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