March 25, 2013

Well hello everyone!
What a fun and great week! It was great to take advantage of the more time that I have with Elder Permann. We have had a great week, and because of transfers we didn't have to blow a bunch of time traveling to Bragan├ža Paulista for a district meeting. So we were able to get a ton of contacts in and try a little more with some of our investigators. We kept trying to get into some houses this week but none of them worked out. We kept passing by so many of our investigators but none of them were home. And we had hardly any of our contacts that said we could come back and "try" to find them at home another hour so we could teach them. But we worked pretty hard this week and knocked on every single door in the neighborhood close to the church. A lot of the people thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses and were pretty rude. I guess they really force doctrine on people and bible bash all the time so people get us mixed up with them and kind of ruin our chances. So it is on to another neighborhood this week that will hopefully give us some good people.
 Saturday came around and we had a lunch appointment with the recent convert family in our branch. We stayed there kind of long because we taught them a big lesson after lunch and helped out with some work they were doing on the house. We had a lot of people planned to visit that day, and it was a little stressful that we had lost that much time. But I remember praying that morning specifically for effectiveness of time and to have the spirit there to guide on who to visit and when. So we just went with it after that and to our amazement we were able to talk with everyone that we had planned to even though a lot of them were just quick invites to church and then marking another appointment. We finished off our list of people and were about to go buy dinner for the night when I remembered one contact that lived nearby and we went there. To our astonishment they let us in and they really needed some help. The husband’s father had passed away three weeks ago, and he had started drinking a lot. He was a depressed guy. The wife said they didn't have much time so we read a few verses from the bible with them to help them out, marked for another day and left a pamphlet with them. It was a miracle that we were able to go there and to have the spirit guide us there. It felt like such a good night and I knew we were able to accomplish all of that because Heavenly Father was looking after us. 
Sunday rolled around and again none of our investigators came to church so it was yet another discouraging moment. After the block, we sat and waited for the secretary to finish up with the tithing numbers so we could get a ride to our lunch appointment. We were just hanging out when a man walked into the little house that we have for our chapel and asked if he could eat lunch with us. The branch president rolled by and said wait a second. He came back with money and told us to go buy something for him at a nearby mini restaurant. Yeah, I know it was Sunday and all but the man needed some help. At first I thought he was a bum, but he was actually very polite and very smart, and very clean and explained his situation to us. He was living with a Jehovah’s Witness for a couple months but got in an argument with him because he was trying to push his doctrine on him. So he left there and was waiting for an interview with the city today to see what help they could do for him because he is a working citizen. He asked us so much about the church and our doctrine, and after we bought his food for him, we taught him the first lesson. He said if everything works out and he can stay in Amparo for a while longer then he will be going to church for sure. It was such a miracle to be able to do that and it was so exciting that the lord trusted us and blessed us enough with that opportunity. After that we went to our lunch appointment, ate and started back to our area of focus and it started to rain a little. We stopped by one of the public bathrooms (they are pretty clean here in Amparo) and then got ready for the rain. I stopped Elder Permann and said, "Random prayer time." He looked at me funny and I just started praying right away ha-ha. I prayed that we would have a good and successful evening, and that we would always remember what happened that evening so we could enjoy it. So we started out and it started raining harder and harder and I had never been out in such crazy rain. Then wind picked up and blew a big sign of a building and shattered all over the road, avocados from trees were flying everywhere and crashing at our feet and breaking, our umbrellas were folded back like pieces of paper and almost took us away into the river. It was so cool and fun! Ha-ha it honestly felt like we were in a hurricane for a moment. We were so drenched from head to toe. There wasn't a spot that was dry even though we had umbrellas. We walked through the big bus airport building' and people looked at us so funny. It was the best, people already look at elders funny but when they are drenched from head to toe, it is even better. So we walked through laughing really hard, and went right back out in the rain. Super drenched. It really is a time that I will always remember because it was so fun.
The Lord always answers prayers, maybe not in ways we expect or ways we want. But he always answers them. I hope you all had a week as good as mine; I miss you all dearly and love you. 

Elder Paynter  

Oh here is a silly stray dog.

This is how drenched I was after the storm.
A nice sunset.

March 18, 2013

Well this week has been super fast. To be honest this transfer flew by! It was only a five week transfer and the next one will be also. We got the call last night about transfers while we were at our "mom's" home celebrating Elder Permann's birthday. We sat and waited to hear what happened and it was so great to hear that we are both staying! I was so happy because I really want to find a breakthrough in this area and get it out of the pattern it has had, and also I really, really wanted to stay with Elder Permann. He is so patient and willing to teach me and help me with anything I bring to the table. I really want to better serve him this transfer and not be a burden. So last night we stayed up a little late and made some cool covers for our planners for this transfer. Anyways, we went to the area of other elders at the beginning of the week to have our zone meeting, and we stayed there and did a division with them because we had to catch a bus at five thirty the next morning to go to Campinas so Elder Permann could renew his visa and we didn't have enough money to go back to Amparo and then to Campinas the next morning. We had a great time in Campinas and it was nice to visit with some of the elders in the mission office, I also found some way good Liahona talks and loved them. 
We finally got back to Amparo and got to work. We have been working in a neighborhood that was super catholic and found just a bunch of dead ends and old unmotivated, unwilling to change, retired people. So this week we finally were able to move our area of focus to the neighborhood closest to the church, it's a much more humble area and we instantly had so much more success. We taught tons of lessons to some open minded people, and I learned a lot of things about teaching this week. It was really nice, the only problem is we couldn't get any of them to go to church and a lot of them were super iffy about baptism. But we had some good and some bad like every area. 
Our branch held a little "dance" more so just a party with old music like "Twist and Shout" and such, for the relief society birthday party. It was a really good thing and we were able to bring a lot of the members closer together with one another. It was a fun little night. Our "mom" just kept trying to feed us and made sure we had plenty to drink. Ha-ha she is hilarious. Last night she cooked a pizza for us, made a cake for Elder Permann, and another little desert, and forced us to drink three liters of Coca Cola. Every time we go there she forces us to eat and drink until we explode or hurl.
Gospel principles class this week was about the life of Christ, and it was so good. The weather was different on Sunday, a lot of fog and clouds and I woke up just feeling so good. It was such a blessing to wake up and just feel so different because I knew it was the Lords day that day. There literally was something in air and I have never felt so good on the mission. It was like everything else in the world had shut down for a while, and it was just me, Amparo, and the Lord. It was a time that my senses just peaked and I felt everything around me and I knew it was going to be a good day. It was great because of gospel principles, and I got to pass the sacrament with one of the recent convert men in our ward who I adore. It was a day packed with beauties and with no cares.
Well the weather here has really gotten cooler and yeah, I am cold right now. Thanks so much for the love family, and friends. I am excited to tell you all about the successes that we will have this week in our new neighborhood! I love you all; just remember that the only happiness in life is love for who you have.
Elder Paynter

March 11, 2013

Well hello family, friends, and Levi. 
It has been quite a week here in Brasil. Elder Permann had to go to a meeting in Campinas this week so I stayed with another Elder in Itatiba and worked with him in his area. We had a family home evening with a recent convert family and they have a son who was a familiar face from Campo Limpo. It was a fun time, the only problem is that they had a pool and one of them looked like Tiger Woods so I found the hole in my heart for swimming and golfing that night. No worries I filled it up with work.
Anyway that all went well then the next morning we had a district meeting and it was pretty good. I was super happy to see my Elder Permann again and I was reminded again about how blessed I am to be his comp. We got back home to Amparo and got some tracting in right before we had a family home evening with some recent converts in our area. I was a little upset about using what little time we had this week to walk to their house (an hour away) and they didn’t even go to church this past week. So I kind of let em have it but in a nicer way, and let them know how much I love them and then the wife just yapped for an hour about her life. All in all it was a really good night, and I felt like I had grown a lot. We had really seen a difference in their happiness and I felt bad for thinking so negatively earlier.
The rest of the week we visited Angelica and Leandro and they are doing good and are reading and we invited them to church so they could actually progress. Same with Natal and Michelle but they really have lost it and we ended up inviting them to church even though they seem quite disinterested. We had a few solid appointments set up for the first lesson and each one canceled so we went right back to tracting until Saturday arrived. Saturday is the busy day where we walk everywhere and invite everyone to church again.
Our lunch appointment ended up going for four hours and by the time we got out I was so angry. They were a huge family of grown up northerners with awful Portuguese so I couldn’t understand much, but they all just fought the whole time and wouldn’t let us leave, and thought they could give us some advice on how the church should be ran.
So we finally got out of there and went to talk with some little girls who had been to church several times already, we just finally wanted to get them on solid ground and start the whole baptism process with those who had parents that would approve of it. Well we walked there and they were all like drunk and were hitting on me. So that is that.
We killed out the Saturday and Sunday morning rolled around, we left the house early to go to an appointment right before church and nobody answered the door. So we went to church, and none of our investigators showed up... it was kind of frustrating, and then this big strong gay guy who has been harassing Elder Permann came. It was kind of crazy, and almost a situation to laugh at that the only person who came to church was the one person we didn’t want to. So family, this week we have almost a clean slate of investigators, the only ones we are holding onto are Angelica and Leandro with hopes that something will catch with them. The recent convert family showed up to church and they have become so strong in the past two weeks. It was so great to see them and they said that they want to go make a visit with a less active member with us and we went after our lunch appointment with the branch president on Sunday. The mother of the recent convert family, Adrianna, just laid into the less active guy and did it in a way that didn’t make him mad. I was so proud of her and to see that they are doing the Lords work and that they are of the few who are really caring for the branch here. What great people and I look forward to our family home evening this week.
 After the visit last night we were asked to go to the stake priesthood meeting in Itatiba and it was so great to go with some of the members of our branch. We have very few priesthood holders in our branch but for the most part, the ones that go have great testimonies. It was fun to carpool with them and it was a fun ride. I sat next to the patriarch, his name is "Patriarca Jesus" and he is the happiest 5'0" little black guy. He is my favorite member here and he is a celebrity in the stake, everyone stopped by to hug the man after the priesthood meeting. It was really nice to be there and to talk with a bunch of RMs and to see the power of the priesthood and to imagine the capacity that the men in the chapel held. How incredible.
Well family and friends I love you all much and hope you are doing well. Its a new week here and miracles are going to happen, this is the true church of Jesus Christ, I know we have a living magnificent loving prophet who gives us such wonderful guidance from our Father in Heaven, I am so happy to be able to share such a joyful message with the people here whether they will accept it or not. I love being able to wear the name of my Savior and to feel his love every time I tell these strangers whom I represent. This is His work, and it is marvelous. I love you all. Have the greatest week ever. 

Elder Paynter