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