Sunday, June 23, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013 -

Hola Mi Familia! Sounds like Dad had quite the special day; receiving a toy flashlight, a suitcase for a lunch box! How special! Haha! Yesterday in church everyone was going around congratulating and hugging the fathers for Father's Day and we brought an investigator for his first time. This one sister comes up to the investigator and says " Nice to meet you, I'm Sister "So-and-So" ". And then she ask him, "are you a dad?" He says yes and immediately without 2 seconds passing by, just gives him a big hug and says " Happy Father's Day". Haha! It was kind of funny! I really hope she didn't scare the poor guy, but I was laughing! Haha! The past few days it has started to be a little cloudy with the big gray summer storm clouds and appear that it is going to rain, but it never does. It just wants to trick us. But it has been nice to have a covering of the sun for a few hours each day. Actually Saturday night it did rain a little bit. It was a steady rain, but very hard and only lasted for a short time, but it was lovely! The rains are a comin! This week, has been kind of rough. A few weeks ago when we had like 9 people with baptismal dates and we felt like we were really getting going and all. And then these past few weeks things have kind of been falling apart. People have lost interest and don't want to progress, they move out of the country and so we can't continue with them, we find out that have already been baptized... (ugh! Our sweet lady! That woman...), and others that hide and don't want to talk with us. We have been trying to find more investigators my searching for less actives and seeing if they have non-members in their house, as well as going through old investigator records and visiting those people to see if they have any interest to listen again. But, unfortunately, we are coming to the end of our lists and are running out of ways to find people.... The new guy is...awesome! I still can't believe that he is getting baptized. Like we really thought he would never progress, but after his experience he is going head first and fast! We had a date set for this coming Saturday, the 22nd, but he has asked if we would wait until July, because it is a special month for the family of his wife because his wife and practically all of her family has birthdays this month. So he wants his baptism to be a gift for them. So we have set a date for the 6th of July right before transfers to make sure that the both of us are still here to see it happen! :) He said he was going to wait and tell his wife and her family like until a week before, but apparently he got a bit excited and told them all on Saturday. They said his wife about died and began to cry with tears of happiness. How special this will be for their family and I am so glad that I was able to help be apart of it! Sweet lady...well I really shouldn't have anything to say about the woman since she is already baptized....still can't get over the thought....but we are still going with her just trying to teach her what she needs to know and get her to be a strong active member now. About a week ago she had a birthday, but was in Hermosillo this day so we couldn't do anything. So Saturday we went and brought her a cake and she was just so excited and we all had cake and chocolate milk (with a special milk that doesn't make you fat!). She quite enjoyed her little celebration and just talked our ears off as usual. She said she plans to have a celebration where she is going to make meatloaf and mashed potatoes and a cake and then invite a few people, but she doesn't know when yet. How crazy! She wants to make her own birthday meal...whatever floats your boat! There really aren't anymore investigators progressing that are worth mentioning. Like I said, we need to begin the search for more.... Yesterday being Father's Day and all, of course I had time to reflect on my own father and the impact he has been in my life and all the other men that have also impacted me and have been great mentors and examples in my life. I am especially grateful for my dad and for everything he has done and does for me. Mom can be a softy sometimes, but dad is a rock and teaches us the importance of reality and not always having the things like we want them. There are a few videos that I have seen on the church website these past months that I have been waiting for Father's Day to share. Both have brought a few tears to my eyes reflect on their messages and how it relates to me and my own father(s). Both of my parents have made countless sacrifices to help support and love each of us kids. I can't even begin to think of everything my father does for our family. He is a provider, a spiritual example, supporter and even a friend. Growing up seeing friends who maybe never had a father, or had one, but didn't have the intimate relationship that one may desire, I have realized how grateful I am for the relationship I have with my father and for the strong anchor he is in my life. Mom shared with me a few thoughts and I completely agree. I have always admired how dad is always dedicated and faithful in his church callings and puts this great example for us. I will never be able to fully repay my father for everything that he is in my life, how he supports me in all I do, for what he has taught me and what he has and does do for me. I am truly thankful to my father in heaven for this man that he has put in my life and the blessing that it is. Maybe we guys in the family aren't as always mushy and gushy as some, but I can say that I love you dad! I truly really love you and am thankful for you! I am also thankful for both of my grandfathers and the examples they are to me. For their constant love and support. I couldn't have asked for better example in life than them. They both are also very dedicated in their church callings and to their families. Thanks for your impact in my life. The other video is still about fathers, but from a different perspective: My Heavenly Father is everything for me! I can't even begin to think or comprehend everything that He has given us. He is a strength and help in all times. I am especially thankful for the power of prayer and this special communication that we have with Him. I like this video because it shows the sacrifices and responsibilities of a father and then it helps us realize that all of that is EXACTLY the same with our Heavenly Father. He still wants the best for us, He still is always worried for us and He is ALWAYS there to lift us up when we have fallen. How blessed I feel to have this knowledge that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and we are literally his children. Well, I hope you all have a super fantastic week and enjoy the summer heat in your nice little air conditioned houses! Be thinking of me, ey! Love you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner
The Agua Prieta Zone The Soccer Team! Elder Joyner and Ague Prieta Comp. The mouse hunt

Monday, June 10, 2013 - "Enough for One Night...."

Hola Mi Familia! Well, this has been quite a week for us and I have a few little stories. Our sweet lady! Dang it! What can I say about her? I told you all last week with the little scare...that she found her long lost brother that told her she was baptized when she was 15. Well, I talked with the Elders in the offices and they were able to look up her name to see if there was membership record....and sure enough, there was. :( This was pretty disappointing. She is already a member although she doesn't remember a thing of her baptism that apparently took place 30 years ago. So there won't be a baptism for her.... :( I guess it is good that God sent her brother to tell her and let us know so that we didn't go through and baptize her again, but it is just a little sad that we won't be getting her wet again. Now we will just be working on a less active member and getting her good and active and helping her learn everything she needs to know. That is all that I have to say about her right now.... A new man that we met, I don't know if I ever talked about him, but he is the husband of a less active member. He and his wife are a young couple with a little 3 year old girl. Since we arrived we have activated the wife and now they go every week to church. We have been teaching him, but he has been kind of hard. We haven't really been able to figure out what he needs and how to help him. He says he hasn't wanted to be baptized yet because he wants to feel the same excitement and longing for our church that he has for his Catholic church. We haven't really known how to help him. A lot of companionships have been visiting him for a year or so and we were getting ready to just stop visiting him when he had an experience this week. Last week in the Gospel Principles class we were talking about baptism and someone began to talk about the Catholic church and how horrible it is that they baptize babies and another person began to chime and say things too. The teacher left homework of reading Moroni 8 that talks about why we don't baptize babies. Well, when we went to visit him this week he told us of how he felt really offended in the class and he felt like many were bashing his beliefs and he was uncomfortable. He said he had been thinking a lot about what they were saying and then read Moroni 8 for the homework. He said that same night his wife had a nightmare and when she told him of it the next morning, it scared him. He didn't tell us what the dream was, just that it scared him. Well, the experience with the class and his wife's dream really made him think a lot this week and he has been thinking that maybe his religion and beliefs are wrong. He said he has been reading the Book Of Mormon and praying a lot this week and he says he feels that it is time to get to know more about the church and the Book Of Mormon and maybe get baptized. I could just feel his hurt as he was telling us through tears that he is beginning to realize that what he has known all his life and his beliefs are wrong. I can't even imagine how he feels--to realize that what you have grown up with and known is wrong. It is like someone telling us that what we have known and do in the church is all wrong and an abomination before God. Well, we kind of jumped on this and put a baptism date! This will hopefully be a for sure baptism for the 22nd of this month, in 2 weeks. It is sad that it took an ugly experience to realize what is the right path, but super fantastic that we will be helping him clear his doubts and get baptized! This week we also received a reference from a member for a family of 8....6 kids and 2 parents. We have met with them only twice, but seem hopefull....8 crazy would that be! This morning we played soccer. But not just the us elders, but against the Selection of Agua Prieta Youth, which is basically like the best of the best soccer players in Agau Prieta. And you know what...we won! How crazy! It was kind of fun and exciting! Well, last night was just kind of a long night for us! It all started when I mentioned to my comp that one of the Elders told me that someone before us had left weights in the house to exercise with, but we didn't know where they were, so he wanted to look for them. We have a few things in our house like ton of blankets and mattresses from when there were 4 missionaries in this branch, but now it is just us, they have things from the other house that are just being stored here. So my comp began to take out everything to look for weights to use for exercise. Well, upon removing the mountain of a million blankets, we find that one of the blankets has a medium small hole in it that looks like it has been chewed open. After removing all the blankets, we find at the bottom on the floor little pieces of paper and what looks like mouse poop. My comp begins to get curious. Apparently when I told him about the mouse a week ago, he didn't believe me, but with this evidence he began to believe me. So we go on a mouse hunt and start moving the things around and away from the walls. My comp moved a dresser and he saw the little monster and it scurried away. Culprit found and the search really begins. We open the door and start to make noise (our poor neighbors) and try to get the mouse to make himself known again. We find it and we almost have him out the door when he makes a move for the opposite direction where we had neatly folded the blankets and all again. Ugh! How annoying! We had to pull everything away from the wall and take out all the blankets and mattresses again to find the little monster. I am at the door ready to give him a hit out and my comp is looking for him (being the fearful one that I am I gave him the finding duty!). My comp bends down to look for a few things and begins saying " Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh". the mouse was apparently behind him and then it came scurrying in my direction. He runs for the door and I help by giving him a little wack! Well, we successfully found the little monster that has been haunting my dreams for the past week! Mission accomplished and job done! Well, I love and miss you all tons and hope that you are well. Have a fun week with the Aunties, mom, and send them my hellos! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday - June 3, 2013 -

Hola Mi Familia! Well this week has kind of sucked! Haha! After having so many desires and ready to work last week we were ready to go. But then....I got sickish? Well, I don´t know what happened but in the afternoon and evening I started to have tummy aches and not feel too well! By the time we got home I was feeling kind of nauseous. It continued through the night, but thankfully no vomiting! I woke up a little late feeling a little better and I seemed to progress somewhat as the day moved on. We were able to leave after lunch and work a bit. the whole rest of the week was kind of yucky. Almost after every time I ate lunch I felt kind of yucky and nauseous again, but I am getting better! I am fine mom, so don´t you worry ‘bout a thing! Our sweet lady is having a birthday in a few weeks and she is just all excited! She is going to invite us over and another family in the branch and she is going to make meatloaf and mashed potatoes for herself and us this day. She told us to plan a few games to play so we are in the works for that. She is already calling herself a Mormon and is quite proud of it. Just two more weeks till her baptism....we think. She gave us a bit of a scare this week....she said she found her brother in the store this week...a brother that she had not seen or talked to for a few years. She was talking with him and mentioned that she was going with the Mormons like their dad did. Her brother responds, ¨well sister, you are Mormon, don´t you remember when you got baptized when you were 15¨! I about fell over dead! She says she has no memory of this whatsoever, but her brother says it happened. She said she always accompanied her father to church, but does not remember ever being baptized. Well, we are in the process of trying to have the mission secretaries look up her name to see if there is a membership record. We haven´t been able to get in contact with them too much, but we are trying. I am just kind of praying that she wasn´t baptized so that we can do it! Ha! :) She is just too precious and a fantastic missionary! She invited someone to church that she met on the street, and he actually came yesterday! That was an unexpected blessing! She goes around telling everyone she is Mormon and she has even got in a fight for it! Haha! Someone started telling her off and she said ¨I am a Mormon and you, what about you¨ and she just kept saying that! Haha! It was funny! She just keeps us going! We love her! We have started meeting with one of the member’s boyfriend’s again and he seems to be a little more encouraged and has a bit more desires to move on. He always seems to be a little exited or happier when we arrive to talk with him and he seems always eager to put another appointment. The only problem is that his family is very Catholic and he doesn´t know what they will say and if they will give him permission to be baptized. However, in a few weeks he will turn 18 and won´t need permission. But he hasn´t officially accepted a date yet because he is still scared of what his family will say. So we told him to pray and ask....we will work on that! I don´t have really anymore news on investigators, but I will tell a story I told mom already.... Yesterday morning I knelt down to say my prayers by my study desk and I open my eyes and a little ways away I see a little mouse staring at me! I let out a yelp and it goes running! I don´t know where it went to and how to find it/kill it and if there are any more but let me just that whenever we are in the house I don´t feel too comfortable because I have no clue where it is and if there are more...babies...yuck! This week something we studied was a part of the 12 weeks training program was how to help our investigators receive revelation through prayer. This is really quite a special topic and I enjoyed studying it! I can truly testify that we can receive personal revelation through prayer and that God does hear and answer prayers. Sometimes we don´t give our prayers the importance they deserve and we are really repetitive and such. But prayers are really something special. Imagine, we are having an actual conversation with God and he is listening! When we understand this, why would we want to be repetitive and say the same things....we should TALK to Him and really TALK to him and tell him what is going on in our lives and how we feel! I know that if we do this, our prayers will change dramatically and they will be something even more special for us! Well, that is all I got this time! It is crazy to believe that just 8 months from tomorrow I will be on a jet plane flying to the US....that is a crazy thought! I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday - May 27, 2013 - "Twilight of My Years"

Hola Mi Familia! Well this week has been absolutely AMAZING!!! It is super crazy that we have already completed a change! Today is the day of transfers. It has gone by super duper fast! I can't believe it! It would have to probs one of the best weeks of my mission. We really tried to work hard this week and have all the desires to work that we could, and it really paid off! Just a quick overview....we found a ton of new people to teach and received even more references to visit and...we placed 9 baptismal dates! That is the greatest! We invited 9 people that if they felt the truth of our message, that they would be baptized in one of the Saturdays in June! I have felt pretty good about this past week, but know that we can do even more! I am quite excited to move on this week! Our sweet lady is just the most precious thing ever! Like always she just keeps us going in every lesson! We can't visit her without having to make an extra effort not to laugh with her comments! This week she told us something really special though! She said we were just talking and she asked if older people could go on missions and we said yes and she just got all happy and said that she was going to start saving and preparing NOW to serve a mission! She hasn't even been baptized yet and she is already wanting to serve a mission! She is just something special! We were able to put a definite baptismal date for her this week for June 15th. So we are hoping and praying that will go well. We have been visiting with a couple who have young kids. We found them one day while out in the street. We passed their house and their daughter came out and handed us 2 copies of the Book Of Mormon and said that her parents don't know what these books are and that we needed them. We told the daughter to keep the books and to tell her parents that we would stop by one day to teach them about those books. So one day we did stop by and began teaching them. They have a lot a good questions and we taught them about the Restoration and they seemed quite interested. Unfortunately they didn't come to church yesterday, but they are 2 of our 9 dates we have so we will work on them. Our sweet lady gave us a reference this week of a friend she knew in the other church she attended that was apparently baptized in our church quite some time ago. We went with her and had quite a pleasant conversation. Her older daughter was there, who was really young when her mom was baptized, so she didn't know anything. We taught them about The Restoration and quite frankly told the sister what her baptism means and that she should come back to church. They older daughter seemed really interested and wants to learn more. We also had a short of difficult lesson. We found 2 youth and one of them is studying like science or something in College. So he is all based on facts. He believes in God, but not religions and feels like he needs evidence to know his answers. He doesn't believe that God will answer his prayers. So we will really need to focus on the Spirit when teaching them and making sure that they can have a spiritual experience to be able to receive answers to his prayers. I have never really dealt with anything like this so I am not really sure how to respond to rejections that has to do with science. We will just have to see how this goes.... I am trying to think of something significant that happened this week or something really special, but apart from our 9 dates that we set, I can't really think of anything. I feel like I am really in the highlight of my mission...the best time of my mission! I am really enjoying myself and feeling like we are seeing the fruits of our labors and are able to help people that need to our help. I am so grateful for this time that I have in the mission and for all the experiences I have had and people I have met and known. I love being 20 years old! I feel like I am in the "Twilight of My Years" loving life and recognizing all the blessings from our Heavenly Father! How fantastic is this life! I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner