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