Monday, July 28, 2014

On A Bicycle Built For...TWO?!

Hot, Hot, Hot
This week was a rough one.  But If you never have the down and hard weeks you would never be able to recognize and be more grateful for the good ones. First off the small talk!  Oh my word.  It has been so extremely hot, hot, hot!  I have been dying.  Finns don't believe in AC. I don't know why or how they are able to live without it! But apparently this summer has been one of the hottest summers in Finland in like 100 years.  I just happened to come to Finland for one of the warmest winters and summers.  I am not complaining about a warm winter though. Sleeping has been near impossible though with how hot it has been.  We have been dying and just sweating all night.  I am really getting a feel for all the missionaries serving in hot and humid places. 
I Was Afraid I Would Laugh
This week was pretty crazy.  We mainly were helping out with the elders and sisters investigators because at the moment we don't have any.  The baptism sadly didn't go through.  He has gotten so close several times and then gets to scared and won't do it.   The other 2 baptisms also didn't go through but the sisters should be having their investigator, Miko, get baptized next week so we are pretty excited for him.  He is awesome and it was so fun getting to teach him.  He seriously reads the scriptures so lively.  It is the funniest thing.  I went into the lesson worried that I would just start laughing when he started reading and guess what?!  I did, haha.  He thought it was funny though.  We taught him the 10 commandments and when he read them it was really like Moses reading them.  So cool.  He is going to be an awesome member.  We also got to go on a few teaches with our investigator Jari that the elders are now teaching.  The lessons went really well but it was confirmed again how much he needs the elders right now which was really good. :) We also heard from our Chinese investigator that we gave a church tour a couple of weeks ago!  It was crazy, honestly. We got a call from a former investigator of ours that said she was trying to get a hold of us and needed us to call her. So we did.  It turns out that her "vacation" In Denmark got extended 10 days because she got falsely accused and was under investigation for 10 days!  That poor girl!  She said that she prayed so so so hard and that she really felt like God is the only thing that got her out of there!  She is now on her way to Rome but really wants to meet missionaries there! So hopefully the missionaries there will take good care of her and it will all go well for her.  She is so sincere and so sweet and we absolutely love her and hope that she will really find peace in the gospel.  She is amazing.
Breaking the Law... Whoops!
This week I also might have accidentally broken the law.  I didn't know though!  We were on splits and about 3 to 4 miles from home but we only had one bike.  One of the members had lent a bike to the missionaries but they needed it back and so we were stuck with one bike and needing to get home.  So... we just both rode on one bike.  Yes, it took a lot of talent but we made it and nearly died laughing the whole way!  It was the funniest experience ever.... I will admit at the end I was exhausted!   And then, when we got there, a member told us it was illegal.  Whoops!  We won't be doing that again soon, haha.
Incredible, Amazing Members
We haven't had anyone to teach at the moment but have really felt like we should really be working with members and trying to get them going on missionary work.  It has been amazing to see some of the members really get a more missionary mindset.  We have two families that really are thinking of ways they can introduce their friends to the church and setting up activities with the ward to get it started.  It is incredible.  We have one member who wants to do a culture night at the church and invite friends not only to do missionary work but to help the foreign members feel more included in the ward.  He has already talked to the branch president and has the branch president on board.  The members here really are changing.  It is incredible.  These members are amazing!

Thank you for all of your love and support! 

Sister Knapp

When It Rains It Pours--Literally & Figuratively!

Meeting in the Rain
Sister Missionary Sleepover Nightmare. 

