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.