Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 81 "If they open the door, pretend you're not sick"

December 19, 2016

Unfortunately, Elder Blaylock has been sick this week. I came down with it too yesterday morning.  Our senior Sister Thompson gave me the advice that this is the Lord's work and I can't do it when I'm sick, so I need to do all I can to get better and ask for a blessing. I did and this morning I woke up feeling fine! Yay! I have been so blessed with health during my mission.

This week we flew to Rome.

We got to the apartment of a companionship of Rome 1 elders. They were just recently put in a trio and already were short on beds but they had planned to sleep on cushions and couches and have US sleep on the two beds! I was shocked. One of the elders got ready to begin cooking us dinner when we arrived. Honestly I've never seen anything close to that kind of generosity my entire mission. I really love the idea of reciprocal generosity. In Bari there is a cruddy bathroom and a nice bathroom. Usually an elder switches to the nice bathroom once he is the older companion in the area. I decided to take the opportunity to do my companion a service by staying in the cruddy bathroom my whole time there. I just wonder how much happier and Christ-like our mission would be if every missionary started in the nice bathroom, then voluntarily moved to the bad one after a couple transfers. You still get the nice bathroom for the same amount of time, but with such a better feeling accompanying it. In the same way, if half of your exchanges you are going to sleep on the floor anyway, why don't you make those the one where it's YOUR home? Just food for thought. Anyway I love those guys and that was one of the first things I learned at zone conference...

...which was great!! It was nuts to see the departing testimonies of six missionaries including two of the four Malta elders. They have each had such unique missions but it was super great to hear their last words.



Also, our Brazilians are doing great, they are coming to church each week and teaching lessons with the Rome 1 elders who we passed them to!

After zone conference we had the afternoon free since we flew back the next day. So we volunteered to go to Rome 1 and fill up the font for the Ladispoli sisters' baptism! When I get there I found my old Rome 1 Ward mission leader there doing the job. It was great to see people from my old areas of Rome 1 and Ladispoli that night. I was able to put together a dinner with them and a less active I used to teach. Unfortunately, the less active in the end couldn't come, but boy was that good food (see below).

The FHE went fantastic, we had I believe 17 people there, which was almost as many as had come to sacrament meeting the day before. We had lots of fun and had a great lesson. I was on scambio with Anziano Pineau, who had had like zero preparation for what we were about to do, but he did really well!!

Well, the prayers worked last Monday, so please pray for our lesson tonight with a couple. The husband used to translate church materials into Maltese, but has never actually joined... Until now!

Language is coming. There have been a couple tradeoffs now at doorsteps where I speak to people who don't look like they speak English and the people won't respond to me in broken English, they'll respond in Maltese and legit think I understand. 


Presbiteru Cannon

Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum "papas alla huancaina" [potatoes 
with spicy cream sauce” (forgive me if you are a Spanish speaker!).

Good Christmas spirit here, though it is a British Christmas 
spirit. Here is "Jingle Bells" in Maltese which we will sing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Week 80

December 12, 2016

There is an African man who hadn't come to Church since I've been here. We called to set up an appointment and he just said "I'll come to church on Sunday". So there he was, In a suit and everything!  That's cool, sometimes it doesn't take a lot to help people.

We have a few members from Nigeria and Ghana. None of them are super strong in the gospel, and we figured they would do really well to meet together, and strengthen and teach one another through a family home
evening. So we planned to do that. Our branch mission leader wanted to tag along, and before you knew it got announced in church yesterday! Seriously like the whole branch is coming. I am so happy to do it because like zero of the people here come from those picture perfect nuclear families you are used to in the States.  From what I gathered I doubt anyone was doing FHEs. So we will need your prayers that this first one goes well but I can't wait to help the branch in this way.

We actually taught one of these guys, C, last Monday evening. It's getting better, but at correlation and district meeting we normally sound like Gollum from Lord of the Rings when we sing. I'm no super star myself.  But we were talking about the temple and I felt like we should sing "I Love to See the Temple". So at first I thought: "all right, I'll just read the words". Then I thought: oh, man up! So at the end I said that my companion and I would be singing a song about the temple, and we did, and the Spirit totally came into the room. It was great!

O is doing well! He is like a teabag that has been soaked in Catholicism his entire life. It just shows that the Lord prepares people because miraculously he is humble enough to accept what we teach. But that doesn't mean it's easy. One member from Ireland jokingly told us how he thinks it takes four generations of Church membership to purge all the old traditions people have that they bring from other religions. So we are chipping away.

This week we have zone conference! I'm sad to be leaving our island for a couple days because we have so much work to do but it'll be so great as well to go back to Italy. Hopefully I can do an exchange in Rome 1 or Rome 2 and see old investigators and members!

imħabba, (that's with the guttural "h")

Presbiteru Cannon

Some of our members have super nice 
houses and fireplaces like this...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Week 79

December 5, 2016

Wow! What a cool miracle! Sometimes missionaries get a little lazy and put on causal clothes every p-day. I was really proud that we were in our white shirts because this morning as we walked to the bus stop.  As we crossed a busy street as a Filipino couple crossed in the opposite direction. I don't know if they would have recognized us if we had just had on our name tags. But I ran back to the other side since she clearly recognized us, and she told us she is a member that she just got here a week ago! It’s great too because we have several Filipino members. The man isn't a member. We'll see if we can change that.  :)

Quote of the week:

"I've been here for two years and I haven't met a missionary who could answer a real question in Maltese" – Brother Vassallo. He is an older Maltese man and is super nice. He wasn't saying it to criticize, he was just making an honest observation in a way that made me crack up.  But silently I promised to change that. It's very easy to just give up Maltese and rely on English, but for me learning the language is a sign of love for the people I serve, and plus it's necessary now more than ever! (See next paragraph)

The same brother Vassallo translated our first lesson with O! It went great, except for the awkwardness of having a translator.  "He thinks he doesn't want to be baptized"


"Oh wait, he said he thinks he doesn't want to have to have to wait a long time to be baptized". (That legitimately happened).  So yea this guy was standing outside of church a year ago and a member invited him to come to the service. He has been coming faithfully ever since, but has never been taught! We hope to baptize him in January.  He is so humble and loves telling us "thank you", which is one of the
probably ten words he knows in English.

Quick note about our branch: it's crazy, but I love it. Yesterday was an incredible testimony meeting, I loved hearing the amazingly unique stories of how the members found the gospel to be true (all are coverts except an American family). We have a couple old guys from Scotland and Ireland who made livings as a professional chef (and we are talking, professional here) and a kilt maker (he made the kilts for the movie "Braveheart").

Sorry to bring this up again, but we did another gesso [street contacting] in Valleta, and this time I ordered first: "can I have a hot date?" The ladies at the counter started laughing a bit, and I joined in because I usually do, and I thought it was funny cuz they notice we are coming to their stand often. Then they asked "how many?" And without any knowledge that this would seem weird I said "one for each of us" to the two 30ish year old women at the counter. I seriously didn't even understand why they thought it was so funny until afterward. I guess their English is better than I thought.

Malta is great!! Anziano Blaylock and I are doing really well together, we have lots of fun and work hard! He doesn't even Bible bash, I'm really impressed cuz we taught a referral that could was really asking to bash, but he and our member did a super good job.


Presbiteru Cannon