November 18, 2013

Hey mom,
It’s been quite a fun week getting a new start on everything again this transfer and with my new awesome comp Elder Liesmann. It’s been a blast even though this week was a bit tougher because Friday was a holiday and everyone left town or was drunk at the bar. But all in all it was a good time and another great learning experience. 
It was just another week of work but we held a mini zone meeting to be able to present everyone and talk about our expectations as zone leaders and then we left time open for everyone to give their input on what they would like from us. I just want everyone in the zone to be really happy and hope that they all can have lots of success. It was a really good meeting and we have tons of good ideas now to incorporate in training and teaching the other missionaries. 
It was a good Sunday also, I was asked to give the talk that I didn’t give last week. After I spoke the patriarch's wife spoke about marriage. She is a pretty old lady but she is just hilarious. She spoke forever and church ended twenty minutes later than normal. But it was worth it all. The new bishop had kept telling her that her time was up but she just ignored him and just finally said, ok just five more minutes and started pulling out magazines and tons of other books and summarized a bunch of long stories she was going to tell. It’s always a blast listening to her. I hope when I am old I can be crazy and funny too.
That night I had a meeting with the district leader and the other zone leader to plan our meeting for tomorrow and I am pretty excited. But we also discovered that two missionaries in our zone had gone to the hospital to get their appendixes taken out. It was pretty crazy but now everyone is doing well. 
Today I was really excited to get out and play some basketball and meet up with a bunch of other elders in a big park that they have downtown but Kaique’s mom wanted to have lunch with me and the AP, because the AP passed in this area and baptized Kaique's mom a transfer before I got here. I wasn’t too happy because lunch was in the middle of our day and was going to use up a bunch of time and I just wanted as if I was a grounded little boy. But when we got there to eat we all ate and talked and she sat us down and started talking to us and thanking us for what he had done as missionaries. She read us her patriarchal blessing which she had recently received. It talked about her posterity. We were all kind of crying together and she just thanked us for helping her. Mom, I don’t know what the Lord is trying to teach me, but recently I have been reading in the Old Testament and everything they did had to do with the posterity. I was really taken back, I had complained to go and use up a few hours of my p day to eat but had I known that I was also about to have one of the best lessons of my mission, I wouldn’t have complained one bit. I am so grateful to the Lord and grateful to Andreya (Kaique's mom) for the things she had taught us and for opening our vision to see the effects of the gospel and this work.
I just kept thinking in my mind all day “this is the work of SALVATION" and it wasn’t easy to get a testimony of that. A lot of times we as missionaries look at our work as simple be a friend, or knock on a door, or church work or whatever little insignificant thing our tiny earthly brains think of. But it’s so so so much more than that. The results are things we can’t imagine and I just can’t wait to grow my whole life having these new friends and the life to come we will all be rejoicing together.
 I love you all so much, Dad have the greatest birthday ever! Next one, I will be there to celebrate with ya. I love you all have the greatest week.

Elder Paynter

November 13, 2013

Hey mom!!! I got to email really quickly today because my new comp had to tell his parents that he arrived here in Brasil OK. So just wanted to send you some quick love and some pictures! Sorry I didn't have my camera the other day. My new comp is Elder Liesmann from Missouri he is a hulk and a great guy. Once he gets the language down he'll be incredible. We are both happier than ever and he loves to work out so maybe one day I can get to his size before we get transferred.

November 11, 2013

That sounds like a marvelous Sunday Mom! It is always a great feeling to be on top of things and have a bit of time to relax. Probably one of the biggest rewards on the mission is when a little time is left over to ponder. It feels like its just run from one place to another to another to another and another! Sunday nights generally stay pretty nice though. Well I am pretty excited for the Thanksgiving turkey when I get home. Ha-ha turkey here is really expensive and I only have missionary money ha-ha.   Well mom, the beef jerky always got here fine and my comps have never had any trouble with it coming in. The taxes don’t generally happen if the contents of the package are less than 50 dollars so yeah as long as you did that there shouldn't be a problem mom. I am really excited for them to come! Dad said you sent two?!!!! yeahhhhhhh!!!
Well I have been saving up to buy a pull up bar too so I can work out the back and the shoulders and the chest a little better but ever since we started doing our exercises I have felt so much happier and energized, its easier to wake up and its just been really nice.
Studies are sacred and I love every minute that we have set aside to study together. I decided to read the bible because there are so many good stories and examples in the Old Testament that I can use in the teaching and it’s just nice to read some new text. Ha-ha its a little crazy that I have never read it all the way but I am loving it a lot. Its super hard to understand the Old Testament in Portuguese and I generally end up rereading the chapters in English. But man, the times in the Old Testament were pretty crazy and God demanded a lot from the people, now a days it is much simpler and these people still have such a hard time giving up so so so little to have salvation and happiness. 

Speaking of salvation and happiness, this Sunday was absolutely incredible with Kaique. It was so great. I had never said this but we have become such good friends. He reminds me of Levi. He is such a cool kid, he loves the same chill rock music that Levi does and he is just such a polite respectable guy. It is so incredible how the Lord has prepared him, and seeing that he has, I know that he will have some great responsibilities in the church someday. This Sunday I baptized my brother and it was the greatest feeling in the world. So Kaique was pretty nervous about it all and we spent the entire day with him on Saturday. He signed up to help with a church service project and so we did too so we could be with him, but nobody else from the church came to help so we ended up leaving and went out to eat lunch together. That was a lot of fun and it was pretty good food too. After lunch we went to his Mom's house and talked with him for a while about life and the gospel and it was just so cool to see how he is truly converted. I never like when an investigator is nervous about baptism but in this case I did. He was only nervous because he understood the weight and responsibilities of the covenants he was going to make. Then our district leader came and interviewed him and everything went super well, and after we ordered pizza to celebrate. Lets just say we were stuffed by the end of the night and no we weren’t able to get our night workout in because I also had to prepare a talk for the next day on "How to invite others to come unto Christ" it was only a ten minuter so no biggie. 
When we had showed up to church Kaique was there and ready to learn and I knew right away that he was still pretty nervous but more ready than ever. Everyone there was quite excited for him. 

We passed through the first two hours of church and then the bishop told me that I wouldn't be able to speak because something came up. I was a little bummed but then again I would've summed up my talk in a couple short sentences. "How do we invite others to come unto Christ?" 1st- convert yourself 2nd- go with Nike and just do it. But anyway they changed out the bishopric and it was a cool-ish meeting. Kaique and I were sitting together in sacrament and all of the sudden his dad and his grandmother came and sat by him. He just started bawling and said that he wasn't nervous anymore. It was so cool to see the support that his family had for him even though they don’t have any certain religion and his parents are divorced.
It was even better to bring back feelings of how much Dad and Mom have always supported me in life and the feeling of having Dad at the football and baseball games and the church talks and the school things is just something indescribable and extremely rare these days. I couldn’t help but tear up as I saw that and as I thought about our wonderful parents and family. We are just all so blessed.
After Sacrament we changed really quickly into our whites and took some pictures and started the meeting. It was a simple baptism, but every time I enter the water with one of God's children and have to opportunity to recite such sacred words, it is a feeling that I never want to let go. Just like Elder Holland said the words "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ...." These words are words that change lives and the true understanding of them makes these people who are commissioned change the world.  As soon as Kaique arose from the water he was crying and we both hugged. It was just the greatest experience. 

Well that was the cream of the week, other than a lot of hot, sweaty hours out in the sun, it was a great week. As for this week, transfers are tomorrow because of the holiday season and I will be training a greenie again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so so so so excited, the other zone leader who will be coming to our zone will be training in another area also and I literally cannot wait. We will be getting two more sisters in the zone and opening two areas. We are now the second biggest zone in the mission and yes, the true work of salvation and the Kingdom of our Savior is growing here on earth. I am so happy to be part of it!
Family, I hope you have a wonderful week and maybe take into mind my advice on inviting others to come unto Christ, convert yourself and then just do it. I love you all! Have such a wonderful week!

Elder Paynter

November 5, 2013

Thanks so much for the experiences. You had an interview with an apostle after the mission?!! I really hope you know how excited I am to share more with you after the mission but I am more excited to hear your experiences. They get me really excited to get to work. Well Dad, this week was absolutely miraculous and I sent a massive story to mom. It was the best week I have had on the mission and I can’t tell you how happy I am. Yes, we will be baptizing this Sunday and it will be the most memorable yet. 
          This week at our leadership meeting, president showed us a little clip from YouTube called Missionary Work and the Atonement. It’s a part of what I had said in my talk and it has Elder Holland and President Eyring speaking. I think it would be good to watch it. I know it talks about missionary work dad, but I haven’t been able to hear the words they say without tearing up. I feel that I am going through a phase with greater love for our Savior and it feels so good dad. 
This week we had the best testimony meeting ever. A recent convert who has a little daughter went up to the pulpit and talked about how her 2 year old daughter had fallen down ten steps on her head and that she was so stressed and wasn't able to sleep for three nights and that she was a complete wreck. Then the bishop called and asked if she was doing alright, she said yes I am doing fine. Then the bishop shared that he hadn't been able to sleep for three nights and when he was praying he saw the 2 year old girl and decided to call. He went there and gave her a blessing and everything went fine after and her daughter had instantly gotten better. After she had gotten up and shared her testimony the bishop got up in the end and shared this sacred experience and then reminded everyone that he didn't receive that revelation because he was bishop, but because he was a priesthood holder and that all of us are entitled to help others if we seek those opportunities by respecting and honoring the power in which we hold. 
There were so many cool experiences this week Dad. We had been working pretty hard and nobody wanted anything but we started receiving a bunch of texts on our cell phone. They were references from the church and we were able to get into a lot of houses after that. Dad, it has just been miracles. Yeah maybe we haven’t been baptizing every day but more and more I feel like we are fulfilling our duties. 
            It has really heated up so now when we walk to lunch I am already sweaty all over and I use the back of my tie to wipe my forehead and then its soaked when we get there. It is funny but it feels good to sweat also. We also started working out two times a day and we are on day 7 now! I’m just getting ready for our adventures that we will be having Dad. This week we are going to get everyone to go to church to see Kaique's baptism so they can see the purity of it. We have some great things in store here Dad and soon this place will be a piece of Zion. I am sorry it snowed and I hope you have a great week Dad. I miss you so much and love you even more. Just weeks now until I get to talk to you all again!! I love you have a great week and be so safe ok! Love you!
Elder Paynter

Thanks so much for the email. You know, I was really able to feel your love this week. And this Sunday was the best Sunday that I have had on the mission and one that I will never forget for the rest of my life. 
Kaique, the investigator that we have been talking with a lot on Sunday and who I gave a blessing last week showed up to church extremely happy. I had been praying so hard that morning that the investigators that came could feel the spirit and that especially Kaique would finally make the decision to be baptized. And Kaique just came super smiley and we went to priesthood and started talking a little. He said he went to the temple grounds this week.
Then the next class we didn't really have any opportunities to talk but in sacrament meeting we sat by one another again and we chatted away. He first looked at me and thanked me for the blessing that I had given him last week. That the big meeting he had with his bosses from the United States went really well and that he had been able to sleep a lot better recently. And then he talked about his experience at the temple. He had finished his meeting early on Wednesday and was going to go to his college early to study, but he asked the bus driver how many more stops it was until the temple and it was only two stops away. So he just went for it.
When he got there the security guard at the door showed him a kind lady who walked around the garden with him and shared her own conversion story. Then she showed him the waiting room and the temple sealer came and talked with him. The sealer decided to be baptized when he was 19 and his family kicked him out of the house and had shared so many things with Kaique and it really helped him. Then he stopped telling the story and looked at me and teared up and said, now I am ready, the time has come. We both had teared up and then he asked when I was baptized and I told him when I was 8 but I was converted when I was 14. Then I went up to the pulpit and shared my own conversion story and bore my testimony and a lot of people were crying and Kaique had told his mom, who was recently baptized, that he decided he would also be getting baptized. I went and sat down and she gave me a hug and we all sat on our little benches with watery eyes for the rest of the meeting. There were so many miracles that the Lord performed for us. I know that he prepared and paved the way for Kaique and that Heavenly Father cares for us in every little thing in our lives. I am just so grateful to be out here and to be able to have such wonderful experiences like this. I know that Kaique will be a true soldier here in the fight for righteousness and that he will help build and strengthen the kingdom of God!
What he did to the shirt before burning it.

Before Sunday this week we had decided to have a little Halloween party and carve watermelons and eat pizza with some elders who live close by. So we made use of the last little bit of our day and had a great time. I also burnt my shirt to celebrate one year! 

Watermelon Jack-O-Lanterns and Brazilian Pizza
(Such nice smiles of these two Elders)

Yesterday was our leadership meeting with the zone leaders and I was asked to give a message about our responsibilities as leaders in the Kingdom of God. It was really a great learning experience for me. Afterwards Elder Vianna and I were called up to give a 10 minute doctrine also and everyone really liked it. It was a great experience yesterday. After the meeting it started raining like crazy and the bus stop is 20 minutes from the chapel there so we punched a hole in a big garbage bag and then I threw a smaller one on my head and we walked and still got soaked but it was a really fun experience. One of the greatest weeks on the mission and I am so excited for this Sunday and the baptism of Kaique.
I love you all so much family, I am so grateful to be here helping these people and singing on the streets about the wonderful and glorious love of our Savior and of God. I hope you all have a week like I had! I love you!
Elder Paynter

Mom to Preston: "Hi are you there?"
Preston:  "Hey mom!!!!!!! How are you?!!!!!"
Mom: "Good I'm so glad to hear from you.  I've been missing you so much.  I love your e mail about Kaique.  How wonderful for him. How great is your joy."
Preston:  "It’s indescribable! Mom, I love the Lord."