Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

Monday, October 8, 2012

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!

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