Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 52

May 23, 2016

John's baptism went super well. He was grateful for the opportunity to become a "brand new boy" as he expressed in a prayer. We had a great show from our African brothers. Maybe it was because he was wearing a plaid shirt tucked into his jeans, but Samuel just reminded me of a straight up elders’ quorum president. He's just got to get baptized first! I can already see the change the Holy Ghost has made in John's life. Love it! We should do baptisms more often!

This ward is rolling, the blessings will be coming in soon. We taught Giuseppe and Valerio Wednesday morning. Or rather, we had them teach us… the law of chastity. Giuseppe is a new convert of about six months and Valerio was reactivated about a year ago or so. Valerio is finishing his mission papers and Giuseppe also wants to go. I love these GANS (YSA) we have, it's so true the influence righteous youth can have on other youth. These guys, about three new converts and a couple who got reactivated within the past couple years, basically all just decided to go on missions together. Ivan was the most recent to make the decision.  He told me the other night. As of literally a month ago he was someone who only came to church when his family did and didn't seem to care less. But there's a reason why one of our assistants called our GANS "the most powerful converting machine in the mission".

The people who live above us like to play OneRepublic a lot which kind of annoys me, but it sure was great to finally drive home from a member’s house Sunday afternoon as we all belted along to "Army of Helaman/Sisters in Zion medley". When your music playlist consists of about 25 MoTab songs your companion has on his MP3 player, it can be pretty exciting to have some variety.


Anziano Cannon

I'm sorry, for some reason I was the only one who didn't get a good picture.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Week 51

May 16, 2016

So we now begin "Mission Impossible" with Nicola... My fears were confirmed. He was not built upon the rock of his Redeemer after one lesson with us (should that be a surprise?)  We believe that someone saw his Book of Mormon and said some bad stuff about us, shaking his desire to meet again. He was pretty adamant about returning the Book of Mormon to us, so we'll be waiting for our appointment Friday, and believe me, he won't be leaving without that book still in his hands! We hope.

Gospel principles was a little over the top yesterday. The sisters brought their poor 45-ish year-old Italian investigator to our party of Africans, three members, two nonmembers, and two investigators.  Fratello P translated himself, which worked... for the most part. Then in priesthood I was translating and I literally just put the mic down for about 10 minutes during the incredibly lively discussion of whether we were on chapter 9 or 10 of the Howard W. Hunter manual.

We are all just waiting for Samuel to make the jump... He speaks Italian pretty well and took a page and a half of notes while he talked to the bishop yesterday. It's been a pretty humbling experience for him being here in Italy. Back in the day when he was a wealthy traveling businessman, he literally went together with a couple other guys to pay to build a Christian church in England. He wants to contribute much more than just tithing but currently doesn't have a source of income to do it.

John passed his interview! We are really hoping Destiny or Endurance can baptize him. Originally John wanted to postpone the baptism because he thought he had to fast and pray for weeks before he decided who he wanted to baptize him. We kind of cleared that up and are back on for Saturday.


Anziano Cannon

Coming up, on "The District"... Albero Bello

Zone Conference

Friday, May 13, 2016

Week 50

May 9, 2016

This week we taught one of the most jaw-dropping lessons ever to Michele from English course. On Tuesday night he literally said that one of our spiritual thoughts had saved his marriage, and he wanted to learn more about the Book of Mormon. It was as if we were role-playing; everything he said was so perfect. "Oh, so these must have been the other sheep Jesus was talking about" and he even asked if he could serve a mission to talk about the Church to others.  Honestly I've never seen someone quite like that.

Samuel... By the way, he's actually well over half way done with the Book of Mormon and last week he promised to try to live the Word of Wisdom. We showed him "The Restoration". The Spirit was so strong that I thought to myself "there is a zero percent chance that he can deny this is real after this experience". He agreed like I thought, but isn't sure this is the only true church. It is really hard for him to turn away from his family tradition. Then on Saturday we jumped out of the plane by giving him a baptismal date, which he meekly (and a bit weakly) accepted.

The miracles have just been lining up. Saturday the elders quorum is going to Trani to visit five "investigators" that a sister there wants to get taught. If all goes well, we'll come into the picture soon. We have been talking with members about how we want real names of people to work with. Sunday, a friend of the bishop's wife came to church. She was surprised that she is allowed to take the sacrament here because she is divorced. She had to leave immediately, but after we helped out with primary singing time, sister V told us: "her name is TIZIANA. Please pray for TIZIANA that her heart will be open to the message." Perfect!

We had a super good exchange with the assistants yesterday. And tonight before zone conference we will have eight missionaries at our house, the majority of which have not showered since calcio today... Yikes!

Tons of miracles this week!

Vi vogliamo un sacco di bene, specialmente a mia bella madre questa settimana.  [I love you, especially my beautiful mother this week.]

Anziano Cannon

After teaching Samuel

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Week 49

May 2, 2016


Ciao belli [Goodbye beautiful]!!!!!!  That is the salutation we received from the second cutest four year old girl I know after we left lunch yesterday. It was a pretty cool experience. Brother V asked us in the car on the way home after church what we had planned for the spiritual thought. I said that we would be talking about charity.  He responded, "how about we go for the Restoration instead?"  Then explained how his inactive daughter and her non-member husband would be there with their two kids. After a delicious lunch we went for it. Their interest in the Restoration itself was not super high, and I might have been disappointed if this was not incredibly parallel to another part member family I once knew: Mauro, in Rome! That took a miracle to work out, and this will too. But if we can help them build their faith, I think we could see a miracle.  The lunch literally played out exactly like the movie "Finding Faith in Christ" which starts with the unbelieving son.

Samuel gave us a determined promise to try to read the Book of Mormon.  John's interview is next week, and we are going to work super hard this transfer to find new investigators. 

We got some new sister missionaries. I only say this because it has been a bit of a shock.  Our last ones were super experienced in the mission and each about 24 years old. Now I'm the most senior missionary in our ward and we are doing our best to help these sisters as they get blown in. At this point they hardly even speak each other's language. Well, I guess there is a refiner's fire for everyone. They are handling it really well. 

This week... We taught an investigator from the Anziani of the other Bari ward. And it was completely unintentional. 

Friday morning we were blessed to be able to take this old man to his doctors' appointment. It was incredible, how, after the doctor worked on his foot, he was so happy to be able to take a couple inching steps forward on his own with the help of a walker. It made me very grateful for what I have. It was pretty cool taking him there through Centro, we were able to cross the middle of the street in ITALY without any one honking at us, and I loved how even the Jehovah's Witnesses gave us a nice long stare. Yep, that's how we do it.


Anziano Cannon 

I highly recommend you all learn how to play mountain cricket. It is to outdoor activities what bananagrams [a board game similar to Scrabble] is to indoor games. The rain didn't stop and neither did our fun. 

Being the naughty companions that we are, Anziano Saffer and I both independently thought of the idea that we could switch nametags at the train station and fool his greenie into thinking I was his trainer. The joke lasted for about 20 seconds.  [Note the "Elder Cannon" nametag]