Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Slim's Baptism!

So I went back to Arizona a little early this past week. That's right, back in my home state. How strange is that? It was only for a few minutes...this week we did exchanges with the Kanab 2 elders! They are stationed specifically in a town called Orderville, Utah. In order to get there we had to travel and hour and a half down through Hurricane, through Hildale/Colorado City, through Fredonia, through Kanab, and finally up and around to Orderville. It was a long trip and because of it our miles are pretty shot so we've been riding our bikes quite a bit the rest of the week! Awesome! (It's perfect biking weather too...65-70 degrees all day!)

Anyway the exchange was good. I went with Elder Read in Orderville for the day. It's a pretty redneck town. There's two wards scattered in the few tiny little towns in their area. We ate lunch at one of the bishops houses and had Navajo tacos (which I love by the way!) and then since we didn't have a dinner we ate dinner there as well haha. The bishop shared with me their ward mission plan, which is to treat all non members like cattle: gather em together, rope em up, brand em, and let em go! And I was just like "hey whatever gets the work done!" I also met this recent convert who is super enthusiastic about helping the missionaries. His name is Ricky. He has one leg and is an old war vet. He said to me "when I'm bored, I count my blessings." Good advice! We took him to a LA's house for a lesson. The house had some big steps leading up to the porch, which was going to be an interesting challenge with his wheelchair. Well he just hopped right out of his wheelchair and scooted up the steps and into her house on his bum haha and again I was just like "hey whatever gets the work done!" Then later we took Ricky to meet one of Kanab 2's investigators named Rodger. He's another old war vet down the street and he goes everywhere with his walker. So there I was listening to war stories with two older guys with absolutely no filter on their mouths haha. Seriously reminded me of the guys on Secondhand Lions. Classic. Later on I found out about the types of ward activities they have in Orderville. One of them is donkey basketball. "What's that?" I asked. "Well it's where we take a bunch of donkeys and put rubber shoes on them and take them into the gym in the church...and we play basketball while riding the donkeys!" Yep...whatever gets the work done! Awesome exchange!

So after my own personal episode in the Andy Griffith show, I finally made it back to Little Valley! We've had lots of other adventures this week but none as great as Slim's baptism! Everything came together really well and he had some family come in and lots of friends and buddies from school. There was about 70 or so people there! Pretty good turnout. We started in the chapel and then crammed into the RS room for the ordinance. Bailey's boyfriend Chase did the ordinance and they got it done right the first time! Whew thank goodness...I always get nervous that they'll have to do it more than once since that kinda kills the spirit and memory of the sacredness of the ordinance. All was well! The program was sweet and we all went over to Slim's house afterwards for some bagels and snacks. Success! And yes Slims mom took a TON of pictures...Slim was getting a little irritated haha. That's probably how he's going to remember his baptism.....the pictures. The cool thing though is that the parents are reactivated and hopefully they'll start looking toward a temple sealing as a family! We're going to do our best to help them all get there. Bailey got baptized last August and now since Slim just got baptized and confirmed then the goal is in sight! The confirmation yesterday went well...his bishop did the honors. What a blessing it is to provide opportunities for elect and prepared people like Slim to participate in such an important saving ordinance. Slim really looks up to us and his cousin serving a mission, and Slim said he wants to serve a mission too! Haha he's awesome and super chill. After every lesson he says "stay sweet."

We haven't been able to catch up with the Demarco's this week. Go figure, roller coaster again. We'll keep trying, but we don't want to be too pushy. Shane is doing really well! Today he should be completely off tobacco and nicotine! He's been hopping to a bunch of different wards though so we're not sure where he's going to end up being baptized. But at least he's meeting the requirements, and for the right reasons too! Lindsey is still nonexistent. We met with the Alo's and even though the wife was at work we asked if we could just meet real quick with the rest of them. Bear (the dad) thought that was really cool for us to do that. His heart is pretty open right now! Everything else is going pretty well.

Other than that, we spoke in the Stone Hedge ward yesterday about food storage. Just kidding. We spoke on missionary work. (What else?) It turned out really well. In Priesthood we sat down next to our ward mission leader Bro Warner. He introduced us to his friend from Idaho Falls. Automatically we kinda assumed he was, well you know, mormon....right? So E Lewis jumped right in and jokingly said "Would you like to repent and be baptized??" And he kinda chuckled and looked like we had just pulled a hunting knife on him or something haha. Then Bro Warner said, "haha...he's actually investigating the church right now!" ooops! haha it was all good though, at least he knows our purpose!

Gotta fly!
Elder Payne!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Go About Doing Good!

Well thanks for all the updates! Gosh Bryson has better motor skills than I do. What do you think...200 meter dash state champ senior year? I can see it. This week has been pretty good! We had a big zone conference this week at our stake center. We have zone conferences every 3 months or so. This time it was only the St. G East and West zones, about 70 missionaries. We spent an hour setting up the night before, which paid off because it was a success! We had trainings by President Center, Sister Center, the Assistants, and more. We had another standard vehicle safety training. I can see QP being a mission vehicle coordinator. The Lord is raising you up! haha anyway we even had an etiquette training by some ladies in the Quail Valley ward! It was good. The main trainings were based off of our MLC meeting the other week, so now all of the missionaries in the mission have been trained up on how to use the pamphlets especially in lesson 1. This was my last zone conference! Crazy to think about that...it was nice though. I talked with an Elder Lunt during our lunch break. He's Sherri and Clel's nephew. I guess president called him and let him know Sherri passed away. He was pretty shocked when I told him that Clel was my first home teaching companion. Haha interesting connections...

So I think I've mentioned here and there about the Demarco's. They are nonmembers and are probably in their 60's and moved in from California just before Christmas. The members here have just been super kind and loving and have given them cookies and food and everything. They've had a super warm welcome to the neighborhood! Well long story short, they've been remodeling their whole house and now they just need to finish up a few landscaping chores. This week we saw them outside just before we were going to take off for lunch. (Normally for lunch we go with other missionaries somewhere, but for some reason everyone was booked so we were just going to go by ourselves.) They were out shoveling rock to put on the ground around all their little shrubs. Debbie has bad back problems and so Tom has to do all the work. We told them we'll be back in 10 mins. So we rushed home and switched clothes and grabbed a couple shovels. We spent the next hour and a half shoveling rocks into 5 gal buckets and spreading them around all the shrubs! Gosh they were suuuper grateful! Debbie kept saying things like "Oh I don't want you to get dirty!" and "start thinking about what you want for lunch!" and "can I give you money...a donation?" haha Elder Lewis straight up said "You know you worry too much!" and she just laughed haha. Their hearts are being softened big time though. We invited them to a ward cookout and they couldn't make it but really wanted to go. They asked if next time they have a cook out they can provide burgers and hot dogs and drinks and everything haha they want to be involved! We got a text from them the other day: "We would truly appreciate the opportunity to thank the Bishop for ALL you guys have done to help us. As well as let him know how great we think you both are." The scriptures don't lie....Ammon was right. Service is the way to go! It worked in Ephraim with Chelsea Stafford (who was baptized) and it's softening the hearts of the Demarco's too! One step at a time.

Slim is doing super good. We took him through the visitors center this week and we're pretty much done with the lessons prior to his baptism. He's on schedule for this Saturday!!! It's about time we had a baptism! haha thanks to Heavenly Father. He has 0 concerns and keeps his commitments. He's submissive and soaks it all in. We're super excited for his baptism. It's gonna be great!! We're playing pickle ball with him this afternoon. Even heard of that? Me neither, until I started my mission. It's right in between tennis and ping pong. We've heard it's super fun!

We've given about 5 or 6 blessings this week. Most of them were for sister missionaries in our zone, but this week our two high councilmen for missionary work took us to the hospital for lunch! (of all places). It was actually super good food! Fresh salads, pasta dishes made to order, just a healthy environment! I got the grilled salmon with lemon and a side of mac and cheese and broccoli with a side salad and water. Super good! and pretty cheap too...four big plates of food for like $15. How's the hospital food over there these days?? ANYWAY was with pretty much any trip to the hospital as a missionary, you usually don't end up leaving without giving a couple blessings. We're not supposed to solicit them obviously, but we had two people ask for blessings. Such a humbling experience. I love the ability to exercise my priesthood authority and see the power that comes as those we bless have complete faith and trust in us. One sister was furious because she had a heart attack and they flew her in from Page and all they did was put her on oxygen. Thousands of dollars for nothing was the way she described it. She wanted a blessing to calm her heart down (dual meaning there) and rid her of the contention she felt wrapped up inside her. After the blessing she couldn't withhold tears and she thanked us and you could just see her countenance being lit up by the spirit. It was such a tender moment. Good looking out for your children, Heavenly Father! It definitely was not a coincidence that we went to the hospital that day. 

Well we've had a lot of other adventures this week and our ultimate hope is to just continue to be an instrument for the Lord. I hope each of you will do the same. Do something good for someone this week. Serve them, and you'll forget about your own worries and struggles. Serve someone out of charity and not only will you uplift them, but you will uplift yourself. Just do it!

Elder Payne!

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Roller Coaster

So the work has proven to be a roller coaster, especially in this area! We were all pumped about hitting standards last week and then this week we coasted back off haha. Consistency is always a struggle! We still have only met with Lindsey twice in the last four or five weeks. She's super busy with cheer and everything. Then the Alo family we picked up last week hasn't been able to meet with us due to illness and other things getting in the way. Darn! But despite all the set backs, it's just such a privilege to truly testify of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes it's easy to say a rote testimony, but when you share a heartfelt powerful one, that's what brings the spirit. That's what we did in our lesson with Carlyn last night. He had a concern about knowing which prophet is the true and living prophet of God. (He has a polygamist background, so he grew up with Warren Jeffs as the "prophet"). We shared Moroni 7:5,16 and bore pure testimony of the simplicity of knowing if this is true (Thomas S. Monson, the book of mormon, the church, etc). After the lesson we asked if he had any questions. He pondered for a few seconds and looked up at us and said, "No.....I guess it's just up to me now." I love it. The Spirit taught him and answered his question! He knows exactly what he needs to do, and it's up to him to do it. It's just so awesome in moments like that when you realize you're truly fulfilling your purpose. We did our part!

Slim is still solid for the 22nd of this month. We taught him the Law of Chastity on Saturday haha. No problems, thank goodness. He's a good kid. Shane is on the lowest level of the e-cigarette, and he's been off the real stuff for several days now. We're still planning on the 29th to make sure he's clean. We're hoping we can still baptize Lindsey on the 29th as well. We should be able to crack down on the lessons after she gets back from cheer nationals on the 15th. Wish us luck!

In other news, I finally killed Elder Ramirez! Yep, you better believe it. He came down and stayed with us for his last night in the mission. He's been up in Ephraim this whole time, since the first bit of October. So yeah, he stayed with us for the night and we chatted it up and relived all of our adventures we had together. It was quite the honor to spend some time with the companion I served over 25% of my mission with. 7 and 1/2 months! Crazy. The next day we just ran him around town and to the mission home and mission office and all over. Then we dropped him off at the temple, and that was it! He's back home now.....just crazy to think of that! Unbelievable. 

Well, time to go!
Elder Payne!

We Finally Hit Standards!

Wow!!! Gosh how exciting! All the pics are awesome and it looks like everything turned out well! I wish I could have been there! If worst comes to worst you can just reenact the whole thing for me when I get home haha. Dang qp that suit is fresh! haha everything looks beautiful. I'm glad everyone made it including the rain how nice of it. It looks like I made it to everything too so that's cool! hahaha yeah since I meet new people constantly every day, I'm always telling them about my family, which means lately I've been telling everyone about the wedding! So yeah there's people that you don't even know that are happy for you guys and wish you the best. They always ask me if I know Julie haha and I just tell them I met her on skype. Pretty crazy and it's weird to think both of my brothers are married now. Life just keeps moving along! I just hope it's all not a big joke and you guys are tricking me haha. Congrats and I'm soo happy for you guys.

We had a really good week this week. We finally hit standards of excellence. They lowered them a few months ago so that they were more achievable. The standard is 20 lessons taught and 3 on date for baptism and 4 NM/LA at sacrament meeting and 2 new investigators. This is on a weekly basis. Well we managed to hit it on the head! The Lord helped us to teach 20 lessons and find 5 new investigators to teach this week. We had a total of 10 NM/LA at church and last night right before we sent in our numbers at about 9:20pm our investigator Shane finally called us back. He's still struggling with smoking but he's willing to shoot for March 29th for baptism! And we got a text earlier in the evening from one of our RS presidents who is the fellowshipper for Lindsey. She said that Lindsey and her friend were waiting for us at her house for a lesson! So we rushed over and shared a quick scripture and recommitted her for the 29th of March as well. We hate pushing dates back but we don't have a choice at this point. It's just been crazy because we've only met with Lindsey twice in the past 4 weeks! AAHH! haha but other than that, we still have Slim on date for the 22nd and he's solid. So yeah, we hit standards! E Lewis was super pumped last night! haha he hasn't seen a baptism since he's been here, and he got into this area back in October. This area's been pretty dry for about 6 months or so. We kind of have the reverse problem that most missionaries face....our area has soooo many active members in it! "Can you just not come to church for a while?" haha but yeah things are improving!

Something that we're trying to improve on specifically is our style of teaching altogether. We had another MLC this week (Mission Leadership Counsel). Brother Hemmingway and Randal from the missionary department were there and spent a majority of the time teaching us how to teach. He said in our mission we've focused too much on splitting up our lessons. In other words, normally it takes us three or four visits to complete a lesson in PMG. But they showed us a way to teach all of the lesson in one short and powerful visit, which is what I've always wanted to do on my mission! The secret is using the pamphlets we hand out to people. When the angel appeared to Nephi and taught him, he used a basic template for his teaching. It was "Look!" "What Beholdest thou?" "Knowest thou....?" and then he taught him the doctrine. The pamphlets are set up to do the same thing. So we're almost going retro style, almost back to flip charts haha. We use the pictures in the pamphlet and use the same template. It's simple, basic, and powerful. That's how the missionary department wants us to teach, and president said that's what he wants us to do now. It's hard! haha we have this style of teaching we're sooo used to, and this is very different. It's like learning how to fix a chevy truck engine for 21 months and then learning how to fix a dodge engine for your last 3. (or vice versa, whichever you like better haha). They both are meant to do the same thing!

Anyway, we've taken this new style of teaching and we're routing it into our brains asap. We picked up all 5 new investigators using this style...a family of four named the Alo's (Polynesians from Hawaii!) and a former FLDS young man named Carlyn. We invited all of them to be baptized, and most of them accepted! The Alo's mentioned that in their 12 years of living here, no missionary has ever taken them that far in the lessons. The lesson was only 20 min long and we had already invited them to be baptized and to pray to know if our message is true. It was killer! The mom says she has some questions and believes she's already been baptized, so we're going to answer her q's tonight! Perfect opportunity to come back! But yeah, the pamphlet thing is really working well for us, and we're practicing on everyone so we can get good at it haha, including active members and bishops and you name it. We're teaching everyone! It's great. 

But yeah, that's about where we're at right now. We got transfer calls last night and we're both staying here in Little Valley. There will be a few changes going on in our zone, some that are definitely needed and some that are unexpected. Either way, this next transfer is going to be a good one. As a zone, we had 9 confirmations this past weekend!! Our goal for the month is 18! so we're already half way there and it's only the 3rd! Things are looking good for the St. George east zone!

We had 2 eight year old baptisms that we participated in on Saturday....and they were both at the same time haha typical. I was asked to speak on baptism at Carter's, who was the one mom got a pic of in the text from Sis Matthews. When I was in Little Valley last year, E Betham and I baptized Carter's older brother Kason. Now it's Carter's turn! haha good kids, I'll definitely have whoever comes and gets me meet them after my mission. Anyway, his baptism went well and I kinda got caught bouncing between Carter's and the other one, Kaylee's. Turns out I was supposed to be a witness for Kaylee's and stand in the confirmation for Carter, but they were literally at the exact same time, so I had to choose one or the other. So I rushed down the hall to try and make it to Carters conf but seriously was like 5 seconds too late. By the end of it I rushed back to Kaylee's and her ordinance was already done haha. Oops! But at least I got to stand in on her conf. It all turned out really well. 

Well that's about it for this week! Lots of adventures yet to come! Soo many things to keep track of but the Lord is being super good to me and E Lewis. We'll keep on keepin on! Git r done! Work hard and have fun! Love you guys keep being happy and stand strong! Take care family!!

Elder Payne!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happy 0th Anniversar​y!!! Wooo Q and J!!! Wish I could be there!

Well we've put in some good effort this week and didn't teach as much as we would have liked to. Things with Slim are going pretty well. He's so chill, and if he didn't keep his commitments so faithfully I would think that he's just passively taking the lessons for who knows why. After our first lesson when we were leaving all he said was "stay sweet" so that's what we tell him now every time we see him. He's scheduled to be baptized on March 22, in about a month. He's solid. We're currently teaching him about the Plan of Salvation, and everything's going well. Shane and Lindsey are both being turkey's right now. Shane hasn't responded to our texts or calls for a few days now, and he's supposed to be baptized and done with smoking this weekend. Ugh. We'll see. haha good guy though. He got his job back which is a blessing because it's work and money but a curse because it's a roofing business and lots of his co workers smoke. Hopefully he hasn't been giving in! We finally scheduled another appointment with Lindsey for tonight. That means in 3 1/2 weeks we'll have met with her twice. That's awful! haha but it's okay, we'll just have to move her baptism back a couple weeks now.

We have some potential investigators starting to commit to lessons, so that's good. A poly family of four from Hawaii, a nice Catholic lady from Wisconsin, a newly retired couple from California, and a few others. Hopefully we can start teaching them this week!

We went on exchanges this week with the assistants. I went with Elder Nye and stayed here in Little valley. It was awesome! Elder Nye is the type of missionary that's the definition of quiet dignity, and he's kind and patient and composed. He's super athletic too...played ultimate frisbee in high school and is a baller too. He's a solid missionary. It was just cool to serve with him because we have similar personalities and being as used to missionary work as we are, we were able to learn a lot from each other in just 24 hours. After explaining to him what facetiousness is and what an ambivert is, we decided we both need to work on those two things, as well as some other characteristics. It's nice to serve with the best of the best in the mission!

Well I'm super excited for Quentin and Julie! Holy smokes you guys are getting married! It still hasn't hit me yet. It probably won't until I'm home. Either way, just know that I love you guys and I support and sustain you all the way! What a tremendous blessing it is to partake of the ordinances of eternal salvation, especially the most exalted of all of them. We had a less active couple get married by one of our bishops not too long ago. We were going to go, but we didn't have time. It's amazing to know that through the priesthood, the blessings of eternal companionship and families can and will be realized. Do everything in your power to continue to thwart Satan's attacks. Start now to establish your relationship and future family on the rock of your redeemer, who is Christ. If you do so, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you! That's a promise from the Lord (DC 33). Oh and remember, happy wife, happy life. You guys got this! Q+J 4 eva! I'm a fan for life!

When you see that big cheesy smile from my card board buddy this weekend, just remember that in reality, I probably have that exact same cheesy but genuine smile on, trying to help someone else come to know what I know, and what you know, which is that this gospel is true! And that families can be together forever, if we put in our effort.

Well, I love you guys!
Elder Payne!