Monday, January 6, 2014

Update Jan 2 in Provo MTC

Haha! It is so great to hear the many wonderful things that are happening while I am away from home. Now let me tell you about some of the things I have experienced :)

First things first... Elder Munanira and I are now officially Zone Leaders. Elder Munanira is the District leader as well, and then I am the Senior companion. Ya guess what....Right as we got assignments to be zone leader the unthinkable happened....the next day all Rahtsy (meaning bad or wickedness/ Probably spelled wrong) broke loose. So much drama happened on Monday it was kind of ridiculous. I felt totally inadequate to be a zone leader, and was just praying for my zone because I love them so much, and it hurt to see some of them wounded from unkind words and miscommunication. They then asked if they could have a "pow wow" of sorts so that they could talk about what happened. I about leaped for joy at this. I felt that this would be a perfect healing opportunity. So they talked for about an hour, and then at the end of the day...I took 2 Elders aside who were on opposite ends of the drama, and just walked and talked to them. As we were talking i had one of the coolest impressions come to me. I had the thought that Elder Munanira and I were called to be zone leaders because instead of just "counseling these elders" we would be able to "Listen and Love them" and that was one of the reasons we had been called at this time as zone leaders. It was a really cool feeling to have as I listened to their stories and how they were doing.

Yesterday President Parish came and talked to all the elders in our zone, and kind of chastised us about some of our conduct. It was absolutely amazing! Even though we felt a little bit like Coriantpn in the Book of Mormon when Alma is talking to him....The love that each of us felt in that room was almost palpable. It was the perfect example to us of D&C 121:43-45. I believe that the experience we had during that meeting will be a foundation and turning point for some of these elders. We will all remember this experience during our mission and for after the mission when some of us are called into leadership positions. 

I am so grateful for my branch presidency and the example they have set for me. They and the MTC Presidency are my heroes, and are the perfect example of who I want to emulate because they are so Christlike in their actions thoughts and spirit.

ENY ARY! So Elder Munanira and I have also had the great opportunity to visit with Claudia. She is a native of Madagaskara, and speaks English, French and Malagasy. She talks SO FAST! But she is so kind. We met her during TRC Last week, but saw her yesterday during dinner. We talked to her for a long time, and have even set time today to pick her up and go to dinner together. She is THE BEST! She has inspired me to attempt a poem in Malagasy....WHICH IS SO HARD BTW! But I am very very excited for it. :)

Today as we were getting our suits dry cleaned we saw Elder Kocherhans! He and his companion are studs. He is doing very well and I am very excited to try and get him and Elder Steele together. He leaves January 13th, which is absolutely crazy! He looks very excited to go, and I am very happy to see that he is doing ok. :)

Btw I forgot my camera again today, but I got the package, and will attempt to get pictures probably next time....yes I am a slacker.... I am trying to work on it.

The Malagasy is coming very well. It's kind of hard to remember all the verbs, but it's also crazy how some of the words will come right when I need them. We are experiencing the Gift of tongues little by little. In fact I will just share a little testimony in Malagasy for ya.

Fantatro fa Tia'Atra antsika, sy Fantatro Fa Vavaka no fomba amalian'Atra antsika.
Fantatro fa marina ny mpaminany i Joseph smith. Fantatro fa Fitiavana no antony ahazoantskia ny Fanahy Masina. Tiako ny Fianakaviako sy Tiako ny mpamonjeko dia Jesoa Kristy. Amin'ny Anaran'i Jesoa Kristy Amen.

I love you all, and hope that you have had a very great Toana Voavoa. (New Year)
Thank you all for the letters and packages! They truly brighten my spirits more then you could ever know. I wish that I had time to write to each of you, but sadly I do not. Thank you so so much for your support and love. Remember that we can endure to the end today....through the atonement of Jesus Christ. He will give us the strength TODAY to keep our covenants. I know he loves us. I know he died for us. I love him.

-Love Elder Lehr

P.S. So today I tried to write my poem in Malagasy, and dang it is really hard. It's not very long, but I have to create an image more than just rhyme or use rhythm. It's been an enjoyable thing to try to do. I love writing poems.
I told Noelle but on Tuesday we got to have Elder Stanley Ellis come and speak to us. He is amazing. He showed us the movie SCROOGE and I was like YES!!!!!!!! That in and of itself made the MTC worthwhile to come to during this time of the year. From Scrooge he talked about the 2 types of repentance that we can have.
1st Mandatory repentance.
2nd. Voluntary Repentance.
Mandatory is a "If you don't repent you are going to hell"
Voluntary is like Scrooge where he says "I will not be the man I was. I will take the time that I have left to live, and then give all that I have left to give."
By following Scrooge's example we can most definitely have the Spirit of the Lord with us to help us become better. One of the problems that we have as a culture is that we make goals and try to do them, fail, but then we think that it was not worth it to have even tried. That is the problem. It is better that we try to be better than not trying at all. It's part of the process to fail and then get back up. We in essence try to be a little bit better today than yesterday. "I will not be the man I was yesterday."
It was a really powerful message that was given. I am excited to go to Madagascar.
-Love Elder Lehr
Elder Kocherhans and Elder Lehr

Day After Christmas in MTC - 12/26/13

Wow! I am so glad you enjoyed the poem, and that things are looking so well for Christian. Yesterday I really, really wish Christian could have been here. We had Elder Bednar come and speak to us, and that was one of the coolest devotionals ever! He gave about a 2 minute thought on how we are agents to act, not to be acted upon. Basically, like a tissue box has no ability to act, the only way it can move is by some other force acting upon it. Thus it is an object. We are not objects but have been given the ability to act. Then Elder Bednar gave out 200 cell phones for all the missionaries to text him questions. It was really scary as he said "Now don't you DARE CALL HOME!!! If you do I will HUNT YOU DOWN AND DO BAD THINGS TO YOU!" When he said this, our entire zone was like "I'll pass on the phone....I don't want to die..." It was awesome. He also said that every question was good. The best questions are those that are inspired which have the 3 following characteristics: 1. person 2. Time 3. place. For example a good question is "Where is the sword of Laban?" Answer: "I don't know and I don't care." Inspired question: As an apostle of the Lord, what does it mean to be an especial witness of the name of Jesus Christ, and being a witness of Jesus Christ? 
It was an amazing meeting that was full of the spirit. After Elder Bednar we had Brother Ray Smith? Oh gosh I can't remember his name right now, but the saxophone player that Brooks was taking private lessons from. He is in a branch presidency here, and so he played for about an hour to an hour and a half of jazz and peaceful christmas music. Christian would have LOVED IT! 
It also hit me today that The Lord really knows our needs. When my assignment got changed from French to Malagasy, I went from going to the Ghana MTC to going to the Provo MTC. As it so happens, I see that the Lord has been able to make me an instrument in his hand within the walls of my own zone. Truly we have all bonded so beautifully together. We love each other, Help each other, and I feel that we all compliment each other. I love each of them so much. Not in any prideful way, I feel that the Lord knew that I could use the gift that I have been given of loving people, and has used that for the people of my zone/branch. Its been so beautiful to watch each of us grow, and our Christlike attributes increase as well. The Lord has truly blessed me.
One other quick thing that Elder Bednar talked about was that each of us were CALLED to be FULL TIME MISSIONARIES. We were NOT CALLED to an assigned area.Thus we are not CALLED TO MADAGASCAR, or LATVIA, or Michigan, or UTAH, but are called to be servants of the Lord. We are called to bear the name of Jesus Christ, and to have power in that calling. Being called to be a full time missionary is infinitely more powerful than being called to an exotic or relatively close place.
Also, I don't think i talked about Jen's baptism yesterday since I did not have any time, but THAT IS SO COOL! Again as a missionary my eyes have been more opened to the blessings that are being bestowed upon my family as my brother and I are serving him. I am SO HAPPY for Jen and David and have been praying for them.
I hope Grandpa is doing well in this cold because I know that my companion has been struggling with it. This type of cold has not been good for his African skin, but we had the doctors prescribe him some medicine for that so everything is going well there. 
OH! I got myself a christmas present today and got a hair cut! Just to let you know beforehand about the hair cut.....Yes mom you were right... I am going to have to get used to looking like the other missionaries in Sierra Leone. I will upload some pictures for you while I do my laundry later today.
Well I think thats about it.
Oh, Please tell Grandma that I am very grateful for her letter. And I saw Annelise Haderlie today at breakfast. It was good to see her. She works as one of the girls serving the food at BYU. So...ya. She said that she saw you a couple days ago which was pretty swag.

