Friday, January 29, 2010

Still here in good 'ol Provo! ;)

That is the sweetest thing ever! Awwwww! Hailey Brookie!! I miss you so much too! I love you and I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited for you birthday soon! Are you going to have a party?! Freestone park again?! haha!! Take that picture around with you everywhere and pretend I'm there! (**Our little sister Hailey is turning 8 on February 10th and is going to be baptized...she is very sad Erin won't be there! My mom told Erin in her last email how she keeps finding Hailey holding Erin's picture, or giving it a big hug! So sweet!)

Okay, so the story about your little misfortune on the way home from Utah is hilariously sad! I'm so sorry! Que Pena!!! (what a pity!) (**This is referring to the fact that my parents got stuck in the mud on their way home from Utah...I couldn't think of a better description of it then how Erin put it "Hilariously sad" we are sisters for SURE!) BUT...I have to agree with what mom said that it was a great time for you to pray and work as a family! I was overwhelmed with a mixture of humor, spiritual testimony, and sadness for you as I read about it. I'd say its a great story for the posterity though! ( I sound like a missionary or what?! The other day some of our Elders were talking about something they wouldn't tell us and my companion said, "Is this secret combinations?!" She then turned to me horrified and said something to the effect of "Oh no...I've started using missionary humor!" It was pretty funny. Its bound to happen after 11 weeks in the MTC, right?!)

ANYWAY...I had a really amazing experience at the Temple last week that I didn't write about. I had been struggling to fully stay awake during the sessions for a few weeks in a row, so I prayed that I could really pay attention and learn from the incredible things that occur in the Temple. Nothing crazy happened, but I was able to stay away and my testimony grew that the things that we do in the Temple are of God and are necessary for our Salvation. As I pondered it later as I was writing in my journal on Sunday, I was filled with the Spirit and overwhelmed again by the Restoration. This is what I wrote in my journal: "The truth has been restored. The ways of God, though far too complex for our earthly minds, are shown in part to us in the Temple, His sacred home. I am able to covenant with him and learn the things I need to know and do to be brought into His presence, and to be sealed for all eternity to my family. To progress without end. The temple is the most important place on earth." My greatest joy would be to one day be in the celestial room with my entire family: Me with my spouse and children, and with all of you. That would be the purest joy I could feel on this earth.

Our amazing teacher from Brazil we skype with gave us an awesome surprise on Saturday! His family was in town and we got to teach all of them! They acted like family members of our investigator "Marcus." I adore his family! He has 3 younger sisters, Mariana (19) who just got engaged to one of his best friends--we got to see the ring and he had one too so I guess they do engagement rings for the men too! Karina (15) and Larissa (12). His parents are Joubert and Wanderleia! I love Brazilian names!! haha!! They are awesome! It was a lot of fun and they said we did a great job! We love praise...probably too much...But the best news is that "Marcus" is being baptized tomorrow!!!!! We are so excited!! Having progressive investigators is awesome! I can't wait until they are real!

Okay so guess what?! I sang in church on a quartette. Yeah...shocking I know! I didn't do very well but it was a fun experience! It was Elder Armitstead, Elder Lew, Sister Riggs, and me with Elder Lunceford at the piano. We sang Where Love Is in portuguese! It was fun but scary and I shook the whole time and didn't sound very good. but...TUDO BEM! All is well! haha!

AG! No time....I have more to say so I will try to send a written letter too! But all the Elders and one sister who had been here 14 weeks were all reassigned on Thursday! We just started week 12, so we will see what happens! No one knows anything about visas, except that its random and weird!

Love you all so much!!! Thanks for the pictures! They made my day!!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Tudo Bem? Tudo bom!

I have two talks I want you all to read: "Lord, I Believe, Help Thou My Unbelief" by Pres. Faust and "But If Not" (different than the other one I talked about) by Lance B. Wickman. I printed a copy to send you but I haven't yet, so just look it will be faster that way. But the latter I just happened upon after I emailed last week when Sister Riggs and I were reading talks for our companionship study. It was the perfect comfort for me while thinking about JR and Rick and Nancy. I am going to send them a copy as well.

Last Sunday I watched Mountain of the Lord after we had our Fireside (we get to watch church films on Sunday nights if I've never mentioned that before). I don't know if I had ever seen it before but it really touched me. Our Fireside had been about Joseph Smith and we had sung Praise to the Man as the closing song. The line "Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven" stuck out to me as I listened. These words became even more significant as I watched Mountain of the Lord about the building on the Salt Lake Temple. 40 years. It took 40 years to finish that temple. The saints knew what sacrifice was and their sacrifice was literally for the blessings of heaven. That they could enter into the temple and make covenants of eternal consequence. We are blessed to have their amazing examples as we labor and sacrifice today to keep ourselves clean and share the gospel with the world.

Tuesday night's devotional was also amazing. It was about the power of the Book of Mormon. I wish I could record these talks and send them all to you because each one has brought the spirit strongly into my heart and taught me amazing truths. The speaker was David F Evans from the Seventy on Tuesday and he emphasized that the Book of Mormon contains answers to EVERY question of the soul. I want to testify to all of you that when we read the Book of Mormon, we will find the answers we are looking to and that as Joseph said, we will grow closer to God by reading and abiding by the principles of this Book than by any other book (that was a paraphrase but look to the Introduction for the exact quote). I know this is true!

Time is up, but I love you all!

Sister Knudsen

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still no visa!!!

In Visa news: 10 visas came this week. 2 Monday and 8 on Tuesday. No one I knew very well. The 8 that came in went to NEW missionaries! Ugh! haha! I am happy for them, but it is a little hard to see visas come to missionaries who just here! 4 of them were in my teacher, Irmao Smith's, new district. They are going to the same mission as Sister Hanson so she isn't too happy. haha! Two other missionaries got reassigned yesterday: Elder Dalton is going to Maryland Baltimore mission, and Sister Kempton (who is from Mesa and is AMAZING!!) is going to Arkansas. We also found out that our first district leader, Elder Handy, who was sick when he flew out and so ended up in Dallas serving there for a transfer has been permanently reassigned there as oer the Prophet's request! Pres. Monson sent his parent's a personalized letter about it from what we hear! So that is kind of crazy! He is having mixed feelings about it, but it must be what is right!

So we became Mega District on Tuesday! We cleaned out our classroom and moved into 1M (the main building where the front desk, administrative offices, cafeteria and chapels are). There are 9 smaller chapels along the back on the building and there are 2 Brazil bound districts in each one! We are with our adopted district so that is fun, but it is VERY interesting having MDT time always! We have to plan VERY specifically so we can be productive.

We have been skyping A LOT with the teachers in Brazil so that is really good for us! Our teacher we talk with most is Irmao Diniz and he is AMAZING! I am so grateful that I get to be taught by and teach him even though I am not going to be in the CTM in Brazil. He has a great personality! We have been doing a progressive investigator with him and it has been an incredible experience! He served in Sao Paulo North too, so he has good info for me too! And I might be able to stop by the CTM sometime to really meet him, since its in my area. We shall see!

Well I have to go now, but I hope you know I adore each and every one of you so much! Dad, Mom, Andrea, Devin, Andin, Cambria, Ashley, Erik, and Hailey! (And Amanda and all the blog followers!) You all mean the world to me!!


Sister Erin Knudsen

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Latest email!

Hello dear family!

So I've decided I don't write very good emails home...I'm really going to try better! IE: Last week I took up way too much time with that story and then wrote the spiritual part quickly and it probably didn't sound serious since it was after the funny story...yeah. Speaking of the spiritual part though: No, I didn't get my visa. The BUT IF NOT is in effect! But I am happy! Don't worry! I love the MTC, so wherever I am I will try to do what the Lord wants me to do! I will admit that any time the intercom/voice-over turns on with an announcement, Sister Riggs and I perk our ears up in hopes it will be calling our names to the travel office! Not yet...not yet!

This is our 9th week here! That is INSANE! If we don't get our visas by Wednesday, we become a MEGA district! Woot! Irmao SMith is receiving a new District that day, and Irmao Flanigan starts training a new teacher that day. But because he is training, he still gets to teach us a little bit! We are so sad to lose Irmao Smith though. He promised to come visit us still atleast.

I just have to tell you guys how much I LOVE our teachers here. I can't go into as much detail as I would like because there isn't enough time, but I will tell you a little bit of why I am so blessed to be here in Provo!

Irmao Smith is so humble and so full of love. He would be with us every second of the day if he could. He loves us and missionary work so much! His testimony is solid and his passion for missionary work increases our desire to serve with every word that he says! He is also HILARIOUS! He loves to tell us funny things about Brazil and his mission that make him crack up. When he thinks something is funny, he can't stop laughing about it. It makes us all crack up too. SO much fun! We are his first district, by the way, so that is fun too! And he is amazing at teaching already so I never would have known if they hadn't told us that he hadn't taught at the MTC before!

Irmao Flanigan is just an INCREDIBLE teacher. He has taught here for awhile and he has done so many activities with us that have changed me for the better. I will explain one of them we did this week because it was AMAZING! He asked us as we walked into class on Tuesday to get our scriptures and note taking materials and wait reverently for class to begin. We did so, and after we sang and prayed he took us down to a room on the bottom floor that is bigger and was empty and had us spread out. He then bore his testimony of prayer and told us we would be taking some time to have some meaningful communication with our Heavenly Father. He told us to not worry about time and then before we started, he shared an experience one boy had with sincere prayer in 1820. As he finished reading the first vision, my heart was already full of joy and wonder at the way our Father answers prays so willingly when we put forth the effort to turn to him.

I then began my prayer and had a very personally communion with my Heavenly Father. The main feeling that overwhelmed me was LOVE and that I am a daughter of GOD. This means so much. It means EVERYTHING. As his daughter I can do anything. As his daughter I can become like Him through the gift of my elder brother Jesus Christ. Through faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, I can be with my family for eternity in endless happiness with my God. I am so grateful for the plan of my Father that makes this possible for us!

A scripture that I was reading today really stuck out to me. It is 2 Ne 26:23-33. It is about the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Please read it; it is perfect!

Thank you SO MUCH for the package! It was like a second Christmas! I'm pretty sure my whole district is jealous of my new laundry bag too! haha! It's awesome! And the Tide to Go was the best! We have a bit of a district joke about it and I have wanted to buy one from the bookstore forever now so it was PERFECT! The shirts are great too! I love them! I might be good to go, but if you are still looking, if you find any that have a straight cut on the bottom, that would be nice. I have to tuck in the ones that have the business cut...I don't know what it is called. I like doing both!


Sister Erin Knudsen

*Sorry I posted these back to back! We had friends in town all week and I just never got to posting! But at least now you get a double :) Sorry Mallorie are sweet to keep checking! Erin will love to hear your comment!


Isn't it fun that my P-day is on all the Holidays?! I think so.

There weren't any fun festivities for New Years like we hoped, but after such an amazing Thanksgiving and Christmas, we can't complain! We still had to be in bed at 10:30 last night and wake up at 6:30 this morning. Thus is the life of a missionary! ;)

I have a hilarious story for you all. One of our friends in our adopted district, Elder Lunceford, is full of great stories. Here is the latest one to have us rolling with laugther at lunch time.

He started the story because someone asked him if he'd broken any bones. He replied that he had broken his hip in a a few places and both his the same time! And the "The Other Guy" (?) had broken his ankle.

We said, "okay..." Well...He explained:

When E.L. was a child he lived in an apartment complex that had a lot of big trees in the front. Him and his buddies would often climb up the trees. One day they were race-climbing and he doesn't remember what happened but he was told that he lost his grip and fell from the top of the tree onto the ground, first hitting his hip hard, and the trying to brace himself with his hands which broke both of his wrists. (OUCH!)

But thats not all. "The Other Guy" was his friends Dad who lived on the second floor of the apartment complex. While seeing his young child's friend falling from the tree he thought, "I must catch him!" So he jumped from the second floor balcony...

When E.L. woke up, "The Other Guy" said, "Don't move!!" E.L. saw that his friend's dad was laying beside him and asked..."What happened to you?!" He replied, "I broke my ankle."

Please enjoy this story as much as I did. It is HILARIOUS.

Anyway...moving on...

On Monday and Tuesday a total of 60 visas came in for random people. Most of them were mega-district (over 9 weeks) Elders and Sisters but 5 were for people my same week (My District Leader Elder Roberts and 4 Elders from our adopted district, Elders Bagley, Jensen, Beidelman, and Wengel). They left Tuesday morning much to our dismay (and excitement for them of course...). We miss them dearly! Playing volleyball without them just isn't the same!

Sister Riggs and I have set a goal to receive our visas on Monday though. This isn't just wishful thinking. We have been praying and will be fasting on Sunday for the cause. We started packing today as well. We feel very at peace with the decision. There is a great talk called "But If Not" by Dennis E Simmons, that talks about having "But If Not" Faith. This means, we do everything in our power and we pray and we go forward with what we think is right, and even if what we want to happen doesn't happen, we have faith that it is part of God's bigger and better (than our own) plan and that everything will work out for our good. This is the direction we are taking. If we didn't pray, fast, start packing, what faith would we be showing? But with these actions, we want to show are Heavenly Father that we are ready to be his servants in Brazil. "But If Not" we will stay here a few more weeks, get reassigned, whatever the case. We will do His will. It feels GREAT!

I don't know if I have told you much about the RC (Referral Center) but we get to make calls to confirm delivery of movies, books of mormon, missionary visit requests, etc. and also answer incoming calls or chats from pass along cards or etc. It was a bit scary at first, but I have gotten better at it. I had an amazing experience with it last week though! I don't have time for a lot of detail, but I called a woman who ended up being one of the sweetest and most stubborn woman I have ever met!!!!! I LOVE HER!! I talked to her for about 15 minutes or so and invited her to have a Book of Mormon about 5 times and missionaries probably 3-4 times. She refused every offer saying she was happy to have her Bible which she LOVES. I bore testimony of many principles and she would say "I believe you" but still refuse my offer. It made me laugh and cry....because I love her so much from our conversation and wanted her so badly to accept, and yet I was amused by her responses. She did say I could call her back, so I am going to try again this week. I hope I can get her to accept a Book of Mormon...she needs it!

Anyway, I've got 10 seconds left so I need to go before the box closes on me!

I am doing well and I love you all!