Monday, July 14, 2014

Everyone should know Jill will be coming home on July 24th and she will speak in our Sacrament Meeting on July 27th at 1:00pm

Dear Family,

It's been rainy this week.  But not cold.  It looks like it should be cold, but then we walk outside and suddenly we're drowning in the humidity and we just want it to rain even harder so that we can cool off.  

I'll tell you the random things first and the good stuff later.  Thursday we met Captain Hook.  He's a Jehovah's Witness.  We had a sort of nice conversation and then he shook our hands with his hook and told us to look up  we said no thanks.   

Also! We met the manager of Imagine Dragons.  (They're in Arendal for a big music festival) She recognized who we were and said, "it's okay I already know about you guys because I work for a mormon based band."  But she was really nice and said she would check out our website.  So we're leaving it in the band's hands.  They'll teach her the gospel   

Saturday we finally got to do some service for some members!! We were so excited to pull some weeds!  But she only let us work for about 5 minutes and then made us come inside out of the rain and fed us pancakes.  She's from Korea, so they were vegetable pancakes.   

Here's the miracle: On wendesday we were walking through the city to catch our bus and we stopped this girl named Josefine and started talking to her about Christ.  Suddenly these kids come running around the corner towards us, a girl about 13 and a boy about 11.  They get to us and start talking to this girl, they needed to get her number or something.  And then she asks the kids if they know us, because we're christian too.  So they start talking to us and they tell us this amazing story.  They were at the store and they felt like they needed to buy a coke that had the name Solveig on it. (I don't know if it is the same in the states, but here coke is doing a promotion where they put names on coke bottles, so you can get a coke with your name on it if that makes you happy) These kids didn't know anyone named solveig but they felt like they needed to find someone who knew solveig and could give her the coke.  So they go out in the city and start asking people if they know a Solveig.  They finally get to Josefine and ask her, "Do you know anyone named Solveig? Because we need you to give her this coke and tell her that we're praying for her." And it turns our that Josefine's little sister is named Solveig and has cancer.  So they gave her the coke to give to her sister.  So cool! This little 11 year old boy was crying as he told us this story.  And Josefine told us she'd been feeling like she'd lost her connection with God.  But we told her, "Hey, God wants you to know He's there and He cares about you.  This is how he talks to us most of the time, through other people.  Through these little miracles. 

I love you all! Have an awesome week!


Søster Knapp
June 23
The work never stops.  Baling hay at midnight.  It's funny that I get more sleep as a missionary than I did when I was at home.  I've been sleeping in until 6:30.  But! I did have to get up at 5 on friday because we had to drive 3 hours to Stavanger for our Zone Conference.  It was the PRETTIEST drive of my life.  Norway is magical.  

Monday evening we took the bus out to a neighboring city to go knock on doors, and then we walked back to the bus stop to catch the 8:20 bus back to Arendal.  We waited at the stop for a couple of minutes until the bus came.  It came, but it didn't stop, it just kept driving past us.  The next bus wasn't coming until after 9:30 so we started walking.  After walking a while we saw a sign that said 6 kilometers to Arendal.  We had no idea how we were going to make it back before 9:30 but all we could do was keep walking.  After almost an hour of walking a member was driving by and stopped to pick us up, and then drove us home.  And we made it right on time!  Tender mercy. 

On wednesday the sister training leaders flew in from Bergen to come on splits with us.  We had a busy day planned with as many appointments as we could since we had 2 companionships to work in our area. So me and Sister Mourik thought we had a full schedule until all the appointments cancelled right before, so the back up plan was knocking on doors!  And that's what we did.  All day.  The thing about knocking on doors in Arendal is that to get to each door requires climbing a mountain or a whole bunch of stairs, or both.  So we were dead tired by the end of it, but it was awesome because while knocking we met this man who was blind from an accident when he was younger, but he's always been Christian and we just had a really incredible conversation with him about God's plan and about the Book of Mormon.  But of course we couldn't just give him a book of mormon because he can't read it, and there's no audio book in norwegian online, but Sister Mourik knew about a bishop in Skien, another area she'd served in who had made his own recording of the book of mormon in norwegian, so she told him about that, and it turns out this man is just visiting family in Arendal and actually lives in the ward boundaries of this bishop in Skien. So he gave us his number and address and wants to meet with the missionaries down there.  So cool!

Friday we went to Zone Conference in Stavanger.  it was amazing! one of the best zone conferences ever.  The theme was the Book of Mormon.  We talked mainly about using the book of mormon to answer questions of the soul.  I love the Book of Mormon!! 

We also had "burnimonies" where all the departing missionaries share their testimonies.  Which is kind of difficult because after a year and a half of incredible life changing experiences and life lessons what do you say? I decided to just share a simple experience from the beginning of my mission, I'm sure I've already mentioned it in an email, but it was over a year ago so I'll just repeat it.  It was my first transfer with Sister Pace in Oslo.  We went to mlc with the zone leaders and assistants at president's house.  I was a little greenie amongst experienced leaders of the mission and when it was time for our practical we were odd numbers, so I had to go with president and practice teaching him the restoration.  I was kind of intimidated, but I taught him about Joseph Smith and at the end he gave me some feedback.  I thought he would give me some language advice or some teaching skill tips, but instead he talked about eye contact. He said to look my investigators in the eyes while I teach them, and especially as I testify of the restoration. I've never forgotten that advice my whole mission.  It's pretty simple, but there's so much power in you're teaching when you're able to look your investigators in the eyes and tell them that you know this church is true, that joseph smith is a prophet, and that the book of mormon is true.  And so I'm grateful for the testimony that I have, that I am so sure this is true and am able to bear my testimony to people with confidence.

Jeg er glad i dere! 
love, Søster Knapp
June 30
Thanks for the birthday wishes!!! It was a great day! The relief society had an activity and we ate lots of cake!! 

also! We taught a women with alzheimers this week! She was 94!!! She was ancient!!!  we didn't realize how old she was or that she had alzheimers because when she answered the door she didn't actually come down and open the door, she just yelled at us from her deck, and told us to come around to the back door.  And she was one of the first nice people to talk to us all day.  so we came in and tried to teach her, but she ended up just telling us her life story about 3 times... because she'd forgotten that she'd already told us.  And then she kept asking us who we were and couldn't hear or understand us, all we could get across to her was that we were from America, and then she would forget and ask us again, and get excited all over again! We realized that she might just have to wait until the next life to hear our message so we said a prayer with her to end it and during the prayer she forgot everything we had just talked about, so as we slowly, slowly, walked with her to the door she told us her life story one more time and made us introduce ourselves again, haha.  But she was really sweet and so grateful for our visit! 

But the miracle of the week is that a man who we'd given a card to called us back the same day and said he'd looked at the website and felt that we were really positive, so he wanted to get a Book of Mormon! We met with him and he has struggled with some things but realizes it's time for him to get his life in order and fix things with his family- his wife and children.  And he knows this can help!! 

We were really blessed this week! lots of good things happened!  Arendal is a magical place. 

Jeg er glad i dere!

Love, Søster Knapp

Monday, June 16, 2014

1. Arendal!!
2. the beach
3. our walk with Inger Johanne

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!!  I hope you had a good father's day Dad:) Thanks for being the best dad in the world!

I wish you could meet Inger Johanne too.  This week we got the hymn book we ordered for her and brought it to her house when we came to visit her.  And then she tried to play a song from it and we realized she's not very good at piano... she always wanted to play but never got piano lessons, so then a few years ago she got her own piano and started teaching herself.  But! She's willing to try and learn the hymns so that she can play in church.  Yesterday we came to church about a half hour before it started and she was there in the relief society room practicing "As Sisters in Zion"

Inger Johanne has a neighbor who needed some help moving things in her house and we were supposed to go and help her on friday, but we got there and Inger Johanne said her friend had gotten some surprise visitors and we couldn't help her today, but she wanted to take us on a walk.  It was beautiful, she took us along the beach and then through the forest and then it started raining on us, but it just made it prettier.  So that was nice, but we had been so looking forward to doing a service project! We almost never get to to do service! People just aren't really willing to accept service here, especially from girls, they're more likely to ask the elders or hire help.  So we've been trying so hard to find service! Hopefully we'll find some this week. 

Also, we went to dinner at our ward mission leader's house this week.  I knew his wife was from Canada, but I found out she's actually from Lethbridge! small world.  She said she's been to Magrath lots, but she didn't know the Russells.  

We've been going on visiting teaching splits with a member in the branch.  She's really cool and we love getting to help her visit teach.  We visited this inactive woman who before was only open to having missionaries coming, but no members.  The first time we brought the member with us last month she got kind of upset, and told us she only lets missionaries come over because she likes the company and that she would never come to church.  But we came back this month and it was completely different.  She stopped talking long enough for us to share the visiting teaching message and she was really open with us.  It was really neat.  

Saturday night during planning we decided we needed to visit this inactive woman the next day.  We knew almost nothing about her, we just had her address from the ward list, but we didn't recognize the street name, we only knew the city.  We had no access to interenet on sunday to look up the address because the library was closed, so we decided we would just take the bus to that city and then knock on some doors and ask if they could point us in the right direction.  We had no idea if we would even find this house, but we felt like we should just try.  After church we took the bus out to the city where she lived, but the bus didn't stop at the right stop, so we ended up getting off at different stop than we had planned on.  We got off the bus and just started walking, and the first road sign we saw was her street, and her house was the first one we saw.  We knocked on her door and she was home and let us in and told us she's been thinking lately that she needed to start trying to come back to church.  Things like this have happened so many times on my mission, and it's so evident to me that this is the Lord's work and we aren't doing it alone.  

I love you all! And I hope you have a great week!

Love, Søster Knapp

Monday, June 2, 2014

The baptism went soo good!!! Inger Johanne was beaming! Most of the branch came, even though they had to drive all the way to Kristiansand.  It was great!

We taught a whole bunch of interesting people this week.  A guy from Spain who is atheist walked up to us while we were waiting for an investigator outside the library.  We had tried to contact him before but he'd been in a hurry and couldn't talk, but now he had time so he asked if we would teach him.  Then between that teach and the next one he had a cool experience with prayer and really wants to keep learning!  We taught a girl from Eritrea who LOVES the book of mormon and is concerned that everyone doesn't know about it.  She came to church on sunday and loved it! And we've been teaching 2 norwegians guys and their friend from the philippines.  It's an interesting combination because one of them is agnostic but really, really interested in "information" the other one is more atheist and doesn't really care about religion, but still has a lot of good things to say in our teaches, and the filipino girl is very Christian and shares a lot of cool experiences.  It's so cool to teach them! People are so cool! And so good!! I love meeting all kinds of people every day.  

I hope you all have a great week!! 

Love, Søster Knapp

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hei alle sammen!!

it's officially summer here! No more layering. I got the package you sent mom! thanks so much! it was just in time.  Sørlandet is the sunny and warm part of norway, so I'm enjoying the sun.  

We had an eventful week.  We've been trying to get everything organized with the baptism and Inger Johanne is so excited for saturday, so is the branch! We went to dinner at the branch president's house yesterday and then we taught her about temples:)  She's been golden the whole time, the only rought spot we've had was on thursday when we taught her the word of wisdom and she said she didn't want to stop drinking coffee, but the next day when we came she said, "Jesus is more important than coffee" and said she would stop drinking it.  Haha, we were a little nervous there but she's too ready for this to let anything stop her, especially not coffee.  She's incredible.

On tuesday the senior couple in Kristiansand drove here to bring us a book shelf from Ikea for our apartment.  The elder told us to have the elders come over to build it for us, and when he heard that we thought we could build it ourselves he laughed and made a negative comment about women.  Well guess what! I built the bookshelf myself during our lunch hour. Haha, it wasn't too complicated.

Yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament meeting too! (I wish I could've heard Luisa and Kristy's! I'm sure they were great!) The missionaries get one sunday a week because there's not very many people. I talked about being a disciple of Christ and for some encouragement I quoted from elder Holland's talk in conference, the end where he says:"Be strong...A long history of inspired voices, including President Thomas S. Monson's, point you toward the path of Christian discipleship.  It is a straight path, and it is a narrow path without a great deal of latitude at some points, but it can be thrillingly and successfully traveled, "with... steadfastness in Christ,... a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men."  In courageously pursuing such a course, you will forge unshakable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow, even shafts in the whirlwind, and you will feel the rock-like strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging discipleship, you cannot fall."  It's those promises that get me- unshakable faith, safety, feeling the rock-like strength of our redeemer.  So cool!! And so real!!!

I'm sad Luisa is going already! I never even got to meet her!! But I'm so glad she's had such a good experience here! I've met a lot of people iin Norway who've been exchange students in the U.S. and there's quite a few members here even that became members after learning about the church from their host family.  There's a member in Kristiansand who we spent 17. Mai with.  He was an exchange student in Las Vegas with a member family and joined the church, then went on a mission and just got back last year.  He's cool. and so strong.  And I sat by a girl on the bus this week who lived with a member family in Vegas 2 years ago.  She was at the same school as Astrid! ( My friend in Bergen) It was a 20 minute bus ride and we talked the whole time, she's not interested in the gospel, but we talked about everything else.  And then I prayed that night that I would get to see her again, and we took the same bus again the next day!  She came and sat by me and we talked the whole bus ride again.

I hope you all have an amazing week! 

Love, Søster Knapp  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

First off, we re all lucky that Im still alive.   Thursday we took a member with us to a little town 15 minutes away to teach an investigator, but this member insisted on driving us there, even though shes 80 and probably shouldnt have her driving license.  haha, it was kind of terrifying, but I was praying the whole time while i was sitting in the back seat that we wouldnt die and I knew that Heavenly  Father would keep us safe since we are His missionaries.  We survived! And the teach went sooo good!
This week was full of miracles.  We have been blessed with a lot to do so we have been pretty busy.  And I just learned today that a little over a year ago they were about to close this area and take the missionaries out because nothing was happening here.  But then they found this incredible investigator the week before the missionaries were supposed to leave and it stayed opened.  She was baptized and now she is one of the most amazing members here.  We met with her this week and told her about personal progress.  Shes 27, but we thought she could do it anyways because it will prepare her to go to the temple! She loved it!
We are still meeting with Inger Johanne and she wants to get baptized so bad! Shes the woman we knocked into my first week here who plays the piano.  Shes a widow in her 50s and she has always been christian since the first grade when she learned about God in school.  Shes so ready.  She came to church last Sunday and when she introduced herself in relief society she explained how she had been in a few different churches and met with the JWs, but had never really found the right church until me and Sister Nance knocked on her door and told her about the Book of Mormon, shes already read half of it and knows its true.  Her baptismal date is in 2 weeks, the 31st of May!
I love you all! Have a great week!  Happy 17 May!

Love, Sister Knapp