Monday, June 25, 2012

Love and Service in Molalla!

June 25, 2012

Dear family and friends,

Things are going great and we had an awesome week! My new companion Elder Wright is the man and his Spanish is really improving every day. Well, a lot has happened and it’s good to hear that everything is going well out there for you guys. Last week went by so fast and time is flying by. It looks like the Benjamin’s wedding was pretty cool and everyone had a good time out there at the SLC temple. That will be me coming up pretty soon ha-ha! No, I’m just kidding as I've got my mind focused on the work and my hearts locked so I won’t be thinking to deeply about that stuff for a while. I still haven’t gotten my soccer stuff but I’m hoping it comes soon because we’ve got the mission soccer game coming up pretty soon and I want to be sporting my Chilean pride.

That’s cool that you guys had your Branch conference yesterday because we had our branch conference as well. It was a great sacrament meeting and the Presidente did a great job as he spoke to the people with the Spirit. There were a ton of leaders from the Stake and it was good to talk to them about the recent growth and things that are happening here in the Branch. There is so much work to do out here I love it. There is never a dull moment and we are always super busy. The key is working with the members and little by little we are helping them to strengthen their testimonies and invite their friends and families to church. We are seeing miracles daily but as I expressed to you last week, we are just in the phase of helping our investigators  understand why they need to make the commitment to be baptized. The amazing thing is they are all taking the commitment very seriously and are reading the Book of Mormon to know if it is true. There is no doubt in my mind that if someone reads that book and seeks with true intent, they will know that the Book of Mormon is true through the power of the Holy Ghost. It is truly an amazing feeling to further understand the promptings of the Holy Ghost and decide to follow them.

That is one thing I have learned so far on my mission is how to recognize the voice of the Holy Ghost. Every time I feel of his promptings, I follow then without second guessing because I know I need to do something. I’ll give you a little example of what I’m talking about. One day Elder W and I were driving to go visit a family that we have been teaching. As we were driving I got the impression to go visit another less active family. We turned around and when we got there we saw the lawn mower and weed whacker out on the front yard. We jumped out of the car and started to mow the lawn as the boy just had gotten everything out and was about to start. We cut it for him and then taught him the first lesson. It was a pretty cool experience and I know with time the family will come back to the Lord. We just need to show them more love and do some other random acts of service. Things are amazing in the mission and I’m loving life. We are still teaching almost everyone in the Branch and now the home teachers are getting fired up. Once we get them out doing their visits, I know that will help a ton with the growth of the Branch.

Last week I told you that I felt a little overwhelmed with training and leading the District, but I have been comforted in Christ and feel fully capable of being able to take on the challenges that will come with the Lords help. I read the prayer that Alma gives in Alma 31 and tried to offer up my own prayer to express to the Lord how I felt and how much I desire to help the people in my area and have a lasting impact with them and with my new companion. I know the Lord heard my prayer as he comforted me through the Spirit and gave me the strength that I needed. I know in the next two months, we are going to see some amazing things happen as I know the Lord answers prayers.

I’m pumped as my son Elder W is the man and he helps me out a ton. We are working as a true team and we are seeing the Lords hand in the work daily. One amazing tender mercy that I am grateful for is that Hermano G A is getting sealed in the Portland temple with his family el 7 de Julio. You guys remember Hermano G; he was baptized in Keizer a little bit after I got there some 16 months ago. He is going to the Portland temple in a little bit and his daughter  has been called to serve on a mission on temple square in Utah a couple days after they get sealed. I’m super excited to go to the temple with them and see this family change their lives as they make sacred covenants with the Lord in  the temple. I think about Alma chapter 26 and how merciful the Lord is with his children as we try to keep his commandments. It will definitely be an awesome experience and I am looking forward to it.

I love you guys and I’m grateful to be in the service of the Master. Now I know what is truly important in life and what I want in my future. I know what I must do to persevere hasta el fin (until the end) in order to live with my Heavenly Father and family after this life.


Elder Payne

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Strawberry Fields Forever

June 18, 2012

Dear family,

Well things are going amazing out here and we are seeing a lot of success. The picking season has started and we just got back from the strawberry fields. That is some tough work and it took me about 2 hours to fill up 4 buckets, that’s only like 4 dollars or something like that. Anyway there are some people out here that can pick super fast it’s ridiculous. We went with our boy G and some members of the church. It was pretty sweet and we got to take a bucket home with us so I now have a ton of strawberries to put in my breakfast oatmeal right now, CHYEAH!!!! I just had to pick my own strawberries and they were free!  I go to the store to buy some and it costs like 3 bucks and that blows my mind!!!!!!! Anyway it was pretty fun and we will head out there again sometime as that’s a good place to find new investigators.

Last week was pretty sweet.  Elder W is the man and he already came pre-trained. He’s down to work super hard and has a great testimony. We don’t speak English at all since we both want to improve our Spanish. He’s a great guy and I’m glad that I have the opportunity to work with him. The missionary work is going great here and the branch is really helping out. We had 8 investigators at church yesterday and mostly all of them are ready to be baptized we just want to help them to receive testimonies and be able to understand the answer to their prayers through the Holy Ghost. There are always obstacles put I know that I just need to exercise more faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and he will help me to know what I must do to help these people.
We had the chance to go to a concert with some members and investigators on Friday. We went to the Portland Oregon Choir starring Jennifer Oaks Baker and it was sweet. I got to see a lot of my old companions from the mission too as they had all gone there to watch the concert with their investigators. It was pretty cool to sit back and enjoy the nice violin music provided by the Grammy nominated violinist.

We went to an Adult Center to do service on Friday and that was pretty fun. We served everybody roast beef and potatoes and “los ancianos” were pretty pumped about that. They were celebrating father’s day as well so they had a tie competition. Everyone was rocking ties and even the ladies. Elder W and I decided to enter into the contest for who had the classiest tie but we got beat out by an old lady in a wheel chair. I thought I was going to win because I had a nice tie clip and everything but it seems like they were playing favorites ha-ha, just like high school in there. No big deal because we had fun and everyone clapped for us because they thought our ties were cool ha-ha. Can you just imagine that, a room full of old people clapping for two elders because they were wearing nice ties? I’m not going to lie, I felt pretty cool even though I was one of the youngest guys there ha-ha.

Well this week has been awesome and to be honest a huge blur full of training meetings and activities, but all in all it was a great blessing. I’ve learned a ton from my new companion as he tries to iron my shirt every morning. He is a great example and I think I’m going to learn more from him than he will from me. I’m grateful for this opportunity to train and help out the district. I can’t do it by myself and I know that I’m going to have to rely on the Lord more and less in the arm of the flesh ( el brazo de la carne). I’m pumped and excited for this week and ready to share the gospel with all those that will listen. I love you guys and I hope you have a good week, keep me in your prayers!


Elder Payne

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Training and Pumped Up!

June 12, 2012
Querido Familia,

 “I’M TRAINING” y estoy súper animado! I’m pumped because it’s my first time training and Elder W will probably be my last companion on the mission! I can tell already he is a hard worker and he’s got the fire. He is from Arizona and stands about 6'3 so he towers over everyone in the Branch including me ha-ha and we are going to have a great time together. I was pretty excited to get the phone call from the assistants asking me to train and I’m glad that the Lord trusts me and has given me this opportunity. I have always wanted to train and with Elder W’s fire, I know we are going to work super hard. Last week was great and Elder T went out strong without even thinking about what he is going to do when he gets home. We worked hard and he showed me a great example of how to be dedicated to the work until the end and I know I am going to follow his example and give it all I got and return with no regrets.

I’m so excited and happy to have the opportunity to serve with Elder W. He is a great kid with a strong testimony and he is ready to work hard. He got up this morning with me right on time at 5:50 AM and was ready to work out. I know he brings a fire with him and a great desire to serve the Lord. We are going to do our best to help the investigators we have to enter into the waters of baptism! We had 8 investigators at church again and the Branch is really growing. We are trying to set dates with the people that have been going to church and help them to gain testimonies of the restored gospel. The thing is that we are equally focusing on the members in the Branch as just a little while ago half of them were less active. There is a lot of work to do out here but I know that the Lord is blessing us. We are truly seeing the fruits of our labors as we have been working with the less active. Their friends and families are coming back to church and now we have many investigators to help. Baptism is always a big step for our investigators but as we help them to be converted to the gospel by reading in the Book of Mormon, I know they will have the desire to do the Lords will. I’m just so grateful to the Lord for the many blessings we are seeing here and I just hope that we can work effectively enough to help all those in need. The Gospel is true and it’s my desire to help all those strengthen their testimonies of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. I know that as a district, we are growing and out areas are improving. We are focusing more on our church attendance and the Elders are telling me that the attendance at church is growing. As we look at the true growth, we can see in sacrament meeting how many are committed to keeping the Sabbath day holy and renewing their covenants.

Things are going great and I had a great time with Elder T his last week in the mission field! I’m pretty excited about having my first greenie and I’ll explain a little bit about what happened yesterday. I wanted him to be able to remember his first day on the mission so I planned some cool stuff to do his first day out. G and J (G’s cousin) took Elder T and me to the transfer meeting. We rolled in style as J has a pretty sick Cadillac Escalade truck. I waited there anxiously for the arrival of the new missionaries in the room with the rest of the trainers. When President M called out my name and the name of my new companion Elder W, I couldn’t contain the excitement and gave him a big hug. I handed him a diaper that I got from J’s car (she’s got a baby) and told him he would need it with all the Mexican food he will be eating on his mission. He thought that was pretty funny but I told him it wasn’t a joke ja-ja. After the meeting, I said goodbye to all my boys that were heading home like Elders T, H, R and my Pops, Elder H. I’m going to miss my Pops Elder H  as he taught me so much. He was a great example of humility and love! I got a picture with my pops and all of his posterity (people that he trained)!

 The whole experience was cool but I still wanted to show my new companion what the Spanish mission in the OPM was all about so I took him to the center of all the action in WOODBURN! We went to the famous taco truck and I ordered him two tacos de tripa y de buche. I told him not to ask what it was until after he ate it all and he ate it like a champ. I then told him it was pork guts and cow stomach and he was still cool with it ha-ha. I ate the tacos with him and I really do like them. My son is ready to roll and already half Mexican at heart. Church was awesome and we had the amazing privilege of blessing the baby of D, one of our investigators. She is the sister of E C, una hermana who was baptized while I was in Woodburn. We are working with her and her 5 children and it was a great experience. It was pretty cool to stand in the circle and I can see that little baby on a mission one day. We are seeing a ton of miracles as the members are becoming more involved in the missionary work. We brought a family of investigators to church and some members invited them to eat over at their house after church. It was a fun night as we all ate together and the investigator family truly felt fellowshipped.

Instead of taking it little by little, I decided to immerse Elder W in the Hispanic culture. We were also going to go pick strawberries in the field that a member owns but we will save that for next week. Elder W speaks Spanish fairly well for his first day in the mission field  and yesterday we set the goal to speak only Spanish from here on out! He’s pumped to serve and has got a huge fire to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, he’ll be a great missionary. I’m excited for this time we have together and I will do my best to help him learn everything he needs to know before I leave. Well, I could go on and on because last week was so awesome and we are seeing so many miracles daily but I have got to go. I love you guys and I’m glad to hear that the Lord is blessing your lives there at home as well. I know this church is true and it’s our duty to share that truth with the world!!


Elder Payne

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tender Mercies and a Gold Star!

June 4, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was an awesome week and my boy Elder T is tearing it up. We had another great week and he’s giving it all he’s got as this is his last full week in the mission! We saw many miracles and I have a lot to talk about. Thanks for your awesome letter Dad it was really inspiring. I’m so glad to hear that my cousin M is going on his mission! I’m willing to give that kid everything I have if he needs it. He can have my suitcases, ties, I have a ton of shoes that are in good condition, books, and the only thing he won’t be able to use are my suits and shirts as they are pretty much done for. Just let me know what he needs and I’ve got his back!  I have sandals, a couple pairs of tennis shoes and basically everything a new missionary needs. I’ve collected a ton of things out here and I’m pretty sure he would like some of this stuff as it looks new. Basically, what I can give him is some shoes, ties, pants if he wears a 34-30, books, pens, etc. Just let me know cause I’m down to hook my primo up! I’m so excited that he’s going on a mission and I love to see the fire that new missionaries have.

My boy G is on fire and he bore his testimony yesterday in Church and made me tear up. His whole family got up and bore their testimonies as well as they have caught fire as well. He is having a huge impact on the Rama and his family that lives around here. Many of his less active cousins are coming back to church and it’s awesome to see how the faith of one person can help others around them. Church was amazing yesterday and the spirit was so strong during the testimony meeting! We had a lot of our investigators come to church and they told me that they felt something special while there. B was set apart as our new branch mission leader and he is going to tear things up. Back in the day B baptized 26 people in a week so we are hoping that he will be able to top his record here in Molalla! Chyeah! Anyway, we received another branch missionary which is a sister missionary  that just got back from her mission in New México. She is going to be able to help us out a ton as we usually don’t have that much time to find and teach over in Canby which is 15 minutes away from Molalla. She brought a friend to church with her yesterday that had been investigating the church some 4 years ago and was going to get baptized but then ran into some Anti-Mormon trash and stopped coming to church. We testified to her yesterday that this was the true gospel of Jesus Christ and that she could know for herself. We asked her to pray about it and as she did and she felt the spirit. She said she would give it another chance and we invited her to be baptized but we have not set a date yet. I know this is a tender mercy form the Lord and now she is ready to be baptized. Give her a couple of weeks and she will know that it is time! After church we had a birthday dinner for my boy M G who is coming back to church and trying to change his life and follow the Savior. He is a good kid and really wants to be better and we will help him out the best we can.

I still haven’t gotten the Chilean soccer jerseys but I’ll keep an eye out for them. That’s good to hear that H and B got home safely from Egypt! By the way, Happy Birthday to you, Mom and N, sorry I didn’t do anything for you guys but it’s hard to with so little time out here. I love you guys and hope that you all had great birthdays and I will make it up to you later.

Well, things are going great and the Lord is truly blessing this area and we are so privileged to just be here at this time. Many miracles are happening and many people are being prepared to be baptized and follow their Savior Jesus Christ. Next week I will be writing you and letting you know all that happened with transfers and who is my new companion. I’ve been told I’m going to get a greenie and train but who knows as it’s all up to the Lord and things can change. Whatever happens I am just pumped and excited as I know that the Lord will do what’s best for me at this point on my mission. I know that every companion and every area I have had until this moment has helped make me who I am. I am grateful for all the things I’ve learned so I openly welcome whoever the Lord has for me. I don’t have much time left, and like you said Dad, you have got to leave it all on the mat. That’s what my boy Elder T is doing and I will follow his great example and go out on fire!

Finally I got my first gold star on my mission which means that our apartment was pretty clean and everyone that has a nice apartment gets a gold star! They are highly prized here in the mission, CHYEAH!  Now that’s a good feeling, I put that star in my journal!


Elder Payne