Saturday, December 24, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Spirit in Woodburn!

December 19, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow, life is great and I get to talk to you guys this Sunday. Time has been flying by and it’s ridiculous. I just got back from the mission Christmas party and I got to see all my long lost boys. I saw my main man Elder W and he dropped a bomb on me, he’s only got one transfer left on his mission, not only him but Elder A has only got 2 transfers left. It is ridiculous how fast time is flying and all the companions I once had are heading home. Elder S goes home the day after Christmas, this transfer day! It’s pretty crazy and I’m most likely getting another companion next week since Elder B has been here for a six months now. Well like I said, things are great and I love being a missionary. The Christmas party was awesome and we had a talent show. Our Spanish Zone, Los Soldados del Sur, sang a pretty cool song called Campana Sobre Campana. It went pretty good and some guys in our district danced around in sombreros. We also combined with all the Spanish missionaries in the mission to sing Feliz Navidad and then danced to the Mexican hat dance which was pretty funny. My boy Elder W directed the music as he wore a Mexican flag on his back like a cape. We also had an ugly tie exchange after the party where all the Elders took the ugliest tie they owned and brought it to the party to exchange with others in the district. It was pretty fun and I love President and Sister M, they are the best. They are like my parents away from home and I guess that’s how it should be.

Well about the ADD medicine, I went to go see a doctor and he wanted to get the medical records from my pediatrician when I last took the medicine so I can just go back on it. I guess that’s cool and I’ll probably go back on Stratera but we will see what happens. I’m expecting a call from him this week so I guess I’ll just have to wait. I know it will help me out. Thanks for the support and thanks for the Christmas presents. I am saving them until Christmas morning and I will keep the tradition of waiting until Christmas day as that’s what I did last year with Elder R, W and W. What we are doing this year is we are having all the Elders in the Branch, Elder S, G, P, B, and G over at our apartment on Christmas morning and we are going to open up our presents. Everyone is anxiously waiting and it will be pretty fun. We will drink hot pero and record it so we can remember it for years to come ha-ha.

Oh yeah, about Christmas day and the call. I am planning on calling you after church here so around 2:30 3ish, por ahi. We will be calling from the Morales home so that will be pretty cool. Well I think that’s about it for what’s going on next week; I have some pretty cool stuff to tell you that happened this week. O yeah, that’s cool that you gave that yearly report to the Ward. Yeah, looking back I do feel like I’ve changed a lot and am further finding out who I really am. I have found true meaning to the scripture that says los que pierden sus vidas a causa de mi, la hallaran (he who loses his life in my cause will find it.)  I think that’s what it says but don’t quote me. That’s awesome about the baptism at the Cherokee Branch too, that’s what it’s all about, making and keeping Covenants!

Well this week was awesome. It was full of amazing experiences. The Christmas Branch party was awesome and the play went great. I actually had a part and a line to memorize in this one and I was the inn keeper that led Joseph and Mary to the stable. It was an awesome party and a ton of members and non members showed up. Not to mention that the following day the church was packed and we had a great sacrament program full of music and singing. I also had the awesome opportunity to go through the temple again in Spanish on Saturday. We have been teaching one of the members from the branch since I got here and he went to the temple yesterday to take out his endowments. It was an amazing experience and really spiritual as we got to go through it with him. As we were in the Celestial room, the spirit was so strong as I put my arm around my boy R and knew that we were truly brothers. Man it just feels so good and hard to explain the feelings you receive as you see one of your brothers decide to make covenants with the lord and to be there with them. I guess the feeling would be absolute happiness and it comes from the spirit. Well there are so many miracles and amazing things going on here and I am so grateful. I am almost done with my 4th journal and it is pure bullet points on testimony, feelings, funny things, and dreams. I’ll send it home soon and you will have to tell me what you think of it. Well, I love you guys and I have got to go but I’ll be talking to you more this Sunday!!!!


Elder Payne

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Time of Reflection!

December 12, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

 I love you guys and I’m glad to hear things are going well on your mission in the Cherokee Branch.   I’m going to answer some of the questions that you have asked me in your last letter. I’m not sure if we are allowed to talk on Skype at Christmas and I think it will just be a phone call. I’ll probably call you guys after church here so after 2 o’clock here in Oregon. To answer your question about why I haven’t been putting anything funny in my letters is because I haven’t had too much time to write as I’ve been trying to write so many people in my limited amount of time. I’ll try and add in a funny story this week as some pretty funny stuff happens out here every week. Well I think those were all your questions.  I was wondering if for Christmas you guys could hook me up with some more  razor heads for the Gillette fusion you sent me a few months back.  I’m cursed and have to shave twice a day now and I’m about out and those things do a great job.

Things are going great here in Woodburn and the work with the less active families in the Branch is on fire. We have truly taking Elder Grows invitation to the extreme and we are teaching about every less active family in our area. It will take some time but I can see the spirit working on them as we teach them true gospel principles again and invite them to come back to Christ. We have also been teaching a member named R and he is the man. He is going to the temple this weekend to go through to receive his endowments and he has asked us to come. I really want to go and support him as we have seen him grow so much. Also, B brought one of her friends to church today and her friend has a really huge family. We will start teaching them this week and I feel like this is the family we have been praying for. It's amazing to see how the work of the Lord progresses and how people are prepared.

That’s so awesome about the baptism you guys are having and it’s true that the work is going amazing. One of the families from Seaside, the H’s just shot me an email and told me that they are doing well and having some baptisms out there too. It’s amazing and nothing can stop the work, no unhallowed hand right? Well things are going great here and I’m having the time of my life. But now I need  to talk to you guys about a really serious matter. Well it’s not too serious but it’s something I have been praying a lot about and I feel like the lord has answered my prayers. I have been praying a lot about finding a way to further serve the Lord and give it all I’ve got.  I went on an exchange with the District Leader the other day and I feel like my prayers were answered there through him. For some reason we got to talking about A.D.D. and how it can really put a block on studying and retaining information. I told him that I gave up taking medication and that I didn’t want to be dependent on that for the rest of my life. He told me he felt the same way but since he started taking medicine again his mission has changed. I didn’t think it was a good idea to go back but then I thought and reflected on it and how much it could help me I decided to pray about it and I feel that I should do it. It’s like this, if a guy has heart problems, is he just going to tuff it out and not take the medicine that will help him. Well I could say the same thing about ADD and tuff it out and I have since I stopped taking my meds five years ago, but I’m not going to lie,  it’s been super tough. I feel like I’ve gone as far as  I can go with the potential I have and if I take the medicine I can go a lot further. Like for example, right now if I keep going on after my mission and for the rest of my life, I feel like I can go to college for 4 years and get a decent job. But if I take the medicine and really focus, I can go to school for 6 years and graduate from BYU law school. That’s what I think, but I’m just ranting on. That’s what I’m feeling right now and I just had to give you guys a heads up because I want to give taking ADD medication  a try again. Well you know I gave it the good fight but even with trying to overcome it, I still have ADD ha-ha. I was also thinking about transferring to BYU from BYUI after the mission as I have a 3.875 GPA and they might accept me as I’m a RM. If I want to try I should get started now so I’m ready when I get back. I still will have to pray about it as my future wife might be chillen on a farm in Idaho, just an idea.

Well, a funny story that happened this week is that we were leaving our apartment in the morning to go do something. When we got outside we saw this guy with this little ghetto truck bouncing up and down as he has hydraulics or something like that. He thought he was the man and I’m not going to lie it looked pretty cool. Well he finally drove off and as he was driving, I guess he pressed the wrong button and his truck bed bottomed out and sparks started flying. I’m guessing he just got them installed so he still didn’t know what he was doing ha-ha. Well it was funny to see and only in Woodburn.

My Spanish is really improving as I’m calling on all the members in the Rama to help me. I guess you will be able to see if that’s true in a couple of weeks though when I call home for Christmas.

Well I love you guys and I love serving the Lord.

Elder Payne

Monday, December 5, 2011

Loving Life in Woodburn!

