Monday, February 29, 2016

Seis Meses!!!!!! (Feb 29, 2016)

BUENOS DIAS MI FAMILIA!!!!! Very first, FELICIDADES A Dwayne como ser aceptado en MDT!!!!! THATS CRAZY KOOL AND IM SUPA PROUD OF YA BRUDDER!!!! YOU DESERVE NONETHELESS! Everyone else sounds engaged and thrilled by the monotonous school schedule! Mom you didn't tell me you got hurt? Què pasa? Dad you sound like you have no free time
whatsoever. Good luck with that ;) Cole, just keep Rockin and Rollin and being the swaggie master that I know you are! Elise, TE Amo mucho Hermana!!!! Wishing the Happiest of Birthdays to Melon and Uncle Rick this week! Hope it a happy and joyous day to the both of you! Oh hey, I also hit my six month mark on Wednesday! That's six months since I've seen y'all! (Expect Dwayne ;) IT seems like since after Christmas, time has flown by super quick! March and April will fly by and then it's May and I'll talk to y'all again! I feel like I'm super Spanglish now. It's kind of annoying to be honest because when I have to speak English, Spanish comes out and vice versa. Maybe it means I'm getting better.....?! No sé. Whoop whoop!

The only thing new that happened the past like 4/5 days is that we had Zone Meeting on Friday, where we basically just reviewed what Elder Hamula talked about last Monday. I sang the version of 'I'll go where you want me to go' that I sang for my farewell! It was fun! Elder Hamula talked a lot about being Sober missionaries and the attribute of sober. Basically, he just told us that we need to become a little more serious about the work and be more reverent, when it's time to be reverent. It was interesting how he hadn't really been in the mission to know what the missionaries here needed. It's Been a great opportunity to try and apply his teachings to our work.

Ummmm not much else happened other than we had to teach an impromptu Sunday School and Elders Quorum Lesson. That was fun! If I think of anything else that happened, I'll be sure to include it next week!

Scripture for the week!!!!!
Ether 12: 6
6.  And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

We can learn much here from this chapter in Ether! It's definitely one of my most favorites in the Book of Mormon. We know that it says in Alma that, "Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things...which are not seen." This applies to the part where it talks about the trial of our faith too. We have to have the Faith to endure, even though we may not see an end to the trial. God gives us trials because he loves us. I found this quote one time that says, "God gives his toughest battles (or trials) to his strongest warriors." He gives them too us because he knows we can do it, IF and only IF we have faith in him that we will make it through. And then because we made it through with that faith, we can receive that witness of Him. ¡Qué increíble! Ya?

Sorry this is shorter this week! Have a good one everyone! Much amor! Keep killin it!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Thursday, February 25, 2016

New Beginnings Yeet (Feb 24, 2016)

My oh my it feels like forever since we last spoke! I have much much to say! First, congrats to Daeshaun and Maddie on going to the Temple! That's super super awesome and I'm proud of y'all! Everyone sounds busy as usual! This time of the year usually is! So yes, once again my emails did not send last week because I think of the Google server. It's crazy. I was trying to send several emails saying I was here and all but oh whale. I just hope it doesn't happen again.

So, like I said in my last email, transfers was this last week and I am now with Elder Scow. Our area now part of the Sister's older area, because there are no sisters anymore. So our area basically doubled. Ahahaha. So my last week with Elder King we didn't have any luck and only had like 3 lessons and then when we started the new transfer, everything changed. This past week we had 12 lessons, 3 member presents, 4 new investigators, and 2 Baptismal Dates!!!!! Like what?! It's super crazy how fast things could change. We're having more success this past week and a half than we had all of last transfer basically. It's great! Elder Scow is from Mesa, AZ and is 6'6".

Monday, we had the half-mission conference with Elder Hamula. He kind of 'threw-down' to say the least. It was good and kinda scary but much needed. He addressed problems in our mission and how we could fix them. It was a good time. Changes will hopefully be happening in the mish.

Proverbs 3: 5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Whoops, sorry this one sounds so much more better in Spanish so:

"5 Confía en Jehová con todo tu corazón, y no te apoyes en tu propia prudencia.

6 Reconócelo en todos tus caminos, y él enderezará tus veredas."

I love this scripture soooo much!!!!! I especially love the word 'confía.' The verb confíar means to trust. Taking it even farther, the noun 'confianza´ means trust, or I like better confidence. We need to
have confidence that if we put our whole heart, and being, in the hands of God, He will direct our paths! It's like the scripture in Matthew 10 says, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." If we truly lose our life for His sake, we shall find it. Literally, nothing else matters if we don't have God on our side, AND to get God on our side, we have to be on HIS side!!!! HA it makes perfect sense ya??? I'd be interested to hear any and all opinions on this if anyone would like to share!

OH one fun story this week. So we were at a less active member's house yesterday visiting with her and such, and then at the end a lady walked in. She's a friend of the less active member, but she is crazy. We've met this lady before at a dinner with this member, but she never talked to us about anything. This lady claims that she is a Prophet. She told us that if we would read the New Testament everyday for 3 months that we would receive "el espiritu santo." We really just testified and bounced. Haha it was kinda freaky, but a fun little experience nonetheless.

Next Wednesday I hit my 6 month mark! That's crazy sauce. I hope this email goes through today! And hey I'll talk to y'all again in four days haha. Have a great rest of the week! Much love!!!!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Monday, February 22, 2016

'Feels Like Change is Coming Once Again...' (Feb 15, 2016)

[Note from Alex's Dad: apparently the email servers were down last week, so we received this email a week late]

Hey hey hey hey fam! It's been quite the last week of the transfer. I hope everyone had such a terrific week and Valentine's Day and I hope you enjoyed your birthday mom! We were at dinner and somehow we got on birthdays and I was like, "Hey today is my moms birthday." And them Sis Hamilton was like let's call! Haha I hope you enjoyed that ;) I feel like I got lots to say!

Elder Joyner & "Cody on a Stick" in Napa
TRANSFERS! They're tomorrow and we found out last Saturday. So I'm staying here in Napa, but with kind of a change. We did have 6 missionaries in the Branch, 4 Elders and 2 Sisters. BUT the Sisters area is getting dissolved and is being split between us and the other Elders. Also, the church is trying to move away from having 4 man apartments, so me and my new companion are moving to the Sister's old apartment right down the road. So I've had to pack up my stuff and move it over there. Luckily I've been able to do it in a couple trips since it's so close. My new companion will be Elder Scow. He is coming from Vallejo. I've only met him once and he's funny. He's like 6'6". Haha it's funny because he was actually MTC companions with Elder King (my current companion). ENTONCES my new address is:

1260 Trower Ave
Napa, CA 94558

Elder Scow and I will also be serving as Co-District Leaders together. So this transfer I have a new comp, newish area, and new responsibility. Wow. Should be a good time! Hahaha.

HEADS UP NEXT WEEK. We are having a member of the Seventy come for a mission tour and so we are have a mission conference next Monday, which means our P-day will be on Wednesday! So you will not get an email from me until Wednesday of next week!

On this past Wednesday, we had lunch with a member from one of the English wards. He used to Golf professionally and lives on a course out here. He let us go today for P-day and hit some balls on the range and then he said he'll let us go play some holes next month! It's on the Silverado Resort here in Napa. (His name is Andy Miller if you wanna look him up on YouTube haha)

We now have a mission website and you need a password to get on, so here is the URL and password to get on there!

Username: missionary

Password: CASRMD&C88:73

I feel as though I had more to say but I cannot remember it. Oh whale.

Alma 57:21, 25
21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.

25 And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great
astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.

This scripture definitely emphasizes the importance of obedience and rings so true to me as a missionary. I know, like it says, "the words....that their mothers had taught them," is true for me also. I know the words the my mother (and father :) have taught me. As missionaries, we need to have the spirit with us all the time and I know that my obedience is crucial to having the spirit with me 24/7.
There's missionaries out here that sometimes don't realize that and it's kind of sad to see sometimes. I've realized since being out here that our obedience to our Father in Heaven is in direct relation to
how much we love him. It's also important to notice that it says "every word of command." Not like 30% of the commandments, but every word. If we're not 100% obedient to God commandments, we may miss some of those blessings we could have received. It would be a shame to 'almost' make it to Heaven. Why not just do what is right and be blessed because of it? Yes it's hard, but so so so rewarding!!!!

I'm excited to get started with this transfer! Have a fantabulous week and say an extra prayer! Do something nice for someone. Go crazy!?!
Much love!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner


Hello All! The fact that it is already Monday again boggles my mind. I have no idea where this past week went. Really this transfer. Time is picking up. It's exciting yet scary. We already find out about transfer info this Saturday, and then transfers are next Tuesday. How did that happen?! So umm HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK TO MOM! YAS. PREACH. YOU'RE FINALLY 26.  CONGRATS! I just hope you have the most fantastical day and are showered with love all the day long :) Take a break for yourself. Eat some Chocolate or something. Go CRAZY!

CONGRATS to Oliver on getting married! That's pretty neat! Dayne...

Today we went on a hike for P-Day, so that's why it's so late. I'll include some of our pictures from that!
Zone Hike

Let's take a look through this past week. Hmmm we first, we had the most lessons this area has had (in one week) for the last 6 months. I'm proud of ourselves. Since getting a car, we've been trying to take advantage of it and work harder. OH I think I got so excited to tell you about our car last week I forgot to tell you a funny story that happened on Bike. We just got out of dinner and were about to leave on our bikes. So my bike seat has to be set a little bit taller (because of long legs and such) and I have to swing my leg over the seat every time I wanna get on. So that's what I did and I got my leg over and all I heard was a ripping sound and I knew what had happened. I ripped right down the middle of my pants. Ahhhh and because we were on bike we couldn't just run back to the apartment so we continued on our night visiting people with a visible rip down my pants. Shoot it was super embarrassing. Ah the curse of having long legs. Hope someone finds a kick out of that one!

Skype of baptism
We also had Stake Conference this past weekend too. The Stake Presidency talked lots about parenting and such. They kind of threw down. President and Sister were able to come to both meetings and they talked in the Sunday Session. It was a great spiritual experience. ALSO
YESTERDAY, I was able to Skype into the Baptism of Jesus (one of Elder Castro and Is investigators in Rosa). It was a really great service and I'm happy for his decision he has made to enter the waters of baptism. I really have come to love and appreciate Jesus Chavez!

I cut a lawn this week and got kinda nostalgic from cutting the lawn at home lol. Is that weird? Today and the past couple days the weather has been PERFECT and it reminds me of spring and summer. Lol I dunno why I shared that but hey.


Moroni 9:6
6 And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in
this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.

Well ya ummmm so this most definitely talks about missionary work. I kind of talked about this in the letter I wrote to President this week. I talked about how we are fighting this battle for salvation and we NEED every soul on God's side. The worth of EVERY soul is great in the sight of God, so we need not wait around and not work diligently. We gotta get out there and work as hard as we can. I've also come to realize over this transfer, that my time on the mission is super short. These past six weeks have felt like two days. Like What?! I hit my six month mark in like 2 or 3 weeks. As missionaries, we don't have time to lose. We gotta get out there and work harder and more effectively. And the mission doesn't end after a missionary returns. The fight keeps going. We can only rest when we stand before our God and say that we've done all we can do. Then we can take a nap :) lol

Wishing you all the bestest of weeks! Once again, happy birthday momma! LOVE YALL!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Febrero YEET (Feb 1, 2016)

Hey-o what's going down! Wow today is February! Happy Birthday tomorrow to Grandma Dowdle. Don't party too hard ;) How weird is that! January absolutely flew by! Tomorrow is my 5 month mark too! Time is starting to pick up it seems!  This is week five of the transfer, so we find out about transfers a week from this Saturday. I don't feel like much happened this week, but there is actually quite a bit I wanna tell ya! Let's see where to start!

So one of the Spanish sister missionaries, in our Branch, went home this past Saturday, for health reasons. For this, her comp went to another area and we were able to get their CAR. It's kind of sad how we got it but yes we do have a car now and oh it's such a blessing. We're able to go see more people and use our time a little more efficiently. It's also a super nice rest for my knee. So WHOOP WHOOP

Starting tomorrow there will be a huge change in the Facebook rules. The guy from the missionary council in salt lake, who is in charge in of Proselyting for the entire world, came to Rosa this past week and met with President and all the zone leaders for a conference. He is basically changing all the Facebook rules. We are now able to proselyte on Facebook anytime of the day (6:30a-10:30p) whereas we were only suppose to be on previously from 10 am to 5 pm. We are now also allowed, with special permission from president, to teach family and friends on Facebook. (Once again with special permission from president) That being said, we are now allowed to be friends with family and friends from home. There is no limit on that. So starting tomorrow, if you get a friend request from me, I'm not being OC and you can accept it :) We are one of 12 missions in the world that still uses social media for Proselyting. That's super exciting!

I realize I don't talk about our investigators that much. That may be because we only have two but anyways I'll tell ya about them. There is Miriam and Hilda. Hilda is Miriam's mom. Miriam is ready for baptism, she just needs to change her work schedule so she can come to church. She says she believes it's true and wants to get baptized. We're so close with her! Hilda believes it's true, but she's still kind of attached to the Catholic Church. She wants to go both because she loves them both. Our last lesson with them we re-taught the restoration putting an emphasis on the priesthood line of authority and such. It still didn't click with her after that so we are switching our focus to Miriam and hoping that she will set the example for her family.

Alma 32:16-17

"16 Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.

17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe."

Oh yes quite a grand scripture we have here. One of my favorites, for sure! I read the scripture in English, then Spanish, then went and looked up key phrases, and finally was able to get to the bottom of what I wanted to study and share from it.

So when I read these verses, I immediately thought of a "Golden Investigator." Someone that is so ready to hear the gospel and be Baptized that they accept it before they even hear it. Someone that is longing for that eternal truth and happiness in their life but doesn't know where to find it. It is also someone that is humble enough to let two 18 or 19 year olds into their home to teach them about eternal truths that God has set for them. Like it says in this scripture, humility is key. Also like it says in D&C 20:37, "Humility is required for baptism." It's impossible and just kinda silly to be baptized
without being humbled before God. It's so important to be humble before God, because like it says in 2 Nephi 31:7, by baptism, even "Christ humbles himself before the father." We are to be humble in
many different ways, depending on the person, but the main one is by our weaknesses. In Ether 12:27, we read that, "the Lord gives men weakness that they may be humble." (Quick lil story time yay) Elder Bednar gave a talk at a CES devotional in 2011(?) where he was talking about this one couple that had been married for three weeks and the husband had developed this bad bone cancer. He requested Elder Bednar to come and give him a blessing. Elder Bednar asked the man a series
of inspired questions before giving the blessing to the young man. The last question asked was this, "Do you have the faith not to be healed? Do you have the faith to humble yourself before God's will and not be healed if it's the will of the Father?" The first time I heard this I was kind of taken back! My mind was kind of twisted. Could we have that faith, in such a difficult time of testing, have the faith not to be healed? That's where the power of humility comes in. I have a firm testimony that as we humble ourselves before God, through the good and the bad, we will be eternally blessed and forever grateful to him.

Yesterday was kinda fun! Our branch is now able to meet in the Stake Center and actually use the chapel for sacrament meeting, whereas before we were using the Relief Society room in another building. Yesterday also it hailed for a slick titch. Ya it's probably the closest thing we will get to snow out here!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner