Monday, August 29, 2011


Hey family. Sounds like things are going well on the home front. I miss you immensly, I think today is the day Elder Bearnson comes home. Tell him I say hello when you see him.
This week has been good. The best part by far was Zone Conference.... President Petersen is such an amazing man, and he is calling this mission to repentance. He compared the mission to pearl harbor, he said satan has made an attack on us, he's caught us "flat-footed", and just like that old japanese commander dude says in the movie "I think we've awakened a sleeping giant" he said he wants us to awaken the sleeping giant of the ALRM (arkansas little rock mission!) I said it in my own words, but when he said it it was really inspiring, lol. It was an awesome zone conference. Except for the fact that the AP's are initiating something called an "autofast", so, however many cars in your zone go over on miles that month, every companionship in the zone has to park their car that many days. The dumb thing is, they told us this close to the end of the month, and we had like 5 mission meeting outside of areas this month, so pretty much everyone is over on miles. So I think the whole zone is gonna be biking 13 days straight for September.... yay.
Things have been bueno though. Elder Kowalk is still new, so he has all these crazy ambitions, which are awesome, I like a challenge. So we set some crazy weekly goals. As a mission, we're supposed to be obtaining 4-4-2-2-1 every week (4 member presents lessons, 4 new investigators, 2 to chuch, 2 with a baptismal date = 1 baptism a month) Elder Kowalk decided we should be awesome and double that. lol. So we're going for 8-8-4-4-2 starting next week. Dream Big! right? We are even gonna cut our P-day short so we can go tracting. I'm okay with it though, this is supposed to be a 2 year sacrifice, so we're gonna sacrifice.
Elder Kowalk is such an interesting guy, lol. If I didn't know better I'd say he's gay. He just has some interesting qaulities, like he loves cooking and cleaning, and he talks really feminine, and just the way he carries himself and giggles like a little girl. lol. but he's a good guy, he cracks me up, and he likes girls, so that's good.
We haven't had much luck with the work this week, it's been rough. Please pray that we'll be able to find those who are prepared, because finding has been tough as of late.
Martha is doing good, she's still fighting baptism, and I think it's because she wants her baby daddy to join the church with her, but we have an appointment with him this week, so I'm excited for that.
Joe and Alexandria re-committed to getting married ASAP. we had a really powerful lesson with them. They talked to the bishop Sunday about marriage counseling, so things are looking good there.
It's almost September! My life as a teen-ager is coming to a close. How crazy is that. I wanna like throw a party and do all sorts of immature things before I become an old 20 year old and have to be mature. but I'll probably just do normal missionary things. Maybe go out to eat somewhere nice, like Taco Bell. It'll be sweet. Sarah, live it up and do lots of immature things for me while you still can. lol. I'm jk. but for real.
I wish you guys could just visit the Memphis 1st ward one sunday and see what it's like. They say the church is the same all over the world, but I think that excludes Memphis. Our fast and testimony meetings are by far the best, you usually hear a lot of ghetto people share a list of past transgressions, OR there's some baptist converts that get up there and start preaching to you and smackin the pulpit, and then of course there's a lot of people in the congregation hollerin' "AMEN" through-out. It really feels like home now though, lol, I've been in the same ward my whole mission. I've been wondering what it'd be like to go to a different area, maybe that'll happen after I train. but I have 2 more months here gauranteed. I love Memphis though. These people are family to me, I wish there were more black people in Colorado. lol. Maybe we can visit Memphis as a family after my mission, you guys need to see this ward at least once in your lifetime, and I know for a fact I'll be comming back to visit, at least once or twice. And there are a few cool things in memphis, like Graceland (Elvis' house) you can go on a tour through it and everything, I hear the Memphis zoo is awesome, The Mississippi River is incredible, and we could eat some way good memphis style BB-Q, Beale Street is cool and we can order a hamburger that can feed 8 people, and then we could visit the Memphis Temple too. It'd be a good family trip, so just keep that in mind :)
Well, I need to write President an email. I love you all, you're always in my prayers. Thank you for your support. Until next week
-Elder LeBaron

Monday, August 22, 2011


Hey family,
I really enjoyed your letters, so much. They really lifted my spirits from a really tough week. Thank you so much for sharing some stories and letting me know whats going on with the family, and thank you so much Danielle and Sarah, I really liked your letters, it was so nice to hear from everybody! It really made my day.
Sarah, you made me laugh with those stories. I really miss you guys. I was laughing pretty hard just reading about the fence story, and thanks for sharing about your "buckets" haha :) Your funny.
This week was good. It went by. Some weeks you kinda have to just endure, and pray that God will give you the strength to keep pressing forward. It seems to work the same way with all the trials we receive, they get harder and harder until it seems almost unbearable, and you want to give up. When it gets to that point, if you endure just a little longer, a little past what you think is possible, God will lift that burden off your back, and pour out blessings for your diligence. The light always comes at the end of the tunnel. A witness comes after the trial of your faith. You just have to show that your faith is strong enough.
We have a baptism coming up soon. Her name is Niecy, she's Star-Neesha's sister. Idk if you remember Star, but she's one of my favorite recent converts, because she has such a strong testimony and she wants to spread the gospel to her whole family. Star's mom Catherine got baptized and Star's daughter Kanitra got baptized. Now we're working with her sisters. Niecy is awesome though. She's a 22 year old single mom, she's living with her mom right now and doesn't have a job, she has a 3 year old son, Mike (that kids crazy), and she just hit a point in her life where she feels like she needs to start making more time for spiritual things, and she's really interested in our message. She's golden, and she's really excited for baptism. She's getting baptized on Sept 10th! That'll be sweet :) We also have 2 other investigators preparing for baptism on that same day, Shatoria, and Amos. I hope they all go down, but Niecy is definately looking the most solid at this point.
Elder Christoffersen came to our mission on... Tuesday, I think. He flew in and spoke to us, the Arkansas half of the mission got to see him, but the Memphis half just watched him from broadcast. It's too bad I didn't get to physically meet him, but he did come to the mission and speak to us, it was pretty sweet.
Then Elder Gonzalez (sp?) who is from what I understand in the presidency that presides over all the qourums of the seventy, not sure though, he's somewhere up there, but we did get to meet him and shake his hand, he came to the mission Friday. That was cool too. He had the coolest accent ever, and he's the epitome of a member missionary. Missionary work is just built into his character, he's a stud, and relates everything back to the Book Of Mormon so perfectly. I wish I could take him tracting with me and see his door approach, that'd be sick.
Elder Kowalk's adjusting to the mission nicely, and he has drive, which I love. It's so nice looking over when the alarms going off at 6:30 and seeing that he's getting out of bed too, so we can start the day off with a prayer and build on a ladder of success. He's great, and he puts up with me, so I respect him. He's really into cooking and cleaning, it's like I have a maid living with me, it's pretty cool, and when he makes breakfast he makes it for both of us, and he loves making banana pancakes, so we eat a lot of those, it's sweet.
We've been going through the lessons together and really drilling on become better teachers. I'm excited because he's looking for ways to improve. Which is obviously essential as a new missionary, but not every missionary you serve with has your same view on teaching, and a lot of missionaries get complacent with thier teaching abilities, but for me, I'm never going to be at a point on my mission where I can just say " Alright i'm done learning and improving, I just wanna stay where I'm at." You're always moving, and I you're not moving forward, you're moving backward. I wanna make sure I'm moving forward! I'm excited, because Elder Kowalk feels the same way, and we're evaluating the lessons and trying to pin point areas we can improve.
The mission sure wears you out though. Everyday I wake up feeling like I haven't slept in days and I can't believe I can find the energy to make it another day, but everyday my body and mind keeps working, and when we go in a lesson and start teaching, suddenly I have all this energy, then we leave and I remember how tired my body is, but I aways have enough to keep going. When there's a will, there's a way, and when there isn't a way, God will provide a way.
I don't have any great stories for you this week. Oh, except one interesting thing did happen. I got out of the shower one morning (which was freezing cold, cuz elder kowalk didn't know you don't run the washer at the same time as the shower) and come to find out, the hose that drains the water from the back of the washer fell out, and water flooded half our apartment. So we're getting our carpet replaced soon, but the apartment smells horrible right now, from the nasty damp carpet. lol. It was ridiculous though, Elder Kowalk was freaking out.
I love you guys so much. Keep us in your prayers. We'll keep on keeping on.
-Elder Justin LeBaron

