Hey Family, Friends, and Fans --
What to write this week -- what to write ... I prefer it if from now on when you check the emails I send (if this isn't the case already) that you have no expectations for anything, because honestly sometimes I log onto this here computer and think "gosh dang I've gotta do this again?! We teach, we study, we sleep, and repeat... what more is there to know?" But then I'm reminded of my purpose - to invite others to come unto Christ - and I think this weekly e-mail is a great opportunity to do that. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't, but like all missionary work you do it not knowing if you'll ever see the fruits ... so'go...
We've been listening to a lot of Christian music, so I've been writing a lot of Christian music. MercyMe has some good jams -- and makin' a joyful noise for the Lord is always a good idea.
I've been growing out my leg hair. Seriously, I haven't shaved since the beginning of February. "OHMYGOSH SISTER PAYNE WHY WOULD YOU WRITE THAT?!" I'll tell you why - because this is the last opportunity I will ever have in my life to do that and it be socially acceptable. Yoink! Takin' it!
We're in desperate need of a golden investigator. Usually all the hard work is all worth it when you find that one golden investigator. We've got nothin' but bronze for quite sometime. We've finally got a couple silver. Workin' our way up.
Sis. Everette is hilarious. She is addicted to candy. Seriously, she buys it every day. Her love of chocolate gives Augustus Gloop a run for his money. Now she's suffering the consequences of not budgeting. We tried to warn her! Speaking of money and such, I'm buying two carved lions from the same guy that did my Bob Marley head today. One to go on each side. It's very rasta/lion of Judah/Jah of me, but what can I say... I'm cultured.
Sis. Wilkinson and I are trying our hardest not to get trunky. We recognize that we're on the downward slope of our mission, and the first 2/3 disappeared so we know the next six months will go even faster. Naturally our thoughts have led to going home, which has led to both of us having such anxiety it makes us sick. So now we're doing a thing where if anyone talks about going home, getting a job, or getting married, they get punched. So far so good.
How you wake up is how your day goes. This is a truth you can take to the bank. If I wake up miserable, mad that I have to get up, sleep in, resentful toward perky companions, the rest of the day I will retain that attitude and it's not pretty. But if I wake up on time, get out of bed and decide today will be fantastic, stick to the schedule and keep going, my day goes well despite what happens. So I'm really focusing on becoming a morning person, and for anyone who knows me you know that is like trying to get a pig to become a donkey. But this is one pig that is ready to ditch the trough.
Investigator update: Demetri is set for baptism March 19th. We're gonna try to bump it up a week. Andre is breaking my heart, because he knows the church is true, watched all The Work and the Glory movies and cried during all three, prays like a champion, has great intentions, but he's in love with Sis. Everette and he thinks if he doesn't marry her then there's no way he could stay strong in the gospel. It makes no sense, it's driving us cuckoo bananas, and we don't know what to do. This stupid dream that men have here of marrying white women is officially getting on my nerves. What he needs to do is get baptized, have the gift of the Holy Ghost to help him endure to the end, find a nice Jamaican honey and settle down in the branch. He's only 18 for goodness sakes! He needs to serve a mission! Anyway, we're not giving up. Mighty prayer is key! Shamika is ten years old, and will be getting baptized (hopefully) the first weekend in March. Her mom already consented but we need to meet with the mom and work with her a little more to ensure support for her daughter. And that's about it for now. We actually have 5 investigators at church yesterday - including Radcliffe who we've been working with FOREVER. That was a triumph of epic proportions. The work continues.
I finished the New Testament this week. Revelations is confusing and 1/2.
Sis. Everette's mom followed my blog before she came on her mission. It's the blog heard round the world, I tell ya. At least heard round the JKM world. Speaking of blogs, you can check out the Andersen's blog at jnffamily.blogspot.com -- they're like our parents away from our parents. We just love the heck out of them!
This week I've been working on praying and studying my patriarchal blessing to identify my weaknesses and my strengths. My weaknesses so that I can target them and do my part to fix them so the Lord can turn them into strengths, and my strengths so I can develop them and be sure that I'm using them for the Lord's purposes. It's been eye-opening, and continues to be challenging and rewarding for my own personal growth.
Alright, not much else to include before I get to pictures ... other than to say that my appreciation for the Atonement has grown drastically over the last couple weeks, to the point where I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and love for my Savior and my Father in Heaven. Now I'm just praying and working to retain those feeling throughout the rest of my life, so I don't fall into the trap of the pride cycle. I have also learned that it is so easy to sin, or to live in sin, because when you do Satan goes away. He's already got ya - so he doesn't even pay attention to you anymore, which gives you this false sense of security. Repenting is hard - turning from that and truly turning to righteousness isn't easy, because Satan and all his followers wake up to your change and commence a brutal attack on your soul. The greatest thing however is once you know that, you know that the Lord is always the one that triumphs and so if you just turn to Him, He'll carry you through any hardship you have to face. The momentary pleasure or happiness that comes from sin is NOTHING compared to the lasting sweetness and joy that comes from obedience.
Last but not least - forget ivy league colleges or volumes of literature, the temple is the BEST possible education. D&C 124: 23, 41. I can't wait to go back. And I've learned a huge lesson that success is perfectly affixed to how hard one works. The only thing up for debate is the definition of success. But real success is PERFECTLY affixed to how hard you work. That is a lesson I'm trying to implement in my life.
Enjoy some pictures of me getting my hair colored and some delicious chicken I made. I hope all is well back home, because all is FANTASTIC here.