Monday, April 24, 2017

ELDER MATTHEW LEBARON - 4/24 - Cars, Tagalog, and food

This week has gone by pretty fast! I've really enjoyed this. New area
a ton. I love my companions, all my dreams are coming true. Glendale
is where all the party people are at, which is where I belong. It's so
cool being in the city and seeing a bunch of crazy stuff. There is so
much to see and do, and it feels like we can accomplish so much with a
car that I haven't been able to do with bikes. Our area is huge, we
have no bounds, nothing can stop me. It's literally the coolest to be
able to go anywhere in the mission, and out. We went to east L.A This
ward spoils us... holy cow. It seems more of a branch than a ward, but
we eat every night. Rice everyday all day. Filipino people are so
nice, the members seem to always be giving us stuff, and helping us
with rides if we are running low on mikes. The bishop gave me a pair
of Oakley sunglasses... they are so nice holy cow. So what I'm getting
at here is that white people are the worst, English work is not where
it's at. Filipino work is where the party is at.

I love my Filipino companion Elder Ela so much, he is such a funny
guy. He is about to finish his mission, but he is still working hard,
but he makes the work fun. He showed me how to catch bees without
getting stung. Apparently the skin on your palm is too thick to be
stung by a bee? Well I finally built up the courage and caught a
couple bees. I got a little too confident and I got stung on the
finger it, it hurt a lot more than I remember, What a dumb idea. Learn
from me, don't catch bees with your hands, unless you are a small
Filipino man, then go ahead you'll never get stung. I like being with
foreign missionaries when they are learning English, even though Ela
has been out for awhile he is still learning, the other day we were
trying to explain to him what a red neck or hick was, and now he is
calling everyone we see a redneck... its so funny. The other day when
we were knocking on a door, there was a big pit bull that started
barking at us through the gate, he walked straight up to the dog with
his finger pointed out it and yelled, "shut up dog I will eat you!"
You never know what that guy is about to do. He is so bold in lessons,
he just breaks people's legs. We were in a lesson and the guy had a
couple concerns and we pulled out the scripture and explained to him
what it meant, he then told us that he didn't believe that it was
true, then Ela said " you simply don't have enough faith to believe
this scripture" and later explained that he would not obtain salvation
if he continued to deny our teachings... oh man... haha.... all true
but bold. I love that guy. Elder cottle is super cool too, he is
pretty relaxed and likes to joke around, I am always messing with him,
it's pretty fun. We have a lot of fun in our companionship.

Cars are the best! I can't believe I have been riding a bike for so
long. When it was 90 degrees outside I was surprised at how much I
still complained about the heat even though we had a car... hahah. But
I really enjoy riding in the car as we go on the freeway. Even though
it's church music it's super nice to listen to something, and roll the
windows down when it's night time and see all those city lights. We
are pretty close to downtown L.A and see it as we come back home most
nights. Then we go to downtown Glendale. It's awesome. I love this new
area, it's just such a nice transition, now I understand why all the
missionaries want to go into Filipino work. What a blessing, super
pumped to learn more about the people we are working with and help the
kingdom grow in this area.

Elder LeBaron

614 West foothill Blvd Arcadia, California

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 4/24 - Hey Guys! :D

So... this week was pretty basic. It's rained every day.... but it's alright at least it's not snow! 
Here's the rundown of the more interesting things we did this week. 
Monday: Pday, played Marshmallow Dodge ball and miraculously didn't get hit in the face, then went to the FHE activity for the YSA ward - it was this super cool scavenger hunt all over Moscow, but we only had 30 minutes to do it. Our Relief society president and her boyfriend called us for their team, and we almost won, it was fantastic. Wish I had pictures to show you all.... 
Tuesday: Started cleaning up the YSA less-active member list, and pretty much did that all day unless we were eating.... 
Wednesday: Worked at the food bank! They had a whole bunch of avocados, so we got to take like 6 home. Chips and dip are coming this week, woot! Also saw Dawn, our favorite 82 year old. :)
Thursday: We were so busy! We saw Ezra at the campus library where he basically bashed with us for an hour about how the Word of Wisdom is stupid.... we're considering dropping him as an investigator, because every time we meet up with him it turns into an almost argument.... he's not really looking, he's just asking his friends for anti-Mormon questions to debate with us about. It was the worst. But it contrasted in a really cool way to Jim's lesson right afterwards, which was about the Word of Wisdom too! We were talking about the things God asks us not to put in our bodies, and when we got to coffee, Jim was all "I'm not giving up my coffee guys!" and the members we brought, Bro and Sis Vandehey, were on it and they encouraged him and explained why it's important, and it was so awesome. By the end of the lesson, Jim said "I'll give up coffee when I'm refreshed" (meaning when he's baptized). And when we told him he had to at least give it up 2 weeks before, he agreed. Even though he didn't totally understand why coffee was so bad, he was willing to try and give it up so that he could follow God's commandments. I loved having the stark contrast between someone who's really searching for the truth and repentance, and someone who is just using missionaries to debate word play. 
Friday: We had district meeting! Sister Mitchell gave a fantastic training about how to teach with your companion in unity. She is a powerhouse, and I learned a lot from her! I love one of the scriptures she used, Luke 22:32, and she talked about how our teaching isn't a power struggle, because we should be strengthening our companions no matter what. It was awesome to watch her teach, and it made me so grateful that I always trust that Sis Mitchell has my back in every situation. Ah! She's just the best. And then after district meeting, we worked on Orphan Acres again. Then we met with Isabeau and taught her the first part of the Plan of Salvation :) and she was really nice to us again! 
Saturday: we had our weekly planning for 3 hours. it's so hard to stay focused the whole time.... but it was good. We took a little break to read ancient Ensigns from the 90s, and I found this really cute story! It was by James E. Faust, I'll copy and paste it for you all....
Now, some of you older sisters may ask, “Haven’t I heard every Relief Society lesson? What point is there for me to go to Relief Society each week?” The answer to those questions may best be given by relating the story of a young piano student. His mother, wishing to encourage him, “bought tickets for a performance of the great Polish pianist, Paderewski. The night of the concert arrived and the mother and son found their seats near the front of the concert hall. While the mother visited with friends, the boy slipped quietly away.
“Suddenly, it was time for the performance to begin and a single spotlight cut through the darkness of the concert hall to illuminate the grand piano on stage. Only then did the audience notice the little boy on the bench, innocently picking out ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’
“His mother gasped, but before she could move, Paderewski appeared on stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And then, leaning over, the master reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized.
“In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and time again, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And as we do, He augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created. He is right there with all of us, telling us over and over, ‘Keep playing.’”
Isn't it so cute? I gave me a lot of hope and encouragement, and it was a good reminder that Jesus Christ will take whatever I have, and make it enough, as long as I keep playing :).
Sunday: We got to go to Potlatch finally! Every time we go to their branch, we remember why we love it so much. The Vandeheys had us over to a beautiful french toast brunch, and we got to see Jim and talk to him a bit :). He wants us to look for "manly" curtains for him.... haha so we'll probably look for something plaid. The rest of the evening we looked for more of the YSA less actives - it's a good way for Sis Mitchell to learn all the Moscow streets, driving back and forth all evening.
Aaaaaaaaand, that's about it folks. Until Next week! :))
I love you all!
Sister Johnson

Aaaaand turns out I have pictures to send too! Didn't think I took any... guess I did!
We made s'mores out of Easter goods, it's tradition!

 Also chips and dip. 
 Also Elder Brunt and Elder Klunker brought us the cookies I won out of Elder Brunt. They were pretty good! They said if there weren't enough chocolate chips, we could microwave more on top haha.
Here are the Orphan Acres pics! 

Also we saw a full rainbow on Sunday! Sis Mitchell had never seen one before, so we stopped and tried to get a picture of the whole thing.
She even ran far away to try to get it. But it was too big....
 Look at the sky though! It was awesome! 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 4/17 - Hi guys! :D

Lots of good things happened this week :). 
On Monday we got to play Hockey as a zone for the last pday before everyone left for other zones. That was so much fun! Except Elder Rapier hit me in the knee with the puck (from the other side of the room) and then I was pretty much out of the game.... haha Elder Marinos drew an illustration of me, it'll be included later. 
Also this week, the tripan split up, and Sis Cheney is now 2nd training non other than Sister Allen, from good ole Mesa, Az! It's been fun having the new sister, especially because she's fantastic and I knew her from home. So she knows all the people involved in the stories I tell from home. Good times :D. 
Tuesday we had a lesson with Ezra, where we finally talked about something other than the Plan of Salvation. We talked about the Restoration of the Gospel and what that means... it was a rough lesson only because Ezra is looking more for a logical philosophical kind of view at the Gospel instead of seeking to feel and understand the truth. We have an elder in our district now who had taught Ezra back in Coeur d'Alene, and he gave us a new perspective on the situation, so we're excited to figure out how to help Ezra progress better. The work rolls forward! 
On Wednesday we got to eat dinner with the Tunnell family in Potlatch! They were super nice :) and made us really good Greek food. They also had a banjo!!! And they let us pick on it a little bit. Again, I will definitely be learning the banjo when I get home. I think my calling in life is to rock at the banjo. Get ready, world! 
Thursday.... Thursday we had a lesson with Jim. But he had a friend over and I'm pretty sure that the friend being over kept Jim from reigning in the comments and the curses like he usually does. Bummer. Also he missed church this week we're pretty sure (weren't in Potlatch for church, but we didn't hear from the members that he came, so we're assuming he didn't :( ) so we'll have to move his baptism back a couple of weeks. Sad. :( 
But Friday was fantastic! We had our district meeting, and the new district is cool :). Got a couple of new elders. Also, I played Elder Brunt at air hockey, and after he beat me the first game, I made a bet with him on the second game, that loser had to make cookies for the winner. Elders will do anything for a cookie bribe. And then I promptly destroyed him, he didn't even get one point. So we played a third game, "double or nothing", and I beat him at that too. Ha! It pays off to go to Peter Piper Pizza every week and play air hockey with Dad. Double chocolate chip cookies are coming our way! :D
Later on Friday we had a lesson with Isabeau where she was actually really nice and receptive to us! It made me really happy to see that she's ready to learn again. And we all left the meeting smiling, and there's a lot of hope for the future with her. :). After that we went to the YSA bishopric dinner, where they fed us all prime rib and baked potatos. Man alive, was it good! Haven't had a steak that good in 9 months.... We grabbed a couple of the extras and brought them over to the elders, because they also haven't had a steak that good in quite a while. 
Saturday we worked on the horse farm, Orphan Acres, again. But this time we shovelled out stalls. It was fun, except this huge sorority came the same day and it was awkward because they obviously didn't want to talk to us. Thank goodness we had the Pullman sisters to be on our team. Then we at least didn't feel lonely and awkward. Just awkward. 
And then on Saturday the Paradise Ridge elders had a baptism too! We got to take Isabeau to it; she likes coming to all the baptisms. It was fun to have her there. Right after the baptism we had Zone Kickoff, which rocked! Sister Mitchell and I gave a fun training on companionship unity, and how to make communication less scary and ideas for building a friendship. And the zone leaders gave an amazing training on how to build zone unity, and we made some fabulous goals! So every week we'll add a goal and build the zone up. This week we're praying every day for the members to have opportunities to be missionaries too :), the week after we'll start doing one act of random service for our companionships every day (but I mean, it's good to start that now too, so we kind of did), then we'll do district service once a week, and then we'll do a zone service project the 4th week. It's cool, I'm excited :). This zone is the best. 
Easter was great! Church was great! I really felt it this year. I feel  like I've taken Easter for granted my whole life. But watching John recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to sing the Easter songs just did my soul some good. And we were invited to dinner with the Cox family in Quail Run! I ate with them on Christmas..... I've been here forever..... but it was amazing! They're so cute and kind to us, and we got to show them the #PrinceofPeace Easter video from the church. I love that video, everyone go watch it, ok? We also got to go looking for the YSA less active members.... and definitely crashed some Easter parties that way. Awkward. One lady let us into her house so she could package some cheesecake to go for us, which was really sweet of her! But her entire family stopped talking to stare at us in the entry way. Lets just say, the cheesecake was aaaaaalmost not worth the awkward vibes.... haha. 
Anyways.... that was pretty much it. I love you all! :) 
Sister Johnson 

Here's my injury illustration.

A picture of sister Mitchell moving a dead squirrel out of the road. 

Some pics of the horse farm adventure! 

ELDER MATTHEW LEBARON - 4/17 - Transfers...

Well... this week has been a wild one! I would like to apologize for not writing last week! there have been some problems with my ipad and my email, and so I haven't been able to write emails with my ipad, so we didn't have a chance to go anywhere on our pday last week where there was computers! especially since we had our temple trip last week, it was awesome but man, going to the temple can really mess up your pdays!

