Here's what's up! Calling people from a book... most every single day.
Talking to people... on the street, WHEREVER we go.
So many people wonder how much I get payed (I've been asked that question a lot)
-- More than money, because I work for the Lord.
For real though, it's been pretty average here in Ivano. I haven't seen a whole lot of stuff changing, but I feel like we've hit another wave of the devil trying to get us down. So many dogged appointments... and it's really unfortunate. All these peoplen need to do is show up, and WHAM! Gospel truth would be settled in their laps. But, alas, there's some connection not being made between the fact that we tell people where and when to meet, call them before to remind them, and then them actually processing that this means that WE JUST WANT TO HELP YOU LEARN HOW TO GET SALVATION!
My companion, Elder Stout, is probably the most diligent and Preach My Gospel hardwired missionary in the world. I've got a lot to match up to here people. This guy is solid. He's determined to reach 100% obedience, without fail, at all times and in all places. He's an incredible example. I think the Lord said, "Hey, Elder LeBaron looks like he's getting kinda comfortable... time to shape up." And put me with Elder Stout. It's been a pretty big eye-opener to how much more I could be doing. Luckily, the Lord knows each and every one of us PERFECTLY, and so he gives us exactly what we need... whether we apply the teaching, or kind of resentfully avoid it. Unfortunately, I've been kind of resentfully avoiding the strict obedience thing, and pulling the "Well, spirit of the law, man!" card on him way to much. Between his rigidity, and my relaxed goofiness, I think we're going to make this work out for both of our growth. Mostly mine.
We have an investigator from Nigeria. WHAT?! I know. It's so sweet being able to teach the missionary lessons in English. Right after our Plan of Salvation lesson with Alex, I was INCREDIBLY jealous of all of my friends who get to speak English. But for reals, this guy is legitimate. He does international trading or something like that as a free agent, and is working on a deal right now with FedEx. He's incredibly smart. He also knows Russian and Ukrainian. He also LOVES the idea of living with his family forever. His wife is Ukrainian, and has a little bit of a thing against us... because we're not Orthodox. We're hoping to change that with cake, smiles, and teaching her about the blessings that come with The New and Everlasting Covenant.
Our other investigator who had a baptismal date was taken.
The Jehovah's Witnesses.
Ommitting details that I cannot disclose because of their sensitive nature, our investigator has chosen to start bible study with their missionaries, and discountinue our lessons.
Sometimes, we do everything we can, and other people use their agency to make a choice which opposes the things that they know are right. It's hard. Being a missionary isn't easy when that happens. I can see, in a very small part, the sadness that Heavenly Father feels when we choose to do something that we know is wrong. You just have to find the sunshine in the joy of those who decide to change, grow, and find that eternal joy. I often turn to my favorite verses D&C 123: 16-17. Even when hard times hit, if you just lay down all your cards on the table, turn it all over to the Lord, and then stand back and let Him do His work, we can really have the assurance that all will be well.
I love you all very much!
I hope that even in your trials, you find faith in our Heavenly Father, and in the healing power of His Son's Atonement.