Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011

Dear family and friends,

I have to tell you about a miracle and answer to my prayers. So the box of goodies that you sent me was a box of miracles. Let me explain, we get money at the beginning of every month to buy our groceries and the stuff we need. I told you how we found a wonderful less active sister by the name of Tabitha and helped her with some service. Well the service was to clean out her garage that was full of like 2 years of garbage because as a single Mom with three little boys she couldn't afford pay for the garbage man so it was like piled up everywhere. We loaded up a truck and took it all to the dump. When I asked Tabitha if she had some money to pay for the dump she told me she didn't have any money left. I felt like I needed to help her because I know the Lord put her in our path for a reason, so I paid for it with my grocery money. So I ran out of grocery money like 2 weeks ago and I was like completely out of food. But I read a scripture about missionaries and how the Lord will provide for his servants. So I was thinking to myself, I think the Lord will take care of me since I didn't spend that money on myself. Well the day I thought that, I got your package, and I got enough food to last me until next month!! Chyeah! So it truly was a box of miracles!!! Thank you for the goodies and thanks to the Lord for hearing my prayers.

Dang, things are happening out here so fast and my mind is exploding with knowledge and things I need to work on. Looking back on when I first came out on my mission I feel kind of bad because I had no idea what I was doing back then ha-ha. Now I feel pretty good because I see how much more improvement there is to go. I told you last letter that I met with the Leadership and apologized for not understanding how things really needed to function. Well since then, a wave of information and knowledge has hit me and I do believe it is all inspiration from the Lord. It’s pretty awesome how if you’re not content with just going with the flow, you can call on the powers of heaven to help you fix or improve things. Things are going awesome and let me explain what’s been going on here this past week.

One thing that I have realized that I hadn't really thought of before is the fact that there are like 4 companionship's of English missionaries in our area. I hadn't thought about it before but it recently came to my mind that why don't we just work together. If we have pretty much the same area, why don't we help each other tract it out so we can find more people. So we have been going on a lot of blitzes with the English speaking Elders here and working hard. We even printed out a paper with Spanish phrases and gave it to them that says, “How to contact someone in Spanish." So from now on, when the English missionaries meet an Hispanic family knocking, they can contact them and give us the reference to go back. It’s been going pretty great and we have received a lot of references from the English missionaries in our area now.

I have learned that you have to follow up! That's one thing that is probably the most important thing in missionary work, you have got to follow up. If you don't follow up with a plan or a goal, people will forget. So I have been trying to get really good at follow up on plans, and remind people of things that they said, to help them out! President Andrade has a saying," No hay seguimiento, cuando no hay un plan!" Which basically means, there is no following up, where there is no plan! Like you always said Dad, if you fail to plan, plan to fail! If you don't plan, you’re done for. I have been becoming a planning machine!!!! It's a different lifestyle entirely from what I used to rock, because my motto before was," Just go with the flow!" But out here, you have got to plan like there's no tomorrow and the Lord will guide you and let you know what changes needed to be made as you follow the spirit! It's crazy that it took me this long to figure it out, but missionary work is a lot more work that I thought, you have got to be on top of things.

Something funny that happened is that when we met with Presidente Andrade, he told us that we needed to dream about baptisms. Well I pondered on that and that following night I had a dream that I got in a fist fight with Jon Claude Van Dan and Dolph Lundgrin( Russian from Rocky) at a Nuclear Power Plant. I tried, but I’m not dreaming about baptisms yet ha-ha, but it will come with time I guess.

I told you that the mission plan is to work with the families in this branch, strengthen their testimonies and help them share the gospel. Well that is going great and we are teaching 9 families and each one is the best. I love talking with them and sharing the gospel with them. Really, the most effective way to do missionary work is working with the members. I honestly don't want to leave because we have finally been able to find exactly what the Branch expects of us and we are doing it. It felt different at Church yesterday, like more love. I felt the spirit stronger in church and things are changing here and I think it is because we as missionaries are doing everything we can to gain the confidence of the members and working hard.

Some miracles have happened this week and I’ll tell you all about it. Tabitha and her little family are doing great and she has been to church every Sunday since we met her. She even asked us to give her 2 year old a blessing because he has problem breathing, afterward when we came back he was feeling a lot better! Not only that, but Tabitha has been sharing the gospel with all her friends. We have been teaching her friend Mariel and she has a baptismal date set for the 16th of April! We are teaching Mariel's sister too and she came to church yesterday! The Lord truly put Tabitha in our path so we could help her come back to church and then teach her friends! I am so glad that we were able to meet Tabitha because even if her friends are not baptized, we got her 3 little boys growing up in the gospel and 3 future missionaries. Maria Ceja is doing awesome and she came to church yesterday as well. She believes that this is the true church, but she has a doubt that is keeping her from being baptized and we must find out what it is. I have decided to pray for Maria Ceja every time I am able to pray because I know that the Lord wants her to be baptized. David Cervantes, the recent convert of a month, has been going out teaching with us about everyday and is progressing really well. His testimony is so strong and he is preparing to serve a mission himself! Yesterday was testimony meeting and Tiffani shared her testimony and it was so powerful. We have been focusing on the members and teaching them every week as that is what Presidente Andrade wants us to do. We have had some pretty amazing spiritual experiences as we ask the families to share personal experiences and testimonies of the gospel. I have been able to experience some amazing things out here and miracles are truly happening. If I stayed here for the rest of my mission, I would be fine with that ha-ha.

My companionship is going awesome. Elder White is the man and he is truly helping me to grow. His desire to improve only fuels my desire to make changes and find new ways to work harder. It is truly a blessing that the Lord put me with Elder White and he constantly helps me to make the proper changes I need to make to be a better missionary.

Funny experiences, well I think this was pretty funny. I was on a blitz with the English Elders from Salem and I was with Elder Taylor. We were knocking in an apartment complex at mid-day. As we were walking around we saw a group of kids playing in the middle of the complex. As we continued to contact, the kids ran over to us and asked," Are you guys secret Agents?" We laughed a little bit and said," We are agents of the Lord Jesus Christ." They were like WOW, who’s that? We talked to them for a little while and even taught them how to pray. Well, after a while of talking to these little kids and challenging them to pray we left. Two days later we came back to the complex for a return appointment and we saw one of the kids we taught to pray running up to us. He told us he prayed and he really liked it. I asked him what he prayed for and he said 5 bucks! He then said he got 5 bucks later that day. I thought it was pretty funny because he prayed, maybe not for the right reason, but at least he prayed!!


Elder Payne