Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Welcome Home! Mission Accomplished!


 

Elder Payne returned home on Tuesday September 4th after serving two years in the Oregon Portland Mission. With mixed emotions filled with love for the people of Oregon yet happy to be home and preparing for the future Nathan will focus on the future with college and life ahead.  This will be the final post as the mission comes to a close and we wish to thank each of you who have visited this blog and followed Elder Payne's mission over these past two years.  May God bless you and keep you.

President and Sister Morby

President Nichols

Mom and Dad

Rockin the Sombrero

Mission Complete

 
Mom Removes the Tag

Canby and Molalla Oregon Memories












Monday, August 27, 2012

One Week Left, No Time to Waste!


August 27, 2012
Dear Familia,

I can’t believe it! Time has flown by and I don’t know what to say. Like you said, I have mixed feelings because I’m happy to see the family but sad to leave my mission. Well, I won’t focus too much on that now and will let you know about what’s going on out here in the promised land of Molalla and all the miracles we are seeing. I’ll start off by saying that the baptism for D, and her two sons D and F went great. It was super spiritual and even President and Sister M were able to come. So many miracles have happened so D and her family could enter into the waters of baptism. I told you how she had been working on Sundays but thanks to faith in the Lord she has been able to get all Sundays off. We fasted together about a month ago and within two weeks, she was able to get all Sundays off and come to church with her family. Another tender mercy is that her Sister E, the lady that got baptized in Woodburn while I was there, was able to come. When E got baptized last year, she was the only member in her family who was a member of the church. A year later I got sent to Molalla and had the awesome privilege to teach her sister D who just got baptized. Now they both have family within the church and that will mean more support. It was truly a tender mercy to see them together at the baptism as family is everything!

Church was great yesterday as a lot of members showed up and all the recent converts were there in Sacrament meeting. The Branch is growing and more people are moving into the Rama. I know with G on his mission soon, he will impact a lot of his family’s lives here in Molalla who aren’t very active and they will come back. G is also getting his mission call this Wednesday so we are pumped. We are actually arranging that he opens it in District meeting with his family as all the missionaries in the district know and love him. He comes with us to district meeting almost every week so we will see how it goes!  Another tender mercy coming up is that my boy B is going to the temple. I have my temple trip coming up this Friday with all the missionaries that are going home and I wanted B to come to the temple with me. He had his interview yesterday with the Branch President and now he just has to speak with one of the members of the Stake Presidency. B told us that he hasn’t been to the temple for 27 years and is pumped to go back. I know that will be a great experience for him as he will remember the sacred covenants he’s made. I have seen how the atonement has worked in my mission and how people can truly change with a desire and come back to the Lord. Last week was awesome and this week is going to be amazing.

I don’t want to go home but I know I have got to. I’m going to give it my all and it’s possible that we can have another baptism this weekend with P and T  but we will see. I think most of our investigators need a little more time but for sure they will make the right decision as they have felt the spirit.

The meeting with Elder Cobridge of the Seventy was great and very spiritual. He told us about the “most important thing” and that is the atonement of Jesus Christ. After the meeting I went up to talk to him in Spanish as he served as a Mission President in Santiago. I asked him if his mission covered Maipu and he told me that it did. It was pretty cool getting to talk to him and I told him I was Chilean American. I decided to ask him one question as I wanted to benefit from his wise counsel. I asked" I don’t have to much time left on my mission because it’s almost over and I want to know what counsel you could give me so I can be ready for life after my mission?  He responded with some simple words by saying, ”The best part of your mission is after your mission." So he basically told me that the best part of my mission is to come. I thought that was good advice and he shared with me an experience he had after his mission. He served his mission in Argentina and when he was flying back to the United States he had to stop in Columbia. He told me that he started to contact people in the airport and teach them the gospel. He then told me that a couple months later he found out that those people he contacted got baptized, CHYEAH!!!!!!!! Anyway, that was the example he gave me and told me I would be alright. It was pretty cool getting to talk to him and I will take that advice to heart.

I have prayed about where I should go after my mission and I have received the answer “not to worry about it right now”.  I just need to focus on my time out here. I feel that I will figure things out when I get back home and if anything I’m leaning more on staying at home for a few months before going back to BYUI as I can maintain the good habits I have learned on my mission and start to work in the Cherokee Branch with you guys. I have learned what it takes to animar a la gente (encourage people) and try to get them back to church if they are already members. I have learned that people just want a sincere friend that can listen to them, love them and help them find the path. I’m kind of excited to lend a helping hand out in the Rama and get everyone pumped up about the gospel. But basically that’s what I have felt that I need to do through prayer and its cool how one can know what to do in life by praying about it. For sure I will give it some more thought when I get back but for know that’s what I’m feeling.

Well, I love you guys and I’m ready for this week. I’m going to work harder than I ever have before and maintain that momentum even after the mission. I can’t return back home to be the Squeege I was before my mission and sleep in, listen to lame music and think I’m hard ha-ha. I’ve got to step up my game and not go back to the world or all this time will have been a waste. I have some goals I have set to maintain what I have learned and to keep up the spirituality. I know it won’t be easy but I know that it’s possible. I just want to let you guys know that I am so grateful for the time I have been able to spend in the service of the Master. Words cannot describe the things I have learned and the miracles I have seen. I wish I could stay here forever and do what I can to serve the Lord but know that this is His will. I now Know that God lives, Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world, the atonement is real, priesthood power is real and it was restored back to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith and he was a true servant of the Lord.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and the church is true. I know these things because over and over again the Holy Ghost has testified to me of their truthfulness and I’m grateful for this witness. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world and I love this place. Thanks for all your support and I have truly felt the power of your prayers.

Have a great week and I’ll see you guys next week on Tuesday!!!
 
Love,
 
Elder Payne


Dear President M,
 
First of all I just want to express my love for you and your wife. You are truly amazing examples to me of who I need to be and become. I only have a week left in the mission field and I’m glad to say I’m not too trunky. I don’t want to go as you might hear a lot but I understand its time. I will give it my all this week and not waste a second. I have seen so many miracles this week and I’m grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. Thanks for coming to the baptism Saturday as that really meant a lot to me. The work is going great out here and the members are working more and more. We are receiving new families in the branch soon and I’m glad to see that the hard work is showing results. We have been dedicating a lot of our time with the less active members  and helping  them stay active. By focusing on the atonement of Jesus Christ, they are able to understand that change is possible through the Savior. We are still working with P y T and we will see how they feel about the Book of Mormon since they have been reading more often. We have a couple of investigators in Canby and we are working with them. We were mostly focusing on D and know that she made the decision to be baptized, we will see if she has any family referrals.

I love the members here and I’m so grateful for the time I have had to spend in this amazing area. When I was a greenie and first got into the mission, I heard that this area, Canby was dead and not a good place to serve. When I got called to serve here about six months ago I didn’t care about that and just decided to put my faith in the Lord. I have seen more success in this area from putting my trust in the Lord and I know that there is no such thing as a dead area. I know that the Lord sends us exactly where we need to serve and I now have a testimony that I was sent to the Oregon Portland mission to serve in Keizer, Seaside, Woodburn and Canby and to meet and teach the people in these areas. I’m so grateful for the missionaries in this district and in our mission who work hard to preach the gospel. I know we are the army of God and he is our leader. I have learned so many things and again I am so grateful that you are my President. I remember our first encounter your first week as President in Seaside when we needed to go to the mission office. That was a long time ago and its crazy how things and time have passed by.

My companion, Elder W is a great missionary and he will continue to lead the missionary work in this area. He knows and has learned so much more than I knew when I only had two transfers out. I’m grateful for the opportunity to train and help him learn and he has helped me out as well.

Well President M, I love you and I’ll see you soon!

Love,

Elder Payne

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Milagros y Mas Milagros!


August 20, 2012
Dear family,

Last week was great and it was an amazing experience to shake the hand of a living apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. The meeting with Elder Russell M. Nelson was great and he spoke to us about the importance of our callings and priesthood keys. I felt the spirit testify to me that he is truly a servant of the Lord. Elder Nelson left us with an apostolic blessing that our families would be blessed while we are in the service of the Lord and with another blessing to treasure the word of God.  I’m also pumped about tomorrow as Elder Lawrence E. Corbidge; a member of the Quorum of the Seventy is also coming to the OPM for a mission tour. It was a truly great experience and after the meeting got out, all the Branch Presidents and Bishops started coming in as they had a meeting after ours with Elder Nelson. I saw Presidente P from Woodburn and he gave me a big hug. It was good to see him and we chatted for a while about missionary work and life. I truly respect Presidente P and the dedication he has to serve the Lord. He told me I could come and stay with him anytime as he knows that my time is short. I then got to see Presidente A from my first area in Keizer before heading out the door and gave him a big hug. We talked for a while and he said his home was my home if I needed a place to stay. It was a great feeling to see how our friendships and love have grown as we have worked together in the service of the Master. I didn’t get to see Bishop F from Seaside but it was a pleasure to see my other Branch Presidents. It was good to see all the missionaries there as well and I got to see my boy Elder P, the new assistant to the President.
 
I was talking to G and he is getting his call a week from this Wednesday now that the Stake President has sent in his papers. I’m excited for him to finally get his call as he will get it my last week here. He wants me to come back so I can go to the temple when he goes through and then I can visit the members and converts I have grown to love these past 2 years. I told him you got two weeks off on vacation so we would have to come back like two weeks after I get home unless you guys want to come with me to visit everyone up here. We can talk about this later but just know that I want to come back to visit everybody and you guys should come. Something really awesome that happened yesterday is that G’s mom was called to be the new Relief Society President in the Branch and that is great. She has progressed so much and has such a great desire to help out with the missionary work. Through G’s example, she has begun to work harder in the gospel and it’s truly amazing to see the change that has occurred. There are miracles happening here and we just have to keep working hard.

Well time is flying and we are having fun. That’s cool that you went to the Mount Timpanogos temple this past week and saw Jocelyn and Marcus get married. I’m pretty excited as there’s a lot going on in the missionary work and we are seeing so many miracles. D and her 2 kids F and A are getting baptized this Saturday as she now has Sundays off! Chyeah!!!!!!! We have prayed and fasted and the Lord has heard our prayers! We have been working with this family for a long time and I know they are ready. We are working with P and T and went to the Portland Temple visitor’s center with them Saturday night and had some pretty spiritual experiences as we watched the movie Joseph Smith, The Prophet of the Restoration. It is an awesome movie and I don’t know how anyone can deny that Joseph was a prophet after watching that. We have set another date with P for the 2nd of September and I know if she keeps reading and praying she will be ready. We are working with other investigators as well but it seems like the season of the harvest here in Oregon is really holding up their progression.

I love the temple and soon I’ll be going to the temple for the last time as a missionary with President M and the group of Elders that are heading out in two weeks!  I can’t explain to you how I feel right now because I don’t know, let’s just say I have mixed emotions. I’m pumped about the missionary work and there is so much to do. My companion is a G and a work horse, and yeah that was him in the picture I sent with the “Keep Portland Weird” sign. Oh yeah, the last name of G es A so look out for her as she is serving in the SLC Temple Square mission.  I think she may still be at the MTC right now though!

You say I’m going to get 30 minutes to talk in the Spanish Branch Sacrament meeting, that’s a lot so I’ll have to prepare pretty well ha-ha. The missionary work is going well and we are trying to help our investigators to focus on reading the Book of Mormon as that’s the key to know if our message is true. I went on two exchanges this week with Elder W and his companion Elder W. It was pretty awesome as I learned a ton from both of them. Elder W has changed a lot and is a great teacher and missionary. We haven’t served together for about a year since Seaside, and it’s amazing how much we have changed, for the better. He testifies with power and authority and it was a truly a cool experience to serve with him one more time before the end, Chyeah! 

I love you guys and I know the church is true, I love being a missionary and serving the master! My companion is a great missionary and ready to train if the Lord wants him to. He speaks better Spanish than I do, teaches with power and authority, knows how to plan and be effective! He will do well on his mission and is a born leader. Keep me in your prayers as I’m trying to do my best. I don’t have very much time left but I am truly grateful for my mission and the time I do have to serve. I will not waste a second and I will do my best to find the Lords lost sheep and bring them back to his flock. Keep it real, ponganse trucha! (Stay vigilant)

Love,

Elder Payne

Monday, August 13, 2012

Three Weeks Left and Working Hard!


