Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hey I need a "General Conference Foam Finger"

Well happy spring! I don't know how the weather is in thatcher, but it's niiiiiice over here. It's been in the 70's for a good two or three weeks now. Love it! Especially being in a biking/walking area haha. Well shoot I heard about dad's crazy sore throat this past week! Ouch! It reminds me of the wise words of Nephi... "and also [my throat was] much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof. Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions." Had that happen to me last transfer, only not that extreme. Glad you're feeling better. That's crazy that baby payne's almost here haha there's no way. What kind of car is it? Must be nice!
Anyway, we've actually had a great week! In terms of numbers it's been our best week this transfer! Although things have been improving slowly up to this point, we've been receiving the grace of the Lord. It's been awesome! We now have three investigators on date for baptism! We're working with another named Katrina. She was on date with the sisters, then went to jail and things went haywire. Anyway she's really hard to catch because her phone was shut off and she was never at the place she lives at. We found her a couple of times and set two appointments, both of which she didn't show up to. We were starting to doubt if she wanted us to teach her until church yesterday when she randomly walked in and said "Hi!" to us. Awesome! We seriously did not expect her to be there! We set another appointment and I told her that we'll be extremely sad if she doesn't show up! and she laughed and said "I will be there this time! I'll put it in my phone!" So she better be there Tuesday at 6! I'm pretty sure she wants to be baptized, so we'll see how that goes.
Nikki came to church for the first time yesterday too! Sacrament was awesome, and unfortunately we had an appointment with Carlos after that so the RS pres stepped up and took both Nikki and her 7 year old son Cristofer to primary. My respect for Relief Society president's just went up! She didn't even know Nikki at all but she gladly escorted her and stayed with the two of them. Nikki's still on fire...she's on date for April 20th! We're all pumped. She's eating up the gospel right now. So awesome!
One of Carlos' main concerns about baptism was tithing. Well, I shared my story about my bike and a couple stories that Keith has shared via email about his testimony of tithing. I also shared Malachi 3:8-10 and an analogy I made up:
Heavenly Father decided one day to plant an apple tree, so he worked for days and weeks and months and years nurturing and watering this apple tree until one day it produced 100 delicious apples. He wiped his brow and told Carlos to come and pick the apples and take them. So Carlos grabbed a big ladder and a nice big bucket and started picking all these apples from Heavenly Father's apple tree. After he was done, Heavenly Father asked "Do you mind if I keep just 10 of those apples? My neighbors are awfully hungry and have nothing to eat tonight. May I have 10 apples back?" Would you say "No thanks, I picked these so I deserve all of them, sorry!" or "Yeah sure! They look hungry! Besides, this is your tree anyway, so here, take these 10 apples." How would Heavenly Father respond to those two situations?
So yeah that's the abridged version, but it gets the point across. Anyway, Carlos committed to pay his tithing and fast offerings! Awesome! He's doing well, and we're planning to baptize him in between the Saturday sessions on 4/6. Gonnna be awesome!
Well, I'm out of time for this week. But seriously if anyone can find a conference foam finger, send it to me! I want one! haha but anyway have a great week and choose the right and remember, even Heavenly Father needs Jesus Christ (see Jacob 5). That means we definitely do too!
Elder Payne

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A God of Miracles Indeed!

Well I liked your letter mom! Super awesome...I can't wait to come home to new carpets! haha man baby payne is almost here too....where did the time go?? My mission is seriously starting to speed up and I'm loving it more and more. Slow down! Well I thought that mom's "weekly scripture" was pretty relevant because we've experienced a ton of miracles this week! Little ones but good ones! No se si peudo escribir estes milagros como escribo en mi journal, pero tratare! The first miracle is that I said a prayer in Spanish last night for planning and it was the best one I've ever given in Spanish haha and I haven't used it but a handful of times in the past few months. Cool!!
But yeah, earlier last week we were just out contacting in the apartments of our area...the ghetto of sorts. As we were walking to someone's house, an older smoker lady called out to us and asked us to come say a prayer for her friend. Turns out it was Katrina! Now, Katrina was one of the sister's investigators just before we got here in the area, and she got locked up in jail because there was a heroine bust in her roommates' apartment. Well, she's out of jail now apparently! But her kids are still in state custody and she has been evicted and has no job or car and hardly any food. Tough situation! She was in tears and we said a prayer with her (she didn't want a blessing). But yeah we're trying to get back in contact with her because she still wants the missionaries over...she's just hard to catch! But I know Heavenly Father led us to her that night....just another reminder that it's His work and He loves His children.
During weekly planning we were discussing the fact that we have contacted several referrals and still haven't found a new investigator. Well, just as we were talking about the effort we have been putting in to finding someone elect, we got a phone call from the sister missionaries in the stake. They said, "Hi elders!! We have a golden referral for you!" Now I'll be honest, I almost love those kinds of phone calls more than the calls home to you guys haha...we were super pumped! Her named is Nikki Click and she just went through a divorce and wants some answers and direction and she wants to attend the LDS church. We had our first lesson with her Saturday morning...probably the same time Keith was fixing up baby payne's new room haha. She's super excited for the lessons and really wants to go to church! Awesome!! Yet another enormous blessing!
So not too long ago we sat down for church one sabbath morning and this young man named Casey Jones (believe it or not) came in and sat next to us during the sacrament meeting. I think I wrote this before, but he had never been to an LDS church service ever in his life...it was his first time! Needless to say, he picked a pretty good seat! (right next to us!) We gave him our number and foolishly didn't get his. We didn't hear from him for like two weeks until just the other day we randomly decided to go to McDonalds for lunch, which is on the other side of the freeway on Telegraph near Green Springs Dr. (if you want to check google earth or something.) Anyway on our way back from McDonalds we saw Casey just walking down the street, going to the gym! haha we were super pumped! We set up an appointment for that same afternoon and he was excited to meet with us! We met him at the church and unfortunately someone left something cooking in the oven and the fire alarm went off and fire fighters came and so we just had a quick lesson outside. Turns out Casey is 22 and has been sober since Christmas and is making some serious changes in his life and wants some extra spirituality. Since he's 22, he falls under the jurisdiction of my old stomping grounds...the Dixie 2 elders! So we told Casey about them and referred him to them, so they'll start teaching him soon! Such a miracle that we were able to be led to Casey...and thus we see that when in doubt, eat a McDonalds. This is Heavenly Father's work!
We've been working really hard with Carlos, our 18 year old investigator who reminds me of Dakota Casillas. This past week his own brother who is 19 got baptized by the Pineview elders! Carlos actually gave a talk on the Holy Ghost! haha he was so nervous but did a super good job. Anyway, we've been talking about baptism and faith and repentance with him a lot, and a few days ago we finally put him on date for baptism! He's had several concerns about it, the biggest one being that he just doesn't feel ready or committed enough. At least he's mature about it and wants to know that he can actually endure to the end before he commits. Well, we practice that exact situation in role plays all the time at DTM's and ZTM's, so it was as though all my practice in my mission came down to that moment right then... E Bradford extended the invitation to be baptized and he replied "I want to! But...I just don't feel ready yet..." and with all that practice in the back of my head I was able to calmly listen to the Spirit and address his concerns using Moroni 6:4 which is the sacrament prayer for the bread. I emphasized to him that the key word is "willing" and that Heavenly Father doesn't expect him to be perfect before his baptism. I testified of the importance of faith, repentance, baptism, the holy ghost, and enduring to the end, and how he can always repent even after baptism. It was super spiritual, and I extended April 6th as the date for his baptism. He accepted! I realized afterwards that it's the church's birthday and also Christ's birthday. Pretty cool!! We're working hard to keep him committed and get him in the water and most importantly to turn his fragile testimony into conversion.
Well that's the main miracles we saw this week. It's been awesome!! I gotta go though...until next time!
Elder Payne!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Ate Dinner at the Payne's!

Hi! It's been a great week and to be honest I don't really know what to write haha sorry mom. It's been one of those weeks where we just spent most of our time finding people to teach...contacting former investigators and potential investigators and referrals and everything like that (door to door tracting is at the bottom of the list in Utah missions). Three of the four units we're teaching cancelled appointments this weeks because of Spring Break haha are they having that in Thatcher these days? It's kinda cool to walk outside and feel the crisp spring air....makes it feel like school is ending and summer is coming! Not that it makes a difference on my mission but I like it! It rained over here too...I think the clouds are connected haha I make jokes about how close I am to home all the time. It seriously feels like I stayed home and all you guys just left somewhere else haha.
Well yeah so other than the eight lessons we taught this week (which isn't very many by the way) we had some cool experiences. E Bradford wrecked on his bike! Silly guy haha we were riding up the road and on the side they have this windy sidewalk, so we started riding downhill on it and we were cruising pretty fast, E Bradford was in the lead going extra fast. Well, I looked up and saw that the bike was actually on top of E Bradford and he was under it just coasting on the gravel to the side. I thought to myself "Wait a minute....that's not how you're supposed to ride a bike..?" So I parked behind him and he was screaming and got the air knocked out of him at the same time which sounded really funny but at the time it was serious! I could have sworn he broke something, but he got up and got some water and shook it off. Just some road rash and a couple bruised tendons! Thank goodness...we're being watched out for on all levels! The bike is fine too so we're all alive haha. It's funny though because just before he started going downhill, he heard a voice in his head "Be careful!" and then suffered the consequences haha
He actually used that experience to illustrate the importance of the holy ghost to one of our investigators, Carlos. It's weird because Carlos reminds me of Dakota Casillas so it's really funny teaching him haha. He doesn't quite feel ready for baptism so we testified of the importance of repentance and the availability of it even after baptism. He got invited to give a talk on the Holy Ghost at his brother's baptism this next week so we're helping him with that haha. His brother is 19 and carlos is 18. We're not teaching his brother but we're all going to the baptism. Should be a good experience!
Well so yeah, we ate at the Payne's last night. I was going to take a picture with them but I forgot! No relation...their side comes from Canada somewhere, unless that's where we come from and I don't know that? Beats me. But we shared some jokes about our last name (I've never heard "Window Payne" before) and had a great time! They're less active so it's nice to just be their friend and be a positive influence for them. Their neighbor is our ward mission leader and he and his wife were there too. Lots of fun! There's a ton of Payne's in our mission, all of them descend from Canada though.
Well there you have it. We should be busier this next week which will be nice. Mom you're doing the renting thing again huh? Cool! looks like the shower thingy was fun haha man I'm almost a real uncle! Well you guys all hang in there and have a great week!
In a world where things are so expensive, the Atonement is still free! When was the last time you used it in your life?
Love, Elder Window Payne!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I can ride my bike with no handlebars​!

Well shoot another week has gone by! And it's been rich with blessings and miracles and opportunities and fun! Let's see, where to begin....
So since we're in a walking/biking area and E Bradford has a bike, I was kind of needing one. I spent the first week of the transfer asking around and eventually came up to the conclusion that I needed to go ahead and buy a solid $500 CTR bike, since we can't borrow bikes at all. Well just before I called them up to order one, I got a call from our High Councilman Bro Hardcastle. He said he had gotten something put together and wanted us to come with him to get a bike for me. It was strange because the day before we had interviews with president and I asked him "if members are willing to buy a bike for me to keep, is that ok?" and he said "if it's within their budget and they're willing to do it, that's perfectly fine." Anyway bro Hardcastle took us to Red Rock Bicycle company and we narrowed the bikes down to the one in the picture, which performs exactly like a CTR Specialized bike only for a cheaper price. He also threw in a bottle rack and a helmet and a nice comfy gel seat and some thinner road tires for me. Apparently the High Councilmen got together and divided up the cost, and whether it was the church's fund or from their own pockets, all in all it cost $740, which is funny because that's about how much tithing I've payed in my short 20 years in this cool world. So it's like all my tithing in the past 20 years rolled back to me in the form of this bike. Such a beautiful bike! Such a blessing from God!
The work is going much better by the way! Since we're doing less active work now, our numbers are looking a little different. We haven't taught nearly as many non member lessons as I have in other areas, but the less active lessons are up! (obviously) it's a different adjustment but I'm pretty sure I'm like the only missionary in this mission that likes doing less active work. I don't really care about just baptisms...I care about conversion to the gospel! So anyway it's been great...we have two regular investigators that we're working with and two less active units that we're teaching as well. It's a ton of fun! I still hate teaching but I love helping people feel the spirit, so no matter what happens I enjoy every lesson (as long as the spirit is there) haha. One less active family, the Jerden's, are wanting to become temple worthy, and the husband wants to get back into the priesthood and receive the Melchizedek priesthood. We're starting from lesson 1 and working our way there together! They have a little one year old boy that they want to have grow up in the gospel and have a strong testimony, so even though the lessons can be super distracting with a little 1 year old boy flying around and screaming, it's all worth it. I love that family!
Yesterday we were attending one of our four wards and had just sat down for sacrament meeting when a member walked in with a young man that was wearing a white shirt, jeans, no tie, and some Asiscs. The member came up to us and said "Hey elders, this is Casey, and he's a non member....will you take care of him for the rest of church?" Unfortunately we had to go to another ward, but we sat with him for sacrament. E Bradford explained the meaning of the sacrament and how it represents our commitment to Jesus Christ. It was the fist time Casey had ever been to an LDS service. Well, we had to part ways after the meeting, but we gave him our phone number and somehow didn't get his....but he said he wants some spirituality in his life and you can tell that he's already made some big changes in his life. Golden! What a miracle. We'll try to get in contact with him again this week.
Hmm, well other than that, we had a great week! We found a random active Korean family that wanted us to come live in their basement and eat their food, we found a relevant Pokemon card on the street, and we climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest (or something like that) in our backyard! We also taught an agnostic man named Zach (of course) at his doorstep, and Elder Bradford got excited and drove his bike off road right into an ocean of bullhead thorns. I didn't have enough time to warn him of the danger. His tires were caked in stickers. Just when all hope seemed lost and air was coming out as we pulled out the thorns, some oozy green slime came to the rescue and patched up all the holes! We air it up and it has been fine ever since! Such is the Atonement in our lives...
Well I love you guys!
Elder Payne!