Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 65

August 29, 2016

A few nights ago at around 3 am I woke briefly as my bed shook. I realized it was the first earthquake I had ever experienced, and went quickly back to sleep. But for others, apparently it was lot more serious. Even here in Rome, where nothing was destroyed, people who lived on higher floors reported a really terrifying 20 second experience. With all the destruction and death, it was yet another time when the members came to church needing healing. To me it is quite interesting that the musical number my companion and another missionary performed that morning was "How Firm a Foundation".

I volunteered to do the translation, which turned out to be a serious stress. Just this past week like three families from America moved into the Ward. I'm not kidding when I say that half the people in that room were using a translator device and I was responsible for their being spiritually nourished during sacrament meeting. God blessed me and it went great. The first talk I got nearly phrase for phrase. The others were a bit harder, and at one point I stopped my monologue for a couple seconds as I figured out what to say, and although I was in a corner, a couple of people who could see me looked over the shoulder as if to say "hey man what's wrong?"  Yikes.

Brother and Sister P nailed it though, we told R that a couple wanted to have her over for lunch on Sunday and she was worried about being a burden, but we had them come up to her right after sacrament and invite her over. Brother P is German and his wife is Peruvian. Of the two of them, only he speaks English. At one point, we were presented with a sauce that he described in this manner: "zis is atom bomb". R ate her whole portion in one bite, while my tiny taste had me coughing. According to her, Pakistanis eat similarly, but with a lot more spice.

It's been a lot of fun here with Anziano Jorgenson. We have a challenging ward and we get lost every so often but it's been a miraculous and fun filled week and a half!!


Anziano Cannon

More Bari pics

Some of my favorite English course students

Friday, August 26, 2016

Week 64

August 22, 2016

Where am I? I'm back in ROME!!!!

Monday night at 9:50 the assistants called us to tell me that I would be heading to Rome 6 to be with Elder Jorgenson, from my MTC group.  It's been super nice and relaxing. He's really fun to be with and easy to talk to. And I am following a missionary who "smoothed and straightened his covers as he said his prayers" so my clean-freakness should actually be a step down from before!

We went about our day Tuesday, and had a stack of appointments with investigators, new converts, less actives, and members on Wednesday.  The day arrived and we were shooting off appointments super quickly and found out that the Anziani of Lecce and Brindisi were coming in early for transfers so we would be doing an exchange with them. For having not known about it until that morning, they got off the train looking surprisingly happy. Turns out they met a great family that is now a referral for Foggia [a city in Italy].

We taught our first lesson to P. that night. We didn't get to the second page of the pamphlet. But it's ok, we teach to people's needs and those were his needs! He is starting right there at the beginning with "faith". We were stoked to get a cool referral that night from a couple we had pressed a little bit about missionary work. 

Wednesday night we went to Bishops house. Outside E. was waiting, it was a miracle because I met his wife for the first time. She had just had the baby a few days before. But he said they were all coming to church on Sunday! I hope the missionaries finally get to teach her.  At bishop’s house I ended up spending the majority of the time on the phone with the office because Anziano Larrain, my companion for the day, doesn't speak English but his ticket hadn't come to his email.  Finally, we both got our tickets, and I found out I would leave at 7:15 the next morning. I went to bed at 10:30 but woke up at 3 to do all my packing and a few notes for people.

So here we are in Rome 6. I have an awesome district that includes the assistants, three people from my MTC group, and three greenies. I've already bumped into a few people I knew when I was here before. It appears that the world is small (smaller than Rome, it would appear, which is GIGANTIC.) Now we have plenty of parks including Villa Ada!  Another miracle was a lady from Pakistan we met! My companion asked her if she was Christian and she said yes. So she came to church! She loved it, was taking pictures of the church and has already been reading the Book of Mormon in Urdu. She wants to bring her friends next week. I feel like I can relate to her since she has three teenage sons who live in Pakistan, it's almost like she is my mom.  We also met a lady from Sri Lanka who we will give a Sinhalese copy of the Book of Mormon to.


Anziano Cannon

 11 weeks later and 30 pounds lighter. Come one and 
all to the Anziano Cannon weight loss program.
[Compare the two pictures immediately above this comment.]

Friday, August 19, 2016

Weeks 62 and 63

August 8, 2016

What happened when we went to this service agency to do some volunteer work this week? The guy there told us they wanted to do an article on us and put it in the "Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno" – the Bari newspaper. And they let us write it! So we started working on that. Did I paraphrase a quote by Gandalf from "The Hobbit"? Absolutely. Don't worry – it's a good article ;)

But anyway, the one guy who we work with closely at this agency is actually a former Catholic who has never found everything he is looking for in any of the churches. He asked us to bring him a Book of Mormon next time we come so I am so excited to make him a new simp!

We had to calm V. down last night. In the sense of telling him that repentance comes before baptism, he'll have to wait for that reason until September to go for it.

We took a trip to go see Sam again with the Fitzners. He brought his guitar and played some the coolest gospel music he had written I had ever heard (ask my parents for a video). As we sat there eating lunch we saw a cloud coming over us just like the trade confederation's shield in "The Phantom Menace" – uh oh.

That afternoon we went to go find a person and Anziano Haws decided to man it up without an umbrella which came back to bite him when the rain started pouring much harder than the water that comes out of our shower. We were walking along the highway and had to duck into the nearest gate we could. We saw a nice brown skinned boy and asked him if his parents were there. As he left to get them, I noticed the posters hung up in Arabic. We had walked into a mosque (not quite IN yet because we saw the place where you have to take off your shoes). The dad came out (he is the Iman) and I could totally see the light of Christ in both of them.  They let us stay for a bit and we talked to another guy who was there.

Super cool seeing John's conversion. He told us the other day some of the peer pressure he has been under lately to "take a break" from the Word of Wisdom but he responded proudly "I used to drink more than any of you. You are the ones who need to take a break from your alcohol!”


Anziano Cannon

Zone calico

August 15, 2016

Such a cool miracle, last week my companion felt to call G, a single man who was baptized a few years ago and ask him if we could meet. At first he said no, but then called us back and responded he had changed his mind. Outside his door, we decided what to talk about. "Temples" I thought, but didn't want to say it because that is quite a commitment if you live in Italy. "I think we should talk about temples" Anziano Haws said. Turns out, G made the commitment to go to the temple (just for baptisms this time but still an awesome first experience) and there was an opening of one spot on the bus for when the ward makes the trip in a couple weeks! He is going! Awesome.

Many of our investigators have been out of town this week for Ferragosto which is a big bummer but we've found some new ones too. Anziano Borough and I went on a scambio this week and found three right near the house in the morning. It was great to be with him, he is just full of faith.

We also had some cool stuff happen like a cool guy named A. who showed up at church just because we invited him and F., an inactive who came for the first time in many years! I taught them all the gospel principles lesson 100% on the fly but when you're a missionary God helps you to do stuff like that.


Anziano Cannon

District meeting with the family (Ethan's cousin, Tristan)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Week 61 and 62

July 25, 2016

What a cool week!

Favorite part: for our "Ritch-out" (that's how they spelled it) this week we went to see G. She was the one I interviewed to be baptized and has already planned where and when she will get her endowment. She asked us the night before to give her husband a Priesthood blessing. I was excited at the opportunity. The day of she made an interesting comment – it was actually a blessing that she believes really started getting her interested in the church a couple of years ago after years and years of prodding by her family (her sister who lives in Boston thought the Second Coming would happen before she would get baptized).  So I realized the potential for this blessing. We gave it and it went really well...

"No we can't do ____" "No you can't ____" "no it's not possible to skip____". I've had to tell my companion "no" a bunch of times, but would never say no to something that would shut down his faith, if that makes sense. Never a "no, that won't work" type thing has come from my lips. The morning of the ritch-out I had my first opportunity as he said he thought after the blessing we should ask the husband right there to take the lessons. I was quite skeptical. But I couldn't say no. So we asked. We had come with the "machine" of home teaching, the aforementioned 70 year old and 5'1" Fratello P, who was enjoying talking about everything from the Telestial kingdom to tea. But Anziano Haws found a way to ask P if he would take the lessons.  It was the first thing he had said like the whole time.  And he said yes!!! Can't wait!!

G has been reading while he has been out of town, we are ready for the stop smoking plunge tomorrow night!

Mission president update: it's awesome. We have zone conference tomorrow. He's been laying down the law, I love it.

Other than that, a good week leading up to a great one this week. The Nigerians should be arriving soon to start making their furfur for the FHE with the YSA. I made only one request: "please put lots of cow leg in there". Hey you might as well live it up while you're here.


Anziano Cannon

At the restaurant of a potential investigator. Right by the sea.

August 1, 2016

A whirlwind week!

Friday night my companion did something neither of us had done in a while.  He prayed that the next day we would find a family to teach. The next morning as I closed our comp study prayer I had the idea that we could go to G's house unexpectedly. We had the name of his street but nothing else, and neither of us could remember his cognomen [last name] but Anziano Haws said he might be able to recognize it if he saw it.  That right there is a recipe for three hours of house to house. Turns out, we took a bus to where he lives and the second palazzo [building] we went to had the name "Dente" written on one of the spaces. He happened to be there with his parents! They listened to us do a very Spirit led, on the fly lesson and accepted to have us come back!

Sunday was a bit chaotic, we started teaching V who did awesome. He seems pretty prepared.

We've been trying to take Elder Ballard's challenge to talk to 20 people about the Restoration every day. I've gained a testimony of opening my mouth all the time whenever I can. We were on the bus the other day and I talked to an old man right next to me but no one else was saying anything so they could all hear our conversation. Then this younger lady interrupted and asked "che predicate?" "What do you preach?" She is now a new investigator for the sisters.

People who know me understand that painful experiences can make me smile, sometimes even laugh (just think about the last time you saw me jump into a cold lake). So obviously Anziano Haws thought he might have missed a joke written between the lines of Preach My Gospel Chapter 12 that we were studying for his training Thursday afternoon. Turns out, my body was starting to feel very uncomfortable in a way that can be related to... By those who have passed a kidney stone.

So yea that was fun, it passed pretty quickly and we got back to work.

Things are quite interesting, the zone leaders are giving us a run for our money. They found 16 new investigators this week. I challenged them to learn the names of all the people they are teaching!


Anziano Cannon

Transfer 10