Sunday, December 30, 2012

Week 21 - December 24,2012 - Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad!

Well as you all know I am training and I just finished my first week with my new companion. He is not native, but is from Guatamala and doesn´t speak one word of english. His name is Elder Santiago. The first day that we were companions he told me "I was hoping that I would get you as my companion because I want to learn english!" hahaha Every day from 11-12 we have language study and he reads from the english Book of Mormon and I read from the spanish one. I think it´s more frustrating trying to help him learn english than it was for me to learn spanish!! But he is an interesting dude, he doesn´t talk much in lessons and I am pretty much talking throughout the entire lesson. I am exhausted by the end of the day because I am learning so much and my head is killing me!! But it´s all good because we are having a lot of success!!!

So everyone out here calls the trainers ¨papa¨ and it´s super funny because I feel like he´s literally my son! He won´t do anything until I tell him to and he just waits for me to act and then he follows. I mean I know he only has 3 weeks into his mission but it´s just funny. He won´t let me go anywhere without being right by my side! Let me tell ya...before my mission that was one of my biggest pet peeves- when someone just follows you around, but now I´m a missionary and I have a lot more patience with that kinda stuff. When I have to go to the bathroom in our house he will follow me and stand outside the bathroom until I am done!! In the morning if I put on a black sweater, so will he... If I wear a red tie, so will he!  This kid´s dedication is incredible!! He is very loyal, he also thinks I´m the most hilarious kid in the world. He laughs at everything I do and he always tells me how funny I am...I mean I know I´m hilarious but he gives me a little too much credit ;)

Well my birthday was on Saturday and thank you all for my birthday wishes and emails!! I have the most amazing friends and family in the world!! Even though I am thousands of miles away, it makes me feel like I am right at home!! We had a baptism in our ward in the morning and it was awesome because the family is less active and we have been working with them for a while! Their son is 8 years old and one of the members baptized him and it was awesome!! Then we went to our Christmas party with our president and a bunch of missionaries here. It was pretty fun!! We had some good food there and then just got to hang out for a while. Then we came back to our area and had a few good lessons!! We found 2 new investigators and set a baptismal date with one!!  Last week was awesome!! We have set 3 baptismal dates last week and found 4 new investigators!! We are super happy for our success and we are just working our butts off!!

As for District´s tough!!  I have to deal with missionaries and other people who have legit problems!! It is very tough but also very rewarding!! I am happy to be doing it because I love having the opportunity to serve others. I am here for 19 more months and as much as I hate to say this- I hope they are the hardest 19 months ever! Obviosuly at the time I don´t want to have trials, but when they are over, I can look back and see how much I learned! 

Last week, our ward went to the temple to do baptisms. Denisse and Yazbek both went!! It is awesome because as missionaries, ultimately our goal is to bring people to the temple and two of my converts did that last week!! Rosario is showing a lot more interest because of the change in Denisse! She stopped smoking on Friday night because she said she would stop on my birthday and I called her this morning and she told me she hasn´t smoked since then!!! We are hoping to set her baptismal date for the next couple weeks...we don´t want to pressure her into getting baptized. 

Well yesterday I almost died!!! No really...I LITERALLY thought I was going to die! We went to a members house and they gave us chicken, rice, and beans...crazy meal huh?  They had peppers on the table and I asked what kind they were. She responded with ¨Chili Manzana¨ which in english is 'apple chili.'  So I didn´t think much of it and I put a piece in my mouth...biggest regret of my life!!! It was the spiciest thing I have ever had in my life!!!  I´m not kidding it felt like someone stabbed my stomach with a knife and was torturing my body!! It was the weirdest feeling in my life!! I didn´t have control of my body, I tried to play it off like I was okay but I was just dripping sweat and shaking like crazy!! It was one of the worst experiences I have had on my mission so far!!
Well that was my week!! I am glad you guys partied it up on my birthday...without me!! hahaha I mean obviously I would love to be home with you guys during this time of the year but I´m glad you guys are doing things the way I would want to do things on my birthday!! Buffalo Wild Wings and a warriors game is perfect!! I am making so many sacrifices here and being away for these holidays is one of them. But I hope you guys are feeling the blessings hahaha

Well I hope you all have an amazing Christmas and enjoy this time! Obviosuly I want to be home tomorrow but I know that won´t happen and the next best thing I could ask for is to skype with my family... and that will happen haha!! 
Well I love you all and thank you so much for the support!!

