Wednesday, July 30, 2014

this week. (clever title i know) - 7/30/14

Elder Kanzler and Elder Lehr

4 Zone Conference with Elder Vinson, visiting authority..Elder Lehr is in the back

So honestly this week has been pretty darn hard. There is so much stuff that needs to be done and I just don't have the strength or time to do it all. But I'm doing my best. This week we really had a lot of bounces and lots of problems in the district. 

Investigators: Well Bro J and Harold are our most progressing investigators. Even though they were not able to come to church this week. They are really good.  Bro J has soo much faith. It was a miracle. When we taught him about fasting he asked if he could fast so that he could get his sight back. We said yes and so he was fasting and within a week his nephew came and paid for him to get his eyes checked by the doctor and now his family is also more willing to help. The Lord really is answering his prayers. It is awesome. If he never had his sight problems he would have never came back to Sierra Leone and would have never met us. But now that he has accepted the truth the Lord is providing for him to be able to get the surgery required to restore his sight. Once he does that just give him 2 years and he will be a Bishop. I'm just saying he is that kind of kingdom builder. 

District: Well pretty much everyone is just trunky for transfer news. Everyone in our apartment wants to leave pretty much and the sisters have been having some major problems. Like one of them left her companion and went up the mountain alone after dark. Ughh I don't know I'm just kind of tired of here (this area). I love the branch and the members a lot I have just been here a long time. I kinda just wanna go back to junior companion and live that awesome life. But I am trying my best to make peace in our district. I'm just glad I have Elder Koopmans and Elder Loketi. 

Rain: One thing that was kind of cool is that this morning we didn't really have to fetch water because it was raining so hard. It was fun to wash with rain water. I just put a bucket outside. Wait 5 minutes and its full. So awesome. I love rain sooo much. It's so peaceful and relaxing to me. I don't know which one I love more rain or snow. 

Ebola: So ebola has reached Freetown so now we are back to the "law of moses." Meaning really strict commandments. For example no more shaking hands at all which is really hard to do. I'm keeping it but it takes a conscious effort. But don't worry about Ebola. The Lord is bound when we do what he says so as long as I am being exactly obedient I have no need to fear. And our preventive measures are adequate.

Awesome Zone conference: So a few things. I was actually able to see Elder Hovley one last time which was awesome. And we had Elder Vinson there. He is in the second quorum of the seventy. It was so powerful. He explained how Jesus taught the entire plan of salvation in the new testament which was mind blowing. I was just like "I didn't know anything. The heavens are being opened up before my eyes." haha It was awesome. And he bore such a powerful testimony. I never got to shake his hand since we can't do that anymore but that was awesome. I felt really inspired. 

Well I'm sorry if this email was a little more down than usual. We just had a lot of investigators that we dropped and bounces and issues. But I am truly grateful for my companion. He has had a hard life and is strong. I have learned so much from him. It's interesting the African companions are always the hardest to relate to but the ones that help me grow the most. 

Anyway I love you all. Thanks for your love and support. 

Love Elder Lehr :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Work..lots and lots of work - 7/21/14

Well a quick summary to this week is...well work...lots and lots of work. And it rained almost everyday which is sweet. :) I love the rain. I just can't wait for the 7 day rain that happens here. :) Ok so to start. 

Apartment: Well we have water every night but it is really annoying and troublesome because we have to carry the water up the stairs and fill up buckets and to get enough water to last 1-2 days it takes about an hour or two and we all just wanna sleep when we get back so water is still kind of an issue. But at least we have some water. I have only seen about 10 cockroaches this week and don't worry they are all dead. I made sure of that. Other than that right in front of our apartment is a REALLY loud music place that plays music all day and also right next to them is a muslim man that connects his prayer thing to this giant speaker which is really loud and makes it hard to study. But whatever. At least the apartment is pretty good.

