Monday, January 25, 2016

Almost End of January What (Jan 25, 2016)

Dearest Loved Ones,

I have loved hearing about your week! AND A DUSTING OF SNOW! WHAAA!? Did the south go crazy because of it?! I love the SNL skit on Morning Update with Buford Callaway LOLOL. Anytime the south gets snow, that's what I'll think of. Mom and Dad talking about that southern cooking at Rachel's makes me want some good fried chicken or okra. OOOH yummy. Dayne, you're just a busy bee aren't ya ;) pues

It has been quite the week here in Ole Napa. We had the world wide mission broadcast on Wednesday. It was super cool! They had Apostles and General Authorities teaching and yes wow Bravo. Then the next day we had Zone Conference with President and Sister Wright, the AP's, and the tech elders. I'll share some comments about that in a slick titch of a bit.

We kind of had a miracle this week. After P-day last Monday, I kind of had this new sense of fire. I needed something new because not much work was happening so I kind of took over our schedule and made some changes. The first night we didn't have but one lesson, but we worked really hard so I felt accomplished. Tuesday, we worked super hard right off the bat. Nonstop. We were able to get some good contacts in and have a couple lessons. It was so good and I felt like an actual missionary again. We did the same Wednesday and the rest of the week. I love my companion but he had been in a bit of a rut lately.  We both agreed we needed to get out of that. We had more lessons this week alone than they had all last transfer. It felt great to get back to work!

OH we also helped with a wedding on Saturday. It was the son of Hermano Ceballos, a family in the branch. Hermano Ceballos was the branch president until last month. Now he is our Ward Mission leader. (The Ceballos family is kind of like the Joyner family size wise. They make of the majority of the branch. The only problem is there's a majority of them less active.) We had the ceremony at the chapel and then a little reception at their house. It was a good time! I'm focused on the work and all, but this made me excited to get married some day. Ahhhhh yeet.

Sunday we had kind of a special sacrament meeting. Napa had 3 wards and our branch, but because of different reasons people were moving out of the third Ward so it got really small. They decided to combine third Ward with second Ward and so yesterday all three wards (and us) met at the stake center and they had a sacrament meeting to explain the changes. Also, since there is one less Ward in the stake center now, our branch is able to meet there and have sacrament in the chapel, whereas we were having it in the relief society room. It will be a nice change!

Whoops since there's no scripture this week I'll share a note or two from zone conference. One of the main things that was posed was, "What does the lord want me to understand about serving a mission?"
And these are some of the answers that we came up with:
- That it's Not about me
- The worth of every soul is great in the sight of God
- Everyone is a child of God and has potential
- The power of the Atonement

Then going off of the topic of the Atonement:
* We choose whether to apply the atonement
* The atonement applies to every human condition.

It was a real personal check for me. The Atonement is an ongoing study for me in my personal study. It's something I've come to appreciate more and more on my mission and I pray everyday to be able to understand the greatest sacrifice made for each and everyone of us. There's a song by David Osmond called "Loneliest Walk" which talks about how he walked alone so we don't have to. I have a strong testimony that I know our savior lives and loves us. We choose to accept him. Not the other way around. Whenever something gets hard or difficult, I always remind myself that there is always one person that had it worse.

I hope y'all have a spectacular week and enjoy this last week of January!(?)! How did that happen wow. Ok well enjoy it while it lasts!
Paz y amor!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week of the Indoors (Jan 16, 2016)

¡FELIZ DIA DE MLK! I'm super pumped that today is MLK Jr. day! Although, it's not really celebrated, I kinda want to do something to celebrate lol. Hey someone should send me the 'I have a dream' speech, cuz I kinda want to read it! It sounds like it's been a slow/sickies week at home with everyone being sick and all. It's that time of year when everyone gets hit with it. That seems to be how my week was this week too. I personally didn't get sick but my companion did. He kinda wasn't feeling the best all week and then Thursday night decided he needed to stay in. He wasn't feeling good Friday either and called the mission nurse and she said he probably had the flu or some type of it. So we were inside from Thursday night through all of Saturday. It was soooo long and I got super bored. I cleaned everything like twice. I watched the restoration and Thomas Monson movie (on gospel library) like four times. We also have loads of gold balls in our apartment (don't ask me why cuz I don't know lol :) so I made a little something. Also since I had a little more time, I cooked some real good dinners and such that I'll send on to you mom! You'll be proud. We didn't really have many other lessons this week because no one was home when we tried to see them. I felt super unproductive and such but hopefully this week will be better.

So mom asked some questions that I'll try and answer. So our branch is actually pretty big numbers wise. The majority of them don't come but we have lots of people "technically" in the branch. Presidente Rico, our branch president who gave me the bike, has been president for about a year and a half. Haha yes he's white and quite the character. The people are from everywhere in Mexico but mainly Mexico City or Guadalajara. I feel like there was more of a mix in Rosa though. Usually work brings them to the states. I do like my companion. He's different from my other ones but it's good. The Zone Leaders are crazy. Since we don't have a car, we get rides with them sometimes and so we see them a lot. Elder Alcivar is the one from NY and you can hear his accent big time. I love it! I took the bedding I had from my last apartment to this one so its the same. And yes I'm staying warm with my coats šŸ¤— It's been raining like ever since I got here too. It's crazy! California needs it but like wow. Rain. So for our car, there's a couple sitting at the mission office and we asked the AP's and they said they need to fix the tiwi (or the thing that monitors our speed) in them and then we should get one. So hopefully within the next couple weeks!

Oh so the Facebook thing. So technically I'm not allowed to be "friends" with anyone from home. You're only supposed to follow me, which should show up on my home page. Sometimes, though, it's weird and I have to accept friend requests from people first, then they follow me, then we Unfriend each other. That's why I accepted yours, mom and dad. So you need to go press the follow button them Unfriend me and see what happens. I'm not exactly sure how that works but I'm pretty sure something like that. Let me know!

Here's the scripture for this week!

D&C 78:17-19

17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;

18 And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.

19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

ME ENCANTA ESTE ESCRITURA    porque lo habla sobre las bendiciones que Dios tiene para nosotros. Para mi, pienso que es muy increĆ­ble que ¨el Padre tiene en sus propias manos y ha preparado para vosotros.¨ God has blessings that have been set aside for us. No one else can take
them. He has in his "own hands," the very hands of our Heavenly Father, blessings for each one of us. He know's that this life is tough but he has promised to "lead you along." God doesn't break promises. If he did, he wouldn't be God anymore. Also, as we are thankful unto him we'll be made glorious! HOLY CANOLI doesn't that sound so wonderful! I'm extremely grateful for how generous and loving our Father in Heaven is.

We get to participate in a world wide broadcast for missionaries and mission presidents this Wednesday. We'll go on Wednesday at 9 and watch it! Then Thursday we have zone conference which should be fun! This should be a pretty good week! I hope all jour wildest dreams come true. Love y'all!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Napa Trapped (Jan 11, 2016)

HOLA TODO!! Pues, I'm in Napa! Transfer and everything went super Bueno! I was able to meet up with Elder Atkinson (one of our ZL's) in Rhonet Park and then headed over to Napa. My comp is Elder King and he's awesome! He's from Pleasant Grove and has been out about 14 months. We live with the ZL's, Elder Atkinson and Elder Alcivar. Elder Atkinson is from Kamas, Utah and Elder Alcivar is from the Bronx. It didn't take very long for us to start kidding around with each other! We have a good time. The work is kinda slow here. I feel like not much is being done but I want to change that this transfer. Our Branch President is super cool too! He actually just got called not too long ago, but he's really good for the branch.
Elder King & Elder Joyner

So yes mom, we are on bike for now. I kinda had a predicament/funny story with that this past week. So I got here and all and there were no missionaries I could borrow a bike from (well that my long legs could fit on), so I just assumed I needed to go buy one. I could either get a cheap one and expect to have to make repairs throughout its use on my mission or I could go with a little more pricey one and not have to remark it as much. I had decided with the latter. We went to go look at bikes and I found one that would suit me well. I tried to make the purchase, but my card declined. I decided to wait until the next day until I could call Wells Fargo and see what was up. I called and saw I didn't have enough money in my checking account so I moved a little over to try and go get the bike, but alas my card declined again. I had then remembered that I have a $300 limit per day. We just went about our day cuz I didn't know what to do. We went to President's later the afternoon and heard about my bike predicament and said he had one I could use, so that's the one I'm using rn. Also it's in the works to get this area a car, so don know how long I'll be on bike much longer. It just goes to show how God watches out for those who serve him, because if I would have bought that bike I would've been out a couple hundred dollars. (Sorry that was so long. That was just for mom to know that's why some money was moved from my checkings to savings, but you can move it back now if you want)

Our apartment is nice, but not as nice as the other one we had. I'm excited about this transfer here. Not much else happened this week so here's some scripture.

D&C 4

"4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;"

How true, how true, said the sour Kangaroo. I love how this was received in 1829 and even then the field was white already to harvest. People are ready to hear the gospel. God prepares those to be ready. It has been shown that the average number of times a person comes in contact with the gospel before they actually take it into consideration is 8. There are people waiting for us. We just have to
find them. And not just us missionaries either, EVERYONE!!! There could be people waiting for you to go talk to them, or share a scripture or something! I like how it next says basically that we should try with everything we got, because it deals with the salvation of souls. I really love this scripture because we recite D&C 4 and this particularly always sticks out to me. It's really special, so thanks Cole Man for picking it!!!!!! Let's all be missionaries and bring all unto Christ.

OH ONE MORE THING. So yes I was able to make a FACEBOOK for the mission. I'm not allowed to friend anyone from home but you are allowed to follow me and like my posts. My name is "Elder Alex Joyner." I can see other accounts but can't friend anyone. Oh and dad, like I was saying I had to deactivate my other fbook account but just a week, so it's active again if you wanna put my posts on there.

Thanks for all the love and support. I'm so very grateful for each and everyone of you. Stay strong. Have a good week. Show em who's boss.

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

Oh yes, here is my new address!

2962 Soscol Ave #71
Napa, CA 94559

Monday, January 4, 2016

Elder J has been transferred to... (Jan 4, 2016)

Bueno. WELLL FIRST OFF transfers are tomorrow transfers! We got the info Saturday night and IM GOING TO NAPA! Wasn't expecting that one but I'm excited to go. So a bit of a change up, we're pretty sure I'm gonna be on bike.....

Elder Joyner & Elder Britt, Zone Lord!
I'm not exactly excited about that but it'll be good fun! My companion will be Elder King! I've heard good things about him so it should be a good time! I'll drive down to Rohnet Park tomorrow and then head to Napa with the zone leaders. I've been using
today to try and pack and get everything together! I'm excited yet sad to leave The Promise Land (Santa Rosa).

This past week looked like everyone had some good fun with the New Years and such! To me it didn't really feel like a "holiday" again like Christmas. On the Eve, we were told to be in after dinner. That was like at 6 so we just went to the gym in our complex. I was able to set some good, reachable, challenging goals! I'm excited for this year since I get to be a missionary for a whole year! Not much else happened this week!
Some YM Leaders from Ward

Alma 34:41

"41 But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions."

I really enjoyed Mom's insight on this scripture, of how its very basic and to the point. I like how it says that if we have patience, we will one day rest from our afflictions. That's something we kind of
have to trust in God, that we will rest from our labors, that nothing lasts forever. Mom also said something that i really like too, which is that the Lord will not give us anything that we cannot bear. We HAVE to have that faith to know that we can do it! There's this Mormon message called, "Hope ya know, we had a hard time." It talks about people that sometimes complain to God and basically say, "well God, I hope ya know, we had a hard time with this trial or with this situation." In the video, "we are then reminded to think of the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane, suffering agony so great that he bled from every pore. His cries to His Father included, Abba. This might be interpreted as a cry from a Son who is in distress to His Father. 'Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as my will, but as thou wilt.'" The Atonement of Jesus Christ covers any and all of the hardships that we go through. He's been there. So when we feel like complaining to God, or saying, "Hope ya know, I had a hard time," I hope we can all remember the everlasting Atonement of Jesus Christ, that was performed for US. I can testify that it's there and that he did it for us. He did His part; let's do ours.

Welp, next time we talk ILL BE IN NAPA! Which means I'll send my new address to y'all next week too! Have a kickin week and to those starting school, GO KILL EM! Love y'all like cra crazy! Talk to ya next week!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner