Monday, December 30, 2013

¡Feliz Año Nuevo! (Happy New Year!)

Hola mi gente! Como estuveron su navidad? 

Our Christmas was so random and so great! We started out having breakfast at our wonderful Stake President Craig's house and it was so fun to be with the other missionaries! I had a blast talking about competitive cheer with Sister Craig and their two daughters who are doing it! One of the random parts of our day was when we went home to "open presents" ( which I had none because I accidentally opened mine on Sunday night and the night before-whoops!) and I looked up at Hermana Sticklin and I told her how much fun I was having with her and how happy I was but how guilty I felt because the other missionaries didn't look like they were having that much fun that morning! Why are we so happy?? We called ourselves to repentance and made a list of ways we could be more obedient and be better missionaries. I was like crying because I was so conflicted. I know how ridiculous this sounds, believe me! We ended up calling President Andersen about it and he just started laughing and asked us if we were teaching lessons..yes..if we felt close to Christ...yes...he then told us that our whole mission isn't going to be like this- it's going to get harder and we're going to have other companions that we don't get along as well with and so we should be enjoying our happiness while it lasted! He told us that the adversary will be sending us trials soon so we need to appreciate this time where we just feel so at peace and happy with everything. President spoke a little too soon because an hour after our call we walked into the Kinley's home for Christmas dinner and the dog they were watching bit Hermana Stricklin! It was so scary turning around and seeing this German Sheperd clenching onto her thigh! The Kinely's felt horrible and covered her hand and thigh in tea tree oil. We got to talk to our families right after which made us feel 1000% better! 

I had SO much fun talking to my family! I have the best family ever! It was such a treat to see little baby Gwen for the first time! I can't wait to have her in my arms! I especially l loved watching my nephew Connor walking across the screen in his underwear- best kid ever! Once I realized I only had a few minutes left on Skype I lost it and started blubbering- I don't ever remember what I was telling them! I love my family and am so grateful for their love and support!

We had little Christmas party with Sister Carlisle afterwards and it was marvelous! She cooked a lovely dinner and we played charades and did a white elephant gift exchange with the other missionaries! I am so grateful for the members here that take care of us and make us feel so loved!

We had 4 investigators at church on Sunday and it was awesome! We had our friend Jesus come but in exchange we had to go to Catholic Mass with him afterwards. The Catholic chapel here is so so pretty! I have never been to mass before so it was definitely something new! A lot of standing and kneeling! I think that the Catholic church is beautiful and I appreciate their traditional beliefs. While we were sitting there I was so grateful to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church and the Spirit confirmed that to me while we were there. One of the priests there was just visiting for the day and he was so nice. He knew about our church and thanked us for the work that we do and wished us luck. 

One cool story I wanted to share was actually about Jesus and his roommates. So, we've been teaching Jesus and his roommates Leopoldo and Alsombro. We went on Christmas eve to sing them a song and wish them a Feliz Navidad and this guy I have never seen before answered the door. He invited us in to sing and I looked down at his hand confused- then he looked up and asked who we were- when he told him he was like "That's so weird! I just picked up this little booklet about something called the Plan of Salvation, is that from your church?" And we were like yaaaaaaa! He said he always asks his roommates what the Book of Mormon is and they never tell him! Those little punks! We sat down and explained what it was, gave him a copy for himself and left him with Alma 7 to read about Christ's birth and the Atonement. He took the book and went straight to his room to read it! We had a follow up appointment yesterday and it went great, he loves the Book of Mormon so far! He isn't religious so when we asked him why he had a desire to read the BOM he said because he wants happiness and for some reason he feels like he'll get it from this book. Fermine is so amazing!

I got a bit of a cold going on so I've had a rough time getting up and staying out all day. It's so hard being sick as a missionary because you really need time to sleep and get better but there is no time! I've been pushing myself the last few days to just make it through the days but I finally wore myself out and we went in at 6 last night and I just slept forever. It's so frustrating being sick because I would much rather be out visiting with people I love here!!!

So, I need to tell you about our dear friend Archie. The day I moved into the apartment here I heard a tap tapping on our bedroom window. To my surprise it was a little finch. I named him Archie. I thought it was adorable that he would spend his whole day, everyday, flying from the tree branches to our window and tapping to tell us hello. Well after a few weeks, it began to be less and less cute! At one point Hermana Carrell and I were trying to sleep and all I could think of was the movie Failure to Launch and Zooey Deschanel's character! I can relate to that character so perfectly! I just want to get a BB gun and shoot little Archie- but just enough to scare him so he'll stop! But I could never do that because I would feel guilty for the rest of my life! He is such a smart bird- the second we wake up at 6:30- THE SECOND- he starts tapping away! Then he'll stop for a little while and you'll go to lay down and nap during lunch and the second he realizes you're trying to sleep he'll start tapping away! Does anyone know why birds do this? I think he's just a little coo coo! We opened our window one day to see if he wanted in and he was about to fly in until he realized what was going on and backed himself up and started tapping on the other window! What does he want! I gave him bread the other day and he looked me right in the eyes, took a piece, ate it and then went right back to pecking on the window! He's crazy! I love him but he's crazy! The past couple of days he has had one feather sticking out of his head sticking straight up and he just looks so crazy! He's such a good example to me of persistence and diligence! 

I am so excited for New Years! It's our only full whole day off! We will be at the Kinley's place for breakfast because they're the best and then we're watching the Disney movie "Monster's University!" Party! We're also going to the church to play games with our zone- it should be a fun day!

Well, I love all of you so much and I want you to know that I LOVE being a missionary! I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ that has been restored in it's fullness is the only thing that will bring us lasting and true happiness. The gospel is what gives us strength and hope through Jesus Christ. I know that He is our Savior and Redeemer. 

Hermana Knight

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!

 This is our Spanish FHE (family home evening) group acting out the nativity! it was so much fun!

The newly weds Pablo and Lilia were Maria y Jose! Juliana was the angel that appeared to the sheperds!

Juliana is one of my favorite people here! She's a sister of one of the members who we have been teaching!

Buenas tardes! This week has been so great!

I had to say goodbye to Hermana Carrell on Tuesday which was really sad! She's back in Salt Lake City now enjoying her holidays with her cute family! I got to spend an hour with my mission BFF Hermana Knecht during transfer meeting so that was a dream come true! One of the Assistants told us afterwards that they ALMOST put us together as companions- I would go back to my first area but they didn't want to white wash Hoptown SP! I'm glad I'm still here though because I LOVE this area! I also love my new companion Hermana Stricklin, she is amazing! She's from Huntington Beach so it's nice to be with another California girl! She's super tall so it's really funny being companions. We have a lot in common and she's a great missionary. She's a lot of fun to be with and I'm so grateful Heavenly Father sent me someone that I could be friends with! 

We've had such a lovely time this past week going from home to home sharing Christmas messages! I love talking about Christ's birth and singing Silent Night! This morning for companionship study, we practiced harmonizing ha ha. This morning we also took some time to read from Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage about Christ's birth and it was so eye opening. I love this paragraph he wrote explaining more about Mary's experience:

The trustful and unsophisticated keepers of sheep had not asked for sign or confirmation: their faith was in unison with the heavenly communication; nevertheless the angel had given then what he called a sign, to guide them in their search.  They waited not, but went in haste, for in their hearts they believed, yea, more than believed, they knew, and this was the tenor of their resolve: "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us."  They found the Babe in the manger, with the mother and Joseph nearby; and, having seen, they went out and testified to the truth concerning the Child.  They returned to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
I love the example of the shepherds and how they went with HASTE when they received the news that they had received a Savior. I hope that we can follow this humble example of the keepers of sheep and go to our Savior with haste in all that we do and in all that happens in life. Also, I hope that we can recognize are blessings and have the same kind of glorifying and praising in our hearts for our Father in Heaven.

I am so grateful for this time of year that we have to truly feel of the Spirit of Christ and to feel the love from our families and our Heavenly Father. 

I LOVE being a missionary. I love this gospel. I know that it is true and that everyone needs it. I love my family and am so grateful for them. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I will leave you with something that was said during our Christmas program yesterday:

"The greatest gift that we can give is our sins, weaknesses, and troubles to Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Savior."  

I invite all of you this week to truly give yourself to the Savior and to be strengthened and supported by the power of His love and Atonement.

Happy Christmas!

Hermana Knight

 Haley skyping with the family on Christmas day

 Me and the cutest cat in the world- lil bug- he just sat in my arms for ten minutes straight and didn't make a peep or move a muscle!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Chopped Wood and Bodas!

Hola! This past week has been so much fun!

Monday we went to Sergio's house and made little snowmen with him and his nephew and nieces, it was so fun! His sister really warmed up to us and she made us these cute lil bracelets made out of soda caps! Sergio is doing great! We had dinner with him two different times this week with different members and it gave him a chance to get to know people outside of church and it gave the members a chance to explain more of our beliefs from a "normal" person's view- not just a missionary. We really cannot do this work without members! You better all be helping your missionaries wherever you are! Sergio came to church and stayed for a baptismal service afterwards and he really enjoyed it! We're hoping to get him reading from the Book of Mormon more this week!

We had our Christmas Zone Conference on Thursday and Brother Morgan from my first area came and spoke and it was SO amazing! He addressed the Sisters by ourselves and talked about our need to be perfect. It was really exactly what I needed because as a missionary I always get down on myself and feel like I'm not good enough. The whole point of Brother Morgan's discussion was that God does not expect us to be perfect, He only expects us to try and give our all. He also talked about how we are all rugged stones that get tossed here and there to someday be made into smooth stones. That is what trials and problems give us- they chip off the rugged pieces. At the end of our discussion I just felt so great because he helped us to focus more on our strengths and gifts that we've been given individually and to use those everyday rather than focusing on what we're not good at and obsessing over it. I don't know why we tend to do that as woman but I think we all need to be reminded of these things from time to time!

Our ward party was on Friday and they did an old Jerusalem theme so it all looked so cool! We had a lot of fun and we sang Feliz Navidad for everyone haha.

On Saturday we went and chopped wood with our favorite family the Kinleys and it was so fun! My body still hurts from it but it was so fun! The ax was so heavy that I could barely lift it but once I got enough momentum I was able to swing it over my head and I split some wood. You should be impressed! The Kinelys had a lot of entertainment that morning watching us! I also chased and caught one of their chickens to throw back in the coop and that was fun too. I love being in the country! Later on the Kinelys took us to their work Christmas party. It was so fun, we watched Santa arrive in a Chinook (Spelling Dad? the big helicopter in the military) It was fun seeing all of the service men with their families. I am so grateful for what they do to keep us safe. 

Later Saturday night one of our members Pablo had his wedding reception and it was so fun! We ate tons of food and danced with Hermana Macario and Whitson, it was a hoot! Everyone had a good time and Pablo and his wife Lilia are so cute together! They met on his mission- he taught her! He was saying how weird it was going from "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?" two years ago and then going to "Will you marry me?" a few months ago haha. Our investigators Avelino and Elias came to the boda (wedding) and they had a lot of fun too!

Hermana Carrell is leaving me tomorrow and going home  :(   I'm grateful for the time I had to serve with her and learned a lot. I'm grateful that I was able to be such good friends with one of my companions. A lot of time I would forget that we were missionaries because it was just so natural being with each other and being with all of our friends here! My new companion is Hermana Stricklin and I will be meeting her tomorrow! 

A member in our area gave us a little baby Christmas tree to put up and I'm so happy to have it! We hung little baby stockings by it so now it actually kind of feels like home! My sweet mother sent me my stocking from home and so when I get that and put it up, then it will REALLY feel like Christmas. It's really not hard being away from my family this year because I have so many people here that I love that have become my Kentucky family :) AND I get to do the Lord's work and help so many people come close to Him so I couldn't be anywhere better than here or doing anything as amazing!

I love all of y'all so much!

Hermana Knight

Monday, December 9, 2013

Freezing Rain and lots of Tamales!

Hermana Carrell and me - Christmas crafts at the Smiths

Hola mi familia! This past week was so random but good! This letter is going to be long and jumbled up- sorry! (But I'm not)

Sister Carlisle's cute Christmas tree!

We spent Monday night at the Polluck's house and that was really fun! They're such an awesome family. They had a big Family Home Evening on Monday that Sergio and Julianna came to and they had a lot of fun- we played Bunko and guess who won?? Oh ya, me! 

Our FHE Bunko game at the Pollucks!

Brother Polluck photo-bombing our all girls photo
 Sister Brown, Carrell, Waldrop, and Pollock! We all ate and played games during the storm

We learned how to make tamales with two different investigators this week and it was so much fun! We were with Julianna on Tuesday and Rosa on Thursday and they both make amazing food! Tamales are so much work! I'm definitely no expert yet but maybe someday I'll be better and be able to throw down a mean tamale for my family! 

Making tamales with Rosa

We had our last District Meeting on Wednesday and it was so sad because I don't want Hermana Carrell to leave! We had exchanges that day with some other English sisters and when I was out with Sister Johnson we saw so many miracles! After an afternoon of teaching a woman who I thought dropped us and finding a new Hispanic family to teach, we drove past a woman who got into a car accident and I felt like we needed to go back and see if she was okay. Once we started talking to her, her daughter walked up and immediately asked, "Are you Mormons?" When we replied yes she said, "I thought so because anytime anything bad happens, two Mormon people always show up!" Yep, that would be us missionaries! I am glad people recognize that we are on the Lord's errand! Afterwards we had a fun Spanish FHE where we acted out the good Samaritan and ate doughnuts and drank hot chocolate!

My district

This past weekend we had "freezing rain", which I had never even heard of before! We were pretty much in all weekend because the roads were all ice and our tires are bald. No one here knows how to drive in ice or snow so the town just shuts down during storms.  Hermana Carrell and I were both kind of sick so we took advantage of our time indoors by eating and sleeping and sleeping and eating! We also had a really good lesson over the phone with our investigator Sergio who is awesome! On Friday since the ward party was cancelled and we couldn't drive the Pollucks brought us over with some other members and we played a massive intense game of Phase 10 and I definitely did not win that game! 

Our freezing car!

Saturday night we went to the Smith's apartment across from ours and we played more Phase 10 and made some really cute Christmas crafts! Sister Smith is the cutest! I am SO grateful they chose to come out and serve with us- they contribute SO SO much to the work here! For all you Senior couples who are considering serving a mission- GO! We need you, the Lord needs you!

We had a combined sacrament meeting on Sunday with another branch and no other meetings! Sergio came to sacrament meeting for the 3rd time since we started teaching him AND he came to the Christmas Devotional last night! We had a really good lesson with him and the Elders afterwards and I feel like he is soaking everything up like a sponge and loving it. He said that ever since he started talking to us and coming to church that he has had a really calm feeling in his life. We're going over to his house tonight to do a Christmas activity with him and his sabrinos! It should be fun!

I LOVED the Christmas Devotional last night. I am so grateful that the Church helps us remember the true meaning of Christmas through words of our Prophet and other leaders of the church. The music was so beautiful and my favorite talk was from Elder Nelson. We have begun to share Christmas messages when we are in people's homes and the Spirit is always so strong when we read of Jesus Christ's birth. It's one of my favorite stories and I am so grateful to have the record of when the world received a Savior. I am grateful that our Heavenly Father prepared such a beautiful plan for us and that Jesus Christ volunteered to be our Savior. I am grateful for this time of year we have to be reminded of the miracle of His birth. 

I am SO grateful for my time here representing Jesus Christ and standing shoulder to shoulder with Him in His great work. I will never forget the experiences and the things I have felt at this time. I love all of you so much!

Hermana Knight

Setting up for the ward christmas party that was postponed
Hundreds of birds flying around in that tree freaking out before the storm hit again!

Hermana Carrell and Vianney!

 The good Samaritan play at church.

Gracie is one of my favorite little girls here!