Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First Week in Cuatro Caminos

Oh wow, where to start? I've been working really hard this past week trying to learn and adapt and survive. It's really different living in a city as opposed to a more suburban area like Orem.

Ok, I'll start with my companion. Elder Parry is an excellent missionary who's just about to finish his mission. He is very passionate about skiing and biking and I can tell that he's excited to get back to that. He's also really ambitious and has his next 6 or so years all planned out. I can only hope that by the end of my mission, I've achieved some of the same things. As for the missionary work, he really knows how to do it. I've just been absorbing everything I can to try and learn how to be a good missionary, but it's tough because there's just SO MUCH to learn! I suppose the language isn't as big a barrier as it could be, but it's still hard for me to speak to people without having to stop and think about what I'm going to say next. I don't really know if I could even do this in English. I'll learn and improve with time, I guess!

José y Júlian are getting baptized this very Saturday, and I get to baptize José! I'm very happy, these two boys are very prepared for the Gospel. Júlian is especially amazing. He reads the scriptures *every day* and marks passages he likes and then shares them with us. It's amazing! Whenever we're having a down day, we can always count on a visit to José and Júlian to cheer us up again! Their family is also reactivating really well. They are coming to church all together and it's just great!

We found another investigator this week. His name is also José. He's a big, muscly man from the Dominican Republic who we were finally able to make contact with and teach. We taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel and it was just the picture perfect setting!! The Spirit was very strong and I was just so happy! He seemed to have a true desire to learn more and we have another appointment set with him coming up. I'll keep you posted on him, ok?

Yeah, yeah, mock me about the breakfast burrito... This week's awkward foible would definitely be when I nearly put roach poison powder in the clothes washer instead of detergent. The bags weren't very clearly marked, in my defense! :)

The red tie is one I bought off the Russian Elders who come to stay at the Madrid CCM while their visas go through again. I was lacking in red ties so I went for a brilliantly red paisley and I love it!

As for the food, I'm learning quickly how to cook a wide variety of quick, delicious meals. They pretty much have everything that we have in the states as far as cooking goes. If you send me a recipe I can seek out and find the ingredients at Mercadona (the place we usually shop). And yes, a few recipes would be nice because as of now I'm just freestyling it and I know it's only a matter of time before something goes terribly wrong...

As far as I understand, the mail works as follows: We mail our own letters with our own stamps at various mail receptacles stationed around the city. Incoming mail from family and friends is sent to the mission office and then weekly collected by our district leaders and distributed to us during district meeting. I was sad cause I didn't think I got any this time around, but Elder Fronce surprised me later with a letter from Kristen that had made it to me in an incredible 6 DAYS!!! I was very happy to get it and I'll respond to it today, as well as respond to a few other letters that I haven't yet responded to due to the fact that I was somewhat overwhelmed and out of time last week.

Exciting news: because mission interviews are coming up, some of the elders in more distant regions are coming up to bunk with us for the night. Among them... ELDER OGDEN!! I'm excited to actually spend some quality time (which for elders means 30-45 minutes) with my good friend!

One last thing about the mission: walking. We walk a LOT. I've developed four nice blisters on my feet: one on each big toe and one on each little toe. But it's ok cause they don't really hurt me that badly and over time those areas will callous and it won't be a problem at all.

Well, time for me to send this and then go my way. I love you all! Thank you as always for your letters and love from home!

-Elder Knorr