Monday, July 31, 2017

The California Santa Rosa Mission (July 31, 2017)

Alex with Pres. & Sis. Wright
Hey y'all! It's been such a good week! Kinda surreal what all is happening right now. I'll give a brief little review of this week first though. 

Last Monday, we went to the beach for PDay! It was super fun and actually colder than we thought it was going to be, but still good. Tuesday was good! We had a lesson with Brian then and a cool little experience happened. Here's what I wrote in my journal about it:
"We watched the "To the Investigators of the Church," by Elder Costa from the 2017 April GC, which I had found earlier that morning during personal study. He recognized that he needed to improve on all four of those things that Elder Costa talked about. We gave him some good invitations. We asked him to say the closing prayer at the end, but he said he didn't want to because he had a lot to think about. I offered a prayer and then at the end, he looked up and said, "wow, you should give more of those often." We asked him what he meant by that and he replied, "I just felt like I was on a rollercoaster or like someone came up behind me and scared me." We told him not to neglect those feelings and to look for them when he reads the Book of Mormon. It was pretty cool!" 
This was one of the first times he had been able to recognize the spirit and some of the feelings that come with it! What a blessing to be a part of that! We also had a lesson with him Saturday. I wrote in my journal about that experience saying:
"It was quite the lesson I must say We followed up on his reading in Alma 42, which he did, and talked about that a little. We then watched the "Act for Themselves" video that talks about free agency. We reviewed that principle a little and then talked about obedience to the commandments and how coming to church is being obedient. He expressed how he feels all churches say they have the truth and the Holy Ghost but he just doesn't know which is telling the truth and where/how to find the answer. We told him the story of Joseph Smith and how he was in a similar situation and how through prayer we can find those answers. He expressed how he doesn't think through prayer you can receive answers just like that. We think it's probably something his background that is stopping him. Al final, I shared 'A Child's Prayer,' and he said he was still unsure. The weird thing was is that openly agreed to give the closing prayer, without hesitation. Ugh we just want the best for him, but alas. Walking away from that lesson was probably one of the hardest most sensitive I've have ever felt for an investigator. I honestly love him a lot and desire the best for him. Maybe it's not his time right now "
Brian is a really good, but everything in the lord's time of course! 

The rest of the week was good. So sad note, i actually came down with a stomach bug/flu last Wednesday/Thursday which kept me from working as hard as I wanted to. That was kind of a bummer. I did get a priesthood blessing on Wednesday though, and by Thursday afternoon I felt well enough to go out! It was such a miracle because this little sickness had taken other people out for at least a week or so. That was cool! Wednesday night, we had a ton of appointments and people to see but I just couldn't make it. We tried to call tons of people in our branch to go on splits with us (where me and one companion could stay in the apartment and the other could go to the lessons) but no one answered! We got a thought, finally, to call president wright and see if he was busy and funny thing HE WASNT. So he came down and took Elder Hall out to our lessons  while Elder Pederson and I went home to rest. Good fun for him!
Yesterday, I was asked to speak and then after church had my departing interview with President. It was a tender experience. It still feels so unreal though haha. That was the last time I would able to see President and Sister Wright. They have Zone Conferences up north this week and so the Jeknavorian's will be taking me to the airport Thursday. I truly love the Wrights and know my mission wouldn't be the same without em!

Well, I guess this takes me to it. It's been a crazy, amazing, emotionally stretching, hard working, Jesus Loving, sweat breaking, beautiful two years. I am more than grateful to my Heavenly Father for, first, preparing this mission for me, and second, allowing me to serve in this capacity. It has been the greatest thing thus far in my life and for my life. It has set me on a course that I will be on for the rest of my life. It has definitely been the "road less traveled," but the sights, sounds, people, knowledge, and experience I've had on that road has completely changed me forever. I am torn apart thinking that this week I will have to leave a place and people that mean so much to me. They have changed my life. I have given everything to the Lord these last two years, but he's given me so much more. Words can't appropriately begin to describe my mission. I am forever grateful. 
'Gonna find my way and be back home real soon.'
See ya in 3!

Con Amor,
Elder Alexander Joyner

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