Monday, May 8, 2017

There and Back Again: A Missionary's Tale by Elder Cannon

May 1, 2017 

It has been a crazy two years! I use that adjective in lots of my emails because there is no other word that better describes the huge array of emotions and experiences I have been through, from getting a headache trying to understand the Sicilian language and a stomach ache trying to eat their enormous portions of food, to trying not to stress out having to give big lessons with no preparation at all, to the sweet joy of walking into a baptismal font that was warmed up by the Spirit. There is no other way I would have spent this time. Every sacrifice has already been repaid tenfold. It has been a course correction that will affect me for eternity.
I am grateful for every sweaty, exhausted, awkward, uncomfortable second that has spiritual edified, or built up, me or someone else. I am grateful for Bagheria, Rome, Bari, Ladispoli, and Malta and everything each one of my eleven companions have done for the work there. I am grateful to have seen the hand of the Lord at work in two special countries. I have been grateful to have been able to work for the salvation of others and invite them to come to Christ. I am grateful that the Gospel is simple.
I rejoice that fear can be conquered, charity never faileth, hearts can change, sin can be overcome, and the good will win in the end. I know that the very ground I stepped on was sacred, for others because of the importance of my calling, and for me because of what that calling meant to me.

This last week could be accurately summed up by the scripture Helaman 3:25!!!

And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure.

I know that the Lord’s work is going forward. In the words of Henry B. Eyring, it is "without fanfare". It is not often trending on Twitter or on the front page of the newspaper. But it is truly glorious!

I'll end with some of my favorite words in the hymn book, which are so true for all missionaries:

"Fear not, I am with thee
O be not afraid
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand."

If you are not a member of our church, I invite you to do something to come closer to Christ.  If you are a member, I invite you to consider the meaning of an "every day missionary".  If you are a missionary and especially if you are nearing the end of your mission, I invite you to take a BYU cross country motto to heart and "finish strong"!!!

-Elder/Anziano/Anzjan Ethan Cannon