Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sweet times in Seaside

May 31, 2011

Dear family and friends,

What’s going on? Things are going great out here in Seaside and I know I say that every week, but it's true. I Love it. Elder Allred is with me for another transfer and I’m excited, we are becoming tighter and we are working really hard together. We don't waste a minute and we give it our all each day.  We are picking up more investigators and they are progressing. We have been working with some less active families as well and one of them came to church this Sunday. It was awesome to see their four kids singing at the top of their lungs as we walked by the Primary room. Well, our two investigators with Baptismal dates went out of town this weekend but we were able to teach them before they left. They are doing good but unfortunately Charlie’s mom doesn't want us teaching him when she isn't home, but then I looked at it from a different perspective and realized this is great as we can start teaching her too. Anyway, German is the man and he is doing great, he will be back tomorrow. Lynn is doing good and it just so happens that her daughter is best friends with a member in the ward and she is going to invite her to mutual. We have been working with the members a lot and teaching them about every day. We also have been reaching our goals of tracting and have seen many blessings coming from that. Anyway,  things are going great and we will continue to work with the investigators we have to get them ready for baptism.

What a view from my apartment huh?

This reminds me of Chile!

P-day with Brother Smith, Elder Allred and my boy Will!

I’m glad that you enjoyed my Journal and I hope that you could understand the experiences that I have been having. I just started in my new Journal and this thing is nice. I bought it from Deseret book and it’s got my name embroidered on it. It looks fresh and it’s an upgrade from the other journals I have sent home.  I have included some tough times in my journal too but  I’m having the best time of my life. Things couldn't be better but you know that Satan always tries to stop your flow and that gets hard sometimes. He's always trying to throw dirt in your eyes and slow your momentum but I have found that those days are few and far between. Miracles happen every day and I’m grateful to be serving here in Oregon. It's my home now and I love it.

Well, let me give you a quick recap of what’s been going down here. I’ll just start off with the Spanish is going great. I am able to practice almost every day and I was teaching this family in Spanish that we tracted into and I asked them how my Spanish was and they said, out of a scale from 1 to 10, a 10. I was happy to hear that because I know only the Power of God could make it possible for me to keep my Spanish flowing even though I’m serving in English in Seaside for a few months.  They even said I have a bit of a Mexican accent.  Sorry Mom, but Cheayh!

I have had a tendency to run into Preachers while tracting on my mission and I have never had a bad experience. Yesterday, while knocking doors a Preacher came out and we talked about our love for the Savior. He told me that we didn’t believe in the same Jesus, but I brushed that off like nothing was said as there is no need to get in an argument because nobody wins that. All I did was testify to him about Jesus Christ being the Savior of the world and I even testified that we have a living Prophet today too,  Thomas S. Monson. He just stood there and listened, and wasn't angry about it either.  It has been a pretty cool experience because I’ve come to learn from these experiences that when you testify, no one can deny it. They might disagree with you, but they can't tell you that what you know to be true is wrong.

Some pretty funny things have been happening recently and I’ll fill you in on what they are about. While tracting we me this lady that was about 90 years old. She was way nice but she couldn’t hear very well. She was basically deaf. So after telling her why we were there she said," What?" I raised my voice a little bit and told her why we were there again. She said," What?, come closer Sunny." So I edged a little closer to her front door and closer to her. I told her in a loud voice about the plan that God had for her, but she still couldn't hear. She insisted for me to get closer so I did. I was right about 5 inches away from her face, explaining to her fairly loudly why we had come to her door. She finally understood and asked us to leave her a pamphlet. It was a pretty funny experience because I’ve never been that close nor spoken so loudly to an older lady before. She seemed cool with it and hopefully next time we come back, we will be able to teach her more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Another funny experience reminds me of my boys from back home. The very first day I got here in this area in Seaside, I saw this crew of long boarders riding around and I tried to stop them to contact them, but every time they just rode by me and said," Look at this!" and they would throw up the upside down SkizzySkizzy about 4 times. Well yesterday on our p-day, I saw the crew walking to their car as I was at subway. I thought to myself, I’m going to get them this time. So I ran down behind their car and waved them down. They were probably like, who is this crazy dude. So they turned around and pulled up to the alongside of me and said who are you? I said," You guys don’t remember me?" They were like," No dude, you’re crazy." Then I threw up the Skizzy and they all started going nuts and laughing. Then they said, “Dang you’re the dude in the suit, we didn’t recognize you without the suit on (it was P-day). So anyway I showed them the Skizzy shirt I was wearing and they all wanted one. Anyway it was funny and I’ll probably see them again and maybe now that the ice is broken we can talk about more important things.

Mom and Dad, I hope you both had wonderful birthdays last week.  Give my love to everyone, I miss you and think of you often,


Elder Payne

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24, 2011
Dear family and friends,

What's going on everybody?  Things are exploding out here in Seaside. It’s pretty legit to see how the work has picked up like 10 fold since I got here just a few short weeks ago so I know the Lord has been helping Elder Allred and I.  We went from teaching like 2 lessons a week when I first got here to 22 lessons last week. The work is picking up so much and I have seen how the importance of planning can help you be a more effective missionary. Before my mission I never really planned anything in my life, but now I never leave the apartment without a plan and a backup plan. I know that planning your day truly shows the Lord that you’re committed and care about what’s going on. The only reason I bring this up is because most of the success we had this week was from plans that were prior made. We were able to teach 21 other lessons and I’m so grateful to Heavenly Father for helping us achieve this goal. I know that the success that we are seeing is only because the Lord has helped us out.

We have been able to get 3 new investigators this week and that has been a miracle as well. Our first investigator is Charlie. We stopped by his house to teach him and felt prompted to set a baptismal date with him. He accepted for the 18th of June but due to him going out of town this week we will have to push it back a week. He is a great kid and has a bunch of friends that are members. He is 13 and his Mom is best friends with one of the members as well. We will try and start teaching her soon once she gets done with school in June. Hopefully they can both get baptized together by the end of June. Juliana is such a sweet lady and we met her tracting. She has desires to know if our  message is true and we will invite her to be baptized soon. She is such a kind lady and she is the best. She owns like 12 cats and every time I go over there I almost die because I’m allergic to cats. But it’s all good cause she is the best. Another investigator we started teaching is Jonathan. He was a referral from a member here. He is a lot different from most other investigators I have taught. He has basically researched all about Mormons, the good and the bad. He has strong opinions but wants to know more. Another investigator is German, a guy who just moved here from Vancouver. He had a baptismal date in Vancouver but he moved here and said he didn't feel ready. Last night we took him to teach him at a member’s house and it just so happens that German grew up next door to them when he was a kid. Small world and I can see the Lord working in this young man’s life. We will try to set another baptismal date with him as well and get him ready for it. We taught a lady named Lynn that is a friend with one of the Members. We taught her the plan of salvation and she said she really liked it. I’m not sure what will happen with her but I know that the members are there for here every step of the way. Things are truly going great down here and the Lord is definitely blessing this area. I'm grateful to be serving here in Seaside.

My companionship is going really good. Elder Allred and I are able to teach in unity and teaching flows together very well. It has definitely been a good experience as he lets me know what I need to work on and how to be a better teacher.

So I finally finished my second Journal the other day and I’ll be sending it home to you if you want to read it. It's 5 months straight of my life out here and I didn't miss a day of writing in it. It's my goal to not miss a day of writing in my Journal during my time out here and I haven't missed a day yet. I’m also sending you home some BS Auto plates that Brother Smith gave me to put on your car if you want ha-ha. Also I’m sending home the flash drive with a bunch of pictures on it. I hope you enjoy them.
Another  blessing is that I have still been able to use my Spanish pretty often. One day we went to go teach one of the members a missionary lesson. Well he had to leave the house real quick to go change the laundry so we had to wait outside for a little bit since his wife was inside( can't be in the house alone with a women). Anyway, we decided to not just sit there but to knock on a few of his neighbors doors.  Well right as we knocked on the door, a Mexican guy holding a book in his hands opened the door. We talked for a while and he let us in. His name is Hector and he told me he liked to read a lot.  I told him I had the best book in the world in my car and I would like to give him a copy. I ran to the car to get him a Spanish Book of Mormon and returned with it. I explained what it was and where it came from. He was pretty interested and told me he would read it. I was glad that I had the opportunity to share the Book of Mormon with him and I hope he reads it. We will stop by his house to follow up on him. It's a pretty awesome experience to be serving in English and some Spanish too.

