Dates of Mission

November 2011-November 2013

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Elder Knowles and Elder Deivid at Caiuá, Brazil

March 12 - May 7 letters

Hola Familia

I was transferred this week. I had a feeling that I would be transfered, and I was. Now, I am working in an area named Jardim Do Sol (Garden of the Sun). It is in Curitiba, in the neighborhood of rio negro and sitio cercado. I think with this information you well be able to see where I am at on google maps. This area is really different than my last area, a lot smaller, and we have a chapel here in our area, which is great. The members are warming up to the missionaries here and there are going to be miracles here in this area. It was sad to leave Caiuá, but I am excited to work here! It will be great!

My new companion is Elder Devincenzi and he is from Stockton, California. He has 17 months in the mission, and is really cool. It is kinda crazy, that even though I am with an american, we almost never speak in english. I am speaking pretty much fluently in portuguese, and I think that I talk pretty funny in english. My companion agrees.

You will get a chance to hear this accent this weekend. I will call around 7 o´clock on sunday night here, it should be 2 o´clock there I think. I am going to try to use skype, but, one I do not know your username, and president said that i could call before just to know what your username is. But it will be around that time period.

We also will probably have a baptism this week. We are excited for this family. The husband is a member, but the rest of the family is not baptized. They want to be baptized, know the church is true, and we still need to teach pretty much everything for them this week. But we hope that all goes well for them this week. There names are Fernando, Marinez, and Patrique.

Happy Birthday Trevor!!!! 24 years old is an old man for sure.

Thanks for everything. I loved the messages that mom and dad shared with me!

Until Sunday,

Com Amor,

Elder Knowles

Hola família!
Sorry I do not have a lot of time today. My Companion is going to be a trainer the nest transfer, and so he had a training to attend today and we find out just a little bit before the training. My brothers probably remember that the mission is like this.

I am betting that I will leave for another area, but I still do not know. This week was good, it rained a lot here. I was really wet a couple of days and I have had a cold or flu for some time now and so it was not the best. But I am learning on the mission, that when we are weak, and when things are difficult, Heavenly Father is blessing us with an opportunity to grow. I have grown a lot in the last couple weeks, giving everything to the work, even though my body begs otherwise. I am getting better. But in the next package, airborne would be terrific.

Today was a good pday. We played soccer before the training, and I am getting a lot better. Cuidado Taft. Everyone calls me elder podolski, podolski is a player for germany I think.

Love you bunches,

Baptism pictures will come eventually,

Elder Knowles

Hola Familia, 

Sorry I forgot to let you know that this week was our week to go to the temple and so p-day was moved to wednesday. I will try to remember next time.  

So we had a baptism. I can not send pictures today, but it was really great. Mariana, 12, and Pedro, 8, were baptized and confirmed. The Bishop Baptized, I confirmed Mariana and Pedro was confirmed by Elder Deivid. The family is doing great. The father, Cesar, accepted a calling as teacher in the high priests quorum. I am really happy for this family and their decision to return to full activity together. Pedro and Thaddeus would be really good friends. Mariana and Abigail as well. It was a really personal baptism. It was just us, the family, and the bishop. I will send pictures on monday. 

It really is a great blessing to have a Temple in our mission. The Temple was great as always today. I always learn something new when I go to the temple. I learned a lot today, and it is such a rich experience as a full time missionary. It has taken on a whole new meaning for me. 

The work in Caiuá is progressing, but this month, the ward took a couple steps back. Our Ward Mission Leader moved away last transfer, and we still do not have a Ward Mission Leader. It has been a lot more work on our part, but hopefully we get one this week. It is a calling that I never realized was so important. The Ward mission leader can completely change the output of the work, a lot faster than missionaries. But the great thing, is that we found a bunch of families, and are teaching 5 families right now. Some of them are progressing really well! 

So this is the last week of the transfer even though it is the 5th week. Transfers are next week because of visas or something like that. I will have 2 five week transfers during the mission, so my mission will end up a little bit short of two years.  

Sounds like all is well at home, I love you all! 

Elder Knowles

Tudo Bem??
Well, we thought we were going to have a baptism, but it was moved for this week instead because it worked out better for the family. I hope everything works out well for this family. They have done a lot to return to full activity, the father received a calling again this week, and everything is working a lot better. They appear so much happier and unified as a family. Cesar is really cool and he loves to talk about Church history and stuff like that with me. His favorite prophet is President Howard W Hunter and he has the biography of him in there house. He thought that it was really cool that I am related to the writer of the biography, I do not remember exatly how, but I just remember grandpa saying something about this. It is such a pleasure to work with them and help them be more strong in the gospel. 

This week we talked with lots of people, and worked really hard. We were not having a lot of success, but we kept on working and working. It is hard to always stay animated when nothing is going right. We saw some of our investigators fall because of temptations and trials. But we kept on working. I learned this week, that waiting on the Lord and having pacience, has everything to do with working. Sunday night, we find 2 new families to teach. It was awesome!!! They are great families that want to find the truth. During one of the lessons, the father asked if families can be forever, because he wants to be with his family forever. We quickly responded yes! and testified that families can be forever! The Lord is preparing people here, it just comes in His Time. And always will.  

The package was perfect. that is the best way to send it. I am doing great with money, we really do not need to buy a lot of stuff with our own, every now and then I pick up a tie, but thats it.  

Love you bunches! 

Elder Knowles 

Hola Familia,

Tudo está perfeito! I am afraid that this email will be worse. It is difficult to write in english. I feel kind of like I am translating into english. Having to speak portuguese all the time really helps my speaking abilities thought. I am teaching my companion english very slowly, and he asked to pray in english this last week. I had the toughest time, I could barely remember how to do it. I laughed, because if it is that bad now, it will be very hard at the end of 2 years.  

This week went by really fast. Elder Deivid and I went to work. We accomplished a lot. We really put everything into this week. Really we are just talking with everyone at all times. It is really fun to be with Elder Deivid, because when something falls through, we just go to work, we are a companionship of all smiles, all the time. Today we even taught a lesson to the barber while we were getting our hair cut. Really there are soooo many chances to share the gospel with others. I know that Heavenly Father leads us to people who need our help every day. Missionaries and Members. If we remember and are motivated by our covenants, then we will everyday, look for the ones who need lifting, service, love, and help, and we find a way to help them.  

We had a great experience with that this week. I was doing a contact, and the lady was not interested to say the least. I realized that she was having some difficulties with her garden hose and it was all tangled up in something. We offered to help and she let us, this almost never happens here, and we were able to untangle everything and help her out. After this, she was really grateful, and she told us that she was praying for a way to get all the things done that she needed to get done, and was getting really frustrated because nothing was going right. She felt like we were an answer to her prayers. I know that we were, and that the Lord needs us to always be willing to do that. She invited us to return, and who knows, maybe something good will come of it.  

Thanks for the letters and the package. I was super happy to get the package. It was perfect!!! My companion is enjoying experimenting with american sweets.  

Love you bunches,

Elder Knowles 

P.S. we have a baptism marked for this saturday!!!! Mariana is 12 years old and the family is returning to church right now! I am excited!

Hello Family,
To answer the question mom asked, oi means hello, it is kind of like hey, or hi, or stuff like that. It really casual.  

So I am still in Caiuá but I have a new companion. His name is Elder Deivid (David). He is from São Paulo and is awesome. I am learning a lot more about Brazil, and portuguese, and we are working really hard. It is going to be a really awesome transfer with lots of great things happening. It is helping a lot to have a companion that just speaks portuguese. It is a lot harder to write this week, that is for sure.  

Conference was super cool. I got to watch in English, which was really good. Because of the time falling back here and jumping forward there it is just a 4 hour time difference between us and home right now I think. And so I got to watch all of the sessions. Even Priesthood Session, thought we had to get authorization for that. I was really inspired by all of the talks. President Monson was amazing and I am really excited to take a better look at his talks when they come out in the Liahona. For now, I just want to always keep doing my duty and living worthy of priesthood power. The Church just needs everyone to do their duty, it is not some really demanding of the Lord, but really it is simple. And the Lord will bless us immensly if we do our duty. 

The work is going well, we have four investigators that are progressing really well. One family is trying to get everything together to be married this month, so that he can be baptized. It is a really cool story, I am really excited for them. Marcilio and Regane, but we also have an investigator that has done a ton of family history work already. Gustavo is his name and he is progressing really well. The ward is giving references, we will be baptizing soon.  

Love you bunches 

Elder Knowles


I do not have a lot of time today. Sorry!! But all is well for me. This week was a up and down week. But we had a lot of good things happen and the Lord is working miracles in our area.  

One really cool thing happened this week. This inactive sister that we found, finally came to church!!! She has had a lot of trials lately, but the sisters in the ward are helping her so much. I do not know how one could go through what she goes through, but the Lord often cures people through the hands of his servants. The sisters in the ward help her a ton, and it is great to see her come back to church. I was sooo happy to see her there. She is incredible! While I have not baptized, that was pretty awesome. 

Transfers are this week! I let you know all the details next week! 

Love you, 

Elder Knowles

Oí Família!
March Madness!!!! I completely forgot all about march madness. And 35 degrees... burr... I do not think that I could handle that right now, my body is so used to hot weather. Tell trevor, or family, that I would like to see pictures of the bike. You can email pictures if you want.  

This week was good. We worked super hard. The traning program required a lot of me this week and I definitely grew a lot. I have to take the lead a lot more this last few weeks, and it has not be easy, but I have grown and learned a lot. I am still so amazed at how blessed the missionaries are with the language. There is no way, or study in the world that could help me learn a language this fast. I love it so much. 

The family night went really good last week. The 12 year old wants to be baptized, but it looks like he will have to wait for a while. The parents are not as excited as he is for the gospel. The members are really working hard to do missionary work. It is awesome. It took a while to get to this point, but it was worth it. The members can do so many things that we can not do as missionaries. Sometimes people and investigators forget that we are really people as missionaries, and the members can help so much. I am grateful to come from a family that tries to help the missionaries a lot. There are always opportunities to share the gospel, we just need to be willing to share and talk and love.  

About service here, we have tried so many times to do service, but most of the time people do not let us. We always look for little things we can do, but no one ever lets us do a service project. We will definitely continue to do always try to do service, because that is what the Lord would do if He were here. But the people here do not really like to let us serve them, it is not a easy thing for them. Sometimes, serving is easier than being served for them. We will keep trying.  

Life is super good for me! I love the mission. I love you all a lot!!! 


Elder Knowles

Oí Famíla!!!
It was great to hear some good news from home. The steel bridge team sounds perfect for Trevor and is super cool. I look forward to seeing some awesome pictures in the future and maybe hearing some engineering-talk that i will not understand haha. And congratulations to Mandy as well!! 

The work is going well. It is crazy that we are already to the last two weeks of the transfer. We had a couple really long days this week, but this week is looking a lot better. Tonight we are having a family night with some members and a family of investigators. The 12 year old son is wanting to be baptized, he has already gone to church a couple times with members and is really excited about the gospel. The mom is blind, and the Father has had many surgeries because of cancer. The family has a lot of difficulties, but they are humble nice people, and the gospel with for sure help them face their challenges with more strength. We also started teaching a partially inactive family and the daughter, who is also 12, wants to be baptized. But she is going to wait until her little brother turns 8 as well. Which is next month. I do not know if I will still be around when they are baptized, but that is not the important part. I am so grateful that have had the opportunity to be here. I have met so many awesome people and learned so much. And i have been doing my purpose, inviting others to come unto Christ. There is not anything better than that. 

To answer some questions, I have been working out every day and I do something active every Pday. Normally it is soccer or basketball. But it really helps my mind the rest of the week. And I work out every morning. My body is really adjusted to the missionary schedule, and I wake up with lots of energy somehow. The moment I hit the bed at night, I am sleeping. My Companion is kinda freaked out sometimes at how fast I sleep, but I really put my all into everyday, until the very last minute, and then my body just crashes.  

I will send some pictures of the area next week if I can. Curitiba is so beautiful. I have some great views in my area, I will try to take some pictures. If you have not sent the package yet, ties are always welcome as well ;) 

Love you bunches, 

Elder Knowles

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Letters and Photo

Oí família!

This last week really did go by way fast!!! It is already monday again. It is crazy how fast the time passes in the mission. Time passes fast when we are anxiously engaged in a good cause, and there definitely is no better cause than the mission. 

This last week, I got really sick for the first time in the field. I was out all of thursday, and my companion was out all of friday. It is definitely not the most enjoyable way to spend the mission, and I am really glad to be feeling better now. I think we ate something bad, but my companion was hit a lot harder by hit. It was really strange, because normally the one with the less time in brazil gets more sick. Oh well, I am doing everything I can to not get sick, sometimes though we do not have control over what we eat with the members that feed us everyday for lunch. But I am excited for this week, and it is great to not be sick anymore!

So things are a little bit tough in our area, as you might have noticed. It is not that common to pass through an area like ours in the mission. Sometimes, I feel like Joesph Smith, in the midst of a war of opinions and churches for that matter. Our area has soooo many churches. Everyone goes to church. There are many Jeovahs Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists. We meet them daily and they always want to argue with us, but as missionaries we just dont have time for that, nor would it ever do any good. We can only invite people to come unto Christ. And then they can choose to accept it or not. We have definitely done a lot of inviting, that is for sure. But by inviting people to come unto Christ, and helping them do the things that lead to conversion, they will begin to feel the Spirit in their lives. The Spirit is what will change their lives and can change our lives every single day if we are worthy of its companionship.

We officially tried everything to help the wife of Carlos allow him to be baptized. We wrote her a letter and she threw it out, I have invited her many times to talk with us, but she has always declined, and refuses to let him be baptized. He was really close, but it looks like for now he will have to wait... Thanks for the prayers though. He has made a big difference in his life, and is praying and reading the book of mormon every day. One day he will get the chance to be baptized. 

As for the package, peanut butter, stuff to eat, efy music, the reflections of Christ CDs, anything you think i would like! 

Love you soo much!

Elder Knowles

Tudo Bem??

It was good to hear that all is well at home! My mind is blown away that you are having a midwinter break at this time of the year. We fell back an hour yesterday, but my body is not really sure that fall is coming. Oh well my mind will adjust eventually. It was good to get an extra hour of sleep though!

The work here is coming along really well. The summer holidays are over here, and so the ward is back, and we are able to start working a little bit more consistently with the ward. We are really excited for this week. Every week is just getting better, and we know that to have real success, we need to anchor those that we teach to the gospel and to the members. Elder Stevenson is a great companion, and we are really working well together. 

Carlos was almost baptized this week. He passed the interview, but his wife did not let him be baptized. We have tried so many things to talk to her, and she just will not listen. It was such a good reminder that things are done on the Lords Time and not ours. I do not know when everything will work out for the Family of Carlos, but I trust that it will. He really wants to be baptized, but he also doesn´t want to cause conflicts in the house. We just pray and keep looking for opportunities to talk to her. The Lord will soften her heart in his own time. 

In the mean time, we are working really hard to find families. The ward is beginning to give us more references. And we are always trying to look up!

One of the things that I am learning on the mission is the importance of lifting where you stand. The Lord calls us to many places and to do many things. All of these things are important. No calling from the Lord is unimportant to Him. The Church definitely needs us to lift where we stand, to serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. I am grateful to have a family that is such a great example for me.

I love you all very much! Thanks for everything!!

Elder Knowles

Tudo Bem!!!

Everything is well. I am glad that you recognized me in my pictures. I hardly recognize myself when I see myself in a good mirror. Brazil has been treating me well. I do not gain weight because I just eat breakfast and a big lunch and then work until night. It is pretty awesome. 

This week, the language really improved. The Lord blesses the missionaries so much! I am understanding pretty much everybody except for really drunk people. It is pretty incredible how fast missionaries learn the language. The mission is full of miracles. 

I am still here in Caiuá. The work is going well. We are definitely working really hard. The ward is coming along with us. WE spent a lot of this week trying to follow up with people, but a lot of them fell through. Often times it felt like we were just running around chasing things that were impossible to catch. It was really tough. But then we would realize that we can not do this work all alone, and would offer a quick prayer somewhere, and begin to work again. This always made a big difference for us. Prayer is so simple, but such a wonderful opportunity we have here on Earth to be guided by our Heavenly Father. I think if we truly understood how much our Heavenly Father loves us and that He is our Father, we would pray more often, with more real intent, and with greater faith. 

Still no batismos, but we are getting close. This week will be a week of miracles. I just know it. Thanks for all the prayers! And dad, I love the little messages and my companion does too! We will be sure to love more this week. 

Love you all so much!

Elder Knowles

Tudo Bem!

Sounds like life is good for the family. Abigail is 13, wow! I hope that you got my letters for Dad and Abigail. I will try to be more on time for the rest of the birthdays.

Life is good in Cauiá. We will find out tonight if transfers are going to happen, but like dad said, it is much more common to stay two transfers now with your trainer. And I hope that I get the opportunity to stay. Because things are just looking better every single week.  A lot things fell through this week, but we are still continually changing the way missionary work is done in this ward. We are really excited about the ward right now.

Our Ward mission leader, has been wanting some ward missionaries for a while, but no one was ever called. In a meeting with him, I told him a little bit about my experience as a ward missionary and some things that I thought would work better. And so we started to work on an idea. He hosted a fireside, and invited all the RMs of the ward, we have a lot, to come. He then assigned them in companionships, and is having them make goals for finding, and giving references. So basically we have 16 companionships of ward missionaries. And each has a goal of at least one reference per month. The members were super excited. Some of them have set goals of one baptism per month. The ward is really starting to work with us. Missionary work would work best, if we just went with the members to their scheduled lessons. 

Ainda, nao tem batismos aqui. But we will. Carlos is still working hard, we have found out a little bit more about how we can help him, but we are also focusing a ton on finding, teaching, and baptizing families. I am excited about this, my companion is excited about this, and the ward is too. Results will come. The Lord will prepare a way to accomplish his work. I too, just want to be in tune so I can be an instrument for Him, in Caiuà.

Love you all so much! Thanks for all that you do. 

Random notes:

It is hot, but I am doing just fine with the heat. And it rains really hard here. Nossa!
This week is Carnival. And Carnival is definitely not like the Carnival on Rio the movie, I will leave it at that. 


Elder Knowles

Hola Familia,

By the way, hola is portuguese as well. It is more written though than said. 

But yeah, this week was a good week. I definitely learned a lot from this last week. With all those investigators at church, we had a very busy week ahead of us. We followed up with a lot of people, but unfotunately, a lot of them are not really progressing.  But there is a good chance for a baptism this weekend, hopefully for Carlos. He is so close, and really wants to do it, his family just does not give him a lot of support right now. We are helping him try to share the gospel with his wife, so that they can do this together, because truly the gospel is for families, and he will be even more happy with his whole family together. Thanks for the story about Elder Grow, I have been trying to talk to all the couples I see as well. 

The ward is still pretty excited. This has been a quick 5 and a half weeks for me. The Mission is awesome, I love it so much.

Today we had the opportunity to go to the Temple. It was incredible. I will send some pictures right after. The Curitiba Temple is super pretty. I think Mom would definitely love the grounds around the temple as well. 

Time is really short today!

Love you all bunches!

Elder Knowles

Monday, January 30, 2012

Recent letters

January 30, 2012

Hola Família!!!

This week was a week of miracles. Lots of great things happened. Not everything happened exactly like we thought it would, but it was a really good week. 

Elder Anderson and Elder Ballard were amazing. I doubt I have ever had allergies as bad as I did that morning, but it was still one of the most incredible meetings of my life. Elder Anderson, speaks portuguese, spoke first about the Atonement. It was very simple, because his portuguese is about as good as mine, but very powerful. It was good for me to see that even he did not speak super well, and occasionally mixed in words from Spanish, that it was very moving. I have the same problem with Spanish words every now and then haha. Elder Ballard spoke about missionary work. He spoke about many ways that missionaries need to improve. It was really obvious that he has truly mastered the doctrines, lessons, and skills taught in Preach My Gospel. A lot of what they said was really great and I learned a lot, but what I was really inspired to do, was to learn how to teach the way they taught. They were not only teaching what to teach, but how to teach it. They are not only teaching us what we need to be, but also they are true examples of what we can be. Elder Ballard, answered many questions, by first asking the question of what would our Savior do. Elder Ballard and Elder Anderson truly live by this principle, by doing what Jesus Christ would do. 

Unfortunately though, our Baptism fell through. He still needs to prepare some more for baptism, and we are now working for the 12th of February. But we ended the week with many people with dates for baptism, 7 investigators at Church, meeting most of our goals except for lessons com membros. But, the ward is so excited about Missionary work now. 7 investigators was an inspiration for them. And I am pretty sure I smiled for 3 hours straight, it was incredible. So the ward is more excited about missionary work, and we are working harder then ever. 

The mission is really great! I love every single day!

Thanks for all of your emails, letters, and prayers. I really do appreciate them. I could not do it all without them. 

Something cool I learned this week:
The pizza.... is really good. They are a lot more creative with pizza here, lots of different toppings and flavors. And the Doce Pizzas are soooo good! I will have to try to make one when I get home.

Love you bunches!

Elder Knowles

January 23, 2012

Oí Família,

Sounds like a crazy week for you, but also a very fantastic week as well. What a great experience to have Elder Grow with the family. I was definitely inspired, just by hearing about it. And it is really tough to even imagine what snow is like, because it has been so hot here. I have never been this tan in my life, and guess what mom, my hair is turning more red than it is blonde. Crazy! Your children are related to you somewhat. 

So this week we get a awesome present in our mission! Friday morning, we get to have a mission conference with Elder Ballard and Elder Anderson. I am super excited. It will be incredible!!! It is pretty cool to get to have 2 apostles come visit a mission, let alone at the same time. Should be fantastic! I will write about it next week.

Thanks for the prayers, one investigator made it to stake conference with us this week!!!! It was so awesome. Church is so much better as a missionary when you have an investigator with you. It was a really good stake conference for us too. President Cordon spoke, and it was a great talk about the role of the book of mormon. He is an incredible leader. I had the opportunity to have an interview with him on saturday, and I left, feeling so uplifted and inspired. Fogo nos ossos, we always say on the mission. It means fire in the bones. That is how I feel about the work right now. It is awesome!

Last week, was a little difficult. We lost a lot of time due to trainings, and policia federal. (I am legal though, so that is good). And pretty much everything we had marked, fell through. It just felt tough, but we kept working really hard, and it seems to have helped a lot, because we are pretty excited about some of the people we found to teach. This will be a great week, I can already feel it, and if everything goes well, my first baptism will be on Sunday. Carlos is incredible, he is a humble gardener that is so ready for the gospel and wants to do all he can to change his life, so that he can bless his family. We are so excited for him!!!

I love the gospel so much. One thing that I have learned a lot about on the mission is Faith. We need to exercise faith every single day of our lives. Missionaries of Faith are the ones who do all the little things, believing that if they are exactly obedient, that they will be blessed. This is so true, we all need to be people of faith, doing all the little things in our power, so that we too can receive the promised blessings of the Lord. True faith is something desperately needed in the world today. 

Other cool things about Brazil:
The bus system in curitiba, is pretty cool. 
All the kids can fly kites in my area really well. It is pretty incredible how natural it is for them, 4 and 5 year olds are pros at it already. 
I played soccer with brazilians today, and it was really awesome, I have some learning, but they all thought I played like a german, and not an american. which is cool I guess. 

Send the package or mail to either address, truth is, the address is the same exact place. But I would follow the instructions in the packet. Things sometimes go missing in mail as well, but not nearly as bad as the stories we heard about argentina. 

Love you soooo much!!! Thanks for everything

Elder Knowles

January 16, 2012

Tudo Bem!

This last week was really good. And it looks like things are just going to get better as well. Thanks for all the letters, support, and prayers. I really appreciate them. It always gives me a lot of confidence to know that you are praying for me. And also, the example of my brothers as missionaries and the rest of my family also helps a ton. Thanks a bunch!

I am starting to get the hang of things on the mission. My Companion, Elder Stevenson, and I work really well together. We have a lot in common and we are both working really hard. We have a investigator named Carlos who is awesome. He is changing his life, including giving up drinking and smoking, and he really sincerely wants to be baptized. Unfortunately, our area has a really difficult time getting people to church, and we still have to get him and other investigators to Church. It is so disappointing to show up to church and have no investigators there, but we made the best of it and our focus is to help get investigators to Church this week. Carlos is so awesome, and we are really excited for him. The other day, we were teaching the plan of salvation to him, and while I was looking for the right work to say, oftentimes he would just say the right word for me, as if he knew the lesson plan. You could tell that he feels like he has finally found what he was looking for. People are ready to hear the gospel, we just have to find them. 

This letter will be a little short, because I want to send some pictures of the MTC. 

But other things about brazil/my life/language etc:
There are dogs (cachorros) everywhere. I have already had some close encounters...
They speak a ton of diria aqui, or slang here. I am starting to get it down, but it still sounds strange compared to what I heard in São Paulo.
The Food is incredible, they make fresh Juice all the time, and incredible lunches everyday. I will not get fat though because we only eat lunch and breakfast and a tiny snack if we have time at night.
My apartment just has me and my companion. Today we spent all day cleaning it out, it is not quite mom´s standards but it is much better. 
I have lots of alergies here, but I think it is mostly the house. 

Oh and if you send a package things I could use are
contact solution
music-(must produced by the Church-EFY cd´s are good and on p-day can be other inspirational music)
maybe a sounders jersey... haha okay I do not really need that one but it would be cool.


Elder Knowles

Monday, January 9, 2012

First letter from Curitiba, Jan 9, 2012

Tudo Bem!!!

Curitiba is pretty incredible! I absolutely love it here. The transition has gone really smoothly and I am started to get the hang of things. I guess I will talk a little bit about my first day and then what has been going on since then.

On Tuesday, we flew into the airport, I do not know if they put a picture on the mission blog, maybe they will one day, but Curitiba the city is a really nice place, including the airport. We met President and Sister Cordon, who are incredible, and then we ate at their house. After some quick interviews we went off to a local building to meet our trainers. My companion is Elder Stevenson. He is from the Lynnwood Stake and went to Meadowdale High school and so we have a lot of common friends.  Pretty Crazy, that I come all the way here and my companion is someone I lived 15 minutes away from. And then we took a couple buses out to our area and began teaching that night!

The name of my area is Caiuá, it is on the far outskirts of Curitiba. It is a very intersesting area. Here in Brazil, there are lots of what are called bairros (pronounced bye-hose) which are like little neighborhoods. We have 4-5 of them in our area and they are all pretty different. Some of them are pretty nice while a couple of them are pretty poor kind of like favelinhas. But the people here are incredible. Pretty much everyone has faith in Jesus Christ here, and lots of people will let you in to talk with them or set up an appointment for another time. The people are much more friendly and open than in the states.

