Sunday, June 11, 2017

June 5 - Pembroke, North Carolina

Hello Family and Friends!!

Things here in Pembroke, North Carolina have been going well!! I hope y'all have been doing well and having a fun first week of summer vacation! I still can't believe that summer is here!! June 2 was my official 18 month mark as a missionary.....18 months has gone by in the blink of an eye!!

This week has been a slow week...... We did a lot of finding this week and only found a few new people to teach....usually we find a good handful or so! We also had several of our investigators call/text us to tell us that they are no longer interested in learning. So, that was a bummer! However, this week we had a really great lesson with Porchia about the Law of Chastity and Repentance. Since then, she has been determined to talk to the boyfriend and give him a deadline of when he needs to move out! So, June 17 she should be getting baptized!!!!!!! I am so excited for her!!! She is such an amazing person!!!!!! She is going to be a great influence here in the Pembroke ward!!! Her parents are continuing to do well!! Our next step with them is to get them to the temple to do baptisms for the dead!

This week in my Book of Mormon study, I finished reading in Mormon. My favorite chapter in that book was chapter 9. Some of my favorite verses were 27 and 28. They say, "O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him. Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God." Over the last 18 months, I have been able to witness the principle of repentance in the lives of several people including in my own life. Repentance is truly what sets us free!! This week, we did a demonstration with one of our investigators about repentance. We tied one strand of string around their wrists and had them brake it. They were able to do it easily. Then we wrapped several pieces of string around their wrists and tied it tight and told them to break it. This time, they were not able to do it. As we continue to sin and not go through all of the steps of repentance, it's as if string is continuing to be wrapped and tightened around our wrists and you know, that's not very comfortable. Thankfully, Heavenly Father has provided us with a way to cut the string!! Because of Jesus Christ we can be freed from the burdens and the pains of sin. I know that as we repent......truly repent, we will feel burdens and pains lifted from us.

I am so grateful for all the wonderful things I have been learning here in North Carolina. Thank you for everything! I love all y'all!!!

Sister Paynter

Sunday, June 4, 2017

May 29 - Pembroke, North Carolina

I hope everyone has had a really great week!! I can't believe that school is officially out for the summer!! That is just too crazy to me!!!! Time has flown by this year!! Things here in Pembroke are going really well!!

This week, we began teaching the Oxendine's their new member was amazing!!! We can really see such a big difference in them and in their home since they were baptized! It has been really neat!! Yesterday, Kenneth received the Aaronic Priesthood. They are seriously on such an amazing path!!! This is seriously one of the greatest parts of missionary work!!!! We have also been able to do some really good finding this week. Some of the people we found have asked some really great questions and they all seem to have really great potential!!! It's amazing to see how the Lord has His hand in the work here in Pembroke. Things are just going really well!!

This week, I came across this quote by President Hinckley, "It isn't as bad as you sometime think it is. It all works out. Don't worry. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith." The past few weeks of my mission have been some of the hardest. During those weeks, I sometimes thought to myself that they were never going to end. However, I knew that the Lord had great things in store for me and so I put my trust in Him and went about doing His will. As I lost myself in His work, I noticed that time seemed to pass faster. I also noticed the growth I received in my testimony and my faith. Sometimes in life, we have to go through really hard, difficult trials and sometimes it can be easy to get angry with our Heavenly Father and question why we are being punished. However, I have learned in my life and on my mission that those hard times are not to punish us, but to bless us. During our hardest times, if we put our trust in the Lord, He will shape us and mold us into something truly amazing!!! Without the hard times I have had in my life, I honestly don't think I would be where I am today. Also, if I hadn't gone through the trials I have gone through on my mission, I would not have been changed into the person/missionary I am today! I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who blesses us with loving corrections. I truly know that He loves each and everyone of us so much!! I know that if we trust in Him during our hardest times, He will bless us with the greatest blessing.....CONVERSION!!!

I love you all so much!! Thank you again for all that you do for me!! I have been very blessed by the experience I have been able to have here on my mission!! There truly is no other place I would rather want to be right now! Have a great week!!!

Sister Paynter
May 22 - Pembroke, North Carolina

Hello Everyone!!!

What a week it has been!!!! Sorry if this email is shorter this week.....time is just getting away from me haha! The days are just flying by lately!!! Sister Herr and I have been making the most of everyday by working as hard as we can, but also having lots of fun!!! This has already been one of the best transfers of my mission!!!

