Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Week #86- A New Teaching Method and Week #87- Trying a New Teaching Method

Week #86- A New Teaching Method
March 21, 2016               

Dear Family and Friends,

Things are going good here in Newport News. We are teaching a lot of people and are really busy. We are seeing some investigators really beginning to progress. Because of the success we are having Satan is pushing back pretty hard. We actually had 6 investigators and 8 less actives commit to go to church on Sunday, but not a single one showed up to church!

On Friday we had Zone Conference, where multiple zones met to receive training from President and Sister Baker. It was a great conference! One of my favorite parts, was when President Baker talked about using the Book of Mormon to begin a teaching appointment.  This means that when we ask our investigators if they had read the Book of Mormon and when they respond that they have, that we should not say “Oh that’s great,” and then just move forward with another topic that we had planned to teach. He stressed that the Lord has prepared a way before us and that there will always be something that the investigator says or that they have read that can be related to what we are going to teach. To illustrate his point he called up random missionaries, asked them to leave the room for a few minutes, told us what he was going to teach them, and then he called the missionary back in and did a role play with them.  The missionary played the part of the investigator.  President Baker asked the investigator (the missionary) if they had read the Book of Mormon and then asked them what had stood out to them in their reading. The missionary pointed out something out from his personal study the day before. Each time President Baker was able to relate what the investigator (the missionary) said and transition seamlessly into the lesson he was planning to teach. It was really cool to see how he taught from the spirit.

We had an interesting lesson with one of our less actives named Cristian. We helped him out with his gardening tasks and then proceeded to teach him about the Plan of Salvation. We had forgotten a Plan of Salvation pamphlet in English (he speaks Spanish but can't read it) so we ended up drawing the Plan in the dirt with a hoe as we taught.

We had some speakers from the High Council come to the branch on Sunday.  Neither of them could speak Spanish so I had to translate for them while they were speaking. One read his talk so it was tough to keep up. They had both given me a copy of their talks the night before so I had a little bit of time to read the talks over and mark the scriptures so that I could flip to them easier but that was about it. I just had paper copies of the talks in English and had to translate them while they were speaking.  But, it was all good.

With Easter coming up this Sunday, I want to bear my testimony that I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that His Atonement happened and provides us comfort and strength if we choose to use it in our lives. Even though Christ died that day on the cross, I know that he was resurrected the third day. And I know that we will all be resurrected because of Him, and if we stay true to the covenants we have made, we will live forever with God, Jesus Christ and our families. I love Jesus Christ, and I am so thankful that he chose willingly to suffer for me. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

There is a great video that the church put out about the Resurrection that I invite everyone to watch. You can find it at  followhim.mormon.org.

Have a great week!
Elder Cannon 

Week #87- Trying a New Teaching Method
March 28, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week has been a really busy week. We taught a lot of lessons and found a lot of new people to teach.

Last week I mentioned the way to begin teaching through the Book of Mormon. We've been teaching this way and it totally works.  It’s actually really cool. We started out our lesson with Miguelina and Leapoldo this way. Miguelina had read the testimony of the three witnesses and testimony of the eight witnesses, and we were asked her what stuck out to her in what she had read. I honestly had no idea how we were going to transition from that to the Plan of Salvation. However, Elder Free found the perfect transition at the bottom of the testimony of the three witnesses where it mentions standing at the judgement bar and being saved.  This helped us to transition perfectly into the Plan of Salvation.

We had a really good lesson with Maria about how she would receive her answer if the Book of Mormon is true. Sadly, she wasn't at church on Sunday, but we have a lesson with her tonight so we will see what happened.

We got a media referral this week.  We visited the address on the referral.  The owner told us that he hadn't requested us to come over, but clearly he did or someone in his family did because he had his phone number and email. He decided to let us in and we talked to him. He is Pentecostal and all he did was try to bash with us. It was really cool though because all the different concerns he brought up lead right into the next point of the Restoration. His big concern was how he felt that when someone is baptized it should be in the name of Jesus Christ and not in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. When we came back to his home for a lesson the second time we brought a member named Brother Flores. We focused on the Book of Mormon, but he kept bringing up his question about baptism, and so we read a scripture in 3rd Nephi where Jesus Christ talked about how we should be baptized. Brother Flores bore a super strong testimony of his conversion.  Unfortunately, the investigator was more interested in bashing with us than anything else so we were forced to drop him.

We had interviews with President Baker. Its crazy to think that it is a one of the last few that I will have with him. Because he is being released two weeks before I am, its not clear whether he will be able to do my final interview. He said he'd think about it, he just doesn't want to step on the new mission president's toes.  I am really hoping that I can get my last interview from him.

At church we had a special Easter program where we read the final talk that Bruce R. McConkie gave about the Savior. I was asked to teach the gospel doctrine classes right before Sacrament meeting so I had 2 minutes to look over the lesson and then I had to teach it. Luckily, it was on 2 Nephi 31 which is about the doctrine of Christ. After church we had a linger longer and we ate some really good food.

I want to finish by inviting everyone to watch all the sessions of General Conference that they can. It is an amazing opportunity to have a living prophet and apostles. Come to Conference with a question and it will be answered

Everyone have a great week.

Love, Elder Cannon

                                           My new friend, a less active member's chicken

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Week #85- Teaching Lots of Lessons and Two New Baptism Dates

March 14, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

There are more families that are moving out of the branch in Newport News in a few weeks, so we have been working really hard to try to bring less actives back to church. We have some really sweet less actives. Two of them are brothers and they are super solid and read the Book of Mormon every day, but their Dad doesn't let them come to church so we are hoping that will change in the future.

Last Monday after emailing, we helped Faustino to send his ID and Mexican passport to power company so that he could pay his light bill. Faustino is a member of our ward.

Wednesday was a really good day for us. We are teaching a family, and Maria (the mother) has accepted a baptismal date for May 7! The day after she accepted the baptismal date, she faced lots of opposition. Her kids got super sick.  She had to take them to the hospital and so she wasn't able to come to church. We talked to her about the opposition she is going to face and she is determined to keep going forward with the date.

Following Maria’s lesson, we taught the first lesson to Rigo.  He is the husband of a less active sister named Elizabeth who wants to come back to church. Rigo talked about how he wants to learn more about the church of his wife and he wants to start attending church. He accepted a baptismal date for April 16th and then he invited us to come back to eat dinner with them. The only thing that makes it tough for Rigo to attend church is that he's a fisherman and he doesn't have a set work schedule. He travels to Massachusetts when his company tells him to.  He can be gone for as short as a few days up to a month at a time. He already knows that he is leaving tomorrow. He told us to come back tonight before he leaves.  Hopefully he comes back sooner rather than later so that we can keep teaching him.

I had to direct my first district meeting alone last Friday. It felt weird planning a meeting without a companion like I did when planning a Zone meeting. Since our district is just composed of 3 Spanish speaking Elders and 2 Spanish speaking Sisters we had our meeting in Spanish. I think the meeting went pretty well.

On Sunday we taught a family that came to the US from Tijuana, Mexico less than 2 weeks ago. They told us that they didn't know anybody here and since they haven't seen any Catholic churches in Newport News they want to start coming to our church. We didn't even invite them, they invited themselves- which was cool.

We taught a Cuban guy named Jose. He made a big deal about how he wasn't into reading the Bible because “he had his own knowledge of religious things.” He had never actually invited people from a church into his house before so we were the first ones. Elder Free invited him to be baptized. and he chuckled and said, “You guys want to baptize me huh? Yeah, I'll be baptized by you guys since I haven't ever been baptized before.” At the end of the lesson, he told us that he liked talking to us and invited us to come back next Sunday.

I want to bear my testimony that we are so blessed to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Through the covenants that we make at baptism and at the temple we can fully access the atonement of Jesus Christ. We have something that our neighbors, and friends, and family members that aren't members of the church desperately need. And we as members have the opportunity to help them feel the joy and peace that we feel in our lives. I would like to invite everyone to invite someone to come closer to Christ. It doesn't need to be something big like asking them to be baptized right then and there, but it can be something small like inviting them to watch the new Easter video that the church put out, or inviting them to a ward party. I know that God and Jesus Christ live and they love us very much.

Love, Elder Cannon

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Week #84- Back in Newport News

March 7, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

It's good to be back in the News! It's strange to be back in Newport News again and to recognize everything, although so much about the area has changed. The branch is much smaller than it was when I was here last. Many members have moved and many have become less active. I think that God has something in store for the branch and I'm guessing that is why I've been called back here. 

Elder Hess and Elder Free are my new companions. Elder Free has been out for 5 transfers and we are finishing the training of Elder Hess. Its funny because even though Elder Hess and Elder Free know the area better than I do now, I know the members and less actives better because they have only been here for one transfer. It was wonderful to be welcomed by the members, everyone was  happy to see me again.

The drive up to Newport News on Wednesday was a super long one. We had to drive from Greenville to Nags Head, and then up to Portsmouth, which was about 4 hours. Then, Brother McCoy picked me up in Portsmouth, since Elder Hess and Free couldn't come to pick me up, and we drove another hour to Newport News. We live in a different area than I lived in before, which is actually nice because we used to live 4 miles out of our area.  This meant that we wasted 8 miles every day to drive down to our area. The boundaries changed too, our area now extends 2 miles further North.

The sweestest experience we had this week was that we went back to this apartment complex that Elder Free and Elder Hess didn't know about, and a family from Iraq let us in. They spoke some English and believed in Jesus Christ. They were really excited to see us and we had a really good lesson with them about the restoration. We invited them to be baptized, but they didn't know what that word meant so we had to try to describe it to them with hand motions and easier words. Once they understood, they said that they would like to be baptized!

We also visited a member named Faustino.  He had two friends visiting at the time so we shared a message with Faustino and his friends. They expressed some interest in our message so we set up another appointment for later this week. As we left Faustino's, we noticed an occupied car that was parked next to ours.  I knocked on their window and they rolled it down. I started talking to them and then Anthony came out of the car and told us how he had an Aunt die two days ago.  He said that he had been meaning to come back to church for awhile.  He asked us to call him Sunday morning and he would come to church. He said, “This is a sign from God that I need to come back to church.”  Since he speaks English, we passed him off to the English Elders.  Hopefully they will be able to start teaching him.

It has been funny because many people in Newport News have asked me if I am Hispanic because I "look Hispanic." I'm not sure what that means because I'm as white as can be. A guy from Cuba told me that I looked like one of his former classmates in Cuba, and then a Honduran woman told me that I looked like her cousin in Honduras. Another woman from Panama told me that I had Hispanic features. It’s been pretty funny but hey, I think it’s pretty cool.

Have a good week.

Elder Cannon