Monday, April 30, 2012

Arriving in Mexico (1st Day)

Welcoming Committee!
Elder Joyner with President and Sister Velez
Elder Joyner and Elder Melchor (Trainer and 1st companion)
Sonoyta countryside
Jugs for clean water supply
Scary shower with wires to heat the water

"Move On...

Hola Familia! Wow! This week really flew by quite quickly! I was surprised! It has been an interesting week, a little tough, but okay. First off, the baptism we were planning for this past Saturday with Hermana Eva didn't happen! It was upsetting and frustrating! She is so ready to be baptized and knows the church is true and everything, but she talked to her sister this past week and is now waiting. Apparently her sister who lives in Virigina has been attending and investigating the church for 4 or so years and is ready to get baptized too, but she told Hermana Eva to not get baptized this week and to wait for another month till she comes to Mexico so they both can get baptized together. We have been trying to convince her that it is hard to wait and that she just needs to go ahead, but she is pretty set I think. We even had this really great spiritual lesson with 2 precious members, Hermano and Hermana Lopez. Hermana Eva has an addiction to coffee and loves her coffee and is having a problem stopping drinking....that didn't sound gramatically correct...forgiveness...She gets these really bad headaches when she stops. Hermano and Hermana Lopez had the same problem. They are a really nice couple! They were the first members in Sonoyta 23 years ago! How neat! They gave their testimonies on faith and how it helped them stop. It was a really great lesson! The devil interrupted us though! We were in the middle of spiritual moment and Hermana Eva's son who lives next door who we have also been teaching, interrupts and says Hermana Eva's daughter is on the phone. Ha! We stop our lesson and she takes about 10 minutes to talk to all the grandkids, ect. So that was disappointing with the baptism and all that... We had some other obstacles this week. It seemed as though we have hit a road block with all of our investigators. They just aren't progressing and ....yeah! It is really frustrating! Also what is frustrating is when you plan to go teach a lesson and then no one is home. That is upsetting. We don't really make appointments with people because they don't keep them or something? I don't's just something to do with the Mexican Culture. We may say, "oh we're going to pass by tomorrow, is that okay?" other than that we just stop by and hope they are there. So yeah, no body seemed to be home for us to teach this week. So when we have investigators not progressing... we "Move On" to new ones! Luckily, Friday I think it was, we had a break through! We worked hard it seemed on Friday and it paid off. We contacted a few new investigators who seemed really quite interested in the church and yeah...really interested! One was a lady and her 2 young children and then a reference from our branch president (he always has people for us! He is pretty good about that!), and then another contact of 2 teenage sisters. All seemed really interested and invited us to come back and talk more. We invited them all to church this past Sunday. It seemed we invited a bunch of people to church Sunday and everyone was like "Oh yeah, I'll definitely be there!". However...NOBODY was really upsetting! Oh hey! Speaking on Church on Sunday....guess who is the new Branch Pianst...yeah, me! Ha! The President found out I played piano and now I guess I'm playing Ha! This past week he just handed me the hymns we were singing and luckily I could play most of them, but from now on I'm picking...ha! Oh I hope this goes well....I haven't played piano in a few months, so I'm a little rusty! What else....That is super awesome that you had a stake conference with Elder Perry! So jealous! I'm sure it was good! It surprised me that a member of the 12 did a small meeting like stake conference in little ole Athens, awesome though! I'm supes jeally (Ha! Super jealous!) of Les Mis! Gahh!!! I love that show so much and wish I could have seen in...25th Anniversary Production!!! MAN OH MAN! Was the set not the same as we saw it, dad? I thought I read somewhere that they were using the same set design as the production we saw, with the projections and everything...hmmm.. God luck with the Eagle court! Wish I could be there! Wow! What an accomplishment Alex! Good Job! Have you gotten your learners yet?! :) Hey!....I just got you Eagle when you are younger than I was....hmmm... So about packages and mail everyone: I found out that the Zone leaders go to Hermosillo at the beginning of every month for meetings so I believe they will pick up mail and such then and bring it back. So hopefully I will be able to receive mail and packages at the beginning of every month. So there you go! :) So some pictures I am sending: Landscape of Sonoyta (you can see the Border in one of the pictures in the background! Ha! ), our shower and the electric cords that heat it, our water jugs, whatever else I find on my camera... :) Thing are going pretty well. I am getting more and more comfortable. It gets better everyday. I am understanding a lot more too which is good! The work is going! I love being able to preach the gospel every day and tell people of Christ! I love and miss you all so much! I can't wait to talk to you 1 WEEK from this THURSDAY! Exciting! Don't schedule anything that day! :) ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, April 23, 2012

"We'll open up a restaurant in Santa Fe..."

Hola Familia! So the subject line really has nothing to do with this past week...ha! The grocery store here is called Santa Fe though, so everytime we go there or pass by that song always comes into my head. Most of you will not know what song, but that's okay! This is more for my enjoyment and my nerdíness...oh musical theatre references in everyday life! I love them! They happen often...anyway.... Where has this week gone? It went by surprisingly quite quickily! First off, I need to correct a fact. I said in my last email that 1 peso is equal to $12 American dollars, however, it is the other way around. $1 American Dolar is equal to 12 pesos. So we get about $1,400 pesos a month, plus since we live in a pueblo or little town and not a city, we get an extra $300 in the middle of the month. So that equals out to about $157 American dollars a month? If I remembe correctly? :) IT IS HOT!!!! Ah! I'm dying! My body needs to get used to this! And apparently this isn't the worst. June, July, and August are coming...yikes! This week...well, the past few days, starting around Thursday or stomach/digestive system and I have been at war with one another! Oh it has been not fun! This continued and finally today Hermana Velez, the president's wife, told us to go to the doctor. So we go to the doctor here in Peñasco. He speaks some English luckily and takes me back. He sticks me with some needle and says that I will feel a little tingling in my head, but the symptoms will go away. And it did a few minutes later I felt better! He gave me this big perscription that requires taking multiple pills a day for the next 10 days or so. One is supposed to be for parasites in case of someting...I don't know. So we will see how that goes... We were sad to find out upon returning to Sonoyta from our P-day in Peñasco last week that the Martinez family that we were teaching--the one sister who had the dream...remember?-- Had up and left without telling anyone. They were out of work and staying at the Branch President's motel until they could find work, and we were teaching them there. But when we went to teach them, the weren't there and the Branch President said he found their room empty and they just up and left without telling anyone. Who knows, maybe they found work. That was disappointing, I was excited to work with them and they seemed ready! Hopefully they will run into missionaries else where. We do have a baptism planned, though, for this coming Saturday the 28th. Hermana Eva, who is in her 70s has a baptism date. That is super exciting! There is an obstacle though. When she was younger she had a bad experience with water and now has a phoebia of water. So we are going to have to work something out. We plan on have a small chair in the font she can sit in and then just dunk her head forward and back up. It is the same symbolism motion of being born again, just a different and more comfortable way for her needs. I don't know if I told you about the family named Gaitan. One day while we were waitng outside a store for our food to cook, this man in his car was parked at he side of the road and honked and wanted to talk to us. He noticed we were dressed up in missionary attire and wanted to know who we were. He also noticed that I was not Mexican of course... ha! We explained who we were and I explained what I was doing in Mexico. He was impressed and we took down his address to go visit him. What a way to contact! They come to us! Ha! Well, addresses, really don't mean anything in Mexico. It is just a general description of the area they live in. We tried finding them, but couldn't. Luckily, when we were walking home one night we saw a place that was more like the man described. We stopped and it was them! That is super exciting! We told them we would visit them later this week. This week we also had a really great experience. Well, I had a really great experience. We watched the "The Restoration" video with one of our investigator families. Even though it was in Spanish, I could really feel the Spirit there testifying of Joseph Smith. It greatly strengthen my testimony and reminded me why I am here and what I am doing! I loved it! On Thursday we had a Zone Conference. Appartenly they aren't very common? But it was nice to be with the President and his wife! Ah! I just love them so much! They are really the greatest! The best thing was, my comp and I got to spend an extra 4 or so hours with them eating lunch and shopping for new beds! It was a grand time! It was be sad to see them go in July. And we have new beds! Ah! So nice! So much more comfortable than what I had, where I could feel the springs in my back! Ha! I have been thinking this week about how much we take for granted in the US. Like beds, and houses, and just everything! Basically all the homes here, since it is a small town and not a major city, are super small and have concrete floors, or dirt if they are really poor. We are lucky enough to have tile! It is crazy! I meant to take a picture, but our water is heated by electricity. So there are 2 electric wires leading up to the shower head. Appartenly if you get too close you will get a shock. I haven't had the desire to test that theory...ha! Oh! We received mail at our Zone conference too! So Holly had sent a dearelder to me back in February and she selected "Mexico Hermosillo" instead of "Provo MTC". So I just now got that dearelder! Ha! So to answer your question we don't get mail very often. Only like zone conferences, which we never have, or if we go to Hermosillo maybe? I'm not exactly sure. We may get mail at the beginning of every transfer? I really have no clue? That is why email is better because I get it faster and can respond faster. There is a little post office in town and I guess all I need are US stamps to mail and I'm good. I have a bit, but maybe I should have stocked up more before I left. Oh well! I'm not sure I will be "snail mailing" too often...but yeah, we don't get mail too often at all I believe. We don't have local addresses because...I don't know? No one has mailboxes and I guess they just don't have a need. So everything goes to the Mission Home. What else, what else, what else.....OH!!! Remember when we talked on the phone and I was like I'll talk to you in a month. I didn't know that it would literally be a month. Mother's day is a different day here in Mexico, so we will be calling in 2 and 1/2 weeks or so on the 10TH OF MAY! It is a Thursday, not a Sunday, so mark your calendars and get ready! Maybe I will have more info later? :) I attached some pictures. I meant to take some during the week of the landscape of Sonoyta and where we are working and more of my apartment, but didn't get around to it. Here, we have a little view of the Casa de Oracion or our "chapel". Except it isn't a chapel...I'm attaching the kitchen area and the back with the soccer field. I didn't know if it had been properly dedicated, so I didn't take any pictures of the chapel area just in case it wasn't appropriate. Also, there are pictures of an activity we did last week that I told you about with the family whose mom is a catholic leader in the church. Apparently she will be done teaching some class she is teaching to kids about baptism in June, and that is when we are going to try and snatch her! When her obligation is over! They really need to get baptized and go to the temple and be sealed! They are such a great family. Lastily, Me and my comp and some of the boys in the branch after church. Enjoy! Well, I hope I haven't left anything out and that you have enjoyed this novel...HA! I write too much! Sorry everyone, except mom! I know she loves it, and the rest of you are probably saying "I wish he would hurry up and end this" or are just skimming! Ha! I know, I write too much and like to explain a lot of now for instance...I'm rambling....This is a problem with journal writing: I pour out my soul and feelings and take up a lot of paper. I think I would make all 2 years on the special paper I have...I'm not even sure why I'm telling you this...I should stop now.... Well, it sounds like you all have had a good week! Thanks for all the emails and keep them coming! They lift me and make me feel closer to home! I love and miss you all tons! Just 2 and 1/2 weeks or so and I can hear your voices once more! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Paciencía Y Fe...."

¡Hola Mi Familia! First of all...."¡Féliz Cumpleaños Papi!" Sorry, I meant to say that in my letter on Friday, but trying to fit in all the deets I thought you all might want to know! These last few days have been a blur! I don´t remember what day was what, so I will try and pick up where I left off... So we had The Restoration lesson with that one family, The Martinez family with the mom who had a dream. They agreed to be baptized just like I thought, but one problem that could be an issue in the future. The Mom and Dad are not married. I´ve come to find out that that is a big problem down here. So many of our investigators have "spouses" and children, but they aren´t married. I think my companion said it costs so much is why. So many of our lessons this week was focusing on the importance of marriage and getting them to pray and consider getting married. It is difficult! Friday night say the least... There is this family, this really, really great family--The Armenta Family--and they have been meeting with the missionaries for a few months and I think from what I understand from my companion is that they like the church and belive it´s true or something and they like the Book Of Mormon. They especially like the Hymns and my companion and his previous comp even gave them a hymn book and CD and they listen to it and love to sing the hymns when we come for lessons. They loophole, however, is...well, first the mom basically wears the pants in the family. She is the "leader" and if she would agree to be baptized, the whole family would. But here´s the thing: the mom is a leader in the Catholic church in town! HA! Crazy! Apparently they really like the church and would get baptized if it were not for the criticism of the Catholic church as well as the sister´s mom. Apparently this sister told her mother that the family was thinking of getting baptized and the mom got all upset and won´t talk to them. Even on this sister´s birthday the mom didn´t call to talk. How sad! They are a really neat and fun family that needs to be baptized so that they can be sealed! Ugh! I want that so bad for them, but they won´t accept. Oh, wow, this was all background...well the Friday night wasn´t that exciting I guess. We went and visited them and they are really outgoing like most Latin Americans, and they were asking me all these questions, but the sad thing was, I couldn´t understand a single thing they were saying! I felt bad! It is funny, they like to play around and "discuss" back and forth whose church is the true church, ours or theirs. We went and had "dinner" (Well, sandwiches) with them the next day, Saturday, and did an activity pertaining to the Atonement. We then discussed Ch. 11 or 3rd Nephi when Christ comes to the Americas, which we gave them to read. To close we sang a Hymn and when we were done they wanted to sing another. After the hymns I could just feel the spirit so strongly in that house with that family! Hymns really are the best and greatest way to bring the spirit, I think! So Saturday, I got a surprise! I found out I would be speaking in Sacrament meeting on Sunday! Yay! >:l Yuckily I had those "5 Minute" talks in Spanish we had to write in the MTC every sunday, so I had about 7 or 8 to choose from! I chose to speak on the Doctrine of Christ and how it relates to our purpose as missionaries. On sunday we went and picked up 2 of our investigators for church, Edgar, an awesome 12 year boy, and his sister 10 year old Yenny (Jenny). We got a ride to church from the Ward mission leader. Church was really great! I loved it! I especially love the members here! They are really the best and are so kind and love us a lot! We had about 30 people including kids at church. It was nice! My talk went really well, and after my talk we had an investigator, Jose, show up. I thought for church I would surely be asked to play piano since there is no one who plays, but luckily I wasn´t! We sing with CDs instead! Ha! For Sunday school, my companion and I took our investigator, Jose, and went and taught him about baptism. Jose is an interesting fellow. He is 23 and homeless. He also likes to get off topic? When we teach and ask him questions, he will respond and go off on a rant about something. It is funny because I don´t understand any of it! And I can tell he does it because my comp has to bring it back in! He met with some missionaries somewhere else I believe. He sits outside the grocery store selling candy and so the first night I got here, he took us aside and said he wanted to meet with us. We taught him about baptism sunday and he agreed to be baptized! After church we went to the ward mission leader´s house for lunch! He is a great guy! Basically a single parent. He and his kids were baptized, but his wife wasn´t. Apparently, his wife is a little crazy! She drinks and smokes and doesn´t like the church I think? She recently moved out with a neighbor because of her smoking and such and so he basically takes care of his 4 kids by himself! He´s a cool guy! After lunch, we visited some less actives with him and then returned to our house to pack up for the next day. Since we are the only elders in Sonoyta and there is nothing to do there, we go to Puerto Peñasco for P-day. Puerto Peñasco is that town we came to on the Bus from Hermosillo to get another bus to Sonoyta. It is an hour away. We are staying with 4 other elders in our district. They have a super nice and really big house. Well, no surprise since they are in the city. This morning we woke up at 5:45AM, went to the Gym, then we went to play soccer....FOR 3 HOURS.....I could do it for 1, but these people love thier soccer! I got tired after an hour and sat out. Waking up early every P-day and playing soccer for 3 will I survive these next 12 weeks?! After we came back to their house and chilled for a bit and then went and ate lunch and did their grocery shopping. I got a little sun this week, so I tried to find Aloe Vera, but they don´t have it down here. It was hard to find! We had to go to a pharmacy. I´m still not sure if I have the right stuff, but we will see how it works out. We will return to Sonoyta early tomorrow morning. To answer some questions.... I don´t have a local address for mail and so you will just have to give people this mission office one. However, I hear we don´t get mail often, especially since we are 8 hours away. I think like once a month or every couple of months? I wouldn´t know seeing as how I just got here....If people want my address, just give them my email, since I will get that quicker, but tell them to leave their address so I can write them back. I don´t know how well the mailing system is here, but I will try and send some letters to some I haven´t responded to. But I haven´t had any time.Oh and just so you know if you ever send packages, you may have read this, but pictures of Christ and the Virigin Mary on all sides and all around it. I guess Mexican postal gets superspicious and won´t mess it a "religious" package! Oh exciting news: The president is supposed to be coming to sonoyta this week to buy us new beds and me a new desk (since the one I have is just a wood plank....). Thank heavens too! The beds we have now are not comfortable at all! That´s my week! Hope I didn´t leave anything out....things are getting better slowly and little by little I just need to remember "patience and faith"! Love and miss you all dearly! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sonoyta, Mexico (on the border)

1st Area: "Sonoyta Apartment"

  Ya gotta love the motorized wheel chairs for scripture study!  What fine furniture!

"What Am I Doing Up On The Roof...?!"


Wow! Where to start...Well, I'm in Mexico! Today isn't my P-day. My P-day is still on Mondays, but my comp didn't get a chance to email his family on Monday because of dropping off his other comp and picking me up. But we get to email today. So I will try and tell you as much as I can and then the rest will be a continuation on Monday, yeah?

It was absolutely wonderful to talk to you all on Tuesday! It sounded like you had loads of fun! I'm quite jealous! So here is my story:

For those who didn't hear, we had to wake up at 2:30AM for our 7AM flight! It was brutal! At the airport I got to call the fam and we left for Phoenix, our layover till Hermosillo.

After we get off the phone in Phoenix, we start to load the plane and it was interesting because we came to find out that the plane was a REALLY REALLY SMALL plane! We had to walk onto the tar-matt and ascend stairs to get on it. You know, like you see in the movies! Ah! It was crazy! I counted: only 36 or 37 seats! And I was stuck in the very back. I unfortuately couldn't sleep much on that ride. Nerves/small plane/nerves/too hot...ect. As we fly over Mexico, I look out and see nothing but desert! How crazy! I can't really see any little towns or anything. Just desert! I think to myself: What have I gotten myself into?!

When we arrive in Hermosillo, it is a small little airport and we have to go through immigration and customs and all that good stuff! They have this button that you push that determines if they will random check you for customs. Luckily I didin't get checked. My bags were too heavy and too packed to get checked! After that, we walk through these doors into the main aiport area and who do I see? A Cute little Mexican Mission President couple looking at me! They had the biggest smiles on their faces and warmly welcomed us and gave us hugs (well, the president did, of course his wife couldn't). Ah! I just love them so much! They are so precious and cute and soo nice and just the greatest! You were right dad, they are leaving in like July or sometime. That will be sad! I want to have them my whole time. :( I would compare them to a spanish version of the Whitings! So great!

The assistants and secreataries load up our stuff in the mission van and we ride with President Velez and his wife to get something to eat! My first REAL Mexican food Experience! We go to this restaurant and President Velez orders for us. He orders Horchata which is the yummy drink made from Rice, milk, and cinnamon! Let me tell you tastes even better when it is authentic and from Mexico! We have a big platter of tacos and quesadillas and steak and chicken! It was good stuff! I was getting full, but everyone else was still eating, so I kept eating just to be nice and get my fill, you know? I stuffed up! I got so full! But it was good!

We then traveled to the mission offices! The office is right by the temple and it is quite beautiful temple! I love it! We take pictures outside, which they said they were going to email to you, so hopefully you get them. And then we go inside and meet our trainers! My companion's name is Elder Melchor! He is from Mexico City! He is quite a funny guy! He knows the tiniest bit of English and it is from listening to American music! It is quite funny! He sings American songs all the time and his english cracks me up! He is a great guy though! It was time for a new companion!

Inside the offices we have a meeting for an hour and a half or so and discuss the mission and the new program we will be doing with our trainers. It is a 12 week program where we have an extra hour of companionship study everyday and supposedly at the end of those 12 weeks, We should know enough and be good enough to be trainers ourselves! How crazy is that!?!? After, we find out where we will be serving. One companionship is staying in Hermosillo, one is going to Obregon, and then us....well we are assigned to Sonoyta. Sonoyta is like the farthest north in the mission. Right smack close to the border! I see the border everday actually while walking around! It is crazy to think I am just yards away from the USA! Sonoyta is 8 hours away from Hermosillo, and so the other companionships leave for their areas and we stay the night at the offices with the assistants and secretaries! We sit around a bit and have nothing to do  and my comp calls President Velez and he says we could go do a session at the temlple! Crazy! Well, the temple was absolutely beautiful inside! I love it! The Temple president was at the recommend desk and saw my name and I guess he said he knew Crandon. I asked to listen to the session in English of course! Ha! And after that...well, it didn't go too well, is all I have to say. You can probably think about what I am talking about! Ha!

We come back and someone has brought sushi for dinner. In Mexico, they usually don't eat breakfast or don't have much a breakfast, but they have a big lunch at like 2PM, and dinner at like 8ish. I don't really like sushi, but I ate it anyway just because it was food and I didn't want to be hungry. I think it had some Lengua in it... (cow tongue...) I don't know for sure though. We get to bed and the next morning, we load up all my luggage and take a taxi to the Bus Station. These two days were quite rough! I could barely understand anyone, even the assistants and everything was just different and was tough! Still is a bit, but a little better?

We take a charter bus to Puerto Peñasco, which is a town on the coast, an hour away from Sonoyta. We had to go there since there wasn't a direct bus to Sonoyta since it is quite smaller and yeah...Along the ride we have quite a few stops. One of which was a check point where we all had to get off the bus and run our bags through X-ray machines, looking for drugs I guess? We had 2 or 3 more along the way, but we didn't have to get off. Just National Guard looking people came on and walked around looking for suspicious people I guess?

When we finally arrive at our stop we wait for a bit for our zone leaders to come get us to go eat. This was about 3:30 in the afternoon. They got tied up and couln't come so we went across the street on our own, luggage and all, to a food truck type thing. We order Tacos! Carne Asada and Tacos Al Pastor! Que rica! They were soo good! The best tacos ever! I loved them! We then had to take another taxi to a different bus station that would take us to Sonoyta. We get on that bus around 5PM. Well, it isn't really a bus, more like a 8-14 passenger van. We have an hour drive and I just fall asleep. Upon arriving in Sonoyta, I wake up and start looking around and for the 1st time I think, maybe this won't be so bad! I still think "What I am I doing here?" and what have I gotten myself into, but I did feel some more comfort. When we arrive, we meet the branch mission leader (there is a branch of maybe 35-40 here and it there isn't a chapel, but a casa de oracion or house of prayer.) and he takes us to our house and then to the grocery store to pick up somethings. Luckily my companion has been in this area for quite a while so he knows everthing! The store was really nice! I found a lot of American things! :)

Afterwards, we go back to the house, I unpack my stuff and to bed we go! They next day, yesterday, we the first day working! Just from one day, I absolutley love the people here! They are great! We visited some great investigators and members! There is a laundry mat owned by a member directly across the street from our house, so luckily we get to do laundry there for free! Yay! None by hand! Yesterday we went and visited this family, where the Mother had had a dream a while back about heaven and St. John and talking with the Lord or something. It sounded interesting and inspired! This family is not from here and they are living at the Branch President's motel! We go and talk with them quickly and set-up return appt. for today. She was so sweet! So receptive! I bet so will get baptized no problem! She seemed like one of those who have been prepared for us to find and teach! I love it!

Yesterday we also had an encounter with Canadians who have a house down here....yeah...weird! It is 2 older gentlemen who are members. They don't speak Spanish so I was able to speak English! Ah! So great! But they weird thing was whenever they talked to me, I tried to reply in Spanish! Ha!

We had pizza for lunch yesterday and we are doing to a member's house today. Lunch is the big meal when we eat with members usually everday. Ah! So much to say, so little time. I will continue Monday.

It is super weird! My teacher said you have to become comfortable being uncomfortable on your mission. It is really hard, but getting better? I can't understand ANYONE!!! I can a little with my comp....enough at least! I am attaching some pictures. I should have taken more for you. Sorry, I will work on that. Well, yeah....hopefully it will get better soon. It is better when we are out working! The mornings when we study and I am left to myself and my own mind is when it is hard and I feel a little homesick. But, it will be okay.

I love and miss you all tons!

¡Yo Se que vive mi Señor!

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Joyner

Dayne Is In Mexico!

Dayne is now in Mexico!

To write him you can still use, but there are new instructions:
Go to the home page. In the drop-down menu, select the Mexico Hermosillo mission and click, "Write Letter". Fill in the required information and write your letter! When you are finished, click send! It's as easy as that!

"When The Sun Goes Down..."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Oh my....Just to let you know this email probably won't be too long! Busy day ahead! :)

Hola everyone!

It is hard to believe that my time at the MTC is up and that the sun is going down on this part of my adventure and that tomorrow I will begin a new adventure, in a new country, with a new language, and a new culture! Thoughts at the current moment: So excited, yet scared and freaking out and nervous, and ecstatic and ready to baptize and work so hard that I will be exhausted but it will be with it and eat some Mexican food and learn some spanish and work hard and change lives and....yeah! ;)

My inbox was bursting with emails this morning! Thanks everyone! It was nice to hear from Lindsey, Jordan Richey, Terri, Stephanie, and Mom and Dad today! Plus a nice little delivery from Holly and Aunt Glenda this week!

So my we found out last email I was going to the Mexican Consulate (I learned how to spell it!) in SLC yeah? So we board a bus with the 6 of us in our district who are going to Mexico with about 12 others or so. When we get there we do a lot of just waiting around and finally some church travel people show up and we begin the process of doing...stuff? Haha! They take our picture and fingerprints and then we just sat and waited for a while, while they were on the phone with Mexico City fixing a problem. After about almost an hour of waiting we begin signing papers and then we board the bus and back to P-town. It was kind of weird being there....I sort of felt like I was already in Mexico kind was a little scary...All in all the day was full of waiting around a lot. We left Provo at 12 noon and didn't get back till 5PM! What a long day! But Hey! We have our visas and are leaving TOMORROW!!!!

So the next day (Wednesday) we played hosts for the new Elders again and that was fun! Afterwards my comp and I decided to go to the travel office to see about travel plans since everyone in our district got them except for us. We got them! So yeah, we are leaving tomorrow morning! We have to be at the travel office at 4AM (yuck!) which means I will probably be waking up at 2:30ish AM...not fun! We have a layover in Phoenix before heading to Mexico. Here are the times again, mom, just in case you didn't catch them. We leave SLC around 7:10AM arrive in Phoenix at 7:48AM. We leave Phoenix for Hermosillo at 9:45AM and should arrive in Hermosillo at 11:38AM. So there will be a nice long layover for me to call! So that day after we got our travel plans, they gave us a phone pass to call our parents to tell them about receiving visas and travel plans, ect. Unfortunately we only got 5 min. and had to use our own money for pay phones. I was upset because I used a dollar and right after I got off the phone I remembered my calling card! Blast! I should have used it! Oh well! I think mom was a little surprised and in shock when she answered! Haha! It was great! Sorry it was so short. Tomorrow will be longer!
What else happened this week...we had a fantastic last TRC lesson with our member! The subject was receiving revelation through the Book of Mormon! The Spirit was strong and I loved it! The spanish was fantastic as well!

On Friday, we had In-Field orientation where we don't go to our normal classes, but go to a bunch a workshops. It was actually a lot of fun and good stuff! Since in class we focus on teaching and the language, so these workshops focused of finding people, goals and planning, exercising faith, working with members and a few other subjects! It was great!

Saturday was a pretty chill day! It was our last day of classes and we basically just did interviews with our teachers and chilled! It was fun!

Sunday, yesterday was fantastic! So you remember I mentioned the special sacrament meeting...well it was special! So we had an MTC wide sacrament meeting with the whole MTC (hence MTC wide...I don't know why I'm repeating myself...) and 3 General Authorities came! It was especially special because it was Easter. We had sacrament passed to all of us and they used like 5 sacrament tables and 20-35 Elders to pass to everyone. The choir Sang a beautiful piece entitled "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer". We then heard from President Boyd K. Packer and his son Elder Allan F. Packer. And then Elder David F. Evans from the seventy was in attendance also, but he gave us a devotional a few weeks back and didn't speak. I thought that when they said 3 General Authorities and it was Easter Sunday, I thought for sure it would be 3 or the 12, and maybe one of them being the prophet, but no. That's okay! Pres. Packer was still fantastic! It was said that he doesn't get out much at all anymore and that he wanted to come to the MTC, he wasn't asked, so that was special to hear him.

Before fireside, we had a departing devotional with all those departing this week and the MTC presidency! It was quite nice! For Sunday night fireside, the BYU Men's Chorus came to perform! That was quite great! One of our teachers, the one who was also my RA last semester, was in it so it was great to see him one last time. Easter Sunday was really great! My testimony deepened of the Savior and his amazing, infinite, eternal Sacrifice! I am so grateful to him and for what he did for me and all of us! It is incomprehensible the sacrifice he made, but I am thankful for it!
Afterwards ours distirct just came back and packed. We also wrote in each others journals and just spent time with one another. It was sad.

So this morning we woke up at 2:30AM to see our district off (I don't know if you remember but everyone was leaving today except for us 2). It was really sad to see them go and say goodbye. Now we are all lonely there by our lonesomes. Thankfully today is P-day and we won't have to sit in an empty class without them. We do have class tonight, but our teacher said he would cut it short so we could go sleep! So yeah, my day will just be full of laundry, temple, packing, weighing, packing some more, last minute bookstore essentials, ect. I'm a little is had to leave the MTC with more things that you brought it. Especially with all of our books we received. Oh well! I will make it work!

This short email turned into a long one. I can't never limit myself! Temple time! Thanks for all of your prayers and support! I love you all and can't wait to talk to you tomorrow! What time will you be awake? To all of those who have sent me an email or letter, I will try and write some today, but bear with me. It may be a while before I figure out what the postage is like in Mexico. But responses are coming!

Love you all!!!
¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor!
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Joyner! :)

Monday, April 2, 2012


So we were just called to the travel office and they told us all that we all are going to Salt Lake tomorrow to meet with the Mexican Consolate (spelling)!!!!! WAHOO!!!!!! Hopefully this means we have our visas and are good to leave the country ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!!!!! How crazy is that!?!?! Just think that in one week I will no longer be in the United States! So crazy! I don't know if I'm ready for this!!! Soo crazy!!! BAHH!!! Are you all on spring break right now?!?!? BAHH!!! SOO WEIRD!!!

So I just received your package today! Thanks for the Easter goodies and everything! Also, I hope you are posting this on the blog cause I have a shout out to give!

I just need to say that I have pretty much the best Aunties in the world!!! They are so loving and are just the greatest! You know I received a package from Aunt Deb and Aunt Glenda (She said she plans on sending another one soon), and Aunt Melon sends me letters multiple times a week which I just LOVE receiving! And just today I just received a huge package full of wonderful goodies from the Simpsons which I am excited about and Holly send me an email saying she was sending me some things as well! I just have the best Aunites who look out for me and I just love them!

Also, since I am most likely leaving on Monday it would be best if everyone began using email rather than dearelder or handwritten just to make sure that I get them and that the in between phase I don't lose any mail. And also so I can verify my address.

Well, I will be off and online for the next 2 hours or so if you have any responses or anything I will get back to you as best as I can!

Much Love!

"Sunday...on the green, Purple, yellow, red water..."

(Monday, April 2, 2012)

¡Hola Mi Familia!
¿Como le va?

What a week! How disappointing! I was all excited and told everyone to watch for me and they only show me like twice in two separate songs and I was like in the corner of the top left. Well, sometimes I saw my chin and tie if that counts! Oh well...I hope you spotted the little tiny bit of me...more on that later.

So our district received their travel plans this week! And when I say our district, I mean our district...not me! Ha! Yeah, me and my comp were the only ones who didn't receive them... Maybe they are still coming? We will have to check my mailbox this week, but my guess is we get reassigned. We should find out next week if that happens. And mom you will be happy to know that I think they let the missionaries call home to let their families know that they were reassigned. So maybe you should expect a phone call from me next week whether at the airport of reassignment.

So I did meet Aunt Melon's friend in the mailroom! She was nice and was more than happy to take my extra stuff when I leave. I have a feeling I will be leaving more than I take. I seem to overpack a lot and I have some p-day clothes and such that I feel like I won't ever wear especially since I haven't worn them here yet. So I will just do that.

How are the soccer games going? Cole won any yet? Send me pictures!!!! I can get them on this computer so you don't have to wait to print them just send them! And the ones I asked for last time! Thanks!
How did "Island" go this past weekend? Was it good? That is one show I've always wanted to see! I like the music! I hope you recorded it...! What did Elise end up doing?
Yeah, the Tucketts Matthew was talking about in his ward were Jared's cousins I believe he!
Thanks for the package this week mom and for all the talks and quotes! I love them! Got that newsletter on the way yet? Maybe you could just email it to me and I will try to print it off here?

So when are we going to Florida? Is it this week or next? What are the deets?!? You will have to send me pictures of everthing you do so I can be in the know and feel like I'm there with you all! ;)

Someone has a birthday this week...!!!

So yeah, dad, Elder Branning left a few weeks ago actually. I thought I already told you that? Maybe not. But it was fun to see him here and meet him! Hopefully our paths will cross in the future with school or something and I will be able to get to know him more!

So I am performing my solo today! For the senior missionaries orientation! Should be fun! :)

I have a request! Could you look up the story of how the hymn "Be Still My Soul" and possibly "Master The Tempest Is Raging" came about? I have recently become very interesting in the history of some of the hymns. In choir the directors tell us the history of some of the hymns we sing! It is pretty amazing! It seems that so many are written during times of trial or dispair in the Author's life! I love how they are so poetic and meaningful! you can just feel the emotion in them! Aunt Melon sent me the history of "It Is Well With My Soul" this week. That history matches so many others. The author has so many trials and afflictions in life, yet still stays so true and strong to God and has so much faith! I love it! And most of these hymns I've become interested in are written by non-memebers! I love it!

So hosting! Oh it was so fun! We are actually doing it again this coming week! I was able to host 2 Elders, both from Utah. It was so much fun knowing everthing thing about the MTC and how everthing works and where everthing is and then getting to share your knowledge and experience with someone else. Especially when you know what they are feeling and going through since you have been there! It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again! I love helping people!

Conference! So wonderful! I was reminded a lot this week being in SLC and all of last conference when I went with Stephanie and all the fun times we had then! So we left here around 10AM and listen to the 1st hour of conference on the way up on the buses. When we got there we rehearsed our hymns with the organist that had been assigned to us and just did some general warm-ups. They gave us snacks and let us chill for a bit. We unfortunately missed the 2nd hour of the 1st session. After the first session we loaded the choir loft and they did it by height so of course I was in the back at the top...LAME! We they rehearsed a few times to hear the big organ and for the camera guys. Wow! What an amazing instrument! This was such fantastic experience! So great! After conference they gave us boxed lunches and we headed back making it back just in time for the Priesthood session. After priesthood we went back to the classroom and looked up the session and saw ourselves! It was neat! Did anyone see Elder Archuleta? He was in the last close-up in "Praise To The Man". Yeah, it was crazy because on Thursday during choir rehearsal I was not paying attention to people coming in and sometime during the rehearsal I start paying attention to who is sitting right in front of me and who is? None other than Elder Archuleta! Ha! I've seen him around a lot! It is funny to observe people when they see him! They have to do a double take! I feel bad for him sometimes because people come up and talk to him a lot and one guy asked for his autograph. I'm sure he just wants to be left alone and focused on his mission. Glad I'm not famous....yet! ;)

Did everyone enjoy conference? I loved Sunday's sessions! I feel like I got something out of every single talk yesterday in both sessions! It was great! How did Ms. Linda like it?

Our fireside last night was pretty cool! We have Vai Sikahema come--a former BYU football player in the 80s who went on to play in the NFL and is now a news anchor in Philly. He talked about how everthing he does with his job he didn't learn from school, but from his mission! He didn't even take a news casting class or anything! It was all from his mission. He had with him a guy he baptized and one of his former companions who helped baptize that guy. They had not seen each other in 29 years since the mission. They talked about how much of an impact missionary work had on that converts family and how it has blessed so many generations! It was really cool!

Well, that's about it! "Last week" in the MTC...technically reality probs not...

I love missionary work SOOO MUCH!!!! There is no other place I would rather be right now than here!

I hope you all are well! Thanks for your love and support! Miss you all!

¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor!
Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Joyner