This week, the Oxendine's (minus Porchia) got baptized this weekend!!!! It was really an amazing thing to be a part of!!!! They both told us that they felt different.....they felt better! On Sunday we rode up with them to Stake Conference. Layla wasn't going to go because she didn't feel good, but we persuaded her and did our best to get them out the door on time.....that didn't happen. We ended up being 20 minutes late to Stake Conference ahhaaha!! I have never been late to a church meeting my entire mission! Oh well, we got them there and they loved it!!! They all learned a lot!!!

I am truly grateful for all the opportunities I have been able to experience on my mission. Teaching the gospel to others has really strengthened my testimony!! I know with all of my heart that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true!! I know that the Book of Mormon is true! And, I know that we will be with our families forever if we live true to the teachings of the gospel!!! One of my favorite scriptures is Alma 36:17-20.

17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

I can testify to you that the gospel truly does bring us joy far greater than any of our pains!!!

I love you all so much!!! Thank you for everything! I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Sister Paynter
The Oxendine's baptism!!!!!!!!

May 15 - Pembroke, North Carolina

How is everyone doing this week?! It was so good to be able to see and talk to my family on Sunday! I am so grateful for the wonderful family Heavenly Father has blessed me with!! I am also very blessed to have such an amazing mom!!! I am so grateful for her example and the things that she has taught me over the years!! I am also lucky to have a great step-mom who supports me and my siblings and loves us unconditionally!! I am one lucky child of God!!

This week has been really good!! The Oxendine's came to church on Sunday again!!!! Do you know what that means???? They are supposed to be getting baptized on Saturday!! As of right now, only the parents will be getting baptized. Their daughter, our other investigator, she was going to be baptized with them as well, but she won't kick her boyfriend out! He can't find a place to live (even though we have found several good offers for him) and is currently not working. I am sure he would work a lot harder to get a place to live if he didn't have a free stay at Casa de Oxendine. We are continuing to pray for her and hoping she realizes how important it is to live the Law of Chastity completely!! We do have other investigators we have been working with, but we have been having a really hard time getting up with them. The Oxendine's are really the only investigators we have right now that are really progressing!

Yesterday in church, we sang the primary song, "Families Can Be Together Forever" I love the simple and beautiful message this song delivers! Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reflecting on the importance of families! I am so grateful for the wonderful family my Heavenly Father has placed me in!! During my mission, I have had the opportunity to teach the Plan of Salvation to so many families and individuals!! Each time, my testimony grows of the reality of the statement families can be together forever. I know that we can be with our families for time and all eternity!!! Nothing can separate us!!!!

I love you all so much!!! Thank you for everything you do!!!

Sister Paynter
May 8 - Pembroke, North Carolina

Hello Family and Friends!!

This week has been quite a week!! It's been a weird week, but a good week at the same time! I cannot believe that today officially marks the beginning of my last transfer.....where has the time gone?!?!

Tuesday, we had our first transfer training meeting. This meeting is for all of the missionaries who are finishing up their first transfer on their mission. At the meeting, President James, Sister James, and the Assistants all gave us wonderful instructions and had us practice teaching a lot!! Thursday night, we went to meet with a man we had tracted into two or three weeks ago. When we got to his house for the appointment, not only were we able to teach him, but we were able to teach his wife and their two sons!! They all agreed to set June 17th as a goal for them to get baptized! We were also able to get the dad to say a kneeling prayer at the end of the lesson!!! It was great!! Saturday, we had a great lesson with one of our new investigators named Bradley. Bradley is the boyfriend of one of the Young Women in our ward. He wants to get baptized this summer, so we are super excited for that! On Sunday, we went over to the Oxendine's in the morning to get them out the door!! Which means......they came to sacrament meeting!!!! It was so great to have them there for all of church! They all said they really liked it too!!

On Saturday, Sister Angila Holmes (a member of our ward that I absolutely love...she goes by Mama Ang) showed us a new Mormon Message called  "The Music of the Gospel" which is about a Native American boy who learns how to "hear the music". Go and watch it now..... .....In the video, it talks about how the music of the gospel is our own personal testimony that is within our hearts. When we "hear the music" we are able to "dance" or act on our own and have a sincere desire to do the things we are asked  to do like reading our scriptures and going to church. We can all go through the motions, but unless we can really "hear the music" it means nothing. I learned that early on in my mission. I had to decide if I was just going to do missionary work because it was what I was supposed to do or if I was going to put my whole heart into it and do it because I knew it was what I wanted to do. When I finally made the decision to give my heart to the Lord and do what he wanted me to do, that was when I truly began to change on my mission!

On Friday night, Mama Ang took us to the Lumbee Spring Powwow. It was really neat to get to experience some of the Native American culture that is here in Pembroke. My favorite part was getting to watch the opening ceremony for the dances. Early that morning in my studies, I was reading Helaman 15:12-13 which says, "Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have, and notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth, and be hunted, and shall be smitten and scattered abroad, having no place for refuge, the Lord shall be merciful unto them. And this is according to the prophecy, that they shall again be brought to the true knowledge, which is the knowledge of their Redeemer, and their great and true shepherd, and be numbered among his sheep." It was a neat experience to be reminded that I am here serving among some of the ancestors of these people and helping them to be brought back to the knowledge of their Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. It was a special experience for me!

I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to be helping all of our Heavenly Father's children come back to Him. There really is no other place I would rather be than here on my mission!! Thank you for everyone who has helped me to be where I am today!!

I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week!!

Sister Paynter
On Friday, before Sarah left to go back home to Charlotte, we went and bought a dozen bagels and handed them out with pass-along cards!! It was a lot of fun hahah!!

May 1 - Pembroke, North Carolina

This week has definitely been a testing period haha! That means that blessings should be coming soon right? Hahah just kidding. This week, we did a lot of tracting in the hot sun hahah and literally only found 1 person who was willing to listen. Oh well, that's what missionary work is! It's still been a pretty good week though!

The Oxendine's....well let's just say they didn't come to church....again. This week, we are buying them alarm clocks so that they can get in the habit of going to bed early and waking up at a decent time! They are seriously so funny!! They all know it's true though. They are so excited to get baptized! We were able though to schedule some baptismal dates with some great people! It's really neat to see how many people are being prepared to hear this message!

With the passing of Aunt Janice this week, I am very grateful for the knowledge that we all have of the Plan of Salvation. Yesterday, Sister Herr and I taught Gospel Principles. The lesson was on the Church of Jesus Christ today. We talked about all the wonderful truths that have been restored! My favorite would definitely be that families can be together for time and all eternity!! I have been very blessed with such a wonderful family!! I am truly grateful for the Priesthood Authority and the power that it has to seal families together forever! What a privilege it has been to be able to share this message with so many wonderful people!

I love you all so much!! Thank you for everything!! I hope you all have a wonderful week!!
Sister Paynter
This is a recent convert!! Her name is Sara!! She is awesome! I love her so much! She has been going to college here, but is leaving to go to BYU-I. Sunday was her last sunday!! I am going to miss her!!!

PS: She loves Disney more than me!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pembroke, North Carolina - April 24

Family and Friends!! I hope you all had a wonderful week! I can't believe how fast the weeks are going by these days. This week has been a really great week! We have been tested and tried, but have kept working hard and have seen wonderful little miracles come from it!

The Oxendine family is doing well! Again.....they missed sacrament now they are getting baptized May 13. Last night, we made all them make up their own contracts and sign them promising that they will be at church by 8:45 next Sunday. They are seriously such an amazing family. The mother hasn't chewed tobacco in over a week now and the father is going on week 3 of not smoking! This family has changed so much since the first time I met them!! Every time we teach them, they soak it all up and just fall more and more in love with what we are teaching them. They also love the Book of Mormon. They have all been reading it and really enjoy it! We are even finding more wonderful people to teach through the Oxendine's!! We are now teaching almost all of their children and even some of their grandchildren!! It's been amazing!!

On Saturday, we had the opportunity to go see my two favorite hooligans in Lumberton get baptized.....Tracy and Tony!!!!! Seeing them enter the waters of baptism has been one of the greatest blessings I have been able to witness on my mission. They both just seemed so happy and glowing!! After they were baptized, they both bore their testimonies. Tony talked about how the Church has changed him. He talked about how he is happier and a better person because of the things that he has learned and is now living. Tracy also talked about the change this message has brought to her. She suffers from a lot of anxiety and since she has been reading the Book of Mormon and going to church, she has had more confidence in herself and feels so much more at peace!!! Through out the entire program, I couldn't help but get emotional about how much I love being missionary! I sat there thinking about all the amazing people I have met and watched change and I just cried. I am not ready for all of this to end. Seeing people change on my mission has been the most rewarding experience of my life!!! I have learned so much about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that Christ's Atonement is the single greatest blessing to have been given to each and every one of God's children. Without Christ's Atonement, I would be nowhere. There would be no purpose to life. Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I would not be where I am at today. Learning about and applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ on my mission has changed me into something I could never repay my Heavenly Father!! I love this work so much!!! I am excited to see what the next 2 months brings. I just hope that I can continue to give the Lord all that I have and continue to be change through His Atonement!!

I love you all so much!!! Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my decision to serve. Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today!! I don't think I could ever repay you for the amazing experience I have been able to have out here!!! I love and miss you all!!! Have a wonderful week!!

Sister Paynter
Tracy and Tony's Baptism!!!!!