Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gotta Love that Spanish Food - excerpt from letter dated April 28

So far, I've put on almost 6 pounds. Three of those have been gained in a single week here, eating this European food. It's not that bad! The second day, there was this disk that looked, felt, smelled and tasted like a manta ray. But I ate it all up, and even talked about how it looked like something fresh out of the aquarium just so I could bother the sister missionaries. The first day, I ate shrimp. Whole shrimp, with the little black, beady eyes staring at me and everything. It wasn't as bad as you'd think!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Elder Knorr's First Email from the Madrid MTC

EL MENSAJE [the message]:

I made it! After however many hours of flying, I made it! The jet lag is pretty bad right now, but I'll try to stay awake and focused enough to finish and send this email.

I suppose the biggest news is that I made it here to the Madrid CCM safely and on time. We left at 5 in the morning (Provo time) and went by bus straight to Salt Lake City, the drive was a good time for me to bid a final two-year adieu to the valley and people that I loved. While cruising down the freeway, I saw Venus rise right by the crescent moon over the silhouette of Mt. Timpanogos, and I guess that was kind of like the valley saying goodbye back.

The flight from SLC to the NY airport was uneventful and comfortable. I sat by a couple of great guys and had a nice conversation getting to know them. I've noticed that people are staring at me A LOT. I guess it's this black name tag I'm wearing... :) After a brief layover in NYC, we boarded Air France and headed out across Irreantum, which being interpreted is 'Super Crazy long Plane Flight over the Atlantic.' I was able to get a couple hours of restless sleep. I thought the food they served was delicious and I ate every bite, though some of my traveling companions found it too diverse for their tastes. After the Lord brought me across the great waters, we landed in Paris and had another brief layover before boarding the last flight to Madrid.
When I landed in Madrid, it was just all so beautiful! The sun is so bright and the air is so clear. It's just what you'd expect from a storybook or something. And yes, they DO use the theta and the vosotros form!!! I'm still loving every instance of it. It's just plain awesome! We took another bus to the CCM "Centro por el Capacitacion de los Misioneros." First thing I noticed: all the buildings are built of the same or similar color of red brick, except for the Temple, of course, which is very beautiful and bright. They told us we'd get to go inside tomorrow! I can't wait. Then we had lunch in the cafeteria, which consisted of some halibut, lentil beans, crème brulée and some shrimp. All this time, I never knew that I'd been missing out on half of the shrimp! ;) After popping down a couple of those, I had this melon-like fruit that tasted really good and then a couple of seeded grapes. After a brief meeting, I started in on my unpacking and laundry (which really needs to be done, seeing as I didn't get a chance to do it before I left). After another brief meeting, they gave us our keys and 32 euro to start us off, and I added it to the euro money that Aunt Heather and Uncle Richard gave to me.

Well, that's what's going on right now! I'm just about of of time so I'll just sign this off by saying that I love you all and thank you for your prayers and your well-wishes! Can't wait to get some mail, and I'll let you all know when/if I see Elder Ogden! Hasta ver!

-Elder Knorr

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

¡Vamos al España!

Today's the day Elder Knorr flies to Spain. He left at 8:35 this morning and arrives tomorrow in Madrid 12:00 noon their time/4:00 am Utah time. He's going Salt Lake City - New York - Paris - Madrid. He's somewhere over the Atlantic right now!

Christopher made a quick call home this morning from the airport and was able to talk with Dad, Emily, Megan and Ethan. Their conversation was short, sweet, and continually interrupted by the operator asking for more quarters...

Audio Journal from Elder Knorr at the MTC

video

Click above for an entertaining 15 min. message

While listening, you may have a few questions. Here are the answers:

  • We have already sent him the President Uchtdorf talk he requested. If you'd like to read Elder Knorr's "newest favorite talk," click here.
  • Shortly before he left for the MTC he discovered a small sore on his forearm, which is healing well with antibiotics.
  • We will post some more pictures of Elder Knorr at the MTC as soon as they arrive!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

LEAVING FOR SPAIN THIS TUESDAY

We just received a 5 minute phone call from Elder Knorr at the MTC. They allowed him to call because he is flying to Madrid April 21st after all!

Apparently his visa has been in Salt Lake this whole time, but his name somehow didn't get on the list that was sent down to the MTC. Then two days ago he received his travel plans and tickets with the others, so he's good to go.

He is excited and we are relieved. Thank you for your prayers and your support of Christopher on his mission.

I have updated his mailing address to the Madrid MTC.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Letters from MTC

Dear Mom,

Hi! I'll start by answering all your questions:

Spanish is coming great. I try to speak as much of it as I can, and it helps.

I got moved up [to the intermediate class] three days in. Elder Arnold is my companion now: he's a lacrosse player from Timpanogos High School, but I didn't know him. He's a really cool guy.

My roommates are Elder Carmona, a short, funny, half Mexican guy from Texas. His companion, Elder Albretson, is a tall redhead from Wisconsin. We all have a lot of fun together.

As for life here at the MTC, it's really good. The missionary's life is the best life there is! I'm hardly ever hungry, and I'm constantly feeling the spirit. Despite the delay in my visa, I know that I'll be fine. I'll just keep working hard around here.

The Church is True! Love You.
______________________

Dear Dad,

...My Pdays are Tuesdays, and that's when I become a letter-writing machine.

Things are going really well for me here in the MTC! The classes are good, the spirit is strong, and the Spanish is getting better. I've recently discovered the Referral Center, where we call people to offer them free copies of the Book of Mormon or sometimes answer Spanish emails asking questions about our church. The spirit there is great. I'm having an awesome time.

¡Iré y Haré! [I will go and I will do!]
Elder Knorr

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Second Week Down, Things Still Great!

Howdy from the MTC

Tomorrow, I'll have been in here for two long (yet short) weeks. The time-warp that exists here is really starting to get to my brain! It feels like only yesterday that I walked in, yet here I am, starting my 3rd week of spiritually-uplifted learning.

Easter was really good for me this year, probably my best ever. I really caught a wonderful glimpse of the immensity that is the Atonement. While reading up on my New Testament gospels to try and answer an investigator's email in the Referral Center, I had a wonderful experience when I read the part of the crucifixion that says that Jesus knew that it was finally over. I can only imagine the incredible moment that this must have been for all the hosts of heaven, and for the whole world. Even though it was a sad moment for those who were there, it was the greatest victory of good over evil that there ever was or has been or ever will be, because the Atonement had been completed. So, just for a moment, I was able to grasp the feelings that must have existed at that time. The next day, on Easter Sunday, I pretty much devoted all my study time to reading about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. It was great!

I've been contemplating doing a musical number for sacrament meeting one of these days. I only hope that I can talk myself out of it before I do something I'll regret. ;)

Some news on the sad side: my visa has yet to come in. That means I won't be leaving on April 21st as I thought I would be at first... But that's ok, it just means more time learning and preparing in here. I just want to go to Spain so badly! But I know there's a time and a place and that my visa will come in just when it's supposed to.

Well, it's time for me to switch my laundry, so I'd better sign off and say that I love you all. You all mean a lot to me and you've made me who I am and I thank you for all you've done to prepare me for this. I know it will be the best two years of my life; it's already proving to be.

Take care. The Church is true!

-Elder Knorr

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Elder Knorr's missionary plaque,
hanging in our ward building.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Excerpts from April 7, 2009 Letter

I just got the doughnuts - Thank you! It just so happens that we have 12 missionaries in our district, and let me just say that they all LOVE YOU.

It's great to hear from you and also from Grandmas and Grandpas. Please give them my thanks and love.

You were right about conference; many of my fellow Elders and Hermanas believe that it was aimed specifically at the MTC. If you thought the regular sessions were talking to missionaries, then you should have heard the Priesthood session - President Uchtdorf gave my new favorite talk.

OK, to answer your questions:

I've been very happy with my equipment so far. The only thing I need is MORE LETTERS and MORE DOUGHNUTS...

I got moved up to the Intermediate class and I'm enjoying it so much more than beginning class.

No travel plans; those will be given at a later time. The date they gave me for departure is April 21st, visas willing...

Thank you for organizing my blogspot.

Time to listen to Vaughn J. Featherstone.

Your missionary,

Christopher Knorr
Élder Knorr (canor)

P.S. Note that my MTC mailbox has changed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Excerpt from letter to Ethan

...As for my companion, I've had a few already because I got transferred to a more challenging Spanish class. They've all been good so far. My current companion, Elder Arnold, is a great guy who's willing to work very hard to improve. He agrees to all my crazy goals, like teaching the first lesson 5 times a week or making 6 contacts per day. ¡Éxito!

The MTC is wonderful! The spirit here is unlike anything I've felt. I feel more focused and productive than I ever have before, and I'm actively working to become the missionary the LORD wants me to be.

Tuesday is Preparation Day - FIRST EMAIL

Hello one and all! This is your one-and-only Elder Knorr, reporting in from the MTC.

First off, Elder Elliott was right in what he told me about the MTC: the food is awesome. Every day, a splendid plethora of options presents itself in the cafeteria. I've especially enjoyed ice cream night, which comes to pass every Sunday and Wednesday night.

So, a day in the life.... I wake up at 6:30 a punto and proceed to take a cold shower (building 4M apparently has a bad reputation for that, and I'm beginning to see why). It's ok though; it's making a man of me. Fortunately, the hot water works in the sinks so I've been able to keep a baby-soft shave ever since my induction on Wednesday. Mom will be happy to know that I've already switched out my old razor blade for a fresh one. My dental hygiene is also impeccable.

Then we go to class for thirty minutes before breakfast. Every class, we begin and end with a hymn and a prayer in Español. The classes are super focused and awesome; I'm learning tons about missionary work and what it's going to take, and I can honestly say that I'm ready to go the distance. I can see how the Lord has prepared me for this, and how he continues to help me along. I know I can do it with his help.

The schedule for the day varies. Sometimes we have gym, sometimes we have LGMs (large group meetings). Today, it's preparation day, so I've had a chance to do my badly-needed-to-be-done laundry and write these badly-needed-to-be-written letters. I've received letters from Kristen, Ben, Ethan, Megan, and a mysterious man who calls himself Agent Boggle... (I suspect it's Drew). I am deeply grateful for ALL of these letters and I would implore you to all continue your letter-sendings. I can only send mail on Tuesdays, but I can receive it on any day (save for Sunday). I've also been recently notified that there's a package waiting for me at the mail office, so I'll pick that up after typing this out and I thank whoever sent me the package right now, beforehand, cause I'm sure that I'll love it.

Just so everyone knows, time is very messed up here in the MTC, like some kind of episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. A week passes like a day, but a day passes like 3 months. Not that I mind; I really have enjoyed the Spirit and the teaching. One Elder recently described it as just one long day, interrupted by occasional periods of unconciousness. I have to agree with him.

Anyway, my email time is running short and I still have a lot to do before preparation time ends. Hasta luego! The Church is true.

-Elder Knorr

Monday, April 6, 2009

FIRST LETTER

Apparently they gave them a little time on their first night at the MTC to write home. Here are some excerpts from Elder Knorr's letter, which we received today:

1 April 09

Knorr Familia,

How's everyone doing? Still hangin' on without me? :)

Well, things are AMAZING here at the MTC. The Spirit here is SO STRONG. I can feel myself "sharpening," as it were. I'm focused; I'm on a mission here! There was a lot of information to take in today and I'm "reeling" a bit still from the sheer weight and volume of it all, but I know that the Lord will make me equal to the task. The one consolation I have is that my Spanish is leaps and bounds ahead of any of the others. Hopefully that will help me be more effective.

I'm currently grouped with two Elders, Elder McArthur and Elder Jeppson. They're both awesome guys, but I've been told that tomorrow I'll be put in with an Elder Tosta and he'll be my new companion.

I love you all and I want you guys to know that I know that the Church is true, and that I'm going to give it my all here. Don't worry about me, but do pray, please.

Love,
Elder Knorr

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Entering the Missionary Training Center

Here are some pictures and videos of the big day.

Watch these short videos:

video

video

As soon as we got home, 10 year-old Ethan sat down to write his first letter to CB. Here's an excerpt:

Dear "Elder Knorr,"

Hi! How are you doing? Well I know I'm not because when you were walking away I started crying a bunch. And I was crying in the car and at Brick Oven. But anyway I miss you a lot and where is the air soft ammo? By the way, I put on all of your clothes to get the Christopher feeling...I hope you have a killer time. bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye . . . . . . from Ethan