Monday, May 26, 2014

The Blessing of Being Exhausted

Strength to Make It Through Another Day
This week has been another amazing week.  But I must say that I am exhausted.  I really don't think that I have been more tired in my entire life.  I could sleep forever!!!  But we keep going and keep praying for the strength and somehow we make it through an entire day.  That does not mean that we don't collapse on the floor the minute we walk in the door though!  Oulu just gets more and more beautiful every single day.  Spring and nearly summer has finally come to Finland and I am so excited!!  I never thought that this day would come!  I have to admit that it is crazy seeing how the sun isn't going down until after we are asleep.  It still blows my mind.  I think I fall more and more in love with Finland every day!
Member Testimonies Add So Much
This week we continued to have so much success with members coming on lessons with us (we had 9 this week!) and it really does change everything.  Members and their testimonies add so much to each lesson and really has been changing everything about the work. We are seeing so many miracles. Sister Nyman and I have been trying to do two things better.  1) Follow counsel given to us better. 2) Be consistent.  So to start with following counsel better, we are counseled in Preach My Gospel to invite people to be baptized on the first or second lesson. So, we decided that we were really going to be good about doing just that (along with the things that we were working on last week--church tours and member present lessons.  So we had two church tours this week and though I think it can be the scariest thing ever inviting people to be baptized in the first lesson, we prayed about it and felt really good about it.  So we prayed about dates and got ready to invite them to be baptized.
Church Tours & Baptismal Dates
The first tour was with our Chinese investigator, Sofia.  She is absolutely the cutest sweetest person that I have ever met in my entire life.  We absolutely love her.  She hasn't been living in Finland for too long, just about 8 months and so she needs friends. We invited her to a church tour and she came and it went so well.  The spirit was so strong and she really was just loving all of it and then at the end we invited her to be baptized on June 28th and she said yes!!  At first she wasn't very sure because she wasn't sure that she could know that fast and asked if we had received answers that fast.  Then we found out that she thought we were inviting her to be baptized on the 28th of May!  She kept saying that she wanted to change her life but she wasn't sure she could do it that fast!  But once we got that cleared up she was completely willing and ready to learn.  She is wonderful.  We then were able to meet with her two times after that:  once to go and get ice cream for daily contact (the best kind of daily contact) and then we taught her on Saturday and guess what?! She made us Chinese food (my favorite!!)  It was so good! :)  We invited her to church but she had a big exam on Monday and hadn't started studying, but after explaining that God will bless her and help her to do well on her test if she came for at least one hour then she wanted to come. She ended up coming and loving Sacrament Meeting so much that she decided that she could stay another hour.  It was amazing to see.  She is wonderful and so prepared! 
We then had another church tour with a Finnish investigator of ours that we met playing volleyball, Jari.  It was really such a good tour and he is so good and so prepared.  He has been struggling with major depression and told us so during the church tour.  He cried through the whole thing and it was so sad but really sweet to see how much the spirit was working on him.  Then at the end of the tour we invited him to be baptized on the 21st of June and he said yes.  We are really excited for him and to see how the gospel can bring joy and happiness into his life and really just change his life. We really have been so blessed in finding those prepared and who really need the Gospel in their lives. 
Teaching a Lessons in Finnish, English and French
We also have an investigator that we are meeting with that doesn't have a baptismal date but came to church!  It was so cool because she speaks French and Finnish but not English.  But we have a member who is from France and speaks French and English and comes and helps us on teaches.  It is always interesting as we are constantly having 3 languages going in a lesson.  But this really might be why this French member came to Finland, so that she could help us to teach this investigator.  She came to church and it was so cool to see because our investigator helped to translate into French for our member!  It was amazing and she really is progressing!  Hopefully we can help her want to be baptized soon!  
I'm So Lucky!
Really this week was so busy and though tiring it was amazing to see the work moving forward and we know that it is just going to continue to get better and better as we are doing our best and work as hard as we can.   I love being a missionary and seeing the lives of those we teach changing.   This message really is a message of Joy. I am so lucky to be a part of this work because really there is no greater work than this!
Thank you for all of your love and support! I love all of you so much!!  

Sister Knapp
p.s. Sorry no pictures this week.  I forgot my camera cord.

p.p.s. Today we are only emailing but not having a full P-day because on Wednesday we have a district meeting in Rovaniemi and get to go to Santa Claus Village (on the Artic Circle)!

Here are some pictures from the internet of Santa Claus Village: 
Santa Claus Village in summer
The Article Circle

Monday, May 19, 2014

From Winter to Spring in the Blink of an Eye

Help From The Members Is The Best!
This past week was the BEST week of my whole mission thus far!!!! I honestly have no idea how to begin to tell how amazing this week was.  We really are seeing so many miracles in Oulu and really all over Finland.  The work really is going forward.  The best was that the members were helping us so much!  I have always struggled with getting members to lessons but really they are the best part!  They help so much and bring such a strong spirit and are another testimony to the lessons we teach.  This week was amazing as we saw members really coming together to help us! We had 8 member present lessons with investigators this week!  It was incredible!!! I have never seen that happen before on my mission and we already have 9 member present lessons set up for this next week.  We are being so blessed!  
The Blessings of Church Tours
My first talk
In our mission we are really focusing on this 10 day program which is a bunch of steps that we want done within the first 10 days of someone becoming a new investigator.  Two of the steps are church tours and baptismal dates.  This is something that Sister Nyman and I have decided to really start to focus on and try to improve on. So we have really focused on getting people to the church and as we have started to invite more and more people to church tours we have found that it is a really successful non threatening thing to people. Also, as church representatives it is not a weird thing for us to want to show them our church building, what we believe, and give them opportunities to ask questions. Just from starting to invite more people to church tours we were able to find 5 new investigators this week and have 3 church tours this week and 2 next week!  It really brings such a strong spirit to do church tours and then afterwards we almost always invite them to be baptized and one of them said yes!  He is a former investigator, Ben, from a year ago that we ran into on the street and invited to a church tour and he came and it went so well.  He had been invited to baptism before, which he mentioned when we first contacted him on the, and he said that was why he stopped meeting with missionaries...Well guess what!?  We invited him to be baptized again and he said yes!  He will be baptized on the 28th of June and we are so excited for him! :)
Speaking in Church
I also had the opportunity to talk in church this week.  Talk about the scariest thing that I have ever had to do on my mission.  The worst part was that we were SO busy this week that I didn't have time to translate it until the night before. That was nerve racking.  But it all got translated and our language coordinator got to go over it.  The best part about speaking in church is that it gives your investigators more reason to come to church.  Sadly, only one came but it was our investigator with a baptismal date.  It was SO good that he came and we are meeting with him two more times this week.  We really feel good about him and if all goes well he will be baptized. :)  It was an incredible week. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here in Finland and be a missionary.  It is the best experience of my life!! 
Half way through.  So fun celebrating with
someone a companion that came out with me!
I Was The Lucky One
We did have one crazy experience this week though. We got to talk to a drunk lady who told us her really sad life story and just kept drinking and crying while she was talking to us.  It was the sadest thing ever.  But we shared a scripture with her and talked about God with her and she just loved us and said we were like her own daughters and then before we left she kissed me on the hand and Sister Nyman on the cheek...Haha,  I was the lucky one! 
Spring Has Come At Last
Finland is really changing over night.  People would always say that Finland will go from winter to spring in a blink of an eye.  I never believed it.  But oh my word it is so true!  Trees were completely bare last night and now they are covered with leaves.  I seriously couldn't believe it.  Plus, it is SO HOT!!!! I am dying!  (Last week it was in the 40s and 50s and today it is in the 80s, though it will go back down to the 60s and 70s for the rest of the week.)  I have never been hot since coming to Finland but today it really is just so hot outside!  There actually is a summer in Finland!   I have to admit the worst part about summer in Finland is the ice cream stands.  When you are doing addiction recovery with investigators and are trying to give up sugar.... wow.  Yeah, there are ice cream stands on literally EVERY CORNER.  But it tastes amazing :)  

The funny 9 month picture

Thank you for all of your love and support!!  I love all of you so so so much! 

Sister Knapp

Monday, May 12, 2014

Another Amazing Week!

Mother's Day Call
I'm so lucky to serve in such a beautiful place
This week was such a good week and selfishly probably the best part of the week was the I got to call home!!! I love you guys so much!! It really was the best thing ever and I was the happiest, and continue to be like the happiest person ever because of it.  Landon you are still amazing me with just how different you sound. Oh my goodness Bud!  You are seriously changing and growing up so much!  Can you just stay my LITTLE brother for a little bit longer?!  I won't be gone that much longer!  Cassie you sound so much older.  Really it was kinda amazing.  Kara you sound pretty much the same haha but I really would love it if you could send me that CD for my birthday.  I just loved talking to my family and, of course since you all already know, I loved talking to Blaine!  Thanks for that! :)  

I Love Chinese People
This week was really good for missionary work though!  We found five new investigators, four of which were Chinese!  I love being able to teach Chinese people.  They are so open to learn and it really is the best to see. The funnest part was that we really wanted to find a Chinese investigator because well... I really like teaching Chinese people.  So we looked through our entire area book and found one former investigator who was Chinese. So we decided that we needed to go and stop by to see him.  The only thing was the we were going to be on splits because we had zone meeting and the Kuopio sisters were coming to stay with us. So I was with Sister Neilson going to visit a less active member and do service.  Let's just say that I have no idea how to get anywhere in Oulu yet, which meant...yup...we got lost and were 30 to 40 minutes late to our appointment and then an hour late to the next one... oops.  But it all worked out!  Sister Nyman, however,  got to go and meet with this former.  It turned out that he had moved away but a Chinese girl was living there now! Her name is Sofia. So Sister Nyman ended up teaching her and she wants to learn more!!  Then Sister Nyman ran into 2 Chinese boys when she was on her way back and ended up teaching them and inviting them to a church tour! They said they would let us know, and you will never believe it!  They actually called us the next day saying that they want a church tour!  So we gave them a church tour and they ended up bringing a friend, which was really not a normal thing to happen.  We invited them to church the next day and they came!  We are also teaching them tonight too!  We are so excited about them!
All my MTC friends now serving together in the north zone:  Elders Cummings, Stanbury, McMaster,
Lee, Chapman, Hugie and Stegby with Sister Nyman and me.  
Zone Meeting (aka MTC reunion)
We also had zone meeting this week which was the best thing ever!  I had no idea how many people from my MTC group were serving in the north zone until Friday.  There are 9 of the 15 of us in Finland serving all in the north!   It was like a big MTC reunion! And Sister Fronk was there.  She really is an angel!  I love my mission momma! She is the best and it was so fun to be with her again!  It was a really good meeting and we just found out that we have to teach all five lessons from Preach My Gospel before baptism.  It used to be just the first 4 but now it is the first 5.  So that was something new!!  Apparently it is the BIG news that the zone leaders have been so excited about sharing for awhile.  It wasn't that big of a surprise though.  It makes a lot of sense to be able to give people a bigger picture of what blessings come after baptism and really working towards going to the Temple.  
Sister Nyman and me
Oulu, Bike Accidents and My Amazing Companion
Well, I really am starting to just LOVE Oulu.  I mean I loved it when i got here but I just come to love this place more and more.  It really is an amazingly beautiful place.  I love it!  Plus, I get to bike everywhere and it is so much better than walking or public transportation (though sometimes, oddly enough, I still miss the public transportation.)  But I did receive some revelation that I would crash on my bike one day and guess what?  It happened.  I learned my lesson to never say that you won't crash because then you will!  I was having a really crazy day and broke a bowl that morning, fell back in my desk chair and then thought, " I am going to crash on my bike today".  Then it happened.  I ran right into Sister Nyman!  Fortunately, neither of us were harmed!  But I love biking!  Plus, I really do have the best companion ever.  Sister Nyman is amazing and such a good example to me.  She is so sweet and really just loves everyone.  She loves this Gospel and it really just radiates from her.  She wants to tell everyone about it and is so good about talking to everyone!  She is really one of the best missionaries I have ever seen.  She is amazing! 

Well, Thank you for all of your prayers and support! 

Love, Sister Knapp

Monday, May 5, 2014

Most Discouraging and Best Week of My Mission

Moikka Kaikkille!!! 

Well, I have to say that this week has definitely been one of the most discouraging weeks of my mission but also one of the best weeks of my mission. :)  I don't know if that really is possible but it seems like it anyway. This week we basically lost all of our investigators due to being dropped, them leaving the country, or having to put them into the hands of the Lord (drop) ourselves.  I think we went from having like 12 investigators to 2 in about 2 days.  Yeah it was crazy, and naturally it was really discouraging.  But then after lots of prayer, we really decided to turn to the Lord and put our trust in Him.  We are really wanting to turn our area into an area that is a baptizing area and not a teaching area. Though it is going to take a lot of work it really is worth it.  We have some investigators, Antti and Paivi, who have struggles with tobacco, alcohol, and coffee.  It is the hardest thing ever for them to even go like an hour without smoking and a day without drinking.  But as we teach them it has been amazing to see him change!!  One of our investigators even showered and dressed up nicer for when we came, calls us ahead of time to know what to read, and meets with us regularly.  He is trying his best to not drink so that he can come to church and really it is amazing to see him change and try.  I can't even explain what it is like to see the light of the gospel changing someone's life.  It really is miraculous.  I love being a missionary.   

On an island of Oulu at about 9:30 pm
The Promise of the Area Book
So to get started on turning our area into a baptizing area we have really been trying to find good former investigators that we can go and visit.  We have an area book promise that there is at least one person in your area book that is prepared to be baptized.  We just have to find them.  So we have been praying and going to see these formers.  It gives us somewhere to go when we have a blank day scenario.  It has actually been working so well!  One lady we went and met with and she immediately let us right in! Her name is Raija.  This really doesn't happen that often.  So we got to talk with her and set up a new appointment.  Another former investigator we found out had moved but we actually are now teaching his roommate.  It is really amazing to see that as we talk to everyone on our way to where ever we are going we can find those that we need to teach and who the Lord has prepared.  
With Sister Nyman who I love so much!
The Best, Most Fun, Hard, Crazy Experience of My Life
This week I really realized just how much I love being a missionary and how much I love my mission.  My companion and I  literally every night talk about how much we love our mission and how far we have come from the MTC. Really, I can't imagine my life without a mission now.  I am so grateful for my mission.  It really is the BEST thing in the entire world and I would not give it up for anything. So for anyone who is ever questioning whether or not they should go on a mission.  The answer is YES!! It is going to be the hardest thing that you ever do--and really I don't think anyone realizes just how hard it will be before they leave--and it will test you in every way possible.  But it will change you life forever! You will come to love people more than you think possible, you will feel the Savior's love for you stronger than you can imagine.  It really is the best, most fun, hard, crazy experience of my life and I am so grateful that I will always be grateful for the experience that I have here in Finland.  I love this Gospel so much. I love being a Missionary!

Well, I love you all SO SO much.  Thank you for all the love and support!  

Sister Knapp