Monday, July 30, 2012

"And I'll See You Fly..."

Hola Mi Familia! This week seemed to "fly" by rather quickly! We would just have one more week left of this transfer, but since we started a week earlier, we have 2 weeks left. A 7 week transfer instead of 6.....I'm already DYING to know what is going to happen. Some say that you don't stay in your first area too long and since I have been here almost 4 months, that I will be leaving. My companion has a history of staying in his areas only one transfer and so he thinks he will be going, but only time will tell, eh? So sorry to say that I don't have anything too much to report on this week. Except we seemed to have had a "fly" investation in Sonoyta this week. Apparently before it rains a lot of flies show up. And it did rain, yesterday, in fact, but this week with a ton...and I mean A TON of flies has not been too pleasant! Pesky little boogers! We had an exciting event this past P-day, last week....some more Americans invited us to eat with them! We went once again to the nice part of Penasco with all the secluded classy condos and beach houses and spent time with Americans! They were all from Utah...and unfortunately Ute fans....but it was fun and once again made me think of family beach vay-cays! One day....maybe we will do it again...? This past week, the 3 youth that we have in our branch got back from a week at EFY Mexico! We had a meeting with the dad, who is our mission leader of the branch, of 2 of the youth and I had them tell me all about their week and everything they did! I was reminded of the experiences of Alex and Elise that they shared with me of their time this year. I was also reminded of my own experiences at EFY. I freaking love that program! It really does help build and strengthen testimonies and I really think I want to be a councilor when I come home! How fun would that be! Alex and Elise, these kids had the CD playing while I was talking to them and I heard the song both of you talked about "Never Be The Same". It is a goodie! A lesson that we had this week that has stuck out in my mind as I have reflected on the week is when we taught and explained "The 13 Articles of Faith" to the Armenta Family. You probably don't remember this family, but I talked about them a few months ago. The mom is a Catholic leader for the Catholic church and they all have a testimony, but won't get baptized because of embarrassment or whatever with their church. We sort of quit visiting them with Elder Melchor, but now Elder Castro has found an interest in them and we have been visiting them again. I really loved going through and explaining the Articles of Faith! It reminded me the things I believe and stand up for. I think my favorite is the 13th. It says that "if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praise worthy, we seek after these things". I had a conversation with cousin Alyssa the night before I left and she quoted this to me and it has something that has really stuck with me these last (almost 6!!!!) months! I have sort of made it my motto in life and I always ask myself before pursuing something or thinking of something or doing something or whatever..."is this lovely, or of good report, or praise worthy?". It has been really good for me and something I hope to never forget for the rest of my life to keep me on track. A little piece of my studies I thought I'd share: I have swiped a copy of "Daughters In My Kingdom", the Relief Society manual or book about the history of the Relief Society, and I have been reading it (In Spanish of course since they don't have English copies down here! )! It is really quite interesting! I find it interesting how it talks about how there were devout followers and disciples of Christ in Christ's lifetime who were women who would follow Christ and the Apostles around witnessing the miracles as well....or something like that. And also the talk of the importance of the Relief Society in Nauvoo and on the trek out west! Really interesting! It makes me appreciate the strong women of the Church and the women in my life especially my Mom and Sister and grandmothers! I love you all and am thankful for all of your love and support and sacrifices you make for me and our family! Well, that is about all I have this week! Sorry, if it isn't much, but not too much out of the ordinary really happened and I can't think about anything else to write about! I love and miss you all soo much and am so grateful for your love and support! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, July 23, 2012 - "This is The Moment"!

Hola Mi Familia! This week seemed to fly by pretty quickly! So this week we continued to see the after-effects from the rain. We couldn't cross that little dip in the road because of the continuous water overflowing and had to ask the pick-up trucks that were crossing if we could hop in to cross. Apparently in Tucson they are receiving a lot of rain as well and it is all traveling down to Sonoyta and giving the Americans problems along the way. Apparently there are other roads overflowing as well before you cross the border into Mexico and Sonoyta. Finally about Thursday or so the water level was smaller and we could pass by foot! Crazy Stuff! This week we received blessings! We had made it a focus to begin helping the less actives in the branch and the members. We made it a goal to start teaching the missionary lessons to the members to help them remember what they already know and what they should be doing. Don't we all need reminders sometimes? And we have a TON of inactives and baptism records of people we don't know so we have been trying to find them and help them come back to church. It is really sad to see people have a testimony and love the church, but won't come because of members being rude or judging and putting on the "I'm better than you act". We have visited many inactives who just let out their feelings to us and I can feel their pain as they tell us of the way they are treated by certain members. It is really sad. I have been so caught up in the fact that we have been teaching these less actives that I have been distraught that we don't have very many investigators. And my comp doesn't like to contact very much and so we only have like 3 or so investigators. However, I found this week that when you help the members and the less actives, and bringing the "lost sheep" back into the fold, that the Lord blesses you for helping his children. We had a lesson we a reference from a Hermana in the branch and the lesson with this investigator last almost 2 hours! We talked about The Restoration and it was really good! Towards the end of that lesson, this investigator's friend walks in and is interested as well, so we get her address, but won't be able to visit because she is out of town for the vacations. Another little miracle, we were walking home and this guy and his family called out to us and we went over to talk to him and he and his family had talked with the missionaries before in Phoenix and said that they really liked the movies the missionaries had. We set up a time to come back so hopefully that may lead to something. Also there is this boy, whose grandma is a less active, but we have reactivated her, and the boy's mom is not a member, but he comes to the mutual and likes the devotionals that we have there. One day we stopped by and taught him about prayer and baptism and we asked him what he liked most about the church, and we thought he would say playing futbol at Mutual, but no! He said that he likes most the discussions that we have and devotionals during mutual. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted, so hopefully something will come out of that. We also began teaching a less active member who we referenced to us from a bishop in Phoenix. This guy's parents live in Phoenix and are not members, but they know they church has good people. This man has Schizophrenia (or however you spell that) and we went to give him a blessing before he went to the doctor in Mexicali for a diagnosis. We also had a lesson with him reminding him of covenants and the Book of Mormon and such. It is so interesting! He talks like kid almost and yet he is so smart and so willing to learn! So we are going to continue to visit him! Sad story! Our "Mama Galletas" as they call them left. A Mama Galletas is like the mom of the missionaries in the branch who is always willing to feed the missionaries and give them rides. We eat with our Mama Galletas most Sundays and she always has my favorite flour tortillas. She is a single mom who is in her late 40s and has two kids, one son who is 8 who reminds me a lot of Cole, and a daughter who is 18. Both of the kids were born in the USA and the daughter has some problems with bi-polar disorder and such and so they are returning to live in the USA to get help. It was so sad to see them go! They were our favorites! The daughter lived 15 of her 18 years in the US and so she we spoke in English all the time! Oh well, I will probs be leaving Sonoyta soon as well. Only 3 more weeks left until transfers and I will probs be the one to go since it is my first area and I've already been here 4 months almost. But we will see..... I have been thinking a lot over the past few weeks how amazing the things that happen the mission! All the experiences that I have had, am having and will have that I know I would not have had in my life, had I not come on a mission! It is crazy the people you meet and the things and experiences that you live through! I swear I have felt every single emotion just within the past 5 (almost 6 :) ) months that I've been out! I believe it is true what they say, that those who serve a mission will return more mature than their peers of the same age who did not serve! I am so grateful for these experiences that I am having! The joys I am feeling, the rough patches, and just everything! It is so amazing! This truly is "The Moment" as the song from Jekyll and Hyde goes! Thanks for sending for that little blip mom, for reminding me of that song! Those lyrics truly do describe the mish! This is what I've been preparing for, for a while and the time of my mission is come! I have also realized how much Mexico has grown on me! I used to say to myself "I would love to serve a mission speaking Spanish...maybe in Spain or the USA, but defs not Mexico or South America" and look what I am in Mexico! But I really have become comfortable here! I keep thinking about how tragic it will be to go home and not speak Spanish everyday and just the things I will miss...but Hey! What am I doing? I still have 18 and a half months left! HA! I've got a little ways....! But anyway.....I am a sensitive person who gets attached to things and people and places easily, I'm sure it will be hard to leave! I better enjoy this time while I have it....end of mini-rant! Until next time! Love and miss you all tons!!!! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Zone Conference with President Hernandez
The Flood
Elder Joyner & Elder Castro
Elder Joyner's Favorite American Breakfast

Monday, July 16, 2012 "Gonna Rain All Day, Gonna Rain All Night....Gonna Rain Today!"

Hola Mi Familia! Whew! Sounds like you've had a busy week! Exciting Stuff happening! Sucks about all the teeth stuff! Haha! Thanks for the video of Alex, mom! It was a nice little chuckle! Haha! And thanks everyone for your FHE video! I quite enjoyed that a lot! This week was also quite exciting and very eventful for me as well! So let's get to it! Alex, thank you so much for sending your EFY Report! I absolutely loved it and just like Elise's I was brought to tears hearing your testimony! It was so spiritually uplifting for me and I re-read it often! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Like one of Papa's favorite scriptures says: "I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in Truth"...well I don't have children, but I have not greater joy than to know that my siblings and my family walk in truth and have testimonies! Thank you! Jumping right to Thursday! We had our multi-zone conference with Caborca (a zone that is 2 hours away that is our same size--10 missionaries) to meet the new Mission President, President and Hermana Hernandez! It was really different at first. It just wasn't the same not to have Pres. and Hermana Velez! And it felt like the new President was holding back? I don't know? Pres. was just so loving to everyone! But they are really nice! Hermana Hernandez is really out going and talks to everyone! We each did a 30 second intro in front of everyone so that they could get to know the missionaries, and she asked us all questions about out life and what how we introduced ourselves! It was nice! I really like her! They are from Uruguay and she is an RM and was a convert at 15. They have 5 kids I think...or 7....something like that....and I think they all may be married. They are an older couple, probs in their 60s? They are from Uruguay which is by Argentina and if anyone knows anything about Argentine Spanish or accents, it is very....elegant Spanish I guess you could say? I guess you could equate it to American English and British English. So it took a bit to get used to their elegant accents, but it was pretty neat! We had the first section of the conference and then a little 10 minute break. I was playing piano during the 10 minute break and one of the sister missionaries came over and started singing to the children's hymns that I was playing. My companion and another missionary came over as well and then Hermana Hernandez. My comp mentioned something that I have a nice voice and Hermana Hernandez asked if I would do a special musical number for everyone before we started the 2nd half of the conference! Of course I couldn't decline a singing/performing opportunity, so of course I accepted! :) However, I didn't feel up to singing by myself without taking time to warm up, so I asked another Elder who is from California who did Show Choir in high school to sing with me! He was a pretty decent voice and I harmonized! We sang "Senor Te Necesito"or "I Need Thee Every Hour". It was quite fantastic if you asked me! The harmonies blended quite nicely! Gosh Dang it! I wish I would have gotten a video. Well that happened. Afterwards, we all went and ate at Flavio's...all 24 of us! I don't know if I've mentioned Flavio's before. It is a really nice restaurant on right on the shore next to the Rocks that is owned by a less active member. This member lets the missionaries order whatever we want and we only have to pay 50 pesos which is like $5. So we go there every few weeks. That night we were supposed to have a FHE night at the church with the whole branch and it was going to start at 7, but there weren’t seats in the vans for the 5PM ride to Sonoyta, so we had to wait till 8PM. By the time we got to Sonoyta it was 9PM and we went to the church hoping there were still people there so we could get a ride home. Luckily the Mexicans aren't very punctual and so they were just starting to eat the dinner by the time we got there and we had a ride home. Now for the fun part! It rained this week! It freaking rained!!!! Ahhh!!!! And I mean RAINED!!!!! I am sending videos and I hope you all get them. I think you may be able to post them to the blog. So Friday morning it just started out a little bit and we were in the Laundry place talking to the Sister that works there when it began. After a few minutes of heavy sprinkles, the sky dropped! It just poured! And there was Thunder too! Oh, you don't even know how excited I got! It was soo much fun! I just ran outside and stood in the rain! Gosh! I miss Georgia rain storms! Well, it came time for the lunch and so we had to leave and we had the opportunity to walk in the rain! As we were walking though it started to clear up and it seem like there were blue skies. We had pizza for lunch this day and as we were eating it began to pour again. And the streets flooded! The power went out in the pizza place and it got hot so we left and went out in walking in the rain and the flooded streets! We went to a store of a member and the member who was working is a youth and she wanted to go with us to the member’s house that we were going to. So we continued to walk in the rain and the flooded streets with the water almost to my knees! When we arrived, the rain stopped. That night when we went back home, we usually have to cross a bridge to get to the other side of town, but they are widening the bridge and so they had to demolish it, so there was no bridge to cross. Since they knocked the bridge, they built a side walk down in the riverbed where a river should be, but there isn't one. Well, apparently when it doesn't rain often, but when it does, it is really bad for the town. There was so much water that the river filled up. The side walk that we use to cross was underwater, so we had to cross the river. Luckily there wasn't a current, but the water was up to my waste basically. It wasn't fun! I almost fell in because of the slippery mud on the bottom! HA! So that happened! But wait....there's more.... So since the bridge is down, there is another road to cross where the road goes down into the riverbed. Well, with all the rain, this road flooded over making it difficult for cars to pass. Well, the next day, we chose to take this route to cross hoping we could get a ride in a pick-up to cross the river. Luckily we did! Later that day coming back, the Branch president gave us a ride in his car and the water was almost up to the open widows of the car! So crazy! So much water! Later that day we went with a member to pick up that same youth who works at the store to go home. We hitched another ride in a pick-up and made it across. However, when we returned to cross again, we got a ride in a pick-up, but the water current was much more rapid and there was more water that they closed the pass and wouldn't let anyone cross. This whole pass is bad because it is the only one from the line to Penasco, so there were a huge line of cars from the border full of Americans going to Penasco and a bunch of people from Penasco going to the one seemed happy....So we left with the member and went to a nearby gas station to eat something because we were all hungry! This was about 8PM at night. After eating a bit we decided to return to see if they were letting people pass and if not, we decided we were going to bunk at the church that night. Luckily, they were letting only SUVs and trucks pass, so we were able to hitch another ride and pass through the water for the 4th time that day! Crazy stuff! And there was the same problem yesterday and apparently today is not different. So moral of the story....when it rains, it is bad for Sonoyta! But it was a fun adventure! Well that was my! Quite full of eventfulness! Ha! Something else that was really exciting! Some members went to Phoenix and I was able to get American products!!!!! They brought me back my favorite LIFE cereal, MMs and Butterfingers!!!! MMMM!!!! Unfortunately the cereal is already gone! :( They also sent some letters for me! So nice of them! Well, I hope you all enjoyed this mini-book! Here's to another week! I love and miss you all tons and hope you are well! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Elder Joyner Likes to Make Tortillas!

2nd Companion - Elder Castro

"When The Rain Comes..."

OH MY HECK!!!! I feel like I'm on a time crunch because I took too much time to enjoy my emails! So let's hope I can get everything out before time is up.... This week started out fun! We went to Sam's Club! Yep, that's right, the same Sam's Club that they have in the United States! An American Establishment! This was the 2nd time going. We went the week before, but I failed to mention that trip. Sams in Mexico is kind of upsetting actually. It is the same, just Mexican stuff and mexican products. So you can't find as much as you want as you would in the US, but still good stuff. We loaded up on cereal and poptarts to take back! Fun times! Just to continue with the good start...we had a tinsy bit of rain!!!! Tuesday morning it sprinkled for like 10 minutes and that was it. That night it must have rained because when we woke up the ground was wet and it was still raining a tad, but not too much. So we didn't really get to enjoy it too much, but a tad. I had forgotten what rain was like! It was so lovely! On Tuesday when it sprinkled we were in the lavanderia washing clothes and I ran outside and just sad in the sprinkles! It was so lovely! I made tortillas this week...again....but this time all by myself! The family Armenta who I told you about a bit ago who are devout Catholics with a testimony, but the mom works in the Catholic church. Well, they found out I knew how to make Flour tortillas (there are 2 types, flour and corn. Corn is more common, you usually eat the corn ones with every meal. However, I like flour better.) and they didn't know how and wanted me to teach them. So I did! I actually remembered how to make them and they came out just fine! So good! For the 4th I decided to have my own little celebration! The day of the Gringos is what I called it and I went around telling everyone and they all wished me happiness! I dressed up this day! I had my red tie, white shirt, and navy blue pants! Pictures should be attached btdubs! How fantastic, no? And that night I treated myself to a Mexican Style Hamburger and "Thrifty" Ice cream from the USA! It was an overall successful celebration I guess you could say? It was quite fun actually! I missed my Americans though! :( No really special experiences to report on this week. Sorry! We have been working a lot with less actives and trying to reactivate. We counted and out of a list of maybe 50 members (there are more, but this list was from 2 years ago almost) there are only about 18 actives....sad! So we are working on reactivation and finding less actives. I need to brag on Elise right for a moment! Alex, I got Elise's EFY report last week, so maybe next week I can brag on you after I read yours. Elise, you really touched me! Let me just say it was really hard getting through that report without tearing up! I felt your spirit and testimony so so - so strongly and it boosted me and really touched me. Some comments....Your explanation on the Class of Christ that you took touched me the most! You description of seeing Christ's eyes and imaging being wrapped in his arms! I just lost it! So special! You did the variety show?!?! Props to you!!! How awesome! Did someone take a video you can send!?!? So was there still the Ice Cream mountain? But it just turned into a food fight? What happened? I think something similar to that happened one year when I went too. I'm impressed you tackled Isaiah! It is so much hard to understand those chapters in Spanish! I fall asleep reading! Ha! I have read Pres. Holland's talk "None Were With Him!" Soo good! The part I like the most or touched me the most is when he talks about how Heavenly Father withdrew his spirit from Christ on the Cross to complete the Atonement or something like that. I don't remember the exact part, so you will have to look it up, but it is deep! A New EFY medley!!?!??? What the heck!! What does this one consist of? Testimony meeting....that is one thing I found too whenever I heard others. People are same age have it so hard and it is amazing how strong they are, and we are so blessed! Pres. Eyring once said something like we should pray for trails to help make us stronger? I don't exactly remember, but quite interesting! What was the video of what you learned at EFY about? Is it for the website? I especially like what you said about prayer! We should just break down the wall and talk to Heavenly Father as if he is in front of us! I really like Alma 37:37-- when we pray the Lord will direct us for our good, not for what is easy in our lives, but for our good. He knows what we need and what is good for us. So that is my rant....thank you so much for sending that! I was so touched by your words and your sprirt! And every time I re-read it I am touched every time! Sorry, this was really short and half focused on Elise. Hopefully more next week? :) Love and miss you all tons! I feel bad that this wasn't very week will be better! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Friday, July 6, 2012

"And It's Gonna Be Another Hot Day..."

Hola Mi Familia! Que una semana esta ha sido! Que Loco! Y que rapido y que lenta en el mismo tiempo! Wow! I didn't know the heat was as bad there at home! Crazy! So you all know a little of what I go through, but at least be thankful that you don't have to be out in it all day long every single day! Everyone says it will just be this change and half of the next when it is really worse and the hottest and then it starts to cool down. And we haven't even reached the tippy tip top yet. I am thankful that I'm in a dry area though and that there is no humidity...that would be awful! I die just coming to Penasco! I think living in a dry climate for most of the past year between Utah and here, I've become accustomed to the dry climate and can't stand the humidity. Just to give you a little idea of how hot it is.....when we come in at night and our AC unit says that the room has cooled down to 82 degrees F and it actually feels cool....Crazy! So the first week with the new comp! How fun this has been! Elder Castro is really quite awesome! My first comp after my trainer! It has been kind of an adjustment because Elder Melchor was very lively and upbeat and loud, but he comes Elder Castro and he is more like myself: more laid back and chill and tranquil. It is kind of nice, but took some getting used to someone not talking all the time and being so loud! We are getting along just fine and I really like him! He is from Nuevo Leon which is in the North Eastern part of Mexico where the city Monterrey is. He is the 2nd oldest in his family and has an older brother that just got home from a mission less than a year ago and he has 5 younger sisters. He has been out 18 months and will go home in December. Only 6 months left for him! The crazy thing is, is he is my same age: 19--I'm actually 2 weeks older than him! Since Mexicans can go on the mish when they are 18 here, he left when he was 18 and will return just after turning 20. Crazy! We have had a fun time getting to know each other and I am excited for this new change on companionship and for this new transfer! This week was all about just showing him the area and helping him become familiar with our investigators. This has been interesting for me because since I know the area, I'm the one who has to make all the plans and what we do every hour of the day. It has been kind of rough because we are lacking in numbers to teach, but it has been good! Hopefully we will be able to find more people soon. We had been working with Marian and Issac, the 2 kids of Marisa, but something sad happened. They both attended church last week and really liked it and we had a lesson with them and committed them to reading parts of The Book of Mormon and praying about baptism. Well, we arrived the next day and found that Marisa was leaving for Penasco that night and that the kids were going to stay with her mom or her ex, one of the two, and so we didn't have a lesson. We returned 2 days later and Marian and Issac changed a lot! Marisa told us that the previous day, out of the blue they told her they didn't want to go to church anymore and didn't want her to obligate them to be baptized. This was really weird and when we arrived this day, they were really different and it was as if we weren't their friends anymore. I'm pretty sure it isn't the new companion because they seemed to warm up to Elder Castro quite quickly, but they Marisa told us this and they more or less confirmed it. It was really sad. We told them that is and was their choice and that we couldn't obligate or make they do anything and that their mom as well couldn't obligate them. But it was so sad! Hopefully we will try and get back in there and see what is really up with them. I think their grandma, Marisa's mom, said something to them. She is very Baptist and doesn't like us at all. So I think she may have told them something that made them not want to associate with us much anymore. So sad.... Also, Marisa wasn't able to come to church this week again because of work, so we have permission from the zone leaders to go with the Branch President to her house and confirm her there. Yes, our new President has arrived! They zone leaders left this morning for their monthly meeting and will meet with him. We've been told that we are having another multi-zone conference with Caborca again next week, the 12th, to meet him! It should be fun! And mom, we had another from our district leave. So in our zone we have Elder Castro and a newbie! Fresh from the MTC! It is always fun to get newbies and to relate with them because I know EXACTLY what they are going through! This one is a lot like I was when I came--very quite and "serious" as the others would like to call it. I try and talk to him though and help him out. It is fun to get newbies in the zone because then I can see my progress and how much I've grown just since I've arrived! less than a week I will be at 5 months which is just 1 month less than 6 months! That is so crazy! That means David almost has a year and Jared and Wesley already have 6 months! June went by pretty quickly and I am hoping July and August will be the same...Get me out of this HEAT!!!!! Well, I think that about covers it for this week! There were elections yesterday for the president of Mexico...quite interesting! I am personally voting for Josefina Diferent for a Diferente Mexico, but we will see how it all plays out....speaking of presidents...any news? Well, I hope you all are well, and surviving the heat. Just remember, I always have it worse and maybe that will make it seem better? Ha! Love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner!