Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hermana (Sister) Haley Knight and Bike Mike...

The story of "Bike Mike"....

(from Haley's dad)

I have been sending Haley some "Mission Adventure" letters during the past couple of months.  This is the introduction letter I sent to her:

Dear Haley,
I hope that your day is going great!  I am so proud of you and your accomplishments in life.  I am so happy that you are on your mission and that you love where you’ve been assigned.  I hope that you love the people or learn to love them. 
I have thought up something fun, adventurous, and hopefully spiritual for you to do.  I think this “game,” if you will, could help you to see your mission in a little different light every day.  I have enclosed the 1st of 7 “magic” letters in this envelope and want you to read each one in sequence and to NOT open the next one (if I send it to you) until you’ve completed the challenge or task listed in the 1st letter, and so on.  So, please let me know when you’ve completed this letter and I’ll send the next one.  Are you up for this?  I’m just trying to add a little fun to your day.  
I thought this up from things that happened to me when I was in pretty much your same situation and in a “foreign” land.  Also, some of these thoughts come from everyone’s everyday life experiences.  I hope you’ll see some fun and inspiration in this.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.  Go and have fun…
Love always,  

The 4th of this series was the last letter where I sent to her with 5 - $10 bills.  Here's a portion of that challenge:

"Is Your Hut Burning?

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and in which to store his few possessions.

But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried. Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

The weary man asked his rescuers:   "How did you know I was here?"

They replied:   "We saw your smoke signal."

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, the next time your little hut is burning to the ground -- it just may be the smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

Haley, I know that you’ve already had your fair share of challenges and reasons to be discouraged on your mission.  For some reason you’ve been sent companions who don’t want to follow the mission rules, who don’t want to work hard like you do, or who are difficult to get along with.  You’ve had and will have many investigators who have accepted the baptismal challenge but it seems like forever to get them into the water.  I’m sure there's lots of other things that have happened to you that you haven’t even shared with us.  No problem.  I know how easy it is to get discouraged.

Here in letter #4 you’ll find some money.  I then want you to hold onto this money and keep it with you every day.  Here’s your challenge: to find someone or some family who is really discouraged and down on their luck.  You might already know of someone or it could be a complete stranger that you meet on the street.  I want you to distribute this money to those in need.  It can be several people.  It can be to kids.  It can be to someone who looks homeless or very hungry.  You just need to give it away.  Please say a quick prayer first though.  That’s the catch.  Pray and listen to see if this person is really having a bad day or bad week and then help them.  Just a little bit of cash for a meal or for some clothes might make their whole day (or week).  You never know and might not know.  Please just pray, then give the money away.

 “Not only by precept did Jesus teach, but also by example. . . He stretched forth his hand that others might be lifted. . . Unaltered is the divine command to succor the weak and lift up the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. Each of us has the charge to be. . . a doer. . . lifter. . . There are those within the sphere of our own influence who, with outstretched hands, cry out: ‘Is there no balm in Gilead…?’ Each of us must answer” (Thomas S. Monson, “With Hand and Heart,” Ensign, Jan 1995, 2)

Here's a portion of a personal hand written letter that Haley wrote to me in response to this last challenge and it's about "BIKE MIKE."

Dear Dad,

Here's the cool story about the last $10 I had to give away.  First of all, that was a hard challenge Dad! Anyways, I had $10 left and we were driving to the church on a main road called Lone Oak- we see this man on a bike with all of his belongings in little grocery bags and they were somehow strapped all over the front and back of his bike.  Well, we passed by and and I had an impression that he was the person I needed to give the last $10 to so we drove off the road and took a back road towards where we say him- as we pull back onto Lone Oak we see him, he's resting right where we were going to stop- perfect!

I quickly grab the money and place it in a Book of Mormon.  I run out of the car towards him planning on just giving him the book and running back to my companion- but that is not what happened!  I approached him and asked if he would have interest in reading a book about Jesus Christ.  He took a look at the book and said he already had one and he like it.  Then he said something like "John Smith- right?"  I told him it was "Joseph Smith" and that we were talking about the same book alright.  He then told me he had heard his story and believed it to be true!  

He shared an experience of when he almost died about 20 years ago- he had liver failure and said he felt his spirit leave his body and he went down a long tunnel, when he had reached the end of it there was a giant fiery furnace.  (he is talking in almost a whisper now...) There was a gate with a man guarding it who told him that it wasn't his time to enter yet.  Well of course he was terrified so he fought his way back into his body.  He said he woke up in the hospital and had a sense of panic and told himself that he never ever wanted to return to that place.  Later that evening he got on his knees and prayed with all his might and after a while he said he heard a voice say "Glory to God" and it repeated itself two more times. 

He stopped in the middle of his story and asked me what I would have done and I just stared at him and he finally said "Well, wouldn't you repeat it back?"  And I replied "Well, yes I guess so!"  He then continued to say that he repeated "Glory to God" out loud and it's something he's told himself ever since.  (He is talking with a soft voice again) He says he knows that it was somehow God and so he knows that experiences like that happen to people sometimes and that he believes that what happened to Joseph Smith is true.

He was very sincere and I know that in that moment that he had a firm belief in these things.  He mentioned that people seem to think that members of the church are a bit out of touch (but that people thought strange things of him as well- like he was "koo koo" or something).  We began to have a discussion right then and there.  I shared that it's the compete opposite  because we believe in modern day revelation through a living Prophet of God, so if anyone is in touch with God and what's going on in the world- it's us in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!

He looked around his home- his bike and told me he had no idea where his Book of Mormon was and hadn't seen it for a really long time.  I took my Book of Mormon and marked Enos for him to read with the $10 bill and explained that my father had given me birthday money that I did not need.  I told him that Enos had a similar experience to his and invited him to read from it.  He happily accepted both.  I shared that I had been set apart to teach others about Jesus Christ and how He has restored His true church on this Earth.  I invited him to look up other missionaries in the next town he was headed to.  His name was Mike.  Mike just wanders from town to town. He told us that he was just passing through Paducah.  He said he thought something good was going to happen in Paducah and told me that it had been our meeting and getting a Book of Mormon again.  (what a compliment!)

Dad, I know that my prayers were answered that day.  I was able to be inspired to meet and talk with "Bike Mike" :-)  I know that it really was the hand of the Lord and the Spirit of the Holy Ghost guiding me.

Monday, August 26, 2013

We can do hard things

Hello my dear loved ones!

Something that I've been thinking a lot about this week is something that President McKee would always say and that President Andersen has continued to remind us of :

We can do hard things.

Let me share a little secret with you......missions are hard, so hard. I often wonder sometimes how something that is so amazing like a mission could be so so hard. It might be a little more obvious now that I had a bit of a rough week. To say the least. I had two really precious and sacred moments this week that totally brought me out of my slump and helped me see more of the beauty it is to be here serving.

We went to the temple on Friday with our district and President and Sister Andersen and it was such a sweet experience. The Spirit was so so strong every second I was in that sacred place. I received a blessing from President Andersen and it was exactly what I  needed to hear from my Heavenly Father. I cannot put into words the peace that I felt in the Lord's house that day. Then on Sunday during sacrament I decided to start reading in Matthew about when Christ first blessed and passed the bread and wine and everything just kind of hit me really hard.

I continued to read up until His crucifixion. I never realized before that it took Him three times to finish the prayer in Gethsemane. The two times he stopped to seek comfort or perhaps support from His friends, He found them asleep. I cannot imagine how alone He must have felt in that garden. I also cannot imagine the love He had to have had for all of us to continue to prayer to our Father and prepare a way for us back to Him. Let that same love carry us through our trials and through our tribulations.

Let the hope that the Savior provided us that day carry us through this life. The hope that we do not need to go through this life feeling alone or have our worries bring us down because there will always be one who knows exactly what we are feeling and exactly what we are in need of to receive comfort and strength. I know with every part of my heart that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that He loves and knows each and every one of us individually. I know that we have a Father in Heaven that sent His only begotten son so that we could return again to Him and live forever in happiness with our families. God has a plan for each and every one of us. Just like our Savior, part of that plan is going to include sorrow and tribulations, but we will never have to feel alone through those times, we can always have peace in our Savior.

I hope that you will take time this week to truly think about Christ and the love that He has for you personally. I pray that you will choose to make sacrament this next Sunday a sacred experience. I pray that you will find peace and answers as you take time to go to the Lord's house.

Thank you for all of the early birthday wishes- they really mean SO much to me at this time. A member in the ward is taking me out for sushi tomorrow night and we'll be busy teaching lessons all day so it should be a beautiful birthday!

I love you also much!

Hermana Knight

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fried Green Tomatoes

Their daughter Ana

Hello lovely people!!!!
I had fried green tomatoes at the Christensen's house last night and they were amazing! I love that movie too!

Anywho, we had a really really amazing time last Saturday. Domingo and Santa went to the temple for the first time and we were able to be there with them! As we were walking into the beautiful sacred building, I just thought about how this is what it's all about. It's all about getting people into the Lord's house so they can feel the beautiful and sacred feeling of being in the Lord's house. As I sat with them in the baptismal room, I was just overwhelmed by the Spirit and I had so much joy and so much peace in my heart. Brother Syphus not only took the time to drive us almost 3 hours to the temple but he also did the baptisms in Spanish- and he doesn't even speak Spanish! It was such a precious morning that I will never forget.

I love all of you so so much and I can feel your prayers, support and love and I am so grateful.
I hope all of you can feel my prayers and love for you as well. I hope that most of all that you can feel the influence that the Savior has in our lives and feel His love. I hope you can find time this week to better understand the love that your Heavenly Father has for you personally by reading the scriptures. They are was will bring you peace and bring you guidance in your life.

Hasta Ver,

Hermana Knight

(sent this because it has my middle name in this town!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hello my loved ones!

(Downtown Paducah, Kentucky)

Hello all,

We got the call Saturday night and Hermana Idso and I will be staying here another transfer! Woohoo!

Yesterday was a hectic but incredible Sunday! Domingo and Santa Pastor had their temple interview and will be going for the first time this Saturday with the Stake! Bishop surprised us all and also interviewed Domingo for the Priesthood and they invited us to be present as they conferred the Priesthood upon him during third hour- it was a very sweet experience.

This past week I have finally started to read Our Heritage and I don't know why I waited so long to pick that book up! I've been reading it before bed or during breakfast or whenever I have time and it has truly strengthened my testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and has given me more of a desire to do this great work. I am so moved by the faith of the early Saints and the incredible faith they had. I have a deeper appreciation for them and a stronger desire to have that same great faith in my Savior and in the building up of His kingdom here on earth.

I love you all so much! Hope you have a lovely week!

Hermana Knight

PS- funny story- The McCraw family's German Shepard Rex ate my scriptures when I accidentally left them on their fireplace last week! I died laughing when Sister McCraw called last night so scared because she thought I was going to be mad! 
More photos of downtown 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Howdy Do!

Howdy Doo! (that's on one of our member's voicemails-gotta love it!)
This week has been great! Hermana Ihler left on Wednesday and that was really sad. We had such an amazing lesson with the Pastor family before where the Spirit was sooo strong as Hna Ihler was sharing her favorite scripture and testimony. It was kind of a wake up call and helped me realize that the time I have to serve with these people is SO short! I need to make the most of it and just love them with everything I have!

Last week we had the craziest lesson with a 21 year old named Noel. We had seen Noel from time to time at the apartment complex we're always at and we would always chat for a second and say hi. Well last weekend he stopped us and asked us if we would come on his day off and teach him so we said of course! We went back on Thursday night and taught him in the Pastor's home with Domingo and it was amazing! We simply read Alma 36 and talked about the pain but incredible joy of repentance and giving ourselves to the Savior. Domingo bore testimony countless times of what we were speaking of and at the end of the lesson we somehow had a baptismal date with Noel for August 22nd! It was such a humbling and powerful experience to see a recent convert of only a month help another come to their Savior. I will never forget the Spirit we felt that evening.

Well, I hope you all are having such a lovely week and are really making most of the time you have at this point in your lives. Never refrain from loving everyone around you with all that you have. I love you all so much!

Hermana Knight

P.S. People have been asking me about my birthday and all that I could ever really want is to hear from you all! Whether it be in an email or in a letter (which is the best) I would love to hear from all of you! Tell me how everything is going and send me pictures if possible! I don't have some of your addresses so this would really mean so much to me!
My Address is:
Sister Haley Knight
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 Westpark Dr Ste #190
Brentwood, Tn

And if you really insist on sending me something........this Hermana could always use more pens, pencils, post it notes, stationary, stamps, colored pencils, treats that don't melt, or just a  walmart giftcard- anything else that missionaries usually are in need of!