Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

Monday, April 28, 2014

Challenges and Blessings

Well another week has come and gone! It's been a crazy one for us over here in the Red Cliffs stake. We had a baptism this weekend! Her name is Emma and she's 9 years old. Her mom's name is Kristen and she was baptized about 3 years ago by missionaries that I've met on my mission which is crazy. Anyway, Emma has been a tough one for Elder Richhart. She's really confusing. She started out not liking the missionaries and would not pay attention in the lessons and for some reason she kept taking the lessons. Then slowly she changed a little bit and by the time I got here she wanted to be baptized. The only problem is she hasn't been coming to church consistently, but she'll be coming more now. The service itself was interesting. Our WML started the service and then paused it because Emma wasn't in the room! First Kristen left to go find her, then a minute later Emma's grandma left to go find her, then we left to go find her! haha E Richhart was about to have a heart attack! We were just like "where in the world did you go kid?!" haha but soon enough we found her just waiting in the baptismal font room. Thank goodness...we had thought she took off down the street or something! Then the next day we were flipping out because as sacrament started the whole family was nowhere to be found! So after the opening hymn we went out into the foyer kept calling and texting like 5 times....no answer! Then the bishopric guy asked everyone who was invited to participate in Emma's confirmation to come up and we just looked at each other like "oh shoot!" hahaha so we went back in to give the signal that they weren't there and as we walked in we saw Emma magically walking up to the front for her confirmation!! Turns out they were all sitting up in the corner of the chapel and we didn't even see them! ugh go figure haha but all is well!

I think I'm realizing that our diligence is headed in the right direction. We had one day with 6 scheduled teaching appointments and walked away with 2 of them, and another day we had 6 more planned and only 3 of them didn't cancel. Story of my mission haha. But we finished the week with 14 lessons with a member present and 1 other lesson and 6 LA/RC lessons. That's good and all, and that means that we're doing our part and being obedient and diligent. But for Pete's sake so many of our investigators are soooo flaky!! It's kind of hard to help all of our investigators progress when only 10% of them are attending sacrament meeting! But that's the life of a missionary. Plus having these kinds of challenges really helps us know exactly what we need to work on, which is boosting commitment and helping everyone understand the importance of church. It's paying off though, and we're determined to help all of these people progress!

In the mean time I'm continuing to learn the importance of talking with everyone. This week we went on exchanges with our district leader Elder Davis, who came to our area with me. Since I don't know the area too well yet, I was limited on where to go all day. Luckily we have a ton of apartments in our area and people are always out and about. Luckily x2, Elder Davis is set on talking with everyone anyway, which is one of my favorite characteristics in a companion. So, we just started walking and knocking in the Utah "ghetto" which is a high concentration of non members, so tracting kinda works for once. The blessings of talking with everyone between appointments got us three return appointments with two part member families and a less active family. 

We've already met with the LA family, and they are honestly seeking the truth! They are a young couple who are attending a different non denominational Christian church instead of the LDS church. They said they feel happy now that they've switched churches, and a big reason why they left is because they felt the people of the church were judgmental and too condemning of small mistakes such as drinking a cup of coffee. Now they feel happy without the church, and what we're trying to help them understand through the regular missionary lessons and the spirit is that their "happiness" seems to be more of relief from pressure that was trying to help them grow and be refined. They feel comfortable now because they don't have the restrictions and opposition that comes from striving to keep Heavenly Father's commandments. Their "happiness" is not allowing them to progress. So that's what we need to help them identify. Plus they don't believe Joseph Smith was a prophet, but they believe the Book of Mormon is true because they "can understand it." They have problems and concerns, but they are moldable and they trust us. They want us to come back to answer their questions and teach them the lessons.

Also, this week a part member couple we were teaching took off to Avondale, AZ. Their names are Paul and Samantha and they have two little kids! Paul is less-active. Holy cow the lesson I've learned from him is "don't judge Paul by his cover." haha his initial image reflects his past life pretty well. He's been involved with some crazy things which I probably can't share in this email! But gosh he's sooo sincere and wants to change and be a good father. He asked us if it's ever too late to repent. We shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them and it's exactly what they needed. Samantha loves the gospel already and wants to be baptized. Super prepared and super golden! The only problem is they're leaving! She'll be baptized soon (hopefully) down in AZ. What a blessing it was to get to know them and teach them and help them take the next step. We will miss them!

Goodness we've had a lot of other good blessings this week now that I look back at it! It's so awesome to see the blessings that come from this work. I've missed two days in my journal my whole mission. I've collected a lot of blessings. The church is true!

Elder Payne!


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