Monday, March 31, 2014

Restoration Pamphlets and Peach Rings!

Alooooooha! I hope all of you are having a fantastic week!

This week has been such a week of stretching myself! Woo! I am so grateful for the time the Lord has given me to mold me into the woman I need to be. I had a lot of physical, emotional and spiritual trials.
Every time I thought I couldn't go on, I would give myself to The Lord and there would be moments where I truly felt like I was being carried by Him. I hope you all can find gratitude in your hard times, because that is when you will feel Christ the most and grow closer to Him.
That is where our faith grows.

Monday night we stopped by one of our member's friend Priscila's home and it was so awesome! The woman's nanny is someone we met at a Spanish Pentecostal church we went to last week and she fed us cookies until Priscila showed up. Priscila was really excited to meet us and they made a quick dinner for us and we planned a lunch for this week!

Tuesday was incredible. It changed my mission life. We had an awesome Zone Conference filled with the spirit! We learned a new way to teach lessons in a shorter time with the pamphlets and it's awesome! The missionaries who are leaving soon had to get up at the end and bear their testimonies and I was freaking out because that's going to be me next zone conference! How did time go by so fast?? Ah! After conference we went to our dear dear friend Alisa's for dinner and we sat and made goals with her as we ate some pizza. She has made the incredible goal to go back to church Easter Sunday! I am so excited for her!!!!

Wednesday contained one of my favorite memories ever. We went and had lunch with a family from Iraq that we met last week and it was such a sweet experience. At first they weren't home so we were super bummed but as we were driving away we saw them turn into their parking lot so we turned around and met them. The grandma took us into the home and started cooking as the mom, Walla, who we just met that day, and her cute son Ibrahim carried groceries inside and refused to let us help!

Walla is so incredible. She told us about losing her husband in her broken English and it hurt my heart to listen to her story. He was killed during the war in Iraq and she found him covered in blood and dead and just cried and cried. She told us this by pretending to hold him in her arms and said the word blood as she moved her hand up and down her jacket and said the word crying three times. She said "so much crying." We asked her about where she thought he was now, according to her Muslim beliefs but she didn't understand so she told us about how she sees him in her dreams sometimes. She said he always appears so happy and sometimes he brings her gifts in her dream and she always wakes up very happy and at peace. She then used her phone to translate how sad she was that he's not here and that she misses him so much. She had many offers for marriage but she turned them down because her son is all she needs now and she moved here to America to give him a better life. When she gave me the phone I was able to type in that we believe that families are forever. I wrote that we believed that there was a way that she could see her husband again and live with him and Ibrahim forever. After it translated I watched her face as she read it and she had the biggest smile on her face and she was overcome with a feeling of peace. I just felt the spirit so sweetly testify to her that it was true- that she could see her husband again.

It was such an unforgettable moment. We had an amazing feast of food from Iraq and they tried teaching is some Arabic words which I have already forgotten! Except for goodbye- it sounds something like mouse-Hama...if I remember correctly...but they use the back of their throat to pronounce things and I'm not very good at doing that! Before we left we gave them a Book of Mormon in Arabic and they said they would read from it. Walla told us that her mom is our grandma, she is our sister, Ibrahim is our little brother and that her apartment is our home. I love that family so much! We are going back on Wednesday to make pancakes for them!

Thursday was a treat! I got to meet my distant cousin Henry Livingston that I didn't even know existed before two weeks ago! What a great kid! He's super fun to talk to! He is going to make a great missionary! I hope we don't go to war with Russia and he makes it to Moscow! If not, he'll be a great missionary anywhere!

Friday was so fun! During lunch the Bellevue Sisters called us to tell us that a woman in their ward was planning on giving all of us haircuts that day- for free!  Greatest news ever! I haven't had my hair cut since Madison- a year ago! My ends would literally just fall off when I blow dry my hair because they were so dead! She cut a lot of my hair off and it feels amazing! It was so fun being with the other Sisters and getting to know them! We went to Walmart to get something for an investigator and I felt prompted to buy chocolate rainbow chip M&Ms Keebler cookies....Well we were leaving and there was a couple selling newspapers outside and their little golden haired son was sitting on a blanket in the grass and I felt like i needed to give him the cookies. His face LIT UP and he shouted, "I love M&Ms!!!" The joy on his face was priceless- worth far more than the $2 that the cookies cost. We shared a Book of Mormon with his mother and it was a really special experience. That night we had an amazing lesson with a woman we met in Walmart our first weekend here! She is such an incredible person and hopefully I'll have more stories about her in the future!  The night ended with cotton candy slushies, peach rings and driving the Sisters back home, another special treat!

Saturday was the tricky day. I woke up feeling okay, I had great studies and was super excited to write a new blog post that I had received revelation for. I should have known something was up when I said the prayer during companion study and just cried the whole time. I think Heavenly Father was preparing us for what was to come. We went to our sweet less active Olimpia's place to cook food with her from Guatemala that morning. It was great learning how to make soup and salsa and rice- and it was so great to get to know Olimpia better.....but something was up. Hna Schmit and I both felt like something had sucked ALL of the energy out of us. Like I could barely look at Olimpia and shake my head to agree with what she was saying.

We went back to the apartment afterwards to plan and just sunk into our couches. I just felt lifeless and like there was no hope in anything. We finally forced ourselves to go to the library to write our blogs but I couldn't concentrate and only got a little way through it. We finally texted our assistants here and asked for blessings.

Before we went to meet them we went to stop at Alisa's work- a cute Italian restaurant and she fed us gelato- the best pistachio gelato I have ever had- and gave us food to take home. We just wanted to go and give her a hug and she made us feel so much better. It was then that I realized that the people here don't really need ME, I need them! I love everyone on my mission and they have all meant so much to me. We received beautiful blessings from the Elders and we felt like we had new life! We went to the woman's conference with Olimpia and it was so amazing to be with her there. Because of work, she hasn't been to church in 6 years. She was raised in the church in Guatemala. She just was beaming the entire time we were there and it made me realize how lucky I am to be a member of the church. I felt the spirit so so much even though I couldn't understand 100% of it in Spanish. At the end of it I just wanted to shout to every woman that we saw that we are daughters of God! Do you understand what that means??? We are so lucky to be so loved by a Father in Heaven and have so much potential.
That's our new friend from Nigeria- we have him a BOM and invited him to conference, he's super excited!

Sunday was incredible because our ward leaders, especially our Bishop, are super excited for the work right now! We had several great meetings and are so pumped! We got permission from the Stake President and our mission President to start an Family Home Evening group here in West Nashville that will hopefully turn into a sacrament group- wa-hoo! We have been finding so many people who have been prepared and we know there are so many great things to come here!

One thing I realized from talking to a lot of people this week that have children in other countries still is that Heavenly Father misses us so much. If these parents from Honduras or Guatemala or Mexico miss their children so much, then how much does our Heavenly Father who isn't even here physically on the earth with us- miss us? A LOT. Do we miss Him like He misses us? What are we doing to feel closer to Him?

When we pray, do we truly understand that we are talking to our Father? I know I can be better at that. I miss my Heavenly Father so much and I know I don't talk to Him enough. I invite you all to join me this week and work in taking to Him more and letting Him know what's going on, what we need, what we love and how we are doing.

The gospel is so true! I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know that Christ has restored His true church and true gospel on the earth in OUR day and that is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am proud to wear my Savior's name and His church on my chest everyday!

Hermana Knight

 with and without the glasses...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Allergies and Abuelita

Hola! Les extra├▒os! Esta semana estuvo loco pero muy bien!

My Spanish is getting a lot better since I've come to this area! I am so grateful! I love the Spanish language and I hope to be fluent someday! West Nash is still a blast! We didn't have the car last week so we had a lot of fun adventures! We used our bus passes as much as possible and I think I finally have the whole bus thing down now! I am such a fan of public transportation! Except when the bus smells REALLY bad! We made so many new friends on the bus and at the bus stops. A lot of the drivers know us now and are so sweet! One of the drivers saw us running to get to the bus in time and he sat and stopped traffic for a minute or toe until we got to him- so grateful! We've definitely had a lot of fun workouts while running to catch the bus.

One night we ran for like 10 minutes straight to make it in time and I thought I was going to die! I have definitely suffered physically from having a full time car in my other areas but this area is going to whip my tail back into shape!

We have had a wonderful week with our investigators Sergio and Adriana. They were nervous to meet with us at first because they LOVED the Elders but now they love us too! They have two little girls who have stolen our hearts! Itahy is 9 and Melody is 2 and she acts like it! We have visited with Adriana a lot and had fun helping her clean one day and then doing our nails! Another night we watched "Good Things to Come in Mormon" messages and ate cookies with our Abuelita (little grandma) that Adriana made for us! She came to our Relief Society birthday event and we were so grateful she was there. We had the RS leaders get up and testify of the blessing it is to be a part of the largest woman's organization in the world and what a blessing it is to our families.

The spirit was so strong the entire meeting and Adriana was crying through half of it. We are having a hard time helping Sergio see the importance of the gospel to his family right now but Adriana and Itahy are aware of the spirit and every time were are there we know they can feel it. Keep Sergio in your prayers. He has an addiction battling right now. We love them and we know they'll be a forever family with time.

Our district here is pretty awesome. We have really awesome missionaries in our area which is a huge blessing!

My good friend Sergio from my last area in Hopkinsville got baptized on Saturday! I desperately tried to find a ride to it but had no luck.  I was so excited for him but I had a pretty rough time with the fact that I couldn't be there. I had a few breakdowns Saturday but prayer really helped me get through it. As I was crying in the library bathroom, I told Heavenly Father that there better be a reason why I didn't make it to Hoptown that day! We were planning on trying to make some new friends in the thrift stores so I told Him that we better meet someone amazing if I wasn't going to be with Sergio! I am such a brat! But Heavenly Father still loves me and after moping around in a few thrift stores we met the most amazing woman. Her name is Maribela and the Elders had met with her before but didn't keep a record of her! She was so so sweet and invited us to come and see her on Wednesday. We both have such a good feeling about her and I can't wait to see her again!

I really love our members here. They are all such incredibly strong converts in the church.
They are so full of love. One thing I love about Spanish Wards is that they always dress to the nines on Sunday. Such amazing outfits and such incredible heels!! I love it! The more I learn about the Hispanic culture the more I feel like I fit right in :)

For the first time in my life I have really bad spring allergies and they are killing me! I am sneezing every other second and can barely breath! But it's so pretty so it's worth it!

Okay, so before my mission I always knew there were people waiting for me, and that I was waiting for them and I met one of them! It's Alisa, the less active I mentioned last week. Alisa is so dear to my heart.  We had two incredible visits with her with all three of us in tears.

Hermana Schmit and I both feel and believe that we were placed in this area together for Alisa. Alisa is one of the reasons I was meant to serve a mission. Hermana Schmit and I both were inactive for a large part of our adult lives and we both have so much compassion and understanding for Alisa. She has been through SO much in her life and she told us that every time she thinks about where she needs to be in life or what is wrong, she feels something telling her "You need to go back to your church." She knows that she's not where she's mean to be In life. It is so incredible to be able to share my own personal testimony of the change that our Savior can bring into our lives if we let Him. It is amazing that I can also share how hard it is to come back to church but that it is worth it. Nothing is worth more than the peace that we have as we come back to the food. We watched Jeffrey R Hollands talk titled Laboring in the Vineyard about those who came in the fifth hour and I have never felt the spirit so strongly in my mission. That is the testimony that I want to share this week. Our Savior is not concerned about the time that we come back- He is more concerned that we just come to Him. We can never be too far gone. As Elder Holland says, "...however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don't have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines." I am living proof of that. I testify that Christ can pull us out of the deepest holes and the most sinking waters. He pulls us out and lifts us up to places we never could have imagined. I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would be serving a mission or that I would ever be found worthy to serve after the life I had lived.
Because of my Savior I am here. My mission is the greatest blessing I have ever experienced in this mortal life. It has changed me forever.  It has helped me to see what my true potential is as a daughter of God.

I know that we are all children of a Father in Heaven. We have divine worth. Nothing we do can ever change that. Nothing we do will ever change the love that God has for us. Nothing we do will ever be too much for our Savior to take from us. We will always be loved.

Hermana Knight

 Celebrating Jaydon's birthday with the Kimbers....

A crazy Nashville biker who posed for this photo :-)

A very, very great care package from Sister P. (Thank you!!!)

Monday, March 17, 2014

West Nash is where its at!


Guess what! I LOVE my new area!!
I miss Hopkinsville s'darn much but I absolutely love West Nashville! I love our zone! I'm currently listening to Sister Hulmes play the piano and am in Heaven!

Local BBQ- lots of them here.

My new companion is Hermana Schmidt, we started off in the MTC together and we love each other! We both have "lived some life" and were in and out of activity in the church growing up. I definitely feel like Heavenly Father put us together for a reason. She's a super hard worker and she is always so happy and nice!

We have a lot of work to do because to be honest.......I have no idea what the Elders have been doing here :) There is one family that they were teaching that are amazing so we are so grateful for that! The wife and daughter are so incredible and are so in tune with the spirit.

We have been SO busy contacting these past few days! We have been tracking on the streets, in stores and knocking on some doors! Guess how many new investigators we have found in 5 days? 13! West Nashville is a dream come true! Saturday night we just went to Publix, Walmart and Ross and met so many cool people! Tons of the Hispanics here are from Honduras- it's crazy! They all have been offering to feed us so I'm going to have to be really actually doing my morning work outs to stay in shape!

We want to try working towards creating a Spanish group that would meet at the Green Hills building since Haywood is so far from our area! The members in our area and our ward mission leader is on board so now we just need to talk to our other leaders first and see what they think.

We had a really crazy miracle with a less active English sister in our area! Elder Byington called and gave us the name of a less active who lives with Hispanics and said he would give us her address another day. Well Saturday we were contacting and we met a man named Robert waiting for his ride to work and talked to him for a minute. Right before he left he told us to go talk to his girlfriend who speaks English and pointed us to his apartment. We went and knocked and it was the less active Alisa! She was so excited to see us and we are seeing her tomorrow! Miracle!

Guess what I forgot to tell you last week? Sergio is getting baptized!! He's our friend that we've been teaching for a few months now! Super cool guy and super prepared for the gospel! Two weeks ago we were in the middle of going over 3 Nephi 27 with him and he started talking about the true gospel of Jesus Christ and what we must do to return to our Father in Heaven. The Spirit was so strong as he explained to us his understanding of what he must do. We then watched the Mormon Message "Road to Demascus" and he felt the Spirit so strong that he was almost in tears. I got iPad out and pulled up the calender and gave it to him to pick out the day he wanted to be baptized. He chose March 22nd which we later found out is his birthday! One thing I learned from this experience was that the Book of Mormon is so powerful. I know it was 3 Nephi 27 that truly helped him make this decision for himself and feel closer to Christ. I love that book!

Hopefully I can find a ride to be there Saturday for his baptism!! Say a lil prayer for me!

End of story is that I love this area and even when I get super tired and don't know if I can keep contacting, every time I make the decision to keep pressing on, Heavenly Father puts someone amazing in our path. I've been working in changing some habits to be completely obedient and I have felt so much more confident in the work and in myself since I've been better! If you read my most recent blog for the mission, you would know that I haven't always been the most obedient person but I'm grateful that the mission has taught me to be grateful for the commandments and guidelines that Heavenly Father has so lovingly given me. I love being obedient! (Something I never dreamed myself saying!) 

So our area is humongous! We cover pretty much the whole west side of Nashville! Part of our area is downtown- woohoo! We haven't ventured too far away from our apartment except for today. We don't have the car this week so we got bus passes! We woke up at 5:45 this morning to make it to our mission choir practice by 9! It was so worth it though!
I love singing and I am so grateful that I love close enough to be in it now! We are performing in different places Easter weekend- including a Catholic Church! Our prelude song is from the Lamb of God musical and it made me so happy! I love this area! Also, my aunt Anne emailed me that her nephew goes to Vanderbilt so I got permission from President to meet up with my distant cousin sometime and talk about mission life since he's leaving to go to Moscow in a few months! Such a small world- I love it!

Till next week,

Hermana Knight

Some kids we met while tracting

Below: Eating sushi for the first time in forever! It was okay....Above:  Lucy is a nice skater now!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Back to Nashville & Archie and the puffed up birds

Sister Fears and me
Us with Lilia

Us with the Aguero family!!! We're going to miss them! Pablo taught and baptized Lilia and when he got home they got married!!! She and her cute son Andy moved here from Mississippi a few months ago, we love them! They're expecting!

I LOVE Andy...and he loves me :)

Dearest family and friends,

I feel like I'm going to rip my hair out because I have so much to do! BECAUSE.....we are being white washed! We got the call Saturday night that we're both leaving! Ah! So much to do to prepare the area to be handed over! Too many people that we love that we don't want to fall through the cracks once we leave! Hermana Stricklin is going to Shelbyville Tn and I am going to....Nashville!!! I am SO excited!! I will be with Hermana Schmidt and we're actually white washing Providencia B which has been the Spanish Elder's area up until now! It will be a lot of work but so much fun! I am excited for this change but I will really miss the people here in Hopkinsville. Goodbyes are so so hard!

One cool story I want to share and then I have to go! There is a family who are recent converts and when I first met them I loved them but they were a lil rough around the edges- which makes them so fun! Anyways, we had dinner with them last night and I was brought to tears listening to the father talk to us about the things that he has come to feel and know in these last few weeks. The transformation I have seen in this man in just 4 months is indescribable. He is the truest example I have ever seen of the gospel truly changing people. He is so humble and so ready to lean more to God's understanding now, rather than his own. I could never put into words what I have seen happen in this man. I know that the gospel truly helps us become the best we can be. It has the power to change our lives and truly better ourselves.

I love y'all so much and I will have more to share next week!
I love you!

(Also, I'm going to miss our favorite window knocker, Archie!  He and all the other birds are puffed up now that it's so cold!  He showed up the other day and the top of his head looked funny...hope it was just wet)
Archie just wanted to make sure that we're okay...going to miss him....
...maybe he'll follow me to Nashville....

Until next week in Nashville,

Hermana Knight

The Hopkinsville District as of last week....
Us with Amber and Aiden more with Dave as well....
Me and Sister Duplechain....I'm going to miss her SO much!
I met this lady at McDonalds and told her I loved her sweater and she said I can have it! She got my number and said she would call me when she comes back into town!! Wahoo!!!
Me and two of the Kinley girls...I made them these headbands :) They wore them to school the next day!
They have the 10 Commandments everywhere here!
I gave Carolyn the headband I didn't need- she loved it and wore it to church the next day!

Now for some fun stuff:

 Us having fun at the International Festival
Hermana Stricklin with her cute lamb hat Sister Bodkin made her!
 We got iPads!

...And Finally....
Us with Patriarch Fears