Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Brazil Teresina Mission Advice

Olá! One of the first things I did after receiving my call was to Google everything I could about the Brazil Teresina mission and try to find RMs and blogs that could answer my questions. Now that I've been home for almost two years (what?!) I thought it was finally time to contribute to that advice. Feel free to comment if you have any specific questions and I'll get back to you! Boa sorte (good luck)! 

Preparing to Serve
  • Learn culture and country facts. You can just read up on Wikipedia about basic Brazilian (or whichever country) history. It helps understand and connect with people. I wish I would have done this!
  • Prepare with Preach My Gospel. Study chapter 3 (The Restoration, Plan of Salvation, etc.) and look through the other chapters to get an idea of what is in there. Don't worry too much though, you'll learn what you need to in the MTC and as you go. All you need to serve a mission is a simple testimony and a desire to learn and serve. Don't panic, you'll do great! Don't feel the need to memorize everything before you get out to the field. A helpful way to practice, before and during the mission, is to write out lesson plans for unique investigators, and practice explaining the concepts in different ways, such as in 5 minutes, in 1 minute, to a 5 year old, etc. 
  • Look up or come up with object lesson ideas/helps. (Stack of cups, broken ball or puzzle for teaching the Restoration, three finger examples for the foundation of the Church, Plan of Salvation pictures, etc.) Research useful teaching tools for the missionary lessons. I can explain some of them to you!
  • Set up email list and email posts to your blog- If you want a blog, you can use blogger and set it up to where you email your post to a "secret email" (a specific email address you set) and it will post it on your blog by itself. Instructions on how to do that here. I just created the secret email and added it and all my contacts to a mailing list (called "Weekly emails") and then BCC-ed everyone.
  • Find key scriptures to share! Scripture masteries proved to be very helpful on my mission, so I recommend memorizing a few references of scriptures you love to share! I kept a post-it in the cover of my scriptures with the references to scriptures I quoted a lot (ex. Mosiah 18:10, Amos 3:7 etc) which was quite helpful too.
  • Family history is AMAZING. Do you want to know an almost foolproof way to find new investigators? FAMILY HISTORY! Pretty much everyone has a desire to know about their family, ancestors, where they came from etc. and they love sharing and hearing stories about family members. A suuuuper easy and non awkward way to start a conversation with even the most hesitant listener was to show pictures of my family and explain that even though they were far away, God had created a plan that meant that my family could be together forever, even after death. Boom, instant segway to the plan of salvation. So bring a picture book of your family to show off and use as a teaching tool. Learn how to create a basic family tree so that you can teach your investigators. Family history is also a perfect way to keep recent converts and less actives strong in the gospel.
  • Scripture tagging system. Thank you to my lovely MTC companion Sister Valentine for this trick. How to maximize your scripture tagging? Divide the bottom of the page into different columns and put the marker in the corresponding column, this way you can classify by color AND section to maximize topics. The way I did mine is by getting tabs and assigning a specific color to each of the lessons in PMG chapter 3, for example blue for the Restoration, orange for the plan of salvation, etc. (if they correspond to the colors already assigned in PMG it's even better!). Then choose topics to divide the bottom of the page. I did faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, life before/after death, promises, and commandments. Then I marked the scripture references listed at the end of the lessons with their specific color and topic! Example, Amos 3:7 talks about how God calls prophets, so I marked it in blue, wrote it on a blue tab, and put it in the "promises" category. I loved marking my scriptures this way, it was very useful for my mission!
    Bottom of the page divided into sections
Things to Bring
  • Spray-on sunscreen is a lifesaver. Bring regular sunscreen for face and then spray on for arms, legs, neck etc. Neutrogena (in the yellow bottles) was my favorite, as high SPF as possible. I would bring as much sunscreen as possible, as it is expensive there and I liked the American brands more. Buy it in bulk at Costco and look online for coupons.
  • Bring good shoes. These are game changers. If sandals are allowed (which varies between missions) those are great, but new mission presidents might change the rules. That's what happened to me and I didn't have any good closed-toe shoes, and it was rough. Bring a few pairs of good quality, cute, comfy closed-toe shoes that you can wear for church, baptisms, dressy events, or whenever you don't want sandals. You can find good sandals to buy there (usually, depending on the city) but it's near impossible to find good closed-toe shoes for sisters there... Some RM sisters said to just buy shoes there, but I would come prepared.
  • Sunglasses and umbrellas. I was so happy when they changed the rules to allow sunglasses! Sunglasses are great because the sun is really bright in Teresina. Also carry around a lightweight umbrella as a sunshade and for rain. You can buy cheap umbrellas there too.
  • Half tees. These are great for layering, I wish I would have brought some! I was given one by my American companion and it was my favorite thing ever. Try to bring shirts that don't need layers underneath, but for ones that do, half-tees are wonderful.
  • Mini sunscreen and bug spray. Good bug spray is a must, you can get some there though. Bring a mini sunscreen and bug spray for your bag!
  • Bag. Bring something good for your back! You'll need enough room for a Bible, a few copies of the BofM (I didn't bring my triple on a regular basis because it was too heavy and we rarely used it), copies of pamphlets, planner, phone, water bottle, wallet, keys, umbrella. You can get replacement bags on the mission if needed, but bring a good one from home. Something small that can hold a lot.
  • Scriptures. You'll be given Portuguese (or your mission language) scriptures in the MTC, but I liked having my marked up English scriptures for study until I became more comfortable in Portuguese. Get a good case for your Portuguese scriptures too, or else they will get beat up really fast.
  • Post-its!! These were my favorite things to receive from home! I LOVED post-its for everything, and they were difficult to find in my mission. Bring a lot in various sizes. Another thing I did was make a list of things I wanted to include in my journal/email as they happened so that I wouldn't get to the Lanhouse (internet café) to send an email and not have anything to say.
  • Suitcases. Bring two large and a carry-on in addition to your mission bag. Backpacks make good carry-ons and are nice for exchanges but you can't use one to proselyte.
  • Music (sheet music and to listen to). If you play a musical instrument, bring sheet music! If you play the piano, you will be asked to play literally all the time. :) I taught weekly music classes and they were a fun tool for finding investigators and teaching members (more useful than English classes). Also bring music on a flashdrive and get a mini speaker to play it on. Check for mission specific music rules.
  • Camera. I had a wifi camera and it was my mom's favorite thing because I could send pictures from church wifi to email without having to access any internet sites and it wasn't against the rules. Best thing ever! I was afraid to put my memory card on lanhouse computers and this way I didn't have to. My mission president okayed it, but be sure to double check. Since you don't access any internet websites it doesn't break any rules.
Beat the Heat
  • Garment fabrics- I liked mesh best for the heat, even though I can't stand it at home haha :) Carinessa is too hot, I would recommend either cotton or mesh for tropical climates. Some sisters didn't mind carinessa, but I couldn't wear it on the mission, even though it's the only one I like at home.
  • Fabric types- Anything light and that doesn't need layering. Rayon for skirts and anything spandex-y that isn't too tight were my favorite fabrics. Caution on flowy skirts, if you are in windy areas (aka the coast) your skirts may tend to um flow a little too much (missionary version of that classic Marilyn Monroe picture, awkward...). Make sure you have enough skirts that aren't too full or flowy so that you can avoid wardrobe malfunctions. ;)
  • Ask for water. Be careful that you only ask for water from houses that have a water filter, but this is a great way to contact new people and make door approaches a little less awkward.
Places to Shop

  • TJMaxx, Burlington Coat Factory, Ross, Nordstrom Rack etc. These kinds of stores actually have a lot of skirts the right length! Good quality items (bags, shoes, clothes) for great prices.
  • This is heaven for shoes! You can sort by size, style, make, etc. Great brands (Clarks, HushPuppies, etc.) for better prices. I got a lovely pair of Clarks sandals for $30!
  • If you're in Provo, Cozy (by Pizza Pie Cafe and Walmart) has SO MANY cute skirts, dresses, and shirts for great prices.

That's it for now! Please feel free to comment if you have anything to add or any concerns I didn't address. Thanks for reading and best of luck preparing! <3 

Monday, April 11, 2016

O último email...

Well.... This is it. This is officially it.The last email. Wow.... 
I'm sitting in the lanhouse in a smallish state of disbelief that this is really it. haha Well okay. These past 18 months have been life changing. Truly, there are no words to describe all the things I have learned, the people I have met and served, the things I have seen, and most of all, the love that I have felt of my Savior. I have learned so much each and every day. I have come to know my Savior and had the privilege to carry my name together with His on my dear black name tag. Now as I embark on my newest transfer (heehee ;) )I am so excited tocontinue being a missionary, because we always have our nametags painted on our hearts. 
Anyway, this week has been full of miracles, as always.
On Wednesday after lunch we received a phone call from the Assistents that I would be going to Teresina the NEXT DAY (Thursday) to fix a problem with my visa. WHAT. The branch had been planning a surprise party farewell for that evening... Oops. My last day serving in Parnaíba was wonderful, we got to teach 8 lessons, including a memorable lessong with a new investigator, Paulo. He is friends with Genésio, our recent convert, and one day we were teaching Genésio when Paulo left the house and said "Hey, can you please come visit me another day?" We set up a lesson and taught the Restoration. Wow, he is so ready for the gospel! He understood really well and had lots of questions and really wanted to come to church, bringing a friend! We were teaching him outside of his house because there wasnt a woman home, and as we were explaining how to pray at the end of the lesson, it started to rain. When we invited him to pray I thought that it was the newest version of Noah's ark. Seriously, that wasnt rain, it was like the entire ocean dumped on us all at once! Paulo and his friend went in the house and Sister Alves and I stood on the doorstep under the umbrella (we only had one that day oops) and asked (yelled, the rain was really loud) Paulo to pray. He yelled a beautiful prayer and then we set up another appointment to visit him. I'll have to email Sister Alves to see how that went, but I'mexcited to see Paulo progress!
On Thursday I had my last almoço with Presidente Rocha and his family and Leandro, and then Max and Sanna took us to the bus station. We had a great goodbye group (Max and Sanna, Leandro, Jaqueline, Priscilla, Jaciara and of course my dear companion Sister Alves) and I managed not to cry until the bus pulled out and I couldnt see them anymore..... Oh man, I sure do love Parnaíba!
I spent the rest of the week in trio with Sister Reis (my 3rd daughter!) and Sister Bianca, the STL in Teresina. We went on Friday and fixed everything with my visa and Iam good to stay in Brazil until November. ha. :) 
It was fun having a "new" area for a few days, I was able to see lots of miracles! We knocked on doors and one was a lady named Elisonege, who was very catholic and 0% interested in our message. I just started talking to her and being friendly and at the end she didnt want to let me go! haha We set up another appointment for the sisters to come back and teach her, and my testimony was strengthened that the best way to share the gospel is to just LOVE THE PEOPLE! 
Another miracle was yesterday: I went to Church with the sisters and who was waiting for me? Amparo and Samara from Cidade Jardim! It was amazing to see them and go to church together. It was fast and testimony meeting and Samara asked ifI was going to bear my testimony. I wasnt planning on it, seeing as it wasnt my ward and I didnt know anyone but we both went up. Samara said that the first time she bore her testimony was because I encouraged her to and since then she learned that a testimony is just what you know and feel is right. It was a neat change of roles, now my dear recent convert helped me bear my testimony!
Well.... The time is far spent and we are on to new adventures. I am so grateful to be Sister Knapp. I love Missão Brasil Teresina. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. This is His church. He lives.
All my love,
Sister Knapp

Monday, April 4, 2016

Chegando ao fim...

