January 13, 2014

            Wow, that’s all some really cool News mom!  I am so excited for everyone back at home in Dean and Merriloy's family. I hope these things all go well for them! I sure love that Family so much! Well if you want to be a little alarmed, I counted the mosquito bites I woke up with one night, and I had 69 on my left arm. But they were tiny little bites and it wasn't too big of a deal, we bought a repellent plug in and it did the trick. No worries mom. Well here it’s not as hot as Campinas, but its still crazy hot. I can’t handle the thought of snow again though. Ha ha!
            Well mom, the branch here is really quite cold to tell the truth. Most of the missionaries that passed through here caused problems, or just kept getting on people to help them out and it pushed the other way. But we have a lot of activities planned and we have been doing our best to get them a little warmed up. It’s a little different living in four. The members don’t like to give lunch that much but hey, what can ya do. The leadership is really great and we will be working a lot more with them to help their goals also.
            Well mom, my growth here on the mission is a question I often ask myself, and it’s pretty much impossible for me to answer. I don’t know really. I feel like I have been blessed with some really great friends here to help me see past a lot of the politics of the mission and such. I had a couple turning points on my mission mom. The first was when I realized that if you count your blessings, you will see more, and be more happy. Another is that if you truly desire something, God will give it to. The other is that this work we are doing here, is not numbers or baptisms or a hard two-year sacrifice away from the Family, this is the work of eternal salvation. And unfortunately I don’t feel like that is well perceived by the majority of missionaries. The things we do here are so much more important than most people think. And yes, its been really tough at times to choose between doing what would make me look good as a missionary and what would be best for a person in an eternal perspective. Spirituality is something so hard to take care of at times. I don’t know what it is, but I have felt like as the mission has grown on, it has been harder maintain because everything becomes routine, instead of it all being new and unknown. But I really wish I had the opportunities to visit the temple more often to help maintain it all.
            Well Tiago was baptized. The old Ward went fishing last week and they sent me some pictures. I missed out but I am going to get my fishing trip in here for sure. Ha-ha
            We have a chapel here, its a lot of people, they just barely joined two branches together so its a big branch now. It’s nice. We have a huge area, so we ride the bus a lot to get around. It’s just a diferente ball game here. But I love it. I sure love it here. I hope we can be sending some pics of families going in the water soon. We will see how it all works out though. I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this work and to be here. Mom thanks so much for the email. I miss you and love you so much!

 These are the falls we visited on our p-day.

January 8, 2014

Hey Dad,
Well I was transferred, and it really opened my eyes. For some reason whenever transfers come around I had gotten worried but this time I wasn’t. I really was in the swing of what you were saying and in a lot of ways I still am but I feel like a lot has gotten better also. I just kept thinking work will be work and that wherever I go it will be the same thing, but remember how I was talking about how president would be opening some areas in the mission? Yeah well he sent me to that tiny little zone, and next transfer they will be opening up a brand new area here close by.
Yeah Miguel is right, we are on the very limit of the mission and it’s about a four-hour bus ride. Think of a redneck American missionary's dream though. There are so many fishing holes around here, we are planning to take off with a member and go fishing one of these coming p days. Here is a little branch; there are four of us working in this branch. One of my buddies from my last zone got transferred here with me so it was pretty cool. Our comps are on their second transfer here, but they were well trained and super willing and ready to work. My comp is Elder Vale, he is from the Amazon and he is twenty-five. He was a salesman before the mission so I am learning some cool techniques with him. He will be a great missionary and lead a lot of others soon.
Well a little about the area, it’s a city of about 140,000 people and are area is the poor side. Ha-ha but the branch here has 920 members registered and only about 80 that are active. So we have a ton of work to do. The good thing is that people here are very receptive and it’s pretty easy to get appointments marked. However in the last year this branch only had 18 baptisms. I hope we can break that little goal down in two months and there is no reason not to. I am teaching these missionaries to work with the members because that way the people will stay firmer and we will have more work done too.  We have had a great time thus far this week.
Sunday we were asked to give a training about missionary work to the branch and it was cool to do so. It seemed to stir some people up and get them excited; we also scored a ton of references. Then Monday I had to go to leadership council, (our small zone of 8 has just me as a zone leader, we don’t have an DL) and it was a long bus ride Sunday night, we got to the bus terminal at 11 pm and the taxi driver took his sweet time to get us to the mission office at 11:45. Hardly slept with all the bugs that were eating me on the mattress and then woke up at five to get ready and finish grabbing numbers from the other elders because my cell phone died on the bus ride. It was an adventure, but the meeting went really well. I set a really high goal of 26 baptisms here in our zone for the month, and it super super high but I know we are all committed here to make this place that great. Everyone calls this the black hole on the mission, but I quite honestly am in love with this place. I hope we can make it a stake before I get sent home. Ten months. It’s really crazy to think that that is all I have now dad. But I am really glad I got transferred here because it has woke me up again with a bigger challenge. And this time I don’t plan on settling down or being satisfied with what is accomplished. Well my time is running short. I love you so much and thanks so much for the prayers, I know they were answered. I hope you have a great week dad, I love you so much and I am so grateful for you. 

Elder Paynter