Saturday, December 24, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Spirit in Woodburn!

December 19, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow, life is great and I get to talk to you guys this Sunday. Time has been flying by and it’s ridiculous. I just got back from the mission Christmas party and I got to see all my long lost boys. I saw my main man Elder W and he dropped a bomb on me, he’s only got one transfer left on his mission, not only him but Elder A has only got 2 transfers left. It is ridiculous how fast time is flying and all the companions I once had are heading home. Elder S goes home the day after Christmas, this transfer day! It’s pretty crazy and I’m most likely getting another companion next week since Elder B has been here for a six months now. Well like I said, things are great and I love being a missionary. The Christmas party was awesome and we had a talent show. Our Spanish Zone, Los Soldados del Sur, sang a pretty cool song called Campana Sobre Campana. It went pretty good and some guys in our district danced around in sombreros. We also combined with all the Spanish missionaries in the mission to sing Feliz Navidad and then danced to the Mexican hat dance which was pretty funny. My boy Elder W directed the music as he wore a Mexican flag on his back like a cape. We also had an ugly tie exchange after the party where all the Elders took the ugliest tie they owned and brought it to the party to exchange with others in the district. It was pretty fun and I love President and Sister M, they are the best. They are like my parents away from home and I guess that’s how it should be.

Well about the ADD medicine, I went to go see a doctor and he wanted to get the medical records from my pediatrician when I last took the medicine so I can just go back on it. I guess that’s cool and I’ll probably go back on Stratera but we will see what happens. I’m expecting a call from him this week so I guess I’ll just have to wait. I know it will help me out. Thanks for the support and thanks for the Christmas presents. I am saving them until Christmas morning and I will keep the tradition of waiting until Christmas day as that’s what I did last year with Elder R, W and W. What we are doing this year is we are having all the Elders in the Branch, Elder S, G, P, B, and G over at our apartment on Christmas morning and we are going to open up our presents. Everyone is anxiously waiting and it will be pretty fun. We will drink hot pero and record it so we can remember it for years to come ha-ha.

Oh yeah, about Christmas day and the call. I am planning on calling you after church here so around 2:30 3ish, por ahi. We will be calling from the Morales home so that will be pretty cool. Well I think that’s about it for what’s going on next week; I have some pretty cool stuff to tell you that happened this week. O yeah, that’s cool that you gave that yearly report to the Ward. Yeah, looking back I do feel like I’ve changed a lot and am further finding out who I really am. I have found true meaning to the scripture that says los que pierden sus vidas a causa de mi, la hallaran (he who loses his life in my cause will find it.)  I think that’s what it says but don’t quote me. That’s awesome about the baptism at the Cherokee Branch too, that’s what it’s all about, making and keeping Covenants!

Well this week was awesome. It was full of amazing experiences. The Christmas Branch party was awesome and the play went great. I actually had a part and a line to memorize in this one and I was the inn keeper that led Joseph and Mary to the stable. It was an awesome party and a ton of members and non members showed up. Not to mention that the following day the church was packed and we had a great sacrament program full of music and singing. I also had the awesome opportunity to go through the temple again in Spanish on Saturday. We have been teaching one of the members from the branch since I got here and he went to the temple yesterday to take out his endowments. It was an amazing experience and really spiritual as we got to go through it with him. As we were in the Celestial room, the spirit was so strong as I put my arm around my boy R and knew that we were truly brothers. Man it just feels so good and hard to explain the feelings you receive as you see one of your brothers decide to make covenants with the lord and to be there with them. I guess the feeling would be absolute happiness and it comes from the spirit. Well there are so many miracles and amazing things going on here and I am so grateful. I am almost done with my 4th journal and it is pure bullet points on testimony, feelings, funny things, and dreams. I’ll send it home soon and you will have to tell me what you think of it. Well, I love you guys and I have got to go but I’ll be talking to you more this Sunday!!!!


Elder Payne

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Time of Reflection!

December 12, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

 I love you guys and I’m glad to hear things are going well on your mission in the Cherokee Branch.   I’m going to answer some of the questions that you have asked me in your last letter. I’m not sure if we are allowed to talk on Skype at Christmas and I think it will just be a phone call. I’ll probably call you guys after church here so after 2 o’clock here in Oregon. To answer your question about why I haven’t been putting anything funny in my letters is because I haven’t had too much time to write as I’ve been trying to write so many people in my limited amount of time. I’ll try and add in a funny story this week as some pretty funny stuff happens out here every week. Well I think those were all your questions.  I was wondering if for Christmas you guys could hook me up with some more  razor heads for the Gillette fusion you sent me a few months back.  I’m cursed and have to shave twice a day now and I’m about out and those things do a great job.

Things are going great here in Woodburn and the work with the less active families in the Branch is on fire. We have truly taking Elder Grows invitation to the extreme and we are teaching about every less active family in our area. It will take some time but I can see the spirit working on them as we teach them true gospel principles again and invite them to come back to Christ. We have also been teaching a member named R and he is the man. He is going to the temple this weekend to go through to receive his endowments and he has asked us to come. I really want to go and support him as we have seen him grow so much. Also, B brought one of her friends to church today and her friend has a really huge family. We will start teaching them this week and I feel like this is the family we have been praying for. It's amazing to see how the work of the Lord progresses and how people are prepared.

That’s so awesome about the baptism you guys are having and it’s true that the work is going amazing. One of the families from Seaside, the H’s just shot me an email and told me that they are doing well and having some baptisms out there too. It’s amazing and nothing can stop the work, no unhallowed hand right? Well things are going great here and I’m having the time of my life. But now I need  to talk to you guys about a really serious matter. Well it’s not too serious but it’s something I have been praying a lot about and I feel like the lord has answered my prayers. I have been praying a lot about finding a way to further serve the Lord and give it all I’ve got.  I went on an exchange with the District Leader the other day and I feel like my prayers were answered there through him. For some reason we got to talking about A.D.D. and how it can really put a block on studying and retaining information. I told him that I gave up taking medication and that I didn’t want to be dependent on that for the rest of my life. He told me he felt the same way but since he started taking medicine again his mission has changed. I didn’t think it was a good idea to go back but then I thought and reflected on it and how much it could help me I decided to pray about it and I feel that I should do it. It’s like this, if a guy has heart problems, is he just going to tuff it out and not take the medicine that will help him. Well I could say the same thing about ADD and tuff it out and I have since I stopped taking my meds five years ago, but I’m not going to lie,  it’s been super tough. I feel like I’ve gone as far as  I can go with the potential I have and if I take the medicine I can go a lot further. Like for example, right now if I keep going on after my mission and for the rest of my life, I feel like I can go to college for 4 years and get a decent job. But if I take the medicine and really focus, I can go to school for 6 years and graduate from BYU law school. That’s what I think, but I’m just ranting on. That’s what I’m feeling right now and I just had to give you guys a heads up because I want to give taking ADD medication  a try again. Well you know I gave it the good fight but even with trying to overcome it, I still have ADD ha-ha. I was also thinking about transferring to BYU from BYUI after the mission as I have a 3.875 GPA and they might accept me as I’m a RM. If I want to try I should get started now so I’m ready when I get back. I still will have to pray about it as my future wife might be chillen on a farm in Idaho, just an idea.

Well, a funny story that happened this week is that we were leaving our apartment in the morning to go do something. When we got outside we saw this guy with this little ghetto truck bouncing up and down as he has hydraulics or something like that. He thought he was the man and I’m not going to lie it looked pretty cool. Well he finally drove off and as he was driving, I guess he pressed the wrong button and his truck bed bottomed out and sparks started flying. I’m guessing he just got them installed so he still didn’t know what he was doing ha-ha. Well it was funny to see and only in Woodburn.

My Spanish is really improving as I’m calling on all the members in the Rama to help me. I guess you will be able to see if that’s true in a couple of weeks though when I call home for Christmas.

Well I love you guys and I love serving the Lord.

Elder Payne

Monday, December 5, 2011

Loving Life in Woodburn!

December 5, 2011

Dear Family and Friends, 

Thanks for all the letters you sent me as it’s so good to hear all the news that’s going on. That’s really cool that the little Neilson G's are wrestling and I know they are going to be great wrestlers. It’s good that they are starting young so they can get some state titles in High School. Charlie Farr is a beast and I knew he would be doing well at Mercer. All the missionaries out here want me to wrestle our Zone Leader who is a 3 time state champion from Arizona that wrestled at 189 ha-ha. I’m not going to mess with that kid but I might try to get in a wrestling room and do some service. One of our investigators kids that is 13 is picking up wrestling and I want to go to a practice one day and see if I still remember how to do a fireman. That’s a pretty cool story that mom wrote me about seeing my High School wrestling coach in Subway. I’ll never forget those guys as they helped me to man up and get my mind right.

The attendance at sacrament meeting is gradually progressing and we are seeing miracles as people are coming back. We will continue to strive and find the Lords elect but we are mostly focusing now on strengthening the members we have. We have been teaching a really awesome member that told us that he is going to be entering into the temple this month on the 17th. He invited us to come and hopefully we will be able to go through the temple with him. We have been sharing a lot of lessons about faith and having hope. We have all been sent here to learn and to grow and that’s why we have trials and weaknesses. I love the verse in Ether 12:27 that has been the theme of my mission as I’m always finding things I need to work on and improve. I know as we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and draw upon the powers of his infinite atonement, we can be healed and molded. It’s amazing the things you learn daily out here and the joy that comes from seeing the work of the Lord. I’m so happy out here on my mission and there’s no place I would rather be. I love Woodburn and all the people here.

I’ve been trying really hard to polish my Spanish and work on my accent. President P told me if you read out loud with a pen in between your mouth it helps you to pronounce the words better. So every morning I am reading out loud with a pen in my mouth and I guess when Christmas comes around in a few weeks and I get to call home Mom can tell me if it is working or if I still sound like a gringo ha-ha. Well about the Christmas list, all I really need are some socks to be honest. I’ve worn holes through all of my socks so I could use some new black gold toes. A GPS would be cool but then again, I don’t want you guys to have to spend too much doe. Everything is going good and we are coming up on the last three weeks of the transfer, time is flying but I love every second of it.

I have a pretty cool story about how my companion is the man. Yesterday before church we stopped by all of our investigators to remind them about church. Well we decided to go see B and the family to see if they were coming. Well it turns out that one of the water pipes broke and they couldn’t get any water to the house. They couldn’t go to church because no one was showered and ready. My companion being the farm boy from Utah got under the house in his slacks and nice shoes to find out what the problem was. I had no idea what he was doing as I’m not a plumber and I’ve never messed with that stuff. Sure enough he figured out the problem, turned a couple nozzles and fixed the water. There was an hour before church started and everyone was cheering as he got the water back one. Elder B saved the day and B and the whole family happily came to church that day. It’s true that we both have our own strengths and together we make a pretty powerful team.

Well thanks for all you guys do for me and I love you guys so much.


Elder Payne