Tuesday, December 27, 2016

On to 2017.... (December 26, 2016)

Hey hey! 
It was so good to talk to y'all yesterday! That's crazy I've done three of those and only have one left. Weird! Christmas was so good and I could definitely feel a special spirit that of Christ that you can't feel any other time. I hope all had an opportunity to serve those around you in an effort to #LIGHTTHEWORLD. Also, congrats Cody on the engagement! Happy for y'all!

We had a pretty good week! 
Tuesday, Elder Achal and I went on exchanges! We. Had. The. Best. Day. It was probably one of the most successful days I've had on my mission thus far. Everyone we came in contact with, we either had a lesson with, set a return appointment, or set a baptismal date with haha. That was a sweet experience! We were waking away from a door about to go upstairs to knock some more doors, when a man comes to the rail and says, "Hey, are you the Mormon missionaries?" We replied and he said, "Well come on in." We got to talking and he told us that he had once investigated the church an de was actually going to get baptized but that it didn't happen. We asked him if he would prepare himself for the 21st of January and he said YES. It was amazing. We went over the baptismal questions right then and he got the majority of them correct! I've never seen that before. Que increible es! We will continue working with him and praying for him and such. 

We also had our Christmas devotional. That was fun! Elder Allsup and I sang a song. That was super fun! We had breakfast and actually got to watch How a Grinch Stole Christmas! WHOOP WHOOP! Good times. 

That's all I got for this week so far. Keep on being the best. Keep praying. Keep loving. Keep believing. Till 2017!

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

UkiahChristmasYayayayaya (December 19, 2016)

HEY Familia! Wow it's super good to hear from you! Glad Elise got home safe and sound. It's weird having everyone home except me haha. But I'll talk to ya soon enough :) it's been a quick week. Lemme give you the run down. 

So Tuesday we got back to Ukiah and got unpacked and got groceries and then got into to planning for ZL stuff. We had dinner and went on splits with the Spanish group leader that night, Bro. Henrie. Wednesday was a good full day of work and then we headed down to stay the night in Santa Rosa for MLC the next day. It was funny because I stayed with the tech elders in my old apartment haha. MLC WAS SUPER BIEN! It was nice being able to just sit back and take it all in and not worry about the logistics and tech part (although I do miss it.) Thursday night we were gonna go back to Ukiah but there was a flood warning and so we had to stay one more night in rosa. It was so good :) Saturday was Zone meeting with the stuff we learned at MLC. I was able to teach on the spirit and how we can have it more as missionaries. Super bien! Ok back up back up one more thing. Tuesday night I got a call from the Hermanas in Santa Rosa saying their investigator, Josue who was getting baptized on Saturday, wanted me to baptize him! WHAT. That's never happened to me before. I had met him at church and went to priesthood with him and such. I was so honored! So after zone Meeting on Saturday, we headed down to Santa Rosa again for the baptism. It was awesome! That was definitely a tender mercy this week. 

A couple miracles from this week. We set 3 baptismal dates this week! That's such a miracle for me. I've never set that many (I don't think?) The first one was on our first day together. We had been finding up in Willits earlier that day and hadn't had too much luck so we decided to go down to see an investigator (German) in Ukiah that hadn't been seen for a while. German wasn't home so we just decided to knock the surrounding doors of his little apartment complex. We knocked probably about 10 and set one or two return appointments until we came upon the second to last door. We knocked and he opened it pretty quickly. This is Jesus Mendoza. He is around our age. He opened it pretty quickly and let us in. We could tell he's been through a lot recently and wanted to change his life around. After sharing the initiative and a brief restoration, we invited him to be baptized and he said YES. We testified to him and set a date for the 21sf of January! It was so cool. Ok ok next miracle. Get this, one of the return appointments we set before meeting Jesus turned out to be our other two baptismal dates! We set a return appointment for Sunday. Their names are Maria and Carlos. They had just barely had a new born bebe. We went and showed the initiative video and then after the husband was like, "so in your church, what does one have to do to get baptized? My wife has never been baptized and I don't really go to church so like what do we have to do?" Elder Perez and I just kinda sat there in amazement until one of us was able to answer haha. We also set a date with them for the 21st of January! It was incredible.  Same date. One apartment apart from each other. If that's not the lords hand working in our lives, I don't know what is! The Lord has been merciful upon us this week and I am forever grateful for it. 

It's been such a good week up here. I'm adjusting but loving it. Thank you for all your support and love. Talk real soon :)

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Transfers Transfers! (December 12, 2016)

This will be kinda of a shorter letter this week because tomorrow is transfers and we don't have to much time to write. S/O to Elise who is heading home tomorrow. Love you Sis. Safe travels! Transfers are happening. I'm leaving Santa Rosa and heading to Ukiah as a Zone Leader with Elder Perez. I've heard really good things about him and this area and I'm excited. I'm pretty sure there's just a Spanish group up there so we might meet with one of the English wards. It's a good change up but a little bittersweet right before Christmas. This'll be good for me though. I'm gonna hit it full force!

We had a pretty good week. We were able to set a baptismal date with one lady named Naomi. That was a cool experience that I may have to save until next week. We were able to see Dante again this week and go over the plan of salvation with him and his sister, Abigail. This area is really popping and I'm excited for elder Sidwell and his new compa!

This week we have an MLC on Thursday, so I'll already be able to come back to rosa haha and next week we have the Christmas parties and we'll be able to come back to rosa again too haha so I won't miss it too much. That's prolly it for this week. I'll write more next! Love y'all. Have a great week!

Con Amor

Alex with cousin David (Freebairn)
Elder Joyner

Escamilla family

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Les Voy a Decir Algo... [I'll Tell Them Something...] (December 5, 2016)

Happy December! That's crazy that it's already the end of the year. Time really does fly! And it'll probably get faster and faster. Just the fact that Elise makes the long trip back to the south is kinda crazy. Good job. I'm proud of you, but even more important your father in Heaven is so grateful and proud of the service you've rendered for him these past 18 months. Matthew 25:21 ❤️

It's been a crazy week! We had MLC on Friday so a good bit of the week was prepping for that. Since the tech elders are in different companionships, Elder Crowley and I would go together and get stuff done we needed to and our companions would go into one of our areas and do some work there. We basically had to plan out 2 different schedules with our tech stuff and area stuff. It's been crazy, to say the least! There was also funeral at the badger building (where the mission office is) so we had to switch over to the Peterson lane building for this one. It was kind of like a last minute switch up too. We taught about Fellowshipping and how we can do that by means of technology. It was super bien! 

Lisette did not get baptized this weekend :/ We went and met with her with the other elders on Thursday and had a good lesson with her. She says she believes the church is true and everything she's been taught but that she just needs a little more time! We felt strongly she shouldn't push this date back and even got down on our knees with her and she offered a prayer asking if this is what she should do. She got an answer that it is but that just not right now. I have faith that she will eventually take that step and that everything is in God's time. 

Alejandra, who had the baptismal date for this weekend, is probably not getting baptized this particular weekend. She responds to our messages and texts but doesn't ever want meet with us. It's difficult and we think she's attending a different church. But on the bright side, we set a baptismal date with her little 15 yr old brother Dante. That was a real miracle! We're excited for him!

That's all I got for this week. Thank you for your love and support! This is the last week of the transfer so we'll find out Saturday what happens! Have a super week!

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

Monday, November 28, 2016

December, ugh what how? (November 28, 2016)

Happiest of Mondays to all! Hope everyone had a super good Thanksgiving, even if it was on a non-traditional Friday haha. The sunroom porch looks good though, so good job fam. We had a good day of thanks! We woke up and went help set up for the Crèche (nativity) festival that's this weekend. We did the same last year and set up like some 30-40 Christmas trees! Good fun! Then we went to a turkey bowl in the AP's ward, which was fun! In the afternoon, all six of the Spanish missionaries got together and made (and delivered) thank you cards for members and investigators and such. It was a good time! Our first dinner was at the Freebairn's! It was super good and a blessing to eat with them. Obispo invited us over next and we went over there to eat with him and some other members. That was a party too! After that, the Spanish crew went to the mall (Black Friday crowds eeeek) to try and do some contacting, but it ended up that we weren't allowed to do that and were stopped by Paul Blart Mall Cop haha. Oh well. It was a good idea!

We've started the Christmas initiative this past Friday, #LighttheWorld. I actually got to see the video in early November bc tech elder. 😬😬 Last week in district meeting, we went through each day of December and thought of ways we could serve others. It's really true that when we serve others we are only in the service of our God. I'm excited for this Christmas season and for the opportunity to spread the light of Christ a little more. 

We have a super busy week coming up! We have MLC on Friday and there's a lot of prep for that. We also just have little things here and there we have to do so we'll be pretty booked most the week. Hopefully, Lisette will get baptized this next Sunday! That's the plan as of right now! Keep her in your prayers please! 

I don't have too much more to report on. I can't believe it's December already. How did that happen?? Always remember your divine worth and eternal importance. I cherish and love my mission and appreciate the love and support I get from each one of you. Have a super week and keep on keepin on!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Monday, November 21, 2016

El Día de Acción de Gracias!! (November 21, 2016)

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! It doesn't feel like that's already here but I guess it is, believe it or not. We had our ward thanksgiving party on Friday and it just felt like it was still August or something. Can't believe how fast time flies! I hope y'all have a super good day on Thursday and can eat lots of turkey and stuff! We have plans to go to cousin David's first and then to Obispo's house. We have some other activities planned for that day but I'll let ya know next week. Should be good!!

We had a pretty cool miracle happen on Friday. We went to go to a lunch with a member. Afterwards, she had informed us that the owner of the restaurant (a friend of the member) had wanted a blessing. We said we'd love to do it and help him out. We met with him and kind of explained what a blessing was and then Elder Hall (one of the Spanish elders), only being a couple weeks out, gave his first priesthood blessing. Although the spanish was a little bit broken up, it was such a strong spirit that was there in that blessing. We could tell he felt it too. We told him that he could have this same spirit to be with him always, and that through Jesus Christ he can find peace and comfort in this crazy life. He said thats something he wanted to learn more about; we set up a return appt for the following sunday (yesterday) and we were actually able to go back and teach him the restoration. I feel like time and time again Heavenly Father keeps proving to me that he is in the small details of our lives. If we hadn't have gone to that lunch, we wouldn't have met him and picked him up as a new investigator. I'm grateful for the spirit leading us to those who the Lord has prepared. 

We had a good lesson with Yezli! She had read the chapters we left with her and invited her to pray before she read. She did! She told us the scriptures came to life when she read them and was so much more clear to her this time! I love the scriptures and the lessons and principles we learn from them! I invite you all to better your study of the scriptures and to more fully read our "letters from home."

With Thanksgiving this coming week, I am full of gratitude; for my mission, for my calling, for my mission president and his wife, for my family, for my friends, for my Savior, for His Gospel, for everything. Thank you for all you do. Know i appreciate it so very much. Have a super week!!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Transfer11Week3 (November 14, 2016)

Hello Hello!
How's y'all doing? HAPPY BIRTHDAY DWAYNE! Another year another piece of cake, amiright? It sounds like you gots a fun day planned to go see a show, but you should find someone to go with you bud...... :) just sayin. Wow and next week is thanksgiving what? That's pretty crazy how that came so fast. It's crazy to think I'm in the same zone I was in last year for this year too. Should be a good time!

This week seemed kinda busy-ish. I was kinda sick at the beginning of the week but it seemed to clear up as the week went on! I just got a little too exhausted. We had a couple of pretty cool experiences though! One being this last Friday. We had received a referral in the afternoon and went to contact the person that night! The referral was busy and said we could come back another day, but as we were walking back to the car there was a garage open with some blaring mariachi music, so of course we go to check it out. We walk up and start talking to this one guy named Adan. We showed him the video from the Easter initiative that talks about how through Christ we can find a new life. After the video, there was a pretty long silence, and not just like any kind of pause, but like a piercing silence that you could feel and tell he felt something and was thinking about something. He looked up and said something like where can I find you guys or where can I learn more? He told us how he wanted a new life and needed to start over. We promised him that he could be clean and start a new life through Christ. We also promised him that through baptism our sins can be washed away and we can feel new. He wanted that. You could tell in his eyes! We set up a date for this next week to come back and teach him. It was really a tender mercy to see someone so ready to change be placed into our hands, our care, by the Lord. 

Other fun things that happened, Elder Crowley and I had to translate Stake a Conference which was stressful but crazy. It was a good experience though! Also, me and Another elder (elder Allsup) sang at a baptism of Saturday. We had a total of 20 MINUTES to prep, but it turned out ok :)

We also had interviews with President on Friday. I presented the question, that I asked you mom and dad, last week about how I can completely give my whole heart over to the lord? He gave me some real great counsel on it and there are several things I'm doing to try and achieve that. One of them is that I started the Book of Mormon with that in mind. This was something Elder Bednar challenged us to do, and something a dear friend of mine did with this same question. I love it and will share more insights as I go along. I am reminded of the lyrics from Come Thou Fount, which say: "Here's my heart, Oh take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above." This is the time to do the work of the lord and I'm more ready now than ever. 

I want to express my gratitude and love for each one of you. Please know I love, think, and care for each one of you. I love my mission and every second of it. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Love is what conquers all. 

Have a superb week.

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A1Week1 LETS GO (November 7, 2016)

Hey hey!
It's super good to hear from y'all. And btw Cole and dad why are you putting up Christmas lights already? It's not even Thanksgiving. That's a little crazy. And Thanksgiving and Christmas are super soon too. How did that happen?? Time is definitely flying. 

This week was crazy! First, on Monday after PDay we got a call from Obispo saying that we needed to rush over to an Hermanas house cuz she just gotten her kids taken away from her. So we rushed over, still in PDay clothes, and tried our best to comfort her. We were able to give her a blessing and sing a hymn with her to help her feel better. Her story is a longer one and it's a little more complicated, but hopefully she'll be able to get them back very soon. We had transfers on Tuesday and I had to say goodbye to some dear friends, but that's ok because it won't be too long before we can reunite. Elder Crowley and I were running all over the place trying to get stuff ready and make sure everything went smoothly. I'm now with Elder Sidwell, who was trained by Elder Atkinson. He's from Logan, UT and such a goofball! I've already been serving around him for one transfer but it's fun to be his companion! We'll definitely have a good time this transfer. We still live with Elder Crowley, and now his new greenie, Elder Hall! He's from Littleton, CO. We love the four man mansion haha. The rest of the week consisted of either Elder Crowley and I working on tech stuff, or Elder Sidwell and I exploring our area. It's funny because I already know a little of this area because i served here in August when I was with Elder Atkinson. 

Our teaching pool isn't too big right now, but we're gonna change that :) We do have 3 or 4 possible baptisms this transfer, but I'll update ya more on that as it comes. There is one lady who is for sure getting baptized soon. Her name is Yesli. Her boyfriend is a less active member who is starting to return. She so ready! She's waiting for her residency papers to come back so she can get married so she can get baptized. It's crazy! They eventually want to go to the temple and get sealed, but for now it's just a waiting game. So keep her in your prayers!

I'm so very grateful for each and everyone of you. I love being a missionary and on the Lord's errand. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that he suffered for each one of us. If you have not already come to the same knowledge, I invite you to do so. You will be blessed because of it. I love you and hope you have a sicknastysweet week! 

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

HAPPY HALLOWEEN (October 31, 2016)

Hello familia! Happy Halloween. It feels weird that it's transfer week this week so we've been busy preparing this last week. So It's a little different this time. Elder Crowley and I will stay tech elders but not as companions. There are so many Spanish either in the middle of training or coming in tomorrow, so I am follow up training Elder Sidwell (who has been serving in the Laguna ward for the past six weeks) and Elder Crowley is training a new missionary. We will be living in the same mansion that we have :) and will be in the same ward together. We're the first ever tech trainers haha it'll be good! 

We have this really really golden investigator that were working with. Her name is Lisette and she is the sobrina de un miembro en nuestro bario (niece of a member in our new ward) (who she also happens to live with). We've had some really touching experiences with her over the last couple weeks. One is when and how she told us she received an answer to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She said she got down to pray and felt such a feeling of tranquilidad y paz (tranquility and peace) that should couldn't stand it. Then later on in that lesson, we could tell she was feeling the spirit so strong because she just told us that she knew it was true. I just wanted to give her a hug (but I didn't) and say, "you've found it Lisette. You've found what you've been looking for. Welcome home." In our other lessons we have, she just seems to "get it." We don't often have to repeat things too much or re-explain them as I've often had to do with other investigators. We had a lesson on the plan of salvation that I think she especially loved because she had lost a child at birth about a year ago. We told her that she could see her child once again and it was cool to see that that wasn't really a foreign topic to her, but rather something of familiarity. She is also embarazada (pregnant) with about 5 months left. The spirit is really working within her and touching her heart. I'm grateful for the power the spirit brings and how it works among the children of our Heavenly Father.

All the missionaries in the Ward spoke yesterday and but we were bummed when Lisette didn't come. That's the only obstacle we have with her. We have baptismal date set for the 12th of november, but she's got to start coming to church. We are also trying hard to get her Husband in on the lessons with us, but he's a little more reluctant. Elder Crowley and his new companion will continue working hard and she will enter the waters of baptism soon!

Also we had zone Meeting. "Spirit was felt, jokes were told, memories made."

I think that's about it for this week. I hope y'all have a super-dee-duper week this week! Enjoy the butter! Much love ✌🏿️

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Week 5 and MLC! (October 24, 2016)

Hey hey hey!

Happy Pday y'all. I hope you're having a fantastic day.  It's starting to get colder and it's raining like crazy too! Finally!! It hasn't rained since like last February. Anywayyy! Here's a quick update from this last week!

We had MLC on Friday so we spent a good chunk of the week preparing for that! Elder Crowley and I taught on Facebook standards and such because a fourth of our mission has less than 3 transfers. We shared Dave's Facebook story and how much of a success it was on Facebook and how it impacted so many. We'll forward on that media that we used! The AP's taught on Prayer and Being the People were really called to be as missionaries. It was super bueno! 

Ok I'll have to tell you about Tuesday last week. So we we're at the mission office and the AP's told us that Dave and Dina had called them needed help but they were busy working on something with president, so they needed us to go. We willing went over to help! When we got there they said they needed Dave lifted from his medical bed onto the couch so they could install a new air mattress for him. He is on hospice and is not looking to good. He's down to about 110 lbs. We moved him to the bed and then the guy came into change out the mattresses and accidentally blew a fuse, which Dave's air compressor was plugged into. They scurried and changed him to an oxygen tank real quick, which was a scary moment. We ran some extension cords from another room into that room to get it all fixed. We had to wait for the air mattress guy to run back to his warehouse and come back with the correct parts and such. While we were waiting, we got a call from the Hermanas in our ward who said that someone needed a blessing because they fell and broke their knee. It just so happened the person that needed a blessing was in the same apartment complex, so we ran over, gave the blessing, and then rushed back to move Dave from the couch to his new bed. A lot of things happened in the space of like an hour and a half. I was really impressed by one specific moment though. Right after they got Dave hooked up to his oxygen tank, Dina went over and gave him a hug and comforted him and just kind of held him for a second. It's something I'll never forget, because I could truly see one of the strongest connections of love between them. Not like a lovey romantic love, but an indescribable event that doesn't come easily. They really cared about each other and I could feel the meaning of the phrase, "To love another person is to see the face of God," really come to life. He is so close to going to the other side I think that's what we ultimately all search for in life, and it's really what god has for us. That how I imagine we are in his embrace and how we will feel one day when we are. 

We are working hard with a lady named Lisette and actually set a baptismal date with her for November 3rd. She is actually expecting and is kind of hitting her in her life rn that she needs to change her life. We'll keep you updated with that! Other fun events included my compa playing piano for the primary program yesterday, our car breaking down so we have use the mission transit van for a little bit, and we drank boxed Water so. 

I think that's it for this week. Thanks mom for the little Halloween package! We enjoyed that! Have a super week y'all! Much love!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Big 1 2/Paradaisical Moment/"Mom, I bought some cds from a random guy with a beard." (October 17, 2016)

Hey hey family! It's been a quick minute since I've written y'all. Sorry if I've haven't been writing as well as in weeks past, but I'm back now that Zone Conferences are done! It sounds like y'all have been in the midst of activities and school and such. Dwayne, I throughly enjoy your purple wig. It really fits you ;) 

This week was crazy busy. We left to Eureka (4 1/2 hours away) on Monday night last week in the big mission transit. I ended up driving the whole way lol. It was fun but that thing is a bus! We got there and stayed with the Zone Leaders and then went to the chapel the next morning. The most farthest point of the mission is crescent city and we were about 45 minutes south of there. We had dinner with a family that Elder Achal knew up there and then went down to Ukiah Tuesday night and stayed the night there. We had Zone Conference there Wednesday and then came back to Santa Rosa that night. Thursday morning, we headed to Napa for the Napa/Vallejo Zone Conference. It was our last one and we were super tired from everything by that time. Hahaha so we were able to have dinner with Presidente Rico (Hamilton) in Napa that night and then booked it back for a couple lessons and such. I loved visiting the mission and seeing some old friends! And we were lucky being in the transit because we weren't limited on miles and such, which was nice :) 

We were also able to have some good lessons this week, first with aura and ed! His is the first lesson we've had since they moved to our area. Aura basically made a list of what her problems or dudas were and listed them off for us in that lesson. It really helped us identify what we need to focus on with her, but we're concerned about her desire because it's not 100% there. We're working with her specifically on recognizing the Holy Ghost and had another good lesson with her Saturday about that. She could really use prayers right now too! It was actually her birthday yesterday so we made her a cake and took it over! She's the best! 

We actually picked up a new investigator named Lisette! She lives in the house of a member and we started visiting her at the end of last week and she's super solid. She's having a baby pretty soon and we think it's hitting her pretty hard. She kept her commitment from the first lesson. And we asked her to be baptized in the last and she said YES! We're gonna set date for her next lesson and are really excited for her!

We have MLC this Friday and will be pretty busy preparing for that this week. Transfers are next week too! We've been crazy busy this transfer and it's flown by! It's crazy in like two weeks is November! 

I love and appreciate y'all and am grateful for your support. Keep truckin on. Don't take a day for granted. 

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

ZC Busy!! (October 10, 2016)

Elder Crowley and the van
We've had a super busy week this week. We were gone the majority of it in zone conferences and all, on Tuesday in Fairfield, Wednesday in Woodland, and Thursday in Petaluma! Tuesday was Elder Achal's birthday so we ate his birthday dinner in Fairfield and then stayed overnight in Woodland so we didn't have to drive early in the morning. We came back to Rosa Wednesday night to make it to a lesson or two and then to Petaluma Thursday morning. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were the only times we had in our area. We were able to see a couple of people. Did I ever talk about Mario and Mina when I was here last year? They were in the sister's area but we helped teach them and they got baptized after I left, but kinda went less active. We've been visiting them every Thursday night and trying to get them back to church. Saturday, we helped Ed and Aura move houses into our area, which is super exciting! We will start teaching them this upcoming week. Haha on Sunday, elder Crowley got pulled in to play piano for the primary who is practicing for their program. We spent all of Sunday school and third hour helping the primary with their music lol. It's was a funny little time! Tomorrow, we have a conference in Eureka which is super north so we are leaving at 4:30ish/5 today to go stay up there tonight. Then we'll come down to Ukiah tomorrow night for their conference on Thursday. Finally, we finish off in Napa on Thursday. We scored a dinner with the Hamiltons on Thursday night, so that should be super fun! I'm super grateful to be where I am right now and for what I'm doing. Don't have too much time today, but I'll write more next week. Thank you for your love and support. Stay suave, mis queridos hermanos! Les quiero muchísimo! 

Con Amor
Elder Joyner

¡¡¡CONFERENCIA GENERAL!!! (October 3, 2016)

It's been a great week this past week! I hope you all loved Conference as much as I did! I'm sure grateful to be where I am right now. General Conference as a missionary is always a little different. Maybe it's the calling or that we're just focused on the Lord 24/7, but I got so much out of it! It was hard, yet again, to see President Monson get older and older but I guess that's just how it goes. I'm very grateful for a living Prophet and Apostles who lead and guide Christ's church today. One thing that was impressed upon me was the worth of the souls is great in the eyes of God and how we are all children from a divine creator. How super is that? Shouldn't that give us enough motivation to get through anything? 

This week we also moved houses. We moved into the Larson's (a senior couple that just went home) apartment. It's huge! It feels like Grandma and Papa's house haha. I'll send some pictures on the way and such. 

This next week we have zone conferences in Fairfield, Woodland, and Petaluma! Elder Crowley and I are teaching on doing Mobile Device Checkups! We'll send the media for that when we get it all done haha. 

Nothing else really exciting happened this week. but OH do you remember Aura and Ed? From a couple weeks ago? So they're living in Windsor (north of SR) right now with Ed's brother, but we just found out that they moved into our area so pretty soon we will start teaching them! That's super sick yo! They're fresh and actually fed us after priesthood session on Saturday! 

I'd encourage you all to re-watch and think over the conference talks that just happened, as I will be doing the same. 

I'm grateful for each and everyone of you! 

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26. (Sept. 26, 2016)

Wow it's been quite the week. With transfers, whitewash, and MLC, it's been crazy! Oh HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON SUNDAY, HERMANA JOYNER! Espero que su día es tan buenísimo! Come un poco pastel or algo... :) Disfrútalo! Ok let's see where to begin. 

So Elder Crowley is the BEST! I love being and working with him. He's from Maine and actually lived in North Carolina for a little bit. He's really funny and is a spiritual giant! So on Tuesday, we had our transfers at the Badger building and then we awaited the greenies and had all their meetings and such. It's always fun to see people as they first arrive in the mission. We were pretty booked that day. Both Wednesday and Thursday we were in the office getting work done for MLC, which we had on Friday. We were so busy helping out everyone else with their presentations we didn't get to start ours until about 10 pm on Thursday, leaving us to the office until late that night! But alas, it went smoothly on Friday. I'll forward ya some of the media we used for that! Saturday was our planning day and such and Sunday was crazy! So remember Brenda and Citlali that got baptized like my first week in the mission? Well we stopped by to see them this week, because they haven't been coming to church in a while, and we told them that we would go wake them up in the morning for church on Sunday. SO WE DID and Citlali came! It was a cool miracle. I also got to use the Heimlich maneuver for the first time. That was a crazy experience. Something we like to do before church is open the doors for members as they come in and I was sitting there waiting for people when I see this Hermana leaning against her car struggling a bit. I immediately dropped my bag and booked it for the car and gave her the Heimlich and she ended up being ok. She just was eating a cracker or something that got caught the wrong way, so thank goodness for Boy Scouts. Then in church, I was asked to confirm a youth who just got baptized last Sunday in this area. That was cool cuz I've never done that before. 

Alma 1:25 is for this week!!

25 Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.

I know that as we are patient in our persecutions, we will receive the blessings of heaven. Of course, we have to keep the commandments and guidelines that God has set forth, but I know as we do we can make it through anything. Even though it was a great trial, they had a way to make it through it. That was with keeping the commandments of the Lord. This can apply to conference this weekend too. As we follow the commandments our living prophets and apostles give us, we are going to receive blessings. 

I'm PUMPED for conference and can't wait to receive personal revelation! Have a great week and love every second. Time flies. I love you

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ocupado, Ocupado, Ocupado! (Sept. 19, 2016)

Last lunch with current AP's & Tech Elders
Hello everybody! Happy Monday. I hope you've had a fantastic week. It's crazy that September is almost over. So tomorrow is transfers, which means this past week has been crazy getting ready and such. It's kind of crazy what's happening. I'm staying Tech Elder but I'm technically getting transferred. Right now there are three areas in the Spanish ward and me and my new companion will be going back to work in my greenie area. Elder Atkinson will stay in this area and train. So me and my new companion, Elder Crowley, will be the tech elders but do our work in the Spanish ward. So not a huge change, just to drive down the road. I'm excited to go back and see all the people I taught when I was first there. We are hoping to find a lot of success! I'm excited for this new and upcoming transfer. This week will be crazy because tomorrow is transfer day and most of the rest of the week will be spent preparing for the mission leadership council that we will have on Friday. Next week we have general conference, and the weeks following we will have zone conferences. This transfer is going to fly by.

Elder Atkinson and I had a great last week the transfer. We were able to see our investigator Aura and her husband Ed, and had some really wonderful lessons with them. We really stressed the Book of Mormon and it's importance and how we need to do the basic things like read, go to church, and pray to get a testimony. It's amazing because Ed has become more of a member present, helping us teach lessons and bearing strong testimony, which really helps bring the spirit and testifies to his wife that the church in the Book of Mormon is true. It is also helping him become more active in the church. Obispo Escamilla is even going to give him a home teaching assignment. We did also service for them on Saturday which really opened up their hearts and help them see the importance of living what we teach. I'm sad to leave this area and our investigators and members, but I am excited to go back to my greenie area and work with Elder Crowley!

La Fiesta!

This past week with Mexican Independence Day, so we had a party to celebrate on Saturday. The ward very distinctly remembers the Mamacita skit that the missionaries did at Christmas and expected them to have one just as good if not better. So with the little time we had, we made something up and they loved it! I'll send you that video later.

Scripture from Elise  - Mosiah 2:41

41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven,that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Even though we talked about commitment last week, it's important to repeat it so that we learn. I think it's important to state that does keep the Commandments will be blessed both temporally and spiritually. It also says if we keep the Commandments and hold out faithful to the end, then we will be received in heaven and we can dwell with God in a state of never ending happiness. How cool is that! Never ending happiness? Sounds good to me. It's such a cool bargain. I'll we have to do is keep the Commandments and endure to the end. That simple. Although sometimes it's hard, we have to push through and trust God, our loving heavenly father. Our salvation is something he wants. He will help us get there. We have to go back to the basics and work on our faith in him. May we all look for ways on how we can get better each and every day.

I love you and I'm grateful for you and all that you do for me. I could not do what I do every single day without your support and love. Please know that I pray and ask my father in heaven to give you safety and protection and strength to carry-on. The power of a mission is real. I'm grateful for my mission and my calling. Have a fantastic week!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Joyner

Monday, September 12, 2016

BODEGA BAY DAY (Sept. 12, 2016)

Hi-A familia! How are y'all? It's another Monday and were heading off to the beach at Bodega Bay pretty soon here. We're hoping it won't be too cold for us haha. I remember last year it was freezing and windy and bad haha. It also the last week of the transfer which is crazy and this transfer has absolutely flown by. I imagine next transfer will be quicker with zone conferences and such too.

We've been working diligently with our investigator, Aura and her Husband (member) Eduardo. It's exciting to see them both. Eduardo is returning to the church after years of not attending. He actually served a mission but stopped going when he got back (OH NO!) He has made the decision to return for his family's sake though. In one of the lessons we had, there was a question that she had in Spanish that we weren't sure we could answer fully in Spanish and he was like, "Elderes, I got this," and started teaching his wife about the Book of Mormon. That was a pretty cool experience! She just wants to know about the Book of Mormon and read it and gain a testimony for herself before she gets baptized, but she does want to get baptized! We are hoping to set a baptismal date this next week! Exciting stuff! I feel like this week was a little slow with any other lessons we had, but we keep on trying!
There was one night this week where we didn't have a dinner so we went with some other sisters in the zone to their dinner and we went with a family who owns one of the biggest auto body shops in California. He took us to a super fancy place and us Spanish missionaries did not feel like we fit in haha. We're used to our humble rice and beans so it was a change up for us.

We were able to back and help Dave out again this Friday and she took a picture and put it on Facebook. It was super cool again and they were grateful. Good times!

Alma 37: 16-17 for a quick minute:
16 But if ye keep the commandments of God, and do with these things which are sacred according to that which the Lord doth command you, (for you must appeal unto the Lord for all things whatsoever ye must do with them) behold, no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words.
17 For he will fulfil all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers.

It's been said so much but Obedience is key in missionary work and in living the gospel in general. I know I've seen blessings when I'm obedient to the commandments and doing what I'm supposed to. It even says it in the scripture that he will fulfill all his promises. If he didn't, he would cease to be God. Always remember that we will be blessed if we follow the commandments and the things God wants us to do.

Have a fantastic week y'all! I love and appreciate you!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Alex with Dave

Monday, September 5, 2016

"Wake Me Up When September Ends...." (Sept. 5, 2016)

Hello and Happy Labor Day! First, thanks For the hump day package! I got the package and opened it and then went and showed it President and he sure got a kick of it too. Hahaha y'all are just too darn funny. Although I'm not sure what to do with half a shirt or one chancla...... I'm sure I'll figure out something haha. It's been such a good week!

We had much more time this week to work in our area which was super nice! We haven't had too much luck with finding new investigators but have been working diligently with the ones we do have. I can also testify that God is performing miracles when we do have that opportunity to go out and work. There was one night this week where we were going to visit this recent convert/less active family and they didn't answer. We were walking back to the car when we saw UHaul pull up. We go over and it's this Spanish family moving into this apartment. We offer our help and got to know them a little. They actually just moved from Salt Lake. They were really appreciative of our help, seeing as it was about 8:45 p.m. Hopefully we can go and start to teach them. Another cool little instance this week was on Tuesday visiting a less active with Hermano Reyes. Before we left, we asked if there was anything we could do to help her and she was like, "Sabes qué. Saben cómo cambiar una llanta?" (Do you know how to change a tire?)  And we were like "Por supuesto!" (Of course) She just told us she got a flat and needed to change it to get to work tomorrow. So of course we helped her and she was set. Cool stuff, right? Service really opens the hearts of people and connects the "what" we do with the "Why" we do it. 

I told you about that referral we got last week with the husband, who is a member, and the wife, who is not, who is basically ready for baptism. She wants to progress a little more with the Book of Mormon and then she's set. They have a son named Xander, who is like 2. They think the church would be a great place for him to grow up in and we most definitely agreed. Haha we hope to have some real miracles with them soon. 

Éter 12:27 
27 y si los hombres vienen a mí, les mostraré su debilidad. Doy a los hombres debilidad para que sean humildes; y basta mi gracia a todos los hombres que se humillan ante mí; porque si se humillan ante mí, y tienen fe en mí, entonces haré que las cosas débiles sean fuertes para ellos.
Ether 12:27 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.

Lo haré en español porque es divertido, no? Me encantaaaaa este escritura! Es bien especial para mí a saber que Dios nos ama tanto que El podría darnos las debilidades para que seamos humildes. Estoy bien agradecido por la oportunidad para aprender la humildad también. yo he visto que es bien difícil para ser orgulloso y hacer este obra. Necesitamos la humildad para que tengamos el espíritu con nosotros siempre. ¡qué increíble es para ser un siervo de nuestro Señor Jesucristo!  (Loose translation by Google Translator: I'll do it in Spanish because it's fun, no? I love this scripture! It is very special for me to know that God loves us so much that He could give us the weaknesses that we should be humble. I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn humility as well. I have seen that it is very difficult to be proud and do this work. We need humility so that we have the Spirit with us always. How amazing is to be a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ!)

I love getting the opportunity to serve! I love the Lord. Thank you for your support and love. Have a sicknastysweet week! 

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

"When an investigator drops you, but then you see them out in public and you're just like..."

A story from the Santa Rosa Mission:
Frank Somerville KTVU added 3 new photos.
This is the story of Dina and Dave.
Dave has cancer and is very weak.
This is what Dina posted the other day when he was coming back from Chemo.
The kindness comes in at the end:
Friday's are chemo days.
They consist of getting him settled in at the Cancer Center then me running errands during the several hours he is in infusion.
Then we head home.
That is where the day turns dark.
We live in a second story flat with 15 steps leading up to it.
Dave is in a wheelchair due to extreme weakness.
He can walk, but only a few steps.
We sit at the bottom of the steps while he looks up, steeling himself against the inevitable panic attack that takes hold midway up, trying to decide if he should scoot up backwards or attempt to walk, allowing me to half drag/half carry him.
He is terrified of the stairs.
Too weak to make it up, knowing if he falls, it's over.
Every week I watch this panic take over and reduce him to shaking and sobbing.
Then the humiliation creeps in.
It takes an hour to get up the stairs and the rest of the evening to calm him down.
Today, we got home and I wheeled him to the bottom of the stairs.
We sat there together, looking up.
He started shaking.
I started soothing.
Then, our neighbors, The Mormon Elders happened upon us.
We visit often, and every few weeks a new Elder is introduced as they start their mission.
Today, there were four of them.
From the beginning, these gentlemen have reached out and offered council and support, bringing treats for the kids, meals for us and offering friendship.
Today, they went so far above and beyond, I am humbled.
They noticed Dave's distress and offered to help.
I briefly explained the difficulty, not sure how they might be able to help.
Without another word, with two in front and two in back, they lifted Dave to their shoulders, chair and all, and bore him up the stairs.
They settled him into his recliner and carried the chair back down for me to stow.
Through my tears, I told them:
“You don't know what you have done for us. You don't know how you just took his terror and cast it away.
You gave us a happy family Friday...the first in many many months..
You don't know how you alleviated my heartache...
You just don't know.”
Each one of them just smiled at me, taking my hand one after the other.
Then they told me they will be here next Friday.
To carry him up.
To prevent his panic and make sure our family gets quality time, not stressful time.
What kind of people do that?!
I asked God to surround us with his Angels.
Again and again, He has.
Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference.
Stay Strong Dave.

Monday, August 29, 2016

365 Days (August 27, 2016)

Hello Hello!

Happy Monday and PDay to you all! It's good to hear from ya and how the week was! It's crazy to think that my year mark is Friday! How crazy is that? It doesn't feel like it at all. I have absolutely loved the past year and all the experiences I've had and people I've met. I wouldn't trade it for the world. We had dinner with President and Sister Wright on Friday and he asked each of us what was something we loved about our missions. I have pondered on that a lot recently. I think for me it has been the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. That is something I've developed and grown to love and protect with all my heart. It's so special because I know it's something that no one can take away from me. It's all mine. I also know that it can (and will) get even stronger as I continue to do the things I need to to be able to strengthen it. I love my service as a missionary and the blessing that it is for me.

A lot of this last week was preparation for MLC, which was Friday. We helped do prep for President and Sister Wright and the assistants (and ourselves of course.) I'll forward ya the email with the media we used for the council. I really enjoyed being a part of this special meeting. The spirit was definitely present and we learned things that will help us improve our service as missionaries. Also, I got to see lots of mission friends and most of my past companions and my DAD (Elder Kimber)! He goes home this transfer and I'll get to see him again before he leaves! That was pretty sweet.

Our friends Bartola and Francisco (the recent converts) are headed back to Mexico any day now. It's sad but it's been such a blessing to help them make that first step towards baptism. They definitely have a special place in my heart. We also had a pretty cool miracle this week. We got a referral on Saturday for this lady named Aura. We looked at her record and she just moved from SoCal. She had been meeting with the missionaries for about a year and had been taught basically everything, even a baptismal interview!! We stopped by to see her and she's sups cool! Her husband is a returning member and they have a 2 year old son named Xander who she wants to grow up in the church! She just wants to know a little more about the Libro de Mormon before she gets baptized but like she's ready. It's exciting! The Lord is preparing people!

We haven't had a Ponderizing scripture in a while so let's do Ether 12:27 for next week! Anybody who wants to read and study this, please send comments and insights! I love scripture study!!!!

I love y'all. Have a great week and make it the best. You can only do this week once so do it right!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Failed stapler in the Jello

Saturday, August 27, 2016

BAUTISMO (August 22, 2016)

Hello Hello!

It seems like we just talked, but it's another P-Day! Not too much has happened since then it seems. I love hearing updates from y'all and everything. Dayne, a senior couple just came in from Alberta, CA. They said they went to Cardston at the end of July and saw all three of your shows and I showed them your picture and they were like, "Yup that guy was super funny and jumping all around the place." They said they go down every year to see the shows every year and that even one year their son played "The Foreigner" in that show. So basically, you're famous. Hey Cole, how'd ya like a taste of that missionary life, huh?! :) Què fun, amiright?

So we had the baptism yesterday of Francisco and Bartola! Crazy story time. We get to the church pretty early to fill up the font and we start filling it up for probably an hour when we realize that it's
only filled up about half a foot. Come to realize, there was a problem with the plug. We were panicking and didn't know what to do because the baptism was in an hour and a half. We Jerry-rigged the plug with a trash bag and a weight we found in the gym and started filling it up. We get down until 45 minutes until the baptism and it's not nearly as full as it should be so we rush to the kitchen and start filling up everything we can find with water (i.e. Trash cans, pitchers, big buckets) and start hauling them to the font. We did this for probably 30 minutes and got it to where it would be ok. Everything after that went pretty smoothly but it was just a stressful situation trying to get it filled. We were so happy for them and the decision they made to fulfill this commandment. The sad thing is they are returning to Mexico within the next month so we won't get to keep seeing them.

This next Friday we have MLC (leadership council) and Elder Atkinson, the AP's and I have come up with a pretty good way to present the tech elders part. I'll forward it on to y'all next week cuz it's pretty good. So a majority of this week, will be spent in preparation for that.

In response to your questions mom, So do you go to the mission office every day?  Depending on what we have, yes. Or every other day. Do you have techie stuff to do on a daily basis?  We usually get one or two calls (minimum) from missionaries around the mission answering questions and giving support and stuff. Who all is in the mission office?  The Marshall's, the Larsons, and sometimes the Heggie's (the new Canada people) Who is the senior couple and where are they from?
Same as last Have you worked with the Samsung tablets yet?  I think I forgot to tell y'all, but I actually get to have one as a tech elder. They're just lending it to me, but I'll have it while I'm here. How do they compare with the iPads?  They both have their advantages. I tend to use the iPad more, cuz all my stuff is on there. Do missionaries get to choose which one they get or is the mission switching over all together? So our mission is actually a test mission for the Samsung tablets. All new missionaries are receiving Samsung's, not iPads. The church is using the Samsung's because they can restrict them easier.

Elder Atkinson and I got to run to napa this week, for a tech errand, and got to stop by and see the Hamiltons and visit with them for a little bit. That was kinda fun! I can't think of anything else that
happened this week, since Wednesday.

Have a semana llenado con muchas bendiciones! Les quiero mucho y deseo lo mejor para cada uno de ustedes! Hasta la próxima vez!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner