Tuesday, March 13, 2018

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 3/12 - Well..... here it is, the final countdown.

It is so bittersweet. I've heard so many missionaries say that before, and I always felt like they didn't give enough description. But now that I'm staring the end of my mission right in the eyes, bittersweet is the only word I have. I've never been so excited for the end of something, and so sad to be leaving too. I have wanted to cry all day, but also laugh and pack and get going. 
This week was simultaneously the worst and the best, but I'll just talk about the good stuff. :) 
I've been doing really good at not eating sugar so much! When the hermanas wanted ice cream the other day, and tried to convince me to just get whatever I wanted, I went with the sugar free flavors, because I'm committed dangit. And when the hermanas pulled out a box of thin mints, and told me to "live a little" because it's the end of my mission, I said "No! I'll eat thin mints at home, I'm committed!" It's been hard, but I"m so proud of myself haha. 
Well, we just decided that today we want to go to Latah, because there are sweet places to take pictures there, and it's way better than doing boring stuff here in Spokane Valley, like shopping and cleaning. So..... this email is short. 
But I have an important announcement! 
My homecoming talk will be on the 18th of March (yes, one day after I fly home. It's awesome) The address is 1455 North Harris Drive MESA, Arizona 85203-3828, and you should all be there or be square. ;) (except my cute missionary friends, I totally understand. Go serve the Lord :) ) The meeting starts at 11, and I have 20 minutes to talk, so get ready for some tears and some diatribes about how awesome missions are ok? 

 3 pictures from the corner of Best and Mission. Because who has the best mission? We do. ;D

3 are from the crazy service project on Saturday that we did with most of the zone. We were searching through enormous piles of trash in a guys yard to find glass, tin, iron... anything he could sell for recyclables. I found some cool souvenirs for Sis Cardon and I. I guess you could say I'm a professional treasure hunter ;). 

 And 3 pictures from MLC last week! It was so, so good to be there, and to bear my testimony one last time to all of those good people. I'm gonna miss this place for sure. (Also featuring Elder St John and Sister Hulsey from the original St Maries-Plummer squad. Man I missed those guys) 

Ok here are some pictures from our Ward mission leader, bro Palmer, and his family. They're so funny, I love them. 

Also there are some pics from when Sis Cardon and I went to downtown Spokane last pday. Good stuff. I love the running guys statue thing.

Ok I love you all! Thank you for supporting me and praying for me this whole time! It's been one crazy run, but it's been so worth it. Here's to the rest of my life and all the adventures it has to hold. 
Peace out for the last time as a Sister missionary. 
Sister Johnson

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 3/5 - Hello friends and family :)

Man have I missed you all this week. It's been a long week. 

The best part of the week though, was we have a new little investigator! Her name is Dakota, and she's 9 :). We taught her a quick Restoration lesson, and she's way cute! She understood pretty well, and is really excited to get the Children's Book of Mormon we promised her at our next lesson (because let's be real, who doesn't like the picture book version better? Can't beat those illustrations). AND SHE CAME TO SACRAMENT MEETING and brought her less active mama with her. It was awesome :). I love her already. 
Also this week we played the most intense round of marshmallow dodgeball last Monday. I am definitely going to miss that game when I go home. All my friends better prepare themselves for a game at home when I get my life together maybe someday, haha. 
We got to have an interview with President Dymock this week as well. I love President and Sister Dymock so much. They just always have the right things to say to help me keep going when things are tough. I'm going to miss them when I go. While waiting for Sis Cardon in her interview with President, Sister Dymock told us waiting missionaries a story about two turkeys who learn to fly. (I think it's a story from a conference a while back). They learn to fly and see all these amazing sights, and their instructor really helps them and they love flying. When the day is over, they thank the instructor, feeling so excited about how fun their day was, and then they walk all the way home. We discussed some reasons that we, in our lives, sometimes "walk all the way home" after we've experience the joy of the Gospel. Sometimes it's because our instructor leaves, sometimes it's because flying is uncomfortable for us anyways, etc. And then she encouraged us to remember to fly all the way home instead, and to keep practicing the skills we learn here on a mission, even if it's uncomfortable for us sometimes. It was so good! 
Also at district meeting, we talked about how we can use technology more in missionary work. Elder Lofgren is a really good district leader, and he used videos to demonstrate how the Spirit can speak to us through technology. This particular video gave me the feels, please watch it:

Oh! I got to bear my testimony at sacrament meeting yesterday in the Bowdish ward. I talked about how when I first got here, I thought things would be fine, it was warm enough and the weather was nice. But then it started to snow and I was so unprepared and terrified of being cold. And then it snowed forever. And all everyone kept saying was that my "blood would thicken" and I'd be fine. I did not believe them, that sounded ridiculous! So I bundled up and glared at the clouds every day. But then one day came along in the middle of the winter that it hit 50 degrees. Back home, 50 degrees is freezing, and you wear gloves and a coat and drink hot chocolate and sit inside all day, right? That day though, I took my coat off and wore just my long sleeved shirt, and realized that my blood did really thicken. What once was unbearable and horrible to me, had suddenly become something I could handle. I realized that most of life is like that. Rarely do we ever feel ready, or adequate to handle the crazy challenges presented to us. We look ahead and think we'll never make it, even though everyone around us tells us things will work out and you'll be fine. But every time we turn to our Savior and ask for His help, and then do what we can and give all we have to overcome that challenge, He helps our spiritual "blood" to thicken. And then things just work out. :) He always takes whatever we have, and makes it enough. And I think that is so incredible. Kind of like when Jesus had the 5 loaves and the 2 fishes. He takes everything we have to give, and somehow, our blood really does thicken, and we not only survive, but we survive with grace and happiness to accompany us. 

Also Sister Douglas went on exchanges with the hermanas, and it was a blast. The only pictures I have for myself this week are from our spa party. Did I tell you I love face masks? I love face masks. And so does Sis Douglas, so that's what we did. Haha best day ever.

I love you all so much! Here's to the week of "last time I do this" moments. #9daysleft
Good luck this week! :) 
Sister Johnson

Sunday, March 4, 2018

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 2/26 - Hello again! :)

It's been one more week on this crazy adventure. I only really have 2 more full weeks of missionary work, and then I'll be a regular civilian again. We're getting close, people! Get ready for this Sister to be an adult someday! ;D 
Mostly this week..... was basic I guess? Not a lot is sticking out as especially fantastic. 
Oh! The hermanas moved in with us, and I love them so much. Hermana Mallett and Hermana Wood are super cute and they help keep the kitchen pretty clean, so that rocks. And we have fun talking after our long days of work. Hermana Mallett thinks I'm particularly funny, so we get along great. And she's always quick to comment on how great I look in face maks (which it turns out are super fun to put on, regardless of if it's really helping my face or not). 
Oh Friday was really great! We got to go and sing a song to a senior missionary couple whose mission just ended over the weekend (but they live here in this stake, so it's ok because I'll still see them). Another elderly sister from the office had a friend rewrite the lyrics to "Popcorn Popping". It went something like this;
I looked out the window and what did I see?
Elder McFarlane bringing stuff to me.
Vacuums, lamps and pans and mattresses
Some even think he is Santa Claus
He can keep a shed organized and neat
Get rid of bed bugs which is a feat
No matter the time or
What he needs to do 
He will say "I'll get it right out to you!" 

I went to the ER and what did I see?
Sister McFarlane right there next to me
She's so patient, kind, supplies a crutch
Always says "Have fun, but not too much!"
She's a super chef, no one dares to beat.
Her meals and treats are a joy to eat.
There hardly is a day
When she doesn't say
"Remember you need to pay your co-pay!"

