Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Week 94

April 28, 2015
Well, not a lot of time today to write. We've got changes tomorrow. My companion is leaving (obviously, since he's ending his mission). We'll see who my companion is. We went to the temple for our zone P day and it was incredible, as always. I feel like the temple is the second biggest part of my testimony (after the Book of Mormon of course. Nothing can beat the Book of Mormon). I went there looking for some very specific revelation and very pleased to receive the exact answer I was looking for. Being able to go to the temple is sufficient motivation in and of itself to stay worthy of doing so.

I had a very neat experience yesterday that helped me open my eyes a little bit more. Apparently, a group of LDS dentists from the United States came down to Guatemala this week to do dental work for future missionaries who wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise. Yesterday, a sizable group from our ward went to the capital to have their turn. Among them were many youth that I know very well, including Janet and Pablo, two recent converts we baptized in the last month or so. We were at Janet's house, teaching her family when she came back that night. I felt so grateful to the unknown members who sacrificed their time and money to come down to Guatemala to do this service. Janet came back incredibly excited, showing off the things they had given her (such as a very nice case for her Book of Mormon, or a white shirt and tie for the guys), as well as the two fillings she had gotten (which were white fillings! not the normal gold which is so noticeable). Her mom was especially moved as this is something they never could have imagined. It made me realize how much of an impact acts of service like that can have. After seeing it from the other side I feel much more motivated to do the same when I am able.

Speaking of all this, Pablo has already started filling out his mission papers, and, what's even more impressive, has already told his girlfriend that he'll be leaving in 11 months to serve a mission for two years. Pilas...

Love you all!

Elder Cannon

Friday, April 24, 2015

Week 93

April 21, 2015

It was an excellent week. Despite the many things we had to do, we were able to have quite a bit of progress in our area and met all the normas de excelencia. It's so much fun to be a missionary when you have great investigators to teach and you can tell that you're making an eternal difference in the lives of many of God's children. The highlight of the week was the two baptisms we had of Cindy and Jazmin, the two younger sisters of Janet, the 19 year old young woman we baptized 4 weeks ago. It's so easy to see when someone's truly converted because they naturally want to bring all their friends and family to a knowledge of the truth as well. Now we're teaching at least 15 members of their family in all, counting aunts, uncles, grandparents etc. 

One of my favorite images of this week was seeing Pablo, the young man we baptized last week, mopping up after the baptism that we had this week. He had just been confirmed earlier that day but was already serving of his own accord and was very happy to have the privilege. Another image I love is thinking of Pablo, Janet, Steven (another recent convert in our area), and Francisco, a returned missionary, all driving together to a young single adult fireside in the capital. After leaving just a bit after they left the baptismal service, they got back at 9:30. That's pretty awesome. 

Also, we just had a pretty intense experience with talking with some sisters who were being disobedient. As President Markham would say, we put on our big boys pants (literally, the last time we seriously corrected sisters despite being nervous about how it would turn out, President called me to thank us and told us that is what we had done. I love him. He's hilarious). The Spirit was super strong as we just waited and they came out with one confession. Then we'd wait for 5 minutes and then they'd come out with another. We were there for 2 hours in all. That's why I'm writing so late. Anyway, it was great to help them to be able to be free from the burden they had been carrying as they were able to repent, but as we did so we certainly were able to feel a bit of its weight. Pretty tiring as well. Good thing for our P-day we'll finally be going to the temple on Thursday. I wish we could do more of that.

Love you all and I'm grateful for all your prayers and support.

Elder Cannon

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Week 91 and 92

April 7, 2015
Wow, what an incredible, and very full week this week. A lot is going on. I loved General Conference! We had to watch the majority of it in Spanish, which was a bummer. It's just not the same, but as always, it was the best weekend we’ve had in the last 6 months. Elder Holland's talk had me on the edge of my seat. His talk, as well as President Uchtdorf's right after was incredible. I love thinking that the Atonement isn't meant just to take us back to our state of innocence from sin before our Heavenly Father but to take us forward, helping us to become more like Him. President Uchtdorf’s talk in Priesthood session was also very instructive (and also included a fair amount of chicote). It’s very easy to become too focused on the outward signs of our discipleship and forget what's most important. I also loved the talk about leaning to hear the music not just doing the dance steps. It was a talk long dance metaphor which made me and the other two elders in the zone who also love ballroom dance pretty excited. Speaking of being excited...

President Brough got called as a counselor in the General Young Men's Presidency!!! Ahhh!!! All the missionaries said he would be called as a member of the 70, but they didn't read his name and we were all disappointed, then he just got called straight to the General Young Men's Presidency! We were watching it with all the other members in the chapel but before I could stop myself I stood up and in a half yell and said “No!” and grabbed my companion. It was more intense than any sporting event. He'll be amazing, getting the youth ready to serve missions. His spiritual presence is incredible. We were hoping that he'd speak, but I guess that would have been just too much to bear. Our mission would have struggled a lot after having so many of its elders and sisters die from the sheer joy of it all. Maybe next conference.

Also, this week was Semana Santa. People come from all over the world (literally, we've contacted people from all over the place) to witness Semana Santa in Antigua. The only place where it is as big as in Spain. It was pretty ridiculous, but also incredibly cool. One Thursday we had to go to Antigua and the buses couldn't even get in. We had to walk and then once we arrived we found that the city was jam packed. We were sitting in an internet cafe (long story) and right then one of the processions came by. It was super cool to be able to watch it all. I'm not sure of the doctrine of it all, but during this time the Catholics have something like a funeral parade where they carry a massive intricately decorated platform with Christ and some saints. They follow it with a band and other things, such as people burning incense or dressed as roman soldiers. That's also when they make the very beautiful carpets made out of flowers, plants, and colored wood shavings (referring to when the people covered the road with palm fronds as Christ rode into Jerusalem). It was a huge thing and made me grateful to have been called here specifically, seeing a thing that only a handful of missionaries have seen on their missions.

Finally, I’ve included a picture of a mollete, my favorite Guatemalan dessert. I have never eaten a food that looks and feels so repulsive, but tastes so heavenly. It’s made of bread, filled with cream, that's fried in egg and left to sit for a day in honey. It's soggy, cold, and incredible.

April 14, 2015
Another great week. I can tell right now that this email will degenerate into me talking about food, so I'll get right so the spiritual stuff. Baptism! Wohoo! His name is Pablo and he's probably one of the purest people I've ever met. He lives with his sister and brother in law who are both members. They invited him to a Family Home Evening and he liked it. He went to church, met us, and got baptized. Pretty easy with him.

Missionaries say that in the mountains the people are all very hard and don't want anything and if you go there you won't baptize. However, after being in the mountains for more than a year, I can say that I have never met investigators who are so prepared to accept this message. I never had converts who were so truly converted when I was in the coast. For example, the Saturday before his baptism, we asked Pablo to come with us to visit some investigators. He jumped at the chance and when we started the lesson and were presenting ourselves, he burst out, ''I'm Pablo and I'm getting baptized tomorrow!'' Then, yesterday, he went to work with us from 5:00 to 8:15, at which point we went to his house to teach him until 9:00.

It's a great privilege to be able participate in someone's conversion. Another great blessing is that Pablo lives very close to our house (we had no idea there were members there until we met him because they've been attending the other ward).  He's always home at 8:00 at night, there's always a member present (his family) and they always give us food (including this amazing pineapple cooked in syrup with cloves and pepper. Yep, the food talk has already started). In other words, it's a missionary's dream set up. As you can see from the picture, President and Sister Markham were passing by that day and were present in the baptism. I love them so much. Also, you might note that this is the first time I've ever had a convert who was taller than me. 

This week I also tried harder than ever to be even more diligent. It really does feel good to know that you're working as hard as you can. It feels far better than holding a little back just because you feel tired or lazy. All these commandments that the Lord gives us, like being obedient and working diligently, really are just to help us personally be happier.

Ok, now to the food. Last week we took the most successful companionships in the zone out to eat in the nicest restaurante here in San Lucas: San Martin. I hadn't eaten in a nice restaurante like that in all my mission so it was quite the experience. Interestingly, my companion and I both ordered soups and salads while the sisters all ordered these giant hamburgers which they couldn't even fit in their mouths. 

This week we had our district P-day and learned to make molletes and a flan chocolate cake. And we also ate mole, my second favorite dessert in Guatemala. Now we're going to go to a new, supposedly really good restaurante here in Antigua. Yep, I'm gaining weight..

Love you all


The district

Making molletes. I hadn't used a Kitchen Aid mixer in a long time... 

That's for sure... Too bad it wasn't a Bosch though.

Making molletes. I hadn't used a Kitchen Aid mixer in a long time... 
That's for sure... Too bad it wasn't a Bosch though.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Weeks 89 and 90

March 24, 2015
Well, it feels like I was just barely here, and this week that's actually true, since I wrote last Thursday. Anyway, the highlight was that, after fighting through an incredible amount of investigators who received their answer but haven't progressed, we finally had a baptism! On Sunday we had a very spiritual baptismal service for Janet Garcia. She was a miracle and another example of how much faster the Work will progress through members than through our own efforts (such as knocking doors). We met her for the first time a few Sundays ago when she attended church with a family of recent converts, la familia Lopez. They had invited her and after that we just had to teach her.  In no time she was ready for baptism. Now she's super excited to bring the rest of her family to church and I'm confident that because of her example, they'll all be baptized in not too long. Janet is super pilas and was incredibly prepared. We put the fecha fija (I have no idea how to translate that, it's like the set date or something when we the investigator commits to a certain date to be baptized); anyway we put the fecha fija right in front of all her family. Her dad especially had not been very positive to us, but right in front of everyone we challenged her to baptism next Sunday and she accepted. Everyone was a little surprised, to say the least, but it was a cool trial of her faith. 

That's about it for this week. My companion and I are having an awesome time and the zone is doing great. Lots of miracles this week. There’s even an elder from Oregon in the zone, Elder Myer. We're down to just 4 in the mission, in the unlikely case that anyone was interested.

Love you all!

Elder Cannon

March 31, 2015
This week was probably the fastest in all my mission. We had so little time to work in our area, it was kind of frustrating. It would seem that the Lord continues to teach me patience. Why is it that the only way to develop more patience is by being in situations that try it? I feel like this week was blessed with an increased number of those lovely moments when you start to fear that your eyes will bleed or some artery will rupture from all the stress and crazy things going on. Luckily though, I'm still here, so don't worry. My eyes and arteries will be better off because of it. Anyway, it was still a great week, some highlights:

- A baptism! It was of Hermana Vilma, a woman who the elders here had been teaching for quite some time but who, due to complications with her pregnancy, had been bedridden for a couple of months. She was very anxious to finally be baptized and it was a blessing to be able to help her in her eternal progression in our own small way. She's the third single mom that I've baptized in this area and the 6th woman. Not sure why we only teach women. The problem is that they really are more pilas than the men. We had a Family Home Evening yesterday with Hermana Janet, who got baptized last Sunday. It's so great to be able to see investigators be truly converted and then want to share the gospel with everyone else. I feel like desires to do missionary work is the crowning indicator of conversion. I'm confident that her family will be baptized in not too much longer.
- Also, I'm feeling pretty full of the Spirit right now, as we just came off of a really cool experience, a miracle really. There's a companionship of sisters in the zone that has been struggling with some little issues in obedience and diligence. I was very nervous to talk to them because it's always difficult to correct hermanas, they're so different from the elders. It's not their fault or anything, just for an elder to correct an hermana isn't as easy as just pulling an elder aside and saying "hey, what's going on with you guys?" However, knowing that it was our responsibility to do something, we pulled them aside and expressed to them our concerns. The Spirit was so strong and we could feel it guiding us and telling the Hermanas the things they needed to improve. They were very repentant and my worry about them has ceased. I guess I just can never get over how great a blessing the Spirit is. Feeling that guidance and the mantel of whatever calling we have is way worth the "sacrifices" we have to make in order to stay worthy of its companionship. It's such an amazing experience to feel that you-re being an instrument in the Lord's hands.
- Yesterday for P-day my companion needed to buy new shoes, but, being a size 14 there was nothing that fit him here. We got permission to leave the mission and a family took us to Miraflores, one of the nicest malls in Guatemala. Now, obviously, I'm not a mall person or anything, but it was cool just seeing how big and expensive everything was. I felt like I was sitting right in the middle of the great and spacious building. My favorite part was that in the parking garage they had little cameras above all of the parking spaces that were connected to a light on the ceiling. When a car was parked in the parking space, the light would change from green to red. Making it quick and easy to be able to find an empty space. You just had to scan around for a few seconds until you could see a green light. After looking at some shoes in the mall that cost 750 Quetzales ($100), we finally ended up going to a megapaca, (similar to Good Will) and buying a pair for 24 Quets, ($3). 

- Lifesavers! I found a box of lifesavers that a person was selling in a tienda in our area. They were real Lifesavers and everything. I bought the entire box for 10 Quets. In other words, I paid 12.5 cents per roll of Lifesavers, each of which contains 14 Lifesavers. That's less than a penny a Lifesaver! Yeah, that was awesome.
- The rainy season has begun! At last! We got our first rain on Sunday and I was dancing with joy. It has been far too long.

Well, as you can see, life here is going well. Love you all!