Tuesday, February 24, 2015

God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again


The Time Has Finally Come
18 month mark celebration
I can't believe that my final email has finally come. Time is such a weird thing. There are moments where if feels like it is barely even moving forward and then there are moments where it just flies right on past you and you don't even have time to realize what happened. I have experienced so many ups and downs on my mission and I wouldn't trade them for anything. I learned so much more about myself, about my Savior, about the gospel, about loving and serving others, about being a mom (even how to potty train children), about listening and caring, about cultures, about family, about missionary work, and about so much more than I probably realize at the moment.  I think one of the best things that I have learned is that I can do hard things. All of us can. We all face trials and some that we think we won't be able to get through. Some that make us want to just shrink into a ball, but really we CAN do hard things when we have the Savior with us.  He really does pick us up whenever we fall and is there for us every step of the way. It reminds me of this poem that I am sure most have you have heard but I absolutely love it and really have seen this in my own life. It says, 

"One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
with our American children, Jane and Patrick
His Plan is Better
He really never does leave us alone.  He knows exactly what we need and who we need. That is also something that I have learned since being on my mission. Our Heavenly Father and the Savior really do know us perfectly.  They KNOW who we need in our lives and what we need. Trust them. Their plan for us is so much better than the plans we make for ourselves and when we can learn to really give our lives to them then they will make something so much better out of it than we could. 

Our district in Marjaniemi
Best Place, Best Companions, Best People
I have had the chance to serve a mission in Helsinki, Finland.  It my eyes its the best place in the world where I could have served. I then got to serve in 3 amazing places with 3 incredible wards. I had the chance to meet people who have impacted me and my life more than I could ever imagine. These people are incredible!! I think one of the coolest things has been meeting people from all over the world!  Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Philippines, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Austria, Spain, Estonia, Lithuania, France, Italy, Canada, USA (I already knew these pretty well), Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Ukraine, England, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Cambodia, and of course FINLAND! I love these people. I love this country. I really just love this world.... well all the good things in it.  I am so grateful for all the people that I met. They taught me so much. Then I got to serve with some incredible missionaries and 8 incredible companions.  I LOVE THEM!  I was put with the perfect people exactly when I needed them. Some taught me to grow up. Some taught me to be me and to have fun doing the work.  Some taught me to work hard.  Some taught me to laugh until I would cry. Some taught me how to compromise. Some taught me that I am not always right...  But all taught me how to love, care, and serve others. I am sure that some of the biggest impacts that I have had on my mission have come from my companions. Because of my mission and the places I served and the people I met, I have some of the greatest friends that I could have ever asked for and who I really needed in my life. Not only because of them, but also my friends back home and my family, I am who I am.  I really wouldn't give up my mission for anything. This past Sunday the ward did there usual tradition of singing, "God be with you til' we meet again" at the end of church for the leaving missionaries. This time it was me.  I never thought that would happen. Everyone came back into the chapel to sing to me. I cried. I love this country, I love this language, I love this culture, and I love these people with all my heart.  I am really going to miss them.  
Filipino investigators
The church really is true. It has made my life so much better than it ever could be without it.  I am forever grateful for the opportunity that I had to serve here in Finland.  I am so grateful that I have the Gospel in my life and that I got so share it with others. Thank you everyone for all of your love and support. Just like those who have impacted me here, you also have impacted me from an ocean away. I love you all so much!!! See you soon!!!! 

Sisar Knapp
P.S.  All of you still of mission and wanting to stay in touch here is my home email... hayleykknapp@gmail.com

p.s. Just a couple of funny stories from the week:
As I was leaving the church Jane who is the cute little american girl in the picture said, "Bye forever Sister Knapp I hope!!"  Haha So sad!! but then she correct herself and said I hope not.  :) 

Then Sister Angelosanto handed me her Baby since I am going home and at first I was way excited about it but then as soon as I had the baby in my arms I was like "Ah!  What do I do with this thing?!"  I was fine after about 5 minutes though. haha :) 

Happy Friends' Day!


I am sorry, but I ran out of time!  It was a pretty good week even though basically no one wanted to meet with us. Sister Seegmiller and I had a good Valentines day, which is "friends day" in Finland and celebrated but not really. She got me Dr. Pepper and I got her flowers. So sweet! ;) I have to say that I am so thankful for my mission though. It has been one of the greatest experiences of my whole life. I have learned so much and I have grown so much. I have met so many people that I absolutely love and  have made SO many friends. It has definitely been one of the most worthwhile things that I have ever done. 
This gospel really is so true. I love it and I am so lucky that I have it in my life.  It really does make my life so much better. I have really learned that the best thing we can do is trust in God and the Savior, Jesus Christ. They have WAY better plans for our lives than we could ever make for ourselves. The church is true!  I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your love and support as I have been on a mission in this amazing country of Finland. You all are amazing and I am so excited to see you in just a couple weeks! 


Sisar Knapp

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Short but Sweet

Well, this is probably going to be really short, mostly because I just don't have the energy and I am coming  home soon anyway so I can tell everyone about the last few weeks of my mission when I get there. :) This week was kind of a wash too.  We had such a good week planned out and then everyone cancelled.  I swear that this happens after every good week. A miracle did happen this week though!!!  We were on our way to an appointment when we ran into one of our investigators from Nigeria,Tochukwu. He is so cool. He was the one that was way excited to come to church a couple weeks ago and came. He loved church but then for the whole next week we were not able to get in touch with him at all. He was always busy at work and told us that he would call us back later. Well, a miracle happened and we ran into him at a metro stop and got to travel with him for a bit. He told us that he has been really busy with work but that he is trying to get his schedule situated to that he can come to church with us and meet with us during the week.  He said that the week before on Saturday before he went to church, he prayed and "challenged" God.  He really needed a job because at the time he didn't have one and he wanted the job by Monday. It was Saturday. He said that he told God that he was going to church and that if this was the church that he wanted him to stay in He needed to give him a job by Monday. Then he would never go to any other church. This would be the church that he would stay in for the rest of his life. Well, he came to church and really enjoyed it. He then went home and as soon as he got home his friend called him and told him that a miracle happened and asked if he could come over.  His friend then came over and proceeded to tell him that his boss wanted Tochukwu to come and work for them and that he would start tomorrow (Monday). AMAZING!!!  Tochukwu then told his friend that this church, our church, is the best church in the world. He told us that he is now a member of our church and that he will never ever go to any other church for the rest of his life.  Can I just say, the church is true! God never lets you down!  He really is always there for you!  It was such a cool story.  We are starting to meet with him again this week and help him to prepare to actually become a member. We are so excited for him!  Thanks for all the love and support! :) 

Sister Knapp

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Thank My Lucky Stars!

He Was Hooked
With Sister Seegmiller
This past week was such a good week!  It was so busy and we have seen a lot of miracles this week. We have been going through our area book a ton the past couple of weeks and as we have been doing that we have been able to see a lot of success in finding. It has been really amazing to see. Then on top of finding from the area book we have been able to find from those people!  This week we had a lesson with an African man from Nigeria who we had called and he was willing to meet with missionaries again. We had a lesson with him and it went alright but his friend was there, Tochukwu and was hooked to what we were saying. It was amazing. He had so many questions and really liked what we had to say. He then stared asking us, "Is your church in Finland? Where? What time? Can I come? Can I get a ride?"  It was so cool. We are now teaching this friend who also came to church this week. That was pretty miraculous. We had been having a really rough day too and this guy really was just a tender mercy. 
She's Back
This week were were also able to get in touch with a previous investigator that I have already taught. She is from China, Wu Keer, and is so sweet. The only reason she stopped meeting with us is because she had to prepare for a Finnish exam to try and get a longer visa here in Finland. Understandable. But when we called her she was really excited to hear from us and really wanted to meet with us again. Apparently her friend in Espoo is taking the lessons from the missionaries and invited her to join but she told her friend that she belonged here with us. Sweet!  We are really excited to be able to start teaching her again and she has a lot more time so hopefully now she will be able to progress and meet more.  
Stubborn & Sassy 
Fai's family continues to do ok. We don't want to give up on Anu since she did really want to be baptized at one point but then her dad wouldn't and won't let her yet. So we want to at least help her to learn more about the church and be a good influence in her life while she is growing up. She is so stubborn and sassy and can be a little difficult to teach but I love her. Really, I just love this family so much and wish that they could all have the gospel in their lives. They are amazing. 
Lost in Translation
We were also able to meet with a couple of less-actives this past week.  We were able to meet with again with Eila Ryyty and it went well. Since we had not been able to meet with her in awhile she had stopped reading and praying again but has now committed to start doing that again and has put a reminder on her phone. We are really, really hoping that we can get her to start coming back to church again soon. This week we were also meeting with our less-active Lelieta from the Philippines. She is so sweet and she came to church this week!  She even got up and bore her testimony!  That was really exciting. The poor elder who had to try and translate for her. She says a million sentences and then expects him to translate. Also, he has only been in the country for 5 months... yeah.. the translation didn't go very well.  Later, Lelieta talked to me and told me that she really wanted me to translate for her but she couldn't find me.  All I could think was "Thank my lucky stars!"  I really do believe in miracles. :) 
With Sister Seegmiller and Elsayed
Great Crazy Sunday
Sunday was crazy. We had 3 people in church:  the African guy that we talked about, Elsayed who is the guy from Egypt, and also our Filipino investigator, Nilma, who is friends with Lelieta It was super exciting but kind of stressful.  Elsayed is one of the most prepared people I have ever seen in my life.  He just moved to New Zealand today which is kind of sad but we are really excited for him to meet the missionaries there.  He has been doing everything humanly possible to make sure that he can find the missionaries there.  He already knows the church is true and really wants to be baptized.  He was so grateful that he had met us and told us that he was never going to forget us.  It was super sweet.  Our Filipino investigator is really amazing too.  After Lelieta got up and bore her testimony then our investigator Nilma did too!  I have never had that happen before! Our investigator bore her testimony in sacrament meeting and it was the first time she was at church!!  She is so amazing.  We absolutely love her. She was so sweet and just kept thanking everyone and us for teaching her. Super cool. This then made Elsayed want to get up and bare his testimony.... What?!  Unfortunately, time had run out and we were already 15 minutes over so he couldn't.  It was kind of sad. Over all, it was an amazing week though.  We saw so many miracles and had so much help from the ward and it was amazing!  

The work is going forward. Thanks for all of the love and support!  

Sisar Knapp