Monday, August 15, 2011


Dear Family,
Hello. Whats up? This past week was pretty good. Let me start off by telling you a story. So, idk if I told you, but for some reason since we've had our new mission president, crazy things just happen, and everytime I run into him I give the worst impression ever, lol.
It started off back when I was with Elder Jones. I think I mentioned that Elder Jones had a sleeping in problem. He wouldn't ever get out of bed on time. Well one morning, I woke up, exercized, hopped in the shower, got out and got dressed, and went into the study room and saw that Elder Jones had moved from his bed to the couch, still in his G's of course. Then I hear a knock knock knock on the door, and then the thought comes in my head "man it would suck if that was President"- then I look through the peep hole and guess who I see, Presdent Petersen standing there. lol... So I run over to the couch and shake Elder Jones and tell him Pres is at the door, he jumps up and starts dressing, I start cleaning up the apartment while he's still knocking on the door. I couldn't open the door while Elder Jones was still dressing. He finally gets a tie on, and at this point President had already walked back to his car to get his phone, then our phone rings... so I answer "Hello, it's Elder LeBaron" "Hey Elder LeBaron, it's President Petersen, I'm out front, would it be okay if Sister Petersen and I come in" ... So I say yes... lol. They come in, and it's obvious Elder Jones had been sleeping, he looked like he just got wrecked by a train. We hadn't taken the trash out in a while, it was just piled up, there was dishes in the sink. It was bad... lol. They just smiled and talked to us for like 5 min, and acted like nothing happened. AND... Idk if I told you but JD let me borrow his Gourd, it's for drinking Mate', it's like herbal tea stuff from South America. It's like a cool looking cup with a metal straw sticking out called a Bombilla, but if you didn't know what it was it definately could be mistaken for some fancy looking smoking pipe. So after the visit I get a call from President saying that Sister Petersen saw some kind of smoking pipe in our apartment... so I had to explain that. That was my first experience with the new mission Pres. that story had spread all around the mission now. So I meet missionaries I've never seen before and they're like, "oh, your the missionary with the smoking pipe huh" lol. It's great...
Then AP Peay called me 2 weeks ago and told me I was invited to a Leadership Training Meeting with Pres. and to come with my District Leader. So Elder Lester and I go together, and we use Elder Petersons GPS, and there was 2 wallnut grove's saved in there, so Elder Lester picks the 1st one and decides that has to be it, but it turns out it was the second one, and we realize that 5 min before the meeting after we drove 20 min in the wrong direction. So anyway, we show up to the meeting 30 min late. and again, President doesn't say anything.
Then! Wednesday for transfers, Elder Jones and I left 45 min early to go to transfer meeting, we get directions from Elder Badger, long story short he told us to stay on the 40, but we were suppossed to get on the 240, and we ended up 40 min in the wrong direction. We had to drive the 40 min back, then take the right exit and drive up to the transfer building... we rolled up 55 min late. got in there just before they said the closing prayer... lol. President came up to me and said "Elder LeBaron, I think it's time we got you a GPS"
But somehow President still trusts me. I talked to him earlier today on the phone, and he said he selected me as a trainer because he knows my level of dedication and that I lead by example. Except for being on time I guess. I'm glad he trusts me though, and I'm glad I'm training, I'll get to work a little more closly with President these 2 transfers.
My new missionaries name is Elder Kowalk. He's a good kid. He's huge. He's 6,4" and weighs like 240. He's a big boy, and he's got a big heart. He has that MTC fire. I'm glad to be working with someone who has drive and is ready to work hard. We got a good week ahead of us.
I forget how different it is to be out here in the Ghetto, I'm so used to this area I'm in, since I've been in Memphis 8 months, and Elder Kowalk keep talking about how crazy it is out here, and how he's never seen so many black people, how he can't understand em, and he's scared he's gonna get shot. haha. It took me back to my 1st transfer, I remember I felt the same way, but now it's just like a home away from home.
I'm breaking him in with a lot of tracting. He's getting used to akward situations and getting yelled at every so often, so that's good. lol. The first guy that yelled at us really discouraged him, but I tried to show him that you just gotta laugh at those situations and brush it off. Some people out here are nuts, and a lot of em are drunk, so of course we're gonna get yelled at.
I think this is the start of great couple transfers, I'm ready to dig my feet in and get some work done. Thank for all your support family. keep us in your prayers. I love ya.
-Elder Justin LeBaron

Monday, August 8, 2011


Dear Family,
Aloha, how are things?? This past week/ past two weeks was really good. Sorry I didn't really write an email on whats going on last week, I thought we'd have time to stop back at the library and send another email, but there's never as much time as I think. Our days are pretty much packed.
Things are goin good here in Memphis. The transfers officially over. I'm sure you're curious as to what's goin down. Well, here's the news. Last Wednesday I got to attend a Leadership Training Meeting with President Petersen, The AP's and 8 other missionaries. I didn't know why I was there until halfway through the meeting when President told us that we were there because we were selected to be Trainers this up-comming transfer. WOOT! I get to train a brand new missionary. I'm pretty excited. What's really cool is there's a new program that's being put into motion starting this transfer for trainers. It's called "the first 12 weeks" and in a nut-shell, it's just going to give new missionaries a jump start on their mission and help them learn a lot faster. By the end of the 12 weeks we wanna get them to the point where they would feel comfortable training a new missionary if they were called to do so. It's legit. I have a lot of reading to do, but I'm really excited because I feel like I'm going to learn so much from having the opportunity to train, especially with the new expectations that are being put forward. Some of the biggest changes are the fact that there's going to be 2 hours of companionship study for new missionaries, only for the initial 12 week period, AND we get our own DVD player, so we can use the PMG dvd's and "The District" for studies in the morning. It's sweet. Every companionship will receive one by Zone Conference, but trainers get em early, so Elder Jones and I have already been using it for studies. It's sweet. I get my mission son on Wednesday. It's gonna be tight. I'll tell you about him next week. haha, I am way excited.
So some crazyness is happening with the ward. Elder Badger (my mission dad) is getting transferred, AND his companion Elder Carson is also getting transferred. They're getting what we call "white washed" or two new missionaries are going to the area so they have no idea what work has been going on and they don't know the recent converts. I dont know why they're doing that to Frayser 2, because it's one of the highest baptizing area's in the mission, and now no-one in the area will know the 15 or so reacent converts in the area, most of them I was apart of baptizing. But, it's okay, since I'm still in the ward hopefully I'll be able to go on exchanges with the Frayser elders.
So... crazy story. Elder Jones and I were on bike week this past week, and we biked up to this neighborhood and decided to go tracting, but we forgot our bike locks, so we just hid our bikes behind a big green electrical box thing. We tracted for like an hour, finally ran into this awesome guy named Amos (just like the prophet), we taught him the first lesson and actually set a baptismal date with him. We walk back to get our bikes, and surprise, Elder Jones' bike got straight jacked! (stolen) I felt bad, but for some reason who ever stole his bike decided they wanted his more than mine, cuz mine was left behind. Probably because I only have one full pedal, the other one is like a little stub now cuz the pedal broke off, it still works fine though, lol. What's real crazy, is this was like the nicest area we ever tracted, whenever we tract in the ghetto triangle area where there's tons of homeless people we just hide our bikes in this ditch, and no one ever finds them. I think I'll start bringing my lock, it's way heavy, but it's probably worth it.
The work is moving forward, things are bueno, we're emailing at the church and there's tons of missionaries in here so I can't concentrate, there's a lot of noise, and they thinks its funny, lol, but you know me. So I'll write you a better one nxt week in the library with my new missionary. I love ya. peace.