Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some letters from Sister Payne.

Family, Friends, and Fans --

Don't save it all for Christmas day! ;)

Sorry to write so late -- today has been far from relaxing. Our brakes were shot on our car so we had to get them fixed. Plus our washing machine doesn't work so we've been washing all of our clothes by hand. That takes hours. Add on cleaning ourselves and our apartment and eating food and we barely have time to sit here and e-mail right now. We're leaving directly to go to an appointment after this. Tiring! If you're not tired, you're not doin' it right - that's what I say. We're listening to Barcelona destroy Real Madrid. That's just embarrassing.

To start with a mini Nassau update, courtesy of Sis Smith -- Brother Major set his baptism date for December 18th. Stay tuned for the hoots and hollers all the way from Jamaica if that one goes through.

Your patois lesson of the day is "mi naah lef mi gal dem" which means I didn't leave my girls. Also mi no no is I don't know. And mi naah go de'dea is I'm not going there.

Random updates include my allergies flaring up like the devil since I've been here. Today hasn't been so bad. I'm glad I invested in some medication before I came out here. It's bein' put to some good use. We've been very creative in our cooking. I made some homemade chili lastnight for some chili and spaghetti. I also ate saltfish for the first time ... and I've learned how to make dumplings (or spinners) with delicious soups. I'm gonna come home a Caribbean chef. I've been asked a lot of questions about our living conditions - we have hot water, we don't have A/C ... nowhere does in Jamaica, but we don't need it. It actually got COLD lastnight! That's why Manchester is the best parish on the island.

Our district leaders on Elder Tuai from CA and Elder Forde from Linstead Jamaica. We had district conference this last weekend in MayPen -- and Bro. Courtney Morrison from our branch was called to be the new district president. He and his family are the coolest people ever - and now the entire district presidency is from our branch. We are small but strong! I also got to meet Elder Kraus this week, who read my blog before he came out here, and Elder Kocherhans who I talked with on MySpace before I came out here. He reported May 12th, when I was originally supposed to report. Cool kid. He got a guitar! Pres. Hendricks gave him the okay to get one -- so I'm thinkin' for Christmas I may need to buy me a harmonica (after all I already know guitar and have plenty at home -- why not pickup somethin' else while I'm out here!?) I have also met Bro. Vaughn White in our branch who just got back from serving a mission in Phoenix AZ! Cool, right? We bonded. District conference was excellent. Such good messages - so many insights I can't type them all in 20 minutes. Pres. Hendricks talked about his experiences being called as a bishop at age 27. Now that's just crazy! He also gave an excellent talk about choosing to act on faith. And Bro. Kevin Brown gave a talk about Enos and the mighty change of heart that we all need to experience. Also very very excellent. It left me feeling very ... I'll go where you want me to go ... :)

Alright everyone wants to know about Thanksgiving. It was fun. We handed out turkey sandwiches to needy people on the street and taught some families lessons about why we have the holiday and what we are grateful for this year. We had some chicken and black olives and stuffing for dinner. I can't complain. I read "The Divine Gift of Gratitude" by Pres Monson and spent some time telling my Heavenly Father all the things I'm grateful for. One of the better thanksgivings I've had, that's for sure. If only we coulda played some football, it woulda been excellent!! :)

Allow me to end with some insights:

Check your brakes. Don't wait until the brake pads are totally gone and its metal to metal to get a tune up ... and I'm not talking about your car. By the time the brakes go out, it's too late. Think about it.

We need to work for our prayers. We can pray all day long for the Lord to light the stove but if we have the gas and the match we've gotta strike it up and light it ourselves. I think far too often we pray real hard for stuff, but we don't do anything to accomplish it and get it done ourselves. I've been writing my prayer for the day in my planner and then trying to decide what I can do that day to get an answer to that prayer. It has been a cool experience.

We're teaching three really awesome gentleman. So I will be praying, and working, to get them to come to church on Sunday! :)

I learned from Sis Smith how to be organized. I am learning from Sis Wilkinson how to WORK!

I have realized that the bulk of my life I made choices based on others' morality. I would go as low as someone who I thought was high would go. This resulted in me making a lot of poor decisions because "so and so said so" or "so and so did it." How glad I am to have realized the stupidity of that. I've even seen it on my mission. 6:30 the alarm goes off - I'm up ... my companion isn't... I get back into bed. Why not just stay up?! I will go as low as someone else. Well, not anymore. I'm stayin' high and I'm stayin' up regardless of someone around me. How can I pull people up if I'm always pullin' myself down?

Last but not least, your commitment this week -- give up your favorite sin. You know, the one that you love just too much to let go. The one that you don't want to face - you try to ignore and pretend that the Lord doesn't see what you're doing - the one that you rationalize and tell yourself it doesn't do any harm... GIVE IT UP. And I will too. And we'll both be blessed for it.

That's all I've got. Take care and enjoy the end of the month. Do your home and visiting teaching! ;)


Sister Payne

We bought a shower curtain this week - a clear vinyl one - and decorated it with permanent marker. It is basically the coolest thing ever. I'll send pictures when/if I get a chance.
Wa'gwaan Family, Friends, and Fans --

I've said it before and I'll say it again. TRIALS ARE AWESOME. Every time in my life where I have experienced the most growth, learned the most lessons -- it has come from adversity. What a blessing our trials can be if we let them. Don't get me wrong, it sucks. I mean, the trials we bring on ourselves are the worst possible ones. Heartache and misery abound, but the darker the dark the lighter the light that comes from coming over the hill once again. Mortality rocks.

This week has been really really really really really (did I mention really) interesting! First the Andersons found us some Grace Hot Pepper Sauce that is like a mix of Tobasco and hot wing sauce. It is amazing for your mouth and terror for your gut, but we've almost down the entire bottle in a week. Probably not good for my stomach lining, but my taste buds appreciate it. Second Elder Anderson makes the most amazing chocolate cake with homemade frosting. I don't even like cake people, and I eat that stuff like its going out of style. In non-food-related news, I have decided that I want to take up some sort of athletic thing when I get home to balance out my love of food so I don't turn into a giant piece of lard. I'd like to be healthy enough to continue to enjoy food, and I think that will require exercise. But that exercise needs to be fun so I am left with sports! Also I had a dream the other night that Corey Feldman died, and that every TV station was honoring him by playing a bunch of music videos his band made starring him and his wife. It was awful, in many many ways.

In church related news, I have decided that after my mission I could never hear a talk in sacrament that is just read --- ever again. I am also still not used to the noise factor in family wards. You would think, and yet I am not. Singles branches are the bomb dot come -- no wonder so many of my peers dodge marriage. Just kidding, quit dodging marriage you guys! Which leads me to the other question though, why do so many of my peers rush into marriage? Do you WANT to have a kid slobber all over your sacrament cups while another kid pokes your back and another is crying? It is hard enough to recognize that still small voice, man! Don't be in a rush to make it harder!

That leads me to your commitment for this week. ALL OF YOU READING THIS -- HALT -- ORDER THE ENSIGN FOR THE NEW YEAR. Get it, every month. Read it. Cherish it. DO IT. Be cool.

Alright alright, into missionary work stuff I guess. This week we had an institute party at the church and Sis. Wilkinson and I dressed up like Elders and lip synched and did some choreography to "Diddly Wack Mack Mormon Daddy". It was well received, I think. They looked puzzle while we did it but then amazed that there was a Mormon rap on my I pod. Who knows. We have some new investigators -- Fiona is 17 and doesn't attend any church because she's confused about all of them. She is receptive, and was a street contact who I felt like giving a Book of Mormon to and accepted a return appointment. We've taught her the first lesson. She didn't make it out to church, but she is reading and praying so we will see what happens. Ricardo was a potential investigator whose number was left behind from like, 2008. He just lost his grandmother and she told him to stay in church. He had "backslid" but said he's been thinking a lot about going back to church, but doesn't know which one to go to. He said when we called him he didn't know who we were but felt like God must have led us to calling him. Then we've got Leon. He's 20 and homeless. Super smart and humble but struggling with life right now and very willing to learn. We have struggles to overcome with each of them but hopefully good things will happen.

Now ... about Gavaska. Gavaska is a 7th day Adventist who has very very very strong beliefs against our church, and yet refuses to read any of the material we give him. One day last week he found one of our tracts on the street and picked it up and took it home (didn't read it though, preferred to stay in ignorance I suppose). Then the next day he was walking again and found one of our pass along cards on the street in the exact same spot. He called us and said that God must be directing him to us. However, he feels like God directed him to us to bring US the truth about the Sabbath. Yeah, its frustrating. He used to meet with other sisters and we found his old teaching record. He was SDA then, but it said he read from the BOM and prayed and said he had a testimony but for whatever reason they dropped him (it didn't say why). That was three years ago. Fast forward to today, and that is not the person we're meeting with. He tried to bash with us, but I bore testimony like Ammon up in his face. I actually felt like a missionary that day, so that was really cool. He agreed to come to church, but only if we visited his. So Saturday we proceeded to go to Sabbath School and Divine Services at SDA Mandeville (aka the great and spacious building). THAT was an experience. The pastor taught how Christ's birth, ministry, and resurrection do not save us -- it is only His death that saves us. That was a shame. There was a whole heap of other false doctrine and what not, but the good that came out of it was Gavaska coming to church on Sunday. We had a great lesson about the stone cut out of the mountain. He took notes. He asked questions -- our members did very well at fellowshipping him and at the same time teaching him the truth. He didn't want to hear it, and he left after church. But he called us this morning and wants to meet with us again. By far one of the most intriguing investigators we've ever had. If he won't take a Book of Mormon tomorrow, we're not gonna meet with him anymore. But I pray his heart will be softened just enough to actually listen to us teach instead of argue start to finish.

Bobby, our progressing investigator, has started living the word of wisdom and is already recognizing the blessings from it. He didn't come to church though, argh! We gave him a baptism date to pray about. Oh, and the Morrisons in our branch are some of the coolest people I've ever met in my whole life. They've become good friends of ours. A very strong family, sealed in the temple ... I wish I could bring them back to Arizona with me. Sis Morrison came to the 7th day church with us even. They are hilarious, and generous, and so strong in the gospel. Bro. Morrison found a Book of Mormon in a closet randomly years ago, and the rest is history. He is the new district president in Mandeville.

Well, the Lord is my #1 focus. I am trying my hardest to be as close to Him and as obedient as possible. I am trying to extra careful about where my focus and my thoughts head...

3 Nephi 13:

22The alight of the body is the beye; if, therefore, thine eye be csingle, thy whole body shall be full of light. UAdd a Note

23But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

D&C 50:29And if ye are apurified and cleansed from all bsin, ye shall cask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done. COULD YOU IMAGINE THAT? Man.

I have been spending a lot of time this week during study and outside of study getting to know myself better. Ya know, pulling a Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride. What kind of eggs do I like and all that. It has been hard being completely honest with myself about who I am, but it has been refreshing to get a better sense of my values and my goals -- what I want out of life and where I really stand. I think learning and understanding those things will help me in the future to recognize when I am being pushed or influenced to be something other than I am, to do something other than I should, or to believe something other than what I know to be true.

I've also realized the importance of having strong positive solid good influences around you. Think about when you sing -- if you're singing with other people and they are all off pitch, it is much more difficult to stay on key. But if everyone is singing well and in harmony with the correct notes, it is easy to follow along. So it goes with our choices. If the people we are around are making poor choices it hard to be the only one staying on the right note. How important it is then, for us, to watch our influences carefully and choose our friends, our job, and what we do with our time very very carefully.

Well that's it. Oh, last but not least, there was a 3.8 earthquake in Manchester. Our whole house shook for like 5 seconds. It was pretty awesome. Chalk that up to experience, baby!

All the best from Jamaica. Less than 2 weeks until Christmas! WOOHOO!

Sister Payne

A big IRIE CHRISTMAS to everyone reading this at any point this week --

I'm gonna start off with your commitment. In the words of Pres. Uchtdorf, be sure to "look beyond the facade of the season and see the sublime truth and beauty of this time of year." In the words of our district president, Brother Morrison, Christ's life was one big Christmastime ... may we all seek to emulate His example now and forever more, not just on the 25th. Christmas is a good reminder of how we should be all year. You know, without Christ, its just mas. Mas is the spanish word for more -- and really without Christ then all we focus on is more more more stuff. The odds against Christmas being Christmas are 365 to one. Think about it.

I wrote this this morning specifically to include in this email today:

"A Missionary Christmas"

last year Christmas i was home

trading gifts with loved ones close

watching movies, eating food

enjoying that December mood

this year i am far away

from nieces and nephews that love to play

from trees and lights and mistletoe

from anyone or anything i know

i assumed this Christmas would be bleak

and leave me feeling lonely or weak

turns out that's not the case at all

this Christmas may be the best of all

maybe it took me stepping out

to see what Christmas is all about

i traded my name on gift tags

for wearing His name on my name tag

traded turkey for goat - parades for proselyting

and yet somehow my holiday is still irie

i got my family around me and though we just met

we're united in purpose and you can bet

you couldn't find a happier youth

privileged to bring the world His truth

and that's what Christmas is really for

not the glitter, the parties, the lines at the store

its celebrating the birth of the Master

His life - the only real happy ever after

the best gift was the Savior and i'm blessed to be

serving this year, as His missionary.

Well, I finally finished reading the Book of Mormon this morning. After talking about it and trying but being distracted, I finished it before the year was out. I'm gonna read it twice more before I come home ... that's my goal. I'm working on finishing the New Testament now. It has been a great experience and I can't wait to read the Book of Mormon again. Moroni 7 is my favorite chapter, I think. BE NOT DECEIVED! If I had studied that more thoroughly, or more frequently back home, I would have been a heckuva better person. But I can't change the past I suppose. I'm proud of the person I'm becoming ... not because of me, but because of what Christ is making me. If I wasn't so stubborn and stupid He could help me a lot more. I'm trying. A great talk I read this week was "Our Strengths Can become our downfall" by Elder Oaks from October 1994. I recommend it. I didn't get to read the whole thing, but I'd love to cause what I did read was awesome. It helped me to understand that we need to act upon guidance that was receive from the Spirit. But if we don't receive personal revelation the Lord is trusting us to use our best judgment. Then comes the real test of our agency. Intense.

We have a stray dog at our apartment that has become our night watchman. He is so awesome and loyal. Some idiots were throwing rocks at him and one tagged him on the head and he immediately jumped in front of us to protect us. We named him Hyrum and we continue to feed him scraps every now and then. It makes us feel safe knowing we have such a hardcore guard dog. Some things are messed up here. Like I just found out that when the church sends stuff to Kingston like food and clothes for Food for the Poor, a lot of times it gets stolen right in Kingston and then sold at markets. Lovely, right? Anyway, no negativity. This is Christmas after all. This week has been freezing! Like in the 60s - that's just dang cold for Jamaica and me no likey. I'm ready for a warm Christmas in Portmore and Kingston.

Bobby came to church. He's still progressing. Gavaska is no longer fighting with us about 7th day stuff, but he's not agreeing with us either haha. He's actually become a good friend and we still visit him every now and then. It has been a miracle to see the Lord soften his heart little by little. He actually accepted the Book of Mormon and allowed us to read out of it with him. Man, that's just cool. Other than that, no real investigator news to report. We're working with some, trying to find some new ones, and all that good stuff. Hopefully more exciting actual missionary/teaching news to report soon. This is a slow time of year, actually. People too busy to sit down with us and stuff. But the good news is some sweet Usher song is playing on the radio right now.

We had a great branch Christmas dinner and program. We had fish, curry goat, rice and peas, sweet potato pudding, potato salad, and baked chicken. Yum! We have a new zone leader, Elder Ashton. That kid is a character, I'll just leave it at that. He served in Nassau before me, so at least he's got that goin' for him. We've had this huge controversy the past couple days over t shirts that are being made for our zone. We are the Mandeville zone, and my idea for the shirt was "MANDEVILLE UNITED" on the front, like a jersey and then on the back a number and "WITHOUT US ITS JUST RIGHTEO" .... they shut me down! They decided to make a shirt that says "mandeville stallions" .... like, that has nothing to do with anything. They tried to make it even worse. I felt outnumbered by boys with mediocre minds. I told them I wouldn't spend ten bucks on a stupid shirt, and they got terribly upset. We compromised, maybe. Hopefully these shirts come out okay. The goal was to get them to all be wearing them when we go to Kingston for Christmas. I refuse to look like an idiot in front of the whole mission, or to waste money on a shirt I'll never want to wear again. You all know that I have a hard time with conceding to lame-o ideas. It has been a real growing experience for us all.

Anyway, for Christmas Eve Friday we'll be heading to Portmore for activities and then to Kingston for skits and dinner. Christmas Day we're having a big meal with the Andersons, calling home, and just hanging out basically. It isn't really going to be a proselyting day for us so I look forward to napping and listening to Christmas music. Don't forget to give a gift to the Savior this year - that's the most important gift you will give I can promise you that!

Acts 5: 29¶Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to aobey God rather than men.

Proverbs 13: 15Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

1 Nephi 17:2And so great were the ablessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon braw cmeat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.

I have learned -- that sin is the hard way. Obedience is the easy way - every time - no matter what anyone says or no matter how it may appear. Choose the right, or suffer. Seriously. Lesson learned.

Romans 8:26Likewise the Spirit also ahelpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should bpray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh cintercession for us with dgroanings which cannot be uttered.

Rely on the Spirit in prayer, and then even if you can't put into words all that you need the Spirit will take over.

The hardest part on a mission is making friends, in a different country, that you're going to have to leave and maybe never see again. Ugh. I have to not think about it in order to keep going.

Alright well I think that's all I've got this week. I hope you all have an awesome Christmas and enjoy it to the fullest.

