Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 78

November 28, 2016

What a week! There are so many significant things that are happening, I can't write about them all.

One is Maltese... So we have this guy, O., who has been coming to church for a while, and in the Maltese Sunday school class the teacher invited him to be baptized on the spot and he said yes. But for some reason that may have to do with the fact that he doesn't speak English, the elders didn't set an appointment up with him till I got here. He came to church yesterday and we planned a lesson through a translator! Ah! Imagine that! I can't even talk to my investigator!!  The idea of going super hard with the language and studying for like three hours a day has passed through my head to be honest. But anyway we are hoping he is as ready to be baptized as everyone says and he can do it on Christmas Eve, which would be awesome because it would also mean the zone leaders have to come down to interview him and do the exchange with us they weren’t able to get permission to do!!

Saturday night I had a hot date! Read that again, I'm serious.  We went to do a gesso [street contacting with a large chalkboard that they can write stuff on] at the capital, Valletta. It went great except that I have no idea what to say in English, but it was really good. Maltese are super cool people. As we walked to the bus stop we passed a few vendors, one sold this delicious fresh date pop-tart thing [his “hot date”] that was super yummy for just 30 cents.

We don't have much by way of youth in this branch, but we love working with A, the branch president’s son who has put in his mission papers (and as far as I know will be the first Maltese missionary ever). He has a friend who wants to meet with us that we are excited about.

I am learning to love this place and these people. And, oh boy, is this the nicest weather EVER!!! Have a great week, #dawltad-dinja #siiunaluce #lighttheworld.


Anziano Cannon

Goodbye to a good friend

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Week 77 - Dorothy, you're not even in Italy anymore!

November 21, 2016

merħba għall Malta!!

Yea, that's right. I am currently on the island of Malta, where Paul is said to have been shipwrecked. We got the call Monday evening that I would be leaving. That night I went out on the porch to pray and cry. The next morning, I cried again. That like never happens for me.  It is highly probable that I will finish my mission here and never serve in Italy again. Goodbye to the people, the language, the mission in general in some senses.

But I've warmed up to the idea, in my heart and physically (it's so warm here!)  The good news is that it's not that hard to learn to love a people.  All you have to do is work super hard and serve them and it will come.  I am basically serving another mini-mission in the United States...  Except I'm not.

We are supposed to be learning Maltese, which is derived principalmente from Arabic, with a bit of Italian and English mixed in. Malta was colonized by Britain, so people drive on the left and the wheel is on the right. A lot of people speak English, but a LOT DON'T. So I am planning on really seeking the gift of tongues, even though no missionary ever comes off of Malta "really" speaking Maltese. People here are of every skin color imaginable. There are also places like KFC and other American stores. 

Our house is a MANSION. I have no idea how much the Church payed for it. I literally have to run down the hall because it takes so long to get from one side to the other.

Fun fact – my new companion Elder Blaylock is dying [going home] right after Christmas. He was in my mission prep class at BYU. And his twin brother tried out for the BYU cross country team with me over two years ago. 

Yesterday there were 27 people in church plus four missionaries. It's an interesting branch. There are awesome couples from America, Scotland, and Ireland as well as some Maltese. We sang one Maltese hymn, which coming out of me sounded like "was harsh  shagash". 

Couple cool miracles:  Transfer day is Thursday. My plane left Friday morning. So Thursday I got to be with my zone leader and friend Anziano Vrska and help missionaries get places (Rome is the center of all transfers so it's pretty hectic). We also were miraculously able to meet with Grazi, one of the Brazilian new converts who was in Rome getting her permesso, and say goodbye to her. They are struggling to find time to read the scriptures, and we had a lesson idea, but right before I decided instead to tell her the scripture the Lord showed me when I asked for understanding of why I was going to Malta, and I felt like he was talking straight to me. It was great!

That night I went with the Rome 2 elders, which meant I got to return to my English group there! They live with the assistants, so the next morning one of them stayed home while I went running at 4:30 AM with Anziano Whiting! He is a CHAMP!  It was his idea, I was so happy to go with him on a run for the first time in many months.


Anziano Cannon

No time for pics, next week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Week 76

November 14, 2016

Wow!  Just wow.  A bomb dropped in Ladispoli this week!!!

Heark, all ye nations! There is a lesson here for members about boldness! We had been over to see Fratello P. once before and he had spoken to us of his friend V. who lives in the same apartment complex.  He invited him to the activity we had a couple weeks ago. When V. didn't come, and we asked him about it, Fratello P told us he didn't want to bug his friend and would wait till the self-sufficiency course restarted and invite him to come to that. Thursday night, V. got on his computer and went to and requested that missionaries come to visit him and bring him a Book of Mormon. He then told Fratello P. about his self-referral and told him a little about how "I might want to become part of your church". Talking to our friends about the Gospel is just like asking a girl to dance, you don't have a 100% chance of success, but you will never know unless you try.

On Monday the food was soo good. Our brownies were rock solid in the pan, but luckily the Italian family brought a huge pan of tiramisu.  But it got to be time to go and we hadn't taught them, so Jonathan pulled the plug and we went home. But on the ride home the dad took us and was asking when we could meet to learn about our church, so that's good.

Jonathan also came to our lesson with Patrick. It went so well, we never ever explain "pregare per sapere la verità mediante lo Spirito Santo" [pray to know the truth through the Holy Spirit] well enough but we talked about it and his questions and responses were perfect. Hopefully that witness from the Spirit comes soon.

Favorite line of the week:

We went to the L. family, our accidental house to house contact.  Basically what my family does of taking whole wheat muffins to the new family in the neighborhood is not considered normal here, so Sorella Dini Ciacci referred the family back to us. Once again the husband was sleeping but we found out it was because of his work schedule and the wife invited us to come back. So we'll see this week what's up.

When we were in Rome we would always laugh at the pizza places that noted they were of "Alta digeribilità". Who cares if it's highly digestible? Being here in Ladispoli where there are only pizza places run by guys from the Middle East or North Africa and bars, we see why.  Literally we are in the "pizza ghetto". I seriously couldn't finish my pizza the other week, after a while it just becomes terrible.

Anziano Cannon

I finally "worked those Mr. Macs' right off (my) feet!" The sole became separated on one of the pairs and I got it fixed today. I don't know how many miles we walk, but I bet over the course of two years we give the pioneers a run for their money.

Is it illegal to take a picture of the ingredients of a vegetarian 
patty and try and make it yourself?

Ethan is on the front row

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Weeks 72-75

October 17, 2016

Yesterday at zone conference my sisters [missionaries who were in the same MTC group] gave their death testimonies [their last testimony before going home].  Wow, the Spirit was so strong, I am sad to see them go. I will be a wreck when that day comes for me. One of them, who also served in Bari, was really happy to hear during the conference that an extended family is now joining the church. This in a town outside of Bari where there had formally been only one active member. It is an incredible story how my friend found their apartment on an ancient map with markings of where investigators lived. They went to see these people, one of which had taken the lessons in 1993 and was wondering where the missionaries had been the whole time. The rest is history.

We have been planning an awesome activity! Our ward is great; we should have about 30 or more members come. When we got here the plan was sort of a church tour, but Anziano Jorgenson and I wanted to work in some of what we learned from General Conference: rather than explain the differences and similarities of our church from theirs, just teach the plan of salvation! So, we will have a pre-Earth room, an Earth life, and a post-mortal life room. We are hoping to get many non-members there!

This week we went to see the Dini Ciaccis. We had the street name but had to ask someone if they knew the family, since we couldn't specify the house. He pointed us where to go and we rang the button. A little kid came out and asked who we were. We responded that we were the missionaries. I could see inside that the dad hesitated when the kid told him who we were, but then had us come in. IT WASN'T THEM. This guy said he loved the Bible and would love to share a tea with us.  He always welcomes missionaries, but unfortunately, we were so off balance that we politely refused the opportunity, saying we had to get to our appointment. Here's the thing: I know that the Dini Ciaccis go super hard on missionary work, and these were their next-door neighbors, so I assumed they had been invited umpteen times to take the lessons. But we learned after we had found the real house, that these neighbors were new, and that the two families hardly even know each other! So, we are definitely following up with that.

We are stoked to see president Nelson on Thursday in Rome. We are sending our investigator Claudio to the session on Wednesdays night for the members that we aren't allowed to go to.


Anziano Cannon

Help! Does anyone speak Portuguese? These two new converts from Brazil showed up in church this week. During sacrament meeting whenever someone referenced a scripture or talk I found it on my iPad in their language, but they will need a lot of spiritual nourishment as they are so young in the Gospel and plus don't even speak Italian.

October 24, 2016

President Nelson said some awesome, awesome, awesome stuff. It was a little General Conference as we also got to hear from President Kearon, Elder Hallstrom, and their wives. I don't feel the need to share some of the most spiritual stuff with all of you, but here are some funny things: he told us how he has new scriptures he got in May. With his old ones, he said, he could just think about a scripture and they would fall open to the correct page. These ones aren't "broken in" yet. I believe it – he once asked everyone to look up a scripture. He commented after the first person found it: "not bad, for an electronic device". He had been there for a couple seconds already.  He told us how when he got the scriptures he wanted to read every word contained in the standard works. "Two weeks later, I had finished...along with adding all of my annotations and cross references from previous worn out scriptures". It's funny because it would sound straight up prideful out of anyone else, but you know he is completely stripped of pride so it's just funny.

Well, we have had like no time this week. It started last p-day, I didn't get to email, and we've been running around everywhere, literally not a moment to spare, ever since. Sunday was so nice, we actually got to sleep in until 6:30. Literally, it is such a miracle how the Lord sustains us as we live lives where our physical and emotional health sort of fall by the wayside sometimes.

A lot of it had to do with the activity. We worked super hard on it.  In the end, we had over 40 members there, but only 3 non-members, two of which were English course students! But one of them was Fabio, who was already a potential in our minds. We are pretty excited for him. There was also a Mongolian lady and her son who the sisters are visiting this week. Her husband is Nigerian and speaks 10 languages. I can't wait to meet him!

Pat is making nice progress. He is in the golden age and shows every sign of it based on the questions he asks. HOLD YOUR HORSES we'll get to that In a few lessons! He's great though.


Anziano Cannon

This is our whole MTC group, back together for the first 
time in over a year and for probably the last time ever.

October 31, 2016

This week I did a scambio with Anziano Castillo. It went great! He is from the Philippines and started it out by making us fried rice for lunch. Then we went on our bikes to find an old investigator, but the chain came off his bike several times, so we had to go back. I was super bummed, no one wants that to happen on your scambio. We were walking the bikes back to the store when we got a call from Sorella P, who we had only met once in the pharmacy. She doesn't come to church, and had had to tell us "Hey elders! I'm Mormon too!" We like to be bold but hadn't planned on talking to the lady in front of us at the pharmacy. But she wanted us to give her a blessing right then. It worked out perfectly.  We later realized that had we gone to the old investigators house we never would have made it in time. She was really touched and grateful, and yesterday she came to church for the first time since I've been here! 

The next morning, we were doing a little contacting before an apartment inspection at 10:30. We were just walking back to our apartment when the Thackers (senior couple) called us to say they would be a few minutes late. So, we decided to go see this other old investigator in the couple minutes we had. We rang the doorbell and just then she came out. Not to talk to us, she was literally leaving and had we come a minute later we would have missed her! We have been working on unity with the sisters and were then really glad to give her as a referral to them. They had their first appointment last night and said it went great!

