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!

Monday, August 24, 2015

10 meses e 20 anos

Olá! Bom dia!
Greetings again from Maiobão! This week has been marvelous, full of great events and more to come! I've passed my 10 month mission mark and today my 20 year life mark (mission birthdays are the best, by the way) and we had zone and stake conference! Woohoo!
Our zone conference on Friday was super great, and Sister Espinola and I got to teach a bit about the Book of Mormon and also teach with the Zone Leaders about obedience and "burying our weapons of war" (Alma 24:17). Ive been learning so much on my mission about the importance of obedience in ALL things, and that it truly brings blessings! Our challenge, which I extend to all of you as well, is to make a few goals about what weapons of war we have in our lives that we can bury to better serve the Lord. (examples: lack of patience, yelling, not studying on time (mission life :) ) and many more) I know that as we strive to follow the commandments, not only do we draw closer to God, but we are happier! Mosiah 2:41.
Funny story of the zone conference: we had ice cream as a treat, and when I went to  help serve it I was informed by Elder Amado (a missionary from Cabo Verde, Africa) that there were no spoons. He said, "Sister, if you find a spoon, I'll give you R$20!" So I started digging through the cupboards and guess what I found? A spoon! The only issue with the spoons that I found is that they were very tiny, the size of my finger, and wouldnt exactly work to serve ice cream. BUT it was a spoon, nontheless! All the missionaries laughed at Elder Amado's reaction as he tried to defend that it was too small to be a spoon, and it didnt count but... A spoon is a spoon no matter how small! haha :) I didnt get my R$20 (he gave me instead a piece of paper with R$20 written  on it) but the laughter was worth it. :)
Another funny story is while we were on the bus, a guy proposed to my companion and we gave him a Plan of Salvation pamflet. :) He also told everyone on the bus to "clap your hands if you love Jesus!" 
Stake conference was perfect as well, with M and his wife F coming with us! They LOVED it and we are excited to continue working with them to baptism! And MIRACLE, we sat on a bench by a lady in a blue dress. I asked what her name and ward were and she said "Maria Evanilde from Vila Palmeira." I almost cried when I realized she was the same woman I wrote about a few weeks ago that I found with Sister Maria and who was baptized! Tender mercy! <3
I'm out of time, so  I will share more miracles next week. Have a wonderful week, read Mosiah 5 (my current favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon) and smile!
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp
10 meses y 20 años

Monday, August 17, 2015

Aniversários das Sísteres!