Investigators: We are again pretty much dropping quite a few investigators. But we had 4 investigators come to church and they are all very solid and have fellowshippers. Bro. J is really progressing and is just awesome. He has completely left drinking and marijuana and has reduced his smoking a lot. He really wants to be baptized. And also he is so humble. He has realized that in this great time of tribulation for him God is strengthening him and guiding him. Harold is soooooo funny and is really progressing. He is reading all of his assignments and taking notes. He is always at church and participates. Hahaha one funny quote that I really like from him is "A chapter a day keeps the Devil away." which is so true and awesome. Also Stella is progressing really well.

Members: We have really been working with members recently. We are working with the branch missionaries everyday and also the fellowshippers for our investigators so we had about 12 member present lessons last week and we are trying for 20 next week. I love the members they are so sweet and really want to learn as well. 

Cake: I baked a cake and added some hot chocolate mix to try to make a chocolate cake and it actually worked pretty well. Also we celebrated Elder Chola's birthday on Saturday at Amigos which was really fun. 

Spiritual thought: So something interesting I learned is how much Joseph of Egypt typifies Christ. Joseph was the favored of his father, so was Christ, he was sold by Judah for 20 pieces of silver which was the slave price at that time, Christ was sold by Judas which actually I think is Greek for Judah for 30 pieces of silver which was the slave price at that time, Joseph eventually delivered Israel from the famine, Jesus delivered us all from death and sin if we follow him. Joseph eventually became a ruler and all knees bowed to him, Jesus is the king of kings and every knee will bow to him at his coming. It is so interesting to see this and compare the two. Just an interesting thought. 

Love Elder Lehr

Monday, July 14, 2014

The rains came down - 7/14/14

This has been a nice very very exciting week. I think I will start with the apartment news and sweet miracles that go along with it.

Thursday: It was a nice peaceful morning in our cockroach dungeon when suddenly I get a phone call from the Kanzlers saying "Do you have the key to the new apartment? Bishop Marcus is picking you up in 2 hours." So we quickly packed everything up and bought about 10 cans of bug spray and evacuated the apartment. AHH I have never seen so many cockroaches in my life. thousands and thousands. We spent almost the entire day lifting furniture (after intense spraying) to the car and moving. It took all day and was sooo tiring and yeah. I have not felt so tired since I had a 15 hour shift working Asphalt. We get to the new apartment and we have no water and no light and no light bulbs. And our generator was too big to fit. So we went on candle light. Thankfully we have a generator that fits now and light bulbs. 

Miracles: So along with all the moving it truly is a miracle we are still alive and have not gotten sick. Especially since I have been in the dungeon for 5 months. The cockroaches were living INSIDE the water filter. They are waterproof! They are crazy. So basically the water filter hasn't been doing much and we have been drinking cockroach water for the past 5 months. It truly is a miracle that I am still healthy and alive. Also I'm so grateful that we have water. We have to go down and carry buckets up to the apartment for water and we can only do that from 8pm to 2am. But we have water which is such an awesome blessing. 

District: There has been some changes in the mission. Actually we heard the wrong news and L5 (lesson 5) is to be taught by the missionaries now. So its sweet we are basically training ourselves on how to effectively do this. Also the district is a lot happier. I am getting a long very well with the sisters and with the elders here. I think one thing that really helped was now we are doing evening prayers as a district and spending about 10 minutes of just miracles of the day. It is still a LOT of work but its good. I feel a lot less stressed since there is more happiness here. 

Investigators: We had a pretty serious lesson with Bro J. He is having a problem with smoking because of his depression and his idleness. He really just needs something to do in the day. And the family problems are just getting worse. The gospel really is his only hope. We are still working really hard to help him and are even trying to invite him to proselyte with us small so he can learn and also share his talents. But most importantly be productive. Harold is awesome haha He is soooo funny. But he is doing really good. He has been coming to church early and is really participating. Stella is doing pretty good. Lucy has been coming back to church. It was scary because she was going less active a bit. Also we have one investigator named Fatima. She is from Milan, Italy. haha She was talking about how it was hard for her to adapt to the food here because she was so used to pasta, lasagna, and pizza. And I was like no you can't do that to me haha. Oh it will be good to enjoy sweet sweet food. 

