Saturday, January 25, 2014

Monday, December 23, 2013 - Feliz Navidad

Hola Mi Familia! It seems like just not too long ago I was writing! How times flies! Are you all excited for Christmas?!?! Cause I´m sure excited for Christmas!!! So here is the for the whole history of my mission, we have always called in the afternoon right? Well, we are thinking of switching things up this year and we are planning to call in the morning? How´s that? We are thinking of 10AM our time which really wouldn´t be too morning for you all...I imagine like 12PM noon there right? So just be on around that time and that is what is up! Okay? Okay! My last call home in the mission...this is crazy and quite surreal! So I have some news that you would probs be interested in knowing...I got a call this week from my good friend the Secretary and he called to double check my info and address and he told me that he was buying my plane ticket and that he wanted to know at what airport I was to arrive. I of course told him Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International! Eeek! So crazy! He scheduled the flights and everything and he said that he just had to send them off to the church and they have to approve everything and then when he gets the approval he will email us (me and you) my flight itinerary. So be looking at for that quite possibly this week! This week has been quite busy and hectic! Almost everday this week we could only work up till about 5:30/6PM then we had to leave to go to a variety of meetings or do baptismal interviews or who knows what else! But I prefer staying busy than having nothing to do! This week was basically a week of service as well as performing for us. We did quite a few service projects. Ones that lasted 15 minutes to others that lasted 5 hours. I will share a few. We started off the week with a performance/Service! The Assistants asked us to go with them to a Pre-school to do some English singing. There is a sister in the ward of the Assistants who teaches English or something like that and she had asked them to go sing at the Christmas program the school was going to do and they asked us to tag along. We went and sang first ¨Rudolph The Red nosed Reindeer¨ and then ¨Choose The Right¨ (the sister shared a message to the parents on helping kids make good choices and asked us to sing this hymn as well) and then we finished things off with ¨Silent Night¨. It all went well and was kind of a nice missionary and gospel sharing opportunity without directly talking about religion in a school event. The month of December has been a great on for our zone! We are so excited and so proud of how everyone is doing! We currently have 5 baptisms for this month and we have at least 5 more dates set for this coming weekend! It may seem like little, but compared to other months when we had only 0-2 baptisms we are doing a whole lot better. We have just been trying to help everyone realized that with this new requirement of 5 attendances in the church we have to be working and finding people now to be able to have baptisms next month. This past week my comp and I had to give 3 baptismal interviews because all those being baptized were investigators of our district leaders and of course they couldn´t interview their own investigators! In one of the interviews I gave, we had to leave the city to a small town 30 minutes away from Hermosillo. It was kind of neat to leave the city, even though it wasn´t really that far away. Other services that we gave this week...helping a sister paint the outside of her house. Maybe this is done in the US as well but I just haven´t noticed, but it seems like everyone is Mexico paints their houses this time of year. They are like ¨It´s time to put up the Christmas tree...we have to paint the house first.¨ It is cute! Everyone wants their house to look all special and pretty for Christmas, and so every year they get a paint job. So we helped out with one of those paint jobs and it didn´t come out too shabby! It was quite fun! As far as performing goes...We were asked to sing a few times this week. Not only in the Pre-school, but they also asked us to sing at the ward Christmas party and then again in church yesterday. At the Christmas party, we just did a reprise of our previously sung ¨Oh Holy Night¨, but just did it as a duet this time. It didn´t turn out too bad and everyone loved it...(especially when I hit the high note, if I do say so myself.) On Sunday, we sang the Spanish version of ¨Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel¨ and that also turned out quite lovely! Apart from that, we sing in almost every lesson we have and we have 2 specials that we always sing because we sing sick harmonies and it always invites the spirit--¨Silent Night¨and ¨Away in a Manger¨. So we are kind of almost sick of those 2, but luckily in 2 days we will be back to regular hymns, so I guess we better enjoy it while it lasts. We have kind of been slacking in the investigator area this week for Christmas time, but also for all of the activities and meetings and such that we have to do. We found a new guy this week. He is a single dad and has 2 sons of 12 years and 14. He is really cool and seems really open and interested to learn and to get closer to God. We are excited because they are more young men so we can get the program growing (there are only 2 active young men currently)! So I don´t know if you remember the other lady with a son, but we had a really neat lesson about baptism with her. We explained what baptism is and why it is important and necessary. She then began to tell us how she really felt that is was important too and that it isn´t something that should be taken lightly. I am quite amazed how a lot of times people recognize and understand the importance of baptism. I feel like if I wasn´t in the church, I probs wouldn´t really know what it is and what it is important, but I am amazed and surpried how many people take it for real and realized that it isn´t a game and that they should do it with all seriousness. I feel quite privileged to be in the mission at this time. To be a representative of Jesus Christ during the season of the celebration of His birth. I have had quite a few thoughts this week on the life of Christ. I read something that a prophet said that I had never thought of before. We know that Christ grew in knowledge from grace to grace and it is interesting that as a baby and small child, He didn´t know that He was the Son of God and the Savior of the World and He didn´t know of His special mission. He received revelation and knowledge little by little of this His grand mission and divinity. We have watched a few times this week the video of His birth, and with the previous thought in mind I couldn´t help thinking of His parents. Like it says in the song ¨Mary Did You Know...?¨, did Mary really know that her son would sacrifice himself for the whole world and all of mankind. Did she really understand His grand potential and mission. I know that mothers have a special connection with their children even more than fathers have, and so I can´t even imagine what it must have been like have the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer in her hands. An infant so humble, so innocent, and so special. I am so greatful to be His representative not only at this time in my life, but at this time of the season when I have the opportunity to testify of Him and His greatness! I want you all to know that I know that He lives! That He died for us and He knows us way better than anyone else ever could! He felt every single pain, and affliction that we felt and He suffered personally for everyone of us! What greater gift could we have! May we remember this year the true meaning of Christmas and what it really means to us in our lives! I invite you all to reflect on that in these next few days. I love and miss you all tons and can´t wait to talk to you Wednesday! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! ¡Feliz Navidad! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

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