Monday, August 27, 2012

One Week Left, No Time to Waste!

August 27, 2012
Dear Familia,

I can’t believe it! Time has flown by and I don’t know what to say. Like you said, I have mixed feelings because I’m happy to see the family but sad to leave my mission. Well, I won’t focus too much on that now and will let you know about what’s going on out here in the promised land of Molalla and all the miracles we are seeing. I’ll start off by saying that the baptism for D, and her two sons D and F went great. It was super spiritual and even President and Sister M were able to come. So many miracles have happened so D and her family could enter into the waters of baptism. I told you how she had been working on Sundays but thanks to faith in the Lord she has been able to get all Sundays off. We fasted together about a month ago and within two weeks, she was able to get all Sundays off and come to church with her family. Another tender mercy is that her Sister E, the lady that got baptized in Woodburn while I was there, was able to come. When E got baptized last year, she was the only member in her family who was a member of the church. A year later I got sent to Molalla and had the awesome privilege to teach her sister D who just got baptized. Now they both have family within the church and that will mean more support. It was truly a tender mercy to see them together at the baptism as family is everything!

Church was great yesterday as a lot of members showed up and all the recent converts were there in Sacrament meeting. The Branch is growing and more people are moving into the Rama. I know with G on his mission soon, he will impact a lot of his family’s lives here in Molalla who aren’t very active and they will come back. G is also getting his mission call this Wednesday so we are pumped. We are actually arranging that he opens it in District meeting with his family as all the missionaries in the district know and love him. He comes with us to district meeting almost every week so we will see how it goes!  Another tender mercy coming up is that my boy B is going to the temple. I have my temple trip coming up this Friday with all the missionaries that are going home and I wanted B to come to the temple with me. He had his interview yesterday with the Branch President and now he just has to speak with one of the members of the Stake Presidency. B told us that he hasn’t been to the temple for 27 years and is pumped to go back. I know that will be a great experience for him as he will remember the sacred covenants he’s made. I have seen how the atonement has worked in my mission and how people can truly change with a desire and come back to the Lord. Last week was awesome and this week is going to be amazing.

I don’t want to go home but I know I have got to. I’m going to give it my all and it’s possible that we can have another baptism this weekend with P and T  but we will see. I think most of our investigators need a little more time but for sure they will make the right decision as they have felt the spirit.

The meeting with Elder Cobridge of the Seventy was great and very spiritual. He told us about the “most important thing” and that is the atonement of Jesus Christ. After the meeting I went up to talk to him in Spanish as he served as a Mission President in Santiago. I asked him if his mission covered Maipu and he told me that it did. It was pretty cool getting to talk to him and I told him I was Chilean American. I decided to ask him one question as I wanted to benefit from his wise counsel. I asked" I don’t have to much time left on my mission because it’s almost over and I want to know what counsel you could give me so I can be ready for life after my mission?  He responded with some simple words by saying, ”The best part of your mission is after your mission." So he basically told me that the best part of my mission is to come. I thought that was good advice and he shared with me an experience he had after his mission. He served his mission in Argentina and when he was flying back to the United States he had to stop in Columbia. He told me that he started to contact people in the airport and teach them the gospel. He then told me that a couple months later he found out that those people he contacted got baptized, CHYEAH!!!!!!!! Anyway, that was the example he gave me and told me I would be alright. It was pretty cool getting to talk to him and I will take that advice to heart.

I have prayed about where I should go after my mission and I have received the answer “not to worry about it right now”.  I just need to focus on my time out here. I feel that I will figure things out when I get back home and if anything I’m leaning more on staying at home for a few months before going back to BYUI as I can maintain the good habits I have learned on my mission and start to work in the Cherokee Branch with you guys. I have learned what it takes to animar a la gente (encourage people) and try to get them back to church if they are already members. I have learned that people just want a sincere friend that can listen to them, love them and help them find the path. I’m kind of excited to lend a helping hand out in the Rama and get everyone pumped up about the gospel. But basically that’s what I have felt that I need to do through prayer and its cool how one can know what to do in life by praying about it. For sure I will give it some more thought when I get back but for know that’s what I’m feeling.

Well, I love you guys and I’m ready for this week. I’m going to work harder than I ever have before and maintain that momentum even after the mission. I can’t return back home to be the Squeege I was before my mission and sleep in, listen to lame music and think I’m hard ha-ha. I’ve got to step up my game and not go back to the world or all this time will have been a waste. I have some goals I have set to maintain what I have learned and to keep up the spirituality. I know it won’t be easy but I know that it’s possible. I just want to let you guys know that I am so grateful for the time I have been able to spend in the service of the Master. Words cannot describe the things I have learned and the miracles I have seen. I wish I could stay here forever and do what I can to serve the Lord but know that this is His will. I now Know that God lives, Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world, the atonement is real, priesthood power is real and it was restored back to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith and he was a true servant of the Lord.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and the church is true. I know these things because over and over again the Holy Ghost has testified to me of their truthfulness and I’m grateful for this witness. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world and I love this place. Thanks for all your support and I have truly felt the power of your prayers.

Have a great week and I’ll see you guys next week on Tuesday!!!
Elder Payne

Dear President M,
First of all I just want to express my love for you and your wife. You are truly amazing examples to me of who I need to be and become. I only have a week left in the mission field and I’m glad to say I’m not too trunky. I don’t want to go as you might hear a lot but I understand its time. I will give it my all this week and not waste a second. I have seen so many miracles this week and I’m grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. Thanks for coming to the baptism Saturday as that really meant a lot to me. The work is going great out here and the members are working more and more. We are receiving new families in the branch soon and I’m glad to see that the hard work is showing results. We have been dedicating a lot of our time with the less active members  and helping  them stay active. By focusing on the atonement of Jesus Christ, they are able to understand that change is possible through the Savior. We are still working with P y T and we will see how they feel about the Book of Mormon since they have been reading more often. We have a couple of investigators in Canby and we are working with them. We were mostly focusing on D and know that she made the decision to be baptized, we will see if she has any family referrals.

I love the members here and I’m so grateful for the time I have had to spend in this amazing area. When I was a greenie and first got into the mission, I heard that this area, Canby was dead and not a good place to serve. When I got called to serve here about six months ago I didn’t care about that and just decided to put my faith in the Lord. I have seen more success in this area from putting my trust in the Lord and I know that there is no such thing as a dead area. I know that the Lord sends us exactly where we need to serve and I now have a testimony that I was sent to the Oregon Portland mission to serve in Keizer, Seaside, Woodburn and Canby and to meet and teach the people in these areas. I’m so grateful for the missionaries in this district and in our mission who work hard to preach the gospel. I know we are the army of God and he is our leader. I have learned so many things and again I am so grateful that you are my President. I remember our first encounter your first week as President in Seaside when we needed to go to the mission office. That was a long time ago and its crazy how things and time have passed by.

My companion, Elder W is a great missionary and he will continue to lead the missionary work in this area. He knows and has learned so much more than I knew when I only had two transfers out. I’m grateful for the opportunity to train and help him learn and he has helped me out as well.

Well President M, I love you and I’ll see you soon!


Elder Payne

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Milagros y Mas Milagros!

August 20, 2012
Dear family,

Last week was great and it was an amazing experience to shake the hand of a living apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. The meeting with Elder Russell M. Nelson was great and he spoke to us about the importance of our callings and priesthood keys. I felt the spirit testify to me that he is truly a servant of the Lord. Elder Nelson left us with an apostolic blessing that our families would be blessed while we are in the service of the Lord and with another blessing to treasure the word of God.  I’m also pumped about tomorrow as Elder Lawrence E. Corbidge; a member of the Quorum of the Seventy is also coming to the OPM for a mission tour. It was a truly great experience and after the meeting got out, all the Branch Presidents and Bishops started coming in as they had a meeting after ours with Elder Nelson. I saw Presidente P from Woodburn and he gave me a big hug. It was good to see him and we chatted for a while about missionary work and life. I truly respect Presidente P and the dedication he has to serve the Lord. He told me I could come and stay with him anytime as he knows that my time is short. I then got to see Presidente A from my first area in Keizer before heading out the door and gave him a big hug. We talked for a while and he said his home was my home if I needed a place to stay. It was a great feeling to see how our friendships and love have grown as we have worked together in the service of the Master. I didn’t get to see Bishop F from Seaside but it was a pleasure to see my other Branch Presidents. It was good to see all the missionaries there as well and I got to see my boy Elder P, the new assistant to the President.
I was talking to G and he is getting his call a week from this Wednesday now that the Stake President has sent in his papers. I’m excited for him to finally get his call as he will get it my last week here. He wants me to come back so I can go to the temple when he goes through and then I can visit the members and converts I have grown to love these past 2 years. I told him you got two weeks off on vacation so we would have to come back like two weeks after I get home unless you guys want to come with me to visit everyone up here. We can talk about this later but just know that I want to come back to visit everybody and you guys should come. Something really awesome that happened yesterday is that G’s mom was called to be the new Relief Society President in the Branch and that is great. She has progressed so much and has such a great desire to help out with the missionary work. Through G’s example, she has begun to work harder in the gospel and it’s truly amazing to see the change that has occurred. There are miracles happening here and we just have to keep working hard.

Well time is flying and we are having fun. That’s cool that you went to the Mount Timpanogos temple this past week and saw Jocelyn and Marcus get married. I’m pretty excited as there’s a lot going on in the missionary work and we are seeing so many miracles. D and her 2 kids F and A are getting baptized this Saturday as she now has Sundays off! Chyeah!!!!!!! We have prayed and fasted and the Lord has heard our prayers! We have been working with this family for a long time and I know they are ready. We are working with P and T and went to the Portland Temple visitor’s center with them Saturday night and had some pretty spiritual experiences as we watched the movie Joseph Smith, The Prophet of the Restoration. It is an awesome movie and I don’t know how anyone can deny that Joseph was a prophet after watching that. We have set another date with P for the 2nd of September and I know if she keeps reading and praying she will be ready. We are working with other investigators as well but it seems like the season of the harvest here in Oregon is really holding up their progression.

I love the temple and soon I’ll be going to the temple for the last time as a missionary with President M and the group of Elders that are heading out in two weeks!  I can’t explain to you how I feel right now because I don’t know, let’s just say I have mixed emotions. I’m pumped about the missionary work and there is so much to do. My companion is a G and a work horse, and yeah that was him in the picture I sent with the “Keep Portland Weird” sign. Oh yeah, the last name of G es A so look out for her as she is serving in the SLC Temple Square mission.  I think she may still be at the MTC right now though!

You say I’m going to get 30 minutes to talk in the Spanish Branch Sacrament meeting, that’s a lot so I’ll have to prepare pretty well ha-ha. The missionary work is going well and we are trying to help our investigators to focus on reading the Book of Mormon as that’s the key to know if our message is true. I went on two exchanges this week with Elder W and his companion Elder W. It was pretty awesome as I learned a ton from both of them. Elder W has changed a lot and is a great teacher and missionary. We haven’t served together for about a year since Seaside, and it’s amazing how much we have changed, for the better. He testifies with power and authority and it was a truly a cool experience to serve with him one more time before the end, Chyeah! 

I love you guys and I know the church is true, I love being a missionary and serving the master! My companion is a great missionary and ready to train if the Lord wants him to. He speaks better Spanish than I do, teaches with power and authority, knows how to plan and be effective! He will do well on his mission and is a born leader. Keep me in your prayers as I’m trying to do my best. I don’t have very much time left but I am truly grateful for my mission and the time I do have to serve. I will not waste a second and I will do my best to find the Lords lost sheep and bring them back to his flock. Keep it real, ponganse trucha! (Stay vigilant)


Elder Payne

Monday, August 13, 2012

Three Weeks Left and Working Hard!

August 13, 2012  
Dear Family,
This week was pretty intense and we were super busy. Sounds like you guys had a pretty good week as well. I can’t believe that Alex is almost 5 months pregnant and I’m ready to be a TIO. That’s good that you guys have decided to extend your mission because I know that you still have a lot of good work to do in la Rama ahi. I liked that little experience that you shared with me that Bennett and Justin got to share their testimonies at the Spanish Branch! I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, if I’m going to Utah or if I’m going to stay home until school starts in January. I have been so busy and focused on the work that I haven’t really thought about it to much but I will pray about it to see where the Lord wants me to go. More than anything, I just want to continue with the good habits I have acquired on my mission and not lose the momentum that I have gained out here. I know wherever I go; I will apply the things I have learned. But if I need to go to a certain place, I know the Lord will help me figure that out! That would be cool to work in the Spanish branch there in Georgia for awhile and help out the missionaries for a few months. I’ve got some time to ponder about this so we will see what happens.

Well the missionary work out here is really moving forward. We met like 15 new investigators last week and now we just have to get them going and learning about the gospel of Jesucristo. B is helping us out a ton and the members are helping out a lot too. We had a member from la Rama with us every day last week so that really helped us to fellowship the people we are teaching. Our prayers have been answered for D as know she has gotten all Sundays off and went to church yesterday with her 5 boys. It was awesome to see them all there and know we just have to set another baptismal date and hopefully it will be this weekend.  We are working with a lot of people but due to work and other reasons, it’s kind of hard to help them progress. I know that faith and prayer is the key and we will keep inviting the people to live the gospel and keep the commandments. More and more I am having to rely on the power of prayer as I realize I can only do so much but I will have to trust that the Lord will help me with the rest.  G hasn’t received his mission call yet but he will very soon, he has an interview with the Stake President this Wednesday and I think after that he will get his call. I’m pumped to see where he will go and I’m thinking New York or something. We went to a party last Saturday at one of the members that is a contratista or labor contractor and there were a ton of Hispanics there. We ate good food from Oaxaca and met a bunch of people from Mexico. I love the Mexican people and I think I’m more Mexican than Chilean now pues. Anyway, it was a cool fiesta and they gave us some of their company t shirts and hats to rock! The District is doing well and it’s like a brotherhood out here. I love the mission and I’m kind of bummed it’s almost over.

The district is working hard but we are all facing the same challenges as this is the season of work for most of the Hispanics here in the farming communities in which we labor and they are super busy. I know that the Lord has prepared his children to hear this message and that the spirit is the way we will convert. We are working and practicing on the Preach My Gospel fundamentals and I would say that all the new missionaries are doing a great job. They are learning things in their first 2 transfers that took me my whole mission to understand.

I desire and hope that I may be able to help these people in this area come unto Christ and I’m giving it all I got. I’m kind of glad that it’s not easy as I’m having to humble myself more and more and rely on the strength of the Lord. I know the gospel is true and that’s why I know that everything will work out and we will meet our goals that we set at the beginning of the month with faith and prayer.

It’s starting to hit me that I don’t have too much time left on the mission but I know that I’m going to give it all I’ve got. I know God lives and this is His work. The most important thing I can be doing is sharing the gospel right now and I feel privileged to have this great opportunity. I love you guys and have a great week. Keep it real and stay hungry!


Elder Payne