Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary 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!