Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

Monday, January 27, 2014

Back in Little Valley!

Well shoot it's been an interesting week with transfers and everything! I got to say bye to pretty much everyone in Ephraim and the transfer went pretty smooth, it just took a long time with all the stops and everything. We got into St. George around 6:30 pm on Tuesday. We've been keeping pretty busy since then! It's been pretty cool to see a few of the families I served with here about a year ago with Elder Betham! One big blessing was yesterday we went to a ward where one of my recent converts spoke! His name is Shelton Hughes, and I taught him in Dixie YSA with Elder Gomez back in October 2012. We baptized him and got transferred and I haven't heard much about him since. Well turns out he gave his "farewell" talk yesterday at church! He's a really good kid and he was super nervous, but he did a good job. He's got a lot of similarities to Jared Hatch, so it was good to hear that he spoke yesterday too! Good luck to him when he hits the mission field. That'll be interesting when Elder Goodman will be one of the first ones to welcome into the mission haha. Anyway, back to Shelton. It's just a huge blessing to see someone I helped baptize make a decision to serve a mission. The people he will help and touch the lives of...it's incredible. Such a good feeling to see the fruits of my own personal testimony taking a chain reaction like that. He'll be a great missionary!!

This area is exploding with members and families moving in, and they've split the area into two different stakes and a couple more wards since last year. At this point I've been able to meet pretty much all of our investigators, which has been good. The area has been really tough because of how active the people are. There is work though, and we're going to find it! Elder Lewis is pretty cool! He's honestly like a combination of my first few companions. He likes to have fun and has a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the gospel, but he's also humble and pretty patient as well. He's been out for like 11 months and he's a solid missionary. He knows his purpose and definitely has his head screwed on straight. We get along pretty well! He's basically from Sacramento, California and did all kinds of dirt biking, wake surfing, cycling...you name it. He was always out doors doing something fun. But at the same time he definitely prepared well for his mission and he works hard every day!

Being a zone leader is so far pretty much the same thing as being DL, only with a few extra missionaries to shepherd and a little extra authority. Plus we get to see and interact with Pres/Sis Center a whole lot more, which is awesome. It's honestly just a lot more administrative responsibilities (like sending in a ton of numbers every Sunday night and preparing for meetings and making sure missionaries are doing what they're supposed to), but there's good teaching moments that come from it. It's definitely a good opportunity! It's just weird because I've spent the past 11 months of my mission kind of isolated from all the new missionaries coming in, so now in St. George and in our zone I don't really know anyone anymore haha but I'll be getting to know them pretty quick. We have a number of sister missionaries in our zone, and if there's one thing that I've learned and that everyone tells me is just to make sure the sisters are happy. And they are! Which is good. We cover the St. George East zone, which includes a couple areas in St. George, Washington, Hurricane, Kanab, and Kaibab. There's 12 areas (companionships) in our zone and 3 districts. Our own personal area is in the southeastern corner of St. George. Pretty much everything east of River Rd and south of 1450 S. in St. George. Our area touches Arizona, which is weird. We haven't rode bikes yet, and we probably won't very much at all because of how all-over-the-place we are. We'll be getting short on miles the next couple days, so we might break out the bikes soon. We'll see! I miss riding my bike haha.

I've definitely been taking an Alma 26:12 attitude the past week. I've been out long enough to be comfortable with all the new responsibilities. I know what to expect. But at the same time I don't haha so I'm expecting the unexpected. And in the ZL position there's definitely a lot more expectations to perform to the key. But I've been prepared for this and the Lord wouldn't have entrusted me with this assignment if he knew I absolutely couldn't do it. I can do it! And I will do it, because I signed up to give him 24 months. Such a mere sacrifice compared to an apostle or Jesus Christ himself. I read a really super good talk by Elder Holland this week, and in it he mentioned that what God needs is people who will give their lives for His work. Not in the sense that they will die for the gospel, but that they will live for it, that they will give all they have and consecrate their lives to the cause. That's what God needs. It's part of my character to be obedient, which is a spiritual gift. Exact obedience is always a challenge, and standing up for obedience instead of following a disobedient decision of your companion has proven to be tough as well. But thankfully, Elder Lewis and I both have that desire to be obedient, and that is exactly what I need these last few months of my mission! We're going to lose ourselves in this work!

I've been telling everyone that I've been out for "a little over a year." haha It makes it seem like I have more time to make a difference, which makes me want to work harder.

The engagement pictures are sooo awesome haha. Love it! QP, me and you will get fat together. Thanks for the shout Julie! haha life is good, and it's too short to be pessimistic. Enjoy the optimism! Hope all works out as best as it can with Tyson. Dad kinda mentioned before I left that that might happen. Hopefully he can have the courage to embrace the gospel because of it. I love you guys! Until next week!

Elder Payne!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Change in Responsibi​lity!

Well I'm headed to St. George this afternoon! We got transfer calls on Saturday night and President has asked me to be a zone leader!! Wooah! haha cool! So I'm going back to the same area I went to one year ago which is Little Valley! haha it'll be interesting but exciting. I served there last year with Elder Betham for one transfer, and then they white washed us out and made it a zl area. And now I'm headed back to the sun! My companion is Elder Lewis and he'll "show me the ropes." He's been out since February, so he's pretty young in the mission but apparently he's really good! I've never met him before. Elder Ramirez is staying in Ephraim, and he's going to die there with Elder Torres. We've never met him either! All these new missionaries! haha anyway, he'll be the DL and he's getting Elder Campbell in his district, who is training a new missionary and taking over Ephraim YSA. That means that the Snow district will have two former AP's in it, so they'll be tearing it up!

Anyway, the past few days have been pretty hectic. We've been teaching a lot and in between appointments I've been saying bye to a bunch of families. I'll definitely miss Ephraim a lot! It's my second favorite area! Lots of good times in the past 6 months, and I've learned a lot about myself. Hopefully I will measure up to the new responsibilities. I'm super excited to have bigger shoes to fill, and this will keep me on track as I finish out my mission.

Yesterday for P-day we went on an approved ice fishing trip at Fish Lake with a brother in the 8th ward and his kids who are in high school. It was super fun, even though none of us caught a single fish. Must have been the full moon. I still have yet to catch a stinkin fish haha. Oh well. The ice was cracking and popping underneath us all day which was pretty intimidating. It was a super relaxing day, and I couldn't have asked for a better p-day to whisk away my worries. 

Well, that's about all I have time for today! Take care this week!
Elder Payne

Monday, January 13, 2014


Hmm well it's been a good week this week. So I'm going to be completely honest: I had it all written down in my planner about the big b-day week, but last week in emails I totally spaced it. So I wrote dad a letter, which hopefully he's gotten that by now. I was gonna have one of our dinners send a pic to mom and keith for their b-days but I spaced that too haha. Lousy excuses, I know. I don't even know how old keith is now...probably like 30 by now hahaha maybe not. Anyway, thanks for all you guys do and the encouragement you give! Thanks for the email mom and I'll keep those things in mind. Consecration!! Yeah! We had a zone meeting this week and at the very end we all signed our lives away, quite literally. Our zl's passed out certificates to each of us declaring that we are willing to give and "acceptable sacrifice" and "make baptism our magnificent obsession" ...and then we signed it and had two witnesses sign it haha. Such a simple activity but it really put the heat on us and made us think...is this really what we want? I should have gotten a pic of it haha maybe next week. But I signed it by gosh. And I signed my mission papers. and I've signed my ministerial certificate, and tons of baptismal records....I'm literally signed away! Just a good and direct reminder of the promises I've already made to the Lord, whether in the temple, at baptism, when I received the priesthood, or personal covenants and promises made weekly through the sacrament. I'm not really "free to chose" anymore, because I've already chosen. It's hard! but it's worth it.

Let me brag about my district for a minute haha. For zone meeting I was asked to prayerfully set a monthly baptismal goal and finding goal for January as a district. Well that's normal, we do that every month. Just like pres Monson said, if we don't set goals then our performance can't be measured and our progress won't be either. Anyway, our goal for this month is 7 baptisms and 20 new investigators. There's three companionships in the district, six total elders. What we've been doing recently is focusing on finding and teaching families...whole families. Well guess what? In our area we found a family to teach! I might have mentioned them last week...Nati (mom), Abdi Ana & Betsy (kids), and Tino (dad) who has been gone so we haven't started teaching him yet. Awesome family, and they'd make great mormons! Anyway, our contribution in our own area has been 6 new investigators this month. The Gunnison elders found 10 last week alone haha. Manti elders have been able to find a couple. We're up to 22 new investigators so far! And January isn't even half over. We've scheduled baptismal interviews for our 5th and 6th baptisms so far this month!! It's such a blessing to be in leadership simply for the reason that I get to see a bigger picture, as if my area and teaching pool gets a little bigger. I get to see the miracles that not only happen in my area, but in the others as well. I get to see the blessings and fruits of repentance and baptism, even when we haven't had one in our own area for a long time. It's so motivating!

And then there's the YSA. It's good to be back and among them! Sooo much more energy. It's been kinda scattered since we're just covering YSA for this transfer only, and with the winter break everything practically dissolved. But we managed to stay in contact with most of the sisters past investigators! One of them, Shelby, has had some crazy experiences in the last few years. Her mom has gone through cervical cancer, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, and just the other day she told us they found some other cancer somewhere else. Good grief!! Needless to say, Shelby has really had her eyes opened throughout her life, and she's very mature and her heart is just wide open right now. It's a big blessing for her, and it's been really cool to help her see why. She's catholic and almost got baptized in the past, but she wasn't quite ready.

Among our other YSA adventures this week, we picked up a new investigator named George. It was kinda weird because his LDS friends invited us all over for a dinner (right after our regular dinner haha) and they invited like 12 other people too! So we all ate chicken alfredo and then all of them sat and watched us teach George for the first time haha. He's definitely a timid guy, so I think he definitely felt a lot of pressure. He agreed to meet again though haha so we'll tone things down next time and see how he progresses. Also, this week we were knocking through some apartments and we came across an ex-landlord going to help out a YSA girl having a very mild asthma attack. She lost the hose to her inhaler thing and was having a really hard time breathing! Imagine doing like 25 push ups and then breathing through only a plastic straw, and that's probably just about how she felt. Anyway, we gave her a blessing and she had tears and we said a few little comments and jokes that made her laugh and we felt really bad because that messed up her breathing even more hahaha. shoot. But she was okay! right after we left, the current landlord showed up with the right equipment. Whew! Gotta love those interesting experiences. 

Hmm well we've had a bunch of other little experiences and some ups and downs, but that's about all I have time for this week! Time for a haircut! Adios guapos

Elder Payne!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rough Start, Great Finish!

This week has been interesting! It started out soooo slow with the holidays still rampaging. We were so bored! haha we did however get to watch the movie called "Ephraim's Rescue" on new year's day. Oh and by the way, we watched it in theaters! haha yep! Our ZL's landlords own one of the local theaters, and so they got the hook up and President approved! So there we were, like 10 missionaries walking into the movie theaters. I gotta admit though...it was really weird sitting and watching a movie on the big screen. I felt apostate or something haha. But the movie itself was suuuuper good! If you haven't seen it, do so now! Very powerful. Anyway, other than that, the beginning of our week was pretty dead. We went to Elder Stewart's bday party in Gunnison. His bday is on Dec 31, so the football coaches invited him and Elder Becerra and they invited us. New year's eve with like three loud football families and a ton of food...it was a good time!

The work started picking up some momentum starting on Thursday. Three out of four appointments cancelled on us, but we still had the one and that was pretty good for us! haha we're helping a couple less actives now who are trying to quit smoking and want to go back to church. The YSA kids all started coming back later in the week too, so things are starting to pick up a little there. Today is the first day of classes! So that's pretty sweet. 

And we got a text from Fenishia this week. She's 21 with two kids, one of them being severely handicapped. Up until like 6 months ago she was completely inactive and was into parties and what not. Well she was recently reactivated back in the summer and we've been teaching her off and on. Then she got married to an RM! She wasn't quite ready for the temple yet. then she got divorced a few weeks later. Well she's been having a ton of trials and opposition and things aren't really getting any easier for her. But she's keeping her head high and and she's determined to keep going to church and stay strong. What an example! Anyway her text said "Hey! How are you two doing today? I was actually thinking that it will be ok to stop having the weekly meets. I have learned a lot this past year and I'm sure I can take it from here :)" Woah!! After wanting to meet with us and strengthen her testimony so much, that's honestly like the best text I've gotten on my mission! haha when Elder Bednar came and spoke with us in September, he mentioned that the best thing a recent convert or less active can say to you as a missionary is that they don't need you to come any more. I guess we're kinda like training wheels as missionaries. Our job is just to teach them the basics...just enough so that they can stay upright by themselves. Then they should be able to do the rest on their own! So that was a blessing haha

Also, on Friday we started teaching a Spanish family! A whole family! and they have been coming to church off and on in the past. The mom says she really likes the spanish branch and she mentioned that there's a different spirit...a better spirit, a more comforting spirit there than at the catholic church. Gold! They have a super awesome fellowshipper too...her name is Ana. She's the one you saw on Skype with Patricia and dad tried to say something to them hahaha. Yeah! anyway Ana helps us out a lot because of that language barrier I still have, so with her testimony we still have powerful lessons! Plus the three kids who are 16, 12, and 8 all speak english, so thats good! haha they all came to church yesterday, even the dad who we haven't started teaching yet. Definitely some good potential there. 

And other than that, I got to experience my favorite part of being a district leader! I had the wonderful opportunity to do three baptismal interviews this past week. There was a 10 year old for the Manti elders whose name is Maddi. She did super good! I also interviewed Bronsen for the Gunnison elders. He was 8 while I interviewed him but he turned 9 on his baptism day haha so it was all good. And I interviewed Nati for Gunnison as well. He's a 9 year old Ethiopian boy who just got adopted like 2 months ago and doesn't know hardly any english. But he's learning quick and with the help of his parents, he passed too! We went to Maddi's and Nati's baptisms. What a boost after a long and slow start to our week!

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

p.s. Thanks for the package Keith, Shauna, and Bryson!