Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumped in Woodburn!

October 24, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Life is good and my companion is the man, we have been all over the place this week and a lot of good is happening. Of course the enemy of all righteousness is trying to thwart our plans but I know as we work hard our investigators will continue to progress! Real quick, I just wanted to send you this email I got from our Mission President that he sent out to the whole mission.  “Please DO NOT have any personal letters posted on the internet by your family that can be found on the internet by any search engine.  No information about any investigator or member should be on the internet for any reason.  Please LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW, that no personal letters should be placed on the internet which would allow the public to view letters from you which contain any personal information about anyone by name or address. Thank you for your attention to this matter”. Anyway, I think you have already fixed that and you’re not putting the names of anyone we are teaching on the blog.

About my new glasses, I got the glasses last week and they are getting ordered this week. Sorry I didn’t wait but the doctor gave me a good deal. The eye exam was free I just had to pay for the lenses and frames. I should go get a physical as it would be a good idea to check my health out too. I’m playing soccer everyday and my companion who is a farm boy from Logan said he wants to learn how to wrestle so I’ll get into pretty good shape this transfer. I’m glad to hear about all the good news that is going on back home and that everyone is healthy. I got a letter from Abuelita the other day and it sounded just like all the old ladies we talk to out here, always saying, “Que Dios le bendiga" and referring to the Lord a lot. She is so awesome and I can’t wait to talk to her this Christmas on the phone ha-ha. Well a lot happened this week and I have got some pretty cool stories to tell you about.

This week we helped our Branch Mission Leader, Hermano P, with some service this weekend. I love Hermano P and he is the man. He is about 70 years old and stands all of 5'4, but he is a Spiritual Giant. He will stand up in front of Elders quorum and rally up all the members to support the missionary efforts. He is from El Salvador and when he speaks English he’s got an awesome accent. As we were helping him clean his garage, he kept saying to us in his accent, “Easy Money, Easy Money!" It was pretty funny and we would all laugh and have a good time. He is a great example as when we take him out to go teaching with us he will approach everyone he sees and share the gospel with them, Chyeah!!!!!!!!! O yeah, as I was doing service for Hermano P, I found some old school Reebok pumps. They are the shoes that you wore  back in the day and you can pump them up. Remember the movie Robin Hood Men in Tights, when Achue is fighting the knights and he says," Hold up, let me get some air" then he bends done and pumps up his shoes. Ha-ha it reminded me of that movie and Hermano P said I could have them. I just thought that was a funny thing to find in my mission leaders garage!!

One of our investigators is getting baptized this weekend and he has a fresh fade haircut. I asked him if he could hook me up with a haircut and he said he would. So the other day we went over and he gave me the nicest haircut I’ve ever received. As he worked with precision, it took him about an hour and 15 minutes to line me up in the front so I would have a nice hair cut. I thought that was kind of like a tender mercy because he did a really good job and he wouldn’t let me pay him. O is the man!

Things are going great out here in Woodburn. We are working hard and stopping by daily so that we can help our investigators progress to baptism. As the goal gets closer for some of our investigators, greater challenges face them. C was supposed to be baptized on Saturday but we postponed it due to some word of wisdom issues. Now she is having doubts on whether she can continue and the word of wisdom is truly something very difficult to overcome. We will continue to prayer for her and her husband so they can progress further. A and O are doing great and they are getting baptized this Saturday. They have truly made some big changes in their lives and I’m glad to see them make this covenant with the Lord. S is doing well and still has the date of the 12th to be married to his girl friend. He is having troubles leaving his old buddies and his old habits, but as we teach him I know he will have the desires to change. Things are going very well down here and we just need to focus a little more of our time on the less active and the members so we can help strengthen their testimonies as well. We are trying to find a good balance and as some of our goals are changing, we are seeking the lords will to know what he would have us do.

My companionship is awesome. Elder B is the man and it is awesome as we both have the same work ethic. We don’t have to remind each other to do stuff and I’ve never lived in a cleaner apartment. I’m learning a lot from him and we are having a lot of fun.

Well, a lot of funny things have happened this week and I’ll let you know about one experience we had. We were contacting these people in an apartment complex and every so often someone would drive by blasting their music, whether it be rap or Latin music. So we decided when we were leaving the apartment complex to play some real music. So we turned on our LDS hymns pretty loud and drove through the apartment complex slowly. The faces of some of the Hispanics were pretty funny as they probably hadn’t heard LDS church hymns played in that parking lot before. It left a good spirit and hopefully that will leave some lasting impressions on those guys to listen to more uplifting music.

Love you all,

Elder Payne

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Woodburn! Best Place Ever!

October 17, 2011

Dear Family,

Life is really good and I love every minute of serving the Lord in Woodburn. Well, a lot has happened this week and my companion Elder B is the man and is a work horse. We are giving it our all out here in Woodburn and putting the rest in the Lords hands. We come home every night dead tired. He is a good example to me and I’m glad to have a companion who is willing to give it all he’s got. This transfer, I have never prayed so much to find the will of the Lord and to find his elect. The Lord has answered our prayers and we are teaching a lot of people who are deciding to act on their faith and follow their savior into the waters of baptism.

I’m getting into pretty good shape now because every day we wake up at 5:45am  and go play soccer at the High School with all the Latino brothers. At first I wasn’t too good but I’m getting better and I’m repping my Chilean jersey. When I have the ball, all the Hispanics yell," Chileno, Chileno, pasamela!!!!" It’s pretty cool because I’m known as the Chileno now. If you guys could hook me up with another Chilean soccer jersey that would be sweet. I’m still rocking the old one from 2006 when I went to Chile on vacation. Maybe if you guys can get your hands on one and send it to me the next time I send you some photos from my camera. Next thing I want to let you guys know about is I wanted to get new glasses. I’ve had my old ones since the beginning of college so it’s been about 2 years. I think it would be good to get a new pair of glasses and there is a member from Salem that said he could hook me up. He is an Optometrist and is a really nice guy. I don’t think we have insurance for our eyes on the medical insurance but its all good as this guy is pretty cool and I think he will hook me up with a sweet deal.

Remember last week I mentioned that I wrote and asked President M why he thought Elder C. S G picked me out of so many Elders to be interviewed?  Well President M replied by saying, “Elder, the Lord picked you. You have a lot to offer to this mission. Keep up the great work...Love Ya, President M”. I thought that was pretty cool and it was definitely an amazing experience. As I reflect on the words and council that were given to us from Elder C. S G, I have been able to change the way I look at missionary work. I will say that the meeting with him has changed my mission and the way I will further look at setting goals. Elder B and I have been praying a lot to find out how many people we will commit and baptize this transfer. We have asked the Lord for his help and have received the answer that we can baptize 9 people this transfer. I know this is a high goal but I know that the Lord answered us with the Holy Ghost and said he was pleased with this goal.

As of right now, we have 4 dates and a baptism on the 30th of A and O. I have never exercised so much faith to find the will of the Lord as before I just tried my best and prayed everything would fall in place. But now we can plan out how many will be ready this transfer to be baptized and work for the goal. I know the power of fasting and praying and I know the Lord will help us to reach this goal that we set. We have other investigators named C and R who have decided to get baptized this weekend. C is so excited to get baptized and she is on fire. We might need to set the baptism back for her as this weekend is stake conference. We are teaching this other awesome guy named C and he has committed to getting baptized on the 13th of November. He is not married to his girl friend but has committed to getting married the day before his baptism on the 12th. He is an awesome guy and really looking to change his life. The work is going great out here and I know it is due to our dependence and faith in the lord. Like it says in Ether 12:13-15, it was through the faith of the lords servants that the great change was wrought among the people that they taught. I know that through this same faith, we can find and teach and baptize. We have about 7 investigators that have agreed to baptism and are coming to church, now our goal is to find another family to complete our goal of 9. I’m so pumped about the work and having this opportunity to serve the Lord. I think I am more pumped now because I have finally come to an understanding that this is only made possible through the our faith, the Lords will, and the faith of our investigators and their willingness to act upon the answers they receive from the Holy Ghost. Well things are going great and I love the Lord. Sorry about going on a big rant but I’m feeling it and I’m super excited.

