Thursday, April 28, 2011

Photo's From Seaside, Oregon

Rocking the combover!

Sharing a message.

Haning with the fellows.

Elder Allred, Elder Payne and the Beaudoin's

Elder Allred and Elder Payne

Dodgeball at the Seaside Ward,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Week Number Two in Seaside, Oregon

April 26, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

This place is the best!!!!!! It's like a vacation out here! Well it’s not exactly a vacation but it is way different from my last area. One of the members gave us a key to their house to go do Laundry and raid the fridge if we want. They are the best family ever. This place is like a 180 degree change from my last area. We live right by the ocean; you can go street contacting right next to the beach. We aren't allowed to go on the beach though, it’s off limits. The area is really nice though, it’s still pretty cold and rains a lot but things will get better. It is a tourist town and it gets really packed in the summers so we will be pretty busy. Things are amazing out here though, it’s a pretty small town so everyone pretty much knows everyone. Last week we received like 14 referrals from members and we are going to work. The Lord is blessing this area and I see some success coming in the future. Elder Allred and I are working hard and the members out here support the missionary work 100%.

I’m about to turn 20 May 1st but it doesn't really feel like it. I feel like the only thing that has really changed is that my beard is getting thicker and I might have to start shaving twice a day now. But there’s nothing I really need, just whatever you send will be fine. Being out here makes you realize that material things don't matter for these 2 years because all I can fit in my suit cases are my clothes and books. I left a ton of stuff back in my last area that Elder White inherited. I might just buy some sweats out here that say Seaside so I can always remember this area. A cool fact is that the movie the Goonies was filmed like 20 minutes north of us in Astoria. I’m going to have to go check out the Goonie house one day on a P-day!

My companions name is Cooper Allred and he is from Orem, Utah. He is a really nice guy and we get along pretty well. He has been out for about 14 months and has served in an English speaking area his entire mission. He doesn't know any Spanish so when I do language study he just does his own thing ha-ha. He has desires to work hard and this will be a good transfer. Of course we are very different and this is the 3rd companion I’ve had that is really quiet. I’m starting to think my Mission President is trying to teach me a lesson or something. Well, my last companion, Elder White was really quiet and by the end of our companionship he was able to talk and express himself pretty well so I have hopes that by the end of this transfer Elder Allred and I will be able to sit down and have a nice conversation without it getting weird. With time we will be great friends, but right now I’m just trying to get to know the area well so I can help out more.

I’ll let you know what’s been going on this week and some funny experiences. Well, I’ll start with what we did this week. We basically stopped by all the members’ homes so I could introduce myself and we asked them if there was anything we could do for them. By doing this we acquired a ton of referrals and will be pretty busy this week. Our Ward mission leader is on fire and is the man. It's totally different from where I came from but I’m so glad I started in Keizer and got that hard working background right off the bat.

Some of the members out here have been giving me a hard time because I’m the new guy but it’s all in good fun. We went to go eat with this family that owns a car dealership. His name is Bruce Smith so he named his car dealership BS Auto ha-ha. He is a really cool guy and used to be in a big rock band. He gave me a hard time probably because I asked him where he got the name for his car dealership ha-ha. I told you about the family that gave us the keys to their house so we could go do our laundry and eat their food, well they are the best. They’re the Symonds’s family and he is a really funny guy. On the night before Easter I got a call from a number but I didn’t get to the phone in time and the person left a message. The message said, " And Lo the Bunny Cometh to thy door, checketh thou for thine basket before thy becometh wet with rain. I then looked outside the door and there were two huge Easter egg baskets full of candy. I later found out that it was Brother Symonds that hooked us up. It was pretty funny because that was the last thing I was expecting to hear on my answering machine. I’m going to get a lot of my funny stories from this guy because he is the man!

We went to go teach this little guy named Lawrence that just turned 8. He is about to get baptized so we went to go teach him what the meaning of baptism is and why we get baptized. Well after about 15 minutes we taught him about everything he needed to know. We asked him what he learned and he told us exactly what we taught him, almost word for word. He soaked up the information like a sponge. I was really impressed because most of the adults I have taught don’t grasp the information that quickly but an 8 year old picked it up in one visit. I was amazed and it was pretty funny because he reminded me of myself at that age as he couldn't sit still. But it's all good because he listened pretty well.

Easter day was awesome though; the Bishop called me up at random during Sacrament meeting and asked me to share my testimony. I was lead by the Spirit as I told every one of my love for them and my love for the gospel and Lord Jesus Christ. Later that day, we made little Easter egg treats for the members and we stopped by almost every members home and gave them an Easter egg. It was a good experience and now this upcoming week we are going to get down to work. It’s a whole different area and a whole different vibe but I know with the Lord’s help I will really make the best of my time here in Seaside.

Love you guys,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

First Transfer to Seaside, Oregon

April 19, 2011

Dear Family,

Things are going super fast out here!! I love it and the spiritual experiences are never ending!! I have so much to tell you about what’s going on out here and how blessed I am to be in the service of the Lord. It's hard to believe that some people see serving a mission as a sacrifice when it is such a privilege!! I’ll take you through my last week and what has happened in the last few days.

Well I just got transferred to an English speaking assignment to a place called Seaside, Oregon. This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Our apartment is right on the coast and it faces the Ocean. It's like I’m on a vacation in Vina del Mar, Chile. I was a little bummed to be going to serve in English but I feel pretty confident that I have mastered Spanish and will continue to work at it every day as I serve out here in English. Perhaps I will even be able to find some Spanish speaking investigators here as well. The area is amazing and my new companion, Elder Allred, is the man! We live with a part-member family and they have a really nice home. We live in an apartment that is on the top floor of their house. It is 100% different out here from where I just came from and I already love it and I’m so glad I got called to this area because every missionary told me it’s the best area to serve in the mission. I’ll most likely spend my required 6 months out here in teaching in English as well. It’s a tourist spot so in the summer it gets packed with people. We will probably be pretty busy with teaching and the members are amazing. It’s a small town but I have this like built up fire inside of me since this is the first time I’ve been transferred. I’m just ready to get out here and talk to everyone that lives in this town. I did exactly what you advised last night and I had a good talk with my companion Elder Allred. We sat down and talked about what our goals were and what we expect of ourselves and this transfer. He expressed to me that he is really willing to work hard and I know this transfer is going to be amazing. I’m glad we had the chance to talk and not beat around the bush and try to fix the problems later if they arise. We just talked about them up and front. We are in the Seaside Ward now and it will be interesting to see how things are different from a small Branch. Well that’s pretty much everything on the new area, I’ll try to send you some pictures later.

This reminds me of La Portada in Antofagasta Chile my Mom's hometown!
I have always loved the Chilean coastline since visiting when I was a boy and the Lord sent me to a beautiful place just like it in Seaside, Oregon.

I have to tell you about last week in Keizer and how awesome it was!! We were able to take our investigator Pedro to go see the temple and brought Leslie Deloya and Lindsey along as they are his friends. As we showed Pedro around the temple, I decided to ask him how he felt. He thought for a while, and said, I feel like Superman!!! I was like Pedro, “That’s the spirit!" Overall it was an amazing experience and Pedro is doing well and progressing on his way to being baptized on the 14th of May. We also held a Fireside Friday night that was called the “Fire Within”. We called members to give talks and share spiritual experiences about missionary work and how it has impacted their lives. It was a really good experience and the members started getting fired up for missionary work as we had them participate in role plays afterwards.

I had a really amazing experience with an investigator named Irma. We got her from the English Elders and one day we decided to stop by her home. When we drove up to her house we saw a lady looking very panicked and sad. I went up to her and asked what’s wrong and it happened to be Irma. She told me that her daughter has been missing since Monday, for about 4 days. I asked her if we could see a picture of her daughter so if we saw her, we could notify someone. Well we saw the picture and took note of what she looked like. I felt the impression to give her a blessing and she accepted!! I told her that everything was going to be alright as long as she had faith. After the blessing we taught her the purpose of life and why things happen. We left her house feeling that she had trusted in our words. The next day I called her and asked her how everything was and she told me that the police found her daughter. She told me that a couple hours after we left they found her daughter! What a miracle? The Lord really is mindful of his children and cares about each and every one of them. I’m so glad to hold His priesthood and power. I had some other amazing experiences with the priesthood my last week in Keizer. It turns out that this guy we were teaching is being hidden by the government and that a gang is trying to find him and kill him. He has to go to court and testify against the gang as he was an eye witness to the crimes he saw them commit. We gave him a blessing of comfort and strength and he flew out like Sunday to go to California and testify against these criminals. He has a baptismal date and is reading in the book of Mormon every day. He used to smoke but one day when we stopped by he just randomly told me that he had stopped smoking. We hadn’t even taught him the Word of Wisdom but he told us he wanted to stop. He said that anytime he had a desire to smoke, he would just read from the Book of Mormon and the urge went away. How amazing is the word of God and the power it brings unto those that have true intent.

Well, things went great and my last Sunday in Keizer I made about 144 cookies and drove around to every members house and thanked them for their examples and the love they have shown me. It was a really amazing experience and I will forever loves those people. I will miss them but they said I have a place to stay when I come back! I got a couple pictures with the members so you will see who has been supporting me for the last 6 months! I love it out here on my mission and I wouldn't change it for anything!

Anything funny happen this week? I don’t have any here in Seaside yet but I bet there will be many to come. We were shopping earlier today and this man on a cart that is about 90 years old stops me and tells me that he wants to go to church. He told me that he just needed to get a hearing aid device from the church. I asked for his number and he gave me his card. He reached into his back pocket and handed me a Band-Aid with his name and number written on it. It was pretty interesting and I will definitely give him a call about going to church!


Elder Payne

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pictures from Keizer, Oregon

District Meeting
Elder White, Elder Payne, Maria and David

Elder White and I at baptizm.

Elder Rangel

April 11, 2011

Dear Family,

Things are flying by out here and I want it to slow down. This is the last week of the transfer and I have learned so much. I feel like I am getting transferred out to another area because it’s my time. I am just now starting to understand what the Branch needs and what I need to do to further help out the missionary work out here. If I stay here it will be great because the work is really picking up and we have the support of the Branch Leadership and the members!! We will see though and I will fill you in next week! My prediction is that I'm going to the coast with Elder Davis in a place called Tillamook! We will see though because it is what the Lord wants!

I really liked in General Conference how Elder Uchtdorf told us when we pray we usually don't receive the whole answer right then. We usually get the answer line upon line, precept upon precept. This transfer has been a testimony of that and receiving revelation for this area little by little. At first we received the plan and implemented it and are starting to see the fruits of the plan. We have also started to have missionary firesides every two weeks where we call members to give talks and talk about missionary experiences they have had. They have gone really well and the spirit is always really strong at the firesides. We have also been able to receive a way to work with the members more efficiently and I know that all these results are due to depending on the Lord 100%. I will tell you in the letter to President Dyches about the changes that we are starting to see here in Keizer.

I've had some really good experiences this past week and been able to understand how to follow the spirit a little more. One day we met this girl named Angelita and were talking to her in the door way. As we were talking to her in the door, one of her friends came walking up behind us. I greeted him with a handshake and everything seemed normal but I just didn't feel right. Well we entered into her house with her friend and began to start the lesson but I still didn't feel right. I didn't understand what the feeling meant so I kept going and began to pray to start the lesson but even during the prayer I didn't feel very comfortable. Right after the pray her friend started to barrage us with questions and he truly wasn't interested in receiving an answer. Soon after his barrage I told him we weren't there to argue or waste his time, so I left with my testimony of our Savior of Jesus Christ. I didn't know what the feeling meant but now if I receive it again, I know what to do, just leave with your testimony. I was grateful for this experience because before I didn't receive a prompting to leave when someone wanted to just bash, but now through the spirit, I can tell further more if someone is interested or not!

