Monday, November 24, 2014

Fear Not I Am With Thee

Hola familia! 

This week went pretty well! Wednesday was awesome because we had zone conference! It was so good! They focused a lot on: Fear not I am with thee. Basically about how as missionaries we shouldn't be afraid because our Savior is always by our side as we do His work. They tied this in really well with talking to people on the street, or contacting. How we shouldn't fear about what they're going to say but that it is our responsibility as a representative of Jesus Christ to give EVERYONE the opportunity to hear the message of His restored gospel. We did an activity where we had to role play contacting someone but each person was asked to put a bandaid on the hairiest part of your arm and then right before we started the role play we had to rip it off. Then we were asked to put the bandaid back on the same spot and do it again but of course the second time it really didn't hurt at all. Sometimes it's really hard to just stop someone on the street and talk to them but if we just do it then it will be easier to talk to the next person and then the next and the next! Let me just say, I've talked to so many people since then and it wasn't so easy at first but now I'm starting to love it! Yeah it's rough to get rejected but then there's those people who are genuinely thankful you took the time to stop them and give them a card and it's all worth it. And the Lord is by our side each step of the way! When we are on the Lord's errand we are entitled to His help. 

We had an appointment with our progressing investigator and it didn't go quite as planned. At the beginning she said that she has been feeling some doubts and that she feels she's losing the desire to keep learning. It tore my heart to pieces to hear that. We asked her why she liked having us over and she said that she always feels so calm when we're in her home and that she really feels that the Book of Mormon is true. I asked her how she knew the Book of Mormon was true and she said she prayed about it and felt a peace and calm and that Heavenly Father answered her prayers. I shared with her Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23: "22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
23 Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?" There are always going to be times that try our faith but as we stay strong and see things from a heavenly perspective we can endure and find lasting happiness through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He will help us obtain that testimony and through the trial of our faith it can be made stronger. Heavenly Father knows us best and He will never leave us comfort less. 

Saturday was kind of crazy but it ended up going really well! Hermana Gonzalez went to her former area with her old companion to see someone they worked with get baptized! So while they were gone I went with the other companion to their area. They serve in the Lake Shore YSA ward, English speaking! It was way fun. Kind of weird, but fun haha. Their area is MUCH closer to the city so there are people walking around everywhere! It's so awesome I got to talk to so many people! We hung out with one of their investigators, Marc. He's from Liberia and has lived in Chicago for about 4 months now I think. I took a picture with him in from of some graffiti! While we were walking down the street with Marc I noticed a lady a little ways in front of us who was struggling with her groceries. So I ran ahead and asked her if I could help and she was so thankful. I took half of them and as we walked to her apartment I got to know her a little and shared with her a small message about our Savior. She said she was having kind of a rough day and she was so thankful for my help. She said she's talked with missionaries before but never had the time to meet with them. I asked her if she wanted the sisters information and she gladly accepted. I LOVE SERVICE. 

The primary program is FINALLY next Sunday! STOKED. 

Well I absolutely love being a missionary. It's not always easy but it most certainly is always worth it. I know this church is true. I love my Father in Heaven and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that our families can be together forever and that the priesthood is the power of God here on the earth. I love the people of Chicago and there's no where I'd rather be. I love you all and I hope everyone has the best week! Please never forget to... Keep smiling :)

Hermana Knowles

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Introducing: Hermana Gonzalez!

First of all shout out to dad! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I'm so thankful to have
such a supportive and loving father. You're the best!

This week was a little crazy but overall good! Tuesday morning was
definitely the craziest. We got up pretty early to go to the transfer
meeting. Funny side note, I fell down the stairs when we left the
apartment. I thought it was hilarious. I really enjoyed transfer
meeting! I met Hermana Gonzalez and she's awesome! Here's a little bit
about her: she's from West Jordan Utah, both of her parents are from
Mexico, she's been a missionary for almost 16 months, and her spanish
is basically perfect! I know I'm going to learn a lot from her and I'm
so excited for this transfer!

So far Hermana Gonzalez and I agree that we work pretty well together!
We went to visit a less active member on Wednesday and after we shared
our message we were saying that we were going to leave and the lady
was like, "not so fast!" She made us some hot chocolate and gave us
some bread and fruit. She is way sweet! She really wanted us to stay.
She was so funny she was like, "do you have an appointment to get to?
I know your schedule you don't have to be home until 9!" Such a gem!

Our landlords took us out to a Chinese restaurant on Thursday which
was way nice of them! It was really fun hanging out with them, we
definitely have the best landlords ever!

Our week mainly consisted of a few appointments, some service, and a
lot of knocking doors. One door we knocked was an Indian family who
spoke very little English, but they let us in anyway! It was pretty
hard for us to understand each other but thats where the Spirit comes
in! We were able to get across a very simple message of how we have a
loving Heavenly Father and that our families can be together forever.
I felt the Spirit and I'm sure they felt it too. I'm thankful we were
able to spend a few minutes with that family.

We have an investigator who is progressing really well! She's really
amazing and has such a strong desire to know the truth and LIVE IT! We
taught her the word of wisdom the other day and at first, just like
everyone we teach this to, she was a little shocked about not being
able to drink coffee but then she was like, "yeah I don't have to have
that." How cool is she?! It's just hard for her because her boyfriend
doesn't want anything to do with the church. Please pray for them!

So it's nice and FREEZING here. Winters coming! I don't feel very
ready but I'll get over it haha. It snowed the other day so that was
pretty exciting. This wind is ridiculous! It just pierces the soul! So
I wouldn't recommend visiting Chicago in the winter. Haha

Sorry this email is shorter than the usual! Just know how much I love
you all! There's no where I'd rather be than where the Lord needs me
to be. I love being a missionary and I love the people of Chicago. I
don't have a lot of time to serve them so I want to make the most of
each moment. I testify that the Lord takes care of us, He loves us and
He will always be there for us to lean on Him. I love the quote, "when
life gets too hard to stand, kneel." We can always count on prayer,
but we must be patient and and have faith that everything is in the
Lords timing. If we do our part, then He will always keep His promises
and we will be blessed. I know this church is true and through the
Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can find peace, joy, and understanding. I
love you all and I hope everyone has a great week!

Keep smiling,

Hermana Knowles

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Asombro Me Da

Hey Everyone!

Another splendid week in the Chicago missionary life! The week started kinda slow but it most certainly picked up. On Wednesday night we went to Hermana Hurtado's house and she made us some arepas! So good! I seriously look forward to the day that her and mom meet. It'll be just one big ol Venezuelan fiesta haha. After visiting with her we had a small list of people to visit and then we returned to the apartment. When we were at the apartment we realized that we couldn't find our phone so we checked in the car and it wasn't in there. So we figured we must have lost it sometime while we were visiting people. The next morning after our studies we decided to go back and retrace our steps. After going back to all the houses from the last night we still couldn't find it so we went back to the apartment. I was a little discouraged through the process at first but I felt a reassurance that we would be able to find it. When we got back to the apartment we saw that we received a message on facebook from our zone leaders who said that they had our phone! We went and picked it up from them and they said a man found it in the street and called some of our contacts. Heavenly Father was definitely looking out for us and it was such a blessing that we were able to get it back. 

We visit the Robledo Family every Friday and I most certainly love them! We shared a message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and focused on the importance of baptism. It went really well and I could feel the Spirit so strong. After the lesson I invited Yareli, the youngest daughter, to be baptized and she said that is what she wants to do. Her mother agreed and we are preparing a baptismal service for December 13, the same day her cousin and aunt will be baptized! We're so excited for this family, they're amazing! Please pray for them. 

Saturday was awesome! We had an amazing lesson with our investigator, Nadya. She's one of those people who has been prepared to receive the missionaries at this time and it's very apparent. She has so much faith and such a strong desire to follow the Savior. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and Hermana Sanjuan from the ward came with us. Hermana Sanjuan shared such a powerful testimony on eternal families and it was absolutely beautiful. After the lesson Hermana Michael invited her to prepare herself for baptism next month as well and she accepted! It's going to take a lot of work but we are putting our faith into it and working as hard as we can to make sure she is ready. Please pray for her as well! 

Also on Saturday night our ward had an activity called la noche de talentos! It was so much fun and so cool to see everyone participate. A lot of the members from the ward performed a dance from their home countries and that was sweet! A few people played instruments, and even all the missionaries participated! We did a day in the life of a missionary. We cut holes into a sheet where the elders could poke their heads through and made some mini missionaries. The same elder who's head is showing is also the feet of the missionary and a different elder was the hands, if that makes sense haha Thats probably a confusing explanation but I'll send pictures. The ward loved it! I also played piano for a member who sang for the talent show and that was way fun too! She sang I Stand All Amazed, or Asombro me da en español! 

Saturday was also a day that all the missionaries have been anticipating because it was the end of the transfer! During la noche de talentos we received a text saying, "you WILL receive a transfer call." We received a phone call later that night and Elder Jacobs told us what would be happening. Hermana Michael will be moving to Rensselaer, Indiana and I will be taking over this area with my new companion, Hermana Gonzalez! I'm sad to see Hermana Michael go but I'm excited for her! I haven't heard too much about Hermana Gonzalez but it's all been good things. I'm really looking forward to meeting her tomorrow morning and starting our companionship! We're going to work so hard! 

Sunday went pretty well, that primary program is sounding good! Haha. I really love this ward they're all so great and I'm so excited I get to continue serving with them!

