Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Last Transfer


With Mac and Sister Raphael
Christmas Means Dessert & Flowers
This week was such a great week!! Naturally, since it was Christmas week. I swear I got so much chocolate it is ridiculous. Good thing I decided beforehand to save it until I go home. So all of you will get to enjoy it too!  So much happened this week and it was so much fun. Monday we went to a member's house in the evening to share a Christmas message with them and talk with them. They are really so sweet and they gave us flowers for Christmas....which, "shhhh", but we may have re-gifted them. :)  It was really sweet of them, though, and we did enjoy them for a few days. Tuesday we spent the evening visiting another member family who invited us over for dinner. It was a good thing for Sister Raphael since she had known these members in Neitsytpolku ward and they had just moved here a few months ago. It was fun to get to know them and for the first time we realized that it really was Christmas. You know that it is Christmas when you have someone bring out 3 desserts before they even bring out the main one.  We had a chocolate and licorice, then caramel popcorn, then a small pie and then there was a main dessert too but we had to leave before it was done.  After we visited them we decided to stop by a member's flower shop to see how they were doing since they are always too busy for us to meet with them.  They were SO excited to have us there and yep... we left with 2 more arrangements of flowers, only a lot bigger this time. (We still have these ones though. :) The rest of the night we just got to snowflake members' doors, which was fun and cold. :) 
Christmas Caroling on the Metro
Cold Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve Celebrations
With Gisel on Christmas Eve
In the "Big White Church"
Wednesday: CHRISTMAS EVE!!  I never ever thought I would be more excited for Christmas Eve than for Christmas day until I came to Finland. I still don't understand why they decided to make Christmas Eve the bigger celebration of the two days.  I guess they get their presents earlier.  We first got to go to a Lutheran Church, "The Big White Church," in Helsinki, and listen to a session there.  It was really cool and good cultural experience.  They did the nativity and  even though it was a different church it was once again a good reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. Mac came with us which was a lot of fun... I didn't think it was weird to bring my recent convert to a different church until afterwards, haha, oh well. :)  We liked having him there with us.  We then got to visit a former investigator who had called and asked for a "Joy to the World" DVD. That went well, though she didn't let us inside.  We did get a return appointment set up with her and we are now starting to teach her!  After that we got to go to Fai's house. That was so fun. Even though it is crazy to be in their home with like 8 other people plus us and their grandma and uncle, I love it!!  Sometimes I miss just being around big families. It was super fun and its also really nice when 3 of the people you are teaching and Mac all live in the same house.  We could practically live there. haha.  We basically had dinner, which was a traditional Finnish dinner (Lots of casseroles--which last year I absolutely hated and could barely get down--but this year I loved them! ) Amazing how much can change in a year. ;)  We then opened presents, and Sister Raphael and I got a lot more than I expected!  SO much chocolate and lotions and things. It was a really great last Christmas Eve in Finland! 
With Sister Raphael & member on Christmas
Christmas Visits
Thursday:  CHRISTMAS!!!!! Was also a really great day!  Mac once again came with us all day. We first visited. Sister Saaranen, who is a older member in our ward and didn't have anyone visiting her for Christmas day so we got to.  She is so sweet and so funny. Oh my goodness. Some of the things she says.  Lets just say that she is always trying to match up missionaries with people in Finland.  Sometimes I think she forgets that we are missionaries!  She gave us the traditional Christmas Porridge, which was really good, and a ton of other food. We then got to talk to her for a little while and share a Christmas message before we left. We then when to another member's house, the Maata's and that is when I got to Skype home!  Best thing ever!! I love my family so much!! It was so good to see you and talk to you!!!  I have to admit that its crazy to think that the next time I will be talking with you is in person in just two months. It is crazy how fast time goes! The rest of the night we ate and played a pinball board game. It was a really good night and a great Christmas. :)
Staying In Marjaniemi!
Sister Raphel & I and our sister
missionary ornaments that look like us!
Friday:  We got to go and visit Fai and her family again. We are teaching her little sister Anu and little brother Aleksi. They are so cute and so fun to teach. We are also teaching her step-dad Tero, so really we just wish that we could go there everyday.  Practically everyone we are teaching is in that home!  We were supposed to go to a member's later that evening but they decided last minute to go to Tampere. So, we spent most the day at Fai's house since we are not allowed to do any proselyting on the 24th, 25th,or 26th. We are only allowed outside if we have appointments. We also got change calls on Friday!  I am staying in MARJANIEMI!!!!!! I am so happy about it! My new companion will be Sister Segmiller! 
So much chocolate & so many gifts!
Saturday was a really busy day.  We got to go and visit the members that we were supposed to on Friday and Mac came with us. It was a lot of fun and I got to play Mac in chess.... I won.  He was pretty embarrassed, haha. Then I got killed by one of the kids.... embarrassing.  We then got to teach our new investigator K.H who was the former we visited earlier in the week. We then had a dinner appointment with another member family. That was really good and Mac got to meet new members that he didn't know before. :) 
A Family At Church
Sunday:  It was a really good Sunday!  Fai's two younger siblings and step-dad came to church!  It made me so happy! I have never had a little family in church before. That was super exciting for us and a really great last Sunday for Sister Raphael. She got to go to primary with Fai and her siblings and I was with Tero. Apparently, Anu loved church and wants to come again next week!  Yes!! We are so excited about her and her family!! It was a really good week! 
Last Change Reflections
Since I am now going into my last change I have been thinking a lot about my mission. The time has gone by so fast and I really never thought that my last change would ever come nor that I would ever want it not to come. I love my mission. I love it so so much.  It has tried me more than anything else in my life.  It really have never had so many hard times but I really have never been so happy nor so grateful in my entire life. It has changed me and helped me to grow so much.  I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who has such a better plan for us than we could ever make for ourselves. I really wouldn't give up my mission for anything. It has changed my life. I am so grateful for this Gospel, that I have it in my life and that I have had this opportunity to come to Finland and to share it with others. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Elder Ezra Taft Benson,

