It's Sister Payne's Birthday TODAY!!
Please email her, or send her a little card if you haven't done so already. Her contact information is on the right sidebar!
"Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and departing, leave behind us footprints in the sands of time." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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
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
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.