This week has been a rather exciting crazy week. I really have no idea where to even start!  The weather in Finland has been bipolar.  It goes from sunny and blazing hot to down right pouring rain in seconds. Plus, it has been so hot that you really can't sleep. So when you have splits with the sisters and decide to squish 4 girls into the same tiny room..... its a nightmare!  Anyway, on Monday we got caught in one of the biggest down pours I have ever been in on my mission. We were on our way to visit a potential investigator when we felt like we should head straight to a member's house, Sisar Inget.  We were on our way there and crossing a bridge completely drenched when what do you know.... Sister Nyman's bike chain falls off.  Not good timing.  So after finally fixing her bike we were off again when we ran into a guy with a towel over his hear walking with his bike.  I don't know where it came from but I just immediately told him that he was a smart man as we road past and he came running after us.  We ended up walking and talking with him for the next 20 minutes in this down pour and ended up setting up a return appointment.  By the time we were inside at the member's home we were SOAKED all the way through, squishy shoes and water just dripping everywhere.  I never thought I would reach a member's and the first thing that I would have to ask for is a towel.  But It really was inspired that we found the guy walking in the rain and it made it all worth it!  Though we didn't dare sit down anywhere we had a pretty amazing lesson with the member too. :) I must add the funniest part of going to this members house.  First off, she was shocked to see us so wet and said she had called us multiple times to tell us not to come... but we did!  So she was determined to help us.  She then offered us new socks and you better believe it, new bras! She is a little bit bigger of a lady and so we tried to tell her that we were fine and that probably wouldn't fit in them and she just told us not to worry because she had different sizes.  She then pulled out a big bin of bras and handed to both of us brand new bras in our size. haha oh my word the things that members give us.  I never thought for a second I would be receving a bra from a member. hahaha we died laughing over the whole experience. :D
Birthday Celebration
My birthday day was also really good! We got to go out to lunch with a missionary and his family who were visiting Finland and wanted to see us and see how the work was going in Oulu. Then,  I got the best surprise in the entire world! My one and only Gisel (a new convert that I knew in Espoo) came and visited me all the way up in Oulu from Helsinki!  It was the best surprise ever.  She is so wonderful and It really just made my entire birthday to see her!   We were going to have a movie night that night but for some reason the sound completely would not work on the TV or the computer.  It was a mess. But it worked out that we just played some games together.  A member there had prepared a lesson which we missionaries we all a little nervous about and worried that our investigators would feel like we tricked them there if we ended up having a full blown lesson.  The member assured us that it would be really short, but it ended up being an hour long lesson on the Law of Chasity!  But they actually enjoyed it, surprisingly!  I think the games at the end might have helped some, but it was still really good.  Stressful but fun. :)
Birthday Surprise--Giselle!!!
Dedicating Our Area
This week we also had some amazing miracles happen.  Everyone here is starting to catch the vision of what Finland is about it become and it is incredible.  Members are really starting to get a fire to do the work here and we absolutely are so excited for them.  We have been going to as many members as we can to help them to see this vision.  This past week we decided as a district that each of the companionships needed to go and dedicate themselves and their area to the work and the Lord.  So my companion and I did.  Most of the companionship that I know of got a ton of mosquito bites as we went and prayed somewhere to dedicate our area, but it has really changed the work.  Later that evening we really felt like we should stop by a member in our ward.  We even there to teach her but before we knew it we were talking about the vision for Oulu and for Finland and she was crying.  Then she started writing down 6 names of people who she wanted us to work with and that we could invite to church and teach.  It was amazing and one of the most powerful exciting moments of my mission! 
More Pouring Out of Miracles
We also had the biggest miracle of all.  There is a non-member that comes to church every week and has been coming to church for over a year and knows everything but has not yet been baptized.  It was amazing because at Sacrament Meeting at church one of the elders felt like they should invite them to be baptized this Saturday and so he did. His name is Manish.  And Manish agreed to be baptized!!!   We are so excited!  He is closest to us so we will be helping him prepare this week to be baptized.  We have three baptisms this Saturday here in Oulu.  It is amazing!  The Lord really is working miracles and hastening His work.  All we need to do is trust in Him and let him work through us! 

Thank you for all of you love and support. 

Sister Knapp

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sharing Investigators

Turning 20 and still immature. :)
Losing Investigators
I really don't know where to begin with this week.  It has been a really LONG week and not much happened.  So sorry, this might be a pretty short letter.   It started out by us having to give our one really progressing investigator, Jari, to the elders after talking with our mission president and deciding that would be best.  Though it was really hard for us to lose him as an investigator, we know that the elders are going to do amazing and really help him progress to be baptized in the hopefully near future. :) After that a lot of our investigators ended up not wanting to meet with us anymore.  It was really rough but hopefully with the help from the Lord we will be able to find and teach those who the Lord has prepared to be baptized.
With Sister Nyman at our beach party
New Referrals
We did get a referral from the elders in Rovanemi for a Chinese girl who is staying here in Oulu!  We ended up giving her a call and invited her to a big party that we were having at the beach here in Oulu.  She came!!  She is so cute and so sweet.  It turns out that she is only here for a month and then is going to Rome for a month and then back to China.  So we don't have very long to teach her but we decided to invite her to a church tour anyway. It ended up going so well and she loved it!  It was so nice because she had actually read some of the Bible before and so she had a little background on Christ and prophets already. We also had a more recent convert from Vietnam, Luis, with us and he absolutely loved it too.  She was asking him so many questions and basically we just let him teach everything.  But by the end she really wanted to learn and study and come to know if it was true. She said one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard in my life and it was amazing!!  We are hoping to meet with her and teach her as much as we can before we pass her to the missionaries in Rome.  She is so prepared and ready to learn! :)
Meeting People from Everywhere
With our French member, Camille--she has helped us so much!
So on Monday we had a big going away party for Camille who was going back home to France!  It was so sad and we miss her so much!   She was such a blessing to us and really helped us and the work here in Finland!  We are really going to miss her! I never thought I would meet so many people from all over the world!   France, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Philippines, China, Vietnam, Thailand.... Etc.  It really is amazing!   
Finnish Wedding
Don't worry, it's not real wine!
We also got to go to a wedding this week for a member in our ward, Tanja!  It was so much fun to see all of the Finnish wedding traditions and was SO fancy. I felt so underdressed while I was there.  People literally where their best dress and this can mean prom dresses.  Crazy.  It was really good though and we are so happy for the both of them. I guess I will tell about some of their Finnish wedding traditions.  So, clearly it is super fancy.  They also have the tradition of cutting the cake together and the first person who stomps their foot when the knife hits the table becomes the "ruler of the the house".  (I don't know if they do this in weddings back home or not). They also have a funny tradition where the bride gets stolen and they make the groom do usually embarrassing things to show how badly he wants her back. It is way funny. The whole thing was a lot of fun though.  We of course only went for a short amount of time since the wedding went from 3:00 in the afternoon to 2:00 in the morning!  SO LONG!!!  I don't know how people do weddings for that long but clearly it is possible!! 

Other than that not too much happened this week!   Thank you for all of your love and support!  

Sister Knapp

I Said Words I Didn't Even Know I Knew!

Summer is Officially Here
As of yesterday Summer is officially here!!! Well, that is what all the Finns say at least though I am not sure if I actually believe them or not because I think they said that a month ago... And then if you ask a foreigner they say that summer in Finland is 2 days long and then it goes back to winter!  So I guess I will find out soon enough! :)  So much happened this week and I honestly don't even know where to start. I can't actually even go by day because I am not sure what day each of the things I want to write about actually happened!  Therefore, I am sorry but this letter will be all over the place.  Hang in there.
I Was So Wrong
So to start I will talk about the weird food that I got to enjoy this week!  We have a African investigator, Danon, who has really been wanting to make us dinner and we finally agreed that he could.  I am not sure how good of an idea that was.  I thought that Pig Tongue was going to be the only weird animal part that I was going to have to eat.  I was so wrong.  He decided to make us Chicken Throat and Beef Liver.  I honestly thought that I was going to die.  We had a member with us to help us who is from France because this investigator only speaks French, a little Finnish, and NO English.  So she helps with the translating though she only speaks French and English.  It is quite the experience.  He ended up giving us a ton and then told us to eat all of it and then went and sat on the sofa and watched the World Cup while we ate... haha.  Let's just say that it was a tender mercy that we had to speak in English to our member (since he couldn't understand.) In the middle of the meal we were all just dying and just started laughing so hard and couldn't stop.  The only way I was able to get it down was to cut it up into the smallest pieces possible and then swallow it with water.  Fortunately our member ended up telling him in French that we were full when we had barely eaten anything and that it was too spicy.  Oh the blessings of members!! :) We ended up having a really good lesson with him though so it was all worth it. :) We went again later in the week to visit him and he had made us more food.  Oh No!  We just turned to our member and said,"Do we really want to know what it is or should we just eat it?"  Haha, you know that it is bad if you have to ask that!  It was just chicken wings though so that was fine. Thank goodness. 
These Members Are So Great
We also had some amazing experiences with members.  We have one member, Sisar Tanja Pelkonen, who comes out to lessons with us 2-3 times a week and we felt so bad for asking her to do that but then when we didn't ask her for the 3rd lesson this week she texted us and told us about how she had been praying that we would find a nice home that she could come with us to lessons and then we called and asked her to come.  We answered her prayers!!!  It honestly made us so happy! She then asked us if she could come to the lesson that Saturday!  These members are so great and so ready to do missionary work.  We had another member that we are working with and helping do more and more missionary work.  At the beginning of last month we set a goal with a member to give away a Book of Mormon.  We went and checked up on it the week before the month ended and she hadn't done it yet.  So we helped her to find out who she wanted to give it to and when.  The following week we went back to her and she was literally on cloud nine!  She was so happy.  She had given the Book of Mormon away to her friend on the last day of the month and it had gone really well for her.  She is now so excited to do missionary work and it really is amazing to see!  Miracles are happening!  She then went up on Sunday and bore her testimony all about it!  YES!!! Hopefully we can get more and more members to be as excited to missionary work as she now is! :) 
Girl's Camp
This week I also got to go with one of the other sisters to girls camp to help with a spiritual hike.  It was quite the experience.  I had gone running earlier that day and it wasn't raining at all but then by the time we were supposed to leave to the camp it had started softly raining.  I just thought, "The rain here always stops within 20 minutes, I just need a small jacket."  That was the biggest mistake ever!  I think for the first time on my mission, or at least for a long time, it decided that it was just not going to stop raining at all.  So we got to go on a 7 to 8 kilometer hike in the POURING rain.  I got soaked!!   Plus, halfway through they had a small camp set up to make food and roast makara on a miracle made fire.  Thank goodness for boy scouts.  It was so cold and I was drenched.  We all were drenched.  So we decided the best thing to do would be to just run all the way back to the camp.  So we all took of running back and before I knew it I couldn't keep up with Milla and I was about to be companionless.  Fortunately, one of the Young Women, Maria Sankala, came running up just in time and I got to run with her for the rest of the way and really get to know her.  That was really good.  Although I was soaked clean through and freezing, it was still a really good hike and I got to help comment and testify on all of the stops.  That was really good and it was a lot of fun to get to know the Young Women in the ward better.  I never thought I would get to go to Girls camp on my mission! 
The Sweetest Letter I Have Ever Received
This week I also got the best letter that I have ever received in my life from Hai (our new convert back in Espoo.) Things had been really hard for me the past couple weeks and I just really needed something that would keep me going and it came at exactly the right time.  It was the biggest tender mercy ever.   He wrote telling about how grateful he was that he met missionaries like me and Sister Fronk and how grateful he was for the gospel.  He wrote about how much his testimony had grown and it was really the sweetest letter I have ever received.  He also told me that his little brother will be coming to Finland!!!  We had been praying for that for months and it was so good to hear that our prayers had been answered and that Hai was going to have family here in Finland by the end of this summer!!  Hai is the best and I am so so so forever grateful that I had the opportunity to be in Espoo and to meet him.   His faith really has grown so much and is such an amazing example to me!   I am SO happy for him!!! :) 
New Mission President
This week we also got to meet our New Mission President!  That was fun!  I will admit I was SO nervous about it at first and what the transition was going to be like but it was a really good meeting and it all just felt right.  He is going to be a really good mission president and has been called by God to be here and to serve here and help us bring people in Finland unto Christ.  
Members Working Miracles
Things are also going really good with our investigators and a lot of them are progressing and getting answers to their prayers which is so amazing to see.  Jari is really progressing and it is amazing!  We had one of the most amazing lessons this past week that was really guided by the spirit.  I am personally still working really hard at not thinking about what to say and trusting the Spirit to put the words into my mouth and this lesson it really happened!  I said words that I didn't even know that I knew!   But the coolest part was how strong the spirit was and how much he was learning and at the end we invited him to pray about a date that he wants to be baptized on and he is doing it!   We are so excited for him!  He also ended up coming to church and stayed all 3 hours and then a member invited him and us to come over for dinner after church and he came and loved it!  The members really are taking him and and helping him become apart of the ward and it is working miracles! :)
Well, this is a long one but thank you for all of your prayers, love, and support!  I love you all!! 

Sister Knapp

P.S.  This week I also got my Birthday Package!  Thank you Mom, Dad, Cassie, Landon, and Kara!  I LOVED EVERYTHING!!!! ..... yes.... I may have been impatient and opened it early. haha but it was the best and really just added to all of the amazing things that happened this week!!  Thank you so much!! I LOVE YOU!!!! 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

How Can I Be Happier?

Feeling like a grown up... driving in a car!
Identifying the Change
This week was still a really good week.  Our investigator Jari is still progressing so much and you can really are seeing the Gospel change him.  Monday our lesson was really rough and we were stressed on time and the spirit was not there.  It made it hard afterwards because we felt like he wasn't going to progress anymore.  But then we had our new Sister Training Leaders arrive and one of them was staying with us for a day until her companion arrived by train to Oulu.  It was a huge blessing to us as we were trying to decide what we needed to teach him in our lesson that evening.  Sister Hubner then suggested that we role play it and that I would be Jari  and that Sister Nyman and her would be the missionaries.  This was really one of the most inspired role plays that I have ever had on my mission.  We decided that we need to teach him about how we receive answers and where our desires need to be.  We also felt that we need to really see what his expectations from us were.  The lesson ended up going EXACTLY like the role play and it was SO good.  The Spirit was SO strong.  We were able to see that he really just wants to be happy and that he gets so much peace from us visiting and from reading The Book of Mormon and coming to Church. He just had no idea that this was actually the spirit.  We were able to learn that he just needed help identifying the change and what he was feeling and now we all are reading the Book of Mormon everyday with the same purpose of "How can I be happier?"  It was such a good lesson and now he is doing so well and getting closer and closer to receiving an answer.  He won't be baptized this Saturday but we are hoping that he will in the coming weeks.  He is amazing and the change in him from the Gospel is so incredible to see.  He is so much happier than he was and he is coming closer and closer to his Heavenly Father.  One of the coolest things was that he came to church and actually was writing down answers that he was receiving at church!   It was amazing!  We are so excited to talk to him about it tonight! 
Being Commanded to Sing
This week we also had one of the funniest things happen to us on the street.  We were riding our bikes when we said hello to this couple walking together on the street. The lady got really excited so we stopped and she exclaimed that she knew exactly who we were and that she used to have sisters who would come and visit her and they would sing to her and talk with her and she loved it.   She then commanded us to sing.  At first I couldn't believe it and we both were questioning if we had heard right.  Sister Nyman then asked if she was asking us how long we had been here but she said "No,  Sing!" It is not a normal thing for people to tell you to just stop on the street and sing to them so we told her that we would.  So she then told us to ride our bikes ahead to a nearby park and get our hymn book ready for us to sing to her.  Ummm... Ok?  So we biked ahead and it was a huge blessing that Sister Nyman actually had copies of songs with her.  They then came and sat on the bench and we sang to them!  We sang "Sua tarvitsen ma aina"  or "I need thee every hour". They both then jumped up and hugged us both. Yep, the husband too.  We never know what to do in that situation. She told us that she will come when she comes..... basically that she isn't ready yet but that she will be eventually. Very few people actually know that they aren't ready.  Anyway, it was really fun :)
Espoo Friends
This Sunday was the best!  Some members from Espoo were in Oulu this weekend and it was so good to see them. I absolutely love them.  They are such a cute family and it really just made my day to see them.  It made me feel so good when they were actually really excited to see me too!  We were able to get contact information so that we can stay in touch.  It really was a tender mercy from the Lord.  I loved being able to see them.  It did make me so homesick for the south though.  There are so many people there that I love so much and miss incredibly.  Gisel calls me all of the time and she even sent a ring up with another sister for me.  She is the best and I absolutely love her so much.  I love these people.  They are amazing!  

Thank your for all of the love and support!   
Sister Knapp