This morning we went to have lunch in the city and that was super fun! In total there were 5 companionships of hermanas and one of them brought a member from their ward which was super fun especially because she only speaks Spanish so we all just spoke Spanish for most of lunch. I love the city! Tonight we're having dinner with the family in our ward that is from Brazil. They're amazing and I'm excited to be in their home tonight and spend time with them. 

I hope everyone is doing great! I love hearing from all of you and I'm so thankful for this precious time to be a full time servant of the Lord. I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet on the earth today who guides this church by divine revelation. Jesus Christ is and will always be at the head of this church. I love this gospel and I love you all! Have an amazing week and if I could suggest anything to make it better I would say to always strive to remember our Savior, Jesus Christ. :)

Keep smiling, 

Hermana Knowles

This picture sums up my companionship with Hermana
Michael. I sure do love singing in the car haha.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Israel, Jesús os llama

Hola familia y amigos! 
I was actually pretty sick this entire last week but I'm doing much better now! Although I was sick we still went out and saw some progress in the area. On Wednesday night we were out knocking some doors and looking for former investigators. At the last door we knocked we saw these two men talking to each other while one of them was raking his leaves a few houses down. We decided to go talk to them and offer to help rake their leaves. Eventually after some discussion we set a time the next day where we would come back and rake his leaves. When we came back on Thursday we brought some English Elders with us because this man doesn't speak Spanish. He wasn't home at first so we raked his leaves in the meantime. When he came home he was very thankful for our service and shared with us some things he's been struggling with. We left the elders to share a quick message with him about the restoration and they told us it went really well! His name is Anthony and while we were talking to him on Wednesday night he kept mentioning how he was Greek and that he knows how to make all this Greek food. It was pretty funny actually. Then while Hermana Michael was putting him into the schedule for the next day she said "Rake Anthony's leaves," but he thought she said Greek Anthony. He was like, "Did you say Greek Anthony?" And we said, "No, but can we call you that?" He said yes and thought it was rather hilarious. So now the Elders are working with Greek Anthony! 

We had another appointment with one of our progressing investigators and it went really well! She's amazing! This was our third visit with her and she is already in 1 Nephi 10 and she read Moroni 10 which we left for her to read last time! She said that while she reads she feels that it is true and she really wants to come to church! Her only obstacle is that her boyfriend doesn't want her to go. One of the members in the ward offered to take her to church but her novio wasn't too comfortable with that. We're trying to find a time where we can meet with both of them and hopefully he'll soften his heart as we teach him too. Please pray for them! 

We met with a few members this week too! On Thursday night I had the most non-hispanic meal yet with a member. Spaghetti, garlic bread, and cheesecake. She saved the day and brought in some chips and salsa though so it all worked out. She invited an investigator who the elders have been teaching to have dinner with us which was awesome! We shared a message about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and all of their responses were beautiful!  

On Friday all but one of our appointments cancelled. It was crazy but it worked out. We went to the library and got a few things done, then we went to the church and I practiced piano for the primary program for a while then we had to be back in the apartment by 7 because it was Halloween. My Halloween evening consisted of reading scriptures and cup of noodles haha. It was rather excellent. 

Church went really well yesterday! Fast Sunday in this ward is the best. I'm really so thankful I get to serve in this ward and that I've gotten to know everyone so well! When everyone was going up to share their testimony I really felt at home and that I really love these people. It was beautiful. Of course I spent the remainder of church with the primary playing piano for them. It's sounding good! We had a ton of people at church yesterday, too! A lot of less active members and a few investigators! It was such a blessing! I know Heavenly Father is blessing this ward from all the hard work the missionaries and the members have been putting in lately and I hope this attendance continues! 

Tonight Hermana Michael and I are teaching for a family home evening at the church with the ward and I'm pretty excited about it! We planned this game and I think it will be way fun. Well that's how the wonderful missionary life in Chicago is going! I hope everyone is doing super great! I just want you all to know that there's no doubt in my mind that this church is true. I've seen miracles and feel so close to my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ as I faithfully serve the people of Chicago. I've felt the greatest joy in service. To see others as the Savior sees them. I testify of the power of the Holy Ghost and prayer. This week we went to visit a family who has really been struggling a lot. I was really lost for words most of the lesson and that frustrated me because I wanted to be able to contribute and comfort them. I just bore simple testimony and at the end we closed with a kneeling prayer. During the prayer the Spirit touched my heart so strong that tears started falling down my cheeks and I just knew that everything was going to be ok and I know everyone in that home felt it too. The Spirit is powerful and it will touch your heart if you let it. I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Keep smiling,

Hermana Knowles :) 
This is really the only picture I have to share this week. It
basically sums up my Halloween evening!

I also love this quote by Elder Holland. Love you all!