Pat is a stud and wants to be baptized but he will be returning to live in Torino and later move to Caserta. I'm hoping to hatch a plan to pass him off to Anziano Cunningham (from my hometown of Medford) and Anziano Cutrignelli (his greenie who I knew in Bari) if that goes through!

The joke I talked about with a couple of my college friends who are serving missions called "trick or referral" is actually taking life, much to my surprise. Don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds, but we are going through with it tonight :)

If you want to say a prayer for someone, make it for the referrals we are working on! Sorella Gambi was a stud and found an African guy at store who wants to know the purpose of life, and the Dini Ciaccis are working on the family we stumbled into the other week.  We are really excited because they are not committed or anything to the Jehovah's Witnesses, they are just investigators for now, so we hope to be able to veer them to a different course.


Anziano Cannon

Classic missionary looking pic in (almost) Tuscany

November 7, 2016

Yesterday in church, Jonathan, our awesome ex-missionary friend, got up to bear his testimony of missionary work. He practices what he preaches, and tonight we have a dinner and restoration appointment with six people! Pray for us! The last time I got this many referrals was Bagheria and that was with a bunch of old Catholic ladies!  You know how some testimony meetings have themes? After Jonathan's talk, Yesterday's turned into "explain why two missionaries changed your life". I sat back and loved it! Side note: do you take notes in church? Why would we not? I have gotten so much inspiration that I am sure wouldn't come if I didn't appreciate it.

We were very blessed that we were inside doing language study when an incredible wind picked up. I looked outside and saw furniture blowing off balconies. When we left, everyone was outside. A bunch of trees had been uprooted in Centro so traffic was diverted onto our street. The street of the church was the worst off; there was rubble everywhere. A tent type thing blew over the wall into the courtyard, and a family came to get their mangled laundry rack from their house 200 meters away. But the Lord takes care of His servants, and the only damage we incurred were two plants on our balcony that fell over (like literally they just fell over on their side). It felt really nice though and I do love our members. We got a couple calls making sure we were ok.

One morning we planned to go do finding at a park and found the place literally deserted. Pretty discouraging. So, we felt to go back to Centro and passed by the church. We talked to a lady who wasn't interested in our survey, but were able to open her up after asking her why she was holding a pizza. She was going to see her husband in the hospital. She wouldn't commit to taking the lessons but told us "it as if two angels had just stopped me!" Kind of cool how the Spirit works with people. She wasn't at zone conference! How did she know we are supposed to be Angels!? This kind of thing happens often.

I don't remember if I told you this, but we had gone to see Matt last Sunday night. We basically pulled out exactly what President Uchtdorf talked about- we NEED you! Well, he showed up at the youth activity Friday and came to church Sunday for the first time since we've been here! Also, Sorella P from last week came again!

Pat lives in a barracks in Rome so we are still working on getting him to church, but he has read a lot of the Book of Mormon. As I read in a talk recently, you don't have to tell them how normally Mormons need a study calendar and stuff to get through the BOM. To them it's just a 500-page book, why would you limit them to just the introduction or something when they are capable of so much more?

Another bike I took lost its chain repeatedly so we had to walk it back... Until I had the excellent idea of "sailing" it. Basically, I stuck one foot on one pedal, leaned to the side, and pushed myself forward with the other foot over and over until that leg got tired and I could switch. It actually worked. We were moving!

What?? This just in! There was a little kid that was like 12 years old who we met in Bari that asked us for a Bible. I was like "you are 12 years old? Why do you want a Bible? Let's teach you!" But it didn't work out. I just heard he has been coming to church every week and wants to be baptized, but his parents aren't letting him yet. Wow!


Anziano Cannon

Heading off to zone calcio amid the rubble. I am really lucky.  This was my 
14th zone calcio in 12 transfers. That doesn't usually happen for missionaries.