Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sacrament means more to me - 1/6/14

Hey so this week has had its ups and its downs. But I guess I'll first start with the news of what's going on with the transfer. :) So we got transfer news early because Elder Hovley found out on Friday that he was going to Kenema and had to leave on Saturday. So that was stressful. Me, Elder Woodhead, And Elder Symons are staying and I have been their companion these past 3 days. My new companion... well I'll tell you at the end of the email :)

So the Work: We are going to drop quite a lot of our investigator pool because most of them don't want to keep commitments and we can't waste our time at all because there are too many people who need the gospel. Tenneh, Gbesseh, and Mustapha are progressing and will be baptized on Jan 18. It's really hard. The church is growing so fast that there is no Melchizedek Priesthood holders. And those that are are old and sick. So it's really hard to get leadership here. We are trying so hard. 

Cool Miracle: So we have been seeing about 8 less active members and one of the less active families promised they would come to church. We waited and were discouraged but at the last 10 minutes they came :) Sure they missed most of it but they came. I'm so happy for them. 

Hardships overcome: So some of the challenges I have had the most has been being bold and confident, Planning well, and handwriting. and with much prayer and work these have all gotten tons better. My handwriting is even better than the letter I sent you mom :) And my planning is very very good now. We plan so thoroughly that weekly planning takes 3 and a half hours but is sooo needed. And I am more confident. I am still working on all of them but I still need more confidence in myself. 

Other things Learned. So we finally got the November Liahona so we could read General Conference and 2 talks that I really liked was the 1st counselor to the Relief Society and Elder Bednar's. I learned more about tithes that you should look up and I learned that when you take the sacrament it renews not only your baptism covenant but all covenants you have made like temple and priesthood covenants. This makes sacrament so much more meaning full to me. I also am going to get a study journal to take notes in while I study. 

Cool stuff in the mission: So the Mission of Sierra Leone had 180 baptisms in December alone. It is the fastest growing mission in the world and I get to be a part of it :)

So my new companion.... is Elder Kitson-Mills. He is a sweet Ghanaian in my zone and was even in my same MTC group which is soo sweet. He is really cool, humble and organized and ready to work. He will be my companion starting tomorrow. 

Sorry I can't write you all today. I get very little time today. But I will try and get more time next week. 

Love Elder Christian Lehr

Christmas 12/30/13

So this last week was great but had quite a lot of difficulties. On Monday we had our Bi-zone super P-day which was super super fun. We played football against the Bo west zone and I totally rocked the defense. So much so that I got injured a little. But it's ok just scrapes and bruises... all over my body but I feel fine now :) Then we watched The Incredibles because it was a family movie and we are focusing on families on the mission. And we had some good fried rice. (Africa fried rice not Asian).
This week was week 11 in training.  So I had to take the lead in everything. It's hard to stay focused and make decisions. I realized I really like letting someone else make the decision and I just follow supportively.
Challenges: Hard things this week were we have no fuel for the generator and so we have had no light for almost the entire week. The Bo electricity will sometimes go on during the night and the day but for some reason it's never on when we are home and preparing for the next day so we have to plan with flashlights and candles. And also our sink broke so we had to wait for the plumber to come fix it so we could have clean water to drink and wash our dishes with. On Thursday we waited all day but he came right when we had to go to choir practice. So he came the next day.
Elder Lehr titled this picture "Why I'm getting fat!" Luckily this was for all 4 Elders in the apartment.
Christmas: Christmas was great. We cut a small banana tree from outside and put it on the table and we made fake snow from some magic snow powder that Elder Hovley had. We also did a small gift exchange that was really great. We went out and shared a Christmas message with a lot of people and we got 4 free meals haha. And one of Elder Hovley's recent converts made us a huge meal and made us a Christmas cake that was super legit. It had frosting and everything and was so good. And I LOVED calling home :) It made me so happy. And by the way we didn't have light or water that day either haha.
Saturday: So sadly we were not able to have a baptism this day because the investigators went to their family in the village for Christmas and New Years. But we had a great branch party and it was interesting because they nominated me to be the chief judge for the contests. There was a dancing, eating, and knowledge, competition. It was kinda a pain to judge but it was fun.
Funny stuff: So people are probably wondering what is the weirdest thing I have eaten here in Africa. So story time. While we went to the butcher he gave us an extra piece of meat that we later found out was cow anus......... We put it in our stew and so I really don't know who out of us 4 had it or if all of us had a piece or what. Oh well. :) And this morning we found two ROUS's (rodents of unusual size) aka rats in our apartment. So what did we do about it :) We killed them with a machete :) hehe So much gore. Not really. It was a pretty clean cut and they were very very dead.
Other stuff with food is that i was talking to Paul one of my recent converts about what he has eaten and monkey is really popular here. Even cats so I might eat those sometime. I asked and he has even eaten a giant spider. (shiver....) I could never do that.
Well this next month we are hoping that Mustapha,Tenneh, and Gbesseh will be baptized and we are sure that they will. One thing is that last week we were teaching like 20 people but almost none of them are serious and they bounce us like crazy so we are going to spend some time finding people who are ready to hear our message.
Cool Lesson: so there is a new investigator who was a referral from other missionaries. He asked us to tell him more about Joseph Smith. So we taught the restoration and it was a very powerful lesson and he just asked all the right questions. Then at the end he was like "next time i want you to teach us more about Adam and Eve" which is lesson 2 any way the plan of salvation. So it all worked perfectly. His name is Ibraham and he seems to have a strong desire to come.
Another miracle was there is an old man who invited his brother to church and his brother Joseph is super smart and seems to know the doctrine super well and he came his first time and asked what he can do to join the church and that he is here to stay. Sadly he is actually supposed to go to a different branch because of where he lives but he will be such a blessing to that branch.
I Love you All so much
Elder Christian Lehr

P.S. We made a delicious macaroni cassarole on Christmas and the other day we made homemade hamburgers. Man it's so good. And last night we had a stir fry with Indian sauce. Sooo good. We are eating well.


So no the baptism didn't happen yet but Daniel seems to have only a small interest but Tenneh and Mustapha are going to be baptized. They are just out of town for a bit.  And I really have been humbled and realize how blessed I am. I was born in a righteous family that loved each other and in Utah where it's peaceful and in America where all your dreams can come true. And I have had wonderful friends and literally just had everything. And now I'm here where they have almost nothing.  No one wants to visit Sierra Leone, haha, but it is good. I think of you (mom) and the rest of the family a lot but I am working hard.

This All Makes Sense - 12/23/13

Paul, Elder Hovley, Joseph and Elder Lehr
This week has been so amazing. Ok I'll start:
Baptism: I was able to baptize Paul and Elder Hovley baptized Joseph. They were both simply so happy and the spirit was so strong. I loved it so much. They have such a good light to them now. And we have one more girl named Tenneh who is going to be baptized this Saturday. She is such a sweet but very very timid girl. She was probably beaten a lot as a child but sadly that's normal here. She is a hard worker and is very dedicated to the church. Whenever we talk about her baptism she lights up. Oh and funny thing about Joseph. It's hilarious Just Try is his middle name so that's what we said during the baptism and confirmation. And they were both confirmed on Dec 22, Noelle's birthday :) That's my present to you Noelle.
Sweet Miracle: So on Saturday night we were walking home when this man came up to us and asked if we were missionaries. We talked a little and he is a grand prince in Kumasi, Ghana. His father is the king of the village and area and he was so interested in the gospel. He came to church and loved it. He actually said in Elder's Quorum that he was about to go watch football but he decided to come to church and  was very glad he decided to do that. He is going back to Ghana soon so we gave him a Book of Mormon and are going to give him as a referral.
Other miracle is that all 5 of my recent converts so far are super active and one wants to serve a mission. They are all so great. And we have been working with a lot of less actives and it's been good. They are slowly regaining their testimony and it's a miracle.
Other cool experience the other day we were teaching a man named Gbesseh and he asked why he wasn't feeling the spirit in his life. Even when he prayed at night. I felt inspired and told him that with repentance we don't only leave the bad bad things but we fill our time doing good like reading our scriptures (or for him marking Lord, God, Jesus Christ because he can't read) and by going to church and participating in activities. He then felt the spirit testify that this is what was missing and he got happy and was like "this all makes sense" and he has quit smoking and is probably going to be baptized in January.

Area: So now is the cold season where the cold winds from Egypt roll in. So in day time it's about 80 degrees and in morning it's about 65. It's really cold in the morning but I really like it. And another good thing about it being cold is that there are not so many naked people walking around. Honestly life is good here. I get a little homesick sometimes but life is good. I'm working hard. It's kinda funny because now I'm used to seeing black people and I'm surprised to see a white person. haha
Today is a Bi-zone super Pday so it's gonna be a party and really busy.
I love you all so much
Love Elder Christian Lehr