We went to a concert this week with the Portland Mormon Choir and Orchestra. It was so awesome and it further unleashed my love for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Before I thought they sounded pretty boring but know I love them!! They had a guest soloist named Dallyn Vail Bayles. He sang really well and I got his autograph. You should check out some of his music because he is pretty good!

I have to tell you about another exciting experience. You know that Sister in my Branch, the one that I told you about. The one that didn't like me, she said that I was lame. Well, yesterday we went to go stop by to see her and talk about how the missionary work is going in the branch. We talked with her and her husband for about an hour and the spirit was there. She didn't straight up say it, but she likes me now. I could just tell by the way she addressed me. I'm glad that we could build that bridge of friendship and trust over what had happened in the past. Looking back this really helped me to grow, I could have said," Man this ladies mean, I didn't do anything to her!" and then avoided her and not said anything. Instead I just kept saying hi to her and being nice, and in the end, she doesn't think I’m too bad after all.

Hey Mom and Dad,

I read the letter back that I wrote you guys and I feel that I didn't really explain what was going on out here last week very well so here are some more things that happened to help you know what I’m going through.

Well things have definitely changed out here and by that I mean that I feel like I have been changing. Before I told you that I had a lot of pride and it was something I have been trying to overcome. Well the Lord is continuing to help me with this struggle I have been having as one of the Elders in my area feels like it is his personal duty to tell me what I need to do better ha-ha. I embrace what he says now other than before where I would have tried to take him down a peg. I enjoy his presence and I like to hear what he has to tell me. For example I combed my hair all the way back for church yesterday because I thought it was an ok way to style my hair. Well this Elder called me later that day and told me that in the OPM mission we have to have a part and a comb over. Thanks to this Elders suggestions and help I have been able to put away my pride and just put a part in my hair. Before I would have told him to stop worrying about my hair, but now I thank him for his concern ha-ha.

I have also learned and know that whenever I have a bad feeling of discouragement or anger or fear to drop down to my knees and pray. I usually never know why I am feeling the way I do or what causes the feelings I have to appear but I know that my Heavenly Father does and he can answer my prayers. Numerous times I have needed help or felt a feeling of discomfort but these feelings soon fade as I ask the Lord for his council and comfort. I had an experience with this the other day. I came back from church and it was a great meeting, but for some reason I felt like something was missing, that I could be doing more. I didn't know what it was that I needed to do or what I was missing, but I knew that God knew. So I got down and prayed and at the end of my prayer I received an answer. I searched for the answer I received in Preach my Gospel and understood what I needed to do. Only was this accomplished by putting my faith in the Lord.

I have noticed one thing that has really helped me grow. You know in the back of my journal I write about 4 things, Hard Things, Funny Things, Tender Mercies and Learning Experiences. At the beginning of my mission I would write in the, Hard Things, like every day because I felt as if I was facing things alone. Now I rarely write in the, Hard Things part in the back of my Journal I usually put them in the Tender Mercies part. I put it in the Tender Mercies because it seems to be that the hard things that happen out here are usually gone as I rely on the Lord more. I used to write in the hard things part of my journal, things are really tough; the members don't want to help. But now I write, the Lord answered my prayer and my fast and the members are supporting us more than ever. It has been an interesting journey so far to see the change that takes place as you forget about yourself and rely solely on the Lord. It’s like that talk you sent me about Faith last week.

As the Apostles watched Jesus calm the roiling waves of Galilee, raise Lazarus from the dead, walk on water, and cause the man blind from birth to see, they desired greater faith that would enable them to participate in similar miracles. Later, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, we see that their faith had actually risen to much higher levels. Thus they participated in experiences similar to those of the Savior, beginning with Peter and John’s healing of the lame man at the gate of the temple. In this and other miracles, they exercised great faith and used their priesthood, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (see Acts 3:4–8).

I have been able to participate in similar experiences on my mission. When I got here I was new and didn't really understand. I know that I’m not exactly where I need to be yet, but I know that I am on the right path. I just felt that telling you guys a little more about what’s actually going on would be better. I feel like most of these spiritual experiences I’m having out here are yours as well as you made it possible for me to be out here. Thanks to everyone who is supporting me financially and with your love and prayers that makes it possible for me to be serving my mission. I am so grateful and let me know if you would like to know anything more or want me to write about things specifically!


Elder Payne
April 4, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

How is everything going? Thank you so much for the letter you sent me, it really filled me in on what’s going on at home. It sounds like things are going well and all of you are keeping strong. Thanks for the food again, the Lord really watches out for you when you need his help. Right after I got that box from you guys, a couple days later one of the members randomly bought me and my companion 3 boxes of cereal!! That pretty much sealed the deal for the rest of the week and I made it thanks to the Lord. We eat dinner about every night and the members here are the best. Thanks for your support!!

This week was awesome and of course the climax was General Conference. I feel bad for all the times I was a little kid and I slept through it, but I guess I just didn't understand the significance of what General Conference is. But now I know and am fully appreciative of the 2 days of a spiritual feast we get to partake of. Really it truly is a blessing to hear from a modern living prophet and know what our Savior wants us to do. I'm sorry for all the times I slept in General Conference when I was a kid, but I realized something, you can't really understand something until you are ready. It's like trying to teach an 8 year old that's about to be baptized the significance of the atonement. But it was great and I learned a lot of things from all the great talks. We went and watched General Conference at the Goesch's home. The Goesch's are the family of my friend Alan that I met at BYU and they are the best. David was also able to accompany us to watch General Conference for the first time and he said he loved it; he is preparing to serve his mission!!

I called Elder Rangel last night and had a pretty good conversation with him. He is about to go home in 2 weeks and it is finally hitting him that his mission will be over by the end of this transfer. I was like," Elder Rangel, how do you feel that you have only 2 weeks left in the Field?" and he responded," Well I know what I have got to do when I get back, I have to get married!!!" ha-ha it was pretty funny cause they talked about that a lot during General Conference. I also told him I didn't want to use slang anymore (and I haven’t been) but I wanted to talk more like the Apostles. Now that's the cool way to pattern your speech, like Thomas S. Monson when he said," In the Cause of the Master!" Now that's what I have got to strive to be like, speak like a G.A now and not just a G. ha-ha but it will take time, right now I’m just trying to master Spanish!! What was your favorite talk? I loved the talk by Jeffrey R. Holland, he brings the spirit so strong and he is so powerful!!!!

I just got back from the Zone activity and it was sweet. We played soccer on the field with about 40 missionaries; I think it was all the Spanish missionaries in the mission. Everyone was showing up with their different soccer Jerseys from different countries because there are a couple Hispanics serving here from other countries like Peru, Mexico etc. I need you to send me my soccer jersey from Chile so I can represent the Chilean pride! It was a pretty good time but we played in the rain so we all go soaked and people were falling all over the place. It rains a lot here in Oregon!

Well this week has been good as every week out here in the mission field is but let me fill you in on some experiences I have been having so you can understand what I'm going through!!! Last Tuesday I had an exchange with Elder Nickels our district leader and he is a wrestler too! He is from Arizona and he won state twice and 8th in nationals. He is the man and he is a really hard worker. Well anyway while Elder Nichols was in my area we went to go see my girl Maria Ceja. You know how Maria Ceja had a baptismal date but she never got baptized, well she’s got a doubt that we are trying to find and I think we found it while I was on the exchange with Elder Nichols. So we went to go see her and I didn't tell Elder Nichols much about her before the appointment, just that she was really nice and pretty old. Anyway, during the lesson, Maria interrupted our teaching to sing for us. Of course this was a new experience for Elder Nichols and he didn't know what to do, but I joined in with Maria and sang along. Instead of trying to redirect her attention back to the lesson, I asked her to sing another song!! She sang on and on about topics in everyday life, it was a pretty good experience. I asked her how she got so good at singing and she told us when she was young she used to write songs for churches!!!!!!!! There it was, we found out what has been holding her back. She knows that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ; she just has an emotional attachment to these other churches she has written songs for. I feel that this was the doubt we had been looking for. Well I was glad that we were able to find the doubt of my girl Maria Ceja as well as hear her beautiful voice. Since I noticed that she liked singing so much and writing songs, I gave her the pamphlet of the restoration and asked her to write a song about the Prophet Joseph Smith and the first vision. I hope this will help her further understand and help her take the steps necessary to coming closer to her Savior.

I went on this Blitz with this Elder named Elder Summers serving in English. We went knocking and the way he talked to people was awesome!! They would open the door and he would stare them straight in the eyes, and wouldn't even blink!! He would never look away and keep them captivated in his eyes. When I go contacting or knocking, I look people in the eyes, but not like I’m trying to read their thoughts or look into their souls. I have got to take a page out of this Elders book and stare people down, even if they feel uncomfortable ha-ha!!! By the way I’m growing my hair out again and going for the slick back, its time show people that not only am I serious about the work out here, but so is my hair!!

I realized a valuable lesson this week out here. I have been keeping the rules out here 100% I mean even the rules that don't make that much sense like having to let an Elder Back your car up when you’re at Albertsons on a P-day and in the middle of an empty parking lot. But I have been doing it because it's not hard and it must be done. Anyway, one day this week I was talking to Elder White, just thinking out loud and I said," Elder White I thought since I had been keeping every single rule in the white handbook, even the little ones, I would see a difference. I thought I would get a blessing or we would get more investigators because we are bringing 10 percent obedient!" But as I said those words I realized something, I don’t keep the rules out here because I expect something in return or a blessing from the Lord, I keep the rules because that's what Heavenly Father wants me to do. I keep the rules because in the end they are not hard to keep and it is how we show our willingness to submit our will to the lord. I don’t keep the word of wisdom just because I know I will be healthier or happier, I keep it because it's what the Lord commanded, and then we can receive a blessing if it is the Lords will. So basically what I have realized out here is, I can never go to the Lord and complain and say," I’ve' been working really hard, where is a blessing or someone I can lead to baptism!" I've learned that it’s not what you can get, but it's what you can give! That's something I’ve been trying to work out, stop asking about me or what I need, but asking what I can do. It's a good lesson to learn yet it will take some time to get this way of thinking out of my head and start thinking about others. The crazy thing about my experience out here on my mission is daily I am reminded or find things I need to do better. I want to do all of them, yet it is very hard to focus on all the things I need to improve on, as there are so many, but I can tell you one thing , I already know I’m not coming back home to play Starcraft or waste my time on stuff like that ha-ha!

Well something funny happened last district meeting. We were all about to go eat out after but I didn't have any money and neither did the Elders from Salem. So I said, hey Elders I have got some Ramen noodles in my apartment, would you like some?" Of course they accepted and we started to make the Ramen when we got back to the apartment. The Elders from Salem just didn't want to eat any plan old noodles so we decided to spice it up. I didn't know that you could spice Ramen up, but it's possible. They looked around the kitchen and found any spice or sauce that I had and that I didn't even now I had and put it in the Ramen. We put sauce from all around the world in there, Chinese sweet and sour, Hot sauce, Lemon sauce, ketchup, not to mention we tossed two eggs in there with some elegant spices and herbs we found hidden for probably about a year or two. I was skeptical, but I was hungry, so I ate the Ramen and it was Deelicious. What I learned from that experience, you can't go wrong with Ramen noodles, because you can't ruin them, they’re just too good. I used to look down at Ramen, but now I realize that it can be made into a Gourmet soup with the right imagination and outlook!

Give my love to everyone,

Elder Payne