Sunday, July 30, 2017

ELDER MATTHEW LEBARON - Letters from June 5 - July 24






Elder Matthew Lebaron – June 5 - New area, new adventures

Well party people another Monday has rolled around, and so here we are. The week went pretty well! This area is pretty cool, I think that there are a lot of good things going on here, and I got a feeling that I'm probably going to be here 6 months, but who knows this last transfer got me by surprise. 

La Verne reminds me a lot of Glendora, except I think that people here are more consistently wealthy around here, I haven't seen a bad part of town yet, not to say that there are very many places like that in Glendora, but there were places you could find some of the poor people. It's weird to see so many kids and families, it seems to be a pretty good community that has a lot of young families, which seems to be pretty promising. I'm back into a white ward, I don't think I have seen anyone with even a tan in this ward. There are perks to it, like having people that you can trust to take on lessons, and there is a lot of structure, but at the same time it's just not as fun. In my last two areas there weren't really too many white people in the ward, especially the Filipino (only me and Elder Cottle) but I think I'll enjoy myself here

we have a few people we are working with, one of which is super awesome, her name is Lauren, she is a 17 year old girl that went and saw the play the Book of Mormon, she got curious asked her friend about it, and before she knew it the missionaries were there teaching her. She read the first paragraph of the restoration pamphlet and started crying. Really the only reason she isn't baptized yet is because her mom won't allow her to, her  birthday is in October and she wants to get baptized then, I could possibly still be in this area when that rolls around, so  that would be pretty cool!

My new companion is super cool! his name is Elder Stucky, we both are really easy going, so its been a lot of fun working with him. We go out and work hard, but still find time to be able to have fun throughout the day and joke around a little bit, those are the best companions.

This email is pretty bland, but there wasn't a whole lot going on this week, other than just trying to adjust back to bike life. oh man... biking sucks. I forgot just how much it sucks, haha. especially when you get a 6 week break, and all your muscles atrophy. not to mention this place has hills, not like Glendora, but you pretty much have a constant up hill slope and a steep hill every few streets. I was convinced I was dying for the first 2 days. I forgot how sore you butt gets when your getting back on the ol'  cavello. last transfer I started working out with weights, but in this pad.. there are so many more. I've been going pretty hard in the mornings switching off different muscle groups, so thats been something new too, to have both my upper and lower body sore all the time, but I feel good. I really like the feeling after getting a good work out in, and I mean, getting some good cardio in all day doesn't hurt either. Honestly it's just messed up that I got to know what a car was like in the shortest amount possible, in a relatively cool time of the year. Sometimes I wonder if president laughs to himself as he messes with all the missionaries on transfers.  

Well, I hope that all of you guys have a great week! work hard make your dreams come true, get something nice for yourself this week, you deserve it. 
https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifElder LeBaron

Matt 6/20 Zone conference, and Sumer dayz

Sorry for not writing last week, or yesterday. Last week we had a lot
of stuff going on also with some wifi problems. We had Zone Conference
yesterday, which pushed our P day back a day.

Our zone conference was pretty good, but man I still can not get over
how long those meetings are, I'm always trying so hard the last hour
to stay focused. 6 hours is a long time people, but who's so planning
when it keeps you out of the heat? Also free lunch doesn't hurt
anyone. It was actually pretty cool to see a lady there that was from
the Glendora 3rd ward who was helping out to feed all the
missionary's. That was my first area, and it was cool to talk to her
after being out for a year. I think sometimes I forget just how many
people I get to Interact with and build close relationships with as a
missionary. That's definitely one of my favorite things. I was talking
to one of the missionaries that was serving in Glendora, and he said
that people in the ward, and people I had taught were still talking
about me! It made me feel pretty happy and gave me a feeling  of a
accomplishment. Being a missionary can be awesome sometimes.

This was our last zone conference with president Villanueva, it was a
pretty emotional meeting. I really like our little Mexican man that we
have. He is always super nice and gives everyone hugs. I'm going to
miss his accent, man he was a pretty good mission president, in just 9
days we will have a new president named Wells. He's from Salt lake so
pretty common Mission President haha. At the end of the meeting all
the sisters were crying, they all huddled up together and just cried
their eyes out, sisters sometimes man haha. Not to say I couldn't help
but feel a tear coming especially as we sang God be with you until we
meet again. But I stayed strong. No tears here Fam.

Well it's just about reaching the temperatures of hells armpit out
here. We've been hitting high 90's and low 100's out here. Pray for
me. I don't remember how I did this last year oh man, and it's only
going to get hotter. All I can think about as I'm pumping up this
monster hills is that my precious car was taken from me prematurely,
but it's okay because that anger gives me enough strength to get to
the top until my face ripens to a red tomato. I must be looking pretty
bad because everyone is giving us water out here, haha. Oh man I
looked in the mirror the other day when we got to a members house for
dinner, and I thought something was seriously wrong with me because of
how red my face was. It's not looking good people, but don't worry too
much, because this red face is just some unfortunate genetics, while
my comps over here looking fresh, barely breaking a sweat, his curly
hair set perfectly, not fair man.

La Verne is a super slow area, all these rich people man, but we have
2 baptismal dates which is pretty good, we're just not teaching a lot
out here. I'm just trying to survive  on the mean streets of the La
Verne streets, but someone has to do it right?

We did a lot of service this week, oh boy, I got burnt pretty bad,
from painting fences at the top of a steep hill holding onto the wet
fence for dear life trying to stop from falling to my death, to
weeding for a couple hours, to moving new people into the ward. It's
been a good week. In the words of a bishop I use to serve around "The
gospel is so freaking true" this church is amazing and I really feel
like I am growing so much and becoming something I never knew how to
become, put your life into the Lords hands and you will see miracles,
I can promise you that. Love you guys have a good week!

Elder LeBaron
614 West Foothill Blvd, Arcadia, CA 91006

Matt  - July 3 - 4th of July 💥🔥🎉



Family and friends,

Hello once again from SoCal, sorry for not getting to an email last
week. Things have been a little crazy, but I hope that I can satisfy
all my readers needs. Something that is a little surprising to me is
how many people are actually reading these things haha, thank, I'll
try not to disappoint.

Luckily for us things have been cooling down for a week at least, 85
never felt so nice. Missionary work is a lot more bearable when the
weather is nice. Something that is pretty great about California is
that most of the time there is a breeze, even if it's a dry hot
breeze, it's a breeze. I'm not sure why everyone says " well it's a
dry heat" like is that a positive thing? Same thing when I lived in
Arizona people would say, "it's a dry heat" yeah it's a dry heat
similar to what you would find in an oven buddy. Don't try and comfort
me, it's HOT in the summer time guys. I mean sure I'm grateful I'm not
in a place like Florida but still.

Let me tell you, I got bike problems, I think I will have bike
problems until I end my mission riding bikes suck sometimes, but I
can't complain about the hard cardio I'm getting, it's easier to stay
in good shape. Luckily for a boy like me there is a member in the ward
that has a bike shop and he's really making my life easier, what a
blessing. Members are so helpful sometimes, they really can make a big
difference in the work. Something that always amazes me is how many
people are willing to help the missionaries out so graciously and
generously. Keep up the good work! All your efforts wether it be in
your callings, at home, or helping the missionaries, they don't go
unnoticed.

Well there's a lot of changes around here, we're going to meet the new
mission president tomorrow, and transfers are next week, and I can't
help but feel that my company ion is going to get transferred, elder
Stucky, what a guy, I've really enjoyed being with him this last
transfer. We've been getting a lot of good things done around here,
but especially working with Lauryn, she is so ready and prepared, she
really makes me realize that the Lord is preparing people and all we
have to do is open our mouths, it's actually pretty funny she saw the
Book of Mormon play and asked one of her friends that's in our ward "
is any of this true?" He responded " no way!" And then he explained
some things to her and we got involved and she is changing her life,
it's amazing. She loves the Gospel, she loves it so much, she reads
her scriptures and even talks far beyond what we assign her, she wants
to be baptized so bad but her mom won't let her be baptized until she
is 18.   Missions require a lot of sacrifice,  but the only reason
it's so hard is because it's worth it, moments like this,
relationships, and experiences that you have make it all worth it.

This morning I was reading a general conference talk " Am I Good
Enough? Will I make It" in the the October 2016 gen conf. I wanted to
share a quote he shares from President Hinkley, I love that man, he
was my first prophet he says “Brothers and sisters, all the Lord
expects of us is to try, but you have to really try!” And that's all
there is to the gospel friends and family we have to really try and
repent when we mess up, and we will be found in the celestial kingdom
with glory beyond compare. In that day the Lord will say unto you
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful
over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou
into the joy of thy lord."

Hope you all have a good week, don't start any forest fires, don't
blow too many things up. Light some fireworks for me, enjoy your 4th,
American freedom is the best! (Also this is a picture of the most
patriotic thing I could find as a missionary)

Matt – July 10 – Transfers, The Fourth, and Baptisms

Hello again, 

This week went by pretty fast, it seems like we had a couple things to keep us busy, which was nice. As far as transfers go, I'm staying here with Elder stucky, which is really cool! I wanted to kill him, but man it's tough, I've been on a killing streak lately and man does it weigh on your soul. I have been with so many missionaries that have died in my pad or my companions dying. everyone is so trunky. All the missionaries that are currently in the pad are above 18 months, so I'm definitely the youngest of the group. There is one elder that left for the office today and will be flying home tomorrow, E. Patterson. I love that boy. I've made some really good friends out here on the mission so far. The other Elders in our apartment got white washed ( both of them got transferred out) they are making their area a zone leader area, which means that we will be rooming with the ZLs ugh, I'm personally not a fan, but it will be good, I just had a lot of cool people in the Apartment last transfer so its a little sad to see it change.  

We had to go in early for the fourth of July which was kind of cool! there was a firework show just across the street so we sat and watched the fireworks, it was a pretty decent show! it's nothing like it was when I was in Azusa last year, people went absolutely nuts, people were shooting roman candles at us and throw M-80s as we road our bike, it was like a war zone, but this year was a little more quite in the streets of La Verne. we went to a members house and had a festive meal, it was pretty fun. 

This last Saturday we had a baptism for a kid named Jett, we have been working with him for a little bit, he was pretty much a dry mormon, he had been going his whole life, but his dad wouldn't give him permission to get baptized so while we were teaching him his dad finally let him, which is super Cool. it was the biggest turn out for any baptism I've ever seen we had over 100 people come and sit in this tiny primary room. everything was set up really well for the baptism and the youth even sang for Jett, we had a really nice audio visual presentation that we showed to everyone in attendance, it was really awesome, it was funny because the New president showed up, and was really impressed, I love this ward haha, the members were talking us up so much in front of the president, it was a little embarrassing, but it was definitely a good time for Prez to show up if there ever was a time. I really like our new president, he seems like a really kind hearted guy, I'm looking forward to good things this year. 

I really love being a missionary sometimes, we are really involved in the ward and so we get to develop a lot of close relationships with the people in the wards you serve, there is this little boy that's six his name is Zander, we see him a lot at church and at dinners, he is a little Filipino boy, I talk to his mom in my broken Tagalog that I learned in 6 weeks. He came up to me after church and said "Elder LeBaron! I have this note for you! don't read it until you get home, okay?" when I got back to the apartment i read it and it simply said " Elder LeBaron I want to be a missionary just like you one day" it was simple but it really made me feel super grateful to be a missionary and to have the opportunity to touch other peoples lives even if it's in a small way. I'm sure Zander won't remember me in a couple years, but I will always remember him and have the little note he gave me.
Elder Lebaron

Matt – July 17 - Summer dayz 🔥🔥🔥

Well, it's been another glorious week!

Me and elder Stucky have done a lot of walking this last week, and man
let me tell you, when I first came into this area I felt jaded because
I just got out of a car area, and I had to ride a bike again, but now
I'm starting to feel pretty grateful for bikes! Walking is pretty hard
on your body, especially when you're walking miles and miles each day,
I couldn't tell you how many miles we walked this week, but dang it
was a lot. What a blessings to have bikes, even if they break down a
lot.

Well we got some exciting things coming up, all of you Utah mormons
know that the blessed day of the pioneers is coming up, which is
pretty big here in California, we have a couple activities planned
this week that we are going to get a few people to come to, not to
mention we are planning to take Lauryn to the temple this Saturday!
It's going to be so awesome! She's definitely the most normal person
I've ever taught, from my experience the church seems to attract a lot
of odd balls, but at the same time it attracts the best minds, the
hardest workers, and leaders, it's really interesting to me. Lauryn
comes across to me as someone that will be relief society president
someday she's so awesome and if amazes me again and again her love for
the gospel. It's going to be a good week! We're trying to take her mom
to the temple too so hopefully her heart can be softened and she
Lauryn can get baptized sooner.

In this area of the mission we get a lot of attention, I kind of like
it when we are the center of attention haha, people are always staring
at us and pointing at us, we're defiantly a novelty around here.
While people are driving past in their cars I can make out the words
"The mormons"  on their lips as they point through the car window. I
think it will be weird to just be a regular guy when I come home and
not have people looking at me all day, to instill fear in people as I
walk down the street picking what poor saps door I will knock on.
Being a missionary is a lot of fun sometimes, it's really a once in a
life time experience.

Things are going well here, there hasn't been a lot of changes here,
but the ward is awesome and they help us out a ton, not to mention the
youth really help us a lot, it's so easy to get fellowship from them.
The church is true, Jesus Christ died for us, but he continues to live
for us, and I know that the Book of Mormon will help us come closer to
God. I've seen it in my own life, and I've seen it in the lives of
those I have taught, until next week.

Elder LeBaron
614 West Foothill Blvd, Arcadia, California, 91006

Matt – July 24 Temple Trip, and talks

What's up,

We have had a pretty good week this week, we actually picked up a few
more investigators than we normally do, so that was nice. Even though
a lot of them aren't super solid it's nice to be able to have a few
more people to work with!

Really the highlight of the week was our temple trip with Lauryn. It
was the best temple trip I've had yet, we had such good fellowship.
The member that took us had a big van so we got 7 people in total come
with us. 3 youth came, honestly you can't tell the difference between
Lauryn and the rest of the youth she fits right in. It was just a good
mix of people, and Lauryn really enjoyed it! It was pretty neat to see
her respond to some of the questions that the sister missionaries
asked, she's pretty mature, and really understands the gospel,
especially since she's only been investigating for 2 months. She's an
investigator where I feel I was sent to this area just for her, which
is really cool. Me and Elder stucky seem to be the perfect elders for
her, it's funny how the Lord works sometimes

We had the Pioneer Day celebration on Saturday as well and it was a
lot of fun! I got to see some people from Glendora and everyone was
blown away that I have been out over a year, since that's where I
started my mission.

We have been picking up a lot of people that speak Arabic this week,
which is weird... because this is like the whitest area in all the
mission, we are trying to find people that can translate for us, we'll
see how that turns out.

Yesterday I gave a talk in church yesterday, on recount answers to our
prays. I am so surprised sometimes when I feel the spirit come over
me, something I haven't experienced much besides on my mission. When I
was up there talking I felt something I haven't really felt before, I
felt that there is something really great in me, something that I
don't even know yet, but if I keep slimy best that the Lord will help
refine me until I get there. I would like all of you to know that
there is something amazing and unique in all of us. We are involved in
something that is bigger and better than ourselves, and when we put
our life in the Lords hands he will shape us into what he needs. I
have a long way to go, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to become
better than I was before.

I was reading in Mark 4 today which reads:

36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he
was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the
ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and
they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we
perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace,
be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye
have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner
of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

This tells of when the disciples are in a ship, and a storm comes,
they fear for their lives and wake up the savior. The phrase that
stood out to me was " carest thou not that we perish?"  Sometimes I
know I have felt like that in my life, that the Lord doesn't care
about me or my situation or the little things that I struggle with or
am concerned about, the things that keep me up at night. I really like
the Lords response when he says "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that
ye have no faith?" And it hit me, have I forgot that the lord is in
control? He literally controls everything and so we don't have to
worry, do your best and everything will be okay. That's my testimony.

Hope you guys have a great week!

Love,
Elder LeBaron
614 West Foothill Blvd, Arcadia, CA, 91006