Monday, January 27, 2014

Blogs and Bacon

Hola mis queridos familia y amigos! 

This week has been full of tender mercies for me! First of all, I finally had a subscription for antibiotics called in so my bronchitis is finally getting better! We had some incredible conversations with some new convert and less active families that we love so so much. One family said that they were kind of questioning whether the church was still true but last Sunday Hermana Stricklin and I had the pleasure of speaking about the Restoration during Sacrament meeting and he said he felt the Spirit confirm to him again that this is Christ's true church. He also had another experience in Sunday School with God answering a question he had. It is SO amazing to watch people grow and learn to love this gospel and know of it's truth. Another family that I LOVE LOVE LOVE is also doing really well. My favorite friend here who hasn't been to church in years and has felt that God doesn't exist has been praying this past week and I don't know if she realizes it quite yet but God has been answering her prayers and showing her that He is there and that He loves her. Best thing ever to witness! 

We had a fun little exchange on Wednesday where Hermana Stricklin went to Clarksville for the night and Sister Gibson came to our area and it was so fun! We had a great Spanish FHE that night and our new member here, Lilia, gave a beautiful lesson about enduring hard things. She referenced the talk in the January Ensign, Finding Nemo and then she played clips from the movie UP. I don't know if I should have walked out of the room or not at that point because technically we can't watch anything but church movies but I just considered it a tender mercy and balled like a baby through the ten minute clip. I LOVE the example in that movie of the couple enduring some really hard things, but in the end when Carl is sitting by himself, feeling SO down on himself and he begins to look through his wife's old adventure book. He gets really sad as he thinks about how he was never able to take her on her adventure to South America but he finds something so sweet. He finds that she had put pictures of their life together behind the page that says "Stuff I'm going to do" and said thank you for the adventure that they had together. It's then that he realized that she didn't need that trip to South America and even though they suffered through some really hard trials together, they had one another and that was an adventure enough for Ellie. I love this message that teaches us to truly count our blessings and that Heavenly Father places people or things in our lives to overcome hard times. 

After FHE Sister Gibson and I were hunting down a member that we didn't know and wanted to meet and as we found the address and knocked on all the doors, we realized no one was home, so we began to leave. Well, as I was backing up another car pulled into the driveway up to the house next to the one we were knocking. The woman in the car got out to see if we needed help and she told us that the person we were looking for wasn't there anymore. We began talking about her a little bit and she told us that her and her husband just got married in September! Immediately I felt prompted to ask her about vows- way random. But as we talked about them I asked about the "Till Death Do You Part" and how she would feel if their love could last longer than that. She cutely replied that it would be awesome because her husband is her best friend. We were able to testify to her that God has restored that power to seal her and her husband for eternity, not just for this life. The Spirit was so strong and we asked them to pray about that and to ponder about what that would really mean to them and if it's something they would want. We left them with our phone number and I'm hoping to hear from them soon. This experience was such a powerful testimony to me that the Lord will truly put His words into our mouths as we seek to share His gospel. 

Sister Gibson and I stayed up till like 1 in the morning just talking about anything and everything. It was so fun! I am so grateful for the opportunity to have exchanges and get to know other Sisters in the mission and feel of their sweet spirit.

We had an awesome dinner with a member and her husband who are expecting a baby. We had a lovely dinner and afterwards they brought a game for us to play- they LOVE games! So as we played Clue, we were able to better understand this husband's concerns about the church and as we talked more and more about it we realized his concerns were more from not knowing the truth. So it was so neat to be able to tell him what we really believe and watch his heart and mind grow more and more open to our beliefs. We had a wonderful visit and he made some comments about he hopes that we can come back- miracle!

We had a cute 80 year old come out with us on exchanges and that was so fun- I love when members want to come out with us! We also had a successful Spanish movie night- our member brought her friend and it was so fun! 

Our Spanish investigators are doing so well too! We had a really good lesson yesterday with two roommates who had so many good questions and so many good insights about what the true gospel should teach! Also, our friend Sergio is doing so well! He is so amazing! He has still been reading in True to the Faith and the Book of Mormon! And he understands the commandments so well and is willing to live them! "The law of chastity is going to be hard, but I can do it!" or "I can't drink coffee anymore? Okay!" We feel him getting closer and closer to baptism every week so keep him in your prayers!

Welp, all in all, I had a marvelous week and I LOVE doing this work! Something I have felt this week is that there is nothing else that has the power to help me feel of God's love daily and truly inspire me to accept my weaknesses and want to change as does the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It's real.
I hope you can feel that this week.

Love y'all!

Hermana Knight 

Monday, January 20, 2014

The 1 year mark of my mission! Bronchitis & the Book of Mormon

Amazing Coca-Cola advertising in Hopkinsville, KY


This week has been strange because I seemed to have caught the monstrous Bronchitis and I've been kind of out of it. Spending your nights awake hacking up stuff is not helpful as a missionary! It's hard to feel productive at all when you have to sleep in or go home early because your body hates you. I feel like the worst missionary ever! It's been getting a little better everyday so hopefully I'll be back to my normal self soon!

This is "ARCHIE" the annoying bird I talked about several weeks back.  He's always tapping on our apartment window looking for something or someone....finally got him on film...

We had a wonderful visit with one of our less actives this week. She took us downtown for lunch and showed us around. I have really come to love and adore Hopkinsville. It's precious!

Another less active taught us how to make Spanish rice and I'm super excited to make it when I get home. I'll pretty much be a pro cook when I get home because there are so many amazing cooks here that I've been learning from!

My One Year Anniversary was on Thursday and it was super weird but super great! We had a Zone Conference that day and had some truly amazing and inspirational trainings by President and Sister Andersen, the Assistants and some other missionaries. It helped me gain more of a passion for this work- kind of like gave me a second wind! That night we had homemade pizza from scratch with the Kinley's and then we had an incredible scripture study with them in the Book of Mormon and Brother Kinley pointed out some really beautiful things that I have never noticed before. Afterwards we went out to their field and Brother Kinley started a fire and shot my old skirt and shirt into the fire with some kind of fire gun to mark my one year! I love watching people blow stuff up- awesome day!

Hermana Stricklin and I gave talks about the Restoration on Sunday and we were pretty pleased with ourselves since we had like 4 days notice and NO time to write talks! I'm grateful for the Spirit and how it directed us and helped us know what to say. I have such a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel, priesthood authority and true church of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. I am so grateful for this message of love and hope!

We were able to read from the Book of Mormon a lot with our investigators this week and it always amazes me how powerful this book truly is. It causes us to have a change of heart and it causes us to have better and greater desires to come closer to our Heavenly Father and our home with Him.

Sometimes I get really homesick for my home with Heavenly Father but I am so so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that helps me stay on the straight and narrow path back to Him. I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement that allows me to be made clean and worthy to return to my Father again.

I love y'all so much!

Hermana Knight

...bye y'all for now...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chickens and Changes...

  I was helping the one of our ward families catch their chickens to put back in their coop! one of my new favorite things! I've realized I'm such a farm girl!

Howdy friends and family!

This week has been really eye opening for me. I was really really struggling with some personal things and didn't quite know what to do. Wednesday we had our Zone meeting and our Zone Leader Elder Weed said exactly what I needed to hear- it was SO inspired! Normally Zone Leaders will give trainings about how to contact or how to begin teaching but instead he just talked about struggles. He talked about how we really need to make an effort to get along with our companion and really seek the Lord to be our constant help or else we as missionaries struggle and our areas struggle. It really helped me pin point exactly what I was struggling and through the Spirit of the meeting I received a lot of peace and hope. The next morning I pulled out one of my favorite talks, Broken Things to Mend by Jeffrey R. Holland. It explains so simply that the Savior's only invitation is to follow Him because "He knows the way out and the way up." Elder Holland so beautifully explains how we can truly come to follow our Savior and give him our things that burden our hearts. He ends with my favorite poem. For my 23rd birthday my parents gave me my favorite present ever- a journal from my grandmother Gwen who passed away before I was born and some of her books that she had marked up. One of the books was about Christlike attributes and broke each one down with lovely stories and examples of things like humility or charity. Well within this book is a poem about Jesus Christ and I want to share it with y'all:

In Nazareth, the narrow road,
That tires the feet and steals the breath,
Passes the place where once abode
The Carpenter of Nazareth.
And up and down the dusty way
The village folk would often wend;
And on the bench, beside Him, lay
Their broken things for Him to mend.
The maiden with the doll she broke,
The woman with the broken chair,
The man with broken plough, or yoke,
Said, “Can you mend it, Carpenter?”
And each received the thing he sought,
In yoke, or plough, or chair, or doll;
The broken thing which each had brought
Returned again a perfect whole.
So, up the hill the long years through,
With heavy step and wistful eye,
The burdened souls their way pursue,
Uttering each the plaintive cry:
“O Carpenter of Nazareth,
This heart, that’s broken past repair,
This life, that’s shattered nigh to death,
Oh, can You mend them, Carpenter?”
And by His kind and ready hand,
His own sweet life is woven through
Our broken lives, until they stand
A New Creation—“all things new.”
“The shattered [substance] of [the] heart,
Desire, ambition, hope, and faith,
Mould Thou into the perfect part,
O, Carpenter of Nazareth!”

I think it is so symbolic that Christ was a carpenter before he started His ministry. I know that because of the things He did when He was here on earth, because of the Atonement, He truly has the ability to fix us. There are so many times when I feel so broken beyond repair. In fact, when I first read this poem I was doing my best to come back to church but I just felt so broken and so unworthy of anything good and this poem gave me so much hope. There's something else we can learn from this poem, we need to be making the effort and pursuing Christ. That's what I realized last week when I was struggling, I wasn't doing anything to come to my Savior. I am grateful for the ways that God reminds us to simply turn to our Savior and give ourselves to Him. I can promise you that when we truly give ourselves and our struggles to the Savior, we will find relief.

I am so grateful to have this experience as a missionary. I meet people from every walk of life and testify that they will always have someone to turn to for help, our Savior Jesus Christ. I have seen the power of this message this past week. I have seen the hope it can bring into someones eyes. I will never be able to thank my Father in Heaven enough for this experience, for the things I have learned and the thing I have felt.

Brothers and Sisters, I know that God lives. I know that He sent His Son for us and that through Him we can overcome everything whether it be in this life or in the next.

I leave these things with nothing but love for my Heavenly Father, Savior and all of you!

Hermana Knight

P.S. Cool update about the woman we met in Wamart last week! We finally caught her home yesterday and met her boyfriend King James- such a character! It turns out they met with the missionaries for quite a while and loved it! King said he really wants to be "Norman" but he also wants to be a rapper. So we explained that he can be both! We are going back during this week and are so so grateful that Heavenly Father guided us to them in Walmart! Seriously folks, this was NO coincidence! Another testimony that God lives and His hand is in our lives! Also, our favorite less active couple came to our Ward movie night to watch The Other Side of Heaven! It felt SO good sitting next to them and having them there with us. I just love them so so much! 

Carolyn and me on her birthday.

 We have a goal to write in the area book every night and to make it fun we decided to wear costumes when we do it!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Feliz Ano!

Hola mi familia y amigos!

This past week was crazy! We had a lot of time off because of the New Year- we went in early on New Years Eve and made some flower headbands and tons of treats and hung out with the Carrols and our favorite Senior couple, the Smiths, who live in our apartment complex for a bit! 

The next day on New Years Day was SUPER P DAY! We had the whole day to do whatever we wanted! Including watching a movie :) So we started our day at the Kinley's for breakfast because they're the best and then we watched a Disney movie with them and chopped some wood afterwards. I have learned on my mission that I LOVE chopping wood. Who would've guessed? We went to the church later to check out our big Zone Pday where they were playing games. It was okay, we aren't that close to anyone in our zone here so after a few hours and after they started Monster's University without us we decided to go back to the Kinley's! So we went back and watched Monster's University with them and it was great! I love that family so much!

 Thursday was a little rough because it was my BFF Lindsay's wedding day and I just wanted to be there so bad! The Lord knew I was struggling so he made sure to keep us busy all day! We went and saw our best friend Carolyn who lives in a nursing home and is handicapped, she is the sweetest and funniest person ever! It's her 51st birthday today! Happy Birthday Carolyn! We also went and saw a less active family and in the middle of talking to them their daughter's boyfriend came out of their room and stood behind us and when I turned around I almost had a heart attack from fright and laughter- he was just standing there holding his giant sheath- like grim reaper style! I guess he does a lot of like larping and stuff and so he just wanted to show off his cool props to us! Later that night we had an amazing lesson with Elsa and Angel- these really sweet people with 5 kids. We went in just wanting to get to know them and ended up teaching the Restoration and they said they wanted to know for themselves that these things are true and so they said they would read from the Book of Mormon. I am so excited to go back and visit them this week.

We spent our whole Friday night with one of my favorite couples ever. They are members but have decided that they are atheist now. They are the sweetest and kindest people I have ever met! We had a really good conversation with them about so many things. They have two cats Zooey and Patches who are the cutest things ever! I just love them!

Saturday we had some really amazing miracles.
We tried a bunch of people in the afternoon but no one was home so we went to go check on our favorite widow Sister Duplechain who's 90. Well, when we got there she told us that she was out of a lot of things and was too tired to go that day so she was planning to go on Monday. Well, we had a huge storm coming and it's actually like 8 degrees right now- and so we told her she probably wouldn't be able to go on her own on Monday. We were able to run to the store for her and get some things she needed and it just made me feel good to know that we were at the right place at the right time and were able to serve Sister Duplechain in that way.

That night we went to Walmart because that is where we find a lot of Spanish people. When we pulled up I just felt super emotional and I had this feeling that there was someone in Walmart that we really really had to find, someone was waiting for us. So we walk in and there are like no Hispanics anywhere! We are walking down the isles and I see this mother of 4 little boys walk by and I had a huge feeling that we needed to talk to her. So we tried to figure out how we walked up to her and started talking to her about her boys- who were ADORABLE! One of them is 4 and his name is Shay-Shay and he would not let go of my waist from the moment we walked up until 5 minutes later when we said bye! Well, Lisa is the mom and when she found out who we were, she said that she had been meeting with the missionaries a lot earlier last year and really loved it but when they got new missionaries in the area she stopped hearing from them. She invited us to come over anytime and said she is looking forward to seeing us! Miracle! 

We met a lot of other people that night too and it's just amazing what happens when you simply open your mouth and try to get to know people. I love getting to know people and their stories.  

Sunday was freezing and it was raining and then snowing all day! That night we went to go visit our dear friend Juliana when we noticed our two little pup pups were still outside. Our little puppy friends are these dogs who live across from Juliana- they're just little guys and they are always outside with no shelter and it breaks our hearts. We named them Pheobe and Little-Foot. Well, when we were checking on Pheobe and Little-Foot and about to go to Juliana's this little pug runs up to us and a man is behind her and tells us that her name is Lucy! The man starts talking to us and he was so interesting! His name is Troy and he had bought the house he's in now for $100! Some old lady just really wanted to get rid of it and it had a lot of work to be done on it because it's old so she sold it to him for $100! He gave us a tour of his house with his cute mom sleeping on the couch who had just gotten back from the hospital, poor thing. He showed us pictures of his motorcycles and pictures of his children and grandchildren and really opened up and shared some of his stories with us. He used to be an archaeologist which I freaked out about because that's what I want to do! He said he would maybe show us sometime how to make arrowheads out of rocks with antlers! We also had a really good conversation about the Book of Mormon and the story of Joseph Smith. We gave him a copy of the BOM and he said he would truly read it. 

I am grateful for the people that Heavenly Father lead us to this week. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to meet so many people and hear of their unique and amazing stories and really get to see them as our Heavenly Father sees them and loves them. 

I am so grateful for the example that Jesus Christ has given us. To go and just love others with no other intentions and no judgement. One of my goals this year is to find ways to truly love others as the Savior did and take time to truly get to know every person and hear their story. I know that we draw closer to the love of God as we make an effort to love others as purely as the Savior did.

I hope that all of you see this year as a bright new start and have found ways to improve and be happier!

Love y'all!

Hermana Knight