Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Boa Tarde!

Hello everyone!

Another week has come and gone! Man...its passing by soooo fast! And today I found out that instead of staying an extra 3 weeks longer that 18 months like Sisters usually do, it has been changed and I will probably be coming home a couple weeks shorter than 18 months. CRAZY. I´m already almost at 6 months on the mission! I have SO much to learn still...but I think that is how you always feel out here and in life in general. My perspective on life has changed a lot already.

Okay so the most exciting adventure of the past week was Sao Paulo! I had to go into the capital to do my fingerprinting with my visa stuff. All of us americans who came from the provo MTC and all the missionaries from the MTC down here came into the office on Thursday night to be up and at the office by 6 AM! We stayed the night with the sisters that are close by and had a big sleep over! There were 6 of us. Sister Winters and I, Sister Steinbeigle (who I met in the MTC) and her companion Sister de Souza (who was Sister Winter´s comp before she came to be mine) and then the 2 sisters that live there, Sister Abreu and Sister Lopes. Sister Steinbeigle and I woke up at 4:30 to get down there by 6 and then we got to see all of our Elders from the MTC and ride to the Federal Police office with all of them! It was so much fun to see everyone and talk to them. I got to know Sister Steinbeigle better and I absolutely love her, and I finally got to see Elder Teichert who said he is serving in the Time Square of Sao Paulo that is even worse and louder than NY!! He said it is CRAZY! He is loving it though! Him, Elder Lew, and Elder Edlund are all doing well though! I had a lot of fun catching up with them! I got to teach a lesson with Elder Lew to this cute family that was there too. They had a little girl who has CP and they are from Colombia (I think...) so they were doing visa stuff too. I gave them a restoration pamphlet. I totally froze up not having a companion though, so I forgot to ask them if they wanted missionaries to pass by their house and to get their address....oops. Like I said...I still have SO much to learn!!!

After we got everything finished, we went back to the office and I finally got to pull out all the stuff I need from my other suitcase! I dont know if I ever told you guys that, but I left one there and took one with me to Sorocaba. I had to repack the stuff I wanted to take really fast so there was a bunch of stuff I forgot! Now its all good though and I got everything I need and took some stuff back that I wasnt using too! It was good!

THEN...Sister Winters and I headed to the Distribution store on the side of the Temple with another set of Elders who were going to help guide us back home to Sorocaba after we bought a few things. As we passed by the beautiful Sao Paulo Temple and chapel next door we saw a bunch of old men in Suits standing a few feet away from the gate. We looked a little closer and as some of them turned we realized it was Elder Nelson and Elder Holland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They saw us and walked over to shake our hands and see how the work is going!! They were also there with Elder Carlos Codoy (or something to that effect) and some other members of the seventy and I think one from the presiding bishopric! We shook all of their hands and Sister Winters hinted at a taking a picture with them, but they didnt really say yes so we just talked to them for a second and then went on our way. It was AMAZING!

The crazy part is that as I was walking past the Temple there were some other people passing in the street too and its a busy street so there were lots of cars too, so I was thinking about how strange it is that so many people pass a sacred temple of God and dont even realize what it is. Then we met Apostles of God and it was magnified. They were just strolling past these men who they had NO idea were, all caught up in the other tasks in their lives. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have that the church of Jesus Christ is restored on the earth with a Prophet and 12 Apostles who have the authority to act in the name of Jesus Christ through the priesthood. As I shook their hands I could feel the Spirit and the power of their position and devotion to our loving Heavenly Father. I testify to anyohe who may be reading this, that these are men of God. That the truth is here. That all people everywhere can know that these things are true if they pray to God and ask him with a sincere heart. Anyone who prays to know something, with real intent (intent to act on the answer whatever it may be) will receive a witness that this church is true and that they can be apart of the fold of Christ through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost through confirmation. There are men on earth with the authority to do God´s work and they are found only in His church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It was an amazing experience.

We had a fun adventure finding a bus home too...Lets just say it was pouring and at one part we had to walk against traffic on the side of a freeway....don´t worry...I´m still alive. And very grateful that I am!

I love you all so much and I hope you are doing well!! I know I say this every week but Ill try to send picture next week. This computer isnt working with them. :(

Sister Knudsen

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So much to say!

Okay, so I realized that I never wrote about a bunch of things, so here is a catch up and other interesting facts email!

First off, I got my package!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was perfect! I love the shirts, they are SO cute! And the chocolate eggs....so amazing. And did I tell you guys that they dont have canned green beans here? Or did you just know?! Because I have been searching for them and wanting them really badly! I am soooooo excited to eat them! haha!! Thank you so much. Who knew a girl could get so excited about canned green beans, right?! I love them!

Did I ever tell you about the workshop we did with the stake?! It was on the 28th of March and it was awesome! We have really good Zone Leaders (Elder Gratil and Elder J. Silva) who organized the workshop with the Stake. It was about how the members can work more with missionary work. We have 3 sections that were 20 minutes each and 2 companionships per section. Our part was about little invites and we used the Reeses that I received from a little package from my friend Samantha as an object lesson. We started with the Elders eating a Reeses each and making a lot of noise about how amazing and delicious they are. Then we asked how many in the audience wanted one. They all did. Then the Elders said a lot of excuses as to why they wouldn´t offer it to people (its too hard, they might not like it, they might already have something else, etc) Then we explained that we have something that everyone else wants, even if they dont realize it right now: eternal life/eternal happiness. We put a Reeses up high on the wall and had a short member come up and try to get it. She obviously couldn´t so then we pulled out a ladder and talked about how for a lot of people an invite for baptism from their neighbor might be a hugh step that they will automatically reject. But if we invite step by step we can help our friends and neighbors realize the church of Jesus Christ is restored and we have the authority to baptize and seal on earth what will then be sealed in heaven. The steps could start with an invite for dinner where you bless the food. You could invite the missionaries too, just so they can see them and probably ask questions about why they are there and why they have a black plack on, etc. Then maybe you invite them to a family home evening or church activity. Then to church, then to listen to a message from the missionaries, etc. There are a lot of little steps you can take, but if you personalize it to the specific person and pray about it, you can know what steps you can take to help those around you soften their hearts to the message. We also applied it to the members who are asking...for them asking their friend to church is a huge step they dont want to take too...so they need to make steps for themselves that help them accomplish the overall goal of missionary work and of bringing their friends unto Christ. It went really well!

Other news: The past Monday and Tuesday we did splits with the other sisters in our zone. I went to their area with Sister Ribeiro, and Sister Winters stayed in our area with Sister Tarssia (both Brasilians)!! It was a good experience and I realized I have A LONG way to go still. They both teach really well and are very bold and insistent, but not in a bad way. I realized I really need to do better being bold because its a very serious matter. We are offering salvation. I´m a people pleaser...we all know that...so its hard for me to not just say √≥kay...thanks anyway´ when someone says they already have their religion/path/whatever. But I need to help them realized that there is only One path...One true church or Jesus Christ. They have a loving Heavenly Father with a beautiful plan and they need to know it!

I am happy and healthy and all that jazz, but please pray for me that I can be bolder and learn my scriptures better! I want to be a missionary that Ammon or Alma and use the power and authority I have been set apart with.

Love you all so much!

Sister Knudsen

(Ill send pics next week!)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hello hello......

Hello my loves!
Guess what?! I get to call you next month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just thought I would bring that up real fast...its in like 4 weeks! The 9th, I believe. Can´t wait!!
So this week has been a big battle against Satan...You just don't understand his power until you are trying to help people find the RIGHT path and you see his hand working as hard as possible to stop people from progressing. The main experience was a mom and her two daughters who we are teaching. I think I have mentioned them already. The daughter is a friend of a boy in our ward and he referred her to us. The first day we taught the mom said we were an answer to her prayers and we set a baptismal date with them right then. The most important thing an investigator needs to do is get to church. They have to come at least twice before they can be baptized usually. We confirmed for them to come to conference and then they didnt...still don't know exactly why. Then we confirmed even more assuredly for them to come this past Sunday to church. They were 100% on board when we left their house Saturday afternoon. But then a few hours later the older daughter called and told us she wanted to wait until next week. She goes to a different church and wanted to go there first and tell them that she would be visiting our church the next week. We didnt feel good about that at all. The chances of her church leaders being fine and dandy about her visiting another church didnt seem good, and there is always enough people to go around who have anti-mormon literature or something to pass. Plus, its super easy for people to put off going to church forever...it made us SO sad. Even worse was that she told us none of them were coming now. We tried to offer a ride for her mom and sister if that was the problem since they only have one car, but she said they would just come next week.
That is the hardest part of the work. People are feeling the spirit and getting closer and closer to being members of Christ´s Restored Church and then Satan puts every excuse possible into their heads. The whole plan is based off of agency so we respect their decisions completely...but it doesn´t change the fact that we will be completely devastated when they falter. Its hard. I have so much love for them and its not that I just want to ´win´people over to my church...I want to bring them unto the fold..help them feel the amazing love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for them. Help them chose to be baptised with the authority of God and serve him and endure to the end so they can have eternal life! I just want them to realize that and go forward with the amazing feelings of the spirit they have already felt.
So yeah, that's been on my mind. Everyday I am trying more and more to be more obedient, more faithful, more Christlike, so that we can work miracles in the lives of the great people we are meeting. Satan has power, but none near as much as God. If we work with God´s eternal laws, we can bring about miracles. He wants them to come home to Him. The power of his love is more than anything Satan can throw, so I just have to keep testifying and bringing the Spirit so they can make the decision to follow what is right and true.
That being said, I am so excited for this work still. We had other investigators at church that are doing well and we are working hard with them! I have faith that we can baptize this transfer. I know this is God´s kingdom on the earth...I have no doubts. It is amazing to be here as a representative of Christ. I love him with all my heart and I hope that I am a worthy servant.
I love you all and I am so grateful for your support and examples!
Sister Knudsen

Friday, April 9, 2010

Latest photos!


Me, Sister Simpkins and Sister Hanson with our visa papers!





Me, Sister Winters, and her trainer sister Correira (your trainer is called your mom and since sis winters in my trainer she is my mom...so this is a 3 generation photo with my mom and grandma!)




Us and the other sisters in the zone!

More from Brazil....

Sounds like Easter was a blast! Can I just tell you that I think its very funny that you tell me in such detail the food you all ate! I get a little jealous, I hope you know! ;) Thank you though! It makes me feel closer to you and I can just pretend that I am eating those amazing strawberry pies....mmmmm....
I love what Cambria said about the zoo...she is so cute!!
I LOVED LOVED LOVED conference. I love listening to men and women of God...they have such power and authority in their words and testimonies. Just seeing them and feeling their spirit is a testimony that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored!
The theme was definitely on families. I loved it. I thought about you guys a lot during! I always think `oh i bet so and so is thinking this about what he just said´ etc.
My favorite part was the testimony of the prophet that Elder Neil. L Andersen gave at the end of his talk before President Monson spoke. We had an investigator listening to that session and I felt like it was perfect for her!
So we only had that one woman at conference even though we had 5 or so confirmed to go...but we were grateful for the one! She is the mom in a family of three (dad, mom, daughter) with a daughter with special needs. The daughter was a little sick, so she canceled on us, but then last minute said she was coming after all! It was awesome and she really liked it! We had dinner with her and her family last night and they are going to come to church this weekend, she said. They haven't read the part we marked in the Book of Mormon yet though...but I know that when they finally do read and pray they will receive a response and be humble enough to go forward with it. Her parents live next door too, and they have been over a lot when we are there. We have high hopes to baptize all of them! They are a very special family. After we ate last night, Mya (the little daughter) said she wanted to give us something so her mom went into the back room and brought out two WRAPPED gifts! She had showed us a book Mya has that is Your First 1000 Words in Portuguese/English. Its a Disney made book that has pages with different themes (house, animals, numbers, telling time, etc) to help kids learn. It has each word in English and in Portuguese. We had said that we loved it and that it would be good for us even, so she went and bought each of us one! I was amazed! They are so sweet! Oh and she had asked us what kind of food we like and I had told you I love broccoli but have still yet to find it here and so she found and made us broccoli! They are amazing!! I really love them!
Our new transfer starts today and Sister Winters and I are staying together for at least one more! YAY! We didn't want to be separated yet and we both want to see the fruit of our labor since we didn't have any baptisms last transfer. Usually transfers are every 6 weeks, but there is always one that is 5 weeks during the year and this is it. It is really hard to know that eventually one of us will have to leave. I have a feeling it will be me, but who knows. I will put of thinking about it until that 5th week...haha!
But yeah, we are really praying for some baptisms this transfer. Its so hard meeting all of these great people and knowing that not all of them will accept the gospel. I just have to keep trying everyday to become a better instrument in the hands of the Lord so that through my faith, miracles can happen in the lives of these amazing people!
Description of the pictures I sent last week: 1.) Me and two of my elders from the MTC, Elder Edlund and Elder Lew. They are in the interior too so when we had zone conference they were there! It was so good to see them! Elder Teichert is the only one I haven´t seen yet since he is in the capital. One day! 2.) Sister Winters and I on one of our first P-days when we went to a park and met up with ours and another zone so they could play futebol and we could run and play cards -- the face you see in the back is our district leader Elder Fabian who just got transferred. :( He is really funny and a good leader and missionary! 3.) Me with the city of Sorocaba behind me. We were up at one of the farthest and definitely the highest up neighborhoods in our area! I love being up there because the view is BEAUTIFUL! Good thing the majority of our investigators live up in those neighborhoods!
Love you all so much and I hope you are doing well! You are in my prayers!!
Sister Knudsen