Wednesday, March 8, 2017

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 3/6 - Hello again! It's been a really cool week! Let me tell you all about it!

So we took over YSA, and we inherited 3 investigators who are all awesome! We got to meet them all (heaven bless those elders for setting up appointments for us before they left, they rock), and we're really excited to teach them more! And the YSA members have been so nice to us. But we aren't allowed to tract on campus, or visit people in the dorms, so we can only really meet the members at the institute. We have had a hard time figuring out how much time at the institute is effective, and at what point it's wasting time to just hang out there. So we try to do our paperwork there sometimes, so if someone shows up we can talk to them and get to know them. We're slowly but surely figuring out this YSA stuff. :) 
This week I've also learned that while Spring back home is like, right now, it is not Spring here, despite Spring break coming. We have had two crazy snow storms this week.... but at least we had one 50 degree day! That was a good day... 
We worked on the alpaca farm for the last time this week. Sister Mitchell hated it anyways, haha. And it wasn't fulfilling our purpose as missionaries, and it's not really in our area, and the lady we were helping is not interested in the Gospel at all.... and hasn't been for the 2 years missionaries have been feeding her llamas for her. So... that was done. I got pics of the muddy pens though, it was quite the adventure! 
So, even though we're not technically over Quail Run, we're still taking care of the investigators there :). Isabeau was really mad that we won't be at church with her anymore, but she's strong and i think she'll figure things out and be ok, and start going to church again. And this other lady, Dawn, is just the sweetest little elderly lady ever, and she adores us so much! This week she asked us for all of the pamphlets, so she can read them and talk to us about them when we come back. We gave her all 8 of them, and explained the simplest 2 minute plan of Salvation to her, and how prayer will be the most important thing to rely on while she reads the pamphlets. She's just awesome, and we love going to see her! We got to go and teach another investigator too! Her name is Monica, and she'd met with missionaries before. She taught us how to make horchata! It was so great, and yummy! And then we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and the Bible. It was the coolest experience, because we got there and really had no idea what to teach, because the Restoration lesson we'd planned just didn't quite feel right. So I just opened up my bible to John 10, and then linked that to 3 Nephi 15:21, about the other sheep of Christ's fold, and it just fell together and the Spirit was so strong there. It was awesome to feel like Heavenly Father really directed the lesson. Monica is hesitant to make any commitments, but we're happy to help her get through her questions before we jump into the other stuff :). She was super nice and I'm pumped that I know how to make horchata now. Woot! 
And we got to see Jim out in Potlatch this week! His health is pretty poor, and he's just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, which made us so sad! But he remembers way more than he gives himself credit for! And he loved hearing the Plan of Salvation again too :). I think it's his favorite lesson. And he totally wants to get baptized after his next surgery, and we're really excited to help him get there. He made us an apple pie, and sent it home with us. He's just the nicest, we love him. And Sister Vandehey always comes with us, and she just rocks at friendshipping people. We have so much fun sharing the Gospel over there :). 
It's just been such a good week. Sister Mitchell is the greatest, and I'm so happy I finally got to keep a companion for a 2nd transfer. This transfer is going to rock! 
I love you all so much! Keep up what you're doing :) Heavenly Father always has our backs! 
Sister Johnson

Here are some pics! 

One from Family Home Evening for YSA,

 two of our old district,

 and then one of our new district!

And! I got a chicken chalupa at Taco Bell.... like the shell, is a piece of chicken. I was impressed, it was fantastic! 

AAAAAND here's the picture of the disgusting mud/poop at the alpaca farm. you're welcome. 

And a picture of my horchata!

And a picture from our balcony after the crazy, full-out blizzard we had on Saturday. 

ELDER MATT LEBARON - 3/6 - Drunk running, transfers, and Jackies baptism

What's up,

Today has been a pretty fun pday. We didn't do anything crazy this week for Pday, which was nice, sometimes its just nice to relax. Me and Mitchell hung out at the mall for a little bit. I seriously love going to the mall, there is so much fun stuff there, mainly its just fun to window shop, and see what's happening with the people of west Covina. sometimes its nice to soak in some of those SoCal vibes. 

