Sunday, December 1, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 4, 2013 - Halloween!

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

Monday, October 28, 2013

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

Monday, October 21, 2013 - Fantastic Week!

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

Monday, October 14, 2013 - Fall is coming!

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