Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 23, 2015- Driving in the Snow and Training the Mission

February 23, 2015- Driving in the Snow and Training the Mission

Dear Family and Friends,

As of today, I have been out on my mission for 7 months! It has just amazed me how fast time is flying. In the moment it doesn't seem fast until all of a sudden I'm at P day again and then I look back and think, wow that week went by super quick.

 Monday night, it began to snow.  At 7 p.m. we ate dinner with a member named Hermano Villacherrez and his wife, who isn't a member. We had some really good Peruvian food. When we left at 9 p.m. there was a lot more snow. Our mission president called us around then and told us that the whole mission was going to be shut down tomorrow because of the snow.  We were asked not to drive or bike on Tuesday.  My companion and I were way down in Virginia Beach and we had a 20 minute drive back to our apartment. So I had to drive home in the snow.  I've never driven in snow before so it took me a little while to get the hang of it.  It wasn't too bad at all, you have just got to drive slowly and not slam on your brakes.

Tuesday was a snow day! We got up and technically we didn't have to do anything since the entire mission got shut down, but Elder Bradshaw and I decided that after our studies that we'd just walk in the snow to some appointments.  I think I got to experience a little bit of my Dad's mission in Germany by walking around in the cold and snow. We walked to Martin and Lani's house and we ended up being there most of the afternoon. We talked to them for a little bit and ate dinner there. While we were eating, Martin searched for El Libro de Mormon on You Tube on his television, and the video he picked just happened to be a documentary about El Libro de Mormon made by BYU.  Elder Bradshaw and I are hoping that that video will help Martin develop a desire to read the Book of Mormon.

Wednesday, we were allowed to drive again but the roads were still super slippery and still had snow on them because here in Virginia they don't have the equipment to pick up all the snow like they would have in Utah. It took them about a week to actually clear all the streets of the snow. We visited la familia Sabillon and we watched the movie Meet the Mormons with them. Wednesday night it also got down to 16 degrees, which is freezing compared to the winters in Arizona that I'm used to.

Thursday, we met a woman named Estela while knocking doors and she let us in. We started talking with her and she said that she had heard of our church before and she said that she didn't like some of the rules we had. So we asked her which rule bothered her.  I was thinking she be concerned about Joseph Smith and modern day prophets or that we added to the Bible because we have the Book of Mormon.  However, her concern was that we are strict about modesty. I was surprised that a middle-aged woman who was wearing a turtleneck sweater and long pants was concerned about modesty. To be honest that was the strangest first concern I've ever heard so far, but we talked to her about it a little and then we ended up teaching her about the Restoration.  She said that she would read the Book of Mormon and we have another appointment with her tonight.

On Friday, during the District Meeting, I was asked to give a training to our whole district about the importance of extending commitments.

We are continuing to go through the 12 Week Program as a mission.  We call in every Saturday as a whole mission to talk a little bit about what we are learning and about our experiences.  President Baker assigns companionships to talk about certain things on the calls, and this time Elder Bradshaw and I were assigned to give training about the white handbook to the whole mission. And the end of the call President Baker said he had an announcement for the whole mission.  He was able to get special permission from the Salt Lake to allow the mission to drive down to the temple in Raleigh, North Carolina in March to do several endowment sessions!!! Normally, if you don't have a temple in your mission, then you just don't get to go to the temple for two years but we actually are going to leave the mission to go to the temple! We are going on March 11th.

The rest of Saturday was super crazy. We met an old Honduran woman who invited us in. We tried to teach her but she basically believes that God is the Bible.  Whenever we tried to say something she would say, “My advice to you jovencitos is to study the Bible.” She wouldn't let us pray either because she said we should save our prayers for people don't know God, and since she already knows God she didn’t need our prayers. We asked her if she would pray about the Book of Mormon and she said she'd pray for us but she didn't want anything to do with our book. After we left her home, we ended up running into an older Caucasian man on the street.  We talk to everyone whether they are Hispanic or not so we began talking to him. He had some really good questions about the church and we ended up teaching him about the Restoration right there on the snowy streets. He said he would read the book of Mormon and that we could come over to his house and talk to him again. Sadly, we'll have to pass him over to the English elders.

Later that evening, we taught a great lesson to a couple from Honduras and then we committed them to read the Book of Mormon.

Our last stop on Saturday night was around 8:45 p.m. We knocked on the door of an investigator, but his roommate answered instead. We started talking to him but he cut us off and said we were filled with lies and he started telling us that we just needed to read the Bible and then we would know that the trinity doesn't exist and there is only one God who is Jesus Christ.  As he was talking, I could think of at least 10 scriptures in the Bible that said otherwise, but we felt like we should leave because the spirit wasn't there at all.   

Sunday afternoon, we went to visit Carlos, but he wasn't there. Our next appointment was scheduled for later in the day, so we decided to tract in a trailer park to find someone to teach. We met Maulo and his son, who let us in.  Maulo brought up the concern how he didn't think Jesus could have appeared to the people here in America.  We helped him to understand the importance of reading and praying about the Book of Mormon so that he could know that the Book of Mormon was true and he committed to do that.

 I hope everyone has a great week!

Love, Elder Cannon

Snowy streets in Virginia Beach

During the snowfall

This is what the streets looked like for a week

A member's snowman

16 Degrees outside

Sunday, February 22, 2015

January 16, 2015- Lots of Families to Teach

January 16, 2015- Lots of Families to Teach

Hola familia y amigos,

On Monday, we had a really good lesson with Martin and Lani where we talked about the Book of Mormon and helped them understand how the scripture in Revelations is talking about not adding to that particular book and not about the Book of Mormon. They both committed to reading.

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling pretty sick. This illness has been going around the missionaries. It’s the same illness I had during Christmas and I got it again. I've been fighting it pretty hard with Vitamin C and cough medicine and I'm still sick but I feel better.

We've been trying to help Christopher to come back to church. He doesn't like it when we teach him a lesson, so we watched some Mormon Messages with him, hoping that would invite the spirit to help him realize he needs to come back to church.

Wednesday, we went down to Chesapeake to tract. As we were tracting, we saw a group of black guys so we went over there and gave them all a pass along card with a picture of Jesus on it.  One of them said, "This white guy is Jesus? Nah, that ain't right."  Then they walked away before my companion and I could try to talk to them. It was actually pretty funny, but I wish we could have been able to talk to them. 

We knocked on a door where we thought a Hispanic family lived, but a black guy answered the door instead.  He invited us to come in to talk and then he accepted a Book of Mormon and he said he would read it. We're going to send the English missionaries over to teach him.

We visited the Ramos family, in which the mom is a member and the father and son aren't. They are sweet! We had a really good lesson about prayer and we asked them to read and pray about the book of Mormon.

We also taught Victor, an 80-year-old guy from Peru who is a member.  He lives with his daughter Maria and her husband. Maria is a member but her husband Reuben is not. We taught him about the Restoration and he said he knew that what we were saying was true and that the Book of Mormon is true.

The past couple days has been freezing, in the low 20s, and on Thursday it started snowing but the snow didn't stick so the snow just ended up melting really quick. While it was snowing, and as we were driving the street and saw some people who were moving into a house.  We pulled over and offered to help them. The guy said, "Yeah, you can help but I'm not going to buy whatever you are selling." After we helped them move in, we gave them a couple cards and talked to them about the church.

On Friday, we had exchanges with the zone leaders. Elder Smith came up here to Norfolk to work with me and he brought along the missionary they are training. Elder Smith is a Spanish Elder who was assigned to be an English zone leader. He actually served here in the Norfolk Spanish area a few transfers ago.  It ended up being a miracle day. We taught an amazing lesson with less active 18 year old named Eric.  We actually went to teach his whole family but since he was the only one there when we showed up, we just taught him.  Erik hasn't ever read the Book of Mormon, so we committed him to read the Book of Mormon every day, and he said that he would. Afterwards, we had dinner with Jose and Reina.  Reina is a member, her husband Jose isn't. She served some really good flautas and Jose made this really picante (spicy) salsa.  I thought it wasn't that hot, but Elder Smith said he thought it was really spicy. The dinner was super good. We go over there every week for dinner.  Jose and Reina are definitely some of the best cooks ever. I look forward to eating their food every week. We retaught Jose about the importance of the Book of Mormon.  We told him he wasn't doing his part to find out if the Book of Mormon is true.  He wouldn't commit to reading it, but he said he might read it.  We are going to have to continue to work with him on that. Afterwards, we had an amazing first lesson with Dixion and Bessie.  We found them at a car wash as we were riding by on bikes a few weeks ago. We talked a little about the Restoration and gave them a Book of Mormon.

Saturday, Elder Bradshaw returned.  While we were in Chesapeake, we drove to a trailer park to tract and hopefully find someone to teach. Before we got out of the car we said a prayer. I asked Heavenly Father to help us to find someone to teach that was ready to hear our message. We got out and started walking.  We saw some Hispanic kids playing on their porch. We walked over there and the parents let us in. We taught them about the Restoration. They were really open to what they were teaching them and they told us we could come over again.

I was reading in the Book of Mormon this morning during personal study.  I was reading 1st Nephi 8 where it talks about Lehi's dream. Something that stuck out to me was that after Lehi had partaken of the fruit, he had the desire to share it with his family. He could see his family across the field and his family didn't know where to go, so he beckoned and called his family over to him so that they could partake of the fruit too. As we experience the joys of the gospel, it will only become natural for us to want to share it with our families and friends because we will want them to taste that same joy and happiness that we have tasted. We have family members and friends who are looking for this fruit, but they don't know where to find it. And it is our job to help show them where this fruit is. I want to encourage all of you back home, if you haven't already, to taste of the amazing fruit of this gospel through praying to our Heavenly Father, reading the Book of Mormon, and going to church.  As you do so, your desire to share the gospel is going to increase.  There are people waiting out there for us to show them where the truth is.     

I hope everyone has a great week.

Elder Cannon

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 9, 2015- A New Car

February 9, 2015- A New Car

Hey Family and Friends!!

Elder Bradshaw and I wrapped up our biking adventures on Tuesday by biking about 8 miles to go to a member’s house for dinner. On Wednesday, we received a new car and I have been assigned to drive as my companion's driving privileges have been taken away. All the drivers here are so crazy!

We had a great week! We taught 9 investigator lessons this week, which is the most I've scheduled in a week thus far in my mission. We extended a baptismal invitation to Mrs. Delgado but she said that she wanted to wait for her son to come back from his mission so that he can baptize her. We had a great lesson with Carlos about the Restoration and he said he'd pray about our message.

While we were knocking on a potential investigator's door, we could see that across the apartment complex, two Latina Jehovah Witness missionaries were knocking on doors. It was pretty funny to see them knocking one side of the apartments as we were knocking on the other side.

We ate some good food this week with investigators and members spanning from Peruvian pancakes with a rice drink, to Papusas, to some Dominican fried chicken, to some classic Mexican tortillas with rice, beans, and chopped up peppers with a drink called Flor de Jamica; which the Latinos called la Fsangre de Dios (the blood of God). Our Bishopric is really encouraging the members of our ward to feed us every night. It's nice and all, but I wish they had this same drive about missionary work.  We would like to be able to get a member to join us every night when we teach lessons. Well, our ward here  is awesome!

Have a great week everyone!

Love, Elder Cannon

Sunday, February 8, 2015

February 2, 2015- Snow!

February 2, 2015- Snow!

Hey Family and Friends!

I just completed my second week being on a bike. I am just starting to get used to be on a bike but it sounds like our biking days could almost be over. We had some interviews with President Baker on Thursday. And I asked him if I should buy a bike since I have been using a junky used extra bike right now.  President Baker said that he didn't know we were still on bikes and that he is going to get us a car. We just don't know how long it will be until then. But it’s been nice to have had the time to be on bikes because it keeps you in shape.

Monday night we went over to teach the family of Lani and Martin. Lani is Hermana Delgado's daughter. Lani wasn't there though, so we taught Martin.  We watched the Restoration video, and answered some of his questions.  For example, he asked, “What is so bad about coffee, because it’s not the caffeine since you guys drink soda? I just bore my testimony that I honestly don't know exactly what there is in coffee that is bad, but I do know that the Book of Mormon is true which means that this church is the true church, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that means that the Word of Wisdom is a commandment from God, so that means no coffee.

Tuesday morning, we went downstairs to exercise in our building’s gym. About halfway through our workout, I just happened to glance outside through a window, and saw that it was all white and the ground was all covered in snow. By the time we actually got outside to ride our bikes, around 2 p.m., all the snow had melted. Tuesday night, we had a lesson with the Delgados. We talked with Hermana Delgado and she said that she knew that the Book of Mormon was true and there isn't anything holding her back from being baptized. The spirit was super strong but before we could invite her to be baptized on a specific date, one of her neighbors came in, and began having a conversation with her. As a result, the strong spirit left and we weren't able to ask her to be baptized. Satan is always trying to oppose the work but we are hoping to set a baptism date with her this next week.

Wednesday, as we were biking we saw some Latinos so we turned around and went to talk with them. While Elder Bradshaw was talking to some guys from Argentina, I talked to a woman from Peru. As I was talking to her she mentioned that some missionaries had told her about Joseph Smith. I asked her if she believed that there could be a living prophet today on the Earth, and she said, "No I don't think so, and even if there was one I wouldn't care." I've been thinking about just how blessed we are to have a prophet today who can lead and guide us to help us choose the right. It is so clear to me that we need a prophet. We also met with Luis, Hermana Delgado's 17 year old son, and he told us he doesn't want to get baptized until later in life because when he turns 18 he wants to join the Air Force.  He says that after he is done with the Air Force, then he will join.  Elder Bradshaw and I are going to try to convince him to join sooner rather than later.

Friday night we were at Victor and Reina's house for dinner and afterwards we taught Victor a lesson. He made us some really good tacos.  Mmm, they were so good. After we ate them, Victor asked me if I knew what type of tacos they were and then he told me that they were tacos de lengua.  In English, that translates as cow tongue tacos. It actually didn't shock me at all or anything because I figured that's what they were. Ever since I arrived here in the field I have heard Spanish missionaries talk about how good tacos de lengua are, so I've been wanting to try them for some time.

Saturday, a family in our branch baptized their 8-year-old daughter and we were invited to attend.  After the program, we did some service for a member.  We raked his yard and fixed his car.  In the evening, we taught two lessons. One of them was with Jamie. We talked with him and he said that he knows that the Book of Mormon is true.  We set him with a baptismal date for March 14th.

On Sunday, during Sacrament meeting, the Stake Presidency was there.  After Sacrament meeting, which is held during the third hour here, all the priesthood holders and anyone else who wanted to stay were asked to stay for a special meeting. The Stake President said that it was the will of the Lord that this Spanish branch should become a Spanish ward. So, he called and set apart the High Priest group and Elders quorum presidency. So officially, we are a ward now, which is awesome!

Hope everyone has a great week.

Love, Elder Cannon