This last saturday, I got a phone call from our Zone Leaders, and they informed me that I was going to be transfered into Filipino work! thats so weird. it was the last thing that I was expecting. for one, I thought that I was going to be in English work the rest of my mission... I also thought that I was going to be on a bike the rest of mission.... well guess not. our area is huge, apparently we cover the whole mission, and even other missions too. I'm not exaclty sure where our boundaries end... becausae we technically have a member in South Jordan Utah that we just got in our area book, so technically we would be the missionaries over them. so look out all my utah goers, I'm gonna make a trip to Utah real quick, oh man I wish that would be cool! but we only have 50 miles a day, so it looks like that member isn't going to our ward, or we are going to be saving up our miles! there are some people that only speak Tagalog which is a little indimidating, I know zero about Tagalog, I hardly know much about being  missionary in English work... oh boy, this is going to be good.

It's funny, because all my dreams are coming true this transfer. a long time ago someone asked me, "where do you want to serve if you could choose anywhere in the mission" I responded back " I would like to serve in Glendale, I would like to have a car, have a huge area, and not have any leadership postions while doing it" they told me it wasn't possible because all the people in Glendale were the Zone Leaders, the Sister Training leaders, or the Assistant to the president. well guess what boy, I'm making my dreams come true, and no one is going to stop me. I have prayed so much for  a car on my mission its not even funny. The biking is good because it keep the weight off, so I decided awhile ago that I just wanted a car for the summer time.... and guess what my friends miracles have not ceased, this very car that I have been dreaming about will be mine for the hot hot hot summer time in SoCal. I deserve this. my whole life has been leading up to this very moment. if you have a dream, go and get it. it's yours for the taking, they said it wasn't possible, they said it couldn't be done, but guess what haters, didn't mess with me back then, but how about now? Alright I'm a little too excited about this, but there will be many good wonderful things that will come from this. 

Well, I don't really have much to report other than the news of transfers, I am currently writing this email from one of our members, and his keyboard is only in Tagalog so I literally can't tell if I am spelling anything write so here are my true colors, I don't know how to spell, I know that I have been fooling all of you for the last 10 months, but heres the real me, haha. I love all you guys! thank you for all the Love and support! if you want to send me nice things, I'm not going to stop you

Elder LeBaron

614 West Foothilll Blvd Arcadia, California, 91006

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - 4/10 - This week rocked!

Tuesday was MLC, and it was really fantastic. We learned about how obedience is such an important principle to our lives, because that's the only way we can enjoy the blessings of Heaven. We talked a lot about how different kingdoms have different rules and laws, and we have to obey them to be a part of the kingdom. So the Gospel is basically the laws of the Celestial kingdom, and we have to learn to follow them here so that we can be comfortable there. My favorite quote from the day was "As members of the Kingdom, it is your right to see the King. But you have to obey the laws of the Kingdom." Good food for thought :). It was fun to share it all with the zone on Friday. 
AND JOHN GOT BAPTIZED!! :D Saturday was awesome! John was smiling ear to ear, and you could just feel how happy he was. The water was this terrible green color though.... i'll see if we got a picture haha. So many people came and it was beautiful! And John is super excited to get the gift of the Holy Ghost this Sunday (we had to wait because Stake Conference was this weekend >.<). Ah! The Gospel is just so good. 
So yeah, Stake Conference was really good too! We got to see President and Sister Dymock, they're the best! President saw us and spilled the beans on our transfer calls, and Sister Mitchell and I are both staying here in Potlatch and Moscow YSA! :D We are so, so excited! And Sis Cheney is going back to Pullman YSA tomorrow, and her companion is going to be Sis Allen, who is a girl I knew in highschool, and is from my home stake. I'm so excited, because all the sisters in the zone are going to be fantastic, and we're going to hang out all the time for dinners and stuff. I'm really excited to be able to go on exchanges again, too. Haven't done that since I got to Moscow.... 
This week we also got to go out and see Jim in Potlatch! He's the nicest old guy ever, and teaching him is so much fun. He often forgets what we've talked about, so we go over a lot of things again. But his desire to learn is so pure, and he loves when we come over and teach. He had this terrible foot surgery though, and has this nasty pins sticking out of his toes. We've hesitated to talk about baptism with him too much because he can't put his foot in the water right now. BUT! he should be getting the pins out this Wednesday! So Sister Mitchell and I had a mini eye-contact conversation, and decided to ask him if he would like to get baptised before he goes to Alaska this May. And.... He said yes!! :D He wants to get baptised May 6th, and we are so pumped about it! Just have to figure out how to get him to church 3 times before then.... but we think we can do it! I've been doing lots of praying for him, and if it's Heavenly Father's will, things have a great way of working out :). 
Oh! And April 6th was Jesus' Birthday, and the anniversary of the restoration of the church! So we made a chocolate cake and sang happy birthday to Jesus. I'll have to send pictures next week.... haha oops. But it was fabulous! 
Anyways, super excited for the new week! I'm glad we get another shot at Moscow, hopefully with no super weird events this time. Haha it's nice to be in the same 2 areas this transfer, now we'll know some people :). 
I love you all! Keep on Keeping on! :) 
Sister Johnson

Here are some pics! We found a ladybug...

and a pic of us at the Stake Conference Dinner. 

And John's baptism!! :D 

And a zone pic from a few weeks ago, I couldn't remember if I sent it, but i think it's funny so if I did, enjoy it again :) 

Also a pic of us waiting for a lesson with Isabeau, I couldn't keep my eye open in the sun, not winking at anybody ;)

And a pic from the food bank we work at on Wednesdays. 


And what a fabulous April it is going to be, because it has already started out fantastic! 

Most of the week was good missionary work. Lots of driving to Pullman and back... oh! And we got to meet with John every night last week! We did a lot of review and talking about the commandments :). And he had his baptismal interview on Friday with President Clark, and he passed!! He was so excited, it was so fun to be there. So now we're confidently moving forward with the baptism on April 8th, and we couldn't be happier :)). That's probably the #1 reason April is going to rock. 
Also Conference! I hope you all listened to S Mark Palmer, because he used to run this mission. ;) But I also really liked Yoon Hwan Choi's talk, where he said something about always looking up and opening your mouth no matter where you are. It's a good principle to remember as a missionary. The best part about Conference though, is that not only did John watch 3/4 sessions, but we got to watch a session with Isabeau, and another with Ezra, and Tessa watched all the sessions in her dorm room! Ah! I was so excited that so many of our investigators were able to watch it :). Exra was especially exciting to see there, because he got to meet some of the YSA members, and he hadn't been to church in months with us. But we had a really amazing lesson with him on Thursday, where we straight up asked him if he'd really given the Book of Mormon a chance in the year he's been meeting with missionaries. And he said he hadn't, but he was ready to. I'm so excited for him, because I feel like he finally committed to reading and praying every day, and he'll start making an effort to make it to church and YSA activities. He's just awesome, I'm so excited to keep teaching him too. 
Ok but the funniest part of last week was actually Saturday night. A less active Chinese member in Pullman wanted to take the 3 of us to dinner to "thank us for our service". It didn't take us more than 10 minutes during the dinner to realize he actually knew absolutely next to nothing about the church he was a part of. Basically, we spent an hour being flirted at over a $70 sushi dinner. I'm going to call it, "The Polygadate of 2017", because that's exactly what it was. And when we asked him if we could share a little message with him, he got this panicked look in his eyes and said "we're not actually going to pray here, are we??" Pretty sure he wasn't counting on a message haha. And then, just before we left, I said "Hey, want to come to church tomorrow?" and he made some excuse about homework, and I said "Do you have just an hour for Jesus though?"and he said "Oh, I have every SECOND for Jesus, girl!" It was pretty fabulous. And even though it was 10/10 the most uncomfortable member dinner I've ever been to, we would not hesitate to do it over Mexican food next week. Haha! 
Oh! Also this week we met Makenna, a new investigator in Pullman! She was referred to us by a member, and she's the most golden, prepared person I have ever met. Wow. She had already been reading the Book of Mormon every day for 2 weeks, and in the first lesson agreed and wanted to be baptised! She's planning on May 13 (I think?) so that her family can come! She's already giving her parents Books of Mormon too, and they're considering looking into it. It just feels miraculous to me. Ah! It's amazing how well Heavenly Father leads His children to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am more and more convinced that He is aware of each of us the longer I'm out here to witness it. 
Anyways, today is going to be a weird P-day, because Gonzaga (the Catholic college in Spokane) won something or another, and is playing some big championship something or another in football or basketball or something or another.  So, we're working from 2-5 instead of 6-9, because no one around here will be doing anything but watching the game this evening. So it'll be a party! Yay! :D haha
I love you all! I hope things are going well! 
Here are a couple of pics! One of the picture we drew on our miles report for Elder Boehme at the office. Haha! 

And then one of our Polygadate. :D

Also me and a tree, don't remember why. 

A picture of the scenery, looks like a real life desktop screen! 

And then 3 pictures of the marshmallow dodgeball crew!

 I got hit in the neck, it was rather painful.

 Haha and the zone is pretty funny, if we do say so ourselves. :D