It sounds like all is well with you guys at home and I’m grateful to hear that as well. That’s so amazing that E is going to be baptized soon and that you guys have helped him make that step towards our savior Jesus Christ. It sounds like the C Branch is really pulling together like here in Woodburn.  President P is amazing and he is really helping us out and giving us a ton of support. That’s so cool that H B in Seaside got his mission call to Brazil, we told him that’s where he was going ha-ha. That kid is a stud and he is going to be an awesome missionary. He is really prepared to serve the lord and is going to be a great instrument in the Lords hands. Please tell him I said congratulations and that I know he is going to do great.

I will close with an amazing tender mercy that happened this past week. I went to the Portland temple last Saturday to attend the sealing of one of the members here in Woodburn. We went through the temple and it was all it Spanish. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had and it was an awesome experience. While I was at the temple I got the pleasure of seeing some of my favorite members from my first area in Keizer. I saw my boys J C D, J D, A GC , and Hermano R. I was so happy to see them and their wives and it was a great reunion. J asked me if I was going home soon and I laughed as I told him that I just completed a year about a month ago. It was a great experience to go through the temple in Spanish and to see all my brothers and sisters that I love. This week was so sweet and there’s no other place I would rather be than serving the Lord out here on my mission right now. I Love the lord and I know that this is his restored Gospel on the earth again. I love you guys and send my love out to Brother S and President N. Those guys rock and I will write them once I get some time.

Any funny stories, well I have a funny story that happened the other day. We were going to visit one of our investigators and some kids walked by us. They were about 5 and 8 years old. The younger kid said “Hey” and his brother said, “Don’t talk to them, they are strangers”. We told them that we were missionaries of the Lord Jesus Christ and walked away after introducing ourselves. As we walked away I overheard the younger brother say to his older brother," Are you crazy, they aren’t strangers, they are cool!" So Elder B and I walked away laughing ha-ha.

Give my love to all the family, everyone in the Ward and tell the little G’s to be good and get ready for their missions.  I miss everyone and love you all so much!


Elder Payne

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Special Wedding to Remember!

Queridos Familia y Amigos,

Woodburn is on fire and so am I! I love this place and it is so awesome. Not only do I love this place but it has been an amazing week full of spiritual experiences and really fun too. So I arrived here just last week and time has just flown by. It feels weird to be out of the loop and not able to contribute that much. I just got here in my new area and I don’t know very many people or even all of our investigators yet. It’s definitely a much different pace than being in Seaside where I know where everything is and who everyone is but I’ll get up to speed soon and able to get comfortable with my surroundings. I love the Woodburn Branch and I’m so happy to be here. My companionship with is going great. We are two very different guys but we have fun and make it work because our desire to serve the Lord unifies us. It is great to have such a hard working companion.

First, let me start by telling you about the highlights of the things that have just happened out here. I got interviewed by a General Authority yesterday! It was an amazing experience and I will elaborate on that a little bit later in the letter. We had a mission tour yesterday and a member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy, Elder C. S G came and talked to our mission. It was an amazing experience to have a General Authority come to our mission and talk to us about ways we can improve as missionaries. Elder G served as a Mission President in Uruguay before being called to the Seventy.  But before I get more in depth with that let me explain to you what else amazing happened. There was a wedding this Saturday and we had a baptism on Sunday.  Things are going amazing out here and truly the field is white and ready to harvest here in Woodburn, Oregon.

Well let me first start off with telling you about the wedding. The wedding was awesome and it was the first real Mexican wedding I have ever been to. The colors of the wedding were bright and the decorations were pretty cool. Well the wedding was for two of our investigators, O and M. They are a really nice young couple and making some good decisions in their lives right now. Well at the wedding, I decided to sit at a table with some people I didn’t know. As I sat down, they started asking me questions about who I was and why I was wearing a black name tag. I explained and found out they were not members of the church and the whole time during the wedding, they asked me questions and I shared the gospel with them. We laughed and had a good time and by the end of the night they gave me their names and told me to add them on my facebook. They also said they would read the book of Mormon and that they thought it was interesting. It was a good experience because it was a testimony to me that you can share the gospel anywhere, even in a wedding where they are blasting Spanish salsa music in the background.

