Friday, January 30, 2015

January 26, 2015- Edwin and Miriam Get Baptized!

January 26, 2015- Edwin and Miriam Get Baptized!

Hi family and friends!

I just completed an entire week of being on a bike! It’s been super crazy as we've biked in the freezing cold, in the rain, on roads next to highways, and in the ghetto. My companion and I just heard from our zone leaders yesterday that the mission doesn't have an extra car to give to us right now, and so we will probably be riding bikes for the next few transfers, which amounts to 4 or 5 months. So it looks like my cycling merit badge that I earned in Boy Scouts is going to come in handy.

We had a really cool lesson with 18 year-old Jose, who is a friend of Luis. Luis invited him to come to participate in our lesson with him. We taught Jose about the restoration and Luis helped us teach him.  Jose asked a lot of great questions.  For example, after we told him that during the apostasy Jesus Christ's church wasn't on the Earth, then he asked, "So, then which church is the right one?" He said that if he found out that the Book of Mormon was true then he would be baptized! Afterwards, we taught Luis a lesson and he said he'd be baptized, but after he turns 18 in July. Elder Bradshaw and I are going to try to work with him to move that date up.

Friday night we went to Edwin and Miriam's baptism. One of the members of the Newport News branch drove down here to pick us up and then drove us to the baptism. It was really fun to be able to see everyone again but it made me feel a little trunky about not being in Newport News anymore because I love all the people there.  It’s all good because I love the people in my new area, too. It was awesome to be able to see Edwin and Miriam get baptized!  Elder Bradshaw and my trainer Elder Remund found Edwin and Miriam in February 2014. I got to teach them a little when I arrived in Virginia in September and then I got to see them get married in December. My MTC companion Elder McCall was there with Elder Morgan to baptize them.  It was sweet to have all four of us there together with Edwin and Miriam on their baptism day.

On Saturday, the Rodriguez family who are members of our branch, baptized their eight-year-old daughter.  They invited us to the baptism and to the celebration party afterwards.  They had a fiesta and they served lots of really good food. At the party, we met this really chill guy from Honduras named Christian who crossed the border into the U.S. only 7 months ago.  He happens to be a nephew of one of the members. I talked to him for a while about everything from soccer to what he does for work here, to his story of how he crossed the border into the U.S. Christian isn't a member so we got his contact information and we are going to try to teach him.

Sunday night after church we were invited to Rodriguez's house for dinner where we ate the leftovers food from the party. Mmm, Latino food is really good.

Hope everyone has a great week!
Love Elder Cannon 

Me with Edwin and Miriam on their baptism day, January 23, 2015

Elder McCall, Elder Morgan, Elder Bradshaw, Me and Stake President with Edwin and Miriam

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January 19, 2015- Grateful to Be Safe

January 19, 2015- Grateful to be Safe

Hey Family and Friends!

I can't believe that I’m just 3 days away from hitting my 6-month mark. Time is just flying by way too fast, and from what I've heard from other missionaries, it just flies by faster and faster as you go. This week was an awesome but crazy week!

On, Monday we had a lesson with Luis, who is 18 years old. He's a really cool guy. His older brother Jose was taught by missionaries and then baptized a year or two ago. Jose left to go on a mission a few months ago.  I actually was able to meet Jose before he left when I was in Newport News, my last area. None of his other family members are LDS, so we are trying to work with his whole family. We taught one of the commandments to Luis, which is one of the roadblocks that has kept him from being baptized.  We had a good talk with him and we were able to commit him to live it, which is just a miracle.

Tuesday was super awesome. President Baker has closed down the Eastern shore for missionary work for both Spanish and English Elders. My companion and I went there with our Zone leaders and the AP's and cleaned out the old apartment. It was really cool driving there because to get out there you have to drive on a 20 mile bridge across the ocean to get there, and for 15 of the miles all you see is the ocean in all four directions. I feel pretty lucky because everyone who has served there says it’s the coolest part of the mission.  I'm pretty sure that President Baker is going to keep this area closed for a long time so I probably was one of the last missionaries to go there for a long time.

On Thursday, we found a new investigator. We knocked on a door and the man of the house let us in.   We started by discussing a bunch of questions he had about where we go after this life.  That led us to teaching him about the Plan of Salvation.  We ended by committing him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, and he said that he would do that.

Friday was such a crazy day. Elder Bradshaw and I, and two other missionaries, were driving back from a district meeting when a car 4 cars ahead decided to do a U turn even though it was prohibited in that area.  This action led everyone behind him to slam on their brakes.  Elder Bradshaw slammed on his brakes too but we slid really hard into the car in front of us, the air bags went off and our car was completely totaled. The airbags punched us all hard, but luckily no one got seriously hurt.  A guy from Church insurance is coming out to see the car in a few days, but I don't think the car is going to be able to be fixed.

Until the car repair or replace issue is resolved, Elder Bradshaw and I will be biking everywhere we go.  We have been on bikes since Saturday morning. It’s actually been fun to bike even though we are super tired by the end of the day.

We borrowed the bikes from some missionaries who had a few extras lying around, but unfortunately the bikes are pretty ghetto. Neither of our back brakes work.  We had a hard time biking for the first little bit because both of our chains were messed up and Elder Bradshaw's chain kept popping off. Fortunately, we were able to fix it and keep going. Then, 15 minutes later, Elder Bradshaw rode over some glass and tore a hole through his tire and air tube.  We weren't too sure what to do because we were pretty far from our apartment. We could see that we were only 1/2 a mile from some apartments, so we just walked the rest of the way with our bikes. On the way there we weren’t sure what we were going to do because later that night we had to be at an investigator's house to eat dinner and their home was far away.  So I just said a short simple prayer in my head that we would run into someone that could help us fix Elder Bradshaw's bike. Literally a minute later, we turned around a street corner, and there were the Norfolk English Elders talking with someone.  We waited until they were done talking and then we walked over to them and told them what was going on. They told us that they had a spare tire and air tube at their apartment, which was super close by.  They went and got it for us, and then they fixed Elder Bradshaw's bike. So, prayer really does work! After the bike was fixed we knocked on some doors and met Jose and Olga. They let us in and we taught them a lesson.  It was a really cool lesson and they were so sweet! After the lesson we biked on over to another investigator's house for dinner.  They served us pupusas, and man were they yummy! 

On Sunday, I got to meet the members of our branch for the first time as we had Stake Conference last week. Everyone in the branch is awesome!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Cannon

Welcome to Eastern Shore of Virginia

View on Freeway to Eastern Shore

Damage to our car

View from my seat after the crash

Me with my bike

Thursday, January 15, 2015

January 12, 2014- News from Norfolk

January 12, 2014- News from Norfolk

Hey family and friends!
Now I'm living in Norfolk, Virginia! It’s pretty cold here because we are close to the ocean and the humidity here on the East Coast just seeps right though the layers of clothing that you are wearing. It’s also been in the 20s during the days this week and it feels pretty cold.

I love my new area. We cover the 5 big cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. There seems to be many more Latinos living in this area than in my old area of Newport News and Hampton, so I'm pretty excited about that. We have a super nice apartment and a really nice gym on site.  The gym is useful to help me work off all the rice, tortillas and beans I eat when we have dinner appointments. My new companion Elder Bradshaw is really cool, too. He speaks Spanish very well and he speaks really fast.

Tuesday, we cleaned our apartment like we do every 1st Tuesday of the month.  Then, I had to pack and then say goodbye to all of the branch members and less actives members and our investigators.  It was hard for me to say goodbye, especially to Jeff and his family, but I know that I'm going to meet some amazing people in my new area too.

Wednesday, we had the transfer meeting in Portsmouth. It was pretty crazy because almost all of the new missionaries coming in to the mission where from Arizona.  I saw two of my Chandler friends, Boston Cameron and Justin Lewis, so that was fun.  I also was able to see my old companion from the Mexico M.T.C., Elder McCall, who is now paired up with my last companion Elder Morgan in my old area of Newport News/Hampton.

After the meeting, Elder Bradshaw and I visited a couple of people, taught a few lessons and ate two dinners. Luckily, both meals weren't too big so it wasn't really hard to eat both of them. The second meal we had was really humbling. We ate dinner at a member family's home. Their house had no insulation, and since it was about 22 degrees outside, it was freezing in the house, too. None of their lights worked, they just had one lamp on for lighting in the kitchen. They fed us cold canned beans, cold meat and tortillas. Even though they had so little they still shared their food with us.

These past couple days I've been able to meet some of the members and some of our investigators. Elder Bradshaw and I have seen miracles happen this week, as we have been able to find new people to teach and have been successful in teaching lessons.
For example, when we knocked at a Salvadorian lady's home and she let us in. We sat down and taught her about the Restoration and she said that she knew what we told her was true and that she would definitely consider being baptized. That was really cool to be able to find her and teach her and for her to express that she felt that what we taught was true.

Well I'm looking forward to this next week!
Love Elder Cannon

Me, Elders Morgan (last companion), McCall (my companion in the MTC and Elder Morgan's new companion), and Bradshaw (new companion)

Justin Lewis (friend from Chandler) and Me

Me and Boston Cameron (friend from Chandler)

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 5, 2014- A Transfer

January 5, 2014- A Transfer

Dear Family and Friends!
Happy New Year! I can't believe that it is 2015 and that I have already been on my mission for almost 5 1/2 months. This is going to be a great year because I get to be a missionary the entire year! I had a great time on New Year's Eve. We had the night off after 5pm. So Elder Morgan and I had dinner with some of the English Elders at TGI Fridays and then we played Harry Potter Clue at our apartment.   We didn't stay up until the New Year, we went to bed at 10:30 p.m. just like every other night.

We got transfer calls on Saturday night and I'm getting transferred!  I am being transferred to Virginia Beach! Virginia Beach is the only other Spanish area in the mission that has a Spanish branch. It is a pretty big branch with about 70 people that attend weekly. My new companion is going to be Elder Bradshaw. I actually already know Elder Bradshaw because I've met him a few times at mission events. He's a really cool guy. He is thinking about playing football at BYU so he's pretty big guy.  He has the reputation of being the best Spanish speaker in the mission, so I know that I'm going to learn a lot of Spanish from him.

We had a really good day on Saturday. Elder Morgan and I set some goals Saturday morning to pass out a certain number of pass along cards, Book of Mormons, pamphlets, and restoration DVDs. We saw a lot of miracles happen. We met a new investigator from Venezuela.  She was really excited to see us but she couldn't let us come in to teach her because she was cooking dinner at the moment.  She was super apologetic and was apologizing to us and to God.  We set up an appointment to talk with her later in the week. We also handed out three Book of Mormons. We knocked on a lady's door named Socorro. We opened the door and we told her we had a message to share with her and she let us in. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon and we committed her to read it! We also went to the home of another investigator named Raul. Raul had a friend there in his trailer and we invited him to sit down for the lesson but he said he would just listen from the kitchen. It was a super powerful lesson and we committed Raul to read the Book of Mormon.  At the end of the lesson, as I was about to close with a prayer, Raul's friend rushed over and sat down with us for the prayer.  It was a really cool experience! From that day, I learned that if you set goals and you work as hard as you can to achieve them, you really will see miracles happen!

The past couple days have been sad saying goodbye to everyone in Newport News. It was especially hard at church to say goodbye to everyone. President Chamberlain, the branch president, asked me to bear my testimony in Spanish to everyone. Luckily my new area isn't too far away from Newport News, and President Baker is going to allow me and my companion to go back to Newport News so that we can attend Edwin and Miriam's baptism on Friday, January 17th.

We also changed Ramon, Belkis, Madeline, and Dyana’s baptism date to January 31st.  Iris is still doing really well and she has a baptismal date for February 7th. President Baker will probably allow us to come down for those baptisms as well.

I hope everyone has an amazing week!

Love Elder Cannon

Hermana de la Cruz (Abuelita) and her daughter Hermana Torres
branch members

baptism date February 7th

Branch 2nd Counselor Hermano Ramirez and family

Edwin and Miriam and daughter Jeramine
baptism on January 17th

Ramone and Belkis and their daughters Dyana and Madeline
baptism on January 31st

newly baptized member Jeff and his wife and kids

Friday, January 2, 2015

December 29, 2014- My First Christmas in Virginia

December 29, 2014
My First Christmas in Virginia

Hi family and friends!

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!!

Monday night, we did a service project with the McCoy family in the branch. We made cookies and then sang carols and delivered cookies to members of our branch. 

Tuesday, we contacted a bunch of people.  In the evening, the McCoy's took us out to dinner at Tucano's.  Tucano's is a Brazilian restaurant that serves lots of different kinds of meat, and mmmm it was so good.

Wednesday was Christmas Eve. I woke up feeling a little sick and I could feel that it was going hit me hard. We had Christmas Eve off. We went to the home of Ramon and Belkis, our investigators, for dinner where we had tamales, horchata, roasted turkey and dessert. They completely stuffed us. Afterwards we were invited to another ward member’s home and she served us steak, potatoes and more tamales. Oh my goodness, I was so full that I thought I was going to explode.

We woke up Christmas day and called in on the phone to a mission wide conference where each of the Assistants to the President gave a message about Christmas, and then President and Sister Baker each shared a message about Christmas as well. After our phone conference, Elder Morgan and I opened our presents, and then we went over to the Richies' house for lunch. Of course the highlight of my day was when I was able to skype with my family! I miss them a ton and wish I could have spent Christmas with them! I got a blessing from my companion and our stake president, President Hamilton to help me get over my illness. After the blessing President Hamilton told me that while he was giving the blessing, he "felt the spirit super strong.”  Then he said, “You are going to do some amazing things on your mission." I thought that his comments were cool and I've been thinking a lot about that experience lately.

As a result of my illness, I slept about 40 total hours over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Thankfully I woke up today feeling a lot better!

Well I hope everyone has a great week!

Love, Elder Cannon