Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Back to a twosome, and Sadith to be baptized this week!

Hello family! Thanks for the emails and letters you've been sending, they're great.

Well, our trio was to be short-lived. Elder Barlow was transferred this last Monday to work in Barrio 3 in Madrid, leaving me and Elder Thurston alone here again. It's nice in some ways, being able to restore
the old functions of having a normal companionship, but we also miss Elder Barlow a lot. He was a way nice guy who had a big heart and liked making jokes. Though he couldn't speak Spanish hardly at all, everyone loved him because he had so much charm and was so personable and didn't take himself too seriously. I'm sure he will do incredible things in the mission.

Many other changes happened. The Canary Islands got more-or-les
s redone and a bunch of missionaries from the mainland were switched with a bunch of missionaries from the islands. A few people went back and forth from up north and Madrid. All in all, lots of changes. We stayed mostly put, Elder Thurston and I.

The biggest news this week is that Sadith Coello is very close to being baptized! His service is scheduled for the 27th this week and we're all very excited, especially him, for thi
s new step he will be taking in his life. His interview last night went through without a hitch, and he'll soon be joining his family in Church membership. An interesting thing about Sadith: he has read the entire Book of Mormon already. He decided that it would be important to read the whole book before getting baptized, so he set that goal. Many days, as we passed by his apartment, we saw him sitting out in his minivan all alone, reclined, reading the Book of Mormon. I asked him where he was in the book the other day, and he said that he was almost done with Moroni. Incredible! Sadith is a good man and the Lord needs him in His Church.

In other news, we continue to find new people to find, teach and baptize. We have about 3 families that are really showing prog
ress right now. Maria and her two kids, Daniel y Diana and their two kids, and Alvaro and Lani and their three daughters. Two of the three are looking a little shaky right now, but we're not going to give up on them just yet. They have good desires, but are a little "flojo" at the moment and need help.

Things are still going well with the members. We are helping a good number of less active members come back to Church. This last week, actually, was a very successful week in that regard. Many people came to Church who don't normally do that, including one family that has been estranged from the ward for almost 5 years. It was a true joy to see all of these people make the decision to come back. That is just as satisfying to me to see. After all, I'm here to invite all people to come to Christ. I'm doing all that I can to keep focused on the work and use my time wisely. There is still so much work to do here in Villalba! And there are so many investigators to teach and to help progress.

I can't afford to lose focus now! Now that we're back in a normal companionship, I find it all the easier to really buckle up and work hard. I hope and pray that the Lord will be pleased with my sacrifice.

I love you all! Thanks for your support in letters and emails. I appreciate all that you do for me, and for each other.

Take care, and till next time,

Elder Knorr

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Excerpt and Picture from Sister Watkins' Mission Blog

Elder Knorr's mission mom reports on activities in her mission blog.

Here are a couple of recent posts:

"On Feb. 15, we had a zone conference for the three Madrid Zones: Madrid Este, Madrid Sur and Cuatro Caminos. Including the three senior couples there are 72 missionaries in those three zones. We met from 10:00 to 2:45. Pre
sident and Watkins spoke, as did the two Ayudantes (AP's), Elders Driggs and Ketchum. We heard a lovely musical number from Elders Knorr, DeHaro, and Raiano. We then broke up into zones for workshops lead by the three sets of Zone Leaders: Elders Middleton and Jackson, Elders Griotti and Carter, and Elders Cerro and Gomez. Following the workshops, we went to the Temple cafeteria for lunch. All that was left to do after lunch was sing Happy Birthday to the January and February birthday missionaries, enjoy No-Bake Cookies and pick up mail and supplies. Zone Conference is always a great time to recharge our missionary zeal and spiritual batteries!


"A favorite Preparation Day activity - futbol (soccer)"

Can you spot Elder Knorr in the grey shirt?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Looking at Spain through Fresh Eyes

Well, things are going more or less normal here in Villalba. Our trio presses onward. This is probably the closest I will get to training while on my mission, so I'm enjoying it.

There's so much that I've been learning and dis
covering as I've helped Elder Barlow get used to things here. I've noticed a lot of things that I am now used to that are new for him. Weird! A lot of the things were little, insignificant things, like the fact that doorknobs here are in the middle of the door, or that there's hardly any carpet, or that the traffic lights commonly flash yellow (yield), or that everyone smokes, or that milk comes in 1 liter boxes and can be stored at room temperature, or that there is no peanut butter or root beer. These are all things that are now normal to me, but they shouldn't be. Does that make sense? These things are strange, but I don't notice them anymore. Having Elder Barlow around to point it all out is quite interesting, seeing as I may have never noticed it myself.

We had Zone Conference and Stake Conference this past week. Although Stake Conference was an hour and a half away, Sadith came with all his family and Alvaro also made the trip with his 12-year-old daughter Paul
a. It was a great experience for all present and they all continue towards baptism.

Sadith now has a date for the 26th of February, and
he's excited and looking forward to it, as is his family. He is a great man and has overcome a lot to be able to get to this point. We are going to do everything possible to help him achieve his goal.

Other than that, things are looking tricky due to a sudden lack of money... :S We had to buy a variety of pots and pans for the piso, and I ended up footing the bill. Now I have about 5 euros to get me through the nex
t 2 weeks. Yeah. Fun times. Fortunately, Elder Barlow has plenty of money on the month still, and we live the law of consecration when it comes to food. :)

Today, we went in to Madrid and spent some time with some of the other missionaries down there. We stopped by a pretty sweet Star Wars exhibition and took some pictures with all of the life-size stuff and had a good time.