December 5, 2011

Dear Family and Friends, 

Thanks for all the letters you sent me as it’s so good to hear all the news that’s going on. That’s really cool that the little Neilson G's are wrestling and I know they are going to be great wrestlers. It’s good that they are starting young so they can get some state titles in High School. Charlie Farr is a beast and I knew he would be doing well at Mercer. All the missionaries out here want me to wrestle our Zone Leader who is a 3 time state champion from Arizona that wrestled at 189 ha-ha. I’m not going to mess with that kid but I might try to get in a wrestling room and do some service. One of our investigators kids that is 13 is picking up wrestling and I want to go to a practice one day and see if I still remember how to do a fireman. That’s a pretty cool story that mom wrote me about seeing my High School wrestling coach in Subway. I’ll never forget those guys as they helped me to man up and get my mind right.

The attendance at sacrament meeting is gradually progressing and we are seeing miracles as people are coming back. We will continue to strive and find the Lords elect but we are mostly focusing now on strengthening the members we have. We have been teaching a really awesome member that told us that he is going to be entering into the temple this month on the 17th. He invited us to come and hopefully we will be able to go through the temple with him. We have been sharing a lot of lessons about faith and having hope. We have all been sent here to learn and to grow and that’s why we have trials and weaknesses. I love the verse in Ether 12:27 that has been the theme of my mission as I’m always finding things I need to work on and improve. I know as we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and draw upon the powers of his infinite atonement, we can be healed and molded. It’s amazing the things you learn daily out here and the joy that comes from seeing the work of the Lord. I’m so happy out here on my mission and there’s no place I would rather be. I love Woodburn and all the people here.

I’ve been trying really hard to polish my Spanish and work on my accent. President P told me if you read out loud with a pen in between your mouth it helps you to pronounce the words better. So every morning I am reading out loud with a pen in my mouth and I guess when Christmas comes around in a few weeks and I get to call home Mom can tell me if it is working or if I still sound like a gringo ha-ha. Well about the Christmas list, all I really need are some socks to be honest. I’ve worn holes through all of my socks so I could use some new black gold toes. A GPS would be cool but then again, I don’t want you guys to have to spend too much doe. Everything is going good and we are coming up on the last three weeks of the transfer, time is flying but I love every second of it.

I have a pretty cool story about how my companion is the man. Yesterday before church we stopped by all of our investigators to remind them about church. Well we decided to go see B and the family to see if they were coming. Well it turns out that one of the water pipes broke and they couldn’t get any water to the house. They couldn’t go to church because no one was showered and ready. My companion being the farm boy from Utah got under the house in his slacks and nice shoes to find out what the problem was. I had no idea what he was doing as I’m not a plumber and I’ve never messed with that stuff. Sure enough he figured out the problem, turned a couple nozzles and fixed the water. There was an hour before church started and everyone was cheering as he got the water back one. Elder B saved the day and B and the whole family happily came to church that day. It’s true that we both have our own strengths and together we make a pretty powerful team.

Well thanks for all you guys do for me and I love you guys so much.


Elder Payne

Monday, November 28, 2011

Woodburn, "The Celestial Area"

November 28, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,
Remember Elder R from Mexico?  He has been home for about a year now so I wrote my boy the other day and I told him that I was serving in his favorite area and this is what he said, "I can’t believe you are in Woodburn (a.k.a. the celestial area with the celestial Branch President)".  Dang, Elder R is right; I love this place and the people here! The work is going good here in Woodburn and we continue to push on. We have been teaching a lot of less active families in the Branch and we have run into a new couple that wants to come back to church. They are young and the man has some problems with drugs that we will try to help him overcome. I look at him and I can see what he can become with the Lord’s help and not where he is right now. E G is progressing well and his family is getting excited about the church too. M is progressing slowly as we have to continue to remind him to read. We are working a lot with the less active and I know that through the Holy Ghost and love they will find the desire to come back to church and change their lives.

Thanksgiving was awesome at the Branch Presidents house and there were 8 missionaries there to enjoy the Thanksgiving feast. That’s crazy that President P called you guys to say how happy he is to have me in Woodburn.  Elder B and I are trying our best to work hard and be obedient and we love working with President P! The work is growing a lot here in Woodburn so we now have 6 missionaries in the branch. Isn’t that crazy, we have 6 Elders in 1 Branch. Some Stakes don’t even have 6 missionaries. Well I know it is for a reason and the awesome thing is that all the missionaries here in the branch are like brothers. If we unite together and really figure out a way to reach out to people, we can hopefully bring many unto Christ while we serve here. Things are going great and Elder B and I are seeing many miracles as we are depending on the Lord to guide us. My main man E who just got ordained last week is progressing really well and now his little brother is coming to church. Through his faithful example, I pray that we may reactivate his whole family and see them come back to church. A lot has happened this week and I have a lot to tell you.
First I’ll tell you about my main man Hermano P. He is still going strong and is a G. We went over to his house one day to see how he was doing. We pulled up to his driveway and saw that the garage was open which meant that he was outside so we got out of the car and I shouted," HERMANO!" I didn’t hear anything so I shouted again and then I heard a voice from the side of the house say," HERMANOS!" It was coming from the side of the house so we walked around but nobody was there. We then heard it again and the voice was coming from above us. I looked up to see my main man Hermano P hanging on the edge of the roof hanging Christmas lights ha-ha. I said Hermano, “Don’t fall!" He replied by saying, “I got this”. He is a funny guy and it was a cool sight to see a guy about 70 years old lying on the side of the roof, so close to falling, but without fear. You can’t stop the guy, he is like the energizer bunny, he will never stop going and is a great example to me. I hope to be like him throughout my life as a faithful servant to the end.

Something else happened that’s really cool as I was able to learn and see things from an eternal perspective. When I was serving in Seaside you may have thought I was upset and was having a hard time but I meditated on the time I had with my companions. I thought to myself, was I that easy to live with, and was I that cool? I then thought about all the things I did that might have not been so cool or pretty annoying, maybe the stuff that my companions might have written in there journals saying that I needed to change. Then I was hit with some straight truth as to realize that I was half of the equation. I don’t know if you’re following me but I’m going to keep ranting and hopefully it will make sense. So every morning in Seaside, I would listen to a conference talk in Spanish and sometimes I wouldn’t change the talk for like 3 weeks straight cause I liked listening to the same talk. Another thing I liked doing is listening to the Book of Mormon in Spanish for like 20 chapters in a row instead of music like Motab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir). Then it hit me, I liked that stuff but my companions probably weren’t big fans. Maybe they wanted to mix things up and I just disregarded their thoughts. It then hit me that I could have made things better instead of doing what I wanted. I felt bad, but I knew I could make things better so I decided to call my boy Elder S and apologized and told him I knew I could have done things a little differently when I was there. I then thanked him for everything he taught me. After getting off the phone and thanking him, it hit me and I had the question, why after you leave your companions, are you more appreciative or thankful for them?
It was a wakeup call for me to always be grateful for what’s going on at the moment and it made me grateful for every companion I've  had on my mission and for the things I've learned from each one of them. I know I have had all my companions on my mission for a specific reason and only God knew why at that time but as time goes on I learn why. It feels good to know that the hard times and the good times have been for my benefit and to be honest, I can’t remember the hard times anyway. I’m talking like my mission is over so sorry for the rant as I was just writing down my thoughts. One thing I want to say after my mission though is that I would kick it or hang out with each of my companions after the mission. I never want to say, I hope I never see that guy again, because if you leave with those feelings I think you didn’t learn what the lord wanted you to learn. Do you think any of the things I am learning out here about human relationships will help me when I get married someday lol? 

Well,  I love you guys so much and I can’t wait to talk to you at Christmas. We are doing another Christmas play this year and I have moved up from the part of playing solider last year in the play in Keizer to having a main part in the cast as the Angel Gabriel, Chyeah!

Elder Payne

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful in Woodburn!

