Monday, September 21, 2015

Viví en los Cielos

September 7, 2015

Hola familia y amigos!

Well it was quite the first week serving here in Gurnee! There is definitely a ton of work to do here and Hermana Mendieta and I are off to a great start! So a little more info about my new companion since I didn't really know her too well to say much last week: Her name is Hermana Mendieta and she is from Puebla, Mexico! She was born and raised there and came to the United States a little over a year and a half ago to go to college and learn English. She went to Utah State so that's pretty cool! 

So this area is basically poppin. We have some awesome investigators, two of which are on date for baptism and we're hoping for three by the end of this week! This past week we've been doing a lot of teaching, organizing things in the area, finding, and I've been able to meet quite a few members too. The members here are great! They're pretty concerned about making sure we are getting fed so don't you fret momma we're in good hands. Although I'm sure if that wasn't the case my tortilla consumption to this point could sustain me for quite some time if needed haha. 

We were at the church on Thursday night doing our weekly planning and some of the youth were there too for mutual. It was cool to get to meet a few of the young women in the ward. They got together to practice what they will be performing for La Noche Latina that the ward will be having on Sarurday. While we were planning we heard one of them playing guitar and singing so we went to watch for a few minutes and they're so talented! My companion will also be doing a traditional Mexican dance for the activity so that'll be sweet.

Let's see what else. One of the days this week we had a lot of open time so Hermana Mendieta and I did some good ol street contacting around one of the busier roads in the area. We talked to a lot of really nice people and got two confirmed return appointments from that. So that's pretty neat! I'll keep you all updated if that gets more exciting. Also! Yesterday after an appointment with a member we were heading to the car and saw a sweet older couple sitting outside their house so we went to talk to them and they invited us to sit with them to talk more. We had a pretty great conversation with them that lead into the restoration of the gospel. At the end they seemed interested in the Book of Mormon and since we were right by the car I ran over to get one but we just gave away the last one we had the day before. Luckily the relief society president lives across the street so we knocked on her door and she had an extra copy we could use. It worked out great! THEN, later that night we went to go pick up a cd and a skirt from some members and when we got out of the car I saw their neighbor in the window and waved at them and she waved back with a big smile on her face. Then as we were walking passed her house she came out to say hi and she ended up mistaking me for someone else. She was like, "You look just like my friend! That was the only reason I came outside." Long story short we were able to talk a little about the gospel and were planning on meeting with her later this week!

Oh yeah! I guess transfer meeting was a good time! President threw in a tender curveball and asked Hermana Warnock and I to go up and sing, "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" He let us each pick one person to come up and help us so we invited Elder Sami and Sister Fangupo and it turned out great :) Overall it was a great meeting and there were a lot of new missionaries so that was fun to see! It was hard when it was time to finally head our separate ways because I'm kind of obsessed with Chicago 2nd and I absolutely love Hermana Anderson to pieces, but I know that this is the work of the Lord and He sends His missionaries to specific places for specific reasons all to bless the lives of our brothers and sisters and bring them the joy of the gospel. I can't think of a greater gift to give, or motivation to serve than that knowledge. I know this gospel is true. I know we have a loving Father in Heaven and Savior who would go to any means to let us know they're aware and that there is a divine plan that we can each follow to return to live with them again. 

Speaking of this divine plan I just wanted to share something I got out of my personal study the other day. I was reading Mosiah chapter 18 where Alma is preaching the gospel to the people by the waters of Mormon. I love the famous verses that talk about what it truly means to be a disciple of Christ when it says "mourning with those that mourn and comforting those that stand in need of comfort," and of course as he goes on to talk about the invitation of baptism. I would have to say though that the verse that follows is my favorite. After Alma finishes his message it says in verse 11, "And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts." Can you think of another time when a group of people were so excited about the gospel? I imagine we all reacted in a similar way when Heavenly Father presented the Plan of Happiness to us in the pre-mortal life before we came to earth. Clapping our hands and rejoicing at the opportunity to come to earth to receive a body and participate in those earthly experiences that would help us become more like our Great Exemplar. Something I considered after reading this is that I suppose it would just make sense to rejoice in a similar way when we make decisions and take steps here on earth to fulfill that great plan such as baptism as the righteous people at the waters of Mormon demonstrated. 

This reminds me of a quote by President Packer found in Preach My Gospel, "A teacher of gospel truths is not planting something foreign or even new into an adult or a child. Rather, the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ already there." I love this Gospel. It's so perfect! I would invite everyone to think of the joy they experienced the day of their baptism or any other personal experience you've had related to the Gospel, then think of someone you know that has yet to experience such joy that you can share your testimony with. 

I love you all and I hope everyone has a great week! 

Keep smiling,

Hermana Knowles

Viví en los cielos
1.Yo en los cielos viví y amé, cierto es,
a las personas que ̮ahora conozco, traté
y nuestro Padre un plan presentó con bondad
para salvarnos con Él en la eternidad.
2.Dios requería que ̮un hijo capaz de amar
diera su vida y ̮a todos quisiera salvar.
“Quiero la gloria” ̮insistió Lucifer con maldad;
dijo Jesús: “Padre, hágase tu voluntad”.
3.Dios eligió a Jesús y ̮el Mesías nació;
para salvarnos sufrió, luego resucitó.
La puerta ̮abrió para darnos oportunidad
de vivir otra vez en Su mansión celestial.
Comp can you back me up? Introducing team Knowles & Mendieta
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This is Hyrum an adorable two year old that already knows his abcs! #presh

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