Monday, December 26, 2016

Lumberton, North Carolina - December 26, 2016

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas yesterday!! I absolutely loved the time that I had to Skype home yesterday and to talk with all of you!! It looks and sounds like you are all doing really well!!!

This week has been wonderful!! Saturday, our investigator Donna got baptized and on Christmas she received the gift of the Holy Ghost. What a wonderful experience it has been teaching her!! It's been remarkable to watch as the light of Christ filled her soul and she became an amazing follower of Jesus Christ. We definitely had a wonderful Christ-centered Christmas. All of our other investigators are making wonderful progress. We have a couple of other investigators that show really great potential in meeting their baptismal dates. The work here in Lumberton is truly hastening. I am so grateful for the privilege I have had to help move the work forward here. However, I would not have been able to do it without the Lord. I have had to rely on him time and time again and each time I discovered strength and courage that I did not have before. Being a missionary is truly remarkable!!

This morning in my studies, I read Sister Oscarson's talk from this past General Women's Conference. This talk is probably one of  my favorites because of how bold she was in teaching us that we need to rise up in strength. In her talk, she talked about how the times ahead of us are not going to improve and that we need to prepare ourselves for the storms that lie ahead. I truly believe that if we are going to be able to withstand the storms of the devil, we need to be spiritually strong! We need to be exactly obedient in following the commandments and the teachings of the prophets. I am truly grateful for President Thomas S. Monson. I know that as we hearken to his counsel, we WILL NOT go astray. What a blessing it is to have a true modern prophet on the earth today.

I love you all so much!!! I hope you have a wonderful week!! Keep enjoying your Christmas break. I love you all!!!!

Love,
Sister Paynter





Christmas Day - December 25, 2016

So thrilled to talk to this Sister Missionary today! She is truly happy and content. She shared with Kaylie that a mission was the hardest thing that she has ever done, but the most rewarding and amazing at the same time. She has less than 6 months left, will serve diligently to the end, and will be happy to be home when that time comes...can't believe we are on the home-stretch!!!




Lumberton, North Carolina - December 19

I can't believe that this week is Christmas!!!!! Time here in North Carolina is just going by so quickly! I absolutely love this time of the year and the time that we have to remember Christ a little bit more!!

This week has been quite wonderful! On Wednesday, we had our Zone temple trip!! It was so wonderful to be able to go inside the temple again. Going made me realize how truly important and wonderful it is to make the temple a priority in our lives. When I go home, I definitely want to become better at attending the temple more regularly!! Donna had her baptismal interview on Thursday......and passed!!!!! I am so excited for her to be baptized on Christmas Eve!!! She too is very excited! This week have had so many appointments scheduled with people that we felt quite overwhelmed! It's been amazing to see this area go from an area that taught on average 8 to 10 lessons a week to 15 to 20 a week!! And it's all because of our amazing Father in Heaven!!! 

Right before our temple trip, we had interviews with President and Sister James. One of the things that President asked of us was to share the scripture that would go on our missionary plaque now and why. The scripture that I chose was Alma 26:11-12 which says, "But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." I chose this scripture because without God we are nothing! On my mission, I have gained a deeper understanding of this principle. Humility is something I have really been striving to do better at the past few weeks and as I have been doing that, I have been finding so much greater joy on my mission. I truly am nothing without my Heavenly Father. If I didn't have His help here in the mission field, my mission would be a million times harder!!! I know that as we rely on our Heavenly Father and thank him for all that He has done for us, we will be able to weather any storm!!

I love you all so much!! Thank you for everything! I hope you all have a wonderful and merry Christmas!!!

Love,
Sister Paynter
 
Pictures 1-3: Pictures from our temple trip....we tried to do a jumping picture with self timer, but obviously we failed.
Picture 4: I received a 12 days of Christmas package from the 14th Ward Young Women's Picture 5: Sister Smith and I have been doing don't eat out December....except for if someone else buys it and it also excludes ice cream and soda. Anyways, President James has been encouraging us to do our phone calls in public. So, we went to McDonald's to make calls....and resisted temptation!!!
 


 
 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Lumberton, North Carolina - December 16

Meghan's companion posted this on Facebook today...

The #LIGHTtheWORLD theme today is "Jesus showed Humility and so can you." One of the suggestions is to do some bragging about somebody else, so I'm gonna do some bragging about Sister-Meghan Paynter. She is my best friend. She is an amazing missionary and helps me become better everyday. She is funny and smart and caring. She loves the Lord and works hard to bring souls to Him. I'll forever feel blessed to have been her companion! #NCRM


 Lumberton, North Carolina - December 12


Hello friends and family!! I hope you all have been having a wonderful Christmas season!!! Sister Smith and I have been getting into the Christmas spirit and are really excited for Christmas to come!!

This week has been really great!! Our investigator Donna is all lined up for her baptism on Christmas Eve!!! Her Interview is this Thursday! We are so excited for her!!!! All of our other investigators are doing really well too! The last two transfers here in Lumberton have been amazing!!! I absolutely love it here! I never thought I would say that, but it's true. We have been finding lots of work for us to do and have seen many miracles!! The Lord definitely has His hand in the work down here in Lumberton!!

This week, I have been reading in Alma. Before my mission, Alma was probably one of my least favorite books to read in the Book of Mormon. Now, it has become one of my favorites!!!! This week, I read the story of King Lamoni's father. King Lamoni's father is probably one of my most favorite missionary/conversion stories. For those of you who don't remember, after seeing the love and kindness that Ammon had for Lamoni, King Lamoni's father desires to know more about what Ammon had shared with Lamoni. After Aaron is released from prison, he goes and teaches Lamoni's father about the Plan of Salvation and he is then converted. After King Lamoni's father is converted in Alma 22:23, it says "Now this was done in the presence of the queen and many of the servants. And when they saw it they greatly marveled, and began to fear. And the king stood forth, and began to minister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord." After the king had been converted, he shared his conversion with everyone he could!! As converted members, of Christ's church we should follow his example and share the gospel with everyone!!! I love this quote from Elder Ballard, "A most significant evidence of our conversion and of how we feel about the gospel in our own lives is our willingness to share it with others." I know that as we share the gospel with others, we will see miracles happen! Also, as we share the gospel we become more converted!! Isn't that wonderful!!!

I love you all so much!!!! Thank you for everything!!! I hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Love,
Sister Paynter

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lumberton, North Carolina - December 5

Happy Holidays!! I hope everyone has had a great week!!! I am so excited for this Christmas season!! I am excited for the time we have to remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ and to find joy and peace in the things that He did for everyone!!

This week has been good. There were some difficult days this week, but the good always out weighs the bad here in the mission field!! This week, we had Zone Training and it was amazing!!! Our Zone set a goal to have 1 baptism for every companionship this month. In order to do that we made a goal to find 8 new investigators a week! This week, Sister Smith and I were able to find 11 new investigators!!! We were also able to set new Baptismal dates and now have a total of 10!! 4 of those dates are scheduled for this month!!! The work here in Lumberton has truly been amazing!

Last night, we got to watch the Christmas Devotional!!! I absolutely loved it!!! My favorite talk was Douglas D. Holmes' talk. I love at the beginning of his talk when he asked us to imagine what it would be like to not open our gifts on Christmas and how we sometimes do this with the gifts our Heavenly Father gives us. This talk has made me reflect on the gifts from Heavenly Father that I have left unopened. It's sad to think that we do leave gifts from Heavenly Father unopened. He loves us so much and gives us so many gifts and sometimes we don't receive those gifts!!! One of the gifts that I have been reflecting on is the gift of the Sacrament. Each week, we have the opportunity to renew our covenants with Heavenly Father and a lot of the time I feel that I haven't made the Sacrament as meaningful as it can be. Something I want to do better at is making the Sacrament more meaningful by thinking of Jesus during the Sacrament. I also want to prepare myself before I take the Sacrament by using the time before the Sacrament to feel at peace and remember the Savior. I challenge all of you to reflect on the gifts from Heavenly Father that you have left unopened. Then....OPEN them and receive what Heavenly Father has to give you!!! I love this scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 88:33, "For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift." I know that as we receive all the gifts that Heavenly Father has to give us, we will be able to rejoice this Christmas season!!

I love you all so much!!! Thank you for everything you do!! Have a wonderful week!!

Love,
Sister Paynter

Sunday, December 4, 2016

November 28 - Lumberton, North Carolina

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!! Sister Smith and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This week has been a slower week for us, but we have still been able to accomplish a lot of great work!!

Tuesday, we got a call from the mission housing coordinator informing us that we could begin moving into our new apartment that day!! So, we started packing up all of our stuff and began taking loads of stuff over to our new apartment. Our new apartment is really nice!!!! Hopefully we will be able to enjoy it more once we get everything organized and cleaned! It has also really been nice not having to bike in the cold!!!

By the way our new address is: 3705 A Hillcrest Drive Lumberton, NC 38358

On Thanksgiving, we had a lot of fun!! In the morning, we went over to one of the Burmese's home and had one of their traditional Burmese dishes. It wasn't terrible, it just tasted like soggy ramen noodles. In the afternoon, we went over to the Hutchinson's and had turkey, potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, rolls, and pie!!!! It was a lot of fun!! Our investigator Katie came over for dessert which was a lot of fun!! In the evening, we helped two of the Burmese Young Women apply to BYU and BYU-I. Our Bishop asked us to help them out and hopefully all will go well for them!!!

Sunday, we had two investigators come to church. It was really great! We did lose one of our most solid investigators this week which was really hard. She still really loved learning, but she is really overwhelmed with moving and so forth. Hopefully, in the future when things calm down, she will be able to have time for the missionaries again. Even though it's hard losing a great investigator, I remind myself that the Lord is just testing us and that He has something even greater planned out for us. Even though she won't be getting baptized anymore, we still have 7 baptismal dates that are on track for December and January!! Most of them are really great and show very strong interest in continuing to learn more!

The other night, we had a really powerful lesson with one of the families that we are working with. As we started the lesson, the husband, James, told us that we were going to have a hard time getting them to convert because they have both been raised in the churches they are in and have very strong ties to those churches. For our lesson, we read from the Book of Mormon with them since they hadn't started to read it yet. As we read through the introduction, James asked us many questions about Joseph Smith and little things that weren't of great importance. We both felt uncomfortable and weren't really sure where the lesson would end up going, but we answered his questions as best as we could and continued reading. As we began to read 1 Nephi Chapter 1, Sister Smith and I felt a change in the spirit in the room and so did James and Tasha. We only read one chapter, but that was enough. Sister Smith did a really great job at a explaining to them that as we began to read in The Book of Mormon, the feeling in the room changed and that was in fact the Holy Ghost testifying to all of us that what we were reading was true. This experience reminded me this week of the power of The Book of Mormon. The best way I can explain it is from the prophet Joseph Smith's words, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” The Book of Mormon is so powerful! It has the power to convert anyone to Jesus Christ. I truly know that the Book of Mormon brings us closer to our Heavenly Father as we study from it and apply what we learn into our lives. I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father provided us with such a powerful tool in these last days!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!!! Thank you for everything!!!!

Love,
Sister Paynter

The first picture is of us and the key to our new apartment. The next picture....well, the elders hid 8 packages of cheese balls in our new apartment....we found one of them in Sister Smith's toilet....and....we still have not been able to find 2 of them. Oh what joy!!! Next week, we'll send pictures of the apartment once we get it cleaned!!!

 



 We went to Cracker Barrel on Saturday, we were going to go on Black Friday in honor of our Black Friday breakfast tradition, but Sister Smith was not feeling good that day. I even got the white chocolate berry cream cheese french toast that I got last year!!! And don't forget the side of hash brown casserole!!! (I have decided that Cracker Barrel is probably my favorite restaurant next to Cafe Rio)



Monday, November 21, 2016

November 21 - Lumberton, North Carolina

Greetings from good ol' Lumberton! I hope you all had another great week!! We received transfer news this weekend.......drum roll........Sister Smith and I will be staying in Lumberton another transfer! I am actually really excited to be staying because we get to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas together!!! Also, the work we have been doing the last couple weeks has been incredible and it would have been really hard to leave some of our amazing investigators!! We also found out that they are taking the elders out of Lumberton. From now on it will be us and the Brown's. That also means that most likely we will be full time car......no more biking!!!!! It's truly a Christmas miracle!!! We are also apparently moving into the elders apartment which is new and really nice!

Well, this week has been really incredible!! We have been working so hard and have been seeing some really amazing miracles take place here in Lumberton!! In the last couple of weeks, Elder Brown referred us to a woman that they helped during the storm. Her name is Lisa and she is amazing!! She is the kindest and most loving person! We have been teaching her for about two weeks now and she is finding it all truly fascinating! Every time we meet with her, I feel the spirit so strongly! Saturday night we gave her a tour of  the church and she loved it. On Sunday, she came to Sacrament Meeting!! This week, we had 4 investigators at church!!! I have never had that many investigators come to church! Miracles are truly happening all over Lumberton!!

This week, I just wanted to bare my testimony with all of you. I am truly grateful for this time that I have to be serving the Lord. It has been the most amazing experience I have ever had in my life! My testimony has grown and I can say that I have truly become converted to the Lord! I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's church once again restored to the earth. I know that this is the one true church and that Heavenly Father desires for all of His children to be worthy members of His church! I am so grateful for the many blessings that my Heavenly Father has given me! The greatest blessing He has given me was to be born into the gospel! Christ's church is not a part of me, it is who I am! I am so grateful for the principles, doctrines, and standards that have shaped me into the person I am today! I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God! I truly know that it is the only book that can bring us closest to our Heavenly Father! I know that the Joseph Smith was truly a prophet and called to restore Christ's Church!! I know these things to be true with all of my heart!!!

I love you all so much!!! Thank you for all of your prayers and words of encouragement! I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!! I love you!!!

Love,
Sister Paynter


#1: Sister Smith and I

#2: We made Fajitas in honor of Sister Smith's family tradition of having enchiladas the Sunday before Thanksgiving....Fajitas were the closest thing we had to enchiladas

#3: We celebrated Sister Smith's Birthday today by getting 4 for $4 at Wendy's...they are her favorite


#4: Us, the Elders, and the Brown's at Family Home Evening with the Burmese People


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 14 - Lumberton

Hello Family and Friends!! It's so good to hear from all of you and see how things are going!! Sister Smith and I have been doing some really great work this week! We have definitely been continuing to see the fruits of our labors from the storm!!

