Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crazy times in Seaside!

July 20, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Man things have been pretty hectic this week but I’ve loved every minute of it.  Sorry I didn't write you yesterday but I got tied up. My new companion ran away but it's all good now because the Police found him and he is back! Chyeah! Things are going great and my comp is back and ready to roll, remember no unhallowed hand G!!! Anyway, a lot has happened this week and you probably want to know why my companion ran away so I’ll tell you a little more about that later in the letter. First, I have to tell you about the awesome things that are happening out here in Seaside.

First I wanted to thank you for the package with the awesome ties you sent me in the mail. I realized last week that I had been rocking the nastiest looking ties in the mission and it was time for me to step it up (Ponte Trucha).  I know it's cool to buy things for really cheap at the Goodwill but you have got to draw the line when your ties look like they were made out of orange couch material from the 1970’s.  Thanks for the shoes too, I’m wearing them as we speak and they are really comfy. I’m keeping a high shine on my shoes just like I promised too.  Sure, if you want to send me out a hat that say s “Jesus is my Boss” that would be sweet and I can wear it on P-day and maybe someone will ask about it?  I told you about the new OPM tee shirts I designed and now the whole district out here on the coast are wearing the OPM tee shirts and they are spreading around the mission.  They are pretty cool and I think I might give one to our new President to wear too.  Thanks for dropping me some cash and I hope I’m not spending too much money out here. Let me know if I need to hold off on the expenditures, it’s just that I want to try to help everyone that I see that is in need.  Just some cool news is that the Apostle Richard G. Scott is speaking at our Stake conference coming up and so is President Morby,  I am so excited as it will no doubt be pretty sweet.

I’ll tell you about our investigators and how they are doing. Well, we have 4 baptismal dates set for August and it is awesome. 5 investigators came to church Sunday and that was way awesome too. Richard came to church and has a baptismal date at the end of August. He is progressing well and trying to quit smoking. He showed up to church looking really good with his new pants and tie. Eric the 14 year old is doing great and has a date in August too. We talked to his mom and she is cool with it if he wants to come to church. We are going to try to teach her as well. Eric’s little brother Luis also came to church and even though he is only 9, he learned a lot. Maggie and Charlie came to church and that was an awesome experience. Maggie is Charlie's mom and now we are starting to teach her as well. Juliana has a date but she is progressing slowly as quitting smoking is getting more and more difficult. I hate to see her not progress just because of cigarettes but she has been smoking for 50 years straight. I know we will try our best to help her. Rigoberto is another investigator with a date and he is amazing. He is truly one of the Elect and we just need him to get Sundays off. All in all the work is going great and I can see that the Lord is blessing us and our area, what a stark difference from when I got here a few weeks ago. 

We have had some really spiritual experiences this week that have made an impact on me in my life. I told you last week that we met this less active sister from Mexico named Gloria and had been teaching her friend Rigoberto. Well we took him on a church tour last Saturday and showed him around the church. The spirit was there and it was a great tour. We showed him the baptismal font at the end and my main man Rigoberto was speechless. He said he felt really good and we asked him to be baptized in August and he accepted. Rigoberto is ready, the only challenge we have is my main man Rigo works on Sundays like all the Hispanics out here. We will have to find a way for him to get to church. I told you about my buddy Richard and how he rules. Well one day we were teaching him and talking about church and he pointed to my pants and said he felt bad because he didn’t own any pants other than his blue jeans. Well we went out and got my boy Richard some 34x34 nice slacks. We got him a pretty sweet tie and dropped it off at his house the day before Sunday. Man my boy Richard showed up to church looking like a new man. It was good to see how happy he was and he looked fresh with his new gear. I told you about Eric and he was able to come to church with his 9 year old brother Luis and they really liked it. The Lord is really blessing the people out here and I’m so glad to be a part of it. I have loved every single bit of my mission and sad to say the time is going by so fast.

Well you probably want to know about my companion. Well, after our first day together last week, we were able to have a heart to heart talk and he let me know that he has been suffering with some problems with depression on his mission. I have done everything in my power to help him out and have tried to make every day an enjoyable time but he can’t seem to cheer up. So he talked to Sister Morby and they set up a time for him to see the Doctor. Well this past Monday he saw the Doctor and we thought all was well. I woke up Tuesday morning at 6:15am as usual and my boy was gone. I was pretty shocked but I kept my cool and did what the white handbook told me to do in the situation. Call the mission president. I later hit the road in search of my companion and the police got involved. They later found him just chillen on the beach. When we reunited, I gave him a hug and he said he was feeling better. We then had to have the AP's come get us and we spent the day at the Doctor's and with the President. It was a pretty crazy day but I’m just glad that my companion and I are back in Seaside and he is feeling a lot better. I love this kid and I have only known him for a week, keep him in your prayers okay?

Anything funny happen this week?  I have to tell you a pretty sweet Mormon inside joke we had with the Elders in Astoria the other day. The Elders serving next to us in Astoria were invited to a bible study at another church by an investigator. They were texting him while we were driving to district meeting and the guy was trying to tell the missionaries where the church was located. Elder P asked what street it was on and the guy said it was the church on 15th street. I told Elder P to ask the guy if it was the “Great and Spacious building” on 15th? ha-ha. So Elder P asked the guy if it was the Great and Spacious building on 15th street. The guy texted back," Yeah, it's not to be mistaken with the small one on the corner." We thought it was pretty funny but maybe that might just be missionary humor ha-ha.

I had a really awesome spiritual experience this week. At Sacrament meeting the Bishop had all the young men in the Ward stand up and bare their testimonies on why they want to go on missions and how they are preparing. The Bishop’s son got up and said that I had been a major example to him and that brought tears to my eyes. Not in a weak way but in a way of happiness. Sometimes when you’re out here you think you’re not really affecting anyone or getting anything done. It was a good feeling.

Peace out!

Elder Payne

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Welcome Elder Sanchez

July 12, 2011

Dear family and friends,

I have a bunch of awesome, awesome stories to tell you and the work is going amazing over here in Seaside. We are giving it all we’ve got and the Lord is blessing us in the Seaside area. I love serving out here and things are going great.  Yesterday we had transfers and I got a new companion. He is a G and a native Spanish speaker from Mexico. My new companions name is Elder Sanchez and he has been out on his mission for about 18 months. Now I can speak Spanish all the time, while serving in English, how awesome is that. It was an answer to prayer and this transfer will be pretty good as I can get ready for my next Spanish area in a few months.  We are going to start working with a lot of Hispanics that live here and try to get them coming to church! Who knows, maybe we can get a Spanish Branch going here in Seaside.
We have been working hard and tracting into a lot of people out here. One day we went and tracted some apartments that were mostly Hispanic residents. I knocked on a door and started talking to a lady named Gloria. After talking for a while she told me that she was a member of the Church from Mexico but hasn’t been to church since she moved here a year ago. I asked her if we could start teaching her and get her familiar with everything again since it’s been a while. We stopped by the next day and all sat down at her kitchen table. As soon as we started talking about the restoration, one of her friends came in the door. He told us he came to learn and wanted to know about God. I asked him about his religious background and he told me that he was raised Catholic but hasn’t gone since he was little. So I started to teach again about the restoration and I was using the pamphlet. I looked at the man and asked him if he could read the first paragraph of the first page. It was titled Our loving Heavenly Father. He started reading the paragraph very carefully, even reverently. When he was done he put the pamphlet on the table and sat back. I thought to myself, “What’s wrong?" I looked at him and he started to tear up and cry. Gloria started to tear up a little too and then I realized that this simple paragraph that I may have taken for granted meant a lot to these people. I testified that I knew our Savior lived and we invited him to be baptized. He said he would after he came to church. It was a pretty awesome experience and I can’t wait to teach him again, especially with Elder Sanchez there. But that was a cool experience and I know that the Lord helped us to find Gloria and her friend for a reason.

This guy named Richard came to church the other day and that was a really cool experience. Richard is about 50 and had a stroke a year ago. When we first knocked on his door, we couldn’t understand him at all, but we kept visiting him and asking him if we could do any service for him. Well we got into his home and started sharing spiritual thoughts with him. Now we can understand him really well and he is improving a lot. He told us last week that he was going to be baptized into the church years ago but never went through with it. Well we have started teaching him again and he wants to be baptized. He came to church and said he had a great time. I thought it was really cool because in the beginning we just wanted to serve him and help him out, now we have found out that he used to go to church in 1991 and he wants start coming back. I have seen how loving people is the best way you can help them to come to church or change their lives. There is no other way to help them make this big decision unless you love them. I love Richard, and I know that might be weird, but he’s my boy!
Any funny experiences that have happened this week? Well today is our P-day and we just got back from the Tillamook cheese factory. There were so many people there and everyone was eating cheese. I’m not that big into cheese but it seems like it’s a pretty big deal down here. When I walked into the factory, I could almost hear people chanting, " Cheese, Cheese, Cheese!" But that probably was just my imagination.

Anyway, life is good out here, Elder Sanchez is all moved in and loving the great ocean view. Our companionship unity is pretty strong and he’s like my Hispanic brother, things are good!  Mom,  I just realized the other day that I wear some of the ugliest ties in the OPM, so I need to step up my tie game. Maybe you can send me some ties out here that actually look kind of presentable. I sent you a couple home that I used to wear, just send me some back and that will be fine.

Peace out!

Elder Payne

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What a 4th of July!

July 5, 2011

Dear family and friends,

Wow, this week was absolutely crazy. The 4th of July in Seaside was pretty intense and a lot of cool things happened. It was packed and people from all over the country have traveled here for vacation and to see the fireworks last night.

President Dyches left last week and he was a really awesome President and now it’s time to make our new our new President, Charles Morby and his wife feel welcome in the OPM. They are from Saint George, Utah and arrived here a couple days ago and we all have interviews with the President this coming Friday. We are going to have 5 minutes to tell him about ourselves so he can get to know us. He seems like a really awesome guy so far because he let us stay out until 12:00pm for the 4th of July yesterday and the latest I’ve stayed out so far on my mission has been like 9:30pm.  So that was pretty awesome and watching the fireworks was crazy. People were setting off their own illegal fireworks on the beach and it was packed. So it looked like a war zone and I have got some pretty good videos of it to send home later. I’ll tell you more about the 4th in a little bit.

That's cool that your Spanish is improving Dad, we will rock out in Chile one day and maybe we can go visit my boy Elder Rangel in Mexico too.  That’s cool that the UFC is taking off more, I met a guy out here that is trying to get me to join his Jujitsu club but I told him that I didn’t have any time ha-ha. He's a pretty cool guy and I might show up on a P-day and roll around on the mat for a little bit. I'm getting in better shape cause I’m working out with this isometric bar thing that works out your whole body.

Well let me just tell you a few things about what has happened this past week. The Seaside Ward was packed this Sunday with all the tourists and it was awesome. The whole building was full of members and I shared my testimony about how Mom came to this country from Chile 32 years ago and how it has been such a blessing that she came.  Isn’t it amazing how the actions of a few can impact the lives of so many people in a positive way?  Now I have the opportunity to help others come unto Christ just like the missionaries in Chile helped Mom’s family way back in 1967 and lives continue to change.  By the way, I took some money out of my new debit card because I just ordered the new OPM tee shirts I told you about and I’m selling them to the guys in my district at cost.   They look really awesome and I’ll send some home to you so you can rep the OPM.

We hit a road block with Juliana last week and it was pretty sad. We went to go visit her and she started smoking again. We understood it was difficult for her to quit after 55 years so we were sympathetic. Anyway, when I told her that we would have to move her baptismal date back a bit until she could quit smoking, she slammed the door on us and told us not to come back. It was sad but I had to be real with her. We will continue to pray for her and try to help her is she lets us come back again. Our other investigators seem to have been pretty busy as a result of the 4th of July so we didn’t really get many of them to progress to much this week. We did teach this new lady we found street contacting named Heather and invited her to be baptized. She accepted and then we found out that she lives in the other Elder’s area in Astoria. Well, we are all playing for the same team so I’m excited to see how she progresses up there. I love the work here and things are going great. We have hit a little slump but nothing faith in the Lord and hard work can't fix.

The 4th of July was pretty crazy because it was our P-day and we were asked not to tract because most of the people out here would be wasted. So we spent the night with members and it was way sweet. We had a Ward breakfast in the morning and then went to the Seaside Parade! There we saw some awesome floats including bubble man and Brother Symonds Hat float. After the Parade I met bubble man and asked to take a picture with him and he is some 60 year old  guy that is decked out in all tie dye clothes. He is a super hippy and he goes around town riding his bike blowing bubbles ha-ha. I got a picture with him and I will send it to you next week.  After that we went 4 wheeling on the beach with a member and then set up this huge bonfire for the night on the beach. After that we went to Bruce Smiths house where he played the Jimi Hendrix version of the Star Spangled banner. After that we went to the bonfire and watched the fireworks for the rest of the night. It was weird having pretty much the whole day free but I guess it was a well needed rest. This week was pretty cool and the members here are so awesome.

Any funny things happened this week? Well we went over to Brother Symonds house last week and he showed us a float he was making for the 4th of July parade. It was a hat that can do 360 turns and rides up to like 40 miles an hour. It was pretty funny to see him riding around in a little hat that he made ha-ha.

Well I have got to go,

Love you guys,

Elder Payne