Tuesday, December 20, 2011


What Up What Up,
  It's good to read ya'lls letters. I just want to thank everyone again for the packages Elder Graham and I received. You should of seen his jamaican face light up, he was like "Man, you have really cool family man, they don't even know me and they love me!" He was way excited. He was yelling crazy things like "Raasta Fa Riiiaa!" He says that all the time, lol, even though he claims he's not rastafarian, because he doesn't have dreads or smoke marajuana. I appreciate it so much though... Elder Graham is a really loving companion, I'm so glad ya'll showed some love back to him, sometimes he gets down about his family not being there for him, I know it must leave a pretty big gap in his heart, I can't even imagine life without all of you...
  Well, this week was pretty awesome. The Elders Quorum Pres let me teach the Sunday before last, and I used PMG and spoke on the importance of members in this work, I really just wanted to inspire the ward and get some fire goin'. It seemed to work out pretty good, we had 11 member present lessons this week. Yea boiii. Elder Graham and I doubled the member lessons in the Zone just with our numbers as a companionship, the Lord is blessing us for our efforts. It was legit.
  We had the Checkett brothers come out with us, and some craziness happened. Aisle is 23, he's an RM, and his little bro Benson is 18 getting ready to do his papers. They're cool guys. Well anyway, we went to visit Jerry (I love that man), and turns out he was more drunk than usual, he could harldly stand, so we talked to him for a minute and told him we'd come back later tonight if he promised not to drink anymore. We were leaving and getting into the car when this thug guy, probably like 23 or something, does like a double take and then starts walking our direction. (It was obvious bad news) He starts yelling at all 4 of us to get out of the neighborhood, that we worship a different jesus and that they didn't want us hear. I think I'm just tired of taking crap from guys like this, but I pipe up and say "We worship the Jesus that suffered for the world and saved us from our sins, What Jesus do you worship?  this dude thought he was hard (that's what we say down here in da hood) and he gets like 6-inches from my face and starts talking about how we have some golden book and we worship treasure hunters and he told us to leave in some profain ways. It was ridicuous. People frustrate me. We waited for him to start walking away, and then we got in the car, we were about to drive off, but Jerry came running up the window drunk as ever and told us he wasn't gonna let that guy talk to us like that and that he was gonna kill him and stuff, and we were trying to get Jerry to calm down, when we notice the thug guy turn around and start heading towards the car again. It was bad news. He just circled the car cussing at us, he tried to open Aisle's door, but it was locked, then he circled around to Benson's window, he had a coin in his hand told us to pick head or tails. Benson was pretty freaked out, he told him he didn't want to play and he just stepped on the gas and drove away. I was mostly just worried about Jerry, but we watched Jerry stumble back into his house. So that was nuts. The Checkett boys said that hadn't had that much fun in a while. Sometimes it's crazy being a missionary.
  Aside from that the big news is that Jerry came to church! and he was sober, and he said that he loved it, and he's gonna keep coming back. That was awesome. I was so glad. We have our zone conference Wednesday, that should be sweet.
  I think I'll probably be calling around like 3:00 on Christmas... Pretty sure. So I hope that works well for Steve too. I have to get goin' sorry it's super short this week. But I love you guys so much, I'm excited to talk to you Sunday. I can't believe it's Christmas.
Elder Justin.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Aloha family,
   Another week has past. I can't believe this transfer is over. There's 16 transfers in your mission life, and I've gone through 8 now, only 8 6 week transfers left. That's insane.
   This week was good. It was a lot better than the few I had before it. Things have really been improving. I've been focusing on 3 things - sleep, exercize, and nutrition. and I'm doing way good on all three, and it makes me feel really good. I was kinda sucking at all three of those the past few months, I was told that those are the 3 pillars to physical well being, and when your body's happy, your mind is happy. I do feel happier. I  started buying some healthy foods. I bought salmon, and shrimp, and some fruits and veggies and things, and started drinking more agua. I even bought some carrots and some spinach, cuz apparently it's like the healthiest thing in the world. I put some in my omelets, and it's that not bad at all. I think mom said that spinach is dad's least favorite food, but to me it kinda just tastes like broccolli. but idk, food is just food to me. But I think my body is a lot happier with me, previous to this last week I had been eating a lot of ramen, and that it's pretty much horrible for you, I'm feeling better without it. I've been taking 20 min naps at luch just to give my body a little more rest, and that has been doing wonders for me as well.
President Petersen awesome, I love that man. He gave me a blessing Monday night. Him and Elder Badger, and it was really an amazing blessing, and it gave me a lot of comfort. He came to our Zone Meeting on Wednesday, but it sounds like he told you guys about that as well. Zone Meeting went really well, I was glad President could come. I love the missionaries in this mission. I've made some friendships out here that will definately carry on into the eternities. They're my family right now, and I love different meetings and exchanges and things, because I love seeing my other friends out here.
  Let me tell you something awesome that happened. Last night we went and saw Jerry. I know I told ya'll about him. He's an older gentlemen who is addicted to alcohol, and always talks about how he wakes up mad, and feels like God has forsaken him. Well, he is a freakin stud, because he's been keeping his reading commitments. We left him Alma ch 14, where Alma and Amulek are thrown in prison, and are chained up and beat because they were crying repentance, and how the spirit of the Lord gives them strength, and they break the bands, and walk out of the prison as it crumbles on those that persecuted them, and Jerry loved it. He could relate to the suffering Alma and Amulek felt, and he said he had been praying like we asked him to, and that when he prayed, he felt like he was wakling out of that prison, and leaving all of his sorrows and worries behind. He said that he's never felt so happy or so close to God, and that he's coming to church with us next Sunday. That's a huge step! He told us when we first met him that we'd never get him inside the mormon church. The Lord is working miracles in his life. I was so happy hearing that last night...
  Rochelle is so solid. She was the girl Elder Graham and I baptized a few weeks ago, and man. She has really warmed up to the ward. She's in choir, and she's the president of the investigators class we have in the Little Rock ward, and she's been fellowshipping the investigators coming in like crazy, she's awesome.
  I don't know exactly when I'll be calling on Christmas Day, probably sometime in the evening.We have Sacrament Meeting at 11:30. I think I'll try and call maybe around 4 or 5. It depends on when we're having dinner. It'll probably be closer to the evening, don't worry you can definately go to sacrament meeting. I love you guys.... I'm so greatful for such a wonderful family. Elder Graham told me to tell you all thank you for the Christmas presents, he wasn't expecting to get anything for Christmas, and he ended up getting qiute a few gifts. He's been really happy about that. Thank you so much. I love you. talk to you soon
Elder LeBaron

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dear Family,
   Thank you for your emails. I really appreciate them a lot. It's always nice knowing you have a family back home that supports you. I don't know what'd I'd do without all of you.
   This past week was good. Tuesday I got to go on exchanges with Elder Hanneman, and he's like the definition of a stud. Right out of High School he got drafted to play for the Kansas City Royals (MLB) and they offered him a $350,000 signing bonus, and he turned them down to go serve a mission. He's legit, he actually came out with my companion, Elder Graham, and so he's been out for about 17 months. He's one of the District Leaders in the zone, so I've gotten to know him pretty well. Whats really legit about him is that he's really humble, he hesitates to tell ne one that he got drafted and doesn't like a lot of people to know, I have a lot of respect for him for that, he's awesome. Word on the skreet is that he might be my next companion, since Elder Graham is probably goin' over the river and Elder Hanneman is probably going Zone Leader. I'd be happy with whatever. Exchanges with him were great though, the Lord led us to some people that were for sure prepared, and we saw a few miracles, it was an awesome day.
  We had Zone Leader Council on Thursday, and it was over in the Stake Center in Memphis, so I got to go back to Memphis for a day, that was sweet. I miss Memphis. When we were drivin over the Mississippi River looking at Midtown and that big sign that says "Memphis" I felt like I was coming home, lol. I love that place. We drove for probably 6 hours total that day, we went over with the AP's and came back with the NLR Zone Leaders, so it was a slow day. We wished we could have gotten out and done some work, but I took a nap, so that was pretty nice. Zone Leader Council was really great, President is such a spiritual giant, I really look up to him. We talked about daring to stand alone, and going against the grain, not being average, but being everything within our own potential and power. Doing the Lord's work, the Lord's way, and by his power. Elder Badger gave me a surprise 10 minutes to speak on elminating fear, lol, he wanted me to do the balloon object lesson for all the Zone Leaders, so that was cool.
  The rest of the week went well, I don't have tons of time so I'm gonna keep this one really short. Elder Graham and I have to go back and finish planning Zone Meeting, it's on Wednesday, so wich us luck.
  Oh, and I got pulled over for the first time on my mission two nights ago. I did an illegal U-Turn in an intersection, and I guess this Lady cop was chillin on the other side of the intersection, I just didn't see her. She just gave me a warning, so that was a relief. I just used my good looks and charm. U know how I do. jk. ;) I think God decided to give me a break on that one, I was pretty greatful.
I know this is way short. But I love ya'll.
Elder LeBaron.

Monday, November 28, 2011


What up, what up?
How ya'll doin? sounds like you had a fun trip to good ole Utah. I hope the turkey was tasty. Elder Graham and I had some turkey too. We actually went over to this nice old ladies home and ate with her family. She's 83, so she's getting up there. There was turkey, the ham, the potatoes- the works. The cool thing was, we brought our investigator Houston, he's an older guy, I think he's in his 70's, but he looks and acts like he's closer to 50. His family actually live in Utah, so he didn't have anyone to celebrate trukey day with, so I was glad Sister Colewell said it was cool if we brought him along. He really seemed to enjoy it, and said that the discussion answered some of his questions. Houston is legit. Or as Elder Graham would say with his jamaican accent- YouStin!
Elder Graham cracks me up. His accent is cool. "You think she enjoyed our me-tin (meeting)"?" or, every morning he'll ask me, "Did you have nice rest?" I guess in Jamacia they don't use the word sleep, they just say rest. He pronounces my name more like Ell-la labarin. I think the L in Elder and in LeBaron just throws him off and his tongue gets confused. He has taught me some Jamacian though.
"Wha a gwan my yute? " Which means, "whats going on, my yute?" yute is like bro or dude in jamacia.  He's cool. He's too charitable. He's like the nicest man I've ever met. He does my diches for me before I can even finish eating, or he'll make my bed, and he gave me like 5 tie's already. I learned not to compliment his ties, because if you tell him he's wearing a nice tie you'll find it hanging in your closet the next day. Elder Graham is legit.
To sum up the week, we baptized Rochelle Saturday. Yeah Buddy! and I confirmed her in church yesterday. She's awesome, and the Little Rock ward is awesome, I'm so happy I'm in a ward that is functioning properly and knows how to coordinate with the full time missionaries. Rochelle already has hometeachers, and tons of fellowshippers, a permanent ride to church. She's set in stone. Sister Lewis took her to a relief society activity. It's the best transition I've ever seen with any of my recent converts. It's so good. She makes a wonderful addition to the ward, lol. She's a big woman, and she's way loud, and loves to talk, and sing, and she's just so alive. I love her.
We're coming up to the close of the month of November. Our Zone is sitting on 9 baptisms 8 confirmations right now... which is an improvement, but it's bitter sweet. Like my good friend Dustin Taylor always used to say, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand granades. We got closer to hitting our goal this month, but we still didn't hit it. I was dissappointed. Not discouraged, just disappointed. This Zone has so many stud missionaries, and yet only 4 companionships baptized in our zone. thats 33% of the missionaries. Which President said is actually a common statistic for every mission, 33% of the missionaries get like 90% of the baptisms. Our goal is to get everyone baptizing. We have 12 companionships, so our goal was 12, and we're gonna keep it at 12 for December as well. We want every missionary to realize this is a team effort, all for 1 and 1 for all. It's great that some missionaries are baptizing, but if every missionary isn't baptizing then we're not working at our full potential. I've come to realize that one of my biggest weaknesses as a Zone Leader is critisizing. If I see a problem with a companionship or District, I point it out and tell them to fix it... We have Conference Calls every Monday morning where we talk to the District Leaders about how the mission and more specifically the Zone is doing, and I look at the numbers and want to just call people to repentance and tell them to grow a pair and go get it done, I see that even some of the District Leaders are turning in numbers that are less than praise worthy, and I wanna call them out, but I'm thankful Elder Graham keeps me in line. It's all about being a Shepherd and not a Sheep Herder. When you push people, there's gonna be resistance, when you lead people, they just follow. I'm learning a lot this transfer. I just feel like leading takes so much longer than pushing, when are they gonna start following? I need some more patience.
Thanksgiving was great though. I love southern cookin', When I come home Christmas Day 2012, I want to have some Sweet Potatoe Pie, Fried Ocra, Biscuits fresh out the oven, Greens, Deep Fried Cat-fish, Hush Puppies, and then pour gravy all over it. With a big glass of red kool-aid, Idk if the kool-aid is southern or just ghetto. Then dad will have to learn how to do some Memphis Style BBQin'. cuz that's where it's at. With some Corky's BBQ Sauce.
So my official humpday of the mish is in 17 days. That means I get to burn a shirt. To inform ya'll, my camera is kinda jacked up. I'm not sure how it got that way, but ne way, I was talkin to Elder Carson this morning on the phone, and I mentioned my jacked up camera, and he told me he found a camera on the side of the street, that works perfectly. It even comes with a case. So he said I can have it as a Christmas present, so I'll take some pictures of the Holidays and me lighting a shirt on fire for you guys. Speaking of things that are broken, my bike is in bad shape, but we found out there's a guy in the ward that's way good with bikes and he's gonna take a look at mine. I can still ride it, the brakes are just broken, lol. When I was with Elder Kowalk, I would just stick my shoe on the top of the back tire to slow it down, it works pretty effectively. But I should be getting that all fixed up here pretty soon, so no worries.
Two of our investigators are getting married on the 11th of Dec, and then we'll have their baptism on the 17th, so that's exciting. They are super solid. Hopefully we'll be able to get Houston baptized this month, he has a super strong testimony, and tells us he's received countless witnesses from the holy spirit that the LDS church is true, but he say's he doesn't want to get baptized yet. He feels the Lord wants him to wait and learn more first, which is okay, it's a longer process for some people, I just hope it happens next month.
I love you all. I appreciate your emails. Keep it real. Hang Loose. Have a nice week. Spread some Holiday Cheer.
Elder LeBaron

Monday, November 21, 2011


Aloha Colorado,

  Oh how I miss those mountains. Sounds like everything is going well back home, and sounds like ya'll are excited for the holidays.  This time of the year is always my favorite. Everyone has the spirit of love and thanksgiving in their hearts. I think we'll get in a lot more doors from now until Christmas.

   Let me tell you about the wonderful week Elder Graham Slam and I had. Tuesday we went up to Montecello to see Elder Carson's District Meeting, and give a little instruction. Elder Carson's a funny guy, I love him. He got in the mission a transfer after I did, and served in Frayser when I was in Raleigh, so I know him really well. He gave a really good District Meeting on commitments and using the Book Of Mormon more in teaching. I definately received some personal revelation and was spiritually edified. Then we went out with them the rest of the day and blitzed Monticello. I went with Elder Stewart, who's still being trained, and he's awesome. He definately came out on his mission with a purpose. I enjpyed teaching with him for a day. Monticello has been having a dry spell for some time now, and they didn't have many investigators, so we decided to spend most of the day finding, and try to up their teaching pool. The Lord definately granted us miracles. We found 5 new investigators and set 2 new baptismal dates, and we found this in-active member who's crippled, who desperately wanted to get in contact with the church, he just didn't know how to find it. Then we set a Teaching In-Home Commitment with a solid member family in the branch. It was awesome. Miracles always happen on exchanges.

  Wednesday we brought the Monticello Elders back to Little Rock with us, so Elder Carson could attend a Leadership Training Meeting with us. The meeting was really good. President really focused on TIHC's, and using members homes at every possible opportunity for a teaching environment, which is actually what Elder Graham and I have been trying to focus on in our Zone. Elder Badger talked about retaining recent converts by doing everything you can to get them to the temple to do baptisms for the dead within the first 3 months. Then President talked about how we need to expand our vision. President Petersen is a very succesful businessman. He's the CEO of Petersen Incorporated, you can check out Peterseninc.com to see what they're all about. But he said that he was in some kind of meeting where he was being counseled on how to help his business, and he was told to imagine his business 10 x larger, making 10 x the amount of money, figure out what it would take, and to make a 3-year plan on how to accomplish it. 3 years later that goal was accomplished, his company started out in a garage, and now it's signing 30 million dollar contracts and things like that. Often times we hold ourselves back because we think things are immpossible. We need to expand our vision. The only things in our lives that are impossible are the things we wont try, because of our lack of faith or confidence. It was pretty awesome, and way inspiring.

  Friday we went on exchanges with Little Rock. Elder Hardy (my 2nd comp) went to Maple Street with Elder Graham, and I went to Little Rock with Elder Warner, and we had an awesome day. It was a lot like our day in Monticello. We set 2 dates, had 5 new investigators, set a TIHC, AND we taught this lady from SryiLanca (sp?) or some place that sounds like that. She was cool. Oh, I almost forgot. So it was like 8 at night and Elder Warner and I were walking back to the apartment, when we notice that these 3 guys behind us have been following us for like 5 min. So we start taking some different turns down different streets to take another route home, to see if they were really following us, and sure enough they wouldn't get off our tails. They were probably 30 feet or so behind us. Now, whenever someone is following you it's pretty sketchy, when it happens in the Ghetto at night, it's super sketch. I have no doubt in my mind their intension was to jump us. So... they had been following us for like 15 min, and they were getting a little closer, and we were coming up on this bridge, where there's no street lights, and its just super dark, and there's no where to turn. We looked at eachother and kinda just knew we were both thinkin, whatever happens happens. Elder Warner has only been out 3 weeks. So I wanted to say something comforting, so I just told him not to worry and that God would protect us, but it's kinda ironic that this guy we talked to earlier in the day told us a story about how he had been jumped a couple years ago in this area and he got beat with bricks by like 4 guys that stole his wallet. So I was just thinkin, man, I hope they don't have bricks. Anyway, I said a pretty sincere prayer in my heart that we would be protected. About 30 seconds after that the spanish missionaries drove across the bridge and saw us, and pulled over and gave us a ride home. It was crazy. I know my prayer was answered.

   Saturday we met with Rochelle, and took a member out with us to follow-up with some people. Rochelle is awesome. She's getting baptized Saturday. She's the one that loves to sing, I think I mentioned her in my last email. We have her baptismal suit ready for her, we're making the program today, she's really excited for it, everything is going smoothly.

Yesterday was awwweeesoommmee. Elder Graham and I had 9 investigators to church, I think that's a personal record on my mish. We had a good week. Our Zone is sitting at 6 baptisms for the month so far... which isn't amazing, but they already beat last months total, so hey, that's improvement. We're thinkin our zone will probably end the month at 10, and the mission will hit around 45, which is really good, but our goal is 57. We need to go pray for more miracles. I don't want to be close to President when we don't hit the mission goal... again. He gets pretty disappointed, lol. but never discouraged. He just makes sure we keep our commitments.

I love you family. I miss you. I hope the holidays treat you well. When you're going around the table saying what you're thankful for, just know that I'm thankful for you.


-Elder LeBaron

Monday, November 14, 2011


I really appreciate the emails.
It's funny reading Sarah's emails. It just takes me back to my days in Middle School. Except she's the girl in the front of the class answering all the questions, and I was the kid in the back of the class sleeping, or eating a burrito, one of the two. lol. I'm proud of you Sarah, you're making some awesome habits, you're gonna be the smartest kid in our family. I don't know how much that's saying, me and steve didn't put up much of a fight. (jk Stevo, I know you're smart) but seriously.
Man, knowing the hollidays are coming up soon makes me nervous, for 2 reasons. I hear being away from home this time of year is tough, but I'm tough, so that's not really an issue. The other reason is, Christmas is around the corner, and that means I'm half-way :/ whattt thee freaaak. I know I know, don't think about it too much. I hear the downhill goes faster than the uphill, and Elder Badger just reminded me this morning that he only has 5 months left... When that man goes home... I dont even know. The mission is madness.
So I should probably infrom ya'll with the good news. Elder Graham and I were able to see one of our investigators get baptized yesterday! Elder Graham got in the water and baptized Charles Redman. He's been investigating for about 3 months now, and when Elder Graham found him he was an alcoholic. He's been telling us this past week that the alcohol wasn't the hard habit to kick though, it was the cigarettes. Charles is awesome though. He's crippled (can't really use his legs, he gets around in a wheelchair) He's an older gentlemen in his 50's, he's retired military, he was in the Navy back in the day, loves to laugh, just an awesome guy. He's been through a lot in his life though. Let me tell you the craziest thing about this man, we were filling out his baptismal record, and we found out that brotha has 28 children! Charles wasn't playin' around when it came to makin children. He told us how 2 of his kids were born on the same day, in the same hospital, from 2 different women... and he thought it was the funniest story. lol. That man's crazy. But he sincerely loves his savior and is doing all he can to change his life and get on the right path. Yesterday was a goood day. The only sad thing is, that was the only baptism in our Zone this week... This Zone hasn't been doin' so hot the last few months. Last month there were 5 baptisms in the LRZ, but 54 as a whole mission. Our zone is 1/4 of the mission.... so we for sure need to pick up our slack. Elder Graham and I threw down at Zone Meeting. and by threw down I mean we had a really spiritual meeting. It was good. We drilled member work pretty hard. I truly and honestly believe if this zone started using more of the member resources we have we could easily be the top baptizing zone in the mission. We've been working with the District Leaders to really instill this throughout the Zone. We saw a huge increase in member present lessons this past week which was awesome. I guess we're still in the sowing stage right now, I'm excited for the reaping.
I'm really glad you guys sent me that object lesson book. It's come in handy for District Meetings and Zone Meetings. I used one in Zone Meeting this past week. We were talking about overcoming FEAR, and so I asked everyone in the zone to name some of the fears they have as missionaries, and so everyone started listing some fears, like fear of rejection, scared to talk to everyone, fear of looking stupid, scared to be bold- all kinds of things, and for every fear I blew a little air into a balloon. It didn't take long for that balloon to look like it was ready to burst. lol, I saw some Elders sitting right in front of me who were getting ready to plug their ears. After it was full of air we talked about how the balloon shows us exactly what fear is (just a bunch of hot air) we let fear hold us back but there's no substance to fear. Then I took out a pen and popped the balloon. It was Legit. It echoed and everyone was dead silent. It was sweet... So thanks for that book. It definately spices up meetings.
The Baptism and Zone Meeting were sweet, and the rest of the week was also really good. We found this lady named Rochelle, who was taught by some missionaries in the past, but somehow lost contact with them, and she is just golden. We set a date for her to be baptized on the 26th. She looooves to sing, so we got her to go to choir practice after church yesterday, and she just lit up, it was awesome. and we set up a dinner appointment with the choir director, and we're bringin Rochelle. It's gonna be perfect. I'm so excited for her.
Jerry is still in the same situation. He loves to vent when we're with him, so it's hard to do a lot of teaching, because he always has a lot on his mind and a lot he wants to talk to us about, but we were able to kinda throw an over-view of the Plan Of Salvation into our conversation yesterday and it really helped open up his eyes to why we go through trials in life. I compared life to the refiners fire that is always mentioned in the scriptures, and I think he started to understand the idea of eternal progression. He is sooo awesome, and such a great guy. I just wish we could get that man to commit. I think it might take him a while to complete his investigation. He has a golden heart though.
Well.... I'm gonna wrap this up because I still have to email president. You asked what I might want or need for Christmas. What I desperately need... is a GPS. Especially now that I'm a ZL we have to travel a lot for exchanges and baptismal intervies, and I think I'm becomming notorious for that fact that I always get lost. I get blamed because I seem to always be the designated driver, but my companion never seems to know where he's going either. lol. but if there is one thing that I want or need, it's a GPS. I know dad is good with online bargaining, so maybe he could find a gently used one.
I was thinking about Christmas, and something interesting about my companion. Elder Graham doesn't have family back home. He's 26, he didn't meet his mother until he was 17 and he's not close to her at all, and I'm pretty sure he never knew his Father, and the only people that write him are his ward from back home. So he's probably not going to get a package for christmas. It would mean a lot to me if you guys could put something together for him, just so he knows someone's thinking about him.... know that's me assuming we'll stay companions together through transfers, but I guess I'll let you know when it gets closer. Transfers are one the 15th, so like a week and a half before Christmas.
Well. I love you guys so much. Mom, thanks for your email. You guys tell me you're proud of me too much, it makes me tear up in the library, I bet the dude on Farmville next to me is wondering what's wrong with me. Have a good week. I'll talk to you guys too soon. Love you
Elder LeBaron

Monday, November 7, 2011


Dearest Family,
   It's good to hear from you. This past week was really pretty crazy. I'm exhausted, but I feel good knowing Elder Graham and I killed it this week... Let me tell you about it.
   I am in Little Rock now, but I feel like I'm in Frayser again. The Zone Leaders were suppossed to open up a new area this transfer, so I heard, but President decided to keep us in Maple St. So I'm in the Ghetto of Little Rock. Yeah Budddy. I was so worried that I wouldn't be teaching black people this transfer, but there isn't a white person to be found. I even have a black companion again. Let me tell you about him. His name is Elder Graham, he's 26 years old, born and raised in Jamaica (sp?). Yeah mon. He's pretty legit. So now I'm the only missionary thats served with both of the black elders in the mission, I take pride in that. I love Elder Graham, he's way chill (we're both very similar in that aspect) and he's super spiritual and has a lot of desire for this work. He's been on his mission for about 16 months now. He's only been a Zone Leader for 1 transfer, so we're both kinda new at it, and learning together.
   I think this area is more ghetto than the area's in memphis I was in. It's super super ghetto. We were tracting a street 2 days ago, and it was probably around 5, and we talked to this Lady for a couple minutes on the door step, she was really involved in her own religion, she was actually female pastor, but as we were getting ready to leave she said "The sun's gonna go down soon, and you guys don't wanna be in this neighborhood after it gets dark... especially you!" - as she pointed at me. lol... It's interesting being the minority, but for some reason I don't mind it.
  On Thursday, we drove down to North Little Rock for Zone Leader Council, which was sweet. There's 4 Zones in this mission, Little Rock (MyZone), North Little Rock, Memphis, and Memphis East. So there's only 8 Zone Leaders, it was pretty cool to have a meeting with President and the other Leaders since it was a lot more personal than a huge zone conference. President Petersen is an amazing man. He is so spiritual, it's really incredible. We talked about how to elevate the mission. This past month we hit our goal as a mission. The goal was 50 baptisms, and we acheived 54. Which is awesome. That's the best month we've had since I've been on my mission. If we could do that consistently we would baptize 600 in a year. The zone I got transfered into however, is not doing so hot. We only had 5 baptisms in October, and there are 28 missionaries in our zone, so between 14 companionships we only baptized 5. That's rough! Elder Graham and I have discussed a lot about what we could do to inspire and elevate, and what problems and difficulties might be holding us back. We have some stud missionaries in this Zone, and the work in these area's couldn't be more ready to harvest, so Idk, we're having Zone Meeting this Thursday, and hopefully we'll be able to help increase the level of work on this side of the mission. After Zone Leader Council Pres took all the Zone Leaders and AP's out to eat at this chinese resturaunt, so that was pretty legit.
  Elder Graham and I are trying to set the standard for the Zone, so we have really been busting our butts this week, and then we get home and plan and then waiting to make sure everyone is in and safe and calling the AP's at night. I'm tired... lol. It's good though. There's a talk by Elder Holland that says we need to work so hard on our missions that by the time we come home they need to carry us off the plane, there should be an ambulance to take us from the airport. Leave it all on the field... So I'm definately not going to slow down. I only have 13 and 1/2 more months. There's no time to waste. I can't believe how fast it's going. It makes me tear up thinking about it... Honestly I'm reaching a point where thinking about going home scares me a little. I heard about missionaries I knew that got really nervous and worried because they didn't want to leave the mission, but their time came. Now I'm starting to understand what they mean, I'm not even half way done and I'm concerned. I just tell myself every morning - "I'm gonna be a missionary forever" - I think I've convinced myself, because going home doesn't seem real. I feel like I'm going to be wearing this tag for eternity, and I'm okay with that... I'm content... I have a purpose. I witness miracles. I see lives change. I've watch grown men break down in tears, because the spirit pierced their soul... and that pierces my soul... 
   Never in my life, have I been so stressed, so exhausted, so worn-out, or so happy. These feelings that touch my soul are real. The love of Christ can be seen all over this earth, and it has the power to make the most stubborn, hard-hearted, and sorrowful people find peace. I wish I had the zeal that Paul had for this work... or Ammon, or Aaron, or Alma the younger.
   So many people are lost, and seeking for answers. Elder Graham and I taught a man yesterday Jerry. Jerry is 50 years old, he's been through 2 divorces, his twin brother was murdered, his mom has passed on, and he doesn't know his father...  and he has no one. He's alone. He's been to about 30 different churches in his lifetime, but can't find one where he feels God's love. He wants to know why he's here. He wants to know why he had to stay here and his brother had to leave. He wakes up every morning mad. Mad at God, mad at life, mad that his brother died, mad that he has no one. He's so miserable, so all he knows to do is to drink. He drinks until it doesn't hurt anymore, and then he goes to sleep. and when he wakes up again, he's mad.
   We had a very spiritual lesson with him yesterday, and he wants us to come over tonight... but his story tears me apart inside. There are so many people who need God, but they don't know how to get to him. How many people do we walk by everyday who are searching for answers, who feel trapt in a bad marriage, or are struggling to raise their teen-age sons as a single mom, or who just feel lost and alone... If we don't open our mouths, how selfish are we. We could be the answer to their prayers, but sometimes we just dont feel up to it...
Sorry I'm on my soapbox, or whatever people say.  I know this is short but I need to get going. but here's my new address -- 
2504 Maple St.
Little Rock, AR
David, I did get your last dearElder. I really appreciate those when you send them. and bro. Congrats on losing almost 30 pounds, you are a beast. I'm not gonna recognize you when I see you again.
Much love to everyone back home.
-Elder LeBaron

Monday, October 31, 2011


Aloha familia.

    Dude Sarah, I like the pictures, your farmers tan is ridiculous. lol. Thank you for your e-mails, I really appreciate them. Mom, it sounds like you're still staying strong with working out. Keep it up!! You talking about your goals made me think of this book I'm reading, its called "LEADERSHIP" it's by an apostle from way back in the day, but there's a whole chapter devoted to goals, and goal setting, and accomplishing them. It talks about how powerful the mind is, and how our mind set and our attitude can change everything about our lives. Everyone in this world has an idea of the person they want to be, or an accomplishment they want to acheive, but often times it just fades away as a dream that seems immpossible to reach. Thats what the natural man will tell you and thats what satan tries to get you to believe. What we need to realize is there's no limits to our righteous desires, at all. We our the offspring of God and were made in his image, we have the capability to become all that he is, like it says in the scriptures. We have every power and capability to acheive any goal we have on this earth. Impossible really is nothing. In this book he talks about the CAN DO inside of us. The power and discipline we have over our minds and our bodies to acheive. Most people don't intend to be late for meetings, they just end up running behind. Usually there isn't detramental consequences for being a few minutes late to anything, it's the norm, mormon standard time, lol. But if someone was going on a trip they wouldn't dare miss catching a flight, they would almost always get there with plenty of time, because they know there will be no refunds or re-scheduling. It's the CAN DO inside of us that makes us catch a flight, but often times we don't have that same CAN DO for making it in time for Sacrament or other meetings, or some of our smaller goals and intensions in this life, and because of that we miss the mark of obtaining our full potential. When we look at our goals as something that we HAVE TO do, where we cut off the idea of retreat, or making our goals optional, then we would never miss the mark, just like we would never miss a plane. It's given me a new prespective of goals and self-mastery. So I just wanted to say good job moma, keep up the CAN DO attitude. Impossible is just some imaginary boundry we put in our minds. We constantly need to tear it down.

   This week has been crazy madness my friends. We moved into the new apartment in East Memphis, and it's sick, as in awesome. The walls are clean. The carpet looks like it's never been walked on. It's a brand spankin new missionary apartment. It's been nice living there the past 3 days. It was really fun moving too, we got to throw stuff off balconies and things, that's always cool.

   This morning has been the craziest morning of my life though. We figured Elder Kowalk was getting transfered outsta here because I'm done training him now, so as usual the AP's called this morning and told him to pack his stuff. Then I get out of the shower and the phone rings, and I see that it's President. So I answer, and he tells me I need to pack my stuff too, he said he was planning on leaving me in Memphis East, but last night he woke up, and had the impression that I was needed as a Zone Leader in Arkansas. So that blew my mind this morning. I was so surprised that I kinda zoned out after he said that and forgot I was still on the phone with him, lol. He said I'm gonna be opening a new area with another Zone Leader on the other side of the river. So that was madness. I was planning on giving you guys my address today so you could send me stuff if you want, but I'm gonna have to wait another week since I'll be moving again. The best option would honestly be to send stuff to the mission home, because I'm gonna be on that side of the river in two days anyway.
   I don't know how I feel about going to Arkansas, or being made Zone Leader, I was only a District Leader for one transfer, but I know the Lord calls us in our weakness. He takes raw materials and refines them into his ultimate design, so I know It'll all be bueno.
   We've just been working with other missionaries right now since we haven't officially had an area this week. Raleigh is being closed and Memphis East is being open and we've just been in the middle of the transition, and but both of us are being transfered somewhere else, so it's been kinda crazy.
   I was in Memphis 2nd Ward yesterday, and we had a really great church service, I really enjoyed it. It was the primary program, and the week before we saw the Memphis 1st ward primary program, so we've just been watching little kids sing and say funny stuff. It's been good.
   I hope I enjoy Arkansas, but then again it's just everything I make of it so I know it'll be good if I want it to be. I kinda have those butterflies you get in your stomache the night before a big day, like Christmas or going to Disney Land or something. I've never been too far into that side of the mission, and I know that in like 8 days I'll have to give a Zone Meeting with whoever my Zone Leader companion is, to missionaries I've never met. This is exciting, lol.

Well. Happy Halloween, have some fun for me. Carve some pumpkins, eat some candy, and watch some freaky movies. I enjoy this time of the year, I'm excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I hear missionaries are like celebrities on those days, depending on the ward. I hope I get fed like 5 times in one day, and if not, I can always eat some delicious ramen. haha. I've been buying a lot of tuna lately, cuz its way good for you and way cheap. AND, believe it or not, tuna mixed in mac-n-cheese is pretty good. I recommend it.

Family, Friends, and anyone else who could possibly read this. I love you all. Thank you for your support. You make the world go round.

ps. Keep your eyes peeled for anything that could be useful in a teaching situation. I like to try new ideas. Another elder I went on exchanges with has this legit dvd of what he called "Mormon Messages", it's like parts of conference talks with videos and music put to it. They are super legit. If you find anything about those, I definately wanna get my hands on those. Or if you have any inspirational church dvd's or talks on CD's or anything like that. I'd love some more of that stuff, for training meetings and teaching situations and things. AND if you ever find a little inspirational qoute book, those are helpful too, lots of missionaries have LDS qoute books, from apostles and leaders and just famous smart people. So all of these things are things that I would be able to use.

Alright, now I'm really gonna get going and email president. I love love love ya. Talk to you in a week and let you know how Arkansas is. Have a great week, and remember- CAN DO.

peace love and much happiness

-Elder Justin LeBaron

Monday, October 24, 2011


Aloha family,
   Sarah! Good job, sounds like you're doing awesome in school, i bet your glad I showed you the example of what not to do, lol. Keep it up! It makes me happy to hear that you're getting in good habits so young.
   Mom, I love you, keep working hard in the gym, haha, it reall does make me happy to hear the whole family is trying to be more healthy. A healthy family is a happy family, right?
   Thanks for the E-mail Dad, sometimes I hit some rough patches out here in the mission field, I do find it really helpful to hear mission stories and experiences from others who have previously served. Since both my parents have, I could learn a lot from you. I've been trying to ask RM's that are in my ward out here and any I run into, because their answers always interest and motivate me, and also give me idea's as a District Leader on how to help my District, But, I know, just like Alma tells us, that by small and simple things great things are brought to pass. I've been asking other people that have served , what worked in their mission, how they found success, what changed their mission around. President Garrett, in our stake presidency out here has told us that in his mission, what really turned everything around was praying for your companion during lessons. He said their mission president set an expectation, where just like it says in Preach My Gospel (even though this was way before PMG was even thought about) That during every lesson, when your companion was teaching, you would face him, listen, and fervently pray in your heart that the words he's saying will touch the investigator, and that he will be led by the spirit. President Garrett said this worked miracles in his mission, they went from baptizing on average 1.8 people per missionary to baptizing 10 or 12. I know that many blessings we can and will receive from heaven are conditional on whether or not we pray for them, prayer is the key to unlocking them, but when he told me that story I thought that was amazing, that truly is a miracle.
    So Mom and Dad, and Grandpa, and anyone else who reads this and wants to email me back. What worked on your mission? How did you find success? What do you remember that had a big impact on you? What miracles did you see? I wanna know. I need all the help I can get, and there's no time to waste.
   This past week the office Elder called and kinda surprised me. They told me to get all the stuff in our apartment ready to move and pack up our suitcases because we'll be moving Wednesday. So Raleigh is getting closed in 2 days. Transfers aren't even until the 2nd, but they said this was most convenient for them. So I have been going around with Elder Kowalk trying to say goodbye to everyone that I've come to love and care about here in Raleigh. Since I really haven't moved my whole mission it's a little exciting, but at the same time it's kinda sad. I'm going to miss the Memphis 1st ward, but I'm really not going far. I'll only be like 30 minutes away from Raleigh.
   I went on exchanges like crazy this week. I think I only got to work my area 2 days. I went to West Memphis to work with Elder Bigelow for a day, lol, and I honestly loved that, he reminded me a lot of Elder Hardy, he's super socially akward in the best way, he cracks me up. I had a lot of fun with him. Then the Zone Leaders asked if I could exchange with them while doing a double exchange with Jonesboro so that they could still have 1 ZL in Frayser. So I went up to Jonesboro over in Arkansas with Elder Gerber, and worked with another District Leader over there named Elder Dispain, it was interesting. He's getting ready to go home in like 9 days, so its always interesting talking to missionaries that are on the end of their rope like that. and we had this really big training meeting that was kinda like a miny Zone Conference, so I stayed really busy this week, I was in and out of a lot of different area's.
   Then Friday I spent most of the day in Midtown and Frayser doing baptismal interviews for my District. Oh, and guess what? We had 6 baptisms Saturday as a District! It was awesome. The only thing that would have made it better is if Crystal and Dennis got baptized, It was frustrating because I was gone in other area's all week so I couldn't be here to prepare them for Saturday, and when Friday rolled around Elder Lester interviewed them and I guess they both decided they wanted to wait another 2 weeks. I'm not even going to be here in 2 weeks, so I'm a little upset I have to leave before they get baptized, but the Zone Leaders are suppossed to take over and work with them after we leave. I'm sure I'll be able to come down for the baptism though.
    So yeah, if anyone wants to send me a letter or a package, please don't send it this week, wait until I get my new address. OR If you want to send something now, send it to the mission home and they'll give it to me in like 9 days at transfers. So send it to the little rock address.
   I'm short on time, but I love you all. have an awesome week. Keep on keepin' on.
Elder LeBaron-

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Lol... Well. Thank you for the e-mails. I really enjoyed reading about how my brother almost died. Bro-ski, you gotta be freaking careful. I don't want to hear about any more deaths, you're suppossed to look before you drive through an intersection. You need to be alive when I get home so I can make fun of you for that. I'm glad you were protected, and I'm sorry your ear got jacked up. Too bad you wrecked the big bad Green Wagon, Sarah will never get her turn to drive that bad boy, guess you'll have to try and find another one Dad. I don't want her to miss out, I had some good memories with that car... Like that stop sign I took out, or that median I drove over, and the multiple curbs I hit. Not to mention how cool I always felt pullin up to high school in that bad boy, nothing says swagger more than a wagon. Those were the days.
   Well, Not too much has happened this week. I went on exchanges with Midtown, we did a lot of tracting, we found 5 new investigators, so that was awesome, but overall it was a rough week. I think my son is a little discouraged. This next week should be really good though, Crystal and Dennis are both looking good for baptism, and should be getting baptized on Oct 22nd. That should be way cool. 
  To answer your question Mom, transfers are in 3 weeks, and yeah... since they're closing Raleigh I will for sure be moving. I'm not moving far though. President told me I'm going to the Memphis 2nd Ward. I was way glad to hear that I was staying in Memphis. wooot.  
   Me and my new companion will actually be sharing an apartment with the Zone Leaders in the other Memphis Zone, so that will be cool. It's always fun being around other missionaries. I hear Memphis 2nd ward is a lot like Memphis 1st, so I should feel right at home, and my MTC comp Elder Emery is training his new missionary in that ward, so I'll get to serve around him, I'm excited for that. It will be werid leaving Raleigh though, I'll have been here for 7 1/2 months at the end of this transfer so it pretty much feels like home to me. I think I'm ready for new surroundings, and to see more of the mission.
   I've been studying a lot about Faith the past few days. I've been thinking a lot about how so many returned missionaries talk about all these miracles they saw while they were on their missions. My mission has been a great experience up to this point, but I want to see more miracles. I want to experience things that will change who I am and who I ever will be for the rest of my life. I don't feel like I'm getting the results I want, and I'm getting a little frustrated, I don't know exactly what it is. I was reading through Ether chapter 12 the other day, and throughout the whole first half of the chapter he continually says something like, "and by their faith - this happened, and because they had so much faith- these miracles were wrought." and it links miracles directly to faith. Which I guess might be a common understanding, but it reminded me how there are certain laws that God follows, like how faith always precedes miracles, and how obediece always precedes blessings just like it talks about in D&C 131. If I want too see more miracles, and help my district to see more miracles, I need to increase my faith. In the Bible Dictionary it says something like "Miracles don't increase your faith, faith is increased by obedience". Obedience is something that is always drilled into our heads as missionaries, and it's like there are so many rules it's nearly impossible to follow all of them, without giving up things that are difficult to give up. Sacrificing 2 years is hard. Sacrificing writing letters to family members and friends through-out the week, just to be more obedient to the white handbook is even harder, sacrifcing the little free-time you get at night to make sure you write in your journal and say your prayers and plan for the next day and fill out the area book, and just everyything. It is hard... A mission is hard. and I get a little frustrated, just because I don't feel like I've ever been one to follow the rules. I always looked for ways to get around rules growing up, and when everyone is telling me to do one thing, I just instinctivly want to do the opposite. Now my life is about rules. I'm learning a lot of self discipline, and focusing on how everytime I sacrifice, it will increase my faith. I want to learn more self discipline, just like President Erying talked about in preisthood session. I want my faith to be stronger than it ever has been, and the only way that can happen is through my actions. If I can show God how much this means to me, he will show me miracles, and make me an instrument in his hand. I have a lot I need to work on. Thank goodness the atonement is real.
Sorry I've just been writing my stream of thought. I love all you guys. Dad. Happy Birthday! what are you like 25 now? Keep working out those arms so we can have that arm wrestling competition we talked about. Love you all. take care.
-Elder LeBaron

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Hey family,
   I'm really pressed for time this week so it'll be a little short. This week just blew by. It's insane, I feel like I didn't have enough time to do anything.
   Tuesday after Zone Meeting I went on exchanges with Elder Wawro in Frayser. It was good to be workin my old area for a day. We had an awesome lesson with this lady named Lillian, who we committed to stop smoking, it was really spiritual, we were all tearing up through it. She wants to quit so bad, but she keeps giving in. I hate cigarettes. I want to burn down all the tobbacco companies. It ruins lives. Her daughter has serious lung problems just from all the second hand smoke she's been breathing growing up. She can hardly breathe at all. Elder Wawro gave Lillian an awesome blessing and we set a baptismal date for this weekend, but she ended up smoking about 3 cigarettes every day after that visit, so they had to push it back. The rest of the day was just fall through appointments and finding.
  Wednesday we got to see Crystal and Dennis, they're looking awesome for baptism on the 22nd. Then we went and gave Star's daughter Mari a blessing. We did some finding, and had a good lesson with the Jacksons.
  Thursday and Friday was super busy. Thursday we had to drive down to West Memphis so I could do some baptismal interviews, and Friday we were in Midtown so I could do some more baptismal interviews, I think I did 8 total. Then we went down to Dyersburg with the AP's to help them with a few things. 
  Saturday was the baptism for April, Kierra, and Erica, all from the Midtown elders,and I got to interview all of them and they are awesome. That was a cool night. Afterwards we went to the stake center to help Brother Presley with his little Elvis concert, lol. That was fun. It was like 30 single adults sitting at a table watching brother presley put on a show, and he's a great guy and he gives it his all, but he's really hard of hearing, so he can't exatly hear his own voice, he's a little tone deaf. I was entertained though. We were in charge of the lights and the fog machine, haha.
   It was a good night though, me and Elder Kowalk took a few pictures, I'm gonna attach the one of us in front of the temple.
   Like I said, this week has just blown by, but I guess it's because I did work in 3 other areas. Something crazy I found out - President called me and told me he's been thinking about closing Raleigh and moving me over to the Memphis 2nd Ward to open a new area. I guess Elder Badger and President talked a lot about how having 4 set of missionaries in the Memphis 1st ward made it hard for the members to supprt the missionaries in their efforts and how Raleigh was probably the hardest area in the ward to work fr different reasons. So the ZL's in Frayser are going to cover our Recent Converts and I'm going over to Memphis 2nd and opening a new area next transfer. and word on the street is I might be training again because of the huge amount of missionaries we have coming into the mission next transfer. Idk, we'll see what happens. I most likely wil hop zones. I am excited though, cuz my MTC comp Elder Emery is in the Memphis 2nd ward, so I'd get to work closely with him.
  I gotta bounce. but I love ya'll. keep it real. and please do send me some of your world famous grape juice, it wouldn't feel like the holidays without it.
   Stephen, you're a bum for not writing, but I still love you. Alyssa, happy belated birthday! now neither of us are teen-agers. It's madness. Sarah- kick butt at Districts, show em what you're made of! and ne one else who wants a shout-out, word up gangsta.
Elder LeBaron--

Monday, October 3, 2011


   How ya'll doin? Sounds like er'thang is pretty good back home. Things are pretty good here in Tennessee as well. The work has been kinda slow, but the Lord has been opening doors this past week, and I'm so excited for this up-comming week. It's gonna be awesome.
  I'm glad to hear you all enjoyed conference. I did too. I felt the same way, it was wierd just knowing everyone back home was watching the same thing I was at the same time. I felt connected to ya. I gotta say, my favorite talk was President Eyring during preisthood session. I looked back at my notes and like half of them were from that talk. He's a stud. I love how he talked about how power and strength comes from working past the point where others would stop or take a break, and how the Lord will give you strength beyond your own capabilities.
   Something that just popped in my head, I'm sure in my emails you notice I say stud a lot. Well I say it all the time when I'm teaching and I talk about Ammon or Alma or Helaman, or anyone who is worthy to be called a stud, and I noticed a few months ago that almost everytime I say it the people I'm teaching giggle or laugh. So I finally just asked why they laughed whenever I said stud, and they told me that when you say the word "stud" in the ghetto, it means lesbian. So I was like what??? blown away. I thought a stud was like a male horse. I don't know where ghetto people get all this crazy slang. So I try not to call people studs anymore when I teach, lol. But ya'll know what I mean when I say it, so I can use it in my emails.
   My first District Meeting went pretty good. I was getting a lot of comments and questions, and everyone was participating, so i think that means it went good. We talked a lot about FEAR, and how that can hinder us as missionaries, sometimes more than anything else. So we talked about ways to eliminate it and to be more bold and fearless. I used an object lesson from that book you guys sent me, so thank you! It was pretty legit. We also really focused on Inspiring vs. critisizing. Which is a huge lesson I've learned on my mission. If you want to help someone improve, critisism does nothing, if anything in most situations it makes the victim not want to change and pushes them further down. When you critisize it is often a form of pride, where you put yourself on a higher level than someone else, and tell them what they lack. When you inspire, you show humility, and patience, and love. Christ showed us how to inspire. He humbly, quietly, and confidently led the way by his perfect example. He never pointed out sinners, or told them they weren't good enough. I love the scripture in 3 Ne, where Christ asks the question "What manner of men ought ye to be?" and he answered it "even as I am". There can be no better leader than a man who shows the way by his own thoughts and actions.
   After District Meeting I went on exchanges with Elder Owen, the Elder from England. That was really fun, lol, I just love hearing him talk. We ended up teaching a family the Plan Of Salvation and setting a baptismal date with them, so that was awesome. Midtown is doing well. Elder Petersen is his trainer, and he's one of my very best friends I've made on the mission. He's a lot like me, just really short. lol.
   The rest of the week kinda flew by. We had baptismal dates with Crystal and Dennis, and they were looking so solid, but out of no where they decided to move up to Arkansas. We'll refer them to the missionaries there, but I was bummed we don't get to work with them anymore.
   We have a few awesome refferals we need to follow up with tonight and tommorrow, and it should be sweeet.
   My whole District is doing awesome. We set a goal for the month of October to baptize 10 people together as a District. So that's 2 per companionship. We have 17 dates all together, and the month just started so it's looking good.
   Elder Kowalk and I just recently started working with Mary's son, John. Mary is the Sudan lady Elder Jones and I baptized. So I'm way excited for him. He came to conference with Mary yesterday, and he said he loved it! We're meeting with him again on Wednesday. I can't wait for that.
   Oh, something uncool that I just thought about. The AP's came up with this thing called the "Car Fast", where we get to park the cars for however many companionships in our zone go over on miles. So we're all allotted around 1000 miles a month, which tends to disappear pretty quick, and we have like 13 cars in our Zone, so we could possibly bike for 13 days straight, not including our bike week. So that sucks. lol. President is going to have a conference call tonight with all the mission leadership and tell us every companionship that went over,and how many days each zone has to bike. So we'll find out tonight. From the information I've gathered it should be only like 5 days.
   Well, I love you all. There was a few other things I was gonna mention but I can't remember em, so I guess they weren't that important. Have a good week. Hear from ya next week. Keep on keepin' on.
Elder LeBaron

Monday, September 26, 2011


Dear Family,
   Thank you for the emails... sometimes it is so wierd being out here and being away from the rest of the world, and then finding out how much things change while you're gone. A lot of things happen that you don't expect. For some reason I thought that when I'd come home everything would pretty much be the same. Hearing about Bro McLay really sent me for a loop for about a week, I've come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to not think about it, and I know my father in heaven has given me the ability to put that in the back of my mind and find peace, so that my testimony can burn brighter than ever while I'm fufilling my responsibilities as a missionary.
   Hearing about Liz today is another one of those things... I wish that I could be there for her funeral. This doesn't really seem real. I'm just thinking about all the great memories I've had with her. Spending so much time at work with her and the connection we both had with the Boyds made her always feel like family to me... I'm greatful for the plan God has for his children. I wish I could be there with all of her family and friends to honor her memory.
   Even before that, this week has been pretty crazy. Sister Townsend, an older lady in the ward that I'm very close to, nearly died this past week. She went to sleep one night last week and woke up in the ICU. Two firefighters came in and found her hanging in her home. She has bruises all over her body and intense rope marks around her neck... Her husband, who has a history of being abusive, claims that she did it to herself. From what we've heard, she decided to go along with that so that Henry wouldn't get charged with anything. Sis Townsend herself has a history of being suicidal. It's all a very interesting and unfortunate situation, but Bro Floyd called us last week and told us her situation, and said that she called him and wanted him to bring me and my companion down to the hospital to visit her. She was worried that I was going to be transfered while she was in there and she wanted to say goodbye.
   We went to visit her, and I was able to give her a blessing. She said that I've been on her mind, and she thinks it's because she knew I wanted to be a firefighter, and she kept thinking about the 2 firefighters who saved her the other night. When we were there she told us the story, and then she looked at me and I told me she knows it's my calling to help people, just like the paramedics helped her. It was a neat experience. Sister Townsend is kind of like my mom for this area, she's always checking on me and lifting my spirits. I have a lot of respect for her... and she's been through so much, but she keeps pushing forward. She has definately strengthened my testimony in being diligent through the trials we face in this life. Her health is improving and she should be out of the hospital sometime this week. I think her and her husband are going to be seperated for a while. It's a tough situation to descirbe, because they both have such a radical history, but I think things are going to work out for the best from here on out.
   Ronnie Jackson also ended up in the hospital this week. He got really sick with pnemonia. We got to go visit him with Keisha one night. We were able to give him a blessing in the hospital, and he's diong a lot better now too. What's really cool is that Ronnie and Keisha have come a lot closer together since he's been sick. She's been taking care of him, and they are acting like they love eachother again. It makes me so happy, lol, cuz I've been trying so hard my whole mission to help those two out.
   To get to some more crazy news. Wednesday morning Elder Badger came over to our apartment before transfers to say goodbye to me, because we knew he was leaving, and figured it'd probably be over the river, so I probably won't see him much through the remainder of my mission. They went to transfers and we just finished up studies because we weren't getting transfered. Like an hour later I get flooded with texts from missionaries telling me congrats on going District Leader. That was a surprise. Elder Lester went Zone Leader and I'm the new District Leader of the Memphis 1st District. Elder Badger however, my mission dad, got released from Zone Leader, to be called as Presidents new Assistant. That was a surprise to like the whole mission. Elder Peay got released to go train, so Elder Badger took his spot. So my Trainers an AP now.
   I didn't think I'd be training and get Leadership at the same time. It's double duty. I honestly was not expecting it, but for some reason it happened. lol. My first District Meeting is tommorrow, wish me luck. and now I get to call and make sure every one is in and safe on time, and hold them accountable for the work that they do in their individual area's. Our District is actually the biggest in the mission. It's 5 companionships, which I didn't think was that big, but most Districts in this mission are 3 or 4 companionships. What's really colol is we have 3 missionaries in the District who are brand new and being trained, so they have that MTC fire. One of them is from England. He sounds like he's straight out of Harry Potter, lol, and black people in the ghetto think it's awesome.
   I am greatful for all the letters I receive. I enjoy reading them. Thank you Kylee, and Alyssa, and Sis Boyd, and everyone else who has written me recently. It's nice to hear from people. I'm sorry that I don't write back. I have given up on writing letters. Quick E-mails I can do. But I really don't have time to write letters, especially now that I'm in Leadership as well as training. There's a lot I have to worry about, and I need to set the example for the new missionaries, and just like it states in our white hand book, I'm striving to limit correspondance with others and focus on the work at hand. Many mighty miracles will be wrought in this land, and the more I focus on my mission and the less I think about home, the better I will be able to be all that the the Lord wants me to be.
   There are 2 different ways we can become. Diliberatly or accidently. We are creatures of change and we change every single day, either becoming stronger or weaker. We can decide to become, by making diliberate choices to reach our potential. Or, we can go with the flow and become whatever life makes us, never reaching our full potential. I am striving to make the choice, of choosing what I become.
   I love you. Thank you for your constant support and encouragement. It helps me keep going. Have a good week, you'll be in my prayers.
   -Elder Justin LeBaron

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


   I know, I know. I apologize. When I actually start writing you guys it takes me a while, mainly because I'm a slow typer, but also because I have a lot to say, and Idk if other missionaries just write like a little paragragh to their families or something, but they somehow manage to read all their emails, write president back and write their family in an hour. It takes me an hour just to read all my emails and write president. So Elder Kowalk and I usually get back on and write our families. Yesterday we were doing the Spanish missionaries a favor and had to take them down to the Temple to see the departing missionaries, and then go shopping and things, so it cut our email time short, and so we weren't able to get back on. It's not like it's a burden to write you guys, I love letting you all know what's going on. I was actually a little frustrated because the spanish missionaries didn't let us know they were expecting us to cut email short, but it's all good. So sorry this is a day late.
    Sounds like everythings goin' bueno. Thank you for all the Happy Birthday wishes. Holidays and Birthdays are wierd on the mission, because they don't feel real, they just feel like another day in the mission field. But, I am infact 20 years old now, where did my childhood go? I dont even know. At least I can still be a kid on the inside.
   So, This past week was horrible. Mostly because my companion and I got some wicked food poisoning. Tuesday afternoon Elder Kowalk said his tummy hurt, so we went home after district meeting so he could lay down, and then he just started rolling around and crying and said he was in the worst pain of his life and told me to take him to the hospital. So I called Sister Petersen, who had us call the mission doctor, who talked to Elder Kowalk and came to the conclusion he had food poisoning, and said the only thing to really do was to wait it out. I knew it was only a matter of time before I got sick, since we ate all the same things. At around 6 that night I started getting a stomache ache. For those of you that have had food poisoning before, you feel our pain. Freak, that was the worst. I got to sleep at around 5 a.m. Wednesday morning. So Tuesday and Wednesday we were sick and didn't get any work done, so that sucked. My stomache felt like it was trying to be on the outside of me. Elder Kowalk said it was the worst pain he ever experienced in his life, lol. It was bad. I just kinda spent the whole night laying on the couch for like 20 min lying in pain, then crawling to the bathroom to throw up or poop or do anything possible to make my stomach feel better, lay on the bathroom floor for like 20 min, then crawl back out to the couch and repeat the cycle. But no matter what, I just contuinued to feel horrible for like 24 hours straight. So we're never eating at Stevie B's Pizza ever again, and I don't recommend it.
   After that our week got a little better. We found some awesome people and had some fun. Today is officially the start of the new transfer. Can you believe I've already been training for 6 weeks now? time flies. It's ridiculous. My dear friend Elder Streeter goes home today, he's a crazy kid. It's weird to think that missionaries actually go home. When you're out here in the middle of it, it just seems like your whole life, it's weird to think it's actually gonna end one day.
   I think this will be my last transfer serving in the Memphis 1st ward. I've been here my whole mission, and it'll be 10 1/2 months after this transfer, so it's probably about time. I can't even imagine not being in this area, it's gonna be so weird. If only they let me stay 1 more transfer after this one, then I can officially serve half my mission in the Memphis 1st ward. I don't think that'll happen, but maybe I can ask Pres to let me finish out in this ward, it can be my dying wish.
   Star is doing really well this week. She really loves Elder Kowalk and I, she calls us like every day and invites us over for dinner. We try to at least stop by just about every day, because she's still a recent convert and needs a lot of support, AND there's so many people around here that we can share the gospel with. Her sisters are always over there, and her baby daddy, and this kid she has temp custody over named Jeffery. Star is such a good person. She has her struggles like everyone, but she has the sweetest heart and spirit, and a strong desire to rise above her surroundings and culture. Memphis is like a black hole. The kids here grow up in the middle of this mess of gangs and drugs and sex and violence, and it's what they learn. There's a proverb somewhere that says something to the effect of , "teach a child while they're young, and it will stay with them when they're grown". It's and endless cycle of people not knowing how to be a good parent, because their parents were never even around, because they were addicted to meth or coke, or incarsarated for gang fights, so when we teach these people the gospel it's almost like it's too much to grasp. It doesn't make sense to them because of the way they've grown up. For example, there's a recent convert in the ward, GREAT guy, I love him to death, he has such a good heart, and he has had a huge change of heart, just like all these people we bring into the gospel. He's quit drinking, he's quit having sex outside of marriage, he's retired from GD (gangster disciples) so he's no longer active in his gang, he has changed so much. He called us up the other day and asked if we wanted to go to the strip club with him. Of course I was like, what in the world man, you know that's not what God wants you to do. But to him, he didn't even recognize that wasn't okay. He figured as long as he wasn't having sex he was good. It is sooooo so hard to help these people change their lifestyles when they are living in the middle of all of this madness. I pray everyday for answers, and honestly, I just wanna take all my recent converts and put them in Utah. They need to get out of here... but idk. We are making a change. Memphis is like a diamond in the rough. There's just so much rough we gotta get rid of.
   My birthday was really awesome! I got the money from both grandparents, thank you so much! and I got my package from you guys this morning, thank you, I love food! I also got a package from Kelsey this morning, with the coolest tie I now own inside, thanks so much Kels :) Going over to JD and Mo's was sweet. It's nice to have them so close by, it's like the closest I can get to feeling like I'm home. Monique was talking to Danielle on the phone, and she put it on loud speaker, and then she asked if Steve was there, and then JD and Mo just asked Steve tons of questions right next to me... It was the weirdest thing in the world hearing Stephen. I don't know if it's against the rules to be in the room with someone talking to your brother, but when I heard his voice and my heart just like jumped. When she first called danielle I thought she was talking to my mom, and I was like "are you seriously talking to my mom right in front of me?" and she was like, no! this is my sister. It was craziness. I'm sure you guys watched the video's. It super akward, but whatevs. We had a good time. Thank you Stevey and Dany for the candy. I appreciate it a lot.
   Before all that madness, we were at Brother Floyds house, and we played an intense game of Risk with him and the spanish missionaries. It was awesome, mostly because I destroyed everyone and conquered the world. lol... I was really bad at Risk before my mission, but for some reason I'm good now. Maybe the level of competition is weak here in the ALRM if you catch my drift. haha, jk. I like the old school version though, it's whats up. there's no crazy rules and it's just nice peaceful world domination.
   The work is going really well. We have some awesome new people we're working with and this week should be a winner. We have a new family that moved into the ward. Well, not moved, they were assigned to our ward from Millington, but they are awesome. The Hydes. They were called to be ward missionaries and Brother Hyde is the new scout master, and this guy is legit. He's so pumped up about the work, and want's to re-activate all the teenage kids in the ward through scouting. I went out with him this past week to visit some of the youth and it was awesome. He pumps me up, he's got so much energy. I'm excited to be working with him.
   Everything is going super beuno. I am having a great time. I love you all. I gotta get going. Have a great week. I especially love you momma. Sorry this email is late, I know you look forward to Mondays.
Love you.
-Elder LeBaron

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Hey Family,
   I'm sorry I didn't email last week, it was Labor Day or something, so the library was closed, and yesterday was a little crazy, and we didn't end up having time to get to the library. BUT I'm emailing now, so don't worry, I'm still alive and well. That's cool that you guys joined Villa. I am a little jealous, haha, I can't wait to hit that up when I come home. That's awesome that you're gonna take a few sessions with personal trainers and what not, if you don't know what you're doing in a gym you can end up doing more harm than good to your body, so that's smart of you. lol, I've been working out with this big black guy every morning in the gym, and he always gives me tips and shows me some cool stuff I didn't know before. He's giving me one of his old lifting belts tommorow, he said he never uses it and it'll help me take the tension off my lower back when I lift, so it's pretty sweet, he's a cool dude. I try to throw some gospel principles into our conversations while we lift, and he's a really religious guy, he's just really involved in his church. He teaches a sunday school class, and he's in the choir and stuff, but at least I get to plant some seeds, he's likes mormon missionaries, so he's whats up.
   Things have been pretty good here in the Ghetto. I don't know if I had a chance to tell you, but a couple weeks ago I got to go with Stephanie Lewis to the temple and see her do baptisms for the dead! It was like the best day of my whole mission, I was sitting on the side as a witness and I was trying not to tear up. I don't know if you remember Stephanie, but Elder Badger and I taught her. She was an alcoholic when we first met her, and living with this dead beat guy that's actually in prison now (I didn't like him at all). I think I told you, but the night I baptized her was pretty memorable because she's terrified of water. I had to baptize her twice because the first time she freaked out and started like thrashing around. So you can imagine the courage she had to have to go to the temple and be baptized for 10 different people. It was so amazing to watch her, lol, you could tell she was scared out of her mind, she kept her eyes closed the entire time and had a death grip on Brother Godwins arm. Every couple baptisms he'd ask her if she was okay and she'd just nod her head. I was so freaking proud of her. Afterwards I went and gave her a hug (It doesn't say you can't hug people in the white hand book, I think that's just a myth, or maybe an un-written rule, but either way, I don't care, I love Stephanie and I'll hug her as much as I want, I think Jesus would do the same) and told her that she did awesome. She was crying... and she just looked at me and was like " Elda LaBurn, if you wasn't here I don't think I coulda done it", I wish I could describe to you guys how she talks... lol, it's so funny. I think she just drank so much in the past that she's done some damage that she can't repair, but, she's just so awesome... I love her to death, and she's been so diligent since she's been baptized. Her, and Star, and Mary, those 3, they are like the shining stars from the converts I've been able to have. Mary hasn't missed church since her baptism, and she doesn't even speak English, she's the coolest lady ever. Star is amazing. She's had some rough patches since her baptism. She's pregnant again, and she's not married, BUT she talked to the Bishop about it and is on the right track again. She's so mad about what she did now because I guess Bishop decided she can't do baptisms for the dead for another year now, and she wanted to go to the Temple sooo bad. So I'm actually way glad, she has her goal in mind and she said she's definately not breaking the law of chastity again, nothing's going to keep her from the temple. I'm so excited, because in about 6 months I'll be able to start going to the temple with some of these converts and watch them take their endownments out... Ahhh!
I can't wait. :)
   District Meetin is soon and we gotta bounce. Let me just tell you one quick story. So last night we were over at Star's, and before we left she asked me to say the prayer, there was a lot of people over there so we gathered them all together and knelt in a circle and held hands, and Star asked me to say the prayer, so I start praying, and Kanitra (Star's 13 year old daughter, we baptized) was on one side of me, and during the prayer I just feel kanitra like cuddle up next to me and put her head on my chest, and I was like what the heck, it really freaked me out, cuz as missionaries we just avoid girls like the plague. lol. my missionary instincts told me to push her down and run away, but then I realized I was still supposed to be praying still, lol. So I finished the prayer, then pushed her away. It was way akward. I think Kanitra has a crush on me, when I shook her hand as we were leaving she like grabbed my arm and started rubbing it and was like "bye Elder LeBaron! I love you" and I was like, Elder Kowalk lets get the freak out of here. lol.
   Alright, I gotta go, sorry it's short. But I love you all. Thank you so so so so much for your package mom. It was a life-savor. When I got the box from the post office I looked at Elder Kowalk and I was like, "Man, I hope this is just loaded with food", and then I opened it, and beheld, and it was food, and it was delicious to the taste and very desirable. Thanks so much! I love you, have a good week.
-Elder Justin Scott LeBaron