Monday, December 26, 2016

It All Comes Down to This Moment

Oi família e amigos!! 

I hope you are all doing well and that you had a wonderful Christmas! 

This week was slightly crazy and a lot of stuff happened. 

We are teaching a little girl, ten years old, named Lorena. We went back to visit her and she had read the whole Plan of Salvation pamphlet! She started saying she didn´t really know if she had understood it and then she went and explained it all! It was amazing! I was so impressed with how much she understood and she explained more than was in the pamphlet! It was crazy! 

Anderson and Andreza, two of Sister Ogle and Sister Pina´s investigators were baptized. 

Well, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we weren´t able to find a single new investigator. We spent the days knocking doors. I was sad and frustrated and I didn´t know what to do. So I prayed a lot and I started a fast. And on Thursday we found two investigators! Paola and Eduarda! It was seriously one of the biggest blessings this week. 

We held a "District meeting" in our front room because district meeting was cancelled. It was good. We learned and shared a lot and it was wonderful! 

We had the branch Christmas dinner party, but they started at 9 and so we weren´t able to stick around. But the members brought us a ton of food the next morning! 

Christmas Eve we tried knocking doors but no one was home...and those who were yelled at us or politely told us they didn´t want our message. 
We had two parties. We went to a less-active´s house and we ate a lot of food and just had a ton of fun. It was great! 
And then we went to the branch president´s house. We had permission to stay out until later and we had dinner there. That was a lot of fun too! But holy cow I ate way too much. 

Christmas was awesome. We got to skype and that was super great :) 

Well, that was basically this last week in a nutshell. 

So, as I now have 1 year, 5 months, and about 2 weeks on the mission my time is coming to a close. I was trying hard to think about something that I could share with you. And here is what I came up with:

18 things that my mission has taught me have more value than I understood before, in no particular order:
1- My family
2- My Savior
3- The Book of Mormon
4- Drying machines and dishwashers
5- The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
6- E-mailing systems
7- Service rendered by others
8- The healing power of the Atonement
9- Peanut Butter
10- Formal education and seminary/institute
11- Cars!!! 
12- Air conditioning
13- The Church Manuals
14- The Gift of Tongues
15- Sun screen.....and aloe vera when I don´t use the previously mentioned
16- Google
17- The capacity to laugh at the small things, including myself
18- The love of our Heavenly Father for His children

If there is one thing that I could let you all know that I have learned on my mission it is that I know my Savior lives. I know that He atoned for all of our sins. I know that He loves us. He died for us and He rose from the dead. He healed the sick, the blind, the maimed, and the hurt and He still heals today. With Him everything is possible. Because of Him we will live again. Because of Him we can have eternal families. Because of Him we will see our loved ones again. Because of Him, we can face our challenges and overcome our weaknesses. He is the answer. And He is the light. He is the way. And He will guide us if we will turn our hearts to Him. 

I love you all. I hope that you choose during this year to follow the Savior a little more, to be a little more like Him. 
He lives. In His name, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Happy New Year! 
See you all soon!
Sister Wilkins

ps. this is possibly the last time I will be communicating with y'all via email. If you want to talk to me afterwards, you can find me on Facebook :) haha


Branch Christmas dinner
Christmas eve 
crazy socks



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas! #SEJAaLUZdoMUNDO

Oi família e amigos, 

This week has been difficult. We had a lot of appointments marked for the week and all but one fell through. We´ve knocked doors a lot. And very few people let us in. We had 3 and a half days without a single new investigator, and very very few lessons. We have faced a lot of rejection, but it has allowed me to reflect a lot on the Savior´s birth and how he suffered it all. All the rejection in the world. He suffered it all for us. 

Well, interesting things this week...
We met a man who plays the accordion professionally. He let me try to play and take a picture with it. It is super heavy and I learned that you have to be super coordinated to play.

We had our Christmas conference this week, which was super fun and strange.
As it was my last zone activity I was asked to bear my testimony, along with all the other missionaries who will be leaving in January. Well, to keep it short I cried a lot. But in that moment I realized how much my mission has helped me come to know my Savior and understand more about the Atonement and what He has done for me. I felt that I could feel a small part of the pain he felt and the rejection, but I was also able to feel the heavenly joy that comes as people accept the gospel. What an incredible feeling.

Sister Ogle and I played ping pong....we aren´t very good but we had a ton of fun. 
Got a letter from the Stake Presidency. Loved it! If they read this (or not) give them a huge thank you for me!! :) 

Well, I don´t have much else to say. 
Remember the reason we have Christmas. And remember to share that reason with others. Remember to have a little more charity and be a little more like our Savior during this week. 
Love you all! 
Merry Christmas! 
Sister Wilkins

Christmas conference:

Sister Child!

Me trying to play the accordion

And a super pretty lake here in our area...sorry it was cloudy, not as pretty...

It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas

Oi família e amigos!!! 

Well, it has begun to rain here. And sometimes it rains like a mist and it almost looks like snow. And then I almost feel like it could almost be Christmas. And then I sing a lot of Christmas music and then my companion looks at me strange because she doesn´t have the same love for Christmas music as I do...haha. 

Well, this week we had a lesson with Everton and Sinara who have 4 boys. We taught about the Book of Mormon and they were really excited to see us and just excited about everything really. We went back last night to see if they´d read...sadly they hadn´t. But they understood the importance when we left early to let them read. AND Everton wanted to say a prayer with us before we left. Like really really really wanted to. We let him say the prayer and he was so happy, so excited. Man I love that family!! They are wonderful! Please pray for them that they will be able to get a day off work so that they can come to church. They work on Sundays. 

I had an amazing experience this week with listening to the promptings of the Spirit. We were knocking doors, on the same road that we always knock because it is HUGE. And then we passed a road that we pass all the time, that I really had never even realized was there. I stopped in the middle of the road. I looked at the road sign, looked down the road, back at the road sign and would have just continued walking but something told me we had to go down that road. So we started knocking doors. Some guy asked me if I was his cousin as he passed us in his truck. Turns out nearly everyone on the street is related. But we knocked for a while, until finally Allan let us in. It´s been a while since he´s been to any church and he doesn´t know why he stopped going. He was going to serve a mission for his church. But we sat down and started talking with him, and he told us he asks himself two questions every day: "What is faith? And Could it be that  I have faith?" Well, we taught him for about twenty minutes from the scriptures about faith. And at the end I looked him in the eye and I asked him, "Allan, with everything that we´ve taught you, what do you think now? Do you have faith." His response nearly brought tears to my eyes. He said, "With everything you have said, I, I am certain that I have faith." The spirit was so strong and I was so happy. Man, I wouldn't give up these feelings for anything. 
WE went back yesterday and taught his wife too, Eliziana. They are super awesome! Please pray for them! They want to come to church! 

WE did Torta na cara (pie in the face) for an integration night again and it was hilarious! 

We bought a Christmas tree with blinking lights!!!! :) That is real happiness my friends. 

Yesterday there was a "regional" stake conference. It was a broadcast for all of Brazil. Elder Holland talked. He tried to speak in portuguese and it was super sweet. But he gave the rest of his talk in English and it was translated. But he talked about how we can be better, how the saints can be more perfected here in Brazil. But I believe it applies to everywhere, so I will share with you what he said:
1-Behave and act the way that you would in the temple. Practice in the home what you learn in the temple. Remove the things in your house that don´t help you to do this. 
2- Obey faithfully the law of tithing!!! We have to pay tithing to build temples and to be worthy to enter these temples. 
Please apply this in your homes!! It will bless you!! 

Well, not much time left and really not much else to say. 
I love you all! 
Have a great week! 
Remember the reason for the season and #SEJAaLUZdoMUNDO
Sister Wilkins

Mosiah 14-17

Santa pillow

Mari, from the Fazenda! 

Allan and Eliziana´s hedgehog

Our little Christmas tree

Friday, December 9, 2016


Oi família e amigos!!! 

Well, this week has been busy. 

We started off with an exchange...Sister Ogle and I got to be comps for a couple hours again while the Sisters went to the doctor. It was super fun! 

We had lunch with Noelli, from the Fazenda. She came and ate with us at a friend´s house (member of our branch). It was so good to see her and catch up for a bit. 

Well, we are still knocking a lot of doors. A lot of people have lied to us about their addresses or when they will be home and it has been complicated. But we have found a couple people. 

We found a couple, Raimundo and Mary. They live really close to the church and are super awesome. They want to know the truth and be closer to God. They said they´d come to church!!! but they weren´t there...we think it´s because of the rain....

We also found a grandmother, Lenir, and her granddaughter, Lorena. Lorena´s parents are divorced and it´s been about three years. Lenir explained how hard it was for Lorena in the beginning. She had fevers, cried a lot, and even asked why she was born. There was not a dry eye in the room. My heart broke for this ten-year-old girl as I told her that Christ knows exactly how she feels and knows how hard this is for her. I explained to her that she can pray for comfort. 
I have thought a lot about this little girl this week. My heart breaks for people who have these difficult situations who don´t know that there is a better life after this one, that the things that are hard and that are wrong in this life can be made better through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for His sacrifice. Especially in this Christmas season.

Sister Ogle and I gave a zone training which involved exploding balloons, cookies, and a hunt for small candies to explain how we need to be dilligent. It was pretty awesome. And also quite hilarious.

And we bought pizza just because :) 
Also got cupcakes from a sister in the branch. They are delicious. 

This Christmas season there is a #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign the church is putting on. I want to challenge all of you to be a part of it every day. Watch the videos ( there will be a new video every day that talks about what Jesus did and how we too can be like Him. And then complete at least one of the challenges per day. AND WRITE DOWN YOUR EXPERIENCES!!!! :) and share them with me. I will be sure to do the same for you!!! 

Love you all!
Sister Wilkins


Exchanges with Sister Ogle

zone training

Elder Nascimento (he was visiting the mission...already went home)


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NEWS FLASH!!! Sister Wilkins now likes Peanut Butter!

Oi família e amigos!!! 

This week sure has been interesting. We knocked doors our first two days here. I swear we knocked at least 300 doors in those two days...and guess what happened?!  No one let us in. It was rough.

Well, we had a couple miracles and were able to find 5 new investigators this week! 

What else? Our ramo is awesome. The members here are wonderful and I think we have as many irmãs here as there were in Chapecó. But everyone here is super nice and wants to help the missionaries. I have been blessed on my mission with areas that want to help the missionaries :) 

We fed some baby birds that we found in a mailbox. They were making quite a bit of noise...will see if I can send the video. 

I ate a peanut butter sandwich and...wait for it.,...I loved it!!! :) haha, the mission sure does change a Sister. 

WE had Thanksgiving dinner with the American couple that serves in our branch, the Davis´s. They made turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, jello, homemade rolls, and apple pie, among other things. It was the best. Forgot how much I love American food! But Brazilian food is super good too!

I received a sad noticia...all my recent convert friends from my first area have gone inactive...please pray for the people of Tubarão to receive the missionaries and return to church. 

There are a lot of bugs here and the bug bites have returned. 

Well, all this is happening and yet I am super happy and it is wonderful! :) There is nothing better than sharing the gospel, even amidst the trials. 
WE have seen various miracles this week...we were given a couple of referrals and didn´t ever get the number of the house, just the color of the car or the market next door. But somehow we were able to find all these people...well at least their houses, 2 weren´t home. And one of them was super excited to hear about the church!

