Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Week 21 and 22

October 19

Wow, what an insane week. Yesterday in church I got so confused that I talked to an English speaker in Italian and then immediately afterward an Italian speaker in English. At one point I was "in charge" of helping and befriending three different investigators of ours and the other elders who had no idea what to do and spoke different languages. Our new ward mission leader even had the sister's recent convert teach gospel principles. I just had to hope that our love for the gospel would make up for our inexperience with it.

At the baptism we didn't prepare nearly as well as we should have, so I ended up wearing my suit coat over my wet baptism shirt afterwards. It was a miracle it even worked in the first place because we planned to meet Salvatore at the train station to catch a train that would get us to the church over an hour before the baptism.  But that train didn't come, and then the bus we took had problems, but eventually we met Eman, got to the church and had the baptism. The two talks in Italian and the talk in English were translated for those who weren't bilingual.

As we waited in the bathroom for the sister's baptism to take place, I bowed my head to say a quick silent prayer, and when I looked up, I felt peace as I saw Eman mouthing a prayer of his own. For some reason the water in the font was FREEZING cold, but right as we stepped toward the center the water temperature literally heated way up and felt great. Maybe my dad can explain this using physics, but I thought it was pretty cool anyway. Overall it was a great way to celebrate the road Eman has taken to come closer to Christ, while remembering how much farther he still has to go. He has changed so much and I was so happy to be there to see him take one step further on his journey of discipleship. 

This week we were excited to meet a few new potential investigator families! Helping a family into the Gospel would be great. 

A couple months ago I was a little frustrated that it seemed very hard to get the few members we have in Bagheria to come to teach lessons with us, and I had the prompting that "you can get member present lessons, you just have to baptize the members first" (meaning that we can baptize people and then bring them to lessons to teach other investigators). Teaching Salvatore this week that thought came into my head again as he showed us how he writes these elaborate page-long reflections on his Book of Mormon readings and then puts them into people's mail boxes. I couldn't help but think that if he is already a good missionary now, I can only imagine how he will help after his baptism. 

Sorry for this crazy and poorly written email!

Love you all,

Anziano Cannon 

 For our third transfer pic at zone conference we weren't supposed to 
smile, but as you can see, I couldn't really handle that. 

October 26
Pretty crazy week (as always). I was very blessed to get my "permesso" to preach the gospel in Italy while I was still in my first city, so I don't have to return to my birth city later and get it. This was not the case for Anziano Vrska from Palermo, and I will just say that literally EVERYTHING went wrong for him, so we ended up taking the hour long bus ride to the airport four times over the past few days. Plus a train got derailed going to Agrigento, so many trains that would normally stop at Bagheria have been canceled. Bummer. 

It's been an awesome week other than that though! Yesterday we ate lunch at Sorella Pecorraro's house. She is an older member from Milan who has lots of non-member friends and family here. We basically did a split with her, going to two different "appointments" and teaching 12 people total. The first one went super well, Sorella Pecorraro started crying during the opening prayer so I knew we were off to a good start. It was kind of nerve wracking to teach people in a big group style like that, but our Restoration lesson brought a few of them to tears, so we are stoked for our next appointment! 

Salvatore has still been making great progress, he is WAY too deep into the doctrine for gospel principles so we may need to have him switch classes eventually haha. When we started talking about intelligences during our Plan of Salvation lesson I felt like we might have gone a bit too far.  ;)

Crazy story of the week: we slept at Palermo the night before we sent off Anziano Simmons. We were supposed to wake up at 4 to catch the bus.  But when I rolled over to check the clock it said 5:07. So we called up a taxi real quick to haul us to the airport, and payed him more money than I would like to admit. Unfortunately we paid all of our cash to do that, so we were stuck at the airport where all the ATMs were broken. Thankfully, there was one other guy waiting to take the bus back, and he agreed to pay for our tickets if we paid him back once we got to the ATMs at the station. 

This week I studied the Christ-like attribute of virtue. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that most of what I could find was a bunch of old talks by Elaine S. Dalton. :)  But I know that we all have royalty within us so we should be loyal to it. Especially for those of us who have taken upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ through baptism.  There is no friendship more valuable than our own clear conscience, and our own moral cleanliness. 

Yesterday during sacrament I was just flooded with personal revelation about baptism, repentance, forgiveness and the sacrament. Part of this was something I had already heard in conference, that we cannot wait to repent until we take the sacrament. It has to occur beforehand. Then we are forgiven as we take the sacrament. I don’t know how doctrinal this is but it made sense to me. It was wonderful. I realize now how General Authorities always have such perfect answers; they just have been tutored by the Spirit a lot more than we have so far!

Thanks for your emails,


Anziano Cannon 

Zone calcio 

The lady sitting next to me was a little weirded out by how 
much I enjoyed the bus ride to the airport. The weather 
has been changing and I love the clouds! 

And some pictures from the Palermo zone conference courtesy of Sorella Waddoups...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 20

October 12, 2015

This week was much different from others, marked by strong forward steps from a couple investigators. On Monday night we went and visited Salvatore. He is 70 years old but is very strong and lively for his age. It was maybe the best lesson of my mission! He told us how in all his years of looking through other religions to find God there had always been a hole.  He has never wanted to be baptized despite years of study until now, after knowing us and our church for just a couple weeks. His closing prayer to end the lesson was also very inspiring; his sincerity and emotion were very real and provided a good example for me. 

Eman also passed his baptismal interview on Saturday. I'm so nervous for him because he is so new to the gospel still. His testimony is very strong, but I realized how much I took for granted my 19 years in the church when, on Sunday, I showed him the baptismal font and we spent a couple minutes helping him (and me) figure out the position of our arms, etc. for his baptism. 

The day before my birthday the sisters brought cannoli to district meeting. Afterwards we were busy downloading a video at the church for an investigator so we had to make a 10 minute run to the train station, all with me holding a plate of cannoli. I seriously almost dropped the cannoli on the ground, as crazy as that might seem, so I could run ahead and keep the train from leaving without us because it would have been such a disaster to miss it, but thankfully we got there just in time. On my birthday we happened to have had an exchange with the zone leaders planned, who happened to have just been to Rome for a conference and gotten the mail, so I ended up getting my family's birthday package all the way from America on the exactly perfect day! We've also been SO blessed to get a ton of rain- during church, at night- basically whenever we are inside. When we leave the house it has almost always been beautiful and also perfect weather for tracting. 

This week I had a strong spiritual experience with D&C 64:33. In running, if you focus on the improvement you make each easy run you do, or the benefit of each individual extra hour of sleep you get, you will never be motivated because you cannot see the results from the small efforts you make. Likewise, as missionaries and disciples, the "well-doing" we do- each extra person we talk to or act of kindness we perform may make little or no difference, but if we focus on the "great work" that we are laying the foundation for, we can be motivated to continue to do these little acts of goodness, knowing that miracles will come eventually. 


Anziano Cannon

We walked into the above church and there was a wedding being performed! 

Fratello Saccone works at some kind of food place and brought home this for me.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Week 19

October 5, 2015

General conference is the best. I'm not going to even put that in caps, because no words can accurately describe my feelings for it. But I will testify that the veil between Heaven and Earth can be very thin during experiences like that.  A member left early because he was "too tired to watch another session". My feeling was that I was too spiritually tired to NOT watch another session. And come on, the music was PERFECT. Come, Come Ye Saints, The Spirit of God (using the arrangement that starts out with just one person), Redeemer of Israel, and I was sweating, shivering, and my eyes were watering with the Spirit as we stood and sang How Firm a Foundation. 

On transfer calls day I said goodbye to Anziano Borner, and then carried out my plan to take two other missionaries, both starting their third transfer like me, to Bagheria to do missionary work there, since we had nothing really to do while we waited. I was really nervous since we all just finished being trained and here I was basically in charge of them of my own accord, but the Lord really blessed us. We had an awesome time and got some great work done before the new missionaries came that night. 

Anziano Andersen and I have done some good work already. He is much different than Anziano Borner, and as always, I have learned a lot from him already. His dad is a general authority and his gospel knowledge is pretty deep. He is the youngest of nine siblings and his immediate family picture is about as big as either one of my extended families.

Salvatore has a baptismal date now and enjoyed conference very much, as did the other Salvatore (am I confusing you?).  Unfortunately Eman didn't make it to conference.  We are working very hard with him right now because he is very ready for his baptism. 

We had such a cool experience getting to the train station after conference Saturday night, when a guy told us the train to Bagheria had been canceled. So (maybe due to inspiration) I looked at the train schedule and found that if we RAN to another station 15 minutes away, we could catch a train there instead of waiting another hour. By "we" I mean legitimately ten of us: a biker, some Italian teenagers, a family with a young baby, and a Polish tourist couple. It was really fun and yielded some good gospel conversation after we made it safely to the station. 

I encourage you all to place value in the inspired words of the prophets! They will guide us safely home! I know it! 


Anziano Cannon 

 Teatro Massimo, biggest theater in Italy! SO COOL!

There was insane flash flood Tuesday. We ran home (about 2 minutes). It felt like running through a water park. So then, with umbrellas, we went to an appointment where an amazing member gave us new shirts to wear. Unfortunately mine didn't have a pocket so my name tag was a little weird for the evening, including here at Marco's birthday (the 11 year old). 

My last district 

Teaching gospel principles a few weeks ago, place was packed! Not sure why everyone loves hearing the Bagheria missionaries teaching so much ;)