Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Hasta Ver" a el CCM

Well I had all my notes for this week to write in this email, and I left them back at the flat. So, I'll just have to wing it! First of all, it was nice to read all of your DearElders and emails this week! Sounds like Quentin's getting things figured out, which is awesome! Just keep figuring out how to make good circumstances even better. That's pretty awesome to hear about Rob's experience. That's a golden opportunity for some missionary work. Seems to me like there's not much of a better time. Good luck with the new job opportunity Keith! There's some awesome blessings in store for you if you do your best. Hey mom, it would probably be really cool for Emily if you guys did stuff together (if you're not already) and be one of her buddies. Just a thought. There are other ways to serve than just giving them a place to stay! And yes I know Couch Cluff is Clara's uncle haha. Well shoot I hope MLee is doing alright! The MTC is awesome. Elder Goodman will be here for what...12 weeks? He'll have plenty of time to adjust to missionary life. There's no need to fear! He's in the Lord's hands. As long as he's doing his best to be a missionary and is obedient, then the Lord will not allow his mistakes to prevent anyone's salvation. Even if he can only say a prayer after the MTC, that's all he needs to invite the Spirit into someone's life. He'll do fine! He's been prepared well! Oh by the way mom, I actually used one of those little gerber thingies. I gave one to Elder Von Kampen, and we used it to fix our residence's door hinge. haha that was pretty cool. Elder Von Kampen is going to San Bernadino California by the way. He leaves tomorrow morning! I'll join up with Elder Church and Killian in a trio. Well this week we had our In-Field Orientation, which was basically just a day's worth of workshops and seminars about what to expect in the field. We talked about the importance of members and especially referrals. The most important reminder in all of Preach My Gospel is to ask referrals from everyone. So pretty much whenever you talk to someone, ask for referrels. Should be fun! All in all the in field orientation just re vamped my desire to get out there. Seems like I've gotten complacent with the MTC, maybe I've been here too long haha. Either way, it still hasn't really hit me yet. We've been sitting in our classroom chairs for a total of 23 full days. I'm pumped to start working for real! I have a call card, but I'm not too sure how to use it. I should be calling sometime in between 5 and 6 am Utah time. I'm still not quite sure what to expect out there in the field. All I know is that I'm going to be with an English speaking trainer for now. I will get to use my Spanish whenever I come across a Spanish person while contacting. I'm excited! Does anyone have advice and/or stories about getting out into the field? Thanks Keith for your words of wisdom. Well goodness I wish I could remember what all I needed to say...I guess if it's super important I'll write it next week. I love you guys!

Elder Payne :)

p.s. I'll be sending a little package this week. It's intended for Mom, Dad, Keith, Shauna, and Quentin. Okay thanks! See ya in the field!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Elder Payne vs. Zac = Altered Egos

Priesthood Blessings and Travel Plans!

Hey everybody! I'm glad you got my letter this week! If you felt like you need to not put it on the blog then take it off! haha I don't mind, I just want at least mom and dad to see it. We don't get Dear Elders on weekends, and they all come in at 4:30 pm on Monday's, so I haven't gotten any Dear Elders for a while. Thanks mom for the newsletter! it's inspiring to see the success of all us missionaries from Thatcher. The updates about home is wonderful! It's strange to think Emily is staying in my room haha but oh well! I liked Keith and Mom's letters. Congrats on the $3500+ mom! That's so cool! It's good to see that D&C 118:3 is being fulfilled. Use that money wisely please!

Alright so this week I participated in three different priesthood blessings, one of which I actually got to give. They were all for my three other roommates. On Tuesday Elder Von Kampen gave Elder Reed a blessing and Elder Eliason and I joined in. Elder Reed lost 18 pounds at the MTC and has had all kinds of physical illnesses and what not. I felt like everything my companion said was directly from Heavenly Father. Elder Reed said it was exactly what he needed. Unfortunately Elder Reed has gone home for a couple weeks in order to recooperate and get better. Elder Eliason is in a trio with his own district leader now. Then on Friday Elder Church (currently our district leader) gave Elder Von Kampen a blessing. He was getting 3 hours of sleep per night for like a week, and he hasn't had a full night's sleep since he's been here. He's used to working hard all day...he played football and worked on a farm before the mission...and now he just sits in a classroom all day. He's not exerting enough energy. Anyway, it was really affecting him, so we gave him a blessing. Both me and Elder Eliason talked afterward and we both felt the spirit shooting from our core through our arms and out of our fingers into Elder Von Kampen's head. It was incredible. He's doing a lot better. Then the next day Elder Eliason was worried about home and his family, so he requested a blessing. He asked me to give it! We gathered in our room in our pj's, just the three of us, and I started offering a blessing to him. I just waited patiently for the Spirit to keep sending me words. It's like my brain just turned off and the Spirit took over. Each of these blessings was exactly what each person needed to hear. My testimony of service and priestood power has doubled. We might be super inexperienced little kids, but we have the power of God, and He needs His work to move forward.

Okay, so this week we all got our travel plans in the mail! (Oh by the way, Elder Nolan is taking off on Tuesday to Lima. He still hasn't gotten a package from QP haha and he asked for mom's email, so look out for that. He's doing good though! He's super pumped and happy!) It's crazy to think it's finally our turn to leave and get out there! These two months have zipped by, but it feels like I've been here for a year. It's a strange phenomenon. So anyway, we're flying down to St. George at 7:55 am (Utah time) on the morning of Aug. 1st. It's a 58 min flight, which means we'll get there around 9:00 am. We have to wake up and check out of the MTC at 4:00 am. Now let's think about this...it's a four hour drive to St. George. So if we drove, we'd get there an hour ealier. Haha oh well! There's 13 in my travel group, which includes me, Elder Killian, Elder Chuch, and the other two going to St. George that went to intermediate spanish, Elder Holmstead and Elder Sanderson. We don't know the other eight yet. It'll be fun though! I'm about 75% excited and 25% nervous. By the way, do you want me to call home at the airport? Are you an hour ahead or behind? That might be real early either way. I don't know at this point if I can make more than one phone call. I don't have much time to coordinate this out, so think it over with each other and write me a Dear Elder before Friday with a plan and/or more questions. I can only write on preparation day. Let me know!

Well time's about up! I'm so happy to hear the progress you guys are making. I love each of you! I'll admit that it's hard to focus sometimes when you're studying for 8 to 9 hours a day, but your prayers give my extra strength. So thanks!

Elder Payne :)

p.s. Does anyone want a souvenir from the MTC? Let me know! Oh and can mom or someone print and send me some of those split portrait pictures of me when I'm both a missionary and a futbol player? I want to show those to some of the Elders before we all take off. Thanks you rock have a nice day!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Handwritten letter to Mom

Dear Mom!                                                                                 July 16, 2012

How are things going? Thanks for updates about the house and your whole rental experience, and about home in general! How thrilling! Well, would you like to know what I've learned here at the MTC? Well I'll tell you! The MTC is an interesting and yet life changing place and experience. It's tough in many ways, but I would never give it up! I just want to apologize for any negativity in my other letters. I don't even remember what I wrote... I just puked all my thoughts onto a piece of paper and put them in an envelope. Sorry! Who am I to do that. Either way, I have a lot to write, so I better start! You have my permission to put this letter onto the blog if you so wish... it might be helpful for someone. :)
As you know, my mission president (or the Lord) has asked me to work/speak with the English elders. (By the way, I chose to stay in the Spanish district because of the hassle it would be to move me to another building/classroom, etc. Plus I don't want to ditch the elders and sisters I've grown to love. And there's still opportunities for me to learn a little more Spanish at the MTC.) This happened on my own birthday, and what a perfect birthday present it was! I was having a hard time learning Spanish, but I didn't want to completely give it up. Heavenly Father is so merciful! He has prepared the needs of others to fit and match the new needs I have gotten here at the MTC.
Now that I've regained my desire, focus, and direction for this work, there is so much less pressure stacked upon my shoulders. The enabling power of Christ's atonement has manifested itself to me in a flawlessly unmistakable way. I'm beginning to understand who I want to be as a missionary. I've read Luke 2:52 and set some goals to start becoming that missionary... to start becoming like Christ. This is my main lesson and favorite part about the MTC... not teaching the gospel or learning Spanish, but knowing who I want to become. A couple weeks ago, one of our teachers had us write down what we want and hope to become as missionaries. This is what I wrote down...
I want the missionary purpose to become my core desire, and consequently I want to be remembered as the missionary who brought others unto Christ in new, extraordinary, and non-cliche' ways. I want to become a strong leader and be confident in any conversation. I want my "favor with men" to increase as well as my "favor with God." I want to be contagiously happy, and when I get home, I want others to know immediately that the mission changed my life and personality for the better. But I still want to be me! I still want to be meek and spiritual, and I just want to become an improved Zac Payne.
Who you are on the last day of the mission is the basis of your life for the rest of eternity. Are you going to revert and start over? Or are you going to continue to become like God? Life is about figuring out how to stop taking steps backward and only take steps forward. But the thing is, you have to start now! Exercise a little bit of faith and go for it! If you want Eternal Life, you need to earn it. And please always remember: "There seems to be no end to the Savior's desire to lead us to safety." --(quote by Pres Eyring)
Now, I want to attempt to describe the process I've gone through to figure all of this out. It seems as though I'm experiencing D&C 9:5-6 right now. I could have been much more diligent before I came out here in terms of wanting to learn Spanish. Ultimately I didn't know who I wanted to be as a missionary before the MTC. Spanish doesn't just magically become a priority. In essence, the Lord has "taken away this privilege from [me]." (D&C 9:5, part Spanish vs. Full Spanish) Then comes verse 6. "Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner." So basically, the Lord has responded to my response from Spanish. He knows my abilities, and He needs me to work hard! To me, verse 7 applies to my pre-mission life. I knew I was assigned to speak Spanish, but I didn't put in the effort. I supposed it would just come to me. Since I've realized otherwise, I have put to action verses 8-14. The "it" in verse 8 refers to a spiritual decision, and for me it was who I really wanted to become as a missionary. Now that I've finally figured that out for myself, the Lord is starting to open up new avenues for me to take! D&C 9 is just one example of what I've studied. I have studied several other passages of scriptures regarding this whole situation. I have prayed with more sincerity than ever before. I have consulted with priesthood leaders and missionaries. I guess what it all comes down to is this:

Lord speaking:
  1. Make a decision
  2. Ask me in pure faith if it's right
  3. I will tell you in my own time, so be patient!
places I've studied (and relatively picked apart):
  • D&C 9
  • D&C 7
  • D&C 6:20-27
  • Ether 2:22-25
  • Ether 3:1-13
  • 1 Corinthians 14
  • Enos 1
  • Jacob 4:10,13
  • Mosiah 28:1-9
  • 3 Nephi 28:1-12
Those scriptures talk a lot about desire. It's vital to remember that the Lord will only grant us our desires if it is what we need. Well, I was granted my desire. What does that mean? It means I'm beginning to understand what I truly need for my own progression. It means I'm starting to figure out how to become like God, which is a commandment we've all been given (3 Nephi 27:27, Matt. 5:48 JST) and which is also the purpose of our lives (John 17:21-26). It means that in this particular case, my desires were my needs. But I still need my Heavenly Father! I don't know all of my needs, and I don't know everything that will happen. Alma 26:12 still applies. I still have a long ways to go, but I'm learning! I can't explain how merciful Heavenly Father is, but I know he is there. I know it. You could absolutely not convince me otherwise. God and Jesus Christ live, and their gospel is 100% true. I'm becoming a pure vessel through which Christ himself can literally and individually touch the hearts of God's children. I need to become Christ, and I need to bring Christ to just one soul, one family at a time. Once I've done that, Christ can take over and do the rest for them. It's important to be in tune with the Spirit. The Spirit works through you. You have to feel it and obey it. Remember that, and do it.
Well, I'm not too sure what else to write at this point. Just know that I love you and thank you for helping me get to this point. Other than Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, you have done the most for me in this life! So thanks a bunch! Please do not become too preoccupied with me. I'm fine! There are more important things that need your attention. I love you mom! Have a wonderful day! This is the first day of the rest of your life!

Con amor,
Elder Payne :)

P.S. Just to clarify, Pres. Leonard asking me to speak English wasn't set up by me. I was shocked to hear it! The Lord is taking care of me. If anyone has any disappointment about this, it doesn't matter to me. This is what needs to happen. I may end up switching back to Spanish. (some day) (who knows?) Either way, I hope everyone continues to support me! Couldn't do it without your prayers and support! Thanks everyone!

Monday, July 16, 2012

week 8!

Well how is everyone doing?? It's good to hear from shauna and see all the cool pictures! thanks shauna and you're not horrible! haha and I haven't read you letter yet mom, but I saw the pics of qp's new house! that was neat I'm happy everything seems to be working out! and it's good to hear that it rained back home! I love rain! We didn't get any rain until week 6, and this past weekend was completely rained out. It was awesome! We went on our temple walk yesterday, and it was sprinkling the whole time! woohoo! oh and thanks for all the birthday wishes! I got the Facebook posts that mom sent, and I just got the Dr. Suess card before I wrote this email! Thanks McKenzi and friends! yall rock! haha oh and I've seen my Thatcher buddies quite a bit lately. They are all doing fine! Elder Nolan says he's waiting for QP to send him a package haha. They other day in gym I was upstairs on the track and I saw an elder on the court downstairs wearing a Peru soccer jersery. It looked just like mine! turns out it was just Elder Nolan again haha he was wearing the one I gave him. then we played four sqaure. Well shoot, apparently we have some amazing spanish books that debuted in 2011 that the church has invested millions of dollars in. QP and KP never had them, and they are miles ahead of any other language learning method in the world. In two years or so, we can use them to finally teach mom how to speak spanish! haha I've been really enjoying my conversations with elder Killian (who's in our district). We talk about Banjo Kazooie a lot haha and we reminisce on all the levels and we even sang the theme song for Freeze eezy peak! it was a blast! Last night we had an amazing devotional. If you can, look up Jenny Oaks Baker. She's a professional violinist who gave up a spot on a world famous symphony to raise her children full time. her husband is Dallin H. Oaks grandson. She is amazing! and her kids are ridiculously good too...they are only 5, 7, 9, and 10 and they played a powerful rendition of I am a Child of God. They played the acoustic guitar, cello, piano, and violin, respectively. It was insane! It actually inspired me to go learn the piano or something haha. This past week, poor Elder Von Kampen fell asleep twice. In personal study our district noticed he was asleeep. we banged on the door and shouted his name and even poked him, and he didn't even budge! what a maniac! I thought he was dead haha then I rubbed his shoulders for a solid 10 seconds, and he finally darted awake! we all thought he was pulling our leg, but he was honestly asleep! in sacrament meeting yesterday it happened again, and when I finally woke him up he darted awake and had the most confused and terrified expression I have ever seen. he apparently thought he had to give a talk or something. It's not every day you get a companion who has coma's instead of sleeping. haha well on a more serious note, we had a bit of a shake up earlier this week. one of our roommates showed us some flight plans the other day. he said he needed to go and work some things out. the hardest part was his companions reaction. He was crushed, and Elder Von Kampen and I and some others from the zone just talked with him for a while. He was tearing up pretty good. He's doing a whole lot better now though! I just hope that the other elder returns! he actually has an exactly identical twin here at the MTC. Whenever I see him it really throws me off haha. and so now we have two new roommates, Elder Reed and Elder Eliason. They are pretty cool! Alright well, I'm doing good! I love being here at the MTC, and I love this gospel! I love you all! thank you for everything!

Con amor,
Elder Payne :)

p.s. If you want to look up Elder Von Kampen on Facebook, he said it's okay. Just in case you're wondering what he's like haha oh and I sent mom a hand written letter today. You can share it with the family if you want, and you can even put it on the blog too. I'm out of time, so you'll find out more once you get it! Peace out everyone!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Climax of the MTC!

Well how in the world is everyone?! What a crazy week it has been over here in Provo! Well I got to see Andrew Nolan and Dallin Green this week! that was awesome! Elder Nolan's class is like 10 feet away from mine, so we've seen each other a lot so far haha. We got a new district in our zone, and four of them are going to Cuzco Peru. I thought for sure Andrew would be in our zone once I heard that. Oh well! He's doing well and is as happy as ever. Elder Green is such a handsome man. The spirit just oozes off of him, and I love his enthusiasm! By the way, we got two new roommates this week as well! Elder Balderston and Elder Hall! they are both going to somewhere in Mexico...I think Pueblo? Not sure. Elder Hall is actually from Payson, and he says he knows Kaytlyn Curtis. Small world. Elder V.K. and I are still enjoying life here at the MTC. We still have about 12 lessons a week but we're up to 8 investigators this week. It's fun! Oh and thanks for reminding me of my bday everyone! haha I almost forgot. it's been a wonderful day so far! thanks for the Trash Bags keith and shauna! haha got the package today! the reeses were completely smashed and melted but delicious! oh and mom's package was awesome! my favorite part of it was the socks haha how sad! but it's what i needed the most, so thanks mom! the temple is closed still, so we won't be going there for a while. there's like 3 other mtc employees that have a birthday today too haha. I loved hearing the reports on the fourth of july! keith's letters in general are just awesome. I'm not sure why. I just feel like I'm there with you guys when I read his letters. it's cool! still no homesickness by the way! anyway, yeah I feel bad for you all. our fourth of july celebration was awesome! we were expecting to be serious and spiritual, but it ended up being fun and spiritual instead! we all showed up 30 min early, so Pres. Brown (mtc president) had us sing happy birthday to a few people and the country, then we sang "we wish you a happy birthday" to someone else. then he called up elders who had been dear-john'd haha. we all sang "love one another" to them, and Pres. Brown even pulled out a tissue and dryed their tears! they were all just laughing though, so it was good fun. in fact, I think half of them just went up for fun. one elder pulled out his camera in the middle of the song and started taking pictures of everyone. then he asked another elder to take his picture with us in the background. then there were some musical numbers (including real bagpipes!) and an awesome and powerful program. afterwards we got to watch FIREWORKS! no way, my favorite part of the 4th of july! it was so awesome! then we all went to bed at like 11:30 haha. it was much better than I was expecting! thanks to Sis. Wright for the update on FBLA Nationals! it's so crazy that it's been a whole year since I went.... I hope Nathan is doing work up there! Thank you Dad for the report and advice! wish I could have been there, but I would trade this experience for that. Oh and thanks mom for the addresses so far! but I need some more haha can you send me addresses for Sis. Wiltbank, Howards, Echols, Bro Evans, and Bishop Howard?

Alright well I'll quickly explain what happened this morning. I got a note saying to go see President Hacking, who is our district president (the man above our Branch President, Pres. Stone) anyway, he told me that he got a call from my mission president, Pres. Leonard, earlier. He was told that he currently has an excess of Spanish speakers and has inquired of me if I would be willing to work with the English speakers. He needs an English speaker! wow! but that doesn't mean I'm done with spanish. I will still be assigned as a Spanish speaker and will still be able to use my spanish whenever I can. But for right now, the Lord needs an extra English speaker. I've been prepared for this opportunity to open up. Heavenly Father knows exactly what I need, even when it's not clear for others. President Hacking described me as a "hot commodity" and says that everyone in Salt Lake is up in arms with me haha. This is a blessing, not a curse. I will have an opportunity to speak spanish to someone, but my mission president needs another English speaker! I'm bilingual haha shoot well if you have any questions for me, let me know. I'm well out of time now, but I really needed to add this into this email. Love you all! I can feel your prayers. This work is true, and Christ is my best friend. Miracles do come. Continue the legacy!

Con amor,
Elder Payne :)

p.s. How is Chance doing?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Apostles in the house! + happy 4th of July! + second half of MTC!

Hows it going everyone! I'm writing early this week because our distric gets to clean the temple this afternoon! I'm stoked for that! sounds like dad's been having a lot to deal with lately...keep it up though and stay positive! haha that's no good to hear the mountains on fire. there's actually a wildfire over here too. it's on Eagle Peak (I think) and all of provo is blanketed with smoke. it's really eerie...in the afternoon when the sun shines thru the smoke and dark clouds, it makes everything look like a red-orange color, and at the same time there are little bits of white ash snowing down on us. its kind of cool! in other news, I fixed that loose button on my suit last monday. it turned out pretty good! I just completely re sewed it back on. oh and I realized that my copy of my patriarchal blessing is the one that has the wrong birthday on it. haha oh well! on wednesday for our service activity, Elder Von Kampen and I put up all the different flags of the countries of missionaries that come to the MTC (on the flag poles by 19m and 1m, hopefully KP and QP know what I'm talking about). It was pretty cool! For the tuesday night devotional, there were 10 apostles seated up on the stand with there wives, and Elder L. Tom Perry spoke to us. unfortunately our district had class right before, so we had to go to overflow in another building. we didn't get to see all the apostles, and some people were angry and upset. but I was just happy they were here to support us and all the new mission presidents. afterwards we saw elder anderson and elder bednar while we were waiting in the dinner line. we waved to them as if we had our "we love apostles!" t shirts on. it was cool! yesterday we watched a couple mormon messages, and I got to show the district Same Jersey and For Madison. it was cool to say "yeah dude I know all these people!" and start naming them off haha everyone was all impressed that we have three mormon messages for our little area. I even got to actually show them my high school and ea's football field and the thatcher stake center haha. I'll show them the temple cultural celebration one some other time. we're famous! Anyway, I hope everyone has an awesome independence day! I'll miss being there for that, but I'm used to missing it with all those efy's I went too haha. you know what would be cool is if I could get some printed pictures of the family or something. everyone else around here has them haha. Oh and is there any report on how FBLA nationals 2012 went this year? and I also need Michael Ziccarelli's address so I can write him! shoot well I guess it would be cool to let y'all know what I'm actually doing here, so I'll just hit the highlights of life at the MTC:

- Elder V.K. and I will have 5 investigators this week, but we only have time for about 12 lessons a week (all in 100% spanish of course!)
- We average about 6 hours of class per day (two 3 hour chunks) where we teach, learn spanish, learn the Fundamentals and PMG, and read the BofM in spanish
- We have a service activity once a week
- 1 hour of personal study per day
- 1 hour of language study per day
- 1 hour of TALL lab (Technology Assisted Language Learning on computers)
- 1 hour of gym time except mondays and sundays...for gym you can either go to the inside gym (19m) or out on the field across the street. inside you can run, play basketball, 4 square, lift weights, and even yoga/pelates. outside you can run, play SOCCER, more 4 square, baseball, frisbee golf, and even beach volleyball! (volleyball in sand pits) it's a blast!
- the bookstore in 2m has everything you'll ever need
- other fun things include: meals, devotionals, workshops, temple, laundry, sunday meetings, temple walks, and the Teaching Resource Center where we get to know real members and give them a spiritual thought (in spanish of course!)
- Daily planning (30 mins each day) and Weekly planning (about 2 hours each saturday)
And if there's anything else you want to know, just ask!

Well my time is out, but I just want to let you all know that I know this church is true! I cannot deny it! Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration, and Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He knows you, even when no one else does. I promise he can heal your life, but the thing is, you need to unlock your own heart from the inside and let Him in (revelation 3:20). Be strong this week! I love you all! thank you :)

con amor,
Elder Payne :)