Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pembroke, North Carolina - April 24

Family and Friends!! I hope you all had a wonderful week! I can't believe how fast the weeks are going by these days. This week has been a really great week! We have been tested and tried, but have kept working hard and have seen wonderful little miracles come from it!

The Oxendine family is doing well! Again.....they missed sacrament now they are getting baptized May 13. Last night, we made all them make up their own contracts and sign them promising that they will be at church by 8:45 next Sunday. They are seriously such an amazing family. The mother hasn't chewed tobacco in over a week now and the father is going on week 3 of not smoking! This family has changed so much since the first time I met them!! Every time we teach them, they soak it all up and just fall more and more in love with what we are teaching them. They also love the Book of Mormon. They have all been reading it and really enjoy it! We are even finding more wonderful people to teach through the Oxendine's!! We are now teaching almost all of their children and even some of their grandchildren!! It's been amazing!!

On Saturday, we had the opportunity to go see my two favorite hooligans in Lumberton get baptized.....Tracy and Tony!!!!! Seeing them enter the waters of baptism has been one of the greatest blessings I have been able to witness on my mission. They both just seemed so happy and glowing!! After they were baptized, they both bore their testimonies. Tony talked about how the Church has changed him. He talked about how he is happier and a better person because of the things that he has learned and is now living. Tracy also talked about the change this message has brought to her. She suffers from a lot of anxiety and since she has been reading the Book of Mormon and going to church, she has had more confidence in herself and feels so much more at peace!!! Through out the entire program, I couldn't help but get emotional about how much I love being missionary! I sat there thinking about all the amazing people I have met and watched change and I just cried. I am not ready for all of this to end. Seeing people change on my mission has been the most rewarding experience of my life!!! I have learned so much about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that Christ's Atonement is the single greatest blessing to have been given to each and every one of God's children. Without Christ's Atonement, I would be nowhere. There would be no purpose to life. Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I would not be where I am at today. Learning about and applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ on my mission has changed me into something I could never repay my Heavenly Father!! I love this work so much!!! I am excited to see what the next 2 months brings. I just hope that I can continue to give the Lord all that I have and continue to be change through His Atonement!!

I love you all so much!!! Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my decision to serve. Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today!! I don't think I could ever repay you for the amazing experience I have been able to have out here!!! I love and miss you all!!! Have a wonderful week!!

Sister Paynter
Tracy and Tony's Baptism!!!!!

 Pembroke, North Carolina - April 17

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!!! This week has been a really great week filled with wonderful experiences!!

The Oxendine family is making wonderful progress!!! The mom has finally given up chewing tobacco and the dad hasn't smoked in over a week now! They are just so amazing! As of right now, they will be getting baptized May 6th. Every time we teach them, the spirit is always so strong!! They are learning so much and really gaining such a wonderful understanding of the gospel!! I love it!! When we are teaching them, for some reason they remind me of Grandma and Grandpa Paynter!! It has really been a neat experience!! Sunday, we got to go back to Lumberton! Two more boys that I taught got baptized!! Their parents were against them getting baptized, but the 12 year old (who has "already" been baptized) told his mom that he wants to hold the priesthood, be able to pass the sacrament, and go on a mission. He told her that to do those things he needed to get he did!! It was really such a neat experience to be there!!

Yesterday, we got to share the #PRINCEofPEACE video with a lot of people! I absolutely loved the church's initiative this Easter! Jesus Christ truly is our Prince of Peace! I am so grateful for the time we have at Easter to celebrate the joy he brings into our lives! It's not a time to mourn His death, but to rejoice in His life and resurrection. Because he lives, we too will live again!! What a wonderful message that is!!!!

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

Sister Paynter

PS: Sorry for the short letter this week! 😁

Picture 1: Layla's tobacco (round 1) she ended up buying more....but Saturday she gave us the rest and hasn't had any since!!!

Picture 2: Dean and Tristen's baptism!!

Half-price Easter candy!!

Pembroke, North Carolina - April 10

Family and Friends!!!
How has everyone's week been? I hope all of you who had Spring Break this week enjoyed your wonderful week off!! This week in Pembroke has truly been amazing!

On Monday night, we went over to see the Oxendine's. We had felt inspired to go earlier than we had planned to, but weren't %100 sure if that was what we should do. So, we went to Wal-Mart to hand out an Easter Initiative card. Once we found someone and gave it to them, we headed to the Oxendine's. When we got there, their daughter Mary and her daughter Paris were there. We had met them in the past and they had wanted to listen to more of our message, but we had never been able to get up with them. That night, we had planned to teach the Plan of Salvation because we felt that was what they needed right now. As we shared the Plan of Salvation with them and the idea of forever families and the three kingdoms of glory, a very strong spirit entered the room. Mary began to cry and was overjoyed to know that she could be with her husband again (he was killed a couple of years ago). The entire family told us that they had always wondered why God would put us in families here and not intend for us to be with them after this life. They were all so overjoyed!! We extended a baptismal invitation to Mary and Paris and they accepted!! Saturday night, we went over to teach the Oxendine's again. This time, we had planned to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we were talking with them, they talked about some word of wisdom issues they have and said that they wanted to quit but never felt like God was telling them too. Sister Herr and I both got very strong spiritual impressions that we needed to teach the Word of Wisdom and so we did. We weren't even planning to teach this lesson for like another week! I was nervous that it would "scare" them away, but it didn't!! They accepted to begin overcoming their addictions! Kenneth and Layla were apprehensive about handing over their contraband, so I told them that if they would quit cold turkey, I would stop drinking soda. We told them we would come back Sunday night and discuss it more. Sunday morning, they came to church!!! They missed sacrament meeting, but they made it for the last two hours and loved it!! That night, we went over and talked about faith. We had some soda in our fridge that a member had given us so we took it to their house and gave it to them to show them we meant business. Layla was really tired and fell asleep, so we talked with Kenneth and Porchia. As we talked with Kenneth, he was still very hesitant about handing over his last cigarette. We told him that if he acted in faith, God could then help him even more. So, Kenneth stood up and went to find his last cigarette. Unfortunately he misplaced it.....or God made it disappear haha. Anyways, he was still so willing to change for God! It was so amazing to watch!! I seriously love this family so much!!! I can't wait for them to feel the amazing feeling you get as you use the Atonement of Jesus Christ and truly repent! I just love seeing them so happy!

Overall, this week my testimony of the Spirit was strengthened. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost and the guidance that he gives each of us! I still struggle with recognizing the Spirit, but when I do recognize it, it's truly amazing!!! I would get no where on my mission and in life if I didn't have the Holy Ghost to guide me.

D&C 11:12
"And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit."

Have a great week!! I love you all!

Sister Paynter
We got to go to Airlie Gardens in Wilmington again!! It was just as beautiful as last time!!!

Pembroke, North Carolina- April 3

Hey Y'all!! (I just had to express my self the best way I knew how....southernly)
This week has been really great!! My trainee's name is Sister Herr!! It's pronounced her. She is from the Tucson, Arizona area. Vale to be exact. She is such an amazing hard working missionary and I am really lucky and excited to be training her! 

This week was a little slower...I'm pretty sure the Lord is just testing us since it's Sister Herr's first week....He sure does have a sense of humor! The Oxendine family is doing pretty good! They were supposed to come to Conference yesterday, but didn't! They were even supposed to watch the session where Elder Costa specifically spoke to investigators haha! Oh well, we both received a lot of inspiration during Conference on how to help them so we are excited to see where it leads them! I found out that Tracy and Tony got married!! That means in just a couple of weeks they should be getting baptized! Hopefully everything works out and I will be able to go back and see that! 

I just loved getting to watch Conference this weekend!!! When I was a kid, I always felt like Conference went on and on forever!!! But now, I feel like it went by way too fast!!! What really stood out to me this weekend was the emphasis on recognizing the spirit and going back to the basics of going to church and keeping the Sabbath day holy, read the Book of Mormon, and pray! I have come to realize how easy it is to do these things, but that we make it seem a lot harder than it is. Doing the basics really is so important!! It's what strengthens our testimonies and helps us to stand strong against the "whirlwinds" of the devil. I love the scripture Helaman 5:12 that says, "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." So, keep doing the basics and you will not fall!!

I hope you all have a great week!! I love you all!!

Sister Paynter

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Pembroke, North Carolina - March 27

This week has really been such a great week!!! We had the wonderful opportunity to have Elder Hamula, a member of the Quorum of the 70, come and visit our mission! I absolutely loved the instructions he and his wife gave us!! I definitely received many answers to questions I had and received lots of personal revelation! On Saturday, President James called and extended the calling to me to be a trainer. So, for the next 12 weeks, I will be training a brand new missionary. I will be staying in Pembroke and then after the 12 weeks.....figure it out yourselves...Hahaha! :) I just can't believe the end is coming so quickly!!!

This week, we had many wonderful lessons with lots of our investigators!!! We saw the Oxendine's a couple of times and every time, the spirit was so strong!! They didn't make it to church this week, but Saturday night, Layla and Porschia (mom and daughter) came to the Women's Conference Broadcast!! And they loved it!! It was so good!!! On Friday night, we watched the Restoration movie with them and they loved it! Their other daughter and granddaughter were there and they want to start learning more as well!!! Their family is really just so amazing!!! I love all of them so much!!

During our conference with Elder Hamula, he talked a lot about faith! He showed a really powerful all should watch it...

After watching the video Elder Hamula asked us what we do when the price goes up? Do we give up or do we go forward with faith knowing the Lord will make things work out? I know that through God, all things are possible. I know that even when the price goes up and we feel like we won't make it, if we have faith, the Lord will make it possible!! We have to remember though that we have to do everything in our power to do what is necessary then the Lord can make up the difference.

I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunity I have to be serving here in North Carolina! I fall in love with the state and the people every single day!! I can't believe how fast the time is going by! It is definitely going to be a bitter sweet goodbye!

I love all of you so much!!! Thank you for all you do!

Sister Paynter