October 31, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
Things are going great and I love Woodburn more than anything. President P is a G and the members are great! I have a lot to tell you because last week was a really busy one. Hermano P, the Branch Mission Leader, is still leading the way and before church this Sunday, he took us to go see all his friends and invited them to church. As I stood there, Hermano P introduced us to his friends and explained to them that our purpose was to bring people unto Christ and prepare people for the second coming. He was explaining this to his friends without any fear and telling them about the covenants we make with our Heavenly Father. He is a great example and I want to be like my boy Hermano P too. I have got to tell you some bad news, last night I ate a habanero pepper and I am still suffering as we speak. I wasn’t going to go down easy last night as we ate with the C family and I had to conquer the hottest pepper I’ve ever eaten. The good news is that it helped loosen my tongue and I can speak Spanish faster. But I’ll be real with you right now, I’m never gonna eat a habanero pepper ever again!!!!!!!!!
GOOD NEWS, O y A got baptized last Saturday! They are great examples to me and have truly decided to follow the Savior by changing their lives. O is the man and it was a privilege to confirm him a member and give him the Holy Ghost. To prepare I listened to the talk that David A. Bednar gave in the October 2010 conference titled, " Receive the Holy Ghost!" It’s an awesome talk and I have probably listened to it about 50 times on my mission. Anyway, things are going good and the Lord is blessing us and our area of Woodburn.
Things are going great here in Woodburn and I love my companion. He’s got my back and I’ve never worked as hard and as efficiently on my mission since I’ve gotten here in Woodburn. The work is going great and the lord is truly answering our prayers and our fasting. D and her mom B are making the decisions and choices to follow the Savior into the waters of baptism. We are working a lot with less actives and branch members as Elder C. Scott Grow told us to do. We had a great experience with a less active family the other day and they have decided to take the lessons again. One thing I have noticed about the success that we are having is that it is not me or my companion that is doing it. What I have learned is that the key to success in my mission is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as this is His work. I as a missionary need to have the faith sufficient to ask for his help and believe I will receive. Then it is the Lords will and whether the time is ready for these people in their lives. Then it depends on the faith of investigators. If they are willing to act upon the commitments we leave them and read in the Book of Mormon, they will be converted by the power of the Holy Ghost. Then it is up to the investigator. Well, that’s what I believe to be the reason for the success, not me or my companion alone, but all the different factors of conversion.
Man, the letters I got from the N boys really touched my heart and I love and miss those little G’s. Their parents are doing a wonderful job with them and they will be great missionaries for the Lord one day. For them to think that about me just blows my mind. I’m just an average guy but I rejoice in the fact that they look to me as a positive example for them to follow. I’ve learned a lot on my mission about the way people look up to missionaries and how every action is being watched by the rising generation of the church. I have a pretty funny example to explain my point. On Sunday, a family that we have been teaching came to church. The mom’s name is B and she has 6 kids ages 1 to 13. Well, during sacrament meeting, while the sacrament was being passed around, I bowed my head and prayed. After the sacrament was over I looked up and saw D, the 8 year old girl that has a baptismal date on the 13 of November, looking right at me. She motioned that I had fallen asleep. I told her I was praying and I wasn’t sleeping. By now all the kids are motioning that I fell asleep and I wouldn’t budge, I was praying. After sacrament meeting she said again," Hey Elder Payne, you fell asleep. I reassured her that I wasn’t Ha-ha. Well, after talking to them and setting an appointment for later that night, we parted ways. We then showed up that night and we were greeted with shouts and high fives. So as soon as I sit down, M (the older brother of B that lives with them and is not a member yet) rolls into the room with his shirt off and says," Yo sleeping DUDE, why you sleeping in church? Ha-ha I couldn’t help but laugh because now even M was on my case. I then asked for suggestions on how I could pray in church without looking like I’m sleeping. They gave me some good suggestions and it was a pretty funny situation. It just showed to me how watchful these kids are of our examples and what we do and how important it is to be good at all times. I now understand why they say the three best ways to teach are example, example and example!
Elder B and I have decided to do this awesome activity to gain the trust of the members and serve them. In the mornings, we show up to their houses in P-day clothes and tell them that we are there to do service. It works great! What I’ve noticed is that many members will not go out of their way to ask you for some help. So we are making it easy for them and just showing up and being ready to serve .They love it as there is always something that can be down whether that be mowing the lawn or moving furniture. Really, members are the key to missionary work as the last 3 baptisms we have had are member’s friends or families. If they trust us and see that we are willing to work, the work will progress faster.
A really cool side note, you know the UFC fighter named Chael Sonnen? He is from Oregon and one of the members knows him really well. Well, the deal is that he always hooks her up with stuff he doesn’t want like suits, clothes, whatever it is. So Elder Ballard and I had the chance to go and try on Chael Sonnen's suits that he wore like once. Too bad that he is like 6'1 and 185 pounds of pure muscle; I couldn’t fit into his suits but my companion fit into the suits perfectly and has been wearing them like he’s a millionaire ever since. If you get a chance, check out his fight between Anderson Silva at the championships last year. That was the last UFC fight I saw before my mission, how crazy is that. Maybe I’ll get to meet him and we can wrestle or something. He is awesome and one of the best in the UFC. He wrestled in college here in Oregon and is the man.
Well family, I love you guys, I love the little G's, I love everyone and I’m grateful to be in the service of the Lord. I have experienced no greater joy than losing myself in the Lord’s work and inviting others to come unto Christ. I know the Gospel is true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.