Monday, December 29, 2014

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Hola familia! 

So Christmas was pretty great! It was so nice to see Delaney and my beautiful family through Skype! We ended up spending Christmas night knocking doors by where we live. It went pretty well we talked to a few interesting people haha. Christmas morning our downstairs neighbors from the 1st Ward had us over for breakfast! It was so nice of them we had a great time. I ate so much I felt like I was going to throw up because I was was so full and the anticipation of talking to my family right after didn't help haha! But overall it was a pretty great first missionary Christmas. 

So on Tuesday we got to go to the TEMPLE as a zone! It was awesome I love the Chicago Temple! Afterwards we all met at the mission home for lunch and a meeting where President Woodbury gave us a new scripture challenge. As a mission we are now reading the Book of Mormon and highlighting the Christlike attributes. I'm way excited for this challenge and for everything I'm going to learn! We also had a little gift exchange which was pretty fun too :)

On Christmas Eve we had district meeting then we went to hermana bautistas house and helped her make tamales! It was quite the process. They turned out way good I'm glad I got to help make them! On Friday morning our district met at the church and the young women made us breakfast. It was so nice off them! 

Well this week was mainly jumping from one holiday activity to the next and talking to everyone along the way. Right now we're really just trying to find more people to teach and we're working hard! I'm definitely excited for this new year and for all the experiences ahead on my mission. This church is true! I love my Savior and I know He lives. 

Keep smiling!

Hermana Knowles 

Spending P-day at the bowling alley with our zone and then I think we're going to head to the Lincoln Park Zoo! Then of course dinner with the Rodriguez family tonight :) 
Happy new year I love you all! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Navidad en Chicago!

What the Christmas?! That came so fast! Sorry I don't have a lot of
time so this email will be pretty short but I at least wanted to wish
everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS! We've been caroling as a district a lot
and spreading the spirit of Christmas to everyone! The relief society
gave all the missionaries an awesome gift of food and other
essentials! They're the best! I've really been able to feel the love
of our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ throughout this
Christmas season and I hope you all have been able to as well and
continue to experience the joy of the Gospel!

 I love my Savior and I'm so thankful to have this knowledge of Him in
my life and this opportunity I have to serve others and help them come
to a knowledge of our Savior as well as I serve as a full time
representative of the Lord. This church is true. There is no doubt
whatsoever in my mind. Our loving Father in Heaven has a plan for each
of us and it is perfect. There is never anything that we have to go
through in our lives alone. We will always have the comfort of our
Savior Jesus Christ. I love you all and I'm so very thankful for such
loving family and friends. I pray for you each day and I'm seeing the
impact of your prayers as well. Have a Feliz Navidad and... keep
smiling :)

Hermana Knowles

Yareli her aunt and her cousin all in white! Yareli is the one with
the rock star pose :)

Missionary Selfies

Gingerbread cookies


Relief Society Christmas

R.S. Christmas present

Saturday, December 20, 2014

¡Regocijad! Jesus Nació

Hola familia! 

The end of the transfer was on Saturday and Hermana Gonzalez and I will be STAYING in Chicago 4th for 7 more weeks! This is Hermana Gonzalez's last transfer of her mission so I will be her last companion! She told me for this transfer she is going to try to talk to me only in Spanish. I'm really looking forward to that! She said she's noticed that my spanish accent is sounding more Mexican haha. I'm most certainly looking forward to this upcoming transfer. I know we're going to be working so hard to share the gospel with everyone! 

There's a lady we usually visit on Tuesdays in the nursing home and she's pretty sweet. This last Tuesday after we shared a quick message with her we sang a Christmas hymn to her and she absolutely LOVED it! I've never seen her smile so big before. I definitely looking forward to singing to her again soon! 

When we knocked doors on Tuesday night we tried a new approach where we just showed people the Christmas video, He is the Gift, at their doorstep (unless they let us in of course). It went super well! It brought up a lot of good conversation about the true meaning of Christmas and a few people even told us we could come back and share another message with their families. If anyone reading this hasn't already seen this video then go watch it right now! It's so powerful and beautiful! or

After district meeting on Wednesday we finally took a group picture with our Christmas attire and I though we looked rather festive! Hermana Shipp and Mansfield are being transferred to different areas tomorrow and the Ward is receiving two more elders. It'll be weird with 6 elders and 2 Hermanas in the ward for sure! Hermana Shipp and I have been together since day 1 at the CCM! That's crazy! 

This weekend we went caroling with our district and it was pretty fun! It actually wasn't too cold out which made it really nice. We're planning on going on Friday as well with more of the ward members and so I'm excited about that. 

So YARELI GOT BAPTIZED on Saturday! It was such a beautiful baptismal service. We're going to see Yareli again on Friday so we got her a little journal to record her spiritual experiences. She got baptized with her aunt and cousin it was so amazing! The Spirit was so strong and I'm just so glad I got to be there.

I'm sorry this email is so short but know that I love you all! I'm doing really well and I'm looking forward to this upcoming transfer. I know this church is true and I'm so thankful for this time of year where we can take more time to remember our Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives and loves us. He was the greatest gift we could ever receive from our Father in Heaven and I invite you all to #sharethegift! 

Keep smiling, 

Hermana Knowles
Yareli's baptism

The "Home Alone" house.

district Christmas spirit

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Él es la Dádiva

I'm so sorry I didn't send an email last week! Last P-day was just so crazy and we ended up being out of the apartment all day. I'll try my best to sum up these past two weeks for everyone! 

So two pdays ago (the 24th) we were going all over the place to find the best price on earmuffs because my ears had been freezing the week before. So when we finally found a pair that we decided to buy I went to purchase it and my personal card didn't work (I figured it out and it's all good now) so I wasn't able to get earmuffs that day and I was pretty upset because I just wanted my ears to be warm. So I prayed that somehow I would be able to keep myself warm enough for the next week and my prayer was answered the very next day. One of the hermanas in the ward accompanied us to an appointment and then afterwards she asked if we could meet with her again later that day and of course we told her we would. So we met her at her house and she had us follow her to a nearby store. She told us, "hermanas I know you're far from home and as a member in the ward you're serving in I feel a responsibility to make sure you have the things you need so I want to make sure you have enough warm clothes." She got me a pair of gloves, a scarf, and the earmuffs I couldn't buy the day before. I am so thankful for Hermana Bautista and a loving Heavenly Father who knows our needs. 

I had a pretty superb thanksgiving! Our entire district met at the bishops house for lunch which was pretty fun. The lady I sat next to for the meal was so funny, she had the loudest laugh ever! It was like one of those laughs where it starts out as a high pitched screech followed by smaller chuckles of laughter. It was hilarious. So I thought it would be funny to cover my ears each time she laughed and she most certainly thought it was funny too. After the meal the bishop asked how we enjoyed spending thanksgiving with them and I said, "¡fue muy bien pero ya no me puedo oír!" So much fun. In the evening we went to have dinner with the Rodriguez family and they're the best! We also see them every Monday night and I love them so very much! 

María is a sweet lady that the elders have been teaching and she got baptized on Saturday the 29th! The baptismal service was beautiful and I'm so glad I got to be there. Elder Drebing asked if I would play piano as a musical number at the baptism so I'm really glad I got to be a part of it. 

Guess what was FINALLY on last Sunday (the 30th)! ¡La programa de la primaria! It was so dang adorable. I think my favorite part about playing the piano for that was being able to look out into the chapel and seeing everyone's faces as these sweet children were singing and reciting their parts. They all did such a great job! I am most certainly going to miss practicing with them. 

So being in an area with a car we get a certain amount of miles we can drive each month and our area is HUGE so sometimes we struggle to make sure we stay within our miles. But last month somehow we ended up with a lot of extra miles. We've never been to the top of our area before because it's so far away so we decided to pay a little visit to our northern border because we had the miles to do so! We tried to find some Hispanic communities while we were up there but didn't really have much luck, but we took a picture at our area border haha. It's pretty lame though because the sign was so bright that you can't even tell what it says but we know why that picture is significant so that's all that matters, right? 

So like I mentioned earlier, last P-day was pretty crazy running from place to place, but the highlight of the day was most certainly when we all went to get ugly Christmas sweaters! Our entire district was supposed to get one so hopefully we can all take a picture together soon so everyone can see our holiday spirit! 

So on Tuesday we had exchanges! I went to Logan Square with Hermana Izu and Hermana Gonzalez stayed here with Hermana Hammond. I seriously have never seen so many miracles in one day. I learned so much and I'm so thankful for the experiences I had during this exchange. 

Miracle number one: The first person we went to visit is such a sweet lady. She has been struggling with a few things lately and was telling us about it during our visit. Throughout the lesson Hermana Izu was comforting her and I hadn't spoken since I introduced myself. For a majority of the time I was struggling to find the words to say to her so I was just praying in my head that Heavenly Father would give me the words she needed to hear and to know when to say them. The answer I felt was that Hermana Izu would let me know when I would share my thoughts. A few minutes after my prayer Hermana Izu told this woman to say a quick prayer in her head to clear her mind. Then she said, "Now I need you to pay special attention to what Hermana Knowles has to say because she has something in her heart that she wants to share with you and it's from God." The feeling of the spirit in that moment was overwhelming. I felt so strongly that our Savior was there comforting this woman and after I told her that, tears streamed down her face and I knew she could feel it too. After the lesson I told Hermana Izu about my prayer and she was amazed because she said she's never really been impressed like that to say that her companion had something to say. It was amazing! Miracle moment for sure.

Miracle number two: Hermana Izu and I went to visit a potential new investigator and we had a member that was going to meet us there. We got to the address and found out the member couldn't make it so we knocked the door anyway and the person didn't end up being interested in our message. So everything basically fell through for that plan. Our backup plan was to stop by some other potential new investigators but as we were walking to the car I looked down the street we were on and felt that we needed to walk that way. I told Hermana Izu and she gladly accompanied me down this street as we followed this prompting. As we were walking I felt to turn right down another street and we talked to the first person we saw. This lady was so nice! We asked if she's heard of the church before and she said that she herself was not a member but her mother who had recently passed away was a member of the church. When we gave her a card and invited her to check out she said she felt that her mom had sent us to her. After we talked to her I felt like that was the exact reason we were supposed to walk down that street. It was such a beautiful experience. 

I learned so much from this exchange but overall I learned how to really listen to and follow the spirit. We are all children of our Heavenly Father and He loves each of us so much. As we are worthy and willing He will guide us through the spirit to say and do what He needs of us. 

Hermana Gonzalez and I have been teaching the gospel to a sweet nine year old girl named Yareli. This Saturday Yareli will be getting baptized! The Elders have been teaching her aunt and cousin and they will all be baptized the same day. I'm so happy and excited for them! 

This week is also the end of the transfer. It was a week short because of Christmas. This upcoming transfer will be the last one before Hermana Gonzalez goes home! We'll see what happens! 

I'm so thankful for all of you and I love you all so much! I'm doing so well in this wonderful mission and we're seeing miracles. I know this church is true. God lives and loves us. Our Savior lives and because of Him we can overcome anything. Our families can be together forever. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and through it we can find peace and guidance. The church has been restored through Joseph Smith and President Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet on the earth today. I know these things are true with all my heart and I also know that anyone can know these truths for themselves as they sincerely ask our Father in Heaven through prayer. Stay strong my beautiful family and friends!

Keep smiling!

Hermana Knowles

Also! If anyone hasn't already seen the Christmas video from the church WATCH IT NOW! It's so beautiful. May we all remember what Christmas is really about. Our Heavenly Father gave us the greatest gift of all, our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us so that we can overcome all things. What gifts can we give the Savior in return this Christmas?