Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mike's First Email - Week 1 - August 2, 2012

Friends and Family,

Wow!! What a crazy week. I don't even know where to start. I guess ill just start by telling you all of my first day experiences. So as I said goodbye to the family I had never felt so may have been because of in-n-out but i don't know. I was so exhausted and the only place I wanted to be was on the couch at home taking a nap. As elder "Stevenson" was hosting and touring me around, I wasn't even listening to him. All I could focus on was that I just left my family and I was about to begin the hardest two years of my life. I had to enter this building to check in, get my name tag, and take my missionary picture for the MTC. It was about 100 degrees outside, I was in a full suit, and I was crying...just imagine what that picture ended up looking like hahaha. As I walked out of the building doors, I hear a "ohhhhhhhhh nooooooo!" and I look up and I see Elder Thawley and Elder Bebel. It was their P-Day so they were just hangin out. I then almost get tackled by Elder Folsom. I couldn't be happier to see al their faces. It was such a relief to see all my friends within the first few minutes of entering. After I talked to them for a bit, I went to put my suit cases in my room and then my host took me to my class. As I entered the class, my teacher spoke to me ONLY in spanish. I had no clue what he was saying...I was just more focused on wiping all the sweat off my face!! After about 4 hours of class, we went to dinner. Everyone says that if you don't like the food here, your mom is a pretty good cook. Lets just say my mom might be Rachel Ray! hahahaha but that doesnt mean I need tons of food haha so don't worry family. I'm okay.  think I'm good for the next 2 years just from the packages I've received so far hahaha. After dinner, all the new missionaries enetered this big audotorium and we sang and listened to some of the MTC presidency talk. There were 350 new missionaries that entered the same day as me! The opening hymn of the meeting was the efy medley. In the song it says "we will be the Lords missionaries" but in the song we sang the words on the screen said "we are NOW the Lords missionaries." When I saw that I broke down. I immediately had one thing in mind and that was to work as hard as I could to honor my nametag and serve the Lord as best as i can.

Each day keeps getting better and faster. On day two, I was assigned to be district leader over 9 other missionaries. I have mixed feelings about it. I love to lead and to set an example but everyone said that once the first Sunday comes, it all starts to speed up...not for me. Dad I feel your pain hahaha. I was in either church or meetings from 7:30am-8:30pm. LONGEST day of my life!!! I am so happy to be out here though. The harder I work, the less time I have to think about family and all the things I left behind. My branch presidency told me that as district leader it is my job to help the elders in my district stay on their missions. Once we leave the MTC it is up to them but as for now it is my responsibility to be there for the elders if they need it. I have had a couple midnight knocks on the door with kids that are struggling with homesickness and leaving their girlfriends. I am SOOOO happy I didnt have a girlfriend before I came out here!! Best decision I ever made!

My companion is cool. His name is Elder Poston (pronounced like "just postin up with the homies"). I am rooming with two other guys going to the same mission and one of them has become like one of my best friends. He is from Highland, Utah and his name is Elder Murdock. His roommate, Elder James, is absolutely incredible! Listen to this story of his life. His mom had him at 19 years old before she was married and when he was 3 years old. They adopted triplets all 2 years younger then him and then he had one more brother who was one. His parents got a divorce because his dad was abusive. One weekend when all the kids went to visit their dad in Chicago, the police went outside and arrested him for rape and abuse. Elder James and his brothers and sisters all went to foster homes for a couple weeks, not being able to see eachother. All of his life, Elder James has had to be the father figure for his "kids" and has had to help his mom provide for the family by tutoring after school every day. I cried when I heard his story. I have gained so much respect for him.

One of the elders in my district is soooo funny!!! We tell him to do something and he does it. He is about 6'1" and weighs 260. We always make bets that he can't fit an entire piece of cake in his mouth and to our surprise he will try every time. He fails just about every time and starts gagging but it gives us something to laugh at hahahaha thats pretty messed up huh?

It is so funny when I go to get the mail. As district leader I have to go to the mailbox and get all the mail. I check it about 2 or 3 times a day and my district now has an over/under competition to see how many letters/dear elders I'm going to get each day. The most I have received was 14 in one day. Come on guys you gotta step it up!!! hahaha and so far I have received 6 packages! Thanks Bean family for the cookies!!! I LOVE getting letters so please write me! I promise I will write back! I'm a super good writer now so write me and you'll see for yourself ;)

The showers here are the worst things about the MTC. There are pretty much two temperatures: Hell and Antarctica! It is so painful because at one point you feel like you are having a third degree burn and then the next second you feel like you are getting frostbite!! There is one shower that is okay except for the water is like an old man's pee's not always constant. The shower will shut off for about 30 seconds and then start back up so you just kinda have to wait. hahaha

- Dan I will get back to ya soon! Thanks for the dear elder
- Jeff- I got both of your dear elders and I will write you within the next couple days
- Friends: you all wanted a shoutout in my first email home so here it is
- Mitch I am so glad you had fun in Disneyland with the boys. I will be writing you tomorrow night!!
- Carlee- One of the elders in my district loves the byu womens soccer team. Can you do me a huge favor and sign one of your playing cards that says "Elder Moss, best of luck in Colombia" hahaha that would be awesome!!!!

In Moses 6:31, 32 it says "And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake befiore the Lord saying; 'Why is iot that I have found favor in thy sight and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?'  And the Lord said unto Enoch: 'Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth and it shall be filled, and I will give the utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.'"

I know that if I have the spirit with me at all times, I will be filled with words that are not mine. I have had some crazy experiences so far where I am giving a lesson and I don't even know what I am saying but it ends up being perfect spanish. I know that the gift of tongues is true and I am in shock of how much I have learned in just one week.

DC 123: 12
For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of me, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the earth because they know not whgere to find it.

People are just waiting for me to invite them to be baptized. As missionaries, we are called to the work and to 'invite others to come unto Christ.' Our purpose as missionaries is to bring the same happiness and joy that we have in our lives into their lives as well.

Yesterday my teacher gave me the BIGGEST compliment ever. I was studying during personal time and my teacher asked if I could talk to him outside. He told me that he thinks I have the most potential to be the best missionary he has seen come through the MTC. He said that I am a great leader and that once I get the language down it will be dangerous at how many people I will be able to baptize.
Yo se que la iglesia de jesucristo is verdadero y yo estoy agredecido para mi familia y al amor. Yo se que Dios es el Padre Celestial y El hijo es Jesucristo. Yo se que el libro de mormon es verdadero y Thomas S. Monson es un profeita verdadero. Tenemos un amoroso Padre y las familias son eternas. Esty agredecido para mis bendiciones y yo amo mi familia y mis amigos. La iglesia es verdadero!!!! Soy un missionario!!

Con amor,
 Elder Mike Payne

Oh and by the way...CONGRATULATIONS  CHRISTY, DAN, AND BAILEY!!!! I love you guys so much and I know you guys will do great in California. My prayers are with you (that means a lot coming from a missionary) ;)


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