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!!!!

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!!!

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!!

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!!

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!!!!

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)