Monday, November 24, 2014

Things Are So Much Brighter


Snow Selfie
I have to admit that I really have no idea what to write about this week. I can barely remember yesterday let alone last Monday! So I think this week I will mostly just talk about the people that we have been teaching. 

Our Investigators
With my companion, Sister Raphael
Piret its great and we absolutely love her but sadly, this week she asked for some time to think and be on her own. We weren't surprised by it at all and we thought it was something that she might need. Its hard when she has been trying to learn about God and coming closer to him all on her own and her family doesn't support her at all. But she told us that we could come back in a couple of months and see how she is doing and see then if she wants to continue learning again. Other than that we are just hoping to see her at random times to wish her "Happy Birthday" and things like that. She is so funny and has the cutest little family. Hopefully over the next couple of months she we see more how much she really does want to have God in her life and that He can bless her and her family!  Timo is doing well.  He admitted this week that he does believe that the Book of Mormon is true and that is why he has such a hard time reading it or praying about it.  He knows that once he gets an answer that it is true that he needs to be baptized and that seems to really scare him.  We had another lesson set up with him during the week but for the first time he canceled on us!  He didn't say why just that he couldn't come. He did come to church on Sunday and loved the talks that he heard. Sadly, he did warn us that he might not want to be learning anymore but that he will decide and talk to us about it on Wednesday when we meet with him and his really good member friend that day. Keep him in your prayers!!  We also taught a few new people that we are really excited about. One of our investigators that went to China for 2 months is back so we are finally able to meet with her again and that is exciting. We just have to explain things a lot and in a million different ways to make sure that she understands, but she sad an amazing prayer at the end and wants to keep meeting with us!  She has even introduced her friend to the Book of Mormon and we are hoping that we can meet with her friend soon and start teaching her! 

Building a snowmen with Sister Raphael...
Praying for Snow
Of course, this week we saw Mac a lot!  He is really is the best and basically the high light of most weeks. It was so funny, I really have been wanting snow ever since it decided to get dark all day long but Mac really doesn't like the snow.  But then he told us that he was going to be going out of town this weekend unless it snowed and he couldn't drive. So jokingly, I clasped my hands together pretending to pray, "Please snow! Please snow! Please Snow!" You will never believe it!  Not even 5 minutes later it was snowing and it snowed the rest of the day!  It pretty much made my whole day. I love the snow!  It makes things so much brighter! (That was on Friday).) 
Temple Work & Tour
Saturday we went to the temple with Mac. Mac did baptisms and we did a session. It was so nice to finally be able to go back through the temple.  I could also understand so much more in Finnish too so that was cool.  I may not speak as well as most or as well as I wish I could but at least I can understand a TON better now. :)  Mac waited with us for a LONG time after for our investigator to get to the temple so that we could give her a temple tour. It went really well and Mac was so good at teaching. He is really a natural at it! Then Sunday came around and Mac left us!  Lame.  He had fun though and we saw him later that night and he watched us build a snowman... apparently, Asians don't build snowmen.  I think we are going to have to change that! :) 

All in all it was a pretty good week. I really wish there was more to say about it! Thanks for all the love and support! 


Sisar Knapp
Isn't Finland beautiful?!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Gospel LIGHT


This week was a really long week but none-the-less it was a good one! Which I a pretty sure that I always start my emails with "This week was a pretty great week" or "This week was a long one"... Sorry about that. I really need to work on getting a little bit more creative for the beginnings of my emails. :)  I'll work on it.  
The Goods & Bads of Counting Down
Monday was a good day. We spent most of the day just doing the normal p-day stuff. Studies, cleaning, emailing, grocery shopping and then we went shopping.  It was fun. I found a Finnish sweater that would normal cost 60 or more euros for just 8!  That was pretty miraculous. Needless to say, I bought it. I have to say there are both goods and bads to serving with someone who is going home really soon. You start to realize how soon you too are going home and the things that you still want to get and do and the person that you are still trying to become and it can turn into a stressful panic on occasion.  But the positives are that you both can speak decently well and if you need to change a lesson plan last minute it is totally possible. So goods and bads. Later that night we got to go and visit another family in the ward and doing family night with them and Mac. That was fun. We attempted to teach about faith using cups and talking about things that we can do to build our faith but that soon turned into the kids bowling with the cups instead. Oh well... It was still a decently good lesson though and Mac got to know this family a little better so that was good. :) 
Now That is Awkward
Tuesday was an alright day. It was a really good thing that we had a lot of appointments because we both weren't feeling the must up beat ready to go. We first had a lesson with our investigator Piret. We got there and you will never believe it. We walked in on the JW's. Now that is awkward.  It is just awkward to walk in on your investigator who is also meeting apparently with the JW's. Fortunately, they left as soon as we got there but the only problem is that they speak her native tongue Estonian and we don't. We had a good lesson with her though and tried our best to help her understand the importance of reading and praying and she committed to doing it everyday this week so hopefully she did! We have a lesson with her tomorrow. We then taught an investigator that the sisters had given us right before they left. A. has been investigating the church for a about a year now and has some really good questions and continues to read the Book of Mormon.  She needs to read the whole book before she will commit to being baptized and really likes meeting with the missionaries and learning. We really do think that she knows its true but that she just keeps stopping herself from taking the step to being baptized. Hopefully,we can help her to take a leap of faith and set a baptismal date soon. We then taught Timo. He is continuing to do really well and we taught him the Word of Wisdom this week. He LOVED it!  He already lives it I think better than anyone I know. He eats super healthy and no sugar. He doesn't drink or smoke or anything. So he is good on that. He also is reading and studying. The only hard part is that he isn't always reading the Book of Mormon. Sometimes just things on lds.org but I guess that is better than nothing! We then got to meet with a less-active in the ward and that was good. We finally were able to get a good spiritual thought in with her. She sounds completely like an active member she just really needs to come back to church!  It was clearly a super busy day. 

Moving the Work Forward in Finland
Moving the Work Forward in Finland
Wednesday we had a mission tour.  Elder Texeira came to visit the mission and to talk to us more about how we can get the work moving forward at a more rapid pace here in Finland. It ended up being all of the Tampere Zone and Helsinki Zone who was there which is more than half of the mission. That was a lot of fun to be able to see so many of my friends in the mission and missionaries that I have served with.  I got to see some people from my MTC group that I felt like I hadn't seen in forever!  The weirdest part was knowing that I might not see most of those people again before I go home.  I can't believe how fast the time has gone by!  It's only going to go faster and faster. The meeting was really good. It was basically all about using the Book of Mormon more effectively in our missionary work. I need to work on that. Later that evening, we had a lesson with Eila Ryyty the less-active that we have been working with. It went really well and she as been praying everyday!  Sadly, she hasn't been reading everyday. So, we helped her start! She couldn't remember the last place that she read so we finally had to get her to just start the Book of Mormon over. After reading the first chapter and talking to her about it she seemed really excited to start.  We are meeting with her again this week and hopefully she has been reading everyday! 
The Sabbath Day
Thursday we again got to teach Timo and explain more the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. We had a really good lesson with him and though he understood. He committed to keeping the Sabbath day holy but then when we asked if he was coming to church this week, he said that he couldn't. I think he missed a big portion of our lesson. Fortunately, after talking about how it was Stake Conference this weekend he agreed to think about coming. At least it was better than a no.  We also had a lesson with Mac and bishop's house. We have really been wanting him to have a chance to get to know Piispa (bishop) a little bit better, but then Piispa Koponen was out of town! So that didn't work. We still got to have a good lesson again on faith but more for his level instead of for children. I think that it was something that he really needed.
Reindeer... Not Just for Pulling Sleighs in Finland
Friday most of our plans fell through which is never much fun. However, Gisel came to visit us and took us out to lunch. We got to get reindeer sandwiches. Yum!  I have officially tried reindeer and it was really really good. It was also fun to see Gisel and get to talk to her. I hadn't seen her in forever.  We also had a lesson with a some members later that evening and came up with ways that we can help their less-active children in the church.  Hopefully, we really can help. 
Saturday Fun Day
Saturday was more of a fun day.  We first had a lesson with Jenny and it went really well. We found out that she was previously a JW and no longer believes in it. She is really interested in our doctrine and learning so hopefully as we teach her more it will soften her heart and she will become even more interested. We then decided that we wanted to do something that was more fun with Mac and not always just lesson after lesson.  So we had a dinner and movie night with him and Fai before we went to the Saturday night session of Stake Conference. It was fun. :) 
Learning About the Savior's Love
Sunday was really good. Our investigator Timo ended up coming to church!  So that made us happy. Practically everyone else cancelled on us. We then later had a lesson with our investigator Jh. He is so cool and so sincere!  We are really excited about him!  The lesson had to be super short though because he was leaving to go to Estonia for a day. We then had a lesson with Mac and one of his favorite members' houses. It was such a good lesson about repentance and I personally felt like I learned a lot more about how much the Savior really does love us and wants to help us change! 

Sorry, this is a WAY long email.  It was a really good week despite it being dark now at 4:00 and not being light until 9:00 am.  The Gospel literally becomes the light for everyone here in Finland during the winter season! Thanks for all your love and support! 

Sister Knapp

Monday, November 10, 2014

Never Lose Faith

Hyvää Huomenta!! 

Family Home Evening Fun!
This week was a pretty miraculous week even though it was pretty slow moving at first. Monday was probably the most fun day of the week, given it was P-day and we got to play Sähly with the Elders which was a lot of fun, but we also had the most fun lesson of my mission that night. We had a family in the ward invite us over for dinner and Family Home Evening and it was so much fun!  Mac came with us. We decided that we wanted to teach the kids more about reading the scriptures and to help them read everyday but we wanted to make it more exciting. So we decided that we would act out one of the stories in the Book of Mormon with them. We packed up a ton of scarfs that they all could use as head sashes and waist sashes and then they supplied things like robes and beards, haha. It turned out to be the craziest, most fun family night ever. Plus, Mac even joined in and got to be the angel and Mac is the sweetest person I have ever seen with kids. It was so cute to see him making paper planes with the kids. He really is my best friend and older brother here. But, the kids loved it and the whole time Sister Raphael was the narrator and was reading from the Book of Mormon... She may have threw in a few extra things.... such as, Nefi, Sam, Laman, and Lemuel playing rock, paper, scissors to see who goes in. Yeah... I don't remember that happening in the story. In the end we committed everyone to read everyday that week and if they came and told us on Sunday that they read everyday we would give them a treat. Some of them did it! :) 
Blank Day Turned Member Day
Tuesday was our member day. It started out with a super blank day and me wanting to just lay on the floor and die. I really don't like blank days. But with Sister Raphael's miracle planning in the morning we ended up with an entire full day and I got to meet members that I didn't even know. First we went to help a single mom in the ward who had just had surgery clean her house. She was SO thankful and just kept asking who sent us because she really really needed the help. I think it was inspired that we went there. We then got to go visit a member in the ward and follow up on a Book of Mormon that she gave away. She is the cutest old lady and is so excited to do missionary work. We just helped her to know more how she could invite her friend to learn even more about the church. She is great! We also visited two of my favorite families in the ward that day and they are really doing great. One of the daughters wanted to do a cookie making night with us and invite her friends so we did that Saturday. We have some really good missionary minded families in this ward so things are getting better! :)
They Just Need You
Wednesday was a really good day. Sister Raphael and I decided that we actually want to become friends with the elders this change because that doesn't always happen. We had district meeting on Wednesday and that was a lot of fun. Instead of the boring "tell you who are and where you are from," we decided that we wanted to make it exciting and we had to ask 2 questions to each person along with their introduction. This led to questions like, "what would you do in you were stranded on an island with the whole mission and all of the leaders got eaten by dinosaurs?" or "what is the most redneck thing you have ever done?"  Lets just say that it led to lots of laughter and we think that it was a good start. Later that day we had an appointment with our investigator T. and it went really really well!  We taught him all about Baptism and the Holy Ghost.  Even though he is not ready to set a baptismal date and to start to really investigate and ask if the the church is true, He came to church last week and loved it and then after this lesson for the first time ever committed to meet with us twice in a week instead of once!  Yes!  He is doing great! After our lesson with T. e had a lesson with a less active E.R. She is so great but it is so sad because the ward has really seemed to have given up on her and so she wont come to back to church. We had a lesson about reading the scriptures everyday and last week she prayed every single day for the first time in a really long time!  She has also committed to come to church with us this week. She is really starting to come back. Its amazing to see and has been a big testimony to me about not giving up or losing faith in people because chances are that they have just lost faith in themselves and need you. 
Don't Try This At Home
Thursday was our normal planning day.  Thank goodness that it was a planning day because it was snowing!!  I was pretty excited that it was snowing so that it could lighten things up around here. It is already starting to get dark around 4:30 in the evening. It is crazy. I miss the sun sometimes. When we wake up it is still pitch black outside and feels more like 2 in the morning not 6:30.  Sadly, the snow did not stay more then a day but we did have a funny story associated with Planning. Sister Raphael was cutting the dead ends off her hair during most of the planning and then went in to the bathroom as soon as we finished. I eventually followed to find her chopping of her hair!! I have heard of sisters doing this but never thought I would actually see it happen! We all go crazy after awhile for hair cuts since they are 40 euros here and who wants to pay that?!  The worst part is that we don't even have hair cutting scissors! They were just little kids scissors. I eventually jumped in and helped her cut some and try and make it even.... haha it doesn't look that bad?  I wouldn't suggest doing it though. Later that night we got to meet with Mac at his place. The first time that I have ever been to his apartment. He lives there with a family from Thailand also and actually the daughter is a member and introduced him to the church. She was there and we taught him about the priesthood some more and it was really good.   The only hard part was that we ended up talking to the member about missions for a long time since she had just gotten home not too long ago and Mac seemed pretty left out. I felt so bad afterwards. But he was fine and is still doing great. :) 
Friday we got to teach Timo again and it when really well. He used to try and speak to us in English to practice but they more seriously he investigates the more he goes to speaking Finnish. Yes!  We taught him that reading the scriptures and praying everyday is a commandment and committed him to do it and try and read at least 15 minutes a day. He said that is not enough and that he will read an hour a day... wow.  Yeah I think he is doing good!  He also committed to come to church. We also taught Piret. She is doing fine but is still struggling with keeping any commitments and we are worried that now might not be her time. We love her and really want to help her but she needs to start acting. It was a really good day. 
Cookie Making
Saturday was kind of a downer. I was feeling super sick most of the day and couldn't do much but we did get to meet with the Young Women's member and her friends to make sugar cookies!  They really enjoyed it and it gave the member a chance to show them the church and introduce them more to it.
Sunday, the Crazy and Miraculous Day
Sunday was a miracle day.  We new that we needed a lot of people in church in order to reach our goals for the week and we were not sure how that was going to happen but it did!! We had a former show up in church that we got to teach and she wants to investigate again, our investigator Timo, came to church, we had 3 of our less-actives that we have been working with come to church including Eila Ryyty It was amazing!  We were so excited!  Church was such a crazy day. Sister Raphael and I were constantly taking care of people and it was actually a lot of fun. I had to translate for Lilieta, a less-active for sacrament meeting. That was pretty nerve racking, but it went fine. Mac got to bless the sacrament for the first time! It made me so happy and Mac was completely himself.  We only had 2 lessons set up with him during the week and he complained that it wasn't enough so now we have 4 and he says it is perfect, haha. Oh Mac. Then after Church we got to go and visit Lilieta and it was so cool because she had her friend's son over who is 20 and was determined to introduce him to us. I have to admit it started out pretty awkwardly though.... I mean its not everyday you have members saying that you could marry someone you just met just because you are the same age!  What?!  Yeah, I quickly changed that around, and told him our purpose here, which led into the Restoration and now he wants to learn more!  That was pretty miraculous!  I love miracles.:)  It was a good week! 

Thanks for all of your love and support! 

Sister Knapp 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

And On We Go

Longest Week
This week I think has been by far the longest week of my entire mission and I have absolutely no idea why. It wasn't that we weren't busy or too busy or that the week was bad or super great. It was just SO long! The beginning of the week was a little bit crazy trying to get everything ready for Sister Dixon to go. It was such a fun change with here and I loved having the chance to serve with her. She left Tuesday afternoon which left the perfect amount of time to go and say goodbye to one of our investigators that we got from the Elders. I have to say that one of the nice things about being the only one staying here in Marjaniemi is that all of the missionaries want to give you their investigators. So that is kind of fun. We have started to teach Piret from Estonia who the AP's where originally teaching but she was always wanting and begging for sisters. She is so funny and has the cutest daughter ever. Her and Sister Dixon just really connected so she was really sad to see her go but is happy that she will finally get to have sisters teaching her. We are excited about her and really think that we can help her to progress. After having Sister Dixon say her goodbyes we headed to the train station to find a huge group of missionaries all dropping of their companions.  I got to see Sister Ladd and Pugmire before they went home and that was so much fun. They are amazing sisters and I am going to miss them. It is weird having so many missionaries that I now know really well going home. I can't believe it! 
With my new companion, Sister Raphael who 'dies' after this transfer

It's Going to Be a Great Transfer!
I am now with Sister Raphael who is incredible and so on fire to do missionary work and have the best last change of her mission. It is pretty exciting. The past week we have started speaking more and more in Finnish which is going to be so good for me and my language.  We have been trying to speak Finnish anytime we are outside, which is most of the day, and it has been really good for my Finnish and helps me to practice even more the things that I had been studying that day. It is going to be a really good change and we are going to have a ton of fun and see a lot of miracles and have a Rockin' Christmas (that is what we decided. haha.)  
"Inspirational Texts"
This week we also had the chance to teach Timo. It was a really good lesson and he finally really committed to come to church.  He is really wanting to learn so much about the church its just a matter of helping him get it into his heart.  We were super excited that he was coming to church but then he texted us Saturday saying that he couldn't come. I  got a little frustrated and texted back telling him that he had promised us that he would come and that even if it was hard he had to do it.  Guess what?!  He texted back telling us that we had given him a spiritual boost and that he would be there.  And he came!!  We were so excited, and he even stayed for all 3 hours and I think really enjoyed it!  One of the members that we usually take to lessons got so excited that she ended up getting up and bearing her testimony to him.... Uhhhh... It was good.  I think he felt welcomed. :)  
Amazing Mac
Mac is also doing super well. We were a little worried about him last week because he seemed to be a little down, and was a little when he found out that Sister Dixon was leaving, but he is now doing fine and actually really good.  He is incredible and honestly one of my best friends here in Finland. He is so willing to help us and is a huge encouragement to us when it comes to talking to people on the Metro. He is always just helping us out with lessons and everything under the sun.  He is pretty incredible. We are also working with a lot of less-actives and they are doing really well. We are really starting to see some of them progressing to coming back to church and we are so excited for them!  

Sorry, I can't really remember much more of what happened this week!  Thanks for all of your love and support! 

P.S...Cool Thing
Home of first president of Finland
(now a church member's home)
Oh yeah!  One cool thing is that there is a member in our ward that actually lives in the house that the first president of Finland lived in.  So that is pretty cool.  We got to go and visit there so I have officially been in the first president of Finland's house like 4 times.  Not many missionaries get to say that! :) 

Sister Knapp