November 21, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,
Things are going extremely well out here in Woodburn and we are witnessing miracle after miracle. We are finding a lot of success now as many people we are running into are willing to take the missionary discussions and learn about the Savior. I will tell you about some cool stories later and how the work is really progressing but first I wanted to thank you for sending me some pictures. It looks like everyone is doing really well and the pictures of Heather and Ben’s new place in Florida are amazing. It looks like a nice place to live out there and I’ll definitely have to check it out in the future. I’m glad you liked my last letter and if you have any more questions to throw my way I’m sure I can find some time to answer them. This week is Thanksgiving and we are pretty pumped as we are eating dinner with the Branch President’s family. I love Mexican food, but President is American and so it will be all the missionaries in the branch eating a ton of turkey and stuffing over there. I am going to have to train my stomach for this Thursday as we are going to get so much food. I heard if you eat only lettuce or grapes the night before, it expands your stomach so you don’t get full as fast. I will definitely need to do that as last Thanksgiving we ate about 3 dinners. Anyway, I’m super excited and thankful for all the members here.

Yesterday at church we had the amazing opportunity to confirm B and D members of the Lords church. It was such an amazing feeling to see the change that has taken place in their lives. Another amazing miracle that we have been seeing is the reactivation of many less active members. I told you about how Elder C. Scott Grow came to our mission and put us in line by helping us know what to focus on. Well, that experience changed my mission and my life. I’m grateful that a general authority of the Lord was able to come and help me know what I must further do to serve the lord. He invited us to work with the less active members of the Branch and if we would we would see more success. Well we took him up on his invitation and have seen amazing things happen as the spirit is touching these sweet people and helping them to strengthen their testimonies. M came to church again and is progressing well toward his baptismal date in a few weeks.  We have been working with a certain family for a while now and they have a son that is of the age of Priest. Yesterday we had the opportunity to go to his house and ordain him to the office of a Priest. He asked me to ordain him and I was pretty nervous but it was an amazing experience to see my boy change his life and get back on the right path. We are working with many other young men as well and with time we will have more Priesthood holders in the Branch to pass and bless the sacrament. I feel like Ammon did in Alma 26 when he rejoiced in the glory of his God. I know that all the success that’s going on right now has nothing to do with me but I’m grateful to be an instrument in the Lords hands.
I sometimes think and ponder about my time in Seaside and how I felt like I didn’t really contribute. I tried my best but nothing really happened. Now I further realize that this is just how missionary work rolls. You work your hardest no matter what, even if you don’t get to see the fruits. It’s like what Elder M said in his last letter before going home, some areas are for sowing and others are for reaping but it is all the work of the Lord. I called Elder S the other day to ask him how the work in Seaside was going and he told me they are having 6 baptisms. Many of the people I helped prepare are keeping their commitments and coming into the Lords kingdom.  It’s crazy to see how missionary work functions but it further strengthens my testimony that we are all on the Lords time and he knows where and when people will be ready to receive the gospel. I guess it’s just our job as missionaries to be out there all the time so we can say to ourselves when we are on that plane ride home that we gave it all we’ve got and we didn’t miss out on any opportunities to share our testimony with anyone.  

I’m grateful to be in this area and at this time to see the amazing changes that are happening. One thing I have noticed a lot is the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It really is the key and  is so important and without it I can’t teach. It truly does lead and guide our actions as sometimes I don’t really know what to do, but when I do trust in the Spirit everything seems to work out.

My companion is the man and I am so grateful to be with him for another transfer. There is a lot of work to be done here and it feels good to be with a companion that has the same working speed if you know what I mean. Spanish is coming back quickly and the language is really slowing down for me now.  I am so grateful to the Lord for all His help and the spiritual gift of tongues.

Well, I’ve got to get going but I love you guys and I hope all is going well. Thanks for all the support and know that I keep you in my prayers every night.


Elder Payne

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Six Weeks in Woodburn!


Dear Family and Friends,

This week was amazing and full of great spiritual experiences.  Today we started the new transfer and Elder B and I will be staying here in Woodburn for another one! My companion Elder B is the man and we are working in unity. We both like to keep the apartment clean, work hard and be 100% obedient, so what more can I ask for?

We have a lot of work to do and things are going great. This new transfer ends December 26th, the day after Christmas and we have set some high goals this transfer to find, teach and baptize. Yesterday was an amazing experience as we were able to be a part of the baptism of B and D.  It was a great baptismal service and almost the entire Branch came out to support these two new members of the Lords church. It was a wonderful experience and we are definitely seeing the fruits from what Elder C. Scott Grow taught us a few weeks ago. His visit changed my life and my mission. Because of the things he helped me realize, I now know what it means to exercise true faith to find, teach and baptize. The goal setting he taught us how to use helped us to find B and D and help them come unto Christ through the waters of Baptism. Not only that, but we have been working with a lot of the less active families and many of them showed up to church this Sunday.

This past transfer we saw many miracles happen as we put our faith in the Lord and understood that the only way to accomplish the Lords will is to go to him for help. I learned a lot of things last transfer and I can truly say that the scripture in Ether 12:13-15 has had a greater meaning to me now as I know that the key to the Lords work is Faith. Even my boy M, the brother of B, came to church and to the baptism. I mentioned last week how he had not wanted to participate in our lessons but came in last week as we discussed Joseph’s first vision.  I’m grateful to be a part of the Lord’s work that is going on out here in Woodburn at this time and I know I have been sent here for a reason. I can see lives changing for the better, especially mine.

So, things are going amazing and I thank Heavenly Father for letting me learn these experiences now so I can use them for the rest of my mission. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and serve the Master.

I love my mission and my only desire is to help make Woodburn a Ward instead of a Branch and with the Lord’s help, we are on our way.


Elder Payne

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lovin Life in Woodburn!

November 7, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Woodburn is the best and things are going great out here. We just got back from a Zone Activity where the two Spanish zones in the mission met up and we played soccer. I was able to see my boy Elder W and he greeted me by saying, " Elder P, we’re still going to BYUI right?!?!?!" ha-ha. I haven’t seen Elder W since I left the coast but it was a good reunion. I also met up with my second companion Elder W and it was good to see him. His voice has gotten even deeper from the last time I saw him ha-ha! Man I love elder W! I’m really glad to hear things are going good back home. I really want to write Oscar and my other Chilean amigos so this email will be a little shorter.

Life is good and the work is really progressing here in Woodburn. O and A were baptized two weeks ago and last Sunday O received the Aaronic Priesthood. What a blessing it has been to see and experience the change the gospel has brought to O and his wife. We have got to get O a white shirt and tie so he looks official for when he passes the sacrament. We are definitely taking Elder C. S G’s advice and spending half of our time with the less active members in the Branch. We are seeing the fruits of our labors as people are making commitments to come back to church and come closer to their Heavenly Father. We also have a baptism this Sunday of B and her daughter D. It is going to be a great baptismal service and it has been a blessing to see their lives change by making the decision to follow their Savior Jesus Christ. We have other investigators progressing and as we set our new goals, I know Heavenly Father will guide us to his elect.

Elder B is the man and things are going great. I’m trying to find opportunities to serve him but he is pretty neat and tidy so it’s hard to find things I can do for him. Anyway, things are going great and it would be awesome to serve another transfer with him as I know it would help this area to grow further more!

Well, I have a pretty spiritual experience I would like to share with you guys. We have been going to teach this family for the last couple of weeks and something really cool happened. Every time we stop by to teach, all the kids gather around and get ready to listen. We invite everyone to attend, but my main boy M (the brother of our investigator) hasn’t been feeling it for the last couple of weeks. Instead of joining in the lesson he will just chill in his room and say bye to us when we leave. Well last week we were teaching the family about Joseph Smith and answering the question that Joseph smith had, which church is the true church of Jesus Christ. As we were teaching about that principle, M rolls out of his room and starts telling us that it’s too confusing to understand and that he just doesn’t get it. As soon as M rolled into the room, everyone started cheering and hooting, because M had finally gotten fired up and decided to participate. After things calmed down and the excitement settled, we asked M to take a seat. He agreed and from there we explained the great apostasy and the vision that Joseph Smith received of the Father and the Son.  We testified of the truthfulness of the first vision and asked them to pray about it. I could see the Holy Ghost working on M and he accepted the invitation to say the closing prayer. M is the man and has been joining our lessons ever since. From this experience I have learned to a higher degree that people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. So many experiences on my mission, I have seen that people have got a wall up, and the only way to break that down is with love and support. It’s no wonder why knocking can be so ineffective. At the door you have about 20 seconds to break down their wall and gain their trust. It took us about 4 weeks to gain M’s trust and now he is deciding to take the lessons. I am grateful for these kinds of experiences on my mission and it brought me so much joy to see M get up that day and get involved, even though he was throwing some defensive hay makers (metaphorically) at the beginning, Chyeah!

I love you guys and thanks for the support you’re giving me. I know that this church is true and I’m glad to be a part of the gathering of Israel in the last days.


Elder Payne

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Woodburn's on Fire!

October 31, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Things are going great and I love Woodburn more than anything. President P is a G and the members are great! I have a lot to tell you because last week was a really busy one. Hermano P, the Branch Mission Leader,  is still leading the way and before church this Sunday, he took us to go see all his friends and invited them to church. As I stood there, Hermano P introduced us to his friends and explained to them that our purpose was to bring people unto Christ and prepare people for the second coming. He was explaining this to his friends without any fear and telling them about the covenants we make with our Heavenly Father. He is a great example and I want to be like my boy Hermano P too. I have got to tell you some bad news, last night I ate a habanero pepper and I am still suffering as we speak. I wasn’t going to go down easy last night as we ate with the C family and I had to conquer the hottest pepper I’ve ever eaten. The good news is that it helped loosen my tongue and I can speak Spanish faster. But I’ll be real with you right now, I’m never gonna eat a habanero pepper ever again!!!!!!!!!

GOOD NEWS, O y A got baptized last Saturday! They are great examples to me and have truly decided to follow the Savior by changing their lives. O is the man and it was a privilege to confirm him a member and give him the Holy Ghost. To prepare I listened to the talk that David A. Bednar gave in the October 2010 conference titled, " Receive the Holy Ghost!" It’s an awesome talk and I have probably listened to it about 50 times on my mission. Anyway, things are going good and the Lord is blessing us and our area of Woodburn.

Things are going great here in Woodburn and I love my companion. He’s got my back and I’ve never worked as hard and as efficiently on my mission since I’ve gotten here in Woodburn. The work is going great and the lord is truly answering our prayers and our fasting. D and her mom B are making the decisions and choices to follow the Savior into the waters of baptism. We are working a lot with less actives and branch members as Elder C. Scott Grow told us to do. We had a great experience with a less active family the other day and they have decided to take the lessons again. One thing I have noticed about the success that we are having is that it is not me or my companion that is doing it. What I have learned is that the key to success in my mission is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as this is His work. I as a missionary need to have the faith sufficient to ask for his help and believe I will receive. Then it is the Lords will and whether the time is ready for these people in their lives. Then it depends on the faith of investigators. If they are willing to act upon the commitments we leave them and read in the Book of Mormon, they will be converted by the power of the Holy Ghost. Then it is up to the investigator. Well, that’s what I believe to be the reason for the success, not me or my companion alone, but all the different factors of conversion.

Man, the letters I got from the N boys really touched my heart and I love and miss those little G’s. Their parents are doing a wonderful job with them and they will be great missionaries for the Lord one day.  For them to think that about me just blows my mind. I’m just an average guy but I rejoice in the fact that they look to me as a positive example for them to follow. I’ve learned a lot on my mission about the way people look up to missionaries and how every action is being watched by the rising generation of the church. I have a pretty funny example to explain my point. On Sunday, a family that we have been teaching came to church. The mom’s name is B and she has 6 kids ages 1 to 13. Well, during sacrament meeting, while the sacrament was being passed around, I bowed my head and prayed. After the sacrament was over I looked up and saw D, the 8 year old girl that has a baptismal date on the 13 of November, looking right at me. She motioned that I had fallen asleep. I told her I was praying and I wasn’t sleeping. By now all the kids are motioning that I fell asleep and I wouldn’t budge, I was praying. After sacrament meeting she said again," Hey Elder Payne, you fell asleep. I reassured her that I wasn’t Ha-ha. Well, after talking to them and setting an appointment for later that night, we parted ways. We then showed up that night and we were greeted with shouts and high fives. So as soon as I sit down, M (the older brother of B that lives with them and is not a member yet) rolls into the room with his shirt off and says," Yo sleeping DUDE, why you sleeping in church? Ha-ha I couldn’t help but laugh because now even M was on my case. I then asked for suggestions on how I could pray in church without looking like I’m sleeping. They gave me some good suggestions and it was a pretty funny situation. It just showed to me how watchful these kids are of our examples and what we do and how important it is to be good at all times. I now understand why they say the three best ways to teach are example, example and example!

Elder B and I have decided to do this awesome activity to gain the trust of the members and serve them. In the mornings, we show up to their houses in P-day clothes and tell them that we are there to do service. It works great! What I’ve noticed is that many members will not go out of their way to ask you for some help. So we are making it easy for them and just showing up and being ready to serve .They love it as there is always something that can be down whether that be mowing the lawn or moving furniture. Really, members are the key to missionary work as the last 3 baptisms we have had are member’s friends or families. If they trust us and see that we are willing to work, the work will progress faster.

A really cool side note, you know the UFC fighter named Chael Sonnen? He is from Oregon and one of the members knows him really well. Well, the deal is that he always hooks her up with stuff he doesn’t want like suits, clothes, whatever it is. So Elder Ballard and I had the chance to go and try on Chael Sonnen's suits that he wore like once. Too bad that he is like 6'1 and 185 pounds of pure muscle; I couldn’t fit into his suits but my companion fit into the suits perfectly and has been wearing them like he’s a millionaire ever since. If you get a chance, check out his fight between Anderson Silva at the championships last year. That was the last UFC fight I saw before my mission, how crazy is that. Maybe I’ll get to meet him and we can wrestle or something.  He is awesome and one of the best in the UFC.  He wrestled in college here in Oregon and is the man.

Well family, I love you guys, I love the little G's, I love everyone and I’m grateful to be in the service of the Lord. I have experienced no greater joy than losing myself in the Lord’s work and inviting others to come unto Christ. I know the Gospel is true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.


Elder Payne

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumped in Woodburn!

October 24, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Life is good and my companion is the man, we have been all over the place this week and a lot of good is happening. Of course the enemy of all righteousness is trying to thwart our plans but I know as we work hard our investigators will continue to progress! Real quick, I just wanted to send you this email I got from our Mission President that he sent out to the whole mission.  “Please DO NOT have any personal letters posted on the internet by your family that can be found on the internet by any search engine.  No information about any investigator or member should be on the internet for any reason.  Please LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW, that no personal letters should be placed on the internet which would allow the public to view letters from you which contain any personal information about anyone by name or address. Thank you for your attention to this matter”. Anyway, I think you have already fixed that and you’re not putting the names of anyone we are teaching on the blog.

About my new glasses, I got the glasses last week and they are getting ordered this week. Sorry I didn’t wait but the doctor gave me a good deal. The eye exam was free I just had to pay for the lenses and frames. I should go get a physical as it would be a good idea to check my health out too. I’m playing soccer everyday and my companion who is a farm boy from Logan said he wants to learn how to wrestle so I’ll get into pretty good shape this transfer. I’m glad to hear about all the good news that is going on back home and that everyone is healthy. I got a letter from Abuelita the other day and it sounded just like all the old ladies we talk to out here, always saying, “Que Dios le bendiga" and referring to the Lord a lot. She is so awesome and I can’t wait to talk to her this Christmas on the phone ha-ha. Well a lot happened this week and I have got some pretty cool stories to tell you about.

This week we helped our Branch Mission Leader, Hermano P, with some service this weekend. I love Hermano P and he is the man. He is about 70 years old and stands all of 5'4, but he is a Spiritual Giant. He will stand up in front of Elders quorum and rally up all the members to support the missionary efforts. He is from El Salvador and when he speaks English he’s got an awesome accent. As we were helping him clean his garage, he kept saying to us in his accent, “Easy Money, Easy Money!" It was pretty funny and we would all laugh and have a good time. He is a great example as when we take him out to go teaching with us he will approach everyone he sees and share the gospel with them, Chyeah!!!!!!!!! O yeah, as I was doing service for Hermano P, I found some old school Reebok pumps. They are the shoes that you wore  back in the day and you can pump them up. Remember the movie Robin Hood Men in Tights, when Achue is fighting the knights and he says," Hold up, let me get some air" then he bends done and pumps up his shoes. Ha-ha it reminded me of that movie and Hermano P said I could have them. I just thought that was a funny thing to find in my mission leaders garage!!

One of our investigators is getting baptized this weekend and he has a fresh fade haircut. I asked him if he could hook me up with a haircut and he said he would. So the other day we went over and he gave me the nicest haircut I’ve ever received. As he worked with precision, it took him about an hour and 15 minutes to line me up in the front so I would have a nice hair cut. I thought that was kind of like a tender mercy because he did a really good job and he wouldn’t let me pay him. O is the man!

Things are going great out here in Woodburn. We are working hard and stopping by daily so that we can help our investigators progress to baptism. As the goal gets closer for some of our investigators, greater challenges face them. C was supposed to be baptized on Saturday but we postponed it due to some word of wisdom issues. Now she is having doubts on whether she can continue and the word of wisdom is truly something very difficult to overcome. We will continue to prayer for her and her husband so they can progress further. A and O are doing great and they are getting baptized this Saturday. They have truly made some big changes in their lives and I’m glad to see them make this covenant with the Lord. S is doing well and still has the date of the 12th to be married to his girl friend. He is having troubles leaving his old buddies and his old habits, but as we teach him I know he will have the desires to change. Things are going very well down here and we just need to focus a little more of our time on the less active and the members so we can help strengthen their testimonies as well. We are trying to find a good balance and as some of our goals are changing, we are seeking the lords will to know what he would have us do.

My companionship is awesome. Elder B is the man and it is awesome as we both have the same work ethic. We don’t have to remind each other to do stuff and I’ve never lived in a cleaner apartment. I’m learning a lot from him and we are having a lot of fun.

Well, a lot of funny things have happened this week and I’ll let you know about one experience we had. We were contacting these people in an apartment complex and every so often someone would drive by blasting their music, whether it be rap or Latin music. So we decided when we were leaving the apartment complex to play some real music. So we turned on our LDS hymns pretty loud and drove through the apartment complex slowly. The faces of some of the Hispanics were pretty funny as they probably hadn’t heard LDS church hymns played in that parking lot before. It left a good spirit and hopefully that will leave some lasting impressions on those guys to listen to more uplifting music.

Love you all,

Elder Payne

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Woodburn! Best Place Ever!

October 17, 2011

Dear Family,

Life is really good and I love every minute of serving the Lord in Woodburn. Well, a lot has happened this week and my companion Elder B is the man and is a work horse. We are giving it our all out here in Woodburn and putting the rest in the Lords hands. We come home every night dead tired. He is a good example to me and I’m glad to have a companion who is willing to give it all he’s got. This transfer, I have never prayed so much to find the will of the Lord and to find his elect. The Lord has answered our prayers and we are teaching a lot of people who are deciding to act on their faith and follow their savior into the waters of baptism.

I’m getting into pretty good shape now because every day we wake up at 5:45am  and go play soccer at the High School with all the Latino brothers. At first I wasn’t too good but I’m getting better and I’m repping my Chilean jersey. When I have the ball, all the Hispanics yell," Chileno, Chileno, pasamela!!!!" It’s pretty cool because I’m known as the Chileno now. If you guys could hook me up with another Chilean soccer jersey that would be sweet. I’m still rocking the old one from 2006 when I went to Chile on vacation. Maybe if you guys can get your hands on one and send it to me the next time I send you some photos from my camera. Next thing I want to let you guys know about is I wanted to get new glasses. I’ve had my old ones since the beginning of college so it’s been about 2 years. I think it would be good to get a new pair of glasses and there is a member from Salem that said he could hook me up. He is an Optometrist and is a really nice guy. I don’t think we have insurance for our eyes on the medical insurance but its all good as this guy is pretty cool and I think he will hook me up with a sweet deal.

Remember last week I mentioned that I wrote and asked President M why he thought Elder C. S G picked me out of so many Elders to be interviewed?  Well President M replied by saying, “Elder, the Lord picked you. You have a lot to offer to this mission. Keep up the great work...Love Ya, President M”. I thought that was pretty cool and it was definitely an amazing experience. As I reflect on the words and council that were given to us from Elder C. S G, I have been able to change the way I look at missionary work. I will say that the meeting with him has changed my mission and the way I will further look at setting goals. Elder B and I have been praying a lot to find out how many people we will commit and baptize this transfer. We have asked the Lord for his help and have received the answer that we can baptize 9 people this transfer. I know this is a high goal but I know that the Lord answered us with the Holy Ghost and said he was pleased with this goal.

As of right now, we have 4 dates and a baptism on the 30th of A and O. I have never exercised so much faith to find the will of the Lord as before I just tried my best and prayed everything would fall in place. But now we can plan out how many will be ready this transfer to be baptized and work for the goal. I know the power of fasting and praying and I know the Lord will help us to reach this goal that we set. We have other investigators named C and R who have decided to get baptized this weekend. C is so excited to get baptized and she is on fire. We might need to set the baptism back for her as this weekend is stake conference. We are teaching this other awesome guy named C and he has committed to getting baptized on the 13th of November. He is not married to his girl friend but has committed to getting married the day before his baptism on the 12th. He is an awesome guy and really looking to change his life. The work is going great out here and I know it is due to our dependence and faith in the lord. Like it says in Ether 12:13-15, it was through the faith of the lords servants that the great change was wrought among the people that they taught. I know that through this same faith, we can find and teach and baptize. We have about 7 investigators that have agreed to baptism and are coming to church, now our goal is to find another family to complete our goal of 9. I’m so pumped about the work and having this opportunity to serve the Lord. I think I am more pumped now because I have finally come to an understanding that this is only made possible through the our faith, the Lords will, and the faith of our investigators and their willingness to act upon the answers they receive from the Holy Ghost. Well things are going great and I love the Lord. Sorry about going on a big rant but I’m feeling it and I’m super excited.

It sounds like all is well with you guys at home and I’m grateful to hear that as well. That’s so amazing that E is going to be baptized soon and that you guys have helped him make that step towards our savior Jesus Christ. It sounds like the C Branch is really pulling together like here in Woodburn.  President P is amazing and he is really helping us out and giving us a ton of support. That’s so cool that H B in Seaside got his mission call to Brazil, we told him that’s where he was going ha-ha. That kid is a stud and he is going to be an awesome missionary. He is really prepared to serve the lord and is going to be a great instrument in the Lords hands. Please tell him I said congratulations and that I know he is going to do great.

I will close with an amazing tender mercy that happened this past week. I went to the Portland temple last Saturday to attend the sealing of one of the members here in Woodburn. We went through the temple and it was all it Spanish. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had and it was an awesome experience. While I was at the temple I got the pleasure of seeing some of my favorite members from my first area in Keizer. I saw my boys J C D, J D, A GC , and Hermano R. I was so happy to see them and their wives and it was a great reunion. J asked me if I was going home soon and I laughed as I told him that I just completed a year about a month ago. It was a great experience to go through the temple in Spanish and to see all my brothers and sisters that I love. This week was so sweet and there’s no other place I would rather be than serving the Lord out here on my mission right now. I Love the lord and I know that this is his restored Gospel on the earth again. I love you guys and send my love out to Brother S and President N. Those guys rock and I will write them once I get some time.

Any funny stories, well I have a funny story that happened the other day. We were going to visit one of our investigators and some kids walked by us. They were about 5 and 8 years old. The younger kid said “Hey” and his brother said, “Don’t talk to them, they are strangers”. We told them that we were missionaries of the Lord Jesus Christ and walked away after introducing ourselves. As we walked away I overheard the younger brother say to his older brother," Are you crazy, they aren’t strangers, they are cool!" So Elder B and I walked away laughing ha-ha.

Give my love to all the family, everyone in the Ward and tell the little G’s to be good and get ready for their missions.  I miss everyone and love you all so much!


Elder Payne

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Special Wedding to Remember!

Queridos Familia y Amigos,

Woodburn is on fire and so am I! I love this place and it is so awesome. Not only do I love this place but it has been an amazing week full of spiritual experiences and really fun too. So I arrived here just last week and time has just flown by. It feels weird to be out of the loop and not able to contribute that much. I just got here in my new area and I don’t know very many people or even all of our investigators yet. It’s definitely a much different pace than being in Seaside where I know where everything is and who everyone is but I’ll get up to speed soon and able to get comfortable with my surroundings. I love the Woodburn Branch and I’m so happy to be here. My companionship with is going great. We are two very different guys but we have fun and make it work because our desire to serve the Lord unifies us. It is great to have such a hard working companion.

First, let me start by telling you about the highlights of the things that have just happened out here. I got interviewed by a General Authority yesterday! It was an amazing experience and I will elaborate on that a little bit later in the letter. We had a mission tour yesterday and a member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy, Elder C. S G came and talked to our mission. It was an amazing experience to have a General Authority come to our mission and talk to us about ways we can improve as missionaries. Elder G served as a Mission President in Uruguay before being called to the Seventy.  But before I get more in depth with that let me explain to you what else amazing happened. There was a wedding this Saturday and we had a baptism on Sunday.  Things are going amazing out here and truly the field is white and ready to harvest here in Woodburn, Oregon.

Well let me first start off with telling you about the wedding. The wedding was awesome and it was the first real Mexican wedding I have ever been to. The colors of the wedding were bright and the decorations were pretty cool. Well the wedding was for two of our investigators, O and M. They are a really nice young couple and making some good decisions in their lives right now. Well at the wedding, I decided to sit at a table with some people I didn’t know. As I sat down, they started asking me questions about who I was and why I was wearing a black name tag. I explained and found out they were not members of the church and the whole time during the wedding, they asked me questions and I shared the gospel with them. We laughed and had a good time and by the end of the night they gave me their names and told me to add them on my facebook. They also said they would read the book of Mormon and that they thought it was interesting. It was a good experience because it was a testimony to me that you can share the gospel anywhere, even in a wedding where they are blasting Spanish salsa music in the background.

I always try to share a funny experience that happened during the week so here goes.  A funny and strange thing that happened at the wedding is that the DJ didn’t like to talk on the microphone because it made him nervous. So Oscar came up to me and asked me to make the announcements. You know I am like Mom and don’t have a shy bone in my body, so I jumped in and it was great! I got up in front of all these people I didn’t know and introduced the new bride and groom. I told everyone to applaud and introduced their first dance. After the married couple finished dancing, I invited everyone to get on the dance floor and start dancing because it was open dance floor now and the place was jumping. It was a pretty funny experience because I didn’t know anyone, but I was making the announcements in Spanish ha-ha.  The wedding went really well and it was a good experience to witness this young couple getting married.

On Sunday, the first day back into the Spanish Branch, I was asked to give the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting. Later that day, Elder Ballard and I got ready to have a baptism for a lady named E. She has been taught for a while now and decided to get baptized. It was a great service and the spirit was really there. The Branch really came out to support her and she definitely felt the love. I know the Lord has many other people ready here in Woodburn waiting to get baptized and enter into His kingdom.

Now back to my amazing experience at the Mission tour yesterday. Elder C. S G came and spoke to our mission and gave us some great advice on how to improve the Lord’s work. I learned so much and was truly edified. I was grateful for the opportunity I had to hear the voice of the Lords servant. At the end of the meeting, President M got up and said," Now Elder G would like to talk to a few Elders, don’t worry you’re not in trouble, he just felt inspired to talk to a few of you for a minute or two!"

So the AP’s went around and grabbed about 10 missionaries and asked them all to follow them to a room nearby. Out of the 10 missionaries chosen, I was the one chosen to go into the interview first. Everyone was like ooooooooooo; you’re in trouble Elder Payne ha-ha. I didn’t know at that point what was going on but soon I felt an arm around my shoulders and it was Elder G. He said, are you ready Elder? We went into this room and the interview began. I won’t go into depth about what was said but I will tell you how I felt. I have never felt so loved by someone that I had never met before in my life. I felt the spirit strongly and I knew that this was truly a servant of God. I was able to ask him questions that he answered with the spirit. It was truly a great experience and it seemed as if he was looking into my soul to see who I really was. He answered some questions that I had been having and gave me some really good counsel. It was an amazing experience and he told me some things that I will never forget. I wrote them down and have them in my journal and maybe I will share them with you in the future. I’m grateful for the experience to have been in the presence of a General Authority and to receive counsel and revelation from a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I will never forget this tender mercy!

Well, life is amazing; I love my mission with all my heart. I love the Savior and I’m so proud to serve him. I love you guys and am so thankful to each of you for your love and for your support.


Elder Payne

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Transferred to Woodburn and Spanish Again! Chyeah!

October 4, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,


I just got transferred to the best area in the entire mission in Spanish! I’d heard stories of this area back when I was a greenie and Elder Rangel was hooking me up with his aged wisdom. He told me that Woodburn was the best area and ever since then I have wanted to come and serve here. Now it has become a reality and I’m right in the thick of it, HISPANIC investigators everywhere. I went to Wal-Mart the other day to buy some groceries after transfer meeting and you had to search for someone that spoke English! Ha-ha I’m just playing, it’s like half and half here but I’m just so excited to be back in Spanish.

I loved every second of serving in Seaside and I won’t forget the things I learned and the challenges that I was able to overcome. I especially won’t forget the members or the investigators that I love. It’s hard to believe I was there for 6 months and now I’m back in Spanish. I’m so grateful for the time I had to spend serving on the coast and it’s made me a lot of who I am today. Now, I’m in Woodburn just loving life. My companion is a G and a workhorse. He just wants to go-go-go and we are going to work our butts off. He is a farm boy from Utah and his name is Elder B. He has been out about six weeks less than I have. I didn’t get to be with my Boy Elder W but it’s all good because Elder B is the man. We are getting along great and its going to be a great transfer. Last night I was able to go visit the Branch President, President P, and he is a great guy. Then we went to go visit the Ward Mission Leader and he is on fire. Everyone is ready to work and I’m so glad to be here. My Spanish is coming back really fast as I have put my trust and faith in the Lord and he is helping me out a lot. I’m just so glad to be back I can’t explain it in words.

But a little bit more about my new companion. When I got to our apartment in Woodburn and opened the door, I was amazed at what I saw. The house was sparkling clean. No dishes in the dish washer, everything was in order, the bathroom was sparkling clean, so clean that I would probably eat off the floor. He sat me down and told me he likes a house of order and the house to be clean. I was glad to hear that as I like to be clean too. Sometimes I get a little sloppy but I know my new comp will be there to let me know when it’s time to pick it up. It’s funny how every new companion and area brings something new to the table. I know from this transfer that I will be able to learn how to really clean and wash my dishes after using them, Chyeah!!!!

I wanted to let you know what I did with the money Nana sent me. I bought 2 brand new Van Heusen white shirts from the Deseret Book and a Columbia waterproof rain jacket for when the rains starts coming hard this winter. I have everything I need now until the very end of my mission but I might need to buy some more socks!

So today we had district meeting and my Pops (trainer Elder H) is the new Zone Leader with Elder N. It was an awesome meeting and my first district meeting in complete Spanish for the last 6 months. It was great and a really good experience. Actually we are only about 40 miles up the road from our first area in Keizer and it’s great to be working with Elder H again!  One of the new arrivals (greenies) told me he knew Elder S in the MTC and that Elder S wanted to tell me “what’s up”. It’s a small world and I hope my boy Elder S is doing well.

It was kind of sad to leave Seaside and my last couple of days there I went to go see the members and our investigators and thank them for the things I learned from them. I sadly didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to one of my favorite families, the S's, because they were in Idaho. But one day I will hopefully see them again as they had such a great impact on my life, Brother S is a G. I will definitely return to Seaside one day in the future and pay those awesome people a visit.

General Conference was amazing. I enjoyed each and every single talk. One thing I did differently this General conference is pay attention to what the spirit wanted me to learn. Usually I would just sit there and write down everything said or that sounded cool. This time I just sat there and listened, and tried to find out what I could write down to help me reflect and help me be a better missionary. One thing I heard said a lot was that when you are in the service of your fellow man, you are only in the service of your God , Mosiah chapter 2:17 I think. They also talked a lot about repentance and used the scripture in D y C 58:42-43. Also they talked about that we should be an example of the Believers in all that we do as Timothy says. I learned a lot from General Conference and it really impacted me to feel and realize how many of the talks were directed to missionary work. I loved Elder Holland’s talk and that really got me pumped up. I know that I am a servant of the Master and have the authority from God to perform miracles in his name. I know without a doubt that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of God and leads and guides this church. So many times I received that confirmation from the Holy Ghost that he is the Lords mouth piece on the earth. I really enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf’s talk about how special we are to God. His talk was another confirmation that God is aware of the things we face and that he truly does love us. I was truly edified by the talks given and I’m grateful that we get to hear the Lords anointed ever 6 months, what a blessing. Let me know what you think and write me back about the things you learned!

Well family, I’m just so happy if you can’t already tell. I’m glad to be back in Spanish, glad to be with an awesome companion, happy to serve the Lord, and ready to invite some people to follow their Lord and Savior down in to the waters of baptism!

Love to everyone,

Elder Payne

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Growing stronger in Seaside!

September 27, 2011

Dear Family,
 I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed my letter last week and didn’t think it was too preachy. I thought it might have been too much but I’m glad I can tell you how I feel and you guys understand what’s really going on out here. Things are going great and I’m loving life. After that spiritual experience I had in the temple, things have really changed. I have a greater love for my companion Elder S. This kid is a G and I’m so grateful for the time we have had together to work our butts off. We have both changed extremely and I’m grateful for the example he has been to me. It is such a good feeling to look at people from an eternal perspective and not to judge them for their actions, but for who they are. Everyone faces individual challenges and you never know what’s going on in their mind. All I can do is be a good example and lend a hand if they need it. That’s what I have learned from Elder S, don’t judge but be willing to help in any way possible to lift someone up. I just sent a letter to my boy Scott to go check out General Conference as that is an experience of a lifetime. I just sent it today so I’m afraid it won’t get to him in time but if you somehow see him on facebook, let him know that I wanted him to check it out. I’m so pumped for General Conference as it truly is an opportunity to hear the voice of a prophet of the Lord. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the mouth piece of God and I’m stoked for this conference. I’ll write down my impressions and let you know what I learned.
 To answer your questions that you sent me, Question, did you get to see Elder H at the combined meeting when L. Tom Perry came to speak to your missions? I did not get to see Elder H as he was in the North part of the Kennewick mission at the time and only the South part got to come down for the conference.  How did it go? It was really awesome and Elder L. Tom Perry basically just read us from the Book of Mormon and taught us about some of the stories and how they relate to us ha-ha. Elder C was there too and that was a great talk that he shared with us. I can’t wait for conference, I will have to miss a few sessions due to work, but will go back and watch them on  Let me know your spiritual impressions okay? I’ll let you know what I learn from the spirit Dad and then we can discuss it and see if the same things hit us.
 Anyway, like I said things are going great out here. Last Sunday I was able to bare my testimony and I didn’t cry. I guess sometimes you’re feeling really emotional and other days you’re not ha-ha. I testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as I know it is the word of God. Just last week I finished reading the Book of Mormon all the way through in Spanish and I took Moroni's Challenge again to ask heavenly father if the book is true. I knew the Book of Mormon was true but I have learned that you can ask for further confirmations so the spirit can witness to you that these things are true. I love reading the book of Mormon in Spanish and it is so awesome. Not to mention that the day I finished it, we taught a lesson to these Hispanic people and my Spanish was flowing better than it ever had before. I’m not sure who said it but I heard that if you want to become fluent in a language, if you read the book of Mormon all the way through in that language, you will become fluent. I heard that a prophet said it but I’m not sure who did. I can testify that’s true though as I feel like a native now, just got to improve that Mexican accent, vato. When my Spanish gets a little bit better and people ask me where I’m from, I’m just going to say Chile or Michoacán, Mexico and see what they say ha-ha, Chyeah!!!!!
We had some pretty good experiences the other day but first I’m going to hit you with some bad news. I think I may need to get my tonsils taken out because I have some problems with them. I’m going to see Brother F today, a doctor in my ward, and see what he thinks. I have had troubles breathing in the morning and I’m going to ask him what’s up. But to be honest, that’s not even bad news, that’s just what happens in life. Anyway let me fill you in on a couple of things that have been going on this past week. There is this lady in our ward named Sister M. She is from Columbia and I always talk to her in Spanish. Anyway, her Mother who is like 95 years old is here visiting and she is from Columbia. She is so awesome and reminds me just of Abuelita. She grabs my arm when she talks to me and ends almost every sentence by saying,  “El Senor es todo”!! (The Lord is everything!) At church Elder S and I sat down with her and she told us awesome stories about her life and how when she was 71 years old, she played in a soccer game against all these men.  They would chant, Grandma, Grandma, but she showed them all up when she scored a goal and everyone started running around yelling GOAL!!!!!!!! The emotion on her face was priceless as she told the story and acted out the goal she made!!!!!!!!! I love old ladies and I love Abuelita, I will write her soon and hope to listen to her crazy stories one day soon too.
Any funny experiences this week, well I have a couple but I’ll tell you about this one. We took S to church last Sunday and S loves sharing the gospel. When we take him tracting with us, he contacts everyone, no matter if they are on a bicycle or running. Well, we were standing in the church greeting people and President W, the Stake President, came up and greeted us. S saw that as an opportunity to invite the Stake President to learn about the Gospel. He said, Sir would you have 2 minutes so we could share with you a message about the Book of Mormon. Ha-ha, Seth is a great kid and we could use a million more missionaries out here just as bold and valiant.

There is so much to do it is crazy. I want to write O, V, and M y todas las personas en Chile pero no tengo el tiempo suficiente. Well, I’ll try to further get organized and start popping out some letters. I love you guys so much and I’m so grateful for the support you’re giving me. I’m giving it all I’ve got out here and sometimes I forget that I need to trust in the Lord and let him guide me. But it is a learning process and I’m grateful for the lessons I have learned so far through the Spirit.


Elder Payne

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Winding Down in Seaside

September 22, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,

Yo family, a lot has happened in the last couple of days and I have got a lot to say about what has gone down. First off, I got your package and it was awesome!! I gave Elder S the “Jesus is My Boss” hat you sent me and he thought it was way cool. Thanks for the talks and the book you sent me, I will study them and let you know what I think.  That razor you sent me really is the Cadillac of all razors, I’ve never gotten a closer shave and it felt great!! Thanks for the hamper I’ve needed one for a while now. Well, you asked me about things I need and my white shirts are getting a little worn out but it’s all good, I think I can make them last another year. Thanks for the pens and I’ll put them to good use writing in my journals.  That is so cool that you got a call from Elder Woodman last week.  He and Sister W are my hero’s and I hope to be half as valiant to the Lord when I am 78 years old too.  We will all miss them as they are leaving next week to go back home, but Elder W's example and rants will be with me for the rest of my life!

Elder and Sister W!

 All right, so I will get down to business and let you know what has been going on with me. I’ve done some major pondering and finding out where I am as a missionary right now. There are a lot of things that have been revealed to me by the Spirit and hopefully this will all make sense when I get done writing this email. First off, I want to let you know what I felt inspired to do. One day after district meeting,  I decided to read the letter you sent me to some of the missionaries in my district.  It was the letter you sent me after reading my journal and giving me some advice. I felt like reading some of the parts in that letter would be of benefit to some of the missionaries since some of them are experiencing the same feelings of inadequacy I was having. After I got done reading the letter, my boy Elder J came up to me and asked if he could make a copy of the letter. Elder J is an awesome missionary and he is on his last transfer before he goes home.  I asked him why he wanted a copy and he replied to me that he had been praying about these feelings he had been having the night before and he felt like the letter I read was an answer to his prayers. He told me that he has always had feelings like this his whole mission and that the letter you wrote me completely explained where these feelings came from. So I thought it was pretty cool to have your letter answer someone else’s prayer that was also going through the same things I was too.
Anyway, I meditated on what you said and how I maybe am being too hard on myself.  I just want to give all I’ve got to the Lord but he doesn’t ask me to be perfect.  I have always prayed for the strength to understand and handle the situations I have been given out here, but the answers really sunk in as I had the opportunity to talk to my Heavenly Father in the Portland Temple yesterday.  In the temple I was able to tell Him exactly how I felt and ask him for His divine help. I came to an understanding that the adversary had been a big part of my trials that I have been facing as I have been worrying about things I have no power to control.  It was an amazing experience to speak to my Heavenly Father and fully trust that through the power of Jesus Christ, Satan in no means has any power or control over the way I feel. I have turned it all over to the Father and fully trust that He is and will take care of me. I know these feelings of inadequacy or despair come from the adversary. I used to think that these feelings meant I was doing something wrong and I needed to make a change because I wasn’t quite doing things just right but thanks to your letter and my relationship with the Lord, I have come to an understanding that the adversary was just trying to merk me and rob me of my peace. Since I have basically cast Satan's influence away from my thoughts and recognized where these feelings are coming from, I feel a lot different.  I am trying to stay centered in Christ and seek His Spirit as my constant companion regardless of what happens.

Now I’m not saying I was completely depressed or even depressed in any slightest degree, but I had a distorted and different way of thinking and looking at things. Now that I have acknowledged this I am way more relaxed and see things from a more eternal perspective. For example, when my companion decides to do something that wastes our time, I used to get upset and think about all the things we could have been doing instead. Now I sit back and read my scriptures and think it’s good that he’s out here to serve the Lord. So I received a totally different outlook and perspective since I have brought this to the Lord and asked for his help. I want to thank you for taking the time to help me understand that my efforts out here “are good enough”  and I’m only here to try my best. I can’t convert everyone with my testimony and now it makes greater sense what the prophet Alma was feeling when he desired to cry repentance to the people in Alma Chapter 29; 1-4. I have felt these feelings but now I have reached a sense of contentment that comes from knowing that I am giving it all I’ve got. I am grateful for these experiences I am having on my mission that have helped me to further understand the atonement of Jesus Christ and how the Savior is the key to helping me overcome these and any trials that will come during my life. I am grateful for the Savior, the great Mediator, the one I can go to that knows what I’m going through, and he can mold me and make me better than I ever was. I love you guys and sorry if this was preachy, but that’s just what’s going on out here and I love it!
By the way, Elder W said thanks for the letter. He really enjoyed it!! Also, I’m going back to a Spanish area with Elder W in 2 weeks; we have transfers after General Conference. It is going to be crazy because the whole coast is getting switched around. The Elders above us in Astoria are getting transferred because ones going home. Elder J in Tillamook is going home and Elder W and I are out of here. It’s going to be a crazy transfer meeting. Thanks again for the package. I’ve changed the format in my journal to just reflect on Tender Mercies, Hard Things, Dreams and Fun Things.  It’s a little bit more difficult to write in put it takes less time and I have more time to focus on other things. By the way, I’m about to finish the Book of Mormon in Spanish and I only have 12 pages left. I know the Book of Mormon is true and if you want to perfect your Spanish Dad, read it out loud. 

Love you guys and send me some questions next time so I can answer them.


Elder Payne

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Photo's from Seaside, Oregon!

Peaches and Carrots?

September 13, 2011
Dear Family,

Dang DAD, you are the new Rant King!!!!!!!! That was an awesome 10 page letter ha-ha. I only had time enough on the computer to get like 1/4 of the way through the letter but it was great. I felt the spirit testify to me that the words you sent me were true and I now have  a lot of things I need to bring in front of the Lord.  Now that I have someone outside looking in and some good advice I know I can further improve. Thanks for taking the time out of your day to help me out. I love being a missionary and I’m learning so many things.

When we walked into the library today we were greeted by the library guy who works here with a," Hey DUDES!!!!" He’s a pretty cool guy and always gives us an extra 10 minutes on the computers if we run out of the hour we have.  I will study all the things you said and go unto the Lord in prayer to help me know what I must do to further lose myself in his service. Thanks again and I hoped you liked the Journal. I hope you liked the pictures too and I’ll send some more soon.  I am looking forward to the package you mentioned in your letter!  It is always great to get packages from home! Oh, I forgot a few weeks ago, tell Brother M I was bummed I did not get to see him after the Mt. Hood to Seaside race, He is the Man!

Today, my companion and I have an interview with President M. I’m pretty excited because President M is the man. He always answers the phone by saying, “President M or President M here" ha-ha. I’ll tell you how it goes in my next letter. Well, a lot happened last week and things are going great out here. I feel so privileged to be out here and to have the opportunity to share the gospel with all those we come in contact with. I’ll let you know some really cool experiences I had last week, both the spiritual and the funny.

Elder S, President M and Elder Payne

First I’ll start with the funny and how I was on an exchange with Elder W. When Elder W and I were on an exchange, this last week and it was like working with your best friend. We would wake up in the mornings and then say, " Elder today’s gonna be awesome." It didn’t seem like work when we were out proselyting; it just seemed like rolling around with your best friend and sharing the gospel. This kid is like the long lost brother I never had and we had some funny times. We were driving to an appointment and this skunk ran in front of us on the road. My only reaction was to honk at it and as soon as I did, the skunk juiced us! His stink just barely missed the car as I swerved out of its path.

Elder W!

We then played this tracting game where your companion says a word right before the person opens the door and you have to try and say it during the conversation. Well, a shout out to Georgia,  I told Elder W to use the word “Peaches” and it was pretty funny; we got into a conversation with this guy from Mexico that was washing his car. We got into talking about authority and how authority was found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The guy wasn’t really having it so Elder Weyburn said," Listen Sir, we’re not just a bunch of Peaches here, we know what we’re talking about." It was then my turn and Elder W  gave me the word “Carrot”. I was a little nervous cause I didn’t know how I was going to use it in a conversation but the lady that opened the door set me up for it perfectly. She opened the door and after introducing ourselves we went to go shake her hand. She denied me as she had oil on her hands from cooking. I then looked at my hand and said to her," Your right maam, you probably don’t want to shake these carrot fingers anyway." She laughed and said, " Yeah I have carrot fingers too ha-ha." We thought it was pretty funny and had some good times while tracting which can get pretty rough sometimes. Well, I just wanted to let you know that Elder W is the man and he’s coming up to BYUI after the mission most likely and we want to room together in the future. I know that’s in a while but wanted you to know that out here on the mission, I’m meeting a ton of Elders that are cool and we will be lifelong friends.

Things are going great on the coast and as usual the work continues forward. C, who has a baptismal date for the 24 of September was at church and had a good time. I think he will be ready and from his example his family most likely will reactivate. We were not able to teach S which was a bummer and we are hoping that she is doing okay. She has a baptismal date as well and we will see where that goes. D A is doing great and progressing really well. He has some issues but is the man and said a prayer in our last lesson. His brother who is a member is really proud of him as he is improving so much. The missionary work is going great in our area as the members are participating more in lessons and helping us out. The High Priests and Elders have already filled up about a month’s worth of going on Splits and that is going to help us out a ton too.  They key to success in missionary work really is when the members help out and trust you enough to refer their family and friends.

I have a little tender mercy experience that happened yesterday. Well it was S’s birthday yesterday and he wanted us to come over and share a spiritual thought for his birthday. This kid is awesome and I really love him. He has a desire to serve the Lord and loves coming out with us to teach the gospel. Yeah, he is facing some trials but we are here for him 100% of the way.

My companionship is going great. Of course it has its up and downs and we aren’t always singing, but after receiving your good advice Dad, I have been able to look at the ups and downs from a totally new perspective. I’m so glad that Elder S and I are companions and I have this opportunity to love him and learn from him as he is a great Elder.

You know often you can have a fun time and a spiritual experience at the same time.  We were driving down the road and saw these elderly people out working in their yard. Without a word between us, we both knew we just had to stop and ask them if they needed help even though we had an appointment in 15 minutes. We jumped out of the car, took some shovels and went to work on their yard working and digging as fast as we could. As we were working, they were saying thank you the whole time and we said it was all good.  We probably did what they could do in an hour done in just a few minutes and it felt great to help out quickly and then take off. They probably never even knew that we were Mormon missionaries’ at all ha-ha.  I have learned that you can serve others, serve the Lord and have a great time doing it, it’s all in keeping the right perspective!

Elder Payne