Monday, June 30, 2014

Light at the end of the tunnel - 6/30/14

So there have been some pretty fun stuff happening this week. I'll start with the news

News: They just split Kissy zone but 2 weeks later they recombine it again. Elder Bogh and Elder Itomo are the new zone leaders. Elder Muthoni's new companion (Elder Lokpo) just got transferred to Freetown West after only being with him for 2 weeks. So his new, new companion is Elder Amosa. He is a brand new missionary from Australia. He is so sweet. Also for the best news of all. (Thus the title of this post) We found a new apartment and will be leaving next Monday! We get to leave this cockroach infested dungeon! I have been here for almost 5 months. I'm happy to leave. Also this Friday July 4th will make me 9 months on mission. Crazy. So a quick early happy 4th of July :) Oh and I'm still district leader over this big district of 10. At least I'm not zone leader over a zone of 40. haha

Baptism: So Mohamed B. got baptized. He is a sweet man. He is 29 and is really trying to help his wife come to the gospel. The baptism was sweet.

Investigators: Bro J. is so sweet. Its just he is going through a really really hard trial right now and is really depressed. Basically because of his eyesight problem he cant get work and his wife left him and his family doesn't want to help him and its really hard because his family is everything to him. The gospel is his only hope. We met his wife and set an appointment to teach her this Saturday. Also Donald brought another family to church this Sunday. Sister Esi and her children. It's so sweet. We had quite a lot of kingdom builders come to church this Sunday which was sweet. 

Crazy thing: So we have had pretty much no water this whole week. The Lord has somehow supplied us with just enough to wash dishes and cook and most of the time shower. But there with this water crisis there was a BIG fight in compound that the others were having. It wasn't until Mama Jay got up and broke up the fight. Mama Jay is the wassup with the wassup. 

Branch Activity: So the branch had a pretty questionable activity. The young women had a Miss LDS contest which isn't the best idea to me because this makes the young women who don't win lose there self esteem and causes lots of contention which is exactly what happened. Also in the activity there was VERY loud and worldly music and some pretty bad dancing as well. At least the food was nice. The Kanzlers had a nice chat with the leaders of the District about this haha. Oh also I got the express package on Saturday which was sooo sweet :) (He's really enjoying the blueberry pancake mix and his gummy candy.)

Spiritual Thought: Well one thing I have been reminded of is really the importance to smile. There is sometimes where I am so stressed with everything and so tired that I force a smile and eventually it becomes sincere and I am happy. Also often a smile is the best service you can give. People want to be happy. I have found as I smile through my challenges and also with members and other missionaries and just everyone it builds a good relationship like that. So smile :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Transfers and Examples - 6/23/14

So transfer news. It was pretty crazy so guess where I am now....I'm still here in the Kissy dungeon. In fact no one in our apartment moved...Again. haha At the end of this transfer that will mean I will have spent 6 months in the Kissy dungeon. (Elder Lehr and Elder Koopmans are real troopers for sticking it out with those cockroaches for so long) Well this week has been really fun so I'll talk now.

Miracles: So it was really sweet. We planned to see one of our investigators (who is being baptized this Saturday) but he was at work so then we were walking by and right as we passed a corner the spirit just said look to the left. So we looked and saw Donald our recent convert and he had a friend. They were just talking about us so he gave him to us as a referral and we had a sweet lesson. We were just about to go contacting anyway.

Referral: So his name is Alphius he is super sweet. He is in his 40's and has a full family. He was a teacher and he studied Theology and was actually qualified to be a pastor. But he rejected it because he kept going to different churches but none of them taught what was truly in the bible. He was searching for the truth. He has an eye disease so he can't read anymore but he is incredibly smart. He loves the message and is sooo interested in learning more. He is just simply a golden investigator with a family that the Lord lead us to. He even came to church 20 minutes early which NEVER happens in Sierra Leone. 

Also: We were about to go contacting when I get this phone call from Howa who is a 21 year old woman who came to church for 2 weeks but then went to Bo before we could teach her. So we taught her and she is sweet and knows the church is true. And guess what? Where she was in Bo was Yemoh Town, my previous area. And then I found out that Joseph Sandi (my recent convert) was her uncle and that's where she was staying in Bo. Man it's soo sweet. Anyway she came to church and we also got 2 more referrals that came to church that we are going to follow up on later this week. 

Well that's about all that happened this week. I get to enjoy the cockroaches again. haha We decided that there is probably like one giant mother of the horde cockroach that is living like inside the wall or something.

ok and for a spiritual thought.

Spiritual thought: Well this one will be about Examples. It's really interesting how many people watch you and observe your example especially when you are not aware of it. Also especially in a leadership position. People will always look up to you and if you aren't living the standards of the gospel then they will think of it as an excuse. But even better to focus on rather than when you don't live up to the standard is when you do. When you do it then people will be inspired and truly wish to change their life and their hearts. Everything will just work out all right. 

Love you all so much 
Love Elder Christian Lehr

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pics of Waterfall and Baptism


Elder Lehr and Elder McDonald

Super P-Day Hike to Grafton Waterfall "super fun"...and the highlight of the weekend was the baptism in Kissy of Bankole and Donald.

Sweet Sweet.... - 6/16/14

Oh this week has been fun and also today was really really crazy fun.
Baptism: So Donald and Bankole both got baptized on Saturday and it was sooo sweet. I got to baptize them. They are really awesome. They have such strong testimonies about the Book of Mormon.
Investigators: So our rasta man (one of our investigators) has been having a tuff time stopping jamba (marijuana in krio). So we have set quite a few plans for him. Also Moses STILL didn't get the surgery. So things should have been taken care of today so that he can get it. Also we are teaching one of the branch missionaries sisters named Mariama. She is really cool. She is really committed and loves the church. Stella has been really good as well. She asks some great questions. We are finally going to have to go contacting again. Whenever we plan to go contacting something comes up and we can't haha it's weird.
Zone Conference: So this week we had a zone conference and the main subject was on finding, teaching, and especially how to begin teaching kingdom builders and families. It was really good and I really felt the spirit.
Today: So today we had a super P-day and we went hiking up to the Grafton waterfall which was SOO awesome. I loved it so much. We literally hiked straight up the waterfall which was fun. I'll send some pictures.
Food: Well we haven't really been able to make anything really good since we haven't received our subsistence yet. I have been going off of 10000 leones for the past 4 days which is equal to about $2.50. I don't know how but it's worked. I just really don't want to use personal funds for this.
Well I love you all so much. I'll send some pictures now.
Love Elder Lehr

P.S. My companion is awesome. He LOVES Betelehemu. He has played that song like 30 times the past 2 days. He loves dancing to it. He is so sweet. I love that man. (That was one of our favorites to see the boys perform in A Capella choir. I'm sure Elder Gantse would love seeing the video version if he could.  So fun!)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Our Eyes, Ears and Hearts - 6/9/14

This week has been crazy as well so I'll start with the crazy news.
Crazy news: So on Tuesday we found out that Elder Ravia was getting Emergency transferred that same day and my new companion would be Elder Gantse from Ghana. I'll talk more about that later. So other crazy news is that Elder Bogh is getting transferred today even though it's only week 5 to Thunder Hill to prepare fore the Zone to get split since our zone is huge. So that's fun crazy news. Also I have still received no packages or letters....crazy huh. Hasn't it almost been 7 months since you sent that one package? yup still missing haha
My new companion: Elder Gantse is really cool. He has been on mission for 6 months and he has only been in the church for 5 years but he has such a strong testimony and is really bold. That's something that he has helped me with is I have a testimony it's just it is hard for me to be bold. I like to sit and watch. Also it was his birthday on Friday so I got to bake him a cake :)
Cooking: So I have been eating a lot better food than bread dipped in sweet milk. That was just depressing. Now I make pancakes every morning with a homemade syrup. I also have made the cornbread and off of that recipe learned how to bake a cake. I have to say it's pretty fun and good. We also found out where to get brown sugar! I'm so happy. I'll try some of the recipes you sent as well.
Investigators: So Reverend Moses is doing good and has been as active as he can and I am sooo happy because it has been confirmed that he will be able to have his surgery. That is sooo much stress relieved. Also Bankole and Donald are getting baptized this Saturday, They are both soo sweet and have such strong testimonies. They are both really mature men and are eager to share the gospel with their friends and family. Also the branch mission leader went to visit a lot of less actives and in the process found that one of the less active members had died and so he visited his family. The less active member who died's mom is named Isatu and is really willing to listen and come to the gospel. It is a great blessing to have found her. She even came to church before it started which almost never happens here. Here they do Africa time which means coming 30min-2hr late. Also Stella now has a good testimony and is really active and is coming to all the activities.
Things learned: Well we had a really sweet zone meeting where we talked about raising our commitment and the desires of our hearts. It was really good and spiritual. One thing that I learned is the often symbolism behind Eyes, Ears, and hearts in the scriptures. Eyes often refers to our perception. Ears refers to us hearkening or our obedience, And our hearts is our inner desires. It's who we are. Why we are doing things. That's why the Savior asks us to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Have a humble heart and be willing to change our desires to what God wants us to. It takes time. So that was one of my spiritual insights. I have seen that as I have really focused on my desires that it is easier to work harder, easier to love, easier to keep the commandments, and easier to be happy. It all starts with our desires then our thoughts then our actions. That is why repentance is also known as "a change of heart."
I love you all so much and it's really hard but I'm so happy. We are seeing so many blessings and fruit. Have a great week.
Love Elder Christian Lehr

