Monday, March 27, 2017

Just Puttin' in Some Work (March 27, 2017)

Hayyyyyyy! How yar doin?? It's been a super super good week! Tuesday was our zone Meeting and we feel like that was a success. Everyone wanted to be there and had done some preparation, which in turn made it possible for the Holy Ghost to be present. I had the opportunity to teach on prayer. I had compiled a list on 10 things (from various conference talks, things I've heard over the years, hymns, other people, etc.) I thought I'd share what I put together. 

Elder Joyner's List of 10 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Prayers
  1.   Believe that God hears and can answer prayers. 
  2.   Prayer is the key that unlocks the day and it is the lock that guards the night.
  3.   Let the spirit guide your prayers. 
  4.   Make sure you're being exactly obedient. 
  5.   Preparation is essential in prayer. 
  6.   Don't be too conversational in your prayers. Remember who you're talking to. 
  7.   Our level of gratitude reflects how much we acknowledge the Lord and our dependence on Him.
  8.   Use the appropriate language. 
  9.   "Humbly ask for thee for things that I need."
  10.   Always remember you are approaching the throne of God. 

Tuesday we went on exchanges with Elder Harris and Elder Siebach. I was really impressed by Elder Harris. He's such an awesome missionary. It was just a fun time. We worked hard and enjoyed ourselves, which is how missionary work should be. We had miracles happen but one in particular that I was impressed with. We were working hard to contact the 10 that day. (That's something President is having us focus on, contacting 10 people aside from tracting. It's also a huge part of our Zone Vision that we have for the Zone) We had gotten quite a few earlier in that day. It was about 7 o clock and we had decided to park our car at the church and walk to go do some more tracting. It was raining really hard for about the first 2 minutes until it let up and completely stopped. We were able to find a couple people and even set up a return appointment with this lady that was on her porch. We had gotten a couple more contacts just walking around and were at 9. It was getting late and dark and we were deciding to go back to the church to finish the night off with comp study, but just needed one more contact. We were determined to find someone on the walk back. We were walking down the sidewalk and had walked by a street. I looked down it thinking that could be the where the one is. I started to ignore the prompting (how bad of me right) and then decided at the last second to say to Elder Harris, "Hey lets just go down this one more." We started down the street and just as we get there we see a man outside talking to someone in a truck. As we get closer, the truck drives away leaving the man in the most opportune position to talk to us. He had said he just got back from feeding some homeless people with his church organization and actually a friend (in the truck)  was bringing back his sweater he left at the church event. We talked for a bit and set a return appointment to meet with him. I thought it was really cool how the man had to leave his sweater so that his friend would bring it to him so that he'd be outside when we were right there. Then right when we got back to the church, the rain started pouring again. Crazy, huh? I can honestly testify that we also need to follow the spiritual prompting that we get! God is good. 

We also set that baptismal date on Sunday, the which we had nothing to do with. Carlos has been taught by missionaries for the longest time and has really wanted to be baptized. He had just been waiting for his wife to come from South America somewhere to be baptized. She finally got here last week! We have been trying to get in contact with him to set up an appointment all transfer. It's hard for him because part of his brain is paralyzed and he forgets that we set up appointments and such. And then yesterday he just showed up to church. He said that he has an open brain surgery scheduled for the 18th of April and wants to be baptized before then. We said, "How bout next Sunday?" He said, "Oh ya that's perfect." So this week will be spent helping him get ready and such for his baptism next Sunday. Should be fun! 

The zone is well. We are going on exchanges with Elder Julander/Hardin and Elder Brown/Sorenson this week, and will let you know how that goes. 

I'm so so so excited to watch General Conference, seeing as this is my last one on the mission. It's really something different, to be able to experience it on the mish. You know I'll just be soaking in every moment of it. I'd invite you all to go with questions and really pay attention to the spirit whilst listening. Also, I'd invite you to do something Elder Bednar exhorted us to do when he came to the mission last year. He told us that it's kinda silly when members of the church write down word for word what the speakers say from Conference. Those Conference talk will literally be out a couple days later. Instead, we should write down the impressions or spiritual things that we feel, kinda like the small plates that Nephi writes on. So go and write on your small plates :)

I love y'all! Have an awesome week!

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Just Chillin' in Cedar Rapids (March 20, 2017)

Hey y'all! Happy Monday! It's been good to hear from ya! Good Job Cole on your Arrow of Light thingy! That just sounds like a party. I never got the chance to do that. And I hope you're feeling better, Elise. Break Legs this weekend Dwayners! 

Well, we've been busy this last week. We were able to get to know Petaluma much mo betta. We've met the majority if our investigators we have right now too. Ok so here's a cool story. So my first couple transfers in Santa Rosa, we found, taught, (and later was baptized) Jesus Chavez. We found him through a referral we got from the Petaluma Elders back then. They had told us it was just a coworker of someone they were teaching. Ok so here's where the cool part comes in, ok well two cool parts. So we were looking for this investigator at number 32 but he wasn't there so we just decided to knock the surrounding doors. It turns out the elders before us had made a mistake with the apartment number and it was the apartment below. When we knocked on their door, they opened it and were super happy to see us (us not knowing they were our investigators). We quickly made the connection they were the people we were looking for. We got to talking and I had mentioned that I served in Santa Rosa. He said he had a friend that just got baptized and joined the church about a year ago. I asked him who it was and he was like, "Jesus Chavez." My mouth dropped. I couldn't believe it. The investigator we had just found by knocking surrounding doors was the reason Jesus had gotten baptized. I was just mind blown. That was a tender mercy for me! He is actually really close to being baptized also, so hopefully we can help him. 

There are also like 3 other people that, for some reason or another can't get baptized at this time; Whether it's legal issues, or acceptance from a spouse, you name it. We're  are really hoping to help them make that final push! Exciting stuff. 

To answer your questions mom, we are in the Rohernt Park Spanish branch with probably about 30 active members. They really support and help us out, especially with dinners. Petaluma is a lot like Athens, I feel. Just got that city vibe. Our zone goes from the bottom of Santa Rosa to the Golden Gate Bridge. It's kind of a big Zone. We have 22 missionaries. My compa, Elder Angulo, has been out for 18 months. His family lives in Bogota, Columbia and have been members their whole lives. I'm the driver mom :) and for right now we have a Jeep, while our other car is getting some work done. Hope that suffices. 

So Elder Angulo and I are visiting all the Ward councils in the stake to introduce ourselves, set a good relationship with the members, and introduce our vision for the Zone. So we woke up early Sunday went down to San Raf and then Novato and then San Raf again for another. Good ole fun!

Tomorrow we have zone Meeting. I'm teaching on prayer, focusing on how we can improve our prayers. I'd appreciate anything thoughts or insights or quotes you have :) 
Then Wednesday we have interviews!

I think that's all I got this week for ya! Love y'all lots! Take care.

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Good Things Happening! (March 14, 2017)

Hey hey!
Happy Tuesday Pday! It's been a very busy last week with whitewashing in our new area. Let me tell you what, PETALUMA IS AWESOME. We both love it so much already. And Elder Angulo rocks! (And he's real Colombian, Dayne :) Lets see where to start. 

So last Tuesday we got our stuff and made out way to our new area We did some shopping and got all settled, just to hear that some missionaries in our zone had their phone accidentally taken by some other missionaries to another zone soooo we had to make a little trip to go pick that up in Napa. But we got all that taken care of and set. The rest of the night we tried to get some other planning type things done, because we didn't have an area book synced yet to see anyone. Wednesday, we were able to really get started and visit some people. This area is popping. The missionaries before us worked really hard. There are a couple baptisms set up for this transfer. We haven't been able to meet with any of the investigators yet because they keep canceling on us. They sound pretty solid though! Saturday and Sunday we had stake Conference. Elder Schweitzer, of the 70 presided Then the next day, we had an MLC and then Zone Conference with Him. It was awesome! I learned so much. I really realized the most that there are lots of things I still need to work on. I just gotta start one step at a time ;) 

One thing the spirit really impressed upon my mind is that of the Love our Savior has for us. He knows us so personally. Whether we know it or not, He knows us, our situations, our lives, our desires, and honestly what's best for us. We HAVE to trust in that. That's where true strength lies. In Him and Him alone! I love how I've come to know that on my mission. That's knowledge I wouldn't trade for anything. 

Well I love this area, my companion, and this Zone! Let me tell you what, this zone ROCKS!!! I'm excited to be here! 

Love you all! Talk real soon. 

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

Monday, March 6, 2017

"This Could Be the Start of Something New..." (March 6, 2017)

Happy p-day y'all! My oh my its been quite the week. So for starters, transfers are tomorrow and I actually found out that I am getting transferred. It was kind of a surprise to both Elder Perez and I, to have our area whitewashed. I am getting transferred to Petaluma, which is in the San Rafael zone. I will be with Elder Angulo (who happens to be from Colombia, like Elder Perez) in Petaluma as the Zone Leaders there. I wasn't expecting it but it should be a good change up. I've heard awesome things about that area and Elder Angulo! Should be awesome! So today we are in Santa Rosa. I'll drop off Elder Perez to go to departing dinner/devotional and I'll be with the tech elders, Elder Crowley and Elder Allsup the rest of the night until transfers tomorrow. Busy, Busy, Busy. 

Let's see what else happened this week. Thursday, we had our temple trip! UGHHH it was so good. I love the Oakland temple. It's just the best. I can't wait till I can go to the temple anytime I want. That'll be just the best. I feel like I just learned so much. I'll attach some pictures from that. 
OH OH Tuesday morning, Elder Perez was upstairs working out and he suddenly comes down and says he can't breath and is light headed and such and so I call Sister Stewart and Sister Wright and we get him back to normal. The rest of the day he was super dizzy and having some breathing attacks so Wednesday we had to make a trip down to the doctor is Santa Rosa. He's good now, but there was some complications he was having and they're still not sure what it was. They're just worried about the plane tomorrow for him. Hopefully everything turns out well though! 

I was kinda bummed to find out Friday that I didn't get into BYU, but soon after realized that there's something else that's awaiting me. President Wright actually called that night asking what had happened with it and we talked it over. He said that the sun will still rise in the morning and I'll still get a good education. That was pretty cool! Now I just gotta figure out what the next step is. Ahh

It was hard to say goodbye to some of the people here in Ukiah. Harder than I thought it would be, to be honest. There are some really awesome elect people here. I'm gonna miss them. 

Just a heads up, next week we have a member of the 70 coming to do a mission tour and next Monday we will have an MLC and Zone Conference with him, which means that our preparation day will be on Tuesday next week. Just fyi. 

Well, until then. On to big adventures! 

Con amor,
Elder Alexander Scott Joyner

"One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure."- William Feather