Wednesday, July 30, 2014

P-Day and Classroom Pictures

CCM at Night

Our classroom.

Door to our classroom.

Hermanas on P-Day

Elder Geeding is so graceful.

Another Day Another Plate of Beans

Hola familia y amigos!

Its been a pretty superb week aqui en el CCM. Ok, so the other night an Hermana from our casa came into our room so we were just chatting it up and I found out she was from Springville! So I told her I have family in Springville.  So she asked for their names and I said "Do you know Lloyd or Pam Knowles?" and she said yes! Apparently she's good friends with Matt and Ash too! Her name is Rita Dominguez. 

Hermana Nelson and I have been quoting Hot Rod like nobody's business during our breaks which basically makes my day every day. She also drew me a picture about one of our favorite quotes. Its a beautiful thing. 

So we've been teaching Hugo y David (two separate investigators AKA our teachers) and it's been going really well! We've already talked about baptism with David and he agreed to being baptized. That was during the second lesson which wasn't planned at all, but like I said, the Spirit is a beautiful thing! Hugo is doing really well too. His situation is a little more difficult but he's opened up to us a lot and told us he sincerely feels that our message can change his life for the better. My companion and I are getting much better at letting the Spirit guide our conversations and our lessons and it is powerful. One of the exercises we do during class is practice teaching with each other. So basically role play. When I got to be the investigator it was such a beautiful experience because I could feel the power in the message as it was being taught to me. 

I love it here and my Spanish is getting better everyday. I really enjoy practicing my Spanish with the workers here. So every Tuesday we do service and our district made pretty good friends with the workers en la lavanderia. So whenever it's time for service we always run over there to fold sheets with Hermano Fragoso and chat it up en español. I'm really thankful for the workers here en el CCM. They're so kind and patient with us missionaries.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but Sundays are THE BEST. I loved the lesson in Relief Society. We talked about the universal language of love. I don't want any of these next 18 months to be about myself. It's all about those I serve and helping them feel the love of our Savior and receive the blessings that our Heavenly Father is waiting to so generously give us as we exercise faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. Someone shared a really cool acronym during this lesson. JOY (Jesus Others Yourself). This is the order we must have our thoughts in order to obtain joy. We must always think first of our Savior, then of others, THEN ourselves. As we follow this order our actions will portray that which our Savior would want us to do and we can obtain Christlike attributes. We must speak the universal language of love. I challenge you guys to strive to develop Christlike attributes. Maybe there's something specific you can work on or maybe we can generally show more love and do more service for others, and show our gratitude to those who serve us. 

Quiero compartit mi testimonio en español. Yo se que esta iglesia es verdadero. Tambien se que Jesucristo y nuestro Padre Celestial viven y por medio de Jose Smith y la restauracion podemos tener el Evangelio de Jesucristo en nuestros vidas. Dios nos ama mas que podemos saber y senti este amor en mi vida. Este es porque yo estoy aqui en el CCM. Quiero compartir mi testimonio con todas las personas en mi mision para traer el Evangelio en ellos vidas. Hay no lugar que quiero estar que aqui porque este es el trabajo del Señor. 

I love you all so much and miss you! But always remember I'm where our Savior needs me to be. I would devote my life to this work in a heartbeat because I know of the happiness and blessings it can bring into peoples lives. There is no greater joy that can be purchased or found anywhere else. This is the Church of Jesus Christ and I am His representative. 

Keep smiling my beautiful friends and family!
Hermana Knowles

(English translation of Jasmine's testimony for those who don't know Spanish - "I want to bear my testimony in Spanish.  I know this church is true.  Also I know Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father live and through  Joseph Smith and the restoration we can have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.  God loves us more than we can know and I feel this love in my life.  This is because I am here at the CCM.  I want to share my testimony with everybody in my mission to bring the gospel to their lives.  There is no where else I want to be because this is the work of the Lord.")

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pictures from Mexico City Temple

My District

The Mexico City Temple

Soy un Representante de Jesucristo

Hola familia y amigos! Remember that picture of my swollen wrist I sent?  Well conveniently my branch presidente is also a doctor here en el CCM and he told me I sprained it nice and good so I got a pretty swagtastic brace to wear this past week but its doing much better now! So we finished teaching Felipe and now he's our evening teacher (awk), but let me tell you about our last lesson with him. I invited him to be baptized and at first he was hesitant because he said his wife didn't agree with his decision so Hermana Stout and I just bore our testimonies about how as we exercise our faith Heavenly Father will honor that faith and help us to be happy and everything will fall into place. Then there was a pause. Then I asked him again, but I recited the baptismal invitation from memory and looked him in the eyes as I said it. He then said he would be baptized. Then I asked him to say the closing prayer and it was beautiful, he started to cry when he talked about how thankful he was that we were there for him. Afterwards I shared with him the picture of me and dad when I got baptized and explained how it was one of the happiest days of my life and how close to our Father in Heaven I felt.
So Tasha sent me an email about how there's an Elder from her ward here and funny story! He was actually one of the first people I met at the airport and we even talked about how you guys were from the same town but I didn't even think to ask if he knew you haha, but after I got your email I found him again and were basically BFF'S now (not really), but we say hi every time we see each other now. 

Pete! On Saturday they served chicken sandwiches and waffle fries for dinner! It was SUPER mediocre but it was probably the closest thing I'll get to American food and I'm thankful for that. The other day Hermana Nelson from my district was excited because they had muffins en el comedor but she didn't like it so it was a little disappointing. She said it just tasted like everything else here so I said "I didn't know a muffin could taste like rice and beans" ...I thought it was funny. 

During our district meeting on Sunday our district leader Elder Geeding told us for our weekly goal we should memorize the baptismal invitation in Spanish and the representative from the branch presidency that was there was like "what are you talking about?" So I said from memory "the one that goes Seguira el ejemplo de jesucristo al ser bautizado por alguien que posea la autoridad del sacerdocio de dios?" And everyone was like welp shes ahead of the game.

So Monday we had our first lesson with our new "investigator" AKA Hermano Zumaya AKA Felipe and he played someone named Hugo. It definitely didn't go as planned which was a really humbling experience. I know through these practice lessons we will be better prepared for the people in Chicago. After the lesson we got feedback and Hermano Zumaya asked us what we thought of Hugo. I told him he reminded me a lot of Pete. I cried when I talked about him. There are a lot of major differences between Hugo and Pete, but the fact that there were so many similarities made it special. When I talked about Pete I felt the Spirit so strong that Heavenly Father is taking care of him. Every night I've been praying that I can know my family and friends are being taken care of while I'm on my mission so that experience was a huge blessing. Everything just makes me want to work harder! 

Oh! I forgot to mention that I see Elder Fairbanks from our stake here all the time! We basically have the same schedule. We took a picture together today at the temple I'm sure Sister Peacock will appreciate that! #youthcommitteecrew #comounjefe

The temple here is BEAUTIFUL and I thought of mom the whole time. The spirit there is amazing. I took so many pictures but I don't have a lot of time to send very many. Driving through Mexico City was way cool. The culture is awesome and we waved to a lot of people from the bus. Missionary life is super great I just can't wait to get to the field and get to meet all of those Chicagoans! This church is true! I know my Savior lives and He is right here with me every step of the way. The people in Chicago need me to be my best and I'm going to give them my best! No matter what. They're always on my mind. I'm determined to give everything Ive got to my Savior and His work. I love this church so much and received so many blessings from this knowledge. If I can help change at least one persons life for the better by bringing them the happiness of the gospel then this entire year and a half will be more than worth it. 

I love you all so much and I miss you too! Keep smiling :)

Hermana Knowles

P.S.  Also family and friends! Please check out and love you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pictures from the Mexico City MTC

All official with a name tag.
This is my casa!

The hermanas in my district.

Some of the elders decided to pose for a picture too.

Hermana Stout and I!

Learning Spanish and the Power of the Spirit

Hola familia y amigos! I absolutely love it aqui en el CCM! The CCM is ginormous and it's super beautiful, especially the mountains and all the colorful houses on it! It's insane how much I've learned already and how quickly I'm learning spanish. I can pray pretty fluently in español now! Probably cause I do it like 10 times a day. The Spirit here is so strong and I know its helping us learn. It helps me in my studies and when I teach and I'm so thankful for such a spiritual atmosphere.  Mi compañera se llama Hermana Stout and she's pretty cool! She's from Washington State and we'll both be serving in Chicago.

I can easily already tell that missionary work is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done. Obviously I didn't expect it to be easy, but I'm so thankful I'm here and for this amazing opportunity I have to grow so much closer to our Savior. I pray all the time here. In español of course! Mostly for those I'm going to teach and to be able to do so as effectively as possible, and for everyone back home. The first few days were so long but after we got into the groove of the schedule here everything seems to go by faster. So Hermana Stout and I started teaching our first investigator on Friday! Everyone in my district is pretty sure this is just a guy that works here, but hey! A lesson is a lesson and when the Spirit is there it's amazing and can touch the heart of anyone regardless of their membership in the church or not. Man I love the Spirit! I don't think I can say that enough! So this guys name is Felipe and he's from here in Mexico City. We've taught him 3 times already and we're teaching him again tonight! Each lesson has been absolutely AMAZING! He doesn't speak english so I've learned so much spanish in preparing for each time we meet with him. In the first lesson I taught him how to pray and it was beautiful! I seriously cannot express how well we've been doing with our teaching. The Spirit is always so strong in our lessons and my compañera and I have gotten so good at letting it guide our conversations. It even allows us to bear POWERFUL testimonies from our heart. IN SPANISH! So great! Its so important to put our trust in the Lord and He will bless us with the Spirit to be able to know what to do! La fe es muy importante! We are so blessed here and I'm so excited for what were going to learn next. I know I'm going to do amazing things in Chicago! I CANNOT WAIT to meet these people and to serve and teach them! THIS IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT!

 Everyone in my district is super cool. We have a lot of fun but most of all I love the Spirit they bring (there I go with loving the Spirit again). Their testimonies are so strong and last night we went around and shared why we were on missions. It was absolutely beautiful! We did some service yesterday and all the hermanas were singing Disney while we cleaned one of the casas for the new missionaries that are coming today. So fun! I think each week my favorite day is going to be Sunday. It's a little more relaxing than all the classes and such every other day and we get to watch a church movie at the end of the day! So for sacrament meeting everyone is asked to prepare a talk and then during the meeting they tell you who is going to speak. Guess who got picked her first Sunday at el CCM? This kid! Not gonna lie I think I nailed it. I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost and en español! Also it rains pretty much everyday here and when it does it pours! Like the power went out while I was in the shower the other day haha. I pretty much play volleyball everyday during our hour of gym time. Its so great! My district and I are going to get together later and get a game going. I love and miss everyone so much but there's no doubt in my mind that I'm exactly where the Lord needs me. I love this church so much and I know with all my heart that it is the truth. If you want to contact me I suggest email cause everyone says it takes way too long to receive physical mail. I love you all so much and I look forward to hearing from you and knowing how everything is going!
Stay strong and keep smiling! 

Love Hermana Knowles