Sunday, December 1, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013 - "Baby It's Cold Outside"

Hola Mi Familia! So it is that time of year where everyone starts getting super duper busy eh? But it sounds like you are having some pretty fun events! Dad, thanks ton for the music you sent! It has helped a lot! We are just going to be doing a special musical number for a multi-zone conference for the first week of December. It will be our zone and one other one. I think we have decided on ¨O Holy Night¨ and we had our first practice last night and it sounds pretty good! I really enjoy putting together quartets and leading everyone and telling them what to do and then having an amazing end result! Well, this week seemed like a busy week and a long week and a little uneventful in the progress of our investigators so let´s see how we did! It has begun to get COLD!!!! I LOVE IT!!!! Okay so not as cold as you guys, but for us the mid 50s is FREEZING for us! We did interchanges twice this week! On Tuesday we did it with one of our district leaders and I stayed here in my area with his companion and my companion went to the other area with him. I don´t really like interchanges because it is a little out of my comfort zone, but I have learned to get used to it. On Thursday we did it again, but this time with the assistants! Once again, I stayed in my area and one of the assistants, who came with me. It was really fun to be with him because this Elder was my zone leader in Agua Prieta and he has been one of my best leaders in the mission I would think. We did some service and found a few new people to teach. So that took up two days of the week. Last Monday P-day was quite a day! On Wednesday was the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution and so on Monday all the schools and work places had a holiday. We went that morning to downtown and met up with a few other Elders to watch the Revolution Day parade. It was a fun little cultural event and they had some neat dances and things. After that we went up the the cerro de la campana and chilled and took pictures for a while. That day a sister in our ward had found out it was my birthday the past Saturday and so she invited us over for a Carne Asada and as always....boy was it good! You won´t believe it, but we had Carne Asada a few more times that week....all in all we eat it like 4 or 5 times in one week! Not complaining...it is really REALLY good but just a lot of times! Investigators... Well, the 2 boys are just STUDS!!! Like I said, they are the grandkids of the new bishop and they are just really awesome! They love us and we love them. They really really like the church and all of its activities. They have been practicing all week with the Young Men and Women for a stake cultural night they had this past Saturday and they said they really enjoyed themselves. They also attended mutual Friday night and we went to give them a little lesson and to play basketball with them. They are excited to learn and have a lot of good questions! I feel a baptism coming on here soon! They just need to want to do it and ask their mom and they are set. Let´s hope they make it for December! We are still teaching this other guy and he is coming along too. He has a date for the 7th of December right now so let´s hope everything comes out good. His family is reactivating itself and his 12 year old sister is being a member missionary! They just have about 3 or 4 weeks going to church, but the sister has invited friends to go each time and she and a friend even participated in the youth cultural night of the stake so that is cool. If everything goes well we should be counting on 3 baptisms for December and all youngins! The girl we are teaching is going through some rough times. She is really really shy and timid and we don´t know what to do with her. The Young Women try to get her to participate but she gets so timid that she doesn´t want to participate. She has at least been going to church and she stays with us the first 2 hours because she doesn´t want to go with the other youth for the 2nd hour, but come the 3rd hour and she is regretting going to Young Women’s. Yesterday was not a good day. Everyone wanted her to attend the youth Sunday school class and she just did not want to, but everyone was very very persistent and she started to get mad and upset and at the end of the 2nd hour called her mom to go and pick her up. We are a little nervous that she won´t want to go to church again because she doesn´t like to be pressured. Everyone is just trying to help her get to know the other youth and to be sociable and comfortable but she doesn´t want to. She could really progress a lot more if she got to know more youth, but we just don´t know how to help her. We will see what happens. Yesterday during church was the Ward Primary Program and it was quite cute! Kids are so funny and just have so much faith and spirit with them! The theme this year as I´m sure you know was ¨I am a Child of God¨ and it was a special theme. At the end of the program the spirit was so strong and it was really beautiful. Primary Children just have so much faith and spirit that we as adults and youth sometimes lose. They also are very bright and have and learn a lot and have precious little testimonies. No wonder Jesus said that we should be as little children: submissive, meek and humble and I would add full of faith! If you ever get a chance just observe the primary kids and it will amaze you! Well, I hope you all have a super fantastic Thanksgiving and eat some yummy fried Turkey for me! I am especially thankful this year to be serving a mission in this wonderful time and to be a part of God´s Army! I am so thankful for you all and for the never-ending love and support you give to me always! I appreciate it more than you´ll ever know! I am especially thankful for my parents and the sacrifices they make for me. I am thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Restored Church and most importantly the Atonement of our Lord and Savior! I know He lives! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, November 18, 2013 - "21......Lucky Number!"

Hola Mi Familia! I LOVED reading my mail today! Thanks everyone for the updates and especially for the birthday wishes! Well, this week was quite the week! Birthday week! Well, of course no week with my compe is a dull week, but this week especially! We started out and continued the week living Aunt Melon's "14th Article of Faith"..."We believe in Meetings....!" We had quite a bit of meetings this week! Tuesday and Wednesday both we had meetings with both Stake Presidents and President Hernandez. We have this meeting every month to report to the Stake President and Mission President how each ward is doing regarding missionary work and the things that they lack and what they need to improve on based on what the missionaries have told us. There are 2 stakes here in Hermosillo and our zone is the only zone that has wards from the both stakes and so we had to go to both of the meetings with the 2 stake presidents. We also had our weekly Missionary/Ward Mission Leader meeting with our Ward mission leader to talk about our investigators and to finalize plans for the missionary activity we were going to do with the ward. So meetings, meetings, meetings! Friday we had the ward activity that we had planned to get the members to invited more of their friends. We did a "Movie Night" and we watched "The Testaments"--a personal favorite of mine! The catch was that the members invited their friends and neighbors and non members to the movie night. It was a small attendance, but a few of those that went were able to bring a few people and some investigators that we had invited were able to go too! The movie went well and the spirit was strong at the end as always. My comp was asked to share his testimony and then we had refreshments and associated with the non members that were there and get addresses! However, there was no on in our area that went that we weren't already visiting. It was nice activity and may have to be done again in the future to get more references. A little update on our Teaching Pool! We could be having some baptisms coming up! There are basically 4 people that we are teaching right now that are almost sure baptisms. One boy is a 9 year old kid and his family was baptized about 10 years ago but have been inactive most of those 10 years. They want to start going to church again and so we are helping them return so that the boy can be baptized. They are really poor (a little ironic for the area that we are in...) and have a hard time getting to church because they don't have enough to pay for the bus, but they have been making their best effort and are doing well. They have gone to church 3 times now and so if things are good, in 2 weeks he could be baptized. There is another girl who is a 15 years old who seems to really like the church! She and her mom were investigating the church a few months ago and they were progressing really well and then something happened the mom became a little saddened and let down by the unfulfilled promise of a former missionary and decided that her time was not now. However, the daughter is still interested and her mom is really supportive of her. She is really shy, well, she is but she isn't and so when we are teaching she gets embarrassed and doesn't want to respond to questions that we ask, but she is really cool. She said she likes church because all of her school friends drink and smoke, etc. and in church she is surrounded by good people who don't do that stuff. She is a little hesitant with things but seems to like it all so we are going to keep working on her. The last 2 investigators are 2 boys, a 14 year old and a 15 year old, grandsons of the new Bishop. My former comp and his comp before me were teaching them and they were progressing really well and loved church and everything and then their grandparents went to Colorado they kind of lost contact with the missionaries. Now that the grandparents are back, they came to the movie night and liked it and came to church yesterday too and are really associating well with the 2 young men that our ward has. So hopefully we can really focus on them and we think that could be 2 baptisms in the next few weeks as well. So Saturday....well what a day! A birthday day! November is a special month because this month I turned 21 months and 21 years! So crazy! Can you believe I am 21 already!?! Cause I can't! Well, the very first thing that happened on Saturday is that when I woke up I got a call from Pres. and Hermana Hernandez wishing me a happy birthday! That was really nice. Later my comp made me a nice pancake/banana breakfast! We opened presents and I put on my beautiful new red birthday tie! I LOVED IT!!! We left to go work as usual but I felt extra special that day because it was MY day! Nothing really happened till the night. Saturday night a wonderful family invited us and the sisters over for a Carne Asada dinner and man was it good! They make probably the BEST carne asada that I have ever tasted in Sonora! It was soo good! They had also made my cake that you sent me mom in addition to another Choco-Flan cake! It was delicious! There was even a piñata included and I wacked the candy out of that thing! It was a really special day and it was probs one of the best birthdays that I have had away from home! It really was a fantastic day! I feel the same haha! I almost think that 20 years was bigger for me, but 21 was great too! Thanks everyone for you love that you sent me on this special day! Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week! Thanks for your constant love and support! Thank you all so much for all that you do for me! I love you! "Keep calm and carry on!" ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner
Birthday Cake!

Monday, November 11, 2013 - That awkward moment when you come home and find a homeless guy asleep in your garage....

Hola Mi Familia! So there are colds going around?! Shucks! That is how I spent most of my week as well! Hope we are getting better! Well, I wasn´t trasnferred. Still chilling here for another transfer. I just have 1 transfer after this next one so I will probs just be here till the end. So this week was an especially good week for me personally for a lot of reasons and experiences so let me just tell you why... No big news to you all, but last Monday I was thrown a surprise birthday party that I kind of already knew about...haha! Let´s just say those who put it together aren´t very good about keeping secrets and I had my hints. So got to the church and there was half the zone there and they told me Happy Birthday. A family had made a bunch of cakes and even food for everyone and so we chilled and ate! And then I got a surprise video! Haha! Aw man! I kind of knew about the video because my comp was videoing missionaries a few Mondays ago and I heard a few being a little too loud and not too secret saying ¨Happy Birthday Elder Joyner¨and so I got a hint. But let me just tell you....I was NOT expecting all the family and friends videos! Haha! That just made my day! It all started when Max came on! Haha! I was like what is going on and then there were others mixed in there! It was so enjoyable and crazy to see everyone and how everyone has changed! Needless to say I got a little trunky that night and had a hard time sleeping because I was thinking about that video! Haha! But thanks so much everyone for that sweet little surprise! I really appreciated it and it made my day! So in Mexico, it is tradition to ¨bite the cake¨ instead of blow out the candles and I go to take a bite of the edge and they smash my face into the cake. It got all in my hair and up my nose and in my eyes and all, but it was all good! Fun stuff! Tuesdays was the monthly Mission Leadership conference with the Pres! It was really good! I always love those meetings! I always leave feeling more inspired and ready to work more! A few weeks ago the Pres went to a Seminary in Mexico City with the Area Presidency of Mexico and all of the Mexican Mission Presidents. He shared a bunch of announcements that he received from the Area Presidency but nothing too big. It was just mainly about safety and things like that. But he did come back with an interesting quote that the Area Presidency said, they said that ¨The Missionary Work in Mexico is in crisis¨. Apparently all of Mexico is struggling with retention efforts in the missionary work and the members aren´t doing their job. But it was just surprising the strong wording...¨in crisis...¨. So that same day we were by the offices for the conference I decided that I just wanted to get my Spanish exam out of the way. It is an exam that you take and it gets you officially certified that you speak Spanish or something like that so you can have a certificate to present at jobs or who knows what for, but fact is that I took it. It is done online and what you do is you select options about what you do/work in and what hobbies you like and what vocab you know. Then according to your options that you put it creates questions that they computer asks and then you have to talk and respond back--basically as if you were having a conversation--and then apparently someone will listen and judge you and you will get the results back. Well, they said it would take like a week to get the results back so I am still waiting. I feel like it wasn´t a very good showing of my Spanish ability because I messed up on my options and put that I had a home business (you know since I don´t currently work ) and it was asking me questions about what I do in my home business and stuff like that. I don´t know...it just made me have to come up with stuff on the spot and I didn´t like it too much, but we will see what happens. You can only take it once so that was that! Friday, we had a zone meeting to share with the zone everything we learned in the conference and then to give our own trainings and practices with the zone. It was nice. I talked about commitments to investigators, members, and committing ourselves. It went well. As far as investigators go... Well, everyone has turned out to fade and they aren´t really committed and don´t want to go to church so we will probs end up dropping them. We are really struggling right now. Our only hope, the one guy we were teaching was entered by his parents to a drug rehab center this week and we don´t know how long he will be there so there he goes. We have a few people that could be possibilities, but nothing too firm. This is by far the hardest area in all of Sonora! Everyone is just so rich and so hard hearted that they think they are okay and they don´t need anything else. I have never heard the word ¨NO¨ so many times in my life as in these past 3 months that I have been in this area. It is really getting kind of old and rough. We know the Lord put us here because he knows that we are the only missionaries that can do it, but it is just rough having that faith that we can and finding the way to do it. But we keep on....hopefully I can have at least one more baptism before I leave.... This week we were visiting with this lady we have been teaching and she told us of a ¨revelation¨ that she had received. She said she saw some photos of some dead people that her son was showing her for his work and as she saw them so got the thought that they were nothing. That was left was just earthly and dust and that we are actually spirits and that we will one day leave our earthly body and will just be spirits. We loved that and taught her the Plan of Salvation. It was special. Keep this thought in mind because I will use it in another experience later on. Friday night we got a little bit of a surprise....we were coming back home and when we arrived at the house we found a homeless guy asleep in our garage! Haha! We freaked out and ran away and didn´t know what to do. We decided we were going to wake him up and tell him to leave and we took out the camera to film. We woke him up and told him that we were home and that we wanted to treat him to dinner. My comp went inside and pulled out some left-overs from my birthday dinner Monday. He was so grateful and we sat outside with him and talked as he was eating. He was apparently from Costa Rica and was heading towards California and he had family members that are members of the church so we taught him a little bit about our beliefs and he was interested. He finished the last of the birthday cake and thanked us and went on his way. It was a crazy experience! How often do you come home and find a homeless guy asleep in our garage?! Sunday was a special day. First we had a visiting Area General Authority, Elder Torris, visited our ward and he spoke at the end of the sacrament meeting. I really loved his comments it was so great and spiritually fulfilling! But the really special part of the day was Sunday night. I don´t know if you remember the experience I told last week about the singing hymns and giving a blessing to a lady with really bad cancer? Well, yesterday, Sunday afternoon, she passed away. She was the mother of an investigator of the sisters and the sisters had been going often to visit the daughter and then they would go and sing hymns to this sweet sister who could even speak because of the cancer. But she did like the sisters to sing to her (hence why we went last Sunday). The sisters went on Saturday night to go sing for the woman and they said when they were saying goodbye, that they lady just held their hands tight and stared into their eyes as if saying ¨thank you for everything¨. Little did they know that she would pass away the next day. It was crazy because I was the one who gave her the last blessing and I blessed her to be comforted with the knowledge that this life was a moment in time and that soon she would be alive from her mortal afflictions. The sisters asked us to go with them to go visit the family and to sing them a few hymns. We went and everyone was there gathered around the deceased body. We entered the room and I had never seen a dead body that wasn´t already prepared for burial so that was an interesting sight. We offered to sing the family a few hymns and they accepted. We sang ¨God Be With You...¨ ¨Nearer My God To Thee¨, and ¨I Know That My Redeemer Lives¨. It was a special experience and the spirit was strong! Here is where the previous story comes in. While seeing the body, I was reminded of our investigators comment that it we are really spirits and that they body is just earth. It was a special thought and I know she was there listening to our hymns. I just don´t understand why Heavenly Father keeps hitting me with these experiences of death, but I can say I am very grateful for them. If there is one testimony (but there isn´t because there are many) that I have obtained in the mission it is of the Plan of Salvation. I have come to really know that this life is just a small moment in our eternal existence. We are here for a specific purpose and soon we will be called home to our God. Before the mission I was completely and totally scared of death and didn´t like to think of it. Now, I can say that I am so comforted and not scared at all to die and actually ready for the day! I´m not saying that I want it to happen, sure there are tons of things that I still have to do in this life, but I know that when it comes I will be ready and will not be scared. I am so thankful for this wonderful Plan that our loving Heavenly Father has given us and I am just filled so much with the spirit to think on it. Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week and have missionary experiences often! Thanks always for your constant love and support! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, November 4, 2013 - Halloween!

Hola Mi Familia! Isn´t it just crazy that we are in November already!? One of my favorite months of the year and not just because it is my birthday month-because the weather is fantastic and it is closer and closer to Christmas! From what you all said and what the Bishop said, sounds like Trunk or Treat was quite a success and a non member magnet! How awesome! Maybe we should have done something like that here...but then again our ward is full of adults so it probs won´t have brought too many kids... Well this week was quite a fantastic week for us! We have had a good bit of lessons and have seen a little bit of progress. Let´s see....a quick update on our investigators.... Our one investigator is just crazy! Haha! There is never a dull lesson with him. Just imagine the most gangsta, ghetto, street kid and you got Him! He is always saying ¨Que Onda Gueros!¨ or direct translastion--¨What´s happening white guys!¨ Haha! He is good though. He has had a rough, ROUGH past and tells us more and more every time we visit him, but he is coming around. We are doing the best we can to help him and he seems to really want to change! I love teaching him because he just pays so much attention to us and is always hanging on our every word and has a ton of questions and is so interested! This week we taught him ¨The Plan of Salvation¨ and he was just MIND BLOWN! Especially when we told him that before this life he lived with God! He was really interested in the spirit world too and just everything really! We need more investigators like this guy! However, he didn´t go to church this week because some family came into town, but we are hoping next week. It seems like the majority of our investigators are fading! They say they will go to church, but they don´t. Sometimes they are at home and sometimes not. They just need to get their acts together or we should just drop them. This next one is one of those. She hasn´t gone to church yet because she says she has to talk to the preacher and resign from this other church she has been going to or something weird like that. She isn´t always there for our appointments either so we will just see how far we get with her. We had put a few appointments this week with a couple others as well, but they have dropped all that we have put. Hopefully we will find them soon. Now some events/stories from this week! Wednesday night we were heading for an appointment with an investigator, but that same investigator found us in the street and told us that he couldn´t that night because his daughter was sick and he was going to get medicine. So another member had invited us and the sisters to their house to carve a pumpkin that she had! It was super fun! Last year I didn´t get to do it and but this year yes! Carving pumpkins isn´t really a Mexican thing so that is why they had to bring it back from Arizonia. It was a lot of fun! I will send pictures! Thursday was Halloween! I wouldn´t say Halloween isn´t as big here as it is there, but it is still done. It was fun to be out in the street at night and see all the kids out in their costumes going from house to house. Except here, they have a little song that they sing instead of saying trick or treat! I don´t really remember how it goes though. The big celebration in Mexico is Day of the Dead. It is the 1st and 2nd of November. The Day of the Dead is a remembrance or the honoring of their ancestors who have died. It isn´t as big here in the north of Mexico because of the US influence, but it is bigger in the south. So it is basically a big party at the graveyard! They usually make altars at the gravesite and they make their ancestors or family member´s favorite meal or favorite toys or whatever they liked and they take it to the cemetery and are they to honor them and to be with them that day. The 1st is the day of honor the youth and the children and then the 2nd is for the adults. It is kind of cool! Saturday we did interchanges with one of our district leaders and his companion. I was able to go to the other area and it was awesome! One of the Elders only has 3 months on the mish but he has been trained well because he teaches like he has had more than a year! It was so awesome being with him! I enjoyed every moment! Their area is a little more hilly and so I am still suffering from shin splints! Haha! We were able to put 2 baptismal dates that day and I was excited to hear that many of the people we invited to church went yesterday so that was good! I really like this part of being a zone leader, being able to help train and help other missionaries although I didn´t really didn´t need to help this Elder too much because he came pre-trained! Yesterday, Sunday, the sisters had asked us to go with them to visit an investigator in their area that was sick and has cancer. We agreed and went with them. It was quite a special experience. We arrived and the lady was in a hospital bed in her room and her sisters that take care of her were there (one of them is a member). The lady has been battling cancer for more than 10 years. The left side of her face was swollen or it was a tumor one of the two and it made it so she couldn´t talk and could only see out of one eye. She was very sick. She was very sleepy because of medicine she had taken and was going in and out of sleep. We decided to sing her a few hymns and there was a sweet spirit there as we sang. After finishing singing we were going to leave, but I got a really strong impression that we should offer to give her a blessing. I would be lying if I said that I almost ignored the prompting, but decided to offer anyway. The sisters agreed and my companion did the anointing and left me to give the blessing. I was really kind of nervous about what to say to someone who probably doesn´t have that much time left in this earthly body, but I felt the spirit with me and knew it would guide me. I gave the blessing and the spirit was still there afterwards. The lady fell asleep and we offered help and service and then we left. It was a special experience and after having given a lesson that day in the Gospel Principles class, the Plan of Salvation was fresh on my mind and I couldn´t help feel close my God in those moments. Thoughts came to my mind about how we are here in this life to obtain a body and pass through experience and that one day it will be over and we will ¨return to that God that gave us life¨. It was also special to be able to promise that sister in the blessing that she would have the opportunity to be resurrected one day and to have a perfect body free from pains and afflictions! It was a very special experience for me. Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week! This is the last week of the transfer for us so next week we will see what happens next Monday! I miss and love you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hola Mi Familia!!!! Last week of October, what? Now going on November? I LOVE fall time, but it just isn´t them same in Hermosillo.... This week, as for you, was quite a fantastic week for us! So let me just get started! Our investigator went to church for the second Sunday this past week and he is just loving it! He has had a pretty good week and is just more and more interested every time we visit. He has had a really rough past with a lot of things and is in the middle of a personal struggle right now between good and evil and wanting so bad to change and do good, but then have really strong temptations and giving into sin. We are working on him though. He is funny because he is pretty gangsta! He showed up to church yesterday with some platinum aviator glasses! Haha! He also gave a little speech during priesthood yesterday. We were talking about Elder Perry´s conference talk ¨Peace In the Home¨ and he began to comment on something that was said and just got on one telling everyone how are his past was and so difficult a life he has had but how he is just loving church and how he is starting to change and he owes it all to us missionaries who are helping him and he just kept going on and on about how much he was just loving church and everything that he has been learning. He is a good guy and we have a date for him for this coming month in November, but it may have to be held off for a few personal problems. We have also been working with the other guy. We were looking for a less active one day and we found the less active´s mom. She welcomed us in and listened to us and we invited her to be baptized the very first visit and she told us that she hasn´t been baptized but and that is something she would love to do. So we are working on her. She is a funny lady! A very loud person who is very animated when she talks. She shows us a lot of attention and loves us to death. However we have invited her to church now for the past 2 weeks and she has yet to go. We are a little worried about that but hopefully we can get her there soon. This week we found a few other new investigators that we hope will be able to progress. There was a person we contacted at the bus stop one day and then we went to her house to talk with her and she was telling us her desires to become closer to God and to have a family. We were able to talk to her how the Gospel blesses the families and she seemed really interested. She looks like she could progress really well, but the thing with her is that she goes out of town every single weekend for work. So that could be a bit challenging for church attendance but we will see. We have been visiting another lady, but we have never been able to get a lesson in because every time we go over she is leaving and can´t take too much time. Well we stopped by this week and she was there but a bit saddened and depressed and her son who was there and he was in the sad emotional state. Apparently right now they are going through a lot of difficulties economically and family wise and they are going through a rough time. We talked with them and explained how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can help them in their trials and hard times and they brightened up. At the end of the lesson we invited them to be baptized and they accepted. However, they weren´t able to make it to the church yesterday so we will have to see what is up with them. There is also another girl who is actually an American and from Texas. Her and her family have been living in Sonora for the past 4 years because her husband works or owns a few mines here in Sonora. She was just baptized about a year ago and is in the process of switching wards over to our ward. Her husband isn´t a member and they also have an older gentleman friend living with them that isn´t a member either so we will be working with them. They actually live in the area of the Sisters but since they don´t really speak Spanish we are stealing them. Let me just tell you how HARD it is to teach in English! It is the hardest thing ever! Making conversation and just talking isn´t so bad and is do-able, but you get us teaching and talking about Gospel topics and our tongues just wanted to spit out Spanish and not English. You just get so used to talking about a subject for so long in another language that is just becomes second nature to continue talking about it in that language. But it´s all good. We will battle through! This past Sunday was basically ¨Missionary Sunday¨. The four of us missionaries in the ward spoke in sacrament meeting and we even did a special musical number! We spoke on the 4 points to the member plan that I told you all about last week : 1) Don´t Judge/Predict what people will say 2) Pray and put a date 3) Be an Example 4) Make conversation. The talks went over well and everyone seemed to like it especially the special number. We sang ¨How Great Shall Be Your Joy¨ it is a beautiful number that talks about missionary work and D&C 18. You should look it up! So we are hoping that with our missionary work sacrament meeting bomb the members will be more excited and willing to help us. We will just see how that goes. This week there was an experience that kind of made me think. It didn´t involve me but I was present when it happened and it left me thinking. I won´t explain the details but it involved a church leader saying something to a new member and the new member thinking that they were being judged for their appearance (but they really weren´t). This new member was really upset and we went and talked with them after and they explained that their appearance didn´t define but was just a mark of their past life before their baptism. Sure they made some wrong choices which left a permanent mark on their appearance, but they had repented and were baptized. They way the member explained it just really impacted me. Many times we as ignorant people tend to look at a person or hear about them or their past and immediately we form opinions or thoughts about them that are totally and completely not true. We should always think before we speak. It doesn´t matter who we look like, where we are from, what color our skin is, what gender, what we do or our attractions, how we live...we should treat each and every person as the child of God that they are. Well, I hope you all are well and happy! Here´s to another fantastic week and welcoming November!!! Love you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner
Elder Joyner in Hermosillo!

Monday, October 21, 2013 - Fantastic Week!

Hola Mi Familia! So Fall is moving right along and we are almost done with October...can you believe! This week was actually a really good week for us with a ton of experiences and new people to teach! We started off the week having a zone activity! I forgot to tell about it last week so I will explain it now! We had the brilliant idea of having a zone activity to get to know the new kids in the zone and to be more united. So we had a zone breakfast and played games! Everyone pitched in about $40 pesos and Monday morning we went to the store buy everything! We then got to the church and the Sisters in our ward helped us prepare everything. We made breakfast burritos with egg, sausage, ham, and bacon. It was pretty good actually! Everyone got there and we all ate and just kind of chilled and talked and got to know each other. Then we played like EFY or drama games. It was really a lot of fun! It was a lot of work for us to prepare breakfast for almost 20 but it was worth it. I will send our adventure in pictures. Tuesday was actually a really good day for us. We began to find a few new investigators to teach. We were walking down the street and saw a guitar shop and my comp wanted to stop by and see how much they were and while there the owner of the shop, an older guy, said that he knew the stake president and his family who just happens to be in our ward. He talked with him for a bit and then he said he wanted to ask us a question. He is explained that in his day he was a professional classical guitarist and then he had an accident and messed up his hand leaving him unable to play guitar for the rest of his life. He has been pretty torn up about this and wanted to know why. Why his hand and not his leg, because he didn´t need his leg, but he needed his hand to play. We tried a whole lot of ways to tell him basically the same answer but he just wasn´t satisfied with the answer we were giving. We were a little late for another appointment and so we sang and hymn and that really invited the spirit and humbled him a bit. This experience just made me really grateful for the knowledge I have of our purpose here on earth and the testimonies that we will pass through trials and hard times, but all this is to give us experience and it will all be for our good. This past week, we wanted to go find an investigator that had been going to church for the past 3 months. This sister is a friend of a member and has been going to church for the past 4 or so months but has not been baptized because she does not have her husband´s support. The member friend recently moved to Guaymas and this investigator stopped going to church. We decided to go find her to get to know her better and invite her to church and end then end Baptize her! Well, she kind of lives not in our area, but in the area of the sisters, yet she is our investigator so we had to travel. It was 7:30PM and had had a rough day and we were trying to decide if we should just call it a day or go the extra mile and look for this sister. We decided to go. We had to walk 45 minutes because the bus was taking too long. After we got there we knocked for a good 10 minutes. We saw a light on and heard some noise as if there were people there. After a few minutes the light went off and that was it. No one came to the door and there was nothing. Oh well....we tried. Thursday was a super day! We found 2 new investigators and put 2 baptismal dates! We were looking for a less active and we found his mom who isn´t a member. This boy was really receptive and we talked about baptism in the first visit and he was like ¨I haven´t done that yet¨ so we were like Get on it! So we set a date and he seems really excited and ready to progress! We have another investigator that we found. He is a cool guy. He is 27 and is recovering from some health issues and some drugs but he really wants to turn his life around and is so excited to do it. He pays so much attention to us while we are teaching and is so interested in everything. We invited him to church this past week and he went! For the first time in the past 2 months we had 1 investigator in church and he was just loving it! He LOVED all the classes and the topics discussed. He is just so enthusiastic and it is great! So here is to hoping that they will progress! This Friday we had zone meeting that went really well. Our numbers have been low and so we decided to have a meet to greet everyone get pumped up and excited about working again! It was really neat and a great meeting! My comp and I talked about working with the members. According to this awesome book that the ward is apparently using quite a bit, ¨Everyday Missionaries¨, we took a few points that this book has and we have made a mission plan for the members: 1) Don´t judge, or predict what people will say--many will accept the gospel if we would just give them a chance. 2) Prayerfully create a plan and put dates. One thing the books say that I liked is that if you set a date that by X day we will find someone the missionaries can teach it will give us a deadline and a pressured way to work. 3) Be an example of the believers. 4) Make conversation using gospel vocab/church experiences with your friends...it makes a great missionary experience. The meeting went really well and everyone left feeling more excited to get out and work including us. This week we have been preparing to do a special musical number with us and the sisters to try and pump up the Ward to work. We will be singing ¨How Great Shall Be Your Joy¨. Look it up on youtube...it is actually a really pretty song. We will also be speaking this coming Sunday on the 4 points that I explained above. So here is to hoping that we begin to help this ward! Well, I hope that this will suffice. I swear I had more meaty stuff to say, but if I find more it will just have to wait till next well. I love and miss you all tons and hope you are well and have a fantastic week! Go big at one-act and I will be thinking about you! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, October 14, 2013 - Fall is coming!

Hola Mi Familia! The weather has been really nice! It actually gets really quite cool in the morning and it isn´t as hot in the day. The nights and mornings are a perfect low 80s and the day is normally a fantastic low to mid 90s. You must understand that the high for us is like up to 115-120 F so this is feeling great! I really like the topic of your talk mom! I really LOVED that talk when Pres. Monson gave it! I have actually used that concept in my teaching often of ¨Seeing people how not as they are but as they could become¨. It has really helped me have more love towards my investigators and gives me the desire to help them progress. This week, wasn´t as eventful as we maybe would have liked. It consisted of a lot of walking around and knocking on doors of houses where people weren´t home. We are in major need for work. We are beginning to contact more people on the street which is kind of helping a little bit, but not too much. I completed 20 months this week! I´m not getting trunky, just marveling at the time! I cannot believe it one bit. I remember seeing older friends in the mission and thinking ¨Wow! They have 20 months! That is so crazy! They are almost gone!¨ But now it is happening to me! I can´t believe that there are only 4 months to go! I am excited for the time I have left, but begin to feel sentimental for the end is near. I am going to make the most out of these remaining 4 months that I have! This week we had a pretty interesting rejection. We were looking for an inactive sister and we found her, but she didn´t seem like she was any interested in returning to church. Her attitude made it seem like she got offended. We wanted to get in and share a message with her, but she kept telling us how she had her Book of Mormon for whenever she felt like studying and she knew were the church is for whenever she felt like going, but she said she doubted she would ever feel like going. It is sad to see cases like this. People don´t realized the importance of going to church in their lives and how it is not sufficient to only have the scriptures or have the means to study. We have to be actively living and attending church to keep us rejuvenated and to keep us on our feet. This week we had a Multi-Zone Conference. It was our zone and the Guaymas zone. It was actually a really nice conference! They fed us a little breakfast of ham sandwiches and then we began. My comp and I sang a special musical number of the Children´s Primary Song ¨Beautiful Savior¨. It turned out nice and we got a few complements. I always like how Sister Hernandez after almost every special number we do for meetings for conferences always comes up to us and thanks us for inviting the spirit into the meeting. That is what I love most about singing and music, being able to share my testimony and spirit through song! Music is one of the most amazing ways to feel the spirit. The conference was on how to recognize and teach with the spirit. We participated once again. One of the assistants had asked us to give a few minutes training on how we can recognize and follow spiritual promptings during the lessons. It went well and I could feel the spirit guiding us in our teaching. It was really a great conference and I learned a lot! I always love having conferences and meetings! I´m obsessed with meetings! We were able to put our skills that we learned and taught in the conference to the test. We have been teaching a less active member and have been trying to help him get his life in order and return to church. Saturday night we had a really nice lesson with him and we talked about the importance of keeping the commandments. I could feel the spirit guiding us in that lesson and it was really neat. As for our other investigators, although they are few, we haven´t been able to have steady visits with them. Sometimes they are there, sometimes they are not. I really hope that they can progress and get to church because we need some work here. Looking back at my agenda for this week I found a few quotes that I wrote down that I would like to share. The first doesn´t really have any meaning, but it sounded cool and got my imagination going! The person said ¨Every head is a world!¨Isn´t that interesting and kind of fun to think of. We all have our own worlds! This next one has a little bit more meaning and is kind of thoughtful. We were visiting a member of our ward who is blind and he lives alone. He was telling us of his struggles of being blind, but it is amazing how he always has a positive and good attitude about things. He hasn´t been a member for too much time and says that he has loved being in the church but the transition and experience of being a new convert has not been an easy one. Well when he was talking to us he told us something that I really liked. He said, ¨We must be patient, grateful, and courteous¨. His quote got me thinking. What if all of us were more like that. What if we all were more patient, grateful, and courteous? Can you imagine what a world would be like if we were all better at those 3 things. Change starts with us though. If we can be better and better at our flaws day by day, making little changes each day and just doing better than we did the day before, what a fantastic change we could make--not only in our lives, but in the lives of others! I invite you all to accompany me on my journey of change; of trying to be more patient, grateful, and courteous each and every day. Well, I hope my email wasn´t too short this week. I couldn´t think too much on the events of the week. I hope you all enjoy your week and live life to the fullest. Life is short so enjoy it and make the most out of it. I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mission Conference
Happy to be at Applebees Disappointed there weren't more fries!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hola Mi Familia! Ah! Wasn´t Conference weekend just fantastic!?! I will get to that soon.... Well, like with all new transfers, this first week has been kind of a long one--especially since we don´t have very much work at all right now. Our main focus: Finding new investigators and encouraging the members to get more involved in missionary work. Although the week was a little dry, I do have a few special experiences that I would like to share with you all. A little blip....a member wasn´t able to have us over to eat this week so they just gave us money to eat. So we decided to go to Applebees! It was fun! Here is a first that I had never done before. So my comp is really good about the concept of ¨Talking To Everyone¨ which is something we should do. You really don´t have any progress in missionary work until you have someone to teach and so you need to talk to everyone to tell them about this wonderful message and invite them to come unto Christ. I feel like this is one of my weaknesses sometimes talking to people randomly on the street, or the cashier in the store, or the person cutting your hair. But my comp is really good at it which makes up for my weakness. So we were waiting at the bus stop one day this week and the bus was taking FOREVER to pass by. While there we just start talking with random people there getting interested in their lives and trying to get a reference out of them. Well, they said that they weren´t really too interested about us passing by their house and so the conversation kind of died there. Like I mentioned in my last email, my compp really likes to sing too and we sing in all of our lessons and he had the idea of singing for these two women that we were talking to. I was a little hesitant and just a kind of surprised seeing as how he just wanted to sing right here on the side of the street, but then I remembered how much music and especially the hymns can bring the spirit and so I gave my consent. We pulled out the hymn book and started singing to them ¨Nearer My God To Thee¨. That was a first for me...singing on the street....As we sang, there was sweet spirit and even a few people who were a little ways across the street turned their heads as we began singing. In the end, we still didn´t get the references, but it was still a neat experience sharing the spirit through song with random people on the street! For the past few weeks we have been trying to contact a member´s friend who said that they wanted to hear the discussions, but we have just hadn´t had any luck finding her in her house whenever we go. Well, this week we stopped by and she was actually there! She listened as we talked to her she began telling us of a few problems that she has in her life. Listening to her I was happy to be going through my mind and thinking all of the ways the Gospel will be able to bless her life. We were able to teach her the first lesson and she apparently really liked it. We still don´t know her too well, but when we did talk with her she just kept telling us how much she like church the one time she went with her friend a few years ago and how much she wants her kids to be in a good place. So we are hoping to really focus on here and get a baptism here soon! I really like this next experience. One day this week, we were looking for a reference we had and we couldn´t find the house and so we decided to stop by a member´s house who lived nearby to ask them if they knew the person. This member is a single mom who just moved here from Mexico City with her older mother and she has two young kids. When we got there, she told us that her kids were really sick from some kind of something they got from the heat (it isn´t as hot in Mexico City and so they are still trying to adjust to the climate here.). We could hear her 2 year old in the back screaming and crying because of the pain or irritation of the sickness. We offered the sister blessings for her two kids and she was a little hesitant not know if the 2 year old would sit still, but in the end accepted. We entered and the mom took her young son in her arms. We placed oil on his head and then proceeded to give him the blessing. Exactly when we began to give the blessing, the young screaming 2 year old went quite all or a sudden. We were able to give the blessing in peace and without a peep. At the end, the mother told us that when we began, the kid had crossed his arms and closed his eyes listening to the prayer. Afterwards, he went off as happy as can be and resumed playing with his toys. For the rest of the time we were there, there were no more tears. I am so very grateful for the power of the Priesthood and the opportunity that I have as a priesthood holder to hold the power of God and to bless our Heavenly Father´s children here on the earth. One last one. We went and visited a less active and upon talking to him and getting to know him, he told us of some personal problems in his life that have kept him from going to church. We began to give a lesson on faith and the wonderful and powerful concept of repentance. At the beginning of the lesson he countenance was a little bit depressed and burdened. We began talking about repentance and the wonderful opportunity our Heavenly Father gives us to have a 2nd chance. We went through the steps to repentance and explained each one in detail and importance. Through the lesson, you could see a progression in his facial expressions. He began to lighten up and by the end of the lesson he had a smile on his face and a confidence that he could repent and put his life together thanks to the miracle of forgiveness and the powerful Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. Conference was just WONDERFUL! We have been anxiously waiting and preparing all week for this wonderful time of year! The talks were just magnificent and I felt like I received personal revelation for things that I need and things that I didn´t know I needed, but I got more council and help. I love the focus on missionary work and moving forward in life through tough trials. I was especially touched by our dear prophet´s words as well as Pres. Uchtdorf´s conference address. I would like to share with you a few points from the conference that called my attention and that were especially important for me. * ¨The Scriptures hold the keys to spiritual protection¨ --E. Packer * ¨You can do it now¨ --Pres. Uchtdorf * ¨You must become the rock the river cannot wash away¨ -- E. Maynes * ¨How would you feel if someone promised you something every week, but they never kept the promise¨ (Speaking on the Sacrament and baptismal covenant every week) --E. Vinson * ¨The decisions that we make everyday have eternal consequences¨ --Sis. Oscarson * ¨Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith¨ --Pres. Uchtdorf Just a few favs! I can´t wait to get all of the talks in print to be able to review them and study them again! It was just such an uplifting and spiritual weekend! Tell me your favorite parts! Well, I hope you all have a superb week and that your week is filled with missionary opportunities! I challenge you to do what our leaders told us this weekend and pray specifically for missionary experiences to help others come unto Christ! Until next week.... ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner
The Hermosillo Sunset!

Monday, September 30, 2013 - "Wake my up when September ends....."

Hola Mi Familia! Ummm...so....September is over? Are you for reals? That was quick! And that just means one month less of heat! We can already feel the weather changing and the sun has shifted into its winter position and slowly it is starting to get darker faster. I opened the door one morning and felt a rush of cool air! They say we are just passing through a ¨cold front¨ and that a little bit of heat will return in a week or so, but who knows. Mexico never is too predictable with its weather patterns. But, we have enjoyed days as cool as lower 90s and nights as cool as lower 80s. Haha! How´s that for being cooler weather! Well, transfers were today, and just like we thought, my comp was transferred. He was sent to open a new area in Agua Prieta, but in the 3rd branch, where I was not. He is training a nubie. Here I sit with my new companion,.....another Gringo! He has 1 year in the mission. He sings as well. I have the reputation as the best singer in the whole mission (humbly) and I think he is second. Fun Fact: He tried out for American Idol one year and got his Golden Ticket and made it to the group round, but only made it to there. But it must have still been a cool experience. From what I hear from everyone else, he loves to work and is a really hard worker and so I think we will be able to do some damage this transfer. This is the real test for me, because I just finished being trained Zone Leader, and now I have to train him as ZL because this is his first time. So let´s just hope I learned all that I had to from my last comp to be able to continue forward. This week, was kind of a rough one for us. We weren´t able to have as many lessons as we would have wanted for various reasons. Tuesday we had a meeting. Some of the areas in our zone are in the other stake and so we had to go to the meeting with Pres. Hernandez and the Stake Pres. of the other stake to report on the wards and how they are progressing as far as the missionary work goes. Wednesday, we had our frequent interviews with the Pres. and we had to stay in the offices all afternoon to make sure everyone in our zone got there at their planned time slot. The rest of the week was just full of trying to find more and more work and people to teach. We did have a good moment this week. We reported our phone with the Secretaries that we had lost it and they were able to get another one with the same number and we got it pretty quickly. So that saved our lives! I have found quite a few families here who knew Crandon and Carmen and Carmen´s family. Although I didn´t know him, it is fun to hear the stories and memories that people still have after all of these years. One particular family in our ward actually knew the church because Crandon was the first missionary to knock on their door. Although he didn´t get to baptized them, they still have fond memories of the first time he went to their house. He is most widely known for his height! Haha! When someone starts out telling stories of a tall, but really tall missionary that served here a while back that married someone from Hermosillo and they mention the last name Pineda--I´m automatically like, ¨yup, that´s my distant cousin (or they would call it here my uncle)¨. I even have a few pictures of Carmen and Carmen´s family that I will try to send! We didn´t have anything really major happen this week, but we have found a family or two that could potentially progress. We just need to be consistent with them and make sure that everything goes well. I must say I am quite thrilled that this coming weekend is conference weekend! I LOVE conference weekend. I am excited to ponder certain questions this week that I want answered and to be able to receive personal revelation. This will be my last conference in the mission and I know it will just be a good one! Well, sorry if that was kind of a dry uneventful email, but I couldn´t really find anything too cool to say or think of anything too neat that happened this week. I hope you all have a super duper week and can also prepare yourselves to receive personal revelation this weekend! Love you all so much! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hola Mi Familia! Weeks seem to go by faster and faster! It seems like we were just at Monday a few days ago and here we are. Well, this week was a little weird for many reasons. A lot of things happened. Let´s see if I can describe it all. I would like to start out with some little blessings the Lord has given us this week. The last weekend, the stake had a Mexican Culture night in honor of the Mexican Independence. About a 6 months ago Pres. came out with a ¨rule¨that we can´t go to ward activities/parties if they don´t do anything with missionary work. So we weren´t able to go. But apparently a bunch of investigators went and someone told us that a less active brought a friend with her to the activity. Apparently this friend has received the missionaries a few times over past years and she hasn´t been baptized for one reason or another. Well, apparently this person was telling a sister that she wanted the missionaries to visit her again and that she might be interested in baptism. This has been a real blessing. We haven´t had time to visit her yet, but we are hoping to do it soon and see if we can help her progress. A week ago when we did interchanges, my comp and our district leader went to go look for old investigators to try and find more people to teaching. Upon looking for someone, they came to a house and when asking for the young guy they were looking for, someone told them that he had just died a few hours before they had arrived. Well, they took the opportunity to talk with the father of this young guy and he was pretty upset so they couldn´t do too much, but set up an appointment to return. Well, we went back and began to talk with him and he was just really devastated and hurt by the death of his son. I can imagine. We decided to teach part of the plan of salvation and while teaching he paid a lot of clear attention to us and was taking everything in. He was really amazed at hear that we had lived with our Heavenly Father before this life. It made me think about our experience here on earth. How before we were taught all this, but we just don´t remember and that is what we as missionaries are doing--helping remind God´s children of what they have already known before. It is sad that is takes a difficult event like a death for someone to hear the restored gospel, but we are thankful for this opportunity and feel like he will be able to progress. So, some calamities.... On Thursday, while riding the bus to go eat, our cell phone fell out of my comp´s pants pocket and we didn´t even realize. We got to the food appt. and realized it wasn´t with us. We have been devastated! Being Zone leaders the cell phone is our life! Especially this coming week when we have meetings and interviews with the Pres. and having to call and tell everyone about transfers this coming week. We tired contacting the bus station to ask if they had seen a cell phone, but they couldn´t find it. Mexico doesn´t really believe in Lost and Found....it is more like Found and Found. If one finds it, ¨finders keepers!¨ So we are waiting for the secretaries to send us a new one, but they said that it could take up to 2 weeks. So we will just see what is up. This calamity had a blessing with it. We had a FHE with the primary because of some kids we were teaching and we were in charge of the lesson. We planned on bringing a video for everyone to watch, but when we got to church, no one had keys to the office where the TV was and so we couldn´t do that and had to change plans completely and make up a new lesson. I had a thought to do an obstacle course in the dark where the kids would have to follow a light to make it to the celestial kingdom with God. We did a quick impromptu set up and gave a little scripture to start out. We said that sometimes the world is dark and full of obstacles and Jesus is the light that showed us the way and how to get back to live with our Heavenly Father. We did the obstacle course in the dark and at the end we did a review of what we learned. I was so surprised to see how well even primary kids caught on to important ideas that sometimes seem complicated. We even asked who was the light and a little 3 year old told it was Jesus who is our Savior. It is amazing the knowledge that little kids can take it! We were talking to the sisters this week and they just began to tell us of the rough time they are having with the ward. This ward doesn´t really like to help us too much with the work and it can be quite stressful and frustrating. This has been the first of all of our wards for the 4 of us here, were we have had low totals each week for numbers and where investigators are so hard to come by. This is just a hard area. But only have 1 transfer here and I could be here for the rest of my time and so I have NOT lost faith and I have NOT become discouraged yet, but it is just a little frustrating trying to find something that works. While talking, we talked about our heavy weight that sometimes we carried as missionaries. But while talking about this, we also thought of the weight of the cross that Christ had to carry. Although we carry our own load and cross, nothing will ever be as heavy as what Jesus had to carry--the sins and sufferings of the WHOLE WORLD. This thought really gave me hope to keep on. I may feel weighed down at times, but it will never match what Jesus did for me. In the bible, he tells us all to take up our own crosses and follow him. This thought made me feel proud to be part of the army of God and it gave me a new resolution to be brave to fight for the truth. Well, I hope you all have a super fantastic week and have a lot of fun and success in your activities! Just 2 weeks away from one of the best weekends of the year....GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner
Making Choco-Flan

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hola Mi Familia! You mentioned summer is coming to an end, and we are feeling it too! These past few weeks, it seems like the heat has been slowing reducing which is nice. It is still HOT, but tolerable. However, these past few days have been kind of killer. Guess the weather is just getting everything out before it starts to cool down a bit. . Were you all interested in the boxing fight there was between Mayweather and Canelo? I don´t even like boxing, but everyone was talking about it here because they were supposed the best 2 boxers in the world and Mayweather is from the US and Canelo from Mexico so it was US vs. Mexico. Just wondering if it was as big there as it was here? Speaking of Mexico, today is the 16th of Sept. Mexico´s Independence Day. There is usually a parade and no one goes to school or work, but we didn´t do anything too special. Well, I start this week off leaving where I left off. I mentioned to mom, but I don´t remember if I said anything in my email last week, but after writing last week we went to learn how to make ¨Choco Flan¨ one of my favorite mexican cakes! There is a girl in our ward who just got back from doing a visiting student summer term at BYU and she is the only member in her family, but her mom LOVES us and the Sister missionaries and so they are always inviting us over to eat, ect. They invited us over to learn how to make Choco Flan with is basically a chocolate flan cake! Well, the girl´s mom wasn´t supervising us while we were making it and apparently we added caramel that was really cold and that prevented the consistency of the cake from coming out well so it came out a mess! Oh well, it was still able to be eaten and it was still really good. I have the recipe and know how not to make the same mistake, so we will just see if I will be able to reproduce it. We have been just having a real struggle to find more people to teach. I don´t want to blame it on the area saying that it is rich and not full of too many humble people who want to listen to us, because I know you need to have faith and be diligent, but things just aren´t coming out. A lot of times when we go to find someone they aren´t there and then we go with thier neighbors and they don´t want to hear us either and it can just be rough. But, I won´t get down and will just try to keep having faith and keeping my head up. This week we did interchanges with our district leader and I went to his area with the junior comp. I didn´t really like his area much, but it was a good interchange. I did a baptismal interview for a kid that was going to be baptized and we went with an investigator that loves to cook and she just fed us well and then we were able to share a message. The message was about a question the investigator had about why bad things happen to humble people and why there is so much suffering. We shared Mosiah 24 about how the people of Alma where a good people, but were persecuted and how the Lord helped them through their trails. Well, I feel like I don´t have a lot to say this week, so I will leave you all with a thought. Being in the mission, I have really become more conscious about how short this life is. We have been sent here to earth for a specific purpose and we were not make to stay here forever. Sometimes, I feel like the mission is just a dream because it goes by so fast. I think that it is just a short time and I will soon wake up and be in my bed at home. I imagine we will feel like life will be like that someday. That we will have returned to our God that gave us life and we will be reflecting on our earthly experience and we will think ¨wow! , that was just a finger snap and it was over. Being in an interview with Pres. Hernandez once, he talked about how we are really in the last days and how we are preparing investigators to maybe be leaders in the millennium when Christ come. I have thought about this a lot and have thought how all we do in this life just prepares us for the next and maybe for the millennium to help other to come to the knowledge of the Gospel. This has shaped my thoughts and has made me want to choose a career that will be helpful to me in the millennium if I make it to that point. I imagine that life will go on in the millennium when Christ is here. We will still continue working, ect. So I have a desire to choose a career and a future that will help me be of us in the future to help other come unto Christ and to know our Heavenly Father. I really strongly feel like we are in the last days and that is why missionary work is really taking off in our days. I think we must evaluate our lives and put our priorities in life in an eternal perspective and focus on the things that, like Pres. Uchtdorf said once, ¨really matter most.¨ Well, I am quite embarrassed with how short and uneventful my email was, but I couldn´t think of anything else to say. Just 2 more weeks left of this transfer! That is nuts how time is flying! I love and miss you all tons and hope you have super duper fantastic week! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hola Mi Familia! Wow! I open up my inbox to a pretty neat newspaper article that the Bishop had sent me on the Scout rescue! That is awesome! Why did no one tell me about that?!? I loved your descriptions about J&J! I know exactly what you mean! And here they are really big into like yard sells and things like that. Every Saturday and Sunday! So just be planning to save one of your Saturdays in 5 months to take a trip to J&J and we can try some REAL Mexican food there! Yum! Yum! HAPPY 19 MONTHS TO ME!!!! I´m getting so old! Ha! I like barely know anyone in the mish anymore because they are all going home and I am rising up to be some of the oldest generation. That is so nuts! 18 was cool, 19 was just like whatevs, but I know that in a month 20 will just be MIND BLOWING!!!! 4 Short weeks to mentally prepare myself for that one! Well, this week was a week of meetings! We started of the week, Tuesday, with the Mission Leadership meeting. It was pretty fun! I personally am a big fan of meetings of every kind so being able to have meetings with the Pres at least once of month is just fantastic! The Mission Leadership is made up of us zone leaders from the 8 zones in the mission, and then 2 sister companionships who are ¨Sister Coordinators¨ or basically ¨Zone leaders¨for all of the sisters in the mish. We went through a bunch of announcements and new rules in the mission, then we did reports of all the zones how our zones are doing and how we are going to get better and then we had trainings. We had some news from the Area Seventy Presidency. Almost a year ago, they changed the requirement of church attendance for investigators from 2 times to 4 times to try and up the retention of new converts. Well, they have changed the attendance requirement again. To up the retention rate even more, investigators now will have to attend church 5 times to be able to get baptized. Apparently the baptism rate in Mexico is high, but the retention rate low. Many are getting baptized, but few stay active, so that is why they are doing this. This will be a bit of a challenge for us to get used to, but it is how the Lord wants it, so we will just have to do it. As a mission, we are going to have a new focus. The President wants us to start focusing more on Repentance and teaching that completely to the investigators. I think it is really good! That is what his training was on Tuesday and how we as missionaries also need to experience this repentance to be able to teach it to the rest. This week we also had a meeting with us, Pres. Hernandez and the Stake President to talk about the wards in the stake and how they are handling the missionary work. Apparently about 20 missionaries will arrive this next transfer and about half will be sisters so they have to try and find where to put everyone. Apparently a lot of American sisters will be arriving too in the next few months. Before there were like no American sisters in Mexico for security reasons, but I guess with so many wanting to serve they are now sending them. We also had a zone meeting this week to tell the zone what we learned in the Leadership meeting and then we did trainings. Mine was on repentance and make a connection to the tabernacle of Moses. It was fun! Saturday, the Stake had a missionary activity day to try and encourage the youth and we had a part in it. We just sang called to serve at the end, but it was neat singing it wiith 30 missionaries from the Hermosillo area and about 20 RMs. I also saw a few people from my other Area, Nuevo Hermosillo, including....My favorite Family from my last Hermosillo area! They were there! That was fun to see them and we have made plans to have an FHE with them soon! As far as investigators, we are kind of fresh out! The ones we had have lost interest. Especially the cousins we were teaching. They are like not interested anymore. Yeah, they are just kids, but they are getting bored, so we have decided not to go with them anymore. We do have a few people that could progress; we just need to start focusing on them more to see if it would really happen. Well, that is about all I got for this time around Sorry this email wasn´t too spiritual, just business. I hope you all have a fantastic week and that the yard sell goes well! I love and miss you all tons! 5 months and counting... ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013 - "The Power of Baptism"

Hola Mi Familia! Well, this week has gone by a lot faster thank heavens! The first week in a new area is always the roughest, but I now feel better and more comfortable with the area and the people. Our biggest challenge right now is just trying to find new people to teach. The members here don´t seem to be as willing to give us names of friends and people to teach, but who knows....their rich? As far as investigators goes... Our Cuban friend! Well, he has been unemployed for sometime and just got a job which takes up like all of his time so we haven´t had a chance this past week to see him which sucks! But his wife who is a member fed us this week and she said that he has been reading The Book Of Mormon on his own which is pretty awesome and has been asking a few questions. He would be a fast easy baptism if only he didn´t have such a dumb work schedule. He works early in the morning to late at night which makes it super hard for us to visit him and super hard for him to go to church. But I believe in miracles and know that God will help us if we just put forth our own effort. So we will see where that takes us. The grandkids of the one sister that we have been teaching are kind of getting difficult! We have been trying to teach them, but they don´t pay too much attention sometimes and they like to leave and go play in place of listen to us, but it is their decision. We had a really neat lesson this week though with one of the granddaughters. She is OBSESSED....and I mean OBSESSED with Justin Beeber! It is quite funny actually! She is like the only one who normally happens to be at the house when there is no one else there. Well, we were supposed to have Family Home Evening with all the kids one night, but they had all left when we arrived and only this girl that was there and so we did a special little lesson with her. We talked about baptism and how is cleanses us from our sins. We did an activity with pepper and water and dish soap that shows us how baptism washes us. It was pretty neat. We then asked her if that was something she wanted to do--to be washed of her sins and errors and she said she didn´t know and was kind of shy about the whole thing. We then said we would all kneel down and she could say a pray to ask Heavenly Father if it was what she should do. We all felt a sweet spirit during the lesson and it continued as we all knelt down in a circle to pray. She was a little hesitant to do it and said she didn´t know how, so I first said a pray to give an example and then she did it. It was a sweet prayer, but at the end she said she didn´t feel anything. We tried explaining that there are many ways to receive answers to prayers and that it may not come so soon. She didn´t seemed too convinced at what we said, but we told her to pray again that night alone. We may not continue with them, but we will just have to see. This week the Sister missionaries in our ward had a baptism. It was quite a special baptism for a few reasons. First off my comp and I did a duet with him playing guitar as well. It was pretty sick! You will have to look up in iTunes Hillary Weeks singing ¨He Came For Me¨ and then imagine that as a duet. It was quite lovely! I tried sending you all a video, but the file was too big, so you will just have to wait 5 more months. Second of all a sister was baptized and it was just so special for me to see. Her path to baptism has not been easy she has had quite a few obstacles and struggles in her life and almost didn´t make her baptismal date. Many people didn´t know of her past and struggles, but we did know some. It was so special to see her go down into the waters of baptism all dressed in white representing purity. I couldn´t see well, but it seemed like when she and the other Elder were getting ready for the baptismal prayer, she bowed her head and just started crying and a sweet spirit filled the room. She went down into the water and came back up again and she was a completely different person. She was still her same sister, but just clean. She was so happy afterward and you could see her load lifted and see she had been forgiven of her sins. It was just a really touching and special moment for me. I think baptismal services are so much more meaningful when you know the struggles the person has gone through and what it took to get to the point of baptism. It just made me reflect a lot on the Atonement and how there really isn´t anything that the Atonement doesn´t cover. Christ did so much for us and sometimes we neglect his divine grace and mercy. I am truly thankful for Him and His sacrifice for me. Well, that is about all I got for this week. Tomorrow is my first monthly Mission leadership conference with all the zone leaders and President so I will have to report next week how that goes. I wish you all the best to this next new week! Time is ticking! Make the most of it! A favorite quote of Aunt Melon : ¨Jesus is coming look busy¨! I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, August 25, 2013 - "I think I'm gonna like it here!"

Hola Mi Familia Well this week has just been crazy!!! I will do my best to respond to all the questions and if I miss one just get it to me next time. So I am in Satellite. It is like in the middle of Hermosillo and our area goes from like the center to the most western part. Ummm....the perks.....this ward is freaking RICH!!!! Like the most rich people of all of Hermosillo. OH. MY. HECK. I love going to visit members and people just to see their houses and the wealth. It is crazy! We split the area with a set of Sisters. This is my first time being in a ward with more than one pair of missionaries and so far I like it. Our church building is two floors....! :) My comp, like I said, is from Hawaii. The main island of Hawaii that is close to the temple. We have been talking in English about 90% of the time in between us it is pretty different! Haha! He also went to BYU before the mish and we got to talking and turns out that we knew some of the same people. That was weird. We have about 10 areas under our direction which equals out to 20 missionaries. We are even the zone leaders of the secretaries and assistants which is kind of cool. This week has just been so enchanting! I have LOVED being back in Hermosillo! I love this city so much! I have even had the though cross my mind a few times this week that I could so live here later on in life. The only down fall is the heat. We have a Wal-Mart, Applebee’s, Office Max, Costco, Office Depot, Blockbuster, Papa John’s, a store bigger and even better than Wal-Mart and much more, just within 10-15 minutes walking distance of us! I have really had a load of reflection time this week with new things and such. The few things that I have begun to do as Zone Leader this week I have loved. My favorite part I would have to say is just the fact that this assignment gives me the opportunity to serve other people and to help them learn and grow personally. I love imparting my knowledge to and helping others in meetings and trainings and such. Ahh! I feel like there is so much to say, but I can't organize my thoughts.... In our ward I met someone who knew Crandon about 30 something years ago...that was cool! So we don't have a ton of investigators right now, but we do have a few we are focusing on... There is this guy from Cuba! That's a first! He is pretty cool and has a neat accent. His wife is a member and his mother-in-law was just baptized this past week and he is interested in it all so we are thinking we could put ourselves on that one and make it a baptism. He hasn't gone to church but his family is very important for him and he wants the best to make them happy and so we think we can hit on that. We are also teaching some grandkids of a sister in the ward. She has like 8 that my comp and his comp before me where teaching, but school has started and they are now hard to find them together and so we have only been finding 1 to 3 sometimes. But they seem to like the church and seem to want to be baptized, so we will try to get there. Apart from them we don't really have any others we are teaching, but we are going to begin to do our best to find new people. I feel like we can really do some great things this change and be able to find new people and have baptisms, we just need to work with efficiency and put our priorities in order. Sorry, I felt like this email was kind of dry and doesn't have too much meat to the bones. Hopefully I will get the hang of things more this week and will have more to tell and share next week. I love and miss you all so much! Last week of the hottest month of this year! Thank heavens! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013 - Transfers!!!!!

Hola Mi Familia! This week we started off having a Family Home evening with the lady and her family and their cousins, who are less active members. We held the FHE in the home of the family and talked about the importance of the family and the roles every person has as a member of the family. It was neat and afterwards we played some games and they seemed to really enjoy it! Later in the week went taught the lady ¨The Gospel of Jesus Christ¨and we talked about baptism and the importance of being baptized. She said that she hasn´t been baptized before nor her daughters and that it is something that she would really like to do. We were able to put a baptismal date for the 14th of September. The cousins ended up not getting baptized. With them missing church the last week their baptismal date fell and now they have to attend church one more time to be able to get baptized. We are doubting them a Little because their moms aren´t really showing too much support. They say that they really want their daughters to get baptized, but yet they aren´t doing too much to help them get to church and progress, so who knows with that. One of them is really more interested than the other, but again, they lack parental support. We were really hoping to be able to have a baptism this past Saturday, but it just didn´t happen. The Zone Leaders however, had 3 baptisms and I had to give all 3 of those interviews. I really like giving baptismal interviews it is fun to talk to the people and see how they have come to obtain a testimony and how they feel their lives changing while living the Gospel. Us and the Zone Leaders did a special musical number in the baptism of ¨I Need Thee Every Hour¨and the branch presidencies liked it so much that they asked us to perform it for our respective branches. It was neat and quite powerful the spirit with a few missionaries singing a beautifully harmonized Hymn. We invited the lady and her kids to attend the baptism to see how it is done and she was able to attend with her 2 girls. They said that they really loved it and that it made them more excited to be baptized themselves. Now the long awaited momento….they called us Sunday morning and said that we had transfers. My comp stayed there in Agua Prieta and I have been sent back to Hermosillo as a Zone Leader in the Satelite Ward. Pretty crazy stuff! My comp is new comp is from Hawaii. My first Gringo companion!  He is pretty neat and I know that I will be able to learn a lot from him. I have had a lot of thoughts going through my mind of thinking I´m not ready for this assignment, what am I going to do, etc. But I also feel that it will be really good for me and will help me grow and develop my weaknesses. I feel that training and being district leader has also prepared me somewhat and that that is what I needed to do these past 3 months to help me. There is a saying that I like that goes ¨Whom the Lord calls, He prepares¨ or something like that. And I truly know that he will help me in my weaknesses. I don´t always like transfers too much. Leaving a familiar place where you have come to make friends and know the area well, to being put in a completely new place where you don´t know anyone and you don´t know where anything is. That is always the hardest part, but it will just take time to get used to things and to get on my toes again. I wouldn´t be surprised if this was my last area and I stay here for these last 5 months. So I spent most of the day Sunday saying goodbyes and then woke up at 3:30AM this morning to make a 5:30AM bus. We got here about 12PM and the heat is HORRIBLE! I thought I was being blessed by being in Hermosillo in the Winter where I wouldn´t experience the heat of the summer, but the Lord has sent me back to make sure I enjoy the most of my last of summer heat! It is so hot and a little humid which makes the heat suffocating. Oh well. We are at the hottest part of the summer now and so in a few weeks it will only be down hill from here. Well, I hope you all have a fantástic week and keep plugging along. Elise and Alex, you will have to tell me what happens with one-act and then later tell me what they show is about (I don´t know that one.) Also, Alex, I wanted to ask for a copy of the ¨Mermaid¨cast list to see who was in it. Elise I freaking LOVED your theatre report and it made me relive a few memories and also made me a Little trunkie longing to be able to get back out to BYU. But all in due time. Love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, August 12, 2013

Laundry Day!

Monday, August 12, 2013 - 18 months!!!

Hola Mi Familia! It so feels like I just barely wrote because I practically did....only like 5 days have passed by. I also had an anniversary this week.....a day I thought would NEVER COME, but that I have been looking forward to for quite a while now.....18 MONTHS!!!!!! That is correct! I have completed 18 beautiful months in the mission that I am just loving and wouldn't change for anything in a beautiful place with the most amazing people and culture I have come to love dearly. Just 6 MORE MONTHS folks....trying and earnestly praying that I won't get too trunkie too soon.... Well, I feel like I don't have a whole lot to report on this week because I just wrote a few days ago, but I will fill you all in a little. This was a week a traveling for me. Hermosillo Monday and Tuesday, and then on Friday I had to go to Cananea (a small town an hour away from AP) with the Elders there to do a baptismal interview for one of their investigators. I actually like Cananea a lot. It reminds me a ton of Nacozari because it is a mining town found in the mountains and it is quite a beautiful little enchanted town. So I have basically only had 3 and a half days this week to work in my own area. My poor little comp has been a good sport being with other Elders while I travel too much. Bless his heart! Thursday we had a neat little lesson with the two cousins whose mothers are members and we want to baptize them. When we first started teaching them about a month ago, they were hesitant about baptism but said they wanted to learn more. We have been teaching them for a while and they have been coming to church often and we felt that we could put a baptismal date for this weekend before changes. We had a neat little lesson with a few activities to explain concepts. I even used the rat trap you sent me mom! Thanks! So I don't know if you remember me telling you about another lady and her family. They are relatives of some less actives and we have been teaching them. This sweet lady is so open and we only have about 2 weeks teaching her, but she has loved everything so far. She loves the Book of Mormon and wants to learn more and more. This week we had planned to teach her "The Gospel" about faith, repentance, baptism, etc., but when we began talking in this lesson and seeing what she thought about what she read, I felt inspired to change the lesson and teach "The Plan of Salvation" (my favorite lesson). We began and everything was good, she seemed interested and liked what we taught. The big moment, however, came when we taught The Atonement of Jesus Christ. We began asking a question to see her knowledge of Christ and everything and she began talking about this life and then went and talked about The Atonement. She basically taught us! She was telling us how he suffered and died for us and she began to cry while explaining. A super sweet spirit entered the room and I could really see how much of an impact Christ has made in her life. We began where she left off and added a few things to what she already said. I love a technique that they teach us as missionaries--it is asking inspired questions! We asked her a question about how she felt Christ has helped her and what the Atonement meant in her life and she really opened up and the spirit was so strong in this lesson. We continued with the lesson and ended with the celestial kingdom and how we all want to arrive there. She loved the lesson and we did too! She commented how every time we are there she loses track of time and the hour goes by so fast and she just feels so peaceful and tranquil while we are there. This lesson was definitely the highlight of my week. I totally feel like she will be baptized soon. I am so grateful for the power of the spirit in our lessons. Yesterday, Sunday, was probably one of the worst days of my mission for a lot of reasons. I won't go into detail, but a few things just started falling apart and a bunch of trash! End result—the cousins couldn't make it to church and so their baptismal date fell through for this weekend. We are desperately trying to look for more options and to do our all to have a baptism this week. I know God can and will work miracles if we just ask and plead and then do our best to make it happen and so that is the plan for this week--plead for a baptism miracle and do our best to make it come through. Sunday was a treat! I had an American Meal made by an American. There is a brother here from Utah whose wife is Mexican and he is working in Douglas and they are living here so that they can get his wife's papers worked out and they put us down for dinner yesterday. We had mashed potatoes and gravy and grilled chicken and other good stuff and a pudding dessert! I was in heaven! It was nice to get a little piece of home! Well, that is about all I got for this week! Last week till transfers and who knows what will happen. I am pretty sure we are splitting up, but I am unsure if I will go or my comp...we will just have to see! Thanks for the packages and the meds and I will to looking out for them. I love and miss you all tons.....6 MONTHS LEFT!!!!!!!! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - "Half way through the Summer....... and 18 Months!!!!!

Hola Mi Familia! That is uber crazy that David gets home TODAY! You will have to let me know how everything goes Sunday. Time has really gone by way too fast! I met an Elder recently that just got here and he just graduated from High school this past year and I thought about it and I have 2 years since I graduated so crazy! Well this week has had its ups and downs and a few more ups than downs thankfully. Starting off the week we went with the lady and her kids and basically told them why we have been going with them and that we want them to get baptized, but that they aren't progressing. We told them that we wouldn't be passing by anymore, but that they could always pray to know the truth and if anything happened they could call us. They said that they liked the church and all and what we were teaching, but they just didn't really have time. It was sad to leave them, but we planted a seed and maybe somewhere down the road it will be their moment and they will accept. Despite leaving the lady, we have been blessed with a few new people to teach. There is another lady and her family that are a reference from a few members. We visited them 2 times this past week and taught the Restoration and the importance of the Book Of Mormon. She seemed to really like and be interested in the Book of Mormon and in our 2nd visit she said she really like what we left for her to read and she thought that the book was useful and could be true. We invited them to come to church, but seemed hesitant. We have also been teaching a little girl, an 8 year niece of a member. Her dad is a less active member, but her mom no and so we want to teach them too. She has gone to church a ton of times with her aunt and seems really excited to learn more about the gospel. Hopefully we can put a date and have a baptism in a week or so. This last week it has been raining a ton and as a result a lot of plants and weeds have started to spring up and so we have been giving a lot of service helping people to clean their "yards" and we even went and cleaned a school yard as a zone on Saturday. We had interviews with Pres. Hernandez this week and it was especially wonderful! I always love interviews and being able to talk with the Pres. He always has good things to say and I always come out feel renewed and ready to work more. This week Cananea called me with problems in the area with investigators. They were really worried about some things that were happening with their investigators and wanted the whole zone to remember them in their fast this week. Well the idea occurred to me to have the whole zone fast for all the investigators of everyone. So I talked to the zone leaders and we did it. We all exchanged the names of all the investigators in the zone and we did a big zone fast. We are already starting to see the miracles. Sunday we had 8 investigators at church including the new lady and her family, who found the courage and desires to go. That was a miracle. We also had a few new people go to church with member and so we will begin to teach them as well. Now for the reason I didn't write Monday. Monday we had a zone breakfast of pancakes and breakfast burritos. We all went to the church and made breakfast! Afterwards I didn't even have time to email or wash clothes because me and the other district leader in our zone had to travel to Hermosillo for a District Leader Conference Tuesday. When we got to Hermosillo, I called a Brother to come pick us up so we didn't have to pay taxi. That was really nice of him and it was great to see him again and catch up about his family. We went to Carls JR and then to the Assistant's house to sleep. Tuesday we had a fantastic meeting! It really was wonderful! I truly love meetings! I am a strong believer in Aunt Melon's "14 Article of Faith" "We Believe in meetings...." I always feel rejuvenated and ready to work after conferences and such. We got home late last night and here I am writing and washing clothes! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013 - "And we go..."

Hola Mi Familia! Well, this week has been a bit bland. Nothing really too exciting happened. It has also been kind of a frustrating week with investigators. However, we have recently had a Branch Mission Leader called and this week we had our first meeting with him and we are all excited to work and change some things in the branch and get this district moving so that in a few months they can reach STAKE! The lady and kids....have kind of been drying up. They aren't really keeping their commitments that we give them and we think they are losing interest and are not really wanting to be baptized. We watched the powerful Joseph Smith Movie with them Tuesday and it was really neat and at the end they were all excited and began to ask questions and one thing led to another and they began playing games while we were teaching and some left and weren't paying attention and when we got their attention we said that we wanted to kneel down right there and have them give a prayer and that they asked about if what we were teaching was true and if Joseph Smith really was a true prophet. We kneeled and decided who was going to offer the prayer. The prayer began and in the middle the kids began laughing and were laughing the whole way through and it just wasn't a good experience. We left feeling quite down and annoyed that they were taking things seriously. We have been talking and we think that they really don't want to progress and know for themselves if baptism is what they should do. They are just too set on their beliefs about baptism and they don't want to understand the Restoration. Well, we have done all we can, but in the end I think we may just have to leave them. We have had the opportunity to teach the message of "The Restoration" this week. We are beginning to share it with everyone: investigators, less actives, and members. I am loving teaching this message in particular. The spirit is so special and so strong when we teach this fantastic message. Sometimes you can see like a light go on in people's eyes when they realized that this message is familiar or that it is true. We have seen some special experiences this week with people being really excited to say a pray and to ask if it is true. Like it says in Preach My Gospel: there are so many people looking for the truth, but they just don't know where to find it and sometimes they don't even know they are looking for it, until they find it and then they know. Well, last week you wanted to know about our funny lady so I must tell you a little. She also has been kind of drying up. She work Sundays and so it is really hard for her to go to church and sometimes she has the opportunity to work Saturdays so that she can go to church on Sunday. But she has flat out told us that it just works better for her to have her day off be Saturday than Sunday and she just doesn't like working Saturdays and having days off Sunday. She really isn't understanding how important it is to go to church and sometimes make a sacrifice. We aren't visiting her as often now maybe once a week if that. This week I have been reading "The Miracle Of Forgiveness" by Pres. Kimball and I have just been loving it! I am going to finish soon and lately I have been reading about forgiveness and how amazing of a thing it is. It is really necessary for us to forgive other to want to progress in this life and receive an eternal reward in the life to come. I have read many stories of people of people who have gone so far as to forgive others who have killed loved ones. That is truly amazing! I would want to think that I could do that, but that just seems really hard and I bet it takes a lot of charity and courage to be able to do that. One of the greatest miracles of forgiveness is that of what our Heavenly Father and our Savior give us. Think of all the sins and disobedience we commit each and every day and they are always willing to accept us back and to give us forgiveness for everything we do. And I even like that God says that he "remembers it no more". That is truly a miracle of forgiveness. Well, sorry if my email is a little dry and short this week. And with no questions it is even shorter. We will try and make something more fun and exciting happen for next week! Enjoy the rest of you vacays! I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner