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!

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