Monday, September 29, 2014

¡Seis Semanas Mas!

So everyone got their transfer assignments on Saturday and I will be staying here in Chicago 4 with Hermana Michael for another 6 weeks! Exciting stuff. I definitely feel more familiar with this area and have gotten to know the members a lot better so I'm really excited to stay here and keep moving forward. 

This week was pretty busy mostly with appointments. I'm pretty sure we taught a total of 14 lessons which was awesome! Our stake president asked us to work with the members specifically emphasizing chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel which is all about finding people to teach. So we met with a lot of members this week and dropped by a loaf of banana bread (still have tons of bananas in the freezer), a copy of chapter 9, and a few pass along cards with our information on the back. We have awesome members and I can tell our visits have gotten them a little more excited to share the gospel with their friends. It's so important that the missionaries and the members work together! We're a team! There are people waiting to hear the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ that members can have a greater impact on than missionaries at times. It's absolutely essential that we work together to hasten the work. 

Ok so when some people in the ward found out that I was teaching a couple kids piano on Saturday mornings, they thought that was the coolest thing so long story short I now have 4 students haha. Hermana Michael told me I better get used to it because I'll most likely be teaching piano throughout my mission. I think that's awesome! I think I'm going to start having each kid sign the front pages of my personal hymn book so I can look back and see all the kids I taught piano on my mission. Pretty neat huh? 

On Friday morning we took our car in to get a bike hitch attached and we weren't sure how long it would take. The worker ended up telling us it would take a few hours and we certainly didn't plan on that haha. But it was a total blessing because the shop we dropped the car off is located directly across the street from the member who was going to come with us to our next appointment! We did have quite a bit of time before we had scheduled to go to her house so we decided to have lunch and guess what was also right across the street!? Firehouse Subs. You better believe that's where we ate! Memories man. 

Last night our landlady asked us to help her decorate some pumpkins so we went downstairs and painted pumpkins with her. It was way fun she's such a sweet lady. She's a member of some group that I can't remember the name of at the moment but she's able to get into the museums for free and she invited us to go with her next pday! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?! I'm going to the PLANETARIUM! I'm so dang excited about that haha. After we finished painting the pumpkins she told us to take them back to our apartment and we were a little confused because we thought she was going to use them to decorate the building but she just gave them to us. She's such a gem! She really appreciated our time and I was thankful for that. 

So it's kinda almost CONFERENCE! I'm stoked! The women's session on Saturday was awesome! I loved how it focused on the temple and the blessings we receive through our temple attendance and goals. I don't remember which talk it was but one of the sisters discussed how we prepare ourselves to go to the temple is drop by drop (relating to the story of the ten virgins) or through our day to day actions. I love how that preparation doesn't have to be regarded to just our temple preparation but also in preparation to receive promised blessings and eventually leading to our ultimate goal of entering the Celestial Kingdom. I also loved when they talked about how our homes must be a sacred place as well. The home is so important! That's where we learn and grow as a family. Where we can feel the Spirit together and find comfort. The words to a primary song just came to my mind where it says "Home can be a Heaven on Earth." That's so beautiful to me and I pray that we can all strive to keep our homes a sacred place, even if you're away from home or not with your family for various reasons, wherever we live should always be a place that invites the Spirit. 

Im so excited for conference this weekend and EVERYONE should watch it! Whether it be on tv or online or at your local church building however you can! We are so blessed to hear the words of the prophet and the apostles! I also invite everyone to think of a question to have in mind for conference and I can promise that you will receive an answer through the words of the modern day leaders of the church. 

I love you all so much and can't thank you enough for all of your support as I serve the Lord. Keep smiling!

Hermana Knowles
OUR MISSION. This was during the mission tour with Elder Hamula so he's in the center with his wife next to President and Sister Woodbury. Can you find me?  ;)


Monday, September 22, 2014

¡Muchos Milagros!

Hey friends and family! 

I can't believe it's already the last week of the transfer! That went by so fast. From what I've heard from some seasoned missionaries, it seems like President really likes to keep missionaries in one area for a good amount of time. That's pretty cool cause I really like my ward and my area. I'll definitely update everyone next week though if anything changes but I doubt it. 

