It's not so much "whatever that means." It's whoever...

"Dear Elder Cannon: you are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Colombia Bogota North Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months...You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language... "


Monday, December 26, 2011

And a Happy New Year!

Hey y'all. It's me again. :)

Christmas was pretty much amazing. Basically because I got to talk to my wonderful family. :) That was pretty much the highlight of the...year. Haha. It was great to see you all again and see how things have changed or not changed. I only got like...15 weird looks in the internet cafe for speaking english super loud. It wasn't that loud, I guess...but I was the only one talking...so everyone could probably hear me. Oh well. I only get to talk to my family twice a year. :P 

Christmas here was very different. First of all, it was the first Christmas I had spent away from home, and also they do things a little differently here in South America. Ever since I got here, people would talk about the 24th of December, like that was the holiday. I was always confused, because Christmas is on the 25th, not the 24th. Everyone knows that. So, come to find out, Christmas is still on the 25th, but they do more on the 24th to celebrate. Starting at about 7 or 8 at night, people started putting out their speakers. Everyone in the country owns a set of 4 foot speakers, and they put on whatever kind of music floats their boat and they turn it up as loud as they possibly can. Then there's the fireworks. Roman candles in the hands of 4 year olds, explosions all over the place. Whew. What a party. Then of course...there's the alcohol. :P That doesn't really need explaining. 

Anyway. It was a party. Haha. I could hardly sleep...people were up until around 4 am partying. Fun stuff. Oh, I was going to explain, here in South America, people wait up until midnight on the 24th (technically the 25th) to open presents. So, that's probably why they talk more about the 24th than the 25th. The 25th, people were out working like it was a regular day. The sober ones, anyway. ...Yeah. :P

We had a pretty good crowd at church too. There were about 80 members that attended. That does count the ones that came 10, 15, 30 minutes late, but that's nothing new. Haha. ;) 

Anyway, I love you all. I really don't know what I would do without my wonderful family. Thank you for your prayers, your support, etc. It means a lot to me. Really. :)

Until next year, 

...whoa. It'll be 2012 when I talk to you y'all again. Weird.

Elder Cannon

P.S. Would someone please listen to BYU vocal point's Nearer my God to Thee for me? :) Thanks.

P.P.S. Not that this isn't fun, but...I'm gonna look around. 



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Monday, December 19, 2011

Sup?

We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas...

Wanna know what I miss? Christmas music in English. I would enjoy it in Spanish, but they only have about 5, and they play them over and over and over and over and over again. Silent Night, The Drummer Boy, Feliz Navidad, and a couple others that I don't know the names of. Will someone please listen to the Come to the Manger CD for me? Especially the one about the "beautiful lizzard sun." Haha...okay, so when I was a kid, and that song played, I think it's Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella, when he says "beautiful is her son," I thought he was saying "beautiful lizzard sun." Anyway, listen to it. Then laugh at me. But listen to it, por lo menos. :)

I have a question for you all: How many of you have water storage? And if you do, how many days could you last on the storage that you have? Do you know how many gallons of water it takes to flush a toilet? To do a batch of laundry? To take a shower? To brush your teeth? Just some questions for you. If you don't have water storage, you'd better get on that, because some moron might accidentally spill a bunch of petroleum in your water source and then they'll cut your water supply for 2 weeks and you'll have no way to shower or wash clothes or brush your teeth or use the bathroom. Yikes. That could get ugly, don't you think? It could happen to you. So...yeah. As a missionary, water storage was about the farthest thing from my mind. ...until this week. :P Luckily it rained once or twice, and we collected some. 

This week, President Hacking came for a Zone Christmas activity. It was really neat. We acted out the birth of Christ, sang some Christmas Hymns, and then they let us watch "Emma," the movie about Emma Smith. Absolutely incredible. I loved it. Then there was dinner, and presents! They gave us a bag of goodies and a cover for our daily planners. :) It was fun. 

I don't really know what else to say. There are a bunch of Chilenos going home this week, so we're going to see some cambios. Hopefully I don't get transfered...but you never know, eh? I also hope my companion doesn't get transfered, because then I'll be loster than lost. I don't even know how to take a taxi to our area. Actually, I think I do. But to take one back...I don't think so. 

Guess what?? Christmas is on Sunday!!! I can't believe it. It kind of doesn't feel like Christmas... That might be because it's like 90 degrees here, and I'm...not with my family. But I have friends here, and I'm not sad. It's just different than other years, y'know? Not bad. Just different.

I think I'm done talking now. Did I tell you that we're teaching a deaf/mute girl? Her name is Sonia, and she's amazing. Haha. She doesn't talk or hear at all, but she can read and write, and sign of course. We've been practicing the signs a little. I knew the ASL alphabet, more or less, but it's different down here. Some of the letters are the same, but others are different. And the few signs I knew besides the letters are also different. Hmm. So much for ASL. I should've learned LASL. Hehe. But she's progressing. Learning lots, attending church, keeping her commitments and everything. :) 

Most of all, I just want y'all to know that I know, without a doubt, that this Church is true. That Joseph Smith really was and is a Prophet called of God. That through him, God restored His Church again upon the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. That is has the power to change lives for the better. I hope and pray that everything is well with all my dear family and friends. I love you all. God bless, and God speed. :)

-Elder Joey

P.S. My brother and I always thought that drowning in beer would be like heaven. But now all I got's two soakers and he's not here. This isn't heaven, this sucks! ;)



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Monday, December 12, 2011

Más fotos:

In the pictures from the first email, my companion is there directing the music. I took the picture, so you can't see me there. In the second pic, that's Elder Romero, another Elder in our apartment, Elder Espinal (my comp) and me. 

In these pictures, that's most of the zone holding Libros de Mormon. We all gave someone a Book of Mormon for Christmas after we finished singing. The second picture is the set behind the choir at the stake Christmas activity. :)

Love, 

Joey



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Cucuta is da bomb.

So, I'm not sure what it is, but I really feel at home here in Cucuta. That might be a little weird, since I'm about as far from home as I've EVER been, but I really feel at home here. Maybe it's my companion, maybe it's the members, maybe it's this Christmas season. I don't really know. But I've really enjoyed my 5 days here. I don't know how much I told you about my companion, but he's from Peru. He doesn't really look like it though. And he talks as if he's from Argentina. Haha. He lived in Argentina for a time, and I think he's planning on studying there afterward as well. He's a really cool guy. He teaches really well. He's been out for more than 20 months, I think. Also, he's a really good fútbol player. 

This week was pretty cool. I'll start from the beginning. I got here at around 7 pm on Tuesday night, and Wednesday, went out to work. We live in an apartment of four, which is cool, but it means that we live outside our area. So every morning we take a taxi to our area, and then again to return. Thursday we practiced for the Christmas activity we were going to have on Friday. It was a stake activity, and the idea was to have 200 non members come. Every missionary wrote his/her testimony in 6 Libros de Mormón to give as a Christmas gift to the non members. On Friday we sang the Little Drummer boy (Or...they sang. I don't know the words in Spanish.) Then Joy to the World and Feliz Navidad. That one I knew. Haha. We went and passed out Libros to all the non members. We had over 100. Maybe 150 plus. Then afterward, Santa came to give presents to the kids and there was arroz con pollo and gaseosa. While people ate and talked, we went around getting phone numbers and addresses from non members to visit them. :) It was a really cool activity. That was Friday. Saturday, it was back to the grind. We ate lunch with an Hermana from the ward, and then walked about 2 miles to our first appointment. Phew. I don't even think that's an exaggeration. We got to where the sidewalks ended, and kept walking. It felt a lot more like I was in a 3rd world country. And not really in a bad way, it was just...evident. Houses with tin roofs and dirt floors. some had walls made of brick, others of wood, and others of tarp-like material. We visited a couple families in that area, and as we were about to leave the second family, the Hermana started to kind of appologize for the less-than-perfect accommodations. I felt kind of bad. For...I don't know what. Being from the United States, or...I don't know. I don't come from a rich family, but compared to a lot of people down here...? I just felt bad. I told her not to worry about it, and started telling her about The Mansion, one of President Monson's favorite books. I explained that it wasn't a person's earthly possessions or status that mattered, but the things a person did for others, or for the Lord. I think it made her feel better. I know at least I felt the Spirit. :) It was a neat moment. Sunday we went to Church. They only have one piano here in Cucuta, and it's at the Stake Center. So I got to sit peacefully in the back with my companion, instead of on the stand like I did in Tejar. It was very relaxing. I mean, I always love playing the piano, but it was nice to be in the background for once. Afterward, we got to teach the Investigator/Recent Convert Gospel Doctrine class. We taught about the Restoration. It was a really neat class. We had 4 new investigators, and two that had already been to church before. Wow! :) One of our investigators is named Sonia. Hers is kind of an interesting situation, because she's partially deaf, and can't speak. She has to communicate with signs. The cool thing is that she wants to be baptized. :) It was really cool teaching her. We pulled out the Gopsel Art Picture Book, and tried to explain some things. Anyway, it'll be really neat teaching her. We'll have to pray a lot to know how to prepare her for baptism. Sunday night, our Zone got together outside a big mall and started singing Christmas Hymns, while a couple contacted people and handed out pamphlets and took down info. etc. That was probably the most Christmasy I've felt all season. It was really neat. I'll see if I can attach some fotos. Today was Pday, and we started washing our clothes in the morning (here you can rent a washer for 1,000 pesos/hour.) That's when they cut off our water. Apparently, some petroleum or something got into the water source, and we won't have water for 2 weeks! 15 days, as they say here. So...we're gonna have to find a member or someone outside the neighborhood that can lend us their shower. :P 

Anyway, cool fact about Cucuta: I can see Venezuela from our apartment. Ha! Cool, eh? I knew we were close, but I didn't know we were that close. We could literally walk to Venezuela! Not that I'm thinking about it. We were talking to an Hermano today who has dual citizenship in Venezuela and Colombia, because he was born there, but grew up here. We were talking, kind of jokingly about going to Venezuela, and my companion said, If we go, I'll probably come back without a companion. :P Yeah...I think I'm just fine here in Colombia. Really. The hermano also told us that in Venezuela, water costs more than Gasoline. Haha. He said that just a few years ago, he could pay 5,500 Bolívares (about 50 cents?) and fill up his car completely. Haha. Then he'd drive to Colombia, siphen his tank and sell the gas! He said he'd make about 200,000 pesos every day. Not bad, eh? Not bad at all. :)

Well, dear family, I love you all. I hope you get my pictures. I think I'm going to send some extras in another email. 

Take luck. Don't do drugs, and most importantly, read Isaiah. Because it's a commantment. In 3rd Nephi 23:1, Jesus Christ himself says "Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah." I started reading Isaiah from the beginning, and have fallen in love with that book. So many amazing things to be found! I mean, at times it's hard to understand, but in my own personal experience, it was only hard when I was reading just to read. When I really wanted to read, and wanted to find things and learn things, they just start popping up all over the place. :) Another cool thing I found in 3rd Nephi was in chapter 26, speaking about chapters 24-25 (or Malachi 3-4). If you pay close attention (especially ch 26:9-11), there are hidden treasures to be found in those two chapters, according to Mormon. Anyway, cool stuff, eh? :) Don't you just love the scriptures? I do. :)

Well, have a nice day, eh?

-Elder Cannon

P.S. Happy birthday Alicia!!! I love you so much! :D



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Monday, December 5, 2011

myldsmail.net is being lamesauce.

So we've been here for almost an hour, and this website is being dumb. It keeps having errors. Maybe it's the fact that 50 some-odd thousand missionaries are emailing families today. Then I just realized that we're all in different time zones and that it wouldn't be that big of a deal. Plus the fact that it's powered by gmail. So why are there problems?

Well, I guess I'll get talking before it dies again. This week was pretty good. There were a lot of distractions to the work itself, because we had a lot of activities and such. We had a Show de Talentos in the Cumbre ward, a service project at a fire station (where they let us practice using fire extinguishers. Super-cool.) Also we used machetes. I'm not sure which I liked more. ;) That same day, we had a choque de fuerzas in our ward. Basically all 16 missionaries from our zone came to our ward and visited less actives and contacted and such. It was neat. We got another baptismal date and some new investigators from it. :) 

If you didn't know, I'm in the December Liahona. I'm pretty sure that would translate to Ensign, not New Era. It's the part where they're talking about the New Mission Presidents Seminar in the MTC. I'm in the picture of the choir. Some of you have probably already seen it. I'm in the back row, 5 or 6 from the right. And for those of you who went to Provo High and know Stephanie Osborne, she's standing in front of me, I think. I don't have it here with me. :) So...yep.

Happy Birthday Dad and Sophie!!! I really can't believe it's December already. I'm blaming it on the weather. It just doesn't feel like December. Everyone here is complaining about the cold. Ha. What cold? Cold is when you can't see the mark on the thermometer because it's so low. Cold... :P 

Basically the biggest piece of news is that tomorrow there are cambios. And I'm leaving. Ah! It took me by surprise. I was so sure I'd be here another cambio. In fact, I was so sure, I spent 50,000 pesos on food last week, and now I have to leave it all here. :P I'm going to Cúcuta. I can't remember which area exactly, but I'll be with another Peruano. Also, I have to go, because I have to go say goodbye to everyone before tomorrow. Wish me luck! Actually, luck doesn't exist. Brother Goss always told us that whenever someone wished you luck, you should kick them in the shins. Pray for me? That's a better option, I think. :)

I love you all. I hope all is well in the wonderful wintery Utah. Sigh. I miss snow. Lots.

Okay I'm done now. Have a nice day. :)

-Elder Joey



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Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm not new anymore.

Sup?

So, according to my companion, I'm no longer a new missionary. I've been out for 6 months now! I really can't believe it's been so long. Time sure flies on the mish. This week was pretty much hilarious. I have some great stories to tell. Spiritual ones...and some not so spiritual ones.
First of all, I want to appologize to Tristan and to Tanner for not wishing you a happy birthday. I totally had it in my mind last week to tell y'all happy birthday, and I spaced. I don't know what happened. Also...sorry for anyone else I've forgotten. :-/ Forgive me?

Apparently it was my birthday this week. Hahaha. So...here's what happened. Hermana Barreto's sister got her mission call to Mexico, so she and her companion bought cake and celebrated. But being...hermanas, they didn't want to eat all the cake, so they brought it to our District meeting the next morning and gave it to me, saying it was for my birthday. They sang Cumpleaños feliz to me and we ate delish cake, and that was that. I thought that it had been clear to everyone that it was all just a joke. Hehe. Apparently not. We worked that day, just like every other day. It was actually a really good day. I enjoyed it. We got to the apartment (after stopping with my comp to buy a truckload of soda. I wasn't sure why...). We planned the next days activities, and that's when the Elders from Cumbre showed up. They said they were there to do laundry. Okay. Whatev's. We fnished planning, and I went to change. When I came out of my room, the Zone Leaders were there. That was the first time I had suspected anything...unusual. We ended up with 8 Elders there in our apartment, with food and soda and more cake. I guess my companion had called everyone secretly and told them it was my birthday. Even though...it wansn't my birthday. Hmm. Haha. So we partied for a while, and Elder Montero played a guitar he had borrowed from a member. It was a blast! It was definitely the best un-birthday party I've ever had. ;) Haha. I hope it's not bad that I still haven't told them it wasn't my birthday. They all think I'm 20 now. Maybe I should tell them. Hmm...

Okay, so spiritual story time. This Sunday, we went to church. Hehe. Um. Yeah. And after Sacrament meeting a member came up to us and said something like, "My girlfriend has been coming to church for quite some time now, and she wants to take the lessons and get baptized. Can you come over tonight?" It's not very often that people come looking for us to get baptized. Usually we have to look for them. That's what the entire 9th chapter of Preach My Gospel is about. But I'm distracting myself. This was an investigator straight from heaven. We went over that night, got to know her a bit, taught about the Restoration, committed her to read and pray, and then we were just kind of chatting afterward, and she told us that she wanted to be baptized on the 17th of December._ Ah! _:) Haha. We talked about it, and decided on the 24th, since her boyfriend had something going on on the 17th. So, if everything works out, I'm going to have one of the most amazing Christmas' ever! :) That's if I don't get transfered. Which I really hope I don't. Who knows? "It may not be on the mountain high, or over the stormy sea..."

Another thing that happened this week, was that we painted a member's...reja. I don't know what to call it in English. Here, a lot of the houses are gated in. You have to open the gate, and then open the door to get in the house. So, it was the gate...fence thing around the front of the house. I'm gonna try to send pictures. I hope it works today. I promise, I usually put on sunblock. I've been really pretty good about it. But that day, of all days, when I wasn't wearing a collared shirt, and when I was in direct sunlight for several hours...I forgot. Needless to say, I bought some aloe vera that night, and have been putting it on every little while since then. That was...Saturday. Sunday was not very fun...with a collared shirt on again. Heh. Today wasn't too bad, because it was Pday, and I was in regular clothes most of the day.

That's about all that happened this week. I think. Oh, it was Thanksgiving this week, huh. I keep forgetting. I didn't eat any turkey, but I did have juevos revueltos con salchicha (scrambled eggs with hot dog). That was almost the same... ;)

Anyway, I hope everything is wonderful in Utah. Or, wherever you are. Enjoy the snow for me. I'm really missing it. Not that I don't love the 80 and sunny weather every day...but I like the cold. Especially when it includes snow.

I love you all. Take luck. ;)
-Elder Joey

P.S. There's 101 days of summer vacation and school comes around just to end it. And the obvious problem of our generation is finding a good way to spend it. Like maybe!...

P.P.S. Swine flu!

P.P.P.S. I totes went to McDonald's today! I felt like I was at home. Heh. Yay for...obesity?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hey Y'all

Dearest family and friends,
 
It's me again. Because today is Pday, so I'm here typing at you all. This week has been pretty good. (Hey white friend, try this. Hey that is pretty good.) The coolest things that happened were on Wednesday. We were contacting (knocking doors...we do that a lot here) and this guy came up to us and asked if I remembered him. I vaguely remembered him from several weeks back. I had been on intercabmios in Cañaveral with the Zone leaders, and we found this guy and talked to him and gave him a pamphlet and such. Well, he came up and pretty much the first words out of his mouth were, "What do I have to do to get baptized?" Haha...WHAT?? My companion and I looked at each other like, is this for real? But he was totally serious, so we started talking to him about taking the lessons and coming to church. He has dread locks, and asked us if he could be baptized if he wanted to keep them. We told him that we should try to look our best, especially as members of the church, but that anyone and everyone, no matter how they look, drees or do their hair are welcome in the church. He didn't come Sunday, but I'm hoping we can get in contact with him and teach him soon. He travels, so he doesn't technically live here. That was blessing number 1. Number 2 could not have been more than 2 minutes after we had finished talking with Eduardo, the dread locks guy. We touched this door....oh wow. Touched. That's my Spanish coming out. Tocamos una puerta and an older lady opened the door. We presented ourselves as misioneros de la Iglesia de Jesucristo do los Santos de los Últimos Días, and she said, "I know. I was a member of that church." That was another "Wait...WHAT?" kind of experience. She let us in and we started talking to her. She was baptized more than 20 years ago, but stopped going about 13 years ago. But she told us that she had been wanting to go back to church. We have a lesson with here tonight after we're done emailing. She didn't come to church this Sunday either. It's kind of a regular thing, being let down time and time again by investigators that say they're going to attend. Anyway, I think there are probably challenges with work and such, since she hasn't gone for 13 years. Hopefully we can get her and her shildren active. She also has twin granddaughters (spelling?) that were never baptized, so I'm hoping that we can talk to them about joining the church as well. :)
 
Those were the miracles of this week. It felt so good when we got home that night. Like we could baptize the world! Hehe. This work isn't all about baptism, but we focus on that, because that's the actual ordenance. Ordenanza. Hmm. But it's not all about the baptism. Baptism is a saving ordenance, but it doesn't save us by itself. The final and longest step of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to Endure to the End. That's what saves us. Along with the Grace of Jesus Christ. "For we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do." We have to do everything we can, and then the grace of our Savior will save us.
 
Anyway, cool stuff. We got here late, so I'm out of time, but I hope you know that I love you all and you're all in my prayers. Thanks for all the prayers and support and letters and such that you send my way. I couldn't be more grateful. :)
 
Have a nice day, eh?
 
-Elder Cannon
 
P.S. I was about to make my frontal assault, when like 50 ninjas attacked me, and I had to like, beat 'em all up, and I did...
 
P.P.S. Also...I don't know why, but it's not letting me attach fotos. Maybe next week? :-/



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Monday, November 14, 2011

Mondays are Pdays now.

So...I don't know how clear I made it last week, that Pdays have officially been changed to Mondays. Kinda lamesauce, I think, because with Pday as Wednesday, the week went by super fast. Now it kind of drags... It's all good though. I guess it's just something to get used to. 

Hello all. I skipped my corny, monotonous intro today, so I'm putting it here. How is everything? I hope all is well. Things have been a bit tough here. We don't really have any investigators. I think I've been saying that for like...2 months now? But it's true. We search and search and contact and ask for references, and the people are never interested beyond the second or third visit. Sometimes not any more than the first. :-/ Anyway, the work goes on. We keep working, and trying and knocking doors, and talking to people. 

This week, I got to go on divisions with a gringo! Er, North American. Haha. His name is Elder Ure, from Morgan, UT. He's about 6 ft. 4 in. and he's a powerhouse missionary. :) He's only been out one cambio more than me, but I look up to him so much. We worked SO HARD that day we were together. We taught 5 lessons, contacted 25 people, received a reference from a member, and all without getting mugged! Hehe...I say that jokingly, but actually that day, I had my first real "Don't go that way" spiritual experience. We were walking down from on neighborhood to another, going the way we always do, when I got this feeling, and we both stopped right in our tracks. "No...let's go down this way." I told him. He said he had the same impression. It was a cool experience. I'm really glad we were both in tune with the spirit to be able to avoid whatever danger may have awaited us. Usually we're both with a Latino companion, so it's not as much of a danger. Walking with another gringo however, is a little more dangerous. So far nothing bad has happened. Nothing more than being sworn at in English. And probably Spanish, but I don't understand them when they yell at me in Spanish. Anyway...

Life's good. I've been really worried about Julian lately. I was reading in Predicad Mi Evangelio today about how after we teach the investigators and they get baptized, it's the responsibility of the ward mission leader and the ward missionaries to teach them the first 4 lessons again, as well as the 5th one. I asked my companion if that ever happened, and he told me that this is only the second ward he's been in in his whole mission where he's even had a ward mission leader, much less ward missionaries. Basically, all of that is our responsibility. President Hinckley said that the three things that every new convert needs are a friend, a calling, and to be nourished by the good word of God. At least...I think those are the three things. We can nourish them with the word, and be their friend, but when we get transfered, what then? They're left friendless... :-/ Anyway, if there are ever any non-members that attend your ward, go talk to them and be their friend, okay? That's how they're gonna stay active. It's the whole Endure to the End thing that the members can really help us out with. 

Anyway, just here...plugging along. Praying and working and studying and working and teaching and working...

And the person behind me is playing music really loud on their computer and it's really distracting. That's why they invented headphones.

I read Jacob 5 this week, and for the first time, realized that it has everything to do with missionary work. Y'all probably knew that, huh. Well I didn't. Don't judge. Heh. Anyway, It was amazing. Talks all about the gathering of Israel and all that cool stuff. 

I have fotos this week! Wow. Photos. Fotos is Español. Hope you enjoy them. And...I hope I haven't sent them before, because it's been forever since I've sent photos. 

Most of all, know that I love you all and hope that all is well (and that you're enjoying the nice, cool weather for me).

Peace out.

Joey

P.S. I was speed walking nearby. In a suit? Yes. It's called...formal speed walking!



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Monday, November 7, 2011

Surprise!

Hi there everyone. 

You`re probably wondering why I`m writing on Monday instead of Wednesday. We got a call yesterday saying that President Hacking was changing Pday to Monday, starting...today. So here I am, writing y`all an email.

This week has been pretty sweetawesome. We found some people to teach, and have also been working with some less active members. Yesterday we taught Annie, whose parents are members, but inactive. She went to church a couple times a couple years ago, but since then had lost all contact with the church. We taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel and she accepted a Book of Mormon to read. My comp every now and again will just kind of leave me alone during a lesson. Heh...it was awkward at first, because I`d get done with what I wanted to say, and then kind of look over at him, and he`d just stare sraight ahead. Ah! During the lesson with Annie, I did most of the teaching. It`s tough...because sometimes I get stuck in a hole and don`t know how to pull myself out, but I think it went pretty well. I commited her to read the Book of Mormon and to pray to know if it`s true. And my companion doesn`t leave me alone because he`s mad or anything. It`s so I can learn to kind of take command of the lesson. Because this next transfer I could be senior companion and then what? I`ll have to take control of all the lessons. Eek! Hopefully I`m not senior companion next transfer...but who knows? :P Jaymes Walters just got put in as senior companion, and he`s only been out 3 or 4 months. 

I think most of that made sense. I`m not feeling as...flowy as I usually do when I write. Have I just confused you all to death, or are we alright? 

I really wanted to send pictures today, but we`re going to Cañaveral to the Mall after this, so I didn`t bring my adapter. I was hoping they`d have a computer here that`d have an SD port, but nope. Nada. Hehe. Nothin. Zilch. Noodle. 

Nada. Naaadaaaa.

This week, Elder Pino from the 70 is coming to our zone conference! I`m excited. They also told us he wants to interview 3 Missionaries, and look at 3 apartments. Hehe...we`re going to be doing a lot of cleaning today. :P I think it`d be so cool to be interviewed by him. I love interviews. I don`t know why, but I have always loved interviews. They just give me a spiritual boost. Like a little "keep up the good work" sticker or...something. Yeah. Anyway... 

Life`s good. I don`t really know what else to say. Any questions? Comments? Chismes? Chistes? Dudas? Aclaraciones? 

What are you doing, Toothless? We need her to like us!

Welp. I think I`ve run out of things to say. I hope all is well back home. I pray for y`all every day. Onward, ever onward. :)

Love,

Elder Joey

P.S. Did you know that in Colombia, and many central/south american countries, it`s impolite to point with your finger? So you have to point with your lips. "You have to pucker up your lips, alike adis." ;)



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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Peruano...

Hello all. :) How are you today?

This week was...different. I have a new companion, Elder Acosta from Perú, and he's way cool. He's been out 19 months, so he knows a ton. He pretty much teaches circles around me. But I'm not here to compare, sino que to learn. Saying "sino que" made more sense to me than saying "but" so I did. The Spanish is coming really well. I had kind of a funny experience the other day. We were talking with hermana Gladys, one of our recent converts, and while she was talking, I suddenly thought, "She's speaking Spanish. I'm understanding her. When did this happen??" Haha... Kinda weird, but cool. :) I have truly been blessed with the gift of tongues. Yeah, we went to Ecuador 6 weeks, and I studied 3 years in High School, but there are gringos here with more experience than that, plus half their mission here that still sound gringo. I'm not going to say I sound native, but the gift of tongues could refer to the accent, couldn't it? Every now and again, people tell me I don't sound gringo. One lady asked me if I was from Spain. I almost told her yes. ;) Anyway, I really do believe I have been blessed with the gift of tongues, and I am ever so grateful. It's wonderful to be able to communicate. My companion speaks English pretty well. Not...fluent, but he understands most things. :) It's fun speaking English again.

We haven't had much success this week. At least...not that we can see. We're short on investigators. As in...we don't have any. That's not true. We did start teaching one family last week, and they look like they might progress. Nubia and Alvaro. The only problem is the same problem that everyone here has. They're not married. "Unión libre" is an epidemic here. The difference with this couple is that they both want to get married. But Nubia hasn't divorced her old husband, so there are some complications there. Elder Acosta always says, "Hay que tener fe." You gotta have faith. I do have faith. I sincerely hope that we can get them married so they can be baptized. There's a notary here that they call the Mormon notary. Almost all of the people that work there are members. So, if someone needs to get married we have an in, and can help them out. The only thing we can't help them with is the money. Anyway, Hay que tener fe.

I'm pretty sure I've sweated off 5 kilos this week. Then again, we eat about that much every day. Yesterday, we went to a neighborhood called Belencito, or Little Bethlehem. It's basically at the top of a mountain. The interesting thing about the classes here is that the rich people all live in the valley, and the really poor people live up on the bench. The higher up you go, the humbler it is. Anyway, we went to visit a less active sister por allí. (This was about 2 hours after lunch...) This sister usually gives us food, but I wasn't expecting what she gave us. It was another lunch! But bigger than the first one. A plate full of rice, chicken, patacones (double deep-fried plantains. Yum.) and a whole plate of fruit salad. Then there was the jar (it was actually a beer mug, but she doesn't use it for that.) of gaseosa. Uh...soda. Carbonated beverage. Whatever. I ate all of mine, and my companion was struggling. He doesn't have a big gringo stomach like me... So I helped him out with half his salad and a patacón, and gave him some of my soda. It worked out, but wow. Lots of food. Lots and lots. We don't do enough walking for that amount of food. Haha. 

I'm sorry, I don't have pictures today. I forgot my adapter. I'll have to send them next week. I hope you're all enjoying Utah weather. I'm trying not to complain about the heat, because this last transfer, they sent a gringo to Barranca, and if you ask anyone around here, they all say it's an infierno. Super-caliente! So I'm just chillin here. Aguantando. And being grateful that I'm not in Barranca. 

This morning, I read 2 Nephi 3. It's a very personal chapter for me. It says my name 11 times. Heh. Actually, I really love it because it talks about Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. Verses 12 and 15 are some of my favorites. I remember someone in the MTC telling us that the first word spoked by Heavenly Father in this despensation was "Joseph." God knows and loves each and every one of us. It's difficult at times to develop a personal relationship with God. I feel at times like He's so far away. But then I remember the primary song that says "but I feel Him close beside me as I pray." Or...something. Prayer is really the best way for us to grow close to our Father in Heaven. We need to be faithful in our prayers and communicate openly with our Father in Heaven. Then we will truly be able to feel Him close beside us. 

Well, I hope everything is well in Utah. And if you're not in Utah, I hope everything is well, wherever you are. Go to church. Pray often. Study your scriptures daily, and Heavenly Father will bless you in ways you can't imagine. It really is amazing how much He gives us for doing so little. Such a blessing, eh? :)

I love you all. Until next week,

Elder Cannon

P.S. Would someone please listen to Lex de Azevedo's "If you could Hie to Kolob" for me? Sure appreciate ya. :)

P.P.S. How many legs does a fish have? And how many wings on a cow? I wonder, yup. I wonder.



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Monday, October 24, 2011

Cambios...

Hey there everyone, it's me again. You know, that one gringo you sent to Colombia a while ago? Yeah...hehe. Well, I'm still here, just in case you were wondering.

I'm sure you're all curious about the cambios, but I have to write about Julian primero, so you'll just have to wait.

Julian showed up on Saturday without a single piercing. Ah! :D He chose me to baptize him, which was an amazing experience. Even though we had to redo it twice because his leg kept coming out. I finally just stood on his left foot, and that worked. Should've thought of that the first time. :P Anyway, he got baptized!!! It was such an exciting moment. What's even better, he was at church the next day super early, received the Gift of the Holy Ghost during Sacrament mtg, and he told us later that he had thrown all of his piercings away. How amazing is that? Thank you all for your prayers on his behalf. It really helped. Thank you thank you. :) It was really one of the happiest days of my life. Knowing that he was using his agency to choose to keep the commandments and to follow Christ by being baptized. :) Man. Chévere.

Anyway, now about the cambios. My companion is going to Bogotá. And me, I'm staying here. :) Elder Acosta will be my new companion. He's from Peru. Crazy. It's really kind of weird that my companion is leaving. Here in the mission, you don't call your trainer your trainer. You call him your dad. So, mi padre is leaving me and going to the "cold" city of Bogotá. Ha! There are days here when people say it's cold. Honestly, I've only been cold once in this area. And that was after 4 days of straight rain and no sun. I was cold until we left our apartment and started walking. I really would love to go to Bogotá and really be cold for once. Y'all will have to enjoy the snow for me, because I don't think I'll be seeing any this winter. Hehe..."winter." Winter doesn't exist here. People ask me sometimes, "in the United States, you have seasons, right?" Hah...yeah, we do. Then they start telling me about the seasons. "Fall is when the leaves turn colors and fall, and then there's winter, then...what's next? Oh yeah. Spring. Then summer." Haha. 

I distracted myself. Tomorrow, my companion will leave at around 8 am, and my comp will probably get here around 8 at night, if not later. Bucaramanga to Bogotá is an 8 hour drive, if you go during the night. During the day, it takes more than 12 hours. That's Colombian traffic for you. :P Sorry I can't say more about the cambios. Next week I'll actually have met my companion, so I'll tell you more then. For now, All I know is his name and his nationality. Which reminds me, my companion is going to be companions with an Argentine. Just...in case you wondered.

This cambio, we've been really short on investigators. And the majority of the ones we've had don't want to commit to baptism, don't 
want to keep commitments, don't want to come to church. I'm hoping that changes in these next six weeks. 

Well, I hope all is well in Utah. I love you all! :)

Love,

Elder Joey

P.S. Yes, my pinky promises...



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[Note: Tree tomatoes are not the same as regular tomatoes from the USA. Tree tomato juice was Joey's Mom's favorite jugo in Ecuador. The whole fam loved it. So, Joey sent his Mom the following email. So far, no luck in finding tree tomatoes in the USA]

Today we made tree tomato juice, and I'm sending you pictures, as well as instructions...in case you happen to come across some tree tomatoes? I don't know if they even exist in the US. If they do, the juice is super-fácil to make. First, you boil the tomatoes. We used a pound of tomatoes, and it made enough for 5 people. Boil them for 10 or so minutes, then let them cool (the freezer helps speed up that process for the less patient). Peel them (the skin should come off really easily after boiling them) and put them in the blender with the water you boiled them in, as well as milk. Blend it up until it's nice and frothy, strain the seeds out, add sugar to taste, and there you have it! Piece of cake. It's not an exact recipe, but my comp doesn't cook from recipes, just from his head. Like you, Mom. :) Anyway, maybe the pics will help. ...maybe.






Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I made this for you.

Hello all. :)

How is everyone? I'm doing fine, thanks for asking. This week has been amazing, and crazy, and...amazing.

First of all, Hermana Marina, that got baptized last week, moved to another ward during the week, and attended church there, so we didn't see her get confirmed. But the Zone leaders called and told us that it still counted as our confirmation (it's not that I care about the numbers, that just meant that we had to fill out the baptismal registry. I'm just glad she got confirmed). On Sunday, we were visiting Martina, a recent convert, and Julian was there. Julian, in case I haven't told you already, is a really cool guy. Almost as cool as Julian Smith. ;) Hehe, jk. He's super-chill, and we taught him for several weeks, and even commited him to baptism, but when we asked him to live the law of chastity, he never did. Now, don't go thinking bad things about Julian. Let me finish. He has 2 piercings in his eyebrow, and another in his ear, and when we talked about the law of chastity (that includes piercings), he never got rid of them, so he could never get baptized. Well, Sunday, we were chatting with him, and he asked us, "When's my baptism?" Haha. Every missonary's dream, right?. ;) We told him that as soon as he started living the law of chastity, he could get baptized. He told us it wouldn't be a problem, and that he wanted to get baptized this Saturday, because cambios are this weekend, and this is probably the last chance he'll have for us to baptize him. Ah! :) Haha. The next day, he had gotten rid of all of his piercings, and was doing just great. But when we went back yesterday, he had put one back in his eyebrow, and told us that it was because it was getting infected, and he had to put it back. We told him he just needed to trust in the Lord and have the faith that God would help him be able to keep this commitment he had made. If you can, please pray for Julian. I'm worried about him. Pray that he'll be able to live the law of chastity until his baptism and forever after. He just needs a little extra help from heaven.

Other than that, the week's been pretty average. We taught a new family yesterday, which was cool. We've really been lacking investigators this cambio. Although, we've had a lot of success, especially compared to the rest of the zone. Some cambios are just more fruitful than others. We keep working though. Working and working and working. Trying to find people to teach, trying to get the people we're teaching to come to church, to commit to baptism. Work, work, work. :)

So, I found a talk by Elder Holland in my scripture case the other day, and it has become my absolute all-time favorite. It's called "And High Priest of Good Things to Come." There's a Mormon Message about it, I believe. It brings me to the point of tears every time I read it. Just the part near the end, where he says, "Don't give up, boy. Don't you quit. There is help and happiness ahead--a lot of it...trust in God and believe in good things to come." Sigh. I love Elder Holland. I absolutely love him. His messages are always just so inspiring. Anyway, I reccomend you read that talk. It'll help you out, whatever trial you're facing. :)

Cambios, like I said, are this weekend. They let us know Sunday if/where we're going, and then Monday is P-day. So if you're going to write me (wink wink...you should write me), you'll have to do it before then. Tuesday, those who are leaving leave, and those who are coming come. I honestly don't know if I'll be going or staying, but I am pretty darn sure my companion is leaving. He's been here 7 and 1/2 months. I'm pretty sure I would laugh my head of if he stayed though. Hehe... Not in a mean way, just in a...loving, companion-type way. ...that didn't make sense. Oh well.

Anyway, life's good. Just here...working and working. Praying and walking and teaching and learning and preaching and baptizing. ¡Que te digo! Haha. I hope all is well, wherever you may be. God bless and God speed. :)

Love,

Elder Cannon

P.S. Don't drink that racist coffee! Actually, just don't drink coffee at all. Hah, that reminds me, we got offered coffee last night. :P You know you're in Colombia....

P.P.S. I never would have invented my fireproof pants! ...still working out the kinks.



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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This is an email. You can read it if you want.

Hello, family and friends. It's me again. Your favorite missionary. ;) How is everyone? Good? Glad to hear it. I'm doing pretty good myself. Thanks.

This week has been pretty sweetawesome. We had the baptism of la Hermana Marina. It was a really neat experience. There were almost as many missionaries there as there were members. Apparantly we're not the only ones that have taught her and her family. ;) It was a really neat service. I got to play interlude while they changed into dry clothing. Usually we just put on a DVD and let them veg for a bit, but we were in the chapel, so they had me play. I really, really love playing the piano, if you didn't know. And playing church music is even better.

Anyway, y'all are probably getting bored. I'll tell a joke. Ready? ¿Qué hace un pez cuando está aburrido? Nada. Hahahaha...get it? Nada! Ahem. It's funny, I promise. Just google translate it. Or ask your Spanish teacher. That works too.   

I can't believe that October is halfway over! I turn 19 and 1/2 in 5 days! Crazy. Time really does fly here. It doesn't seem at all like I've been here almost 3 months. Ridiculous. I've still got a ways to go though. Haha. I'm not nearly done with these here Colombians. ;) So, I don't really know what to say. Everything is great. The work is going well, although we've had kind of a shortage of investigators this transfer. Ever since the first couple weeks, our numbers have been really low. Not that we're here for the numbers, but they do reflect the amount of work that goes on. Maybe you could pray for us to find investigators? My companion told me today that some transfers are all harvesting, and some are all planting. Some are a mix between the two. This transfer, we harvested at the beginning, but haven't had much success since then. Pero, hay que luchar, y trabajar. Pon tu hombro a la lid. Onward, ever onward.

Today, I was reading Alma 62. The war with the Lamanites is wrapping up, and everyone is going home to finish their days in peace. I absolutely love verses 48-51. This is one of the few examples in the Book of Mormon where the people skip the pride part of the pride cycle. I love it. They're righteous, so they prosper and get rich, but they don't forget to pray and to call upon the Lord. They don't forget the captivity of their fathers, and they continue faithful. This is how we should be. It seems like sometimes we're only faithful in our prayers when times are hard. We need to remember our Heavenly Father in the good times as well as the bad. Prayers aren't just to ask for stuff we need. They're to show our gratitude to Heavenly Father for everything He's done for us. That's how we can skip the pride part of the pride cycle.

Well, I'm about out of time. I hope your lives are wonderful. :) Have a nice day, eh?

-Elder Cannon

P.S. I was about to make my frontal assault, but then like 50 ninjas attacked me, and I had to beat 'em all up, and I did...



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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

General Conference is officially my favorite thing EVER!

Aaaah! They're turning my tabernacle into a temple!!! Ahem...   

Hi everyone. This week was General Conference, and President Monson announced that they're not only restoring the Provo Tabernacle, but they're turning it into Provo's second Temple!!! When I heard that, I pretty much flipped out. For like, an hour. I had to wait for the session to end to find the other gringo here from Utah and freak out with him. I gave him a huge hug and tried not to scream. Haha. Holy cow, was that the most exciting piece of news I've ever heard. And I'm glad I heard right. I was worried that maybe I misinterpreted the Spanish (we only had conference in English for the last session), but thanks to a few emails from y'all, it's been confirmed that it is in fact, the truth. Man. I was so worried that it'd end up just an old, abandoned building. I seriously almost jumped out of my saet in the middle of the chapel when President Monson announced it. Ah! Haha. Okay. Freak out time is over.

I absolutely loved the rest of conference. So many amazing talks, even though I only heard a few in English. And we got to hear Robert D. Hales! I've been worried about him, because he didn't talk last conference. I hope we get to hear from him again in April. :) It was just an amazing weekend. I loved it. :)

The rest of the week was pretty good too. We got our blender fixed and made homemade tree tomato juice. Mmm... I bought a new fan, because mine broke. Now I won't lose so much weight when I sleep. Um. That made sense in my head. It's because it's so hot that if I don't have a fan, I sweat all night. Some nights are cooler than others, but not usually by much. :P Also I bought a jump rope. I hate to say it, but I think I'm gaining weight. Every day there's a huge lunch from the members, various snacks and sodas and cookies and juices given to us as well...and we get 1/2 an hour every day for exercise. Not really working. Yeah, we do a lot of walking, but it doesn't seem to do much. The only thing is, we don't have a scale, and the only way to weigh myself is to use a public scale where you pop in 200 pesos and it'll tell you your weight. It's not that I'm embarrassed to weigh myself in public. I'm just not sure how reliable it'll be. Also, I'd be in my church clothes and shoes etc. Not to mention the conversion from kilos to pounds. Haha. Maybe I'll just stick with the ignorance is bliss approach... ;)

The work is going good. This Sunday we're going to receive a wonderful gift. A lady that lives here in the ward has been going to church for almost 3 years now, but hasn't been able to get baptized because her "husband" that wasn't really her husband still lived with her. They didn't sleep in the same room, and there really wasn't anything between them. They pretty much detested each other, but the President said that until he moved out, she couldn't get baptized. So, the bitter-sweet news came a couple weeks ago that he had finally packed up and left. The hard thing is that she had to find a job and start paying the rent, etc. but this Sunday, she's getting baptized! :D Por fin! We call it a regalo, or gift, because we didn't really do anything as missionaries so that she could be baptized. Things just fell into place while we happened to be in the ward. Cool. :) I'm super-happy for her. 

I hope all is well in Utah. You'll have to send me pics if/when they start work on the Tabernacle. What are they going to call it? Provo Temple the second? The Tempernacle? Hehe... Anyway. Send pics. Keep on keepin on, and know that all is well here in Bucaramanga. :)

I love you all,

Elder Cannon

P.S. Two at a time, eh?

P.P.S. Frying pans! Who knew, right?



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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wake me up when September ends...

Holy vaca, where did September go? It seems like just yesterday it began. The work is going amazing as always, and I am absolutely in love with this country.

This week we had 4 baptisms! Wow. Gladys and her 3 grandsons. It was my first opportunity to actually physically baptize someone. I baptized Jhon (that's not a typo...they spell it that way here) and Yordin (that's not a typo either. You say it ''Jordin''). It was an amazing experience. If this computer lets me, I'll attach some photos. :) It was really an unforgettable day. I just hope that it was as unforgettable for them as it was for me. I hope and pray that they will remain true to the faith. Speaking of which, I've been playing the piano every week in Sacrament mtg. and one week, the director chose that song as one of the hymns. That's pretty much the hardest hymn I've ever EVER tried to play. I remember once in our Orem ward, I tried to play it for priesthood, and I almost died! Wow. Anyway, I'm really grateful for the chance I get to play every week. It's realy a blessing, and I enjoy it a lot. The pianos in the chapels here are the only pianos I've seen. I've heard that some chapels don't have a piano, but the two chapels I've been to have both had pianos.

Something I think is funny here is the style of cars. There are 4 kind of vehicles here. 1. Taxis. They're everywhere. 2. Motorcycles. Everyone and their dog drives a motorcycle. Pretty much every time a lihgt turns red, the motorcycles all worm their way to the front so there's like 15 all lined up for a drag race. Haha. 3. Buses. Also everywhere. Different colors, styles, lengths, widths, etc. 4. Regular cars. These aren't as common, but they do exist here. Haha. Most are super-old, but there are some new ones too. The most common brand here is Renault. I don't think they have that brand in the US. Hmm.

So, we've taught David twice now, and he's doing pretty well. The only problem with him is that he works a ton, so he's not always available. We're hoping to be able to talk to him tonight, and we're also (really) hoping that he's read the book of mormon and prayed about it. He kind of is afraid that he won't receive an answer. We explained Moroni's promise, that if we ask with faith, real intent, and a sincere heart, Heavenly Father _will_ manifest the truth of it unto us, by the power of the Holy Ghost. That's what I love about God's promises. He fulfils them. He never excuses Himself, like it says in D&C 1:37. I think. He's bound when we do what He says. :) All we have to do is keep the commandments, and we'll be blessed.

Anyway, I'm loving Colombia. We had a zone activity today, and I got to play basketball! I hadn't played since the MTC. It was lots of fun. In the MTC, I was on the lower end of te talent scale. Everyone there was a baller. But here...they're all short little latinos. Hehe.

Still paddling the old knew,

Elder Cannon

P.S. How come you've never been baptized? Because I never got around to it, okay?

P.P.S. Happy birthday mom! I love you! :)

P.P.P.S. One of the pictures I'm sending is of our chapel here in the Tejar ward. The photo of the baptism goes like this: Elder Cannon, Yordin, Carlos, Jhon, Gladys, Elder Rapalino.

More pictures

P.P.P.S. This is our apartment. It's the green one. The other photo is
just for fun. We woke up one morning,
and everything was super foggy. :) Chao!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Email from a Mormon Gringo

Hi there. It's Pday, so I'm typing stuff on this horrible keyboard. Life is wonderful, and time is short, so I'll just get to the good stuff and save the small talk for later.

This week has been really good. We've been struggling a bit to find investigators, but last week we contacted 80 people, so hopefully some of those turn into good investigators. We've been teaching Gladys, John, Carlos, and Jordin. A grandma and her 3 grandsons. They're getting baptized this Saturay!! I'm so exit! Heh. I don't remember what I told you about them, but we found them knocking doors, and now they're getting baptized. That doesn't happen very often, even here in South America, but it's just proof that the field really is white. :)

We've also been teaching David, who is another miracle. The first time we went to his house, he was asking us what he needed to change, and where he needed to start. He's been to church twice, and this last Sunday, he came in a suit and tie, looking as good (or better) than any of the members. :) He's a cool guy. He calls us muchachos, instead of Elders. His only problem is that he isn't married. Can I just put a little plug in here for marriage? If you're gonna live with someone, marry them first. Please? I'm pretty sure half the population or more of this country is living with someone they're not married too. It's probably the most common problem in the conversion process here. Also, I've decided that any missionary that serves here should come home with a degree in marriage counseling. Not even kidding. :P Haha.

Anyway, everything is going well. I'm eating well, and might be gaining weight...I hope not, but whatev's. I don't have a scale to weigh myself. I have been exercising though, so if I've gained weight, it's probably muscle, right? Heh. We walk pretty much a ton. All day every day. Our budget doesn't let us take taxis everywhere, although if we're really late for something, we'll catch a bus or a taxi. The bus fare is about 75 cents, give or take. A taxi is $2 minimum. 4,000 pesos, if you want to hear it in Colombian. ;)

Today I studied in Alma 12, where it talks about the people that live as if there had been no redemption made. How sad is that? Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins, and yet people live as if He didn't. They reject Him, ignore Him, and live sinful lives...completely ignoring the fact that an atonement has been made. My goal is to use the Atonement more. It's like the story of the pushups and the donuts. He's already payed the price, and He did it because He loves us. Now it's our job to take advantage of that, and repent. Partake of the sacrament each week, repentant and willing to change and become better.

Keep on keepin on. I love you all. :)

-Elder Cannon

P.S. Why am I so much buffer than you?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Still here. Remember me?

Dear family and friends,

This week we had cambios! Transfers, I think they're called in English. Luckily, we didn't get transfered, but we did get to babysit...I mean, gather under our wing out of the kindness of our hearts the Elder that was left without a companion yesterday while he waited for his new comp to get here. It was kind of fun with three of us. Something different, anyway. I'm mostly glad they didn't transfer us, because we found this amazing family the other week that's super cool. It's a grandma and her 3 grandsons. We found them knocking doors, and just a few days ago, we commited them to baptism. :D It's not very often that a door contact turns out like this, but I'm way excited for them. This work is just great. :) So, yep. I'm staying another 6 weeks (at least) here in el barrio Tejar. The Tejar Ward. However you want to say it. My companion will have been here 7 1/2 months at the end of this transfer. I'm guessing he's gonna go somewhere else to be zone leader for the next transfer, but he doesn't like that idea. ;) Haha. He's been district leader for a few transfers now, and I think he's ready for a break. But as he always says, iré donde me manda. I'll go where He (The Lord) sends me. 

I ate some mango this week, with limón y sal. Delish! I had never eaten it that way before, but they were selling it on the street, and oh man was is delicious. Y'all will have to try it out. Plus it was only 50 cents. Ish. I ate a hamburger this week. One of the sisters in the ward made them for us. They weren't In-N-Out quality, but they were pretty good. While we were eating, I was thinking about how I'd have room for another, if there had been more, and they were saying how pesado it was. Or, how...heavy it was. Like they could barely eat one. What I didn't tell them was that I had eaten 4 or 5 hamburgers in a sitting... :P Go me. It's a wonder I'm not obese. I wish I had a scale to weigh myself, but I don't. Oh well. Maybe I'll come home obese. There's an Elder in our mission from Utah that lost 80 pounds since he got here. He goes home at the end of the next transfer. Crazy, eh? You look at his pictures from before, and he's a different person. Miracles of the Mission, eh? Let's just hope I don't gain 80 pounds. :P 

So, my favorite part of the day is personal study. Lately I've been studying about the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit World, and the Degrees of Glory. There's a scripture in D&C 76 that makes it sound like the spirits that receive the gospel in the spirit world will inherit the Terrestrial Glory, but I was pretty sure that wasn't the case, but that everyone, no matter what, would have the chance to make it to the Celestial Kingdom. D&D 137 & 138 clarify the question, saying that those who didn't have the chance to accept the gospel in this life would have the chance in the life to come. I love the Plan of Salvation. It just makes so much sense. Talking to so many people about their beliefs of the life to come, whether or not it exists, how it will be, etc. really makes me grateful to know about this wonderful plan that Heavenly Father has for us. The most important thing is that we Endure to the end. It's the longest step of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it's probably the most important. If we don't endure to the end, it's as if we never embraced the gospel in the first place. We have to do our best every day to repent, to choose the right, to become better people and to keep the commandments. That's when the Grace of Jesus Christ will be able to save us. After all we can do. :) This gospel is just wonderful, don't you think? :)

Anyway, it's been a pleasure talking at you all. I hope that you have a wonderful week, in your school, work, cross-country (Yeah!), and whatever else you may be involved in. Live worthy of the guidance of the spirit, and he'll show you all things that you should do.

Until next week,

Elder Moscas

P.S. Yes, my pinky promises.

P.P.S. I would send pictures, but this computer won't let me. :( Maybe next week...



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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hace calor...

Hello everyone. It's your favorite part of the week! The part where Elder Cannon gets to talk at you for a while about stuff that either doesn't make sense or doesn't really apply to you. I'll try to fix both of those things, but no promises.

Time is just flying. I can't believe that it's already been almost 6 weeks. I've been a missionary for more than 3 months now. Crazy, eh? The work is going well. The Spanish comes more and more every time I speak it. It still takes effort, but it's not as hard as it used to be. The funny thing is, when I got to the MTC, I could understand more than I could speak, and my branch President told us that understanding is the hardest part. I disagreed, because I could understand, but it was hard to say what I wanted. Now it switched. I can say what I want, and don't trip up too much, but to understand people, when they're talking 700 kilometers an hour...it's just hard. Also, I used kilometers just to throw you off and remind you that you're not cool enough to use the metric system. Or. Something like that. Anyway, the language will come. I'm not worried. I only have one problem. As some of you know, I used to be super shy. Like, couldn't look people in the eye, let alone talk to them. It's been a few years since I got over that, but I'm having the same "breaking out of my shell" problems in Spanish. Because, I have words I can say, I just find myself wanting to keep quiet instead of talking. My comp is Colombian, so it's easy for me to just sit back and let him do the talking, even though I know I need to contribute to the conversation as well. Anyway...I just need to be brave like Nephi and say words.

Why read words when you can just kill the stuff the words tell you stuff about?

Read words kids!

My favorite part about writing emails is seeing the little red line go under almost every word I type. Very entertaining. :P 

Colombia is pretty much awesome. It's different than Ecuador in a few ways though. In Ecuador, there was a lot of traditional style dressing, and homemade stuff and such. Here, it's basically like the United states. Dress-wise, anyway. They do sell furit on the street. I had to ask my companion if they sold mangos here, because I hadn't seen any. He told me they're just not in season. Avocados are in season though. Does anyone remember those huge, green avocados we found at a Walmart once? Well all of the avocados here are like that. Huge. Oh, and the only reason I think they're in season is because everyone and their dog is out on the street selling them. Heh. Another thing that's different here than in Ecuador is the cost of living. It's about $2 minimum for a taxi ride around town. You can take a bus for about $0.75, which we did today. It's quite the adventure. The buses just stop wherever a person waves them down, and lets you off wherever you want as well. The only thing is that they don't really ever stop. It's more of a tap on the brake pedal. You just have to hope you get far enough away from the bus before it runs you over. ;) Okay, so I'm exagerating a little, but you guys remember how the drivers were in Ecuador. Insane. It's hard for me to cross the street, because in the States, I can account for the tap on the brake the person gives as I cross, but here I have to account for the tap on the gas pedal as they speed by. Hehe. Luckily I have a Companion that knows what he's doing. We've been able to stay safe so far. Sanos y salvos, as they say here. :)

Well, it's been nice talking at you all. I hope all is well wherever you may be. Say hello to my mountains for me, and maybe listen to some HTTYD if you have a chance. 

I love you all! Carry on.

-Elder Joey

P.S. Thank you for nothing, you useless reptile!

P.P.S. Near, far, wherever you are....



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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Time flies.

Hello, dear family and friends. Another week flew by, and I'm not really sure where it went. We had some pretty cool things happen this week though.

First, we had interviews with President and Sister Hacking. That was really cool. It's always nice to kind of touch bases (in English. hehe) and be reminded why I'm out here and to not lose focus and remember that even though I haven't baptized the whole area yet, I'm still an effective missionary. ;) Hehe. I love my president. He's a really cool guy. He's originally from Utah, but apparently he and his wife have been living here in South America for 13 or so years. Crazy! He was going to retire here, and then he got the call to be mission president. So they're going to retire next year when he's done being pres.

Oh, and I asked him about mail, and apparently you can send mail to Colombia fairly easily for about $1, but to get mail from here to the US is super-expensive and not very reliable. Colombia doesn't have a national mailing system. They're all private companies. So you pay through the nose (which doesn't really work on a missionary budget...hehe) and you can't even be sure it'll get where you want it. So excuse me if I reply by email to your snail mail. That's the only possible way at the moment. Another thing I found out though, is that you can send packages here to Colombia...although I'm not sure how. A tip I received, as funny and almost sacreligious as it seems, is to put a picture of the virgin on the package, and then people (central/south americans mostly) will be much less likely to mess with it. Crazy, huh? But whatever works, right? ;)

The work is going good. I am loving it here in Bucaramanga. I keep hearing that this is everyone's favorite area, because of the weather. The weather would be perfect...if I were wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and...didn't have to walk 10 miles a day. But it could always be worse. There are areas in the mission that are much hotter. :P

Speaking of which, cambios are coming up. Er, transfers. Pres. Hacking told me I'd be staying with Elder Rapalino for another transfer, but he didn't tell us if it'd be here or somewhere else. Elder Rapalino has been here for 6 months, so he thinks we're going to move, but I honestly have no idea. Maybe we'll go somewhere else here in Bucaramanga. :) That'd be cool.

The language is coming along. I'm not fluent, but I can say what I want probably 95% of the time, and can understand probably about 90% of what people say. Unless they're from the coast, Chile, or talk super-fast. And not that I have anything against Chile, but thier accent is really hard to understand. The funny thing is, my companion is from the Coast here in Colombia (Santa Marta), so he talks with the drop-all-my-S's accent. I kind of hope I don't pick it up. :P Heh. Costeños. Who needs 'em? ;)

Our investigators are progressing for the most part. We're teaching one family that has been super-interested (except the papá), and are reading the Book of Mormon and everything. They came to church, and we invited them to be baptized. It was a soft invitation, but still. I hope they get baptized. I probably hope that about everyone here in Colombia, but whatever. ;)

Did I tell you that I ate an intestine the other week? I can't remember if I told y'all or not. Definitely the most disgusting thing I've ever eaten. I didn't have the courage to ask what animal it came from, but I'd probably guess pig. Ulgh. It was slimy, and tough, and smelled...weird. Yuck. Other than that, the food here has been heavenly. Rice, rice, and more rice, plus some kind of meat, usually some platacones (spelling?) and a salad. Oh, and the juice. Can't forget the juice. Sugh. :) Jugo de piña, de tomate de árbol, maracuyá, mora, limón, banana, the list goes on and on. I would translate the names of those fruits, but I don't know all their names in English. I'm pretty sure they don't all exist in the US. :P But oh my goodness, how delish they all are. :) If they don't give us juice, they give us gaseosa. Uh...soda pop. Usually apple, pineapple, or orange. I think I've consumed more soda in this past month than I have my entire life. Holy tomato.

Everyone gets the same sized desk, little hitler.

I'm attaching some pics of our actividad de zona that we had today. I hope they make it. :) (The cake was delicious, btw's)

Well, the most important thing, is that I am in love with the gospel and with the people. Personal study is my favorite time of day, and lessons with investigators takes a close second. Knocking doors is a little bit lower on the list still...but that doesn't mean I do it less. Haha. We knock a lot of doors. All the houses here are pegados. Um. They're...close together. They touch. They don't have yards like they do in the US. The most they have is a little patio with room enough for a chair or two. We found my house on Google Maps with a member's cell phone the other day, and she was surprised at how huge it was, even though I had described it as pretty small, because...compared to other houses in the states, ours isn't that big. But compared to all the houses here, it's big. Even for 10 people. :P Count your blessings, eh? ;)

Anyway, onward, ever onward. I love you all. Don't hesitate to send me letters or Dear Elders, because they do get to me. Even if I can't send anything back. :-/

Love always,

Elder Moscas

P.S. I just don't see why you guys get all the waffles...



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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bucaramanga is cool. Today.

Today we woke up at 6:30, just like every other day, and it was raining. Sigh. I love the rain. It just makes everything so cool and nice. It rained until we left, which is usually the case. I never get to enjoy it. Hehe. Then the sun came out and dried up all the rain, and the itsy bitsy spider...um, ahem. Then the sun came out and it wasn't as cool or nice, but I'm pretty much used to sweating 24/7 now. I bought a shoulder bag today, because the backpack that I have is a little big, and it just makes me sweat even more. I think it'll be a good thing to have.

Yesterday we taught the message of the Restoration 3 times. It was kinda cool. I just love the Spirit that I feel each time we testify of what happened there in the Sacred Grove. It's such an amazing story, and more than amazing, it's true. I know that with all of my heart and soul. Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. As a representative of Jesus Christ, it's my job to teach and testify of this event, and to invite people to pray and receive an answer from God if it's true.

It's interesting at times, seeing people's laziness. We teach and teach and teach, and ask them to pray, or to come to church, and they just don't do it. Not to be judgmental, but a lot of the time, people are just lazy. Lamesauce. I wish they'd just do it. Just pray! It'll all make sense. All you have to do is say one little prayer with faith, real intent, and a sincere heart, and He'll manifest the truth of it unto you! Sigh. But they don't, and that's their choice. People always have their agency. Can't change that. Satan was the one that wanted to take our agency away, so I'm realy glad they have their agency, I just wish they'd use it for good.

Anyway, the work goes ever onward. Speaking Spanish is becoming easier and easier every day, but there are still times (lots) when they talk so darn fast, that there's no way I could understand them. My companion included. Haha. He's from the coast, which means he drops his S's, and talks fast, and...I have to tell him to slow down every now and again so I can understand him. :P I love Spanish though. It's a beautiful language.

Did I tell you, that the Sunday before last, I ate some sort of intestine? Ulgh. Blegch. Ew. With the exception of that...meal, the food here is very delish. There's rice, rice, and...rice. Haha. Lots of rice, and also lots of other delicious things, like meat and beans and ried plantains, etc.

Well, my time's about up. We only get an hour each week to email. I wish I knew how to get real mail, or even pouch mail out of this country. Nobody I ask seems to know. We'll have to see.

Dear Colombia, please let me send mail home to the United States. Love, Elder Cannon.

Anyway, I love you all. Keep on keepin on. :)

-Elder Cannon

P.S. Here are some pictures of Beautiful Colombia. There was a lightning storm the other night, and my cool camera (that I hope doesn't get stolen) helped me take a picture of it. Enjoy. :)



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