Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"At the end of my 6th month as a Missionary..."

Crazy, eh? Mom, you asked if the time is just flying by and I will answer you: yes. Things have just flown by. It's almost a little scary to consider that I've already gone through a fourth of my mission! It makes me feel like I need to work even harder to get everything I can out of this unique experience.

The biggest news from Segovia first: Alfredo is moving ever closer towards baptism. He is such an example to me. Just this last week, he completely gave up coffee. He used to drink a cup every morning, following the proudest Colombian tradition, but he told us at our last lesson that he hasn't drunk a single drop for 9 days. Alfredo is just a good person, and good people like him deserve the Gospel and will make sacrifices to live it. We are very blessed to be the missionaries who get to be here at this time and see his progress.

Second biggest news: Money came in! I can stop living on just rice and lentils and potatoes and eggs! I bought some fresh green salad to celebrate.

Third biggest news: General Conference is coming up this weekend. We will travel to Madrid and watch it in the big stake center by the temple in English with all the other missionaries (which means I'll get to see and spend time with Elder Ogden). Because of the time difference, it starts for us on Saturday night, with us watching the Saturday morning session live. The other sessions are recorded and played back the following day (including Music and the Spoken Word, for which I am incandescently excited) and followed by the Sunday morning session in real time. We don't get to see the Sunday afternoon session; we have to wait 'til it comes out in the Liahona. We've made arrangements to stay with some of the elders who live in Madrid. I trust that it will be a memorable experience.

Right after that (next biggest news) we have transfers. We still don't know who's going where, so I'll be sure to include that before anything else in my next email. I'm hoping to stay here in Segovia, just so I can keep working with Alfredo, but things will work out no matter what happens.

The next news is sad news. As I have previously mentioned, our old investigator Angel, after showing remarkable potential and being very friendly, had all but disappeared. The other day, we finally saw him in the main square by the aqueduct, and he hardly even acknowledged we were there and refused to even say a word to us. We called him a few days later and, after he realized who we were, he hung up immediately. It saddens me, and I can't seem to understand why he's acting this way. It's a complete mystery. We'll keep trying to be friendly with him when we see him, but it seems that he just wants nothing to do with us at this moment.

All right, let's bring the good feelings back! Today, we went hiking with the elders from Villalba in a little, foresty town called Cercedillas. There are a variety trails running through the forests. There was a nice, cool fog blanketing much of the landscape. We brought along the fixings to make some bocadillos (Spanish subs) and a few apples, and had a little picnic by a cool waterfall. It was a good preparation day activity, and it was nice to be in nature again!

I still have not received any packages, but don't let that alarm any of you. In all likelihood they've been sitting in the stake center in Madrid for over a week and no one has been able to get them to me. That's okay though, I'll get my hands on them soon! Thank you for being so mindful of me! :)

Yes, Mom, I am still the same shirt size. Goodness, what do you all think about my weight over there? Do you all think I'm some kind of fatzilla, rampaging through the Spanish countryside, consuming massive amounts of jamon, flan and sunflower oil? Yes, I'm still the same shirt size, and just so we're all completely clear, I haven't even changed the sizing of my belt yet. I'd better get these pictures to you so I can dispell the apparent rumors of my greatly exaggerated "swelling."

[Elder Knorr’s family is taking care of the following requests.] The rest of my equipment has worked extremely well so far, leaving me wanting for nothing as far as clothing, luggage, and all those other aspects go. As for needing more of something, my music collection is beginning to get the slightest bit repetitive, and it's always nice to have another stick of Irish Spring antiperspirant deodorant. I still have several unused bars, and the cooler months ahead will demand less of it, but I figure it's better safe than sorry. As for Kool-Aid, I've drunk so much in the past few months that I've gone through a kilo of white sugar a week. I don't think that's very good for my overall health so I'm going to finish the Kool-Aid I have now and then go with just water from here on out. In all honesty, I haven't used any of the guacamole or taco seasonings that I've received, though I have used or will use every single hollandaise sauce packet that I can get my hands on. The peanut butter has been of particular use as a delicious and nutritive bread spread and has also made possible peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, something unheard of in this part of the world. I've gone through half of that 3 pound jar you sent me and I plan on taking it with me wherever I get moved to until it runs out. I just like receiving a nice
farrago of items in packages. I'm sure anything you send will be fine!

All the missionaries and members here in Spain have been "flipando" about the new LDS Santa Biblia. Elder Moreno, my district leader, has already bought his own copy. I would like to do the same; they have them here. In the MTC, they gave us a good Libro de Mormon (in Spanish) as well as one of the Catholic versions of the Reina Valera, and I've been using those to proselyte and teach lessons up to this point. The Catholic edition has been serving me well, but my "Mormon Pride" has been gnawing away at me and I think I'll end up buying the new edition sooner or later. Don't send me one though; that would be a horrendous waste of postage as I can easily buy one here.

I've been wearing my glasses for the past one and a half months (I think). I still go back and forth. My vision feels great (better than our branch president's at least, who went in for eye surgery this last week. He's recovering fine and still has his typical go-get-em attitude, despite his 73 years of age).

We haven't been doing any chalk drawings or crop circles or whatever like those Russian elders have done. We do, however, still seek out creative finding opportunities and try our best to interest people in the Gospel.

Just call me
Jedediah Smith because my ear has healed right back together without any kind of incident. It was a funny experience though!

Well, I have to go now. Thanks for the emails and the letters and all of that stuff! I love you all and I love your support and I thank you all for the ways you've helped me become who I am. Bye!

-Elder Knorr