Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Week #70- An Ox in the Mire

November 23. 2015
Dear Family and friends,

This week has been such a busy week!!  Tuesday morning we woke up early to drive to Goldsboro where we had a mission conference/tour with Elder Arnold of the Seventy. We had a leadership meeting before the actual meeting where we talked about what was going to happen in the meeting. Elder Arnold is an amazing guy. He has a strong testimony of the Savior and he is super bold. Rather than eating lunch during lunch hour, Elder Arnold interviewed each of the Zone leaders and Sister training leaders individually. So, I had a two or three minute personal interview with a general authority. He asked a lot of questions about my family. After the conference, we had planned to drive up to Portsmouth, Virginia since we had a conference with just Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders from the whole mission on Wednesday morning. It was kind of like a Mission Leadership Conference. But Elder Arnold overheard that we were heading up right after, and he told us to go back to our areas and work and then to drive up in the morning instead. President Baker couldn't really do anything about it so he told us to do what Elder Arnold said. We had the Elders from New Bern with us and we couldn't really drive them back to their area since they are one hour south of where we live so we took them back to our area and did splits. We actually saw a lot of miracles and were able to teach a few lessons.

The next morning, Wednesday, we had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to drive for three hours back up to Portsmouth, Virginia. The meeting with Elder Arnold was super spiritual and he was super bold. He called all of us to repentance and told us that 100% obedience is required at this level of leadership or we needed to be released. We had a counsel where he changed the mission standard of excellence as well as the way missionary work is going to be done in our area from now on. As a result, the mission will be changing a lot in the next few transfers. After the meeting we got stuck waiting at Pep Boys for three hours while we got new tires for our car. Then we drove back home to Greenville, North Carolina.  Unfortunately, I got pretty sick on the car ride home, probably because I had been sitting down basically all day. We ended up arriving back to our apartment at 9 p.m.

We have finally had to "drop" Larry. He has been staying in Raleigh for a long time now so we have passed him off to the missionaries there. We are going to try to keep in contact with him and with the missionaries there.  Hopefully he gets baptized soon!

Some of our most progressing investigators right now are two friends named Jorge and Ruben.  We are teaching them together since they live in the same trailer park. We have taught the first couple of lessons to them. Ruben knows a lot about the Bible and other gospel topics.  Jorge doesn't have the same level of understanding but he is willing to learn. We are trying to get them to church but they are always working on Sundays. They are reading the Book of Mormon slowly, but they are reading!

We had Stake Conference this week.  We talked about the importance of holding family counsels and keeping the Sabbath day holy. Since I’ve been out here in the mission, my understanding of the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy has grown and I have grown to love the Sabbath day even more. Our Stake President, President Walker, talked about being in the right place at the right time, and how we should strive to never miss Sacrament meeting even when we are on vacation with our families. He told a story about when he and his wife were on vacation with their three daughters.  One of his daughters was older and really wanted to get married but wasn't really having much success finding a husband.  They were on vacation and attended the local ward, and his daughter ended up meeting her future husband there. It was kind of a funny story but President Walker said that the Lord will always bless us for keeping the Sabbath day holy.

Speaking of keeping the Sabbath day holy, we had a ox in the mire incident on Sunday. We were at a trailer park where it had been raining pretty hard all day. Elder Dickerson tried to do a U-turn but we ended up sliding into the mud and got stuck. We knocked on one of our old investigator's doors and he used his truck to get us out of the mud. 

I hope everyone has a great week and a fun Thanksgiving!

Love, Elder Cannon

Our "ox in the mire"

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Week #69- Exchanges and Translating

November 16, 2015
Dear Family and Friends,
It's starting to cool down here in Greenville! We are starting to wake up with the temperature in the low 40s. It's actually been a super warm fall so that means its probably going to be a freezing winter and we might get some snow here in February again. 
We have been really busy this week. We had exchanges with the Assistants to the President on Tuesday. Elder Brown came down here with us. Elder Brown is one of the English missionaries that came into the field with me, he was my zone leader earlier this year and we were companions for a few days when Elder Bradshaw finished his mission while I was waiting for transfer day to get a new companion. We were able to teach lessons to two of our investigators that have a lot of potential but we hadn’t had much success in making appointments with in the past.

We taught Jorge the plan of salvation and you could tell that the felt the spirit. However, Jorge couldn't wrap his mind around what the atonement was when we were trying to explain it to him. I have found it interesting on my mission to try to explain what the atonement is as most of the time people in general just don't understand it. They know He died on the cross and was resurrected but that is basically it. I'm so thankful that the atonement is so much more than that. Jesus Christ literally felt every single pain, illness, affliction, temptation and everything we would ever feel or go through, and because of that he is able to succor us and help us to overcome all that we struggle with. Jesus’ sacrifice will allow us to stand before God at the judgment bar and be clean, if we do our best to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

We were able to teach Alicia again. She is doing well; she just has been super busy with work. She got a job in Goldsboro which requires her to wake up at 4:00 in the morning every day and then she doesn't get home until late at night. It's actually pretty frustrating because that is how it is with almost all the people we teach. The Hispanics are worked to death here and literally have almost no time at all to meet with us. Elder Dickerson served the first part of his mission in Ecuador and he said, that people were always outside and got home from work around 4 p.m., so it was easy to teach their investigators every day. We get lucky if we can teach them more than once a week, and a lot of times we aren't able to see them for a couple weeks.
We also had exchanges with the Kinston Elders and Woodington Elders. Elder Dickerson went to Kinston, and I went down South to Woodington. Woodington is in the middle of nowhere. I wouldn't call any of their area a city. It is just farmland and forest with an occasional house. However, apparently the Woodington ward is like one of the strongest wards in our stake and they have 250 active members. We went "tracting" down there, which really isn't tracting since you get in the car to drive to the next house to knock on the door.   We met a Hispanic woman, as we were tracting. Since the Woodington Elders don't speak Spanish, I talked with her and started a lesson. I got through the first point of the Restoration and then I stopped and told the woman that the other Elders were going to teach her too and I would translate. So the Woodington Elders and I taught her and I just translated for them whenever she talked and translated for her when they talked. It is too bad that the closest Spanish missionaries are in Kinston, which is 30 miles away.  I’m not sure exactly how she is going to get taught, and if she gets taught it won't be very often. 
This next week we will be busy since we have Elder Arnold of the Seventy coming. We have a mission conference with all the missionaries in North Carolina tomorrow morning in Goldsboro, and right after the conference ends at 3 p.m. we get to drive almost 4 hours North to Portsmouth, Virginia for a conference with all the Zone leaders and Sister training leaders and Elder Arnold the following day. 
I hope everyone has a great week!
Elder Cannon

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Week #68- Singing a Sermon

November 9, 2015

Hey Family and Friends!!!!

This week has been crazy busy just like every first week of the month. On every first Tuesday of the month we have to "deep clean" our apartment. By the time we finished cleaning it was time for us to drive up to Virginia for the Mission Leadership Conference. However, we had to drive through Roanoke Rapids to pick up a car from some Elders there so that a new Tiwi monitoring device could be installed.  This added on an extra hour to our drive to Virginia. We had set up a time to meet up with the Elders at 6:30 pm. However, the Elders decided to drive to an appointment instead of meeting us at the agreed upon time that was 30 minutes in the wrong direction, so we had to wait around in Roanoke Rapids for an hour and a half until they arrived at 8:00pm. We ended up arriving to the AP's house in Portsmouth, Virginia at 9:50 pm. 

Something that the Assistant to the Presidents are known for here is that they run a few miles every morning. So we got to run a little more then two miles with them on Wednesday morning. After our Mission Leadership Conference meeting, we drove back through Roanoke Rapids to exchange cars with the Elders there.   We got back to Greenville just in time for a lesson at 7 p.m. with Fernando. Fernando is always asking us questions because he is curious and wants to know more and he is one of the most intelligent investigators that I've met. He was asking us questions like how the people in the Americas knew about Jesus Christ if history shows that Christianity didn't exist here until after people from Europe had come over. 

Larry has had a couple of hard weeks and will have to wait a few more weeks until he can buy a car and be able to drive up here to Greenville to come to church. We contacted missionaries in Raleigh, North Carolina so that they can contact him and continue to teach him until he is able to come back up here.

Last night, we had a lesson with our investigators Pancrasio and Victor. We were talking about the Sunday church service with them and they asked us if we sing at church. Elder Dickerson told them that I was a good singer with a really good voice and so they told me that I should sing to them. They kept insisting that I sing to them, so I told them I would sing them a hymn if they would read a chapter in the Book of Mormon. Elder Dickerson felt a little bad, so he and I both sang Nearer My God to Thee in Spanish to them. The spirit was really strong while we were singing even though Elder Dickerson and I can't sing very well.  Afterwards, they said that they would come to church in the next few weeks! 

Have a great week everyone!
Elder Cannon

                                                          Our District at a Zone Conference