Wednesday, November 23, 2016

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 11/21 - Hello again! :)

This week was really great! We got to go to the temple on Tuesday with a whole bunch of ladies from the ward, and it was beautiful. I love the Spokane temple, it's so little :). 
Then Thursday we had interviews with President and Sister Dymock, which is always lovely. They just know how to inspire and uplift everyone, and I loved talking to them. 
Oh! And last P-day we went shopping at Value Village (basically a nicer Goodwill), and I finally got some winter boots and some fleece leggings! Yay for warmth! 
This week we also were invited by President to try to meet with every single active member of the ward and share the Church's new Christmas Initiative with them before December 1. We are just a tad stressed about it, but we're doing our best! So far we've met with.... exactly 4 families. But that's ok because our ward mission leader is going to help! Speaking of which, the teaser video for the Christmas thing is out, and you should all go watch it and start planning on those 25 days of service! The full video will be out the day after Thanksgiving, and it's so fantastic! We got to preview it a few weeks ago, it made me cry. #LighttheWorld :) 
We had stake conference this week too! And Elder Massimo De Feo of the seventy came and spoke to us all about missionary work. A few things that really stuck out to me was when he said "The way we define people will be the way we treat them", and talked about how his daughter on her mission in France called investigators friends, instead of investigators. It was a really cool shift in perspective. Also another paradigm shift was about how Satan is happy when we are more comfortable in meetings than we are inviting people to church. We are not a threat to him when we're in meetings. "Inviting the one is more important than any meeting in the church" is a direct quote from Elder De Feo. It was a good reminder than as comfortable as it is to study and discuss and plan with missionaries, it's more important to get out and do the work we are discussing, because Satan is all too happy when we just discuss. It made me recommit to working hard, which was great! 
Also, in case you all wanted an update, Sister McFaul and I have been invited to 7 Thanksgiving dinners, and they're all with this crazy enthusiastic holiday people. I am going to be nice and plump this season. Woot! 
I love you all! I hope all is well, and Happy Thanksgiving! :)
Sister Johnson

Also here are some cute pics from this week. :D

ELDER MATT LEBARON - 11/21 - Rain, zone blitz, bloody noses

Good Afternoon!

Hello hello,

This week went by pretty fast, it rained for 2 days, and man... rain is the worst, especially when its night time. There normally isn't anyone walking around at night, but especially when its raining, it starting to rain pretty hard, so me and E. Katanuma got our umbrellas, and walked to our appointment. We aren't supposed to ride our bikes in the rain, because its so dangerous. We realized how much faster bikes are than biking, and there was literally no one to talk to as we walked a few miles through neighborhoods and different side streets, my legs got soaked, and i found out that my shoes actually are water proof as the label said, so that was pretty cool.

We had a zone blitz this last Saturday, the whole zone came into our area and visited less active, and traced, that was super cool, it would have probably taken a whole transfer to do all the work that we did collectively. We got some pretty cool refs from it, so that will at least keep up busy for a few days, although there was a less active part member family that may be interested in coming back, so that would be sweet to baptize the whole family. 

One morning during companionship study, elder Katanuma randomly told me that he had a talent, he proceeded to grab a mamba candy from his desk, and he started to push it up one of his nostrils. Soon enough, the whole thing disappeared, he then grabbed another mamba, and pushed it up the other nostril, this one did not go up as far, but still impressive. "So is this your talent" I asked he didn't answer but again grabbed another mamba, and tried to cram it up the first nostril, I'm not sure what he was trying to show me, sometimes its a little hard to tell with the language barrier, but all i do know is that he seemed pretty frantic as he realized that the mambas were stuck, finally, after a few minutes he got them out, but his nose began to bleed profusely. We soon returned to our studies, but E. Katanuma had tissues in his nose the rest of the morning throughout companionship and language study, what a wild guy. 

I wish I had more exciting things to tell you guys, but as far as missionary work goes, this week was pretty regular. Every morning I have been reading a few chapters of the Book Of Mormon, and I have gained such a strong testimony of the divinity of this book. I really like this quote, President Hinkley said "Those who have read [the Book of Mormon] prayerfully, be they rich or poor, learned or unlearned, have grown under its power. … Without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts … the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” I want to add my testimony to our last beloved prophet, I know without a doubt that the Book of mormon is true, it doesn't matter how many people try and bash with us about it, and other aspects of the book, they cannot deny the spirit that comes from testifying of this book, because it truly is Gods word. I would also invite all of you to read the book of mormon if its your first time, or your 100th, you will be reminded of the simple truths of the plan of salvation, and the Gospel of Jesus christ, and you will feel more purpose in your life than you have previously, I promise you these things as a servant of Jesus Christ, something that I only have the privilege of saying for 2 years, I love having the opportunity to share truth with other people, and I love being a missionary. Thanks again everyone.

Until next week,

Love Elder LeBaron
614 west foothill Bld, Arcadia, California, 91006


Of course you do :)

So last week I was going along and felt really frustrated by a lot of things and I kind of hated everything. Which was no good. And then I finally decided to get over it, and Sister McFaul and I talked about everything and worked everything out, and then we started seeing the most amazing miracles. 
On Thursday night during planning, I made a joke looking at the potential investigator list (this list of all the people that missionaries have talked to and thought might be promising), when I saw this name "Connie & Fam", and said "Maybe all the Connies are prepared, lets go try her (because we're already teaching a Connie). We traveled down this dark, dirt, pot hole riddled road to this creepy trailer park. But sister McFaul felt like we should keep going, so we did. And then we found Connie and Rita, her daughter, and they are both so, so prepared to hear the gospel. And they were so happy we came to help them. And we all cried and we felt so blessed to have found them, especially since we'd almost turned back. It was a "fourth floor, last door" moment. :)
AND THEN that night, the elders called us and had set up a lesson for a part member family out in our area for us. Boom, there was another investigator. 
AND THEEEENNNN the next morning, we thought "lets go try this potential, Katrina. Since our recent convert's name is Katrina, and all the Connies are prepared, maybe all the Katrinas are prepared too." And you know what happened? She let us in and we taught the Restoration and she invited us back this week. #blessings
AND THEN we went to see our recent convert, Katrina, on Sunday night. We started out kind of bummed because they'd invited this part member family to eat dinner with us, and they last minute couldn't come because it was their mother in law's birthday. BUT Katrina comes and gets the door and says "So we have someone for you to teach!" and we were like "what? no way!" and then she introduced us to Travis, who is one of her long long time good friends who's looking for solid beliefs and for change. And he soaked in the restoration and is excited to read the Book of Mormon and find out the truth for himself.
We are literally beside ourselves with happiness, it has been the most amazing weekend of my life, and we can hardly believe we've been so blessed.
It just goes to show that Heavenly Father really knows what he is doing, and He really does prepare and take care of all his children. All of these people have crazy past stories, and they're all in such different places. And yet, all of them have come to want this same thing: the gospel. And they've all been prepared to hear it. :)
I love being a missionary. This week has been miraculous and I'm pumped to be here with Sister McFaul. She's amazing. Woah I'm just so happy. 
I hope you all have an amazing week! :) Love you all!
Sister Johnson

ELDER MATT LEBARON - 11/14 - Music rule, the election, and exchanges

Welcome to another LeBaron weekly, 

This week something incredible happened, our music rule was changed so that we can now listen to anything that is gospel related, or talks about Jesus, which is awesome. I've been jamming out to all sorts of stuff lately, our whole mission has been going crazy with this rule. So if anyone has a ton of music that is of the Jesus sorts, I will send you a USB to put it all on. After about 5 and half months of just hymns, you start to go a little crazy, not to say that there are a lot of other missionaries out here that have gone a lot longer than I have, but still. The spirit sure filled zone meeting when this new rule was announced. It's been a little discouraging, because every zone meeting there is something new taken away which inspired this meme below (iPad missions are cool because you can do a lot with them, even make memes if you want in your free time) . It's nice for once to be given something, and the music I've been listening to lately has been pumping me up, even just the stuff on is awesome compared to just hymns. 

This whole election thing has really caused a stir, literally everyone we meet with talks about it with us, it's definitely made for some really interesting gospel related conversations with members, non-members, and less actives. The members that we live with had the election polls blaring in the background of our studies, it was all in Spanish, but we kept hearing trump, so we were sure that he was winning, in the morning Fred (one of the members we live with) excitedly told us that Trump had won, and so began the great debate. Seriously though, I don't have any social media, I don't watch the news, and I do t listen to the radio, and yet I think I know everything that is going on because that's all people can focus on lately, and it sure makes it hard to teach the gospel.

On Friday to Saturday I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, I love riding in a car, seriously, it's so nice, and not to mention missionaries have super nice cars, especially in this mission. The zone leaders drive a 2017 chevy Malibu, with all the bells and whistle, it literally has about 500 miles on it. Not a lot of missionaries have cars here, so it would make sense that the ones we have are nice, because they get shuffled to other missions pretty often. The AC is something to not take for granted, especially since we've been floating around 90 degrees this past week, luckily things are about to cool down, just a little bit at least. I learned so much during exchanges, and I have felt super pumped to go contacting, and bring out area back to life. I felt so silly realizing the simple things that I needed to apply in my area, everyday I feel like I'm learning a lot about what it means how to be a missionaries. A simple lesson that you can apply in all walks of life, and any situation: fake it until you make it. No one really ever knows what they're doing, even until the day I leave, I will be learning.

Thanks for all the support, and especially all the emails that I get from you guys, rennet that I can read emails any day of the week after Ten, so don't hesitate to send a letter my way, electronic or paper, also if you ever feel like sending me stuff apply the following: just do it. 614 West Foothill blvd Arcadia, California 91006-2030. Keep looking heaven ward, and be obedient, and blessings and miracles always come, I know that to be true. 

Elder LeBaron