Tuesday, February 24, 2015

God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again


The Time Has Finally Come
18 month mark celebration
I can't believe that my final email has finally come. Time is such a weird thing. There are moments where if feels like it is barely even moving forward and then there are moments where it just flies right on past you and you don't even have time to realize what happened. I have experienced so many ups and downs on my mission and I wouldn't trade them for anything. I learned so much more about myself, about my Savior, about the gospel, about loving and serving others, about being a mom (even how to potty train children), about listening and caring, about cultures, about family, about missionary work, and about so much more than I probably realize at the moment.  I think one of the best things that I have learned is that I can do hard things. All of us can. We all face trials and some that we think we won't be able to get through. Some that make us want to just shrink into a ball, but really we CAN do hard things when we have the Savior with us.  He really does pick us up whenever we fall and is there for us every step of the way. It reminds me of this poem that I am sure most have you have heard but I absolutely love it and really have seen this in my own life. It says, 

"One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
with our American children, Jane and Patrick
His Plan is Better
He really never does leave us alone.  He knows exactly what we need and who we need. That is also something that I have learned since being on my mission. Our Heavenly Father and the Savior really do know us perfectly.  They KNOW who we need in our lives and what we need. Trust them. Their plan for us is so much better than the plans we make for ourselves and when we can learn to really give our lives to them then they will make something so much better out of it than we could. 

Our district in Marjaniemi
Best Place, Best Companions, Best People
I have had the chance to serve a mission in Helsinki, Finland.  It my eyes its the best place in the world where I could have served. I then got to serve in 3 amazing places with 3 incredible wards. I had the chance to meet people who have impacted me and my life more than I could ever imagine. These people are incredible!! I think one of the coolest things has been meeting people from all over the world!  Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Philippines, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Austria, Spain, Estonia, Lithuania, France, Italy, Canada, USA (I already knew these pretty well), Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Ukraine, England, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Cambodia, and of course FINLAND! I love these people. I love this country. I really just love this world.... well all the good things in it.  I am so grateful for all the people that I met. They taught me so much. Then I got to serve with some incredible missionaries and 8 incredible companions.  I LOVE THEM!  I was put with the perfect people exactly when I needed them. Some taught me to grow up. Some taught me to be me and to have fun doing the work.  Some taught me to work hard.  Some taught me to laugh until I would cry. Some taught me how to compromise. Some taught me that I am not always right...  But all taught me how to love, care, and serve others. I am sure that some of the biggest impacts that I have had on my mission have come from my companions. Because of my mission and the places I served and the people I met, I have some of the greatest friends that I could have ever asked for and who I really needed in my life. Not only because of them, but also my friends back home and my family, I am who I am.  I really wouldn't give up my mission for anything. This past Sunday the ward did there usual tradition of singing, "God be with you til' we meet again" at the end of church for the leaving missionaries. This time it was me.  I never thought that would happen. Everyone came back into the chapel to sing to me. I cried. I love this country, I love this language, I love this culture, and I love these people with all my heart.  I am really going to miss them.  
Filipino investigators
The church really is true. It has made my life so much better than it ever could be without it.  I am forever grateful for the opportunity that I had to serve here in Finland.  I am so grateful that I have the Gospel in my life and that I got so share it with others. Thank you everyone for all of your love and support. Just like those who have impacted me here, you also have impacted me from an ocean away. I love you all so much!!! See you soon!!!! 

Sisar Knapp
P.S.  All of you still of mission and wanting to stay in touch here is my home email... hayleykknapp@gmail.com

p.s. Just a couple of funny stories from the week:
As I was leaving the church Jane who is the cute little american girl in the picture said, "Bye forever Sister Knapp I hope!!"  Haha So sad!! but then she correct herself and said I hope not.  :) 

Then Sister Angelosanto handed me her Baby since I am going home and at first I was way excited about it but then as soon as I had the baby in my arms I was like "Ah!  What do I do with this thing?!"  I was fine after about 5 minutes though. haha :) 

Happy Friends' Day!


