Letter sent by regular mail - dated March 9, 2014
Well first I want to say sorry for not e-mailing last week, the Internet was down all day Monday so hopefully it will be up tomorrow. If it is you will hear from me, if not, I'm not dead Mom so don't worry.
And in other news. Not much has been happening out here in Chuuk. Wichap is a very difficult area because everyone who want's to hear the Gospel has and now no one really wants to hear the message we have except for Mr. A. So I don't know what we will do once he gets baptized if we can't find any new investigators. But best not to worry about it right now.
Oh another interesting thing is Friday (the 7th) I woke up with this super weird rash that just itches like crazy. I first noticed it that morning when I went to take a shower. I took off my shirt and noticed some red bumps on my chest and I was like, "What the heck?". So I turn to look on my back and it is all over my back and butt. So after my cold shower I go in and tell Elder Peck. Ha ha. He looks and says, "You're becoming a Chuuk Elder!", because this is my first strange rash, ha ha. No then he says let let it go for today then we can call the Zone Leaders and see what they want us to do. Well, we call them and they say that they are going to take Elder Simpson to the hospital anyway and they will come pick us up. Well, they pick us up and we head over to the hospital and I am scared out of my mind because I have seen the rest of poor Chuuk and am wondering what the hospital will be like. What I am imagining is an old, rusty, 1800's hospital where all the equipment is archaic and barely working like you would see in some horror film. Then we get there and the place is empty, completely devoid of human life and we have to yell to get someone to the front desk. The lady tells us to go to the Emergency Room, so we walk down this hallway and turn left (and this is all about 8:30pm and that's when a lot of the hospital closes) and we are walking toward this large door and through the window on the door it is just completely dark except for the... wait for it... flickering fluorescent light! I nearly wet myself. Luckily Elder Obray turns and opens another door to our left and we walk in and there is a doctor sitting in the ER. He looks and asks in English, "What's wrong?". So we tell him and he looks for a second at my back and says it looks like the beginning of a skin infection and prescribes me some antibiotics ans some anti-itch cream. He leaves the room for a little bit and comes back to tell me that I have to come back on Monday to get my medicine. Now here I am Sunday night trying not to itch my brains out and just all together being driven insane by it. But unfortunately it has gotten worse and spread to my thighs. So tomorrow morning we are going to drive straight to the hospital and tell them that it has gotten worse and we will see from there. But all in all if I am dying I will call you guys and talk to you one last time... But it probably wont come to that because if it gets worse from there they will fly me to Guam where they have a really good hospital. Plus I am assured that I won't die because in my Patriarchal Blessing it says I will get married, ha ha. Also because Alma and the Sons of Mosiah were promised that even though they would be afflicted with all manner of afflictions but that they would not die. So both you and it can take comfort in.
Well I will wrap it up with a testimony of prayer. Our only true is trying to quit smoking and we told him that every time he has the urge to smoke that he should pray and ask if Christ would take that urge away from him, and it is, it truly is because he is asking in full faith that Christ, our savior and redeemer, will take that urge from him. So to all that are struggling whether it be addiction or pain or you just want to talk to someone who truly knows what we are going through, get on you knees and pray with your whole soul, in faith, Christ will help you. I know these things to be true, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Remember Christ is always there and his angels are on your right hand and your left. Never forget that!
Elder Jeff Payne
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Letter sent by regular mail, dated February 28, 2014
Dear Mom, Dad, Kris + Jay
Well its raining again here in Chuuk, but it has rained pretty much everyday for 2 weeks now + its harder to go out proselyting when its raining because people here just sleep when it rains and when they aren't sleeping they don't want to let us into their houses because our feet are all muddy, so Elder Peck + I try to wait until it stops raining. But oh well, it always stops eventually. Anywho, my week has been good, nothing interesting going on here in good ol' Wichap. We are teaching some people (it's hard because pretty much everyone who has wanted to hear the Gospel has, so we only have a few investigators + the rest are less active members. One of our investigators is super cool and is liking the Gospel but is having a hard time coming to church because it is a long walk to get to the mwichefen (church in Chuukese, pronounced mwee-chee-fen).
So let me tell you about more about this hot, humid, tropical paradise that I am in. So to start the State of Chuuk is super, super poor. Basically the only income is tourism and there isn't a lot of that either. The only attraction there is that there was a WWII battle that happened here so there are a bunch of ship wrecks and airplane wrecks out in the lagoon that people can dive to but other than there is absolutely nothing interesting in the Chuuk Lagoon.
So with tourism being the only income and the only thing people have to pay for is electricity (so a lot of people don't have that) not very many people have jobs. But they also don't need a job because if they are smart they will grow their own food. Ha ha, even our branch president doesn't have a job.
Now to Elder Payne with the weather... Well it stays a balmy 80 degrees year round with about 80 percent humidity and it looks like we have a 300% chance of rain today. But the good news is that number is lower than it has been in the last couple of weeks, ha ha ha. Other than that not much change in the weather this week.
Back to you Elder Payne...
Well just want you guys to know that I love you all and hope that you all learn to love the Church and understand its teachings. I have an assignment (Yay, homework!!). I want each of you, on your own, then as a family, read and discuss the first paragraph and the last 2 of the introduction to the Book of Mormon. Then read Moroni 10:3-5 and try it, really try it. Even when we grow up in the church we still need our own testimony of the truth, otherwise people can dispute everything we say. On page 199 of Preach My Gospel it states, "People may sometimes intellectually question what you teach, but it is difficult (but I wrote in, impossible, instead of difficult) to question a sincere, heartfelt testimony." Now I want a full report from each one of you on how this went. Now I can't grade you on this because it is a very personal thing to do, but this will help you stay 'petchik coon' (ha ha that's 'strong') in the Gospel anytime you feel like your testimony is questioned. Go and do this activity again and re-strengthen your testimony. And I want a good 5 sentence paragraph or more when you report. (Yes Jay, I'm looking at you! ha ha). But in all seriousness this will help you personally make decisions that others, without a testimony, struggle greatly with. A testimony, even a simple one, is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. Ok, I will really actually wrap this up this time.
I love you Jay, I love you Kristen, I love you Dad and I love you Mom. Stay strong and loyal to one another and never give up on one another, EVER!!!!
Well, love you guys bunches,
Elder Jeff Payne
P.S. The mosquitoes are bug-spray resistant!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
President Mecham posted some great pictures of Jeff on the Mission FaceBook page. I copied them to Jeff's blog so the friends and family could see them too.
Thank you President Mecham for keeping FaceBook up to date.
|Great looking group of Elders enjoying a meal with Jeff.|
|Elder and Sister Crisp. They are taking great care of our Elders in Chuuk Zone.|
|Elder Peck and Elder Payne. Elder Peck is Jeff's trainer in Chuuk.|
|That's an awfully small boat... look how far the other islands are!|
Thank you President Mecham for keeping FaceBook up to date.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Hey well I don't have much time.
So sorry for not emailing last week. The internet in the Mwan was down so no one got to email. So no one freak out I am not dead, I am still alive and well. Just have a funky rash that I explained in a letter that I am sending today.
I received the valentines day package and am thoroughly enjoying the wonderful cookies that you sent.
Super, sad to hear about Snowball. I can't load the picture that dad sent but I will look forward to seeing her grave when I go home in 2 years.
Well I went to my first Chuukese funeral the other day. One of my Elder Peck's recent converts died. So these funerals go on for like 2 weeks and the family and friends cry really loud. You go and pay a dollar to the family for the viewing. Sometimes the body stays in the warm, humid, house for like 2 weeks or more. They then bury the body and fill the hole with concrete.
In other news our one and only progressing investigator A. is going to be baptized on the 22nd (can I get a hip hip hurray).
Well have to wrap it up and want to encourage you guys to go and read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and then Moroni 10:3-5. Pray about the Book of Mormon even when you have grown up in the church. You need to go and do this for yourselves because it will encourage and inspire the people here to go and share the gospel with all those that they know!
So now, I want a paragraph report and testimony that I will try and read to them next week. I would also like a handwritten letter as well that I can share with my investigators. I know that a testimony is a very personal thing and if you don't want me sharing it just tell me in your letter and I promise I won't share it!!!! Haha but seriously I want at least a paragraph from each one of you guys. Then go and do this every time you feel that your testimony is questioned or shaken.
Hey well love you guys and want the very best for each and every one of you,
Love Elder Jeff Payne