Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Summer in Oregon!

April 23, 2012
Dear Family,

We have had another amazing week in the promised land of Molalla. Finally the summer has come and the weather is awesome. It’s like 84 degrees outside and I’m pretty pumped for this summer. I got some good news that will help me for the rest of my future to man up and trust in the Lord more. I stopped taking my ADD medicine as I went for a check up to see how it was affecting my heart and the Doctor told me I needed to stop immediately. I asked him if there was any other medicine or alternatives that I could use to help me focus better and he just told me to except the fact that it was going to be harder in life for me to concentrate. Almost all of the ADD medicines are stimulants and they seem to be messing my heart up so I stopped taking them. It’s all good because I prayed about it and I know with the Lords help he will help me to achieve my goals and do what I need to do in the future. I liked it because the Doctor I saw was a guy from Argentina and he spoke to me in Castellano. Anyway I thought it was a pretty cool experience and I was only on the medicine for like 2 months. It helped me out but it’s not worth jacking my heart up or getting a heart attack.
Well, other than that this week has been awesome!!!! The members are doing a great job of being missionaries and they are all inviting their friends and families to the activities. We went to the temple with a group of members and went to go see the new visitor’s center that they just built. That is a great missionary tool and the spirit was so strong there. I love this place as the members are so Christ-like and willing to help out in any way they can. One of the Hermanas bought a new house that needs a ton of remodeling done. All the Hermanos got together on Saturday and we replaced her roof. It was awesome as everyone had some experience working with construction or carpentry or you name it so it all came together pretty well. At first I was a little scared up on the roof there because I didn’t want to fall but after a little while I got the hang out it!!!!!

We had a great Sunday as well and the lord is truly blessing this area. It’s like a big family here and because the Branch is in the beginning stages of growth, everyone is willing to do extra work. We had the baptism of M R, G's brother, yesterday and it was awesome. A ton of people showed up and it was a great experience. Everything ran really smooth and after the baptism everyone went to the R’s house to eat Carne asada, my favorite!!!!!!! It was a great time for us to meet all of their family and friends and we were able to teach a lesson to some of the youth there about building their foundation upon the rock which is Jesus Christ, Heleman 5:12. After that lesson, I went outside to the backyard to talk to some of the adults that were platicando (chatting). I sat down next to this one guy that was the father of the kids we just shared a message with. We ended up talking about the church and how we could follow our savior Jesus Christ. In the middle of our conversation he stopped and said, hey I talked to you a long time ago in Megafoods in Woodburn didn’t I, pero en Castellano. I sat back for a minute and then realized that I had talked to him in Megafoods, our supermarket in my last area  like 3 months ago while I was serving with Elder B. I remembered that we had just started talking in the fruit aisle and then I invited him to learn more but he told me he lived in another town so I just gave him our card. Then 3 months later I was chilling with him in G's backyard talking to him about the gospel. I didn’t notice until then but the guy was G’s uncle and was pretty close with their family. I knew this wasn’t coincidence so I invited him to be baptized when he knew what we taught was true. He accepted the invitation and said we could come by later in the week to share a message about Jesus Christ. It was pretty interesting to see how the Lord works in mysterious ways and I’m just glad to be serving in a place not to far from Woodburn so I could have this experience ha-ha. I know that the Lord prepares people to hear the gospel and we will help this guy and his family the best we can to come unto Christ.

Well, I love being a missionary and it kind of stinks to think that it’s almost over. I don’t think about it to much to be honest so it’s all good. I know my birthday is coming up on May 1st and I don’t really need anything. I need another journal but I can buy that here at Deseret book. I need some more ink for my Bill Blass pens so if you could buy me some more that would be cool. I also need some more razors as I ran out of the Gillette Fusion Cadillac of all razors you got me. Other than that I’m all good, you can think of other things if you want but I think that’s all, thanks for asking!!!!!! Chyeah!!!! I really just want Carne Asada for my birthday and I have already dropped the hint about that to some of the Hermanas so I hope my wish comes true!

Well guys the missionary work is on fire here. We haven’t reached our goal of baptizing 50 people but through heavenly fathers blessings we have been able to have a baptismal service every week this month. Yesterday, little M R was baptized and it was a great experience for the whole family. A lot of investigators showed up and D, a mother of 5 boys was there. After the baptism, the kids ran up to me and asked if they could be baptized as well. I was pretty pumped about it and we will have to work with the mom a little bit more before we can baptize her kids. We are seeing miracles as people are inviting their friends and family to church and the church attendance is growing every week. I am so grateful for heavenly father answering our prayers and even though we weren’t able to baptize 50 this month, I know that it is still an achievable goal. We will continue with this goal and I know through a lot of hard work, prayer, fasting and faith in the Savior Jesus Christ, we will be able to bring those that have been prepared into the fold of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to witness the many miracles that happen every day and more importantly to have gained a complete knowledge that Christ lives, that he is my Savior, that this is his work and I have been called to bring this message to others.

My companionship is going awesome. Elder T is a great missionary and I know he is a hard worker. He helps me when I need to get pumped when I get down and we have the exact same goals in mind, to invite others unto Christ through baptism. We aren’t perfect and I know I need to work on a lot of things but we are doing great.

I have a great Mission President and am  grateful for his example. We just had one of the best Zone conferences I have been to on my mission. We got so pumped up to work harder and get the area book into good shape. We learned about  the importance of a name from Heleman 5. That’s helped me to further think about who I represent and how it is a great privilege to wear the Lords nametag for 2 years!

Well I love you guys so much and I hope you have a great week. I love being a missionary and I’m so grateful to be here in Oregon serving the Master. I know this church is true and that Jose Smith fue un profeta. I’m grateful to be a Latter-day Saint! Chyeah!


Elder Payne

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mas Milagros en Molalla!

April 16, 2012

Dear Family and friends,

I am eternally grateful for all the wonderful blessings that are happening here in the little branch and area I have been called to serve in. Like last week, countless miracles have happened and again I will not have enough time to share them but I’m keeping them all in my journal so I won’t forget!! I’ll be sending that home soon as I am almost out of pages to write in it. I thought it would be my last journal of the mission but with all the amazing blessings and miracles that I am seeing I think I’m going to need a couple more. Thanks for all of your prayers and I know that the Lord is there listening to our countless suplicas. It’s also good to hear that the family is doing fine and well!! I want to write everyone a little but as you know on P-days, you don’t have that much time to rest.

I like how you’re listening to General Conferences in the car back and forth to work each day. That’s what we do out here as we ride in the car or study at home. I love General Conference and I wish we had them more often ha-ha. I’m so glad to hear about the success that you are having in the Cherokee Rama there. It makes me happy to know that the Lords work is the same everywhere you go and everyone has the same common goal, eternal life and returning to live with our Heavenly Father. Time is flying by super fast out here and my first transfer in Canby is almost over. We only have one district meeting left and we have all had a blast. The District is on fire as they all have had or will have a baptism in the month of April. The Lord is truly blessing the mission and the people of Oregon and it is the best time to be a missionary and servant in His vineyard. Well, I’ll give you the highlights of what happened this week so you kind of get the feel about what’s going on in the small town of Molalla. Let’s just say the Lord is helping us to reach our goals that we have set with faith!!!!!

One night we received a referral for a guy who has been less active for about 5 years but all of a sudden has felt the desire to come back to church. We went to go see him and he was really a sincere guy. B is the man and he used to be a Branch President in Washington back in the day! He is going to be a huge help to the Branch and helping it grow as he has a lot of friends that are interested in hearing about the gospel! He came to the activity we have every Tuesday night and was fellowshipped there. At the activity we had 30 people there and that’s the most we have ever had before. The members are catching on fire and are really missionary minded. The activity was awesome and all the Hermanos went crazy as we decided to play basketball but most of them had never played before. It was a pretty dangerous game as there were fouls left and right but the important thing is that Los hermanos had a great time.

Los Jovenes (The Youth) of the Church are catching fire as their mind set about doing missionary work has been changing too. We have had to convince these kids that being a missionary is awesome but they just told us that it was boring. At first they didn’t want to come out with us but after finally convincing a couple of them and getting them to check it out, they think it’s pretty cool. We are getting a lot of the youth pumped up about serving and its pretty sweet. I wish I had gone out more with the missionaries before my mission but I honestly thought the same thing they did. Once we get these kids out and seeing what the service of the Lord is all about, they will have a greater desire to prepare and eventually serve. G is a work horse and goes out with us almost every day. He studies with us sometimes in the morning and he will be way ahead when he enters the MTC soon.

We went to the temple this week and it was an awesome experience. The Portland Temple now has a visitor’s center there and I hear its 1 of only 15 in the world. You already know that we are trying to get everyone in the Branch to go to the temple so they can feel the spirit there in the house of the Lord. I also got a chance to see my best friend Elder Weyburn who is the Zone Leader in the North. We reminisced about old times on the coast while we served together. We talked about going to BYU Idaho and how it was where we needed to be. I’m thinking about going in after Christmas, I think that’s the winter semester but I’m not sure. I could come back home and go to Chile for a while, work and get everything together so I can rock out at school. Those are my thoughts right now but I will still have to give it some good thought and see what the Lord wants. Who knows, maybe I need to go right to school and get married and start my family and kids and complete my priesthood duty lo mas pronto posible. Ill pray about it, but up to this point that’s what I’m thinking.

This Sunday was amazing!!!!!! It was probably one of the best Sundays I have had on my mission but I’m not going to discriminate against the other Sundays because they have all been good but I’m just trying to express that it was an amazing Sabbath day. When we walked into the church for our early meetings, I saw my boy B just chillin on the coach in the foyer reading his scriptures. He was reading the scriptures and was suited up in a nice 3 piece (it might have been 2). Let’s just say B looked fresh and that he was ready for Church.  Sacrament meeting was awesome as we blessed the baby and kids of one of the less active members in the branch. It was awesome to stand in the circle with all my Hispanic brethren that hold the holy priesthood. G's younger brother blessed the sacrament for the first time and did an awesome job. We had many of our investigators come to church and the place was packed!!! I have never seen so many people in church since I got here and during sacrament one of the trays ran out of water. David (one of the deacons) later told me that he was shocked as that has never happened before. It was a great sacrament meeting and there were 75 people that showed up to church. The Lord has truly been blessing us with these miracles as when I got here we had 25 in church but yesterday we reached 75. Our goal to double the attendance in Sacrament meeting has been met by the Lord and actually tripled.  I know that through the faith of all in the Branch and the hard work a lot of new faces and old ones are coming back. Presidente E was super pumped as he said that 75 is the most they have ever had. It was great and everyone was super excited to see the fruits of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and hard work.

I really can see the Lords hand 100 percent in this part of his vineyard. Also another miracle happened as one of our investigators named T acted upon her faith and was baptized right after church! T lives with some members and made the decision to be baptized to follow her Savior. It was an awesome baptismal service and our mission President and Sister M also showed up. The relief society room was so packed that people had to stand outside in the hall. It was truly a beautiful sight to see Hermano G baptize T and I know that the Lord is truly blessing this family.

I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the amazing things that are happening and I know that all these things are only possible through the power of God. I think a lot about ether 12:14 as it talks about through the faith of his servants and his saints, miracles can come to pass. In the beginning of my mission I did not understand how my faith in Jesus Christ could help someone change as we all have free agency. Now I have come to understand that through faith, prayer, invitation, love, support, and work, we can help our brothers and sisters understand that this is the path they must take to return to their Heavenly Father. We are not taking away their agency but teaching them correct principles and then the spirit testifies to them that these things are true. I have also learned that in order to be baptized, it doesn’t take months or years of preparation but simply a desire to keep Gods commandments and follow Jesus Christ. I love the scripture in Alma 32:16 and I know it is true. I know God lives and through our faith in Jesus Christ we can accomplish miracles and do the Fathers will. I am grateful to be a missionary and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. I love you guys and thanks for your support and love. Keep on keepin on and I’ll talk to you next week.


Elder Payne

Monday, April 9, 2012

Milagros in Molalla!

April 9, 2012
Dear Family,
Wow family, I’m so pumped, I don’t think I have ever had a week more packed with spiritual experiences, opportunities to serve, miracles and seeing the Lords hand revealed. I know the Lord is answering our prayers as we are trying to work as hard as we can and we are seeing the fruits of our labor. I won’t be able to tell you about all the things that happened this week but I will try. Well you all know about the goals we set for the month of April, we want to double the church attendance and help 50 people enter the waters of baptism. Well the whole branch is pumped and ready to help us achieve our goals! First miracle, E G and her son I were baptized on Tuesday and it is an amazing story. I’ll give you a quick scoop as I have a lot to talk about. Elisa has been investigating the church for almost two years and every time she has gotten close to being baptized something bad always happened to her so she canceled the date. We stopped by the Branch Presidents house Monday night and she was there talking with the family. I had never taught her before but we asked her if we could share a spiritual thought. We shared a scripture and ended up talking about baptism. She explained to us that her life was rough and every time she got close to being baptized, something happened. We felt the impression to exercise our Priesthood and offered to give her a blessing. After the blessing she left as she had to go do something. Later that night we got a call from our Branch President saying that E came back to  his home and she wanted to get baptized the very next day. We gave her the interview and she was baptized Tuesday night with her 8 year old son and since her baptism she has never looked happier.

Another miracle is that I went on exchanges with one of the companionships in our district. We went to teach a girl that has been investigating the church for about a year but hasn’t been able to be baptized because her dad won’t give her permission (she is 12). We testified to her that if she prays before talking to her Dad and if she bares her testimony, he will give her permission. We left that appointment and later that night she called us telling us that her father finally gave her permission and she can be baptized. She was baptized on Saturday and the Elders in Mactown are pretty pumped. There are a lot more tender mercies that happened with this experience but I will have to tell you in the future. I know that the Lord is hearing our prayers and answering us through our faith in Jesus Christ. The District scripture for this transfer is Ether 12:14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost” and I feel like this is coming to pass all around us.

Another amazing miracle that is happening is that Los Hermanos are pumped to come out with us. We had a member with us every day and almost all of our lessons are with a member present whether it’s with the youth of the Church like G, his brothers J or D, or Los Elderes de Israel. Los Hermanos are getting pumped up and they let us present our goals in Elders Quorum this Sunday. They are excited to come out with us as we explained to them that it will help us double the work we can do. Every Thursday and Friday night we have what’s called la noche misional. That’s where they meet with us and with Los Hermanos we do splits, Chyeah!! I know that all these amazing things are happening due to the Lords help and we are just his instruments. It’s like Alma says in Ch. 29, he is just grateful to be able to preach the gospel and so am I. By setting these big goals, we have been able to focus on our mission and we understand that we can’t waste any time. I know that it is my duty to share the gospel of the Lord and invite all to be baptized so they can follow the example of the Savior and be saved.

Now even though we have seen so many blessings this week, something tragic happened as well. There was the death of one of the members in the Branch. B S, she was only 14 years old and it was really tragic and sad. Everyone from the community came together to support the S family as it has been a hard thing for them at this time. She passed away on Wednesday and we were there to help out in any way we could. Having the knowledge of the atonement of Jesus Christ helps us to know that we will live after this life. We know that this life is just a time to prepare to meet God and learn from our choices and decisions. Yesterday they had the viewing and they had a Misa tambien because some of the families are Catholic. The family owns a huge business in town and has a huge barn where they held the viewing. About 500 family and friends showed up for the viewing from Washington, Mexico, California and locally. As we showed up to the viewing, we were asked to stand next to the casket while people walked by to make sure no one touched the body or threw holy water on her.

Her Tio G told me that she would have wanted the Elders to be right next to her and said that we meant a lot to her. At that time I was able to further understand the importance of my calling as a representative of Jesus Christ. We stood there for almost the whole night as people walked by to see her. Then today she was buried and it was done by the Catholic Priest. There were so many people there and it was good to see how many people were there to support the family. When the Priest was finished with his service we all gathered around the coffin with the people that were there and through the power of the Melchezidek Priesthood, we dedicated the grave that it would be a peaceful place and protected until the resurrection. It was a truly powerful experience as the Spirit testified to me again that this was real, that life will go on after death and the Savior will come again.

Well family, I’ve talked a lot but I haven’t even been able to explain half of the things that have happened this week. I have come to know that through true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, working hard, being willing to do whatever is necessary, miracles can happen. Please pray for the S family. I love you guys so much and I hope you have a good week. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and if we want to follow him we must keep his commandments and live his gospel.

The atonement is real and can heal anything as our Savior has already paid the price. I’m grateful for the things I have learned this week as it has helped me to appreciate everyday and everything the Lord has blessed me with. Thanks for your prayers and know that I’m praying for you guys too.


Elder Payne

Monday, April 2, 2012

On Fire in Canby!

April 2, 2012
Dear Family,

I don’t think I’ll be able to explain to you guys in this letter about all the amazing experiences that I am having in this area but I’ll try to give you a good recap. I have been so busy in the mornings recording all of the miracles that are happening in my journal so I’ll probably be sending you a another journal pretty soon ha-ha. This week has been amazing and my boy Elder T and I were able to reach many of our goals. We are like one as we think the same and are willing to do anything to do the Lords will. We have set some pretty high goals for the month of April but we have faith that the Lord will help us to complete them and more than that we will have to work harder than ever. I’ll talk more about the goals, district and plan of action on how to achieve these things in my letter to President M but I know this is going to require some major trabajo (work).

General Conference was sweet and I learned so much. I received the prompting that I will need to write my testimony to a lot of my friends and family and really let them know how I feel about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and all that I desire is there happiness and salvation. I loved the message from Elder Holland as he is a G and also the talk by President Thomas S. Monson in the morning session on Sunday. Priesthood session was great and it’s time to get the members out to save the lost sheep. We are so pumped out here in my area to work with the members and get these people back, Chyeah!!!!!! This weekend we were running around everywhere as we wanted to watch the conference with all of our investigators and families that are progressing. Saturday morning we watched conference at the R house and made waffles for everyone before the session started. We basically invited all of the youth over to watch the first session and made them breakfast to get everyone excited about it. Our investigator T showed up and the G family. It was awesome to see the youth all gathered around to hear a prophets voice. We had a lot of people there and it was really fun. The second session we watched with the S family and there we tried to help the little kids to pay attention ha-ha. On Sunday we went around in the morning reminding people of conference before and that was pretty successful ha-ha. The last session on Sunday we had our investigator D show up with his brother to watch it at the Presidents house. We then talked about baptism and D’s little brother committed to being baptized too. The Branch President then went to the visitor’s center with them and we went to make some more visits! All in all it was a super good conference but I do have to admit I didn’t get too much out of a lot of talks as I was trying to make sure everyone else was listening and paying attention ha-ha.

You heard about my boy G and how he just decided to go on a mission last week? This kid is on fire!!!! He has come out with us every day this week and went to all 5 sessions of conference with us. He has helped us out a ton and he is definitely going to be a big contributor to changing the missionary work here and getting a lot of his less active relatives to come back to the fold. He is the man and I’m glad he is so willing to help us out.

Well district meetings are going awesome and everyone is coming out of their shells. Like I said, my goal for the District is that everyone is just pumped and excited to be a missionary and through that conviction they will be able to share their testimonies and feelings with more sincerity letting the Holy Ghost work through them. One of my boys Elder A had the training and practice assignment about how we can teach even though there are distractions during lessons. To prove his point and help us to improve, we went to the gym in the church and while I tried to teach a principle, one of the missionaries had to hit a piƱata in the background while wearing a blind fold. Now that’s what I’m talking about, let’s think outside the box, Chyeah. Things are going great and I’ll send the rest of what’s going on here in my letter to the President! I know this church is true and I will testify of the truthfulness of the restoration until the day I die, and then afterward as well.


Elder Payne

Dear President M,

Well this week has been amazing and we have seen miracles due to our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and our willingness to find the elect. My boy Elder T and I were able to reach many of our goals. We are like one as we think the same way  and we are willing to do anything to do the Lords will. We have set some very high goals for the month of April but we have faith that the Lord will help us to complete them.

We also understand and know that we will have to work harder than ever. It is our goal this transfer to double the church attendance of the branch by reactivating all the less active members. We have also set the goal this month to baptize 50 people!!!! I know that this is a pretty high goal but I KNOW, that we can do it. The Lord has been preparing this area for some great things and there is no reason why we cannot reach this goal.

We have already set 6 baptismal dates in the last three days with part member families and people that the Lord has put in our path!! I know this is a big goal but with all goals it requires greater faith, more planning, and more hard work. We are completely willing to do whatever it takes to find 25 new investigators this week and invite them to be baptized on the 29th of April. We have 6 that have committed already and I know that they will make it and be baptized. We have 2 Sundays to find these people and get them to go to church. We have expressed these desires to our Heavenly Father and have received inspiration and revelation on how we can reach these goals. We have decided that our P-days should be spent with the members, less actives and investigators so we can further develop relationships with them. We will take them to the temple or do wholesome recreational activities so they can feel the fire we have for growing the Branch!

We know that it is nearly impossible to teach 50 lessons a week just with two missionaries so we have set apart two nights a week with the branch where we will go on splits with the members so we can double our work. We know that service is super important and that instead of just doing it by ourselves we should involve the youth. We have already seen the fruits of working with the youth and members to get them pumped up and excited about the gospel. From setting these high goals this month I have come to realize that the only true way to baptize more or reach higher goals is to use all the assets that we have around us and work smarter. Two missionaries can be powerful but if they do not use their ward or branch, they won’t be able to achieve the full potential that they can in the area. That is what I have realized at this time in my mission and now it is time to get crackin.

We have been telling all the members about our goals to double the church attendance and baptize 50 people. They are responding with great enthusiasm and have a greater desire to help us achieve our goals; they thank us for working hard and want to know what they can do to help out. I think we have started something exciting here and know it’s just time to carry it out. We will pray and fast to have the guidance of the Lord but I am certain that there will be some major grow in this Branch this month and the Lord has and will bless the Saints. Well President M, this is my goal and my vision, the District is doing great and everyone is 100% obedient and willing to serve the Lord. I love being a missionary, keep us in your prayers and I just hope and pray that we can achieve these goals we have set!


Elder Payne