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