Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How To Get Happier (And It's Not What You Think)

Standing on a frozen river!

Funny Train Experience
Well, I have officially been on my mission for 5 months!  I wish I could say that it flew by but it really feels like the longest 5 months of my entire life! But I hear that time starts picking up after you make it through the first 6 months so hopefully that is all true! But this week I got to almost witness a fist fight between a drunk guy and a passenger on the train! It was so funny and kind of scary!  This extremely drunk guy ended up getting on the train but because he is really drunk he wasn't actually allowed to be on the train. The train wouldn't move until he got off and the worker was a woman just trying to get him off on her own when he started walking down the aisle to the front. A passenger jumped up and grabbed onto his shirt to stop him. but that made the drunk guy really mad and he started yelling that he wanted to go to the front of the train!  Apparently he started yelling some really mean things at the passenger who stopped him (that I didn't understand.)  The passenger just shoved him back and they got into this yelling and shoving and spitting fight that was getting close to being a fistfight.  Meanwhile, the whole train gets really loud because this NEVER really happens in Finland and so everyone is talking about it. There were a bunch of teenage boys on the train who want to get in on the action so they all start getting up and coming down to join the fight. Meanwhile, I am trying to hold my companion down because for some reason Sister Fronk had this belief that she could get up and help!  Not a good idea!  We are supposed to stay AWAY from drunk guys not go marching up to one, especially when they are in a fight with someone else! Plus, we are so entertained by the whole interaction that we are trying our hardest not to have the biggest grins on our faces while everyone else is worried, haha!  Fortunately, the lady was able to get the drunk guy to get off the train and it was finally able to start moving again. :) Then things that drunk people do.  I just don't understand why people would ever want to be drunk.
The tree that stopped my fall
The Strange Things That Can Turn a Day Around
I have to admit that it was just a pretty exciting day all around.  One day I was having a pretty rough day and I was pretty upset with everything, so as we were walking up to Hai's home (our recent convert) to meet a member and teach a lesson, I was just looking at the ground feeling a little sorry for myself and not really paying much attention to anything.  Kinda lame.  But just as I finally reached the top step of a set of stone stairs, I slipped!  My shin ended up landing on the corner of the stone step and it was right on the edge of a hill...so I started rolling down the hill until I ran into a tree!  I have to admit it was pretty exciting, even though it hurt really bad! That's what I get for being down. After that, strangely enough, I was a lot happier!  Funny how things like that work! 
The damage it did!
Seeing  the Light From Us
We also had a really interesting contacting experience this past week.  We were walking through this area in Kaukalahti saying Hi to everyone who was walking by when we started to noticed that all the people we were talking to just didn't seem to be all the way there.  The first thing I thought was "Did an addiction recovery class" just get out?  We were coming up with all sorts of explanations, haha.  It was so weird because everyone was completely out of it and they would come and get really close to us and look at our name tags and say "I'm atheist" and then they would walk away.  Or they would start telling us about their day.... It was so weird!  Once we got passed that crazy experience we continued walking all the way to a former investigator's house, who ended up not being home, but we met her neighbor who was outside and she was so cool!  She was so nice and we talked to her for about 45 minutes and even though she wasn't interested in the church she told us that we were representing our church well because we are really trying to learn Finnish, be happy, and just always willing to help anyone we can.  She said that people can just see light from us! 
We see beautiful snowflakes like this all the time!
Not a Member... YET!!
The beautiful Finnish sunshine
This week we also had our investigator who is 18, Anna, came to church again! She comes ever week and she honestly loves it!  The hard thing is that she is so busy with exams that she still has no time to meet with us but she is wanting to meet next week sometime after all her exams are finished!  We are super excited about it!  She is also going each week to the Young Adult Class with the bishop's daughter.  Two non-member boys walked into church this week for a school assignment and so they all went around telling how long they have been members and why they are a member of the church.  When it came to Anna she said that she wasn't a member YET.  :) When we talked to her on the phone later that day she talked about how two boys had come and visited OUR church and then she corrected herself and said your church.  We talked to her more about the Book of Mormon that she received that day and she told us how much she wants to read it and pray about it to know if it is true :) She seriously is amazing and we are so blessed and spoiled with her!  We love her so much and know that she is going to be baptized. It is amazing to see her come from not believing in God to believing.  We actually went back and looked at exactly what we prayed for a few weeks ago. We prayed for a 17 year old girl, who would be baptized, really love the Gospel, and be a kingdom builder and we were blessed with Anna!  It is amazing how God really answers prayers. :)
Beautiful Finland

 I love you all!
Love, Sister Knapp

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Most Dramatic & Craziest Week Ever! (But Still the Blessings Come)

Dramatic Sisters and Those Poor Zone Leaders!
I have to say that this has been the most dramatic and craziest week of my entire mission by far.  Sure, I have only been out for 5 months but hopefully it is the only time I have a week like this one!  So this past Sunday morning Sister West had to be rushed to the hospital by the Elders Crofts and Kaaria at 3 in the morning.  We ended up finding out the next morning that the couple missionaries were going to go to the hospital to watch over Sister West, while they figured out what was wrong, (One thing that we learned is that Finnish Hospitals are really laid back and take forever to get things figured out and taken care of.)  Sister West's companion, Sister Venz, was going to be coming to be a third companion for the next couple of days.  That started  a pretty crazy Sunday because we had an investigator, Anna, coming to church for the first time, but we also had Sister Venz coming back from being at the hospital all night who was exhausted and needed someone to stay with her! So we made the decision that I was going to stay at the church on member splits, because as a Sister Training Leader Sister Fronk really needed to be with Sister Venz, but Sister Fronk also had to give a talk in Sacrament meeting!  So we really had no idea what to do.  Fortunately the elders didn't get back with Sister Venz until right after Sister Fronk's talk and so she basically just ran out the door right after giving it and left me with the members in the ward and Anna, who spoke only Finnish and I can't really speak Finnish and I didn't have anyone to help!  Fortunately, Elder Waite could help out and it went really well and Anna loved being at church! After church Sister Fronk and Sister Venz had to walk to the church to pick me up and then we went back to the apartment and tried to start setting up member splits for the next week for members to come and watch Sister West, who did end up getting her appendix out, and to go out with Sister Venz.  Talk about really hard!  Anyway, the next day President Rawlings needed Sister Fronk to go to the hospital and be with Sister West while she recovered from her surgery.  So I was with Sister Venz for our P-day.  We were both a little frustrated because we didn't know why Sister Venz wasn't the one at the hospital with her companion, where she really wanted to be.  In addition, we were planning on going to visit her but were told that we couldn't and that the zone leaders were going to go instead.  That made both of us mad at the zone leaders and come to find out that just about everyone ended up mad at them!  Haha, those poor zone leaders having to deal with all of us dramatic sisters!!  Sister Fronk ended up being there all day and all night and most of the next day.  Somehow they managed to break the hospital rules and have her spend the night there, which they don't normally allow.  For the next couple of days we couldn't find members to be with Sister West and Sister Venz and so we had to do splits.  I have to admit that I liked it because Sister Fronk knows this area of Espoo so she went on splits with Sister Venz and I was on splits with Sister West, which meant  I got to just read my scriptures and keep her company.  Not a bad job!  :)  But then Sister Venz and Sister Fronk came back and Sister Venz was upset because she wanted to be with her companion.  Haha, long story short, more drama followed.  Meanwhile, Sister West was feeling stressed because everyone was upset with each other.  It was so bad!  But luckily we were told to just return to our normal work and Sister Venz was able to pull everything together and get members to do splits with them for the last few days of the week!  She is awesome that way!  So everything ended up working out! 
I'm Freezing Almost All the Time!
Finland is also starting to get so much colder! All of the rivers are starting to freeze over which is really cool to see but the sea hasn't frozen over yet.  I am way excited to be able to see that!  Apparently that becomes a Finnish past time where people are wanting to go out and walk on the frozen sea!  I don't blame them, I think it is pretty cool!  But really I am freezing almost all of the time. Which makes it so much harder to jaksaa (Finnish word that basically means 'to feel to' times 10) to go outside and work.  This week was a really hard one for us because we ended up having to drop, or ended up being dropped, by more than half of our investigators that weren't really progressing so we are kinda having to restart and reopen our area.  That is really hard when it is so cold outside and you don't want to be outside knocking on doors or contacting people on the street!  It is really good motivation to find people to teach, though, so that we can be inside! :)  
Glowing With the Light of the Gospel
We got to experience some really, really cool things this week too. We got to go to the temple with Hai to watch him do baptisms for the very first time!  That was such an amazing experience!  I love the temple here in Finland! I have been fortunate enough to have gone for myself 3 times already and to get to see Hai do baptisms and I get to go again next week! I have to admit that it is one of the prettiest temples that I have ever seen!  The inside of it is so beautiful!  Fun fact though:  we were looking in the book Daughters in My Kingdom and the picture of the baptismal font in that book is of the Helsinki temple!  How cool is that!?  Anyway, it was so cool to see him to baptisms for the dead!  Afterwards, he was just glowing!  So even though he loves to argue with us and give us a hard time we know that he really does love this gospel and feels good because he was seriously glowing!  Now I know what people mean when they say that they are just glowing with the light of the Gospel :) 
If We But Ask Him
We also had two of our investigators come to church this past week!  The Finnish girl, Anna, ended up coming to church again because she loves it and really enjoys learning about God and about the gospel!  Its really funny because she is really busy so she cant meet during the week.  I will admit that I never expected that I would have an investigator who would come to all three hours of church every week even though we can't seem to meet with for 30 minutes during the week! She is so amazing and she is going to come next week, plus she is coming to a family home evening that we are having tonight at the Hentunen's because she is friends with Roosa!  We also talk to her about meeting outside of church and she really wants to but she can't until after her exams.  After those are over she says that she wants to meet a lot so that she can learn!  I am so grateful for prayer!  It was through prayer that we were able to find her.  We really wanted to find an investigator who was 17 and Finnish and who would want to learn and could be baptized and the Lord provided us with this investigator!  It is amazing!  The Lord has so many blessings that He is just waiting to give to us and all we need to do is just ask Him in faith and then He will give it to us!  It doesn't always come in the exact way that you expect but He does pour out His blessings upon us if we but ask Him. :)  
It Was Such a Good Sunday!
The other investigator who came is a guy from Ghana and he is just awesome!  I think I talked about him a few weeks ago. He is great and it was so cool to see him at church (even though he could only come to the sacrament meeting) but he was loving it, and he brought his friend with him!!!  Talk about having the missionary mindset!  And now his friend is coming to the next lesson which is amazing!  We are so excited about this investigator because he really knows the power of prayer and really knows how to pray and so if he just prays with real intent and really wants to know if this is the true church then there is nothing that is going to stop him!  It was such a good Sunday!  :)
Being Spoiled
Today has also been a really fun day!  Not only did I finish the Book of Mormon this morning but we have already had a lunch appointment with some members!  I know that both of those don' really go together but those are just two things that I thought were exciting.  I love the members here!  They are so sweet and so nice to us and I will admit that members really love sisters!  I mean, don't tell the elders that (even though they already know) but they just love sisters and we are still kind of this novel thing! There weren't sisters in Espoo for a really long time (until this past year) and now there are 4 of us!  But they are so nice to me and always comment on how my Finnish is getting so much better which makes be feel so good because I really don't think that my Finnish is very good at all, but it helps when members are encouraging you to speak it.  I just love the members here in Espoo! I love Espoo!  These members that we were with are so sweet and actually live right next to us and if they don't see us at least once a week they start wondering why we haven't stopped by, haha They also like to spoil us missionaries and so they take a set of missionaries out to this buffet for lunch once a month.  They are so cute!  Let's say that I never thought I would be eating pizza with a fork and a knife.  In fact, I never thought that I would ever learn to eat with a fork and knife, haha!  Americans just aren't very proper that way.  Anyway, I just have to say that I love the members here and really I just love Finland. :)

Your Prayers Are Answered Everyday!
Also I love this gospel.  I love seeing the many blessings and miracles each and everyday as people learn and grow in the Church. The Church is true and the Book of Mormon is true and I am so grateful that I have it in my life.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I am eternally grateful for His atonement.  I am not the perfect missionary.  In fact, I am far far from it, but I am so grateful that through the atonement I can become better and stronger and happier!  I love each and every one of you!  Thank you for all of your love, support, and prayers in behalf of me and the people of Finland!  I promise that they are answered everyday!  I love you! 

Sister Knapp 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Finnish Missionaries And A Chinese Spring Festival


This has probably been one of the craziest weeks ever! But guess what everyone?!  There is finally SNOW in FINLAND!!!  I never thought that I would have to wait until the middle of January for it to finally snow and to not have the white Christmas that we usually have.  I mean we were walking around in short sleeves and no jackets on Christmas day! That has kinda been what the weather has been like lately here, but maybe not quite so warm, until just this past weekend!  It was crazy how fast the temperature dropped. It went from being kinda cold to down right freezing within a day!  I am about to experience the Finnish winter!  And I have talked to Finns about how cold it is here and they say it gets even colder so hopefully I don't die!  
Mission Fast
Well last week we had our mission leadership council meeting where we decided that we would to the mission fast that we are all really excited about!  Each district throughout Finland will get a week to fast for their area and the mission as a whole, so each companion will fast one day and the entire fast will last about 11 weeks!  We were all really excited about it and got to present in zone meeting this week.   So we met with the elders and planned the zone meeting which actually went really well!  I still have to admit that I don't like having to sit up front in these meetings with the zone leaders and Sister Fronk, haha.  I am the companion tag along who gets to sit through all the long meetings because my companion is sister training leader. :)  Plus, I get to enjoy all of the awkward eye contact moments that you make when sitting up front!  But at zone meeting we discovered that our district would be starting off the fast because most of the leaders are in our district and so President had us set up a last minute district meeting!  That was rough because there are people who have to take a train for an hour to get to us and others who have to drive 45 minutes. But we managed to pull it off and then found out that they had decided to switch and have a different district go first. It was the craziest few days full of meetings that I have ever had! 
Making Chinese Chicken in a Very Small Kitchen!
I also got to go on splits this week but instead of going somewhere else both of the sisters came to our area!  So I got to be the leader in what we were doing and everything! I have to admit that I actually quite enjoyed it!  It was a ton of fun at one of our lessons!  Hai invited us over because our lesson fell through again and we had a member with us and Hai needed to show us how to make some chicken for the Spring Festival that we were having at the end of the week.  But the crazy part was that Hai has this really small kitchen and there were 4 of us there trying to learn how to make the chicken, when our investigator who is his roommate decided that he would come out too!  And I am the only one who knows both of them and the member!  So I was trying to talk to all of them and learn how to make chicken.  Meanwhile we were all squished in this tiny kitchen!  It was crazy!  Luckily, my companion for the day was helping a lot and we would just switch places and take turns talking to different people and practically running around the kitchen!  It was crazy but so much fun!! 
I Love Chinese People!
After that we got to go and visit Yan an Lin again this week except only the Yan, the wife, was home this time!  She is the cutest, sweetest person that I have ever met in my life! I love Chinese people! She doesn't speak English super fluently but every time we come over her English just gets better and better!  We are also going to help her with learning English and we are really excited about that!  She always gets super excited when we come over because she doesn't have a job or school or anything and her husband works all day, so she spends most of her days at home or shopping.  We got to teach her a lesson on prayer and talk to her about her baptism this past year which was really amazing! Plus, she made us dumplings!  They were SO good!  She is really just the cutest and sweetest person and we are just really trying to get them both back to church every week :)
Picture is of our little Chinese group that helped make the food for the Spring Festival!! (With some Americans, Filipinos, and Vietnamese add ins) :) 
Spring Festival Celebration
Well this week we had our Spring Festival! So we have a lot of Chinese and Vietnamese people in our ward, so we decided that we were going to do a Spring Festival this year, but we had to do it early because a lot of people were flying home for their own spring festival.  So we got it all put together and invited anyone and everyone we could that lived in Helsinki, Maranjemi, and Espoo! We actually weren't expecting a huge success but to our surprise we had about 70 people come and most of them weren't even members!  Plus, we had a Book of Mormon table with all of the different languages and people were taking them and we were able to talk to them about it.  It was really cool!  We also had an investigator come, one of the 18 year old Finnish girls, Anna!  She is so cute and it was so perfect because she is actually friends with a member and with an investigator who came that has been investigating for awhile! It was awesome because that investigator just started teaching her everything and at the end of the day we were able to invite her to church and she came!  It was amazing and the party was a HUGE success for almost everyone!  
Sister Appendicitis
We also had an exciting last couple of days as one of the sisters, Sister West, had to be rushed to the hospital at 3:00 in the morning by the zone leaders!  Those poor elders didn't get any sleep and we had no idea about it until the next morning! Apparently she had appendicitis and so we got to go and visit her in the hospital and she had surgery last night! Crazy! The hospital doesn't allow people to be with her after 6:00 pm so we had three at our apartment for a night, which was kinda fun!  But we are really hoping that she gets out of the hospital today!  This week was crazy but we saw so many blessings this week with our investigators and it was amazing!  The Lord helps us out even with things don't go as smoothly as planned! 

Thanks for all the love and support! 

Sister Knapp

Monday, January 6, 2014

Turn Around Week

Happy New Year!! 
Write The Blessings Yourself
This week was such a good week!  It was mine and Sister Fronk's turn around week and we are so excited about it! What is a better way then to start the new year by making it the first day of the last day of your mission!?  This week I got the flu right before New Year's Eve which was not fun at all, but since I was sick in bed, it gave us a lot of time to think and plan for the next year.  The first thing we did was write down the blessings that we want for the next year.   Sister Fronk's family has this tradition that each year they write down the blessings that they would like to receive in the coming year.  There is a quote that they use from President Heber C. Kimball that says, " I have often said, you may write the blessings for yourselves, and insert every good thing you can think of, and it will all come to pass on your heads if you do right."  I love that quote!  So we did just that, and yes we did that only 5 days ago but it is amazing to see the blessings already coming to pass for us!  So I encourage everyone to do that this year!  Instead of just writing the goals you want to reach, write the blessings that you would like to receive and have others receive, whether they be friends or family, and we have a promise that it will come to pass if we do right.  It may not be this year, but it will come to pass :) 
A Companion's Rescue
New Years Eve was also a lot of fun.  Though I was still recovering from the flu and wasn't sure if I could handle going to an appointment we had at a members' house, we decided that since my fever was gone and I was a little better that we would go.  When we got there, we discovered that they were actually feeding us dinner and we had just eaten!  I honestly was so worried that I was going to die!  The food was really good though!  They gave us tacos and I have to say that I love how alike the food is here to the food back home.  I finished the first taco even though it was pretty hard to eat anything and was honestly so proud of myself :)  But then she came around and gave us all another tortilla and I wanted to cry.   I didn't want them to know I was sick, though, and have to worry or anything so I just got the next one ready and started  to eat it.  The whole time I was praying that I wouldn't throw up and about half way through I honestly thought that I couldn't take another bite.  Then came the moment when my companion came to the rescue!  I honestly love her so much for this!  Even though she was about to die because she was so full she took the taco from my plate and ate it! Haha that is when you know that you have a really good companion!  She really is the best! They found out that I was sick anyway so it was kinda all for nothing but that's alright.  I was glad that I went though.  We got to set off some fireworks and share a message with the family so that was really good this week!
I Love Teaching the Gospel
This week we also had some really amazing things happen!  I have to say that there are moments that you just love teaching the Gospel more than anything else!  This week we got to meet with this Chinese inactive couple, Yan and Lin, in our area.  I love them so much! They are honestly the cutest couple in the world! It was so neat because the wife had just recently been baptized this year and the husband about a year or two ago. So they are both pretty new to the Chuch.  When we taught them we got to talk about the temple and I love talking about the temple to people!  They really didn't know that much about it, and so when we talked about how they could be sealed together for all eternity, it was the most amazing thing.  It made them both so happy and the wife started crying!  It was so cute and we are just so excited for them and are now helping them prepare to go to the temple this June!  And they are coming back to church!  It is so amazing to see!  
The Amazing Effects of Prayer
This week we also got to see the amazing effects of prayer.  We have really been trying to make our prayers more specific and to really get our area growing because it has been rather slow and hard to meet with some of our investigators because of their busy schedules.  We also teach a lot of investigators in English and have been really wanting to teach some Finns!  We decided that we really wanted to find a young 17 year old Finnish girl we could teach and so we decided to pray and ask for help in finding this new investigator.   The next day we were looking over our area book and happened to come across two potentials who we had met within the past month on the train and we immediately felt really good about calling them! So we did just that!  We gave them a call and were able to set up appointments with both of them! It wasn't until later that day that we realized that both of them were 17 year old Finnish girls!!  Our prayers had been answered!  It was amazing! 
Those That Are Ready
We also had another similar experience this week! So like I said, it has been really hard to meet with our investigators and really has been rather discouraging for us.  So we have been really praying that we will be able to find investigators that are really prepared and wanting to learn about the Gospel.  So just yesterday, we had an appointment with a former investigator that the elders had been teaching a few months ago.  The lesson went SO well!! The spirit was so strong and it was amazing because we didn't really have to ask any questions to get him involved.  He would just ask and ask and ask questions and really just wanted to learn!  He also has such a strong testimony in the power of prayer and prays so well!  Then at the end of the lesson we didn't even really have to ask to set up a new appointment; he just set it up for us!  It was really such a amazing experience for us and we are so excited about him!  It just goes to show that this really is the Lord's work and that we need to do our best, pray to him, and he will answer and help us find those ready and prepared!

I really am so blessed to be a missionary here in Finland and have so many blessings!  I even got to go to the temple this week for the third time since I have been to Finland and I love it!  Just another small blessing that I have been given here! The Church is True! 

Thank you for all of your support! 

Sister Knapp

p.s.  Just a funny story that I thought I would add...
Well, I must say that if you told me I would be spending 4 months with someone 24 hours a day I would have thought that was insane!  But I have the best companion in the world  and best friend in the world who I love spending every single day with!  Our funny story:  So this last week we got home from an appointment and I was STARVING! So I decided that it was lunch hour so that we could eat.  But Sister Fronk decided that it was personal study time since we had missed it that morning and that she wouldn't do it without me, haha.  But I wanted food!   So I did the one thing that I could think of.... I sat my companion on her chair and tied her to it with a sheet!  I then placed her scriptures in front of her and went into the kitchen to eat!  Haha, I thought that it wouldn't actually work and that she would get out super fast but it turns out that she really was stuck and couldn't get her arms around the chair to get out!  It was the funniest thing ever! We died laughing about it, and I got to eat my lunch!  haha  :) One point for Sister Knapp!!