Wednesday, December 23, 2009

White Christmas...Baptism, that is!

I'm glad to hear that the Christmas bag of goodies was well received and that the Turron was enjoyed. Yes, the Turron de Jijona (the soft kind) is my favorite too. It fits the stereotype of most Spanish food: oily, somewhat bland and not very appetizing looking, but still good! However, eating the "Spanish way" is probably not the best thing for my body, I've realized, so I've been contemplating a good, solid New Year's resolution for my diet. We'll see how that goes!

The weather around here has been a bit capricious, changing from one moment to the next. We've gotten good snow a few times, but the other day it was downright balmy. Then we got rain. My companion, Elder Kap, comes from northern Utah and doesn't think he can survive without a White Christmas, so that's what we're holding out hope for. :)

Speaking of having a "White Christmas"... the baptism went great! The Cardenas family is now united in the Church, and all signs point to a firm dedication to make it all the way to the temple. It's such a beautiful thing when people truly live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We have a tiny church that has no built-in font, so instead of that we have an above ground mini swimming pool that stands at about 3 and a half feet. It's blue. We fill it up with a hose that we attach to the bathroom sink faucet and then run through the hallway to the correct room. It took about 3 hours to fill up this way, but let me tell you: emptying it is a whole different story. We started by starting a siphon, which sipped the water out of the font and had it running continually into one of the toilets. Then, to speed up the process, we went at it with buckets, scooping it out bucketful by bucketful until it was almost halfway empty. Unfortunately, the siphon suddenly ceased to work. After several failed attempts to reestablish it, we realized that we were now on our own and we worked even harder with the buckets to empty the font. All of this ended up taking about 3 hours of lugging those buckets back and forth from the baptism room to the bathroom. When we got down too low to use buckets anymore, I got down into the font and scooped out the last inch cup by cup into buckets until it was almost completely empty, then we mopped the remaining wetness up (which, I should mention, was not confined to the font at this point.) Quite a big job! But it was fun at the same time. Remember those good old days when we did it in rivers or in built-in fonts where you just have to pull a plug to empty the thing? :) [Note from webmaster: the picture is from a different Spanish mission, but the font is similar.]

Oh great, [the bank told you] someone stole my identity. I've seen this happen to tons of missionaries already, it really is a disease. As for any "unusual purchases," I don't think I've ever used my home card to actually buy something. I've only ever used it to pull money out of an ATM. It could be that I'm forgetting something but I honestly can't think of a time when I used the card to actually buy something. Could you give me more information as to what the purchase was and when it was made?

We had a special Christmas Zone Conference yesterday, and it was great! Lots of singing of carols and good messages and, as always, good missionary training. We also had a delicious meal prepared by Elder and Sister Thompson and Elder and Sister Sproul, four of our older couple missionaries. Then, we had an all-mission talent show! We had been told in advance to have something prepared to share. EVERYONE was required to do something. I had already decided to arrange the song "Stars Were Gleaming" to a four-part harmony and sing it in a quartet months ago, so I was well prepared for my number. Elder Kap hadn't prepared anything, though, so he and I also did a number together, singing "Carol of the Bells" in harmony, but singing "Dun" instead of the real words and singing it in a very intense manner. It was funny! As it turned out, however, a few other people enlisted me last-second to sing with them or otherwise help them in their numbers as well. Elder Ketchum asked me and Elder Monson to sing in a trio with him. The Elders from Villalba and Barrio 5 asked me to play the song "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof to accompany their rendition of it, which was entitled "The Mission." So I was up there quite a bit! The other numbers were all very hilarious and enjoyable, and our MC was great! Altogether a very nice Zone Conference.

Today will be a good preparation day. Elder Kap wants to go buy some cold gear, namely long pants and a hat, so that we can start going jogging in the morning. We've already done grocery shopping so we're well ahead of the game. I hope to get a lot of letter writing done today.

I love you all so very much! Thank you for all the support and love you've shown me, especially around this holiday season. I am truly blessed to have the connections with you that I have. Take care and do have a holly, jolly Christmas!

Elder Knorr