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

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.)

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

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."

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.

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 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

Elder Payne 
France, Paris Mission

Monday, August 28, 2017

Crazy Trip to Rennes for Zone Conference

Bonjour à tous,

Well this week has been interesting. We had some rendez-vous set up with some amis. But then we got a random call from the zone leaders saying that we were going to have an unplanned zone conference the day before stake conference. So we ended up cancelling about 3 meetings and going to Rennes for days. 

That was very stressful and hectic. Not to mention that we got to the train station in Nantes and realized that we had forgotten our train tickets back at the apartment and didn't have time to go back and get them. So I ended up using my personal money for a train ticket and 3 bus tickets in Rennes. 

So we had a sleepover at the Rennes apartment on Saturday night. Almost all of the elders in our zone had to do the same thing so we ended up having 17 elders sleeping in one apartment for a night. We were packed like sardines. It was fun, and crazy, and stressful. But in the end we had an awesome zone conference and got 2 new rendez-vous this week from it.

So that was crazy but memorable.

I know that God has been blessing me and definitely taking care of me while on my mission.

Elder Payne

Monday, August 21, 2017

New Companions - Still in Nantes

Bonjour à tous,

How is everyone this week? I heard of a bunch of protesting stuff going on in America, bummer. Over here though I think everything is great!

This week I got my new companions! I am in a trio for the next transfer. I am with elder McCrea and elder Stanford. They are both pretty cool guys. We have fun. They are both pretty old in the mission so that means I have 2 people as my polishers. They both came from some very small towns, so Nantes is a big change for them.

We went to a small town called Pornic. It is right next to the ocean. We went there because we had a referral. So we took a 1 hour bus there. It was a long day especially since we did not find the lady we were looking for. In fact we deduced that she might be dead (we don't know though). 

We got 1 new investigator this week! His name is Jean-Baptiste. He is pretty cool and hope that we will see him again!

We did not get a chance to see Tatiana this week, but we have a meeting scheduled this week with her. And we hope to extend a baptismal invitation to her! At the last meeting we had with her, we helped her to understand what the spirit feels like and how to invite him for personal revelation. She admitted that she has felt it before in her life, and that was super cool. 

Other than that, not kuch this week, just figuring things out and getting settled in. We also went to the cathedrals again today, but this time we got to go in the crypt. I will attach some pictures.

Elder Payne

Monday, August 14, 2017

Short letter from France

Dear Family,

Yeah sorry I missed writing a better letter last week, being in a trio means that we are busy pretty much all the time. But I have some time today to write.

The trio is fun, although we get the repertoire today which will tell us all about the new companionship and who my next companion will be. I will include that in the next weekly letter because we haven't gotten it yet. The stakes are high though because I could possibly be training, or become district leader, or just get a new companion. But whatever happens, I will be okay with the Lord's help.

The French is coming along, I find it interesting how many people ask me how the French is going. It's not annoying, but how do I respond to that? Anyway, right now I think my French slowed down, because we haven't found much time for language study. But it will come.

I can't believe the amount of personal growth I have already seen on my mission. And actually, last Saturday made 4 months in the mission! I am really learning how to listen to others and not be judgemental or argumentative like I sometimes was before my mission. 

Well I guess I will end it there.

Elder Payne 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Letter with a package and pictures

Hello Everyone!

How are you all doing? I have been geting all your emails! Thank you!!

The work here is going great and I am continually finding things that I really appreciate about France.  I love French doors. Seriously, the doors here are pieces of art.  And here is something French that you can try at home.  Get some apple juice in a cup, and put an orange slice in with it. I had that at a members house and loved it!!

You can try that or you can try 'bizou' (spelling). Which is kissing someone on both cheeks to greet them.

Well I love you all and as Dad would say, "Remember who you are".

Elder Payne

Parent's note: We didn't get a e-mail this week so I just transcribed a short letter Jay sent in a package.  Jay is companions with two other missionaries for a couple of weeks.  Transfers are the week of August 14th at which time he should get a new companion.  He did send an e-mail to someone else and stated that the two missionaries he is with now are lots of fun but hard working too.

