Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Week 8

July 20, 2015

Ciao everyone! This was a crazy and at times delicious week. Remember that just because it was made in Italy, the food isn't necessarily amazing. Unless it's gelato. Then it IS necessarily amazing. On Thursday we taught a lesson to a guy we accidentally met (no joke) at a bar. Don't worry - bars here are different.  But we saw Fratello Menino there and he bought us some gelato. Then we talked with this guy who turned out to be evangelical. We were sitting there trying to end the conversation for like ever because he was just going crazy about all this doctrinal stuff. Then he bought us more gelato, so there was a bright side I guess.

Here it's a little difficult because of the different religions. There are tons of Jehovah's Witnesses. They proselyte too, which is kind of awkward. The Evangelicals, the Muslims and often the Catholics are typically pretty opposed to our church. The Africans are a different story. There are very few of them here in Bagheria, but there are tons in Palermo so they have their own ward. I love seeing them in the church and telling them my grandparents served missions in Ghana, it's a quick way to become friends.  Also, the Italian kissing thing is kind of weird. Like you don't know what it's like to touch your cheek to a sweaty drunk guy with a beard until you do it. Thankfully, you typically only do it with good friends.  

Thursday we invited Filipo to be baptized, and he said yes! I was the one who asked him the question, but…. In the MTC I got so used to asking that question and it took so long that it came out more like a statement than a question… so, unfortunately, Anziano Borner had to re-ask him to be baptized. 

There was a big low when we had Lorenzo, Filipo, and another family tell us Saturday night that they would come to church on and then they all bailed. We teach lots of other people too but the church is so far away that only the most serious investigators come. On Saturday also we had this pretty cool experience. We walked past this house where we could hear people yelling inside, but I felt prompted to go back and knock on the door, despite the fact that my companion says they essentially never get let into houses that way. Anyway they said we could come back and teach them later! It's super cool, one thing I am convinced of is that never in our lives has God been more behind us with what we are doing than he is now. 

Love, Anziano Cannon

The great power outage of 2015! Thankfully it only lasted one night, which was very very hot.

I love seeing Italian shirts with English writing. I think they try to be 
super deep but they end up never making any sense at all. 

World War 2 bunker 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weeks 6 and 7- Dorothy, you're not in Provo anymore

July 13, 2015

Well I could talk about what happened at the MTC but it all seems so irrelevant at this point haha. Except Elder Boyd K. Packer. That was one of my last days in the MTC and a very sacred day, partly because of that.

I won't soon forget on Monday morning at 3 am loading up on a bus with a bunch of missionaries to go to the airport. They were playing "I believe in Christ" on the radio and it was pitch black except for the lights of the Provo temple. That's how I got to say goodbye to home.

Our flight to Atlanta was fine. The flight to Roma was not so cheery. I got maybe two hours of sleep. I had to look up when going to the bathroom to avoid seeing devilishly enticing movies people were watching like Interstellar and Ender's game. We got to Roma at 7 AM, ready (or not) to begin our experience in Italy.

One thing the pictures never capture is the humidity. I don't think I'll gain weight here; you literally marinate in your own sweat walking around and then when you get home all you do is drink water (which we buy in two liter bottles here, by the way). It's kind of funny though, the first two days that was like such a trial for me (coming from the dry states of Oregon and Utah) but now I'm just totally used to the nearly 100 degree weather and humidity. You get sweaty. And you like it.
That day we got to see the Colosseum and the Roman Senate! Whoa! The next day we got our iPads!!!! They are sooo helpful. Scriptures, Ensigns, conference talks, and Mormon messages right at your fingertips. Plus a camera. Wednesday night we opened our "golden envelopes"- your first mission call in Italy. I was called to Bagheria, outside of Palermo, in Sicily!!! We also ate water buffalo cheese that night, sorry that was random. 

Thursday we Sicilians spent the day on the train. I asked this old Catholic lady in our cabin to read scriptures with us, she ended up reading 3 Nephi 12, the Introduction, and some of JS-H and was firing off questions about doctrine that all five of us were desperately trying to even understand. That night I met my trainer, Anziano Borner. He is great, I've already learned a ton from him. Bagheria is an awesome city. Our apartment is insane. It's just us two. We each get a bathroom. AND WE HAVE A/C! Italians don't believe in A/C so at the mission home I was just lying awake burning to death.

Friday stunk because we had weekly planning and then just worked on getting my permesso [permit to stay] so I don't get deported. Zero missionary work, unless you count English class (yes you heard that right - it was a unique experience). I was really not doing well but I had this little miracle that made me feel much better.  This super cool family came in with a little boy and girl that looked just like Italian versions of my siblings Jonathan and Elissa. I talked to the mom afterwards, she was so nice. They seemed pretty interested during my spiritual thought; I'd love to teach them. 

Saturday was way better, we got two contacts Michelangelo and Giuseppe) and I taught my first lesson! It was awesome, we taught the restoration to a guy from English class named Filipo. He took a BOM and said he'd come to church on Sunday! We also taught this Nigerian named John (in English whoop, whoop).  

Sunday I was asked to bear my testimony in sacrament. It was great. I was really sad Filipo didn't come to sacrament, but at least Lorenzo (who is supposed to be baptized August 1) did. The iPads really came in handy during gospel essentials which we taught when my comp showed this awesome Mormon message at the end after we were talking about prayer. I had been holding back a bit all day but finally started crying during that - a combination of the Spirit I felt, the stress of feeling the responsibility of nurturing a tiny ward full of convertiti [converts] and menoattivi [less-actives], my lack of understanding of what people were saying to me, and my gratitude that Lorenzo was having a good experience. Afterward he said an awesome, awesome, prayer.

On the plane ride here I read in the D&C how Christ would show himself to me in the days to come, and my Mission President promised me I would feel His love in our interview. In hindsight, I should have guessed that that would occur through the peace I have felt that He is with me even during some really, really hard days in Italy so far.

Anziano Cannon

If you want to see pictures of us at the mission home (built for Mussolini in 1924) and when we went to the Colosseum and Senate check out the Rome Italy Mission blog

[There is additional narative about the new misisonaries first two days in Italy plus tons of more pictures.  I'll post a few of the best pictures of Ethan at the bottom of this post.  Also, be sure to click the "older posts" link at the mission blog or follow this link to see the second page.]

Golden Envelope! 

Beautiful boat/ train ride to Palermo!!!

English class

My comp made us pasta!

Pictures from the mission blog!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Week 5

Holy cramole!! I leave for Italy this Monday! We wake up at 2 AM or so and get on a plane to Atlanta, which then goes straight to Rome (contrary to what I had previously thought - it's the Milan missionaries that are going through Frankfurt).

This week was the mission president seminar. We had the opportunity of having a mission president and his wife come teach us for an hour on Thursday and Friday. They are headed to Greece. Apparently they're dealing with a lot right now because of all the financial disaster Greece is going through right now. But they were super cool, I liked them a lot.

As a district we decided that our new "mission scripture" would be Romans 1:15-16.

 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Last Friday we also got to teach a 30 minutes Skype lesson to a member in Italy. It was pretty fun and stressful at the same time.  Today we get to clean the temple while it is closed. Last night the devotional speaker was Joseph W. Sitati of the Seventy. He's from Kenya and is such a champ- apparently he was the elder's quorum president of his branch in Kenya before he was even baptized! I loved hearing from him.

Oh and I'm not sick anymore. I guess that's all I really have to say, it's just work-work-work around here but oh how I have come to love it. I also love how prayers are really answered here. Sorry I haven't sent any pictures, I hopefully will get one from my parents before I take off to Italy! 


Anziano Cannon