Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Week 49, 50 and 51

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Well, last Wednesday we had our last change meeting with President Brough as our mission president. They're leaving in less than a month. I spent all of Tuesday moving the stuff in the house of the Elders in Zaragoza (the area they're closing) to the house of the new hermanas here in Patzicia 1 (the area they're opening). Now I've got 3 companionships of sisters in the district, which is great, they're super pilas and everything, but it also definitely requires more work and much more tact. It's so much more difficult to give chicote [whipping?] to an hermana than to an elder. I did receive some welcome help though. President Brough wants us to have divisions every Sunday so that one of us can visit the branch in Zaragoza.  He therefore transferred one of the Elders from Zaragoza, Elder Legorreta from Mexico, to here. However, he didn't want to drop Elder Legorreta down to junior companion so he made him co district leader with me. At first I was a little dubious about how it would work out, but it's actually really nice. Every other night I can eat dinner! Wohoo! It's pretty great.

Zaragoza is super cool. We got there to work a few times a week. It's 20 minutes away from Patzy, but it's a completely different world. There's no corte there but all the men wear cowboy hats, leather boots and big cowboy belts, ride horses around town, and always carry machetes in fancy leathers sheaths. My companion says that it's a lot like Mexico. Also, while Patzicia is always rather gloomy and somber, there are always big parties going on in Zaragoza. A very different feel to the city.

One thing that's been really obvious to me lately is the difference between a returned missionary and an ex missionary. There are quite a few RM's in our ward, but many of them seem to have completely forgotten what they taught and learned for two years. All those who come back and become slackers always say ¨it's way different when you get back. Life's harder, it's not as simple, etc.¨ I'm sure that's true and all, but I've set the goal for myself to ¨let the mission get through me and not just have me get through the mission.¨ I'm confident that the difference between our RM ward mission leader who only occasionally comes to church and another RM who always is active and involved (he even buttons the top button of his collar!) is how hard they worked on their missions. Just more motivation to be diligent...

Yep, we made those roses out of construction paper and gave them to the wives of the branch presidents and bishop in our area to thank them for their support of their husbands in their callings. Just another thing that you learn on your mission that might just come in handy after...

June 10, 2014

Well, right now I'm writing you all from Sololá, since we've got zone training today. I like coming here because the view of the lake Atitlan is amazing and because the corte in Guipil is way different. It's got a black background with lots of multicolored lines and dots. The coolest part is that here there are MEN who wear corte. They have the Sololá style black pants, with a faja or blanket like skirt, and cool corte shirt, and hat. I'd send a picture but I don't know how to discretely take one. The downside about coming here is that it means getting up super early so we can make the 2 hour trip on bus that are flying around crazy turns, trying not to slide off our seats every 15 seconds. 

Moving on, this week we had a neat miracle. We've been teaching a woman named Ana Maria in Zaragoza. She's very intelligent and has gained a strong testimony of the truthfulness of this message. She knows exactly what she needs to do (i.e. be baptized) but has had to undergo some serious persecution from her family. On Wednesday we were able to teach a great lesson on sacrifices we make for the gospel. She was able to summon up the courage and commit to being baptized this Sunday. However, on Friday, when the zone leaders arrived to do her interview, she backed out because her family had been extra hard with her. We talked 
with her and when one of the zone leaders asked her what she was willing to do to follow Christ it was inspiring to see her faith as she replied while crying, "anything..." She recommitted but sadly didn't pass the interview because she had drunk coffee. We'll try again in 2 weeks. Hopefully she’ll be doing all she should during that time so that the Enemy can't take advantage of that extra time.

I am quite pleased with the progress that we have been making with the members in Zarahemla. Since our area in Patzicia is so small, we have very few people to visit every night which has helped us focus on improving our relationship with the members. They are starting to have more trust in us, and seem excited to tell us about their missionary efforts. We've been able to receive some good references and have lessons with their friends. They've also allowed us several opportunities to serve them this week. We carried firewood, cleaned a pila (the concrete reservoir of water that all Guatemalans have and use to clean their clothes, and do other chores), and degrained corn (which is a great way to quickly get blisters). In all I feel like slowly but surely the attitude in the ward toward missionary work is beginning to change.

Thanks for all your prayers,

Love, Elder Cannon


Also, the view from the chapel is Sololá. I'd bet that there are few chapels in the world that have a view so gorgeous. Literally, this is right outside the gate.

June 17, 2014

We've had some more setbacks this week, but we had one lesson this week that was truly incredible. We were teaching Hermana Ana Maria, one of our investigators from Zaragoza who didn't pass her baptismal interview a week ago only because she had drunk coffee recently. However, not long afterwards, her brother began feeding her a bunch of anti-Mormon material and she became very confused and wasn't sure that she wanted to continue with her new baptismal date. The day we went to see her I felt the Spirit guiding me several times just to be in the right place at the right time to be able to have the lesson. Then during the lesson, that feeling increased even more. I felt like truly the words I should say were given to me, the exact scriptures I needed came easily to mind, and overall I had a feeling of peace, despite the opposition. In all, I felt like I wasn't doing anything, rather that the Lord was was working perfectly through me. I felt like Satan had brought out some of his strongest weapons to dissuade hermana Ana and that in response the Lord had taken over the teaching in that lesson. It was an incredible feeling and made me realize that even though sometimes I'm frustrated because I don't feel the Spirit guiding my teaching as much as I would like, when it's really crucial that I say or do something, the Lord WILL give me that inspiration. Sadly, she made the decision a few days later to leave the Church. It made me think of how even the Elect will be decieved in these Last Days. It also made me grateful that we have the Book of Mormon, such a powerful evidence against all of these false accuastions.

Also, I had one of the most beautiful experiances of all of my mission during divisions a week ago with the zone leaders. We went to visit a recent convert who lived in an aldea (a tiny town) about half an hour away from Sololá. To get there we took a flete (a pick up with metal bars around the outside so that people can ride in the back standing up. They fit up to 20 people in the back of those crazy things) and spent that half hour driving around tiny, windy roads in the open air. We passed incredible fields perched on percipices, dark green hills, deep gorges, and stunning waterfalls. Words written 3 minutes before my time runs out can't describe it, but it's something that I'll remember forever. Even more grateful now to have been called to Gmala.

For the district P day we made food again. hot dogs and cake, good stuff.
Me grilling the cheapest hot dogs I have ever eaten. Definitely not doing that again.
Also, the best (and only) chocolate cake I've ever baked in a toaster oven.

 The back of a package of hot dog buns, where the food pyramid is featured to prove that bread like hot dog buns should be the base of our diet (a solid 24 grams of sugar per bun! I might as well eat cake!)

The view from the house of the zone leaders. They exercise in front of that window every morning.

June 24, 2014

Well, it's been a trying week up here in Patzicia. Yet again, we had another investigator, Victor Esquit, not pass his baptismal interview. Despite having told us various times that he was married, it turns out that he had "forgotten" that he had never actually had a wedding. I felt bad for the zone leaders because they had to make the 1.5-2 hour trip down from Sololá, but when we taught Victor the Law of Chastity it was during divisions and one of the zone leaders was there in my place. In other words, they can't give us too much chicote [whipping?]. Still, as President Brough has said, this is one of the areas that most tries our faith in this mission.

A rather scary announcement is that tomorrow (6/25/14) is my "one year as a missionary" mark. I can't believe how fast that year has flown by. Over this past year, I've been able to see so clearly how a mission is "the best two years for your life." I'm so grateful for every trial I've had, every lesson I've learned, and every weakness I've strengthened, little by little, in these 364 days. I wish I could have more than just a year left of the golden time to progress spiritually. However, I'm not going to lie, there's definitely some movies I want to see, so maybe two years is just perfect...

Two days from now our new mission president, President Markham, will arrive here and President Brough will leave. It's sad to see him and his wife go. They're given this mission an incredible reputation for exact obedience. The stories I hear from other mission in Gmala make me grateful for my call to serve here and for the three years that President and Sister Brough have spent making this mission the way it is.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement you've given me over the last year. I love your letters!

Love, Elder Cannon

This is a nice tienda and comedor (cafeteria) that we have in our area. The fact that it is sponsored by Alka-Seltzer isn't the greatest sign...

Also, a picture of our district after spending two hours trying to flag down a bus so that we could go to the Zone P day in Sololá. I'm pretty sure all those exhaust fumes caused us some serious damage.

This week we got to run the fun errand of going to the town hall to search through there old records to see if one of our investigators was actually married.

Also, Chapines have way cooler signatures than we do

July 1, 2014

Well, yet another incredibly fast week. we're still fighting with a bunch of challenges and setbacks in our area. Patzicia is really faith trying. Still, we have had some good advancements. We've been working a lot with a ¨macheteros¨ (I supose that in English that would be something like ¨machete-ers.¨ It´s what the people in Zaragoza are called for their affinity for machetes.) named Jorge. He's a full blown 60 year old cowboy who can't read but has been very quick to accept the gospel. It's almost how funny he takes it all. In our third visit we had a conversation that went something like this...

Me- So Hermano Jorge, as we explained, you need to pray and ask God tonight if the Book of Mormon is true
Jorge- Está bien, but I already know it's true.
Me-¡Muy bien! but if the Book of Mormon is true that means you have to be baptized. You realize that, right?
Jorge- Está bien
Me- Um, ok, then how about July 6th?
Jorge- Está bien.

Now, there are investigators like that who just aren't paying any attention, but the difference with him is that he's been fulfilling all his commitments and even showed up to church all on his own, without waiting for my companion to pass for him a few weeks ago. It's interesting how some people are just so prepared and how some people are just so not prepared (I just love how many people here are so afraid of us that the won't even shake our hands because they're so afraid that they will be smitten just for coming into close contact with heathen such as us). more proof that it's so important to follow the Spirit so that you spend your time with those who are prepared and don't waste it teaching people who have no desires to change.

In case anyone is not aware, the Wrold Cup is going on right now and it's pretty much the highlight of Guatemalan life here. Every single company from Mcdonalds to cell phone conpanies to Tortrix, the company that makes chips here has some sort of World Cup promotion. Every radio in every bus or store is always broadcasting the games. I can tell that it's a pretty big temptation for my companion to listen, but for me not only is soccer not my favorite, but I can't even understand anything the announcers are saying other than ¨gooooooooool!¨ Yesterday during P day we got trapped in the food court of the mall in Chimaltenange right as a game started. It was rather excruciating to have to listen to the couple hundred people who were there all gasp or start cheering at the same time without having any idea of what was happening.

Also, I finally was able to go to the giant market in Chimal to buy a bunch of corte. Normally, a full thing or corte can cost a couple hundred dollars, but we found that if you buy used corte you can get it super cheap. Needless to say, I went back with a backpack stuffed full of corte. I think I'll just wear it at BYU and tell everyone that it what the men in guatemala wear. If the misisonaries in Tonga can come back wearing Sulus, I want to be able to lounge around in my corte.

This Friday we'll have our first conference with our new misison president. There's a lot of speculation as to which rules he will change. I'm just hoping that we will be able to go to the temple more often and that we'll be able to play board games on P day.

Really quick, another obedience scripture that I love. D and C 59-23. I love seeing that peace in my converts as they live the Gospel of jesus Christ.

In all, I'm so very grateful for this year I've had to serve the Lord and become more like him. It can be very trying at times, but so very worth it.

Love, Elder Cannon

I celebrated turing 1 year in the mission by doing one of my favorite things, eating ice cream

Also, I thought that this was a nice visual metaphor of what we do as a missionary. In the picture I'm seperating the milpa from the monte (corn from the weeds) while as a misionary I seperate the wheat from the tares.

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