Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas in Brazil

Ola!!! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!! 

Well, this week was miracle after miracle.
We needed to teach Michael every day starting last Saturday so that he could be ready to get baptized the next Saturday. he was there every single day. We were worried his boss might not let him come, but he was there every day. He was a little late sometimes, but he came. We had a lesson with him about the Word of Wisdom a little early this week and he was like "tea and coffe?! Why not?!" We explained that it was a commandment and that was all it took. He said he would refuse it at work in the mornings and he wouldn´t drink it again. It was absolutely incredible. We had the interview with him on Christmas Eve and he passed!!! He was baptized on Saturday. He came to the baptism late and something seemed to be wrong. We found out that his friends had been telling him the same day that he shouldn´t get baptized, that he had only known us for three weeks and that he was just doing it because we speak English. But he came and he was baptized and he just looked so happy. It was incredible. They had to try 9 times to baptize him because he has a fear of water, but he got it and it was amazing!!! The moment he went completely under was just a moment of complete joy. It was so special. And he looked so happy after. I cannot even begin to explain the amount of joy that you feel when someone you love and have worked with gets baptized and they know that what they are doing is right. It is amazing!

Well, transfer calls came this week too. And I am headed to Balneário Camburiu!!!! I am so excited! AND...I am going to TRAIN!!! AHHHH. I cannot even explain to you how nervous and excited I am!!! I don´t find out who my companion is until tomorrow, but I get to go to Florianópolis to pic her up and then we get to go to our new area together! It should be a fun adventure!!! 

Christmas in Brazil...I know you are all wanting to know about the Christmas traditions here. So, the 24th people stay up until midnight to open their presents and watch fireworks. That is about it. And they have a big dinner that night, but other than that, no ugly sweaters, most people don´t decorate their houses. Most of the world here doesn´t even wear red or green to celebrate. It really is sad. But we made it fun. We joked around, opened presents, I made pancakes, and I got to talk to my family so that was super great! 

Well, Vera is having a really hard time. But she´s loving the gospel still. We talked about the atonement with her and it was such an amazing lesson. And it was perfectly timed. she really needed it. 

Antonio showed up at the church yesterday afternoon while we were waiting for a different lesson and started asking about tithing, so we got to teach him about that. And he understood really well! It was cool!!

Claudia came to church, but other than that we didn´t get to see her this week, but she´s still on track. 

Mari is spending a little while at the beach. She doesn´t have a desire to come to church and she doesn´t know why. But she still wants our messages. I really don´t get it. It´s rough. 

Well, I have spent a lot of time packing the past couple days to move for this transfer, but really there isn´t a whole lot going on. I will be sure to write you a bunch next week so you can hear all about my new area and experience training! 

Happy new year to all of you!!! 
Don´t forget to set some good New year´s resolutions. Maybe you could try to read the Book of Mormon in a new language...that´s my goal is to finish it in Portuguese!! 
Well, love you all!!! 

Sister Wilkins

Monday, December 21, 2015

And So This is Christmas...

Oi família e amigos!!!!!! Tudo bem! 

This week was super fun and super fast as well. We did so much. 
Well, the weather is changing again. It is cold and rainy, so that´s kind of bizarre, but it´s a blessing too because it makes it feel a little more like Christmas. 

Well, let´s see...
There is an extremely high chance we have a baptism this week!!!! With Michael, the African. This guy is seriously perfect and has been so prepared to hear the gospel it is crazy. He has already brought up almost every single commandment with us and asked how we feel about it, and he is already living all those principles!!! We had a couple lessons with him this week. We told him he couldn´t get baptized in a river because of safety issues, and he was like ok cool, no problem. He is so AWESOME!!! And he had a ton of questions about the spirit world when we were teaching him about it the other day. He started asking about the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man and didn´t understand that it was a parable. Let me tell ya, the Spirit was definitely in that lesson, because we didn´t totally understand what he was confused about but we answered all his questions pretty quickly. We have three days left to teach him before the interview, so we´re praying that things will go well and that his boss will keep letting him off work in time to meet with us every night. We still have like 2-3 weeks worth of material to teach him (well, that´s what it would be if we were teaching a normal investigator). 

Antonio is still progressing. It is kind of amazing actually. We always go into the lessons wondering if he will understand and if he will have the ability to get baptized, but I think that this week proved how golden he is because his wallet used to be completely full of lottery tickets and some members were in the lesson with us and told him that it was a sin and he had to stop to be baptized. He quit the next day. All the lottery tickets were gone, except for two and he said he was going to go home and burn them!! And he understands everything really well!!! He is awesome! 

Claudia we had a family night with this week, and it was super fun! I think she´s still doing good, but she wasn´t at church yesterday and we aren´t sure why. 

Mari is still a struggle. This week we tried to call her several times like three different days and we weren´t getting a hold of her. So we showed up at her house on Saturday, saw the car outside, said a quick prayer, and went in and talked with her for a minute. She is still not really wanting to come to church, but we set up another lesson with her this week. 

Vera is back to  a standstill. She still hasn´t prayed about the Book of Mormon, but I know that she will get baptized soon. She is super awesome, and that is what she wants. She just needs alittle more time. 

So this week, we were standing around waiting for the bus, which was 30 minutes late. We heard horns honking like crazy and then all the kids ran out on the street. And santa appeared in a car tossing out candy. He threw some to us, so that was fun. 

We had a Christmas conference in São Jose this week, which is right by Floripa. We had to get up at 3:30 in the morning to get up, so that was rough. But it was so much fun! It was with 3 different zones. I got to see Sister Crump and Sister Favero again and that was super fun and Elder hull, an elder from my first district in the Brazil MTC was there too. Super fun. there were like 20 americans there out of probably 70 or 80 people, which was kind of crazy. We had a white elephant gift exchange. I took a pig that when you squeeze it oinks and a rubix cube. It was hilarious. A Sister opened it and she loved it and it was fought over and the whole room started laughing when she opened it. It was great. I was really really close to getting a metal surfboard that has the island on it with names of all the beaches. It was so stinking cool! but it got stolen from me. And I ended up with a dinosaur egg that you put in water for 48 hours and it grows into a dinosaur. haha. oh well. 
They had 2 x box kinects set up at the conference, along with Chess, Checkers, Uno, and Ping Pong. I played ping pong, so you can imagine how that went down. A bunch of crazy elders and me and one other sister playing around the world ping pong. I have never played ping pong before in my life. But, maybe it will surprise you to know that I actually got some of the best Elders out when we were playing. It was hilarious! 
Well, that´s about it for my week. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that you spend some time with your family and take some time to remember our Savior and why he was born. And then watch that video #ASaviorIsBorn again because it is just so good! I love it! I love you all! 
Merry Christmas from sunny Brazil :) 
Sister Wilkins

5 Month Celebration!

Antonio and Vagner

Vagner, the best ward mission leader.
He's now in our bishopric

Party Bus! heading home after the conference 

Sister Crump (at Conference Natal)

Sister Favero

Sister George and Elder Reis (our district leader)

Once there was a missionary, tall tall tall. In the sun she melted.....

Oi familia e amigos!!! 

I cannot even believe we are halfway through December!!! 
Out here the only thing making it feel like Christmas is the decorations. It is so Stinking hot!!!! I think we hit 100 degrees farenheit yesterday and then add like 80% humidity on top of that. WE are literally melting in our sweat. It is so gross. 

Well this week has been interesting. It is so ridiculously hot. 
Anyways, Vera went to church yesterday!!!! MIRACLES!!!! And while we were sitting in sacrament she leaned over and said I took one step closer to baptism and I was just like WHAT?! 
We had a lesson with her this week where she was telling us how much pressure people were putting on her to get baptized and that right now she doesn´t want it. She wants to know for sure that she is on the right path and she is making the right decision before she gets baptized so that she can remain firm. But she´s A STEP CLOSER!!! Not sure exactly what that means, but MIRACLES!!! 

Claudia decided that Saturday was too soon for her to get baptized. She chose a date in January. We weren´t going to ask her again for a long while and she asked if someone was getting baptized in January, we said yes on the 23. And she said just go ahead and mark that for me too. Sister George and I just looked at each other and were like WHAT IS HAPPENING?!! So that´s super awesome! 

Mari decided recently that she doesn´t want to come to church. We don´t know what happened, and she hasn´t said yet, but we are starting to think that maybe she got offended somehow by someone there. But not sure. Trying to work with her, but she has become very difficult. 

Antonio will be baptized the 23 of January!! He´s understanding what we have been teaching so far and he really likes the church. He is kind of hard for me and Sister George to understand sometimes though. 

