Wednesday, December 30, 2015

POST FELIZ NAVIDAD (Dec 28, 2015)

Alex & Elise Skype

FELIZ Navidad. Well the highlight of my week was definitely talking with FAM. Wow it was so good to talk and laugh and have a good time. And WITH ELISE TOO. That was pretty sick! It didn't really make me homesick, but more that I just wanted y'all to be out here experiencing it with me. So I don't have much to add from when we talked but I'll update those who I didn't talk to.








Elder Joyner & Elder Castro

So on Christmas Eve, we did loads of stuffs. We did like a flash mob type of deal at the mall and sang Christmas carols for people. That was fun! Then since Hispanics celebrate Christmas Eve, instead of Christmas Day, we had like three dinners Christmas Eve! It was so nice. Christmas Day we woke up and opened presents and then went to visit some people. We Skyped around 2ish and talked for a lil bit. After Skype, we were supposed to have dinner with a member but they canceled on us. Somehow Sis Wright found out about this and said that no one should not have dinner on Christmas, so we went and had dinner at President's house. That was super fun! We then finished the night out with a zone activity at the church. It didn't really feel like Christmas to be honest, but it was fun nonetheless.




We found out something interesting about transfers next week. So it has been announced by an Apostle that they don't want missions to have transfer devotional anymore. so normally we would have a transfer devotional at the mission office and then disperse to our areas from there. What's going to happen now is that we'll find out if we're being transferred and to where on Saturday and then next week were just going directly there by means of traveling with our zone leaders or by public transportation. So depending on where I'm going, i could go by public transportation. Haha that'll be weird.

But yes that's really all I have for this week because I forgot to send out an ponderized scripture. So for this week lets do Alma 34:41.

Whoop whoop! Hope everyone had a great Christmas and a happy new year this week! 

Here's a little new year's uplifting message for this week!:


Have a good week!


Con Amor

Elder Joyner


With Zone at Bodega Bay Chapel



Thursday, December 24, 2015

FELIZ NAVIDAD (Dec 21, 2015)

HOLA FAMILIA. Wow It's crazy to think I get to talk to the Fam this week! That's supa supa exciting. So yes the plans for that is that I will give you a phone call around 2ish when I'm ready and then we can configure the Skype call. Then once Elise has to go, we can finish up. I'm able to get to use the computer at a bishopric member's house. I'm super excited to talk with y'all!

It was sad to hear the loss of Uncle Don this past week. I know it must be a hard time for the Dowdle family, but it sure does help to know the power of the atonement and the gospel that we have in our
life. It's a special think to KNOW that we will see our loved ones again after this life. That's one of the most important principles we teach as missionaries. I'm praying (and if we were aloud to fast more I would) for the families and friends of Uncle Don.

This past week we had our Mission Christmas party! It was fun and I was able to see my dad (first companion in the mission) and have a good time. We did a lip sync competition to Christmas songs, where each zone would pick a Christmas song to lip sync to! We did hark the herald angles sing by Pentatonix and It was supaaaaaaa fun! I'll try and send that video on! We also had the ward Christmas party and the bishopric asked the missionaries in the ward to make a skit, so we did just that. We did another lip sync to the song, "Donde esta Santa Claus?" That one was so much fun! Now that one I will be sure to send!



Someone asked me about Christmas plans! So Christmas Eve we have dinner and then some caroling. On Christmas, we are going to get up and go do some service for a while, and then have the rest of the day to Skype and visit members and really do whatever. It'll be a fun day! This week we have different activities going on too. For example, we are going to flash mob the mall with Christmas carols, and were also giving out some hot chocolate to the homeless, and different things like that! Should be a good time!

For this week, the lucky scripture chosen was Alma 7:10-13:

"10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the
Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to
the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."

Seeing as it is Christmas time, this scripture seems very appropriate to ponderize this week. This scripture pretty much explains itself so I don't have too many additional comments to add. I do like in verse 10 where it says that Mary was a "precious and chosen vessel." That just sounds so spiritual and uplifting to know that it wasn't just some random person, but that she was a prepared and chosen personage to deliver the Lord, Jesus Christ into this world. The rest of the scripture talks about really why we need a Savior. That is something I have asked many people whilst doing the Christmas initiative this year. Why do we need a Savior? As Christmas approaches this week, ponder that question. Think about what it really means to you. Why do you personally need a Savior? I can testify that he was born for us, so that we might live again. It is my witness, as a representative of
the Lord Jesus Christ, that He Lives. I put on my tag every morning knowing this eternal truth. I hope with all my heart you can find that too.

Have a good Christmas all and enjoy time with family and friends. It's a special time! Take some time and enjoy and relax. Can't wait to talk Friday! Love to all!
Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

PUES [THEN] (Dec 14, 2015)

My Christmas Tree
December is flying by holy cow. There's only three weeks left in this transfer! I can't believe it. This has been another longish week. Most
of our planned lessons fell through so that was kinda of sad I suppose. The Hermana's had a baptism of someone that we helped them co-teach so that was fun. I sang at that baptism which was a good time. I can't think of much else that happened.

Dayners, I got our zone and the North Santa Rosa zone to pray for Tyler when I heard about his surgery. Is he doing any better? Have you gotten any other updates?! We're definitely have some fierce prayers coming his way!

I'm excited to talk with y'all next week! So yes since Elise is gonna try and be on around 4:30, I will try and be on around 5 (your time). I'm going to look for a member to let me use their computer too. That may be the hard part though. We shall see! I also get a call before I get on to tell you I'm ready and such! Tis good fun.

We've been having success sharing the Christmas video this year! Lots of people are very open to just watching a quick to minute video. It's good fun sharing a message that is universal and touches all! Weeeeee. I encourage you all to watch it and ponder it. Speaking of pondering.......

Mediticemos! (Let's Ponderize!)

10 And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses.

11 And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind.

This one is plain, simple, and to the point. No beating around the bush. No wishy washy debatable topic. Obey the commandments, and you'll be blessed. It's that simple. Wow. Who'd-a-thought?! Nephi and his people obeyed the commandments and was blessed with flocks, and heards, and animals of every kind. By obeying the commandments, we're just allowing God the chance to bless us. I feel like sometimes we feel it's super hard to receive those blessings from our Father in Heaven, when in all reality all we have to do is obey his commandments. He couldn't have made it any simpler. Any excuse we have for not obeying them is invalid. Like Dwight Schrute would say, "False." I invite us (yes including me) to reflect upon ourselves and see what we can improve upon, because there is always room for improvement. God may be waiting to give us some of those blessings because there may be something we're doing/not doing. He's so ready to bless us, so let's let him ya? Ok cool.

Have a fantastical merry week and I shall talk to you next week! I love you!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Monday, December 7, 2015

Busy Busy Busy (Dec 7, 2015)

Holy Canoli. What a week! It's been our first full week of the transfer and boi has it been a busy one. We've had lots of appointments and some pretty good lessons.

So the first one is an investigator named Bonnie. We have been trying to see her all last transfer and it didn't really happen much. We have been able to have a couple lessons with her this transfer though. She is super strong and has been taking lessons for forever, the only thing is that she has to get married before she gets baptized. So Friday we got a call from Bishop saying they had an interview with him and wanted to get married on Saturday! She also said she was ready for Baptism possibly this month too. So we got super pumped for her and she even called us and asked me and Elder Castro to be the witnesses and everything! But then we got a call Saturday an hour before the
wedding saying that he had called it off and the wedding was no Mas. He apparently just got cold feet and didn't want to go through with it anymore. It was kinda sad because now we have to wait on a baptism too. Oh whale.

Also Thursday, we received a referral from this guy named Jesus. We went to go visit him and he said we could come talk in his barn. So we had a lesson in this sketch barn lol. He turned out to be super solid and is progressing super fast too. He was going to come to church but got called into work. We're hoping to get a baptism date soon too.

We've got a couple others I'll tell ya about eventually.

On Friday, one of our sisters was on exchange with a sister that was from GEORGIA. She is from the West Forsyth area and knows Noah Causey and Nick Eibler and it was good to have another Georgian there.

We had the Crèche festival Saturday too. It was huge! The performance was pretty good and lead by a local director. It was a good time!

Alma 13:27-29:

27 And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;

28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;

29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.

Alma is basically pleading with "the inmost part of his heart" with "great anxiety even unto pain" that the people would listen to him and "cast off their sins" and "not procrastinate the day of repentance."
This reminds me of lots of things. It reminds me of us as missionaries, and although the were not going out physically screaming at people to repent, we do try our best to help and aid those who are
ready to take those steps. Haha this also reminds me of a scene from Johnny English, where the King imposter has a tattoo that says "Jesus is coming. Look busy." This basically means that people are going to say "oh looks like he's coming now, better repent real quick." Except nah. That's not how that works. We can't procrastinate something as eternally important as this. We HAVE TO be humbled before the lord and pray continually so that the Holy Spirit can lead us to become humble,
meek, submissive, patient, full of love, and all long-suffering. This scripture is verrrrrrry similar to Mosiah 3 which talks about becoming "like a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love,
willing to submit to the Lord." This is literally word for word the same. Then if we have that faith, hope, and love, we will be lifted up at the last day to enter into his rest. This is super amazing to me
that we have the opportunity to live in the presence of God after this life, if we do our part. I've gained a testimony of this eternal process and plan. I can testify that it's true and as we come to know
it and learn more about it, we will be more motivated to do those things we need to do to return to Him.

Have a great week y'all! Keep up the Christmas cheer! Mucho amor!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Monday, November 30, 2015

THREE MONTH MARK YEEET (Nov 30, 2015)

¿Què pasa calabaza? So I've been out three months now. Like how crazy is that!? Time does seem to move by a little quicker. It didn't even feel like Thanksgiving this past week too. And I get to talk to y'all in 25 days like woah! Sounds like everyone has been having lots of fun with family and friends and such. I'm glad Aunt Melon was able to enjoy her time there too! I loved the pictures at Uncle Eric's and Aunt Lori's.

This has been quite a week. Ok so I guess first, transfers. So my companion was transferred to Ukiah. I got a Nuevo compañero. His name is Elder Castro, and he was actually already in our ward just in a
different area, so I already knew him. He is from New Jersey, but his parents are from Honduras. He's fluent and technically a "native speaker" but was born in NJ. So since I've been in the area longer and
know it better, I'm driver for this transfer which is pretty fun. It's like a 2013 Corolla so that's sick ya? We get around 1100 miles each month, which believe it or not goes super super quick. In our apartment, elder Britt is still here but Elder Coursey came in. Elder Coursey is from Kentucky and has a deep southern accent and reminds me of home.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y'ALL. Our Thanksgiving here was pretty fun! We woke up and had service for Sister Stewart (our mission nurse) at 7 am. We set up for what's called the Creche festival this weekend. Creche in French means Nativity, more or less. So the Creche festival is this huge nativity festival at one of our church buildings. There are 300-400 nativities set up in the building and then a performance by and choir and such. It started about 18 years ago and people from everywhere come around to see it. Santa Rosa is starting to get pretty famous for it too! So that festival is this next weekend, Dec 5th and 6th, and were allowed to go if we have investigators come with us. (it
kinda sounds like what Dad was telling me he's participating in coming up) So Thanksgiving morning we setup up like 100 Christmas trees that morning. We were then able to have a turkey bowl with our ward and a couple others. It was fun and a good way to run off stress. Later that day we had two dinners, one with the cousin and another with the English elders that live with us. It was so good, but no momma's cooking ;) Then after the dinners we were allowed to have a zone activity at the church, so we played basketball and volleyball. HAHA President actually showed up and came and played with us too. It was a good day!


















The rest of the week was just the norm; planning and contacting. We actually got some pretty cool pictures when we were about finding people.

Sunday, The Freebairn's asked me to come sing in their ward, so I went and sang Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (which apparently mom has a recording of now...?) and then actually I had to run back over to our ward and sing with another sister in ours. Our fifth Sunday sacrament is missionary based. We have the Mission Ward Leader lead it and the missionaries give talks and do special musical numbers and such. It was fun and good for all the missionaries to participate.

Starting yesterday, we are starting the Christmas initiative which is centered around "The Savior is Born." Lol I was actually able to see that video at the beginning of November, but I never told anyone 🤗 It's so special and I'll share my thoughts on it throughout the month but I want EVERYONE TO WATCH IT FIRST and share their thoughts with me about it!

Here is the link:

This week's Ponderizing scripture was D&C 11:12-14, which says:

12 And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good--yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.

13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;

14 And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.

Ok so first I really liked the phrase "put your TRUST in that spirit...." I looked up Trust (or Trust in God) in the bible dictionary and found a scripture in Proverbs 16:20, that basically says that when we trust in the Lord we are happy. There was also a footnote under this scripture that referenced Faith (but I'll come back to that later.) ok then I was curious exactly what it meant by Spirit (in the context of this scripture) and I found something interesting in 1 John 4 that talks about that there's different
spirits that false prophets preach about but that the only true spirit is felt when it is they "confesseth that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh."  So basically The Spirit Of God does a lot, but it emphasizes
TWO major things in verse 12, that it leadeth to do good and Helps you walk humbly to judge righteously. In verse 13, we find out that when our heart is filled with Joy, it is because God imparts his spirit upon us. AND THEN by that same spirit we shall know all (righteous) things "whatsoever" we desire of him, if we have that FAITH to receive them. There's that faith word again. If we don't have faith that we're going to receive those blessings, then why are we even gonna ask for them?  That's just wasting our time and God's time. That is why Faith is so important and one of the main doctrines of Christ. Without it, we are/have nothing.

Ok I feel like I talk too much sometimes so I'll chill lol. Have a fantastical week and a great start to DECEMBER. Let me know if you have any cool missionary or spiritual experience throughout the week!
I love you!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Monday, November 23, 2015

Acción de Gracias [Thanksgiving] (Nov 23, 2015)

Shalom to all! How's everybody been slick doing YEET? Most should be quite happy being off from school because of the day of thanks this week. Haha looks like Elise already celebrated it! Oh you Peruvians! We had our ward thanksgiving party this past Friday and oh I love Spanish parties! The bishop in our ward is so fun and everyone just has a good time!

(YES ALSO HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GRANDMA TOO! Hope it's another fantastical day filled with happiness and joy and yes.)

As for missionary work, this has been kind of slowish week because it was leading up to finding out transfer info on Saturday. They decided they wanted to change transfers up a little bit this time, so they whole process will be a little different. In the past, the way they've done it is they've just made a pdf of who is going where with which companion and they send it out to the zone leaders to distribute. This time all they told us on Saturday was who was leaving and who was staying. They didn't say where they were going or who was replacing them, but that they are just leaving. Then on Tuesday at the transfer devotional, it is going to be kind of like a sports draft where they will call out a companion and say he is going to this place with this companion. So on Saturday, I found out I'm staying in this area for another transfer, but my companion is leaving. Which means I'll be leading out the area and will get a new companion coming Tuesday! Exciting stuff. So yesterday and today is being spent visiting people my companion wants to see before he leaves. Jolly Good Fun.

It seems like we had loads of possible lessons we could've had this week but the majority of them fell threw. It's okay though. I've come to study and accept that some people may not be ready to hear the
Alex & his cat "friends"
gospel yet, but that God's time is the best time. Although, there is this one couple we found through a less active member that we are co-teaching with some sisters. They are technically the sisters' investigators but the husband wanted us there too, so we come along and help teach. The wife already has a baptismal date set, but the husband is waiting until he is a little more ready. OH ALSO I found out I'm allergic to cats. Haha funny story (that I'll send a picture with). We were at a lesson with this couple and they have these little kittens that like to sit on our lap while we teach. So I grabbed one and started petting it and about 5 minutes in my nose started running and my eyes were watering and ya. I remembered that mom was allergic so I was like hey me too?! So ya good fun. 

Joshua 1:8 is this week's ponderizing scripture, picked by the one and only Cole Joyner.

8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

This scripture is basically talking about the importance of scripture study. Scripture study is crucial in the conversion process and is a huge thing we teach as missionaries. There is no way to gain faith or
a testimony of something if you don't put it to the test and read it. How can somebody say something is wrong or not true or doesn't apply to them if they don't read and pray about it with a sincere heart and real intent? We're promised in this scripture that if we do what the scriptures tell us, that we will prosper and have success. Why would we not want that? We're made a promise that we are going to be successful, if we follow this instruction. It's that simple. Sometimes we try and make living the gospel too hard, but like as it says here that if we live the commandments and what the scriptures tell us, we are going to be blessed.

So for Thanksgiving this week we have some fun plans! We have a service project pretty early in the morning, we're going to go play in the Turkey Bowl near the church, we'll probably try to visit a couple people, and then we have a couple dinner appointments! One with the Freebairns! Should be a good time! Sounds like the FAM is gonna have fun with Melon there!
Santa Rosa Spanish Missionaries
I just wanted to take some time to express my thanks, especially to my family and friends. Since being out here, I have become extremely grateful for everyone and everything in my life. Most importantly, I love and appreciate Mom and Dad and Dayne and Elise and Cole. I love you so very much.

Have a great week y'all!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Thursday, November 19, 2015

HAPPY BIRFDAY 2 DWAYNIE POOH (Nov 16, 2015)

Yo yo what's the hizzle?! FIRST HAPPY BIRTHDAY DWAYNEEEEEEE. I HOPE YOUR DAY IS FILLED WITH MAGIC AND APPARENTLY SNOW?! I LOVE YOU. YEET.

Alex & Doug Porter
WELL What a week it's been for both me and from what I've heard, everyone back home too! We had stake conference here Saturday and Sunday, and they were reorganizing the stake presidency so we had Elder Smith and Elder Zaballos here for the weekend. It was a good conference! Yesterday, I was able to meet up with Brother Porter since he was in town helping his mom move and such. It was super good to see another Georgian and talk for a little bit! I got a nice surprise package from Alec this week which was super kind treat! I also got a couple letters from Claire and I was told one is on the way from Alexa! It's super encouraging to know I have support from Family and friends back home! I'm trying my best to respond as quick as possible, but forgive me if I'm a little slow sometimes.

Our area covers out to Bodega Bay(the coast) and we go out there to proselyte once a transfer, so on Saturday we were able to go near the beach area! It was soooo super pretty! Maybe it was just that day, but the Pacific Ocean is different from the the Atlantic. I'll send you some pictures from then. Also, today we're going back there to spend P-day there. Of course we can't get in the water, but we're going to spend some time there. I'll try and send more pictures that I get when we go there today.

I was saddened to hear of the events that's happened in Paris this week. We're actually at a dinner and I could hear the news channel from the other room talking about it. It confuses me why people choose
to commit these terrible acts. It honestly doesn't make sense to me. But it isn't our place to judge. That is only God's job, and when we make different judgements like that it shows that were trying to "play God." But no that is not our job. We have to leave that to the all knowing God who knows our true thoughts, acts, and intentions.

I hope Granddaddy is doing better. That's a scary surgery to have! The Santa Rosa South Zone definitely has prayers coming your way!

Lessons have been kind of scarce this week. We're just praying super hard to find people we can teach. We have a couple progressing investigators but it's few and far between. We're still trying hard
though!

This week's ponderizing scripture was D&C 8: 2-4;10.  It says:

"2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.

3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.

4 Therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it, and blessed art thou, for it shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies, when, if it were not so, they would slay you and bring your soul to destruction.

10 Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not."

This is talking hugely on THE HOLY GHOST. As members of the church, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. We receive revelation (or spiritual promptings) through our thoughts and feelings of the heart and mind. It's cool because it's the same spirit that the prophets of old had. It's the same spirit that Moses had when he was leading the people through the Red Sea. Or the same that Noah had when he was commanded to build the ark. WE CAN HAVE THAT. HOW COOL IS THAT?! One
thing I think we tend to forget is that it's a gift! God gives us many gifts or blessings, but this is one of the most amazing ones!! It's a gift, but there are NO REFUNDS and NO EXCHANGES. (And heck why would you want to!?) We're able to have a member of the Godhead with us at all times, but we have to do certain things to allow him to be with us. We have to apply it, like the scripture says. It's not a decoration gift that you get once and then take it home and hang it up on your wall. You take and have it with you always. It can do stuff like, "deliver you out of the hands of your enemies." BUT you have to have faith to make it work. So faith is like the batteries you put in it to make it work. They're more like rechargeable batteries though. The ones that you have to continually keep charged and energized. Dayne mentioned in an email that he's been thinking about and pondering how to discern your thoughts from spiritual promptings. There's this that was given in the MTC by Elder Bednar that helps very well. He says this: "The way to discern spiritual promptings from your
own thoughts? Be a good boy. Be a good girl. Follow the commandments. And QUIT WORRYING ABOUT IT. If you're being a good boy/girl, and following the commandments, then shouldn't all your thoughts be spiritual impressions? Act upon impressions even if you don't know why." But it all goes back to God's will and what he would have happen at that time. Ok sorry I'm done with my spiritual word vomit now.

Cole chose next week's which will be......... Joshua 1:8. Again, I extend the invitation to all not in the Joyner clan to ponderize this scripture, and to email me your thoughts and feelings on it.
Church from the movie "The Birds"

Church from the movie "The Birds"

Transfers are a week from Tuesday, which means we find out about what is happening with the transfers this Saturday. I'm most likely staying here because I'm new, but ya never know! So I'll let ya know about that next Monday. Next week is also my THREE MONTH MARK. WOAH CRAZY.

I LOVE YOU ALL. I love hearing about everyone's lives! Until next week! Stay fresh and stuff

Te Amo

Elder Joyner


Wednesday P-Day (Nov 11, 2015)

Hey-o all! How's the week been? I hope you've all had a spectacular week filled with enriching experiences. First yes, sorry I'm emailing today again. We went to the temple this morning so today is
technically our P-Day. The Oakland temple is AMAZING. ITS SO BEAUTIFUL AND BIG. It is now one of my most favorites. Ahhhhh it was so good. Oh yes mom I got my greenie package too. The Elders in my apartment thought that was kinda funny LOL!
Elder Kimber & Elder Joyner
Alex in Oakland



Oakland Temple


This past week has been a roller coaster but good fun nevertheless. I've been praying for Grandaddy today that his surgery goes/went well and that the recovery is pretty fast too.

Some cool things that happened this week though. We had Zone conference in Petaluma this past Friday. This is where four of the zones in our mission met to have some training from President and his wife, The AP's, and the tech elders. A sister in my zone and I sang "Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words." It was kind of an odd song to do, but President requested it so we did it. Conference was really good and we received some really great instruction and guidance. One super cool thing I learned from that and have been studying is about God's will. We need to embrace whatever it may be. His purpose is to, "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." So in saying this,
everything God gives us is to fulfill this purpose. Everything happens for a reason. We just have to embrace it and trust God. It all comes down to the relationship of love we have between God. If we trust that he loves us and all things are possible through him, why should we worry? It's all gonna turn out ok, if we just keep his commandments and stay strong to him. That is something that is hard for us to accept sometimes but I know that as we pray for strength each and every morning that we can have that power to accept God's will and anything that comes with it. That was just one of the many things I learned last Friday.

Alex's Zone


(Lol also just an add on, President and Sister Wright came and talked in the Spanish ward on Sunday, so Obispo wanted a special musical number so me and the same sister who I sang with at conference sang "Mas Cerca Dios De Ti." So good fun)

I also had my first comp exchange this past week. It was loads of fun. I went with Elder Taylor (the Canadian) and my comp went with Elder Britt. There is this like 6-10 mile path near our complex that we were able to walk yesterday. There are a bunch of homeless people that live along it so we wanted to walk it and see if we could help them out at all. We both kind of realized that if Jesus worked with lepers and different people that most probably wouldn't, that as missionaries should try to reach out to every. Every single person is a child of God, which means we have something in common. We met tons of interesting people. One in particular we met, was this guy who was on the path fixing his bike. We were just walking by asking how his day was and he completely just opened up to us and give us his whole story. Because we just gave him a a smile and were willing just to talk with him made all the difference. It's crazy to think how something so simple can go a long way.


We also had another cool miracle happen along the path. We got to a point in the path where we were trying to decide if we wanted to continue on the path the rest of the way or take a short cut down a busy road to make it to our dinner appointment on time. We just decided to go down the busy road. We started walking and this lady started to honk and wave us down. We went to go see what she wanted and she was actually a less active who wanted to come back. She had said that she was going through some pretty tough times and that she was trying to find something to help and the night before she remembered how much she loved the church when she was young. She also told us that that day she was going to look up the times for church, later that night, but then she saw us and knew it was meant to be. We got her name and number and the English  missionaries are going to back to talk to her tonight. That also goes to show how God puts people in our path that are so ready.

OHHH I ALSO MET UP WITH DAD's COUSIN (my second cousin?) FOR DINNER THIS PAST MONDAY. It was super fun to meet them and spend some time with them. They are the nicest people! We talked about family and I saw some old pictures of Grandaddy and Grandma that I've never seen before. It was fun to connect some of those family dots that I didn't know we're there. We might try to go back and have dinner with them again.

Alex & David Freebairn
Ok this weeks ponderizing scripture was Alma 32:43-44. I didn't have a chance to go as in-depth as I would've liked to but something I really like from it was the fruit reference. Fruit is often referenced in the scriptures in several places, from the tree of life to missionary work in the scriptures, it is mentioned several places. One thing I love about fruit is that it's good for you. It keeps your body healthy. This fruit, talked about in the scriptures is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is something so sweet and tasteful for us. It is there waiting for us, but we actually have to go pluck it and partake of it. The effort, like I've said in the past, is on our part. If we don't do anything, how are we supposed to taste of the goodness that's there.

Hey Y'all go out there and have a great week! I love you all! God is the best.

Te Amo

Elder Joyner


Monday, November 2, 2015

ALL HALLOWS EVE/I'VE BEEN OUT 2 MONTHS! (Nov 2, 2015)

¡Wowie wow wow Que una semana! HEY THANKS MOM FOR THOSE SLICK LICKIN PACKAGES. I got them when I got home last Monday from P-day. It was a super nice treat so thank ya! Yes I also got the case the same day and I love it. I got many people jealous because of it. Hahaha! Also, thanks to all the many mails I've gotten over the past couple weeks from different people. I'm trying my hardest to write back as fast as possible. 

This has been a crazy week with lots and lots of ups and downs. I've had some really hip hoppin days and some not so kickin days. This week I had to drop my first investigators and that was hard. It felt like they broke up with me lol. They didn't really say why other than they didn't think they had time. I also talked to a couple bathers (people that just want to debate and not have a conversation) this week too. That stressed/wore me out and just kinda frustrated how some people can be so arrogant. Agh I just went home and felt defeated. Also there were many days where we had lessons and they would cancel last minute. That happened like three or four days in a row though soooooo. ALTHOUGH One super cool thing that happened this week though was that we picked up these two new investigators. They are so ready. They don't drink or smoke or use crude language and they love their family like no other. Yes I'm so so excited for them! We will see what happens with them hopefully soon!  I can definitely see that this will not be an easy journey but, like I've done already, I know that I can fall down on my knees and ask for help from above. Through whatever we may be going through, there is always that help and constant that we can rely on each and every day. 

So Halloween we had to be in by 7 pm. The other guys in our zone wanted to go to the gym in our complex so we went and chilled there for an hourish. We didn't really have many trick or treaters knock on our door. Maybe like two. It was a good rest that night, and then we got an extra hour of sleep because of daylight savings too, which was fresh. I missed watching Halloween and scary movies though! Those are like some of my favorite things to do all year round! 

Dayne I'm very jealous of your little concert with Norm and Frank. You sound like a busy little bee. You asked me about Mexican food I've had. Ummm I've only had a couple meals that were real Mexican food. Paz ole?  I'm not sure how to spell that. Haha it was at a party for a member. I love at every Mexican party they have those blow up things for kids to jump on. At EVERY PARTY. It's super funny. The people we meet are from all over. A lot are From central Mexico but we get everywhere. OH one of the brothers in our bishopric is from LIMA PERU. YEET WHERE ELISE IS YES. I feel like the majority of our lessons happen in English. We do a lot of Spanish street contacting but like lessons are probably 60% Spanish and 40% English. I feel like it's kinda limiting me but also it's helping me become a better missionary. It's interesting.  

Ok so there was a little confusion on the ponderizing scripture this week. Elise picked Ether 12:27 but then I picked Alma 29:1-4, so I'm just gonna give my insights on both. YEET. 

Ether 12:27 says:
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I first concluded that God doesn't give us weakness for no reason. We have them to make us stronger. We also have them so that we can become humbled. Then, if we become humbled unto him, we receive grace. 
I was kinda confused exactly what it meant by "grace" so I sought out the answer. In the bible dictionary, lo dice: "Grace is divine help or strength given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ." I was then led to a scripture in 2 Nephi 25:23, lo dice: "...for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." Which means that we have to do every single thing in our power and then we receive that grace. 
Ok so after we are humbled and have faith, he will make "weak things BECOME STRONG." I thought this was funny because it was also the name of one of my EFY companies back in the day. Isn't that so cool though? That as we are humbled and have faith, he will take those weaknesses and make them strengths. I think that is such an incredible blessing that I personally want to have. He will help us with whatever we need as long as we do our part! UGH that's so cool. 

Ok now Alma 29:1-4. This says:
"1 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

2 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

3 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.

4 I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction."

So what I did for this one was a little different than what I usually do for these ponderizing scriptures. This time I took the scripture and rephrased it into terms that are a little more understandable and comprehensive. So from this scripture, I wrote that Alma is basically just sitting there thinking to himself, "Wouldn't it be cool if I was an Angel? That I could go and tell people with 'the trump of God' and just let them know they need to repent. I'd tell them with a 'voice of thunder' that if they come unto God, they don't have to be sad and sorrowful. Ah but alas, I'm just a man and I should be happy with the the gifts and blessing that God has given me. He blesses us with things we desire, so it should be good things that will help us grow closer to him." 

Now that's not scripture, or 100% correct, but that's what I got out of it. Especially that we need to count our blessings and not be needful for the things of the world. There's the famous quote that says: "Live in the world, but not of it." That basically means we are living physically on this earth, but that we shouldn't not long or want for things that won't help us in the long run. In the two-ish months I've been out here, I can definitely the see that in the world today. That people are so longing for "things." Everybody wants some"thing." We forget what's really important; relationships with families and friends. That is something I challenge everyone to cherish and look for in their life. As I'm not able to be with family or friends for these next couple months, I'm learning how important and influential each and everyone of you are in my life. I love you and am super grateful for you. 

As for next week, Mom picked Alma 32:42-43 to ponderize. Hey fam, someone should make out a calendar of who picks when so we don't get confused. 

We were in a members house having dinner last night and there was this plaque thing on the wall that said:
Having a place to go is a Home
Having someone to go to is a Family
Having both is a blessing
I really like that a lot. It makes me appreciate all that I have. 

I love you all with all my heart!

Te Amo

Elder Joyner
Study Office
Bedroom

Alex's Desk
Kitchen



Monday, October 26, 2015

WEEK TWO YEET (Oct. 26, 2015)

YO YO WASS GOIN ON?! Another week down. Not too much has happened this week. Pretty much the same ole. Obispo (the bishop) approached me on Wednesday and was like "how Come you sang in the English was before the Spanish? So you're gonna sing in the Spanish on Sunday. Go." So
yesterday I sang Creo en Cristo, or I believe in Christ. So that was fun. I love Obispo!! He had us over for dinner yesterday too and he's such a cool guy. Our stake presidency is about to be reorganized and we're hoping that he will be the new stake president. That would be kickin! Hey I heard North Oconee had an awesome performance at One Act and pulled in a best actor, all star cast, best ensemble, and third place! Heck ya! Titan Pride! Super proud of y'all and all they work you're still doing back east. Hey S/O to Cole with that bomb solo in the primary program yesterday too! That was such a kickin chicken! Cole sounds like a busy bee these days with youth activities and
campouts and school and such. Keep killin it bud. We have the trunk or treat this next Friday so that should be fun. On Halloween we have to be inside by 8. That'll be fun I guess.

I had a pretty cool experience this week. We were going to visit two of our investigators on like Wednesday or Thursday. We go up to their door and knock to see if anyone is home. No one answers, so we decide to go tract and find people for a little then come back. We then proceed to do that and return to the house. We knock again, and there is no answer. We start to walk away when we both feel at the same time we need to go talk to their neighbor. We go and knock on their door and ask them if there's anything we can do for them. They kinda say no very rudely and left. We started to walk out of the neighborhood and we kinda saddened because we hadn't seen anyone that night. Just as we were about to leave the complex, we see our investigator's car pull in. We stop and talk and schedule an appointment for a lesson. They seemed more open this time when we talked to them though. I know that was a miracle made happen by the power of the Holy Ghost and its promptings.

The scripture Elise picked for the fam to "ponderize" this week was Enos 1:26-27. Enos is one of my favorite books so it was a jolly good time studying this one. It says,

"26 And I saw that I must soon go down to my grave, having been wrought upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world.

27 And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen."

The first thing that stuck out to me was the word "rest." Rest in this sense is the peace felt after death. But I then asked myself, how do we obtain it? I was them led to Alma 12:34, which says: "whosoever
repenteth... Shall enter into my rest." So we need to repent and be clean to feel rest after this life. I also found a scripture in Moroni 7:3 that says we can also obtain this rest by being "peaceable followers of Christ." Everywhere I found the word rest, I found some reference to the word paradise (or paradise of God){lol Dwayne thought the same thing}. It kinda talks about a paradise later in 27 of Enos saying: "there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my father."
I was then led to a scripture in D&C 72:4 which says: "He who's is faithful and wise... Inherit the mansions prepared for him of my father."
The way I thought about this was, that God has this big mansion up in heaven. He is up there preparing a room for each of us. He (with the help of angels) are probably like making the beds and vacuuming and getting ready for us. We can choose to accept that room if we repent and choose to be peaceable followers of Jesus Christ. It's something that I take much comfort and peace in. That as we do the things we know we should, we shouldn't have to worry about what's ahead. God loves us and is waiting and wanting for us to return back to him. That's something I've grown a testimony of while being out here, that there is a place after this life. That God has prepared a place for us in heaven where we can be happy and live with our families eternally. That's such an exciting thing to think about. We shouldn't spend our lives worrying or being sad when we know there is much great to come!

The scripture I've chosen this week is..........

ALMA 29:1-4. Good Luck!

And if anyone not of the Joyner clan wants to ponderize their thoughts on this scripture and email it to me, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I miss and love you. My prayers include each and everyone of you! You are all blessings in my life! Stay Safe. Stay Strong.

Te Amo,
Elder Joyner

North and South Santa Rosa Zones

Questions from Mom:
1.  How many people are in your ward? Prolly like 150, but only like 70 come
2.  Do you teach a class during church on Sunday's? Hahahahahha no
3.  How often have you had dinner appts this week? Lots. We usually have one every night. It's not always Mexican food but it's good.
4.  How warm/ cool is it there?  Do you notice a difference from home being more North? Dang it's cool in the morning and at night. Sometimes it can get hotter in the day but it cools down. OH it is
nothing like Georgia heat lol
5.  How is your understanding of Spanish?  Can you communicate with others? I'm starting to understand a titch better. Respond is slow but steady.
6.  Tell us what your daily schedule is like?  What time do you leave the house and what time do you come in at night?  Everyday except Pday and Sunday we have four hours of studies (Personal, comp, language, and 12 week) then depending on if we have set lessons, or service, we either go find or visit people. The ward is really pushing getting less actives to come back to church. Then a dinner at 5. Then we usually have lessons at night, because that's when everyone is home. Then back to the appt at 9-9:30ish. Pretty legit.
7.  What are your ward boundaries like?  How far do you travel? Umm well were the only Spanish unit in the whole stake so the missionaries in our ward cover all of Santa Rosa. We cover like the bottom left corner. The corner of the 12 and 110 I think?
8.  How many miles a month do you get to travel in your car? 1100
9.  What do you have to pay for each month?  How much does the mission give you? We get $150 on our card each month. It rolls over. I'm not sure what we have to pay at the end of the month....?
10.  Do you sleep on the top or bottom bunk bed? Top! It's not too bad though.

Monday, October 19, 2015

PRIMERO SEMANA YEET (Oct 19, 2015)

HOLA ALL!! Wow. So I'm in California. HOW CRAZY IS THAT. Heck I love it here. It was kind 
Last MTC District Picture
of a quick rough transition but I give it another week or two and I'll get into it. This might be a longer email but I'm just gonna give you the rundown of what's happened this past week. So last Tuesday I woke up at 3:30am to leave to get to the travel office by 4:30pm. From there, we took a bus and train to SLC. Haha so I get to baggage and I'm weighing my bags and I look over and who do I see walking towards me but the one and only Dwayne. Hahaha wasn't expecting that one. We chatted for a couple minutes while I was waiting for the rest of my travel group to get ready. I gave one last hug goodbye and headed off toward my gate. It was such a nice surprise to see mi Hermano one last time before heading off. I got to the gate and called Mi mama and Mi papa (and Dwayne). That was a right good chat we had there. It made me happy to be able to hear some familiar voices. Sorry Cole that you were in school :/ But hey only two more months and we can Skype and stuff. My travel group included all English missionaries that had only been in the MTC for 12 days, so I didn't know anyone. I was able to make some friends on the short hour and 15 minute flight. We arrived and were greeted by President and Sister Wright and the AP's. It was a treat to see them there to greet us. They gave us a sack lunch as we drove back to the Mission office. We were then greeted by all the missionaries in the mission and the "greenies" ran through the victory tunnel they made lol. All the missionaries were there because it was the transfer devotional. That was led by President. The rest of the day was training for the newbies. Then after dinner, we spent our first night in a Comfort Inn. Lol I was not expecting that. They say it's the best sleep you'll get your entire mission, and I do believe that because I slept like a baby.

The next day we had breakfast at the hotel and then the AP's took us back to the mission office for more training. We got our iPad's too! This is the one I keep the whole time, (although momma I think imma need a different case because this is kinda like the same one we got in the MTC.) So something cool about our iPads our here is that we are able to look at emails anytime throughout the week. We can't respond until Monday, but if you send me anything via email know that I can read it. After that, we were paired up with our companions. Sooooooo my companion is..............

ELDER KIMBER. He is from Elk Ridge, Utah and has been out a little over a year. He's a really good guy and I'm lucky to have him as my trainer. He's a gifted teacher too. He is our District Leader too. So here's some mission slang in case I ever use it. Elder Kimber is my Dad because he's my trainer. Whatever companion I get after him will be my Mom because he's my follow up trainer. My grandfather is Elder Kimber's trainer and my Grandmother is Elder Kimber's follow up trainer. So we can trace a whole generation back if we wanted. It's a good time. 

Our area is the Santa Rosa South area. We are in the Laguna ward, which actually just moved up from a branch to a ward. It is the biggest Spanish unit in Northern California. Our bishop is Obispo Escamilla. He's really cool and speaks super fast Spanish. 
(For mail and stuff:)

3840 Martina Ave #103 
Santa Rosa, CA
95407-2550

We went back to the apartment, where we live with the Zone Leaders. Their names are Elder Taylor and Elder Britt. Taylor is from Canada and is quite a character, and Britt is from Texas and reminds me of Sue's boyfriend from The Middle. Haha they're funny guys and I like them! Our apartment is super nice. We have two bunk beds in one room, and then two office rooms with bathrooms, and a kitchen area. 

One crazy thing that happened was that I walked into A BAPTISM. On my first weekend! That's crazy and usually doesn't happen. Their names are Brenda and Citlali. They're 14-15 age. Their mom is a less-active and their Uncle is pretty active. We went to visit them every night up until Saturday which was the Baptism. Elder Checketts, who was the Elder that was with Elder Kimber before me, came from Fairfield and did the baptisms.  It was a super surreal experience. They were confirmed the next day in church. And another crazy thing is that we have this other investigator who, the only thing he needed, was to see what a baptism was like and then he would be. He came and then after the baptism said he's ready and wants to be in there one of these Saturday's. So maybe this next week we could have another date set. Wowie wow. 

Another crazy thing happened too. So in Elder Taylor and Britt's ward, there was a lady that passed away and someone there found out I sing, so I sang at the funeral. Ha I sang My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee by Rob Gardner. It was a small service and the lady's relatives were like Native American so that was interesting. And then the lady who accompanied me was like "Hey come sing in our ward tomorrow too". So I sang in the English ward at 9 before our ward at 11am. Haha I've been here less than a week and I've sang twice already. 

1 Corthinians 2:9 was the scripture for the fam to ponderize this week. It says:
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of Man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him."
I've actually studied lots on this one but I just wanna a quick slick titch. If you keep reading in verse 10 it says: "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." That prompted me to disect verse 9 and "searcheth all things" in the scripture. One in particular that I liked was the word prepared. The word prepared led me to "blessings" in the topical guide, which then referred me to Proverbs 10:6 which says:"Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked." In order to receive these blessings we must be just. Then I wondered how do we become "just?" I was led to Heb 10:38 and then Acts 7:52. The scripture in Acts scripture says "shewed before the coming of the just one," or Jesus. In order to be just, we must try to act and become like Christ and follow his teachings through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. I was finally led to a scripture in D&C 76:69 that tied it all together. Lo dice: "These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood." Through Christ and his atonement, we can repent and become more like him daily. 

Whoops. Sorry for that little rant. I got excited and just kinda blurted my words out. THE SCRIPTURES ARE SO COOL. It amazes me how detailed everything is. The church and scriptures have to be true because of how detailed they are. No man could "create" or "make up" such a thing. Wow it's so amazing. 

Like I said last week, if you have any pictures that you would like to email, please do! I want to show all my friends and even possibly use them in lessons and such. 

I'm so grateful for all the love and support I get daily. I continually pray for each and everyone of you. Thank you all so so much. God Bless y'all. Till next week!

Te Amo,
Elder Joyner

Monday, October 12, 2015

ONE DAY MORE (Oct 12, 2015)

Hola Peoples!!!!!!!!! How is everyone!? I'm writing today because I leave for Cali tomorrow! I'm finishing up some last minute packing this morning and then I have class the rest of the day. It's been an exciting last week also. I WAS FINALLY ABLE TO GET MY CAST OFF! It feels so liberating and free! I also washed my hands for a solid 13 minutes. Good good fun! We also had In-Field orientation on Thursday. That was a treat! I actually really enjoyed it! At the end they do like a little production of like how to work with members and such, and they were asking for volunteers to help and my companion's hand shot up.... So we got to be a part of that little show. It was something else lol. Good fun though!!!

I've already said goodbye to so many friends here already and it's quite sad. Elder Randle and I keep saying that we didn't think it would be this hard to leave the MTC. I've been able to make so many friendships that it's gonna be hard to say goodbye to. I've learned to love these people and ya wow. I am excited to get to SR to start the work. It's all kind of a surreal experience. It will be another hard transition but I think I'm ready. 

Strike-a-pose
He Ain't Heavy - He's My Brother
I appreciate all the love and support from Family, Friends, and other loved ones. It's such a blessing to be here and serving the Lord. I know there is no better place I could be right now. I can't wait to see what Heavenly Father has in store for me these next two years! It's going to be quite a journey. I'm sure it will go by so quickly, just as these past six weeks have. I have been uplifted physically, mentally, and (most important) spiritually. I've had so many experiences already that will shape my mission into such an uplifting experience. 

Sorry this is a short-er letter. I usually have more time before P-day to write it. Also, sorry I don't think I'll have time to respond to every email today, but I LOVE YOU! I'll try to write back as soon as I can. OH ALSO, I'll have a new address which I'll get sometime this week which I will forward on. 

I just want to leave you with my testimony. I know that my Lord and Savior lived on this earth. He walked and preached unto the nations. He suffered for our sins so that we may become clean to return to the presence of our God. He endured the agonizing pain of Gethsemane for us. Not for him, but for us. God sent his only begotten Son because He loves us. Oh how He loves us. I tremble to know that for me Jesus was crucified. That for me a sinner, he suffered, bled and died. Missionary work will not be easy, because Gethsemane wasn't easy. I testify with all my being that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know he saw what he said he did. If that wasn't true, my life and every action in it would be a lie. I can testify that the Book Of Mormon was translated and published through the power of God. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It directly correlates with the Bible and all of its teachings. Through the Book of Mormon, we can receive happiness and joy like no other. I challenge all those who have not read from this Book to do so, and then to pray to know if it's true. God will let you know. I bear witness of these things. 

I have so much love for you all! Tomorrow starts another new adventure! Thank you. Stay fresh, but keep it wrinkled. 

Te Amo,

Elder Joyner