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. ;)

1 comment:

  1. familiar with the same things with which I'm familiar.

    :) hehehe