Aberdeen Scotland Stake President Chris Payne and his wife, Jeni, celebrate their anniversary each year by going on a trip, often to someplace nearby in Europe. To celebrate their 20th anniversary this year, they decided to travel to Salt Lake City to attend general conference.
President Payne, whose parents joined the Church when he was 2 years old, grew up in Montreal, Canada. Sister Payne grew up a member of the Church in Topeka, Kan. They met while attending BYU, married and spent 10 years in Canada before a job opportunity took them to Scotland 10 years ago.
Between Saturday's general sessions, they told the Church News they were delighted to be attending general conference in person for the first time. Sister Payne was impressed by the spirit in the Conference Center when President Thomas S. Monson entered prior to the Saturday morning session.
"I was overwhelmed by the reverence, love and respect shown for this man and what he represents," she said.
President Payne said it has been many years since he graduated from BYU and it was good to be back in Utah.
"It took a long time to come back here and feel the spirit of conference in person," he said.
Their trip also included attending the Scotland Mission reunion Friday night. President Payne spoke in the general assembly, sharing words on the state of the Church with those who labored to share the gospel there.
"Scotland is not an easy mission," he said, "but when people are converted, they are hardy." He told the returned missionaries there is great appreciation for the work they did.
A reunion with her sister was an added benefit of attending conference for Sister Payne. When Julie Atkinson learned her sister would be at conference, she and her husband, Mark, of the Allen 4th Ward, Allen Texas Stake, arranged to attend also. The two couples were all smiles as they approached the Conference Center for the Saturday afternoon session.