Monday, June 2, 2014

A few Kissy pictures

Sunset in Kissy

Kissy storm a brewin'

Baptism in Kissy 1 Branch

Blessings - 6/2/14

This week has been pretty fun and full of even more good learning. I guess I'll start with the investigators.
Investigators: So Reverend Moses still hasn't had his surgery. So that's still been stressful. But he had a sweet experience. He really wanted to come to church on Sunday but he was in lots of pain. So he decided to pray. And as he prayed he received the strength to come to sacrament meeting and he bore a sweet testimony. Donald absolutely loved learning about the temples and how it all just makes sense. He finally got his fiancee's information. So we sent her as a referral to some missionaries in Maryland which is so awesome. Also we have Bankali who is a completely GOLDEN investigator.  He has read all the pamphlets and is reading his Book of Mormon and even pretty much recited back to us the first 6 chapters of the Book of Mormon. He has even attended 2 baptisms simply because he wanted to. Then when we visited him he just had such a strong testimony of tithing and fast offering that he asked us specifically how to pay it. Sadly on Sunday he got sick with a fever so he stayed home but even then he sent his fast offering and tithing with his friend. This is pretty much unheard of here people having that strong of a desire to pay tithing.
Fun food: So we have decided to try and get more creative with our food than just rice with a tomato and hot dog sauce. So we have been making some sort of pancakes, stew, alfredo sauce and it's been good. Also really sweet blessings Mama Jay sells Pop Tarts now and also Trail Mix granola bars. haha She has the weirdest stuff. Then the best part is mashed potatoes. Oh how I have missed that. Elder Koopmans and Elder Loketi shared some with me and ohohoho. So good.
Sad news: So remember that first apartment that I told you we found? So we were not able to get it. Then the Kanzlers were about to get another sweet apartment on Saturday but it's impossible to get water to it. So we are still stuck in this dungeon and the cockroaches are back in full force again. And now we also have a few rats which we have to take care of.
Scary story: So I was just sitting on the veranda enjoying watching the horrible traffic and enjoying the breeze when I look backwards and see a woman walking into our apartment...again... thankfully this one wasn't crazy just misled. But still it's really scary to just look back and see a woman in your apartment. haha So that was a fun adventure this week.
The rain storm: Oh yeah I forgot to tell you about the crazy rainstorm last week. My companion and I got into the apartment JUST in time before the rain came. Then we got our boots and umbrella's and worked. The rain was soooo crazy. The drain systems looked like muddy monsters coming out. It was soooo much fun though. Ahhh I love the rain. The problem with rain is that it makes me just wanna sit back and do nothing and just enjoy it. Maybe play Pokemon or something haha.
Spiritual thought: So one thing I have learned is that if I as a missionary am bored during the lesson so is the investigator. So I have learned that the gospel is just super exciting and I gotta help them know that. Honestly I haven't really learned some crazy new thing as much as now I am viewing things on a more eternal perspective. I mean I know the second coming is coming really soon and honestly this world is really really short. I get really happy and excited to know that all this pain and suffering is nothing compared to the joy that will come at the return of Christ. And even compared to the joy that comes from living the gospel now. I have to say that I am so glad I came on mission. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. But I fear that if I did not go I would not be prepared for an eternal family and for Christ to come. 

I love you all so much
Elder Lehr