Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A few pics from today 4/29/14

Zone Meeting apparently during Elder Lehr's "rough week." Included are: Elder Lehr, Elder McDonald, Elder Allen T., Elder Rogers, Elder Koopmans, Elder ??, Elder Orchard, In back: Elder Sumrak (AP), Elder Stanford (AP), Elder Kvist and Elder Hamilton

I asked Elder Kanzler to give Elder Lehr a hug from his mom the next time he saw him. Looks like Elder Lehr got my message. Definitely a different expression from the other picture. :) Thank you so much, Elder Kanzler!

Pray As Though Everything Depends on God and Work Like Everything Depends on You

Another Week in Africa - 4/29/14

This week has actually been pretty rough but there were some good things that happened.
Goods: So Fanta Amara is going to get baptized on May 3 so this Saturday :) I am so happy. Her husband is going to come from Makeni to baptize her and it will be so awesome! Also we have found a few more families to teach.

Spiritual goods: We also had a District Meeting and I was giving the instruction and I was inspired to talk about teaching families and how the best way is simply to keep the Spirit with you always and you can do that by keeping the commandments and through preparation. Also one thing that struck me was keeping our hearts pure. I was thinking about what this meant and I was thinking on what is our purpose in visiting these people. Is it to have a lesson or to fill up the time in the day or is it actually to help them come unto Christ? I feel like as I try to do this I will have an increased love for these people and that I will be worthy of the companionship of the Spirit. I just gotta make sure that my intent is pure.
Rough times: So I really understand why even in Africa they call Sierra Leone the 2 year campout. Thankfully we have had water most of the week though, and we have had electricity but the electricity is so weak it can barely turn on a lightbulb let alone a fan. haha But it's not bad. Also we ran out of cooking gas so for the past 2 days we have been cooking on a coal pot outside which really feels like a campout. haha It's fun though. Honestly this week I was actually feeling kinda down which rarely ever happens but I was feeling old and tired. Kinda like I was after working asphalt. But I am feeling better.
Blessings/Cockroaches: So we were pretty much broke this week haha. Literally I had 2000 leones which is equal to 50 cents and that was all. Pretty much to get me to the bank and back haha. But the Lord provided for us yesterday and even though we had no money for food we were provided for and some members had us eat with them. It was nice. Also we found a new bug spray that actually KILLS cockroaches! So my companion and I massacred about 200 cockroaches in our desks and another 200 in the bedframes. HAHAHA. I was actually starting to lose my patience with these cockroaches being in the apartment for almost 3 months now. But we are slaughtering them. It feels nice to be able to study and not have cockroaches crawl up my arm or leg or on my scriptures. I'm still scared to go into the kitchen at night but we will clean that...eventually... so we have 400 killed and about 2000-3000 more to go. And I honestly believe I'm not exaggerating. We also found a good trap is to have a water bottle halfway full of water and then about 50 cockroaches will drown themselves overnight. So this is our trapping method.
We have had to drop a lot of our investigators like Gbrilla and his family because they keep bouncing us and they are not interested anymore which is sad but the Lord will provide for us. We just gotta get on our knees and ask. I love a quote that says "Pray as though everything depends on God and work like everything depends on you." I feel like that's a good motto for me. Anyway love you all soo much.
Love Elder Christian Lehr

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sweet Week - 4/21/14

So this week was really fun. I'll start with the fun exchange. 

Exchange: So on Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Koopmans up Looking Town Mountain and we got bounced ALL day. Literally we went up and down the mountain 3 times and man I was sooo tired. It was really fun though. I really enjoyed the hike haha. We planned for 8 lessons and eventually got 2 haha. Though, he showed me 4 sweet referrals that were his investigators but we found out that they lived in my area. So that's sweet. 

People: Well we have not had to contact for the past 3 months. Literally we got so many referrals it's crazy. We literally have about 50 people that we can go see, no joke. Also we have this funny old man in the branch who wants us to teach about 10 children that are 6-10 years old. And the thing is he doesn't even live with them. And the sad thing is they are orphans so they don't have a family to teach. So President Ostler probably won't want us to teach them because the chance of them going less active is too high and they simply won't really understand. I think the best thing for them is just to continue going to church and then when they get a firm testimony of their own they can be baptized. We just are trying really hard to focus on families and people who can be potential leaders of the church since that is what is lacking here. 

Baptism: So Lucy, Paul, and James were all baptized on Saturday :) I was so happy! They are all so great. The internet is pretty slow so I can't send the pictures today but I'll try later. The spirit was so strong there and it was sweet. Also Hubert and everyone is still really active and great. 

Blessing: So I found out that we can get chocolate chip cookies here (knock off brand of the knock off brand of Chips Ahoy). And man they are SOOO good. I'm so getting them. Such a blessing. Sadly when we went to get root beer they were sold out. So yeah. OH and probably the best blessing of all is that Fanta Amara, the lady who's husband is a return missionary finally received her answer and knows the church is true. 

Famies (not sure if this is a typo or Krio): So we have about 4 new families that we are teaching and they are very receptive. Families are a lot harder to teach than individuals but the reward is so great. I think that families are harder because Satan really tries his best to destroy the families. But man the reward is sweet. 

Easter: So it was pretty much a normal Sunday except that almost none of our investigators came to church because they went to their own church for Easter, which is understandable. I'm not angry at that. But we also have a club/reception center that every night and morning blasts music. haha That's one thing that I think is so funny about Sierra Leone is that they LOVE music. Literally around our apartment there are about 4 places where people just set up giant speakers and dance all night long. And of course it happened a lot on Easter because these people like to celebrate anything they can. 

Funny stuff in Sierra Leone: Well pretty much every traffic law possible is broken here every day. It is really fun just to look out the veranda and watch the horrible driving. haha It's so much fun. Another fun thing about that is watching buses drive by and literally everyone in the bus stares at me. haha It's so funny. ahh It's fun. Another funny thing was there were some little girls who wanted to come into our apartment. So to get them away I just got a cockroach and said "you want it?" haha that scared them away. And it was even an albino cockroach. (Sounds like he still has a bit of  "trolling" in him) Today I also saw a legit white girl which never happens. I was like, "WHITE GIRL!" It was funny. 

Well this is this week. We were supposed to go to the beach for super P-day but that is being pushed to May 5. So that will be fun :) 

I love you all so much and also really enjoy it here :) 

Elder Christian Lehr

Life in SaLone - 4/14/14

So pretty much I got the most amazing news today. Ebola has not yet spread to Sierra Leone so we are now allowed to shake hands again and eat hot food off the street, only hot food. So I can eat at Amigo's but I still can't get ice cream there. Anyway I am so happy! AAHHH You don't know how hard it was not to shake people's hands. I love fist bumps but I have to say I got tired of it after awhile. I mean I feel like as a missionary I should be shaking hands rather than fist bumping. But now I can do both :)
Crazy news: So there was another Elder in Bo that got sent home for some reason (medical) and so Elder Crandall had an emergency transfer to Bo in Sewa Road. haha He went from the 2nd worst to the worst apartment in the mission. While I came from Sewa Road and am moving up in the world haha. So now the apartment went from 10 Elders to 4.
Funny stuff: Well there is tons of funny stuff here. I mean guys wearing cheerleader outfits, motorcyclists wear their helmets on backwards, though this week we saw guys literally pulling a small house/shack on a dollie down the street. Honestly Sierra Leone is sooo funny. Man some people do the strangest things. If I ever feel down (which pretty much never happens) I can just look outside and find something to laugh about. Whether it's things people do or an army of dogs fighting each other or anything. This place is hilarious. You just gotta look for it.
Sweet stuff: So we have 3 people being baptized this week. Lucy, Paul, and James. It is soo sweet. and also we have helped reactivate about 5 people now.
The greatest thing that ever happened: So at the branch coordination meeting Elder Allen T. brought me an Ice Cold Root Beer. I really felt my eyes watering. That was the greatest moment of my life this week. I have been missing root beer soo much and now I find out that there is a place where we can buy it. And it's not some cheap Salone knockoff but it is legit American Root Beer. Yup greatest thing EVER.
People: Fanta is still doing good, Reverend Moses we havent been able to see him at all, Ibraham hasn't been coming to church but he is reading his Book of Mormon awesomely.
Cool/sad story: So there is this lady named Fanta (different Fanta) and we came just to greet them and then her son asked me "Why are you even here? Latter days is a cult and worships the devil and I don't want you guys to come again." So I bore my testimony. We agreed not to come again. But when I bore my testimony I felt a burning in my bosom. I felt the spirit literally overcome my body and I guess that's kinda the feeling that Nephi had when he spoke to his brothers. It was my first time feeling that. I feel like they won't come around and I'm sad that my testimony will probably have to stand as a witness against them at the last day but it confirmed upon me an even stronger testimony that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God and that the Book of Mormon is true. I know it!
Well apparently we were super close to getting a new apartment but we couldn't. So it looks like I get to continue to enjoy the cockroach war :) But I have actually pretty much given up on killing cockroaches since there are thousands of cockroaches and the only way to kill them is with fire. And that won't work on the cockroaches infested on the furniture. So I guess I’ll endure. But I'm happy. I just really really need like a 3 week nap. Just time to hibernate. Oh and I got your letter mom and Grandma :) Still no packages though. It's been almost 5 months since you sent the one with the speaker haha. Still hasn't come. Whatever.
Love you all so much
Elder Christian Lehr

One More Crazy Week - 4/7/14

So the new apartment for the Upgun Elders wasn't ready in time for transfer so we had 10 missionaries here in the Kissy "Dungeon" for this last week. Which is really fun when we have little water and only one bathroom haha. But it really was soo much fun. Ok time to get the email organized.
Tender Mercies: So since we can no longer buy bread or really eat anything here and we had 10 Elders in this apartment, the Kanzlers bought each companionship a loaf of sliced bread from a super-market in Freetown West. I just about cried when I saw sliced bread. It was so delicious and amazing. Also Mama Jay the awesome old Lebanese woman who had the hookups with everything now has the hookups with white oats so I can now at least enjoy oatmeal (even though we have no brown sugar or milk). And she has some chocolate granola bars, and some really wannabe peanut butter..but still. I now enjoy everything that the Lord sends my way.
Sadly: The day after we received the bread I got sick with runny-tummy. I think it was because Elder McDonald and Elder Akponomoh cooked some weird sauce with either cooked cat or chicken gizzards or both. Anyway I wasn't able to enjoy the bread too much :( Also it made it so I couldn't work at all on Saturday.
Really sweet stuff: So we had branch conference yesterday since we won't be able to watch General Conference for about another month but anyway there are usually about 110 people who attend church every week but yesterday there was 170. Literally members brought about 12 new investigators for us. We are getting so many referrals and people to teach that we can't even keep up with it. I haven't had to go finding new investigators for the past 2 months it has been great. Even though we are living in some of the worst circumstances we have been blessed with so many wonderful people and I love it here.
Funny thing: So my companion Elder Ravia is sooo sweet. He is an awesome Elder from Fiji. Anyway he is super chill and funny. Well we were teaching Lucy and Victoria and they wanted us to help them learn some hymns. So we sang with them for a while and my companion is like, "Let's sing #340 (The Star Spangled Banner)." Man it was so funny to me. I was all like "YEAH AMERICA" haha. Anyway it was fun.
More sweet things: So regarding one of our investigators, Fanta Amara, her husband is a return missionary and he joined us for a lesson and it was really sweet. Fanta says that when she is ready to be baptized she wants to be married in the temple with her husband. Also Hubert and Alikay were baptized. It was such a sweet experience.

Well that's about all for this week. I really enjoy it here. I think another blessing that we have here is that we have more missionaries in an apartment so we have lots of fun with more people. It is sweet. Oh and don't worry mom even though I got sick I am still not super skinny :)

Love you all so much
Elder Christian Lehr  

P.S. So also we had a challenge to remember all 151 pokemon and I totally did it. Man it was sweet. Just had to throw that out there. Then we all made our team of 6 out of the origional pokemon.

Ebola, Transfers and Cockroaches - 3/31/14

Pretty sure this is Elder Lehr's district in Kissy just before transfers. Elder Chemhuru, Sister Missionaries, Elder Simmons (with the hat), Elder Crandall, Elder Lehr & Elder Allen T. (both standing) which means Elder Koopmans is behind the camera. (picture courtesy of Elder Simmons)

This week has been absolutely nuts. Transfers, the massacre of 500 cockroaches (still only about 1/6 of the cockroaches here), and a crazy disease called Ebola that is super deadly and contagious that is going rampant in West Africa. Ok so to keep it organized:
News: My area got split into 3 new areas since it was so big. And my new companion is Elder Ravia, a sweet Elder from Figi. Elder Allen T. is going to one of the new areas that were split from my area.
Ebola: So this crazy disease has just come to Sierra Leone on the borders. So to protect us let's just say we have to live up to a completely new standard. Basically we are forbidden to shake hands, give priesthood blessings to anyone (who is sick) but missionaries, We can't eat anything unless it is professionally packaged or we cook it ourselves which is really difficult here in Freetown East since there are no super markets or anything, We pretty much  just have to get like animal crackers for lunch haha. And we can't have any meals from members or anyone. Sadly that means no more Ice cream at Amigos. :( I loved that. Even though it was really poor quality ice cream it is one of the few enjoyments we have as far as food goes.There are a lot of other rules we now have to follow but don't worry we have the promise that if we keep the commandments we won't need to worry about this Ebola. I'll still be safe. :) It's just really really difficult not to shake hands and to keep all of these new crazy rules. 
Miracles: Our investigator Ibraham had us teach his entire family and they are all interested. He wasn't able to come to church this week but he had his 3 daughters come to church and they were welcomed very well and really want to come into the gospel.
Funny stuff: So about the massacre of the 500 cockroaches. So we moved a table in the kitchen and the entire wall was covered in cockroaches. So as any young man would do we got bug spray and a match and BURNED THEM!! Muahaha those little suckers hehe. But still they aren't even close to wiped out. But man it made me feel good to burn those little %^$#^^$#%^# haha.
Fun day: This week we had a party for Elder Despain and Elder Turner who are going home tomorrow. We played Uno and made peanut butter cookies and just partied. Man it was so much fun.
Investigators: So Lucy, Paul, Fanta Amara, James, and man there are soo many people here I can't name them all. Anyway our investigators are doing awesome. The one sad thing is that one of our investigators and his family aren't keeping any commitments so we will still try to see what we can do for them.
This week has been absolutely crazy and hard but it's been so worth it. I love the people here. Their salvation is worth way more to me than all of these challenges here. I don't care if I have to eat crackers to live my whole mission or having to sweat myself to sleep or any of these challenges. I simply love the people here.
Oh and I got your letters mom. Thanks so much.  Well I love you all so very much.
Love Elder Christian Lehr
Freetown East Zone before transfers (Thanks to Sis. Kanzler for the "snap")