Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Week 71

November 18, 2014
Things have been difficult here in Complapa; however, the Lord did bless us with a great miracle this week. Wednesday we visited a member named Hermana Cony, she's super pilas and has hired a young woman named Daisy to help her clean and cook. Daisy said she'd like to listen to us (the missionaries) and sure enough, she was the miracle we'd been praying for.

Daisy is probably the smartest person I've ever taught on my mission. There's nothing quite as satisfying as having an investigator truly understand dispensations, apostasy, authority, and the need for the Restoration. Just like Preach my Gospel says, it is easier for investigators to receive the answer that this message is true when they actually understand it.

Anyway, we left Daisy with all the normal commitments to read the pamphlet, attend church, and pray and ask God if this is true. Two days later we visited her again. She had prayed and had received a very clear answer through feelings of peace and security, just like we had promised her she would. Completely on her own, she had then asked her dad for permission to be baptized and he had consented!  It was a cool testimony builder for me that is really is almost easy for anyone with faith, real intent, and a sincere heart to ask God is this message is true and receive the answer that it is through the Holy Ghost. Sometimes we have to fight to help investigators find their answers, but those who are truly ready don't have any problems in receiving it.

Since she was so pilas we decided to leave her a whole chapter in the Book of Mormon to read. I asked her if she would prefer to read in 2 Nephi 31 about the Gospel of Jesus Christ or in 3 Nephi 11 about Christ's visitation to the Americas. She said simply that both sounded important so she'd read both. She did, that very night. It's been a reminder to me to never lose hope. Even if things are rather difficult, this is the Lord's work and he is in control. He's preparing the people as it says in Alma 16:16, He's prepared us (D&C 138:56) and we just need to be diligent and obedient and have faith.

I can't believe it's already mid-November. This is insane. When's Thanksgiving? I'm not sure. We've been singing Christmas hymns in our district meetings since April. That's one of the perks about being district leader, getting to select the hymns. Things have been starting to get cold here in Comalapa, like, really cold. Not just the cold I felt when I left the coast to go to Patzicia, but like, real cold that makes you think it should be snowing. Still, I’m loving it and am enjoying being a missionary more than I ever thought I would.


Elder Cannon

The picture is of Elder Mendieta and me last night. Supposedly the rainy season has ended and so I had stopped taking around my rain jacket. However, it started pouring and so we did what any good Guatemalan would do and went to the nearest tienda and bought a couple yards of ¨nilo.¨ We then spent the next hour contacting in the central park of Comalapa. It was pretty fun. The sad thing is that those plastic sheets (which cost about $0.30) kept me drier than my high tech jacket which probably cost 100 times as much.

Also, the Ammon statue in the park of Comalapa. Get it? The arms? Well, I thought it was pretty funny...

The second half of the mural at the entrance of Compala, this part is of the Guerrilla, the Gautemalan civil war 30 years ago or so. pretty violent, but the stories that members tell of occasionally about what they lived in that time are pretty grim as well. It's something here that the people certainly haven't forgotten.

Pictures of daily life

Modern day

Indigineous life beginning to mix with Western culture. The paintings of the Guatemalans dreaming of modern conviniences are my favorite in the mural

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Week 70

November 11, 2014
Well, not too much to report today. We worked really hard this week and had 20 more lessons this week than we did last week. However, despite all our hard work, we're still really struggling to find progressing investigators. We had some real miracles with some less active members and the attendance in our branch here was almost double what it was a week ago.

Despite how hard it is at times, it is a blessing and a joy to serve the Lord as a full time missionary. I love this calling and it's so true that serving a mission is an offering, not a sacrifice.


Elder Cannon

My purchases from the market. Those four heads of broccoli cost a total of 10 quets, $1.25. Best buy ever (I bought two more that day just to make sure I'd have enough).

Some of the Guatemalan treats they sell in fairs. We normally can't eat them since they're street food, but we were knocking on doors a few nights ago and taught a family that had a made them there in their house. They didn't really want anything to do with our message, but were some of the nicest people I've ever met. They gave us a ton of this candy which is super expensive. The white candy is basically just mashed up coconut with sugar and the pink treat is basically fudge made out of rice. 

My dinner last night, a very roughly cut up but incredibly delicious fruit salad of bananas, pineapple, and papaya. Gmala.

As long as I’m sending pictures of food: my lunch yesterday.

And the view from the restaurante (not sure how it's spelled in English) that we ate at.

Also, my trainer, Elder Lopez, finished his mission last week, here's a picture of the family.

My son Elder Mendieta, me, my dad, my step son Elder Fulmer, and my two younger brothers (according to missionary lingo).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 69

November 4, 2014
Well, this week has been pretty full, so let's get this email moving. Last Wednesday we had changes and I received a missionary straight from the CCM, Elder Mendieta, from Nicaragua. Receiving Elder Mendieta has been great, but there certainly is a lot to teach a new missionary. I know that responsibility I have is so important, and I can feel a lot of pressure to train him well, but often it's hard to know just how to apply that, when it's good to push him even farther or when it'd be better to slow down a little bit. It's rather funny to see how he has many of the same preconceived notions about what missionary work is like that I had before coming into the field and how awkward a new missionary’s contacts are at first. However, he is a great missionary, and I know that he'll be a great leader in the mission one day and I feel very lucky and humbled to be entrusted with him as my companion. Training has taught me even more patience and humility. Two attributes that I have had to taught again and again on my mission (and will certainly have to keep learning as I've got a way to go in that area).

This week has taught me more humility as we have continued to struggle with our datos (the number of lessons, new investigators, contacts, etc. that we have in the week). Really what I most seek for in the mission is knowing that I have done the will of my Heavenly Father and that He is pleased with me. When I am struggling to feel that the mission becomes very hard for me. I know that if I am diligent, I should be able to have good datos. Yes, there are always hard days, but I really want to be able to see that I am working hard and making a difference. However, I hit a turning point on Saturday when I finally became fed up with how little we seemed to be doing and decided to change things. I started praying and working harder than ever and we have been blessed and I have felt even more the urgency of this work. I feel like I don't want to waste a single minute.

As far as miracles go this week, we have really been struggling to find progressing investigators. Our area book is essentially empty. We hadn't been having much success when the Spirit guided us to a second visit rather far away from where we normally work. We were late for another appointment and the first visit with the investigator hadn't been too good, but I felt like we should swing by, despite the inconvenience. As we were about to arrive we passed a man who was obviously an alcoholic and somewhat drunk at that moment staggering in the street. We said ¨buenos dias¨ to him as usual and kept on walking, then the man turned to us and asked us if we were Jehovah’s Witnesses. We went over to talk to him and then I felt very strongly the Spirit tell me that he had been very intentionally placed in our path. We taught him a quick lesson in the street and left him with a pamphlet. Yesterday we had the second visit with him and he has completely stopped drinking and was in tears and the end of the lesson. It has been a cool testament of the promise found in Preach My Gospel that the Lord will guide us to those who are ready to hear this message or He will guide them to us.

In other news this week, the 1st of November was el dia de los muertos [the day of the dead] here. It's celebrated by eating fiambre and flying kites in the cemetery. Fiambre is a dish that is only eaten on this day. I ate a plate of it that a member gave to us and it had over 50 ingredients. A dozen types of meat, dozens of types of vegetables, and a bunch of different types of cheeses. It was a little much honestly. Very strong, pungent flavors of pickled vegetables and meats like blood sausage, but it sure looks cool in the picture (that chili was really good and spicy though). 

As far as the kites go, I've never seen anything like it in the United States. The kites here are normally hexagon shaped and can be several meters across (up to 9 meters in Sumpango, and area near Chimal. It takes 10 people to hold the rope). The little kids are super pilas and can fly the kites way higher that I would have imagined. I wish I had a picture because it's pretty incredible. It kind of looked like and alien invasion that day.

Another interesting occurrence this week was that at changes an elder I didn't know came up to me and told me that he'd read my blog before leaving on his mission. It made me a little afraid of the power of google and also made me feel self-conscious about the things I've written. Maybe I should write about things that are slightly more substantial that the food I've eaten or what LOTR reference I had.


Elder Cannon