Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Have Been So Blessed


Another week has come and gone and another change right along with it.  I can't believe that time can go so fast and before I know it my mission will be over.  I love Finland even though the work is hard.  Its definitely started to become like home.  I am staying in Marjaniemi and I am going to be serving with Sister Rapheal!  We both served in Oulu at the same time so I already know her and it should be a lot of fun.  Its always fun when you have served close with someone and then you end up as companions.  Sister Dixon is heading to Tampere to be a Sister Training Leader.  She is going to be amazing I have absolutely loved being her companion.  It has been so much fun.  I have never laughed so much in my life.  She has a gift at being herself and becoming best friends with everyone that she meets. Its been so much fun learning to do missionary work, and actually be more myself as I am doing it, from her. I have been so blessed with all of my companions! 
Disappearing Investigators
Well, after a super great week came a really down low week. The first two days were really rough. We had a lesson with Katja and it was going really well, when she told us that she had decided that she would always be Orthodox and doesn't want to meet anymore. It was super sad but it was nice to have someone actually be open and honest with us. Hopefully somewhere down the road her heart will be softened a little more and she will be ready to learn and accept the gospel. We then had a no-show by one of our other new investigators which has happened before. We then found out that our Hai's friend is actually a less-active member! So we found a less-active! Then we had a lesson with our investigator Jenny, who was a media referral.  She told us that she is interested to learn but not to change. So in 2 days we had 4 of our investigators disappear.  It was really hard and shot our plans for the rest of the week.
The Peace of the Temple
But Thursday was a really good day.  We got to go and do the Temple with Mac for the first time!  It was so exciting to see him going into the temple.  He is still doing amazing and actually gave a really incredible talk on Sunday and it was 10 minutes! He is a natural speaker and told his conversion story and how he came to know the Book of Mormon is true and that Heavenly Father loves us.  It was an amazing talk.  Mac is honestly just incredible!  I am so lucky to be serving here and have gotten to know him.  He is an amazing example to me. The temple was the best though.  I LOVE the temple. I hadn't realized how much I had missed it until I got there and then never wanted to leave.  The temple just really does leave you with the best most peaceful feeling. :) 
This week we also had to help the A.P's with their investigators since it was change call weeks and they were going on splits in Oulu. So we got to teach one of their investigators who they have been teaching for quite awhile and have had to move her baptismal date many times.   She is great and from Estonia so we taught in English!  We had a really good lesson all on prayer and getting answers. She is wonderful but is having a really hard time with knowing if God is really there and loves her.  She had some amazing stories that she shared with us of when we she felt like God had answered her prayers but had since forgotten. So really we are just trying to help her remember and the elders have now given her to us to start teaching since they are moving to Espoo. The A.P's will now be in Espoo and the Zone leaders are coming to Marjaniemi. So hopefully we can start to help her progress and help her family as well.  She is so funny and we absolutely love her already. :) 

But that is basically all that really happened this week.  It was a pretty down week but with the change and everything hopefully we can get this area going again!  

Thanks for all the love and support! 

Sister Knapp

Monday, October 20, 2014

Blessings of Being Bold

This week was fantastic!  We got so much done and saw so many miracles throughout it all. 
Great Lessons
On Monday we realized that we really didn't have much planned for the week and so we decided that it would be worth it to spend a couple of hours planning and getting some solid lessons set up. It can be really hard to get solid lessons when you are planning an entire week in advance. This ended up being one of the best ideas yet. Tuesday we got to teach our investigators Katja, Timo, and Krista.  Then we had a lot of potentials that we wanted to stop by and we got Mac to come contact them with us.  We ended up finding a new investigator that we are meeting with today.  Our lesson with Katja went really well.  She says that she knows the Book of Mormon is true but that she isn't sure can be baptized. She prayed about it and said that she felt like she should stay Orthodox Christian.  We then had to tell her in a very loving way that she was wrong and teach her how we can tell if the answers we get are from God or not.  We ended up having a super spiritual lesson and it was so good and she is wanting to pray about it again. We are really hoping that she will open her heart more to change. Our lesson with Timo was good as well.  It was the most focused lesson we have been able to have yet. We decided to talk about getting answers through  prayer, church, and scripture study.  It was a really good lesson and when we asked how he felt about the Book of Mormon he said, "I know that Joseph Smith couldn't have written this book."  So then Sister Dixon invited him to pray about the Book of Mormon tonight to know if it is true and guess what? .. He said no, not yet.  Haha.  So we asked why and he said that he is afraid to pray about the Book of Mormon because if it is true then he needs to be baptized.  At least he knows that part of getting an answer. Now we just need to help him not be afraid to ask. We then had a lesson with our investigator Krista and Mac came with us!  Mac was incredible in the lesson and it was such a good opportunity for him to share his testimony.  She had so many questions that were kinda hard to understand but Mac was able to answer them and to really relate to how she feels learning about Joseph Smith for the first time.  It was so good!  Mac is really an incredible teacher! 
I Just Need to Do It
Wednesday we had zone meeting that started at 10:00. They ended up throwing in a surprise language test that they didn't want anyone to know we were taking and it ended up making the meeting an hour longer than usual which put us in a really bad situation to getting to our appointment on time!  We had no idea that it was going to be 3 hours instead of 2!  But thankfully President offered to give us a ride to our appointment after the meeting and we were able to get there on time. The meeting was really good, all except the language test.  I hate language tests.  But they really are good because they can help us see more what we need to work on so that is always a good thing.  I really felt a lot better about this one then I did about the last one so that was a good thing. Finnish is just SO hard.  After the meeting we rushed to our appointment with President which is always a little bit nerve racking to have 30 minutes to sit and talk to your mission president about your plans for the day and investigators. We then had a lesson with a young less active girl Donna, and the Young Women's President, Sister Humphries, whom we have been working with for weeks.  We talked all about how much God loves her and wants to help her. We listened to Elder Uchtdorf's talk from the Women's Session of General Conference and talked about it.  It was so good.  We then once again invited her to church and she was hesitant because she struggles coming back to church without her family. So we asked her to just come for one hour and then she said, "No.  I just need to do it and come for all three hours. After that it will get easier." Yay!!! We were so excited and happy for her!  This was the first time that she ever said she would come to church! Yes!  We then had a lesson with Mac that went really well. We got to go to a dinner with him in Helsinki at a senior missionaries' home and they had invited more of the YSAs to come. It was a really good lesson and a great time for Mac to get to know more of the YSAs so that was so good for him.  

What Missionaries Do Best
Thursday was planning day. This was one of our rougher days.  Planning can be so hard sometimes when people aren't knowing their schedules and you are just tired and having a hard enough time focusing.  We did it, though, and immediately after planning headed to a ward member's house, Sister Eklund, for her 70th birthday party.  When we got there the apartment was FULL of old people and most of them were members so we really had no idea what we were doing there or why they really wanted us there. So we did what missionaries do best. We went into the kitchen and started eating food. You will never believe it.  The couple in the kitchen just happened to be some of the only non-members there!  So we got to have a really good conversation with them. Miracles!  We then had an appointment with a member whose son we have been teaching to prepare him for baptism. We had been traveling by Metro for about 10 minutes when Sister Dixon turned to me and asked, "Wait, where are we going?"  Haha, oh Sister Dixon!  I love her. Mac came with us so that was good.  We got to teach him about the temple. Oh my goodness. Mac is really the humblest person I have ever met.  He really wants to go to the temple but doesn't want to ask the bishop for a recommend because he doesn't want it to look like he has an agenda for why he got baptized, haha. So we had to explain how happy the bishop would be if he asked to be able to go to the temple. But thankfully Bishop ended up talking to us and is going to talk to Mac about getting the priesthood and a temple recommend so it will all work out. :) 
Being Bold
Friday we had a member of ours, Sister Linda Saaranen, take us out to lunch for Chinese food. Yum!!  It was way too nice of her!  She is the sweetest lady ever. We then had our first appointment of the week cancel but we had been trying for the past few weeks to find time to watch Conference so we finally got to.  We then got to meet with an investigator that the sisters had given to us.  We had such a powerful lesson. She is from Nepal and was previously Hindu but had started to believe in God and Christ and now is Christian but not apart of any Christian religion because she doesn't like what so many people do in the name of religion. It was amazing though because everything she was wanting and looking for is in our church. The spirit was so strong and she wants to read the Book of Mormon but she isn't ready to meet yet and says she is too busy but can meet in 3 months. Sad. We will see what happens in 3 months then!  We then got to meet with a less active, Eila Ryyty, we had been trying to get in contact with. It was so sad because the ward has really given up on her coming to church but sister Dixon and I are determined. We went in there and were honestly the boldest I have ever been in a lesson.  We asked her why she wasn't coming to church and she didn't have a reason so we told her that she really needs to come to church with us and sing in sacrament with us.  She agreed to it!  Not this week but the next week!  It was really a good lesson and we really felt like it is exactly what she needs.  We are meeting with her again this week and watching Conference so hopefully we can help her come back! 
Eating Snail and Other Cultural Fun
Saturday was one of the most fun days ever. We had a lesson early around noon with Hai's (from Espoo) friend and so Hai came with us to the lesson. They ended up making a TON of food for us and one of the foods was snail. Yep... I got to try snail.  I will have to admit I had to resort to my usual cut it as small as possible and swallow with juice method.  I am not a fan of snail.  The rest of the food was really good though.  It was crazy.  During the lunch there was a moment were Sister Dixon was teaching Hai's friend's friend, I was teaching Hai, and our member was teaching Hai's friend.  We were all trying to talk over each other, haha, but it worked.  We then up having an amazing lesson with him and Hai's friend who has already investigated. He really opened up about how he wants to be baptized but has a really hard time with the Word of Wisdom.  So we are going to help him with that and he agreed to come to church!  We then had another lesson with Krista which went alright.  It was rough because we were planning to do a church tour but forgot there was a funeral so we ended up meeting at the library.  It was still good though.  After that we got to go with our less active Lelieta to a Filipino party and Mac came too.  It was so much fun and absolutely hilarious.  Lelieta threw in a surprise number and did this whole upbeat dance while singing in Tagalog.  Let's just say we definitely didn't see that one coming!
Sunday, A Really Good Day
Sunday was a really good day. Mac got the Priesthood, a calling as a ward missionary, and a temple recommend!  We are going this week!  Hai came to church and really enjoyed it and we are meeting with him again this week. The young less active girl, Donna, came to church and was so happy to be there and so smiley!  She did it! I love the church.  

The church is true!  Thanks for all your love and support! 

Sister Knapp

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Great Shall Be Your Joy

It's Hard To Do On Your Own
This week was a really good week.  We were able to see so many miracles and even though we were stressed preparing everything for the baptism we were able to meet with so many of our investigators and less actives. We were finally able to get in touch and meet with one less active who joined the church alone when she was 12 years old but has not gone to church in a long time. She is 25 now.  Her name is Vanessa. It was so good to get to meet her and talk to her about the Gospel. She is so sweet and so nice and really has just needed someone to invite her and try and help her come back. Its hard to do it on your own. She then asked us all about our missions and if she could serve a mission. Yes!!  We told her that we would love to help her prepare to serve a mission if that was what she wanted to do and she really is starting to think about it. We then invited her to come to institute the next day and she came!  She is great and we are really hoping that we can bring her back and closer to the gospel as soon as possible so that she can serve a mission. It would honestly bless and change her life and be so good for her. 
My First Media Referral
This week we also got to contact a media referral. Someone had found our website and wanted missionaries to come and visit her. We weren't sure what to expect when we got there but we were really surprised when we did. It was a young, really cute Finnish girl that has really been interested in religions. We were able to teach her all about the Restoration and she had so many questions but was really excited for the chance to receive a Book of Mormon and begin reading it. We are really excited about her and hope that she will really have an open heart and be prepared to receive the Gospel. This is my first media referral!! 
It Will Make Them So Much Happier
Our other investigators are doing alright though. We have one investigator Timo that just likes to talk and talk and has so many questions. Its been really hard to stay on topic and members really want to answer all their questions but this week we were determined that we were just going to tell him that we would have to write all of his questions down and that we would answer them next time so that we could get through the discussion about the Plan of Salvation. The lesson ended up going surprisingly well and he got a lot of answers that he was looking for. We are hoping that he really does have the desire to change and learn about the Gospel and take it into his life. We also are teaching Katja. She is doing really well and really praying to know if this is the right path that she should take. It was so sad because she got sick last week and was unable to come to conference but we are hoping to watch some of it with her this week!  Hopefully we can start to really help them both progress so that it can change their lives and make them so much happier. 
The Best Weekend of My Life
This weekend was the best weekend of my life. Mac got baptized!!  I honestly could not stop smiling the whole time. I was so happy for him and the decision that he made to be baptized. He made the best decision of his whole life and it is going to bless him forever. I am so blessed that I got to be apart of it and be an instrument in the Lord's hands in bringing Mac unto Christ. I have honestly never met someone more humble and full of love in my life than Mac. He really is one of my best friends. The baptismal service went so well. The members were so involved and ready to take him in and befriend him and make him feel at home. The talks were perfect for him and exactly what he needed to hear. We also got to sing "Amazing Grace" at the request of Mac. It was pretty funny because I had suggested that we sing that and Sister Dixon was like, "No way...."  but then not even 5 minutes later Mac texted us asking us to sing it. So, thank you so much, Mom, for sending the arrangement that the Utah Valley Children's Choir sang. It was beautiful!  We loved it and though we had to simplify a few parts it was a miracle because we actually got it put together and Sister Dixon, Me, Elder Richards, and Elder Wilson were able to sing it. It went super well... though the last note may have been a little sketchy at first.... But the song was ended up sounding really good and even made Mac tear up. Miracles happen. Mac was then baptized and it was the happiest moment of my life and I am sure it is just going to get better once he goes to the temple. After his baptism and a talk Mac bore his testimony. It was amazing and honestly one of the best parts of the baptism. He talked all about how when he decided to be baptized he was super excited and happy but then when members starting finding out about it he got super scared and was worried that he was getting baptized because members wanted him to or because we missionaries did. He also feared having friends reject him or that he would have to reject his friends but that now he knows that what he is doing is right. That he will be able to help his friends the right way now. That we don't have to sit in a dark room and that God really does want to illuminate our lives.  He thanked Sister Dixon, Me and Sister Ladd for coming to Finland and finding him and teaching him. He told us how much we have changed his life. That was when we all started crying. haha.  I love Mac and I am so grateful that I got to come here to Finland and to teach him.  I love this Gospel. I love it with my whole heart and I would give up anything for it. It really is the hope and light and joy in my life and I am so blessed to have it and to be able to share it with others.  

Thank you for all of your prayers and support. I promise that they are answered. I love you all! 

Sister Knapp 

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Converting Power of Conference

Fall is here! (Sister Dixon)
Best Week Ever!
This week was a pretty hard one but one of the best weeks of my entire mission. The week started with us having had the BEST planning session ever the week before and having 3 to 4 lessons set up per day.  We were going to be SO busy. Then came the downfall.  Within hours a total of 2 days got completely blanked out.  We had 9 lessons cancel this week. It was the worst.  Blank days are some of the hardest days ever.  A lot of walking, contacting, looking up potential investigators and formers. It was going to be long... and to no surprise it was long.  
The Fun of Metro Contacting
We spent a lot of time just Metro contacting, which is honestly one thing that I don't really mind on blank days. You always get good stories.  We actually met this super funny guy from Italy who was so hard to talk to and really wanted to buy us coffee... uh.... no....  So we tried to come up with some excuse so that we could leave and finally he was going to let us and went to shake our hands. But when we did, he pulled us in and gave us "besos"  That is a first, haha.  Awkward x ten   We did meet this super cool girl, about 25 years old, on the metro and invited her to conference and told her about the Book of Mormon.  As soon as we showed her and told her about the Book of Mormon she couldn't take her eyes off of it.  When we told her that we wanted to give it to her as a gift she got so excited and just hugged the book. We are meeting with her next week to talk more about it! :) Miracles. So when Thursday rolled around and it was planning day we were pretty excited because we got to plan and then we had appointments so our day was full!  But right as we were getting ready to go to our first appointment it fell through.... Noooooooo.....!  We honestly crashed on the floor.  Not again.  Then a seriously tender mercy happened. The AP's called.  They had an emergency they had to take care of and were supposed to go to bishop's house for a dinner appointment but now they couldn't so... we got to!!  Heavenly Father really loves us...an appointment and food! It doesn't get better than that!  Well, actually it does... 
You Can Always Count on Conference
Our investigator, Mac, is incredible.  He is honestly amazing!  We have been so worried the past couple of weeks that he wouldn't be ready to be baptized this week since he wasn't sure if he believed that Jesus was the Son of God or that this is really the one true church on the earth today. Those are some super important things that people have to know!  So we started to put everything on Conference and how important Conference would be and that he really could get his answers there. If you are going to count on something you can ALWAYS count on Conference. This week was honestly a miracle week for him. I think I have already told you how amazing of an investigator he is. Sometimes we worry about information overload with him since he has already read the Gospel Principles Book, Joseph Smith History, True to the Faith, stays up late watching Mormon messages and videos, listens to conference talks all day (practically) while he is at work, and this week he finished the Book of Mormon.  I have never seen an investigator understand the Gospel and the Book of Mormon so well in my life.  Sometimes I think he understands it better than me!  Sister Dixon and Sister Heggie (I was on splits) had a super amazing lesson with him all about the Book of Mormon testifying that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God.  They then asked him if he believed the Book of Mormon was true. He told them, "I feel that it is more than just a book." So then Sister Heggie (who was perfect for that lesson) pointed out that must be his answer then.  Later that night, when sister Dixon and I were back together he texted us telling us that he knows that the Book of Mormon is true and that he was wrong.  Oh my word!!!  I can not express the joy that Sister Dixon and I felt when when we got that message.  We spent practically the rest of the night dancing around the apartment! :)  Then there was Conference.  Oh my goodness, I just love Conference. I gained the strongest testimony of Conference this past weekend.  The Lord really does love his children.  It was so amazing to see so many things said that were perfectly meant for Mac.  Sister Dixon and I turned to each other SO many times with just our mouths dropping open.  We couldn't believe it.  After the session was over Saturday night Sister Dixon felt that he seemed a little down and I immediately felt we need to text him and make sure he was doing ok.  He ended up calling us and told us about his day.  He had a really hard day since one of his best friends is really upset and struggling with the changes he has made.  It was so sad but we were able to help him and he is more than willing and ready to keep changing and growing.  We are so proud of him.  We then got to talk to him all about Conference on the phone.  He talked about how amazing it was because something that he had thought of about 3 weeks before about the Urium and Thumim Elder Uchtdorf talked about EXACTLY.  He couldn't believe it!  How cool is that?  He then really felt strongly at multiple times that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God.  I can't even explain how happy Conference made me.  I almost burst into tears multiple times as I felt the answers meant just for M. go right past me to him.  It was one of the best, most unforgettable moments of my life.  He is so ready.  Plus, he is more committed then I have ever seen him be.  We told him that we needed speakers, someone to baptize him, the priesthood holders to give the Holy Ghost, a musical number, etc for his baptismal service and before we knew it he had already asked and put together his entire program.  Its so nice.  We don't really have to do much of anything!  He also told us that we have ALL the time we need every single day this week to prepare him to be baptized, haha. Yes!  He really knows where his priorities are.  He is going to make an incredible member.  We are SO excited and SO happy for him!

With Gisel in Espoo
Splits in My Beloved Espoo
This week, as I already mentioned above, I got to go on Splits with Sister Neilsen in Espoo!!! I love that place.  I honestly had the biggest flashbacks of my life walking into that apartment where I had lived for 6 months. I never thought I would ever get to go back to good ol' Kilo. It was so much fun to be walking down the street and seeing so many people that I knew and had talked to before. We also got to stop my some less-actives, Yan and Lin, that we had been working with and it was so good to see them.  I love them. I think the biggest shock for me about the whole split was that I realized how much I truly came to love these people. I really love all the members and people I worked with in Espoo, Oulu, and Marjaniemi.  The Lord really knows me better than I know myself because I really have served in places that were just perfect for me.  I also found out that a different family that we were working with, the Jonios, just had a baby!  Sister Fronk and I were there when she told us that she was pregnant and now she has a little baby!  Has it really been that long?  Have I really been on a mission for that long?!  Time really flies by.  The only sad thing was that I didn't get to see Hai.  But I did get to talk to him on the phone.  He is doing amazing and promised me that he would go to all the General Conference sessions. So that was good. I can't believe that he can go through the temple in just one month!  Oh, yeah!  I did get to see Gisel though. So that was a blessing :)
In between conference sessions eating cinnamon rolls
The Atonement is Real
Conference was absolutely amazing.  I am so grateful for prophets and apostles to lead and guide us on the earth today. This really is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He loves us so much that he was willing to take all of our sins and mistakes upon him self and to suffer in our behalf. I am so grateful for his Atonement that really enables me to continue forward each and everyday. It really is from the Atonement that I receive the strength to do everything everyday.  I have started to learn so much more about it and really can't even grasp a small portion of it.  The Atonement is real and it is for all of us.  No matter how many mistakes we make and how many times we fall if we will but look to him and seek his help, his arm is stretched out to us always ready to pick us up.  I love this Gospel.  I love my Savior and Redeemer.  This really is the way to peace and happiness and healing!  Never forget to turn to the Savior and "close your umbrellas" and let the blessing just pour out upon you because they really are there. 
Conference tradition cinnamon rolls

I love you all so much!  Thank you for all of the love and support! :) 

Sister Knapp