Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful in Woodburn!

November 21, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,
Things are going extremely well out here in Woodburn and we are witnessing miracle after miracle. We are finding a lot of success now as many people we are running into are willing to take the missionary discussions and learn about the Savior. I will tell you about some cool stories later and how the work is really progressing but first I wanted to thank you for sending me some pictures. It looks like everyone is doing really well and the pictures of Heather and Ben’s new place in Florida are amazing. It looks like a nice place to live out there and I’ll definitely have to check it out in the future. I’m glad you liked my last letter and if you have any more questions to throw my way I’m sure I can find some time to answer them. This week is Thanksgiving and we are pretty pumped as we are eating dinner with the Branch President’s family. I love Mexican food, but President is American and so it will be all the missionaries in the branch eating a ton of turkey and stuffing over there. I am going to have to train my stomach for this Thursday as we are going to get so much food. I heard if you eat only lettuce or grapes the night before, it expands your stomach so you don’t get full as fast. I will definitely need to do that as last Thanksgiving we ate about 3 dinners. Anyway, I’m super excited and thankful for all the members here.

Yesterday at church we had the amazing opportunity to confirm B and D members of the Lords church. It was such an amazing feeling to see the change that has taken place in their lives. Another amazing miracle that we have been seeing is the reactivation of many less active members. I told you about how Elder C. Scott Grow came to our mission and put us in line by helping us know what to focus on. Well, that experience changed my mission and my life. I’m grateful that a general authority of the Lord was able to come and help me know what I must further do to serve the lord. He invited us to work with the less active members of the Branch and if we would we would see more success. Well we took him up on his invitation and have seen amazing things happen as the spirit is touching these sweet people and helping them to strengthen their testimonies. M came to church again and is progressing well toward his baptismal date in a few weeks.  We have been working with a certain family for a while now and they have a son that is of the age of Priest. Yesterday we had the opportunity to go to his house and ordain him to the office of a Priest. He asked me to ordain him and I was pretty nervous but it was an amazing experience to see my boy change his life and get back on the right path. We are working with many other young men as well and with time we will have more Priesthood holders in the Branch to pass and bless the sacrament. I feel like Ammon did in Alma 26 when he rejoiced in the glory of his God. I know that all the success that’s going on right now has nothing to do with me but I’m grateful to be an instrument in the Lords hands.
I sometimes think and ponder about my time in Seaside and how I felt like I didn’t really contribute. I tried my best but nothing really happened. Now I further realize that this is just how missionary work rolls. You work your hardest no matter what, even if you don’t get to see the fruits. It’s like what Elder M said in his last letter before going home, some areas are for sowing and others are for reaping but it is all the work of the Lord. I called Elder S the other day to ask him how the work in Seaside was going and he told me they are having 6 baptisms. Many of the people I helped prepare are keeping their commitments and coming into the Lords kingdom.  It’s crazy to see how missionary work functions but it further strengthens my testimony that we are all on the Lords time and he knows where and when people will be ready to receive the gospel. I guess it’s just our job as missionaries to be out there all the time so we can say to ourselves when we are on that plane ride home that we gave it all we’ve got and we didn’t miss out on any opportunities to share our testimony with anyone.  

I’m grateful to be in this area and at this time to see the amazing changes that are happening. One thing I have noticed a lot is the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It really is the key and  is so important and without it I can’t teach. It truly does lead and guide our actions as sometimes I don’t really know what to do, but when I do trust in the Spirit everything seems to work out.

My companion is the man and I am so grateful to be with him for another transfer. There is a lot of work to be done here and it feels good to be with a companion that has the same working speed if you know what I mean. Spanish is coming back quickly and the language is really slowing down for me now.  I am so grateful to the Lord for all His help and the spiritual gift of tongues.

Well, I’ve got to get going but I love you guys and I hope all is going well. Thanks for all the support and know that I keep you in my prayers every night.


Elder Payne