Until next time,

Sister Payne
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Family, Friends, and Fans --

Yes I am emailing on a Tuesday because yesterday the Jamaicans celebrated Boxing Day which meant the businesses were closed and a half. We celebrated by the Andersens taking us to Treasure Beach to have pizza at Jack Sprat. It was delicious and fun and unexpected and relaxing! Well I called home a couple days ago so there isn't much to write but I'll do my best to make this interesting all the same.

We had a big mission Christmas party in Kingston and it was great. We had mexican food and cookies, skits, presents, a devotional, and watched Mr Kreuger's Christmas (that gets me every time) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It was a good time to be had by all and it was nice meeting some of the missionaries that I never had met before. I even go to play some guitar while I was there, which was the first of the great Christmas presents.

The second of the great presents was that Brother Major, back in Nassau, was baptized on December 18th! Sis. Smith sent me the info and the pictures. Whew. You can't believe how excited that made me! It is frustrating to see some of our recent converts that have already fell away from the church, but that feeling of seeing someone you work with so much who is already a strong disciple of Christ before they're ever baptized finally make that decision and come that much closer to the Savior ... it makes the mission totally worth it!

The third present was being able to call home and talk to those I love -- After all, nothing matters in this life but what we offer in love. It drew me back home but didn't make me too homesick. It was a lovely boost at my halfway home mark.

The fourth present was dinner with the Andersens (ham and the works!) as well as four bottles of hot sauce and a heap of other food they gave us. We've been eating stuff from Christmas ever since.

The fifth present was that I'm not getting transferred and I'll be in Mandeville for at least another six weeks.AWESOME!

A whole heap of other awesome things happened and will happen - a mission is the gift that keeps on giving. Well what else is there to say? I've learned a lot about how Satan will attack our weaknesses but also our strengths -- our weaknesses because that's where we are vulnerable, and our strengths because that's where we have the most power. I have learned a lot about the destructive nature of sin and transgression ... termites that eat us from the inside out leaving us weak and hollow. I have learned a lot about agency - which is what I spoke about in sacrament meeting on Sunday - and how we really our in control of our destiny. I love learning - and I hope to learn more as the next transfer comes.

I read a talk this morning about missionary work -- and realized member missionary work is really where it's at. Without member missionaries, the missionary effort is futile.


Don't forget to share the gospel!

A mission is a family -- within a zone it's like ... you can talk smack about other missionaries, but the second someone outside your district or something says something about a missionary you serve with ... you instantly get defensive!

We've played a lot of Ninja - the game over the past week. If you don't know how to play that, don't worry. I'll teach you.

Jamaicans have a Christmas tradition they call Grand Market -- they start partying Christmas Eve at sunset and go until sunrise Christmas Day. It was loud and we were attempting to sleep. It was Christmas in Jamaica, indeed.

I'm allergic to our apartment. I think it's God's way of telling me to get outside and quit being lazy.

I had a dream about the Tron movie that came out that I haven't seen. I was in it. And I was also friends with Corey Feldman. That makes two Corey Feldman dreams in Mandeville. Don't even ask, cause I don't even know.

Well, investigator wise we're teaching a really cool kid named Ricardo that will be golden as soon as he comes to church. He had a huge record collection (vinyl records) and had like four Frank Sinatra records. Stush! As you know we've been teaching Bobby ... he's been progressing ... he was living the word of wisdom and bore testimony about how it has blessed his life ... then he called us to come over the day after Christmas when he didn't come to church and when we got there he was wasted. Very depressing. I'm trying to shake it off and press forward with faith. It was a blow of discouragement, for sure, but we're here to find the elect and it is up to him if he wants to commit to following the gospel or not.

Well, like Sis. Wilkinson's dad said, it's not like the church to move backward. It really has in Jamaica though - it has stopped growing like it was. There are trials a plenty - but the church will have its glory day in the hot sun in this country! ;)

Alright, your commitment this email is to SEND ME YOUR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS!


Okay, I think that's all I've got this time around. I'm going to try to attach a whole heap of pictures for you. Enjoy!

All my love,

Sister Payne

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A lot of catching up to do!

Sorry everyone! I'm a terrible friend, but here are some old letters from Sister P. Enjoy!

A great big happy hello to you Family, Friends, and Fans --

Your commitment this fine week is to read "May We So Live" by President Monson, and apply it in your lives.


Hopefully that link works.

That and much other parts of this email are in honor of Ashleigh - one year tomorrow - where does the time go? Allow me to share with you a couple brief lessons Ashleigh's life has taught me. The first is that I have long had a fear of being average ... I have felt for some time that ... I'm awesome, for lack of a better word, and because of that I must spend my time on this earth doing just absolutely awesome things. That has led me to want to become the first woman in the NBA, to want to be a comedian, a screenwriter, a novelist, a rockstar. I have learned that we are not WHAT we do - we are HOW we do what we do. For example, Ashleigh lived a simple life, but she did so extraordinarily. She was an outstanding person, in every aspect - every role she fulfilled she did so to the enth degree. She was not average, and yet she wasn't famous or a millionaire. That taught me a great lesson in how I live my life.

The other lesson is that we must each find out for ourselves the role that Heavenly Father expects us to play in this life. It will not be the same, for we are each invidividuals and God has created us for a unique purpose. One person may be destined to bring light to the world through science, another through politics, another through raising a wonderful family, another through preaching the gospel, etc etc. It's up to us to strive to find out what our talents are, use our agency to pursue a course that will be most beneficial and please our Heavenly Father, and then give it all we've got, so at the end we can all say, as Ashleigh did, that we've done what God asked us to do and we don't have any regrets. 2 Tim 4:7.

Other lessons I have learned this week - our agency is like money. If we use our money wisely, we will never be limited by how we can spend it. We'll always have a plethora of options. If we blow our money, we no longer can choose what we spend it on. So it goes with our agency - if we use it wisely we'll always have a number of great options to choose from. If we don't, we'll be enslaved to a choice not of our choosing. Think the Word of Wisdom -- if we choose to follow it, we can choose to do a number of things with our great health. But if we choose to smoke, and get lung cancer, how many choices are taken out of our hands!

I've also learned the importance of scripture study -- not just reading, but really studying! I was reading Mosiah 3 and 4 one morning and thinking "Y'know, I would've avoided a lot of pitfalls if I just would have had this stuff etched onto my memory and into my heart!" That comes through truly feasting upon the words of Christ -- when we study every day, we'll remember those things because we'll have just read them! We'll be able to hold fast amidst the loud noise of the world. Reading in the morning has really helped too - because then what I just read is on my mind throughout the day, as opposed to right before I go to bed and then I go to sleep and forget it all by morning. It really has made a huge impact.

I've been making an extra effort to recognize and follow the Spirit. It has paid off a couple times -- little instances like when we are impressed to talk to someone, and they blow us off but then someone else walks up and talks to us. To think what would have happened if we just kept walking and never stopped for that first person! Or also, in a lesson with a less-active the other day, we were going to teach the 10 virgins parable ... it is what we had prepared, but right as we pulled up I kept thinking "sacrament ... sacrament" .... so we taught sacrament, and it was a totally spiritual lesson, and she was at church on Sunday. Miracles happen everyday in the mission field.

We had 15 people at our English class - that's tripled since our first one! In a lesson this week Prague told us he really felt the Holy Ghost, even though it was just his living room. That was rad. And Jean Max told us in a lesson to be sure that we gave him a commitment before we left. Cool, right? Jean Max is being interviewed tonight for his baptism tomorrow. I know all will go well!

I had a dream about Joseph Smith swashbuckling some zombies. Don't even ask. We went tracting this week - only like 2 people answered their doors. I had escovitzch fish this week, and didn't hate it. Tonight Sis. Ockey is making me a custom birthday dinner - she basically took my order - so we're having lobster, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies and creme brulee for dessert! Am I excited? Oh yes.

We meet the coolest people ever here. One guy we met yesterday, a less active named Joanel -- well, he's been prepared to be brought back to church. He's been out for YEARS because he made some bad mistakes, it made him ashamed, and he quit coming. He says he always has known the church is true, but he couldn't bring himself to come back. In our lesson, he kept saying how happy he was to see us and how he can't wait to come to conference this weekend. He just kept saying "I'm ready... I'm ready" ... coolest! Haitians are so rad, p.s I'm gonna miss the heck outta them.

I've got 18+ songs now that are complete with lyrics and melody and I've recorded the sound bytes on my digital camera so I don't forget them when I get home. It's ridiculous, some days I write three songs in one day! There's neverending inspiration out here, and I'm grateful to Heavenly Father for letting me keep something I love to do so much.

A mission is the best time to receive personal revelation. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

I leave you with the scripture of the day:

2 cor 4:5, 8-10

5 For we apreach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your bservants for Jesus’ sake.

8 We are atroubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in bdespair;

9 aPersecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not bdestroyed;

10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

I love you all! Enjoy the pictures, we just took them a couple hours ago at cabbage beach on paradise island.

<3 Sister Payne

Oh. Ps here are some lyrics to a song I wrote about Ashleigh on 9.16.10.

