Monday, March 19, 2018

Transferred to Blois France

Bonjour a tous,

Well this past week was a huge adventure. I moved to Blois! And I love it here! My new companions name is Elder Sebryk, he is awesome and we get along so well! We have much the same kind of humour.

Blois is beautiful, I don't think it's as beautiful as Épinal in the summer. The branch is much bigger than Épinal, 20-30 people each week. I can work with that. But it's pretty good. We have a much bigger apartment and that's really nice. I have been the handyman recently and have been fixing things around the apartment that have been not functioning correctly for a long time. The heater in the bathroom can't be shut off, and there was some rancid food in the refrigerator (emphasis on WAS). After I had been here for 2 days, I decided to make a goal for myself to make everything in this apartment work by the end of the transfer. Mainly because I love fixing things and would also like to have a fully working apartment. So I am working on that. 

We have an ami that is really awesome. He has a baptismal date, I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE THAT!! I really hope that he stays on track. 

Well I honestly do not have a lot of time right now or the "envie" (french). To do it. But just know that I am doing really good and that I am still alive!

Love you all!!

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Preparing to beTransferred out of Epinal

Bonjour a tous,

Well this week was full... But I don't have a lot of time, so I will have to make it short and include what pictures I can. 

On last Monday, we had a super fun district p-day here in Épinal. And our ami Sylvie gave elder Ludwig an amazing birthday party. Honestly, it was so good that we all almost cried. It was over the top great.

The rest of the week was normal. We did a ton of walking on Saturday and that night we got a call from the AP's (Assistants to the President) saying that and Elder Anderson and I were going to get transferred. And there will not be missionaries coming back to Epinal for a while. They have temporarily shut down the missionary efforts here in this tiny town. Don't worry though, nothing bad happened to cause this, I would explain it for you guys but I honestly don't have a lot time. Basically there aren't as many missionaries coming in to France right now. So now I am getting moved to a town a little bigger city called Blois. It's in the Paris Sud Zone. So yeah, lots of work to get done to clean and pack and write and all of the things we have to do to give any missionaries in the future the best chance they could get. 

I love you all, I will give a more detailed email next time!

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Monday, March 5, 2018

Beauty and the Beast Ville

Bonjour a tous,

This week was a lot of fun! Things are going generally well here in Épinal! The coldest of the cold passed last week, a whopping -10 celcuis! Which is incredibly cold for a couple of guys who are outside for most of the day. I felt like my ears were going to fall off. It was apparently a really cold wind that came in from Russia. So now we have a joke about the Russian winds every time someone is cold hearted with us. So that's good. 

For the last p-day, I mentioned that we were going to the villes that Beauty and the Beast were based off of. 

In fact, apparently there are 2 little towns that together make the basis of the story. We went to both. One called Riquewhir, and the other Ribeauvillé. Both of them absolutely stunning. They are these very old, traditional towns, and they just were awesome! I found a fromagerie(cheese store) and it was really cool to see giant blocks of cheese. I love French cheese so much, in 1 year I am going to come home eating blue cheese and brie and goat cheese by the spoonful and you all are gonna think I'm crazy! Haha. Cheddar will never be the same again.  To get there, we got to go through the longest tunnel in France. Driving at about 50mph, it still took about 10 minutes from start to finish. It was pretty cool! We hiked up to the 2 castles, which when the air is cold and you are at high was a tough hike. I just learned to take my time and everything was ok. But it was really cool! I also found a gift shop that sold old crossbows, swords, and armor! You can imagine how excited I was. Another Elder named Elder Ludwig has kinda the same tastes that I do. So we were both super excited. Anyway, that was a pretty cool day.

I took some cool pictures of ice and the views and the castles we hiked up to. I will definitely include those.

The work here is going good as well, I think we now have more progressing investigators than new ones. We have been packed with rendez-vous and not much time for finding! Which is great, but now I'm afraid that once these people aren't investigators, we won't have any! This next week we set a goal to find more people in expecting that to happen.

I got a haircut this week, and it is actually really good. We went to the same coiffeur(hairstylist) as last time. But this time I brought a picture with me of how I wanted it. It was a different lady this time cutting my hair. I showed her the picture once and she got it perfectly. I barely had to explain  anything. I could tell that she took her time and really tried to make it good. I really appreciated that so I tipped her, might have been the best haircut in France if not the second best. 

Yesterday we deep cleaned the apartment because we are going to have apartment inspections this coming Thursday. And now a nice, clean apartment feels nice. Elder Anderson and I decided early on in our time together to get our own silverware and stuff. So we each have our personal dishes that we keep clean all the time. It's pretty efficient and we don't have to do dishes very often. And to Logan and Courtney, I use that new Mexico mug literally every day and I love it and it is the only cup I ever use in the apartment. So shout out to that! 

Anyway, here are those pictures! I love you all!

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission


Monday, February 26, 2018

Goodbye old shoes

Bonjour a tous!

This week was packed! But somehow, this next week seems more packed. So that means that my weeks keep getting busier, or I'm not as busy as I think. Anyway, we now have created a good teaching pool and I must admit, as important as finding on the streets is, it's really nice to have a day where we actually didn't have time to do finding. If you guys remember, finding is all I did when first I came in to Épinal. It's been really nice hearing people tell me I've really turned this place around, because I was trying my best and now the fruits are evident. We are really happy to finally be able to meet with people who aren't members but who still want to meet with us. 

Just yesterday, some of our amis (Sylvie Blanchard, some of you might have heard about her) one of their cats died recently. And me, being a natural cat person, I was able to relate to them and especially the mother, because the cat was the last living tie between her and her mother. So I was able to console a little bit and we actually had lunch with them today and I think we brought them a little happiness. They really appreciate us.

We also have been meeting with a woman from Armenia, she is super nice, I think I mentioned her in my last email, her son is incredibly shy but also cool! He is honestly a really good guy that's just shy. Well she fed us some weird fermented walnuts, apparently it's a popular food in Greece. They were okay, but they might have had alcohol in them. I'm not sure, but I didn't get sick or anything so ça va. 

One of our amis, Jose, is progressing really well right now, he came to church today, Sylvie and her family did too! So that makes 4 amis at church today, which is pretty much unheard of for several months. Jose was really happy at church today, he seemed to like it and he said that he is really excited to come again! I really hope that everything goes well. He doesn't have any big questions about the church, but we also haven't taught him everything yet. The plan of salvation is usually a speed bump that we got over pretty easily. But I wonder what he will think about the Word of Wisdom, or tithing. Some of the more difficult ones to commit to living. But all will go well with time and testimony and the Spirit.

Today, we are going to Saint Dié for p-day and then staying for exchanges. We are taking a tiny road trip to the small town that the original Beauty and the Beast was based off of! It's super pretty and we are going to do a hike to the castle! I will make sure to get the best pictures possible for everyone! That will honestly be a blast because we are the best of friends with the Elders there. So we are really excited. And we actually won't be getting back to Épinal until Wednesday night, because we have district meeting on Wednesday in Nancy. Lots of travel this week. 

Today with Sylvie, she gave us a bunch of cool stuff like Épinal postcards and stuff like that. She also gave us full maps of France, so now I have a more detailed version of my mission map that shows everywhere I've been in france. So that's cool.

Also, the original shoes I bought before my mission are a bit worn out. I bought new shoes for 20 Euros (to repair the old ones would've cost 50). So I just went to a super cheap clothing store here and me and Elder Anderson searched for probably 30 minutes finding the and deducting the best shoes I could buy at a low price. The new ones I got have rubber soles, that's good.  So I put the old shoes in a charity box for clothing and stuff. RIP:'( 

Well I think that will do it for this week, I love you all!

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Goodbye old shoes.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Letter from Epinal - Feb 19 - Starting to Think in French

Bonjour a tous,

Well, I can officially say that my French brain is beginning to really take over. Every once in a while I will find myself speaking French and not even thinking about it. Which is a good sign. This week in general was pretty good! We found 2 new investigators, which is awesome! That's 2 more souls that we are helping! And most likely 3 because one of the 2 has a son.

This week I got sick, nothing serious, mostly just a cold and a headache. But nevertheless still annoying. I'm still recovering now from it. I fear my companion has begun to contract it as well. We will see how it goes. I also learned a tonguetwister in French. It's all based around the word foi. (La foi=faith, le foi=liver, foi=times, and the ville called Foi.) I'm too lazy right now to type it out, I can record myself on audio saying it for you guys though. And yes, I believe that audio recordings are ok to send home. Because missionaries do that in the MTC. But I will ask my mission president in my email to him today and find out for sure. If it's not ok, this will be my last one.

Anyway, we went out to dinner on Valentine's day with an ami and her family. We went to a place called Buffalo Grill. It was pretty good! And after that she made us a cake at her house (well it was pre-made but you know what I mean). It was good and they apparently went online and watched the entire Joseph Smith movie about his life and they really liked it! We want to show them 17 miracles eventually. 

Also, we visited all of the referrals from that member in Mulhouse! The first was a guy in Thaon named Jose. He was super cool and is actually progressing really well right now with no interruptions as far as we know. We went to Remiremont to find the other 2 people and found 1. She works at a perfume store there and we walked in, found her, and told her about how the member Jeremie gave us this Book of Mormon and asked us to give it to her. She was really surprised and one of her coworkers saw our tags and recognized us as the Mormons, you know, the ones who live in communities and practice polygamy! Wonderful... But as far as we know, she has a Book of Mormon and our number if she wants to meet with us. The last referral we found because we called her and she said she had actually moved to Épinal! So we met her last night and she is really nice and has had a really hard life. She and her son are refugees. So you can imagine the life they've had. Anyway, they are really nice and we have a return rendez-vous with them this Friday! 

So needless to say, we are doing pretty well here in Épinal. I am really excited for it to warm up here because this place would be beautiful if it was green! All I see is potential!

Well I love you all, and here is the recording!

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Monday, February 12, 2018

New Technology in Epinal

Bonjour a tous,

Well this week was a blast, and also hard. But mostly a blast!

This week we went and tried door to door in a village just north of us, within walking distance. It was a beautiful walk there with the river on your left and green fields on your right. I keep hearing from locals that this city is absolutely beautiful in the late spring and early summer. So I hope I get to see that. Because this city is covered in nature and I would love to see all of the trees with leaves on them!

We also just got new smartphones! They work so well and they are so much faster than the little Nokias we had before. Given, less tough, but we have the kind of smartphone that is supposed to be tougher than the average smartphone. I don't know if they are "missionary tough" but so far so good. The members really like sending us emojis haha.

One of our investigators, Sylvie Blanchard is very cool. In fact she and her family are so cool that they are taking us out to dinner on Valentine's day! We love them so much! Sylvie is like, the missionary mom here in epinal, she loves to help us out. And her kids are awesome too.

I got a new suit today for free! For the entire time I've been in Épinal, there was this bag of clothes by elder Anderson's dresser, and I always thought that it was his stuff. So I never touched it. Today he told me that it belonged to another elder who finished his mission here and the stuff is up for grabs. So I looked and found 2 ties, some clean socks, and a nice suit! It is light grey and actually fits me like a charm.

This week is yet another nice, busy week. Oh and another funny thing. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I like to tinker. I enjoy building things. And for the past month or so, I have been wanting to get a stylus for me tablet. Well I discovered by way of accident that batteries work on touch-screens.  So I made my own stylus, using nothing but tin foil and a AAA battery. Here is a picture!

Well I love you all! Have a good week!

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Monday, February 5, 2018

Learning to be more Spiritual in Epinal

Bonjour a tous,

Well the email was originally longer than this and then I accidentally deleted it. I'm sad because now I have to rewrite this email.

Well, to put it in short terms, this was an interesting week.

We met with an ami named Jacque last Monday, he invited us to eat at his house, he also invited 5 other women as well with the intention of presenting us to the girls. He tried his VERY best to make us look good in front of the girls. That was an interesting night, one of the girls took interest in us but not the message. That was awkward for everyone.

Other than that, we got 3 new amis this week and Bobby and Salome came to church again! It was a fast Sunday, so we had a very spiritual Sunday with testimonies. I hope they liked it and felt the spirit, because I definitely did.

We have another rendez-vous with our new amis this Wednesday, they are really cool and seem interested. They also love americans! :)

Well we had a fun week and this one is shaping up to be promising. I actually have been really improving recently in terms of teaching boldly. The day I realized that I don't know how to be bold was definitely a turning point in my mission. A logic chain keeps going through my head (I have become a much more logical person recently). It is a series of Q and A's.

Q:how does one teach boldly?
A:with the Spirit

Q:how does one get the Spirit during a lesson?
A:testifying or speaking of an eternal truth

Q:how does one testify?
A:speak of the things close to you heart

Q:how does something get close to your heart?
A:personal spiritual experience

So you can see that in order to teach boldly, you must testify of the things that are close to your heart. The things that you have had experience with that have changed you. It was then I realized that I do not know exactly how some of the things that I teach have affected me personally, therefore, I cannot testify as powerfully of something I do not have a strong testimony of. So I have been trying really hard lately to change and grow a testimony of everything that I teach so that I can testify and invite the Spirit into every place that I testify in. 

I have seen a drastic difference lately, and it has helped me be happier, more successful, more spiritual and sensitive to spiritual promptings, and bolder.

So that was a cool experience I had and am having. It really really helps. I also took some pictures this week!

Love you all!

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Elder Payne in his favorite habitat - the forest

Elder Payne enjoying some dinner provided by some of the church members

Transferred to Blois France

Bonjour a tous, Well this past week was a huge adventure. I moved to Blois! And I love it here! My new companions name is Elder Sebryk, he...