Monday, August 25, 2014

WEEK #75

Friends and Family,

I hope you all had a great week! Elder Watchman and I had an awesome week, we worked hard taught a lot of lessons. I am absolutely exhausted right now! haha. We went on exchanges with the elders in Cáceres over the weekend, it was a lot of fun. So on Thursday night after we worked we went to the Elders house in Cuiabá and slept there, then bright and early Friday morning we took a travel bus to Cáceres, which took about 4 hours. There are two companionships there, so on Friday we went with one and then Saturday we went with the other. But when we got there on Friday we ate lunch then went right to work. Me and Watchman split up and I went with Elder Bowers, he is almost done with his mission, he only has about 2 months left. But it was great teaching with him and meeting his investigators and some of the members there. On Saturday we switched and I went with Elder W. Rocha, who used to be here in Várzea Grande but is now a district leader there. We have done divisions before in the past, so it was fun to do divisions again with him. We have become good friends. After working with them we took a bus back to Cuiabá, and finally got hom late Saturday night. Overall the exchanges up there went very well, I feel like I learned a lot and we taught some great lessons with their investigators and met some really cool people. It was also nice because Cáceres has a nice breeze pretty much all day, so even though it was really hot, we could at least cool down a little bit because of the wind :)

This week we also met an awesome couple! We first met Luciana, the wife, at church 2 weeks ago because a member brought her to Ward Conference. We set up a visit with her on Thursday and went there with the members, it went very well. We met her husband who is a champ, hes super nice and respects the missionaries a lot. We taught about faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. It was kind of cool though, because once we asked Luciana about baptism, she said she was already baptized, but it was when she was a baby. But then she continued and said that in her mind, babies don't have sins and don't need to be baptized, and went on to say that she wants to be baptized now that she is aware of what she is doing. She accepted our invitation to be baptized but we didn't mark a date, because she said she wants to read and pray about it first, which is good. So we are going to follow up with her tomorrow to see how things went. They didn't come to church yesterday though, so we also need to find out what happened. But they are an awesome family and I'm excited to keep teaching them! :)

Alexandre, our recent convert, is still doing great. We had family home evening with him and his girlfriends family, it was pretty fun. Also, his girlfriends grandma was there, and she is Suuuuuuper Catholic, but after the family night I talked with her a little about the bible and the Book of Mormon, and she said she wants to learn more as well. She already has a Book of Mormon though so she said she will pull it out of her boxes and read it this week. Awesome! haha :)

We have still been working in São Mateus as well, we helped the office couple move in a refrigerator to the new house there on Wednesday. Then after that Elder Davis (the office Senior Couple) took us out for ice cream at this place called Chiquinhos, it was pretty good. We had a really good talk with him, he served over 50 years ago in the Brazil South Mission. But it was really cool to hear about his life and how him and his wife ended up serving a mission together in Brazil. Looking back he said that everything in his life and the people he has met have all worked out perfect so that he and his wife could have this opportunity, even some of the people that he met and taught on his mission that he has kept in contact with are now in the Brazil Cuiabá Mission. Pretty amazing to see how the Lords plans work and that everything has a purpose. even the little things.

In total we taught 28 lessons this week in our area and found some new investigators, so I am super worn out right now! But things are going great, we are working hard and having tons of fun. This next week we will keep doing divisions with the district leaders of the zone and trying to mark baptismal dates with their investigators, so it should be good! 

Anyways, I love and miss you all and hope you have an amazing week! I know that the Lord knows whats best for each and every one of us, we just need to put our full trust in him and have faith that everything will work out. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ, I love this gospel, and I love the people here in Brazil with all my heart. I'm so grateful to be a missionary right now and I wouldn't trade my time here for anything. Have a great week!

Elder Kyle Payne

Monday, August 18, 2014

WEEK #74

Friends and Family,

I hope you all had a great week! Sounds like summer vacation is wrapping up there, where did the time go?! I feel like time has gone by super fast! 

This week was pretty good for me and Elder Watchman, we spent lots of time getting things ready for the group in São Mateus that will start here in a few weeks, also we have been visiting a lot of less actives and contacting referrals that we received throughout the week from some of the members here in the ward. It turned out to be really cool, we met some great people and set up return appointments this week to teach them. A member brought a man to church that used to go to church for like 10 years, but then moved here to Varzea Grande after his divorce and then became inactive. As we conversed more with him, he told us that he was never actually baptized and confirmed, but he had always considered himself a member. So we are going to teach him and hopefully commit him to baptism this week! It should be very good.

Out zone had 2 baptisms this past week, so we are making progress! Hopefully we can get close to our goal of 20 baptisms for the transfer. We are about halfway through, and each companionship has many potentials and are working hard, so I know we will have a lot of success this transfer. My first transfer here the zone had 6 baptisms for the transfer, and last transfer the zone had 10 baptisms. So this transfer we are trying to push ourselves and get more baptisms, we are making great progress.

Elder Watchman gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting yesterday, it went really well. Everyone in the ward likes him too and always comment how he is the first black American they have seen in Brazil haha. But we are going to work closely with the members this next week, visiting the referrals that they gave us, it should be good. 

Yesterday after church we visited with our recent convert Alexandre, he is doing awesome still! We made American Brownies and they turned out to be really good! Alexandre will be receiving the priesthood either next week or the next one, he just has to have an interview with the Bishop but the bishop is out of town. But it will be such an awesome blessing in his life, we are super excited for him.

I think that about sums up the week though, we mostly focused on meeting new people that live in Sao Mateus and telling them about the group that will open up there, and contacting new referrals! This next week we will doing the same thing as well as doing divisions with a couple of the District Leaders in the zone, so it will be another busy week for us. But things are going great, all is well! I'm so glad to be a part of this work. On Saturday we will only have 6 months left on our missions, it is crazy to me how fast the time has gone. I hope to make the most of my time here in Brazil and work as hard as I can. I love and miss you all, have a great week! 

Elder Kyle Payne


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WEEK #73

Friends and Family,

Sorry I didn't get to email yesterday, there was a problem at the Lan-house and the Internet was down so we couldn't email unfortunately. So we went to Cuiabá instead and went to this park where you can feed monkeys and stuff! It was pretty sweet, it is crazy to me how smart the monkeys are! They are also thieves,so we have to be careful with our stuff. We went with the Assistants and also some sister missionaries from our zone and from the Industriario Zone, it was way fun. Elder J. Batista got poop thrown at him by one of the monkeys, apparently he made the monkey mad. The monkey just started pooping in his hand and throwing it at him, I about died laughing!!! I thought it only happened in movies and stuff haha. I will send some photos.

Oh so I actually have big news! Elder Nere got transferred last Monday night after pday, and I got a new companion...... ELDER WATCHMAN!!! My MTC companion! We were both so excited haha it has been so fun! Our whole missions we have been talking about how we want to be companions again and how it would be tons of fun, and then all of the sudden it happened! So now we are both zone leaders here in the Cuiabá Zone. It was kind of crazy though, because we had Zone Meeting last Tuesday, so Watchman got here at like 11 pm Monday night and had to prepare a training to give to the zone for Tuesday morning. It went well though. The trainings we gave were cool, but we decided to do an activity at the zone meeting as well. Since it is a new transfer and one of our goals was unity between missionaries in the zone, we split up into 4 groups and then each missionary took turns telling their conversion story, why they are on a mission, biggest thing they have learned since coming on the mission, and also the funniest moment/experience of their mission. It turned out really well and created lots of new friendships. It was tons of fun! One of our other goals is to mark more baptismal dates with investigators, as well as follow up with them every day on their commitments and how they are doing to prepare for baptism. Our zone had a goal to get 20 baptisms this transfer, so we will see how it goes! I feel like things will go really well, the zone seems super excited and ready to work.

So the other big news this week was that Alexandre was baptized on Saturday! It was an awesome experience! It was also pretty stressful, nobody from the Bishopric showed up for the baptism even though we invited them, so nobody was there to open and fill up the baptismal font. But luckily the elders in the other ward had a baptism as well and their bishop showed up with the keys, so its all good. We ended up combining the two baptismal services, so there were a lot of people and lots of support for them. Alexandre is super awesome, I'm so happy for him and for the decision he made to follow Christ! He will be an awesome member of the church and bless his family forever. He will be receiving the priesthood here pretty soon, so that will be another big milestone. We are way excited.

I got food poisoning on Friday, it was awful! Probably the worst I have gotten sick in a long time. Luckily we live on the same lot as a member, so he went and got me some medicine and some Gatorades (which are really expensive here) so it was alright! I just spent all day sleeping practically. But we were still able to go make lots of visits this week and meet with our investigators, but we also did a bit of travelling this week doing baptismal interviews for the other missionaries` investigators. 

Next week we will be going to Caceres and doing divisions with them, and this week we will be going to Imperial and working with the other Elders in the other ward in Várzea Grande. So it should be a pretty busy week as well. It has been super hot lately, yesterday it got up to 41 degrees, I'm not sure how hot that is in Farenheit but it is super hot. Especially when we have to walk like 15 kms every day to visit people, it gets pretty tiring, but its worth it.

Anyways, that about sums up the week. I love this work, so happy to be here in Brazil right now! I hope you all have an amazing week, remember to read your scriptures and say your prayers! :) Love and miss you guys!

Elder Kyle Payne

Monday, August 4, 2014

WEEK #72

Friends and Family,

Can you believe its August already!?!? I seriously don't know where the time is going. Its passing way too fast in my opinion! But things are going great here, we had some great visits with Alexandre this past week, turns out we misunderstood what he was trying to say about his family. We thought he had family problems meaning that his family didn't want him to get baptized, but what actually happened was that last Friday, the day before the baptism, his uncle suffered an accident and had to have brain surgery and is now in critical condition at the hospital in Cuiaba. So there was just a lot going on and it wasn't the best time to be baptized. But we taught the Plan of Salvation to him again and focused on eternal families and that everything happens for a reason, I think he really enjoyed the lesson. He has progressed so much and is now saying prayers in church and is talking more openly about religion and his feelings, I know the Lord has prepared him to be baptized! He has become a very good friend to me and I cant wait for him to be baptized. We had lunch with him and his girlfriend and her family yesterday, then after we played Monopoly with them for a while, it was a lot of fun haha. This may be bragging, but I completely dominated in the Monopoly game, at the end I had more money than the bank did! haha. But I deserved to win though, because I lost pretty bad playing soccer with them before lunch haha.

So tomorrow we have Zone Training, everyone in the zone will be coming to our chapel in Mapim for the meeting in the morning. Elder Nere and I will be giving trainings, it should be good. Elder Nere will talk about marking baptismal dates with investigators and also following up every day and leaving commitments to be sure they will keep their baptismal date to help them progress. I will be talking a little about personal development and how we will have more success as missionaries as we practice self discipline and strive to continually learn and better ourselves. 

Last week we had Mission Leadership Council again, once a transfer all the zone leaders and sister training leaders get together with President and discuss ways to improve the mission, it was a pretty good meeting. There were quite a few changes as far as counting numbers and the statistics of the mission, and how we can get rid of some bad "traditions" of the mission. It will be tough but we will make progress slow and steady in the mission.

This transfer we will be working a lot in an area called São Mateus, it is a neighborhood that is part of the Mapim ward right now, but there will be a group opening up there next transfer. A group is smaller than a branch and a ward, so there wont be very many people in the beginning but it should be growing really fast! the area is full of people who are ready to hear the gospel, and in no time it will grow into a branch and then a ward, no doubt. We will be working a ton there getting members together and getting things ready to have Sunday meetings and everything. We already got a missionary house and a house to have Sunday meetings there, and we will work with the ward mission leader a lot to make visits and invite people. It should be good and if all goes well the group will open up next month :)

Anyways, we also met some great families this week and had some awesome lessons, unfortunately none of the new investigators came to church on Sunday. We did our best to invite them and follow up, but maybe next week we will have more success getting people to church. We met a woman named Sandra, who had lessons with the missionaries about 5 months ago but stopped taking the lessons. But we asked if we could visit her and her husband and 7 year old son and she said yes and seemed very receptive, so maybe now she is more prepared to hear the gospel. We will see this week.

But things are going really well here, we will be doing divisions with the Elders in the zone this week and working in their areas, so we will be super busy. Woohoo! 

I hope you all have a great week, I love and miss you all! But at this time in my life I am so grateful to be a missionary, and to have the opportunity to see what the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ and his Atonement can do for people. It truly is a blessing in our lives. I know that as we live the commandments and do our best to follow the teachings of the Savior, we will receive so many blessings and live happier and richer lives. We are promised by the Lord in the scriptures that even when times get tough or we have a rainy day, we can always count on our Heavenly Father to listen to us and answer our prayers, and that we will receive comfort and help from him. I have felt his love throughout my mission in the hardest of times, and I know these things to be true. The Lord always keeps his promises.

Elder Kyle Payne


Caught in a Rainstorm!