Also during a family night a member showed the video Juntos Para Sempre (together forever) about the Plan of Salvation and the death of a daughter in a family. I cried. My testimony has been greatly strengthened in the knowledge that I have that God has a plan for me and my family and that if we all do our part we can live together forever. I am grateful for my family, grateful for all of you, for the knowledge of the gospel and for the opportunity to share it with the people here in Brazil. 
And more than anything I am grateful for the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. He understands everything about us and I am grateful that through the Atonement my weaknesses may be made strong. 

Well, love you all! 
Hope all is well! 
Sister Wilkins

WE climbed up a huge staircase...

this is the view...

and this is us after the climb...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Final Transfer!

Oi família e amigos!!! 

Well, I have a lot to say, we´ll see if I can get to it all.

Last Monday we had a lesson with Rosangela and Cesar and their family and we made them pancakes and maple syrup. They liked it a lot and it was super fun! 

Tuesday, we had lunch with Irmã Andreia. In her house I am known as Sister Frozen, but they can´t decide if I am Ana or Elsa. It´s pretty funny. It was super hot that day and she asked if I had brought ice... love her! 
Tuesday was day of the Republic or something like that here in Brazil. Well, we took advantage of that and we started gathering up the copies of the Book of Mormon that we had distributed from investigators who weren´t using it. We got four...only two left. And we put quite a few people in the ex-pesquisadores section of our area book. But it was inspired because....

Wednesday morning about 9 o´clock, President called. He started with me and said that I would go to Biguaçu, that I would be whitewashing, living with Sister Ogle, and that my comp would be Sister Chagas. I nearly screamed....mentira...I squealed quite a bit and was jumping up and down and nearly in tears. Sister Evangelista was transfered to the Elder´s area (Ala 1...but we didn´t find that out until Thursday) and so there will only be one companionship in Chapecó 2 now....that was sad. I don´t like closing areas. It´s sad and there´s a lot of work there for one companionship now. But they are going to have a lot of success. 

Thursday we took some pics in Centro...will include later.
And we had another lesson with Rosangela, Cesar, and Pedro. They got the documents for marriage in progress. Just a matter of time before they can go to the cartorio and get everything going :) AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Friday was our last district meeting and we got all our traveling info, and then things became slightly hectic to get all the bags ready and the apartment clean and everything. 
We also had a lesson with Fernanda and Andressa. They are sooo awesome!!! Love them! We taught them a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and they were just so amazed at how we explain the Fall of Adam and Eve and it was all just super awesome! 

Saturday we spent a few hours in the morning cleaning. And moving furniture, which involved taking down a door to move a bed. It was legit. 
And then there were four baptisms that night! Super awesome and the spirit was so strong. 

Sunday was the primary program in our ward. Aime participated and did super well! It was so good. I love how the primary brings such a special spirit to the room. I cried, but I´m sure that´s no surprise for you guys. 
And then we took lots of pics with people and went back to the apartment to finish getting everything ready. We went to the Rodoviaria and stayed there for a while. My bus left at 10:15 last night. And I got to Floripa...

Monday 9:30. Waited for Sister Chagas there at the rodoviaria. Barely slept on the bus I was so excited and not all that tired, until the middle of the night. I SAW SISTER GEORGE ONE LAST TIME ON THE MISSION!!!! AND SISTER CHILD (but not for the last time) And a bunch of other friends who are going home. Man, I am grateful to be back closer to the escritorio.
Chapecó helped me to learn a lot and I was sad to leave, but I am excited and ready for the next adventure here in the branch of Biguaçu! :) 
Our area is pretty small, but I know that there are a ton of people waiting for us. Please pray that this week we can find lots of people to teach. We are whitewashing/opening this area and this week we will probably be knocking a lot of doors. Please pray for the people here that their hearts can be softened and that they can open their doors and let the missionaries in! :) 

I love you all! 
Hope all is well at home and that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! And remember to give thanks for the greatest gift that was given to us- our Savior.
I love Him. I know that He lives. I know that He can redeem us from our sins and that all that seems impossible can be made possible through him. I have experienced the impossible more times than I can count on my mission and am forever grateful for all that I have learned because of it. 

Philipians 4: 13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Have a wonderful week!
Sister Wilkins

Sister Chagas, Sister Ogle, Sister Pina, and me

Sou bem Chapecó...and the chapecó mascot?

Santa in the tree and the catholic cathedral in the background

Last lesson with Rosangela, Cesar, Pedro, and Aime

Our district +4

"Other Chapecó mascot"


Last few minutes together as 4 in Chapecó

We found a giant pig :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cockroaches and Fruitflies

Oi família e amigos! 

This week has been good.
The District

Other than the attack we received from cockroaches and fruit flies. We´ve killed 4 cockroaches the size of my palm in a matter of days, and several smaller ones. One of them even flew and disappeared for a bit, but it appeared again and we managed, after a lot of screams and waving the broom around, to kill it. The fruit flies appeared quickly. And the next day there were nearly 1000 around our trash and close to the sink. We are still working to get rid of them. 

This week we were contacting on the street and I stopped a man and started talking to him. He congratulated us for serving a mission, told us to continue and then said "Jesus está voltando logo!!!" And kept repeating (Jesus is returning soon!). Well, we´ve heard a lot this week about how "Jesus is returning soon" and I have become ever more grateful for the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge that if we receive the ordinances of the gospel and keep the commandments and our covenants we can be with our family for forever and we don´t need to worry about what will happen. We will not fear the judgment day if we do what is right. I am grateful for this gospel and the peace it brings to my mind to know that yes, Christ will return, but that we need not fear this day, but we should prepare. 

We have been teaching a family of three women for about a month, Elizamar (mother), and Fernanda and Andressa (daughters). Well, we found out that Andressa is a lawyer and has been questioning some of what we have taught because she was not in the first lesson when we taught about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This week we were able to talk with her and answer her questions, and everything made sense to her. And she found it super interesting. Their family is awesome and we are working with them to get to church, but it is slightly complicated because the mom doesn´t live here and they return to her house with her on the weekend to see their dad. Please pray for them that they can come to church! 

Well, Rosangela, Cesar, Aime and Pedro are still doing good. But they are needing lots of prayers. The process to get the documents they need from their state to get married is turning out to be complicated. We need some prayers that things will work out and that they will have the help of their family to get the documents necessary, and not give up even though it might be difficult!! Prayers would be much appreciated for them. 

We are inviting everyone here to be baptized and we are finding some really special people who are accepting the invitation. The problem is that people are too lazy or too busy to come to church. So if you could include in your prayers a general "please bless the people of Chapecó 2 to come to church" that would be great! 

Funny moment of the week: 

We found a sofa in decent condition in the middle of the road while knocking doors yesterday. No one was around, so of course we sat and took pics. And then laughed as cars passed on either side of us giving us strange looks. haha

Love you all! 
Hope things are well! 
Would love to hear from you guys! 
Sister Wilkins

Abacaxi Com Doce de leite

Oi família e amigos! 

Well, this week was super good. And it felt like nothing much happened, but looking back I have a ton to tell you. Praying that I can type fast enough.

Well, first off. We went to have a lesson on Monday with Rosangela, Cesar, Pedro, and Aime. We taught about the Plan of Salvation. They are keeping the word of wisdom. Things are going super good. And at the end of the lesson we were just all smiles. I asked if there was anything that we could do to help them. And Rosangela said, "Well, you guys walk around a lot and know a lot more about the city...and I was wondering if you could get information for me about what we need to get married?" JAW DROP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was almost crying. It was wonderful!!! So now we are waiting for a few documents, and hopefully within the next month there will be a marriage and a family getting baptized!!!! They are progressing so much and I am super happy!!! They went to a stake activity on Wednesday and they are interacting with the members a lot more. Their family is so much happier. EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL!!! THE GOSPEL IS TRUE! 

This week we ate a LOT of pizza. Twice for lunch and then we went to the Rodizzio...which is a pizza buffet. I ate 14 pieces of pizza. Holy cow. We were so stinking full afterwards. But I have discovered that the best pizza to exist is abacaxi com doce de leite (pineapple with something that is sort of like carmel sauce). 

We are teaching a family of three women-a mom (who doesn´t live in this city, but is taking care of the granddaughter, so is here during the week) Elizamar, and two of her daughters-Fernanda and Andressa. We found Fernanda knocking doors and shared the message of the Restoration with her and she was super interested. And the other week we taught the three of them about the Book of Mormon! They read and have a testimony and are surprised that other religions don´t have this book and think that it should be published for the whole world, haha :) 

Well, now that it is November, the Christmas decorations are going up and I am contacting with Christmas pass-along cards. It´s pretty funny. Sometimes people look at me really if there was something wrong with being excited for Christmas in two months! haha

This week we taught a Pastora (the woman version of a pastor..). Her husband is also a pastor. She was pretty awesome. And really liked how we taught the Plan of Salvation. haha. And then she prayed. And with every sentence she raised her voice a little the end of the prayer she was nearly screaming. That was a little scary haha. 

Saturday had the first baptism..well actually two... here in nearly a year...maybe more. The ward is super excited and helping us out a ton. Things are going super well!

Well, we have Eduarda (a less-active), Elizabete, Rosangela, Cesar, Pedro, and Aime all progressing. And many investigators that have a lot of potential! Please pray for them. We need some miracles here. Hoping to see a few this week :) 

Love you all! 
Hope things are going well!
Have a wonderful week! 
Sister Wilkins

At the Rodizzio...last piece of pizza
Selfie, day of the baptism

Two districts, we meet at the same church for district meeting

Thursday, November 3, 2016

They came. AS A FAMILY!

Oi família e amigos! 

Well, another week has come and gone, and yet another week we have had crazy weather. One morning the rain looked like snow and it was really cold...I was nearly convinced that it was snow...and the next day we were melting. And so went our week...but what´s new?

This week we had a couple of large miracles. Rosangela, Pedro, and Aime have a baptism date marked, but Rosangela is not married and Cesar, her "husband" was not listening to many of our messages because he was asleep. Well, we organized things better to go there with a member. We taught him the word of wisdom because he has a drinking problem and their family drinks coffee. But the members helped a ton and they committed to live the word of wisdom! Later that night they came to an Integration Night as a family and to church the next day. AS A FAMILY!!! I WAS SO HAPPY! Pray for them. We need a miracle with a marriage or they won´t be able to baptized when it´s´s scheduled for the middle of November.

Rosangela, Cesar, Pedro, and Aime at church!

Well, we had the Integration night and we set up the church to be kind of like Lehi´s dream. We had a bunch of returned missionaries and other members in our ward help us to try and pull people off the rope, the iron rod, so they couldn´t get to the tree of life (a tree with chocolate strung on the branches). It was awesome. The investigators loved it and the members too. It reminded me of my second year at girls camp, when I had my first Lehi´s dream experience and how much I learned from that little experience that we  can never let go of the scriptures, never stop praying or going to church, because it is with the little things that Satan gets us. Little by little, he will never ask us to take a big leap, but will guide us step by step until we reach the edge and he can push us. The scriptures, prayer, and church attendance are what keep us strong in the gospel. 

Well, this week we had a lot of our investigators that were progressing more than others tell us that they were out of town dealing with family health problems and would call us when they got back or that they were really busy and would call us when they have a bit of time...which means that we aren´t going to hear back from a lot of these people and we have some work to do finding investigators who will progress. 

Trying new foods again from the NorthEast of Brazil. Super good stuff. 
Well, that´s about all my news. 
Happy halloween! Stay safe!
Love you all! 
Sister Wilkins

Super delicious dessert we made this week


This is how I am celebrating halloween :)