"Men and Women who turn their lives over to God will discover that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can.  He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace."

It really is so true.   I love my Savior.  I know that He lives. I know that he is always with us and that he is always there to lift us and walk with us.  I know that the Church is true. Thank you all so much for all your love and support as I have served my mission. I am so grateful for it. This really has been the best experience of my whole life and 100% worth it!

I love you all so much!!! 

Sister Knapp

Thursday, December 25, 2014

He Is The Gift


With Sister Raphael
  Referral Week
This week was a pretty great week.  At first I was thinking that not much had really happened this week but actually quite a bit has happened this week! We have been really focusing and doing our best to try and as many people to watch the "He is the Gift" video as much as possible. We have been handing out so many cards to people and watching it with all of our members and investigators. It is such a good video and a nice quick reminder that he really is the true meaning of Christmas.  It has also made talking to people a lot easier which has never been my forte. The amazing thing is that as we have been doing this we have been seeing so many miracles.   I have never received many referrals on my mission from members or investigators or from other missionaries.  Probably partially because I always forget to ask...whoops. This week we just had so many referrals come in.  I know that doesn't sound like a lot but it really is.  We got two from members. One of those we contacted and she is a sweet old lady that we are now teaching (I actually don't know much about her because we were on splits that day when we contacted her). We also got a referral from Fai, a member in our ward, and we got to contact her this week too.  Her friend was so cute and so nice.  We got to share the video with her and Mac was with us. Mac is SO good with kids!  It is super nice. We got to talk to her and Mac got to distract her super cute little boy. We later found out that her friend was really happy that we came and reminded her of the true meaning of Christmas and that she wants us to come back sometimes soon! :) We also had another referral from a member and we got to get to know her friend which went really well.  Then we got a referral from other missionaries that we are still trying to contact.  It has been really cool to see the miracles from us working hard even if they aren't directly related to what we were doing.  
This week we also got an investigator transferred over to us from the sisters in the center of Helsinki.  He had just moved to our area.  He is from Canada but his native language is french and he is great.  He has already read the entire Book of Mormon and has a burning testimony that it is true. We are just trying to help him understand what that means for him.  Also, he came to church for the first time this week and is really wanting to learn more.  He wants to know "everything" and so that he can tell other about what he believes in because he does believe in and want to follow the Mormon Church. Apparently, he currently has a baptismal date for the 10th of January that the other sisters set but we haven't talked to him about it yet.  We are hoping to do that this week. :) He is really progressing though which is really fun to see.  
My Finland Family
With Sister Nyman (former companion) and Sister Hansen, who
were both in my MTC group
We had splits this week and I was with Sister Neilsen. She is great and it was a really good day. We got to do a lot of service and then we got to teach Mac, and she was pretty bold with him.  At least I thought so anyway.  It was a good lesson though and Mac is doing good.  He is helped us go and do missionary work this week which was a lot of fun. :)  We are SUPER excited to get to celebrate his first Christmas with him this week and we are taking him to all of the members houses with us.  It is going to be so much fun. Sister Raphael and I are so excited that we get to go and spend Christmas Eve with Fai's family.  We are currently teaching her little sister and her step-dad.  Yesterday we got to randomly stop by after we were done caroling at an old folks' home and ended up being able to teach both of them.  Her little sister is so cute and actually started asking a lot of questions about what happens after this life and where Jesus lives. It was a really good lesson and we are starting to find things that she is interested in so hopefully this will help her want to meet with us more.  Fai also made us dinner and then we read the Book of Mormon with Mac and occasionally Fai's little sister and brother would participate. It felt so good and I felt like I was part of a family again and that we were having family scripture study.  I just loved it.  We both just left feeling so good and happy and excited about them and really think that her family can progress and the craziest part is that it actually might come from the children. :)  They really are becoming more and more like my family here and I love it when we get to visit them.  Its a lot of fun and we get to teach a lot of people and all we have to do is stay in the same house!  Fai always jokes that we could just live there and we would never have to go anywhere.  It is so true! 
Serving With the Most Amazing Companions
Helsinki Zone Sisters
We also had Zone Conference this week which was good. I realized that it was probably my last time seeing my former companion Sister Nyman.  I love her so much and I am so so grateful for her.  It was an amazing and unforgettable 10 weeks that I got to serve with her in the blessed place of Oulu. I really am so grateful for her example and for her amazing friendship. I really have been so blessed to have served with some of the most amazing companions and hope that I get to visit this one in Norway sometime soon! :) 
I just want to add a short testimony about how grateful I am for the Savior and that he came into the world and lived and died and lived again for us.  I am so grateful that because of him we can all be forgiven and find peace and happiness. I am so grateful for eternal families and that I will get to be with my family for all eternity.  I love them so much.  They really do mean the world to me and I don't know what I would ever do without them. I love this gospel and I am so grateful for it.  It really has changed my life and given my so much hope and peace that I will forever be grateful for. This church is true.  Jesus Christ really is our Savior and Redeemer and he really does know each one of us perfectly. "He is the Gift" and we could receive a better one.  All things are possible in and through him and we can all experience and partake of that as we do our best to learn of Him and trust in Him. I love you all so much! 

