Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 80 - February 24, 2012 - The area of many miracles

This week was another incredible week out here. It's super funny because I was looking back at all the emails I sent in the first few months of my mission and I sounded miserable!! Especially knowing how I ACTUALLY felt!! But now I am absolutely loving the mission!! Obviously I can't wait to come home and see the family and friends but another part of me just wants to stay here forever!!

This week we were able to baptize Adam. He is from Nevada and lives with his grandparents.  On Friday when we went over to their house to do the baptismal interview, Sister Montgomery (Adams grandma) received a phone call from Adam´s mom. She informed her that she was going to be getting baptized on Sunday...the SAME day as Adam!!! She didn't even know Adam was going to be baptized!! Crazy how God works! He has a plan for each of us and knows what's best for us and when it's our time to listen to this gospel. It's just so crazy that out of all the days in these past 5 years that Adam could have been baptized, he got baptized the same day as his mom!

We have been teaching so many people and it is going so great!! We found a few investigators last week and we put a baptismal date with them all. They are a few friends that are preparing for baptism for March 23rd. They work picking raspberries in the field of one of the members in our branch. They also had another job picking lettuce for another farm in the pueblo where they live. Well on Sunday they told their boss they were all going to church and that they would go to work after. Their boss told them that if they went to church they would all be fired. Well the three of them were at church yesterday and they were so happy!!  When they saw the baptism they couldn't stop talking about how excited they were for March 23rd to come!! 
So happy for them!

We finally reached 91 people at church yesterday!! I was looking at the past attendance here in the branch and my second week here we had 47 people at church!! We have almost doubled the attendance here! I have never worked so hard in my life and I am trying to finish off as strong as I can! On Saturday I will only have 4 months left and I wanna go home with no regrets! I can't express to you how happy I am here!  I love it so much out here in Chapala!!

This morning I was walking and I heard some American lady ask, very enthusiastically ¨Are you Mike?!¨ I responded very caught off guard and said ¨yes.¨ She later told me her name was Susan and that one of her best friends is Isabel (my Aunt Kim's mom). Isabel lives in Canada, pretty crazy that we made that connection!  She said she was at Bry and Kim's wedding many years ago and that she reads my blog and she invited us for coffee this week. I told her we didn't drink coffee but that we would be happy to go to breakfast with them haha!! She lives seven doors down from me!!

Thank you for everything!!  I love you all so much!  Have an amazing week and you are all in my prayers!!

Elder Mike Payne

The breakfast I made for the zone on Tuesday!  They were happy to say the least... a nice American breakfast!
More Waffle Crisp!!  So amazing! haha 
Another picture of the nice sunset in Chapala
Some little clown trying to raise money to get into school.  I gave in and helped him out!
Carnival started this last week in Chapala... it gets crazy during Carnival.  This was the parade they had on the opening night
Me being a super hot model ;)
Adam's baptism

More of Adam's baptism
Silly faces
Isabel's friend that I met this morning

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 79 - February 17, 2014 - 3 transfers left!!! What is happening?!

This week has been another great week out here in Chapala. We just had transfers today and I'm staying! I am so happy to be here for at least another 6 weeks!! Only 3 more transfers to go!! So crazy! 

We had a miracle on Tuesday! I am so happy to be a missionary. I definitely would not be learning the things that I have if I had not come out here to Mexico! Sorry this is a little long, but it's a cool story!

So we got a phone call on Tuesday from the offices saying that they had some guy from Arizona on the other line who wanted to pass us a reference. This guy is incredible!!  He told us that 20 years ago he was a missionary out here in Chapala. He continued to tell us that about 3 months ago he was praying for the people he taught on the mission and then had an impression to go look at google maps of Chapala, specifically this one lady's house. 

He then told us that he saw that there was a hotel in front of her house. He then got the info for the hotel and asked if they could walk across the street and leave his number with this woman. About 30 minutes later he got a call from Ivonne. This happened about 3 months ago and they have stayed in contact ever since. 

We went to meet this woman the day after the phone call and she is incredible!!! She LOVES to talk and it is super hard to teach her because of that but she is amazing. She has 3 different kinds of cancer, she has had 11 operations and she has fractured 7 bones and she is the most positive woman I have met, considering her circumstances!! This guy and his wife (and maybe their kids) are going to try and come out here in March to baptize her! Such an amazing experience I am so excited to be able to be a part of this. It is only just beginning!

On Wednesday we went to the stake center near the temple and we got to listen to one of the members of the presidency of the seventy. His name is Elder Christensen. He talked about many cool things but there was one thing that I loved. He said that ¨The mission shouldn't be an expereince of 24 months, but it should be 24 months of experiences.¨ Every month we need to learn and grow and apply the things that we are learning. I am so happy to be here and to have learned the things that I have so far.

Yesterday we had 86 people at church. We are working so hard!! Last year the attendance average was 46 and we are almost doubling that now. There isn't enough room in the chapel for everyone!! So many miracles out here in Chapala!!

Well this next week we should be baptizing Adam if everything goes well. We have so many amazing investigators that are ready to be baptized!

I am so happy and absolutely loving it out here!! Thank you for all the love and support!! You guys are the best!!

Elder Mike Payne

Happy Valentine's Day!

Week 78 - February 10, 2014

This week has been a pretty good week. Our baptism fell through but its okay because he will be getting baptized in 2 weeks. His grandpa got the flu and said that he wanted to baptize him but he was too sick to do so. So we put his new baptismal date for February 23rd.

This week we will be baptizing this awesome guy! He has had a pretty tough background. He has a few friends that are members of the church, including a return missionary that just got home about 2 months ago.  We started talking to him on the street and he has been coming to church every week since then and young men's every Saturday morning. His friend will be baptizing him this weekend and we are super excited for them.

This week the entire mission will be going to the temple in Guadalajara. One guy from the seventy is going to talk to us. His name is Elder Christensen. I'm excited to be able to see all my friends again! Last year when Elder Cristofferson came in May we had about 150 missionaries in the we have over 230. The mission is growing like crazy!!!

Well I am doing great and loving it out here. We are working super hard and we are having tons of success right now. We have found a few less active families this last week with a bunch of people who arent members. We are gunna keep working with them to reactivate the familes as well as baptize those who aren't members yet. 

President Camarillo wrote me last week and said that he has never seen so much success in this area before. We are now up to about 80 people at church every week.  We are doing well and very happy with the work and success we have been seeing!!

I love you all so much and thank you for everything you do for me!!! Happy Valentines day, have a great week and God bless!!!

Elder Mike Payne

My three countries!
Waiting for the bus... the bench kinda broke haha
Walking in the spot light
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Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 77 - February 3, 2014 - Keep on Keepin on

This week was another incredible week out here in Chapala! I am seriously loving it so much and I never want to leave here!! Well at least until July 1st!!

So we have been teaching this lady named Ma Juana. She is a super stud!! Her daughter, Liliane, was baptized about 4 months ago here in Chapala. Last month we went over to teach Liliane about family history and her mom, Ma Juana was super interested and wanted to be involved as well. From that point on we started to teach her and she had a lot of interest! Well she got baptized yesterday right after the church services. It was so awesome and she had so much support. 

We are still teaching Adam, our American investigator. He is 10 years old and I think I told you all about his story last week but he is living with his grandparents out here.  He is super awesome and I really enjoy teaching him. It's weird teaching a ten year old in english...especially when I had to teach him the Law of Chastity this last week! I don't think I have ever taught that in english...and on top of that- to a ten year old, but I think it went well! He will be having his baptism this upcoming week so we are excited for him!

Well that's about it for me. We are having tons of success out here and we are loving it. My comp is seriously one of my best friends and I love being here with him. We are constantly laughing and enjoying every moment that is given to us.

Have a great week and know how much I love you all! Thank you for all the support! See you all in less that 5 months!!!

Elder Mike Payne

PS- It looks like I didnt miss much with the super bowl hahahaha! That sounds like a boring game!

Baby Jesus' birth... who would have thought that the devil was there as well?!! haha
A moto taxi.  Transportation out here in Mexico
Lago Chapala
The sunset at Lago Chapala
Another picture of the sunset at Lago Chapala
More pictures at the lake

The gang
Ma Juana's baptism