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