Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Eu sou grata por minhas bencaos! (no accents, sorry!) [I am grateful for my blessings]

Oi familia e amigos!
First of all, happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! We get to celebrate it here at the CTM (gotta love having lots of Americans) by watching the devotional broadcasted from the Provo MTC, so we're pretty excited! I hope you all have a marvelous day being grateful and eating yummy food and spending time with family. :)
So. Brazil. I absolutely LOVE it here! The weather is so nice and warm and humid (all of the sisters touch my hair because it's so curly and poofy, gotta love humidity) and it's super weird to me that it's summer and Christmas is coming. Also, the food here is just wonderful. The breakfast is always the same, which is not a problem at all because I could eat it all day. There's this hot cereal that I have no clue what it is (it was accurately described by an Elder in my district as "creamy mystery goodness") and these great rolls that you can put cheese and ham in and this wonderful hot chocolate. So good. Also there are all kinds of meat that I just don't question what it is but it tastes good and lots of rice and beans and fruit and veggies and basically I just should have been eating Brazilian food my whole life. And Guarana is awesome too. :)
Portuguese is really great too, I've had quite a few Brazilians ask me if I had Brazilian family or if I'd studied Portuguese for a long time because I apparantly sound almost native. Woot! I find myself thinking, dreaming, and praying in Portuguese all the time so if I suddenly forget how to speak English or Spanish I wouldn't be surprised. Also I seriously can't spell anymore, just in Portuguese, so combined with the fact that we don't have a lot of email time or spell check, I ask that you all would forgive my spelling errors. :)
More stories: my companion, Sister Pace, is SO AMAZING! I just love her to death, and it's awesome not being a solo sister! I had to change districts to be with her (her class is a week behind where I was) but it's so worth it to have a companion, especially one as awesome as she is. We have so many inside jokes and we have a goal to only speak Portuguese together so we're learning lots.
Another fun fact: as soon as I got here I was made the choir pianist. And you know who's in the MTC choir? The whole MTC. :) haha So we've done two musical numbers so far and I have another three lined up before I leave, so that's fun. I'm really thankful that I studied piano, it's really helpful!
STORY: So last week we got to go proselyting outside in the real world of Sao Paulo! We took the city bus to a park by a metro station and we had 4 Book of Mormons as a companionship and an hour to give them out. It was sooo amazing to talk to people who at first weren't interested at all ("No, sorry, I don't want to hear about your book") and then we'd quickly bear our testimony and then you could just see something change in their eyes, like a light turning on, and they became excited to hear the wonderful message of the restored gospel of Christ. Of the five people we talked to, only one turned us down. I cannot even wait to go to Teresina next week (NEXT WEEK!!!) and do this every day!
Okay so here's the funny story. When Sister Pace and I finished giving out our copies of the Book of Mormon, our instructor had us help a companionship of Elders. We (the 4 of us) were talking to a lady when this creepy guy came up and tried to put his arms around Sister Pace and I. I completely ignored him and continued talking to the lady we were teaching, and the Elders talked to him. Basically he just wanted money for drugs, but the funny part is that when he left he tried to hug one of the Elders and he stole his verb card (a yellow paper the Elders keep in their shirt pocket that has the common verb conjugations) thinking it was money! haha All is well that ends well, and we all got a good laugh out of it. Hopefully he can conjugate better now. :)
I hope you all have a lovely week! Next email will most likely be from the mission field! SO EXCITED! :D
Muito amor para voces!
Tchau tchau pica-pau! (The American sisters say that a lot, "bye bye, woodpecker!")
Sister Knapp

Sister Knapp and Sister Pace in Provo
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trip to Brasil

Ola minha familia!

I only have a few minutes to let you know I HAVE ARRIVED to Brazil, I am now in the CTM and I like it a lot. I My current companion is Sister Pace, who was in my roommate before.
It's funny becasue Brazil reminds me to Spain. It's hot but not much,nice and waaaaarm. I'll tell you about my trip:

When we were about to board the plane from Atlanta to Sao Paulo, us missionaries from SLC didnt have seat assignments. So they were assigning them and when it was my turn the phone rang. The lady talked for a bit and hung up and said "its your lucky day". I thought I had gotten the last seat and felt super bad for the other missionaries but then she handed me my ticket. My seat was 4B. THAT"S RIGHT BUISINESS CLASS!!!!! WOW! What had happened is the guy with that seat had his wife on the same flight but she was in economy and he wanted to sit by her, so he swapped seats. But anyway, flying first class. It was seriously the coolest thing of my life. I made tons of friends (the lady sitting by me and I are bffs now, she's from Sao Paulo) and got to talk a lot and be a missionary. I gave out one pass along card on my first flight, and on the next flight I gave out SIX (I had asked for some more from other missionaries because I only had 2) AND got the phone numbers of two ladies that were very interested in meeting with the missionaries. :D So I feel like my sitting up there was justified. haha One of the flight attendants teased me that I must have done something good, and I told Elder Porter (who had been behind me in line and was rather bummed out that he didn't get buisiness class too) that it was because I had volunteered to pray that morning on the bus to the airport. I learned the Portuguese word for fancy (chique) and my new friend and I said it a lot (like when we did a toast with our drinks). The food was suuuuper fancy (proschuto and ice cream sundaes and fancy pasta with brussel sprouts) and then the seats TURNED INTO BEDS so I got to sleep like royalty. The flight attendants and passengers around me would chuckle on occassion at how excited I was. The other missionaries were kinda jealous, but I reminded them that they had gotten Nutella with their breakfasts and I hadn't ;)
Entao.... Seriously, first class was legit. So the trip was actually really really really great. None of my luggage got lost and we didn't get lost and we made it to the CTM with no problem at all. The drivers here are CRAZY though (our bus driver was good), and the motorcyclist zoom between the cars and they look like they're going to crash and basically I have promised myself that I will never drive in Sao Paulo ever.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The cold never bothered me anyway

Oi familia e amigos!

So you might ask WHY the cold never bothered me? Because in less that 48 hours I will be IN SUMMER! (Two Frozen quotes in less than a minute. :) ) That is right, I GOT MY VISA! I leave tomorrow (hence the emailing today) for the Sao Paulo MTC. Tons of missionaries got their visas, so it's going to be a fun trip I believe. I have two weeks left at the MTC that I will be finishing up there, and then in the beginning of December I will start my mission in Teresina! WOW!! 

So receiving my visa was super exciting. I had pretty much been convinced that I would stay in Provo the whole time and possibly be reassigned, so I was super surprised. However, I KNOW that Heavenly Father has a plan with perfect timing, so I'm excited to see what I get to learn at the CTM!

Another really neat thing from this week was the events of Sunday. I think if the MTC gave awards for most participation in Sunday meetings I would probably win this week. I played the piano for sacrament meeting again AND gave a talk (all the missionaries prepare a 3 minute talk and then 2 or 3 are called up without previous notice to speak) in Portuguese. It was a great experience! Even though I really hate public speaking, it wasn't too bad! The rest of Sunday was pretty normal with meetings and such. Then for the evening devotional Elder Walker and I were able to do our musical number!! It was such an incredible experience. We arranged the piece ourselves so my music was a half a page of notes that pretty much only made sense to me. For the sound check, I was making mistakes like crazy and was terrified of how the performance would go. Before we went in, Elder Walker and I said a prayer with our companions. And wow, prayer sure does work! We played/sang better than we ever have and according to my companions everyone was crying. You could definitely feel the Spirit and it was so neat to bear our testimonies of the Savior through song. We finished and sat down and the speaker, Richard L. Heaton, thanked us and then said "Elder Walker, Sister Knapp, will you two please come up here?" I think I died a little bit. My brain said "What. I just performed. And now I have to be addressed in front of the whole MTC? I thought I was done!" We went up and he had us bear our testimonies about Jesus Christ. Remember how a minute ago I said I was scared of public speaking in front of my little branch? Yeah. So that's the story of how I spoke a bit in the devotional. :) BUT I am so thankful for that opportunity. It really strengthened my testimony that in our time of need, God will give us the words that need to be said. It was incredible to be able to tell my fellow missionaries of how much I love my Savior and how I know that it is only through His gospel that we receive eternal life and joy. 

Thank you all so much for your love and prayers and support! Watch out for my next email from Brazil!!!

Com amor,
Sister Knapp
At the airport

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Big news from the MTC

Oi minha familia e amigos!

I can't believe I'm halfway through my MTC stay! Crazy crazy, time sure does fly! Sooo... Yesterday, in the middle of our afternoon block of class, my entire district was called to the travel office. Which could pretty much only mean one thing: visas! That is, my entire district except for Elder Walker and myself. So we ran down and sure enough, Elders Roundy, Nordfelt, Seely, Barker, Bond, Gunnoe, and Johnson received their travel plans. They're going to the Brazil MTC TOMORROW! It's interesting though, Elder Walker and I weren't really disappointed (okay, maybe a teeny tiny bit) but we both feel that we're not done here at the Provo MTC. Whether this has anything to do with our musical number or not, I don't know. But I do know that Heavenly Father has a perfect plan for each and every one of us, and if we were supposed to have our visas along with the rest of our district, we would. So I'm just going to trust that everything will work out the way it should! But for now, looks like I'm in Provo for a little longer enjoying the BYU chocolate milk. :) 

My sweet companions, Sister Bow and Sister Gutke, left yesterday morning for their mission. Mozambique is getting two of the best sisters in the universe! It seems like I need to get good at saying goodbyes or something because seriously everyone is leaving! haha Tudo bem. This just means I get to become friends with more lovely sisters. My newest companions (I've been put in a trio) are Sister Anaya (she's my actual companion), Sister Mills, and Sister Smith. They all arrived the week after me, so hopefully I won't have to change companions again! They're going to Portugal, and I love them a lot. It's such a blessing to be able to make so many friends! :)

In other news, it looks like my district sickness (everyone's been passing around a cold it seems) finally caught up with me. Nyquil and cough drops and tissues are my new friends. But one thing that Elder Gunnoe (an awesome elder from my district) said that changed my view on being sick was "I'm grateful for my health. It could be a lot worse than a little cold." So I've been giving thanks for "minha saude" (my health) in all of my prayers, and it's definitely made a difference in how I feel. Being grateful sure does make life better!

Update on the musical number: Elder Walker and I had another practice with Sister Nally to fix a few key changes and such in our musical number and she really just loves it. We're going to receive an invitation to perform one of these days, which is SO EXCITING! I think she said next Sunday, but we'll know for sure in a few days. What a great opportunity!!! It's been such a fun project. :)

Muito obrigada for your love and prayers and support!

-Sister Knapp
My district with our teacher


What is left of my district :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ola! Week 2 at the MTC!

Ola familia e amigos!

Week two at the MTC has been a success! It's gone by much much faster, and life is an adventure everyday! My days are spent learning Portuguese and how to be an awesome missionary and soaking up all the awesome devotionals and spiritual thoughts and everything! 
Here's something exciting: I've been able to play the piano a lot! I got to play in sacrament meeting this Sunday! But even better is this: Elder Walker, an Elder from my district, and I arranged a vocal solo for him (he's incredible!) with me as the accompanist of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. We worked on it together so it's very unique with some awesome key changes and a minor verse. BUT the best part is the very last verse (the 7th verse) he sings to the tune of I Know That My Redeemer Lives. It's pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. :) We were able to audition for a musical number, and Sister Nally (the wife of the MTC President) told us that she LOVED it and wanted to work with us to brush up a few things and we'll most likely be able to perform it for some event! AND she asked us to prepare another musical number for Thanksgiving!!!! It's been such a fun experience!
Another (less awesome) event is that my sweet companion Sister Valentine received her visa to Brazil! She left this morning for the Sao Paulo MTC and although I will miss her, I am SO happy for her! What a neat opportunity! I am now in a trio with Sister Bow and Sister Gutke (who have been in my room and I love them to death) until this weekend, because they're leaving for Mozambique on Monday. Soooo.... I get another companion(s) on Friday. We're going to talk to President Brough (the branch president) and figure everything out. Two Elders in my district (Elder Lunt and Elder Thomson) got their visas as well and left this morning for the Sao Paulo MTC too. Visas! Ahh! I'll keep y'all updated if I find out anything about mine. :) 
I hope you all had a lovely Halloween! Nothing too exciting happened here, the sisters in my room and I matched in black skirts and orange (or as close to orange as we had) tops, that was rather fun. 
Investigator story! Our investigator that we've been teaching, Lucas, agreed to be baptized! Legal! (Cool in Portuguese and one of my favorite words :) ) But then surprise surprise (actually, I'd heard that this would happen so...) Lucas our investigator turned out to be Irmao Machado, our new teacher! haha Fun times at the MTC. So now we have two teachers, Irmao Rodrigues and Irmao Machado, who are both from Brazil and are super super funny. Class time is great!
I feel like the topic for my life this week has been on Being a disciple of Christ and what it means to be a true disciple. It seems that all of my scripture study, devotionals, lessons, everything have something about the importance of being obedient and being a true and loyal disciple of Christ. The question was asked in a devotional (I can't remember right now exactly who it was, I think Sister Wendy Nelson) of "How would a true disciple of Christ act?" We were asked to apply this question in just one situation a day, for example "How would a true disciple of Christ dress?" or "How would a true disciple of Christ read the scriptures?" I've been trying to apply this and its been helpful in motivating me to do little things to become better and better each day.
One more thing that I absolutely loved: last Tuesday Sister Rosemary Wixom (Primary General President) came and spoke to us. She told of a time when she was serving as a missionary and a guy at the store looked at her name tag and told her "The man on your chest is my best friend." What a privilege it is to be a missionary, to be a representative of my Savior and best friend, Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for His gospel and for the opportunity I have these next 18 months to share it with everyone I meet!
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers! 
My new companions
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp