City of Stars

City of Stars

"We missed a call from President."

Elder Iloa says as he checks his phone while we were out recording some videos for our Facebook page.

"Well, give him a call back!"
I responded to him.

Now getting a call from our mission President isn't always a big issue, but this time was different. You see, transfers were coming up and it was the Saturday before. President gives some missionaries calls on the Saturday before to give them leadership assignments or ask them to train. So as we were calling President back, we were all speculating on what it could be for.
Elder Iloa and I were with Sister Goodman and Sister Jordan recording Sister Goodman's introduction video for her Facebook page and then we were making some other videos that Elder Iloa and I like to call Meet The Missionaries, that we have in the works. Anyway, since President had called Elder Iloa and I, we all knew that the call was for me.
We thought I could either train again or be called to be the new district leader. President answers and does his good ol' heart-warming hello. Then proceeds to say,
"Elder Payne, I got an assignment for ya. Are you ready?"

"Uh, Sure President. . ."

"Heh, heh, heh... We'd like you to serve as a Zone Leader this transfer."

We were all in shock! Dah gum Zone Leader. Crazy. That happened and I had to attend some meetings to learn how to ZL. ZL 101. My key responsibilities are to make sure the Zone is doing alright and that the morale is high. Amongst some other things, I'm excited to serve in this new role and learn from other missionaries that I get to serve with even closer now!

I think I have said this before, but the hardest part about making all this FIRE content for our Facebook account is all the editing! The filming part is easy! We just pick a pretty place, hook up the person with a lav, and press the "record" button on the camera.

The editing is so fun and rewarding though when we get it just the PERFECT way. We have 2 complete so far and are trying to grind out the others. It is like when you make some bomb food, that you cook up and you Chef Boyardee the crap outa it. It's rewarding. Just like when you film a video and edit it. It feels super rewarding.

I have had this newfound love for editing. I don't know where it came from but I feel like I am pretty good at it. Not the best but the two videos that we have done have been GAS!!

I definitely feel the hand of the Lord amplifying our work here. With making this content but also just finding and having lessons.

I have been pretty lazy on my finding efforts recently and have been writing my thoughts in my journal about it.

I have been slowly getting better and better at talking to everyone and gaining my confidence back. Believe it or not, but if you don't keep up talking to strangers on a constant basis, it gets to you. You feel as though you aren't good enough to talk to them, or that you won't know what to say.

Elder Wilson and I talked about this on our exchange and we just said that we need to send it.

Doc. + Cov. 66:6
"inasmuch as you can send, send"

Sometimes you just gotta do it and know that the Lord is there to support you. We had some cool experiences as we took this to mind during our exchange.

We decided to have faith as we approached every single person and we were able to share a lot of Christmas messages with people and invite them to our Christmas sacrament service. It was super nice and I felt pretty accomplished at the end of the day compared to other days. I think having spiritual experiences with these people that we talk to helps us as much as it helps them.

I think missionaries get into this mindset of find, find, find, without the spiritual aspect of the journey. It is easy to share a scripture, throw a principal in, get a phone number, and set up a return appointment. But how much do we actually want to get to know this person that we are talking to. We need to be more intentional about the relationships that we have.

This goes for all of us. From my good friend Conner Rice;
"There are people that we meet every day that we only put in a half-hearted effort to get to know them and then once we get to know them, it becomes easy to try and multitask when we are spending time with them."

I think of this in a missionary way first. We, as missionaries, come across all sorts of different people on the daily, but what are we thinking about when we are first approaching them and how are we doing it? Are we doing it in a way to be invested in their life and help them or just to check a box to get another find?

We can be like Ammon where he served the king and the fellow-servants. Then when the servants were in fear of being slain he had an increased love from them.

"Now they wept because of the fear of being slain. Now when Ammon saw this his heart was swollen within him with joy; for, said he, I will show forth my power unto these my fellow-servants, or the power which is in me, in restoring  these flocks unto the king, that I may win the hearts of these my fellow-servants, that I may lead them to believe in my words."
Alma 17:29

We could be like Abinadi who stood before the king because he had gone into the land of his enemies because he was asked to by God and who was bold and courageous in the words that he said to the king and his priests.

V3. Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver; neither have I told you that which ye requested that I should tell; therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time.
V6. And he spake with power and authority from God; and he continued his words, saying:
V7. Ye see that ye have not power to slay me, therefor I finish my message.
Mosiah 13

We could be like the Sons of Mosiah who diligently searched the scriptures to know the word of God so that they could proclaim it to the people and as they were faithful they did rejoice with Alma to know that they were still 'brethren in the Lord'

V.2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; year, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
V3. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.
Alma 17

Not only that, they were courageous and trusted in God. V. 12-13

We can be like Jesus Christ. The ultimate example for us to follow. He invited one by one to come unto him and receive a further witness that He is the Son of God and that He was slain for the sins of the world.

V. 14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth and have been slain for the sins of the world.
V. 15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel wither their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.

Second way that I think about it is just in a "normal life'' way. You who are reading this right now. How many people do you spend time with and involve yourself in their life? Get to know THEM.

If you are a member of this faith, how well do you know your assigned ministering families or individuals? How can you take these stories of these people and use them to be more intentional about the way you interact with them and love them?

Those of you that may not be of my faith. You can still take this council to be more intentional about the relationships that you have with people. Friends, family, co-workers, people in your classes at school, people on your social media.

We can all be a little more intentional with the people that we know. Help them feel the love of Jesus Christ by getting to know them and serving them. Especially now during this wonderful Christmas season!

We met this cool guy named Mariano this past week! He has a pretty crazy story about how we were able to meet him.

He had met with some missionaries over Facebook and went to their chapel a couple of times, but he just moved away from that area and moved into the area that Elder Iloa and I cover.

One morning, Elder Iloa and I were going to help our member with some yard work. We usually go every Friday and help but right before we were about to head out... He texted us and canceled for today. This member has a small house that he rents out. We then got the information for Mariano and saw that he lived in that house!

So we called our member and he said that we wouldn't be able to come over today and we said that it was ok we were just wondering if you "happened" to know our Mariano. He said that he just moved in!

We have been in good contact with Mariano and he pulled up to our Christmas party! It was super good for the members to see someone new as well! We love Mariano! Please pray for him.

There are many things that have happened in my time here in Texas. And I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. I could write about all of them, but pictures tell a thousand words...

I love the Book of Mormon, I love Jesus Christ.

That's about it. See ya.

Elder Payne

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