Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Going to the Prom?

June 28, 2011

Dear family and friends,

It’s good to hear back from you and everything is going good out here in Seaside! We are working hard and always sharing the gospel with anyone we come in contact with. It's funny to see people’s reactions when they see us on the road walking towards them. Some turn and walk the other way, others look down, but they know there is no way to escape, we are going to approach them ha-ha. I have got a pretty good experience about how last Saturday we went into the thick of Seaside and it was like going into battle, 2 against like 200 which I will relate later.  First let me fill you in on our investigators.  We have been able to meet a lot of awesome new people through tracting and found some great new investigators. Well German, our friend with the baptismal date ended up moving to Vancouver but we will send the missionaries to him so he can continue to learn. Juliana still has her baptismal date set for June 9th and it is looking good. She has not smoked or drank coffee for the last three days and I believe the power of God is helping her kick the habit after 55 years of smoking. She is progressing well and we will see what happens. We met this lady named Judy tracting and she is great. She was going to go to church but ended up having back pains. After church we went to her house and explained to her about the priesthood, we then gave her a blessing. Charlie is doing okay, we haven’t had contact in a while but we are teaching him and his mom tomorrow so we will see what happens. The work is going great and we are giving it all we’ve got.

It’s good to hear that mom’s stitches were taken out and she is feeling good. That's really awesome that you got called to teach the temple prep classes in the Rama. If you want to practice your Spanish, just get the book of Mormon in Spanish and read it out loud. At first you don’t understand it but then after time it will make sense. I do all my studying in Spanish and don't read anything in English anymore, only when we are out teaching. Anyway, I will pray for you so you can learn it, then when I get back, we can go kick it in Chile with the natives.

Our new mission president is arriving today and the whole mission is going to have a 5 minute interview with him this Saturday so we can know what to do for transfers. I have a feeling I’m going back to Spanish soon, maybe one more transfer, but we will see.  My last interview with President Dyches was sweet. He called me in and we walked into this room where he was holding the interviews.  This was his last district meeting where he would be conducting interviews so I was one of the last missionaries to be interviewed by President Dyches before he goes home. Well we got in the room and we started with a prayer. He then asked to see my planner and agenda and I gave it to him. He searched the pages for a while and then said that it looked great, he didn’t have any suggestions for me. He then told me that I was exactly what the doctor order, The Heavenly Doctor, to help team up with my companion and get the area of Seaside really rolling again. I thought that analogy was funny as President Dyches is a doctor too.  We talked about his mission a little bit and I told him I had been documenting every day of my mission and haven’t missed a day yet. He smiled and said that I was way ahead of him. He then asked," Well, do you have any questions for me?" I knew this was my last chance to get that gem of knowledge from president Dyches before he took off, so I sat there for a while thinking. I finally asked him “What do you think I can improve on or do better?" I figured that he would bring out some good suggestions but he just stood up and walked to the door. He opened it while saying, “Nothing Elder Payne, you’re doing just great!" I was a little disappointed; I wanted him to bring on some straight up counsel or something juicy for me to work on, you know, like a suggestion that could improve my teaching skills but he just gave me a big hug and we walked out the door. It was a great interview and the spirit that he carries is pretty sweet, I hope that what I’ve said doesn’t make me seem arrogant or prideful, but that’s just how it went and it was a sweet experience I will always cherish.  President Dyches is the man!

Now let me tell you about how we went into the thick of Seaside to street contact. There is a place called the Prom which is a giant sidewalk right next to the beach. Everyone hangs out over there and it’s a perfect place to talk to people. Well I was on a blitz with Elder Peterson and we decided to go street contacting there. It started out rough and the first 50 people we talked to said no and one guy even used some profanities. But it was pretty funny because he was like dropping this profanity as he was walking up some stairs. Well as soon as the profanity left his mouth his foot missed a stair and fell flat on his face ha-ha. I felt bad but it was pretty funny. It was starting to get a little discouraging when we decided to contact this huge group of people that were chillen by a bench.  We said hello and they greeted us with a crazy accent. They were all from Romania and they were so excited to see us. They all surrounded us and started asking us why we were all dressed up. We told them we were sharing a message about Jesus Christ and they started to get so excited, some of them even started to dance around. They all listened intently as we told them about God's plan for them. We took out the Book of Mormon and they started cheering. We told them what it was about and they all wanted to read it. As we ended the conversation one of the old Romanian guys that had been quiet the whole time piped up and said," I have one question for you, who is God?" I thought very carefully, wanting to give him a good answer. I finally replied “He is our Father in Heaven”. When the words left my mouth they all started clapping and cheering. They were all so happy about the message we brought. One lady told us she was a minister at a church in Romania and she was going to read the Book of Mormon to her congregation and teach them about it. It was a pretty crazy experience and as we walked away from them they all shouted out to us," We will see you in Heaven!!!" They were so nice and made the experience of going to the Prom to street contact well worth it, Chyeah!!

Any funny stories, well I don’t know if this is funny but it was pretty cool. We saw these teenaged kids sitting on a couch drinking red bull and we decided to go contact them. Well it so happens that they all didn’t believe in God and I testified that I knew he existed and lived. They wanted to know how I knew and I told them through the power of the Holy Ghost. I challenged them to listen to our message and they accepted. Hopefully we will be going to teach them this week. It was cool because we just rolled up there to the couch and took a seat with them and then started talking about God.

I love being a missionary!


Elder Payne

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Back to Keizer!

June 21, 2011
Dear family and friends,

Things are really poppin out here in Seaside! It has been an amazing week and a lot has happened. Prayers have been answered and it has been such an amazing experience for me out here this week. There’s a lot I have to tell you about so here I go!
 I'll start you off with a really awesome spiritual experience we had with our investigator Juliana. She is about 70 years old and has a baptismal date set. Well she smokes and drinks a lot of coffee. We told her in order to be baptized she would have to stop doing all of that. After a good lesson about the word of wisdom, she committed to stop and we promised her that the Lord would help her out. We offered to give her a blessing and she didn't know what that was. We explained to her that through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Priesthood had been restored to the earth. We explained that through the priesthood we could give her a blessing of strength to overcome this trial. She accepted and said she thought it would help. Well, we brought one of the members with us named Donavan who is about to go on his mission in about 2 months. He is a convert of 1 year or so and we asked him to give the blessing as we knew it would help him prepare for his mission. It was a really spiritual experience and I know Juliana can stop smoking and drinking coffee if she truly has the desire to conquer these things.

I got a call last week from Elder White and the Elders that are serving in my last area, Keizer and they told me some great news. They told me that one of my investigators, Pedro Vargas was getting baptized and he wanted me to give a talk at his baptism. I was so happy that he was getting baptized and it was such a miracle. Chyeah!!!!!!!! I love being a missionary!  Pedro is the guy we took with us to the temple a few months ago when we went and he said just sitting outside the temple made him feel like Superman. He asked Jesus Deloya to baptize him and Jesus is the member that we would always take with us to teach Pedro.  I remember the first time we taught Pedro as Elder White and I just knocked at his house one night while he was watching WWE wrestling on TV. We asked him if we could share a message with him and he agreed because his show was on a commercial. Well we asked him to turn it off and we shared with him the message of Joseph Smith and the Restoration. He felt the spirit and said he knew it was true. I love Pedro and every time I would ask him how he felt as we taught him he would wait for a couple of seconds searching for the right words to express himself and finally say, " I feel....good!" That's how he felt every time I asked him and it is so sweet that he has made the decision to be baptized.  Thank goodness for commercials huh,  I feel so much love and happiness I could just pop!

Well I really wanted to go and we needed a ride down to Keizer so I could go give a talk at the baptism and be there for my man Pedro. The dilemma was that the baptism was on Sunday and that being father’s day we knew we shouldn’t interrupt a member’s father’s day for a ride to Keizer. I prayed pretty hard to find a way to get down there and I finally felt impressed to call up one of our investigators named German and ask him if he wanted to go. He said sure so we all drove down to Keizer right after church on Sunday. We got there a little early so we decided to stop by Mario Papa's house and the whole family was there. It felt like I had come home and they immediately started to feed us some Mexican food. They said my Spanish has improved as well and that was pretty cool. We got to the baptism and Pedro was there ready to go and I gave him a huge hug. It was good to see him and I told him that his choice to be baptized was one of the best decisions he would ever make in his life. Like always, he told me that he really felt good and so we got everything ready for the baptism. The baptismal service was really spiritual and Pedro's whole family came to it and it was a great opportunity for them. My talk went pretty well and at the end of the service Pedro got up and bore his testimony about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and how he knew being baptized was the right decision. When I gave my talk I told everyone about Pedro’s experience at the temple and how the Holy Ghost makes you feel like Superman and that through the peace and joy that comes from the Holy Ghost you can feel like Superman all the time as long as one stays true and strong to your  baptismal covenants. Pedro just looked at me and smiled, feeling good ha-ha, what a G.

Our investigator German had a great time and said he is really excited for his own baptism. It was a great experience for everyone seeing someone make the decision to be baptized and I am so happy that he changed his life. I said goodbye to all my friends in the Spanish Branch and gave them all hugs. It was a good experience and I will never forget Pedro or my Branch family in Keizer.
Funny things that have happened this week? Well on P-day we talked to this street performer named Wild Bill, a 70 year old cowboy with a guitar. We asked to hear his life story and ended up sitting with him on a park bench for about 30 minutes. It was pretty cool though; knowing that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father changes your perspective.  I guess everyone wants to feel important and to be loved, and sometimes people just need someone to talk to.


Elder Payne

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Merked in Seaside!

June 14, 2011

Dear family and friends,

Life is just moving along great over here in Seaside. We had an awesome week but I am getting merked by allergies out here.  I keep trucking along because there is no time to waste and there is always work to do in the Lords kingdom. We had some awesome experiences this week and I have some good stories to tell you.

First, thanks for the package, I really like those protein bars as they are something quick and I can eat them on the go. I heard about the Mav's, that’s cool they won. I agree with you on the NBA draft though, I hope the Jazz get some good picks!! It’s a good time to be out here on my mission because the Jazz really sucked it up this season ha-ha. I'm down with the new Celestial Cleaning Logo. The Logo really looks high class and professional. I could use someone to come by from Celestial Cleaning at our place; there are eggs in the fridge that have been here since I arrived 2 months ago.  That’s cool that you’re trying to make a new website for the business too.  It can be hard work but it’s pretty fun. 

I told you about how if you turn the Skizzy upside down it says O.P.M. So I’ve decided to make mission tee shirts for the missionaries out here so we can rep them at a district activity or something. I can’t try and make money out here and run a business so I will just sell them for cost. It will basically be the Skizzy shirt but I will flip the Skizzy upside down and put the O.P.M. in the top of the wrist!! I’ll let you know how it goes and I’ll probably send you one. 

That's really cool that mom got to sit in that Lamborghini and see a rap video filmed in downtown Atlanta.   I wonder who the rappers were.  When you find out let me know so I can see if I used to jam to them. I appreciate the photos you sent me too ha-ha. Why is Abuelita wearing those huge glasses from the 80’s? Someone needs to go get her some nice normal size glasses ha-ha. But she is getting old and what I’ve found out about old people on my mission is that they just don't care anymore ha-ha. They do whatever they want and they could care less if they look cool or what people think of them. I have everything I need out here and the Lord is blessing me with the things I do need. I haven't had to buy groceries for like 2 weeks because I’ve been surviving off of all the leftovers from eating at the members houses and of course I have to have my cereal, it’s the BEST!!

I’ll tell you some awesome experiences that have happened this week so you will know what’s going on. You know our investigator Juliana, the older lady that used to be Jewish?  Well we finally contacted her after a week. We found her in an alley by her house chasing down one of her 8 cats. We asked her where she had been and she told us that her son didn’t approve of her being baptized. We asked for some of her time so we could talk about how she was feeling. After hearing her out and listening to how she felt, we felt inspired to talk about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and his love for her. We expressed our love for her and let her know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is how she can obtain full happiness in this life and the in the life to come. She felt the spirit as she told us the she had the same feelings when we first met with her. We promised her blessings and that her son would be alright with her decision in the end. I have the highest hopes for Juliana and I know this can bless her life. Well she came to church last Sunday and she said she loved it. She said it felt like she was coming home, because the members greeted her and treated her so nice. That was a cool experience because I am starting to see that I’m not just teaching people out here, but I am loving them.

Well I told you that I got a ticket on the way to the temple. I was driving to the temple about a month ago and I know there is opposition in all things, so I got a ticket for trying to get there to fast. Anyway, yesterday on P-day, I had to drive up to Astoria for my court date. I called the Elders serving in Astoria and told them to suit up because we were going to show up to court looking like missionaries. We drove up there and picked up the Elders from Astoria and we rode to the court in our suits. I thought I was going to have to appear in front of a Judge in a big court room but it just so happened that all I had to do is talk to a lady behind a glass window. I asked her if I got more money off my ticket because I dressed up so nice. She laughed and said no. I thought it was worth a try because you always see people dressing up when they go to court. Well anyway it was a fun experience at the Court because I joked around with the ladies working there behind the glass window. They ended up taking 50 dollars off my ticket, Chyeah! So instead of paying 190, I played like 140. I felt good to get it lowered and I’m not speeding for the rest of my mission.

Last Thursday we had an awesome experience at Zone Conference. It was President Dyches last Zone conference and it was way spiritual. I also got to see all the Spanish speaking missionaries that have been sent to serve in English for a few months like me. It was good talking to them in Spanish and we all had a pretty good time reminiscing about tacos and the Spanish branches we’ve served in. At the end of the conference, we all went around and everyone gave a huge hug to President and Sister Dyches because we won’t see them again. When I hugged President Dyches, he looked me in the eyes and said some words that I will never forget. It was way awesome. Well, I have an interview with him the 23rd of this month just 5 days before he goes home, so I’ll get a picture with him and have a heart to heart talk with him. He is an awesome mission president and I really love and respect him so much.

Let’s see, any funny experiences that have happened this week?  Well, we were tracting and we ran into the guy that delivers the local paper. I tried to contact him and ask him if there was anything we could do for him. He just smiled and gave me a hug. He then said," Your presence right here is just good enough!" I didn't know what to do or think, so I just gave him a pass along card and told him if he wanted to know more to check out the website. He might have been a little out of it, but it was good to see that people still feel comfortable giving strangers hugs. I was okay with it, and I hope someday he checks out the Mormon.org  website when he gets time off from delivering papers.

I have to write my weekly letter to the President, but I want you to know, Mom and Dad, how grateful I am for you guys. You’re the best parents I could have ever received and one of the main reasons I’m out here. Every time I try to help people out or serve them, I am reminded of your examples. It’s awesome to have parents that rock and have got your back.

Peace and Love,


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Season in Seaside Oregon

June 7, 2011
Dear family and friends,

Dang, I don’t know what to say. I just opened my email and it had 23 new notifications, the most I have ever received is like 7 until now. It looks like most of my friends are more computer friendly and would rather write an email than pick up a piece of paper and write on it. But hey, it’s all good, I’m glad I’m hearing from people and they still know that I’m alive and well. I have a lot to tell you as usual because Seaside is the very best place ever. Tourist season is just starting and all the visitors are coming to Seaside. It’s pretty sweet because we end up talking to a bunch of people but most of them are from out of town. It's all good though because we still get to plant that seed.  I’m so happy out here and to hear that everyone’s doing well at home makes me even more excited.

We are giving it all we’ve got out here and the Lord is blessing us with miracles and amazing things. Elder Allred and I are working really smart and really hard and our planning and following up is pretty good. I looked at my agenda at the beginning of my mission when I was a Greenie and compared it with my agenda today. My Greenie agenda was the worst and I used to think I was a good planner, but looking at my agenda now and how it’s pretty structured makes me pretty happy to see that things are improving.

I love it here in Seaside and things are going great. The members are the best and we get fed well every day. It truly is a blessing to be serving here with Elder Allred and we are having a great time. I'll fill you in on how our investigators are doing. I’ll start out with our investigators with baptismal dates. Right now Charlie Reel has a baptismal date for the 18th of June. Well we just made contact with Charlie yesterday as he had been gone on a vacation with his family. His mom is about to finish her schooling so she will be able to start taking the lessons with Charlie. We will have to push his date back a little but I’m glad that his mom can join in the lessons now. German Garcia is an investigator that has a baptismal date for the 25th of June. He went to Vancouver last week to go do some work up there and hopefully he will be coming back today. He is progressing a little bit but we will have to see how he is feeling about his baptism when we make contact. Juliana is a nice lady we met tracting and we set a baptismal date with her for the 9th of July. We gave her a church tour last Saturday and we thought she was going to come to church but she didn’t show up. We aren’t sure why but we will stop by and see her today. We have been teaching a referral named Lynn at a member’s house and we just found out that her daughter is best friends with a member. She invited Lynn's daughter to mutual and she had a great time. We have been trying to work with the members and contact everyone we see. We are working really hard out here and the Lord is blessing us.

Happy birthday Mom, Dad and Nicole, so sorry for the late birthday wishes! I hope you all had great birthdays!!!! Time does go by so fast out here and I can't believe it's already been 9 months in the field. Things have been flying by and it feels good to say that I have tried to give it my all up to this moment but I’m not done yet. About the NBA, I don’t really know who I like out of the Heat or the Mavericks. Well, I hope the Mavericks win because Jason Terry needs a ring because he came out from the Hawks. Speaking about B-ball, church ball is going great. We have this less active brother who has game that comes and plays every Tuesday and is the first one there. He is like 40 years old, a smaller version of Jason Kidd and this guy just flies through the air. Whenever you get him on your team, you know you’re going to win because he’s a baller.

Dad, I see you’re calling me out on my shoes not being shined in the pictures I sent home huh? I will admit that I don't know how to shine my shoes other than rubbing a little black sponge on them. I never did it because I figured that they’ll just get dirty on the road anyway and I can't tell the difference. But I will be humble and take your challenge to shine those bad boys ever day. From now on I will represent and my shoes will be so shiny you can floss your teeth in the reflection. And about the OPM tie thing, most of us missionaries run on a low budget so we go for the 10 cent ties at the Goodwill where you can buy them by the pound. But your right too, they have got to be presentable; I’ll try and throw away the ones that I have that are made out of carpet ha-ha. I’m so glad to hear that the family doing well, I remember all of you each day in my prayers.  I have come to better realize that the family unit is ordained of God and it is so important.

We had a really awesome tender mercy this week. We decided to go see a less active sister in the ward that has not been to church in over fifty years.  She is about 70 and hasn't been to church since she was a teenager. We knocked on her door and chatted on the door step trying to get to know her a little bit.  She was pretty hesitant and I could see that she didn't really want to talk to us. I then asked her how her life was going and if there was a time we could stop by again. She said we couldn't because she had to go to the hospital for a surgery next week and she would be busy. I then said would you like a blessing? She responded with, what’s a blessing? I explained what a blessing is and promised her that it would help her before her surgery to recover and I shared my testimony with her about the Priesthood. Her eyes seemed intrigued and she asked for one. As we gave her a blessing, I knew that she was going to be alright and told her so. After the blessing, she said she felt really peaceful and told us we could come back and see her when she got back from the hospital. I really felt an extreme love for this sister and I know the Lord will bless her. It impressed me that she had the faith necessary to ask for a blessing, when she wasn't to sure what it was. I know that I am a literal disciple of Jesus Christ and I am so grateful to be serving Him at this time in my life.

One funny story happened the other day. We met this surfer dude named Jerr working in a furniture store and became good friends with him. He is the typical surfer dude that you would imagine long blonde hair and says Bro a lot. Well, we were tracting the other day and saw Jerr hanging out with some people at this yard. I yelled to him, “Hey Jerr, what’s up?" He responded," Just kickin it, having a BBQ, about to watch the sunset, you know, the usual. I then said, " Hey Jerr, you have a good time!" He threw up his hand in the air and gave me a hang loss hand gesture without saying anything else. That is when you stick out the thumb and the pinky and shake it. That means that he respects us and what we are doing. I thought it was funny because Jerr is a cool dude, and even though we are missionaries, I can return Jerr's hang lose gesture with a fist pump of approval.

I love you guys!

Elder Payne