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
The Volcano Mountain Agua Prieta View
The hike to "Air Volcano"

Monday, July 22, 2013 - "That I may heal you"

Hola Mi Familia! Well, this week as again, been WET! We can basically expect rain every afternoon and even one day it rained all the day long. It is quite lovely because the rain cools everything down and it isn't so hot, but there is a tad bit of humidity. Today we went on a little hike! All the missionaries in the zone went to a nearby "Air Volcano" and we hiked it! Apparently the volcano isn't active, but every so often it gives out bursts of air. From far away it looks really big and impossible, but close up it really wasn't. We hiked it and a couple of us only got about 3/4 of the way up because it was really rocky and we didn't want to continue, but some other made it all the way to the top. It was okay, but I'm sure I will be sore tomorrow! This week has been kind of crazy for many reasons but also quite awesome. So here are a few experiences to share.... The lady we are teaching and kids have just been crazy! Haha! After their response last week that they weren't going to get baptized, of course we weren't going to let them get off that easy and we began to plan how we were going to get them to commit to a date. Our Zone Leaders gave us a suggestion: "When all else a movie". And that is exactly what we did! We pulled out "The Testaments" movie--one of my favs. We went to see them and the 2 daughters were gone for groceries, so we watched it with the lady and the 2 boys. We began and it was going well; maybe they didn't began with so much interest, but as we went along they got more and more interested in the movie, until the end with the most powerful part. I will help you all remember a little bit of the story: the dad gets blind trying to save his son in the destructions of the sign of Christ's death. The Savior finally comes to the Americas and testifies that he is the Christ to them, but this man who has been waiting for the coming of the Savior all his life is not able to see him because he is blind. The Savior comes and touches his eyes and the first thing he sees when his sight is restored is Christ. At the end they were just hooked and the spirit was so strong. The lady even began to cry. After the end of the movie, with the spirit still lingering, we began to talk about what they felt and what they liked and faith in Jesus. We established that they had faith and all in Christ and that they wanted to follow him and then we asked if they had faith and wanted to follow Christ, what would be keep them from being baptized. They thought for a moment and said it may be a possibility. Well, we were able to put a rough date with them for the 17 of August, so let's just hope that it all works. We told them to pray and specifically ask if this is what they should do. I am quite certain that if they are true to the commitments that we leave them, they will come to know and be baptized. I told you all about a new investigator that we found last week that wanted proof of The Book Of Mormon in the Bible. We had taught her and left a bit of the Book Of Mormon to read and pray about. We passed by this week to see if she had read and she hadn't even touched the book. She said she placed it on her night stand and one day she was getting ready and looked at the book and told herself "I'm not going to read it. I'm not even going to touch that book. It will just confuse me even more." That was really sad. She returned the book to us and told her that she didn't want to read it and that she was fine where she was. We told her that she hadn't done her part in reading and how was she supposed to know about something if she hadn't even tried it. It was sad to see someone reject us like that, but hopefully one day she will realize her mistake and listen to other missionaries. This week went had to go to Cananea, a little town about 1 hour from Agua Prieta, to give a baptismal interview. We arrived at 4:30 PM and bought tickets to return at 7:30PM that night. We had to walk really far away and were afraid that we weren't going to make it. We gave the interview and then got a ride from a Brother in the branch there. We arrived at 7:35PM and when we got there we feared that the bus had already left, but they told us that it was delayed and on its way. We waited....8:40 pass. The bus still had not come. 9:40...we were still waiting....finally by 10:15PM--2 and 1/2 hours late--but bus arrives and we were able to leave. It was really annoying having to wait for so long of a time. I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner
Caught in the rain!

Monday, July 15, 2013 - "It's Electric!"

Hola Mi Familia Thanks so much for my packages! Finally I have my camera working again and I have the most comfortable shoes in the world that I really like that are really going to last me 7 more months! My comp says thanks for the cookies as well! (They are his favorite!) Dad was mentioning all the rain and wetness going on and let me just say...I feel ya! We can basically expect a thunderstorm every evening/night. And even if it doesn't rain, it will at least thunder and lightning. There has been soo much lightning! The Electric storms are fantastic here in the desert! But unfortunately quite dangerous. One person--a mother--has even died this past week from being struck by lightning. Quite sad. And on 2 days this week it even began hailing with the rain. So it is quite commonplace that we get soaked from head to toe almost every single night. It is horribly yucky and humid in the day from the rain the day before, but once again it always cools down at night quite nicely with the refreshing storms! Someone said it is supposed to be like this every single day this month. That's okay! I'm not complaining too least we won't have to suffocate in the horrible heat like Hermosillo.... Well this week has gone as fast as the lightning is striking! It is so crazy to think that we are in the middle of July already and it feels like we just barely began. The lady we are teaching and her kids are confusing me! We can't seem to figure out what they need or what they want. They are just an enigma. Sometimes they seem quite interested and seem like everything makes sense and they want to continue, and then other times they put up a wall and don't complete sometimes and they say we are going fast and they want more time to think of things and to do things. This kind of bothers me sometimes because for the Lord there is no time. It is now or it is now! He is really hastening His work and people need to stop being so wishy-washy sometimes! But we did have some special moments with them this week. Talking with them about how they liked and what they felt when they attended the baptism of our last brother, one of the youth said that when the closing prayer was said in the baptism, he could feel a presence, "an energy" he called it. This was special because he was feeling the Spirit testifying. We had a really killer lesson about "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" and talked about the faith, repentance, and baptism. They were like understanding everything really well and you could just see the lights going on it their heads and everything was clicking--it was all making sense. And then we get to the end of the lesson where we give the baptismal invitation and we ask them "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who holds the authority of God?". Their flat out said no. They said that in their "doctrine" or theology that they have grown up with they don't believe in baptism and that they all talked and they weren't going to get baptized. This was hard because we could see that they were understanding completely, but just flat out said no. Maybe we scared them? Well, the next day we went and just did a quick visit, but we read with them the Book of Mormon invitation in Moroni about reading and asking. It was quite special and the spirit was there. We asked them to read and ask. This is where we left off. Let's just hope this week they actually did the task and have more desires to continue with us. We found a new investigator this week by just going and visiting a member. We visited this member and there was a neighbor visiting and we began sharing a spiritual thought and then we began talking to this neighbor. This lady had talked to the missionaries before and she wanted proof from the Bible of the Book Of Mormon. These missionaries couldn't show her and so she completely rejected the Book Of Mormon. As we talked again, we taught more about the Restoration and showed her the verse in Ezekiel about The Book Of Mormon. She began to think about it and once again, I could see the lights go on. The next day we went back to visit her in her home and we shared The Restoration. She didn't complete accept it all at once, but we invited her to read and pray and she said she would. Just now we wait until the next visit... This week has been a little rough. They worst part about the mission is coming to love people and care for them and their salvation and then to see them not want to complete. Not want to make sacrifices for their Heavenly Father to follow him. It just really kills me and hurts me. Even members. I just don't like coming to love and care for people so much and then to be deeply saddened when they don't want to follow God. It is especially worse for me because when I get to know someone or something or a place or whatever and I come to love them, I develop an attachment and it is just so rough. I can only imagine how our Heavenly Father feels to watch us down here and to see all of His wayward lost children who don't want to follow Him. I'm sure it hurts him more. But we just "keep on keepin on" like my 10th grade science teacher would say we just keep showing them the love and support they need and maybe one day they will realize and want to be better. I love and miss you all tons! Hope you are well! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner