Wednesday, August 2, 2017

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - June 5 - July 24



SISTER SARAH JOHNSON – Letters from June 5-July 24 – Getting Caught up.

June 5
Hello everyone! 

This week was kind of crazy! 
Tuesday we got to hang out with the zone, and we played kickball and frisbee and signs, and it was fantastic. We have a really good zone. Tuesday night we stayed over at the YSA sisters' apartment :) they are the sweetest, and I'm pumped to get to see them more often. :)
Wednesday we had MLC, and Sister Cheney was there! She gave me a whole bunch of hugs from Sister Mitchell, it made me feel all special. It was good to see her, I've missed Moscow a lot. But MLC was really good too! We talked a lot about how we need to focus on having faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and figuring out what that means for us individually, as well as for our investigators. It was a really good council, and I really loved it. One of the elders going home gave a farewell testimony, and in it he quoted President Uchtdorf, "Exaltation is our goal, discipleship is our journey", and it just stuck to my heart, and I realized I need to love the journey of learning to be better, and not just be frustrated that I haven't gotten there already. 
THURSDAY WAS THE BEST THOUGH! Because Anastasia got baptized and confirmed! She was just glowing, she was so happy to be there and be baptized. We're grateful everything worked out so well. We just love her and her family. Also, sorry the baptism pics are blurry, we're going to try to hunt down the lady who took a pic on her phone so we can get that one someday.... But let me tell you, the Gospel is so, so true! It's amazing how it works, and it changes people. It's incredible to be able to see people make that jump into the Gospel, and see their whole life brighten up :). I last minute had to prepare a talk for her baptism, and I wrote it on the temple, and how to get there. It was an awesome experience, because it really felt like it wasn't my talk, it was totally the Spirit. I used this hiking analogy. Mountains are symbolic of the temple in the scriptures, and the 5 things in the gospel get us to the top (or to the temple). Faith=flashlight, that helps us see the path at least for a few paces, until the sun comes up and we can see more clearly. Repentance=a change of clothes (so wearing good shoes) so that we can be protected from the dangers on the hike, like bushes or animals. Baptism=water bottle, which keeps us rejuvenated (like taking the sacrament). The Gift of the Holy Ghost=a compass that helps you determine where you are and where you're going. Enduring to the End=having the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And then the most important part being he Atonement of Jesus Christ. Hiking is no fun if you get there and there's nobody to share it with, so don't forget to bring your friend, Jesus Christ, so that he can encourage you the whole hike, he can refill your water bottle and patch up your shoes. He can recharge your flashlight and your strength. And with Him, you can make it to the top of the mountain, where you can be with God. It was a really cool idea, and it was totally not mine. I learned so much from it. 
Friday we got to go with Anastasia to her son's 4 year old graduation from his preschool. It was the cutest! We were helping her grill all the carne asada meat, and it was SOOOO GOOD! I'm excited to know how to make some really good carne asada now. It as worth smelling like a grill the rest of the day. :) Mmmm 
Also on Friday we got to have dinner with the Morefields. They are seriously the cutest little elderly couple, and you can totally tell they are still so in love. That's my new goal, to be a friendly, sweet old couple that's still in love after 50 years, because it was just so fantastic and comfortable to be in their home. Brother Morefield told us all about his mission and how he met Sister Morefield, and they let us practice a lesson on Family History with them (So sister Latu can start practicing :) ), and they loved us. It was awesome :) I hope we have a good reason to go out and see them again soon. 
On Sunday we got to go to the Idaho Falls Temple rededication at the Coeur d'Alene stake center! It was really cool to be able to go :). We actually got to go to 2 of the different broadcasts, because we didn't know Anastasia would be coming, so we went with her too! She loved it, and it was really awesome because all of the talks aimed at families and temples and how the Gospel can heal everything. She's aiming for the temple right now, and her husband is interested in taking the missionary discussions now too. So there's a lot of hope there for her, and we're excited about that :). 
Anyways, today should be awesome! We're doing a double zone pday with the Hayden Lake zone, and that should be quite the riot. Also we're going on an exchange tonight with the YSA sisters, and I'm excited to show Sister Nance how fantastically crazy Plummer is. Haha 
I love you all so much!! 
Sister Johnson 

Here are a couple of pics Sister Latu took of the drive to St. Maries for the baptism! It was gorgeous! 


Also we rode our bikes a little this week. And by a little I mean for an hour on Saturday. It was an adventure! 



And the baptism pics! Elder Horne from the St. Maries area got to baptize her :). 







JUNE 12

Hello my beautiful people! 
It's been a crazy/weird/stressful week. The biggest news being that Sis Latu got what's called "Emergency Transferred" to Spokane to learn Marshalese, and to serve in the Marshalese branch there with a sister from the Marshal Islands. So that pretty much took up our Saturday! Now I have a new companion who just finished training. Her name is Sister Hartman, I'll send a pic of her later. Plummer has been one whirlwind of a trip. 
We started teaching Anastasia's husband, Johnothon this last week! And a 13 year old friend of theirs, Allen. It's been really exciting :). I love just being at their home, it's so fun! Anastasia actually made us fry bread this week, and it was absolutely incredible. And this coming week, Anastasia said she knows me well enough that she'll share her 100 year old tamale recipe with me, and teach me how to make it this coming Friday. So look out, world! I'm about to be a tamale prodigy!! 
We also met a member this week, Sister Williams, who totally reminds me of Jennika back home! But like, an adult. She's even part Swiss! We got to go and share a message with her last night, and it made me so happy. I want to be her friend so bad. It's amazing how many people you meet and love on your mission. Missions are the best. 
Otherwise, I'll be totally honest, this week was kind of boring. But I love being a missionary! And I'm learning to love Plummer so much. I'll be sad to leave, whenever that happens. The branch is so cute.... except they asked me to give a talk yesterday, and only gave me 2 days warning. But it turned out really good! And Johnothon basically slept through the whole things, so I was able to give him a lot of attitude about that. But church sleep is the best sleep, right? And at least he was awake for the Priesthood meeting, because he loved that. It made me smile :). 
I hope that all is well at home! I am loving my mission here, and I'm so excited for all the adventures up ahead. I hit my 11 month mark tomorrow, people! It's been almost a year since I've been home. It's kind of bizarre to think about. It goes so fast. But I'm loving it. 
Speaking of loving things, I love you all! Keep being fantastic :). 
Love, 
Sister Johnson 

Here are some pics from this week. Enjoy. :) 

   

JUNE 20

Hello all you cute people! 
It's been quite the week, for sure. Complete with 2 mini exchanges with the YSA sisters, interviews with President Dymock, having family night with Anastasia and Johnothon, learning to make tamales, a taco social, and a new investigator! Things are good in Plummer this week :). 
So.... I guess I"ll start with the family night, because it was super cute! We did this "stepping stones to Jesus" kind of Gospel lesson, using Faith, Repentance, Baptism, The Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End as steps to get to Jesus on the other side of the room. It kept Anastasia's kids pretty involved, and it was really simple and fun. And we got to eat some really, really good Mexican food. Let me tell you, I have gained weight in Plummer solely because Anastasia cooks food fit for the Celestial Kingdom. I am not even kidding. No regrets. 
Tuesday we got to go out with a girl from our Branch, TaShanna! She drove us all over Tensed and Tekoa, and we got to meet some really good people. We even made cookies to take to some of her neighbors. :) We met a guy who lives in the old Sanders store way out in the middle of nowhere, and he was the sweetest old guy. We'll have to go back and see if he's interested in learning more about the Gospel.... he insists he's Catholic, but so was my dad, so I don't take that as a very good excuse ;) haha. 
On Thursday we got to teach Johnothon the Plan of Salvation, which is absolutely my favorite lesson to share. There's so much to it, but I love the hope it gives people. Johnothon said he loves how our church just really aims at helping and building families, and it all about how it can help that unit to get back to Heavenly Father, instead of how families can help the church grow. It was a really cool lesson. He seems to be understanding pretty well, and Anastasia loves having us over all the time, which is really nice. 
FRIDAY I LEARNED HOW TO MAKE TAMALES, PEOPLE. There's one bucket list item I can cross off. Sister Nance and I went over to help make them for the taco social on Saturday night, and we had a lot of fun just talking and making tamales. Anastasia and Johnothon both asked some really good questions, and we had a good Gospel discussion going :). And they even gave me their secret ingredient.... and now I can be a tamale pro almost as good as Anastasia someday! She made me promise to make them sometime on my mission, and to never give away the secret ingredient... sorry guys. But I'll make you all tamales someday :). 
Saturday I went on a mini exchange with Sister Nickle, and we got to help Melody paint some shelves for her new craft shed. Melody is this super eccentric lady who is very passionate about her crafts.... but we had fun! Haha it's good to have weird things to do on exchanges sometimes. After Sister Hartman got back home, we went out to the taco social for the Plummer Branch, and it was a success! Anastasia brought her family, plus her nephew and his family, and it was really nice :). She brought some of the tamales, and they were gone so fast. It's hard to pass up a good tamale. 
SUNDAY we had a little miracle! Anastasia had said we could come over Sunday morning and they'd steam us a fresh batch of tamales for ourselves to have, so we planned on studying a little before, and then following her family to church. During my studies I found this short little story in an older Ensign about the sacrament (here is the link! it's good!  https://www.lds.org/ensign/2015/12/the-last-sacrament-cup?lang=eng ), and I really wanted to be able to share it with Anastasia and Johnothon before church, even though there wouldn't be a lot of time. So I brought the Ensign with me, even though we got to her house a little after 1:45. Turns out, she had felt so sad and lonely, and said she felt like her light was gone, and she just couldn't face going to church. I pulled out my little article and read it to her, and at the end said 'I don't think its a coincidence that I would find this during my studies and think of you", and within 5 minutes we were out the door heading to church with her whole family. The whole way to church I just prayed we would be able to get there in time for Anastasia to take the sacrament, because that's what she really needed to feel ready for her next week. And just as we walked into the church building, the sacrament bread started being passed. We made it with seconds to spare. Guys, the Spirit works in funny little ways, and you just have to roll with it! I am definitely a witness that God takes us at our weakest points, and turns that around for both our good and the good of others. It's incredible that everything just worked out, and she felt 100% better after church was over. I love this work! 
Oh! And yesterday I found a kindred spirit, and a new investigator! Sister Williams in our Branch is basically the older Jennika, and we get along so, so well. I just love her already. And she has a grandson who is 9 who wants to be baptized so badly! So we taught him the Gospel yesterday with his 2 little brothers using the same lesson we shared with Anastasia's kids. It was super cute and surprisingly spiritual for being with a 6, 7, and 9 year old. He is solid, I'm so pumped to teach him. At the end we admittedly played their favorite game with them, which was like this war game with all these plastic guns. Haha it was the most fun of the day, and they thought we were pretty cool playing with them. Sister Williams took a picture of us, but we're still waiting on her to send it. I"ll have to send it when we get it :). 
Anyways, we're going to the temple today! Thats why pday was moved.... sorry! But I hope you all have a fantastic week :) I sure love you guys. 
Sister Johnson 

Here are some pictures! I don't really know what happened... but all my pictures from like, my whole mission got deleted on my memory stick.... so that kind of stinks. But here are a couple! One of a sign on our Tuesday adventures,


 one of Ana's kids with my name tags on, and Allison is the baby who crashed the picture :).



And then a picture after we painted at Melody's :). 




JUNE 26

So It's been good! Plummer has grown on me so much, that I'll be incredibly sad when I have to leave here. It's the worst when you really love somewhere and you know it'll have to end someday.... but "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard", ya know? (AA Milne)
Anyways, this week was pretty busy! We got to go to the temple, and it was absolutely beautiful. I had this really cool experience I decided I can share with you all :). So on Tuesday I got an email that my mom would be moving to Kanab, UT, and it stressed me out a little bit because it throws a little wrench in the plans. It just felt like home was going to be so different, no matter what I decide to do when I get back. But then, as soon as I stepped into the temple, I felt so at home. I had this soft impression that I always have a home, and it's not on Earth. I felt for the first time "homesick for heaven", and it changed my perspective. So I'm trying not to worry so much :). It was really neat. 
Thursday we had Zone Conference, so Sis Hartman and I got to be in Coeur d'Alene all day. I got to do a training on "Teaching people, not lessons" with Sister Hulsey :) and it went really well! It helped me refocus on my purpose as a missionary, which is to individually know people so I can individually teach them the lessons. It went really well :). We also had stake reports that night, and we got to meet with President Moss. He's a pretty cool guy, and he's excited to do missionary work, which is so nice! 
We've also been able to see Anastasia and Johnothon pretty much every day this week. They are seriously my favorite people. We had a lesson with Johnothon on Faith and Repentance, and we got him crying. He felt it so much. I had this thought while we were preparing for the lesson, that what if someone we really loved like, jumped in front of a bullet for us. And their last words were something like "Just become the best person you can be, and don't forget me". Wouldn't you do everything you could to live up to that? So why is it so hard to keep Christ's commandments? Why is it such a sacrifice for us to become our best selves? It changed my life, guys. And it felt right to use it with Johnothon, and he felt it so strong. He understands it now. :) I'm so excited for him!! 
Also this week, at zone conference, I got to play the piano for the opening and closing hymns (yes, I can hear mom and Jill saying "I told you so", so I don't want to hear it) and I got to play hymn 60, the battle hymn of the Republic :). And in it, my favorite line is "As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free". And let me tell you, it hit me so hard! I've written it everywhere since then. Christ died for us! And it's our job to tell others they are free because of it. It's amazing. 
Anyways.... I don't have a lot more to report... but things are good in Plummer :). I'm excited for transfers in a week, we'll see what happens! And I'm pumped I'm about to hit my year mark in like 2 weeks. I can hardly believe it. Time moves so fast out here....
I love you all! I hope you all have an amazing week :).
Love,
Sister Johnson 

Our whole zone got to go to the temple together, it was fantastic. Here's the crew! :) 
Sorry not a lot of pictures... I'm out of time. But I love you all! 


JULY 3

Hello everyone!
This week had some good adventures and lessons learned, so I thought I'd share them with you. :)
Probably my favorite things that happened this week was yesterday during testimony meeting. I got to sit next to Alayla, Anastasia's 7 year old daughter, and she asked if she could go up to bear her testimony. Of course she can! So we talked about what she wanted to say, and then we went up right at the end of Sacrament meeting. She made me go first, which I kind of expected. But her testimony was seriously the cutest testimony ever! It went something like "I love Jesus and Heavenly Father, and they love me! I know they love me. And sometimes I read the Holy Bible to my family. It makes me happy. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen". It was the best testimony all day, because it was so simple and straight out of her little heart. What more do you need? We're loved, and we have the scriptures :).
Also this week, a mission buddy sent me a card, and on the front was the quote "Happiness must be grown in one's own garden". It's a quote I've heard/read a lot of times before, but this time it just hit me. And I have written it everywhere since then. I decided I'm meant to be a whole lot happier than I have been, and I'm going to start cultivating flowers of happiness and kindness instead of all the pessimistic thistles. :) Life is meant to be joyful and hopeful, so I'm going to make it be that way.
Oh! Also we got our transfer calls! Sister Hartman is leaving for the Spokane YSA ward tomorrow, and I'm staying in Plummer and taking Sister Hulsey with me! Sis. Hulsey is such a sweetheart, and a hard worker, and I'm excited to get to know her :). I think it'll be a fantastic transfer. I won't be the STL anymore, so no more meetings in Spokane for a while. But that will be ok, we don't have enough assigned miles for that anyways. We're just going to rock it in Plummer todos los dias.
Anastasia is still doing fantastic, and so is Johnothon. We go see them every day, and they always have good questions for us. We got to watch the Restoration video with them this week, and they really liked it. It was also a nice break for us ;) haha.
And guess what guys! Moroni and Cynthia (the 10 and 8 year olds we are teaching) are on-date to be baptized on July 31! They want to be baptized on a Monday for some reason.... so we're going to roll with it. But we are super excited to finally see some progress in them. Moroni went from absolutely refusing to talk about baptism, to being chill with it. And Cynthia is out of her mind excited, she's way cute. We're going to work so hard to get everything to work out for them. :) Ah! Things are going good :).
Anyways, that's about it from me.
I love you all!
Sister Johnson
Also here are some pictures of Sis Hartman and I with the sword of Gryffindor. The members we ate with let us see it. It was pretty sweet.


And a picture of Sydra! One of the best young women ever. She made us each a cupcake. Mine was the super cute panda looking one. :)


And one more of me! We took a cute little back path the other day, because it was shady and we were tired. :)  

JULY 10

Hey everyone :)
So.... I poorly timed my emailing, and I have like 2 minutes to write this.... I'm so sorry!
This week was good! Sis Hulsey and I get along SO GOOD and we've had a lot of fun talking. She's also from Florence, AZ, so we are going to hang out together forever now. She's got a fiery heart and a love for people and it's contagious and I'm excited to work with her.
Anastasia fed us the best tacos I've ever had in my entire life this week, and that is no joke. I honestly think her food is a little preview of the Celestial Kingdom.
We got to teach Moroni and Cynthia some more this week, and they really like Sis Husley :). It's so fun when people like your comp really quickly, because you avoid the whole awkward transition thing. They're still planning on baptism at the end of this month, and we're pumped for them :).
We watched everyone shooting off fireworks on the 4th from our window. Everybody on the reservation has the mortar fireworks, so it was probably just about as good as fireworks I've seen anywhere else, only all around us. Pretty unique!
We got to have a concert with Claire Ryann Crosby on Saturday, and it ROCKED! Just kidding, it wasn't a rock concert, but the Spirit was there :) And Anastasia got to tell her conversion story at it, and she just did absolutely perfectly. I was so proud of her, she was so nervous and you couldn't even tell! Also I got to high five Claire. I have now officially high fived a celebrity. Checking that off my bucket list now!
Um.... oh yeah! We found a creepy basement crawl space in our house! It was super weird. I'll send a pic.
Anyways, I love you all and hope things are well! Sorry the email is short.... here are some pictures..... :)
Some of these super cute tire minions this guy has in his yard! He let us take pictures of them :).
 
Also Sis Hulsey when we discovered the creepy hole under the house.....
Ok bye! :)
Hey everyone! Here's the mission picture from the Elder Holland meeting! I'm in the 3rd row on the right, with a pink sweater on..... it's like playing "Where's Waldo" a little bit.



JULY 17

Hi guys!
It's been a good week here! Here are some pictures of some of our adventures.
I celebrated my 1 year mark by getting Zips, because I wanted to have a huckleberry shake. And while it was really fun to eat fried mushrooms and drink that shake in the moment, I can promise you all right now that I will never ever eat at Zips again. I know I said that last time I ate there, but this time I'm serious, Zips is out. Two thumbs down for the punishment I received.
Also Sister Hulsey and I got to volunteer for Plummer Days! It's the local celebration, and we got to help set up and stuff :). And we looked way cute, if we do say so ourselves. Sister Hulsey curled my hair because she's the nicest. And we got to eat a ton of junk food, including a fantastic pulled pork sandwich, which this random returned missionary paid for out of the blue. Literally have no idea where he came from or where he went, just came up and was like "Hey I'm paying for whatever the sisters are getting", talked to us for 2 minutes, and disappeared. Tender Mercies. :)







Sorry, I couldn't attach more pictures to that email.... and I'm really too lazy to write one big email today, so here's part 2!
We were traveling out to a member's home for dinner down in Tensed, and decided to go on an adventure to DeSmet (because we've never been there.... because everyone tells us how ghetto and evil it is and stuff....). Turns out DeSmet is actually pretty ghetto, and we won't go there without a member to try to find people to teach. But! We did find a beautiful wheat field, and decided to take some fantastic pictures with it :).

    







"The field is white" here in Plummer, in more than one way! And we're going to try our hardest to harvest :). It was a fun little break for us.
Then we got to go to the best lesson ever, and the Spirit was so strong! We taught about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, using Luke 22:40-44 (what happened), Alma 7:11-12 (what Christ suffered), D&C122:7-9 (what we know because of His sacrifice), and D&C123:17 (what we can do with our freedom from sin). It was a really incredible experience, I loved it so much :).
Being a missionary is seriously the coolest thing ever. I'm so excited to be here in Plummer with Sister Hulsey, and all the sweet people I've been able to meet. I'm just SO PUMPED AH! It's going to be a really good week :).
Love you all so much!
Sister Johnson

JULY 24

Happy Pioneer day, guys! :) 
First off, we had the BEST district pday ever! We got to go Huckleberry picking way out in the mountains somewhere! None of us had ever been there, so we texted this guy who texted us these directions to basically the middle of nowhere. The elders thought we were leading them up the mountain to kill them and hide the bodies, that's how far we ended up going. We went until we were sure we were lost, and then went a little further, and picked so many huckleberries! Haha I'll have to attach more pictures in another email. We've had a lot of fun with all the berries :). 
We got to finally catch Christine and Carlyle at home this week, and they are the cutest family ever! They have 5 kids- one who's 9, one who's 3, twin 2 year olds, and a baby. Teaching them is always an adventure, and we already love them so much :). Carlyle is a member, and he says he's excited to get back to church now. We're so excited! 
Also Moroni and Cynthia will be getting baptized tomorrow evening! We couldn't be happier about it. It's been a long road for the missionaries on that one, but they've been counting down the days to their baptism too, and we're glad to organize it for them. They're so cute about it. :) We just love them. 
We got to have a zone conference this week too! It was nice to not be in charge of any of the trainings, because I'm not an STL, it was great! But the trainings were really good. And sister Dymock read us a poem that was awesome! Here, I'll copy and paste it for you all: 
IF YOU WANT A THING BAD ENOUGH…
(By Berton Braley)
If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it
To work day and night for it
To give up your time, your peace and sleep for it
If all that you dream and scheme is about it
And life seems useless and worthless without it
If you gladly sweat for it and fret for it and plan for it
And lose all your terror of the opposition for it
If you simply go after that thing that you want
With all your capacity, strength and sagacity*
Faith, hope and confidence and stern pertinacity**
If neither cold, poverty, famine, nor gout
Sickness nor pain, of body and brain,
Can keep you away from the thing that you want
If dogged and grim you beseech and beset it
With the help of God,
YOU WILL GET IT!
Let me tell you, that made an impact on me and I really like the idea of it. We can be whatever we want to be, if we're willing to work hard enough for it. And that makes me really excited to be a human being, I don't know about you! 
We got to go out to Tensed the other day too, and ate dinner with some of our favorite members. They're so funny, I just love them. They're the ones I took the sword picture with a few weeks back. We also got to meet a cute little old man named Bob who's going to let us help him paint his house bright yellow. Like, sunflower yellow. He lives behind our house and I've watched this guy slowly paint his house this incredible color, and I finally got the courage to go ask him if we can help him paint his house. So Tuesday we're going to get to help! I'm pumped about it. Also, his little dog is like a mix of my childhood dog Woofers, and my teenhood dog Oscar.... it's weird. I like her. :) 
Sunday was awesome! Anastasia got released as a door greeter and now will be in the Primary Presidency! I'm so so excited for her! She's going to do so good there :). She's just the coolest. 
Sunday night we got to have the nicest dinner with the nicest people with the nicest view. No joke. They're lake people, so they're not permanent, but we had so much fun going there. We got to take a tram down to their house because they live right right on lake Coeur d'Alene. It was awesome :). 
Anyways, I hope everyone is doing GREAT! Life is so good. It's so good to be a missionary. And it's so good to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days :). I LOVE YOU ALL! 
   

Also sister Hulsey makes me fabulous breakfasts! And the last email I forgot the car pic, and accidentally sent my huckleberry waffle pic. But regardless, we've been eating huckleberries on everything. :D 


 

So we took a picture with our car to show you how dirty our car got... but it was too shady. 
We also got to buy Ranier cherries today!! I love them so much! 
And Christine and Carlyle brought us fry bread last night.... we just love them so much! 
And this family is the Gearhardts! They let us pick raspberries from their garden after they fed us the best deer tacos ever. Then after we picked berries they gave us buck knives so we can feel safer in Plummer. They're the nicest :). They also showed us their cute new cow :) He was just a little baby guy. 

     


Sunday, July 30, 2017

ELDER MATTHEW LEBARON - Letters from June 5 - July 24






Elder Matthew Lebaron – June 5 - New area, new adventures

Well party people another Monday has rolled around, and so here we are. The week went pretty well! This area is pretty cool, I think that there are a lot of good things going on here, and I got a feeling that I'm probably going to be here 6 months, but who knows this last transfer got me by surprise. 

La Verne reminds me a lot of Glendora, except I think that people here are more consistently wealthy around here, I haven't seen a bad part of town yet, not to say that there are very many places like that in Glendora, but there were places you could find some of the poor people. It's weird to see so many kids and families, it seems to be a pretty good community that has a lot of young families, which seems to be pretty promising. I'm back into a white ward, I don't think I have seen anyone with even a tan in this ward. There are perks to it, like having people that you can trust to take on lessons, and there is a lot of structure, but at the same time it's just not as fun. In my last two areas there weren't really too many white people in the ward, especially the Filipino (only me and Elder Cottle) but I think I'll enjoy myself here

we have a few people we are working with, one of which is super awesome, her name is Lauren, she is a 17 year old girl that went and saw the play the Book of Mormon, she got curious asked her friend about it, and before she knew it the missionaries were there teaching her. She read the first paragraph of the restoration pamphlet and started crying. Really the only reason she isn't baptized yet is because her mom won't allow her to, her  birthday is in October and she wants to get baptized then, I could possibly still be in this area when that rolls around, so  that would be pretty cool!

My new companion is super cool! his name is Elder Stucky, we both are really easy going, so its been a lot of fun working with him. We go out and work hard, but still find time to be able to have fun throughout the day and joke around a little bit, those are the best companions.

This email is pretty bland, but there wasn't a whole lot going on this week, other than just trying to adjust back to bike life. oh man... biking sucks. I forgot just how much it sucks, haha. especially when you get a 6 week break, and all your muscles atrophy. not to mention this place has hills, not like Glendora, but you pretty much have a constant up hill slope and a steep hill every few streets. I was convinced I was dying for the first 2 days. I forgot how sore you butt gets when your getting back on the ol'  cavello. last transfer I started working out with weights, but in this pad.. there are so many more. I've been going pretty hard in the mornings switching off different muscle groups, so thats been something new too, to have both my upper and lower body sore all the time, but I feel good. I really like the feeling after getting a good work out in, and I mean, getting some good cardio in all day doesn't hurt either. Honestly it's just messed up that I got to know what a car was like in the shortest amount possible, in a relatively cool time of the year. Sometimes I wonder if president laughs to himself as he messes with all the missionaries on transfers.  

Well, I hope that all of you guys have a great week! work hard make your dreams come true, get something nice for yourself this week, you deserve it. 
https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifElder LeBaron

Matt 6/20 Zone conference, and Sumer dayz

Sorry for not writing last week, or yesterday. Last week we had a lot
of stuff going on also with some wifi problems. We had Zone Conference
yesterday, which pushed our P day back a day.

Our zone conference was pretty good, but man I still can not get over
how long those meetings are, I'm always trying so hard the last hour
to stay focused. 6 hours is a long time people, but who's so planning
when it keeps you out of the heat? Also free lunch doesn't hurt
anyone. It was actually pretty cool to see a lady there that was from
the Glendora 3rd ward who was helping out to feed all the
missionary's. That was my first area, and it was cool to talk to her
after being out for a year. I think sometimes I forget just how many
people I get to Interact with and build close relationships with as a
missionary. That's definitely one of my favorite things. I was talking
to one of the missionaries that was serving in Glendora, and he said
that people in the ward, and people I had taught were still talking
about me! It made me feel pretty happy and gave me a feeling  of a
accomplishment. Being a missionary can be awesome sometimes.

This was our last zone conference with president Villanueva, it was a
pretty emotional meeting. I really like our little Mexican man that we
have. He is always super nice and gives everyone hugs. I'm going to
miss his accent, man he was a pretty good mission president, in just 9
days we will have a new president named Wells. He's from Salt lake so
pretty common Mission President haha. At the end of the meeting all
the sisters were crying, they all huddled up together and just cried
their eyes out, sisters sometimes man haha. Not to say I couldn't help
but feel a tear coming especially as we sang God be with you until we
meet again. But I stayed strong. No tears here Fam.

Well it's just about reaching the temperatures of hells armpit out
here. We've been hitting high 90's and low 100's out here. Pray for
me. I don't remember how I did this last year oh man, and it's only
going to get hotter. All I can think about as I'm pumping up this
monster hills is that my precious car was taken from me prematurely,
but it's okay because that anger gives me enough strength to get to
the top until my face ripens to a red tomato. I must be looking pretty
bad because everyone is giving us water out here, haha. Oh man I
looked in the mirror the other day when we got to a members house for
dinner, and I thought something was seriously wrong with me because of
how red my face was. It's not looking good people, but don't worry too
much, because this red face is just some unfortunate genetics, while
my comps over here looking fresh, barely breaking a sweat, his curly
hair set perfectly, not fair man.

La Verne is a super slow area, all these rich people man, but we have
2 baptismal dates which is pretty good, we're just not teaching a lot
out here. I'm just trying to survive  on the mean streets of the La
Verne streets, but someone has to do it right?

We did a lot of service this week, oh boy, I got burnt pretty bad,
from painting fences at the top of a steep hill holding onto the wet
fence for dear life trying to stop from falling to my death, to
weeding for a couple hours, to moving new people into the ward. It's
been a good week. In the words of a bishop I use to serve around "The
gospel is so freaking true" this church is amazing and I really feel
like I am growing so much and becoming something I never knew how to
become, put your life into the Lords hands and you will see miracles,
I can promise you that. Love you guys have a good week!

Elder LeBaron
614 West Foothill Blvd, Arcadia, CA 91006

Matt  - July 3 - 4th of July 💥🔥🎉



Family and friends,

Hello once again from SoCal, sorry for not getting to an email last
week. Things have been a little crazy, but I hope that I can satisfy
all my readers needs. Something that is a little surprising to me is
how many people are actually reading these things haha, thank, I'll
try not to disappoint.

Luckily for us things have been cooling down for a week at least, 85
never felt so nice. Missionary work is a lot more bearable when the
weather is nice. Something that is pretty great about California is
that most of the time there is a breeze, even if it's a dry hot
breeze, it's a breeze. I'm not sure why everyone says " well it's a
dry heat" like is that a positive thing? Same thing when I lived in
Arizona people would say, "it's a dry heat" yeah it's a dry heat
similar to what you would find in an oven buddy. Don't try and comfort
me, it's HOT in the summer time guys. I mean sure I'm grateful I'm not
in a place like Florida but still.

Let me tell you, I got bike problems, I think I will have bike
problems until I end my mission riding bikes suck sometimes, but I
can't complain about the hard cardio I'm getting, it's easier to stay
in good shape. Luckily for a boy like me there is a member in the ward
that has a bike shop and he's really making my life easier, what a
blessing. Members are so helpful sometimes, they really can make a big
difference in the work. Something that always amazes me is how many
people are willing to help the missionaries out so graciously and
generously. Keep up the good work! All your efforts wether it be in
your callings, at home, or helping the missionaries, they don't go
unnoticed.

Well there's a lot of changes around here, we're going to meet the new
mission president tomorrow, and transfers are next week, and I can't
help but feel that my company ion is going to get transferred, elder
Stucky, what a guy, I've really enjoyed being with him this last
transfer. We've been getting a lot of good things done around here,
but especially working with Lauryn, she is so ready and prepared, she
really makes me realize that the Lord is preparing people and all we
have to do is open our mouths, it's actually pretty funny she saw the
Book of Mormon play and asked one of her friends that's in our ward "
is any of this true?" He responded " no way!" And then he explained
some things to her and we got involved and she is changing her life,
it's amazing. She loves the Gospel, she loves it so much, she reads
her scriptures and even talks far beyond what we assign her, she wants
to be baptized so bad but her mom won't let her be baptized until she
is 18.   Missions require a lot of sacrifice,  but the only reason
it's so hard is because it's worth it, moments like this,
relationships, and experiences that you have make it all worth it.

This morning I was reading a general conference talk " Am I Good
Enough? Will I make It" in the the October 2016 gen conf. I wanted to
share a quote he shares from President Hinkley, I love that man, he
was my first prophet he says “Brothers and sisters, all the Lord
expects of us is to try, but you have to really try!” And that's all
there is to the gospel friends and family we have to really try and
repent when we mess up, and we will be found in the celestial kingdom
with glory beyond compare. In that day the Lord will say unto you
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful
over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou
into the joy of thy lord."

Hope you all have a good week, don't start any forest fires, don't
blow too many things up. Light some fireworks for me, enjoy your 4th,
American freedom is the best! (Also this is a picture of the most
patriotic thing I could find as a missionary)

Matt – July 10 – Transfers, The Fourth, and Baptisms

Hello again, 

This week went by pretty fast, it seems like we had a couple things to keep us busy, which was nice. As far as transfers go, I'm staying here with Elder stucky, which is really cool! I wanted to kill him, but man it's tough, I've been on a killing streak lately and man does it weigh on your soul. I have been with so many missionaries that have died in my pad or my companions dying. everyone is so trunky. All the missionaries that are currently in the pad are above 18 months, so I'm definitely the youngest of the group. There is one elder that left for the office today and will be flying home tomorrow, E. Patterson. I love that boy. I've made some really good friends out here on the mission so far. The other Elders in our apartment got white washed ( both of them got transferred out) they are making their area a zone leader area, which means that we will be rooming with the ZLs ugh, I'm personally not a fan, but it will be good, I just had a lot of cool people in the Apartment last transfer so its a little sad to see it change.  

We had to go in early for the fourth of July which was kind of cool! there was a firework show just across the street so we sat and watched the fireworks, it was a pretty decent show! it's nothing like it was when I was in Azusa last year, people went absolutely nuts, people were shooting roman candles at us and throw M-80s as we road our bike, it was like a war zone, but this year was a little more quite in the streets of La Verne. we went to a members house and had a festive meal, it was pretty fun. 

This last Saturday we had a baptism for a kid named Jett, we have been working with him for a little bit, he was pretty much a dry mormon, he had been going his whole life, but his dad wouldn't give him permission to get baptized so while we were teaching him his dad finally let him, which is super Cool. it was the biggest turn out for any baptism I've ever seen we had over 100 people come and sit in this tiny primary room. everything was set up really well for the baptism and the youth even sang for Jett, we had a really nice audio visual presentation that we showed to everyone in attendance, it was really awesome, it was funny because the New president showed up, and was really impressed, I love this ward haha, the members were talking us up so much in front of the president, it was a little embarrassing, but it was definitely a good time for Prez to show up if there ever was a time. I really like our new president, he seems like a really kind hearted guy, I'm looking forward to good things this year. 

I really love being a missionary sometimes, we are really involved in the ward and so we get to develop a lot of close relationships with the people in the wards you serve, there is this little boy that's six his name is Zander, we see him a lot at church and at dinners, he is a little Filipino boy, I talk to his mom in my broken Tagalog that I learned in 6 weeks. He came up to me after church and said "Elder LeBaron! I have this note for you! don't read it until you get home, okay?" when I got back to the apartment i read it and it simply said " Elder LeBaron I want to be a missionary just like you one day" it was simple but it really made me feel super grateful to be a missionary and to have the opportunity to touch other peoples lives even if it's in a small way. I'm sure Zander won't remember me in a couple years, but I will always remember him and have the little note he gave me.
Elder Lebaron

Matt – July 17 - Summer dayz 🔥🔥🔥

Well, it's been another glorious week!

Me and elder Stucky have done a lot of walking this last week, and man
let me tell you, when I first came into this area I felt jaded because
I just got out of a car area, and I had to ride a bike again, but now
I'm starting to feel pretty grateful for bikes! Walking is pretty hard
on your body, especially when you're walking miles and miles each day,
I couldn't tell you how many miles we walked this week, but dang it
was a lot. What a blessings to have bikes, even if they break down a
lot.

Well we got some exciting things coming up, all of you Utah mormons
know that the blessed day of the pioneers is coming up, which is
pretty big here in California, we have a couple activities planned
this week that we are going to get a few people to come to, not to
mention we are planning to take Lauryn to the temple this Saturday!
It's going to be so awesome! She's definitely the most normal person
I've ever taught, from my experience the church seems to attract a lot
of odd balls, but at the same time it attracts the best minds, the
hardest workers, and leaders, it's really interesting to me. Lauryn
comes across to me as someone that will be relief society president
someday she's so awesome and if amazes me again and again her love for
the gospel. It's going to be a good week! We're trying to take her mom
to the temple too so hopefully her heart can be softened and she
Lauryn can get baptized sooner.

In this area of the mission we get a lot of attention, I kind of like
it when we are the center of attention haha, people are always staring
at us and pointing at us, we're defiantly a novelty around here.
While people are driving past in their cars I can make out the words
"The mormons"  on their lips as they point through the car window. I
think it will be weird to just be a regular guy when I come home and
not have people looking at me all day, to instill fear in people as I
walk down the street picking what poor saps door I will knock on.
Being a missionary is a lot of fun sometimes, it's really a once in a
life time experience.

Things are going well here, there hasn't been a lot of changes here,
but the ward is awesome and they help us out a ton, not to mention the
youth really help us a lot, it's so easy to get fellowship from them.
The church is true, Jesus Christ died for us, but he continues to live
for us, and I know that the Book of Mormon will help us come closer to
God. I've seen it in my own life, and I've seen it in the lives of
those I have taught, until next week.

Elder LeBaron
614 West Foothill Blvd, Arcadia, California, 91006

Matt – July 24 Temple Trip, and talks

What's up,

We have had a pretty good week this week, we actually picked up a few
more investigators than we normally do, so that was nice. Even though
a lot of them aren't super solid it's nice to be able to have a few
more people to work with!

Really the highlight of the week was our temple trip with Lauryn. It
was the best temple trip I've had yet, we had such good fellowship.
The member that took us had a big van so we got 7 people in total come
with us. 3 youth came, honestly you can't tell the difference between
Lauryn and the rest of the youth she fits right in. It was just a good
mix of people, and Lauryn really enjoyed it! It was pretty neat to see
her respond to some of the questions that the sister missionaries
asked, she's pretty mature, and really understands the gospel,
especially since she's only been investigating for 2 months. She's an
investigator where I feel I was sent to this area just for her, which
is really cool. Me and Elder stucky seem to be the perfect elders for
her, it's funny how the Lord works sometimes

We had the Pioneer Day celebration on Saturday as well and it was a
lot of fun! I got to see some people from Glendora and everyone was
blown away that I have been out over a year, since that's where I
started my mission.

We have been picking up a lot of people that speak Arabic this week,
which is weird... because this is like the whitest area in all the
mission, we are trying to find people that can translate for us, we'll
see how that turns out.

Yesterday I gave a talk in church yesterday, on recount answers to our
prays. I am so surprised sometimes when I feel the spirit come over
me, something I haven't experienced much besides on my mission. When I
was up there talking I felt something I haven't really felt before, I
felt that there is something really great in me, something that I
don't even know yet, but if I keep slimy best that the Lord will help
refine me until I get there. I would like all of you to know that
there is something amazing and unique in all of us. We are involved in
something that is bigger and better than ourselves, and when we put
our life in the Lords hands he will shape us into what he needs. I
have a long way to go, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to become
better than I was before.

I was reading in Mark 4 today which reads:

36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he
was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the
ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and
they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we
perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace,
be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye
have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner
of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

This tells of when the disciples are in a ship, and a storm comes,
they fear for their lives and wake up the savior. The phrase that
stood out to me was " carest thou not that we perish?"  Sometimes I
know I have felt like that in my life, that the Lord doesn't care
about me or my situation or the little things that I struggle with or
am concerned about, the things that keep me up at night. I really like
the Lords response when he says "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that
ye have no faith?" And it hit me, have I forgot that the lord is in
control? He literally controls everything and so we don't have to
worry, do your best and everything will be okay. That's my testimony.

Hope you guys have a great week!

Love,
Elder LeBaron
614 West Foothill Blvd, Arcadia, CA, 91006