Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in the MTC (12.29.10)

Hey Family!
Sorry, I somehow sent that one sentence to you, that was an accident. lol. ne way, yea this past week went by so fast, its crazy, because the first week went by so much slower. New missionaries got here today! haha, thats the first time thats happened since I've been here, I don't feel like the new kid ne more.
So things have been great! Let me tell you about our Christmas here in the MTC. So we had a regular breakfast, nothing special. Then, at like 9:00 a.m. we had an MTC talent show! which was awesome, I guess the only time they do that is for Christmas, and I was thinking of auditioning, you could rent out guitars and ukulele's to try out, but they said no love songs, and I was going through my head trying to find a good song I could play that I knew from memory and I couldn't think of ne thing great, so i decided I'd just enjoy watching it. There was definately some great talents, some Elders re-did a Tenacious D song, it was hilarious, its was like- The best prayer in the world, and then the second verse was the best scripture in the world, it was so ligit, haha, but I'm sure a lot of you older folk don't understand. ne way, that was really the only one I remember, oh, except a bunch of elders from germany re-did a Lady Gaga song, and I have yet to get it out of my head, it was funny though.
After the talent show I think we just had some down time, if I remember correctly, then at 2:00 we had our afternoon devotional, and guess who showed up for that, Elder Russel M. Nelson, it was really cool. He is such a smart man, I was just blown away by his talk. That lasted until 4:00. We had dinner at 6:00, and then a second Christmas Devotional at 7:00, where we watched a play of "The Christmas Carol" I think, the one with scrooge, haha. It was great, I really liked it, my roommates didn't like it very much and slept, but they missed out, it was awesome. oh, and on Christmas Eve we got to watch Mr Krugars Christmas (sp?) that was nice, it brought me back to my seminary days. I liked that.
I would go into more detail about what Elder Holland said but I cant remember off the top of my head, and my notes are in my room, we just hear so many talks thats its hard to keep them all straight.
Besides Christmas this week was a lot like the first week, just a lot of learning and teaching. We got a new teacher, his name is Brother Reid, I love him, he's a great teacher. If we dont get to class on time (My roommates and I are always 15 min early because we're exceptional missionaries) then you have to do a door approach to get in, and if its not any good he'll slam the door on your face, so it's great practice and it's even better to watch all our fellow district members struggle to get in. Bro. Reid let me take over as the investiagator for the door approaches yesterday and that was a good time, haha. We're learning tons, and studying and working hard. There's no where i'd rather be.
Something I learned this week that I thought was really awesome, we heard a talk from David A. Bednar in one of our classes, and he was talking about an experience he had with some missionaries once. Some Elders came over to his house one day, they played some basketball with his children, had breakfast, and just spent some time hanging out at the house, after about an hour and a half they were getting ready to leave and they asked Elder Bednar if he had any refferals for them, he looked at them and smiled, and then said "I wouldn't give you two Elders any refferals". when he said that they looked really confused, he then went on to explain, If they had stopped by, and politely said they just wanted to share a quick message from the scriptures, share it and then leave to do the work of the lord then he would love to give them refferals. that's a very condensed version of what he said, but it was a good lesson, I really started to understand how important it will be to get the trust of the investigators.
I'm quickly running out of time and I'm a slow typer, thank you everyon for the letters! I've gotten about 30 letters and 7 packages in two weeks, my district members are getting frustrated and saying i should have my own mailbox, lol, its great so keep it up, haha, I love hearing from everyone. thank you for all the Christmas presents they're wonderful, I had a talk I wanted to ask you to send to me but I can't remember what it was... I guess I'll ask next time. I love all of you so much! You're always in my prayers, have a great New Years!
Elder LeBaron

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2nd Letter (via e-mail) 12.22.10


So, I think i'm sending this to the right address, lets hope so. They gave us the chance to write a quick email the first day we got here but I couldn't get my account to work, and It actually took me 15 min to figure it out this time, so I dont have tons of time to write you.

The MTC is great! I dont know if anyone has received letters from me yet, I sent one hope and a few to other people, I think they should arrive at least by today, and Mom and Dad I got your package today! thank you so much, and I also got Kelsey's package today, Christmas is gonna be great here!

I wrote you guys a lot about whats going on in the letter I sent, but I'll just start over at the beginning. So I got here safely after the flight mix up, and it until 3:30 pm to finally get to the MTC, with the flight to Denver, then to Salt Lake, then the drive to Provo. I checked in, they gave me a name tag, and then sent me straight to a big oreintation meeting for the new elders and sisters. I met my companion around 7 pm, he was happy to see he had one. lol. The first night was good, we just got to meet eachother, unpack, and go to sleep.

As the week went on it seems almost like time was standing still. I'll go over the schedule really quick

6:00 am - wake up
7:00 am - personal study
8:15 am - breakfast
9:45 am - companion study
11:00 am - 1:00 pm - class
1:00 pm - lunch
1:45 pm - 6:00 pm - class
6:00 pm - dinner
6:45 - 9:00 - class
9:00 - 9:30 - prepare for the next day
10:15 - quiet time
10:30 - lights out

So thats what I've been up to! keeping very busy!

So, My companion's name is Elder Emery, He's a very relaxed guy, he reminds a lot of ben, just like half of ben's size, but he's really good at basketball for a short little guy. We get along just fine, and we're learning to teach together the best we can, he's great. The two Elders rooming with us are from Idaho, and one grew up on a potato farm andd the other on a ranch, I'm not sure what the difference is between the two, but they are both really great guys!

Life is adjusting just fine, 6:30 always comes faster than you hope, but after your out of bed then its easy to get going. Oh, one story about the first day, all the elders in my room decided to take a shower at the same time me included, just because we had some extra time before bed, and so we all ttoook showers, and then realized we left all our room keys in the room, so we had to stand around the hallway in our towels for 20 minutes until some help came to open our door. It was some good bonding time.

We recently added a nice additionn to out room! we cut a little branch off of a bush and put it into a bottle to make a christmas tree, it's really nice. we put all our presents under it, I got to today because I got my packages! it was really sweet. II'm running real low on internet time now, sorry! next wednesday i promise this will be longgeerr becasue I know how to log in now.

A few things I wanted ttoo ask for, some febreeze would be bomb, cuz we're smelly boys, and maybe something I could put in my shoes to make them smell a little nicer. also, David and Ben and Steven all dear eldered me, but I wish I had their addresses so I could sent them a handwriten letter, it would be awesome if someone could dear eldeerr tthem to me, dear elder is the best! they're like instant so I really appreciatee them, and I appreciate all the mail I've been getting! I love all you guys! I waannnna hear more about what my own family is up to! please write me!


Elder LeBaron

First Letter 12.22.10

We got Justin's first letter in the mail today....

Dear Mom, (smart kid to address it to his mother)

Sorry it's been a little while since anyone has heard from me, hear at the MTC we are busy, busy, busy!

First, I want you to know I am fine! I'm not homesick. Just pressing forward in the work. I talked to an Elder today who was giving me and my companion some tips on teaching, and he said he didn't get homesick until the second week, but I'm not worried, I love you guys, but for now this is my home. Just a home away from home.

There's a statement I learned that is from Ezra Taft Benson, and in that he says to completely get lost in the work for the Lord and there will be no homesickness if that is what your time, talents, and interests are centered on. It's called "Work, Work, Work". It's really uplifting. I hung it up in my room.

Alright, so, after the whole mix up that morning with missing my flight there were no more set backs. It did not take a long time to finally get here to the MTC. I checked in at 3:30, and they slapped a name tag on me and sent me straight to a big oreintation meeting. I met my companion around 7:00 that night. He was wondering where I was. My companion is Elder Emery. He's such a relaxed guy, I like him. He's not extremely strong spiritually but I've seen him grow so much in the last 3 days. He's from Utah, likes BasketBall, he's a short little Elder, but I like him and we are learning to work well together! We uplift each other and thats whats important!

Our two roommates are great. They're two Idaho farm boys. One is more of a rancher and the other worked on a potato farm his whole life. They are great haha. Elder Adams, and Elder Truman. Elder Truman is a lot like me, with his personality and what motivated him to come on a mission and we can really relate. Elder Adams is a really big guy who talks like he's already been living in Arkansas for two years. He comes from a little place called Elba Idaho, I think, or maybe Alba. He likes to go rabbit shootin' in his spare time and feedin' cows. He's hillarious, haha. I love the 3 elders in my room.

I can't believe its only been 3 days. From 6:30 - 9:30 all we do is work! No personal time. So its been so hard to find time to write! P-Day is on Wednesday, and I got here on a Wednesday. So yea, sorry I haven't written letters. You might get my Wednesday email before you get this letter, but like I was saying, I cant believe its only been three days! I feel like I've been here for 3 weeks, and I feel like I've known the Elders in my room and district for months! they are wonderful. I love them.

All the Elders in my room are going to Little Rock, so we'll be flying out together! that's whats up! haha.I'm trying to get used to not saying "guys" and "dude" and only say "Elders" or "Brethren". harder than you think. But we help each other.

I got my dear elder letters from you guys today, that was nice, I love hearing from everyone, it gives me strength to keep pressing forward, so keep sending me letters, that means more than you know.

Dad asked about the schedule so here's somewhat of a layout, its different everyday though-

6:30 Arise and prepare
7:00-8:15 Personal study
8:15 Breakfast
8:45-10:00 Companion Study
10:00-1:00 Class
1:00 Lunch
1:45-6:00 Class
6:00 Dinner
6:45-9:00 Class
9:00-9:30 Plan for next day
9:30-10:30 Get ready for bed/companionship prayer
10:30 Lights out

So thats pretty much everyday here. 9:30-10:30 is really the only free time we get and I've used that for all the assignments we've gotten at the Zone meetings.

I'm getting better at teaching but its harder than I thought it would be. A lot of class time is devoted to teaching fake investigators. Kind of a "learn by doing" approach. We study the lessons in our own time. which is very limited, and practice teaching and learn teaching tips during class. Our teachers are very helpful in giving feedback though, and I feel like me and my companion improve everyday.

What I focused on a lot recently is something one of the teachers told me, and that's that we're not teaching people, but trying to help make them disciples of Christ, a disciple is a follower of Christ. What we need to do is help them find a love of Christ! and when they center their lives on the Savior everything else will start to fall into place.

I'm sorry this is so long. I just have so much to say. I wish all of you at home could just feel how I feel, and what I've been feeling here in the MTC.

--Behold, I am disciple of Jesus Christ, the son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. (3 Nephi 5:13)

I find a lot of strength in this scripture, and I just wanted to share it with you guys, because it defines my purpose so well.

Sarah! Awsome Job, Mom said you did good in the play. I wanna hear from you so write me! I hope you found your gift in my room... I love you so much. I'll be praying for you with your school work and just growing up, because its tough! but your tough, so your good :-)I hope your having fun being the only child. haha.

Well its getting late so I'm gonna stop writing so I can mail this before we need to be back in our rooms.I love you family! Stay Strong. I pray for you everyday. Please pray for me, so I can have some extra help keeping this determination, because this honestly is a hard thing. The MTC is no Joke. You'll hear from me soon! I love you.

Elder LeBaron

Thursday, December 16, 2010

MTC Address for DearElder.Com

If anyone wants to write to Justin while he's in the MTC the easiest way is through

Click on the Provo MTC (Free) link on the left hand side and then fill in the address, you will need his MailBox #244 and his departure date Jan 11

Then write your letter and submit it...he will either get it that day or the following day depending on when you write.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Elder LeBaron Leaves for the MTC

The time is finally here that you've been waiting for for the last 3 months, your at the airport an hour before your flight leaves, and your ready to go... you get up to the ticket counter and Justin says "I'm on the 8:00 am Flight to Salt Lake City" and the ticketing agent says "We don't have a flight leaving at 8:00 am, the flight to Salt Lake left an hour and a half ago." and then everyone turns and looks at the Dad.."Why is everyone looking at me?"

There are only two ways something like this could happen..

1. The paternal parental figure who coordinated the flight times, must have somehow read the "Arrival" time as the "Departure" time, and mistakenly thought the plane Left at 8:00 a.m. when in reality it left at 6:40 a.m... or
2. The Lord really wanted Justin on a later flight for reasons that we don't currently understand.

I'm going with reason number 2

Anyway after calling Salt Lake and explaining the situation (and apologizing several times) they were able to work some magic and get him on a different flight that left at 9:07 with a short layover in Denver.

It is never easy seeing one of your children leave, but knowing that they are doing something that is right, and that has the potential to impact their lives and the lives of so many others for good makes it allot easier.

A father couldn't be more proud of his son than I am today...and I know that his Mother, and Stephen and Sarah all feel the same way... what a great way to start the Holiday that celebrates the real reason he is leaving.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Farewell Talk (12.12.10)

Good morning brothers and sisters.

For those of you that don't know me, I'm Justin LeBaron.

Yesterday, at the ward Christmas party, Bishop Larsen was talking to my Grandpa, and he said something like, "So, you came to Colorado to see if your grandson knows how to speak", and my grandpa said something like, "Yea, well we'll find out tomorrow".

Well tomorrow has come, and its go time.

I just want to let Bishop Larsen know, and everyone else know, that I know, that Bishop Larsen is a better speaker than me, so be excited for his talk!

But unfortunately you have to sit through mine first.

I'd like to start my talk by reading something from Luke Chapter 15:1-6

1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

In this parable, Christ is teaching us ecactly what I've been asked to speak on today, and that is being a good shepherd.

In my scripture study in preparation for this talk I found four main attributes that seemed to show up often, of what makes a good shepherd.

1. A good shepherd seeks out his sheep that are lost

2. A good shepherd feeds his flocks

3. A good shepherd knoweth his sheep and calls them by name

4. A good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep

In the scriptures, when you hear the words “The Good Shepherd”, they’re referring to Jesus Christ. Christ is “The Good Shepherd”, so if we are striving to be good shepherds, we need to have Christ like attributes.

A good shepherd feeds his flocks

In Ezekiel 34 it says…

13. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountians of Isreal by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of isreal shall their fold be, there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Isreal
15. I will feed my flocks, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the LORD god.

When I read these scriptures and think about those words, “feeding the flocks of Isreal” I think about how there are so many ways for all of us to do so, especially through the church.

To name a few…

Seminary Teachers

Young Mens and Young Womens Leaders

Deacon and Beehive presidencies

Teacher and Miamaid Presidencies

Priest and Laurel Presidencies

Elders Quorum Presidencies and Relief Society

Home Teaching

Visiting Teaching

Primary Teachers and Leaders

Ward Callings

Stake Callings

There are always opportunities to teach and to serve, and to feed the LORD’s sheep.

I do believe that the BEST way to do that is by magnifying your own calling! Whether it’s a Ward calling or a Stake calling, your calling is important to the Church, and I promise that even if you don’t like your calling, that you’ll find more joy from it when you magnify it! And the LORD will only bless you for doing so.

Another attribute I mentioned is,

A good shepherd knoweth his sheep, and calls them by name

Christ, the good shepherd, knows each of us personally and calls us by name, a way we can try to mirror this into our own lives is by being active members of the ward, reaching out to others and making friends, participating in ward activities, and giving a little extra effort in being social and friendly.

Especially in this Christmas season when it seems like everyone’s a little more friendly and loving, we should try to be Christ-like and reach out to others. It’s the perfect time to make new friends.

Now, I wanna read a few verses from John Ch. 10

9. I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly
11. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep

This attribute, is one that shows amazing selflessness and love. The good shepherd protects his sheep at any cost, from wolves, or thieves and robbers, and would die for his sheep. Just as Christ gave his life for us, so that we may live, and return to our father, and nothing should stop our efforts from protecting those of our flock, from the evil temptations of the adversary, and the false teachings of man.

We should lead by example and teach by the spirit

It can be hard to watch family members and friends fall into sin and lower their standards.

But it should not be hard to continue to love them and lead them through example.

Now, I wanna go back to the parable I read in the beginning of my talk- The parable of the lost sheep-

In Luke 15 (Verse: 1-6)

We are now living in those last days, when the LORD will gather his lost sheep of Isreal and bring them back to the fold, and as members of the church we are called to be instruments in the LORDs hands.

“If you have desires to serve god, you are called to the work”

Young men, I know you recite these words every week, I hope and pray you are listening to those words as you say them, over the last few months those words have become sacred to me…

Now behold, A marvelous work is about to some forth among the children of men.

Therefore, oh ye that embark in the service of god see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before god at the last day.

Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work!

For behold, the field is white, already to harvest, and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he parisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul

And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of god qualify him for the work

Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.

Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.

There is so much power in those words, and there is so much power in missionary work, it’s us, the members of this church, who have been called to gather the lost sheep of isreal!

Whether they’re the people living two houses down from us, or people we work with, or whether they are the people of the Philippines, where Elder Burton is gathering the lost sheep of Isreal, or the people of Lima, Peru, where Elder Bearnson is gathering the lost sheep of Isreal, or whether it’s the people of Little Rock, Arkansas, where I have been called by my father in heaven to gather his sheep, and where I will willingly go, and where I might serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength!

I want you to remember, missionary work is not just for missionaries, and nothing can bring in converts like the power of a strong and faithful ward, who are helping missionaries by bringing non-members to church and finding those people who are ready, and referring them to missionaries, and moving the work forward.

I know that where I’ll be serving, I’m praying for a strong ward involved in missionary work, so I want all of you here to remember that it’s not just missionaries, but all who have a desire to god, you are all called to the work!

Pray for missionary experiences; don’t be scared to take that next step, to give a friend a Book of Mormon, to invite non-members to church activities, or to bear your testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel that has changed your life, this gospel is a gift that we need to share!

I want to share a scripture with you, that a person who means a lot to me pointed out to me. And actually this is the scripture that will be on my missionary plaque. Its Alma 29:9

9. I know that which the LORD hath commanded me, and I glory in it, I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the LORD hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of GOD to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.

What an amazing man Alma was, and what incredible faith he had!

He didn’t say many souls…

He said, “and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of GOD to bring SOME SOUL to repentance; and this is my joy”.

This is the faith that I strive to have! So that one day, like Alma, I can say…

That my joy, is that I may perhaps bring SOME SOUL to repentance…

And that my glory is to be an instrument in the hands of my god.

Now, I wanna speak directly to the young men.

But first…Bro. Newby, and the preists asked me to give a shout out to them in my talk, so this is my shout out! I love you guys! And also, I better get some letters from you guys over the next two years!

But this is for all the young men here today, so please listen…

I know the struggles of growing up, and finding yourself and your place in this world. I know the temptations you deal with, and those sins that you can fall into, and how easy it is to wake up and find yourself caught up in it.

Growing up is tough.

If you would have asked me two years ago, I would have told you without a shadow of a doubt, that I was not going to serve a mission, that that wasn’t for me, that I wasn’t cut out for it, and that I had made my decision and that that’s how it was going to be.

So I’m sure you can imagine the expressions on my parents faces about 7 months ago when I told them I wanted to serve a mission.

Right now, when you’re in high school, it’s hard to see past your senior year, and its hard to decide where you want your life to go… what you wanna do… where you wanna be…

Young Men, I know that you have felt the spirit

I know that up at Aarons Camp I saw the spirit touch every one of your hearts

A Quorum isn’t just a group of youth, it’s a brotherhood

And every one of you that was in that quorum with me, you’re not just my friends, you’re my brothers.

Listen to me when I say this…

If you’re not praying often, start praying

If you’re not reading your scriptures, start reading

If you don’t know what you believe, then dig down deep inside of you and find it.

Go to seminary, and then while you’re there, Listen!

Take in everything you can, learn all that you can, mark your scriptures, write notes, mark the scripture masteries, use your scriptures so much that they look like they’re going to fall apart.

These are things I wish I would have done back in high school.

Back when I didn’t know I’d ever be up at this pulpit today.

Young Men, if you get anything from my talk, please, never stop praying, never break that relationship you can have with your heavenly father.

We have been told, we are a chosen generation, decide NOW that you want to prepare for a mission, and never lose sight of that goal, no matter how hard life gets.

“We are as the armies of Helaman, we have been taught in our youth, and we will be the LORDs missionaries, to bring the world his truth”

I testify to everyone here today, that we are gods children, and he has sent us here to earth. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, that Joseph Smith, was called by God to restore the true church in the latter days, and that he was a true prophet, I know that there is a plan of happiness for us, and that as we obey our heavenly father, we will find joy in this life and in the life to come. I know that my heavenly father, chose me, to serve the people of Little Rock, Arkansas, and that that’s where he needs me to be, and I will go and do what the LORD has commanded me. I’m greatful for this gospel, and I’m greatful for this wonderful ward, and the friends and examples I have here. I say these things in the name of my savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.