again. I was trying to gain weight and it's working but now the problem is that my pants are too tight. So I'll be running every morning to keep myself fine. Also I am working on my penmanship now. Every night for 30 min. I simply feel full of love. And it feels great. I want to get back and share it with all of you right now but I know that will have to wait. I gotta share it with these wonderful people here. :)

Love Elder Christian Lehr

Christmas Conference - Elders Symons, Woodhead and Lehr (nice ties)

Elder Hovley and Elder Lehr (and other Elders)

Bo East, Bo West and Kenema Zones

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hard but great-12/9/13

This week has been pretty fun. I absolutely love Elder Hovley. We get along so well. He is almost just like me and so it's really funny a lot of the time. I'm so excited for Spencer to enter the MTC. But pshhhha Provo MTC. He is so spoiled. haha He better enjoy it. I can't remember a lot of what
happened this week since I have a little bit of a headache and I have a slight cold but I'll try.

People: One of our investigators is a teacher for 6 year olds and it's so funny. He had their little kids sing for us about Jesus and it was so cute. Then they clapped for themselves. He then asked us to teach them something so we taught baptism and it was so funny. Ahh I love little kids. They are so gross (Dirty), but so much fun.

Food: The craziest thing I have eaten has been cow skin which is pretty good. Though my companion has had monkey and cat. He says they taste good but just mentally it's weird. I enjoy the food a lot here. I usually just eat tons of eggs for breakfast. I love that.

Soccer (Football): We played soccer again and that is so much fun. I'm actually pretty darn good at defense. No one can get past me ahahahahah! But yeah Joseph played with us and we are actually inviting him and an investigator named Gbesseh to family home evening tonight with the branch president.
So sorry..not much happened this week but we are working hard. One thing that I realized I need to improve on is to simply forget myself more. I am still pretty selfish. I've been focusing on how much I have improved when I need to focus on how I can help these people. I just need to forget myself more.

Love Elder Christian Lehr

Here's part of a P.S. that he sent to Shannon separately:

I'm always praying for you and the family. I love you so much and know how much you are sacrificing for me and Spencer. I hope Megans baby is ok and I'm so glad for Heather. Both of them :) I got Nicole's letter and Patrick's and that made my day. I know i have your full support and life here is great now. Hard but great. I love the district. We eat together, laugh together and share everything. It's so great.

Love your favorite son :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

So Many Miracles-12/2/13 and 11/13

So email of the week. This week has been amazing. So many miracles. I'll try and organize it though.

More Sierra Leone Area: The sky is always so pretty and the sunsets are so beautiful. The clouds always have such texture and it's so cool. The "roads" are all dirt and horrible. On the main roads it's actually ok but the biggest it gets is 2 lanes. So it's crowded. It really feels like a campout a lot. We always teach outside and always sit on hard benches. We use a mortor and pedestal (I think that's what it's called) to crush peppers and almost anything by hand. There are so many green trees just everywhere. It really is beautiful once you get passed the smell and all the trash on the floor everywhere. It's also really cool because we can buy 3 oranges for the equivalent of 11 cents. So really good price.
Investigators goodness: So Elder Hovley and I have instead of focusing on getting people to church we focused on the Book of Mormon and really how we can help each individual become converted rather than just going to church. And with this we had 9 really progressing investigators coming to church and 16 total. And we didn't give up on Joseph and Shaka and after focusing on there conversion and the Book of Mormon they just came to church and even brought friends. I was so happy. Joseph is on the right track. He is HUGE for Sierra Leone standards. He is about as tall as Luke Steele and a little stronger. He plays soccer professional and I'll get to a story about soccer soon.

We are teaching 2 people Daniel and Mustapha and they live in the same house. Daniel actually reminds me a lot of Hunter Gappmayer. But that's beside the point. Really cool thing is that while we were planning we were like "hmmmm let's ask to see if Mustapha has any referrals for us" and right after that Mustapha called me and said "Elder Lehr, Elder Lehr come right now and bring a restoration pamphlet and a Book of Mormon. I have a disciple for you. Come quick!"  It was so awesome and so funny. It made me so happy. That was one major miracle.
So then today we played soccer like we try to do every Monday and we invited Joseph and Mustapha to come with us. The game was huge and intense but really fun. We had 20 people total and man Joseph is sooooo good. Thankfully he was on our team. These Africans are soo good at soccer. Man it's so fun to play with them. And they even complimented me saying that I am actually really good at defense which is surprising since I haven't played soccer since I was like 6. But it was really fun.
Miracles: We contacted this teacher named Victor and he was really interested. While we were teaching him it got noisy so we moved to a different room. In that room was another teacher and we invited him to join us. We later found out that the other teacher (Moses) was Daniel's older brother and he said he was so happy that we were teaching Daniel and wanted to learn more himself. So we are teaching him now. Also we had about 5 people who hadn't come to church in about a month finally decide to come.

My Companion Elder Hovley: I love this guy. We get along so well. He is actually a lot like me and it's so easy for me to relate to him. It's great. He listens to a lot of classical music which I have really come to enjoy. And i have learned so much from him. We are such a good companionship :) and our district is awesome and it's so cool living in a house with the entire district.
My growth: I have learned really how to have fun on the mission and also to teach people and not lessons. Having people going to church is only a small part of their conversion. Bringing people to Church isn't part of the Purpose of a Missionary in preach my gospel. Our job is to help them come unto Christ and to help them become converted.

A cool experience was we were teaching one of our investigators and we invited his uncle who is a muslim to come join us. The uncle would not accept that Christ was the Son of God and was arguing and that caused the spirit to leave. So I prayed and then bore my testimony of the first vision and he was confounded like the scriptures say would happen. He still didn't accept the fact but it taught me that no one can argue against a pure and simple testimony. I also have become more patient and obedient I believe. I listen more and am more happy. The work is still really really hard and I still feel down sometimes. But nothing can keep me down. I guess that's just the way i am :)
Love you all so much
Elder Christian Lehr

Happy Thanksgiving - 11/25/13

Juliet, Edward and Elder Lehr

So this email will probably be a long one. So I won't be able to respond to everyone this week. I'll try to organize the letter a bit.

So with the transfer Elder Udofot is going to Kenema and my new companion is Elder Hovley who is American and is super fun and awesome. He is also the new district leader. Elder Woodhead and Elder Symons are my roommates in the apartment and they are the zone leaders.

The place is crazy. There are huge trees everywhere. There are always people just on the streets selling stuff. And when we go to the market it feels like Prince of Persia. That's the best way I can describe it. It's pretty fun. Also you know the car to bike ratio in Utah? Switch it and that's Bo. There are tons of motorcycles here. The food is pretty good and it's really funny because all we can afford to celebrate anything is a bigger dinner. Even a snickers bar is too expensive. We can buy almost anything off the street. It's also really fun to see little kids. They always yell at the top of their little lungs. "POOMWAY!! HELLLOOOOOO!!" which means white man. The roads here are horrible if there even are any roads. The drivers are reckless.

We baptized Edward and Juliet on Nov 23 (Patrick's birthday :) and confirmed them on Nov 24 (Josh's birthday :) The spirit was so strong and they chose me to baptize them. It was really neat.
Edward hates making friends. He almost fell away because he felt that God abandoned him in time of trial. But I gave him a priesthood blessing and he is converted now. We are hoping he goes on a mission too :) Sister Juliet has been a perfect investigator. She simply accepted the gospel was true and did every commitment we gave her. I can see her being a relief society president. If every investigator was like her then we would have like 20 baptisms a month.

We are teaching a old guy named Paul. He is so awesome. He is very very smart and always asks such good questions that build his testimony. He is converted. He won't fall away. We are planning to baptize him on Dec 14. And one of our investigators hasn't come to church for a month but he is starting to send his children. He is struggling because his fiance doesn't really support the church. 

My growth:
So now to share what I have learned. I feel like I am more patient, I love people and understand them more, I don't get distracted as easily, I can eat anything. I've even gained 5 pounds :) I love the scriptures and am learning to recognize the spirit better. I am less homesick. I love everyone so much that it really hurts when I see people who don't progress and don't go to church. I get so happy hearing about my family in anyway. I have learned to budget well while still being happy.
I love you all so much. and i got Aunt Kathy's letter :) I like it. And your letter mom.

Elder Lehr

Elder Udofot, Paul and Elder Lehr

 Weeding & Service - 11/18/13

So this week has been quite an adventure. This week we have been weeding out our progressing investigators. So out of 17 with baptism dates we dropped about 10 of them. Commitment is pretty hard. They always promise they will come to church but never do. So we drop them and find someone who is ready. It's also really sad when investigators are soooo close to baptism but then stop going to church and leave us. But it's life.

So Friday was really fun. We went to do a service project as a zone and go brush(lawn mow) the grass at the police station with machetes which is really really slow and hard. When we got there the police had busted someone and were going to burn a HUGE amount of marijuana. They burned about 500lb of marijuana. It was crazy. Then later that day I got sick and had to go home and felt bad. But I am learning so much here.

We have 3 baptisms this Saturday and I am so excited for them. They are converted and will be golden. I have such high hopes for them. And this gives me so much joy. And sadly Joseph is someone we dropped because he was really accepting of our message and wants to follow Christ. But it's mostly talk. He never comes to church. 

I got Noelle's, mom's, Nicole's, and Grandma's letter on the same day. It was really funny because I wrote a letter that morning saying I hadn't received any letters yet but I couldn't send it. Apparently I need to put stamps on my pouch letters to USA. So I'll send one soon for you all.

Another interesting thing here is that for some reason we don't tan here. We can burn sometimes but no one tans. It's really weird and I don't know why. And also as for pictures before I left to Bo. We didn't take any since we left at 4 a.m. that day.

And the man who got 2 packages was Elder Woodhead. My district leader and the one I went on exchanges with. 

Love you all 
Elder Christian Lehr

Our first glimpse of Elder Lehr in Bo

Elder Lehr is happy (far right)! He got a letter from home!
Thank you to Pres. Ostler for posting these pictures.  We were very anxious to see pictures of Elder Lehr in his assigned area.  Elder Woodhead is the tall elder with the package.  He and his companion carried them home while riding on the back of a motorcycle.  That must have taken a good bit of balancing to accomplish.

Teleporting Spiders - 11/11/13

So this week has been full of adventures. First off we had a short in the house so the whole house had no electricity for 3 days. That was pretty hard but good. And now the water is currently broken. The water won't turn off in the sink unless we turn the water to the whole house off. But we have electricity now.

So really fun experience was last night. I now know why the ogre faced spider is one of the scariest spiders in the world. I was being a good little missionary and was brushing and flossing my teeth last night and I look up and there is this spider the size of my hand when my hand is stretched out. IT WAS HUGE!!! I just about had a heart attack. So I tell my companion and so he goes to spray it with insecticide. When he does that the spider jumps at me. Oh my heart attack/scary as heck. Apparently these spiders are known to be able to like teleport they are sooooo fast. Soo scary. And i got it on video so that's something to look forward to later.

Aaron told me where he is going and I'm so excited for everyone who is going. And I am making friends with the missionaries. I'm learning to cook slowly. And life is getting better.

On a  more spiritual note while reading the scriptures I was reading Abraham chapter 4-5 and in the last chapter Adam tells Eve that they must leave the father and the mother in order to start their own family and to progress and I related that to me. I felt God's love so much right then that I cried. It was the first time I have ever cried because I felt the spirit. It was really nice.

And it was really cool yesterday and Saturday. So we are teaching a guy named Joseph who is really cool and a really devout catholic but is really accepting of the gospel and really wants to be baptized. He always invites everyone around him to hear the message. And while we were teaching him one of his friends came and simply listened. We invited the friend to go to church and he did. And yesterday we watched some of general conference and the spirit was so strong. The friend called us later asking when he can be baptized and is really committed. It's really sweet. So also on Nov 23 (Patricks birthday :) we have 4 baptisms. And on Dec 7 we have about 13 planned. We are so excited and hope they will progress. This mission is really hard. The members don't often work with us and there is no money for much activities like in our ward. I still feel homesick sometimes but I'm not giving up :) Day by day, I will finish.

And the language here is just very inconsistent. I have to speak English and Krio. And then a new language every new area since there are so many tribes. It's also insanely hard to teach people to read the Book of Mormon when they can't read or write. And if they can the most they can is like a 2nd grader. So it's really hard. But it will work with the Lord.

Elder Lehr

Hello Again - 11/4/13 

So first I'll try to answer all the questions. I have not received any letters or anything yet and the language is actually 3 languages to learn right now. "English", Krio, and Mende which is a tribal language. I'll give an example of this speech "So you like daddygodn business? You go come church tomorrow yeah? We go chop chop (eat) boku (much) rice yeah. Sorry we no visit you today we went walka-walka (walk far) way yonder. So Joseph Smith got daddygodn power so he can be en prophet." So this is about how much I talk right now. I'm understanding small small. Which is Krio :)

This week has been great but still really difficult. My body and mind are telling me to give up and go home where I am so much more comfortable and have wonderful friends and family. But I can't give up. It's just not in me to give up like this even if I wanted to. One quote that is keeping me going is from President Eyring from the Priesthood Session. He said "the greater the sacrifice the greater the compensation." This really keeps me going.

So today was crazy busy. 4 of us moved to a brand NEW apartment that is super nice. It's probably the nicest in Bo. And yes I am in Bo east. I'm in the New Barracks branch. Our apartment has 2 rooms per companionship. So one study room and one bedroom. We actually have a fridge and a nice stove. The place is clean and has no rats or any infestations. It's so great. Still limited electricity from 7pm-10pm. 

I had 2 exchanges all ready and they were crazy. I learned a lot.

Fast sunday yesterday was really hard for me. I wanted to fast the whole 24 hours but felt like badness. (I probably shouldn't say "felt like ish") and my companion was really busy writing like crazy. So we didn't have time to cook anything last night. And the same thing happened this morning so I have been starving. At least I still had 1 bag of beef jerky left to snack on.

We taught 33 lessons :) One of the biggest challenges here is that yes we have a high baptism rate but out of 500 members in the branch only 100 are active :(. So thats a HUGE thing we are working on.
I am loving our investigators soo much though. I am really starting to feel charity for them and I love it. When I am in the apartment I am depressed but when I'm teaching I'm fine.

You know the picture that looks like poop on rice? Yeah I had that. It's Cassava leaf and fish on rice or potato leaf. And it tastes pretty good. Actually anything tastes good here. We eat to survive here so we can't be picky at all.

I know that the Lord is watching over me.
Elder Lehr


Elder Woodhead is really good and yes he did move out with me. He is the district leader. He really cares and taught me how to love my investigators more and I really am. I realize that I am praying for patience and I'm learning it slowly.