Monday, November 28, 2011

Woodburn, "The Celestial Area"

November 28, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,
Remember Elder R from Mexico?  He has been home for about a year now so I wrote my boy the other day and I told him that I was serving in his favorite area and this is what he said, "I can’t believe you are in Woodburn (a.k.a. the celestial area with the celestial Branch President)".  Dang, Elder R is right; I love this place and the people here! The work is going good here in Woodburn and we continue to push on. We have been teaching a lot of less active families in the Branch and we have run into a new couple that wants to come back to church. They are young and the man has some problems with drugs that we will try to help him overcome. I look at him and I can see what he can become with the Lord’s help and not where he is right now. E G is progressing well and his family is getting excited about the church too. M is progressing slowly as we have to continue to remind him to read. We are working a lot with the less active and I know that through the Holy Ghost and love they will find the desire to come back to church and change their lives.

Thanksgiving was awesome at the Branch Presidents house and there were 8 missionaries there to enjoy the Thanksgiving feast. That’s crazy that President P called you guys to say how happy he is to have me in Woodburn.  Elder B and I are trying our best to work hard and be obedient and we love working with President P! The work is growing a lot here in Woodburn so we now have 6 missionaries in the branch. Isn’t that crazy, we have 6 Elders in 1 Branch. Some Stakes don’t even have 6 missionaries. Well I know it is for a reason and the awesome thing is that all the missionaries here in the branch are like brothers. If we unite together and really figure out a way to reach out to people, we can hopefully bring many unto Christ while we serve here. Things are going great and Elder B and I are seeing many miracles as we are depending on the Lord to guide us. My main man E who just got ordained last week is progressing really well and now his little brother is coming to church. Through his faithful example, I pray that we may reactivate his whole family and see them come back to church. A lot has happened this week and I have a lot to tell you.
First I’ll tell you about my main man Hermano P. He is still going strong and is a G. We went over to his house one day to see how he was doing. We pulled up to his driveway and saw that the garage was open which meant that he was outside so we got out of the car and I shouted," HERMANO!" I didn’t hear anything so I shouted again and then I heard a voice from the side of the house say," HERMANOS!" It was coming from the side of the house so we walked around but nobody was there. We then heard it again and the voice was coming from above us. I looked up to see my main man Hermano P hanging on the edge of the roof hanging Christmas lights ha-ha. I said Hermano, “Don’t fall!" He replied by saying, “I got this”. He is a funny guy and it was a cool sight to see a guy about 70 years old lying on the side of the roof, so close to falling, but without fear. You can’t stop the guy, he is like the energizer bunny, he will never stop going and is a great example to me. I hope to be like him throughout my life as a faithful servant to the end.

Something else happened that’s really cool as I was able to learn and see things from an eternal perspective. When I was serving in Seaside you may have thought I was upset and was having a hard time but I meditated on the time I had with my companions. I thought to myself, was I that easy to live with, and was I that cool? I then thought about all the things I did that might have not been so cool or pretty annoying, maybe the stuff that my companions might have written in there journals saying that I needed to change. Then I was hit with some straight truth as to realize that I was half of the equation. I don’t know if you’re following me but I’m going to keep ranting and hopefully it will make sense. So every morning in Seaside, I would listen to a conference talk in Spanish and sometimes I wouldn’t change the talk for like 3 weeks straight cause I liked listening to the same talk. Another thing I liked doing is listening to the Book of Mormon in Spanish for like 20 chapters in a row instead of music like Motab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir). Then it hit me, I liked that stuff but my companions probably weren’t big fans. Maybe they wanted to mix things up and I just disregarded their thoughts. It then hit me that I could have made things better instead of doing what I wanted. I felt bad, but I knew I could make things better so I decided to call my boy Elder S and apologized and told him I knew I could have done things a little differently when I was there. I then thanked him for everything he taught me. After getting off the phone and thanking him, it hit me and I had the question, why after you leave your companions, are you more appreciative or thankful for them?
It was a wakeup call for me to always be grateful for what’s going on at the moment and it made me grateful for every companion I've  had on my mission and for the things I've learned from each one of them. I know I have had all my companions on my mission for a specific reason and only God knew why at that time but as time goes on I learn why. It feels good to know that the hard times and the good times have been for my benefit and to be honest, I can’t remember the hard times anyway. I’m talking like my mission is over so sorry for the rant as I was just writing down my thoughts. One thing I want to say after my mission though is that I would kick it or hang out with each of my companions after the mission. I never want to say, I hope I never see that guy again, because if you leave with those feelings I think you didn’t learn what the lord wanted you to learn. Do you think any of the things I am learning out here about human relationships will help me when I get married someday lol? 

Well,  I love you guys so much and I can’t wait to talk to you at Christmas. We are doing another Christmas play this year and I have moved up from the part of playing solider last year in the play in Keizer to having a main part in the cast as the Angel Gabriel, Chyeah!

Elder Payne