Monday, October 16, 2017

Exchanges in Arras

Bonjour à tous,

This week was pretty fun! We had exchanges in Arras, and zone conference in Lille. So a busy week!

Exchanges in Arras was fun. I spent all day with Elder Ruiz from California. He is super cool and we got along really well. We looked for a bunch of less active members of the church and did a lot of contacting that day. Interesting experience there, we were looking for a less active member and their home address. And we came upon the address and rang the doorbell. No answer, we almost left, but I felt prompted to ring again. So I did. About 30 seconds later, an short older lady opened the door. Inside the house was very dark and I could tell that she was probably sleeping. Then she asked why we were there and we told her that we were looking for someone. She didn't recognize the name. She said sorry and then said this "J'ai envie de mourir" which, translated means "I envy death" or "I want to die". Judging by the her demeanor, we could tell that she was serious. My companion and I didn't know what to say to that. After a couple of seconds of silence, Elder Ruiz pulls out a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and just says "Read this, it will help" she took it and then we left. I can only hope that she will benefit from the pamphlet. But yeah, if I hadn't of rang the doorbell again, she wouldn't have that pamphlet. Cool experience.

Other than that, zone conference was cool and we had homemade burritos for lunch! And also had the training for Facebook.

I had some poutine today too! It's a Canadian food that is about their equivalent of biscuits and gravy... But not quite as great. I will attach a picture.

Lately, I have been learning a lot about loving people. Christ-like love is so hard to have sometimes, but as a missionary, I feel like that's key. I heard a talk by Elder Eyring recently where he said that everyone you see on the street, on the bus, at the store, anywhere, has already had their sins paid for. Christ loved them enough to die for them, why should I feel any differently. 

That's about it for this week! See ya all later!

Sincerely
Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission





Monday, October 9, 2017

Apartment Cleaning in Saint Quentin

Bonjour à tous,

This week was fun! Had some cool experiences, but first, priorities.

Facebook has been cleared in our mission! I will hopefully have a working Facebook profile by Friday (we get trained for it on Thursday). And we are allowed to add family and friends from back home! Although I will still only be able to chat on Mondays as normal. So yeah, thats exciting. I might need to make a new profile although I'm not sure.

So other than that, we also had a day where we went to an apartment in a city called Saint Quentin to clean an apartment that old Elders were using and then the Elders got transferred and replaced with Sister missionaries. So we went to go clean the old apartment. It was gross, and the apartment was dismal. But throughout the whole thing, I was noticing some floor panels that can be lifted. So at one point I got one of the other elders to help me lift it. And we found stairs, underneath the apartment. Just leading to a black abyss. I just thought, "What the heck did I just find?".

So we found a light switch and turned on the lights to the mysterious  basement. And I walked down there with another Elder and our Priesthood ready to possibly cast out some demons. As we were walking down, we found some mangled, old baby dolls in some openings in the wall. They were the creepiest things I have ever seen, and honestly, I was terrified. While we were down there we found some other stuff in storage. The other missionaries helping clean didn't come down with us, so they closed the doors and shut us in! In a joking matter of course. But still...

Me and the Elder with me took some video that I hope to get soon to send to you guys. But yeah, that's about it. Then the Elders upstairs let us out and we decided that we prefererd to be upstairs instead of throwing away the dolls. So we left them there.

So I got to spend a day with the whole district! Which was a ton of fun, and one of the sisters I knew from the MTC was there, so it was cool to catch up a little.

That's all the time I have.

Sincerely
Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Monday, October 2, 2017

Transferred to Amiens

Bonjour à tous,

This week has been very interesting. First off, I am now in Amiens! A blessed city in the north of France. My companions name is Elder Merritt from Sacramento California, he is super awesome. We honestly get along so well that we have only ever disagreed on a few things. Me and Elder Merritt are the only ones in Amiens. He is the district leader. The branch here is about 40-60 people depending upon the day. And the work here is progressing. We actually extended a baptismal invite last week and the girl said yes! So we hope to continue teaching.

