Monday, November 20, 2017

Unexpected Transfer to Epinal

Bonjour à tous,

Wow! This has been a crazy week!!! So first of all, I got 'midnighted'. Which means that I got a call from the assistants of the president randomly a couple of days ago and they said that president has been doing a lot of praying and decided that the Lord needs me to be in Épinal. I am now half training an Elder named Elder Anderson. Don't worry, nothing happened in Amiens and there are still elders in Amiens. I honestly had no clue why I was leaving until I actually got into Épinal. To explain Épinal a little bit, it's a tiny town (big ville streak lost). It is in the Eastern mountains, which means it's beginning to get pretty cold here. The branch is about 20 people.

I am excited for these next transfers because 1:I am training. 2:there is a lot of work to do here. I really feel like I was meant to come here. The branch is super nice!!

The first morning that I was here, the power went out. That was extremely stressful for me and we had a ton to do today. But we got it all done. With the power, we had no power through all last night, so it was really cold in our apartment. Then today we went to the store and bought a new fuse. Came back and it still didn't work! I was mad. So we went shopping for groceries after calling the mission office with our problem. We came back with our groceries and put all of our food in the church refrigerator. Oh and by the way,f we live right above the church building. So if all else failed, we were just going to spend the night in the church because it still had power. While doing some emails, I remembered that one of my companions (Elder McCrea) had served here. So I called him and told him about our problem and asked where the power box is. He told me where it was and I went and looked, and our power was completely shut off! I don't even know why! So I turned it back on and we went and checked the apartment, and BOOM! All the power was back on! We said a quick prayer of gratitude and went on with our day. Moral of the story, rely on the Lord and have faith, and he will sustain you in life.

So yeah, that was crazy. But now that we have all of that figured out, we can focus on the missionary work here. We have big plans for this place.

In Épinal, the trains here are a problem. The closest ville to us that we will need to go to is 1 hour away, but here's the thing, to get anywhere else out of our sector, we have to go through Nancy, the ville 1 hour away. So to Paris, 3-4 hours direct. To Strasbourg about 2 1/2 hours. And all of our members live far away, like a 1-2 hour bus ride away. So traveling is life here.

Also if anyone is going to send me anything, I have a new address.

Les Missionnaires
28 Rue de Bellevue, 88000
Epinal, France

I will start taking pictures of this place this week. Because I have nothing to send picture wise. But I love you all and I hope you are doing well!

Elder Payne
France, Paris Mission

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Missionary Companion and a Little Sight Seeing

Bonjour à tous,

Well this week in Amiens was crazy, and busy and fun, and I saw some miracles!

To start off, my new companion is a guy named Elder Christensen. He is from Utah. He is three transfers away from going home, so it's possible that I will be his last companion. But me and him get along really well. We joke all the time, but he is also a hard worker, so he's great. 

I am going to share the fun stuff first to get it out of the way. Today we went to the Amiens cathedral, which is the biggest one in France according to area. And we actually got to go to the top of the cathedral with a guide. It was pretty cool, although my thighs hurt because the only way up is by a long flight of really steep spiral staircases. So that was quite the workout. I will attach some pictures.

I don't have a lot of time, but here is the cool miracle.

Before elder Merritt left, we had a lot to do on Tuesday to get him ready, so we were all over town. And while walking from place to place, we by chance met all of the classic people on the street that he wanted to see! A crazy guy that calls himself the prophet, a potential ami that we lost contact with, and a recent convert that he baptized and really wanted to see before he left! All by chance or miracle! And we found a new ami! We were coming off of the bus and this guy followed us off, and he stopped us and asked us who we serve. We said that we serve Jesus Christ. He asked us where we pray, we answered that we believe that we can pray anywhere we like and it doesn't require a special place. He explained to us that his entire life was recently taken from him and that he had nothing and that he needed to pray. So he wanted to know about us and we shared a scripture from Alma with him about the atonement. He really liked it and we gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon! We took his number and he said that he wants to meet in the future! We have a rendez-vous set up later this week!!

The Lord prepared him, and I hope he will go far.

Quote:"Many years ago Brigham Young told of an early missionary in the Church who was asked to share his testimony with a large group of people. According to President Young, this particular elder “never had been able to say that he knew Joseph [Smith] was a Prophet.” He would have preferred to just say a prayer and leave, but the circumstances made that impossible. So he started to speak, and “as soon as he got ‘Joseph’ out, ‘is a Prophet,’ was … next; and from that, his tongue was loosened, and he continued talking until near sun-down.”
President Young used this experience to teach that “the Lord pours out His Spirit upon a man, when he testifies that [which] the Lord gives him to testify of” "M. Russel Ballard October 2004 (Pure Testimony).

Elder Payne
France, Paris Mission

Monday, November 6, 2017

Looking forward to new missionary companion

Bonjour à tous,

Well this week has been busy, and I'm getting a new companion this Wednesday! Elder Merritt is going home this week! He is so excited. But my next companion will be a guy named Elder Christensen. I hear good things about him but I don't know him at all personally. But I am staying in Amiens. 

Yesterday was fun because none of the branch presidency was at church. So the ward mission leader presided. Not many people were at church yesterday because there was a big wedding in our branch that was being held in Saint Quentin. Actually on the same day as a baptism there as well. But it all went well. 

We did a lot of tracting and finding this week. And we didn't find any solid contacts. But it paid off because a member this Sunday brought 2 friends from work to church! They were pretty cool. I hope to teach them in the future. 

Well I honestly can't remember my week, this week should be interesting with transfers and all of that. 

Talk to you all next week!

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Monday, October 30, 2017

Busy week in Lille and Saint Quentin

Bonjour à tous,

So this week was jam packed full of stuff. On Monday, we went to Saint Quentin for p-day because it was Soeur Nickerson's birthday! So we went to a carnival, had some food, and went to a zoo. It was a blast, and also cold. So yeah.

Tuesday we had exchanges in Lille with the zone leaders. That was easily the most productive missionary day I have ever had. We had a goal to contact 40 people that day, we wanted 22 phone numbers, and 4 new amis. We ended up talking to 41 people, getting 17 numbers, and 3 new amis. That's about a 90% success rate for the day! Which is freaking awesome!!! I just wish it was in my own city. But it was still really awesome.

Wednesday not much. Just coming back from Lille exchanges.

Thursday we had a rendez-vous with a member of the Church and 2 members who have not attended church for a while, and it turned out really good. One of the members who hadn't been to church for a while came out of her kitchen with a bunch of candy and chocolate and told us that we weren't leaving until we finished it all. Which I had no problem with. So that was fun.

Thursday we did some shopping for district meeting, because at every district meeting we have a district meal. And we were gonna make lemon bars. By the way, I have grown a special affinity to dark chocolate. I love dark chocolate. And dark chocolate here is usually rated on a scale of how much cacao is in the chocolate. I really like 70% cacao. But I was on the hunt for 100% cacao just because I wanted to know what it was like. Well while we were at the store, I found some 99% dark chocolate. I just had to buy it. We tried it at the bus stop and honestly, it tasted like bitter earwax. Terrible. 

Friday we saw a member named romaine, he is schizophrenic. But we love him and help out where we can. That night we saw a member named fonja. She loves the missionaries and is in the relief society presidency. She fed us some food from Madagascar called malagash. It as super good! We also had district meeting, I fed everyone the 99% cacao chocolate. Everyone hated it except for 1 elder! He liked it!

Saturday we went to Saint Quentin again to give a baptismal interview to their ami. That was really cool! After that we went to the old elders apartment to finish the cleaning there. I didn't dare go back in the basement. 

Yesterday was normal with weekly planning and stuff. But I think that's it for the week. This week is going to be packed to the brim. And next week is transfers! I will get a new companion and Elder Merritt is going home because he has finished his mission. We are trying to help him go out with a bang.

Weekly quote: "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

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

We think that's Elder Payne - upside down (you can sort of make out a possible missionary tag on him)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Planning for Ward Activity

Bonjour à tous,

Well this past week was fun, we had stake conference, and some exchanges. Elder Merritt and I are preparing for a Halloween activity this coming weekend with the branch. We discovered that Satan thrives in a Halloween store called Festi. We went there to look for decorations, and we walked around a little, and pretty much nothing there was appropriate for a church function. Either too dark, or other things... We walked out and both realied that as soon as we walked in, we just had a bad feeling. And throughout the store, we just had this bad feeling linger with us until we were home after that. So yeah, glad I have the Priesthood. 

We have decided that Elder Merritt's favorite movie that we watch is a church video called Together Forever. Which is all about marriage and the family. It's a great video, and I've seen it maybe 5 times in the past 2 weeks. But it does bring the spirit, so ça va. 

I also got my hair cut this week by a member, it's better than it was before! It got really long, but I also discovered that I like my hair longer! And we got a mangez-vous out of it, so win-win.

I have discovered that chocolate here is rated by what percentage of the chocolate it actually cacao. So this week I tried some 47% cacao, that's the picture I put of a wrapper. And I also tried 81% cacao. Which is borderline gross, but the aftertaste was pretty good. The picture of the cracker is a Nantes cracker that a member gave me! I was so excited.

Other than that, I honestly have trouble remembering this week. This week just kinda flew by, I can't remember if I mentioned this last week, but 2 weeks ago, Wednesday marks 6 months on the mission! I might've already mentioned that. Crazy stuff!

The last picture is me and my MTC comp meeting again at conference.

Anyway, I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Nantes cracker

Chocolate label
Elder Jay Payne and Elder Hayes

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!

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.

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Unexpected Transfer to Epinal

Bonjour à tous, Wow! This has been a crazy week!!! So first of all, I got 'midnighted'. Which means that I got a call from the assi...