Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 20: The Great Tie Escapade

Let me explain to you a thing.

A few weeks ago, we decided to do a secret service-type activity for all of the elders in our district, because they gave us an envelope that we aren't allowed to open until December 1st. And, being my father's daughter, I just knew we had to make it a good one. 

Meaning a prank.

But a service-oriented prank.


We enlisted the help of the Haitianaries, who also serve in Brockton, to take some of the elders' ties then hand them over to us. Just a few, 4 from one, 2 from another, you know. Then the next day they took just a few more. Then just a few more. That's when the elders started to notice--and complain. We could tell they weren't quite sure who took the ties, so no accusations were made. But a few days later, we found a glorious opportunity and took all the rest of their ties. (see picture) Elders have quite a lot of ties, if you didn't know. We had possession of 70 of their 78 total ties. That's when the elders REALLY noticed.

But never fear. We would not do a prank such as that without planning to return the ties with an added bonus!

We bought them each a lovely new Christmas tie that is also missionary appropriate! (see picture) It ended up really funny and the elders enjoyed it in the end. And hence, "The Great Tie Escapade."

This week! 

Monday we had FHE with Fabiana at AnaPaula's house and it was awesome. I love all of those people so much! They're the greatest. AnaPaula is the cutest--she's almost 25 and comes out with us and she's amazing. Then Fabiana is, as you know, wonderful herself. And she always asks us funny questions--this time it was about murder. But no worries! We got it cleared up. Just 10 year olds, you know how it is.They can be a little weird (right Spencer?).

Tuesday we were on exchanges with the sister training leaders! I love them a lot. And Sister Rushton was great, she put up with some crazy things that day. We lost my Cape Verdean grandma, Ernestina (who was home the whole time), had Domingos dropped by Tomas (a super solid member), got laughed at by the Dunkin' Donuts drive-through man (we asked what sizes they had for hot chocolate and what flavors of muffins. Just so you know, they have small, medium, large, and extra large. And they're types of muffins, not flavors). Then, you know, a member told her usual story of how her son with paranoia tried to kill her once.... she's fine, no worries. She tells that story I think everytime we go there. So yeah, Tuesday was interesting! 

Wednesday we dropped Miguel. We decided that these deaf men just haven't had the willpower to go to church or something, so they aren't really progressing. President bought 20 ASL books of Mormon, so we'll give those to them soon, but that's about it. (Plus I really think I'll get transferred, so the work will drop anyways...) I'm not 100% sure if he understood, but oh well. I feel significantly less stressed now! So I think it was the right thing to do in the long run. Maybe one day in the future it will happen.
Later we had some really good lessons with Tracy (bap. date Dec. 20 we think!), stopped by Laura at dialysis (she's doing well! We're having FHE with her tonight and it's gonna be great! She lost her glasses though, so she really can't read anything, which is hard on her. But she'll be okay), and we taught Rony finally! It was a really good plan of salvation lesson, and we had Fabiana and a very-recently-returned-missionary Quinzinho with us. It was great! Rony's going to get baptized for sure. (Dec. 14)

Thursday was planning day and we had dinner at the Moreira family's house. I like their food :)

Friday I'm not even sure what all happened, to be honest. Haha. We helped AnaPaula's husband Bryan with something and had dinner at Ernestina's house. Also delicious food. Cape Verdean food is really so good. I need to learn how to make it. 

Saturday was another strange day--we walked a lot and stopped by a bunch of people and helped Jayla make hearts for a heart attack for one of her friends who's our potential! That was fun. And we finally saw Beizinha after a few weeks. She's doing well, and better now that we prayed with her :) I love that girl. Then we had dinner at Lucia Carla's house, a now active member. It was really delicious. She speaks French at home to her kids, and I understood what she was saying! I can't speak French to save my life now, but I can understand and read it just fine. Go figure.

Sunday was the second craziest day of my whole life. Let's just call all that crazy "Church". I love church, but it is NOT restful for us missionaries. Not complaining, just telling the truth. We rounded out the day with Branch Council and a really good DTR lesson with Keila, who's thinking about a new baptismal date. Good stuff!

And this week is Thanksgiving. I don't know when that happened. We're going to Niquinha's house at 10am to help cook, eat at 1, and after eating we'll probably stop by other people's houses. So I may have multiple Thanksgiving dinners. It's gonna be fun! 

Then Friday we'll get t-texts (transfer texts--where she might be sent next).......... and I'll tell you what happens next week.

Things here are really good. Thank you for the hot chocolate and the letter Dad! It's good to have the good stuff again. It's about to snow this week too, so that will be fun. We could have a white Thanksgiving! Thank goodness we aren't in Buffalo, NY.... they've had at least 5 feet of snow so far! It's bad out there. But here in Mass, it's a lovely 65 degrees today, dropping to freezing later this week. Welcome to the east coast.

I love being a missionary and that's about all I'm gonna say 'bout that.

I love you all so much! Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Week 19: O primeiro batismo

So! The pictures included are from FABIANA'S BAPTISM on Saturday! I love that girl. In the picture, the two in front in white were baptized (Fabiana and Bruno), the two in the back baptized them (Elder Cavina and Andre) and the other missionaries are the ones that taught them. The baptism went wonderfully, and she got confirmed on Sunday!

The second is because Christmas time is coming and Sis. Lowenthal and I matched accidentally yesterday. Notice our lovely warm smiles. 

Since it was her baptism this week, things were mostly concentrated on Fabiana. So let me tell you more about her. Ready? On Tuesday we went to drop by to teach her briefly, then Wednesday we taught her all of lesson 5 and had her interview (which, of course, she passed with flying colors). We saw her Friday night as well, then her baptism on Saturday and confirmation on Sunday! I told you so. 

Fabiana. Is. Amazing. On Friday she had a speaking presentation at school, and she decided to talk about the Book of Mormon (after getting my "permission" and her teacher's). She told us that she spoke about it in front of almost the entire school, and it was a competition. She spoke about Joseph Smith, Lehi and Nephi, and other basic stuff, plus the Bible a little bit too. And guess what? She won FIRST PLACE! The girl has only known about the Book of Mormon for less than two months and she is already out sharing it with the world. We gave her a "Future Missionary" nametag to wear, and she loves it. That night, after she told us about all of that (which is just great enough!) we watched "Because of Him" with her in English. After talking about it for a little while, her family came in, including her less active mother and non-member (but investigating!) aunt and cousin, Rony. We watched the same video in Portuguese and there wasn't a single dry eye. The Spirit was so strong. Fabiana and everyone else bore a small testimony and it was great.

Then. At her baptism, her mom, Filomena, was there, and at the very end she went up and bore her testimony. It was very powerful. She even said that she was so grateful for us to come and teach her daughter because she couldn't do it. Filo is coming back. I know it. We're trying to work with her more now. This work is amazing, and the Spirit can and will touch more lives than we alone as missionaries could.

Other than that, not much happened this week! On Friday morning we did have interviews with President, and that went well. We also received training on how to teach the restoration better, and it was really helpful. 

It's been a good week! We've got another one ahead of us. And Thanksgiving is next week! When did that happen? I'm grateful to be here, even though it's getting really cold and starting to snow a little. A missionary from the branch just got back this week, and we were at a dinner with him and another return missionary yesterday. They both served in California and were reminiscing about burritos. Evandro said "This ain't cachupa man!" (which was actually hilarious) then Quizinho (most recent) said "man don't make me trunky!" 

It's strange to think that one day all of this will be over and I'll think back on my mission and wish I could come back to it. When I think like that, it makes me all the more grateful to be here now. Due to transfers, I may actually only have just over a year left if I go home the December transfer next year for school. Time is ticking very quickly, and it is honestly freaking me out.

But I'm trying my best to enjoy the time I have! I'm learning a lot, I'm speaking the language, and we'll see where the Lord takes me.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and stay safe and happy and warm! I love you!

Week 18: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible.

(2 Nephi 29:6)

Good Morning America! Family, Friends, welcome to the weekly update of Sister Knutti. This past week was one full of tears, hard laughter, and generally what can only be described as "missionary work." Let us begin.

Fun Fact: I am the only one in my district who knows what fried ice cream is. Sad day. These Brazilians just do not understand what I mean, and Elder Friebe just thought it sounded weird. Sigh.

So at the beginning of the month, President Packard told us about this goal that the missionary leaders and everyone all prayed about--our goal for the Massachusetts Boston Mission is to have 70 baptisms in the month of November, which is 11 more than we've EVER had. And it's not about the number, but about the idea that we need to help more people come to Christ, and that we need to have the faith that the Lord can make it happen. Which means in order to accomplish this goal we have, we are all sacrificing some things, as offerings for the Lord. And you know what? This is gonna happen! We currently have had 15 baptisms this month, and we have 123 baptismal dates for the rest of the month. Miracles are happening in Boston! One thing we are asking everyone to do is to include in every public and private prayer a plea to the Lord for help in our goals. So you can join in as well! It's going to happen, I know it will. 

This upcoming week will be Fabiana's baptism, my first one! We are all so excited. She's the best, and she's so ready. I'll send pictures.

A lot of our appointments this week fell through, but it's okay. We did see this investigator, Domingos, twice though. The first lesson... let's just say that it was really bad. BUT during the lesson his Adventist wife was telling us about a prophetess she believes in (I won't go into the larger story behind that one...) and how she has bibles from that lady and offered to give us some, and my companion (in portuguese) replied "Bibles? Oh, we don't need any more bibles. We already have a bible." Hence the title for this week. It was quite hilarious, mostly because I couldn't laugh in the lesson. But honestly, the thing I took away from that lesson the most was that despite all the things his wife was saying--that we were lying and this isn't in the Bible and so it can't be true....--was that I KNOW these things. Nothing that any other person can ever say to me will ever change my testimony, because I KNOW that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he DID see God face to face, that he DID translate the Book of Mormon through the power of God and that the book IS true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints IS God's church on the earth today, and our message is that we have the truth and God's power. We invite all people to come closer to Christ because we have seen how WE have come closer to Him already. I know these things are true, and I certainly wouldn't be here if I didn't. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. :)

ALSO! We saw Domingos a few days later, and he is still totally on board. His wife really doesn't like us, but he is really starting to know that this is true. For a long time he was caught on the fact that Joseph Smith wasn't in the Bible, but he gets it now! He really likes to study the Book of Mormon and he's really ready and open to learn. We'll get him wet yet. He just learns a little slowly, so it'll take a few weeks still.

We had stake conference this weekend! They asked the missionaries to sing for the Saturday night session, and it was great. We sang called to serve in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English, plus the EFY medley. Oh, it was really cool. And then the speakers talked about missionary work and hastening the work and family history and it was great! 

Those are pretty much the highlights of the week. Lots of things happen and I'm starting to realize that I don't really remember everything, whoops. But I love the work so much. It's hard to believe that I've been out 4 months already. And just think, because of school, I'll be home in just over a year..... weird. Let's not talk about it. 

I love being a missionary, I love my companion, I love the work, I love the scriptures, I love the Lord and my Heavenly Father. Things are rolling here in Boston, and you get to be around to see it!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 17: Gonna give Amulek and Alma a run for their moneyyyy

Hello family and friends.
Sister Carone has this CD of primary songs that are remixed, and "I hope they call me on a mission" has a rap in it. It's honestly so great. Try to look it up.
WELL LET'S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS! Meaning the gospel.
I'm a little short on time, plus this week was rather... dry, so I'll just give the highlights of the whole week.
-a lot of appointments fell through-->that was our fault. We didn't plan quite well enough.
-We DID get a new investigator this week, named Rony. He's Fabiana's mom's cousin--or Patricia's brother! He's pretty cool. We taught him the Restoration, law of chastity, and the word of wisdom all in one (because it was with Fabiana too). He's so ready and open! We're going to extend a date this week. He's really cool--he took his earrings right out when we told him that he should! We'll get him wet soon enough.
-Okay, ZONE CONFERENCE WITH ELDER LAWRENCE. SO GOOD. I'll have to let you read my notes when I get home, but basically it was about the house of Israel, and he and his wife had so many insights that I never guessed. Most members, actually, are truly from the house of Israel--very few true Gentiles join the church. I wish I could just show you a non-existent video of the whole thing. It was so good! Then we went to Outback for dinner, and it was delicious. 
-Friday was Halloween! We had a good zone meeting and talked about what we'll do as a result of the zone conference, then all of our appointments fell through. That night, we had to be home by 6, so we played Settlers of Catan with the elders. Unfortunately, I did not win, but it's okay. We played and ate food and it was a very tame Halloween, but it was good.
-Saturday we taught a new deaf investigator! His name is Greg. Funny story, actually. At the end of the lesson, we were saying goodbye and he went in for a hug. I kinda really forgot that I'm a missionary, and just about went in for the hug (watching sign language for an hour after not seeing it for two weeks makes you forget some things), then remembered I can't hug him, so I squirmed away. He was like "what did I do??" and Angela, our member, had to explain why. So that was lovely and awkward. Angela and Sister Lowenthal laughed at me for days about that. anyways.... Saturday was actually the most bizarre day of my life. I don't really know why or how to explain it. But everytime Sis. L and I tried to start to pray in the morning, someone texted or called us. Seriously. Plus the thing with Greg. And appointments fell through, men screamed and ran behind the car, weekly planning was late a long.... it was just a weird day. 

But don't worry, things are okay now! Today's pday, so that's always good :) You need weird days to have normal ones, right?
-Sunday! We had 6 investigators, including Rony and another new one (actually a former), Tracy, plus another 4! It was pretty great. 
-it snowed on Sunday.
-Sis. L and I walked for an hour or more on Sunday afternoon. Luckily, it wasn't snowing anymore. (For now... New England winters...)
And that's just about it. Unfortunately, I'm a little boring this week. And a little lazy.

I think this upcoming week will be a little bit better than last week, so that's good. And honestly, I've started to listen to Christmas music. (sorry mom) It's just time. I need a little Christmas. But life here is good! I really do still love it here. And Sister Lowenthal is awesome; I love being her companion. We have a lot of fun and good moments together. Plus we endured a ridiculously bizarre day together, so we're all the more close for it.
I love you all, I'm glad to hear Halloween was fun, and I hope this week is good too!

P.S. Look at the pictures on dropbox. Mom, I found some 80's themed sharpies that I bought. I thought immediately of you.
P.P.S. Many elders here in our zone greatly enjoyed the picture of Spencer as a unicorn and Ben as a nun. Elder Lee says you look great as a girl, Ben (in the nicest way possible). Thank you for the pictures, they're the best :)