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

Rosa Rosa! (August 17, 2016)

Hola Familia!

AP's & Tech Elders
Wow it feels like it's been a good long while since we've talked. I feel like so much has happened since last Monday so I'll try my best to recap and such. Sooo last Tuesday was transfer day. We got to Rosa and immediately we got busy. We had loads of stuff to do before the greenies arrived. We did so much in that small amount of time haha. They arrived and had their training and we were going to go to the mission home for dinner but because of the time crunch stayed at the church. It was a good time! The rest of the week was also crazy busy. We were in the office a bunch finishing up stuff that needed to get done for the first of the transfer. Basically, if president, or the assistants, or any of the senior couple office staff need help, it goes to us. It's lots of work but keeps us busy and on our toes. We work very closely with the APs, Elder Hensley and Elder Achal. My companion compared it to firemen and policemen. The firemen are the ones that usually take care of the majority of the work and the policemen take care of what the people see on the outside. We keep the mission running from a technical standpoint. To answer your questions mom, I love being back in Santa Rosa. It's refreshing to come to a familiar place with familiar faces. Elder Atkinson and I live alone, but in a pretty nice apartment close to the mission office. We're probably about 5-8.7 minutes away from the mission home. Elder Atkinson is driving this transfer. (We have a sweet car) He also has already been here for one transfer. We're always doing something tech wise, whether answering phone calls from missionaries or senior missionaries or in the office. We haven't gotten too much time to work in our area yet, but we should this next week.

Now onto the area. I LOVE BEING BACK IN THE WARD. It's so good to see all the members again. It hasn't been too long since I was there so most of the members remember me. Also, remember Jesus Chavez (Elder Castro and I found him last December and then I skyped into his
baptism last February!?) Well, we had such a nice reunion. He is doing super well. He has the Aaronic Priesthood (preparing to receive the Melchizedek). He is actually going to the temple for baptisms for the dead for the first time this weekend (and also preparing to go next February for his endowments. I would get to go to that). He's so cool. It's amazing to see how much he has changed since we first met and taught him last December.  In that short little time, his life has changed around. ¡Què increíble! It's so amazing how the Lord works in people's lives.

We also are walking into a baptism this upcoming weekend. They are the parents of a member that lives here. Their names are Francisco y Bartola. They're the cutest little old couple and we are looking forward to that! We've visited them almost everyday the past week and it's been nice to get to know them and help them on that process towards Baptism. We haven't had much other time to work in our area and meet too many other of our investigators but we will hop on that ASAP!

Our "Third" Companion
I think I hit most of the main points. Funny story though. Elder Atkinson and his previous compa, found this giant stuffed bear on the side of the road last transfer and picked him up and took him home. He now rides in the back seat of our car as our "third companion." It's funny cuz sometimes we stick his head and arms out the window and we'll be driving down the road and people just crack up because it's a giant bear head sticking out the window haha. It's good fun!

Temple was fantastic as usual. I'm grateful for the things I learn each time I go. What a blessing we have as members of the church to participate in such sacred ordinances. Amazing!

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Transfers Transfers! (August 8, 2016)

Hola Fam! It's been such a crazy last week with transfers and stuff. I hope Cole had a rockin birthday! I hope you enjoyed the hat and shirt. That's a NorthCal exclusive. Haha and Dayne and the grandparents in Canada too. I'm a little jealous with the starting school and such. I miss it sometimes. But I hope all is going well with this first week.

Sooo transfers! I got a call on Friday from President. He asked me if I would go back to Santa Rosa in the Spanish Ward again! Oh how I love that Ward so much. Then he told me that I would be with Elder Atkinson with the assignment as Tech Elder for the mission. I was really surprised but happy too! I lived with Elder Atkinson as my ZL from January to June and we got pretty close. So as tech elders, we work very closely with the AP's and president on the different things he has for us to do. We're in the office either everyday or every other day doing work. Because our mission is so fully immersed in using technology to do missionary work, we will travel the mission doing trainings on how to use them wisely and for the purposes of the Lord. I called him yesterday and he said were pretty busy all of this week. I'm so excited for this transfer and to be back in Santa Rosa in the
Spanish Ward. I love the members and everyone and yas I'm so excited. You can now send things to the mission office and it'll be faster than the apartment. That address is:

5301 Badger Rd
Santa Rosa CA 95409
United States

Update from the week. We were not able to have the baptism with Maria. We passed by during the week like everyday and she just wasn't ready. She still didn't understand some key principles and really the repentance process in general. We postponed it until further notice. Hopefully, it will happen sooner than later. I had a very humbling experience this week with that. I was so set and determined to have that baptism that my mind didn't really want to change on it, even when she wasn't ready. I got many impressions after that that she wasn't ready and we needed to postpone the baptism. I prayed so many times to understand why and what the Lord would have me learn through
this. I learned that this work truly is not about us. It's when we do make it about us that it just doesn't work. I also learned that it's necessary for someone to be converted in the gospel before they're
baptized. It's important that we do stress baptism but also give time for the Holy Ghost to do his work. If the heart of the person is not ready, it's not going to happen. I was truly humbled by the inspiration and revelation from the Lord this week.
Other exciting things this last week, we got to play basketball with some guys on the street in exchange for a Book of Mormon, We visited a couple members in the hospital and gave the blessings, we met with an avid Bernie fan that almost got me a t-shirt, and we had zone conference and learned about the importance of getting the fundamentals. Fun fun! I love me some Vallejo!

I think that's all for this week. I'm excited for these new changes and all that's ahead. I'll keep you updated as we go on. I'm very appreciative of the support and love you give. Have a fantastic week.

Con Amor

Elder Joyner

Agosto? (August 1, 2016)

The Zone
Halo! Happy P-day! It's good to hear y'all are back in the swing of things with school and such! HAPPY BIRTHDAY COLE NEXT SUNDAY! You're a teenager now what? How did that happen. And another three years and you'll be driving. And then two years after that will be your mission! Crazy stuff. Have a good day bud! Happy Anniversary TODAY to my wonderful Padres. I'm grateful for your love and support and examples you've shown to me. I am overwhelmed with love for the both of you and hope you have a fantastic day today! I'm very jealous of how often Elise gets to go to the temple too. It seems like every other letter haha. The Oakland temple will be closing for cleaning or renovations for a couple months starting in August. Speaking of August, it's hard to believe that it's already August! How did that happen? I swear it was just Christmas. Goodness me time moves too fast.

This week has been a good one! As you know, Maria has her baptismal date set for this weekend. As of right now, it's still happening! We had several lessons last week with her just reviewing and helping her out. We also fasted with her on Sunday for it! We have tremendous support from the members and we have faith that her baptism will pull through this week. I'm very grateful for the opportunity I've had to teach her! It's been amazing being able to find someone, teach them, and see them so close to baptism! I'm grateful for your prayers for her and ask to keep them going! I'll give ya an update on her next week.
We were able to see quite a few other people this week also. There's this one guy named Luis, who we've been trying to meet with since I got here. He's about my age. We invited him last week to start saying his prayers and promised him that if he would, he would see miracles. Well he did and saw some pretty cool miracles happen in his life, in only a week! I love the power of prayer and how the Lord blesses those who try! Luis thought it was pretty cool too and we're hoping to continue with him. The only problem is that he works a lot! We are keepin on though!

Cole wanted us to study La Paciencia this week! This is definitely a thing I've come to develop on my mission. With companions and members and investigators and really everything happening, you have to have patience. I love the scriptures in Alma 17:10-11 and Alma 26:27 that talk about those missionaries who may have felt a little disappointed, but that the Lord comforts those in need. It also talks about how he tells them to have patience in their afflictions. When we are going through hard times, sometimes we have to have patience and faith that it's happening for a reason. Those two principles are very closely related. If we have faith, patience comes easier. I love and can testify of these things and encourage you to evaluate what you can do better to be more patient. You will be blessed as you do!
District Shirts
I guess also this week I do hit my 11 months. No biggie. Next one will be the year mark though! We also find out about transfers on Saturday and then they will be next Tuesday! I've been in Vallejo for a good while so I'm probably out, but you never know. I love you all and am grateful for the continued love and support. Until next week!

Con Amor,

Elder Joyner