Monday, December 8, 2014


Well, it's about time.
The temperature in L'viv has been hanging in that uncomfortable zone where it's not really cold, but the wind cuts you right down to the bone, and it's not quite chilly enough for snow, so it rains.  And today.... miracle.  Tender mercy, you might even venture to say;
Well, it feels warmer, even though the temperature dropped!  Funny how that works out.
This past week has been mostly uneventful.  We did a bit of work in our Area Book, and we have been running back and forth, from and to the office.  
Nothing crazy like another fencing tournament.
It's been a nice week though overall.  We've had a few miracle with people wanting to meet with us and talk.  It's kind of tough to street contact with frigid wind blowing everyone to-and-fro, but it's not impossible.  Everyone seems pretty pumped about this He is the Gift project, and our mission president has advised us to focus as much as we can on starting conversations about Christ, using the fact that God gave the real first present of Christmas;  His Son.   It sounds like fun to me, and I've already heard of missionaries using it in a lot of fun and effective ways.  In L'viv, we've invited every member to invite a friend over to their home, have dinner and watch some Christmas Films, and then have the missionaries share a Christmas centered spiritual thought!  Pretty exciting :)
Thanks for all of the support and love!
I'd just like to share my spiritual thought with you this week about "Taking upon us the name of Christ".
Captain Moroni tore off a piece of his garment, and wrote upon it --

In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children

What do you have written all over your "garment"?
We are commanded to wash our garments in his atoning blood.  Bright red is not an easy color to hide...  in fact, many people might ask you about why you do things a certain way.  Why not smoke or drink?  Why live a chaste and virtuous life? Why not listen to this kind of music?  Wouldn't it just be easier to do it the way everyone else does?

 -- "And it came to pass also, that he caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land, which was possessed by the Nephites; and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites."
God, through his prophets, has planted the standard of liberty.  It's the example of Christ.  When we are baptized, we promise to follow that example, and make use of His Atoning Sacrifice.  Our garments are washed by His blood.  We become Disciples of Christ.  We take upon us HIS name.  And we must ALWAYS remember him, and keep his commandments, which he has given us.  We show it to the whole world, and we shouldn't be afraid.
So, this season is the best time of the year to get back to focusing on Christ.  Wherever our minds may be, or whatever may be our greatest concern at the moment, we ought to lay aside the cares of this worlds and focus on our Savior.  Share some of his love with everyone you can!  I'll try my best too ;)
I love you all very much.
I will keep you in my prayers, and I hope to see many miracles happen between the lot of us.  It's going to be a great Christmas Season!

Elder LeBaron

New Adventures

Hello everyone!

I'm doing great out here in Ukraine. 
I just got transfered to my new area in L'viv.  We live in an apartment in the back right corner, on the top floor, in a building that is about 30 minutes away from the center of the city (by bus).  We live far away.  This makes things kind of complicated for the Office Elders, considering that we spend a lot of time commuting to get our work done, but nothing really seems to be getting in our way so far.  It's been pretty interesting.  Needless to say, we stay busy.
We have one progressing investigator named Misha, who was actually found by our Zone Leaders on a bus ride from L'viv to Ivano Frankivsk (FRANKIVSK! YEAH BUDDY!)  I have no idea what he's like, because he's been in Ivano for the past few days that I've been here, but from what I hear, we're just meeting with him to pick a date for baptism.  He already has friends in the branch, and things are looking pretty bright.
Today, for P-day, we went with a less-active member to a Fencing tournament.  Apparently, it's some big deal in fencing...I didn't really get it.  But it was really cool to see people stabbing eachother with swords.  I think Brother Chewy (ha.... chewy...) really enjoyed it.  
L'viv is a big city.  I'm not used to big cities.  This is gonna take some time.  I feel lost on a constant basis, because every street is another architectural wonderland that gets me all distracted... Keep focused... keep focused...
We talked to some cool students from Nigeria on the Tramvay a few hours ago.  They were pretty cool, and then we talked to a man whospeaks english and works at the university as an economics and finance teacher.  Pretty cool.  I didn't even walk more than 2 feet.  Contacting in L'viv = a lot less walking aparantly.  
The Zone leaders are coming down tomorrow to start exchanges with us, and that should be pretty fun.  I'm hoping to build up a good list of potential investigators and get some people to work with.  This area is a tough one in our mission, but it doesn't have to stay that way.  The Lord will provide.

Well, I would just like to share something from my personal study--

Being selfish is no fun.

If you only care about yourself, then you will always find something to complain about.

Numbers Chapter 22--
I read the story of Balaam and his talking donkey... and I found some pretty interesting things about the story.  Mostly, in our reactions towards those who "get in our way".  I'd suggest that you all take some time to read that story, and pay special attention to the 3 different times that he beats his poor donkey for just trying to help him out.

Be patient with your fellow man, and seek to help others.  Selflessness = Happiness.

I love you all a lot!

Have a great week!

Exchanges and A FACE FULL OF SNOW

I've decided that one of the greatest challenges of missionary work is this;  The Lord understandsthat moment of you falling absolutely in love with your area -- the members and your investigators and the city -- and then he says "GREAT!  You figured it out!  On to the next place!"  PHHHHFFFFTTTT.  Okay okay..  I'm done... *I'll go were you want me to go....*

I'm being transfered.


*shouts and screams*

And guess what else?
I'm an office elder.

What does that mean?  That means that I'm a normal missionary who works on the computer every once in a while.. basically.  I'm not sure what that really entails, but I'm sure I'll get trained on it.  I'm hoping that means that I'll get the chance to still be out and doing missionary work a lot.

The problem with this is that my trainee is just such a good missionary, that they are having him train now... and be the District Leader in Rivne...

So they are also white-washing our area. 

We've been trying to round up all of our investigators so that we can meet with them, say goodbye, and prep them for the next set of missionaries that will be coming and taking our place.  Mark my words, the next Elder's are going to be busy from the moment they get into the city!  BWAHAHAHA! 

We had lost contact with our nice indian friend named John (who I bonded with on the street because of our names), and that was a real downer.  We went to his house, but it was the wrong address.  We tried to call him, but our SATANIC PHONE devoured his number and it was lost to us.

I felt pretty down about having to leave Ivano, and I felt like I hadn't really accomplished everything that the Lord wanted from me... and so I knelt down and said a prayer, just asking him to help me make things right, and to feel okay about leaving. Then, later that night (sunday night), we were walking down the darkest street in the city practicing english a little bit.  (Part of training out here is working with Ukrainian missionaries on their English).  Suddenly, I hear a little foriegn voice shout "JON!  HEY!"  IT WAS OUR INDIAN FRIEND!  I've never seen a bigger smile in the whole world! It lit up the whole street.  HE's so nice. 
He invited us over to his house, and then we had the most awesome Restoration lesson of my life.  And then.... BLAMO!  We set up a baptismal date with him.  He said that one of his new years resolutions was to become closer to God.  I couldn't have found a better way for you to check-mark that box, my good friend :)
"You two are leaving on wednesday?  We could totally meet every day this week before you go!"
*Must force self to blink through the shock*
"Yes. That'd be cool :)"

SO yeah, the Lord answers everyone's prayers.

I love you all!

Take good care of yourselves!
My next email will be one week closer to CHRISTMAS!  AAAAAA CHRISTMAs!

Elder LeBaron

Clever Title.

Okay, So this week has been pretty much super rainy and boring and I don't have a whole lot of stories to relate to you all....

Basically, we've been having the usual problem with finding new people to teach, so I've finally just started tearing through every surviving suggestion that exists for finding.   What have I fallen across?  BEHOLD!  FAMILY HISTORY!  You know, I've always loved family history, but I've never really thought of using it in Missionary work.  Luckily, I've got some chances now to try and share it with the people all around me.  How have I started?

I plowed through (it's funny, because most of them were farmers)  all of the stories that Grandpa LeBaron gave me about my great grandparents!  It was probably the most enjoyable study time that I've had on my mission.  Well, one of the most enjoyable.  Anywho, I read them all, and then I pulled out lessons that can be learned from each of their lives.  I'm learning a lot.  And I'm memorizing critical stories that changed them for the better.  I plan on using these stories to tell people and get them interested in finding out about their own family members!
I gave a talk yesterday in the branch where I just went on a 15 minute rant about HOW AWESOME IT IS TO READ ABOUT

YOUR FAMILY!  I encouraged all of the members to get to work on these awesome little family history work books that the church has produced for the members, which helps them get real stories about their ancestors all the way back to at least 4 generations.
I'm trying to invite ALL THE PEOPLES to learn about  Everyone should be a part of this jazz.

Well, that's about all I've got.

Brush your teeth, and don't too much greek food in that little pavilion in L'viv.
Does bad things to you.

Love you all a whole lot!

Elder LeBaron