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... "

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, 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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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hi there.

I never know how to title these things. I'd give them week numbers or something, but I try to stay away from any kind of counting. It just feels trunky. Is that how you spell that? Apparently it's a word in Spanish. I don´'t know if it's just among the missionaries or what, but I hear it pretty often.
Well anyway, This week was pretty much really really good. We had a baptismal service on Saturday that was really neat. This investigator, Saúl, has been coming to church faithfully with his member wife for almost a year, and he finally took the step to be baptized. Super-happy. That's a Colombian thing, btw. Super-this, super-that. You hear it a lot. Anyway, we also had an investigator, Julian (hehe...jelly. fish.) come to the baptism, and he came to church on Sunday. He's been really interested in everything we've taught him so far, so I hope he prays and gets an answer. That's the biggest struggle I've seen here. People just don't read and pray. It's such a little thing, but everything hinges on that one prayer. That one prayer that will open the heavens, and show them the way. I wish they'd just do it! Haha. Just pray! It'll take like, 30 seconds, and you're life will be infinitely and eternally better, I promise. :)
For the most part, people are really nice. Really kind, and willing to let us into their homes. There are definetly some exceptions...catholicism does exist here. Heh. But for the most part, people are super nice. I'm not trying to say that catholics aren't nice. Not at all. It's just that the ones that have been super rejective (is that a word?) were almost without fail catholic.
These past 2 weeks or so I've had the opportunity to give quite a few priesthood blessings. I just think it's funny that I've had the priesthood for over a year now, and the first blessings I give are in a foreign country and a foreign language. :P But even though I may struggle for words, I can always feel the Spirit, and the power of God working in me. The priesthood is a powerful tool, and a great blessing. I hope I can always live worthy to exercise it.
So, this Sunday, I got to play the piano in Sacrament meeting, which was really neat. I love playing the piano, especially for church meetings. It was a bit of a crazy Sunday though, because I had the privilege (I can never spell that right. Help anyone?) of confirming Saúl a member of the church. It just so happened that our Mission President was there, AND I had totally spaced on the fact that I had been asked to give a talk that Sunday. Whew. What a day. I prepared my talk in the few minutes between when they announced it and when I stood up to give it. :P I think it turned out pretty okay. Hehe.
There's a saying here that bugs me, and people say it all the time. They say "Every 8 days" to mean weekly. Uh...I have some news for you Colombia. There are actually only 7 days in a week. If you want it to be every 8 days, you'll have to count one day twice every week. I know, that's a nerdy pet peeve, but it bugs me. Haha.
This week was my companion's birthday (I think it was his 25th, but he won't tell me for sure. :P) I made him crepes, using dad's missionary recipe (that makes enough for 2 elders.) It was cool. I didn't have the recipe written down, but what I made from memory seemed to turn out pretty good. :)
Everyone I talk to says that Bucaramanga is the best city in the mission. How blessed I am to be able to start out here. Then again, they say it's the best 1. because of the weather, and 2. because of the people, and how nice and friendly they are. Apparently in Bogota and other places, they're not as nice. Anyway, I'm grateful for the time I have here, and I'm gonna do my best to make the most of it while I'm here. :)
One more thing: I know I started the small plates and the large plates last week, but I'm just too disorganized and ADD for something like that. You'll just have to put up with my ADD-ness. :D Love y'all. Like, a lot. Thanks for all your prayers and love.
Keepin' on,
Elder Cannon (Like the camera brand? Yes. Like the camera brand, but with two n's)
P.S. I never would have made my fire proof pants! ...I'm still working out the kinks...

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Whew. I'm alive.

Hey all!

I survived my first whle week in Colombia! Hehe. I'm loving it here, even though it' super different thn the Estados Unidos. I have had to get back in the habit of calling it that instead of America, becuase this is America too. Most people call me a gringo, but the more polite ones call me norteamericano. Then there's the other side of the scale that call me monito. Hmm. I don't take offense though. I feel just as gringo as they think I am. I am the whitest, blondest, blue-eyedest person within 1,000 miles. :P

The work is going ever onward. I've decided to start the small plates and the large plates of Elder Cannon. Because there's so much to say, and I think that'll help to organize it a little. The large plates will contain the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of the people, and the small plates will contain my profesyings and spiritual teachings.

Large plates, entry 1:

This week was good. I didn't get bit by any dogs. There are probably about 6 times more dogs in this country than people, but they all come about half way up my shin, so they don't worry me too much. I'm thoroughly convinced that they feed their dogs and cats rice, because they're some of the skinniest, smallest little animals I've ever seen. It's pretty hot here. The first few days were cooler, with lots of rain, but then it warmed up to...I'm not sure how hot. I'm still getting used to this whole Celcius thing. :P The good thing is, there's no hot water, so I get to cool down in the shower every night and morning. If you ever have problems waking up, a cold shower works perfectly. Colombia played Colsta Rica last night, which made contacts hard. Everyone was watching the game. I think Colombia won...but I don't know. I do know that they scored at least 3 points. When Colombia makes a goal, you know about it, no matter where you are.

It rained a TON yesterday. My companion and I were bien mojado! Super wet. We stopped at a member's house to dry off for a bit, and the rain stopped pretty much right when we got there. Of course it did. I still havent had the chance to buy a paragua. I think I'll do that today. That'd be a good idea. Oh, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have an eternal sock-line. The only time I'm not wearing church socks is when I'm in the shower, or in bed. Hehe. My muscles are probably going to start growing in funny shapes because I always have socks on. :P

Here's some Colombianisms for you:
"¿Qué te digo?" "What'd I tell you?" (Literaly, "What do I tell you?")
"¡Tranquilo!" "Chill!"
"Que pena" They use this for pretty much anything that happens that's semi-negative. It means something like "What a pity." But you here it an average of 47 times a day. :)

Small plates, entry 1:

This week we taught quite a few lessons. We work mainly with investigators and less active members. There are a good amount of investigators, and way too many less actives. Why do people have to go inactive? Sigh. But we work with them. The members should be going to church more than the investigators, not the other way around. But really anyone that comes to church is just my hero. Go to church this week, okay? And then go every Sunday until you're dead and maybe even later. ;)

I'm getting more used to teaching, and more used to contacting. My companion and I have kind of worked out a way Anyway. It's getting easier. I'm finding myself better able to communicate what I want. Sometimes the word that I want just doesn't come...and that's when I look over at Elder Rapalino and hope he knows what I'm trying to say. Heh. Last week we taught 21 lessons, which includes investigators with a member present and otherwise, as well as recent converts or less actives. I love this work! It's wonderful. :) I see the hand of the Lord in this work every day, and I see the blessings from the countless prayers that come from all of you. I could never thank you enough. :) I really wouldn't be anywhere without the support of all of my wonderful family and friends. Thanks for everything.

That's all for now, folks!

I'm gonna try to send some photos. I hope it works.

Love always,

Elder Cannon

P.S. Reason #2: Look what I can do. Haha. Ha!

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Guess who's in Colombia?

This guy. Uh...Elder. This Elder. 

And he's typing on a Colombia keyboard, so I hope any of this makes sense...and shows up the same on a gringo computer. ;)

Colombia is absolutely amazing. Today we had our P day because there were cambios. ...transfers? I think that's what they're called. Normally they'll be on Wednesdays. Today we went to the mercado, and to el banco, and...there's just so much to tell, too many distractions, and not enough time. I'll do my best. 

I got to Colombia at around 10 pm Thursday night, and the President and the assistants picked us up from the airport. We slept at the mission home that night, and in the morning, we had our last real meal, and went in for interviews. That's when I got the assignment to be companions with Elder Rapalino, from Colombia, and we would be serving in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Elder Rapalino doesn't speak much English at all, so that's fun. Heh. Sometimes my brain just kind of hurts from all the spanish, but from what people tell me, my spanish isn't too bad. I just look gringo, but I don't sound gringo. That's a blessing. My only real problem is the understanding. People talk so fast, and if they say a word or two that I don't know, I'm already lost. It'll come eventually. I have only been here a few days. 

We live on the 12th floor of an apartment building, and have a pretty good view from our balcony. I'll hopefully be able to send some pictures. We'll have to see. We've taught several lessons already, and challenged a man to be baptized. My companion called him an eternal investigator, because he'd been taking lessons, and going to church with his member wife for over a year, but would never accept the invitation to be baptized. So we went and taught them a lesson about temples and eternal marriage, and he accepted an invitation to be baptized! Super exciting. :) He's getting baptized on the 13th, if all goes well. 

Contacting is probably the hardest thing for me thus far. Just walking up to a person and talking to them about the gospel is just a little awkward still. It'll probably always be awkward, but I'll get used to it. Or just not be a successful missionary. Hehe. "Are those the only choices?" Anyway, we usually knock a few doors every day, and contact people as we walk between appointments.

One of the best parts of the work is (pause for effect) los almuerzos. Every day we go to a member's home for lunch, and oh my goodness are they delish. Always rice, usually beans, but then there's the carne or pollo, and other things that I can't remember what they're called, but that are equally delish... Mmm mm mmm. Yummy. Today being P day, we had to make our own, so it wasn0t as delicious, but they sell ramen here, so it wasn't bad. ;) hehe. 

It's kind of weird to me that I'm in Colombia. I mean...I'm on a mission. Miles and miles from home. With a person I've never met in my life, that doesn't speak my language. It's a good thing I've prepared for this since I was I feel the spirit every day, and it confirms to me that this work really is true. That Heavenly Father really does want me here, inviting His children to come unto Him. This gospel is true. It really is. And i'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to preach and teach it to the people of Colombia. 

If you want anything to get to me in less that 3 or 4 weeks, it would probably have to be through email. Unless you want to send someone down on a plane to deliver it to me by hand. That'd only take a few days. might cost a touch more.

I love you all, and I'm so grateful to have such wonderful friends and family. Onward, ever onward! :)


Elder Cannon (yes, everyone, that's like the marca de camera, pero tiene 2 n's.)

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