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