Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mount Hood to Seaside and the Race is on!

Dear Family and Friends, 

Things are going good out here and the first week of the transfers went by extremely slow for some reason. This week I learned a ton and it was pretty intense. Well, I was able to finally get all the pictures from my camera transferred to my memory card so you will get some photos in the near future. I still have about 18 days left in my journal to fill up until I send it home. I will send home some OPM shirts with the hard disk drive and whatever else I feel you would like.

So this week was so crazy it is going to be hard to explain what happened. This weekend was called the Hood to Coast race where runners from all over the country run from Mount Hood to Seaside in 2 days. So the population of Seaside grew to about 40,000 people in 2 days and it was crazy!!!!!! I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to ditch the car and go street contacting. It was a pretty interesting experience and I don’t think I have ever been denied more in my life. Of course we met some really cool people, but most people only had one thing on their minds and that was to party because they finally made it to Seaside after a long run. So we street contacted and shared the gospel message and met a lot of different people from all over the country. The good thing about that experience that I will never forget is that I will never be afraid to take no for an answer. It shook all the doubt and fear of approaching someone as we approached huge crowds of runners and people that didn’t want anything to do with our message. Now I feel like knocking on a door or contacting anyone on the street is a cake walk. So I learned something cool and we got to watch fireworks that night from our apartment as everyone was partying on the beach celebrating because of the end of the race.

Well, I’ll give you an Elder W quote which had everyone laughing as he ranted at district meeting. Believe me when I say ranting is not a derogatory thing but the ability to rant is a talent that is acquired after many years of experience and public speaking.  Elder W will usually sit down as he gives us a little piece of his mind but when he stands up and gets up from his seat, you know he means business. Well the quote of the week comes from when we were talking about leadership and how the key is to follow up. Well Elder W got up and said as we watched with anticipation," Tell em that’s just how the cow ate the cabbage and if they don’t like it we can “go toe to toe”!  I think he was saying to just tell people the way it is and if they don’t accept it then you can discuss it further, but man I would love to see Elder W go toe to toe with someone. Even though he is 78 years old, I bet he’s got a powerful right hand; we call him the Italian Stallion!!!!! He and Sister W are such an inspiration to all of us!

Sunday was a really cool day as it was our time to go to Stake Conference and we got a ride with the Assistant Ward Mission leader and he is the man. We rode up to Stake Conference together and on the way there we stopped at this fish hatchery and checked out some of the fish, like Cabazon. You guys probably think that’s pretty weak or lame but I thought it was cool to see all the big fish swimming in a giant font.

Right now I’m on an exchange with my boy Elder P and we are working hard. We are also bringing our boy B M with us. B just got back from his mission like 2 weeks ago and he says he wants to go back so bad. I want to be like him when it’s my time to head home and never  want to go. He is really tight and we are teaching some lessons today and he is telling us stories about his mission and it’s funny that we all experience the same thing no matter where we go. He served in Colorado and he faced the same trials we are facing right now in our area.

We had a pretty cool experience the other day that strengthened my testimony about standing up for what you believe in. Well we were tracting the other day and we ran into this Hispanic guy named Miguel. He is the friend of some of the members out here and is a really cool guy. Well we decided to go see him and see if he was interested in learning more about the gospel. So we walked up to him and he was just chillen in his back yard with his girlfriend. We go and ask him if he would like to hear a message that we are sharing about our Savior. He quickly responded with, no I’m Catholic, I’m good. Well we felt that his interest level wasn’t to high so we didn’t insist too much more but just kept talking to him. As we talked he reached down and grabbed his beer and said, you guys want one? At that moment we could have just sad no thanks, but we took it as a teaching opportunity even though he said he wasn’t interested. We explained why we didn’t drink and how the word of wisdom and the gospel could help us to avoid those things. His face lit up and he said, dang guys, I’ve been trying to stop drinking but it’s hard, if you can help me stop drinking, I’m interested in your message. I thought that was a pretty cool experience because we could have just left it alone but we decided to explain and testify and now my boy M has the potential to quit drinking and listen to our message about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Chyeah!!!!!!

Well family I just wanted to let you guys know how much I love you and how much I love this gospel. I’m a little upset that my hump day is coming up because time is going too fast. I feel like I could have given more but I gave it all I’ve got. I’m glad I have another year to dedicate my life to fully serving the Lord and I’m grateful for this amazing opportunity I have to lose myself. It reminds me of the parable that Jesus Christ told his disciples of the unprofitable servant. I know the opportunity I have to serve the Lord is precious and I will never be able to say, okay I did this, I’m done. I will be able to say, I did this, what else I can do, how else may I serve. I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God as it brings peace and joy to my heart. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he restored the Church of Jesus Christ to the Earth. I’m grateful to wear Jesus Christ’s name and know that Jesus is my Savior. I know his atonement is real and have been able to use its healings powers. I know that this is the work of the Master and I am his servant. Thanks for raising me and keeping me in line and helping me receive this testimony for myself.


Elder Payne