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.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Just Another Week

Oi familia e amigos! Como vocês ´tão?

Esta semana foi muito bom!! 
haha, oops, sorry I´ll stop Portuguese and try to go English mode.

Anyways, this week was good. 

Sadly, we didn´t teach Vera at all. She´s getting divorced :/ gahh. And still hasn´t read, or opened the Book of Mormon. And the members are trying to prove to her that it is true, but she needs to open it and read it. That is the only way she can know that it´s true. But she still hasn´t done that. 
She was at church again though, so that´s good! 

Mari is doing really well and progressing. But we were in a lesson where a member brought up Priesthood and blacks and then she was concerned about that, and still has doubts that the church makes exceptions though we tell people we don´t. So that was rough. The lesson had been absolutely perfect and the Spirit was so strong and then it was ruined with those few words. 

Claudia accepted the invitation to prepare for baptism! 14th of november. Her son, Luan was in the lesson with us. She said she knew the Book of Mormon was true and he turned to her and said then why aren´t you baptized?! so he was really the one who extended the commitment haha. 

Valquiria we weren´t able to teach at all this week either. 

But all four of these women were at church yesterday!!!!! 

Brazil is still cold and rainy most of the time. We get a couple days, seriously like 2 a week, with sunshine. 
The language is coming along really well. Still speaking a lot and getting better. Apparently I sound like a Brazilian when I speak Portuguese when I am sick.

Oh ya. Caught a cold again, Friday. still sick, but I got a blessing yesterday in Portuguese and that was pretty cool!

We started apartment hunting again. President didn´t approve the two apartments we sent info about, so back to the drawing board with that. Almost out of places to look for an apartment too. don´t know what we are going to do. I´m sure the Lord is preparing a really good apartment for us somewhere and it just isn´t ready for us yet. 

Hersheys and Root Beer!  Will and Thais Campos
The first time tried chicken hearts she wasn't so sold on the idea. 
I got root beer this week and milk chocolate hershey bar, thanks to a wonderful member of our ward. It was kind of weird tho...the chocolate didn´t taste the way I remember it...I think I am becoming Brazilian, because man some of the things I eat here I never would have eaten there (I ate chicken hearts two days in a row two weeks ago willingly and decided if I could have it every day I would because it´s so good!) 

Well, we don´t really have a whole lot going on here. 
Hope all is going well for you guys over there! 
All my love,

Sister Wilkins 

My Zone.  Zone Conference is this Friday!

The group I arrived in Florianopolis with

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Week One of New Transfer

Oi familia, amigos. 

Tudo bem!? 
Things here in Brazil are good. It is raining a lot. Our river literally rose five feet this week, in like two days (I had a way to measure it this time) and then it went back down pretty quickly. 

I have never been so tired in my life as I have been this week. We have walked and walked and walked and not found a whole lot of people in their houses to teach, but that´s the life of a missionary. I go to sleep exhausted and wake up tired and sore, but make it through every day with the help of the Lord. And we are trying to teach all the people that two companionships had, so there's a lot of people and a lot of walking. 

My Comps with our area behind us
This week we taught Vera again. We taught her about the apostasy and the Restoration through Joseph Smith. She told us she still hasn´t opened the Book of Mormon. She had a lot of doubts about it, so we explained it and tried to answer her questions. She said she would read it so I am praying she does! And then she was at Church Sunday. Miracles happen, guys. I explained to her what testimony meeting was (in Portuguese, without help-that was the first miracle) and SHE BORE HER TESTIMONY!!!!!!!! :) She is amazing! She said she hopes that she can be in Church every Sunday! And she talked about how much she has seen a difference in her life because of the things she has changed already that Sister Rosa and I taught her about! 

More miracles this week- Portuguese clicked somehow more than it has before. I was speaking quickly, holding conversations with Brazilians without any help or translation, I participated in Gospel Principles willingly, and then I bore my testimony in Sacrament meeting. Portuguese is coming along! Miracles happen! And our new district leader asked me to talk about President´s email in District meeting and I was able to say everything I wanted to faster than I thought I´d be able to. 

Valquiria wasn´t baptized this week. We went and talked to her about the baptismal questions and she had some problems with some of them. We are hoping that she´ll accept the invitation for a month, but she had told us she wanted to wait a year. 

We had two more investigators at church, Claudia and Jucemar. That was awesome! They came to conference too. We need Jucemar´s help to get Claudia to progress. Claudia´s son, Luan was baptized the transfer before I arrived here and he´s going on a mission next year! 

We got a new district, which was really sad. 

This is my new district
Sister Vera bought us all Jacob's hot dogs our last night together

Jacob's is a hot dog truck.  They are huge hot dogs and SO GOOD!

We have two new Sisters living with us, Sis Fávero and Vera were transferred--we all cried saying goodbye. So the two new sisters and two new elders are in our district. It´s hard cuz I miss my old district but I think this new district will help me learn Portuguese more quickly. 

Well, don´t really have much going on here right now. Same schedule, same things. But love you all! And hope things are going well for you! 
Sister Wilkins
Look Dad, Ferris Bueller's house!

I cleaned the shower last week. Left some cleaner to get rid of some bugs that kept coming out of the walls ( I had sent about 50 down the drain) and then came back a couple hours later to find this. 
All the black spots are larvae. Ewwww

Monday, October 5, 2015

I survived my first transfer!

Well, hello again! 

Hope you are all doing well!

This week has been very tough for me. 
We went to teach Vera Monday, but someone broke into her other house, so she had to leave to take care of that, but things are good now. But before that happened, she told us she wants to move her baptism to November.

Tuesday we had 5 marked lessons. Every single one fell through. But by some miracle we still managed to teach 4 lessons. 

Thursday we had 4 lessons and they weren´t good. The first was with a man named Reginaldo. I thought he was a perfect investigator. It was our first lesson with him, he was a past investigator of some Elders in our district, and he had an incredible knowledge of the Bible. We taught him the whole Restoration, his comprehension was awesome. And then we finished and he said we had lost him at the first vision-he doesn´t believe that God and Christ are two different people. So Sister Rosa tried using various scriptures in the Bible to get him to understand, but he didn´t and would just come back with some other scripture. 
The next lesson was us telling an investigator they need to progress and keep commitments or we can´t keep visiting them. 
After that we taught an ex-investigator the restoration and she still didn´t want our lessons. She just wanted me to sing some english songs for her. 
And after that, we had a lesson with an investigator, Duda. She wants to get baptized but at the same time she doesn´t, so that´s kind of difficult. She´s stopped coming to activities and church. I´m not sure what more we can do to help her. 

But Transfer calls came thursday. 5:30 president called and told me I´d be staying in Oficinas! And Sisters Diniz and Crump are my new companions! 

Friday we had one lesson, the rest fell through. And in that lesson, our investigator gave us our Book of Mormon back and told us they didn´t want our lessons any more. 
We also found out later that night that the other sisters had talked to a member about Vera and she doesn´t want to get baptized yet because she doesn´t have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I went home and cried for her. I am worried about her because she wants to be baptized but she needs to have a testimony of the Book of Mormon first. 

Saturday morning we took Sister Rosa to the bus station and said goodbye. We cried. I am surprised at how much love I felt for her. I miss her quite a bit. 

We watched conference at the stake center. We tried to watch the first session in English, but ended up missing half of it because the internet connection was so slow. And then we watched the other three sessions in Portuguese. I am amazed by how much I understood, by the last session I understood nearly all of what was being said (except for some of the stories). The Spirit is so real. Even though I couldn´t understand all of conference, the questions that I needed answered and questions I didn´t even know I had were answered! I know that the gift of tongues is real, but so is the gift of the Spirit. He opens our understanding, and because of these two gifts I was able to hear the things the Lord wanted me to hear. 

This week was the most homesick I have been on my mission and I think it is because of Conference, but the spirit that conference brings here on the mission is incredible. I am so grateful we have a prophet of God here on the earth today to lead and guide this church!

My companionship has a baptism scheduled for Valquiria this weekend, and we are praying she´ll keep her commitments because she didn´t come to conference. So hopefully it will work out!

The other two sisters who live in our apartment are being transferred tomorrow. I am going to miss them a lot too. We are getting two new sisters tomorrow and one of them is training the other. So it´ll be interesting to meet them. 

Hope you all enjoyed conference and have a wonderful week!

Sister Wilkins

My District, we are all in blue!