Thursday, June 16, 2016

That's What's up (June 13, 2016)

Hellooooo! We're already halfway through June! Crazy stuff. Happy Year mark Hermanita! That's incredible to think you've been out for a year now. 👏🏿  Keep werkin!

It's sounds like you all had such a jam packed week, Dad especially, with all your running around. I hope Grandaddy is feeling better! Thanks momma for the food ;) OH and thanks to the Haslems for the nice surprise! It is very much appreciated. Dwayne, you teach those high schoolers how to do it boo boo 😉

Happy (early) Father's Day dad and papa and Grandaddy and all father figures! I'm grateful for all you do for me and for especially teaching me the important things in life. I'm extremely grateful for
your love and dedication you show everyday. I love you!
This week was another hard one for us. We probably knocked a billion doors just trying to get someone to let us in. Out of all the different places I've been, I feel like Vallejo has the most potential yet also some of the not so nice people. Elder Brock is learning quickly how crazy this world is and how people won't even look at you because you're wearing a white shirt and tie HA. We were able to see Maria a couple times this week. She's about the same, still doesn't fully get it or care. We're praying to know what the next step we need to take with her is. We've tried to set a baptismal date with her almost every time we go over and we keep getting, "ya me bautice." Eventually something will click for her and it will make sense. We are just working towards that point.

We did lots of service this week! One of the more fun ones being able to help clean out an elementary school. Every year, at the end of the school year, the missionaries in our zone go to this elementary school to help bring all the desks out into the hallway and help teachers clean out their classrooms. It was pretty fun and reminded me of mom and helping you with your classroom stuff.

We probably had so much carne asada this past week it was insane. We had a member on Friday feed us the nicest dinner we ever had. We usually get simple meals, but this was like a three course deal. They got us these huge steaks and said eat up. They wanted to make a dinner that we wouldn't forget. Well, Mission accomplished. Then the next day for dinner, we went to a party for someone's birthday in the branch and they made carne asada. Then, because there was so much left over meat they invited us over the next day for lunch to help finish it off! Oh the tender mercies!

I just wanted to share something that was shared it church yesterday about The Book of Mormon. (It's in Spanish, but that's ok): "Esperamos que ustedes, hermanos y hermanas, estén nutriendo su espíritu al leer regularmente el Libro de Mormón y las otras Escrituras, y que las estén empleando en su ministerio.  Es mediante la lectura y el estudio del Libro de Mormón, y la búsqueda con espíritu de oración de la confirmación de su contenido, que recibimos un testimonio de que José Smith fue un profeta de Dios y que la Iglesia de Jesucristo ha sido restaurada sobre la tierra. Leer [el Libro de Mormón] les producirá un efecto extraordinario en la vida. Ampliará su conocimiento de la forma en que Dios trata con el hombre y les infundirá un deseo más intenso de vivir en armonía con las enseñanzas del Evangelio. Además, les proporcionará un poderoso testimonio de Jesús."  
[HERE'S MY BEST GOOGLE TRANSLATION:  We hope you, brothers and sisters, are nurturing your spirit to regularly read the Book of Mormon and the other scriptures, and that you are using it in your ministry. It is by reading and studying the Book of Mormon, and searching prayerfully for a confirmation of its content, that you will receive a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the Earth.  Reading [the Book of Mormon] will produce an extraordinary effect in life. It will expand your knowledge of how God deals with man and helps you have more a desire to intensely live in harmony with the teachings of the Gospel. In addition, they will provide a powerful witness of Jesus.]

This really helped me realize the power The Book of Mormon has on our lives. It testifies to us so many things; that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God called in these later days, that his priesthood and church have been restored upon the earth again, and, most importantly, that Jesus is the Christ. It's such a blessing to have it in our lives. I can testify that no matter what situation you may be in or
who you are, The Book of Mormon can improve the quality and happiness of your life. That's a promise God makes to each one of us. Only if we put a little trust in him.

It's a blessing to be here and to be a missionary. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've changed so much for the better and can only hope to keep on improving. I am grateful for your support and love I feel
everyday. Take care. Do something rambunctious. Stay safe. I love you!

