Monday, August 25, 2014

Zone conference - 8/25/14

What a week!

We had some normal days on Monday, Tuesday, and then Wednesday, but on Thursday we left at 7:30 ish in the morning to go to Antsirabe for zone conference. We arrived at about 3:00ish in Antsirabe and then just hung out with Elder Lee (Who had typhoid fever at the time). We had a blast as we got to talk to the other elders and prepare for the conference.
On Friday morning we got up, and went to a training for the zone leaders, district leaders, and trainers which was pretty swag. Then Elder Hamilton from the seventy talked to us about the problems that we were facing in missionary work, and it led to us talking about people feeling entitled in the church, and how they expect to be given things. Elder Hamilton basically gave the best discussion on Self reliance, tithing, and fast offerings that I have ever heard in my life. One of the things that I will forever remember him saying is "Paying a hospital bill won't change a life, but paying Tithing is life changing." He talked about how President Uchtdorf had said "A few people paying tithing, can lift up an entire nation. Just like a little bit of yeast will raise an entire loaf of bread, so to will tithing to a nation." I know that those principles are true. I have seen the difference in people that have been given the things in order to be baptized, and those that have worked for it without relying on the church. It makes all the difference in a person who is truly committed to the gospel and someone who becomes less active after they don't receive any more things from the church. Zone conference was SO SWAG!
When we got home we found that all of our water is not working, and today.....It's still not working. It's been a bit hard to manage without any water but we are doing ok, and hopefully it will work again soon.
The work is going well here, and hopefully I will be able to see Menzie and Eddie baptized at the end of this transfer. If I could see that happen, I would be so happy. :)
Sorry I have to make this a little short, but I love ya all

Elder Lehr

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The work is coming along - 8/18/14

I cant believe school is already starting for the girls. That is absolutely nuts. The seasons pass by so quickly. Haha It doesn't really help that it's turning into spring and summer right now :)
This week was pretty fun as I went on splits with Elder Garcia. And I was able to do some baptism interviews. There were a couple that as I interviewed them, I was astonished by how amazing they were. It was seeing people that I knew had been prepared years in advance to accept this message and they knew what they wanted in life. It was a way cool experience.

Also We were able to teach Richard this week, and it's kind of funny how simple he is in a fashion. Just a one tract mind. I love the guy, and I am determined to not give up on him. It may just be sheer stubbornness, or it might be something else, but I really do love him and don't want to let him go.
One of our investigators named "Hiandry" is a stud. He is 12 years old, and just receives things really well. I think he will be a great example for his family and will help them to progress. Tefy is another 9-10 year old kid that we have been teaching, and it's pretty amazing because his whole family except for him are already recent converts. And the father is the 2nd counselor in the Branch Presidency right now. He is progressing really well, and I think it helps that his father is right there with him to really try to help him understand to feel that this is right. We also have been teaching Claymond who is trying to go into tourism for his work. He is pretty cool, but just needs to go to church :)
So for my studies I have done a lot of reading in the Teachings of David O Mckay. His teachings are pretty profound. I was reading one particular thing that I would like to share. He states that as this is the time in which we prepare to meet God, we basically have 2 choices in life, and need to know which choice will provide more happiness. The choices are as follows,
1. We pamper to our physical wants and passions, and feed the natural man.
2. We develop our spiritual selves.
From him I have learned that "Man is a duel being" "Man has a Natural body and a spiritual body" and that "Man's body, therefore, is but the tabernacle in which his spirit dwells." Thus whenever we do even the smallest of selfless acts, and when we do things without any thought of ourselves, but of the desire to serve others...Then we feed our spiritual side, and are given greater control and reigns of the passions and wants of the natural man." Especially as I have been in Madagascar, this truth has been so apparent to me. So many people are very base in their passions and desires, but then on the other hand I have seen so many people who love, and do everything that they can for others. It's their life and existence to help the child, the brother, the sister, the father, the mother, and it has been a very changing thing for me to see.

I know that as we follow the gospel of Jesus Christ that we will GAIN, and not lose power to excersize our agency, and that we will feel more joy and happiness in our lives.
Love you all and I will talk to you all soon! :)
Elder Lehr

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Greatest Promise - 8/11/14

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I am pretty sure your birthday is around this time :p :) haha
Well this has been a pretty awesome week. On Wednesday Elder Lee, and Elder Web came here and did splits with us. It was SO MUCH FUN! We were able to hit all of our times, and then after everything was over, we ended up making a huge vat of pasta and homemade spaghetti sauce. SO GOOD! Then we just talked for a long time. Dang I love the zone leaders :)
On Thursday we taught some times (appointments) ,and then got changed and went over to our investigator's house to clean. It was pretty awesome as it was just me, Elder Miller, and Francois cleaning, but then some of the young women saw us through the window and began to help us clean. It was SO MUCH FUN! We listened to music, and cleaned, and helped him feel like people cared about him. The only frustrating thing was that one his family was just sitting outside the door and telling us how he won't change and that they have already tried to help him and that basically he sucks. So with all the control I could muster, I told them that as missionaries of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we believe that anyone can change, and in fact men change every day. And that if they wanted to help us clean his room then they were more than welcome, but if not then they should get on to doing other things. One of his Aunt's or something then began to try and bible bash with me, telling me about all these different things, and even though I wanted to destroy the foundation of all that she believed by sheer proof....I took a few deep breaths and told her what we believe and that I knew that it was true, and she could know the same if she asked God.
As she left the room I told our friend that we were helping him because we believed that he can change and that we love him. He started to cry a little and began to tell us how long it had been since someone had told that to him. Dang that guy is a stud :)
On Saturday we had a baptism for 2 kids. Raymond, our ward clerk and their father, baptized them and OH! What an amazing experience. The spirit was super strong in that meeting and we had two kids about 12 and 10 years old give the opening and closing prayer. Little kids are so sweet when they pray. It's just.....Right. :)

Also the other branch has a baptism for this Saturday, and so Elder Morley wants me to do a couple of baptism interviews this week. As I have been thinking about baptism for the last couple of days...It's made me realize how important and serious that covenant is. When we are baptized, we show to our Heavenly Father that at that time we are worthy and are living the commandments to the fullest at that time. In those moments we are living the word of wisdom in its most complete form. If we have had problems with it in the past, then we have sworn off smoking, tobacco "All kinds", alcohol, coffee, tea, and illegal drugs. The same goes for the Law of Chastity and the other commandments. When we take upon ourselves the baptismal covenant, we are showing to God that we are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, to obey his commandments, and to stand as a witness at all times, and in all places, and all things. And this, that we may have the CONSTANT companionship....of the Holy Ghost. Living the laws of Heaven is a refining process and takes practice and time. It is a path of change and of victory over the ways of the world. It is the path in which we must abide if we are to return to our Heavenly Father in those last days...and feel COMFORTABLE in his presence.
I am grateful for being here in such an amazing part of the world. It's been incredible to learn a new culture and way of life, and to try to learn to give all of myself. I am grateful that I still have the rest of my life to try and get better at it :)
Sorry that's all I have time for. Love you All
Elder Lehr

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Being grateful for the rain - 8/4/14

IT'S ELDER MILLER'S BIRTHDAY TODAY! YEA! We have some really cool plans for my companion today. We are planning on making homemade burgers, and getting some hair cuts, making chocolate donuts and a bunch of other shimididigs.

Sadly on Tuesday and Wednesday Elder Miller was pretty sick. So we stayed in and I read A LOT of D & C. It was a really fun time to do that, and to take a well needed nap.

We have these 2 investigators that come to church every week but they can't read or write and can't understand the Merina accents. So the ward and us have made a plan where we teach them after sacrament and someone from the ward repeats what we say in Betsileo so that they can understand. They should be getting baptized on the 27th of September!

So for some reason our times have just been bouncing on us, but we have had some small miracles that let us know that God cares about us. Yesterday it was raining a bit and both Elder Miller and I love the rain. As we went to church we were hoping that a specific investigator would come to church. We met him on Friday as we were talking about where we should tract and suddenly he just came up to us and showed us where he lived. He is kind of older, and is not married and lives with his mother. His room/house is absolutely disgusting. If you have seen movies where the person enters a room, and there is just a steel bedframe, and flies buzzing around and it looks like there is a disease/ pestilence inside the room....well they probably filmed it here. He had learned from the missionaries  before but because he was sick all the time, he was not able to go to church. So the missionaries dropped him. As we talked with him I had the clearest thought of him going to the temple, and of him truly "Being apart" of a priesthood quorum. I felt such a strong desire to help this guy, and had the thought that if we helped him clean his room, that 1) his mom and sister wouldn't be mad at him anymore and 2) It would help him to not be sick as much and he would be able to go to church, and 3) We haven't done a service project in awhile. So we talked to him about us coming on Thursday and helping him do that. And he came to church on Sunday! Yea!
Sorry this is kind of random in writing, but I have been very grateful for these small miracles that we have had. It is so easy to look them over, BUT! When you see them for what they are... They make all the difference in what you do, and what you want to become.
Elder Lehr