Monday, September 29, 2014

Friends in the Gospel

I love Sister Dixon!
This week was painfully hard but still we got to see so many miracles.  I think it will be easiest just to take it day by day:
Monday--A New Healthy Us!
P-day! The highlight of the day was that we started a diet! Sister Dixon and I are basically the same person in every way including our body types and we both want to lose some weight, so we are! And we're really committed. It's exciting. So we got up and went running and then bought a ridiculous amount of healthy food, which included no carbs. All week we were able to eat healthy (We did have 1 day where we caved and ate something that a member forced on us) and we actually ran for 5 out of the 6 days--we don't run on Sunday- and we ate so healthy. Haha. We have lots of encouragement. Out investigator M. just barely sent us this poem:

Its time to go outside and run. Thats how Mormon sisters have fun!

Tuesday--Black Hole
Kind of a black Hole day. I don't even know what happened. Not a very good day.

Wednesday--The Sign 
We had district meeting. Then we met with our new investigator Timo. He's kind of an older guy and has been studying a ton of different churches for years. But he says that for some reason this one feels different. He also feels like he got a sign from God that this could be it. He went into the library and went over to the free book section. He looked down and found a Brigham Young teaching manual, haha.  He came to the church with a picture of it and was really excited to learn about everything! He brings up the picture in every single lesson and how it is a sign from God! Super sweet :) With Mac, that I told you about last week, we went over the baptismal interview questions with him. He's super close, but still has a few things that he really needs to work on. Please, please remember to keep praying for him! Pray that General Conference will be a really good experience for him. Right now he is 100 percent planning on being baptized. But honestly, if we don't clear up a few of his concerns we're not going to be able to let him. We do have faith that it's going to happen, but pray pray pray!!! 
Thursday--Bold Moves
We had a wonderful lesson with Katja in the morning. Despite the fact that she has a really hard time coming to church, she is a wonderful investigator. We did a lesson about how we really can keep the commandments even when they are hard and she promised again to come to church. I felt strongly that we needed to tell her that Sunday morning our phone would be turned off, so even if she cancelled, we would be on her doorstep to come get her. Haha, too bold? No! It worked! It was done with lots of love :) Then we had a great weekly planning session! 
Friday--And That's When Our Diet Failed
We were able to teach the 7 year old, Aaron, who is preparing to get baptized again. We made him some steps of repentance and then found a little guy from the Liahona that we laminated, so he had someone to walk up the steps with. Fun lesson :) Afterwards the member brought us out the BIGGEST ice cream tower I've ever seen. And at the top there was a whole piece of pie, then there was whipped cream all over the top.... That's when our diet failed. It was too hard to say no, when they had already dished it up. It was so much sugar that I felt like I was going to die.  And half way in between they brought out more whipped cream and put it on!  I think it was enough to make me never crave sugar again.  At least for a long time!  Haha, later Sister Dixon asked our BML (as a joke) if he could tell the ward to stop giving us sugar. And sure enough he came into Relief Society on Sunday and made an announcement that the missionaries are more energetic and better able to do the Lord's work if we are fed healthily. Super awesome! We also went over to another member's house and right as we came her less active mother came too. We were finally able to meet her and then share a message that seemed to strengthen them both.
Saturday--Friends in the Gospel
In the morning we went to a baptism in Haaga with Mac so he could see what it was like. It was a really good experience for him. Everyone was so friendly and he made tons of friends. After the baptism we had an impromptu lesson that was so good! His new friend bore the best tesimony ever and Mac almost cried. After we left we found out that Mac stayed at the chapel for another hour talking to a recent convert who bore her testimony with him. :) Then we had another lesson with Timo. It was great. He's super duper excited to see the living prophet at conference. 

Sunday--Advertising General Conference
Katja and Mac came to church and it was a great testimony meeting. After church we made healthy meatloaf. But we didn't have a bread pan, so I called the Elders and told them that if they brought us a bread pan we would return it to them with half a meat loaf in it. They liked that. We didn't have any plans for the night so we went out with some General Conference fliers and started teaching the world. Super fun. We found a ton of great potentials. It was honestly a miracle evening.  We had had a pretty rough start in the week and we needed to be able to meet and teach a lot of people to reach our goals but after praying and going out to do our best to talk to everyone we reached them!  It was amazing and really a blessing.  

The Gospel is true. I love it.  It really is what gets me through each and every day and I don't know what I would do without it.  Thanks for all the love and support. 

Sister Knapp

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How Not to Mess it Up


Sisters Dixon and Knapp, who actually look like real sisters!
Follow the Spirit
This week was a pretty long one.  I honestly can't remember that much of it or what really happened. Mac, who is preparing to be baptized in a few weeks, is doing amazing.  He is so solid on being baptized and we are so excited for him.  The only thing is that we are both terrified that we are going to mess it up!  But, we are trying to learn and understand more so we really are doing our best to follow the Spirit so that we won't be able to mess it up.  It was just pretty scary this week after a lesson. We had just finished teaching him a lesson and got caught up in a discussion outside where we got so frustrated that he wasn't really understanding and it ended up getting pretty heated.  We felt terrible afterwards.  The Spirit wasn't there at all and we completely thought that we had just messed everything up.  So we texted him apologizing and he sent us the nicest text in return.  He told us that God had sent us to him and how grateful for us he was, that he has sent the perfect people to teach him and help him come to understand more about God.  He is doing great and is going to be so ready to be baptized.  We really can't wait. It is going to bless and change his life.  
We Saved a Bird!
I really don't have too much to say about the week... But we saved a bird! The most rewarding part of the day was actually was saving a little bird that got stuck on our patio. We have glass up and everything but the little bird climbed through the rain hole and then couldn't figure out how to get out. So he kept flying right into the glass. Poor little guy. It sounded like it hurt. So I went over and was trying to open the windows so he could get out. But then he smacked right into the window that I hadn't opened yet and fell on the ground and was twitching. It was so sad. We both thought he was just going to die on our balcony. But then after 5 or so minutes he got up and flew out! We saved a life! We included one saved bird in our numbers this week. How rewarding!
Helping the Elders
We also went to the Elder's area a lot this week and tried to contact all of the women recent converts of the past three years for them because they have no time for anything. It was pretty sad though. Two people looked through their peep holes and then slammed the door hard so that we could hear... So sad. Then two others were not home. We talked to some cool Muslim guys though. They were really nice! We also went out to Vuosaari to try and see a less active. But her door was locked. So we went on a walk and met a couple cool people instead. But then a miracle happened. She came to church on Sunday! She came up and hugged us and then said that she saw us outside her apartment. She was really busy so she didn't come say hi. But that we should come by another time. Miracles are happening!
It's getting dark again--this is about 8:00 pm

It still was a pretty good week despite being kinda sick and super tired we were still able to see some miracles. Sorry this is so short! I will write more next week! :) 

