Monday, June 30, 2014

Miracles do exist - 6/30/14

Well, this week has definitely had its own type of character to it. We are still having some problems with people and the word of wisdom, but when President Adams came down Saturday, he destroyed every ounce of hope that they had that it is ok to "Drink a little" or do anything like unto it. He first asked the people "Who wants to go to the Celestial Kingdom?" Everyone raised their hands. He then proceeded to tell them that it is easy to go to the Telestial Kingdom, and that if you want to go to the Celestial Kingdom and live with God there you HAVE to live the word of wisdom PERFECTLY! You also have to live the law of chastity PERFECTLY! And also try to live all the other commandments. To abode in the presence of the Lord, we have to abide by a celestial law, and that is what the law requires.
I love Pres Adams, that guy is awesome. :)
This week was kind of like last week in the fact that it was going slow, BUT! We have been very very blessed to be finding more and more families to teach. We have about 6-9 baptisms this Saturday, and then we will be able to work on these families with all the glorious strength that this body can express while being trapped in the bands of mortality. We are definitely looking forward for these next couple of weeks. It's starting to look bright, and I know that the Lord is with us.
Transfer news is this Sunday, and so we will know exactly what is going to happen. But I am pretty sure that either Elder Hauata or Elder Morley will be going, which is really sad because we have really grown close together as a household.
Also for those who don't know, Elder Matt Palmer, a missionary here in Madagascar who worked in Ambositra, died a couple of days ago from a brain aneurysm. He was a great missionary, and I am sad that he is gone, but if you could keep his family in your prayers that would be awesome. Also it's pretty cool, because all of the elders in Tana will be going to a funeral service for him, and Elder Fisher (his trainer) will be speaking about him, and a couple other things will be done for Elder Palmer.
So all in all things are going good. I will be able to complete my goal of finishing the Book of Mormon every transfer. And I feel that me and my companion have done everything within our power right now to help the people of this branch, or to get them the help they need. It's a very peaceful feeling to know that you have done everything within your power, and now it is just up to them and the Lord. I love this work and I love being here in one of the greatest areas in the world.
Haha! One of the really funny things I saw this week is when we went over to a girl's (one of our investigators) house. She is about 15 or 16, and is going to be baptized this Saturday. So I was showing some pictures of my family to her and to the members that were with me, and this girl grabbed this picture that had me and my brother, Christian, on it. She then asked if I could print another copy of this picture and give it to her since she thinks my brother is way way cute. I laughed and just asked for the picture back. And she then tried to do everything in her power to steal it. I don't really know why I am writing this but I just think it is SO FUNNY how even though my bro is on the other side of this continent....He has another stalker or 2 :) It just made my day thinking of that. :) WHAOP!
OH!! Last thought and then I will be done. So......hehe.......on Saturday we went to the Didy poch of a couple members in our branch. I have been once and can now say that I have had my fill. Never again will I go to a public circumcision. The kids just danced...walked into a building.....and came out crying. Yea.... I think that will be that on that subject.
Anyway Miracles do exist. Jesus Christ really does live, and I am so grateful that I am here on a mission. It's hard, but worth it in every way possible. I have learned so many things, and have learned so many things about myself that I never would have thought possible. It's an amazing place to be, trying, and failing, and trying again to live by every word which proceedeth from the mouth of God. It's been a journey of laughs and tears, and it's been a journey of heartache, and cheers. It has been a window in how the rest of my life will play out. And I feel like through it all, when all is said and done....I will be able to stand in the presence of my mission president and with every fiber of my soul tell him that I served, and tried to do my best. It's an interesting thing also to have your view expanded in all directions. I feel like by being here in the Lord's work that I have a more eternal perspective. I love having that and it has been a great comfort and strength to me. I pray for all of you and encourage you to continue to do your best, and to ask Heavenly Father to just help you be good. :)
I love you all and will continue my speeches am-manaraka.
Elder Lehr

How to go about this... - 6/23/14

Hmmmm........I think that there are not really many ways to describe this week except that it was exceedingly hard. First things just happened where investigators have been dropping us, and frustrations have been risen due to things in the ward. BUT! The baptism on Saturday was Awesome! Malie asked if I would do her baptism which was way cool. Elder Huata and Morley were able to do a couple from their branch, but sadly since Marsaline and Lucy have to meet with President Jacko before their baptism... They aren't getting baptized till July 5th. So Elder Midgley wasn't able to do one, but he was still gung ho and awesome about the entire thing. On Sunday Malie was confirmed, which was awesome....And then it just climaxed into probably one of the hardest moments that I have had on my mission. We found out that some of the recent converts and others that are planning on getting the Melchizedek priesthood when President Adams comes may have problems with the word of wisdom. On top of that we may have some of the leadership right now in our branch might also have problems with the word of wisdom.
When we found out this information....It just hurt a lot.... These people that we love so dearly, and did baptism interviews with them....might have just lied their way through, and come to church just because it's the thing to do in Madagascar. So we felt betrayed, hurt, discouraged, and most of all we were confronted with something that seemed to be bigger than any mountain I have ever climbed here. It seemed almost impossible to WHAT DID WE DO!? We did the only thing we could do and prayed. Each of us talking to our Heavenly Father about how we are feeling and about the problems that we faced. We don't know exactly what to do yet, but we were at least able to feel peace that the Lord will lead us and guide us to know how we can help these people.
Sorry about that rant, but at least I know that we are not alone here :)
On a much brighter note. We have been blessed in finding some more investigators and father led families for us to teach which I am very happy for. We have played a couple games of "Fidgly" With some of the kids in Marivo lanitra, and things are looking brighter. It's still really cold in the mornings, but we are still doing good here :)
Next time
Elder Lehr

Monday, June 16, 2014

The greatest of taxibrus rides :) - 6/16/14

This week was pretty incredible when we figured that we weren't able to work for 3 days, but we had some incredible experiences as we went to zone conference on Friday. One of the things that President Adams stressed was understanding the Abrahamic covenant and how if we were to truly understand that....We would be able to keep on the road of eternal life, and have the strength and desire to help others come into the same fold. It was a pretty powerful conference, but my favorite part of the conference was the question and answer part of the meeting. Some of the missionaries just had questions about life after the mission and what we can do to live the law of consecration on the mission and the spirit was so incredibly strong. I felt the spirit testify to me that what Filoha Adams was saying was true and that he had truly been called of God to lead this mission.
We also had the wonderful opportunity to pray (go to church) in Ansirabe with some of the other missionaries' branches. It was an amazing experience to see this district almost reach their goal of becoming a stake, and it made me love the people so much more. :)
After praying (going to church) in Ansirabe we got ready to go on the taxibrus home. We were told to come at 1:30 but according to the fomba of the taxibrus...All the seats must be filled before we go. SO! We didn't end up leaving till 3:00, but we would have left later if we had not had the most brilliant plan ever. We bought all of the seats in the taxibrus except for the 2 in the front. We had the most comfortable ride to Fianarantsoa we had ever had, and it was totally worth the money for it. :)
Dang, I can't believe this Saturday is the baptism for Marsaline and Lucy. I am so excited for them. It's going to be another crazy week of splits and having the zone leaders come do a sleep over with us. SO EXCITED!
The work is going in Fianarantsoa, and I really can't think of a better place to be. I love the people here, and the beautiful mountains that I climb every day. Every night you can look up and see the milky way and several other galaxies and just know that things are right and beautiful in the world. I love Madagascar with all my soul and love the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Again sorry this is shorter than usual, but I love you all and will speak next week :)
Elder Lehr

Monday, June 9, 2014

I love Fianarantsoa! - 6/9/14

Haha I am glad I am not the only one that had a crazy week :)
So to begin this adventure I need to talk about this investigator. So there is this guy named Marsaline, and his wife Lucy. The missionaries started teaching Marsaline years ago, and he is an awesome guy, but his old wife would not let him get a divorce. So he has never skipped a Sunday to come to church and does his very best to keep the commandments even though he is not a member.

We got news from our branch president that now after 3-4years of waiting, his wife is allowing him to get a divorce, and he his getting married to Lucy this week. SO they can finally get baptized!!!!
Wednesday was a monster. We have a time at 3:30 where we have to climb a mountain about 2 KM and then go down the mountain for our appointment. Then we have to climb all the way back up and go down again so that we can hit a time across the city. With all the climbing and hiking that we did on Wednesday we hiked about 4-5 miles with 80 percent up hill. Sadly my body has still not healed completely from it, but we figured out a wonderful solution! Because we literally have so many people that we could teach, it's not even funny, we are going on splits with the branch missionaries every Sunday and Wednesday. That way only 1 person has to climb the mountain and then the other missionary has about 3-4 hours where they can just teach people. I am pretty excited for this. We also have a baptism coming up on the 21st of June where we could have a total of about 10-13 people baptized. It's a way exciting time to be here in Fianarantsoa.
Sunday was amazing. We had a lot of members that were not at church, but we had about 17 investigators that we knew, who were at church, and then we got about 5-6 new investigators that came to church. It was SO COOL TO SEE THAT!
haha It's kind of funny that now I have to wear the ring that I have on my ring finger, because if I don;t....Well...there have been some girls that have been flirting way hard core par cor, and as I have had my ring on, and they see it... Then they just start talking to my companion. YES! haha
Well, that's all I can really think about right now, but I sure do love Fianarantsoa. OH! I gave my first blessing in Malagasy last night. It was a cool experience, and I know that Heavenly Father loves these people.

Anyway I love you all and I will report next week :)
Elder Lehr

A few pics from Ambohiboa

Monday, June 2, 2014

Fianarantsoa - 6/2/14

Wow!....That's pretty much how I have to describe Fianarantsoa. It is a beautiful area that is all mountain land. There is Fianarantsoa north and south. I am in Fianarantsoa north right now. And "technically" we are supposed to use bikes but because almost all of our area is on the actual mountains....we are not able to ride the bikes, but just climb up really steep hills and landscapes. Not going to lie I have never been SO TIRED, but I love it.
Haha I guess I got a little bit ahead of myself. First I need to talk about the trip to Fianarantsoa. So on Wednesday I got a call from the APS that I needed to head over to their house that night to sleep over, and then they would drive us to the station to go to Fianarantsoa. So I went and slept the night. On the morning though...SO MANY PROBLEMS OCCURRED! One of the elders that was coming from Mahajanga to Tana came in at around 2:15 in the morning and so the office elders weren't able to take the people getting transferred to Tamatave to the bus station. That was the first of many problems. And since I don't have enough time to really go into ALL the things that happened, I will say that we were supposed to leave by 8:30 but ended up leaving at around 11:30. I went with Elder Bowler and Cartmill to Antsirabe, and then went another 200KM or so to Fianarantsoa. The driver happened to be way new, and so he went really slow as well. We ended up getting to Ambositra at around 8:30PM and then to Fianarantsoa at around 1:00AM. It was a crazy ride with probably the worst road in Madagascar. But I survived. :)
I love Fianarantsoa. The branch is so amazing and we always have members with us. There is this one specifically that never went to school, but has the kindest heart you could ever encounter. His name is Francois, and he is awesome. He can't read well at all, but he is one of my favorite people. LOVE THAT GUY! Also our branch president is way cool. He knows what he is doing and feeds us 2X a week. Their food is SO GOOD! Yesterday they fed us some hena kisoa with some tamoto lasary. (Lasary is just some veggies like carrots, cucumbers, or tomatoes that have a little bit of salt, onion and then some vinager to pickle it.) It was SO AMAZING.
Even though we don't have supermarket to go to, we still make some really good food. For the most part we will send a companionship to go to the local patisery to get some fresh donuts for breakfast. And then for lunch we will get our rice and loaka, (Kabaka). And then we will fix dinner together and either have some more rice and loake or make tocos, or eat pizza together. It's way fun to be with the other elders.
I guess next week we have to go back to Antsirabe for a zone conference which i am excited for, but then my body tells me (NO! Not that road again! It's too soon!). It's ok though, at least I won't be alone for it :)
One other quick thing. Yesterday we had way too many member missionaries come with us. We had about 7 or so come with us at one time. And so Elder Midgley and I split up. And I went with Francois and this other guy. We tried to go to this less active named Hantatra, but she wasn't there and it was getting really late. So I asked if we could go to the guy's family (the guy that was with me and Francois) and share a spiritual thought. So we went over and I got to meet his family, and they are way cool. After talking for about 10 or 15 minutes I gave my spiritual thought about turning weaknesses into strengths through the atonement and grace of Jesus Christ. The spirit was really strong in that room. And then I asked Francois if he had anything else to add. He shared a scripture in Mark 16:15 about sharing the gospel and said that he really loved this scripture and he felt the spirit really strong in seminary. Even though it had nothing to do with the spiritual thought that I gave, I was able to feel the spirit as I looked at Francois and imagined him being on a mission next year and still struggling with teaching, but because he has such a pure heart and such a wonderful spirit....people would just know that what he was saying was true. It was a way cool experience for me. I love members like that SO MUCH! :)
Anywhos I am sorry this is way long, but I will talk to you next week.
Elder Lehr