Monday, February 12, 2018

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 2/12 - First of all...

First of all, shoutout to my littlest siblings for turning 13 yesterday! Because I love them and I only missed their teenage threshold birthday because I came back out here. Sorry guys. I've got gifts for when you get here though, no worries ;) 

Anyways, it was a good week! We got some good stuff done. 
Sister Hall went away.... A sister in the Ponderosa ward was a visa waiter for Zimbabwe, and she got her Visa on Monday and left on Wednesday! Because who wouldn't want to be in Africa asap? So Sister Hall gets to be over there in Ponderosa now. But not before we had an adventure together. Haha the elders had set up an appointment for us to go see a man named Lance that they met on a blitz last week. They'd given him a book of Mormon and he seemed super interested. But..... our members coming to the lesson found a sticky note and a book of Mormon by the guy's front door right before we showed up for the lesson.... it said "Sorry not for me". Haha I attached a picture, it's the first time I've had a book of Mormon returned to me I think?



Usually people just take them and it slowly eats at their curiosity for 20 years or something. Not for Lance though. We'll get him later. ;) 
Also there are a couple of pictures from the baby shower we kind of became the unofficial general managers for. One is of me and sis Cardon and it shows how tired we both were. It was a nonmember Samoan baby shower, and it was awesome!! But they literally demanded all day from us. It was long. 


OH also we got to go to YWs on Wednesday, and we got to make "bucket lists". We had 5 categories to make plans for, Spiritual, Fun, Personal, Family, and Personal. So I attached a picture of mine because I think they were pretty good goals. :) You're welcome. 

Church was awesome yesterday! Everything was about agency and choices and it was really inspiring. One guy talked about the root word of pesticide, insecticide, herbicide, etc. Cide means to kill or terminate. And then he related it to the word Decide, and how we need to decide what we're doing, and that terminates the other options. So as we choose righteous things, it becomes easier to choose righteous things in the future, because it eliminates the wrong choices we could have made. It was a really cool idea. 
Ummm..... otherwise this week was pretty basic. Schuyler came to church and that was SO GOOD! I think he loved it. Hopefully we get to see him this week, and he'll come again. :) He's seriously so awesome, I'm pumped to share the Gospel with him. 




Anyways, off to shop and play marshmallow dodgeball for reals. 
I love you all! Keep smiling, life is so good :) 
Sister Johnson 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

ELDER MATT LEBARON - 2/5 - JPL

Hey guys! So I wanted to at least send something your way his week! First off I met the guy who invented the craft singles you out in your sandwiches, he owns a ton of the company, also he’s a member too! Less active but still a member!

 This pday we got the opportunity to go to JPL (jet propulsion laboratory’s) it’s run by cal tech, but they all work for NASA, we got a private tour, and had the opportunity of walking into the control center where all the space missions are operated. We saw models of all the mars rovers, and got to see the computers that controlled all of the different missions that are currently in operations, so cool! They control Hubble, Kepler, and pretty much any space operation you can think of. There is a member in one of the Pasadena wards that works there and hooked us up. I wish you guys could see it for your self.






The last picture is of me and brother craft. 
 
Anyways have a good week guys! I’ll update you about the

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 2/5 - I can hardly believe it is February already,...

I can hardly believe it is February already, and that I have been back on the mission for 2 whole months now! Just one month to go, and I'm sure it's going to fly by. I blinked and this last week just disappeared on me!
I have 2 cute new companions now. Sister Hall and Sister Cardon and I have had a lot of fun going out and talking to people. And of course, there has been a lot of laughter, because missions are boring if you're not laughing. We found 2 new investigators last week! Schuyler (pronounced Skylar) and Tony, and they are both super promising. Schuyler especially was exciting to find though. He came to us as a referral from a friend, and straight up in our first lesson with him, he was all "I was reading in the Book of Mormon the other day, and I just opened to a verse (it ended up being 3 Nephi 26:17-21) and it talked about baptism, and I think it's a sign God wants me to be baptized in this church". I admit, that is absolutely the first time I've showed up for a first lesson, and someone had already been reading the Book of Mormon, much less wanted to be baptized. WE ARE SO EXCITED ABOUT IT. We got to teach Schuyler the Restoration of the Gospel that day, and later on we got to share the Plan of Salvation, and it's all just been so fun, because he's actually really into it. Pray for Schuyler, he's super cool! 
I made a transfer goal this transfer, and it's to eat better. And I just wanted to report to you all, that I had fruits and veggies every day in my new area. And Sister Hall has tried everything I've made, and either I'm a pretty alright chef, or she's a really good liar. Here's to 6 more weeks of better eating and food adventures! 
Also this week, we have made contact with a bunch of people who used to have missionaries over, and half of them set up appointments to see us this coming week, so that's been awesome. It's probably been one of the most productive weeks of my whole mission, if I'm honest. We all felt so good about our work this week :). 
It's been kind of cool to be in this particular tri-panionship. I've been out what, 17 months now? And Sister Cardon has been out 6, and Sister Hall has been out about 5. They call me the Senior companion (which I guess is accurate because sometimes I feel like I"m 80 years old out here). But as a senior companion in my last transfer, I've really focused a lot on what I have to offer these sisters here from my experience as a missionary, and what I have to offer the people here in Dishman Mica and Bowdish before I head back home for real. It's been really inspiring and motivational, and I've found a lot of purpose and happiness in looking at things that way. It's made me pick out my talents as a missionary, and actually use them, and work on my weaknesses. It's just been really cool. It's amazing to figure out how to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my everyday life. I'm not perfect at it by all means, but I think I'm starting to get it. It's really just about developing all the good things we like in ourselves, and slowly cutting out the things we don't really like in ourselves. But mostly it's a focus on the good things :) because God loves us no matter what. And when we understand that He really does love us, we naturally want to become better. IT"S AMAZING OK. THE GOSPEL IS TRUE. 

Here are some pics from the week! 
The first is Sister Carson. She emptied her pockets to find the house key. This picture documents the things missionaries carry in their coat pockets. Can you spot the key? Haha 
 Also I got to see the Hermanas again! I bought an hermana tag so I can blend in with them now;) 
 
 We've also been updating our digital area book. Someone wrote this on a record where elders didn't report any lessons. Bad missionaries >:(
 Aaaand here are the three of us chilling at the family history center, because we were slackers this week and have no pictures of our adventures together. 
Anyways, I love you all so much! Keep your chins up, life is so good. :) 
Sister Johnson

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 1/29 - Hello friends and family! :D

I have some news for you! 
I am being transferred! 
Back to where I came from!
And elders are taking over Grangeville! 
So I'm going to go be in a tri-panionship again, this time in the Dishman Mica and Bowdish wards in Spokane East. My new companions will be Sister Cardon and Sister Hall, and it's going to be one crazy adventure. I don't know my address yet... but I'll be living literally down the street from the mission office, so anyone who wants to send me mail, the mission office will probably be just as fast as sending things directly to me :). 
This last week had some good highlights in it. 
Monday was a bummer because the elders all the way in Orofino had an early dinner scheduled, so there would be no point to driving 4 hours round trip to see them for an hour. Oh well. So we stayed home and pretty much did nothing for pday, which was kinda nice too I guess. 
We got to finally sit down and teach Janet a lesson on Wednesday!! She and Cowboy are our favorite people, they are just so awesome. She came to Grangeville, and we got to share the Plan of Salvation with her. She really liked it :). And then on Sunday after church, Cowboy came to the regional conference broadcast with Brother Knutzen, and we got to teach him the Plan of Salvation too! Now they're both on the same lesson. They are literally the sweetest people. And Cowboy, without us bringing it up, said he will get baptized into this church because the scriptures say to, and he wants to!! The elders sweeping us out better take good care of them, and go to Elk City all the time to see them, because I'm going to come back and haunt them if they don't. These people are golden!
We actually got to go back out to Elk City on Thursday :). I just love Elk City. If I could serve just in Elk City, I would be so happy. The people out there are just a different kind of fantastic from city folks. They're a trip. I love them all so much. Brother Knutzen even fed us grilled cheese sandwiches, and Cowboy shared elk burger with us. Everyone was just so nice. We also got to take lots of pictures, I'll have to send some :). 
Otherwise this week consisted of a lot of Chocolate Dyno-Bites cereal, packing, cheering up some elders, and seeing everyone to say goodbye. Grangeville is sad to see sisters go... but we keep telling them the elders are going to be awesome! 
So here come my 14th and 15th companions in 13 transfers. Am I the crazy sister? Probably. But who doesn't like a grand adventure, right? Maybe I'll hold the mission record for "most companions" haha. 

Anyways, I love you all! Keep smiling and sharing your light with the world :). 

Here are some pictures, 
 
 
one's of the snowplow who basically saved our life by plowing in front of us the whole way to Elk City :D. 
 
Also a picture of us with Cowboy, Janet, and Brother Knutzen :).
 
 Of course you all needed a car selfie. 
 
 
And a pic of the scenery :) we have one of the most beautiful areas. 
 
 Me and Sister Sonenstahl and the sweet icicles that hang all along the highway to Elk City 
 
 
 And a picture from last night when we went to see Ryan and Quentin, a couple of our investigators in White Bird. Ryan is the one without the face mask haha. 
 
 And a picture of us and the Elk City Tank. 
 
 
And of me with all the turkeys by Bro Knutzen's house haha. 
 
 
Sorry here are some more pictures off of Sister Sonenstahl's camera :)
We did a puzzle over the last week, and it kept us sane. Isn't it awesome? It's 1500 pieces :D 
 

 
 
And a picture of Jammie and Pete, some of our favorite recent converts :)) 
 
 
 
And a picture of our district at Sis Sonenstahl's last district meeting ever! :'(
 
 
Sister Johnson

Friday, January 26, 2018

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 1/22 - Hello friend and family! :D

This week absolutely ROCKED and I'm really pumped about it. Here it goes. 
Monday we got to hang out with the whole zone. It was pretty sweet. We played some intense 4-square, and "Set me up" (which I played waaaay back in the Moscow days of my mission). I came home with bruises everywhere, but it's ok. Because at least it wasn't a marshmallow to the face this time. 
Tuesday.... well, Sister Sonenstahl got really sick, and I didn't feel so hot either. We ate some questionable Dairy Queen for lunch on Monday, and it was not a happy experience. So we stayed in all day, and napped, and read the Book of Mormon, and cleaned the house. 
Wednesday we got to go out visiting people with our brand new member, Sister Schellenburg! She and her new husband moved here for an internship, and she is super super bored, so she comes with us to stuff. Shout out goes to her for being the MVP this week. We went to the thrift store and she drove us all the way to Craigmont for a great lesson with our recent convert, Jeff. It was an adventurous day. 
Thursday was really chill and kind of boring. 
Friday we had a great district meeting, and the zone leaders even showed up as our special guests. I feel like the city missionaries have this air of class, and sophistication (well, as much sophistication as 19 year old boys can get I guess). And down here in the "up river district" we've all kind of lost it. Like we're straight up crazy. Elder McChesney even stuffed himself in the fridge. And while we all laughed, there was this slight fear in the zone leaders eyes.... like they're not really sure we're ok. Haha but it's all good, they can't really do anything about it. We also had exchanges on Friday, so Sister Nickle and Sister Hall came to hang out with us for the night. Sister Nickle and I found a new investigator!! His name is Michael, and he's 10, and from last Sunday to Friday he had read all the way to 1 Nephi 10. His grandma and mom are members, and it's been so fun to go over and talk to them and teach Michael. He asks such good questions, and he likes us so that's been awesome :). 
SATURDAY WAS THE BEST THOUGH BECAUSE WE FINALLY GOT TO GO TO ELK CITY!!! Wow it was awesome. The Pierces took us all the way out there. It's the furthest we can drive away from our mission home haha. I finally got to meet our investigators, Cowboy and Janet. And Janet invited  us to eat Chinese food where she works on February 2nd. Sister Schellenburg has offered to drive us, and I'm so excited about that. But we did get to talk to Cowboy at dinner with a whole group of our members out there. It was at the Doherty's house, and they basically live in a medieval castle. The outside looks like a cottage, but it's literally a medieval castle inside, complete with open fireplaces, no electric heat, candelabras, bear furs, gargoyles, you name it. It's there. It was awesome!! I'll have to send lots of pictures, but it still doesn't do that place justice. We got to stay the night and everything, and we almost froze haha. The dinner and the company were wonderful though :). And Cowboy asked us what the difference between prophets and disciples is, and we had the best conversation about it with him. He's reading the Book of Mormon and everything, and wants to come to church again this coming Sunday :). He's just one of the sweetest people ever, and I think he'll get baptized sooner than later. 
I just love Elk City, and all the people. I wish we could go live there. I finally felt like I belong in the Grangeville ward, but it's an hour and a half east of here..... haha. I'll definitely be going out there as often as we can find rides (because I'm not sure I trust myself to drive that scary road haha). 
Anyways, thank you all for the prayers!! It's working, and we're going to get this place hopping. I'm so excited to be a missionary!! :D 

Here are some fabulous pictures from the castle we slept at. The picture of the bed, is the bed I got to sleep in haha. I love that place. 
 





I also love you all! I hope you all get to have amazing weeks. Sister Sonenstahl goes home next week, so here starts the week of "last time she does ____" haha. We're getting excited about it :). 



Until next week! 
Sister Johnson

Here is a picture of the random abandoned toilet we always drive past on our way to district meeting.
And pictures of us at Mod pizza a couple weeks ago, feat. 



 Jay West, who I met back in Moscow YSA a long time ago! 
 
 
 Also my mama sent me an adorable llama sweater. Can't beat that. The baby llama is even fuzzy. :D 
 
 
Ok that's all! Adios! :)
 

Sorry I just can't resist sending more pictures. This week was awesome ok?
Sister Sonenstahl and I met the nicest cat ever named Leo. He lives with the Carey's, who are some of our really cool members :). 

 
Also some more pictures of the medieval house. The pictures of Sister Sonenestahl and the bearded man? That's Cowboy :D 
 

 



ELDER MATT LEBARON - 1/22 - Find Joy in the Journey



Hello friends and family!

I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but this is the third email in a row that I’ve sent, so that’s pretty good. It’s better than ignoring you guys for a month at a time, sorry about that haha. 

This week has been kind of slow, but it was a pretty good week! We started it out with a zone activity last P-day. We had a BBQ and some fun games. It was the most fun zone activity I’ve had my entire mission I think. I’m probably in one of the coolest zones. Everybody is really relaxed and easy to get along with. The sisters are really low maintenance which makes my job as District leader a lot easier. We played a game called Wilson ball which is the missions rendition of dodgeball, it never ends, it’s pretty 
fun. 
 
 

Did you know we were going to have a baptism this week? No, well me either! Apparently the zone leaders were teaching someone in our area and didn’t tell us, typical, haha. The stake president found out and made them more wards so we had their baptism in our ward. We were scrambling for a few days trying to get everything set up. Their names a David and Shonna, they both recently came to America from China looking for better opportunities and freedom. David was recently baptized and had the privilege of baptizing his wife, it was a pretty spiritual experience that I was delighted to be apart of. I may have not been there for their lessons but I am grateful to know David and Shonna, and experience their great enthusiastic spirits. 
 
 

We haven’t done a very good job at finding this week, and it seems like everyone in our teaching pool has either dropped us, or is ignoring us. Eh oh well. I’m at a point in my mission where I’ve done a lot of reflection and you just gotta roll with the punches. Up to this point, 95 percent of my mission has been trying to find people, through long summer days, never ending contacting, and being willing to let someone slam the door in your face one more time. The other 5 percent I would say has been the pure joy of working with people that are prepared to receive the gospel. I have met and worked with people that have changed my life, and it’s been what has made my mission a pure bliss. That 5 percent is the most meaningful thing that I have ever experience thus far in my life, and for that I am grateful. The mission is about laughing when it’s hard, working through the tears, making friends with your companion and just cracking jokes through the rejection. I’ve been feeling really grateful for my mission lately, and even though I’m not home quite yet I’m excited to make the most of the next some odd 4 and a half months I have left. My sister Alyssa shared with me and reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by Thomas S. Monson and I wanted to share it with you as well. “Find joy in the journey now” this life we’re living is pretty short, so make the most of what you have now. Love the people that matter most to you a littler more, smile, laugh. Find happiness through the trial, find peace through our savior Jesus Christ, who bore all things for us. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” 

tell the people you care most for that you are grateful for them and what they do for you, most of all, tell them they are loved by you.  

"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."
-Thomas S. Monson 

I hope you all can find happiness and peace in your lives today, I hope you can feel gratitude for all the many blessings our Father in Heaven has bestowed upon you and your family. He loves us and will forever stretch his arms out to us. Thanks for the inspiration Alyssa. 😉

Elder LeBaron 

The last picture is us having lunch with our ward mission leader, he’s Samoan and he is so much fun haha. 



SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 1/15 - It was a great week guys!

Sister Sonenstahl and I have had so much fun talking and laughing all the time. Man I am going to miss her when she goes... but it's ok. Because we decided I'm going to live in her basement when I go off to college. So we'll be real roommates, and real friends, instead of assigned ones haha. 
We had a couple of FANTASTIC lessons this week! We got to read some of the Book of Mormon with a lady named B and her husband Cody. They are awesome, and ask a lot of good questions. We even got to tackle the polygamy thing, which is always an adventure. And we had a great Plan of Salvation lesson with Pebbles and her daughter Naomi. They are so sweet. After we finished, Naomi asked her mom a question about spirits, and we got to watch Pebbles explain the pre-earth life back to Naomi, and it just made my heart so full of happiness! The Plan of Salvation is all about families and finding joy, and in that one instant, I saw so much hope for that little family. I love them so much. 
Also this week, we got a smartphone! Sister Sonenstahl and I ordered our own, but neither of them came in. So since Sister Sonenstahl is going home soon, they gave her one of the mission phones to use. We've been updating all of our old records and information, and putting them into an online area book thing. It takes foreverrrrr but it's been so nice to have things to do when it's dark and cold and nobody wants to see us haha. And reading emails throughout the week is a huge bonus, and I'm super happy about it. 
We got to watch President Monson's funeral with our district this last week too. Again, the Plan of Salvation just brings so much peace. I didn't feel sad at all that he's passed on, mostly because I just know how happy he's got to be on the other side now. God's plan is just so good! 
I also decided that reading to the elderly people in the nursing home every Friday is one of my favorite parts of the week. They're all just so sweet to us, even if they only barely remember who we are. I love learning all their names and shaking their hands after we read. You can tell they just crave a little kindness and love, and that makes it so much more rewarding to give. One lady this week even asked me all about Joseph Smith, and asked how long I've been a Mormon. I got to bear the shortest, tiniest testimony ever to her, and just said "I've been a member my whole life, and I love it so much. It makes me so happy". Let me tell you, I haven't felt so strongly about anything in a long time, and I almost cried right there. Our testimonies don't have to be anything eloquent or detailed for the Holy Ghost to testify to our hearts that what we believe is so true. I love this Gospel and my Savior Jesus Christ so much, it just makes me so happy! 
Well, today we get to go to Lewiston for zone pday. Woo! We finally get to shop at Walmart! It should be fun. We never get to see the city missionaries, but half of them are legendary marshmallow dodgeball players, so hopefully I don't come home with bruises. 
Anyways, i love you all so much! 
Sister Sarah Johnson