Thursday, September 26, 2013

Just Open Your Mouth


Our Zone of Finnish missionaries, 2 Hungarian elders and an Estonian elder
I can't believe I have been here for a month already!!  The days still feel really long but when I look back at it the time has gone by so fast! I have to admit I am really excited to leave the MTC, but I am also going to miss everyone that I have met here. We have all grown so close and I can see myself being friends with them for life! But I have heard that Finnish Missionaries are a pretty close knit group... I mean who else speaks Finnish?  :)
Speak Your Language
Speaking of Finnish, it is actually going really well. I still struggle with understanding and my wonderful companions have to translate to me what the teachers/investigators are saying, sometimes, but I am starting to understand more and more which is great! I also learn about 25 new words a day which has been helping, but what has been helping the most is SYL. We do SYL (speak your language) three times a week now. Talk about hard.  Sometimes it can be so frustrating and I will admit that having days where I have to speak Finnish all day just makes me appreciate English 100 times more then I think I ever have in my life!  Finnish is beautiful though and though it is tough I absolutely love learning this language!  Funny story that I think I forgot to tell last week... So not this past Tuesday but the Tuesday before we had devotional in the Marriott Center and we were singing Joseph's First Prayer. Well previously that week our Branch President had encouraged us to all really know how to give the Joseph Smith story in Finnish because you never know when we will be asked to share it!  Well guess what?! Ryan just happened to ask if a missionary could come and give the First Vision in Finnish.... uh.... yeah.... but a miracle happened because Vanhin Vorimo who is actually Finnish was sitting right next to our Elders and so we all just pointed to him to go and share it!  Hahaha... barely missed that bullet!  That just goes to show how we really need to listen to our Branch President! 
Our district:  Elder Chapman, Elder Richards, Elder Hugie, Elder Wilson, Elder Stegeby
Sister Knapp, Sister Ross and Sister Farnworth
Singing for the Relief Society Broadcast & Teaching by the Spirit
Well this past week has been a little bit crazy!  We sisters get to sing in the Relief Society Broadcast this Saturday and we are SO excited!  So everyone make sure to watch it!  Because we have the opportunity to sing!  we practice every morning from 7:30 to 9:00 and usually don't get back from the Main Campus until around 9:45. So we miss over 2 hours of class every single day and have so much to catch up on but we never have any time to begin with!  It has been so busy! But we are being blessed amazingly for it! Even though we don't exactly have a lot of time to prepare we do our best and sometimes in lessons we don't get to write down everything and translate it to Finnish so we really have to rely on the Spirit and what we already know in Finnish.  In a lesson that we taught this week I really learned how the Spirit can speak to each of us as companions in a lesson.  We were teaching about how we need to study the scriptures and how to apply the scriptures to us and at the end of the lesson Sisar Farnworth started bearing her testimony.  Since I struggle with understanding sometimes, I had absolutely no idea what she was saying!  But I got this sudden prompting to ask our investigator if she would prepare to be baptized. So I asked her if she would!  It wasn't until after the lesson that my companion mentioned how perfect that was and that she had just born her testimony on applying the scriptures and baptism and wanted to ask her if she would prepare to be baptized but didn't know how... but I did!  Isn't that amazing?! How the Spirit works is truly amazing! It is the best communicator and if you are to act on the small promptings that it places in you heart and mind it will be amazing the blessings you will see that come from it!  So even though we really struggled with having the time to prepare, I know that the Lord's hand is in all things and that we have been able to have some of our best lessons yet from His help and the guidance of the Spirit. :)  

