March 21, 2011
Thanks for the scripture D&C65 that you sent me; it really helped me to put things into a different perspective. To be honest things have been changing a lot out here and its awesome. To realize that we are preparing the way for the Lord’s return is an awesome thought.
I just wanted to let you know that Maria Ceja didn't get baptized yesterday, but don't be discouraged guys, in time, she will be ready! I have got good news for you, Aunt Janice wrote me and it was a really awesome letter. It helped me to keep my head up and I could feel the love she has for the Lord in the words she wrote.
Something cool that I have realized is that you have got to use everyone’s talents, whatever they are. I'll give you an example of what I’m talking about. Last P-day all the missionaries got together from around the areas and played basketball. Well my trainer Elder Hansen came with his new companion but Elder Hansen doesn't like to play basketball, he would rather play the piano instead ha-ha. I respect that so when we all started to play inside the church, Elder Hansen left to go play piano in another room by himself. I was like naw; we need him in here with us! So I told Elder Hansen to just play piano while we played basketball. We then brought the piano into the basketball court and had my boy Elder Hansen play piano as we played basketball! I'm not going to lie, it was probably the most soothing games of basketball I have ever played, no one got mad or to rowdy as in the background, my trainer Elder Hansen was playing church hymns ha-ha. I’m glad that we could have my last companion Elder Hansen help out the mood in the gym, and show us his talents too!
The plan that I sent you is working great as it has been meant for this area. We were able to go out with a lot of members this week and teach our investigators. The spirit was really there as we brought the members with us and had them share their testimonies.
Something cool that happened which is just a little side note is that we found a new place to eat after district meeting. It is like something we always do after district meeting out here on Tuesdays, we go out to eat somewhere. The regular place was Machita's Teriyaki and we used to eat there after every district meeting. We have all be getting really tired of it when one of the Elders last week stepped up and said," I can't take Machitas Teriyaki anymore, but there is a new place that just opened up called Chu's Eatery!" We were all pretty skeptical of Chu's eatery but we decided to check it out. We sent two Elders to go in and investigate the prices, because we didn't want to have 10 missionaries walk in and then walk out if the prices were too high. As we waited outside of Chu's, we finally got the ok to come in from the Elders that went inside to investigate! When we went in, we were all amazed by the beautiful elegance of Chu's Eatery. It totally put our old restaurant to shame and we all knew this was our new home. As we looked around, one of the people that worked there introduced us to the Chu's Eatery conference room. He opened two doors and before our eyes we saw a conference table just waiting for us with 10 of the most comfortable chairs you have ever seen in a Chinese restaurant. It was a pretty good experience and not only was the experience great; the food was less expensive than Machitas. It was pretty good to get everyone united around the conference table at Chu's on a Tuesday afternoon, Chyeah!
I'm glad you liked the pictures! Amancio is the man isn't he! You meet some of the best people on your mission. I will never forget him and some of the experiences I’ve had with him like watching him chew gum when he doesn't have any teeth to chew it with ha-ha! But I’m being for real, things are going great out here and the Lord is really blessing me as I strive to be the best I can be. I told you how I felt that I needed to stop using slang words such as man, bro, g, dude, and broseph. Well as I have expressed my desire to the Lord to change to be a better representative of him, I have been able to stop using those words. Now I’m not going to say I have stop completely, but I am changing little by little. I thought it would change my personality to be honest, like the way I talked, but it hasn't at all, I’m still rockin out! But what I have learned from this week and something that will help me for the rest of my life is that, admitting your faults can be fun! Like saying that you were wrong is a good feeling, well not all the time, but in this case it was and I will explain what happened. This isn't to boast or brag, this is just to show you what’s going on out here and the experiences I have been having!
Well here it goes, I learned a great lesson yesterday and I hope you can understand what I’m trying to express. Well you know that every Sunday you meet with the Bishop or Branch President in a meeting we call P.E.C. Well basically every meeting we inform them about our investigators and tell them how they are progressing. Well something that I have been doing since I arrived here on my mission is trying to get rides for our investigators. Most of the Hispanics out here don’t have licenses so I always try to get them rides to church. It’s something that I have been trying to do every week since I have been out here. Well we talked about people that needed rides to church again yesterday and in the meeting the Presidency told me that these people needed to make an effort in getting to church themselves, as it is an act of faith. Before, I used to think, what are they talking about, we need to get as many people to church as possible. But after being out here for 6 months, it finally clicked! If our investigators aren't willing to make the effort for themselves first, they probably aren't going to progress. Sure I can knock on their door and be there with a ride and tell them to hurry up and come to church. But in the end the decision is always theirs. I have been getting stressed and occupied with getting our investigators rides when sometimes they don't even ask a friend for a ride nor do their part to come to church. It finally clicked to me as I realized that God doesn't make me wake up at 6:00am every morning. God doesn't make me keep any of the mission rules. It is the exact same with my investigators. They must have desires to change and do this for themselves as they will have to make the change. They must do their part and after all they can do, I must help. After realizing what I have been doing this whole time since I have been out here, I felt really bad. Every week that I have been here, I have been asking the Presidency for rides for investigators that weren't doing their part. I felt bad that I had caused this burden on the Presidency and I knew that I needed to apologize. That night I visited the Presidency of the Rama and asked for their forgiveness as they probably experience this problem with every new set of Elders that come into the Branch. As I apologized, I felt great. They accepted my apology and not only that, told me words of wisdom that I will forever remember. As I talked to each member of the Presidency one on one, I felt the Love they had for me and the missionary work that is taking place here. I was able to realize how big this work is and felt the Love of the Savior. This experience that I had later lead to another amazing experience that I will share with you when I get back home, as words in person can only explain what happened last night, and the power of the love of the Savior that we can feel as we humble ourselves to being his servants. Things are really going great out here and I have got a lot more to tell you when I get back as writing it out won’t suffice.
Elder Nathan Payne