Wednesday, April 13, 2011

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