We have one member here who is named Romain. He is a great guy. And he loves the missionaries! He calls us like 4-5 times a day just for advice. He is cool and actually came to watch conference.  The talk that I liked the most was by Elder Holstrom, he talked on miracles and how miracles are hard to distinguish sometimes. It occurred to me just how much of a miracle the Atonement is. It's cool, to think of the Atonement as a miracle. 

So in other news, when I came into Amiens, the apartment didn't have electricity! So for 4 days and 4 nights we lived without any electricity. Which meant candles, reusing clothes, and eating out for every meal. That was fun and I now appreciate home cooked meals more than ever before. 

We have electricity now and all is good! My French is good enough now to be able to converse with people and express most of my thoughts. So that's great. 

Well here are some pictures that I took of the view from our apartment, a giant playground thing I got to climb on, the best burger and pastry in my entire life, and my sunbleached suit that I threw away. (The color behind the lifted up lapels is the original color.)

Sincerely
Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission


Burger and pastry


Sun bleached suit coat - note the different color under the lapel! 

Playground climbing ropes

View from apartment

Monday, September 25, 2017

Getting Transferred This Week

Bonjour à tous,

Well this week was fun! We did some service and learned how to put up wall-paper! It's pretty easy, but tedious. The Sister's house we worked on looks a lot better now though, it was a mess before.  We had 3 different members feed us dinners, but sadly no investigators. But that's okay, we have been doing a lot of work meeting with less active members of the Church, which is also missionary work, so ça va.

We were able to have lunch with some members at the same time that the Soeurs watched the General Women Conference. It was super fun and I got to help cook. The people that we were with was a very young couple who are both return missionaries. The Brother explained to us his life story and it was super cool. The Sister lived in the poorer parts of France growing up. They are an awesome family though and really missionary oriented. 

In exciting news, I am moving cities! I am going to a city called Amiens. It is in the north above Paris. I go out this Wednesday to Paris and then to Amiens. My new companion's name is Elder Merrit. And I have heard a lot about him and all good things. I hear he is a super missionary. Which is good, so I am really excited. 

We also had some exchanges in la Rochelle. I went contacting in a rich retirement home neighborhood, yeah... the people were not very receptive, so we sere not not very effective. However I love the guy I was with, Elder James. Me and him get along super well and we are really good friends. We bonded over quotes from the three amigos movie. 

Keeping it short

Quote for the day:"I know this from personal experience. Answers to prayer haven’t always come easily or quickly. But they have always come. Time and again, I have been the beneficiary of the Lord’s mercy and guiding hand. Jesus Christ knows the way because He is the way. “For I will go before your face,” He promised. “I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” Sheri L. Dew October 1997

Sincerely
Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Monday, September 18, 2017

Paris is Awesome!

Bonjour à tous,

Well this week was pretty cool! We actually got a chance to go to the Paris Temple on Tuesday! It was awesome and the temple here is beautiful.

The trip to Paris was awesome! We stayed overnight with the assistants to the president. That was fun. We went with some other elders from our district. One of the Elders is super cool and me and him get along really well. He did swing dancing and longboarding too! Me and him traded stories while on the train. He's so cool and he's our district leader.  

I believe I sent pictures last Monday of the temple.

This week has consisted of a lot of finding in the streets. We managed to find 2 new people. And we hope that they will progress. This Sunday we actually got a lot of members that came up to us wanting us to come over! So that will be awesome. 

I actually had a cool experience this week while finding. Me and Elder Stanford had been finding all day one day. And with no success, we were feeling pretty down on ourselves. Then we went for one last stretch of finding before we went back to the Church for some stuff for the rest of the day. And what do ya know, it starts raining! It was a freak rainstorm. No one likes talking in the rain. So we walked for a bit and after everyone rejected us we decided that that was it for the day. And we headed back to the Church.

On our way to the Church, in fact we were almost there, we saw one guy walking our direction. Elder Stanford just looked at me and said, "Look Elder Payne, it's our new ami!" And we talked to him and he was Muslim, Algerian, did not speak very good French, and was very interested in the gospel. Those 4 things together, by the way, don't happen like EVER. So we got his number and he told us several times that he is very interested in talking with is in the future.

I can now participate in French discussions. I can understand a lot and I can almost have a normal conversation. #gift of tongues  The Ward I am assigned to has about 500 people, 120 of which come regularly.

In conclusion, I have learned a lesson from this and other experiences that the times when we feel down, when we hit rock bottom, when we feel like there is nothing more we can do, that is when we become humble enough for the Spirit to talk to us unrestrained. And that it when Christ reaches out to us to pick us up and keep us going.

Quote for the day: "when all you've got is nothing, there's a lot to go around."

Sincerely
Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Short letter due to Temple Trip

Bonjour à tous,

This week was mostly a lot of finding since our amis dropped off our radar. We found a cool lady yesterday, I hope to meet her again. 

So we got the chance to go to the temple! I didn't think I would be able to until the end of my mission. But elder Stanford had to go to Paris anyway because of legality work. So we figured why not go to the temple?!

I took some pictures that I will attach. Sorry I really can't write that much this week. I promise to be better next week. I just don't have time today because we have to get on our train to go back to Nantes.

Sincerely
Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Paris France Temple





Monday, September 4, 2017

Finding Gold in the Rocks (Importance of Member Missionary Help)

Bonjour à tous,

Well, this week has been interesting. One of my companions got what we call "midnighted". Which is basically a call from the mission president in the middle of the night telling you that you are going to a different city the next day and that you have one night to pack and everything. Elder McCrea is going to Liege,  which is the city he was born in (his first area in the mission field). An elder there broke his ankle so they needed an elder to come there who still had all of the Belgium legality done. So elder McCrea will be there for the rest of the transfer and might come back to Nantes. So I may or may not see him again. Our trio has been able to bond pretty well, and I am sad that we are getting broken up just as we were picking up speed.

So that was exciting. Needless to say, didn't get much sleep last night. 

Other than that, the work here has been difficult for us. Mainly because for some reason, as soon as elder Stanford and elder McCrea came in, our amis have been dropping off the face of the earth. We haven't been able to get contact with Tatiana for about 2 or 3 weeks now. And we had a couple other people that seemed good, but they weren't answering or kept fruging us (that means that they set a rendez-vous, but then never show up). So that all is frustrating. So right now, we just do a lot of finding. We also have 3 meals with members in the next 2 weeks, I'm excited for those.

We received a member referral yesterday which is soooo awesome! We have a meeting set with this new referral this week. And some other small miracles happened too. 

We had one cool meeting with a guy on Saturday night. His name was Celestin. He invited us to a bar that "fit our standards". So we went to the only skyscraper in Nantes, which apparently has a bar at the top. We met, talked bout life, bout God, tried to share our message about the restoration, and in the end he wasn't interested. But I got some cool pictures! I will attach them here.

I really like our new district leader, him and I get along really well. He did swing dancing, longboarding, and is just a good guy. So we have fun.

I did hear about the hurricane in Texas! It was on lds.org. I am so glad to hear that Lonny and his family are safe.

Lately I have seen the effect of good members. Members can literally make the difference in a missionaries life. When I look back to the days of finding, I can't help but think that contacting is extremely inefficient. It is like looking for a needle in an enormous haystack or one fleck of gold amongst rocks. We can look for it all day and maybe find it. But the members are people who have been looking at the haystack or rocks for years. They have a pretty good idea where the gold or needle is. They point it out and we have soooooooo much higher chances of success. Once I get back, I intend on helping the missionaries wherever I can.  

Well that was about it this week.

Quote for the week
“If we don’t try, then we don’t do; and if we don’t do, then why are we here?” Thomas S. Monson April 2001

Sincerely
Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission



Exchanges in Arras

Bonjour à tous, This week was pretty fun! We had exchanges in Arras, and zone conference in Lille. So a busy week! Exchanges in Arras wa...