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, July 21, 2011

Correo electronico del Élder Cannon

Wow I can't believe it's Thursday again. This week just flew by. My travel plans say that I'll be leaving at 5 am on Tuesday, July 26th. I will arrive in Bogota, Colombia at 8:45 pm (Eastern Standard time) that same day. If all goes well, I'll be in Colombia in less than a week. Whew. Crazy. I've been doing my best to work super-duro (hard) this last bit. A few of the Elders in my district are getting trunky, which is no bueno. This is totally ADD, but I just realized...I used the phrase "doing my best" instead of "trying." I think that came from like forever ago in Eagle Mountain. I don't even remember how it started, but I decided that I wouldn't ever "try" to do something. I would only "do my best." As the wise Yoda once said, "Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try." Anyway...there's Elder Cannon's weekly quirk for y'all. :P

Which reminds me. The word of the week is "podía." It means "I used to could."

MTC life is still as great as ever. We're just livin' the good life. All you can eat meals, 3 times a day. Sometimes it even _tastes_ like food. The gym has been closed for the past little while, so I haven't had the chance to weigh myself, but I don't think I've gained anything. If I have, I'm not to worried about it sticking around with the miles and miles of walking I'll be doing every day. Then again, there will be the wonderful members that feed us lots of food. Hehe...I love when Elders make such naive comments about their missions. I just kind of laugh inside and think, "You really have no idea how it's going to be." I know it'd be cool if your mission president gave you all a machete at the beginning of your mission, so you can more easily tract through the Amazon Jungle...but I'm just not sure that's how it's gonna go.

This week was pretty average. I mean, it was amazing. I guess it was kind of...amazingly average. Oh! I just saw Jace Gregory this morning! He got here yesterday, and is going to Guatemala. So exciting. :) Also, I'm pretty sure Drew Gagon is here somewhere, but I haven't seen him yet. He's going to Zimbabwe! How sweetawesome is that? :) It's so good to have so many friends out serving missions. I think there are probably 10-15 people here from PHS, and a few that I know from BYU-Idaho.

This Sunday, Elder Dyches and I are singing "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" in Sacrament meeting. That one that you sent me, mom. I love it so much. The only thing is, I've never sung it. I've only played it. heh. Pero estoy muy animado. Nunca he cantado un solo o un duo en una reunión sacramental. It'll be interesting. I hope it goes well. The average branch here has about 30 to 40 members. Ours has more than 80. Hehe. It's about the size of my student ward at BYU-I. I'm not too worried though.

I don't have much to write this week. I feel lame. Next week I'll have more than I can handle...but this just kinda lamesauce.

I'll tell you a story. Once upon a time, My companion and I got chosen to teach the newbs this Wednesday (yesterday). So, we went to the training meeting thing, and we did a bunch of practices and watched some videos, and then the guy was like, we actually only need 4 of you 8 companionships. I chose 4 at random that will be teaching. So it ended up that my companion and I didn't teach the newbs. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. Honestly, I think all the training we did was super-helpful anyway. I'm glad I got to go.

Happy birthday, Kristopher and Todd! I'm not sure how old Todd is...but Kris is 22 now, right? Happy birthday to both of you! :) Hope it's a good one. Oh, and Kristopher, you totally owe me a ping pong tournament when I get home. I had two years to practice while you were in Indiana, so you'd better get practicing for when I get home. ;)

Well, if you couldn't tell already, my life is average. Still working, still studying, still having wonderful experiences. Ready to hit the ground running. Yesterday, my district got to host again, where we greet the new missionaries with smiling faces, help them with their luggage, and bring them to their room and to their class, help them not feel so lost or alone... :-/ It's kinda crazy that I was there only 8 weeks ago. It seems like I've grown and matured about 3 years worth. Mission life does stuff to you. It's all good stuff though.

I'm pretty much just rambling now, can all go back to the normal, dreary things you normal people do. And I will get back to you. (Okay, now slam the door really hard. Heehee. No...they can still see you. Your elbow's still in...)

This morning I read Mormon 4-5 and Moroni 8. They're such amazing chapters. Some of my favorite verses are Mormon 5:8 that says "Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God?" It's true. I'm in God's hands. And so are all of you. He's our Heavely Father, and He cares personally for each and every one of us. Just like in 3rd Nephi when Christ blessed each and every one of the little children, He cares. "Mirad a vuestros Pequeñitos."

I love you all. I'm so glad to have such amazing family and friends. All of your support and prayers and everything else help more than you know. I couldn't be more grateful.

Still paddling the old knew,


P.S. Chuck Norris counted to infinity. Twice.

P.P.S. Is it a good sign that I can't think of any movie quotes? I was thinking about it the other day, and I really think I will be happy the day I can't remember a single one. That just means I'm changing and becoming an effective missionary, right? I hope so...

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Joey had an opportunity to sing with a choir in the MTC at the 2011 Seminar for New Mission Presidents. 9 of the 12 apostles were present, the first presidency was present, and it was a great experience. They sang 4 songs, and here they are. The choir is too good and too well blended to hear Joey's voice, but it's in there somewhere. :)

(1)Come Thou Fount

(2)I'm Trying To Be Like Jesus

(3)Precious Savior Dear Redeemer

(4)This Is The Christ

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And then I sent you guys an email.

Dear family and friends,

Do I always start my emails that way? boring.

I'll start over.

¿Quiubo, mi querido familia y amigos? ¿Cómo están? Yo estoy bien. Muy bien. He estado muy animado a escribir a ustedes esta mañana

Better? Maybe. Btw's, "Quiubo" is a Colombian saying to mean like, what's up? That kind of thing. It's nice having two teachers that know all about Colombia, because they teach me everything to say. :) One of my teachers is actually in Colombia right now. He got back from my same mission last fall, and now he's back to go to the sealing of a family he baptized. Isn't this work just amazing? I love it. So much.

That's not to say it isn't hard at times. Missionary work wouldn't be missionary work if it wasn't hard. We watched a Devotional from several years ago by Elder Holland, and he was saying how important his mission was to him, and that if we come home from our missions in two years, and in just a day or two, we're staying up until 3 in the morning, and watching all the movies we missed, and hanging out with the same group of friends, or in other words, if we haven't changed, then we never became a missionary. The mission helps more than the investigators and converts. It helps the missionaries, perhaps more than anyone else. So, I hope I come home a different person. Honestly, if my mission were over tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I'm come back a changed person. So...let's just hope you recognize me when I get off the plane in two years. ;) I'm so excited for these next two years. Like, super-excited. :)

After I leave the MTC, it'll be 3 or 4 weeks for pouch mail or regular mail. I should've put the pouch address on my blog...hmm. I think I have it sonewhere. Also you can still use DearElder, it'll just take 3-4 weeks. I was thinking, it really wouldn't be a mission if I stayed in Provo the whole time. I think it'd be too distracting. I want to lose myself in the work, and not care about anything else. I mean, I'll always care about you all, but there's a time and a place for everything. P-Days exist in Colombia, and you'll still get my weekly email. I just want to get out there and servir con todo mi corazon, alma, mente y fuerza. :) Oh...but to finish that thought, if you want to email me after I'm in the field, I won't be offended at all. I might not be able to reply, I'm not really sure what the rules are down there...but I will if I can. :)

Have you all been reading the Book of Mormon lately? I don't know if the copy I bought at the bookstore here is just a different version, or if they just gave me a new set of eyes when I got here, but this book has come alive in these past few weeks. It's absolutely amazing! It seems like no matter what I read, it's exactly what I need to hear, and I can apply it directly to whatever it is I'm doing. This week, I was reading in Alma 60 (which you should totally read, btw) about cleansing the inward vessel before the outer vessel. I compared this to my relationship with my companion. If we're not working together, if our "inward vessel" isn't cleansed, and if we don't have the spirit, then there's no way we're going to be able to cleanse the "outer vessel" and convert or baptize anyone. Anyway, apply it to your family, or your job, or school or something. Just apply it, kay? It means about 7 bajillion times more to you when you apply it to your own life. :) Will you commit to apply this in your own life before our next visit on the 21st of July?

So...this week, on Tuesday night, we were at the residence hall (not "dorms" because they're dedicated buildings) and President Dennis, our Branch President came into our room, and was like, "can I meet with you four for a bit?" We were all a little confused, and a little scared, I think. He gets all of our clean-check reports, so I was worried it would be something about that. Then he was like, "I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to make a permanent companion exchange." "...wait...what?

It was...completely unexpected. I mean, I can see the reasons why it happened. Being district leader, it's my reponsibility to keep tabs on all the companionship relations, but I can honestly say I didn't expect anything like this. So now I'm companions with Elder Murphy from Reno, Nevada. He's a really neat guy. I think we'll work well together these next couple weeks.

Crazy, eh? What's also crazy is that I don't even have 2 weeks! It's like 12 days! Unless my visa doesn't come through...which might happen... I really hope I leave on time, but they had me come in to the travel office this week to sign a paper, and I asked the lady if she knew how close it was. She told me that the paper I was signing meant that some other thing didn't work, so now they're doing this, which will hopefully make it go faster, but...she basically said they'll get me out of here as soon as they can. :P Honestly, I wouldn't mind a few extra days here in the MTC. I really love it here, but at the same time, I do want to get out in the field. My teacher that just went down to Colombia said that he talked to my mission president, and he already has my trainer picked out and everything. Ah! I'm so stoked! :D

Well, I've got to go, but I hope you all have a wonderful week. I haven't been able to go to the temple, because the Provo temple has been closed for maintenance, so...maybe somebody could go for me? I've really missed the spirit of the temple, but like I've said before, I've been called to do the work of the living, not of the dead. I trust that I will be able to feel the same beautiful spirit doing missionary work that I do with temple work, and come to love it as much or more (if that's possible). ;)

I love you all. I hope your lives are wonderful, wherever you are in the world. I hope and pray that when I return, we will all still be bretheren and sisters in the Lord (that's from Alma 17...if you missed that). Keep on keepin' on. I'll talk at you again next week. :)

Onward, ever onward.

-Elder Cannon

P.S. are you jumping in the trees? Are you jumping on the houses??

P.P.S. Helaman 5 is also amazing, if you're looking for some awesome stuff to read. Think about the repentance process, and what it takes to get the spirit of God. :)

P.P.P.S. We get our travel plans today!!! So, I guess I'll probably know today if I'm leaving soon or not. Or...they'll just tell me a bunch of mentiras (lies) and I'll leave late anyway. Hmm. Pray for me? Love y'all. :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hey all. :)

Dear family and friends,
Wanna know what's crazy? Well, I'll tell you. If everything goes as planned (visa comes on time, travel plans according to estimated departure date, no major earthquakes, etc.) I'll be in Colombia in 3 weeks! I love it. :) I'm so excited to get out there. I got an email from my good friend Jaymes Walters who's in Bulgaria right now, and he said he has 4 people with a baptismal date! Man, I love this work.
So, I probably told you a bit about our new teacher. His name is Hermano Barnard. The first time I heard his name, I thought, "Bernnarrrd..." Hehe. One of the Elders in my district has seen pretty much every movie I've seen, and we quote stuff every now and again. Fun stuff. :) Anyway, Hermano Barnard is going to Colombia next week! For a sealing of a couple he baptized. It'll be neat. :) Except then we'll be missing another teacher. Our other one is already on vacation in D.C. We just get used to having lots and lots of subs.
This week, for our Sunday fireside, Jenny Oaks Baker came to speak! It was an amazing fireside. She probably played her violin more than she talked, but it was so good to listen to beautiful music again. It was like we got a free concert, and it Allowed. Whatever. There aren't many opportunities to go to concerts around here. As Anyway, I was super glad we got to hear her play. :) Also, the night before that, on Saturday, we had a "special Independence Day fireside" which started at 9 pm, and they wouldn't tell us anything that was happening. So, we showed up, and they had a speaker, and then they had this awesome bagpipe band come in, and we sang a bunch of patriotic songs, and then the guy who was announcing the program told us, "and that's as far as I'm going to announce. President Brown will give you instructions for the rest of the evening." I'm pretty sure they just wanted to hold us in suspense for as long as possible. All I wanted was a "Yes, you can watch the fireworks" or a "no, you can't." I really would've been okay with either one, but the suspense was killing me! Hehe...that sounds kinda pathetic. After being here 6 weeks, fireworks are more exciting than...well, pretty much anything. :P Anyway, they did end up letting us watch them, from right here inside MTC campus. It was a really fun night. We got to bed pretty late though. I think it was after 11:10 when we finally got to bed. Oh, and thanks so much for the glow sticks. :) We've had lots of fun with those too.
Also, two of those songs you sent me are ones that I sang at BYU-Idaho! And they're pretty much my favorites. Ever. Hope of Israel, and More Holiness Give Me are the two. They actually sang that version of More Holiness in General Conference last April. I think. You'll have to look it up. :) And thank you so much for My Kindness! I've had it in my head for about a week now, and on Tuesday my companion and I were walking around, and I heard someone playing it. It was two sisters from the MTC seminar choir, playing from a copy that the MTC had. So we joined them, and I played while they all sang. Then later that day, I got a copy in the mail. Best day ever! Oh, but it got better. So, Mendy, or Brother Mendenhall, as he's called here, played for choir that Tuesday, and I went to talk to him, which was great. It's always good to see a familiar face here. I mentioned My Kindness to him, and he said he'd play it for prelude at Devo that night. :D So, I got to hear it again while we were waiting for devotional to begin. Also, on a side note, the sister that was playing My Kindness is Sister Osborne. I think...Stephanie Osborne? Anyway, I found out she went to PHS, which is why she would know about My Kindness. I also found out that is was her year of choir that got us into Carneggie Hall (spelling?). I told her thanks. Heh.
So, my goal to go without sugar has been going well. I've made a goal to go without until I set foot in Colombia, and we'll see what happens from there. It's been so long, but mom, do you remember talking about like, a personal Word of Wisdom? Where, you just need to follow the spirit as to what things are good for your own body, and what things aren't? Well, we've been teaching the Word of Wisdom lately, and I've been thinking about that with the no sugar thing, and I came accross the verse that promises "treasures, even hidden treasures of knowledge" to those that follow the Word of Wisdom. I have found that to be true. Holy cow. I was reading in Alma 17 yesterday, which is just amazing in the first place, and I starte seeing all this symbolism! It was like, words that I had never seen, even though I've read this chapter a million times. It's talking about Ammom serving the king, (he gives up marriage, btw, to serve the king), and he's "gathering the place of water." Doesn't that just scream "missionary work" to you? I love it! Anyway, you'll have to take a look. I found some pretty amazing stuff. My time is just about up, but I just want to say that the Book of Mormon is true. Without a doubt, it is 100% true. Not only is it the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone to our religion, but "a man may get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book." Read it, eh? :)
I love you all, it's been great chatting with you. The little red timer in the corner is flashing at I'd better finish up.
Carry on. Wherever you are in this world. :)
-Elder Joseph Morris Cannon
P.S. I'm in branch 47. How awesome is that? :)
P.P.S. I still haven't met anyone going to my mission. I have met several Elders going to other Colombian Missions.
P.P.P.S. "Why is he smiling at me??"