Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 87

January 30, 2017

I would always say there's nothing I'd rather be doing than being a missionary, but that's especially easy to say during weeks like this!! 

For one, yesterday our friend H. who the other elders found on the bus and gave to us came to church with her son M. and her daughter B.! Feel free to ask my parents for their names, they are hilarious and awesome. I feel like in most places in the world, it's kind of rare that the missionaries bring a family to church on their own, and the members should be (and were, in our case) smart enough to just dive on them. It was great, we went up to relief society (which is the first meeting) where sister S. practically hugged H. into her seat. Meanwhile sister K. was rocking it in the rapidly expanding primary that now includes three Nigerians, a South African, Filipino, American, and Russian-Maltese who are the most energy packed kids on the island of Malta. They will be a good way for the older members to learn patience ;) 

H. is coming to FHE tonight and we will teach her on Wednesday when the zone leaders are here for a scambio!  (We hope) O. is going to be baptized on February 25th! Woohoo. 

Some of you may have heard about some changes in the missionary schedule. Basically, my companion and I aren't changing anything at all. The simplified key indicators are genius though, I love it. 
This week we went to zone conference. It was great! Last transfer at zone conference we were sort of homeless, but this transfer I had the idea to call up the GANS [youth] center elders - cioè [that is to say] my cousin Anziano Spencer! So, we went on our first scambio [exchange] ever, it only lasted like an hour but it was good anyway ha-ha. 

That night we stayed in the apartment with the Thompsons. I did my best to fake being healthy to not annoy them too much! Poor people, they were so nice to us! 

I went on another mini scambio with Anziano Pineau while the other elders attended branch council. I started out by calling several people who I didn't expect to answer and they ALL DID. We were on fire so then I called one other person, an investigator who self-referred to the church but has been offline for a couple weeks, and he answered too! We met him on Friday and taught a good lesson. Unfortunately, he couldn't make it to church because he worked till 6 am on Sunday morning, but we'll work on that. After the lesson, we joined the other members for... haggis night. If you have the stomach for it, you can look up what haggis is.

[I’ll save you the bother.  Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, a type of pudding composed of the liver, heart, and lungs of a sheep (or other animal), minced and mixed with beef or mutton suet and oatmeal and seasoned with onion, cayenne pepper, and other spices. The mixture is packed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled.] 

It's a Scottish dish and I'm not even sure I spelled it right. But it wasn't bad. I was given the last-second task of giving a back-handed speech of "complimenting" the "lassies" in the room as a toast. They didn't give me words or anything, I had like five minutes to think about what to say! Yikes. 
Yesterday in church every single lesson and talk discussed missionary work in some way or another. I love it! This branch is awesome, I wrote on the whiteboard calendar that next Monday is "(Not being) transferred calls" :) 


Presbiteru Cannon

Transfer 14! 

Good-by to Malta


Exchange with  cousin Tristan Spencer!

The following are pictures from the Pickerd's blog.

The Malta missionaries 

 President Pickerd on the right.  I'm guess the branch president with his family to President Pickerd's left.  I don't know who the men on the far left are.  But I think that the young man third from the left is the branch president's son who is the first missionary ever from Malta.

President Pickerd, the branch president and the three men 
who were just made elders (I'm guessing)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 86

January 23, 2017

Mirakli Kulljum!!

That's our motto. "Miracles every day".

This week was probably the only time ever I could walk into a Maltese convenience store and hear the Mormon Tabernacle choir singing. Ha-ha, I was kind of surprised when it happened.

I was sick all week but today is beautiful outside and I am feeling somewhat better. I did feel protected at times, like miraculously being able to sing at branch conference and not sound like a dying cow, or not needing to hack up a lung while I was getting an ultrasound of my knee.

Conference was great!!!!! One of the highlights was President Pickerd meeting with O. I use the analogy of a Christmas tree: sometimes, if you have two people who have both been craning their heads for a few weeks to try and see if a Christmas tree is straight up and down, they could both be wrong. That seemed to be the case for us, as President told us repeatedly how he believes O. is significantly more prepared for baptism than we have been treating him.  He has shown quite a bit of faith coming to church every week, even the times when he is the only non-English speaker there and there is no translation; he comes just because it feels good to be there.

Yesterday morning we taught him... On our own!! It was super hard but we've really been blessed with the gift of tongues and when our member couldn't make it things worked out ok. Here is an insight into my language speaking right now: I said my first only Italian prayer in a couple months with President Pickerd during my interview. And it was a STRUGGLE. Its shockingly hard to do it in Italian as oppose to Maltese these days. Yikes.

In his talk, president DeCarlo recounted many of the great things that have happened in Malta this year. His son will be the first ever Maltese missionary. An apostle wrote a letter to the Maltese saints.  At the dedication of the great building we currently use, a representative of the president of Malta and the vice mayor of Mosta both came to support us. The branch presidency felt inspired to give them a copy of "The Family: a proclamation to the world".

Later, people from Mosta loudly protested this support. The responses of these officials to that criticism show something quite special.  President DeCarlo believes it shows that both guests had actually read the proclamation, specifically the part that speaks about calling officers of government to protect the family. He believes that this gave them the courage to stand up to voters and defend completely their decision to attend the dedication, saying that the people could learn a lot from our church. In my opinion, it is no coincidence that both have since been elected to higher positions in the government. The Lord has blessed them.

Speaking of good people, there are tons of people here who have the Terrestrial kingdom locked up. They are just great people. I feel we are getting so close to finding some of the right ones who will lead the church here in Malta. Part of that has already been happening as three men were advanced to the Melchisedek priesthood on Sunday in our tiny branch! Yay!

Tomorrow the Thompsons come at 5 am to pick us up to fly to zone conference! Woohoo!


Anziano Cannon

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 85

January 16, 2017

My companion got better, I got sick, and T minus five days till President Pickerd comes to Malta! Time to get all our stuff up to snuff!

Well I'm really glad that the unity thing sank in last week. I was really impressed with the other elders when we had to call them and say "you know that really cool new person you received as a
self-referral? That's actually OUR really cool new person, because he lives in our area". They handled it like champs and we got to return the favor when we found out that the wonderful Nigerian girl (who has become super comfortable here in the branch very quickly) is actually in their area. The good news is they are all in the Lord's area!

This week O. showed up early for his lesson, so I got to try to converse with him on my own. I showed him pics of my family. He is so teachable and humble; I concur with our branch president those are some of the things that make or break a baptism.

Tonight at FHE we are speaking on the family proclamation. One thing I used to wonder is "If families are so important in the gospel, why do the scriptures hardly ever talk about them?" Later I realized that EVERYTHING in the scriptures talks about families, in the sense that all we learn in them is meant to be applied in our immediate family, as well as with our brothers and sisters who are children of God.


Presbiteru Cannon

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Week 84

January 9, 2017

This week has been one of the craziest and most miracle filled of my mission.  It's been really wonderful to have such a great companion that pushes me when I push him. After all that I have studied over the past nearly two years, to me the biggest indicator of a good missionary is having a desire to talk to everyone. And we've been doing that together.  He's helped me be super bold in talking to people in every possible circumstance and not being lazy at all. I believe that it is partially because of that that we have stayed so busy and happy this week.

The members of the branch are getting really optimistic and excited.  It's kind of scary because I don't want to let them down. But as we prepare for branch conference with President Pickerd in a couple weeks, everything seems to be falling together miraculously. People are coming back to church and getting temple recommends.  An old investigator walked in; O is progressing.  Probably my favorite was that our friend M who has been getting more and more active and this week went home teaching as well and accepted an invitation to speak in branch conference.  He also brought his seven-year-old daughter for the first time since I've been here in a beautiful pink dress.  Her non-member cousin, who just moved here, also came and Sister K taught her to pray and to sing "I am a child of God"!

We are even singing as a quartet of missionaries for branch conference. One of the songs is "The Hymn of the Restoration", a song in Maltese written by Marty Rivers, our branch president which will be included in the new hymn book that he is beginning to translate!

This week as a district we have been working on unity. A couple thoughts on this topic that seems to be one that makes or breaks success:

Unity is the combined effect of individual efforts. Unity is not the act of spending time together but of sacrificing for a common cause.  Only in righteousness is there true unity. The wicked can maybe "get along" for a time but in the end are always self-centered and will never have the outward focused motivation it takes to be united! That only happens when we are righteously serving the Lord.

It has been FREEZING here, though it was supposedly the coldest week of the year. The wind and humidity make the not too cold weather frigid, but after seeing pictures from home I'll count my blessings.


Presbiteru Cannon

 View from the church

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Week 82 and 83

December 26, 2016  

Happy Christmas! (The British way of saying it)

This was a wonderful Christmas! Because it was Sunday and because of the direction of our new mission president, it was a lot more outward focused than last year. We did a TON of caroling between the 23rd and 25th at rest homes, care units, and stores. I really got better aquatinted with the Christmas hymns and learned to love, "Help us to sing with our hearts and voice!" From "Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains" because that's what we needed to hit those high notes after a few go arounds. I was nearly laughing as I sang because it was fun and so difficult. At the end our ward mission leader was sad that Christmas was over, he had had such a good experience going with us. I was also grateful at a home for people with mental disabilities that many years ago my family went to visit the Alzheimer's unit once a month, so that I had no fear afterwards to go shake all of their hands and try to talk to them.  And if they had wanted to drool on or kiss me it wouldn't have even given me PTSD this time.

I felt so much joy yesterday; I overheard one of our few Maltese members speaking to our investigator O. I thought she was talking about her temple experience, and it turns out she was! She was finally able to attend the temple in England for the first time and LOVED it.  She was happily telling O. how when he goes to the temple for the first time she will be sure to be there with him. Yay! 

We had the Christmas party this week! I'm not sure what the non-members thought of the African gospel music that got sung or the rendition of a Christ-centered "All I Want for Christmas is You" complete with the Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley manual and angel costumes, but at least they came! We also were blessed that a less-active member brought a few friends, and some other cool families and friends!

We did a gesso [street contact] with the question: "What does Christmas mean to me?" I am so grateful as I thought about it last night that for me, Christmas means peace, joy, forgiveness, repentance, and a whole lot more. They are all cliché things but the good news is that they are all true!

Right now, we are waiting in the airport. Elders Blaylock and Haroldsen go home today. I'm so grateful for the two of them. They are such good elders and I have been really blessed with a great, united district which is important when we are so isolated.


Presbiteru Cannon

The district plus one extra

Skyping on Christmas

January 2, 2017

Wow! What a week! We said goodbye to our companions and then Elder Pineau and I got to work, and it went great!

We went to see a contact who wasn't at home. Outside his house there was someone talking on his phone so we just stood there for a few awkward minutes to ask him if he knew our friend. Finally, he asked us, "are you anzianos?" Turns out he was an investigator from Rome who just moved here to Malta!

We also got in contact with C, a member I worked a lot with during my time in Rome 6!! He moved to Malta. It was so great to see him. I think he'll be a great strength to the African LDS community here on Malta.  We want to help them strengthen and activate each other. We could have like seven or eight of them in church each week.

We taught O, which went great! We can only give him a copy of the Illustrated Stories from the Book of Mormon since that's all we have in Maltese, but he has already gained a testimony of its truthfulness. And C, our member fellowshipper, is reading it as well so we can all be on the same page. We are really happy to be helping the two of them simultaneously. Wednesday went so well that I wondered who had had the better day: me or my brother who got married ;) 

Now I'm with Anziano Grizzell. I had met him before in Bari. He is a transfer older than me so I might kill him [send him home] as well. On our first night together he told me how none of his companions have ever wanted to go running with him in the mornings, but if I wanted to we could. I just about started crying on the spot. He is a great missionary. He speaks the language better than any missionary I've ever meet and is an SYL monster.


Presbiteru Cannon

Friend from Rome 6