-Love Elder Lehr

Special treat for Elder Lehr to see his good friend, Brian Plummer at the MTC

Elder Lehr and Elder Russell

Christmas Day post

Elder Lehr's Christmas Gift to us - 12/25/13

Tratrany Krismasy!

Ok, since I only have 15 minutes right now to email. (That's what the First Presidency has allotted us. We had 20 min, but we were just a little late) I am going to try to give my Christmas gift to you.

1st: Let me tell you about the package you sent to us when you gave Elder Munanira the journal. When we came to class and he opened the package he was flipping through it, and saw the "Ordinances performed" section and all that other jazz. He then held it close to his chest and said, "I will thank them for this gift. I will only have Kinyarwanda in it. There shall be no English!" It was such a touching moment for me to see that. His humility and gratitude were beyond measure. That was a great gift he gave me.

2nd: Let me share a gift with you with the same gift you gave me. When I saw that you had given me a "Poem Journal" I wrote one down that night, and have been trying to do one every day. Some of these I have felt are too sacred to share, until I feel the Holy Ghost prompt me, but here is one that I wrote that I feel I can share, and that you will appreciate. I rewrote the words to "Prayer of the Children." I felt inspired to do so, and turned it into this poem:

The Prayer of a Missionary. (As you read, please think of the music of prayer to the children with it since that is how the timing of the rhythm is based on.)

Can you hear,
The Prayer of a Missionary?
Praying to God,
"Please give me Lord, thy love from above.

Can you feel,
The heart of a missionary?
Pleading for peace,
"Please let my faith in thee increase.

Crying, Jesus,
 "Help me! To feel the joy again,
Of one more day,
For when unknown roads lead away from home,
Only thee I see.

Can you sing,
The song of a missionary?
Inviting to Christ,
Breaks the darkness, and enters the light.

Can you feel
the change in a missionary?
Giving all to God,
Holding fast to the iron rod.

Crying ,Jesus!
Help me to teach with authority
by thy own mouth
For when doubts are cleared
I know you're near
Giving loving arms.

Will you join
with all of the missionaries!?
Giving all!
Now go and do your call.

There are some more versus, but I hope that will satisfy some of you for a bit. :)
Dang, Merry Christmas! Yesterday we watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas. Holy cow that was one of the best things I received! It was so amazing to see that, and to feel the love of that movie. Afterwards Elder Mitchel had some of his grandparents send him sugar cookies and frosting. So while another branch in our Residence hall was shooting nerf guns around the place.....we were happily making sugar cookies, and decorating them. Can I just say that I feel like my Christmas is amazing! I love the work here. I love growing and giving little bits and pieces of myself daily to Jesus. Sometimes its hard to let go, but I know that with him all things are possible. I love my branch, and I can't wait to email more tomorrow since I will actually have time.

Btw I saw Sarah Card yesterday. She works at the MTC. It was pretty swag. MERRY CHRISTMAS GRANDPA!! I love you all, and wish I was there with you, but know that I pray for you daily, and in all reality........Am glad that I am here instead of at home for Christmas. Its an amazing feeling. :)

Merry Christmas Lehr family,


Elder Lehr