Sunday, January 20, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013 - It Is Too Dang Cold!

Hola Mi Familia! This week seemed to go on forever! I'm not sure why, but it was quite a slow week. This week has been COLD!!! Specifically, the last few days. A cold front has come through and I am suffering. My hands are chapping and the skin is breaking and my feet can't seem to get warm even with 2 pairs of socks. The temp goes from about 35ish in the night to 60 in the day, but with no indoor heating it is pretty painful. I like cold weather until I came to Mexico. Now, I want nothing to do with it. This week has been kind of rough in the fact that some days we didn't have set appointments and so we have a bunch of time where we don't know what to do. So we just set out and find less actives, but this is so hard and gets boring really fast. We have luckily had a few neat experiences finding less actives and have been able to find a few new investigators because of this as well. This week we had companion exchanges? Well, I don't remember what it is called in English, but for a day we switched companions with the Zone Leaders to give us a chance to work with them and for them to evaluate and help us as well. I stayed here in our area with one of the Zone Leaders and my comp went to their area with the other. We had a fairly decent time. There was a neat experience we had at lunch time asking for a reference. After eating, we shared a lesson with the family and then asked who they knew that could benefit from the message of the gospel. They said that all they people they knew, the Elders had already visited and that nothing had come of it. Well, we did something. We had this sister write down 3 names of people she would like us to visit or think would accept the gospel and we said a prayer together asking Heavenly Father to help us know which of the 3 we should visit. We said that after the prayer the 2 of us missionaries were going to think of one of the person and this sister was going to think of one. Well, after we did this she said that she felt that we should visit X person. After we left, both myself and the other zone leader shared with one another that we felt that another name on that list should be visited. So that was kind of neat how we were both in harmony in that aspect. And we received 2 references. Our investigators are progressing I guess....this week we have a baptism planned for one girl --the girl that won't talk for anything! I am playing with her more and more and am getting her confidence and trust, but she still doesn't say anything around us. I did hear her speak yesterday for the first and only time and it was just a few words. Her mom asked her which she likes more, the cold or the heat and she said the cold and that was all she said. That was all, but it made me so happy! The other lady is still going. She is advancing in her Book Of Mormon reading, but still wants to read it all before getting baptized. This is hard, but we are respecting her decision. Hopefully we will be having a Family Home Evening with her and another family in our ward this week. So we received word that this week a General Authority will be visiting the mission. Elder Cornish of the Seventy (he spoke in this past conference) is coming from Salt Lake and we will be have a conference with him this Wednesday. Elder Melchor asked me to perform a special musical number for this conference and he asked if I could do the song from 17 Miracles, "Savior Redeemer Of My Soul" , and I said of course and that I had sung it a few times before and had the music with me. So that has been happening. I was happy to know that someone in the mission plays violin so that we could do all 3 parts with piano, voice and violin. But it was so fantastic to actually sing today and full out! Of course in church and lessons and stuff I hold back, but I was actually able to perform and practice today like I haven't done in like 7 months. It felt fantastic and made me really happy. So that is what is up and let's hope it goes well. I can't really think of too much else that has happened that is too exciting, but that's about it. Well, I love and miss you all tons! I hope you are well and survive this next week. ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, January 7, 2013

The "Injured Elder"!
Elder Joyner likes to cook!

Monday, January 7, 2013 - 2013....My Black Year....

Hola Mi Familia! Haha! I say black year because it will be the one whole entire year that will be spent in the mission. A little bit of 2012 was spent at home, and most of 2014 will be spent at home, but ALL of 2013 will be here in Sonora, Mexico! But let me just tell you how fast time flies! Too fast! It is uber crazy to believe that tomorrow I will complete 11 MONTHS!!!! That is just 1 MONTH away from being 1 YEAR!!!! That is completely nuts! I can't even begin to think! 2012 went by way too fast, and so much happened that year! Now on to a new year with new adventures and experiences and new things to learn. This week was full of quite a few experiences! I am happy to announce that we bought another water heating rod thing and I no longer have to bathe with cold water again! I have become quite intolerable to the cold. I love the cold in the US because we have heating systems and water heaters, etc., but here, it just seems like it is impossible to get warm and that you are always cold. It can be a pain. Monday we didn't have any invitations for New Years Eve, so we just went home and went to sleep. Other events of this week: I was walking and talking on the phone and not really looking where I was going when I was suddenly grounded. I picked myself up with a bad pain in my head and found a lot of blood coming out of my head. I had hit my head on the corner of a tin awning. We went back to the house, but I didn't have anything to clean my head with, so we went straight to our lunch appointment and the family that we ate with took me to a doctor to get me cleaned up. Well, the doc wrapped me all up in gauze to keep blood from going wherever and he gave me a prescription for pills to take to prevent an infection/attracting bacteria since I am a gringo and he also told me to protect my head this week and wear a hat. So that has been pretty fun being able to wear a hat this week and not having to do my hair! After about 3 days or so, I became annoyed and took my bandages off and the wound has been fine and is healing. But that was some fun for this week, no? Also, we were looking for less actives this week and found one, but this story doesn't have a happy ending. This sister said that she had a bad experience when she was baptized and that she would sit in meetings alone and that no one would befriend her and she felt out of the loop and alone and inactivated. Well, later on another church found her and she let them begin to teach her. She said that she is much happier with them and that they are teaching her to read the bible and all this good stuff that she was never taught with the Elders. We set up an appointment to return to try and teach her a message or lesson. When we went back the other day, she was just finishing her classes with one of the church’s and so we happily went in hoping for a bible session. We began to say that we wanted to share a message and wanted to start with a prayer and the lady just freaked out asking how we pray and that we don't pray right and all this stuff and then we pulled out scriptures from the bible that confounded her and she shut up and said that she had been there for a while and that she was leaving. Well, for the next almost 3 hours we had a nice little chat with a TON of bible evidence and etc. It was a little hard for me because my hot spot is the Book Of Mormon and I don't know near as much about the bible as I would like to, but it just gave me a bunch of encouragement to study the bible more and it showed me how much amazing stuff the bible has. It seemed like this sister was quite new in the teachings of the other church and didn't know as much and something’s that we taught her seemed to impact her. But, in the end, she said that we could come back and "chat", but that she was happy where she was. That was quite sad to hear, but everyone has their agency. The saddest part is that she was baptized in the church, but has turned away and doesn't wish to come back. Oh, well, we did what we could. As far as investigators are going, we have a lady who is so ready to get baptized and knows everything is true and the lesson and the church has changed her life, but the only thing that is holding her up is that she wants to read the entire Book Of Mormon before being baptized. We set a date of the 27th of this month to help her, but she is still in 2 Nephi. We also set a baptismal date of Feb. 3rd, so we will see how that goes. We also have another girl. She is 9 years old and the daughter of the sister that was baptized the first week I was here. She as a date for the 19th of this month and it is pretty much a sure baptism. The only thing with her is that she is very shy and doesn't talk to us for ANYTHING! She will talk to her mom and all, but is very timid and doesn't talk to anyone else. She smiles and laughs silently and will nod her head, but won't speak a word! that is quite hard We even had a lesson of just playing games to see if we could get her confidence more and be more like friends, but she still hasn't opened up at all. So I guess we will just have to "keep on keeping on" as my 10th grade science teacher would say. Not too much else worth nothing happened this week. I was able to play piano in church yesterday which made me really happy! I wasn't told the hymns in advance so I had to sight-read all of them, but I did do quite well If I do say so myself. I was quite proud. I think my piano skills have improved while in the mission! We DID go to Office Depot this morning and that was quite an experience for me that I quite enjoyed! I love going to American Institutions. A little piece of my home land! Well, I hope you all have a nice week returning to school and work and all. You are half way done for the school year! Yay! Way to go! Haha! I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

December 2012 - Christmas in the Hermosillo, Mexico Mission

Pinata at the Mission Christmas Party
Santa found Elder Joyner!
The "Trio" - Elders - Joyner, Medina, & Searle

Monday, December 31, 2012 - "The Year Is Dying In The Night"

Hola Mi Familia! It was so wonderful to start me week off being able to talk to you on Christmas! I think we all had a good time. Sounds like you all had a nice Christmas and that Santa was good to everyone. I quite enjoyed all that Santa and the family sent me! So I guess just a little re-cap of what I already told you about Christmas and then on to the rest of the week. For Christmas eve, a family invited us over for dinner. Apparently this night is just one of festivities and that it goes late into the night. There are piñatas, fireworks, dancing, music until all hours of the night. I woke up around 5AM to turn myself and could still hear music and fireworks outside. Pres. Hernandez gave us all special permission to be out later on Christmas eve till 10:30PM instead of the normal 9PM. We arrived with the family around 8PM and they still didn't have the dinner ready, so we just chilled around for another 2 hours or so until 10:15PM when we told them that we had to be going and they took everything out of the oven anyway to feed us. It was good! We had Mashed Potatoes, a delicious ham in like a chili type sauce and a pasta salad. Everything was really good, but I couldn't finish it all. Like I told you, we went the day before to eat 50 cm Burritos with the landlords who just love us, even though they aren't members. And my stomach didn't really sit well after that and felt quite sick that whole day. Earlier that day, we went and hiked a "mountain/hill" that is basically right in the middle of Hermosillo and looks out on the whole city! It was pretty neat. So yeah, I couldn't finish the dinner because I felt awful! We went home and I opened my Christmas eve Presents and once everyone was in bed, I set out what Santa had sent! In the morning, we had a nice little time enjoying what Santa had sent and opening presents from you guys! I was too busy talking to you all that I forgot to mention how thankful the comps were for the gifts and they said to tell you all thank you! So Christmas we went with a family and had a pre-lunch leftovers of what they ate the night before. That was basically the whole day, just eating left overs of what everyone ate the night before and it was usually ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, pasta salad, and maybe tamales. We went and ate with 3 or so families that day, but I really didn't eat too much on account that I was still feeling like horrible! The whole rest of the week was not as productive as it could have been. With Elder Searle leaving Thursday we sent Tuesday and Wednesday going around so that he could say goodbye to people and purchasing last minute things for his family. It was kind of sad to see him go, although we were together for just 10 days, he is the only gringo comp I've had so far and we got along pretty well. It has taken time to adjust back to being just 2 after being in a 3 some. The rest of the week has been kind of rough with everyone in vacations and such. We do have a few baptismal dates for this month, hopefully. The girl that just got baptized last week, has a daughter of 9 years old and so hopefully that will be a for sure baptism. This house that we have really sucks! We have one of those shower heads that heats the water with electricity, but since there isn't enough water in Hermosillo, the water pressure is low and not high enough for this thing to kick in and work, so we have had to heat water using a metal bar thing that is used for heating water and then we bathe with a cup. Well, this week the thing kind of exploded and doesn't work now, so we have been bathing with cold water which is not fun when you wake up in a freezing concrete house in the morning....oh what fun! I feel like this email has been a boring re-cap of things you already know. Sorry, I just can't think of anything to say. Well, that is all I got for this week, hopefully next week there will be more to say. I love and miss you all much! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, December 24, 2012 - Christmas!!!

Hola Mi Familia! Just to let you know, this email will probs be a little short just because I don't have a lot of time right now because of P-day activities and because we will be talking tomorrow, so sorry people who read the blog...I will fill you in next week. This has been quite an interesting week...and kind of rough too! I don't know where to begin.... After a few days I've decided I really like Hermosillo! It has a lot to offer and a TON of American stores which makes me happy, unfortunately none are by us though. It has been difficult working in a Trio since we are all accustomed to being just 2 and these guys have already had 2 transfers-12 weeks- together and so it is hard to just be thrown into their routine and flow instead of starting over with a new comp and establishing your own routine and flow and stuff. I hope that made sense. But we are going. We are like in the edge of Hermosillo the most southern part, I think and it is pretty much the ghetto of Hermosillo. There is so much graffiti and I feel like we are in the project/ghetto. It is crazy! Our house is pretty yucky and apparently Pres. Hernandez and Hermana Hernandez came the past week to look at the houses and they told them that they needed to change because it was bad. So I guess we will be looking for a new house here in these days. We had a baptism this past Saturday for a young single mom named Erika. She has had a rough past with addiction to alcohol and many things, but has completely turned her life around and made a fantastic decision to be baptized and wash all of that away! It was a nice service. The 3 of us did a musical number and I harmonized and it went well. I love after baptisms just watching the person and thinking about how special baptism is and how that person is so clean just like a new born baby, so clean and so pure. It is quite special! Sunday was interesting. I do say that I like to be in a ward, although I miss the intimacy of a branch. There weren't very many members with it being Christmas and all but it was cool. I do like meeting in a chapel though as opposed to a house. They say that the wards are smaller here like 40-70 people and no more. Hopefully more will come next week. I am so excited to have a piano at my convenience again. It has been 4 months since I have played and I have missed it so much. There is a young single adult that plays for sacrament and I think she gets bored sometimes of playing so we decided that we are going to switch off Sundays! On Thursday, we had a combined Zone conference/Christmas Celebration for the mission. It was a really great meeting and really motivated and uplifted me. We also had a piñata and lunch. They showed us a really moving video that I really enjoyed. I will attach it in this email so that you can watch it tonight for Family Home Evening/Christmas Eve Festivities. Well, I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and that all your wishes come true! I have already started to feel like this Christmas is different and will be quite special. I haven't felt so caught up in the material things, but have had more time to reflect on why we really celebrate Christmas and what it all means. Sorry that this email was short and not very organized, but oh well. I love and miss you all dearly and am quite ecstatic to be able to talk to you TOMORROW!!!! At 5PM here (like 7PM there). ¡Feliz Navidad! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner Video:

Monday, December 17, 2012 - Transfers!

Hola Mi Familia! Well, another week has gone by and I know you all are just hanging on pins and needles waiting to know where I am-- if I stayed in Nacozari or left. We will get to that in a bit.... Sounds like Sunday was quite a busy day with talks and home teaching and firesides and choir practices. Good Heavens, the day of rest is not much of a day of rest is it? Haha! Well, this week, I can barely remember what happened. Energy and all that was down for all the mission this being the last week of transfers and all. Everyone seems to kind of shut down week 6 with not know what will happen the coming weekend with transfers and all. And as always, thanks mom for the Christmas goodies! Elder Alvarado and I immediately decorated the Christmas tree and really enjoyed having decorations to make us feel more like it was Christmas. He was really jealous of the gifts and stocking that you sent for my comp at Christmas and he hoped that we would not be changed so that he could have it. This week we did happen to have a few Christmas parties. The elders from Esqueda invited us to go with them to their Christmas party and so we went with them Friday night and stayed the night with them. Their party wasn't really that exciting. They just had food and then after set up the Xbox kincect and had everyone play Dance Central. It made me really jealous to see them playing and I wanted so bad to get up and show them all up, but that would not have been very missionary like. The next day, Saturday, we had our Christmas Party and we invited the elders from Esqueda to come with us and so they did. Earlier that day we went with Hermana Parada, the branch president's wife/my Mexican mom, and we helped her make food for the party that night and she taught us how to make Frijoles Puercos--which are a really special way of making refried beans and they are so good-- and we also made atole, which is a hot drink here, like hot chocolate, but they us cookies, cinnamon, cocoa, and clove to make it and it is quite delicious. It all turned out quite fantastic and delicious! This woman is absolutely amazing with cooking and just everything she does! She reminds me too much of my own mother! :) Home away from home! After making that stuff, we returned home and I made the cookies that Grandma and Grandad had sent me for to take to the Christmas party. They turned out quite lovely and I think everyone like them. Our Christmas party was way better than Esqueda. We actually had a spiritual message with it. Ha! We also ate and the kids had a piñata. It was quite a fun night. Well, yesterday morning we received the phone call with transfers. Unfortunately, the mission decided to close Nacozari to missionaries for a time. This was really sad. I didn't want to leave! The thing that gets me the most is that they closed Nacozari, but they didn't close Esqueda. Esqueda still has missionaries and it is much smaller and has less work. That is what I don't understand. The whole time at church was quite sad. Everyone didn't want us to leave. We had the primary program which was really neat and was very spiritual. After church we had a luncheon and ate left overs from the Christmas party the night before and spent time saying our goodbyes. The hardest goodbye was the branch president and his wife who really became my Mexican parents. It was so hard to leave them and there were tears between the both of us. They gave me some very nice complements and gave me words of encouragement as I moved on. We then went home and spent the afternoon packing and left that night for Agua Prieta. Now the moment you all have been waiting for. This morning I woke up and got on the bus and headed for Hermosillo! Yup, that's right! I'm here in Hermosillo and I have been promoted to District Leader. The area is called Nuevo Hermosillo and it is the like the very south bit of Hermosillo. Kind of in the ghetto/boonies or Hermosillo if you asked me. I am currently in a Trio with Elder Searle and Elder Medina, but in 10 days Elder Searle will have completed his mission and will head home and it will just me Elder Medina and I. It has been kind of a rough and long day today 5 hours on the bus and getting used to the fact that I won't be going back to Nacozari. I am excited, though, to finally be in a city and have a ward to work with! I am hoping I will adjust quickly and that things will be okay. I always hate changes and don't do well with change. It always is hard and takes me a while to adjust and get to know people. But here we are and so that is what is up. So I'm sorry if this was short this week or scattered, but it is because of all the changes. Just think, ONE WEEK from TOMORROW, we will get to talk on the phone! How fantastic is that!?! I am super pumped. Well, I hope you all are well and survive this last week before vacations. Good luck with examines and all! I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

December 10, 2012 - Pictures of Nacozari Apartment

Elder Joyner made pancakes!
The famous "Haircut"! - Ooops!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012 - Hola!

Hola Mi Familia! Sounds like you all have had quite the crazy, busy week! Nuts! I hope it slows down soon with vacations coming soon, no? ! We have our Branch Christmas party this coming Saturday. We are going to have BBQ, piñatas and a bunch of other stuff! I am rather looking forward to it! Well, this week was a bit dry except for a few neat lessons and some new investigators that we added to our small teaching pool. Haha! So I have to tell you that the pudding mix and pie crust that you sent with my Thanksgiving dinner, mom, well, I made the pie and was so happy about it and everything and I found whip cream in the can in a small store that imports various stuff from the US. That night we had a slice of pie and it wasn't too bad I thought and I put those Reeses in as well! Well, the next day, I decided to take it to lunch to share with the Branch President and his family. Haha! Mistake! Apparently down here they are just accustomed to pie that has fruit filling and not like we have with banana cream pies or pudding pies. Well, the sister knew about pudding filling pies, but the Pres. didn't and so he was kind of skeptical looking and was asking if I had cooked it and if it was fully cooked. Haha! He says he was just joking and kidding around and kept on joking like that for a while which made his wife mad that he was joking around and making me feel bad, but not really. The sister asked if he wanted another piece and the Pres. said no and everyone else said no and so she ate another 2 pieces or so. I'm thinking she just did that not to make me feel bad. And she kept saying how good it was. HAHA! I was just dying inside laughing! So they didn't like my pie....never again will I be making food to share with people! On Wednesday night we went with Hermana Maru (the one who worked in the DIF and always gives us references) and we went to visit a former co-worker who also works in DIF and was very impressed with Hector's progress. Her name is Cristian. When we arrived, she wasn't there, it was just her husband and young daughter and so we chatted with him for a bit and then Cristian arrived and we got to know the family more and we taught them The Plan of Salvation. We really focused on the importance of families and the importance of doing what is necessary here on earth to be able to live with our families forever. They are a young couple in their early 30s I would say and they have a young daughter with only 4 years. The lesson seemed to really speak to them and they said that they were willing do do the things necessary to live with their family forever. The lesson was really great! I really liked having Hermana Maru with us! I think she really enjoyed it too and was reliving her days when she was a missionary! She helped us teach part of the lesson and was just a strong testimony of forever families with her father dying suddenly just a month ago. We invited them to church and put another appointment for yesterday, but we when passed by, they weren't there. So we will see if we can't find them again this week and teach them more. This past Saturday we had another lesson with Hermana Mari and Lulu and Ricardo. We taught them "The Restoration" I absolutely LOVE teaching this lesson, but always get nervous before teaching this lesson especially if I know that the people we are teaching are quite strong in another religion. We started and thankfully with Heavenly Father's help, I calmed down and was fine. We taught the lesson and bore testimony of the Restoration of the Church and of Joseph Smith. We also introduced the Book of Mormon and invited them to read it and pray about what we had taught. Throughout the whole lesson Lulu seemed so interested and like there was a spark in her eyes from interest while we were teaching this message. The trouble started when we offered the invitation to pray about this message. I totally should have asked Lulu first, but made the mistake of asking her husband, Ricardo and he just began speaking for all 3 of them. He said that they appreciated us sharing the messages and that they have seen us as a sign that they need to come closer to God and all this stuff, but in their own way and their own beliefs. Once he finally got done talking, we asked Lulu and Mari and they said they would pray. When we got done, Lulu offered to give the closing prayer. Oh my heck! She gave one of the most beautiful prayers I think I have ever heard in my life! I wanted to cry it was so beautiful. She asked for help to understand what we were teaching and that they could know if it was the right thing for them in their lives. It was just so beautiful! I seriously think that Lulu will accept this message, but I just hope her husband doesn't influence her too much. He is cool and has family that are members and that live in Utah, but he is just kind of fixed on his beliefs right now and doesn't seem too interested in opening up too much. We will see what happens, we are still going to keep teaching I having faith that they will accept! Sunday was a pretty fun day! We had church which is always wonderful and then in the night we had another Seminary Evaluation, but this time the Branch President's wife who is the seminary teacher wanted everyone to participate, so she the week before she gave us all the questions and we had to study them and there was going to be part of the evaluation for the students and then part of them evaluation for the other members that were divided in to the student's teams so they could get the points. Anywho, the judges didn't show up by the time we started, so we were asked to be the judges. It was fun we had to decide who raised their hand first and tally points and all that jazz. It was a fun little night and afterwards we had refreshments and socialized. Today, I had a hair disaster! I had a sister cut my hair this morning and it was all fine, but her little razor that you know trims the neck and all was broken and so she just said to have my comp shave my neck with a razor and foam. Well, my razor has the small clipper part to clip the small hairs, no? So I decided to try and shave my neck on my own. Well, seeing as how I didn't have a way to seeing the back of my head I was just using my hand to feel and when I got out of the shower, my comp asked what the heck happened. Well, I guess I didn't do too well on my own....see picture attached! I just have to tell about a photo I am sending. I made a little "Don't Eat Pete" game board-you know, the one with M&Ms and you yell "Don't Eat Pete"- to play with the kids that we teach and I called it "Don't Eat Juan". It was fun and I was proud of my little creative game board I made! Just had to put that out there. So mom, you asked a few weeks ago about how they celebrate Christmas here and decorations, etc. Well, I have been paying more attention and there are decorations, but it just so happens that they are of the Virgin Mary. People will put a photo or statue of the virgin in their window and put the flashing colored Christmas lights around it and light up Virgins and all that. It is quite interesting! They have even begun this week to have parades of the virgin. Members of the Catholic church parade the streets with a huge figurine of the virgin and chant some prayer....who knows what! This is the time of the year and a season to remember Jesus Christ and celebrate his birth, yet they are all celebrating more the virgin and it seems like there is no Jesus at all in this season. Apparently this Wednesday is a holiday as well-day of the virgin! I just hate how we are not focused on Christ down here for this wonderful season! I hope things are somewhat better up there! Well, that is all I got for this week! I hope you all are well and can make it through another week! I just realized the other day that Christmas is only 2 weeks away from Tomorrow! That is crazy! 2 Weeks! And the weeks go by uber fast! 2 Weeks and we will be talking on the phone once again! I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

December 2012 - Pictures of Nacozari

The Goodie Stash from Elder Joyner's "Aunt Sally"
Elder Joyner has received a package!
An American "Thanksgiving Dinner" from a box!
A banner made just for Elder Joyner

Monday, December 3, 2012 - December....Already?!

Hola Mi Familia! Another week gone by and we have entered into December! How crazy! It totally does not feel like it with the warm weather and all. They are saying this is unusual for Nacozari this time of year. This week.....well, let's see... Well, to start, we went and visited Hermana Mari, the lady who helps in the cake shop. She kept telling us that she was going to talk with her 2 daughters who live with her and her son in law and find a time when we could pass by, but she never told us a firm time, so we just popped in! She was quite surprised, but welcomed us in happily and even made us a few quesadillas for dinner. The whole family wasn't there and they were coming and going so we decided just to leave a Spiritual thought and come back another day to teach the whole family. Wednesday I just have to mention that with Hermana Maru (the cake shop lady) we had Chimichangas for lunch and boy were they so good! Apparently they are from Sonora and don't really have them anywhere else in Mexico. So all that time that I was eating mom's Chimichangas, who knew that they were from my future mission! Later that night, we went and met with Jesus, the new kid that we started teaching last week. We taught him about the importance of the Sabbath day and told him that we would come back for him Sunday to take him to church. Afterwards, we sat around telling jokes for a bit! I know quite a bit of jokes in Spanish now! Haha! On Thursday we traveled to Esqueda to give the district leader various things to give to the zone leaders for when they go to Hermosillo this week. We ended up staying with them for lunch and helping them the rest of the day passing out invitations to less actives for an activity that they were going to have. I also picked up my packages. They Elders in Esqueda were complaining how heavy they were and that there were 4. When we got home and opened them all comp about fainted from all the goodies I received! Thanks mom for the Thanksgiving meal in a package! We had it for lunch today and it was yummy! Also, a special thank you to The Simpsons for my Birthday/Christmas packages! I, as well as my comp, about fainted from all the goodies that were packed in! We divided some things up between the two of us and probably won't have to buy goodies for a few years! Thanks so much! Friday was pretty fantastic day! We had a Youth activity and were going to make Pizzas. We went and picked up a few investigators, including Jesus! I think he had a pretty good time! Unfortunately, the oven at the church wasn't working very well and so we just sat around and hung out with the youth for a good bit and played games. It was a lot of fun! And there were a ton of youth! Later on that night, we had a Family Home Evening for the branch with a theme of missionary work. Every family was supposed to bring non members to introduce people to the church and so that we could get references. Well, it turns out that only one family brought investigators--Hermana Maru brought Hermana Mari and her family and we even invited them too. And of course Jesus was there with us. It was sad but there were a few inactives that came a ton of youth so that was kind of cool! The message was given by a brother and he talked about faith and did a neat object lesson. Afterwards, we played some pretty fun games and ate the pizza we made from the youth activity. Another sister made that cheese dip that you make, mom, it is like the pimento cheese, or whatever, that is white and has little red somethings in it. It was good and reminded me of you! Afterwards we talked about good bit with Hermana Mari, her daughter Lulu, and Lulu's Husband, Ricardo, who was the one that I was saying that lived in Provo and Orem for a while. We set up an appointment to visit with them on Sunday, yesterday. Lulu was saying how much of a spiritual hole she felt like she had so that made us excited to help her! Sunday was a pretty great day! It was Sunday of course, which made it fantastic, and it was Fast Sunday which made it even better! We had good testimonies and Lulu came to church! Hermana Mari couldn't because she had to sell things in a yard sell to earn more money. Lulu said she really enjoyed the church and felt like she wanted to get up to bear testimony with all the members too, but felt like she was going to cry, so she didn't. She said she liked the woman's presence in the church with the Relief Society. She said that she wanted to come next week too! That night we went for out lesson with them. We arrived and they had made dinner for us, which I was dreading since I was still OVERLY full from lunch, so I had to force down a few tostadas. Afterwards we chatted a bit and began the lesson. We taught the Plan of Salvation and the importance of families and what we need to do in this life to return with God and live in with our families forever. We then watched a few videos from I love those videos! They are pretty neat having members give testimony! I wish we used it more in our mission like they use it in the states. Afterwards we dropped the baptism interview and they all were kind of wishy washy about it and said that they have family traditions in the Catholic church and they need to know more, etc... We told them we knew and that we would help them learn more and prepare. Lulu seemed the most interested, so I think if no one else, she will get baptized, but it is just a matter of doing it within the next 2 weeks that we have here. They are really awesome though! Ricardo and I were talking up a storm about BYU and Utah and he has a bunch of BYU apparel and he gave me a BYU coat he had. I guess I was talking about BYU a little too much and how much I loved it and got all excited with his stuff that he had. I really didn't want his coat, and I would rather have had him keep it to remember Utah, but he was so nice and felt bad reject it, so I now have a new BYU coat in my possession! How neat is that! Well, that was the week! It is crazy to think that we just have 2 more weeks here. 2 more weeks and Nacozari may not have missionaries....crazy to think of. Hope we can do all we can these two weeks to get things in order and be ready to leave. I hope so. I love and miss you all dearly and hope all is well. Just 3 more weeks and we will be talking on the good ole phone. Jared said that they get to skype this Christmas, but I doubt that would happen here. Until next time... ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner