Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TomToms and Strikes and Pitbulls...Oh My!

Hello, it's Elder Knorr. I've had quite an interesting week since I last wrote. Let's see if I can remember it all...

First off, we got a TomTom (a little navigational device that we use to find our way around Madrid and the outlying cities while driving in the car). It is a useful little device that is compact, intuitively designed, and very helpful in a world of one-way streets, confusing signs and endless roundabouts. Up until now, we haven't been very efficient in our navigating, leading to many cases of getting lost and stressed and getting to things late. But those days are over! We got it a few days ago and just put it in the car yesterday. We customized the voice to be an Irish Female, and named her Maggie. :)

Secondly, that TomTom came in very handy yesterday as we took a crazy adventure road trip to Madrid to try and do residency for two elders. The plan was to pick up a missionary from Gijón in the train station, take him to Aluche to do his residency along with a
nother one coming in from Alcorcón (and his companion). When we arrived, we waited in a long line. When we got to the front and they started helping us, they said that both of the missionaries hadn't paid a necessary fee yet (a minuscule fee of 15.30 euros each) and that they couldn't help us until we had the fees paid. We tried to pay it there, but they said that they couldn't do that and that we'd have to have the transaction made at a bank. Trouble is, in Spain, banks are only open from 10 to 2 and it was 4:30. That pretty much killed our residency plans for the day. So, we tried to call and get the money back for Elder Kay's ticket back to Gijón, but they told us it was too late to cancel it. We ended up just making plans for him to stay another day in Madrid, so that we could pay the fee and get it over with, but we forgot that there was a massive strike that was going to happen the next day (now today) in which all public transportation would be shut down and the streets would be packed with desperate commuters. We decided, rather than try to deal with that, we would wait yet another day and just do it Thursday. So, that's our current plan. It's been crazy for all of us. In fact, the only thing that was reliable yesterday was Maggie, our trusty Irish companion. She didn't get us lost once! :)

Something else happened that was very, very different this week. :) I hope none of you judge me. So, we
have an investigator who is a devout Catholic, but open to listen to the Gospel and read and all of that. We had been trying to get him to church for a few weeks, and finally, he said "I'll go to your church if you go to mine first." I briefly considered it and agreed (anything to get him to church, right?). So, at 9 Sunday morning we went to the Catholic Mass. We showed up right on time and sat in one of the back rows. It was very interesting, and very different. It was good in that they spoke a lot about Jesus Christ and read passages from the Bible. We didn't know any of the memorized prayers or hymns so we just stayed silent for those parts, but we did stand up and sit down with the rest of them. Anyway, afterwards, Pablo came to church with us. I think he liked it. Unfortunately, I think one of the members might have offended him by saying something bad about Catholics after the meeting. Yeah. Very, very, very frustrating. We'll talk about it with him in our next visit.

In other news, two nights ago we were walking around, doing some final contacts before going to bed. We spotted a woman walking towards us, walking two dogs.
We didn't pay much attention to the dogs at first and we went in to talk with her. She looked up at us and with a stern expression said "No." Now, we get that a lot, and we usually keep trying after the original "no," but something was different about hers, almost as if she was rejecting us for our own protection. We started talking to her, and all of the sudden the two dogs began barking at us and growling and snapping. They were two, HUGE pitbulls with steel muzzles on, and if they hadn't been leashed or muzzled, I'm sure they would have tried to kill us. She was a lady in her late 40's and it was everything she could do to keep the dogs held back. She finally got them to stop barking and lunging at us, and we parted. After that, our adrenaline was waaaaaay high! It was definitely the most terrifying dog experience I've ever had.

Alright, well, those are all of the exciting stories I've got for now. I'm sorry for the lateness of recent letters. Since Preparation Day last week was on a Thursday, I sent them Friday and I doubt they got anywhere before the mail system shut down over the weekend. Plus, with this strike, I'm sure things will get slowed down again. I'm sorry for anyone who might be wondering.

As for incoming mail, I was blessed to receive a letter from Kristen this last week. It ended what felt like a long drought of no letters and was very nice to get.

General Conference is coming up, and I'm excited to get to go and enjoy the word of the Lord. General Conference is always a happy, cheerful occasion here in the mission. We all gather to the closest broadcasting locations (which, in the case of all Madrid missionaries and several others is the Temple Stake Center), and get to enjoy wonderful talks and music and also the company of our mission buddies. We eat lunch there, get to be near the Temple, and all around have a good time.

It's good to hear about the family and how they're all doing. I think I might try running a marathon when I get back (I'll have to train, of course). So, Ethan finally got an XBox. Was it an XBox 360? Sounds very fun.

Hey, there's a member here named Freencky (pronounced Franky) who is 19 years old and is moving to Utah soon with his mom. He was born in Venezuela to parents from Spain and the Dominican Republic, he was raised in New York, and he's spent the past couple of years here in Spain. He speaks English perfectly, and with a New Yorker accent. He's a convert and he'll be leaving soon on a mission. Freencky is a really good friend of mine. He's always going out to teach with us and help us contact as well. He's every missionary's dream-member! :) Anyways, he'll be coming down to Utah (probably Orem or Provo) and I'd love for you to meet him and his mom (be advised, she speaks no English). I'm going to give him our home address and phone number so he can pass by and meet my wonderful family! :) If I'm not mistaken, he's flying Monday so he'll be there next week. Expect a call!

Well, I need to go now. I love you all and I hope you all do well this week. Remember, the Lord lives and He loves us. Don't let up on the little things (scripture study, prayer, church attendance.) Till next time,

-Elder Knorr