Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Hi guys! Let's first of all figure out the calling situation tomorrow. President and Sister Leonard psyched us all out and announced that EVERYONE can skype on Christmas, not just international missionaries! So we will be heading to the Hugh's at 2:00 pm tomorrow afternoon, Utah time. I'm not sure if that's the same for you guys. Anyway we will be using their computers for skype! Now, by the time we get there and get logged on it may be around 2:30... We have practically zero other plans for the day so far except one appointment, so don't worry about being late. There's two computers and three missionaries, so we're not sure who's going first yet. I hope you guys and make a lee way for an extra hour in case I go last haha. I have a max of 45 minutes. If everyone isn't there, I will cut the skype short and call anyone else that can't make it, but I sure hope everyone can be there because that would make things so much easier. Mom was talking about doing it at Keith and Shauna's, so whatever works, just be there haha. I'll try to figure out the sign on stuff. The Hugh's are leaving us at their place to go watch a movie, so I'm not sure if they'll be around or not. Anyway, we'll talk one way or another!
Alright, now that that's out of the way, I can get to the good stuff! Thanks for all the emails and encouragement! I got some letters from ward members back home, like Martha McBride and someone else haha. It was great! I have a bunch of emails too from people which is nice! Anyway it looks like it's going to be a white Christmas up here in Cedar City...it was snowing during studies this morning! Awesome...finally! I don't know if I mentioned this, but I already dug into mom's package haha. I saved one or two for tomorrow though! The best presents already happened though...
It truly is a white Christmas, as President has been telling our whole mission. This year the St. George mission has found a lot less and yet managed to baptize more than last year. That means we have better teachers than ever before! That was exciting news, but not quite as exciting as our own success here in Cedar North. We had three baptisms on Saturday!! So awesome! We've been working so hard with these three amazing individuals...Hayden, Kristi, and Karen! Their baptisms were a success!
Hayden was first at 11:00 am. He (well, his mom) sent out a ton of invitations for his baptism to friends and family. I'll have to send one home or something just for fun. I'm trying to scramble together a birthday/Christmas package thing haha we'll see. Anyway, there were a ton of people there, which was awesome! Living baptisms are some of the most sacred experiences we'll ever experience, especially when you've contributed to them making it to that font. I gave the talk on the Holy Ghost haha I compared it to the Patronus in Harry Potter, something Hayden could relate to. We all have Dementors in our lives, so we have to cast the spell (prayer) and let the Holy Ghost help and protect us. I also taught him about CTR, which actually stands for Commandments, Take His name, and Remember Him...our baptismal covenants! It was a great baptism, and Hayden's mom and dad provided lunch afterwards. Sweet!
Kristi was next at 1:00 pm. Her husband is a truck driver and in his own words a redneck. Such an awesome family! They love to just have a good time and laugh and be stupid in a wholesome way. Anyway, they showed up like five minutes before it started haha. I mentioned last week that Kristi broke her arm during a roller derby. Well, she wrapped it all up and got baptized anyway! We got permission to have two missionaries in the font to help her go under and back up. Elder Price said the prayer and I was his co-baptizer! It was pretty sweet. Unfortunately her knee came up the first time, so we had to do it again. No worries! She made it! She's such a trooper haha.
Last but not least was Karen at 4:00 pm. Her family is Hispanic, so her mom and dad only speak Spanish haha it's cool to chat with them, but I felt bad that they probably had no idea what was going on. But I know they felt the Spirit! They're all non members, including Karen's two little brothers and baby sister. Karen's been going to church for 3 years and we finally got her in the font. She was so nervous!! I thought she was crying as she was walking into the font. She was practically hyper ventilating haha. Another successful baptism! Elder Ramirez did the honors. Angie, another one of our progressing investigators, came to Karen's baptism and got to meet her! It's so weird when your investigators meet each other haha but it was awesome! Karen was like "It's the best feeling ever!" or something like that, which got Angie super excited for her own baptism. Sweet!
Yesterday we had two of the three confirmations. Kristi's arm was acting up, and she wasn't feeling up to go to church because of the pain. We'll do her's next week. I confirmed Karen at 9:00 am and E Ramirez confirmed Hayden at 11:00 am. We all spoke in Hayden's ward about Rejoicing in Christ. It was a piece of cake! I just shared some mission experiences and bore my testimony for 10 minutes. Overall, it was one of the best Sunday's in a long time!
So now we're back to square one. We only have Angie progressing towards baptism this next Saturday, so we need to find more. But it's been awesome to see some results and we can't wait to help them out with the recent convert lessons. Anyway, that's about all for this week. We'll talk tomorrow! Thanks for the support family! Thanks Mom! Thanks Dad! Thanks QP! Thanks Keith and Shauna! You guys are the best! I love you all! Merry Christmas!
Love, Elder Payne!
p.s. Check the other email for the baptism pics!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

What a week!

Man so much happened this week I wish I could write everything down! Well first of all I loved all the emails! QP's getting ready for the end of the world haha and Keith graduated! Alright!! That reminds me of when I was at FBLA nationals in Florida. I woke up at 7:00 am and my test time was at 7:15 haha so I got all dressed up nicely and skipped my contacts so I couldn't even see and rushed through this giant hotel we were in to my testing place. The line was huge and we ended up waiting for like 10 minutes, but I made it! haha anyway that's awesome congrats! Sounds like mom had a good trip haha and dad was able to see Keith haha that's awesome!
Well so unfortunately you'll have to take a close look at this week's communicator mom. There was a misunderstanding and we don't actually get to skype home...only international missionaries. So sorry about that....sounds like you were getting very excited about it! We'll be calling, not sure what time but I'll have to let you know next week because they're sending us Christmas guidelines tonight.
So yeah we've had some pretty good dinners this week. Our ward mission leader told the families to take pics of us and send them to you guys, so hopefully mom and dad have been getting those. Christmas is just around the corner once again! People are really starting to reach out to us and say hi and Merry Christmas and stuff haha. Just today a lady bought all our groceries. Dang it! Anyway this week we've been working hard to achieve our goals, and it's paid off for us. This was the most productive week we've had here in Cedar since I've been here. No baptisms, but we've been getting three ready for this next Saturday. Hayden, Karen, and Kristi. I'll be taking pictures with them this week and send them next week for a Christmas present haha. We've been working hard with them, and also Angie who's on date for the 29th. We found out today that Kristi broke her arm doing whats called a Roller Derby, so we're not sure on the status of her baptism right now. We're still planning on it though! We just gave her a blessing. We tried getting in contact with Hanna again....she's been dodging us because she doesn't want to get married yet and she knows that's what needs to happen for her to get baptized. Turns out her and her boyfriend John got in an argument, so he dropped her off and let her take a walk for a little while (which apparently is normal for them to do that when they get mad at each other). Well lo and behold the sheriff picked her up and ended up charging John with aggravated assault because it was really cold outside. Ridiculous...anyway she's in a safe house somewhere and apparently John is locked up. That's about all I know. Kinda unfortunate!
So this past week Elder Price went with another missionary for the weekend. Elder McFarland had a death in his family, so he went home for a couple days. In the mean time, his companion needed someone to go with him, so Elder Price went on a 72 hour exchange basically. The other missionary is Hispanic and barely knows English, let alone the new area. So they basically knocked doors all weekend in the freezing snowing cold wind. They had one appointment in three days and it cancelled. haha too bad for them! That would be awful. In the mean time, Elder Ramirez and I did some good work in our area. We got a text this morning from the ZL's declaring that we are the area of the week! Sweet! Elder Price has been a huge blessing for us and this area. He makes us want to be better and work harder. He's leaving tonight to get his visa from Vegas, and he'll come back here in a couple days and spend a couple more weeks with us until his flight leaves. We'll miss him! haha
So yeah we picked up three new investigators this week, one of which is named Laura. She's probably 60 or so and knows the church is true and goes every Sunday, but hasn't ever been baptized. Not sure what happened there and we're still trying to get a straight answer is whether or not she was ever excommunicated, but for now she's on date for Jan 26. She's awesome and seriously has the best smoker laugh ever. Also, yesterday we went by an older lady that we gave a blessing to a few weeks ago. She has Alzheimer's and a brain tumor and her head isn't on quite straight, but she's the sweetest old lady you've ever met. She loves missionaries! We stopped by and she and her husband were watching the football game. Last time they were watching UFC and she spend 10 minutes explaining the glory of UFC to us. Anyway we talked for a while and she randomly turned to me and said "you're going to be a bishop. no, I'm serious! you are!" haha as we were leaving she added "she has red hair....Elder! she has red hair, your wife, and she's short!" haha I didn't really know what to say to that except "awesome!" So if all that comes true, I'm not sure what it will do to my testimony haha but we'll see! We met the "Parowan Prophet" last week in Wal-mart. He drove up to us on his little scooter and stopped and looked at us for a bit, then started asking us questions and stuff. he focuses how in the bible it says "women shall prophesy in the last days" or something like that. Well apparently I believe him now haha. Anyway, I'll have to watch out for red heads from now on.
So anyway I wish I could write more, but we got stuff to do. Thanks everyone for the emails and support! Keep doing good work and stay positive! Love you all!
Elder Payne!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Special letter from the Messer family

Dear Sister Payne & Family,

We had the opportunity to have Elder Payne in out home for dinner tonight. We loved his excitement for life and his love of the Gospel. Thank you for preparing a fine Missionary to come and work in this part of the vineyard at such an important time in the restoration of the gospel.

We will be sure to take good care of him while he is in Cedar City.

Thanks for sharing him with us while he is away from home.

The Messer Family

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Trio

Hey family! So this week Elder Price came to town! We parked at a gas station just outside town and waited for the transfer van to stop by. As they pulled up, I saw Elder Church with a big cheesy smile on his face. I haven't seen him since Aug 1st, so it was awesome to talk to him real quick. Elder Holmstead came running up too. They're both training, which is crazy. It seems like we just barely got out of the MTC! Anyway, we picked up Elder Price and rushed over to a lesson with Karen. We just kinda threw him into everything haha but he's doing well. He's fresh out of the MTC and has been there for like 11 weeks learning Spanish. He's waiting for his visa to Xalapa, Mexico, which is a brand new mission on the east coast down by Veracruz. He's pretty awesome and it's really weird trying to adjust to having a new elder added to our companionship. We're getting used to it though! We're not officially training him, but technically we are because this is his first exposure to the real deal. We're basically co-fathers of Elder Price haha. But yeah he was a zone leader at the MTC and was actually in the same branch as me, with Pres. Stone, and he stayed in the same classroom that I did back in the summer! I thought that was pretty cool. It's kinda cool re-living MTC memories talking with him haha. He's a pretty solid Elder. The other day we had a priest come out with us after dinner. We were early for an appointment with Angie, so we split up...E Ramirez took the priest and I took E Price. We knocked on the door of Angie's neighbor. A 20 year old kid named Alex answered and talked with us for a while. This guy has had a crazy past...he's died twice, shot in '98 and stabbed in the heart in '06. Somehow God has kept him here, and I think he recognized that as we talked. E Price took initiative and taught him about prayer and asked if I had a pamphlet. I was pretty surprised in a good way! He definitely hit the ground running. Alex read the pamphlet and he's agnostic but is willing to learn more. We'll see if he progresses, but he admitted that this just might be what he needs in his life right now. Cool!
So Elder Ramirez got pretty sick this past week. On Friday he was out with the flu, so I did weekly planning with just Elder Price. It went pretty well. Somehow we were more productive in that planning session than we have been the past 7 weeks. Anyway we ended up having to drop E Ramirez off at a member's home, and E Price and I did six hours of work together. It was awesome. We tried making contact with a bunch of potential investigators and investigators, and we ended up catching Kristie Redd (who's on date for the 22nd). She hasn't come to church for like 3 weeks, so we invited her pretty firmly. Well, we saw her and her family there yesterday! Sweet! Elder Ramirez is getting better, but E Price and I have been feeling a little tickle in our throats lately. Hope we don't catch it!
We got up to bear our testimonies in Cedar 4th ward on fast Sunday, so during the week bishop called and asked the three of us to speak in his ward haha I knew testimonies were a bad idea! Anyway, E Price basically just shared his testimony, I talked about the importance of being Christlike during the holidays, and E Ramirez talked about Christ and missionary work. It was awesome! Just remember to make people your presents this year.
So yeah, things are going pretty good. We lost contact with Angie for like 3 days, and we received the prompting to go by her house last night after an appointment fell through. She was finally home! We found out that she's been having a hard time being away from her kids and all that mess. Elder Price gave her a blessing of comfort. I swear we give blessings like every other day. Never know when an opportunity for that will come! We went to the hospital to give a blessing to a new born baby girl of a potential investigator. We left after giving a total of three blessings to other people haha. It was awesome! But anyway we have three baptisms supposed to happen on the 22nd of December, so we're pumped. Karen, Kristie, and Hayden. Hayden is 9 years old, and his mom has got all the baptismal info set up for us. She's on top of everything haha. Karen has been put on date many times and has been coming to church for like two years, but this time she says she's really excited and seems pretty committed. Her parents are Catholic, so that's what's been stopping her. We'll see! She's 15 I think haha. Kristie is awesome. I don't know how to explain her to you so I'll just have to let you meet her some day. She's probably 35 or 40 ish and is quitting smoking and coffee and wants to get sealed to her husband some day. She's pretty committed but needs more diligence with reading and going to church. She has four kids and all are 8 or older. Lots of potential there, but the kids haven't shown too much interest yet. Angie is on date for the 29th of this month. We've been working real hard with her. She's been slapped up side the head with trials since we first met her. She's so strong though and I have faith that she'll be in the font on that day. Either way, she's awesome and is accepting the gospel more and more each day. Our other investigator, Hanna, has been skipping appointments and missing church. She was on date for the 15th, but that won't happen. She has to get married to her less active boyfriend first, and they don't want to do it for another year. We'll keep working with them.
So we've been going to lots of ward parties lately (not all 18 of them though). The other night I sat next to a young married couple. The wife asked me if I knew her sister named Shay Sanders. Apparently she's live in Howard's trailer park since August, so if you ever see her, tell her that her sister says hi haha. Her uncle is Jon Sanders, the bishop of 4th ward. Pretty cool! Anyway I got the big Christmas package mom! I already dug in haha but I saved some of it for Christmas. Lots of candy holy cow! Thanks mother! I'm glad I've got a new camera so that I can start taking real pictures again haha. Anyway, about the Skype stuff, I don't know how to use it. We asked Sis. Hugh and a few other people about it, and they said eh maybe haha they have their own plans and stuff going on, so we don't want to bother them too much. If we find someone I'll let you know, but for now it'll be a phone call.
Well we use CD's for music by the way, so I'll have to burn a CD somehow of that music. I don't have enough time today so maybe next week. We've got lots of music though including a Josh Groban cd haha. Anyway, thanks for watching out for me and supporting me! You guys rock. Thanks for everything and I love you all!
Elder Payne

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Hi! So as I'm sure everyone knows by now (if not, you will in a second), transfer calls came yesterday! These past six weeks have zoomed by. Time for another transfer! Well guess what! I'm staying put here in Cedar City with Elder Ramirez! We kinda expected that. You see, we cover two stakes (18 wards). In a couple more transfers we'll be getting more missionaries. I think they're planning on keeping us here and splitting the area next transfer...I'll get a new companion and E Ramirez will get one. That's the speculation, and it makes sense BUT we won't know until January 13th! For now we're staying. Elder Ramirez and I had some rough spots to say the least, but now we're pretty good buddies.
There is, however, a catch. We'll also be getting a visa waiter on Wednesday! haha we'll be a trio companionship! It's gonna be weird, but we'll see how that goes. We're both excited but I'm worried about laundry haha it already takes all day for just the two of us. Oh well. We also need to find another bed somehow. I might sleep on the couch again haha I did it for twelve weeks before. Anyway we'll find out who the new elder is on Wednesday. He'll be with us for "as long as we say so" says the assistants. Works for us!
Anyway, it's good to hear from Mom and Keith! Sounds like KP and Shauna are as busy as ever. I'm so pumped to find out about the new son/daughter/niece/nephew/grandson/granddaughter!! I'm excited! As for the Christmas phone call itself, details are in the communicator that I forwarded to Mom and Dad. Let me know how that's gonna work out.
We had some pretty awesome dinners this past week with the members. One night we ate at a house and this guy asked me where I was from. "Arizona" "Oh yeah what part?" "Thatcher" "Are you serious do you know Katie Lankford?" "Yeah haha" "She's coming in like 5 minutes!" haha so yeah she showed up and wanted to give me a hug but couldn't so we shook hands. She was all excited and texted Quentin about the random news. Wasn't expecting that! I didn't even know she lived here in Cedar. Well cool that's the first person I've met on my mission that I knew before my mission. For another dinner I shared a spiritual thought with a young family about Nephi. I asked them if they knew the song "Nephi's Courage" and all the kids yelled yeah! So we started singing it haha it was great. Elder Ramirez is a convert and didn't learn that song so he didn't know it haha. But I excitedly sang and I felt like I was in Valiant 12 again! For another dinner we ate at an older couples home. They're from England and have sweet accents. They're so awesome and funny haha. The old man kept telling stories of his mission with his wife to Australia. He walked up to a house once and two little kids ran away because they thought he was Heavenly Father haha. British people are the best!
Well I wish I had time to write about our investigators but I don't. We have five people on date for baptism this month, all from the Cedar North stake. The other Cross Hollows stake is pretty cold right now. We should have four baptisms before Christmas, but we'll see how faithful our investigators will be! I love you guys and I hope you remember to put up the Christmas lights soon because they're all over the place here! We get to drive around and see them every single night haha it reminds me of my childhood! anyway have a great week
Elder Payne

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well shoot happy thanksgiving everyone! Hope it was a good one. This week for thanksgiving we had 3 different thanksgiving dinners and lots of food. It was great! We ate at two different member homes and one of our investigator's home as well. One of the members, Russ Olsen, knows Mel Palmer really well. He was Bro Palmer's seminary student. I think I've mentioned this before. Anyway he would like his address. It's probably in the missionary newsletter, but I need it either way. Mom will probably send it to me. This past week we drove down to St. George and we ended up leaving the phone there haha. We got back to Cedar City without knowing about it. It was a big mess, and we spent a while looking for it. Eventually we called it and found it and the assistants drove up with it the next day. Oops! haha so we spent the whole day without a phone and we showed up to two cancelled appointments. Such is life! The same day this college girl ran into the back of some guy right in front of our apartment as we were walking outside. Her airbags deployed and all the smokey stuff that comes with it made it look like the car was blowing up haha. She got out of the car and I rushed over. The whole scene was in slow motion haha. She was fine, but shaken up. Her face and neck were all red from the airbag, and her windshield was smashed when they deployed. The other guy came over and was calm as a summers day, asking us where we're from haha. The cops showed up and everything turned out okay, but it was kinda spooky!
The other day we were contacting some people and decided to knock on some apartments. We parked and saw this man ride past us on a bike. We waved (we were still in the car) and he waved back. Well a few doors later we knocked and this man answered the door! I said "hey! wasn't that you we just saw on the bike?" He laughed and said yeah and let us in haha. His name is Jerry. He's really open to learning about the gospel and is trying to find some truth. I asked him why he let us in, and he said that the night before his girlfriend and him were talking about religion and what they were thankful for and what not. They're both non members. His girlfriend wasn't there, but tonight we have an appointment with them. We'll see where it goes from here!
Also, we lost contact with Angie for a couple of days and decided to just drop by her house. Turns out her four little boys all got taken away by the task force. They found a meth tube in her house a while ago and decided it was an unsafe environment for them. Angie had no idea and said someone she let in must have left it there or something. It's a big mess and a big trial for her. We told her now is the time to start showing our faith, and guess what happened yesterday? She went to church for the first time! That's what we like to see. She has a court hearing today and is trying to get her kids back. We're meeting with her tonight as well.
Well, time for me to skedaddle. Hope everyone has a great week! I love you all!
Elder Payne!

Monday, November 19, 2012

My first Zone Conference!

Well shoot this transfer is melting away! We're starting week 5 of 6! I'm almost six months old now! Crazy how that works sometimes....I can't believe qp has been home for over two years now. Ridiculous! Hey I met another person from Ft. Thomas this week! Her husband was putting up Christmas lights and we just started talking to him. They're of course members, but it's crazy how many Gila Valley connections there are (regardless of the fact that I'm only in Utah.) Still, it was almost as weird as meeting those people that were from Safford in the Cochabamba temple.
Anyway you can meet some interesting people on a mission. We stumbled across a young man named Kanav from India the other week. He wasn't too interested, but we gave him our number anyway. He talks with a super thick Indian accent haha it's a blast. "I don't want to stop smoking it's relaxing!" haha anyway, the other night we were walking through the apartment complex he lives in. We crossed paths with him again and he told us he was about to call us up. Turns out he's been going through a super rough time...he feels so lonely here in Cedar City and has no job and little money and is extremely afraid of dogs, and there's lots of them here. Anyway he expressed his concerns and started choking up. Unfortunately he's Hindu and plans to return to India some day, so if we teach him they'll kill him when he goes back home. But he asked if he could come to church because he felt like it would bring peace back into his heart. We called president about the situation and got the okay to bring him to church. Unfortunately he couldn't come yesterday, so hopefully he'll come next week. Anyway it was a different experience for me because usually when people express their life problems like that I can use doctrine to help them, but not with Kanav. I almost felt hopeless, but then I realized that this man has such a good heart that once the spirit world comes along, he'll be able to make the necessary steps. For now, we can only encourage him and invite him to church. He's moving to San Diego at the end of the semester (he goes to SUU). We'll see what we can do to help him!
So this past Tuesday we did exchanges, and I got to go with our District Leader Elder Adams to his area for the day. He works in the YSA wards, so I got to teach some college kids all day long! It was a flash back to my old area! It was a blast. Elder Adams went to the MTC on May 30th too, but in English. Anyway it was a good day to take a break from our area and learn from Elder Adams. We taught the plan of salvation to a black guy named Drake. Another missionary Elder Lessie (who is in our zone) made this Calvin and Hobbes version of the plan of salvation. It's so cool! Elder Adams gave Drake a copy he had of it. For the Spirit world it shows the kid taking a test (prison) and the kid and tiger riding down a hill in a wagon (paradise). Anyway in the closing prayer Drake basically said "Father I want you to help me so I can be riding down a hill in my wagon someday" haha it was the best. Usually exchanges are a pain because I have to stay in my area for the day. Going to someone else's is fun haha.
So yeah this week we had my first Zone Conference! They had one just before I left the MTC haha. It was in St. George! Well, Washington, which is right next to it. It was cool to be back there again after a 3 1/2 week absence haha. It was great...Elder Vincent Haleck of the seventy spoke to us, and of course Pres. and sis. Leonard and a couple other speakers. We had lunch afterwards, and I caught up to Elder Hawkins who is training a new missionary in Dixie two. He said that Yoshi ended up getting baptized and Max as well! Max by the way looks a lot like Michael Phelps...I learned that at subway the other day. Anyway, a couple other people Elder Gomez and I were working with are solid too. I was giggling with joy haha. That's so awesome! I need to write them! As for my current area, we've set four people on date for baptism in December: Angie, Karen, Hanna, and Kristie. We're crossing our fingers that everything will work out! We should be setting a nine year old on date soon too. His name is Hayden. He's awesome and loves to meet with us. He's super sharp too for a kid his age. He has asked us questions like "How can I tell if a prophet is real or fake?" and "Where did the Holy Ghost come from?" and "If Oliver Cowdery lost 116 pages, does the Book of Mormon still have everything we need?" Seriously. He's on top of things and has an excellent memory. He's awesome! His parents are border line inactive. They go sometimes. They're very supportive of Hayden, which is extremely important.
Well that's about it for this week. Oh I learned a couple more things. First, we'll have a total of 180 missionaries come February or so (we have 118 right now). Next year we'll have an estimated 80,000 missionaries, which will die down to 70,000 in a couple of years. Right now there's like 53,000. Awesome! Also, apparently 1/8 of the world's missionaries come from my mission! Southern Utah! Crazy! Well anyway I love you guys and the church really is true! Just ask God! He knows.... Also, life is life-changing, and moments accumulate. Keep working on your Christlike attributes and beatitudes!
Elder Payne!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I looked out the window and what did I see...

Hey family! It's been a pretty good week over here in Cedar City. Thank goodness the stake center is open...it's a holiday today so the library is closed! Anyway, we just got back from the car wash. It turned off half way through, so there was soap all over our car still. The water was still trickling, so it took us like 15 minutes to rinse the rest of it off haha. In the mean time we talked to this guy who lives here who went to San Diego on his mission and was the zone leader for Elder Christensen and Bott and everyone else from "The District 2" small world. Anyway, I got your package on Monday night mom! Thanks for the candy and note! haha we heard all about election Tuesday. We had an appointment with Tracy and she was watching it. Romney was in the lead. Then during planning we got a text saying that Obama won. Then the next day everyone was saying that America is going to kill itself and everything, and I thought "well with that attitude it will." anyway, I liked the 1st presidency's statement on the election. It's on the church's news website.
We had zone training this week, and president Leonard was there. He focused on two things....1) talk WITH everyone, not TO everyone, and 2) there are currently 180 calls to St. George. That's crazy guys! There are 119 missionaries right now, and we have an extra 180 coming!! Yikes! Now I'm still not sure if its 180 extra or 180 total, but either way, we have to start baptizing 1 in every 2 investigators. We have to double our work because once they come in, the work can't slow down! We'll be opening up two or three more zones, and that means there's lots of openings for district leaders and zone leaders. Crazy stuff! They'll be coming in February or so, so watch out haha.
So yeah we got snow this week! Everyone was saying it was gonna snow on Friday, and we were skeptical because it's been so warm lately. Well, it rained all day Friday and Saturday we woke up to snow! I like how people here automatically whip out there snow shovels and salt and snow plows with frustrated faces, whereas in thatcher everyone runs outside and screams and rolls around in it and cancels school. Anyway, it was a good day! That same day we went by Del Parson's place again. We spent the afternoon going by members asking for referrals since the work has been going so slow. Well, Bro Parson was actually there this time, and we got to meet him! He's a cool and funny and energetic guy, just fun to be around. We talked for a while about his painting career and what not, then he let us pick out a couple prints and he signed them! Sweet! He even brought in the blueprints of his latest painting, which is Christ suffering in Gethsemane and an angel comforting him. It was just a photograph of two actors, and since I told him I liked photography, he let me look at it and asked for my opinion. We reviewed it and decided that the angel looked just a little to stern and serious, so I told him he ought to look a little more gentle and loving and comforting...and he agreed. So anyway, if you ever see that painting in the next few months/years, just remember that I contributed to it! haha sort of! anyway he's a great guy, and I'm glad we finally met him just to get it out of the way haha.
Yesterday was the primary program for both of our stakes. We went to three wards, and they were all awesome! There's always that one kid that stands out. In one of the wards, the sunbeams got up to sing "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam" and every time they sang the word sunBEAM there was this same kid flying into the air jumping over all the other kids. When the song ended, he didn't. He yelled out SUNBEAM for like 10 seconds and everyone laughed haha. I love primary programs! Kids in general are crazy. In our "lesson" with Angie yesterday, her four little boys were all over the place screaming with maniacal laughter and blowing things up...the usual 7 year old thing to do. E Ramirez and I were pretty much yelling the whole time THIS GOSPEL REALLY IS MEANT TO BLESS YOUR FAMILY ANGIE!!! haha it was crazy. She was laughing so hard and apologizing to us haha. We agreed to set another appointment for this week and get her a baby sitter. E Ramirez yelled a closing prayer and we left. Missions are always going to be awkward, so we just have to use it to our advantage sometimes haha.
Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well! I love you guys! Keep progressing in your lives and moving closer and closer to Christ. Don't get stuck in a rut! It's so easy to do that sometimes! Oh and how's thatcher soccer doing these days? Anyway, bye!
 Elder Payne!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Well it's a little late, but yeah! Hope you guys ate lots of candy and got real fat. Our Halloween was interesting. Since there's people who dress up as missionaries, we had to lock ourselves at home at 6 pm Wednesday night. I read the King Follet discourse or whatever it's called...super good. Anyway, it's been a long week trying to find people to teach! We had potential of like 5 baptisms this month, and so far we're struggling to get even one. Our investigators just aren't willing to progress and make the gospel a priority in their lives. No room for oh well as president would tell us. We need to step it up! Man I wish I would have taken notes about this past week, cuz now I forgot everything we did haha. The members here are terrific. We get fed every night, which is awesome. Don't worry mom, I'm cleaning up my plate each night. haha I've gained a whopping 5 pounds on the mission so far! Anyway on Saturday afternoon we knocked on the door of Mr. Del Parson himself! His wife answered, so we talked to her and her son and his son's kids. Unfortunately Del was in the studio painting at the time, so we didn't get to meet him! ah man! haha but in their house hangs the original painting of Christ holding the lamb. Pretty cool! We've been hearing some ugly news about the giant hurricane and new york being evacuated, and then of course election Tuesday this week and all that jazz. Christ really is knocking at the door haha.
We had a cool lesson with a new investigator Hanna this past week. We met her at a ward mission leader's home and started getting to know her. She started getting all worked up about her past problems with smoking and divorce and not being able to see her own child as much as she would like. We spent the whole lesson trying to calm her down and encourage her. The Spirit basically took over the whole lesson. I was throwing out scriptures like Proverbs 3:5-6 and Isaiah 49:15-16 out of nowhere. Great scriptures by the way! But yeah afterwards she said she felt a whole lot better and the spirit testified to her heart that God loves her very much. That's what we wanted! We'll be meeting with her again later this week.
Well anyway sorry this is a shorter email! I love you guys a ton! I need your support! I'm grateful for this gospel and the peace it brings to our own troubled hearts. When we find time to feel and listen to the spirit, we find a renewal of energy which comes through the atonement of Christ. It's awesome!
Elder Payne!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What a long week!

Hey family! I wish I had time to read letters, but I have to skim them for now. So transfers took place Tuesday morning! We hopped in a van and it dropped a few of us off in Cedar City. I met Elder Ramirez! We're soooo different haha it's been pretty tough actually, but the Lord needs to humble us somehow so we can learn. He was inactive until 3 weeks before his mission, so he's still trying to leave his old ways behind. He can be a little intimidating sometimes! But yeah it's getting chilly up here! Still waiting for a white Christmas...very possible this year! haha take that. Anyway, the people are wonderful here! It's a weird adjustment being in family wards. This time we're covering two whole stakes haha. We have dinners practically every night, which saves me some money haha. Apparently I'm a good luck charm because every area (all two of them) that I come into, we have some golden investigators pop out of nowhere. One of them is a lady who was excommunicated but sincerely wants to return to the fold of God. We can't baptize her because of her situation, but her daughter also wants to be baptized! We haven't met her yet because her other sister doesn't want her to get baptized. There' s a little conflict there, but it'll come through eventually! I've met so many people that know people from Thatcher and everywhere else over there. One man's name is Rusty Olsen. He went on for like 10 minutes talking about how celestial Mel Palmer is and what a great influence he was to him. Bro Palmer was his seminary teacher. Bro Olsen wants Bro Palmer's phone number if maybe mom can find it! I also met someone that knows someone from Ft. Thomas! of all the places in this world... Oh and I met a Bro Leavitt last night who served in Bolivia on his mission. He served in the La Paz mission, and he and his wife have of course been to the Cochabamba temple and Machu Picchu. It was cool to chat with them!
This past Saturday we had a baptism! That's always a bonus. Her name is Tracy, and she has cancer but is apparently fighting it off really well, so that's good. She had been taught everything by the other missionaries. She was ready, except she needed to get married to her fiance. They had been engaged for 6 years haha. He's a member, and his name is Jairus. They have two little young ones haha. Anyway they rushed to get a marriage license this week, and their bishop was able to marry them and baptize her all in one service! First wedding on the mission!
Oh and I guess this area is actually English. Everyone told me that it was Spanish haha so I was mislead. BUT we talked to a Hispanic guy last night for a good 20 minutes or so, and I actually got to use some Spanish. He had some questions about which church was true and where truth comes from. I basically told him que Dios sabe sobre todas las cosas en este mundo...la verdad tambien...y quando nosotros preguntamos a dios mediante oracion, dios nos da las respuestas necesitamos en nuestras vidas! Short and simple haha Elder Ramirez obviously did all the talking and he didn't seem ultimately too interested, but we could tell he felt the spirit, and so I did my job! It was pretty cool.
Among other things, we met this awesome member that has a legitimate Book of Mormon cave installed in his backyard, equipped with a real Liahona and everything! haha oh man it's so awesome. When we all come back to tour and stuff, we'll hit up his house so you can see it. It's amazing. We thought that when he said he had a cave that it was just a hole in the ground, but it's like an ancient temple in his backyard! haha he also has the original painting of "The Gentle Christ" which can be found on page 195 in PMG. The artist Del Parson lives nearby, and they are good friends. He's the artist of Chirst holding the Lamb, Christ coming out of the tomb, and many many others. Rusty Olsen also has an original painting in his home too haha. It's pretty cool!
So that's about it this week! I wish I could write more, but I have no more time. The mission is getting tougher, but apparently so am I. Glad to see Mitchell is doing well! Keep praying for us! Elder Ramirez and I have our struggles getting along. Anyway I love each of you a ton! Thanks for your support! Have a beautiful week!
Elder Payne!

Transfer Calls!

Holy cow we finally got transfer calls at 9:15 last night during planning! The suspense was killing me all week! I'll share the good word later on haha. So this was a great week. Last Monday after we finished all our chores for the day we went on a tour of the temple! It was so intense and amazing. We started in the annex and made our way all the way to the top of the temple...inside the tower itself! Apparently we weren't supposed to go up there, but our tour guide insisted haha. I swear it felt like we were going back in time with every room we went into. They're making plans over the next four years to completely re do the temple interior and make it look antique...like the 1880's! Equipped with wooden lockers and everything. I thought that that will be pretty cool, especially during the millennium when all the original saints come back to do work in the temple they built. They'll appreciate it! Temples can't be closed for more than 8 weeks at a time, so it will be a progressive project. We'll have to go on my way home! Anyway Bro Goeser our tour guide showed us around. So there's basically the original 1880's temple and then a modern annex attached to it. We kept going in and out of the two, and along the way he opened up some electrical windows and let us see the innards of the original temple wall. It's all red brick painted white! Pretty cool. We saw all the rooms upstairs which used to be apartments for the saints. Now they are all sealing rooms...there's 18 sealing rooms in that temple! We went into the assembly room, which is completely original. Old crickety wooden floor with 1880's benches and everything. They have seats that say P.M.P.H. (President of the Melchizedek Priest Hood) which is where the Prophet would sit. Anyway it was super awesome. We went into an old room that is apparently the old Holy of Holies! They didn't know what the room was for until 6 months ago! There's a spot on the floor where the prophet would kneel and pray and speak to the Father, apparently face to face. That was intense to be in there! I got to see one of the spiral staircases too, which apparently one of our ancestors helped to build. Eventually we made it into the tower itself. The paint on the wood up there is peeling and chipping off. They have a little "museum" up in there where the old mast to the temple is kept. It got struck by lightning a few years ago, so they had to take it down. If you look at a picture of the temple, you'll notice a ball right under the wind arrow thing. They had to cut that thing in half in order to get it down. Well, they cut in just the right spot. Written in pencil on a piece of wood in nice 1880's cursive handwriting was the phrase "Many men of many minds, many firsts of many." A prophecy about a future explosion in the production of temples in our day...by some random temple builder well over 100 years ago. That officially blew our minds! We got to go out onto the tower outside this little door. We could see the whole town! I could have sworn I was gonna look out and see a bunch of horses and buggies and Brigham Young standing on the ground. It was amazing...and I'll probably never get to do that again haha. Can't wait to bring dad over here and see how much he knows about it!
Anyway, back to reality! Our car got taken away this week for three days. The Zone leaders needed a car because theirs was in the shop getting fixed. Well, we had no choice but to use bikes! We rode all over the place. We usually drive around 35 miles per day. On bikes that's difficult because of travel time. I'm not sure how far we rode, but I have a crazy story to tell. But I don't have time! I wrote it in my journal haha so I'll have to share it someday. I started getting charlie horses in both quads at the same time haha we were booking it everywhere. Ultimately lets just say that we're spoiled. That's the downfall of being a Utah missionary. haha cars are a nice thing to have. The exercise was great though!
Shelton was baptized yesterday! Do you guys know anything about him? haha I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned him before. He's a young quiet ranching kid from here in St. George. His parents are less active, but very supportive and are probably in the process of becoming active again. He was being taught by other elders with his younger siblings, but they gave him to us because he is 18 and in the YSA stake. So we took over! He has graduated from seminary though, so we didn't need to teach him too much. We went over a few commandments over the past few weeks and yesterday he was baptized! It was wonderful. His seminary teacher baptized him.
I met a random guy at Arby's this week who says he knows an older couple moving to either Thatcher or Safford. Their names are Russ and Ina Martin, and they are less active. So if anyone meets them, be extra friendly! haha I found out this morning that I'm 1/5 of the way done with my mission...20%! Crazy. That's 4.8 months!
But anyway, back to transfer calls. Our old assistant called us and told Elder Gomez that he's going up to Minersville bilingual. He'll be with an elder Lewis, who is having a hard time. Elder Gomez needs to straighten him out! haha so at this point I thought for sure I would be staying so that our area doesn't die. Well then he said that Elder Payne is headed up to Cedar North with Elder Ramirez! Designated driver and junior companion! Holy smokes! So we're basically ditching our area haha...the assistant Elder Hawkins is going to train a new missionary here in Dixie 2. So that means we need to update our area book hard core tonight! haha we take off in the transfer van tomorrow morning at 8:45. We have to say bye to everyone today sometime! That's kinda stressful, especially for people like Max who specifically wanted Elder Gomez and I to teach him. Well, things will work out! Oh and apparently Cedar North is a Spanish area! Which is weird because President told me in an interview a couple weeks ago that English was just fine for me haha. Wishy washy! I'll keep you all posted next week! I'm excited and I'm gonna be cold! Should be snowing up there sometime soon (if it's not already). Christmas is only 9 or so weeks away! I'm finishing up my freshman year of the mission, and finals are coming up haha. The church is true and the book is blue!
Hey I love you guys! I sent a package on Saturday! the mail guy said it should be there by Monday! Keep your eyes peeled.
Elder Payne :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

We're into Week 12 folks!

Man I'm almost done being trained! Bout time! haha well it's been good. I'm just getting warmed up! I swear the time I've spent in the field has felt like it's gone by twice as fast as the MTC. The MTC felt like 6 months haha. Anyway it's good to hear from Keith and Mom! Oh by the way mom, there's no cotton fields around here. None that I have seen. They have a cotton plant over by the visitors center on display though! And our zone is the St. George East Zone. That's cool that Bishop came up this way! Too bad I didn't get to see him haha oh well. Well if someone wants to visit me or have dinner or something, then they have to call President Leonard and get the okay from him. I have no idea what his number is. I may be out of this area and transferred to a new one in a week. Transfer calls are on Sunday, so we'll find out then. Could be up in Nephi for the winter...we'll see! I've bumped into a few more people that have connections to home. We tried contacting a kid named Tyler Worden the other day. Turns out that his father, Bill Worden, grew up in good old Safford. He's like 59 or so now, so maybe dad knows him? We didn't get to meet Bill, but he knows people like Gene Seale, Paul Kay, Dick Bingham, Tony Goodman (who I know from the temple), and Stan Larsen. Ring a bell? Also, one of our ward mission leaders served in Argentina with Brennin Angle. I think I've mentioned that before, but it's true! He was Elder Smith. Oh and apparently someone named Kassi (Cassie, Kassie, Qassey, I don't know...) is headed to Thatcher, and she asked some other Elders if they knew me. So yeah look out for a Kassi coming to thatcher!
Well this has been a wonderful week over here in the Dixie 2nd stake. We've had a few miracles happen, so I'll share some with you!
First of all we got a text early this last week from Max! Now, we had met Max several weeks ago and taught him a quick lesson. Turns out Max had been married for like 4 days though so we had to turn him over to the sister missionaries who cover the family wards. Then Max basically fell off the face of the earth. The sisters tried a few times contacting him and he wasn't interested. This coming from the man who told us he wanted to get sealed in the temple! So that confused us because he was so ready and willing to get baptized. He's grown up in the church and has been probably more active than a lot of the youth are today. Anyway we didn't know what to do there, and then we got that text the other day. He set up an appointment to meet with us. He had his friend there who is preparing to serve in Africa. Turns out that Max's wife really started pushing him into baptism because he was so ready and willing to meet with us. Max said that he didn't like that and that he wants to do it for him and not anyone else. So what's happening is that he is meeting with us without his wife even knowing haha. He wants to surprise her. So we have to meet whenever she's at work or the store or something haha. So far so good! He said that meeting with the sisters was just awkward and that he had a special connection with us. He reminds me a lot of Travis and Levi Palmer, just the way he talks. He's a sharp guy and knows a lot, but we have to start at ground 1 either way. We're excited for him! It's not every day that we find a non member that wants to get sealed in the temple. The baptism will go to the sisters, but we'll do the teaching. Apparently that's legal if the investigator requests it. So that was a miracle to say the least!
This past week we were doing a baptismal interview over in Washington Fields. On our way back to town we got a call from a sister who had an inactive son who wants to reactivate and make some changes. His name is Kyler. As Elder Gomez was talking to her on the phone getting directions to their house, I was looking at the street signs off to the side. Turns out we were right next to their house! haha so we asked if they had time right then and we parked and went in. Kyler is amazing and is really starting to come unto Christ himself. He has prayed and asked for help, and he knows that Heavenly Father has been answering his prayers. So he's doing well, but has some smoking problems. That's okay though because we invited him to pray that night and he did and the next day he smoked like 4 cigarettes vs. a whole pack. Improvement! the best thing about it is that his girlfriend Sydni is a non member, and she wants to learn more and is really open to the gospel now. So we're teaching them from ground 1, and it's working really well to have Kyler there re learning everything, and even his little brother and sister and mom sit in and participate too. We'll probably extend a baptismal invitation tonight, so wish us luck!
On Wednesday I was having the typical missionary challenges and concerns and just a general hard time. I was having a rough morning and was getting discouraged. Satan never stops trying to grasp onto you! Never. So eventually I pulled out my Patriarchal blessing. Never in my life have I had that much peace and renewal of faith and change of heart that fast! It talks about some of the ways that Satan is trying to pull me down, and how I can fight him off. I received the strengthening and enabling power of the Atonement right then and there. I got up and went to work. That day we taught six lessons and picked up a new investigator. There' s no way I would have been able to teach with power and authority without my patriarchal blessing. Heavenly Father's watching out for me. He needs me to stay in the game! Getting and staying in shape for soccer is one thing, but a mission is another! Haha but I have the best coach.
Oh by the way, family scriptures every night is paying off! It's a cool skill to be able to read any scripture and apply it's significance to ourselves on the fly. At District Training Meeting we did some role plays where we had to use an off handed Isaiah scripture and relate it to our investigators. It was a piece of cake! Everyone else was like "What the heck is wrong with Isaiah!" haha the point was to be able to use any scripture and relate it to a simple truth of the restored gospel. The scripture was 2 Nephi 19:17. So thanks for dragging us in for scriptures every night mom...it helps!
Well, gotta go! Love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Payne :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Conference Weekend!

How's everyone doing this week?! Conference was basically amazing. Elder Gomez and I were joking all week about how bad we want to get some conference foam fingers and paint our faces in the anticipation. We went to the Visitor's Center for the Saturday morning session. Man I couldn't believe the announcements! The mission age stuff was pretty cool (18 for young men and 19 for young women), but I was more pumped about the Tuscon Temple and the Arequipa Temple! I could just imagine Keith sitting there letting out a big "Woohoo!" or something haha that's basically what I did! Keep saving up for a trip over there KP. But yeah that night we met three different sisters that said they are planning on putting in their papers this next week, and they're only 19 haha so crazy. Missionary work is going to explode. Something big is happening. China is opening up soon haha. We're all thrilled, and apparently it's all over Gossipbook......I mean facebook right? haha anywho Elder Nelson's talk was wonderful. "Ask the missionaries" he says. The Brethren don't normally speak directly to nonmembers...that was cool! But yeah we went to V's for a few sessions, and we went to the YSA stake center for Priesthood session and sat with V and Yoshi. Twas wonderful....I remember last year during Priesthood session I had to go out into the foyer to take notes cuz I couldn't see. I need to remember to bring a flashlight to Priesthood session! Oh well, I'll have the talks soon enough in print and I can take notes then. Oh by the way, the choir director in the Priesthood session was Elder Gomez's choir director back in Salt Lake at West High. His English teacher is also in the Mo Tab haha. Anyway, if I had time I would love to type everything I learned from conference....just go back and watch it again!

This past week we went to the eye doctor place thing. Elder Gomez needed to get his eyes checked, so I decided to tag along (not that I had much of a choice). Well I ended up getting my eyes checked for free and even got some new frames...for free. Too much free stuff here. Anyway my eyes are doing fine and still have the same prescription. I wanted some sturdier glasses that wouldn't keep falling off and had a little more mass.
Well, check the picture to find out what I got haha. I feel like an old man now, so I am accomplishing one of my dreams. I hope they aren't considered ostentatious. More importantly I hope mom doesn't think they are ostentatious. They do however make me feel more bold haha so maybe that's what I need. Everyone says I look good in them and I get complements! haha I'm still using my other ones too. I actually want to switch back to contacts, but that would cost too much money for me right now. Maybe later.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but we have the coolest investigators, with some of the coolest names. Vathana, Yoshi, Gil, and tonight we're seeing a guy named Dax. We're excited! Yoshi tells the funniest stories. they wouldn't even be very funny if he wasn't Asian. Let me explain. He tries so hard to speak correct English. But he still pronounces everything with a Japanese accent. He calls fasting "fascinating" and faith "the face" haha it's hilarious. He told us a long story about how he dropped a lawn mower in a pond at work. He works at a golf course, and one morning he was mowing the greens. There was dew on the grass, so it was a little slippy. As he came over a little hill on the green, a giant pond materialized and he slipped and the mower fell in. Well he tried to save himself too, but eventually he realized that it was too late, so he just decided to dive in head first haha. I can just imagine his face during the whole experience...his stories are the best! His fellowshipper is called Jake. After a lesson with Yoshi he said to us "Are you guys allowed to use the word Stud on a mission?" His vocabulary is extremely fresh. Apparently "shibbadoodles" is a word these days. He never stops smiling when he talks. Anyway I can't wait to take a picture with them and sent it to you all. Yoshi is planning on going back home to Japan again and he will get baptized there so that his parents can watch and see what a baptism is. We're excited for him, but bummed that we can't be there for that. Jake Hoeffelman on the other hand has been called to the Cuzco Peru mission and will report in December. I told him to watch out for Elder Nolan. If you get the chance, tell Elder Nolan to watch out for Elder Hoeffelman (Hay full men).

Well in other news, there's a sister here that reminds me exactly of Jamie from CMI, so that's kinda weird haha. I'm also working on my Christmas wishlist mom! Does anyone know if they sell untabbed mini quads without a little button flap? That's something I'd want haha. And now for the palindrome of the week: NO WAY! A PAPAYA WON!

I am doing well. The Lord is helping us and blessing us. Sometimes I need to stop beating myself up and focusing on my bad qualities and realize that I'm trying to be obedient and I'm trying to improve, and I'm helping bring people to salvation. Sometimes we're too hard on ourselves. Oh and if someone ever asks you if Mormons believe in Karma, tell them absolutely yes! Helaman 15:31! This transfer is winding down. I'm almost done being trained. I don't know where I'll go in two more weeks, but chances are I'll get called to train! We'll see!

Alright, I gotta go! We have some chores to do and letters to write. Oh and we're planning on blessing a home later today. They have some dark energy that they want to remove. Apparently that happens a lot. Should be fun! Wish us luck! Have a good week! Love you all!

Elder Payne!

p.s. Thanks for the package I love cookies!

V's Baptism

I got onto the email thing today and it said that this message failed to send last week. How lame! Sorry about that! I'm sending it again, plus this week's letter.
So this past week we did exchanges on Tuesday. Elder Gomez is the district leader, so he went with the junior companion in Pineview Spanish, Elder Wright. He's from Georgia and is a transfer behind me. He's got a thick southern accent haha it's funny. Anyway that means that Elder Wade came with me to our area for the day. He just finished being trained, and now he's training...in Spanish. Crazy! He's on the ball though...he is my premortal grandfather! Which means he was my zone leader at the MTC for three weeks. We were finally companions for a day! It was so cool. Exchanges always stress me out though because he has no idea about our area so I have to take care of everything and he just helps wherever he can. Anyway, change is good for ya every now and then. I learned a ton about myself and how much I need to improve, and that I need to start now because it's very well possible that I will be training someone else in a couple weeks. We had a good day though! Lots of good results. We've doubled our total lessons this week, and things are starting to pick up. I'm so glad I started planning out my days and weeks before I left! That's helped a ton, and sometimes I have to train Elder Gomez on how to plan and set goals haha.

We had a zone meeting this week. President Leonard and Elder Wooley (our car coordinator) came and basically preached repentance to us. It was an Alma and Amulek moment! Elder Wooley has some pretty thick skin and will get after you pretty easily. I respect him a lot. They told us about how our commitment level is low because our monthly goal was about 140 ish baptisms and we only got 90 something. We need to do better. Elder Gomez and I want to do better. We had a long talk about it afterwards during studies. We've set some goals on how we can boost our commitment. We feel revitalized! It's cool. Thank goodness for repentance. Speaking of Elder Wooley, he asked the four of us (Payne, Gomez, Garrett, and McFarland) to help clean out a mission storage unit. We got all scared when he showed up at our apartment because it was pretty messy. For some reason he wasn't mad at us and even gave us subway gift cards afterwards. We're getting on his good side! Thank heavens...

Last week I had an unfortunate death. My good old wind up watch from ebay gave up the ghost. Too bad...it served me well for a good 9 months. So yeah I had to get a new watch from Walmart. It's really good! I went digital because apparently I'm not intelligent enough to tell time the old fashion way. I'll stare at the watch and not even know what it says...... anyway, this new watch beeps every hour. Elder Gomez's does the same thing. Apparently we're companions or something, because our watches were like perfectly synced to each other. They beeped at the same time! So we considered that a sign and left it like that. We discovered the reason why watches beep every hour. It's because of the song "I need thee every hour". So whenever I hear them beep, I think about my Heavenly Father. It's really cool! I recommend beeping watches.

Well I've officially had my best mission experience so far! It was Vathana's baptism and confirmation! I had to give the talk on baptism, and I wrote up a little talk a few days ago, but then I forgot about it until a few minutes before. I was all nervous that I would mess up or something haha so I crammed all my notes into my head. Well, just before I got up, I said a little prayer. I started with "Heavenly Father, please help......" and I was about to pray that he would help me with my talk so that I could speak what I had written down. Then I thought for a minute and said "help V....help him feel the Spirit regardless of what I say." All of a sudden I felt so much love for him and thought nothing of myself. I've been striving to develop a love for the people, and I'm starting to know what that's like. So I got up and spoke and bore powerful testimony. I felt like I was speaking with power and authority, and charity was the key. I don't remember looking at my notes but three or four times. The message was already etched into my heart...I just needed fear to flee and love to come in and bring that message out...and the Spirit hand delivered it to him. He had tears in his eyes at the end of my testimony. It was an Alma 26:12 moment for me. I can't describe the joy that comes when you bring Christ into the heart of another person. Helping someone else feel the Spirit is one of the greatest and sweetest joys you'll ever experience.

We almost didn't even meet V at all. About a month ago, we went out with a ward missionary to contact someone, and they weren't there. After 20 minutes of trying to think of people to go visit and asking for referrals, Jenna (the ward missionary) gasped and said really excitedly "V!!" Obviously the Spirit gave her that name. V is someone she had met playing some church basketball. So she gave him a call and he said he would love to have the missionaries come over. In the mean time, V had moved here to help support his family. He just wants to make them proud...he's the oldest child and was looking for a job down here. He knew this job was extremely hard to get, so he prayed for help for the first time in a long time. About 30 seconds later, he got a phone call and they gave him the job. Then Jenna called him a few days later and we got involved at just the right time. That's the story in a nutshell...no coincidence.
Ryan Porter was able to baptize him! Such an amazing 17 year old kid. He reminds me a lot of Mitchell and Brandon McMaster combined. What an experience for him, too. Priests don't get to do that too often...baptize their best friend. We called for a fellowshipper for our first visit, and he was out of town. Ryan, his little brother, was our backup fellowshipper. He came to almost every lesson. He bore a powerful testimony yesterday during testimony meeting. He was balling the whole time...just a big tall athletic teddy bear, saying how we were sent not just to bring V into the gospel, but to let Ryan experience missionary work first hand. He said he knows for a fact that he's going on a mission, and this experience has been etched onto his heart. He said (fighting back his emotions) "I love you guys so much...thank you so much Elder Gomez and Elder Payne. now I know without a single doubt that I'm going on a mission. I just want to get on a plane right now...." Then he had to wait for the tears to stop. I'll get home before he leaves, so I'll have to come back to his farewell. I didn't realize how much this past month has affected him! I feel like Abiniadi. Even if nothing else happens on my mission, at least we've helped this young man have an unquenchable desire to serve a mission, and he'll probably baptize 5000 people. I'm having a hard time deciding who to be happier for...V or Ryan! Now I know for a fact that I've been sent here for a reason. I've been sent here to burn that desire into Ryan's heart. I've been sent here to help V realize his love for his Heavenly Father. This past weekend hasn't been like any of our other baptisms. It's on a completely different level. This is why I'm here! I wish you could have been there! This email thing doesn't do this story a justice at all haha. Oh and Ryan's dad is from Safford...born and raised, went to Safford high. I'm not sure if he went to school with dad or not, but he's probably a little younger. His last name is Porter. Does that ring a bell, dad? He knew some of the Paynes that lived in Safford. Anyway, that was super cool to find that out! No coincidence!

Elder Gomez confirmed V. He had to start over because he didn't confirm him a member. I guess V thought he was supposed to say something, so when Elder Gomez said "receive the Holy Ghost" V said really loudly "I receive the Holy Ghost!" haha it was so funny but I couldn't laugh! Such a man of strong faith. He's converted! He loves Heavenly Father and Jesus and his family. I don't think any of his family are members...maybe some of them... but he said he talked to his mom and she was crying because of how proud she was of him! So yeah...BEST WEEKEND EVER!! Sometimes when I second guess why I'm out here, I get experiences like this. It's great!

Oh yeah, how is Ben Beals doing? He's from the Pima stake, so I don't get updates from him. He went to Russia, which is a super tough mission. I'm wondering what's happening over there. I haven't seen him since a few days before I left the MTC. I don't know his parents names, but his brother is Jordan and his sister is Sarah. I would love an address for him or something so I can write him. Thanks!

I'm thinking about that Christmas package mom haha. When will you send it? Oh and apparently one of the sisters at the visitor center said she saw my bishop. She didn't catch his name, but said he asked if they knew an Elder Payne. Anyway, does anyone know if Bishop Howard went to St. George? Apparently he did, but I want to make sure! DON'T FORGET TO WATCH CONFERENCE THIS WEEKEND!! I can't wait...I want a Conference foam finger if I can find one. Holy cow if I could bring my family out here to experience these things too, I would! It's hard, and I have my struggles every day, but it pays off. I love this work! I love this gospel! I love my family!

Elder Payne!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dedication Sunday

Howdy! Has Thatcher had a complete make over yet? Haha well I've actually only met a handful of people that know where Thatcher is. It's proabably because we talk to YSA and a ton of young people. Once I get transferred to a family ward I'll probably meet some more Thatcherites. Anyway, let me tell you about our car. We love our car because our area is ginormous! We're so blessed. We have a 2010 Ford Fusion. Elder Gomez says it's "pewter" which is almost the same color as the Tahoe. It's nice! We have to track all our miles and gasoline and things like that. There's a meter that tells us our time useage...we've been driving for about 120 hours the past 8 weeks! yikes! and we've traveled well over 1600 miles, which somehow averages to about 35 ish miles a day. We get 1000 miles per month. Elder Gomez has never gotten a license, so I've seriously driven more here than I have my whole life! Sometimes when we walk into the house at the end of the day, I'll look up at the sky and see all the stars. The night sky is coming back into alignment for the October sky, which I practically memorized last year in Astronomy. Unfortunately I've practically forgot everything! Ugh it's ridiculous I'm going to re learn it when I get home sometime. haha
Well shoot this past week has been pretty crazy! We doubled our lessons with members present, but we've had to drop four investigators. They're just not ready yet! During one of the lessons with a girl named Sophie, Elder Gomez got a bloody nose right as he started talking about the Book of Mormon. Just a random, uncalled for bloody nose right as he started talking. So he went to clean it up and and the lesson went in a completely different direction. Apparently our lesson plan wasn't right, so Heavenly Father had to divert the whole lesson. The problem was that she had some questions that kind of threw us off. They were completely contrary to what we thought she needed, so we sort of half way answered the questions and half way stuck to our plan. Well, that obviously didn't work. Her problem was that she has had these legitimate questions about the church that no one has ever been able to clearly answer for her. That's what has kept her away...so until she gets answers, she won't open up. She loves to debate, and she even rebuked my own testimony. But I felt complete peace and clarity as she basically told me that I was wrong, and that was evidence to me that Heavenly Father is still in control and her heart is simply closed. The ward mission leader agreed to have her write down her questions and he will answer them for her, no matter what they are. So basically we handed her completely over to him, so we're not teaching her anymore, but her need is being met. Even though that lesson was kind of a fiasco, it went completely according to Heavenly Father's plan! It was pretty cool!
The other evening we knocked on a member's door to see if we could find any referrals. Well, he let us in, and of course he had two free style rappers over for the night, recording some songs! Obviously they're black, and we got to meet them. We talked about missions and what not, and they were super cool with everything. When we left, the member asked us for a Book of Mormon to give to them. We listened to part of one of their songs. Turns out their songs are super clean and talk about God and stuff, so he thought that it might be a good opportunity. Well he ended up forgetting about it and they didn't get the book haha, but I still liked his willingness to share the gospel. And right after that we helped this super drunk guy throw away his empty Smirnoff bottle and beer box haha. He was real nice to us and shook my hand like 8 or 9 times haha.
On Wednesday we had three zones go to the St. George temple for a session! It was so amazing. President Leonard talked to all of us in the waiting room chapel and told us to ponder about the 5 covenants throughout the session. His little talk and advice really put me into the right mindset, and I seriously learned more in that one session than I have the past 30 or so times that I've gone. It was amazing! Plus the St. George temple is beautiful and is rich with history. It's where the founding fathers appeared to Wilford Woodruff...it's known as "Joseph's Temple"...and apparently it's even where one of my own ancestors helped to build a stair case! haha it was amazing. Afterwards we took a picture and ate pizza. I got to talk to Elder Killian which was sweet. He's my only MTC buddy that I've seen since I've been in the field. He's doing great!
So yeah yesterday was dedication Sunday! It was the dedication of the Brigham City temple, and they broadcasted it to the entire state of Utah...so basically our sacrament attendance was shot for the week haha. But it was amazing! There were three sessions, just like the Gila Valley temple dedication. President Packer presided, put in the mortar, and offered the dedicatory prayer in the first session. He cracked a few jokes here and there haha which is always fun. He's really getting up there in age...he's stuck in a wheel chair and has gained quite a bit of weight. But his spirit is stronger than ever. It was cool to watch him in put the mortar in while in his wheel chair haha and his sweet little old wife scooted over there with her cane and put some in too. He and his wife were both born within a mile of the Brigham City temple, and when the temple was announced, he prayed to the Lord that he would live to see it's dedication. Well, prayer answered! His home temple is finally up and running. I'm not sure how much president Packer has left, but he has basically fulfilled his last dream. I learned that temple work is only one half of the work, and family history is the other half. It's like baptism and confirmation...you need to do both! But yeah when I was born there were 44 or so temples. Now we've dedicated the 139th temple. There were like 35 dedicated in the year 2000. Good old President Hinckley!
Well that's all from Elder Payne this week! Tune in next time for another great episode. Love you guys!
Elder Payne!

Censored Letter from Last Week

Note From The Editor:

It is a wonderful thing being the administrator of this blog. I have the power to post just whatever I please... hahaha
Last week's letter came with some information that should not be revealed at this time.... So it got the chop!! It was still a super fantastic letter and I want to share it now(censored, of course)... Enjoy!

Well I don't even know if I've mentioned how big our area is...we cover the whole YSA 2nd stake, which means we cover everything east of Interstate 15 in the St. George area all the way out to Hurricane. Apparently we don't have to go out to Hurricane though because that's like a 30 minute drive, which would rack up too many miles. The Elders over there just take care of the YSA work. We cover 8 wards: Buena Vista, Bloomington Hills, Hurricane, Little Valley, Morningside, Pineview, Washington, and Washington Fields. So basically that's like one set of missionaries for all of Thatcher. It's a lot of work, and yet we're having an awfully hard time just teaching lessons. This past week we only taught seven lessons, not including less active/ recent convert lessons. All those college kids are just livin life I suppose and they're not ready for the gospel just yet haha. We go to this apartment complex called Red Rock Ridge quite a bit. It's basically the party central of St. George. We've found paintballs and even clothes all over the place. It's a little sketchy. We call it the Great and Spacious building haha. It's a huge complex though with tons of non members. Lot's of potential there! It's hard to feel the Spirit though with dubstep blasting in every other room. If you haven't yet, you should check out my area on Google Earth haha. We even have the mission office in our area, which is extremely convenient. We've got Deseret Book here, Walmart, Target, Ross, Staples, In and Out, Olive Garden, Golden Corral...everything that KP and QP probably dreamed of haha so we're good to go for at least the next 5 weeks! We're so blessed!
This past week we got to be involved in the baptism and confirmation of some sister missionaries' little investigator, Emma! She's a 9 year old little girl with ADHD, and she's awesome! Elder Gomez does all the baptismal interviews now, and during the interview he said that Emma was all over the place, jumping off the chair and flying around on the walls and all that awesome stuff. Her baptism was amazing! We sang "When I am Baptized" which is like the best song ever invented. Yesterday we went over to their family ward and helped confirm her. It was neat to just support her and her family and see the difference between little kids and college kids. We're getting ready for another baptism for V on the 29th of September! He's super excited, and so are we! We've had a young man who is 17 come with us on splits. His name is Ryan. They love basketball and shoot some hoops like every day. They're like best buddies now haha...I love fellowshippers! Ryan always talks to us after each lesson and talks about how pumped up he is to go on a mission! "Thanks so much guys! You're all awesome! I'm just gonna leave right now!" haha he feels the spirit so much. After our last lesson with V, we all went to Cafe Rio for dinner. These are the types of things we'll be talking about when we're all like 85 with no hair..."remember when we'd come teach you and then go out for a bite to eat?" haha we're having some awesome adventures. V says he'd love to take us golfing some time. That would make my whole mission haha but we'd have to make time for it. We'll see.
So yeah yesterday Elder Gomez and I spoke at Buena Vista! I had no time to prepare another talk, so I whipped out my farewell talk and basically made version 2.0. It went well! I told everyone that bishop told me to pick a topic. Like every good missionary does, I thought about the needs of the people for a minute. I thought, "hey! they're all in singles ward....so they all need to get married!" So I told them with as serious face as I could muster that I would be speaking on the blessings of eternal marriage. Then I laughed and said just kidding, I'm speaking about conversion. We all laughed and then I spoke for like 25 minutes just like last time, and Elder Gomez only got like 5 or 10 because I stole it all from him. haha!
I love you guys!
Elder Payne!
p.s. is everyone getting my emails?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I was live at the CES Broadcast!

Well it sure sounds like things back home are sounding pretty hectic more or less haha. I suppose life really does have its ups and downs. Hey well sorry I didn't write last week! Labor day...everywhere is closed...can't use member's computers...no email. So sorry mom haha. Yesterday we were writing our emails when the Internet went down all over town, so we're taking some mormon.org time today to send these things off haha. It's super rainy today! Flash flood warnings...streets are a little flooded...need to build a raft to get to the car haha. ITS AWESOME! Anyway, these past two weeks have been crazy...we even had to chase a little lost chihuahua dog in the rain with a laundry basket before an appointment! I don't even know where to begin for this email. I've got some notes haha so I'll just throw everything in here!

First of all, they have Waffle Crisp over here! That's my favorite cereal ever! I had to go to Bolivia in order to find some...and they sell it here! So that's good. We got those little Preach My Gospel's which is sweet! We love them! I also picked up a few new ties at Ross, so that's why my balance went down. Elder Gomez found a sweet hacky sack in his last area, so we do that every now and then when we have time. My foot skills are returning and I love it! We also have this little rubber soccer ball that I'll juggle a lot for stress relief haha it's fun. I love having a companion who appreciates futbol as much as I do. We are extremely pumped for world cup 2014! We put our names at a couple hospitals last week for potential priesthood blessings, but we haven't been contacted yet, so we'll see. The Saturday before last was Robert's baptism! It went well. If you haven't ever been to a convert's baptism, then go! They are amazing! Things are going well for him...he's a firecracker! He loves the gospel, and so do I. The picture is kinda fuzzy, but he is the one right next to me.

We found three new investigators all within a block of each other. All three are single pregnant young women. Their lives are almost completely out of their own control...fiances leaving them, full time school, full time work, getting fired and needing to pay bills, some even have other children that need attending almost all the time. Then all of a sudden all their problems are put onto us, and that's terrifying because we have no idea what to do besides teach! haha Thankfully they are supposed to attend a family ward if they have children, so we turned them over to the Sister missionaries. They are all awesome though! One of them, Lei (Lay), is Hawaiian. Her life is a complete mess, but really wants to go to church and get some sort of hold on her broken life. Well we taught her a little bit. She started having contractions toward the end. She was supposed to come to church, but she went into labor haha. A few days ago we got to go give her and her brand new son, Maiki (Mikey), a priesthood blessing. It's a good thing that his name is five miles long. His middle name translates to something like "Blessed miracle child of God" only in pure, hard to pronounce Hawaiian. It took me like 30 seconds to say his full name, but I did it! That was probably the most powerful experience on my mission so far...anointing and blessing a sick child with a helpless mother who was completely depending on us. He should be good to go now. All of us (except Maiki) were fighting back tears while Elder Gomez gave her a blessing. It was so powerful. I felt as though all of my spiritual strength left me and entered into her. I was exhausted. The spirit really wipes you out! Things seem to be going well with Lei. She is elect and seems the most hopeful of the three.

The food keeps getting better! That Black Bear Diner place is amazing, and we've also been to Olive Garden with Gil (one of our recent converts) before he left to Salt Lake. He is amazing and super fresh. I hope you guys get to meet him some day! I've also eaten Katsu Chicken at this Hawaiian place called Honolulu Grill! It's exactly like Kainoa's only with even more variety. It's wonderful. The $120 per month actually isn't too bad because half the time whenever you buy something someone else buys it for you. Sometimes people fight over who will pay for us. Utah......

We found this awesome Cambodian young man, Vatahna! He goes by just "V" though. He is also extremely elect. He's the type of person that people assume is LDS but are shocked to find out that he's not. He goes to church and is super nice and awesome. He's on date for September 29th, so wish us luck. Things with Yoshi are going well too. I swear we have all the freshest investigators. They're awesome! We tried to find a guy named Ryan at a sweet bikeshop in Washington. Turns out Ryan's not interested, but they have some amazing bikes at that place! Pro road bikes, the ones with those thin tires? They are incredible. Mom needs to come here some day. I'm thinking about saving up for one instead of another car and just ride everywhere haha. The average price is like $4500. They are nice and distracting! Gotta get out of there haha.

Well so yesterday was Stake Conference over here for the Young Single Adults. One of the best stake conferences I've ever been to! It was one of those meetings where the Spirit just dumps light and knowledge onto your lap. We had the CES broadcast last night with Elder Holland! I honestly thought we wouldn't get to go to that, then we got a random call from President saying that he got seats reserved for us and our investigators and their fellowshippers! Score! We forgot that we had dinner appointment already set up, so we rushed out of dinner with the Adams (that's the third time we've eaten over there haha) and we found our seats. We were on the floor of Burns Arena, this giant basketball stadium on Dixie campus. Elder Holland walked in and everyone went dead silent and stood up. Hopefully at least Quentin got to watch it! The stake president that conducted was President Myers. We ate at his house my first Sunday out. He's awesome. We talked to him and his family afterward. He was super nervous conducting! The young woman that said the opening prayer was a fellowshipper in one of our lessons a while ago. She's a ward relief society president. She's super awesome too! Anyway, the fireside was incredible and intense! Elder Holland talked about the importance of judging righteously and loving others. We felt our eyebrows get singed a little bit. The part where he almost screamed "You NEVER check you religion at the door!" was so intense! I looked over at some other investigators (Elders Hawkins and Legizimon, the assistants, as well as Elders Bennion from the blog and Eggen who was my MTC zone leader--they all had some investigators there). These investigators looked quite shocked and were practically gasping haha. Elder Holland is right on the edge of boldness but not overbearance. It was wonderful! His testimony at the end was so powerful!

Anyway, I'm about out of time. Oh by the way, we got transfer calls last night. I'm still in the 12 week program, so we're staying put for at least another 6 weeks. But Elder Gomez es nuestro neuvo "capitan del distrito"!! We're both super pumped for him. We'll be busier than ever, and I'm still sleeping on a couch for another six weeks haha. Elder Dyer who was living with us is leaving back home to Canada. We're all jealous because he gets to go home and play Zelda haha we'll miss him! He had everyone sign a Canadian flag, and everyone wrote nice little paragraphs and what not. I just wrote "Get married" and signed it. He laughed at that. Well, more info to come next week. Hope you all have a wonderful and productive week back home! You are all awesome! I love everyone! Especially my family!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yoshi is back!!

Well wow it was so awesome to log on over here at the library and to see like 5 emails! Thanks everyone! sounds like everyone is super busy! good. I'm so glad that qp is finding people to teach haha that's so awesome. So far it's the same way for us here in St. George...about 45 baptisms and almost all are referrals. I like not finding people though! It's awesome to see that elect people just show up at our front door ready to be taught. Apparently Keith and Shauna's prayers are being answered! We really are finding and sifting out the pure in heart...those who really need and want the gospel right now. It's fun! I remember having a blowout on my way to EFY up in flagstaff two years ago with ethan mcbride. That was a ton of fun! Sounds like some good adventurous memories! I'm super glad you're alright and receiving so many blessings!

Yeah mom I got a letter from Bro. Evans this past week! It was super awesome. He and his wife had an amazing experience...you can ask them about it at church if you haven't heard it. And I've learned that staying within a budget is not quite the same as just rationing my money for important things. Our mission card has $120 a month, and once it's out we have to use personal cards. We'll see how that goes! I heard about Bro. Echols. It's cool to see that you're helping him! haha good luck with the whole rental thing (again)! By the way, the house looks nice! Keep it up haha and did you ever make that life size portrait of me? I was just wondering about that the other day...

Well shoot this week was actually kind of slow, but in a good way. We've had quite a few (most) of our appointments fall through this week, which means we had to resort to back up plans. I love back up plans! except when those fall through...and then plan c falls through too. Haha it was kinda stressful in a healthy way to figure out what in the world to do. We went on exchanges on I think Friday with the zone leaders. Since Elder Chidester didn't know anything at all about our area, I was in control all afternoon until I reunited with Elder Gomez. I was scratching my head at about plan G or H trying to find someone to just talk to. White washing is interesting sometimes. It made me realize the responsibilities of senior companions a lot more, so more than anything it just gave me a taste of what's coming within the next few months haha. The other day we were looking through our area book contacting former investigators. We were in a deserted church parking lot right next to a tree, so I thought it would be awesome to just climb the tree and make some calls up there. We spent a lot of time in the car that day, so it was a refreshing change of pace!

So yeah we've managed to pull through this week. Right now we have one investigator on date for this next Saturday the 1st of September. His name is Robbie, and he's super elect and awesome! His story is pretty similar to David's...just quit drinking and smoking and decided it was time to change. He has felt the Spirit and knows it's all true, and he's way excited for his baptism. He's awesome! All in all we've actually found five new investigators recently...it's just tough to meet with them. We have appointments this week, so we'll see!

Yesterday was the best! We got a random text from the assistants saying that they had an investigator they wanted to hand over to us. We met up at the Visitor Center and turns out he is a man named Yoshi Suzuki from Japan! He was in our area book and was on date, but he left home to Japan and got stuck there without a return visa for a few months. Saturday we decided to throw away his teaching record thinking he wasn't coming back. Then literally out of nowhere the next day he returns and wants to be baptized! What the heck haha thanks for your prayers Keith, Shauna, and probably everyone else! We need to throw away more teaching records so that Heavenly Father will just send them right to us more often. That was awesome! He's a super cool guy and is very friendly and speaks pretty good english. Elder Gomez and I are so stoked!

So yeah the work pays off eventually! This next week should be busy. Thanks for the support! I love support! haha oh and in case you want my actual street address here in St. George, it's:

Elder Payne
798 So. Cambridge
St. George, UT 84770

Okay until next week! Oh and the food here is fantastic!

Elder Payne :)