It's called Carry On.


the seconds tick away on that watch you gave to me

time stares me in the face

i know im out here cause that's what you would have told me to do

if only i could tell you


its hard to believe you're really gone

hard to believe its been so long

its hard to believe but your memory

it carries on and we carry on

carry on


you know im glad that - that you got to see me play

im glad i got to say goodbye

you know i wish that - that i can live a life half as great

as the one you left behind



and everytime i check the mail i remember that night at the hospital

sometimes i wish i could forget

and everytime i hear wonderwall i wonder why this life has to be so hard

you were so young - and had so much

and utah will always feel so cold to me

but arizona will always hold your legacy

you live on

rock on

and save a place for me


four faces - they still shine with your light

a light brighter than the sun

their handprints are - reminders of an angel we knew

who went back home



even though you're not here you're not far

we always say you were, but you are.
Not a whole lot to report this week but I will try to make this interesting anyway.

First off, Jean Max was confirmed and received the Aaronic Priesthood today. Woot woot! Also, a kid we've been working with, Mark Chase, he's committed for baptism on November 7th! We're really really excited about him. Allow me to briefly tell you his story.

A few months ago, Sis. Smith just hopped out of the car while we were driving and invited this kid to a job class we were having. He never showed up, but we ended up getting an appointment with him. The first few appointments we had he was just a clown. He was asking all sorts of questions about tattoos, celebrities, gambling, all this random stuff. He asked Sis Smith if he could marry her so he could come to the US. He then proceeded to give me a really hard time for liking the Red Sox, since he's a Yankees fan. This is how all our lessons went. We were like - we've gotta drop this dude. He's funny, but a waste of our teaching time. So we decided to give him a lesson so he could understand why the Book of Mormon was really really important, and why it was vital for him to figure out for himself if it was true. We read parts of "safety for the soul" by Elder Holland. It hit him! It's like this thing just flipped in his head - his whole countenance changed. He kept talking about Joseph Smith, and asking why he would have given his life and been so calm about it if the book wasn't true or if it wasn't important. When we would get off topic, he'd bring us back to the point! It was a total 180. We came back, taught him about prayer and how to receive an answer, and committed him for baptism and he accepted without hesitation. He's taking the lessons totally seriously now, and can't wait to get his answer. I can't wait either!

We have a new zone leader, Elder More. He served in Lucea right before I did, and he's hilarious. He made us sing during our skype conference on Tuesday to 'lighten the mood'. He always has a joke or a good story, and he can really lift us up when our heads hang down. It's refreshing. He's taken the focus off our numbers, and he helped me realize some weaknesses I have that I didn't even notice. I have a bit of an issue with judging others - prejudging them and not talking to them because I assume they're not gonna wanna listen. That's a hard thing in our mission that apparently all missionaries struggle with. The culture shock, and the rough neighborhoods and rough people -- it's easy to just assume they're not gonna care. But hey, look at Mark.

We've had some bad weather most of the week, but it's finally sunny. Today is Discovery Day here, which means almost all the businesses are closed (except for the internet cafe - sweet) and it's also Canadian Thanksgiving, so the Ockeys are cooking us some turkey tonight, haha.

Okay now onto some insights I guess. I noticed some other themes that were from general conference this week. The first - beware of virtue turning to vice. I thought that was poignant - anything, when taken to the extreme, can turn to our downfall, even good things. Also the importance of following the prophet, and the importance of the plan of salvation. Last but not least, understanding how sin works and where it comes from - beware of it sneaking up little by little. That was a running theme I appreciated as well.

I read the talk by Pres Uchtdorf "continue in patience" this week, then had a cool experience making some burritos. I was grilling up the meat and it wasn't getting brown and I instantly got frustrated. I was like "I'm doing this wrong, i must be, i'm the worst cook ever, this food isn't gonna turn out, i'm a failure" ... in a couple minutes the meat was brown and delicious. Then I added the other ingredients into the skillet and the directions said to cook until most of the water was soaked up into the rice. It was taking forever. I double and triple checked the directions, assuming I'd made a mistake and added too much liquid. Sure enough, time passed, and the food was delicious and cooked just fine. This taught me a couple things. 1) just be patient! and 2) Satan will try to get us, while we're waiting for something, to double and triple check our decisions. He'll try to get us to feel like we're failures, make us discouraged in our quest for patience. Think of the couple that wants to get married in the temple but has to wait to get their lives in order, pay a full tithe, etc. Satan will say "you fail. give up. just get married somewhere else. you're never gonna be good enough to get married in the temple". Or I think of my situation, out on my mission, putting my life at home on hold. Satan will say "you've made the wrong choice. you've ruined everything. it's never gonna turn out right" ... but Heavenly Father will never let us feel that way. As long as we have the Spirit, we won't ever feel like that.

Okay last but not least --

I've been having morning devotionals lately. They're awesome. I'll spare the details, but I wake up - shower & eat - then just spend a few minutes in prayer in a quiet place in my apartment laying everything out on the line to Heavenly Father. I call it going to my sacred grove. It has really helped. I reccommend it. It has completely changed the way my days start.

And here are some lessons I've learned since I've been out on my mission:

1) i need to take every opportunity i have to play guitar with my dad

2) i need to go out to eat with my parents as many times as i can

(these are motivated by a greater lesson learned - we never HAVE the time to do things - we have to MAKE the time to do things)

3) i need to spend less money on stupid things, and spend less money than i earn

4) be patient - and study and work hard now or you'll regret it later. i'm not gettin' any younger.

5) early to bed makes all the difference in a clear head

6) "there's more to life than increasing it's speed"

7) read more books. use less internet.

8) and one progresses only as fast as he gains knowledge. heretoforethen, acquire knowledge!

scripture of the week : d&c 11

12 And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your atrust in that bSpirit which cleadeth to do dgood—yea, to do ejustly, to walk fhumbly, to gjudge righteously; and this is my Spirit.

13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall aenlighten your bmind, which shall fill your soul with cjoy;

14 And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of arighteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.

And remember - missionaries build the house, converts furnish it themselves, the members do the housekeeping and the Savior does the extreme makeover home edition and makes it a mansion.

Have a great week. Love you all.

- Sister Payne

PS I've had some of the craziest dreams on my mission - and I kept a dream journal for a while. Allow me to share some...


lastnight i dreamt i was hanging out with hugh jackman and his wife. i wrote him a letter confessing my love to him, to which he consoled me like i was a little child crying over not getting the lollipop i wanted.


lastnight i dreamt that rosie (investigator) stole all our orange marmalade and bread, and jennifer (investigator) stole all our mangos. i chewed them out then went to wash off a plantain in the ocean, which looked like somewhere in aruba.


lastnight i dreamt i was on the amazing race. our last challenge was a karaoke challenge and my 4-man team was Valerie, me, jill wizbowski (from heritage academy - so random), and a random kid from MTC volleyball. Chris Kattan was running the karaoke computer and it crashed so we lost. then i was at the london dungeon with ashlee and the jesterz troupe worked there and were remodelling.


the only thing i remember from lastnight was elder landeen and elder rebeiro and the band simple plan were all in my dream.


lastnight i dreamt i was at some banquet or awards dinner for teachers and it was at an awards hall in the mountains at a ski resort. so david and i went snowboarding and all the old teachers were skiing and were judging us, and at the actual dinner they called us hooligans and punk kids.
I'm exhausted. This e-mail will no doubt reflect that. My apologies.

So, other people serve missions and learn languages. In the Jamaica Kingston Mission we forget the language we already knew! I have noticed a drastic drop in the quality of English of my fellow missionaries, and even myself . We say things like "thingam" and "Sunday next" or "Sunday coming" or "study dem things" ... so goes loving the people - you begin to talk like them.

It has been difficult being in this area so long, and being with the same companion my entire mission thus far. Though I love the area, and love Sis. Smith - there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". I anticipate a transfer soon, though I know I'll really miss this country, the people here, and all the amenities we have. It is very stush here, and the cold showers in Jamaica I'm not missing at all. I'm sure the set of trials you face always change throughout time, but trials are always there you just gotta roll with the punches.

It is also a bit of a challenge being off-island. It is easy to feel removed from the rest of the mission. I've only had two interviews with my mission president in seven months - one with Pres. Graff right when I got here and one with Pres. Hendricks four months ago. It is usually up to us to figure out this whole mission thing on our own. Good thing we've got the help from the Lord no matter what area we are in. And it is a growing experience not being under constant watch. And it is a privelege the Lord trusts us that much. After all -

D&C 58

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is acompelled in all things, the same is a bslothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

27 Verily I say, men should be aanxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

28 For the power is in them, wherein they are aagents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their breward.

29 But he that adoeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with bdoubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is cdamned.