Elder Mike Payne

Here are some more pictures and captions from Mike!

Funniest old grandma in the world!  We asked her to pose and that's what she did.  She is hilarious!  The Mom to Sister Luz

Familia Martel - this is like my seconds family out here!  I will probably be hanging with them most of Christmas
My breakfast!  I take my vitamins everyday so I don't get sick!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Week 20 - December 17, 2012 - Just when I thought it couldn't get any harder...


So on Saturday during one of our lessons Elder Silos and I get a phone call from President. He asked to speak to me. This doesn´t happen very often. When I started talking to him he was very nice and just started telling me how proud he was of the success of Elder Silos and I over these past few months. He then told me how well my spanish is coming along and how much potential he sees in me. Then he gave me the news...Ëlder Payne. I have a leadership position for you. I want you to be a trainer this next transfer. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!  So yes... I will be training this next transfer. All the new missionaries are flying in today so I won´t know until tomorrow who my companion is. I hope I get a native companion only because my spanish is getting pretty good, and I don't want to lose it!

Then on Sunday the zone leaders called everyone in the zone for a group call. They usually do this when a bunch of changes are being made. They went through everyone and told them where they were all going to serve. They got to Elder Silos and told him that he was going to serve in Morelia. He was super excited because that is an awesome part of the mission. Then they got to me and I responded with a very fearful 'ëstoy aqu'. They then proceeded to tell me that I was also going to be district leader this next transfer. THIS IS SOME SORT OF SICK JOKE!! haha  I mean I´m nervous but I know I can do it. I read the scripture, 1 Nephi 3:7 and it says that "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded for I know that he giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them.¨  I know that I will probably pray more than ever in this next transfer and I will be relying on the Lord A LOT!! 

Although I am a little freaked out I am happy that President trusts me enough to train and lead my district. This will be an opportunity for me to learn a ton about myself and to serve others around me! 

Well on Tuesday elder Silos and I almost got arrested! hahaha So this story starts off a couple months ago when some drunk guy stopped us on the street so that he could tell me his deportation story. Anyways a couple weeks ago we saw him walking down the street and he stopped us again...this time he was sober. He didn´t remember talking to us so we just acted like we didn´t remember either.  He told us that he was baptized 3 years ago and that he wants to go to church with us. He asked if we would go by his house to give him directions how to get to church.

So Elder Silos and I went to his house last Tuesday. He was super high and extremely drunk. He told us that he wanted to walk to the store a couple houses down and asked if we would walk with him. So Elder Silos and I accompanied him to this ¨tienda.¨ After he bought two beers, we started walking back to his house. We heard sirens and turned around and the cops were there to arrest him for being drunk in public hahaha!! It was funny until the cop started yelling at me!! He thought that Elder Silos and I had been drinking too and he started to inspect me haha!! Another cop got out of the car and said, ¨They´re missionaries! They´re not doing anything wrong!¨ I was so scared, I thought I was done for! 

So pretty much everyone here is catholic and one of their main beliefs is in the Vrigins Mary and Guadalupe. They praise these two people just as much as they praise God. So on Wednesday was ¨Dia de los virgines¨ here in Mexico. Everyone walks around the streets and chants all these prayers! In the centro here in Guadalajara there´s a huge catholic temple and over 1,000,000 people went to chant and do ceremonial things.  We got so many weird looks that day, but it was pretty entertaining!

We had a lesson with Rosario and she told us that she isn´t ready to get baptized yet but knows that she needs to. She is trying super hard to stop smoking and it is awesome to see her desire. I hope she doesn´t lose interest in the church now that Elder Silos is gone. She loves us, she told Elder Silos that he needs to return to marry her daughter and that when I finish my mission to return and marry her. hahaha Kinda freaked me out but they are hilarious! They just love to mess with us so I hope my new companion will be cool and that her progress will still keep on going strong!!

So this week I lived off of 50 pesos. I wanted to see if I could do it (50 pesos is about $3.50).  I lasted all the way up until Saturday hahaha! I was pretty proud of myself!!

Well my brithday is coming up this Saturday!! Thank you to all 43 people who gave me a happy brithday shout out!! Sorry- there is no way I can write you all back so there is your shout-out! hahaha  It's so nice to know you care!

Well next week I will be SKYPING you guys!! I am so excited to talk to you guys in person (kinda) to see how you are all doing!! You can all open my box that I sent on Christmas Eve so that I can explain everything to you when we talk! I didn´t have time to organize it very well but I will explain when we talk!!

Well I love you guys and I hope you are all doing well! Pray for me hahaha I am going to need it next transfer!! I am working as hard as I can and I know that I am doing the Lords work!! As missionaries we are establishing the kindom of heaven here on this earth. We don´t need to be called on a 2 year mission to do that! Everyone can help fulfill the Lords work by being an example. You can say all you want about what you believe but to LIVE those beliefs makes you who you are!! 

Stay classy,
Elder Mike Payne

(Here are some of the pictures Mike sent this week with captions he attached!)
"This is Rosario and the fam!  If we can get Rosario baptized there will be a lot of baptisms in the future!"
"This is one of the streets on 'Day of the Virgins.'  They decorate the streets and it looks super cool!"
"This is the cutest ever!  haha I love her so much!"
"I made Elder Silos and I a super good breakfast for our last breakfast together."
"This is my last picture with Elder Silos.  This is when we dropped him off at the bus station." 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 19 - December 10, 2012 - My Cup Runneth Over

Hello Everyone!

Well we just got back from Wal Mart...boy do I love that place!! I´m not kidding that might be where Payne Family vacation 2014 is held! It is civilized and has electronics and everything you could ever want!! haha  If you guys saw my area you would probably love Wal Mart as much as I do hahaha!!

We had a few lessons with Rosario, the mom of Denisse. We are working really hard with her because she is trying so hard to stop smoking and she is improving more and more each day. She is now down to one cigarette every other day...pretty good from being at about a pack a day!! But we had a lesson with her on Thursday and we set a baptismal date with her. We first set the date for December 28 and then Denisse said ¨Mom you need to get baptized before their transfers!! What if one of them leaves?!  So then Rosario said that she is trying for this Friday...meaning she needs to give up smoking completely by Wednesday! So we are going to fast for her tomorrow and we are praying like crazy for her!! Also her husband who is not a member of the church, asked if I had any more root beer candies because he wants to try and stop smoking too!!!!! Little by little but it was awesome...but unfortunately I don´t have any more root beer candies haha is there any way you guys can send me some?? :)

So this past week everyone in our zone had a meeting with mission president. All missionaries have a meeting with him every few months. But 2 weeks ago I went on divisions with one of the assistants, Elder Mckie. He is super cool. But anyways he came and stayed in our house for the night but as he was looking around our house, he saw the poster of Carlee´s BYU soccer team. He has been on his mission for 22 months so he was just mesmorized to see good looking girls!  But anyways, in my meeting with the president, he asked, ¨So I hear you have an inappropriate poster in your that true?¨HAHA ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! That´s the one thing I hate about missionaries! I can´t even have a poster of Carlee´s soccer team on my wall because it is too big of a distraction?!  President was cool about it but he just said, ¨Yeah it may be your sister... but it's not Elder Silos´ sister.¨ So I had to take it down ;(

Well funny story...I kinda felt bad but it was funny yesterday at church, during sacrament meeting, some little boy got up to go to the bathrrom by himself. About 5 minutes later he comes running into the chapel pants down to his ankles because he couldn´t pull his pants up... he was trying to find his mom. Anyways, this kid is completely naked and then he tripped and fell on his face and was just crying laying face down on the ground, butt in the air, in the middle of sacrament meeting! It was so funny but I felt so bad and embarrassed for him!

Well that´s about it for the week!  We are hoping to have Rosario´s baptism this Friday and most likely by the next time you hear from me I will have a new companion!! Pretty crazy how fast time flies by! Elder Silos and I were talking about it the other´s weird to look back on time and see how fast time goes by... but when you look into the future it seems so far away! Like I was thinking about you guys running the half marathon (dad and Christy) and I was thinking about the other one you guys ran and that was two years ago! It doesn´t seem like that long ago!! 

But yeah I am trying to stay positive during this holiday season and I´m just trying to remember why I am here! The week of Christmas our zone is going to do a service project. They asked for ideas and I told them what dad did on his mission - go to a hospital and deliver toys and candy and sing to the little kids. Well, I think we are going to do it!! And I am kind of in charge of it all! There´s a hospital in an area close to ours so I have to call them this week to see if we can go! It´s pretty exciting and we are hoping we can do it!

My Spanish is getting better, my companion says that sometimes I talk in my sleep and it's in spanish!! haha

Also our ward started home teaching!!!  It is awesome!! So we are super close with the first counselor of the Elders Quorum and I sat down with him and talked with him about the whole idea and how it is set up in my ward. We ended up talking for like 2 hours about it and finding guys in the ward who would get along well with less actives and we just took a long time pairing people up and deciding who they were going to visit. Well two weeks ago he sent out all the little pieces of paper of who visits who, and this week was they started doing Home teaching!! It is awesome because we are starting to get some references now because of it. 

Well I love you all and I hope everything is going well with you!! I can´t believe I will be talking to the family in 2 weeks!! I can't wait!!  Have an awesome week and pray for the missionaries! They need all the prayers they can get haha!

Con Amor,
Elder Mike Payne

Here is Mike on Thanksgiving eating his favorite - Dipping Fingers!!!
Here is Mike holding Donaldo in his huge clothes
Donaldo and Mike's companion, Elder Silos, after Donaldo's baptism

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Week 18 - December 3, 2012 - A Good Time Had by All

So today has been a pretty crazy day! Elder Silos told me that it takes about a month for me to send a package home, meaning you guys wouldn´t get it for christmas! So we went to a correo (I forgot the word in english) to send my package. They said that I had to take all my valuables out because it wouldn´t be able to cross the border if anything broke. So then we went to a different correo and they said the same thing and that I should go to FedEx. So then we got directions to that and we went to FedEx. I was so tired of carrying this package; remember we walk everywhere! Especially because if you want to send something over the border they have to inspect it so my package was just open and everyone that walked by looked at what I had. I thought someone was going to steal it! haha  I ended up sending it through FedEx.

Well earlier this week was probably the closest I have been to throwing up here on my mission. We went and taught a less active family that lives in very rough conditions (I´m just gunna leave it at that hahaha). So we were startring to talk to this family and we were about to start the lesson and one of their kids was crying so both parents got up to go see what happened. They don´t really have a house so we just teach them in the street pretty much. But they also have another little boy who is 4 years old and he doesn´t like to wear clothes. 

So he decided that it would be a good idea and squat and take a dump right in front of me!! I´m not kidding I started gagging!! Then he started to PLAY WITH IT!!!! it was play dough or something! Elder Silos was laughing so hard because he was sitting pretty far from me and couldn´t smell it. And then the parents came back and looked at his brown hands and asked what he was doing. The mom smelled his hands and almost threw up! It was awful!! 

Well we had another baptism last Friday. It was really good. We baptized a girl named Pariz. She is ten years old and she is just the cutest little girl ever! She is always smiling and just so happy! I forgot my camera in the house so I didn´t take any pictures but her mom said she would send them to me. I got to baptize her and it was awesome! Her Dad is less active and he came to her baptism and confirmation and told us he is going to start coming back to church and that he wants to pretty much change his life!! 

On Friday we ate a less active members house!! I felt so bad because they practically don´t have anything. I just completely lost my appetite...we walked into their house and they had SO MANY flies!!! It was so nasty!! We had chicken with tons of fat on it!! It was super funny because the whole time elder silos and I would take a sip of water and then just eat the chicken like it was pills...I don't think I took one bite that meal. I really don't want to get sick like last week again!

The first 2 months here it has just been non stop hard work and pretty much running to is super frustrating because once my companion hit his 19 month mark, all he thinks about is going home. Every night he has a dream of going home and then he just tells me throughout the entire day about his dreams and how he only has 5 months left!  So, this past week I am trying to have more fun with him. So we have just been laughing a lot and having fun. I mean I came on my mission to work hard but also have a good time. It is super hard right now with my comp so I am just trying to enjoy our last 2 weeks together because we´re pretty certain that he is getting transferred on Dec.17 (our next transfer).
On Saturday I tried to study something that would help Elder Silos. Right now we don´t have many investigators because we have baptized all of them (not such a bad problem!) so he´s also pretty frustrated with that. I decided to study the lives of Ammon and Nephi. I learned a lot but to sum it all up I learned that numbers don´t matter. In the life of Ammom he baptized thousands and Nephi didn´t baptize anyone. They were both prophets called of God and they both did exactly what he wanted to do. Sometimes we are placed in situations where we get to see results quick and other times we don´t see any results. The most important thing that we can do is do everything God wants. If we do everything he commands us then we will receive so many blessings!

So this year I will be calling on Christmas Day (last year the missionaries called on Christmas eve). But I´m almost certain that we will get to skype!! I´m super excited for that!! Usually every year the missionaries go to the temple for a session the week of Christmas but our President changed things up a bit. Instead we are all going out to eat at a nice restaurant on December 22!! Just so happens that that is my birthday!! So I am super excited about that! 

Well, Dad and Christy goodluck with your half marathon this week!! I will be thinking of you guys on Saturday!! I am so proud of you guys!! You will do awesome...I hope hahaha! 

Well I love you all so much and I hope everything is going well for all of you!! I know I am not placed in the best situations but I am just trying to be positive with everything and trying to make the most of it. At times it is so hard and I want to come home but I need to remember why I am here. My family will always be there for me but my mission won´t. I know I will miss this mission when it is all over so I´m trying to serve with no regrets and live every day to the fullest!

I am going to end this email the same way i started...I quote from Grandma...
¨Continue to live your lives daily so that the Lord can use you to bless the lives of others.¨

Elder Mike Payne

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week 17 - November 26, 2012 - 4 Months!!!

Only 20 more to go, huh?

So, today, on P-day, we went to this place called San Juan De Dios and it was nuts!!! Everything there is literally stolen from other stores!!  It was like those crazy flea markets where people are just yelling at you to buy their stuff... and it didn´t help that I couldn´t understand their crazy fast spanish!!  For those of you that aren't familiar with missionary lingo, 'P-day' is my 'Personal Day' where I do my laundry, grocery shopping, clean the apartment and check emails.  It's one of my favorite days because I get to read all of your emails!

My Thanksgiving wasn't so great.  On Wednesday we had a lesson with Rosario and she is really struggling with her cigarettes. We told her that we would fast and pray for her if she promised to not have a cigarette. She agreed, so instead of feasting or having beef jerky for thanksgiving I had nothing!  But it was for a better cause, right? I also fasted for Carlee and her soccer team... looks like I wasn´t so worthy that day because Rosario smoked 3 cigarettes and Carlee´s team lost :/

Well, Friday we had Donaldo´s baptism and that was pretty cool. We always seem to have trials when it comes to baptism... they never just work out as we planned haha!! So we didn´t have clothing his size (he's 9 years old), so we asked the other elders that live close to us to bring some, it turns out it was size 34/32!!! Are you kidding me?! That is too big for me!! haha  We ended up making it work but when Donaldo looked in the font and saw that it was full of water, he was scared and didn´t want to be baptized anymore. We coaxed him into the water and he thought it wasn't so bad.

Before Donaldo´s baptism on Friday, Elder Silos and I ate at a member's house. We had chicken, spaghetti, and salad.  The chicken had some sort of infection, they cleaned the salad with bad water, and they used about a gallon of butter for the spaghetti. Anyways, Elder Silos woke up in the middle of the night and asked if I could give him a blessing. I then stayed up with him for a while because his body was in a lot of pain and he couldn´t feel his hands and legs!! It was pretty scary!

We called Sister Camarillo in the morning to see what to do and she told us to call the mission doctor. He prescribed some pills to Elder Silos. We went and picked them up and on the way back I was feeling super weak and I almost passed out. I was feeling the same symptoms that Elder Silos had.  When he started to feel a little better it was time to go teach. I was feeling super sick but I decided to suck it up and go teach! Not a good idea... I fell asleep in a lesson!!!  Luckily no one realized except for me but it was awful!!

I ended up with a really high fever! I was feeling super hot (temperature and looks ;) haha) so when we got to the house later that night I decided to put tons of layers on and sleep with a sweatshirt and my two pairs of sweatpants. My mommy taught me that when I have a fever I need to sleep with layers and sweat it out... well it turns out my mom is a wise woman... I felt good in the morning but Elder Silos was still feeling terrible!! He hasn´t eaten food since FRIDAY!!! The doctors told him to just have liquids! Crazy!!

Well we have another baptism set for this Friday so we´re looking forward to that!! I am working my butt off every day and there are days that I want to come home and times that I question what I am doing out here but I KNOW that this is where I need to be! I am going through some CRAZY experiences but I know that this is preparing me for the rest of my life. I like what dad said to me:  ¨If nothing else, do this for your future wife and kids.¨  I am working so hard and I know that there is no better work to do than a mission. 

I love you all and I hope you all have an awesome week!!

Elder Mike Payne