Sister Knapp

Monday, September 15, 2014

Elder Bednar's Visit

Missions Are the Best Things In the World
Sister Dixon and I--"We're like the same person"
It was a pretty miraculous week.  First off, I gotta say that I really love my mission.  It is the best experience of my life. I love this country. I love the people. I love being a missionary. I love everything about it.  It really has changed my life.  I will be honest that I never thought I would get to the point where I would feel super sad about leaving and never want to leave.  But it came!   I started bawling like 3 times this week just thinking about leaving this place and the people here.  I love it here.  My heart really is here with these people and I never want to leave. In church this week we got to hear from a missionary that just got home from his mission and he shared a quote from somewhere that said, "It may not be the best 2 years, but it will be the be the best 2 years for your life".  It is so true.  This really has changed my life.  It has made me a better person and I have really come to understand just a little bit better the love our Father in Heaven has for us and that He really knows better than we ever could what we need for our lives.  I never would have gone on a mission if it wasn't for the strong answer I received over a year and a half ago and it has changed my life and I am forever going to be grateful for it.  Missions are the best things in the world and everyone should have the chance to serve one. They will NEVER regret it.
With Sister Nyman, my last comp and
my new one, Sister Dixon
We Really Just Go Out and Make Friends
That said, this week has also been so much fun.  I have learned so much from Sister Dixon in the past couple of weeks. We are seriously like the same person and have way too much fun together.  From movies nights before bed watching the Legacy and drinking smoothies, to ruined cakes and many ruined meals, to finding new friends on the street. It has honestly been a blast. We are almost always laughing and talking and having fun everywhere we go.  My whole mission I been trying to figure out how to be myself and do the work and with Sister Dixon it is just so easy.  We are always ourselves and because of it our investigators have really become our friends. They talk and joke and laugh with us and we really just have so much fun.  And when it is time for a lesson, it goes amazing because they really know that we really do care and love them. It is honestly changing the way that I do missionary work and it is so good and so much more enjoyable. We really just go out and make friends. :)  
The Best Lesson Ever
We have two pretty incredible investigators.   One of our investigators is honestly like our best friend. His name is Mac.  He is from Thailand and seriously mind blowing.  He has read almost the entire Book of Mormon, all of the Joseph Smith History, Gospel Principles, True to the Faith, and is now starting to read the Doctrine and Covenants because they are studying it in institute.  WOW!   I swear that he knows and understands things better than we do!  So we have really been having a hard time knowing how to help him!  He also says he won't be baptized unless his mom supports, it but she wants him to become a Buddhist Monk first so that she can get into heaven.  We didn't know what to say to that so we told him to pray about it and we would talk about it later.  We then had some pretty amazing lessons with him this week.  One was so funny because it was right before institute and we couldn't stay, so when we asked him to pray at the end he prayed that we would both stay, then told us that God doesn't answer our prayers when we said that we had to leave. Hahaha. What a pill!  He is so funny.  We had the amazing opportunity to have Elder Bednar come and do a mission conference with us this week (will talk about later) and we went with questions to the meeting to know how we could better help our investigator progress and feel more of God's love for him. The only problem was that during and after the meeting Sister Dixon and I both had fevers and were feeling SO sick, but we decided that we still needed to go to lesson with Mac anyway and it went so well. The Spirit was so strong and I really just had to rely on it more than ever because my head hurt so bad that I couldn't focus much to understand really a ton what he was saying. But the lesson was incredible and Sister Dixon and I both felt strongly that if  Mac really wants to feel the Spirit and feel the importance of the gospel, that he needs to be preparing for baptism. So we expressed that to him and and after the lesson he told us that he wants to be baptized!  He has decided that he wants to do it no matter what his mom says and that it is right.  He is getting out of the boat and putting his faith in God!  Right now he is really praying to know what day he will be baptized but it will be sometime in the next 3 weeks!  We are so excited for him!  It was the best lesson and experience ever! :)
With Sister Ross, my MTC companion
Miracles in Marjaniemi
We also have a pretty amazing investigator from Kenya, Lincoln, who is 18 and has some of the strongest faith in God  I have ever seen. I have never seen someone pray so sincerely and trust in God so much as this kid.  It has been pretty incredible.  We gave him a baptismal date last week and he is honestly really searching and preparing for it and we know he will get an answer.  He has already even talked to his mom about it and is hoping that as he learns more that he will be able to talk to his mom better about it and that she will understand. We are really praying for him and feel so good about him.  He has so many good questions and is so willing to learn and to trust in God that he will receive an answer by his baptismal date.  It is pretty exciting to see the miracles that are happening her in Marjaniemi.
Mission Conference was amazing!
This past Friday was MISSION CONFERENCE!!!!  It was a once in a lifetime experience that is for sure.  I never thought that I would be sitting a room being instructed by an apostle of the Lord.  Elder Bednar was so good and really, you can tell he is so guided by the Spirit.  I received so many answers to my questions on how I can better help each of my investigators individually. The most fun thing was that it wasn't like a fireside where we just sat and listened to Elder Bednar speak to us but it was actually a discussion!  At first he just made us super comfortable and explained that he knew that if he asked us a question that we all knew the answer to, we would all know it until we got asked by an apostle to recite it to him.  In other words he would know that we got intimidated and freaked out when we are asked something by an apostle!  So everything was volunteer and we just talked and learned together. The Spirit in that room was so strong and really amazing. I am so grateful for that experience. One thing he said was the the world is the best it is ever going to be but we need not be afraid. We need to just have faith.  It really is crazy to think about, and even more amazing to see, so many girls and boys serving missions and how much it is going to make a difference.  We all need to be strong and to really learn to trust and rely on the Lord and everything is going to work.  We are going to be safe even in the world where so much bad is happening. :)  I loved mission conference.  It was amazing to be in a room with all the missionaries here in Finland.  Even though I don't know every single one of them, I could just look around and I really just loved them all!  I love the missionaries here in Finland.  They are amazing.  They really are my brothers and sisters and I am so lucky to be serving with them here in Finland.  I also got to see all of my amazing companions and my  MTC group and it was so much fun to see everyone and get to talk to everyone. Some of I haven't seen in almost 10 months!  It's amazing how fast time can go.
Elder Spiers (back) and Nemelka, who I knew in Jr. High
More Miracles
We also had a miracle with contacting a less-active this week. We were in the area where a less-active in the ward lives and were having a hard time deciding whether or not we should go try to see her because her gate is locked and she never answers the phone.  But last minute we decided to jump off the bus and go and see if she was there and you will never believe it!  She was outside!  It was a miracle!  We have tried this so many times and for once she was outside!  She was so nice and we got to really talk to her and see why she wasn't coming to church.  Apparently her husband has been pretty sick.  But she is going to let us come back and do service and she is really wanting to come back to church.  Hopefully we will be able to help her with that!

It was an amazing, fun-filled, miracle week.  I love this work.  There really isn't a better work out there.  Thank you for all of your love and support! 

Love, Sister Knapp
Sister Dixon and getting the perfect selfie

A failed food attempt

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Oulu to Marjaniemi--I Love This Country!

In my new Marjaniemi apartment
I Never Want to Leave This Place
It has been a LONG week!  I have never been more sad to leave a place in my entire life. Leaving Oulu was like having my heart ripped out. I have never felt more at home in a place. It is my home here in Finland and I never have loved the people so much as I did there. I made some of the greatest friends in the world and I miss them SO much already and it hasn't even been an entire week yet!  But I am excited to be in a new place and able to continue serving here in Finland. My mission has seriously FLOWN by and I never what to leave this place! I don't want my mission to end and to leave the people that I love so much and a country that really has become my home. But I still have at LEAST 5 months so I still have plenty of time left right?  But then again, if I stayed a missionary forever I would hope that I would get a transfer to Oulu for the rest of my life. There is not a better ward on the planet. They are amazing. So loving and so willing and ready to do missionary work. It was incredible to see the change in them over these past few months and to see how they changed from being people I knew and cared about to people who have being some of my greatest friends.  I love them and miss them.
My new companion, Sister Dixon.  I love her already!
Good-bye Oulu
Monday was insane since it was the last day that I would really have in Oulu with sister Nyman and we wanted to see EVERYONE, which really wasn't possible but if it was I probably would have done it. We literally spent most of the day packing and rushing to as many members houses that we could which ended up only being 3. Kinda lame. But then we had family night and I LOVE family night. A big part of that is probably because it is in English and for some reason I always have struggled with the Finnish dialect in the north. But also because all of my favorite people in the world came to Family Night and we got to play a ton of games. It was crazy. When I first came to Oulu we had like 2 members at family night and then it was us 6 missionaries and the senior couple. But by the end we had about 20 people coming every single week and about half of them were not members!  It was incredible and so much fun. You could tell that all of the investigators just really feel at home whenever they go there and it is so good for them! The hardest thing ever was being able to leave that family night at the end. It was almost unbearable and yeah... we might have been a little late getting home.  
Travel Tuesday
Tuesday was a pretty crazy day. Sister Nyman left in the morning and then I was with the other sisters until I got to take a night train that evening. It was so sad having to say good-bye to Sister Nyman. She was a incredible companion and one of my best friends! She is one of the most loving and understanding companions that I have ever had. I am definitely going to be miss having a million uplifting notes hidden all over the apartment. The rest of the day I was with Sister Lund and Sister Hubner. They are some of the funniest sisters that I think I have ever served with. I would almost die laughing so hard that I was almost crying. So it was a good last day until I got on the train and had to leave Oulu. I love that place and then I had to leave it and I was alone on a train!  Ah!  So lonely!  I have officially decided that I really really don't like night trains! 
I Can Actually Understand the Finnish in the South
The next few days were crazy! I got my new companion Sister Dixon who is just amazing and we are having SO much fun!  We are talking and laughing constantly which in some cases may not be good. Let's just say that people know we are Americans pretty quickly, haha. But we have had some awesome experiences. We met with our new investigator Lincoln this week and had a super good lesson that was kinda crazy all over the place but somehow the Spirit was able to make up for our shortcomings and stutterings, haha, and it became a really powerful lesson and we invited him to be baptized!  He said Yes!  He is going to be baptized on the 11th of October and we are super excited for him!  I also have to say that it is so weird being in the south again!  I can actually understand 10 times better the Finnish they speak down here and it makes it so much more fun to be able to actually communicate with people in Finnish.  So that is definitely a plus for being down in the south. 
Espoo Reunions
We also had Stake Conference this week.  I really could not have come at a better time!  It was perfect!  I got to see all of my friends and members that I new in Espoo and it was so much fun!  It was kinda bad because I was super disteacted literally trying to run all over the place and make sure to say hello to them all, but it felt so good to be able to see them again and to talk to them in Finnish (since I never really did that before).  I love Espoo and I can't wait to be able to go on splits there someday and to see some of the investigators and people that I have met there. Goodness, I just love these people and this country. I really couldn't have asked for a better place to serve. The Lord really does know us better than we know ourselves and when we follow his plan for us we will find that He really does make it better then we ever could!  

Thank you for all of your love and support!! 

Sister Knapp

p.s. Here's a tour of my new apartment... It's huge!