Monday, February 16, 2015

El Amor del Salvador

Hola hola! 

Cool story from last P-day! Hermana Dowdle and I went somewhere for lunch and our waiter was Hispanic! ¡De Mexico! After he read our name tags he asked if we spoke spanish and we were like, "Well we try!" The rest of that time we were there we talked to him in spanish. It was awesome and of course we were able to talk a little bit about the church. He was asking a few questions about the Bible that we were able to answer for him and it lead perfectly into the Book Of Mormon. Well long story short we ended up giving him a copy before we left and got his contact information so we can go teach him sometime! It was sweet!

We went to visit our friend in the nursing home as we do every Tuesday and I always love seeing her! We sang for her a couple hymns and afterwards she applauded us and told us she wished she had a recording of us singing so she could listen to it over and over when we weren't there. She's absolutely adorable! I'm so glad I can use music to help people feel the Spirit here on my mission. What a blessing! 

On Tuesday we also went to visit a potential investigator who told us to come back at a better time and she actually let us in! That doesn't happen super often. So we sat down with her and shared a little bit about our purpose of missionaries and how everything we teach goes back to the Savior. Her name is Maribel and her and her husband have 3 kids. We have another appointment with her today and I'm really looking forward to teaching her again! Please pray for her and her family!

On Wednesday we had our zone training meeting. We talked a lot about the things we've been learning as we highlight the Christlike attributes in the Book Of Mormon, baptism, being diligent, and acting with urgency. I absolutely LOVE this Book Of Mormon challenge. Each time I read and focus on the attributes of the Savior something new stands out to me and it's awesome! In some ways it has changed my perspective in my scripture study and helps me to see much more how the people of the Book Of Mormon strived to be like Christ. 

We helped out Sister Jensen this week and of course she wanted to check out Hermana Dowdle's family history. Well she found out some pretty cool stuff! Turns out that Hermana Dowdle and Sister Jensen's husband are like long lost half cousins or something. So that's kinda crazy! 

We had stake conference yesterday and it was awesome! The stake president is a really inspired man. He is always able to relate something fun and simple to the gospel. He was talking about those toys that you hit over and they always come back up because it has a strong, heavy foundation (the weeble wobble if you will). He related this to having a strong foundation in the Savior that whenever we fall over He will help us come back up. It was an awesome talk! 

Valentine's Day! For Saturday all we really had planned was to go knocking and looking for more people to teach, but then we thought it would be a fun idea to make valentines for the members in our area and visit them! So that's what we did. We made a bunch of heart shaped sugar cookies and put it in a bag with a note attached to it saying happy Valentine's Day and the scripture John 13:34-35. "34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." One of my favorite Christlike attributes to study is charity and love. The greatest act of charity and love was done by our Savior Jesus Christ and this was the Atonement. He loves each of us so much that He gave His life for us so that we can have happiness, that we can be clean, that we can repent, that we can have hope, and that we can return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again with our families for all of eternity. I may be pretty young and I have a lot to learn, but there is one thing I can say I know without a doubt, and that is that Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father love us. I have felt it. In fact this is one of my favorite parts about being a missionary, that we can feel the love God has for the people we serve. At least a portion, and it always brings me to tears because it fills me so much I can hardly contain it. I testify that this church is true. It IS the church of Jesus Christ. He is at the head and He is directing this work. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ has everything we need to be able to reach our spiritual goals and return to live in the presence of God again with the ones we love. Heavenly Father wants all of us to have this knowledge and happiness and we can know for ourselves through sincere prayer. I know that God answers prayers and He does so because of His immense love for each of His children. I love this gospel, I love the people of Chicago, I love my family and friends, I love being a missionary, but above all I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ. 

I hope everyone has an awesome week! Stay strong and write me sometime! 

Keep smiling,

Hermana Knowles

 I think I forgot to send these but in the mission when someone is about to go home we say that they're "dying." So we made it really dramatic with Elder Dominguez and Hermana Gonzalez.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mantener la Sonrisa

Otra semana ha pasado! 

Had a pretty good first week with Hermana Dowdle! Lots of knocking doors and meeting with members. I feel like we did a lot this week but I also feel like it was a blur. Something I thought was pretty funny that happened this week was when we went to visit Lucy, one of the members in the ward. She always loves to give us a little snack when we come over but she couldn't figure out what to give us when we went to visit her Friday night so she was like, "I'll just make you some pancakes!" It was so random. Nothing like having pancakes with Lucy at 8:30 at night! She's so sweet I love Lucy! 

We went and saw Ellie again on Saturday. We went just to say hi and to set up an appointment for when she can meet with the English sisters. While we were there I asked her if she had been reading from the Book Of Mormon and she said she has! She even said she marked a few things and wants to talk about them with us for the next visit! She's so awesome! 

So church was awesome yesterday. The new missionaries to the ward were introduced and we had an awesome testimony meeting. The young men and young women presidencies were reorganized too! It was an exciting change! So while we were on our way to Sunday school Hermana Uriostegui stopped us and asked if we would teach a combined youth class for the second hour. I was stoked! I love teaching the youth! We had no time to prepare but it was great because we really had to rely on the spirit. There were about 12 or so youth in the class. We taught a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. At first it was kind of hard to keep everyone's attention on the lesson but then Hermana Dowdle and I just started to testify about the Plan of Salvation and the spirit really took over and the class was silent. (This was all in Español by the way!) There was a pause and then I asked who could feel the spirit in that moment. It was a really touching experience to see everyone reverently raise their hands and to really feel the love our Heavenly Father has for each one of them. At the end we finished our lesson a little early so I left the time for the youth to share their testimonies with each other. It was way cool because that's what Hermana Dowdle felt prompted to do too. About 5 of them came up and shared really powerful testimonies. One specifically stood out to me as she was talking about how she had just received her patriarchal blessing before church. She said that was the first time she really felt the Lord was right there next to her. It was such a sweet experience to spend that hour with the youth of the ward. They're really amazing. 

Well today shouldn't be too crazy of a P-day. We have to go to the mission office though because we lost our phone and have to figure out how to replace it. Other than that life is so good! I love Chicago even though it can get a little crazy, I love being a missionary, but most of all I love my Savior Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven. Esta iglesia es verdadera y testifico que tenemos un Padre Celestial y Salvador quien nos aman. Nuestro Padre Celestial preparo un plan para que podemos regresar a vivir con Él otra vez con nuestras familias. Él nos conoce bien específicamente y quiere mas de nada que regresemos a su presencia y que seamos felices. Podemos saber por nuestros mismos la verdad de estas cosas si oramos a nuestro Padre Celestial con verdadera intención y yo prometo que Él contestara las oraciones de Sus hijos. 

Les amo y espero que tengan una semana maravillosa! 

¡Mantener la sonrisa!

Hermana Knowles :)

Selfie with Hermana Bautista.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Creo en Cristo, Él es mi Rey!

It's a new transfer! You know what that means! Guess who is STAYING in Chicago 4th for their 5th transfer? Hermana Knowles! Crazy! And guess who my new companion is? Hermana Dowdle! Double crazy! Hermana Dowdle and I were in the CCM together! She's awesome we're going to have a blast! I'm pretty sure someone from the Wiley Canyon Ward (my home Ward) is related to her. I want to say her aunt? I'm not positive but that's still pretty cool! I'm sure we'll figure it out.

I'm really going to miss Hermana Gonzalez. She's amazing! We've had so much fun these past two transfers and she's really taught me so much. I feel like we went through a lot together and it was pretty apparent that we were supposed to be companions. She has such a powerful testimony and is such an awesome missionary. I gave her something to give to Pete since she's going home to West Jordan so some of the family will probably get to meet her soon! 

This week was pretty great! We went to visit Esperanza and Fernando on Tuesday (we see this wonderful family every Tuesday). Hermano brought out his sombrero and guitar and sang for us! It was way sweet! That was such a fun visit!

On Wednesday we had our last district meeting of the transfer and it went great! Afterwards we had a meeting with our zone about how we can become more consecrated missionaries. I really enjoyed that meeting. I feel like when people hear about missionary work they think it's crazy that someone would leave everything for 18 months or 2 years. But if you really think about it, that's not a lot of time. I have just about a year left on my mission and I want to make the MOST of this time. Just like we talked about in that meeting, the way we can make the most out of our missions is by completely devoting ourselves to the Lord and His work. I've also have really started to notice how much I've changed so far as a full time servant of the Lord. We're not just helping others come unto Christ and change their lives but the Lord is shaping His servants. 

We hadn't seen Ellie since Hermana Hammond and I found her knocking and we weren't planning on seeing her on Friday but I felt like we should stop by so we did. Well she was home and she let us in again! We taught her the restoration and the spirit was so strong in her home. At the end I invited her to be baptized and she said yes. Ellie is AMAZING. She's been through a lot, her faith is strong, and she said she feels like this would be a decision that will bless her family. She prefers English though so we have to pass her onto the English sisters, but I will most certainly be there when she gets baptized!

So there was a pretty gnarly storm yesterday! It snowed ALL day and night! We tried to go to one of our appointments but when we got to the car it didn't take us long to realize we wouldn't be able to go anywhere that day. But while we were out there was a family that was coming home across the way and their van got stuck in the snow so we helped them shovel their way out! It took forever and I couldn't feel my face or fingers when we were done BUT we got them in their parking spot so it worked out! We spent the rest of the day helping our downstairs neighbor, Sister Jensen, finish a quilt. It turned out awesome! It's for one of the sister missionaries who is going home to Italy this week! 

It took us 2 hours to shovel ourselves out of the parking lot this morning! There's SO MUCH SNOW outside! While we were driving to go get our groceries we noticed some people who's car was stuck halfway in the street so we pulled over and helped them push the car out of the snow and into the road and helped them finish shoveling their driveway. And guess what! They're all spanish speakers! We told the woman about the church and got her information so hopefully we'll visit with her and her family soon! It was so cool! On our way back to the car Hermana Gonzalez and I took pictures on the sidewalk where the snow had been cleared. So much snow, but it makes for great service opportunities! 

Anyway, I love this work! I love the Lord and I love being a missionary. I can't say it enough. The church is TRUE. I know it's true with all my heart and I love being able to testify that to everyone here each day. I love my Father in Heaven and I know that the Book Of Mormon is the word of God. I hope everyone is doing great! I love you all and I thank my Heavenly Father each day for my amazing family and friends.

Keep smiling,

Hermana Knowles
View from the museum last P-day

Farewell for the Chicago 4th missionaries from the ward.

Robledo kids!

Me sitting on the sidewalk.

¡Oh Está Todo Bien!

(January 26, 2015)
Feliz P-Day!

We had a pretty great week! We've definitely seen miracles in our finding efforts and in teaching. Here's a cool finding experience we had towards the beginning of the week. We found quite a few more rows of apartment complexes to knock so we started from one end and worked our way through! At one of the doors we knocked we met a man named, Neftali. At first after we shared with him our purpose in being there he said he wouldn't have time to hear our message because he's always in and out of the hospital and it would be hard to find him at home. Hermana Gonzalez testified to him that if he's going through a hard time then the thing that will help him find peace in his trials is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We couldn't share more with him that day but after that testimony he changed his mind and said if we come back at a better time he will hear us out. This was more towards the end of last week. Then on Tuesday we went back to these apartments and continued knocking. We met a very sweet lady named Jehne (pronounced Jenny). Jehne invited us into her home and we were able to share a quick message about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She asked a lot of really great questions and seems very interested in learning more! We gave her a copy of the Book Of Mormon and she said she would start to read it. Before we left I asked her if she knew of someone who might be interested in our message as well. She said that down the street she has a cousin (or something like that I don't remember exactly how they're related) who's son is very sick and would probably like to hear our message. She gave us the address and we checked it out and the referral she gave us is NEFTALI! They're related! How crazy is that? We're going to visit them again this week so please pray for them! 

We had exchanges on Friday! I love exchanges! I stayed in the area with Hermana Hammond and Hermana Gonzalez went to Logan Square with Hermana Kohlhase. So Hermana Gonzalez and I had planned an awesome day for Friday and basically everything we planned ended up falling through. Our backup was FINDING! Hermana Hammond and I ended up knocking doors for about 5 hours. I absolutely loved this experience because we knocked and knocked all day with little success until we decided to go to one more place right before we had to leave to our dinner appointment. The LAST door we knocked we met Ellie and her 3 kids. I would say Ellie is my miracle. After she answered the door and heard who we were she called her 7 year old daughter over to listen because her daughter loves Jesus Christ. I asked her daughter why she loves Him and her answer struck my heart and made all our hours of knocking worth it. She said she loves Jesus Christ because someone in her family had passed away and she knows that they're with Jesus and they're happy. Ellie let us in and we shared a short message about the Savior. We invited her to say the closing prayer and it was beautiful. As she was praying she began to tear up and she said she was so thankful we came to her home. We set a return appointment for wednesday and Ellie's daughter was so excited that she wrote on her calendar when we would come back. I'm so excited to teach them again! 

The fireside on Sunday was awesome and everyone loved the missionary choir! 

Well those are the highlights of the week! I wish I could write more but I don't have a lot of time! I hope everyone is doing great I love hearing from you all. We spent P-day at the field museum and it's awesome! I had a couple fish tank encounters but I survived! Anyway I love you all. The church is true. I love my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ and I love being a missionary. Until next week! 

Keep smiling, 

Hermana Knowles