Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 48

April 25, 2016

Transfers!!! We are staying! No surprises there. Good stuff. 

This week we had a pretty cool experience as a couple of cool brothers came up to us and asked if we were Latter-Day Saints. They turned out to be newly arrived members from Nigeria! AFRICAN BRANCH HERE WE COME! Their names are Fabulous and Kingsley. 

Yesterday after church we went to the Fitzner's house with Samuel, member John, and Emmanuel. John and Samuel not only happen to be neighbors in Samuel's new apartment, but they also lived just 20 km away from each other in Nigeria, and will talk to each other in their local dialect when they feel like it. 

Investigator John had a crazy week. HE ALREADY PAYS HIS TITHING. Apparently one day he just asked Godwin if we pay tithes here and Godwin showed him the envelopes. Since then he's payed every month. It's cool to see how much the Atonement has already been working in his life, I can't wait for him to take the next step in the Gospel, though that won't be for a couple weeks since he'll need an interview with president. 

Mario might get dropped soon, we taught Ernesto, and we are really working on getting new investigators from English course. 

In other news: the elders in our district broke a rope during a tug of war.  Another victory was miraculously getting out of eating the fifth course at a members house, and my pasta consumption has gone up to its summer levels of 350+ grams a meal. 


Anziano Cannon 

 Lunch yesterday. 

The sisters apparently didn't get the memo that we 
were just smiling for the district picture.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Week 47

April 18, 2016

We took a plane down to Nigeria this week to teach... 

John has a baptismal date for May 7th! He is a champ, super ready and willing to change his life with no questions asked to live Gospel principles. 

Samuel still does not have his permanent documents, but he actually got a special exemption from the area presidency that allows him to be baptized without them! I'm not sure exactly what the Fitzners (a missionary couple) said about him to convince the mission president.  Next step... he has to want it too! He has committed to pray and continue reading to know if he needs to be baptized. In our lesson Wednesday he prayed that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints would grow, and I was thinking "Hmm... I wonder who we know here who could contribute to that?!" Ah… pazienza [patience]. 

We finally got to teach Ernesto!!! We taught him the plan of Salvation and will see him again this week. 

Yesterday church was pretty great. Ernesto and Mario couldn't come so we just taught gospel principles to a bunch of Africans. One of them, Emanuel, who struggles to come to church, was under the impression that someone had been baptized the day before. "No", I responded, "but Samuel should be getting baptized pretty soon". "Who is he?" Emanuel asked. "The fat one?" Basically from that moment I guessed what kind of gospel principles class it was going to be. I LOVED it.

Endurance was spouting a never ending stream of sincere though sometimes random questions "Are there big sins and little sins or are they all the same?" Godwin was dropping some pretty advanced stuff about how Abraham must have had a lot of faith to trust in the Lord's covenant with him.  Samuel was adding his own helpful truths about patience and faith in waiting for promised blessings, and they all enjoyed answering each other's questions, always punctuated by "You understand?" Meanwhile, I was sitting there wishing I had studied up a bit more on the Abrahamic Covenant. They are great and all have such a humble desire to do what's right. 

Saturday night was an awesome talent show organized by the bishop’s wife with tons of non-members. It went late, so we had to leave after the second act (a beautiful Mozart composition), which was good because I heard later on someone sang Coldplay. Good thing I wasn't there. 

Holy cow it was an emotional experience watching the talk by Elder Kearon during lunch the other day. It really is true – seeing and talking to a refugee changes you! It's hard for Americans to understand being so far away from it all, but please help if you can. 


Anziano Cannon 

P day  

Picture from the Mostra [display] we did last week.  
The non-missionaries are our YSA (Young Single Adults). 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Week 46

April 11, 2016

Pretty darn crazy week, here are some highlights:

1. The sisters' investigator texted them Tuesday saying "can I be baptized this Saturday?" She was totally ready and it happened! We announced it in English course and this sweet older lady asked us "so if we come on Saturday do we have to be baptized too?" I reassured her that she didn't, and she came with her daughter and friend! Two of them seem to have some good potential as the sisters' investigators.

2. After the baptism I had an epiphany. We had practiced "Come thou Fount" for just a little bit on Thursday because we were going to sing as missionaries on Sunday, and I had had to play the piano. That makes it kind of hard to practice singing the bass in Italian. So, when we got together as missionaries to practice, I invited Samuel to come sing with me. Turns out he plays guitar and has written about 50 of his own gospel songs. I literally have no way to describe what it was like to have him standing there next to me singing bass in his deep, beautiful, rich, African voice. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. Our ward mission leader was killing it on the piano, and it went well when we performed it the next day in church.

3. Miracle time!!! John has been a faithful member of the church for the past few months... Except he's not a member. As of last fall, we aren't allowed to teach or baptize Africans unless they have documents. But he just got his, and we are meeting him to get him ready tomorrow! Bishop was the one who gave us the good news. I am continually taken aback at his charity towards these people. He even does his best to speak to them in his decent English (though they are all taking Italian lessons from the senior couple). 

4. Piero completed his fast with us. He still did not get the sign he was hoping for, but we are giving him one last chance to pray specifically to know if what we have told him is true. It's hard because you can't really look straight into someone's heart and see their motives (although I still hold that the vast majority of the time you can tell if someone will be baptized or not after the first lesson). 

It's been a little hard to come down off the mountain of general conference per se, but we are seeing some big blessings here, thanks for keeping us in your prayers. 


Anziano Cannon 

 Zone calico today was nuts! I am so burnt 
and hopefully weigh a little less now! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Week 45

April 4, 2016

Conference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was incredible!!!!! I felt so bad for each person who wasn't able to make it but so happy for those that were.

Samuel came Saturday night and Sunday night (the morning sessions) and loved it. Going through the gospel of Jesus Christ this week went really well until he told us how he has already been baptized and feels really good about it.  His brother taught him from the Bible and stuff and convinced him to change his life. He also saw when he was young his father raise a lame man to make him walk. So the priesthood authority thing was a bit of a stumbling block, but I got blown back in my chair, sitting right next to Samuel, when President Eyring said "this is the only true church". It hit with special power. Also, the moment Elder Stevenson mentioned reaching into his pocket, I thought "priesthood keys talk!!!!! Perfect!!" We haven't mentioned that topic since then to him, but Samuel loved it all, especially President Uchtdorf's talk Sunday morning. You know who else did? Mario! I was on an exchange when they taught him Friday but Elder Chugg had counseled him to bring a question to conference, and he said he got an answer to the question during President Uchtdorf's talk! Yes! 

I was busy sitting next to Ernesto. Ernesto is this older Italian man. The sisters were doing a spiritual thought on scriptures last Tuesday; they asked "if you could ask God one question, what would it be?" He responded, "Why am I alive?" I talked to him a bit afterward, but wasn't able to set up an appointment. However, he showed up to the Sunday morning session! At the end I tried to find out whether he had slept through it or not by asking him a question or two, and holy cow he blew me away. "How can I possibly do things in the temple to help my parents and brother who are dead?" Ok, so he understood. He also loves reading, and it seems that recently he has studied a bit online about our church. Anyway I finally convinced him that all his questions could be answered if we taught him something tomorrow called the plan of salvation! 

Also, it was a little hard to understand the Italian translator, but I think Elder DeFeo is a new 70! FORZA ITALIA! His son was in my ward in Rome. And my friend and former stake president Dini Ciacci who came to teach Mauro with us is taking his place as an area 70.  

One part I loved is when we watched the session in Italian and they sang one hymn with the congregation. At first I started singing in English, but the sisters passed out Italian hymnals, and bit by bit we started singing louder and louder until the Italian singing drowned out the English. That was pretty cool. 

Cool thing that happened is the morning of conference.  I read and was just kind of blown away by that first point that we so often undervalue, "God is our loving Heavenly Father". Read that three times. How crazy, how cool is that doctrine?!! It was awesome to then hear about it from my favorite, Elder Hallstrom. Please just because we're used to these doctrines, let's never take them for granted.  This is especially true around our nonmember friends, for whom learning about these truths should be the most important and life changing things that will ever happen to them! 


Anziano Cannon 

At the caves today