October 28, 2013

Hey mom,
Thanks for the nice email. Well Mumsy, I am quite jealous that you all went to the concert but I think it’s so cool and I just love and miss you all so so so much. Lacey has been coming home a lot lately. I sure miss visiting her up there and just seeing my happy beautiful family. I have really felt the "in the cage" feeling lately and I just really am hoping that it stops soon. With the package you can just grab some ugly ties from the DI and send them here. And maybe if it fits send dog. And some gummies to keep him full on the trip. 
Well we had our mission tour this week and it was really nice, the church historian came and visited and had some good remarks. The next day we had found a less active member, she weighs around five hundred or so pounds and cant get to church, but she still has a strong testimony and showed us some of her wonderful paintings also, yeah she paints really well. She talked a whole lot about a bunch of things and how she plays computer games online all day with Americans and stuff. She started talking about elves and dwarfs and it was really hard to hold it all in without laughing but she was a cool lady. Then she asked for the bishops phone number because she needed his help with getting garments in her size. Even though she was less active, she still is committed to the gospel. It’s too bad that she can’t get out and about to easily. Then she asked us to give a blessing to her daughter who is less active also and visiting from another city. It was an adventure in that house but it felt good to leave knowing that our duties were fulfilled there. 
We had been teaching a few families for a while, and we decided it was time to cut one of them. We have just been hearing too many excuses and although they went to church a few times, they aren’t reading or really doing anything to feel if the church is true. We gave them lot of lessons and invites to read and pray and so we decided to spend our time on others. The other family we had been teaching has been a little like that also. The marriage and everything took a slow dive because the husband never told us upfront but he doesn’t like the church because he likes to drink and basically said he would sell his family for a never-ending glass of beer. I hate alcohol so much. There are two things that will never run out here in Brasil, rice and beer. Every corner in every little neighborhood has a bar and its full of men from 10 am until who knows when in the morning. 
So we went on the week searching for some people until we got a reference and she lived way up far in the very corner of our area. We only had to go there Saturday night, and we saw the mother who is a little old lady and asked for her daughter. The little old lady wasn’t really receptive and we begged her just to ask her daughter to talk really quickly with us. When the old lady came back she was a lot nicer and just invited us in the house. The house was in the middle of the ghetto but when we got in it was super nice. Felt like I was back in the states again. The daughter came out and she is about 50 years old and she told us her story about why she asked for a missionary visit. This lady's name is Sandra and her daughter died five years ago, and her son is giving a bit of trouble to her. So she had already teared up and we could feel a lot of pain in her. We invited her to church and told her a bit about the gospel before leaving to get home. It was a humbling experience to be reminded of the needs that everyone has for the gospel.
Sunday came around and sadly none of the many investigators we had invited and expected came along. But a bunch of other surprise investigators also came. Its so funny how the Lord has blessed in different ways. The one that did come is the 18 year old, Kaique, who read the "teachings of Lorenzo Snow" book in one week. Last week I gave him a Book of Mormon, and he read quite a bit of it. This week when I was sitting by him in sacrament he told me all that he thought about the gospel and such. It has been this way with us for some weeks now. He told me why he hasn’t been baptized in other churches that he has always disagreed with some things but now that the time has come he is really nervous. I could tell that he knows the church is true. He said he couldn’t get good sleep these last few days because he can’t stop thinking about this big decision that he has to make. If he gets baptized he will have to move from his dads and step mom's to live with his mom, and he is nervous about what some friends will think and some responsibilities that he will have. I am so grateful that he understands the gospel and the consequences and duties that come along with that knowledge.
A few weeks ago I told him how grateful I was to have a father who held the Melchizedek Priesthood so I could ask for a blessing at any time of need. He reminded me that I told him about that, and then asked for a blessing from me. It was so cool, so we went to the bishop’s office, (yes a ton of people have keys to the bishops office) and I we talked a little more about these blessings and his concerns. Then I gave him a blessing, we went back to sacrament meeting and the stake president was speaking and closing up the meeting. What the stake president said the moment we sat down was inspired from God and meant for Kaique to hear. 
I pray so hard that he will make the right choice and I am so grateful that I was able to see the true, pure conversion of someone happen these last few weeks. The word of God is "sharper than a sword" and I am so grateful for the experience that the Lord blessed me with to see those feelings in someone else. It made me think of my own true conversion when I too learned that I needed to follow the Lord and that this is His church. 
Well that was my good week, and I love you all so much family. We are so blessed by having priesthood men in our family and to have had mom and dad for the best examples of how parents should be and how our heavenly father loves us. I hope you all have a great week with some wonderful spiritual experiences. I pray for you and love you so much!

Elder Paynter

October 21, 2013

Hey dad,
            I just want to thank you so much for the email. As mine is the high point for you, I hope you know that this is the best part of the week for me. It is so uplifting to read your emails and to know how you and the family are doing even when it hasn't been the best of weeks. I am so proud of Ashley and it’s so good to hear that she has reached all of her dreams in life. I am so very proud of our wonderful family dad. Thanks so much for taking time to write an email every week to me. I am sure it hasn't been the easiest thing to find time for, but you and mom have always managed to do it. 
It’s crazy to think that I have almost a year knocked down already, I still feel like I haven’t accomplished anything and have so much left to do. Its really mixed emotions with it all but I hope that one day I can feel a little more on top of the game than I do right now. I am just so glad that I am given so many chances to learn more with everything. And right now, I am learning a whole lot. The mission president gave us a book from the church called "Principles of Leadership" and it is just incredible. I have been able to learn about a lot of things and would love to apply them here in my life, but it seems like that’s the real trick. If we could all apply things as fast as we hear about them, the world would be Zion already. 
Well dad, this week was pretty good, stressful, and all of the above. I am so much happier with the missionaries here in our zone. Things have changed so much with that and I am so grateful. Our progress in our area is coming along, but we are still working with the same people. It seems like there is never enough time to do it all. We have been trying really hard with two families, one we are just waiting on the marriage papers and the other we are just trying to get them to let us in a little more and give us more time to teach. But happily, they are all going to church and are interested in the gospel, I wish I could just click a button and make everyone see the blessings and the happiness that the gospel brings. 
Today, we had a big party with the zone. We had a big bbq and played basketball and water balloon volleyball, which just turned, into a water fight. It was a lot of fun and everyone left drenched but it felt so good with the hot sun. Yes, today I got burnt. It feels like a hot summer day like at home and this past Sunday I just kept thinking about a nice dive in the ol' swimming hole.
Ha-ha we have some really fun people in our zone from the south, and one of them lived my dreams. I discovered this week that he has hunted alligators before. You can only imagine the size of my eyes when he said it.  
Well dad, this transfer has been a lot more relaxing and I am learning a lot more. I sure have started to miss you a lot though, and I can’t tell if it’s the train or just the fact that I have been out here for a year now, but dad I am so grateful for all you do for me. I hope you can feel the big hug I am sending to you right now. I love you dad, and I am so so grateful for you. Please have such a safe week and transfers are every six weeks, so according to way I looked at it, the 21st of October will be when I get back but a lot of times they cut down a transfer or two and we end up coming home a week or so earlier. If I were you just take the week of the 21st off and then we will get our party on!
 I love you so much dad! Have a great safe week

Elder Paynter 

Hey mom,
           I am so glad to hear that grandma came home and is doing better. She has been in my prayers for a while now along with the rest of family as usual but I have been giving the extra kick along with Levi.
I am just so proud of Ashley and how much she has grown and the success that she has had. They are such a wonderful little family. This week was wonderful and great in all. 
           Just a quick little story and then I will copy and paste a little of what I sent dad. 
Last week we gave a member a blessing to help her get more work to pay the bills and such, and this week on Tuesday night when we got to the English class she told us that ever since the blessing she has been having so many more opportunities to work. She truly is such a strong and faithful person. We were also going to church this week hoping and praying that we would have some more investigators who would actually come this week, and when we got there, we had so many walk in surprise investigators and along with the others showing up, even the ones we thought would never come, came. It was such a great blessing from the lord.
          One of our investigators last week got the manual of the teachings of Lorenzo Snow. This week when we got back to him, he said that he read it all in the week and loved it but had a lot of questions and invited more family to come. He is just a young 18 year old, but speaks fluent English and it was just really great to see the gospel working in the lives of these people! It has been such a great week. I love you so much mom, I am so sorry that this isn't the longest email but we got to run to an appointment. I love you so much!

Elder Sunsy

October 7, 2013

This week was pretty low key, but really good because of the wonderful conference! I loved every second of it and just like you, I was quite sad when the end came. Wasn't it cool to see Dehaan in the priesthood session? Well I had plenty of points that I just loved, especially those that you said to me. I was able to watch a lot of it in English luckily and it was so great to hear the actual voices of the prophets and apostles. We had a newer American missionary that was really really happy to be able to listen in English. We spent about all day Saturday in the chapel, first session here was at one, second at five, and priesthood at nine. We were authorized to stay out until eleven to watch priesthood if we had a car ride home with a member. It was a lot of good fun.        
After Elder Holland spoke on Saturday about depression, a little ten year old boy walked up to my comp and asked if he could have a blessing. My comp asked "Why? are you sad?" The little boy quickly responded yes, and with a smile. Ha-ha my comp asked that I would give the blessing and I asked the boy why he was sad, he said "I don’t know, I just woke up sad today." so me and five other missionaries gave the smiling little boy a priesthood blessing of comfort. Ha-ha Its an experience I won’t ever forget. It was really funny to me but I am always excited for the opportunity to exercise the priesthood for others.  
We had also decided to fast from Saturday to Sunday to thank the Lord for the miracles and blessings that he had given us and to help that an investigating couple could get everything right with their marriage papers to be baptized. Well, in between sessions was a pig out and we just sat around watching, but it was still such a great experience and we were full of the word of God so we didn't need food. Ha-ha just kidding. 
Last night we found out about the transfers here in the zone, and luckily I will stay here with Elder Vianna again. We had a lot of missionaries leave and now we will have four sisters..... hope it all goes well. But I am so happy to stay here and for the changes that have been made. We have two missionaries that have finished their missions and fourteen that are arriving. I am so happy to see how the Lord is truly hastening his work! Fifteen million members and eighty thousand missionaries. I am so lucky to be part of the Lords army and so grateful for the opportunities that he has blessed me with! I am so happy to be able to tell others about all the blessings that  our Savior has prepared for them. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and this His church and his work. This is the work of Salvation, and I am beyond happy to be doing it! 

Hey dad,
Thanks so much for the email. I can’t express it in words about how grateful I am for you and your love and our wonderful family! Well dad, this week was really good, fast, and of course had some ups and some downs. The zone is doing better, the mission as a whole is doing a lot better matter of fact. Our mission president is super inspired and has really changed things around since I first arrived in the field. 
Anyway, in short, I am still learning a lot about loving the people and enjoying the moments, and the gospel and everything. It is kind of funny, I felt more on top of things last transfer but the more I learn the more I understand that I have a lot to learn. Ha-ha I wish I could just study all day long to help these people and to feel the spirit at all times. 
The family we had been working with has just been great, this week four people were baptized and the other fence sitters decided to get married and be baptized, so now we are setting up a big baptismal service for next transfer and I am just so excited for it to come around. This Sunday was such a busy day, and our investigators wanted us over for a big lunch that they made for us, but we had lunch with a member that was super angry when we tried to explain the situation because she also made a big feast for us. We just had some things popping up and people in the way, problems with the font, and all this stuff, but in the end they were baptized and it went great. We ended up eating at the member’s house, then going to the investigators house and eating even more, and then a member gave us some food to take home and by the end of the night I didn't even want to smell food or I would have thrown up. 
Last night while we were at the investigators house eating, I went outside to cool off a bit and started talking with a friend of the family there, and he started talking about his life and some things that he had passed through and the help that the investigator had given him. I was really impressed and it made me think a lot. Yesterday was good dad, we baptized, but I wasn't happy during the service, or during the day. To tell the truth I haven’t been the same happy me for a while I have just been stressing. And so yesterday I made a resolution to take it easier and come back to the being grateful for all of the small things so I can be happy, the tough thing is just like you said, keeping the spirit with you so you can recognize the great blessings that the Lord has given to us. 
Can you believe it’s almost a year?! I sure can’t! It’s gone by way too fast and I am so happy I still have at least a year! Give dog some love and the fam.
I love you dad

Elder Paynter