Friday, April 12, 2013


Hey everyone!

I wanted to thank you all for the letters and packages! It's so nice to get mail. I have gotten the half way care package and the salsa! Thank you. It's so crazy to think that I'm over the hump and only have 2 and a half weeks left here! Time at the MTC is so weird. It feels like P-Day was just yesterday. The weeks are flying.

Well this week has been pretty normal, except for General Conference! I hope you all enjoyed watching conference because I sure did! I learned more from this conference than I ever have in my life. It seemed like almost every talk had a message for me and I took a lot out of them. I especially liked President Uchtdorf's talk in Priesthood session. He is such a powerful speaker. They were all good though. I loved when President Monson told the story about him setting the grass on fire! It is funny to hear the prophet tell stories like that because it makes you realize he is a real person and we can just connect with him more. I love the apostles.

We have been working like mad and studying the language constantly! We wake up around 6:00 every morning so we can avoid the shower line haha. We have breakfast at 7 then we head straight to class for 3 hours. I'm getting used to it though. One cool thing is that one of the speakers at a devotional on Tuesday said that here at the MTC and on your mission, you are literally doing more than your body can physically and mentally handle for such a long period of time. But Heavenly Father strengthens his missionaries so that they can accomplish more than they ever could on their own. That's awesome.

My companion and I have  been working on two investigators (they are just members acting the part). One is named Edgar, he's from Angola. He is so difficult to work with because he doesn't follow through with his commitments because he's so busy with school and work. But he said he wants to know more and keep learning about Jesus Christ. We are praying that we will receive some revelation as to what he needs so that we know what to teach him. He doesn't talk too much. Our other investigator is named Maria, she is awesome! Her husband and her kids are members of the church but she isn't. She has trouble with smoking and alcohol. But she said she wants to break her bad habits and make a change in her life. Perfect opportunity for us! haha. We have been teaching her about the Plan of Salvation, The Atonement of Jesus Christ, Repentance, and Baptism (all in Portuguese!) I was really nervous to teach her about the Word of Wisdom, because I didn't want to offend her. But what we felt like we should do is just ask her questions and tell her that we love her and are there to help her with anything. We want to help her come closer to Christ so that she can be happier. Then once she knew that she just completely opened up to us and told us, and now we are helping her. Even though she's not a "real" investigator, I still get super excited and want to help her so bad! We committed her to go to church on Sunday with her family and smoke less and less every day until this Saturday. Saturday will be her last cigarette (hopefully) We shared some great scriptures with her explaining that Heavenly Father promises to bless her if she keeps his commandments.

I got to host new missionaries coming into the MTC on Wednesday, that was really fun! I saw a few buddies from school and met new people. I hosted an elder coming all the way from New Zealand and he had THE coolest accent haha. It was fun to just show them the MTC and encourage them because they just left their families and are pretty overwhelmed, but they're all super excited and ready to get to work.

Some of the elders in our district have gotten sick, and I've been able to give them priesthood blessings. They have been really cool experiences. Can you believe how many missionaries are out in the field now? 65,000 full time missionaries and 20,000 more have their calls. I heard BYU is going to be using their student housing to house some of the missionaries in the next few months because they won't be able to fit here at the MTC. Crazy.

I'm praying super hard for my VISA to come! Only one person in our whole branch has gotten their VISA but they went through the San Francisco Consulate. Nobody from the L.A. consulate has gotten theirs yet. But everything will work out how it's supposed to :)

Well I don't have too much time I have to go finish laundry and get ready for the temple, but this week my challenge to all of you is to pick one talk from this General conference or any other general conference, and look for ways that it applies to you and how you can improve. It will only take 10 minutes, but I promise you that you will find something significant to you and you will be inspired. I know this gospel is true and I know that the power of the Priesthood is very real. God is our LOVING Heavenly Father and has blessed us so much. We all have so much to be thankful for. I know that the gospel blesses and changes lives. It has already changed my life.

I love you all so much and hope to hear from you soon!

Ate mais tarde! Tchaou!

-Elder Payne