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

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