Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"Sure, Let's Try a Trio" (July 10, 2017)

Hello hello! Happy July 11th y'all! It's good to hear from ya this Monday. It's the end of the transfer and I'll be staying in petaluma for my last three weeks. We will be a trio though, the first (and last) one of my mission. And guess who's gonna be our new companion, ELDER HALL! So he was being trained by Elder Crowley the same time I was training Elder Sidwell last November. So we lived together and served in the same Ward and he's one of my really good buddies. We also went on an exchange on my birthday when he was serving in this zone a couple months ago. I was so pumped when I found that out! Such a legend. Should be a good time. 

This week was super bueno. Lets see what happened. Oh, ok so Fourth of July was good. It was a pretty normal day for us. We had district meeting that morning and Elder Pederson thought it would be a good idea to set up a giant flag and such. We also sang the star spangled banner and recited the pledge of allegiance. Classic! The rest of the day we didn't have any set appointments, because everyone was off doing stuff so we spent a good chunk of finding. It turned out that no one in our district had dinner appointments on the 4th so we decided to all go get food and meet at the church. So we had our own little family (district) dinner. It was a good one! 

We were able to meet with Brian several times this week, one actually being on the Fourth of July. We were able to talk about prophets and I kid you not he actually said, "Ya that makes sense that God would have a prophet today. Why would he stop talking to us?" Elder Pederson and I just looked each other like uhh yahhhh! We also saw him briefly on Friday and then Saturday we watched the restoration movie with him. He said he really like it but expressed to us how he doesn't see a need for organized religion. He says he's more of a believer and doesn't see the need for such organized religion. So we are planning on helping him with that! 

We completed our goal of 500 contacts and got 530 to finish off the transfer. We ended up with 26 new investigators in total. It truly was a transfer to remember. Now it's time to finish it out! 

President is letting me go to the departing dinner tonight with all the missionaries that are leaving. It will be very sad but very very exciting! I'll let you know how it goes. 

I love y'all and hope ya have a good week at Nauvoo!

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

🇺🇸🇺🇸'José can you see?'🇺🇸🇺🇸 (July 3, 2017)

Hey Familia! Happy 4th of July y'all! Enjoy the fireworks and the festivities. I'm not sure if we'll do anything out of the ordinary here. Maybe we'll catch some fireworks or something while we're out and about. Should be fun! Have fun at EFY Cole! Love ya Buddy! 

Elder Joyner & Elder Pederson
It's a been a super good week! Lets see, yesterday was awesome! It was a good Fast and Testimony Meeting and then after church I was able to give a baptismal interview to an investigator who'll be baptized in the Petaluma Ward this next week! He has a super cool story and is honestly one of the most ready and prepared people I've ever met. He's like his own little 12 Step video within himself. Good guy! 

We were able to meet with Brian several times this week. So Tuesday, we were thinking about what we could do to help Brian feel more comfortable with coming to church and we thought about doing a church tour with him. So Tuesday before our lesson with him, we went to the Petaluma chapel and got it all set up for a church tour. Our plan was to go knock on his door and be like, "Hey Brian, we're going on a field trip today to the chapel." (It works because he lives 3 minutes from the chapel and we could walk there with him) The funny thing is that IT WORKED! We told him we were just gonna go to the chapel for a tour. His response was, "oh, right now? Ok let me go put on my jeans," and then he ran upstairs and put on his jeans and came with us! It was the coolest thing. At the end of the tour, we ended up in the chapel and were able to talk about the sacrament and sing 'In Humility, Our Savior,' for him. It was a great experience. Also, I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but every Thursday night we play fútbol (soccer) in the chapel with investigators and members. Thursday, we were able to get Brian to come to that and he really enjoyed it! The sad thing though is that he didn't want to come to church on Sunday :( He expressed to us that it's too formal for him and that he doesn't think he's ready for that yet. So a prayer or two his way could help a ton!

Oh, another funny experience with Brian that happened on Saturday We knocked his door that morning to invite him to come to church the next day and such. After a minute, the door opened and we started talking to who we thought was Brian. After a moment, we realized he wasn't Brian and he explained he was his twin Brandon! It was just kind of funny because we had heard he had a twin but totally thought this was Brian when we opened the door jajaja! 

Friday, we had Zone Conference and this was my last one :'( I had a very tender experience getting the opportunity share my departing testimony. I am most definitely not the same person I was two years ago. I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ helping me on this journey of personal conversion and change. It is truly one of the most incredible things I hope each of you (have or) will experience! There were also several really good topics taught in the Conference. Sister Wright talked about testimonies and there was one really awesome quote I loved that was by Elder Packer. He said, "Oh if I could teach you this one principle: a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it." If you feel your testimony is struggling or have not yet to found such a testimony, follow the counsel of Elder Packer and bear what you know to someone else. That is when we will find it!

One more funny little story. So we tried to stop by Israel's house this week to visit him. He lives in this little apartment complex where kids are always running around playing. When we went this week, there was this one little kid that ran up to us before we knocked the door and then decided he wanted to knock the door for us so he did! He then started knocking on the window and such for us haha! We can't do that but he definitely can! Hahaha so Israel wasn't home but then we asked if the kid's parents were home and he led us to his house and we taught and picked up his parents as new investigators! It was kinda funny. Later that night a similar experience happened, where a kid led us to his parents and we taught them! Twice in one day! Fun stuff!

Well I'm off! Have a super good week. Love y'all!

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

Transfer 16, Week 5 (June 26, 2017)

Hey Y'all! Happy Monday to ya! We had a super good week this week! Lets get to it. 

We were able to see Brian a couple times this week and that was exciting! He's still reading consistently in the Book of Mormon and something very cool is he understands it and can give us summaries of what he read. He's a very intelligent kid and has so much potential. We're trying to help him make the connection between just reading and learning from us to obtain more information and knowledge, and the spiritual side and testimony of what we teach. He seems to understand it but we're trying to help him recognize the spirit more while he reads. He's still very hesitant about coming to church or committing to a baptismal date. We feel like there is another concern he isn't telling us about, but hopefully with time he will open up more. We were able to get a recently returned missionary to come with us and help us teach him on Friday, which was awesome! He could really use an extra prayer or two in the upcoming weeks. 
We have found several others this week, who look like some pretty solid potentials! We are doing some really good work, but at the same time we feel as though every time something good happens, some negative thing happens (whether that's people harshly turning us away, or people getting angry with us, or people trying to tear us down). It's interesting how Satan tries to get us down when we're doing such good work. I feel like I've learned, though, over these past 22/23 months that Heavenly Father and His work always will prevail, no matter what will happen! Something that President reminds us of is that eventually, "every knee shall bow, and every younger confess that Jesus is the Christ!" What a blessing it is to have that knowledge! 

Former Elder Atkinson & Alex
Some things I failed to mention last week, that I just forgot to put in, was that Elder Atkinson came back to the mission for a week or so and we met up and got some lunch. It was good to see him and catch up a little. I'm excited to see him out at UVU though. Last week also, our car battery didn't start after interviews and had to get it jumped! And President came to our district meeting last week and then took us all out to Wendy's after ;) hahaha gotta love him!

This week we also had to take our car in the shop and we didn't have any set appointments before dinner, so we just decided to walk and contact all day until it was done. We dropped it off about 10:30 and picked it up around 5. Luckily, that was the hottest day of the week. Needless to say, the annual summer tanning has ensued. Haha it just keeps the work fun! 

Love y'all! Have a super good week!

Con Amor, 
Elder Joyner

Petaluma