Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Week 97 - June 23, 2014 - 8 more days - Just a scout camp away. How hard can it be?!

It's so funny to me how 8 days seems like nothing. (actually it's now 5 days and 23 hours!)  I remember going to scout camp and crying every day because I still had 5 days left until I was going to see my family again. Funny how things change.

Well my last week was a great week. It was definitely hard to say the least. I will always remember the people that I have met in San Jeronimito. They have helped me to learn so much about myself and others as well. I didn't think it would be that hard to leave that branch. I thought it was hard leaving my family and now I find myself having an even harder time saying goodbye to all the people that have changed my life. I am so thankful for all the blessings that the Lord has given me and for the opportunity that I had to serve those people in that pueblo, as well as those for these past two years.

The Lord calls imperfect people to perform many great miracles. This week we taught many new investigators that should be ready for baptism in July. I am so happy to know that I have left that area with lots of investigators so that Elder Sanchez and his new comp can work hard and baptize lots. I know how hard it is to open an area with no investigators so I'm just happy that there will be lots of success coming up in San Jeronimito.

On Saturday I left to go to Guadalajara. I traveled fourteen hours on Saturday. We got into Guadalajara at 12:30 and didn't get to sleep until about 2. On Sunday we had our interviews with President in the afternoon. It was so hard. President gave me many compliments for the work that I have done in these last two years and thanked me for my selfless service. One of the nicest things he told me was ¨This mission has changed because of you. If only we had 250 other Elder Paynes.¨ It was a good feeling to know that the mission president has trusted in me so much in these last two years.

After the interviews we went to the mission home and ate dinner with the Camarillo family. We had ¨carne en su jugo.¨ Its s typical guadalajara dish and it was super good. We then all shared our tesitmonies and it was such a spiritual meeting. Almost every one of us cried and it was just a great night. A bunch of my friends went home today and I will miss them a lot. I know that I will stay in contact with a few of them. I am happy to have had the chance to meet many awesome friends here in the mission.

This week I will be working in a trio with two other elders here in Guadalajara. Their area is super nice! Man there are so many nice houses and cars. It's a pretty tough area because everything is just neighborhoods, kinda like Pleasanton. Everything is super spread out and we have to walk everywhere. I am excited to be here and to be able to work with these two missionaries.Their names are Elder Peguero and Elder Origel. I guess they don't get along very well with President Camarillo and he put me here to try and help them fix their attitudes haha so I will do what I can and continue to give it my all for the Lord.

In just 8 days I will be seeing you guys at the airport. I am beyond excited and I can't wait to just relax and kick it with the fam. It's gunna be great!! Well I love you guys so much and know that I am doing great!! Thanks for all the love and support!!

Con amor,
Elder Payne

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Week 96 - June 16, 2014The - Mixed Emotions

Well I only have about 2 more days in my area and I'm not sure how I feel. It hasn't fully hit me yet that I'm kind of ending the mission. Everyone says that the last few weeks go by the slowest. I honestly feel like these past couple weeks have flown by and I can't believe that it's Monday again! 

This last week we had a great baptism for Andres. We have reactivated another family and now increased the church attendance by 43 since my first Sunday here! It was such an awesome last Sunday here in San Jeronimito yesterday. We had the baptism before the church services and it was great. Andres is 10 years old and his mom isn't a member of the church yet, but his older brother and his grandma are. The grandma fell about a year ago and broke her hip so she is still recovering and hasn't gone to church since the accident. She has now gone these past 4 weeks in a row and she is so happy, along with the rest of the members. Andres' mom still has doubts and questions but we have her baptism scheduled for this Friday so hopefully it goes well!

We had a crazy miracle at church yesterday. One of our investigators, Juan, has come to church 5 times and has never wanted to accept a baptismal date. Yesterday in gosepl principles we talked about baptism and immediately after the class he asked me, ¨What do I need to do to be baptized? I have now received my answer and I know that this is the true church.¨ He told us that he wanted to be baptized yesterday so we just went over all the requirements and it turns out he's not married and living with someone...  But he said that he wants to get married as soon as he can so that he can be baptized. He wants me to baptize him but if he doesn't get married before Friday I'm not sure it's gunna happen.

Well I am doing great. I feel so blessed to be out here in Mexico. I feel that through all the expereinces I have had I have learned so much about myself. Words cannot describe how I feel and the happiness that I have. Yesterday at church was pretty hard because I had to say bye to many of the members. I have gained a strong friendship with so many of the members here in San Jeronimito and I will for sure miss each and every one of them!

