Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Well it's that time of year again! We've had a good week and we spent a lot of time in Gunnison this week...three trips in fact! First we did exchanges, I went with Elder Stewart for the day. He used to be an assistant so he's on the ball to say the least. He reminds me of Keith haha so that was pretty cool! We had a good time. Other than that, I did a couple baptismal interviews for them a couple days later, and on Saturday they had a couple baptisms! Awesome! They are definitely on fire. So is the 4th ward, as I'm sure I've mentioned before. We helped out in Sunday School and got a lot more people fired up to assist in the work of salvation. The bishop's wife even said "Let's give these missionaries so much to do in our ward that they will have to send in another set for the other 24 wards they cover!" Amen! A young mother came up to us afterward and told us about her less active neighbors, who we visited and set an appointment with later that day. Sweet! Hmm what else happened this week.......we're starting to teach a sheep herder from Peru! His name is Luis, he's pretty awesome. I'll be the first one to admit that my spanish is awful but at least I was able to ask him for a referral, and he doesn't really know anyone here in San Pete but he said he'll call his family and friends in California and Alaska and all over the place! Sweet! When it comes to the spanish work and my apprehension thereof, I have come to realize that if I remove all my incentives to be stand-off ish, the only thing that is left is an unavoidable opportunity to communicate and care. Rafael is coming along, but he isn't allowed to be baptized here and he leaves next month. We'll just enjoy it while it lasts! I guess Ilaisia and Elaisa got stuck up in Salt Lake due to the bad weather so we haven't seen them since last week! Helene Willardsen, a 74 year old less active lady that has become another grandma to me finally made it to church this week!!!!! after like 5 months of inviting and inviting and exhorting and pleading! Hallelujah! Thank goodness for good fellowshippers, the Wrights! I always knew "wrights" were good people haha and I can honestly say that I've never met a wrong wright. But other than that, things are going pretty well up here!

I'll be calling on Skype at 11am utah time, coming in live from (hopefully) Patricia's house! Either way, see you at 11! Except I guess Keith and Shauna. Darn I'll have to see them in a few more months. Merry Christmas you two! Thank you for your examples of christlike love, diligence, patience, and devotion to one another. You guys are the best! You guys are the best! No really! I mention that twice because it's only as cliche as you make it to be. Thanks to everyone and I love you all!

Elder Payne!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Record for Me...3 Stakes, 25 Wards!

My goodness, another week has flown by. In fact, another year has almost flown by as well! Honestly the fastest year of my life! It just goes to show that when you drown yourself in a specific purpose and work through the highs and lows and all the hustle and bustle connected with that purpose, time goes out the window! We've had another good week. It's been kinda hectic rapping my head around two more stakes that we cover and trying to keep tabs on all the information, but things are settling in for this transfer quite nicely. Plus it's now Christmas break for all the students and about 97% of them left town haha including our 4 YSA investigators. We managed to locate and contact and teach three of the four before finals ended, each are of course in different circumstances. None of them are on date for baptism except for the one guy named Sergio that we didn't get to contact this week. Haha darn!

Let me tell you about Momoe though. You see, Snow College has some sort of international student acceptance program going on because there's honestly hundreds of Asians walking around campus. Momoe is one of them! She is from Japan and her name is pronounced "Muh-moy." She's so short! But she's so awesome! We've taught her twice now and today she left for New York for a couple weeks until school starts back up. Teaching her is honestly a throw back to teaching Yoshi Suzuki back in my first area. Japanese people are the best! Momoe doesn't know a whole lot of English, but she knows border line enough. Unfortunately her translator/fellowshipper (who ironically is named Yoshi as well, different one though) is gone to Japan now and he's not coming back haha. So we need to find a Japanese/English speaking person somewhere here in Ephraim! Other than that, we stick to the basics. The lessons we've taught her are equivalent to teaching the primary kids and it's kinda awkward sometimes because her accent is soo thick that we can't really understand something as simple as "Jesus help me." It's a work in progress!

While we're on an international basis, we also picked up a new investigator named Rafael from Brazil! He's a foreign exchange student living with the Alder family here in Ephraim. (I've asked them if they're related to the Thatcher Alder's but if so it's probably a little distant.) Anyway, he's a cool kid! He's a sophomore in high school I believe, and believe it or not he doesn't know how to play soccer!! Wha!! He's from Brazil of all places! haha but he's very book smart and his English is a little better than Momoe's, but not much. We just shared a simple Christmas message from Mosiah 3 and ate some ice cream on a toasty 2 degrees night. He comes to church every week with his foster family and wants to learn more! Unfortunately he's going back to Brazil in about a month, so we'll see what kind of a seed we can plant with him. 

We're finally starting to teach Ilaisia again! I met him on like my second or third day here in Ephraim, and now that football and finals are over, he has time to sit down and take some lessons. Big man! He could probably eat me if he wanted a snack. But his heart is as big as the rest of him. haha he cancelled and rescheduled with us like 3 times this week, but we still met a couple times and taught him about Jesus Christ and prophets. He's super open! His wife hasn't participated yet because she has two kids. The other night I had a simple prompting to drive by their house, and when we drove by we saw Ilaisia and some of his giant friends trying to break into his house haha. So we got out and asked what was going on. Turns out he locked his keys and his phone inside haha. So Elder Ramirez used his paisa skills and opened the window just enough to use the wooden blinds to unlatch the window completely. He said the whole time he was wrestling with it, he was praying to open the window haha. It worked! Ilaisia thanked us like 15 times. 

Well anyway, we should have plenty to do now. We cover like 25 wards I think haha and we have 10 non member investigators now. We also are working with a few other less-active families. Other than that, we've been spending a lot more time at our bishop's homes. One bishop in particular, Bishop Stevens in the 4th ward, has really impressed us. 4th ward has been notorious for being an active ward with non members you can count on one hand and a handful of less-active families. Well, Bishop Stevens has been catching the vision with our visits and encounters with him. We're going to a Christmas basket/caroling mutual activity this week and we're going to help his wife in a Sunday school lesson this Sunday. Bishop invited us over to Priest's quorum yesterday and he committed his 4 priests to call a NM/LA friend and set up an appointment for them to practice teaching in preparation for their missions coming up. We're expecting some phone calls in the next couple weeks for that. Bishop Stevens is going to have us over for dinner on Christmas day! We're excited for that and especially for the work he's starting up in his ward. He's putting a lot of effort into his missionary work! It's cool because I didn't even really know who he was for the first like 3 months that I was here in Ephraim. He's on fire! and the rest of the family stake is getting there too....we have a combined YM/YW lesson coming up and some talks we need to give. We're starting to get pretty involved!

Well according to the communicator, I guess we can Skype for Christmas! Gosh we weren't expecting that! Hmm...we're probably going to shoot for late morning or early afternoon sometime on Christmas day because we have that dinner at 2pm. We just need to schedule around some members' schedules and I'll have to let you know for sure what time next week. I forgot how all the skype thing works haha but I'm sure the members here will guide me and walk beside me. Let me know what your plans are! 

Elder Payne!


Monday, December 9, 2013

This week, I froze!

Well hello! Good to hear from everyone, and thanks again to Keith for reminding me about the wonderful weather we have up here haha. Up here we had a couple nice days, then it got nasty and the temperature dropped like 50 degrees. It snowed all afternoon on Tuesday and into the night, then the next couple days the high never got above single digits with a low of around -20, so the snow hasn't had a single chance to melt yet. Then on Saturday it snowed like crazy alllllll day haha. And for some reason Heavenly Father thinks it's funny to put a thatcher kid behind the wheel in the thick of all this haha. I got our malibu stuck on the side of the road like 10 times this week! haha we just laugh every time because I'm such an awful snow driver. But hey, I'm learning quickly! Thank goodness the traffic here is equal to thatcher. suuuper slick roads, we basically slide to all of our appointments now. We had to drive to Richfield which is one hour away on icy roads, so we took it slow and made it safe haha. Gotta watch out for that black ice! No wrecks though mom! Heavenly Father is still very merciful haha. We tried parking the car a few times and walking in the negatives, and my scarf covering my face kept freezing solid haha. What's it like in Thatcher these days? I heard that St. George got pounded with snow and they had to shut like everything down, even church yesterday was cancelled haha. Crazy weather here in southern Utah! Don't come here

Well, despite the weather, it's been a pretty good week for us! I'll cut to the chase as far as transfers goes...we're both staying in Ephraim! Gosh that means I'll have been here at least as long as I was in Buena Vista! By the end of this month I will have spent 11 months in two areas. President Center likes leaving people in areas longer than President Leonard did. Anyway, we're both stoked! We're especially excited because we're getting the addition of Ephraim YSA as well, exclusive for this transfer only! So the sisters are both leaving, s Randolph is going home and s Keenan just got her visa to go to Brazil. We'll definitely miss them from our district, and with them leaving and winter break coming up this week, they decided to just hand everything to us for now! haha sure we'll take it! School gets back in session Jan 6, and this transfer ends Jan 20 so we won't have a whole lot of time to do a whole lot, but we'll see what we can do! So yeah, we now cover all of Ephraim...everyone, and we cover the entire county minus Gunnision in Spanish. Should be lots to do!

And with the new transfer comes new opportunities to make some changes and improvements. We had a zone conference this week with Elder Arnold of the Seventy. No iPads were announced, nor facebook privileges. But the Spirit resonated far beyond your normal church meeting. For some reason, there's so much authority with general authorities! Elder Arnold is the type of guy thats serious faced all the time, but he jokes around a lot. Whenever an elder would say a really great remark, he would immediately call them up to the front, dead serious. Once they made the long walk and stood next to him, he would turn to them and give them a big hug and say thank you. haha The meeting was basically a mixture of any normal zone conference and the mission conference with Elder Bednar. Long story short, there's lots of things I was reminded of in new light, and it's up to me to make some changes. One thing he said was (quoting one of the prophets) "if you go to a meeting and don't change anything because of it, why did you go?" Good question. We should all keep that in mind. 

Well I was asked to give the closing prayer. He did kinda the same thing to me too. I made the long walk up there and stood right next to him. Then he said how whenever the prophet would look him dead square in the eye, he felt like he was piercing into his soul, and that's exactly what he did to me haha. Pretty intense! He closed with a powerful testimony and then told me to say the prayer. I said a simple but convicting prayer and afterwards I expected a mere handshake from Elder Arnold, but instead he gave me a big hug and said thank you. From that example I've been able to better understand how it's possible to gain consistent charity for all men. It doesn't matter who the person is, if we but look for the good within them and look for their potential, we will have a greater capacity to love them as the Savior would, even if we never see the person ever again. 

Well with all that in mind, I was definitely lifted up and ready to go get the plates from Laban or something. We're excited for the new transfer, and we're in a perfect position to take a step back, take a deep breath, and get involved with the members in Ephraim and get to work. We've been doing some "bishop blitz" nights and we're getting a lot of refreshed direction on what exactly needs to be done. We've already met with one of the YSA stake president's and we've gone to a couple ward councils. We have invites to participate in lessons and ym/yw activities and ward parties and FHE's and you name it. The members are starting to see the light, and they're getting fired up. Although there may not be a whole lot of interested non members or less actives here, at least we're all starting to faithfully do our part, yoked together in unity with our Master, Jesus Christ. What an honor it is to be serving right here, right now! 

Well so we'll see what we can do from here. It's not very often you get to spend all the Halloween's, Thanksgiving's, Christmas's, and New Year's with the same companion on your mission one state away from your home, so that's pretty cool! haha and this week a local missionary had to come home briefly for gull bladder sugery. He is still set apart and is serving in the Fresno, CA mission. He says he knows Elder McMaster who just left that mission to Brazil. Cool! and in the Spanish branch here there is a brother Scholes. Awesome guy! He's waiting to go on a mission with his wife to Chile after fixing some medical things. Anyway, he said he was companions with a Harold Payne from Thatcher, and I believe he served in Uruguay. He's 65 years old. Hmm...

Well that's all for this week!
Elder Payne!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Another Successful Thanksgivi​ng!

Well guys it's good to hear from everyone, whether or not they sent an email! Looks like you guys had a great Thanksgiving. Ours was pretty good itself! We only ate two thanksgiving dinners this year! Last year we packed three haha. Anyway we ate at the Prigmore's and the Hancock's. Bro Prigmore is the high counselor for missionary work, so we work with him quite a bit, and Bro Hancock is the ward mission leader for the 7th ward. The Prigmore's had the whole set up...big dinner, lots of family, and we ate in the garage! haha which after they had decked it all out turned out really awesome! The Hancock's are empty nesters and have a son on a mission in Mexico who also comes home in May. They both served missions and in fact they met on their mission...they served in the same zone and hated each other! Interesting story. Anyway I'm scared now because I hope I don't marry any of the sisters in this mission! But yeah after the food and all that we had a "half-zone/San Pete" activity at the Ephraim YSA stake center. We played pool and ping pong and basketball and knockout and sprout ball...super fun! There wasn't a single missionary that didn't have a fun time. That's what I love about this zone is that all of us get along really well. Even the missionaries that are polar opposites and have nothing in common get along and have fun. It's such a blessing! We had a great thanksgiving.

Well I opened the envelop that night and read it haha. Man it looks like the thoughts I wrote down were written by a 1st grader! and mom's thoughts were like a top-selling inspirational novel! Anyway, I guess we'll have to stay tuned for 2018! Maybe the Savior will have come by then, who knows!

The work has been pretty slow this week, whether it be the fact that it was Thanksgiving or the fact that Kelly is all moved to Nevada or the fact our other investigators are cooling off...either way, it was pretty slow. However, the work should pick up a lot this week. We have some more potentials coming up through the cracks and President will be doing an interview this week for one of our investigators, Caroline, who is Jason's wife and Bobby's mom. Anyway she used to be fundamentalist and didn't really practice and has been "mormon" for years now, she just hasn't been baptized yet. Couple interviews should fix that!

Yesterday we got a call from a member named Bro Carter. He has a spanish family that he's been trying to reach out to. Last year he gave them some Christmas treats. This year he's going to give them a Book of Mormon with his testimony. The problem is that he doesn't speak spanish! So he called us up and sought for help and approval. We're going to go over this week and help him out as he delivers it. We never told him that we've tried and failed to connect with this family a couple times, but we don't want to spoil his efforts. I'm personally impressed at Bro Carter's desire and effort to do some legitimate missionary work. He's a very timid person and isn't exactly sure what to do, he's just doing it. What a good example! He's one of the first to have stepped up and give us a call to help with his friends since I've been in the area. Other than him and a couple others, our work comes solely through bishops and leadership and ourselves. So don't let that happen in little old Thatcher and Safford! Stay involved and reach out. Remember Bro Carter haha. 

Hmm, other than that, we helped one of our excommunicated investigators move clear across two parking lots and a street. She's a nice and interesting lady...Isabell is her name. Anyway, she and her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend and us were moving things. They realized they didn't have a strap for their SUV and they were going to buy one real quick so we could move the mattress. Well I suggested that E Ramirez and I just carry the thing over to Isabell's new apartment. Haha so soon enough we were both strolling down main street in Ephraim past a stoplight carrying a mattress! Haha gotta love being in small towns.

This week we're having a zone conference in Richfield with Elder Arnold of the Seventy. Apparently (use that loosely...rumors in this mission are worse than rumors in Thatcher) Elder Arnold is the one that's been going to different missions and announcing iPads and Facebook. While I was on exchanges this week with Elder Berven in Mt. Pleasant, we got a ride from an RM who served in North Carolina. He said just before he left they approved Facebook in the mission, and they had to spend a mandatory 1 hour each day on Facebook, and they had to use their own from back home and "missionary-proof" it within a week. He also mentioned that it's like Facebook stalking but worse because it's kind of real haha. He said in their planners they would just write "Facecreep Time" for laughs haha. Anyway, we'll see what the truth is this week, if Elder Arnold announces anything big.

well, until next time!
Elder Payne!