Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This week from Avila! Past, Present and Future Ponderings from Elder Knorr

As the subject line implies and vaguely foreshadows, I am writing this email from the Spanish city of Avila, a city best known for its completely intact, large, handsome wall. I was sure to take a lot of pictures of it to send home. Despite what you all may think about me and pictures, I do try to take them when I get a chance. It's slow going but I hope to soon fill up the memory card to a point where it will make sense to send a disc.

I think that Avila is also famous for being the resting place of part of Mother Teresa. Allow me to explain: according to my understanding, the grave of Saint Teresa was dug up a while back and, since various Catholic bishops and priests wanted to have her re-buried in or near their cathedral, they decided to just split up her remains and divide her up evenly. Ghastly I know, but I think the cathedral here in Avila has one of her toes.

Our week has gone well. We just had companion exchanges yesterday. I spent the night in Villalba and also got to teach many of the investigators and members here. They're so great! Villalba has a complete ward and it is very strong. I wouldn't at all mind serving there but it probably won't happen. Actually, the word on the street is that I'm going to get sent to the office next transfer. I don't know if I believe that but that's what several elders claim is going to happen and President asked me some very suspicious questions in our last interviews, so now I don't know what to think. I hear the office is very...different. Elders typically don't want to go there because the office elders don't get to do a lot of traditional missionary work. We'll see what happens though; there's really no point in guessing.

We've worked hard this week to find and teach, but things are slowing down a little. We continue to teach Alfredo and have met his wonderful family, but even so we lack lessons. We've set a very high contacting goal this week, so we'll see what comes of that.

The holiday season is approaching fast here in Spain, and I'm very excited to see all the traditions and feel the atmosphere. We've already established that they don't really understand Halloween, and they don't have Thanksgiving (obviously) so it will definitely be different. But I'm sure I'll have lots of flashbacks of Thanksgivings past as we walk in the chilly air and smell the falling, orange leaves.

The Spanish do have a yummy Christmas food called Turron. It's more or less a peanut brittle that comes in a bar... but not really. And they have lots of different varieties to try out. It's fun! The culture here is really fun and I love it.

I'm glad to hear that Megan went to her first stake dance! Ah, yes, I remember how big of a deal that was to me back in the day. It's practically a rite of passage. Congratulations! And I like Megan's costume idea too [glamorous tin woman]. It kind of follows up on the costume I had last year: the Scary Scarecrow. Now next year someone is going to have to be the lion. But, let's face it, no one really likes the lion enough to be him for Halloween. My apologies to any of you cowardly lion fans out there who may read that. But it's true! As for Ethan's costume, it sounds fun. Can't go wrong with the classic Grim Reaper costume, can you? Then again, I was a Ninja for 3 or something years in a row when I was a kid (and then once more when I was 17) so I couldn't make fun of that even if I wanted to. :)

I'm glad to hear that Kristen is still hanging out and having fun with you guys! Thinking about the game Apples to Apples reminds me of how being bilingual has affected my brain. Oft times I find myself speaking in a mixture of both languages, using words from both that allow me to most accurately express myself. It's fun to do, but only another missionary can follow the conversation without getting lost. My companion and I make up raps sometimes too, or put alternate lyrics to existing songs that fit the situations we find ourselves in, and let me tell you, rhyming possibilities really skyrocket when you include a new language. :)

Working in Villalba yesterday made me realize how hard I've had things for the past 2 transfers! Segovia is a tough area, and I'd just kind of gotten used to it and accepted the toughness. Pondering on that has made me excited though, because one day I'll move on to a new area and it will seem like I have too many lessons to keep track of them all! But, at the same time, it makes me reflect on my current situation and ask myself whether or not I'm really using this opportunity working in Segovia to learn and grow to its fullest. The more I apply myself here, the more of an indomitable missionary I'll become in the end. I'll continue to try my best and leave it to the Lord to judge.

Oh, by the way, I think I've decided what I want to do for a career. I want to be a music teacher, more specifically, a Band Director in High School, preferably Timpanogos, but I'll go where I can. Any thoughts?

Well, I'll continue working here in Spain and doing what I can to bring people to a knowledge of the truth. It's hard work, but I'll keep at it because I know it's good for me, for them, and for everyone, even though it quite often does not seem that way entirely. I love you all and I hope to hear from you all again! Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for me.

-Elder Knorr