Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hello everyone! Things are still going well here in Villalba.

Winter is well on its way as we've had a good number of rainstorms and windstorms and sunshowers and just all around cold. It's all very reminiscent of a year ago when I was in this same region in Segovia and experiencing similar weather. All in all, however, the experience is much different, owing to the large differences between Villalba and Segovia as proselyting areas.

We continue to have remarkable success when it comes to finding people to teach. There are a lot of people willing to listen, and all we have to do is open our mouths and speak with as many people as possible to find them. We find a lot of new investigators who are willing to learn more. Of course, they all have varying levels of genuine interest, but we do our part to help them understand the importance of the message and what God expects of them.

Actually, this last week I realized something for the first time: I can now honestly say that I am "myself" in the lessons. It's something that's been so hard for me to do, because of the difficulty with expressing myself in the language, teaching new gospel principles, and just meeting brand new people all of the time. A lot of the time missionaries get into "robot mode" in lessons and forget to be themselves. But, in a lesson the other day with Jonatan, a young South American investigator, I truly felt like I was myself, just teaching and explaining gospel principles. I'm really glad that I've finally achieved this, and it's something that I am going to have to continue to work at, but it was refreshing to finally unite my past with my present in that way.

We have several investigators right now, but all seem to have challenges when it comes to their progress in the gospel. Walter and Noa, a young couple, have been trying to give up smoking (especially Noa) but we think that she's fallen again and is embarrassed about it and doesn't want us to know. Luis, an investigator who was supposed to get baptized this Saturday, didn't show up to his baptismal interview even though the Zone Leaders from Madrid made the trip up to Villalba just for that. We're thinking he might need some more time, but it's getting hard because this is the second time we've psyched everyone out on his baptism and I think it might be hurting his drive to get baptized. He didn't really have a good excuse for missing the interview... And then there's Natalia, who has a testimony and wants to get baptized but has one little problem: getting up on time to get to Church. So simple, yet so impeding. Thus is missionary work in Villalba lately.

We do, however, have one investigator who is totally unstoppable. His name is Carlos. He's about 30 years old, a Spaniard, married to a Bolivian woman named Nereyda, and they have a little son named Sergio. We found Carlos by mistake. We were walking around and we met Nereyda as she sat on a bench and watched Sergio play in the park. We approached her and began talking to her about the Gospel. She invited us to sit down and teach her right there, so we did! She seemed to have moderate interest in hearing more, so she gave us her address and phone number and we set up a return visit. We passed by a few days later to check in and confirm the visit, and guess who answers the door? Carlos. He eagerly invited us in and began to talk about how he'd met with missionaries extensively a few months before and how he was all ready to get baptized, but the military called him and he hadn't been home for a while. We set up a new baptismal date with him right there and let him know what it would take to get there, and he was totally willing to give it his all. The only obvious obstacle for him at this point is smoking, but I think we'll be able to work with him on that. Nereyda doesn't have the same level of eagerness to get baptized as he does, but neither is she opposed to listen, so I think she has some good potential as well.

One big problem we're facing right now is that our phone is almost out of saldo. Cell phone service in Spain works on the principle of a "Saldo Limit," which means that a certain amount is set at the beginning of the month and once that limit is reached, the phone no longer makes calls (though it can still receive for a time). There are no overage charges because there is no possibility of going over. However, missionary work is very hard to do in this day and age without a phone. We need to contact references, set up lessons, confirm visits, coordinate with members, and communicate with mission leaders. On the 12th of the month, we received a text message informing us that we had used 65% of our saldo. We called in to the office to ask for an increase, and it was granted, but we need to find a more long-term solution to this problem. We already do everything we know how to do to be efficient with our saldo, but it's hard. We'll keep trying to figure it out.

Anyway, this was a rather newsy, report-like email, but I hope you've liked it anyway. I've been enjoying the scrumptious breakfast cereals I got last week. :) Joy! Thank you very much. I've also been putting the Tootsie Rolls to good use, keeping them in my coat pocket to give to members and investigators so that they can have a "taste of America." They've been a big hit.

Thanks for everything! I love you all a lot.

-Elder Knorr

P.S. We will be teaching a deaf man on Saturday. Could you communicate with Stephanie Raymond and ask her for some tips? I know the sign language differs, but if she could give me some insight into how deaf people would view the Gospel, I would be very grateful (for instance, how do they pray in meetings?). Thanks!