Sister Kanpp

Monday, December 15, 2014

Missionary Work Is Friendship Work

Small Simple Acts of Kindness
P-day Christmas shopping
This week was a good week though not that much actually happened.  Everyone has gotten busy with the normal craziness of Christmas so it makes it really hard to be able to talk to people on the street because they are rushing from one place to another and it has gotten hard to meet with members too. So we decided that we just needed to do our best to show people that we love and care about them. We decided that one way that we wanted to do that was to send Christmas cards to members we have served with in the past and people we have taught. It is so nice that both Sister Raphael and I served in Oulu at the same time!  We are able to send them a picture of the both of us and write them a short Christmas letter. It has been super fun and feels so good to be able to express at least in a small way what these people have meant to me and how much they have influenced my mission and my life. I have really come to love so many people in this country and feel so blessed by it.  
"Snowflaking" doors!
The Biggest Part of Missionary Work
We are also snow-flaking members and less-actives doors and leaving them a small Christmas card as well to thank them for all they have been doing for us. It has been super fun and really rewarding to do small simple acts of kindness for people.  It has helped me to realize that the biggest part of missionary work is really just showing people how much you love and care about them.  It is amazing the change people can experience when they really do feel loved and cared about and that there is someone there that appreciates them and wants what is best for them.  When it really all comes down to it... missionary work is friendship work. Its about loving and caring and reaching out to people.  Its about making new friends and new life-long relationships  It really doesn't get better than that!  I have noticed that so many people think that missionary work means knocking on doors and talking to strangers in the street and inviting people to church--which inviting is a huge part of missionary work and is a super important part--but also it really come down to making friends then loving and serving them.  I have been able to see so many people's lives changed and blessed by becoming friends with people.  I get to talk and laugh and have fun with them and also get to share something that is so important and means so much to me. Of course they are never surprised when I do that... I do wear a nametag around telling the world that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. The difference is that people are so much more willing to listen and receive it from you when they first know that you really care about them.  Missionary work is also just strengthening and caring for those around us and it is the best thing that I could be doing this Christmas! 
Can you tell that I love the snow?
He Is The Gift
I am sure that you have already heard or seen the video "He is the Gift"  on christmas.mormon.org.  It is something that is really big in missionary work right now.  We are trying to share it with everyone because Christ really is the true meaning of Christmas and sometimes it is so easy to forget that.  So Sister Raphael and I have made a lot of cute pass along cards with the address and chocolate attached to it.  It makes it so much easier for us to hand them out.  It is a really great video and if you haven't seen it, then I definitely suggest watching it!  There really is no better gift in the world then that of God's son, Jesus Christ.  
Investigator Updates
This week was a little rough with investigators.  We were able to meet with our sweet Chinese investigator, Wu Keer, but sadly she doesn't want to meet with is right now. She is preparing to take a Finnish test so that she can possibly get a full-time or at least longer visa to stay here in Finland. So, she wants and needs to study. :( She does want to meet with us after her test though so hopefully we will be able to do that and that I will still be here in Marjaniemi!  We also were able to meet with another one of our investigators. She is expected to have her baby any day now so we aren't able to teach her but we are super excited for her and her family. Then we got to teach Fai's step-dad.  It was a good lesson.  We are just really trying to help him see why this is important for his life and for his family, but we think that he is starting to think about it more and more so that is a really good thing. Other than that we don't have many we are teaching. Christmas time is always hard but hopefully we can find more people that we can teach that are prepared!  Mac is doing incredible and is SO happy!  It makes us both so happy just to be able to see Mac as happy as he has been. So that has been really good.
Getting ready to sing at ward
Christmas party
Ward Christmas Party Finland Style
Friday night we had the Christmas party.  It was good.  They gave us the traditional Christmas porridge and then they had a bunch of little performances by the Primary kids and Young Women and things.  We missionaries did this cup thing to the song "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"  It kinda... well.... didn't go as well as we planned.  Fortunately, no one will probably ever remember anyway. They also did their traditional Finnish skit about King Herod and not sure what else.... I didn't completely understand what was going on and neither did Mac, who was trying to help explain whatever I didn't get.  I think it is something to do with King Herod and the 3 kings along with the order to kill all the babies.  Kinda weird, I know.  Apparently there was also a desert contest that I didn't know was happening.  Not many members brought things and I just brought good ole' American Peanut Butter Bars out of obligation of being a missionary. Guess what?  I won!  You gotta love America. :)  I think that is all to report!  Thanks for all your love and support!  I love you! 

Ward Christmas party
Ward Christmas 
Elders McKnight and Wilson

Our attempted "cup song"

Sister Knapp
Christmas markets!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cookies For Everyone!

Wow. I am thinking about this week and I really do not know what to say about it.... It was a rough week but on the bright-side of things I have had way worse weeks then this one. :) 

Monday we got to go and help a family in the ward move.  They are moving to Dubai and so needed a lot of help to get things ready to leave. We planned on helping for 2 hours but the 2 hours turned into 4 hours and we had all 6 of us missionaries there helping, but they definitely couldn't have done it without our help and it felt really good to help them. They were super grateful for it. 
Chinese dinner with Sister Raphael, Fai and Mac
Tuesday we got to meet with Timo. That was a really sad lesson. He just doesn't feel ready to change and has too many questions and things that need taken care of so he has decided that he doesn't want to meet with us anymore. He did make some really good member friends so hopefully that will be a good thing for him and those members will stay in touch with him. Then we got to meet with Mac who took us and Fai out to dinner.  um!  Mac is the best. We then got to go and teach him a small lesson which turned into watching a lot of Mormon Messages but I think it was good for him. We also got to make cookies and Christmas cards with the Relief Society that morning which was a lot of fun. They just signed us up to be there and we made a TON of cookies. We had 25 plates worth and cards to take to less-actives in the ward and they expected us to take all of them to the people!  What?! Fortunately, after explaining that it would take us close to an hour to deliver each plate of cookies they were willing to help us and drive us around to deliver them. 
So,Wednesday, we got to deliver cookies!  I got to go on splits with Fai and Sister Raphael went with another member in the ward. After about 2-3 hours we had only delivered half of the plates of cookies. Most people Fai and I visited had moved or weren't home but Sister Raphael had a lot of success in getting in contact with some of these less-actives so that was a really good thing. Later that night we then had a lesson with Eila Ryyty who we have been working with for awhile now. She is doing so good. It is still really hard for her to come back to church since she has been away for so long but she has started to pray almost every day and to read the Book of Mormon almost everyday as well.  We are really excited for her and just hope we can get her coming back to church soon! :) 
Thursday was a normal planning day and then later that evening we got to teach Mac. That went really well. 
Friday we got to go and do service at a members house that really needed the help and her friend was there.  We were able to talk to her a little bit about what we believed and she seemed genuinely interested so hopefully we will possibly be able to start teaching her soon.  We then went and delivered even more cookies. 
Saturday we taught our Chinese investigator Wu Keer. She is so sweet and so cute but we have to teach super slow and super simply so that she can understand. This week we talked to her about being baptized and committed her to being baptized when she knows that this church is true. She agreed to it but doesn't have a date yet!  She also is now willing to meet with us more than once a week so that is a good thing and hopefully we can really help her start to progress towards being baptized!  We then taught Mac again at a new member's house that he hasn't met before. We still really want him to be able to meet the members but it is hard to find members that he doesn't know that we know. We might need to start working outside of the box! But It was a really good lesson and something that we felt the family really needed, maybe even more than Mac. They are the sweetest family and one of my favorites in the ward. They have just been having a lot of struggles so we are trying to find ways that we can really help and strengthen them. 
Practicing for the ward Christmas party
Sunday was a good day except for being sick. So all in all it was a pretty good week. Thanks for all of your love and support! 

Sister Knapp

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Where Does The Time Go?

This was an alright week.  Finland is getting darker and colder and as a result of it, I am ALWAYS tired.  It is now getting light around 9:00 and dark around 3:30 and it is just going to get darker.  I just really hope that it snows again soon.  I love the snow!  It makes everything brighter and happier. Plus, it feels more like Christmas which is just around the corner!  Where does the time go? 
Finnish Thanksgiving
Fixing Thanksgiving dinner
To be honest, I don't really know what to say about this week..... Not all that much happened. Thanksgiving was really good. Since no one celebrates Thanksgiving in Finland (I know.... Weird ;) ) we created a celebration ourselves. We invited Mac and Fai and one of Sister Raphael's former companions who is practically Finnish and is home for medical things. She came and brought 2 friends and Fai brought her 9 year-old little sister who is just SO cute!  I think she is finally warming up to us too. The dinner turned out pretty good and we shared a thought on things we were grateful for and then wrote "thank you " letters to those that we could send to people. Fai's little sister, Anu, ended up giving us a thank you letter and it was so cute. 
With Sister Raphael
Teaching Without Moving
On Sunday, we got to go and visit Fai and her family to teach her step-dad. It went pretty well, though he was a little hard, but he is willing to meet with us and to try again. He has met with a lot of missionaries. We then got to teach her little sister how to pray and gave her a Book of Mormon. It was so cute and she was way more willing to talk with us. We are now starting to teach her and we have another lesson with her this coming Tuesday. We are super excited! Then, since Mac lives there too, he came out and we got to teach him as well. Mac is still doing good and is always willing to meet with us and come do missionary work with us. We may have dragged him around for a few hours just dropping off invites to less-actives for the children's program at church....  It was really fun for us to have someone along (not sure how much fun he had though..).  I have to admit that it was really probably the highlight of my week going to Fai's and just having to sit on the couch while everyone just rotated through so we could teach them.  I was SO tired so it just made things a lot easier and was actually kind of fun. It doesn't happen very often where you get to teach three people and stay seated in the same spot for 2 hours. :)  
Internet photo of a Racoon Dog
Racoon Dog & White Elephant
Sister Raphael's highlight of the week was seeing a Raccoon Dog. haha. We saw this guy that was taking a ton of pictures of it in the dark so she asked what he was doing and we found out he was taking pictures of a Raccoon Dog which apparently is super, super rare. So I guess that was a pretty cool thing that happened. Oh yeah!  This week we also had a Relief Society Christmas party where we played White Elephant.  hat is apparently is not a familiar thing in Finland. When the Relief Society President explained it everyone was so excited and it was clear that most of them had never heard about it before.  It was really fun though.  Let's just say that I must be good at unwrapping gifts because 4 of the things that I picked got stolen from me and no one else really got anything stolen from them, haha, but really I didn't care much. It was fun anyway. :)  Well, I am sorry that this is a pretty lame email. Not much happened this week. Our investigators, for the most part, are doing good.  T. was unable to meet with us all week but we are meeting with him tomorrow and other than that the rest dropped us. Kinda sad but we are just trying to find new people that the Lord has prepared and to start sharing the true meaning of Christmas!  

I love you all. Thanks for your love and support! 

Sister Knapp

Monday, November 24, 2014

Things Are So Much Brighter


Snow Selfie
I have to admit that I really have no idea what to write about this week. I can barely remember yesterday let alone last Monday! So I think this week I will mostly just talk about the people that we have been teaching. 

Our Investigators
With my companion, Sister Raphael
Piret its great and we absolutely love her but sadly, this week she asked for some time to think and be on her own. We weren't surprised by it at all and we thought it was something that she might need. Its hard when she has been trying to learn about God and coming closer to him all on her own and her family doesn't support her at all. But she told us that we could come back in a couple of months and see how she is doing and see then if she wants to continue learning again. Other than that we are just hoping to see her at random times to wish her "Happy Birthday" and things like that. She is so funny and has the cutest little family. Hopefully over the next couple of months she we see more how much she really does want to have God in her life and that He can bless her and her family!  Timo is doing well.  He admitted this week that he does believe that the Book of Mormon is true and that is why he has such a hard time reading it or praying about it.  He knows that once he gets an answer that it is true that he needs to be baptized and that seems to really scare him.  We had another lesson set up with him during the week but for the first time he canceled on us!  He didn't say why just that he couldn't come. He did come to church on Sunday and loved the talks that he heard. Sadly, he did warn us that he might not want to be learning anymore but that he will decide and talk to us about it on Wednesday when we meet with him and his really good member friend that day. Keep him in your prayers!!  We also taught a few new people that we are really excited about. One of our investigators that went to China for 2 months is back so we are finally able to meet with her again and that is exciting. We just have to explain things a lot and in a million different ways to make sure that she understands, but she sad an amazing prayer at the end and wants to keep meeting with us!  She has even introduced her friend to the Book of Mormon and we are hoping that we can meet with her friend soon and start teaching her! 

Building a snowmen with Sister Raphael...
Praying for Snow
Of course, this week we saw Mac a lot!  He is really is the best and basically the high light of most weeks. It was so funny, I really have been wanting snow ever since it decided to get dark all day long but Mac really doesn't like the snow.  But then he told us that he was going to be going out of town this weekend unless it snowed and he couldn't drive. So jokingly, I clasped my hands together pretending to pray, "Please snow! Please snow! Please Snow!" You will never believe it!  Not even 5 minutes later it was snowing and it snowed the rest of the day!  It pretty much made my whole day. I love the snow!  It makes things so much brighter! (That was on Friday).) 
Temple Work & Tour
Saturday we went to the temple with Mac. Mac did baptisms and we did a session. It was so nice to finally be able to go back through the temple.  I could also understand so much more in Finnish too so that was cool.  I may not speak as well as most or as well as I wish I could but at least I can understand a TON better now. :)  Mac waited with us for a LONG time after for our investigator to get to the temple so that we could give her a temple tour. It went really well and Mac was so good at teaching. He is really a natural at it! Then Sunday came around and Mac left us!  Lame.  He had fun though and we saw him later that night and he watched us build a snowman... apparently, Asians don't build snowmen.  I think we are going to have to change that! :) 

All in all it was a pretty good week. I really wish there was more to say about it! Thanks for all the love and support! 


Sisar Knapp
Isn't Finland beautiful?!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Gospel LIGHT


This week was a really long week but none-the-less it was a good one! Which I a pretty sure that I always start my emails with "This week was a pretty great week" or "This week was a long one"... Sorry about that. I really need to work on getting a little bit more creative for the beginnings of my emails. :)  I'll work on it.  
The Goods & Bads of Counting Down
Monday was a good day. We spent most of the day just doing the normal p-day stuff. Studies, cleaning, emailing, grocery shopping and then we went shopping.  It was fun. I found a Finnish sweater that would normal cost 60 or more euros for just 8!  That was pretty miraculous. Needless to say, I bought it. I have to say there are both goods and bads to serving with someone who is going home really soon. You start to realize how soon you too are going home and the things that you still want to get and do and the person that you are still trying to become and it can turn into a stressful panic on occasion.  But the positives are that you both can speak decently well and if you need to change a lesson plan last minute it is totally possible. So goods and bads. Later that night we got to go and visit another family in the ward and doing family night with them and Mac. That was fun. We attempted to teach about faith using cups and talking about things that we can do to build our faith but that soon turned into the kids bowling with the cups instead. Oh well... It was still a decently good lesson though and Mac got to know this family a little better so that was good. :) 
Now That is Awkward
Tuesday was an alright day. It was a really good thing that we had a lot of appointments because we both weren't feeling the must up beat ready to go. We first had a lesson with our investigator Piret. We got there and you will never believe it. We walked in on the JW's. Now that is awkward.  It is just awkward to walk in on your investigator who is also meeting apparently with the JW's. Fortunately, they left as soon as we got there but the only problem is that they speak her native tongue Estonian and we don't. We had a good lesson with her though and tried our best to help her understand the importance of reading and praying and she committed to doing it everyday this week so hopefully she did! We have a lesson with her tomorrow. We then taught an investigator that the sisters had given us right before they left. A. has been investigating the church for a about a year now and has some really good questions and continues to read the Book of Mormon.  She needs to read the whole book before she will commit to being baptized and really likes meeting with the missionaries and learning. We really do think that she knows its true but that she just keeps stopping herself from taking the step to being baptized. Hopefully,we can help her to take a leap of faith and set a baptismal date soon. We then taught Timo. He is continuing to do really well and we taught him the Word of Wisdom this week. He LOVED it!  He already lives it I think better than anyone I know. He eats super healthy and no sugar. He doesn't drink or smoke or anything. So he is good on that. He also is reading and studying. The only hard part is that he isn't always reading the Book of Mormon. Sometimes just things on lds.org but I guess that is better than nothing! We then got to meet with a less-active in the ward and that was good. We finally were able to get a good spiritual thought in with her. She sounds completely like an active member she just really needs to come back to church!  It was clearly a super busy day. 

Moving the Work Forward in Finland
Moving the Work Forward in Finland
Wednesday we had a mission tour.  Elder Texeira came to visit the mission and to talk to us more about how we can get the work moving forward at a more rapid pace here in Finland. It ended up being all of the Tampere Zone and Helsinki Zone who was there which is more than half of the mission. That was a lot of fun to be able to see so many of my friends in the mission and missionaries that I have served with.  I got to see some people from my MTC group that I felt like I hadn't seen in forever!  The weirdest part was knowing that I might not see most of those people again before I go home.  I can't believe how fast the time has gone by!  It's only going to go faster and faster. The meeting was really good. It was basically all about using the Book of Mormon more effectively in our missionary work. I need to work on that. Later that evening, we had a lesson with Eila Ryyty the less-active that we have been working with. It went really well and she as been praying everyday!  Sadly, she hasn't been reading everyday. So, we helped her start! She couldn't remember the last place that she read so we finally had to get her to just start the Book of Mormon over. After reading the first chapter and talking to her about it she seemed really excited to start.  We are meeting with her again this week and hopefully she has been reading everyday! 
The Sabbath Day
Thursday we again got to teach Timo and explain more the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. We had a really good lesson with him and though he understood. He committed to keeping the Sabbath day holy but then when we asked if he was coming to church this week, he said that he couldn't. I think he missed a big portion of our lesson. Fortunately, after talking about how it was Stake Conference this weekend he agreed to think about coming. At least it was better than a no.  We also had a lesson with Mac and bishop's house. We have really been wanting him to have a chance to get to know Piispa (bishop) a little bit better, but then Piispa Koponen was out of town! So that didn't work. We still got to have a good lesson again on faith but more for his level instead of for children. I think that it was something that he really needed.
Reindeer... Not Just for Pulling Sleighs in Finland
Friday most of our plans fell through which is never much fun. However, Gisel came to visit us and took us out to lunch. We got to get reindeer sandwiches. Yum!  I have officially tried reindeer and it was really really good. It was also fun to see Gisel and get to talk to her. I hadn't seen her in forever.  We also had a lesson with a some members later that evening and came up with ways that we can help their less-active children in the church.  Hopefully, we really can help. 
Saturday Fun Day
Saturday was more of a fun day.  We first had a lesson with Jenny and it went really well. We found out that she was previously a JW and no longer believes in it. She is really interested in our doctrine and learning so hopefully as we teach her more it will soften her heart and she will become even more interested. We then decided that we wanted to do something that was more fun with Mac and not always just lesson after lesson.  So we had a dinner and movie night with him and Fai before we went to the Saturday night session of Stake Conference. It was fun. :) 
Learning About the Savior's Love
Sunday was really good. Our investigator Timo ended up coming to church!  So that made us happy. Practically everyone else cancelled on us. We then later had a lesson with our investigator Jh. He is so cool and so sincere!  We are really excited about him!  The lesson had to be super short though because he was leaving to go to Estonia for a day. We then had a lesson with Mac and one of his favorite members' houses. It was such a good lesson about repentance and I personally felt like I learned a lot more about how much the Savior really does love us and wants to help us change! 

Sorry, this is a WAY long email.  It was a really good week despite it being dark now at 4:00 and not being light until 9:00 am.  The Gospel literally becomes the light for everyone here in Finland during the winter season! Thanks for all your love and support! 

Sister Knapp

Monday, November 10, 2014

Never Lose Faith

Hyvää Huomenta!! 

Family Home Evening Fun!
This week was a pretty miraculous week even though it was pretty slow moving at first. Monday was probably the most fun day of the week, given it was P-day and we got to play Sähly with the Elders which was a lot of fun, but we also had the most fun lesson of my mission that night. We had a family in the ward invite us over for dinner and Family Home Evening and it was so much fun!  Mac came with us. We decided that we wanted to teach the kids more about reading the scriptures and to help them read everyday but we wanted to make it more exciting. So we decided that we would act out one of the stories in the Book of Mormon with them. We packed up a ton of scarfs that they all could use as head sashes and waist sashes and then they supplied things like robes and beards, haha. It turned out to be the craziest, most fun family night ever. Plus, Mac even joined in and got to be the angel and Mac is the sweetest person I have ever seen with kids. It was so cute to see him making paper planes with the kids. He really is my best friend and older brother here. But, the kids loved it and the whole time Sister Raphael was the narrator and was reading from the Book of Mormon... She may have threw in a few extra things.... such as, Nefi, Sam, Laman, and Lemuel playing rock, paper, scissors to see who goes in. Yeah... I don't remember that happening in the story. In the end we committed everyone to read everyday that week and if they came and told us on Sunday that they read everyday we would give them a treat. Some of them did it! :) 
Blank Day Turned Member Day
Tuesday was our member day. It started out with a super blank day and me wanting to just lay on the floor and die. I really don't like blank days. But with Sister Raphael's miracle planning in the morning we ended up with an entire full day and I got to meet members that I didn't even know. First we went to help a single mom in the ward who had just had surgery clean her house. She was SO thankful and just kept asking who sent us because she really really needed the help. I think it was inspired that we went there. We then got to go visit a member in the ward and follow up on a Book of Mormon that she gave away. She is the cutest old lady and is so excited to do missionary work. We just helped her to know more how she could invite her friend to learn even more about the church. She is great! We also visited two of my favorite families in the ward that day and they are really doing great. One of the daughters wanted to do a cookie making night with us and invite her friends so we did that Saturday. We have some really good missionary minded families in this ward so things are getting better! :)
They Just Need You
Wednesday was a really good day. Sister Raphael and I decided that we actually want to become friends with the elders this change because that doesn't always happen. We had district meeting on Wednesday and that was a lot of fun. Instead of the boring "tell you who are and where you are from," we decided that we wanted to make it exciting and we had to ask 2 questions to each person along with their introduction. This led to questions like, "what would you do in you were stranded on an island with the whole mission and all of the leaders got eaten by dinosaurs?" or "what is the most redneck thing you have ever done?"  Lets just say that it led to lots of laughter and we think that it was a good start. Later that day we had an appointment with our investigator T. and it went really really well!  We taught him all about Baptism and the Holy Ghost.  Even though he is not ready to set a baptismal date and to start to really investigate and ask if the the church is true, He came to church last week and loved it and then after this lesson for the first time ever committed to meet with us twice in a week instead of once!  Yes!  He is doing great! After our lesson with T. e had a lesson with a less active E.R. She is so great but it is so sad because the ward has really seemed to have given up on her and so she wont come to back to church. We had a lesson about reading the scriptures everyday and last week she prayed every single day for the first time in a really long time!  She has also committed to come to church with us this week. She is really starting to come back. Its amazing to see and has been a big testimony to me about not giving up or losing faith in people because chances are that they have just lost faith in themselves and need you. 
Don't Try This At Home
Thursday was our normal planning day.  Thank goodness that it was a planning day because it was snowing!!  I was pretty excited that it was snowing so that it could lighten things up around here. It is already starting to get dark around 4:30 in the evening. It is crazy. I miss the sun sometimes. When we wake up it is still pitch black outside and feels more like 2 in the morning not 6:30.  Sadly, the snow did not stay more then a day but we did have a funny story associated with Planning. Sister Raphael was cutting the dead ends off her hair during most of the planning and then went in to the bathroom as soon as we finished. I eventually followed to find her chopping of her hair!! I have heard of sisters doing this but never thought I would actually see it happen! We all go crazy after awhile for hair cuts since they are 40 euros here and who wants to pay that?!  The worst part is that we don't even have hair cutting scissors! They were just little kids scissors. I eventually jumped in and helped her cut some and try and make it even.... haha it doesn't look that bad?  I wouldn't suggest doing it though. Later that night we got to meet with Mac at his place. The first time that I have ever been to his apartment. He lives there with a family from Thailand also and actually the daughter is a member and introduced him to the church. She was there and we taught him about the priesthood some more and it was really good.   The only hard part was that we ended up talking to the member about missions for a long time since she had just gotten home not too long ago and Mac seemed pretty left out. I felt so bad afterwards. But he was fine and is still doing great. :) 
Friday we got to teach Timo again and it when really well. He used to try and speak to us in English to practice but they more seriously he investigates the more he goes to speaking Finnish. Yes!  We taught him that reading the scriptures and praying everyday is a commandment and committed him to do it and try and read at least 15 minutes a day. He said that is not enough and that he will read an hour a day... wow.  Yeah I think he is doing good!  He also committed to come to church. We also taught Piret. She is doing fine but is still struggling with keeping any commitments and we are worried that now might not be her time. We love her and really want to help her but she needs to start acting. It was a really good day. 
Cookie Making
Saturday was kind of a downer. I was feeling super sick most of the day and couldn't do much but we did get to meet with the Young Women's member and her friends to make sugar cookies!  They really enjoyed it and it gave the member a chance to show them the church and introduce them more to it.
Sunday, the Crazy and Miraculous Day
Sunday was a miracle day.  We new that we needed a lot of people in church in order to reach our goals for the week and we were not sure how that was going to happen but it did!! We had a former show up in church that we got to teach and she wants to investigate again, our investigator Timo, came to church, we had 3 of our less-actives that we have been working with come to church including Eila Ryyty It was amazing!  We were so excited!  Church was such a crazy day. Sister Raphael and I were constantly taking care of people and it was actually a lot of fun. I had to translate for Lilieta, a less-active for sacrament meeting. That was pretty nerve racking, but it went fine. Mac got to bless the sacrament for the first time! It made me so happy and Mac was completely himself.  We only had 2 lessons set up with him during the week and he complained that it wasn't enough so now we have 4 and he says it is perfect, haha. Oh Mac. Then after Church we got to go and visit Lilieta and it was so cool because she had her friend's son over who is 20 and was determined to introduce him to us. I have to admit it started out pretty awkwardly though.... I mean its not everyday you have members saying that you could marry someone you just met just because you are the same age!  What?!  Yeah, I quickly changed that around, and told him our purpose here, which led into the Restoration and now he wants to learn more!  That was pretty miraculous!  I love miracles.:)  It was a good week! 

Thanks for all of your love and support! 

Sister Knapp