So Hermana Michael and I have kept ourselves busy especially with making banana bread. Gotta do something with all those bananas! We figured we could bring them to some of the people we visit and they've really appreciated it! We currently have 10 loaves of banana bread in one of our cupboards. We call it our banana bread cupboard, for obvious reasons. And there's still so many bananas! We'll get through all of them eventually. None of them are going to waste that's for sure! 

Thank you mom and Pete for the package! I made some arepas for my companion and I for dinner the night we got it and they were so good! I think mom would be super proud about how well they turned out. I'll send pictures for sure. I also made an extra one for our downstairs neighbor (who is in the English ward) and she loved it too. Following the example of my momma and sharing our Venezuelan goodness with everyone! Thanks again! 

I'm still teaching piano lessons on Saturday mornings which is going super well! I also got asked to play violin in sacrament meeting for the youth but I don't think that's for a little while but I'm still most certainly looking forward to it. They're singing Nearer My God to Thee I'm pretty sure. I love that song! 

So we took the train on Saturday to go to a baptism that we invited a couple of our investigators to and I LOVE taking the train. We have the opportunity to talk to so many people and it's great! When we got into the other area we got there a little early so we went to find something to eat and decided on this hot dog food truck. The people there were so nice! They were just trying to promote their business so they gave us free food and of course we started talking to them about the church and they thought it was super interesting. They each gladly took pass along cards and promised us they would check out the website. They also had a little backdrop set up for people to take pictures and I asked one of the people we were chatting it up with if she would take a picture with me and she was so excited about it! 

Ok so I have a crazy story from Friday. That morning I was debating between two skirts and I picked the one that I usually wear a slip with, which was probably the best decision I made all day. The other Hermanas who are usually on bikes needed to use our car to get to a doctor appointment so we used their bikes to get to our first appointment that morning. I was enjoying the bike ride the first mile or so until my skirt got caught in the chain as I was going through an intersection and I found myself on the ground stuck to the bike. I couldn't move out of the street  at first because the skirt was wrapped so tight around my legs so after trying basically all the options I had I realized that the skirt just needed to come off so I could free myself. Nice and awkward. It was definitely a miracle that within minutes from my initial fall, as I was struggling to free myself from the bike, I heard someone ask if I needed help and I turned around to see Elder Dominguez from my district! It could have been a stranger but I know Heavenly Father blessed me with a familiar face to help me in this rather uncomfortable situation. He and Elder Power were both so prepared to help me in that moment with the tools they had for the bike and that they were able to get us to our appointment on time. Everything worked out perfectly. Elder Dominguez was telling us that he wouldn't have been right behind me in traffic if it weren't for a delay and I know that Heavenly Father played a huge role in this experience to make sure that His missionaries are being taken care of. Hermana Michael and I were even able to talk to someone about the church through this experience. There was a worker kinda off to the side of our little scene who came over to offer help and we were able to talk to her about where we were headed and what we do so we ended up giving her a pass along card and a pamphlet on the restoration (all in just my slip haha the elders were still working on getting my skirt out of the bike) We were able to bear very short testimonies before we had to get going and I'm so thankful we had the opportunity to meet this woman. If that was the reason I fell then I'd easily do it all over again to have such a unique opportunity to share the gospel. I was also unharmed from this whole thing, just a small scratch on my hand really. Such a blessing! 

Anyway, those are the highlights from the week. I hope everyone is doing well I absolutely love hearing from everyone! Oh yeah I also invited someone to be baptized for the first time and she said yes! Her and her daughter! They're so awesome please pray for them! Hermana Michael invited someone too the next day and she also said she would be baptized! We're just seeing miracles left and right! We're so blessed I can't mention it enough. 

Keep smiling! :) 

Hermana Knowles

My torn skirt from the biking incident that I wore pretty
much that whole day anyway

The awesome lady from the hot dog
place! :)

Monday, September 15, 2014


Que Hermosa la Mañana

This week was filled with meetings! On Tuesday we had a new missionary
training meeting, on Friday morning we had the privilege to hear from
Elder Hamula from the seventy and his wife during a mission tour, then
Friday night he spoke again at a devotional, then Saturday evening we
had our first session of stake conference, and the second session was
Sunday morning. Sister Woodbury called me a week or so ago asking if I
could play violin for the meeting Friday morning and of course I said
yes. So I finally got my hands on a violin earlier this week and
realized how much I've missed playing it and was also pleasantly
surprised with how well I remembered how to play it! So there was a
rehearsal for the strings to practice with the choir and I missed it
because we were stuck in traffic but it's ok cause I went to another
rehearsal earlier in the week. When we got there I saw an hermana with
a violin and asked her how the rehearsal went and she said it went
good but her string broke so she couldn't play anymore. I gave her the
violin I was going to use and she was so thankful for that. Even
though I was really looking forward to playing violin I would rather
have given my violin to that Hermana cause it made her so happy and I
got to sing in the choir so it all worked out.

We also taught and found opportunities to serve this week. One of my
favorite acts of service we did was when I taught a piano lesson to
two young girls in our ward on Saturday morning. They learn so fast
and I can tell they're really excited to keep learning and getting
better. After an introductory lesson about the piano I asked them what
their favorite song was so we could start learning it together next
time. I was touched when the older sister grabbed a hymn book and
opened it to Soy un Hijo de Dios or I am a Child of God. That really
made me think about the great blessing music has been in my life
especially as I would play hymns in my home and how it would invite
the spirit. I think there's a definite difference from just listening
to a song and actually playing it, especially spiritually. I'm so
thankful I have the opportunity to share that with these two young
girls and I'm excited to teach them again!

I had a pretty funny experience during one of our lessons with my
Spanish. ¡Todavía estoy mejorando y aprendiendo! We taught a lesson on
the importance of tithing to one of the members in the ward who is
starting to come back to church. The lesson went super well then at
the end Hermana Michael asked me to invite her to pay her tithing and
I totally blanked on the future tense for Spanish. So I ended up
saying very hesitantly, "¿pagará?" Which translates to "you will pay"
or "will you pay" depending on the tone of your voice. And before I
could finish the Hermana just started laughing so hard because of the
way I said it. I thought it was pretty funny too. She laughed for a
while then agreed to pay her tithing. So it all worked out!

So I took a lot of notes from all these meetings this past week and I
feel the spirit really brought a lot of things to my attention. They
were some quite amazing meetings for sure. I'm just going to share a
couple of the notes I took that I feel I should share:
- The greatest love we can show to anyone is to help them to
understand and enjoy the blessings of the atonement.
- Our most powerful tool of love is the Holy Ghost
- Revelation comes from consistent study, exact obedience, and being
in a sacred place. Pray and do the best you know how.
- Pray for the power to be more than what you are.
- Having the faith to serve is not enough. We must have faith to
succeed. "Help thou mine unbelief"
- we have not always been what we are now and we will not be what we
are now in the future. We are on an eternal path of progression
 Then a recent convert that spoke said this and I really liked it: "I
just wish we could all go back to the day we were baptized. I came out
of the water a new person. I was INVINCIBLE and filled with the
spirit. If I could tell you anything it would be to get on your knees
and pray and ask what you should do and you will receive an answer."

Well those are the main points of my week! Today we went to the city
again and took some awesome pictures that I'll send too.

I hope everyone is doing great! I love you all so much and look
forward to hearing from you!

Keep smiling :)

Hermana Knowles

Monday, September 8, 2014

Living the Dream in Chicago!


Chicago dogs!

We chased down the ice cream man!

Our neighbor gave us a ton of bananas!  #smoothiesfordays

The Bean

We met an amazing guy at the bean today. He was trying to ask me to
take a picture for him with broken English and said he only spoke
Spanish so I said "¡no se preocupe puedo hablar en español también!"
He was so excited to hear that! After I took a picture for him I
started talking to him about the church and he thought it was
fascinating. I can easily tell that he has been prepared to hear and
accept our message. Hermana Michael came over as soon as she realized
I started talking to this guy and he just kept telling us that he
could tell there was something special about us that we had "beautiful
spirits." He talked about some difficult times he's had in his life
and that he just wants to know the truth. We introduced him to the
Book of Mormon and shared with him 2 Nephi 25:26 which had a big
impact for him. He told us he was excited to read it and stay in touch
with us to learn more. We exchanged contact information and gave him
the information he needs to request missionaries to come to his home.
He said he's looking forward to meeting with the missionaries in his
area! I know we went to the city today to meet this man and bring the
gospel into his life. We talked to him for about 45 minutes. After we
started walking away I turned to hermana Michael and said man I wish
we got a picture with him. So we turned back to ask him and he was
already walking back towards us and when we met up with him again he
said "is it ok if we get a picture together?" Haha coincidence? I
think not. I'm so thankful for this beautiful experience.


Living the Dream!

Anytime someone asks me how I'm liking the mission, my response is
usually, "I'm living the dream!" Being able to dedicate your time to
serving others and teaching them about the Restored Gospel of Jesus
Christ is amazing. It's most certainly the hardest thing I've ever
done but I wouldn't give it up for anything. I pray more than I've
ever prayed before and I feel closer to my Savior. Each day I'm able
to study for approximately 4 hours and really focus on strengthening
my testimony and finding different ways I can share it with others.
Then I get to go out into my area of Chicago and share what I know to
my brothers and sisters. How cool is that? Serving a mission is such
an incredible blessing and I can't even begin to describe how
important it is to me.

So it was Hermana Michael's birthday on Tuesday and we went to a
members house to celebrate (she also got her face shoved in a cake at
the ward picnic on Monday. Apparently that's a tradition here). This
member is this super crazy, awesome Venezuelan lady. I think she's
absolutely hilarious! She's so sweet she got Hermana Michael a cake
and some ice cream and we even had the other Hermana missionaries from
our ward join us at her house. Then of course we shared a thought with
her and she invited us to come have AREPAS on Wednesday! I'm stoked.
She also served her mission in Maracaibo in the 90s! Pretty neat huh?

We're teaching a couple people right now and I must say that teaching
is one of my absolute favorite parts about serving a mission. I can
see that these people have a real desire to follow the Savior and it's
really beautiful to be there for them and help them strengthen their

We've been able to do a lot of service! Right now we're teaching an
hermana in our ward some English and starting on Saturday I'm going to
be teaching piano to one of the young women in the ward. She's so
excited about it! We also help people move a lot and while I was on my
exchange Hermana Michael and Hermana Hammond weeded and seeded (I'm
not sure if those are the right terms but hopefully you know what I'm
saying) in front of our apartment for our landlords. Service is the
best! It just makes me so happy! Mosiah 2:17 :)

So exchanges were AWESOME! I went to Logan Square with Hermana Izu!
She's so great! We had a pretty busy day teaching and serving, the
missionary life you know? I absolutely LOVE taking public
transportation because we can talk to so many different people. I gave
out a Libro de Mormón on the bus cause after I gave a pass along card
to this guy and talked to him about the Book of Mormon he asked "where
can I find one?" I was like "you most certainly asked the right person
my good man." Maybe not word for word but something like that haha. I
gave him the one copy I had in my bag and he seemed pretty excited
about it so that basically made my day. Hermana Izu is pretty solid
too. I was so thankful to be able to spend my first exchange with her!

Yesterday was pretty interesting. Church went really well! Fast Sunday
is always the best. We had a couple investigators come to church which
we were really thankful for. And they stayed all three hours! After
church we just studied for a while until we went to go find someone
who was formerly interested in the church. We went to his house and no
one answered, but as we were leaving a man standing outside his house
called us over. He had a lot of questions for us and presented a lot
of opposition. Most of the things he had to say were pretty rude, but
of course we were kind in our responses. His main point of view was
how man was superior and basically, for lack of a better way to word
it, that all women are horrible people. We tried to share our
testimonies but we soon realized that he was just not ready to hear
the gospel at this time. We left him with a card and started to walk
away but he called after us one more time and said "what does it mean
to you to be an Eve?" I was most certainly filled with the spirit at
this time and it touched my heart so strong. It was an undeniable
feeling that I am a precious daughter of God. I looked him in the
eyes, with tears filling my eyes, and said firmly but lovingly, "It
means EVERYTHING to me." My companion and I left after that and talked
about it in the car. She asked me why I was crying and I told her that
I wasn't crying because I felt degraded in any way but more empowered
and so full of gratitude for the knowledge I have of the Restored
Gospel. I was crying because I just wish that man had the gospel in
his life and was a little frustrated that I wouldn't be able to share
it with him at this time. I know our Heavenly Father has a plan for
each of us and that we are all precious sons and daughters of God. A
Heavenly King. He loves us more than we will ever be able to
understand and that truly means EVERYTHING to me. When we got back to
the apartment I got on my knees and thanked my Father in Heaven for my
knowledge of the gospel and to be here on my mission and I prayed for
that man, my brother, that our courage may have touched his heart in
some way.

So for pday we're going to check out the city for a while and I'm so
excited! I'll definitely be sure to send pictures whenever I get the
chance. So if you're wondering later today "where in Chicago is Sweet
Jasmine?" The answer is most likely going to be BY THE BEAN. Once
again, I'm stoked. Well I love you all so much and I'm praying for you
my wonderful family and friends each day. Keep on keeping on you
beautiful people.

The church is true, the book is blue. Keep smiling :)

Hermana Knowles

Monday, September 1, 2014

27 Tortillas and Counting

Hey friends and family!

I actually don't have a lot of time today. Our pday was packed with
visiting a potential investigator, getting groceries and a ward picnic
for Labor Day. But I will share some of my favorite experiences from
the week. Last night at our dinner appointment was probably my
favorite. We had dinner with this family from Honduras and they're so
awesome! That was definitely the most I've eaten in one visit on my
mission so far. Food is such a big thing in the Spanish culture and
I'm so thankful for the kindness and generosity of our amazing
members. We ate two hamburgers, half a plate of chips, a very full cup
of ice cream, double stuff Oreos, and a bowl of fruit. My insides
weren't too happy with me but the members were so that's all that
matters right? Hermano totally knew what he was doing too when he kept
bringing out more food for us cause he knew we wouldn't refuse it
cause we didn't want to offend him. He thought it was so funny that we
kept eating. When he brought out that bowl of fruit at the end I gave
him a look like "do you want me to throw up on you right now?" Anyway
don't worry it was eventful spiritually too! We had an awesome lesson
with them and their two nonmember friends that joined us! We talked
about how Heavenly Father has blessed us with all the tools and
guidelines we need to protect us and prepare us to live with Him
again. We used a visual aid called Moroni's Fortress and related it to
Alma 50:1-6. During the lesson as I shared my testimony about the
overall concept I couldn't help but cry as I felt the spirit so strong
testifying of the truth of what I was saying. It was absolutely
beautiful. Someone from the family shared their testimony afterwards
as tears came down her face as well. There was an undeniable spirit of
love that filled that home.

Let's see... So Hadley's married. That happened. Haha congrats Hadley
and Kal! I'm so happy for you guys and I really look forward to
hearing from you sometime and see how you guys are doing! I love you

Basically the majority of my week was filled with meeting with members
and talking about the importance of la noche de hogar or family home
evening. The main thing about these lessons that I've loved teaching
is how family home evening strengthens the family and prepares us to
reach our ultimate goal of returning to live with our Savior and
Father in Heaven as eternal families. I really liked sharing 1 Nephi
8:12. I know I want nothing more than for myself and my family to
partake of the fruit and experience that joy together. If you aren't
already doing so I invite you to participate in family home evening
and I promise that as you do so your home will be filled with the
spirit and your family relationships will strengthen.

Ok so President Izu who set me apart as a missionary... I met his
niece my first day! And I'm going on an exchange with her on Saturday!
And we'll be in the CITY! I'm so excited for that!

Momma! There's a Venezuelan lady in my ward! She's hilarious and we're
going to her house for dinner tomorrow night and you better believe I
requested arepitas! She also served her mission in Maracaibo but in
the 90s. Tomorrow is also Hermana Michael's birthday! This is an
exciting week for sure.

The weather here has been a little crazy. We got soaked in the rain a
couple times but we've also had pretty average humid, hot days. I'm
really loving it here especially since I'm kinda starting to get
familiar with the area and recognize people. I'm so ready and excited
for week three!

I hope everyone is doing really well! I love and miss all of you and
pray for you every day. Write me sometime I would love to hear about
how everyone's doing :)

Keep smiling my beautiful friends and family!

Hermana Knowles :)

I fell asleep writing our information on pass along cards.  I was a little tired!