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!!!

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!!

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!

Sister Paynter

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