 Any funny stories this week, well I have a couple.  Well, we went to go see an investigator the other day and I parked on the side of this guy’s house. It was a pretty good parking job, but it was just a little crooked. So we went to go teach our investigator and when we came back to the car the guy was outside of his house with a couple of his buddies drinking some beers. I thought, oh no they are going to heckle us a little bit. So I decided to approach them and they started making fun of my parking job. They were a little wasted so they got pretty loud about it. They asked me if I had been drinking because my parking job was a little crooked. I joked around with them a little bit and then invited them to church. They all stopped laughing and got all serious. Then they all started telling me that they were baptized Mormon and didn't think they could go back. I told them they were always invited and I showed them were the church was. It was pretty funny because they happened to all be less active members in our Area. At least we know where they live now!!  No such thing as coincidence!
 Something that I have learned out here is that you can't teach people while they are under the influence. We were tracting on this street the other day and we ran into this guy named Scott. He was walking the streets and just having a good time. We soon found out that he was a little tipsy. Well I wanted to at least share something with him so I started to share a little message. He received it really well and was really nice. He said," You know what, I like you guys, I want you to meet my kids." So we thought that was cool. We followed him down like 2 houses down the street and he went and got his kid Scott Jr. We started sharing the message with his kid Scott. Well he got a little upset that we were focusing our message on his son now and not him so he had a pretty big mood swing. He got up close to me and said," I think your full of it Buddy!" I assured him that I wasn't and he said ok. Well all of a sudden,  all of Scott’s friends started coming out of the house. There were about 8 guys in there that just circled us and asked us what we were doing. I told them we were sharing a message about the Plan of Salvation or the plan that God has for each of us. They all listened intently as I talked to them about it. After I shared the message they asked me what I thought about 2012 and the end of the world. By that time I knew it was time for us to go, but hopefully something we said will make one of those guys have interest later. I just thought it was funny how one drunken guy could turn into like 12, but it's all good, everyone needs to hear the word of God.

 I’ll tell you something else pretty cool that just started happening. The Ward is starting to play church ball again and it's so crazy. I’m not sure why they stopped playing but it was probably because it got a little heated.  You know they say that Mormon basketball is the only fight you start with a prayer ha-ha.   Anyway they invited us to play with them because we can bring less actives and investigators with us. Well the night of church ball we showed up to play and it was crazy. As soon as I opened the gym door I saw people flying all over the place. Members we getting dropped left and right, guys flying back from hard fouls. It was awesome to watch and really funny to see. I was surprised a fight didn't break out but it’s how they ball over here. The Bishop even showed up and was playing in tube socks and flip flops. It was a pretty fun night and the bond of the Priesthood was definitely strengthened that night. Next time we bring an investigator, we will have to tell them to wear a helmet and elbow pads ha-ha!

I love it out here!


Elder Payne

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 17, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Things are starting to really pick up here in Seaside. I had to bust out my Journal to remember what happened because last week flew by pretty quick. But first I’ll let you know that the work is picking up a ton. Things are going amazing here in Seaside.

Last week was my first week teaching a real investigator here and it was such a good feeling. For the last couple of weeks we have just been teaching members and tracting but after all that work the Lord has blessed us. We were able to find two new investigators and one wants to get baptized. His name is Charlie Reel and he is 13 years old. The missionaries taught his Mom but she stopped taking the lessons because she has been really busy. Well one day we drove over there and gave Charlie a copy of the Book of Mormon and asked if we could teach him. The next day we saw him, he had read all the way to Lehi's dream and said he felt what we explained to him was the Spirit. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted. His mom is best friends with one of the members in the Ward and she is all for it. We are going to try and start teaching her as well and get them both involved. It is great because after we taught Charlie, one of the members in his grade invited him to Mutual. Then someone invited him to the Father and Sons campout and he came to both. He is getting swept up and fellowshipped by the members and he is a great kid. Our other investigators name is Juliana; she is about 60 years old. She is a wonderful lady and has such a loving heart. She is really good friends with a member named Sister Abrahamson. We will try and get sister Abrahamson to bring her to church so that will be good. Not to mention we have found a bunch of potential investigators too. Also a guy that moved down here from Vancouver Washington named German had been taking the missionary discussions. He wants to be baptized as well. The area is going great and I know that the hard work and our faith in the Lord are helping the work in this area to grow.

We have been doing some pretty cool things out here. Last night we had a family home evening for the young adults and a lot of people came out. It was at the Symonds house and we had cake after. We are working a lot with the members and it’s pretty sweet that we have their trust. We had a pretty awesome P-day yesterday because Brother Foote took us (the whole district) to go bowling. Brother Foote is the Ward Mission leader in Tillamook and is the man. He always rolls with the missionaries and shares the gospel with anyone he sees. After bowling, he went up to the guy behind the counter and invited him to take the missionary discussions while everyone was taking off their shoes. He is fearless! Anyway, he told me that the Lord definitely watches out for us because he got car jacked in Portland the other week by this Gangster but made it out alright. He told me he drove around Portland for like 4 hours while the gangster barked out orders.

My companionship is going great.  Elder Allred and I are able to teach with unity and the members can really feel the Spirit from what they tell us. He is a good Elder and is trying his best.

I don’t really have any funny stories this week.  I can say that I know for a 100 percent certainty that God lives and is aware of me. I know prayers are answered and I can rely on Him whenever I need to.  I love the Lord and His work and really appreciate everyone’s love and support which allows me to be here at this time.


Elder Payne

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011

Dear Family,

 Things are going absolutely great out here. I love every second of it and times flying by so fast. Looking back on last week it all seems like one big blur so let me try to figure out all that happened last week. I did get a chance to speak with you guys on the phone while you were in Chile for Maria Elba’s endowment and that was great. I got to practice my Spanish a little more and what a great blessing it was being able to have a conversation in Spanish. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father because only through his divine help have I been able to become fluent in the Spanish language in such a short time. Not to mention the obstacles I have faced in learning the language like being sent out here to Seaside to serve in English for a six months right in the middle of my mission. But by putting my faith in the Lord and trusting in Him, I have been able to keep on improving my Spanish every day. It felt so good to speak with you in Spanish Mom and I made sure to thank Heavenly Father for that opportunity. Not to mention that I was able to speak to Maria Elba in Spanish too and that was pretty tight. Before the mission, she would always write me things in Spanish on Facebook and I would have no idea what she was talking about. Now every letter that she sends me I am able to understand exactly. What a blessing and a privilege it has been and I hope that I can continue to progress and obtain a Chilean accent and lose the Mexican one I have ha-ha. Anyway, it was great talking to you all and off course we weren’t able to say everything we wanted to so I still have some things to tell you.

 Well yesterday we had our temple day and it was another great experience. From the pictures you sent me from the Atlanta Temple, it looks great. Bad news though, I did get a ticket on the way to the temple because you know that Satan was trying to get me down before I entered into the House of the Lord. He succeed a little bit as I felt like garbage after getting the ticket, but I decided to put that behind me and had a really good time at the temple. But now I have got to face reality and pay that bad boy. Well I was going 15 over the speed limit. I was going 70 in a 55. I would have been able to get away with it in Georgia but the cops are different out here. It was in the middle of nowhere when he caught me and I was going up a hill. I will go and fight that thing to see if I can get the price cut down so I’ll let you know how it ends up.  Sorry for the bad news but he got me and I have to man up now.

 A while ago one of the General Authorities came to our mission and told us things we needed to do to show our dedication to the Savior. He told us that we only need to spend 10 minutes in the bathroom, 5 minute showers and 5 minutes to shave. Well it takes me like 10 minutes to shave but I tried what he said and I have been able to do it. I have only been spending like 10 minutes in the bathroom in the morning and it has really been going well. I have more energy and I am more awake. Not to mention I have an additional 20 minutes to study so it’s all good. 

 I have had some pretty good experiences out here the last week. We met this guy at a restaurant named Santiago and he is the man. He filled up our water and this guy was diligent. If you took a sip of water and then put your glass down, he would be right by your side 5 seconds later to fill it up. I never saw my glass go beneath half way that night. Well I later asked him if he had talked to missionaries before and he said he did in Mexico. We will go back to see him since he is the man. 

Well another story is that Elder Allred and I were tracting and we saw to shady looking guys coming towards us. I asked them can I share a message with you that can change your life. The guy walked right by me holding a blunt of Weed and said, let me tell you how weed changed my life. I said sir, how is it that you’re carrying that all out in the open. He simply replied," Its medical!" It was an interesting experience to see two guys just roaming the streets in mid daylight smoking the Ganja but it’s what we face out here.  We are working hard every day and I know the Lord will bless us with people to teach.

Love to all,


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Proselyting in Paradise

May 3, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Things are going amazing out here. I just turned 20 years old and I feel pretty good. It was a weird feeling on my birthday because the only one who knew and wished me happy birthday was my companion ha-ha and it wasn't even that good of a happy birthday. We woke up at like 6:00am and he said to me in a really tired voice," O yeah... Happy Birthday...” ha-ha it was a great day though. It’s funny to look back and see that it didn't matter much at all; it was just another Sunday, but a great Sunday. Elder Allred and I both got up and shared out testimonies in Sacrament meeting about how grateful we are for the members of the Ward. Later that night we went to Bruce Smiths house, you know the guy who owns BS Auto, and had huge juicy stakes. But it was an awesome birthday and thanks so much for the package, I really liked the beef jerky and the Chilean soccer jersey you sent.

Well, a lot has happened this week and it has been great. I can't complain about anything out here, because we get treated like Kings by the members. Sure it's hard to get rejected all the time by people on the street, but last night we went to go eat at a 5 star restaurant for free ha-ha. One of the members owns the nicest restaurants in Seaside and it’s called JP's. I ordered the clam chowder, the barbeque duck, and the lime cheesecake. I can't believe how nice all the members are out here. Tonight a member is taking us out to eat Sushi. It’s not right, I feel like I’m getting treated too well. I have friends in other missions that are fighting the tape worm and wild dogs and my apartment is a penthouse looking out on the Pacific Ocean. I feel like I’m being either being blessed for my hard work or either something bad is going to happen later in my mission. But I’m giving it all I’ve got and we work really hard out here.

I had a really awesome experience the other night with a member family out here. I read a part of the book you sent me for my birthday “Keeping Your Eye Single to the Glory of God” in Randy Bott’s book and I really liked it. It talked about how missionaries shouldn't get so distracted by talking about things like pre- mission activities or what we are going to do after the mission. I read that and was like, what can I talk about then? Well I realized you have got to try and keep the conversation spiritually centered and I tried it that night with the family. We started talking about what life was like before my mission and the usual. But then I remembered about keeping my eye single to the glory of god. I then felt inspired to ask them a question about the gospel. That started a fire and for the rest of the meal we talked about the gospel and tears were coming down people’s faces. I would have never imaged that just turning the conversation to something spiritual could change the mood in the room and have the Spirit be there so strongly. It was an amazing night and a testimony to me that I’m a missionary, and I can maintain that focus even when eating a dinner with a member family.

I love it out here. The work is still pretty slow but we are trying. The bishop has asked us to work with the members and teach them the missionary discussions. So we have developed a plan and are executing it on the members of Seaside. The plan basically is just teaching the members and leaving them with commitments that help them share the gospel with their friends. We have received about 20 referrals from the members and they truly trust us. The sad part is we have contacted about every referral we have received and no one is really interested in hearing about the gospel, but I know that the field is white and all ready to harvest so we will continue to work hard. It's been difficult finding new investigators but we are trying.

I have been having a weird feeling lately too. Even when people yell at me or cuss me out, I still feel happy. For example, I asked a biker guy on the street if I could share a message with him and he unleashed a well thought out filth filled response that I can’t repeat in my letter. At first I was taken aback by his quick comeback. He had to have had that stored inside because it came out pretty fast. Then I said, have a nice day Sir and I walked away happy, just glad that he didn't strike me or try to kill me.

One funny experience we had is while we were out tracting, we decided to go knock this complex. The first door we knocked and I heard a shout from the manager that was sitting in the parking lot with a couple of his buddies sipping back some beers in the middle of the day. He told us to get out of there but we just decided to walk up to them. After a good discussion, they asked us for some pass along cards and I was a little hesitant. But the manager told us to follow him and he took us to the main office. He was like," I like you guys, I’ll put your cards in my main office so for anyone that wants to rent an apartment, I can give them a card." So I gave him a couple cards and he put them in a nice little card holder. He told us we could stay the night and he would give us a discount. People are crazy ha-ha.

Seriously though, things are truly going great out here, the work is a little slow but it’s picking up. Elder Allred and I are getting along pretty well and doing our best. Well, thanks again for everything and your support. Thanks for sending me all the messages from the people that said happy birthday on my Facebook; it meant a lot to know that I’m not forgotten ha-ha.

I will call you on Mother’s Day this coming Sunday!


Elder Payne