Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Weekly Shpeel - 3/10/14

Elder Lehr and Elder Rasolofonirina with Peter and Jimmy

So to start things off, I had the wonderful honor of baptizing Peter today. He is a stud of a kid and it was such an amazing experience to baptize him. Haha Right now in the background they are playing the song "I had christmas down in Africa." It's kind of interesting since I am in Africa right now ;)
So this week we also had our first person ever tell us to not come anymore. He told us that he knew that eventually we would tell him that his baptism was not correct and so he didn't want to learn any more. It was kind of sad, but at the same time I had peace because I know that we did our best and that he still had his agency.
Also our new zone leader "Elder Mitchel" is probably one of the coolest people I have ever met. He kind of reminds me of Eddy Heaton, but more spunky, and then he is going into the marines. He is such a hoot. It has been such a blessing to have his light and joyful spirit in the home. Whenever you talk to him you just feel happy. That type of person is a jewel and a treasure to have.
Today Elder Rasolofonirina and I are going to Tana again so that we can get my Book of Mormon bound and to get some baptism records filled out for Jimmy and Peter.
Lastly, I think I am going to talk about our plans on getting more...Buff....So Elder Mitchel has been looking everywhere in our area for a good, cheap gym. We are going to be checking on a malagasy gym near the airport that is about 500 ariary a day to go to. From what I have been told, malagasy gyms use a lot of car parts and other junk to do their excercises. I am SO EXCITED for that! That's going to be way swag :)
Anyway I think that's all for now. But thank you for your prayers. It means so much and gives us the strength we need to go on.
The mission has been wonderful and hard. It's been worth every second.
Elder Lehr

A Tid Bit from Elder Lehr - 3/2/14

To all those interested in the Madagascar Mission adventures of Elder Spencer Lehr:

Elder Spencer Lehr didn’t really email this week.  He thought he would have time after they played football in the city.  But that didn’t work out.  He did chat with the family late Sunday night for a few minutes since he was on at 8 am his time.  Here is his side of the conversation so you can see how he is doing:

haha! It's about 8:20 right now, and we are playing soccer at 10:00 so that is why I am emailing early. Also thanks so much for your emails. I am so glad that I have you all as my family. So Elder Gunnell is leaving this Wednesday and I am trying to get a CD Burned that has some pictures for you all.

Elder Gunnell and Elder Lehr
This week has still been hard, but it's also been a really good week. I will tell you more in the email of generality....In fact I might only be able to write part of it and then after we get back from main Tana I will finish my writing to you all. Thanks so much for all that you wrote to me, it really has helped.

So we had Tahina and Fafa come to church yesterday!!! Sadly Bernard (Momie's husband) doesn't want to come to church anymore and we have had about 3 more Olanas (problems). This always happens after we are having a swag week!

Yes we are still teaching their family (the woman who was painting and said MANDROSO “Come In”). Tahina is the daughter of Monique. They are the best!! They gave me fresh vanilla beans from their plants for FREE!! Its enough to last me a year! I love them SO SO MUCH!! They are the best! Sadly Emmanuel yesterday was SO SO DRUNK. So we didn't end up teaching them :(

Nicole I am really sorry but we have to take a taxi to Tana right now. I will email you back personally when we get back. I love you all with all my heart, and you will all be asleep when I email you :)
It's funny how Christian and I have been having very similar experiences physicially except in a little bit different ways. Sometimes in the taxibe their is no room and so you just hang on to the back of the door and hope you don't fall off and die :)

The inside of the taxibe 
Not sure I'd want to be in the backseat of this taxibe
 And the language is coming amazing. Elder Rasolo was telling me that I am WAY far ahead and am better then a lot of missionaries that have been out 6 months :)
Anyway we are leaving now. Thanks for the CHAT! I love you all :)

Elder Rasolofonirina and Elder Lehr taking a "selfie" inside of a Taxibe
Then he finally got back and responded:
Ok so I don't have any time right now since we came back from soccer at around 4:00 and this is the slowest compy ever, but that is ok.

So soccer is SO MUCH fun with other missionaries. I love hanging with the other missionaries. I am doing a lot better emotionally and spiritually. Thanks for all of your prayers for the missionaries. They help so much!

So this Saturday Peter and Jimmy are getting baptized! Wahoo! That is going to be so much fun, and sadly at the same time there exists some problems with the ward. Again that is ok because I know that the Lord will help us overcome them.

Anyway I gave Elder Gunnell my SD card so that he can give you the pics. He will be coming home Wednesday (actually Friday).

Love you all. Sorry this is so short

Elder Lehr

Not Much Time and pics from the Crocodile/Lemur farm - 2/23/14

Right now I am going to have to be really short with this week's email since we are in fact going to the farm today and then we will be cleaning our bacteria infested apartment.
So this week has been awesome. We are planning on having Jimmy and Peter baptized on the 8th of Mars and so Jimmy will be meeting with President Lalary (?)....I think that's how you spell his name....and then they will be baptized! We taught Joana yesterday and she told us "So when can I be baptized?" We were like YEA! So we are planning for her to be baptized the week after conference. Also as we have been meeting with Patrick and his family, the kids play with us a lot and I think that is starting to soften the heart of Patrick's wife. I really pray and hope that she will want to hear the lessons and that she and Patrick can participate in the full blessings that Heavenly Father wants for him.
So we only had about 9 of our investigators come to church out of the 12 that we wanted but that is ok. They are all really diligent and feel the support of the Ward. The members truly make all the difference.
We had family home evening on Friday with Tina and Fafa which was one of the best experiences this week. I was really homesick on Friday, and it wasn't until we spent our family home evening with them that I was able to feel uplifted. They are so great, and it was a real blessing as they gave the spiritual thought and shared their love for the Savior. Also yesterday we spent about 2 hours with Emanuel and Vero. Emmanuel was drunk again so whenever we would try to speak he would just cut us off and bombard us with questions. It became really hard to teach them and Elder Rasolofonirina got pretty frustrated. But as we started to get close to talking about the Book of Mormon, I had a thought come into my mind that if I were to bear my testimony on the Book of Mormon then Heavenly Father would allow my words to be "carried to their hearts with force and power." It was a pretty crazy thought, but when the time came.. I opened my mouth and began by saying "That book is true." Once I said these words everyone stopped. And a peace and quiet came into the room. I told them that if they read the Book of Mormon and then ask God if it is true, then the Holy Ghost would tell them that it was true. If the Book of Mormon was true then Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus and then restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his true church. As I finished my testimony Elder Rasolo then bore his testimony. Emmanuel then tried to speak, but Vero cut him off saying "Emmanuel, don't you realize that all we have to do is read the book and ask God if it's true? Just read the book and God will tell you if it's right or wrong."
That was SO POWERFUL. Anyway I have to say my adieus right now but I will talk to you all later next week. Veloma!
Elder Lehr

Papa and Mama Crocodiles

Elder Lehr keeping a safe distance thankfully

So that's what a lemur looks like!

Elder Rasolofonirina feeding the lemur.
Elder Lehr giving the lemur some TLC apparently.

The Little Miracles - 2/17/14

This week has been amazing for me. In my every day activities I have been focusing on trying to see the small and simple things. I am a living witness that miracles do exist. These simple things have allowed me to be grateful for all that God has given me, and allows me to be full of the spirit when my natural self would say that I shouldn't be feeling that way.

Every day I get to see the Lord part a sea of trials of an investigator.
Every day I get to see the Lord touch the STONY hearts that people have, one by one, and see them become beacons of light to guide others toward the promised land.
Every day I get to see people raised from spiritual death, and be living testaments that Jesus Christ died for them, and that they are children of God.
Every day I get to see broken hearts mended and broken families...slowly become put together through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
How do I see such miracles every day? I see it when we have been teaching an investigator that has been struggling to know that the Church is true, and we show the movie about the restoration, and then feel the spirit enter the room and testify to everyone that it's true. This woman then told us "I now know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Book of Mormon is true, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God."
I see little miracles as I bear testimony that we are children of our Heavenly Father and that I KNOW that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ.
The fact that I have felt the change in myself these last couple of months is proof to me that God touches the hearts of man and allows them to become filled with light (see Ether 3).
I love missionary work. Sometimes it is so draining, but the blessings that I have experienced will allow me to become the person that Heavenly Father wants me to become. I am so grateful for my Savior, and am grateful for a living prophet.
I know with all my heart that if we feel alone, and feel abandoned.... we can always turn to our Savior. In Jacob we learn that "blessed are the pure in heart... for they shall be comforted" As I read this scripture I realized that if we have pure hearts then we have the promise that whenever we are feeling down and out....if we turn to our Heavenly Father...HE WILL COME TO US! He has NOT LEFT US, nor will he ever, for "a mother would sooner leave her suckling child." I have felt this power as I have been on a mission and testify that this miracle and gift comes from God. He is ever able and willing to give us what we need for He loves us all so very much.
I don't know why I went on that tangent but I felt that someone might have needed it this week. For the person that might have needed it this week...I love you, and pray that whatever you are feeling or whatever things are happening in your life to make it difficult....Turn to the one who has promised "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I shall give you rest..." "Come now and let us reason together...Though your sins be as scarlet...They shall be as white as snow.. Though they be [as blood stained and irremovable] as crimson.. They shall be as wool." Don’t give up.
OK! Sorry for the tangent, but I felt that was needed for maybe the 1 person that it could affect. Now to let you know we again are NOT going to the croc farm today. Elder Gunnel had some things that he needed to do so...I will just tell you on the Pday that we actually go to the croc farm...that we are going...
So again this week has been great. I am in Jacob 5 in my scripture study and it's going fantastic. I did not realize how amazing Nephi and his family were. So many things have stood out to me as I have been in the service of the Lord and have been trying to become the person that He wants me to be.
On Saturday we met with a man and his uncle was there. The uncle was completely drunk. He started to talk about how God was a Vaza or foreigner, and how he was not actually a Malagsy but he was a vaza. Whenever he started to speak, the grandma would tell him "quiet!" when she would say this... he would fold his arms reverently and close his eyes and be quiet for about 1 min. Every time without fail he would do this. So funny!
Well that's all I can really think about....Love you all! Hope you have a great week!
Elder Lehr

So Many Things - 2/10/14

OK! So to begin with, I have not had any bowel problems, but it was just the puking of the food. 2nd I am doing a whole! lot better and mom I am very glad for the food that you sent. That was very needed :)
OK so on Tuesday we had a very...hard day....all of our appointments fell through and so we had a lot of time to tract. After tracting for about an hour or so we took a 5 min break. Then I remembered something that was said in a devotional at the MTC. "We as missionaries do not find people, but God has already prepared them. And then we get to be there to see Heavenly Father do his miracles. So in the 5 minutes that we had I began to pray that while we were tracting if it would be possible to have Him lead us to someone that he had already been preparing. After the prayer, we got up and tracted for about 15-20 more minutes when we met an older woman who was painting. Right as we said we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ...She said MANDROSO!!! Or COME IN! She sat us down on her couch, grabbed her daughters and told them to sit down and listen to us. (Her husband was getting the grandchildren from school at this time) One of the daughters is married and has a couple of kids, and they were perfect! As we have met with Monique (The older woman) and her daughters rhey have been so responsive to the message of the Restoration. They told us "Yes we are catholic but we don't like any of the churches here. We are going to ask God if this is true and if it is then we want our entire family to hear the discussions and then to get baptized in the church."
I think you can imagine the surprise that we had when they told us this :) They and a couple other people that we have been teaching truly are just like this. The Lord has prepared them and we get to watch the miracles. :) So that was Tuesday :)

Now some other things happened this week that were pretty crazy. As we were walking home on Friday from our investigator that was going to get baptized the next day, we heard a huge CRACK behind us. It seriously sounded like thunder had hit the ground right next to us, but in reality a taxibe had come and hit a person about 10 feet behind us. His head was bleeding pretty bad, but it was cool to see that people started to direct traffic and others called a taxi so that they could get him to a hospital. The Lord was truly protecting us as we were going home. I feel that if the Lord had not been protecting us then we could have been seriously injured and that there would have been a high probability that it would have been one of us.

THEN! On Sunday we were walking to church when we saw ANOTHER TAXIBE hit someone except this time the person was completely dead (as opposed to "partially dead"?). How do I know this? Elder Rasolofonirina went over to him and said that he was completely flat. No I did not go over to see this for myself since I know that I would have had no breakfast left, but WOW! So crazy! Then later on Sunday we found out that this man that died was a friend of one of our investigators.....Ya we are going to be praying for him a lot this week.
Other then those crazy incidences this week has been a blast. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my companion and the people of Ambohiboa. The people are so incredibly kind and they have such a special spirit about them.
Today we are not going to the lemer farm since I guess some elders are going to the Croc farm NEXT week. So that's what I will be doing next Monday...which means that I don't know when I will have time to email but nevertheless it shall be done!
I love the Book of Mormon, and I love that the Church of Jesus Christ is again on the earth and that it has been restored in all of its totality.
Sometimes when I am thinking of home, and the things that I miss...I see the little children here and how they throw rocks at cans and are laughing so intensely. People that truly have nothing are SO happy together. O how my d

(loss of internet connection – results in hurried response to Dad’s “What??”)

dang it. The connection went out so I had to go to a different internet cafe. Sorry about that. 

Maybe you could explain that the children and families are so happy because they do things together. It's in the simple things that we can be happy. Being here has opened my eyes to how important family truly is. Whether it's in taking walks or playing a board game or eating together at the table. Family and the gospel is what makes us happy.

Also could you give me a really simple pancake recipe? I want to make pancakes :)

(He would have ended with at least “Love, Elder Lehr”)

Elder Rasolofonirina sent us this picture from the baptism they had on 2/8/2014