August 24, 2015
Dear Family and friends
Another month has gone by! I just hit 13 months yesterday. Time is just flying by!
For P-day last week, all six elders in Greenville went to the batting cages at ECU. They had a machine that was throwing an 88 mph fastball. I was able to hit it every so often but I had to time it right and begin to swing before the ball came out, so it beats me how the pros can think about whether they want to hit it and swing in time.
We had posole for dinner, the first Hispanic dish that I have had the chance to eat since I have been here in Greenville. I was so happy because I love posole, and it was so, so good!!
Our investigator Larry has read all of 1st Nephi in a couple days even though he has had a really bad migraine. The spirit has been really strong in our lessons. What has been really cool is there is a less active member that lives in the same complex that Larry knows. Larry has invited her to join in on our lessons and she did. Hopefully being there in the lessons for Larry will activate her.
We are teaching Arnulfo who thinks God has chosen him and as "proof" of his calling he has all these dreams from God. Just about everything we talk about reminds him of a dream that he recently had and then he spends ten minutes telling us about his dream. On Friday we talked about the Plan of Salvation and how we needed to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost when and he told us that he had already received the Holy Ghost and then he proceeded to relate one of his dreams to us. He said that was walking down a path and he heard this horse walking behind him. He looked around and saw a white horse. He said that the white horse was named Paloma, which he said was supposed to represent the Holy Ghost. I've met a lot of Hispanics who have had religiously themed dreams. I'm not sure why is so big in the Hispanic culture to have dreams, but I guess that is how it is. Well, at least he is reading the Book of Mormon.
We had exchanges with the Assistants to President on Friday. They drove down from Virginia. Elder Ferguson was assigned to work with Elder Berry and me. His companion, Elder Terril was assigned to work with the Zone Leaders in Wilson, North Carolina. Elder Ferguson doesn't know any Spanish, so during our lessons he sat between us and Elder Berry and I would trade off translating for him while the other talked. He said that was the first time that he had Spanish elders translate for him; normally he just doesn't know what is going on. He was pretty happy that we would do that for him, so that was pretty cool. I guess we are just used to translating because we do it every Sunday for the Spanish-speaking members in the ward.
We gave the sister missionaries in our ward nearly everyone we found last week to teach since most of the people we found/taught are English speaking.
Sunday we got to go in for sharing time during Primary to talk with the kids in Junior and Senior Primary about how they can be missionaries. It was really fun because it brought back a lot of memories of being in Primary when I was younger.
That evening, we had a special conference for the entire stake of Kinston. We had to drive about 50 miles south to New Bern, North Carolina. The topic of the special conference was about how to respect motherhood and womanhood. I would just like to say how much I appreciate my mom and how much I love her. She has always been there to watch out for me and help me with anything that I needed. I hope you realize mom how important you are to me. I love you mom!
We had a few funny experiences this week. We were walking outside talking with people at the mall and there was this big built worker sitting down on some steps and so we went over to talk with him. He stood up and walked right up to my companion’s face, looked down at his nametag and said, "Are you a Mormon, Berry?" My companion said yes, and then he walked up right to my face, looked at my name tag and asked me the same thing, "Are you a Mormon, Cannon?" I said yes. Elder Berry and I didn't flinch at all. I thought he was going to yell at us but then he was said, “Oh that's cool.” Then, he started talking about how his brother in law's family was Mormon. It goes to show you that can't ever judge people by the first impression.
We went into the ghetto to find an old investigator. We saw an African American outside the investigator’s home. We walked over and talked to him and he said we could teach him. We pulled a restoration pamphlet with a picture of Jesus on it and asked him who he saw on the front cover. He paused for a second and said, "What I see is an interpretation, of a certain group of people, who think they know what Jesus Christ looks like." He was offended that the picture portrayed Jesus Christ as a white man. He commented on how if the picture had been a picture of a African American Jesus, his children would be able to have more confidence in themselves because they would be looking up to a man of their own race. We had to end the lesson early because he wouldn't listen to us after that.
I know this church is true, and I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and for what he did for all of us. I'm also very grateful that my family will be together forever!!
Hope everyone has a great week
August 31, 2015
I hope everything is going well there. It’s going great here in North Carolina!
On Monday we had another lesson with Ernestina, Coral and Alex where we taught them about the Book of Mormon. Ernestina is the grandma, Coral is the mom and Alex is the son. They are our most progressing Spanish investigators right now.
On Tuesday we had a first lesson with Ana, who is from Mexico, her sister and their friend Ulysses. It was strange because Ana spoke a weird dialect. Basically she doesn't speak English or Spanish so I don't know how she survives here in the United States. Her sister just translated for her during the lesson. I have met many people that speak other dialects. All of them are from Guatemala and they speak a dialect called Q'eachi'. This was the first time that I've met someone from Mexico that speaks a dialect instead of Spanish.
On Friday, went on exchanges with Elder Pugsley, one of our district leaders and his companions. I went down to his area. I'll admit I was a little nervous since this was the first time where I was the leader in the exchange. Normally, the district leaders get to go on exchanges with the elder companionships in their area, but since the area I was a district leader in had only sister missionaries, I didn't get a chance to do it. But luckily, Elder Pugsley and I know each other already so things went well.
We taught Arnulfo again. We talked about baptism and confirmation, and read Acts 8 with him, which talks about the correct way to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is by the laying on of hands by those who have the authority from God. He basically told us that he understood the scripture but since he felt that God called him in his dream- that didn't apply to him. Elder Berry visited him again with another missionary while I was in Elder Pugsley's area and Arnulfo continued to insist that the rules didn’t apply to him so we decided to stop teaching him.
We had a Ward North Carolina BBQ Saturday night. The food was super good! We had a pig pickin' where they cooked the entire pig on the grill and then you "pick" off what you want to eat. It’s interesting because the way they BBQ here is vinegar based, so the meat was coated with apple cider vinegar instead of the normal tomato based sauce, but it was actually really delicious. It was very exciting because our investigator named Larry came to the BBQ. He got the chance to meet ward members, and then he came to church on Sunday and he loved it!
We taught the word of wisdom lesson to Larry during the week. We thought it might be a problem since he is addicted to smoking, but he told us, “Yeah I need to stop.” He committed to live the word of wisdom!
While we were tracting earlier this week, a Hispanic lady answered the door and she was a Jehovah’s Witness. We asked her if we could share a message and she said, “Yes, but let me grab my Bible so that I can share something too.” Elder Berry and I were thinking that she was planning to bash with us. Her husband joined us, but in the end we actually were able to teach the entire Restoration lesson to them!
I'm going to be driving to Virginia tomorrow night because I have an all day meeting on Wednesday with President Baker and all the zone leaders.