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