Monday, June 21, 2010

sak pa se?

Enjoy the pix:

the way I feel when I'm sick, and the stuff I had to take to ease the pain.

Kobe Bryant's got nothin' on me.

From L to R - Elder Tanner, Elder Martinez, Elder Sizemore, me and Sister Smith on ZC day.

Greetings Family, Friends, and Fans --

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY [yesterday]!

I can't believe June is almost over. On a mission the days crawl, the weeks fly by, and the months disappear. Whew. Well this might be the most scattered e-mail of all time but I'll try to do my best, as always, to enlighten and entertain. Mwen parle pitit Creole, by the way -- and I'm learning more everyday.

First off, I've been told twice this week that I look like Celine Dion. The people here love Celine Dion so I find that to be an extreme compliment. After all, I AM the best singer in the world. Psych ;) We've been getting lots of referrals which is nice and so much more productive that just street contacting. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak in church yesterday. I talked about "finding an anchor for your faith" -- the one thing that you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, so when the storms blow the ship that is your testimony will not move with the waves because you will be anchored down. I shared how Joseph Smith is my anchor, and a sister told me afterward that my talk was "really powerful". What more could you ask for?

I got sick this last week, with a cold that I believe I caught from Elder Emery who had been in from Freeport for the Zone Conference. I was only around him for like five seconds, so that's depressing that my immune system is really that poor. But it knocked me to my feet for a solid two days, but I'm on the mend. Speaking of zone conference, we had such a great time! I got to meet President Hendricks and his wife and we had a great meeting, a sweet interview, and an overall productive, educational and enjoyable day. Plus I got mail! So that was exciting! I love mail.

So it cracks me up that everyone back home is getting engaged, and I've heard about it from three sources now, except for the actual parties who themselves are engaged. I guess that's the laziness of facebook these days. "I'll just post it as my status and that missionary out in the Caribbean will hear about it from someone else." So it goes. Congrats to all of you, you know who you are. If you're not engaged, congrats on that too, lol.

So people we're teaching. Melanie, our golden investigator, is going to be baptized on Saturday night. Can't wait! You know when you teach someone out here who has no law of chastity or word of wisdom concerns that they are golden and the Lord has been preparing them. She keeps EVERY commitment! We also picked up a former investigator, Harold. He's a Jamaican, and he came to church on Sunday. He's got some stuff to repent of but met with the branch president and has a great desire. He loves the church - he told us he's been to all the churches but he "never felt right about any of them" until he found this one. He said he "feels a warmth and a peace when he comes to church". You gotta love that, right? We extended a date to him, and he's gonna pray about it. We're also teaching Jay, an electrician who loves to debate. Once he's humbled a little bit he'll really become a great person to teach and a great servant of the Lord. That's my hope.

I've realized that I have great potential, and so do the people we're teaching. They all have the potential to be like God! So who cares where they are now ... it is all about where they are going. Allow me to talk briefly about the principle of perfection. Everyday I've been trying to be perfect at one thing. It really has been a good experience for me! You can't ever be perfect, but everyday if you're perfect at something it makes it easier to be good at it the next day while you're working on being perfect at something else. Speaking of perfection, I haven't missed a morning or evening prayer in three months and I've written in my journal every night since I've been on my mission. That's two things that I have a goal to be perfect at throughout my entire mission!

We've been getting fed lots of dinner. I had conch chowder the other night, and crab rice. We have a lot of seafood on the horizon also -- it isn't bad once I get past the smell. The miracle of a mission is that I'm able to get that stuff down, I'm serious. But we do get fed a lot of excellent meals and we'll get another one tonight! Can't wait. The Etiennes are a great RC couple from Haiti who fed us some delicious Haitian dinner the other night. I love those two -- we had a long talk about Michael Jackson, and about the second coming, and about me visiting Haiti and them visiting the west coast in the US. It is really easy to have charity and love for such wonderful, humble, hilarious, and loving people. Anytime I tell brother Etienne "sak pa se?" which means "what's up?" his face just lights up. Cool cool people, man. Seriously.

Alright -- is there any questions people have for me? I just ramble and I feel like maybe I haven't been talking about what people want to hear about. So feel free to let me know. I'm gonna finish the doctrine and covenants tonight (I'm on section 134). WHEW. It's so amazing!! I'm loving every minute of reading it -- it's like I'm reading it for the first time.

D&C 127:2


Alright I've gotta get going. All my love to all who are reading.

Oh I almost forgot - YOUR COMMITMENT! Are you ready? I don't know how many people actually keep these commitments, but whatever it's off my shoulders if you don't, haha. Your commitment this week is to live missionary schedule all week. Okay, not as strict as a missionary but these are the guidelines:

Rise no later than 6:30am

Retire no later than 10:30pm

Exercise for 20-30 minutes every day

Have gospel study for 1 hour everyday


That's like the word of wisdom y'all - adapted to the capacity of the weakest of the weak. DO IT. DO IT DO IT. Then report. What was it like? Get a taste of what it is like to be a missionary, even if you're an RM. Be reminded of it. Trust me - ITS A BLESSING!

Alright, au revoir!

Sister Payne

more lyrics? here ya go.


(i wrote this about the town of Lucea. i dunno if i told you or not but it is affirmative the branch was shut down there after we left. it merged with the negril and montego bay branches. depressing.)


lucy i can see you lookin up to me

beggin' me you're plaguin' me can't you see

you can only get so hot, yeah before you burn

sure i can teach ya but ya gotta wanna learn


lucy lucy lucy you're a little girl - not so innocent as you show the world

are you ready ready ready i'mma change your mind

put your hand in mine - this is your time to shine


miracles can happen in the smallest towns

but there's been nothin' but trouble since you came around

and i'm ready set to start but will you ever believe

i'm not out here for my health

i'm here to set you free


instrumental bridge

chorus x2

lucy lucy lucy will you ever believe

i'm out here on a mission to set you free

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fine Dining and Missionary Work

"Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon," Emma Smith told her son, "and though I was an active participant during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me -- a marvel and a wonder -- as much as to anyone else. My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity -- I have not the slightest doubt of it," she continued. " I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this, and for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible." -- Emma Smith, after she was no longer associated with the church and had long since remarried.

Hello out there family, friends and fans --
First I will start out by making you jealous. Sister Pascal, a member and RM from Haiti, made us a shrimp and lobster dinner lastnight - complete with poorboy rice and peas, steamed veggies, and a strawberry sundae. Literally, most amazing meal of all time. You would pay and arm and a leg back home to eat that good, and it was totally free. She said she always gives her best to the missionaries because she remembers what it was like to serve. My it is good to be a servant of the Lord. Sister Pascal is the flippin' best -- not even kiddin'. We ended the dinner by her saying "Come pick me up, Saturday morning, and I'm gonna take you out and I'm gonna show you people to teach." Bless her, endlessly. She's so rad. Oh and on that "be jealous of me, because that's totally not a Christlike desire" note -- we visited with Bro. Ballard and his wife, in their MANSION on eastern road. Literally - so rich he's like Jay Gatsby. It is called Bally Crystal and it was like nothing I've ever seen. That guy is so legit. His house is where the church started in Nassau - he built it up in a lot of ways. He still works so hard - he's a builder, building buildings and building up the branch. His wife is a dry Mormon - it's only a matter of time til she gets baptized. She's at church every week, lol.

I have learned the days of the week in Creole - which are very similiar to Spanish. I think I could pick up on the language pretty well because I know a good deal of Spanish. We actually found someone to teach us too. Jenny Jean Paul, a recent convert from Haiti, loves helping out and serving and agreed to give us a lesson three times a week. Stellar! Church was wonderful yesterday and our investigator with a baptism date Melanie came for her 2nd time and really enjoyed it. She has such personality and is so sweet and keeps every commitment we leave her. This week we left Alma 32 and she came back totally reciting the mustard seed parable and asked how she could water her seed! She asked great questions after watching 'The Restoration' and one night we went to teach her the word of wisdom, but as we walked in I could tell she was frustrated from her work week. I just started launching into explaining Joseph in Liberty Jail and reading from D&C 121-122. She was way into it, and I really felt the Spirit. I completely bogarted the lesson from Sis. Smith though, which drove away the Spirit. I'm trying to be better at that because you know me, I could talk for a kajillion years about one topic. I gotta stop to breathe sometimes!

We also met with this guy Jay this week. We got lost on the total wrong side of town, and he drove by and asked if we were missionaries and why we hadn't come to his neighborhood before. He said he'd driven by a Latter Day Saint church but didn't know what that meant. When I told him we were the missionaries from that very same church he got so excited and gave us his card and told us to call him a.s.a.p to set up an appointment. Well we did, and though he has a lot of things he's gotta learn and unlearn, he seems willing and interested. He came to Sacrament Mtg yesterday, and we taught him with a member, Sis. Altidor, all about the restoration. It was like this light shifted in his eyes - from thinking he knew everything about everything to having this new information and getting its importance. The coolest part was he had talked about the Catholic church being his preferred one, because "it was first so every other church had to have just branched off of that one." When I explained Christ establishing His church during His earthly ministry and the apostasy, he had this "whoa" moment. Man, it was such a great lesson. I'm excited to meet with him again -- I feel like we met him for a reason. We were lost on that street for a reason. Now if we can just bear down in pure testimony to him and leave it up to him ... great things could happen.

