Monday, December 28, 2015

Natal e os presentes

Feliz Natal!
This past week has been wonderful, funny stories and miracles and all! Lets begin with the latest variation of my name (okay, Im starting to think the creativity will never run out). Sister KnaTT because t and p sound similar and either way its a weird name here. :)
Now for the funny stories: the other day we were waiting outside of a funeral office (its a good meeting spot because everyone knows where it is) and a guy exits wearing a black and purple witch hat like its the most normal thing in the world. Sister Richards looks at me with a face of suprise and exclaims "Is this Hogwarts?!" haha Another funny story is we were finishing a lesson with Pedro and Sister Richards said the closing prayer. I had forgotten to warn her about religions where everyone talks during the prayer (exclamations like "Praise the Lord!" and similar) and when Pedro's mother starts exclaiming "Oh Lord, bless us all!" Sister Richards freezes and Pedro and I motioned for her to keep on going. I dont know which of us four started giggling first, but in the end we were all laughing, even Pedro's mom. It wasnt a very reverent prayer but... Mission adventures, what can ya say? :)
The other day we were walking to lunch when we walked past two dogs and Sister RIchards says "Look! Two friends!" I think they heard us because the followed us for the next 4 or so blocks... We named them Steve (Sister RIchards) and Baltasar (me) and they were quite hilarious.
As for Christmas, it was absolutely wonderful! Christmas Eve we got to teach a lot of people and find new less actives and investigators. We had Christmas Eve dinner (a ceia de Natal) with Presidente Rocha and his family and watched the Christmas devotional as we ate! On Christmas we had lunch with all of the sisters in our zone (good thing we literally live in the apartment right by them) and we had delicous sausage, salad, mashed potatoes, rice and for dessert Sister Soares dos Santos made an amazing cake and ICE CREAM! In the morning we had hung our stockings (our real socks) by our fire place (paper taped to the wall, come on, we are in an apartment in Parnaíba) and Sister Robins made a Christmas tree out of a tree branch and ornaments made out of decorated paper with floss. Missionary life calls for creativity. :) After lunch Sister Richards and I took brownies we had made to our less actives and investigators and sang Christmas hymn duets. It was very neat and everyone loved the visits! Skype was wonderful, of course, my family is hilarious and it was a perfect ending to a great Christmas.
The miracles of the week are too numerous to name, so Ill include my favorites. TONS of our people came to church yesterday which was perfect because it was the Primary program! It was so neet to see all the cute kids participate, especially João Vitor, who was baptized a few weeks ago. This is the kid who I thought couldnt talk when I first met him,/. He read his part in front of everyone in the microphone! So neat!
 Our less actives are making tons of progress, especially Pedro and Thiago, who both took out the gages of their ears and have started talking about serving missions. So excited!
And now for my favorite part: The best Christmas present I received was a FAMILY of FOUR members who are MARRIED and are going to be baptized on January 9th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Marcos Antonio (who already keeps the word of wisdom, this guy is perfect!) and his wife Elizangela, and their two daughters Estefani (who is 15 and reminds me a ton of my sister) and Victoria (who is 9). They came to church yesterday and loved it and participated a ton. We are going to have a Family Home Evening with them tonight and Im so so so excited to keep working with them!
I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father loved us enough to give us the gift of His beloved Son and the Atonement. I know that when we keep the commandments and our covenants, our family can be together forever and we can receive all the blessings Heavenly Father has in store.
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, December 21, 2015

14 meses e quase Natal!

Feliz Natal!
This week has also been an adventure, Sister Richards' feet were really swollen so we had to spend some time figuring out the problem (which we discovered was pretty much the shoes she was using) but now all is well, my companion has ankles and this week is going to be more normal! Wait, its Christmas, sooo.... Not normal. But thats okay because... Christmas! 
This week we got to give a name to our investigator's cat. Remember the cat named Hitler? His brother is now named Spiderman because Luiz wanted an English name and our lesson got interrupted by a giant tarantula playing with the cat so... Spiderman is the name!
Another funny story was when we were talking to an older man and his little grandson asking information about where to find a house. We invited them to church and the man started giving excuses and saying "Well... If God wants me to I might appear some day." As he said this, it started to rain money. Seriously, a R$2 bill floated down out of nowhere and I caught it and gave it to the grandson and said "Hey, if God can make it rain money, he can take you to church!" It was quite funny and made him think, so hopefully we will see him in sacrament meeting soon! :)
Other eventful moments of the week included making no bake cookies with a member, lots of wind (okay, thats normal) making our trashcan move around the house on its own (or maybe the bats are ghosts now...) and looking for lots of less active members. Our district had a challenge from President Melo to track down ALL of the members in Ramo 1 and Ramo 2 (Like, over 1,000 people, no joke) in a week and we worked really hard and had lots of success and miracles! A less active sister from our branch, Luzete, came to church yesterday and liked it a lot, invited us to almoço (lunch) this week, and said she wants to come the next sundays as well! Another less active sister, Raimunda (Socorro's mother), wasnt feeling well due to headaches, so we went yesterday to visit her and President Rocha gave her a blessing. She came to church that afternoon and said the hurt was completely gone and she loves coming to church! 
One of the biggest miracles of the week was on Saturday night, when most of our appointments fell through. It was 8 pm, so we had an hour left to work and Sister Richards and I decided to say a prayer and just go where we felt prompted to. We reached an intersection and Sister Richards suggested we turn left, so we did and walked past a few houses. We stopped at a house where there was a woman with a pitbull, so we decided to talk to her. We didnt say more than "Oi!" when she opened the door and invited us to sit down. We started talking about dogs and her life and ended with an invite for her to read the Book of Mormon. We marked 2 Nephi 31 for her and said that it was written by a prophet and taught about faith and baptism. She said she'd never been baptized but it was something she wanted, so we invited her to follow the example of Jesus Christ being baptized by someone holding the authority of God. She accepted and we are going next week to start teaching her! I know that God hears and answers our prayers. Miracles are waiting, we just have to ask and follow the promptings we receive! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father gave us the precious gift of His Son. I know that through the Atonement we can be made clean from sin, guilt, and receive the strength we need each and every day. 
Have a wonderful Christmas!
Com amor,
Sister Knapp

Monday, December 14, 2015

Nova compa, batismo e aventuras de casa

Ola! Feliz quasi Natal!
This week has been interesting, as Sister Richards described it. I am SUPER EXCITED for this transfer, I get to train again! My companion, SIster Richards, is seriously an angel! She is from Frisco, Texas and as all the people here say "she looks like a Barbie!!!" :) haha Its super funny to be two American girls in Parnaíba but it makes it a lot easier to share the Gospel because everyone wants to talk to us. 
So because Ramo 2 split into two areas and we have another companionship of sisters, Sister Richards and I had to move. But we moved to the apartment next door so its not that bad. :) The only problem was that it was full of OLD stuff from past missionaries and dust and just a nightmare. So we've basically been homeless people for this past week as we cleaned the apartment and got furniture (our fridge and stove STILL haven't shown up so we are being creative). But now it looks like a real apartment and "someday my fridge will come"... :) (like in the movie Snow White -- some day my prince will come)
Fun fact: this week I got bit by a dog! Official missionary status! Dont worrry though, the dog was the cutest puppy on planet earth with like no teeth so it didnt do more than tickle, but I get to say that I was bitten by a dog on my mission!
Latest name variation: Sister Nike. Im actually suprised I havent heard this one yet because its pretty close to Knapp (well... more than Sister Katchy Patchy).

Now for the MIRACLES! 
SOCORRO AND CARLOS DANIEL AND JOÃO VITOR WERE BAPTIZED! Seriously, this was miraculous! Theyve been waiting FOUR YEARS and now its real! Ive never seen them so happy, and Raimunda (Socorro's mom who has been inactive for a while) came and said "I want to be baptized again too! its such a good feeling!" It was really spiritual and the Releif Society made a gorgeous and delicious fancy cake to celebrate both their wedding and baptism. 
Pedro, our less active, is also progressing a lot! He came to church AND brought his friend this week! They´re awesome!
We had a neat experience on Thursday: we passed a house with Christmas lights and felt the need to clap (not knock of course). THere was a less active member, Thiago, who we started talking to and told him that we were there to help him come back to church. He told us that he felt Heavenly Father had sent us because he was making new years resolutions and one of them was to come back to church. Sister Richards shared a scripture about enduring to the end and he cried and said he needed to come back. So neat!
Yesterday we had district conference and afterwards we went out looking for new investigators. We had some neat lessons, and all the people we invited to baptism  accepted!! My favorite was at a house that Sistesr Richards chose, we clapped and a young man (20 something) named Yago (like the parrot from Aladdin!) answered the door. We started chatting about service and then transitioned into the Restoration. He was really interested and we are going to stop by tonight and give him a Book of Mormon. He promised to pray and ask about the Restoration (which he found very interesting) and he accepted to be baptized on January 2! Seriously, these next few weeks are going to be FULL of miracles! More than usual!
Thought of the week comes from President Melo in our district conference: "If you want to get to know the Savior, serve." I loved this and I know that service is the best antidote to sadness. I love the scripture in Mosiah that teaches that serving others serves God.
Have a wonderful week!
Com amor,
Sister Knapp

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Milagres dos pesquisadores eternos e transferência!

Boa tarde!
This email is a day late due to TRANSFERS! I'm writing this from Teresina, we arrived last night and our bus ride was quite fun. We passed little towns with cool names like Piracuruba and trees that look like they're from the movie The Lorax. Anyway, after two wonderful transfers in Parnaíba with Sister Reis.... I get to stay in Parnaíba! Sister Reis is now in Teresina finishing the training of Sister Evans and I get to train a new sister! My fourthborn! :) Seriously, I love love love training new sisters and I am so grateful for this privilege! I get to meet her in about an hour and a half, so updates next week on my new companion. Sister Robins and Sister Lockhart are also staying in Parnaíba and both are training, their area divided in two! Woohoo! 
The biggest miracle of the week was rather unexpected and SUPER WONDERFUL! So there is this family, Socorro and Ribamar, who are not all members of the Church. Ribamar is a member, his brother (who is our branch mission leader) and his family are members, and Socorro's mother and son are members. Socorro and their two children, Carlos Daniel and João Vitor (ages 9 and 8), have been going to church for about four years and hadn't been baptized. When we got to Parnaíba, they were the first (and pretty much only) investigators we had and it was a bit discouraging to work with them because the only things keeping them from baptism were coffee and Ribamar and Socorro getting married. And after two transfers of waiting and trying to get the wedding paperwork figured out... They were married on Wednesday!!!! So this Saturday Socorro and her children are going to be baptized! :) Our branch is super excited!! 
We are also having lots of progress with our less active member, Pedro. He is super awesome! We met him from trying to contact the people in the ward directory that we didnt know and the first time we taught him he didnt even take out his earphones to listen to us, he just played his video game. Now hes reading the Book of Mormon and he came to church this Sunday! Woohoo! :)
Fun fact: Sister Reis and I appeared on TV in Parnaíba a few weeks ago when we helped serve breakfast at a blook drive, so... thats pretty cool. 
Now for the funny stories of the week (both with the same family): we were teaching a family outside of their house, when in the middle of the lesson, the son yells "HITLER!" Turns out they have a cat named Hitler and the cat ran into the street just as a car was passing. It was definitely not the comment we were expecting, but the situation was quite hilarious. 
I also heard the weirdest reason for not being able to go to church: (direct quote) "I have to stay here watching the laundry dry until my mom comes so theives don't come and steal our laundry." ....
I also had the opportunity to try a weird food this week: Sarapatel. So theres this restaurant that Sister Reis and I eat at when the members who are giving us lunch give us money instead. We are big fans and the waiters are our friends and already know what we order. :) One of them tried to get us to order sarapatel (a typical dish) so he gave us a small sample that I tried. Its made of pig guts. Literally chopped up parts of the pig (snout, liver, tongue, stomach, intestines etc.) in a broth. Its about as disgusting as it sounds. Thanks, Ill stick to my churrasco and rice... :) 
The scripture that I would like to share this week comes from the training that President Melo gave in the trainers meeting today. We studied the parable of the 10 Virgins, which is probably my favorite. It reminded me how important it is to accumulate our spiritual oil for our lamps drop by drop. Studying the scriptures, going to church, praying sincerely, serving others. Its not a big dramatic life changing event but its all the little things we do. When we neglect these things, we may sadly come to find that the Bridegroom will say that we never knew Him. I am so grateful for the opportunity we have each day to repent, to start over, and do the little things to fill our lamps drop by drop. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth, just like in the times of Moses and Abraham, to guide us to our heavenly home. 
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, November 30, 2015

