Friday, October 14, 2011

The last set of letters- Sister Payne will be home in 6 days!

Family, Friends, and Fans --
with absolute and utter haste im gonna tell you about my week because i'm running out of time. the more of my friends that get released and go home the more emails i get and so the more time is taken up with reading and less with writing. here we go:
i found out this week pres. decker, my branch president back home, is now my new stake president back home and so he's gonna be the one to release me. how awesome is that? basically the coolest news of all time right? i thought so.
i got a letter from demetri in mandeville which was the most adorable thing ever. he had drawn a picture of joseph smith and stuff. it made my heart melt and it was great hearing how that little munchkin is still so strong.
while in spanish town for transfers, we accidently drove down a one way (the wrong way) and then sis speakman pulled over right into a giant ditch. we literally had a whole heap of random jamaicans coming and lifting the front of our car and pushing down on the back and lifted it out of the ditch for us. never a dull day, yo.
transfer news! well obviously sis speakman and sis wilkinson went home. I am training Sis Havili from Salt Lake City. She's Tongan, 21, member her whole life but not active til very recently. We get along and I am loving the whole training experience. It's not without its challenges of course, but its keeping me on my Ps and Qs because whatever I do, she goes. She's like a shadow or a mirror image. So, I'm out of bed on time every morning for the first time in a long time. It's nice.
She shared a great insight with me about how she came back to church and experienced the conversion process. She had a rough rough life she was living and said she didn't have a testimony or anything. But after so many years of being exhausted by sin she just came to a realization that if she didn't have a belief in God and Christ and a relationship with them than she didn't have anything. She wanted that and she said once she was able to come back to church and really feel of the love of God in her life it was completely life changing and she knew she had to come on a mission. Rockin.
I made her a green dinner - ackee, curry chicken back and rice - all with green food coloring. She wasn't enthused haha.
We had a back to school party on friday that was a success - 2 less actives and 1 investigator came. The kids really enjoyed themselves. Bro. Francis finally came to church (WAHOO!) and so did 2 other investigators. Things are going pretty good. It's been crazy to think that 9/11 was ten years ago. It's really caused me to sit back and reflect on the hope that is offered in the gospel of Jesus Christ, even in the worst of times.
Speaking of hope, here's an insight that I learned in personal study this morning... some scriptures edited by me:
2 nephi 33:
 aglory in bplainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath credeemed my soul from hell.
 I have acharity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment-seat.
 I have charity for the American—I say American, because I mean them from whence I came.
 I also have charity for the Jamaicans. But behold, for none of athese can I hope except they shall be breconciled unto Christ, and enter into the cnarrow dgate, and ewalk in the fstrait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day ofgprobation.
I realized it doesn't matter how much love I have for someone if I don't try to help them gain eternal life .. because I can love them like crazy, but that love is hopeless unless I can labor to have that love extended into eternity ... if that makes any sense.
I have also learned that missionary work is a ministry of reconciliation (Moroni 10:33 - 2 Cor 5:18 - Heb 5:9)
And I have also learned that we have two choices for how we want our lives to go. We can choose cycle A:
sin -> burden -> depression -> hatred of self -> impure thoughts -> restart cycle
or Cycle B:
repentance -> forgivenss -> joy&peace -> hatred of sin -> pure thoughts
Anyway, the October issue of the Liahona and Ensign magazines are completely devoted to the Book of Mormon - explanations and answers and articles. It is amazing and we've used it already in so many lessons. GET ONE!
I'm off to have a killer week. Ya know, when I was in Nassau I wasn't a very good missionary. I was disobedient and lazy. I have regretted the six months that I spent there ever since leaving there ... but I'm determined for the next six weeks to make up for those six months. I'm not who I was!
All the best from Jamrock,
Sister Payne


Hey Family Friends and Fans -- wagwaan?
ALMA 48 I say unto you, that I know of myself that whatsoever I shall say unto you, concerning that which is to come, is true; and I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.
60 And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep;
 62 I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the atree of life.
Lots to write this week. LOTS. But probably not that much, actually. I listened to Glenn Beck's conversion story again this week. That makes like 4 times in 9 months. I just love it love it love it ;) ... Okay anyway I'll start with my personal study insight from this morning...
after reading "Beware of Pride" by Ezra Taft Benson, then reading Alma 1-5, I learned that the opposite of Pride is a CHANGE of Heart - and since the opposite of pride is humility then that means that humility = a change of heart... so the key to conversion is humility, as evidenced in Mosiah 3:19. It was a EUREKA moment for me, as one trying desparately to retain the mighty change of heart.
Sister Havili is hilarious, and can be super stubborn but admits it. We got these giant avocados that were not ripe. She wanted to eat one so bad she was gonna cut it open. I'm like dude, they're not ripe. You have to wait. In her head she thought "whatever, she doesn't know what she's talking about ...." busted it open, not ripe can't eat it ... couldn't admit that I was right til like 2 days later. Hilarious. Being a self motivated missionary has proven to be essential in these last weeks of training on my mission. Naturally, she looks to me in EVERYTHING. She won't do anything I don't do, and if I don't do something she won't either - if that makes any sense. So I'm left to be 100% motivated on my own, no one pushing me or setting the example for me to follow this time. It has been tough, but rewarding.
I absolutely LOVE the Book of Mormon. I'm trying to finish it one more time before I return, and I just started Alma so I think I'll be able to do it if I stay focused and keep having Spirit filled study sessions like I did today. I AM Amulek. He and I are kindred spirits. He's my hero.
Investigator updates: hopefully some baptisms on the horizon. Teachinv Kev-Kev, a recent convert's nephew who's at church every week. Teaching Travis still ... hope to set dates for them this week... Still teaching Bro. Francis - and a new guy, Emmanuel, who Sis Speakman talked to right before she left, actually came to church yesterday so he's promising as well. Retention shot back up from zero to five so that was a huge relief. We met an awesome British lady named Gabriella who sincerely wanted to check out the church back in London. That was a tender mercy.
I got my first bout of runny belly yesterday. In 18 months, not half bad. Now I know what all those horror stories from the Elders were all about. I'll um ... spare you the details. You're welcome.
I'm still continuing to learn so much. I did an indepth study about the Lord's expectations for me as a mission - studying my call, my patriarchal blessing, and the scriptures. It was amazing. I feel like if we all really took the time out to study what the Lord's expectations are for us in our various spheres, then set goals and made plans to reach His expectations rather than our own, we would see progress that is not met in common hours ;)
I also learned a lot about how prevention is better than redemption ... when a glass shatters, you may not clean up every last shard ... the event is forgotten - a new glass is purchased ... but time goes on and the small almost invisible shards remain, so when you walk by barefoot unsuspectingly you get juked by the old memory ... if we never break the glass in the first place, there's no clean up needed and no chance for future pain...
I read a talk by Elder Bednar about clinging to the rod of iron versus continually holding fast to it --- small but energetic jolts of spirituality and faith are not going to sustain us through the challenges of mortality - rather it is steady consistent effort and trust in the Lord that will keep us on the straight and narrow path... we can't just throw up a prayer in times of crisis and keep a commandment here or two and expect joy and happiness and peace along the way...
We had a good reading class - 2 members and 1 investigator came. Literacy is everything man... everything. I enjoy teaching. We also had a great lunch with our DLs and ZLs at Anna Banana - the only real nice restaurant in Porty. It was pretty legit, I guess.
I think that's it for now. I've got one month left. Um. .. that's strange.
Love always
the ever so faithful
not trunky at all
hard working training
skinny farmers tanned
sister missionary
Sister Payne

Hey Family, Friends, and Fans --

28 emails when I login = very little time for me to respond to everyone. Here it goes.

GENERAL CONFERENCE IS COMING UP! As a missionary I'm extending a commitment to all to first, WATCH IT. Second, prayerfully ponder questions that you have about life, spirituality, whatever anything that you need guidance from Heavenly Father about and then write those questions down. Third, watch the messages and write down what the Spirit teach you in regards to your questions. I'm so blessed, this will make my third conference on my mission. I couldn't be more excited. If the Relief Society meeting was any indication, it's going to be a weekend of revelation and amazing counsel. Be sure to perk up, look your best to watch conference even if its at home. Our feelings toward Christ's representatives are very closely associated with our feelings toward Christ himself.

The Relief Society meeting was so boss. Pres. Uchtdorf's talk was right on the money and exactly what I needed. He talked about how we can't forget to be patient with ourselves (amen, hallelujah, counsel directly to me) and that we need to stop punishing ourselves just because we're not perfect. He talked about Willy Wonka, and how we can't forget the simple joy in a candy bar while searching for our golden ticket that may never come. Aka we can't keep thinking "oh my life will be better when..." and meanwhile be missing all the little things that make our life great!

I've been working on a lot of things this week - my thoughts and my words - being refined, dignified, and virtuous. Difficult. I have an overactive brain. I hate it. But I read my patriarchal blessing often to give me hope and excitement for the future (yes I'm coming home soon, and I'm freaking out about it! Major change = no fun for Major Payne).

Investigators Kev Kev and Travis are doing great. Travis will be baptized this Sunday, and Kev Kev the following Sunday. Sweetest. Boys. Ever.

This has been the hardest six weeks of my mission, lol. It's hard to focus, hard to train, hard to endure to the end I suppose. Rewarding though. Very glad I got extended, and during the hardest times I suppose I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it gets brighter everyday. So it works.

The kids in the branch have been great missionaries. We saw them on the road Friday evening, gave them tons of pass along cards and tracts and told them to go pass them out. You've never seen kids so excited, they were all over the place "here take this, come to church" bearing testimony and everything. Man, I need to be more like them!

I learned some awesome stuff from Elder Holland this week, via Sister Havili. I guess he spoke while she was in the MTC. He said some powerful statements about how there's no difference between the calling of an apostle and the calling of a missionary. Like hi, intense! No wonder this has been such a stressful 18 months! He also gave what he called the 3 pieces of advice for your entire life in order to be successful. They were:
1) serve an honorable mission
2) marry as honestly and directly as you can. the majority of blessings we receive in this life are dependent upon who you marry
and 3) get as much education as you can
#1 - check. #2 and 3 - workin on em ;)

Alright, sorry it's not the most exciting email in the world, but like seriously there's only so much I can say.

All the best from the east to the west,

Sister Payne


Greetings Family, Friends, and Fans --
Woo! General Conference weekend = Sister Payne wanting to write a novel home... I'll try to keep it short and concise.
Here were themes that I noticed this conference: standing up for what we believe in, God being the same yesterday, today and forever ... aligning our life with God's priorities rather than our own ... missionaries and the importance of missionary work ... technology being used in God's way for His divine purposes ... I'm sure others will arise when I study the talks further.
Highlights included:
Saturday morning - Elder Scott's talk about the scriptures ... I LOVE the scriptures and loved the message.
Saturday afternoon - Ian S Ardern's talk about using time wisely ... not only was it preach my gospel based but it was something I can always be working on, especially after I get home. I felt that talk was inspired.
Priesthood Session - (yes, we got to watch the Priesthood session. I was the only one that could work the wireless PC to TV hookup and the internet feed so we had to be there so I was like shoot we're watching this ...) W. Christopher Waddell's talk about applying the fruit of the sacrifice ... AMAZING. As someone returning home soon, I was just like whoa - ON POINT. It taught me that I now have to apply the lessons learned on my mission or else my sacrifice is in vain. (As I type this Celine Dion is blaring outside. Amazing. I'm gonna miss Jamaica!!! *sigh*)
Sunday Morning - Tad R. Callister's talk about The Book of Mormon was INCREDIBLE! He laid it DOWN. The Book of Mormon is either the word of God or the work of the devil. There isNO middle ground. Jesus Christ is either the Son of God and Messiah or He is an imposter - there is NO middle ground. The book isn't just something good for some people but not for others. Christ is not just some good teacher, for if He were just a teacher but NOT the Son of God that would make Him a liar, which would consequently make Him a very bad teacher indeed. I loved how he shared the story about the girl and her friend ... "I've researched your church, and I know it isn't true .." "Have you read and prayed about The Book of Mormon?" ... "well, no ..." "Then you haven't researched my church, for I have read it multiple times cover to cover and know by the power of the Holy Ghost that it is the word of God." BOSS.
Sunday Afternoon - Matthew O Richardson's talk about teaching was great, seeing as that's like my calling now and my profession in the future. It dealt directly with the new concepts we've been learning in the mission field. It spoke to me! :)
Honorable mentions go to Neil L Andersen's talk about marriage and parenthood (that being a mother is a CALLING) and Holland's talk in Priesthood (UNBIND YOUR TONGUES AND WATCH YOUR WORDS WORK MIRACLES -- if that wasn't a spiritual punch in the face I don't know what was) ... and M. Russel Ballard's talk about the name of the church. All amazing, spiritual, educational, and edifying.
Who is YOUR favorite person to hear at General Conference?
Alright other news from this week include, Kyle, a 13 year old member, comes teaching with us everyday after he gets out of school. He's like our BFF now - walks everywhere with us and made himself a little name tag. It's basically the cutest thing ever. One thing that has really made me sad this week is noticing how these kids are used to being hungry. Many of them skip breakfast and lunch and only have dinner. Many of them don't eat for a couple days at a time. It's painful. I wish I could feed em all. I have learned this week that I have no visual memory whatsoever. I don't remember faces, only names. So --- if I forget some of you when I get home, don't  be offended. Haha, jk.
I have heard of this MOTAB Flashmob business, but I have not seen it. Is it as legit as everyone says it is? Flashmobs are cool.
It was great to get the birthday wishes, a birthday card and a letter from Lorelei this week. I appreciate all of your emails and love and encouragement. I can't believe that I'll be home before October is over. That's slightly disturbing and stressful but I'm trying to keep my eyes on the Sky.
We almost got attacked by three killer dogs this week, and I'm not joking. If not for the dogs in our yard at our apartment barking and scaring them away, they would have mauled us. They were after us full force, us running full speed ... something to laugh about after my heart started beating again.
I finished reading the new Relief Society book "Daughters in my Kingdom" -- it made me excited to do visiting teaching, which was weird. ;)
Scriptures of the week are:
Alma 30:32-35, 40-44
Oh, so you wanna know how my birthday was... probably the worst birthday of all time. I had runny belly. Now, I thought I had runny belly before. But I didn't. I don't know what I had a couple weeks ago, but it was NOTHING compared to what I had on my birthday. Let's just say I spent 6 am to 12 pm back and forth to the bathroom. I thought I had cholera. I believe back home they call this montezuma's revenge or something. I'm okay now, I guess. My digestive system SUCKS. So I basically don't feel like I had a birthday haha. That's okay. I don't really care. A sign of personal growth I suppose. We celebrated our birthdays today (Sis. Havili's is Sunday) by taking a two hour nap.
Here is my profile, incase you're interested.
Alright, last but not least, WE HAD A BAPTISM YESTERDAY! Travis was baptized between sessions of General Conference. He was super brave, really excited and well behaved, absolutely adorable, and we're very happy. He'll be confirmed this coming Sunday. Hopefully Kev-Kev (another investigator) is going to be baptized Sunday morning as well.
All my love from your NOT trunky Sistah,
Sister Payne

Wa'ta'gwaan Family Friends and Fans --

Nuttin a g'waan here with us, but here's a short update. Since this is my 2nd to last email home (I'm assuming, still no flight information haha) I'll try to make it a really good one.

I'll start by saying: Kevin was baptized yesterday! (He goes by Kev Kev). He and Travis were both confirmed yesterday and all was well. It was a great day!

Bro. Francis, our other main investigator, is super less effective now. We're giving him one last chance to keep a commitment before we move on. We're struggling to find new investigators, so that'll be our main focus this week. We're gonna have a youth service project on Saturday, cleaning up the shoreline (you wouldn't believe the garbage here), and we're gonna have a fireside on Sunday. We've been playing this game when we contact where we give eachother a word we have to use in the approach. Words we've used in lessons have included: chicken noodle soup, pirate, baboon, owl, bananas, and uniform. It's a challenge but it makes the work fun. Considering how much I hate finding, it's like the only thing that gets me to do it.

I ate bussu this week - I think that's what it's called. It's like, a snail, out of the river. Yeah. I think I've officially eaten everything Jamaican that isn't an animals foot.

I had a random dream that they made Back to the Future part 4, with James Franco as the new Marty McFly and it looked all Tron-like. I was furious.

I only have one more super weekly planning session. Thank goodness.

I have learned that a quote from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind applies to prayer: "constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating" ... Sincerity and real intent are the keys to prayer.

I have also learned that what makes you successful in life is knowing where you are, where you want to go, and then making the effort to get there.

I have also learned that baptism is a means of sanctifying our flesh, and the reception of the Holy Ghost is a means of sanctifying our Spirit.

I have also learned that there are some subtle ties and references to Book of Mormon prophets (Zenos/Zenock) in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Hm.

I have also learned that wants are not needs. Bro. Gray, a member here, literally lives in a tent. He lives in a tent, sleeps on a wooden table. If he can live like that, I certainly don't NEED an i-phone, you know what I'm saying? We went to see him this week - an amazingly humble man with a powerful testimony - and Sister Havili had a hard time. She broke down in tears ... definitely a humbling experience for her and for me as well.

I have also learned that I could not live anywhere where it rains consistently. It rained ALL DAY yesterday and I was miserable, all day.

I have also learned that at the times that I'm totally terrified to come home, I have to think of all the things I look forward to like: seeing my family. the nieces and nephews, and Dave of course, eating mexican food, watching Harry Potter, listening to music on Pandora, playing guitar and bass, hot water, air conditioning, going to the temple, doing member missionary work, watching my fave shows, and best of all? No more total creeper Jamaican men. Awesome.

Well, I think that's all for this week. I'll try to attach some pictures. All my love until next week!

Sister Payne

I floured Sis Havili this week for her birthday. Awesome.
And I found out Rhuel and Chris from Mandeville, two of my converts, were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood :)