Thursday, April 29, 2010

Christopher's friend Kristen got a cardboard cut-out of Elder Knorr for her 20th birthday last week! Maybe we should ask her if we can take it on our next family outing? It would be (almost) just like old times!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Spanish Flu!

Hello family and friends! Well, I guess the big news this time around is that I just barely got over a nasty Spanish flu which kept me in bed for about 4 days. The sickness came on Thursday afternoon, and I decided to just keep working for a day and a half before I finally called in and Hermana Seel (our mission nurse) told me to stay at home, stop eating, drink clear liquids and try to get as much sleep as I could. So, that's more or less how I spent the next 96 hours. It was not very fun, or relaxing. But I'm good now! I think I've lost around 6 pounds, so for a moment, at least, I'm a little less fluffy. But I'm feeling MUCH better now and I'll be back out to work tonight. Well, that's almost literally all that's been going on this week! :) Not much else. I've been drinking a lot of "Aquarius" which is the Spanish version of Gatorade (made by the same company, I think).

I managed to keep up on the bare minimum of my district leader responsibilities, with my companion's help, by doing weekly call-in report Sunday night and trying in vain to organize a district meeting for yesterday. When I was feeling a little better, I memorized all of the
Articulos de Fe and now know all 13! It's always tough for a missionary to leave his area for such a long time. I feel like I have to reestablish contact with everybody now! We're teaching an investigator tonight (hopefully 2, actually) and we'll see what we can do to get them back on the path to baptism.

In secondary news, I gave myself a haircut (my first mistake) and ended up cutting it a bit too short. Oh well, it's hair and it will grow back, right...? There's really not much more to say at this point about this week, honestly.

So I'll upload some pictures if I can so that you can SEE how things have been instead!

I love you, friends and family, thanks for the letters and the love.

Till next time!
Elder Knorr

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Here I am. This is me. There's nowhere else on Earth I'd rather be."

Points to whoever names that song quote (and good luck; it's a relatively elusive one).

Zone Conference yesterday. Temple today. The day before that I got a good clump of letters (one of which contained a spoon), so things have been quite eventful lately. Zone Conference was especially good and I learned lots of good things that will help me fulfill my callings better.

Well, I'm still working things out here in Barrio 4. My brain almost 'sploded these first few weeks, but things are getting a little better, bit by bit. I'm making less mistakes than I was a week ago, so I suppose that counts as progress. :) Let's just say that the monkey mass has been beat down to more or less 50%. That's still a whole lot of shrieking monkeys, but the situation is now a bit more manageable. I've found a lot of help in focusing on the basic elements of the gospel in my own personal life, like studying the scriptures with more focus, praying with more faith and more desire. Things just work better when your Christ-like attributes are improving. That, and Hermana Watkins gave a great presentation in Zone Conference about the two extremes: Disobedience and Perfectionism. Both have the same results: guilt, unhappiness, feelings of low self-worth, etc., etc. I'd never thought of it that way before. That's helped me too.

What can I say about the area...? It's a good area. I get to know it a little bit better every day, and I can find most of the members houses and I know where a good amount of the metro stops are. I've been thinking of various subtle ways that we can improve the quality of the missionary work here. For example, our area is very big and things are quite spread out. Traveling takes up a lot of our time. I want to start planning appointments according to area, so that we can use our time more effectively.

I also had a good experience while contacting yesterday. To give a bit of background, the mission has a new focus on finding families and teenagers to teach (families because it just works better that way, and teenagers so they can replace us as missionaries). So, we had just gotten out of Zone Conference and were headed to visit someone
, and I saw a family on a bench: the mother, a baby in a stroller, a little girl and a 14 year old boy. Nothing too out of the ordinary or conspicuous. The thought came through my head, "Hey look! It's a family AND a teenager. Fancy that!" I took the thought as just an amusing observation and kept walking for a few seconds, and then it was just like the Spirit said, "No, seriously, Elder Knorr. Contact them." So I told my companion that we needed to go back and we contacted them. Turns out they're really nice and we have an appointment to visit them this Friday at 7. :)

Being in the city has
been a bit of a logistical nightmare, because missionaries are always sending in references from other areas. These past few weeks, I've been going through the reference list with my companion and doing a bit of "Spring Cleaning" (it looks like that list hasn't been touched in months :S). We may actually finish them up this week! We've been working on developing airtight systems so that not one of the references we get from other areas gets lost, and we're still working on getting them all contacted. We never seem to have enough time...

Ok, so, now what everyone's been wondering about: the Mother's Day call! Missionaries from the States will be calling on the 9th of May, which will be a Sunday. I look forward to talking to my good ol' family again!

Well, time is up! I love you all and I thank you for your help and love and support. Take care, my dear family and friends.

-Elder Knorr

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One step at a time...

Hello family and friends! It's me, Elder Knorr, reporting in after another fun week in the mission field!

Well, things have been going here in Barrio 4. They're still different, but they're good. There's a lot of work to do and a lot of room for us to improve as missionaries, but if we take things one step at a time, we'll get better bit by bit.

As I recently commented to Elder Jackson, it's like being in a cage-fight with 50 monkeys all at the same time. There's no way to beat them all at once. You have to focus your attention on one monkey at a time. A slightly rough analogy, but it works. :)

We've been working with our best investigator lately, Enrique. He's a really good guy, going through some really hard problems. He wants to change, but we have to go one step at a time with him. He really needs a personal testimony, and to do that he has to read, so we've been working on that. The members have been helping us a lot by being his friend and helping him not feel so lonely.

Other than that, we need more investigators, so we've been getting down to the basics again: contacting. I've discovered that there's a lot I can still learn so that I can contact better. It's a challenge here in the city because everyone tells us "Tengo prisa" (I'm in a hurry). But I've been learning from the Assistants to the President who live in our apartment and they've been helping me improve how I do the work.

In other news, my companion and I have been trying experiments with fried chicken. We hope to discover the KFC secret recipe. Short of that, we at least hope to create some delicious fried chicken to eat. :) We've been trying all kinds of things for the batter: flour, corn flour, dehydrated potatoes (that last one didn't turn out too great), taco seasoning, onion rings, etc, etc. Rumor has it that our next experiment will be to popcorn chicken, but we'll just have to see. We're not sure how to get that crunchy texture yet. Back in Segovia, I tried deep frying bacon. It kind of turned out good.... :S. Kind of. And we did the same thing to mushrooms. That was good. The possibilities are endless!

Good to hear that the great road trip went well! And Richard G. Scott came to sacrament meeting in the Northridge 14th Ward? Whoa! That's pretty incredible. I'll bet that was a fun experience for the kids, and for everyone! I'm glad everyone saw Jonathan (that just feels weird to say) [Jonathan Ogden, who returned from his mission] and got to wish him well. I can only imagine the kinds of strange changes he's going through. Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Chaaaanges! You met Greg Zollinger too? Wow!! How cool! Sounds like it was a very eventful day.

Well, I'm continuing here in Madrid, doing what I can to improve and make less mistakes. Beating down one monkey at a time. Today I should get a couple of letters written. I don't know why, but it seems like ever since I came to Madrid I just don't have enough time on Preparation Days to do everything I'd like to. In Segovia it was a different story. But, no matter what happens, you've just got to keep swimming. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming... :) Yes. Words of wisdom.

Thanks for the letters, emails, packages, prayers and love that you send me! I really appreciate all of the support, especially in times like these. I'll just keep swimming!

Till next time!

-Elder Knorr

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

News and Pictures too!

Hello family and friends! Things are still going alright for me here in Barrio 4 in Madrid. I've been getting a slightly better handle on this whole district leader/senior companion thing. You see, Elder Becerra has only been in the mission for six months, which is half of the time that I have. I've never had to be the "leader" in the companionship before, much less the leader of the district, much less in a brand new area. When it all comes down on me at once it can feel a little overwhelming. But bit by bit I'm figuring things out and I'm sure that I'll get a good handle on it all in a week or two more and it won't be so weird.

I got a package from Kristen and from the Knorr Family in these past couple of weeks! Hooray! Thanks to you all for the wonderful sweet treats and surprises, they really made my day. And thanks to all the family and friends who have been writing me. Things have been mayhem this past little while but we've got nothing planned but letter writing today, so I hope to respond to many if not all of you.

The work is still going here in Barrio 4. Our investigators seem to be showing a lot of fear to set baptismal dates. It's tough to help them overcome that fear, but we're doing our best. In the meantime, we continue to seek out more investigators in the streets. It's really all the same work as it was in Segovia, just with a different flavor.

General Conference was great! I really enjoyed all of the talks and received a lot of personal guidance and inspiration. I can't wait for the new Liahona to come out so that I can study the talks in more depth.

Easter was good. We didn't do anything really unusual, besides go to Conference. I really liked President Monson's talk on the Resurrection. He testified with a lot of good emotion and power about its reality, didn't he? We're very blessed to have him as our prophet.

Has everyone seen Jonathan [Ogden] yet? How's he doing? From what I've heard, he's going to be staying at BYU and trying to work in the MTC, not going to USU to do who-knows-what. Rejoice, one and all! :) Give him my saludos and tell him to write me and tell me what's going on.

Well, that's all I've really got to say right now. I tried sending some pictures with this email, so we'll see how that works out.

Thank you all for loving me and supporting me in this work. I know I'm in the right place, doing the right thing, and for the right reason. Take care!

-Elder Knorr

At Segovia Aqueduct

Unidentified building and fountain

Elders Knorr and Kapp at cool castle

William and Alfredo's Baptism

Alfredo and Elder Kapp

Assistants to the President, and roommates to Elders Knorr and Becerra

Getting to know Barrio 4

Elder Becerra from Bolivia