Monday, December 12, 2016

The Wedding - December 12, 2016



Hello everyone!
So for those of you asking I'm feeling way better today than I was last week.

So this week was another normal week until Friday, because we had a wedding Saturday! It was super hectic and crazy trying to get everything ready. We borrowed a truck from the mission because in some areas the roads aren't very good so the mission has a bunch of trucks for missionaries to drive instead of cars. It was so nice top drive it for a couple days, it was a big Isuzu kb 250 double cab bakkie (a bakkie is a truck here) the trucks are smaller here than back home but it is still a big truck. We had to use it haul a bunch of chairs and a huge tent. It was super super tiring. Weddings are a lot of work but it was super awesome to see 2 of our investigators getting married so they can be baptized.

Then on Sunday we attended church in a different branch then where we are serving because one of the senior couple missionaries was going home so we went to their last Sunday before they leave SA. It was super crazy because the guys there were only halfway through their mission when I came. I guess it just means I'm starting to get old on mission.

It's crazy that Christmas is just 2 weeks away, I hope every has a great Christmas season and remembers the true meaning of Christmas and remembers the birth of our Savior.
 
I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder K




The Flu - December 5, 2016

Hello everyone!
So this week was an interesting one. Things got slightly better this week but I got super sick this weekend. It was probably the sickest I have been in my whole life too, I wont go into detail but lets just say it was not fun.
We taught some good lessons and found some good people this week. December here though is really tough for missionary work because everyone goes out to party and drink and nobody is ever home because everyone gets time off work. Its the start of summer here so the weather is super hot too.
I want to thank everyone for emails this week. I'm super sorry if I forgot to reply to you but I read everything that was sent and loved all of it.
I'm still kind of sick and my brain isn't quite working well, so this email will be kinda short but just know that I love you all and hope you have a great week.
Elder Knutsen

I'm so sorry - November 28, 2016

So first let me apologize for not emailing everyone the past two weeks, things have been kinda crazy lately and I haven't always felt like sending a group email which I am sorry for.
So let's go over the past couple weeks, first we had a baptism 2 Sunday's ago which was super exciting. It was the first person I had found, taught, and baptized, so it was super awesome.

2nd we will be having a wedding for 2 of our investigators on the 10th which I am super excited for, the Sunday after we will have like 3 or 4 baptism so I stoked for that.
Those are kind of the big events that have happened, but we have done fun stuff along the way.  

Today we had like 30 missionaries come and play soccer together which now will be a weekly thing, it was so much fun but it was so HOT!!! It is like 35 today and very very humid so you feel hot all the time. It's nice but sucks at the same time.


Sounds like things are going great back home... here not so much. my new comps name is Elder Thandi from Zimbabwe, and lets just say we aren't getting along very well. I have no idea how I'm going to make it through this transfer, it's been three days but it feels like its been forever, everything he says to me is super negative and it's always his way or the highway, he doesn't negotiate at all. I have also learned that companionship relationships aren't always prefect. I've known that, but this transfer has been really tough so far. It has helped me grow a ton though which I am grateful for.

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

Elder Knutsen

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Friends

Brett recently asked me to log onto his Facebook and confirm a friend named Aphelele Mzimela.  Shortly after I confirmed their FB friendship, she posted the following:
 
"If friends had price tags,I wouldn't afford someone as great as you ••Brett••"

With pictures.............







Stake Conference - November 7, 2016

Hellooooooo!!!!!

So this week was pretty awesome mostly because one of our investigators passed their baptismal interview this last Thursday! it was so exciting because I was one of the missionaries who found her so it is super cool to see someone you found progress all the way to baptism.

Also, this Saturday and Sunday we had stake conference, it was neat because we got a new stake President. Also stake conference is held here in Durban city hall which is this HUGE building, google it sometime. About an hour and half before the meeting started Sunday morning all the missionaries from Durban stake went to city hall and sang hymns and passed out pass along cards and copies of the book of mormon, it was super fun to be doing that with 20 other missionaries.

Besides those two major events nothing else really happened, we found some people who seem like they are ready for the gospel which is also super awesome.

OH, I just remembered a story I have to tell, so for what ever reason here people think that if you have a bad memory you have diabetes, no idea why they think that but they do, so this week I could remember where I put something and one of my companions said to me "maybe you have diabetes". it was the funniest thing ever, it may not be funny to you all but it was to me..... haha.

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

Elder K

Goodbye - October 31, 2016

So yesterday was a happy/sad day because one of the missionaries who lived with me for the past 2 months finished his mission - the assistants came and picked him up from our house after church, its always weird to see people go home, and every transfer since I got on mission I've known someone who went home. You kinda just sit there and think one day that will be me and there will be some other young missionaries sitting here seeing me pack up and head home.

Other than that though this week was great, we have one of our really powerful investigators getting ready to be baptized, her interview is this week so we are super excited for her. the baptism though wont be till the 13th because this next week is stake conference. stake conference is kinda different here but ill talk about that next week after it happens.

Because one of the missionaries went home I am now in a 3 some with another missionary from Utah named Elder Marshall. He is a pretty cool guy and its crazy because we had almost the exact same jeep back home, except his was green and mine was white.

Other than that, I don't think there is much to talk about this week, just working hard and getting ready for another transfer to come to a close. We find out our new companions a week from Friday so it's exciting to see what will happen to me since my companion will be going home at that time.

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

Elder K

Monday, October 24, 2016

Zone Conference - October 24, 2016

Man this week was awesome!
 
So we had a big meeting with a ton of missionaries this week, I think there were like 20 of us there. It was great because I got to see guys I had served around in Ladysmith and some of my former companions Elder Razafindrakoto and Elder Chapo. It's always great to see people you shared great experiences with. Its crazy because soon Elder Raza goes home so I will be an orphan.
 
At this meeting we got to hear from our mission president, President Thompson and his wife, also a General Authority was there, his name is Elder Palmer from New Zealand, his wife spoke as well.

They gave some great talks about missionary work and how we can be more effective in everything we do. It was great to hear their opinions on things and how we can do better.

Besides that though the week was the same as always, teaching investigators and helping them progress in the gospel. Its so much fun to get to know all the different people I meet here and become part of their lives if only for a short time.
 
This next week will be 7 months which is crazy, its weird not to be the young guy anymore but its very nice at the same time haha.
 
I love you all and hope you have a great week this week.
 
Elder Knutsen
 



 

6 1/2 months - October 17, 2016

So I can't think of any clever titles so I guess how long I've been on mission will have to suffice.

So this week was pretty boring for the most part.
 
Tuesday we didn't have anything special, just saw one of our prime investigators and she told us she had received an answer that the book of mormon was true which made us feel great, she is going to be baptized on Nov 13th so I'm super pumped for that.
 
Wednesday we had a zone training meeting in which we found out that we have a big zone conference in Durban tomorrow the 18th. also we got some new weekly goals from our mission President and they are pretty high.
 
Thursday, Friday and Saturday were kind ofthe same thing, just visited people and had fun talking and interacting with all these different people. the people are definitely the best part of mission, getting to know new people all the time and learning about them has been amazing.
 
Sunday we had church which was 4 hours long because we finished watching conference kind of, we still have to watch priesthood. sunday was also cool because it is 10 weeks from when we get to call home (christmas). I hadn't thought about it for a long time but it made me realize how long its been since I have seen my family, but the crazy thing is I didn't get home sick! I just was grateful for all the cool experiences I have been having that have been keeping us very busy.
 
Today we went to the beach down in Amanzimtoti. Its really cool because the waves are huge and when we go we are the only ones on the beach so we can just relax and take it in. it helps relieve all the stress we have. The ocean is one of the reasons i'm glad to be on the coast now.

Tomorrow we have a sweet meeting with a general authority which i'm pumped for, its gonna be great.
 
I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder K

Monday, October 10, 2016

Time Flies - October 10, 2016

Man time flies!

It's crazy that my first week with my new companion is already over, and its crazy that he goes home at the end of these 6 weeks so its really exciting for him.

So Tuesday this week we had to drive to Pine Town about 25 minutes away to swap companions, I dropped off Elder Chapo and picked up Elder Opiyo.

Wednesday wasn't to exciting, just helping my companion get used to the new area, its crazy I thought I didn't know Umlazi very well but once you start driving around you realize you know it better than you give yourself credit for.

Thursday we attended a funeral for a girl we were teaching, it was really sad because she was only 20 years old. her parents were super grateful that we came though ( they are not members). We were just glad to be able to support them in this difficult time.

the rest of the week wasn't too exciting except Sunday because we got to watch conference which was cool, everyone has to go to the chapel. we still actually haven't finished it we have Sunday afternoon and priesthood to watch still.

Today we did a little shopping but mostly just relaxed. we have to go to Durban a little later today because the guys who we live with car was being worked on so we have to take them to pick it up.

I think that's about everything, I love SA and I love being on mission!

Have a great week.

Elder Knutsen
 



 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Interviews & Training, Oct. 3, 2016

President Thompson traveled the entire mission last week to interview the elders and do small group training. We love all these fabulous young men, and appreciate their dedication at being great missionaries.


 

Goodbye - Oct. 3, 2016

So this week was great, and sad at the same time.

We found out Saturday night that Elder Chapo would be leaving and I would be getting a new companion, who's name is Elder Ophiyo from Uganda. He is very old on mission like 23 months old so I'm excited to be with him so I can learn from him and keep becoming a better missionary.

So Tuesday we had a great day, it rained and at night the power was off in parts of Umlazi (they do it on purpose) so we sat in a couple houses only lit by a candle.

Wednesday we had a training meeting with our whole zone. its always cool to meet together and talk and figure out what we can be doing better, we have some great zone leaders.

Thursday was just another day of good apps, the weather was super nice that day.

Friday was great because it was the day that 6 months ago I got to South Africa, its so hard to believe that it has already been six months, 1/2 a year! it kinda blew my mind.

Saturday we went to a unveiling, which is pretty much just a little ceremony they have when they reveal someones tombstone, then we got some great food afterwards. Then later that night we got the transfer news.

Sunday was cool because it was some missionaries last Sunday on mission, they get to pick where they go for church their last week and Umlazi W is a very common place so we got to talk to some guys who right now are flying back home.

today we didn't do to much, I went and got a sweet new haircut from a guy from India, but besides that we didn't do much!

I'll tell you about my new comp next week.

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

Elder K

6 months - Sept 26, 2016

It is so crazy that this friday I will have been on mission for 6 months!

Most of the time it seems like it is going pretty quick, Days kinda blur into one another, its crazy that this is the last week for this transfer so Saturday night I will be finding out if I am getting a new comp or a new area or if everything is staying the same. I really hope I get to stay in Umlazi, its such a great place.

Also I am getting fat, kinda crazy but I weighed myself back in august and I had gained 10 lbs since I had left home, I probably have gained more since then too because we get fed every single night except sundays and on some nights we get fed twice, the food here is so good though.

So this week was great though, on tuesday we painted at a gogo's house which took a good chunk out of our day but it was great to do that for here.

wednesday we didn't d anything to exciting, just had a busy day of apps

Thursday wasn't the best best because we had to go to town (Durban) and pick up our car, they were doing some work on it so they had us driving a different one this last week but then they wanted to switch back and came back to Umlazi right during rush hour so we got stuck in traffic for a bit.

Friday was a great day, we had some great lessons and got to meet with some amazing people, all the people are amazing but these ones were extra amazing, haha.

Saturday was super lame, so it was heritage day which is just a big cultural day were people have parties and such and our ward was supposed to have one but then Saturday morning our bishop cancelled it without telling alot of people so some people walked to our chapel and there was no activity which sucked and it was kinda embarrassing for us because we invited some people but bishop didn't tell us it was cancelled so we had to take the blame and say sorry to a lot of people.

Sunday was church and just more apps

today we went down to Amanzimtoti which is like 15 minuets south of us and went to the beach, it was super nice to walk on the sand and enjoy the sun, it was super windy though and so the sandy was flying around and blasting our legs, it was even a little painful but not enough to stop us from enjoying it.

I think that's about it. I'm excited for this next week and really hope its not my last in Umlazi.

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

Elder K ( no one can say my last name here so I have become Elder K to everyone)

Free Fallin - Sept. 19, 2016

Hello everyone!

So this week wasn't too much different from the past, we visited people, taught lessons, that sort of stuff but on Wednesday our zone had a training meeting so that was a nice chance to meet with other missionaries and learn how we can become more effective.

Today was the highlight though, we drove about an hour and a half south to a place called Lake Eland Game reserve, google it its pretty incredible, but the big thing is that we went zip lining on Africa's biggest zip line, which was so much fun, it was 14 different lines and some were as long as 600 M and we got up to speeds of almost 100 kmh's which was super awesome, we were flying through trees and over this lake which we could touch as we went past! it was so much fun and such a cool chance to do something to relax and enjoy or p day.

Now we have more work planned for this week, more people to interact with and get to know which I'm always excited about!

I love being on mission, it's fantastic

I love you all.

Elder K

The Wild West - Sept. 12, 2016

So this week was rather uneventful, until Saturday, but I'll get there in a minute.

on Monday and Tuesday we just visited people like usual, nothing new or exciting just working hard.

on Wednesday though we had interviews with our mission president and then a little meeting with like 8 missionaries after. its always nice to talk to President Thompson. Its great to hear how he thinks we are doing and meeting with him is always a confidence booster.

Thursday and Friday was more or less the same thing as ever, meeting with people and have fun with new people, that's one of my favorite things is the people, it so much fun to interact with them and get to know them because they are all such amazing people.

Saturday is when the crazy stuff happened, we started out that morning playing soccer with some other missionaries and some members, that's a pretty big thing here, to play soccer every Saturday morning. then later that day we went to a members house to watch the Manchester city vs Manchester united match, I didn't like soccer back home but here its just a big part of life and I definitely am starting to enjoy it. then we went through out the rest of the day visiting people, later that night we went to our dinner app and when we were finished at 9 pm we went outside and found somebody had done some serious damage to our car, the rear left window was smashed in and we had a big new dent in the trunk. we had to go get the window fixed today and they will do the rest of the work later this week. we were lucky though that whoever broke our window didn't take anything.

Besides that, I think that's all the action for this week. Umlazi is great and I love it so much.

Have a great week everyone,

Love, Elder Knutsen

5 months down - Sept. 5, 2016

So this week went by super fast,

Monday we didn't do much besides email and relax.

Tuesday was crazy, so we went to go pick one of our members up who helps us teach and he was at this grocery store in the township, so we went and parked outside, all of a sudden about 50 feet to our left we hear gun shots and we see two guys with guns who shot this guy trying to steal from them, they only shot him in the leg though so we got out of our car and went over and watched for a bit. Nothing happened after he got shot but it was still crazy.

Wednesday we went to go pick him up again and this time while we drove there we saw a car get t boned which was also crazy, traffic lights are always out here so sometimes you pull out thinking someone will stop for you and treat it like a stop sign but 90% of the time the person going straight doesn't even stop which can be annoying.

besides that not to much happened, Saturday we played soccer for a couple hours which was fun.

The weather is hot here, way hotter than in Ladysmith but I am adjusting.

This area is awesome, the people are awesome, everything is awesome.

have a great week,

Elder Knutsen

Shots fired - August 29, 2016

Hello Everyone

So this week was kinda blur, trying to get used to new people and a new area makes time go quick.

Umlazi is amazing, it also is a maze! the roads get so tiny and they have huge turns and tight corns it can be kinda crazy sometimes. also there are no speed limits, the only way they control speed is they have speed bumps all over which ca be super annoying. its so nice when you get on a road that doesn't have them.

The house here are crazy, they have tons of hills here and houses are everywhere and anywhere, if you could put a house there one is there. they build like miny ledges so you look u and there is a house above you only like maybe 10 feet back, its crazy. its hard to describe it even close to how it really looks.

Its crazy though, the ward here is huge, this Sunday we had 195 people there which was insane, I think it is the biggest ward in the mission. we have 4 missionaries for this one ward.

So Like I said Umlazi is kinda dangerous if you arent careful, luckily we have a member who comes ot with us every single day, its nice because he knows all the area like the back of his hand. his name is Lucky. but Like I was saying about danger you hear gunshots all the time so I keep a count of every time I hear one and right now it is up to 16 which is kinda crazy.

Besides that I don;t think there is anything else, I love the people here already, it's kinda crazy how quickly we start to love people here.

I hope you all have a great week love you all,

Elder Knutsen

Monday, August 22, 2016

Goodbye Ladysmith - August 22, 2016


Hello everyone,

So I have exciting news and sad news, I am leaving Ladysmith tonight (or Tuesday morning depending how specific you want to be). It is sad to be leaving but at the same time I am excited because I am going to a super awesome place called Umlazi (pronounced um-la-zee).

Umlazi is the 2nd biggest township in South Africa, and I get to live in the township which will be super awesome. I know my mom will hate this, but is the most dangerous place in the mission. That's only if you aren't careful though, if you stay out of the places you shouldn't be, then you will be fine. My new companions name is Elder Chapo, he is from Zimbabwe. I am excited to have an African companion again.

It was tough to say good bye to all the people I have met here in Ladysmith. The members are so amazing and I will miss them so much. I will also miss Elder Smith, he is super awesome and we had gotten really close over these last 6 weeks.

I will definitely have a lot to say next week after my first week in Umlazi, its a pretty crazy place but missionaries love it so I am super excited.

Love you all and have a great week.

Elder Knutsen

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Missionary Vacation - August 9, 2016

So this week was as close to a vacation on mission as you can get.

On thursday we went to Durban for zone conference. zone conference is always fun because you get to see other missionaries and I was able to see Elder Jonga, my companion from the MTC. we had a great meeting and then we went back home, 

So for transport we took a big taxi down to Durban, taxis here are like big vans so we packed 15 missionaries into one and drove 3 hours to Durban in the morning and then 3 hours back that night. it was quite the experience. 

Then on Sunday we were invited to go to Dundee's ( a place about 45 minuets from ladysmith) Branch president's farm, now His farm is about 2.5 hours from dundee so that was another long car ride we got to take which was fantastic. we wanted to save on mileage so we put a couple guys in the bed of a bakkie (truck) and I drove that to the farm. it was so much fun there, words and the many pictures I took cannot describe it. it also looks nothing like a farm back home. It was so much fun though, it was kinda like a vacation but at the same time on Monday we worked for like 6 hours pouring concrete at their house. their house has a ton of stories also which I will tell everyone about when I get home but it is too hard to type them all out.

Besides all that we just had another week of hard work, Elder Smith and I are in a 3 some now with one of the missionaries who we live with because his companion just finished his two years and heads home now. The guy we are with now is named Elder Eastmond. he is a great guy who I have lived with since I started mission.

I dont think anything else really happened this week. just more teaching and the usual missionary stuff.

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

Elder Knutsen

Pinetown Zone Conference - August 5, 2016


Playing a rousing Book of Mormon game!



These group of Elders piled into a taxi and made the 3 hour trip one-way to attend the zone conference in Pinetown.



Monday, August 1, 2016

A wet week! August 1, 2016

So this week really wasn't to exciting, all we did was work super hard and smash all our goals for this week which was great. 
 
We have had huge storms all week also, tons of lightning and rain. we were teaching one lady in a little shack that couldn't have been any bigger than 10 feet by 8 feet with a 7 foot ceiling, it was made completely out of metal and while we were teaching her the storm picked up, like the sky just opened up and it POURED, hail lightning and rain. One of the biggest storms I've seen, so we are teaching her and with the house made out of metal it was quite loud with the hail pounding on it, we all had to sit right next to one another and yell almost as loud as we could just to hear one another. it was pretty funny. It gets alot colder here also than people think, most of the time its hot but in the winter (right now) it gets pretty cold. 
 
This week we are going to Durban on Wednesday and Thursday which I'm excited for. Durban is so nice to go to, the weather is always fantastic and when we are there we can go to McDonald's and get mcflurries instead of out here in Ladysmith all we have for fast food is KFC which gets old after it being the only thing you have for 4 months. 
 
Its crazy to me that I have been out for 4 months now, time goes so fast. It seems like just yesterday I was getting on the plane to head to Atlanta. there is a good chance I only have 3 more weeks in Ladysmith which would be sad because I love it here but everyone says once you get to your second area time only move faster. One of the guys I live with goes home in a couple weeks, I cant even imagine being at that point. it blows my mind to think that one day I will be the old guy in the mission.
 
That is still a long time away though, for now just have to keep going one day at a time, thats one thing I've learned big time, is to live in the moment. When you worry about what happened and whats to come it ruins the NOW which is the most important thing. So thats what I've been focusing on is to take it one day, hour, and minute at a time. live life to the fullest by getting everything you can get out of right now.
 
Hopefully someone enjoys my wise words of advise haha. Have a great week everyone, I love you all!
 
Elder Knutsen

Best week ever - July 25, 2016

Hello everyone!
 
Man this week was awesome, Even though everything didn't always go according to plan I think it was one of my best weeks on mission. 
 
We were able to get quite a few new investigators this week, like 6 new ones which was great so we have about 12 people we are teaching currently. We also now have 7 people on baptism date which should all be baptized on the 14th and the 21st of August. It would be sweet if we were able to accomplish that. 
 
So the biggest problem we have with our investigators is that they dont come to church. lots of people dont have cars here and some people walk an hour to church so its not the easiest thing for people here. But this week we had 8 investigators at church! it was so awesome. I was giving a talk and one of the guys we are teaching walked in and I barely could control myself when I saw him walk through the door. 
 
We are just working super hard here in Ladysmith and the area is on fire right now. Even when we get "bunked" ( appointments fall through) we are able to find new people to teach. its actually hard to be able to give everyone enough time during the week and hopefully we can just keep getting even more people to teach.
 
Last night we had a HUGE storm. tons of lightning and thunder which I love, oh and the most rain I have seen in a long time. It felt like a late fall Washington day which was great. Today also just has been rainy all day too which has felt nice. 
 
We are going to Durban again next week, literally every month since Ive been here we have had to go there. Its alot of fun to go there though because you get to see the amazing beaches and all the friends I have made so far.
 
I think thats about it for me this week! I look forward to all the things Elder Smith and I have planned for this coming week.
 
Have a great week and I love you all,
 
Elder Knutsen

Monday, July 18, 2016

President and Sister Thompson have arrived!

Shortly after Brett arrived in South Africa, President and Sister Zackrison were released from their mission, and President and Sister Thompson were called. (July 2016 - 2019)  


Brett welcoming other missionaries as they are coming for the District Conference in Ezakheni.


Brett's current companion Elder Smith from Peyson, Utah.  (July 2016)


The front two rows are the choir.  They acapella and are amazing!


Brett greeting members as they arrive for the conference.



Members of the District Presidency


Brett's zone - July 2016



President Thompson is traveling around the mission to interview the fabulous Elders representing Jesus Christ. These are a handful of the 110 in this mission.

President and Sister Thompson have arrived!

Shortly after Brett arrived in South Africa, President and Sister Zackrison were released from their mission, and President and Sister Thompson were called. (July 2016 - 2019)  


Brett welcoming other missionaries as they are coming for the District Conference in Ezakheni.


Brett's current companion Elder Smith from Peyson, Utah.  (July 2016)


The front two rows are the choir.  They acapella and are amazing!


Brett greeting members as they arrive for the conference.



Members of the District Presidency


Brett's zone - July 2016


President Thompson is traveling around the mission to interview the fabulous Elders representing Jesus Christ. These are a handful of the 110 in this mission.

New Companion! July 18, 2016

Man this week was awesome!

Elder smith and I are getting along great! He did long jump in high school just like me and really loves basketball which is great. We just have alot of things in common and work really well together. I can already tell this transfer is gonna be great.
So this week we worked super hard and were able to find alot of people to start teaching the coming week which was great. Also we went and got Elder smith introduced to our members here. a couple of them pranked him which was pretty great haha. 
On Friday we came home and some how two birds had gotten stuck in our house so we had to figure out how to catch them and get them out. it took over an hour and it was so funny. I got a ton of video of us trying to get them but eventually one of the guys we live with from Mozambique got them. he literally grab them out of the air while they were flying! it was insane. 
Besides that nothing too eventful happened, we have some power investigators which is great and we are working super hard. Im excited to be in Ladysmith, it really is an awesome place!

Have a great week everyone, 
 
Love
Elder Knutsen



 

Merry Muslim Christmas - July 12, 2016

These past couple days have been crazy! Transfer time always is. So about an hour ago I picked up my new companion named Elder Smith. Im excited to get to know him more. 

So this week on Wednesday we went with a guy from our branch to some of his friends house who are Muslim, Ramadan had just ended so we had a giant feast with them, our member described it to us like Muslim Christmas haha. The food was so good also, it was all Indian food and some of it was so hot I thought my lips were going to fall off haha, but it tasted so good! I talked to a guy from Pakistan for like 30 minuets and it was so cool to be able to talk to him about different things. we laughed and had a good time talking. 

Then this last monday we went hiking with the missionaries we live with and members of their branch. we stared around 9:00 and got back around 13:00 It was to far but there weren't really trails and it was up this huge mountain. we took a ton of sweet pictures but I forgot to bring my camera today so you will have to wait till next week. I took this one picture where my legs are hanging off this cliff that is like a 500 foot drop. its a sweet picture but it was super scary to take because there was literally nothing beneath me. It was so much fun!

Thats pretty much all for this week! Today starts a new chapter of my mission so I am super excited to work with Elder Smith!

Have a great week, I love you all!

Elder Knutsen

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 4, 2016 - To Mom

Its crazy thats its already July, and that I have been out for 3 months now. Time certainly does fly! Just think, next time I call home Ill be 9 months and almost halfway done!

Its incredible here. Durban is amazing! When we went to the beach it felt like the middle of summer on a beach in California. they have huge piers on the beaches that you can walk way out over the ocean. It was cool to stand out on them and watch people surf and just enjoy the sun. I forgot to grab my camera when we went to the beach but it definitely wont be the last time im there so I will be able to get more pictures next time Im in Durban.
A good chance to send stuff would be asap. when the transfer ends the guys coming from Durban to "Outer Darkness" (anything out of Durban) bring packages and mail to missionaries out here.
 
Driving is crazy here. Taxis are insane. They arent little cabs either, they are like sprinter bus or Volkswagen bus sized. they carry like 15 people to a place for pretty cheap price, but the drivers are crazy. they follow absolutely no rules of the road. you would refuse to drive here because of them haha. They will just drive in front of you when you are stopped at a red light and people run red lights like crazy, so you have to watch when your light turns green to make sure no one is coming. It was a little crazy driving in Durban last week but it was fun. Im a way better driver now then I ever was back home. All the misisonaries get in trouble when they go home though because of the lack of rules here, so dont let me drive for a little bit when I get home haha. We have a rule that we dont go above 120 kmh or 70 mph. its sounds fast but when everyone around you is going 160kmh or 100 mph you are one of the slower drivers. Everything is going great here. I love it,

Im way more responsible than I ever was back home. having to budget money and make sure you always have food to eat can be quite hard sometimes but we make it work. I love you and hope you have a great week.

Love, Brett

Happy Birthday America - July 4, 2016

Its crazy thats already the last week of the transfer, at this time next week I could be getting on a bus to go somewhere new or be picking a new companion up from the bus stop.

This week went by super fast because we went to Durban for a couple days, I really hope i get transferred there because it is to nice there. Its the middle of winter and we went to the beach and were walking around in shorts and t shirts because it is so warm. Its alot warmer than Ladysmith thats for sure. While we were there we met our new mission president. His name is President Thompson, he is super funny and nice. Im glad he is my mission president for the rest of my mission. I always forget to take pictures so I dont have a ton but I have some that dont really do it justice in how amazing it is. 

Besides going to Durban we didnt really do to much this week. Today we had to clean our house super well because people will come to check it out but as far as the rest of the day we dont have anything planned. We work hard each and everyday, its so much fun to interact with these people and be exposed to a new culture. oh I almost forgot on saturday I ate goat for the first time. Its a traditional food so you dont eat it super often but there was a party some members went to and they brought us back some. The skin is super hard to eat, you can hardly bite through it. the meat is really chewy though, kinda like gum. It doesnt really taste like anything I have ever had before. it makes you hands and mouth smell for a super long time though. even after you wash them it takes time for the smell to go away. it has a very distinct smell so you can tell if someone ate goat recently.

Thats really all that happened this week. It was weird to not be celebrating today, we wanted to buy some fireworks while we were in Durban but we didnt have time to look around. I hope everyone has a great week this week! I love you all.

Elder Knutsen



 

June 27, 2016

Hello everyone!

This week was another week of just work. nothing to exciting. We were supposed to go to the drakensburg moutains today but we changed it to next monday. Im super excited for that. also either this friday or next tuesday we are going to Durban which is always super fun. Going to the big city is always fun, there is always alot to do and see there. This week I went twice to a town about 45 minuets away from ladysmith called Dundee. I went wednesday for a district meeting and friday I went and spent the night up there for exchanges. For me one of the best things is seeing other areas/ missionaries and taking things that I like that they do and trying to do them myself. Its crazy that I will probably be getting a new companion in 2 weeks. After you have been with one guy for so long it feels weird to be away from them. Also this sunday we had two baptisms which was great. I got to baptize one of them. He is an 8 year old boy named Ntokozo. he was afraid of the water so I had to carry him out after we were done. Him and I are buddies now though. The other person we baptized is named Spamandala. he is 17 he was baptized by his uncle who is our branch president. When we have baptisms it makes it feel like all our hard work is paying off. I hope everyone has a great week this week, Hopefully I will have lots of stories for next week.

Love 

Elder Knutsen

June 20, 2016



HI everyone,

So this was one of the less exciting weeks i have had since ive been here. On Tuesday our Mission president came to say good bye because he goes home at the end of june and then we get a new mission president. That was fun because we got to see a couple other missionaries. Then on Thursday I got to go up for a day to a township called Ozewni. I traded companions for the day with one of the missionaries up there. it actually was the zone leaders (the guys in charge of us)  who we did an exchange with so I got to be zone leader for a day haha. That was cool to see a different place and meet people I had never met before. It was a big holiday called youth day on thursday so while I was up there we got to go to a party which had some really good food. those were the highlights of my week this week. One thing that is cool is this coming sunday we are hoping to have two people baptized so that always is cool thing to see and I get to baptize one of those people so look forward to more pictures. Next monday I may be going to the Drakensburg Mts With my whole zone so look forward to pictures of that too. Then on july 6th we have to go to Durban again. It makes these last couple weeks of this transfer go so fast. its crazy that today is the start of week 4 and at the end of this transfer I get a new companion. Im looking forward to all this stuff we have planned. Love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder Knutsen

June 13, 2016

Hi everyone,

This week was a great week. Everything just kinda went well. We didnt really do anything to different but things just went well. We have about 10 people we are teaching right now so we stay quite busy visiting them, less active members, and active members. this last week on thursday we went to Newcastle for a zone training meeting. its all ways a great time when you get 18 missionaries in the same room haha. after the training meeting we all went and got McDonalds. It was the first time I had eaten there in SA and I must say I have never enjoyed eating a burger that much. I honestly think it was the best fast food I have ever had haha. The weather this week has started to get very cold and rainy. I feel quite blessed that we are in a driving area and not a walking area. 95% of our mission is driving. we actually have the most cars out of any mission in the whole world. we only have about 5 places that dont have a car or truck. oh speaking of cars on the drive to Newcastle this week the rear bumper of our car just fell off. it was the craziest thing. we had to stop and throw it in the trunk of our car. so right now we are driving around without a bumper. it brings up quite alot of questions with the members haha. our car is just cursed because today we had to meeting the senior couple for some medical stuff and while we were at the doctor our car died. so Elder Hind had to start our car with Elder Raza and I pushing it. He taught me how to start it when the battery is dead also. I think with driving this much stick and learning how to do all these different things im starting to prefer manual over automatic. its funny because I just learned how to drive it about 9 weeks ago. oh how things change haha. Well I think thats about it. I hope everyone has a great week!

Love, Elder Knutsen

Saturday, June 11, 2016

June 6, 2016


HI everyone!

This week was crazy. with all the transfers happening on Monday and Tuesday it really messed up our schedule this week. Not to much really happened though. I mostly got to know a bunch of missionaries which was nice. its definitely nice to start making some more friends on mission. I'm pretty close with the 3 guys I live with but we wont always be together so its nice to meet other people. 

On Saturday we had to go to eZakheni and help the missionaries there empty their baptism font by hand because the drain wasn't working, it was a lot of buckets of water we had to carry through their building to dump them outside. Then we went to a members house and had to cut down some "trees" They were more like baby trees. then on Sunday we went to visit a member family who lives about 30 minuets from Ladysmith, they wanted to show us how they get their water - they have this community hand pump that you have to crank a lot to make water come out, then you fill 5 gallon buckets and carry it back to the house. I wish i had taken pictures but just know that it was quite the workout haha. 

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

Love, Elder Knutsen


My district from last transfer. From left to right its Elder Eastmond, Gumbo, Baumgartner, Hoopes, Me, and Elder Raza


Us going to town chopping those "trees" down


May 31, 2016 - 1 down.....16 more to go!

Hi everyone!

Man these past couple days have been crazy! So for those who dont know missionaries are in an area for alteast 6 weeks. those 6 weeks are called a transfer because at the end of those 6 weeks you can possibly be transfered to a new area.well today is the start of a brand new transfer, my second one on mission. So its super hectic because people are constantly coming and going on buses for most of the day today. Ladysmith is where the closest bus stop is to alot of areas so we have a ton of missionaries staying at our house right now. I think there are 15 when we normally have 4 there. its insane. We had to pick some guys up from the bus at 2:30 AM last night which sucked. I think I got about 4 hours of sleep so I apologize if this email makes no sense. But back to explaining about transfers. there are usually 17 transfers in a mission and I just finished number 1. It may not seem like much but time when by so fast. I honestly think these were the fastest 6 weeks of my life. It was insane and everyone has said that time only starts going faster and faster. 

I love being on mission. It is so much fun. This last week I have had a cold but even with me being sick we still have so much fun. Man I have had some of the best food ever while I have been on mission. we eat alot of beef and chicken. those are the 2 main kinds of meat we eat. but everyone has different ways of preparing the same meal so it never gets old. Everytime we eat with someone the food is always so good. They have this thing called pap here. I dont really know how to describe it but its made out of maize. you will have to google it but its super good. im going to have to learn how to make it and bring it home with me. 

I hope everyone has a great week. I love you all!

Elder Knutsen