Sunday, December 1, 2013

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

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