Monday, May 26, 2014

I am walking in His footsteps - 5/26/14

Hmm.....Where to start......Hmm.....Should I wait till the end of the email to tell where I am getting transferred or just spill the beans......Hmm...haha Are you ready to hurt me yet mom? haha I love you :)

MISY VAOVAO! I am getting transferred to the wonderful area of........................................................................................................................FIANARANTSOA! Yep! I am going to the Fianarantsoa north area where my companion is, Elder Midgley. I will leave this Wednesday amin ny alalany taxibrus. So that will be way fun. :) To tell a little bit about my area, it is a couple hours south of Antsirabe and Ambositra. There are LOTS of hills. And I will be riding a bike. I am SO EXCITED! I will miss Ambohiboa, but I am excited and ready to serve the Lord in a new capacity and to love a different group of people. Also! Trivia: Fianarantsoa was the area that my trainer was born. So we talked yesterday about it and he is way happy for me. :)

Just like last week was a week of plenty and providence...This week was the exact opposite. Almost all of our times fell through and we found out that Jean Claud and his family will be in Mahajanga till November. So we will call the missionaries there to tell them about that family so that they don't get lost.

Yesterday we taught a lesson to Saondra before church started. It was a way cool lesson, and the spirit was WAY strong as we testified. She is so prepared. She has been keeping the commandments to the best of her knowledge and has been investigating the church since March. I am so happy for her. Things are going in the right direction and the dark veil that was over her is being lifted. It's so inspiring to see that happen to people.

After church, all of our times fell through, and so it became kind of discouraging and for some reason I was just feeling kind of alone and that nothing was working out. As I began writing in my journal, I began to realize little blessings that had been given to us that day, and instantly I felt gratitude for having been able to be in this area and to serve the people here. I also remembered that the Holy Ghost can ALWAYS be with me, even when things are hard. And as I sat there pondering on the thoughts that were in my mind, peace settled over me and I knew that God was with me. 

As I have served the people in Ambohiboa, I am most grateful for being able to be a servant in the path of the Master. Yes, I make mistakes and wander off and try to return, but I have learned that as I have kept my glance on the Savior....I have been able to walk on water, (in a figurative sense) and withstand the waves and the winds that surround me. I will never regret being in Ambohiboa. I know that God lives, and loves us, and that with His grace, we can be changed, and become new people. I Know that Jesus died for us, and then resurrected. I am so very grateful for Him. And I say that in His holy name amen.

Talk to you next week :)

Elder Lehr

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Visit from the Steele Family

Elder Lehr got a visit from the Steele family who are from our ward. Josh Steele went back to Madagascar to show his parents around his mission and to visit the people he had come to know and love. Elder Lehr loved seeing them.  Here are a few pictures that they shared with us.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Awesome Week - 5/19/14

So this week was WAY SWAG!
To begin with, I need to talk abut how we have been trying to find families to teach. Last we contacted a lot of people and were able to teach some of them this week. We officially got 18 new investigators this week which was SO AWESOME! Almost all of them are families and so we hope that things will work out to where we can get more families to come unto Christ and receive of His choicest blessings.
Also yesterday when we came to church there was a family that came from a protestent church that just wanted to know what we believed. So we sat next to them and answered any questions that they had. All of the lessons through the talks and the other classes were on "The restoration, Book of Mormon, and baptism." It was absolutely amazing. The teacher for gospel principles was the former bishop. And everyone in the ward took a part in trying to make them feel welcomed and to answer their questions. The spirit was so strong at church as they each took their role in bringing this family to know of the truth. Everything was going so well until I found out that they lived in Ambohiboa. I was like NO!!!!!! But that is ok. It was way exciting to give a balling Father led family into the hands of the zone leaders. They are way excited to learn. And hopefully they will be able to be exponentially taught by the special spirit that the zone leaders have. I am way excited for them :)
Things are going so well in our little area of Madagascar. It's an exciting time to be alive and to see the gospel moving at an incredible rate. Dang. One more week till transfers! Some way exciting and cool things are happening in Madagascar with 7 missionaries leaving and 2 coming in. Well... I think that's about it. But I hope you all have a wonderful day :)
Talk to you next time,
Elder Lehr

Monday, May 12, 2014

Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ 5/12/14

Well, Mother's Day rocked :) It was way good to see my family and to talk to them. (We actually got to skype visually with Elder Lehr late last night. It was great! He looks awesome and happy. Five months on the mission as of yesterday. He was able to see Josh Steele, his parents and cousin who are from our ward. They are there visiting some of the areas where Josh served these last few years as a missionary. Elder Lehr loved seeing them. It was a real treat. They were able to deliver a package for us as well.)

This transfer is coming to an end really quickly. Time is speeding by at an incredible rate. Things are going, and we are still working, but it doesn't even feel that an entire month has passed by since last transfer. It will be great to see what this new week holds for us.

One thing that I have been very touched by this week is the restoration of the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ. If you allow that testimony to burn bright in your soul, you can feel such a light and fire within your soul. Many things happen in our lives that become very hard to bear, but I know that as I have been on a mission, the message of the restoration has penetrated the darkness that comes into peoples lives. And I know that can help us in all of our lives.

What is this wonderful message? The answer? 

Simply stated; The restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is exactly what it is. A restoration of what was once lost and gone. What things were restored? One of the most important truths that were restored was the fact that God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, are 2 separate people, and that we can have a personal relationship with God through prayer.
2nd; The authority to act in God's name has again been restored to the earth. And as such when we make covenants with God they can be a binding and everlasting covenant, never to be removed, and that will last throughout eternity. This gives me such hope as I think about this covenant when we are baptized. "We take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. And covenant to keep His commandments and remember Him. If we do these things, then we can ALWAYS have His spirit to be with us." What an amazing promise that has been given to the children of men. And yet if there was no authority to do this covenant...Then it would be void and would take no effect.

I love this Gospel. And I know that it is true. I pray that each of us will strive to keep the covenants that we have made, and I know that as we do, we will be able to see the hand of God more fully in our lives.

Till next time,

Elder Lehr

Monday, May 5, 2014

The ward is hastening the work of salvation - 5/5/14

Good morning!

This week has been pretty awesome. Time is just flying by, and I can't believe that it's almost time for Mother's Day. That is going to be SO AWESOME!

So this week we were able to meet with a couple named George and Madame Francois. They are the grandparents of Nirine who is Faniry's cousin. They were sick so we gave them a blessing and it was really cool to be able to feel the spirit as we served them.

One of the highlights this week was 1. Our ward council, and 2 Trying to find some families in an unknown area. So with our ward council, the 1st counselor in our bishopric opened the meeting by reading in Manual 2 of the church and talked about the purpose of ward council. With that purpose in mind, he then talked about each of our investigators individually and asked us how we as a ward council could help them. It was amazing as the Relief Society presidency, Elders quorum and others gave ideas about how they would come with us to help us teach and to help further the work. I was in absolute shock. I saw the work of salvation being hastened right before my eyes. It was amazing, and it makes everything so exciting! I can't wait to really work with the members to help further the work of the Lord.
2nd: Yesterday we tried to find a family in an area that we haven't been to and were completely unsuccessful. BUT we found a guy that had shot a parrot out of the sky with a sling shot. And so we got to take some pictures of the parrot. They are some way sick birds :)

On a more spiritual note: This week has been great. As we have been able to listen to conference more and more, we get taught from on high, and are strengthened and recommitted to the work of the Lord.

Yesterday we taught Emmanuel and Vero.  Even though Emmanuel was drunk again, he told us how much he wanted to change and that even though his family was protestant he would come to church because he wanted to become clean. As we taught them about the Book of Mormon, I could feel the love that Heavenly Father has for him. Families are harder to teach, but OH THEY ARE WORTH IT! I love teaching families. There is definitely a special spirit when you teach something that was made to help the family come closer to God and eventually help them return to Him. I love this work.

Anywhos, so I think I will keep this short, but I love you all.


Elder Lehr

P.S. The zone leaders are pretty sure that I am getting transferred this transfer.  I will be way sad to leave this area. I love it SO MUCH! But I think it will be good for me and that I will be able to grow more. :)

So Yesterday we celebrated our Fast Sunday with legit Mexican food. Only then did we realize that the next day (today) would be Cinco de Maio. Or whatever that Spanish holiday is. So I woke up this morning with some pretty bad bowel movements from the Mexican food, but it was SO WORTH IT! 

I am so blessed being here. Every day is beautiful and great. Teaching the gospel is the best. And slowly I am becoming what the Lord wants me to be. That's what President Adams always talks about. He tells us "It's not what you do on the mission that counts, but what you BECOME. Then as you become what Heavenly Father wants you to be, you will return to Him and be comfortable in His presence."

I love the gospel, and I love teaching people about the Restoration. Here in Madagscar everyone believes in Jesus, but everything about our message is different. It's not just believe but becoming.*

Friday, May 2, 2014

This isn't the Easter we have at home - 4/28/14

First of all, just to let you all know, Easter Sunday was absolutely great. But the day after Easter was absolutely crazy! To begin with I have to tell you that for at least 2 times in the year it becomes somewhat.....Interesting in Madagascar.....especially Tana area... So usually on Easter people go to church and then party with everyone. And then the day after they are all makafka (Or they have hangovers). In Talatamy through Ivato it was especially interesting because there was a huge party in Antinetbe that was kind of like Woodstock but smaller. And it was mostly just beer instead of drugs that they were doing. So when we were going out to go teach we literally saw a GIGANTIC WAVE of people that were all drunk. Accidents were happening in front of our eyes, and it was crazy! So what did we do? We still tried to teach. When we got to Sylvie’s house they were like "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GO HOME! ITS WAY TOO DANGEROUS RIGHT NOW!" So we talked to the zone leaders about what was happening and we got out of there. As we were going home though we saw accidents happening left and right, and people doing crazy things! It was definitely not a good spirit that we felt but we arrived safe and sound. The only thing that happened to us was that our phone got stolen, but at least we were safe. :) So we celebrated and made crepes. :)
I love this area. We have been tracting and trying to find new people. And we have been able to get about 8 more potential families to teach. It's an exciting time in this area. I love being with my companion. It's been a great blessing to have him with me.
Saturday and Sunday were absolutely amazing though. We finally got to watch conference and holy cow it was awesome! I love Elder Uchtdorf's talk about gratitude. It really touched me and I think will help me to improve. Also it was amazing to watch Elder Oaks speak in the priesthood session. As I watched I could feel that this man had priesthood keys. I am so grateful that my testimony was strengthened as I watched conference.
Mom and Dad I am sending a letter to you. Hopefully it will get to you....sometime within the next couple of months......Hopefully :)
I am way excited for this week. We are having a soire with our stake president today. So that will be fun.
O MY!! I am so happy for Ashley! I am so glad that she is planning on getting her endowments! That is SO SWAG!
OH! Yes to answer your question, Dad, yes I am the district leader right now. And so basically I just need to gather the stats of those that are in my district.....which is me and my companion and the zone leaders....So I just give them our stats every week. Then if there is a baptism I would need to interview them. But I don't think that will happen while I am in this area....Yep that's all my responsibilities for now.. :)
Well I think that's about it for now but I love you all and will talk to you all next week!
Love, Elder Lehr