Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

Monday, October 28, 2013

We're Staying Put! But....

Well we've had a wonderful week and lots of new adventures! I think I wrote last week about Kelly and Manny. Well they are progressing for the most part, Kelly more so than Manny right now. Kelly's leaving on Nov 18 so hopefully he'll choose to get baptized before he takes off. Keep praying for him! Pray that he will recognize an answer of the truthfulness of this gospel. Pray that he will be willing to act on that testimony, and pray that he will know that true repentance and baptism is the next step he needs to take. Pray for Manny that he will have the courage to ask his parents about baptism. Pray specifically for his parents, that they will be understanding of his earnest desires to follow Christ. Pray that his testimony will soften their hearts! While you're at it, pray for Patricia that she will continue to follow the feelings of the Spirit and make baptism a priority.

We picked up four investigators this past week, two of which were Kelly and Manny. The other two came to the Spanish branch yesterday, thank goodness! It's Irma and her oldest son, Miguel. We took them on a "on-the-fly" church tour Saturday night after eating some delicious homemade tostadas. Irma is like 99% Catholic. She has a few member friends, and they were absolutely thrilled and mostly shocked that she actually came to the Mormon church yesterday! You see, Irma has been thinking about life a lot lately and has a bunch of doubts and concerns. She's literally in the process of being prepared! She's considering divorce and so forth, which hopefully doesn't happen. Either way, she connected with E Ramirez soo well and we've been able to help her understand the need she has for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately my Spanish is still ground level, so I don't get to participate a whole lot, but the main thing is that she is feeling the Spirit fill an empty hole in her heart right now. It's awesome! I hope and pray that she will continue to roll with that momentum. Miguel is a good sport. He has an LDS girlfriend that lives in St. George. He's pretty open to the gospel now as well, which is great. 

Hmm well other than that, we had a cool experience on Friday night. (This isn't your typical "Friday night" experience by the way.) So we were walking away from Patricia's after setting an appointment and to be completely honest we heard some dairy cows mooing like crazy so we thought "hey let's go check it out." haha well on our way E Ramirez said "Oh shoot! We need to go see Irma tonight!" thank goodness the Lord put that into his mind because otherwise we would have been looking at cows all night. Well as we were walking across town to Irma's we walked in front of the Senior Citizen center. Right as we passed it, the fire alarm went off. I checked my watch...7:44pm sharp. We paused and hesitated. You see, us humans have this interesting instinct to ignore fire alarms because they're almost always fake. Well we thought "hmm maybe we should just check it out." So we peeked into the front window and saw a couple old ladies with walkers covering their ears and squinting real hard. The alarm was loud! Then a door opened nearby and a nurse came out with two other older ladies. We asked if they needed help and she said yeah and that there was in fact smoke inside the building somewhere and that they needed to evacuate all the old people. So I stayed outside with the old ladies and kept them company while E Ramirez went in to help evacuate everyone. The poor old ladies were awfully cold, so luckily I had a towel in my backpack (for a visual aid for a lesson we had earlier) that I wrapped around one lady's feet right as E Ramirez came out with a big blanket. Anyway by now the whole neighborhood was getting involved and helping evacuate all the old people and gathering blankets for them. The fire chief and some other guy showed up in a few minutes, and 12 minutes after the alarm went off, at 7:56pm, two crew trucks showed up. I'll admit it was super inspiring to see them show up and head inside with their turnouts...my respect went out to you Dad and all those fire fighters out there! Well everyone was completely fine and they suspected it was some sort of electrical problem in the attic. But either way I was glad I could help in whatever way I could, even if was simply keeping an old lady's feet warm. It just goes to show, whosoever shall be chief among you, let him be your servant. That's paraphrased of course. Neat experience!

Well this week we got to go to Chelsea's baptism on Saturday. I helped her move in and move out a month later to Mt. Pleasant when I was with E Stephens. Well she got baptized! Elder Gomez and Wade taught her. Hooray! She was happy to see me there. Yesterday at her confirmation we got enlisted to sing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" in Sacrament haha. Not bad! Then we had a recent convert fireside last night and a few of us missionaries sang a medley of hymns 6 and 100. Not bad either! It was a fun experience, and we had a pretty good weekend. 

Well we got transfer calls yesterday morning. President called! Hi President! He said that we're both staying here in Ephraim, and that I will serve as District Leader! Cool! Another good learning opportunity for sure. The "Snow" district is pretty small...four companionships. Should be fun! E Gomez is going to die out in Price, training a new missionary who will be my little brother! I'm super excited for him. He goes home in two transfers. Elder Linville is still in Buena Vista 2, and now he's a relief society president haha so that's awesome. But yeah transfers have an exciting ring this time around with lots of cool changes, so that's awesome. Either way, the work will move forward! E Ramirez and I...Halloween part 2! I spent Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with him last year, so let's see if we can do it again! haha I love you guys and hope the best for this week!

Elder Payne!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Another Week in Ephraim!

Yeah not a whole lot of new and interesting things happened this week. We picked up Cheyenne as a new investigator on Monday!! She's pretty awesome, but she didn't make it out to church yesterday, so when we meet with her tonight we'll lay down the accountability hammer. We'll try to set her on date for baptism as well. I really hope that will work out! Our biggest trial has been putting our investigators on date. Every lesson we prepare for it, they end up cancelling or something comes up that prevents us from inviting them. It's a challenge! We'll see how that works out.

The other day we got a call from a member saying that he has a friend that wants to start up the lessons! I love those phone calls! Well we met with him last night, and we also met with a former investigator that wants to start up the lessons again...both in the same house, same appointment! So the former investigator's name is Manny, a 17 year old Spanish kid that is "good friends" with bro George's younger daughter. He's got big hair! He seriously reminds me of the reincarnated Ronaldinho. He's a monster at soccer! We watched a bit of their game on Saturday and he and his team won the championship, and he was MVP. And he plays sweeper! Awesome! and the other guy's name is Kelly, and he is also "good friends" with bro George's older daughter haha so hopefully they're both taking the lessons for the right reasons! Kelly though seemed very sincere. His son took the lessons and got baptized several years ago. He said he just didn't feel like it was his time to get baptized back then. But now he's gone through a divorce and is thinking about life and what he wants out of it. He is in need of hope and peace! We saw him at church yesterday, so I think he'll start progressing pretty quickly. 

Other than that, we had a zone conference this week which went really well! But man those things are like 7 hours! I was pumped up after the first two and I wanted to just get out there and get back to work. It kinda dragged on after that, but it was all super good either way. Anyway the take away that I got from ZC was that as missionaries, we need to be the ones to initiate "operation: member missionaries" instead of waiting to be asked to help. One of the simple ways to do that is through service. Recently President Center asked all of us to put in at least 2 hours of service a week. Well this week I think we put in like 5 or 6 haha...lots of leaves! We helped out a couple less-actives we've been working with, and they were both extremely grateful for our service. It was rewarding, and a unique experience to see that type of gratitude in someone I've been working with like that. Usually it's just in a lesson setting, reading the scriptures or talking about the gospel. But this type of gratitude comes from seeing the fruits of the gospel and love in action. It's been good!

Well that's about it for this week! Transfer calls are this Sunday!

Elder Payne!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Digging to Find More Potential

Well another week has gone by! We've had a pretty good one up here in Ephraim. The transition from Elder Stephens to Elder Ramirez has been good! (Although it was very abrupt). Anyway it's been really cool to see how we work so much better together now. When we served in Cedar together last year, it was literally black and white haha. But through our experiences since then, my heart has waxed bold and his heart has gotten more compassionate. We're blending together much much better and the work is moving forward even faster. Elder Stephens was awesome, but he was about as quiet as me, and unfortunately he hasn't had a lot of experience yet as far as teaching lessons, so often times I would teach the whole lesson (if it was English) but then he would have to teach pretty much the whole Spanish lesson. It was weird! Anyway it's been a big blessing to have Elder Ramirez here! But yeah, the bigger challenge isn't the companion....it's the work in the area! A couple investigators we've been working with have had some things come up lately to the point where it's been almost two weeks since our last solid teaching appointment. Elder Ramirez still hasn't even met Stephanie, so that's been a struggle. We were going to put her on date for baptism this last Monday but she cancelled again because of work. At this rate I might not see her be baptized, but the things I've already taught and shared with her have made it worth it. She'll come along soon enough, when she's ready! Other than that, we've found a few more potential investigators in the area, and since Elder Ramirez and I breathe soccer, we've been trying to set up a game with some of the Spanish kids here in Ephraim.

Anyway, if you want to pray for our investigators, they are: Stephanie, Patricia, Juan, Fenishia (LA), Helene (LA), Marty (LA), Christensen's (EX), Isabell (EX), and Bobby (8-yr)....as well as some of our potential investigators: Irma, Miguel, Chano, Lotaki's, Danny, Leonardo, and Cheyenne. 

So on Tuesday we had a cool little experience. We originally had three appointments at 6, 7, and 8 pm respectively. The last two cancelled, and our back up plans quickly expired as well. So we started roaming the streets of Ephraim when suddenly the Spirit reminded me that Ilaisia's wife, Elaisa, was going to have a C-section the very next morning. Our ward mission leader and I had talked about giving her a blessing a few weeks ago. We had mentioned it to her before, and she was all for it! Anyway, I gave out a long, drawn out "Oh yeah...!" and I told Elder Ramirez about it. So on the way there we saw the Elder's Quorum President all dressed up, walking to their house as well. I rolled down the window and asked him "Are you going to the Lotaki's?" "Yeah!" "Are you going to give them a blessing?" "Yeah!" "Can we come along too?" "Absolutely!" So yeah he and his counselor had gotten the prompting as well, and while we were talking to Ilaisia at the door, our WML showed up as well acting on the same prompting. Awesome! So there were five of us there, talking with Ilaisia, but Elaisa was at the hospital getting checked in for the morning. So about an hour later we got a phone call from the EQP saying that she was home again, so we all rushed back to give her a blessing. After cracking a few jokes and chatting, the EQP briefly described the "why" of priesthood blessings and then he anointed her. Guess who got to do the actual blessing? Yep this guy! As soon as I had started I was like "Oh shoot I'm giving a blessing!" but then all of the sudden the Spirit kicked in and I stopped thinking but my mouth kept spitting out words that weren't even mine. After the blessing, both Elaisa and Ilaisia had a few tears and just kept thanking us for coming by. They appreciated it sooo much! And our WML added the fact that we don't just come to their door to push religion on them...we come to be their friends and show our love for them. Such a good experience for them, especially since they're both non members.

The surgery went well, Elaisa and the new baby are fine, and even though Ilaisia and his team lost to EAC last weekend, they won their game a couple days ago. I'm not even sure if he was there haha, but still! Blessings! The whole experience reminded me of how aware Heavenly Father is of His children, and that He is in control of our well-being. He lives! How else could five people be prompted of the same idea at the same time and be willing and worthy to carry it out? This is His plan, and He is in charge of it! All we have to do is be a pure vessel and let His Spirit fill us and direct us to those that need our help.

Until next week!

Elder Payne!

Monday, October 7, 2013

New Companion!

Hey everyone! It's so good to hear from you guys, even if it's just a sentence or two, like half of qp's letters haha. Anyway shoot so conference was sooo awesome! I loved it! It's inspiring to see the spirit teach me things that weren't even said. As a few of the talks were being given, my mind kept going out to those that we've been teaching in this area. I kept getting side-tracked, or so I thought, until I realized that it was the Spirit teaching me what those people need to hear. One guy in particular named Chano was almost baptized several months ago but hit a sour spot with tithing. Elder Stephens called it...a talk devoted solely to tithing! Elder Bednar! So much respect for that man. I've looked that man in the eyes and shaken his hand, and with that thought I was reminded that he is indeed an apostle of the Lord, chosen and blessed with power and authority. We couldn't get any of our investigators to watch it, but we got to watch it at our recent convert Alex's house with his family. It was fun! They have a lot of flies in their trailer, so when we saw the fly attack that one brother at the pulpit Sunday afternoon we had to chuckle haha. Anyway, conference was great!!

Well so yeah! On Thursday night after planning at around 10 pm we got a call from Pres Center himself. He said that they needed to shuffle the Delta Elders around and that we would be getting none other than (drum roll) Elder Ramirez! Haha whoa! so yeah he's been spending the last couple days with us, which has been awesome. Ephraim was his first area, so we've been visiting a few families he knew when he served here a year and a half ago. Anyway, flash forward to yesterday afternoon, we got another call from President. He said there's a change of assignment and Elder Stephens is taking off to Delta this afternoon! And Elder Ramirez is staying here with me for the rest of this transfer! haha he's seriously been following me my whole mission. As soon as I left Cedar and went to St. George, he got transferred into St. George a couple months after me. We served as fellow district leaders in the same zone. Then he came up north with me, he went to Delta and I went to Ephraim. And now we're back together! Haha I've noticed over the last few days that we're both much more experienced and I'm excited to see how these next three weeks will play out! I'm excited for Elder Stephens to move on and experience a new area. He's been here his whole mission so far! 7 months! So there will be a lot of growth within him as he moves on to Delta. But yeah even though it was kind of abrupt and all, it will be a good experience for all of us. 

Oh and Snow College played EAC on Saturday in Thatcher! Did you guys know that? We have a potential investigator that's on Snow's team....his name is Ilaisia Lotaki. Big man! Anyway, I guess a few members from Ephraim went down there as well. I found out about the game a couple days ago, otherwise I would have had someone send something home to you guys haha. Did anyone go to the game? Let me know! It's not often that someone I've been working with takes off to Thatcher like that haha. 

Anyway until next week!

Elder Payne