August 13, 2012  
Dear Family,
 
This week was pretty intense and we were super busy. Sounds like you guys had a pretty good week as well. I can’t believe that Alex is almost 5 months pregnant and I’m ready to be a TIO. That’s good that you guys have decided to extend your mission because I know that you still have a lot of good work to do in la Rama ahi. I liked that little experience that you shared with me that Bennett and Justin got to share their testimonies at the Spanish Branch! I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, if I’m going to Utah or if I’m going to stay home until school starts in January. I have been so busy and focused on the work that I haven’t really thought about it to much but I will pray about it to see where the Lord wants me to go. More than anything, I just want to continue with the good habits I have acquired on my mission and not lose the momentum that I have gained out here. I know wherever I go; I will apply the things I have learned. But if I need to go to a certain place, I know the Lord will help me figure that out! That would be cool to work in the Spanish branch there in Georgia for awhile and help out the missionaries for a few months. I’ve got some time to ponder about this so we will see what happens.




Well the missionary work out here is really moving forward. We met like 15 new investigators last week and now we just have to get them going and learning about the gospel of Jesucristo. B is helping us out a ton and the members are helping out a lot too. We had a member from la Rama with us every day last week so that really helped us to fellowship the people we are teaching. Our prayers have been answered for D as know she has gotten all Sundays off and went to church yesterday with her 5 boys. It was awesome to see them all there and know we just have to set another baptismal date and hopefully it will be this weekend.  We are working with a lot of people but due to work and other reasons, it’s kind of hard to help them progress. I know that faith and prayer is the key and we will keep inviting the people to live the gospel and keep the commandments. More and more I am having to rely on the power of prayer as I realize I can only do so much but I will have to trust that the Lord will help me with the rest.  G hasn’t received his mission call yet but he will very soon, he has an interview with the Stake President this Wednesday and I think after that he will get his call. I’m pumped to see where he will go and I’m thinking New York or something. We went to a party last Saturday at one of the members that is a contratista or labor contractor and there were a ton of Hispanics there. We ate good food from Oaxaca and met a bunch of people from Mexico. I love the Mexican people and I think I’m more Mexican than Chilean now pues. Anyway, it was a cool fiesta and they gave us some of their company t shirts and hats to rock! The District is doing well and it’s like a brotherhood out here. I love the mission and I’m kind of bummed it’s almost over.

The district is working hard but we are all facing the same challenges as this is the season of work for most of the Hispanics here in the farming communities in which we labor and they are super busy. I know that the Lord has prepared his children to hear this message and that the spirit is the way we will convert. We are working and practicing on the Preach My Gospel fundamentals and I would say that all the new missionaries are doing a great job. They are learning things in their first 2 transfers that took me my whole mission to understand.

I desire and hope that I may be able to help these people in this area come unto Christ and I’m giving it all I got. I’m kind of glad that it’s not easy as I’m having to humble myself more and more and rely on the strength of the Lord. I know the gospel is true and that’s why I know that everything will work out and we will meet our goals that we set at the beginning of the month with faith and prayer.

It’s starting to hit me that I don’t have too much time left on the mission but I know that I’m going to give it all I’ve got. I know God lives and this is His work. The most important thing I can be doing is sharing the gospel right now and I feel privileged to have this great opportunity. I love you guys and have a great week. Keep it real and stay hungry!
 

Love,

Elder Payne

Monday, July 30, 2012

August Excitement!


July 30, 2012
 
Dear Familia,

Looking back, this week was pretty sweet. A lot happened and we were able to see many miracles, Chyeah! First, I want to address the things that you said in your letter! I’m down with that full teeth cleaning and thanks for hooking me up with an appointment. It's all good that you talked to President Morby and that’s pretty cool that you got to talk to him. He is a great President and an amazing example to me. I figured out why I have been so tired recently and since the last time we talked I have been feeling better. I had been waking up early every morning at 5:50am so I could work out earlier and get to my studies faster but I realized that after doing this for almost a year I’m getting pretty tired. Now I have been waking up at 6:10am instead to get a couple more minutes of sleep and running in the morning and that has really been helping me out to have more energy and stay awake during my studies. I feel a lot better know and I have more energy every day. I think I’ll be good for know, I just needed to get some more sleep and start running, Chyeah!!!!!!

I’m really excited to be able to finish up out here in Canby and I love this place! I’ll let you know what happened with transfers this past week and how awesome the District is that we have out here! Elder W was serving in the North but he got transferred to be the Zone Leader here in the South so know I’m going to be able to go on exchanges with him like old times! He’s the Zone Leader out here with Elder B so we will be meeting up every week to talk about the work and have our District meetings. My former companion in Woodburn, Elder B just got back from serving his time in English and now he is training a new missionary from New Zealand in Wilsonville. It’s good to have him in the district because he is a G and a hard worker. Elder P (my brother in the mission because Elder Hanson, my father, trained him after me) is in the district and training a new missionary. It’s good to have him here because he is the man. Everyone in the district is training and the trainers all have been out on the missions for as long as I have. I’m super pumped to have all my best friends in the district and district meetings are going to be awesome. Last district meeting, we focused on the importance of the Book of Mormon and to express to the missionaries its importance and how it is the most powerful tool we have in helping our investigators to be converted to the lord, I gave them a visual lesson. We went to the gym where I had gotten a Piñata and said it was Satanas o el enemigo. I then got a golf club and said it was like a sword in the battle or good versus evil and it signified the Book of Mormon. I then beat down the piñata to help them know that if we use the Book of Mormon, Satanas can’t win. It was something different but I like to do different activities so the Elder’s don’t fall asleep. I’m just pumped because we’ve got the best district in the mission and it’s time to bajar la cana!!!

We gave our talks in sacrament meeting yesterday and it went great. It was a great line up as G started off talking about missionary work and then Elder W talked about the Book of Mormon and I spoke about conversion. It was great and G’s talk was awesome. He is going to be a great missionary y ya el ha agrarrado la onda. Elder Wright is the man and his Spanish was super good, he already speaks better than I do, Chyeah!!!!! I shared personal experiences from my life and told the members about my conversion story and how I came to know the gospel and church was true. I couldn’t hold back the tears as I thought that this may well be my last time talking in sacrament here pues. A lot of unexpected people showed up to sacrament meeting that we weren’t planning on it was good to see them there. After sacrament meeting, G was ordained to the office of Elder and received el Sacerdocio del Melquisedec. He is ready to go on his mission and he sent in his papers last week! Now we just have to wait 2 weeks and we will see where the Lord calls him to serve. I’m thinking he might go to New York or Atlanta Spanish speaking but who knows! He is a G and wherever he goes, he will do work!

Well, this week was great and I’m ready for the month of August. There are so many great things that are going to happen this month it’s ridiculous! One of the members of the Quorum of the 12 apostles is coming to the mission to speak to us and then a week later one of the 70s, Elder Corbridge, is coming to speak with us! Also, G is having his farewell party and we are going to go back to the temple with our boy B, Chyeah!

The branch is doing well as more and more Hermanos are coming out with us to preach the word. The less actives are doing well but many of them are struggling because they are working on Sundays. It’s hard out here because of the harvest. They only have a couple months of solid work and then for the rest of the year they don’t have much to do. We are teaching them to have the faith sufficient to trust in the Lord and keep his commandments. I’m praying super hard because at times I don’t know what to do to help them but I know they want to do the right thing. We are working hard and teaching all the people we can and focusing more on the Book of Mormon. We realized that we have basically taught them everything but they are not reading in the Book of Mormon regularly. So when we go to teach them, we are focusing more on the Book of Mormon and helping them to understand what it is.  Things are going well and we have a lot of work to do. I’m really excited about the district we have out here and I think I have the best Elders in the mission are in this district. Obviously all missionaries are good but I really love the Elders here and feel privileged to work with them.

Hopefully G will get his call to go to the MTC at the end of September that would be cool. We also have 10 baptisms to look forward to and a lot of work to do. I’m going to give it my all and I know the Lord will help me to complete our goals with his will. I love you guys and I’m glad that you’re doing well! I know this church is true and thanks for serving missions too, you are great examples to me!
 
Love,


Elder Payne


 

 

 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Last Transfer and Staying in Molalla!

July 23, 2012

Dear Familia,
 
Another great week and we saw some awesome miracles. We got phone calls last night to see what is going to be happening with exchanges and I am staying in Molalla for my last transfer in the mission and I’m pumped. There is a lot of work to get done and not a lot of time to do it. The mission is changing a lot since today we will get  6 new verdesitos (Greenies) arriving so many missionaries are now training. I’m excited to see what happens with all the new companionships and I will try to help them grow.  I'm glad to spend another transfer here in Molalla with my companion Elder W. He is a really good missionary and his Spanish is awesome. We don’t speak English at all so he has truly improved in just 6 weeks. It sounds like everything is going great back at home and I was pretty shocked to get a call from the mission home telling me that my cousin Manuel is going to Chile on his mission. That is so awesome and I can’t wait for him to get out there. I would love to talk to him and give him some pointers and I know he will be a great missionary. I know from personal experience that the Lord sends you exactly where you need to be and Manuel will help out a ton of people back home in Chile.  It truly is amazing how so many of my cousins on Mom’s side of the family who have come to America have been called back home to Chile.  The Lord truly works in miraculous ways.

So are we still planning to go to Chile when I get home? I thought that was something we were going to do but who knows. You just set it up and I’m down for whatever. I think that’s a good idea that I give a talk in the Shallowford Ward and Cherokee Spanish Branch the same week I get back so I can invite all my friends to come. I don’t want to think about it too much but I know it’s coming up really soon. I know the goals we have set for this last transfer will keep me focused and I’m going to work harder than I ever have before.

I’m actually giving a talk this Sunday in the Rama with Elder W and G's going to speak about la obra misional. G is sending in his papers this week and I think he put his availability date for the 1st of September. We’ve got to get that kid on his mission as soon as possible. I’m excited to give a talk and it’s about becoming converted to Christ. I’ve given a lot of talks on my mission and I’ve learned mas o menos on what is the best way to deliver a talk. At the beginning of my mission I would just read my talk and read from the scriptures. I have learned now that people want to hear personal experiences and how the gospel has affected your life. So I will try to give some personal experiences in my talk this Sunday about how I have tried to become converted to the Lord and his teachings. I’ll let you know how everything goes. We have been going out with our branch mission leader B a lot and that is helping us find new investigators. He introduced us to some of his friends and now we are teaching them. We are still working hard with our 10 investigators that we are preparing for baptism and things are going well. We are inviting them to read in the Book of Mormon daily so they can feel the spirit and gain a strong testimony. We have a lot of work to do out here as we are trying to keep half of the branch active while trying to teach our investigators. We are seeing a lot of changes as well, as the brethren are doing their home teaching and visiting their families. I know their faithfulness will help as the less active families will have more fellowship.

Something cool to add to the letter I wrote you last week. You remember the guy I mentioned that offered me an alcoholic beverage at the birthday party and said the Lord said to eat, drink and be merry?  We are helping him keep the word of wisdom now, Chyeah! We stopped by his house this week and he expressed to us that he has desires to quit drinking and so we’ve got his back. We want to explain the atonement better and how through the atonement of Christ we can receive that extra strength we need to conquer the natural man. I have been exercising my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in his atonement a lot now that I’m always tired. I know that the Lord can give me extra strength to carry out his will especially as I ask for it. I have felt his strength and help as some days I am not as exhausted so I know I’ll be using the atonement a lot this transfer. Well, things are going super and the Branch is working hard to fellowship and improve on the things they need to do. We are trying our best out here and appreciate your prayers on our behalf. I know the Lord will help us to accomplish our goals and bring his children unto him through baptism. I love this work and I’m so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and my Savior.

Love,


Elder Payne

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Time is Flying!

