I would like to apologize for not writing for the past few weeks. We have been so busy that we have not had time. We have had lots of stuff to put in the letter so lets get to the meat of this thing. Grandma and Granddad Hurst were at our house a couple of weeks ago. They had some tests and other stuff. We were all just hanging around. Grandma, Granddad, and I were down stairs talking and noticed Devin left to do something important. I said “I need to go upstairs and harass Devin”. Grandma thought for a second and asked me, “Is that a real word?” Being a pain helps at this stage and I quickly responded, “No, it is not a real word. It is actually two words.” Grandma then said, “What words? hair and ass?” At this point Grandma quickly realized what she had said and tried to take it back. I just laughed and laughed. Devin and I would like to say that we have loved having Grandma and Grandad around over the last few months and we were a sad they will not be staying with us as much. They have moved up here to Orem for the winter and they will not need to stay here. We are happy to have them close to us and are excited to be able to see them often.
I am the ward mission leader for our ward and we have been teaching a family in the ward. The family has a daughter named Tristan, who is 7, and a son Hayden, who is 6. They really are a nice family. We had gotten to a point where I had to teach the children about the end of Christ's life. I was stressing about this a little bit because the Garden of Gethsemane is not a very pretty scene to describe to small children; also being whipped and then crucified. This part of Christ's life is very important and should not be skipped over but I wanted the kids to understand it was important what happened. After a few weeks of thinking about what I should do, I came up with a plan. We would act out some of what Christ did and then talk about the rest. Luckily for me Christ was at a religious event right before the atonement, so I decided to have a passover dinner. We got dressed up in fake old time clothes, moved the table to the front room, set a table cloth on the floor, and set the food on that. We sat on pillows and blankets and did a good part of the passover meal. I had been excited about this and got to cook a meal that was different from what I normally cooked. I told the story of the Jews leaving Egypt. We talked about the food and why the food was a reminder of being slaves. The kids loved the meal. I then talked to them about Jesus going to the garden and being betrayed. I told them of the trial and the crucifixion. Tristan was very concerned about what happened. I then told her about the resurrection and Christ coming to Mary. The lesson went very well and we were happy to have had such a good time teaching the gospel.
Our ward had the Christmas party this last weekend. The activities committee wanted me to do something and have fun with it. At first they wanted me to be the centurion but they changed their mind and had me be the tax collector instead. I decided to be corrupt and require people to pay me more than what was necessary. I invited my brother Jason to attend with me. After we ate, the centurion had to run home for something and gave Jason the sword. This worked out well for me and we went to the kids in the ward and started to try and extort more taxes out of them. Jason just stood behind me with his sword and acted like my enforcer. We had the kids sing songs, run around the gym, or just pay us all the beads for their taxes. Jason would drop a few for some of the younger kids to find and pay. We had a real fun time with the kids. After that the ward played out the nativity and sang songs Jason, Michelle and I were sitting in the back while Devin played the piano. Jason leaned over to me and said, “I bet I can sing this song louder than you.” I knew he was wrong and I challenged him and said, “I bet I can sing it worse.” Jason quickly took up the challenge. The closing song was “Silent Night”. This sounded like a very fun thing to sing to. Jason and I started out. Originally I decided to just sing normal but slightly louder. I noticed that the people a little in front of us started laughing. So I decided to really give them something to laugh at. As I sang I cracked my voice a little and thought it was pretty funny. Sitting to our right was an older couple who are active choir people, who are really serious about music. The lady turned around and tried to help us sing better. Jason and I just looked forward and continued to sing. Michelle said you could tell by the look on their faces that they were struggling with the joyful sound Jason and I were making. By the third verse they had enough and left. I now have a new thing I can claim. I have now driven people out of church meetings by singing.
This weekend has been fun. Friday my brother, Brian, came into town. This next week he has an interview for his medical residency. Friday Brian, Jason, Michelle, Devin and I went out to the play “The Forgotten Carols”. Devin and I like the play and try to go every year. Brian, Jason and Michelle had never seen the play but had listened to the music. I do think that the play does add meaning to the songs. We all had a good time. With Brian here we did not do much. We mainly hung out and watched movies. But we also had fun debating medical reform, the prison system, and other such political topics. We are looking forward to going to Texas at the end of this week and play until the end of the year. We wish you a merry Christmas season and hope the holidays treat you well.
Devin & Jared Payne