Monday, January 16, 2017

January 16, 2017 - Lumberton, North Carolina

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Hahah I hope everyone is enjoying the Monday holiday and has had a good week this last week. The work here in Lumberton is continuing to grow! This week we have found several new investigators as well as set new baptismal dates.

Last week, we had a wonderful Zone Training. The theme of our meeting and for our zone is "bring 'em home". All of the instruction we received was definitely things that I needed to hear. We talked about being consecrated and working to improve ourselves in the work. I was able to receive lots of inspiration and it gave me the motivation that I needed this week. We've really been working hard to get people to sacrament and it has been quite the struggle. Our investigator Danny did come to church again this week which was great!! Our investigators Tracy and Tony were supposed to be there...they even called us an hour before church...we are still trying to figure out what happened. Things are really great though!! I have felt that this week we have really made a difference in how people view our lessons with them. We have been setting really good expectations with the people we meet so that they understand that we mean business haha!

Every week, I learn lots of new things and this week, something that really stood out to me in my studies was remembering Jesus Christ always. In life, it is so easy to forget about Jesus Christ when we are busy with work and school and other things. Even on my mission, I sometimes forget to think about Jesus Christ in all that I do. This next week, I have made it a goal to remember Jesus Christ more. I know that as I work hard to remember Him in the things that I do, I will be able to feel the Spirit more and receive more guidance. The most important part to remembering Him Always is to go to church every Sunday and partake of the sacrament. Partaking of the sacrament every week is so very important, because each time we take the sacrament, we take a step closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. During the sacrament, we get to renew our covenants with Heavenly Father and commit to do better this week. On my mission, I have really learned how important it really is to take the sacrament every week. Coming closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ should be our number one goal in life. As we remember Jesus Christ always, it will be easier to make the right decisions in life and come closer to Him.

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

Sister Paynter
 January 9, 2017 - Lumberton, North Carolina

Happy Monday everyone!! I hope everyone is staying safe and warm in the weather! Well, I officially got to see snow in North Carolina!! Even though in Lumberton we only got a super small amount and it was more ice than snow, I was still quite excited! It's been over a year since I got to see and touch snow. I even made a cute little snow ball and threw it.......just because I could! Sunday church was cancelled through out our entire stake. It was cancelled as a precaution, but Sunday came around and the roads were cleared and the sun was in the sky. It was a really strange day to say the least haha.

This week has been really good!! We've really started off our third transfer together with a running head start!! We have been able to do quite a bit of tracting and have found several new investigators. We have also been able to set more baptismal dates!! I truly believe that as we continue to invite as many people as possible to baptism early and often, we will be able to find many wonderful people who are ready to be baptized! It's really amazing to watch the Lord bless us as we strive to find ways to be more obedient and lose ourselves in the work.

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to be able to accomplish in the last 6 months of my mission. I've really reflected on the last year and thought of goals that I want to be able to accomplish. I decided to set goals that would really push me and motivate me to really lose my self in this work. Although the goals I have set may seem like a really hard thing to accomplish, I know that Heavenly Father will bless me in my efforts to try even harder to succeed. I was reading Elder Cornish's talk from this past General Conference which talked about people who wonder if they are good enough to make it to the Celestial Kingdom. In his talk, he says, "Let me be direct and clear. The answers to the questions “Am I good enough?” and “Will I make it?” are “Yes! You are going to be good enough” and “Yes, you are going to make it as long as you keep repenting and do not rationalize or rebel.” The God of heaven is not a heartless referee looking for any excuse to throw us out of the game. He is our perfectly loving Father, who yearns more than anything else to have all of His children come back home and live with Him as families forever. He truly gave His Only Begotten Son that we might not perish but have everlasting life! Please believe, and please take hope and comfort from, this eternal truth. Our Heavenly Father intends for us to make it! That is His work and His glory." I truly believe that if we repent daily and strive to do what our Heavenly Father wants us to do, we can make it. Through God all things are possible!! No matter where we are in life, we can do hard things, but we really have to try!! Elder Cornish goes on to say, "I love the way President Gordon B. Hinckley used to teach this principle. I heard him say on several occasions, “Brothers and sisters, all the Lord expects of us is to try, but you have to really try!” “Really trying” means doing the best we can, recognizing where we need to improve, and then trying again. By repeatedly doing this, we come closer and closer to the Lord, we feel His Spirit more and more,4 and we receive more of His grace, or help." I hope that you will all try a little harder this week. Recognize where you are falling short and keep trying...over and over. I know that God loves us and that all He wants is for us to be happy!! And living the gospel is what makes us happy!

I love you all so much!! Thank you for all of your wonderful prayers and letters! I love hearing from everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful week!! Stay warm and safe!!

Sister Paynter
January 2, 2017 - Lumberton, North Carolina

Happy New Year family and friends!!! I can't believe it's 2017! Time just goes by so fast! I hope you all had a fun time ringing in the new year! This week has been really great! We found out transfer news on Saturday.........we will both be staying in Lumberton. It rarely happens that companionships stay together for 3 transfers so it was quite a shock to us!

This week, the work in Lumberton has really been moving forward. We found several new investigators and many of them have very solid potential!! A couple of them were former investigators that we just tracted into. On Sunday, one of those new investigators came to church!! His name is Danny. He used to take lessons from the Elders a year or two ago. He never made it to church because the Elders didn't ever arrange a ride for him. We were able to get someone to pick him up and he came!! He said that he really enjoyed it and that he plans on coming back! We set a baptismal date for February 11. It has really been amazing to see so many miracles take place here in Lumberton!!!

This week, I began to read The Book of Mormon again. The other day, I read about Lehi's Vision. It made me think back to an article from Elder Bednar that I read. In this article, he talks about the 4 different groups of people that are in Lehi's vision. The four groups of people are: those that did not even seek after the tree of life, those who pressed forward and commenced on the journey but did not use the iron rod, those who were clinging to the iron rod, and those who were continually holding fast to the iron rod. The first two groups of people never even made it to the tree of life. The last two groups made it to the tree, but one of those groups were ashamed and left the tree after eating the fruit. Only one of the groups stayed by the tree and that was those people who continually held fast to the iron rod. The story of Lehi's Vision teaches us that we need to be continually holding fast to the iron rod or in other words, we need to be consistently reading, studying, and searching the scriptures. The scriptures help us to know more of what our Heavenly Father would have us do. They help us to ultimately come closer to Him and returning to live with Him. As the new year begins, we should all make it a goal to do better at continually holding fast to the iron rod.

I love you all so much!! I am so grateful for everything you do for me! Have a great week!!

Sister Paynter