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... "

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Email from Elder Joseph M. Cannon

Dear family and friends, I am absolutely loving missionary life. Even though I'm still here at the MTC and not out in the field, it is great to be a missionary. They tell us that the MTC is the most sacred place on the earth outside the temple. It's so true. The spirit is always so strong here, and as long as you're obedient and diligent, you'll have a portion of that spirit with you as well.

The food isn't bad. I mean, it's just the Cannon Center cafeteria food. Most of the time, it's really quite delish. My only problem with it is that there are always 3 big meals every day, and before I came out here, I hardly ever ate breakfast, my lunch was usually pretty small, and then I'd have a good sized dinner. However, I lost 3 pounds this week, so I think I'm not doing so bad. (Take that, MTC food!) I went 2 weeks without sugar, which was difficult at first, but they have plenty of food without sugar. They even have little bottles of honey to put on their sugar-free cereal. It's great. So, after the two weeks, I started eating sugar again, and I realized that it was harder for me to feel the spirit when my body was full of sugar. home, I don't think it would be so much of a problem. I never really felt like it was. But here, where the spirit is so prevalent, it's a lot easier to tell if you don't have the spirit with you. So I've made another goal to not eat sugar. It'll probably last at least until I head out to Colombia (btw, Colombia is spelled with two o's, not an o and a u). We are officially the oldest district in our branch/zone now (branches and zones are the same thing here). Oh, speaking of which, I got called to be district leader. Technically, it's an assignment, because we all have a calling already, so anything on top of that is an assignment. Anyhow, I'm district leader now. It surprised me at first. I guess I just had it in my mind that another Elder in my district was going to be called, because he seemed very qualified, but...apparently not. I'm grateful for the assignment though, and I hope and pray that I'll be able to lead my district to success. My district really is amazing. This last week, we got a new teacher, Hermano Barnard. He just got back from my same mission last August, which is wonderful. I've been asking him all sorts of questions about the mission, mission president, the weather, etc. It's nice to have someone on the inside. Anyway, this last week, we got him as a new teacher, and our other teacher that didn't change, is on vacation in D.C. With all the mix up and the substitutes, there have been two or three class periods this week where we haven't had a teacher. Without fail, our district has started each class on time, and either gone to companion study, which we usually do during class, or we've started learning some grammar principle or another. We have a pretty varied level of spanish speakers, so we can teach each other. It's great. I'm proud of my district. We're pretty much the best.

I haven't been sick for a few weeks. They did have a virus going around, and I think I might've had it for a bit, but it's gone now for sure. They're even letting us shake hands now. This is super ADD, but today is the last time I'll be able to go to the Provo temple in 2 years. I'll miss it for sure. I'm hoping to be able to go to the Bogota, Colombia Temple, since it is in my mission boundaries, but it'll probably only be once a year.

So, this last week being the mission president seminar, there were quite a few general authorities around. We had the opportunity to meet Elder Bednar. It was so cool! He's an amazing man. Oh, and we actually got to hear from him in a special Devotional on Friday. His talk was good. He always does the whole, "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them" thing. So, people are frantically trying to scribble down the ten points he just rattled off, and then he talks about each one individually anyway. He's a great speaker though. I really enjoyed his talk. It was all about becoming a Preach My Gospel missionary. One of my favorite things that he talked about was "treasuring up in your minds continually the words of life" (D&C 84:85). It's interesting to see different missionaries take different approaches to marking their new Spanish scriptures. They sell these neon page marker...sticky things, as well as pencils of all different colors, and a few of the Elders in my district have been going to town, color-coding all the principles of the gospel, and the lessons, and the Christlike attributes. I started doing that myself, but then I decided not to. The colors are fun, and the tags are helpful for a quick reference, but I think the better option is just to read and to study the words of God continually, and then, God says, "it shall be given you in the very hour that portion which shall be meted to every man." I'm not saying that any of the Elders in my district are wrong. To each his own, really. I just feel like I should rely more on the spirit than on my stickies. I'm still going to mark my spanish scriptures, but not so extensively. I hope and pray that I will always be worthy to have the spirit with me so that I'll be able to say what the Lord would have me say.

So, being district leader, there are two meetings I'm responsible for conducting/teaching, and there are 3 that I'm expected to attend. It's more time out of my day, but I love it. Just being with the other district leaders in my zone, as well as with my branch presidency is great. We have some amazing men leading us.

I had a few small world experiences this week that I thought were kinda fun. We had a substitute this week that went on his mission to Ecuador. I told him I had been to Ecuador, and he was like, "with OSSO?" Haha. He had been stationed in Cuenca for about 6 months of his mission. Then he started speaking with a Cuenca accent, and a whole flood of memories came back. Accents are just amazing that way. I love them. Another small world experience I had this week was in choir. I was sitting next to a Sister, Hermana Osborne, and started talking to her about where she was from, etc. Come to find out, she lives on Grandview hill in Provo, knows pretty much every one of my friends from PHS, or at least their older siblings, had sung with Mr. Mendenhall, and was in the choir that got us into Carneggie Hall. How crazy is that? So, I thanked her for getting us into Carneggie. Hehe. She didn't think it was funny, but it was nice to talk to someone semi-familiar. Or at least...familiar with the same things I'm familiar with.

I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to end a sentence with the word "with" but I couldn't think of another way to say it. And I'm probably just lazy. Who needs grammar anyway?

I had the opportunity of playing the piano for a men's quartet during a Sunday night fireside this week. They sang "Did you think to Pray." They did so good! I guess...maybe I did good too. I messed up in a few spots, but the key to a good accompanist is just to keep playing no matter what happens, and people think you're wonderful. ;) Works every time. So, Stephen Allen, Managing director of the missionary program, was speaking that night, and when his talk was over, he turned to the president, and said, "If you don't mind, let's change the closing hymn to "Did you think to Pray" and have these Elders come back up." We got to do it again! Haha. It was great.

Anyway, life is just wonderful. I'm going to be here for another 3 almost 4 weeks, and I'm going to make the most of it. I'm sure if I got to Colombia right now, I'd be loster than lost. I'm grateful for this opportunity I have to learn and grow in such a wonderful environment. It's a blessing for sure.

Well family, I love you all. Wherever you are in this world, know that I'm thinking about you, and that you're in my prayers. Keep on keepin' on. :)


P.S. I really, REALLY have been wanting to listen to "My Kindness" this week. I read in 3rd Nephi 22 (Isaiah 54), and also D&C 121 & 122, where the lyrics of that song come from. I think I have a copy of the sheet music somewhere at home...but it might take some digging. If nothing else, y'all could just listen to it for me. ;)

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

P.P.P.S. If you ever want to hear a happy missionary success story, read Ammon's homecoming talk in Alma 29. It's wonderful. :) I hope mine will be something like that. ;)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Message for you sir!"

Dear family and friends,

I can't believe it's been another week. Tomorrow will be my half-way point! I've probably started every email like this, huh? "I can't believe it's been ___ weeks already!" Well, it's always true. Time never does stand still here.

The work moves ever onward. I've taught the first few lessons in Spanish, and it's getting a lot easier. Our class does this "Progressive Investigator" thing where each of our three teachers poses as an investigator, and each companionship has the opportunity to teach them a couple/few times a week. It's a really neat learning experience. Instead of butchering the gospel and the language to real people, we get to practice on our teachers, who won't decline the gospel or hate us forever when we mess up. :P Anyway, it's great practice. I thought I knew the gospel, but having my own testimony is a lot different than trying to lead others to gain a testimony for themselves. It's kind of like, I know the principles, but being able to explain them in simple terms is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

It's definitely getting easier the more I teach though. I'm really glad I get to be here for the full 9 weeks (8 weeks and change, technically). Although I can't wait to get out to the field. :) I'm determined to make these next two years the best of my life. case y'all are wondering, MTC life goes a little bit like this:

6:30 Wake up and shower
7:00 Personal Study time
7:40 Breakfast
8:10 More personal study
9:15 Class
12:15 lunch
1:00 More Class
4:00 Language Study
5:15 Dinner
6:20 Gym
7:45 TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning...I think)
9:00 Plan for tomorrow
10:15 Quiet time
10:30 Lights out

Our Gym period changes from right after dinner to right after breakfast or lunch. It never made sense to me, having gym right after a meal. It's like they're allowing us the daily opportunity to feel even fatter than we know we are. ;) It's all good though. I have yet to find the self-control to just not eat the meal right before gym, but that's a lot easier said than done. Especially when I have to accompany my companion to the cafeteria anyway, and then there's all this food there, and just a little won't really hurt, and then there's a full course meal on my plate, and I go to gym wondering why I ate so much.

The food here isn't bad, but it's not all that good either. I was hoping with all the mission presidents here, that the food would get better, but instead they just divided the cafeteria off so that they're all eating wonderful, delicious things, and we get chicken patties on a bun.

I haven't gained any weight least that's what I keep telling myself. I really should be around 167, or...I would like to be around there, but the last time I weighed myself (after gym right after dinner) I was 174. So either I really am just eating a lot, and weighed more than I usually do, or I've gained a few pounds. I'm not giving up hope though. I'll win this battle yet. ;)

So, also with the mission presidents seminar here, there are quite a few general authorities. They've blocked off about 90% of the main building so we're not walking through, but I did see Elder Holland and Elder Anderson down a hall. :) Hehe. I thought it was pretty cool. I'm so glad we have living prophets in our days. They're all my heroes. We have a "special devotional" this Friday, and I'm hoping one of them comes to speak to us then. Apparently June is the month that all the Apostles take a break to be with their families, so we haven't had any Apostles come speak to us yet. They usually have one come every 2 or 3 weeks. Anyway, I'm pretty excited.

Well, my time is about up. I want you all to know that I know that this church is true. I didn't gain that testimony all at once. It was more of a life-long proccess. But I can say without a doubt, that this church is true. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to go out into the world to share that testimony with others.

Onward, ever onward.

I love you all,


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

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And then I wrote you guys an email.

Hello everyone. It's P-Day again. And what does Elder Cannon do on P-Day? He types stuff. Then people read it. Well...he kind of just assumes that people read it. He doesn't actually know. Except when people tell him. I guess that's happened a couple times. Also, forgive any spelling/grammar errors. I'm struggling a bit with this whole bilingual thing... :P

This past week was great. I mean...every week is scheduled exactly the same, but it was stil pretty amazing. Work, work, and more work. It's wonderful. We study for a couple/few hours every day, which is probably my favorite. Having so much time set apart just for studying is really helpful. I've started reading "Jesus The Christ" and I absolutely love it. It's a little tough to get into sometimes, but it's an amazing book. It's like Elder Talmage just took a magnifying glass to Jesus' life, and then described what he saw. The result was a 800-ish page book, filled with interesting details and insights about the life of Jesus Christ. This Tuesday, the General Primary President came to speak to us for Devo. The first few minutes of her talk, she had us singing primary songs. :) It was lots of fun. She told us a story from when she and her husband were mission presidents. She was at the grocery store late on the night before Thanksgiving, and she and her daughters were frantically throwing things into the cart, trying to get everything they needed before the store closed. They rushed up to the checkout and began unloading items on the counter. The man at the register started ringing the items up, and that's when she saw the sign that said "15 items or less." She told him that she could pay for what he had already rung up, and take the rest to another checkout counter. He told her "No, I just work really fast." She smiled and thanked the man, and then he said, "That man on your chest is my best friend." She looked at her tag, and was a little confused, thinking he was talking about one of their missionaries, but then she realized what he was saying. "I can tell that Jesus Christ is your best friend, by how kind you were to us." Then he said, "I can tell he's your best friend by the way you talk to your daughters." This story was very touching to me, especially as I've been reading Jesus the Christ, and trying to be more like Him. Is He my best friend? Is he yours? This is my challenge to each of you. If Jesus Christ is your best friend, then do everything you can to keep it that way. And if he's not, then maybe just spend a little more time with Him. Get to know Him a little better, so that one day people will be able to look at you and say, "Jesus Christ is your best friend."

I've been singing in the MTC Choir every week, and last week I got chosen (along with my companion, my district leader, and about 40-ish other missionaries) to be in a special choir that will sing at the Mission Presidents seminar. July 1st is when they switch out the mission presidents, and we'll be here while they're being trained. Also, there will probably be some general authorities. Hehe. :) That'd be exciting. Anyway, we have 6 songs that are supposed to be memorised in 6 days. I've sung through each of them once or twice is all...but we start practicing together starting tomorrow morning. I'm so excited to be in an amazing choir again. The MTC Choir is amazing...but there are usually about 500 missionaries singing in it every week, so it's not really the same. anyway, I'll let you know how it goes. I think it starts next Wednesday, and I'm not sure how long it goes.

Let's see...what else. Oh! The gash in my leg that I got in Moab finally healed. That was a happy day. That gash and I were never really friends, so I'm glad it's gone. Actually, that's false. We were friends for the first day. Because it looked so COOL! But after that it was just kind of painful and annoying. But it's gone now, finally. Oh! That reminds me. Hehe. Yesterday I wrote a "Dear John" to English. Like...we pretended as if we were going out with English, but we were breaking it off because we had found a new love named Spanish, and all that kind of stuff. It was a pretty hilarious activity. I really do love Spanish. Maybe not...quite as much as I love English, but I'm sure I'll get there someday. I do kind of hope I can still speak English when I get home. It'll be a little bit difficult to communicate otherwise. A couple of days ago, I went the entire day and only said 7 or 8 words in English. The first day I tried that, I pretty much just didn't talk much...and still ended up saying almost 60 words in English. But it's getting easier the more I speak it, and more enjoyable too.

Anyway, life is wonderful. I got a few packages in the mail this week. That was great. :) Thanks fam and friends. Y'all are the best, y'know that? You really are. I mean, any prayers said in my behalf are probably worth several packages, but the packages are still super-fun to get. ;)

I hope that life is treating you all wonderfully, in whatever part of the world you are. Stay on the strait and narrow, hold to the iron rod, and remember to keep your sights on what's at the end of this Celestial path. :)

I love you all. Carry on. The Church is true. Jesus Christ lives.

I'll talk at you all again next week. ;)

-Elder Moscas

P.S. I have a machete. Right here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tengo Gozo en mi Alma Hoy.

Holy cow, it's been another week already. I can't believe time is going by so quickly. Time is pretty skewed here at the MTC. The days feel like weeks, and the weeks feel like days. It's kind of just insane. The food isn't bad so far. I've made some personal goals to not gain weight, and the exercise field has been open, so I've been playing a ton of frisbee. My companion can throw a frisbee pretty far. Frisbee. Frizbee?'s spelled with an S. That other one looks like Miss Frizzle. You know...from the magic school bus?

Um. Anyway. Today is P-day. The craziest day of the week. You still have to get up at 6:30, but instead of going to classes and studying a ton, you get to go to the temple (which is really the highlight of the week, along with Sacrament Meeting and awesome Devotionals). Then there's lunch and about an hour of "personal time" That's about all the break we get here at the MTC, because then there's laundry, dinner, and we're back in class by 6. It's so enjoyable though. I really love it here. I've been a little sickish yesterday and today...but it's nothing major. I hope it leaves soon. On the plus side, I was hitting some amazingly low notes in the shower this morning. Hehe. Fun stuff. ;)

Thank you all so much for your letters. :) It's always good to hear how everyone is doing, even if it has only been 2 weeks. I don't remember if I for sure told you, but they're keeping me here for the full 9 weeks. So, my estimated departure date is still July 26th. The rest of my District is leaving the day before, so I might be here alone for a day. That would be interesting. They'd probably end up assigning me to another companion or something...make a threesome. Or maybe they'd just let me go without a companion for a day. Who knows.

I talked to Mr. Mendenhall last week. He plays the organ for the Tuesday Devotionals. It was so good to see him. Also, we sang "Look at the World" in the choir for this Tuesday's Devo. The director asked if anyone had sung it before, and I think I was the only one. Sad day. But now there are about 1,000 of us that have sung it. :)

Yesterday was "new-guy day." We got 1,000+ new missionaries, and they're EVERYWHERE! I'm pretty sure I was seeing more missionaries with dork dots than without (dork dots are the little orange stickers they give you on your first day so that if you ever get lost, people will know you're a dork, and they can help you out. Or. Something like that.) Needless to say, the lines for dinner stretched to the spirit world and back...

The work is going well. We've started teaching in spanish. We have TRC (Teaching Resource Center) every week, where we go and practice contacting and teaching "investigators." It was probably the scariest thing I'd ever done, but it quickly became the most enjoyable. Teaching is really the meat of missionary work. It's what we do. And the more I teach, the more I come to love it. Working with an investigator (whether or not they're just a volunteer acting like a nonmember) is an amazing experience. When we teach with the spirit, it doesn't feel like a role-play. It feels like we're really teaching a real investigator, and the spirit testifies to us and to them that what we are teaching is true.

We watched a devotional from a couple years ago by Elder Bednar about the number one question he gets asked by members. The question is, "how do I tell if something is a spiritual prompting, or just me?" His answer was interesting. He said "Quit worryin' about it! Be a good boy, or a good girl, keep your covenants, obey the commandments, and I promise you that God will be there guiding your steps." The spirit isn't there to slap us in the face and tell us to go do something. It's our job to get moving, and then the spirit will be there guiding our steps. He said, "The more we follow the spirit, the more He trusts us to say what He would say, and do what He would do." If you have the chance, read D&C 80. It's a super short section, directed to a specific person, but verse 3 ties in perfectly with this principle. It's great. If you ever get the chance to watch it, then watch it. Hehe. Really though. It's great.

Well, I love you all. I hope that life is treating you all well, and that you're reading your scriptures and saying your prayers daily. And that you're going to the temple as often as time permits. Be good, don't do drugs, and remember to drink your ovaltine. ;)
Have a nice day, eh? :)
-Elder Cannon
P.S. Think of the most horrid, terrible...evil thing you can possibly imagine, and multiply it by SIX!!!
P.P.S. If you haven't read the first vision lately, read it. And then pray about it. All of us are where we are, and who we are because one 14 year-old boy had the courage to say a prayer. We should know the story by heart, don't you think? :) "Vi una columna de luz, mas brillante que el sol, directamente arriba de mi cabeza. Y esta luz gruadualmente descendió hasta descanzar sobre mí. Al reposar sobre mí la luz, vi en el aire arriba de mi a dos personages, cuyo fulgor y gloria no admiten descripción. Uno de ellos me habló, llamandome por mi nombre, y dijo, señalando al otro, "Este es mi Hijo Amado. Escúchalo.""
I love you all. God be with you. :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Use to send mail to Joey

The best way to send Joey mail at the MTC is to use It's free, and they will deliver him a printed copy of your mail on the same day you send it (if you send before 2pm). Otherwise, it's the next day. You only need this information:

Joey's mailbox number is: 321
Mission code COL-BOGN
departure date: 7/26

You can also send him regular mail:

Joey Cannon
MTC Mailbox #321
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Hola mi familia. :) This computer is a little funky, so we'll see how it goes.

My first week as a missionary is over. I can't believe how fast it's gone. Honestly though, it feels like I've been here a month. The food is...alright. It's just cafeteria food, so it's not amazing, but normally it's not bad. I had biscuits and gravy this morning, and it reminded me of mom and dad. Wasn't there some story about the Cannon center and...yeah, anyway. they're delish.

My companion is named Elder Farnbach. He's pretty cool. He knows a lot of random...sometimes nerdy stuff. hehe. He's a cool guy though. Elder. Cool Elder. We're not supposed to call each other "guys" here. Our district is pretty much amazing. We hear from everyone (our teachers, zone leaders, branch president) that we're really the most well-behaved district they've ever had. I think that's pretty cool. I love how much we get done, and how mature everyone is. We study a LOT here, and for the most part, it's all very productive. Last night, my companion and I were on fire planning our lesson for one of our "investigators." She's really our teacher, but we knocked on her door, and contacted her like she was a real investigator. It's a really neat idea, because she's been on a mission, so she's seen a lot of different investigators, and is really good at role-playing.

The language is coming. It's amazing how many people hear pray for, and receive the gift of tongues. It really is everywhere. "Don de lenguas" was one of the first things we all learned how to say when we got here. :) I thought that was pretty funny. It's a real thing though, and I've seen it in a lot of people, including myself.

They gave us scriptures, Predicad Mi Evangelio, a dictionary (which is actually the same edition I had when we went to Ecuador. How cool is that?), a bunch of language study materials, etc. I feel a little handicapped using spanish scriptures though. Not only becauase of the language, but because I haven't marked anything in them, so I don't know where anything is. I'll have to work hard on marking them up before I get out into the field. 8 more weeks! And I thought I'd be done counting down after May 25th. It's kind of funny actually. Someone asked me when I was leaving for Colombia, and I almost told them May 25th. I guess it's just the date I'm used to telling people. Speaking of which, They're not going to fast track me. I'm here until July 26th, I believe. And I am going to love every minute of it! I don't think I've gained any weight yet. I really hope I can keep it that way. The food here comes in pretty large portions. If anything, I think it's the portion sizes that are going to kill me. We'll see...

There was this one time, when the crowd was calling my name, and I used my strength to rip my blouse.

There is a painting here of Robert Downing Jr. baptizing Liam Neeson (is that how you spell that?) It's really a painting of Christ's baptism...but it really does look like them. Haha. I hope that's not sacreligious. Our zone leaders showed it to us, so we'll just blame them, yes? ;)

Well, I'd better get going. I love you all, and hope to hear from you all soon. :)

-Elder Cannon

(P.S. mail is really the most exciting thing around here, unless you count ice cream Wednesdays. So...write me! hehe...please? :)