Monday, January 31, 2011


Dear Family,
I opened dads email and the first sentence was- MY HAIR IS SUPER DARK BROWN i'll have to send you a picture... and then I realized it was from Sarah, but I was like what the heck. Sounds like you all are doing good. Mom congrats on the jewelry thing, It sounds like you, so just keep doing your thing. It was way nice to hear from you Sarah, congrats on the play!
My week was good, weeks go by super fast, I feel like it was just yesterday I was sitting in the Library emailing last P-Day.
This past week a lot of changes happened with Memphis 1st ward, concering the ward mission leader, and how often we are allowed to baptize, and ward efforts, and such. Brother Mosley our ward mission leader was only allowing us to baptize twice a month, and he would give us those days, and that can be a struggle because some investigators can't work their schedule around that, we should be scheduling around our investigators and when it's best for them. President Drewes came to ward correlation with us this past week and we all sat down and had a chat, and a lot of changes were made. President Drewes has decided that he's going to visit our ward twice a month for the remainder of his mission though, which is 6 more months I think, so that's cool. We have a good ward, but it struggles, we don't have very many active members at all. There are maybe 5 families + the bishopbric that attend every sunday from what I can tell, and a lot of our efforts on Saturday are geared towards getting less actives to come to church the next day, along with our investigators.
On Thursday we stopped by Brother Galleway's house and as soon as he let us in he told us, "now it's okay if you guys come over and study the Bible with me, but I don't want to know anything else about this book" and he handed us his Book Of Mormon. That was a rough visit, and by the end of the visit Brother Galleway asked us not to come back, and that same day we met with a woman named Cherri and we taught her the 1st lesson, and by the end of it she was yelling at us and telling us that we were trying to brain wash her and that we needed to leave. I have no idea how it turned into what it did, but we got outta there pretty quick. What's worse is later that night we realized I left my scriptures in her house, so we had to go back and retreive them.
We're teaching these two girls, Kierra and Chasity, and they're really solid. Idk if I told you about them in my last email, but we contacted them on the street last week and taught them the first lesson, and after we finished teaching the great apostasy they were anxious, and they were like "well did anyone bring back Christ's church??" that's such a perfect reaction, but anyway, teaching them is going great. They're preparing to be baptized on the 12th of February. On Saturday we taught them the Law Of Chastity. That was interesting, and they just happened to bring 2 of their friends over to be taught, which is great, but we were teaching L.O.C to four 20 year old girls. It was the most interesting lesson i've ever taught, and it got way akward because they started asking Elder Badger and I personal questions, which we tried to politely avoid, but it ended on a spiritual note and they commited to living it, and we got two new investigators from it.
I sent my SD Card in the mail this morning, so you'll get it soon. I'm sorry I know this email is really short, I had some technical difficulties today with my library card for some reason, so I lost about an hour of email time, but I have to wrap this up. I love all of you guys, and I miss you.
It would be really awesome if you could send me my shaker cup, that I used for my protein drinks, and maybe one or two of my shirts and my BYU hoodie, and maybe some stamps, because it's way hard to find time to get these things, and I have lots of envelopes but I only have one stamp left.
Stephen thank you for writing me two letters, It was really nice to hear from you! If I had time I'd write you back, I promise I'll write you next week.
I do have to get going, I bet it'll feel like tomorow when you hear from me again. Take care,
Love, Elder LeBaron

Monday, January 24, 2011

Working Hard 01.24.11

Dear Familia,
It was so nice to read your letters mom and dad, thank you for writing me. That's cool that your making steve's old room into dad's office, that'll be more quiet, I bet dad can focus ton's more down there, and mom, thank you for sharing that experience with me, that's awesome, we're all called to share this message to the world so keep being a missionary when you have those opportunities, the Lord puts people in our path, so we need to open our mouths! and I was surprised when you said your friend didn't like the commercials. We actually just got the new pass-along card's this past week and I love em', and advertising has actually been really effective, a lot of people we contact say that they've seen our commercials and it helps us put our foot in their door. Tell steve he better start writing me, and yes he can send emails, all family members can, and my zone leader said it would be fine if some other close friends did too, so kelsey can email me too. but I don't get all the time in the world to email, so don't write me chapter books, but I love hearing from you, and the emails I got today were the perfect length.
Alright, I guess I'll start with Monday, last monday after I emailed we went to the church building in our area and played some bball. Something I don't think I told you is that we have two other sets up Elders that are so close to our area that they are assigned to the same ward as us, Memphis 1st Ward. Even though it's technically out of their area. So we actually have 8 Elders in our ward including myself, its kinda crazy, but it's nice. So all 8 of us played ball for like 4 hours last P-Day. We recently found out we're not allowed to do that any more because president is worried that it will get too competetive, which it kinda does. My trainer was upset about that, lol, but he's getting over it. So idk what we're gonna do today, board games or something. P-Day officially ends at like 6 pm so after basketball we got cleaned up and ate dinner and then went and saw some RCLA's (recent converts and less actives) and had some lessons with them and that was pretty much Monday in a nutshell. We saw Antonio and Monique, lol, they're really cool, they're less active, and I think it's just because they refuse to wake up for church. We taught them the plan of salvation in depth because they weren't familiar with it. I told Monique the world was going to be cleansed by fire and she was freaking out about that, she said she didn't want to get burned, it was silly. They have 5 little ghetto black kids, they're awesome, lol.
The week days kind of all blend together, mom asked what we do during a normal day, so I'll go through a normal day for Elder Badger and I. We always have our days planned to the brim and they look super legit, but nothing ever goes as planned. we wake up and get cleaned up and do personal and companion study, and we usually head out right at 10:00. This week unfortunately was our bike week, and it was freezing butt cold. We decided to walk everywhere this week, because biking would have made it more cold and it's just easier to contact when your walking. So Elder Peay and Elder Lester, our house buddies, would drop us off at the church every morning and we'd start walking to whereever it was we needed to go. We have tons of potential inverstiagtors and tons of actual investigators that we've already taught the first lesson, but nobody is awake or will even think about opening the door until after lunch, so usually we just try to contact from 10-12, which involves a lot of tracting. We've had some succesful experiences with tracting already, but usually no one even answers the door. When you knock on doors in Frayser, you'll hear some black woman from inside the house yell "WHO ISI" and then Elder Badger will yell "THE MISSIONARIES", then she'll yell back "WHO?" -"THE MISSIONARIES" -"WHO?" -"CHURCH PEOPLE" and then she'll come to the door and say they got their own church but they can always use the good word, so they'll schedule an appointment later in the week, then we'll come back and no one will answer. That's how tracting works here. But like I said we've been on bike week all week, so all we do is walk, all day long.
After lunch we'll walk to our appointments, and we have yet to have a return appointment follow through, except with Brother Gallaway. We'll get lucky every once in a while and someone will let us come in right away. We met a man named Brother Gallaway, he's baptist and he loves his savior. We mentioned Jesus Christ at the door approach and he waved us inside and told us to take a seat. He was wearing a shirt that says Jesus saves. He's awesome I love Brother Gallaway, we taught him the restoration, and after the lesson he told us he knew what we said was true. So I extended a baptismal commit, and he said he might, if god leads him in that direction. we've been working with him a lot, and reading B.O.M chapters with him, he just says he can't leave his church because god has called him to teach the children in his church, but he wont deny what we've told him is true. So he's progressing, and he always lets us in, he's a great guy.
We met a man named Shonni a couple days ago, he looked like a thug, and thats because he was, lol, but he was nice to us. We started talking about god, and he told us pretty much all about his life, and stories he had growing up in a gang. He said he was a kitchen Cript (sp?) I think. It was hard to hear wht he was saying for sure, but he said he was an O.G. (I think that means original gangsta) and so he had a lot of respect inside this gang and he was like one of the oldest thugs in it. He told us how he had 2 murder charges previously and how he can buy a pound of weed really cheap because he was an O.G. but he started talking about how he's trying to help his brotha's in the gang change thier ways, and he wants to use this authority to help people, idk exactly, but he had a good heart deep down. We talked to him on his porch in the snow for like 30 minutes, and he finally let us inside and we taught him the first lesson. It went awesome. I extended a baptisimal date to work towards and he said he didn't know if he could change his life enough to commit to baptism. We told him to pray about it and he said he would. Either way he was a nice guy who's been through a lot, it was cool talking with him, and he said he's gonna read the B.O.M. We'll stop by again to see him this week.
We have 8 batismal dates set right now, they're set for the 12th of February. 3 girls around there 20's named Kierra, Chasity, and Julie, seem pretty solid and they loved the first lesson, Kierra actually went to church yesterday with her little girl, who is 5 years old I think, so they sat with us, but they actually left halfway through sacrament. I dont know why, but hopefully we'll be able to get back in to her home and teach her, we had an appointment with the 3 of them last night, but they didn't let us in :( we called and stopped by twice, but no luck. We have another date with an older woman who seems like she's avoiding us, and then a family we met a few days ago that we have an appointment with later in the week, so we'll see how that goes. We're working hard, but missionary work is not easy, we need to get more people to church, but they won't wake up. We stop by all our inverstigators homes an hour before church to wake them up, but nobody wakes up, Kierra has been the only one.
One thing that's really awesome, we have been getting dinner appointments like crazy, we have had like 6 in a row and the next like 8 days are already filled up, it's awesome.
I love you, I love hearing from you so make sure and write me emails before next monday, and make sure you commit steve to writing me, telling him to just send me an email every sunday night, because I miss him a lot. You're in my prayers, pray for my investigators.
Elder LeBaron
ps. I remembered something else, can someone send me josh's letters? and brady's? I'm pretty posotive dear elder works, it just gets sent to the mission office and then to me, so see if you can do that, if it's too hard though then that okay.
pss. something interesting happened in church yesterday, we were sitting in class and sister Cherry was teaching us, and this sister next to me just starting telling everyone how she had seen demons, and they came to her when she was in the hospital, and something about yellow demon juice getting on her, and she asked if anyone else had seen demons. She was freaking out, I think she's a new convert. Either way, it was extremely strange and i'm glad none of my investigators were there.
pss. this is just something I think is funny, whenever you ask anyone what Christ did when he was on the earth they say the same thing, and im not even joking " Jesus, well you know, he woke me up this mornin! he put clothes on my back and shoes on my feet!" and then we go through Christ's earthly ministry with them. lol, but a lot of people just say the exact same things, and I wonder where they got it from.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Arrival in Little Rock (Letter arrived snail mail)

Justin wrote this the day he arrived in Little Rock AR. (01-11-11)

Dear Family,

I am writing this letter from the mission home. We just got here, President Drewes and Sister Drewes are awesome. So get this craziness, after I called you and got on the plane, I was privaliged (sp) enough to sit next to a woman with an 11 month old baby girl. I was reading my scriptures and her baby started pulling on my suit jacket, so we started talking. She was really nice! She asked me after a while why my bible was so big, and we started talking religion. She told me about how she wanted her daughter to grow up in a religious home, but that she couldn't find a religion she completely agreed with. She didn't like how Christians worshiped the symbol of the cross because she knows her Christ is alive (obviously our plane seats were not a coincidence) I mean how perfect is this situation, she is one of the elect) and she believed there were unanswered questions in the bible, and that religious leaders should not be paid, and she just told me so many things, and so many questions that she was so passionate about. Things that our church had the answers for (of course, because it's true) But she was anxiously looking for these answers. Needless to say she's going to look at I gave her a pass along card, and she told me she was going to read the Book of Mormon! She sounded so excited. Like this is what she's been looking for. Too bad she lives in Mexico and not Little Rock. But she was so awesome. Best plane ride of my life.

I'm here safe. I love you!

Elder LeBaron

Monday, January 17, 2011

Frayser (1st area)

Hello Family,
Alright... What you're probably wondering is where I am, so... I'm serving in a little place called Frayser, it's right outside of Memphis. Idk if you've received the letter I wrote from the mission home yet, President Drewes took a picture with us and sent out those letters out I think. but yea, my new home is in Frayser, I live in the Frayser house with my companion, Elder Badger, who is also my District Leader. He's super legit, he's putting me to work. The other Frayser elders live with us too, Elder Peay and Elder Lester. Elder Peay is my Zone Leader, so it's legit, I live with my DL and my ZL and they're awesome elders, and they help me out.
You should see this house we're living in, lol, or I guess you should just see Frayser. I can describe my area perfectly in one word... Ghetto. We are livin in the Ghetto. I think I've seen 5 white people in the past 5 days, and 3 of those were elders. There are no white people here. Everyone speaks Ghetto, looks Ghetto... I've never been in a place like this before, and the Missionaries stick out like a sore thumb.
The first night we stayed in the mission home, we met the AP's and the President and Sister Drewes. We got up the next morning, went to transfer meeting, I met Elder Badger, and then we just got to work.
I can't understand most of the people around here, because they talk Ghetto, and I promise that's a language. It's mostly just mumbling and slurring words together, lol, but honestly it's so hard to understand most of the people. It's funny how they say my companions name though, there always like- "ay! Eda Badga! ow you do'n duday" translation - hey! Elder Badger, how you doin' today. I wish you could hear some of these people, this little kid in our ward named Blue (idk his real name, his street name is blue, btw everyone has a street name around here) he talk's so ghetto though, haha, Elder Badger always has to translate for me. but he's really cool.
Honestly, Frayser is a sad place. There's a lot of crime, and a lot of homeless people, most families don't have cars, some people live out of there cars, the houses are tiny and falling apart, drugs is a huge problem, chastity is a bigger problem, there are two or three girls in our ward that have had 1 or 2 babies before they were even 16. There are no boyfriends and girlfriends in Frayser, I have yet to hear that term, everyone has either a baby-momma or a baby-daddy. Most people never graduated high school, a lot of the people we teach can't read. (that makes missionary work so hard, how can they gain a testimony without reading the Book Of Mormon, so we have to read to a lot of investigators and break everything down ) Teaching people in this area is literally like teaching childen, we have to teach so so simply, and it's difficult to get people to understand our message.
The good thing about Frayser is how humble everyone here is... you can walk down the street contacting and literally everyone will listen, if you mention Jesus Christ you have their full attention, these people are so religous and love God, but most people don't understand our message, they think that God is good and church is good, but that every church teaches correct principles, and that if you love God you're saved. It is so crazy how many different churches are here, there's about 25 churches in just our little area, most of them are baptist, and most people just go to the church that's across the street from their apartment or house or wherever they're living at the time. It's difficult to help people understand the restoration and things, but just in these past few days i'm learning so much and how to teach everything more simply. On the way to transfer meeting I heard a lot of Elders say that when you teach in the Ghetto you learn more quickly than pretty much any other area, because you learn how to really apply your lesson the the needs of the inverstigator and to teach more simply. So i'm happy to be where I am and know that this is where my Heavenly Father needs me.
My Trainer told me on the first day that apparently I came pre-trained, and that I'm gonna be an AP, lol, and looking at the APs I met in the mision home, I strongly disagreed with him. maybe in 20 months. but he says I'm a better teacher than a lot of the Elders that have been out here 6 months, and I told him that that's because I worked hard in the MTC. but honestly, I do feel like I've been able to hit the ground running. We're not just out here to go through the motions, we're out here to bring others unto Christ, we need to be looking at the eternal prospective, this is their salvation at stake, and when we show them we love them and that we're all sons and daughters of our father in heaven, they'll listen. I've seen amazing things happen with people in these last 5 days. It's so crazy.
Church was interesting, and actually, about 30% of the congregation was white, so I have seen some white people, but only at church. lol, there's this man in our ward, everyone calls him "amen charles" because throughout church he's sitting in the crowd yelling "Amen!" every 20 seconds or so... so, It's different, he's really nice, and it's honestly really funny. lol.
We were gonna have 2 baptisms last saturday, we were teaching these two girls, Jessica and Chasity, they were solid investigators and the date was set, and they were so ready, but the night before their dad called us and said to never come back, and that they were going to be baptized into his church by his minister... it was rough, and I had only met them twice, but I guess their Dad hated the missionaries coming over, and now there's nothing we can do.
So yea, my P-day is on Monday. If you want to send me mail send it to the mission office and they'll send it to me. I think the address is 905 Kierre Dr 72116-3709 North Little Rock Dr. I got your package with my bedding, so thank you! and thanks for the jerky and sour patch.
People make some good food out here in the Ghetto though, and we have dinner appointments for like the next ten days, yeaaa booyy. I'm getting tired of ramen and peanut butter and honey sandwiches, so dad, you should send me some easy recipes that are simple and easy to make, because I sure do miss you feeding me.
This week has been hard, and good, and fun, and more than anything interesting. Tonight one of the APs is going to go to some of the appointments Elder Badger and I have, so I'm excited for that, Elder Badger said I'll learn a lot from him. But don't worry about me, things are great, and I'm safe, and people don't mess with us because they know we're men of God. I'll think about sending you some pictures soon, because I want you to see some pictures of Frayser and how ghetto this place really is.
I love you, and I miss you, write me some letters and let me know how things are going back at home! and I'll try to write some letters when I get time. We definately are very busy though, and that's a good thing. I pray for you everyday.
Love, Elder Justin LeBaron
p.s. I remembered something I wanted to tell you, so one of the white guys in our ward , Brother Presley,is a professional Elvis Presley impersenator... It is extremely strange, but I'll have to get a picture with him and send it home, He is the wierdest man I've ever met, and dresses like Elvis, always. even at church, which I frown upon, but our ward is interesting, and he's a new convert, I'm glad he's going to church.... I'm in a strange place.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

MTC Week 3

Dear Family,
First things first, We got our flight info this week, We're officially saying goodbye to the MTC on January 11th. Our flight leaves at like 6:00 a.m. and so we have to be at the travel desk by like 3:00 a.m, so thats exciting. I know, that is longer than 3 weeks, I forgot to tell you that we're one of the districts that gets to be in the MTC for 4 weeks. It has something to do with the holiday season and traveling and such. but i'm definately okay with having another week to prepare, but I am for sure excited to get to Arkansas!
I miss everyone back home, I miss listening to Jack Johnson, and I miss red bull. haha, but I'm doing great. I dont know if I remembered to thank everyone for all the packages I've received. so Thank You! I love all my Christmas presents, I can't use the mp3 player until i'm out in the field, but i'm excited to try it out once I get to Arkansas.
Everything has been going really good, I would have to say Sunday was one of the best days I've had here in the MTC thus far. We had an amazing fireside, and then we got to watch some of the District 2, which is awesome, it's like live video recordings of missionaries teaching investigators, and the progression towards their conversion, and it's really awesome to watch, I love the District. and it really gets you pumped to go out into the field. That night all the Elders in my room and I had a really great conversation about why we're all out here, and what we wanna get out of this, and what we're excited for, it was a very spiritually powerful night. I'm having a great time.
So mom, about your question, the 11th is on Tuesday, so I'll actually be calling sometime tuesday morning, not Monday, and it'll probably be around 5 or 10. those are my guesses, lol, I'm not sure how this whole thing goes, so just expect a call sometime in the morning, I'll be excited to talk to you.
Sarah! I dont know if you've received my letter yet, because you said you haven't in the last dear elder I got from you, but I promise I mailed you one! and that was last wednesday, so I hope you have. I love your letters and miss you so much! keep writing me and I promise i'll keep writing you okay!
I'm leaarning to love my companion more and more everyday, like i said he's a lot like ben, but he's really pesemistic sometimes, haha, but he's quickly becomming my best friend, probably because I have to be with him 24 hours a day. I think one of his favorite things to say is "people are retarded" lol, bbuutt I found out he loves the song "give said the little stream" like from primary, lol. soo I sing it all the time and it makes him happy, haha. he calls it the little river song.
I'm really starting to love everyone here, its gonna be hard to say goodbye to my district, and a lot of the elders that aren't in my district too... these guys are all great. So I ordered this Arkansas shirt in the Book Store, it just came in today, so now I can rep my mish call. Their state motto is : the people rule. I thought that was funny.
I've started to feel like i've been getting kinda fat, so I started working out again, they give you these exersise bands, they're like giant rubber bands to work out with, lol, and I just get like 4 of them because nobody really uses their's and I found some good ways to do curls and chest press and chest fly and back and some other stuff, so it's nice, I miss the gymm but this works for now. Its a good way to release stress.
I taught a lesson in the District Meeting on sunday and it went really well, it was on Praying with Faith, and the blessings you'll get from making yoouu''rree prayers more sincere. If you have a preach my gospel you should looookk at Ch 4, its on recognizing the spirit, we dont look at it much in class but i study it in personal time and it's way awesome. I suggest reading threw the ssection titled "Pray with Faith" it just opened mmy eyes to a lot of things, and its way awesome.
Alright, well I got to go finishh uupp laundry, I love all of you! Keep sending letters, I love hearing from everyone, a lot of elders say letters here mean everything, aanndd tthey definately do help so much.
Next time you hear from me i'll be in Arkansas!
Elder LeBaron