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

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Batismo do Genesio!

Boa tarde!
This comes a day late due to TRANSFERS! I can't believe this is it.... But the time has come, and now begins my last transfer. Gulp. Well, its going to be AWESOME!
Sister Robins and I asked if there was some sort of punchcard or Frequent Trainer Miles because once again, we are both staying in Parnaíba (for the FIFTH transfer) and training new sisters (the FIFTH sister... I guess 5 is the lucky number!) I'm super super excited to be able to finish my mission in my beloved Parnaíba Ramo 1! Sister Richards is going to Maiobão (my last area!) and  I'm going to miss Sister Richards. She is going to Maiobão (Maiosião as we call it) and I´m super excited to train a new Sister ! I get to meet her in about an hour! Woohoo! There are three sisters coming this transfer and the trainers are Sister Robins, Sister Nascimento and I. It was so good to see all the sisters in Teresina, and seriously, my mission is the bestest. :)
Now for the stories of the week:
Genesio was baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday! Woohoo! He got married on Thursday (which we didnt even have to do anything for, it was already in the process and we just had to wait!) and lets just say it was an eventful week! His wife isnt a member (in fact, she is Buddhist) but she supports him and Genesio absolutely loves the Church! His baptism was super special and spiritual and almost everyone there bore their testimonies to him about how great of a choice he made and how much they admire him. The baptism itsself was an adventure, Id never heard of anyone baptize a man with just one leg! But Zeca, the brother who baptized him, was great and Leandro, another brother from the branch, got in the font too and with teamwork the baptism was a success! There were definitely angels involved too because Leandro said they almost slipped helping Genesio into the font. :)
On the day of the baptism, we were walking towards Iasmins house to go do visits with her when it started to POUR RAIN. And we had forgotten our umbrellas soooo we got soaked. So much that Iasmin had to lend us new clothes. So my fancy clothes in the baptism pictures arent even mine! haha It was quite the adventure.
On Sunday, the last day of the transfer, I was able to give a talk in Church and then we did a musical number. Sister Richards sang and I played the piano and we performed Dearest Children God Is Near You. Oh man, I love music! It was such a special meeting.
We have this investigator, Rafael (no, not Sara's Rafael, another Rafael... This could get confusing...) who was a reference from Zeca. He's really cool! He is a lawyer and he is super smart. Well we are teaching his mother, Ana, and she is never home! But after the third time we went to teach Ana and she wasnt there we decided it was a sign that we just had to teach Rafael too. The problem was since he was home alone we had to teach him outside of his house. When we taught him the first time two of his friends were there too. We taught the Restoration and one of the friends just wanted to Biblebash. But it was a good lesson and we marked to come by the next day. The next time we taught about the Book of Mormon and the Biblebashing friend, Ismael, said "No way, I dont like that book, I only like the Bible. I dont want to read it!" We told him that he couldnt say he didnt like it if he never read it! Come on, its like Green Eggs and Ham! haha He finally agreed to read a chapter and we agreed to meet the next day. Well the next day came and Rafael had read and loved it, and Ismael came out of his house in the middle of the lesson, Book of Mormon in hand and said "Okay, I read the chapter. It was really good!" We then started talking about Alma 32 and how it teaches about faith when Givanildo, the other friend from the first lesson shows up. We explained briefly about the Book of Mormon, marked Alma 32 for him too, and continued talking. And Givanildo stood there and read the whole chapter without us saying anything! haha It was super funny because if anyone tried to talk to him he would say "Shh! Im reading!" It was such a cool lesson, sitting outside this house with these three men excitedly explaining the parts they liked in the chapter they had read. I sure love the Book of Mormon and I know that ANYONE who reads it with a sincere desire to know if it is true can know for themselves that this book comes from God.
Well, time is almost up and we are on our way to meet our new companions! EXCITED! Have a wonderful week and dont forget to count the miracles!
Sister Knapp

Monday, February 22, 2016

Um ano e quatro meses...

I literally had to recount to make sure that today was a year and four months as Sister Knapp... I'm losing track! haha This week was, lets be honest, super strange. I think our faith is being tested! Nevertheless we see tons of miracles every day and life is good in Parnaíba. The big miracle of the week is that this saturday (the 27th) is marked as Genesio's baptismal date! WOOHOO! Everyone- Genesio, the branch, our other investigators, SISTER RICHARDS AND I- is super excited and praying that all will go well. He is doing great not drinking coffee and his wedding is marked for the 25th! Its been so neat to see his progress, pretty sure Im going to cry at this baptism.
Now for the weird stories of the week:
We were walking down the street (I think most of our stories begin like this) and I said to my companion, "Sister Richards, we need more new investigators. Lets knock on a door!" So we decided to knock on the door of the house we were walking towards. Right as we said "That house" the garage door started to open. What. We looked at each other not believing. And then a car came out and the people in that house drove off. Welll... Guess it wasn't their day. :)
Another day we were also walking down the street with Jane Kathleen, a branch member, and this crazy guy wanders up to us repeating "Robei, robei, robei" ("I stole") and walked towards Sister RIchards with his arms open as if to hug her. She looked at him and said "Ah não, obrigada" (Um, no thank you) and we kept walking quickly. He then started chanting "Perdoe perdoe perdoe" (Forgive me)... It was super weird. Sorry, crazy dude, you can't steal my companion!
Now for the latest bat story. Sister Lockhart and Sister Benevides were woken up at 5:30 AM by a bat in their room. He flew around and then landed in Sister Lockharts make-up bag, jumped out and came to a stop to take a nap (no joke, he literally fell asleep) on her flat iron. They managed to get him out of the apartment with a broom and he like hissed at them as he walked into the hallway and flew out the window. Sister Lockhart took a picture of him sleeping on the flat iron. Oh bats. :)
Another semi-weird story but also a miracle: We had found a new family of investigators on Thursday and taught about the plan of salvation. We marked to go by on Saturday but when the time came we were super far away and in the middle of a lesson. We went to visit the family later that evening and when we got to their house we saw Lúcia, the mother, about to leave. She came and hugged us and said "Its a good thing that you stopped by now, we werent here earlier! My dad passed away this morning." We hugged her and she asked "Do you want to meet my dad?" Ummm...Not sure what that meant?... She asked again and Sister Richards said that we would love to if it was important to her so we followed her down the street. I wondered if Sister Richards hadn't understood that Lúcia had just said that her dad passed away so I whispered to her "Sister, he's dead, just FYI" to which she responded "I know, but I figured it was important to her." So thats the story about how we went to a Brazilian viewing. Lúcia led us to her mother's house on the other street, through the lots of visitors, and right up to the open coffin where she said "This is my dad, isn't he beautiful?" It was a cool experience though, Lúcia was so calm and we were able to testify more about the plan of salvation and how families can be together forever. She said that she wanted to bring the plan of salvation pamflet to the funeral the next day and that we could visit them again this week. I am so grateful for the plan of salvation!
The scripture for the week comes from Alma 37:37 which we read yesterday in some of our visits with the branch council and our gospel principles lesson was on the same subject: the importance of prayer. I am so grateful for prayer and for the opportunity to communicate with our loving Father in Heaven. I know that whatever is important to us is important to Him and that He hears and answers all of our prayers. Maybe the answer isnt exactly what we are wanting or expecting but I know that everything He does is for our good. 
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, February 15, 2016

Todo Mundo Doente

Well.... This week has been rather tough. Carnaval is over (this is good news!) but now everyone is sick! No, not zika, but there are lots of flies now that are causing a stomach virus that everyone got. And those who didn't got a cold. Sister Richards was in the first category and she is doing much better now! I was in the second category and I am doing much better too! The cold caused an ear infection, but everyone here is taking such good care of me that I can't help but get better fast! On Thursday we were out working with our Sister Training Leader, Sister Patrocinio, and we had to come home early because Sister Richards and I were both feeling really sick. Well, I wanted to keep on working, but when the investigators could only comment "Você está bem gripada!" (You sure do have a cold!) and Sister Richards puked in a gutter, yeah um we went home fast. So the rest of the week we spent finding doctors (our district and branch president took us to basically all the doctors in Parnaíba until we found someone who could see us that day) and resting lots. Being sick in the mission is no fun. BUT there are always miracles! We gained even more appreciation for how AWESOME our branch is and how much they love us! And hard times make the good times even more appreciated!
Now for the stories of the week:
We went to visit a less active member and were teaching the restoration when his mom started to hardcore want to Biblebash with us. Like yelling while we were trying to bear our testimonies. It was a ridiculous situation because this lady was wearing nothing but a ripped pillowcase ("its too hot to wear clothes!" she said) and trying to tell us that we were being brainwashed... Well... Mission adventures right? The Church is still true!
Church yesterday was also an adventure. Right as we got there it started raining and the power went out. So we had pretty much no one there and no power. But during the intermediate hymn, which was Count Your Blessings, a bunch of people showed up! Woohoo! We had sacrament meeting and Sunday school in the semi-dark and then had to cancel the last hour because we could hardly see each other. :) 
Yesterday while walking to lunch we passed two exciting things that made us stop and take pictures: a door that said "I love you" (On Valentines day!") and a large iguana. We startled the guy coming out of the house with the cool door and asked him if we could take a picture. I don't think he'd been asked that before, but he very graciously shut the door while we took our pictures. I think we made him smile. :) And the iguana was by a mango tree eating a mango. We've seen more iguanas this week than in my whole mission! I think the total is 5.
Also... We taught three people named Socorro in one day. Its a common name.
In other news, Sister Richards and I have fine tuned the art of making stove top popcorn. Like, the perfect quantity with almost all the kernels popped and none burnt. Skills!
Funny story: we were walking down the street and passed two trees and Sister Richards said the following: "Sister, these two trees represent me before and after the mission. This one is young, green, and alive! Now look at that one. Burnt and dead." Yes, this is how we feel after walking in the sun! But he that loses his life shall find it right? :)
Our investigators are about the same as last week. Genesio is still waiting on his marriage papers to go through (any day now!) and is doing great quitting coffee! We still haven't seen Sara and Rafael after their trip but I have faith that this week we will find them and see many miracles! And of course, finding new investigators!
While cleaning our house today we were listening to a song that said something that really stood out to me: maybe blessings come through raindrops. Maybe the hard times are what we need to help us truly get to know our Savior. It made me think of Isaiah 55:9 and how the Lord's ways are higher than our ways. Sometimes we don't understand the whys of life, but we can trust that the Lord has a perfect plan for us and that He never gives us things that we cannot bear. Trials are proof that the Lord knows we are ready to grow a little more!
Have a lovely week! Count the blessings!

Sister Knapp

Monday, February 8, 2016

Caraval e muito calor (e milagres!)

This Friday was the beginning of Carnaval here in Brazil which goes until Wednesday. Our schedule has been changed for these days so we are studying at night (we have to be home at 6 pm) and working starting at 8 am! Its been challenging since most of our investigators are out of town but we have still been seeing miracles! One big carnaval miracle was on the first day of going out to teach at 8. I thought it pretty difficult for ANYONE to let us in at that hour, but Sister RIchards and I said a prayer and headed out to work. We have to walk 3 blocks before we get to our area, but when we crossed the street where our area began, two adorable dogs ran up to us. We started talking to their owner, a lady named Socorro, who invited us in to share a message with her! She is super friendly and was super excited to hear our message and invited us to return the next day to teach her and her daughter, Dani. We told her that we had prayed to find someone to teach and she said "Well then I was outside just waiting for you!" 
Another miracle is with our less active, Mario, who was re-activated (after 4 consecutive Sundays of attending Church) yesterday! We taught the Word of Wisdom and invited him to stop drinking coffee. He said that he would think about it and we could come by after lunch and bring bread to eat with hot chocolate. So after lunch we came back with the bread as promised and together threw out all the coffee and the coffee strainer and drank hot chocolate to celebrate! He bore his testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday about the word of wisdom and how he is already noticing a difference!
Another miracle Remember Thiago, the less active brother we met and helped come back to church a few months ago? Well he was called yesterday as our new Branch Mission Leader! Woohoo! We are super excited to work with him!
This week has been rather hot (like seriously, really hot and stuffy) and I echo the words of a little girl on the bus  "Its so hot that when I get home Im taking THREE showers!" Good idea. :)
Today Sister Richards and I decided to be creative and compose a poem. We hope you enjoy it

A Day In The Life of Sister Knapp and Sister Richards
6:30 AM time to awake
For missionaries there is no break.
Exercise, get ready, and study
With my companion - she's my buddy.
Then time to go out in the sun
The work and fun have just begun.
Almoço with members is nice
But all we eat are beans and rice.
After our lunch we try to teach
But everyone is at the beach.
New people then we try to meet
We greet the people in the street.
We teach about the Restoration,
Eternal families, and Salvation.
"Come visit the church!" we say
"Also read this book and pray!"
"Possibly another day..."
Just when we think they understand
They question us about our land
The language too - "Your eyes are BLUE?!"
You think that hearing this is new?
Our battle has not yet been fought
Keep working even though its hot.
Our faces now are dripping wet
But we're not crying, its just sweat.
On my foot a brand new blister
Price to pay to be a Sister.
My dear friends in Piauí
Don't drink coffee, don't drink tea.
Drugs and alcohol we flee.
"But wait a second, we cant smoke?
This has to be some kind of joke!"
We challenge them to try it out
This way they can remove their doubt.
"We know for certain this is true,
Moroni 10 says you can too!"
Their testimonies start to grow
A new light in their eyes does glow.
Faith and repentance are the start
Of the mighty change of heart.
Baptism and confirmation
Necessary for salvation.
The Holy Ghost is your best friend
He'll help you endure to the end.
Miracles are in all we see.
The mission is the place to be!

The scripture for the week is in Mormon 9, the middle of the chapter where we learn about miracles. I know that God does not change, and because of this fact, He will always be a God of miracles. He performs miracles in our lives daily. 
Have a great week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, February 1, 2016

Batismo da Nicole!

This Saturday we had a baptism! Woohoo! Nicole, a great 13 year old young woman, has been progressing so much and was able to be baptized and confirmed this weekend! She is one of those perfect investigators that had every single lesson with members, had no problem with any of the commandments, went to church the past 4 Sundays (every week since we started teaching her) and was just waiting for water basically! Her mother is a less active member who we met while teaching her, so we are working with her too! The baptism was great, and three of our investigators (Sara, Rafael, and Genesio) were present and loved it. We had a BIG miracle with the baptism too: Heavenly Father definitely hears our prayers when we ask for things. The first miracle is smaller: Sister Richards and I were cleaning the font Saturday morning but the supply closet was locked and there are NEVER supplies left out. We desperately needed mops (well, Piaui mops - rodos, because they are like giant squeegees for floors) and I prayed saying "Heavenly Father, will you please send me a mop?" and then I felt to go look in the kitchen. And there were TWO lovely rodos sitting there! Yay! Now for the bigger miracle: We had invited the branch members whose phone number we had and hoped that we would have two priesthood holders to be the witnesses. Well the time came and the bretheren who had said they would be there either cancelled or didn't come... So it was 45 minutes after the designated starting time of the baptism and we were one Brother short... President Rocha and I were trying to call the brothers who said they would come but they werent answering when out of nowhere Irmão Brito shows up. I hadnt called him because he doesnt have a phone right now, so I was really suprised when he appeared in his white shirt and tie with his scriptures. I asked who had told him to come and he said "I just felt that I needed to come to the church so here I am. It was the Spirit that called me." I am so grateful for wonderful priesthood holders who are worthy and willing to respond to promptings from the Holy Ghost even when they might not make sense.
Now for the funny stories: this one comes from Sister Lockhart and Sister Benevides from Ramo 2. Their investigator told them why he decided to quit smoking: one day he was working on a project and realized that he had smoked a whole pack in one sitting. With that realization and the last cigarette in his hand, he threw it on the ground. A cockroach came out of nowhere and went near the lit cigarette, sniffed it and died. Literally, just died. He said to himself "If a COCKROACH dies just from the smoke, what am I doing inhaling this thing?!" Sooo... Dont smoke :)
Last week I wrote about how Manu, Bia's daughter learned how to say "Sister". This week we were reading in Moroni 6 with Bia and Jose and I was reading out loud when I read the word "Batismo" (baptism) and Manu exclaims "BA-TIS-MO!" It was super awesome, this little girl is the best!
Another funny story is this week we were getting ready and Sister Richards was eating an apple with her hair in two braids. I looked at her and exclaimed "Sister! You jumped out of the Gospel Principles manual!" There is a picture of a blond girl with two braids eating an apple that looked a lot like Sister Richards. We took a picture to prove it. :)
One last miracle and then I' m out of time: Yesterday we had lunch with Irmão Barbosa and Irmã Ivanez, a wonderful couple from our branch. Their son, Ze Filho, who isnt a member of the church, was living in Fortaleza but moved home this last week. We shared a message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as we were leaving we asked Ze Filho if he was coming to church. He said no that he didnt think so. We invited him to come and in response to his hesitant reply I said "See you at church! I have faith that you'll come!" And guess who showed up at church? Ze Filho! His parents were glowing, they were so happy to have their son in church with them. :)
The scripture I wanted to share is from my preparation for a lesson tonight about our attitudes and keeping the commandments. In the Book of Mormon, Laman and Lemuel are generally complaining and unhappy. Nephi, however, tries to look on the bright side and keep the commandments and as we learn in 1 Nephi 3:6, is blessed because of his reaction to lifes challenges. May we all be more like Nephi and endure our challenges with faith and trust in the Lord!
Have a great week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, January 25, 2016

