Elder Zachary Payne

Elder Zachary Payne

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Wow this past week has been a blessed one! It's been challenging, particularly for my companion. He's been getting really frustrated with the work in the area lately, and it's really starting to affect him. He's becoming discouraged, which is weakening his faith, just like it says in Preach My Gospel. There's a lot of factors that are contributing...lack of committed investigators and lack of member support to name a couple. It's a super good reason to be discouraged to be honest...he's sooo focused on the work all the time. Like when we both hit our heads on the pillow at night he'll ask me something like "hey elder what can we do to help the zone meet their goals??" It's a big blessing for me to have such a focused companion. But yeah he's struggling a little bit and we're both afraid that he's just going to stop caring pretty soon. Well if there's one thing that I've learned on my mission, especially from my trainer Elder Gomez, it's that life's too short to be pessimistic. Be positive!! Look at the good in everything, because if you don't then you won't be happy...ever.

We were talking about it the other day and I honestly got tired of his negativity and for the lack of a better word his complaining. I wasn't mad at him or anything...I just felt depressed! haha so I spoke up and just told him straight up that our zone and area are doing the best they ever have been. We're baptizing and hitting our goals better than we have in the past several months. We're getting to the top of a peak, and Satan knows it. He's trying as hard as he can to discourage us and throw us off track so that we'll go back down. And he's starting to do it. A ton of missionaries in our zone are getting discouraged because Satan just wants us to fail and feel like dirt. We can't let that happen! The ONLY way we're going to keep going up and progressing is if we push through these little trials and remain optimistic. Otherwise Satan will win. 

Well I told him something along those lines and he perked up a lot. Plus he's been studying and pondering on what he can do. He just feels stuck, and I've been there too so I know what it's like. We had interviews with President this week and I told him that I feel that a big reason why I was sent to this area was to lift encourage inspire and help Elder Richhart get back to where he needs to be. President agreed and said that's what he feels too (among other things). So even though he's still discouraged, I'm helping him to help himself focus on the positive things.

We had a couple baptisms this weekend! The first one was Lily, our little 9 year old investigator. Super awesome little girl...she just told her mom one day that she wanted to be baptized. Her mom's not a member, but she supported Lily's decision. Lily didn't really know why she wanted to be baptized, but after teaching her the lessons, she knows exactly why. It's sooo cool! She's a huge example to us and especially to her family near and far. She even went to all three hours of church by herself one week! And she apparently drilled her LA biological dad with the baptismal questions the night before her baptism and he didn't know the answers to some of them! haha but yeah the baptism went super well, except for the fact that her grandpa baptized her with his left arm to the square the first time and we didn't catch it until a bishopric member mentioned it haha. I knew something wasn't right. But everything went well, including the confirmation the next day! 

Our other baptism was for Dave! He finally got baptized! He moved into the Green Valley sister's area so it counted for them and for their stake. But that couldn't prevent us from going! His went really well too. I'm just glad he finally took that step. After his confirmation yesterday, he was just beaming from ear to ear and at that moment I was reminded that what we teach and preach as missionaries...Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost...is real, and it truly affects the children of God for their benefit. He just looks so purified and cleansed and happy. It was awesome! 

Focus on your blessings this week! I love you guys!

Elder Payne!


Happy Mother's day!

Well I'm just over here at the Family History center...staying weird haha. Skype was awesome! Apparently the family we were with had their son facetiming them at the same time that I was skyping you guys haha. We had a great week this week. The member work is really lacking though in this area, which I'm not used to. My last two areas we worked with members all the time and now it's just the two of us doing all the work. Well that might be an exaggeration but still, it's a struggle. That's been one of my goals...to get the members excited about helping us out, because I'm not a fan of doing all the finding and teaching and contacting on our own. I think it's starting to work little by little.

In the mean time we're teaching some awesome people. Lily is on track to be baptized this weekend which is awesome, and so is Dave. We picked up a new investigator who is probably 75 or so and is super Catholic, and he's white, which is usually the most brutal kind of Catholic here in Utah. The hispanics are "catolico" but don't really do anything about it. John on the other hand does his whole cross thing when we pray and even participates in Ash Wednesday. He's a super nice guy! Retired doctor and currently volunteers at the St. George hopsital. He's a big believer in the fact that it's unethical to tear down other faiths, so in that spirit he's decided to learn about the LDS religion from the source, which is the missionaries (hey that's us!) He's super respectful but very literate in the fact that he tries to find records and books about church and religion history. He found what's apparently called "The Elder's Journal" (never heard of it) and in it someone asked apostle Orson Pratt "Who founded the Roman Catholic church?" and Orson Pratt responded "The Devil!" and so John called us and told us about it and thought that was a little harsh haha. Oh boy. Well we're just going to do our best to help him act in a way that will help him feel the spirit, because that's what converts people. 

Hmm but yeah things are going well! I got the itinerary from mom, so thanks. It was good to see everyone! Back to work!

Elder Payne!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tough Week, But Still Lot's of Work to Do!

Oh my gosh we missed standards by 1 new investigator! Noooooooo haha that's the worst. We've had some other general let downs this week including giving one of our investigators to the Green Valley sisters. Dave is his name, and he's quit smoking and is getting baptized this upcoming saturday! But he recently moved out of our area and this week at MLC president said that investigators have to be baptized in the ward that they live in, no questions asked. If they want to be baptized into any other ward, they need permission from the Presiding Bishopric of the church. Oh! didn't know that. Well I had the WML blow up on me on the phone when he called to find out about it. He was not happy that he was losing a baptism in his ward! But he had a change of heart and is on our side again. Anyway yeah. I'm okay with it though because of the progress he's made. I feel super good about it actually because he went to his new ward yesterday and this ward has really good fellowshipping already. Plus we're being obedient and putting him under the proper stewardship. I'm not sad at all that we're "losing" him. He's still getting baptized and we're still going to be there for it! Dave such an awesome guy...he's like Shane from Little Valley only more elect and committed (but I still love shane to death, don't get me wrong!) He's gone from over a pack of smokes a day to nothing. He knows what he's getting himself into and he's willing to do it. Such an awesome example!
Despite the struggles of this week, we're still super blessed. Our church attendance is starting to go up, and we've taught a ton of lessons this week. Plus we had a baptism this weekend! It was Bill's turn this time. What a character. At his wedding a couple weeks ago for the big "I Do" he said "Yes...well I kind of have to...it's on Facebook and we have over 75 comments" haha and his new bride smacked his arm haha. They're a cute couple, both in their late 30's. Anyway, Bill's baptism was one of the best on my mission honestly. It came together sooo well and I think what really added to the atmosphere was the family/friend support that was there. Elder Richhart and I got to be the witnesses and his knee came out so they had to do it twice and everyone laughed especially Bill, but it was still super spiritual. He got up unexpectedly after the talks and bore his testimony. He's a changed man! Then the bishop got up and shared some strong remarks about being cleansed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Then we sang "God Be with You..." and I had a flashback to the MTC when we sang it in spanish the night before we all left to the field. My whole mission flashed before my eyes! Super awesome moment....all the happiness of my mission concentrated into one moment!
We had my last zone meeting this week! aaaahhhhh crazy! We had a good meeting. There were 27 young missionaries and 4 stake senior missionaries, plus Pres/Sis Center joined us as well! It flowed really well. ZM's are three hours. For the first hour we led the meeting in a discussion about the atonement of Jesus Christ, which is the reason behind everything we do. Super spiritual. Lot's of missionaries said it was the most spiritually uplifting zm they've ever had. We shared scriptures on the atonement and then sang hymn 195 and had all of them write down their thoughts on their Savior. It was super powerful!

We had my last MLC this week, which means at the end all the missionaries going home get to bear their testimonies. Hey that's me! There were four of us at MLC that are leaving this transfer, and I was last out of them. I don't get too emotional when I testify...in fact only a couple times on my mission have I actually cried as I shared my testimony. Well I managed to fight back my emotions pretty well but I definitely got a little shaky and teary. It's soooo crazy to be in this position. It feels unreal...more unreal than saying bye before I left. So needless to say, I'm giving it my all these last three weeks. I'm working harder and smarter than I have my whole mission, and the key is to rely on the Lord to put all of this experience I've gained into one last blast!
Well I'll see ya in a few days! haha dual meaning. Lot's of the missionaries here that are passing by me have been joking about that. "See you in a couple weeks mom!!" and then they laugh at me, which is weird because that's what I've been doing to dying missionaries for the past two years. Anyway I'll skype on Mother's day at 8pm my time, which is 7pm AZ time. Be there or be square!
Elder Payne!