Modeling our new shirts for the Relief Society Broadcast... just one of several colors that will be worn. 
Competition MTC Style
I have to admit that Gym is still my favorite time of day.  It is a break from thinking and studying all day long. Unfortunately however, our favorite thing to do is play volleyball but now we have some Agentina missionaries at gym with us and they are intense volleyball players.  So it really is passive aggressive between us, haha.  We seriously race to gym and then who ever gets there first its like "fine you won today, but just wait until tomorrow..."  haha we have had to turn multiple times to Four Square, which isn't as much fun but it is still fun. 
Ready for rainy gym time!
Too Cold for Finnish Missionaries?!
Well this past Tuesday was our last devotional at the Marriott Center and they said it might be the last devotional the MTC has there ever!  It is SO sad because we all loved walking to the Marriott Center and singing in the Choir but now we don't get to.  They are preparing for it to get freezing soon, so they don't want us walking there... kinda funny for missionaries going to Finland..... :) Something that I have learned this past week is how important it is to just "Open Your Mouth".  I have watched 3 devotionals this week and all of them have mentioned the need to just have the courage to "open your mouth".  I will admit that talking to random people on the street scares me more than anything!  But it is true that if we are living righteously and are doing the best we can then all we need to do is open our mouth and begin to share the amazing message of the Gospel. The Plan of Happiness, because as soon as you begin the Spirit is going to guide you in what you need to say.  All you need to do is "Open Your Mouth".  :)
Our last devotional at the Marriott Center

Sister Benson & Elder Hickey arrive at West Campus!
West Campus is growing so fast! We honestly have so many missionaries coming in each and every week that everything is starting to get more and more crowded. We used to only have missionaries "living" in Wyview but all of the newest missionaries are actually mostly living in Raintree!  Today I actually got to go help build bunk beds with my companions for our service project!   That was fun.  I can't even believe how fast it is growing and the worst part is we don't even have a gym yet and it is freezing outside.  Fortunately, they have almost finished the bubble gyms that they have been building.  I don't know how else to describe then besides that they look like big bubbles and should been done in the next week...just in time for all of the missionaries coming down to West Campus!  Guess who I saw yesterday?!  Sister Jessica Benson and Elder Jake Hickey!  It was at like 9:00 last night and they had survived their first day and looked great!  Elder Hickey looked a little bit like a deer caught in the head lights but I think everyone feels that way their first day, especially those learning a language! He looked great though and super happy! 

Well that is all I have to report this week!  Thank you everyone for your love and support!  Kirkko on Totta!  

With 2 Hungarian and and Estonian elders
Sisar Knapp

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's Like They're Speaking a Foreign Language!


An Answer to Prayer
Well this week has been a lot better than last week! Thank you everyone for all of your prayers and support! I have honestly felt them a lot this past week!  Well I am not sure where to begin so I will just "begin by beginning". To start I would like to challenge everyone to think of a question that they really want an answer to going into General Conference because I promise you will get an answer! Last week was really hard and I had really started to question why I am here.  It would be sooo much easier to just give up and go home.  So over the past week I have been praying to really know why I am here, but I hadn't really gotten an answer until Tuesday when my teacher Veli Stewart challenged us to write down a question and take it with us to church.  I actually forgot to do this Sunday so I decided to do it on Tuesday at the devotional.  I wrote down, "Why am I here?".  To be honest during the talk, given by Gregory A. Schwitzer of the Seventy, I wasn't sure my question would really be answered since he was mostly talking about becoming a consecrated missionary.  But when you sincerely have a question and have faith that the Lord will answer in His timing, He will answer! I got two answers during the devotional.  One I would say wasn't exactly the gentle way of answering why I am here. #1. "You will not go home until you have done what the Lord has called you to do."  So it doesn't really matter that I don't know exactly why I am here at the moment because the Lord called me to this work and I am not going home until I see it through.  #2 "You are here to become disciples of Christ, to declare His word and gospel, and to bring joy to the world." So I am here to help and serve others. I know that God loves each and everyone of us and will hear and answer our questions and concerns. I know he answers them through so many ways, through speakers, prayer, and church.  But all of those answers truly come when we rely on Him and listen to the spirit. :) 

Finnish is HARD!  I love learning Finnish SO much!  Even though it can be really frustrating and difficult.  But it is coming.... VERY VERY Slowly.  I feel like I can speak Finnish well but when one of the teachers is talking to me in Finnish... well you know... it is like they are speaking a foreign language and you have absolutely no idea what in the world they are saying!  Which makes it a tad bit difficult to respond... So most the time when they say something in Finnish I just nod my head and say "Kylla" (yes) or "Hyvää" (good) haha.  I am sure that many previous missionaries who have served missions know exactly what this feels like!  :)   But I got to meet with my teacher Sisar Shaw yesterday for an interview and I talked to her all about it so she is going to start to make sure that I am really understanding in class. So that will be really good! She said my grammar is great though!  That was huge! That made me feel a lot better about myself to know that at least I am doing something right with the language! Most of the elders and sisters in the Finnish districts say they are the opposite. They can understand Finnish but they can't respond.  I can respond but I don't understand!  Thankfully I have my companions who do understand and they translate to me and then I respond in Finnish!  But I know that the gift of tongues and gift of interpretation is real and that it will come!  By the way, this is how you say 1820 in Finnish: tuhatkahdeksansataakaksikymmentä :)

Good Ol' Brian Regan
Best thing ever!! One of my companions Sisar Ross loves Brian Regan too! So we quote him all the time!  Last night we had to clean our apartment for P-day since they come in the morning while we are at the temple.  We have one of those AWFUL old cheap vacuum cleaners with the super long cords that has nothing to wrap around when you are trying to put it away.  Do you know what I am talking about?  Anyways,  I was getting a little frustrated with it and all I could think was, "They can put a man on the moon but they can't make a dang vacuum cord that won't bunch up!  They can put a man on the moon!!"  haha Sisar Ross and I just about died on that one. She continued the quote by saying, "Sisar Knapp is that vaccuum cord driving you crazy?"  Me:  "Ah, Nah!  They haven't even put a man on the moon yet!  Why would I let something like this bother me?"  Good ol' Brian Regan! making our day! :) 
The Light Side of the MTC
Well, Sadly our Mexico Elders are gone!  It is SO sad!  It was so much fun playing Volleyball with them!  Elder Park, Elder Tanner, and Elder Johnson could make us laugh like crazy!  To be honest, I think I have laughed more in the MTC then I have ever in my life! (I think that all of the studying gets to us after awhile and makes everything 10x funnier then it really is...)  But now that they are gone we get to play with the Hungarian and Estonian Elders that came in!  They are so fun! One of the elders going to Hungry is from Ireland! How cool is that?!  He has one of the coolest accents ever and so we all try and speak it.  Especially Elder Call.  He is sure that if he can pick up an Irish accent that he will be able to convert a lot more people... elders. :)  Speaking of Elders...you know how they drank Coke and Mentos together last week?  Well they did it again!! What!?  I really don't know what goes through their heads sometimes... Plus one of the elders ended up drinking a bottle of Tabasco Sauce.... They are definitely still boys! 

Overcoming Struggles
Well Missionary work is hard and a lot of work! But I love it and even though we have all decided that "it will hit and it will hit hard, but that is just Satan trying to kill you".... So I just have decided that on that days that I can feel Satan working extra hard on me to be down or discouraged, I just think that there must be something amazing that God has in store for me!  :)  So never get down on yourself!  Look at the positive when life gets hard and just hold to the iron rod, especially when you start to question yourself. Because I know that the Lord has a special plan and purpose for all of us! I love this work even the ups and downs!  It is a blessing! I have never been happier or laughed so much, but I also have never struggled so much. But the amazing thing is that the laughs and smiles far outweigh the down moments.  This gospel really is the way to everlasting happiness! 
Mina Rakastan Teita! ( I love you all!) 


Sisar Knapp

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Elders Are Still Boys :)


Well, I have just finished the 3rd week at the MTC!  I am almost to a month here and am pretty excited about that!  This week has definitely been the roughest week so far and It is kinda scary to think that I will have rougher ones out in the field.  But, I am trying to stay positive.  

My district.  I love them!

More Rainstorms
We got to run though our 3rd rainstorm this week! It was a BLAST (as usual)! Definitely one of the highlights of this week.  It was a crazy storm and we were actually watching it from the deck of our classroom because it was insane and branches were flying everywhere! It is probably more exciting in the MTC because nothing too new happens everyday haha. But we saw a huge branch fall from a tree and hit the fence and create a huge dent in the fence.  I will send a picture of it.  It was so cool to see. That was when we realized that it was time for dinner... so even though branches were flying all over the place we got the brilliant idea that we would just run to dinner.... haha it was probably a minute away and we were soaked by the time we got there! The security wasn't very happy with us because apparently we were supposed to stay inside but no one was hurt so its all good :) It was super fun! 

After yet another rainstorm!
My Favorite Finnish Words
Finnish is still coming along slowly. We actually got  2 Hungarians in our branch and an Estonian! Which was super exciting! They are all elders but last night the zone leaders and sister training leaders had to go and welcome them and at the end one of my zone leaders, Vanhin Call, asked me to bear my testimony in finnish and Vanhin Richards would translate! Yeah... Talk about nerve racking! But I did it! And it must have made sense because Vanhin Richards could translate!! So that was when I realized that I was finally getting the language! Plus, I discovered some of my favorite words! Pizza = Pizza... Popcorn = Popcorn, Piano = Piano, Pasta = Pasta. Soda = Sooda. haha those words are the best.  I also found my favorite word to say! Suuklapatuka it means candy bar. :) 

Just a sample of my scripture reading in Finnish
Everything I need to learn :)

I also had my first TRC and oh my goodness! Talk about dear in the head lights.  TRC is when members come  and you teach them lessons... but in finnish. So right before I went into TRC we actually found out that instead of teaching an english lesson first thing the next morning, we would be teaching a finnish lesson.  The teachers switched it on us and we hadn't prepared. So as soon as sisar farnworth and I heard about that we just broke down in tears and had to pull ourselves together before we went in and taught. And members that speak finnish... well they like to talk alot! But I didn't know anything they were saying! Oh, it was rough but we were able to come out of it and laugh and the members know we are just learning. So that is a blessing! 

All the Finnish sisters

Oh, Elders :)
The Elders in my district are also so funny.  I have the best elders ever! They probably have made me laugh more than I have in my life! Maybe everything is just funnier when you have been studying all day long! But funny stories.  So elders are still boys and they like to dare eachother to do really dumb things... So Vanhin Call dared Vanhin Alquist to drink some Coke, swallow a mento, and then drink more Coke.  You know what happens when Coke and a Mento are mixed together, right? Yeah it explodes... well it exploded in his stomach and he was throwing up foam for like 10 minutes! Oh my goodness... Elders! The craziest part was that Vanhin Alquist had heard of someone going to the hospital because they did that.  Yet, he did it anyway.... Oh my word! 

Both Finnish districts in the West Campus Cafeteria
Don't Focus on the "I"
Well we have had some great devotionals this week and one was all about staying positive. Which since this week has been rough it is something that I keep having to go back to. But really a thought that I had is when you are really down and discouraged that you are focusing too much on the "I"  you really need to forget yourself and serve others. It is through service to others that you really can find happiness!

Well, I wish I had more time to write! Thanks for all the Love and support! And thank Lisa Blonquist for sending me a package! We loved the treats!! :) 

Sisar Knapp

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Week 2: I Have Never Been Happier

Hei Hei Perhe!! 

Well I am just going to jump right into telling you about my week because I don't have a ton of time! To start it is a huge blessing that my district and I happen to know where the working computers are!  BYU decided to go all wireless on us so since they didn't realize that the MTC was all land line, none of the computers have been working for the past week except the computers in our building in the classrooms right below us!  It is a miracle!! Well I got to go to a devotional on Tuesday of course and learn about all of the mission stats.  Did you know that there are currently 76,000 missionaries and that there is supposed to be about 85,000 by the end of the fall?!! That is crazy but so exciting! The west campus is growing a ton! I think we got about 250 new missionaries down here this past week so it is exciting to see. Also David F. Evans of the Seventy is the one who came to talk to us and he talked all about how this is the most remarkable year of missionary work ever! I am so excited to be apart of it! :) 
With Sister Megan Johnson, a friend and former childhood neighbor that is going to Japan on her mission

Rainstorms (the real kind)
I also had my 2nd rainstorm adventure! They are like the highlights of my week! I love them! I just love the rain! So we got done will our personal study about 9:15 and needed to walk back from Raintree (where are classrooms are) to Wyview (where our apartment is) and it was POURING! It was way worse than walking from the Marriott Center. Haha so we just took off our shoes and ran as fast as we could.  I have to say I enjoyed splashing in puddles along the way. :)  By the time we got back to our apartment we were drenched. I was more wet from the 4 minute run from from Raintree then I was from the 20 minute walk from the Marriott Center. It was so much fun though! I mean you aren't aloud to splash in puddles as a missionary unless you are running in a rainstorm to try and get out of the rain.... so I enjoyed it while I could :) 

The Language
Finnish is a crazy language! It is so hard but I love it! Here are some fun things to know about Finnish.  There are about 24 cases that you use where as Russian only has 6 cases so they think its crazy that we have SO many (cases are basically different ways to conjugate subjects, verbs, and nouns) . Fortunately, Finnish only has 16 commonly used cases that we really have to worry about ;) Also our favorite mix up is Tapa and Tapaa.  Tapa means to kill... where as Tapaa (which you only hold the "a" sound longer)  means to meet. haha so you really don't want to mix those up.  Finnish has stuff like that all of the time! So you really need to pay attention to what you are saying!  We as companions do a SYL (speak your language) every day during lunch except 2 days ago we did it for 5 hours so all we could speak was Finnish.  We are going to start doing SYL from lunch to dinner every day and then an all day SYL each week.  Yeah... pray for me! It is not easy but it helps me learn fast! :) 

Where all that language study, and all other study, takes place in the MTC West Campus

The Zone
Well, our zone has only Finns right now.  It was so sad when the Hungarians and the Albanians left this week!  We went from 42 people to 16 people in our branch in just 2 days! It was crazy.  Plus the Sister Training Leaders were the sweetest girls ever and I loved them! But now that they are gone the Branch President had to call new Sister Training Leaders so he has called me and my companions to be the STL's.  We are really excited!  But we only have our other 2 sister missionaries to look after as well as eachother.  We are hoping to get 1 hungarian sister next week but we aren't sure.  There are 4 missionaries coming into our branch next week and that is it until October 16th.  3 Hungarians and 1 Estonian so we are all really excited! 

Just some of the Finnish Missionaries
Being Terrified
I have to tell you about Choir.  So you know how you said to watch for Ryan [Ryan is her former choir director that also directions the MTC choir].  Well He ended up coming and standing right next to me and so I got his attention and said hello of course! Haha and then guess what happened?!  Ryan told me that he was going to have me say the opening prayer!! Yeah, in front of 1000 Missionaries! Do you have any idea how scary that is?! haha It was so funny because as I was asked to come say the prayer and walking down to the microphone, I could hear the Finnish Elders quietly shouting "Suomeksi, Suomeksi!" (In Finnish, In Finnish)!  I just kept shaking me head ei ei ei (no no no)! I don't know Finnish that well yet! All I have to say is I don't think I have shaken so bad in my life!  But I love choir! It is great and a much needed break from Finnish! :) 

Blast from the Past
I also have to tell you about an elder I have run into! So you remember the guy helped me jump my car and the hood fell and hit his face? Embarrassing... Anyway... Yep,he just got to the MTC last week and it was so embarrassing to see him again!  And then he asked me how my car was, hahaha, that was the worst! After that he just laughed and said "Awkward, right?"  It was so funny but, oh my goodness, I still feel bad about that and was never expecting to see him again. But here he is at the MTC!  

Praying for Lost Things
I have learned so much to rely on prayer this past week. I don't know what it is but I honestly forget and lose everything! So after the devotional on Tuesday, I left my scriptures under the seat and didn't realize until after I was back at Wyview.  That was bad.  I was panicked of course and as a missionary scriptures are kind of essential.  So I ended up saying a prayer that I would be able to find them and get them back and that I could feel at peace. It took about two days but I found them today on main campus! So I am so grateful for the Lord's help in finding those and getting them back!  I then today lost my camera! I was almost in tears when my companion told me to say a prayer that I would be able to remember where it was and find it.  I immediately got on my knees and said a prayer and asked for help.  I then realized that it wasn't in the apt. and was probably on the bus.  So I had to go to the front desk and they called the ride and they were able to find it.  The bus then turned around and came back to give me my camera! I am so thankful that I was able to find it!  The Lord really does hear your prayers and will help you with whatever you need! :)  Also I had the opportunity to read a talk called Becoming a Consecrated Missionary by Tad Callister.  It is amazing and I would love to write about it but I am out of time!  If you get a chance read it! Because it really can apply to every one and not just missionaries! Well, I love and miss you all! I will write all of you and answer all your questions!

I have never been happier!


Sisar Knapp 
The small joys of life