Isn't that just so cute? I love the McFarlanes. Sis McFarlane is the mission nurse who took such good care of me when I had to go home. I want to be her best friend. (Also she really does make stellar food.) 
After we sang to them we got to go to District meeting. And after district meeting, the whole zone got together for lunch. Sister Banks and Sister McFarlane made it for us, and it was the best chicken tortilla soup and rolls ever. I just love those ladies!! 
Hm... oh it snowed a lot the other day and I almost got stuck in a retention ditch. But never fear, this Arizona girl knows where the AWD button is, and was not phased by the wicked white death! (Also I have waaaaaaay too much pride to call the elders and ask for help digging us out. I'd go to almost any length to just get unstuck by myself haha) 
Well, the only other fantastic thing from this week was last pday, where we got to play volleyball with the Spokane Valley zone, and I got to see Sister Blake again :). Also we taught the elders ballet, and it was pretty fantastic actually. Elder Stewart is actually pretty good at it. The others try real hard haha. 
Otherwise that's pretty much it! I love you all! Keep smiling :) 
Sister Johnson 

Here are some pictures from the snow the other day!

And a picture of our fantastic lunch at district meeting :). 
 Also... turns out Android phones have "Easter eggs" to find. One of them is this weird kind of cat app? Like it's not technically a game. But you put "food" in a "dish" in your settings, and cats start showing up, and you can name them? Like Pokemon go.... but not? Because you literally don't do anything and cats just show up in your notifications. 
Needless to say, I have 22 cats now. Here's to being a virtual cat lady! ;) 

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 2/19 - Hello!! It's me :)

It's been another week! 
Last week we played a fantastic round of volleyball on Pday. It was so fun to not even hesitate or worry about jumping and running and ducking and things. I think I'm back to 100% since my surgery, and that is just the coolest thing! 
This week we also got a lot of snow off and on, and I'm over it. The problem with Spokane snow.... is that it snows, turns to slush, and then freezes that way, and permanently glazes all the roads. I'm glad I have some rubber muck boots I bought, because they have fantastic traction. I haven't fallen yet.... but we did have a fantastically frightening drift around a corner the other day that looked clear of ice.... but was apparently not. Good thing I practiced handling the car in snow and ice last winter in Moscow.... haha. ;) 
We also got to have Zone Conference with President and Sister Dymock this week. It was way cool! President again exploded our brains talking about the Urim and Thummim, including theories of what it looks like and how it relates to all these different parts of our culture. It's too hard to explain over an email, but for real it's worth looking into. It was way cool. And Sister Dymock gave us a great training on "Open Systems vs. Closed Systems" of communication, and how in our lives we are so much happier if we council together and are all open with each other, than if we close down and one person just dominates direction. It was so good :). I love zone conference so much. 
OH on Tuesday, I had one of the coolest experiences. We got to go to a lesson with a man who has lost his testimony over time and through the really hard things he's had to seen and go through. He told us he used to share the Gospel with all of his friends, and saw many of them baptized, but he isn't so sure anymore that God exists, because there's just so much horror out there. We had a great discussion with him about the scriptures and the Holy Ghost, and prayer.... and towards the end, I just felt like my heart would burst over the testimony in my heart. I was able to bear a testimony to him of the reality of God's love, and that all those things he used to know so well, and used to feel and love, could all come back for him. I have never felt so sure of anything in my life! But I know that Heavenly Father is anxiously waiting for that guy, and each of us, to reach back out to Him and ask the questions in our hearts. He'll answer all of our concerns, if we are willing to hunt down the answers. It was incredible, I wish words did the moment justice! 
Lent started on Wednesday, so I gave up sugar again this year. I always feel much better about myself when I'm not eating sugar... And I've been really good about eating fruits and vegetables too! It's such a challenge to eat healthy sometimes, but it's empowering to know I can do it :). 
And on Friday, I was able to go on exchanges with our STL, Sister Douglas. She is way awesome! We had so much fun talking and getting to know each other. She's been all over the world,  and maybe someday we'll get to go on a trip together, because that would be way sweet! I could learn a lot from that lady, I just love her. All the same.... exchanges always make me grateful for my own companion. Shoutout to Sister Cardon for being fantastic! It's so easy to communicate with her, and we get good stuff done together too :). It felt good to be able to report great things to the STL :). 
Hm.... well, other than all that, this week was pretty basic. The two Spanish hermanas are moving into our apartment today, because our apartment is bigger I guess. It'll be an adventure. We'll get to have the Spokane Valley zone at our Pday later though to play volleyball and dodgeball, so that'll be awesome.
I hope you're all reading your scriptures and saying your prayers!! It works ;) I promise! 
Love you all! 
Sister Johnson 

Here are some pictures from this week! 
One is of the play doh whale I made at church. Best Gospel Principles lesson on the creation ever!
 Oh and I got to see my cute trainee, Sister Blake, at zone conference! She's adorable. And all grown up now! 
  And I attached a whole bunch of pictures of our adventure on Tuesday with all the sisters in the zone. We made crepes! Sister Cardon is a pro crepe maker, and she taught Sis Douglas how to flip them (that's Sis Douglas at the stove).

I also have some other adventure pics! Here are some pics from our temple trip last Tuesday :)) I love all these people. :)

Ok here are some more pictures! These are from my exchange with Sister Douglas. Isn't she so cute?

 We found a castle! In the middle of Spokane?? It's cute haha.

ELDER MATT LEBARON - 2/19 - Blessings on Blessings on Blessings, I’m Blessed

Hello everyone!

Well it’s been another couple weeks since I’ve written, so I bet you are all on pins and needles, eagerly awaiting this letter.  I hope it finds you well, and you are enjoying your President days day! I unfortunately can’t poke fun and mention how you guys are back to the grind of your regular work week while I’m on my pday, looks like today we’re even, just keep that in mind for next week. ;) 

Things have been so crazy this week, I don’t know what’s going on but everyone is dying out here. Everyone is falling apart, breaking their hip or foot, or having some kind of other bodily injury that require us to give them a blessing. We’re running out of consecrated oil here people ! No lie me and my companion have probably given at least 15 blessings this week. That’s a record for my mission. I’ve visited the hospital so many times, and even sisters in my district have been asking for blessings. 

Something that’s funny to me about missionary work, is either there is nothing going on and you’re trying to be productive, or there is literally not enough time in the day to get everything done. It seems like people only ask for help on the days you are super busy, and yet you still find time somehow to schedule them in too. The other day we were waiting for this guy to show up for a lesson (it ended taking up a looong time) I just opened up area book and started calling people and we had some lessons over the phone while we waited, and set up return appoints, we didn’t have anything planned for that day, but believe me the work found us. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re looking at your schedule and not knowing how in the world you’re going to get everything to fit. So stressful, but It’s a good problem to have, I wish it happened more often honestly. 

We’ve been down to East L.A a lot this week, and maaaan if my mission has taught me anything it’s what I want and what I don’t. I’ve been in rich areas for a long time in my mission and being in the ghettoes really makes me grateful for everything that I have, I’ve had a good life. Everyone out here seems to have such hard life situations, not to mentions some of these people are spending so much money just to live in the ghetto, I don’t get it. Glad I’m not going to be living in L.A when I go home, haha. What a dirty dirty overpopulated place, haha. 

Anyways things have been going really well! I’ve actually really enjoyed being district leader because of the interaction it gives me with other missionaries, my whole mission I always said I never wanted to be a district leader, but hey, I’m actually enjoying it, it’s pretty fun. Not to mention the district leader can go into any of the areas that are in the district, my district covers the whole zone, so it’s almost like I have the ability of a zone leader to go where I want without question, let’s just say Pasadena is pretty cool for meal appointments. ;)  have a good week! Love you guys! Dot be afraid to send me nice things, like skinny floral ties, I love nice things!

Have an excellent week! 
Elder LeBaron 
614 West Foothill Blvd Arcadia CA
Happy Valentine's Day!

Waiting for the train 

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


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