The biggest miracle of all this week is Michael. He´s the African investigator who only speaks English. We had two lessons with him this week. He really liked the restoration and we started the Plan of Salvation. We showed him the church and we have asked him to get baptized the day after Christmas. The only hold up is that he wants to get baptized in a river. THIS GUY IS GOLDEN!!! He doesn´t smoke, drink, has already talked to us about the word of wisdom, the law of chastity, and fasting. He just wants to get baptized in a river like Jesus did, but we don´t have permission in this mission to do that. Sadly, this guy lives in the other ward. We finally found where his house is and it is right on the border of our area and the sisters. Literally like a two second walk and you´d be in our area. So he went to church there yesterday with his "sister" and there was a brother in the ward that literally translated EVERYTHING for them!!! And they LOVED IT!!!! He is seriously the miracle we have been praying and fasting for. 

First day of major heat.  We were dying!

New friend, an investigator's kitten named Max

My dinner of peaches and awful grapes (there must be a story in there, but she didn't tell us....)

Well, that about sums up this week. We had a little girl call Sis. George Elsa and me Ana and that was hilarious. I got super duper sunburned saturday...I´ll send the pic it was awful. And we had a drunk guy walk into our church during district meeting wanting to repent and asking for money. And we walked a distance that usually takes  40-60 minutes to cover in 20 minutes flat. So ya, things here are great! Learning, Loving, Working, and Sweating!! 
Hope you guys are having a good time out there! 
Love you all! 
Sister Wilkins

Here´s my awful sunburn. The picture really doesn´t show how bad it was. Everyone in church was commenting about it. But it´s all good now.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

It's Beginning to Look alot Like Christmas!

Oi familia e amigos! 

Well, last week we had an adventure on p-day and got to go to a dress shop a member owns and try on  some Indian dresses, so that was super fun! 

We had trainamento da zona (zone training) this week and it was super good. We bought a ridiculous amount of food for it, but it was soooo delicious. And it was really fun! All the trainings we got were on Chapter 13 of Preach My Gospel, about how we can work with our leaders. It was really good! I love training meetings! 
our table of food at zone training

Well, this week we were on the bus and got a call from one of our members. We couldn´t hear anything she was saying, so we called her back when we got off the bus. She said that her husband had a guy at work who wanted to meet with us. He´s from Africa and only speaks English!!!!! WE FREAKED OUT!!! WE WERE SO EXCITED!!!! So for two days we called and tried to figure out how and where we were going to meet him. When we finally sat down and looked at the map. I found his address...outside of our area....in the area of the other sisters. We were almost in tears we were so upset about this. He sounds like the perfect investigator. Well the other sisters don´t speak English so we weren´t sure what to do. We called President. he said we are going to have to go on splits to teach him. So...there´s that. All four of us are pretty upset about it. Sister George will probably teach him because she doesn´t know her way around our area yet. But all four of us get to go there tonight, so super excited. We met him saturday night and he was asking about our nametags and how and when he could get one and he already wants to preach the gospel to everyone and we haven´t even taught him a lesson!!!! This guy is soooo awesome!!! His name is Michael and he is from Ghana, Africa. 

Well, Mari and Vera weren´t at church again. 
Mari doesn´t want to come to church. She says she needs more time to get to know the church still, and we are giving it to her, she just doesn´t totally realize the importance of the relief society and elders quorum and why we have to be split for classes. Vera promised us she would be at church, and she wasn´t, so not sure what´s going on there. I cannot begin to explain to you how frustrating it is to see people and know what they need to do and they just won´t listen to you!! All they need to do is go to church right now, they´re doing everything else! So stinking frustrating, but we all have agency, and that´s important too. 

We invited Claudia to be baptized next Saturday. We asked her to pray about it. And she is going to give us an answer on Wednesday. hopefully she´ll be willing to put everything in place in her life and get baptized. 

We also have an investigator, who has quite the interesting story. His name is Antonio. Sister Crump and I contacted him on the street way back when during our first transfer. This guy has been to church 6 times already!!! So we finally got it set up to teach him yesterday. He started talking about baptism and how he doesn´t want to get baptized yet, he wants to get to know the church better, but maybe one day he will. He started talking about how good and happy and at peace he feels at church and we were just like what in the world. So we started teaching him about prophets, and it took him a while to understand, but he got it. And then bishop came in and Antonio started talking about gambling and bishop told him we don´t support it and he said he´d stop. And then bishop started asking if he had a baptismal date, and he didn´t but now he does!!! January 26!!! Crazy stuff!!! Gonna work really hard with him now and see what happens. 

Well, if you haven´t seen the #ASaviorIsBorn video you should definitely watch it. I have watched it so many times already but that video brings the Spirit into the room super strong and I love that video so much! Jesus really was born for us, for each and everyone of us!! 

Well, that´s about it for the week. 
Hope you are all well! 
Love ya! 

Sister Wilkins

I found Santa's chair, but he hasn't shown up yet.

Monday, November 30, 2015


Well oi minha família e amigos!!

This week was rough. A lot of things fell through. We had a grand total of 6 lessons with investigators, which really is not much. But we have two new investigators and one might become a family of investigators, so that´s pretty cool!! 

Our Christmas decorations
Our mini Christmas Tree
Last P-day Sister George and I went out shopping and we bought Christmas decorations and we are SOOO Excited for Christmas!!! 

We had Thanksgiving dinner for lunch. We attempted to make American foods. But the first attempt we failed miserably. Crepes wouldn´t form and we burned cheese bread. But the second attempt was great and the food
Burnt Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Dinner 2015


tasted great and we were missing our American turkey. But we had mashed potatoes, thin pancakes with nutella and bananas, jello, cheese bread, and ham. 

We almost got robbed....well our umbrellas did. Some guy came up and asked to borrow our umbrellas and tried to pry our fingers off them, but we got rid of him, so that was interesting to say the least. 

And then we had an investigator who refused to pray in pants this week and told us that Jesus gets sad when we pray in pants, so that was interesting too. She made us pray since she was wearing pants and went on a rant for probably a good ten minutes of why we can´t pray in pants. People here are definitely interesting haha. 

We got # pass along cards and we are so excited!!! I don´t know if you guys have seen the video yet, but if not you should look it up right now. christmas.mormon.org. #ASaviorWasBorn. I am so excited about this!!! Share the video with everyone!!! That´s my goal and I would love it if you would all join me! 

I had to give a talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday, that was pretty scary. Bishop called Saturday night and said he needed one of us to give a talk and I was the one to answer the phone, so that meant it was me. I was asked to speak on Families and how our families can be eternal for 10 minutes. I was nervous and stuttered but people told me it was good and I didn´t look nervous, so that was good. That was the first talk I have given in Portuguese, so that was super fun. 

Vera still hasn´t come to church and almost went to a different church this past week, except that we went and visited her when she was going to go. 
Mari told us that she doesn´t really have an interest in coming to church and hasn´t been there the past two weeks. Something is wrong with what´s happening with her and we aren´t sure what. 
Claudia is still Claudia and thinks that it won´t be long before she´s baptized. 
Well, that´s my week. 
Hope things are going well for you! 
Love you!
Sister Wilkins

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Week of Miracles


Well, this week was super long but it was absolutely incredible!!! Sister George and I get along super duper well and she is just super great! Love her so much! She is from Layton.

Me and Sister George
Our first day as comps, Tuesday was absolutely crazy. We had two lunches because we couldn´t get a hold of the Irmã in the ward the night before and she called us after we had eaten and asked where we were. That sure was an adventure! 

Wednesday we had 5 LESSONS!!! Just in that day. That NEVER happens!!! It was crazy!!! We were so tired at the end of the day, but really that has been every day this week. We are doing so much work and the amount of concentration we are both putting into lessons and even just conversations is more than we have ever had to do before, because we used to just rely on our companion who was fluent in Portuguese and now we don´t have that, but I am super glad because it is stretching us and we are learning a lot. 

Honestly, we are receiving a ton of Heavenly help. From the first moment we went to that lunch we knew we were receiving help. The Portuguese we are speaking is better than we were able to speak last week and we have been able to explain everything we needed to so far. We have been able to teach evey lesson well and none of this is because of us. It is all thanks to our Heavenly Father. He is so mindful of us and our needs and I know that I wouldn´t be able to do any of this without Him. 

I am also amazed at how much I am feeling the Spirit. The way I have felt the Spirit on my mission is totally different than the way I felt it before. It has been very difficult for me to recognize it and I was having a hard time with this. But I have felt the Spirit so strongly in my life this week. I have felt him there in our lessons and I know that He is helping me and guiding our work. I am getting better at recognizing him, his promptings, and then following them. I am so grateful for the Spirit. Without him, our work as missionaries cannot go forward, we will not get anywhere without him. 

This Friday was pretty cool. We had district meeting. Elder Reis and Elder Gomes made a treasure hunt for us to find breakfast. They had clues and they had told us that we needed to rely on the Spirit and that we might find a teaching opportunity. Well, our church is in the middle of a bunch of houses. Our last clue said we had to knock on a door. So I tried knocking on the church door, yup, that did nothing for us. We had to cross the street and we knew that was the door we needed to knock on, but we were all struggling to get up the courage to go knock on this door and ask some random person if she had our breakfast. Finally we knocked, no one answered. I knocked louder and a sweet little old lady came to the door. We left a pass-along card with her and then she asked if there was something else we wanted from her. Sister Ribeiro asked if two young men happened to leave something with her for us. She laughed, invited us in and gave us the food. We laughed with her for a few minutes because the whole time she had been watching us out the window. The Elders recorded the video too. It was pretty funny. But really I learned quite a bit from that experience. We have to have the courage to talk to people because we never know who is going to be prepared for something we have or prepared to help us find others or prepared to serve in the church! But it all starts with our courage. 

With President and Sister Silva after a long day or working
Friday night we had a dinner with President that one of the Irmãos in the ward prepared. Member couples invited nonmember couples and President talked about how families are important and read from The Family: A Proclamation to the World. It was super awesome. We have some new potential investigators. And the mayor of Tubarão was there. So that was pretty cool! 

This Sunday, we didn´t have any of our investigators at church! Half the ward was gone too! It was so weird and pretty sad!

Well, as for investigators. 
Mari didn´t even make an effort to stop drinking coffee. She doesn´t have a desire to yet, so we are going to be praying for that desire to manifest itself. We started teaching her the commandments and we taught her about Keeping the Sabbath Day holy. It went really well! But then she wasn´t at church. Luis, her husband was, but he said she had some really bad head pain so she stayed home. 
Vera is becoming very depressed because of her situation with the divorce. She nearly talked our ears off for an hour. I flat out told her that she wouldn´t be as depressed if she would come to church and try to make some friends. She hasn´t been to church in a month now. And we even called her Saturday night and she wasn´t there Sunday. I am getting to a point where I really don´t know how I can help her any more and it is devastating. All I want is for her to come to church, but we don´t have a car, we can´t pick her up and drive her, so it´s hard because all we can do is invite her and ask the members to give her a ride. 

Well, Christmas decorations are up!!! IN THE WHOLE CITY!!! IT IS GORGEOUS!!! We were walking down the main road, hardly any cars or people were out and then the Christmas lights just suddenly turned on. It was gorgeous!!! I am SOOOO Excited for Christmas!!!! But it is getting extremely hot here. It was at 31 degrees Celcius yesterday which is pretty cool for the week and that doesn´t factor in the ridiculous amount of humidity we experience. So, it doesn´t completely click in my head that it´s getting really close to Christmas. 
But, with all the sun we walk in, I am more tan than I have ever been. It is super great! Blessings of the mission! haha. 

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that sometime this week you can take 10-15 minutes and just offer a heartfelt prayer of gratitude to your Father in Heaven because He has given us everything. Don´t ask for anything, just express your gratitude to Him. 
I am super grateful for all of you and for the marvelous opportunity I have to serve a mission! I wouldn´t trade it for anything. 

Love you all! 
Sister Wilkins

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Transfers :(

Oi familia e amigos!!! Tudo bem?!
Well, this week we had a bit of success. Mari prayed about the Book of Mormon!!!!!! It was seriously a miracle!!! She told us that she hadn´t received a response yet. Sister Diniz started talking about the different types of responses and how we can recognize them. Mari paused for a second and then said, you know I don´t think I need a big response. From the first lesson with the Book of Mormon, I believed it was true. MIRACLE OF THE WEEK!!!!! I cannot even begin to explain how excited about this I was!!! Thank you for your prayers for my investigators, I know that they are being answered! The next lesson we had with her was about the word of Wisdom, because she asked about coffee, so really hoping that she will be able to get the goal we set with her to leave coffee for one week and substitute something else for it. 
Vera, is still Vera. She didn´t read. She wasn´t at church. I am starting to get really worried about her. I am not really sure what else we can do for her. 
Claudia was supposed to get baptized this week, we talked to her on the phone. She prayed aobut if she should be baptized, she felt the spirit and has a great desire to get baptized, but she chose the natural man. She chose her boyfriend over baptism. AGHHH it is so frustrating to have situations like this where the investigator knows what they should do, but still chooses the wrong path. Sometimes as a missionary you really wish you could just take away free agency for two seconds. 
Well transfer calls came Wednesday. Sister Diniz was transfered home, she finished her full-time mission and I am sure going to miss her. Sister Crump was transferred to Floripa. She left this morning. And I am staying in Oficinas!!!! I GET TO SPEND CHRISTMAS HERE AND I AM SO EXCITED I LOVE THIS WARD :D
My new comp is Sister George. I haven´t met her yet. She and Sister Crump are changing spots. I am really worried about how our Portuguese will be, but I know that the Spirit will touch the hearts of those who are prepared and we will do what we can for the others. 
Our ward mission leader is great. He and his wife had a big barbecue for Sister Diniz because she was leaving and it became for Sister Crump too when we found out she was leaving too. 
I get to see President this week. A brother in our ward organized a dinner for members to invite nonmembers and invited president to come and present a lesson of some sort. I am excited to see what he has to say! 
Last night, after Sister crump and I dropped Sister Diniz off at the bus station and then went and taught a lesson to Luan at Jorge and Fran´s. I understood almost everything they said! I shouldn´t have been able to, but I did. The gift of tongues is real. That hour and a half with them made me feel more comfortable with my portuguese and made me think that I can do this transfer; it will be difficult, but I can do it. 
Well, in other news I have probably 30 new bug bites. The bugs here are ridiculous. And I saw a lizard that was like 3 feet long. But it crept under a house before I got a picture. Other than that, things in Tubarão are good. 
IT is ridiculously hot sometimes, but I am adjusting slowly and life is good. 
Love you all! 
Have a wonderful week! 
Sister Wilkins

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ammon and the King's Sheep

Oi familia e amigos e amigas! 

This week was super fast! Can´t believe it´s already Monday! 

So, we have an investigator scheduled for baptism this week, Claudia. But we went and visited her and she is back with her boyfriend. So, we called President to ask for another opinion and we are going to teach her today and decide if she really can be baptized. I am hoping she can. She doesn´t have any problems with anything and she understands it all. We know she is ready for baptism, we are hoping she will see that she is too and have the strength to live the way she needs to so she can be! 

Vera hasn´t been in church the past three weeks. We went to her house this week with Bishop and his wife and the lesson we gave was one of the best lessons I have been in. We taught her about repentance and baptism. She understood the importance of baptism by the correct authority which is critical. And the only thing holding her back from being baptized is that she needs to pray about the Book of Mormon still. I cannot even begin to express to you how much I love Vera and how much I worry about her and pray for her. She is absolutely incredible. 

I don´t know if you remember Duda. Sister Rosa and I taught her, the 12 year old girl. We were finally able to go and visit her again. Her mom is less active and was in the lesson with us. She is awesome. There is definitely something special about that family. We taught them about eternal families ,which is something they both want and we talked about what we have to do to have that. Hopefully they will start coming to church again. 

We got four new investigators this week, which was a miracle. We need more. And we had five investigators at church! 
Church this week was the primary program and it was so good. Our primary consists of about 12-15 children. But they did so good! And we had 105 people in sacrament meeting! Bishop said that´s the most we have had all year! Miracle!!! 

What else can I tell you? Transfers are this week. There is a good chance that I´ll be leaving. But I really don´t know what will happen. This is Sister Diniz´s last week. And this week is going to be crazy busy! But busy is good, it means we are working and we are working hard! 

I got to help make lunch at a member´s house yesterday. She was making what they call `pancakas` which are basically like thin pancakes or thick crepes. And I got to help! So fun! I miss cooking! Think I am going to try and start making more food again. haha

Well, that´s really about it for this week, but I wanted to share something from my personal study the other day with you. I was reading Alma 17, which is about Ammon guarding the king´s sheep. When we talk about this story in the church we always talk about how his works converted King Lamoni. But, this was not his desire. His desire was to convert his brethren, his fellow-servants. He had the right intentions and because of this, he was able to work a miracle in converting the King. Having righteous desires and being willing to do what God asks of us can bring great miracles that we never expected! 
"Do what is right, be faithful and fearless" --that is my challenge for you all this week! 

Love you to pieces! 
hope all is well! 
Sister Wilkins

Our primary program was yesterday. We had about 12 kids in the primary on the stand. And like 6 teachers. haha. Made me miss our cute little class. But man the spirit is so strong with the primary no matter where you go! Tell the kids I love them and miss them! 

How did I step out of my comfort zone? I am not really sure. I tried to make more contacts. I feel like my comfort zone has become a lot smaller, maybe even close to nonexistent. So that is kind of a hard question. But I try to do something different every week, like eat a chicken foot. haha. 
Rachel´s putting in her papers too?! Holy cow the whole world is going on a mission! 

Advice to youth preparing for missions: learn to trust in the Lord now. Learn the language of the Spirit. This is something that is hard for me because the way that I feel the spirit on my mission is different than how I felt it at home and I am still trying really hard to learn to recognize it. Read Preach My Gospel cover to cover. Don´t just read it. Study it. Learn it, live it love it. Especially chapter 3. You need to know how to teach the lessons in English before you try to teach them in another language. It is so much easier that way. Learn to study your scriptures in a way that works for you. And learn to love to pray. You pray a lot on a mission and honestly it is wonderful, but for some people it is strange at first with how much we pray.

My leg is great! Went to the medic twice more this week. He said it´s healing and I´ll have a mark there for the next 4-6 months, but he was really happy with how it looked and I don´t have to go back to the medic :) 

Favorite thing to eat: I love the lasagnas here. And the ice cream. And the faroffa. Really there isn´t a whole lot that I don´t like. It´s all pretty good. 

Hardest thing in the mission so far is when we have to drop people. I hate dropping people. I just wish that I could take the person by the shoulders, shake them up a little bit and tell them the gospel is true and get them to accept it. Sadly I can´t do that and people have their free agency. 
Favorite part of the work is watching people grow. It is amazing to be sitting in the room with a person as you watch them gain a testimony of the gospel. Nothing better than that. 
foggy day view from my apartment

My Silly District!

Friday, November 6, 2015

What a Week!

Oi familia, amigos! Amo vocês muito!!! 

So, lots of miracles here in the field!!! Loving the work, as always, and the language. And everything about being a missionary. Honestly I think it is the best calling life can offer. 

So, this week we asked Mari to get baptized. She didn´t accept. She hasn´t prayed to ask if the Book of Mormon or the Church is true yet, but she understands how important baptism is and how big of a step it is, so that´s a start! 

Miracle #1: VERA READ THE BOOK OF MORMON!!!!!!! AND SHE LIKED WHAT SHE READ AND IT APPLIED TO HER LIFE!!! But, she hasn´t been to church the past two weeks. But she READ!!! We asked her to pray about it, hoping that she did! We taught her about faith. We asked her what faith was to her and she nearly quoted Alma 32:21 and she had never read it! How crazy is that?! 

Milagre #2: We fasted with Claudia last week so that she could have the help she needed to be baptized. She broke up with her boyfriend this week because of a fight! And she feels at peace with the decision to break up! We recognized this as an answer to our prayers and hoping she will do the same! (Her boyfriend was holding her back a bit from being baptized.) She is supposed to be baptized next Saturday. 

There are other miracles from this week too. I watched an 11 year old girl share her testimony about giving a Book of Mormon to a friend and she started sobbing as she told us her friend was reading it! She set an example for the whole ward. And she´s 11!!! I watched the husband of a recent convert, who is 19 years old, bear his testimony about fasting to find work and receiving a job offer 4 days later. There are so many miracles! I promise you that if you will open your eyes a little wider and pray to see God more in your life you will see that your lives are full of miracles too! 

We had interviews with President this week. He gave us a training first and it was amazing! President is amazing! And I know he is inspired! He is seriously super cool! My interview was the third to last (we were at the chapel until 5:30 for interviews), so it was pretty short, only like two minutes long. And he just asked me about myself and my family and how I am doing. And man, I know that I needed to have him as my president! He is seriously so cool!

So, Halloween...since you all have been asking. They didn´t do anything. I ate a handful of swedish fish to celebrate. At the very end of the day we saw a lady who had hair like Maleficent. And we saw four trick or treaters about 11 or 12 years old! I so badly wished I had candy to give them! They trick or treated at a bakery, not sure if they got anything or not, but they exist! haha

And yesterday was Day of the Dead. We went to a cemetery to try to contact, at the suggestion of our bishop. The cemetery here is so different. It is literally a bunch of stone boxes above ground like something straight out of the movie. Here, it is a big holiday in that people go to the cemeteries to mourn for their dead, but other than that nothing really happens. But there were a lot of flowers and it looked cool. And there were a lot of people there. There were some people standing at a grave doing Hail Mary´s and it kind of freaked me out a little because all I heard was chanting and I didn´t understand what was going on. 

Well, that´s really about all that´s going on here. We wake up, exercise, study, eat, pray and teach, walk and walk, plan, and then sleep and do it all again. And man does it sound boring when I put it like that, but honestly I can´t think of anything else I would rather do. This is exactly where I want to be and I hope that everyone of you who has the ability to serve a mission goes. There is nothing to compare this experience to. Words cannot explain the joy that comes from bringing the gospel to others! 

I love you all! 
Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween and that you aren´t sick from all the candy! 
Have a wonderful week! 

Sister Wilkins

Transfer calls are next week. We have no idea what will happen. But President did say to Sister Diniz he won´t leave a trio in Oficinas. So we could get two sisters, we could get one and one of us would leave, or we could both leave. I have no idea what will happen. 

Investigators are coming. We are working so hard with them. 
Crazy big caterpillar.  Moved super fast

Awesome hammock at a members while waiting for lunch

A member made us mini pizzas for lunch.  They were super duper good.  And it had salami!

O Master, I did that I looked to do but to comfort more than to be comforted. 

Basically saying, don´t let anything bad happen to me. I don´t want to have to be comforted, but I will comfort others. Funny little signs like this all over one neighborhood in our area. 

Can´t believe Dad´s on high council again! Crazy stuff! 

If you guys want to pray that we can help our investigators and know exactly what we need to do to help them progress that would be great. And that we can find people who are prepared for the gospel. We are in need of more people to teach. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I ate a Chicken Foot!

Oi familia! E amigos! Eu amo vocês!!! 

Sick, but Rootbeer and Subway make me happy
I'm feeling better, but last pday while I was sick we went to Subway to celebrate our "month marks" - i'm 3 months, Sister Crump's 6 month, and sister Diniz' 17 month.  It was DELICIOUS!

This week, we had a lesson with Claudia again. She fasted yesterday for the first time to be able to do the things necessary to be baptized. She also came to relief society for the first time yesterday and that was super awesome! 

Mari we are going to talk to today and invite her to be baptized. She is progressing and hoping that she will have received a response to her prayer! Hoping even more that she actually prayed!

Vera still hasn´t read the Book of Mormon. She is having a very difficult time right now, so we asked to read just a verse a day and promised her some specific blessings if she would. Hopefully she does! 

We had lunch with a less active this week named Karina. Karina had a miscarriage two or three weeks ago. She has been to church with her son every week since then. Her husband isn´t a member. But we gave her a lesson after lunch and it was amazing to see how much she changed because of this experience. She is going to be so strong in the gospel now if she continues on the path she is on! She´s amazing. People like her are what give me hope here in the mission. Seeing that one experience can change the way someone views the gospel and help them realize it´s importance is absolutely incredible. 

This week we dropped an investigator that sister Rosa and I had started teaching. I walked out of the lesson almost crying. She was so close to the truth and a member, when other sisters taught her, messed it all up by the things he said and now she doesn´t want anything to do with the church because of him, but she doesn´t realize that that is the problem. She knows what we are teaching is true, but she isn´t willing to change. I think that teaching lessons with people like this and having to drop them is honestly one of the hardest things on the mission. You develop this love for people and then they won´t change, so you cannot visit them any more, even though they know that what they are being taught is true and good. It is really sad to have to do that. 

So, forgot to tell you last week, but the Sunday before yesterday we started what is called "Hora de Verão" here, which means hour of summer. It´s their daylight savings time, and we lost an hour of sleep. Halloween doesn´t exist in Brazil, but Day of the Dead does. That´s next week. I´m interested to see if there will be any cool cultural things here with that.


Chicken Foot

Zone minus one district
We had zone training this week. I love being able to see my zone! They are so awesome! I also got mail for the first time, and that was like the happiest moment of my life. We went to lunch as a zone and I ate a chicken foot. Oh my goodness. The texture is awful. Taste, surprisingly wasn´t all too bad. 

The Utah Crew (and Elder Acosta not the far right)

The language is coming along great! Loving it! I just need to force myself to talk more to people and in lessons and maybe one day I´ll sound like a Brazilian haha.

I got 22 bug bites on my legs this week. It is awful. Brazilians rarely get bit. And Americans get it a lot. But they really seem to love me. Not sure why! It´s cool, one day I´ll be able to show these awesome scars from bug bites and try to come up with some cool story of how I got them, haha.

Well that´s about it from down South! 
Hope you are all healthy and doing well! 
Pray for you all constantly! 
Know that I love you lots! 
Also, if you have a minute read the talk about the Torch by President Uchtdorf from this month´s Liahona. It's amazing! 

Sister Wilkins

I've started a game of 20 questions with Mady.  I ask her as many questions as I can think of each week.  I get a lot of fun information through those, so I will be putting some of the things she says in reply to my questions at the end of her letters on the blog posts.  This week:

Strangest thing I've eaten so far?  I ate it this week... a chicken foot.  I didn't even have to eat it, we were at a buffet restaurant.  But I tried it.  It was super duper weird.  Didn't like the texture at all.  they took a video of it for me.

The ice cream here is amazing.  It has real fruit in it and it is super delicious!  So much better than ice cream in the states most of the time.  We have it probably once a week.  Trying to eat it less though, but at the same time it is too good to resist.

Best part of last week was definitely zone conference.  Getting to see our old zone and just have fun and laugh with them was great.  We got a new zone leader, Elder Blanchard from Orem, Utah.  He has so much energy it's hilarious.