From: Kendall Payne Date: 2015-10-26 3:01 AM To: Luana Payne; Subject:Re: This week
(Note to family member)…
This week was one of great sorrow for us rugby fans in South Africa (yes that includes us missionaries). After playing some powerful games and defeating some difficult teams the South African Springboks have been knocked out of the 2015 Rugby world Cup by the old time rivals New Zealand All Blacks. I had been thinking South Africa would win the cup this year but now as defined in the book of mormon “they have been brought down into the dusts of humility and great was their shame for what they had done.” But all will be well. Once the Team comes back to south africa my companion and i plan on finding them and teaching the whole team about the miracle of the atonement so they can have this pain removed from within their souls.
I am also quite happy to announce that yesterday i was able to finish the Book of Mormon for the Fourth time on my mission and in my life. This time as i read however i decided to mark down every question that i found within it and it came out to 529 question asked by many individuals found within its pages. Thats an average of about one per page (even though some of the books dont contain any). It has strengthened my testimony as well as my faith. I have also set the personal goal for my self that i will read the book of mormon at least twice per year. We are challenged by our church leaders to make lifetime goals and i have started on making the first of many for myself. Eventually i may challenge myself to read it once every three months which would be another great goal. I encourage and plead with any who have not read it, to please soften your heart, obtain a copy and read deeply from its messages. You will be blessed beyond measure.
Also this week we watched general conference. It was powerful and moving. I found answers to my questions and was filled spiritually. I see alot of strength coming into the quorum of the twelve through the three newly called apostles. I still see alot of strength in the church. Members continue to do impressive acts of faith and draw closer to the Lord. I am blessed enough to see many examples of peoples faith and be affected by them.
Last night our district leader asked us as we drove away from the area what the theme of conference was this time we all agreed that if a theme had to be picked it could be “Keeping Gods Commandments & Retaining our Flame of Faith” I found Elder Andersons and Brother Durrants talks especially powerful as he talked about feeding our faith and keeping it lit within us. I agreed personally that i would do this and also made the commitment to “ponderise” a verse of scripture every week again for the remainder of my life. As soon as i got home from conference i found some scripture mastery cards, found one i wanted to memorize for this week and keep it in thought every day. Already i have seen my life being blessed by doing this.
I know that as we keep Gods commandments we shall be blessed. As we share the gospel and feed our faith we shall be perfected through our teaching and living as disciples of jesus christ. I love the lord with all my heart. Stay close to him and his commandments and he will stay close to you.
From: Kendall Payne Date: 2015-10-19 4:04 AM To: Luana Payne Subject: Re: Hello
So this week was eventful as always. We had our interviews with President Zackrison on wednesday which was great. I always love interviews with our president cause i love being able to tell someone else how much im enjoying the work and what sort of things im working on. Our conversation started off with him mentioning to me about how much i have progressed ever since i first walked into the field. Ill always remember what he told me my first interview which was ”Elder Payne, when i served my mission some of the hardest workers i ever saw came from growing up on a farm. So i expect you to work hard on you mission.” Right there and then i made the decision that i would work hard from that day and forever. President also mentioned to me this time that he has noticed how hard my companions and i have worked and it has been a sense of a little joy to him because in his words I have been the sort of missionary he could trust and also the Lord could trust.. I felt quite happy being able to see what he said was true. The lord has trusted me with alot including terms of areas and companions. One of my first desires has become to always do what the Lord has asked and do it willingly. This ties in to what i want to share today which is something about sacrifice.
In heaven the first law before anything else is obedience. If a servant is obedient to that which the Lord has asked of him he shall be blessed. If he is not he receives no such blessing. But to be obedient requires somethings from us. It requires us being willing to sacrifice for a commandment, because we have a hope that behind the sacrifice and the commandment comes a blessing. God always has been and always will be a god who notes sacrifices and will always bless us for making such sacrifices for him. One example is abraham who was willing to sacrifice his only son, just because the lord commanded him to do so. Now making the decision could not have been easy for him, but in the end it was made and in the end he was blessed and is still being blessed up to this day. Another example of sacrifice the Lord asks for is for Young men to serve missions. Now some young men choose not to serve because they are unwilling to sacrifice any time for what seems like at first glance something that just requires a load of hard work with no immediate blessings visible. But you should ask a young man who enjoyed serving his mission for the lord if the sacrifices he made for the Lord were worth it. It will be and will always be from the mouth of faithful returned missionaries that the sacrifices you make for mission are small to the blessings you receive after mission. It will always be this way as well. We put in so little effort considering all the blessing we reap..
Sacrifice isnt easy, But it is well worth it. Think to the time christ was in the garden of gethsemane. If he was willing only to atone for a few of mankinds many sins, Or if he chose not to sacrifice his life at all, then all of us, regardless of who we are, would never return to live in Gods presence. Our sacrifices our small as well, when considered against that of the early saints who left homes of comfort in europe, with many only to find a grave in america, not having reached zion. I would like to testify as well sacrifices are worth it, whether it is something big or small. If i had been unwilling to sacrifice my laziness early on in my mission i would not have become the hard working servant that stands before many people today. If i had been unwilling to serve a mission i never would have come to know the lord in the degree that i know him today.
So in short my week was great, because i was willing to sacrifice for my lord and do his holy work to which i have been called.
From: Kendall Payne Date: 2015-10-12 3:17 AM To: Luana Payne; Subject: Staying obedient
So this week was very hot. When i say this i am talking about weather coming up into the high 30 degree (Celsius) range (around 100 degrees Farenheit). But despite the extreme weather my companion and i did some old fashioned tracting work and found some success. Actually just getting into one house or meeting one person makes tracting worthwhile so we were met with success everyday which was pretty good. After a long week of being on our feet we closed yesterday being very tired. My companion said to me though “Elder Payne you have shocked me since we have been companion. Every morning you are up at six thirty. Every evening before you go to bed you read your scriptures and pray. Every day if we run out of things to do you are willing to tract.”
I was very complimented to say the least and i looked back on why i have been being obedient. The short of it is this- I love Heavenly Father, I love my Priesthood leaders who gave us mission rules and i love my Mission President all very deeply. Because of the love which i have for all these individuals it drives me to be better and to want to keep the rules.
This is the same reason that Christ did all that Heavenly Father had in store for him as well. A deep abiding love for him and what he can do for us. Its this same love that helps us keep commandments, even if we do not fully understand them. But also remember that when you keep a commandment, you receive the blessing that is attached to it. So even if you may not understand why it has been given us, keep the commandment and you will see blessings flow into your life.
I know God loves us so much that he wants to protect us and the way he does so is by giving us commandments. They bring such safety and peace into our lives.
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2015 12:41:34 +0200
So this past week was great. I said goodbye to Kwamashu and elder frederick, got on the bus on tuesday and said hello to Madadeni and Elder Ngulube. My new companion is from Zimbabwe, he is about 4 1/2 months old and he is a powerful missionary. One thing i love about new missionaries is their desire to share the gospel. His fire has caught hold of me and we are doing the lords work the way he intended.
So im not going to go into the week so much, but i am going to talk about a lesson i learned this week. This weeks lesson was patience. Recently ive been wondering why i have been so unsettled with peoples concerns and also my own concerns. I told my companion and he said “Well Elder Payne you need to pray about yor problems. Tell the Lord what you have questions about.” So i did so, but immediately afterwards i told him that i felt better, but i still needed to know the answer. He shared with me this “Elder Payne, you need to be patient when you ask the Lord a question. He wont just give it to you like a weekly payment from your job. If you exercise impatience with the Lord you will wait a long time for your answer.” So being mildly rebuked by my loving companion i realized i was indeed being impatient with Our eternal father and that i had to repent and wait. I realized as well, while we are waiting for our answer, the Lord is building up our life for the moment when we can receive it and never forget. Waiting for an answer teaches you to treasure it. But receiving something as soon as you ask teaches you to be ungrateful, for while you wait you are also being humbled by the Lord. It is wisdom in God that he makes us wait for blessings as well for we shall only receive them when we truly need them.
I know God Lives. I bear testimony he answers prayers in his timing. Not ours. Not now. Not ever. Remember to be patient and you will receive all the gifts heavenly father has for you.
