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