July 16, 2012
Hey family,

Well thanks for your letter and the good news and it sounds like you guys are busy out there too. Time is flying and you know that this is the last week of this transfer. I can’t believe that I only have one transfer left in the mission field but you know that’s not going to stop me. I’ve set some goals that will help me to work harder than I ever have as it’s my goal to leave the Rama stronger and at a point that it will continue to grow. I love this place and I love the people and we have got a lot of work to do. Yesterday in Branch Council, the branch leaders were feeling a little down due to the lack of commitment of some of the members and how many aren’t working to fulfill their callings.  I shared with them about how to determine a successful missionary and told them that discouragement will only diminish their faith. Then we told them about our goal to baptize 10 people in the next transfer and everyone got pumped. It was cool to see and feel how the spirit in the room changed as we went from not focusing on the negative and putting our faith in the Lord that we would find 10 new souls to bring unto Christ. Everyone there was on board and they all committed to coming out with us this week. Like I have said before, without the members help, we as missionaries can’t really do anything. If the members here are a little down, we have got to help grow their faith and help them to have the faith to work and find. I know we will meet our goal to baptize 10 people or I’m not going home ha-ha. I love this work and it hurts me to see that some people just don’t understand the importance of the gospel. Maybe they do understand but they just don’t want to do it. Either way,  I know my purpose as a missionary is to invite, teach and baptize and I will do everything I can to help members, non members and less actives come unto Christ.

Elder W and I have been working hard and we can see the blessings from the Lord as D and her 2 kids now have baptismal dates for the 11th of August. What holds her back from being baptized right now is that she still works half of Sunday so we fasted last Sunday with her so that she could get it off. I know the Lord will answer our prayers as he wants her to keep His commandments. We also set 2 dates with P and T and I know that they will receive answers to their prayers as they seek with real intent. Elder W is doing great and his Spanish is almost perfect. He could train right now if necessary! Things are going well and he is a really good missionary. I love him and I want to help him out in any way I can. I know that I’m not the perfect teacher but despite that I love training and Elder W is progressing so well.

After church we had a get together and we all ate carne asada. I was the man at the grill and it was pretty cool as I learned how to grill elote, carne asada, pollo asado, chiles and anything else you can throw on a grill. The little primary kids were surrounding me every 5 seconds asking for hotdogs ha-ha. It was pretty fun to get together after church y convivir. I’ll have to whip you guys up some carne asada in the future now that I learned the secret of how to prepare it. Well, our new Branch mission president B is on fire and he is coming out with us a lot and helping the missionary work go forward.

That’s funny that you went to a party where they had a piñata and fiesta because I went to one last Saturday as well. One of our investigators invited us to a birthday party and it was pretty cool. We rolled up and of course some people were standing outside drinking. While we were talking to some people near the grill, one of the guys who was a little drunk came up to me and said, "Toma Broda, esta bien!" I told him I was all good and I choose not to drink. He made a big scene and started asking me in a louder tone thinking that would help me change my mind ha-ha. I refused and told him I was waiting to drink of the sacrament on Sunday and invited him to come join me. He said in Spanish, "why are you waiting for tomorrow, God told us to eat drink and be merry today and not to wait!!!" I then said, “Yo creo que el diablo dijo eso, I believe the Devil said that." ha-ha. He then walked away and I had a good laugh with the guy I was talking with by the grill. I then was reading in my scriptures this morning in 2 Nephi 28 and what the guy said is exactly what the Book of Mormon prophesied would happen in the last days so I thought that was pretty interesting. I just thought you would like to hear that story as I thought it was pretty funny ha-ha.

Well family, I love you guys and everything is going great out here. Every day I’m trying to give it all I’ve got and I’m super tired, I fall asleep all the time while Elder W and I are planning at night but he’s cool with it. He just wakes me up and we get going again. I know this church is true and I’m so grateful for the time I have to serve the Master.
 
Love,
 

Elder Payne

Monday, July 9, 2012

Amazing Blessings in the House of the Lord!

July 9, 2012

Dear Familia,

Hey what’s up? This week was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! We had a ton of fun, wonderful spiritual experiences and it was a pretty hectic week due to the 4th of July holiday! We just got back home from playing the big Zone soccer game with the Norte vs. Sur. It was really fun and I got to see all my boys again! Elder W and I ranted on about good times we shared in the past and he said that his Pops was going to call you guys about getting everything set up for BYU Idaho when we get back. It was a good game and I rocked the full Chilean jersey you sent with the shorts included! I wore the white away jersey and I felt like a Chilean G! Who knows, maybe I can try to play more soccer in the future because after 6 months in Woodburn, I’ve learned to love it!



Well, things are going great out here and the work is progressing well. Los Hermanos are getting fired up and now we are getting home teaching going on a more regular basis. That’s going to help us out a ton as we will have more time to focus on our investigators when the members are visiting the families that we have already helped come back into activity. All the auxiliaries have the same goal and with some fervent prayer, I know that the 10 investigators that we have that have been coming to church will get baptized. It’s kind of hard where we are right know as we don’t have the base to support a lot of new converts as we are trying to maintain the less actives but I know as we sacrifice with patience, the Lord will help us out. I know I have been sent here for a reason and I will do whatever it takes to get everything going smoothly. I have come to a point were all my prayers are just asking for the Lords help as I know after all I do it’s not enough, I need some divine help. We went to the Molalla BUCKEROO which is a rodeo here on the 4th of July and it was pretty fun. It was interesting as I’ve never been to a real rodeo before and everyone was going wild about the horses, bulls and guys flying off everywhere ha-ha.

Well I have got to say that last week I had one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had on my mission. We got to go to the temple twice last week as it was our turn to go as a District and then we went again for the sealing of one of the families I taught in my first area in Keizer almost 20 months ago. I’ll talk more about the sealing and when we went to the temple on Saturday in a minute.

First, check this out. On our first trip to the temple early last week, we got there to the session like 45 minutes early because we thought it started at 1:00pm but it started a 1:30pm. So we decided to go to the bathroom and freshen up. While I was waiting for my companion a brother came out and started washing his hands. As he washed his hands, he looked over at me just standing there and feeling a little awkward I told him I was just waiting for my companion. He didn’t say anything and just kept doing his thing. When he got done, he came up to me and said, “What’s your name Elder?" I told him Elder Payne and when I said those words his eyes started to tear up. I didn’t know what to think but before I could respond he said," I’m Brother W" I responded with shock," Uh, okay, uh..." no sooner had he said his name  my companion came out to find his Dad standing in the bathroom right in front of him ha-ha. Elder W had told me earlier that his dad was coming to Oregon with his older brother to attend his brother’s mission reunion because his mission president was front Lake Oswego, Oregon.  I know it was a tender mercy that they just somehow seemed to be in the same place in the temple at the same time. They hugged and I told his Dad that his son was a great missionary. He got pretty emotional and I could understand that. Well, that was a pretty interesting event and my companion was pretty shocked and happy to see his Dad in the temple!

On Saturday I had the most amazing experience at the sealing of my good friend G and his family. We went to an endowment session before the sealing and as we waited I got the chance to see all the members from Keizer, the area I served in when I was a Greenie. It was awesome to see everyone and my boy G was glowing and you could tell he was pretty happy. After the endowment, in the celestial room, G came up to me and asked me to be a witness to the sealing of his family! I thought that was such a great honor and when I got to sign the marriage document, I really felt the importance and sacred nature of the work I am involved in here serving the Lord. The sealing was so spiritual and it was probably the coolest thing I have ever done to be present and witness a family that I had the privilege to teach being sealed in the temple. I can tell you that I will never forget the joy that I felt there at that moment in time. I gave the family a big hug and thanked them for the privilege and how special it was for me to know them and be a part of their special day.  G told me that I needed to come back and visit him and I promised that I would as they are a special family. His daughter takes off on her mission to the Salt Lake Temple visitor’s center at the end of this month. Well, that was probably the coolest thing I have ever experienced and I know this work is true. I love you guys and am so thankful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord! 
 

Love,
 

Elder Payne

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy 4th of July Buckaroo

July 2, 2012

Dear Family,

Last week flew by and it was pretty awesome! The work is going great and there are a lot of people changing their lives. Right now you know the harvest is going on here and most of our members are working in the field so everyone is super busy! Well, thanks for your letter and your encouragement and I’m really glad to hear everything is going great. I can’t wait to see how Alex is doing and to be an Uncle, Chyeah!

Parker truly is a G and I need to take some notes on what I should do because he is a really great example. That’s really cool that you got an iphone and it’s amazing to see how technology has progressed in the last two years, I won’t know what to do with all these crazy phones when I get back. I can’t believe my boys Hardy and Nichol’s are home already and that blows my mind. I’m glad to hear that they finished up like a champs and I can’t wait to ask them about how their time went in the service of the Master! I can’t believe that Bennett is coming home this week as I saw him in the MTC when I got there, man how time flies! I got the soccer jerseys in the mail last week and they are awesome! I got the Chilean national teams home and away jerseys and they arrived just in time for the big soccer game coming up next P-day where the south zone will face the north. Los Paisanos Unidos contra los Soldados Del Sur!!!!!!

Well I’m pretty pumped for this week as there is a lot going on. We are going to the Zoo with G in a little bit to check out some of Gods creations. Tomorrow we are going to the Temple because it’s our time to go again and I’m excited to receive some revelation. Then we have the 4th of July Buckaroo a famous Rodeo that goes on here every 4th of July in Molalla. The place will be packed and it will be an awesome experience as our mission President said we could go. This Saturday we are going to the temple again to be with G and his family as they are being sealed and then his daughter leaves for her mission at Temple Square a few days later.  The Branch will be doing baptisms and it should be an awesome growth experience. We are pretty busy this week and on top of that we have a ton of baptismal dates to set.

The work is going great here and time is flying by, we are seeing a lot of support from the members and they are all inviting there family members to church. Yesterday we had 10 investigators in Sacrament meeting and that is a miracle. They are all so close but we will have to continue teaching them to help them receive testimonies of the restored gospel.

I know that this is the Lords work and I also have come to know that I can’t do this work without His help. I love being a missionary and I know that the Lord is going to help us to see some baptisms and help our investigators change their lives. I know I need to stay mindful of things I need to improve on as I know the Lord will mold me and change me into the priesthood holder and missionary he wants me to be. I love you guys and thanks for the support.

Love,


Elder Payne

Monday, June 25, 2012

Love and Service in Molalla!

June 25, 2012

Dear family and friends,

Things are going great and we had an awesome week! My new companion Elder Wright is the man and his Spanish is really improving every day. Well, a lot has happened and it’s good to hear that everything is going well out there for you guys. Last week went by so fast and time is flying by. It looks like the Benjamin’s wedding was pretty cool and everyone had a good time out there at the SLC temple. That will be me coming up pretty soon ha-ha! No, I’m just kidding as I've got my mind focused on the work and my hearts locked so I won’t be thinking to deeply about that stuff for a while. I still haven’t gotten my soccer stuff but I’m hoping it comes soon because we’ve got the mission soccer game coming up pretty soon and I want to be sporting my Chilean pride.

That’s cool that you guys had your Branch conference yesterday because we had our branch conference as well. It was a great sacrament meeting and the Presidente did a great job as he spoke to the people with the Spirit. There were a ton of leaders from the Stake and it was good to talk to them about the recent growth and things that are happening here in the Branch. There is so much work to do out here I love it. There is never a dull moment and we are always super busy. The key is working with the members and little by little we are helping them to strengthen their testimonies and invite their friends and families to church. We are seeing miracles daily but as I expressed to you last week, we are just in the phase of helping our investigators  understand why they need to make the commitment to be baptized. The amazing thing is they are all taking the commitment very seriously and are reading the Book of Mormon to know if it is true. There is no doubt in my mind that if someone reads that book and seeks with true intent, they will know that the Book of Mormon is true through the power of the Holy Ghost. It is truly an amazing feeling to further understand the promptings of the Holy Ghost and decide to follow them.

That is one thing I have learned so far on my mission is how to recognize the voice of the Holy Ghost. Every time I feel of his promptings, I follow then without second guessing because I know I need to do something. I’ll give you a little example of what I’m talking about. One day Elder W and I were driving to go visit a family that we have been teaching. As we were driving I got the impression to go visit another less active family. We turned around and when we got there we saw the lawn mower and weed whacker out on the front yard. We jumped out of the car and started to mow the lawn as the boy just had gotten everything out and was about to start. We cut it for him and then taught him the first lesson. It was a pretty cool experience and I know with time the family will come back to the Lord. We just need to show them more love and do some other random acts of service. Things are amazing in the mission and I’m loving life. We are still teaching almost everyone in the Branch and now the home teachers are getting fired up. Once we get them out doing their visits, I know that will help a ton with the growth of the Branch.

Last week I told you that I felt a little overwhelmed with training and leading the District, but I have been comforted in Christ and feel fully capable of being able to take on the challenges that will come with the Lords help. I read the prayer that Alma gives in Alma 31 and tried to offer up my own prayer to express to the Lord how I felt and how much I desire to help the people in my area and have a lasting impact with them and with my new companion. I know the Lord heard my prayer as he comforted me through the Spirit and gave me the strength that I needed. I know in the next two months, we are going to see some amazing things happen as I know the Lord answers prayers.

I’m pumped as my son Elder W is the man and he helps me out a ton. We are working as a true team and we are seeing the Lords hand in the work daily. One amazing tender mercy that I am grateful for is that Hermano G A is getting sealed in the Portland temple with his family el 7 de Julio. You guys remember Hermano G; he was baptized in Keizer a little bit after I got there some 16 months ago. He is going to the Portland temple in a little bit and his daughter  has been called to serve on a mission on temple square in Utah a couple days after they get sealed. I’m super excited to go to the temple with them and see this family change their lives as they make sacred covenants with the Lord in  the temple. I think about Alma chapter 26 and how merciful the Lord is with his children as we try to keep his commandments. It will definitely be an awesome experience and I am looking forward to it.

I love you guys and I’m grateful to be in the service of the Master. Now I know what is truly important in life and what I want in my future. I know what I must do to persevere hasta el fin (until the end) in order to live with my Heavenly Father and family after this life.

Love,

Elder Payne

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Strawberry Fields Forever

June 18, 2012

Dear family,

Well things are going amazing out here and we are seeing a lot of success. The picking season has started and we just got back from the strawberry fields. That is some tough work and it took me about 2 hours to fill up 4 buckets, that’s only like 4 dollars or something like that. Anyway there are some people out here that can pick super fast it’s ridiculous. We went with our boy G and some members of the church. It was pretty sweet and we got to take a bucket home with us so I now have a ton of strawberries to put in my breakfast oatmeal right now, CHYEAH!!!! I just had to pick my own strawberries and they were free!  I go to the store to buy some and it costs like 3 bucks and that blows my mind!!!!!!! Anyway it was pretty fun and we will head out there again sometime as that’s a good place to find new investigators.

Last week was pretty sweet.  Elder W is the man and he already came pre-trained. He’s down to work super hard and has a great testimony. We don’t speak English at all since we both want to improve our Spanish. He’s a great guy and I’m glad that I have the opportunity to work with him. The missionary work is going great here and the branch is really helping out. We had 8 investigators at church yesterday and mostly all of them are ready to be baptized we just want to help them to receive testimonies and be able to understand the answer to their prayers through the Holy Ghost. There are always obstacles put I know that I just need to exercise more faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and he will help me to know what I must do to help these people.
 
We had the chance to go to a concert with some members and investigators on Friday. We went to the Portland Oregon Choir starring Jennifer Oaks Baker and it was sweet. I got to see a lot of my old companions from the mission too as they had all gone there to watch the concert with their investigators. It was pretty cool to sit back and enjoy the nice violin music provided by the Grammy nominated violinist.

We went to an Adult Center to do service on Friday and that was pretty fun. We served everybody roast beef and potatoes and “los ancianos” were pretty pumped about that. They were celebrating father’s day as well so they had a tie competition. Everyone was rocking ties and even the ladies. Elder W and I decided to enter into the contest for who had the classiest tie but we got beat out by an old lady in a wheel chair. I thought I was going to win because I had a nice tie clip and everything but it seems like they were playing favorites ha-ha, just like high school in there. No big deal because we had fun and everyone clapped for us because they thought our ties were cool ha-ha. Can you just imagine that, a room full of old people clapping for two elders because they were wearing nice ties? I’m not going to lie, I felt pretty cool even though I was one of the youngest guys there ha-ha.

Well this week has been awesome and to be honest a huge blur full of training meetings and activities, but all in all it was a great blessing. I’ve learned a ton from my new companion as he tries to iron my shirt every morning. He is a great example and I think I’m going to learn more from him than he will from me. I’m grateful for this opportunity to train and help out the district. I can’t do it by myself and I know that I’m going to have to rely on the Lord more and less in the arm of the flesh ( el brazo de la carne). I’m pumped and excited for this week and ready to share the gospel with all those that will listen. I love you guys and I hope you have a good week, keep me in your prayers!

Love,

Elder Payne

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Training and Pumped Up!

June 12, 2012
Querido Familia,

 “I’M TRAINING” y estoy súper animado! I’m pumped because it’s my first time training and Elder W will probably be my last companion on the mission! I can tell already he is a hard worker and he’s got the fire. He is from Arizona and stands about 6'3 so he towers over everyone in the Branch including me ha-ha and we are going to have a great time together. I was pretty excited to get the phone call from the assistants asking me to train and I’m glad that the Lord trusts me and has given me this opportunity. I have always wanted to train and with Elder W’s fire, I know we are going to work super hard. Last week was great and Elder T went out strong without even thinking about what he is going to do when he gets home. We worked hard and he showed me a great example of how to be dedicated to the work until the end and I know I am going to follow his example and give it all I got and return with no regrets.

I’m so excited and happy to have the opportunity to serve with Elder W. He is a great kid with a strong testimony and he is ready to work hard. He got up this morning with me right on time at 5:50 AM and was ready to work out. I know he brings a fire with him and a great desire to serve the Lord. We are going to do our best to help the investigators we have to enter into the waters of baptism! We had 8 investigators at church again and the Branch is really growing. We are trying to set dates with the people that have been going to church and help them to gain testimonies of the restored gospel. The thing is that we are equally focusing on the members in the Branch as just a little while ago half of them were less active. There is a lot of work to do out here but I know that the Lord is blessing us. We are truly seeing the fruits of our labors as we have been working with the less active. Their friends and families are coming back to church and now we have many investigators to help. Baptism is always a big step for our investigators but as we help them to be converted to the gospel by reading in the Book of Mormon, I know they will have the desire to do the Lords will. I’m just so grateful to the Lord for the many blessings we are seeing here and I just hope that we can work effectively enough to help all those in need. The Gospel is true and it’s my desire to help all those strengthen their testimonies of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. I know that as a district, we are growing and out areas are improving. We are focusing more on our church attendance and the Elders are telling me that the attendance at church is growing. As we look at the true growth, we can see in sacrament meeting how many are committed to keeping the Sabbath day holy and renewing their covenants.

Things are going great and I had a great time with Elder T his last week in the mission field! I’m pretty excited about having my first greenie and I’ll explain a little bit about what happened yesterday. I wanted him to be able to remember his first day on the mission so I planned some cool stuff to do his first day out. G and J (G’s cousin) took Elder T and me to the transfer meeting. We rolled in style as J has a pretty sick Cadillac Escalade truck. I waited there anxiously for the arrival of the new missionaries in the room with the rest of the trainers. When President M called out my name and the name of my new companion Elder W, I couldn’t contain the excitement and gave him a big hug. I handed him a diaper that I got from J’s car (she’s got a baby) and told him he would need it with all the Mexican food he will be eating on his mission. He thought that was pretty funny but I told him it wasn’t a joke ja-ja. After the meeting, I said goodbye to all my boys that were heading home like Elders T, H, R and my Pops, Elder H. I’m going to miss my Pops Elder H  as he taught me so much. He was a great example of humility and love! I got a picture with my pops and all of his posterity (people that he trained)!

 The whole experience was cool but I still wanted to show my new companion what the Spanish mission in the OPM was all about so I took him to the center of all the action in WOODBURN! We went to the famous taco truck and I ordered him two tacos de tripa y de buche. I told him not to ask what it was until after he ate it all and he ate it like a champ. I then told him it was pork guts and cow stomach and he was still cool with it ha-ha. I ate the tacos with him and I really do like them. My son is ready to roll and already half Mexican at heart. Church was awesome and we had the amazing privilege of blessing the baby of D, one of our investigators. She is the sister of E C, una hermana who was baptized while I was in Woodburn. We are working with her and her 5 children and it was a great experience. It was pretty cool to stand in the circle and I can see that little baby on a mission one day. We are seeing a ton of miracles as the members are becoming more involved in the missionary work. We brought a family of investigators to church and some members invited them to eat over at their house after church. It was a fun night as we all ate together and the investigator family truly felt fellowshipped.

Instead of taking it little by little, I decided to immerse Elder W in the Hispanic culture. We were also going to go pick strawberries in the field that a member owns but we will save that for next week. Elder W speaks Spanish fairly well for his first day in the mission field  and yesterday we set the goal to speak only Spanish from here on out! He’s pumped to serve and has got a huge fire to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, he’ll be a great missionary. I’m excited for this time we have together and I will do my best to help him learn everything he needs to know before I leave. Well, I could go on and on because last week was so awesome and we are seeing so many miracles daily but I have got to go. I love you guys and I’m glad to hear that the Lord is blessing your lives there at home as well. I know this church is true and it’s our duty to share that truth with the world!!

Love,


Elder Payne

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tender Mercies and a Gold Star!

June 4, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was an awesome week and my boy Elder T is tearing it up. We had another great week and he’s giving it all he’s got as this is his last full week in the mission! We saw many miracles and I have a lot to talk about. Thanks for your awesome letter Dad it was really inspiring. I’m so glad to hear that my cousin M is going on his mission! I’m willing to give that kid everything I have if he needs it. He can have my suitcases, ties, I have a ton of shoes that are in good condition, books, and the only thing he won’t be able to use are my suits and shirts as they are pretty much done for. Just let me know what he needs and I’ve got his back!  I have sandals, a couple pairs of tennis shoes and basically everything a new missionary needs. I’ve collected a ton of things out here and I’m pretty sure he would like some of this stuff as it looks new. Basically, what I can give him is some shoes, ties, pants if he wears a 34-30, books, pens, etc. Just let me know cause I’m down to hook my primo up! I’m so excited that he’s going on a mission and I love to see the fire that new missionaries have.

My boy G is on fire and he bore his testimony yesterday in Church and made me tear up. His whole family got up and bore their testimonies as well as they have caught fire as well. He is having a huge impact on the Rama and his family that lives around here. Many of his less active cousins are coming back to church and it’s awesome to see how the faith of one person can help others around them. Church was amazing yesterday and the spirit was so strong during the testimony meeting! We had a lot of our investigators come to church and they told me that they felt something special while there. B was set apart as our new branch mission leader and he is going to tear things up. Back in the day B baptized 26 people in a week so we are hoping that he will be able to top his record here in Molalla! Chyeah! Anyway, we received another branch missionary which is a sister missionary  that just got back from her mission in New México. She is going to be able to help us out a ton as we usually don’t have that much time to find and teach over in Canby which is 15 minutes away from Molalla. She brought a friend to church with her yesterday that had been investigating the church some 4 years ago and was going to get baptized but then ran into some Anti-Mormon trash and stopped coming to church. We testified to her yesterday that this was the true gospel of Jesus Christ and that she could know for herself. We asked her to pray about it and as she did and she felt the spirit. She said she would give it another chance and we invited her to be baptized but we have not set a date yet. I know this is a tender mercy form the Lord and now she is ready to be baptized. Give her a couple of weeks and she will know that it is time! After church we had a birthday dinner for my boy M G who is coming back to church and trying to change his life and follow the Savior. He is a good kid and really wants to be better and we will help him out the best we can.

I still haven’t gotten the Chilean soccer jerseys but I’ll keep an eye out for them. That’s good to hear that H and B got home safely from Egypt! By the way, Happy Birthday to you, Mom and N, sorry I didn’t do anything for you guys but it’s hard to with so little time out here. I love you guys and hope that you all had great birthdays and I will make it up to you later.

Well, things are going great and the Lord is truly blessing this area and we are so privileged to just be here at this time. Many miracles are happening and many people are being prepared to be baptized and follow their Savior Jesus Christ. Next week I will be writing you and letting you know all that happened with transfers and who is my new companion. I’ve been told I’m going to get a greenie and train but who knows as it’s all up to the Lord and things can change. Whatever happens I am just pumped and excited as I know that the Lord will do what’s best for me at this point on my mission. I know that every companion and every area I have had until this moment has helped make me who I am. I am grateful for all the things I’ve learned so I openly welcome whoever the Lord has for me. I don’t have much time left, and like you said Dad, you have got to leave it all on the mat. That’s what my boy Elder T is doing and I will follow his great example and go out on fire!

Finally I got my first gold star on my mission which means that our apartment was pretty clean and everyone that has a nice apartment gets a gold star! They are highly prized here in the mission, CHYEAH!  Now that’s a good feeling, I put that star in my journal!

Love,

Elder Payne