Well. It is easy to get tired of doing the same thing all day everyday. I mean, back home you've got the 9 to 5 - 5 days a week. You clock in, clock out, and do whatever you want with your free time. Here we have exactly 7 hours of free time on Mondays spent e-mailing and grocery shopping and catching up on sleep. The enduring to the end thing ... the whole diligence thing ... the most difficult part of my mission right now. I pretty much scream every morning -- "I WANT A BREAK!!!!!" and then Sis. Smith listens quietly as I complain through companion study and then we go out and try to find anyone who will listen. Ah, a glimpse into life in Nassau right now.

Well, I've noticed my sleep schedule isn't good. And our diet isn't very good either. Consequently we're always tired and lazy. So that's something we're working on trying to fix. Getting out of what is called "the curse of nassau" where the missionaries get lazy because of the comfort here.

A big thing - a big problem - is applying what I learn. It seems everyday I learn something new through scripture study, through the Spirit, through prayer and experience. I have learned so much. The challenge isn't learning - it's letting what you learn change you in some way -- becoming converted to what you know. I guess that's why the natural man is the enemy to God (Mosiah 3:19). They always say "mind over matter", but it's really "spirit over body". Our celestial spirits can control our telestial bodies, if we just let them. But ... we have a real hard time mastering that. Self mastery have I none.

I've been seeking ways to come unto Christ in my daily life - even when stuck in traffic. That's a challenge too. I've learned that my mission filters out what is truly important in life. I believe that is the greatest blessing that has come from all of this. I'm able to sit back and say "that? that's eternal. that's important. that deserves my time." or "that? that's crap. I don't need to worry about that at all." Man, that is worth the time and money to come out here alone. I want that perspective for the rest of my life. It'd make life so much nicer and would have prevented me from a lot of heartache and regret in the past. C'est la vie.

We had an interesting experience teaching a pastor that pretended not to be a pastor or know anything about our church, basically inviting us into his home to try to trap us into saying something he could use against us in a sermon. That was lovely. Had we not had a member with us, we never would have known. There are some really shady people in these parts. It gives me the willies sometimes. Oh well. The truth is truth - and it will always prevail. I wonder if Paul ever taught that true Christianity meant being a shady liar? I don't remember reading that anywhere. Hmmm..

I've been learning a lot about the Atonement - how it is all about mercy and love. Here's some scriptures that really hit me this week. If anyone cares to know my thoughts on them or why I found them so significant, just ask. Otherwise I'll leave it up to you to figure it out:

Alma 34:11-12

Moses 1:9-10

D&C 136:31

Last but not least, I have discovered this is my greatness. All my life teachers, mentors, friends, and relatives would say "you're great. I expect great things from you. You will do great things in life." etc etc etc. I always thought that meant I was gonna be rich and famous and change the world. But here I am - changing the world. However small the change in what I am doing right now, this is my greatness. Much more important than what you do is who you are. When I die, no one will say "oh she had a lot of money or she had a lot of success" ... if I live the life I should people will say "she was passionate, she was righteous, she never settled and never gave up". Much more important than what I do, is who I am.

I hope I will just become better and better with age - like a fine cheese, that I can't eat a lot of, cause I'm lactose intolerant.

Anyway, I love you all. YOUR COMMITMENT this week is to read "ACT IN ALL DILIGENCE" by HENRY B EYRING.


Have a great week.

All the best,

Sister Payne



all i remember from lastnight is i was hanging out with jim gaffigan. he was doing a house show, and my parents were there but no one else knew who he was. but he knew me really well. and i dreamed about a massive opera style movie theatre for the 2nd time.


lastnight i was at some mac makeup expo along with rockstar {tigi} and i thought i was invited back to some sponsored contest but it was actually just brooke white who was invited back. and i got in an argument with a lady over why i don't wear makeup on my mission.


haven't had any crazy ones lately that i can remember anyway. lastnight i dreamt i was being transferred to mandeville and always running late for my flight.


transfer dream again. back to jamaica, leaving sis smith here - got a new comp. nightmare!


dreamt i was with lisa andrews, valerie, and kristin chenoweth who was chilling on the beach and she came with us to go see wicked the movie. then i was on a movie set somewhere and played a role and robert downey jr had a cameo and we got to hang out. then we were by some people who were dress out of world war I and we were dancing with them, then i was with sis smith at a guitar shop. ha!


lastnight i dreamt some former olympian invited me to canada with her family on a ski trip so i left my mission for four days and went to canada to learn to ski but i didnt bring anything but my mission backpack so i was really mad that i didnt have any clothes or a camera.

My commitment to you this week is to read FOR THE STRENGTH OF YOUTH prayerfully. I promise you, if you do it with the right spirit. you will learn something new. I read many things this week that urged us to live by the standards in that pamphlet, even as adults. I felt I should read it - and as I did I felt a renewed strength and hope, to be better in the future than I have been. I felt regret that I had not payed closer attention to such inspired counsel earlier in my life. I felt an increase of knowledge and desire to be good.

This will probably be shorter than the last few e-mails. What can I say - the longer I'm out here and the less that happens the less I have to say. Who am I kidding I could write volumes every e-mail, but I'm tired and I'm sure you've got better things to do than read every single thought I've had this week.

First, we've been teaching this woman Shantel. She lives with her boyfriend and every lesson we have she's doing a million other things during it. She doesn't take us seriously at all and basically doesn't keep any commitments. Why are we teaching her, you ask? Good question. We're not sure other than we have like zero other investigators so it gives us something to do.

Second, Mark who is to be baptized in two weeks was not at church yet again. He apparently does not have that much desire, and that's a real struggle for us. We love the kid, and want him to man up and make the commitment. He knows what we're teaching is true, but he wants some Saul/Paul conversion miracle before he really commits to anything. Commitment is a huge problem here - they can't even commit when they're driving, inching out in intersections - let alone commit to baptism.

You should all check out realheroposters.com -- they make them in full posters or little trading card size. It is awesome. Who is YOUR hero?

We have noticed that productivity influences positivity. The longer we have our line in the water so to speak, the more likely we'll catch some fish. And the harder we work the happier we are cause we can at least say, when our heads in the pillow, we gave it our best shot today. That being said, we often don't give it our best shot because we get discouraged or complacent. A 7 month companionship is hard, you stop pushing eachother and just say "you're lazy? me too. let's be lazy together." Needless to say, my money is on a transfer in November with me headed back to JamRock and culture shock all over again. That'll be a welcome change though, even amidst the inevitable adversity.

We had a restoration activity at the church on Friday. We used flashlights to represent the apostles and the priesthood and the restoration. It was pretty fun.

Scriptures that have influenced me this week:

Alma 37:38-46 -- WHOA. awesome.

2 Nephi 2:26-29 (relate that to Mosiah 3:19) -- DANG. spirit over body is the key. gotta make the choice to be good.

D&C 58:31-33 - enjoy.

and Alma 29:10 -- why being on a mission is the best blessing ever.

Here's some lessons I learned this week:

1) Neal A. Maxwell said something that is often quoted - too many of us want to build our house in Zion but keep a summer cottage in Babylon. Hello. This is me. I realized that this week - that is a huge problem with me. It was enlightening to read a talk by Larry W. Gibbons called "Wherefore Settle This in Your Hearts" ... I can't even say all the thoughts that I had but it stuck out to me that he mentioned too many of us are 80/20 saints --- we're who we are to be 80% of the time but we look at it like we have this 20% of the time that we can error and be of the world. I know this was the case for me. Well I can skip church 1 every 5 times. Well I can see a rated R movie as long as I'm seeing mostly good movies. Oh I can listen to some bad music it's not like I do it all the time. I see it all around me in people I know too. Oh, I can have a non-committal makeout it's not like I'm breaking the law of chastity. Oh I can talk crap about my friends if I'm nice to their face. etc etc etc. Are we 80/20 saints? I know I was, far too often. Still am - but I recognize it now and I'm working on changing. I know I can change - that's a promise given to me by my Savior.


2) I was not converted to the gospel. This is my focus, right now and throughout the rest of my life. It is not enough to have a testimony. This is a theme I've seen throughout my mission - the difference between testimony and conversion. I invite you to read this talk and follow the counsel. If you read it prayerfully, and sit back and analyze your discipleship I know you'll see room for improvement. We all can improve. So change - do it now! I've spent so much time putting off until tomorrow the change I wanted to make yesterday. With thoughts like that - you never get anywhere. Believe me, I know.


and 3) Our life is a gift. I've been thinking about the gift of mortal probation -- that we are given this life to develop Christlike attributes. I learned this from a member. We had a lesson with their family about Christlike attributes and she said that as we go through experience we develop and learn - so having a spouse helps you to learn patience and charity as well as having children increases your capacity for love .... going to school increases your knowledge -- adversity tests your faith and can strengthen it or destroy it ... We cannot become impatient with ourselves when we feel we lack in faith, in patience, humility, etc. What we need to do is rather recognize the things in our lives that have happened already that may have been given to us to help us develop these attributes, and prayerfully move into each day asking "what can I learn today?" and end each day thinking "what did I learn today and how can I apply it?" Over time we will become like the Savior, but it requires diligence.

It seems like with so much to work on I end up getting nowhere. But it is hard to recognize the progress in ourselves sometimes. I'm trying.