We also met with Sis. Walkine this week - a super sweet member - who is so excited about missionary work. She fed us a surprise dinner too, all Bahamian goodness and it was delicious. (Yes, I've been eating pork and seafood and I thought both was fantastic. Who am I? I don't even know. It's the miracle of a mission I suppose.) She is so obsessed with politics its hilarious. She talked for like an hour all about how much she loves Mitt Romney and all of this. Apparently she is hugely involved with American politics and considers herself Bahamian American and is trying to move to Florida to be a conservative voice in the state. It is hard not to talk about politics on your mission, especially with Sis. Walkine around. I told her she had to meet my mom, cause they would get along swimmingly. I mean -- Fox News was on when we got to her house. Awesome much?

I have really learned how to pray out here. I mean, I'm still learning - but that is a skill I've begun to truly treasure. Really honestly communicating with my Father in Heaven has made all the difference. Rather than vain repetitions or just hoping someone is listening, I know He's there and I know He's listening. It has really helped, and I'm striving to gain a spiritual witness and conversion to the reality of the restoration. I know it to be true in my head, and I've felt it in my heart, but I'm craving a burning witness from the Spirit of the truthfulness -- something I can recognize and cannot deny -- something that I ask my investigators to try to get all the time. I realized until I'm converted, enough that if I were an investigator I would be baptized, there's no way I could aid in converting someone else, or learning Creole, or whatever. I'm working on repenting daily, and making small strides each day at a time. I just want to be GREAT! Who wants to sacrifice so much and return home in 18 months saying "I served an average mission"? Not me.

My doctrinal questions of the week are: why did we have to come to Earth to receive a body? Why couldn't Heavenly Father have just given us a body when we were still in the pre-mortal world? Is that an eternal law or something? And what about the Holy Ghost? Will the Holy Ghost ever get a body? And what does Begotten even mean? I'm the worst english teacher ever, I'm like yeah I don't know that definition.

My commitment for you all is to FAST FROM FACEBOOK AND TELEVISION! At least for one day, but you know yourself. Really truly fast from it (ie a fast from breakfast is just skipping a meal. if you just don't check it for an afternoon that's not a fast) I have seen out here when I have taken away stupid distractions and eliminated worldly priorities how much stuff we get done in one day. DO IT. I promise you you'll see something. You'll learn something from it. Well I'm outta here. Off to check out Ft. Fincastle and the Queen's Staircase.

Au Revoir,

Sister Payne

another song for you:

"Mirrors and Windows"


tell me why is it so impossible for me to see the world the way You do

tell me am i broken inside? i am filled with love but it can't get through - to them


why is it always me against them all when it should be You and I on their side?

the more i learn the more i try to change and the more i see Your image in their face - in their place


im trying my best to change these mirrors into windows

forget the 'what's in it for me?'s and world's acclaim

trying to put myself aside when i'm so relaxed in my pride

but i'm learning what it means to wear Your name


now i'm seeing 20/20* for the first time and i'm off to tell the world what You have done

been trying my best to win the battle never knowing that the war's already won - and that's the miracle



how blessed am i to be brought so low only to be brought higher and higher and higher

how great the love that's sent from up above that lifts us all up higher and higher

chorus x2


what's in it for them - what can i really offer - help me Lord to know

what's my purpose here - please help erase my feats - Lord help me there to help them here

* 1 Nephi 20:20

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

She's on to the BAHAMAS!!

"Did you hear that noise? That boom? That was my mind blowing." - Marshall Flinkman, ALIAS
Greetings Family, Friends, and Fans --

This will be my last e-mail from Jamaica for a while. I got the phone call this morning that I am being transferred, along with Sister Smith ... TO NASSAU in the BAHAMAS! We were sure we weren't going to get transferred, let alone off island since sisters, not even Jamaican sisters, have never served in the Bahamas before. I could get used to this groundbreaking thing. We leave Wednesday morning flying out of MoBay Airport. The adventure continues! I know God trusts me on this mission. It is a privilege to serve off island -- apparently a lot of Elders are jealous because you have to really work up to it and we're leaving so soon. I don't know what we did to deserve it. They said we lit a dead area on fire and they're really proud of us. I'm looking forward to the next leg of this amazing race! (Can you believe only 16 months left? Yikes!)

I will be sad to be leaving Lucea however. Karl was confirmed, got the gift of the Holy Ghost and ordained a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday. It will be hard not to continue on to see his growth. Not to mention we've been teaching Eddie Grant - the most AMAZING and hilarious guy who also is an amazing cook - and he has a baptism date for June 9th and we won't get to be here. That's a tid bit heartbreaking, and we just don't know the future of the Lucea Branch. It is hard to leave, always wondering what could have been if you stayed ... but that is the nature of the beast, I suppose. We have received loads of free mangos, tis the season, from various people and they are absolutely delicious. This sweet lady who is 120 years old if she's a day had us come to her house at 7am to get some. She shouted in her pajamas from her room "Life in Jamaica is hard ... but it is SWEET!" Amen lady. Amen.

Okay okay other news. I saw someone eat saltfish for the first time which was totally disgusting. They shoved an entire fish head in their mouth! That's just wrong. But I ate callaloo and breadfruit and both are totally delicious.We've been frying plantains and eating them with fried eggs for breakfast ... also delicious. Peanut and pumpkin flavored stuff is here a plenty ... also delicious. Oh and porridge and oats for breakfast? Yum. We painted a house for an investigator Marlon ... that was fun and I got paint all over my clothes. I love how when we teach here kids just gather around us and love to listen and sing. Random neighborhood kids come and join in the lessons with the whiteys and sing "I am a Child of God" with us. It reminds me of when Christ came and all the children came to Him. Kids can recognize light, I think. Speaking of Christlike, we climbed to the top of this mountain after it had finished raining for five hours straight. It was a mudslide. It was hand over hand, in my jumper no less, just to visit with this lady who got mad at us because we didn't give her any food. Then she started speaking in "tongues" and almost fell off her bed. That was a priceless experience. I felt like Indiana Jones. The coolest thing, and most Christlike thing I could even imagine, was when we got down off the mountain and I was covered in mud and carrying my shoes that were filled with mud and too heavy to wear, these strangers called us over and a lady washed my feet while her husband washed my shoes. We didn't even know them. It blew me away.

Bro. McLean in our branch -- I'm really gonna miss him. He has such a strong testimony of the priesthood and his calling and of the gospel. I'll miss Andrea, the atheist we were teaching who isn't really an atheist. I'll miss Sis. Chen-Sang, a return missionary who served in Atlanta in 2001 who is really struggling right now and needs a good support system. I'll miss Jennifer, who I can barely understand and who asked to have our clothes when we left. I'll miss Maris, who is the nicest lady and reminded me so much of my sisters I just wanted to stay around her forever. I'll miss Peter who always offers us food, and apparently grew up with Dudus Coke and Bob Marley. I'll miss Ernesto, an inactive member from the DR who we just met and his girlfriend Novlett who believes in the trinity despite all the evidence pointing to the contrary. I'll miss the people who refuse to listen to us, and the people who chat us from across the street. Ahhh Lucea. Nothin' like it.

I'm struggling with burnout at times. I feel so tired all of the time from the intense heat or intense rain. We climb the craziest hills (I get to drive when we get to Nassau) and the days are long, but the weeks fly by. I JUST WANNA BE AN AMAZING MISSIONARY! A consecrated one. A Dan-Jones-Missionary. I've been thinking a lot about "the errand of angels" -- no not that cheesy movie no one saw about sister missionaries -- but the actual term as in 'as sisters in zion'. I'm trying to figure out what that really means, and how I can apply that in my mission. I've noticed my usual sources of spiritual strength are in short supply out here (ie books, videos, music, movies, the temple, church, friends, family, etc). All the things and people and places that lift me up and inspire me are not at my fingertips. That forces me to really rely on my personal relationship with the Savior, my personal study skills, see how weak they are and learn to strengthen them and utilize them.

I've started keeping a dream journal cause I have the most random dreams out here. I've also loved watching THE RESTORATION dvd. Aside from the fact that I can't figure out if the guy transcribing when Joseph translates is Kirby Heyborne or not, and aside from the fact that the older Joseph looks exactly like Josh Johnson and it trips me out ... I love watching it! I love how it shows Joseph coming out of the sacred grove, and the look on his face. I had never really thought about the immediate aftermath of the first vision. That's such a cool thought!
Anyway, moving on now. Stay tuned, this jazz is just beginning. Wish me luck, keep me in your prayers and all of that. I love you all. Keep Lucea in your prayers as well as Nassau!

Cool Runnings,
Sister Payne


I miss my guitar!