Sunday, August 31, 2014

Flying South For the Winter!

Becoming Missionary Minded
This week has been a pretty incredible one. I can not say enough about how amazing and incredible the members in Oulu are and how well they do missionary work.  Really, this ward has grown so much in becoming missionary minded and sharing the gospel with their friends.  It has been definitely the coolest thing that I have seen as I have been here in Oulu these past 4 months.  Of course, along with seeing people change and come closer to Christ too.  I have to say that the Vietnamese boys are the best examples yet of member missionary work.  They are so good at it!   This week we had a lesson with a Vietnamese girl and she came with one of the members and brought a friend with her to the 'lesson'!  She wanted to learn how to sing and so we decided that we were going to teach about the Restoration through song.  I have to admit this has been the most fun lesson that I have ever taught on my mission.  We had a song for each head topic in the Restoration lesson and would have brief explanations and testimonies in between.  It was so good and the Spirit was so strong!  The crazy thing was our investigator was not interested at all but her friend, Chuc, LOVED it and talked about how touched she was by it.  When we gave her the Book of Mormon, she was SO excited! We also had a lesson with her later in the week and it went so well.  She agreed to a baptismal date on Sept. 27 and we are so excited for her. I have never seen someone with so much real intent. It is pretty amazing and she is pretty incredible. We can't wait to hear about her baptism!  (She was baptized later in November along with a new friend that she introduced to the Gospel).
Change Calls--Perfect Timing
Which brings us to change calls.... both Sister Nyman and I are leaving Oulu.  Yup, our area is being whitewashed because there are not enough sisters coming into Finland so they have to close some areas.  I will be going to Marjaniemi and will be with Sister Dixon.  I am going to really miss this place.  It is amazing and I will definitely be leaving a part of my heart here in Oulu. I couldn't have asked for a better ward or area to serve in.  This place is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!  It has been so much fun but I am excited for all the new people I will get to meet and to be back in the South!  Perfect timing as it is now starting to get pretty cold here in Oulu and soon it will be dark.!  Flying south for the winter! :) 
District Conference 
This week was also District Conference so all of the members from Kemi, Kajaani, and Rovanemi came down for Saturday and Sunday.  We had a total of 6 hours of church this week.  It was really long but super good.  We had an Area Seventy come and visit us, Elder Kearon, and it was so good!  He is such a great speaker and It was so fun getting to hear him speak. It was also fun to get to see all of the members in the District up here.  We also go to see President Watson and talk to him some more which was a really good experience to get to know our mission president more. I think the scariest part was giving him a ride from the airport to his hotel! It was so intimidating and just having 30 minutes to talk with President.  Yes, Sister Nyman and I tend to be a little scared of our mission president just because welll... he is the mission president.  

All in all it has been a pretty great week and even though I am super sad to leave this place it will be a fun adventure! :) 

Thanks for all of your love and support!! :) 

Sister Knapp

Marjaniemi is a suburb of Helsinki, which is located by the sea Helsinginniemeltä to the east, on the south side Itäkeskuksen.

Marjaniemi is a lush housing estate, which dates back to the 1920's.  Housing consists of detached houses, semi-detached and terraced houses. The buildings have a maximum of two storeys. Marjaniemi has a population of about 2,000.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cookies, Converts and Cool, Crazy Church Experiences

Knitting socks while waiting for a bike hitch to be put on a car...
who knewit could take SO long!  (Mom comment:  Seriously?
This is not like any place I have ever waited for mechanical repairs!)
Cookies & Converts
This week was an amazing week.  It started with a really scary stalker talking pictures of me in the library on our last p-day.  That was NOT apart of the "amazing week" I had. We are now not emailing at the library anymore. But later that night we had a cookie making activity.  We have some Vietnamese boys in our ward that wanted to make cookies and we told them that we would love to teach them how if they brought some girls and guess what?!  They did!!  It was awesome!  We got to give a short spiritual thought and they even stayed for family night too.  From that two of the girls became new investigators. These Vietnamese boys are so amazing and I am so happy that these boys get to be such a good example to the ward of doing missionary work and inviting their friends to activities and to learn about the gospel.  This week we had another Vietnamese boy, Khua, get baptized in our ward.  There have been 4 of them in the past year and it has been pretty incredible to see!  I also found out that down in Espoo one of Hai's friends got baptized and that he is SO happy now!  That really just made my entire week to hear that!  I also got to hear about a member in Espoo whose husband just got baptized!!! I am so excited for her and for him.  It has been such a good week hearing about all of the miracles that are happening all over Finland! 
Rovaniemi:  the crossing place of the Arctic Circle
 To The North Pole Again
Celebrating our one year mark together
eating Chinese food in Rovaniemi .
We also got to go to Rovaniemi for a district meeting which is always exciting even though we had to take a 5 AM train! YUCK. It made me so exhausted for the rest of the week. But it was fun to get to see Rovanemi again and to walk around the city.  This time we didn't go and see Santa, but we did get to go eat at a Chinese Restuarant for out one year mark!  It was fun (though we almost fell asleep there haha.)  Then we ran errands for the elders, since they were shuttling people too and from Santa Land.  It was a fun trip though and I love to get to go and see different places. 
I like to chase ducks...and try to boss them around, haha!
Sticking Out Like a Sore ThumbWe also had a super interesting experience where we got to go to a *Laestadian church this week.  It was the scariest thing that I have ever done on my mission, walking into a church that had at least 1,000 people there.  Wearing a name tag for a different church.  I can't even number the eyes that nearly popped out their heads at seeing us there!  The Laestadian church is huge here in Oulu and we made a deal with our investigator that we would come to her church if she came to ours. The only problem with that there was no way we could find her and we stood out like sore thumbs! Plus, we were wearing make-up and they don't do that.  It helped me to realize why so many members say that if we get the Laestadians to join that we get all of Oulu.  It was SO big.  It was a pretty cool experience, though not sure that we will be going back there any time soon. :)
Sorry that this week's email is so short.  Not a lot of time!  I love you! 
Sister Knapp

*Laestadians are the largest revival group within the Finnish Lutheran Church. They were founded by Swedish priest Lars Laestadius(1800 – 1861). He began to preach and his views influenced first the Samis in Sweden and then spread to Finland and Norway. His was a highly conservative interpretation of Lutheranism, returning to traditional belief and rejecting liberal strains of thought.

Monday, August 18, 2014

One Year Mark! So Glad I Kept A Journal!

I Still Feel Like I Have No Idea What I'm Doing!
It's my Year Mark!!  Crazy how time can fly.  A year ago I was entering the MTC, not knowing a thing about what I was doing as a missionary or how to speak Finnish or anything and now here I am an "old" missionary (for sisters) and I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing and like I just got in the country and have no idea how to speak the language (yes, I am a little better that I was then).  Time really does fly by.   I can't believe that a year has already past.  It has been an amazing past year and I am so glad that I have kept a journal because I can't remember most of it at the moment but its been incredible and really a life changing experience.  I have learned so much better the love that the Savior has for me and for all of his children.  It has changed my life and is continuing to change my life.  He really loves all of us so much.  Our Father in Heaven and Our Savior do everything they do just for us.  Even though we are so imperfect and make so many mistakes, they have made the way so hat we can have all of those mistakes and burdens taken off our shoulders and be full with peace and joy.  This Gospel is a message of Joy.  It is the greatest message that we could ever share with those around us.  
 Our getto apartment.  Yep... we don't have a table so we have to be a little creative! 

Instant Miracles
Anyway, this week we did get to see quite a few miracles.  We were on our way to get groceries last week and just before we left we prayed really hard that we would be able to find someone in Lidl's (the store we always go to)  that was prepared.  When we got there we were not even in the store for 5 minutes when someone came up and grabbed my name tag and told me that they were interested in learning about God. We were both so taken back by it that it took him about 10 times telling us that he was interested before we new how to react.  Yes,  he was a little drunk... but we were able to set up an appointment and get his number so hopefully we will be able to meet with him soon.  He really wants to stop drinking and so hopefully we can help him with that.  It was so sad to see how much of an awful person he thinks he is but that he really wants to change.  He really needs the gospel and we get to help him find it! 
No Worries... I Said No
We also had another interesting contact with someone last week.  We were on our way to visit a member when we came across this guy just laying in the middle of the bike path. So naturally we stopped to see if everything is fine, but he said  that he was just sleeping there.  So we continued on and ran into someone else we knew and talked to him and his friend who were both drinking (and I did get offered beer for the first time in my life.... No worries, I said no.). We had a pretty good conversation about quitting drinking and all that before we kept going and ran into the same guy that was sleeping on the street.  So we decided to ask him about it some more and he said that he was actually just doing an experiment to see how many people would stop to see if he was ok.  Haha weird guy.  So we invited him to Family Home Evening and he wanted to come, but it wasn't for an hour and a half!  So he decided that he would just wait on a the bench until we came back and were done with our appointment.  You will never believe it!  He was actually there and he came to Family Home Evening.  He also came to another sports activity later on in the week and hopefully over time he will be more interested in the gospel since right now that isn't really the case.   But, miracles happen!! :) 
 Mustikapiirakka! (Blueberry Pie)  Super popular here in Finland
and I just made it for the first time all by myself!  So easy! 
Blueberry Picking
Unfortunately, the rest of the week was pretty sad.  We had a lot of no shows and everyone we tried to stop by to see wasn't home. So that was pretty discouraging, but school starts today so hopefully everyone will be home from their summer vacations now!   We did get to go and pick some berries this week!  Finland has a ton a berry bushes and there is a law that unless it is in someone's yard they are free for everyone.  So we picked some blue berries this week! Finns go and do this all the time so I'm glad I finally got to experience the Finnish summer berry picking tradition  (though I may not have lasted long because of spiders.... my companion did most of the picking. :)  
An Extra Week With My Longest Companion :)
Caught in another rain storm that turned into a hail storm! 
We found out the craziest thing this week.  Transfers aren't actually happening this week.  Something happened in the MTC and they are being held for another week or something so this change will be a 10 week change and next change will only be 8 weeks.  It is going to be so SHORT!  But this officially makes Sister Nyman my longest companion.   She is incredible though and I couldn't be more happy to have her as a companion. :)   

Thanks for all of your love and support! 

Sisar Knapp

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Blessing of Blessings


Good Job Elders! 
Well, To be honest, I don't really remember much that has actually happened this week.  We were finally able to meet with our investigator from Rwanda though and it was SO good!  It was a great lesson and he is amazing.  It is incredible to see his faith and trust in God.  He was so excited that he finally got to learn how to pray.  Every morning he says he wakes up and thanks God for his life and children but he doesn't know how to pray.  One of my favorite things that we get to experience as a missionary is seeing someone pray for the first time and how much it means to them.  He said a really great prayer and is willing to meet with us twice a week.  We are pretty excited about him.   We also did find a new investigator this week!  We got to help a Sister Inget with cleaning her house and, oh my goodness, I have never met someone so nit picky when it comes to cleaning.  Then try taking orders in Finnish.  It was kinda rough.  But we did it!  And the elders got to be outside hitting rugs and talking to her next door neighbor.  They did a great job preparing him, though, so that when we went out and talk to him, he was more than willing to talk to us about God and have us come back!!  Good Job, elders. :) 
Frightening Experience
This week we did have an interesting experience with running into a drunk man.  We stopped to talk to him not realizing at first that he was really drunk.  He tried to get us to sit by him but when we said no he stood up and stumbled his way to us and seriously came inches from our faces.  I will admit I got a little freaked out. I still am not used to people when they get drunk, though it is super common in Finland.  I moved away pretty quickly but Sister Nyman didn't!! Eventually she had to grab his hand and kind of push him away a little bit and tell him that he should sit down.  But he refused to go sit down!  We then told him that we talk about Jesus Christ and if he was interested he should stop by our church sometime and then sped away.  I will admit It was kinda a frightening experience. But then again, people here are drunk all the time.  It is honestly one of the saddest hardest things to see how many people just waste their life away getting drunk.  Some days the streets just smell of alcohol.  Its pretty sad but it is amazing to see when people really start to change and give it all up and find the light of the Gospel.
Adding Meaning to My Personal Study 
Anyway, this week I did have some amazing experiences during my personal study.  I have to admit that Personal study really is one of my favorite hours of the day to receive so many answers and learn more and more about the Savior.  It is amazing. But, the past couple of weeks I have decided to start it by reading my Patriarchal blessing every morning before I start reading the scriptures or Preach My Gospel or anything.  It has made the world of the difference in my studies!  It has helped me to see more and more the way that God sees me and in turn has helped me to see the people around me a little bit more like He sees them--His sons and daughters.   We really are children of a Heavenly Father and he loves us so much and has so many blessings in store for all of us.  I have received so much peach and guidance from my personal blessing.  I am so grateful for Priesthood blessings and the guidance and comfort that they bring into my life.  I am so grateful for the power of the Priesthood. I don't know what I would ever do without it!  It has changed my life!  This Gospel has changed my life!  It is the greatest blessing in the world and brings the most happiness and the most joy and I am so lucky to be able to have the chance to share it with others. 

Well, The church is true! I love all of you!! 


Sisar Knapp

Monday, August 4, 2014

Love Changes Everything

But I Don't Play The Piano!
This week was a long one and to be honest I don't remember much of it!  I think the highlight of the entire week was this Saturday when Miko got baptized!!! It was so cool to see him be baptized.  He is awesome and absolutely hilarious, haha. One lesson the sisters told him that they really felt like he was going to be a leader in the church someday and he was like, "You know what?  I have been thinking the same thing."  Haha, he is the best.  And now he is a member and so excited to be called brother. :)  I have to admit, though, that I have never prayed so much in my whole life as I did at that baptismal service. We could not find a piano player anywhere because they were all out of town.... so you will never believe who they were left with.... Me!  Yup.  Me.  I don't play the piano!!!  Yes, I am sure all of you are all already aware of that.  I have taught myself how to play about 5 to 6 songs on my mission and that is basically the best I can do.  Fortunately, Sister Nyman can play about as well as I can so together we played  "I am a child of God" and then she played the simplified version of "I know that my Redeemer Lives." The only surprise was when I was playing prelude and interlude music and the Branch President came and asked me to play two hymns for the people to sing while we waited for him to change.... Oh my word.  I really haven't prayed so hard as I did that I could make it through those two songs.  But I know that God answers prayer because miraculously I made it through. :) 
Gutsy Missionary Work
We also got to here about some miracles happening with our investigator Jari that the elders are now teaching.  He is getting so ready to be baptized and it is so amazing to see.  He only has a few concerns-- that he hasn't told his family yet and that its hard to find a Mormon wife, haha  So funny.  He has been really concerned lately that we are just wanting to get more people to join our church and everything for the numbers reason and then in Priesthood this past Sunday apparently that is all they talked about and the elders were nervous about it the entire time!  But then when they talked to him about it after he thought it was really good because if he wants to find a wife that is a member of the church more people need to learn about and join the church and so now he is completely on board to do missionary work and it is so amazing to see!  Actually, the elders even asked him to come to a zone meeting that we had this week and participate in helping at a station for us to "role play".  Guess what station that was?.... Invitation to be Baptized. Haha that is pretty gutsy.  But he seemed to really enjoy it, though he felt like it was all too short because he couldn't explain everything.  He took it extremely literal and now he is really wanting to be baptized! Miracles are happening here in Oulu! 
Rwandan Investigator
We even found an investigator!  That was pretty exciting!  We had had 0 investigators all week personally and it has been way hard.  But this week we ran into a potential of ours from Rwanda.  He was in Rwanda when the genocide happened and doesn't really trust anyone so when we would try and set up a return appointment he would always just tell us no because we had to bring a friend along that he didn't know.  But this time he told us that we could bring a friend and come and visit him!  So that was pretty exciting!  I never thought I would meet so many people from all over the world here in Finland.  It is pretty incredible. 
Crocheting & Missionary Work
This week was also a lot of fun because we decided we wanted to work a little outside the box and I was going crazy going out and contacting formers and people on the street all day long.  So Sister Nyman got this brilliant idea to have me crochet something for this couple next store who is just about to have a baby this month.  So cute!  So every night when we would come in before bed, in the mornings, and during lunch I would just crochet.  It was so much fun and now we have a baby blanket to give to the neighbors and a family proclamation. We are pretty excited about it. She will never forget that she got a baby blanket from the Mormon missionaries. :)  It was actually surprising that it really didn't take long at all and we think it looks pretty good.  We are going to start working outside the box to meet and help teach people because really it is all about loving them.  When we really just show the people around us that we love and care about them it completely changes them and they are so much more willing to talk with us.  Love changes everything.  It really is the key to missionary work! 

Thank you for all of your love and support. :) 

Sister Knapp

P.S.  I almost ran over a hedgehog this week.  How cool is that?! :)