Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 27, 2014- Lots of Food and the Ward Party

October 27, 2014- Lots of Food and the Ward Party

Hey family and friends!!!

This week has been a slower week for my companion and me. We had 9 member present appointments fall through this week because when we arrived for the appointment the investigator wasn't there. Many of our investigators are starting to become a little shaky so this next week we are going to try to find more investigators.

Every month we are allotted a certain amount of miles on our car. Elder Remund and I have been really low on miles so we couldn't go very far on p-day. On Monday during p-day, our Zone leaders and Elder Remund and I decided to go thrift store shopping. In one of the stores, we found matching wise man oil containers. One of them is white and the other looks like a guy from India. Elder Remund bought the Indian guy and named him Dom and the Zone leaders bought the white guy and named him Tom.  Both of us have our little wise man sitting on top of our stoves in our apartment. Now for the story behind the statues,  a month ago Elder Remund and I were tracting on a street and trying to talk to everyone. This was an Indian guy that we talked to whose name was Dom and he had the classic Indian accent. Well, he said he wasn't interested by saying, "same god, different religion." As he walked away, he said, "May Dom bless you." We were thinking, “What??” because his name is Dom. Well since then, that is a phrase that we like to joke about.  When we told our Zone leaders about it they thought it was pretty funny.  When we were shopping in the thrift store and we saw the Indian oil container, it reminded us of the experience. 

The Latinos here really like Chinese buffets, especially single Latino men.  Elder Remund have been taken to Chinese buffets for dinner twice this week.

On Wednesday, we had interviews with President Baker. Every few months the missionaries here have interviews with the Mission President. This was my first time having an interview with him since I came in the first day. It went pretty well!

There is a sweet little Ecuadorian woman in the ward who invites us over once a week for lunch.  My first lunch experience at her home in early September was an interesting one. She first served us a drink called Quaker, an oatmeal and pineapple drink.  Elder Remund told me the key for Quaker is to drink it really slowly because as soon as you finish drinking the Quaker she says, "Tome mas Quaker." which means, “Drink more Quaker." She gets really offended if you tell her that you don’t want any more. I don't know how I got away with only having to drink only one large mug of Quaker. She kept asking me if I didn't like her Quaker because I was drinking slow, and I just responded that I was a slow drinker but that the Quaker was good and she seemed pretty content with that. Then she served us a big bowl of soup filled with chicken, vegetables and two boiled eggs floating in it. The soup was actually pretty good except for the boiled eggs. I don't know what she did with those boiled eggs but they weren't good at all. Once I finished the Quaker drink and the large bowl of soup I was stuffed.  We were then served a huge plate filled with rice, beans, chicken, and plantains.  It was such a struggle to finish all the food. I barely made it. I was basically stuffed for the rest of the day.  That evening our ward mission leader took us out to dinner at a steak house.  I think that I ended up gaining 10 pounds that day.

One week we got to take the food home with us because of a new mission rule that says that we aren't allowed to teach anyone or even be on the doorstep for an extended period of time with a member of the opposite sex.  In the past we would just sit on Abuelita's porch to eat but since we couldn’t do that anymore, that day I was saved from having to stuff my face. #tendermercy   Since that week, the sister has rescheduled our time to meet her for lunch to coincide with when her son is there.  As a result, we have switched our time with the Hermanas. We now eat at noon and the Hermanas eat at 1 p.m. So taking the food home with us was just a one-time thing.

As I said, the sister who feeds us lunch once a week gives us a lot of food to eat.  We try hard to eat what she gives us because she is very offended if we don’t.  It is a struggle sometimes.  This week she served us something different than the norm- we had breakfast for lunch!  There still was a ton of food. She made a huge waffle covered with strawberries and whipped cream, fries and potato patties, eggs and hot chocolate. I was super full after I ate. 

I love to eat pupusas, an amazing Salvadorian food that consists of handmade tortilla that is rolled up into a flat ball shape with space inside for the beans and cheese. My companion loves pupusas too, actually all the Spanish missionaries here do. Elder Remund and I are lucky enough to be able to eat pupusas almost every week at Edwin and Miriam’s home, a couple from El Salvador who are getting married December 20 and baptized in early January. Elder Remund and I decided to make pupusas with the zone leaders during one of our lunch hours, and man they were amazing. They weren't as good as Edwin and Miriam’s, but they were still really good.

On Saturday, the Bishop of the Gloucester Virginia ward invited the Spanish Branch to come to his home for a ward party. Elder Remund and I asked President Baker if we would be allowed to go and he said Yes!! He said that all 6 missionaries in our district could attend.  Gloucester is completely out of our zone and missionaries rarely get permission to leave their zone for a party, so it was really cool!

All the Latinos in our branch met at the church and then we caravanned up there.  The Bishop owns a huge property. He had a huge open field for us to park in, and we had to walk down a road through the forest to get to his house. His house is huge and he had a huge backyard located in the middle of the forest. There were a ton of people there and a lot of food. After dinner they had a trunk or treat and a huge bonfire. Apparently the bishop and his family build a large bonfire every year.  They spend the whole year cutting and stacking a huge stack of wood to burn.

There was some confusion about our investigator Jeff. His sister in law told us that he had been cigarette free but apparently he had a cigarette last Sunday.  When we went to see him on Tuesday he said had been cigarette free since Monday, so we had to move his baptism to from November 1st to November 8th. Hopefully he will be able to be baptized then.   We continue to encourage him and I will continue to keep everyone updated on his baptism date. Hopefully, he will be strong!!

Tomorrow, I am going on an exchange with the zone leaders. Elder Remund is leaving to go to the zone leaders area and Elder Geddis and Elder Terril are coming to our area to work with me. Elder Terril is an English-speaking missionary, so that means I will be the only Spanish-speaking missionary during the exchange. Basically, I will be the only one teaching the lessons and talking to the Latinos.   Hopefully, my Spanish can hold up. I'm pretty excited though because it will be a good learning experience.  I'm excited because this experience will force me to talk to Latinos a lot. I already know my Spanish is pretty good, I just can't wait to see how good.

Hope everyone has a great week!
Love Elder Cannon


Me in front of the bonfire at the ward party

Missionaries that attended the ward party

Quaker and Chicken, Vegetable and Egg Soup

Beans, Chicken, Rice and Plaintains

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 20, 2014- Reaching Our Teaching Goals

October 20, 2014- Reaching Our Teaching Goals

Hey Family and Friends!!
This week has been a really good week!!

Oompa lumpa is super fun game that all the Elders in our area play on p-day once a week.  Don't worry, President Baker has approved that we could play it on p-day. We all wake up around 5:30 a.m. to get to the church at 6 a.m. Oompa Lumpa is played with the rules of ultimate frisbee but we use a football instead of a frisbee. We play until 7 a.m. and then we head back to our apartments so that we can start our scripture studies by 8 a.m. There is a Elder here who played quarterback in High School.  Whenever we are on the same team, he just throws it down the court and I jump up and catch it even when there are a bunch of people guarding me. This is one way I am staying in shape here.

On Tuesday, we went to a car dealership and translated for one of the less active members we are teaching. His name is Valerio and he's from Guatemala. Its pretty cool actually because most less active members here are really nice to us and they love having us over to talk.   They just don't like going to church but they still have strong testimonies of the gospel.  Some of my friends who are serving a mission in South America have told me that they are struggling with the same issue there.

We ran into some Jehovah Witnesses on Wednesday. My companion and I went to Edwin and Miriam’s home, two of our investigators. We got out of the car right as two Hispanic ladies came out of the house. They had a bunch of pamphlets and other stuff in their hands.  We walked by them and Elder Remund said to one of them "Como estan?" which means "how are you" and one of them responded, "Bien, gracis a Jehova" which means "Good, thanks to Jehovah."  Once they said that, we instantly we knew that they were Jehovah witnesses.   They went over to their car and we started talking to Miriam on her porch. But out of the corner of my eye I could see that the Jehovah Witnesses were still in their car and they were watching us. A minute went by, then two, and then five and they were still there. Finally one of them got out of the car, walked over to us and interrupted our conversation with Miriam by introducing herself and then tried to give us some religious pamphlets.  No need to worry about our investigator Miriam talking with the Jehovah Witnesses. She and Edwin are super solid and have a baptismal date on January 10th. The only reason she let them in was so that she could bible bash them.

One of our investigators is named Yiovanni. We taught him the lesson about the Restoration, and it went really well. However, we haven't been able to teach him for a few weeks because he keeps telling us when we call him that he will call us when he is free to have another lesson. We didn't really know why he was avoiding us, we thought maybe he was just trying to get rid of us.  On Thursday, we found out why he has been avoiding us. Apparently, he owes Edwin and Miriam (our investigators) and a member named Sescibel a lot of money, and he hasn't paid them back.  Some of the members in the branch have been asking us to give them Yiovanni's address because they plan to take him to court to recover their money, so we gave them his address. We decided that for now it was best to drop our lessons with him.

One of the goals that Elder Remund and I had for this week was to get six member presents for the week. We worked really hard and were able to get two member presents on Wednesday, and two on Thursday. However we weren't able to get any member presents on Friday and Saturday so that meant that we needed to get two on Sunday.

On Sunday, we went over to Edis’ home for a teaching appointment. She needed help packing a bunch of clothes because she was sending some clothes to her poorer family members. After that she said she wanted to take us over to one of her neighbor's houses to see if we could help them. We went over there and met an elderly gentleman. After talking to him, we discovered that he had a chronic health problem that was really flaring up at the moment. We offered to give him a blessing. Even though he hadn't ever talked with missionaries before he accepted, and so I anointed oil on his head and then Elder Remund gave him a blessing. It clearly was a miracle that we were able to go talk to him and pray with him because if not, Elder Remund and I would not have been able to reach our goal of six member presents. 

Lastly I want to let you know how Jeff is doing in his progress toward baptism.  He has been coffee free for one and a half weeks, beer free for almost a week and cigarette free since Saturday. So if he keeps this up he will be able to be baptized on November 1st. Jeff is super excited. I appreciate all the people who have been praying for him! Your prayers have definitely helped him!!

-Elder Cannon

Views at Lake Maury

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 13, 2014- Jamestown Visit and Walk and Talk at a Trailhead

Jamestown Visit and Walk and Talk at a Trailhead
October 13, 2014

Hi family and friends!!

There are two things I forgot to mention in last week's letter that I want to tell you about.

We brought a member with us to teach Omar. Elder Remund and I ended up not being able to teach our lesson very well because Omar and the member ended up bible bashing the entire lesson. However, everything turned out okay.  When all things were said and done they were still friendly to each other, beats me how they can do that.

While we were tracting out a neighborhood, we met a Guatemalan family. The man of the house started to bash us.  We tried to not get pulled in, but he wouldn't let us get away. We tried to pull some scriptures up in the bible to try to help him but he just didn't want to hear what we were saying so we ended up leaving.  I don't like bible bashing at all, it doesn't bring the spirit into the conversation.

Elder Remund and I were dropping off a member at his house, and after we dropped him off, this guy came over to our window and motioned to us to lower our window. I evidently wasn't even thinking because I lowered the window all the way.  Then, he stuck his arm in the car and told us to look at a really bad burn he had on his arm. He told us that he had gotten it while he was cooking some meat on a grill. Elder Remund and I told him that we hoped he got better soon and we gave him card from our church.  Then, he walked from my side of the car to Elder Remund's side and motioned for him to lower the window. Elder Remund lowered the window just a little bit, and the guy asked, "Hey could you guys help me out?" We said, “Sure,” and then he said, "I got in trouble at the gas station so I need you guys to get me something." When he said that I thought he was talking about some medicine for his burn, so I asked him what he needed.  The guy said, "I need beer." We told him we couldn't get that for him so he just walked off.

Last Monday, our p-day, my companion and I, and the two English Newport News 3rd ward Elders came with us to Jamestown. It was actually a pretty cool place to visit. You could see the holes where the posts had been located in the original fort.  There was an old church that was built in 1650 after the original one burnt down.  The view from the fort overlooking the James River was way cool.

The first Tuesday of the month we deep clean our apartment. This Tuesday, we cleaned out our apartment and I finally was able to be able to unpack everything from my suitcases.

We called our mission President to clarify why Nazario, one of our investigators, couldn't be baptized. Previously, our President said Nazario couldn't be baptized because of his court date. We explained that Nazario had a court date because he had been caught crossing the border into the United States. President Baker had thought that the court date implied that Nazario had committed a serious crime. Once he understood that immigration was the issue, President Baker told us that Nazario could be baptized.  We told Nazario the news, but his faith had been shaken a bit because for 4 or 5 months he had been told he wouldn't be able to be baptized until after the court date. We are really working hard to try to help Nazario gain a testimony again.

Elder Remund and I set the goal that we would get 42 member presents this transfer.  This transfer is 7 weeks long, so that equals 6 per week. We also set a goal to find 50 new investigators. It’s going to challenging but we want to work really hard.

On Thursday, before weekly planning we had to drop our car off to get inspected.   While we were waiting, my companion and I walked over to this forested park next to Lake Maury for our weekly planning. It was fun to do our weekly planning while sitting on a log in the forest overlooking the lake.

Every Saturday we from 1p.m. to 4p.m. we do a "Walk and Talk". During those three hours, we pick a place and walk there and talk to everyone we see. We decided to walk in a Flea Market because we thought there would be lots of Latinos to talk to there. However, it was really awkward trying to talk to people while they were busy shopping. We weren't sure exactly what to do. Then we both felt impressed that we needed to go to the path at Lake Maury for Walk and Talk instead. We drove over there and parked our car and headed over to the trail. It was an absolute miracle because there at the trail head was a Latino family looking at the trail map. We went over there and talked to them. The dad was asked, "Su iglesia habla espanol?" or "Your church speaks Spanish?" We said “Yes,” and he seemed pretty interested. Later that night, we got a call from him asking what time our church started. And on Sunday he came! He was late, but he came! We gave him a tour of the building.  He told us that he never really had gone to church during his life but something had pushed him to come to ours. He lives in Richmond but he comes up to this area for the weekends, so we are hoping that we will be able to teach his family.

So this week was a struggle to meet our goal of six member presents. On Saturday morning, we had zero member presents. But we continued to have faith and a miracle happened and we got 3 member presents on Sunday for a total of four. Although we didn't meet our goal of six, I think the Lord has noticed that Elder Remund and I want to work.  We have been able to set up 8 lessons with investigators for next week already.  We have also had a couple members tell us that we can call them anytime and they will teach with us.  I am really excited for next week!

-Elder Cannon

Me in front of statue of John Smith- Virginia's first governor

Me and Elder Remund inside Jamestown church from 1600's

Me in the woods near Lake Maury

The view of Lake Maury we saw on the day we did planning

Me with Lake Maury in the background

Me with Elders Remund, Ludwig and Willis

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 6, 2014- Meet the Mormons

Meet the Mormons
October 6, 2014

Hey Family and Friends!

It is starting to get really cold here early in the mornings and in the evening, it is in the low 50's.  Elder Remund has told me that this is nothing compared to how cold it will be a few months from now. There is a lot of humidity here, which actually makes it feel colder because the cold just seems to seep right through your clothes. This isn’t the type of weather that I’m used to after living in Arizona.

We were invited to Family Home Evening with our Stake President on Monday. One of our investigators, Jeff, was invited to join us since the Stake President and his family has befriended him. Jeff is getting closer and closer to his baptismal date. He is really excited and is trying really hard to obey the word of wisdom. In order to be baptized on Oct 25, he has to be successful by this Saturday so hopefully he can do it! Please include him in your prayers.

I was sad to receive a call from one of our investigators named Nazario, who told me that he doesn't want us to come teach him anymore. It has been really hard on him because he has such a strong desire to be baptized but he can't. He got caught crossing the border into the U.S. and he has a court date next December. President Baker says he can't be baptized until that court date is resolved. Nazario is a little frustrated that he can't be baptized and he also kind of doesn't feel worthy enough to be baptized as a result of his legal issues. Elder Remund and I are not sure what to do but we are praying for him.

On Tuesday, all of the missionaries in my zone got to watch the movie "Meet the Mormons" which is coming to theaters on Oct 10. All missionaries in our mission got to watch it so that we can talk to investigators about it.  The movie focuses on the lives of six members around the world in order to give nonmembers a good idea about what Mormons are really like.  Please see the movie if you can, it will give you some good subjects to talk about with your nonmembers friends and neighbors.

Conference was amazing! The missionaries out here have been telling me that Conference is the best while you’re out on a mission- and they are right. I watched the Sunday morning session in Spanish, which was a pretty interesting experience.  When two speakers spoke in Spanish during another session, we sat in a room that was broadcasting in Spanish and listened to the talks there.  It was awesome to hear someone speaking Spanish in conference without an interpreter.

Jorge, a less active member from Honduras, has been coming to our lessons with us for the past few weeks.  At first he was a little shy about sharing his testimony but as he has continued to come out with us a couple times a week, he has become more open and more excited to share his testimony with the people we are teaching.  I think Jorge is starting to realize that his testimony is getting stronger and stronger.

I would like to encourage everyone back home to go teach with the missionaries, because I can promise you that your testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ and his restored church will grow. As your testimony grows you will be happier and you will be able to bear your trials better.

Nos Vemos! (See you later!)
Elder Cannon

Me and my district