So transfers were today, its a little sad to see some of the missionaries go that I have come close to, but thats the thing about mission life, its constantly changing, and so you have to always adapt. I kind of like it though, it keeps me on my toes. knowing that everything is so unpredictable can make things fun, I like the chaos. Our district leader left to be a zone leader in East L.A. There has been a lot of tension in the pad, because of some differences of personalities, but the new guy that came in is super cool, and I am really looking forward to this up coming transfer. We are going to have a lot of fun, not too much fun, but just the right amount, haha. I really enjoy being with my companion Elder Mitchell, he's a pretty cool guy, and I think our personalities match really well. He's probably the one Ive gotten along with the easiest.  We had two people leave this transfer in our district, Platt got transferred and sister Ferguson went home to South Jordan UT. we had a lot of fun as a district so its kind of sad to see people go, but I think that we are going to still have a blast. Man I love this area, its the best. Ive really really been starting to enjoy my mission. I have seen so many miracles and blessings in this area, the ward and the Lord have really been providing for us. 

This past week we haven't been able to get in contact with James, one of our baptismal dates. He has been avoiding us, and no matter how many times we call or knock on his door he doesn't answer. A couple of days ago his wife called us and told us that he had gone crazy, and that we needed to hunt him down and find him. So we knocked on his door like 5 times, and then it hit me... I looked at Mitchell and said "he's at the liquor store!" The liquor store is pretty close to his house, and it makes it pretty hard for him to stop drinking. So we went down some of the alley ways connected to the apartments, and there he was! We started walking towards him, he was hanging out with a bunch of his friends, he was obviously wasted. When we got within about 30 feet, he starred and squinted at us through his blood shot eyes, then a look of fear overcame him. He turned and started to walk away. We picked up our pace and shouted after him, "James! Come back!" His drunken walk turned into a drunken jog, with beer in hand he stumbled around the corner, bumping the wall slightly, he spilt some of his beer on the concert. our fast walk turned into a slight jog, as well, but in the helpless state he was in, he was no match for us. We quickly caught up to him, exasperated he gave up and stopped in his tracks. "Fine, fine! You boys caught me, Ive been drinking okay?" He exclaimed as the strong smell of beer filled our nostrils. We talked to him for about an hour trying to help him understand the the atonement is infinite and that it is impossible for him to go beyond it no matter how many times he fell back. The spirit was strong, it was a really cool experience. Im not sure how much he picked up on considering how drunk he was, but I will definitely remember that the rest of my life... man missions are wild.

On Sunday we had a Baptism or Jackie, she is the Golden investigator. She is the type of investigator that missionaries work all their mission to be able to meet, to teach, and to baptize. It has been so incredible to be able to teach her, the spirit has confirmed so many times to me while we have taught her the 5 lessons. I feel like my testimony has gotten a lot stronger through some experiences me and my companion have had with her. She is such an amazing girl, and I have been so blessed to be one of the missionaries to be apart of her conversion, these are the highlights that missions are made of. She was the first person that I had the opportunity to baptize, it was such a weird experience to perform the actual baptismal ordinance. The spirit was so strong, her mom cried, and Jackie couldn't stop smiling the whole time after. I love my mission. I love the people here, and I love the Lord.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

ELDER MATTHEW LEBARON - 02/27 - Jayden's baptism, exchanges, and hiking

What up,

Sorry for the short email again, we had so much packed into pday today, and then when i went to the church, there wasn't any wifi, which really messed everything up, so don't worry about the time it was sent, it will be whenever I get wifi, which will hopefully be sent tonight, but no promises. 

We baptized Jayden on friday, and it was super awesome a ton of people showed up! He is one funny kid, when he got into the font he started to swim... weird. His grandpa that was baptizing him got mad him, and it was super awkward. But we proceeded with the baptism anyways. His grandpa has to be at least 80 years old, and he is hard of hearing. It was kind of funny hearing him trying to do the baptismal ordinance, he started out with " by the authority of the  Melchizedek  priesthood which I hold" realizing he was doing it wrong, he was embarrassed yet persistent. Then followed "in the name of jesus christ" finally me and my companion in unison shouted "having been commissioned of Jesus christ" what a weird baptism, but definitely not the weirdest I've been to. 