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2015 11:04:22 +0200
Subject: Re: This week
So this week is tranfers and i am going to my last area called Madadeni in the newcastle zone. I previously served in this zone when i was in ladysmith, so it was a bit of a shock for me to hear, but im still grateful none the less. Yesterday when i was bearing my closing testimony i had a hard time keeping control of my tears. I told the members that the closer a missionary gets to going home, the more he feels like he is leaving home and leaving his family once again. I really grew to love all the wonderful members in this branch. It has a special place for me in my heart. One thing that makes leaving especially hard is when people ask the question “why are you leaving us elder? we still need you here. why do you have to go?” Its not an easy question to answer, and i dont think i could ever answer to someone why i have to leave until i have finished serving in my next area. The answer wont be visible until i devote time, energy and strength to where i have been assigned. Maybe then ill be able to answer.
Also this week i want to speak of repentance. Now this is a critical step for each member of the church to follow, for to enter into the kingdom of god one must be totally clean from all sin and iniquity. No one mortal man is perfect, so every man upon the earth has a need to access the powers of Christs atonement and then in turn become clean. But God will not force us to do so. He lets us act upon our agency to decide if we truly want to be better people and if we want to rid ourselves of all that holds us bound. To quote President Uchtdorf “men are meant to soar freely through the heavens and not be shackled to the earth in strait jackets of our own making.” I can add testimony to that as well.
For one to repent though, one must first be aware that they have done something wrong. Again going back to scripture “we cannot be saved in ignorance” so we must constantly be aware of things we may have done to offend god. Sometimes we realize what we have done wrong ourselves,other times God will tell us what we need to repent of through a priesthood leader, friend or family member. In the case of an investigator,it is usually a missionary who tells them they must repent. I will share one experience i have had of telling someone to repent.
three months ago my companion and i started teaching a family comprised of a mother and daughter, with no fatherly influence. And we were so happy to have them to teach because they looked, sounded and felt like solid investigators really willing to learn the truth. As we continued to teach we testified of christ and the power he has over sin and death. They were doing marvelous! they attended church, kept commitments and always invited us to come back and teach again. Eventually the time came where my companion and i reviewed the baptismal interview questions. The daughter had passed with a few small correction that needed to be addressed by us. The mother also did well, but confessed to us of some serious sins committed in the past that still had to be repented of. My companion and i told her so immediately that she had to repent of these things. She felt she hadnt made a wrong choice so my companion and i talked with our mission president and he directed what we should do in our next lesson. Sp we again prepared a call for repentance. As we did so she committed that she would repent. Then she stopped coming to church. Personally i was distraught because i knew of the need this woman had to partake of the sacrament and move past her sins. We taught the family again during the week and the the next sunday she again did not attend church.This time we didnt wait until our scheduled visitlater in the week to see what happened. We went after church and started talking about how guilty she now felt and how she felt that she didnt think she could attend church until she was clean. We testified that she needed to attend church especially during this repentance period in her life.
And that is something i want to tell all of you. No matter the sin or mistake our Heavenly Father still loves you and wants nothing but the best for you. He wants you to become clean and attend church and partake of the sacrament so you can prepare for the coming week. The atonement is real and If you repent with a broken heart and a contrite spirit you will be forgiven.
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2015 02:17:27 -0700
Subject: Re: This week
Hey Family! … (personal notes to family)
So this week was pretty powerful! But i have to go back to last week to have the story make sense. Last week on Thursday our Zone leaders give us a call around Eight in the evening and tell us to meet them at our boarding as soon as possible. At first i was thinking “Awe snap… Some body is getting an emergency transfer.” So we drove like madmen back to our boarding only yo find out that No one was getting transferred, But that Elder Allan F. Packer (first quorum of the seventy) and Elder Carl B. Cook would be coming to our mission on thursday to hold a special Family history training meeting for all the missionaries around the Durban area. So fast forward now to last thursday to where we actually had the meeting. It was powerful. We were told of how we can best teach people how to link back to their ancestors and how talking about family history very easily invites the holy ghost. They shared with us that the spirit of Elijah is just another way that the holy ghost can manifest itself to those who are involved in family history work. Because they are involved in knowing more and finding out about their ancestors, the Holy ghost aids them in their search and blesses their lives. I remember last year when we were told that our mission was chosen to carry out a pilot program for the My Family booklet and how we were encouraged to use it whenever possible. I also remember that talking to people about their families and starting a gospel conversation like that was so much easier than trying to start with something new like The Restoration or The Plan Of Salvation. It was great and i had a prompting to do alot more family history work when i go home, Even if it is just to help someone else learn how to use the family history program. We need to be more involved using the tools that God has given us, so we can best help out those who dont know how to use them yet.
Also this sunday was our primary presentation program. Kids really are so great at inviting the spirit. We may not have been able to hear everything they said, but it was still wonderful to hear children testifying that Christ lives and has called Prophets to be with us in these latter days. I happened to be sitting by a member who had never been involved or seen a primary presentation before, so i ke0pt asking him how he liked it. He said ” These kids are powerful!” Then he asked me “So Elder Payne, growing up in the church you did stuff like this back home?” I told him that i had done the same thing when i was in primary but i was not as reverent as the kids were in these days.
Also i got asked to baptize a youth on sunday. It was pretty interesting for me because i was the person who interviewed her for baptism as well. Then as i baptized her… She put her foot above water. So we calmed her down, explained that we had do do the ordinance again because she had to have her whole body immersed and then proceeded… Only to have her put her foot above water again. So for the second time we calmed her down explained that she had to have her feet remaining on the bottom or else we would have to do it again. I said the prayer… Waited a little bit… then performed the ordinance as fast as possible to avoid redoing it again. After we walked out of the font her mother came up to me and said “ELDER PAYNE! Did you really have to baptize her so fast?! We barely saw what went on the third time!” I explained that if you saw it nicely and slowly the first two times, then it was the exact same the third time. Only very fast. Haha oh well… Maybe next time i should just stand on their feet…
I hope your week is great! Im still loving my mission and im praying for you all every day. I love you all!
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2015 10:39:40 +0200
Subject: Re: This week
This was another great week to be a missionary. It was a week of almost constantly changing my companionI . On tuesday i was with My zone leader Elder Doane. To start off the day we had service at a members house taking down a wall inside their house. Not going to lie… it felt pretty good beating on a brick wall with a hammer. To quote Elder Doane “I feel like a man having done this!” haha it was awesome. The rest of the day was filled with rain and a little depression, but our hearts were gladdened as we found a DOMINOES PIZZA PLACE!!! IT WAS AWESOME!!! I mean i loved south africa before, but now that dominoes is in the country i think they will have a tough time sending me back home.
On wednesday i was with the newest elder in our district Elder Mcopela from Zimbabwe. He inspired me alot with all the enthusiasm he has. Recently i have been feeling a bit tired, but i think he was able to strengthen me with what we call Greenie fire. It was a moment of realization for me and on how much i have changed and grown since i started all from what feels like centuries ago. He is still looking forward to his Two years, while i am almost at the point where all i can do is look back at my two years. New missionaries bring such hope to all of us that all we want is to be better.
On thursday i was with Elder Olsen whom i have served around for a very long time and have grown to love. We talked alot about our past experiences and shared with each other. During this exchange however, I had the opportunity to interview three candidates for baptism. I was struck with the memory this time of how i was interviewed for baptism, what the bishop said and did and how i responded. I was at first happy i could remember so far back, but it helped me this time because i was interviewing Primary aged children. After all the interviews we had a great lesson that we taught to a man and his wife about the book of mormon. All in all the exchanges were great and i continued to learn of how to be a better person and missionary.
One thing i have learned this week has been about the Plan of Salvation. I started reading Jesus the Christ again and it amazed me how willing Christ Was from the Beginning of time to do what God intended for him and how submissive we have to be to receive blessings to God. To roughly quote the prophet Alma “all men come to earth as Carnal men” so our quest or journey in life is to become spiritual beings who love and fear our creator. As we grow in our desire to become as he is, we shrug off the chains of mortality and become saints through the atonement of His son Jesus Christ.
Well that’s about it for this week. I wanted to let you people know i have three months left exactly today!! Its getting exciting but it is still a long ways away. I hope you all do great this week and really ponder what it is that God would have you do for him!