First off I want to apologize so very much that this email isn't coming until today and secondly I want to apologize that I didn't let you know like I have in times past, I'm sure that it didn't help your particularly difficult week, mom I apologize and hope you will forgive me. I know it must have been very frustrating not
hearing any word and for that I am very sorry. We just had a very crazy day which I will explain in a moment. I will try and make this an extra long email to make up for not emailing yesterday.
Well I sure hope that all of you have a had a great week. From moms email it sounds like there has been a lot going on with all of you. That must have been really tough having to basically close the holidays off. That is never fun, especially because rob and linds and their fam all had to head back home. You definitely know it is the end when school starts up again. I am really surprised that they didn't just have them start this coming Monday. The kids out here had a huge break they got out like the 21st and they don't go back until tomorrow. In fact we were able to take some of those kids up to mt Shasta with us for our p-day.
So I am sure you are curious what exactly it is that we did, well let me tell you. So first we went out to those caves that are on the north end of my Shasta. They are actually the same caves that we went to last time. We went there again because there are a lot of new people in the zone that haven't been able to go there. We had a good time hiking up in there. It only took us about an hour or so this time because we didn't stop for as long in the back. After that we had planned to go ice skating! Well unfortunately it didn't work out exactly like we had planned. We showed expecting to be able to rent skates and stuff but when we got there there was nobody there at the booth that we could rent from. It was really weird because the sign said open and everything but nobody was there. Well you don't think that is going to stop a bunch of rambunctious
missionaries now do you?! Of course not! We just made the best of it and slid around on our shoes. It was an outdoor rink so we were able to just walk right on. We played all kinds of games and did a bunch of
fun things. Then we headed back and did some reports and that was pretty much it.
Now because we were so busy running around all day that is why I was unable to email until today. Which I am once again very sorry for. So now I will tell you a little about what happened this past week. Alrighty so let me tell you a little about my New Years week. It started off pretty normal, last p-day that is. We were just at the gym playing basketball and other games. Then Monday night, so Tuesday morning, I woke up at about 3 in the morning with a terrible sore throat. It honestly felt like I was being stabbed in the throat with a screwdriver. I was finally able to fall asleep after a while but I still woke up with the same problem. I started right then and there just downing as much vitamin c as possible. I know that I should have been drinking that in the first place but I wasn't being the smartest with my eating for a bit, but I am definitely trying a lot harder now.( I was thinking it might be good for you guys to maybe send me out some like multi vitamins or something. I have been getting sick a lot lately and I bet that would help.) Anyways Tuesday was sort of a slow day. We saw a few people around the area but not to many. It was a little difficult with it being New Year's Eve and all but we made the best of it. We had dinner with some members which was pretty fun. They definitely don't do New Year's Eve out here as well as we do back home. We just sort of ate and then left. We were able to go out to our branch New Year's Eve party for a little bit though that was pretty fun, we were able to play some games and chat with a bunch of good people and there were even a few non-members there. Then came 2014! The year that so much will change. I have been thinking about that a lot lately just how much 2014 will bring. There are going to be so many big milestones hit for me in this year. I mean first off I will turn 21 this year! Crazy right?! I can't believe that, things have been moving so quickly. Then of course this is the year I will get off my mission. Talk about a milestone right there. After these past 19 months of being a missionary I don't even think I can imagine not being a missionary any more and returning to real life. Weird! Anyways then after that I return to college and life will just continue on from there. So as you already know there is a lot to look forward too this coming year. However I know that it is hear and now that needs my attention, so that is what will have my immediate focus.
Alright so then came Thursday, this was the day my cold was in full swing. It hit hard and fast with a sore throat and runny nose and headaches! Yay what a good way to spend my week. Luckily for my sake we had a ton of reports that we had to do this day. We spent most of the time on the computer preparing for our 2 big meeting that we had that week. Let me tell you that is one thing that I have gotten really good at and that is being able to sit at a computer for hours on end compiling numbers and reports and making sure things are clear and concise and free from error. I hope that those skills will prove to be useful in the future.
Friday was such an amazing day and I am very excited to tell you about it. So our day started out with us
heading down to Gridley for our zone leader meeting. It lasted for about 5 hours from about 9 to 2. That is another skill I feel will prove helpful eventually, the ability to sit in a meeting for hours upon hours and pay attention for the majority of the time. Also to be able to retain massive loads of info in short periods of time. Anyways at the meeting they talked a lot about setting goals and making plans for the coming year. This past year we set a goal of 600 baptisms and we hit 420 for the year of 2013. In 2014 we upped the goal a lot we
upped it to 1200 or roughly 2 a week per zone. We have been challenged to double our baptisms so we are going to be trying our very best to do that. It most definitely won't be easy and you better believe that we have our work cut out for us but I truly believe it can happen.
So after the meeting was over we headed back home for an event of major importance. That would be the baptism for the Lockwood family. This is something that I have been looking forward too and have been working so very hard for for over 6 months here in this area. We have worked and worked and worked with this family. Overcoming trials and concerns, strengthening testimonies and building faith. However even
with all of those difficulties that it took to get them here let me tell you it was all worth it just to see that whole family standing in front of the font in white. Words cannot describe the joy I felt as a husband was able to take his wife by the hand, lead her down into the water, and with his recently conferred Aaronic priesthood baptize one he loves so much into the kingdom of God. Then on top of that to see a father lead not one but two of his sons down into the water to make those same covenants. It was almost surreal the feeling that was
present. To feel the love that our Heavenly Father feels for them each individually and as a family is enough to hang an entire mission on. Let me tell you that was most assuredly a life changing experience. Never again will I question whether or not the priesthood is real, why? Because I have seen it first hand in actions and I have seen it change one if the most amazing families I know and let them open that gate, to start that path to eternal life as an eternal family.
On Sunday we were able to witness all three of them get confirmed and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Now the next step for them is the temple and oh what a glorious day that will be. Let me tell you I love this gospel. I love what it does to people how it changes the very people that they are and only proves to make them better. The restored gospel is such a blessing to all of us. It is something that I know that I took for
granted growing up but now that I know what I know all I want to do is help others find that as well. Thank heavens I am a missionary. Well everyone I love you all very much and hope all is well. I hope you all have a great week and know how much I love you.
Love Elder Payne
P.s. I don't have the pics of the baptism to send right now but I will
in a bit.