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