The pictures were on an SD card that Jay sent along with some other items he sent.
Info from Internet search:  Dreaming the Erdre of Marie-Hélène Richard is a walk on the Erdre between urban and nature that plays with the landscape and the reflections, from one bank to the other.

No notes on this picture - If someone knows about it let me know and I will update the blog.

No notes about this picture, but I guess Jay ate well that day.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Missionary cooking in France

Bonjour à tous,

I going to work with two other Elders this week, right now I am still in Nantes. I will get a new companion in two weeks.

This week has been pretty fun, although interesting because my ATM card didn't work this past week. Elder Mansfield and I have been eating pretty much the cheapest food we can find. Did you know that one large can of beans, some rice, some hamburger, and some tomatoes will make a burrito mix that feeds 2 people lunch and dinner for a week?

I have been learning how to make crepes. They are super easy to make and serve as kind of the tortillas of France. You can literally put anything on their and it will usually be delicious.

We had a service project this week that was pretty much the worst. I spent 6 hours on a roof... scrubbing... each... individual... tile. We didn't even finish. But it was still fun in a sense.

We also went to a cool land bridge last P-day. It was pretty cool. I will make sure to send pictures. I got really sunburned too.

Tatiana and Camille have been coming to church every week and we are really excited to see them progress. You can read more about that later. But anyway, things have been going good, elder Mansfield goes home this Thursday and I will be in Saint Nazaire for the next two weeks. I will make sure to email you guys all about it next week.

Elder Payne

Monday, July 24, 2017

Exciting end of the week

Bonjour à tous,

Well this week was very exciting!!! First on Monday, my soul died a little cuz Elder Mansfield wanted to do some clothes shopping before he went home, and he decided to invite the Soeurs for clothing advice. Needless to say, I was a tired, zoned-out, missionary zombie for about 2 hours.

Tuesday we went to Rennes for our first interviews with the new mission president. Then we stayed in Rennes because we had some legality stuff to take care of for residence in Paris.

Wednesday was just zone conference.

Thursday we went out to Paris! Super fun cuz I got to meet with my old MTC buds. Funny story, The legality stuff includes a general medical check up, and one part of it you go in a room without your shirt on and talk to a lady about your general health. I told her that I have been experiencing some back pain. In response she reaches over and puts her hand on my stomach (as a missionary I felt very violated) and just said in broken English "strengthen core". So since then I have been doing core workouts.

On Friday we managed to find 2 new amis. That was really cool.

On Saturday is the cool part. So I don't know if any of you remember me talking about Tatiana. But she is the Brazilian woman with the 3 sons. Well we fixed another Rendez-vous with her. We also invited one of the women from our ward and her son. We expected her to bring her son again. When we were waiting at the church or her, we saw a really nice Mercedez pull in to the parking lot. We didn't recognize the car. A guy gets out of the car and none of us new him, then Tatiana also gets out of the car. When you're a missionary you never expect your amis to have a car. We learned that the man is named Camille and is Tatianas boyfriend (she's divorced). Then we proceed to have an awesome Restoration lesson. Camille is really cool and the entire ward loves him because he is a soccer agent. Then we gave them a soft invitation to come to Church and gave them both a Book of Mormon.

On Sunday we had figured out that we already have 3 new amis this week with almost no finding time (the lord provides). And if Tatiana comes with her whole family, we would have 5 new amis and 5 amis come to church. That is unheard of. We were sitting in church when BOOM! They show up!!!! Tatiana, Camille, and her 3 sons! It was AWESOME!!

So yeah, this family is going far. They are so cool.

Elder Payne

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Importance of Personal Prayer

Bonjour à tous,

This week we had some more exchanges in Rennes, and some with La Rochelle. We also had a Saint Nazaire finding day. That was fun.

Honestly, I can't really remember this week very well, it went by so fast. Although I have started an interesting goal that you might find interesting.

So at the exchanges in Rennes, we didn't have any time in the morning for personal study and prayer. Well for the whole day I was really just zombie-like and really out of it. Then the same happened a couple of days later in Saint Nazaire and that is when about half-way through the day I decided that I needed to find a way to make sure that I always say a prayer. So Elder Mansfield had an idea to put a coin in my shoe, and every time I noticed the coin, I would say a prayer.

So I tried that except decided to amp it up a little, so I put a coin in both shoes. I literally said a prayer every like 10 minutes for the whole day. But it helped a lot. I noticed a huge difference when I don't have my spiritual fill every day.

So I think that that is the most exciting thing from the last week. This coming week will be really interesting because we have interviews with the new mission president on Tuesday, zone conference Wednesday, Legality stuff on Thursday in Paris, and on Saturday is a youth/missionary activity all day.

Elder Payne

Monday, July 10, 2017

Miracle in the rain

Bonjour à tous,

Well this week was really exciting, met the new mission president, he is super cool and I am confident that I will have no troubles getting along with him in the future. If you want to hear a really cool story keep reading, I know that I would've tuned out by now.

So I will just start with the cool miracle story this week because it might take up the whole email.

So yesterday was a pretty decent day in the morning, normal church. Elder Mansfield and I  didn't have any rendez-vous for the afternoon. So we decided that we would have lunch and some personal studies and then go porting (door to door) in a residential area. We had looked for some places on maps, and decided that that was where we needed to go. Well the weather app said that it was supposed to rain that night but I thought nothing of it because there was clear blue skies. As we were getting ready to go, some HUGE clouds rolled in and it started to drizzle a little bit. I still thought nothing of it. Right before we left the apartment, it started pouring. So we decided we would go anyway (because you know...missionaries).

I have never been happier on my mission so far than I was during that rain. I don't even know why I was so happy but I think that it was because I felt like a real missionary. Our pants were soaked, our shoes full of water, water starting to soak through even our rain jackets. We were doing some porting with no success and decided that we should say a prayer about whether or not we needed to stay there. I got a very subtle impression that we needed to leave. So we left. Then it started hailing, with the already ridiculously hard rain. By this time, any hope of dry clothing was lost. We hopped on the tram to go back to our apartment and decided we would come back later when the storm had blown over.

We were on the tram, soaking wet. And a woman starts talking to Elder Mansfield because she was curious about the name tags. We kept talking to her about who we were and the tram stops for technical difficulties and we all had to get off and walk. She asked us to walk with her so we did, we met her husband later, who had heard about the FLDS church (fundamental LDS) so we cleared up some misconceptions regarding the LDS church and kept talking. By this time we had already crossed half of Nantes with this woman. So we walked with her and her husband, still talking, and got on our tram to get home. We ended completely ignoring our stop and just kept talking. Her and her husband got off and we got off with them. We walked with them to their house, they invited us in, they gave us soda, we scheduled a mangez-vous (dinner app.) and they said that they would invite their daughters too. 

So all in all, we talked to this woman and her husband for about 2 hours, crossed all of Nantes with them, gave them a full lesson, prayed with them, got their number, got their address, and scheduled a mangez-vous, and got 2 new amis and possibly 4 all in one night. This doesn't happen...ever. We are sooooooo excited to meet with them again. Elder Mansfield said that in 2 years he has never experienced anything like that. I said a prayer of thanks that night and my shoes are still soggy.

Blessings. If you skipped to the bottom, please read the email, you wont regret it.

Also, I have some pictures here of an art museum we went to.

Modern art ladies and gentlemen....

Elder Payne

Monday, July 3, 2017

More News from Nantes

Bonjour à tous,

How is everyone this week! I am doing great out here, we have actually been getting quite a few new amis this week!

First, we were contacted by a man named Vincent. We apparently contacted him on the bus 2 weeks ago but totally forgot about him, whoops. But it turns out he is super cool, we try not to put favoritism on amis but he is definitely one of my favorites. He is 19 and a practicing Buddhist. But super open to the gospel and learning more. 

We also met a Brazilian woman named Tatiana. We had a meeting with her and she brought her 17 year old son too! Turns out she has 2 other teenage sons! Super cool!! We hope that we can get all of them to church or to at least come to meetings. But Tatiana is pretty awesome. Her son doesn't seem interested in sports so we can't get him to Saturday sports, but ya know, whatever.

In terms of transfers, yes there was one on the 28th, but I stayed and so did my comp as is customary for training to stay 2 transfers. It is so weird to think I am on my second already. If you didn't see, my comp is going home in a month, so I will go to Saint Nazaire for 2 weeks until I get a new comp in the next transfer.

That was the extent of most of our week, along with a service project and an awesome museum today.

Elder Payne 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Birthday Package Received - one month later

Bonjour à Tous,

Hello everyone! This week has been kind of a slow one, because all of our amis just dropped off the face of the earth and for a couple of days, we didn't have any amis. All that means is lots of contacting, out in the street, door to door, everywhere. We manage successfully contact 4 people over the week, 2 of them fruged us (arrange a meeting and then don't show up) 2 others agreed to come to church this Sunday. The last guy is actually really cool, apparently he was contacted by the sister missionaries in February and then he had to go out of country for something. He came to church on Sunday just wondering if he was still welcome. He agreed to meet with us on Wednesday! Super awesome!

Also, our only progressing ami, Eddy, stopped answering our calls and we have no idea what happened to him. We stopped by his apartment and left a good note for him. But at church on Sunday, one guy came up to us and was wondering about Eddy, apparently he is a good friend of Eddy and told us that he will call him this week and try to set up a meet with Eddy again but this time the friend wants to help us teach him. 

All I can say this week is that Heavenly Father provides for his children. e are super excited to teach the new ami and hopefully invite Eddy to be baptized!

In other news, I have discovered that the french don't have grape jelly, and we contacted a Catholic priest and got invited to attend an ordination this Sunday after church, Pres. Babin said it's okay so we will go to that and I will tell you guys how it went next week!

In the pictures this week! Drum role please...

First we have a couple of pictures of the package from my family! The general condition of it was good, the brownies were all smushed but still delicious! Second, there is the pirate ship just down the street from our apartment, it was there for some sort of event.

Elder Payne

According to Google Translate: amis = friends

Monday, June 19, 2017

Short e-mail with pictures

Hi everyone!

I have had some pretty awesome experiences this week. We got asked to go dedicate a tomb in Saint Jean de Monts. Which is a little town right on the beach. A really beautiful town. Turns out the funeral was not an LDS funeral, and it was very interesting. We ended up giving the dedication in front of about 40 people who are not members of the church. So mass teaching! We went to see the beach, of course we didn't actually go on the beach, but it was the best one I've seen yet.

Here are some pictures.

So the first pic is of a castle we went to on P-day that is about 3 blocks from where I live. It's called Château Duke de Bretagne. The second is a pic of the amazing beach in Saint Jean de Monts, we were there to consecrate a tomb at a catholic funeral. The next is one of the biggest attractions of Nantes, it is a gaint robotic Elephant that moves around the island in the middle of Nantes. The next is a pic of the inside of the castle. And the next is a cool building that is not far from our apartment. For the next week, I will make sure to take a picture of the pirate ship close to our apartment and the naval battle ship.

Nantes is an awesome!

Well have a good week.


Elder Payne

A castle we went to on P-day that is about 3 blocks from where I live.

This is a picture of the yard inside of the castle.
Here is a picture of the amazing beach in Saint Jean de Monts

A giant robotic Elephant that moves around.
'cool building that is not far from our apartment'

Monday, June 12, 2017

More exchanges and trips to the coast

Dear Everyone!

Hello! How is everyone! The work here is going great! And I am starting to get the hang of everything! Thank goodness.

This week was pretty interesting, I went on exchanges to Saint Nazaire, another city right on the beach. The companionship there is awesome! They are so much fun! We did some contacting and I discovered that contacting jeune filles (young women) is very interesting. Because half of the time they think that we are just flirting with them and then we whip out a 
Book of Mormon or pamphlet and they will either reject us nicely or totally catch on and be awesome. But it definitely is an adventure! 

After exchanges I accidentally left our apartment keys in Saint Nazaire. That turned out to be an interesting day. I'm starting to really get the hang of french, now I just need to work on my confidense in talking to people in french.

I have been learning a lot about cleaning this week, we have some apartment inspectors coming to our apartment tomorrow so we had to do a ton of cleaning this morning. We have hardwood floors which means that we have to sweep all the time or we get crumbs and stuff on our feet, which is my equivalent to Dad getting socks wet walking in the kitchen.

I have to keep it really short this week because my time to email is already over. Everyone have a good week and passé bon journée!

Elder Payne

Must be the door to the church

Coast off of Saint Nazaire

Monday, June 5, 2017

Working in Nantes

Dear Everyone!

Hello, how is everyone? I'm just gonna keep bugging people who haven't emailed me yet! Karl, Lonny, Morgan, Kristen (I know you can, you just keep forgetting), and everyone else that I mentioned in the last email.

So this week has actually been very eventful. We went on exchanges in La Rochelle, which is a smaller town below Nantes, and it is literally a city on the Beach. So I got to see the beach and I took a picture! I also got a shell for home, nothing super cool, just a shell. 

I encountered the most DISGUSTING thing this week! So after exchanges in La Rochelle, we came home after a long day of tracting and porting(door to door). And in our apartment we have a small little mini fridge in the corner and we never investigated it because there is a sign on the door that says "Abandon all hope ye who enter here". So we didn't open it. Well we get home and find this brown goop leaking out of the fridge and onto the floor. We were standing there just like, what should we do? I decided we had to open it and take care of whatever is going on. So I opened it and the most disgusting, pungent smell filled the entire apartment. Me and my companion start gagging and grab towels for gas masks. And I just told him, "give me some bleach and a towel, I'm going in" then he started cooking dinner. I opened the fridge all the way with bleach ready in hand, and there was more brown goop all over the inside. I opened the ice box where all of the goop was coming from, and inside is a box of Steak Hâche (ground beef), a bag of chicken, and a ziplock bag of fish. All of which are rancid. The brown goop is literally melting meat. So after bleaching the crap out the fridge and Fabreezing the entire apartment and throwing the old meat in the dumpster downstairs, I left bleach inside the Fridge to take care of the smell. My comp was impressed though how I just dove in and started cleaning. I think my nose has PTSD.

So that was interesting. Anyway I am slowly but surely getting the hang of French. And slowly understanding what I should be doing.

Have a good week everyone.

Jay sent a few more pictures.  Some were from Paris on his first day in France that I missed last time.

Monday, May 29, 2017

First letter from France

Bonjour Everyone!

So this past week has obviously been very eventful. The plane ride was pretty dismal, but I didn't get sick, which is good. I tried to sleep but couldn't. I forgot to take some dramamine before the plane ride, but it ended up okay. After we got to Paris we were shuttled by the Mission Pres straight to the mission office for some paper work. Then I went contacting for the first time. Then it was off to the Mission home which was pretty sweet. We had dinner there.  President Babin and his wife are super cool. Though they are getting released in about 4 weeks. I got to stay in the mission home for the first night in France, that was the best night of sleep that I have gotten since going into the MTC. The mission home was super nice

The next morning it was off to a place called Consecration Hill, which is most likely where the country of France was consecrated for missionary work. Super cool place. Then it was to the Paris chapel which, by the way, is tiny.

Paris is really cool, scary, but cool. I'm not used to huge cities so that was what was scariest part.

I met my new companion at the mission home.  My new companion's name is Elder Mansfield, he's super cool and he only has 2 transfers left, he knows everything about France.  All the new missionaries hopped on the train to our various areas in France! My train ride was about 4 hours, extremely tiring because we were hauling around 5 peoples worth of luggage. And now I'm here! Elder Mansfield and I got 'whitewashed' into Nantes (means neither of us replaced previous missionaries in an area), which also means neither of us know anything about the area. Definitely a losing weight mission, we walk a lot and don't eat a lot. My first area is Nantes, which is a city close to the french coast, I really wanna see the ocean but haven't gotten the chance to yet.

The apartment I am staying at is okay. I was surprised by the humidity in France. For example, 2 days ago it was 90 degrees here, which, with humidity means death in a suit. Today it has been raining all day, that should cool things down a bit. Lucky for me Elder Mansfield knows how to cook. So meals at the apartment usually consist of him cooking while I do language study. 

Learning french is going pretty well. I think I'm on top of things generally.

Oh and some cool little facts, I met an Elder Haws in the MTC who is from Gallup and knows Aunt Yoni. He heard me joking about New Mexico. So yeah, also, I don't know if Shantae knows this, but her name means "to sing" in French. It's actually spelled chantez, but same pronunciation.

Here is a list of people who I would love to hear from: Lonny, Morgan, Karl, Sergio, Kristen. If you don't email me I will just keep bugging you about it. And Jeff, send me pictures when you finish the longboard.

Au Revior,
Elder Payne

Jay sent the following pictures.

The mission home always has to be ready to feed lots of Elders and Sisters.

No details provided, but must be from the Mission Home.

Jay was able to visit some sites in Paris. No details on the location of this chapel.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Elder Payne has arrived in Paris France!

After a 2 hour delay in SLC airport, Elder Jay Payne boarded the plane for the long flight to Paris France.

The Mission President sent us pictures!

Just off the plane!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Last letter from the MTC!

Dear Everyone,

This week has been pretty busy, we all went to in-field orientation for almost ten hours yesterday, which is where they tell you everything you didn't already know about the field (serving a mission in France). I have 3 days left! I'm so excited to get out of here! A little nervous about the plane, but I will just sleep the whole time and be all right. The Branch President told us that we aren't allowed to actively proselyte on the plane because the airport has called with complaints about the missionaries bugging everyone.

These last couple of days are full of getting our last lessons in, departure devotional on Sunday,  also we are singing a musical number of the EFY Medley on Sunday in sacrament meeting. That will be awesome. I heard from one of the Elders in my district that the Paris mission is a losing weight mission because of how much you walk in comparison to the food they give you, which is mostly bread and cheese. 

I will have a refrigerator in France, so you guys can send me things like green chile. Which I need, by the way.

Alright, I know everyone has something exciting going on in life now, so PLEASE email me! If you haven't sent me an email...and you know who you are, please email me. Logan and Courtney set the bar real high by sending me green chile!

Elder Payne  has great information about the church that Jay will be sharing with the people of France.

If you need Jay's e-mail address just post a comment (which won't be published) and I will send you the e-mail address.  Curtis

Saturday, May 13, 2017

More blessings and a tie

Hello everyone! 

So this week was very eventful. First off, we got our travel plans!!!! We leave for a one-way, non-stop flight straight to Paris. We leave the MTC on the 22nd at 11:50am. Our flight departure is 4:50pm. And we should arrive in Paris at 11:15 am the next day. Don't let that confuse you though because we aren't going to be on the plane for 20 hours. We are actually crossing like 4 time zones so it will actually be like 11 hours.  Everyone going to Paris has the same flight I think and the people going to Lyon get to stop in Amsterdam, Netherlands. And thanks to the Dablings for the package! I deeply enjoyed the green chile and everyone in my zone liked the strawberries!

The coolest thing happened this week! So my companion Elder Hayes knows tons of people in the MTC. We can't go like half a day before he recognizes someone. Well this one girl he's known since like second grade was really having a hard time here. And she wanted a blessing but doesn't know any of the guys in her zone that well. So she asked him to give her a blessing. That's a stretch because usually only the zone or district leaders of the person can give her a blessing. But she is in a different zone. So we had to call our Branch President and he let us do it, even though that doesn't usually happen. So we met her and her companion at about 9pm (after all of our classes) we said our own little personal prayers before hand and it ended up being an awesome experience. Then after that in our room before bed, one of the elders asked for a blessing, then another, then another, then another. I got to bless one of them, which was super amazing because I've only ever given 1 blessing. So yeah, the whole night was spiritual. And I got to do sealings in the Temple this morning.

I discovered how easy it is to gain weight here, I've gained a little more than 10 pounds in the MTC. Although I've been working out a lot so I hope most of that weight is muscle. I have started to think in French, I answer Oui to most things just out of habit and
it's weird to not pray in french now.

I have been trading ties with other elders and I have come across the most beautiful ugly tie I have ever seen. And I traded a zip tie for it! Score! I will send a picture of it soon.

Elder Payne

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Many blessings this week

Hey Everyone!

It's been a pretty weird week this week. Monday and Tuesday I got a cold (our zone calls it the French plague). Just a sore throat and stuffy nose. Tuesday night I asked for a blessing from the elders in my room and it was crazy spiritual. Oh!! And if by chance Morgan Armstrong reads this, on Tuesday night we watch films from past MTCs and stuff. The film we watched was an MTC talk by Elder Holland. And in one part I saw your sister Alex sitting in the audience of the video! No doubt it was her! I think the talk was called Loosen your Tongue. Not 100% sure though. Everyone else watching it thought I was crazy cause I just randomly yelled "I Know her!"... Silly me.

Anyway, the night after that, one elder in our room asked for a blessing, then after that another elder got prompted to ask for one, then another elder asked for one! 3 Elders in one night! Super spiritual moment. Sadly I am not district leader anymore, though I wish I was. Our zone leaders left and now we have some new zone leaders and STLs (sister training leaders). Life has been pretty good since they opened up the new field and sand volleyball court. Now I can play Frisbee!!!!!!!!!! I am definitely sunburned now. By the way I found out something I really want! A bunch of the missionaries here have these things called spinners, it's a very simple little fidget toy, all it is is a kind of triangle shaped piece of plastic with a bearing in the middle and 3 others on the outside, and you can spin them on your finger really fast.

I want one!! I don't know how much they cost. Just look up spinner fidget toy on Amazon and you should be able to find one. I will rely on my family for that.

Well I think that's it for this week, I think that I'm good enough at French to bear a simple testimony over email so here it goes! Just Google translate it and you should get the idea.

Je sais que L'Évangile de Jèsus-Christ est cèntrale de Plan de Dieu. Je sais que ci vous priez sincerèment, vous pouvez rèssentir le Saint Èsprit, et le Saint Èsprit va donner vous la paix, et bonheur. Je dis ce choses au nom de Jèsus-Christ, Amen.

Elder Payne

For convenience, here is the exact Google Translation:

I know that The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the central of God's plan. I know that you pray sincerely, you can feel the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will give you peace, and happiness. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

More news from the MTC and photos!

Dear Family,

To answer your quesions right off the bat, I definitely don't need another suitcase, even if I did, there are suitcases at the MTC store here for pretty cheap. I don't think I need anything else, I'm pretty well off as it is. All of the Elders I mentioned are in my room, 6 total sleeping in one room. We all have a bunkbed, I sleep on the top bunk over my companion Elder Hayes. Sleep is harsh here, for some reason no one I know get very good sleep. But that's besides the point.

The past week has been very interesting in class. We had a teacher that left us on Wednesday because she got married and her honeymoon is in Cancun. Then another teacher has just gotten assigned to a different department in the MTC. Our substitute teacher is going to Africa for some sort of important business. So all 3 of our teachers left us and right now we are being taught by a brand new teacher and the guy in charge of training the teachers. 

Elder Nakamura leaves the MTC on sunday, and since he and his companion are the Zone Leaders, they will have to assign 2 new ones. Which is kind of sad cause he was a really good ZL. Me and the guys in my room have discovered some terrifyingly hidden artifacts in our room. There is a nerf ball in our room that we have no idea where it came from. And we have found 2 creepy pictures of an Elder who was there before us hidden in random places. I found one behind my mirror and we don't know how many there are left to find.

I will send some so I will point out ho is who.

The picture with a lot of people is our entire Zone, which means everyone in that pic is going to a French speaking mission.

This is my district at the temple, we get to walk there every Sunday just to hang out and take pictures.

The 3 Sisters in the middle are Soeur Hurd, Soeur Bigg, Soeur Seely,  That is in our classroom BTW.

This picture is in our Classroom with Frere Ritchie, he is a teacher (2nd from the left standing up}.

Front to back:Elder Tanner is in front, then Elder Hayes, Then Elder Ehlers in the light gray shirt, next to him is Elder Smart, then Elder Lethco, and me, all the way in the back!

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...