We went hiking today as a district, it was a little strange, because we started the hike backwards, because we had no idea what we were doing, it was kind of weird, because the top was on a major road, so we pretty much went down hill the whole first part, and as a reward we got to see the a few trees at the bottom of the trail, but hiking back up was cool, it had a really good view.

I went on exchanges with the Zone leaders this passed week, it was dope. One of my zone leaders is seriously the best. He is so cool. When we were on the free way, our tire popped, which Ive never really experienced for, but its kind of scary when your tire pops going that fast, we thought the road was just super messed up. We quickly pulled over at a mcdonalds, and my zone leader looked at me, he said he had never changed a tire before, luckily for us, I had changed a tire once before, and I kind of knew what I was doing. The car jack was broken, and so that made things like 10 million times harder, but we got everything worked out, the next thing I knew we were taking surface streets all day on our little spare, and then spent two hours at pep boys, we chilled at waba grill, which is amazing, I've never seen one outside of cali but its awesome. What a good day. The exchange went a little longer because we had a long lesson, so I stayed another night. Life is good. Missionary work is hard, but rewarding. This up coming week I hit my 9 month mark, whooo.

Elder LeBaron
614 west foothill Blvd, Arcadia California, 91006

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 02/27 - Hello everyone! :)

This week was pretty good, except winter came back and that was miserable. BUT! It's ok because we got great news!
They're closing down Quail Run for a transfer.... so.... we're keeping the Potlatch branch, and taking over the Moscow YSA ward. Which means I'm sweeping into an area for the 3 transfer in a row now. But that's ok because at least I get to keep Sis Mitchell! I've never had a companion longer than one transfer, so this will be a fantastic adventure :). 
Also this week we got to play "Set Me Up" (like free for all dodgeball, but with one ball, it's hard to type and explain...) at Get to it Tuesday with all the youth. We had a stellar turnout, and it was so much fun! But I have a tragic story to tell you, and it starts at Get to it Tuesday 2 weeks ago:
So.... once upon a time we're playing Set Me Up, and all of a sudden Elder Nelson has the dodgeball, and chucks that sucker right into my face. So. Hard. And I just about died. And then not 20 minutes later, Elder Collins has the dodgeball, and smashes me right in the face. And I almost killed him. And THEN at Get to it Tuesday this past week, not 5 minutes into the game, Elder Case has the volleyball (because the dodgeball got popped), and DESTROYS MY FREAKING FACE WITH IT. And then about 15 minutes later, I was not even surprised when some girl from the Terre View ward obliterated  my face with the stupid volleyball. Jokes about getting me a crash helmet have been going around incessantly.  I hate dodgeball. >.< 
Also we worked on the Alpaca Farm this week, and it was terrible because everything had been melting and it rained for like 5 days. So I sank almost up to my knees in llama and alpaca poop this week. That was absolutely disgusting. 
We're excited for the new transfer! We made like 10 goals the other night, and we're going to rock at this whole YSA thing (even though I kinda prayed i'd never work YSA.... it'll be a good challenge!). Also Potlatch is fantastic, and the members are so excited we get to stay :) Life is good. 
Here are some pics! One is of us and Isabeau!

 We're like the only sisters she's let take pics of her, and we were stoked about it. President says we can still teach her, even though we aren't over the area she's in anymore. She'll like that. :)
Also some scenery from our drive to Potlatch the other day. Enjoy! 


Love you all!! :)
Sister Johnson

ELDER MATTHEW LEBARON - 2/20 - Jackie, Jehovah witnesses, temple trip

I would like to all apologize in advance for my short email. But it was a really good week, today was pday because we had zone conference yesterday, it was 7 hours holy cow. 

First off we went to the temple with Jackie, she is so awesome, she cried when she explained how excited she was to get baptized to the temple sisters. 

We had some run ins with the Jehovah witnesses, ugh they are the worst, we open our window and they are literally right there, sometimes when they are in the parking lot we yell out " Jesus is Jehovah" 

Crane died this week, it was very sad, but me and Mitchell are having a good time together.

We also recreated a bunch of church history pictures, enjoy. 

Thanks for all that everyone has done for me, this are is on fire right now, we have a couple baptisms coming up a couple weeks in a row. Oh man, the lord is blessing us. I love being a missionary.