Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

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!

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