Monday, September 28, 2015

Week of Miracles


How´s everybody doing?!
Things here are great! I am really excited today! 

The language is coming, it´s still raining (the past three days this week), and by some miracle on P-day the sun is always shining. And this week is transfers. Sadly, I will already be saying goodbye to my first companion.

This week was different. I don´t know what we did or how we did it, but Heavenly Father is hearing and answering prayers because we FINALLY had a week where our NUMBERS ARE GOOD!!!! :) We surpassed our goal for contacts and increased almost all numbers this week, except for baptism and confirmations. 

This week, we had miracles happen over and over.

1. We found Ana Carla at work. The other Sisters started teaching her again since she now lives in their area.
2. We were brought a bucket of like 20 pounds of food from one of the members who works at the restaurant we have eaten at a couple of times. There is now no room in our fridge for anything else.

3. My feet were dry this week!!! I bought some cute rainboots, and my feet were dry, and it was kind of strange to have dry feet. 
My new boots!

4. We were in our apartment exactly on time when it should have been impossible because of the amount of pain I was in (my rainboots rubbed the skin off my leg and every step hurt and I couldn´t walk fast). And I prayed for the strength to continue and Heavenly Father let the majority of the pain leave until we were at the apartment. 
5. We walked more than 20 kilometers (10 miles) one day, according to Sister Rosa. I should have been exhausted, but it wasn´t even that bad. I felt like I could have doubled it if my investigator needed me to.
6. We went and taught an older couple, Geraldo e Irvane, Saturday and told them that if they didn´t come to church we couldn´t visit them any more. Guess who was at sacrament yesterday for the first time ever!? Geraldo!!
7. The biggest miracle of all this week goes by the name of Vera.

Vera is our investigator. Before this week we had taught her twice, and not really a whole lot about the lessons, but about patience, love, and families. Monday night, we went to a lesson with her at the house of the family who gave us her name as a referral. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and had 3 others bear testimony of the BoM (including a future missionary who got his call this week to the Buenos Aires South Argentina Mission). We asked her to read the Book of Mormon and she was excited to. And then...the greatest miracle. We asked her to get baptized. SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D I cannot even begin to explain the happiness I felt that night. overwhelming joy doesn´t even describe it. We marked the 24th of October for her baptism. I´m praying I´ll still be here to see it. 
We visited her again and she had a referral for us and she gets more excited about her baptism with every day. She came to church for the first time yesterday and said the prayer and participated in Gospel Principles class and is just doing awesome. 

What I am about to tell you, I want you all to pay very close attention to.
Vera said that she knew a lot of the people at church, a lot of them she worked with and a few lived not too far away. She said "Why didn´t any of these people tell me about the Church?"

DO NOT BE THAT PERSON!!!!!! People all around you are waiting to hear about the gospel! She wanted it in her life, "but she knew not where to find it" (d&c). Talk with EVERYONE about the gospel!!!! 
You have the perfect opportunity to do so this week!! General conference is this weekend. All you have to do is say "hey, what are you doing this weekend?.....Oh, I´m watching general Conference!" They´ll probably ask what that is and then you have a perfect segue into talking about the gospel!! SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY WITH EVERYONE! IT WILL BLESS OTHERS!!!! You may never know that it helped someone, but share it! Miracles can happen, guys! I am witnessing it every day!

My Awesome District
Well, I´m super excited about Conference, I hope you all are too! Enjoy it and watch every session you possibly can!!! 
Love you all!

Sister Wilkins

Monday, September 21, 2015


Before heading out on day 2 of the rain
Oi todo o mundo!!! 

This week has been rather uneventful. 
It rained for four days straight. Ok, that´s a lie. It downpoured for four days straight. And rained off and on yesterday as well. Everything is wet. The river here, which is probably 3-4 times as wide as the spot we cross the Jordan river to get to Lehi, rose I swear like 5 feet. It´s insane. Some of the roads were flooded when we went to district meeting. It´s crazy stuff. But we also had lightning storms for four days, and that was amazing!!!

All my shoes are completely soaked. So I´m buying some sort of water proof shoes today because I am sick of my feet being wet for like 12 hours a day. But thankfully, the rain hasn´t started up yet today! (hopefully I didn´t jinx that one)

This week, because of the rain, things were a bit difficult as a missionary. The first day was great, people were home and were talking to us from their houses and asking us why we were out in the rain, so it was a great chance to explain missionary work! But after the first day, no one was on the street, or in their house, and we walked for hours (or waited for a bus for hours) before we got any contacts or anything!

This week we were going to teach Ana Carla, but only a few hours before we were supposed to teach her we got a call saying she was moving out of the friend´s house she was staying in. We think they had a fight. We have tried to call her several times since then, but she has basically dropped off the face of the earth, we don´t know what´s going on there. 

Duda´s lessons fell through this week; I´m not sure what happened there. But we are supposed to be going to see them this week. 

Vera is amazing! We taught her last monday night and she told us how she has given up drinking!!!!! :D She said that and I just wanted to shout for joy! We had not yet said a word to her about the word of wisdom, the only thing we´ve talked about is her family and having patience and she said she gave up drinking and she told us about how challenging that was for her that weekend, but SHE DID IT!!!!!! :) We are going to teach  her again tonight. 
Vera has a hard time coming to church because she has family in town every sunday, so hopefully we can get her there next week. 

We have a couple new investigators, Josiane who is super awesome and hoping to get her to progress with her family, and Ana Marcia who has been taught before almost got baptized but I think she was offended and frustrated with how pushy people were with trying to get her to be baptized. But she is very receptive, so hoping that will go somewhere too. 

Ended this week once again with zero progressing investigators. no one was at church for the 3rd week in a row. 

This week, my district leader asked me to do the handbook training during district meeting. it was about local laws and customs. I was pretty nervous, but man everything I said made sense and I spoke faster than I expected to be able to. I think my district was pretty impressed with my portuguese as well. The gift of tongues is so real, I know I say that a lot but it is soooo real!!! 
I can read the Book of Mormon and understand 80-90 percent of what I read. I can understand about 60-70 percent of small talk now. Things are going so good! God is so good! So greatful for this opportunity and these experiences he has given me!

So, conference is next weekend. I want to give you all a little challenge. Really try to prepare yourself. Whether that be reading your scriptures or studying them, reading last conference´s talks, praying every morning and night, do something that will stretch you a little that will better prepare you to hear what the prophets have to say to you. Do something that will allow you to have the spirit with you a little stronger these next two weeks to prepare!

Love you all so very much!
Sister Wilkins
P Day American Meal:  Burgers, fries... and rice

Largest Rodent in the world!  The nutria.  Saw them last pday down by the river.

Excerpts from a letter we received today dated Sept 13:

Some things I keep forgetting to tell you about Brasil:
1.  You can't flush toilet paper here.  You put it in the garbage  It's kinda gross sometimes!
2.  We don't have a drying machine.  They're like a very luxurious item here.  Only rich people have them.
3.  Our washing machine is little and is interestingly different than in the states.
4.  Dishwashers don't exist as far as I know.  Pretty sad.
5.  My apartment here is probably bigger than a vast majority of the houses here.
6.  Most people don't own a lot.  In fact, if you left out the furniture, you could probably fit it all with room to spare in the Honda (Using the seats and all space available).
7.  Our oven is tiny.  I don't even know if a 9 x 13 pan would fit in it. Maybe if it didn't have handles.
8.  There is no hot water anywhere.  Except the shower, which I am so grateful for.
9.  Milky Ways, M & Ms, Snickers, Reese's, Doritos, Pringles, Nutella, and Oreos all exist here!  Some of which is a little pricey, but it exists!

But all of this makes me so grateful for the things I have.  It makes me grateful for where I grew up and the home I get to come back to.  I am so grateful for all that I had in the states, and feel selfish for not being as grateful as I could have been, for taking for granted things like drinking tap water out of any faucet in the house.  
Heavenly Father definitely has an interesting way of answering prayers though.  I had been praying for months to be able to be more humble and patient.  It started probably a month or two before I put my papers in.  And now I'm in a place where I have no choice but to be humble and patient.  I am grateful for the experiences I am going through, and the person I am becoming because of my experiences.
I'm forever grateful for prayer.  When you have nothing else, you always have prayer.  Saying a simple, heartfelt prayer can get you through a lot, I've learned.  
Brazil is wonderful!  I wish the pictures I took actually looked like what I see.  Its' weird and sad to me that the camera isn't showing what I'm seeing, but it's okay!

Sis Rosa doesn´t think she can sing it (I like to look for rainbows..see last post) very well, but she´s actually pretty good. That´s one of the miracles I´ve realized has happened. I am teaching my companion, who when I arrived flat out said she didn´t want to learn english. And now she does and she likes it and holy cow miracles happen! And she keeps saying she wants to learn english because she loves me. She´s so sweet! 
She also told me that when she gets home she´ll write me every week and if I ever need anything, she´ll try to get it for me since my family lives so far away. She is amazing! I love her!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Bad Week for numbers, but great for the soul!

Oi todo o mundo! haha
How are things?! Brazil just gets better and better every week!

This week was very different because of all the meetings and things that happened.

Tuesday, after lunch, Sister Rosa and I were walking around to an investigators house and then to a members because the investigator couldn´t meet with us. We had a little yellow dog follow us. We decided to call him "Elder Cachorro" (Elder Dog) and he followed us all the way to the members house, which I feel like was a mile away, but I´m not sure. He protected us from two potential dog attacks, one of which could have been pretty bad. He was so cool! So grateful for that dog!
El Cachorro

Oh, ya...there are dogs all over the streets here. Practically every family owns at least two dogs, some have like 7. They are everywhere. 

Tuesday night, Sister Crump and I split from our comps so they could go to their meeting in Floripa. We went contacting since our appointment fell through. And it went super well! We also went to Wizard again! Super fun! We got to talk to teenagers this time. It is so funny to go in there. They all think Sister Crump and I are twins. We are like celebrities there, they all wanted pictures with us. And they decided that I look exactly like Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and the outfit I happened to be wearing that day was almost exactly one of the outfits she wears in the movie. They also asked us if we wanted tattoos and told us not to get them haha. One of the girls in that class had also been in the other class, and SHE´S INTERESTED IN THE CHURCH!!!!! :D But she is the other sister´s investigator because she´s our neighbor and doesn´t live in our area. 

Sister Irizarry, Sister Wilkins, Sister Crump
Wednesday, Sister Crump and I were comps again. We went out and tried to have some appointments. That lunch appointment we had that day was the weirdest one I have ever had. They watched us eat and were in a rush to get us out so they could get back to work. They didn´t say a whole lot to us either. It was super weird. Then we went and taught a recent convert with a member, and let me tell you: The Gift of Tongues is so real. I understood almost everything people said to me that day. I talked on the phone in Portuguese with like 7 different people trying to get the chaos our life had become worked out. And everything worked out! And people understood my Portuguese! Heavenly father really does answer prayers! I hope you all know that!!!! Our lesson with the RC, Priscilla, went super well. She and the member were crying while the member told the story about her conversion and talked about the importance of reading the BoM and I was even able to share an experience of how the BoM helped me. Miracles happen. I was speaking quickly and I really don´t know what I was saying half the time. The Spirit is so real and really does give you what to say in the moment you need to say when you are really trying to listen to someone. All of our other appointments fell through that night. And sadly, the first and only BoM Sis Rosa and I gave to an investigator was given back to us. I wasn´t even totally sure what happened. Her friend gave it back to us. She didn´t even talk to us. And she already had a testimony of Joseph Smith and the BoM when we found her!!! She had had the missionaries before. But we´ve been dropped. And that was kinda rough. 
But we ended the night, with our comps at the bishops house to celebrate his birthday and some of the members were there too! Super fun!!!

Thursday, we had a referral that we went and taught in the morning. SHE IS PERFECT AND SO PREPARED!!!! We talked to her about her family because she is having a hard time with her son and being patient! We talked to Priscilla the other day (Priscilla asked us to visit her) And she said Vera started crying when she talked with her about our visit with her!!! We are going to teach her again today!!!!!! :) SO EXCITED!!! She was literally the best thing that happened to us this week. 
We had a lesson with Luciana and João Marcus. They are a family we found at the bus stop with a little baby. They have a religion, but we have met with them twice now and they are very receptive to what we are teaching. He has a lot of questions, which is good. They have a lot of potential! We taught them the Restoration and it went so good!
We had 7 appointments fall through. Rough week. 
We went to Ana Carla´s and she said that she isn´t ready to get baptized yet. She wants to wait so she can give up coffee and be totally prepared because she doesn´t want to have to repent after baptism.  That was rough. so we are going to try to really help her understand that baptism is the first step this week.

Friday we had zone conference with president! It was so good!!! We talked about working with the ward council and such, super good! Our zone leaders are awesome and they are in my district! One is from Kaysville, he´s pretty cool and speaks English with me and sister Crump. Sis Irizarry saved my life during conference, she was my personal translator! She is super super awesome!!! Love her! Guess who else is in my zone--Elder Norman. haha! Crazy to see him here, but super cool at the same time. President talked about heroes and what they have in common and that was pretty cool. He and Sister silva are amazing.
President and Sister Silva

Elder Norman and me (Elder Norman went to Westlake with Mady)

My zone on a wooden bridge

We went and taught Tailane that night, a 15 year old who we thought was an awesome investigator that we found on the streets. We have taught her 3 or 4 lessons. But she just told us she´ll be traveling until the end of November, so we are down two investigators this week. That´s pretty rough. But we are going to find the people God has prepared for us this week and we are going to work really hard to do it!

Saturday we walked like all day long. In circles. We had a single lesson. And we had 6 fall through. We got tons of lessons marked for this week though, so that´s great! This week is going to be busy with appointments, allowing that people are actually there! 

These are the sisters in my apartment
Yesterday, we had stake conference. Our stake is huge! It´s awesome!!! President and Sister Silva spoke as did Elder Fernandes, our area 70. There was a lot of focus on families. Which was great! Families are so important to the church!! And a ton of focus on missionary work, which was also great because we need all the help we can get right now!

We weren´t able to meet with Duda this week because she was sick or the lesson fell through, so we are hoping to meet with her this week. 

Toad on the Road (It was huge!)
Our numbers for this week were awful. Sister Rosa said she has never had such bad numbers in her whole mission. We are really praying hard to find people prepared to hear the gospel this week. And even though this week sucked with numbers, I really don´t feel like it was a bad week. We were uplifted by our meetings with Pres and we have a lot of people to visit this week. I´m having so much fun and trying to teach my comp how to sing "I like to look for rainbows" in English super funny haha. But we are having lots of fun. 

Well that´s about it.
Tchau from Brasil!
Love you all!
Sister Wilkins

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Another crazy week in Brazil!

Oi familia y amigos!

Just another crazy week here in Brazil! 
P-days here are pretty chill. We got ice cream and man SO GOOD. The pineapple ice cream has chunks of pineapple and it is so so so good. 

I got to go talk to a school, called Wizard last monday in English. We just answered questions about America, what we do as missionaries and a few about our church. They asked us to sing a church song for them. So Sister Crump and I sang I am a Child of God. The Spirit was so strong and it was probably the best singing I have ever done. It was so cool. 

This week was difficult in that most of our appointments fell through. Like every day. But I am learning to have more fun and smile through the hard times. And things are good. I sing or whistle a lot as we walk down the street just to keep a smile on my face. We laugh more and talk more, which is nice! 

We got to go to a Brazilian restaurant two days in a row. It was a buffet and man was it so so good! I ate probably as much as an elder would the second day. It was ridiculous. I´ll send you the picture haha.

We ended the week with zero progressing investigators, because none of them came to church, and that was kind of rough. But I know that the Lord has something in store for these people and we are working hard to get them ready for baptism. 

Duda is really really wanting to get baptized. Her mom wouldn´t let us set a date with her because she thinks she needs to learn more and be totally committed. Her parents are less actives, so that is making things difficult. 

Ana Carla we are teaching the word of Wisdom to. She has to give up coffee and tea, so we are hoping she has been able to do that! we´ll find out this week how it went. 

Luan we haven´t seen again since that first lesson, except on the street. He´s starting modeling classes at night so we can´t teach him at the same time, so we are going to try to start going to teach him. We ran into him on the street and got his contact info, so that was good. 

Bruno, Ana Carla´s bf is awesome. We had taught Ana Carla one night and missed the bus so we were going to have to walk home, which was super far. It was cold, my feet were blistered and hurting, I was hungry, and tired. We started the walk and were going to get home late, and Bruno pulled up five minutes later with ana Carla and Jennifer and we hopped in the back of his work truck and he drove us home! Miracle of the week :) haha

We had a cool three kingdoms of glory activity, and Gabe said  you guys had one and it seems to be almost the same thing. Haha. It was super cool, ask him to read the email i sent him about it. 

Yesterday was Brazil´s independence day! We got to go to a parade and man, the whole world was there! The parade went on for forever, but it was cool. I took some pics and video to show you when I get back :) the bands were playing american songs, it was great! AND WE HAD SUBWAY FOR LUNCH!!!!! SO GOOD! :)

Our ward here is amazing. I love them so much. There is one couple I particularly love, Jorge and Fran. Fran was a less active member and they were either dating or living together. But they got married so that Jorge could be baptized last october and now we think that his brother might be interested! I am amazed at the sacrifices people make here to have the gospel in their lives. 

Well, that´s pretty much it. 
I love you all and pray for you constantly!
Have a fantastic week! 
Sister Wilkins

Lunch at the Restaurant

Me and my huge plate of food!
Excerpts from emails to her dad and mom:
Things are going well with sister Rosa. She leaves the week of General conference. I don´t know what will happen to me after she leaves. I really hope I get to stay here to finish my training, but not sure if i will or not. 
I think I´m gaining weight. I kind of eat like crap and it is not totally my fault. we don´t get dinner. WE snack and it´s usually crackers and cookies. I eat tons of food and I need to slow down. i also need to find some good exercises, so if you have suggestions, that would be great. I have yet to have a bad lunch with a member though, so BLESSINGS! 
We are moving because our apartment is old and basically falling apart. We are going to look at another in a few minutes. WE don´t have a move out date anymore, just ASAP. 
The sisters in my apartment are great! I love them so much!!! It´s so nice to have sister crump because we get to a point where we can´t do portuguese any more so we can speak with each other. 
been really rainy this week and cold. But it´s ok! We saw the prettiest rainbow the other day, it was the brightest and biggest i have ever seen. so pretty! 
FAvorite thing to eat is probably the lasagna. Or ice cream. or anything strawberry flavored. strawberry flavor here is 10 times better than the states. 
Feet are still a little blistered. I popped them, but they are doing good. My shins hurt more than my legs. My apartment is probably at least a mile from our area. I think that we walk probably 5-10 miles a day depending on how many people we are teaching and the things we have to do, but I am probably overestimating. 

BEing in the field best thing is seeing the miracles the gospel has brought to people´s lives, miracles that have happened in the ward with baptisms. It´s amazing what people have done and given up to get baptized and have the gospel in their lives.
Trying to eat more nuts, they´re a little difficult to find. But I like peanuts now haha. The mission is changing me ;)

Things are good with S. Rosa. 
I get frustrated sometimes because I can´t speak and she doesn´t always explain things in a way I can understand. And she talks super fast. But she is trying to learn a little English, and that is helping a lot. 

We are 3 hours from the mission home. So inland. Not sure where though. Tubarão is the name of our zone. It´s like a county in comparison. 
We get mail any time someone in our district visits the mission home. We get mail tomorrow because sis Diniz and Sis Rosa are STLs and have a meeting with pres and so me and Sis Crump are going to be comps for a day and a half. starting this afternoon!
We get to do quite a bit with the other sisters, crump and diniz, so we are all getting pretty close!

Me, sis Crump and sister Vera. Sister Vera is from Columbia and is super cute.

view from my room