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!