Spiritual thought: So I have been reading Jesus the Christ and I am almost finished. I was really thinking about how voluntary Christ's death was. He could have easily chosen to die even right after the garden or at anytime. It probably was a temptation just to die and return to his father where there was no suffering. But he truly endured to the end for us. He is the greatest example of enduring to the end. I was just reflecting on how sometimes I think of how hard this mission is and how easy it would be just to give up and eat cake and go back to my blissful family. But that is not the Father's will right now. I need to endure to the end so I can bless the lives of others and in turn God will bless me. So that's my small thought.

Love Elder Christian Lehr

oh I forgot to add the reason for the title. Yesterday it was raining SOOOO hard. IT was interesting I literally just saw a wall of water moving at me. I love the rain it's soooo sweet. So yeah that's that.

(Note from Mom: Thanks to all who pray for the missionaries. I know that all those prayers help keep them safe and able to continue to do the Lord's work.)

Monday, July 7, 2014

We are staying! for now.... 7/7/14

So I guess to ask if we have moved to our new apartment yet I'll answer that question. The answer is no and I'll say why.

Why are we staying in the cockroach dungeon?: Well we were supposed to move to our new apartment today but there are some crazy things that happened. First is that Ebola (remember that super deadly disease) reached Sierra Leone last month and has now reached Kenema. So now Kenema is closed so they are doing some emergency transfers. And because of this we have postponed the moving into the new apartment. I don't know when we will move but it's not bad. I mean I've been in this apartment for 5 months so what's another few weeks to me. But you don't really have to worry about the ebola too much. We have taken some very high precautions and we are safe as long as we are obedient. 

Investigators: Well sadly we have found out that Rev. Moses was really only into the church to try and get money. And now that he has had his surgery and knows that the church won't pay him if he joins he doesn't really want anything to do with the church now. It's really sad but it's his choice. As for the good news. We talked to Bro. J's wife and for now she really just wants time but she seems pretty interested and there is hope for their marriage to be saved. It will just take time. Also one of our investigators (our rasta man) came to church early and is really trying to prepare to be baptized. He said he has left the jamba (marijuana) but we are still making sure that he has completely left it. We have also found about 4 new families to teach. We only had 2 investigators attend church but we had 10 recent converts so that's really good. 

Donald: Sweet sweet news. So he said that his wife in Maryland has gotten in contact with the missionaries so that is a great potential Eternal family :) That makes me sooo happy. 

Also there is a change in the requirements for baptism. Now investigators need to be taught lesson 5 before baptism and it's not to be done by the missionaries. In other words if the branch missionaries don't do their job our investigators will not be baptized. So we are working on teaching branch missionaries how to teach lesson 5. (In the next week's email Elder Lehr mentions that they were misinformed regarding who would be teaching lesson 5. The full-time missionaries are still teaching it but prior to baptism instead of after.) Also mission president has set a standard of excellence of 25 lessons each week. Which is realistic and helps make us stretch. Especially as we are trying to teach families. 

Interesting thoughts: Basically just some small statistics here in Kissy 1 branch. There are about 500 members. About 100 are active and we have about 20 investigators (as a branch) come to church every week. So it's really interesting to think about why they are less active. And to me it all basically went down to the basic 3 things in PMG that it says. A lot of them never had a friend who supported them. A lot of them never were prepared to receive a calling. And a lot of them were baptized with only a desire but without a testimony. So basically here I have realized that if I really wanted to I could baptize over 100 people here. But maybe 10 would remain active. Or I could really focus my efforts on those who have been prepared to receive the gospel. Those who really would magnify a calling. Those who have a strong testimony and would stay even when the missionaries go. Those who are willing to be a friend to others. These are the people that I am trying to focus on. It's not easy but it's the Lord's way. 

I love you all so much
Love Elder Christian Lehr