The weather has been pretty interesting. It can be super hot and humid, and then the next hour, be pouring down rain. And every morning is super cold. So pretty much I get a little bit of everything every day. We just always carry around umbrellas and are prepared for anything.

Our daily schedule is study until 12:00 (the first two transfers we have an extra hour of study) and then we have lunch at a members house. Everyone told me that I would have the same thing everyday, beans and rice, which is true. But what you eat with that is always different, and I love it. We eat a lot for lunch and that is about it for the day, because after lunch we work until 9. No dinner. I love it that way. We contact so many people in the time that we would take off to eat dinner and it really is our most efficient time of the day because families are together in their houses.

The language at times is coming along really well. It was a little tough to get used to all the slang here, but I am starting to get that down and understand them. They speak a little different here than in São Paulo. And there are so many different accents here too, so pretty much every one has their own accent. Curitiba really has people from all over brazil and the world and so it has a lot of different accents.

I may not speak the best, and I may not understand everything, but I have been living by three rules: Sorrer, Amar, Trabalhar e Aprender. Smile, Love, Work and Learn. I have a strong testimony of this, because I am not fluent, but when I do these things, miracles have happened. Miracles happen every single day of the mission. I love the mission. It was great to hear from you! P-days are mondays! Love you bunches,

Elder Knowles

December 28, 2011

Hola Família!
Estou Bem. I am doing well. Christmas was fantastic, a little bit strange, but fantastic nonetheless. And it sounded like Christmas was really great there. I looked forward to being whooped by my little brothers, well all my brothers for that matter, in FIFA and whooped by the girls in Just Dance 3 haha. (not implying anything, but just dance 3 doesn´t seem like trevor´s kind of game)
But yeah Christmas was incredible. Christmas eve, was pretty much a day off. We played basketball and volleyball for a really long time in the gym and then had games in the afternoon. And in the evening, we watched a Christmas Carol. Sunday was laid back too. We went to Sacrament Meeting, but all other meetings were canceled. Sunday night we were finally able to watch the Christmas Devotional from the First Presidency. That was incredible and I absolutely loved the music as well. Overall it was a great weekend, but by Monday I was really ready to get back to work again.
On Monday we got the wonderful opportunity to go Proselyting around the CTM. The boundaries are pretty small and there were about 20 missionaries out proselyting but we were able to talk to some people and place some Livros de Mormon. But because the missionaries do this every monday, the week before they go out to the field, we contacted 20-25 people before we placed our first one, and in the three hours, we contacted soo many people. Everyone would just say that they either had a Book of Mormon (some had a couple) or were not interested. It was great though. One person that we gave a Livro de Mórmon to was a 13 year-old boy and he really seemed to want to read it. When I was talking to him, I remembered that I was around that age when I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time, and shared that with him and how much it had changed my life and blessed me since. I am excited to do this kind of stuff every day in the field. And honestly, I understood a lot more than I thought I would too, which was a miracle!
As for my plans for next week, I really do not know a whole lot. I know that I will not be able to call you when I am in the airport, and that I am flying to Curitiba. There are 10 Americans here with their visas that are headed to Curitiba and there is also 2 Brasileiros. So I will definitely be traveling as a group. I will leave next tuesday morning. I think P-days are Wednesday or Tuesdays in Brazil, but honestly, I do not know. They do not tell us a whole lot, because that might be a little distracting for us in our last week. It is tough enough for most of the missionaries to focus in their last week as it is, because the majority of them are tired of the CTM.
I personally love it and am working even harder this week. I know everything I learn this week will be a blessing next week and in the campo.
Thanks so much for the Photos, I appreciate it. I can now kind of explain lacrosse to Brazilians. They still do not really get it. But they think it looks cool. And thank you everyone for the letter you sent through my teacher, I really loved that too.
Be sure to thank Bishop for his dearelder that he sent, and also the ward for their letters. Oh and also the Stake Presidency! I got theirs yesterday so it was nice to have Christmas spread out a little bit.
As for stuff I could use... I am not sure. Maybe a Tide Bleach pen and a tide pen, ties, pens pencils, notebooks, etc...
Love you so much
Elder Knowles

December 21, 2011

Feliz Natal Everyone!!!!
It sounds like everyone is doing good at home. Christmas definitely has a really different feel for me right now. It is extremely different, but I love it.
So one of the rules here in the CTM is that we are not supposed to give gifts of material things to other people. It is just the rule here and probably for good reason. At first I was bummed about that, because I wanted to get stuff for my district and my brasileiros for Christmas, but then someone informed me of that rule here which I never learned because I missed orientation here due to arriving late. But obedience is worth everything as a missionary and so I dropped those plans. But I still wanted to do something make it feel a little like Christmas, so instead I have just been trying my best to do random acts of service for everyone. It is the best that I can do, and to be honest it is much better than anything I could do for them. I do not know if my acts of service have even been noticed by anyone, but they have made all the difference for me. It is interesting how we are given so much, when we give of ourselves. Those are the best kind of gifts that we can give, and the best gift we have every been given was our Savior truly giving of Himself, for us.
Today we got a special treat, we got to hear from Elder Claudio Costa. It was amazing!!! It was such a good fireside. It was good to hear from him. The General Authorities are such amazing men. The promises he made to us were amazing, and I loved them. It was a great christmas present to me!
I also got the cards, but I will not open them until Christmas!
Thank you so much for everything. I appreciate all the prayers and everything you do.
Feliz Natal!!!
Elder Knowles

December 14, 2011

Boa Tarde, ou Bom Dia in Seattle!
It is really good to hear from the family. It sounds like everything is going well! I feel weird saying Feliz Natal because it seems so different than Christmas here, but I am enjoying it. I hear they are going to take care of us super well on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve tambem. They take good care of the missionaries here.
Nothing New happened this week. I realized after I sent that email to Taft that I should have explained, that I am just the assistant to the president in my branch, so pretty much just the same thing I did in Provo, however, they only called me and not my companion and so technically I am the only one, but Elder Tanke comes along with me to everything as well, so they probably should have just extended this calling to him as well.
Class is going well, portuguese is going well. I am learning a lot every day. It is pretty incredible as well to see how much I have grown since entering the MTC in Provo. And it is truly a miracle that I can speak with people somewhat after only learning the language for 6 weeks. It is obvious that Missionaries receive some divine help.
We now have two brasilieros in my room, so there are six of us in our room. They are really nice! And incredibly humble. They have so much less than we have, and they never complain, or at least, I never understand them when they do haha. One of the elders is from one of the poorest parts of brazil and only has one pair of church shoes and some flip-flops. So I let him use one my pairs of running shoes. He was going to go to gym in church shoes, a pretty beat up pair of church shoes as well, but that was not okay with me. The people here sacrifice so much for the church. They are incredible. We have it so easy back at home. I love the way they smile and love life, even though it has a lot of problems.
Having them in my apartement has also been really good for my portuguese. Even with the major lack in ability to communicate clearly, they have become great friends of mine.
I love you all so much! Thanks for all the prayers! I truly need them and appreciate them.
Also, I am pretty sure that those dearelders you sent right before I left provo will never get to me cause I guess they do not forward them. Oh well, I am so grateful that we can email once a week though!
Elder Knowles

December 7, 2011

Sounded like a good week at the Knowles home. It is always good to hear from my family! I am sorry Boise State got robbed, what is new?
That is way cool that Dad got to spend that much time with Robert Millet. I have read some of his writings, and I know that Bro. Wilcox quoted him all the time in his book and in mission prep. That was a way cool experience I bet. And people put up pretty similar christmas decorations here, trees, lights, wreaths, etc. It is just not as big of a deal here. And it is a little bit weird because it is really warm. But I love it. I still get to sing plenty of Christmas music and we get to listen to music here so I have been enjoying my christmas music that I have.
So my typical day here is:
6:30 Wake up
7:00 Personal Study
8:00 Breakfast
8:30-12:00 Class
12:00- Language Study
1:00 Lunch
1:45-5:00 Class
6:00-8:00 Study/Practice/Fireside depends on the day
8:00 Gym
9:30- Snack (Supposed to talk to Brasileros)
9:45-10:30 Journal/get ready for bed.
The schedule here is way more laid back than Provo, and how much you get out of this MTC has much to do with how much you put into it. Each meal is an opportunity to develop your language skills by sitting with the brazilians however most American missionaries do not take advantage of it. I love them so much, and I try to talk to them every chance I get. I speak pretty well when it comes to the gospel and church stuff, and talking to them helps me develop the rest.
To answer Dads question, yes, I have spoken with people out on the streets during p-day and i hardly understand a thing they say, but they understand me apparently cause they talk back when I talk to them. Listening will come with time out in the field.
We have not seen the First Presidency Christmas Devotional yet unfortunately, hopefully we get to watch it this sunday.
Other notes about brazil... São Paulo is gigantic. It is so big. To put it in perspective, It looks just like the make believe city from the movie Inception. I look out the wind and I see skyscrapers forever. They are not as tall as some of the ones in America, but they go forever. I am not quite sure how big the state of São Paulo is but there is over 32 million people in the state. Que Loco!
Anyways, Love you guys lots. I am working really hard!
Elder Knowles