Con Amor
Elder Alexander Scott Joyner

Also, I heard about what happened in Orlando. So many prayers have been going out to all those effected by it. Its awful what this world is coming too.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Wow. It's hot. (June 6, 2016)

Hola Familia! It's been a great week this week! I loved hearing about all the fun at the family reunion this past weekend. Haha us grandkids wish we could've been there to have fun too, but we'll make it to the next one :) Mom and Cole, keep on having fun out there and Dad good luck with work/bishop stuff this week!

This week kinda flew by with lots of activities and such going on. We had zone meeting on Tuesday and that's great as always! We talked a lot about being united and being one and did a fun little activity where we were seated back to back with our companions and had to explain a complicated picture for the other one to draw. Just fun little stuff like that! President also invited the mission to have a car fast for one day last week. For Elder Brock and I, we don't tend to use the car that much anyways. We will park it and walk around and then when we feel we're good, we'll hop in and change areas and then walk again. BUT this last Thursday we couldn't use our cars at all until after dinner! This was fun, especially since we don't live in our area. We live probably about 3 miles from our area. We kind of walked all over Vallejo that day haha! We had lessons on the opposite sides of town. By the end of it, we probably walked about 15-20 miles in some pretty intense heat too. It felt good and we definitely talked to lots of people! (Oh and side note we also went to urgent care real quick, but not important)

This week we had some really solid lessons with people. They were few but the lessons we did have were really strong. We passed by Maria's house many times but we're only able to have one lesson with her. This lesson was super interesting. The last time we had invited her to pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith so that she can gain a testimony of her own. She didn't do it and doesn't really understand what we try and teach her. Her mental problems kind of prevent her from remembering and comprehending basic concepts. We're gonna take it slower and review everything multiple times. She did come to church yesterday though, so that's good. We're working some other families but I'll report back when we have more progress with them.

OH ALSO yesterday was Elder Brock's birthday and of course we had to give him a little something! The zone leaders made that kitty litter cake (from the recipe mom gave me) because he loves cats! We showed up at the church last night at like 8:15ish to send in numbers and most the zone was there! He was most definitely surprised! The ZL's (who live with us) and I gave him a soccer ball too, because he's a soccer fanatic! Gotta love our greenie! Hahah

I don't think I have anything else to say, but I'll just end this week with this. Thank you. Thank you for your prayers. I can feel the power of your prayers, in my behalf or in behalf of missionaries. Thank you for the support and strength you give me through emails and letter. Thank you for laughing with me when it's fun and crying with me when it's hard. I can feel an abundance of support from you and all I can say is simply, thank you. I love, care, and pray for you by name (REPEATEDLY). Have a fantastic week. Stay safe. ✌🏿️🌴

Con Amor
Elder Alexander Scott Joyner

Ps. It's a lot of fun being in the Bay Area while the Warriors are playing ;)

"Our Zone Vision for This Transfer"

Memorial Day 🇺🇸🇺🇸 (May 30, 2016)

Happy Memorial Day! What a great day today is! It's no different for us as missionaries and we don't have any special plans but I hope it's a grand day for all! Yet again, I'm very jelly of mom and dad's trip. It sounded like loads of fun and I'm glad y'all had fun on your little adventure. I thought it was funny, dad, how you mentioned that you guys could be returning in the future! Wink wink ;) OH I also hit my 9 monther this week, which honestly hasn't felt like that long of a time. It's so crazy how time just flies and won't stop for anything. I love the mish and being able to serve!

This week was a bit harder for us. I think coming off of such a good first week, it was hard to top it. We tried to see so many people this week, but we received a lot of no's or I'm busy or come by next week. It didn't really effect me, but I think it did my companion a little bit, not having quite as much experience with rejection. As part of "12 week" this week (greenie training), we watched a video on how the atonement applies to missionary work. Elder Holland said something that I think helped which was something like, "Missionary work is not easy because Gethsemene was not easy. Salvation is not a cheap experience, nor the path to it. To really understand and comprehend the atonement, we must endure even the smallest bit of it in our lives." This hit me hard. I'd heard it before in the MTC, but hearing it again now was different. I'm coming to understand all the hardships of a mission, both mentally and physically, are for the benefit of others. It all leads back to serving and loving those around you.

We were able to have a lesson with Maria. We talked about prayer and how through prayer she may be able to receive her answers. It's difficult to work with her because we don't exactly know how much she understands what we teach. We're pretty sure these problems limit her from comprehending the message we try and get across. This makes it difficult because she doesn't remember what we teach her and doesn't receive that confirmation that it's true. We've tried to set a baptismal date with but she keeps telling us that she's been baptized and then we explain priesthood authority and she accepts baptism and then forgets it the next lesson. We're not sure what to do haha. We fasted yesterday, because we were going to have a lesson after church with her, but then she wasn't there when we showed up. We'll see what happens though. We have some other potentials were going to meet with this week!

We had interviews with President on Wednesday, which is always a treat! We would go into interviews and then while we were waiting we talked to sister wright just about anything and everything. I love them! Trust me, you would too!

I think that's all I got for this week. I can't think of anything else. Anyway, have a good week. I do sincerely and deeply love you all. Take care. Stay safe.

Con Amor

Elder Alexander Scott Joyner

The Hardest Thing I Ever Loved To Do... (May 23, 2016)

GOOD DAY, ALL. I love hearing of all your adventures and such. It's crazy were all at different parts of the world; Elise in Peru, Dayne in Canada, Cole in Utah, Mom and Dad in Hawaii, and here in Vallejo. #JoynerFamTakesTheWorld I'm still super extremely jealous of all the adventures Mom and Dad are having over there in Paradise! 🌴🌴 I think I'm most jealous of the movie site tour you're going to take! Looks like you'll just have to take me back there after the mish ;) ya? Ok cool.

Alex & Elder Brock
It's been a crazy exciting week! Lots happened, so here's a recap first of Tuesday. Elder Beeston and I went down to Santa Rosa to drop him off and get his new companion. I stayed in Rosa with Elder Creighton (who was also training) and we just had a good time visiting Rosa! We had such a good time, until we had to go to the training meeting at 2. After that, we got our companions. My SON IS ELDER BROCK. He was born and lived in Costa Rica (NATIVE SPEAKER) for most of his life and then moved to DALTON, GA for the last four years! He's a little over a foot smaller than me haha. It's a funny difference. We went to the mission home and dinner with all the trainers and President and Sister Wright! That was so fun to be able to spend some time in their home. Then we went back to Vallejo and the other Elders surprised Elder Brock by making our apartment green! HAHAHA he didn't get it. He said, "What was green the cheapest thing or what?" He's a funny little guy. He is still practicing his English and he's helping me with my Spanish. We've already seen so many MILAGROS so far and it's incredible! Training is hard, but fun at the same time.

We had a great week, lesson wise! We had a lesson with our progressing investigator, Maria. We reviewed the Plan of Salvation and we're trying to set a baptismal date with her for the end of the month of June. She actually was able to make it to church yesterday too. It was really good for her, because all the members fellowshipped her so well and it was great! She said she's gonna come back next week and even come to an activity the relief society is having this week! We're really hoping to set that baptismal date with her this week too! WHOOP WHOOP

We picked up a couple other investigators, named Luis and Domilitla (son and mom). We think the son is more interested and willing to keep commitments but we will be working with both. They actually used to live by a member in the branch, which is awesome! We're trying to get her to come to a lesson with us this week. I'm excited for them!

Mosiah 2:17-19
17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
18 Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?
19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!

I feel as though this is directed towards missionaries. We are constantly serving and looking for ways to serve others. I especially "thank my Heavenly King" for the opportunities that are put in my path
on a day to day basis. I often think back to the scripture that says you cannot serve two masters. You're either serving and helping others, or you're not. I can promise you, as we look for ways to
minister, lift, and serve others, we WILL be blessed. Know that!

Have a magical week, not being in school and such  :) I love you so much. Take care. Have fun. Enjoy the week ;)

Con Amor

Elder Alexander Scott Joyner