Thursday, June 16, 2016

"I haven't been doing this for a year..." (June 13, 2016)

They are not kidding when they say that time flies in the mission! This past year has just been crazy, wonderful, life-changing! I can't believe all the people that I have met and come to love here in Peru. I wouldn't change the decision that I made to come on a mission for anything! 

I have the classic, "I ran out of time." But! I promise to be better next week! I feel like I had a lot to tell you too!

Elder Rasband was awesome! He shook everyones' hands. Because we traveled overnight, we had time to do a session at the temple and spend time there.
Elise at Mission Meeting
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DADDY! AND GRANDDADDY! AND PAPA!!!!!  You're the best daddy and grandfathers in the world!


Hermana Elise Joyner

Lima South Mission

Monday, June 6, 2016

What Goes Up Must Come Down... (June 6, 2016)

Elise & Hermana Esperanza
More like what goes down has to come up again. I'm learning very viable science lessons here in the mission.

Week one in High-acucha has been quite a week indeed! Opening an area is actually pretty fun. We have started from zero. Literally, zero. We were left with nothing to work with. No investigators, no less active, no records of anyone! So we can only go up from here. We’ve been working with the leaders and the DL’s a lot and have been developing a system of work that will function best here in Garcilazo. We have seen so many miracles this week through our efforts and the tender mercies of the Lord. We showed up to houses and the people have just barely come home from a long trip but we were able to find them. There were a lot of people who asked us, “Hermanas, how did you know I was here today?” We didn't, but God did! It's been awesome!
Elise & "Mama Carmen"

Our area is gigantic. It used to be two areas, but they combined into one. Our maps (yes, there are more than one because of how big the area is) are all messed up and complicated. I know now why Pres. Jones would take us out into the middle of the woods at Girls Camp and teach us orientation. It’s so that I can read a Peruvian map of Garcilazo, Ayacucho! 

My companion is cute. She has five months in the mission. She is from Argentina and still has that accent. She's a hard worker and is ready for everything! I'm still the Hermana Leader of Family History. Whoever is in Las Villas, Chorrillos is the Hermana Leader but this assignment chose to follow me to Ayacucho. I have to do trainings, give reports, create systems to improve Family History in the mission. You might say I'm finding my way to leave my mark on this. #HERMANAJOYNERESTUVOAQUÍ  It's good! I have really come to love Family History! (Dayne, we are gonna take that class together, O.K.?) This week, amongst the fun of opening an area, we’ve also been house hunting. One of the first things the Zone Leaders told us when we got here was, “Oh, Hermana Joyner, just so you know, you’re dueño (landlord) is kicking you out. You have to find a house and moved out by June 15th.”  AHHHH! We had been looking all week. On Thursday, we got calls from the dueño (landlord) pressing us, so we basically had to find a house that day. I was praying and praying and praying! And then we ran into the Primary President. She had seen a “For Rent” sign and thought of us. We went to the house and took a look, met the owners, jumped through all the mission hoops, and got it approved. It was a miracle! The Hermano lived in Utah for 8 years and he and his wife have a great respect for the church and the members. It is seriously a prayer answered! God watches out for his missionaries! I have seen that time and time again. Everything always finds a way to work out.

Elise, companion, Jorge & Ada
So this week, we got some pretty exciting stuff! Tomorrow (Tuesday) night, I get to hop on the bus again and head back to Lima. We have our monthly leadership council. Then on Thursday, Elder Rasband will be here to talk to all of the Lima Missions and the CCM (MTC) (almost got to see you Maddie!). Then, Thursday night/Friday morning, we'll come back here to Ayacucho. I'm excited (well, not for the bus rides after what happened last time…)! I've had the luck to be in the Mission at just the right time. Elder Bednar, Elder Robbins, Elder Godoy, and now Elder Rasband! How nifty is that?! I guess I'm supposed to learn a thing or two.

Well, I'm out of time and things to say. I hope everyone enjoys their vacations and reunions and whatever else you've been doing. Have a great week!!!


Hermana Elise Joyner

Elise & Ada

Climb Every Mountain, Search High and Low (May 31, 2016)

Well, my friends, that's what I'm doing! Transfers have come and I am now climbing the mountains of AYACUCHO!!!! Searching high and low with Maria Von Trapp. I thought that was pretty clever. I'm proud of myself! Ayacucho is where everyone in our mission wants to go because it's GORGEOUS!!! Google it! Not only that, but I'm here opening the area with my companion, Hermana Calderon. She is from Argentina. We both came from Lima.  Fun stuffs! We met the Bishop and our ward mission leader yesterday. They are super nice and excited to have Sisters in the ward. We are still the leaders of family history. My assignment just followed me to my new area. Wahoo!!!

The bus ride here is 10 hours. We left Sunday night at 9:30 pm and got here yesterday morning. WORST BUS RIDE EVER!!! I got so sick because of the altitude difference. And I was sick yesterday morning as well. After lunch yesterday, I was fine and I'm fine now. It just took me a little to get adjusted. It's still kinda hard to breathe because we are so high up. But it is gorgeous here! At night, you can see ALL the stars! Even stars that don't exist in other parts of the world.

Well, I'm out of time (as usual), but I will write you a really good letter next week!

LOVE YOU!!!! And enjoy the family reunion!


Hermana Elise Joyner 

Oconee Enterprise (May 23, 2016)

(Instead of a formal email this week, Elise answered some questions from a reporter for a local newspaper.  Here are her answers.)

Missionary Questions:

1) What have you learned about from your mission?

The biggest lesson that I've learned from my mission here in Peru is that the changing power of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ did for us is real. This sacrifice, called the Atonement, is when our Savior paid for our sins and suffered so that we can have the opportunity to return to live with our families and our Heavenly Father. I have seen people completely change and improve their lives as they use the Atonement in their lives. I have seen drug addicts put aside the drugs and depend on God. I have seen families unite because they trust in the Lord. I have personally felt the Savior lift me up in this past year that I have been serving Him. When I have thought that I couldn't go on, He took my burden and helped me continue in His service. I know that this is only possible through this sacrifice that Jesus Christ did. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and through Him, everything is possible!

2) How has your mission strengthened or changed your faith?

My faith has grown immensely! Before my mission, I believed and lived the principles that we are taught in the church. As a missionary now, I live these principles and doctrines fully 24/7. As I live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, my testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel is confirmed day after day. I know the joy that comes from reading the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I know what it is to truly converse with my Heavenly Father. I know and experience the blessings from keeping the Sabbath Day holy. There are a lot more examples that I could use, but these are just some. I now know what I want to change in my life personally when I return after my mission because of my increase in faith in God. 

3) What is your intended career path after your mission, and how do you think your mission will contribute to that profession?

As of right now, I am looking into studying elementary education. My mission will help me a lot with this! I go out and teach people every day. I find people who cant read or who have never had the opportunity to study. In these cases, we have to adapt and change how we speak so that they understand the doctrines. This will help me as I learn to speak and adapt topics to children. 

4) Aside from the theological learning, what have you learned about the culture and people where you are located?

I LOVE PERU!!!! It was definitely a culture shift for me coming from Oconee County, Georgia. The people are so open here. They greet everyone and anyone with a kiss on the cheek. Even if they don't have much, they want to share with you. The food is so good! Every plate contains chicken, potatoes, and rice. SO MUCH RICE! The biggest meal here is lunch. We always start with a soup and then the main dish. They spend all morning cooking so that the family has a good meal at lunch. The houses are very different. I have spent most of my time here in Lima. There are no yards. All of the houses are pegged together with no space in between them. Everyone has a dog or three. The people here accept you as you are and just love you! I LOVE PERU!!!!!

Hermana Elise Joyner