On the other hand I feel so happy because in 13 days I will be sitting by the pool after golfing 18 holes at Castlewood- just relaxing. hahaha man I haven't been able to truly relax for a very long time. I can't wait to see you all so soon! It's going to be a great reunion at the airport! Just 13 more days so I am gunna stay focused and finish with no regrets!

Love you all and thank you for all the love and support!! You are the best!!

Elder Payne

Andres and his family
The Diaz family
The Hermana Gladys and her boys Chewy and Omar
The Pinzon family

Friday, June 13, 2014

Week 95 - June 9, 2014 - Rain rain go away, come again in July!

This week was a lot better than last week. Elder Sanchez and I are doing great together. We are finding lots of new investigators and we have lots of baptisms planned for July, which makes me feel good because Elder Sanchez and his new companion will have a lot of work when I leave.

One of the biggest challenges out here is the weather. One day it is like 120 degrees and the next it is flooding. It's hard because when its raining no one wants to leave their house or go to church. But we are trying to find solutions to help the members and investigators go to church. There is no drainage systems out here so it floods all the streets and then when it starts to get super hot everything just evaporates and makes it super humid, it's unbelievable! haha

We were able to have two baptisms on Saturday. It was pretty tough because it was raining ALL day and the baptism was planned at 6 pm. We rented a little van/ taxi and went and picked up all of our investigator´s friends so that they could have support. It ended up being a great baptism. These two investigators are super awesome.

Maria's husband died about 5 years ago and last week we taught the Plan of Salvation. We didn't know that her husband had passed away until we asked her what she would be willing to do to live with her family forever. She started crying and told us about her loss and how she felt. The plan of salvation is so incredible because it gives us a hope for what is to come and an understanding as to why God does what he does. Maria told us that she is going to do whatever it takes to go through the temple in a year to be sealed as an eternal family. Experiences like these make me sad about ending my mission.

So we ate the iguana that my comp and I killed last week. It was super good. Our neighbor made the food for us and didn't take off the skin- she said its kinda like eating fish... all you have to do is peel off the scales. But we ate some iguana tacos and it was pretty good! 

This upcoming week we should be having another baptism. We have been working hard with a less active older lady, Carmen, and her family. Carmen's daughter and grandson are taking the lessons and progressing towards baptism. Andres, the grandosn, will be baptized this week and then his mom wants to be baptized the following week. So it should be a good experience. Hope all goes well!

The Ortega Sanchez family said they are going through the temple for sure on June 28. I'm super excited because that will only be three das before I end my mission. It will be nice to reflect back on these last two years and feel the spirit of the temple again.

Thanks for everything and all the support you all give me. I can't believe I only have just a few weeks left. As for now I am just going to continue working as hard as I can and soon enough I will be home to relax hahaha!

Con amor,

Elder Payne

The streets here in San Jeronimito
The iguana that I ate
Eating iguana!
One of the only paved streets in our areas... it was a river haha
Maria and Mirnas baptism
I was Maria's birthday the day she was baptized so we bought her a cake

Two cute little brothers haha

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Week 94 - June 2, 2014 - A Rough Week

This week was definitely a week of trials and challenges. Just about everything we had planned fell through and it was such a frustrating week but its okay because I have learned a lot about myself this last week. I am thankful for the trails that I have in my life because they allow me to recognize all the blessings that I have in my life.

To start off we didn't go to the temple this last week because the temple was closed and will remain closed for two more weeks. We got a phone call on Thursday night saying that they are going to postpone it for a few weeks. The good thing is that they are foir sure going through this month so sometime before I go home this family will be going through the temple!!

We were supposed to have a baptism this week but the day of his baptism it was pouring rain and he didn't want to walk to the church. We then called a taxi and he said that he would rather sleep on his hammock than get baptized. His name is Fidencio and he is 84 years old and is just a super bipolor man. Some days he is just super happy and others he doesn't want anything to do with us. But we will continue to teach him and see what happens.

But anyways that's about it for the week. This next week we should be having two more baptisms. Let's hope that they don't fall through like this last week. All we can do is work as hard as we can. I have learned throughout my mission that we can never take someone's agency. But they are two awesome investigators named Maria and Mirna so we hope all goes well.

Like I said it was a pretty rough week but we are working as hard as we can and the Lord is blessing us. I am so happy to be out here and I am going to take advantage of these last few weeks that I have. NO REGRETS!!

Thanks for everything and all the support!!  I gotta get back to work :)


Elder Mike Payne 

The Lazaro Cardenas zone - my last zone meeting was on Friday 
Two iguanas that we killed today!  Tomorrow night we are going to eat iguana!!!