Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 37 - April 22, 2013 - DEPORTED!

So yepp...I am being deported and headed back to the states for a couple days while my visa is being processed. I will be assigned to stay in the Houston Texas mission. So that will be pretty sweet I guess haha! I am going to the offices tonight and then tomorrow morning we leave to Texas. I am super excited because elder Murdock is going too so we are just gunna chill for a few days!!

Well this week was a super good week here in good ol mexico! On Tuesday and Wednesday we had leadership meetings all day and it was pretty good. President Camarillo told us some big news...Elder Christofferson is coming to speak to our mission the last week of May so that should be cool! Also we are going to start having American sisters serve in Mexico. President Camarillo said probably not here in Guadalajara because it wouldn´t be the best place for American girls to be!!

On Thursday I had a meeting with President Camarillo and oiur stake presidency! The zone leaders have a meeting with the mission president and the stake presidency every month so it wasn´t a big surprise but I was still pretty nervous. It was suyper cool though because President Camarillo was being super nice to me. Our zone in the last 3 months has only had 3 baptisms.  So far this month our zone has had 9 baptisms!!! We are super excited!! It has been a very good month. It just feels good to help make people's lives better.

Let me just tell you how happy I am that I was raised in a city and not on a farm!! I had the craziest experience of my life here on Saturday!! So we went to eat with a family on Saturday and as we walked into their house they had like 20 chickens running around. My first thoughts were ¨wow...only in mexico...¨ Then the mom told us that they were planning on killing a couple and she wanted ME to do it for them. She toild me that they have never killed a chicken before so they wanted me to do it for them! Okay this is some sort of sick joke!! So we ran around like idiots for about 30 minutes trying to catch the stupid things!!

Then as we finally caught them, I was expecting to go to some slaughter place to kill these chickens...but nope...the mom tells us to go over by the drain on the ground and just cut off the head. I asked her for a knife and she handed me a stake knife...I was expecting like a butcher's knife or something. Well anyways it wasn´t very sharp so I think I just tortured the chickens!! I had to like saw back and forth and on one of them I cut in the wrong place and started cutting through a super thick bone and it didn´t go to well. But I got the job done and as we were leaving the mom started taking all the feathers off the chicken. She then invited us to go back to her house tonight to eat it hahahaha I am so happy that I am going to the offices tonight because I am missing out on that wonderful experience...So Nasty!!!! Check the blog for pics!

Then Saturday after that whole incident we headed over to the church to prepare for our baptisms. We had 3 baptisms as a ward so that was pretty cool. It was actually the best baptism I have been to in my time here in Mexico. We couldn´t fit in the baptism room so we had to go to the chapel and have our program in there. Elder Castro and I baptized a guy named Miguel. He is such a stud! He is 23 and has had tons of health problems in the past. He went through chemotherapy for like 7 years of his life. He is the son of other recent converts and he has come such a long way!! He told us that he wants to be a missionary like us and that he is going to work as hard as he can to get all of his papers in by next year!!! I was like crying when he said that! He is so awesome!! The other two baptisms were of the other elders in our ward (Elder Hippard and Elder Hughes). It was such a good experience!!

Well that was it for my week. Such an awesome week and I am sure this next week will be pretty eventful as well! I am pretty excited to go back to the states fopr a couple days and I am going to try and get out to some super good Barbecue restaurant with Elder Murdock hahaha!!

I love you all and thank you so much for all the support!! Good bless and talk to ya´ll next week.

Les amo y que Dios les bendiga!! Cuidense mucho!!!

Elder Mike Payne
Sharpening the steak knife to kill my prey... I am so hard core!
Here we are trying to catch the chickens with laundry baskets haha
Me and Elder Hughes about to pounce!
Kissing the chicken
Cutting off the head
Liliana's baptism from last week
This person figured out that their car couldn't fit so they just decided to bend the bars on their garage door... a lot of garage doors look like that out here haha!!!
The baptisms this last week - Miguel, Brenda, Gabi, the last bishop (left), and the current bishop (right)
Miguel and his mom
The most people I have ever seen in a baptism.  I counted 43 that were there!  So awesome!

Week 36 - April 15, 2013 - Look for the GOOD

So this week was pretty good!! Sorry this email is going to be a little shorter because I don't have a lot of time.

Anyways, Tuesday night President called a bunch of the zone leaders to go to the offices to give him our missionary agendas. I was super nervous because he said he was going to a council with all the mission presidents in Mexico and they were going to revise them and see how we were doing with our agendas. The assistants told me that he only took the three best agendas and one of them was mine...not a big deal...I'm just a super good planner ;)

Then President called us on Wednesday and told me I was going to be having divisions with the assistants for the week. So I went to their area and worked. It was cool because that was an area in my old district so I got to see a few missionaries from the old district. It was fun though-I learned a ton from them!! We actually had a lot of success in their area. We found 3 new investigators and set a baptismal date with two of them. They were so happy because they aren't having any success in their area because they are hardly there! They told me they work like 2 days a week in their area so its super tough to have baptisms. So hopefully those two investigators will get baptized soon!!

Then I came back on Saturday morning and we had our baptism with Liliana. It was such a good baptism!! She invited a bunch of family and friends and because of her, we have 4 new investigators!! She is going to be such an amazing member!! She is super pumped up about sharing the gospel and particpating in all the activities we are having in our ward!! I am really excited to see her progress now as a member!!

Then Saturday after the baptism we had a lesson with our investigator who has his baptismal date set for next Saturday and he was asking us what time it was going to be at. hahaha so were almost positive that this kid is going to be baptized. He is so awesome...his name is Miguel and he is about 24 years old. He told us that he doesn't want to hang out with his friends anymore because he wants to be like us. We asked him what that meant and he said ¨I want to serve a mission too.¨ We were so happy to hear that and he is so awesome!! These last two weeks he has gone to church in his Mexico soccer jersey, basketball shorts, and his black hat that he always wears. We told him that he should probably wear different clothes and he felt so bad because he just thought that you should go to church in comfortable clothes. haha  But he is awesome so we will most likely be having his baptism this next Saturday.

President sent me a letter last week telling me that I am supposed to be serving in this area for a reason and that is to help the missionaries that are struggling and not having any success. He told me that because of the success that I had in my last area, he decided to put me in an area that isn't having any success. That made me feel so good and I have just been working super hard to help the missionaries. It's pretty tough but I am starting to gain a greater love for these guys. In the beginning I was pretty frustrated at their disobedience and lack of success, but I have realized what I need to do to help them and they are doing awesome!! We have already had 4 baptisms in our zone this month and we have 5 planned for this week and 6 for the next week. I am loving this zone and where I am at right now. Tomorrow we are opening another area in our zone because their area is huge and they are splitting it up. So were hoping to see some more success in that area.

I am doing great and loving the mish. It is so crazy to see the difference in my attitude because at first I hated being here and I thought this place was so dirty and so dangerous. I will always remember what Carlee said. I don't remember exaclty what she said but it was something along the lines of, ¨You can find beauty in everything...if you are looking for the bad, you WILL find the bad...but if you look for the good, you WILL find the good.¨ She sent me that in the very beginning of my experience out here and I will never forget that because it is so true. This place may not be as beautiful as the beaches of Hawaii (mom and dad), but I am enjoying it here and all the many experiences that I am having.

Well that is it for this week but I love you guys and I hope everything is going well. Take care and God Bless!!

Elder Mike Payne

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Week 35 - April 8, 2013 - An American Meal!

Hola Everyone!

Well to be completely honest, nothing super exciting happened last week...kinda hard to beat watching some guy get crucified hahahaha!! But nonetheless is was an extremely fast week and it was super good!!

So on Tuesday we had our zone leader counsels that we have every month. We went to president´s house and Hermana Camarillo made us a SUPER good meal. She always makes American home made food for all the americans!! She made roast beef, steamed vegetables, salad, and super good rolls!! Wow it was such an incredible meal!!  And then President just pretty muich did a fireside and talked about how we, as leaders, need to show an example for our zones and it was super good!

But president gave us a few new of them being that we don´t have a time limit while we write home on the computers!! It was super funny because some of the zone leaders were actually kinda mad. President shared his feelings on having the missionaries write a detailed letter to him every week instead of focusing entirely on their letter to their families. I mean hey I´m not complaining!! We´ll see how long this lasts for! But I will make the most of it for now hahaha!!

Conference was super good!!! I can´t believe there are more than 45 thousand missionaries right now!! that is pretty crazy!! We had 5 investigators go to the Sunday Morning session and it was super good!! I think my favorite talk was Holland. Man that guy is awesome!  But it was fun because we had our own room with a TV that had conference in english. We had like 5 of the american missionaries in my zone watching it. It was pretty fun because we were paying attention but at the same time we got to talk and we didn´t have to stay completely silent the whole time haha!! It was nice to be able to speak in english!

It´s funny because one of our investigators only went so that he could play soccer with me hahaha!! So yesterday in between sessions we had a little soccer game. It was the first time I played in a while!! Man I was schoolin' the Mexicans haha!! It was the first time I played here in Mexico (and I don´t even know if that counts since I was in church clothes)! But it was super fun!!  I miss the good ole days on the Foothill turf.......losing every game. ahhhhhh the good ole days hahaha

Well that was it for the week. We have a baptism coming up this Saturday so we are super happy about that. This zone is kinda dead so its pretty frustrating but we are working hard to set the example for the missionaries and to help them out in their areas. Also president told us that Elder Castro will be leaving after this transfer. President doesn´t like missionaries ending their missions as zone leaders. So I have to know this whole area and everyone living in it within the next three weeks. It is super funny because I just walk around with the map all day asking where we are hahaha!! Im picking it up quick though so it´s all good!!

Well I love you all so much and thank you so much for all the love and support!! Go out and share the gospel...and if you have questions...ASK THE MISSIONARIES!! God Bless and have an amazing week!! You are all in my prayers every day!

Elder Mike Payne
"Guero" means like "white boy" hahaha that's what everyone calls me on the streets!
Inside San Juan De Dios.  That place is crazy!  Super cool though!!
At San Juan De Dios.  That is a big Catholic cathedral in the background.  It was actually pretty cool.
Elder Smitheram's chair broke during conference.  It was super funny haha!  So then I decided to tip the chair over and in the second picture that's what it looked like haha

The zone of Reforma
What I had for lunch... chicken feet!  YUMMMMM!!! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 34 - April 1, 2013 - Feliz Pascua!

What a difference in this holiday!! It is crazy here on Easter!

Okay so here's why it is so crazy here...So Friday was the day Christ died for us. So the Mexican Catholics have a tradition around here. As their Easter tradition, they re-enact the crucifixion of Christ. On Friday morning, elder Castro and I were walking to a lesson and in the middle of the street was a huge group of people walking towards us. Leading the group was a guy dressed as Christ and 2 guys dressed as the Jews of that time. The guy dressed like Christ had a white towel around his waist with a thorn crown on his head. He was walking down the street with a huge cross on his shoulders. A couple people were behind him helping him out. The two guys dressed as Jews then proceeded to dip their towels in a bucket of red paint and whip the cross (representing the whipping of Christ-except they hit the cross instead of his back). This group consisted of about 250 people! They were all chanting and singing, it was a little depressing!!

Then Elder Castro and I went to eat at a members house and we were telling her of the event that just occured. She then proceeded to tell us that they were walking him to the front of their huge catholic church to be crucified!!!! They literally put this guy up on the cross all day...with nails in his hands and feet!!!!!! What is wrong with these people??!! People could go and kneel down in front of him and pray. Last year they said the guy who volunteered died! I don´t understand it!

And then they decided to cut off ALL water on Friday. Since in the scriptures water represents life, they decided to cut off all the water here!! Then on Saturday they have a tradition where everyone goes into the street and has a water fight!!  Definitely an Easter I won't soon forget!

Yesterday we had a ward baptism, the mom went all out!! Tons of their family is from Tiajuana and they drove 36 hours to get here! There was probably about 30 of them. They all came dressed in purple! It seemed more like a quinceƱera! We had a few investigators at church and I think it scared a couple people away. She had elder Castro and I direct the baptism, she had SIX talks on the program!

I hope you all had a good week and that everything went well for you all!!

Elder Mike Payne

Me and Elder Murdock!  
This is the little girl we baptized
Me and Elder Silos and the kid he is training
Everyone here worships the Chivas! haha
I am definitely gaining the weight back... but at least I'm happy right?! :)
McGriddle! Yum!
Went to McDonalds with Elder Smitheram.  We had a blast!