Wa'ta'gwaan Family, Friends, and Fans --
Sister Payne here, celebrating a Jamaican holiday by e-mailing all of you. We lucked out and found an open shop to do so. It is insanely hot here (not as hot as Arizona I know - but waaaay more humid) and it's getting hotter by the day. That's okay and all, except when we're doing service projects outside or tracting up giant hills. But, like a guy on the street said the other day with sweat dripping down his forehead ... "I'm okay. If I wanna get to the Father, I've gotta go through the sun!"
We had a great fireside about the Book of Mormon yesterday - lots of members came out and some members dressed up like BOM characters and read their last words. It was good, and made me more excited to read the BOM so I hope it made the members more excited too. Sheryell and Sharon, two investigators, came to church yesterday for the first time. I got to teach gospel principles, and was grateful to be truly led by the Spirit to teach them what they needed to hear to gain revelation through church attendance. I taught about charity and pride - how they are opposites, and the branches that they produce and how we can focus on the root... etc. It made sense, trust me. We taught Sheryell and her fiance about the plan of salvation earlier this week, and it was so cool to see them light up when they saw that there was a bigger picture than what they'd been taught their whole life. They love the teachings, and we love teaching them. We hope to see them really start to progress.
We have a cool new investigator that lives really far away, but is also really excited to learn about the restored gospel. We had family home evening with a recent convert and we read about Ammon defending King Lamoni's sheep and then did a reenactment with her and all her kids. It was ridiculously fun to crawl around on the ground with two year old Luke and baa like sheep. It has been miraculous to see Sis. Wilkinson get a hardcore cold that knocked her down for a whole week, and yet she still gets out and does the work. Equally miraculous is the fact that I haven't gotten sick, and previous to my mission I have had an immune system infamous for its weakness and inability to resist illness.
It is mango season, which means we get free mangos almost every week. DELICIOUS! Best mangos in the world. We got to have lunch with Sis. Everette and Sis. Smith, so that was cool. Sis. Smith goes home at the end of July, so I may not even see her again before she goes back to Utah - if we get transferred anyway. I'm starting to believe we'll never get transferred and might just die in Mandeville. Who knows. It's not like I'm not used to it here or anything. The only other possible places we could go are Portmore or Linstead. We'll see.
I love reading, and I love books. I didn't get any mail last week and both my companions did. But we did get the conference Liahona which meant that I got first dibs on it. I just finished it this morning. I love general conference. If I stay til October I'll have another conference on the mission. Can't get cooler than that! Speaking of books, Sis. Andersen gave me a bunch of books when she left. We said goodbye to the Andersens yesterday - it was depressing. We all were teary-eyed as they bore their testimony at church yesterday. They've been so great to us. I love them and I can't wait to see them after the mission!
We had a lesson with a guy we've been teaching awhile, Marlon. He had previously told us he quit smoking, then that he only smoked a little, then told us that he smokes three times a day. We hit him with Joseph Smith. He said he didn't believe that ganja was an issue between God and man, only man and man. I asked him if Joseph Smith was a prophet. He said yes. I asked him if he knew by the Spirit that the Book of Mormon was the word of God. He said yes. So we explained that that's his only issue - that if Joseph Smith's a prophet then the word of wisdom is from God and he has to quit smoking. He said he would, and that he never saw it like that. It was a cool lesson. If he stops smoking by the time I leave Mandeville, I'll be the one that's high as a kite ;)
The whole judgement day thing was hilarious. FALSE PROPHETS! RAVENOUS WOLVES IN SHEEPS CLOTHING! Fulfillment of prophecy. Ya know, by their fruits ye shall know them. Whoever continues to follow that idiocy is just asking to be fooled. I loved being able to contact this last week. Everyone asked us "ya think God a come Satdey?" To which we could respond "no - the Bible says not even the angels in Heaven know - yet you have false prophets everywhere and by their fruits you can know if they are real prophets or not. God did call a prophet in our day - his name is Joseph Smith - and the fruit of his prophetic calling is The Book of Mormon" --- we had better lessons this week than most weeks of my mission.
This week I learned that a testimony without a spiritual witness is like a car rolling down a hill without an engine (Tasamo Morrison, the kid we teach mission prep, taught me this) .. if you only know the church is true based on logic or what others tell you and you haven't read and prayed about the Book of Mormon, then you are merely a car without an engine rolling down a hill. To the naked eye it looks like the car is running, but there's nothing underneath the hood so it won't last.
I also learned, again, to be grateful for being able to remember my past mistakes. Even though sometimes it can be very painful and we can just plead with the Lord to be able to forget it completely, when we repent the anguish is gone and we have peace in our soul and freedom from guilt. The Lord lets us remember the sins so that we will always remember and appreciate His atonement, we won't repeat the sin, we'll be able to empathize with others in similar situations, and we can mark of progression and see how far we've come. How grateful I am for a God and a Savior that are over all, and see the end from the beginning.
That's all I've got this week. I'll send pictures next week of the fireside and stuff.
All the love from Jamrock,