Saturday, October 5, 2013

Choir, Conference, Candy and Other Tender Mercies


Well I have to admit that being a missionary is like riding an emotional roller coaster!  Some days you are at the your peak of the "Best Day Ever" and others are the hard days where you just learn a little bit more than others. :)  This week has definitely had its ups and downs but it has mostly been amazing!  I guess I will try and stay in order of how things happened this week.
At the Conference Center preparing for the Relief Society Broadcast
Tough Times at the TRC
Last Thursday night we had TRC, which is where members that speak Finnish come and we get to teach them as though they are investigators and give them a spiritual thought.  We do this every Thursday. Most of the time I absolutely love it but other times it is just rough.  So as I mentioned last week, I am really struggling with understanding the language and after I asked a question to our 'investigator' she shot a question right back at me with a look that said "are you serious?".  The only problem was I didn't know what she had said and so I just stared at her not knowing what to do and then my companion looked at me with the same look because I didn't understand!  It was rough.  Lets just say that that investigator was a little sassy and I didn't know how to handle it... So after that 20 minute lesson I ran into the bathroom and cried for 20 minutes (since that is the only place you can be alone). Poor Brother Boyer (my teacher) didn't know what to do or how to help, but he offered me an amazing blessing of comfort that helped me be able to go in and sit through the next lesson while my companions taught.  The next lesson was good but I couldn't bring myself to say anything in Finnish. It was with a girl who had to come home early from her mission to Finland due to an accident and severely injured her leg and as she was walking out she gave me a Finnish candy (a mint with chocolate in the middle... SO GOOD) and told me to have a good day.  It was so sweet of her!  Then I was surprised by my favorite dessert waiting for me! (Thank you mom! It was so needed!) I can honestly say that all of those little experiences were 'tender mercies from the Lord.'
Another tender mercy is the getting to see friends from home at the MTC.  I get to see Elder Jake Hickey and Sister Jessica Benson almost everyday!

The Happiest Moment of My Life!
Saturday was honestly the best day ever!! It was the day that we Finnish sisters got to sing in the General Relief Society Broadcast and got to be away from the MTC all day!  That day started with a great lesson to our investigator.  We then went to main campus for lunch and you will never believe who I finally saw?!  Breanne (my roommate from last year)!! I was seriously so so excited! It was the best thing in the world to see her!  I honestly thought I was going to go 9 weeks in the MTC and not see her! I love her to death! 
With my freshman roommate, Breanne, who works at the Main Campus Cafeteria!

We went to the Conference Center early to practice singing for that night.  It was so neat to get to sit in those choir seats again. I honestly never thought that would happen.  But one of the highlights was when we came out to sit on the stage and I saw my family--Mom, Kara, and Cassie!! That had to be like the happiest moment of my entire life!  I couldn't stop smiling the rest of the night!  When we were leaving I actually got so talk to them and tell them that I love them (in Finnish... which they were all way overly impressed by... haha) and I honestly was on Cloud Nine!  
Seeing my family--The happiest moment of my entire life!

It was so great to sing our testimonies to the whole world, to have angels singing along side us, and to hear and see the Prophet in person!  I am so blessed to be in the MTC right now! Yet another blessing was that my cold that I had had for the previous few days (that I got from playing four square in the rain) went away during the broadcast so I could actually sing! But yes, it did come right back after it ended haha. :) 

Top of the Mornin' To You
Guess what family?!  I am learning to have an Irish accent!!  Since you all make fun of my British and German accents I have officially now have an accent tutor.  Everytime we get to walk to main campus for a devotional or during gym or dinner, the Irish Elder (Elder Cathcart) gives me new sayings to practice, haha.  He says I am pretty awful though so I guess nothing has really changed, but I am improving.  His favorite saying for me to practice is "Top of the mornin' to you"  (even though they really don't say that in Ireland.) It makes me laugh because it reminds me of the movie "Pink Pather" when he is trying to say "I would like to buy a hamburger" because I can never say it right and it makes Elder Cathcart so frustrated!  So I have two and a half more weeks to master an Irish accent and Finnish so you all can't make fun of me anymore! ;) 

SLOWLY Learning the Language
As for Finnish it is coming... SLOWLY... but I know it is coming!  We SYL on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is so hard but it helps me learn.  I just really wish I could speak English sometimes on those days!  I occasionally quickly switch to English, which is bad, and I really need to work on not doing that!  We start Consecration week next Thursday where we can only speak Finnish for an entire week and I am so nervous about that!! Hopefully I can do it! 
Me with Sisters Ross, Hansen and Nyman outside the Conference Center
Real Food, Dr. Pepper, Discounts and Donations :)
Today I got to finally go to Brigham's Landing which I will admit it was kinda weird and everyone comes to talk to you, haha, the blessings of Utah!  Here are three awesome things about Brigham's Landing:  (1) Real Food and Dr. Pepper! (2) Everything is discounted for missionaries!  Score! and (3) People buy things for you!
So #1--Real Food & Dr. Pepper.  I'm not saying that MTC food isn't great.  It actually is surprisingly good but there is nothing like fast food when you eat the same foods every day for weeks!  Subzero, Burger Supreme, and Great Harvest.  It is so good!
#2--Everything is discounted.  How cool is that?!  I didn't even notice at first, they just say, "Oh, you're a missionary.  Here is a discount.  I am "saving money all over the place" as Uncle Ralph would say, haha.
#3--People buy things for you.  O.K, this is the coolest story ever.  We all decided to go to Great Harvest because Sisar Ross and I LOVE bread and really just had to get some.  So as we walked in, the Staff all said, "Welcome sisters!" (By the way they said it this must be a pretty regular accurance).  We said hi back of course, when a lady at the cash register who was checking out said, "I am buying you all lunch!"  haha.  We said thanks but that we weren't getting lunch.  She then asked what we were there for and we told her that we simply wanted to buy a loaf of bread.  She laughed then said, "Well, then I am going to buy you a loaf of bread and each of you a cookie or brownie or something."  I am not even kidding.  This really happened!  She was an angel!  She bought us a loaf of bread and then we all insisted that we would just share a brownie.  It was so funny because her son was with her and had just gotten off his mission and said, "I never had anyone offer to buy me anything!"  So yeah, she was so sweet and we got to talk to her for a while and it was so fun.  She is really an angel and we are so blessed.  That will probably never happen to us again.  Another tender mercy from the Lord!
At Sub-Zero on our P-day
The Curse of Being Blonde
Well, here is an embarrassing story.  After emailing we went to do laundry and I was moving my laundry to the dryer and an elder asked me if I was done with the washer.  Right off I noticed his accent and asked him where he was from and he said Wales.  Yes, a British accent!  Oh my goodness, I love British accents!  So while on the other side of the laundry room I was talking to Sister Ross about how much I loved his accent when I noticed he was listening!  So embarrassing!  He then talked to me again and I was already so embarrassed and felt my face turning bright red so I just flat out said, "I'm sorry, I just really love your accent."  He just laughed and said, "Don't worry about it," but oh my goodness, just the fact that my face was red and I knew it was red made it go even redder.  Oh the curse of being blonde!  

The Tender Mercy of General Conference
Well, I just want to share a spiritual thought. Mom and Dad, thank you so much for the talks that you send! I love to read them and actually read 3 of them last night!  One of them was "Trust in God Then Go and Do" by President Eyring. Something that really stuck out to me as I prepare for Conference was this: "

"You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent then go and do whatever He asks.  If you trust in God enough to listen for His message in every sermon and prayer this Conference, you will find it.  And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power and trust in Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you."  

Sister Hansen, Sister Nyman, me and Sister Ross
I just love that! We truly need to listen to Conference every time to really apply what is being taught and ask for ourselves what God is wanting us to learn and what He would have us do. Because it is by doing that, by listening and then by acting, that we will grow to trust The Lord.  Bad days won't seem so bad and even when we are going through trials, we will know that He will help us see the light.  We will be better able to follow His will and find that everlasting peace and joy that we all long for.  Then as we show our faith in Him and trust and follow Him, He will be able to trust us.  I know this is so important as a missionary.  Through my trust in the Savior and my willingness to follow Him, even when things are hard, He will be able to trust me to be a tool in His hands and bring the people of Finland unto Him to partake of His atonement and come to feel the peach, happiness, and everlasting joy that the gospel can bring.  
I also read "The Tender Mercies of the Lord" and I absolutely love it as well.  Sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in the ups and downs of life that we forget or don't recognize the small tender mercies of the Lord in our lives.  I know that personally seeing my family this past weekend was a tender mercy of the Lord.  Being able to sing praises unto the Lord and sing my testimony with 300 other sister missionaries was a tender mercy of the Lord.  Being in the same room as the Prophet of the Lord was a tender mercy of the Lord.  I could go on for pages about all of the tender mercies I have seen from the Lord in just this past week.  But I just want to share something that again stood out to me as I prepare for Conference this weekend that we all can keep in our hearts and minds as we prepare.  
Elder Bednar says, "... The very conference which we are participating this weekend is yet another example of the Lord's Tender Mercies.  We have been blessed to receive inspired counsel from the leaders of the Savior's Church--timely counsel for our day and for our circumstances and for our challenges."  
I have never before thought of Conference as a tender mercy of the Lord.  But really how great of a tender mercy it is!  I can't even begin to explain the blessings that I have received from conferences in the past.  It has given me guidance, comfort and so much more.  It truly is a tender mercy in each of our lives to have the opportunity to hear from the leaders of the Church that serve as mouth pieces to the Lord.  If it weren't for the announcement last October of the age change then I would not be here.  I wouldn't be receiving the tender mercies that I receive daily.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I am so grateful to hear from the prophet and apostles of the Lord this coming weekend!  I am so excited to learn and grow from their teachings!  I love this gospel! 

Kirkko on totta! 

Sisar Knapp

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