I love my mission. The last 8 months have flown by. Slow down time! Slow down!

Alright, that's all folks. Here's some pictures Sis. Smith had on her camera so I'm sending them home. Ignore my blatant disobedience in one photo. I repented.

All my love,

Sister Payne

Sis. Payne's Dream Journal 3rd Edition


hilarious and terrifying. first a dream that tommy emailed me to rekindle our friendship after i'd sent him a package and he talked about not giving up on the church. then a dream about britney spears and janet jackson releasing a horrible version of heal the world. then im driving with sis smith and sis ockey past all these zombies, and sis ockey saying that elder emery shot a bunch of zombies all the time cause our apartment was on the zombie block. we were out of bullets and sis ockey goes "oh its not everyday that i getta go to walmart to buy some shotgun bullets with my girls" .... then at a stoplight she grabbed this girl laying in the road who'd been attacked by zombies and pulled her in the car to help her but i explained she would soon be a zombie and i pushed her out of the car and sped off running over her (the zombie, not sis ockey) ... then i wondered why the government didn't take care of the zombie problem.


i had a dream that while on my mission michael j fox was cured of parkinsons and starring in a megaman movie - it was awesome but i was devastated i was missing it.
A big loud "HEY BOSS ERRY TING COOL?" to you Family, Friends, and Fans --

Allow me to start off by saying a bunch of random stuff:

Happy Halloween! It didn't feel like Halloween here. All the churches here preach about how halloween is pagan and of the devil, so hardly anyone does anything for halloween except shoot of fireworks, so that's random. We had one crew of trick or treaters come through our neighborhood (since we're the rich neighborhood -- there's only about 2 neighborhoods on the whole island where kids actually trick or treat). Sister Smith and I dressed up as one another for Halloween and confused absolutely everyone at church. It was awesome.

We had the book of mormon stand again this week - handing out flyers for the church like we were phone card sellers on the street. I like approach - takin' the gospel to the masses! It was hilarious and we got tan while we did it. What was sad to me was how few people stopped to talk to us. I realized if we had been handing out free porn a bunch of people would have stopped. That is the state of the world that we live in however, and all the more reason for us to work harder to spread the gospel.

I believe I will be going back to Jamaica in two weeks. Either way, start addressing letters to Jamaica until further notice.

October has not been a good month, so we're glad to welcome November in.

Sister Smith and I realized we've been together longer than most Mormon couples that head to the temple, hahaha. Choice.

Last week I was very impressed with the reverence in Sacrament Meeting. This week, not at all. It was so hard to pay attention between all the kids screaming and playing and all the adults whispering and teens texting. It made me terrified to have go to a family ward indefinitely one day. Yikes. What I have been continually impressed with though is the number of tourists that come to church every Sunday. Man, I was always of the "I'm on vacation so the Sabbath now converts to just another Saturday" variety. These people on cruises only have 1-2 days here and take 3 hours to come to church that they could be sightseeing or whatever. Kudos to them. The ones Sunday were from Pinetop - so that was cool. The tourists have set a good example for me to apply in my life in the future.

I began reading Jesus the Christ on Thursday. I'm on page 235 now - out of like, 800. If I keep up the pace I've been at I can finish it by the 17th of November I think. That's my goal I'm working towards right now. I've learned so much already and it really has strengthened my testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of mankind. It is quite an endeavor though - reading Talmage isn't exactly like reading Rowling.

Alright let me launch into lessons I've learned this week --

1) The definition of love is truly and honestly desiring the happiness of that person above your own happiness. I realized - that's how I have come to define love in my life and as I try to have charity for people, that is the constant definition I see pop up over and over. If I ask myself -- "do I love this person?" I'm really asking myself "do I put this person's happiness above my own?" If I can answer honestly, as in I'm willing to sacrifice absolutely every one of my personal desires or comforts for the happiness of that individual, then I can say "yes, I love them". That perspective has really made me realize how much I do love the people in my life, what I'm really willing to do for them, and how I need to express it more often. (Listen to "Live Like We're Dying" by Kris Allen, btw. It's good)

2) Life is kinda like a rollercoaster. I remember riding the Superman ride at six flags and Ashlee and Mr. Miller telling me there'd be a light that would turn green when we took off. I was so scared, but I was comforted there would be a warning. Once I got in, I frantically looked for the light. No such light existed and that thing launched off like a rocket into the sky at a million miles per hour. I was scared - I screamed - but once it was over I was so pumped! I related this to agency. We all chose to get in the ride when we chose to follow the plan that brought us to this mortal probation in the first place. Now that we're here, we don't always have a green light to warn us when things will come our way. Good and bad, we're on the ride strapped in and it's gonna take off. We cannot control that - what we can control is how we react to the ride. Even when it gets scary, do we keep our eyes closed, scream, cry, just waiting until its over, bitter than we got on in the first place? Or do we recognize that it isn't gonna last forever, that there is an experience to be had, and do we open up our eyes and enjoy the ride? This is what I am trying to do. I am trying to enjoy the ride. Life is a beautiful, wonderful, amazing thing. Looking back at the hardest things I've gone through - they pale in comparison to the greatness I've experienced. I know there are challenges ahead, but I don't wanna shut them out. I wanna make it through PUMPED!

3) A song I wrote when I was 16 (well part of it) has been stuck in my head ever since. I always though it was catchy, but it wreaked of a 16 year old writing it and hey, I'm not Taylor Swift these days. I had written a catchy chorus out here a month or so ago, but couldn't come up with any verses or a bridge. I was frustrated and about to scrap the song. Instead, I put this old part of an old song to the new chorus and made a pretty good song. This taught me that we never know when we are going to need something from our past to use now. We never know when something we are learning now is going to be of use to us in the future. God has a great way of preparing us now for who He will need us to be in the future. We just have to keep our eyes and ears open, and not scrap the new chorus right away, or throw away the old material with the garbage.

4) We are the only preachers of truth on this island. Satan knows that. If he takes us, he take the island. That's a bit intense! But it's something I didn't realize until our zone leader Elder More pointed it out to us. He told us how Satan uses deception (something I've been trying to study recently) to get us to see things his way instead of the real way. He said Satan would do all he could to deceive us that what we're doing isn't important, we don't make a difference, we should just give up, there's no hope here, etc etc. Man - so true. It's gotten me to think about all the ways Satan has deceived me throughout my life - making darkness appear as light or vis versa. I'm working on having the Spirit and recognizing it more so that I will not be deceived for the next 23 years.

5) Last but not least, Julie B Beck once told a story about how in a marathon you hit a brick wall where it gets really hard to keep running. But if you just stick it out and keep going, you get past it and get your second wind and can keep going for many more miles. I think Nassau has been my brick wall - not the entire time but August - October at least. I feel myself pulling out of it, or rather being pulled out of it. I am grateful for that. I have a noticeable difference in my mood and attitude, despite the fact that our circumstances have not changed one bit. It figures that once I get like that I'm probably gonna hafta leave. But isn't that how that always goes - once you start liking the primary calling you get called to relief society? Haha. That's how the Lord molds us I suppose.

I really got to help some people this week who were struggling. I felt like an instrument in the Lord's hands, and though they were members and not new investigators - they needed our help and we were there. It was nice to be able to bear my testimony, to earn the trust of people, and be with friends this week that I got to help.

D&C 64:

32 But all things must come to pass in their time.

33 Wherefore, be not aweary in bwell-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of csmall things proceedeth that which is great.

34 Behold, the Lord arequireth the bheart and a cwilling mind; and the willing and dobedient shall eeat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.

I know I'm doing the Lord's work. I know the church is His kingdom once again established on the Earth. I know He has a living prophet today that leads and guides the children of God. I know that our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. I know that He has given us the gift of agency, to make of our lives what we desire in our heart. I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and a lighthouse for us to look to in the midst of the storms of our life.

I love my Savior. I love His church. I love His gospel.

I love you all,

Sister Payne

A rousing "YOU ALRIGHT?" to all my Family, Friends and Fans --

8 months in and you're still reading this jazz? Kudos to you. I feel loved.

Let's get right down to this stuff. In Preach My Gospel it talks about not getting discouraged. It says that discouragement will cause you to lower your expectations -- consequently your faith with weaken and your desire will decrease. Needless to say, that is what has happened since I've been in Nassau. All of the above. But a few things have really helped lately and I find myself, on the whole, more positive and happy than I've been my whole mission. I'll tell ya why.

First, I've been working on replacing every doubtful fearful thought with an act of faith. Satan constantly make me doubt and makes me fear. By doing something like reading my patriarchal blessing, it takes away all doubt and fear. By reading the promises made to the righteous in the scriptures, it takes away all doubt and fear. By praying and feeling the Spirit return, it takes away all doubt and fear. That has become a source of strength for me.

2 Tim 1: 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of afear; but of bpower, and of clove, and of a sound mind.

Things are intensified in the mission field. It's a mini life - so you take all the hard stuff you go through in a lifetime and condense it into an 18 month or 2 year period - it's rough. That being said, you take all the best things in a lifetime and get those condensed also. So you end up being a little bipolar in the mission field, but that goes without saying. Any good ride goes up and down after all.

A mission is not a change - it is a placing of a mantle. It is the opportunity to change - the greater capacity for acheivement. It is not a change however - and though I felt I grew rapidly in the MTC and my first transfer, I'd become stagnant. It requires constant spiritual physical and mental effort to change. George Elliot said, "It is never too late to be who you might have been." So, I push forward and growth comes. When desire meets action, you get progress.

We had a mission fast yesterday - and started it with an obedience offering ... giving up something disobedient we've been doing and not doing it for the rest of our mission. First of all, it was interested how once I decided what I was gonna give up, the tempation to do that thing became even stronger. I was able to resist, and given strength and courage and feel a burden lifted and renewed resolve to walk in greater faithfulness. It has been a great experience, and there is this new energy in our mission. We may very well be the smallest mission in the world. We are now less than 60 strong - and we cover four countries in our proselyting efforts. Our zone leaders yesterday emphasized how important each missionary is to this mission - especially how important the off island missionaries are being the only companionship on their island. We had a great inspired conversation with them last night that helped to resolve a lot of my concerns and worries, made me feel a lot better about the work, and about myself. Our zone leaders are amazing.

I was able to help Mark, our only real investigator, this week with my experiences. I was able to tell him about choosing to come on a mission despite lack of initial support in a lot of ways, and help him to relate that to him making the decision to be baptized despite his family and friends not supporting him. It felt good to be able to help someone with something I totally related to, since often I feel like I can't relate to converts since I was born into the church. I got to bear my testimony in church yesterday, and Hurricane Hayley was in full force (waterworks time). No one cries here in testimony meeting so everyone thought something was wrong with me. But I got a lot of people saying nice things about what I said and I could tell that my testimony is getting stronger. Not knowing how long I will be here, I wanted to be sure to bear my testimony to them while I had the chance. I talked about how I feel like the least likely missionary, but Joseph was a least likely prophet, and they may feel like least likely latter day saints but that's okay - the Lord strengthens us when he calls us to serve Him.

We took a young member, Karla, tracting with us yesterday. Man! She was like "HEY WE'RE HERE TO SHARE A MESSAGE WITH YOU!" No fear! We want her to prepare to serve a mission - she's only 17, but it requires a lot of preparation so she should start now! I know I wish I would have. It's cold outside (I know, right?) so we stay bundled up these days. The wind is fierce. Daylight savings time has affected me for the first time ever in my life, and that was nice getting an extra hour of sleep one morning, but staying up an extra hour that night wasn't so nice. I still hate mornings - they are my enemy - but I've been getting up earlier this week. Who knows, maybe one day I won't hate life at 6:30am.

Scriptures of the week:

2 Nephi 10:23-24

Matt 13:44-46

Luke 14:16-24 -> I actually related this parable to how I need to choose my friends from here on out ... am I giving my best to those who will appreciate it or to those who will find any excuse not to join me for dinner?

Last but not least, I've learned a lot this week about the danger of comparison. Comparing is never a good thing - to compare ourselves to others, or even to ourselves during better times of our life. On a mission its so dangerous, comparing the numbers or comparing the awesome mission stories you've heard with your own. The Elders lastnight talked about how when you hear those stories, they're telling you the good stuff. They're not telling you about the hum drum everyday, and especially not about the bad stuff. They have that too - they just omit it. They talked about how we change, sometimes we're better and sometimes we're worse ... so if we spend all our time depressed that October isn't as good as September or that this year wasn't as good as that, we won't progress. We've gotta stop it and seek to find ways to improve. Really, I'm learning a lot about that - focusing on my relationship with my Savior and not worrying about what other people think, or what they seem to have that I don't. I've learned everyone has trials, makes mistakes, has weaknesses. They're not the same as mine -- so it seems like they don't have any problems. That's not true, they just don't have my problems ... but that's why I'm an individual and the Lord will strengthen me as an individual because He knows EXACTLY what I'm facing -- and He's the only one who does.

Anyway, we had McDonalds breakfast this morning. McGriddle. Yikes. We're off to go bowling with the Ockeys.

I hope everything is great back home.

Sending all my love your way,

Sister Payne
Luke 4:42 And when it was day, he adeparted and went into a bdesert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and cstayed him, that he should not depart from them.

43 And he said unto them, I must apreach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I bsent.

Wa'gwaan Family Friends and Fans!!!

I'm shippin out tomorrow morning at 7:30am - headed for the Montego Bay airport. I will be companions with Sis. Wilkinson (also from Utah) and we will be serving in Mandeville. I'm pretty excited, but as any of you could have guessed overwhelmed with anxiety. It's not so bad - the Lord really helps me with that out here. I haven't even gotten sick! So today I am packing, cleaning, and getting my hair cut for the first and only time on my mission. It'll be cool to go back to Jamaica - and spend Christmas there at the mission home with all the other missionaries. It is crazy that this next transfer goes through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Time really is flying - I seem to have blinked and 2010 has disappeared. My mission is going too fast! SLOW DOWN MISSION! I'll miss Sis. Smith, but we both agree it will be a difficult but good change. Sis. Speakman is coming here to take over the area. Upward and onward - forward together.

In some awesome news, Mark was supposed to get baptized yesterday but didn't. Why is that awesome? Because we rescheduled his date for the 28th, he actually took the bus to church instead of having a member pick him up, he's more excited now for his baptism than ever, and he came to our Friday night activity. AWESOME. Also in awesome news, Brother Major asked us to have a lesson after church yesterday. We agreed - and I had let him borrow my copy of Our Search for Happiness last week. He read it twice, is ordering his own copy, and couldn't stop talking about how much he loved it. We read through Alma 34, and I asked him if he had learned more about the priesthood and baptism while he read the book. He laughed and said "yes, and I've made up my mind - I know this is something I need to do - and despite opposition from friends and family, as long as I'm serving God I know I'm doing the right thing. I'll be calling you this week to let you know what date I will be baptized". Man - that was so great! Now, it is hard to be leaving with all of this excitement, but I can go to Jamaica and do good there and leave the rest here to the able hands of Smith and Speakman. That was a great high note to end on.

There's Christmas lights up already here. It's exciting. We've been singing Christmas songs. Sis. Smith is trippin' cause there isn't any snow. I'm trippin' with how awesome the weather has been. It's actually chilly. I really enjoyed my last hot shower this morning. We had a movie night this week where the members got to watch Saints and Soldiers. It went well in that two investigators and two less actives came - but not so well in that hardly any members showed up. Oh well, we can only do so much. While trying to contact a less active this week, we ran into their non-member brother who came to the activity and is going to start taking the lessons next week. Hopefully with him learning it will respark the flame that his less-active family once had. We also got back another former investigator, Rico, who had a baptism date but has hit hard times. He kept telling us how miserable he was. We shared how the gospel is given to us and our mortal lives are given to us to allow us to have joy - he said it gave him hope to know there's a way out of it. We're teaching him now too so that's great. And the weirdest part of this week was some College of the Bahamas (COB) nursing students doing a presentation on the nutrition of Mormons and having us come to their class to answer questions. That was strange - I can't describe how strange that was if I tried. Good thing I know my word of wisdom doctrine, sheesh.

Living with a companion is difficult at times. There are times where you just want to be alone, but they're always there. It gets to a point where even their breathing or swallowing annoys you. It is those times where you just have to go to your happy place, say a prayer, think about something positive you like about them, and move on. It has been a crazy thing not being alone. In fact, tomorrow I will be alone on the plane and in the airport for about five hours - for the first time since the end of March. Talk about trippin'. We went bowling this week with the Ockeys though and allow me to say that was dang fun. I love bowling.

My heroes this week are Peter, Alma the Younger, Moroni, and the Savior (of course). I'm almost done with the Book of Mormon and Jesus the Christ. I'll finish them tomorrow during the trip I hope. I'm Peter. I don't care to elaborate on that, but let's just say that I am and through that comparison I've found solace and hope and an increase of faith. That leads me to lessons that I have learned this week.

The first is the parable of the unjust steward - we can take a lesson from those not-so-righteous people in power, in that if they lust after money and power so much and DON'T have God on their side and yet still attain so much influence in the world, how much more should the righteous seek after righteousness and strive to obtain a position of influence not for money but for the moving forward of the work of God. It is the same principle that if we don't teach the children then the world will - if we do not strive for temporal success the world will - and if we could use that success for righteousness wouldn't that be so much better than what the world uses it for? I guess I just learned that God gave us this world - He gave us the things in it - not everything that isn't of an eternal nature is wicked - it is instituted for our benefit, but only if we use it for our benefit.

The second lesson is that our faith is measured by quality, not quantity. I'll let you ponder that for yourself.

Third it is a good idea for us to always pray not to enter into temptation. We can pray not to be tempted, but that's inevitable. Instead we should pray not to give heed to the temptation -- pray to never fall away from that which we know is good and true. A member here, Sis. Capita, said because she's seen so many of her friends fall away from the church, she prays every night that that won't happen to her. I'd never even thought to pray about that -- and believe me, it is a GOOD THING for us to pray for. None of us are immune to personal apostasy - not a single one. But we have to be careful not to be like the Pharisee and pray to not be as wicked as so-and-so, but pray instead as the Publican, recognizing we are sinful and completely reliant on the Lord's grace.

Fourth, after reading Mosiah 2:17 as if I had read it for the first time, I realized the importance of callings! I can't wait to have a calling when I go home and actually do it the way the Lord wants it to get done. Man, I scraped by in my callings before my mission. I'm ready to remedy that. We should be eager to help - and sad if we don't have a calling! Callings are merely the Lord's way of furthering His work here, and we are privileged to be instruments in that work. We watched the worldwide leadership broadcast, and it made it so clear how important our callings are and how much the Lord loves His children - that all of this is given to us to help us - and that everything the leaders of the church do is for our benefit. Of course, imperfect people hold callings - so sometimes we have leaders that we just cannot understand why they're given the opportunity to serve. But I've learned service is much more for the person serving than it is for the people they serve. I'm the biggest convert on my mission. So it goes. All the more reason why we, if given the chance to serve, must do it the Lord's way and with all our heart.

Fifth, the gospel is a gospel of sacrifice. It is necessary, seeing as the entire crux of the plan of salvation is the sacrifice of the Savior. If we are not sacrificing, if we are ever comfortable and not sacrificing something, we are not doing enough. I've applied this to me, and tried to analyze what I need to do to sacrifice more. There's a lot I need to do - I got way too comfortable here. I've contemplated about the temple and the covenants I made regarding sacrifice. I'm trying to check my sacrifice status.

Sixth, I have learned I had a testimony, but I was not converted to that testimony. Studying conversion in conference talks, in True to the Faith, and in the scriptures has given me a better understanding of that principle. A testimony is not enough - you can have a testimony and still waver depending on your circumstances (ie my whole life). Conversion is consistently living true to what you know. Are you converted? I know I'm not - but I'm working on it.

Alright, well I think that's about it. Doctrine and Covenants 108 was an answer to my prayers this week. Read it, it's a good one.

As always I leave you a commitment that I hope you accept.

Read this talk:


"Come unto Me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal you" by Patrick Kearon

Be good and know that I love you. I know the church is true. I know the Priesthood of God has been restored to this earth in our day - I know that Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet and speaks for the Lord. I know that this is Christ's church - and that through His Atonement all of us, each and every one, can be saved through our obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel and our Savior's amazing grace. I know that He can heal us. I know that the Book of Mormon is a witness of that, and it is the word of God.

Bien choisir!


Sister Payne
Wa'gwaan Family, Friends, and Fans ??

Erry'ting irie? It's good to be back in Jamaica. The Lord knew what he was doing sending me to Mandeville - this place is off the chain. Here's a brief account of my experiences coming back:

At the airport in Nassau I was treated like a spy by the U.S Dept of Security. They opened and searched my suitcases which I found out via a nice little note in my bag, they pulled me out of each line to give me a special scan of my carry on bags and gloved-pat-down. On the tarmac I was interviewed by some Law&Order type fellow who asked me the most random questions of all time. After this I realized I was dressed like Dana Scully, and next time I shall try to look less FBI when I fly. I laughed about it when all was said and done - and I'm glad that people are doing their job and checking stuff. If they're checking me, then I assume they're checking the dangerous ones as well.

The flight felt long and it was weird being alone. When I landed in MoBay it was HOT. Yikes. That night I went around with Sis. Wilkinson to see some of her recent converts. MoBay is a crazy dirty busy city and I'm sure I'll serve there eventually. It gave me a little jolt just being back in all of that. Sis. W was right at home though - she and I have had a very different past six months. Jamaica is an acquired taste, I'll just put it that way. I'm learning to love it again. We drove to Mandeville. Driving in Jamaica is more difficult - tons of potholes, lots of traffic and narrow roads, and the steering wheel is on the right. Driving thy name is anxiety -- but I've managed. Mandeville is up in the hills and it is gorgeous. It is cool and breezy, not hot at all. It is still hard to find people because of the way the houses here are built and the addresses are. The branch I'm in is the oldest on the island and we have some Jamaican pioneers in our branch which is super awesome. We have a district here which is cool. Our zone is HUGE - it includes MayPen, Sav la Mar, Hopeton, us, Negril, and Santa Cruz. Our zone leaders are Elder Caplan and Elder Rebeiro (who was my zone leader when I was in Lucea). We have new office elders. The last ones must have been less valiant in the premortal life cause they were in there forever .... j/k. The Andersons are the senior couple here and they had us over for dinner last night. They're from Utah - super cool people. The retention here is super poor - we're at 1 for 7. I left Nassau at 9 for 24. It is a big change - and we have a lot of work ahead of us but I'm looking forward to it. Struggling areas are my forte.

The members have already reached out to us. We've met some of the recent converts and less actives and had lessons with them. The Primary program was yesterday at church and it was so cute! They did so well, memorizing scriptures and everything. I was immensely impressed. There was a soloist singing all the songs and the rest of the primary was like a backup choir. It was pretty hilarious. Our first day in the area we parked down town and got a boot on our car. That was totally rich. Thank goodness the Lord was looking out for us and we got the only nice parking violation ticket giver man on the island and he took it off for us. Our apartment was horrible. I would send pictures but I think it may give you nightmares. Elders must not have cleaned that thing since the 90s -- it was a horror movie and we spent two days deep cleaning it. I got really sick for the first time on my mission afterwards -- upchucking throughout the night. All is well now and I feel 100%. It was a horrible experience though -- puking in a dark dirty bathroom at 3 am. I recommend it to no one. Sis. W was great the entire time though - making me some peppermint tea and medicating me with some peppermint oils and random jazz and staying up with me til I fell asleep again. Nothing like nausea to cement a good companionship.

Sis. Wilkinson is 22 - she's from Morgan, Utah. She's the 2nd of 5 kids - has a man at home that she left to come on a mission - studied and got some dental hygienist training as well as her CNA before he mission. She likes the rocket summer and snowboarding, so needless to say we get along well. She can talk just as much as me too, which is impressive. She told me something I didn't know before. A sister came out here, Sis. Israelson from Salt Lake Utah. She was to be a new sister to the mission. She lasted approx. 1 day and left and is now serving in St. George. Poor gal. Just a little glimpse into the type of missionary that is required for such a unique mission ;)

The Sorensons, the new senior couple in MoBay, go out and visit Lucea often. They had some depressing news to say the least. None of the members in Lucea come to church anymore. The church pays for their taxi to come on fast sunday, and still none of them come. Bro. McLean has gone basically anti since the branch was shut down - too offended and angry to even have anything to do with the church anymore, and he's sought to encourage the other members to feel the same as him. Eddie said he's quitting the church. Karl hasn't come out since the branch shut down. The only one who has is Sis. Chambers, and even then only on a rare occasion. That news hit me like a ton of bricks -- but I did everything I could in that area. I can't spend the rest of my mission worrying about how those people use their agency.

I've noticed how sisters have a battle of the mind - and elders have a battle of the body. I think that's because they don't use their mind, lol. So Satan doesn't bother gettin in their cause all he'll find are cobwebs! Ha! Meanwhile the adversary's #1 tool against sisters is gettin into our thoughts - making us hate our doubt ourselves, feel discouraged, fear, etc etc. I wish I could shut my brain off sometimes -- most of the time actually. If only, eh?

Does anyone know what the Moravian church is? They're all over here - and we have no clue what they are or what they believe or anything.

I finished Jesus the Christ. Now onto the New Testament - just in time for Christmas. I love learning because the quest is neverending. You can never know everything, so there's always something else to learn!

Last but not least,


Our plans include a whole lot of nothing. The Senior couples are having a big dinner in Kingston together. I believe we will be having Ramen, haha. One thing we are gonna try to do though is make cards with scriptures about thanksgiving and gratitude to give to people on the street, and try to make some sandwiches to give to the homeless people around our area. We're looking forward to that.

This year I am thankful for so much. Obviously for the Savior, for His gospel, for the Priesthood and the restoration, for the scriptures, for my family, for the opportunity to serve a mission, and for everything that brings joy and love and light into my life. I am grateful for the atonement, for the chance I have to improve and for this 2nd chance God has given me to change my life. Most of all this year however I'm thankful for my health and safety. I have been lucky - in the midst of illness, pain, sorrow, death, despair all around me - I have been blessed with great health, with freedom to move and live as I please, with continued safety in the midst of danger, and with 23 glorious years on this earth of which I am so undeserving. I have idled so much of my time and taken for granted the blessing of my life. This year I am grateful to be young and alive and living my dreams.

Remember, "we can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are ..." - Oprah Winfrey.

I love you all. Happy Holidays and have a great week!


Sister Payne
**Have you sent Sister Payne a letter yet? Her contact info is on the right- send her a note!