Sunday, December 2, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012 - Another week........

Hola Mi Familia! Another week has flown by....thank heavens! Sounds like you all had a nice Thanksgiving! Thanks dad, for sending the picture of the plate! (Geez! Why would you do that?!?! Make me feel even more jealous that I didn't feel up on that goodness!) I hope you all had a nice little break from school and work! Just a few more weeks and then you are out again for another break! How awesome is that?! I am supes jeally (super jealous) of the Black Friday shopping! Especially since Elise went out (well, the boys too!) I've always wanted to go, but never had gotten to. :( Any good deals?! This week was kind of rough, just reflecting on the time of year and what you all were doing...eating, putting up Christmas decor, etc. A few people here, not too many, have begun to put up decorations/trees as well. Not too many, but a few. And every once in a while there will be a house with lights. I have begun listening to my Christmas music though! But it still isn't the same. I thought I put more "Church Appropriate" Christmas music on my iPod, but I just have this one MOTAB album of lame "Old World" Christmas music...So that is depressing! This is my favorite time of year and kills me that I can't listen to holiday tunes...oh well! It is also weird that it gets to be like 80 degress in the day. This time of year for me shouldn't do that. Weird, but whatevs! I sort of had a little Thanksgiving celebration. I dressed myself in my cafe pants and wore a red tie. For me that was Thanksgiving colors and made me feel festive! Haha! I also drew a little something! I traced my hand a made a hand turkey and colored it and everything! And on the back I wrote all the things I was thankful for just within the past year.....let me tell you being in the mission in a new country, and away from family, it was a pretty long list! I bought instant mashed potatoes and instant gravy and made myself Mashed potatoes and gravy for a Thanksgiving feast! Haha! It wasn't the same as Mama's homemade, but it was something! Of course I thought of you all quite a bit this week. Just a few things I am thankful for this year being on the mish and all: Of course #1 My family and my parents that write me every week without fail. BOTH of them write me every week and I am thankful for that. I am also thankful for the wonderful commodities that we have back in the US including indoor heating and cooling systems and water heaters and just a ton of things! This experience has really made me thankful for soo much! This week, like the last was kind of dry. We did receive a few references from this one Sister (The one who worked in DIF and always gave us references. She does work there anymore unfortunately). She is a returned missionary got so excited giving a references of people to visit. I think it makes a difference to work with Returned Missionaries. They know what missionary work is like and what it is like to share the Gospel and bring people into the church and they are a lot of help. As for all the other members...still nothing! One reference that she gave us was a kid named Jesus. Yes, it is Jesus, but in Spanish it is "hezoos". He is a pretty neat kid. The sister was working with him in DIF. He was supposed to enter the same program that Hector was where he would go to seminary and church and all that, but since the sister has left, he never got into the program. So we went and visited with him and taught him lesson 3: "The Gopsel..." He accepted a baptismal date and so we will see where we get to with that. He was supposed to come to church with us yesterday, but when we went to his house to get him, his dad said he had left to go to work. So that was depressing. But maybe next week! We also received a reference from the Sister who has the cake shop (the above mentioned sister's mother). She has a worker there that loves us! She always greets us as if she was a member and is just so nice. When I first came to Nacozari, I thought she was a member the way she treated us, but after talking to her, found out that she wasn't. I also thought that she had listened to the missionary lessons before, but it turns out that one day I asked her for a reference and she said she would like to listen to us! And apparently her daughter and husband (I met this husband and he lived in Utah for some time. All over in Orem and Provo, and Lehi. It was neat talking to him!) and really interested. So hopefully we will be going with them and seeing what is up. So yesterday we talked in church and I decided to totally "planch" as we call it (I forgot what it is called in English) the members! I basically laid it all down! Haha! It was fun! I found a really awesome scripture in Doctrine and Covenants: 2 But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their amouths, but they hide the btalent which I have given unto them, because of the cfear of man. Wo unto such, for mine danger isekindled against them. 3 And it shall come to pass, if they are not more faithful unto me, it shall be ataken away, even that which they have. I basically told them that it is their responsibility and duty to preach the gospel and help in missionary work and since they don't help in missionary work and share the gospel with their friends that, like the scripture says: " it shall me taken away, even that which they have' and I said that is the reason the missionaries are leaving Nacozari. So I laid it down. Later on in Priesthood a Missionary Family Home Evening for the branch was organized for this Friday for everyone to bring non-members. Think I helped?....Maybe! Haha! So that happened...we will see what becomes of it! Nothing else too much has really happened this week. We just keep plugging along. We complete half a transfer this week. 3 weeks down and just 3 more to go. So we will so what we can get done in these next few weeks. Well, that is all I have this week! Sorry, I feel like it wasn't very much and was kind of boring, but oh well! Sorry! Ya, November has gone and we are just a few days from December! That is absolutely crazy! And in just 1 day less than a month, we will be talking on the phone together! How fantastic, no? It will come super fast I'm sure. Well, I hope you all are well! I love and miss you all dearly! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner
Making cookies from home
Elder Joyner with Elder Melchor (Trainer)
Happy Birthday - November 16th!
The New Comp #5! Elder Alvarado

Monday, November 19, 2012 - Another Year Older...YIKES!!!!

Hola Mi Familia! My, my...what a busy week you all have had! Mine was....sort of the opposite unfortunately...dead! So, like I said, we left last Monday night for Agua Prieta for the interview with the President Tuesday. It was pretty fantastic! We got there and called our district leader and he assigned us a companionship in Agua Prieta to stay with. Arriving in Agua Prieta, it was FREEZING!!! It is much colder there than her in Nacozari! Oh it was chilly! When we arrived at the house, we knocked on the door and who answered, none other than my "pa": Elder Melchor! I mentioned a few weeks ago that during transfers he was put as Assistant and they were there in Agua Prieta with the President. They stayed in the house with the other companionship and us. It was so good to see him, finally and catch-up. I've wanted to see him for the longest time! We talked a bunch with them and after a while the companionship whose house we were at arrived with pizza. All 6 of us stayed that night and talked a good bit. It was fun to talk with the Assistants (Probably since one of them was Elder Melchor!)! The next day we got up and got ready and all for the interviews and left for the church. We had the interviews and all went well. I love interviewing with the President and tell him all my thoughts and everything that is going on. It was also nice to be with the whole zone and see everyone. One of the other missionaries told me that the Pres. said they want to make Agua Prieta a stake and to have that, they need to have wards obviously, and to have a ward, you need to have at least 20 Melchizedek priesthood holders, and well, we don't have that so what they may do to create a ward is combine Nacozari and Esqueda and either the members in Esqueda would have to come here, or the members here would go there. Interesting things happening. I also heard that for the small areas not to close this next transfer, the branches need to have a complete branch presidency with councilors, a mission leader, and a family history program. Well, we don't have ANY of that so I guess we're gonna be closing then...Afterwards we were on our way to the bus station, but I wanted to stop at a department store, Coppel. We stopped and I purchased myself a new tie for my birthday. It is a lovely various shades of blue and black, it is quite awesome and I wish I had more money with me to buy more presents for myself...oh well! Maybe we will have to go to Agua Prieta again sometime and I can stop by again. When we were in Agua Prieta, I picked up my other two packages! Thanks Cole for the paper figure of Darth Vader, My name plate, and card as well! Unfortunately, Mom, my Thanksgiving package wasn't there, so maybe the family didn't come to Agua Prieta this past week. Also, the District leader didn't go to Agua Prieta yesterday because they didn't have a meeting, so it could be there waiting for me. Btdubs, thanks for my cookies and brownies and ingredients for cookies, and cereal, and all the other goodies! I'm enjoying them! The day before my birthday, the 15th, was the birthday of Hector's sister, who we have been teaching for a while too. We were thinking of what we could get her for her birthday, but we couldn't think of anything. I then remembered the ingredients that mom sent me, and so Thursday I made cookies! My, was it a chore! Let's just say I don't like to make things without machines, like beaters, to help me. I didn't have any vanilla and so we went one street over to the cake shop to ask the sister for vanilla. I was hoping that she would offer us her kitchen to make the cookies and use her machines, but she wasn't there, just the house help. So we still got the vanilla, but I had to make the dough using my hands and cook the cookies in a cake pan. They turned out delicious of course! My comp LOVED them! Everyone else enjoyed them too! Thanks for sending the stuff, mom! Now we get to good ole Friday the 16th....I woke up and put on my favorite grey dress pants, a good looking long sleeve shirt (thinking it would be cold, but it wasn't...) and my beautiful brand new blue tie I bought for myself! During study time, I received a phone call from President and Hermana Hernandez wishing me a good day. Elder Graves in Esqueda also called and he wished me a happy birthday, and I wished him a happy one year in the mission! After studies, I opened my package! I had Elder Alvarado take a video and I tried to send it, but it is too big of a file...sorry :(Thanks a ton for everything! I especially like my new watch and my CD. Unfortunately the DVD player we have just broke and so I haven't had a chance to listen to it until this very second while writing. I brought all the cake ingredients that you sent me to the lunch on Friday to have the family that we were eating with make the cake for me....MISTAKE!!!! Haha! I should have just made it myself! Supposedly this sister makes cakes to sell, but she is nowhere as good as the sister who has the cake shop. I gave her all my ingredients and the recipe and went to do something and when I came back she had put everything in her kitchen aid was mixing it all. I was a little surprised. I was going to make it all and since the recipe was in English...she didn't exactly follow the recipe exactly. I was getting quite excited to eat my favorite chocolate cake that my mom makes on my birthday, but when she took it out of the oven, it deflated a little and the edges rolled in a little. That was a little depressing. We put the candles on and I blew them out (again, another video, but again, too big to send...sorry!). It is Mexican tradition to bite the cake before cutting it. When I took a bite, it was good, but I thought I could taste a bit of egg or something and it didn't seem like the ingredients were mixed up well. So it was a little depressing. It was still good and a little reminder of home...but just not as good as mom! We later went with Hector and his family and they all gave me presents: cupcakes, mini hostess snacks, etc. It was cute and a nice gesture. Afterwards, we to the branch president's house and shared the left over cake with them. That was really it as far as birthday activities go...kind of lame, but hey, what can you do? But, I am freaking 20 years old!!!! That was the weirdest feeling! Telling myself that morning, "Dayne, you're 20 years old today! 2 whole Decades!" Geez! That is just the weirdest think to think of! I am no longer a teenager! Mind blowing I tell you! Whatever! Life goes on... and is WAY TOO short! As far as missionary work, this week kind of sucked! We really had nothing to do. It is the hardest thing when we don't have investigators and people to visit and your work depends on the members and references, but when they don't give you references, you don't have anything to do....We just visit the same small number of people every other day. There were WAY too many times where we just asked ourselves "what do we do?" So that has been hard. I fear for these remaining 4 weeks of this transfer. Luckily we had a branch council meeting planned for last night. We showed up with the President and waited for like 20 minutes for people to show, but no one was coming. Right when we were about to leave and cancel it, everyone showed up. Only the Elder's Quorum Pres., Relief Society Pres. and Primary Pres. showed, but we had it. I was hoping to talk about a branch mission plan we could implement to get more support and help from the members. We began and the meeting with the Pres. saying that they are going to close the branch and I thought it would lead into how we can prevent that (by helping the missionaries!), but then people started talking and it shifted more into helping reactivate non-members instead of how the members can help the missionaries so the area won't close. We BARELY touched on that subject. So I was a little disappointed in that. Oh well, their choice. But we are still left without work. Just 4 more weeks I guess. So everyone is asking about my nutting comp. Well, we sort of broke the ice and are getting friendlier. He is a hoot. To give you an idea: he reminds me of Urkle from Family Matters, just a tad bit less nerdy, but not too much less. He makes me laugh really hard. Tomorrow is the day to celebrate the Mexican revolution, but today they celebrated it with a parade and all and we went and watched it. I felt a little bit out of place being big, white, and gringo, but it was cool. I got a whole lot of Mexican culture thrown at me, but it was enjoyable! Well, that is about all I got about this week. Hopefully something exciting will happen this week. I will be thinking of you Thursday while you are stuffing your faces! HA! Thanks for all the birthday stuff! I appreciated it a lot! I love and miss you all tons! Have a nice week! Just think...ONE MONTH from this next Sunday we will be chatting on the tele! Woah! How fast! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hector's Baptism Day
Baptismal Font with extremely cold water!
Elder Joyner with Hector on Confirmation Day

Monday, November 12, 2012 - You Won't Belive It! God Must Want Me To Learn Something....

Hola Mi Familia! So it is cold here! Ha, yeah...all of a sudden Saturday was really cold. I have had to pull out my PJ pants and long sleeve shirts and my hoodie. It is a little chilly! And apparently there is a rumor that it is supposed to snow here this week? Not sure if that is true, but we will just have to wait and see. I completed 9 months this week! Wow how time flies! It seems like I just completed 8....crazy! I've begun to realize just how fast the mission goes....sometimes it just feels like a dream. This week was the big party of Nacozari Jesus Garcia. Apparently in the 1800s there was a train with explosives heading for Nacozari and the conductor, Jesus Garcia, drove the train through Nacozari to another town where it exploded and he died, but he saved the people in Nacozari, so they celebrate that every year on the 7th of November. So there were fiestas and bands and dances and all tha stuff. It was cool to pass by and watch from a far. won't believe.....This week, I attended my 4th funeral here in Nacozari. In just the 3 months I've been here, I've attended 4 funerals...What in the world is God trying to tell me!?! What does he want me to learn!?! Most people don't even attend 1 funeral in their mission, but me? I've attended 4! I must say that my testimony of the Plan of Salvation and our purpose in this live has grown tremendously, but I still don't get it. Is there something else I am suppose to learn or is He preparing me for something? I was with an Elder in Esqueda waiting for our comps and we went to talk to a member and they mentioned that this brother from Nacozari had died the day before. Well, since I was in Esqueda, there was no way for anyone to tell us. This member who died is the husband of the sister that has the cake shop. His wife lives in Nacozari, but he was attending church in Esqueda with a daughter and her family because of a family argument that the mom and daughter had about a year ago. The 2 haven't been talking for a year, and well, this event brought them together and now it seems like everything is all good and they have fixed the problems they were having. This brother that died also wasn't living with his wife and they were separated more or less. But just these past few months and this last week before he died they had been together again which is good. When we arrived in Nacozari, we went and my comp wrote his family and then we later went to the funeral home to be with this family. A sister from Esqueda and her husband (Justin knew these 2 really well when he was here) came and she brought her violin. She began playing hymns and after a while, a daughter of this brother who died suggested that I sing while this sister plays the violin. So I sang hymns and was accompanied on violin. It was really beautiful if I don't say so myself. After about a good 45 minutes of singing we stopped (my voice was so tired for singing non-stop for that long) and the family had a little testimony meeting. The next day, we arrived at the funeral home and one of the daughters of this brother that died had organized a small choir of family members with songs to sing during the service. We participated and sang "He Sent His Son", "A Child's Prayer", "I Am A Child Of God", "Families Can Be Together Forever", and a few other children's songs and hymns like that. The service was us singing those hymns, the family saying a few memories and their testimonies, and there was a picture slide show. Afterwards we all walked behind the hearse (spelling?) to the cemetery (spelling?) as such is the custom here in Mexico. At the cemetery, the Elders from Esqueda came since this brother attended church there, and they helped us sing hymns as they buried the coffin in the ground. When it was all covered we all gathered around the grave and they dedicated it. This funeral didn't seem to be as "heavy" and depressing as all the other. I think it made a difference that all the family were members and they had a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, and they knew that their family was sealed together forever and that one day they would see their father again. The only people there that weren't members were just friends, so I think that that made a difference. Funerals are a spiritual experience. They are sad, but it is always spiritual and you just feel so close to the veil. There are probably 2 events in life were you feel that close to the veil: birth and death. I can't say I enjoy the funerals....well sort of...Ha! They are sad and depressing, but also uplifting. This first week as Senior comp has been a little hard. I have felt quite alone a bit this week and there have just been times when I've longed to be around other people like members or other missionaries. I don't know why, but that has been hard. I think I miss Elder Cruz. I liked how we both worked together and were equals. We have been having a rough time because, since we can't knock doors, we don't know where to get more people. The members don't help and give us references and so we have very few investigators. We have talked to the Branch Pres. and hope to create a branch mission plan to help get more support and help from members. We will see how the next few weeks go. We did have a first lesson with a couple this week that seemed to go pretty well. I always love teaching the first lesson, The Restoration. It is a message that only we teach. Not even the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Baptists that go out and preach have this message! It is pretty unique. They seemed to understand and accept it pretty well, so we will see where it goes. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to confirm Hector. My first time confirming someone! It was a neat experience and I enjoyed it. Sorry, I feel like I didn't have too much to say this week, but I hope it will suffice! Tonight we are going to Agua Prieta to have interviews with the Pres tomorrow. So I hope to pick up my packages! (since my comp didn't bring them last week....). This week is the big 2-0! Crazy! I've tried really hard not to tell anyone, but I think the family that we eat with on Fridays found out and maybe have something....I hope not. I don't want attention! Ha! We will see! Thanks for the Birthday video! Until next week... I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, November 5, 2012 - Changes!

Hola Mi Familia! Sounds like you all had a nice week with the Halloween happenings and all that jazz! Seeing all the kids here dressed up and going trick or treating made me miss home and the good old days of my youth! So when I wished you all happy voting last week, I was thinking that voting was on the 2nd of November, so I was expecting news in emails today. But it is actually the 2nd Tuesday in November. I think the 2nd WAS a Tuesday last time which made me think that...oops! How embarrassing! Shows what I know about my country's voting system! Ha! So this was a week with a few things that happened and a lot of changes announced. This week on the 30th, I celebrated "Wicked Day" which is the 9th Anniversary of "Wicked" on Broadway! I wore black pants and my green and black tie. I meant to take a picture, but forgot.... :( My sickness has sort of continued this week. My cough worsened and I started to feel a vibration or rattle in my upper chest when I coughed. My nose got better, but the cough was horrible. Saturday was not a good health day for me. I felt kind of nauseous all day and got tired really easily and my body ached. I have not wanted to go to the doctor because I just thought it was a cold I would get over or just a reaction to the flu shot I got. I asked my comp for a blessing Saturday night and then I went to bed. Since then, my conditions have been improving and I feel quite fine today. I have little to no cough and my throat doesn't feel as swollen or hurts too bad. Hopefully I'm on the uphill? With the news last week that they might be closing the area we really pushed to get Hector, his sister and his mom baptized this week in the case that they closed the area and there wouldn't be missionaries here to baptize them for a long while. We had a special lesson discussing the importance of baptism and then we invited them to be baptized. Hector immediately accepted. His mom said that she would, but she said she wasn't ready just yet. His sister once said she wanted to get baptized, but then got scared and said no, and so when we asked he again this time, she was a little wishy washy. With at least one firm yes, the next step was talk to the dad to get his permission. This was going to be hard since he has never wanted to meet with us or listen to us before. But, Elder Cruz wrote him a note saying we wanted to meet with him and Thursday we went and he was working outside and we helped him move some wood and had a little chat with him. We prayed good and hard before hand that this would go well. We taught him a little bit about what we do as missionaries and our message that we teach. We then talked to him about the importance of baptism and that his family had the desire to be baptized. He said that if that is what they wanted to do, he didn't have a problem with that. So we excitedly set up an interview and started getting a baptism ready. On Saturday, the family invited us over for carne asada tacos (most famous and most delicious tacos from Sonora) and cake for Hector's birthday. This night, we also had the baptismal interview and everything went well! Sunday morning we went to the church early to clean the baptismal font which, like Sonoyta, is outside. We filled the font during church, and afterwards, we had a baptism! I directed the services and had a few of the youth give spiritual thought and messages. I also sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and Elder Cruz performed the ordinance. It was a really special day. This kid has made such a change in his life. After being involved with drugs, he started going to seminary every morning and was learning so much and loved to share with us what he was learning. He has become good friends with the youth, and they all love him. And his desire he had to be baptized was so wonderful! He is such an example for his mom and sister and cousin who also want to get baptized, so we are going work hard this transfer and see if we can't have more baptisms before Nacozari closes. This week, the Zone Leaders went to Hermosillo for their monthly meeting with the President. They came back and organized a zone meeting to share with us what the President told them in Hermosillo. Wow is all I can say! There are quite some changes taking place in missionary work! First off, we are going from 6 week transfer to only 5 week transfers. One of the biggest changes is that the church area presidency for Mexico has decided that all missions in Mexico will no longer be doing door contacting! Isn't that crazy! I think that Mormon Missionaries are famous for coming to your door and sharing a message, but we will not long be doing that. Not really for security reasons, although that is a small percent, but mostly because missionary work is with the members! We will be now relying heavily on member references and help from the members. Our work and success as missionaries will now depend more the members and their involvement. But it makes total sense. People are more likely to remain active if they have a friend they know in the church. It makes them feel more comfortable and provides a support system. As opposed to people who become good friends with the missionaries and when they leave, the members become inactive. This is supposed to decrease the number of converts who go inactive and increase the number of true CONVERTS as opposed to just numbers of baptisms. For this reason they are closing smaller areas that don't have complete church organization, because we need the help of complete organizations and members. So today is transfers and we didn't close Nacozari this transfer, but apparently next transfer in December is when it will happen. Elder Cruz was transferred back to his area in Obregon that he came from before and he will be training. I have been appointed as Senior companion now and will receive Elder Alvarado. I feel ready to be senior and then again, not. I'm not sure what how much we will be able to do this transfer not being able to contact anymore and since the members don't really help, us I'm not quite sure where we will get out teaching pool either. And since they are just going to close the area at the end of this change, I don't know how much progress we will be able to make. Oh this transfer will go, I do not even know! It will be quite different to have a companion that has less time in the mission than me. That is a weird feeling to have so many Elders that I know going home and many new ones coming in and that I am slowly becoming one of the oldest in the mission. What a crazy, weird feeling! Speaking of transfers, I found out that "mi papa" my trainer, Elder Melchor was made Assistant to the President this transfer! That is crazy! I am happy for him! I feel like there was one other change that we had in the mission, but I don't remember what it was...maybe that was all.... Well, that seems to be about all for now. I feel like I didn't really write that much, but hopefully enough to keep you all happy! :) This week, I complete 9 months in the mission! Isn't that crazy! Just 3 more and we have 1 year down and 1 to do! It is hard to believe that it is November already! How fast October went! I love and miss you all dearly and hope all is well! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, October 29, 2012 - Woah!

Buenas Tardes Mi Familia! Wow! What a week this has been! So much has happened! It has been crazy! Sounds like you all have kept quite busy yourselves... That is flipping fantastic about the BYU game! That is so great that they dominated and all! Sounds like it was fun, no? Well, I've got a lot to say, so I will just get to it! Starting off chronologically... So when I was talking to you all last Monday I was starting to have drainage and nose problems and all that junk! The next day, I woke up and my problems had worsened. We have investigators that have been sick so I think I may have gotten it from them. Our leaders called that morning and told us that Pres. Hernandez wanted all the missionaries to get the flu vaccine. So we went to the "hospital" to get that taken care of. There are 2 types of hospitals in Mexico: a big hospital that we think of and then something they call the "seguro" that is like a scaled down hospital, but it is all free, you just have to pay for medicine. That is something that I found out interesting. Since there is so much poverty here they make health care available free to everyone. So we went and got the vaccine for free! What I didn't know, but found out afterwards is that if you have symptoms of the flu such as drainage, etc. , you aren't supposed to get the vaccine because the symptoms could worsen. Well, no one asked me before and I didn't know, so I went ahead and got the vaccine and well, what do you know, my symptoms worsened. I woke up Wednesday with an achy body and got really tired really easily just walking around the house. Well, things got a little worse and I developed a bad cough Thursday that I assume is from the drainage that I have. Well, since then I've purchased pills I've been taking and I am getting slowly, better...a little bit. So that happened and was quite rough this week. I now do not have a voice, but we will get to that later. So there is this sister in the branch that lives in a little town called Cumpas that is an hour away. Nacozari is the closest branch to Cumpas so she comes here. Well, apparently missionaries have gone to Cumpas before to work before, and this sister has a friend who comes to church with her almost every week and seems really interested, but we have never talked to her. Well, we wanted to get permission from the Pres. to go to Cumpas to teach this friend and maybe work a bit there one day. Well, Elder Cruz called and the Pres. said no, and that we needed to work in our own area. He also said this and gave a reason. He said that according to certain numbers and such that he went to a meeting with the Area presidency and that they are planning on closing certain areas to missionary work that don't have a strong leadership organization in the church and they are going to be focusing more in areas that have more member support and help. Well, he didn't specifically say Nacozari was going to be closing, but he hinted at it right there and now we are thinking that they will be closing Nacozari to missionary work for some time. That is sad because we have a good teaching pool of people right now who want to get baptized. We have transfers this next Sunday, so we only have a week left and we will see what happens.... but there is a possibility that I could be transferred this next week. Last week in Naco Town (possibly)...sad! I really like it here! Now to the main part of this week.... So we found out Friday morning that a brother in our branch had passed away. I don't know if you remember that picture I sent you a few weeks ago with Elder Miranda and I with an elderly couple. Well, the man in that picture is the one who passed away. He has been sick for the past 3 months and has been having issues. He went to Hermosillo a few weeks ago to be operated on and just returned this past week. We went to visit him and his wife with the Branch Pres. this past week and he was in a lot of pain, but getting better. I gave him a blessing in this visit. Friday, we found out he passed away all of a sudden and we went and spent a few hours with his wife and a few members who were there. At this point, the Elders Quorum President that was basically taking care of all the services and everything asked us if we could help him later on in the day to dress this brother that had died in his temple clothes, since his wife and him were the only members of their family and there wasn't really any more priesthood brothers available. I thought, weird, but okay. About 2 or so hours before we were supposed to go help I started to realize what we were going to do. I started to think how I don't even like going to viewings and seeing the dead people in their coffins and how in the world was I going to go now and dress this brother having to touch and handle the dead body! Oh I started freaking out! I prayed hard asking "Heavenly Father I don't know what I've agreed to do. I don't like seeing dead bodies much less touching them. I don't know that I will be able to do this. Please, help me make it through". We got there and the 2 of us with the Branch Pres. and Elder's Quorum Pres. dressed this brother in his temple clothes. Well, once again, God really does answer prayers and I was able to make it through. It turned out to be a really special and spiritual experience believe it or not. Just dressing the guy would have been one thing, but the fact that we were dressing him in his temple clothes and that he had returned home to "the God who gave him life" it was really special and just made me think about a lot of things. The next day we were asked to prepare a small talk to give at the service. Again, preparing for this, like the other 2 funerals I have attended here in Naco Town (3 funerals just in this area!) my testimony of the plan of salvation grew! A few hours before the service, the Elder's Quorum Pres. who was supposed to be directing the service and dedicating the grave called us and told us that his wife's aunt just died and he wouldn't be able to make it and that we would have to direct the service and dedicate the grave! I was freaking out! I was so worried and felt like breaking down! I felt like I wasn't qualified to do any of this and why us? I again prayed, really hard, and again my prayers were answered! I was in shock for a while, but I was able to accept the fact that we had to do this and just move on. I said that I would direct the service if Elder Cruz would dedicate the grave! (Ha! easy out for me!) We postponed the services an hour of so and right as we were getting ready to start and the Elder's Quorum Pres. walks in. He was able to make it after all and direct the services and everything and dedicate the grave! What a blessing! My prayers were truly answered! All I had to do was speak and give a musical number (which ended up with me losing my voice a few hours later due to my sickness...and I still don't have a voice to this moment.) which went really nicely and left everyone crying even due to my sickness Interesting things about Mexico and funerals. They stay with the body throughout the night for the viewing. We started the viewing Friday night and the widow stayed at the funeral home that night and some members stayed with her. Another thing, they don't put the coffin in a steel/metal box going into the ground. They just put the coffin in the ground and then bury it. And everyone stayed they till it was buried and some of the family members helped. Well, to top that off, we had to speak in church yesterday which made my voice even worse! Well, that was my week! Like I've said before, the mission give you experiences you wouldn't otherwise have had. How many 19 year olds do you know that have had to dress a dead body and almost direct funeral services and dedicate a grave...I don't know too many, but that happened. I am grateful for these experiences though! They strengthen my testimony in so many ways! Before the mission I had such a fear of dying, but now I am so excited to die! I am not ready, there are still many things I want to do in this life, but when the time comes, I will welcome it with honor being able to return to my Father in Heaven having completed my purpose on earth. Well, that was my week, let's hope this one is not as crazy! Ha! I love and miss you all dearly! Have nice week, happy Halloween, and vote MORMON on Friday! :) ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner!
The shirt is a gift from Elder Melchor, 1st companion and trainer
Elder Joyner and Elder Cruz - 3rd Companion

Monday, Ocotober 22, 2012

Hola Mi Familia! Another week gone, and it sounds like you all made it through your craziness last week! Un montón de felicidades a Elise y Alex y sus concursos! I was thinking of you both Saturday. I am just bursting with happiness that one act was dominated! And Megan got Best Actress! That is fantastic! I sure hope it was recorded so I can see it when I get back! Good luck with State! I have been thinking a lot about Spelling Bee lately with it being that time of year! So many good memories that I miss. Good times!!! That nice that you all were able to spend time with Aunt Melon and you all enjoyed Blue're making me jealous! I have heard of Jerico Road! I really like them! I'm jealous that you heard them! And I LOVE "Homeward Bound"! One of my favs! Thanks for sending the packages mom! I'm sure I'll get them soon! I am supes jealous about the BYU game that you all will go to! Are they going to do a fireside and tailgating like they did at Florida State? That should be fun! I miss college football! This week was pretty decent. A little stressful at times, but such is the life of a missionary! We had a reference from one of the Youth for us to visit. It is a young family. The mom was just there with her 2 kids. She started off asking questions about the 2nd coming of Christ and the 3 days of darkness and asked if the world was going to end in December. We assured her that the world wouldn't end and that the Lord always reveals to his prophets what will happen. Like he did with Samuel the Lamanite about the death of Christ. We then transitioned into there are things we can do to be prepared for when it comes and be saved or whatever and then we taught "The Gospel Of Jesus Christ" and told her if she and her family followed the 5 steps of having faith, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end, they wouldn't have to worry about a thing. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted and said she wanted us to talk to her husband (who was working at the time). So we have to talk with the husband and teach him too and hopefully we will have a family of 4 to be baptized in a few weeks! And thankfully they are legally married so we won't have to deal with that mess! It was really great having members (the girl who gave us the reference and her sister) present to help with the lesson and give testimony of what we were teaching. It is always so great to have a member present to have someone the investigator knows and can easily trust in! So we are hoping for them! Also we have been teaching a family that is a reference from the sister that works in DIF. Unfortunately this family was separated this week because of the abusive alcoholic father. But they really want to better things and work to be a better more responsible family. Here I go again on a family rant! The mission has just made me so thankful for my own family! I am so thankful that I have loving parents who love their kids and who love each other! Parents who aren't abusive and are good example for their kids. I have never heard my father raise his voice to my mother and I am thankful for the love they share. I am so thankful every single day for the parents I have and for the family I am blessed with. I cannot wait to be reunited with you all and share this new love I have for you all! I am so thankful that we are sealed for Time and all eternity and that we can be together forever! You guys are the greatest! I love you all! Raul still has not made it to church which is quite frustrating! He has now passed 2 baptismal dates that we put and so now we need to think of something else. We are planning to teach him the importance of keeping the Sabbath day and going to church as well as the importance of baptism. We are also planning to have some members go with us to the lessons. So hopefully this will help him. Hector and his family are progressing so nicely! They just need to get baptized right now! They are the greatest and we always have a good time visiting them! This week we are going to teach the law of chastity and I have come up with a story to tell with visuals to help explain this commandment. I will have to take pictures of my visuals, I'm quite proud of them! I plan to relate our lives to being Prince and Princess of our King (Heavenly Father) and that there are those who want our inheritance (the power to have a family) and how important it is to save ourselves for someone who wants to cherish this inheritance that we have. I am hoping it goes well like I have planned. I will give a report later on. This week we had the opportunity to give quite a few blessings to a few different people. I am so grateful to hold the Priesthood of God and the power to help bless and heal people! Each time my testimony grows of the power of the priesthood and of how much God loves his children! Every one of those blessings were to none members as well, so it is great that they have the opportunity to receive these blessings and see the power of the priesthood and how it can bless their lives if they join the church! Good news! I've finally learned how to make Frijoles or refried beans! They are my favs along with flour tortillas! Believe you me, we will be having quite a Mexican Feast in a mere 15 months! So yesterday in church the Branch Pres. wasn't there because he had to go to Hermosillo, so we were in charge with the Elders' Quorum Pres. Luckily we got him to conduct the meeting, but we had to give the Sunday school class to the youth. My comp delegated me to give it and unfortunately we didn't have a manual to go off of so we had to wing it. Of course we had a blast with me teaching and I made us have a good ole time! But it was tough and a little stressful not know what to teach. This past Friday was also Elder Cruz's birthday and so in the morning I made him pancakes and I bought him a cake from the Sister who owns the cake shop! We didn't do anything too special, but I was nice to him! :) ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Dayne's mom says - Sorry for the late posts! We have been slacking!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012 - "Oh How Praying Rests The Weary...Did You Think To Pray?"

Hola Mi Familia! Another week gone by and like all first weeks of transfers it seemed to go by forever! Although it wasn't transfers this week, just the fact of having a new comp made it go by quite slowly! Well, this week was just full of teaching the area and getting accustomed to one another. Elder Cruz is a pretty cool guy I guess. He is a work out fanatic though! Every spare moment he has he lifting his weights and doing his exercises. At first he wanted to get up at 5:30AM to go running and then when he realized how many hills and mountains Nacozari has, he decided that he gets enough cardio workout from climbing all day! Haha! I think I like having someone that has the same time in the mission as me. Like you said, dad, we are equals and so it is nice, and plus we both want to work and be obedient and so this should work out really well! This week was kind of a trial not having a whole ton of people to visit and not having a lot of people in our teaching pool and so we have been trying to come up with ways to find more people. The people we DO have seem to be progressing really well! Raul who I have talked about before accepted another baptismal date for the 21st of this month, but just yesterday he messed that goal up by not coming to church. We even stopped by for him and he said he was going to get in the shower and come, but never showed up. It was sad especially because we had such a fantastic and spiritual fast and testimony meeting. He seems to be so excited about changing his life around and getting baptized, but we just need him to understand the importance of church. We had a really "suave" lesson with him this week on the Word Of Wisdom. He is one who usually goes out drinking every weekend and likes a little beer here and there. We taught him about protecting our bodies and how our bodies are temples and all that good stuff and he understood really well and agreed to live the Word Of Wisdom. Now, let's just hope he stays strong and doesn't least relapse too much, once may be expected. So that is what is up with him right now. He is living proof of someone I heard in this last conference. It may have been Pres. Monson, or someone else, but they said "Men CAN Change". It is so true and with the help of the Gospel and the Atonement, anything is possible! With good ole Hector and his family, they are progressing quite nicely! I don't remember what I have told you all about him, so a quick recap. He is a nephew of one of the Sister in the branch. He is 14 and has had problems with drugs and so his parents went to Hermana Maru in the DIF and said they wanted help. The Hermana put him in this program with the church where the family has to go to church every week and he has to go to seminary and we as missionaries are teaching the family the lessons. Well, we hear from the President's wife, who teaches seminary, that he is very participative and loves to give the prayers and loves seminary! I can tell this when we go to visit them. She also said that he is the first one there every morning. When we visit them, he tells us he is doing homework, but not for school, for church, for seminary. He is always excited to tell us what he is learning. I love seeing this enthusiasm he has for the Gospel. I have such a strong testimony of the Seminary Program and believe it is something inspired that really helps the youth! I know it helped me a ton! So we have been teaching them and they all want to get baptized so we will hopefully invite them soon. It would be Hector, his younger sister, and their cousin. The mom is getting more and more receptive and I believe she will get baptized too, but maybe later on. I don't remember if I mentioned that I had been looking for converts of Justin that he sent me to look for and I couldn't find them. Well, I went in search again and happen to find the Grandmother of one of these converts of Justin who is also a member, but is less active because she can't walk very well. I think she was happy that we found her. She was telling us how the members used to come and visit them, but it had been a while since them had come. We went by and picked up more of her grandkids that live with her that had been baptized and we took them to church with us yesterday. Unfortunately I didn't meet the convert of Justin because he is always working or going to school, but maybe one of these days... I had a really nice spiritual experience on Saturday that I want to share. It has to do with the power of prayer and the Holy Ghost. Saturday we had a conflict in our plans. We were invited to the birthday party of a less active and had planned to go. However, it was in the afternoon around 6PMish. We had forgotten it was fast Sunday this week and so when we were putting plans in for Saturday we realized this and Elder Cruz didn't want to go because of the fast and I felt we needed to go, but just not eat to keep this relationship we had with this less active. We didn't know what to do, so Elder Cruz said we needed to kneel down and ask the Lord. We both kneeled and I said the prayer asking for guidance on what we should do since we really wanted to fast. As I began telling Heavenly Father that we wanted to fast and that we didn't know what we should do, I IMMEDIATELY had a feeling of peace and joy and love come over me like I had never felt before in a prayer. I knew that is was Heavenly Father, and he was answering our prayer by way of the Spirit. There is a scripture in the bible that says that the fruits of the spirit are peace, love, and joy, etc., or something like that and that is definitely what I felt! Although this was just a little experience it greatly strengthened my testimony of prayer and that Heavenly Father hears and every single one of our prayers whether they be little things. Going along with prayer, this week I did something I had never done before. One night when I knelt down for my nightly prayers I said a prayer full of gratitude. It was sort of hard at first because we are so used to asking for things when praying. But when I was done just giving a prayer full of thanks, it felt so good and was so refreshing! The mission has really made me more grateful and made me notice the little things in life. Try it-a prayer of pure thanks! It will change your life! Well, I think that's about it for this week. Here's to another...(and it sounds like this will be quite the week for you all...good luck!)! I hope you all are well! Love and Miss you tons and let me know the results of this next weekend! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner!

Monday, October 8, 2012 - Fwd: "Ask The Missionaries....They Can Help You!"

Hola Mi Familia! I am just bursting with joy at this moment reading conference reports from everyone! The biggest news is of the missionary age change! How awesome is that! Guys in Mexico were already leaving at 18 years old and now everyone in the church can leave at that time too! And Sisters at 19 years old?!? I am absolutely thrilled! I received emails and news of many friends that are planning on leaving soon with this new age and it just brings me so much joy! I immediately thought of my siblings when I heard the announcement and what this would mean to them! Alex could go as soon as 2 years and if that is what Elise chooses as well, she could go as soon as 2 years as well! How fantastic, no! Missionary work is really moving forward and it just goes to show how much of a need we have for missionaries in the world and how much the Gospel needs to be spread throughout the world! I am just overjoyed at this announcement and can't contain my excitement! I just want to shout from the rooftops! I absolutely LOVE missionary work! So much I feel like saying, but let's just start from the beginning of this week.... One night I was making a Tres Leches cake...on my own! Yes, how fantastically adventurous and how they say in Spanish Soy Yo, "I am I" or "I am Me!". And at 10PM Wednesday night we got a call and we were told that we had special changes and that Elder Miranda was going to Obregon and that Elder Cruz was coming with me. He stayed up that night packing. My cake turned out pretty dang good if you ask me! I think I want to go into the dessert making business! The sister in our branch has inspired me! So we woke up that morning and I spent the day with Elders in Esqueda and he left to Obregon. My new comp was coming from Obregon and was supposed to arrive in Agua Prieta that night and come to Esqueda the next morning on Friday. Well, since we were going to go to Agua Prieta Friday night anyway, I just suggested that he stayed in A.P. and wait for us to come. We arrived that night and stayed with the missionaries there. All the Elders from our Zone came to AP for conference. In total there were 14 of us and we all had a blast together and became close. Since we are on Pacific time, conference started an hour early at 9AM, 1PM, and 5PM for us which was weird and something I wasn't used to. Conference was soo good! My favorite time of the year! They did set up a TV in the clerk's office of us English folk to watch. There were 6 of us who watched it in English. It was the greatest! I don't think it would have been the same in Spanish. I loved how basically all of Saturday was about missionary work with the announcement of the missionary age, which I still can't get over! How incredible! And Pres. Nelson's talk! "Ask the missionaries, they can help you!" But it is so true! This amazing Gospel that we preach really can help and benefit anybody of any age and in any situation! I also felt like Pres. Uchtdorf's talk really spoke to me about not waiting to be happy, but finding joy and happiness in everyday life. And the one about not being too busy in life...which may have been Pres. Uchtdorf as well, but I don't exactly remember. And of course the choir numbers just inspired me even more and made me not want to wait to be in the MOTAB which is an ongoing life long dream! I especially like the new number Sunday morning I think it was with the soloist! So beautiful! Ah! I just can't get enough of Conference! It was just so good! I can't wait for the Liahona to come out with the talks and for next Conference. Just think, I have already had 2 conferences in the mish and just 2 more conferences and I will be home...cray cray! So yeah, that happened, this morning we just barely arrived back to Nacozari! Whew! What a fantastic crazy weekend! So Elder Cruz, well, I still haven't really had sufficient time to get to know him, but he is from my same generation of missionaries, which means that we entered the MTC the same day, but he in the Mexico City MTC. Speaking of....we both complete 8 months in the mission today! 8 months on the 8th of the month! Crazy! He is a short little guy but is crazy ripped and says we are going to go running every morning and that I am going to get crazy ripped too! Take that Cole! We will be competing for ABs little guy! Haha! So yeah, that's what's up right now. Well, I hope everyone is well and that we are having fun and enjoying life! I hope everyone enjoyed conference and found something that they can apply to their life. I love and miss you all dearly! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner
Elder Joyner in Nacozari
Zone Conference with Elder Alonso
The Famous American Brownies!

Monday, October 1, 2012 - Another Week Gone.....

Hola Mi Familia! Thankfully week one of this new transfer has gone by pretty quickly and just five more to go. I always love reading all of the happenings at home! Sounds like things are plugging along. It makes me happy that you feed the missionaries so regularly, and not just 2, but all 4! Thank you for that! I always hope that you all treat the missionaries in our ward how you would want me to be treated by the members here! It just make me happy to hear that! Thanks for that! That is way awesome about Seminary and missionary experiences! Way to go Elise and Alex you little missionaries! Give references to the Elders! We love that! And it is fun to share the Gospel with friends! Keep up the work! First, let me just finish my package praises. I failed to thank you all for my beautiful Life cereal that you put in my package which just so happens to be my favorite! Needless to say it was gone within a 2 days or so! Also, the Mac and Cheese has saved me this week! After Monday, we ran out of money because of all the traveling we did this month and we didn't get more until this past Saturday which was the monthly allowance for October. So we had basically little food and I didn't really want to take out any money from my debit card (but had to anyway because we ran out of gas and I was NOT about to return to cold water). I was just kind of browsing about to make a shake (which I didn't really want to do because it isn't as filling) and I suddenly remembered "mi a-ma" as they say down here had sent me 2 boxes worth of Mac and Cheese. So we ran to the little store right next to our house and bought a stick of butter and I was able to be quite full the last 3 days of this week when we didn't have money! What a blessing! Thanks mom! Going along with the food in my package, I gave in and bought some cooking oil, but didn't want to buy eggs because they sell them in like 36. Luckily a sister in the rama was nice enough to give me some eggs and I was able to bake my BROWNIES!!!!! Ahhh!!! They were soo good! You just should have seen my face while I was making them! It made me so happy! They turned out superb and were so delicious! Of course I shared because that would just be rude not to and I had to introduce my American dessert to my Mexican comp. They sell American Betty Crocker cake mix boxes here, but they lack the American Brownies! I think he really liked them because he went back for more and even asked for them after breakfast! Ha! Yum yum! So good! Thanks again mom! Speaking of food! Since I have a stove, I got creative and bought some pancake mix and made pancakes for breakfast. They weren't the best I've ever had being Mexican brand (they had like corn flower in them or something), but it was still a decent breakfast! Okay, enough of food... So this past week marked one year since I received my mission call, and now here I am, actually in Mexico and speaking Spanish! It is great! I was talking to Justin and telling him how someone could be talking in Spanish and then immediately switch and start talking in English and I wouldn't notice the difference! It is really neat to get to that point of understanding! It's great! To answer your question, dad, about General Conference, we are going to Agua Prieta to one of the Chapels there to watch conference. They other missionaries tell me that they set up a room for the English Elders to watch it in English if we want to, which I think I might do! I'm not really sure about logistics right now, but I think we may leave Friday night for Agua Prieta, since the first bus here leaves at 8AM in the morning and it takes about 2 1/2 hours to get there; so we wouldn't get there in time Saturday morning and since we are on Pacific time it starts at 9AM here. So that is my thinking, but I'm not sure at this moment. As far as the members go, they will either go to AP as well, or go to someone's house who has internet. I'm not sure exactly what they will do though. I absolutely LOVE conference time! It is my favorite time of the year! I love to listen to all the talks and especially the MoTab Choir! Conference is so uplifting and refreshing and I think I need a refresher about now. And just thinking...after this conference, there will only be 2 more and then the 3 I will be watching from my own home. Crazy! I want to issue a challenge that I am going to do myself. I've always been told that if you have questions or doubts in your life or need guidance or something like that, before conference thoughtfully pray about those questions asking for you to receive the answer in conference and when you watch, you will always receive the personal revelation and answer and guidance that you need. So I am going to come up with some guidance and questions that I have and prayerfully ask for the answers and we will see what happens during conference time. I encourage you all to do the same! :) So this week, we received a few references that we will be working within the next few weeks from a sister in our branch. I think I may have already mentioned this, but this Sister, Hermana Maru, was recently appointed the director of DIF (which stands for like, well, in English, Developing and Integrated family relationships or something like that) which is like DEFACS or however that is abbreviated. It is basically social work helping families and making sure children are living in good surroundings in good homes and are not neglected or whatever. Well, she has been talking to us a lot since she was appointed director and has a few people for us to visit. She has created this program that has been accepted by the city government here which involves different churches and religions here helping rebellious youth or whatever. For our church she has created that the kids that need help are taught standards and morals by us the missionaries and that the kids go to seminary and the whole family goes to church and all. It sounds pretty cool. Soo.....there is this sister in our branch who is the only member in her family apart from another sister who lives in Hermosillo. She is always bringing her nieces and nephews to church though and the kids are practically members. At first the parents of these kids didn't want them to get baptized, but they are opening up more and more. Well, it turns out that one of these kids who is 14 has had a problem with drugs and his parents went to the Hermana in DIF and they started this program with this kid. So he is going to be going to seminary and the whole family has to come to church every week and we are going to be teaching them. We already know the boy wants to be baptized and his sister, we just have to work on the parents, but will come little by little, I'm sure of it. So that is basically what has been up in missionary work this week! Well, I hope I haven't written your eyes off! I feel like I've written too much! I didn't have as many emails this week so it left me a ton of time to write and I just get carried away sometimes! :) Well, I hope all is well! I miss and love you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Friday, September 28, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012 - Changes....JK..ugh....!

Hola Mi Familia! So I am writing today because....we didn't have changes... >:l Yeah....every companionship in the zone had changes....except for us....*sigh* This has been a little hard to come to terms with. I think we both were looking forward to one of us being transferred, but yeah no! I feel like this next change will be a little rough, but we are going to try to make the most out of it. I guess the good thing is that I will be in Nacozari in the Mountains for a little bit of the cold. I guess that is nice, right? Well, we learned a lot of good things in this past conference that I hope to apply and implement to help the work out. I like transfers. They give you a chance to start again and change the things you want to change and better the things that you want to better. Here's to another 6 weeks! So we will get to this past week and everything that went down at the conference soon, but first, last week I failed to mention Mexican Independence Day! Independence Day was the 15th (and 16th ...and basically this whole month) of September. Since Mexicans like to party and all that, the festivities started a whole week before Independence Day! The week before they set up a whole bunch of games like a carnival or fair and little store tents in the town center and every night the center would be alive with people. So this happened the whole week before. The actual day of Independence was the same but they had like bands and more things going on. And that night at 12AM all of Mexico every Political leader of their town or city goes out into the town center and shouts "Viva Mexico!". Since there is a 2 hour difference between here and Mexico City, they did it at 10PM here. We didn't get to see it, but could definitely hear the fireworks afterward. The next day they had a parade at 10AM in the morning (the same time as church) in which all the schools participate in, so there was like NO ONE in church. And it was our turn to speak. Thank heavens that this time I had quite a few days to prepare unlike in the past. I spoke on the trials and tribulations we have in life and how the Atonement helps us overcome them. It was a pretty dang good talk if you ask me. I talked for almost 20 minutes, which I have never done before in my life! Go me! Ha! But yeah, there were only a total of 13 people in the was depressing. Oh well! The next day we traveled to Esqueda to stay with our district and then to travel to Agua Prieta the next day and then Hermosillo. There is a sister in our ward who has a cake shop in Nacozari and I wanted to learn how to make a tres leche cake or something so we were going to do that this day, but since we had to go to Hermosillo we didn't. However, this sister has a daughter in Esqueda who also has a cake shop, so that night we went with her and although there wasn't time to learn how to make a cake, we learned how to decorate! It was pretty neat! Makes me want to go into cake making! HA! The next day we woke up and traveled to Agua Prieta and went straight to the other bus station to travel with our Zone to Hermosillo. We got to Hermosillo around 5PM that night and took a bus to a little place by the offices to eat (Grandma & Papa: we were going to go eat at Carl's Jr. but decided not to. Tough, I know! I wanted to!). Afterwards we went to the offices, but no one was there. Everyone must have gone to dinner, so we all went to the Dairy Queen around the corner! Yes, I know! AN AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT!!!! Oh, it was such a beautiful experience! It makes me want to serve in Hermosillo really badly! We returned and everyone was back and more zones were starting to arrive. I was able to see my old Penasco Zone and friends and made me miss being there. I think that I would really like to serve in Penasco! I already basically know the area! We then left with the zone leaders of one of the Hermosillo Zones to their house to stay. The heat in Hermosillo was death! I guess being in the mountains, I kind of forgot about the heat and when it didn't get cool and fresh at night like it does here, it was not fun! I guess we are spoiled in this zone! The next morning we woke up early to get on a bus at 7AM to go to the offices because the house we were at was clear on the other side of Hermosillo. Well, being rush hour time it was hard to find a bus that wasn't packed, so we ended up just taking a taxi and getting there really - really early. No one was there and so we had to wait for like an hour and a half till more people came. Elder Castro was there and it was really great to talk to him and see how Sonoyta was doing. At the end of last change, I was so ready for a new companion, but I really miss him actually. We had fun as friends. Unfortunately it wasn't the whole mission that came, just the zones from the north. I was really hoping to see Elder Melchor, but since he is in Guymas in the South, I didn't get to. For the conference, first Pres. Hernandez spoke to us and then Elder Alonso from the Seventy. I thought that it was just going to be an area seventy, but it was an actual seventy from Salt Lake. He was so awesome! He served in this mission as a missionary quite a while back and was telling us a bunch of stories. We talked about so many things, but focused on getting references from everyone we talk to. Like you said mom, some missions are not contacting door to door anymore and are just getting references from members, this is what we talked about. Everyone knows someone that could benefit from the message of the Gospel. And it is so easy to get references just by asking members. This is cool: we did a little something. I don't remember exactly what we were talking about, I think we were demonstrating how everyone knows someone. Elder Alonso told us to take out a piece of paper and write the names of 3 people: a friend, family member, and neighbor that we would like to see baptized in the church. He then took all the papers and said that he was going to take these names to his meeting in the temple with the First Presidency next week and that they are going to say a special pray for the names. I can't remember what he exactly promised us, but it was something along the lines that at least 1 of those people that we wrote down would be baptized. It was really neat. It was such a great conference! And I learned so much that I want to change and apply to really help the work. Afterwards they fed us lunch and then we went on the bus station back to Auga Prieta. We arrived around 10PM at night. We stayed in a house that is in an area that is currently closed, but the mission still pays rent so that one day they can open the area again. Unfortunately they didn't pay the electricity so there was no light, but it was just overnight so it was all good! We then returned to Nacozari Thursday Morning and that was the trip....whew! So my package....yeah....I got one....just not the one that had my shoe....! Thanks for all the food though! Yum! I made my shells and cheese that night and boy oh boy was it good! I wanted to make the brownies, but haven't really felt like buying a ton of eggs just to use one and a whole bottle of oil to use just a little bit. I will probs give in soon enough though. Thanks for all the Cliff bars! My favorite! It is okay to send other flavors besides just chocolate chip! Not too much happened the rest of the week. We had a "Mexican Night" activity at the church Saturday. We just cooked a "Carne Asada" tacos which are the best tacos ever. And Sonora is really famous for Carne Asada. It is the best in Sonora, apparently, than all of Mexico. And boy is it good! :) Well, that about raps this week up for me! Whew! I just have one more little add in! I would like to encourage all who read this to think of someone who could benefit from the message of the Gospel. Everyone knows someone who could benefit....a friend, family member, or neighbor. Everyone knows someone. Give this reference to the missionaries! We LOVE reference and thrive off of them! They give us more people to teach and make us happy. You will find that doing this little deed with make you happier too by fulfilling your duty as "every member a missionary"! Do it! Missionary work is great and "how great will be your joy" if you help someone find the truth! I love and miss you all tons! Thanks for all of your love and support! Yo se que vive mi Senor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, September 17, 2012 - Here we go again!

Hola Mi Familia! It is crazy how fast the weeks fly! Seems like days can last for a lifetime, but weeks go by in the blink of an eye! This seemed to be an especially interesting and good week full of lesson and helping people. So something exciting! We are going to Hermosillo tomorrow to have a meeting Wednesday given by an Area Seventy. I'm not sure if it will be the whole mission at one time, or if they will split it up by zones...we will see! So that should be fun! Yeah mom, we are supposed to be getting a ton of new missionaries in the next few transfers, so who knows, I could be training soon! By the time January comes around a lot of Elders will have gone home and the mission will be quite young which is what I think Pres. Hernandez wants. He is trying to clean and tidy things up and get us a little more stricter and straighter! Sounds good to me! Speaking of new missionaries....another transfer is almost over! Just one more week! Thank heavens too! I am ready for some changes...hopefully! So it may not be until Tuesday till I write again. But we will see what happens. That's quite hilarious about that kid helping at the Football game! Little busy body! I'm sure he was quite good! Ha! That is quite hilarious about family home evening prayers, dad! It does bring back memories and good that Cole takes command of things! Ha! Does Cole's email work yet? So to start of the week...we got our tank back and I have been enjoying HOT WATER again for the past 7 days!!!!! Oh so wonderful! 4 weeks of bathing in cold water has not been fun! It was quite a different experience and it took a few showers for my body to get used to warm water again! But oh, it is so lovely! So we have been a few weeks out of August now, the hottest month of the year, and finally things are starting to cool down some! It gets quite fresh and cool in the early evening and through the night! I LOVE it! I have almost forgotten what cool weather is! The sun rays still seem to be a tad bit strong, but it isn't as hot which is nice. Let's just hope this next transfer I don't get transferred to Hermosillo or somewhere south. This week we had a really good lesson with an investigator named Raul. I don't remember if I have talk about him before but he is a guy who contacted us the in street one night when he was drunk and said that his ex was baptized and he wanted us to come and help him "feel good again"(most likely referring to the Spirit). So have visited him one time before and left a pamphlet of The Restoration for him to read. When we returned this past week we were going to talk about The Restoration, but began by asking him if he had any questions about what he read. He said yes and asked, what this baptism thing was and he said that he had never been baptized. So we immediately shifted gears and talked about The Gospel of Jesus Christ. We had a bombin lesson and he was understanding everything and very responsive and talked a lot about what we were teaching. At the end of the lesson, I invited him to be baptized this next Sunday and he accepted! This is really exciting that he has this desire and a date, but first we have to conquer some Word of Wisdom problems and he has to come to church, so we will see where we get to. This week we had a district activity where the missionaries from Esqueda came and the 4 of us (our district is just the 4 of us) worked together in Nacozari to find more people to teach. It seemed to be quite successful and we found some pretty good people that I am excited to work with! One particular experience, we gave a first lesson to this woman who just had a baby and we taught her how her family can be together forever through the Gospel. We invited her to be baptized and she said should would like that. We set a date and asked if she would prepare to be baptized this day. She said "it's that...."and immediately your mind starts to wonder..."it's that what? It's that your catholic? It's that you have already been baptized? It's that what?" She said "It's that we have an appointment in Hermosillo that day! Ha! that was relief! Of all the things she could have said she just had an appointment and that is why she didn't accept the date. We set up another appointment yesterday to meet with her husband, but they weren't home when we passed by. I'm just full of experiences! Another! We passed by Saturday to a little old lady that Elder Miranda and one of the Elders from Esqueda contacted. This visit was quite heavy and depressing. She is 63 years old and was telling us that her husband had just left her after being married for 47 years. He just up and left her for prostitution. And apparently her 2 daughters have abandoned her and want nothing to do with her. She was just crying and crying and telling us how bad that she just wanted her husband back and how much it hurts being together for 47 years and he just ups and leaves her saying she is good for nothing. She also has basically nothing. She has no food to eat whatsoever and has no money. She eats only coffee and a tortilla every once in a while for food. It was so sad! I was just aching with pain to hear her story and of her sad circumstance! We couldn't really do too much for her temporally, but we tried to uplift her spiritually. Luckily a sister in our Branch was just made director of a DFACS (or however this is spelled/abbreviated) and we told her of this woman and she is going to visit her and see what she can do. We invited her to be baptized and told her it would help her situation and she said she would like to, but we don't think she will progress much! Oh the experiences and stories you hear in the mission! On more! We had an awesome FHE last night with a part member family. The sister and her 2 kids, ages 9 and 13, are members but the dad is not. The missionaries have been meeting with the dad for sometime, and he says he will get baptized, but this is not the time. He says he has a problem with bad words and he wants to rid himself of this habit first. We had and FHE and talked about the family and the responsibilities of the parents and then the kids and how families can be together forever. We then watched "Together Forever" a church video that is a bit older, made in the 80s or so. During the video, the 13 year old boy started to cry and was touched by the spirit. At the end we shared more about how special it is to be sealed together forever. We then asked the dad if he would like to one day enter the temple to be sealed to his family and he said yes. One thing led to another and we began talking about baptism and we extended the invitation to baptism and he said that he isn't ready yet. We asked if there is anything we could do to help and he didn't really respond. All throughout this convo, the 13 kid was adding in his 2 cents every so often and you could just tell how much he really wanted his dad to be baptized. Nothing really happened, but we just said that we were here to help their family to be together forever. So hopefully someday soon the dad will accept. I reflect often how much the mission really is life prep! I have seen so much how Satan is attacking the family and how it is important to have a family reared in Gospel teachings to withstand the attacks of the devil. I have seen so many examples that I can apply to my life later on. Like how not to be when I am a husband and father. But also HOW to be when I reach that point in life. It is really crazy the experiences that the mission brings and I am grateful for these teaching experiences. Well, I think I have pretty much written your eyes off (talked your ear off?) so we will call it good for this week! I love and miss you all tons! Stay fresh, but keep it wrinkled! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Another Week......

Hola Mi Familia! Wow! Another week has gone by! Just 2 more weeks and only 1 P-Day and we have transfers again! Crazy how fast those go! Sounds like you are all doing well and not too much new. Same here not too much is new. So we had a Cumple Meses this week! We are now up to 7 months in the mission! Crazy how time flies! So crazy! And so it continues to fly. First mom, I need to tell you that I wasn't able to buy shoes this week. I took out the money out of my card and then went to the major shoe store they have here and there were no shoes in my size! The biggest they have is a 10, I think. I think they said they have 11s, but couldn't find any. I've been contemplating whether or not to go to Agua Prieta or not, but they have the same shoe store there, and I fear they won't have my size either. I just have a big foot I guess. Oh well! I can tolerate and live with what I have for a few more months. So this week we had a really special visit that I want to share. There is a less active that my companion has never visited and he has been here for 4 months and so we decided to go visit her and get to know her. Her name is Hermana Emma and when we arrived she happily invited us in and said it was a miracle that we came to visit. She then proceeded to tell us how much of a rough time she has been having and how depressed she has been. She is in her 60s and about 2 years ago her mom died and it has been really hard on her and she has been really depressed and has had a lot of pressure weighing down on her. She said it has been over a year since she stopped coming to church and even longer, that the missionaries have come to visit. She kept saying how everyone has forgotten about her. After she told us about all the depression and pressure she was having we asked her if we could give her a blessing. It was a pretty powerful experience. I could really feel the spirit and when we finished, she was crying and I could tell that she could feel the spirit too and that she was touched. I then sang a hymn for her "Where Can I Turn For Peace" (You should review the lyrics, they are really quite powerful and brilliant!). She then promised that she was going to come to church yesterday without fail! We told her we would pass by for her so that she wouldn't be embarrassed walking in alone. When we got to church yesterday she seemed a lot more upbeat and like she had the spirit with her. All the members greeted her and it was really special to see all the love they were giving her after she told us how everyone had forgotten about her. It was a really special experience with this visit that we had and I was glad to be able to use the power of the priesthood to help someone in need. I thought a lot how much God really loves his children and how much he really cares and knows what is going on in our lives and knows our pains and needs. I feel like we were sent to help her and we did help her. I have come to love the lyrics to the hymn "Have I Done Any Good In The World Today" and have made it my "Theme Song" or motto. I occasionally go over the lyrics in my head at the end of the day and ask myself the same questions that the hymn poses. "Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad or made someone feel glad? If Not, I have Failed in deed. Has Anyone's burden been lighter today, because I was willing to share?" I love those questions and love it even more when I can answer yes and the end of the day and say "I HAVE helped someone in need!" Mom, last week you asked me what I like most about being a missionary and I told you teaching and testifying of Christ. I was thinking more about that this week and I want to add that I really love listening to people! People are so interesting and have so many life experiences and stories to share! That is something more I love! We also had intercambios this week...I forget what it is called in English....exchanges? Our district leader came from Esqueda to Nacozari to be with Elder Miranda and I went to Esqueda to be with the District Leader's comp, Elder Graves from Idaho! It was nice to have an American Companion for a day and have some American/English talk! I think it would be kind of nice to have an American comp in the future! I think I talked his ear off a bit and he the same to mine. .My comp doesn't really talk to me all....I usually have to initiate conversations with him because he NEVER does and convos don't last that long. And then I seem him with the District Leader who is from Mexico too, and they just have a grand ole time laughing and carrying on...I guess I'm not that great....Oh well.... So I have really wished that I had brought my knitting stuff that Hannah Sikes showed me, because I would love to knit on my down time. I don't want to have you send it, because by now I have forgotten. However, I found a peg-board at the house in Esqueda. Justin has one that he made Aunt Lori a scarf from this last Christmas. We also made hats at EFY for kids as a service project one time from this same peg-board time thing and so I remembered how to do it and I have been knitting again! Well it is different from regular knitting...much easier, but it is bringing me much joy! Ha! I am making a scarf! Hopefully next week I will have a good bit done and can take pictures of my progress! Well, that is about it for this week. Not much to report on! Thanks for your emails! I look forward to them every week! Love and miss you all tons! Yo se que vive mi Senor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Weddings, Babies, and Ghost Towns!

Hola Mi Familia! My inbox was quite full with all kinds of interesting news about a variety of different people... Well, congrats to Brice and Charlotte! I always liked her and hoped that they would get married. Yay!!! How exciting! So exciting thing: just walking down the street and randomly saw some guy wearing a "University of Georgia" T-shirt...ugh What!?!? Haha! It was pretty awesome though! So first week in the house and I'm still with the cold showers.... :( So the family that was living next to us in the last house had the mission's tank of natural gas and had been using it since there wasn't gas in the house we were living in. So when we left we took theirs so that we could have gas to hook up to the boiler. However, when we tried to hook it up, we came to find out that the tank is American and the connections are Mexican so we haven't been able to hook it up. It has been quite a headache dealing with this going to different stores asking what we can do. The family said that when our tank that they are using runs out they will fill it up and we can make the exchange. However, little do they know we are living without gas and hot water still! Sucks! This week we had a nice lesson. Our investigator, Luis, the young kid about 19 years old wasn't at his house one day, but his dad was there and so we taught him. It seemed to go really well the lesson and when we testified of Joseph Smith, the Spirit was so there! Like the experience you told me of, mom, from your mission, and there is something they told us in the MTC choir that anytime you teach about Joseph Smith or testify of Joseph Smith, the Spirit is ALWAYS there! I have put that to the test in the past 7 months and have found that to be so true! Whenever we testify of Joseph Smith, the Spirit is always there. I could tell that this Hermano was touched by the Spirit. In the end he was really quiet and I couldn't really tell if he was humbled and believed it or if he was offended that we said that we had the true church. I'm still not sure, but he said we could come back if he doesn't get transferred to Hermosillo for work. We will still stop by to see Luis, (whom we haven't talked to at all this week--he has never been there) and see if he is there or not. This week we also had the opportunity to bless a new house of a family in the branch. The Elder's Quorum president gave the blessing, but it was still a neat experience to participate in. Yesterday was probs the highlight of the week! A couple in the branch invited us to go to Pilares de Nacozari, an abandoned mining town about 30 minutes away in the mountains that was inhabited by Chinese immigrants in the 1800s. They Chinese were then forced out around the time of the Mexican revolution when it was commanded to kill all Chinese in the country or something like that. It was really interesting. The Hermana had made shish-ka-bobs and we took those and found some fire wood on the way and cooked them there. It was a really neat little place and a fun time! The drive was about 5 minutes on paved road and then 25 minutes on dirt roads in the mountains. It was a pretty drive and reminded me a lot of the Utah Mountains and at times even the Georgia Appalachians. There was a time when we could see the mountain tops and they had a blue tint to them like the Georgia Blue Ridge. Everything was so beautiful and on the way driving back we watched a lighting storm in the distance to one side and the other side a sunset! I couldn't help but think about how big, grand, and amazing God is and we are really nothing compared to Him, but mean EVERYTHING to Him. Something I think about a lot! All in all it was neat afternoon! Dayne responded to a question from his mom: After being out for 7 months now - What is your favorite part about being a Missionary? Being a representative of Jesus Christ and teaching people about the lessons of Jesus Christ and everything about God. Although, they may not accept it and may have hard hearts, I still love teaching! Well I think that about does it for me this week. It is crazy to think that we are half way over with this transfer and there are only 2 more P-days until the next transfer! Crazy! Hope all is well on the home from! Miss and love you all like crazy! Yo se que vive mi Senor! Con Much Amor, Elder Joyner

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nacozari, Mexico
Elder Joyner loves his new hat!

"He hears every word that I say..."

So I've decided to take my showtune Subject lines and lock those showtunes in my heart and not open it back up for 17 more months. Sorry, subjects will be more general from now on... Hola Mi Familia! Whew! What a week this has been! So the interview with the Pres went fine. It lasted like only 5 minutes...haha...we traveled 2 hours for a 5 minute interview. He just asked how things were going and what was up. Well, the next day (Wednesday) was quite a depressing day. On Tuesday 2 different Sisters from the branch had their mothers die. So we were contacted 7:30 am in the morning Wednesday to see if we could help out with both of the services. There was one in the morning and the other one at night. It was a really depressing day. Everyone was so sad. I have never been to a sadder funeral....The sister and her family were the only members and so everyone else was a mess! It makes such a difference to have a knowledge of the Plan Of Salvation and to know that this life isn't the end and that death is only temporary. Elder Miranda gave a small message and then a few of us members sang Hymns. I was able to sing a little solo of Nearer my God To Thee! It was really nice to sing! Afterwards the Apostolic preacher has his turn to give some words and I could just feel the spirit that we created leave. He didn't say anything bad really, but it was very preacher like and just....bored me really... and then at the end when the family was saying their last goodbyes to the body, the apostolics began to sing some hymn that wasn't as reverent and spiritual as our hymns were. And that is when everyone just lost it. People were crying out of control and just really sad. I started thinking about how I haven't lost anyone too close so far in my life and how it would be to lose a parent or grandparent. Well, after that depressing thingy, I didn't really feel like doing much but sit around and be depressed, but we put ourselves together and went out. Later that night at the other funeral, it wasn't as heavy as the morning. Again in this situation, the sister and her family were the only members. We sang hymns again and Elder Miranda gave another thought and the Branch President was able to come, so he spoke too. Apparently the members liked my solo in the morning, so I was asked to revive it and I did! This was more of a service and it was nice. Once it was over, we sat around a while and then got a ride home. Apparently when we left and the Branch President left is when the other family members called in for their Catholic Priest and that didn't go over too well. Apparently the priest was really disrespectful to the church and his little speech he gave had nothing to do with death, but basically bash the church. They say that he said that the Catholic church was the only true church and that all other churches are just "Cheap little....(insert word of a small store/lemonade stand thing that doesn't translate into English)". He was very disrespect for the sister and her family that were members. I felt really bad. So that was a depressing day, but it was really spiritually uplifting and left me thinking a lot and my testimony of The Plan of Salvation was strengthened so much. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have that there is life after death and that death is a short period and that our Heavenly Father has a grand plan for us and this life is a small part of that plan. How magnificent is our God! This week we found a neat kid! His name is Luis and he is 19. We contacted his house and he was the only one there and we talked to him about the Gospel and about baptism. It was really great! He was really receptive and understood so much. He didn't accept a date for baptism yet, but he said he would think, ponder, and pray about it. I'm sure we had other neat experiences, but nothing else really sticks out right now. Saturday night we went to the members next door and had homemade pizza! It has been a while since I have had homemade pizza and it was good! Sunday afternoon, yesterday, WE MOVED! Thank Heavens! So the house is off on a street where people park on the curb and so when we arrived with the beds there was a truck in the way so we couldn't get them in the house. So we went about back and tried to get in that way, but the door was being so dumb and wouldn't unlock for anything so we left the beds in the back. We moved everything else in only 2 trips! Later we tried to get the back door open again, but is just wouldn't budge. It was getting late and I just wanted a bed to sleep. So I prayed! Hard! And luckily after a few more minutes of fidgeting with the door it opened! God hears and answers prayers! I know it and I testify of it! So all day we have spent cleaning and get the house all in order! It is sooo much nicer than what we had and a lot bigger too! And it has a cooler so we have air and also a stove and oven and a boiler for hot water! No more cold showers!!! Well, we have to get a tank of gas first, but the thought is prospective! I will take pictures to send. I am just so happy and content with the move and feel like these next 4 weeks of this transfer will be so much better with this move. Not only is it bigger, but also closer and more accessible to everything! I love it! Well, I think that is about it for now! I love and miss you all tons and hope all is well! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner