Sunday, July 14, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013 - Rain Season

Hola Mi Familia! HAPPY 17 MONTHS TO ME!!!!!!! That is sooo crazy!!!! 17 Months! That is just 1 Month away from 18, which is just 6 months away till the END....My has this gone by just so fast or what!?! What a fun little 4th of July! I am quite jeally of the homemade peanut butter ice cream! My mouth is starting to water just thinking about it! That sucks that you didn't get to enjoy the fireworks...too rainy, too bad...I did! More on that later! So I totally feel you with the rain and humidity. This week has been exactly the same! It began last Sunday--rained a little, but not too much. But Tuesday, we were in our last lesson of the day and there began to be lightning and thunder and all of a sudden before we were going to leave, it just began to pour! We had one of the young men with us and so we had to take him back to his house and so we left and got just soaked, but it was actually quite pleasant. It has been just killer hot here and so to have a nice cool pouring rain storm with a ton of wind and such, was quite enjoyable! But I kid you not, the rain was cold. It was enjoyable to have a cool down. But always the day after rain, it is really humid and hot and nasty, so that was gross....but that isn't the worst has basically been doing that thunder and lighting thing every single night and with a little rain--not as much as before, but a little. And so if it is doing that every night, that is making it hot, humid, nasty, and horrible every single day! Which sucks! But the rain makes it a lot cooler and more pleasant in the moment, so I can't complain too much! Well, our investigator brother....was baptized! Oh, it was one of the most beautiful baptismal services I have attended. We basically just created a program and filled the font, and then the member did the rest! It was so nice having members give the talks and even baptizing! Granted, they were the family members of his wife that was doing it all, but it was nice! The spirit was really strong and it was a beautiful service......the events leading up to the service were so enjoyable. After lunch, we got the the church to clean the font a little and then to begin to fill it. Well, we get there and the other Elders had not drained it since the last time they had a baptism almost 3 weeks ago! But more than that...I don't know if you remember me saying how since we are in season of heat, the cockroaches enter through the drain and there are a ton. Well, there they were still, but all dead in the water! So we freak out and have to get it to drain, but it just doesn't want to drain too fast. After an hour and a half we check to see if it had drained all the way and it had only drained maybe a fourth of the way. So, we began to get buckets and taking water out and flushing it down the toilets to make it go faster. Luckily we were able to get the water out of there fast than the drain would have. We clean a little and an hour before the baptism is supposed to start (it takes about 2-2 and half hours normally to fill, mind you), we finally begin to fill the font. We have the spout going, we bring in the hose from outside and we begin filling buckets from every water source possible. We called our district leader to come and help us and then were a great help! I don't know how we did, but by a miracle from our Heavenly Father, we were able to fill the font in only 1 HOUR! It was amazing and we were so thankful! The service was so lovely and so spirit filled. We brought one lady and her 4 kids and they really liked it we think! It is crazy how the Lord really prepares people for us to teach and help, because the missionaries have been visiting this other brother for like 2 years, and he was finally baptized when we began teaching him. His wife gave a really sweet testimony and you could tell that she was quite happy to have him be baptized and that they are one step closer to being an eternal family! The lady and kids are just crazy! They are really awesome actually! This week we had a mega-lesson. It was the 5 of them, 2 of us, and we brought a youth with us to help teach, and then the family of 3 that introduced her to us.....11 people in one lesson! It was nuts! We taught The Plan of Salvation, but I think 11 people was a little much and many wanted to teach and share things and I think they just got confused and in the end had more questions than answers. We won't be bringing as many people to a lesson again. It was nice to have the support, but too many! We passed by one day just to see how they were doing and to talk with them. We wanted to have a spiritual moment and sing them a hymn ("Nearer My God To Thee"). When we began to sing, one of the kids began laughing, and then the other, and all of the rest, even the lady......they laughed at our hymn! Haha! We wanted a moment so special and spiritual, but they began laughing! When we finished they asked for forgiveness and one of them said it was because we were singing the together the same thing or something like that, but I didn't believe it! Needless to say, we won't be singing for them again... It is rough, because they are really cool and I feel like when we invite them to be baptized, they will accept, but the thing is that the kids work Saturdays and Sundays in a flea market and so that would be a problem trying to get them to go to church.... we will just have to pray and hope that something will happen to allow them to go. On Friday we had our conference with Elder De hoyos from the Seventy and the presidency of the area seventy of Mexico. We went to Nogales and since there is only one bus that goes to Nogales from AP, we had to leave at I got up at 1:30AM.....but that isn't the worst. We thought that a member from the other branch was going to give us and the zone leaders a ride because he is a taxi driver, but when we called him that morning he never answer his phone, so we had to go to the bus station walking.....FAST! Let me just saying walking in the streets of Agua Prieta at 3AM in the morning is not the funnest thing! And having to walk 60 blocks away....NOT FUN! My legs are still REALLY sore and hurt, but oh gotta do what you gotta do! The conference was really quite amazing! Our song went well and we sang "We'll Bring The World His Truth" in Spanish and in English. Elder De hoyos talked to us a lot about how to get the members more involved in the work and how they can be a powerful source. He talked about how if the members go over the the investigator's house to read the Book of Mormon with them for just like 15 minutes, it can be a powerful help in their conversion. I was loving the conference and really hanging on every word he said and getting excited to implement what we learned. I almost for got about the 4th! The 4th...I dressed up again! My blue pants, white shirt, and red tie! It was fun for me! We didn't really do too much special, but in the night when we left from our appointment, the fireworks in Douglas started and we were able to watch them! It was fantastic! I loved it! We then ordered pizza and went and bought ice cream to have a semi-4th feast! Haha! It was short lived, but fun! Oh, btdubs....I guess you would like to know about transfers....well we stayed the same...didn't get transferred. But we did change districts, and I was assigned District Leader once again.....that is about the only changes we had. I get to escape the hotter parts for one more transfer! I am so thankful to be in a less hotter area for the most part of the summer...what a blessing! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hola Mi Familia! Another week gone and it just seems like time is flying by WAY too fast! The weeks now feel like days they are just flying by! I can't believe my eyes! It is weird to think that one week from today I will be turning 17 months, which is just one month away from 18, which is just 6 MONTHS away from the END!!! That is the craziest thought ever! And June just flew by oh so fast! Crazy! TODAY the mission split! There is now a Ciudad Obregon Mission and Hermosillo Mission. That will be weird. We are now like 80 or 90 missionaries less now, but I don't think it will take too long to receive new ones in the months to come. But it is kind of sad to think of the missionaries that stayed there in Obregon and in the south and that we won't ever see friends again, but it is great that the work is moving along and that we have the opportunity to divide and expand. This week was quite amazing in many ways. I mentioned how we have been struggling for receiving references in the past week and how we were only receiving 5 or so and very few from members. Well, this week we hit a record for our companionship of 20 references! And half of those were from members! I don't know what we did to get these results, but it was amazing! The investigator that we have set a baptismal date with is so ready for his baptism this Saturday! We were a little nervous about some things that have happened in his past, but after he cleared the baptismal interview, he was all good to go! His wife's cousin, who is a Priest, will be baptizing him which will be really special for their family. Everyone is quite excited and his wife's family helped us put together a baptismal program for the day. This is going to be great! I love how in our branch, the members actually attend baptism, unlike in other branches or wards, so this should really be a special day. Last week I mentioned a family that we have begun teaching that are co-workers with some members. They were the ones who believed in the weird Theology doctrine and not religions.. This week was absolutely fantastic with them! We had our second lesson with them and it was fantastic! We taught The Restoration and they seemed to understand it well and had various questions. We watched the video of "The Restoration" as well the spirit was strong and testified of the message. We taught them about The Book of Mormon and they committed to reading it. We wanted to put another lesson for that week, but said that they were busy with graduation stuff, that it would be best to hold off till this coming week. However, one day we just stopped by to see how they were doing and they invited us in and excitedly wanted to read The Book Of Mormon with us. This was surprising to us, but we didn't pass up the opportunity. We read 3rd Nefi 11 when Christ comes to the Americas and boy was the spirit strong! They had a lot of questions and seemed quite interested. They had told us before that they didn't believe in baptism, but thought that it was just for the rebellious who need more help, but after reading what Christ says in this chapter about baptism, they began to ask questions. We left the lesson feeling good. This past Sunday, yesterday, the member friends invited them to church and went and picked them up. The Branch had just gone on a temple trip the day before and so they talked about the temple and a family that was just sealed all got up and bore really beautiful testimonies. The spirit was so strong during this meeting and the family began asking a bunch of questions about what they were saying. They all went to their respective classes and had a good time there too. One time in the Gospel Doctrines class, a brother asked this lady if she was a member, and she responded no. He then asked her when she was going to be one. She didn't know what to respond! Haha! It was kind of surprising how direct the brother was, but I think it made an impact on her and he proceeded to tell her that he knew that one day she would be baptized. Oh I so hope so too! This family is really special and I can so see them progressing and getting baptized one day. We are going to work really hard to help them reach this point. We also found a few others this week, but I won't say too much about them at this moment, but the months of July and August are thankfully looking like baptizing months! This week we have been practicing a special musical number because on Friday we are going to have a special Multi-Zone conference with Nogales and Elder Benjamin De Hoyos of the Seventy and in the Area seventy presidency for Mexico is coming to meet with us. We will be singing an arrangement of We'll Bring The World His Truth that I did. We are going to sing in English and Spanish so here's to hoping it goes well! I kind of feel like this letter was short and not very filled, but I hope it is enough to tie you over till next week. Have a fantastic week and keep relaxing. 1/2 of your summer is over! Haha! :) Love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

Monday, June 24, 2013 - "Behold, I will hasten my work in its time"

Hola Mi Familia! I do agree...summer is going by super fast. We only have one week left in June and my, did it just fly by! I seriously feel like we just started June. But thank heavens we are just moving through summer. 1/3 of summer done means only 2/3 more heat.... :( So you will have to tell the Porter family thanks for my package! It was a lovely surprise and I absolutely LOVE the tie! You can NEVER have enough ties! Well this week was better. We are slowly, but surely finding new people and have a few outlooks for July baptisms! That is exciting! Hopefully we can help them progress. We had a Father's Day celebration this week and a few members brought friends and so we were able to get a few references from that as well. One of our investigators seems to be quite excited and gearing up for his baptism. Just 2 weeks left and we are just going through and review a bunch of things with him. We went with them and their family that is in our branch and we did a Family Home Evening service project Saturday Night where we just cleaned their yard getting rid of a few weeds and things. It was nice. I enjoy cleaning and seeing how things were before and how clean and nice they can be after. He is progressing well and we are getting excited for his baptism. On Thursday a couple in our ward invited over a co-worker and her family for a lesson with us. The couple is trying to get the kids to go to EFY in July and it looks like they may be going. We taught the mom, and her 4 teenage kids--2 girls and 2 boys. They were really quite neat and seemed to be a little bit interested the lesson. They don't have a specific religion. They say they don't believe in religion, but in doctrine and that in place of going to church they just study some book. They believe in God, but have a different view of Jesus Christ and call him Jesus of Nazareth and not Christ. They also don't believe in baptism which is interesting. They say that baptism is for the rebellious! Haha! We taught them about faith, and repentance and did an awesome activity showing the need for repentance and then to finish things off we watch my personal favorite, "Finding Faith In Christ". Man, does that video really work wonders! They really have a different view of Christ, but by the end of the video the mom was crying and they all seemed to like it. So we are excited to work with them and hope that they will progress. We have also been teaching a girl that is 11. A member in the branch told us of inactives that lived in front of them and so we went to visit and turns out the mom has been inactive for about 14 years and has really wanted to come back to church for a time, but has been embarrassed and not known how. We have begun teaching her the lessons and her daughter and it looks positive. We were able to help them come to church yesterday, but Priesthood got out late so we didn't see them before they left to see how everything went, but it seemed good. Ah! Yesterday was just magnificent and so special! I absolutely LOVED the broadcast! I was so into it every single second and it was so interesting! It is quite fantastic the new advances the church is making using the media and internet. We are in a tech age and even missionary work is not staying behind. Just in the past year with all these new changes and announcements of ages, and new missions, and MTCs, and such it really feels like the second coming is so near and we really need to "put in the batteries" as they say here and go working! It was so amazing to see examples of members working with the missionaries and having success. I think it was really good for our members to see that. I wish that all the members and not just the ward council would have gone. Directly after I had a few members come up to me and say "I have a few friends I want you all to teach" . It was amazing! They really felt the spirit and felt encouraged to participate in the missionary work. Now, if all members had seen the broadcast, what could have been the result. I am so glad that you all had the opportunity to see it as well and that even Alex went. I wish that Elise had gone too, but go and watch it on the church website! It was fantastic! And quite a surprise to see Mason Branning! We were in the office watching it in English and I screamed "Hey! That's my cousin!" Haha! It was funny! I especially like the video they showed of how a family in their everyday life and routine looked for opportunities to serve and share The Gospel with others. I hope that we all can be able to do that as well. Pray for special moments to help serve someone or for missionary experiences. I really feel like that is the best way to share the Gospel. It is more important who we are and what we do than what we say and often our actions speak louder than words! I hope that as a family you all can talk about this and maybe for a FHE watch parts of the broadcast again and then talk together and make a "Family Mission Plan" and make goals of things you want to do and prayerfully consider who you all can invite to share the Gospel. I would suggest invite all! Sometimes we are scared and feel like people will think differently about us, but it really is worth being scared and putting friendships and relationships on the like. We are talking about people's salvation and what could make them more happier in life. We have something so special and I feel that it is worth sharing with everyone. I really invite you all to talk about this as a family and consider what you all can do personally and together to be member missionaries! I better stop talking about it now, because I will just get carried away! But in the end, the broadcast was very special and I was glad to be apart of it. It motivated me personally and I believe the leaders and well. I like how they mentioned that it is part of the baptismal covenant we made to be witnesses in all times, all things, and all places. We made this covenant and we have to fulfill it for the rest of our lives. The Lord really is "hastening his work in its time" and the second coming is near. How privileged we are to be on earth at such a great a time as this! Well, I hope you continue to enjoy your summer and relax! I miss and love you all dearly and hope all is well. Have fun and be safe! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner