What it do? How are things back in Colorado? Sounds like everything is bueno. Sounds like Sarah had an AWESOME time at camp, and it sounds like mom beasted those rapids, WAY TO BE momma. No fear, that's what I'm talkin about. Sounds like you both are doin awesome with your dieting and workin out as well, Idk who you are any more, you're gonna be so fit I won't recognize ya, keep up the good work! You only got a year and a half left to get ready to impress me when I walk off the plane. Thanks for all your love, support, prayers, and everything else. Oh, and yes mother dearest, i would like you to send me that big thing of vitamins you found in my room, it's called Animal Pak, it's for body buildin, I asked you guys to send me it like my 2nd transfer, but you ended up sending me my creatine instead, but yea send me those vitamins sometime if you could.
So, things here in good ole Tennessee are going good. It's hotter than ever if you were wondering. My face is probably gonna melt off soon. Elder Jonsie and I used up all our miles for the month already with the craziness that is the Memphis 1st ward, so we've been doing a lot of biking this week. Until Friday, when we biked probably a good 10 miles up into the Triangle area, which is right above Raleigh (We're actualy responsible for like 3 areas, Raleigh, the Triangle, and then part of Millington) but we were biking in the triangle, and we rode off a little baby curb and my back tire went like instantly flat. It was dumb. So we then walked with our bikes for a few hours and saw a refferal and a bunch of less-actives and in-actives that were in the area, I have a ward list and geo codes, and so we're just going through everyone in our areas, and meeting all the in-active people, which is probably over 70% of the ward. There are at least 120 people to see just in our area, and that's not covering Frayser and Midtown. So we have 2 other companionships in the mission assigned to the Memphis 1st ward specifically just for home teaching, and then the 4 companionships who actually work there and do as much as they can as well, but our main focus really has to be recent converts and baptisms.
Anyway... So I popped my tire, so we walked that past 2 days in the hot hot sun, and you seriously feel like you're in a sweat shower or something, you just get soaking wet with sweat, it's disgusting, but awesome, because I know we're blessed for it. You feel great shaking hands with people who are sweaty too, everyone outside is sweaty, and your hands just kinda slip off eachother from all the sweat. and you have to have a pass-a-long protector, to keep them from getting soaking wet from your pocket sweat. We just clear-tape everything, like our planners and PMG's and then you either keep your pass-a-long cards in your white hand book, or you clear tape one, and out all the other ones in front of that one, so that one will gaurd the others from your sweat. Lots of sweat.
We had a successful week though, we set 4 more dates, some of our other dates aren't looking too good, but we stive to just keep finding, that way we'll keep our teaching pool up and people will be constantly progressing towards baptism, like an esalator effect, vs having a few that get baptized and then starting again from the bottom, like an elevator. We want the work to be constantly moving forward.
Elder Badger and I, and all the other missionaries in the ward, have been talking about starting a FHE thing for the Recent Converts in the ward. We recently talked to the Bishop and got permission to have it Thursday nights at the church. It seems that the people we've recently baptized are kinda seperated from the other members in the ward. I guess it somewhat makes sense, we've baptized so many people in such a short amount of time that older members hardly have any time to meet the new members, we have a baptism every two weeks, so the ward is growing like wild fire. So we were brainstorming on ways to get the new members and the older members to fellowship more, and we've decided on having a Family Home Evening at the church on Thursday nights. With the people and the lifestyles of the area's we're working in, there's just not a lot of value in family, people don't view family time as something that's importanat. So FHE is like a foreign concept to them. They can't begin to understand it, or understand how it should go, or be organized. So this way we'll be able to teach people HOW to have FHE, we'll invite older members to fellowship, and it should help out with retention, and helping the recent converts bond and feel like they're in a place they belong. I'm excited. Us 8 missionaries are teaching it, and we're gonna have activities and refreshments, we planned it all this morning for a big combined comp study, it's gonna be sweet.
Mary and Martha are the coolest. They're the Sudan family we're teaching. They are progressing perfectly, and we set a baptismal date with the both of them for the 9th! and it's just a way solid date. They love the church, and they love learning, and they are just so so ready to change. I have high hopes for them, they'd be such a big help to the ward, Martha would make such a strong member.
Everythings goin way bueno though, No complaints, nothing I can't handle with the help of the big guy upstairs (God)
Oh, and Grampa, thanks a ton for the package! I appreciate it more than you know! That was super quick, I just barely asked for the Prophet of the Restoration, and now I have it! Thank you so much, that will be so helpful. and thanks for the granola bars, food is always awesome. I love ya'll. Keep it fresh, as these hoodlums would say. Love ya Love ya Love ya.
Oh, and thanks for sending me the link to Benny-J's emails everyweek. He sounds like he's doing awesome! It reminds me of when I was at the MTC, haha. I loved that place. well, gotta bounce, adios!
Elder Justin LeBaron
Oh, and that girl Erica that me and Elda Badge Attack were teaching, she got baptized Saturday :) Elder Badger did the honors, it was awesome.
What up. So, this past week was way good. I think it's the best week numbers-wise that i've ever had, but of course numbers don't really mean squat, it's the people behind em that are important, but my companion and I had 10 new investigators this week. I know right? Holy freaken cow. We were very blessed this past week.
Let's see.... well, Elder Jones types like he wants to destroy the keyboard next to me, and you know I have a hard time focusing with noise, but i'll do my best to write a good letter.
Tuesday, we had D-meetin, ate some Taco Bell like always, we had a bombin' lesson with Rachel that night, but unfortunatley after that she went M.I.A for the rest of the week. We haven't seen her since. She was suppossed to be baptized Saturday, but she wont answer her phone calls or her door... It's rough. Hopefully she'll come around. Baptism seems to scare her, and it's frustrating because I feel like she's so ready, her heart is in the right place, and she's been learning this stuff for over a year now, I know she has a testimony... Elder Kelly seems to be the only Elder who can set a baptismal date with her, but he's an AP, so he'll come in the area for a couple days, and go see her and commit her to baptism, then he'll leave, and she'll back out at the last minute. That seems to be the cycle. I think we're gonna put her on the back burner for a little while and focus on a few of our other investigators, President Drewes always told us that we need to focus on the "YES sayers" those people who are making commitments and following through with their commitments. We need people who are ready to change. I know Rachel will be baptized one day, hopefully I'll be there to see that day, but I think Elder Jones and I need to focus on the people who are ready now, and are willing to make sacrifices for what they believe in.
Wednesday was bueno. We took my man Ronnie Jackson out teaching with us. Almost all of our appointments fell through, which is very common. We ended up meeting with a less-active lady and we had a really cool lesson with her and her grandchildren. Then we took Ronnie back to his apartment, and decided to have FHE with the Jacksons, I feel like they just need some family bonding time, so we got them all together and taught them how to play some "BS". That was awesome, lol. Keisha got way into it, and so did the rest of them. If i've learned anything in Memphis, it's don't upset a big black woman... and that apartment was filled with em, and we played a heated game of cards. It was intense, lol. There was a lot of yelling and hollerin', but it only made it that much more fun haha. I love them, they're awesome. I think Michelle (Keisha's mom) really enjoyed it too. That evening I decided we should just go contacting and try to increase our teaching pool. So we were walking down the street and up ahead I see this house with like 10 teenage black girls all just chillin' on the porch, and I had just got done talking about how we need to open our mouth to everyone we see, even if it's uncomfortable... lol. and I wasn't about to be a hypocrite... So when we got up there, I took a deep breath, and went and stood in the middle of 10 black girls and asked if we could share a message. Right after I asked there was the most akward silence of my entire life... lol. One of them started talking to me though, and then all of them started to warm up to us, and we were able to share the restoration with 7 of them right there on the porch, it was awesome. We committed the 7 to baptism, and they all want to get baptized on the 9th of July. They weren't able to make it to church Sunday though... we have an appointment with them tommorrow, hopefully it goes well. That was 7 of our new investigators for the week. So that was pretty sweet.
The rest of the days all kinda blend together, but my favorite part of the week was teaching this Lady named Mary. She's super legit. She doesn't speak English, she only speaks "Nuer", her and her daughter Martha are from Sudan, and they came to America like 16 years ago. Martha speaks English way good, so she's our translator, and when Martha first came over to translate for us she said that she wasn't too interested herself, because she's catholic, but she was fine with translating for us. Well we shared The Restoration with them, and Martha and Mary both loved it, and they both came to church with us yesterday! They are so awesome, and Mary wore the coolest dress to church, I guess it was the type of clothes they wear in Sudan, it was legit. She's the nicest lady, and even though she doesn't speak English she says hi to everyone and gives everyone hugs, lol. She's so cool, and it's really fun teaching her, we use a lot of pointing and hand gestures and stuff. She's my favorite investigator, hopefully we're gonna set a date for her to be baptized soon, I'm planning on setting the date this week. I really wish that we had a Nuer Book Of Mormon though. I called the office and Sister Hogan said she looked it up and that they don't make Book Of Mormons in Nuer... But Mary said she's about to take an English class so she's excited because she wants to be able to read the Book Of Mormon on her own. She's awesome.
Then we found this other guy Joseph, and he's way cool, he's been through a lot. He's been shot a couple times, and he lost his leg a few years ago, and he's only like 23. He is an awesome guy though, and he took the 1st lesson pretty well, hopefully we'll be able to meet with him again this week.
Oh, something else cool that happened; Elder Badger called me the other night and told me that Erica (an investigator Elder Badger and I found in Frayser) called him up the other day and told him she was ready to be baptized and that she had gotten her answer. It's so awesome! Almost everyone Elder Badger and I found those 2 transfers has either gotten baptized already or is planning on being baptized within the month. We have had 7 baptisms together, and Erica and her 2 kids will make it 10. I had 4 more with Elder Hardy, and 1 with Elder Jones so far, and we have 9 dates set currently. So much work is getting done, and there's so much work to do! I love it.
Transfer calls happened this morning, and..... I'm staying another one with Elder Jones in Raleigh. This transfer will be 7 weeks long. So I'm gonna be with Elder Jones all the way up until sometime in August. I'm excited though, we have a lot to work with here and a lot of new ideas to help the ward out, there's just so much to do, I'm excited for the next 7 weeks! and I have this opportunity to learn to have more patience with Elder Jones.
Yesterday in church, Sister Cherry was teaching the new member class, and we were talking about gifts of the spirit, any way she asked someone to read a scripture, and I guess she got the reference wrong, I think she said Moroni 9: 8 and 9, I'm pretty sure that was it, and any way, Moroni 9:8 is possibly the most grusome scripture in the Book Of Mormon, it talks about canabolism, and Elder Lester started reading it, and I look around and all the recent converts looked super disturbed, and she stops him halfway through and she was like "shut your Book Of Mormons! I don't think that was the right scripture" it was super funny. I'm glad Mary couldn't understand what was being read, lol.
That's pretty much everything that been going on here, nothing too crazy. You know what I found out? You can't walk around bear foot in Tennessee, or else you'll get eaten alive by chiggers... its the worst, lol. I was grillin in the back yard at the Frayser house, so obviously I was bear foot, and now it looks like my feet have some nasty disease. Now I have to wear shoes when I grill... lesson learned.
We get a new mission President Wednesday, that's gonna be wierd and exciting, and Elder Fry, my buddy, got a call this morning and he's getting transfered out of Frayser, so he's leaving the ward :( I'm gonna miss that guy, he's awesome. I bet I'll see him around in the next year and a half though.
Well family, I love ya, keep it real, I hope you enjoyed the pictures, Thanx for everything, have an awesome week!
Dear Family, Friends, and anyone else who might take the time to read this,
In the words of Big Mike, Wut da budniss is? How ya'll doin? cause I'm doing pretty good. I have to mention that I'm in the library right now and there's a man next to me, and I think that this is his very first time using a computer. He asked me how to get onto craigslist, so I grabbed his mouse and got onto internet explorer, and he was like, "woah woah woah, what did you do right there, how'd you do that?" and I was like, bro I just double clicked on the internet icon. It blew his mind. lol. and he just asked me where the e was on the keyboard. People in Memphis. They're a little nuts.
I guess everyone has been watching the video Monique posted Sunday night. It was way wierd to be in the room with someone else that was actually texting family and friends from home. JD and Mo are super cool though. Yes, I know Elder Badger is a tad bit rude, he wants me to be single when I get home so we can party it up together as bachelors and go get some women together. lol. I don't know why he even cares because he's gonna be married by the time I get home anyway, He's 9 months ahead of me. But like I said in the video, Kelsey already knows how I feel. Elder Badger will grow up one day, lol. He seriously is probably the best and closest friend that i've made here on my mission, I love the guy to death. Elder Fry is up there too, cause we're going to the fire academy together after the mish. I think he was on the video too, he's a stud. But I'm happy you all enjoyed seeing me on Facebook.
Dad, your garden looks awesome. Mom, I think that trip with all those girls will be good for you haha, you'll have the time of your life, come what may and LOVE IT! Sounds like everything is great back home. Parents, I've spent a lot of money this month. The suckish thing is, there was a crazy wind storm and the power went out because these powerlines fell over, and all my food in the fridge and freezer went bad... So, I'm way sorry, but I took money out of saving so I could eat. Just wanted you to know. Also, I sent my SD card home, you should have it or be getting it way soon, so you don't have to dis-own me mother.
I want to ask another favor of you dear family. I don't know if ya'll have seen it but there's this movie called "Prophet of the Restoration", It's about Joseph Smith, obviously, and it's awesome. It would be more than helpful if you could send a DvD copy of it to me. I honestly think every missionary should have one. It's more than perfect for people investigating the church and it's so spiritually powerful. You should watch it too, for family night or something, it's awesome. No rush of course, whenever you guys get around to it, but I really wanna watch it with some investigators.
Alright, so this past week was really good! Idk if you remember Star-neesha ( I baptized her a little while back), well her daughter Kanitra got baptized on Saturday! It's crazy. That's the 7th baptism that has come from the work me and Elder Badger started in Frayser my first 2 transfers. I got to confirm her on Sunday, and then I actually got to confirm Shemeika right after, because somehow she's been busy or sick every Sunday since she got baptized like a month ago. She finally made it though, so I got to do 2 confirmations in sacrament meeting, one right after the other. It was really cool, haha. So church was bomb.
I think I've told you about Rachel, well we saw her twice this week, and she's getting ready to be baptized this upcomming Saturday. I'm so excited for her. She's been investigating the church for over a year, but things are finally starting to progress. We met with her last night and we had such a spiritual discussion with her. She has a lot of questions about Jospeh Smith, and the early days of the church, and she even asked about polygmy, she had a lot of doubts about the church... but as we kept talking she started to change her perspective and we were able to answer her questions. She said a couple nights ago she was really nervous and wanted to call her baptism off, but as of last night she seems really excited and confident in her decision. I've been praying and praying that this baptism will go through. Please keep Rachel in your prayers, I want her to be baptized so bad. She's so ready... Satan is just filling her with doubt. I have faith that this will happen though.
I'm trying to think of what else has been going on, we had a lot of days where we just walked and walked and seemed to have no luck, but I know we'll have more success soon. It always comes after the trial of your faith.
This has honestly been the hardest, and most stressful transfer of my mission. Elder Jones is a great guy, but I have been struggling serving with him. I need to focus on the good, and have more charity for him. I'm striving!
Lol, the crazy thing is that I miss Elder Hardy, and I never thought it'd be like that at the start of my last transfer. Haha, I talked to him on the phone the other day, and he said he's waiting for his letter from Kailey.
I'm pretty much out of time, we have to get to work. I love you familia, I miss you so much. Talk to you next week.
Not too much craziness has happened. Mission good. I read Benjamin's first letter, sounds like he's doing awesome in the good ole' MTC. I'm so excited for that guy, I can't wait to hear about his cool experiences. I don't have lot's of time today, and yes Mother, I'm sorry, I pinky promise to send you an SD card this week. lol. Sorry, time just flies, and I still haven't gotten to it, I can't believe another week has passed, andddd just 9 more days till Elder LeBaron hits the big 1/4 mark on his mission! what the freak happened, my first 6 months are almost behind me. This is madness. So I get to have a ceremonial tie burning soon, it'll be sweet, don't worry I'll record it for you.
Let's talk about this past week. Alright, so last Monday. Actually before I get into that, I should give you some background info. Elder Fry, one of the coolest missionaries I've served around, can do standing backflips, it's legit. Elder Badger decided he wanted to learn one P Day, and then we all started joining in. Elder Fry spots people. So you jump up and start your flip, and he'll stand next to you and flip your legs around for you. It's crazy. Then we started doing it off of trees because it's easier and it's cool. (We may be spiritually maturing out here, but we're still 19 year old kids) Anyway, last Monday Elder Jones, my freakishly tall greenie, decided he wanted to just go for it and do it off a tree, and so he did. He did it about 3 times successfully with me flipping his legs around for him, and then the 4th and last attempt he totally ate it and landed on his face. (Don't worry Mom, I'm always safe when I do it) So he looked like he got jumped or had a fist fight with someone all week. It was a good conversation starter. haha, I think he's done with backflips. His face is healing up nicely though.
The rest of the week honestly feels like a blurr to me. It was sooo hot though. It got up to 107, plus some nasty humidity. We carry around hankercheifs to wipe the sweat off of our faces when we contact people.
Oh, it was Keisha's B-Day on Friday, so I made her a cake. You'll see it when I send the pictures home, haha, it's a pretty nice cake if I do say so myself. We took Ronnie and helped him get a present for Keisha, I payed for it, but it felt good to help him out. We just printed out a big picture of Ronnie and Keisha together, that we took on Elder Jones' camera the night before, and then bought a frame for it, and put it in there. I thought it was a good gift, they didn't have any pictures of the 2 of them in the house. Then we made her that sweet cake. I think she really enjoyed her birthday, it turned out well.
We're teaching this investigator, her name is Rachel, and she is way awesome. She has 3 little kids, Aquantez, Kobe, and LuLu. She's been investigating the church for about a year now. We were able to set a baptismal date with her this past week for the 18th of this month. She has a testimony, I know she does, but she always talks about how she's scared to get baptized because she doesn't feel good enough, and she doesn't feel like she's 100% ready. We've talked to her about how you don't have to be perfect to be baptized, and baptism is just the begining. A lot of people have that same feeling, where they're unsure they're ready, but it's really bothering her. I want her to get baptized so bad. She's passed all the interview questions, and I KNOW that she is ready, we've had such spiritual lessons with her, and her heart is in the right place. I'm worried she's gonna get too nervous and back out. Please keep Rachel in you're prayers, and pray she'll have the strength and courage to be baptized.
My companion still has trouble waking up, but I started using a squirt gun. It works like a charm. All blessings are predicated from obedience, so I'm just looking out for him. The work is progressing and things are really good here in Raleigh. I know this is way short and I apologize, I spent a good chunk of my time emailin stevey today, it was important. but I love all of you. Have a great week!
and thank you Alyssa, and Bethany and Jared and your kids for the letters, It was so nice to hear from you, letters are the best. Give me some time and I'll write you back.