Oh, another thing. Remember Freencky Portas? Well, he put his papers in for the mission and he got his call last week. Guess where he's serving...? Salt Lake City, Utah. English Speaking. I literally screamed when I found out. :)

Well, not much else going on right now. I'm loving being a missionary and am looking forward to Sadith's baptism. I love you all and thank you for your prayers and support.

Till next time,

-Elder Knorr

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Picture from Madrid Mission Newsletter

Six elders went home from the Madrid Mission this month, and they only received one new missionary - Elder Barlow, whom Elder Knorr and Elder Thurston get to train. From Elder Knorr's report in his last email, they're off to a great start!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Slideshow - consolidated pictures from Current Area of Villalba!

Check it out, on the right...

Lights out, training a new elder, and found a Colombian family!

Hello! Well, though I will confess that I saw this coming a while out, I am somewhat shocked. My little sister is engaged! Bwhah... I can't believe it! I... am at a complete loss for words on this. All I can really say is that I'm very happy for Justin and Emily and that I wish them the very best in their new future together. I may have missed the whole courtship and engagement, but at least I'll make the wedding!
Well, compared to that bit of news, everything else seems insignificant. I'm glad to hear about Lauren and David, as well as Matthew and Theresa. Sounds like everyone's deciding to get married all of a sudden. Not that it's a bad thing. I do thank everyone for waiting until I could get back to get married though. :) You're all the best!

Work here in Villalba is good. We had just begun morning studies this last
Monday when suddenly the lights went out. Apparently there was a problem with our bills and the power company pulled the plug on us. Moving quickly, we washed the remaining dishes with the remaining hot water (or water heater is electric) and sealed the fridge and freezer. A quick distress call was made to our financial secretary.

An hour or so later, we got a call telling us some even more shocking news: we were to receive a new elder in Villalba named Elder Barlow, and Elder Thurston and I would both be training him in a trio.

Then, yesterday (Tuesday) we had our best Tuesday yet in Villalba, welcoming Elder Barlow and then teaching 5 lessons, 4 of them to investigators with members present. We found two new families and things were just going great.

And now this news about Emily's engagement...
wow. Lots of new stuff going on. Better than things being boring, I guess! :) Oh, and by the way, our power came back on at the same time Tuesday morning. All went well.

A bit of a rundown on Elder Thurston, since you asked. He's a tall guy, a great missionary and, from what I hear, a good shot. He's from Logan, Utah, from a family of 7, and loves outdoors activities: camping, hunting, etc. He's also a champion shotgun shooter, and has made it to nationals before. We get along great, making jokes and working hard.

A random talent I've discovered on the mission: I can do a pretty good impersonation of the lead singer in Nickel
back. Remember Dad, the gritty voice on the "cornflakes" song? Well, I've perfected it (more or less). It just so turns out that Elder Barlow's favorite band was Nickelback before the mission, so we've been having some fun times with that.

A bit more detail on our investigators. We found a brand new family from Colombia, Bogota. They're a young-ish couple, both baptized, and they have three daughters (13, 12, 9) who haven't been baptized. His name is Alvaro Jon, and his mother's name is Ana Julia Castro Cubillos. Do you know her, Dad? He said she lived in Bogota at about the same time you were living there, and that she always had the missionaries over. Anyways, they're all really good because apparently they still have Family Night frequently and have good testimonies. It's crazy, the Lord has prepared them to receive the gospel at this time.

Besides that, all is well. We continue to work hard, contacting, teaching and finding. We've been experiencing a surge in work this past week. Things are definitely looking up.

Well, thanks so much, everyone, for your love and support! I realized the other day that I owe everything to God, and to all of you, the people who I knew who made me who I am. Thanks for the ways you continue to positively influence my life.

Till next time,

-Elder Knorr

P.S. I've been thinking a bit about souvenirs. There are quite a few things here in Spain that you can't get anywhere else, and I guess you could say I'm taking requests. If anyone wants anything in particular, it would be much easier and less time-consuming for me to get a list of things than to have to shop and stuff. So, if anyone thinks that a fan or some castanets would
be the whiz-fizz, just let me know. Oh, and Jonathan, I plan on bringing back several kinds of Spanish food. I already have a mental list, but if there's anything in particular you'd like to try again, let me know soon. Just so you're aware, this includes chuces, turron, chocolate muesli, and various other items.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Spanish Spelunking!

Elder Knorr emailed these photos on his Pday, but we just received them today - they were temporarily lost somewhere between Villalba, Spain and Orem, Utah.

He explains:

"We went to Segovia for my birthday and as part of the celebrat
ion we went to explore a nearby cave by the castle with a family of members. It was fun, here's some pictures of our spelunking!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Three pictures from Sister Watkins' mission blog - Can you spot Elder Knorr?

Hello! Short letter and some "random" pics

First off, this will be a shorter one because I'm going to attach some photos and that will take time. But here's what's up:

Sadith continues to progress famously. Isaac and Andrea as well, but we need to reevaluate their progress and make sure that their desires are correct. They're very kind, gentle, sweet and patient, but it's so hard to communicate with them! I think we'll b
e able to manage through pure force of will, if nothing else. We will set a baptismal date with them today.

It's been bitingly cold lately, most of the cold coming from some ferocious wind chill. They say it will be bad until March. We'll see.

We've been going on lots of exchanges lately, with Segovia, the Zone Leaders in Madrid 5, the Assistants from Madrid 2, and in two days, the District Leader in Madrid 1. It's nice to mix things up a little, but we honestly just w
ant to stay in our area and be able to work here for a while.

Well, that's about all I've got f
or today. Enjoy the pictures! Thanks for all of the love and support.

Till next time,

-Elder Knorr

A picture of me with my awesome
chocolate birthday cake

Elder Thurston in the entrance of an
apartment building - I guess
they didn't design it
with people of his stature in mind...
The weirdest face that I've been able to make to date