Dois presidentes!

I forgot to include the most eventful part of the week! We had interviews with President Melo and right as he was leaving the church, guess who showed up? President Siedschlag! He was on a work trip passing through Parnaíba and coincidentally showed up at the church to try and find someone! It was literally the weirdest thing ever to see him again and without a tie and nametag. When I asked him what to call him, seeing as he wasnt Presidente anymore he said "You can call me Irmão Alvacir" ... Um... No thats too wierd. :) But thats the story as to how Sister Robins and I got a picture with our two mission presidents at the same time. :)

Dois presidentes e outras aventuras da semana

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! This week was full of funny stories and service and work as usual! As far as Thanksgiving, we didn't do anything really different since its not a big thing here, we mostly just invited those we talked to to think a bit more about all of the blessings that Heavenly Father gives us. :)
Now for the funny stories (get ready, there are quite a few this week): 
beginning on Monday, we got home from the lanhouse and errands in the center and we were only able to work an hour later because Sister Reis got locked in the bathroom. The doorknob broke on the inside and we could not open the door! We had to call the landlord who had to call a neighbor but we finally got the door opened and had a good laugh :) 
Another funny story: Pedro, a less active member we are reading the Book of Mormon with, was looking through the pictures in the front and he saw the picture of Joseph Smith and said "Hey! He looks like Nicholas Cage!" :)
Also, there's this old taxi driver in Parnaíba who always stops at bus stops and takes people for about the same price as the bus. He always tries to raise the price and he's really funny because any time Sister Reis or I laugh (which is often because we both like laughing) he always squints suspiciously and says (this is really bad grammar) "Tu ta mangando de eu??" (about the equivalent of "You is pocking fun at I?") 
The other day we were waiting at a bus stop and we started talking to an older man. He thought it was the neatest thing that I was American and he looked at my name tag and said "Seester.... Katchy-Patchy..." Just when I'd thought after a year of being in Brazil I had heard all of the varations of "Knapp" :) 
This week we had a dessert contest with Ramo 1 and Ramo 2. Sister Reis and I made a peach mousse which is like the easiest dessert on planet earth. Its two boxes of creme de leite (cream) and a box of leite condensado (sweetened condensed milk) and a packet of juice powder (like Tang) that you just throw in the blender for a few minutes and then in the fridge. While I was hurriedly making the dessert the spoon fell in and kind of caused a small explosion of mousse-ness but I cleaned it up and the mousse turned out great. Enough that lots of people commented how delicious it was and that they wanted the recipe. :) 
Have you heard of the book "The Hound of the Baskervilles"? Its a Sherlock Holmes book about a giant dog of death that the whole town is afraid of. Well I found the dog... It belongs to our branch president and her name is Caboca. Im not afraid of dogs, but Im terrified of this one because she hates all people who are not Presidente Rocha, his wife or their kids. Seroiusly, she runs to the gate barking and jumping with a murderous look in her eyes... Anyway, I think she's finally starting to get used to Sister Reis and I because yesterday I called out "Caboca" and she didnt run trying to kill me. Progress! :) 
Last funny story and also a miracle: we are teaching this really great family: Daniel and Kelma and their two kids. Every time (literally every time) we teach them, some random neighbor wanders into their house and sticks around for like 5 minutes of the lesson and then leaves. Its pretty funny and in a few weeks I think we will have taught every person on that street :) 
We've been able to teach quite a bit this week about faith and its made me think about faith and works. I read a neat scripture yesterday in James 1:22 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." I quite liked this scripture because true faith is not just saying "I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior". We need to ACT on those feelings of faith and love towards Him. As we keep the commandments and follow His teachings and share our testimonies with others, we truly are being doers also. This strengthens our faith and allows us to receive even more blessings! 
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, November 23, 2015

BATISMO de Bia e Jose!

Happy Thanksgiving this week! There are so many things to be grateful for! Including that BIA AND JOSÈ WERE BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!! It was so neat, they were so happy and grateful for the Atonement and the opportunity to make this sacred covenant with God. I asked Bia how she felt after she was baptized and she said "Its like there was a giant black cloud covering my heart, and its completely gone now. I feel so light!" 
Sister Robins and Sister Lockhart also had a baptism on saturday and us four sang a special musical number "Sou Um Filho De Deus" (I Am A Child of God, one of Bia and José's favorites). 
Another neat miracle of the week was on a day where literally all of our appointments but one fell through, we were walking past a house we've walked past lots of times and felt to knock there. So we did, and a 15 year old boy answered the door. We talked a bit about the Church and the restoration and asked if we could come another day and teach his family, and just as we were about to leave, his family came home. He introduced us to them and his mom, Kelma, invited us in. We shared the message of the Restoration and they really liked it! We were able to teach them a few more times during the week and they progress more and more each day. Its kind of hard to find FAMILIES who are interested in listening and who keep commitments. And Daniel and Kelma and their kids are great! Yesterday we had a lesson with a member and read the Family Proclamation and ended kneeling in prayer, said by Daniel (the father). He is a bit shy, so it was a big step. Teaching families that they can be together forever is so neat!
Another big miracle is another couple we are teaching: Jorge and Iracema. Jorge was married before and has three children who live in São Paulo who SERVED MISSIONS. When we met Jorge in the street and asked him if he had heard about the church and he told us that we about died. haha Jorge and Iracema are super funny and we get along really well. The miracles are happening bit by bit, with the biggest miracle being our last lesson. We always invite Jorge to pray and he always refuses, but when we finished our lesson and invted him to pray, HE DID. Seriously, its so neat to see how little by little, Heavenly Father softens the hearts of His children and they are willing to hear the message of the restoration!
Its really interesting to see people fall into different categories too, usually those who let us in and accept the invitation to read and pray and those who slam the door in our faces. It makes me realize how important the missionary calling is that we INVITE others to come unto Christ. Something that my mission president always says is that we already have the "no" if we dont talk to others about the gospel. But when we do talk and invite, we have the opportunity to receive a "yes" :) Being a missionary isnt necessarily knocking on doors, it can be as simple as a smile or an invite to watch a Mormon Message video or a hug. And being a missionary is THE BEST!
I am so grateful for the privilege it is to wear a black name tag, to be able to represent my Savior and His Church. I am grateful for the Restored gospel, for God loving us so much to call a prophet in these latter days to bring His truth and priesthood power back to the earth. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and the Bible, for eternal families, and for the opportunity to pray and ask God about whatever doubt or difficulty we have. I know He hears and answers our prayers!
Have a wonderful week and enjoy counting your blessings!
Sister Knapp

Monday, November 16, 2015

Prayers for front teeth and other service

This week was great, as usual! Sister Reis and I have the habit of asking everyone we talk to what we can do to help them, and this week we had the opportunity to do a small service project! We met a sweet widow named Graça and we helped her clean her house and wash and sort her laundry. It was great, she told us stories about the giant chameleon who lives in her yard and we learned some interesting "facts": perfume scares away cockroaches, if you have a runny nose you can eat three acerolas (fruits here kinda sorta similar to cherries) and you will be better, crochet is super important to life, and much more. :) It strengthened my testimony that any day can become much much better when we forget ourselves and serve others! Also a cute primary boy asked us to pray for his two front teeth to come soon, and after we prayed he thanked us and said that now he knew they wouldn't take too long. :)
Another miracle of the week was that we were able to find and teach quite a few families. In a few of the cases, THEY called out to us and asked us to share our message, which of course we gladly did! One of these families, N and E, have started reading the Book of Mormon, but they told us they weren' t too interested. However, to our wonderful surprise, they came to church yesterday and loved it!!! We are also teaching their neighbor, D, a sweet older lady who read up to 1 Nephi 5 between our first and second visit and when we got to her house she said "I love this book!" Funny story about her and the Book of Mormon: when we gave her a copy she said "I' m going to open it up and whatever I open to is what the Mãe Rainha (Mother Queen - Mary) wants me to read" She opened up to Alma 17: the chapter about Ammon and the Lamanite arms. :)
B and J are doing great, they finished reading 1 Nephi yesterday! WOOHOO! Their baptism is this Saturday and we are super excited! Its been so neat to see their testimonies grow and how much the gospel blesses them! Yesterday they gave us a ride home and we sang primary songs together! :)
Yesterday was branch conference and Sister Reis, Sister Lockhart, Sister Robins and I sang a special musical number "Lord I Would Follow Thee" and it was really spiritual. :) The thought I' d like to share this week comes from President Santos' (district president) talk. He taught about the importance of being a disciple of Christ rather than just a member of the Church. A member needs to be visited and loved, while a disciple visits and loves, regardless of whether or not they receive the same. When we are disciples of Christ, we do what He would do and be who He would have us be. 
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, November 9, 2015

Bat updates and goal setting

Oi a todos!
Now that its after Halloween, the Christmas preparations are beginning! We've made some paper snowflakes (Sister Lockhart is the Champion snowflake maker) and hung them in our kitchen so its more winterlike because its too hot here for real snow. :)
Bat update: we believe they are trying to apologize for the bat-phobia they have made us develope through Peace offerings. Every morning we find nibbled cajá fruits on our little balcony (where the bats live in the rafters) that they drop. Every. Single. Morning. Thank you, bats.
This week we had na awesome Zone Conference that focused a lot on goals. We worked really hard to apply the things we learned and set more challenging goals and work our hardest to acheive them. As a result we greatly improved the number of lessons taught and new investigators we found. Woohoo! We're still having a bit of a hard time helping them progress and keep their commitments to read and pray sincerely and come to church, but Im sure that miracles are to come soon!
We had a big miracle yesterday: on Tuesday or so we were outside of na investigator's house when a guy on a motorcycle stopped and asked us for a "paper of our church". We gave him a Restoration pamphlet and invited him to church. He didnt give us his address and said that he was really busy with work and college but he said he'd try and come to church. Yesterday, as I was playing the opening hymn I kinda messed up because I looked to the door and got distracted because guess who showed up?! The motorcycle guy! He was only able to stay for sacrament meeting but he liked it and said he'd come the next week he could. Wow! Updates to come!
The thought this week comes from 1 Nephi 10:18. "For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him." We are Reading from the beginning of the Book of Mormon with B and J as well as a few less active members, so I was able to read 1 Nephi 10 a few times this week and this scriputre really stood out to me. I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He gave His Son to pay the price for us to repent and return. The price is paid, the path is set, we just have to walk it! I know that as we do our part and exercise our Faith in Christ and repent, keeping the commandments and our covenants, we will gain eternal life. I am so grateful for the privilegie it is to share this message and testify that the Gospel is restored! I know that God hears and answers our prayers because He does it for me on a daily basis. I know that The Book of Mormon is truly the word of God and that every single person who reads and prays with a sincere heart will know the truth by the power of the Holy Ghost. What a great blessing!
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dia das bruxas em Brasil!

This week was wonderful, which includes the best Halloween of my life! :) Sister Robins got a package with Halloween things the day before, so we decorated a bit! Our costumes were about as creative as we could get away with as missionaries: I was a joaninha (lady bug) with red, White, black and polkadots; Sister Reis was an onça (cheetah, I think I forgot the word in English...) with her print blouse, Sister Robins was a minion with  yellow and navy; and Sister Lockhart was the most creative of us all, dressing as "pink lemonade" with a pink skirt and a blouse with lemons! :) It was quite fun! The best part of halloween though, was the present we received from an awesome Family in the Parnaíba 3rd Branch: they gave us a CARVED PUMPKIN! A for reals carved jack-o-lanterna! FULL OF CANDY!!!!! We about died. Sister Reis and I brought it home, took out the candy, and lit a candle and put it inside. A few minutes later, Sister Robins and Sister Lockhart came home and as they got to the door, before the could open it, I opened it slowly from behind and they gasped as they saw all the lights off and a glowing pumpkin in the middle of the darkness. It was pretty legit. :)
Okay, Halloween stories aside, this week was full of miracles with less active members!! Story: one day after lunch, we asked a sister from our branch if she knew who a certain less active brother was (he lived a few streets away). She said yes, but she warned us to be careful going there because his wife didnt like missionaries and had thrown water at past Elders. Sister Reis and I looked at each other and said "Its hot anyways, a bucket of water would be fine right now!" So we found the house and to our joy/dismay we did not receive a bucket of water thrown on us. Instead we found this brother, read about Faith in the Book of Mormon together, and he came to the branch activity this week AND church yesterday! And my favorite part: he bore his testimony about the importance of coming to church, how he had been away from church for 3 years and how he realized this week how importante the sacrament was and how as good as praying and readings scriptures are at home, we truly need to strengthen our spirits weekly by partaking of the sacrament in the Lord's house each Sabbath.
We also have a few other less actives who we are working with and are progressing so much! I love visiting my Brothers and sisters who for whatever reason are away from the Church and helping them remember the things they know are true!
Our awesome investigators, Bia and José, are progressing SO MUCH too! They have Strong testimonies about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration and they share them with their friends and families too! Yesterday as we finished our visit, Bia thanked in the closing prayer for HeavenlyFather having shown her that His true church was restored on the Earth and prayed for His help in quiting smoking. Seriously, they are having such amazing changes in their lives, all as part of applying the glorious message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Funny story: this story comes from Sister Robins and Sister Lockhart. THey were teaching their investigator, Sonia, and were talking about prayer and how we receive many blessings and answers as we pray. During the closing prayer, a neighbor showed up with a slice of cake and without saying a word, placed it in Sonia's hands and left. When they finished the prayer, Sister Robins meant to bear testimony and began saying "Now you have--" and realized what was in Sonia's hands "--CAKE!" Everyone laughed and Sonia said "I want to pray with you ALWAYS now!" :)
This weekend Sister Reis and I have been obsessed with the Primary song "The Family Is of God". We sing it 24/7 in English and Portuguese and it made me reflect a bit more on what a blessing it is toknow that through the Restored Gospel, we can be with our families forever! I love testifying of this truth and when people ask "Do you really think thats true? I can have my Family forever?" I exclaim "YES!" and then we talk about the plan of salvation and the importance of keeping the commandments to receive this great gift! Iknow that Families can be together forever!
Have a wonderful week!
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp

Monday, October 26, 2015

Um ano de missão e conferência!

Yet again, this week has been crazy awesome and miraculous! First of
all, transfers: Sister Reis and I are staying another transfer
together in Parnaíba! AND Sister Robins and Sister Lockhart too!!!
Which is wonderful, because I love those sisters!
This past week I hit my year mark, officially old in the mission now.
I cant believe how fast time is flying! I was able to celebrate my
year mark with MISSION CONFERENCE, where we traveled to Teresina and
were able to have a conference with Elder Marcos Aidukaitis which was
wonderful and super spiritual! We left feeling very repented and
wanting to share the Book of Mormon with every living soul on the
Earth even more than usual :)
Funny story of the week: yesterday we had lunch with Presidente Rocha
(our branch president) and his wife Nalda, who are super great. Pres.
Rocha teased us that we were going to eat chameleon because he had
climbed the cashew tree to get one just for us to eat. :) Lunch was
delicious and even though we ate chicken, we said that it was
chameleon. Example "Sister Reis, would you please pass the chameleon?"
and "Irmã Nalda, this chameleon is wonderful!" :) I didnt get to eat
any lizard creature this week though, but I did eat chicken heart so
thats interesting-ish!
Miracles of the week: B and J are progressing so much! They loved
church yesterday and told us that they are excited to come every week
and to all the activities. :) Our big miracle of the week was a SUPER
AMAZING FAMILY that we found and have started to teach. Their names
are F and F, and they have the cutest daughter, B, who is 2 and talks more 
than any other kid I've met. They loved
the message of the Restoration and the dad gets up early to read the
Book of Mormon! So excited to teach them more and help them progress
to baptism and having an eternal Family!!
This week I've been finishing up the Book of Mormon, which has taken
me forever to read in Portuguese, and I've been reflecting on how much
Ive come to love and appreciate this magnificente book in this past
year. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God because as I
study and apply what I learn, I come to better know my Savior and find
answers for my specific questions and struggles. The promise that it
contains, that EVERY person who reads, ponders, and asks God can KNOW
by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. I'm so
grateful that our loving Heavenly Father gives us scriptures like the
Bible and the Book of Mormon and the words of modern prophets to guide
us on our path to return to Him.
Have a wonderful week!
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp

Monday, October 19, 2015

A semana voou! (Como o morcego!)

This week FLEW by! (like our apartment bat, we havent seen him anymore but the bats live in the trees outside our window and make their bat sounds all night. They send greetings. :) )
Anyway our biggest miracle of the week are two of our progressing investigators, Bia and José. They are SO awesome! They have quit drinking coffee and alcohol no prob, their challenge was with smoking. They smoked a pack of cigaretes (I totally forgot how to spell that) but when we taught the plan of salvation and the word of wisdom and made a plan of conversion with them, they decided to go from smoking 20ish a day to THREE! ANd they're keeping with their goal! The coolest part is they tell us every day that they dont even feel the desire to smoke much! They are so excited to come to church (they went once and loved it) and work towards baptism. Its amazing to see the changes theyre making and the results. We were Reading Alma 5 with them yesterday and talking about the "mighty change of heart" and they said "Thats us!" :) They thank us every day for bringing Peace to their house and every time that someone comes to the door during our lessons, José Always says "No, not now, the servants of God are here and we are listening to them." :)
Funny story of the week: on saturday the 4 of us (Sister Robins, Lockhart, Reis and I) went to clean the church and we ran there. As we were running we received these three diferente comments: some guy shouting "1, 2, 1, 2!", another guy shouting in English " LETS GO!" and another guy shouting "Women, stop running!" haha It was quite funny, people here dont jog or run apparently.
And another funny story/miracle: we called our district president, Pres. Santos, to confirm a visit with him and his wife. When we called, he had his phone on speaker and a friend with him. After the phone call, he commented to his friend that we were missionaries. The friend said, ""Yes, I could tell that the one who was speaking is from São Paulo." (which is funny because it wasnt Sister Reis who spoke, it was me) and he didnt believe it when Pres Santos said I was American! Pres Santos told me story and I told him that he should invite his friend to church to meet me and see that I really am American. ANd the best part is his friend came yesterday!!! :D He stayed for all of church too, and loved it! And is still thinking that Im Brazillian :)
The spiritual thought today comes from Ether in the Book of Mormon. Im studying the part where the Jaredites are crossing the Waters and Heavenly Father protects them from the storms. Likewise in our lives we have big storms and waves and sometimes are in the depths of the sea, but we dont have to fear because God is sending those waves to help us reach our promissed land.
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp

P.S. Today is the day of Piauí, the state Im in. Eu AMO PIAUÌ! :) Fun fact

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Milagres e murcegos

This email is a day late due to yesterday being a holiday and all the lanhouses being closed. This week has been pretty awesome, as usual, because Parnaíba (in fact, all of the Brazil Teresina Mission) is the best. :) We had lots of miracles finding people, Im going to choose a few of my favorite stories to tell. First of all, our biggest miracle of the week is our less active member family who is COMING BACK TO CHURCH! Woohoo! They've come the past two weeks and are so excited to work with the branch, espeically with us missionaries! The sister, Lorena, is our superhero of the week, she's come with us to teach lessons on FOUR different days in one week AND they gave us lunch on Sunday. They're awesome :) Anyway, the first day Lorena went with us on splits she stayed with me and we were walking past a fancy house by the church when I felt strongly to knock on the door (which we had already knocked on with no success in the past.) I ignored it for like 3 seconds and then said "Wait, Lorena, we need to go back." So we did, but there was no doorbell and the door was the kind you wouldnt hear the knock. So I said out loud "Okay, Heavenly Father, what do I do?" and I looked through the fence and made eye contact with the gardener, who after talking a bit was super receptive and turned into our newest investigator! :) Another cool experience was while we were on the bridge over the river (where it is super windy) we helped a lady with a bunch of groceries and a two year old son, and she super willingly invited us to teach her. And today we passed an adorable lamb and we asked if we could take a picture (because sisters are all about taking pictures with cute animals) and when I gave the owner of the lamb the Restoration pamphlet she LOVED it because the cover has a picture of Jesus Christ holding a lamb. :D
A funny but not so awesome story of the week is that all of us sisters now have a  new phobia: bats. A GIANT bat somehow got in our apartment and when we saw it we may or may not have all ran screaming and jumped onto the safe-ish shelter of my bed (because its the lower bunk) in order to escabe the bat. In the midst of our laughter and fear we decided we needed to somehow get the bat out of the house and we decided the best method was prayer because no way were any of us going to chase a bat with a broom (I know its Halloween but come on.) So Sister Robins said a powerful prayer and we are not sure where the bat went but it disappeared. Moral of the story: bats are scary and prayer really works. :) 
Scripture of the week is 2 Corinthians 5:7 -- For we walk by faith, not by sight. Yesterday we taught a SUPER POWERFUL SPIRITUAL lesson to Luzilene and she asked an awesome question: Why isnt Christ on the earth with us if He lives? This scripture immediately came to mind. Im so grateful to know that we need to develop our faith every day, and that our faith works miracles.
Have a wonderful week! Dont forget to ponderize!
SIster Knapp

Monday, October 5, 2015

Conference Weekend!

I hope that everyone had the opportunity to enjoy conference this weekend, because seriously, General Conference is one of the best times of the year! I had the opportunity to watch it at our church with the rest of District Parnaíba (4 branches) and there were lots of people! When we sang the congregation hymns I had a hard time deciding whether to sing in English or in Portuguese so I would trade off between the verses and everyone around me laughed. :) 
Funny/awkward culture story of the week: so this week in Parnaíba was a big Catholic festival of São Francisco. As part of the celebration, many people wear brown clothes. I didnt know that fact when I bought a new dress for Conference which happened to be brown. Sunday morning (the biggest day of the festival) I wore my new brown dress without giving much thought to the fact that brown was the color of the festival. Yeah so.... It was rather funny as we talked to people in the streets because they would look at my name tag and then my dress and you could see their minds wondering whether to believe that I was really a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or to assume that I was participating in the festival.... Oops haha Lesson learned: never underestimate what message the color of your clothes say. :)
Thought of the week comes from Elder Robert D. Hales' talk this conference: "If we are here for the Lord, He will be here for us." I know that this is true! Every prayer we say is heard and our Heavenly Father is always reaching out to us, His beloved children.
Have a great week!
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp

Monday, September 28, 2015

Excited for CONFERENCE

I am so excited for General Conference this weekend that I think its all I'm going to be able to talk to people about. We get to hear from God's LIVING PROPHET AND APOSTLES on the earth! Woohoo! I hope that you all enjoy all of the wonderful and inspiring words we will hear this weekend!
This week has been an adventure of trying to find new people to teach. We knock on lots of doors, ring lots of doorbells, and even clap a lot. Culture fact: lots of houses (not too many here in Parnaiba, it was more in my past areas) dont have doorbells so instead you clap your hands loudly for the people in the house to know there is someone at the door. Im not sure if I mentioned that in a past email, but its quite an adventure. :) We've been able to teach the message about the Restoration a lot (seriously, A LOT) this past week, which is great because it is unique and life changing and everyone deserves the opportunity to hear it! 
Funny stories of the week: my companion, Sister Reis, is obsessed with animals. She's always meowing at the cats and talking to the dogs and its super funny to watch their reactions :) Havent been chased yet, so thats good. :)
Another funny story: our district leader told me yesterday that they had been trying to find the family we had contacted the other day who lives in their area. They went to the address the lady had given me only to find out that it was wrong. The lady, Jesus (nickname for Maria de Jesus) had said we could stop by and share a message. SO when the Elders knocked on the door and a lady answered, one of the Elders asked "Are you Jesus?" and the poor lady was so confused and it was a hilarious situation. They clarified that they were looking for a Maria de Jesus and even though it wasnt her ("No sorry my name is Camila...") they were able to share a bit about the gospel :) 
Scripture of the week, in honor of General Conference, is the wonderful Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."
Have a wonderful week!
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tem SISTERES em Parnaiba!

This week was absolutely an adventure and full of many many miracles! On Tuesday we had our trainer meeting and after lunch we had a few hours to just talk to people and invite them to church! It was great fun, I was with Sister Patrocinio, who is hilarious, so we had a blast. But the best part of the day was when we got to meet the new missionaries! My companion is Sister Reis, from São Paulo, and she is AWESOME! Seriously, she is such a great missionary it doesnt feel like she is brand new because she is so calm and teaches so well. On Wednesday we were able to travel to our new area: Parnaiba! We are working in Ramo 1 (Branch 1) and I know that we are going to see SO MANY miracles this transfer. We share an apartment with Sister Robins (the same sister I was with in Cidade Jardim six months ago) and the new sister she is training, Sister Lockhart. Fun fact: three Utah sisters in one house means lots of pancakes. :) haha Sister Reis is helping us with our Portuguese, but don't worry, in our house its SÓ (only) português! :) Its been kind of a shock for Parnaiba to have us here because the last sisters were in Ramo 3 and over 6 years ago (the last time Ramo 1 had sisters was more than TEN years ago). One guy said to us "You're the first women missionaries Ive seen in my life, I didnt know you existed! I thought it was just men!" hahaha :)
Our house here in Parnaiba is wonderful: we live on the top (third) floor of an apartment and its small but easy to keep clean and the walls are light blue! (The favorite color of the other three sisters, and I aboslutely love blue walls) Its REALLY windy here, so our house makes lots of sounds and we have to be careful with our skirts as we walk :) haha But its wonderful because now is the hottest time of the year, and its like having a giant fan following us wherever we go, so Im a big fan (pun not intended) of the wind. 
The branch here received us super well! I already love everyone here! We havent had any lessons by ourselves yet because we always had a member helping us out and teaching us where to go. Our angel of the week has been Priscila, who went with us three days straight. But seriously, our branch is so awesome and so excited to have sisters here that I know we are going to work really hard. 
Funny Portuguese word story: so my companion, Sister Reis, cut her hair today and now she has a cute afro. When we told Sister Lockhart how to say afro in Portuguese she about died laughing because afro in Portuguese is "black power". Seriously, no joke. :) Thought that you all would enjoy that new word.
Okay, now on a more serious note: I wanted to share a bit of what our district president said in sacrament meeting yesterday. He was talking about how easy it is to get distracted with our technology and smartphones and such and how distraction is one of the most powerful tools of the adversary. It made me think of a conference talk I studied last week that I wanted to share (Ill post the link since Im out of time):
I hope you all have a wonderful week! I know that the Lord works miracles in our lives every day! 
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tchau Maiobão e olá Parnaiba!

Boa tarde!
This email is a day late due to TRANSFERS! Woohoo! I absolutely love Maiobão (the wind, the bakeries, the wonderful people, the AMAZING WARD etc.) and my companion, Sister Espinola, and I am quite sad to leave. BUT I am super super excited for this next transfer because its an adventure Ive been praying for my whole mission: I get to train again AND open a new area! Ive been assigned to work in Parnaiba, a city in Piauí that is a delta and has pretty beaches and is very windy apparently, training a new sister! In two hours I get to meet her, because all I know right now is that Im going to train, the rest is a suprise! :) And I get to open a new area, along with Sister Robins, who will also be training! IM SO EXCITED! And Parnaiba hasnt had sisters in 6 years (since the Teresina mission was formed). I was talking yesterday to a sister from Parnaiba (a member waiting for her mission call who is going to serve in São Luís as a sister for a transfer) and she was so excited and said that all the members pray to have sisters there again. :D Seriously, I am so excited its kind of ridiculous. More stories to come next week!!
Funny story of the week: this was the week that everyone in Maiobão decided to comment on my appearance. I died my hair a little darker and everyone said that I look much more Brazilian now. And the other day we were waiting for the bus when a woman told me that I had the prettiest nose she had ever seen that (direct quote) "looks like it was made by hand". Cool, thanks :) haha My companion laughed a lot about my "pretty little nose" the rest of the day. 
The spiritual thought of the week is something that President Melo is always reminding us missionaries. Its found in 2 Corinthians 3:3 which reads "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart." I love this scripture because when we promised to take upon ourselves the name of Christ, we promise to be an example at ALL times and in ALL things and ALL places. We can do this as we beome living epistles of Him who sent us. We can act and speak in ways that those around us will be invited to come unto Christ. And truly, there is no happier way to live! 
Have a wonderful week! Next email will be from Sister Knapp in PARNAIBA! :D
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp

Monday, September 7, 2015

Flautas e feriado

Our voyage to Teresina was wonderful, including mission council where we learned a lot and were able to take some great training about recognizing the Spirit to our zone. :) Zone conference was great as well and we've worked really hard this week. We still werent able to mark new baptismal dates with D and M, but we are doing our best and trusting in the Lord's timing. 
Culture thought: this week I was thinking a bit about the names of the people we talk to. I feel like names basically fall into two categories: common names (example Maria, Raimundo, Raimunda, Francisco, Francisca etc) and names that I have to ask "how do you spell that?" at least three different times. :) But either way, I love the names of the people here and especially the people to whom those names belong to! :)
Fun story of the day: today is Brazil's independence day! Our ward is having an all day celebration at the church and Sister Espinola and I were able to participate a bit this morning. We also have a new exciting addition to our lives: RECORDERS! We went to the music store this morning and each of us bought a recorder. We went to the church where (unplanned) we found Hislane, a sister who returned recently from her mission, with her recorder and we played a few hymns together! Sister Espinola is learning fast (which is good because transfers are in a week)  and soon we are going to be playing duets. One of my favorite things about being here in Maiobão has been sharing music with the ward and my companions. :) We gave a message this morning in the activity about the importance of music and hymns and I found a neat scripture about music in Colossians 3:16 :) "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" I invite all to read it and pay special attention to the hymns that are sung in Family Home Evening and all other church meetings this week. 
Have a wonderful day!
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp

Monday, August 31, 2015

Milagres e paciência!

This week has been pretty great, as usual! haha Last Monday was basically the best birthday ever: Sister Espinola and I ate sushi and saw the worlds largest collection of Barbies (great way to celebrate turning 20 right? :) haha), we taught Marcone and his family with the Elders Quorum president and his family AND the Relief Society president and her husband where we talked about eternal familes and temples, AND then (the best part) we had a FHE dinner with half the ward and some investigators and recent converts. I basically cried the whole lesson because it is such a privilege to have my wonderful second family here in Maiobão. The friendships we make as missionaries are wonderful! :)
This week we also had a miracle with M L (a less active member who hadnt been to church in years) and her nonmember husband who we visited on Saturday and came to church on Sunday, and they are excited to come next week too! Woohoo!

Funny story of the week: Sister Espinola and I were talking about an investigtor who had been so excited to come to church the first time we taught her, and she showed up to church  few weeks ago and said she loved it, but then started asking if we could give her money and when we explained that we couldnt she didnt come to church anymore and wasnt ever home.... Anyway, we came to the conclusion that we need investigators with real intent and not "real" intent (seeing as "real" is the currency in Brazil) :) haha Okay, I thought it was clever, hopefully it made someone smile :)

Our baptisms for this week of D and M fell through, but we are praying and working hard for a miracle and trusting in the Lord's timing. This week I was able to study a bit about patience (there is a WONDERFUL article in the August Liahona/Ensign about patience that helped me a ton). I love that patience truly is an attribute of Christ, and that as we are patiently doing our very best and trusting in the Lord's time, everything works out for the best as we watch His hand work miracles. <3

Lastly, I wanted to share a quick miracle of the week. I wrote a few weeks ago about J, right? The contact we found and who came to church? Basically, she is amazing. She has SO much faith and desire to learn about the gospel and come closer to God. When we first taught her I felt really strongly to give her a copy of the Book of Mormon, and I am sure glad I followed that prompting!
J LOVES the Book of Mormon and says that it is truly the word of God and that she feels so good when she reads it. Seriously, she is progressing so much! More updates on the miracles of Maiobão next week!

Alright, I'm out of time and we have to run to the bus station now because Sister Espinola and I get  to go to Teresina (7 hours bus ride) for mission council! :) Have a wonderful week!

Muito amor,
Sister Knapp

Barbie ... missionary?  Well, she's a doll!