Todo o coração, poder, mente e força

This week has been crazy full of miracles! Sister Richards and I decided to make this the best transfer of all time and we began with a goal to purify our lives by being as obedient as possible in ALL the little things and its been making a big difference. Fasting and prayer and literally giving our absolute best to the work is so worth it! I'm learning that giving 99.9% of myself isn't enough, the Lord requires 100% ALL the time. My testimony of repentance is growing, but not just this week, its been growing my whole mission. This week we had a neat training with all the missionaries around the world. We watched it broadcasted live in our church in Parnaíba with our district and all the speakers focused on the doctrine of Christ and parts of Preach My Gospel. It was great and I'm doing my best to always apply the doctrine of Christ. There is no limit on how much we can bear our testimonies of faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Good stuff. :)
The biggest miracle of the week is an amazing family we are teaching: Sara and Rafael and their cute 3 year old son Nicolas. We found them on Tuesday when our last appointment of the night fell through. We knocked on the door of the investigator we were going to visit and when nobody answered I looked and Sister Richards and asked "Okay, which door are we going to knock on next?" She said that she wanted to visit the house across the street so we went and rang the doorbell. A lady asked who it was and we replied cheerfully "Sisteres!" To our suprise she opened the door and without hesitating asked "Would you like to come in?" Um yes. Of course. We are missionaries! hahaha We went inside and started chatting with her, Sara. We found out that her sister is a member of the Church in another city and that Sara has not one but TWO copies of the Book of Mormon, one in Portuguese and one in Spanish because she was studying Spanish. We talked about the Family Proclamation and the Gospel blessing our families and left Alma 32 for her to read, marking a next visit for Thursday. We asked if her husband would be there too and she said "Probably, but he is never interested in these kinds of visits. It would take a miracle to make him stay." Well Sara, we believe in miracles! :) Thursday came and I felt prompted to take the Restoration DVD to watch with another investigator. When we went to visit Sara the thought popped into my mind to watch the Restoration with them and she was really excited about it. So we taught the first part of the Restoration and then watched the DVD. And guess who stayed for the WHOLE LESSON? Her husband, Rafael. He was super excited and they had lots of questions. After that we have been teaching them every day and they are a golden family! They read all of the chapters and pamflets (Literal quote from Sara "I read the chapter 4 times in Portuguese and once in Spanish to make sure I understood it all") They came to church yesterday and liked it, they even helped out in Primary! They have been telling us of the miracles that have been happening since our visits. The day we found Sara she had been praying desperately for God to send someone something anything and a bit later we knocked on their door. Sara said that Rafael never sits for visits and he is just as excited as she is, something that she calls a big miracle. Nicolas, who never stays in church lessons with the kids, loved primary and stayed the whole time. Soooo.... I'm quite excited to see the results with this great family. :)
Our other investigators are progressing very much too! Nicole is getting baptized this Saturday and she is very excited. Genesio (the man with one leg) came this week to church as well (bringing his cousin who is visiting from São Paulo) and has a baptismal date for February 6. 
Church yesterday was a BIG miracle too. I broke my record for the most investigators in sacrament meeting (something that has always been hard for me) with nine investigators and the branch members were overjoyed that there were 63 people in sacrament meeting! This is the branch that never had more than 35 when I got here a few months ago. Truly the Lord is performing MIRACLES in Parnaíba. It is an incredible privilege to be working in this wonderful part of the vineyard. 
Cute story of the week: yesterday we had lunch with Bia and José, our recent converts. Emanuele, Bia's 15 month old daughter, learned a new word (her 4th word): SISTER! :D It was super adorable to see her running around exclaiming "Sister! Sister!" 
Funny story of the week: yesterday in sacrament meeting, President Santos gave a wonderful talk about becoming like Christ and relying in Him. He asked a rhetorical question without waiting for an answer "What would Christ do?" And someone (probably an investigator) exclaimed "O certo!" (The right thing!) :) It was quite funny.
Sister Richards and I also got to teach the youth Sunday School class very last minute and it was an awesome lesson about teaching by the Spirit. The youth in our branch are super great!
To finish up I want to share two awesome scriptures I found this morning while studying the New Testament (seriously, the Bible is super great). Romans 8:24-25 and Romans 8:37-39. Look them up, they are wonderful!
I am so grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ. For His infinite Atonement that enables us to change and become better each and every moment. I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers and loves His children!
Have an amazing week! Count the miracles you see!
Sister Knapp

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mais uma em PARNAIBA!

Olá! Greetings from rainy Parnaíba!
Transfers are today and we anxiously waited (rather an understatement) to receive the phone call from our district leader this morning, but the good news arrived and Sister Richards and I are staying another transfer together in Parnaíba! And so are the other 4 sisters from branch 2!!!! We are SUPER excited and grateful to continue the wonderful work here! Everyone likes to remind me that now I only have two transfers (and one agonizing phone call to tell of the transfer) left but.... I prefer not to dwell on that matter. Maybe I'll just stay in Parnaíba forever! ;)
This week I would like to share a funny story based on motorcycles. Motorcycles here are pretty hilarious due to the fact that they are the most popular transport and are at times used in interesting ways. Here are some that Sister Richards and I have observed these past few weeks: used to transport farm animals (chickens, goats, pigs and possibly others), pipes (a giant pipe that Sister Richards exclaimed "I could fit in that!" and another pipe about 4 times the length of the motorcycle), trees (seriously, we have seen at least 3 motorcycles dragging big tree branches), all of the groceries, entire families (like at least 4 people), and women who ride sidesaddle. I'll keep you updated if we see any more interesting things on motorcyles. :)
Another funny story is this last week we got lost (you would think that at this point of 3 transfers here I would not have this story but... our area is really big!) We were walking to lunch in an area very far away from where we usually work (aka near the church) and missed the turn. Our 15 minute walk turned into an hour and we saw interesting sights (like a field that had once been a swamp and a guy sleeping under a tree in the middle of nowhere) and at one point thought we had walked to Miami because there were some reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaally fancy houses, including one that Sister RIchards and I stopped in front of simultaniously and just looked in awe at our Brazil dream house. Adventures!
Another adventure was that yesterday in branch council we were asked last minute to speak in church. We prepared our talks super fast and also last minute decided to sing a duet for the special musical number. We spoke about temples and sang Come Come Ye Saints (including one verse in English). It was really neat, and sacrament meeting was very spiritual. We started with literally 15 people there but then ended with 47! A lot of people cried too, including our investigator Genesio.
And about our wonderful investigators... They are progressing so much! Genesio (the one without the leg I talked about last week) came to church again and LOVED it. He loves our visits and understands very well everything that we teach!
And Nicole, the friend of a young woman, Francisca, is progressing a ton too! She has a baptismal date for January 30 and this week when she prayed about the Restoration she said that she felt so good "It was incredible, much better than I imagined!" :) She's changing so much, she has a new light in her eyes and its because of the gospel"
Time is up, theyre closing the lanhouse, but I just wanted to end with how grateful I am to be serving here in Parnaíba and seeing so many miracles!
have a great week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, January 11, 2016

Novos e novos milagres!

This week has been more full of giant miracles than funny stories, so I will begin with the funny stories:
Last Monday we had an awesome family home evening with Bia and Jose and Iasmin (member). We talked about the plan of salvation and started with the premortal life in the kitchen, the when we talked about our life on earth in the dining room, and then moved to the living room and talked about life after death. It was really cool because of the doorways between the rooms that helped us imagine the lesson better. It was pretty legit. Okay the funny part, while we were teaching a bat flew in. Again. I thought I was done with the bat adventures! Here's the cool part though, I wasnt even freaked out, we just continued teaching like normal even though the bat missed flying into my head by like 4 inches. Focus brings blessings! :)
The climate here has also began to change, its cooler now with less wind and its raining almost every day. This means that its a lot more humid and stuffy and almost a little chilly (like the other day I thought about putting on a cardigan. WHAT. In the Brasil Teresina mission? haha!) And the water is the temperature of Antarctica so Ive gotten even better at fast showers. :) Also the other day the lights went out and we planned by candlelight and it hit me that things like freezing showers and no electricity and gas stoves are so normal to me now... Its gonna be weird coming home to electric stoves and water heaters....
Remember the story about Pedro's mom who talks during the prayers? She's progressing so much! We went to teach Pedro this week and she said "Girls, I have a surprise for you: I read in the Book of Mormon!" She read the whole introduction and testimonies and we didnt even challenge her to read! WOW! We are going to try and focus more on her too and see if she is interested. :)
We have a new investigator named Camila who is pretty cool. She was a reference from Iasmin and is coming to the activities and came to church yesterday! Excited to see how it goes teaching her, references and working with members are THE BEST.
Marcos Antonio and his family werent baptized this week because they were suddenly transfered to another town about 5 hours away from the nearest branch so.... We are going to see what happens. All is in the Lords hands and timing, and I know that their family is one day going to have another opportunity to accept baptism.
Now for the big miracles of the week: 
Julia - There's this house that is near the church (like a block away) that we would always pass and I would always feel like I needed to go there but the timing never felt right. On Thursday we were walking by and I said to Sister Richards "Lets go to this house." Before I had even said anything though she had already stopped. So we rang the doorbell and a woman appeared and when we introduced ourselves she asked "Would you like to come in?" Um yes, we are missionaries so of course! :) We went inside and this woman, Julia, showed us TONS of pictures including the only picture she has of her father, who passed away when she was 12. As she talked about him and read the note he had written on the back of the picture she began to cry.We were able to begin teaching about the plan of salvation and eternal families and set up a return appointment. A few days later when we went she told us that she had loved the plan of salvation pamphlet and after she read about it she prayed and felt really good and then started to wonder if she could be forgiven for her sins. We read Isaiah 1:18 and then taught the Restoration. It was very spiritual and Im sure we are going to continue seeing miracles teaching her and her family!
Another neat family that we were guided to is Francisco and Eliane, who live on the same street as our branch president. We felt prompted to knock on their door on Friday and their daughter in law, Dalila, let us in. We introduced ourselves and told them that we pray every day for God to lead us to the families He is preparing to receive us and we felt like we needed to knock on their door. They LOVED that and we were about to teach them about the Restoration. As we taught about the Book of Mormon, Dalila got up and went to the other room and returned with A BOOK OF MORMON. Heres the cool story: She found the book three years ago because a neighbor threw it out. She saw it and felt that it was special and so she took it inside and wrote in the inside cover "This bible belongs to the family of..." Saturday we were able to teach them about the plan of salvation and yesterday they came to church!!! They liked it and tonight we are going to have a family home evening with them!!! Eliane told us yesterday that they know that we were sent by God and they have already been seeing blessings in their family. 
Yesterday in church we had gospel principles in another room because the classroom we usually use couldnt fit all of the investigators and recent converts! WOOHOO!
So on Tuesday we were contacting people in the streets when we passed a man sitting outside his house. We starting talking to this man, Genesio, and invited him to church. He said that he knew it was an important invitation but he didnt seem very interested and we werent able to return this past week. Yesterday at church, we were in the last class when a brother came in and said "Sisters, theres an invistigator asking for you." We went outside and it was GENESIO! Heres the coolest part: he is a 60 year old man who came to churh on a moto-taxi (yes, they have motorcycle taxis here haha) and he is missing one of his legs. Which just goes to show that if you really are intersted in coming to church you can do it! He only had 30 minutes of Elders Quorum to attend but he loved it and is excited to learn more about the gospel and come again next week. His faith is a big example to me and it was a good lesson about not judging people based on first impressions. 
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, January 4, 2016

Ano Novo!

Feliz ano novo!
We had many adventures this week, our less actives are progressing a lot, and we are continuing to prepare Marcos Antonio and his family for baptism!
Stories: there was a day this week where little kids said so many funny things to us. I will share my two favorites:
An investigators daughter had Disney princesses on her shirt. when I asked her who her favorite princess was she replied "My mom!" CUTE. Later on, we (Sister Richards, a member named JaneKathleen and I) were walking down the street and a bunch of little kids playing in a doorway yelled to us "EI! Mulheres lindas!" (Hey! Pretty ladies!) haha We waved at them and they giggled a lot. 
Now for more funny stories of the week:
We've had a couple of lessons with Mario (a less active) where the Book of Mormon has a message just for Sister RIchards and I and we have to fight hard not to laugh as we read with Mario. The first time was when Sister RIchards' ankles were really swollen and we read in 1 Nephi where Laman and Lemuel tied up Nephi and when they let him go he said "And behold my ankles were exceedingly sore and swollen" :) This week we had a day where we were SO TIRED and trying so hard not to snooze as we read. The verse came up saying "Awake from the deep sleep" :) Seriously, I love the Book of Mormon!
We also had a lesson with a less active who literally spoke for 40 minutes. No breaks. Sister Richards nicknamed him Fourty Minute Francisco. It was a struggle to share a scripture and then to end the lesson, but it made for a funny story and I imagine he enjoyed the visit!
We also had a multi branch talent show and us 6 sisters did a funny skit and then Sister RIchards and I did a flute piano duet of How Great Thou Art. It was so neat, we are going to play another piece in our zone conference tomorrow. It was a true miracle to find a flute in Parnaíba for her to use, but through a friend of our new investigator we managed! 
We spent New Years Eve and New Years working normal, with tender mercies because it was SO HARD to find people to teach (everyone goes to the beach). But Heavenly Father heard our prayers and guided us to people and on New Years Eve we managed to teach 8 lessons! Woohoo! 
Now time for my favorite story of the week entitled Sister Power:
So it was New Years Eve, and Sister Richards and I were walking down the street after another house of nobody home and having prayed for an opportunity to find someone to teach. We saw an elderly man (okay, elderly is an understatement, he seriously was SUPER old, like his skin was almost purple and falling off) who was demolishing a cement-brick wall ( about two feet high) around a tree in front of his house. We asked him if we could help (like five times because he couldnt hear us) and he replied "No no, this work isnt for girls. This is only work for men." But if an old guy can take down a cement wall, Sister Missionaries can too! He finally agreed to let us help him and after a few minutes of like zero progress from us he said "I told you you couldnt do it. This is no work for girls." When he started wacking the wall with the mallet again I realized I had just been doing it wrong! I mean, Id never knocked down a wall before so.... We convinced him to let us try again and that wall was no match for us! I think it made for a funny sight: two American girls in skirts and an elderly man in the hot afternoon sun demolishing part of his front yard. It was quite the adventure and in the end this man, Adonias, looked at us with newfound respect, offered us water, and we were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation. :)
My thought for the week comes from a Liahona I was studying this morning. I doint remember which one it was, but a quote from President Benson really called my attention. He said something along the lines of when we do our best in teaching, the Spirit magnifies our callings and talents and we accomplish things far beyond our natural abilities, which brings no greater joy. I know that this is true! I am so grateful for the Spirit because I know that when I bear my testimony and do my best, Heavenly Father can work miracles. I love this gospel and am so grateful for the privilege to be serving in Parnaíba!
Have a great week!
Sister Knapp