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.