Wasn't General Conference incredible?! Wow! What a privilege to have a living prophet and apostles! I loved it so much and truly felt that those talks were for me. And not just me, but it was incredible to see my investigators taking notes and receiving personal revelation. I think that Sanna and Max (our Recent Converts as of this week!) took more notes than most members hahaha :) We had lots of investigators come to conference and absolutely love it. Well of course, as Matthew 7 says "By their fruits ye shall know them" I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God.
We had a neat miracle this week regarding references: On wednesday we had lunch with Irmã Maria, who recently moved from São Paulo. She is so great! She was a little inactive in the Church until a few weeks ago and now she is super excited about anything and everything Church related! We asked her who she loved that we could visit and invite to General Conference and she took us to not one, not two, but EIGHT different houses. We would knock on the door/clap/ring the doorbell and when someone answered she would say "Hello, I'm Maria, remember me? I live just over there. Anyway, Im a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and these are our Sisters. We are here to invite you to a special conference!" It was so neat because we would just smile and then bear our testimonies about General Conference and living prophets and apostles. It strengthened my testimony that everyone can share the gospel and that God works miracles. One of the people we visited was Maria's sister-in-law, Neide, who is from another religion and never was interested in Maria's invitations to go to Church or any activity. The visit went really well and she went to General Conference on Saturday AND to the baptism and loved it! She commented yesterday that she liked the talk about humility and Saul becoming Paul. Of the 8 references that Maria gave, 3 of them came to conference! :)
Another neat event of the week was that on Thursday it was Sister Alves' birthday!! Woohoo! We (the other 4 sisters and I) woke her up at 6:29 with a birthday cake and balloons and singing "Parabéns pra você!" :) I planned a suprise family home evening with the branch presidents family and Sister Alves was totally surprised! it was so funny, we had planned to teach Max and Sanna at 7 and I told her that we would pass by Pres. Rocha's house to pick up his daughter who would go to the lesson with us. SIster Alves was suprised when we got to Pres Rocha's house and Max and Sanna were there for a family home evening but still didnt pick up that it was a suprise party. We had a great lesson about the Atonement and then we could hear popcorn popping for the treat. Sister ALves mentioned to me "I think everyone forgot that it is my birthday" because no one had said anything until SURPRISE - Jaqueline and Nalda (Pres. Rocha's daughter and wife) appeared with a GIANT BIRTHDAY CAKE! :) Sister Alves declared it the best birthday ever and I found out that Im a better suprise party planner than I thought. 
Yesterday we had a miracle in between the conference sessions. We went to visit Genesio to see if he was okay because he left the first session not feeling so great. We got to his house and he was locked inside and obviously wasnt well, so we called the neighbor who hurried to find his family. Long story short, we called the ambulence and he went to the SAMU (emergency room) and now is home all better. The miracle was seeing the neighbor tell everyone that we (Sister Alves, Leandro, Iasmin, and I) were angels sent from God that arrived just in time. Truly, it is so important to follow promptings of the Spirit to visit those we feel we need to visit.
But my favorite story of the week was that on Saturday, in between the conference sessions, we had the most amazing baptism of my mission. Max and Sanna were baptized!! There were so many people there that we had the program in the chapel and then went to the room with the font only at the time of the baptism. Us 6 sisters sang a musical number (Home Can Be A Heaven On Earth), Iasmin gave a great spiritual thought, and the baptism was beautiful. Sanna cried. :) Actually, pretty much everyone cried, including Sister Alves and I (of course), and the branch and district president. Tons of people congratulated us for baptizing such a perfect family, but truly, Max and Sanna were just ready. They are such a miracle. One of the best parts was that at the end of the baptismal service, Max and Sanna bore their testimonies about their search and finding of the Church of Jesus Christ. It was so spiritual, and they are super excited to go to the temple in a few months to do baptisms and in a year from now be sealed as a family for time and all eternity!
Well, I am out of time, (news right?) and I just want to finish by saying what an incredible privilege it is to be serving as a fulltime missionary in the Brasil Teresina mission. I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know He lives, He loves us, He paid the price for us to return to our heavenly home. When we have faith in Him and repent, make and keep sacred covenants, we truly receive joy in this life and the promise of eternal life.
Have a wonderful week! Count the miracles!

Sister Knapp

Monday, March 28, 2016

Semana da Páscoa!

Olá! Feliz Páscoa ontem! (Happy Easter yesterday!
This week was a little complicated finding people at home because EVERYONE travels for big holidays, but we still had many miracles and adventures! The newest variation of my name (although I might have heard this one already, I dont remember) is Sister Happ (although the lady said "Sees-ter Happy") and Sister Alves thought it was hilarious. 
A funny adventure of the week was when we were teaching a reference named Marta. She invited us in and we were teaching about the plan of salvation, when out of nowhere a goat comes running into the front room from outside. We were all startled (there weren't goats anywhere nearby) and Marta says "Oh what a pretty goat!" I asked her if the goat was hers and she said "No, I dont know where he came from." At this point a shirtless guy comes running in yelling "Watch out! He buts!" and (with some struggle) grabs the goat and runs out crying "Sorry! Sorry!" :) It was pretty random and bizarre, but... adventures! :)
Another neat adventure of the week was discovering (I guess re-discovering) that the gift of tongues is really real. :) We knocked on a door and a lady came out and said "Yo no hablo portugués!" ("I dont speak portuguese" in Spanish) and turned to go back in the house but I called out "Espera! Hablo español!" (Wait! I speak Spanish!) and after convincing her to talk to us for five minutes she let us in. We sat down and before I could say anything, Sister Alves was speaking perfect Spanish with her! What! haha We discovered that this lady, Maria, is from Columbia and is in Parnaíba for 8 months. We talked about eternal families and it was amazing to see her heart soften and go from not really wanting to talk to us to being excited for us to come the next day. We left the lesson and I turned to Sister Alves and said "Since when do you speak Spanish?" She told me that she had studied in school but didnt know that she knew or remembered as much as she did. Whatever, she's almost fluent! haha So now we have our language study in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and have become pros at bilingual lessons! 
Our biggest miracle of the week is with our amazing family from last week: Sanna and Max and their cute daughter Yohanna (who turns 6 tomorrow!) Seriously, this family is almost too good to be true! They read EVERYTHING and more that we leave with them, understand everything super well, and keep all the commitments. Seriously, teaching them is the most amazing thing and it is such a privilege that Heavenly Father trusted us with such a perfect family that was so ready for the restored gospel. Seriously. They just randomly decided to visit "a Mormon church" because they wanted to change their lives and now they are going to be baptized this Saturday! They are so excited, yesterday at church Sanna was going up to everyone and saying "We're getting baptized this saturday! Will you come to our baptism?!" :) Before we even taught about the word of wisdom Max told us "I really love coffee. Really. I even have a recipe book called "Eu amo café"! But.... I love God more." Yesterday in Church he had a really bad headache, but he received a priesthood blessing and it went away super fast! Seriously, they are so great that even their dog kneels (well sits) when we finish our lessons with a prayer. AHH! I love this family so so much! :D Our branch and district are so excited with these golden investigators! Can't wait for Saturday!
Yesterday in Church I gave my last talk in Brazil. It was unplanned (i had like 5 minutes notice to prepare) because the speaker didnt show up but I was able to talk about Easter and the Atonement. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, for this path that we have to become free from sin and be able to return to our Heavenly Father. I am grateful for my Savior, for faith and repentance and baptism, for the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. I love the gospel!
Have a great week! Enjoy conference!!!
Sister Knapp

Monday, March 21, 2016

1 ano e 5 meses....

Tomorrow is the last month mark I'll have on my mission.... Time flies by too fast! Crazy! 
Truly this week has been incredibly full of miracles. Sister Alves and I have been working hard to be exactly obedient in our schedule (which is actually difficult because we are super good friends and we like talking... A lot... haha) and we have improved so much! And the miracles are never ceasing! :) She was commenting the other day how its difficult because we work so hard and do our best but we hadn't had very many investigators in sacrament and nobody wants to set a baptismal date, but I bore my testimony about patience and just doing our best and trusting the Lord. It all works out in the end! And we had lots of miracles this week!
On Wednesday and Thursday the Sister Training Leaders were in Parnaíba (their area is in Sobral, 4 hours away) to go on exchanges with us! It was fun to teach with Sister Gomes and we celebrated eating tacos for dinner and french toast for breakfast (8 sisters is a good combination for making yummy food). 
A funny story from our exchanges: Sister Gomes, Sister Alves and I were walking down the street when Sister Gomes said "Watch out!" But it was too late. Sister Alves stepped right into a lovely present that a dog had left in the street. The family who owned the dog was outside their house and offered a hose for Sister Alves to clean her shoe. So we used the opportunity to talk to them. I'd never used dog poop to contact people but... it worked! :)
Funny story: on St Patricks day I kinda forgot that it existed... So I had just finished getting ready wearing my lovely red shirt when Sister Robins skips into our room saying "Sister Knapp! Guess what day it is?!" It took a few seconds to register and I tried to flee but... still got pinched. :) Dont worry, I changed into a green shirt speedy fast and all the sisters were warned to wear green. :)
We had a suprise party this week for Lourdes, the less active sister I wrote about last week. It was so neat, she was so happy!
Yesterday we taught Ze Filho, the son of the members I wrote about a few weeks ago who is super firm in his church. We had given him the Book of Mormon for his birthday and he was pretty happy... until he read something int he introduction that he didnt agree with.... It wasnt a very fun lesson, he was ranting a lot about how we cant have blind faith and that there was NO PROOF about the Book of Mormon and nothing that we said would calm him down. Basically we just bore our testimonies, which is incredible because no one can deny when you say " I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is scripture because I read and prayed and God testified through His Holy Spirit that it is true." Well.... I love being a missionary!
Rafael Bruno's baptismal date fell though.... He's READY but is reluctant because he is scared to leave his Catholic culture that he had is whole life. We are going to keep on teaching him and working with him and its all going to work out. :)
We had lunch with Eliane and Dalila and their family and miracle of miracles: Eliane's daughter Marlene and her son Daniel (the 10 year old who loves the Book of Mormon) came to church for the first time out of nowhere! I never thought that Marlene would come to church because she never wants to stay for lessons. ANd she loved church!!!
And now for the HUGE MIRACLE OF THE WEEK: Max and Sanna.
So Sister Sanabria and Sister Soares dos Santos from branch 2 gave us a reference of a family who had gone to church in their branch but they live in our branch. We went on friday and Sanna wasnt home so we went on saturday. Seriously, this is the most GOLDEN family I have met in my life. Max and Sanna and their cute 5 year old daughter Yohana. Last saturday Sanna said to Max, "Hey, do you want to visit the Mormon church?" And he replied "Okay, tomorrow?" So they went! :D We arrived on Saturday and they had a LIST of questions, really good questions too, not biblebasher questions. We taught about eternal familes, the Book of Mormon (They had stayed up until 3 AM reading the Restoration pamflet we had left with them!!) and baptisms. It was SO NEAT! And Sanna made a cake for us. :D They went to see the baptism from branch 2 that evening and loved it! And yesterday they came to church in our branch and loved it too! One sister even thought that they were already members because she tried to assign Sanna a visiting teaching companion and when Sanna had no clue what she was tlaking about she realized that she wasnt a member yet! haha After church we took Max and Sanna to the baptismal font and read 2 Nephi 31:10-11 together and invited them to prepare for baptism on April 2 and THEY ACCEPTED!!!! AHHHHH! Seriously, Heavenly Father is so merciful to His missionaries. Its families like this that make any hard lesson or day or transfer or anything totally worth it. What a privilege it is to be a missionary and representative of the Savior Jesus Christ!
I'm out of time, but have a wonderful Easter!
Sister Knapp

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day on P Day!

Oi! Happy Pi Day!
Pi day isn't a thing here but Sister Robins and I excitedly explained to our companions and now more Brazilians know the importance of 3.14159 :)
This week has been great! We had the opportunity to have lessons with members EVERY DAY this past week and our lessons with members were double our other lessons!! Seriously, Parnaiba 1st Branch is the best! Our branch presidents daughter who returned two weeks ago from her mission comes with us. The branch secretary who went from saying he'd never go teach investigators with missionaries to calling us asking if he could come teach with us all day. Our awesome branch mission leader. And so many more amazing members! :) 
As far as my companion goes... Sister Alves is so great! We get along SUPER well and laugh all the time. Everyone thinks that we are sisters, its pretty funny. At least this time they have a point, we actually do look a bit alike. :) 
Our investigators are doing well! Rafael (Zeca's cousin, not Sara's husband) is still working towards baptism on the 26th and he is GOLDEN (seriously, he already lives all the commandments!) We were talking about the word of wisdom and he mentioned that he doesn't even drink soda! But then he said "But there is one drink that I cant give up, Im pretty addicted." Sister Alves and I started thinking "Oh no. its coffee I know it" When he said "I really love Nescau (chocolate milk)!" haha Its okay, Rafael, drink all the Nescau you want!
Sara and Rafael are doing well too, we are continuing visiting them and praying for them.
We found new investigators last week, Adelina and Jânio (brother and sister) and they came to church yesterday and liked it a lot! We are going to have a family home evening with them tonight and are excited! Fun fact: they have a dog named Gandhi and I find it super funny when he gets in the way and Adelina exclaims "GANDHI SAI DE AQUI!" (Gandhi get out of here!) :)
A BIG miracle this week is with a less active sister: Lourdes. She is 70ish and has been a less active member for a looong time. When we first started visiting her months ago she told as that she would "never step foot into THAT church ever again." We dug out her Book of Mormon from a dusty cupboard and she agreed to read but wanted nothing to do with coming back to church. But as we continued to visit and share our love and testimonies and read with her, her heart started to change. Weeks ago we invited her to church and she thought for a whole minute before turning down the invitation. And each week we invite again. This last week we went with Jaqueline (the branch presidents RM daughter) and taught the Restoration making a tower out of plastic cups with Ephesians 4:20 (prophets, apostles, priesthood and revelation) as the foundation with cups with other gospel things (faith, prayer, families etc) on top forming a pyramid. She really liked it and at the end we invited her to church and she said she would think about it. Yesterday morning we passed by with members of the branch council and one of them said he would pick her up and she agreed! And Lourdes came to Church! :D Its been so neat to see the change in her. I know that we can never give up on our brothers and sisters because we all need the restored gospel!
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, March 7, 2016

As novas aventuras da Sister Knapp e Sister Alves

This week has been so great! My new companion is Sister Alves, from Carapicuiba, São Paulo. She is a convert (member for 2 years) and the only member in her family and she is incredible! Her testimony is SO strong and she has no fear to teach and testify and invite everyone to come unto Christ. I'm 110% sure that this transfer will be full of miracles! 
We got to Parnaíba on Wednesday early in the morning and wasted no time in getting to work.We had a few funny moments doing our best not to snooze in the lessons, but everything worked out and now we are ready for another awesome week.
Funny story: Remember the interesting lady who wears a pillowcase? Well we were at her house (teaching her less active son) and she had  friend visiting from her church. We were sitting in the front room with this friend, Cristiane, sitting across from us and we couldd tell that she was dying to ask us a question. Finally she burst out: "What is the name of that book that you people read?" 
and... I couldn't help it, I responded innocently "Oh, the Bible?" 
"No no no," she replies, "The one with that one God you guys worship." 
(Poker face by me)"Jesus Christ?" I respond. 
"No no no no... That American dude... Ummm..." 
At this point the interesting lady bursts into the room and arms extended and everything exclaims "JOHNNY SCHMIDT!" 
"Ahh," I reply, You mean Joseph Smith and the Book of Momon. Well let us tell you a bit about them!" We then proceeded to teach about the Book of Mormon and it was amazing to see the transformation in everyone in the room. Cristiane totally changed and accepted the invitation to read a chapter. Her interesting friend actually said that she knew the Book of Mormon wasnt from the devil because she had read parts and it talked about Jesus. It was pretty neat, we aregoing to visit Cristiane tomorrow and see how the reading went. So that is the story about how we helped one more person realize that the Mormons are not a weird cult of the devil! Mission adventures!
A neat story comes from yesterday in sacrament meeting: since it was fast and testimony meeting, Genesio decided to bear his testimony! It was so special, he is such  a great example. He told us this week that even if no one could give him aa ride to church and he couldnt get any other transportation then he would walk to church (one leg and all.) "Im not sure if I'll make it, but I will try!" He told us. Seriously, I love this man! :) The good thing is everyone loves him and there is never lack of members to pick him up.
Another miraculous experience comes from Sara and Rafael: we went to teach them and they basically told us that they had come to the conclusion that they didnt want to join the Church at this point. We listened to them and then bore our testimonies and in a miraculous change of direction we challenged them to fast with us. It was so perfect, and they asked me to pray to help us receive inspiration to choose  a purpose of the fast. As I prayed, I felt a really strong prompting to ask for illumination (something I have never prayed for). I included the word "illumination" twice in the prayer and when we finishedd, Sara said she had felt that we needed to fast for Spiritual Illumination and guidance. Wow! They invited us for lunch the next day (sunday) where we helped Sara make the most awesome lunch of my mission: a perfect lasagna with Sister written in ketchup (Sara's surprise to us). The fast went well and we went by today to finish the fast with a prayer and Sara said that it had been really good, even though it was hard. They had studied in the scriptures about fasting as a family and I know tht Heavenly Father is going to answer our prayers. I love Sara and Rafael and Im excited to see them continue to progress!
Rafael (the other one, the one with the lots of friends that we teach outsie of his house) is doing awesome and he ACCEPTED A BAPTISMAL DATE! Woohoo! We are continuing to teach them all still outside of Rafael's house. They are lovoing the Book of Mormon and the lessons and Church and everything!
I know that the Gospel changes our lives and that God loves us and answers our prayers. I love serving in Parnaíba and bearing my testimony every moment of the day!
Have a great week!
Sister Knapp
P.S. Pardon the typos, this keyboard isnt super cooperative.....
With Sister Alves, her new and last companion

Companions she trained

Corn on the cob, in Brasil, on a bus