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 was...legal. Allowed. Whatever. There aren't many opportunities to go to concerts around here. As in...zero. 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 sheep...to 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 me...so 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??"