Sunday, October 30, 2016

Lumberton, North Carolina- October 24

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!!

Sister Paynter

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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!!

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!!

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'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!!

Sister Paynter