Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Winding Down in Seaside

September 22, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,

Yo family, a lot has happened in the last couple of days and I have got a lot to say about what has gone down. First off, I got your package and it was awesome!! I gave Elder S the “Jesus is My Boss” hat you sent me and he thought it was way cool. Thanks for the talks and the book you sent me, I will study them and let you know what I think.  That razor you sent me really is the Cadillac of all razors, I’ve never gotten a closer shave and it felt great!! Thanks for the hamper I’ve needed one for a while now. Well, you asked me about things I need and my white shirts are getting a little worn out but it’s all good, I think I can make them last another year. Thanks for the pens and I’ll put them to good use writing in my journals.  That is so cool that you got a call from Elder Woodman last week.  He and Sister W are my hero’s and I hope to be half as valiant to the Lord when I am 78 years old too.  We will all miss them as they are leaving next week to go back home, but Elder W's example and rants will be with me for the rest of my life!

Elder and Sister W!

 All right, so I will get down to business and let you know what has been going on with me. I’ve done some major pondering and finding out where I am as a missionary right now. There are a lot of things that have been revealed to me by the Spirit and hopefully this will all make sense when I get done writing this email. First off, I want to let you know what I felt inspired to do. One day after district meeting,  I decided to read the letter you sent me to some of the missionaries in my district.  It was the letter you sent me after reading my journal and giving me some advice. I felt like reading some of the parts in that letter would be of benefit to some of the missionaries since some of them are experiencing the same feelings of inadequacy I was having. After I got done reading the letter, my boy Elder J came up to me and asked if he could make a copy of the letter. Elder J is an awesome missionary and he is on his last transfer before he goes home.  I asked him why he wanted a copy and he replied to me that he had been praying about these feelings he had been having the night before and he felt like the letter I read was an answer to his prayers. He told me that he has always had feelings like this his whole mission and that the letter you wrote me completely explained where these feelings came from. So I thought it was pretty cool to have your letter answer someone else’s prayer that was also going through the same things I was too.
Anyway, I meditated on what you said and how I maybe am being too hard on myself.  I just want to give all I’ve got to the Lord but he doesn’t ask me to be perfect.  I have always prayed for the strength to understand and handle the situations I have been given out here, but the answers really sunk in as I had the opportunity to talk to my Heavenly Father in the Portland Temple yesterday.  In the temple I was able to tell Him exactly how I felt and ask him for His divine help. I came to an understanding that the adversary had been a big part of my trials that I have been facing as I have been worrying about things I have no power to control.  It was an amazing experience to speak to my Heavenly Father and fully trust that through the power of Jesus Christ, Satan in no means has any power or control over the way I feel. I have turned it all over to the Father and fully trust that He is and will take care of me. I know these feelings of inadequacy or despair come from the adversary. I used to think that these feelings meant I was doing something wrong and I needed to make a change because I wasn’t quite doing things just right but thanks to your letter and my relationship with the Lord, I have come to an understanding that the adversary was just trying to merk me and rob me of my peace. Since I have basically cast Satan's influence away from my thoughts and recognized where these feelings are coming from, I feel a lot different.  I am trying to stay centered in Christ and seek His Spirit as my constant companion regardless of what happens.

Now I’m not saying I was completely depressed or even depressed in any slightest degree, but I had a distorted and different way of thinking and looking at things. Now that I have acknowledged this I am way more relaxed and see things from a more eternal perspective. For example, when my companion decides to do something that wastes our time, I used to get upset and think about all the things we could have been doing instead. Now I sit back and read my scriptures and think it’s good that he’s out here to serve the Lord. So I received a totally different outlook and perspective since I have brought this to the Lord and asked for his help. I want to thank you for taking the time to help me understand that my efforts out here “are good enough”  and I’m only here to try my best. I can’t convert everyone with my testimony and now it makes greater sense what the prophet Alma was feeling when he desired to cry repentance to the people in Alma Chapter 29; 1-4. I have felt these feelings but now I have reached a sense of contentment that comes from knowing that I am giving it all I’ve got. I am grateful for these experiences I am having on my mission that have helped me to further understand the atonement of Jesus Christ and how the Savior is the key to helping me overcome these and any trials that will come during my life. I am grateful for the Savior, the great Mediator, the one I can go to that knows what I’m going through, and he can mold me and make me better than I ever was. I love you guys and sorry if this was preachy, but that’s just what’s going on out here and I love it!
By the way, Elder W said thanks for the letter. He really enjoyed it!! Also, I’m going back to a Spanish area with Elder W in 2 weeks; we have transfers after General Conference. It is going to be crazy because the whole coast is getting switched around. The Elders above us in Astoria are getting transferred because ones going home. Elder J in Tillamook is going home and Elder W and I are out of here. It’s going to be a crazy transfer meeting. Thanks again for the package. I’ve changed the format in my journal to just reflect on Tender Mercies, Hard Things, Dreams and Fun Things.  It’s a little bit more difficult to write in put it takes less time and I have more time to focus on other things. By the way, I’m about to finish the Book of Mormon in Spanish and I only have 12 pages left. I know the Book of Mormon is true and if you want to perfect your Spanish Dad, read it out loud. 

Love you guys and send me some questions next time so I can answer them.


Elder Payne