Tuesday, June 28, 2016


What a week! It's almost impossible to remember everything that has happened! I'm getting really pumped to be out of the MTC. I'm just crossing my fingers that I'll get an awesome trainer. I can't even imagine how things are going to be in the field. I'm not sure how they simulate things so well, but all I can tell you is that the spirit is real, the people I teach or interact with may not be genuine investigators but the spirit is. When you testify of truth, it can touch anyone's heart. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can help anyone in this world, it doesn't matter how long you have been apart of this church, I have seen the investigators in the MTC change because of the truths that we teach. Many of my experiences at the MTC have been very humbling, I can not rely on myself in the least bit, missionaries do not teach people, the spirit does, I don't think that's something that I really recognized before becoming a missionary. Today we were role playing with our teacher. She was a less active that was lesbian, man let me tell you they really challenge you here. it's all about that roller coaster you ride everyday when you are out here, to say the least, things did not get well with our lesbian friend, haha.
I can't believe that I'm leaving tomorrow morning at 3, but I'm really excited to get out of here. The MTC has taught me so much, but it really gets to you. I have made some of the best friends of my life in the last 3 weeks here, I can't believe how lucky I am to have had such an awesome district. It feels as if I have known them for a life time, it just goes to show what you can do when you have the same goal as someone else.
2 days ago we went on exchanges to get a feel for other peoples teaching styles, and it was an adventure. I was put with Elder Nicholson, and he's the weird guy in our district, there will always be a weird guy in the district, there's no escaping that.  He has some sort of social anxiety or something, I haven't quite been able to put my finger on it. He kinda smells funny, and he never lies, which makes things interesting for sure with how brutally honest he is. As we were teaching I couldn't help but laugh at how he explained simple gospel principles, his face is always emotionless, and you can never tell if he's joking or not. We were inviting our investigator to come to church, and she responded that the only reason she would feel hesitant to coming is that someone in the relief society had offended her, without skipping a beat Elder Nicholson points to me and said "believe me I know exactly what it's like when you don't get along with people in the church." haha, jeez what a goon, he honestly hates me, but I have made it my goal to love the crap out of that guy. He takes things so literally all the time so it was hard learning to adjust the way I communicate with him. Luckily that was only for one day and soon enough I was reunited with my trio. I was talking to Elder Nicholson's companion and he informed me that he had only see him shower once in the whole three weeks, all I can say is I'm glad that I haven't had to deal with that. I would have stripped that guy down butt naked and thrown him the shower. companionships are awesome because you are literally with them all them time, and I'm pretty sure everyone in our district has gotten into some fights, it's funny to me to see what some of the missionaries will fight about, sometimes you just gotta let people get wild. At the end of the day everyone loves each other and I love being in the district that I'm in, luckily for me the trio hasn't gotten into any serious disagreements.
about a week ago, the senior district before us came and bestowed upon us the "Monson cookies." Apparently about 6 months ago one of Thomas S. Monson's grandsons was in the MTC, and he received cookies hand delivered by the prophet himself, we have those very cookies in our residence as I write this email. We are the 20th generation of district 43 to have the Monson cookies. I'm not sure how these cookies have survived this long honestly, they are solid rocks, but still smell as fresh as every with how much sugar is in them.  We hide them in blanket sheets above one of the closets, and it still puzzles me how no one checks the blankets when we have room inspections.
One of the TRC's that we were teaching this week might not be a member, all of the TRC's are required to make an account on Mormon.org if they are a member and we couldn't find hers, which is way cool. We committed her to baptism and I have never felt the spirit that strongly in any other lesson, so if it's true that she isn't a member that would be incredible, and I'm super excited to find out, they normally send you an email you you help one of the TRC's get baptized.
Well, here I come California! Thank you guys for all of the letters and support I love all of you!
Remember to say your prayers and read your scriptures, it really does make a difference!
Elder LeBaron

Sunday, June 26, 2016

JACOB - Jacob's First Note Home...Received Wed. June 22, at 8:20 PM

I received this short note from Jacob the evening after he checked in.  It almost
sounds like a hostage letter, where the captors tell him to tell me he's fine. 
I am looking forward to getting a "real" letter from him this week. 
Hi Mom! 
I only have a minute to talk, but my Pdays are on Wednesday. Send
emails before then so I can prepare responses in advance. I'm safe and
well, and I have a good companion. I love you, and I can't wait to
hear from you!


MATTHEW - 2 weeks down, 1 to go

Matt is a pretty funny guy.  Here is his most recent letter...received on Tuesday June 21.

If someone asked me right now how long I have been in the MTC I would probably tell them 2 to 3 months. The funny thing about the MTC is that it takes away your perception of time. It's crazy to think that I only have 1 week left, at times the days seem like they are never going to end. I am so grateful for exercise time, four square has become my saving grace, most days I think I'm going to die, sitting in a desk and reading and studying for hours. It seems like I literally do the same thing everyday. I still love it here, I'm just so excited for the field.
Apparently this week the quorum of the 12 are coming and it's messing everything up! I mean I love those guys and all but the food has become scarce. They decided to build the biggest stage I've ever seen in my life in the cafeteria, so slowly they have taken the cafeteria apart each day, so one day they might take away the cream cheese, the next the ketchup, over the past two weeks they have reduced the food to one option, which is fine, but they use to have three. Now all we have is salt no condiments, one food option, and the worst of all, There is literally not enough seats for everyone, so they just cram us in a quarter of the cafeteria and people eat on the ground or standing up, you're lucky if you get a seat.
There is so much that has happened in the last week it's hard to keep track of, both of the TRC's that we were assigned last week we committed to baptism. I've been trying so hard to learn about the spirit and the bring it in our lessons, sometimes it's impossible when you're in a trio though. Trying to balance three people teaching is crazy, and honestly it's super frustrating, in most of our lessons the spirit is still very strong, and it surprises me the things that have come to my mind when trying to explain doctrines in the gospel. Lessons have become my favorite part of being in the MTC it seems at times that I could talk for hours with the people that we are meeting with. Class is exhausting, and being in there 6 hours a day is a killer, but it's so exciting when you get to apply all that you've learned into what you teach. During one of the lessons I was covering the restoration, I started talking about the ministry of Jesus, and started to explain that since Joseph Smith loved us so much that he sent his only begotten son, not realizing what I was saying, both of my companions were giving me the stare down. We were role playing with one of our teachers as a Progressing Investigator, and she lost it, everyone in the room laughed for 5 minutes straight, everybody is so tired here, if anything even slightly funny happens people literally fall to the ground laughing, kinda like that 3 in the morning type of delirium where everything is funny.
This is my last week in the MTC, I will be heading to California at 3:50 in the morning this next Tuesday. I can't believe that things have been flying by this fast, but at the same time, I feel like I could have very well been in here for 2 years, this might be the fastest week yet or the slowest. Because the 12 are coming they also moved our in field orientation to last week, so we had only been in the MTC for a week, and they were already prepping us for the field, and that sucked super bad, because all they do is pump you up for 8 hours about how amazing the field is going to be and how everything in the MTC will help you when you get out there, I was so pumped to get in the field, and then I realized that I had two weeks left, jeeze thanks Tommy. I'm pretty excited because I get to be a host tomorrow for all of the new missionaries that are coming in. Honestly I have no idea how I'm going to help them, I don't know how to get around here, all I know is how to get from the cafeteria back to our residence hall. I'll just tell them to for sure drink as much of the orange juice as possible ( some elders in our zone have made that mistake) and that to always put your thumb on the back of your ID card ( I also did that for a couple days and couldn't figure out how to open up the doors, what a chump) and maybe say a little prayer with them if they are foreign speaking, welcome to the longest prison sentence of your life. Sometimes I forget that I am free to leave at anytime, I guess it's just weird doing the same everyday, and staying in such a small area for so long, kinda like a prison if you ask me. We have calculated the amount of steps that we take each day up the stairs, its 936 steps a day, which equates to roughly 20,000 thousands steps the whole time in the MTC also accounting for other stairs that we take that we haven't counted yet. each step is about 3/4ths a step that's like mount Everest in elevation I swear, but honestly I'm loving it. Being a missionary is awesome, and feeling the spirit is awesome. There isn't a place in the world I would rather be than where the Lord needs me.
Quick story, so for the last 2 weeks we have been an all elders district, but two days ago, 2 sisters were assigned to our district because apparently they were attacked by bats in their residences the night before they were supposed to leave. Bats had flew into their room through the venting system, so about 2 in the morning 5 bats flew into their room, screaming they turned the lights on and ran to the red phone outside of their room. They explained that they had been attacked by bats, the residence hall president responded "Really? again?" So long story short they had to stay 2 extra weeks in the MTC to get rabies shots, so that sucks super bad. I don't feel so bad about going to the in field orientation early at all now, also, I learned that if you get attacked by bats in the middle of the night to not tell anyone, or they will extend your time in this wonderful place known as the MTC, I will take the chance of getting rabies. Send me lots of emails, and packages, that would be the sweetest, Thank you everyone that has sent me emails, and encouragement, you guys rock! I love all of you guys, California is going to be hog wild, can't wait.
-- Elder LeBaron

Monday, June 20, 2016

Elder Matthew Lebaron
Elder Matthew LeBaron went into the MTC on June 8, 2016.  He will be there for 3 weeks before departing for the California Arcadia Mission.  Here is his first message:

Things here at the MTC are pretty intense, I didn't think I was going to make it through the first day. I remember walking by the front gate while on my way to some of my first classes, and I had the strongest urge to run, I'm no track star but I'm pretty sure I could have cleared that fence. Things have been go, go, go, all week, and I'm actually really enjoying myself.

I am in a trio with Elder Crandall, and Elder Collings, and I really enjoying their company. My district is crazy, there is not one sister to be found, which apparently is really really rare and it's been almost a year since that happened. We have become such good friends over this past week, and it feels like I've been here for a month. Our district is so close, sometimes we laugh so hard that we are on the floor. I seriously love my companionship and my district I thank the Lord everyday for two things, My district and an English speaking mission. 

The classes are so intense and require you to do a lot and focus so much, but the spirit is so strong. We have begun teaching our PI's or pretend investigators as I like to call it. it is so easy to teach one of them and to see progress, while the other not so much. Her investigator name is Pam, and every lesson that we have taught she gives us the "Pam Special" or gives us the good ol' "Pam Slam" as we like to call it. Everyone else in our district always tells us that she is so easy to teach and so agreeable, but she is giving the trio a run for their money. One of our lessons I asked her what she was looking for out of our lessons, she explained that she was looking to find Jesus in her life, so after 15 minutes of testifying, sharing experiences, and scriptures, she was unamused, and then told us that she didn't want Jesus in her life and that she felt better not praying, we talked about the importance of prayer and how God is just waiting for us to talk to him so that he can help us, that took us no where, and she proceeded to tell us the same thing. I looked at her and asked about her daughter and what she did when her daughter was having a bad day, she looked at me and told us that she would let her daughter cry... how the heck am I supposed to work with that? Jeeeeze.
Missionary work is one of the biggest roller coasters of my life, after this last lesson with Pam our companionship felt so discouraged. 

That same day we began teaching TRC's which pretty much is the next step up from PI's. We have two investigators one named Jessica and another named Dung-ho. Jessica had a pretty good knowledge of the church and she was very easy to get along with, I felt an instant connection. In that lesson the spirit was so strong as I testified of Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, and his restored gospel, it was incredible. I can not believe how strong the spirit can be at times, and I am starting to feel it give me the answers that I need to make improvement with these new investigators, although I know another Pam Slam is around the corner I love this work and I'm so excited to learn more and be the man that God wants me to be. I can't remember a time when I was happier in my life, and it's the strangest thing, God is strengthening me and I know it. As a side note, I am killing it in four square, and often times I am king of the court. There is so much good food here, it's a dream come true, although the gas pains can get a little intense sometimes. Pictures are on the way, I promise! I forgot my camera chord today, kinda feeling like a chump, Thanks to everyone that wrote me, and I hope I answered most of your questions! if you write me a dear Elder make sure to attach your email, because I don't know most of your guy's emails.
Love you guys, and talk to you next week!
--Elder LeBaron