Monday, April 25, 2016

Week #91- Miracles

April 25, 2016
Dear Family and Friends

Miguelina and Leapoldo are still doing well. In the past, Leapoldo hasn’t been super interested in our message and has even said that he is just tagging along with his wife. However, during our lesson on Monday, he commented that before he met us he had a lot of concerns and worries because he wasn't sure how he was going to be able to support his family who had just come from Tijuana to join him in the United States. However, from the moment that he started to meet with us and discuss the gospel his fears and worries have seemed to disappear.

On Tuesday, I attended our normal leadership call which we hold at the beginning of every transfer to help to train newly called District Leaders. President Baker and all of the leadership in the mission including: Zone leaders, District leaders and Sister Training leaders are in attendance. We were discussing how to prepare for a District meeting. President Baker said that  he was going to call on a few of the more experienced District leaders to make some comments, and he asked me to go first. That made me feel old. I can't believe that I hit 21 months last Saturday.

On Wednesday, we dropped by the home of Alvino, one of our investigators. Alvino was busy but some of his friends let us in. We planned to talk to them for a minute or two and then leave. Then, Alvino’s friends commented to us that the police were going to show up because one of them had been beaten up the night before by someone else. At this point, I decided it was time to leave but right when we stood up to leave the police knocked on the door. The policemen asked me to translate for them and I thought that was actually pretty cool.

I'm pretty sure that I was exposed to peanuts during dinner this week. I started feeling really sick but not as bad as I did the last time I ate peanuts by mistake during a member dinner. I asked for a Priesthood blessing, and decided that if I started to feel worse then I would need to go to the hospital. Luckily, the sick feeling left my body soon after the blessing and everything ended up being just fine.  I'm glad nothing worse happened and that I’m alive to tell the story.

We also had a dia de campo branch party. I got assigned to grill all the meat. It turned out to be a good party except it started raining really hard half way through.

Every day we see so many miracles, but yesterday in particular we found some people who were amazingly prepared by the Lord to receive His gospel. We dropped by an investigator's house, but he and his family weren't home. However, his step son was there. We asked if we could share a message with him, and he said that we could. He was involved in the lesson and understood everything we talked about. He mentioned that nothing had ever caught his attention before like the message that we were sharing with him. He told us that he felt a feeling in his heart that told him that what we were sharing with him was true. We also met Jorge as we were walking on the street as we were returning to our car after an appointment.  He called us over so that he could ask us a question. We walked over to him and he asked us who we were. We introduced ourselves, and he then asked us if we could share a message with him. He expressed his feelings about how he felt that nobody loved him, even God. He told us that he had even tried to commit suicide because he felt like it wasn't worth living anymore. We talked about the first point of the Restoration: that God is our loving Heavenly Father.  When he heard that, he began to cry. The spirit was really strong and I could feel the love that God has for Jorge. I know that God really is our loving Heavenly Father. He knows us personally by name, and He loves us more than we can comprehend.  I am grateful for the chance to be a missionary and to feel the love that God has for His children.

I hope that everyone has a great week!

Love, Elder Cannon

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week #90- Lots of Invitations to Baptism

April 18, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

We didn't get transfer calls so I'm staying here in Newport News  with Elder Free and Elder Hess.

When we showed up to teach our English class on Wednesday, we saw that the Hermanas car was already parked in the parking lot. Well to be funny, I parked in the spot in front of them.  This would  make one of them have to back out the other one, since you have to have someone stand outside and back up the driver. When we came back to our car after the English class had ended we saw that our car was covered with pass along cards that have Jesus’ picture on them. They stuck them in our windows and in the gaps of our trunk. It was super funny.

It has been a super busy week! We taught a lot of investigators, we have 40 now. We set Jose, who is from Cuba, with a baptismal date of June 4th. He fully intends to be baptized on that date but I don't think he quite understands what he needs to do to meet it: come to church at least three times, and then be an active member afterwards. It’s alright though because we will help him understand what is required.

For the past few weeks I have felt that our district needs to focus on inviting people to be baptized. We set a goal as a district that we would invite 22 people to be baptized, and we ended up inviting 25. Of the 25, Elder Hess, Free, and I invited 13. We invited people in lessons but a lot of people we invited by contacting them on the street. After introducing ourselves, we said something like this, "As missionaries we help people come closer to Jesus Christ. One of the things that we do to accomplish this is to invite people to be baptized. Will you be baptized by someone who holds the authority of God?" Some people were taken aback, but many people said, “Yes, I will. When do y’all have your next baptismal service?” Sadly, we had to pass most of these people on to the English Elders since they were not Spanish speakers.  It was amazing to see how many people on the street wanted to improve their relationship with God.

Miguelina and Leapoldo are doing really well. A few hours before the lesson we were eating dinner with the Ramirez family. After dinner, she brought out a cake since it was her birthday.  We told Brother and Sister Ramirez that we didn't have time to stay and celebrate since we had to get to a scheduled lesson.  They asked us to come back after the lesson and before our appointment with Miguelina and Leapoldo. When we came back to the Ramirez’s home they told us that they had invited Miguelina and Leopoldo over and that after our lesson with them we would eat the cake. It was a really powerful lesson. We talked about baptism and the Holy Ghost. Miguelina accepted the invitation to be baptized with a very different level of commitment compared to the first time that we invited her to be baptized.  The first time we asked her about baptism she told us that she had been baptized in the Catholic Church, but she told us she wanted to feel more prepared before baptism this time. Miguelina came to church again this Sunday. Leapoldo had to work, so he couldn’t attend. After church, Miguelina told us that she is liking the church more and more each time that she attends.

I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ. He leads His church through a living prophet named Thomas S. Monson. The Book of Mormon is vital in our testimony about the church. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

I hope that everyone has a great week!

Elder Cannon

Our District after Transfers

Our car decorated in pass along cards

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week #89- Three Investigators Come to Church

April 11, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,
This past week was a really busy week, but a lot of exciting things are happening here in Newport News.

We are still teaching Miguelina and Leapoldo from Tijuana, Mexico. Miguelina has read up to chapter 8 in the Book of Mormon, and she has commented to us that she feels really good and happy when she reads from the Book of Mormon. Reading from the Book of Mormon brings a lot of happiness to me as well. Even though I've read it so many times, maybe close to 20 or more, I always enjoy reading it over and over again. Miguelina and Leapoldo also came to church this past week! They told us that they enjoyed the services a lot.

We haven't seen Maria much this past week. She has been really busy. However, we did see her on Friday. She says that she still wants to be baptized on May 7th. She didn't come to church yesterday, so that means she's going to have to come to church three times in a row to be able to be baptized on May 7th.

One of our investigators, named Heber, came to church. He asked us if we could drive in front of him to the church so that we could show him the way since he doesn't feel comfortable driving by himself. We called him 5 minutes before we were supposed to meet with him, to ask if he was ready and he had completely forgotten that he told us that he would attend church. He quickly changed into church clothing and then we led him to the church by driving in front of him. On the way we hit every red light and ended up showing up 15 minutes late to church. Luckily, the Spanish branch runs on Hispanic time so we made it before the Sacrament.  

We have another investigator named Alvino who was planning to come to church. We had stopped by early Sunday afternoon to make sure he was still planning to attend church.  He said that he was and that he was really excited about attending. One of the members planned to pick him up, but neither Alvino or the member showed up to church. Later, we found out that the member had been pulled over by the cops before he got to Alvino's house and he may or may not have been arrested for driving too fast. Alvino didn't seem to happy that nobody showed up to pick him up.  Hopefully, we'll be able to work everything out with him. 

Well, I hope everyone has a great week! I know that this church is true, and that we have a living prophet today. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that we can learn so much about Jesus Christ when we read it.

Love, Elder Cannon