Friday, October 9, 2015

August – Less than one month of summer festivals left. Part 2

We went to the Greek Festival here. This is for our Greek neighbors, Jamie and Chris Petrigeorge. This festival is large, is located next to where we live and lasts for 10 days. We went to have some Baklava. It reminded us of the Greek Festival in Salt Lake. We had fun eating their delicious food.

Alisa and John and family came for a visit. We showed them the town and had a great time. Thursday they arrived in time to rest, walk around our place and have dinner at our apartment. We took them to see the beach the locks and the falls near our house. There was even a boat in the lock.
Friday we toured the city walking some five miles around all the great places. We saw the locks, the Champlain monument, the War Memorial and changing of the guard there, the canal from the Laurier bridge, the East block building next to Parliament and had a treat at Beavertails. We had Poutine for lunch and after watching more boats we went to dinner at the BaJa Grill on Dows Lake. The Northern Lights, a light show on the exterior of the Parliament Building was a great way to end the day. Saturday Sister Payne and I went early to get tickets for the center block tour of Parliament and then went to a baptism while the family went to the museum of History.

On Sunday, between the church block of meetings and the fireside, we had a potluck meet and greet. We had asked John if he would speak at a fireside for the YSAs while they were here. Both Alisa and John spoke and did a great job. We had promoted this even as the first monthly fireside of the year. We knew that with summer we would have very few YSAs in our ward, but we were hopeful. We were impressed that two senior couples from Montreal came as well as our Stake President and his wife. We were happy that fifty people came. We considered it a great success for the Institute and the YSA ward.

Monday was the Monson family’s last day with us and we went to Alexandria Bay on the St. Lawrence Seaway and took a boat tour of the 1000 islands with them. Then, the hard part, we had to say good-by. They went to Julies and we went home to go see the light show another time with the home evening group. We were so glad they came, we had only a few months with Jaymes after his mission and had not seen Tyler in two years. It was great because Sister Payne can’t hug the Elders in our mission and she was able to give these two past elders long and hard hugs. Megan graduated from high school while we have been here. Jaymes, Tyler and Megan all start at USU in a couple of weeks and Brayden is in 9th grade. How time flies.

Tyler asked what we like most about our mission. There are a lot of answers. For today the answer for Elder Payne is the study time and the baptisms. We have been able to study the scriptures more on the mission than before and that has been great.
And we have been able to witness and be part of new members lives.  This is one of the two baptisms we told you about before but we want to tell you again. The baptism last Saturday was for a Chinese YSA. When Chinese come here or to the states, they take on an English name. He goes by Bruce Lee. Some giggle at the name because as you know there is an actor named Bruce Lee. No, our Bruce is not famous, he is just humble. He just graduated from college and is now looking for a job so he can extend his visa and stay here. He has expressed his happiness with having been baptized and having the spirit with him and it shows. His smile is much bigger now. That makes six new converts in our ward in the six months we have been here. And there a number of others who have joined the church in the last year before we got here who are equally exciting to know. The first year can be a test of faith and they need support. The  returning members are just as exciting to see and work with. We have three or four of those all with amazing stories of rough times and recommitment. The point is the Church is alive here. It is not a place where everyone is gliding along at the same level of commitment year after year.
We were helping Brother Turner and his wife out with their house for the time they were gone. We stayed there a couple of nights and enjoyed the space, the yard, the big windows with a lot of natural light and the relaxing feeling at their place. They live in the country about 40 minutes from where we live. When we went home we took the ferry across the Ottawa River to Quebec and had dinner at a small restaurant.  The smoked meat sandwich and poutine were excellent. Smoked meat, poutine and beavertails are all delicacies here in Ottawa and Montreal.

Our Institute Class was supposed to stop on August 12th, giving us 3 weeks before Fall Semester starts. However, everyone wanted to continue. They like Institute and they like seeing each other. So we asked 3 students each week for the next 3 weeks to teach. We assigned topics to all and they did a really good job. They had fun doing it and everyone was glad they came. We were glad that they enjoyed coming. That is what we want to happen.

We have a new retired couple that will be helping with the up-coming YSA Committee.  They are pretty wonderful. He was the Montreal Temple President and she, the Matron from 2006 to 2009. However, they were in the Temple presidency before that. This committee will consist of two co-chairs, representatives from each ward in the stake. The Institute of Religion Council is also on the committee, with us, this new couple, Brother Turner and Brother Martinelli from our ward Bishopric and a High Councilman. President Piper of the Stake Presidency is over the Committee. We are excited for this committee to be formed. It will help the stake find those YSAs that we don’t know where they are as well as have a stake YSA activity once a month. They will be taking over the Firesides that we started.
Mission transfers were this month. We got a new elder from Belgium. He speaks 8 languages and will learn Chinese while he is here. Every transfer day they need Elder Payne to help shuttle the missionaries leaving the area to the bus station so that they can go to Montreal where the transfers take place. In the evening the missionaries coming to Ottawa, Petawawa and Abitibi come back to the church. It is quite a day and starts at 5:30 am. We are lucky that we are Senior Missionaries and can go back to bed when Elder Payne gets home.

We have Mission district meetings every week. It is a great experience to be around the missionaries as they tell stories. This particular meeting the district leader asked if the missionaries had any questions and no hands went up. Then he asked if there were any miracles to report and everyone’s hands went up. The sisters in Dows Lake told that they found a new investigator and felt that a certain new member needed to go with them to a lesson. The first meeting they were to have fell through the next day the new member called and asked if they had a lesson she could go to so they set it up again. It was a hour and a half bus ride and a long walk but they all got there on time. The meeting went so well they are going to set a baptismal date on their next visit.

The Chapel Hill sisters reported that last week the district leader encouraged them to lookup old investigators so they went through the long list and picked one to go see. When they got there a girl opened the door and said she had been waiting for them. Where had they been? As the story unfolded a set of sisters had taught her a lesson or two about a year ago and then were transferred and the new missionaries didn’t know to go see her. With their visit the Sisters have a great investigator who has been reading the Book of Mormon and is really ready. We heard more stories like this throughout the hour and a half meeting. It is absolutely amazing. The Lord is in charge and he works through us when we let him. The church is alive and working in Ottawa.
Saturday we got up early and went to see the changing of the guard on Parliament Hill, very British and much pomp and ceremony. It was spectacular. Two groups of soldiers in red coats, one group with white feathers and one with red feathers. The old guard comes to the Hill to be relieved of their duties and the new guard comes to take their place. They march about three blocks onto the parade ground, the big lawn known as the east block.
Then they do several manuvers and line up for inspection. There are two bands one Scottish and one brass band. After the inspection they march back three blocks to the guard station room. During the summer they do this every day at 10:00AM. But this was the last time this year. Sister Payne loves the bagpipes and is so excited that they use them so much in Ottawa. You know she is 1/2 Scottish and that explains a lot.

At the end of the month Ottawa had the Olympic paddling tryouts. These included kayaks canoe races for both men and women. It was at the Moonies Bay on the lake by our apartment. It lasted for about 4 days.

Institute is just around the corner. and we are getting serious ourselves about studying and getting ready for our many anticipated institute class this fall semester. Institute has a welcome out week as well as institute and then the fun starts, getting time slots to teach at the Universities. Let the fun begin.

We love this work. We are excited to spend full time working for the Lord in building His Kingdom here in Ottawa. The YSAs we meet are great. We love the missionaries we work with.

Love, Elder and Sister Payne



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

August – Less than one month of summer festivals left - First edition

Summer is festival session in Ottawa. We say less than, because many of the festivals and events in Ottawa officially end August 23rd even though elementary and secondary schools and higher education doesn’t start until September 8th.
Just to let you know we both now officially have bikes. We haven’t been able to ride them very much because there has been more rain this month and it has been very hot several days. But they are fun to ride. It is beautiful to ride along the canal. We are so lucky.


Here is our view of Moonies Bay on the 1st of August. Not much difference.
We started the month off with a baptism. This YSA loves the Gospel and prayed and accepted everything the Sisters taught her. She is from the Congo, but now lives in Ottawa. The sisters met her on the bus as they are busing missionaries. Each lesson the sisters taught her she accepted easily. She is grateful to be baptized and we love to see her at church.  We are so grateful that she has chosen to be baptized. Our Mission Leader got to baptize her on Saturday, August 1st.  Sunday Elder Payne was asked to confirm her a member of the church and give her the gift of the Holy Ghost. That was a privilege. We are very grateful for the 4 baptisms we have had since we have been here. There hadn’t been a baptism since last November before the first of the four in April. It is the good work of our Dows Lake Missionaries. They are spiritually sensitive to those who are investigating. They love the Lord and His Spirit shines in their lives. It is so good to watch these missionaries be so excited about the church.

At the baptismal service one recent convert of less than a year spoke on faith. It was very articulate and one of the best most heartfelt talks I have ever heard on the subject. She said that faith grows as you live it “just look at the Payne’s, who are lifetime members”. That was special. There were over twenty people there and we were the only lifetime members there besides the missionaries. It made me think how special it is that we are here and how much they look to us as an example. (Elder Payne writing). My thoughts went back to my own baptism. I was baptized in Richfield in an old church building that had a concrete fount at the end of a hall in the basement and I changed clothes in a classroom. I remember standing to bear my testimony from the choir seats in the chapel on Sunday. That building has since been sold to some other church and replaced with a newer bigger building. Yes, I have been a member for a long time and my testimony has grown a lot. I have had so many experiences, done so much service, made so many choices and felt the spirit so many times that my testimony is indeed strong. I am grateful that the YSA’s here can benefit from it. Frankly, I need to give Sister Payne a lot of credit because it is her they love. After the talks a quartet of sisters sang the primary song “I Feel My Savior’s Love”. It was another tear jerker for me.
The same day we got to participate in Ella’s baptism (she belongs to Kellie and Brandon) through skype just like we had with Eli (Heather and Dan’s son.) in March. It was such a great experience to see these two wonderful spirits want to be baptized and so happy to be baptized. We are so glad that we could participate through Skype. Thank you family, for making this possible.

We got to go to the Garlic Farm again for Home Evening Group. This time it was to sort the garlic. There are the good bulbs that are firm and together and there are those that have started to split. The split ones they separate into smaller garlic. This is the last step in getting ready for the sale the second week in August. They also braid the garlic for the sale. We had two cute Chinese YSAs come that are investigating the church. They had a good time. We ended the night with popsicles courtesy of Brother Jones.

The second weekend we went to La Salle, by MontrĂ©al for the mulit-stake single adult conference. The stake center was in the southeast corner of the island. It was a newer building on a commercial street. Our assignment was to just be there and to be easy to find so nonmembers or less active member could find us and ask questions that missionaries could answer. We met so many great people all with stories to tell. We were like the instant friend people came to meet. There were 150 or 200 people from four stakes with about half speaking French and everything was translated. The chapel even has a translation booth. LaSalle is a 2 hour drive.  We met several interesting people and attended two interesting workshops. We invited two younger people that were there with their mother to our institute class. One of the older kids in our class this summer, who is over 30, went and he is very outgoing. At lunch he was at the table near us and he yelled out Elder and Sister Payne stand up. When we did he told the people at his table, much to our embarrassment, that we were his savior. He is now listening to our Savior of which we are very glad. Later at a break he tried to explain that he has only been coming to church and institute for seven weeks and we have had a great profound effect on his life. He went on and on about how great institute is. He told about the first day he met us and asked about our mission. Elder Payne said the best part was his companion. Since that he has set a goal of going on a senior mission with his wife some day. Now that he is active in the church all he needs is a wife and a career, a family and retirement. It is all very attainable.

We went to the National Art Gallery again with one of our YSAs that loves art. The picture shows a room that looks like a cathedral with sound speakers on all four sides of the room. It is interesting that each speaker has someone’s voice that when put with the others is an incredible surround sound choir.


Here is a recent story of a tender mercy. We have a faithful 19 year old sister in our ward that is planning to go on a mission. She has a job to save money for her mission. One of the part-time jobs she has is McDonalds and her shift is Wednesday night so she cannot come to Institute class. The stake president just called her to be a member of our new IRC, (Institute of Religion Counsel). She was worried about how she was going get out of working on Wednesday night. The very next day, Monday, her boss at McDonalds called her in and asked her to work full time on the day shift. Now she will not only be able to come to Institute and accept the call but she will make more money for her mission. When she told us the story Sister Payne told her the Lord knows her and her needs and makes a way for her to do his will. 

Each transfer we usually do something with our district. This time we hiked to the Lusk Caves. While the missionaries hiked all the way to Lusk Caves, we walked along Lac Phillip and enjoyed the stroll.

This picture was taken at the last meeting with our district before transfers. We have District Meeting every Thursday. The District Leader gives a lesson, another missionary discusses a section of our White Handbook, and we usually have a lesson from another set of missionaries from Preach My Gospel. It is always a good meeting and we get to learn from these well prepared missionaries. We only lost one missionary to Montreal. We are so glad we get to keep as many as we can. They are great missionaries.
We had two baptisms. One from our Chinese Dows Lake Missionaries and another from Kanata, a YSA that comes to Institute. They were both wonderful young people with strong testimonies. That is 6 baptisms since the first one in April. We are really blessed here. Interesting to note, that when a Chinese YSA is baptized, the baptism is done in Chinese with English translation. We have a great Chinese missionary from Taiwan. This was his first baptism and he got to both baptize and confirm him. The Kanata baptism in English was supposed to be done on Saturday, but she ended up having to leave Thursday to go to school in the states. An incredible young man that will be serving a mission soon, got to baptize her and the Bishop confirmed her that evening. There were about 20 people there. Elder Payne told her to be sure that she looks up the church when she gets there. She said that she already had and it was a 15 minute walk from the school. What a blessing these two will be in the church. After these two baptisms, we know that the church is growing with strong young people both members and new converts and that the Lord is in charge.

We are lucky to have had several training sessions, both with the Missionaries as well as President Patrick. This time it was the S&I Training (Seminaries and Institutes). The talks were wonderful. We were especially impressed with Elder Kim B. Clark’s talk. He told a story about his life. He and his wife were doing well and were active in the church when he had this distinct feeling he had to be better. He and his wife talked and reviewed two questions. What are we doing that we need to stop doing and what are we not doing that we need to start doing? With that they began systematically improving. He said without that he wouldn’t be standing in front of us talking now. His testimony was from the heart. Elder Clark was the president of BYU-Idaho before becoming a Seventy and before that he was the Dean of the Business School at Harvard.
We are enjoying teaching institute and learning more about the Savior. One week we only intended to cover one chapter, John 17, The Intercessory Prayer. We had a lot of participation and the spirit was strong, except for one moment when a girl on the back row broke out in laughter. So, I told a story of living in the world not of the world. We were able to get through 2/3 of the Chapter. The Savior loved His disciples and wanted our Heavenly Father to help them because He knew that it was going to be hard for His disciples after He was gone.

For our last night of the regular summer institute classes, the lesson was from John 14, 16, 17, and 20. We thought it was important to teach obedience, the Holy Ghost, the sacrament and the importance of the witnesses of the resurrection. It worked out very well. 12 people showed up for choir practice and 17 for class. Because our YSAs do not want to skip coming on Wednesday nights until Institute starts again, we agreed to have institute class but made assignments for some to teach a short topic each week. After class the missionaries showed up and asked for a ride home so I took them home and left Sister Payne to entertain and clean up. Then when I got back there were five others who needed rides home, Sister Payne took two girls home and came back, then we, took the other three home. We got home ourselves about 10:30. What a good night.
To Be Continued!