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