Monday, February 15, 2016

Crazy Week, Hugs from Heavenly Father

Well, oiiiii família e amigos! 

This week was crazy! So much happened!! I´ll try to get it all in for ya..

Well, we got two new Sisters here, both Hispanic, and one is a Sister I was in the CTM with, who flew out to the mission with me! She is super sweet! And the other is straight from the CTM, in training right now. She´s from Peru! 

We got to eat a wonderful churrasco (barbeque) this week-because of Carnaval everyone was at home and they wanted to celebrate the day off. I learned how to make Linguiça the Brazilian way! It´s so good! 
Cooking linguiza

at Churrasco

Tuesday was the craziest day. It was super duper hot in the morning, so I didn´t bring an umbrella and neither did Sister Ogle. And then while we were walking in the afternoon it started POURING. And we were stuck walking in the rain. We were wet and I am sure we looked gross, but we had four people stop us, knowing we were sisters. The last two who stopped us were Italian!!! I TALKED TO TWO ITALIANS!!! :) Who said I couldn´t serve in Italy? ;) It was so cool though! One of them didn´t speak Portuguese and spoke little English, so they talked in Italian to each other and that was the coolest. But the one came up and started talking in English to us and it was super weird, but so cool! They even taught me a couple words in Italian, and told us we were pretty, even though our hair was plastered to our foreheads and our makeup was all messed up from walking in the rain for 25-30 minutes. But ya, I talked to Italians. That was legit. 

So remember that girl I told you about who is the daughter of a less-active? well her name is Roberta. We had a lesson with her Friday night and we invited her to be baptized and SHE ACCEPTED!!!! But she wasn´t at church...we are visiting again tonight!!! so excited!!! 

On the way to church.  Proud of this selfie!

And then last night we had a lesson with another couple we are teaching...the first couple that I have taught on the mission. They were even more receptive and the husband participated more in this lesson. WE taught the Restoration and the First Vision and the Spirit was so strong!!! We invited them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and they said they would do it together!!! So excited again! 

Well, this week I had the opportunity to teach a man who doesn´t believe in that was interesting. Definitely the last thing I thought I would encounter coming to Brazil. So we sat down, his wife is Evangelical and started saying that he was Atheist. But he defended himself. He doesn´t believe in God, but he believes in an energy....I don´t know how to explain it. It was kind of confusing. But he believes in the Bible. So we talked a little bit about God, but we only had time for like a five minute lesson. We are going back this week and we are going to establish who God is. So that´s going to be interesting. Please pray that he will understand and have a belief in God after the lesson. We need the help.

This week I also had the opportunity to do a Helping Hands service project with the ward. We were helping raise awareness about a mosquito here that carries a sickness and some diseases that are really dangerous. We were passing out pamphlets that talked about how to get rid of the mosquitoes and what the community can do to help. So that was super fun :) 

Well, that´s really what happened this week. It was a crazy week, but it was good! 
This week I have learned the importance of listening to the Spirit, as we have studied a little bit about it. The Spirit can help us to learn what we need to change and how we can do it. He has helped me in lessons to know what to say, or speaks through me so that others can hear the things they need to. He has helped me to know that we need to continue the lesson or redirect because of the situation. The Spirit is such a cool guy. He seriously will help us so much. The hard part is learning to listen to and heed the promptings of that still small voice. I have learned this week more of how to recognize him, more of how he works, and how he works with other people, and it is so cool. It really is a testimony to me that God lives and that He knows us personally. Because of this He sends the Spirit to help us, in a way that we will understand, that we will recognize, and that makes sense to us. In the MTC I learned that when we feel the Spirit, it is like getting a hug from Heavenly Father. We all feel different when we hug someone, and it´s the same with Heavenly now when we feel the Spirit it is like we are getting a hug from Heaven, we are remembering a little bit of what it is like to be in our Heavenly Father´s presence. 

Hope you all have a wonderful week! 
Love you! 

Sister Wilkins

Staying in Paradise!

Hope you are all doing well! 

I really don´t have much to say this week, sorry. it´ll be kinda short.

Well, here we got transfers through email this week. And that was super weird and different. I didn´t get an email, which means that I am staying here, in paradise, training, with Sister Ogle for six more weeks! I am so excited!!! 

We had very few lessons this week because it is the last week of  summer vacation here as well as the beginning of Carnaval, so not a whole lot of people were home. 
But we had a couple lessons with less actives who want temple recommends!!! That seriously made me happier than I can express! Sometimes I wonder if what we are doing actually helps, and it is in moments like that that I know it is!! 

I had to give the training in district meeting this week. That was a little nerve wracking. But I think it went good. It was about teaching to understand or something like that...which is funny because I still have a limited vocabulary in Portuguese, so my lessons are slightly more advanced than beginning but still, it´s pretty simple. But I also learned about how it is important to have a testimony before we can convert others. So that was cool.

Well, as I said Carnaval started, and here it is not nearly the Party it is in  São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, but because we are close to a beach there are areas we have to avoid. Nothing to serious, and we have to come home a little earlier at night. But there are a lot of drunk people in the street. Sometimes it is really funny. Last night a lady was walking her dog that had sunglasses on and asking everyone if her dog was cute. Kind of funny.
More Mexican popsicles

Sister Abreu (she's leaving here)

Well, that is about it. 
Yesterday I learned a cool lesson. I was fasting for a couple different reasons personally, one of which was that I could be a better misisonary and a better trainer and know what I needed to do to be better. I had been thinking a lot about prayer this week as well and knew my prayers needed improvement, but I wasn´t exactly sure how. And we came home after lunch yesterday to work on the training program, 12 weeks, and half of what we talked about was prayer. There is a section in Preach My Gospel that tells us what we should be praying for and it lists a lot of stuff. It also talks about what will happen when we pray. One of the parts I liked a lot said "An effective prayer requires a great effort" (sorry if it isn´t exact, I translated). But I love this because it is so true. Prayer is so important, it shouldn´t be a lackadaisical thing. We should be on our knees, begging our Heavenly Father for His help and His guidance. We should be praying more fervently and with more dilligence. Our prayers should require effort. We should spend time thinking about what we are saying and what we  want our Heavenly Father to know. Prayers should be heartfelt and meaningful. And when we have prayers like this, our relationship with our Heavenly Father will grow. We will be happier, and we will better know our Father. I am so grateful for prayer and the opportunity I have to pray to my Heavenly Father. 
It was very cool to me to see that Heavenly Father answered my prayer so quickly. I know that He answers prayers and that He hears every word. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! 
Love you! 

Sister Wilkins

Mady sent the following video: (hope this works!)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Pictures from last week (vultures and more)

I had trouble uploading the photos for last week's email.   Here they are.


Some members took us to the beach at night.  Paradise!  

My bed is the bottom bunk

My room with our new furniture

More of the beach in the evening

Bus Rides and Miracles

Hi family and friends!!! 

Mexican popsicles


At the bus the rain

Bus Rides!


Well really not a whole lot happened this I don´t have a whole lot to say. 

Monday night we went and visited Evaneta, the lady we found tracting. She basically told us for 20-30 minutes why she couldn´t continue meeting with us. I asked if we could finish out last lesson with her. We taught her about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. After we finished she said she needed to pray and ask God for guidance about which church to join because she didn´t know. She wasn´t at church yesterday, so I don´t know what happened. BUT I do know that there is power in the Restoration and that when we share it people´s hearts will be touched. 

We have one less active who we visited twice. She likes to cook. We broke the ice with her talking a lot about food, and now I will get to learn to cook a little bit!!! And her husband isn´t a member, so we are going to try to teach him!

We were trying to find more people to teach this week and Heavenly Father blessed us a lot. We had to take the bus a lot this week. And for a long time too. One day we were going to lunch, which was about 40 minutes by bus and this lady behind us said Sisters, and started talking to us. She´s a member, but hasn´t been to church in four years. She has four daughters, but only two are baptized. One of the others is 12 and wants to be baptized!!! and the other is 3. So we started teaching Roberta the first lesson!!! :) So awesome! That same day we visited them, we were sitting waiting for the bus and we made a contact with this guy who seemed interested and we set up to meet with him. And we went to the lesson and it was raining, he lives in almost the middle of nowhere. And we got in the house and it literally started DUMPING BUCKETS. It was crazy. And then his mom fed us and his sister gave us a ride home. Sound like a perfect investigator? I think so haha. 

Well, that´s really about all that happened this week.

however, I did want to share one little thing I found during personal study saturday. So I was reading the Book of Mormon, and I got to that part where Nephi is quoting Isaiah. I wasn´t paying a whole lot of attention, and then realized I wasn´t and tried to really start understanding what he was saying. He was talking about the Atonement. And I found this little verse that I love: 

1 Nephi 21:16
"Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." 

This simple verse of scripture has so much meaning for me. our Savior literally suffered and died on the cross for us. He loves us so much. Our pains, our sufferings, sicknesses, afflictions, trials, everything is engraven in two prints in His hands, where two nails were driven through his palms that He could be nailed to the cross. Those marks are reminders to Him of our suffering. He is suffering there with us. He will never leave us alone. He knows each one of us individually because of those marks. And because of those marks, we are literally in His hands, and we can put our burdens and our sins on Him, we can give him our hurt and pain so that we don´t have to deal with it any more. And He will take it from us, He is begging us to hand it over, we only have to let Him take it. 

I love the atonement. I am so grateful for the sacrifice our Savior made so that I can become better, so that one day I can live with my family again, and so that I can share this happy message here with these people in Brazil. 

I love you all! 
Have a wonderful week! 

Sister Wilkins