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