Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"Sure, Let's Try a Trio" (July 10, 2017)

Hello hello! Happy July 11th y'all! It's good to hear from ya this Monday. It's the end of the transfer and I'll be staying in petaluma for my last three weeks. We will be a trio though, the first (and last) one of my mission. And guess who's gonna be our new companion, ELDER HALL! So he was being trained by Elder Crowley the same time I was training Elder Sidwell last November. So we lived together and served in the same Ward and he's one of my really good buddies. We also went on an exchange on my birthday when he was serving in this zone a couple months ago. I was so pumped when I found that out! Such a legend. Should be a good time. 

This week was super bueno. Lets see what happened. Oh, ok so Fourth of July was good. It was a pretty normal day for us. We had district meeting that morning and Elder Pederson thought it would be a good idea to set up a giant flag and such. We also sang the star spangled banner and recited the pledge of allegiance. Classic! The rest of the day we didn't have any set appointments, because everyone was off doing stuff so we spent a good chunk of finding. It turned out that no one in our district had dinner appointments on the 4th so we decided to all go get food and meet at the church. So we had our own little family (district) dinner. It was a good one! 

We were able to meet with Brian several times this week, one actually being on the Fourth of July. We were able to talk about prophets and I kid you not he actually said, "Ya that makes sense that God would have a prophet today. Why would he stop talking to us?" Elder Pederson and I just looked each other like uhh yahhhh! We also saw him briefly on Friday and then Saturday we watched the restoration movie with him. He said he really like it but expressed to us how he doesn't see a need for organized religion. He says he's more of a believer and doesn't see the need for such organized religion. So we are planning on helping him with that! 

We completed our goal of 500 contacts and got 530 to finish off the transfer. We ended up with 26 new investigators in total. It truly was a transfer to remember. Now it's time to finish it out! 

President is letting me go to the departing dinner tonight with all the missionaries that are leaving. It will be very sad but very very exciting! I'll let you know how it goes. 

I love y'all and hope ya have a good week at Nauvoo!

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

🇺🇸🇺🇸'José can you see?'🇺🇸🇺🇸 (July 3, 2017)

Hey Familia! Happy 4th of July y'all! Enjoy the fireworks and the festivities. I'm not sure if we'll do anything out of the ordinary here. Maybe we'll catch some fireworks or something while we're out and about. Should be fun! Have fun at EFY Cole! Love ya Buddy! 

Elder Joyner & Elder Pederson
It's a been a super good week! Lets see, yesterday was awesome! It was a good Fast and Testimony Meeting and then after church I was able to give a baptismal interview to an investigator who'll be baptized in the Petaluma Ward this next week! He has a super cool story and is honestly one of the most ready and prepared people I've ever met. He's like his own little 12 Step video within himself. Good guy! 

We were able to meet with Brian several times this week. So Tuesday, we were thinking about what we could do to help Brian feel more comfortable with coming to church and we thought about doing a church tour with him. So Tuesday before our lesson with him, we went to the Petaluma chapel and got it all set up for a church tour. Our plan was to go knock on his door and be like, "Hey Brian, we're going on a field trip today to the chapel." (It works because he lives 3 minutes from the chapel and we could walk there with him) The funny thing is that IT WORKED! We told him we were just gonna go to the chapel for a tour. His response was, "oh, right now? Ok let me go put on my jeans," and then he ran upstairs and put on his jeans and came with us! It was the coolest thing. At the end of the tour, we ended up in the chapel and were able to talk about the sacrament and sing 'In Humility, Our Savior,' for him. It was a great experience. Also, I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but every Thursday night we play fútbol (soccer) in the chapel with investigators and members. Thursday, we were able to get Brian to come to that and he really enjoyed it! The sad thing though is that he didn't want to come to church on Sunday :( He expressed to us that it's too formal for him and that he doesn't think he's ready for that yet. So a prayer or two his way could help a ton!

Oh, another funny experience with Brian that happened on Saturday We knocked his door that morning to invite him to come to church the next day and such. After a minute, the door opened and we started talking to who we thought was Brian. After a moment, we realized he wasn't Brian and he explained he was his twin Brandon! It was just kind of funny because we had heard he had a twin but totally thought this was Brian when we opened the door jajaja! 

Friday, we had Zone Conference and this was my last one :'( I had a very tender experience getting the opportunity share my departing testimony. I am most definitely not the same person I was two years ago. I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ helping me on this journey of personal conversion and change. It is truly one of the most incredible things I hope each of you (have or) will experience! There were also several really good topics taught in the Conference. Sister Wright talked about testimonies and there was one really awesome quote I loved that was by Elder Packer. He said, "Oh if I could teach you this one principle: a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it." If you feel your testimony is struggling or have not yet to found such a testimony, follow the counsel of Elder Packer and bear what you know to someone else. That is when we will find it!

One more funny little story. So we tried to stop by Israel's house this week to visit him. He lives in this little apartment complex where kids are always running around playing. When we went this week, there was this one little kid that ran up to us before we knocked the door and then decided he wanted to knock the door for us so he did! He then started knocking on the window and such for us haha! We can't do that but he definitely can! Hahaha so Israel wasn't home but then we asked if the kid's parents were home and he led us to his house and we taught and picked up his parents as new investigators! It was kinda funny. Later that night a similar experience happened, where a kid led us to his parents and we taught them! Twice in one day! Fun stuff!

Well I'm off! Have a super good week. Love y'all!

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

Transfer 16, Week 5 (June 26, 2017)

Hey Y'all! Happy Monday to ya! We had a super good week this week! Lets get to it. 

We were able to see Brian a couple times this week and that was exciting! He's still reading consistently in the Book of Mormon and something very cool is he understands it and can give us summaries of what he read. He's a very intelligent kid and has so much potential. We're trying to help him make the connection between just reading and learning from us to obtain more information and knowledge, and the spiritual side and testimony of what we teach. He seems to understand it but we're trying to help him recognize the spirit more while he reads. He's still very hesitant about coming to church or committing to a baptismal date. We feel like there is another concern he isn't telling us about, but hopefully with time he will open up more. We were able to get a recently returned missionary to come with us and help us teach him on Friday, which was awesome! He could really use an extra prayer or two in the upcoming weeks. 
We have found several others this week, who look like some pretty solid potentials! We are doing some really good work, but at the same time we feel as though every time something good happens, some negative thing happens (whether that's people harshly turning us away, or people getting angry with us, or people trying to tear us down). It's interesting how Satan tries to get us down when we're doing such good work. I feel like I've learned, though, over these past 22/23 months that Heavenly Father and His work always will prevail, no matter what will happen! Something that President reminds us of is that eventually, "every knee shall bow, and every younger confess that Jesus is the Christ!" What a blessing it is to have that knowledge! 

Former Elder Atkinson & Alex
Some things I failed to mention last week, that I just forgot to put in, was that Elder Atkinson came back to the mission for a week or so and we met up and got some lunch. It was good to see him and catch up a little. I'm excited to see him out at UVU though. Last week also, our car battery didn't start after interviews and had to get it jumped! And President came to our district meeting last week and then took us all out to Wendy's after ;) hahaha gotta love him!

This week we also had to take our car in the shop and we didn't have any set appointments before dinner, so we just decided to walk and contact all day until it was done. We dropped it off about 10:30 and picked it up around 5. Luckily, that was the hottest day of the week. Needless to say, the annual summer tanning has ensued. Haha it just keeps the work fun! 

Love y'all! Have a super good week!

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner


Monday, June 19, 2017

"Tomorrow's Forecast: God Reigns and His Son Shines" (June 19, 2017)

The District
Hey y'all! Happy Hot pDay! It's sure heating up here in Petaluma! Yesterday was probably the worst it's been, up to around 100 degrees or so☀️ Keeps this fun! I always love hearing about how eventful your weeks were. Happy Father's Day Dad, Grandaddy, and Papa (and all other fathers out there :) I was really able to reflect on how much you've done and given for me and I am extremely grateful for you and your examples. Much like Beyoncé says, "You're Irreplaceable." ;)

Elder Pederson & Elder Joyner

Ok lets see what happened this week! So we have this new investigator named Brian, who I'm not sure if I told you about last time. He's about 18. It's an interesting story how we found him. So about a month and a half ago, we were in Adalberta's apartment complex just tracting around, and there is this lady getting stuff out of her car. We go up to her and offer to help and accidentally scare her. Haha she was super nice and we were actually able to introduce the Book of Mormon to her. Her name is Maria! She told us we could stop by her house that was on the other side of town. So time passes and we try and stop by and visit her and she's not home for various reasons, but each time we knock her house guess who answers? Her step brother Brian! Initially, he wasn't interesting in hearing from us but about two-ish weeks ago we ask him if we could share the new Prince of Peace video and he accepted! Last Monday night, we decided to stop by and see him again! We taught him the restoration and introduced the Book of Mormon. He seemed pretty sincere about it and said he would read the intro. We were gonna go back last Thursday, but we're bummed when he wasn't there. Saturday, we had some extra time so we decided to go see if he was home and invite him to church. He was there and told us that he had read the introduction and the first 15 pages, which is incredible because most people don't even keep that commitment! We were able to teach him the plan of salvation and he just seemed to "get it." We invited him to be baptized at the end of that lesson and he said he will think and pray about it. He's really solid and we're super excited for him. We unfortunately had to drop Adalberta for right now, but I think it's just curious to see how maybe we found Adalberta so that we would be in her apartment complex that day so that we could find Maria so that we would go knock on her door and find Brian. Coincidence? Definitely not. Wow God is good.
The Pink Slip

We also had interviews with President this week. Although this one was short, he assured me that my next one would be lengthy, seeing as it would be my last one. Mom, just so you know he said that August 1st will be my release date, which puts me at 6 short weeks left! Ahhhhh, weird. This one was interesting.  I came out of the interview with a different feeling that before. I came out feeling like I just had a good talk with one of my best friends. I'm very grateful for the relationship I have with President and Sister Wright. I would not trade it for the world. What a beautiful, marvelous, wonderful thing it is!

We were also able to set another baptismal date with this older man named Ignacio. I was on exchanges the week prior and he walked up to us saying that he had read the Book of Mormon before but left his copy in Mexico and asked us for another. We graciously gave him one and set a return appointment. We went back last Tuesday and had a good lesson with him. He accepted baptism for the 29th of July and said that he is waiting and praying for an answer to know if the Book of Mormon is true! Cool stuff!!

Well, we're working harder than ever. Going out with a bang! We are doing well with our goals and are close to achieving several of them I told President this week, that even if he tried, he couldn't stop Elder Pederson and I from working this hard. He just kind of gave his President Wright chuckle and walked away! Gotta love him. 

Thanks for all y'all do! I love and appreciate you. Have a super fantastic spiritually uplifting week! 

Con Amor,
Elder Joyner

June is bustin' out all over! (June 12, 2017)

Hey y'all! It's good to hear from ya!! Glad y'all had a good productive week! Sounds likes summer! 

This week has been super good here! We've found a lot of success and the Lord is pouring out blessings! Not just like a shower but a thunderstorm!! Tuesday night, we were walking towards Adalberta's house (who, if she wasn't there or if we were sent away again, we were gonna drop) when we see three people hanging outside; two parents, an older daughter, and her kid. Naturally, we went up to contact them. We started talking and ended up showing the prince of peace video. After the video ended, the idea came to my mind to use what we had practiced that day in district meeting and share a quick 4 minute restoration, SO WE DID! It was awesome! They seemed to accept it well and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. We will be returning next week! There have been several other stories like that one, of people saying we could return. We are excited to follow up with those appointments this week!

Elder Pederson and I set some really good goals this transfer! One of them being that we wanted to find 15 new investigators! We felt like that was a realistic goal based on what we did last transfer. Yesterday, we picked up our 16TH investigator for the transfer thus far! Haha we have decided to double that goal and make it 30 Investigators for the transfer! We are also really excited about Ivan! This week we met with him and basically asked him if this was what he wanted to continue with! He ultimately said that he knows it benefits him and will help him have a better life. We set some goals with him and invited him to prepare himself for baptism on the 29th of July. He accepted!! This is the second time we've set a date with him and hopefully this time he will come through! So that's fun!

We have interviews this week which shall be fun! Can't wait for that!  Got a lot of other good things planned! Should be good!

Have a good week y'all! 

Con AmorElder Joyner

Transfer: 16 Week: 2 (June 5, 2017)

Hi-A y'all! Happy Pday to ya! Hope you've had a super week! Fun to hear about the snake in the garage ahaha! That would've been funny to see. Next time, take a video pls :) 

The Rohnert Park Branch Missionaries
It's been a super good week! Monday, we had a carne asada with the Familia paredes (1st counselor in Branch Presidency) to say goodbye to Elder Angulo. It was a good time. Tuesday, we had Transfers and I picked up Elder Pederson! So he's from Fort Collins, Colorado and has been out for 14 months. He's really into cinematography and filming and such, which is super cool. He's really good at it too! So we came back Tuesday and got all settled in the new apartment. The rest of the week was super successful. We were able to find around 6 new investigators, set a baptismal date with Israel, and had 2 investigators at church. The Lord really blessed us with miracles this week! We set Israel's date for July 9th! He's been investigating for a long time and we think he is ready. His wife has been stopping him for the longest time, but we talked with her on Friday and she said she would support him in his decision. We're super excited for him!

The formerly known San Rafael Zone Leaders/STLS

We both got hit with allergies this last week! As soon as I started to get over mine, my companion got hit with them hard! They're no fun. That didn't stop us though! We're excited to continue working hard this next week. 

Friday, we had a district leader meeting in Rosa and then Saturday had district meeting. We have some really good missionaries in our district which makes being unified a whole lot easier! I really love teaching in district meeting! That's one of my favorite thing to do. Saturday, I taught my section on being a successful missionary and what that entails. Good fun. 

As ever, it's good to get your emails and hear from you. I appreciate the love and support! Much love from out west!

Love y'all!

Con Amor,
Elder Joyner

"It's time to begin, isn't it?" (May 29, 2017)

Hey y'all. Happy Monday! It's been a busy good week over in Petaluma. So transfers are tomorrow and I'll be staying but Elder Angulo will be going to Kelseyville with Elder Crowley! My new companion is Elder Pederson. He came out the same time Elder Brock (my greenie) did, last May. I've met him only a couple times, but he seems like a good guy. Also, He and I will be serving as Co-District Leaders here in Petaluma. They kicked one set of English missionaries out of Petaluma (whereas there was two) and they are moving us to their apartment, which is way nicer than the one we have, so I'm okay with that :) This next transfer I plan on working the hardest I ever have in my mission, seeing as it's my last full transfer in the mission. Time is a very precious, sacred gift. I'm so very grateful for the time I've had to serve the Lord for these two years It's changed my life. 

So update on our contacts, as of today we have 996 contacts which means 4 more to a thousand! We will get those four tonight and complete our goal! It's been pretty amazing to see the change in myself and help the area out as we've strived for this goal. It definitely stretched us this transfer like none other. We really pushed ourselves this week and even had days where we got something like 80 contacts during the day! It's amazing to say we were able to complete such a goal. We'll see what next transfer has in store for us. 

We are real concerned about Adalberta. We haven't been able to meet with her for a long time. We don't want to drop her because we know how solid she is, but eventually we may have to. We met with several new investigators this week that said they didn't want to continue with us because they were already part of their church. When we asked them why they were, they said because of their parents and their family chose that. It makes sense to honor your families' decision, but eventually they will have to come to know for themselves what they believe or not. We, as missionaries, are just here to give them that opportunity to act or not. Something that was taught recently in MLC was that in all things we can either Act or be Acted upon. Eventually they will need to ACT. No time better than now. 

So Mom, I did talk to president today actually about my release date and he says he totally understands why the 1st and not the 7th. He says he will think on it and will decide after all the hustle and bustle of transfer week this week. So I'll let ya know!

I'm super grateful for all you do for me. Have a super fantastic week! Love y'all lots!

Con Amor,
Elder Joyner