Monday, August 31, 2015

First Week in the Field

Oi familia e amigos!!! Tudo bem!?

Well, the last few days in the CTM were amazing and I didn´t want to leave at all!! I was so sad when I did.
And ya, I cried a little. Saying goodbye to the Elders and Sisters Habel, Smith, and Oldroyd was hard because I feel like they have become family. And boy do I miss them! 

Our last day at the CTM kinda sucked. We had an all-day long in-field orientation which was completely in Portuguese. There were about 70 people in the room, 16 were American. We basically had no idea what was happening the whole time. It was more frustrating and made me more nervous to go to the field than anything. Not cool. And it was just a run-through of everything that we learned in our time at the MTC, but they were so so so focused on baptism. If I had a dollar for everytime that word was said, I´d be really rich. 

We got to Florianopolis and met with the Pres and had some orientation, at which point I got to email you. Florianopolis looks exactly like the pictures! It is beautiful! I love it! But I´m not in Florianopolis. We went to lunch at a place called Sal e Salsa. It was a buffet, and they had sushi. So I tried it and I swear I will never eat it again. I gagged hard core trying swallow it. It is so gross! I don´t know how people eat it!! EWW!

We came back and had orientation. They did a slideshow to give us our new companions, and I got mine first. Her name is Sister Rosa. She´s from Goias. She talks really fast, but she is extremely patient and loving. She´s awesome. She only has one transfer left. So I will have two trainers. 
 My area is Oficinas, in the Tubarão zone. It´s a little valley with lots of hills surrounding it. I think it´s pretty, but that´s just me. We got on a bus and drove for 2.5-3 hours to get to our apartment and then we hung out and I unpacked. It was 9 by the time we got to the apartment, so there wasn´t a whole lot we could do. 
I got major culture shock that night. There are 6 sisters living in our apartment. Sister Fávero is from Brazil, Sister Vera is from Columbia. The other two didn´t get there until the next night, but Sister Diniz is from São Paulo and Sister Crump is from UTAH!!!!! :) HUGE BLESSING RIGHT THERE!!! I HAVE SOMEONE I CAN SPEAK ENGLISH WITH!!!! 
There are tiny ants that crawl all over every surface. Our oven is tiny. The only hot water we have comes out of the shower, but that is a blessing. no cold showers :) There are bugs everywhere. Brazil is just a very different place. I cried myself to sleep that first night, because I had no idea what was going on or what people were saying to me. And things here are so different. Like almost 3rd world, but not quite that bad.

My first week as a missionary didn´t really let me feel like I am a  missionary. My first day we didn´t have study, we had to go to buy a bed and a closet for clothes. Then we were apartment hunting, and I´m not totally sure why. Still not sure why but I think we are moving apartments in 2 weeks, but I could be wrong. I don´t understand a whole lot. We apartment hunted several times and talked to real estate agencies several times. Didn´t think i´d be doing that as a missionary, so it´s weird. 

A lot of times this week, our appointments fell through and we walked around trying to find people to teach, without success. Missionary work is so hard!!! I didn´t think it would be as hard as it actually is. 

We have some really good investigators, though! 
Ana Carla. She was the first investigator lesson I had and she recieved a testimony! She had a dream that an apostle told her this is the true church! (At least I think that´s what happened). But she has a baptism date!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!! :) Sept. 12!
Her friend Luan came to that same lesson, and that was his first time being taught in a long time, but he received the missionaries once upon a time and he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true! AND HE IS GETTING BAPTIZED THE SAME DAY!!!!!! :) 
Duda is 12 (I think). She is being a great example for her parents and her brother. She wants to be baptized so so badly and keeps asking us when she can!!!! We are going to try and set her baptism date for the 26 of Sept!!!!! 

SO....the work here in Oficinas is progressing!!!! They just added a second companionship of sisters to the area (Sister Crump and Diniz) and we are all in the same ward. IT IS AWESOME!!! 
Our ward is absolutely fabulous!!!! IT is such a blessing to me that I am in this ward!!! BECAUSE most of them speak some English or want to learn!! They are amazing!!! And there are like 50+ people in the ward. They´ve had 3 baptisms in the last transfer, and man work here is progressing!!! And our ward mission leader is amazing!!!

My district is pretty great. It´s big. There are 14 of us. AND 5 of us are American! Sister Irizarry and Elder Naylor are from Utah and Elder Schuck (?) is from Tennessee! It´s great! I can speak English with people! BLESSINGS!

The language is hard here, but I understand a lot, so that is good. The food is different. And whoever said I´d have beans every meal lied :) I´ve had it twice. Members feed us lunch everyday. Sometimes we don´t eat dinner because we are in a rush, and that is really hard for me. We stop and buy stuff occasionally , so dinner is usually like crackers or peanuts or some little cracker jelly things. Lunch we have rice, some sort of pasta or lasagna, chicken, and another type of meat always. And usually some sort of "salad"-a few vegetables thrown together on a plate. And potato salad. That is always good. We´ve had ice cream and jello for dessert a few times each and those are good. They put sweetened condensed milk on everything here, but it tastes good! 

I am so grateful, mom, that you had me bring sheets. They didn´t have any for me and it´s nice to have a little something that feels home-y. And my straightener works! BLESSINGS! I just tried it yesterday, and it took a while to figure out how it works, but it works! 

We saw a lizard just chilling by some trees the other day. It looked like a baby alligator. It was two feet long at least! Maybe three! I wish I had taken a picture!! :o

Life is good here, but hard. I have 4 blisters, three on the bottom of my feet. I am constantly tired and hungry and I don´t know what is going on most of the time. AND it´s hot. AND IT´S WINTER! It´s like 80-90 degrees outside in the middle of the day. The only way you can tell it is winter is that it´s dark at like 6. Crazy stuff. 

Tonight I get to go talk to an English school about culture in Utah! Sister Crump too! I´m excited!!
I don´t know what more to say. I´m excited to be here, but not totally feeling like a missionary yet. We´ve only had one day where we´ve done all three hours of study. 

But being a missionary is the coolest! I get to go share the gospel with the world, with the help of my Father in Heaven because I can´t speak Portuguese and when I do people generally have no idea what I´m saying, but when I teach parts of lessons, it is a different story and I can speak a little bit. It´s really amazing and such a blessing

So grateful for this opportunity I have to share the gospel. I know it, i live it I love it!

Love you all!
Sister Wilkins

First District at the CTM-Sao Paulo Temple

Sister Child and I at the CTM

Our District and the Hales-we love them!  (Missionary couple at the CTM  She is the choir director.  They are from Idaho and are WONDERFUL.  Everyone feels like they are our grandparents)

My District at the Campinas Temple

Me and Sister Rosa this morning

Wednesday, August 26, 2015



I got to Florianopolis about two hours ago. The flight landed half an hour early and it was only an hour long flight. 

But I am here. Things are going well. President and Sister are super nice. I LOVE IT! It is raining, so we can´t see a whole lot with all the clouds but what I can see is absolutely beautiful.

But I´m safe and sound. And a little tired. We had to leave at 5 this morning. But I am so beyond happy to be here. Portuguese isn´t too bad yet. Life is good!

Sorry I couldn´t call. We weren´t at the airport long. And the time we were there we were standing in line to check bags. Monday is P-day. I´ll be able to write you all then.

Know that I love you and am praying for you! This gospel is so true. I love it and am so glad to finally have the opportunity to share it with real people in my own, broken Portuguese words.


Sister Wilkins

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The CTM is a Time Warp!

Oi familia e amigos!

This week was a pretty typical week at the CTM. As I tried to think of what I would share with you today, there really wasn´t a whole lot that I could say; only a few things stuck out as being really important that happened this week.

First of all, on Thursday, we were sitting in class and I asked someone what the date was and I realized I was a terrible daughter and forgot to wish my WONDERFUL PARENTS HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!! :) LOVE YOU GUYS!!!! THANKS FOR BEING MARRIED!!!!!! Did you guys do anything fun to celebrate?

Sister Child and I had some really good lessons this week. We taught the Plan of Salvation to both of our investigators, Bruna and Vinicius. When we were in the first lesson teaching the Plan to Vinicius (we had to teach it in two parts for lack of time), I started talking about the Atonement and that lesson just became so real for me. He said that because his parents are separated he feels alone a lot, and I was almost in tears as I explained to him that Jesus died for him so that he never has to feel alone and that any time he does feel he is he can pray. I just wanted him to know that it was true and that Heavenly Father loved him and his Savior loved him. And I felt their love for him. It was such a good lesson! 

Sunday, I didn´t have to talk, but I had a super good talk prepared about the Atonement! Sister Habel and Elder Banz were the two from our district that talked and one other Elder and Sister also spoke. Which means there is like a 100% chance I´m speaking next week because our district is the only one leaving this week. I had to conduct the opening song during Sunday devotional and Sister Child played, so that was fun haha. And then we had a good devotional from President and Sister Swenson. They talked about using the tools we have and the 3 H´s of the gospel, which are Honor, Honesty, and Humility (I think). That was really cool. 

Last night was absolutely incredible, though. My favorite day at the MTC by far. We had devotional, where I was asked to pray....that was nerve-wracking. I had so much in my heart that I wanted to say, but I literally said a short 5 line prayer in Portuguese. I think that Heavenly Father was trying to give me a glimpse of what my mission is going to be like. I´ve decided, well I´ve known since I got to the MTC, that one of the reasons I was called to Brazil was to learn to be more humble, because the people here are super humble. It´s definitely going to be a good learning experience for me. 

The devotional was all about the Atonement and how we can better apply the Atonement in our lives. We were all just super amazed and happy. So we went back to our classroom and sat down in a little "family circle" and has district meeting. We started out just sharing our thoughts from the devotional, but it became a testimony meeting centered on the Atonement. I don´t think I can express in words how wonderful of a meeting it was. Several people were in tears. Others were very close. The Spirit was incredibly strong. I was so beyond happy and grateful for the Atonement. It was amazing to hear about the experiences that others in my district have had as well with the Atonement. The Atonement is so real. I hope you all know that. One of my favorite things the speaker in the devotional said was "The Atonement is to be enjoyed!" Guess what?! You don´t HAVE to repent. You GET to! The Atonement is so much more than that though. Because of the Atonement, we can be made stronger, better people. I am so grateful for that. It has helped me numerous times in my life. Enjoy the atonement! Christ willingly died for us so that our burdens could be removed! Take upon yourself His yoke, that your burden may be light. He will never deny you that. 

We went to the Campinas temple today. It will never cease to be beautiful! I love it! As we sat in the celestial room, it was very bittersweet for me. I don´t get to go to the temple again for the next 17 months of my life. Those of you who have a temple close by please take advantage of it. Go there often. It will bring you strength in ways you could not otherwise obtain. I love the temple so much!!!

As you can see, this week has been very centered on the Atonement for me. I LOVE THE ATONEMENT! I Love my Savior. He means the world and more to me. Without Him and His sacrifice, I am nothing and would not be here in Brazil today. I am so grateful that He was willing to sacrifice His life for me, so that I, though imperfect and full of guilt and sin, may be made clean and one day live with Him and my Father in Heaven again! 

I leave for Floripa on Tuesday, just a short five days and I will have been on my mission for six weeks. That´s a whole transfer! On Tuesday I will have been at the Brazil CTM for a month!!! THE CTM IS A TIME WARP!!!!! That´s what my district decided. We feel like we´ve been here for forever, but at the same time it doesn´t feel like it´s been three weeks! Crazy stuff! But it´s the Lord´s time, and that´s what makes being on a mission so amazing! So, you won´t be hearing from me for 10 days, but when you do, I´ll be in the Land of the Flowers!!!

I´m sad to be leaving my district. I love them so much. They´ve become like family to me and I´m going to really miss not being able to have story time in English. But I´m going where the Lord needs me and there is someone out there who needs me now. So I´m going, with a smile on my face and scriptures (and a dictionary) in hand, and I´ll learn what he needs me to know because I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be. 

Eu sei que esta igreja é veredeira. O Livro de Mormón é veredeiro. A Expiação de Jesus Cristo é real é infinitivo. Jesus Cristo morreu por nos e nossos pecados. Ele nos ama muito. Pai Celestial nos ama muito também. Eu amo vocês muito. Sou muito grato por o exemplos de vocês. Eu sei que meu Salvador e Redentor vive. Em nome de Jesus Cristo, Amem.

Love, Sister Wilkins

Have a wonderful week! I love you all! And hopefully next time you hear from me, I´ll be able to show you how beautiful this place is with some pictures!

(Sidenote from Mom:  I just put the last paragraph into google translate.  It's a beautiful testimony!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I broke the CTM toilet! And we went PROSELYTING!

Hello again family and friends!

Once again I need to apologize. Time to email here is super short and I get more emails than I ever expected to and don´t have time to reply to many. I LOVE YOU ALL THOUGH!!! :) Don´t forget that!  And Please don't stop!

This week was super crazy!

First best thing that happened: we went Proselyting. Sister Child and I gave out 7 Books of Mormon in 25 minutes. As a district we gave out 24 in 25 minutes. Miracles happen guys. 
We didn´t really know how to start at first, so we just kind of sat there for a second and there was a Bolivia festival going on next to us, and this guy came up to us and said "Is that a Book of Mormon? Can I have one?" And we were both like YES!!!!!!! :) So we chatted with him for a bit and gave him a Book of Mormon and showed him the phone number he could call and I bore my testimony to him about it. 
The next lady we talked to, like a minute later asked if she could have one too and then just kept walking!!! And then I decided we needed to talk to these guys, just kind of standing off to the side, so we went over there and I started talking to him and he points me to the guy next to him and he was a member! AND THEY SPOKE ENGLISH!!! He let me talk to him in English!!! And I got him to take a Book of Mormon!!! It was awesome!!! 
It was such an amazing experience. I don´t think I have ever been so happy in my life. And it was amazing to see how many people on this small block we couldn´t leave were thumbing through the Book of Mormon or carrying it with them!!! I love this!!!!!!! There´s nowhere else I´d rather be right now. 

Our teacher, one of them, is kind of crazy. She is a no-nonsense kind of gal and has a strange sense of humor, but I´ve been told that´s what Brazil is like. I like her well enough, I just don´t totally agree with some of the things she does. For example, in class one day she asked us all to tell her how much of what she said we understood, on average. It was rough.

Our other teacher just hurt some ligaments in his leg and we don´t know what happened (this was two days ago) but he won´t be teaching us any more, which is sad because we all really liked him. He was an awesome teacher.

Now we have a new teacher, who is also pretty good, but we´ve only had two classes with him so far and one of them he was acting as a sub, so I´m not totally sure what he´s like yet.

So I realized that I have had 7 investigators and I´ve been on my mission FOR A MONTH!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!?! I sure can´t!!! It seems so much longer and so much shorter all at the same time.

One of our investigator´s names is Bruna. We got her to commit to baptism in the second or third lesson. She´s a good investigator. I also recited the First Vision to her in Portuguese the last lesson!!!! LOOKING HER IN THE EYE!!! I was so so so excited!!! It was awesome! And she came back to class and told me that I had recited it with power and heart and I didn´t miss a word. It was super awesome! 

Our old investigator was José. We didn´t get very far with him (Because of the ligament thing). But he was interested and learning a lot. 

We have another new investigator, Vinicius. He´s awesome. We only had one lesson with him. ?We asked him to follow the example of the Savior and get baptized and he said he didn´t want to say yes, but as he continued to learn he would think about it.

Monday night when we were having class, I was having a rough day and Irmã nearly had me in tears. We were learning por and para (By, through, in way of, etc....) and I had no idea what was going on and I couldn´t get anything right and my eyes were filling with tears. The Elders kept trying to encourage me and help me, because they could tell I was about to cry, and although it didn´t help a whole lot, I appreciated the effort. Then we had a lady come in and tell us that we were doing companionship study wrong, so I was still about to cry. It was a rough night. But it´s ok. With the Savior, all is possible.

Today we got to go to the Campinas temple and it was absolutely gorgeous!!!! I LOVE IT!!! 
The session was in English again. Blessings!

We are getting another new Elder from Provo in our district today. 36 Americans arrived here today! The Lord´s work is progressing in Brasil! I know it is!

WE GOT TO WATCH ELDER NELSON FOR DEVOTIONAL LAST NIGHT!!!! He spoke in Provo on Aug. 4. We missed him by 6 days!!! AGGHHHHH!!! :´( But it´s fine. It was really cool. He spoke about the Lord´s goals and he talked about how we are like the Stripling warriors, and at one point every single one of them was wounded. We are all too, in some way. We all have faults and challenges and none of us is perfect, but it´s ok. We are trying our best. 

I broke the toilet in our room. Haha. Figured that would be a fun story for you. Monday night, it´s like 11, we are supposed to be in bed at 10:30. It´s our last night with our roommates. I´m washing my hands and the toilet flooded over. Super fun adventure. We just kept laughing about how I broke the toilet. It was entertaining and no idea how it happened, but it´s cool haha. Now I can tell everyone I broke an CTM toilet. 

Elder Banz and Elder King are our zone leaders. Sister Child and Elder King gave talks on Sunday (we are the oldest district) and they did SO GOOD!!! I´m pretty sure Elder Banz and I are going to be giving talks this week. HAHA 

The food here is awesome! We´ve had pancakes and doritos this week. So that´s cool! We also had hot dogs. But hot dogs here are different. They put mashed potatoes and little shoe-string potatoes on them. It´s weird. I put the shoe-strings on mine and it was surprisingly really good, but I´m not adventurous enough to do the mashed potatoes haha. I´m still trying lots of new food. I feel like I´ve become a new person in that way. Most of the time I just don´t even think about it and just do it, and most the time it´s good. But occasionally dessert tastes like Grape Nyquil and we all laugh at the faces everyone else is making while they try it.

I had a Brazilian guy tell me my eyes look like the sea the other day at lunch. I swear I turned bright red. He thought it was so cool though.

The language is going so well. Alma 29 we read as a class yesterday (in Portuguese of course) and I realized that, verse 15, nothing I learn in this language is my own success. It is all God´s. This is all his work. And because of Him and His help I can learn this language.

I finished reading the BOM on Thursday. It is so true. I love it. I love telling people about it. It is the most correct book on the earth. It was translated by Joseph Smith and IT IS TRUE! :)

I love you all.
Good luck with school starting!
Also happy Father´s day to all you dads! Especially mine!!! LOVE YOU DADEO!! (Sunday was Father´s day here in Brasil). 
Praying for you always.
All my love,
Sister Wilkins

Across the street from the CTM is Mr. Cheney's Cookies, the only place in Brazil that makes American style cookies.  It is a popular place for the missionaries to visit on P-Day.  They take pictures of the new missionaries and post them on facebook, which allows us a picture of our missionary while they are in the CTM since they can't send any.  This was from today.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

1 Week in Brazil and Holy Cow!

I've included some bits from Mady's email to me today, and then attached her entire email she sent for the blog.  With her limited computer time she asked that I do that.  She's not allowed to send pictures while in the CTM, and only allowed to take them on P Days, so there won't be any new pictures for a few weeks.

Language is going good, but it´s hard. Tell you more about it in a bit. We are going to give out Book of Mormons Friday. 3 per person, 6 for our companionship. Pray for me. I´m seriously going to need it :)
We go to the temple every P-day, which is Wednesdays. But that might change, again I´ll tell you about it in a bit. Only 45 mins to email here, so things are a bit hectic and I opened my email and there were 30 unread emails. HOLY CRAP I FEEL LOVED :) 
On the bright side, I´m one of the tallest sisters here. HAHA :) I couldn´t stop laughing when I realized that last night. 
Trying to include tender mercies, but Provo was like a piece of cake compared to this place, so there wasn´t a whole lot. First tender mercy here: I can eat the food. Second: my straightener works and I don´t need to use a voltage converter or plug converter. 

Oi familia e amigos!!! 
Tudo bem!?

First off, I want to say I´m very sorry if you don´t get a response from me for the next for weeks. Time is more limited in the CTM and I got an overwhelming amount of emails this week. But thank you all for thinking of me and writing me! You guys are amazing and I love you all and I miss you all the time!!!

The first day here was crazy. We got here super exhausted, and that happened. And I´m in Brazil and it´s winter and it´s like 60- 70 degrees every day and I love it so much!!!! Wonderful weather! And it´s gorgeous. We started eating food here after email last Wednesday, and it was good. But I kind of wanted to cry cuz some of it looked nasty and some of it was just gross. Then we met with the President and another missionary couple and they all speak English and it´s wonderful! I love it! Tender mercy there, for real. Then we found out that it was our district´s P-day and on P-day here they have boundaries you can walk and we went and walked around the city a little for like an hour and saw some different shops and houses and stuff and things are so different here. The sidewalks are uneven and cracking like crazy. Everything is just so different and weird and I´m not allowed to take pictures of it and I have no idea how to explain any of it. Haha sorry!!! Look up some pictures on Google or something. We came back and had dinner, which was better. The meat here is absolutely amazing! I love it!!!!! Then we took a nap and I was so culture shock and missed Provo and home and just everything I was familiar with, so I cried for like an hour. Woke up, cried some more. Same thing happened going to bed. But after the second day, no tears I´m fine. Don´t worry. Culture shock comes and goes, but for the most part it´s gone. I´m sure it will come again when I get to Floripa, but I am so excited to get there! 

So our district here actually consisted of 12 people this past week, the 6 I told you about and then 6 who started here and one of the Elders, Elder Hull is going to Floripa and he´s awesome. He´s from Cali and loves all things Disney, so we get along really well. But we got three people from our districts back in Provo who got their visas and arrived today, Sister Wright is one of them, so now our district is those three new ones, me, Sister Child, Elder King, and Elder Banz, and I am so grateful those three are still in my district because I might go crazy if they weren´t. But it´ll all be good. 

This week has been hard. Some of the people in my district are a bit hard to get along with and can be inappropriate at times, but I try to keep my chin up. And I feel like I´ve been doing a pretty good job at it. 

Oh, you´ll appreciate this one mom and dad-THEY HAVE MARACUJA IN THE SODA FOUNTAIN!!!!! I LITERALLY HAVE HAD IT EVERY MEAL SINCE I DISCOVERED IT!!!! IT IS MY LIFE!!! Haha, just kidding. But really it is so stinking good!!!

Language is difficult. Yesterday we had a "English Fast" where we weren´t allowed to speak English. I kinda failed but I tried really hard and it really opened up my mind as to how hard learning a new language is, but it also really helped me realize how much I have learned! 
I try to speak to Brazilians and we are required to sit with them at at least one meal a day and most the time I have to say What??? like four times and it´s hard cuz they speak so fast, but they are incredibly patient and all want to help us learn. 

BREAKFAST HERE IS THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD!!! It´s like oatmeal mixed with cream of wheat mixed with sweetened condensed milk. EU AMO ESTE!!!! :) It makes getting up in the morning a lot easier. I love that stuff!!!! FOOD HERE IS WONDERFUL!!! DESSERT IS SO Good!!! Except when it´s really weird, but we always try it (and sometimes leave it half uneaten on our plates haha). 

The people here are wonderful. They are so kind and patient with us and learning the languages. Except at night. Instructors come in our class and many times have yelled at us for speaking English and one of them nearly brought me to tears. I understand why they are upset, but I really really get frustrated when they do it. 

I don´t know what else to say. The Elders and Sisters keep me laughing all the time and it´s good cuz I need it.

OH! WE WENT TO THE SAO PAULO TEMPLE TODAY!!! IT IS GORGEOUS AND THE SESSION WAS IN ENGLISH!!! TENDER MERCY OF THE WEEK!!!!! I LOVE THAT TEMPLE!!! It´s really small and appears out of nowhere but it´s gorgeous. 

Running out of time...what else. Challenge: Read Chapter 4 of PMG! AND APPLY IT!
We´re required to be in the choir here. Brazilians can´t carry a tune, bless their hearts. But they love to sing. What else. I don´t know. We get translations for devotionals-tender mercy again! Don´t know what I´d do if we didn´t. 

I miss you all. I love you all. 

Today as I was sitting in the temple I said one of the most heartfelt prayers of my life. I have such a strong testimony that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. He knows each one of us perfectly. He knows our struggles and the desires of our hearts. I love Him and I love my Savior. 
Out of time.
Love you all!
Sister Wilkins