Things here in Lumberton are continuing to improve.  The students here have been back in school now. They went back to school on Halloween. They basically had a month long fall break!! The service opportunities are starting to become slim. This weekend we showed up to help with Helping Hands, but there weren't as many people and not a lot of work orders left to do. Sunday, we finally went back to regular church!! We even had a couple of investigators come to church this week!! It has been quite a while since I was able to have an investigator come to church and yesterday was just wonderful. Also, we were able to set 7 baptismal dates this week!! I am truly grateful for this amazing work I am a part of.

This transfer, Sister Smith and I have really been working hard to have the spirit with us more. We've made changes in our day to day lives to be more obedient and align ourselves more with our Savior. One thing we have done is we have made a change to the music we listen to. We have made the decision to listen to music that is either a hymn, put out by the church, or simply that which invites the spirit. Before, we listened to music that talked about Christ but didn't necessarily invite the spirit the way music on your mission should...if that makes any sense at all? Anyways, we have been able to see and feel an abundance in the spirit we have had this transfer. For me, it has helped me to become more in tune with the spirit. I have been able to better understand and recognize the promptings that the spirit has given me. For example, one prompting that we felt came from this abundance in spirit was to always have baptism on our minds when teaching and finding. This week we acted on that prompting and do you know what?? We were able to set those 7 baptismal dates!! I truly have a testimony of constantly finding ways to become more obedient!! As we become more obedient, we are able to be more in tune with the spirit. I also have a testimony of the influence that music and other types of entertainment can have on our lives. I came on my mission to be one with the spirit and our Savior. In life, we are here to align ourselves with the spirit and our Savior. I truly believe that the music we listen to, the books we read, and the movies or TV shows we watch have a very strong impact on the spirit that we are able to have in our lives. For me, the times that I am happiest are when I feel the spirit the most and I know that it is and will be the same for all of you!!

I hope you all have a great week!! Keep me updated with life and so forth!! I love you all so much!!
Love,
Sister Paynter

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 7 - Lumberton, North Carolina

I hope everyone has had a good week this week!! This week for Sister Smith and I has been a really great one!! We have continued to provide service on the weekends and have met a lot of great people!! On Saturday, members of the Jacksonville and Garner ward came to Lumberton to help with work orders!! It was really great getting to see some of the members again!!

This week, we have really begun to see the fruits of our labors this week from all of our service opportunities! We stopped by a lot of the people that other work groups referred us to and they have all been more than willing to listen to our message of the restored gospel!! On Saturday, we helped a man clean out his house. While we were working, the lady who rents the house to him came and was so grateful for our service!! She ended up taking all of us to lunch to Cici's Pizza! At lunch, Elder Brown, our senior missionary here, invited her to come to church on Sunday and she came!! It was really neat!! She really seemed to enjoy sacrament meeting and said that it was very refreshing! We will hopefully get to go see her this week and begin teaching her the lessons!

In my studies this week, I finished The Book of Mormon for the second time on my mission. It has been such a rewarding experience on my mission to have an hour to study from the scriptures. Before my mission, I don't think I truly understood how rewarding it really was to prayerfully study the scriptures. If I could suggest one thing for all of you to do is to make more time to study!! The Book of Mormon is by far the best tool that Heavenly Father has given us today!! There is always such an incredible spirit to The Book of Mormon. Each time I read it, I can't help but lose myself in the stories and the teachings of the prophets. It truly is the word of God!! I know that as we take the time to study the scriptures, especially The Book of Mormon, a greater sense of peace and happiness will come into our lives. Things go smoother as we study The Book of Mormon!! I know with all of my heart that The Book of Mormon is true!! I testify to what Joseph Smith said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” As I read The Book of Mormon every day, I can feel myself coming closer to my Heavenly Father!! 

I hope you all have a great week this week!! Thank you for all of your love and support!! My mission has been the best decision I ever made! I love you all!!

Love,
Sister Paynter

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Lumberton, North Carolina- October 24

Hello!!
How has everyone been doing this week? I hope everyone had a good fall break!! We have been doing lots of service this week, but we have also been able to go out after dinner and do regular missionary work!

This week, we volunteered at a clothing donation place during the day. We would go in the morning and sort clothes that had been donated and then in the afternoon we would help the people that came to get clothes find what they need and make sure they didn't take more than what they were supposed to. Thursday, we helped unload two new trucks that the church sent with supplies. It was a lot of fun to work with the youth and a couple of the members during that time. This weekend, the church's representative for Helping Hands in the area was here and several of the surrounding wards came on Saturday and Sunday to help take down trees and clean out flooded houses. I've decided that I would rather help with trees than clean out the flooded houses because there is a lot of mold in the houses and it does not smell too good.

I've been thinking a lot this week about the many blessings that Heavenly Father has given us! It's been really sad to witness all of the suffering that these people here in Lumberton have had to endure the last couple of weeks. It has helped me to appreciate all that my Heavenly Father has given me!! He truly loves each of His children so much!! Even though life is bumpy and we all go through trials, we have to remember that these trials are expressions of our Heavenly Father's love for us because He knows that as we turn to Him during these trials then they will turn us into the men and women that He wants us to be. He is preparing us to inherit what He has!! I love the scripture Romans 8:16-17, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." I know that as we turn to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ during these hard times we will be able to become who our Heavenly Father wants us to be and that we will inherit His kingdom!!

I am so grateful for this time that I have to be serving my Heavenly Father!! I know this church is true!!!

I love you all so much!! Thank you for all of your prayers, love, and support! Have a great week!!

Love,
Sister Paynter

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

video

October 17 - Lumberton, North Carolina
 
Hello Family and Friends!!
Sorry about not writing a weekly email last week. Things have been pretty busy down here in Lumberton! Hurricane Matthew has been quite the adventure!! We have been able to help serve the community in so many ways. It has been such a neat experience to watch as the community and other communities come together to help each other. It is something that Lumberton has definitely needed.

This week we have done service every single day. In total, we cut down 18 trees that had fallen down into yards and onto houses. Elder Brown (senior missionary) has loved getting to use the chainsaw that the bishop bought for us to use. We were also able to go help put together bags of food to give out to people. Needless to say, we are very sunburned and tired!!

Something that has stood out to me this week has been the scripture Mosiah 2:17. I have loved the opportunity I have had to serve others on my mission, but this week this scripture took on a new meaning for me. As we have done so much good for these people that have lost so much, it has been such an amazing opportunity to watch as their eyes light up and feel the love of God. So many times we get caught up in the craziness that is life and forget to serve those around us. The greatest blessing we can receive from serving others is having our testimonies strengthened as we see the love of Christ light up in their eyes.

I hope you all continue to have a great week!! I love you all so much and am so grateful for all your love, support, and prayers!! Love you!!

Love,
Sister Paynter
 
I put a few more pictures of our crazy adventure this past week on the google drive, but here are some pictures of us and the.....Daughenbaugh's!!! They came down Saturday with lots of supplies from the members in Garner and Raleigh for several of the shelters. They stopped by our apartment that evening and brought us some supplies as well!! It was really great seeing them. Sister Daughenbaugh called us today and said that her sister is going to be bring us groceries and lunch!! I love her so much!! I love you all!!!
 


**I can't even begin to express my love and gratitude for these dear members of the church who are taking care of my dear missionary. It gives me great peace knowing that in the church we truly are family, despite the fact that we live on opposite sides of this country!
October 3 - Lumberton, North Carolina

I can't believe that it is the last week of my first transfer here in Lumberton!! Where is the time going? I also can't believe that Jordan is home now! Has it really already been 2 years?? WOW!! Time doesn't seem to slow down at all.

This week has been really great!! It was my second week on bike which actually wasn't as bad as I thought the second week of biking would be like. We've been able to get up with many of our investigators this week and set expectations with them. We have been able to determine who in our pool we feel will begin to progress and who we need to turn back over to the Lord for a time! This week, the Elders handed us over one of their investigators and she is really great!!! Her name is Katie and she is from Minnesota and yes she loves the Vikings!!! We talked for a good few minutes about the new stadium and other places in Minnesota! And, believe it or not, she lived in Brooklyn Park for a little bit!!!! She has been meeting with missionaries for a little over a year now. She was introduced to the church through her boyfriend who is also in our ward. They recently ended things for a time recently and that's why the Elders gave her to us. She is really amazing though! She really wants to know if this is what Heavenly Father wants for her. She still has lots of questions, but she is the prime example of an open mind, a sincere heart, and having real intent!! I really look forward to working with her!! We were also able to see our investigator Harold who is also a great example of having a true desire to find out if the church is true!! We talked a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and left him with the pamphlet to read. We also talked to him about General Conference and was very interested in watching it! We will have to see if he was able to watch it when we see him this week.

General Conference was fabulous this weekend!! This weekend was the first time that I actually brought a sincere question to be answered during conference and do you know what?? My question was answered!!! It was truly an amazing experience to seek personal revelation and see how Heavenly Father revealed it to me through His prophets and church leaders! I had many favorite talks from General Conference. I absolutely loved President Uchtdorf's talk about the Plan of Salvation. I think the talk that stood out the most to me was Elder Hales talk. My favorite part of his talk was when he said "Don't be afraid. Have faith to testify of what you know to be true....A you share your testimony of the gospel your faith will grow and your confidence will increase." As missionaries and with all members in general, there is a lot of fears that come into play when you want to share your testimony with others. Everyday, there are fears that flood into my mind and heart as I go out ready to share the gospel to the people of North Carolina, but as I open my mouth and share what I know is true my faith really does grow and my confidence increases. I am so grateful for the opportunity we have every six months to hear from our prophet, his apostles, and other church leaders!!

I absolutely love my mission!!! Everyday I am learning new things and coming closer to my Heavenly Father! It is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever been able to experience in my life! It's even greater than going to Disneyland!! 😂 

I love all of you so much! Thank you for all of your love and support!! I miss you all so much!!

Love,
Sister Paynter
 
Here are some much anticipated pictures of me and my bike!! :)
 
 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

 September 26 - Lumberton, North Carolina

How is everyone doing this week? I honestly can't believe that my first transfer here in Lumberton is almost over! Time keeps going by faster and faster each transfer. This week has been good! It was car week this week which was really nice!! We were exhausted and sore after our first full week on the bikes! 

This week, we have been trying to get up with all of these new investigators we have been finding, but have had no luck. We are beginning to notice that the people in Lumberton are really great at pretending to be interested at the door, invite us back, and then do everything they can to avoid us when we come back....it's pretty amusing! We are really trying to be bold and loving with these people and set expectations with them that will help them to see how truly important this message is. We have a couple of investigators who continue to meet with us regularly, ask great questions, and feel the spirit as we meet with them. However, they don't keep commitments like coming to church, reading The Book of Mormon, and asking Heavenly Father if it is true. Missionary work is like a juggling act. We really are trying to figure out how we can fill our teaching pool with people that are sincere and ready to progress.

I really loved the Women's General Conference on Saturday night! I loved all of the talks, but my favorite was President Uchtdorf's. What a powerful talk on faith!! President Uchtdorf said "The purpose of faith is not to change God’s will but to empower us to act on God’s will. Faith is trust—trust that God sees what we cannot and that He knows what we do not. Sometimes, trusting our own vision and judgment is not enough.…Faith means that we trust not only in God’s wisdom but that we trust also in His love. It means trusting that God loves us perfectly, that everything He does—every blessing He gives and every blessing He, for a time, withholds—is for our eternal happiness." I love that he says faith is not to change God's will. I have found myself forgetting that even though I have faith, it doesn't mean that everything I pray for will be answered the way that I want it to. Heavenly Father's will is far greater than our will. We need to trust that whatever may happen in our lives is because Heavenly Father loves us!! As we go to church, read The Book of Mormon, pray, keep the commandments, and do all that Heavenly Father has asked us to do, we will be able to find greater peace and happiness through this crazy life! 

I am so grateful for this time that I have to be serving my Heavenly Father. This area has definitely been the hardest area I have had to serve in so far, but I love it!! I have learned so much here and I know that my faith has been strengthened as I have relied on my Heavenly Father to give me the strength and guidance to accomplish His work here in Lumberton. There really is no other place right now where I want to be than on my mission. I have learned so much and have become more of the person Heavenly Father wants me to be!

I love you all so much! Thank you for everything you do for me!! I hope you have a really great week!!

Love,
Sister Paynter





Monday, September 19, 2016

Lumberton, North Carolina - September 19

Hey! How has everyone's week been? I can't believe that in two weeks it will be October! Where is the time going?!?! This week has been pretty good. I officially finished my first full week of biking on the mission. Let's just say I am extremely tired and sore!

Even though we were on bikes this week, we were still able to do a lot of good. Now that I am fully adjusted to the area, I feel a lot better! This week, we have been able to find a lot of great people to teach!! Now, we just need to find people that are ready to progress!! We have started teaching a cute little family of 6. It is a single mom and her five kids and they are so cute!! They were supposed to come to church this week, but they didn't. So, we are going to figure out why tomorrow. We are still trying to work hard with the ward here and help change their views on missionary work. We did have a family come up to us on Sunday and invite us to dinner this week!! It was great especially since we have been feeling like we need to meet with them and get a referral from them.

This week, I re-read the Ricciardi Letter. Sister Flinders introduced me to this letter and it is a very powerful letter!! My favorite part of this letter is the last experience he shares called The Prayer Room. He shares a very powerful experience that he had as he was serving in a very difficult area. After having little success and struggling with understanding his purpose there, he prayed to Heavenly Father to help know what he was supposed to do. He prayed for almost 45 minutes!! In response to his prayer he heard the message: "Elder Humphrey, I am here. I know who you are. I sent you to those neighborhoods, the very ones where you experienced nothing but rejection. I prompted your changes in direction to even more difficult neighborhoods. I know where each of the elect in your area resides. I know their name. I could send you to those addresses only, and save you the time and sacrifice looking for them. BUT ELDER HUMPHREY, WHAT GOOD WOULD THAT SERVE YOU? The mission experience is to do what you are told, when you are told, to go where you are asked, and know that the blessing comes from enduring what I ask of you. This is not about you; it's about opening your mouth at all times in all places. Doing my will without thought to the end result or consequence...this is what serving a mission is." Just like missions, life isn't meant to be easy. If life didn't have it's struggles, it would do us no good. 

At the end of the Ricciardi letter, he shares this quote from CS Lewis, "We can say we believe in Christ as we believe in the sun at noon day, not that we can see it, but that by it, we can see everything else." He goes on to say "Even as I write this, I am looking out my kitchen window, I see the trees swaying, I see grass and flowers, but I don't see the sun. However, it is the light of the sun that allows me to see what I see, and that is how I know the sun exists. The existence of the Son of God has that same value to us, as CS Lewis put so well, it is because we can see at all that we know Christ lives." I know that Jesus Christ lives. He loves each and every one of us!! He paid the price for us so that although we have struggles in life, we can repent, and find joy in the journey!! I love this gospel more than anything else!! I have found no greater joy in my life than sharing that gospel here with the people of North Carolina!!

I love you all so much! Thank you for all of your love and support! Continue to rely on the Savior and find JOY IN THE JOURNEY!!!

Love,
Sister Paynter

PS: Sorry, I have been slacking in the taking pictures department :)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Lumberton, North Carolina-Sept 12

Hello!! How has everyone been this week!? Things here are going really good! It still is a scarier area, but I have adjusted this week and feel like I know the area pretty well now. I don't know if I mentioned last week, but the ward here is very small. Yesterday, we only had like 50 people at church. Sister Johns and I were asked to speak on service yesterday in sacrament meeting. So, I turned my talk into a talk on missionary work and hope that something stuck with each of the members.

This week, we have been doing a lot of great finding. We have been working hard and have found a lot of new investigators. The only problem is that it is really hard to discern how invested these people really are. We always find people and then we always seem to have a really hard time getting them to progress because ultimately they have to be the ones to progress on their own. We do have a mom and her children who have set baptismal dates for October. I am excited to watch their testimonies grow!! 

Something that I have learned this week is to be happy! We had Zone Training this week and we talked about how we need to be showing everyone how happy the gospel makes us. So, this week I have really been working hard to step outside of my comfort zone and be more outgoing and enthusiastic with the people that we come in contact with. As I have been trying to be more positive, it has made my time her much more enjoyable! In life, it can be hard to be happy and positive when it seems like everything is going wrong. However, if we keep the commandments and do what our Heavenly Father wants us to do, we will be happier and life will be more enjoyable!! Elder Von G. Keetch said, "As we submit ourselves to His will, we increase in peace and happiness. King Benjamin taught that those who keep the commands of God are 'blessed and happy … in all things, both temporal and spiritual' God wants us to have joy. He wants us to have peace. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to be safe and to be protected from the worldly influences all around us." SSOO, let's do what Heavenly Father wants us to do and be HAPPY!!!

I hope you all have another wonderful week!!! I love you all so much!! Thank you for everything you do!!

Love,
Sister Paynter

Monday, September 5, 2016

Lumberton, North Carolina - September 5

Hey! I hope all of you have had a good week and are enjoying your day off today! This week has been good. I am now serving in Lumberton and my companion is Sister Johns. She is from Puyallup, Washington!! Can you believe that I hit my 9 month mark on Friday?!?! Time is seriously flying by!! I feel like I just got here yesterday!!

Saying goodbye to Garner this week was really hard! I never realized how much you could fall in love with an area and the people there until I left Garner. Tuesday, Brother Daughenbaugh took all of us out to breakfast at Angie's! While we were there, the Elders finally told me that I was getting transferred to Lumberton. When we got to Raleigh for transfers, I found out that my new companion stayed in Lumberton with the senior couple, while a couple from the Lumberton ward had come to pick me up in Raleigh. On the way home, their car broke down and we were stuck in a little town outside of Garner for about an hour. Luckily the car started working again and we were able to make it to Lumberton safely!! This week, I have really been trying to get to know all of our investigators and the other people we are working with. In Lumberton, there are many Bermise refugees that live here and many of them have joined the church. It has been a really neat experience to meet them and interact with all of them. They all have really amazing conversion stories!!

This week, I have really been working on continuing to trust in the Lord. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us!! Most of the time, things do not happen the way that we want them to, but it is during these times that we show our Heavenly Father that we are truly willing to do what He wants us to do rather than what we want to do. When we choose what Heavenly Father wants us to do during those hard times, we take one step closer to becoming more like Jesus Christ!! On my mission, I experience this growth every single day. I have loved seeing how much I have changed in just 9 months!! The gospel of Jesus Christ is truly amazing!! Before my mission, I don't think I truly understood how amazing it really is! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints isn't just another church, it is Christ's church!!! 

I really am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be serving a mission! It is the BEST decision I have ever made! Thank you for everything all of you have done to help me get to where I am today!! I love and miss you all so much!! Have a great week!

Love,
Sister Paynter

#1: Uncle Jay!!!
#2: Apple Pie at the Riggleman's
#3: Breakfast at Angie's
#4: Goodbye to Bishop Abbott...best Bishop ever!!
#5: Goodbye to Garner
#6: Transfers with Sister Mullenbach
 



 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Garner, North Carolina - August 29

How is everyone doing?? I hope "y'all" had a great first week of school!! Life here in Garner has been so amazing!! I found out yesterday that I will be getting transferred tomorrow, not sure where though. I am really sad to be leaving Garner, but excited for my next area in North Carolina. It has been really hard to say goodbye to the people here in Garner because this area has felt the most like home!! Sister Flinders will also be getting transferred and has been called to teach in Mandarin Chinese now!! Also, the Garner ward was split last night and most of our investigators will be in the new Lake Wheeler Ward where two new Elders will be taking over. I am excited to see how our investigators do with Elders!!

Overall, we have really had a great week!! We found out about Sister Flinders news last Monday and so we made the most of our last week together!! The Thorpe's committed to coming to church and then bailed on Saturday. Ruth seems very interested in learning more, but Wesley has started to receive some grief from his family and has become a bit distant. I really hope the new Elders will be really good for him. We didn't get to see Roger and Toni before we left. They are still in the boundaries of the Garner ward, so the new Sisters will continue to teach them. I forgot to mention last week, that we had started teaching a women from India who is Hindu! She speaks pretty fluent in English, but still has a hard time understanding the lessons that we teach. This week, we were able to get pamphlets in her language. For the lesson, we had her read the pamphlet in her language out loud and planned on asking questions as we went along. However, as she read, she would explain what it said and she understood it perfectly!! We didn't even have to ask her the questions we planned, because she answered them as she explained what she understood!! It was an incredible experience!! The Elders will begin teaching her this week and I really hope it goes well!!

This week I have really been reflecting on this last transfer. I truly feel that I accomplished the work that Heavenly Father had for me to do while I was in Garner. However, I am not perfect and never will be perfect, but I really look forward to continuing to improve in my new area. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of this gospel. I loved President Holland's talk from this past general conference when he said "With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed." We are not always going to succeed, but we get credit for trying!! Don't you just love that! I pray that we may all continue to try a little harder and do what we know we need to do to receive eternal life!! 

"So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever."
-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

I love you all so much!! Thank you for everything that you have been doing for me!! Have a great week!!!

Love,
Sister Paynter
 





 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Garner, North Carolina - August 22

How has everyone's week been?! Time is really flying by fast! I can't believe that this week is the first week of school!! Life in North Carolina this last week has been great!

This week, we had the opportunity to meet some really amazing people! For the last 5 weeks, we have really been trying to find the people here in Garner that are what we call elect or in other words have been prepared to receive the gospel. We have also been finding great success not only in tracting, but in working with the members as well!! The members have been sending us to meet their friends and invite them to learn about the church!! This week, one of the members gave us a referral for their friends Roger and Toni. So, we went over to meet them and they are the sweetest couple ever!! They are an older couple and were both so welcoming to us! They had met with missionaries once before, but there was a language barrier with one of the missionaries. When we taught them about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon this week, they loved it!! Sister Flinders and I feel as if they are "already mormon" haha!! The Thorpe's are still doing really well. They have been unpacking this week so it has been a challenge to get up with them, but we will be seeing them this week and hopefully they will be able to make it to church! We haven't been able to get up with Angie yet, but we have an appointment tomorrow! We also met this couple, and the wife, Gina, is hilarious!! She talked for almost 45 minutes straight!! It was so funny! She did have some really great questions though! She told us that she does believe that the Bible has missing parts and that it seems muddled to her. We are going back this week to teach her about The Book of Mormon. I love meeting people like this!!

Something I learned this week was that weaknesses are not sins!! Mom sent me a really great article from the Ensign called "It Isn't a Sin to Be Weak." After reading it this week, it really made me think about what my weaknesses are. I hear many people in prayers asking Heavenly Father to forgive them for their weaknesses, but really we should not be apologizing for them. We should recognize that we are weak and then ask Heavenly Father to help us strengthen that weakness, but weaknesses are not things that we need to be repenting for. In the article it says, "We cannot simply repent of being weak—nor does weakness itself make us unclean. We cannot grow spiritually unless we reject sin, but we also do not grow spiritually unless we accept our state of human weakness, respond to it with humility and faith, and learn through our weakness to trust in God." We need to accept our weaknesses and do all we can to strengthen them. We are human and we will fall short! I think that is something very important to remember, but we can't let that simply be an excuse. We still need to do our part at repenting of our sins, accepting our weaknesses, and doing our very best to follow the Savior's teachings. 

I love being a missionary!! There really is no other place I would rather be than here on my mission!! The last 8 and a half months have been the best 8 and a half months of my life! I have learned so much through the many trials I have had to go through!! I have truly seen myself changing and becoming more converted to the Lord. I love being a part of this great cause!!

Thank you so much for all of your love, support, and prayers! I am so grateful for everyone who has helped me get to where I am now!! I love you all so much!!

Love,
Sister Paynter

Here are some pictures of us with some of our favorite members here in Garner and a picture of our combined Zone Activity at Defy Gravity. Defy Gravity is a trampoline park! It was a lot of fun!! Apparently, she had not heard of Riley's fate at the trampoline park in Utah...