I am sorry, but I ran out of time!  It was a pretty good week even though basically no one wanted to meet with us. Sister Seegmiller and I had a good Valentines day, which is "friends day" in Finland and celebrated but not really. She got me Dr. Pepper and I got her flowers. So sweet! ;) I have to say that I am so thankful for my mission though. It has been one of the greatest experiences of my whole life. I have learned so much and I have grown so much. I have met so many people that I absolutely love and  have made SO many friends. It has definitely been one of the most worthwhile things that I have ever done. 
This gospel really is so true. I love it and I am so lucky that I have it in my life.  It really does make my life so much better. I have really learned that the best thing we can do is trust in God and the Savior, Jesus Christ. They have WAY better plans for our lives than we could ever make for ourselves. The church is true!  I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your love and support as I have been on a mission in this amazing country of Finland. You all are amazing and I am so excited to see you in just a couple weeks! 


Sisar Knapp

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Short but Sweet

Well, this is probably going to be really short, mostly because I just don't have the energy and I am coming  home soon anyway so I can tell everyone about the last few weeks of my mission when I get there. :) This week was kind of a wash too.  We had such a good week planned out and then everyone cancelled.  I swear that this happens after every good week. A miracle did happen this week though!!!  We were on our way to an appointment when we ran into one of our investigators from Nigeria,Tochukwu. He is so cool. He was the one that was way excited to come to church a couple weeks ago and came. He loved church but then for the whole next week we were not able to get in touch with him at all. He was always busy at work and told us that he would call us back later. Well, a miracle happened and we ran into him at a metro stop and got to travel with him for a bit. He told us that he has been really busy with work but that he is trying to get his schedule situated to that he can come to church with us and meet with us during the week.  He said that the week before on Saturday before he went to church, he prayed and "challenged" God.  He really needed a job because at the time he didn't have one and he wanted the job by Monday. It was Saturday. He said that he told God that he was going to church and that if this was the church that he wanted him to stay in He needed to give him a job by Monday. Then he would never go to any other church. This would be the church that he would stay in for the rest of his life. Well, he came to church and really enjoyed it. He then went home and as soon as he got home his friend called him and told him that a miracle happened and asked if he could come over.  His friend then came over and proceeded to tell him that his boss wanted Tochukwu to come and work for them and that he would start tomorrow (Monday). AMAZING!!!  Tochukwu then told his friend that this church, our church, is the best church in the world. He told us that he is now a member of our church and that he will never ever go to any other church for the rest of his life.  Can I just say, the church is true! God never lets you down!  He really is always there for you!  It was such a cool story.  We are starting to meet with him again this week and help him to prepare to actually become a member. We are so excited for him!  Thanks for all the love and support! :) 

Sister Knapp

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Thank My Lucky Stars!

He Was Hooked
With Sister Seegmiller
This past week was such a good week!  It was so busy and we have seen a lot of miracles this week. We have been going through our area book a ton the past couple of weeks and as we have been doing that we have been able to see a lot of success in finding. It has been really amazing to see. Then on top of finding from the area book we have been able to find from those people!  This week we had a lesson with an African man from Nigeria who we had called and he was willing to meet with missionaries again. We had a lesson with him and it went alright but his friend was there, Tochukwu and was hooked to what we were saying. It was amazing. He had so many questions and really liked what we had to say. He then stared asking us, "Is your church in Finland? Where? What time? Can I come? Can I get a ride?"  It was so cool. We are now teaching this friend who also came to church this week. That was pretty miraculous. We had been having a really rough day too and this guy really was just a tender mercy. 
She's Back
This week were were also able to get in touch with a previous investigator that I have already taught. She is from China, Wu Keer, and is so sweet. The only reason she stopped meeting with us is because she had to prepare for a Finnish exam to try and get a longer visa here in Finland. Understandable. But when we called her she was really excited to hear from us and really wanted to meet with us again. Apparently her friend in Espoo is taking the lessons from the missionaries and invited her to join but she told her friend that she belonged here with us. Sweet!  We are really excited to be able to start teaching her again and she has a lot more time so hopefully now she will be able to progress and meet more.  
Stubborn & Sassy 
Fai's family continues to do ok. We don't want to give up on Anu since she did really want to be baptized at one point but then her dad wouldn't and won't let her yet. So we want to at least help her to learn more about the church and be a good influence in her life while she is growing up. She is so stubborn and sassy and can be a little difficult to teach but I love her. Really, I just love this family so much and wish that they could all have the gospel in their lives. They are amazing. 
Lost in Translation
We were also able to meet with a couple of less-actives this past week.  We were able to meet with again with Eila Ryyty and it went well. Since we had not been able to meet with her in awhile she had stopped reading and praying again but has now committed to start doing that again and has put a reminder on her phone. We are really, really hoping that we can get her to start coming back to church again soon. This week we were also meeting with our less-active Lelieta from the Philippines. She is so sweet and she came to church this week!  She even got up and bore her testimony!  That was really exciting. The poor elder who had to try and translate for her. She says a million sentences and then expects him to translate. Also, he has only been in the country for 5 months... yeah.. the translation didn't go very well.  Later, Lelieta talked to me and told me that she really wanted me to translate for her but she couldn't find me.  All I could think was "Thank my lucky stars!"  I really do believe in miracles. :) 
With Sister Seegmiller and Elsayed
Great Crazy Sunday
Sunday was crazy. We had 3 people in church:  the African guy that we talked about, Elsayed who is the guy from Egypt, and also our Filipino investigator, Nilma, who is friends with Lelieta It was super exciting but kind of stressful.  Elsayed is one of the most prepared people I have ever seen in my life.  He just moved to New Zealand today which is kind of sad but we are really excited for him to meet the missionaries there.  He has been doing everything humanly possible to make sure that he can find the missionaries there.  He already knows the church is true and really wants to be baptized.  He was so grateful that he had met us and told us that he was never going to forget us.  It was super sweet.  Our Filipino investigator is really amazing too.  After Lelieta got up and bore her testimony then our investigator Nilma did too!  I have never had that happen before! Our investigator bore her testimony in sacrament meeting and it was the first time she was at church!!  She is so amazing.  We absolutely love her. She was so sweet and just kept thanking everyone and us for teaching her. Super cool. This then made Elsayed want to get up and bare his testimony.... What?!  Unfortunately, time had run out and we were already 15 minutes over so he couldn't.  It was kind of sad. Over all, it was an amazing week though.  We saw so many miracles and had so much help from the ward and it was amazing!  

The work is going forward. Thanks for all of the love and support!  

Sisar Knapp

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"It Has To Be True!"

I'm On The Juice Aisle
Hopefully this will be a good email, but I feel like the closer I get to coming home the less I really have the energy to write long detailed emails. This week was a better week and things are going really well.  We are still teaching our investigator who is Egyptian, Elsayed, and he is one of the most prepared people that I have ever seen.  He is so humble and so ready to hear the Gospel. We told him about the restoration and how he can know if it is true and he just kept saying, "It must be true!  It must be true!".  He is amazing.  He is so nice and willing and ready to learn.  He came to church this past week too and really liked it. He said that it really touched his heart.  The only sad thing about all this is that he is moving to New Zealand! So we are going to have to help him get in touch with the missionaries there so that they can teach him and baptize him because he is so ready.  He is also one of the nicest people ever. Giving us a ton of juice and pastries.  Yum!  He is great. :) Small side note.... Have I ever mentioned anything about Finns and juice? Oh my word!  They love juice!! Seriously, you can go into a grocery story and they will have an entire aisle of juices. It just reminds me of Brian Regan, "I'm in the juice aisle... slumped over with juice people." Good ole' Brian Regan. :) 
So Many Questions
Things are also going alright with Anu. She decided that she wanted to get baptized in June but now her dad, Tero, is saying that she needs to wait until she is older. We are going to keep working with her and her dad though and hopefully over time she will be able to be baptized and her parents will be ok with it.  She apparently watch a movie about Christ with Mac and her dad and really liked it. She had so many questions after that and now she says that she believes in Christ so that was pretty exciting. She continues to be my favorite person that we are teaching right now. Her dad is doing alright.  He is having a really hard time caring right now and seeing a point in believing in this. So we are trying to help him build a greater desire to change.  
Less Active Work
We also were able to meet with a few less-actives this week. Sisar Aalto is great. She is from Chile and has been living in Finland for 25 years. She is so nice and you would never guess that she is less-active by the way she talks.  She really seems to understand the Gospel and what it teaches. It's just hard for her to come to church since her husband left the church and wont have anything to do with it. We are meeting with her again next week. We are also still working with Sister Ryyty. She is doing ok. We hadn't been able to get into her house for the past few weeks so it was nice to finally be able to meet with her again. She really just has a hard time coming to church and giving time for the Gospel but she is still praying and reading with us. So hopefully we can continue to help her.   
Success From Planted Seeds
Sister Seegmiller and I have also been going through our area book like crazy. It has been our biggest success in finding new people that are willing to meet with us that we can teach. We have gone through about 30 people who were former investigators in the area book and are now meeting with 3 of them so that has been really exciting. We have a goal to have contacted every single former in the areabook before the end of the change and so far we are doing really good. :) 

Nothing much more to report!  Thank you for all of your love and support!! 

Sister Knapp

Monday, January 26, 2015

Teaching When We Really Trust

Being Taught
This was a lot better week than last week. I still have to admit that I don't remember much at all about what happened but it was a good week none the less. The weirdest thing is not having P-day on Mondays anymore and instead having it on Tuesday. I would have thought that it would make the week feel shorter since we have a break in the middle, sort of, but its not!  The weeks seem to drag on and on and on.  I miss my Monday P-days if you can't tell. I don't remember if I wrote about last Monday or not last week... so you might get to hear about it again. It was a really good day. We got to go and visit a less-active, Sisar Kiijarvi. That was an experience. We were in the middle of a spiritual thought with her and testifying about the Book of Mormon when she cut in and asked "Do you like Karjalanpirakka?" Um... Yes?  Well.... lets just say... that was the end of our spiritual thought and we got to eat food instead. We are still trying to work with her though. She really is super sweet. We also had a lesson with Mac that night. Mac taught us and made it super fun for us  He brought play-dough and told us to make something out of it. So, we did. I made a cake and a heart. It was super fun. He then gave us a lesson from Elder Eyring's talk, "Mountains to Climb" and talked about trials and the refiners fire, basically.  He then related it to us tearing and reshaping the dough into something better. It was a really good lesson. He is an incredible teacher.  Sometimes I really feel like we have so much more to learn from him than he does from us.   
Teaching the Stubborn and Sassy
Tuesday was P-day and that was a decently good day. P-day's always feel so short. But it was good. We got to go and visit a member's home and that was fun. We have some really great members here in Marjaniemi, despite the fact that they are so busy. Wednesday was a good day. Zone meeting went well, though more and more I really don't like sitting through long meetings. We did get to teach Anu that night which was fun. I love her. She is so sassy and so stubborn. We taught her all about repentance and had a member Paivi come with us, who just recently got home from her mission. We then got to play Afrikan Tähti (African Star) and Anu cheated like crazy, haha, but it was still fun. I love teaching her. She told us that she wanted to be baptized but that she wanted to wait until October. Then when I told her that I wouldn't be here anymore she told me that she would just wait until I come back, haha. Oh my word. We are still working with her. Now she is saying that she is wanting to be atheist.... but she was in a stubborn and sassy mood so we will see if she stays that way. 
Awkward aching Moment
Thursday we got to go and do service at a member's house, Sister Angelosanto, and she ended up leaving... so we were just alone in her house cleaning it. I am not sure it was the best use of time but we got to show her that we really cared and then she gave us a referral so that was a good thing!  We also taught a new investigator of ours. That was an interesting experience. He is our neighbor but doesn't want us coming to his place so he wanted to meet at a Chinese Restaurant right next to our apartment building. So we did.... It was SO awkward.  He has met with missionaries before so he knows what we do but it just felt so weird. We ended up having to order something small and then we taught him. The member didn't have anything to eat and it just over all felt so weird. He was super nice though and is willing to meet again, but he is going to be gone for the next month so we will see about it afterward. Then he paid for our food. We didn't know what to do!  So we just left and laughed about the whole thing. We will see what happens in a month. :) 
Teaching With Help From the Spirit
I am running out of time... But Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were all good days too. Quickly, we got to teach Tero and it was such a good lesson. I learned so much from it.  It was one time that I really just stopped worrying about what we had planned and just listened to his concerns. I stopped worrying about what I was going to say in Finnish and just spoke, and it was such an amazing experience. I really felt like I was saying exactly what the Spirit was wanting me to say. I don't know if he felt the Spirit like I did. But I really felt the Spirit and it really helped me realize that when we just listen and trust that Heavenly Father will fill our mouths with what we need to say, He really does. It was amazing. He is doing good, we think. We are just trying to help him get a greater desire to learn and change. We also got to meet with another less-active this Sunday and she introduced us to her friend who is Filipino and so sweet. We are now teaching her and so excited about it!  We also are teaching another Egyptian guy that just walked into the church last week when they had an activity going on and wanted to learn more. Miracles are happening. Thanks for all your prayers, love, and support! 

Sister Knapp

Some Weeks Are Rough

This week was was once again a bit of a rough week. Things are changing a lot in the mission and have been making things really hard and not as fun to do the work. But we keep going anyway. 
Loud Reminder of Home
We got to meet with one of our investigators. Kastehelmi this week and had a really good lesson with her. We ended up inviting her to be baptized and she agreed to it and was going to pray about a date, but sadly about two days later ended up dropping us. It was kind of sad. We also got to go to a family night with an American family in the ward. I love Americans. They are so outgoing and loud and it is kinda fun. It reminds me of home. They actually taught us a lesson on new year's resolutions. That was fun. It is so nice to actually be taught something every once in awhile!  
My Favorites :)
We also were able to meet with our 9 year old Anu a few times this week. I love her!  She really is the highlight of our day sometimes. She is so stubborn but so much fun. We got to teach her about baptism this week which actually went pretty well since we had a big box of chocolate at the end. We are really hoping that we can set a baptismal date with her this coming week. Things are also going well with her dad, Tero, and he has started to seem more and more open with us which we are really exited about. We are also finally able to get back in with one of my favorite less-actives who is Filipino.
When The Teachee Becomes the Teacher
Things are going well with Mac too. He is the best. Literally. We have decided that he is going to start teaching us and it has been so good.  He is such an amazing teacher it is ridiculous. I have been a missionary for like 17 months and I am not even half the teacher he is. He gives us amazing lessons and even made Sister Seegmiller cry.... it was because of the spirit. :)  Its been fun to actually be taught something and I learn so much from him. He has such a strong testimony. Stronger than I think he even knows that he has and it is pretty amazing to see. 

The work is going forward. We have a goal to have our name on every record in the area book and so we are trying to contact all the former investigators that are in there. We ended up calling a ton of them and now have 2 new investigators that we are really excited about. Sorry this is once again such a lame email.  Weeks are really starting to feel like the same and that there is not much variety at all.  I will try and write a better email next week.  Thanks for all the love and support. 

Sister Knapp