I always try to share a funny experience that happened during the week so here goes.  A funny and strange thing that happened at the wedding is that the DJ didn’t like to talk on the microphone because it made him nervous. So Oscar came up to me and asked me to make the announcements. You know I am like Mom and don’t have a shy bone in my body, so I jumped in and it was great! I got up in front of all these people I didn’t know and introduced the new bride and groom. I told everyone to applaud and introduced their first dance. After the married couple finished dancing, I invited everyone to get on the dance floor and start dancing because it was open dance floor now and the place was jumping. It was a pretty funny experience because I didn’t know anyone, but I was making the announcements in Spanish ha-ha.  The wedding went really well and it was a good experience to witness this young couple getting married.

On Sunday, the first day back into the Spanish Branch, I was asked to give the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting. Later that day, Elder Ballard and I got ready to have a baptism for a lady named E. She has been taught for a while now and decided to get baptized. It was a great service and the spirit was really there. The Branch really came out to support her and she definitely felt the love. I know the Lord has many other people ready here in Woodburn waiting to get baptized and enter into His kingdom.

Now back to my amazing experience at the Mission tour yesterday. Elder C. S G came and spoke to our mission and gave us some great advice on how to improve the Lord’s work. I learned so much and was truly edified. I was grateful for the opportunity I had to hear the voice of the Lords servant. At the end of the meeting, President M got up and said," Now Elder G would like to talk to a few Elders, don’t worry you’re not in trouble, he just felt inspired to talk to a few of you for a minute or two!"

So the AP’s went around and grabbed about 10 missionaries and asked them all to follow them to a room nearby. Out of the 10 missionaries chosen, I was the one chosen to go into the interview first. Everyone was like ooooooooooo; you’re in trouble Elder Payne ha-ha. I didn’t know at that point what was going on but soon I felt an arm around my shoulders and it was Elder G. He said, are you ready Elder? We went into this room and the interview began. I won’t go into depth about what was said but I will tell you how I felt. I have never felt so loved by someone that I had never met before in my life. I felt the spirit strongly and I knew that this was truly a servant of God. I was able to ask him questions that he answered with the spirit. It was truly a great experience and it seemed as if he was looking into my soul to see who I really was. He answered some questions that I had been having and gave me some really good counsel. It was an amazing experience and he told me some things that I will never forget. I wrote them down and have them in my journal and maybe I will share them with you in the future. I’m grateful for the experience to have been in the presence of a General Authority and to receive counsel and revelation from a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I will never forget this tender mercy!

Well, life is amazing; I love my mission with all my heart. I love the Savior and I’m so proud to serve him. I love you guys and am so thankful to each of you for your love and for your support.


Elder Payne

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Transferred to Woodburn and Spanish Again! Chyeah!

October 4, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,


I just got transferred to the best area in the entire mission in Spanish! I’d heard stories of this area back when I was a greenie and Elder Rangel was hooking me up with his aged wisdom. He told me that Woodburn was the best area and ever since then I have wanted to come and serve here. Now it has become a reality and I’m right in the thick of it, HISPANIC investigators everywhere. I went to Wal-Mart the other day to buy some groceries after transfer meeting and you had to search for someone that spoke English! Ha-ha I’m just playing, it’s like half and half here but I’m just so excited to be back in Spanish.

I loved every second of serving in Seaside and I won’t forget the things I learned and the challenges that I was able to overcome. I especially won’t forget the members or the investigators that I love. It’s hard to believe I was there for 6 months and now I’m back in Spanish. I’m so grateful for the time I had to spend serving on the coast and it’s made me a lot of who I am today. Now, I’m in Woodburn just loving life. My companion is a G and a workhorse. He just wants to go-go-go and we are going to work our butts off. He is a farm boy from Utah and his name is Elder B. He has been out about six weeks less than I have. I didn’t get to be with my Boy Elder W but it’s all good because Elder B is the man. We are getting along great and its going to be a great transfer. Last night I was able to go visit the Branch President, President P, and he is a great guy. Then we went to go visit the Ward Mission Leader and he is on fire. Everyone is ready to work and I’m so glad to be here. My Spanish is coming back really fast as I have put my trust and faith in the Lord and he is helping me out a lot. I’m just so glad to be back I can’t explain it in words.

But a little bit more about my new companion. When I got to our apartment in Woodburn and opened the door, I was amazed at what I saw. The house was sparkling clean. No dishes in the dish washer, everything was in order, the bathroom was sparkling clean, so clean that I would probably eat off the floor. He sat me down and told me he likes a house of order and the house to be clean. I was glad to hear that as I like to be clean too. Sometimes I get a little sloppy but I know my new comp will be there to let me know when it’s time to pick it up. It’s funny how every new companion and area brings something new to the table. I know from this transfer that I will be able to learn how to really clean and wash my dishes after using them, Chyeah!!!!

I wanted to let you know what I did with the money Nana sent me. I bought 2 brand new Van Heusen white shirts from the Deseret Book and a Columbia waterproof rain jacket for when the rains starts coming hard this winter. I have everything I need now until the very end of my mission but I might need to buy some more socks!

So today we had district meeting and my Pops (trainer Elder H) is the new Zone Leader with Elder N. It was an awesome meeting and my first district meeting in complete Spanish for the last 6 months. It was great and a really good experience. Actually we are only about 40 miles up the road from our first area in Keizer and it’s great to be working with Elder H again!  One of the new arrivals (greenies) told me he knew Elder S in the MTC and that Elder S wanted to tell me “what’s up”. It’s a small world and I hope my boy Elder S is doing well.

It was kind of sad to leave Seaside and my last couple of days there I went to go see the members and our investigators and thank them for the things I learned from them. I sadly didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to one of my favorite families, the S's, because they were in Idaho. But one day I will hopefully see them again as they had such a great impact on my life, Brother S is a G. I will definitely return to Seaside one day in the future and pay those awesome people a visit.

General Conference was amazing. I enjoyed each and every single talk. One thing I did differently this General conference is pay attention to what the spirit wanted me to learn. Usually I would just sit there and write down everything said or that sounded cool. This time I just sat there and listened, and tried to find out what I could write down to help me reflect and help me be a better missionary. One thing I heard said a lot was that when you are in the service of your fellow man, you are only in the service of your God , Mosiah chapter 2:17 I think. They also talked a lot about repentance and used the scripture in D y C 58:42-43. Also they talked about that we should be an example of the Believers in all that we do as Timothy says. I learned a lot from General Conference and it really impacted me to feel and realize how many of the talks were directed to missionary work. I loved Elder Holland’s talk and that really got me pumped up. I know that I am a servant of the Master and have the authority from God to perform miracles in his name. I know without a doubt that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of God and leads and guides this church. So many times I received that confirmation from the Holy Ghost that he is the Lords mouth piece on the earth. I really enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf’s talk about how special we are to God. His talk was another confirmation that God is aware of the things we face and that he truly does love us. I was truly edified by the talks given and I’m grateful that we get to hear the Lords anointed ever 6 months, what a blessing. Let me know what you think and write me back about the things you learned!

Well family, I’m just so happy if you can’t already tell. I’m glad to be back in Spanish, glad to be with an awesome companion, happy to serve the Lord, and ready to invite some people to follow their Lord and Savior down in to the waters of baptism!

Love to everyone,

Elder Payne

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Growing stronger in Seaside!

September 27, 2011

Dear Family,
 I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed my letter last week and didn’t think it was too preachy. I thought it might have been too much but I’m glad I can tell you how I feel and you guys understand what’s really going on out here. Things are going great and I’m loving life. After that spiritual experience I had in the temple, things have really changed. I have a greater love for my companion Elder S. This kid is a G and I’m so grateful for the time we have had together to work our butts off. We have both changed extremely and I’m grateful for the example he has been to me. It is such a good feeling to look at people from an eternal perspective and not to judge them for their actions, but for who they are. Everyone faces individual challenges and you never know what’s going on in their mind. All I can do is be a good example and lend a hand if they need it. That’s what I have learned from Elder S, don’t judge but be willing to help in any way possible to lift someone up. I just sent a letter to my boy Scott to go check out General Conference as that is an experience of a lifetime. I just sent it today so I’m afraid it won’t get to him in time but if you somehow see him on facebook, let him know that I wanted him to check it out. I’m so pumped for General Conference as it truly is an opportunity to hear the voice of a prophet of the Lord. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the mouth piece of God and I’m stoked for this conference. I’ll write down my impressions and let you know what I learned.
 To answer your questions that you sent me, Question, did you get to see Elder H at the combined meeting when L. Tom Perry came to speak to your missions? I did not get to see Elder H as he was in the North part of the Kennewick mission at the time and only the South part got to come down for the conference.  How did it go? It was really awesome and Elder L. Tom Perry basically just read us from the Book of Mormon and taught us about some of the stories and how they relate to us ha-ha. Elder C was there too and that was a great talk that he shared with us. I can’t wait for conference, I will have to miss a few sessions due to work, but will go back and watch them on  Let me know your spiritual impressions okay? I’ll let you know what I learn from the spirit Dad and then we can discuss it and see if the same things hit us.
 Anyway, like I said things are going great out here. Last Sunday I was able to bare my testimony and I didn’t cry. I guess sometimes you’re feeling really emotional and other days you’re not ha-ha. I testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as I know it is the word of God. Just last week I finished reading the Book of Mormon all the way through in Spanish and I took Moroni's Challenge again to ask heavenly father if the book is true. I knew the Book of Mormon was true but I have learned that you can ask for further confirmations so the spirit can witness to you that these things are true. I love reading the book of Mormon in Spanish and it is so awesome. Not to mention that the day I finished it, we taught a lesson to these Hispanic people and my Spanish was flowing better than it ever had before. I’m not sure who said it but I heard that if you want to become fluent in a language, if you read the book of Mormon all the way through in that language, you will become fluent. I heard that a prophet said it but I’m not sure who did. I can testify that’s true though as I feel like a native now, just got to improve that Mexican accent, vato. When my Spanish gets a little bit better and people ask me where I’m from, I’m just going to say Chile or Michoacán, Mexico and see what they say ha-ha, Chyeah!!!!!
We had some pretty good experiences the other day but first I’m going to hit you with some bad news. I think I may need to get my tonsils taken out because I have some problems with them. I’m going to see Brother F today, a doctor in my ward, and see what he thinks. I have had troubles breathing in the morning and I’m going to ask him what’s up. But to be honest, that’s not even bad news, that’s just what happens in life. Anyway let me fill you in on a couple of things that have been going on this past week. There is this lady in our ward named Sister M. She is from Columbia and I always talk to her in Spanish. Anyway, her Mother who is like 95 years old is here visiting and she is from Columbia. She is so awesome and reminds me just of Abuelita. She grabs my arm when she talks to me and ends almost every sentence by saying,  “El Senor es todo”!! (The Lord is everything!) At church Elder S and I sat down with her and she told us awesome stories about her life and how when she was 71 years old, she played in a soccer game against all these men.  They would chant, Grandma, Grandma, but she showed them all up when she scored a goal and everyone started running around yelling GOAL!!!!!!!! The emotion on her face was priceless as she told the story and acted out the goal she made!!!!!!!!! I love old ladies and I love Abuelita, I will write her soon and hope to listen to her crazy stories one day soon too.
Any funny experiences this week, well I have a couple but I’ll tell you about this one. We took S to church last Sunday and S loves sharing the gospel. When we take him tracting with us, he contacts everyone, no matter if they are on a bicycle or running. Well, we were standing in the church greeting people and President W, the Stake President, came up and greeted us. S saw that as an opportunity to invite the Stake President to learn about the Gospel. He said, Sir would you have 2 minutes so we could share with you a message about the Book of Mormon. Ha-ha, Seth is a great kid and we could use a million more missionaries out here just as bold and valiant.

There is so much to do it is crazy. I want to write O, V, and M y todas las personas en Chile pero no tengo el tiempo suficiente. Well, I’ll try to further get organized and start popping out some letters. I love you guys so much and I’m so grateful for the support you’re giving me. I’m giving it all I’ve got out here and sometimes I forget that I need to trust in the Lord and let him guide me. But it is a learning process and I’m grateful for the lessons I have learned so far through the Spirit.


Elder Payne