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 :) 


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