Monday, November 30, 2009

She titled this one..."Happy Black Friday :)"

Hello my dearest family!!

Thanks for the letter about Thanksgiving! I loved reading about the fun events of your week! BB KING and MARK MABRY?! Lucky Lucky!!

The thing I am most jealous about is the Double Cream Blueberry pie though!! I did get some blueberry pie, but it wasn't the same!

Our food was pretty good! They take care of us here, but it wasn't family style of course! We did get turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, pie (they had many different ones but I just had apple and blueberry!) green beans, rolls, etc. It was yummy! I got to sit with my friend Sister Jenny Bullock (from my single's ward) so that brought home a little closer at least!

The day was INCREDIBLE though...We did indeed get to hear from Elder Jeffrey R Holland and his wife, Patricia, in our Thanksgiving devotional! They are such an amazing couple. Sister Holland spoke about our potentials and how God knows us each individually. How our calling as missionaries is a holy calling. That we are holy. That we were made by His Holy Hands. It was really good.

Then Holland came up in tears from the Spirit his wife and the musical number had brought and said, "Thank you Honey" Followed by the sweetest testimony of a man in love that I have ever heard about how grateful he is to have an eternity with the dear woman he has been sealed to. It was precious! He gave us many divine words of advice, but I want to share something with you that really hit me and will stick with me my whole mission. He talked about how the thanksgiving and Christmas after his oldest son got home from his mission were some of the sweetest moments because of the reunion of family members. He told us we SHOULD be homesick because we SHOULD love and miss our families. He said when we get home our joy will be immense when we reunite. Then he said that God is feeling homesick for his children all the time. He wants them back. And that is why we are serving. We are going out to bring His children back to their loving Heavenly Father. I am so so so SO grateful to be apart of that reunion in whatever way I can be.

We were also blessed to have Elder Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, Kristen, here for our Tuesday night devotional...WE ARE SO SPOILED!! It was also amazing! The biggest message I took from their talks was that we have a mantle as missionaries to represent Jesus Christ. That means we need to be striving each day to be like Him. It is a weighty calling, but we are promised that He is with us. That as we have the Spirit with us, we can say what He wants us to say, and that he will make us into the amazing individuals He knows we are meant to become.

It has been a great week. But I AM homesick especially as they put up the Christmas lights on the MTC campus and I think about the holidays. I miss you guys tons! I am excited for the sweet moment when we are reunited just as Holland talked about. It will be wonderful!

Other points of interest:
One of our teachers was gone this week for Thanksgiving so we had a substitute from another district. His name was Brother Silva and he served in Rome, Italy. He had an amazing story about his mission. He went and came home early many many many times because of health reasons but knew he needed to serve so he kept going back out. Finally he was able to serve the full amount in Rome. He shared some amazing experiences with us and just has a great perspective on life. About our visa troubles, he said, "The work is going so well in Brazil that Satan found another way to slow it." I thought that was pretty funny/true!

I still havent talked about my teachers or the Elders in my district yet, have I? I'm slacking!! They are WONDERFUL though!! We have so much fun together. I will talk about them in my next email...hopefully! I also have a new mission motto from Hebrews 12:1--"Run with patience the race that is set before [me]." Isn't that amazing?! I'll explain it more in my next email.

Anyway, I hope you are all well! I love you so much!!

--Sister Knudsen--

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another email and visa information....

So the past week has still been busy (I don't think that will be changing any time soon!) but we have a set schedule now so that is nice for planning! Planning Planning Planning! That is so important here! I hope I can keep these good habits when I get home because they really help make life more productive!

So a few updates on the Brazil Visa issues: When I got here I found out that the problem is in the Brazilian consolates (sp?). A lot of them are really backed up so that is what is keeping us from getting through. L.A., Salt Lake, Texas, and many others are having major issues, so we just have to wait and hope they get to them soon. My companion Sister Kessler was told that her Visa did go through and didn't have any problems, but there weren't enough missionaries with visas to send to the MTC in Brazil, so she was sent here with us. A District of Elders who just reached their 9 week mark still hadn't gotten theres last week, so they got sent to Tennesee and Georgia missions for the time being! Crazy! They are telling us to assume we will be in Provo for the full 9 weeks. There is some talk that most issues will be resolved in the middle of December, but we aren't counting to count on it.

The more we learn, the more ready I am to teach in english...I'm so excited to do it! I am definitely not great at it yet, but I feel the importance of the work and so I want to share it! So I think I would be okay in some ways to go somewhere stateside if I needed to. It seems crazy that I have to learn how to teach AND learn how to teach it in PORTUGUESE, but I'm sure its all going to be coming together more soon...

That being said....I really hope we get to Brazil soon! I really wanted to go the Campinas temple and if I'm not at the MTC there at all I won't get to. That really isn't a huge deal, but I was excited about it!

Agg...No time...I will hopefully give you a better more informative email next week!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our first email from Erin!

Oi Familia! Tudo Bem?!
(Hi Family! How are you?)

I already know (with some help from my notes) how to say a simple prayer in Portuguese and how to bear a simple testimony! It's exciting!

I love all the learning! We are in the classroom for most of the day but it is broken up into personal study, companion study, teaching/PMG lessons, and language lessons. Our goal with portuguese is to be completely off english by December 11! That is soon! But I believe it can be done and I'm excited!

So I am really loving it here. Don't feel sad, I DO miss you, but I am focusing on what I am doing and it is AMAZING! I am in a trio companionship with two fantastic sisters: Sister Riggs from the Dallas Texas area, and Sister Kessler from King City, California (Monterey county). Sister Kessler is the sister who is from Nana's ward I'm pretty sure, so small world!! They are both really fun and definitely here for the right reasons! We have a lot of fun together! (*Edit from Andrea....Nana is my husband Devin's Grandma, she had told us when Erin got her call that there was a girl in her ward that also got called to Brazil, now they are companions! Weird!!)

Address update: The address I gave you for the MTC is right, but my mailbox number is 169, so you can add that in.

Anyway, I hope you guys are doing well! I love you so much!! Your love and support mean everything to me while I am here!

The church is true...that is confirmed to me in everything we do here. The spirit is very strong here!

Well, I am running out of time (30 mintues per P-day) but just so you know, we had a half P-day today but it will usually be on Fridays, so you should get another email from me next Friday! If you email me back by then, I'll update you on the visa stuff! haha!


Sister Erin Nicole Knudsen

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's official....

Erin is officially at the MTC! We took her to the airport early this morning and after a lot of hugs, and tears, we finally let her go! We all have missed her so much today and can't even begin to understand how much we will miss her for the next 18 months. But we are all very proud of her choice, and know she is doing exactly what she is meant to do. All of you that know her, know like we do that she will be an amazing missionary. Her sweet spirit, fun personality, and strong testimony are going to bring so much joy to the people of Brazil. I will keep you posted on her visa situation, and of course update as soon as she sends me anything to post! Also, I started a flickr account for all her photos. I just uploaded a bunch of family photos as well as some from this morning! Thanks to all of you for being so good to her, I know that she loves all of you very much and appreciates all of your support!