In the house of the Sisters of Maiobão, August is a very special month, due to the fact that 3/4 of us have BIRTHDAYS! And this past Tuesday was the day of Sister Quespaz and Saturday of Sister Espinola. :) So needless to say, we had lots of cake this week, including cake at a suprise party/ Family Home Evening on Saturday. It was great fun!
Speaking of Family Home Evening, our FHE last with with M and L and their family was AWESOME! N and F, the newest Recent Convert couple of our ward, came with us and we had an awesome lesson on eternal families. Everyone loved it and we have another FHE with them tonight! haha They are progressing SO MUCH and even though there are a few challenges to overcome before baptism, they are so ready to make changes to follow the Savior and become members of His restored church! 
Another family who is progressing a ton is the family of M, his wife F, and their son P. We taught them about the law of chastity, which was a great lesson, especially because they are already married! (Its pretty rare to find MARRIED COUPLES who are interested in listening to our messages.) M came to church yesterday and became instant friends with the Elders Quorum president, and he is excited to come to stake conference next week. So many miracles! Working with members makes life so much better! Yay for members!
Another miracle this week was J, the next door neighbor of a family we are teaching, She wasnt too interested when we talked, but we felt really strongly to give her a copy of the Book of Mormon and invite her to church. She said she'd try, which usually means "No thank you" but guess who was in Relief Society yesterday? J! AND shes reading the Book of Mormon! :D
Yesterday we were also able to go with some members and meet some references that they gave us: FIVE different famlies who live in the same two streets! Along with contacting a lady I met on the bus last week, we now have what we call "A quadra de ouro": The block of gold! Looks like we're going to be working in that part of the neighborhood for a while! :D
This week I was also able to work in Maiobão with Sister López (a new sister that my past companion Sister Lima da Silva is training) and Sister Patrocínio. I love being STL because I get to go on exchanges with other sisters! We had lots of miracles in those two days, but Im going to share my favorite which happened with Sister López. We went to teach a family and when we got to their house, they were busy decorating for a birthday party for their son. We helped them decorate a bit and they asked us if instead of teaching them now we could come back that evening and teach everyone that would be at the party. Um YES YES WE CAN. So we went back that night and when we got their, J (the father), invited us in and announced "The sisters are here and have a great message! Everyone listen up!" He had everyone put their chairs in a semicircle and we were able to teaech about the Restoration to not just one, but FOUR different families. :) It was pretty great, especially because when we talked about the apostasy everyone started not paying attention, but when I was able to share about the First Vision and bear my testimony, it was silent. Everyone paid attention and in the end everyone accepted the invitation to pray about what we shared. So many miracles in Maiobão. :)
Fun culture fact for the week: here in Maranhão everyone is obsessed with a soda called Guaraná Jesus. Its bright pink and when I got to Teresina, a Sister gave me some to try and I thought it was the NASTIEST beverage on planet earth, with a flavor between bubble gum, cinnamon, and Childrens Tylenol. But here in Maranhão there is no way to escape, and I have come to love this interesting drink. Its quite funny though, because people ask when we visit a house "Do you like Jesus?" and usually theyre talking about the soda. :) But either way, I love Jesus! And as great as the soda is, the Jesus I love more is my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for His Atoning sacrifice, that through Him we can be cleansed from sin, that all mistakes can be forgiven and we can become pure and perfect and able to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father with our families for eternity. I am so grateful to be able to share the message of His Restored Gospel with my brothers and sisters here in Brasil and truly, there is no place Id rather be. <3
Have a wonderful week!
SIster Knapp
B-day party for her companions
P.S. Yesterday we had an exciting event in our ward: Bruno, a recent convert, opened his mission call! He is going to be serving in Brazil Goiania! :)
The famous soda!
Bruno and his mission call!

Monday, August 10, 2015

If you give a Sister a pancake...

Oi a todos!
So many stories this week! I'll try to type fast!
First of all: Transfers were last week and I am loving that I get to stay in Maiobão and be companions with Sister Espinola! She is hilarious and we work hard and I know we are going to see tons of marvelous miracles!
Okay, the stories are just going to come in a random order now:
On Wednesday we were walking and ran into the son of a family we are teaching. He was excited to see us and wanted us to meet his friends. He called out to a girl near him "Hey! Hey! HEY!!!" and when she didnt pay attention he grabbed her face and said "GUESS WHAT!" He then pointed to me and said "Sh'es from the United States!" and pointed to my companion and said "And shes from Peru!!" The girl wasnt as interested in meeting foreigners I guess, because she just shrugged, but it was really funny to see how excited some people get to meet people from different countries. :)

Another story: This week we stopped by a locksmith to buy a padlock and when I asked the price the guy said "I'll give it to you for free. Because you have a beautiful voice when you speak. Your American accent is wonderful. And your voice is beautiful." So.... That's the story of how I got a lock because I have a nice voice, I guess :)

Third story: The zone leaders, Sister Espinola and I went to Teresina this week for a leadership meeting. When our bus was about to leave São Luis this conversation happened:
Woman on the bus "Bus driver! You have to pray to Jesus so that we wont get in a wreck!"
Bus driver: "Dont worry, I did, and I asked to have an angel here to protect us."
Sister Espinola then said to me "Dont worry, there are four of us here." :) haha And our journey was safe, no worries when there are missionaries on board. :) #lotsofprayers

Now to explain the subject (a variation of the book "If you give a pig a pancake"): If you give a Sister a pancake.... She'll want some Maple to go with it. This, my friends, is a true fact. And while in Teresina I recieved a wonderful package with maple syrup and another with peanut butter, which is a wonderful combination. I excitedly shared this fact with my fellow American, Sister Robins, and that night (my companion and I were staying with the sisters in Teresina) we made pancakes with peanut butter and maple syrup. We loved it and the sisters who had never tried maple syrup or peanut butter loved it too. :)
Another story: Yesterday I was able to give a talk in sacrament meeting about missionary work (suprise right? :) ) and I loved preparing it. Its so neat to see how I've changed as a missionary, I remember my farewell talk I was terrified, and yesterday I just wrote down some scripture references and gave a ten minute talk no problem in Portuguese. Seriously, Heavenly Father helps His missionaries so much. 
We have an investigator family, M and L and their kids, who are SO GREAT! We taught them Saturday night and they promised to come to church on Sunday (WHICH THEY DID!) and they asked what activities the church had on Mondays. We said nothing, because of Family Home Evenings. We explained what that was and they were so excited when we offered to teach them tonight how to hold their own FHE. THey invited some neighbors and I'll share next week how it goes! Super excited!!
The spiritual thought from this week comes from part of my talk yesterday: Christ called us to be Fishers of Men. When we fish a fish, the fish dies. But when we fish a man (or woman), they are able to receive Eternal Life. I am so grateful for the privilege to share the things I know are true, to be able to testify that Christ lives! God is our loving Heavenly Father and we have a living prophet! I know that true happiness comes through following the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ. <3

Have a wonderful week!
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp

B-day present!

The city of Teresina


Monday, August 3, 2015

Saudades de Natal

Oi a todos!
So this weeks subject is "Missing Christmas" because Sister Nascimento and I have been singing Christmas songs all week (we even sang Angels We Have Heard On High for Joires and she liked it :)). Maybe we are a little crazy, but it makes life more exciting, right?
Now for the important news: transfers are today! I get to stay in Maiobão!!! And I get a new companion: SIster Espinola! haha Moving is going to be fun for her, just from one room to the other :) haha I´m super excited for these next 6 weeks, we also got a new area for sisters in our zone! And the two sisters I trained (Sister Ferragi and Sister Lima da Silva) are going to be trainers! So proud! :) 
This week was marvelous, especially the wedding and baptism of Nathan and Franciane! They're not technically our investigators, but it feels like they are because we are in the same ward and Sister Nascimento and I love them tons too. :) They both bore their testimonies in church yesterday about how wonderful it was to keep the commandments and be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! 
Another neat story: our recent convert, André, is amazing! I forgot to mention last week that he passed the sacrament! And this week we stopped by his house to teach him and when we asked if he was busy he said "Kinda, I was working on my Duty to God!" (A program for the Young Men) He's great, and the ward loves him. :)
Life here is pretty wonderful, I just can't believe it´s August already. Time is just flying by, and I´m not sure what I´m going to do with myself in April when I dont get to eat rice and beans every day... Well, just enjoy every moment as Sister Knapp while I can, right? :) 
I found a really neat quote yesterday which is now on the cover of my planner for this next transfer. Its from President Boyd K Packer -- "We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see." I absolutely love this quote! Ive been thinking a lot about the commandments and how important it is that we follow what the Lord would have us do. So many people think that rules and the standards we live are restricting and old fashioned and so many more negative things, but truly they are given to keep us safe, to allow us to have liberty! An all knowing, loving, and merciful Heavenly Father gave us commandments to prevent us from straying onto harmful paths. I know that when we follow the teachings of God, through his past and living prophets, we are not folling blindly, but instead we are clearly seeing the path to happiness in this life and in eternity.
I hope you all have a marvelous week! Make someone smile today! :)
Muito amor,
Sister Knapp